In the winter and spring of 1993, more than 80 people, including four federal agents and at least 20 children, died in two violent confrontations between federal law enforcement and the Branch Davidian Christian sect near Waco, Texas. Extremist groups have since cited the assaults as evidence for anti-government conspiracy theories. JEFF GUINN writes about it in his new book, "Waco: David Koresh, The Branch Davidians and a Legacy of Rage."
Author Faith Jones was raised in the cult group the Children of God (later known as The Family and The Family International). Jones' grandfather founded the group around the belief that God is love and — taking it a step further — that, therefore, sex is godly. Berg preached that men could practice polygamy and that women must freely "share" their bodies, regardless of whether they wanted to — because sex was their service to God.
Writer Lauren Hough grew up in a nomadic doomsday Christian cult called the Children of God. She says she remembers being taught animals could talk to Noah — that's how he was able to get them on to the ark — and that heaven was located in a pyramid in the moon. Her new collection is 'Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing.'
California parolee Charles Manson arrived in San Francisco in 1967, when the city was full of young waifs looking for a guru. In Manson, Jeff Guinn argues that if the cult leader had instead been paroled in a place like Nebraska, he likely would not have been so successful.
The director of Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood talks to Fresh Air's Terry Gross about his new film, The Master, a tense drama with indelible performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams.
Many comparisons have been made between Paul Thomas Anderson's film The Master and the history of Scientology. But, as David Edelstein explains, the challenge of balancing the search for surrogate family with American individualism dominates the film. (Recommended)
Psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton is an expert on cult groups. His new book is about the Japanese cult group that released sarin nerve gas in the Tokyo subways: "Destroying the World to Save It: Aum Shinrikyo, Apocalyptic Violence, and the New Global Terrorism" (Metropolitan Books).
Professor Robert Jay Lifton is distinguished professor of psychiatry and psychology and director of the Center on Violence and Human Survival at John Jay College, City University of New York. He's been studying cults and fundamentalist groups for many years. Lifton will talk about the armed cult in Waco, Texas run by David Koresh of the Branch Davidians--how typical they are, and what can be done to deal with them.
In the first half hour, Terry Gross talks with journalist Chip Berlet ('ber-LAY") of Political Research Associates. He'll discuss the racist and authoritarian aspects of Lenora Fulani's ("fah-lahn-nee") New Alliance Party.