- "This new so-called religion is nothing but a pack of weird rituals and chants designed to take away the money of fools. Now let's say the Lord's Prayer 40 times, but first let's pass the collection plate."
- ―Reverend Lovejoy, addressing Springfielders at the First Church of Springfield.
"The Joy of Sect" is the thirteenth episode of season 9 of The Simpsons and the one-hundred and ninety-first episode overall. It originally aired on February 8, 1998. The episode was written by Steve O'Donnell and directed by Steven Dean Moore.
- "Along with the majority of Springfield, Homer and company are lured into the Movementarian cult by a slick pamphlet and tantalizing promises. But as Marge begins to realize that the cult only has money on its mind, she must try her hand at deprogramming to rescue her family."
Homer takes Bart to the airport to greet the local football team after their championship loss. At the airport, Homer meets Glen and Jane, a pair of recruiters for a new religion called Movementarianism. They invite Homer to an introductory session at their resort, where a number of Springfield residents watch a video about the religion. The video explains that the Movementarians plan to take a spaceship to the planet Blisstonia. They are guided by a mysterious male figure known only as "The Leader." Most of the attendees are brainwashed into worshipping The Leader, but Homer does not pay enough attention to the video to be affected. After trying other methods, Glen and Jane finally convert him by singing the theme to Batman, replacing the word Batman with the word Leader.
After Homer joins the sect, he moves his family to the Movementarian compound. The compound is a fenced agricultural facility where everyone is forced to grow and harvest lima beans from dawn to dusk. The Leader lives in a "Forbidden Barn", where his spaceship is supposedly stored. He only appears briefly, riding through the fields in a Rolls-Royce.
As Movementarianism gains popularity, Mr. Burns decides to start his own religion, jealous of The Leader's tax-exempt status. Burns declares himself a god at a grand display atop one of his buildings, with Springfield residents and Burns's employees looking on. However, the Springfieldians are unconvinced after his outfit catches fire in a pyrotechnics display. Although defiant at first, the Simpson children are converted to Movementarianism. Bart plans to cause trouble with his "Li'l Bastard Mischief Kit," but the Movementarians outwit him with a "Li'l Bastard Brainwashing Kit." Lisa loathes that "The Leader" is the answer to every question at the Movementarian school, but she complies for the sake of her grades. Maggie and the other babies are brainwashed by Barney the Dinosaur, who sings them a song about The Leader. Marge is the only family member to resist the Movementarians' methods, and she escapes from the compound, narrowly avoiding many obstacles along the way. Outside, she finds Reverend Lovejoy, Ned Flanders, and Groundskeeper Willie, and with their help, she poses as The Leader and tricks her family into leaving with her.
In Flanders's rumpus room, Marge deprograms her children by promising them what appear to be hover-bikes. In reality, Marge had suspended regular bikes from the ceiling with wires, and Flanders provided hover-bike sound effects while hidden in a closet. Homer yields after Ned offers him a beer, but just as the first drop lands on Homer's tongue, he is captured by the Movementarians' lawyers. Back at the compound, Homer tells a crowd of Movementarians that he is no longer brainwashed thanks to that one drop of beer. He opens the doors of the Forbidden Barn, hoping to expose the religion as a fraud. However, he is surprised to find "one hell of a giant spaceship", and The Leader proclaims that, due to Homer's "lack of faith", humanity will never reach Blisstonia. The Springfieldians believe this at first, but as the spaceship begins to fly away, it falls apart, revealing The Leader on a pedal-powered aircraft departing with everyone's money. Everyone's faith is broken, but The Leader does not fly very far, crashing on Cletus's front porch.
As the Simpsons return home, Lisa remarks, "It's wonderful to think for ourselves again." However, the family soon becomes hypnotized by a FOX television commercial, which declares, "You are watching FOX." In unison, the family responds, "We are watching FOX."