Answer to poll: Not quickly enough.
Ditto! I was cynical and cautious going in to the first group, but I wasn't looking for the right signs. I naively thought that since the group was so cliquish and hard to join, that it could not possibly be a cult.
Then when I left that one because I thought the guru was a lying egomaniac who played favorites, I joined the Advaita path. I naively believed everyone who said, "This is NOT a guru path; the teachers are just teachers, not gurus", but it was pretty much the same thing. People treated the teachers like gurus, and the teachers played favorites and didn't behave like "realized" people.