I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to grow up in a cult. Thankfully, my family was relatively normal in this aspect. That’s why these responses from AskReddit are so fascinating.
1. No learning
“When they said I couldn’t go to college.”
“I’m Pentecostal still, (NOT APOSTOLIC PENTECOSTAL) but the UPCI one is I consider a cult. UPCI guy was praying for me to remove the “demons” from my head that were causing a ringing and loud blaring in my ears. I would hear a constant “WOOSH” and experience moments of deafness. He kept saying, “They’re going. They’re gone. You’ll feel it soon.”
I was like OK. Nothing happened. I got prayer. I should be fixed. Then for weeks I kept praying that God would “remove the demons.” Then I had a dream that I was freaking out about demons and the blaring was incredibly loud my parents were yelling at me something about “It’s Your BRAIN. It’s medical.”
Well, I woke up and realized that I actually had just started taking a new form of birth control for my skin called Tri-Sprintec, which sounds like something out of Black Mirror, and so I threw it out and I was fine again. About a week later the ringing and temporary deafness stopped and I was able to go back to ordinary life.
My grandmother was part of UPCI as well. They refused to baptize her because she was wearing earrings. (Totally unbiblical.) I should have noticed something back then.”
“Oh there was little doubts all the way. But I guess I found it most odd that full grown adults couldn’t answer simple questions. “Why does God kill babies” “why did god hate black people until society changed their mind” “if God is humble why do we praise him” ect. Me and my friends were like 12 or 13.
We would constantly ask questions like these and never got an answer that wasn’t “God works in mysterious ways” “or you should have faith. I was Mormon. It’s straight up a cult. The members are so brain washed they can’t even see it. Looking back it’s all so f-cking creepy.”
“When I smoked weed for the first time and realized nothing was wrong with it. I eventually went down the rabbit hole and read as much as I could about Mormon church history. I know the Mormon church isn’t as culty as many other “religions,” but it does at least have many cultish aspects to it.”
5. Impure thoughts
“Where do I even start?
I guess the whole not speaking in tongues make me a sinner, regardless of any other factors.
That if I have any depressive thoughts I must be possessed by a demon.
That any impure thought I had meant I was going to hell and needed to drop to my knees and ask for forgiveness
Any other of denomination of Christianity was going to hell specially those Methodist and Catholics.
Was not allowed to have friends because they might bring some kind of sin into my life.”
6. No freedom
“When the leader, whom claimed to be freedom of speech, started suing people who said stuff he didn’t like.”
7. Sounds like brainwashing
“When I realized all the books at our home were from the same obscure publication house. And I wasn’t allowed to read Harry Potter.”
“As soon as paying them was obligatory.”
“Calling it a cult might be a stretch, but I was raised in an incredibly religious household and went to a pretty intense evangelical church most days of the week. My parents put me in just about every club/ group the church offered. Between youth group, bible study, church services, young adults group, AWANA, etc. I was there pretty often. Anyway my parents didnt have enough money for a private christian school, so public school was really my only escape from my super christian environment.
Sophmore year of high school I was taking a government class and we did this exercise to see where people stood on certain issues where the teacher would say heres a topic, go to the left side if youre for this and right side if youre against it.
Then someone in the group would have to give some reasons why they thought that way. I stood alone on one side of the room on probably 3 out of 4 issues and when I had to defend my choice, there were just too many times when my only reasoning was ” because god/my parents say so”.
That gave me some pause to think about why / if i really believed those things at all. It didnt instantly shatter my faith but it was definitely the moment my opinions started to change and I began to analyze why/what I was being told. I realized I didnt actually believe/ care about most of the things I was standing for.”
10. Had no idea
“When the only non-baptised kid in my school appeared.
I didn’t even know baptism was not compulsory in the entire world or that other religions and no religion at all were things that existed. Also, he was so relentlessly and violently bullied that he had to leave school.”
“My mother was an avid follower of Niscience. She made my sister and I attend the meetings for Niscience. Part of the meetings was that you used your own Niscience name (my sister thought of it as a second middle name) and during certain prayers you had to use proper arm motions to salute the particular direction.
I was 8 when I realized no one else had a different church name or did prayers with specified motions. I stopped going to the meetings, told my mom and sister it was a cult. Within a month they both stopped going as well, although my mom prayed and practiced daily at an alter in her bedroom for another couple of years before quitting.”
“When the pastor talked like a stereotypical Kickstarter campaign to fund the church (which was not poor to begin with), with obscenely high goals expected of middle class at best people.”
13. Cut off from the world
“Whenever I figured out that my friends at my school were having birthdays, and Christmas, and Halloween, and how I wasn’t allowed to go my friends house…because my parents didn’t want me to see a functioning normal life. (Grew up in a cult-like Jehovas Witness religion) got out of it around 11. Now 15.”
14. Science is wrong
“My parents and their cult maintained that stars could no longer be born because ‘god was done creating’ – I’d just done some stuff about stellar formation in school. Mentioned it in passing, and the denial was astounding.
“They are lying to pull you away from Jehovah” (what they call god). Typical.
I said “A new star is born every 10 minutes or so, and some of them are visible through a telescope. You can look at it for yourself.” – for which I was accused of blasphemy. It was not a pleasant experience.
When you choose to silence someone instead of looking at the evidence they have, you are only showing how much you fear what they have to say. Their desperation to avoid hearing undeniable science was the tip I should have seen years earlier.”
“I don’t know if you can call them a cult, but a lot of people I talk to about my childhood compare it to one. I don’t know if I’m biased because I was raised in it or not.
I realized something was wrong when I was about 12 and I was being told that my whole life was gonna be get married, have kids, be a housewife. Oh and if you can do that by 19, great. I’ve always been creative, mainly writing stories, and they started taking that away. My whole purpose was to make babies and serve a husband. I wasn’t allowed school after 5th grade and I wasn’t allowed contact with the outside world.
It was rough. I’m out now, though! And if you’re reading this and you think you need to escape from something like this, whoever you are, message me. I escaped August of last year. It took me 5 years, but I did it. You can too.”