People Who Were Born Into Cults Are Sharing What Their Breaking Points Were, And It's Both Terrifying And Heartbreaking
"No one could leave without an explanation to where they were going and when they'd be back."
Recently in r/AskReddit, user u/Havok1717 asked the question, "Redditors who were raised in cults, when was the first time you realized something was wrong?" Here are some of their wildest, saddest, and most disturbing answers.
1. "My first hint that something was wrong was the amount of control exerted in our day-to-day lives. No beards, no long hair for men, no tattoos or piercings, no shirts with 'edgy' artwork like band shirts or shirts with skulls, no entertainment they didn't approve of, etc."
2. "When our religion teacher was out sick and the substitute teacher told us the same Bible story from the week before, but with a completely different ending."
3. "After watching The Day After in the '80s, I asked my mom that if we knew the nukes were coming, would she rather spend her last moments with me or with the cult leader. She choose him. I came up with my own survival plan after that."
4. "When I was 5 and the leader, who claimed to receive messages directly from God, accused me of doing something I knew I had not done."
5. "When I realized that the doors to the 13-story former hotel building we were all living in were locked and you had to sign out to leave. No one (from children to adults) could leave without an explanation to where they were going and when they'd be back."
6. "When my parents told me they'd let me die rather than allow me to get certain medical procedures."
7. "The first time I realized something was wrong was when a huge core belief changed in 1995 (it was that the end would come before the generation that saw the events of 1914 died, and it has changed seven times since then). I was confused — it didn't compute that my entire life's beliefs changed overnight."
8. "When I was 12 years old, my classmate from school died in a car accident. We were as close of friends as I was allowed to be with someone who wasn’t in the cult. I asked my mom if I would see my friend in paradise (afterlife) and she said no because her parents weren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses. Then and now, I couldn’t believe that an innocent 12-year-old wouldn’t get a shot at everlasting life because of her parents. It was definitely the biggest crack in my ideology that only grew as I got into my teen years."
9. "When it came time for me to leave for my own mental health, I became the villain."
10. "When my youth group leader said that telling poor people about Jesus was more important than feeding or housing them."
11. "Jehovah's Witnesses are trained to report you to the Elders if you’re not following their guidelines. For example, if you have a position of respect in the congregation and someone sees that you have an R-rated movie, they’ll report you to the Elders and you could lose your position and good standing, which will change the way the congregation treats you."
12. "I wasn’t supposed to make friends with any other kids unless they went to our church."
13. "When I learned that, if a women was going to be raped, it would be better for her to kill herself than risk having her 'blood lineage' tainted."
14. "I wasn't in a cult per se, but one of those evangelical megachurches. The congregation went from a few hundred members to 15,000 in less than two years. Many weird things started happening. Especially, one day he 'had a revelation' that the members had to give away all the gold they were wearing. I knew a lady who got into serious trouble with her husband because she gave away her gold wedding band."
15. "When the 'Elders' told me that I could no longer speak to my younger sister anymore because she was in 'bad standing' with the organization. She was the only family I had left. They made her out to be this monster just because she wasn't actively going to church. That's when the glass shattered for me."
16. "When my then-husband beat me and for some reason, HE called the Elders and they told me to 'be a better wife so he doesn't get angry.' I was done then."
17. "When I was told that doing independent research on the doctrine would lead to being shunned by my friends and family."
18. "When my brother was 11 and started asking (politely) about how our religion was founded and how our family got involved, they would bite his head off about it. It made me realize our parents were being defensive because they had no answers. If you can't explain why you're in a religion or group, get the f*ck out."
If you are in an abusive situation, or know someone else who is in an abusive situation, get help.
You can talk to someone you trust, or get in touch with someone at the National Domestic Violence Hotline via their live chat option or at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), which is available 24/7.