November 12, 2008

Book Notice: Ashes of Faith

Robert Bwire, Ashes of Faith: A Doomsday Cult's Orchestration of Mass Murder in Africa (Amsterdam: Frontier Publishing, 2007), 166 pp.

Ashes of FaithOther than the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the best-known Ugandan cult is certainly the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God. Eight years ago, this Roman Catholic sect ended violently with the murders of roughly a thousand members. The Kanungu Massacre, as it has come to be known, has left many people around the world searching for answers. Robert Bwire, a Ugandan epidemiologist in the greater New York City area, spent time with followers of this cult while working in his home country. Ashes of Faith is one of only a handful of investigative works attempting to reveal what really took place in Kanungu. Bwire also describes other contemporary prophetic movements, including the “Covenant Box Descended into Uganda,” World Message Last Warning Church (Wilson Bushara), and Holy Spirit Movement (Alice Lakwena).

From the back cover:
The "Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God", a Ugandan millenarian cult proclaimed the end of the world on December 31, 1999. The cult claimed that Virgin Mary had delivered this message directly to its three leaders: a half-insane failed politician, a defrocked Catholic priest and a former prostitute. When the world failed to end, the disillusioned faithful demanded a refund of property and money generously donated to the cult leadership.

Unable to quell the rising tide of unrest, the cult leaders conceived a macabre plan of permanently stifling dissenting voices. On March 17, 2000, the cult led its unsuspecting followers through a baptism of fire. Over 550 men, women and children perished in a fire as they waited for their salvation from a sinful world. Subsequent investigations uncovered a series of mass graves, bringing the total killed to over one thousand — the largest linked to a doomsday cult in recent human history.

"Ashes of faith" investigates the background of this bizarre millenarian cult and also provides a rare glimpse into the darker world of extreme religious fanaticism in Africa.

Table of Contents:
Acknowledgments, 9
In the Thrall of Christianity, 11
Apparition Mania, 25
Cult Trinity, 39
The Seer and the Rock, 55
The Ten Commandments, 69
Seeking Thy Kingdom, 91
The Faithful, 107
Last Supper—A Reconstruction, 119
Looking the Other Way, 133
Inferno Aftermath, 143
Conclusion, 157
Notes, 159