In a rare moment of honesty, Lord RayEl talks to YMBAH about the struggles of being a cult leader in a post-cult world. RayEl slumps on the couch while wearing his long white robe. That and his silky white hair are his characteristic trademarks of proving divinity to his followers. But his bearing of intense urgency is gone.
“It’s exhausting to show that much intensity all the time. That’s why I let my followers run things for me, and I only speak to them occasionally.” As he speaks, I get a momentary flash of what he’s like as a Messiah figure, but it’s gone just as quickly when he drops his head. I can tell he’s not here to talk about how often he must feign his god-like presence. Something deeper, something more troubling is eating at him.
“People were more gullible in the 60’s and 70’s. Children of God, the Moonies, Jim Jones, and yes even Charles Manson. They knew how to command and manipulate armies of people.” RayEl shook his shaggy mane in an appearance of regret. “The golden age of cults is gone.”
As we continued our interview, RayEl talked about the mystique of charismatic leaders and how easy it was for them to command their followers to spread the word. “Back then people were hungry for the facsimile of truth. They wanted some charlatan to believe in, someone they would die for or kill for. Not to mention the women they had! Now, I shout at them from a video recording about how I’ve offered them the gift of grace. They don’t care. Do you think I’m going to be able to inspire my followers to murder Hollywood actresses or send out a talented family to infiltrate Hollywood like the Phoenix family or make really bad sci-fi movies to promote my cult?”
The intensity we usually see in his videos sparks some life into him as he leans forward. “I will bet you I can’t even inspire one person to jump on Oprah’s couch. It’s not my fault. The age of cult leaders has already dawned and crumbled into dust. It’s not my fault I was born at the wrong time.”