Would You Ever Join a Cult?

Marie Hullett

Image: Towfiqu Photography/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Cult leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh contaminated food across Oregon. Jim Jones from the Peoples Temple encouraged his followers to consume a cyanide-laced drink, causing 909 to die. Branch Davidian leader David Koresh believed himself a Messiah, boldly declaring all women as his "spiritual wives." After being locked in a compound with stockpiled weapons for months on end, the Branch Davidian's demise came after a 51-day standoff with the F.B.I. And these are just a few of many, many cults that shocked the globe. 

The word "cult" became popularized in the U.S. in the 1930s as a term for "faith healing" practices. At the time, people used the word cult to refer to these ceremonies, in which people believed that illnesses, ailments and other grievances could be resolved through prayer or worship. Since then, the word has evolved quite a bit, though no one can exactly agree on a definition.

Today, the term generally refers to a group of people defined by their "abnormal" spiritual, religious or philosophical beliefs. It's usually used as a pejorative term since the groups are often deemed deviant or immoral. And, let's face it: while they often reel followers in with messages of hope and unity, they tend to keep them aboard through control and sublimation. Naturally, they often end in complete disaster. 

So, is joining a cult your destiny, or will you manage to steer clear of compounds and sprawling wilderness retreats? There's only one way to find out, and that's to take the following quiz. 

Imagine that someone comes up to you and asks if you want to take a personality assessment. It will only take 20 minutes; you just have to accompany them back to their headquarters. What do you say?

Pretend you're on jury duty. Most of the other jurors want to convict someone you think is completely innocent. How likely are you to speak out?

Whether on Tumblr, Reddit, 4chan or another form of social media, are you a part of any small, niche online communities?

Some people see the glass as half-empty, others, half-full. What type of person are you?

Age is just a number. Still, how old are you?

Friends often know how to tell it like it is. Which one of these terms would they most likely use to describe you?

Some societies are very collectivist; others are more individualistic. How would you describe yourself?

Let's pretend you want to buy something off Craigslist. Do you have any apprehensions about meeting up with the seller?

Take a moment to reflect upon your life. Have you ever felt like you lost your sense of self in order to fit in with a group?

Pretend that your name is on the list at an exclusive local club. How does that make you feel?

Excuse me, this person on the street just wants 10 minutes of your time to talk about your hopes and dreams. What do you say?

Pretend you just met someone new. Do you tend to assume the best or worst of new acquaintances?

Fortunately, places like the U.S. have amendments that establish freedom of religion. If you had to choose one of these religions, though, which one would you choose?

Be honest. Have you ever been called naive?

Let's talk about your romantic life for a minute. How easily do you fall in love?

Some people like to stand out from the crowd; others prefer to blend in. How about you?

Pretend that you're on a bookshelf. So, are you an open book or a closed book?

Everyone goes through ups and downs. What is the state of your life like right now?

You're at a dinner party, and the person seated next to you is extremely chatty — so much so, that you can hardly get a word in. Do you mind garrulous individuals?

Growing up, many people's parents warned them against talking to strangers. Did you heed this advice?

Let's talk about life. What's most important to you in this world?

Think about your intimate relationships over the years. Have you ever been shocked to find out that you had the completely wrong idea about someone?

Some people attend church every Sunday; others have never read any religious texts. Would you describe yourself as religious or spiritual?

Are you familiar with the Solomon Asch Conformity Experiment of 1951?

Have your friends ever warned you that someone was trying to take advantage of you? If so, did you believe them?

So, do you want to join my group? It's really accepting and fun! First, I just need one small piece of collateral.

Some people love being pranked; others hate it. Either way, how many April Fool's jokes have you fallen for in recent years?

Let's take a moment to talk about university Greek life. Have you ever been or would you ever join a sorority or fraternity?

Do you ever feel like you just don't belong in the world?

It's time to get dressed. Which of these outfits would you like to wear every day?

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