If you wake up in a squalid, dirty room, sleeping on the floor, no money, and being shouted at to start working your 19 hour day, you might be in a cult.
There are usually signs to let you know the friendly group of people that seem to really love you a lot might be a cult.
The first sign of a cult is the presence of a leader that is venerated, even worshiped, beyond reason, while his words are considered law. If the leader's words seem to sound less like Abe Lincoln and more like Bozo the Clown, and yet everybody else is enamored, this is a big sign.
The second big cult sign is if you are not allowed to question or change anything. Doubting is not allowed, everything is to be believed without question, and doubters could be chastised or even punished. When you are told you are saturated with little aliens all over you, or lived on Mars in a previous life, if you indicate even a bit of incredulity, you could end up in the cult's idea of a punishment cell.
If you are told not to contact your family and to disconnect with them totally, this is the next big sign you are in a cult. Unless your family is the Mansons, there is usually no other reason to disconnect from them other than they might not appreciate your giving all your money to the leader.
If the group seems fixated on money and runs itself like a business, hold on to your wallet.
The next cult sign is when you are told that the group-think is the only way to think, and the rest of the world is going to hell, will never be enlightened, and are doing everything wrong if they don't have the foresight to join the cult.
If the group is elitist, thinks they are better than everyone else, thinks they are above the law, that you won't be able to make it in the "outside world" if you quit, if there is retaliation to anyone who does leave, if the members are encouraged to only spend time with other group members to the total exclusion of anyone not in the group, or if the group says that they are the only hope for mankind, turn around and run like hell!
A subliminal way to keep members is employing mind altering drugs, mind stopping drills, hypnotic suggestions, and other mind controlling techniques. If you find you are yelling at an ashtray, you are close to being too far gone to help!
If you don't like having your mind controlled, quit the cult immediately. Do not discuss it with anyone in the cult, especially anyone in a leadership position. Unless you like having your mind controlled. In that case, ignore everything in this article!