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This is a question Join us... come join the cult

A friend of mine recently floored me with the admission that he'd spent several years in Eastern Europe with the Moonies. And he seemed so normal. Have you or your mates disappeared into a cult? Now that the brain-washing has worn off, tell us all about it.

(, Thu 26 Jan 2006, 17:46)
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What a question...
Yes I've been part of a cult. I may as well tell you the story from the top.

Cast your minds back to a time when you were 18, just out of A levels (or just finishing them), and looking forward to dealing with life. Like many of my peers, I got it into my head that I wanted to go abroad and do development work. I found an organisation via a newspaper advert, signed up at the recruitment weekend in Hull, and then straight after my last exam I jetted off to Denmark to train to do what I wanted to do for six months. The basic idea was that I would train in Denmark, then head out to Africa to do stuff like building toilets, educating people about AIDS, general well meaning stuff. You get the idea.

Well, the first mistake happened when I arrived- that is, because they forgot I was arriving. I was sat in the bloody airport for three hours before thinking "screw it" and got a taxi to where I was staying, making sure I charged it to the company.

Anyways, about a month in, we were all put to work to clean up the school where we went to train. Myself and a friend were working on the library, and I happened on a book with a very interesting title- The History of North Korea. I read it, and had a laugh at was essentially some very weak propaganda from our friends in Asia. And then I threw it out, thinking nothing of it.

Another interesting occurrence was when the school decided to have a sing-along session. Fine and dandy, but we decided not to go because we had plans of our own, mainly involving lounging around and doing nothing. One of the teachers basically busted in, and ordered us out. She seemed most put out when I stayed where I was... I don't think she was equipped to deal with a narky English teenager who wasn't in a mood to put up with bullshit.

The final straw came when I found a website called tvindalert (have a look around, I think it's still out there) and noticed several odd things about this supposed "charity" I had signed up with. First of all, there had recently been a police raid at their headquarters. Secondly, there were allegations of money laundering, tax evasion, false accounting, brainwashing, and best of all... gun running. Not forgetting wage slavery and shoddy treatment of its' workers. So, not liking what I was reading, I emailed the link to my Dad who was a journalist at the time. He emailed back saying "it's real... get out of there!". Oh crap.

Anyways, I started to email the creator of the website in order to formulate an escape plan. The only problem was, what was meant to be a private email was posted on the website, which was monitored by the lovely people I was working with. Here's where the story gets interesting: we were just about to go on an outward bound weekend, when I was pulled off the bus, regarding the email that had been sent. I was put in an office, on my own, with a large pissed off Danish man, oddly enough called Rene. He couldn't understand why I was afraid of him- could have been something to do with the lock knife which I had on my person should he try anything.

So, after an hour or so of him trying to intimidate me, and me making a fool out of him, he tells me to leave the office. Here's the fun part. I get in contact with my Mum over msn- and she actually phoned up this guy and threatened him with coming over there herself with a presspack and making life *very* difficult if he didn't pay for a flight home and put me on the plane. Suffice it to say I got the plane on the tacit understanding I wouldn't contact the media. Which I did the very next day.

As a postscript to this, the leader of this cult is now on trial, the place where I was staying has closed, and the whole organisation seems thoroughly tits up.

And that's the story of how I managed to screw over a Danish cult.
(, Thu 26 Jan 2006, 18:53, closed)

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