Joel Kelly's Blog

Joel Kelly's updates about his latest writing, his process, and his life as a Halifax-based author and marketer.

7 Signs You're in a Cult

Are you in a cult? Would you even know it if you were? Of course, you could refer to more "official" indications, or you could just take my word for it. So, here are 7 Signs You're in a Cult:

  1. Can your standing within the organization be revoked/reduced, and is this something you're afraid of?
  2. When you don't show up to a regular event or meeting, do you feel like you need to make up an excuse?
  3. Do you need to be on your "best behavior" at all times, in case another person in the organization sees you?
  4. Have you ever thought about reporting something you've seen or heard about another person in the organization to one of the organization's leaders?
  5. Do you refer to other people in the organization with overly-friendly phrases, even if you don't know them that well? (Think, "friends" or "brother/sister")
  6. Is it possible for you to be "punished" for real or perceived wrongdoing in the here-and-now, and not just in your organization's concept of an afterlife?
  7. Is it expected that you will perform extracurricular tasks, like building projects, manual labor, producing literature, etc., without payment or complaint?

If some or all of these sound familiar, bad news: You're in a cult. If the suggestion that you might be in a cult upsets or offends you, well, you're probably in a cult.

People who aren't in cults never have to wonder if they are, or if people might suspect they are. So, it might be time for you to get out.

If you're wondering what it's like to grow up in a cult, you can read about it in my true story "No Greater Love Than This," and elements of this experience are featured in my new fiction novella, "Scolding the Winds".