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24 people raised in cults share the exact moment they realized something was wrong

Several internet users shared unbelievable tales of what they had to endure while being raised in a cult.

24 people raised in cults share the exact moment they realized something was wrong
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images/fstop123

There's a very fine line between religious institutions and straight-up psychopathic cults and this murky distinction is exactly what the latter takes advantage of when luring victims into its web. Although those who've known a way of life different from that dictated by the cult might recognize the red flags once they get a taste of the group's problematic ways, ideals, and rituals, it's much harder for those who are born into these clans. Hard, yes, but not impossible. A recent AskReddit thread appears to prove as much with Redditors who were born into cults sharing the exact moment they realized something was amiss.

Several netizens shared their experiences on the platform in response to a question posted by u/Havok1717: "Redditors who were raised in cults, when was the first time you realized something was wrong?" Here are 24 answers that blew our minds:

1. 

"After watching 'The Day After' in the 80s, I asked my mom if we knew the nukes were coming, who would she rather spend her last moments with me or the cult leader, she choose him. I came up with my own survival plan after that. I was going to skateboard to safety."19bonkbonk73

2.

"I was 12-years-old and 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."Anonymous

3.

Image Source: Reddit/Schnauzerbutt

4.

"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's the only family I have 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... I was one of Jehovah's Witnesses and my sister and I are still close. She's doing great things for herself and I do not regret my decision at all. Don't let someone else make decisions for your life, you'll be much happier!"BananasAnd69

5.

"When my brother started asking (politely) how our religion was founded and how our family got involved and generally just questions about life: they don't believe in evolution or kissing before marriage.
And they would bite his head off about it at age 11. It made me realize they were being defensive because they had no answers. If you can't explain why you're in a religion, you get the f**k out."PurelyAmy

6.

Image Source: Reddit/super_nice_shark

7.

"When I realized that the doors to the 13-story former hotel building we were all living in was 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. 
Group operated under two names. IBLP (Institute for Basic Life Principals) this was their 'outreach' label where they would go to churches and show this seminar to bring new gullible people into the fold. ATI (Advanced Training Institute) was for the people that actually wanted in deep and consisted of an entire homeschool curriculum to make sure your kids got brainwashed correctly.
They masqueraded as just another Baptist sect but it went way deeper. My family was highly involved for years but the year we lived at their training center was actually horrifying. Strictly controlled what was allowed in/out, surveillance for everything."g1ngerguitarist

8.

"Not in a cult per say, but was in one of those evangelical megachurches. Started as a nice corner church; the piety was genuine. I don't think that the pastor planned the whole thing - he seemed a genuine preacher until the church grew exponentially. Like went from a few hundred members to 15,000 in less than 2 years. Then his main focus was maintaining (entertaining) the masses, which drove him to do stupid things.
Many weird things started happening. Especially, one day he 'had a revelation' that the congregation needs to expand further and members have to, I am serious, give out all the GOLD they were wearing. I know a lady that got into serious trouble with her husband because she gave away her gold wedding band. My last straw was when he promoted himself to Apostle and renamed himself 'Paul.' Apostle Paul. Okay."jetiro_now

9.

Image Source: Reddit/Broken-Sushi

10.

"Former Jehovah's witness too. The first time I realized something was wrong was when a huge core belief changed in 1995. (The end will come before the generation that saw the events of 1914 died... changed to... well it's changed 7 times since then) I was confused and it didn't compute that my entire life's beliefs changed over night. I struggled on awhile until shortly after my then-husband beat the shit out of me and for some reason HE called the elders over to help and the elders told me 'Be a better wife so he doesn't get angry.' I was done then. DONE."oldrobotlady

11.

"When my youth group leader said that telling poor people about Jesus was more important than feeding them or housing them."republican-jesus 

12.

Image Source: Reddit/RSchlock

13.

"I was raised with the belief that if I followed all the rules and was a good person, I'd feel a confirmation of everything. 7-year-old me was well aware that I had yet to feel it, and that was one of the many things that led to becoming depressed at the age of 12. I kept having questions that I had no answer for other than 'God works in mysterious ways.' Eventually, I found a YouTube channel where the person told about how they left the religion and I realized my whole life was a lie and that I no longer had to try and believe in something that never worked for me."Just-an-Immortal 

14.

"Our RE teacher was off sick and the substitute teacher told us the same Bible story from the week before but with a completely different ending."Bronson-in-a-cave 

15.

Image Source: Reddit/Shakiraoneal101

16.

"Not exactly a cult, but it felt that way. Growing up, I went to the church of my religion, where the sermons were always conducted in the language of my heritage. The Sunday school teachers regularly disparaged other religions and ethnicities. During the week, my parents sent me to an afterschool program to learn the language of my heritage, during which the other students regularly trashed other ethnicities, races, religions, etc. They only dated other people of my heritage. In college, the people of my heritage only spoke that language to each other, and looked down on me because I wanted to speak English.
Couldn't stand any of this. Ended up marrying outside of my religion and stopped talking to about 99% of the people in my church."4EVRGamer 

17.

"Dad: Yeah but this theory is better because people had pet dinosaurs.

Me at 8: Oh f**k yeah, but like I already learned that didn't happen.

Dad: Let's talk again after this 8-part lecture series on why the earth is 6k yrs old. I'm going to grab canned goods and a 50lb bag of rice from the basement.

Me: I've never seen where my friend's parents keep their pallets of rice bags..."FingerGunsAreFine 

18.

Image Source: Reddit/llgongshowll

19.

"When I was pulled out of Sunday school and scolded for asking legit questions about our so called prophet. I was 8-years-old and couldn't wrap my head around how some guy could translate a lost language using a hat and a stone. I used to be a Mormon lmao."honeysenpai__ 

20.

"I think the exact moments that really did it for me was when my abusive father-in-law to be as well as my abusive grandfather were both using their book to justify their abusive and manipulative behavior. And then the time my grandfather 'prophesied' that I used my brain to much and needed to shut it off.
Those were the catalysts I needed to abandon ship completely and seek actual truth rather than just 'believe' and 'trust' whatever their book said without answers or proper, convincing evidence and proof. I could not be more happy to finally be out of that terrible time and place."docpurple5891 

21.

Image Source: Reddit/Slevinkellevra710

22.

"When I heard myself saying, 'I'm so lucky I was born into the right religion.'"tenthingsten

23.

"When I saw the adults 'speaking in tongues' while waiving their hands to the sky and falling to the floor when the pastor touched them, I knew something was wrong, even as a child."-shabushabu 

24.

Image Source: Reddit/serenitely

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