Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Some candles inside de cathedrale of Rouen, France
Photo by ALEXANDRE LALLEMAND / Unsplash

In the early 1950s Jim Jones started a new religious organization that really aimed to connect bits of Christianity with communist and socialist ideologies. Only a couple thousand of folks ever joined this movement, but probably are aware what happened roughly 30 years later in Guyana. I blogged about the Peoples Temple prior as I find it extremely interesting and sad.

For those unaware, Jim Jones claiming of a vision of cities destroyed via nuclear war - the only option was to relocate to a safe area of Brazil. However, as he scouted in Brazil burning funds - it was clear the organization back home was crippling without his presence.

He ended up returning home to restore the organization and it moved into California growing and eerily exhibiting cult-like behavior. Deflectors would be tracked and huge amounts of money would be raised and left to the leaders. So among this huge spiritual and political movement in the states - Jim Jones decided to move the cult into Jonestown, Guyana.

The Jonestown Institute, jonestown.sdsu.edu

Roughly 900 members lived in the cheap land with him, but the claims of abuse started rising. This led to a congressman going to visit and investigate. It turned out to be true and many members wanted to deflect and leave with him. Sadly as they left with the congressman - the cult tracked them down and gunned them all down at the airport.

They were gunned down on November 18, 1978 which was the day that Jim Jones advised the entire congregation to drink a fruity drink laced with cyanide. This was perhaps the largest loss of American life intentionally at 918 people until the sad hijackings of 9/11.


Another group that reminds me of the cult label is the 3HO movement which was the Happy, Healthy, Holy Organization. It was pieces of Hinduism with Sikh which led to folks practicing an insane amount of Kundalini yoga - while dressing in turbans and all white clothes.

The leader was Yogi Bhajan and while no mass suicide occurred - it was quickly learned after his death via an extensive report that the movement was corrupt for financial and sexual reasons. Yogi would attract followers and arrange marriages - taking the kids from those marriages and deport them to India for brainwashing. As they aged and returned to the states - instead of school they would be promoted to staff alongside Yogi Bhajan which would of course lead to rape.

The Dark Empire of Yogi Bhajan - VICE

The financial front was ripe with abuse. Imagine a follower that started a new Ashram (teach yoga and live together with followers). Yogi convinced folks to put these expansions under the organization to help with taxes, but it more-so just helped keep the financial control under him.


Another group that I think earns the cult name is the Branch Davidians that most remember as the siege of Waco in 1993. An interesting group that really split (or rather continued) the Seventh-day Adventist to the extreme.

David Koresh, who was actually born as Mr. Howell moved into the compound a some 15~ years prior to running it. He engaged in an affair with a 60 year old lady while in his 20s. Once she died some of the power of the group was then split between Koresh and the existing leader Roden. Those leaders fought and we saw the first take that Koresh had a dark side - his group raided the compound with a large amount of weapons to find proof of Roden's illegal doing.

Once Roden murdered a follower for being convinced he was a true messiah he was judged insane and removed from the property. Mr. Howell then renamed to David Koresh to show his ties to King David and run the group as well as property.

Of course like our pattern of cults. Koresh was part of many sexual assaults with his belief that he needed to raise 24 children to elders to prepare for the Second Coming (the return of Jesus). These claims then paired with the fact that group was hoarding a huge amount of illegal weapons is what led to the eventual standoff with ATF.

By Federal Bureau of investigation - Branch Davidian investigator shared FBI photos

So on February 28, 1993 when a search warrant was attempted to be executed. A standoff occurred and it went terribly - 51 days went by basically ending with a huge fire on the compound killing 86 total. Once the dust settled and investigators moved in, the cache of weapons was insane. Hundreds of illegal high powered weapons were discovered - these were collected as the group referred to themselves as "students of the Seven Seals" and needed to prepare defensively for the Apocalypse.


Another cult group that rose up during the rush of religious movements in the 60s and 70s was Heaven's Gate. This group is quite interesting as they believed their human shells were nothing but holding them back from ascending into heaven to evolve into basically aliens.

https://www.heavensgate.com

This was started by Bonnie Nettles alongside Marshall Applewhite who took his childhood of religion and his experience in the military to dig into prophecies. Once Nettles died there was no rejecting opinion from the views of Applewhite.

So the group started growing including the creation of media that was used for recruiting purposes. Shortly after the group focused onto the approach of the Comet Hale-Bopp and this is where odd things began.

The group fully expected the Comet to bring a spaceship. This ship would be a vessel for their spirits to take them on a journey to another planet. The only way to get onto the vessel was to communicate suicide on this world.

This mass suicide was eerie. Videos were recorded for farewell statements and one by one followers would take a concoction and suffocate themselves with a bag. As they died the remaining followers would clean up the body and place it face down on a bed.

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You can also watch the final video that Applewhite recorded explaining the reason behind the upcoming suicide. Odd to watch and listen knowing what happened shortly after.


The final cult I want to cover is UNICULT which is such an interesting modern cult. Started by a young millennial named Nicole after she was rescued from a suicide attempt via her dad. This large event woke her up mentally and she now believes she is a star seed on this planet.

She founded a cult in which other similarly aged members were attracted to it and this is where the cult is massively different than others. UNICULT allows followers to pluck teachings they agree with and ignore the others. So if you don't believe in aliens that is okay - you can just follow the light/darkness teaching.

All in all, this group seems like its harming no one at present. They attract a group of people that want to work with others to remove barriers in their own life and I see nothing wrong with that. You can join for only $11 like 3,147 others - though as the leader and followers age will this obviously younger cult survive the test of time?


In closing, my mind is continually blown with the rise and fall of cults and how some have some terrible impact yet survive and how others convince hundreds to kill themselves. The only thing that would blow my mind further is if one of the teachings is true and we happen to be sharing a planet with a 900ft lizard.

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