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Soldier of the One

List your favorite wackadoodle religion or cult!

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Soldier of the One

In an alternative universe, I would have loved to become a specialist in 'fringe cults and religions'. One of my more eclectic hobbies is hunting the Internet for strange and intriguing philosophies and faiths.

 

Of course, the Internet is an unlimited source of the crazy. I believe that peering into the souls of counter-cultural faith groups can tell us a lot about our own cultural priorities. In a sense, they hold up a mirror to ourselves.

 

What's your favorite wackadoodle religion?

 

My first contribution are the Raelians.

 

They are your run-of-the-mill Space Age alien cult but strangely well-organized (by comparison, of course). Founded by a French Jewish (!) journalist in the 1970's, I think, the Raelians have a mission for all mankind. And it includes human cloning.

 

rael.org/home

 

Who's next?

 

[Edited to break link]

Edited by OnceUponATime
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maybeizfundie

I'm partial to communes, myself.

There's the 12 Tribes--a little hippie commune (but rejecting liberal politics), folk music/dancing, agrarian, a whole lot of Messianic, and the scary eschatology. twelvetribes.org

Australia is having a visitation from Jesus.

au.news.yahoo.com/sunday-night/features/article/-/10276027/inside-australias-chilling-new-cult/

Saw an interview with him and my gosh, he is one of the creepiest people I've ever seen. He makes me think of Jim Jones in many ways, especially his aquisition of a cute little "Mary" (well, several "Mary"s, as he admitted in the interview).

There's another one in Australia, but I can't remember the name. Everybody wears the same color (navy blue and white) clothing. Weird, weird connection with my cult experience--at one time the cult my family was in set up a "safe house" for escapees from that cult. The irony is just....killer.

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maybeizfundie

And here's ours: bruderhof.org

The pictures totally freak me out. Because anybody under 15 I've never met, but they all look so familiar. And the people in their late teens to early twenties I knew as infants and little kids, and probably changed a few of their diapers. :shock:

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Patsy

The women in the Exclusive Brethren wear blue head bandanas, is that what you mean?

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maybeizfundie

I'm not sure. In the one I'm thinking of, all of the clothing is uniform colors, not just headcovering.

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Guest Anonymous
And here's ours: bruderhof.org

The pictures totally freak me out. Because anybody under 15 I've never met, but they all look so familiar. And the people in their late teens to early twenties I knew as infants and little kids, and probably changed a few of their diapers. :shock:

Ooh, were you in the Bruderhof? I read a lot about them, maybe 10 years ago, way before I started being interested in fundies. I would love to hear more about them from someone who had been on the inside.

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maybeizfundie

I will do my best to answer any questions. It took me about 10 years to be able to use the word cult, after we left. It took about 13 years for me not to think about the place at least once daily, and everyone in my family still has occasional dreams about it. Huge, huge impact on us. Such mixed memories--incredibly good times, but a whole lot of poo, as well.

We were only there 5 years as members (pre-teen and teen years for me), with about 5 years prior to that of visiting and "thinking about" joining on my parent's part. So for full disclosure, I have a somewhat limited knowledge. Everything that has gone on with them after we left I heard second or third hand, and it's hard sorting out all of that. My parents have shared some of the stuff that happened surrounding our stay and our eventual departure, but I'm pretty sure there's more that was too painful to talk about in detail.

I don't know if it's better to discuss here, or in a new thread, or via PM? They're kind of a different type than the fundies that normally get threads here.

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maybeizfundie

And this is a little scary for me, because I *know* they troll the web for negative commentary. If we had family still there, I probably wouldn't be OK talking much at all, because of the potential consequences.

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Guest Anonymous

Wow, thank you for sharing that. I won't ask more personal questions - and I'm sorry it still has such an impact on you and your family. I first heard of them because I got hold of a free book that they published about a boy who died of cancer, and I subsequentl looked them up online. I was at the tail end of coming out of Christianity and was so attracted to the apparently idyllic community lifestyle after having such a disappointing experience of my own 'church'. I subscribed to their newsletter for a while. I even thought about visiting them at one point - more out of curiosity than a real desire to join... they used to be open to visitors spending a night there and joining in the community. Then all of a sudden the website went dead and I did some searching and found other websites with horrific 'survivor' stories. I lost track of them until now - it looks like their website is almost fully restored, and they have opened a new London community in the UK - but they don't openly welcome visitors anymore.

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pomology

The Reasonablists from Parks and Recreation. Sadly they do not exist in real life, but the creators of the show have done an exquisite job in creating a background for the cult.

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MonkeyMomma

Not necessarily its own religion, but I'm fascinated by Dr. Bronner (of the famous castile soap) and his religious ramblings. All One! The documentary Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox on Netflix is a great intro if you aren't familiar.

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slh12280
I'm partial to communes, myself.

There's the 12 Tribes--a little hippie commune (but rejecting liberal politics), folk music/dancing, agrarian, a whole lot of Messianic, and the scary eschatology. twelvetribes.org

This group had a natural foods restaurant in my city. I went there and found a pamphlet about "How to Join Our Movement." It was really spiritual connect back to earth commune type Christianity? I don't know I was kinda fascinated by it. The people also used to have an interesting sense of dress. The women wore long skirts or really baggy pants with headcoverings, they also had long hair. The men just looked like hippies. Well the food was good.

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maybeizfundie
Then all of a sudden the website went dead and I did some searching and found other websites with horrific 'survivor' stories. I lost track of them until now - it looks like their website is almost fully restored, and they have opened a new London community in the UK - but they don't openly welcome visitors anymore.

Yeah. They change policy/web presence a lot. And their name. And what they believe. They do the whole crisis/freak out/reconciliation/unity cycle (handy dandy manipulation tool, that). So sometimes it's "open to all" and sometimes it's "circle the wagons".

Who knows, you might run into some, someday. They show up in odd places all the time. Currently a lot of their outreach involves sending out a married couple (without their children :( ) or pairs of young people to various cities, to work and, well, "outreach", I'm not sure to what end. There have also been a bunch of mini-commune houses set up all over the place, with maybe 1 or 2 families and a few singles.

Sadly, the survivor stories that are available online are just the tip of the iceberg. :( Many in my generation who have left have suffered tremendously, but don't publicize it because they have hopes of maintaining whatever contact they can with parents and siblings. After reconnecting with many of them, I realized that I was incredibly lucky--both in avoiding direct abuse and in leaving with my whole family intact. We hurt a whole lot, but the pain others have gone through is so, so much more.

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yetanothermeg

I've always been partial to polygamists since I first saw the movie Child Bride of Shortcreek on tv when I was a kid. The dad from Different Strokes played the prophet. After that I used to pretend I was the leader of my own religion and everyone had to dress like it was Little House on the Prarie and I would diagram the town we would all live in and stuff like that. I was maybe 8? So FLDS, United Apostolic Brethren (think Sister Wives), Centennial Park, the Le Baron group (I think they were calling themselves The Church of the Firstborn in the Fullness of Times). Then, as a teenager, I got into religions that require special clothing, so Amish, Conservative and Old Order Mennonites, Hutterites, River Brethren, various types of German Baptist Brethren (a lot of them used to have personal webpages and then blogs, but I don't see them any more so I think they aren't allowed to have them now?), and also the Bruderhof. Then, I just got into random headcovering women, random "plain" women (there are alot of women who just dress mennonite because they want to, also plain Quakers), then quiverfull, etc.

I would also have liked to have been able to study the sociology of religion, but felt like it wouldn't be practical so I got a grad degree in something else. Should have followed my dreams!

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yetanothermeg

Yeah. They change policy/web presence a lot. And their name. And what they believe. They do the whole crisis/freak out/reconciliation/unity cycle (handy dandy manipulation tool, that). So sometimes it's "open to all" and sometimes it's "circle the wagons".

Who knows, you might run into some, someday. They show up in odd places all the time. Currently a lot of their outreach involves sending out a married couple (without their children :( ) or pairs of young people to various cities, to work and, well, "outreach", I'm not sure to what end. There have also been a bunch of mini-commune houses set up all over the place, with maybe 1 or 2 families and a few singles.

Sadly, the survivor stories that are available online are just the tip of the iceberg. :( Many in my generation who have left have suffered tremendously, but don't publicize it because they have hopes of maintaining whatever contact they can with parents and siblings. After reconnecting with many of them, I realized that I was incredibly lucky--both in avoiding direct abuse and in leaving with my whole family intact. We hurt a whole lot, but the pain others have gone through is so, so much more.

Wow, it sounds like you were there at a pivitol point in your development of self too, as a preteen and teen. How were you able to reintegrate into normal society? Are there people who have been in the Bruderhof for generations? Who are the leaders?

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dawbs

I have a nagging interest in Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, but they're nto really 'present' any more--but I did spend some time at PTL (their community) as a kid. Which is why I"m still interested.

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maybeizfundie

anniec, I didn't mean to put you off asking questions. I'm just nervous, but willing to try to answer what I can. :)

Wow, it sounds like you were there at a pivitol point in your development of self too, as a preteen and teen. How were you able to reintegrate into normal society?

To be honest? I'm not sure I ever did, lol. But at least I can function. The first 5 or so years out, I was a horrible, terrified, depressed mess. My parents did their best to help, and we were very fortunate to be surrounded by caring, loving people of all types who helped us heal in various ways.

Are there people who have been in the Bruderhof for generations? Who are the leaders?

This group started in the early 20th century (right around the time Hitler was coming to power), so yes there are families that have been there for generations. They tend to be the "elite" class, though that would never, ever be admitted. The current leader/spokesperson is a grandson of the founder, although we hear on and off insistences from them that he's not *really* the leader and that others are leading (because they don't like the implication that it's a family dynasty). Some who have left say that there are others who are pulling the strings behind the scenes, but again that is second hand knowledge and not something I can speak to.

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mirele

I wouldn't say they're my *favorite* whackadoodle cult, but I do confess that Scientology's held my eye since 1993. Oddly enough, even though the space alien cult has a hate website about me and 50 or so of my friends and acquaintances, I've never been inside a "church" of Scientology. Only outside. Usually with a picket sign.

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maybeizfundie

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

There are some of those. I love John Michael Talbot's music, but the commune thing that he is involved with makes me cringe, though I don't have a solid reason for that.

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yetanothermeg

I've read a book by Eberhard Arnold's wife, I can't remember what it was called now. It sounded idyllic. When you talk about the group dynamics and the manipulation, what do you mean? The whole crisis, freakout, reunification cycle, how would that play out? What made your parents finally leave?

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yetanothermeg
I wouldn't say they're my *favorite* whackadoodle cult, but I do confess that Scientology's held my eye since 1993. Oddly enough, even though the space alien cult has a hate website about me and 50 or so of my friends and acquaintances, I've never been inside a "church" of Scientology. Only outside. Usually with a picket sign.

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.

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contrary

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

Jim and Tammy Faye! I grew up in Charlotte, near their PTL/Heritage USA. It was really something, to be sure. Tammy Faye became a personal favorite after "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" documentary, and her fabulous turn on Surreal Life with Ron Jeremy and Vanilla Ice.

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Linnea

Oh wow. I grew up near one (or maybe several?) of the Bruderhof communities in NY state. I remember seeing them in the doctor's waiting room when I was a kid, and my mother explaining to me they dressed that way because of their religion. As a kindergarten teacher, she was a big fan of the wooden toys they manufactured. I haven't thought about them in years.

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