Spirit-WWW: NewsGateway Article <news:talk.religion.misc.251458>
From firstname.lastname@example.org (Tilman Hausherr):
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology, alt.religion.unification, talk.religion.misc,
Subject: How to start your own religion
All Follow-Up: Re: How to start your own religion
Date: Thu, 08 Jan 1998 20:13:00 GMT
How to start your own religion
The Montreal Gazette (Canada)
By Elizabeth Bromstein
I'm thinking of starting my own religion. You know, for
something to do.
Last semester I took a course called Cults and Religious
Controversy, taught by the lovely and talented expert in
new religious movements, Susan J. Palmer. In this course
we studied all sorts of different off-the-cuff religious
movements including the Solar Temple, the Raelians, the
Children of God, the Hare Krishnas, the Heaven's Gate
and the Branch Davidians.
There are apparently hundreds of religions out there at
any given moment. Anyone with a little charisma and a
new idea can start one. I've got a surefire formula all
Here's how it's done, in case you feel like starting one
yourself. (Now is a good time because of the coming end
of the millennium and possible apocalypse.)
Part one: In the style of "do it yourself" greeting
cards, pick one option from each section and string them
together to create your own story of a prophetic vision
and foundation for a new religion.
Eg. I was minding my own business, happily watching
television when suddenly I was contacted by the spirit
of a long-dead yogic master via a ghostly apparition
that appeared before me. I was taken outside my body and
a message was delivered to me. The message was this: The
end of the world is at hand.
You were minding your own business, happily: doing your
laundry/ walking in the woods/ sleeping/ sitting on the
toilet/ watching television/ taking a shower at the gym/
getting drunk in a bar/ driving along the Jacques
Cartier Bridge/ clipping your toenails/ making soup.
When suddenly you were contacted by: God/ aliens/ the
spirit of a long-dead yogic master/ the tooth fairy/
leprechauns/ the cat people/ the man in the moon/ Keith
Moon/ the mother goddess/ your mother/ Mackenzie King.
Via (section optional): the invasion of your own body/
your cat/ the telephone/ a spaceship/ a ghostly
apparition/ television, radio or other household
appliance/ the Internet/ UPS/ Canada Post (yeah right)/
an angel/ a stranger/ the wind.
You were: taken on board a spaceship/ transported to
another world/ too stunned to do anything but stand
there like a dope/ unable to control your bowels/ taken
outside your body/ put into a trance-like state/
overcome by an unbelievable feeling of peace/ suddenly
A message was delivered to you. The message was this:
the end of the world is at hand/ extraterrestrials
created the Earth/ canaries are planning a hostile
takeover/ Barney the Dinosaur is the Antichrist/ the
creators are angry with us/ you are the messiah/ Keith
Moon was the messiah/ Satan is living among us/ the
aliens are coming/ computers are the work of the devil/
The Backstreet Boys are the work of the devil/ air is
poisonous/ don't eat yellow snow/ God is a pigeon/ the
body is only a vehicle for the soul.
Part two: Creating an image.
You must deliver your message to the rest of the world.
But before you begin recruitment you should look the
part of the religious leader. Experiment with your image
until you find the right one for you. You must be
comfortable with it since you will have to maintain it
for the rest of your life as a prophet. These are just a
few fashion tips that seem to have worked for others.
Men should have: thinning hair, worn either long or
completely shaved. Facial hair is optional. Clothing
should be either drab '70s garb or a single-colour
cotton robe or suit. Oversized medallions are good. A
vacant, slightly psychotic look in the eyes is good
also. (Look up pictures of Rael, David Koresh and Herff
Women should have: an unintimidating, painfully
unfashionable and slightly motherly appeal. (Look up
pictures of Elizabeth Claire Prophet of the Summit
Lighthouse.) Looking sexy and beautiful is bad because
you will alienate half of your potential recruits. Most
women will not follow someone they can hate instead. Or
you could try the kooky, crazy lady look and wear
tiaras, poofy dresses and carry a magic wand. (Look up
pictures of Uriel, of Unarius.)
Part three: Concocting a good recruitment strategy.
The last step is to recruit followers who will help
spread your message and fund your mission.
This can be tricky. You must entice people into your
organization by offering them something they can't
resist while setting special rules and regulations that
will make them feel separate from and superior to the
rest of society. Do as in Part One.
If you follow me you will (select two): attain
enlightenment/ be saved while the rest of the world is
destroyed/ get to have lots of guilt-free sex/ live
forever/ appear on the Jerry Springer show/ travel to
distant planets/ accumulate free air miles/ find peace/
find your keys/ never have to pay off your credit card.
But you must never again (select three): see your
family/ eat meat/ drink alcohol or coffee/ smoke/ have
sex (does not work if you picked "have lots of sex" in
Part One)/ listen to music/ gamble/ dance/ work/ wear
shoes/ have your own possessions/ watch television/
watch porn/ contact the outside world/ clip your
So you should have something like: "If you follow me you
will live forever and accumulate free air miles but must
never again eat meat, listen to music or wear shoes."
That should be enough to get you started. The rest is up
to you. Two last tips: try to avoid committing mass
murders or suicides. This is not a good way of ensuring
survival as we have learned from the Heaven's Gate, the
Branch Davidians and many others. Also, if you have
predicted the end of the world, put off setting a date
as long as possible. If you must set one, set it beyond
your lifetime so you won't be embarrassed at work the
Good luck! And see you at the apocalypse.
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