event took place two
Your typical suicide doesn't require written
instructions. Or an extra pair of hands. Or 20
years of videotaped brainwashing. No way was
this their "choice." This was murder.
Yet there was no low-speed chase. Choppers
and forensic teams didn't crawl all over this
mansion. Heck, we didn't even call in Mulder
For the most part, the media reported on what
can best be called a "Disneyland" version of
Heaven's Gate -- blissed out little hobbits, with
sweet little voices, and those darling little buzz
cuts and uniforms.
This hit me personally. While I watched those
earnest, wholesome, engaged cult members
on the TV I realized I could have been any one
of them. I spent 23 years in Transcendental
Meditation, and I, too, believed in flying
saucers, my ability to levitate, immortality, and
saving the world by my merest thought. There
but for the grace of God went I. And at least
100,000 of my friends.
I can't really fault the press or the public for their
abysmal lack of empathy. They haven't the
foggiest notion of what it feels like to be
mindf--ked brutally, repeatedly for 20 years.
But 10 MILLION of my generation do. We
stumble out of the cult battlefield by ones and
twos -- and we ain't pretty to look at. We are the
psychically halt, the lame, and the blind. We
don't give "snappy soundbites" and "good
TV." Most of us are still lost. Most cult veterans
are still in various stages of recovery, just trying
to get click those ruby slippers and come on
If the public doesn't understand, it's our fault --
all of us who have tried to educate the public
for so long.
Many of us cult activists have been talking
lately behind the scenes about why we just
can't seem to unite behind massive actions.
You'd think if any generation could take a page
from the Gay Rights and Women's Liberation
Movements, it would be us!
Between our own well-earned phobias about
group involvement and the "button
hammering" we take from the cults and
"religious scholars" who claim we're just
"anti-cult cults," we may always find it indeed
difficult to unite behind a leader or group.
That's why I think our challenge is to find small
individual actions that we can choose to do --
or not. Possibly leaderless. Most likely, finding
the least common denominator that we can
You know, like murder and psychological
torture aren't nice.
In that spirit, tomorrow is April 19 -- anniversary
of both Waco and the Oklahoma City Bombing.
Let's take back our own power from these
horrors and these horrific groups. Let's use the
next week to educate in small ways the world at
large about our own personal involvement in
Anyone who is comfortable "coming out of the
closet" will find a variety of graphics on this page
you can download to your Web
page or emails. No need to give credit. No
need to link to ours or any other particular cult
education site. Our gift to you.
And naturally we'd enjoy other submissions to our budding
memorial art collection for cult veterans and victims.
We figure it's unlikely your government will
ever bestow any medals for surviving the Cult
Wars. So go ahead, grab your own.
America knows what 39 people draped in
purple look like. America has no frigging idea
what 10 MILLION former cult members can
We may not need a march on Washington, or a
black day on the web.
Perhaps a simple chain email, "I'm a cult
veteran -- and I'm one tough son of a bitch"
flooding cyberspace, will do.
For a high-resolution graphic or print of this painting, please email email@example.com. Proceeds go to
trancenet.net. Concept Don Krieger -- illustration by 72dpi graphics.