Tag Archives | Cults

Mike Kropveld: The Man Who Rescues People From Cults

All about Mike Kropveld, who specializes in rescuing people from cults, via the Walrus:

When Mike Kropveld was twenty-eight, he helped plan a mission to rescue his friend, a teacher named Benji Carroll, from an international cult. Kropveld remembers hosting a meeting with Carroll’s parents and several distraught friends in his cramped Montreal living room. “His parents bought Danishes, but nobody ate them,” he says. On a trip to Berkeley, California, Carroll was recruited by members of a branch of the Unification Church, a religious order popularly known as the Moonies. It was 1977, and thanks to the Manson Family and the People’s Temple, terms such as mind control and brainwashing had entered the lexicon. At the time, the Bay Area city was a hotbed for unconventional beliefs. “People called it Berzerkeley,” Kropveld says.


Although Carroll had mostly lost contact with his Montreal community, he eventually agreed to meet his mother and sister at the San Francisco airport.

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Cult of the Month! Where You Belong! On the 23rd of Every Month A New Cult! Don’t Fight The Illuminati, Be The Illuminati!

On October 23rd there will be a new World’s Largest Religion: “Quantum Psychiana.”

Cult of the Month, a “Religious Subscription Service,” which enrolls all of its members into a new cult on the 23rd of every month, is the Kingmaker when it comes to membership numbers. Cult of the Month has evoked the claim of “Original Membership” in which it believes that every Sentient Observant Being (SOB), both real and imagined, are members of Cult of the Month. The first Cult of the Month will be presented on October 23rd. At that time, the infinite number of SOBs will technically make the first Cult of the Month the World’s (and Multiverse’s) Largest Religion.

cult of the month

“Quantum Psychiana” will be presented in a simple app that will play Cult of the Month’s “Radio Puppet Show.” The Cult of the Month App, for which there is currently a Kickstarter, will mutate on a monthly basis.Read the rest

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Bringing Down America’s Happiest Christian Cult

Originally the Chelsea Hotel, 920 W Wilson is now the headquarters for the intentional Christian community, Jesus People USA. Photo: Cameopro77 (CC)

Originally the Chelsea Hotel, 920 W Wilson, Chicago, is now the headquarters for the intentional Christian community, Jesus People USA. Photo: Cameopro77 (CC)

“For decades, the freewheeling hippies of Jesus People USA —’God’s forever family’ — forged one of the most influential movements in Christianity. They were also Jaime Prater’s family, until he made a documentary exposing the commune’s darkest secrets,” writes Jesse Hyde at Buzzfeed:

Usually, Jaime Prater felt excited on the first day of school. He’d get up early, put on the outfit he’d laid out the night before — he liked bow ties and sweater-vests — and hurry down the hall with the other kids in his building. But this morning in September 1989 felt different. This morning he was starting the eighth grade, and he felt something closer to dread.

For as long as he could remember, Prater had lived here among the Jesus People, about two blocks from the “L” train in Uptown Chicago.

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Want to curse people with farts or predict the weather? Here’s how the saints did it

Sam Riches, Lancaster University and Adrian Cornell du Houx, Lancaster University

London’s summer looks like it will be pretty dreary, with a forecast of 40 days of cloud and drizzle. Melbourne, on the other hand, is going to be unseasonably cold over the same period, while the storm in Boston is likely to last six weeks.

Or so the more superstitious among us will think. This is because July 15 is St Swithin’s day, and has enjoyed significance for weather forecasters for many centuries. The day marks that of the saint’s “translation” in 971 from an outdoor grave to a shrine inside Winchester’s Old Minster. As the Scots rhyme went:

Saint Swithin’s day, gif ye do rain,

For forty days it will remain;

Saint Swithin’s day, an ye be fair,

For forty days ʼtwill rain na mair.

Swithin wasn’t the first saint whose feast day foretold the weather and, in many ways, this ninth-century bishop made for a conventional example of sanctity.… Read the rest

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The Creepy Fundamentalist Homeschool Cult That Trained the Duggars

Bill Gothard 03.jpg

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’



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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