The word cult refers to the act of worship or any religious ceremony, however, this term is controversial. Cults comprise of a group of people who are devoted towards a specific religious practice. There is an extensive list of the scariest, creepiest and the most insane cults that were practiced in ancient times. Even today in this modernized and globalized world, some people are still a part of many of those cults. These cults arise from novel beliefs and practices.
There are many religions around the globe and these religions are further divided into so many subgroups, sects, and denominations. Interestingly, every religion perceives itself to be the right religion or true religion. Religious beliefs may have countable benefits but following superstitious and mislaid faith can be very destructive. Such superstitious and misleading beliefs have in turn caused serious issues for humanity. Here we have tried to jot down 15 such insane religious cults that are still being practiced around the globe.
15. Order of the Solar Temple aka Suicide Cult
It commenced in 1984 by Di Mambro and Luc Joret in Geneva. The followers of this cult believe in the reality and ideals of Knights Templar; which was the most powerful organization of Christianity from the 12th to 14th century. They want to establish rule and power around the globe and they want to assist humanity through a great changeover. They believe that Christ will come back as a solar God-king. A 3-month-old infant was killed by Di Mambro as he claimed that the child was the antichrist. This cult is involved in mass murders and suicides in Switzerland as part of their religious customs. When the founders felt that they would soon be prosecuted by the government, they committed mass suicide on the pretext that the world was going to face an environmental disaster because of which they need to leave prematurely.
14. Unification Church
It is also a religious movement that was established in South Korea by Sun Myung Moon. Most of the followers of this religious movement belong to Japan, Korea, Philippines and other countries in East Asia. After the death of Moon, his widow Hak Ja Han became the new leader. Unification Church sponsors many organizations and projects in the sectors of businesses, news and media, education, arts, politics and social activism. The church is committed to interfaith activities with other religions; the main religions are Islam and Christianity. They have introduced their own scriptures and are inclined to keep some of their doctrines secret from non-followers. They also have faith in life after death and are known for their mass marriages.
13. The KKK
The main theme behind Ku Klux Klan is white supremacy, but this cult was based on the principles of Christianity. They are extremely brutal and have tortured and murdered many Jews, black people and people from other races. The movie A Time To Kill is an excellent depiction of this cult. It is one of the oldest infamous hate groups in America, most of its members are racial extremists. At its peak, it had 4 million members nationwide that used masks and robes to hide their identities. The role of women in this cult was to participate in the parades, cross lightings, lectures, rallies and boycott of local businesses that were owned by Jews and Catholics.
12. Branch Davidians
This was established in 1955 by David Koresh, who declared that he is the final prophet. He was suspected of abusing many children, but no evidence was found. He told his followers that the state is their enemy. The FBI raided their properties, suspecting weapon violence and Koresh died. He was married to several women and he claimed that he was the perfect man; he wanted to create a new clan of children and wanted them to rule the world. He became a spiritual leader and also changed his name from Vernon Howell to David Koresh. He wanted his followers to be known as ‘Koreshians’. A modern epitome of Branch Davidians continues under the leadership of Charles Pace.
It was founded by Claude Vorilhon in 1974. This is a UFO religion. The followers of this cult believed that the life on Earth has been created by extraterrestrials as they believed in this existence of extraterrestrial entities like UFOs and prophets like Jesus and Buddha. The founder of this cult alleged that he saw an alien spacecraft in France and he wanted to establish an embassy to welcome the aliens when they will return to Earth. They go all out for world peace, sharing, democracy and are against violence. The founder of this cult claims to be in touch with God and believes that through human cloning and mind transfer, humans can have eternal lives. They worship space aliens, promote science and like to be naked in their ceremonies.
10. The Brethren
It was founded by Jim Roberts and is also known as ‘body of Christ’ and ‘garbage eaters’. The members of this cult live as vagrants, do odd jobs, eat trash, and avoid bathing and medical treatment. They do not laugh, or dance and they also avoid contact with the opposite gender. After the death of the founder, the future of this cult is unclear. This is a nomadic religious movement; they practice a simple lifestyle and travel around North America in groups. They live a life of suffering, poverty and endure pain only for spiritual gifts. They have no concept of the Holy Trinity, refer to God as Yeshus, Yahveh and Elohiym, and for them remarriage and divorce is adultery and they believe that homosexual behavior is immoral, sinful and abnormal.
9. Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints
It has between 6,000 to 10,000 members that belong to rural Utah and Arizona; it has control over two small towns whose borders are linked together in these two states. It was established in 1991 by a group of people who were ex-communicated by the church. When this group was under the leadership of Warren Jeffs, child marriages, bigamy, incest, racism, abandonment of teenage boys, child abuse and many other such practices of the cult were made public and he was jailed in 2007. However, he remained the head of the church. They teach the doctrine of plural marriages and placement marriages. Girls are not allowed to cut their hair or wear makeup whereas men wear plain clothing and home schooling of children was promoted.
8. Twelve Tribes
This cult was founded in 1972 in Chattanooga, United States. It has an international presence and it was formed out of a ‘Jesus movement’ by Elbert Spriggs. It spread quickly around the south and has 2500-3000 members. This group promoted the peace and loving vibes of hippie culture; they have no formal ties to Christianity and practice messianic Jewish belief where Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus. They want to establish 12 Israeli around the globe to auspice the end of the world and are also involved in child labor, children home schooling, and tax invasion. They believe that there are three eternal destinies and they are against multiculturalism and forced racial integration.
7. The Church of Euthanasia
It was founded in Boston by Chris Korda and is a new religious cult. The aim of this cult is to maintain a balance between the humans and other species on Earth and does not allow its followers to reproduce. There are four major doctrines of this cult that are suicide, abortion, cannibalism, and sodomy. “Save the planet, kill your self”, “Eat a queer fetus for Jesus”, these were the slogans commonly used by this cult. It was basically a non-profit educational organization but they were extremists. They used to do art performances, dances, music, public demonstrations, public stunts and jamming just to tell people that the population is becoming unsustainable and hence promoted species awareness.
6. Aum Shinrikyo
This Japanese doomsday cult was set up in 1984 by Shoko Asahara, their beliefs were influenced by Indian Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism but this cult became a terrorist organization because of Ashara’s idiosyncratic interpretation. He believed that he could transfer spiritual powers to his followers and can take away their sins and bad deeds. The Tokyo subway sarin attack in 1995 was due to this cult in which 12 people were killed and 1,000 were injured. Ashara claimed himself to be both Christ and the first enlightened one since Buddha. This cult gained the status of religion and there was a large following clan that had thousands of members around the globe. They were of the view that life will end after world war three and only the followers of Aum Shinrikyo will survive.
5. Heaven’s gate
Heaven’s gate is a well known UFO doomsday cult that was set up in the ’70s. The weirdest part was that the founder of this cult told everyone that he has arrived on Earth from another planet in a UFO and if people wanted to get to ‘another level’ then they need to get detached from this world. Many people committed suicide just to get into this so-called aliens space. Only 39 bodies were found by the police. They believed that what God and the Bible tell us about is extraterrestrial life and that all other religions have been manipulated by these aliens. The followers of this group added ‘-ody’ to their first names and lieu of the original name which means “children of the next level”.
4. Kashi Ashram
This Kashi Ashram is based in Florida and was founded by a girl named Joyce Green in 1976. She was a high school dropout and called herself Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati. She gained extra weight by using the ‘Christ diet’ and then founded the ashram that promoted compassion and understanding by living a minimalist lifestyle. Many members of Kashi Ashram were accused of child abuse, pedophilia, extortion, forced marriages and even brainwashing that Ma Jaya was a God. Ma Jaya died in 2003 but her followers believe that she just left her body and that her movement continues. Its roots are from the Hindu philosophy. It is an interreligious and interfaith dialogue and welcomes people from all religions.
3. Restoration of the 10 Commandments
It was a new religious movement started by the Roman Catholic Church and set up by Credonia Mwerinde, Joseph Kibweteere and Bee Tait in Uganda. The main aim of Restoration of the 10 Commandments was to restore the teachings of 10 Commandments and words of Jesus Christ. The communication was done by using sign language and fasts. It soon became a regular practice and only one meal was taken on Fridays and Mondays and the use of soap was not allowed. There was a focus on apocalyptic end time. The cult had many outrageous claims. They claimed that the Virgin Mary had a special role in their cult and their leadership is in contact with her and that they also have Noah’s ark, which was regarded as a righteous ship in the sea of depravity.
2. Bavarian Illuminati
Bavarian Illuminati was established in 1977 by Adam Weishaupt and is one of the main Illuminati groups. It is known as the world’s biggest conspirator even though they have opposed superstitions, obscurantism, religious influence towards citizens and abuse of state power. They are highly involved in world affairs as they think up events and incorporate their agents in government so that they can influence and establish rules of their interest. Many enlightened politicians and significant intellectuals were the members of this cult. The Illuminati have remained the topic of interest in many novels, films, comics, video games etc.
1. The People’s Temple
This cult was run by Jim Jones in 1955. He was a twisted man and used the idea that white men use the Bible as their justification to outshine women and people of color. He encouraged socialism and strengthened his ability to fake faith heal. About 918 people died at the people’s temple agriculture project in mass murders and many attempted suicide just to reach divinity. It was initially established as an interracial group for the well-being of the jobless, homeless and the sick. There was a belief called ‘Translation’, according to this belief the founder Jones and his followers would die together and they would move to another planet. The followers used to practice mass suicide in which all of them pretended to drink poison and fell to the ground.
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