A social group characterised by their extreme belief or reverence towards a particular leading figure or object, cults aren’t by definition dangerous. But, history has taught us time and again that people who believe violence is an act of love, or that they’re the chosen one to lead the otherwise doomed humanity, or that their leader is actually an alien, probably have issues that need resolving.
In a world full of distress and disease, getting sucked into a cult that offers peace and the promised land is surprisingly easier than it seems. What is not easy, though, is getting out and helping others get out too. We spoke with some cult interventionists and deprogrammers on how they help people break away after having broken away themselves—and the repercussions the work has on their lives.