You Call This A Doomsday Cult?Commentary • Opinion • senior citizens • Not Normal • ISSUE 37•25 • Jul 25, 2001 By Will Arlen Will Arlen Troubled? Of course I'm troubled. But there's one thing in particular that's bothering me right now. Let me just get this out in the open. I'm very, very disappointed with this so-called doomsday cult I joined. There's so much wrong here, I barely know where to begin.First of all, Simon, our so-called "leader," lacks the necessary charisma a man should have to lead a flock into self-annihilation. I'm not talking about a $20 haircut, either. Jim Jones, that man was nothing special to look at, but when he spoke, you believed mountains could move. When Simon speaks, there's none of that. No fire. No passion. Just a lateral lisp and a lot of "uhs" and "ums." He couldn't lead me to dinner if I was hungry.That's another thing. Instead of a grueling schedule of meditate-work-meditate-work-work-eat-sleep, we have almost limitless free time. Sorry, Simon, but I don't think three hours a week picking up trash on our adopted stretch of highway is going to break my will. And stop handing out Snickers bars. I should be kept hungry of body but sated of spirit. Unless these things are laced with cyanide, I fail to see the point in constantly stuffing chocolate in our mouths.And pray tell, Simon, just how are we going to have a dramatic standoff without a weapons stockpile? I've been doing some research, and do you know how many rifles the Branch Davidians had? Two hundred and twenty five. How many do we have? One. One goddamned unloaded .22 that you use to hunt squirrels. I'm sure when the BATF raids our compound, we'll be able to hold them off for at least three minutes with that thing. When we run out of ammo, we can always turn to that mound of Roman candles you picked up in Indiana.As long as we're clearing the air here, there's the not-so-small matter of your failure to subjugate the children with ritual sexual abuse. Kids are the future of this cult, and we can't leave them to form opinions of their own. You have to break their spirit by violating them in horrific ways. If you're not going to do it, a lot of your followers are itching to give it a try. Just say the word, and we can start getting some order around here.You know what else? A lot of people are starting to talk about your new wife, and I can't really disagree with them. Here's a news flash, Simon: a consenting 19-year-old does not a child bride make, even if she is 24 years younger than you. Age-of-consent laws are the laws of an unjust government, not the laws of our Skyfather. You're the conduit between the Skyfather and the people–just make up some shit about how He told you to take a 14-year-old bride. No one cares. Hell, we expect it.And just what is our Skyfather, anyway? You've barely said a word about Him, much less made up any elaborate creation myth or Armageddon scenario. All you do is talk about The Beginning and The Great Path we're on. A path has to lead somewhere–otherwise, it's just a dirt road. Are we going to heaven? Paradise? Outer space? Is the Skyfather an alien? Are we his children? His experiment? Do we have the souls of immortals locked within us? You're really falling down on the job here.Even our name sucks. Look at some of the greats: The Family. Heaven's Gate. Supreme Truth. Now, those are some cult names with pizazz. They're mysterious, sexy, hinting at knowledge beyond the realm of man. And you, O Great One, what do you go and name us? The Guiding Light. Christ. Didn't it ever dawn on you that Guiding Light is a friggin' soap opera? I'm amazed you didn't name us The Bold And The Beautiful. We're the laughing stock of the entire cult world. Even the Scientologists make fun of us.Our living quarters don't exactly inspire confidence in your leadership, either. Our compound is not what I would call a forbidding, impenetrable barrier between Us and Them. Fortified? This picket fence is constantly getting knocked over by the neighborhood dogs. I'm no Noah Webster, but I'm sure that if you look up "compound" in the dictionary, you won't find a picture of a mobile home.Come on, let's get this cult going! Shit, my family isn't the slightest bit worried about me. My "uniform" is off the rack and doesn't match anyone else's. Our sole sources of income are selling junk at the weekend flea market and continuing to hold down our day jobs at the Pepperidge Farm outlet store. It's a goddamn travesty.I tell you, Simon, if things don't shape up around here soon, I'm going to have to start shopping around for another cult. Because this one just ain't cutting it.