‘Let me start by defining the word “cult”, it is a religious or social group with socially deviant and novel beliefs and practices.’
Now for me this pretty much sums up religion in a nut shell . However, it would make this my shortest blog ever, and so without further ado lets get to it! There are far too many cults in operation world wide today ,new ones all the time even as we speak so let me just mention my top 10 on the hit parade….
The brainchild ( i use the term loosely) of L Ron Hubbard (1911-1986). Founded in 1952 as the successor to his ‘Dianetics” Scientology can be seen as a UFO religion in which the existence of extra-terrestrials ( no jokes about Tom Cruise please) are an element of the belief. Their doctrine is that a human is an immortal spirit in a physical body. The Thetan has innumerable past lives preceding their arrival on earth ( yep, you heard me right) and were extra-terrestrials from another world.
Scientology describes itself as “the study and handling of the spirit in relation to itself”. They do not require members to exclusively take this religion, they may also profess a belief in other religions too ( on the assumption that their money goes to them of course). A controversial belief is that they want to abolish psychology ( i wonder why? hahaha) as they think it is abusive and destructive. It is one of the most controversial cults and has faced scrutiny with regards brainwashing and defrauding its members.
It is acknowledged in the following terms :-
- A religion – US, Italy,South Africa, Australia, Sweden, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain
- Commercial Enterprise – Switzerland
- A Cult – France and Chile
- Non profit Organisation – Norway and UK
2 THE UNIFICATION CHURCH
Apparently Jesus visited Moon on Easter Morning when he was 16 years old. He told him to accomplish the work left unfinished at his crucifixion. Moon accepted the mission and later started The Unification Church. The main theological textbook is “The Exposition of the Divine Principle” Their scripture if you will.
The church also has controversy and accusations of esotericism, brainwashing, de-programming, and the “scriptures” themselves have been claimed to have anti-Semitic references.
3 THE KU KLUX KLAN
- 1st KKK – Founded in 1865 in Pulaski, Tennessee by 6 confederate veterans it was a secret vigilante group targeting freedmen and their allies.
- 2nd KKK – Founded in 1915 Atlanta, Georgia. They preached “100% Americanism” and demanded the purification of politics, calling for strict morality and better enforcement of prohibition. Officially against the “Catholic Church”. Its appeal was directed at white protestants
- 3rd KKK – 1950’2-1960’s. Opposing the Civil Rights Movement and desegregation. Several members were convicted of murders of Civil Rights Activists.
Today there is an estimated 150 Klan Chapters with upwards of 5,000 members. Recent campaigns have been based on illegal immigration, civil unions and same sex marriage. many groups have formed alliances with Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups.
** If you get a chance it is worth watching Louis Theroux’s documentary on this group and also his interview with a Nazi Mom!
4 THE MOVEMENT FOR THE RESTORATION OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF GOD
Founded in the 1980’s by Credonia Mwerinde, Joseph Kibweteere and Bee Tait after they claimed they had had visions of the Virgin Mary.
Based in Uganda, this cult believed the end of the world was nigh and would take place on 3rd January 2000. They strictly adhered to the ten commandments and they were discouraged from talking incase they break the 9th commandment ( go look it up ) they communicated mostly via sign language. Fasts were conducted regularly, only one meal allowed on Mondays and Fridays. Sex was forbidden as was soap! ( yep i know what your thinking, without soap who would want sex )
Not surprisingly as the end of the world came and went and nothing happened, they began to loose members. The cult leader then amended his original maths and the new date was 17th March 2000
On the 17th group members arrived at church to pray and sing. Minutes later there was an explosion and the church was an inferno. 530 members were killed including children. The door and windows had been barred from the inside. An autopsy showed the majority had been strangled or poisoned. Mass suicide or murder?
5 AUM SHINRIKYA
Japanese cult founded in 1984 by Shoko Asahara. It is a belief system incorporating christianity and yoga and was started in Asahara’s apartment as a meditation class. In 1992 Asahara declared himself “Christ”, his mission to take on the sins of the world.
The cult first attracted attention in the late ’80’s with the murder of an ex-member. On the 20th March 1995 Aum members released ‘Sarin’ in a co-ordinated attack on 5 train stations in Tokyo, killing 13 commuters, seriously injuring 54 and affecting 980 more.
After 1995 Aum was stripped of its religious status. On the evening of 5th May 2011, a burning paper bag was discovered in a toilet in a Tokyo station. It was a hydrogen cyanide device and if not extinguished could have been released in the ventilation system and killed 20,000 commuters.
Asahara was finally arrested on 16th May. Initially charged with 23 murders he was also convicted of masterminding, the station attack and received a death sentence.
The group is now under surveillance and as of July 2011 has 1,030 members
6 CHILDREN OF GOD
Founded by David Berg in 1968 in California, this was pre-dominantly made up of members of the hippie community. Fundamentally following christian beliefs and practices and described as non-traditional. David Berg was regarded as a prophet by his followers.
A central “tenet” of their religion is ‘God is Love’. They practice ‘polymory’ and allow female bi-sexuality but forbid homosexuality. They have been accused of forcing girls to have sex to recruit new members. There is an extensive history of sexual abuse within “The Family”
It has had several name changes over the years:-
- THE CHILDREN OF GOD 1968-1977
- THE FAMILY OF LOVE 1978-1981
- THE FAMILY 1982-1994
- THE FAMILY INTERNATIONAL 2004- Present
7 ORDER OF THE SOLAR TEMPLE
This weird cult is based on the ancient belief of ‘The Knights Templar”. It was founded in 1984 by Joseph Di Mambro and Luc Jouret.
After the brutal killing of a baby because they believed he was the anti-christ, what followed was a series of mass suicides, 100 people died in Switzerland and Canada
On the morning of 23rd March 1997 5 members of the Order of the Solar Temple took their own lives, the police found three teenagers in a shed behind the house, alive but heavily drugged.
8 BRANCH DAVIDIANS
The Branch Davidians were an off shoot of the ‘Seventh Day Adventists’ the Davidians believed a final divine judgement was coming to pass as a prelude to the second coming of Christ.
The most famous leader was David Koresh who told his followers that if they didn’t follow him they were enemies of God. He is most infamously connected with the 51 day seize in Waco, Texas, which resulted in the deaths of 82 men,women and children and also four ATF agents.
9 THE PEOPLES TEMPLE
Founded by Jim Jones in 1955. He was a former marxist and communist. Jones was out spoken about the bible and paranoid about nuclear catastrophes.
Jones was forced to flee the US as he was involved in some sex abuse allegations. Some of his followers took matters into their own hands and killed the US congressmen pushing the charges. The Peoples Temple is best known for the events of 18th November 1978 in Guyana. 920 people died at Jonestown . The mass suicide and killings resulted in the greatest loss of US civilian life in a deliberate act until September 11th.
10 HEAVENS GATE
This is a UFO Religious millenarian group founded in San Diego in the 70’s by Marshall Applewhite. Recovering from a heart attack he claimed to have had a near death experience. He believed he was one of the ‘two witnesses’ mentioned in the book of Revelations.
Followers of this cult believed that enlightenment and salvation can only be achieved by fleeing earth. Since leaving earth isn’t that easy unless your an astronaut, the leaders decided to preach suicide as the answer to leaving your body. They made how- to-commit suicide videos for their followers. In 1997, Haleys comet arrived and Applewhite told his followers a spaceship was on the way and those who followed him into death would be saved.
On the 26th March, 1997 police found 39 bodies of members who had committed suicide in order to reach an alien spacecraft following behind the comet.
Wow. So all of the above mentioned cults are classically stereo-typical, apocalyptic, Doomsday driven and founded on lies, terror and blind faith.
Hmmm… sounds familiar. Still sounds like all religion….. Now tell me again about your book of revelations
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