Close this search box.

Warning: These Dangerous Cults Still Exist in 2023!

Human history has produced many cults. While cults aren’t inherently bad, the level of devotion the followers are willing to embrace toward the leaders of cults has had destructive consequences for the cult members and society as a whole.

People have lost their happiness, freedom of movement, free will, and sometimes even lives to manipulative and dubious cult leaders who prey on their innocent devotees for personal gain. The state has intervened multiple times to stamp out dangerous cults.

Contrarily, others collapse because of the deaths of their leaders, while others just fade into oblivion. We have to admit that it’s a victory for humanity when a disturbing and dangerous cult becomes lost in obscurity. However, it’s much more catastrophic when the world has forgotten a disturbing cult but its members are somewhere out there, quietly carrying out their wicked activities.

Here are 8 dangerous cults that we forgot about but still exist!

dangerous cults
Photo by ozen rajneesh from Shutterstock

8. Rajneesh movement

We start our dangerous cults list with the Rajneesh Movement, which is a religious group of people inspired by the Indian mystic Rajneesh, also known as “Osho.” Under his full name, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Osho was born in 1931 and passed away in 1990. He was a professor and controversial philosopher who founded the movement somewhere between the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In 1966, the University of Jabalpur officials forced him to step down as a lecturer due to his controversial opinions about several aspects of life, especially marriage, which he saw as social bondage.

The cult was very problematic as it took families away from cities and relocated them to isolated areas. They also denied kids the chance to go to school.

When the movement started having issues with Indian authorities, its followers started to move to Oregon, United States. There, the cult had its Waterloo moment due to multiple criminal activities, including the largest immigration fraud ever recorded and the largest wiretapping operations in US history. But that’s not all. The Rajneesh Movement is also to blame for the largest bioterrorist attack on American soil.

And the list of reasons why it’s one of the most dangerous cults doesn’t end here. In 1948, its members poisoned salad products with salmonella at local shops and restaurants. They were subsequently prosecuted, convicted, and deported.

When Osho died, his movement started to decline. However, it’s important to note that it still exists in small units in the US, UK, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands.

7. Order of the Solar Temple

The Order of the Solar Temple is a controversial religious cult established in Geneva, Switzerland. It’s also known as the “International Order of Chivalry Solar Tradition,” “Hermetica Fraternitas Templi Universali,” or “Solar Temple.” The thing with dangerous cults like this one is that not only do they have creepy names, but they are creepy.

The Solar Temple was founded by Joseph Di Mambro and Luc Jouret in 1984, and together they manipulated the group’s members into believing what they preached. They draw inspiration from New Ageism and several Freemason rituals. The cult is linked to several mass suicides and murders that claimed dozens of lives in Canada, Switzerland, and France in 1994 and 1995.

The focus of the ideology of this order was the belief that an apocalyptic event would happen in the mid-1990s. Those years came and went, and our world didn’t witness any apocalyptic events. Therefore, the cult has steadily declined as many followers have come to realize the order was founded on an illusion. However, this remains one of the most dangerous cults, as the group still has between 140 and 500 members to this day.

6. Twelve Tribes

Twelve Tribes is also among those dangerous cults the world should keep an eye on. This is a religious group and an alleged movement that was engulfed in allegations of murder, kidnapping, and abuse in its heydays.

The cult was established in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1972 by a high school guidance counselor and former carnival barker, Gene Spriggs. According to its members, they are seeking the restoration of what is believed to be the truest form of Christianity.

The group had grown to over 3,000 devotees before Spriggs died in 2021, leaving the cult without a formal leader and dealing with an uncertain future. When he founded it in 1972, he was able to guide the group to popularity with his vigorous energy. However, as Spriggs got older without stepping down, the group declined in popularity.

While we no longer see Twelve Tribes in the news, it’s still among those dangerous cults that are still very active.

dangerous cults
English: Abasaa日本語: あばさー, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

5. AUM Supreme Truth

No. 8 on our dangerous cults list is a Japanese doomsday group called AUM Supreme Truth. It was founded in 1987 by Shoko Asahara as a form of protest against traditional Janapese Buddhism. So he found the Theravada and Tibetan Buddhist teachings more appealing than the main forms of Japanese Buddhism.

He, therefore, came up with the idea of creating a form of Buddhism that emphasized non-Japanese beliefs. He embraced a spiritual path with the goal of achieving enlightenment and used psychic-development exercises to help his followers attain enlightenment too.

The organization became one of the most dangerous cults when it was found that several of its top leaders had been involved in the 1995 Tokyo subway attacks. Thousands of people were injured and thirteen died following the release of nerve gas into the subway system.

In 2000, the name of the group was changed to Aleph. On July 6, 2018, Shoko Asahara and six other followers of his cult were executed for perpetrating the deadly attack.

While the Aleph or AUM Supreme Truth, whatever you want to call it, has steadily declined and is nowadays largely forgotten, it’s still active and remains one of the most dangerous cults in Japan.

4. The Family International

Dangerous cults don’t necessarily have to kill people to harm society. Some of them can spread false teachings and corrupt or manipulate people into believing outrageous doctrines.

An example would be The Family International, a Christian New Religious Movement founded by David Berg in Huntington Beach, California, in 1968. Initially named “Teens for Christ,” the cult has gone under multiple names but particularly gained popularity as “The Children of God”.

The group has been accused multiple times of child abuse, exploitation, physical abuse, and targeting vulnerable people. But that’s not all. In the 1970s, Berg introduced a new recruitment method that he dubbed “flirty fishing”. Long story short, it involved convincing young, attractive female devotees of his group to entice men into the group through seduction.

The leader also discouraged his followers from working and sending their kids to school. Members had to live in large communities, usually with four or five families under one roof, awaiting an “impending” apocalypse.

Since Berg’s death, the movement has gone into oblivion. Still, it remains active today, so it’s safe to say that it’s one of the most dangerous cults that exist nowadays.

Keep reading to discover other dangerous cults that are still active today!

3. The Nation of Yahweh

In 1978, Hulon Mitchell Jr. decided to leave the Nation of Islam because it wasn’t extreme enough for him. So he rechristened himself Yahweh Ben Yahweh and established the “Nation Of Yahweh” in 1979. The group’s goal was to relocate African Americans, who are believed to be the original Israelites, to Israel.

This is one of those dangerous cults where the members believe their leaders are somehow connected to God. More precisely, this group sees Yahweh Ben Yahweh as the “Son of God.” At the peak of its popularity, the movement had satellite temples across the county and a lucrative business empire of hotels, stores, apartment complexes, Rolls Royce cars, and Greyhound buses.

In 2001, the cult’s leader was indicted on extortion charges and federal racketeering charges and convicted of conspiracy to commit murder. His conviction, followed by his death in 2006, sent the group into near oblivion. However, this is still one of the dangerous cults that have remained active to the present day. Moreover, its members still consider Yahweh Ben Yahweh to be the Messiah.

dangerous cults
Photo Doidam 10 by from Shutterstock

2. The Remnant Fellowship

We continue our list of dangerous cults with the Remnant Fellowship, a movement that has a Church in Brentwood, Tennessee, and preaches weight loss as a spiritual assignment. It was established by Gwen Shamblin Lara, a thin woman who taught devotees to pray when they experienced cravings for food.

Her teachings associated diet culture with holiness, and she taught the group members not to bow to their fridges and only bow to God. But all of this was only a strategy for Gwen to exert control over her church members’ marriages, custody arrangements, parenting, and finances. She would eventually encourage them to cut all ties with the outside world.

She also compelled them to dress nicely to portray an image of perfection, happiness, and joy to the outside world when they dealt with pain on the inside.

On May 29, 2921, Gwen, her husband, and five other leaders within the movement passed away in a plane crash. Since she was the only popular leader, the Remnant Fellowship went into near oblivion.

However, the group is still active, with some members willing to endorse the teachings of Gwen Shamblin Lara. Given that the movement’s beliefs are pretty bizarre, it’s safe to say this may be one of the most dangerous cults today.

Here‘s another dangerous cult founded by a woman that ruined many American families.

1. Branch Davidian

On No. 1 on our dangerous cults list, we have the Branch Davidians. It’s an apocalyptic new religious movement established in 1955 by Benjamin Roden. They consider themselves a perpetuation of the General Association of Davidian Seventh-Day Adventists, founded by Victor Houteff in 1935.

In 1983, a man named David Koresh took over the Branch Davidians. The problem was that he was a different type of leader—a criminal mastermind, more specifically.

When the authorities suspected the Branch Davidians were illegally transforming semi-automatic rifles into fully automatic weapons, they sent a team of undercover agents disguised as college students to look into the movement.

But as with many dangerous cults, this one’s leader was always one step ahead of the authorities. Koresh knew what was happening. Until one day, when he met his end in a 51-day siege that involved massive shootings with ATF and FBI agents.

Seventy-six members of the Branch Davidians died in the attack, and sixteen ATF agents were wounded, with four killed. The movement is still active today, and they have a presence in Waco, Texas, to this day. This is definitely one of the most dangerous cults that still exists.

You may also want to read You Won’t Sleep Tonight After Reading These 10 Titanic Facts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

related posts