Tulsi Gabbard’s ‘cult leader’ is Chris (or Kris) Butler, the ‘Reverend Moon’ of the group. Chris was born in 1948 to Willis Butler.
Christine Gralow tells us that Willis Butler was a ‘plantation doctor’ from Louisiana ‘well-known locally for his far-left political activism and his staunch opposition to U.S. involvement in foreign regime change wars … particularly concerned about U.S. funding of groups in Central America that he viewed as terrorists.’
Kerry Howley at New York magazine gives us some howlers as she posits that Chris’ embarrassment at his father being ‘ridiculed’ for being a leftist against the Vietnam war, frankly not at all an unpopular opinion in Hawaii in the 1960s, led him to start a cult so he would somehow never be ridiculed, and since he was homophobic and against regime change wars, like his father, so Tulsi is how she is because she grew up idolizing Chris Butler.
It is a rather ‘just so’ story but in fact you find such puffery and mystification around this topic in most of the literature from contemporary accounts to the present. In fact this exact style of narrative biography is the default for ‘celebrities’ of various types.
Let’s look at the best evidence we have of the reality of the origin of Chris Butler’s ‘cult’ by going to the contemporary sources. Grawlow helpfully reprints an article profiling the group published in 1970 and interviews with Butler’s brother.
Kris (Chris) Butler graduates from high school in 1966 and enters the University of Hawaii Manoa. His brother and various women profiled describe him ‘a chick magnet,’ ‘good looking and knows it,’ a surfer and a jock with ‘piercing eyes and this intense way of looking at you.’
The ‘scene’ at the University includes a very colorful group, the Hare Krishnas, at the height of their notoriety – before the accusations of ‘brainwashing‘ and ‘kidnapping‘ would explode in the late 1970s and 80s – due to George Harrison’s publicity campaign. The Hare Krishnas are a feature at every ‘youth counterculture’ and ‘hippie’ event on campus in every college town in America.
In 1970, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s movement to spread Western love for the Hindu deity Krishna was four years old and spreading quickly in Hawai’i; men in orange robes with shaved heads and tiny pony tails chanted “Hare Krishna, Hare Rama” on the streets of Waikiki; George Harrison released his ISKCON-inspired hit single, “My Sweet Lord”; Kris Butler was a self-proclaimed guru at 22; and Janice Wolf was a 23-year-old religion writer for The Honolulu Advertiser.
Kris Butler had declared himself a ‘guru’ just like the various ‘official’ Hare Krishna ISKCON gurus had, but his ‘scene’ on campus was far more ‘hippie’ than Hindu. Butler hadn’t read the Gita and his understanding of Hinduism, Krishna, Buddhim, and yoga were superficial, at best. Instead, he is described as being a more of a ‘rock star’ type with a gaggle of pretty co-eds hanging on his every word. Posters for his appearances show a shirtless Butler with the tag line ‘About Pleasure’ with a door price of fifty cents.
‘Nicole’ describes her experience in the cult during the 2000s.
It’s quite a bonding experience to go through all that with others (sleep deprivation, beratement, austere & uncomfortable living conditions, etc.). Good ol’ trauma-bonding. I knew something was off about the cult quite early on, but I had lost my means of financial self-sufficiency and stayed much longer than I would have if i could have left. I couldn’t have broken away without my parents’ financial assistance. They did not know how weird the whole thing was. I was embarrassed to tell them.
In the 60s he had cult members sleeping under bridges for days at a time chanting various ‘mantras’ over and over again. Children raised in the boarding school in the Philippines describe ‘chanting in pitch black darkness’ for ‘up to four hours a day’ and ‘bowing’ to photographs of Butler and listening to audio and watching video of him, along with other cult-produced media. One former member schooled in the Philippines said ‘normal’ teachers from the community taught them part time math and language, but otherwise they read no outside books or watched any outside media. One former member said they were never taught even basic history nor any science.
The cult had a house, a ‘compound,’ where various ‘youth’ would stay for a time. In 1970 the young couples in the community began having children and raising those children in the cult.
Having children, adopting children, and trading children among various couples, and flying children all around the world, exactly as the ‘CIA Finders’ documents recommend. Also, exactly as the Children of God cult was doing at precisely the same time.
Similar to what was happening in Australia with the adults and children around Julian Assange.
While the ‘hippie’ scene was marketed as ‘sexually liberated’ this group officially taught chastity as in sex only between a husband and wife, a sexual ethic shared by the vast majority of Americans at the time.
But other than that this ‘scene’ looks like the stereotypical ‘hippie sixties Woodstock’ thing. But what is missing?
Well the drugs of course.
They use all the euphemisms, like ‘psychedelic-soaked’ but if Chris Butler had a bunch of white American teenage girls and college co-eds sleeping under a bridge for days at a time while chanting over and over again in the dark, the chances of drugs not being involved are zero.
So what else was going at the University of Hawaii Manoa during this time period – something that involved:
- Sleep deprivation.
- Drugs, drugs, and more drugs.
- Various forms of sexual manipulation, physical and psychological, e.g. exposure to pornography.
- Group manipulation tactics.
The ‘anti-cult movement’ of the late 70s and 80s coincided with the Senate hearings on CIA of course, but ‘the public’ or at least ‘the media’ simply relegates this part of recent history to the side, in a box marked ‘past’ or ‘fringe’ and denies it has any relevance to current events.
Until someone like Tulsi Gabbard shows up as an international celebrity on the cutting edge of US foreign policy, holding high profile meetings with America’s ‘enemies’ like Assad and almost-enemies like Modi.
It is the information age after all, and Wikipedia, as bad as it may be, makes it very hard to ‘hide in plain sight’ just as it was hard to stop the spread of knowledge and literacy in the era of the printing press.
Speaking of contemporary events, besides the assassination of Shinzo Abe by a man born into the Moonie cult the President of Mexico, an ally of Donald Trump incidentally, has been offering to grant asylum to Julian Assange.
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday he gave a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden where he defended Julian Assange’s innocence and renewed a previous offer of asylum to the WikiLeaks founder.
And Julian Assange’s background is just like Tulsi’s – in a real sense they were raised by the same people.
In 1952 the newly organized Central Intelligence Agency’s Department of Scientific Intelligence immediately embarked on a wide ranging covert program that would ‘investigate’ all of these phenomena. In 2018 a new batch of documents were released due to an FOIA request.
The very ‘deepest’ state of all, hiding in plain sight, and it’s all there in the bureaucratic and ‘scientific’ language of the time.
Of course just because some smart people think up some crazy scheme is no guarantee it won’t blow up in their faces. Empires rise and Empires fall.
Viewing the Pacific from China, would the rainbow end on Samoa?
So just before Tulsi’s cult is forming a man named Hubbard who worked for the CIA’s predecessor OSS had a sort of ‘cult’ of his own, but it is not ‘hippies’ at all, it includes very ‘square’ 50s academics, ‘prime ministers’ and even a high ranking ‘Vatican official.’
If you want to talk about good press, Mr. Hubbard is universally praised in the literature and spoken of in almost religious terms, language he himself used constantly.
No, not THAT Hubbard! A different one. His legend isn’t quite as silly as the Penniless Shoeless Indian Celebrity Guru’s legend, but it is quite the ‘whopper’ as they used to say.