by Nick May

Cover3Titles like these honestly make me wonder how many folks per year are unwittingly lured into participating in organized zealotry and/or brainwashing. Like, does the thought never cross your mind? Wait…this reminds me of an episode of Boy Meets World I saw once. We all know “cults” in the traditional sense. It’s probably a good indicator as to why we’re reading this instead of lying belly up somewhere with a Kool-Aid mustache as drones fly overhead, photographing our bodies. MOLE CRICKET, my third novel, deals with a cult boy named Moses, who has the excuse of being a twelve-year-old. What’s yours? Here are 3 ways to tell if you’re in a cult.
Your allegiance is tied to a man, not a mandate.
None of these describe a traditional cult model, but they all find their roots in the DNA of devoted fanaticism. The idea of attributing most, if not all, of one’s motivation to a figurehead, rather than the calling or cause that figure champions, can lead to borderline occult tendencies. In the book, Moses’s parents lose sight of the convictions they once shared, and instead, place their hope and trust in a person. And we’re not talking Jesus here. It’s one thing to baptize folks. It’s another thing entirely to drown them. A good vision always outlasts the visionary.
Your mom is your best friend (and not by choice).
I’m imagining the scores of mother/daughter combos that want to curse me to no end for making such a statement. But if you’re offended, I want you to take the parenthetical portion of the subtitle and renounce this particular rule with all the gumption you can muster! What I mean here is that it’s been a while since you’ve made a new friend. You’re comfortable in your bubble. You like compartmentalizing the company you do keep. It’s easier. In Moses’s case, his mom was the only person on the farm who ever displayed a remote sense of love unabashed. But then *spoiler* she betrays him pretty hard. What a tool.
Your death involved someone’s misplaced hope.
Ok, so this one’s a bit of a stretch, and, of course, there’s no way of knowing until Steve Jobs gets iPhones working in the afterlife, but the premise is simple. Your death is the immediate result of your own belief that some mortal being or some temporal thing was going to come through for you, and they didn’t. A lot of overly skeptical celebrities or successful people will say to flee headlong from the dependency of people coming through for you. I’m of that same school of thought, but just in a way more hopeful “faith in the human race” kind of way.
Make no mistake, you don’t have to work at a co-op or wear breathable pants to be in a cult. In fact, your cult leader doesn’t even need to profess himself as “I AM” the way Moses’s Man in the Woods does in MOLE CRICKET. They might be completely blind to your fanaticism. Wouldn’t that be the worst—to birth someone into cult status without them even knowing? Good grief. Get a grip on yourself, man!

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