Cults, in their most commonly known form, have been more prevalent in the United States than Europe. Groups of people with wildly imaginative spiritual beliefs that follow around a charismatic leader are not as common in the European continent as one would assume.
That does not mean there were not any cults, however. Despite none being as prominent as the one from the U.S., Europe has had its fair share of cult-like activity. Some of these organizations may not fall under the classic definition of a cult, but they do share a lot of similarities with them and should be mentioned because of their size and influence.
5. The True Russian Orthodox Church
The True Russian Orthodox Church was a doomsday cult from Russia, founded by Pyotr Kuznetsov. They called themselves “Heavenly Jerusalem” and were a former part of the Russian Orthodox Church but broke away from it because they thought it was not orthodox enough. The members of this cult were not allowed to watch TV, work with money, or eat processed food. They believed most documents contained numbers that were satanic symbols and refused to use them.
In 2007, around 30 members of the cult trapped themselves in a cave because Kuznetsov told them that they should wait for the end of the world there. They threatened mass suicide if anyone tried to intervene. In time, most of them emerged from the cave alive, with two members dying over the winter. Kuznetsov was taken to a hospital and later transferred to a psychiatric ward.
Raëlism is a UFO religion founded in 1974 by Claude Vorilhon. A UFO religion is based on the principles that extraterrestrials exist and want to communicate with us. Raëlism started in Paris, France, but soon spread all over the world with the headquarters of the cult being in Geneva, Switzerland. The members of this cult believed that Earth was created by alien scientists they called the Elohim.
These scientists contacted humans before, but they appeared as humans when they did so. They tricked humans by telling them they were angels or gods, and some of them were Jesus and Buddha, according to the beliefs of Raëlism. They strive for world peace, nonviolence, and democracy. When compared to some other cults, they seem relatively harmless.
3. The Order Of The Solar Temple
This cult was based in Switzerland and France and is another case that could be considered a combination of a cult and a secret society. They tried to merge believing in extraterrestrial life, Gnosticism, and the occult into a single system of beliefs to establish power and authority over society.
The members of the Order of the Solar Temple believed they were the ones that would unite Christianity and Islam and herald the second coming of Jesus Christ. Most of the stuff they were doing was kept heavily under wraps for anyone that wasn’t closely connected to them.
However, one scandal revealed the ugly truth about them and made people realize the kind of cult they were. Joseph Di Mambro, one of the leaders of the cult, gave the order to murder a three-month-old boy he believed was the antichrist. He thought the baby would somehow prevent him from becoming the true leader of the Order. This happened in 1994, and after that event, members of the cult began committing mass suicide. These suicides went on for three more years.
2. The Illuminati
The Illuminati originally started as a society whose goals were to fight superstition, the state abuse of power, and the influence that religion has over public life. They were founded in 1776, in Bavaria, formerly a kingdom but now a part of Germany, and were generally fighting injustice. They opposed the monarchy openly and were outlaws several years after being founded. However, the group continued functioning underground, and they are believed by many to have caused the French Revolution in 1789.
This might be the reason why the Illuminati have the reputation they have today. Nowadays, the Illuminati are mostly considered a secret organization that secretly controls every major event in the world. They are tied to the New World Order conspiracy theory, according to which they are planning to take over the world by forming a first world government.
They supposedly work from the shadows and have their fingers in every large-scale conflict in recent human history. Their goal is to divide the world and thereby gain more power. Even though they started in Europe, they have spread across the globe, most notably in the United States.
While all of this can be considered a conspiracy theory, it cannot be denied that the Illuminati demonstrate certain cult-like qualities, and should be included on this list, if for nothing else then the enormous influence they have, even if just through stories.
1. The Freemasons
It is hard to understand and explain Freemasonry. The easiest way to describe the Freemasons is as a secret society. They do not have a set of religious beliefs, but there are a lot of people who believe otherwise. They are known for their various rituals that are usually overly dramatic and filled with religious symbolism. One of those is the initiation ritual.
They do not accept women members and ask all of their members to declare their belief in the Supreme Being. Despite all of this, they are not known for performing any evil deeds, at least none that can be proven or tied to them directly. Although Freemasonry originated in Europe, it soon spread all over the world.
Freemasons organize themselves in smaller societies known as the lodges, and there are many lodges all over the United States as well. Even George Washington was a leader of a lodge. Many people have tried to tie numerous crimes to the Freemasons throughout history, but none had sufficient proof. However, there were always particular ties between them and various criminal activities.
Some people claim that Freemasonry is deeply connected to the occult, even going so far as accusing some of its members of being able to mind control people. However, none of this was ever proven.
Members of which cult believed they would unite Christianity and Islam?
The members of the Order of the Solar Temple believed they were the ones that would unite Christianity and Islam.
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