Most cults have initiation rituals and expected behaviours. When an initiation ritual is too lax, people don’t value association to the cult*, and the overall prestige (“image”) suffers. Just because I don’t care about that in my own cult doesn’t mean I am not aware of the image of the cult. It’s exactly what I wanted it to be thanks for not asking.
When the cultic initiation ritual is too horrifying, people don’t want to admit they did it all for nothing. So, rather than admit the obvious and move on, they cling to their circumcision, triple nipple twist (you people are going to get reincarnated as pigs), selling out your ideological purity for crackers or other abusive initiation ritual, people ardently support their cult because:
“why would I have done that humiliating/painful/dangerous thing if the prestige of association with the cult was not justified.”
Hence why only ridicule works at that point.
*obviously my cult is pretty lax because I am very non threatened by talented people.