There were some that said it couldn't be done. There were some that said that Jonestown - after the cyanide and the suicide and the doctor from Houston who helped provide both - had turned cults passé, and tired, and pointless. Cults had had their time. They flamed out, in spectacular fashion, and it was time to move forward.
Sure, Heaven's Gate, Aum Shinrikyo, and Scientologists have all attempted to resurrect the myth and marketing of the cult. Branch Davidians even offered a bit of local fare. But none have landed the lasting emphasis of Mr. Jones and his Kool-Aid Gang.
Fortunately, news out of Nuevo Laredo may yet shake cultists from their doldrums. There's no Kool-Aid - or "Flavor Aid," if you're a stickler for historical accuracy - involved, but a combination of Jesus, sex slaves, and something called "bio-programming" may yet bring the cult back into the vogue it once enjoyed.
According to news reports, it seems that Mexican officials have busted a ring of folks terming themselves the "Defensores de Cristo," or "Defenders of Christ." Shouldered against the border with Laredo - "Laredo is (Still) Safe!" - the cult seems to have been centered around a Spanish man claiming to be Christ reincarnate. Not the most atypical, certainly. However, as any bodily God - nee Ignacio Gonzalez de Arriba - presumably would, this holy gentleman stated a need for certain carnal sustenance. Hence, mujeres.
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It seems Mr. Cristo, who'd settled into Laredo three years ago, recruited women to work as both forced labor and sex slaves. Federal police and member of Mexico's National Immigration Institute discovered nearly a dozen women in the confines, said to be living "in filthy conditions." Mr. Cristo also deemed it necessary to carry kids in his cadre, with a handful found living among the muck.
However, these women weren't initially lured through the allure of the Body of Christ, but through courses Mr. Cristo offered on something called "bio-programming," a New Age-y scheme that would "allow participants to 'reprogram' their brains to eliminate pain, suffering and anxiety.'"
While no Laredans have yet been tied to the cult, Mr. Cristo's posse took a distinctly international flavor: Among the 14 foreigners detained included folks from Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Argentina, in addition to a half-dozen from Spain.
Thankfully for followers, one member of a support group noted that cells could still be active in both Peru and Argentina. Because the last thing you'd want, especially at this juncture, would be to snuff out a cult at such a promising phase. Plus, between Jonestown and the Defensores de Cristo, it seems there are only a few South American nations left untouched. Smart money's on Suriname as the last holdout - though if you see Paramaribo's Kool-Aid imports on the uptick, you might want to head elsewhere.