Tag Archives | cult

The Unanswerable Questions of Jonestown

The welcome sign at the entrance into Jonestown in Guyana, South America. (Photo: Jonestown Institute)

The welcome sign at the entrance into Jonestown in Guyana, South America. (Photo: Jonestown Institute)

What exactly happened on the fateful day in Jonestown? Rick Paulus at Pacific Standard investigates:

November 18th will mark the 37th anniversary of what has become known as “Jonestown,” where 918 members of the Peoples Temple—a religious cult that originally formed in 1950’s Indiana, before moving to California, and ultimately to Guyana, South America—were left dead, most through willfully drinking cyanide-laced, grape-flavored Flavor Aid. It was the final act of notorious leader Jim Jones, who attempted to create his visions of a “socialist paradise” in that small nation.*

Seeing as nearly everyone who belonged to the Peoples Temple died that day, most of what is known about the event is by virtue of Jones’ meticulous archiving. Archive.org is chock-full of Peoples Temple ephemera, including an audio recording of Jones preaching to his followers before and during the mass suicide on that final, fateful day.

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Police: Every Member Of The Church Where A Teen Was Fatally Beaten Is A “Person Of Interest”


Members of the Word of Life church in New Hartford, New York are under investigation for their involvement in the beating death of 19-year-old Lucas Leonard.

Tasneem Nashrulla via BuzzFeed News:

Everybody associated with the Word of Life church in New Hartford, New York, is a “person of interest” in the beating death of a 19-year-old, police spokesman Lt. Timothy O’Neill told BuzzFeed News.

Six members of the church have been charged in the fatal beating of Lucas Leonard on Sunday.

Lucas and his 17-year-old brother, Christopher, were allegedly ambushed inside the church for more than 10 hours during a “counseling session” in the hopes they would confess alleged prior sins, the New Hartford Police Department said. Lucas died on Monday from blunt force trauma. Christopher remains hospitalized with serious injuries.

Six church members were arrested, including the teens’ parents. Deborah and Bruce Leonard were charged with manslaughter and the brothers’ their 33-year-old half-sister, Sarah Ferguson, was charged with second-degree assault.

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Cult Leader Unleashes Giant Snail Plague

Giant african land snail
Giant African Land Snails, an invasive species, have infiltrated Florida, ravaging crops and having an overall devastating effect on agriculture. Robert Coolman at The Daily Beast explores the theory that the infestation was started by a cult leader.

Via The Daily Beast:

Living up to nine years and growing upwards of 8-10 inches long, they’re not quite the stuff of illuminated-manuscript margins, but their effect on Florida agriculture has indeed been legendary. Last year the eradication program had cost the state of Florida more than six million dollars.

It’s theorized the infestation traces back to a Miami-based religious leader named Charles L. Stewart, described by court documents as “El Africano” or “Oloye Ifatoku,” practicing the traditional African religion of Ifa Orisha (which is often confused with the Cuban Santería). According to an interview conducted by theMiami Herald back in 2010, a witness described the ritual thusly: he would “hold [the snail] over the devotee, then cut the [snail] and pour the raw fluid directly from the still live [snail] into the mouth of the devotee.”

The snail ritual was supposed to cure worshipers with medical problems, but instead they went to the authorities complaining it was making them violently ill.

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How to Convince People That You’re Jesus in 5 Easy Steps

"Turin shroud positive and negative displaying original color information 708 x 465 pixels 94 KB" by Dianelos Georgoudis - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

“Turin shroud positive and negative displaying original color information” by Dianelos GeorgoudisOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

So you want people to believe that you’re Jesus Christ. Or, if you don’t want to be tied down to anything so specific as Jesus, then you at least want people to think you are the physical embodiment of God on earth.

Who wouldn’t want this? The list of benefits is as long as my arm. First off, if you’re a man (and generally speaking, it mostly seems to be men who reach for this dream), then you get to have sex with all the women in the congregation. Which if you think about it, is an incredible privilege for the women. I mean, you’re having sex with some gullible, emotionally fractured woman. That woman, on the other hand, is having SEX WITH GOD. Where to even begin?… Read the rest

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Homophobic Australian Cult Leader Claims He is the Second Coming of Christ

Photos from Marshall's Facebook page. Combined via Inquistr.

Photos from Marshall’s Facebook page. Combined via Inquisitr.

Another cult leader. Another declaration of the second coming of Christ. Brian Leonard GoLightly Marshall, 71, claims he is “he is ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ reincarnated” and says that he even has support from the Vatican. Apparently, the Pope was to announce him as the second coming in 2013, but the plans fell through due to the anti-Christ’s intervention.

Jon Austin via The Daily Express:

Brian Leonard Golightly Marshall, who refers to himself as BLGM, claims to have confirmation from a former pope that his face is burnt into the famous Turin Shroud and he is ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ reincarnated.

The wild claims – coupled with homophobic rants about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) “being destroyed” and allegations the current Pope Francis is his nemesis – have sparked concerns as his number of followers grows.

Marshall lives in the small coastal town of Toogoom, 180 miles north of Brisbane, in Queensland, Australia, with his wife, pet cat, plants and a car he calls the ‘Ark of the Covenant’.

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The Process Church of the Final Judgment Lives On


A church that, in theory, worships Jesus and Satan equally, was tied to Charles Manson, and has a symbol that looks more than a tad bit like a swastika is bound to get a little attention. And it did.

In 1963, Robert DeGrimston Moore and Mary Ann MacLean met at the L Ron Hubbard Institute of Scientology in England. The two were not the follower types and it wasn’t long before they created their own school of thought. At the beginning they were influenced by Alfred Adler, a Freudian who had broken away to develop his own ideas. Adler believed that people were driven by what he called ‘secret goals,’ hidden agendas that gave rise to compulsions and neuroses. The idea was to discover these goals and make them conscious. DeGrimston and MacLean created a new system called Compulsions Analysis.

Soon they had followers, some of whom had sizable bank accounts.… Read the rest

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Rajneeshpuram [Free Documentary]

In 1981, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a spiritual leader from India, and thousands of his disciples, set out to build a new city, a utopian community in the desert — Rajneeshpuram — on what had been the Big Muddy Ranch in Eastern Oregon. Thousands of people from around the world gathered here to celebrate life and transform the landscape. But by 1986, they were gone.

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Scientology: My First Audit

AJ+ (a recently launched digital-only news network from Al Jazeera) has just released this short on Scientology. AJ+’s Francesca Fiorentini visited the Church of Scientology in San Francisco for her very first dip into the religion, or, as some would call it, cult. In Scientology, “going clear” means reaching a state of happiness and freedom. To get there, you’ve got to go through “audits.” Years of them.

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Cult Leaders That Used Sex to Control

John Humphrey Noyes, (1811-1886)

John Humphrey Noyes, (1811-1886)

In the book Raping the Gods, by Brian Whitney, a ghostwriter is hired to ghostwrite the memoirs of Dylan, a deranged, fantastically wealthy sex addict, who lives in Samoa with his female sex slaves. Dylan’s had a profound spiritual awakening during a vision quest he went on with a local tribe. He thinks he met God. Actually, he thinks he met God and had sex with Him. Raped Him, in fact. Throughout all of Dylan’s insanity and abuse his slaves remain unwavering.

Many people throughout time have used sex to take control of people’s minds. When it comes to keeping someone under your control, banging them while slowly exerting power over their minds and bodies is possibly the best way to do that. It is true that other methods can work. You can threaten someone, beat them, isolate them, financially exploit them, but none of those are as effective as sex.… Read the rest

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