How to Start A Cult
How to Start a Cult
Cults are communities that fervently worship an object, person, or concept over all other things. While they have the ability to transform into manipulative enterprises in the wrong hands, they're essentially ways of organizing and transforming people's lives for the better. If you want to form a fervent organization around an idea, learn what ideas work well, how to organize, and how to keep your group growing in healthy, productive ways.
Picking an Obsession
Choose a subject or activity that improves your life.There are lots of things that it would be possible to form cults around, but they need to be generally positive activities, concepts, or ideas that you think are worth devoting time to, and getting other people to see the good in. You need to pick something with the potential to change lives for the better.
- It's possible to form a cult around French cheese, Roblox cheating, or string theory, if you really believe that the subject or idea has the potential for positive good in the world. It doesn't need to be weird, or especially complicated, and in fact it's probably better if it's relatively normal.
- Cults, while often religious in nature, do not need to be. Cult behavior involves a fervent devotion to a particular person, object, or idea. Groups can form around almost anything. You could form a canasta cult, or a World of Warcraft cult, if you want. Just make sure it's positive, good, and harmless.
Choose a subject or activity that you can be passionate about.You might say that you love Chef Boyardee Ravioli, but is it really worth worshipping in a cult-like way? Cults can only form around things about which it's possible to become very passionate, things that are possible to devote yourself to deeply, and find connections to in different parts of your life.
- When we talk about cult movies, they're often very specific, quirky, and present a unique worldview that speaks very deeply to a small group of people, but confuse a great many other people.
- Star Wars, Star Trek, and many kinds of sci-fi have immersive mythologies and deep universes that are possible to stay really engaged in, which is why we often say they have "cult-like" followings and longer Wikipedia pages than some presidents. The Kardashians? Not so much.
Pick something you think will benefit others.Your first question if you're forming a cult should be: would the world be a better or worse place if everyone was as enthusiastic about this thing, as we are, or as I am? If the answer is that the world would be better, objectively, that people would indeed lead better lives if they also worshipped Tom Brady's throwing glove from the Super Bowl, then you're on a positive and harmless track.
- Often, cults are manipulative psychological enterprises organized by a single charismatic individual. They're organized to seem as if the good of the group is the goal of the cult, when in actuality all activities are designed to benefit the leader of that cult. Jonestown, the Heaven's Gate, and the Manson Family are perhaps all tragic examples of this.
Learn as much as possible about your obsession.If you're going to throw the word "cult" around, you better make sure you're informed about the subject you're going to hype to a group, so you don't come off as a make-believe guru, or some kind of snake-oil seller.
- If you're going to form the Cult of Star Trek, you need to know a lot more than what color Spock bleeds. You need to know which episode he first bleeds in, what the significance of that color is in the greater context of the color-schema in the series, and how that affects your interpretation of Star Trek's utopian worldview. Get reading those fan blogs.
Forming a Group
Choose a leader.Most cults have single leaders, or they're typically called collectives. If you're the one forming the cult, it's likely that you're the leader, but you need to make sure that your cult is organized for good purposes, not for your own material gain, or purposes of power grabbing.
- Cult leaders are typically charismatic and manipulative, but if you're going to form yours collectively, it's a good idea to pick someone who has the good of the group at heart. The person who wants to be the leader is the last person you should pick.
Establish the rules of the cult.By what rules, concepts, and moral code will your cult organize itself? What is the ultimate goal of the cult? How will you use Star Trek to change all your lives, and perhaps the lives of many others, for the better? What's your big message for the world?
- Focus especially on the issue of how you'll use this to transform your lives for the better. The difference between a Star Trek Cult and a Star Trek Fan Club isn't necessarily the fervency of your adoration for Star Trek, but how you use that fervency to change your life.
- It's helpful to write up these documents, but probably leave the word "cult" off of things. You don't want to give people the wrong idea.
Write up a body text.All cults have governing texts which have the virtue of being both mysteriously vague, pseudo-profound, and easy to read by a wide variety of people.If you want your cult to grow and attain a sense of legitimacy, it's a good idea to self-publish your guidelines for life, or your teachings as a group.
Find a place to practice or worship.Fair warning: people will probably find the idea of a cult about anything pretty strange, and you may face a lot of hostility and backlash if you're really public with your cult. It's good to have a quiet, private place where you can do the things you want to do, the way you want to do them.
- If you've got a Star Trek Cult forming, it's likely you won't be doing anything much more significant at first than watching episodes, having in-depth conversations, and maybe re-enacting a scene or two, which it's perfectly possible to do from someone's living room.
- If you're brave, you could try meeting in in public parks, or other places where you might attract some attention, but it might not be the kind of attention you want.
Come up with a slogan.All clubs, organizations, and groups need good slogans, cults included. It's an easy way to sum up what you do, organize around a singular idea, and keep everyone focused around the topic. Slogans should be memorable, simple, and multipartite, so they've be mysterious and vague in equal measure.
- "All Things Fly In Space" might work for your Star Trek cult. Or maybe quotes from the show: "I was born in Iowa, I only work in outer space." Make it memorable, and organic.
Bring other people in, slowly.When you meet people in public, start gradually bringing in the concepts and the obsession that you've decided to shape your life around, to start growing the group. Become an evangelist for whatever it is you've decided to adulate.
- Again, you may experience hostility and a lot of resistance at first, so you should try to market the less extreme aspects of your ideas. The utopian fun of Star Trek? Good selling point. Your plans of building a galaxy class star-cruiser in a warehouse in Queens? Maybe save that for later.
Make sure all behavior lines up with the party platform.Cults are singular. If you're going to be a full-fledged member, or even a leader, in a cult of Star Trek, you can't be messing around watching other sci-fi, or doing things that aren't in line with the noble tenants of Trek. Make sure that you and everyone else in the group realigns your priorities to fall in line with the singular-minded concepts of the cult.
- Often, cults live together, communally. Consider moving into a place and giving it a name, something like, "The Enterprise." This will allow everyone to grow and develop the common idea together.
Refer to your concept as the only true idea.One way to really get people to fall into your cult head-first is to make your idea seem like the only way of answering the problems of the world. You're not requiring simple excitement about Star Trek here, you're talking about total devotion to the transcendent power of James Kirk and Co. That means you've got to present it as the one true way.
- Often, this is where cults get a little manipulative. Try to have healthy discussions and debates, just be good at presenting your ideas to the group. If other people think Star Wars has equally good merits, you need to be well-versed on the anarchy associated with a Star Wars influenced worldview. Preach it and believe it.
Practice your obsession.Keep doing what you do. How you choose to let your idea change your life and the lives of others for the better will largely depend on your concept. At what point does the cult become more serious than watching re-runs of Trek and eating Cheetos? When does positive change start to occur?
- Maybe you start writing all you congressmen to take the tenants of Star Trek more seriously, devoting resources and time to science and exploration, taking the equality of gender, race, species, and class more seriously, and even abandoning the ancient Earth concept of "greed."
Do community outreach.Let your group form obvious, local, and immediate changes for the good in your community. Hold weekly free breakfasts with accompanying Star Trek viewing parties, or consider holding equality workshops and giving talks in full Federation Starfleet regalia. Let people know what you're about.
Find ways to grow your group.What will be your criteria and your process for taking in new members? How will your group expand and grow, without losing it's core identity and values? What will new members add? What will added publicity take away? What are your ultimate goals for the group? It's important to come to a consensus and take this ideas seriously.
- Keep a strong foot-hold rooted in the real world, and in your core beliefs, both. You need to make sure that groups like this don't transform into something more ominous and more destructive. Are all your behaviors lined up with the original tenants of the organization? How can you reclaim those core ideas?
QuestionCan a cult be based off garlic bread?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSure. There's no reason you can't have a cult focused on garlic bread.Thanks!
QuestionWe have a rival cult, what should we do about them?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerLet them feel the wrath of the cult of your own. They shall learn not to disrespect their rivals.Thanks!
QuestionCan I start a cult based on myself?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, although you might face some criticism, as people will likely think you are brainwashing others and trying to make them believe you are a god.Thanks!
QuestionCan my cult be based off Thomas the Train?ZantleyCommunity AnswerYes, but you may get laughed at for it being based on a child's program.Thanks!
QuestionCan I make a cult about hating my own race?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can start a cult about pretty much anything. The trick is in getting people to follow you.Thanks!
QuestionCan a cult be formed around sex?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. A cult can be built around pretty much anything.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if my cult involves illegal activities?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDon't get caught, and be very careful about who you approve to join the cult, because if you're expecting people to commit crimes and be quiet about it, they'll need to be very trustworthy people.Thanks!
QuestionCan a cult become a country?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTheoretically, if you were able to find the land and declare yourself an independent nation, then your cult could become the population of its own country.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I keep people interested?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAdd group activities that keep all cult members involved.Thanks!
QuestionIs there already a cult for Harambe?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, it's called Revolution Against Humanity.Thanks!
Can my cult be bases around Gerald from the popular biblical TV show "Hey Arnold?"
What if my cult is planning to achieve world domination? Is that even legal?
Before you can start a cult, first decide on something to worship. This doesn’t have to be a religious idea, but can be anything that people could benefit from and, most importantly, be passionate about! As the likely leader of your cult, you’ll need to be the expert on this, and you will also need to write some kind of governing text for the group to follow. Slowly but surely, introduce people to your ideas until you have a group who believe them to be the only truth.
- If you start small, you can get very popular.
- If you conduct rituals, make sure they do not include any illegal activity (i.e violence, drug use, etc.).
- A religion is not like a gang, youcannotgo off and shoot people or else youwillget arrested.
- Don't do anything illegal. No sacrifices. No "punishments." Harm none, not even yourself.
Sources and Citations
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