Posted by Perry on December 10, 2011 at 18:33:04
There's a new movie out about a cult called Brides of Christ. Some eerie similarities. I hope Berg and his cult will be remembered like this:
"Even 115 years after his death, [cult leader] Creffield remains a fascinating if despicable figure. The newsprint that cursed him has yellowed and faded, but its disgust burns red-hot still. ... When Creffield was killed, the pain did not subside. There were repercussions. Some of his faithful were institutionalized. Others committed suicide. And there was an epilogue that tore a family apart."
Here is the first part of an article about the movie. The link at the end takes you to the full article, which includes an interview with the film maker.
'How The Fire Fell': A film by Edward P. Davee about Corvallis cult the Brides of Christ
CORVALLIS — When ex-Salvation Army officer Franz Edmund Creffield came to town in 1902, Corvallis was, in the words of writer Charles Oluf Olsen, little more than “a sleepy farming village.” Between 2,500 and 3,000 people called it home.
Despite its modest size, the community was served by two newspapers: the Gazette and the Times. Neither seem to have acknowledged this man’s arrival. But both would print plenty about him in the coming years. In fact, the whole world would know his name.
As a near-lifelong resident of the Willamette Valley and ardent student of history, I’m ashamed to admit that until I saw Edward P. Davee’s “How the Fire Fell,” I’d never heard of Edmund Creffield and the Brides of Christ. Now, after obsessively poring over websites, books and documents — each a multitendriled labyrinth of meticulous research or panting hearsay — I can think of little else.
Even 115 years after his death, Creffield remains a fascinating if despicable figure. The newsprint that cursed him has yellowed and faded, but its disgust burns red-hot still.
He called himself “Joshua,” a prophet, and his primarily female congregation the Church of the Brides of Christ. A few Corvallis residents had a less-reverent name for them all: Holy Rollers, a cultish collective of minds controlled by a libidinous charlatan who endorsed the destruction of material possessions, the institution of marriage and even relationships beyond the sect. Outsiders were wicked, nonbelievers to be regarded with suspicion.
The townspeople, for the most part, felt the same way about them, and especially about their leader. They expressed their concern by threatening him, arresting him on allegations of insanity, jailing him for adultery and driving him out of town. They even subjected him to tar-and-feather humiliation the night before his 1904 marriage to Maud Hurt, one of his followers and the eldest child of O.V. Hurt, who had welcomed the group into his family’s Corvallis home and soon came to regret it.
Creffield’s teachings, which had roots in the 19th century holiness movement, called for the selection of a “second mother of Christ” — the father, of course, being himself. For this privilege he chose from his flock the teenaged Esther Mitchell, much to the horror of her older brother George, an outsider. George would later follow the preacher to Seattle, where, on the morning of Monday, May 7, 1906, he exacted his deadly revenge. Creffield’s notoriety was such that his assailant was declared “not guilty” by a Seattle jury.
The story of Edmund Creffield and the Church of the Brides of Christ has informed at least four books in the last decade alone: Linda Crew’s novel, “Brides of Eden: A True Story Imagined”; Jim Phillips and Rosemary Gartner’s “Murdering Holiness: The Trials of Franz Creffield and George Mitchell”; Gerald J. Baldasty’s “Vigilante Newspapers: A Tale of Sex, Religion & Murder in the Northwest”; and Robert Blodgett and Theresa McCracken’s “Holy Rollers: Murder and Madness in Oregon’s Love Cult,” the 2002 volume that prompted Davee to write and direct “How the Fire Fell,” his first feature-length film. ...
read the rest at:
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