22 Nov 2010

Sects and sex abuse: battle of the apocalyptic sex cults

iAfrica.com February 18, 2010

Battle of the sex cults

By: Rebekah Kendal

(Left to right) Adi Da Samraj, Claude Vorilhon and David Berg.

Repeat after me: Rebekah is awesome. Rebekah deserves my adoration. I live to meet Rebekah's every need.

Nothing? Damn! I need to work on those brainwashing techniques. Perhaps if we introduced a little sleep deprivation...

Seriously, after a guy in Papua New Guinea managed to convince an entire village (bar one) that public sex would lead to better banana crops and a chap in Indonesia (claiming to be God) led his followers into wild sex orgies, you would think that I could manage a bit of adoration.

Apparently not. Perhaps you're just not good cult material. You know, those susceptible to yarns about aliens, creepy-looking self-professed messiahs, and a penchant for communal living. In a word: suckers.

In light of the recent arrest of Israeli 'sex cult' leader Goel Ratzon, we've put together a list of famous cults that are just as infamous for their sexual deviance as they are for their end-of-days prophecies.

The Family

Think hippies and free love (lots of it), not the offspring of Don Vito Corleone. Formerly known as the Children of God and The Family of Love, The Family was founded by David Berg in 1968. Its beliefs are basically Evangelical Christian, with two major deviations: (1) Berg is a prophet who has been sent by God to spread the end-of-days message, and (2) the Law of Love is the supreme tenet on which all behaviour should be based. Somehow, this boils down to lots and lots of free sex. A fair amount of it involving David Berg.

When Berg died, his prophetic powers were transferred to his wife Karen. Apparently this happens. She is also pretty into the whole loving Jesus literally vibe. In fact, it was she who introduced the group's famous Flirty Fishing policy during the 1970s.

FFing -- Flirty Fishing -- was a recruitment method. The bait: women. Yip, the family's ladies would head out to bars and nightclubs -- those dens of iniquity -- and recruit new members using (yip, you guessed it) sex.

Because of the threat of HIV/AIDS and a bit of bad publicity, FFing was banned in 1987; sexual contact between adults and children (commonly known as paedophilia) in 1986; and incest... well... there's no exact date for that one.

The new and improved Family, boasting a membership of approximately 10,000, is still all for encouraging young teens to develop a sexual relationship with Jesus, but adults are only allowed to shag those within The Family.

The Raelian Movement

Okay, okay, I admit it: the sex is pretty thin in this one. But the cult's mythology is just too good to resist. It has aliens (human aliens!), a cabaret-singer-cum-racing-car-driver-cum-prophet, and sex-crazy angels.

So, here's the gist of it: on 13 December 1973, Rael (previously Claude Vorilhon) was visited by a human alien (don't worry, it'll be explained later) from the planet of the Elohim. The alien was short, had long dark hair, almond shaped eyes, and olive skin. You get where this is going (hint: if not, grab a map and check out Asia).

The alien told Rael that his race -- also human, but much more advanced -- created earth humans using DNA. Rael was to be a prophet who would tell the world about the Elohim and prepare an embassy for their arrival on earth. Apparently they'll be landing sometime between now and 2030 (but, and here's the catch, only if earth humans are welcoming enough).

In October 1975, Rael got another extra-terrestrial visitor. This time, they took him up to the spaceship and to their own planet, which is not in our solar system, but is in our galaxy. Convenient that. Apparently they have big computers that observe everything we do. Uh-oh.

So, on to the juicy bits: an important teaching of the Raelian Movement is sensual meditation. The ultimate experience is the Cosmic Orgasm -- which may or may not involve little green fellows. Because sex is a pretty important part of the philosophy, there is a group of women called the Raelian Order of Angels, who devote their sexuality solely to our creators (the aliens) and their prophets.

Hmm... no aliens; one prophet. That's one lucky former cabaret singer.


Who wouldn't want to join a cult with a spiritual leader who looks like Yoda with a mullet? I, for one, am quivering with excitement. Did I mention that he is holiest man to have ever graced the earth? No, seriously, he claimed that his spiritual stature exceeds that of Jesus, Buddha, or any of the great spiritual leaders from human history.

Who is this vessel of all things good and holy? Adi Da Samraj aka Da Free John aka Bubba Free John aka Franklin Jones who founded the Adidam movement (aka the Crazy Wisdom Fellowship aka Free Primitive Church of Divine Communion aka the Johannine Daist Community) in the 1970s.

With a following of approximately 2000, Adi Da Samraj is spiritual small fry (despite his self-proclaimed greatness), but he does trump Jesus and Buddha in the sex-scandal stakes.

In the 1970s and 80s, numerous accusations of sexual abuse were levelled against Jones and his movement. He was accused of having sex with large numbers of his devotees, abusing drugs, and forcing members to undergo humiliating sexual activities in front of other followers.

His defence was that his behaviour was selfless service designed to quicken the spiritual development of the devotees. All part of that Crazy Wisdom.

The moral of the story: never trust a man who feels the need to change his name four times. For that matter, never trust a man who looks like Yoda on welfare.

David Koresh

Because the world can always do with another self-proclaimed prophet of doom, David Koresh (born Vernon Wayne Howell) carved out a nice little niche for himself in Waco, Texas. With a following of over 80 people, Koresh set himself up as the father of the Brach Davidian religious sect (a splinter of the Seventh Day Adventist Church). Literally.

Opting for a polygamous lifestyle when he felt the urge to marry his second (14-year-old) wife, Koresh was soon preaching that he was allowed 140 wives -- la King Solomon. He annulled the marriages of all couples who joined the cult and then had exclusive sexual access to the women (to spread his holy seed). He had sex with various young girls, some as young as 12, including his first wife's younger sister and fathered at least 15 children on the compound.

Koresh's reign came to an end when the FBI laid siege to the compound in April 1993, following a botched raid by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The siege lasted for 51 days before the majority of the cult was burnt to death in the church building where they were holed up. The burnt remains of 54 adults and 21 children were found alongside Koresh. Nine members of the movement managed to escape.

Charles Manson

Famous for the role he played in the gruesome Tate and LaBianca murders, Charles Manson has become a notorious icon of evil. The fact that he used young women to commit the murders has made him that much more fascinating.

Manson set himself up as something of a hippie guru in San Francisco in the 1960s. Having spent most of his adult life in and out of prison, Manson was an aspiring, but not very successful, musician. He was obviously also a bit of a womaniser.

He moved in with the 23-year-old Mary Brenner, but soon they were sharing their home with 18 other women. At a later stage, when Manson moved his followers to the Spahn Ranch, they numbered over 100, mostly young women between the ages of 15 and 25. The ranch was allegedly the setting for countless drug-fuelled sex orgies which helped Manson to maintain his hold over the women.

Claiming to be a reincarnation of Jesus Christ, Manson prophesised a massive race war between blacks and whites, that would result in the destruction of America. The gruesome murders -- ordered by Manson and carried out by his followers -- were, in part, an attempt to spark this race war. Needless to say, they failed to do so. Manson and his accomplices are all currently serving life sentences.

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40 years of fraud and abuse by evangelist, Tony Alamo, ended by sex abuse testimonies

German sect leader and suspected pedophile accused of abusing two girls and four boys a total of 314 times

Child sexual abusers commonly turn to religion to rationalize their behavior

Another self-proclaimed prophet who terrorized and sexually abused his cult followers

House of Yahweh 'prophet' no different than other charismatic cult leaders who manipulate and exploit followers

Add Israeli polygamist to long list of 'messiahs' who sexually exploit their cult followers 

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