The names of finalists for the 2019 Car of the Year award have been selected, with some bold choices in the running. The selection process involved 60 jurors from all over Europe, who named the seven cars launched this year that they thought were the best. We’ll have to wait until March’s Geneva Show for the winner to be announced, however.
This is considered the oldest such car award and is clearly the best known. The next stage in the process is a vote, with the winner taking the prestigious title of 2019 Car of the Year.
Volvo’s XC40 won last year, a very well-deserved win. The most interesting choice may by the Alpine, the French automobile relaunched by Renault a couple of years ago. This newcomer has an attractive charm that none of the others have, but the last time a sportscar won was in 1978 with Porsche’s 928. It is certainly the underdog.
It will have to face off with the impressive battery-electric Jaguar I-Pace, which is also in the running. Electric cars have done well, with the Mk2 Prius, the Leaf, and the Ampera winning in previous years. In addition, Tesla’s Model S and the BMW i3 competed very well in the years when they were in the running. The other selections are the Citroën C5 Aircross, the Ford Focus, the Kia Ceed, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, and the Peugeot 508.
As for selection, the jurors are at the liberty to use their own individual judgment based on what they believe to be desirable features in a car. Obviously, this changes from judge to judge, as the roads tend to change drastically between countries.
That being said, the jurors were asked to give special consideration to technological advancements, as well as to “design, comfort, safety, economy, handling, performance, functionality, environmental requirements, driver satisfaction, and price.”
The BMW 3 Series was released in time but is notably missing from the running. Models weren’t available in time for testing.
40+ People Share Their Experiences About Being in a Cult
There are some experiences that are so singular and terrifying that they’re hard to imagine unless you’ve experienced them. These stories offer a heartbreaking perspective into situations that we usually only hear about in detail in documentaries.
This person found themselves in an unfortunately unique position when they were young. Not only were they born into a cult but the leader of the cult was their grandmother.
They said that she did a lot of the classic cult behaviors such as dividing members’ assets as well as drawing and keeping members in. From there, she was incredibly controlling over how the members of the cult acted and behaved.
A Mother’s Story
By this point, we’ve seen it again and again. Cults often drawing in people who are going through hard times by painting themselves as a helpful source.
Instead, they’re actually a much more sinister group that is feeding off of someone else’s misfortune. This person said they managed to convince their mother to stop going to school and change almost every aspect of her life. Eventually, she left when some of the members began speaking in tongues which made her uncomfortable.
Horrible Living Conditions
There’s a cliche image that many people have of a cult. This often includes a cult all living together on a compound or in a group. Yet, there’s more to these conditions than a concept.
This person opened up about what it was like to live with a cult. The conditions they discuss here are disgusting, including rodents and insects infesting the building. You have to have a pretty bad mice problem for them to crawl into the beds!
Making members doubt what they know is something that is at the core of most cults. Cults often use a variety of methods to convince members and potential members of their legitimacy.
This particular cult assigned members to other members as “spouses.” Rather than build a relationship, this was to pass on the teachings of the cult. In the end, it taught them a valuable lesson about speaking up when things start to feel wrong.
This person stated that they were in a cult for a total of three years by the time they left. It was the controlling nature of the cult that tipped them off.
This included controlling everyday aspects of life like what nail polish or makeup that people could wear. Even further, they started to control bigger decisions like where members could move, marry, or whether they could buy a car. They couldn’t even have children because the predicted doomsday was too near.
Harder Than You Think
For this comment, this person took a moment to point out that getting out of a cult isn’t easy. It’s a hard and risky process that takes time and planning.
They said this is in part because cults are purposefully hard to detect. When you first get involved, you probably only have good experiences with the group. They’re warm, inviting, and encouraging. It isn’t until you’re already in that they’ll break out more controversial and controlling tactics.
One Missed Doomsday
There are plenty of cults that have a doomsday prophecy. Some even have dates that they claim are the exact day that the world will end.
This is an easy way to get cult members to stick close. After all, it’s a terrifying threat. This person was in a cult with such a doomsday prophecy that turned out to be just another day that came and passed without event. From there, what was everybody supposed to do now that they knew?
Born Into It
Joining a cult isn’t the only way to find yourself in one. There are quite a few people who have the singular experience of being born into a cult.
This person shared their experience and even highlighted that they had a fairly mild experience. Still, they describe situations that isolated them from others their age and they grew up in a strict environment. Luckily, they were able to get out by going to college and still stay in touch with their family.
The account this person gave of being in a cult was outright controlling and unsettling. Still, this seems almost like a twisted sense of something mundane.
It’s not uncommon for someone religious to relate their life to the text of their religion. Usually, though, it’s reassuring or even encouraging. In this case, that concept was turned on its head to use the text in question to scrutinize member’s flaws. This definitely wasn’t an exercise they used to encourage each other.
Progress Comes at a Cost
The interesting thing about cults is that they’re rarely free. After all, the people leading them have to make money somehow. Not to mention, there’s a lot of power in having financial control over members.
It wasn’t until this person was older that they realized the pay-to-advance method the group they were in used. In fact, they even learned that the classes they took as children cost thousands. This cult would only let them move forward if they paid up.
A Horror Movie Scene
There are certain scenes that most people would likely relate to a horror movie rather than reality. This person confirmed their cult experience was definitely like a movie.
They described an event, in particular, that included what, at first, seemed like a normal sermon. Shortly afterward, though, they noticed that the attention seemed to be on them and only them. The added imagery of the wide eyes and silent stares makes this all the more terrifying.
One of the most famous organizations that have been accused of behaving like a cult in the past is Scientology. Stories like these only bolster this nefarious image.
Born into Scientology, this person remembers doing courses and auditing from a young age. They also remembered that this wasn’t a cheap endeavor either. Now an adult, they’re away from the organization but estimate their parents lost tens of thousands of dollars to them, mostly in donations too!
Winning is Losing
In response to a question about the time Reddit users had realized they were in a cult, this person had a story. However, they point out it was more of a feeling that something was off rather than so specific.
A woman sued the organization that she’d previously been a part of. While they don’t go into details on that case, they did see the aftermath of her winning. It resulted in a long sermon that tried to turn the situation around.
Spliting Up Families
Separating people from their loved ones is one of the most common behaviors among cults. This can even go as far as splitting up family units who are all in the cult.
In this family’s experience, that meant practically not seeing your kids for years at a time. This was because the children of the cult members were routinely sent to boarding school. From the experience of this person, it wasn’t the best way to live by far.
Drawing Members In
There is an important perspective to how cults recruit people that this person points out. In the end, it’s something that anyone could get trapped in under the wrong circumstances.
This person said that their brush with a cult happened when they were a teenager into a young adult. They were having a hard time and this organization appeared with, seemingly, all of the best intentions. Unfortunately, the reality was much sinister and they were taking advantage of their situation.
The Call of Higher Education
When you are in a cult at a young age, it’s something you may not question until you’re older. For this person, that came when it was time to make post-high school decisions.
They decided, against what the cult wanted, that they would go to university. As a result, they were threatened with excommunication, including losing touch with their family. That’s a heavy price to pay for wanting to experience what college has to offer.
Born Into a Cult
Being born into a cult is already a hard place to start but a couple of generations in is even harder. Not seeing other peers due to homeschooling would make finding an outside perspective even harder.
On top of that, most of the businesses they went to were connected to the church in some way. There was even a point in the history of the church of a doomsday prediction that didn’t happen. They said they managed to get out when they were 17.
Leaving a cult isn’t as easy as deciding not to go anymore. There are often threats to leaving, in various forms, to try and keep members in the group.
This time, the person in question wasn’t even a full member of Scientology when scary instances started to occur. Right after she stopped going to meetings, this person reports that she was stalked by members for quite some time. The good news is that she eventually got away from that experience.
Raised in Scientology
It’s an interesting perspective to see the side of members who are considered higher up in the cult’s organization system. That’s how this person’s father ranked, anyway.
Eventually, though, they did manage to make their way out while this person was young. They said that all in all, they made it out but it came with plenty of ongoing harassment against their family. We can understand why someone might feel warier about other organizations after that experience.
Going Too Far
Not all cults are religious in nature, though. This person’s story revolved around a cult of personality, as they put it, in their former workplace.
This stands apart from the average scenario of a bad boss too. You might hear a bad boss yell at a coworker for a minor mistake but they have no right to try and dictate life outside of work. As far as noticing something is wrong, this story definitely fits under their description of an “uh oh feeling.”
Attending daily church services would be hard for anybody. After all, sometimes life happens and you might miss a service for an emergency. That’s not something this cult would easily forgive.
In this scenario, if someone missed church, the church would – quite literally – come to them. However, instead of filling them in on what they missed, they were there to shame them for missing church. The intense level of control they discuss makes this a pretty unsettling concept.
Growing Up in Isolation
It’s one thing to join a cult or even grow up in one but it’s an even more precarious position to be the family of the leader. In this case, this person’s grandparents were in charge.
This gave them a high level of control over this person who said they grew up fairly isolated. That’s even worse considering the horrifying conditions of that isolation. They said that they managed to get out when they turned 18 but they said it’s still hard to trust the people around them.
In this tale, the Reddit user who shared it wasn’t in a cult themselves. Instead, the story revolves around the experience of their mother and sister.
The setting was the 1970s when their mother and, by proxy, their sister were young and lacked support. That’s when they were drawn into what seemed like a helpful group but actually ended up being a cult. They said that the cult preyed on their vulnerability and acted as reliable support before showing their true colors.
Taking Drastic Measures
When you hear stories about people in cults, those stories come from a variety of sources. This includes some of the cults that we’ve heard about before when things came to an ugly head.
For this person’s father, their cult experience was falling in with the Manson Family for about two years. He wasn’t looking to leave on his own either. Intent on getting their friend out of trouble, his friends eventually ended up physically removing him from the situation.
This person said the cult they were born into was close to some of the components of less nefarious religions. Yet, they combined it with a few other factors quickly paint a sinister picture.
The biggest change came when the cult came up with a doomsday prediction. From then on, everything was much more controlling as the cult prepared for the predicted end of the world. This included not only training to prepare but using the apocalypse to control what people ate, wore, and listened to.
Lack of Funds for Membership
Luckily for this person, they didn’t quite get to the point of joining a cult. Rather, their experience came from friends trying to recruit them into Scientology.
What really stopped everything, though, was that they didn’t have the money to buy any of their books. They even told the people around them that they couldn’t afford to be quite as involved. In response, they basically told them to find the money for it through a method like borrowing it.
Things Don’t Add Up
When you’re deep in a situation like a cult, it can take just the right facts to break the illusion. In this case, that was learning that the start dates of the group didn’t quite line up.
Before that, they were a part of what they called a “high control sect” of the organization. Here, the type of hair and clothes that everyone wore was controlled, just to name part of the problem. They were also discouraged from associating with others.
Cults often try to drain their members of resources. In this case, this person was frequently drained of their energy and money through payments and manual labor.
When someone in their family died, it gave them a chance to interact with the world outside of the cult and think about what was going on. While they still went back, the doubt stayed in their mind. They said when they met their partner later, they helped them get out completely.
Controlling Women’s Appearances
There are some cults that draw a dividing line between the rights that certain members have. As for this cult, any women who were members had strict rules to follow.
This included making sure that they fit into what was considered appropriately dressed. At the same time, men in the organization had much fewer rules to follow. As a result, there was a high toll on the women who were trapped by these rules that were reinforced by those around them.
In many cases, cults will prefer that children are homeschooled or taught within the cult. Otherwise, they’re bound to lose some control as children interact with the world outside of the cult.
Because this person went to public school but they were instructed not to talk to people. Yet, they didn’t follow this rule and even wanted to try adding music lessons to their schedule. When the cult started telling them that this was a sure way to the unholy, they couldn’t square it.
One of the biggest cults in recent history is NXIVM which received a lot of media attention recently. This is an account from someone who attended some of the “workshops.”
At the time, they only did the workshops over Skype and later got involved in aspects such as the newsletter. However, they didn’t get much further than that, and for the best, although they knew people who got in deeper than them. They said that they’re out and doing well, all considered.
To draw people in, sometimes cults rely on a bit of flair. This could include a flashy presentation that is meant to serve as an eye-catching spectacle that draws people in.
That’s what this person experienced after their friend invited them to an event. While they were there, though, they started to notice exactly how dramatic and staged the presentation was. They were unsettled enough to stay away from what their friend was trying to introduce them to.
A Bad Turn of Events
Cults aren’t afraid to take advantage of someone who’s fallen on hard times or is just young and finding their way. That’s what happened to this person, at the very least.
They entered the cult when they were only 18. They stated that shortly after their joining, the leader of the group started to appear more and more. It turned out that the leader had taken a specific interest in them and they even suffered other members following them and reporting back.
A Sudden Change
This person wanted to keep the cult they were a part of private but shared some of their experiences. Specifically, in the experience they had in joining a cult.
Specifically, they joined the cult as their parents did when they were young. It must have been incredibly jarring to shift from a non-religious household to one that followed the strict teachings of a cult with a religious base for their teachings. They said it was like everything changed all at once.
Threatened for Leaving
Leaving a cult is something that is often easier said than done. There are plenty of measures that cults use to keep members in the cult, often to the detriment of the person leaving.
When this person tried to leave the cult they found themselves in, they experienced a number of measures against it. It started as visits from those higher up in the cult trying to convince them to stay and even others touting the negative aspects of excommunication. We’re glad they got out.
No Medical Care
Cults, once you’re deep enough into one, start to tout more bizarre rules that members have to follow. Sometimes, these increasingly harsh rules are what prompt someone to think about the situation again.
It was after being in a cult for a while that this person noticed something odd. Even in dangerous situations, the members were encouraged not to go to the doctor. For many people, this is dangerous advice as doctors are equipped to help people stay as healthy as possible.
A Mother’s Experience
When this person’s grandparents first joined this organization, they didn’t know what the group was truly involved in. They thought it was a friendly church, not the cult it was revealed to be.
Because of this involvement, this person’s mom and her siblings were brought up in the cult as well. Luckily, their mom managed to get out when she enlisted in the Army. As for the rest of the family, they’re still in the cult that this mom was excommunicated from.
A Central Leader
If there’s one thing that denotes a cult, it’s the presence and involvement of a single, central leader. This is where the heart of a cult usually lies: in the leader at the time.
This person realized that something was off when they noticed all of the attention that was on a single pastor. Even more suspicious, the organization had a board to ensure accountability but only those that agreed with the pastor were allowed on the board.
The Worst Thing
This time, someone wanted to bring attention to something that most people have that cult members don’t. That is the ability and freedom to speak your mind.
In a cult, there’s a mentality that you have to agree with those around you and, of course, the leaders. This person said that upon leaving, they appreciate the ability to act and present themselves however they want to. They’re right – it’s something not to take for granted.
Trapped in a Loop
This person wanted to spread an important message about the nature of cults. They aren’t only harmful in regards to what the cult can do as a group but to individual members as well.
While they weren’t in a cult themselves, their mother did fall in with one. They said that it locked her in a sort of feedback loop that only reinforced that she would struggle to hear criticism. Now, they’re glad that she found a healthier group with better ideals.
For this story, the Reddit user talking about it says that it was their husband that was in the cult. He had been a part of it for a large part of his life.
This was because his family joined when he was still a young child. During his childhood, he missed a lot of the experiences that other children have too. This was largely because everything the members of the cult did was controlled. Even years later, the cult exists, although slightly changed.
As we’ve said, leaving a cult is no easy feat. This is true not only for the immediate consequences but the lasting effects of a traumatic experience such as living as part of a cult.
This person says that even though they left at 15 years old, they still struggle 20 years later with the effects. After all, the lessons they learned in the cult against speaking their mind were ingrained into them from a young age – it would be a challenging pattern to break.
There are plenty of cults that use the base of an existing religion to build off of. From there, they usually skew the major teachings to fit a goal that doesn’t match up with a friendly church.
For this person’s parents, they thought they were just going to another Sunday at church when they learned there was more to this church than met the eye. Specifically, when it came to claiming a person in the building was a biblical figure, they knew it was time to go.
Fear is a common feeling when it comes to the topic of cults. Rightfully so too, there are few instances where cults don’t try to use people by feeding on their fears.
As for this cult, they made the fearful promise that no matter what everyone did, the leader knew what was going on. This wasn’t just promised in the form of surveillance but knowing what members thought as well. It’s a circumstance that anyone would feel fearful in.
The End of the World
A doomsday prophecy can provide a terrifying experience to the people who believe it. This means that when a family like this one hears the world will end, it can quickly become intense.
For this family, the father especially invested a lot of time, money, and effort into staying safe. When that day came and went without event, though, they were all left to process what it meant. To this person, that meant reconsidering their beliefs.