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Shammu
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« Reply #75 on: March 14, 2022, 12:49:06 PM »

The Twelve Tribes.

The group started in Tennessee in the early 1970s, moved to Vermont a few years later, and now has communities worldwide. In the beginning they were very Biblical and adhered to the historic Christian faith. Street people, drug addicts, and run-a-ways were led to Christ, given a purpose and place to live.

However, the group quickly changed in doctrine and practice due to their “apostle,” Elbert Eugene Spriggs. He claims to have a direct pipeline to God and is accountable to no one—a very dangerous mix.

The group now teaches three eternal destinies for all humanity. There are those who go to the Holy City (Twelve Tribes and other Old and New Testament worthies), those who go to the Lake of Fire, and those who go to the “Nations.”

This last group is a vast segment of humanity who make it to the “suburbs” of heaven by living according to their conscience. Christ's death is thus bypassed. This is rank heresy--see Acts 4:12.

The group also teaches that according to Acts 2 and 4, the true disciple will give all his possessions to the group and live in community with them. This is problematic in two respects.

First, the sole justification for this comes from the book of Acts, an historical book. It is always very precarious to draw theology solely from a historical book, because it describes what was, not necessarily what ought to be.

Secondly, the Twelve Tribes designate themselves as the recipients of all your possessions, claiming to be the true and only restoration of the first century Church--another non-Biblical teaching that all elitist groups proclaim.

They teach that Christ cannot return until they replant the Twelve Tribes of Israel geographically on the Earth. The first Church fell away and Yashua has been waiting for His bride to prepare herself, and cannot return until she does. Nowhere in Scripture does it teach that Christ is held captive in heaven until His bride (the Church) replants herself on the Earth as Twelve Tribes.

The practices of the group have also become non-Biblical.

The true disciple must live in their community and wear a beard and ponytail (male), or balloon pants or long skirt (female).

Radio, television, newspapers and books not approved by the group are forbidden.

Not only must there be absolute unity in doctrine (the teachings of “apostle” Spriggs)—no differences of opinion are tolerated.

Children are not allowed to fantasize or play any fantasy games.

Adults must obey the elders completely, as the elders speak for God. Even oppressive leadership should not be resisted. To question the group's doctrine or authority is “Satan tempting you.”

If you were to decide to leave the group you are literally "leaving the Kingdom of God", and where can one go when they leave God's Kingdom? You are an apostate and are only worthy of God's fearful judgment in this life and the Lake of Fire in eternity.

This group does not follow the Jesus of Scripture, but rather the man Elbert Spriggs, who has essentially transformed the group into a Galatian heresy where salvation depends upon works.
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« Reply #76 on: March 15, 2022, 01:27:28 PM »

Differences Between Amish and Mennonite, they may look the same, but there’s a difference!!

Many people are familiar with two of the prominent religious groups in Lancaster, PA- the Amish and the Mennonite, but do you know what makes them different? While they have many similarities and stem from the same branch of religion they are not the same. Read on and learn about these two groups and the unique qualities they contribute to the culture of Lancaster County.

Mennonite and Amish Have Some Similarities

Both groups actually stem from the same Christian movement during the European Protestant Reformation. These Christians were called Anabaptists and they sought to return to a simplicity of faith and practice based on the Bible. The Anabaptists also stressed the importance that belief must result in practice, and that idea still holds true today for both the Amish and Mennonite communities.

The split between the two groups started with a gentleman named Jacob Amann who believed that sinning resulting in excommunication should result in a more serious punishment (now known as “shunning”) than what the Mennonite community currently followed. Amann’s beliefs attracted a large group of followers who came to be known as the Amish.

Today, the greatest differences between the Amish and Mennonites stem mainly from practices rather than beliefs. Amish groups tend to shy away from technology (I've seen at first hand when I lived in York county, Pennsylvania) and involvement with the greater world, by dressing “plain” and using scooters and buggies for transportation. The Mennonites have embraced some of the world’s technologies and stress the importance of missionary work, helping to spread their faith to over fifty countries around the world. However, the Amish are allowed to use electric tools as long as the tools don't belong to them.

Mind you, there is much more to the history and beliefs of the Mennonite and Amish than a couple of sentences and there are also exceptions to every rule.

Amish: Cult or Community

They are a system of religious people, devoted to God. And then, we look at the qualifying statements. Relatively small? Check. Practices sinister? Definitely no check. Misplaced, excessive admiration? No check, they worship God, not the preacher. And unless the movie Witness in some way resembles the Big Lebowski, the “cult classic” box similarly remains unchecked.

“The Amish movement was founded in Europe by Jacob Amman (~1644 to ~1720 CE), from whom their name is derived. In many ways, it started as a reform group within the Mennonite movement, an attempt to restore some of the early practices of the Mennonites.

The beliefs and practices of the Amish were based on the writings of the founder of the Mennonite faith, Menno Simons (1496–1561), and on the 1632 Mennonite Dordrecht Confession of Faith. The Amish who split from Mennonites generally lived in Switzerland and in the southern Rhine river region. During the late 17th century, they separated because of what they perceived as a lack of discipline among the Mennonites.
Some Amish migrated to the United States, starting in the early 18th century. They initially settled in Pennsylvania. Other waves of immigrants became established in New York, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri Ohio, and other states.

The faith group has attempted to preserve the elements of late 17th century European rural culture. They try to avoid many of the features of modern society, by developing practices and behaviors which isolate themselves from American culture.”

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« Reply #77 on: March 21, 2022, 02:47:22 PM »

Angel’s Landing

Angel’s Landing is the name of the 20-acre compound outside of Wichita, Kansas, where Lou Castro and a small group of people lived an inexplicably extravagant life in the early 2000s. Castro’s followers were convinced that he was an angel and a “seer” who could look into the future and know when you were going to die. Already suspicious of Castro’s luxury vehicles and money that no one could explain (there was no paper trail on Castro), local law enforcement took an active interest when Patricia Hughes, a member of the Angel’s Landing community, tragically turned up dead on the compound in 2003.

Then when Patricia’s husband died in a freak accident in 2006, local detective Ron Goodwyn dived into every bit of personal and financial information he could find on the people living at Angel’s Landing. What he found was disturbing: Expensive life insurance policies were taken out on people in Castro’s circle and cashed in by members when someone in the makeshift family “accidentally” died. This pattern occurred around every two and a half years. But the detective couldn’t find any records for the mysterious leader Castro.

In 2010, Castro moved from Kansas to Tennessee and adopted a new identity, but he was soon arrested by the FBI for aggravated identity theft and fraudulent use of a Social Security card number. During Castro’s two-year stint in federal prison, Goodwyn and the FBI discovered, according to the Wichita Eagle, that “Lou Castro” was really Daniel Perez, a man from Texas with many police reports, including a case involving sex crimes against two girls, 11 and 14, until he fled Texas.

Through interviews with members of the commune, they uncovered Perez’s sexual abuse of women and girls at Angel’s Landing, including Sara McGrath, who alleged that Perez raped her regularly for years. Sadly, she was just one of his many victims. More witnesses came forward, accusing Perez of abuse and pointing to him for the murder of Patricia Hughes. Perez was charged with 28 felonies, and in February 2015, he was convicted on all counts and sentenced to 80 years in prison.

This cult was later profiled in an episode of Oxygen’s Deadly Cults, episode 2.
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« Reply #78 on: March 22, 2022, 10:15:28 AM »

Church of the Lamb of God

Dubbed by media as the Mormon Manson, the Church of the Lamb of God was started by Ervil LeBaron in Chihuahua, Mexico, after he clashed and left his brother Joel’s sect. LeBaron convinced his followers that he received direct instructions from God, which included using an abandoned Mormon doctrine, “blood atonement,” that allows the killing of sinners to cleanse them of evil. LeBaron had 51 children with 13 different wives and over two decades amassed hundreds of followers, who allegedly murdered more than 20 people behalf of LeBaron and his orders.

Mexico authorities arrested LeBaron in 1979 and handed him over to the FBI, where he was charged for the murder of another polygamous sect leader and jailed for life in Utah. Although LeBaron died in prison in 1981, his reign of terror still persisted for several years, as he left behind a “hit list” of people he believed were traitors.

Here is another episode of Oxygen’s Deadly Cults season 2 episode 6 that covers his many crimes of the church of the Lamb of God
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« Reply #79 on: March 23, 2022, 11:06:43 AM »

The Family

Known as one of Australia’s most notorious cults, the Family began with Anne Hamilton-Byrne, a yoga teacher who believed herself to be a reincarnation of Jesus Christ. She teamed up with parapsychologist Raynor Johnson in the mid-1960s to form what was initially known as “the Great White Brotherhood.” Over the course of several years, Hamilton-Byrne adopted 28 children by receiving the kids as gifts from members (as well as by falsifying papers to convince others to give their children up for adoption), all in the hope of creating a “master race” that would survive the apocalypse she believed to be imminent.

While other adults in the group were known as either “aunties” or “uncles,” Hamilton-Byrne claimed to be the biological mother of all 28 children. She also told the kids she was Jesus Christ, and when they didn’t live up to her exacting standards, they were beaten, starved, or dosed with LSD. The cult went undetected for years (as the children were forced to hide whenever visitors arrived), but in 1987, the group’s headquarters was finally raided and all children were removed from the premises. Hamilton-Byrne was only ever charged with falsifying birth certificates, and in 2019, she died from dementia at 98 years old, having never faced consequences for her actions. 
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« Reply #80 on: March 23, 2022, 11:08:07 AM »

The Family

Known as one of Australia’s most notorious cults, the Family began with Anne Hamilton-Byrne, a yoga teacher who believed herself to be a reincarnation of Jesus Christ. She teamed up with parapsychologist Raynor Johnson in the mid-1960s to form what was initially known as “the Great White Brotherhood.” Over the course of several years, Hamilton-Byrne adopted 28 children by receiving the kids as gifts from members (as well as by falsifying papers to convince others to give their children up for adoption), all in the hope of creating a “master race” that would survive the apocalypse she believed to be imminent.

While other adults in the group were known as either “aunties” or “uncles,” Hamilton-Byrne claimed to be the biological mother of all 28 children. She also told the kids she was Jesus Christ, and when they didn’t live up to her exacting standards, they were beaten, starved, or dosed with LSD. The cult went undetected for years (as the children were forced to hide whenever visitors arrived), but in 1987, the group’s headquarters was finally raided and all children were removed from the premises. Hamilton-Byrne was only ever charged with falsifying birth certificates, and in 2019, she died from dementia at 98 years old, having never faced consequences for her actions.   
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« Reply #81 on: March 24, 2022, 02:30:14 PM »

Aum Shinrikyo

Founded by Shoko Asahara in 1984, Aum Shinrikyo first made headlines in the late ’80s amid accusations that Asahara was forcing members to donate money to the group and holding them against their will. Like many cult leaders, Asahara believed in an imminent doomsday, this time caused by a world war started by the United States. According to him, only his followers would survive.

In 1995, the group executed a sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway, which caused the deaths of 12 people and injured 50 more. After that attack, Japanese authorities learned that the group had also been responsible for the murder of lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto, who was working on a class-action lawsuit against Aum Shinriyko at the time of his death (the group also murdered his wife and child). Asahara was eventually sentenced to death in 2018, and Japanese filmmaker and survivor Atsushi Sakahara delved more into the story with his 2020 documentary Me and the Cult Leader.

This group is still active today but hasn't caused any deaths since 1995
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« Reply #82 on: March 25, 2022, 12:26:52 PM »

The Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God

This sect formed in the Kanungu district of Uganda in the 1980s and taught its members that they had to follow the Ten Commandments in order to survive the apocalypse, which the leaders believed was coming in 2000. When January 1, 2000, passed without incident, members began to question why their leaders had failed to get their apocalypse date right and leaders then predicted that the real end would come on March 17. It did, but not because of anything supernatural—the leaders set fire to the Movement church, killing as many as 530 people inside.

Authorities later discovered the bodies of more victims at the group’s other properties in Uganda and concluded that the leaders had orchestrated the killing in response to turmoil caused by their repeated failure to predict the apocalypse.
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« Reply #83 on: March 25, 2022, 06:26:33 PM »

Happy Science  Roll Eyes

This is a smash-up of world religions, Christianity, islam, davidian, new age trash, hocus pocus, whatever they can think of, far-right nationalism, and infrastructure spending, then you got a Japanese cult Happy Science is a weird one in my eyes. It was founded in 1986 by Ryuho Okawa, a former salaryman who was enraptured by a group called the God Light Association. He soon formed his own cult of personality, called Science of Happiness, and changed its name to Happy Science a few years later.

Okawa believes he is the human incarnation of a supreme being called El Cantare, who combines Christ, Buddha, Muhammad, and every other prophetic deity to create a nine-dimensional heaven with him at the head. He's also created a massively complex mythology of New Age nonsense - while simultaneously founding a political wing called the Happiness Realization Party.

Here's where the weirdness goes into overdrive, as his party advocates a vicious Japanese nationalism devoted to denying historical cruelties, advocating conflict with China and North Korea, and rebuilding Japan's infrastructure. The group claims to have 12 million members around the world, has a multimedia arm, and enjoys tax-exempt status in the US.
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« Reply #84 on: March 26, 2022, 12:37:39 PM »

Nuwaubian Nation

Formally known as the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, this is a cult of personality based around founder Dwight York. Combining Christianity, ancient Egyptian iconography, African rituals, and a belief that aliens are coming, the Nation believes that 144,000 chosen people will be taken away in a flying city, spirited to Orion to prepare for the final fight against Satan.

Shockingly, York's mish-mash of New Age concepts, Black Power militancy, and ancient Egyptian religion caught on in both the hip hop community and in rural Georgia, where York built a massive compound made with donated funds. York's mythology grew, incorporating cloning, racial theory, cosmology, anti-government conspiracies, and linguistics. Even as the cult grew, York was under investigation, and he finally detained in 2002 for running a massive child trafficking ring - comprising as many as 1,000 individuals.

He was sent to prison for life, and his compound was seized and demolished. As of 2021, the group still exists, though in much smaller numbers.
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« Reply #85 on: March 26, 2022, 12:39:16 PM »

Jesus People USA

Jesus People USA, also referred to as JPUSA, is a Christian cult organization now based in Chicago, IL, that came out of the counterculture, Christian-plus-hippie Jesus People movement in the 1970s. Since then, the group has been criticized for things like giving adult members of the organization spankings, seperating children from their parents, and using other cult control tactics.

Although there have been allegations of sexual abuse of minors and accusations of running an authoritarian sect, the group now offers internships and long and short-term mission opportunities for those who want to join. JPUSA has always tried to keep up with the times, mostly relying on the youth to join their organization. The sect appealed to hippies in the 1970s with rock music and road trips, but in the 1980s, they put on punk shows to gain membership. In the 21st century, Jesus People USA seems to rely on its website.
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« Reply #86 on: April 01, 2022, 12:46:45 PM »

Supreme Master Ching Hai

Born in Vietnam in 1950, the former Hue Dang Trinh reinvented herself as Supreme Master Ching Hai, expert in Quan Yin meditation, claiming she has the ability to channel God's inner light. What Ching Hai truly has the ability to channel is money - her 20,000 followers have bestowed on her a flamboyant lifestyle, along with an international business group boasting numerous vegetarian restaurants, jewelry boutiques, and a multimedia/web arm.

She also preaches environmentalism, despite building an artificial island in a protected mangrove reserve in Florida - which was seized by the federal government and sold off. Members wear necklaces with her image, are said to work for free at her restaurants, and are not allowed to eat animal products of any kind.
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« Reply #87 on: April 01, 2022, 01:07:59 PM »

Eckankar

Founded in 1965 by Paul Twichell, this non-profit religion bounced around to a few locations before settling in suburban Minneapolis. Like many other New Age religions, Eckankar is a grab bag of mysticism, Eastern philosophy, meditation, and a made-up iconography. Members claim to have ancient roots, going back tens of thousands of years, speak to each other in an invented language, and take new names for themselves. All of it is done in the name of a mediation where one chants "HU" and separates their soul from their body.

Despite being a registered non-profit, the group sells its founder's materials for a hefty profit and allegations have abounded that virtually all of Twichell's books laying the foundation of Eckankar are plagiarized.
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« Reply #88 on: April 05, 2022, 11:09:39 AM »

Church Universal And Triumphant

Yet another cult of personality in New Age clothes, the CUT was founded in 1975 as an offshoot of a different movement, Summit Lighthouse. Founder Elizabeth Claire Prophet pitched herself and her husband as messengers of the "Ascended Masters," a set of spiritually awakened ancient beings central to the Theosophy belief system. They also threw in elements of Christian Science, the "I AM" movement, and Mormon-style doomsday prepping .

The Prophets grew wealthy enough to buy large spreads in the Santa Monica mountains and Montana, while members drove themselves into debt building fallout shelters and paying huge sums of money to "reserve a spot" in the post-nuclear-conflict society. The church was also accused of making illicit straw purchases and of using sleep deprivation against members who attempted to leave. In ill health, the Prophet retired in 1999 and passed 10 years later.

Since then, the church has gone through legal problems and succession squabbles - but members still meet on a regular basis.
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« Reply #89 on: April 07, 2022, 07:29:36 PM »

Church Of Bible Understanding

Remember the Sunshine Carpet Cleaners from Seinfeld? The idea of a carpet cleaning crew secretly brainwashing its customers comes straight from the Church of Bible Understanding, a New York-based evangelical commune that once boasted 10,000 members. Stewart Traill started the group after being expelled from a Pennsylvania Pentecostal church and soon had a throng of young men living in virtual poverty under his wing.

The church started a number of legitimate businesses, including a van sales lot and the carpet cleaning business. But the group splintered under accusations of enticing orphaned minors to join and forcing members to give virtually all their money to Traill. As recently as 2013, the group was under fire for running two substandard orphanages in Haiti, despite millions raised by the group to run them.
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