Similar Groups

Most of these groups began or experienced a peak in the 1970s, the golden era for various fringe sects. Their former members’ stories and disillusionment sound unsurprisingly similar, signifying similar underlying mechanisms. One may feel uncomfortable as if there is a “how to start a cult” manual.


A New Age group that included teachings about UFO, yoga, Eastern philosophy, cosmic brotherhood, spiritual healing, chakras, and kundalini. Started by Dr. King, who they called a Cosmic Avatar. “One sunny Saturday morning in May 1954, Dr. King, while in his small flat in Maida Vale, London, heard the following words, which have become known as “The Command”: Prepare yourself! You are to become the voice of Interplanetary Parliament.” (Their site). Were Donato and Sri inspired by them?

Dozens of members of The Aetherius Society, who believe Jesus and other historical figures including Buddha, Krishna, Confucius, and Laozi were aliens, will climb Carnedd Llewelyn in Wales this summer to transmit spiritual energy from a mountain they say is packed with Martian power. Society members think 19 global peaks were charged with alien energy after London cabbie George King was ordered by “cosmic intelligence” in 1954 to climb them. . . . Richard said The Aetherius Society believes Jesus and Buddha were from Venus but Krishna was from Saturn—the “most advanced planet,” and that all the “great religions” are from one “cosmic source.” The Society believes that these “advanced beings [were] coming to help us and give certain teachings in some cases … to help humanity without interfering with us too much.” The Society believes a messiah will one day visit earth in a flying saucer. (ICSA)


This doomsday cult believes itself to have the Avatar, a savior for the world. Brotherhood of the White Temple was founded in 1930 by Maurice Doreal. He was interested in the occult, UFO, Atlantis. In 1953 he “predicted that the biblical Battle of Armageddon would begin very soon, and residents stored foods against the coming hard times.” This was an era in the 50s when many feared the atomic bomb attacks and sought to build shelters, which they stacked with food. After his death, his writings are held as “the truth” and key dogma (Encyclopedia.com)


Unarius (Universal Articulate Interdimensional Understanding of Science) flourished in the 80s, focusing on UFOs and extraterrestrials. It was established by a married couple, Ernest and Ruth Norman. After his death, Ruth, who called herself Uriel, focused on greater publicity of the group. She claims she has created a link between Earth and the rest of the cosmic intelligence (inspired by Star Trek?).

Through a series of mental communications in 1973, Uriel first contacted the spiritual leaders of thirty-two planets as part of the Master Plan to rejoin these worlds with planet Earth to form and Interplanetary Confederation. Earth has been invited to become the thirty-third linking member of the confederation, a galactic “United Nations” of planets whose purpose is the betterment of humankind throughout the Milky Way Galaxy (Unarius)


Founded by a couple who created a hierarchical community. They are based on the husband’s teachings (Tony Delevin – Gabriel of Urantia). Their website https://gccalliance.org/founders reveals a few basic New Age beliefs and universal values, which include doing good for the community. It is these activities and values that attract people. However, former members offer additional insight into their authoritarian rulership. They speak of being closely controlled and living in an unhealthy dependence on the leader who had power over every aspect of their lives.

At first things seem, sound and look wonderful. However, once the ACC leadership gets control over a new recruit’s money and resources and that recruit has left family and friends, they will then typically exert more control. This control may include where the new recruit lives, roommates, what they eat, what media they are exposed to, and virtually all the scheduling of their day. Any deviation from the “teachings” of “Gabriel,” an expressed desire to see or talk with family, repeated complaints, an outward manifestation of unhappiness or sadness most often will lead to a “counseling session.”

Members also play something called the “Chip Game.” This game is basically a method of encouraging members to watch each other and report any deviance from Tony Delevin’s teachings.

Everything I do is justified, I am the mandated ruler of the world,” Gabriel has said. (Cult Education)


“EnlightenNext was an organization, founded by self-styled guru Andrew Cohen, that aimed to facilitate spiritual awakening.” wrote the Atlantic in a short video, HOLY SHIT, WE ARE IN A CULT.

Like many others, this cult story features rational, intelligent people who end up in this group and have a deeply personal and even transcendent experience. They were instructed to attribute their experiences to the ‘guru’ and become hooked. Cohen, a typical cult leader, controlled whom you could or cannot date, broke up marriages, controlled people’s daily activities, and played the mind game of rewards/punishment for being obedient/disobedient. In the video, Cohen appears remorseful and apologizes for the harm he caused others. However, he is back in a guru saddle, offering Manifest Nirvana. Let’s hope he will not repeat the history.


Yet another modern New Age cult that combined the ideas of the fifth dimension, extraterrestrials, gathering 144,000 chosen ones for a group ascension, etc (source). Here are some excerpts from Denverpost.com:

Amy Carlson, who has three children, met a man online and left her family in Texas for him. It was an abrupt departure. That man referred to himself as Father God and told Carlson she was Mother God. Soon, Carlson started talking about spaceships and ascension while she was with him. Carlson parted ways with the man after a couple of years and a succession of other men became Father Gods to Carlson’s Mother God.

Her beliefs became more strange and she became more entrenched as a cult leader. Early on, Carlson and her followers identified as the Galactic Federation of Light. “If you don’t know, we are in a full-blown planetary ascension and this is basically a full evolution of consciousness,” she says. “Humanity as a collective is evolving from a third dimension to the fifth dimension.”

Sounds familiar? This is the same jargon that was popular in the New Age movements in the 1970s and 80s.


Siddha Yoga with a female guru head was the inspiration for the book Eat Pray Love. It resembles what Morningland could have been had it grown after the 70s. Similarly to other groups of this type, Siddha appears ‘very holy’ on the outside, but the closer one gets to the inner circle and the ‘guru’ within the organization and its ranks, the more exploitation there is.

[While] concrete abuses are the most immediately recognizable, there are other more subtle ways that we believe Siddha Yoga abuses its followers. As you read the stories and articles here, it is our hope that you can see that Siddha Yoga creates dependence, not liberation, in its followers, and requires its members to live in dissociative denial, pushing truth away. Critical thinking and questioning are punished by banishment from the community. Suppression and falsification of truth, submissive dependence, and acceptance of one’s insufficiency as a human being compared to the perfection of the guru is rewarded. We believe that induction into this masochistic state of submission is the universal harm done to Siddha Yoga followers. Sexual abuse, illegal activities, and other forms of harmful exploitation are just some of the concrete manifestations of this demand for submission to the control of the guru and her group (Leaving Siddha Yoga)

In SYDA philosophy, the “ego” is devalued as something small and selfish that must be surrendered to the guru, to be magically transformed into pure awareness of the transcendent “inner Self,” which is one with the guru and with God. The sense of “doership,” of taking credit for or enjoying the fruits of one’s own actions, is in particular a sure sign of “wrong understanding.” The right understanding is that whatever the guru says or does is a direct expression of God’s will, an that everything good flows from the magic grace of the guru. By surrendering the ego and the sense of doership to the guru, the sins of pride and selfishness are supposedly expiated. Practically, this means that experiencing oneself as a center of agency and initiative, as a creative person capable of taking pleasure in the use of one’s own talents and skills, should be a source of shame—because nothing belongs to oneself; it all belongs to and comes from the guru. On the other hand, one must always be ready to confess and take credit for one’s sins and transgressions—which in this system, are the sole property of the follower and his small, impure, selfish ego. The cult leader depends on maintaining the smallness, guilt, and shame of her followers as an essential means of sustaining her own delusion of impeccable perfection. And the cult follower can come to believe that his enslavement is the highest form of liberation, his alienation the highest form of connection (Daniel Shaw)

THE MOONIES – The Unification Church

“Moon saw himself as a messiah and created a church that became a worldwide movement and claims to have around 3 million members, including 100,000 in the United States. Moon said he was 16 when Jesus Christ called upon him to complete His work. He said he resisted twice before finally accepting the task. The church was seen as a cult in the 1970s and 80s, and was regularly accused of conning new recruits, holding them against their will, splitting families and forcing initiates to give over their life savings.” (The Guardian)

Steven Hassan joined the Unification Church in the 1970s and was a member for more than two years. He now works as a counselor and has written books about cults and their techniques.

I consider myself to be an independent thinker. I was an advanced honours student. I had skipped eighth grade. I cycled across the US when I was 16. I did not think I was vulnerable to being brainwashed by a cult. The church was seen as a cult in the 1970s and 80s, and was regularly accused of conning new recruits, holding them against their will, splitting families and forcing initiates to give over their life savings.

I was 19, and it was the beginning of the spring semester at college when three women, dressed like students, asked if they could sit at my table in the cafeteria. They were kind of flirting with me. I thought I was going to get a date.

At some point they said they were part of a student movement, trying to make the world a better place. I said, “Are you part of some sort of religious group?” They said no. They also didn’t say they were celibate and that Reverend Moon was going to match people and tell them when they could have sex. If they had, I would have said: “You’re crazy, leave me alone.” I say this to highlight the point about deception: people don’t knowingly join cults.

Little did I know, within a few weeks I would be told to drop out of school, donate my bank account, look at Moon as my true parent, and believe my parents were Satan. I didn’t even believe in Satan until I met the group.” (The Guardian)

June 12, 2023