The lines between a trendy doctrine and belief system and a cult are often grey which is why most cults are never called out until something bad happens. Most cults operate secretly so they never hit the headlines and most that do often disappear after a few years. That hasn’t stopped outrageous and even dangerous religious groups from coming up and some still operate despite the criticism. Now; if you thought that cults don’t exist anymore, think again because these 10 are very much alive.
The Church of The Snake Pastors
Snake handling pastors have become something of a spectacle in the last decade. Handling snakes in a place of worship is illegal in the US and other countries especially where the snakes involved are poisonous. There are still hundreds of evangelical pastors who bring snakes to church to perform miracles and prove their faith according to the directives of the bible in Mark 16:18. Most of these churches are family-owned with a secretive click of members who only make the news when something bad happens like the case of Jamie Coots who died in 2014 after his preaching rattlesnake bit him.
From the invasion of the capital building in January of 2021 to perpetuating racial and politically motivated hate crimes online, QAnon is now being considered one of the biggest threats to American security. It was only considered an online sect until a member of the group recently took his two children to Mexico and killed them after he was convinced that they were possessed. Most security experts say that the world is yet to see the full extent of damage that the group can cause because their beliefs are widely varied and they can cause widespread social havoc in a short time.
This name has been on the US federal government watch for extreme religious groups for over two decades now with their founder Warren Jeffs serving life in prison for child sexual assault charges. It is one of the largest fundamental Mormon groups in the world which practices polygamy. The cult’s members have been accused and convicted for sexual assault crimes including against minors for years but some people still continue to follow the self-proclaimed elders of the sect.
The Children of God
Yes! This cult still exists despite the uncountable number of horrific stories from former members and victims of the cult. The cult began in the 1960s following the teachings of a deranged preacher named David Berg who said that sex was the best way to express God’s love and that it could be done with anyone including children. At its peak, the cult had over 10,000 full-time members in North America and Europe and when the horror stories started coming out, the whole world was shocked. Many of the cases are still ongoing so most of the cult’s activities are secretive. The official activities of the cult are now led by Karen Zerby who changed the name to The Family after the media storm that rocked the organization in the 1970s and 80s.
The 1995 Tokyo Subway attack is one of the worst domestic terrorist attacks in Japan’s history. 14 people died while 5,800 others were injured when members of Aum Shinrikyo released Sarin Gas on the commuter trains during the morning rush hour. The last convicted members of the doomsday cult were executed in 2018 but the group still exists under different names. The group split into two different groups in 2007 with members spread all over the world. The group is still declared a terrorist organization therefore no one publicly admits to being a member.
Keith Raniere joined the long list of imprisoned cult leaders in 2020 when he was sentenced to 120 years in prison for his role in sex trafficking and other crimes committed by members of NXVIM. The cult started as a professional organization offering personal development coaching and even attracted high profile members including some Hollywood stars. When the truth came to light, members started distancing themselves with Raniere and the organization claimed that it shut down operations in 2018. There are rumours that the members just distanced themselves from their doomed leader and went on with their belief system away from the spotlight.
The Church of Euthanasia
Famously known as the world’s first anti-human religion, this church is marred in controversy. It was started in 1992 by Chris Korda and Robert Kimberk who insisted that their religion was essential for the survival of the planet. Their four main pillars are abortion, suicide, cannibalism and sodomy which means sex that is not meant for procreation. They encourage human beings to wipe themselves out in order to save the planet. Most of their ideologies are impossible to incorporate in any level of society.
The Church of The Almighty God: Eastern Lightning
“As the lightning comes from the East and is visible in the West, so will the coming of the son of man be,” says the bible in the book of Mathew. The problem is that the Church Of The Almighty God interpreted that to mean that Jesus Christ came back to the world in the form of a woman named Yang Xiangbin. It was declared a doomsday cult for its anti-government stance forcing the leader to flee to New York from where she now leads the church’s operations. It is still a banned organization in China and Jesus has some work to do before the west finally see the lightning.
Church Of The Lamb Of God
This is another Mormon sect that went too far and had to get the authorities involved. On top of adopting polygamy, this church also believed in blood atonement which call for the killing of sinners as a way of cleansing their sins. Evril Lebaron, the founder of the organization was arrested and died in Jail in 1981 but he left a list of names behind that he ordered his members to kill for being sinners. His sons continued the job and it is believed that some members and followers of Lebaron’s teachings may still be operating secretly in the US and Mexico.
The April 1993 massacre of 75 members of the Branch Davidian offshoot of the Seventh Day Adventists remains one of the worst catastrophes in US history. The church members died in a blaze after a 51-day siege by the FBI who believed that David Koresh, the leader of the sect and other members of his church had weapons that threatened national security on their compound in Waco Texas. Although that particular group was wiped out, other Branch Davidians with less extreme views still lives today in Texas and other parts of the world.