Tag Archives | Cults

The Creepy Fundamentalist Homeschool Cult That Trained the Duggars

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Bill Gothard, founder of Advanced Training Institure. Credit: Institute in Basic Life Principles (CC)

The Duggar family has been tearing up the Internet of late. Never one to be left behind in the race to jump on a rapidly vanishing meme, Gawker goes deep into what it calls the “bizarre horrors of the Advanced Training Institute, its founder Bill Gothard, and its many overpopulated families”:

You know about the Duggars, the evangelical Christian family whose 19 children catapulted them to fame through Discovery Health specials and TLC show, 19 Kids and Counting, and you know about Josh Duggar, the eldest son, who admitted last week to molesting several underage girls as a teen—including his own sisters.

You’ve seen some examinations of the dangerous, backwards logic that helped fuel that systematic and highly preventable sexual abuse, and some explorations of the culture of authority and fear promulgated by the Duggars’ uniquely patriarchal brand of Christianity.

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The Temple of Oculus Anubis – Arch Weirdness in Oregon

At 1700 SE Forest Hill Drive sits a very strange piece of Oregonian weirdness: The Temple of Oculus Anubis.

The front gates of the Temple of Oculus Anubis

The front gates of the Temple of Oculus Anubis

At first glance the property seems like nothing more than a wealthy man’s folly — arcane statues, decorations alluding to the Egypt of antiquity and a mysterious shroud of apocryphal rumors and sinister conjecture. But a little digging leads the viewer to some strange places, indeed, namely the Heaven’s Gate suicide cult.

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Cult Members: Aberrant But Are They Insane?

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

To plead not guilty by reason of insanity, cult members will need to prove they’re insane beyond belonging to a cult. As Michael Smith at Medpage Today notes, juries and judges are not convinced that cult involvement equates insanity.

Michael Smith via Medpage Today:

TORONTO — Cult members who kill can be grandiose and delusional, controlling and violent. They can claim to communicate with God. They can claim to beGod. But are they insane?

From a medical point of view, the answer obviously varies from case to case (and some would argue that insanity is not a medical concept). But from a legal point of view the answer is “no,” according to Brian Holoyda, MD, MPH, a psychiatric resident at the University of California Davis Health System.

In general, courts and juries are not impressed with a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI), Holoyda said in an a presentation at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) annual meeting.

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Tokyo sarin attack: Recalling doomsday cult’s deadly assault

via BBC:

In March 1995, the world’s busiest subway system was brought to a standstill as a mysterious gas was released across the Tokyo underground.

Commuters in the Japanese capital began to feel short of breath and experienced dim vision. A dozen people died and thousands were affected.

It later transpired the deadly nerve gas sarin had been released in five locations across the network by the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult.

Toshiaki Toyoda was the deputy station master at Kasumigaseki station on that day.

He spoke to Witness about his experience and the guilt he feels at not being able to save his colleagues.

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Inside Manhattan’s ‘doomsday cult next door’

©Google

©Google

via The Daily Mail:

Residents of a New York City neighborhood can count a cult among their many neighbors, according to a report.

The Congregation for the Light calls Manhattan’s Murray Hill area home and preaches the impending end of days and the power of karmic retribution to men and women who believe they descend from an Aryan super race that once populated Atlantis, reports the New York Post.

With all the hallmarks of a cult, it’s no surprise ‘the Light,’ as its 200 members call it, also has some disenchanted former members spreading tales of its sinister side.

Former member Paul Arthur Miller described to the Post a young adulthood full of indentured servitude in leader Tom Baer’s furniture factory, physical training for a doomsday that never seemed to come and a culture of homophobia.

‘The belief is that Planet Earth will be ending soon and we would have to defend our people and safeguard our food and supplies,’ 58-year-old Miller recalled to the Post.

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Storm God Worship: Ancient Cult Complex Discovered in Israel

The foundations of the ancient cult complex in Israel were made of field stone (shown here). Credit: Photo courtesy Professor Itzhaq Shai.

The foundations of the ancient cult complex in Israel were made of field stone (shown here).
Credit: Photo courtesy Professor Itzhaq Shai.

via Live Science:

A massive cult complex, dating back about 3,300 years, has been discovered at the site of Tel Burna in Israel.

While archaeologists have not fully excavated the cult complex, they can tell it was quite large, as the courtyard alone was 52 by 52 feet (16 by 16 meters). Inside the complex, researchers discovered three connected cups, fragments of facemasks, massive jars that are almost as big as a person and burnt animal bones that may indicate sacrificial rituals.

The archaeologists said they aren’t sure who was worshipped at the complex, though Baal, the Canaanite storm god, is a possibility. “The letters of Ugarit [an ancient site in modern-day Syria] suggest that of the Canaanite pantheon, Baal, the Canaanite storm god, would have been the most likely candidate,” Itzhaq Shai, a professor at Ariel University who is directing a research project at Tel Burna, told Live Science in an email.

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Welsh Satanic Sex Cult Exposed

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Wales. What do you think of? Choral singing? Rugby? Gareth Bale? But probably not satanic sex cults, right? The Mirror does its best to change that, exposing an alleged cult that had a “twisted ideology, based on a bizarre text called the Book of the Law by Aleister Crowley”:

The victim of a satanic sex cult has told how she will never forgive her “evil” mother for putting her through 11 years of hell at the hands of the sick group.

Annabelle Forest was initiated into a notorious sex cult that operated from a quiet Welsh cul-de-sac by her own mum at the age of seven.

Even worse, she was abused by her mother as a teenager under the orders of the cult’s leader Colin Batley – the man she can’t even bring herself to name.

Now a mum herself and living happily in another part of the UK, Annabelle has taken the brave step of recounting her horror in a bid to get others to speak out about suspected abuse.

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Heaven’s Gate: The Online Legacy of a Suicide Cult and the Webmasters Who Stayed Behind

Heaven's GateLong-time disinfonauts know all about Heaven’s Gate, but did you know that the suicide cult’s website is still live and “they” answer email? Gizmodo investigates who’s keeping it going:

Every month, the bills get paid on time. The emails get answered, and any orders filled. Which, for HeavensGate.com, is positively extraordinary. Because as far as the public is aware, every last member of the suicide cult died 17 years ago from a cocktail of arsenic and apple sauce. A few stayed behind, though. Someone had to keep the homepage going.

Today, at first glance, the fully functional, 17-year-old website seems like just one more of the many GeoCities-era relics that litter the internet. Visitor counts, flashing text, Word Art gradients; the whole gang’s here and then some. Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll find that almost every link adds yet another layer to a wildly extensive dogma, totally earnest in its interweaving of disembodied space aliens, Jesus, secret UFOs, prophets to whom aliens speak, comets coming to save us, and the suicide it takes to get there.

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The Cult of CrossFit

Here at disinformation we’re always alert to weird cults, whether of the suicide variety (Heaven’s Gate) or the brainwashing/cash-draining variety (Scientology). We’ve been following a new cult that’s sweeping America – CrossFit – although we’re not sure that it’s in any way insidious.

Recently I caught up with JC Herz, who’s penned the definitive book on CrossFit, Learning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness, to answer some questions:

JC, I discovered CrossFit myself a few years ago when I looked up “what is fitness.” For those who don’t know can you briefly describe what CrossFit it and how it addresses my original search question?

2007 CrossFit Trainer certification

The CrossFit catechism is: “Constantly varied functional movement executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains.” Which is technical jargon for: Move your whole body (not single muscles in isolation) and heavy weight, lots of different ways, going flat-out for anywhere between four minutes and half an hour.… Read the rest

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China: No Cult Zone

Naval_battle_between_Taiping-Qing_on_Yangtze

Actual photo of Naval battle between Taiping-Qing armies on Yangtze River. The caption in French says: “Canonnade des Taiping contre les jonques de guerre des Tsing qui assiégeaient la capital du Royaume céleste.” (“Taiping cannon fire against the Qing war junks that are assaulting the capital of the celestial kingdom”).

Remember the cult killing in a Chinese McDonald’s by members of the Church of the Almighty God? The Economist examines the history of “cults” in China in light of this recent crime.

via The Economist:

ON AUGUST 21st five members of a banned religious sect known as the Church of the Almighty God went on trial for a murder that has gripped the country. One evening in May, in front of stunned customers at a McDonald’s in the eastern city of Zhaoyuan, in Shandong province, the suspects allegedly beat to death a woman who had refused to give them her phone number.

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