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The East African - - THE MAGAZINE - - Cmpiled by Ba­mu­tu­raki Musin­guzi from In­ter­net sources

Adooms­day

cult is a de­scrip­tion of a group be­liev­ing in apoc­a­lyp­ti­cism and mil­lenar­i­an­ism, and can re­fer both to groups that pre­dict dis­as­ter and to those that at­tempt to bring it about.

“Cults have been around about as long as there has been re­li­gion, start­ing as a splin­ter group that goes against con­ven­tional be­liefs, some­times grow­ing into a main­stream re­li­gion and some­times never achiev­ing any­thing more than sideshow sta­tus…,” Ab­dul Al­hazred ob­serves.

There are sev­eral re­li­gious dooms­day cults in ex­is­tence in the world to­day but be­low are some of the most in­fa­mous ones of the 20th cen­tury.

The Peo­ples Tem­ple (Guyana,

Cen­tral Amer­ica): Led by Amer­i­can Jim Jones, this cult is best known for its mass sui­cide on Novem­ber 18, 1978, when 909 mem­bers drank cyanide mixed with a soft drink. Mem­bers who were re­luc­tant to drink the poi­sonous drink were shot.

Branch Da­vid­i­ans (US): The cult’s com­pound out­side Waco, Texas be­came in­fa­mous in 1993 when fed­eral agents at­tempted a raid to look for il­le­gal weapons, signs of child abuse, and peo­ple be­ing held against their will. The raid re­sulted in a 51days long siege that led to the deaths of four fed­eral agents and 83 cult mem­bers, in­clud­ing the leader David Koresh.

Heaven’s Gate (US): On March 26, 1997, 39 mem­bers of this cult were found to have com­mit­ted sui­cide with the in­ten­tion of be­ing picked up by an alien space­craft and taken into outer space where they pre­sum­ably would find eter­nal hap­pi­ness.

Aum Shin­rikyo (Ja­pan): This cult is best known for its 1995 at­tack on the Tokyo sub­way us­ing Sarin poi­son gas, killing 13, se­ri­ously in­jur­ing an­other 54, and per­haps ex­pos­ing 6,000 peo­ple to the deadly poi­son.

Or­der of the So­lar Tem­ple

(Switzer­land): This re­li­gious group was formed in Geneva in 1984 by Joseph Di Mam­bro and Luc Jouret. The sect be­came renowned for their mass sui­cide acts be­gin­ning in 1994 and lasted un­til 1997. In to­tal, 74 mem­bers of the Or­der died in an at­tempt to es­cape from a world they see as filled with hypocrisy and op­pres­sion.

Pic: Wi­ki­com­mons

Mem­bers of Peo­ples Tem­ple at­tend an anti-evic­tion rally at the In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel, San Fran­cisco, US, Jan­uary 1977.

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