On Cults And Near Misses With Them.
Would you write a book please?
What a big coincidence that you write about brushes with cults after I've finished a video where a former cult member, now a professor, was answering questions about them. It's a dark topic but also a sort of morbid curiosity that I have about these groups (cults, pyramid schemes, religious extremist groups etc) and their effects on people. For some reason I just find it fascinating.
To answer the question about how people seem to fall for them so easily (no matter how strange, crazy, or ridiculous their ideologies may sound), it's because brainwashing isn't something that occurs overnight. It's a slow and gradual process, and it starts with luring well-intentioned people in with a call to action or a mission of sorts...like how that email that you got from NXIVM was preaching nonstop about peace and kindness and used the appearance of the Dalai Lama to make it convincing. Like you said yourself, there are "kernels of truth" deeply hidden within the messages or missions of every cult, and those are used to draw people in. After that, these people are slowly stripped of their individuality and independence, inundated with messages from their leader, forced into submission if they dare to question things or disobey, and every aspect of their lives is decided or controlled by said leader. They're completely ripped away from the people they used to be...and although sometimes it may seem amusing or laughable to outsiders ("how the hell do they fall for or believe that shit?!") it is a very, VERY real problem. It's important to be compassionate towards these people and give them the help they need to escape and find who they really are again.
Let me just say you dodged a HUUUUUGE bullet by avoiding NXIVM! Even before I got to the part where you mentioned the name, alarm bells were already going off in my head when I kept hearing the name "Keith" (I've researched this cult before). Something about somebody heaping so much praise on a specific person and elevating them that high is suspicious and uncomfortable. Although I've never personally had any brushes with cults, I know a similar feeling to the one you described...this weird nausea deep in the pits of your stomach, something that sends a loud signal of "I don't know about this." Doesn't matter if you smelled a rat, were lucky, or both, the good thing is that you avoided it and it sounds like your gut feeling helped guide you in the right direction!
As for the "Doomsday Prepper" types from the place they called "Camelot", unfortunately I feel like there are a lot of people still like that around these days. The conspiracy theories surrounding the election, ludicrous claims made by anti-vaxxers, and rampant toxic nationalism to name a few have only served as gasoline on the fire of dangerous fringe beliefs. It's utterly terrifying, especially seeing followers of said fringe beliefs make their way into positions of power and try to exert that dangerous control over others.
This was a very interesting read. It's always cool to hear about the wild experiences you've had, and fascinating to hear how you reflect on these events. If you put them in a book I would buy it in a heartbeat and read it so fast it would be scary.
Hope all is well with you, Sarah and the boys. Enjoy the holidays because you're amazing and deserve it!
I have also joined your cult lol. Boils down to maslows hierarchy of needs in a way. Humans have been stuck on the first couple of levels for a really long time. Now we have everything we need to survive; our basic food/shelter survival skills are a non issue. Now we seek self-actualization. That may mean something very different to you than to me but I’m not sure its ever achieved. Glad you didnt join a cult or your babysitter didnt shoot you in the head, that would have sucked. And yes please write a book, xoxo
Haha! I think you have wielded your power quite responsibly, from my distant perspective... another great trip through your brain and history, thanks! 💖
Ah, it’s too late for me, I’ve already joined your cult. Nah I’m just kidding, 👀. I recall exactly what cult you were referring to in the second one! I never liked Smallville anyway. It’s still very appalling and depressing that things like this exist. I recall a high school friend calling me after years of us not really speaking trying to rope me into some bizarre pyramid scheme with goals to save the world, and in turn provide you with loads of money. It was disappointing to say the least that this intelligent and witty person I knew could be so easily influenced, and shallow. I remember cutting off the call with the most befuddled but deadpan “Bro what’s wrong with you” and hanging up. Straightforward enough? Ha! There’s plenty of ways to “save the world” in a more humble/realistic fashion that ACTUALLY makes a difference. No leader needs to be involved, no payments, no giant group of influential people, no weird-ass rituals or rules and regulations. It’s quite simple to volunteer your time for the community, donate food or money to a *trustworthy* organization/local donation boxes, and more where you can improve the world around you in small ways. Not to mention getting a career that has the purpose of improving the lives of people in need. Everything about the cults/schemes are self indulgent, egotistical, and pointless at their core, and I can’t be convinced that people really willing to join had altruistic intentions in the first place. They might mean no harm, and just be lost individuals, but that’s still sad. This is why I mind my own business perpetually, it’s peaceful and pure here lol.
I cannot believe they actually got the Dalai Lama involved in that deceitful bs, that really is downright diabolical LOL. Cults are everywhere, but California sure is the hive mind of a lot of bizarre shite. Can’t help but sorta love it here regardless! Thanks for sharing with the class Brandon :)
Fascinating read, Brandon! It almost feels like we are all merely a coin flip between falling for the "cult of personality" and seeing it for what it is, depending on how strong the need is to fill that proverbial void: be it religion, family, sex, drugs, gambling, ect.. I'm thankful you were able to channel your energy into beautiful music and visual art and I'm sure millions of others around the world share the same sentiment. You have some amazing stories and I think a memior is in order! Hope you are enjoying your time off from touring! I look forward to seeing you guys in Daytona, FL in 2023, if all goes according to plan!!
I second that Mary! We need an autobiography with all these stories! I am truly impressed that you can recall so many details of all of these happenings that were long ago. We all want to hear what the lsd bullets sound like. Could you record this and share please? Sort of kidding but not really. 😆 Thank you for another entertaining read.
Wow Brandon, I mean WOW! I can imagine what you experienced, myself being a child of the 60's. My mother told me a story about my dad and her going to the Church of Scientology because my dad's band mates were followers and they just thought they'd check it out cause his band mates seemed happy enough. I was 2 and I was a pretty laid back kid. My mom led me towards the child care area and I guess I went berserk when a woman took my hand. My mom said she never seen me act like that and took my reaction as a sign to run like hell. I don't remember it, but I do remember finding out that my dad's band mates, who I had known my whole life, were Scientologists when I was 18. I am so thankful my mother ran and I'm thankful you did too Brandon. You truly are an amazing human being and I have alot in common with you. I completely enjoy every word you share with us, written & sung. I promise to let you know if you're ever being an asshole, but I don't see that happening. Thank you Brandon, I love your brain!
Love and Light Mr. Boyd
Your description of the human condition is spot on but there are many “cults” out there that most of us don’t typically think of as cults. I highly recommend listening to the “Sounds Like a Cult” podcast if you haven’t already. I had a client recommend it to me when we were having a discussion about how broken the Higher Education system is and part of the reason why it keeps chugging along is that it is one of the biggest pyramid schemes/circle jerks that NO ONE talks about. They have an episode dedicated that “cult” among many others.
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience/close calls with “cults”, especially NXIVM. Glennon Doyle recently had Sarah Edmondson on her podcast and the timing of your post is a perfect follow up to it! Not sure if you even know about Glennon or her podcast (if you don’t, please check it out) but anyone that is willing to take time out of their day to discuss NXIVM and their experience with that awful group is doing humanity a favor. Yes, there is a lot out there about them we all “tune in” to different channels and algorithms LOVE to silos us which means for some, this could be the FIRST time they are hearing of NXIVM.
On a semi related note, I am am having to meet with my in-laws this weekend. They live in middle of nowhere Texas and part of the reason why they moved there 20+ years ago was to be further away from large cities in the event of nuclear armageddon which would usher in the second coming of Christ. They are now followers of QAnon among other “cults” that can be connected to QAnon if viewing them all in a bubble chart. Their family lived in California not too far from Calabasas… you have given me a new lead to have fun with this weekend. Ha! I would bet money on CUT being included in that too!! Thank you for this information! Enjoy the holidays!
I’m obsessed with learning about cults. We can see them forming all around us with intensity these days especially (*cough* American Nationalist ‘Christianity’ *cough*). It’s scary. I listened to a podcast on the NXIVM cult. Fascinating stuff. Glad you were able to dodge that bullet! Thank you for sharing this!
I promise 🤟🏽
I can’t read all of this bc I’m just facing these same demons. I’ve been invited to India and Nepal for Diwali. Also, the last guy I dated tried to have me spend 10k to be worshipped in Cuba as Oshun. Life’s a trip. I don’t like being energy vamped and exploited. Clean bill of health and I think I’m going to work from Boston and see John Mayer and watch some baseball. Then Oxford w family. I might have to do base camp if I return to Nepal
"When I can, I will". On reading the whole thing. I got people telling me I'm Laskmi and life is a little wild write now. I asked for a sign. if I tell my story and stumbled upon this. So, out of EXILE, I must go. But brain surgery first. Anna Molly :(
And now In the Company of Wolves makes sense. It reminds me of my time in captivity, which isn't normal. Take your pain and make ART from the Heart.Thanks for sharing/. There is something powerful about telling your story on your own time. Also, some dude put a Santeria love spell on me and I ended up at a concert in Houston coming out of the jungle. I have a neuro consult this week which is a quantum leap from where Ive been. Do you have visions too? Well glad I didn't get trampled on at your show in Texas. This southern lady is short as all get out. Thanks for sharing. I want a painting after my surgery. I am responsible for the Creative Genius Bar at my work and figure it's the least they can do ! lol Honey, wants to spend some money. YEs, I gave some doll Bacardi and a guitar and I here I am. I was headed out on my own world tour
I just finished episode 8 of The Vow, the one about Jness/SOP.
F U C KKKKKKKK
that's all love you bye
All of us are heaven sent😉