The Seven Most Dangerous Cult Leaders of the last 100 years.

When Jesus Christ started his movement, many would call him a cult. But today the Christian Faith proved to be otherwise, and yes, all movements start small and take time to grow. Some faiths like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Jehovah’s Witness are big enough to not be called a cult by statistic definition, but others would call them such by Biblical definition. Some like the Church of Scientology would be call a cult on the grounds of how its controlling people and/or ripping them off. One thing for sure, certain cults have seen the rise of certain leaders who let their hunger for power get them best of them, and that made them dangerous. Here are seven of the most dangerous cult leaders that have appeared over the recent 100 years.

1. Charlie Manson: If there is any name that belongs on the list its Manson. Manson had little or no childhood at all. His mother was an alcoholic and a prostitute during the 1930’s depression and eventually threw the young Manson under the bus. Instead of going to a boys’ schools which he ran away from he struggled to survive on the streets. Manson would encounter his first prison cell in the 1950’s, and would be in an out of prison constantly. In 1967 Manson was able to settle down in San Francisco before the peak of the hippie movement i.e. The Summer of Love. Manson became one of the top if not the top guru to local hippies in the city. Eventually 100 people became devoted to Mansonand became his surrogate brothers and sisters.

Under the influence of LSD and other mind-numbing drugs coupled with the songs “HelterSkelter,” “Piggies” and “Black Birds” from The Beatles self-titled album (nicknamed “The White Album”), Manson and his family turned The Beatles into Revelators of what was to come, and almost put a permanent stain on the Fab Four. Something they would not want in the first place. Much of those so-called Revelations were self-imposed by the Manson Family including the murder of Sharon Tate, and her unborn child. After all the blood spilled by Manson and his family he would be locked up for good in 1971, dodging a death sentence along the way. Yet Manson left an Enigmatic Legacy for better or worse.

2. Jim Jones: It was reported that his mother Lynetta Putnam believed that she gave birth to a messiah. That messiah so called was born James Warren Jones or Jim Jones for short. As a child he studied most of Socialism’s greatest icons including Joseph Stalin, Karl Marx, Mao Zedong, Karl Marx along with the disowned Adolf Hitler and more respected Mahatma Gandhi. He attended Communist Party U.S.A. meetings and his communist beliefs became fused with the beliefs of Christianity. He shared his pulpits with William M. Branham and Oral Roberts. Jones eventually was able to start his own Church congregation eventually called Peoples Temple Christian Church Full Gospel in Indiana.

While Jones was an advocate for racial equality his teachers were very controversial. In 1963, he told the congregation that the world would be engulfed by war in July 1967 and that a new Eden would emerge. Eventually he called Christianity a flyaway religion and rejected sound Biblical teachings. The Church moved to San Francisco in the 1970’s and eventually to the country of Guyana in an attempt to create a community built upon socialism and Jones’s doctrine. The straw that broke the camel’s back in that attempt was a visit by California congressman Leo Ryan on a fact-finding mission to Jonestown in Guyana to uncover any child abuse in the People Temple cult. Jones ordered his death and Ryan died on the transport plane he was on. After which Jones called for a mass suicide by using poisoned grape flavored “Flavor-Aid.” Jones himself died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound. It would be the greatest loss of life in American civilians until the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. In spite of using the Flavor-Aid brand…the popular “Kool-Aid” brand was used in expression of “drinking the Kool-Aid.”

3. David Koresh: The Branch Davidians were an offshoot of the Davidian Seventh-day Adventists which itself was an offshoot of the main Seventh-Day Adventist church. The Branch Davidians was organized in 1955, but its future leader would be born four years later. He was born Vernon Wayne Howell to an unwed teenage mother in Houston, Texas. He was raised by his grandparents, and would drop out of high school to work in carpentry and to get away from the bulling from his peers. Howell was dyslexic and his study skills were at an all-time low. He tried his hand at rock stardom and eyed the pastor’s daughter in a local Seventh-Day church which eventually got him kicked out of the denomination altogether. He would soon join the Branch Davidians in 1981 after his move to Waco, Texas.

Eventually after so much drama and a few deaths along the way Howell would legally change his name to David Koresh and became the leader of the Branch Davidans, claiming to be; “the spiritual descendant of King David, a messianic figure carrying out a divinely commissioned errand.” However, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives came in to the picture wanting to investigate allegations of the Branch Davidians having illegal firearms coupled with child abuse allegations. On February 28, 1993, the ATF raided the Waco compound and a four-hour gun fight took place which lead to a 51-day standoff. According to Koresh the fifth seal was open and it was time to kill God’s faithful. The FBI later got involved and on April 19, 1993 and standoff was over. David Koresh was dead. The official statement was a mass suicide while other believed that our own government committed mass murder in order to flex his muscle. Regardless, David Koresh was a messed-up man believing in and preach heretical doctrines and dare I say had issues bonding with women.

4. Bonnie Nettles: The first of the two leaders of the Heaven’s Gate Cult which many in the media and elsewhere have dubbed the UFO Cult. We shall cover Marshall Applewhite after we talked about Nettles since she passed on before Applewhite and then some. Nettles was born in 1927 and grew up in the Baptist church. Apparently, she knew the Bible but would be among the many that “departed” from the faith and found herself drawn to a “spiritual guide” named Brother Frances who was a monk from the 18th Century. This guide taught Nettles how to make astrological charts and make contract with the dead. Nettles had a real job as well, that of being a Nurse.

She went to Nursing school in the 1940’s and graduated in 1948. By 1972, Nettles and Applewhite would meet and would do their cross-country travels in their faith. The 1970’s was ripe for the spiritual and metaphysic beliefs with the baby boomers coming out of the traditional faith and embracing these so called new beliefs thanks in part to their promotion in their counter culture. Sadly, for Nettles she was stricken with Cancer. She would lose an eye and in 1985 when the cancer reached her liver she would pass away. Now according to the UFO cult she ascended to the next level.

5. Marshall Applewhite: Now we get to the other half of the Heaven’s Gate faith. That being Marshall Applewhite. Applewhite grew up with a normal life and in pursuit of normal things. In 1952 he graduated from Austin College (a Presbyterian college on top of that) in Sherman, Texas. He would spend two years in Army Signal Corps. Applewhite was a public speaker and had a classical singing voice. He was a strong baritone and the diction to back it up. Applewhite could not find work in New York City however. He would turn to teaching in college and was an assistant professor at University of Alabama and later headed the music department at the University of St.

Thomas in Houston, TX. After Nettles death in 1985, he was able to convince the followers of Heaven’s Gate (was yet to be named such) that she was taken in a UFO and that soon there will be able to do the same. In October 1996 Applewhite and company soon learned of the passing of Comet Hale–Bopp. They were convinced that Nettles was on a spaceship that was traveling with the comet ready to take the followers of the Applewhite-Nettles faith away into outer space…they just had to kill themselves first. The cult members made their farewells’ and in March 1997 the suicides took place. Applewhite may not have killed anyone or encourage anyone to murder but he still could control people and that is just as dangerous.

6. Adolfo Constanzo: He was born into a family that was Catholic (served as an altar boy) but also dabbled in voodoo (blessed by a Haitian priest who observed “palomayombe,”and his mother took frequent trips to Haiti to learn Voodoo practices). Palo beliefs are based on two pillars. The veneration of the spirits, and belief in natural and/or Earth powers. The Palo Mayombe required the sacrifice of animals. For some strange reason Constanzobelieves his brand of Palo Mayombe was the reason that cartels of the world were successful. Constanzo tried to make a partnership with the Calzadas. They turned him down and Constanzo took it very well…seven family members vanished and would be eventually found with little pieces missing from their bodies (no foolin). The Hernandez brothers were willing to bring him on as a partner. He also met a young woman named Sara Aldrete who would be the high priestess of Constanzo’s Killer and Drug dealing Cartel Cult. While the killings started out with rival drug cartels and using their body parts as religious sacrifices (most of which were cooked in airon cauldron names after African herbalist called a nganga), Constanzo eventually wanted to make his biggest sacrifice to date and would be his last one.

He wanted to sacrifice an American citizen and really make it painful. They got their chance when they were able to corner college student Mark Kilroy in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico during his Spring Break from the University of Texas at Austin on March 14, 1989. Kilroy would try to escape but was in vain. He was killed and his brain went into the nganga. They chopped his legs off and stabbed wire into his backbone and sent his body six feet underground. Constanzo and Los Narcosatánicos (the name of Constanzo’s cartel cult given by the media) got their brief instant gravitation of murdering Kilory but it would also spell trouble for them. Elected officials in the state of Texas forced the hand of Mexican Law enforcement and cracked down on Constanzo and Los Narcosatanicos, arresting four of the followers including two of the Hernandez brothers. Constanzo filed to Mexico’s capitol city and hid in one of the apartment complexes there. But the walls were closing in. The Police were called in to investigate an unrelated case and Constanzo panicked. Cult member Alvaro de Leon was order by Constanzo to kill him and Martin Quintana. That would be the end of Constanzo and his poison cult of money, drugs and Palo Mayombe.

7. Jeffrey Lundgren: Ever heard of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? Well today its now known Community of Christ which still recognizes the Book of Mormon as sound doctrine. Jeffrey Lundgren was born May 3, 1950 in Independence, Missouri, and was raised in the RLDS church. However, he was abused by his father and mother would not press any charges against him. He was on the outside during his middle and high school years and in spite of the abuse Lundgren father’s forced on him, he did however teach him how to be an expert hunter and Jeffery learned to fire a gun. He later went to Central Missouri State University and spent time in a house for RLDS youth. He would meet Alice Keeler who also was abused by her father’s hand. With that commonality, they would eventually marry. Lundgren enlisted in the U.S. Navy and would serve that time with honors.

Family struggles would cause Lundgren to embrace his darker sides of soul including abusing his wife Alice. He and Alice however gave birth to four children. Even though he was faithful in the RLDS he began to teach doctrine that even the RLDS could never accept. For starters, he believed the reason why he and his family moved to Ohio was because the word “OHIO” is “chiastic.” A twisted way of “dividing the word.” The RLDS Church was gradually distancing themselves from Lundgren his brand of teachings. People who still liked his teaching moved into his home still maintained their own residences. Like any cult leader Lundgren practiced mind control and ruled with an iron hand. Finally, in October 1988, the RLDS excommunicated Lundgren, and with that and coupled with a real-life thunder storm on the same day, and a rainbow appeared in the east; he felt that its appearance meant that the Seven Seals were opened. Lundgren’s cult was in full form and independent from the RLDS, but Lundgren choose a dangerous path for his disciples and himself.

Lundgren could never be questioned and his cult never exceeded 20 members. He taught his followers that the second coming would come on May 3 (no specify year was given) and that it would happen at the Kirkland Temple…which Lundgren was obsessed in taking over for a very long time. One of the families in the Lundgren cult the Avery’s would become the scapegoatof the cult, especially their father Dennis. Dennis was considered weak by Lundgren’s standards and he and his family would be Lundgren’s surficial lambs. The other members of Lundgren’s cult dug their graves behind Lundgren’s barn in preparation to the killings on April 10, 1989. One by one the Averys’ wereled to the slaughter a week later. The next day after an encounter to with the local police Lundgren and the cult moved to West Virginia. Someone one however, did tip the police nine months later and found the bodies of the deceased Avery family behind the barn. Lundgren was arrested later convicted and sentenced to death with the execution taking place on October 24, 2006. Over a year later the barn which the Averys’ were murdered was finally razed. At least that family can truly rest in peace.

Join the discussion.