The CULT-ure Club

Words by Ruby Ellam
Art bt Nick Manton

I’ve been told I’m a natural-born cult leader. I’m charismatic, scary and exude sexuality.

However, if the hours and hours (and hours and hours) of podcasts and Buzzfeed listicles I’ve ingested are trustworthy, then I want nothing to do with the cult lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with even the most eccentric groups, but religion should heed the same warning as Spiderman—“with great power comes great responsibility so please don’t molest children”. I think it goes something like that.

Agape Industries:

I’ll just start with a big ol’ FUCK THESE GUYS (in my very professional, unbiased opinion). They believe women should be subservient to men, that being anything but heterosexual is both perverse and reversible and that all sexual behaviour other than that between a married couple is dangerous. All while their leader Pastor Leo is being investigated for sexually assaulting multiple underage girls. Any institution that reviles consensual, loving relationships and protects paedophiles can suck an egg.

Hare Krishna:

Because basically every cult is super horrible, I’m going to tentatively fashion a positive spin on these guys. You get a free plate of food if you go for prayer, so that’s dope. They are cool with the LGBTQ community but mostly because they believe literally everyone should stop being horny all the time, regardless of who you are or what you desire. I can’t promise that I’ll stop being slutty but at least I know it’s frowned upon no matter who I get it on with.

Hillsong:

As per usual, this cult has reports of sexual abuse, tax evasion, homophobia, sexism and Australian Idol vote stacking (okay, that’s just them). But still, this rebranded regressive thinking encourages anti-abortion rights, anti-gay marriage and anti-birth control ideologies, all under the guise of being trendy. It’s the cult equivalent of a Brunswick dude who loudly tells you that he’s a feminist but routinely mentions that you’re “not like other girls”.

Lululemon:

Sorry millennial women, this is a cult. Fact one! Someone was literally stabbed to death because they weren’t representing the hot, fit and fun brand that Lululemon pushes with their $120 leggings. Rather than being fired, she was KILLED. Fact two! The owner said he called the brand Lululemon because, “Asian people can’t pronounce L’s and it’s funny to watch them try to say it”. What the fuck? Plus, the staff actively follow me around the shop like my fat ass couldn’t possibly resist their one-million-dollar sports bra. I’ve got double D boobs I can’t exercise in your strappy coin purses.

Mountai-nuns:

I’ve ascribed this name to a rumoured group of nuns living in the Blue Mountains and I’m here to say please take me. I’ve always had a strange fascination with nuns as I do secretly believe that a covenant would be the horniest place on Earth. Being a nun would give me the needed alibi for my freakiest, most witchy practices. I’m about 10 minutes from running into the mountains and having a sordid affair with a repressed nun before devoting our lives to the Pagan gods of the forest.

Scientology:

Scientology scares me so much. What if I become a famous supermodel (inevitable) and get tricked into joining the freakiest cool kids ever? I mean, I’d love an excuse to get away from friends and family and pay a bunch of money for self-improvement rather than actually improving myself. However, I would never get used to Tom Cruise screaming at me or covering up for John Travolta’s blatant sexual assault of young men.

The Exclusive Brethren:

This is the closest thing I can think of to the Illuminati. Only rich, old men can see what goes on in their sanctioned neighbourhoods and windowless churches. Children are harshly disciplined, women are treated as lesser and families are forcibly separated to completely control the ‘brethren’. They financially back conservative parties and attack the Greens even though members of the cult are not allowed to vote. Sounds like rich bullshit to me.

The Family:

The infamous Australian cult, y’all. While I can give props to Anne Hamilton-Byrne for saying that the reincarnation of Christ was a woman, she did also basically kidnap a bunch of kids and dye their hair blonde. Cults absolutely love abusing children but these guys pumped the same anxiety meds I take into these children on a regular basis. And when they were old enough, LSD. All with their bowl-cut hair. That trip would be hard to survive.

Twelve Tribes:

These guys have a café in the Blue Mountains that I’ve demanded my only friend with a car to take me to. I wonder if they try to convert you over a chai latte. I’ve accidentally opened the door on many Jehovah’s Witnesses that never offered me a nice vegan muffin, so maybe I’d be far more persuaded under the influence of brunch. Maybe a sweet little almond croissant would stop me from remembering that they routinely beat the children of the community for playing, speaking or doing really anything without permission. 0/5 Yelp review from me guys. 

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