So you’ve decided to start your own cult.
Well done to you. There’s plenty of benefits and fun to be had. You’ll meet new friends, plus with any luck, they won’t all have to die. You’ll amass a fortune in accepting gifts from your followers in the form of money, dole cheques and property (not to mention buying your sarin gas in bulk). There’s tax benefits in creating a new religion, and if it just happens to revolve around you, well, what’s a cult leader to do? Then there’s the wild sex orgies with your followers – of course, for heightened spiritual awakenings only. I mean, you’re helping them reach a higher plain of existence, all that sex with the most attractive and nubile of your followers can become a chore for you. And let’s not forget the fantastic new outfits you’ll all be wearing. You can’t lose!
So, let’s begin…..
Where to start?
Well, you’ve heard about cults and think you’d make a great healer, high priest, guru, Kool-Aid-drinking-nut-job leader. Good on you. The first step is the hardest, but also determines the path of your cult – Define you as a leader.
It is vitally important to build a mystique about yourself. Hire a PR firm (if you don’t have cash, sucker a friend into it) to portray you as someone mysterious, exotic, possessed by supernal powers and above all – charisma. It is important to convince everyone you have a hotline to the big G – God, or something like a (fortuitously vague) ‘spiritual realm’.
Regardless of the back-story, you need to display to others your unique ‘gift’. Chanting is good. Group trance is better. Only having the hotline to a higher power during sexual intercourse – the best. Though if you achieve the last one, you’ll be shunned by the other cult leaders at the annual convention because you will have achieved a level of spirituality in which they will refer to you as – ‘one lucky son of a bitch’.
Create a belief structure –
Absurd beliefs attract far greater investments of emotional commitment than reasonable ones – so, the wackier, the better. People who get mad at the affirmation or denial of god, whatever that might be, do so because part of their own mind severely doubts their professed belief. So, if your belief is way out there and is continually hammered home, there’s more chance of slavish believers.
But what to base your belief on? Well, anything will do – it’s the sell that counts. The holiness (or holey-ness) of cheese, for example. How about the planet is in pain and you can channel it’s thoughts. The secret to the universe is in Tattslotto numbers. Or believe that a disposed leader of a Galactic Confederacy transported billions of people to Earth and exploded hydrogen bombs in volcanos that created disembodied souls that cling to humans and you have to pay for their removal. OK, the last one is just plain crazy, I mean, who’d believe that crap? (hmmm, here). And what does this last belief do to people? Here.
Create the mystique –
Next, have a group of friends circulate stories about you, that you have been away on a long journey, and have returned…’different’…and you have become possessed by some mysterious power. If people are going to adore you – and later die for you (it always gets you cred at the aforementioned cult leader conference), they’re going to believe your spirituality and ‘feel’ your presence. Some more than others…
Stage Manage –
Religion is heartily dependent spectacle and controlling space. Get yourself a raised platform, a throne, an altar, sitting upon oiled up lithe bodies sounds good, but believe me, when you start slipping off those suckers your sense of presence soon diminishes. Create an inner sanctum and some acolytes to open doors for you, or stand around you in formation. The sight of some people being obeisant works wonders!
Make sure leave lots of pregnant, lingering, seductive silences in between your words. Change your tone mid-message from near whispering to shouting. Watch how powerful speakers evoke tears, anger, cheers, shame, and exultation. Play them like a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos. Promise them that you and your new religion will satisfy their inner needs: to be loved, to be happy, to be wealthy, to attain the heights of Spiritual Realisation, or make Britney perform live, whatever they want, you can promise. Make claims of exclusivity and superiority, and actively ridicule other groups or faiths, calling them evil and deluded. Maybe even smelly. Exclaim the perils of transmigration…or worse! Let your apostles do the ground work while you let your mystique grow by suddenly not speaking to anyone other than the “pure ones”.
Once the ball starts rolling, retreat to an isolated spot. This will keep you away from the eyes of the authorities and from other charlatans who might try woo away your cult (I mean, they’re your sheep, they shouldn’t be baa-ing for anyone else). If your personal wealth allows it (by now they should have ‘donated’ their pesky worldly possessions) buy an island and go there. If that’s out of your price range – deep DEEP country is good. Bring any followers and let them recruit others. After establishing a self-sufficient community and witnessing a few more miracles, start the decrees. Virgins, more donations, and spiritual marriage are a good start. In no time, you’ll be sitting pretty, brainwashing generation after generation. Enjoy! And you’re welcome.
If you want to know more, look into your inner self (or your Dave-rah) and send me an email with your photo (full length), bank account details and a copy of your bank statements. Your spiritual enlightenment will commence 48 hours after the bank transfer clears. You must be patient….but know that the answer to ALL your dreams is just one email away.
Worship the cheese!