Where do I sign up? (some of the craziest cult leaders you’ve probably never heard of)
A lawsuit was filed recently in Arizona against a business called Dahn Yoga. It is alleged that the owner of the studios, and man by the name of Ilchi Lee, has been running a cult. Former employees and members say that recruits “are unknowingly subjected to an intensive program of psychological manipulation, indoctrination and various techniques of coercive thought reform designed to induce them to become Ilchi Lee’s disciples and devote themselves to serving him and his ‘vision.’ ”
Whatever. I say if you got yourself into it, it’s your fault. I also think that the title of cult leader is a cushy job. You get to make everyone do things for you, they give you all your money, you get to have sex with anyone you want. Not only that, they’ll believe anything you say. Tell them the earth is square. Sure! Tell them they need to kill every person they see making a lane change without signaling. Done deal! Why would anyone not take that job. Hell, you could make your underlings do anything you asked them to, no matter how wacky. They would totally do it, and have your back on any issue. Of course, that could backfire if you get bored and want to leave the cult because they will also hunt you down and kill you. Take the following as examples:
Lord of our Righteousness Church
In 1987, a Seventh-Day Adventist preacher by the name of Wayne Bent got a message from God while sitting on his couch. “You are the Messiah” God said. Wayne must have replied “sounds good to me” and decided to start his own church. Originally located in New Mexico, his church eventually moved to Idaho and hilarity ensued. The cult, now about 100 members strong, operated relatively quietly for about 15 years until a British journalist did a piece on them. Wayne, now calling himself Michael Travesser, decided that October 31, 2007 was a good day for the world to end and proceeded to relay that information to his congregation. There were stings attached, however, as he also told the congregation that God also told him that he needed to sleep with seven virgins before that happened.
Cult members offered up their daughters and Travesser obliged them by making sure God’s work was done. October 31 came and went. When the world continued to function, some cult members became disenchanted, left, and narc’d on their leader. He was arrested, tried, and convicted of criminal sexual contact with minors and was sentenced to 18 years in state prison. No word on whether he was one of seven virgins offered up there.
Unnamed splinter sect of the RLDS
Jeffrey Lundgren had disagreements with the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that he was a member of, his biggest being the fact that they ordained women. (See where this is going) He decided along with his wife that they needed to start their own branch of the church. They recruited 10 other members and bought a house in Kirtland, Ohio for all the members to move into. Of the 12 members, seven moved into the house. The family of Dennis Avery was dragging their feet, and Jeff didn’t like that very much.
Jeffrey took a job as a guide for the local RLDS church and made sure that all the money everybody else made went straight to him. Avery, despite having full faith in Lundgren, set aside a small bank account for his family to use. Lundgren found out about it and started talking to other members about the financial troubles Avery was causing the cult. (Even though Lundgren was the reason for most of the problems) Lundgren originally had a plan to have his members take over the temple where he worked, killing anyone who got in their way. It apparently was because it was about to be discovered that he stole $40,000 from the temple.
He eventually changed his mind and told his members that in order to see God they had to kill a family of five. Luckily for them, the Avery family was the perfect size. The other member lured the Avery’s to a barn, where they were brought to Lungren one by one for him to execute. He was later caught, tried, and executed for his crimes that he called “pruning the vineyard”. Charles Manson would be proud.
The Order of St. Charbel
This one was started in 1968 by William Kamm who said he had a conversation with the Blessed Virgin Mary. He decided that just being a cult leader wasn’t good enough, so he renamed himself Pope Peter II. Conveniently, he said that Mary also told him that, despite being a pope, celibacy did not apply to him and he needed to find 12 queens and 72 princesses who would all become his wives.
He started making prophecies that didn’t quite pan out, including the start of WWIII and that he would be named successor to Pope John Paul II. Anyways, while he was collecting queens and princesses to “spawn a new human race after the world was cleansed and burnt by a ball of fire”, he was arrested on charges of aggravated sexual assault on a 15 year old girl. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The Ant Hill Kids
In 1977, a man named Roch Thériault started a commune in Quebec that the media dubbed “The Ant Hill Kids”. This guy was especially bad. He had as many as 40 people at his commune, 26 of the children. True to cult leader form, all nine adult women in the compound were basically his sexual servants. But Roch wasn’t the nicest guy in the world.
Thériault, claiming to be the reincarnation of Moses, based his teachings on the obedience of women, the sinfulness of his followers, and the absolute power of himself. He convinced all the women that they needed to bear his children and did not take kindly to insubordination. He cut off the arm and removed the teeth of one of his “wives”, and castrated one of the men. He killed his legal wife by disembowelment, which is what eventually landed him a hefty sentence on a murder conviction. But even after that, some of the other wives went on conjugal visits and bore him three more children… What? I was in my 20’s once and remember the trials and tribulations of relationships and sex. This guy is cutting off arms and pulling out teeth and he has women lined up wanting nothing more than to bear his children. I’m in the wrong business.
If these guys could do it, I totally could. I mean, I’m way better looking than any of them. I’ll call it Christian’s Christians. So therefore, go ahead and sell all your possessions and send me the money. Once I have the money, I’ll tell you where to send the women. I’ll even send you an official membership card, a bumper sticker, and an autographed self portrait. Until then, go forth and proselytize heathens. That is all.