Some of us might hear about cults such as The Manson Family, Scientology, and Moonies, but what we don’t know is that there’s a whole lot more of obscure religions and cults with weird beliefs and rituals such as alien worship and even murder. That’s why in this article, we are going to list down some of the most unusual, weird, and insane cults you probably never even heard of.
Children of God
Children of God was founded by Christian minister David Berg. What’s weird about this cult is that they normalized and practiced pedophilia. David Berg preached that adult-child sex is alright and it is mandated by God. Children of God started out in the 1970s as an anti-establishment hippie movement but it quickly turned into a horrific group that molested minors. Aside from pedophilia, they also forced some of their female members into prostitution. Thankfully, the group disbanded years after when sexually transmitted disease infected most of their community.
The Branch Davidians
The Branch Davidians was founded and led by David Koresh and they were a radical offshoot of the Seventh Day Adventist. They are an apocalyptic cult and they, of course, expected the end of the world to come. That’s why when the ATF agents busted into their compound in 1993 with a warrant against David Koresh hoarding automatic weapons, the Branch Davidians engaged in a shoot-out that resulted to casualties on both sides. The standoff lasted for 51 days which led to a tragic ending where almost all of the Davidians died in a fire after the FBI released tear gas into their compound.
Also known as the “Garbage Eaters”, the Brethren firmly believed that the end of the world was near. They were, of course, founded during the 1970s by Jim Roberts and the group was an outgrowth of the Jesus-hippie movement, which seemed to create several groups like this. Luckily enough for its members, Jim Roberts did not order his followers to commit any terrible crimes but he did encourage them to give up all of their possessions such as their houses, cars, and whatnot and live as homeless people. They should also avoid bathing and should eat trash to survive. Now you know where their alias came from.
Let’s set aside the doomsday cults for a second and talk about the Aetherius society. Basically, their members spend most of their time thinking about aliens. Believe it or not, their belief in the existence of aliens living among us had attracted several people who eventually joined their group. In fact, the Aetherius Society still has thousands of members which is a surprise because this cult was founded way back in 1955.
Heaven’s Gate is another apocalyptic cult that was based on the “end times” prophecy in the Book of Revelations according to their cult leaders Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles. But unlike the Branch Davidians, the Heaven’s Gate members has a theory that an actual spaceship would visit the Earth and collect all of the believers before our world comes to an end. In 1997, in a dark preparation for the spaceship’s arrival, 37 members of Heaven’s Gate committed mass suicide by wrapping themselves in purple cloths and plastic bags. But the spaceship never came.
The People’s Temple
Founded by a Pentecostal minister Jim Jones in the 1970s, he gained followers from all around the United States by preaching what he called “progressive views” on racial equality. The group had about 20,000 members during its peak and they had several connections with left-wing political figures. But, The People’s Temple was very much known for what happened in November 1978 where almost 900 of its member died in a mass murder at their remote settlement in Guyana, South Africa. The mass murder happened because Jim Jones convinced his followers to commit suicide after they’d shot a United States Congressman who visited their compound to meet them. Some of the members died by drinking poisoned Flavor-Aid while some died at gunpoint. Unfortunately, no one survived the incident.
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not connected with the Mormon church that we know. Their practices include under-age child brides that were forced to marry old men, pervasive tests, and even polygamy. The FLDS was founded by Warren Jeffs who ruled the group with intimidation, abuse, and fear. All of which led to Warren Jeff’s imprisonment when the FBI raided his compound. But, up to this day, he still manages and lead the group from prison and surprisingly, his followers still listen to his demands.
Church of God
Also known as the “Snake Handlers” the Church of God is a Southern cult which is an offshoot of the Evangelical Christianity. The cult focuses on real, live snakes and they interpret a passage in the Bible about demons being connected with snakes. What’s more unusual about this cult is that its members regularly bust out live snakes during their worships and let them crawl all over them while there are “shouting out the demons” in God’s name. There have been reports of deaths because if snake bites but this group still perseveres up to this date
This cult was started by Gene Springs and his wife Marsha in the 1950s. Twelve Tribes was an offshoot of Presbyterian Church. At first, they started out as a normal group but their message grew more unusual and their practices became more severe as time went on. The developed a strict policy which forced their members to obey to rules of dressing, living, and worshipping. Also, allegations of racism and child abuse rose during the ‘90s when their members began leaving the cult. Former members said that they were so isolated that they didn’t even know how to use vending machine or ATMs when they escaped. Twelve Tribes still has groups from all around the world today.
Founded by American author L. Ron Hubbard as a product of his book entitled, Dianetics, Scientology’s strange belief system is very complicated and weird to understand. But what we do know is Scientology has become the target of a huge campaign to reveal the truth about their money-grabbing and family-destroying practices. They encourage families to “disconnect” with their family if a member leaves Scientology. That’s why ex-members such as Leah Rimini wrote a book entitled “Scientology and the Aftermath” where she dispel the myth that Scientology is a religion”.