Tag Archives | Cults

Hostile Spiritual Takeover: Thug Saints in the Cult of Maria Lionza

Maria Lionza RitualIn less than a month, tens of thousands of devotees to the cigar-smoking and liquor-swilling Venezuelan religious cult, El Espiritismo Marialioncero, will make their yearly pilgrimage to Sorte Mountain.  Located there is their most important spiritual site: a shrine to Maria Lionza, their highest deity, the spirit of a departed native chief’s daughter.

It is impossible to pin down exactly who Maria Lionza was, the differing accounts of her history being numerous and varied.  Whether or not she was an actual historical figure is still argued.  Few hints can be gathered from the many disassociated images of her, some showing a crowned, green-eyed girl surrounded by the forest and animals, and some, like the famous statue by Alejandro Colina standing beside the Francisco Fajardo Highway in Caracas, depicting a warrior woman, astride a tapir, holding a female pelvis above her head.

Maria LionzaOne of the more common stories places her birth sometime during the 16th century, among the native Nivar tribe.  Her birth name was Yara, which, in an attempt by the Spanish to Christianize her story, would later be changed to Maria.  It is said that the tribe’s shaman prophesied the coming of a green-eyed girl who would have to be sacrificed to the Great Anaconda to divert the destruction of the tribe.  Yara’s father, upon seeing her eyes, decided to save the baby from her would-be killers, and hid her in a cave.  She grew up there, watched over by twenty-two warriors, until the day she sneaked away and visited the nearby lagoon.  There, the Great Anaconda caught sight of her, and, falling in love with her, demanded she come away with him.  Yara refused, and in retaliation, he swallowed her whole.  But immediately, the Great Anaconda began to swell, displacing the waters of the lagoon, and flooding the village, destroying the tribe.  He continued to swell until he burst, and the unscathed Yara emerged.… Read the rest

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Social Media Recruiting Grounds for Cults

hare krishna zombieForget tambourines and flowers, the new cults (and some of the old ones) are recruiting via social media.

Via The Kernel:

The days of wearing hooded robes and waiting for initiates to slink furtively into your taffeta-draped S&M temple are, sad to say, long gone. As any cult’s social media manager (bear with us) will tell you, the easiest way to find new members for your crackpot cargo cult is to use websites like Facebook to spread your messages – however bonkers they might be.

The Cult Information Centre defines as a cult as an organisation which among other things uses psychological coercion to recruit, indoctrinate and retain its members.

So who fits the bill? Well, I know they don’t like being referred to as a cult, but the Church of Scientology certainly uses Facebook to share “resources” to both its existing members and people who haven’t encountered the “church” before.

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China’s Scary And Fast-Growing Cult Eastern Lightning

eastern lightning

Chinese Christians live in fear of being kidnapped and brainwashed into Eastern Lightning. Vice writes:

In some ways, Eastern Lightning are hilarious. For starters, the cult’s core belief is that Jesus Christ has been reincarnated as a middle-aged Chinese woman called Lightning Deng who now lives in Chinatown in New York. Then there are the bizarre evangelizing attempts to recruit China’s rural communities—stuff like the sudden appearance of live snakes painted with scripture and mysterious glow sticks hidden in people’s homes that somehow (I’m really not sure how) signal the second coming of Christ.

To their victims, though, Eastern Lightning aren’t a joke. The cult operates by infiltrating China’s underground house churches (proper ones are banned in China) and integrating themselves into the community, before allegedly seducing, kidnapping, bribing, or blackmailing members into joining them. Highly organized and comprised of more than a million members, according to some estimates, Eastern Lightning train their leaders to build trust slowly over months before making their move.

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Lord Steven Christ: Heaven is Only a Tattoo Away

Lord Steven Christ 01There’s nothing novel about someone claiming to be the returned Messiah.  In fact, with the dissemination of information being what it is these days, it’s hard to throw a palm branch without hitting one.  But few of them have been arrested for threatening to assassinate the President like Steven Joseph Christopher (aka Lord Steven Christ).

Steven’s arrest came in January 2009 after the following post was made on the alien-earth.org forum on January 11:

ok we have 6 days until my Presidential Assasination.
Yes, I have decided I will assasinate Barack Obama. It’s really nothing personal about the man. He speaks well, has a loving although controlling wife and two cute daughters. But I know it’s for the country’s own good that I do this. And I’m not racist either, my family is a little, but isn’t all Italian and European families? I mean how many times have you heard the word (racial slur) in the comforts of your home?

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Mormon Cult Leader Warren Jeffs Releasing Insane Prophesies From Prison

warren jeffsWondering what pure madness looks like? Arizona’s ABC 15 reports:

Warren Jeffs is a self-proclaimed “prophet of God,” and he’s now sharing his prophecies with one of Arizona’s top leaders — Attorney General Tom Horne.

From behind bars in Palestine, Texas, Jeffs telephones his followers who transcribe his words and often send copies of them to public officials. The ABC15 Investigators have obtained copies of correspondence sent to Horne’s office last month. The “revelations” are a mixture of orders, visions and demands. See the revelations sent on July 5, July 12, and July 23.

Horne said he’s concerned because the revelations show that Jeffs still has control over the FLDS community in Colorado City, Ariz. Jeffs is the leader of the polygamist FLDS church, but he’s currently serving more than 100 years in prison for child molestation.

warren jeffs

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The Time William S. Burroughs Became a Scientologist (And His Subsequent Dismissal of the Religion)

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 11.16.25 AMWilliam Burroughs first became attracted to the Church of Scientology because of its claimed ability to extinguish the wounds of bad memories. For nearly a decade (also what most consider his least artistic years), Burroughs followed the churches teachings in much the same way he sought out other “mind-expanding” techniques such as hallucinogens.

It would be L. Ron Hubbard’s “fascist tendencies” which led Burroughs to finally denounce Scientology via the Los Angeles Free Press.

You can read his collection of criticisms of the church in a free PDF: Ali’s Smile/Naked Scientology.

Excerpt:

Scientology is a model control system, a state in fact with its own courts, police, rewards and penalties. It is based on a tight ingroup like the CIA, Islam, the Mormons, etc. Inside are the Rights with the Truth. Outside are the Commies, the Infidels, the Unfaithful, the Suppressives. Rarely has this formula been expressed with such consummate effrontery, like you go into a store to buy a suit the clerk puts you in a Condition of Doubt, you work all night in the stock room and go around with a gray rag around your arm and petition the entire store to let you back in so you can buy something.

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How Charles Manson Used Dale Carnegie’s Self-Help Training To Create His Murderous Cult

dale carnegieVia Businessweek, a fascinating nugget on using sunny self-improvement techniques for pure evil:

In his new book, Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson, author Jeff Guinn credits Dale Carnegie Training, the self-help program that’s shaped the lives of such people as Warren Buffett, with transforming Manson from “a low-level pimp” to the “frighteningly effective sociopath” who created a cult of killers in the late 1960s.

Manson took classes in “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” based on Carnegie’s iconic book, while doing time for car theft in a California federal prison in 1957. ”It was critical in shaping how he manipulated people,” says Guinn, noting that the young convict told people he’d enrolled to get strangers to open up to him.

Manson became especially obsessed with Chapter Seven, on how to get cooperation, and often practiced key lines in his cell, a former prison mate told Guinn.

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The Toll of Growing Up in a Religious Cult

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Pic: Mano Singhman (C)

Via ScienceDaily:

Children who grow up in religious cults face diffiulties not only during their childhood, but also after leaving the group.

That is the conclusion of research being presented today, Friday 12 July 2013, by the Chartered Psychologist Jill Mytton at the Annual Conference of the Society’s Division of Counselling Psychology in Cardiff.

In her research Jill Mytton worked with 262 adults (95 women and 167 men) who had lived in a religious group as children. Around 70 per cent of the sample lost their family on leaving, 27 per cent reported child sexual abuse and 68 per cent had found the experience of leaving traumatic.

She asked them to complete a battery of psychological measures. The results showed that the average scores of the 264 partiticpants on these measures were significantly higher than the general population.

Two other measurss — the Group Psychological Abuse Scale and the Extent of Group Identity Scale — were used to assess the group environment and the level of group involvement respectively, and significant correlations were found between them and all clinical measures.

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Pilots Report UFOs Over UK Scientology HQ

UK Scientology HQ. Photo: Martyn Davies (CC)

UK Scientology HQ. Photo: Martyn Davies (CC)

Like something out of one of L. Ron Hubbard’s science fiction novels… From the Daily News:

Close encounters of the Scientology kind:

Pilots aboard three passenger planes in the vicinity of London’s Gatwick Airport late last year reported seeing a pair of “flat, silver discs” hovering near the UK headquarters of the Church of Scientology.

Air traffic controllers also said that they saw six UFOs on radar screens before the objects disappeared, according to a report issued last week by the UK’s Airprox Board.

The board examines reports of air traffic safety violations in UK airspace and recommends safety measures. Last week’s report failed to find an explanation for the pilot sightings from last Dec. 30 at about 9 a.m. It did describe how a Boeing 777 pilot raised the alarm at 8:53 a.m. after spotting “two flat silver discs”over the Scientology headquarters in East Grinstead minutes from touchdown at Gatwick.

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Authorities Hunt For Leader Of Chilean Cult That Burned Baby Alive As “The Antichrist”

cult leaderBrainwashing by enlightenment drug? Authorities claim that ayahuasca was imbibed as a means of “controlling” the sect’s white-collar ranks. Via NBC News:

Chilean police on Thursday arrested four people accused of burning a baby alive in a ritual because the leader of the sect believed that the end of the world was near and that the child was the Antichrist. The 3-day-old baby was taken to a hill in the town of Colliguay on Nov. 21 and was thrown into a bonfire. The baby’s mother had allegedly approved the sacrifice and was among those arrested.

Authorities said the sect was led by Ramon Gustavo Castillo Gaete, 36, who remains at large. Castillo Gaete was last seen traveling to Peru to buy ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic brew plant that he used to control the members of the rite.

“Everyone in this sect was a professional,” Miguel Ampuero, of the Police Investigative Units, said.

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