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There was a young man from Moldavia
Who couldn’t believe in the saviour
So he erected instead
With himself as the head
A religion of indecorous behaviour. Author unknown
Cult leaders use artificially devised punish-and-reward scenarios – often combined with informational and sense deprivation – to brainwash people into supporting them. The reward part can include reaching the bliss sensation, which allows the procedure to become self-perpetuating. The tie is strong enough that sometimes merely being in their guru or leader’s presence or around something that reminds them of him will cause the brain to dissociate ...
Every mainstream religion has tapped into the technique over the centuries, he says, either through direct meditation or through chanting, hymns and other mantra-like focusing techniques that can produce the same reaction, perhaps explaining why people in evangelical church congregations see the same visions and have some of the same physical reactions as modern spiritualists. Jeremy Loome, Achieving Meditative Bliss
The religious fraud is probably the most insidious. I’ve seen more money stolen in the name of God than any other way. It’s the worst form of con-artistry that you can imagine. But think about ministers and those in the religious order – these are the folks you look up to and trust. Joe Borg, Director, Alabama Securities Commission
Double-think means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously and accepting both of them. The party intellectual knows in which direction his memories must be altered, therefore he knows that he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of double think, he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated. George Orwell
In The Life of Brian, one of the many things the Monty Python team got right was the extreme rapidity with which a new religious cult can get started. It can spring up almost overnight and then become incorporated into a culture, where it plays a disquietingly dominant role. The ‘cargo cults’ of Pacific Melanesia and New Guinea provide the most famous real life example. The entire history of some of these cults, from initiation to expiry, is wrapped up within living memory. Unlike the cult of Jesus, the origins of which are not reliably attested, we can see the whole course of events laid out before our eyes (and even here, as we shall see, some details are now lost). It is fascinating to guess that the cult of Christianity almost certainly began in very much the same way, and spread initially at the same high speed.
My main authority for the cargo cults is David Attenborough’s Quest in Paradise, which he very kindly presented to me. The pattern is the same for all of them, from the earliest cults in the nineteenth century to the more famous ones that grew up in the aftermath of the Second World War. It seems that in every case the islanders were bowled over by the wondrous possessions of the white immigrants to their islands, including administrators, soldiers and missionaries. They were perhaps the victims of (Arthur C) Clarke’s Third Law, which I quoted in Chapter 2: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’. Professor Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion @ chapter 5, The Roots of Religion
In the 1950s, the young David Attenborough sailed to Tanna with a cameraman, Geoffrey Mulligan, to investigate the cult of John Frum. ibid. p204
Anthropologists have noted two separate outbreaks in New Caledonia, four in the Solomons, four in Fiji, seven in the New Hebrides, and over fifty in New Guinea, most of them being quite independent and unconnected with one another. The Majority of these religions claim that one particular messiah will bring the cargo when the day of the apocalypse arrives. David Attenborough, Quest in Paradise
Deus Sol Invictus, the unconquered sun-god, was the sun-god of the Roman empire. The cult was created by the Roman emperor Aurelian, and offered prayers and sacrifices to the spirit of the sun. The spirit of the sun has a name: it is called the Solar Logos, and it is this spirit which the Roman Sol Invictus cult prayed to. The Romans held a festival on December 25th called Deus Natalis Solis Invicti, the birthday of the unconquered sun. This festival has been transformed over time and is now called Christmas. Chris Everard, Spirit World II
Many Satanists throughout history have performed rituals to invoke the negative aspect of the Solar Logos personality. The negative and destructive aspect of the Solar Logos is known by all black magicians as the Black Sun. In the ancient world an eclipse was considered to be a time when the negative aspect of the sun’s spirit could be visibly seen. And across the world millions of animals, men, women and children were sacrificed at the time of the eclipse, or the Black Sun. Worship of the destructive spirit of the Black Sun is still going on to this day. For example, the iron cross of the Nazis is a symbol of the Black Sun. And so to was the roundtable of King Arthur. ibid.
An estimated 5,000 economic, political, and religious groups operate in the United States alone at any given time, with 2.5 million members. Over the last ten years, cults have used tactics of coercive mind control to negatively impact an estimated 20 million victims in the last ten years. Worldwide figures are even greater. Margaret Singer, Cults in Our Midst, 1997
The persuasive techniques used by totalist cults to bind and exploit the members, while not magical or infallible, are sufficiently powerful and effective to assure the recruitment of a significant percentage of those approached, and the retention of a significant percentage of those enlisted. Louis Jolyon West, Persuasive Techniques in Religious Cults, 1989
Every faction conditions its members to think and act a certain way. And most people do it. For most people, it’s not hard to learn, to find a pattern of thought that works and stay that way. But our minds move in a dozen different directions. We can’t be confined to one way of thinking, and that terrifies our leaders. It means we can't be controlled. And it means that no matter what they do, we will always cause trouble for them. Veronica Roth, Divergent
Mass suicide. Human sacrifice. Unholy rituals. Throughout history there are those who have claimed to have other-worldly knowledge and have led their followers to commit horrific acts of violence ... Could they be behind some of mankind's deadliest cult? Ancient Aliens s3e12: Aliens and Deadly Cults, History 2011
The Brotherhood of the Snake: the gods infiltrated the Brotherhood of the Snake. ibid.
Is it possible that extraterrestrials posed as false gods in order to keep humans under their control? ibid.
Thirty-nine neatly arranged corpses. The final act of devotion to a charismatic leader named Marshall Applewhite. And the suicide cult he created known as Heaven’s Gate. ibid.
In the ancient world entire empires were also ruled by men who claimed to have direct links to a higher power. ibid.
After further visions, Applewhite’s story evolved. ibid.
According to the ancient Sumerian texts Enki defies his superiors and hands down this forbidden knowledge to a secret society known as the Brotherhood of the Snake. ibid.
On property belonging to drug lord Adolfo Constanzo they find twelve bodies buried in a row. Some have been shot, others hacked to death with a machete. ibid.
Beginning in 1971 renowned psychic Yuri Gellor along with Andre Puharich, a respected scientist and para-psychologist, claimed to be receiving strange telepathic messages ... from a computer intelligence orbiting the Earth that called itself Spectra ... Might it have been a so-called Trickster god? ibid.
The Thuggees: they are history’s deadliest cult. ibid.
Christian suicide sects like the Circumcellions became so widespread that they drove the church to declare suicide a sin in 364 A.D. ibid.
Yet another cult was formed in Uganda called The Movement for the Restoration of Ten Commandments of God ... More than seven hundred and fifty bodies were recovered. ibid.