Saturday, January 27, 2007

Cults I Have Known

The Cults I have known

I am always torn. I like being a part of some sort of tribe or have some sense of longing to belong. I should be total cult fodder, but I have too many trust issues to ever join one. Plus, I cannot get into group-think or excluding those people in my life that are considered "outsiders."

I should know. In my youth I have had brushes with Scientologists, moonies, hare krishna folk, and Amway.

My first and last encounter with Scientology was across the street from an actor's academy that I was attending. In my early 20s I fancied myself as an actor.

It was 1987-88, and these two rather cute young men approached me for a personality test. I am sure I answered the questions subconsciously to please them. They had a communication" class that was only 30 bucks. What could go wrong? What went wrong is that they started using what was obviously brainwashing techniques -- breaking me down so they could bring me up. I would frustrate them purposely. I would say that this class would be good for my acting class. I certainly didn't want to lead them on as to my intentions. They would, in vain, say that this would be good for my life. It quickly became creepy and started not being fun. Given that I was paid up full, I felt that it was time to disappear.

I could only say that my reckless youth gave them my real phone number. Doh!

They started calling me.

At first, I would pretend I was a roomate saying I wasn't here. Then I informed them that there was a death in the family and that I was not there. They would ask for the phone number of where I was at.

I would say, "Dude, I just told you there was a death in the family, what's wrong with you?"

Finally, I would have to say, in the persona of a roommate, that I had moved out and to leave us alone. I have to say they did wonders for my acting.

Later in life, I would have the opportunity to meet a full fledged Scientologist, who had spent hundreds, even thousands on all these binders that were everywhere in his apartment. He seemed like a poor schmuck, but what did I know?

All I knew is that I dodged a bullet just by having trust issues. I don't get Tom Cruise. I dunno, he just creeps me out.

When I lived in Boston, I had tea with the followers of Rev. Moon, who had an office in a student neighborhood I lived in not far from the Christain Science building. It was cordial, but we knew it wouldn't work out.

Then there was the Foxboro Dead Show in 89, where the Hari Krishna gave away tasty macrobiotic food for free. Very cool. After years of people making fun of the Hari Krishna folk for hanging out at Airports, it was always difficult to take them seriously.

My younger years were spent experiencing things before I would judge them to be right or wrong for me. Others experiences may vary.

Early in our marriage, my husband reconnected with a guy he knew who wanted to get together for a business proposal supposedly having to do with computers. The moment he walked in I felt that certain energy that comes with someone who wants to offer something for nothing. In the first 30-40 minutes of his presentation he didn't mention Amway. Instead he focused on being able to work at home and be your own boss.

I pulled my husband aside and told him he was peddling Amway. Then we started to wear him down enough to admit it was the grand pyramid scheme cult, Amway. My husband was so angry at being blatantly misled, that he forced him to stay and watch him go through the math and prove that it was a pyramid scheme. I just said that we like our friends and wanted them to remain friends. We didn't want our income to relying on hitting on our friends and family to buy from us and to join the scheme. This guy reminded me of someone in the cult. Obviously, we never saw this person again.

During the tech boom, when I was a web designer I remembered the Halle Bob comet cult group who suicided themselves after creating their little website (I was able to check it out before the authorities brought it down). I started to be afraid that this may be logical extensionof a life of a web designer and if I didn't change jobs I too could find myself genderless wanting to "join" the aliens in their ship behind a comet. Why wouldn't a job with no real sense of completion or sense of mastery lead to such delusions?

I really don't care what crazy things people chose to believe, as long as they do not bring harm to others in the process.

No comments: