One of Hyemenaeus Beta’s first acts after being elected Caliph of Ordo Templi Orientis was to publish the final number of The Equinox, Volume III which opened with his essay “Introduction: Culture vs. Cult.” This does suggest that it was useful to make the effort to state the essential differences between our Most Holy Order and cults in general. It might also suggest that internal vigilance should be ongoing to insure that we never devolve thus; though considering the ubiquity of constructive criticism within the Order it seems that we’re doing OK in avoiding homogeneity of opinion on matters of doctrine et al.
The New Yorker recently published a reminiscence by Guinevere Turner, the screenwriter behind the film “Charlie Says,” discussing being born in to the Lyman Family cult, and then being expelled (because her mother had left). It’s very informative and not what you’d expect. One excerpt reads:
“I was eighteen at the time. I had been out in the world for six years. In high school, I had effectively erased any signs of my childhood—I didn’t talk about it, and that made life so much simpler. A year after I left the Family, one of the more powerful adults had written me a letter. ‘I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that everyone misses you,’ it said. A letter I received a few weeks later explained, ‘We work at it, striving for inner consciousness, self development on the inside instead of the outside. This life we live is not for everyone, only if you have Mel inside of you. ‘ When I was about to go off to college, I wrote to the Lyman Family to ask if I could visit before I went. The members welcomed me warmly, and I spent a glorious few days there. Slowly, people in the Family encouraged me to stay with them instead of going to college: this was home, they said, where I belonged. I did feel as if I were home, and, after a day or two, I thought I might not go to college after all. These people really knew me. They looked into my eyes.” [referring to the fact that in the outside world, making prolonged eye contact was considered upsetting and rude].
Read the whole beast: