Cults in the Crossfire
A young man with physical strength and musical talent found himself ostracized from his religious community. Taking a few malcontents with him, he began a new commune in the wilderness, where an arsenal of weapons and survival gear was rapidly collected. Other drifters swelled the ranks of the commune, and the group was united by the music and scriptural teaching of the charismatic leader. Known for his skill in crafting song lyrics and poetry, he often blended references to himself and a messiah figure. Early on he began a practice of taking multiple wives. He had a sense of personal prophetic destiny, and encouraged a squad of
Article Author: Nicholas P. Miller
Nicholas Miller, Ph.D., is an attorney and associate professor of church history at Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan. He is the author of the The Religious Roots of the First Amendment (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), which more fully develops the theme of this article.