The book Anathem has me thinking about monks.

Carthusian monks

A life of mostly solitude and mostly silence. They spend most of the day alone, and when they are not alone, they minimize speech and do not speak without the Prior's permission, except in urgent necessity. (why? they explain in section "Guigues’Praise? of Life in Solitude" of

They also are to remain mostly unconnected with news of the outside world:

"From ancient times it has been the mind of our Order that our absolute dedication to God be expressed and sustained by a great strictness of enclosure. How pressing the need must be before one goes out, can be sufficiently gauged from the fact that the Prior of the Grande Chartreuse never goes beyond the boundaries of the desert of Chartreuse. And since one and the same rule of life should be observed by all who profess it in a uniform and like manner, it follows that we, who have adopted the Carthusian ideal, whence we bear the name of Carthusians, do not readily admit exceptions. If, nevertheless, necessity compels us to go out, the permission of the Reverend Father must always be sought, except in a case of urgency and in the other cases provided for in the Statutes.

  4 Rigorous observance of enclosure would however be merely pharisaical, were it not the outward expression of that purity of heart, to which alone is it promised to see God. To attain this, great abnegation is required, especially of the natural curiosity that men feel about human affairs. We should not allow our minds to wander through the world in search of news and gossip; on the contrary, our part is to remain hidden in the shelter of the Lord’s presence.
  5 We should therefore avoid all secular books or periodicals that could disturb our interior silence. To introduce newspapers treating of politics into the cloister in any way would be particularly contrary to the spirit of our Order. Indeed, the Prior should exhort the monks to be very circumspect in the matter of secular reading; but, of course, this exhortation presupposes a mature mind that is master of itself, and knows how to embrace honestly all that follows from the best part that it has chosen — the part of sitting at the Lord’s feet and listening to his words.
  6 The heart, however, is not narrowed but enlarged by intimacy with God, so that it is able to embrace in him the hopes and difficulties of the world, and the great causes of the Church, of which it is fitting that monks should have some knowledge. Nevertheless our concern for the welfare of men, if it is true, should express itself, not by the satisfying of our curiosity, but by our remaining closely united to Christ. Let each one, therefore, listen to the Spirit within him, and determine what he can admit into his mind without harm to interior converse with God.
  7 But if, by chance, we come to know something of events in the world, we must be careful not to pass it on to others; news of the world should rather be left where it is heard; it is for the Prior to tell his monks those things, especially concerning the Church and her needs, which they ought to know."

They have an interesting guard against becoming a cult; although members are required to give up their personal property (at least the "fathers" are, as far as i can tell; perhaps the "brothers" only have to give up immediate personal property), they are prohibited from requesting donations from new members: : "Since the disciple, if he wishes to follow Christ, must renounce all things, including self, a monk about to make solemn Profession must part with everything he then possesses; and, if he wishes, he can at the same time dispose of property to which he has a claim. No member of the Order is to ask for anything at all from the possessions of a temporary professed, even with a view to some pious work or to making a charitable donation to anyone whatever; rather, he is to dispose of his property freely and as he pleases."

"The novice is to entrust to the Prior all the money and other possessions he may perhaps have brought with him, so that not he but the Prior, or someone appointed by the Prior, may take care of them, as if on deposit; for the novice has now left all things to follow Christ. Moreover, we neither require nor request anything whatever from those who wish to enter our Order."

also, they explicitly caution against putting any pressure on someone to join:

"On his part, the novice is to bind himself only with perfect liberty and mature deliberation."

"Let the Novice-Master be extremely careful that the novice decides concerning his vocation with complete freedom, and let him not put the slightest pressure on him to make Profession."

admission is by voting, although it seems that the Novice-Master (and perhaps also the Prior) determine who "seems suitable", i.e. who the nominees are:

"Towards the end of the second year of his novitiate, the novice, if he seems suitable, is to be presented to the community, who, some days later and after serious examination of the matter will vote on his admission (cf. 8.9)."

the fathers must give perfect obedience to the Prior:

"No one is to indulge in penitential practices over and above those prescribed by the Statutes without the knowledge and approval of the Prior. But, if the Prior wishes someone to have some additional food or sleep or anything else whatsoever, or, on the contrary, if he wishes to impose something difficult and burdensome, we have no right to refuse, lest, in resisting him, we are found to be in reality resisting not him but God, whose place he holds in our regard. For though many and diverse are the things that we observe, we cannot hope that any of them will profit us without the blessing of obedience. "

" 11 The one received knows himself by the Profession made to be so much a stranger to the things of the world that he has no power over anything at all, not even over his own self, without the permission of his Prior. For, as all who wish to live according to a rule must observe obedience with great zeal, we, in the measure that the way of life we have embraced is more exacting and more austere, must observe it the more ardently and carefully; lest if — which God avert! — obedience is lacking, such great labors may well go unrewarded. It is for this reason that Samuel says, "Obedience is better than any sacrifice, and to listen to God than the fat of rams."

  13 Following the example of Jesus Christ, who came to do the will of his Father, and who taking the form of a servant, learned obedience through what he suffered, the monk subjects himself by Profession to the Prior, as God’s representative, and thus strives to attain to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. "