Unless you’re a budding cult connoisseur, it’s reasonable to assume you’ve never heard of any groups featured below. In which case, you are about to have your spiritual horizons considerably expanded. When you’re done reading through the list you might have even found one or two of these bizarre organisations are exactly what’s been missing from your life. If this does indeed occur, keep us in mind when you’re giving up all your earthly possessions, yeah?
Supreme Master Ching Hai is the woman at the helm of a fringe religious group that boasts around 20,000 members. She teaches 'Quan Yi,' a technique intended to bring the clarity and tranquillity of meditation into the rest of one’s life. All you have to do is practice Quan Yi and sell your soul to vegetarianism. Ching Hai and her supporters maintain she is not a cult leader, or even a religious one, but they certainly go out of their way to put this individual on an ethereal pedestal by referring to her as “Supreme Master.” Maintain a healthy dose of scepticism. Chin Hai also once built an illegal island inside of a national park, so clearly she’s the world’s next supervillain just biding her time in the shadows.
Happy Science was founded in 1986 in Japan and it’s utterly insane. Followers believe that people possess an immortal soul that soldiers on after death. The elements of Christianity are evident, except that the group believes in multiple planes of immortal existence that are inhabited by notable historical figures – who all combine their powers to judge you. In a way, it’s kind of like the Avengers collaborating to deliver justice. Even better, if folks pursue good deeds, their existence gets rehashed, and they get to comeback as something cool. Also Happy Science totally has tickets on everybody so watch yourselves. Plato, for instance, came back as G.W.F. Hegel, so let’s all hope to be reincarnated as philosophers. Fingers crossed.
If you’re familiar with people who engage in tarot readings or dabble in other occult business, it’s quite plausible they’re an affiliate of the Builders of the Adytum. The belief system is rather intricate, but basically the group attempts to tap into people's 'inherent potential' to advance society’s mental and physical proficiencies. Of course, the most efficient way to achieve this is to look at pictures and apply broad generalisations. The Builders were founded by Paul Foster Case, a catholic and Master Mason who became enraptured with the idea of tarot in 1922. Today, there are a few thousand members who identify with the order around the globe.
The Congregation for the Light has chapters in various ‘Murica locations. That doesn’t make it any less strange, though. Members believe they are descended from an Aryan race from Atlantis, that humanity began on the moon, and that wrongdoers can be fought through lucid dreams. The group has also barred homosexuality, forces females to be obedient, marries young ladies to geriatric dudes and denies science in all forms. The Congregation sources most of its currency from the estates of deceased members. Followers are excommunicated when they break the rules, or do things like enter unions with non-believers. They also fervently maintain their lack of cult status. Yeah sure buddy, whatever helps you sleep at night to pursue those lucid adventures.