A drawing from a former cult leader representing a vision he had about his cult’s deity. Illustration by Ethan Hoofard.

(Disclaimer: This Article Is Entirely Satirical)

If you’re serious about starting a cult, the most important thing to remember at all times is that this entire operation you are about to dive into, including the possible legal repercussions, will have extreme impacts on innocent people. Now that you have approached this with honesty and thrown all moral and ethical concerns out the window, we can begin. 

To create an appeal for your cult, you, as the leader, must directly relate the lack of meaning in your targeted followers’ lives to the escape hatch that is your nascent cult. This may seem like I’m skipping a few steps in terms of organization, belief structures, and purpose, but truthfully, this is how most cults must begin. The cult leader usually just kind of wings it in most areas. If you try this, you will find that the rest of the pieces fall into place once you have obtained what I like to call the “pawns,” AKA your followers. For a convincing hook, make your writing feel warm, like a mother comforting her child when he or she cries. I’ve provided an example of an appeal you can use below.

Feeling eternally empty: a common side-effect of the chaotic and stinging pain of reality. You are unimportant. Complete your work the way you were instructed to complete it without complaint or noise. Your limited time should be spent in a passionless state of being. Create and explore only what you know, and do not dare step outside of this realm. These are the revealed realities of a global culture devoid of hope. But, take heart, this semi-awake existence does not have to be accepted in a fetal position. There is a path that YOU can take, and it leads to the realization that there is indeed more. But there is one thing you must believe for there to be any hope of escaping the vortex of averageness: God is NOT dead.

After you have created this initial invitation and presumably put a flier up at your local community center, advertising a harmless gathering, there will inevitably be a few ready-and-willing-to-conform, lonely people that show up to your first meeting.

Your First “Meeting”

I cannot emphasize enough how important your first meeting is. This is where some pre-indoctrination practice would be useful. What should you practice? What should you say? Make them vulnerable, get them scared, provide the answer. One thing you should avoid in this first meeting is to be above them in any way, physically or mentally. 

For example, if you are gathering at a high school auditorium, bring everyone to the stage and sit down TOGETHER. You are one of them. You are their friend, so act like it. Introduce yourself, play a name game, do whatever you think will keep the mood cheerful. To these people that you are attempting to metaphysically seduce, you’re the fun one at the party, the person they want to get to know in order to shed their loneliness. Let’s say you’ve talked your way into their hearts, and forced them to melt into a gelatinous substance that YOU can mold. This is where you strike. Bring up the idea of belief and let the conversation play out for a while. But at some point along the way, interject with something along the lines of “unfortunately, none of us have much time left on this Earth, anyway.” Instilling fear is the second step. Let them stew in the vat of uncertainty that you just made. 

Lastly, you provide the answer. This part is crucial. Once the conversation reaches a boiling point where people are visibly uncomfortable with continuing to discuss religion, you can finally start talking about “Him,” “Her,” or “Them.” These pronouns allow for a very open-ended segue into your choice of deity. A deity can be anything you want, but it must be tangible. Promise your disciples that they will, at some point, be able to touch this entity. Let this part of the meeting last for only a few minutes, and tell them you’re out of time for the day, forcing them to come back if they want to know more. The next few meetings should basically run themselves. Just DON’T STOP TALKING. People love to listen to people who can tell an engaging story, and as a cult leader, that’s your product. An engaging story.    

Congratulations, you’ve just completed the most important part of the process. Some of those who showed up at that first meeting will most likely become your “inner-circle” somewhere down the road. 

Now it is time for the repetitive part of your journey. You can believe whatever you want, but at the end of the day, what matters the most is that your cult stays interesting and important to the people inside it. This can be done through the use of scripture. The reading of scripture, AKA sermons, are the method by which you assert power over others. 

When delivering a sermon, you are demonstrating to everyone that you are the singular source of knowledge in the most important facet of their life, which will hopefully be this cult. Sermons can also be the way you force principles onto your followers. Some of these principles could include giving you lots of money or drugs. Below, I’ve outlined some good examples of scripture from a real former cult leader, (his name rhymes with Dim Bones, Jim Jones). 

Scripture

If you are not a pharmacist, you wouldn’t dream of going to a pharmacological bible to attempt to make a drug to help someone. Nor would you consider using medical guidebooks to perform surgery to save lives, if you were not a professional surgeon. Thus, no minister should attempt to use the scriptures, unless his life manifests the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit (God). Scripture bears this out. “How shall they hear without a preacher (prophet)? and how shall they preach (prophesy), lest they be sent?” 

A semi-genuine belief in what you are preaching becomes more and more necessary. The sheep can sniff out a non-believer, so you have to convince yourself that your god is at some level, real. This can be accomplished by creating a positive feedback loop. If you convince yourself deeply enough that everyone you say is true, then you will avoid the possibility of being “found out.” Below, I have put together a small assortment of “journal entries” as a way of adding credibility to yourself. Feel free to copy and paste. 

Journal Entries

Day 1, April 11th: Today, I was torn from what we perceive as reality. I was taken out of this flat, desolate plane of existence and I was lifted far above. It wasn’t a movement or an action that brought me to this above place; instead, I was touched by an entity that tugs at the strings of truth, and I was allowed to witness his power. It only lasted a moment in our time, but I stared into his eyes for weeks before I could even begin to hear what the voices spoke of. I will attempt to repeat this process tomorrow.  

Day 2, April 12th: I woke to the sound of birds chirping in the meadow. As my eyes fluttered open, a sense of relief coaxed me to an upright position. I had made it through the night, safe from his grasp… I don’t know what I dreamt, but I know it was real. It was more of a memory. I found out what his name was, or at least what we can call him; The Red King.

Day 3, April 13th: I now know it is true that, within the series of interactions we have throughout our day, we never lend thought to the deterministic nature of reality. There is a way out, however. We can control our lives through psionic energy manipulation. This may sound ridiculous, but his predictions so far have all transpired, and despite all that my logical brain pleads for me to use reason, my deeper intuition overshadows my every urge. I know it to be accurate. 

Day 4, April 14th: I attempted to go through my day as I would normally, before I met him. I talked normally, laughed normally, and listened to others normally, but in every conversation or activity I engaged in, there was a slow molasses-like drip echoing in my subconscious that reminded me of him. 

Day 5, April 15th: Fear is the one true emotion that has any basis in reality. All other emotions are simply abstract constructs we use to deal with different facets of fear. Once conquered, however, your mind is unleashed from the bounds of fear, you are able to see through the smoke that leads us all to make poor decisions. 

Day 6, April 16th: Expunged

Day 7, April 17th: Today, 4 members were present at the sermon. We spoke at length about what to do with the recent passage we were given by The Red King. His exact words were, “Build. Build the empire in my name.” We hope this message comes with some sort of goodwill.

I hope to see some really interesting cults opening their doors around Portland very soon. And remember, if you ever get in any sort of legal trouble, you can always email me at memrich6964@student.pps.net, or message me: (503) 847-4126. Thanks for reading!

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