Cults



The Tokyo-based mystical cult Aum Shinrikyo’s deadly terrorist attack, conducted to bring about the apocalypse, revealed the insanity hidden inside the sterile, hypermodern metropolis. The New York Times reports:

After 17 years, the man thought to be the final suspect from the doomsday cult behind the 1995 nerve-gas poisoning that killed 13 people and injured thousands of others was arrested on Friday, the police said. Investigators arrested the suspect, Katsuya Takahashi, 54, near an Internet cafe in central Tokyo after receiving a tip that a man resembling the fugitive had been spotted there. The cult’s blind leader, Chizuo Matsumoto, was convicted of masterminding the attack and has been sentenced to death.



The Church of the Last Testament is equipped with solar energy, vegetable gardens, and trampolines, money is meaningless, and children sing pop songs and chase after adorable animals. As far as 21st-century Jesus reincarnations, this has to be one of the most convincing:

Deep in Siberia’s Taiga forest is Vissarion, a cult leader who looks like Jesus and claims to be the voice of God. He’s known as “the Teacher” to his 4,000 followers…who [possess an] unflinching belief in UFOs and the Earth’s imminent demise.




Yogis embroiled in sex scandals shouldn’t surprise anyone, writes William J. Broad in the New York Times: … Why does yoga produce so many philanderers? And why do the resulting uproars leave…



The apocalyptic, kidnapping and brainwashing California-based cult known at various times as Children of God, Family International, Family of Love, and the Family apparently stumbled upon a knack for catchy power pop melodies for a brief period in the 1980s. The result was a string of music videos concerning subject matter such as the impending arrival of the Antichrist, and “Cathy Don’t Go (To The Supermarket Today)”, which breezily delves into being implanted with RFID chips, barcodes, and the mark of the beast:


Guy Adams provides details on a senior Scientology member’s letter to 12,000 followers attacking their leader’s “obsession” with money, in the LA Times: A simmering conflict at the Church of Scientology has…


What happens when your godlike, iron-fisted leader ceases to exist? Mass weeping, collapsing, and hysteria in public. Extremely disturbing scenes of existential confusion sweeping the streets of North Korea, providing a lesson in the psychology of totalitarianism. I could seriously imagine this leading to mass suicide:



Japan’s Tokyo-based Aum Shinrikyo (“Supreme Truth”) religious cult reached peak notoriety in 1995 when members conducted a string of terrorist attacks on the subway system, releasing sarin gas that killed thirteen people and injured thousands. Police raided the group’s compound and found a massive biological weapons stockpile including anthrax and Ebola cultures and chemicals that could produce enough sarin to kill millions of people.

Before their undoing, the cult used anime videos as their recruitment tool, portraying the secret origins of human life and the heroics of founder/guru Shoko Asahara. Even unsubtitled, they’re a fascinating view:


Alan Miller is an affable young Aussie who claims to be Jesus Christ returned to Earth. (And his girlfriend says she’s Mary Magdalene to boot.) Miller has amassed several dozen worshipers, “television soap stars” among them, who have moved onto his sixteen-acre woodland compound in Queensland to be closer to their prophet. Being the son of God, he naturally has some entertaining life stories up his sleeve, including the time he gave relationship advice to Gandhi (in heaven). Add in a George Harrison hairdo, and you can see the appeal:



RFID chips, a privately-funded police state, cult recruiters, and enough soma to make Indra tap out.  Is it just another music festival, or a dress rehearsal for dystopia?  From a rigger’s diary at RockStarMartyr.net: It took nearly 24…



Wondering what it would be like to live in a cult? British documentarian Louis Theroux spent several days in the Kansas homes of members of the Westboro Baptist Church and filmed the experience for the BBC — basically opening a giant can of crazy.



Victoriangothic.org reviews the classic novel which first popularized the Thuggee cult, a darkly psychological adventure story with a murderous anti-hero, Ameer Ali: Philip Meadows Taylor’s 1839 novel Confessions of a Thug captured…


Nearly 20 years ago, 76 people lost their lives during an FBI raid near Waco, Texas. CNN‘s Drew Griffin looks at those events at 8 ET/PT and 11 ET/PT Sunday night in “Waco: Faith, Fear & Fire”:

By James T. Richardson, Special to CNN

I remember being struck by one of the early stories about 1993’s siege of the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas…


Scientology Touch HealersPatrick Winn writes on GlobalPost:

BANGKOK, Thailand — After Cyclone Nargis left a trail of corpses along Burma’s coast in May 2008, foreign aid workers clamored to enter the military-controlled backwater.

Despite the world’s pleading, Burma’s paranoid generals forbade most foreign relief workers from entering the disaster zone. A frustrated U.K. threatened unauthorized air drops. The U.S. Navy was forced to float vessels loaded with life-saving supplies offshore.

But among the few who managed to access Burma’s worst-hit areas included adherents of the California-based Church of Scientology.

According to the church, miracles ensued after Scientologists touched down. Their team sought out traumatized Burmese for Scientology’s touch-healing techniques, professed to revive the spirit…