Saturday, 5 November 2016

Documentaries about cults

Hey everyone, hope you had a good Halloween.

Recently I’ve been binge watching videos about cults and cult survivors and the like and thought I’d make a post on five documentaries that you can watch right now.

I’ve always been a little interested in this topic (you may remember some of my previous cult posts) but what lead me to writing this post was actually…well…Amway (previously Quixar)
If you don’t know Amway here’s an excerpt from good old Wikipedia

 “Amway is an American company that uses a multi-level marketing model to sell a variety of products, primarily in the health, beauty, and home care markets. Amway was founded in 1959 by Jay Van Andel and Richard DeVos.”

It all started when a friend of mine began chatting to an old friend that he hadn’t seen in years over social media. 
They made plans to meet at a mutual friend’s house and when he showed up, the guy had brought along an older couple who he (my friend) had never met before.
The old couple proceeded to pull out a lap top and began doing a full on power point presentation trying to convert him to becoming an Amway seller.
 They showed him some corny video of how he could have the best life ever if he just paid to sign up and pedaled their crappy products to family members, friends and strangers. He could be a MILLIONAIRE they said.
 They showed pictures of their bank statements with these insane balances and pictures of sports cars and these huge houses they claimed to live in.
He didn’t join of course.
It got me thinking, though, what the hell was it all about. I Googled the company and was shocked to see these massively attended meetings with dollars falling from the sky and speakers preaching like pastors about wealth and the company. Attendees were hemorrhaging cash just to show up to these strange spectacles.
Here’s the video I watched (old I know, but it is wild)

Dateline – Quixar [X]

From there I just started clicking around in the side bar at the suggested videos and started watching these cult documentaries, news reports and clips.

 I was always intrigued to know how one could be recruited into a cult. I was aware that recruiters usually targeted people who were down and out and promised to be the answer to all of their problems. I know they welcome new members with open arms (often using technique referred to as “love bombing)   feed them, shelter them, give them something to follow and believe in before using subtle tricks to brainwash, control and exploit them. I also became very interested in what makes a cult leader and really went down a rabbit hole on this one.

I’ve been following this channel called “Real life stories” for a few months now (you may have seen it on your YouTube dash if you watch similar content to me) and I’ve been enjoying their videos (They cover a broad range of topics). [X] << click to view their channel

I do feel I have to put a warning here.
Please scroll past this post if you do not want to read about mentions of child abuse, addiction and depression. If you need help, please do not hesitate to contact one of the following charities / helplines.

Befrienders Worldwide [X]
Child helpline international [X]

1.“Cult Witness”

This documentary includes interviews with a young ex-cult member detailing the techniques used and the process he went through. It also briefly interviews members of other cults such as the “UFO” cult “Gentle wind project” whose leader scammed this particular member out of thousands of dollars in return for alien prophecies, and the story of a member of “Children of God” which brings me to number 2 on my list…

2.       “Children of God” / The family of Love/ The family / now The family international

(Pic sources:x family) 

The first documentary I watched on the children of God was “20/20 Children of God” which you can view here [X

It gives a fast paced overview of the terms for techniques, one such example being “Flirty fishing” [X] wherein female members would lure new recruits by flirting with or forming relationships with male outsiders. The episode itself concentrates on a mother who goes on a mission to retrieve her children from Bangkok, Thailand where they reside with their father- an abusive man who has brainwashed his offspring.
(Pic soure: Xfamily)

The leader of the cult, David Berg, A man referred to as “Moses” or “Moses David” has his own teachings, published as a series of volumes known as “mo teachings” which contain within disturbing chapters that involve suggested child abuse within the cult.
“The Love Prophet and the Children of God” Documentary [X]

“Children of God - Lost & Found” Documentary [X]

Moses passed away in the mid ninties.
If you’re interested to read more you can visit the X family website here [X]
You can read an article about a Child of God survivor here [X]

3.The Strong City cult /Lord Our Righteousness Church
(Pic source: Flickr)

Another one from the Real life stories channel. This Cult is based in New Mexico and lead by a man referred to simply as “Michael” who claims to be the son of God.
The members of this cult live an isolated life in a compound and believe that there is a coming apocalypse and they must follow the teaching and rules of their leader in order to guarantee their spot in heaven.
Because they are convinced that there is nothing for them on the outside world and that the end is nigh, the children are not provided with an education and are required to work from a young age.

Wayne “Michael” Bent, a lanky bearded manipulator, has many wives at the compound, including underage girls, and has even had sexual relations with his own son’s wife- something he insists was a direct order from God himself. His son, a depressed, broken shell of a man, looks forward to the apocalypse, a prophecy that never comes to pass, and is constantly postponed, as all 56 members of the group continue to be controlled, abused and manipulated.
I did a quick search to see what became of Bent, and it turns out that after the documentary was aired there was a police investigation (I should think so!)

He was convicted and according to Wikipedia “Wayne Bent was paroled from prison in February 2016 after being diagnosed with a cancer that threatened the hearing in his left ear.”

His website [X]
 Wikipedia [X]

4. Heaven’s gate 
(pic source:

I’m pretty sure you’ve all heard about this one.
A 70's UFO cult that became the topic of major headlines in the 90’s lead by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles out in San Diego.
This is the group that committed mass suicide in order to exit the earth on a spaceship called Comet Hale-Bopp. They were all covered in purple clothes and wearing Nike shoes when they were found, for some reason.
This is part of the initiation tape, wherein Applewhite stares at the camera (without blinking strangely) and gives a summary of what the cult is all about. [X]

Their website is still active, and if you contact those running it, they often reply. [X]

 (Pic source: youtube)

 5. Workers' Institute of Marxism–Leninism–Mao Zedong Thought

Workers' Institute of Marxism–Leninism–Mao Zedong Thought is a Maoist cult formed in the seventies and lead by Aravindan Balakrishnan.
Balakrishnan was said to have used rape and violence as well as mental abuse to control his female victims. By the time he was finished with them, they believed that he was a God. 

He claimed that he could control the powers of nature and the elements, that he could cause natural disasters and dissemble governments. “I am nature and nature is me” he told his followers. 

He began to “purify” the women, to “Clean” them of their previous lives and strip them of their identity and dignity, along with the help of his mind reading mystical assistant who he referred to as “Jackie”. 

Balakrishnan had invoked Jackie, who was an unseen force, to keep the women in line and in fear when he wasn’t around to do so himself. If they had disobedient actions or thoughts, Jackie would know. Jackie could torture and kill, he assured them. 
By having his victims cut off contact with their families, he managed to keep three of them for over 3 decades. Without family, without identity, without choice, they lost their dignity and freedom to Aravindan Balakrishnan. Any followers who had jobs outside of the cult would donate their entire salaries per week. 
They could not go out alone and would constantly have to be with another member when outside of the commune.

Balakrishnan was arrested in 2016 when one of the members reached out to a charity for help.
You can read my previous post on the case by clicking here <<

The roots of the cult [X]
Aravindan Balakrishnan's daughter speaks about her time in captivity [X]
Guilty verdict [X]
Balakrishnan claims to be framed, a member supports him [X]

Well that's all for this post.
Check out the CULTS tag on the blog for more posts.

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