Kingdom Of Matthias Essay

1207 words - 5 pages

Kingdom of Matthias

As a United States American culture there are many possibilities for a
cult like Matthias to occur again, this is contributed by not only a
market-oriented American culture but also by tendencies that are
present in every society. We have rights and freedoms given to us by
our United States Constitution, including the freedom of speech and
the freedom of religion. These freedoms mean that anyone has the
right to speak publicly about their religious beliefs, and we as
citizens also have the right to believe what is being said and even
follow it if we choose to do so. This is how many different branches
of religions come about; some of these religions include Mormons and
Episcopalians. But when one person decides to take their individual
religion just one step to far, cults begin to form. Not all, but many
cults in the United States are religious oriented, such as the ones
lead by Jim Jones and David Koresh.

The Kingdom of Matthias: A Story of Sex and Salvation in 19th Century
America provides parallels to modern equivalents such as Jim Jones and
David Koresh, who were both were know to have lead religious cults.
Reverend Jim Jones and the People’s Temple was a mass suicide cult
that took the lives of 914 people. Jim Jones considered himself to be
the reincarnation of Jesus, Buddha, the Father Devine, as well as
other past religious leaders. “Jones said he visions of a nuclear
holocaust in which the towns of Ukiah, California, and Beloltonzonte,
Brazil will survive. With this is mind he relocated his 1st People’s
Temple to Ukiah to await the Armageddon” (www.owlnet.rice.edu). After
realizing it was not going to happen he moved his people to San
Francisco just to be kicked right back out. He finally moved his
followers to Guyana at a location now called Jonestown. One they were
completely settled, Jones’s personality changed and he become and
entirely different person. He began to stage rituals called ‘White
Nights.’ Sirens would go off in the middle of the night and a mass
meeting would take place. The followers would be given a glass of red
liquid to drink. They were told that the liquid contained poison and
that they would be dead in forty-five minutes. The followers never
knew if it was just another drill or if it was the real thing.
Finally in 1978 when outsiders began to raise question and concern,
Jones decided to put his suicide plan into action. He assured his
followers that this was a ‘revolutionary death.’

The other well know religious cult leader David Koresh was born as
Vernon Howell, became a member of the Davidian Branch of the
Seventh-Day Adventist religious cult. He had an affair with the
leader of the cult. When she passed away he was forced out of the
community. Koresh returned a year later with seven of...

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