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After years of honing our cult-building, cult-maintaining and cult-milking skills, we've developed a formula that is profitable beyond our wildest dreams. Don't deviate from it.
Most people have a need to "believe" in something because it saves them from thinking, a much dreaded activity. Many of these phronemophobes (people who are afraid to think) also feel alienated from the rest of the world. They are your target market.
People in your target market need an excuse to avoid thinking about life's big questions: How did we get here? What is our purpose? Is the universe finite? Are there multiple universes? Was the big bang good for you? Why are so many barbers closed on Mondays? Etc. Religions provide this excuse, but many people are uncomfortable with traditional religions. Your cult can offer a solution. "What are the answers to the important questions in the universe?" "Don't waste a second of thought on it. It was ___fill in your deity's name here__
and nothing else. You'll fry in Hell if you even consider other possibilities. End of thought. End of discussion."
The only thing your cult requires to get started is a deity or some reasonable facsimile (very powerful, extremely scientifically advanced extraterrestrials will do the trick) and a few inane, arbitrary rules for living. It's crucial that these tenets be incredibly irrational. Otherwise, your followers won't need your help to interpret and officiate the "religion."
If you set your deity up as an amorphous, heaven-dwelling being, be sure to establish yourself as His or Her prophet. That way you can receive money on His or Her behalf.
Most people outside your target market will consider your cult to be a sham and dangerous.
Non-believing family or friends will undoubtedly try to dissuade your prospects and deprogram your proselytes. It is, therefore, important to convince your followers to sever all ties to families and friends.
To stimulate this severance, preach words to the effect of: "If anyone
comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children,
his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple."
Of course, don't use that exact phrasing. Your followers and prospects
might get suspicious if they recognize them to be plagiarized from Luke
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