Waiting for the end of the world
The obscure cult behind the sarin attack in Tokyo is only one of many b urgeoning doom-saying organisations, says Andrew Brown
Friday 24 March 1995
Name: The Children of God, established 1960s HQ: California, USA Leader: David Brandt Berg, aka `Moses David' Credo: "Enjoy yourself in sex and what God has given you to enjoy....let God do it to you in an orgasm of the spirit....Hallelujah!" Followers adopt biblical names and live in a `colony,' awaiting the `end-time'. Renowned for the technique of `fancy fishing' - attracting new members by use of sexual favours. Membership: 10,000 worldwide (claimed)
Name: The Church Universal and Triumphant, established 1958 HQ: Montana, USA Leader: Elizabeth Prophet, aka `Guru Ma' Credo: The `last days' are approaching, and only CUT followers can expect to be saved. They must abstain from drugs, alcohol and tobacco, and give 10 per cent of their income to the Church. The CUT has built underground bunkers for its members, and has been accused of stockpiling arms. Membership: Over 5000 worldwide
Name: The Raelians, established 1973 HQ: California, USA Leader: Claude `Rael' - meaning "the messenger of those who came from the sky" Beliefs: In 1973, Claude Vorilhon was taken up into a spacecraft, warned that the end of the world was nigh, and told he was the prophet of a new religion. His followers meditate every day, give 10 per cent of their income to the movement and strive towards the "cosmic orgasm".
Membership: 28,000 worldwide
Name Reiha-no-Hikari, established 1956 HQ: Chiba, Japan Leader: Nidai-Sama, who "descended in human form" in 1915 Beliefs: In 1954, Nidai-Sama came to believe that he was God's incarnation on earth, and that he must "bring salvation to mankind" before the world ends. His followers frequently pray for 14-day periods to "cleanse" their souls of materialism. Membership: "Over a million families worldwide"
Name: Morris Cerullo World Evangelism Inc, established 1950s HQ: California, USA Leader: Morris Cerullo Beliefs: Cerullo has a mission from God to save a billion souls before the "endtime" arrives in the year 2000. Funded by donations from his worldwide flock: £10 will convert a Jewish soul and save a member of the donor's family from eternal perdition Membership: No official membership, but regularly fills stadiums worldwide
Name: Aum Shinri Kyo, established 1980s HQ: Mount Fuji, Japan Leader: Shoko Asahara Beliefs: A Buddhist sect, which lives in a village commune and rejects earthly materialism. They expect to be the only survivors when the world ends in 1997. Currently suspected of the nerve-gas attck on the Tokyo underground Membership: 10,000 approx.
When cults implode
Jonestown In 1978, the Reverend Jim Jones led over 900 followers of his cult, the People's Temple, to the jungles of Guyana, and set up `Jonestown.' Congressman Leo Ryan was murdered while investigating the cult. Jones knew he would be arrested and administered cyanide to his followers. 913 people died.
The Solar Temple In 1994, the bodies of 48 members of the obscure Solar Temple cult were discovered in two separate Swiss villages. The deaths were thought to be a combination of ritual execution and mass suicide, led by Luc Jouret, who predicted Doomsday and stockpiled weapons to prepare for it.
Waco The infamous Waco siege climaxed in April 1993, when fire engulfed the headquarters of the Branch Davidian sect in Texas, killing almost 90. The Branch Davidians, led by David Koresh, were fanatical seventh-day adventists who stockpiled large numbers of weapons to prepare for the end of the world.
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