There are many cults which pervade modern life. Some of them are commonplace and even considered mainstream, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others are far from societally acceptable such as the Ku Klux Klan.
What makes a cult? In general, it’s an organization which promotes a dramatically extreme worldview with very little transparency as to its inner workings and membership requirements. Most are organized around a charismatic, self-appointed religious leader.
Cults are usually shut off from the world, and their members become rapidly isolated. You’d have thought that famous people would be immune to their pull, but in fact, many famous people have become involved in cults.
You won’t believe who is in 8th place on our list.
10. Valeria Lukyanova
Valeria Lukyanova is a Ukranian supermodel. She’s become globally famous for her “human Barbie doll” look. She is also a member of the breatharianism cult. They believe that “air and sunshine” will supply all a person needs to live just as long as they are faithful enough.
She said, “In recent weeks I have not been hungry at all; I’m hoping it’s the final stage before I can subsist on air and light alone.”
9. Michelle Pfeiffer
Michelle Pfeiffer’s run in with breatharianism came early in her career before she was famous. She only discovered that she was in a cult when her ex-husband Peter Horton explained it to her. He knew because he was working on a film exposé of another cult at the time.
8. Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin probably doesn’t remember his time as a member of the Children of God cult. He was only 4 when his parents decided to leave. The cult is famous for child abduction and the kidnapping of adults. It also focuses on sexuality under the guise of fundamental Christianity. Joaquin’s not the only big name star to have been in a cult, you’ll never guess who’s at number 5 on our list.
7. Rose McGowan
Rose was also in The Children of God as a child. She spoke to People about her time with the cult, “Like in most cults, you were cut off from your [outside] family. There were no newspapers, no television. You were kept in the dark so you would obey. … [Women] were basically there to serve the men sexually.”
6. Neil Bush
The son of a former president, Neil Bush wasn’t immune to the pull of the cult, either. He was a member of the Unification Church founded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in South Korea. Neil worked tirelessly to promote the church in America and famously supported the “World Peace King Tunnel” proposed by Rev. Moon. The tunnel was supposed to go under the sea to link Alaska with Russia.
5. Patrick Hickey
Hickey was an even bigger supporter of the Unification Church than Neil Bush. He even married a woman who was introduced to him by the Rev. Moon personally. However, in 2010 after more than a decade out of politics, Hickey came out as a reformed Roman Catholic. That was a return to the religion he’d been born into.
4. Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise is, perhaps, the biggest box office name in the world, and he has fallen completely under the spell of Scientology. The controversial religion promotes the idea that people are immortal souls that need to be helped, for a large fee, to become “spiritually rehabilitated.”
Check out who is in our number one slot – she’s also a huge star.
3. Lisa Marie Presley
Unlike Tom Cruise, Lisa Marie Presley has left the Church of Scientology and she has nothing good to say about the experience.
“I was slowly starting to self-destruct, and I didn’t know where that was coming from. I started to uncover the main person who was really close to me for years, and then it was a domino effect. I was devastated. I got bad advice. I was insulated with no grip on reality. They were taking my soul, my money, my everything.”
2. David Arquette
David entered the cult of Skymont Subud at birth. It was originally an Indonesian cult which spread across the world and involves being told what to do by “the Great Life Force.” The cult’s influence, however, was not as bad as his parents’ influence. They abused David so badly that he became an alcoholic and drug addict at the age of 14.
1. Glenn Close
Glenn’s family joined the Moral Re-Armament cult when she was just 7. She would not break free until she was 22. She says of the experience, “You basically weren’t allowed to do anything, or you were made to feel guilty about any unnatural desire.”
The MRA dictates how its members live on the subjects of honesty, unselfishness, purity and love.
Glenn Close, Tom Cruise, Michelle Pfeiffer and many more. If these huge names and talents can’t avoid entanglement with a cult, how can the rest of us?
Fortunately, the easiest way to keep your family and friends from falling into the clutches of exploitative organizations is simply to be there for them and to support them.
We’d ask you to share this piece on your social media so that you can help raise awareness of the power of cults and how easy it is to fall victim to them. Maybe you can help a friend or family member with this?