Cults vs. New Religious Movements: A Quick Note
“Cult” is a rather pejorative term. Most folks hear it and immediately picture the lifeless bodies of 909 Peoples Temple members strewn across the soil of their South American compound or recall the image of three girls with Xs carved into their foreheads, walking Mean Girls-style down the corridors of an LA County courthouse in support of their truth-yielding leader, Charles Manson. When a new cult-documentary drops in that Netflix feed, viewers are banking on NSFW content, punctuated with excessive drug use, doomsday declarations, and perhaps even murmurings of lizard people (yeah, I’m looking at you, Orgone Warriors). Wait! Please don’t google “orgone warriors”; I am absolutely going to demystify that gem of a moniker in a few minutes.
Now, take “new religious movement”; there isn’t that same connotation of deviancy, right? Upon hearing the term, it may be difficult not to envision yoga-pants-wearing millennials doing breathwork somewhere in a city park, giving off mad positive energy and good vibes; I’m right there with you. Nevertheless, the only true element differentiating “cult” from “new religious movement” is time. When we hitch a ride on the way-back-machine to the 1600s, “cult”, which stems from the Latin cultus, meaning worship, referred to a system of worship. Following that century’s logic, Christianity and Islam were therefore cults. Buddhism, Catholicism, and all other mainstream religions, you guessed it, were also cults. For that matter any group that glorified someone or something through ritualistic means was, by definition, a cult.
Then, over the next century, the term fell into disuse, but when it was revived in the 1800s, the meaning had shifted. “Cult” suddenly suggested more primordial forms of religious worship that featured significant customs and ceremonies. Still, the lascivious connotation that is presently attributed to the word wouldn’t manifest until the 1960s and 70s, decades throughout which atypical religions, including the factions referenced in the intro, flared up, particularly in North America. We’re talking the Christian World Liberation Front, Eckankar, the Insight Meditation Society, and the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness, among others.
Here’s where a problem arose, to which “new religious movement” was the solution. Assigning “cult” to any of these innovative, unconventional religions invited American society to immediately stereotype these faith-driven groups, which in a way curtailed the First Amendment rights to freedom of religion for said groups. Furthermore, casting these various religious movements in the same, more-often-than-not, negative light made objective research of such collectives damn-near impossible. In response to these obstacles, scholars introduced the concept of “new religious movements”, varying from “cults” simply by time and connotation. Groups designated as NRMs remain alternative religions that readily combine beliefs and practices from assorted sources, generally have an authoritarian leader graced with some form of divinity, and require unquestionable commitment of their congregants.
One such group, founded by Sherry Shriner, is a prime example as to why some may have difficulty ascribing the term "religion" to something that, to them, screams "cult".
"The Messenger of the Most High God", also known as Sherry Shriner
Sherry Shriner was a wife and mother of four who graduated from Kent State University in 1991, holding degrees in Criminal Justice, Journalism, and Political Science. More importantly though, she was a self-anointed “Messenger of the Most High God”, who operated an internet ministry from her home beginning in 2000. Shriner, an end-times obsessed, authority-mistrusting, overconfident individual, disseminated her prophecies received directly from God through a profusion of websites, blogs, self-published e-books, social media platforms, and a radio show.
In a short autobiographical paper, she revealed “...I am a servant of the Most High God. But more than that, I’m His Friend and He’s my best friend and I couldn’t live without him”. She continues, describing her love of Bible prophecy, most of which stemmed from hidden messages contained in the Torah that she extracted through a computer program based on the methodology used by Michael Drosnin in his book, The Bible Code. Shriner spouted these clandestine revelations across the digital void, and thousands listened.
A Collection of Beliefs
“I don’t run a cult. You can turn on my video or turn it off…”- Sherry Shriner 2017
Shriner and her followers’ beliefs are (yes, present tense, since some of her followers persist) indiscriminate. The subsequent list is only a smattering of the group’s beliefs, but allows a nice look-see into the general mindset of Shriner’s supporters:
- Shriner is God’s Ambassador on Earth and a descendent of the Bible’s King David, who, according to the text, murked the giant Goliath.
- To collect the content for her book, Interview with the Devil: My Conversation with Lucifer, Shriner had interviewed Lucifer while God confined him in heaven.
- Shriner and 144,000 elect will gain access to heaven as apocalyptic events devastate the earth.
- Aliens, referenced as “locusts” in Old Testament, not only exist, but are fallen angels actively substituting the world’s most influential people with reptilians, while killing off and cloning others.
- A Black Oil Alien Virus is a plague that, if released onto the world, would cast the planet's inhabitants into a state of famine, warfare, and death
- There is a Deep Underground Alien Base, or DUAB, beneath Fort Knox.
- Demons run rampant, possessing individuals who then sabotage the efforts of God’s “warriors”.
- The New World Order thrives on pedophilic blood orgies and feces-eating rituals.
- Voodoo curses are used to keep particular celebrities from aging.
- Lizards being installed in governments are narcissistic psychopaths and others are being soul-scalped, or basically possessed.
- Witches and vampires are habitual threats.
- That pesky, historically elusive Ark of the Covenant is buried in Shriner’s backyard.
- The Sandy Hook massacre was a American PSYOP
I would be remiss not to mention perhaps the most central tenet of Shriner and her followers’ convictions, which involved orgone and its abilities.
Orgone and It's Warriors
"Stay away from the labeling, folks. That's their game. That's their toy. They like to label people and lie, and mock and discredit them. I mean, there's stuff all over the Internet about me that I just laugh about. It's all lies." - Sherry Shriner
Apart from infuriating my autocorrect (Oregon, it insists), orgone is a type of universal energy, discovered in the 1920s by Wilhelm Reich, a trained psychiatrist. Using an orgone accumulator, a box lined with copper and crystals, he claimed he could absorb and amplify energy that improved mental and physical energy. Through use of the Bible Codes software, Shriner confirmed orgone’s critical importance, deeming it a pivotal tool in her fight against earthly evil. She and her “orgone warriors” were soon engaging in incessant efforts to delay the inevitable apocalypse by collecting and purposefully directing the potent energy.
The group alleges great successes from some of these missions (all funded by believers, by the way). Blasting orgone halted a terrorist attack at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport; Shriner had claimed that if the terrorist attack had been a realized, the government would have placed the blame on orgone, which would subsequently become banned, leaving the world to enter into perpetual doom. Orgone was also responsible that much of Manhattan had been spared from Hurricane Sandy and that the 2013 Super Bowl did not succumb to a foreseen bombing.
Digital Preaching and It's Real-Life Consequences
In December 2012, 22-year-old Kelly Pingilley left her home, leaving a note on her pillow that read: “I’m off to fulfill my destiny. I don’t know when I’ll be returning”. She drove to Waterloo State Recreation area, took a fatal amount of sleeping pills, and, with an orgone pendant dangling from her neck, died beneath a thin blanket in a cold, frosted field. Back in 2010, Pingilley, in the throes of a spiritual crisis, stumbled upon one of Shriner’s websites. She quickly integrated into the group and eventually worked for Shriner as a transcriptionist for her radio show, Aliens in the News. A series of internet blog posts by Pingilley contained traces of mental illness (e.g. citing hearing voices and having visions), paranoia, and extremism, as far as the group’s beliefs were concerned. Only one week prior to her death, Pingilley wrote openly about expecting a global cannibalistic catastrophe beneath a blood-drenched moon.
"Oh brother...they're trying to use Kelly's murder as a psyop against me and my websites and ministry...calling her crazy for believing in the Illuminati and NWO...these people are seriously DUMB about the world they live in...they can't even get the stories straight as to how she died or why...if one thing doesn't work, try another, typical PSYOP" - Sherry Shriner
Shriner’s response to Pingilley’s incredibly isolated and unnecessary death? Oh, well Pingilley didn’t kill herself at all; she had actually been taken out by a NATO hit squad. According to Shriner, President Obama had wanted her dead for the longest, and Pingilley had actually been assigned three months prior to her death, to kill off Shriner. She had refused when the time came, hence NATO’s actions, which included planting false evidence. From that point on, Shriner used the tragedy to further her narrative of being doggedly persecuted because of her and her supporters’ inherent knowledge, power, and abilities.
Nearly five years later, Barbara Rogers shot Stephen Mineo directly in the center of the forehead, allegedly at his behest. Mineo and Rogers, who were in a committed relationship, had also been involved with Shriner, but had recently defected from the group due to Shriner’s constant accusations that Mineo’s girlfriend, Rogers, was a reptilian and witch. Mineo, who had found a true spiritual home among the other believers, was devastated as Shriner, who he slowly believed to have been replaced by a clone, ousted him from the digital collective more and more.
Apparently, it was a standard practice of Shriner to simply drop those who challenge her; followers would then go on the offensive as well by bullying and threatening the excommunicated individuals in a sort of bizarre reverse hazing. This seemed to have proven too much for Mineo to withstand.
“I warned (Stephen) she was a Super Soldier who would kill him and move on... but I'm the “false prophet”. Perhaps he finally figured her out..but it was too late for him. It wasn't the "online cult" that killed him... they always try and paint me as a cult...nice try libtards.” - Sherry Shriner
Barbara Rogers was found guilty in 2019 of third-degree murder and sentenced to 15 to 40 years in prison. Her appeal in early 2021 was denied.
The World Still Hasn't Ended, and Neither Have Shriner's Followers
Beginning with the death of Pingilley and continuing after Mineo's murder, criticism of Shriner and her teachings abounded, but her group continued to grow and persists even today, in the wake of Shriner's own end (heart-attack, it seems) in early 2021.
As of August of this year, Shriner’s YouTube channel, one of her most important platforms, continues to mesmerize a little over 28,000 subscribers. Video titles warn that a red moon in September of 2017 indicates a fast-approaching planetary pole shift. Justin Bieber apparently promotes microchipping, while Corey Feldman had his memory wiped to prevent pedophile allegations. The apparent truth concerning the horrific death of Kenneka Jenkins can also be found there, as well as evidence of clones publicly malfunctioning and proof of Mike Pence's and Paul Ryan's Reptilian-Satanist antics. Her posthumous presence also extends to retail; you can purchase Sherry Shriner-style-orone on etsy, with this particular seller having completed 436 sales and having a 5/5 star rating.
- Barbara Rogers sentenced in Steven Mineo killing over alien cult
- Feed | Sword And Scale
On July 15, 2017, 42-year-old Barbara Rogers phoned police in Pennsylvania and reported that she had shot and killed her boyfriend, 32-year-old Steven Mineo. It had appeared to have been a clear cut case of domestic homicide, but according to Rogers,
- Body of 22-year-old woman found in field in Waterloo Township over the weekend - mlive.com
The deceased woman, identified as Kelly Marie Pingilley of Redford, was found in a field by people walking in the state game area, according to a news release.
- Murdered by NATO
- Reptile Cult Leader Says Her Follower Was Killed by NATO
A woman who preaches ‘reptilians’ are taking over Earth has seen two of her followers die. It hasn’t hurt her following or fundraising, though.
- Sherry Shriner Transcripts
- Who Is Sherry Shriner | PDF | Jesus | Truth
Who is Sherry Shriner - Free download as Word Doc (.doc), PDF File (.pdf), Text File (.txt) or read online for free. Alien biografy
- Why the label 'cult' gets in the way of understanding new religions
A scholar explains the popular use of the label ‘cult,’ and what makes it problematic.
CULT Meaning: "worship, homage" (a sense now obsolete); 1670s, "a particular form or system of worship;" from French… See definitions of cult.
- new religious movement | Definition, Types, & Facts | Britannica
New religious movement, any relatively new religion characterized by innovative responses to modern conditions, perceived counterculturalism, eclecticism and syncretism, and charismatic and sometimes authoritarian leadership. New religious movements
- Is it a cult, or a new religious movement? | Penn Today
Many religious movements started off as fringe groups, and many modern-day cults have no religious doctrine. Why are cults and new religious movements conflated, and what makes them different?
What I Read
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Lilith Eden
Lilith Eden (author) from Hanau, Germany on August 25, 2021:
Thanks! The research was a wild ride. If you ever want to lose yourself for a few hours, take a deeper look into Shriner. "Interesting" is definitely the right word for it.
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on August 24, 2021:
Very interesting account.