5 Active Cults Worth Knowing


Erin Gardner | Lifestyle Section Editor | eg245916@ohio.edu

Cults are a part of American history. During the 60s and 70s, a multitude of cults developed from the underground, believing in several ideologies ranging from the afterlife to various gods. The more infamous cults are The Peoples Temple and The Branch Davidians. The Peoples Temple, or ‘Jonestown’, led by Jim Jones, believed in a capitalist utopian society. The notable defining moment in the Guyana cult is the mass suicide where 918 people drank Kool-Aid mixed with cyanide. The Branch Davidians, led by David Koresh and Benjamin Roden, was a cult in 1995 that divided between the Shepherd’s Rod and Davidians. It is most associated with FBI sieging Waco, Texas, in 1993. FANGLE investigates five active cults that have a following.


Claude Vorilhon called himself Rael and believed that in 1974, an alien spacecraft landed in southern France and told him that human beings were the future. The head alien, Yahweh, rationalized that the Old Testament was an account of humanity’s earliest existence. Vorilhon was told to build an embassy so the aliens could be formally welcomed to their second coming in 2035. Raelists believe that the scientists who came to Earth from another planet “were considered as gods by our primitive ancestors” and often referred to them  as ‘Elohim’ which in ancient Hebrew meant ‘those who came from the sky.’ In 2002, a company called Clonaid claimed to clone a baby girl named Eve. The movement states that they’re completely independent from the situation. “Clonaid is the name of a project, and it is managed by a raelian member named Dr. Brigitte Boisselier,” states the movement. However, the Raelian Movement supports cloning technologies.


Founder Ron Hubbard was a failed science fiction writer who based the book into what is now known as Scientology. The movement, certified as a “religion,” believes that there are levels to enlightenment — the Eight Dynamics of Life. They are self, creativity, group survival, species, life forms, physical universe, spiritual dynamic, infinity.  Celebrities recruit membership, like Tom Cruise, however, there is an emphasis on secrecy that proves to ruin lives if an individual decides to leave.

Xenos Christian Fellowship

Xenos Christian Fellowship is a non-normative, non-denominational church based in Ohio. Each “cell,” called a “home church,” encompasses 15-60 members. The church does have multi-house church gatherings called “central teachings.” “If you’ve ever attended a home church group, you probably noticed a tendency to make you the center of attention – everyone would circle around you and display lots of interest in your thoughts and ideas. This is a tactic that cults use called “love bombing,” reddit user amesjamersonson shares. “And by attending a home church meeting, you had notes taken about you by the leader including your name and who brought you. These notes are shared at regular Xenos leadership meetings. I’m not making this up, I’ve read the notes and the meeting minutes.”

Twelve Tribes

Founded by Gene Spriggs, the Twelve Tribes is an international collection of religious groups, springing out the Jesus Movement in 1972. The group has had many names ranging from the Vine Christian Community Church to The Yellow Deli People. The name “twelve tribes” stems from Acts 26:7. The group trusts in three eternal destinies. It believes that after original sin, each individual is given a consciousness and they die, no matter the faith. At the second coming, they will be brought back for a thousand years to rule with Yahshua, before the last judgement day. The “righteous” will fill the universe for eternity while the “filthy and unjust” will be sent to the Lake of Fire, presumably Hell. The active cult has had allegations of child abuse and child labor. 

Westboro Baptist Church

Founded by Pastor Fred Phelps, the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, is an old-school Baptist church. “Even though the Arminian lies that “God loves everyone” and “Jesus died for everyone” are being taught from nearly every pulpit in this generation, this hasn’t always been the case,” states WBC. “If you are in a church that supposedly believes the Bible, and you are hearing these lies, then your church doesn’t teach what the Bible teaches. If you care about your never-dying soul, you will carefully read every word of this web site, along with the entire Bible.” They are notorious for their sidewalk demonstration criticizing the homosexual lifestyle, the American government and general sinfulness. When asked if Jesus died for everyone, they respond with “No. Jesus died only for His sheep (John 10). His church (Ephesians 5:25). His elect (I Peter 1:2). If He died for everyone, everyone would go to heaven. All sins of all people would be forgiven. But obviously, all sins aren’t forgiven, because people are burning in hell.” Although dubbed a “recognized church,” many denominations don’t recognize WBC as a church because of its hatefulness and ignorance.

Stay safe out there.