“Whatever any member of a cult has done, you and I could be recruited or seduced into doing–under the right or wrong conditions. The majority of ‘normal, average, intelligent’ individuals can be led to engage in immoral, illegal, irrational, aggressive and self destructive actions that are contrary to their values or personality–when manipulated situational conditions exert their power over individual dispositions.”
The stark reality is that given the right conditions, anyone is susceptible to falling under the influence of a cult. Cults are not just confined to religions.
Quoting Zimbardo again:
No one ever joins a “cult.” People join interesting groups that promise to fulfill their pressing needs. They become “cults” when they are seen as deceptive, defective, dangerous, or as opposing basic values of their society.