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The Seven Signs You’re in a Cult

Posted on June 18th, 2014 at 21:08 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News -- Write a comment


November 2, 2012, was a beautiful Friday in Kansas City—clear and cool and sunny. I had spent the afternoon reading in the library at an unaccredited college affiliated with the International House of Prayer, an evangelical Christian organization commonly referred to as IHOP (no relation to the restaurant). Around 6 pm, I got a call from my friend Hannah*.

“I found out something that’s truly devastating. I didn’t want to tell you this way, but I want you to know,” she said. “Bethany Leidlein committed suicide on Tuesday.”

I was shocked. For seven years, I had spent hours every day with Bethany, eating and talking and praying. We had been best friends. She was 27, newly married; she had just completed her nursing degree. I felt like she would always be part of my life.

Now, she was gone.

  1. I read the linked article in the Atlantic, with the seven signs that you are in a cult. In my opinion, one of the signs is a leader with strong sociopathic tendencies and delusions of grandeur who demands uncritical personal devotion, and has complicated sexual relationships with a number of the followers.

    I have recently read biographies of L. Ron Hubbard and Ayn Rand, and they both fit the description as very similar sociopaths who demanded cultish devotion from their followers, had sexual relationships with a number of acolytes, and punished or excommunicated anybody who displayed independent thinking.

  2. @John: Fascinating. All religions start as cults, I think. Some get to some kind of escape velocity and become more-or-less respectable.

    ‘Cults of Unreason’ by Chris Evans is old but interesting on the subject. Available here: http://www.holysmoke.org/cos/books/

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