So...I used my birthday money to join the Church of the SubGenius. I have been reading the word of Bob for some years now, but I found out there was a new book out, so I jumped with both feet - bought the book and joined the cult. Then...
I got an e-mail that MLA (Maybe Logic Academy) was offering a class SubGenius 101, creating your own cult. I clenched my teeth and really tried to resist, but the draw was too great. I sent off the money and signed up.
So we are wrapping up week one, which is sort of a pre-history. The thing that surprises me most is learning how deliberate and intentional the rise of the CoS was. First, it was planned in bitter detail, with the theology being deliberately constructed (crazy, but intentional). Second, it may have been an obsession (hence not based on logic), but it was intended from the start to grow and become a cash cow - this wasn't just a happy accident. The joy in all of this is that it worked, and the cash came in from rubes who are in on the joke, not from innocents who are being fleeced. What more could you ask?
Lessons learned so far (in relation to the OTO).
- While the word of Bob may be strange, and have a thousand faces, it also has enough slogans and catch phrases to be concrete. It isn't a moving target. It is in clear focus. I need to compose clear answers to the common questions about the O.T.O. (what is this, who are you, what do you do, what do you believe). I need to set the catch-phrases and slogans in my mind and let them be the first things out of my mouth.
- The vast majority of the people who hear the Word of Bob dismiss it out of hand. This is fine. All the CoS needs is that one out of a thousand - or ten thousand - for the cult to work. The same applies to the O.T.O.. Either a person is already on our wavelength or not. Be bold. Use the 'insider' words and phrases (then explain as needed), . Don't make the ugly parts look pretty. Don't try to please the ears of the person I talk to. Either they are tuned to it or they aren't. If they are, the best course is to be bold. If they aren't tuned, being bold will make them run away and not waste my time.
- Put it out there. The CoS worked because Stang actively marketed it. Fliers, books, radio shows, etc.
- Don't work alone. Even though he was at the center of the CoS, and is most readily identified with it, Stang didn't do it alone. He still isn't doing it alone. He traded ideas and work with a close core while building it, then leveraged the energies of a large number of kooks to sustain it. So far I have Holly and Beverly on board for the Oasis, but I need more people than that.
- Make it fun. Nuff said?