Cults: Fierce Love, Violent Death -- Life Magazine Photo Essay
The Scientology Story is a six part series from the June 24-29, 1990, Los Angeles Times, about the Scandal of Scientology, a network of franchises, "Orgs," "Churches," etc., throughout the world based on theories and policies of L. Ron Hubbard, a science-fiction writer. Steven Fishman -- Scientology in Germany is an alert about how Scientology is a dangerous cult run like a big business.
Since the late 1970s there have been reports of the children of former Children of God, "The Family," and "The Family International" being abducted and moved to other countries. The Family's "Law of Love" permits sex outside marriage and that the group once condoned a practice known as "flirty fishing" -- the use of sex to win converts.
On March 22, 1997, a small cottage in the French Canadian village of St. Casimir exploded into flames with Disciples of the Order of the Solar Temple. Over 70 members died in Canada, Switzerland and France. Luc Jouret, the Belgium leader of the secretive sect.
Branch Davidians, a.k.a. Students of the Seven Seals -- For 51 days, from February 28 to April 19, 1993, armed Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents surrounded the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. The standoff ended in a fire. David Koresh, the leader, and 80 followers, including two dozen children perished. Agents claim the Davidians set the fire and shot themselves. Witnesses said the fire was caused by the ATF. In 1994, 11 members were acquitted of murder or conspiracy to commit murder. Five Davidians were convicted of voluntary manslaughter and/or weapons charges. The Davidian who testified for the government was sentenced to three years; all others were sentenced to 40 years. In 2000, the US Supreme Court reduced most sentences to 15 years plus supervised release for 3 - 5 years.
In Montana, in the hills of a 960-acre wheat farm and sheep ranch, in "Justus Township," at least 21 people called themselves Freemen. They refused to leave the ranch, which they claimed as sovereign territory. The Freemen reject the validity of the US, state and county governments, even refusing to register cars. June 13, 1996: 81-Day Montana Standoff Ends
Heaven's Gate Cult Mass Suicide -- in a rented San Diego County mansion “monastery,” 39 celibate people (castrated males and androgynous females) between the ages of 26 and 72, carrried out a group suicide in March 1997. They believed 2000 years earlier, their leader left his body, to travel by space-ship to Earth, to be incarnated as Jesus Christ.
Shoko Asahara, born Chizuo Matsumoto, partially blind from birth, became an acupuncturist. He owned a folk medicine shop, a yoga school and and claimed to teach others supernatural powers. In 1987, he organized Aum Shinri Kyo. Asahara is Christ to his 20,000 followers. His beliefs are based on the Book of Revelations, and Nostradamus. Asahara called for a final world revolution and established chemical factories to prepare for Armageddon and poison others.
Matamoros, Mexico cult murders -- Adolfo Constanzo
Former followers of The Way International claim the cult demands blind obedience and pulls families apart. Adherents say it is an alternative religion.
The Life and Death of Peoples Temple -- On November 18th, 1978, in Jonestown Guyana, 900 Peoples Temple members died. Jonestown was the informal name for the Agricultural Project run by a leader preaching apostolic socialism. On November 18, 1978, US Congressman Leo Ryan, and four others, were assassinated at the nearby Port Kaituma jungle airstrip. At the compound, the founding leader James "Jim" Warren Jones commanded the mass suicide/murder of every man, women, and child by drinking potassium cyanide and tranquilizers mixed in a sweet drink. Journalist, Tim Reiterman accompanied Congressman Ryan. Odell Rhodes, a Temple member who survived by hiding underneath a building, said the first to line up for the deadly drink were mothers and their babies. He said that there was no panic or emotional outburst; people looked as if they were "in a trance." -- The Jonestown Death Tape (FBI No. Q 042) (November 18, 1978).
In April 1999, Jacques Robidoux, 29, the leader of "The Body," ''Attleboro cult,'' or ''Attleboro sect'' a small sect of two extended families (40 members), living communally, who reject modern medicine, government and science, starved his eleven-month-old son, Samuel, for 51 days, to fulfill a religious vision. Out of jealousy, Robidoux's sister, Michelle Mingo, concocted a prophecy about withholding solid food. Robidoux rejected the insanity defense and refused examination by a psychologist, believing the medical system was controlled by Satan. He is serving a life sentence without parole for first-degree murder. He believed if any harm came to his son, from diet, “he could bring the child back to life.” One of his father's beliefs was that institutions, including the legal system, the medical system, and mainstream religion, were among "Satan's seven counterfeit systems." Karen, who claimed she was brainwashed, was acquitted of second-degree murder, but convicted of assault on a child. In an appeal, Robidoux claimed he grew up with his parents’ religious beliefs and was subjected to mind control when his son starved to death. Jacques father originally led the cult influenced by Carol Balizet. Michelle Mingo pled guilty to Accessory Before the Fact in 2004, and was sentenced to time served. She divorced during the trial and her exhusband has custody of their five children. Rebecca Corneau, a religious extremist, whose gross negligence allowed her last baby to die is a member of the "sovereign nation" of adults from interrelated families who reject governmental authority and adhere to their interpretation of the Old Testament.
Manuela and Daniel Ruda killed Frank Hackerts, 33, a close friend, with a hammer and 66 stab wounds. His decomposing body was found in their apartment. They admitted to stabbing their friend at their trial, but pleaded not guilty under orders from the devil. They showed no remorse, and grinned at the victim's mother. They received 13 and 15 year sentences at a secure psychiatric ward. Manuela's final gesture was a satanic sign with her little and index fingers and inch-long black nails. Manuela said, "It was not murder. It was the execution of an order. Satan ordered us to. It simply had to be. We wanted to make sure that the victim suffered well."
Warren Jeffs, born December 3, 1955, was the prophet of leadership to 10,000 polygamous Fundamentalist Latter Day Saint (FLDS) members, in the US and Canada. The meek appearing, soft-spoken, former school teacher, and accountant was arrested near Las Vegas with wigs, cell phones, laptop computers and $54,000 cash. The "President and Prophet, Seer and Revelator". and "President of the Priesthood," is now in Powledge Prison Unit in Palestine, Texas, for sexually assaulting two girls, 12 and 15, and accomplice to child rape. As he awaits trial for bigamy, he controls the FLDS from his cell. Members were given until December 31, 2011, to show their loyalty to Jeffs by getting rid of all pets and toys, abstaining from all sex and giving $5,000 per month to the church, or lose everything, including their religion. Between 1,000 and 1,500 members were forced to leave in excommunications. Warren's father, Rulon T. Jeffs, the FLDS prophet for 15 years, died at age 92, with 75 wives and 65 children. In 2002, Warren Jeffs, one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, lived in seclusion surrounded by bodyguards. During his sex-abuse trial, mainstream Mormons and modern polygamists were repulsed that he repeatedly quoted Mormon founder Joseph Smith. John Dougherty, New Times staff writer, researched the culture of sexual and psychological abuse, and unlawful expenditure of millions of public dollars for secretive, isolated polygamist communities at the Arizona-Utah border.
The Persecution of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were shot to death by an armed mob in Carthage, Illinois. Mobs attacked Latter-day Saint settlements in the region, burning crops, destroying homes, and threatening settlers with extermination.
Utah's killing fields -- Mountain Meadows Massacre in 1857. Both Mormons and Native Americans were blamed for the attack. In 1857, 120 unarmed members of a wagon train moving through southern Utah were attacked and slaughtered by Mormon militia. A cover-up has gone on for 150 years.
Cleansing Sacrifice and Blood Atonement - Ohio -- Jeffrey Don Lundgren, leader of The Family, an RLDS offshoot, murdered the Avery family members, including a 7-year-old girl, believing the cult would be cleansed by the sacrifice. Brigham Young, taught Blood Atonement. Lundgren is on death row in Ohio. His cult went to prison. Kirtland cult slayings.
Cult of Mormonism: How It All Began -- This describes what the Mormon Church believes and teaches. There are interviews with Mormons who tell why they believe what they do. There are excerpts of the famed "Manti" passion play.
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer -- In 1984, Ron and Dan Lafferty murdered the wife and infant daughter of their younger brother. Krakauer explores the world of Mormon fundamentalism the families were immersed in. The brothers' claim the brutal crimes were orders from God. Mormans are galled that the book focuses on excommunicated fundamentalists, such as Dan and Ron Lafferty.
Sexual Abuse of children in Jehovah Witnesses. Jehovah’s Witness beliefs and practices are based on the Biblical interpretation of its founder, Charles Taze Russell and successors, Joseph Franklin Rutherford and Nathan Homer Knorr. Their beliefs are spread through The Watchtower magazine, conventions, and congregation meetings. Members are to adhere to doctrine without criticism or dissent. Family Murders and Tortures by Jehovah's Witnesses.
Rev. Henry Lyons, leader of the National Baptist Convention, troubles began in July 1997 with an arson at a home he owns with a woman other than his wife. Lyons was charged with racketeering and grand theft.
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