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Founding my Religion
In 1800 the United States government prepared to mount an expedition to the South Pole. The main purpose for this glorious voyage of discovery - that never got off the drawing board - was to discover the entrance at the South Pole that led into the entirely hollow Earth. It's yet to be proven for sure what exactly is inside of the Earth. Most scientists think it's something like a gigantic molten core that rotates and thus creates our magnetic field, though none of these scientists has bothered to dig a hole deep enough to prove their 'theory'. I have to concede that they're probably right, more or less. It would be fun if the Earth was hollow and inhabited by terrifying mole people set on conquering the outside of the World, but ... it most likely isn't.
About the time that this US exploratory vessel failed to sail, a man named Cyrus Teed founded a sect that was based partially on this premise. His religion didn't take off, but Cyrus had a cousin whose religion did. Cyrus's cousin was Joseph Smith and his religion was the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints. Or Mormons. I'm not going to get into whether or not Joseph Smith was visited by an angel who gave him golden tablets, which disappeared after he transcribed them. Nobody believed me when I was visited by an angel that gave me disappearing golden tablets. So, I know it can happen, and I also know how damn skeptical people are when you tell them about it.
Mormons, I've got to say, are rather nice people. Granted most of the Mormons I've met have been trying to sell me on their way of life, and it wouldn't have paid to be a dick to potential converts like me, but I've known some others and they were nice. Mormons emphasize a healthy way of life - no baccy, booze, drugs, or even coffee for crying out loud - and they also emphasize family and community. All of this means that they live very long, healthy lives and if you think their theology is a little hard to take, please remember that most of the world happens to think your personal philosophy is one hundred percent wrong, too.
It never occurred to me that I could start my own religion until I saw videotapes of David Qoresh talking to his followers at Waco. Man, I thought to be a cult leader you had to have charisma or something but this guy had nothing. Maybe it was his ability to not blink for long periods of time that made him look like a visionary. He had a line of rap, for sure, but it's beyond me why anyone would let this guy lead them to their deaths. They all must have been pretty dumb was all I can figure.
Then it hit me. Yeah, to start your own religion all you need are people who aren't as smart as you are. You don't have to understand the secrets of the universe or anything close to that, you just have to be able to convince other people that you do. I know what you're thinking: Steve, even if that's true you still wouldn't be able to find a roomful of people who are so much stupider than you.
Well ... I could so. This is America and people are absolutely proud of what they don't know. It would be a snap to recruit a bunch of seekers of insight, because, as you know, there's a seeker born every minute.
There would be a few hard and fast rules for my seekers. Number one is: Nobody kills nobody. You don't need to go out on my behest leaving a trail of bodies in order to start Helter Skelter (a water slide in England, by the way, not an apocalyptic race war) or go after our enemies, because everybody's going to absolutely love us. Most especially you don't have to kill yourselves. If for some reason the spaceship doesn't come, or the end of the world doesn't happen, or everything collapses like a house of cards - we're done. Nobody drinks the Kool-Aid. Everybody can pack up and go home. And if for some reason the FBI shows up with tanks and tear gas cannons, it's safe to say we must have messed up big and maybe we should open the door and hear what they have to say.
Rule Two: I don't care who you sleep with. I won't tell you how to use your private parts at all. That's entirely your own business and I especially won't require anyone to sleep with me to achieve enlightenment. It would be highly encouraged, but not a hard fast rule.
This is where all the other cults go wrong in a real creepy way. There was this one in England where the leader decided that this one kid was the new messiah and everybody in the cult had to sleep with him, including his own mother. He grew up and killed himself. Or there was the Sri Rajneesh cult in Oregon where everybody had to wear orange and sleep with everybody else. Which sounds good in theory, but in reality if you really could sleep with everybody - you wouldn't want to.
Mostly they go in the opposite direction and advocate total celibacy for everyone except, of course, for the guy who's running the show and telling everybody else not to get any. For some reason God requires that guy to get as much trim as possible. It reminds me of that flying saucer cult in California where the men all thought it was a good idea to not have their testicles. Ewww. That gives me the shivers. Then they all put on tennis shoes and drank the Kool-aid, but you know what? They might as well have, because they didn't have a whole bunch to live for anyways.
There'd be some perks for me, of course. I read somewhere that L. Ron Hubbard the creator of Scientology went everwhere with two blonde teen-age girls in white hot pants following him around. One carried his cigarettes and the other his lighter. Apparently that's all they did for him and he never made any attempt to sleep with either of them. He was a pretty old guy at that point and all he wanted to do was sail around in his many yachts and write (not very good) science fiction books. I can't say whether or not that's a true story, but I like the idea.
So, I'll have an entourage, too. I quit smoking awhile back so I don't need any help with smoking materials, but I like the idea of comely maidens escorting me, though I don't know what purpose they could serve. Probably I would have them as my personal cheerleaders. Clearly, any person who thinks that they should sit at the right hand of God has no problems with excessive modesty, so I think if I took the important step of starting a religion, this would be more than appropriate.
Oh. And what, you may ask, are the tenets of my new religion? I know I haven't really gotten to that part of it. Well, I haven't decided that yet. But don't you worry about it, because it's going to be good. It's going to be something you can really believe in and I guarantee it won't be anything goofy at all. Trust me, you're going to want to be one of my disciples. So, what you can do right now while I'm thinking this stuff up is get your cheerleading uniform out of the closet and think up some good cheers for me, because I'm going to want to get started with this religion thing real soon and I want all my followers ready.
About the Author: Steve Sommers is the author of Breakfast with the Antichrist. His new novel, Rexroi, along with the best of Australian Science Fiction - is available as an ebook at www.rspublishing.com.au, OR if you ABSOLUTELY need to turn pages when you read - at www.lulu.com/content/306670