Jaime Prater grew up in the Jesus People U.S.A. commune in Chicago. He set out to make a documentary about the religion, and in the process uncovered widespread sexual abuse of children in the group.
The Online Legacy of a Suicide Cult and the Webmasters Who Stayed Behind. A short history of the Heaven's Gate Millenarian Cult and the (ex?) members who still keep the page running seventeen years after their last contact with the leader and members.
Makoto Hirata, a senior member of doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo and one of three remaining fugitives from the group, has turned himself in to police after more than sixteen years on the run, leading to questions about the timing of his surrender now, after all these years. While Aum is best known as the group responsible for the deadly sarin-gas attack on Tokyo's subway system that killed 13 people and injured more than 6000, Hirata is wanted on suspicion of taking part in a different crime, the kidnapping and murder of Kiyoshi Kariya, the brother of an ex-Aum member who had left the group. Despite the fact that police stations and koban (police boxes) throughout Japan have prominently displayed wanted posters of the three Aum Shinrikyo fugitives for the past 16 years, Hirata had remained at large and hadn't had plastic surgery, leading to police speculation that he must have been helped by others while on the run.
Kamikuishiki was a village in the Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan that gained unwanted international attention in 1995 as a key location for Aum Shinrikyo, the religious cult behind a number of acts of violence, including the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway. To change the nature of attention given to the picturesque village, a new attraction was built on the former site of the cult complex: Gulliver's Kingdom, a mixed up theme park with a Scandinavian town, a petting zoo, a French puppet theater to tell the story of Gulliver, and a 45 meter version of Gulliver himself, pinned to the ground. The park was opened in 1997, but Niigata Chuo Bank was facing serious problems two years later, collapsing "under the weight of nonperforming loans." The theme park's owners were the largest borrowers from the bank, and the park closed in 2001. The park was finally purchased in 2002 in the 3rd auction attempt. In 2006, Kamikuishiki disappeared, divided and the parts merged into neighboring municipalities. The next year, Gulliver's Kingdom was demolished, leaving behind photos (new and old), and memories.
Looks like FOX News called it -- UK neuroscientists now suggest that the brains of Apple devotees are stimulated by Apple imagery in the same way that the brains of religious people are stimulated by religious imagery.
A Saint for Lost Souls. "The barrio of Tepito, where it's said that everything is for sale except dignity, has been one of Mexico City's roughest neighborhoods since Aztec times. Famous for its black market and its boxing champions, Tepito is a place where residents learn to fight early and fight hard. These days it has also become the epicenter of Mexico's fastest-growing faith: Santa Muerte, or Holy Death, a hybrid religion that merges Catholic symbolism with pre-Hispanic worship of the skeletal Mictlantecuhtli and Mictlancihuatl, Lord and Lady of the Dead."
The cult of fashion; the fashion of cults.
A 15-year-old in London is being prosecuted for holding a sign calling Scientology a "cult", during a peaceful demonstration (0:55-1:40). The teenager refused to back down, quoting a 1984 high court ruling from Mr Justice Latey, in which he described the Church of Scientology as a "cult" ... The City of London police came under fire two years ago when it emerged that more than 20 officers, ranging from constable to chief superintendent, had accepted gifts worth thousands of pounds from the Church of Scientology. The City of London Chief Superintendent, Kevin Hurley, praised Scientology for "raising the spiritual wealth of society" during the opening of its headquarters in 2006. Last year a video praising Scientology emerged featuring Ken Stewart, another of the City of London's chief superintendents via
Children of God film to premiere September 6 on HBO. Filmmaker Noah Thomson goes in search of the young adults who have made a life for themselves outside of the controversial Christian cult "The Children of God." [previously] Many children of this cult have failed to thrive in the outside world and committed suicide, unable to adjust to life in a society indifferent to their abuse as children. Premieres Thursday September 6 on HBO. Link to trailer (sound is low). Jane Magazine has an article on the group and Noah Thompson in its June/July issue. [link to text and PDF scans].
Eight of the craziest cults evar. An honorable mention is being considered for the Taiwanese chicken cult.
Welcome, space brothers, from representatives of planet earth! It's the Unarius Academy of Science. (wp)
Why waste time on playing roleplaying games or writing pastiches when you can actually worship Cthulhu? Join an existing Cthulhu cult or form your own!. They've got a book and everything! (though it may contain big chunks of wiki-plagarism). As ever, the ability to rock a traditionalist shaved-head-and-goatee satanist look considered a plus.
Modern Mummification. For yourself or your pets. The Summum organization, which incorporates a variety of religious and spiritual philosophies into its belief system, introduced modern mummification in 1975 as a means to "guide one's essence to a greater destination following the death of the body." They even have their own pyramid, in Utah of all places. There are several webpages for the kiddies, even very young ones. One presentation for kids explains that mummification is like "a caterpillar turning into a butterfly." Some people would like to expose the whole thing as a batshitinsane, money-making cult.
Gwen Shamblin's faith-based weight loss program, The Weigh Down Workshop, has been so successful that in 1999 she spun off her own Evangelical church, now found in over 100 cities worldwide. Her weight loss methods are not without controversy, and her church has recently been in the news.
The Panacea Society is a small group in England that has existed since the 1920s, waiting for Jesus to return to Earth and move into the house they've set up for him in Bedford - the new Jerusalem. Built on the prophecies of Octavia, a vicar's widow obsessed with the prophecies of 18th/19th century English prophetess Joana Southcott, the Panaceans are the keepers of a box of prophecies left by Joanna. "War, disease, crime and banditry will increase until the Bishops open Joanna Southcott's box" is still being placed in newspapers on their behalf as they send out linen squares, breathed upon by Octavia before her death, that will, if placed in jugs of water, will heal and protect. Harmless neighborhood church group or money-grubbing cult? As they receive more attention (including a documentary shown on Channel 4) and their members slowly die off, it'll be interesting to see what happens...
Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple. Was it a religion, a revolutionary social movement, a cult, or a combination of them all?
Spare the rod? Heck no! God says beat and pimp your child! "House of Prayer" cult encourages group beatings of children in church. "Reverend" encourages marriages of 14-year-olds to "prevent potential whores." He also discusses genitalia and hikes up skirts during services. He's not the unaspanker, he's much worse.
Even the bad guys have PR sites these days. From the cuddly looks of this buddhist sect leader, you'd never have assumed he was responsible for the only large-scale act of terrorism in Japan in recent memory (the Tokyo subway Sarin gassing).
Does "Battlefield Earth" make anyone else nervous? The film has a deep connection to the church of Scientology - an organization that has seen a certain amount of controversy (though I don't wish to belittle the belief system of anyone). This connection seems to have gone unnoticed. Is there cause for concern when a heavily marketed film is surreptiously tied to an organized religion?
'Is the glass half empty of half full? That all depends upon who is looking at it. The case is similar with the Bible. For thousands of years man has been putting his own spin on Religion and the Scriptures and now so can you. Simply select the beliefs that are most advantageous to you and ‘The Cult Construction Set’ will generate actual Bible scriptures to support these beliefs. Now you too can start your own Cult in the comfort of your home!'