Notable Cult Profiles

The People's Temple
Leader:  Jim Jones

Claim (s) to Exclusive Knowledge:  Jones claimed he had the power to heal people.   He claimed he was the only one who could protect his followers from the U.S. Government, nuclear war, and a number of other things.  

Time:  1966-1978
Location (s): Indianapolis, Indiana; Ukiah,California; Guyana, South America 

Group Beliefs:  racial harmony, social equality, Jones was their "father" and leader, 
The U.S. government was out to get them - to stop their socialist experiment, wanted to create a "Utopian Community" in Guyana, South America - free of racism and violence.

Cult-Like Traits: 
(1) Group members showed excessive devotion and loyalty to Jim Jones
(2) Members gave up property, savings, and paychecks to Jones.
(3) Group members lived in isolation - first in California and later at Jonestown settlement - separated from U.S. society and families.
(4) Jones ordered children and adults to be beaten and humiliated in front of others.
(5) Jones claimed he was the only one who could have sex.  Everyone else was a homosexual or lesbian. 
(6) Group members were kept busy and working 24/7 - causing them to be mentally and physically exhausted.
(7) Jones created a "culture of reporting" where nobody could say anything without being reported to him or other church leaders.
(8) Once in Jonestown, members were not allowed to leave.  
(9) Jones separated families and controlled relationships - people not allowed to even talk to each other w/o permission. 

Group Fate: 
    On November 18, 1978, Jones ordered his followers at Jonestown to commit what he called "revolutionary suicide to protest the conditions of an inhuman world."   More than 900 temple members drank kool-aid mixed with drugs and cyanide - either willingly or at gun point.  Jones was shot in the head.   Only a few escaped into the jungle and avoided death.  


Aum Shinryko

Leader: Shoko Asahara (aka Chizou Matsumoto)

Claim to Exclusive Knowledge: declared himself to be Christ - was going to take upon himself the sins of the world.

Time:1984 - Present (still active in Japan & Russia)
Location:  Tokyo, Yamato Japan, Russia

Group Beliefs:
(1) World War III will happen - started by the U.S. - and result in a final nuclear war
(2) Humanity will end EXCEPT for the elite few who join Aum Shinrikyo (of course) - those saved will emerge to rebuild civilization.   
(3) The U.S. is the "beast" from the Book of Revelation
(4) By killing people, they are helping them by preventing them from accumulating "bad karma."
(5) Each member tries to achieve "buddhahood" by being trained by the master (cult leader).
(6) Isolation from society keeps members free of "contamination."  

Cult-Like Traits:
(1) believe that leader is Christ
(2) In worship ceremonies,hung people upside down and gave shock therapy
(3) murdered members who tried to leave and members of press who wrote bad things about the group.
(4) forced members to donate money against their will.  
(5) Carried out several attacks using Sarin gas - most famous on March 20, 1995 when they attacked five Tokyo subway trains - killing 13 and injuring 6,000.  
(6) They want to "jump start" the apocalypse - have been suspected of trying to make chemical and biological weapons.  

Group Fate: 
     On March 20, 1995, Aum Shinrikyo members released Sarin gas on five different trains in the Tokyo subway.  13 commuters were killed, 1,000 critically injured, and another estimate 6,000 affected.   Japanese police began raiding meeting places and eventually arrested the cult leader on May 16th.   He and many of his followers were sentenced to lengthy prison terms for planning and carrying out the attack, but the group continues to exist and even grow - most notably in Russia.  

The Manson Family
Leader:  Charles Manson 

Claim (s) To Exclusive Knowledge: - claimed to be Jesus and/or to know about the coming race war (Helter Skelter) that would destroy the world.  He also claimed to have certain "supernatural" powers - like to read people's minds and/or predict future events. 

Time: 1967-1970+
Location:  Los Angeles, California area

Group Beliefs:
(1) there would soon be a race war between blacks and whites in America (Helter Skelter)
(2) Manson and his followers would take shelter in a hole in Death Valley and then emerge to rule the world!  
(3) Manson told them they had to commit several grizzly murders and blame them on black people in order to get "Helter Skelter" started.
(4) Manson claimed that the Beatles "spoke to him" through the music and lyrics of their 1968 White Album - telling him about Helter Skelter.  

Image result for manson familye

Cult-Like Traits:
(1) group members followed and obeyed Manson w/o question
(2) lived together at isolated and abandoned movie ranch outside LA
(3) Manson used drugs/LSD to keep his mostly female followers in a confused and highly
      suggestible state.
(4) Manson separated mothers from their children in order to keep the women in the group
(5) Manson determined ALL group activities down to the smallest details.
(6) Manson ordered girls to use sex to attract new male members to the group.  

Fate of Group:
   In August 1969, Manson and several of his followers carried out a series of brutal murders in the hills outside of LA.  They were caught, put on trial, and sentenced to life in prison.  Some of the group members tried to keep the family going for years afterward, but it was not much w/o Charlie - their leader.   Charles Manson and two of the three "Manson Girls" are still alive, and still in prison today.  


The Branch Davidians

Leader:  Vernon Howell (aka. David Koresh)

Image result for David Koresh

Claim (s) to Exclusive Knowledge:  claimed to have visited and talked to God in heaven while on a trip to Israel.   Koresh said that God told him he was the Lamb of God mentioned in the Book of Revelation and that his job was to open the 7th seal that would bring forth the end times. 

Image result for David Koresh lamb of god

Time:  1955-1993
Location:  Waco, Texas

Group Beliefs:
(1) their leader was the Lamb of God and would lead them in bringing about the final judgement described in The Book of Revelation
(2) they believed that each generation produced one prophet who knew the wishes of God - Koresh was the last of three different leaders of the group.

Cult-Like Traits:
(1) Koresh claimed the exclusive right to have sexual relations with female members of the group - including younger girls.
(2) Koresh had his group stockpile weapons and ammunition in preparation for the "final days."
(3) Koresh held all-night Bible studies to keep his followers tired and unable to think for themselves.
(4) Koresh isolated his followers in a compound outside Waco, Texas. 

Group Fate:
   Koresh and most of his followers were killed after a shootout and standoff with the ATF and FBI at their compound near Waco.  To this day, nobody knows exactly what happened.   On February 28, 1993, FBI and ATF agents arrived at the Waco compound with a warrant to search the property for illegally modified firearms.   When they approached the building, shooting started.  To this day, both sides claim that the other fired first.  The government agents retreated, but surrounded the property - the start of a standoff that would last until April 19th.   On the last day, the FBI used a tank/armored vehicle to insert tear gas into the compound - to drive the people inside out.  Almost instantly, the entire building burst into flames.  All but 7 or so of the cult members inside - including Koresh - died.  
     Anti-government people claim that the FBI set the building on fire, but there are recordings and survivor testimonies indicating that Koresh ordered his followers to douse the inside of the building with flammable liquid - gas or something else - and then set fire to themselves.  Yikes. 


Colonia Dignidad (Dignity Colony)

Leader: Paul Schafer

Claim to Exclusive Knowledge:  None, really.  He was a Baptist-style preacher and anti-communist who started an agricultural commune of German immigrants in Chile, South America.
He was a medic in the German army during WWII and had, from an early age, been a member of the Hitler Youth.  

Time:  1961-1997
Location: Central Chile,South America

Map of Chile showing Colonia Dignidad

Group Beliefs:
(1) Work is the purpose of human life - one should not want to rest or have fun.  (Wow.  I wish I could join THIS group ----- NOT!). 
(2) Group should serve the community - set-up free medical clinic and orphanage for local children.
* It should be noted that Schafer used the orphanage to provide himself with young boys and girls to molest.  He was one messed-up dude.   

Cult-Like Traits:
(1) members forced to work hard at farming and construction with NO pay!
(2) members never allowed to leave colony
(3) colony located in isolated region of Central Chile - surrounded by barbed wire fences and guard towers.  
(4) Television, telephones, and calendars all banned!
(5) those who tried to escape or broke group rules were beaten and tortured with electric shock
(6) Sex was forbidden!
(7) Some residents forced to take drugs to reduce their sexual desires and/or keep them from causing problems.
(8) Group had large stores of weapons and ammo.

Image result for colonia dignidad

Group Fate:  
     Schafer was allowed to "stay in business" in Chile until the 1990s!   In 1997, Chile's new government brought charges of child abuse against Shafer.   The cult leader disappeared from Chile on May 20th to avoid arrest.   He was not found and arrested until 2005 - hiding outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina.  He was sent back to Chile and put on trial for his child sex abuses, human rights violations,and other charges.  He was sentenced to 33 years in prison.  He remained in prison until he died on April 24, 2010 at the age of 88.  The colony remains active in Chile, but claims to have totally changed for the good - I would sure hope so!
Heavens' Gate

Leader: Marshall Applewhite (aka - "Doh")

Claim (s) to Exclusive KnowledgeApplewhite believed he was directly related to Jesus and once wrote a pamphlet identifying himself as the reincarnation of Jesus.  He and his wife also claimed to be the two witnesses described in the Book of Revelation.  He said he was the only one who knew how to prepare the human body and spirit to leave this world and go on to a better life.  He and his wife believed they had been given "higher-level" minds than other people.


Time: 1972-1997
Location: San Diego, CA

Image result for heaven's gate

Group Beliefs:
(1) They were taught and believed that a spacecraft was trailing The Hale-Bopp Comet and would take them to a better life - after, of course, they killed themselves!
(2)  The planet Earth was going to be "recycled" and the only chance to survive was to leave right away.
(3) Human bodies were just vessels to help them on their journey to "the next level."  They referred to their bodies as "vehicles."
(4) To get to "the next level," they had to give up every human characteristic - family, friends, sexuality, individuality, jobs, money, and possessions. 
(5) Some went to Mexico to get castrated so they wouldn't think about sex.
(6) They believed that aliens could possess your body - "walk-ins."  

Cult-Like Traits:
(1) Lived together in mansion - isolated themselves from the rest of society. Only selected members could go out in public.
(2) believed Doh was the second coming of Christ
(3) All had similar haircuts and wore graduation "uniforms" when they killed themselves.
(4) Had very unorthodox beliefs - spacecraft trailing a comet?  Really?
(5) Group members had to give up their material possessions.  
(6) 39 members, including Applewhite, took poison and killed themselves on March 26, 1997. 

Group Fate:
    On March 26, 1997, 39 members of the group - including Marshall Applewhite (Do) - were found dead in a mansion/compound in San Diego, CA.   In videos left behind, group members showed no distress and seemed excited to board a spacecraft that Applewhite had told them was trailing the Hale-Bopp Comet.  

The Raelians

Leader: Claude Vorilhon (now known as Rael).

Image result for rael

Claim (s) to Exclusive Knowledge:  claims that aliens introduced themselves to him and chose him to receive their final message.

Time: 1976-Present
Location: Paris, France; Quebec, Canada

Group Beliefs:
(1) All life on earth was scientifically created millions of years ago by aliens - called Elohim.  
(2) If humans become aware and peaceful enough, the aliens will come back to earth. 
(3) People should try to clone humans -so they can create life like the Elohim did.  In 2002, they claimed to have successfully cloned a human child.
(4) They support ALL forms of sexual activity.  
(5) They do not believe in any god - instead that aliens created all world religions.  
(6) They must build a $20 million embassy before the aliens will come back to visit earth.

Cult-Like Traits:
(1) They are led by one guy (Rael) whom all group members follow as their leader.
(2) They wear white robes and have a strange symbol (Swastika + Jewish Star). 
(3) They act unusually happy and friendly.
(4) Their beliefs are HIGHLY unorthodox - with aliens, cloning, and what not.
(5) They have elaborate rituals to initiate new members.


Movement For the Restoration of The Ten Commandments of God

Leaders: Credonia Mwerinde, Joseph Kibweteere, and Bee Tait.

Claims To Exclusive Knowledge:  claimed to have had visions of Virgin Mary and then received messages from her through a hidden telephone system that communicated through everyday objects.  Oooooookaaaaay.    They claimed to know when the end of the world was coming and to have spoken directly to God.  

Time: late 1980s - 2000
Location: Ugana, East Africa

Group Beliefs:
(1) to avoid damnation in the apocalypse, one had to strictly follow The Ten Commandments
(2) They saw themselves as a kind of Noah's Ark- a ship of "good" in a sea of "sin"
(3) they believed that the world would end in 2000

Cult-Like Traits:
(1) To avoid breaking one of the commandments, they would discourage talking and communicate in sign language.
(2) Sex and soap were both forbidden.   
(3) New members had to read the groups' booklet over and over again.
(4) strong belief in apocalyptic end time - predicted world would end in 2000
(5) members lived communally on land bought by pooling profits from selling their property - which they had to sell when joining the group
(6) In 1998, group was shut down by Ugandan government for unsanitary conditions, child labor, and possibly kidnapping children.  
(7) believed their leaders spoke directly to God
(8) 530 members were killed in explosion/fire at meeting place in Kanangu - windows and doors had been boarded.
(9) Hundreds of others died in different sites across Uganda -poisoned and stabbed! 
(10) 778 total members killed!   Leaders believed to still be alive!  

Image result for ugandan death cult

The Order of The Solar Temple

Leaders: Joseph Di Mambro & Luc Jouret

Image result for joseph Di Mambro and Luc Jouret

Claims To Exclusive Knowledge:  None.  These two guys just started the group and shared it's vision with others - for a New Age.  Both, at one time or another, claimed to have been Knights Templar in a previous life.   Jouret later claimed to be the 3rd coming of Christ and to know that the world was going to end.  

* FYI - The Knights Templar were a Christian military organization (an order of Knights) who were active during the Crusades (1129-1312).  They were always regarded with some suspicion because of their secret rituals and ceremonies. 

Time: 1984-1995 (Group is still active!) 
Locations: Quebec, Canada (Eh?) - also had temple "lodges" in Australia, Switzerland, and the island of Martinique (Caribbean Sea).  

Morin-Heights is located in Central QuebecImage result for lucerne switzerland mapVercors Massif is located in France
LEFT: The location of Morin Heights, Quebec.
RIGHT: a map of Switzerland showing Geneva (where the group started) and Lucerne - near which the group had "lodges."   The
 lodges were located in Cheiry and Salvan - two villages in Western Switzerland - too small to appear on the map above. 

ABOVE:  the group also had a lodge in the Vercors Mts. of southeastern France.  

Group Beliefs:
(1) the aims of the group include (d):
      - "establishing correct notions of authority and power in the world."   Whatever that means.
      -  assisting humanity through a great "transition"; preparing for the Second Coming of 
          Christ as a solar god-king; Whatever THAT means? 
       -  furthering a unification of all Christian churches and Islam.

(2)  the followers of Joseph Di Mambro were brainwashed to believe he was a member of the 14th Century Christian Order of the Knights Templar in a previous life and that his daughter, Emanuelle, was The Cosmic Child, and they would be led a planet which orbits the star Sirius after their deaths.  Hey, I thought I was the Cosmic Child!  The other leader, Jouret, later claimed to be the 3rd coming of Christ.  

(3) They believed the end of the world was coming - to be caused by an environmental disaster of some sort.   So, some members had to "leave" the earth prematurely.  We've heard this one before - never ends good.  Those who left were supposedly on their way to another planet to create a new world.  

Cult-Like Qualities

(1) Group performed a number of strange ritual ceremonies - lots of pointed stars, costumes,candles, weird robes, and the color red.  Creeeeeeeeepy.  One of the leaders had a sword that he claimed he had gotten in his previous life - as a Knight Templar - and somehow brought back - through customs - into the present!  During group rituals, members would get to hold the "sacred sword" or whatever it was called and apparently that was pretty cool. 

Image result for order of the solar temple beliefs

(2) Leader (s) claimed to be something more than human.

(3) Members told that end times were a comin' soon.   

(4) Group leader - Jouret - insisted on having sex with different female group members before each ritual ceremony.  This was done, supposedly, so the leader would have the "energy" for the upcoming ceremony.  Really?  

(5) Both leaders ordered marriages broken up - declaring them to "not be cosmic" - and then moved in to have sex with newly single women.  What dogs! 
(6) A group member named Tony was hired to install devices that could project strange images on the ceiling and walls of the meeting place - so the leaders could make people believe something mystical was going on.

* Tony told other group members who promptly left the group in outrage over being tricked.  Now THAT was a smart move!  

(7) Groups met and lived in isolated lodges in Switzerland and other locations.  People living nearby knew little to nothing of their activities.  

Image with no description

Group Fate:
     Apparently, things started to come cosmically unraveled after group members left in protest over the fake projection thing.   Jouret was accused of all kinds of things - including that his infant son was also the "antichrist" mentioned in the Book of Revelation.  The other leader, Di Mambro, ordered that Tony, his wife, and the alleged devil-child be murdered as part of a strange ritual on October 4, 1994.  Which, they were.   Jouret was stabbed 50 times, his wife 8 times, and the kid 6 times.  After killing the kid, someone drove a wooden stake into his chest.  Yikes. 
     Between 1994 and 1997, 74 members of the group killed themselves in separate incidents in France, Switzerland, and Quebec.  The majority of those who died were later found to have been drugged and then shot - indicating they did not go willingly.  There are still group members living in various places in Spain and the Canary Islands.  I mean, other than the beaches, what else does one have to do in the Canary Islands?  
    At the two Swiss lodges, the bodies of the group members were found in a cellar arranged in a strange, sun-shape, and surrounded by ritual items.  Many had plastic bags tied over their heads - to symbolize the coming ecological disaster.   

Image result for order of the solar temple suicides
There you go!