20 Little Known Religions and Cults
Nobody can say they understand and know everything, this is why many believe
we have religion, cults as well as spirituality. In a world where uncertainly is
commonplace, we all want to better understand ourselves, the world and the
universe in which we live. Given that we are all unique with varying tastes and
interpretations in regard to pretty much everything, it’s understandable that
there are a variety of religions as well as cults throughout the
world tailored to a variety of needs.
20) Builders of the
Established in 1922 by Dr. Paul Foster Case, Builders of the Adytum (BOTA) is a
religion that amalgamates elements of Christianity, Judaism, Astrology and
aspects of psychology as well as occultism. Followers
believe that both Judaism and Christianity originate from the occult, they also
promote meditation. Due to the wide range of influences on the religion, a
number of its devotees come from a variety of other religions to better understand their
Dr. Paul Foster Case
Based on mythic tales, Asatru is religion that is a reinvention of an ancient
Nordic religion. Followers believe that there are four main Gods coupled with a
number of minor deities. Most members of the religion reside in small
communities that revolve around the religion that they call Kindreds. Followers
subscribe to what they regard as virtues to govern their life decisions. Unlike
the original religion on which Asatru is based, current day followers merely
provide things like honey-wine as offerings to their gods.
Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor
The Valknut symbol
Jainism was established over 2,500 years ago in India and it continues today
around four million followers. The religion believes that numerous Gods exist
and that they do so amongst humans, existing as part of a convoluted social
standing. The Jain deities represent various human ideals and like Buddhism, the
objective of the followers is to obtain spiritual completion then releasing the
spirit of the constant series of birth as well as death. Individuals who complete their
personal struggle come to be known as Jinas, there are numerous temples for
believers located throughout India. They all feature various depictions of the
spiritual guides, known as Tirthankaras. Gifts are commonly presented to the
depictions in accordance with Jain rituals. Furthermore, meditation is also a
fundamental aspect of the religion.
Symbol and motto of Jainism
By Mpanchratan, via
Established in Korea, Cheondoism dates back to 1812. Cheondoism is based in
Korean Buddhism and Shamanism combined with aspects of Christianity. In recent
years, it has garnered significant popularity in North Korea and it’s currently
the nation’s main religion. Followers believe that God is in each and every one
of us, that people should strive to make the world a paradise.
The stated goal of the movement is to have believers be intelligent and moral
individuals with strong social consciousness.
Founded in South Korea in 1954, the Unification Church adheres to an unusual
take on the popular beliefs of Christianity. Three million strong followers
worship the religion’s leader, Sun Myung Moon, as they regard him as the
Messiah and followers subscribe to the doctrine called “Divine Principle”. The
teachings promote peace throughout nature and between the sexes. Ultimately, the
objective of the church is to establish “true families” and the followers feel this
is obtained via mass weddings. Such ceremonies are viewed as a means to fulfill
the religion’s idea in regards to God’s objective that involves embracing the
love and pleasure throughout existence. This is the belief that true love and
joy can only be obtained by establishing the “perfect” sin-free family. It is
this way alone that the Unification Church sees that divinity can be
established. Although the religion doesn’t specifically mention a spiritual
world, followers believe that their spirits will live forever.
Unification Church Symbol
By RicHard-59, via
Established in the early 1900s, the Aladura religion revolves around “prophet
healing” churches in Africa. Leaders assert that they have approximately one
million followers, most of whom are from Nigeria. The religion is specifically
associated with the Anglican take on Christianity and was created in
reaction to various missionary endeavors throughout Africa. Aladura is
characterized with emphasis on the idea of divine healing, coupled with a rigid
moral line of conduct. Followers combine Anglican rituals with African
traditions and numerous items are used during rituals. Leaders are regarded as
prophets, who followers believe will heal the devout through a combination of
rituals and prayer.
14) Falun Gong
A relatively new religion, Falun Gong has more than two million followers. Based
in China, it was established in 1992 by Li Hongzhi and it mixes aspects of Taoism,
Confucianism, Buddhism as well as the nation’s folklore. The
objective of Falun Gong followers includes achieving spiritual and mental
revival. The religion’s members conduct special meditation sessions to
rejuvenate their souls and purge themselves of various ailments. The religion
has garnered some concern from authorities, who originally viewed the movement as
dangerous. There are suggestions that at least some followers of Falun Gong
believe that aliens manipulate world leaders to cause division throughout the
Falun Gong Symbol
13) Cao Dai
Founded in 1926, Cao Dai is a religion that amalgamates aspects of Taoism,
Confucianism, Catholicism and Buddhism. Officials of the group assert to have
around 6 million devotees to the faith and followers worship a variety of saints
from the root religions from which Cao Dai derives. The asserted goal of the
faith is to produce a world that is more tolerant, as it is believed that
humanity as a whole shares a collective divinity. The various rituals of the
religion are somewhat influenced by the occult, though predominately derived
from Taoist practices. Followers often conduct séances, coupled with traditional
prayers and elaborate spiritual ceremonies.
The Cao Dai eye
12) The Movement for
the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God
A splinter group of the Roman Catholic Church, The Movement for the Restoration
of the Ten Commandments of God, was established in Uganda, during the 1980s.
Just as the name suggests, the religion advocated strict adherence to the Ten
refrained from talking because of the commandment about not bearing false
witness. Their belief in the Ten Commandments was rooted in a
belief that the adherence to them will prove advantageous when the apocalypse
happens. Their views, especially their concern about the apocalypse, were
illustrated in their literature ‘A Timely Message from Heaven: The End of the
Present Time’ and followers had to memorize the literature.
The group believed that Mother Mary would have a significant part in the
apocalypse and saw themselves in a similar light to Noah’s Ark. For
example, providing a vessel for the righteous in a flood of sinning.
Followers were secretive and given their emphasis on silence, they were
relatively unknown to the broader community until 2000. In March of that year,
approximately 300 devotees perished in a blaze in what was most likely a mass
suicide. Investigations unearthed many graves, which increased the death toll to
more than a 1,000. There is speculation that the deaths and fire were a mass
murder for which the leadership was responsible.
The Ten Commandments
11) Church of the
The Church of the SubGenius is an organization who parody religion, conspiracy
theories and pop-culture in general. The church asserts that it was established
in the 1950s by salesman J. R. “Bob” Dobbs. However, it actually began in 1979
upon release of a flyer. Upon publication, it quickly gained acclaim from groups
in the underground culture with particular acceptance on college campuses. It
later gained attention through the underground music scene and via the Internet.
Jehovah 1, primary deity of the Church of the SubGenius
By Kenneth Huey, via
Bob Dobb's picture on a wall, act of the SubGenius
Raelism, otherwise known as the Raelian Church, is a group established by Claude
Vorilhon. The organization, and especially Vorilhon, gained world-wide attention
when they claimed to have been a part of a successful cloning procedure in 2002.
The group preaches secular and hedonistic ideas, rather than worshiping deities. Raelian
followers believe that all things are made up of only physical elements. They
dismiss the notion that there is a human soul or a God. They also feel that mind
transfer is possible, meaning it’s possible to produce an
exact clone in regards to personality and mind.
9) The Creativity
The Creativity Movement is a white supremacist group that promotes the
“Caucasian Only” group that followers call “Creativity”. The cult was
established by Ben Klassen in 1973 and the word “creator” doesn’t actually
reference any God. It is used in relation to white people who followers
believe were the creators of humankind. Although the group uses the word Church
in their name, they are actually atheistic. When Klassen died in 1993,
Creativity almost disappeared until it was resurrected as the New Church of the
Creator by Matthew F. Hale. He served as its leader, known as Pontifex
Maximus, until 2003 when he was incarcerated after plotting with the group’s
security head and FBI informant, Anthony Evola, to kill a federal judge.
Creativity Movement Symbol
8) Nation of Yahweh
Founded in 1979, the Nation of Yahweh is a religion made up of African-American
followers as an alternative branch of the Black Hebrew Israelites. They were
established by Hulon Mitchell, Jr, otherwise known as Yahweh ben Yahweh. The
group’s objective involves African Americans, who they see as the original
Israelites, returning to Israel. Followers believe Yahweh ben Yahweh is the Son
of God, which sets them and their beliefs apart from those of the Black Hebrew
Israelites as well as other offshoot groups. The believers have garnered controversy
because of Yahweh’s legal issues as a result of accusations that
the group is a black supremacist cult. Their most harsh critics are the Southern
Poverty Law Center (SPLC), who have stated that the views of the Nation of
Yahweh are a hate group because the followers allegedly believe that African
Americans are “the true Jews", and Caucasians are “white devils”. The group is
also said to believe that Yahweh’s personal mission is “to destroy all whites”.
Nation of Yahweh Symbol
7) Church of All
Founded in 1962, the Church of All Worlds is a religion established by Oberon
Zell-Ravenheart, along with his wife Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart. They
initially began as a bunch of hippies that drew inspiration from a fictional
religion described in Robert A. Heinlein’s novel ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’
(1961). The group’s mythology includes aspects of science fiction but they also
believe in things such as Mother Nature, Faries and a number of various deities.
Much of their rituals revolve around the Gods and Goddesses of ancient Greece.
Over the years, the group has continued to base aspects of their religion on
works of fiction. After the success of the Harry Potter books, Zell-Ravenheart
established a school for wizardry which was inspired by the Hogwarts School from
the Harry Potter novels.
6) The Church of
The Church of Euthanasia (CE) is an activist group established by Chris Korda.
The group identifies itself as a not-for-profit, educational organization that
is dedicated to bringing a unity to all species. With satire and dark humor, the
CE employ music, sermons, publicity stunts as well as direct action highlight issues
relating to the welfare of Earth. They have just one single commandment, which
forbids procreation. The CE sarcastically endorses anything that will reduce the
world’s population without physically harming others. Some examples include:
abortion, cannibalism of those that are already dead, suicide and sexual acts
that are not for the sake of procreation.
Church of Euthanasia Logo
5) Universe People
Universe People, otherwise known as “Cosmic People of Light Powers”, is a Czech
religious movement that is based around Ivo A. Benda. It began in the late
1990s, followers believe in the existence of various extraterrestrial
civilizations and that those societies communicate with Benda as well as numerous other
The group claims that they are contacted telepathically and by direct
personal contact. As described by Benda, the various alien civilizations pilot a
fleet of spaceships that orbit the Earth led by Ashtar Sheran. Their
mission is to monitor and assist the good people of Earth with the ultimate
objective to transport the movement’s followers to another dimensions.
The Universe People’s beliefs involve some aspects of UFO-ology, Christianity
and various elaborate conspiracy theories. The followers also believe evil
forces conspire to micro-chip the world’s population.
Spacecraft in the Night, symbolic of Universe People
4) Prince Philip
The Prince Philip Movement is a group within the Yaohnanen tribe in Vanuatu and
followers feel that Prince Philip is a divine figure. They believe he is related
to John Frum, who is a figure in the Vanuatu spiritual myths that is said to
bring prosperity and wealth to his followers.
The cult began after the Yaohnanen villagers noted the respect British
colonial officials showed to Queen Elizabeth II and reached the assumption that
her partner, Prince Philip, is related to Frum. It’s unclear just when the cult
was established, though it is believed to be around the 1950s.
The groups’ views were reinforced when the royals visited Vanuatu in 1974.
Prince Philip is aware of their beliefs and since learning of the cult, he has
exchanged gifts with a number of the cult’s leaders as well as met some of the
Followers of the Prince Philip Movement
By Christopher Hogue Thompson, via
Established in 1965 by American John Paul Twitchell, the religion of Eckankar
embraces what followers call the heavenly spirit of “Eck”. The religion shares
similarities with a number of Eastern religions, specifically in relation to the
fact that devotees believe in the idea of reincarnation. Their core idea that a
soul is reborn repeatedly until it ultimately achieves purity.
Devotees believe that they can obtain spiritual growth through the use of
specific medication-oriented activities. They also feel that with such
exercises, the soul has the ability to free itself from physical constraints and
enter a spiritual world that they call the Sugmad. Followers say that when they
finally finish their long spiritual journey they are reunified with Eck.
2) The Church of
Founded in 1971, The Church of Bible Understanding is a group that was
established by Stewart Traill. The believers focus their attention predominately
on troubled teenagers by exploiting their vulnerabilities. During the 1970s, the
cult expanded throughout the United States. Traill and his followers believe
that he is the prophet Elijah reborn. Believers reside in communities that give
the vast majority of their money to their leaders, Traill has accumulated
millions. He oversees every element of members’ existence with shame, vicious
character assassination and communal humiliation.
Critics have accused Traill of having alarmingly efficient means of stopping
critical thinking, which can cause serious psychological harm. Alarmingly, Traill
oversees a group in Haiti. Some former devotees allege that the kids are
brainwashed and blackmailed into joining the group for clothing as well as food.
Despite the suspect operation, the cult gets government funds for its Haiti
Children part of the Church of Bible Understanding
Dating back to New York in the 1970s, Nuwaubian’s initially began as a Black
Muslim organization and the group has since gone through a number of changes. Nuwaubianism is an umbrella term that references the teachings of Dwight York,
otherwise known as Malachi Z. York, and Issa Al Haadi Al Mahdi. In 1993, the group
set up base in Georgia, where they built a small city inspired by ancient
Egyptian buildings. It has since been abandoned and destroyed.
York established Nuwaubianism by bringing together a wide variety of sources,
including numerous cults and religions, coupled with a plethora of unusual
beliefs. Whites are believed to have originated a slave race of mercenaries, who
were intended to serve blacks but turned the tables and enslaved blacks.
There are a number of wild ideas that these followers believe; such as:
crucial that afterbirth be buried to ensure that Satan won’t use it to produce a
duplicate in the image of the new born. In some cases, aborted fetuses are
believed to survive the operation and manage to live on in sewers where they
collectively conspire to enslave the world.
According to the group, humans were originally symmetrical as well as
ambidextrous before a meteorite hit Earth and skewed the planet’s axis. They
said this resulted in handedness and caused the heart to move from the center of the chest. Nuwaubians
believe everyone has several clones that live in various places across the
planet, women existed for generations before using genetic manipulation to
invent men and homo-sapiens culminated from experiments conducted
Nuwaubians believe that Nikoli Tesla was an alien who arrived on Earth
from Venus and that the Illuminati, a secret society determined to achieve world
domination, have raised Satan’s son, since his birth on June 6, 1966.
Supposedly, Jackie Kennedy Onassis was the mother. The Pope is believed to have
witnessed the birth and conducted necromantic rituals in celebration of the
child’s birth. The child was mentored by Richard Nixon and currently resides in
Belgium, where it is physically attached to a computer known as “The Beast 3M” and
alternatively as “3666”. York is now incarcerated after conviction in regard to
money laundering and child molestation but Nuwaubianism still carries on to this day.
There has never been a shortage of religious beliefs and despite their diversity,
the one thing they all have in common is the drive of the followers to better
understand themselves, their surroundings, the world around them as well as the
universe. With that in mind, there’s no doubt that religions and cults will
always exist. Each has their unique set of beliefs and rituals that people
will continue to join, for better or worse.
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