A lot of people find the idea of starting a cult and getting people to believe their stories exciting, or simply think that starting their own religion would be a fun way to make a living, but how exactly does one get started?
A lot of people find the idea of starting a cult and getting people to believe their stories exciting, or simply think that starting their own religion would be a fun way to make a living, but how exactly does one get started? Here are seven simple steps to starting your own cult:
Step 1: Decide if you want to start a full-on cult with churches and organized brainwashing, like L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology, or if you simply want to create a crazy belief system to make a profit from book sales and to get media attention, like Sylvia Browne.
Step 2: Find a group of vulnerable people who desperately need something to believe in. Generally you will want to find people who are unhappy with their current religion or never had a religion to begin with, or who are socially isolated, lonely, and need to find meaning in their lives.
Step 3: Build a belief system based around the existing beliefs of your followers-to-be. For example, if they come from a Christian background, you might want to claim to be the second coming of Christ. If they are into the paranormal or science fiction, you might be better off to include extraterrestrials as a cornerstone of your beliefs. If they lean more towards New Age ideas, you may want to include topics such as crystal healing, auras, or indigo children. If you are feeling extra ambitious, you may want to combine beliefs from several different areas. If you already have a great idea of a belief system, this step can be switched with Step 2.
Step 4: Get book deals and TV appearances. It is important to spread your belief system to as many people as possible. Try to get as many followers as possible quickly, as you want to get as many supporters as possible before critics start trying to reveal the truth about your cult. If you want your cult to remain localized, or you are obviously torturing members or doing anything illegal, you may want to skip this step. To maximize profits, you may want to rethink including activities that could be seen as torture or are obviously illegal, such as encouraging polygamy and pedophilia. Stick with crazy rituals that don’t actually hurt anyone physically.
Step 5: If necessary, cut ties between members of your cult and the outside world. This is only necessary if your cult is seen as dangerous by the outside world and friends and relatives of your followers start trying to convince them to leave the cult. If your cult is simply based on book sales, this step is less important.
Step 6: If your cult has a regular meeting place and is organized like a normal religion, get recognized as a real religion for tax exempt status. Nothing says “real religion” like tax exempt status. This will also boost your profits, as you won’t be paying taxes on any money your cult brings in. You may also want to demand members to give a certain percentage of their income to the “church” each month. Hey, it works for certain sects of Christianity!
Step 7: Be prepared to run. In the end, most cult leaders get caught and their cults crumble. Try to get out before the authorities find you!