A cult is defined as a group of people with the same religious beliefs or ideas that others would view as strange or disturbing. Active cults have been around for ages, and there are even a few with websites that you can visit right now. This is one of the major differences between modern cults and the ones of yesteryear - gone are the days of passing out pamphlets and flyers to get people to join your weird little sect. Now, one of the cult recruitment tactics is spreading the website URL and getting people to click on it.
Most modern cults still focus on religion. There are others that are drawn to the extraterrestrial and scientific, while some focus on health and personal enlightenment. The majority of cult websites are informational, with a handful of them actively recruiting new members. Which cult website is the weirdest? That's up to you to decide. Vote up the strangest and most intriguing websites run by cults below.
About This Cult: Heaven's Gate was founded in 1974 in San Diego, California, by the late Marshall Applewhite. Applewhite believed that he had been given a higher level mind than the average person and that he was one of the chosen people to fulfill biblical prophecies. On March 19, 1997, Applewhite and 38 followers wearing the same outfits with Nike Decades committed suicide, believing that their souls would exit their bodies and board a spacecraft.
The Heaven's Gate website is run by two people who have stated that they are members of the church who were ordered to stay behind. They were entrusted with running the website, and don't seem too upset about being left behind to sit around and run the website instead of boarding the UFO. The website continues to have a '90s aesthetic design and is full of information regarding the group's mission statement, books you can order, a contact address, and an email address. They are not actively recruiting any members because the majority of the group is dead.
The Family International
About This Cult: The Family International began in 1968 in Huntington Beach, California, under the original name of Teens For Christ. Later, it was renamed The Children of God and eventually renamed and reorganized as The Family. While acting as the Children of God, the group resided in communes and would hand out pamphlets, trying to get new members. Although the Children of God preached about good deeds and praised God, they also encouraged incest and sex with children. In fact, free love in all forms was encouraged so much so, the group ended up with a huge herpes outbreak. By 1983, the Children of God had grown to 10,000 members, 7,000 of which were children.
The Family International website allows you to join their organization by clicking on a link asking, “How about a new life?” Additionally, the website offers a mission statement, an About Us section, information about the mission and humanitarian work they have done worldwide, email contacts, and phone numbers.
About This Cult: Raëlism is a UFO religion which was founded in 1974 by Claude Vorilhon, who goes by Raël. The Raëliens believe that life on earth was created by extraterrestrials, whom they refer to as Elohim. Raël claims that he has met one of the Elohim on at least two occasions and that at one point, they took him to visit their planet. Once there, he claimed to have met Buddha, Moses, Muhammad, and Jesus.
The Raëliens are strong proponents of human cloning, believing that cloning will accomplish eternal life for humans. It has been alleged that people join the Raelian movement because of promises of sex and orgies and that members are estranged from their families once they join. The Raëlien website includes a FAQ section, a store where you can buy books and CDs, an event calendar for both online and local events, contact information, and a menu to find your nearest Raëlien movement.
The Twelve Tribes
About This Cult: The Twelve Tribes was founded in 1972 by Gene Spriggs in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The group believes in living communally and giving up all worldly possessions to be one with God. They are also required to quit their jobs. The Twelve Tribes opened a restaurant called the Yellow Deli, which now has several locations. It is through their Yellow Deli restaurants that they employ members to work for them so that they can preach their beliefs to customers. The workers do not receive monetary compensation. Instead, food and housing are provided for them. The group has been under investigation for severe child abuse and child labor.
The Twelve Tribes website looks clean and up to date, featuring animated photographs of members and their communities. They also share many news articles and offer books to download. They have an address, phone number, and email address for contact information.