Cult/Fringe Facts

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Post by slooroo » 1 month ago

So to mix things up a bit I thought I would mention a group that was in the news yet again recently, the Atomwaffen Division.

Founded on the now dead fascist forum Iron March the Atomwaffen Division is the US branch of a Neo Nazi group that started on the forum to prepare for the race war and once victory is achieved form the new Reich. Now Neo Nazi groups are not uncommon by any means but Atomwaffen became distinct due to their rediscovery of a vague Neo Nazi thinker James Mason and his collection of essays called Siege. Mason could warrant his own thread so I'll just note some basic points to Siege.

1. The system cannot be fixed. It must be destroyed and replaced.

2. Concern about optics and trying to work through the system is pointless. No one is going to vote for a Nazi.

3. Bringing about the end of the system should ideally be done in small groups although Mason is blunt enough to say if you have to terrorize make it worth it

4. Neo Nazis need to study the organization and tactics of communist movements in the third world

5. Charles Manson is the most important National Socialist after Adolf Hitler. James Mason became a disciple of Manson's though eventually Manson cut ties with him.

Siege however was a relatively forgotten text until Iron March's rediscovery of the book and with Mason's permission had the forum republish it plus release other works Mason wrote but never released to the public. They also operated a website to Mason and uploaded new articles by him. So Atomwaffen becoming disciples of James Mason began to value an eclectic number of figures from Hitler to Manson. Some early members however also became attracted to radical Islam which led to a former member murdering Atomwaffen members which in turn during police investigation discovered the founder of Atomwaffen had bomb materials which also landed him in prison. This wouldn't be the only murder. Member Samuel Woodward would murder gay Jewish man Blaze Bernstein. Member Nicholas Giampa murdered his girlfriend's parents after they disapproved of him due to his Atomwaffen affiliation then attempted suicide but failed. Other members had connection to Pittsburg synagogue mass shooter Robert Bowers and while I don't think Bowers himself was a member Atomwaffen members did have communications with him. One of those members committed suicide when the police began investigating. Most recently the FBI stopped a man in Las Vegas who was attempting to make bombs to plan an Atomwaffen mass murder in the city of some type.

It also doesn't end in just America. Atomwaffen affiliates in other countries have been caught in committing various crimes and promoting their propaganda. Said propaganda is very direct and in your face. Instead of the alt right optics they dread they are very open about being Neo-Nazis, even placing on posters "Join Your Local Nazis!" They create their own artwork using an art style unique to them that will often fear dark colors of black, red, and white and look intentionally demonic.

Now if this wasn't messy enough Atomwaffen also has a high level of fondness for the O9A and Tempel ov Blood as I noted in an earlier post. This has been a controversial stance however and they have lost a significant amount of members due to their affiliation. This affiliation is so tight knit it's difficult to see where Atomwaffen ends and where O9A/ToB begins. Atomwaffen is also part of another Neo Nazi group called The Base which blurs the lines even more. So what exactly is their total member count these days is hard to say. It's even hard to say how seriously they take Neo Nazism when they also seem to have a lot of members with LGBT leanings and it's known several higher level members have been involved in BDSM and sleeping with the transgender. Regardless they are obsessed with the apocalypse that much is certain.

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Post by slooroo » 1 month ago

On today's episode of "sloo wants to sleep but might be awake" I may as well get another famous group, The Peoples' Temple, out of the way.

To understand the Peoples Temple you need to understand it's leader, the infamous Jim Jones. Jones was known as a child for being obsessed with reading, particularly works of communism, socialism, and fascism noting the flaws of all three but aligned himself with communism ultimately. He also had an obsession with religion and death and supposedly as a child would hold funerals for animals he killed. That said he was extremely anti-racist and came to constant conflicts with his supposedly KKK father and was very fond of an anti-racism speech given by Eleanor Roosevelt while he attended college. He also became a very active member of the Indiana chapter of the Communist Party which landed himself in constant trouble with the law and apparently even got his mother in the cross hairs of the FBI for attending events with him. Frustrated with the high levels of crackdown by the US government Jones became dismayed and wondered if there was any method of ever spreading communism in the United States when he came to a rather unique conclusion, have religion promote it.

With this new revelation he ended up very surprised when the Methodist Church allowed him to join despite knowing he was a communist but Jones ended up leaving it and studying other churches such as a Baptist church that practiced faith healing. So Jim Jones decided to heavily align himself with faith healers and ended up convincing one of the biggest names in faith healing to be part of Jones's convention as the headliner while Jim Jones opened. This ended up being a huge success and Jones was able to form his own church, the Peoples Temple. Uniquely it was a church for all races with no segregation, an idea still radical to America of the time period. In fact integration became a huge part of Jones's life. He went throughout Indiana encouraging businesses to integrate and for white neighborhoods to accept black neighbors. He adopted children of various races and raised them as his own as part of his "rainbow family." However Jones was also paranoid and in an area of constant fears Jones ran off to Brazil for a time to consider moving the church there but it was an unprofitable venture and on top of that it ruined his reputation in Indiana as some saw it as Jones running away from the fight. So instead the Peoples Temple abandoned Indiana in favor of San Francisco, which ended up being a great move though it was again influenced by Jones's paranoia.

With San Francisco though Jones could finally begin to transition his religion. Slowly he became more open about his anti-Christian views and slowly incorporated his communist beliefs more and more into his sermons. He told his followers that he was whatever they wanted him to be, even God if they chose. He also became even more directly involved in Civil Rights movements as well as politics, even becoming a direct reason why several California politicians got their jobs. It became common for California politicians to seek Jones's blessing for his sway in an election. Even Jimmy Carter's wife had a meeting with him. Jones also had a tight control over much of the media and when one was finally willing to publish an anti-Temple piece that began Jones's decision to move the church to Guyana.

Guyana is where the infamous Jonestown was built. Promoted as where the perfect communists would build the communist utopia Jones noted they would either succeed together or die together, banning anyone from leaving the compound. Now the Peoples Temple was not paradise even before Jonestown. Members were forced to give up all possessions to the church and members were routinely abused both physically and verbally. In Jonestown however things became far worse. The soil was garbage so farming was near impossible which caused constant food shortages. Abuse became more and more common. Jim Jones, with a raging drug addiction, would spend hours on end on the intercoms ranting and raving, even through the night. He had everyone do constant drills which everyone had to practice to commit suicide. Rather than communist paradise this place was pure hell and unsurprisingly Jones wasn't having much luck getting any communist nations to bail out Jonestown or allow the church to retreat to their countries. All of this came to the knowledge of the US and Congressman Leo Ryan decided to head to Jonestown personally to investigate. Finally Jones's paranoid hit the roof and had his followers gun down Ryan as well as several journalists down at the airport then ordered the entire church to commit suicide. 918 people total died, not including many suicides and murders of Temple members in the months that followed in the chaos. This was the largest disaster in US history until 9/11.

So some random facts to end this up is the Peoples Temple made A LOT of money. Studying the ethically questionable methods of faith healers Jones constantly sold a wide variety of trinkets although he didn't want members having photos of him until two members convinced him. The church got hundreds of dollars just in donations in the mail daily which shocked even Jones. They also sold their own music produced by their interracial choirs. The church was extremely active in the Civil Rights movement and Jones was awarded many rewards and praise by the black and LGBT communities. This is why even decades later some Civil Rights activists have a hard time saying anything about Jones. To be fair it has to be hard to process how he could do such horrible things when he also did so many great things. Despite being extremely anti-Christian Jones did seem to still be influenced by faith healers in some regards, especially in terms of fears of nuclear war. Many former members of the group are still alive but no attempts to revive the Temple has occurred. Some of Jones' adopted children also survived and have difficulties processing how the father who was such a great man to them did the horrible things he did. Many former Temple buildings still survive but are now used by other churches or organizations. Jonestown on the other hand is gone except for tiny remnants of items if you dig around.

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Post by slooroo » 1 month ago

So it's been a few days since I've made a post and I realized I think it was time to talk about who is possibly THE scummiest televangelist on the planet and that's saying something since pretty much all of them are scummy. Ladies and gentlemen, lets discuss Peter Popoff.

Born in Germany Popoff's family moved to the United States where Popoff's father was a preacher and good ol' Petey decided to join in. Even this early in his career Popoff became known for lying by heavily exaggerating his life history like claiming to have been in a Soviet prison camp in Siberia and having great powers like healing and the ability to see into the future. Once his career became so huge he could warrant his own television program this only grew as he held large revivals where he was supposedly healing people live on television and people who were in wheelchairs could magically get up and dance and the crowd would throw their pill bottles and crutches of the stage as proof they believed that Popoff could cure them of all ills. He ran into a bump when he began collecting money where he claimed he was going to send Bibles into the Soviet Union by attaching them to balloons. When asked for proof this was actually happening Popoff staged a burglary of his own offices to pretend the money was stolen then proceeded to ask his audiences for MORE donations in order to "repair" his building and re-coup the money "stolen."

Another power Popoff claimed to have and demonstrated in his program was the ability to accurately give someone's name and their exact address in order to bring them up to him. To prove this was bullshit magician James Randi and his team used devices to pick up radio signals and sure enough his wife was sending him the information through an ear piece based off cards people filled out before the service and yes-men who felt out the crowd through questioning different people before the service. Randi also proved Popoff didn't have divine powers by sending a man dressed as a woman claiming to have womb cancer which Popoff "healed." To add insult to injury when Popoff's wife Elizabeth would send messages to Popoff she had no problem using racial slurs to describe audience members and make fun of people by insulting their physical appearances. Randi took all of this information to Johnny Carson's late night show and exposed Popoff which forced Popoff to declare bankruptcy.

Now you think this is the end of Popoff? Oh boy are you wrong. Popoff returns years later, this time gearing his ministry towards African Americans, the poor, the sick, and basically anyone down on their luck. Now he's also pushing his "miracle spring water" that is supposedly from Chernobyl and blessed with special powers that can do anything from cure any illness to fix your financial situation but it required you to do lots of praying and send plenty of money to Popoff. By plenty I mean some people have sent the man actual thousands, said people already in deep financial troubles and need every cent they have. However it gets scarier.

A major component to Popoff's ministry today works through letters. All of them pre-typed with fake pen writing here and there, the letters put the victim into a strange situation. The letters claim to be directly written by Popoff himself, having a direct "conversation" with you. These letters will claim things like Popoff has you in his dreams, that Popoff has personally prayed for you everyday, that Popoff had trouble sleeping because of your troubles and his wife had to calm him down. Most of these letters also include trinkets like the miracle spring water, little crosses, or even "My wife Elizabeth's personal prayer cloth" and gives the reader very strange, elaborate instructions such as putting the trinkets under their pillow and praying over them for days at a time before using them in different methods. Of course the main component to every letter is Popoff makes two very specific requests.

1. Do not tell other people you are in contact with Popoff and do not tell anyone the contents of the letters. You must show full belief in Popoff without any doubts. Or AKA don't tell people I'm scamming you and am trying to severe you from everyone else so you're more dependent on me.

2. You MUST donate money to prove to God that you are serious about this and believe Popoff is a prophet who can help you. These envelopes will often give direct numbers to send like 19.99 or something like that.

So if you haven't guessed yet, Popoff doesn't write these letters. Popoff does not look at any letter sent to him. Former employees have noted they are to collect the money from each envelope and trash the rest. One ex employee noted of a person with suicidal thoughts and attempted to convince Popoff's wife to have Popoff call the person to get help. She was punished and told to never read the letters, just collect the money and trash the rest. Also interesting to note that these letters are all generics and his team just fills in blanks with a person's name before mailing them. Also the letters are fucking endless. There's tons of videos online of people from Youtube lp channel SuperMega to much smaller groups receiving dozens of Popoff letters every. single. day.

That said revivals are still an important aspect to his ministry. However due to what James Randi did they are no longer public. If Popoff is going to be in the area his team sends out tickets to people who are part of his mailing list and Popoff's team rigorously checks each person for name and ticket before allowing them inside. I can tell you for a fact from my experience growing up as a Southern Baptist this is not normal whatsoever. Church services are always free and open to the public. The fact Popoff only carefully selects who can attend shows he only wants true believers there who won't question him.

To end it off I should note Popoff is filthy fucking rich who lives in a fancy California mansion and drives sports cars. I will note he is one of the most disgusting human pieces of trash I've ever seen and the fact he preys on people at their worst moments to bleed them of the last literal dollar they own shows me that Popoff, his wife, and children lack any kind of conscious and the fact he's still legally allowed to do this is beyond disgusting. If hell exists I hope Popoff gets one of the hottest flames to sit in.

Note: I'll also include some Youtube videos that proves some of my points






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Post by slooroo » 1 month ago

So I thought today I would make a smaller post on an interesting topic to me. In fact this is a good crossover with the debate section. Can an organization truly own a religion? This is the question Scientology is facing today and 99% of people don't know it. Freezone Scientology are groups of Scientologists who practice the religion of Scientology outside of the Church of Scientology. Their belief is that Scientology as a religion works on some level and they like Dianetics. They also believe Hubbard had at least some good intentions even if he was a flawed man. However Freezoners pretty much universally agree they do not like David Miscavige and the changes he brought to the Church of Scientology therefore they broke off to practice their faith independently. For example Freezoners on average agree that Dianetics services should be very affordable so anyone can experience Dianetics without going into financial ruin while the small fees do allow Freezoners to take care of their needs as well. They heavily criticize Miscavige bleeding Scientologists dry of all of their money. They also believe signing all of your rights away in billion year contracts and living like a prisoner at a Scientology base is against what Dianetics is meant to be. Now Freezone isn't a single group and because of that they do have minor differences here and there not worth going into. What is important is that the Church of Scientology HATES Freezone Scientology. All Freezoners are enemies of the church and the church has attempted to destroy these groups in various ways such as claims that because they own Hubbard's copyrights Freezone can't use Scientology materials to practice their faith. This is why Freezoners typically use older Scientology materials that I believe are part of the public domain. So far however the government has sided with Freezone that Freezoners are allowed to practice Scientology in their own way. So I find it fascinating. If you really think about it many religions form because no one truly owns the Bible or Quran or Bhagavad Gita or whatever. So Scientology attempting to completely own a religion through modern laws is a very strange concept. It makes me curious too for the future of Freezone and whether Freezone can further serve people who are interested in Dianetics without the baggage of the Church of Scientology.

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Post by slooroo » 4 weeks ago

To mix it up I thought I would discuss Columbine a bit more

Columbine High School was not seen as a friendly environment in the 90s and supposedly according to students and former students not even today. The school much like many American high schools puts the highest value on sports. In the 90s especially all jocks wore white hats and were essentially the kings of the school. What this basically means is the jocks were allowed to get away with anything and everything they wanted as long as they kept winning games and bringing the school trophies. What this also means is the jocks became bullies who tormented anyone and everyone under them. Then you had the "Trenchcoat Mafia" as the media got so crazy over. Eric and Dylan weren't members of the group but were friends with some of the members. The Trenchcoat Mafia was essentially a group of nerds who loved things like tabletop gaming, card games, computers, and such and as a sign of their affiliation wore trench coats. Eric and Dylan on the other hand seemed more obsessed with trench coats due to movies they enjoyed. While the Trenchcoat Mafia were bullied by jocks they were actually a bit of bullies themselves. This worked not because they were strong like a jock but through numbers. You had many other cliques at the school as well and all of them ranged in the popularity level and on who might get bullied by who. It was an extremely toxic environment that the principal at best was ignorant of or at worst gladly supported and the same with the teachers. Regardless what anyone thinks I do truly believe this played a major factor in the developments of Eric and Dylan's lives that led to NBK regardless of how much were they arguably bullied or left out by groups they wished to be part of. They weren't entirely innocent boys themselves though. They were known for bullying and for being bullied, much like a scary amount of others at the school.

Another major aspect the media discusses are the guns. Eric and Dylan didn't get almost any of their weapons through normal methods. They bought weapons off co-workers. They'd talk friends into buying guns and ammo for them at gun shows or out of catalogs. Most importantly NBK wasn't supposed to be a mass shooting. Eric's dream was to copy Timothy McVeigh and bomb Columbine while Eric and Dylan would stay by their vehicles outside and mow down anyone escaping with the guns. Thankfully ends up a high school boy in the suburbs wasn't an expert bomb maker. The propane bombs that were meant to destroy the school didn't go off. The pipe bombs he created out of PVC pipe and gunpowder from fire works were little more than fancy toys and mostly just scared students at the school. Even their actual guns weren't of the highest quality. Eric broke his nose murdering Cassie Bernall due to cutting his shotgun barrel too short, creating a powerful kickback. They also weren't expert shots by any means. This isn't of course to downgrade that they murdered many people in cold blood. It's merely to show how many factors played into not even more dying.

So the biggest question ends up being why. Why is obviously the answer no one can fully answer since the people who had those answers are dead and gone. My personal belief is both were extremely mentally ill, growing up in a hostile environment at school, and they were unwilling to truly ask for help and no one around them thought they needed it. Both had violent thoughts and anger of the world around them and their perception of being rejected and excluded, regardless of what others see them as being in social life. What can we diagnose them with? Again nothing since they're dead. I could theorize Dylan was possibly schizophrenic from his journal entries. I could theorize Eric had extreme anger problems mixed with a desire to appease his friend. Obviously my opinion is like an asshole and everyone has one. What I do know is Eric once said he hoped NBK would be like an opening of Pandora's Box and it would create a flame America couldn't put out. Twenty years later and many, many mass shootings I would say Eric got his wish.

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Post by slooroo » 3 weeks ago

Nazism is full of very fringe ideas. One of the most fringe some will see in the movements is the idea that Adolf Hitler was an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu and that he only lost WW2 because he was cuddly as a kitten but when he returns he will be a conquering lion and free the Aryan race forever from evil. This idea comes from fringe thinker Savitri Devi.

Devi is not her real name but rather it was Maximiani Julia Portas, a woman born in France of Greek, Italian, and English heritage. Early in her childhood she became obsessed with animal rights, a subject near and dear to her all the way to her death. She also became a Greek nationalist and earned two Masters degrees and a PhD. She then participated in work in Greece where she encounters a symbol that would impact her thinking for the rest of her life: the swastika. Fascinated by the prominence of the swastika in ancient Greece she became obsessed with the concept of the Aryans. This obsessed led her to then become a fiercely loyal follower of Hitler's National Socialism and for her new obsession: the need to find the oldest surviving Aryan society. This desire led her to India, where she became a Hindu and began aiding the Hindu movements in fighting off Christian and Islamic missionary efforts in the area. She ended up marrying a man of Bengali heritage and during WW2 became an interesting pro-Axis figure in encouraging India to gain their independence against the British and even helped pro-Axis Indian forces get in contact with Japan for assistance. She also flirted with Allied leadership in the area and whatever information she could worm out of them sent to the Axis. This led her to direct opposition with her own mother who supported Allied efforts in France. Needless to say the Allied Powers won, Hitler committed suicide, and while India did gain independence it was not under any concept of National Socialism.

After the war she began a bit of a world tour of sorts. Obsessed with National Socialism she went across Europe trying to encourage the people of Europe to stay true to the ideals of Hitler. Needless to say she got in trouble and ended up in German prison for a time which allowed her to befriend many Nazi war criminals. Once she got out she was banned from Germany but she simply used her maiden name instead of the Devi name to re-enter. This is also when she began pushing a Nazi-Hindu belief system where Germany was the holy land, Nazi sites were sacred places, and that Hitler was an incarnation of Vishnu and that he would return. She also became active in writing to National Socialists in various countries and promoted co-operative work. She was in particularly highly impressed with American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell. She finally died while heading to America to give a lecture and her ashes are kept by Neo Nazis next to the ashes of George Lincoln Rockwell. They've made quite the little shrine to the both of them and photos were online at one time.

I also will give a minor note that when I say she was an animal rights activist she was the most extreme form of it. She was vegan and against anything that could potentially harm animals like hunting, circuses, and the fur industry. What makes it noteworthy however is she believed the death penalty should be used to anyone who harms an animal in any way.

So why is Devi important to Neo Nazis? Her religious beliefs play a major role in the religion Esoteric Hitlerism, a religion that turns the beliefs of the Nazis into a religion to follow. Devi played a major role in shaping these beliefs as well as disciples that came after her and Nazis like Heinrich Himmler before her.

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Post by slooroo » 2 weeks ago

On today's episode I wanted to discuss a specific topic: the power of the martyr. According to the Oxford Dictionary martyr means "A person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs." What it fails to mention is that a martyr takes on a powerful new form in death that gives a zeal to those still alive. I would like to note a view random examples of martyrs. When I say this I do not mean that every martyr is a good thing. You'll obviously see bad examples in this.

Martin Luther King Jr and Malcom X were both assassinated during the height of the Civil Rights movement in the United States. Both were powerful, influential leaders and their deaths in such a key point allowed the movement to rally around them and today they are considered two of the greatest African American heroes and many have and will be activists due to them. Many Civil Rights laws can be attributed to their work.

Horst Wessel was a leader in the Nazi Party's SA who was murdered by members of the Communist Party of Germany. His death became a powerful piece of propaganda for the Nazi Party. The marching song he wrote became the official anthem of the Nazi Party and one of the two national songs of Germany under Hitler. Wessel became larger than he ever was in life due to the genius marketing of Joseph Goebbels.

In the same Nazi vein decades later American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell was cut down in his prime by a member of his own party. This sudden death infuses energy into American Nazism even today as Rockwell is considered to be a great martyr who fought for his beliefs to the end. Humorously Rockwell was arguably a pretty minor figure in the far right of the time and perhaps serves a role similar to Wessel in death.

Stonewall Jackson is well known as one of, if not the greatest general of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. Killed by accident by his own men Jackson became a powerful symbol in the Confederacy as the modern day Christian knight fighting against evil. Jackson's power brought awe to both northerners and southerners and I don't think there's anything wrong about saying he is an admirable figure even now.

Abraham Lincoln too was a martyr. As any American would know he was murdered in Ford's Theater by John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate sympathizing actor. America rallied around the image of Lincoln in such a way that even now he is considered one of the greatest American heroes and his image will be found everywhere. I wouldn't even say it's entirely controversial to say America built a cult of personality around the man after his death.

Obviously I could go on and on with endless examples of martyrs. Christianity alone has more than I can count. So why mention this in fringe facts? Martyrs by spilling their blood become symbols to a group of a people, a hero that fought and died for a belief. So fellow believers consider him or her a hero and try to emulate their example. Jesus himself was in a way a martyr and millions of people around the world study his life and works and try to live out the message he represents. This is why things like Nazism has a level of zeal to it. Not only is it a system that encompasses one's entire life but everyone from Hitler down is seen as martyrs to the cause and Neo Nazis believe that the NSDAP wanted to free Aryans but was halted by evil. Using my Wessel example the Nazis secretly noted many times that Wessel was a nobody who served more use dead than alive. The "story" of Wessel was a fabrication by Goebbels even. However there is power in a symbol. An activity that can be difficult to do but is worth it is really think about who you would consider a hero and decide if the actual person perhaps is overly romanticized by you or someone else.

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Post by slooroo » 2 weeks ago

If you go to a lot of touristy places or locations with a high population of Asians there is a good chance that you will see a group of mostly Chinese people affiliated with a group by the name of Falun Gong or Falun Dafa as noted by their pamphlets. Typically they will hand out brochures with sort of vague information about their belief system as well as massive signs protesting the unethical treatment of their group by the Chinese government. But what is Falun Gong? Lets find out.

Falun Gong was founded in China in 1992 by Li Hongzhi, and honestly it's hard to say what he was before the founding of the group. He has released two biographies but it's generally believed they're full of total bullshit. The reason for this is he claims to come from a family of poverty and took interest in spiritual teachings from a young age, training under different Buddhist and Daoist masters at various points in his life. By age eight he supposedly had already mastered various superpowers such as levitation and invisibility. He supposedly refused to aid Mao in the Cultural Revolution but did have various other jobs and supposedly even had children. Eventually after studying under many masters Li decided all of his masters had systems that weren't efficient in teaching the common man so he developed Falun Gong and began teaching disciples of his own. Now the interesting thing about this is Falun Gong no longer publishes said biographies ever since Li was forced to escape China and is almost never seen in public and all of his rare messages are heavily controlled through Falun websites.

So what are the beliefs of Falun Gong? To make it simple it's basically a synthesis of various Chinese beliefs. More complex version is that it's a series of exercises and mental exercises that is supposed to bring you closer to the Dao/Dharma. Li essentially took ideas that has always existed in China and put them in one umbrella. There's Chinese medicine, Chinese ideas, Chinese mysticism, and so on. Much like Buddhism the goal is to eventually escape the cycle of reincarnation. Unlike Buddhism however Falun Gong puts a heavy emphasis on it's followers living in the modern, secular world instead of retreating into a monastery. So while the group requires you to work and make money you also need to not value material possessions. While Falun Gong expects you to marry into a mongamous, heterosexual marriage you are to detach from sexual thought. LGBT can practice but they are expected to be celibate. Race is a little more complex since Li apparently has made rather racist statements such as interracial mixing is wrong and that mixed children can only escape reincarnation if Li wills it. On the other hand there apparently interracial marriages and children in the group and it isn't stopped or shamed. They have many texts and it's a strange mix between Li's own works and works that have existed in China for thousands of years translated to fit Li's belief system.

So earlier I mentioned the group is persecuted in China. Originally this was not the case however Falun Gong became so popular in China and even high level members of the Communist Party joined the organization the nation began seeing the group as a threat. Members are arrested and beaten and most controversially been used for organ harvesting. They are also placed in camps where the Chinese government attempts to deconvert members. This is why Li escaped China and moved to the United States and many members have fled from China although many members are still in China and attempt to continue to practice their faith.

However is Falun Gong a cult? The answer is maybe. On one hand Falun Gong is a decentralized movement and while they do some event organizing and occasionally practice the exercises and such together there are no fees to join the group or participate in any class held. You do on the other hand have to buy Li's books. There has been many claims however that the group does have a cult-like grasp on their members. Supposedly people who live in Li's compound in New York aren't allowed internet access, modern medicine, and are heavily pushed into arranged marriages. Li himself definitely has a cult of personality going and members practically worship the guy in the same way a Scientologist may worship L Ron Hubbard.

So the ultimate question is even if Falun Gong is a potentially dangerous cult should the Chinese government treat them this way? Absolutely not. Two wrongs do not make a right and China's concern is only due to not wanting the Falun Gong to become a potential rival. On the other hand Falun Gong is probably not what it seems and isn't necessarily an entirely benevolent organization.

Also for a minor final note if you live in a larger city you'll sometimes see ads for a show called "Shen Yun." This production is run by the Falun Gong and is used to generate money for the group and recruit potential new members. It's also been criticized for giving an inaccurate view of Chinese history.

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