American Cults: Cabals, Corruption, and Charismatic Leaders

by Jim Willis
American Cults

American has spawned hundreds of cults.

Charismatic leaders periodically burst into the news for the most awful of reasons. We are awash with stories of brainwashed members’ struggles to leave. Meet the messianic leaders, see the indoctrination and manipulation, look at their beliefs, and read the stories of some of America’s most notorious, eccentric, and unusual cults!

From false religions and offshoots of traditional religions to political, financial, sexual and hate groups, American Cults: Cabals, Corruption, and Charismatic Leaders looks at 40 groups and leaders, including their histories, deceits, manipulations, and twisted ideologies. Some rely on systems of obedience, submission, and dependency. More than a few have mystifying beliefs. Others are dark and murderous. You’ll encounter curious, bizarre and sometimes upsetting stories of …

  • Charming, manipulative and exploitative leaders—Jim Jones, Jim Baker, David Berg, David Koresh, and many, many others.
  • The breakaways from traditional religions—Father Divine and the Peace Mission, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Westboro Baptist Church, the Gospel of Prosperity, and many more.
  • Political, ponzi, metaphysical, and science schemes—the cult of the scientific method, pyramid schemes, political cults, the Unification Church, and much more.
  • Aliens, extraterrestrials, and the cosmos—Church of Scientology, Raëlians and Heaven’s Gate, to name a few.
  • End-times and doomsday cults—rapture beliefs, Edgar Cayce, the Ant Hill Kids and more.
  • Racial, radical and social media cults—QAnon, Ku Klux Klan, Oath Keepers, Antifa and others.
  • Sex, perversity and submission—NXIVM, Sullivanians, Rajneesh and many more.

    American Cults looks at why America is such a fertile ground for cults, how some people got caught in their webs, and how some managed to escape! With more than 110 photos and graphics, this tome is richly illustrated. Its helpful bibliography provides sources for further exploration, and an extensive index adds to its usefulness.

  • About Jim Willis

    Jim Willis Having earned his master's degree in theology from Andover Newton Theological School, Jim Willis has been an ordained minister for over forty years. He has also taught college courses in comparative religion and cross-cultural studies. In addition, Willis has been a professional musician, high school orchestra and band teacher, arts council director, and even a drive-time radio show host. His background in theology and education led to his writings on religion, the apocalypse, cross-cultural spirituality, and the mysteries of the unknown. His books include Visible Ink Press' The Religion Book and Armageddon Now: The End of the World A to Z. He also published Faith, Trust & Belief: A Trilogy of the Spirit. Willis resides in the woods of South Carolina with his wife, Barbara, and their dog, Rocky.

    Hometown: South Carolina

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