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Soldier of the One

List your favorite wackadoodle religion or cult!

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yetanothermeg

The Children of God, now called Family International.

River and Joaquin Phoenix's family was involved with this group when they were kids. I recently read some other celeb, a woman, was also a child in this group and her dad got them out when all the child molestation started. They lived on a commune in Italy. I can't remember who the actress is now. She talked about it in a recent interview.

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yetanothermeg
I am really interested in Black Hebrew Israelites. I don't really understand a lot about why they believe what they do, or how the movement was started, but they are definitely a little whackadoodle.

Are they vegetarians? I think I went to a vegan soulfood restaurant they ran in Washington D.C. in 1998. Good vegan mac and cheese.

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yetanothermeg
Oh, don't forget the Jehovah's Witnesses. It's especially freaky because of how many people get suckered into it thinking it's something akin to Seventh Day Adventists. Christian Scientists are also really scary.

What's culty about the jehovah's witnesses? I know they sort of shun you if you quit. I went to school with some as a kid and then worked with some as an adult, and except for the whole no holidays, no pledge thing, no blood transfusions stuff, they acted just like everyone else.

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Aggravated
keen23

This same group also had a natural foods restaurant in the city I grew up in, and a whole bunch of them lived in a commune somewhere in the town. I used to eat at the restaurant a lot as a teenager because the food was really good (they had the best smoothies) and it was just a short walk from my high school. One of the guys who worked there was particularly friendly every time I came in. One day he asked how I was doing and I guess I said something about being tired or stressed out for some reason, and he said that if I ever wanted to spend some time talking with him or some of his friends about things I would be very welcome. It sounds like a nice offer, but something about the way he said it made me feel uncomfortable and I never ate there much after that. It wasn't until later that I learned that that group was considered cult-like.

Supreme Master Ching Hai? They run vegan restaurants, have their own tv network (http://suprememastertv.com/) and are totally a cult.

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emmiedahl

The JW's expect members to make huge sacrifices of time and money to proselytize, and there is no getting out of it. They also ask them to make very unhealthy medical decisions at times. They have pulled a few Harold Camping-style end of the world shenanigans, although these were not taken very seriously by the general public.

I don't know if I would call them a cult, but they are close to that line. A wise man once observed that the difference between medicine and poison is the dose, and I think they are poisonous in the lives of their members.

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The Archivist

I'm a fan of the classics - People's Temple (a.k.a. Jonestown), Manson Family, Children of God/The Family, Scientology, etc.

I also have a bizarre interest in stuff like Landmark Education, which is not overtly religious, but has culty overtones. Similar to lots of MLM activities, which use strange, culty "thought reform" tactics, though not in a religious context.

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CanticleoftheTurning

http://jwrecovery.org/2009/09/are-jehov ... es-a-cult/

Judging from several books I've read (I esp love "I'm Perfect, You're Doomed") and articles online, escapees react as if the JW is a cult. I found the link above when looking for a decent article on it, and I think the author did a good job in breaking it down and describing what is cult-like about the JWs.

Rick Ross also considers the JWs to be a cult. http://www.rickross.com/groups/witness.html

Disclaimer of bias: Anytime a group seek to control the minds of its members, I automatically consider it to be a cult.

To me, another big warning sign that a group is cultic is when they present their faith as happy, joyful, easy, loving, and then once you get into it for some time, they start turning up the crazy by gaslighting, twisting words around, and having double-standards. IE: they tell one person that it's okay to paint hearts on children's furniture, and then tell another person that they'll be disenfellowshipped if they paint hearts on children's furniture. That whole thing constantly keeps the members unsteady and unsure--another way of exerting control over members.

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Black Aliss
Wasn't Mel Gibson involved in some sort of Catholic splinter group/cult?

Opus Dei? They're a scary bunch, especially given how many of their members are very powerful in Washington, DC.

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emmiedahl

Opus Dei? They're a scary bunch, especially given how many of their members are very powerful in Washington, DC.

Cite? What powerful people are in Opus Dei?

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pimpom
i love reading about FLDS, too. i love the mormonhair blog.

OMG what an amzing blog! Thank you so much for this fantastic new webtimewaster ;-)

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Jessica

I don't know much about the JWs other than that the 3 JW girls I've been friends with throughout my life have never been allowed to come over to my house and always got REALLY defensive when I'd ask anything about their beliefs. And I genuinely wanted to know. One of them left and has been shunned.

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Soldier of the One

OMG what an amzing blog! Thank you so much for this fantastic new webtimewaster ;-)

Link plz? Google didn't help me out :(

Great suggestions! I think JW border on the cult-like too, since they do appear to have a coercive streak.

I never *got* Scientology. Their 'philosophy' seems so far-fetched to me, I just cannot imagine the appeal.

Oh yes, FLDS. Totally fascinating. The series 'Big Love' were my gateway fundies.

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finleeport

I always make up my own wacky religions or cults, though they're for my stories and not real life (thank goodness).

Crucicentrics (based on Evangelicals and Charismatics) they advocate creationism, biblical inerrancy and biblical authority, missionary work, revivalism, prohibition, Christian Zionism and spiritual gifts. They cry and weep when someone does not listen to their word while ignoring what the other person has to say that is the opposite of their beliefs. They are very anti-secular, and prone to thinking in religious stereotypes; like Jews killed Jesus, Muslims worship the Devil, Wiccans possess demonic powers, Buddhists levitate etc.

Pilgramatic Progressionists-hardcore Evangelicals mixed with Republicanism, Conservatism, Capitalism, Americanism, Jingoism and Sports. They can think in racial stereotypes; like Blacks are gangsters or oreos, Jews love money, Native Americans are angry, Irish are drunks etc.

Precisionism-radical Puritanical sect, emphasizes on plainness, silence and obedience. They forbid television, radio, sweets, birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, graduations, music, games and prefer to work as servants, handymen, laundresses, preachers, farmers, carpenters and street cleaners.

Minunei-a self-made enthnoreligious group (based on the Messianic Jews) they accept the heresy of Adoptionism (Jesus the adopted son of God), Antinomianism (rejecting some parts of the law and still be saved), Meditation, predicting the future, fasting from meat and wine, bathing in cold water and ablution under certain constellations. They sternly reject outside friendships, dancing, singing and birthdays are held to be gloomy reminders of life coming to an end. They see outside holidays as offensive, but they only celebrate rite of passages (taken very seriously) and the New Moon Feast and New Year. On New Year's they commit blood libels; kidnapping children/young women of any religion and using their blood to make cakes and pies, its a form of rejuvenation ritual and based on a twisted Biblical quote 'Since then the Children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death'.

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Trillian

My fave fundie-religion is the Exclusive Bretheren. I'm an Aussie and we don't tend to get all the variances of cult religions in the media like the US does. Maybe it's because no one gives a damn enough to give them their own reality TV show LOL! Anyway I digress. They are pretty hardcore. They live in compounds and they all drive Kia Carnival people movers which are all numbered - you see number labels on their windscreens. The women all hav to wear skirts and have long hair covered with a triangle head scarf. OUt where I live we are surrounded by a slightly-less-fundie bretheren group. All the women wear skirts and have long hair but they don't wear the scarves. They also don't believe in TV or technology, yet they all have better computers and internet than I do LOL - hypocrites much? It's fun to have their kids over to play at our house and watch them stand in front of our 50 inch TV...

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Eclipse

River and Joaquin Phoenix's family was involved with this group when they were kids. I recently read some other celeb, a woman, was also a child in this group and her dad got them out when all the child molestation started. They lived on a commune in Italy. I can't remember who the actress is now. She talked about it in a recent interview.

Do you mean Rose McGowan? She's talked about growing up in Italy in the Children of God.

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Boltingmadonna
In an alternative universe, I would have loved to become a specialist in 'fringe cults and religions'.

Oh, me too, SoldierOfTheOne. And I could spend a lifetime studying Finleeport's DIY cults! LOL, that's hilarious. Some of my favorites:

The bizarre Catholic cult centered on the "Three Days of Darkness," fueled by visionaries of Medugorje and other wacky prophetic wannabes.

Fire will rain forth from the sky, all large cities will be destroyed, poisonous gases will fill the air, cries and lamentations everywhere. The unbelievers will burn in the open like withered grass. The entire earth will be afflicted; it will look like a huge graveyard. . . . go indoors, lock all doors and windows, pull down the blinds, stick adhesive paper on vents and around windows and doors. Do not answer calls from outside, do not look at the windows, or you will die on the spot: keep your eyes down to make sure you do not see the windows; the Wrath of God is mighty and no one should attempt to behold it.

Oh yeah . . . and wouldn't you know, "immodest fashions" are a big reason why unbelievers will be catching fire. Unfortunately, I don't think there are any blogs about it. They're all too busy stockpiling holy water.

http://www.opusdeialert.com/3daysofdarkness.htm

Then there's the unspeakable "Children of God," which institutionalized child rape and forced prostitution for Jesus. When we were in our own cult-like group, we ran a guesthouse for visitors. We had a couple from COG who stayed for weeks. I think they had nowhere else to go. They'd been on "mission" in Guatemala and got too sick to stay. I wish I'd known then what I know now. I would have been able to help them more. Warning: if you read about these guys, you're gonna cry. They were like the worst of the worst in terms of the sheer destruction of human life and sanity. (Of course, it only lasted for a couple of generations, whereas other Christian groups have been wreaking destruction for centuries, so maybe others are worse overall.. But there was a special viciousness to these guys.)

http://www.exfamily.org/index.htm

Then there's "The Sword of the Spirit," which is what my old group morphed into. Or one portion of it did, after the big split. They are highly secretive, so it's hard to find out what they're up to these days. I can imagine pretty well, though, since I used to be one. Btw I'm linking to their official website, but for the love of FSM, don't believe their self-praising piety. That's how they get ya, you know. Imagine how bad I'd feel if you checked them out and said "Gee, these people seem so nice! Maybe I should go sign up with them!" Avert!!

http://www.swordofthespirit.net/

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Black Aliss

Cite? What powerful people are in Opus Dei?

Opus Dei doesn't publish a membership list, and members call themselves a "private apostolate" and make it a point not to identify themselves as members of OD except to other members and those whom they recruit to the organization, so it's hard to be sure, but there's a lot that's known inside the Beltway, via the gossip mill, that rarely reaches the rest of us.

One can infer from their involvement with Opus Dei-sponsored activities, that former Senators Sam Brownback and Rick Santorum are members and Newt Gingrich has close ties with the organization although I'm guessing they wouldn't allow him to join, what with his multiple marriages. If you consider Seymour Hersh to be a credible investigative reporter, then in the Pentagon we have Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Vice Admiral William McRaven and others in the Joint Special Ops Command. On the Supreme Court, Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts appear to be members. Justice Roberts' children reportedly attend a school run by Opus Dei.

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh is [believed to be] a member as was FBI agent Robert Hanssen, before he was exposed as a spy for Russia. According to the American Spectator magazine, which has no quarrel with Opus Dei's ultra-conservative agenda, "at the height of the Reagan administration, dozens of Opus Dei members held prominent jobs in the White House, on Capitol Hill, and throughout the government. Now that group, which meets regularly in a large house in Washington, is coming under scrutiny by the FBI.

'If Hanssen was active in this group, who's to say what he heard, what he saw, or whether there might be others who inadvertently and unknowingly aided him over the years,' says an FBI source."

There's more, but I have pies to bake (tomorrow is the 314th day of the year).

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emmiedahl

None of those people are living the lives of austerity and simplicity that Opus Dei demands of even its highest members.

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mirele

I've wanted to go in for a personality assessment, or whatever they call it, just to see what they do, what their tactics are, but then I think, what if they hypnotize me right there and I find myself giving them my credit card.

I wouldn't worry about that so much. The killer thing for Scientology is ending up on their mailing lists. You cannot get off them unless you become a loudmouthed, full-on apostate. Because there's always a chance you might come back. It's my understanding that the organization is so desperate right now that they've taken to tracking down people who may have bought a copy of "Dianetics" back in 1978. (I wish I was kidding. I'm not.)

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mirele
The JW's expect members to make huge sacrifices of time and money to proselytize, and there is no getting out of it. They also ask them to make very unhealthy medical decisions at times. They have pulled a few Harold Camping-style end of the world shenanigans, although these were not taken very seriously by the general public.

I don't know if I would call them a cult, but they are close to that line. A wise man once observed that the difference between medicine and poison is the dose, and I think they are poisonous in the lives of their members.

I remember going to a JW function (the yearly "Memorial" service) and then socializing with the family of one of my JW coworkers several years ago. What was weird for me was that they considered Mormons a cult! I kept my lips tightly zipped.

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1004srs

I am partial to Westboro and that Catholic Group out of St Mary's, Kansas.

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CelticGoddess

River and Joaquin Phoenix's family was involved with this group when they were kids. I recently read some other celeb, a woman, was also a child in this group and her dad got them out when all the child molestation started. They lived on a commune in Italy. I can't remember who the actress is now. She talked about it in a recent interview.

That would be Rose McGowen, she played Paige on Charmed.

edited due to riffle

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koolmom
I am partial to Westboro and that Catholic Group out of St Mary's, Kansas.

I was wondering if the Phelp's would come up for nomination!

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galaxygirl

Scientology, because they creep me the fuck out. It's something I can just not wrap my head around.

Boston Legal about Scientology:

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