THE CULT by Max Ehrlich


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The schlockmeister of The Reincarnation of Peter Proud now takes up the cult of Souls For Jesus, a brainwashing program that's larger than the Moonies and the Hare Krishnas put together. In Ehrlich's scheme of things, you are left in no doubt that the SFJ is a thoroughly corrupt group that thrives on milking its slaves of all their money, time, and labor for the greater glory of Reverend Buford Hodges, a yacht-loving, blonde-loving, scotch-loving, two-faced charlatan. When young Jeff Reed calls his parents and tells them to sign over his bank account and his $10,000 Porsche to SFJ, his voice has changed--it seems weird and far-off. The Reeds contact a deprogrammer, John Morse (whose daughter committed suicide as a result of her warped SFJ training), to help them bring their son back to sanity. First they have to kidnap him personally (without Morse's help), then Morse gets to work on Jeff by fighting fire with fire--that is, by using Chinese brainwash techniques. And just as Jeff is getting moonlight satisfactions with his girlfriend again, he is counter-kidnapped and rebrainwashed by SFJ and then brings charges against his parents and Morse. The final court scene shows just how deeply the SFJ (like the Scientologists?) has penetrated the legal structure. A cut above Ehrlich's last performance--and slickly keyed to recent headlines--but still numbingly obvious at every point.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1978
Publisher: Simon & Schuster