Why I’m leaving the cult

Dear Sparkle Leader John,

Maybe it’s the lack of guard dogs and barbed wire surrounding our semi-detached compound; maybe it’s that my family has never had their lives threatened via anonymous letter; maybe it’s that the only time you asked for my life savings was when you called me at 4 a.m. from Atlantic City. Maybe it’s a bunch of things all rolled into one, like the godawful fruit salad Sharon brought to the Equinox Ball.

Whatever it is, I’m writing today to inform you that I’ve decided this cult just isn’t culty enough for me.

Listen, Sparkle Leader John, you’re a great guy. But I think that’s part of the problem. A cult leader needs to be an imposing, charismatic, egomaniacal tyrant. You need to stop letting people try on your crown to see how it fits. Seriously, it’s going to get lost.

You can’t keep letting people walk all over you. When college kids come in for a brain scan and say they’ll pay next week, you can’t just let that slide. You know they’re just there for the free coffee.

Also, Audience Suggestion Tuesday needs to stop.

I just don’t feel like I’m part of this thing, you know? I know we’re technically with you, since we signed a blood pact (Denise’s diabetes finger prick thing didn’t draw nearly enough blood, by the way), but I just don’t feel controlled by you in any meaningful way. It’s kind of a no-pressure thing, and, hey, no offence, if I’m going to be part of a harem, I’m going to need something more emotionally damaging.

Speaking of, I’ve yet to be tortured into accepting the cult’s wacko dogma. I haven’t been brainwashed once, which is a shame, since I really think I could’ve been persuaded to believe in Gorak, the World-Eating Lizard Boy, with a little isolation or shock therapy. Now it just feels like a missed opportunity.

Regardless, John, you have to stop ending your sermons with, “or whatever.”

I’m still close with the people I knew before I joined the cult, and that’s not acceptable. No one’s forced me to convert my childhood best friend or cut ties with them forever. I left the compound (Denise’s living room) to go to the bathroom, and I wasn’t even followed!

I thought for sure there would be someone guarding the bathroom window, but all I got was a stern phone call from Denise later that evening. I’m sorry, but her bed sheets were just begging me to use them as escape ropes. Maybe she should’ve sprung for Egyptian cotton instead of whatever back-alley twine she calls linens.

Listen, I know you’ve really tried to make this an inclusive space for me by locking me in a closet and threatening to excommunicate me if I didn’t shape up, but I just didn’t believe you. Separate issue, but you really need to work on projecting your voice. You’re 5’8″ with a weak diaphragm, John, you need to make it up somewhere.

I also appreciate that you tried to enforce discipline by having us clean your bathroom with toothbrushes, but John — it was already spotless.

Anyway, I’m sorry it didn’t work out, but I need something much more culty. Fortunately I’ve recently discovered a group of pour-over coffee enthusiasts that seems to be just what I’m looking for.

All the best,