10 Places Where Cults Find New Members


The recruitment tactics that cults use to
lure in unsuspecting victims are incredibly manipulative. The vast majority of cult recruits are normal
people who were tricked into joining a group based on false promises. A cult isn’t necessarily a religion, either. It can also be a business or political group. The common thread among all cults is that
they expects their followers to sacrifice their normal lives in exchange for acceptance
into the group. Cult leaders are often charming and charismatic,
and they know how to slowly brainwash people into giving up their money and ties with friends
and family in exchange for staying in the group. There are a few key places where cults look
to find new members. 10. Yoga Classes Holly Faurot began taking classes at the Jivamukti
yoga studio in New York City in 2007. Holly struggled with an eating disorder, and
she was abused during her childhood. Holly felt that yoga helped improve her life
so much, that she decided that she wanted to pursue a career as a yoga teacher. She paid the studio $13,000 to begin her training. Many former students have claimed the Jivamukti
studio teach their members to worship their guru. Holly’s guru, a woman named Ruth Lauer-Manenti,
made Holly wait on her like she was royalty, and would only answer to the title “Lady
Ruth.” Holly claims that she was afraid to say “no”
to anything Ruth asked, because she would get very angry. Soon enough, Ruth began sexually assaulting
her on a regular basis. Holly eventually sued Ruth, and as more details
about the yoga studio became public, people began to realize that it was run like a cult. Ruth Lauer-Manenti wasn’t just one bad apple
in this yoga studio, either. The founders of Jivamukti, David Life and
Sharon Gannon, demand a god-like level of respect from their students, as well. In a documentary about the studio, Life proudly
admits that he brought his 13-year-old nephew, Jules Febre, to India on a yoga retreat. David forced Jules to wake up at 4:00 a.m.
to do yoga, after knowing he only had one hour of sleep. As an adult, Jules was brainwashed enough
to follow in the footsteps of Jivamukti Yoga leadership. 9. YouTube In the age of the internet, you don’t even
need to leave your house to be seduced by a cult. In fact, several new cult leaders are reaching
new followers through producing content on YouTube. One woman named Sherry Shriner claims that
she is a “Prophet, Ambassador, and Daughter of the Most High.” She uses her YouTube channel and podcast to
spread a conspiracy theory that “The New World Order”- a group of reptilian and alien
elites – are plotting to enslave mankind. Examples of her “proof” are security camera
footage in which she claims she has captured shape-shifting humans. A woman named Barbara Rogers and her boyfriend,
Steve Mineo, were devout followers of Shriner. Steve got into a disagreement with fellow
Shriner followers on Facebook, and they accused him of being a reptilian. Barbara and Steve were excommunicated from
the group, and they were harassed by Shriner’s followers for several months. Barbara shot Steve on July 15, 2017, and he
died instantly. Afterwards, she claimed that Steve believed
that his body been taken over by a reptilian overlord, and that she could feel the darkness
creeping inside of her own body. Shooting him was the only way to save them
both. Sherry Shriner continues to produce content
online and seek more followers for her digital cult. 8. Dating A woman named Alexandra Stein grew up in South
Africa, and in the 1960s, she moved to the United States to be a part of the Civil Rights
movement. After a bad breakup in her 20s, she wanted
to be with a man who cared about politics as well. Alexandra found a political group in Minneapolis
called North Star Press. They advocated for several human rights issues
that Alexandra cared about. She thought that maybe she could potentially
find a new boyfriend there. People usually join a cult during a crossroads
in their life, like a breakup, moving to a new city, or entering college. During these transitional periods, people
are usually making new friends and trying new things, so it’s much easier to fall
prey to manipulation. Alexandra was in one of these transitional
periods when she went to a few meetings at North Star Press. She wasn’t sure if she would stay, until
the group leaders set her up on a date with one of the male group members. Of course, she thought she met the man of
her dreams. They eventually got married, and had children. After several years, Alexandra began to realize
that North Star Press was actually a cult. After escaping, Stein went on to earn her
PhD. She has devoted her life to educating people
on the signs of cults, and how to avoid them. She also counsels ex-cult members who are
having difficulty adjusting back to the real world. 7. Anime In 1995, The Aum Shinrikyo cult killed 13
people with sarin gas and permanently injured thousands of others in the Tokyo subway system. Not long before this terrorist attack, the
organization paid to get their own series of animated films to play on TV. Of course, the anime starred their leader,
Shoko Asahara. He claimed that he was the son of God, and
that he could see visions of armageddon. The anime featured his outlandish claims,
like his apparent ability to astral project during meditation, where his spirit could
fly above Tokyo to see and know everything. Asahara claimed that by setting off the gas
attack in the subway, the Japanese people would lose faith in the government, and he
could be crowned Emperor of Japan. 6. College Campuses Almost everyone in their teens and 20s begin
to question their parents, and the rest of society. This can result in a sort of rebellious phase
in their lives, or they seek a better way of life than how they were raised. So, what better place for cult members to
find recruits than a college campus? According to an investigation by The Guardian
and the Cult Information Center in the United Kingdom, there are over 500 active cults,
and the majority of them use college campuses for recruitment. Usually, a cult member will invite someone
to a Bible study, or they approach someone standing alone and begin what seems like an
intellectual and philosophical conversation. According to Colleges.com, the same thing
is incredibly common in the United States. A man named Steve Hassan was attending school
at Queens College. He had just broken up with his girlfriend,
so he was sitting alone in the cafeteria. Three beautiful young women approached him,
and began striking up a conversation. At first, he felt flattered, and they invited
him to meet up with them later. He later learned they were actually part of
front-group of a Korean cult called The Moonies. As Steve learned that day, if something seems
too good to be true – it probably is. 5. Pyramid Schemes A Pyramid Scheme is a business that promises
its employees wealth and success. Employees are required to spend their own
money buying a supply of the company’s product, and then try to sell it to their family and
friends. Sales people on the lowest level of the pyramid
are encouraged to recruit their friends to sell as well. The more people they recruit, the higher up
in ranking they become. People at the top of this pyramid make the
most, and the people at the bottom typically lose money, because they are buying products
they can’t seem to sell to anyone. This typically puts people into massive amounts
of debt. These groups often cultivate peer pressure
and loyalty, or make it incredibly difficult to get out. Just a few companies that have been proven
to be pyramid schemes are Herbalife, Amway, and LuLaRoe. One LuLaRoe sales consultant was even urged
by a group leader to stop paying her bills and sell her car in order to buy more inventory. According to witness testimony, they are taught
to believe that if the product isn’t selling, it’s their fault, and they just need to
try harder. LuLaRoe has also made it incredibly difficult
for their sales consultants to leave without incurring thousands of dollars of debt. In China, pyramid schemes suddenly popped
up all over the place, convincing tens of millions of young college graduates to become
employed as sales people. In 2017, the Chinese media began to classify
pyramid schemes as “business cults.” In reality, pyramid schemes truly do have
everything on the cult checklist: a charismatic leader, a promise that’s too good to be
true, and peer pressure on the members to dump their money into the organization. 4. Door-to-Door Witnessing This next recruitment tactic shouldn’t come
as a surprise to anyone, since most of us have gotten an unwelcome knock on our door
from a Jehovah’s Witness. While many people would classify them as just
another offshoot of Christianity, Jehovah’s Witness has been classified by several cult
education groups, and it has even been banned in Russia. Jehovah’s Witness has some very shady practices,
including the “two witness rule,” which allowed child molestation to occur on a regular
basis. They also prevent members from dating or marrying
anyone outside of the religion. Anyone who gets a divorce is considered to
be such a sinner they are never allowed to find love again. They are not allowed to receive blood transfusions,
celebrate holidays, and so much more. Of course, Jehovah’s Witnesses deny being
a cult. 3. Bands Musicians and bands sometimes have what is
known as a “cult following,” like Juggalos from the Insane Clown Posse. Usually, that phrase isn’t meant to be taken
literally, except that bands and cults have a lot of similarities. One band from Japan took these cult practices
to a whole other level. The J-pop band “AKB48” began with 48 members,
and eventually grew to 88 young women in their teens and 20s. They are incredibly popular, selling out concerts
and making millions from record sales every year. While they are supposed to exude cuteness
and innocence, they are also used as sex objects. In one music video in particular, they dance
in lingerie, singing the lyrics, “I want you.” They have a very strict rule that if you want
to be part of the AKB48, you are not allowed to have a boyfriend, because it takes away
from male fan’s fantasies that maybe someday they could end up with one of the girls. One member, named Minami Minegishi, joined
AKB48 when she was just 13. At 20-years-old, she was caught in a relationship
with a member of a boy band named Alan Shirahama. This caused such a huge scandal that Minami
shaved her head and posted an apology video on YouTube, begging for forgiveness. She was allowed to stay in the band, but was
still demoted, earning less money than she did previously. This scandal shed light on the cult-like rules
forced upon musical talent in Japan, and started a discussion about what should and shouldn’t
be legal in these labor contracts. 2. Self-Improvement Workshops According to Business Insider, the Self-Help
industry made $9.9 billion in 2017 alone. Obviously, plenty of people are looking to
improve themselves. Many people also go to the extent of attending
workshops and seminars. One self-improvement group called NXIVM promises
its members they can be successful, and they have branches all over the United States,
Canada, and Mexico. One branch of the group in particular promised
to empower women and help them lose weight. They were made to feel like they were joining
a secret sorority that was destined for greatness. One branch of the organization in Albany,
New York required women to pose for nude photos during the initiation process, and it was
used as blackmail to ensure they would never quit. The group members were starved and branded
by hot irons, and given different rankings of ‘masters’, ‘slaves’, or ‘vanguard’,
depending on how many friends they could convince to join the group. Obviously, plenty of women joined because
of their friends, and before they knew it, they were stuck in a full-fledged cult. Despite the fact that this story was all over
the news, NXIVM still exists as a self-help organization. 1. Media Advertisement One would hope that traditional media would
know when to censor content that could be harmful to people, but unfortunately, cults
pay for ads in traditional media all the time. In 2016, Scientology spent millions of dollars
on a Super Bowl commercial, but they aren’t the only ones who have coughed up big bucks
to thrust themselves into the spotlight of mainstream media. Aesthetic Realism is a cult that worships
a poet named Eli Siegel, who committed suicide in the 1970s. When he was alive, Siegel was a successful
poet and philosopher who claimed to have the “one true answer” …whatever that means. In 1990, the Aesthetic Realism Foundation
paid over $300,000 for a double-page ad in the New York Times, where they claimed that
they could “fix” gay people. Before he died, Siegel claimed to have convinced
126 men and women to stop being homosexual. The group never stopped trying, even after
Seigel’s death.

100 thoughts on “10 Places Where Cults Find New Members

  1. A point of correction: JW's are allowed to remarry but only within the group. And yes they are a cult. My family are jws. Ive been an Atheist sense age 8

  2. Man, Your pronunciation in all of these videos is terrible. Your research seems thorough but there are so many words you mispronounce it belies only a superficial relationships to your subjects. Also, the tone of your lists seem to emerge from fear and ignorance instead of say, wonder and curiosity. Solid Top Tenz, otherwise.

  3. Don't forget the Mormons (Latter Day Saints) they recruit through many of the ways you mentioned. Most Mormon men and many women serve time in their late teens/early 20's devoted exclusively to proselytizing for the Church. The families of the men and women are expected to support their children while they are on "their mission."
    The LDS/MORMON Church spends a lot of money buying ads in both the name of the Church as well as misleading names and often offer a free Bible or video.

  4. There are a lot of people out there with a twisted sense of their own destiny. They see the spark of the divine within and somehow convince themselves that they are *The Divine*. I've met a few people like that.
    On the other hand, you have people like David Miscavige with Scientology – which is both a cult and a criminal enterprise that has gone as far as attempting to infiltrate the United States government, to say nothing of their numerous incidents of abuse, assault and illegal incarceration of cult members who have been found wanting for one reason or another. Miscavige is a con man employing cult tactics, but I think he's a con man, first and foremost.
    Either of those are at the least annoying, and at most dangerous in the extreme. Spirituality driven by personality alone is meaningless, yet rarely do ideas alone drive a spiritual movement, either. We should always be free to believe and worship as we wish, but we should also always be aware of the dangers of blind faith in spiritual leaders. Each of us, I think, carry a small spark of The Divine – the way it is best expressed is simply treating other human beings with love and dignity. You don't need a priest or cleric to do that.

  5. At home is also a place where cults find new members as parents tend to bring their kids into their cults. This is by far the worst way of recruitment as children are the most vulnerable and can easily be molded. As they then grow into adulthood most of their social bonds may be tied to the cult which makes leaving much more difficult.

  6. While there are a number of organizations that use Amway which could be classified as cults, as someone who has worked with Amway in the past I find this call out in poor taste. Amway is one of the few accredited companies to not be a pyramid scheme in the MLM-form design it uses (as defined by the U.S. court case FTC vs Amway, 1979), both in its personally hiring and in its distribution system (which functions much like Sysco, Vistar, and others – companies which are also not pyramid schemes). Pyramid schemes get shut down when they go to court in the U.S.

    Amway not only has been running for over 80 years now, but was exonerated in court. It is currently the benchmark by which almost all MLM's are judged in the states.

    I'm a huge fan of TopTenz, TIFO, etc, and know you guys put a lot of time and effort into these videos so I'm sure this is something you may have simply missed in the hype and misconception that has generated about Amway as a whole over the years.

  7. Amway is going on 60 years! Just sayin I'm sure there has been some nut-jobs doing goofy things, but the business has created more millionaires than any job it the USA.

  8. The claim that JWs prohibit divorced members from ever finding love again is simply inaccurate.

    They prohibit divorce on grounds other than adultery on the part of the other spouse. Those who get legally divorced on other grounds are considered to not have "scriptural grounds" for the divorce and are not supposed to date or remarry.

    But those who do have "scriptural grounds" are free to find love again.

    it is reasonable to point out that this position used to be more or less the norm in Christian churches, and is still somewhat less restrictive than, for instance, the theoretical Catholic position.

  9. In the AKB48 video he was talking about, a 13 year old and her 15 year old sister are nude in a bathtub together. The bubbles make it so you can't see anything, but still

  10. I kinda want to see that cult anime. xD
    is there a version with english subtitles? or better yet (cringier) – an english dub? 😀

  11. There you go, Islam is a cult as they have done every one of the things on the list and much worse, plus when you join you are there for life literally as if you want to leave you are entenced to death.

  12. I belonged to Amway a long time ago!! They kept your hopes up by showing off their Emeralds, Pearls & Diamonds, showing how rich they were!! You'd participate in dream building techniques that kept you brainwashed into thinking you'd make tons of money too!!

  13. Youtube haha that figures, look how many trump cultists get their political news from live wire and other fake conspiracy theories.

  14. Youtube haha that figures, look how many trump cultists get their political news from live wire and other fake conspiracy theories.

  15. There's A lot crack pot cults mentioned here, butt many many cults appear as conservative Christianity. Example – Pentecostal, Reformed Church of America, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Calvary Chapel etc. On surface, they appear as Christian media or Christian non main stream denomination, inside however, they cut you off from main stream society, contain you within their community, & sell you their products, even when you're unaware. Such as fake disease like Bipolar

  16. A cult almost recruited me in college as well, 😂 lol, they used the same tactics he is talking about in the video. Always seems innocent at first… And it was also Korean 😂

  17. If you want to figure out if something is a cult, the BITE Model can be helpful. It's usually used for religions but it could be used for MLM as well.

  18. I'm shaving my head , growing a beard (got glasses) and getting elbow patches so I can be more like Master Simon

  19. You should include practices like a cultural norm of getting married young and having lots of babies

  20. Uh-uh-uh Simon, that sounded like you were implying Scientology is a cult. Better be careful, they'll sue you into the Stone Age for that.

  21. After watching this I realized I almost joined a cult a few years back in college. Glad I trusted my gut feeling back then.

  22. I want to say a couple of things about AKB48. That isn't just them that is the whole of the j-pop industry. The chastity thing isn't that uncommon in k-pop either, for much the same reason. Yes, it's super ugly, oddly domestic fans are only just starting to take issue with the company policies now, international fans have had issues with it for a long time. Oh, and there have been lawsuits about it being a human right to have a relationship (doesn't mean the companies are playing nice).

  23. I thought saying a company that was not proven as a pyramid scheme is dangerous because they can sue?

    I have no love for the companies now. Just want to point out Simon to be careful.

  24. I want to know if you could do a biography on the founder of the Jehovah's witnesses. I was forced to grow up in this cult unit I left home, and I would like to know how it started.

  25. Cults attract emotionally vulnerable people . In every case I have looked into , the victims were people who felt lonely and or felt they had no real purpose in life . Probably dysfunction family background

  26. At 7:17 you describe a direct sales multi-level marketing scheme, not a pyramid scheme, which is a common misconception. A pyramid scheme is specifically an investment scheme where people invest money into a company and get paid back with money from other investors money who join later, and no actual investments being made. Some multi-leveling marketing schemes are also pyramid schemes, but not all, just as all MLMs are not necessarily a direct sales company.

  27. #1 is Universities. Just looks at 3rd wave feminist, Marxists, environmentalists and all of the other lovely people that will blow out their sphincter if they virtue signaled even an iota harder.

  28. Does it really count to include Anime in this list?  A group gets a show or movie produced and then has it aired on TV.  The same thing could be said of live action tv show or movies if a group did the same.

  29. I can't say I know anything about most of the groups mentioned in this video, though I'm honestly disappointed in the lack of research they put into the Jehovah's Witness portion…. I know a thing or 2 about that religion and what was said here was way off. It makes me question the validity of all the other "facts" mentioned in this video and all their other videos…

  30. Damnit! You made me spit dr pepper all over my phone when you said scientology took out an ad in the superbowl. Scientology, the cult for morons

  31. NXVIUM—pronounced “nexium”…soon, hopefully, rechristened—“convicted for racketeering, 25-life”.

  32. I went to a self-improvement seminar on a college campus, and they showed us a YouTube anime video about a business pyramid.

    I was a bit suspicious.

  33. I was in the Jehovahs Witness cult for 25 years. I found new recruits at their home when i knocked on your door. I came to a point in my life where I re evaluated my belief system and realized 25 years were spent on a false. I now have interest in the mental health isues of those captivated by a cult and have a YouTube channel outeach. And everything said in this video is absolutely correct. Google: Candace Conti. A cult is not a divergence of belief but rather a divergence of behavior. George

  34. Fairfield Iowa, Mt Shasta CA, San Franscio CA, Boone N.C., Airports, Bus stops, Conventions, Get rich quick schemes, friends and relatives.

  35. i got caught in a scam tho it was a bit different it was not paying for the product but it was to trap new college students who needed a job the company is called CUTCO they make knives, garden gear, cutlery, and swiss army knives. the Jehovah witness brainwashed my aunt n my uncle became the priest and is scamming everyone he can, i more feel bad for my cousins they were ripped out of they're childhood by forcefully taking away there what they call "false belief on dinosaurs" for years i would hear him talk about dinos now its like it never happened….and my aunt who basically raised me is no longer part of family reunions…sometimes she shows up but its rare its a stab to the heart.

  36. Oh when title said YouTube on top 10 list of cult I thought you were referring to YouTube itself is a cult which cause me to think I am part a cult that is YouTube itself but then he talking about specific videos on YouTube which encouraged cult like behavior then maybe I am not part of a cult?

  37. A friend of mine spent 11 years with the Moonies back in the 70's/80's – five years believing, and 6 years getting out. No lie. He extricated himself carefully because those who didn't seemed to disappear, or return "humbled"… He basically had to give NO indication he wanted to leave, and since you basically give up anything material to be a Moonie (including friends and family), he had to carefully build a network with the outside world so he'd have somewhere to go and people to help him in order to avoid being "taken back."

  38. Here's a great self-help tip: Stay the hell away from any group of people who promise to "fix" what's "wrong" with you, no matter what name they call themselves.

  39. Please do not think a cult just has one leader and is always small in numbers, there are large american based cults or high control groups with a board of leaders at the top who govern the cult/religion

  40. The leader of the Jung SuWon martial arts cult has used MLMs, music, college campuses, self-improvement, business vacations, and media to recruit new followers and maintain her current students. The woman calls herself Dr Kim, yet does NOT hold a true academic doctorate from any university or college.

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