Passage Five (Killing in the Name of God Ugandan Deaths Spotlight Rise of Cults)
How could faith beget such evil? After hundreds of members of a Ugandan cult, the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, died in what first appeared to be a suicidal fire in the village of Kanungu two weeks age, police found 153 bodies buried in a compound used by the cult in Buhunga, 25 miles away. When investigators searched the house of a cult leader in yet another village, they discovered 155 bodies, many buried under the concrete floor of the house. Then scores more were dug up at a cult member’s home. Some had been poisoned; others, often-young children, strangled. By week’s end, Ugandan police had counted 924 victims – including at least 530 who burned to death inside the sealed church – exceeding the 1978 Jonestown mass suicide and killings by followers of American cult leader Jim Jones that claimed 913 lives.
Authorities believe two of the cult’s leaders, Joseph Kibwetere, a 68-year-old former Roman Catholic catechism teacher who started the cult in 1987, and his “prophetess, ” Credonia Mwerinde, by some accounts a former prostitute who claimed to speak for the Virgin Mary, may still be alive and on the run. The pair had predicted the world would end on Dec. 31, 1999. When that didn’t happen, followers who demanded the return of their possessions, which they had to surrender on joining the cult, may have been systematically killed.
The Ugandan carnage focuses attention on the proliferation of religious cults in East Africa’s impoverished rural areas and city slums. According to the institute for the study of American religion, which researches cults and sects, there are now more than 5,000 indigenous churches in Africa, some with apocalyptic or revolutionary leanings. One such group is the Jerusalem Church of Christ in Nairobi’s Kawangwara slums, led by Mary Snaida-Akatsa, or “mommy” as she is known to her thousands of followers. She prophesies about the end of the world and accuses some members of being witches. One day the brought a “special visitor” to church, an Indian Sikh man she claimed was Jesus, and told her followers to “repent or pay the consequences.”
Most experts say Africa’s hardships push people to seek hope in religious cults. “These groups thrive because of poverty,” says Charles Onyango Obbo, editor of the Monitor, an independent newspaper in Uganda, and a close observer of cults. “People have no support, and they’re susceptible to anyone who is able to tap into their insecurity.” Additionally, they say, AIDS, which has ravaged East Africa, may also breed a fatalism that helps apocalyptic notions take root.
Some Africans turn to cults after rejecting mainstream Christian churches as “Western” or “non-African.” Agnes Masitsa, 30, who used to attend a Catholic church before she joined the Jerusalem Church of Christ, says of Catholicism: “It’s dull.”
Catholic icons. Yet, the Ugandan doomsday cult, like many of the sects, drew on features of Roman Catholicism, a strong force in the region. Catholic icons were prominent in its buildings, and some of its leaders were defrocked priests, such as Dominic Kataribabo, 32, who reportedly studied theology in the Los Angeles area in the mid-1980s. He had told neighbors he was digging a pit in his house to install a refrigerator; police have now recovered 81 bodies from under the floor and 74 from a field nearby. Police are unsure whether Kataribabo died in the church fire.
Still, there is the question: How could so many killings have been carried out without drawing attention? Villagers were aware of Kibwetere’s sect, whose followers communicated mainly through sign language and apparently were apprehensive about violating any of the cult’s commandments. There were suspicions. Ugandan president Yoweri Mseveni told the BBC that intelligence reports about the dangerous nature of the group had been suppressed by some government officials. On Thursday, police arrested an assistant district commissioner, the Rev. Amooti Mutazindwa, for allegedly holding back a report suggesting the cult posed a security threat.
Now, there are calls for African governments to monitor cults more closely. Says Gilbert Ogutu, a professor of religious studies at the University of Nairobi: “When cult leaders lose support, they become dangerous.”
1. Why did so may Ugandans die in faith?
[A] Many of them were killed for asking for the return of their possessions.
[B] They found the cult’s leaders had cheated them.
[C] They lost faith in cults.
[D] They are willing to die.
2. The main reason of people’s joining the cults is
3. What does Mary Snaide Akatsa prophesy?
[A] She prophesies the world will be flooded.
[B] She prophesies the world will be in fire.
[C] She prophesies about the end of the world.
[D] She prophesies he followers should die in faith.
4. Why do some Africans reject Christian Churches?
[A] They feel Christianity is dull.
[B] They reject Christian Churches as Western or non-African.
[C] They are susceptible.
[D] They are dangerous persons.
5. How could so many killing have been carried out without drawing attention?
[A] The cult acted secretly.
[B] The government officials did not see through its dangerous nature.
[C] There were no preventive measures.
[D] People were frightened..
1. beget 产生，引起，招致
2. cult 祭礼，狂烈的崇拜(者)，迷信，邪教
3. compound 院子，场地
4. strangle 扼死，闷死
5. carnage 残杀，大屠杀，成堆的尸体
6. catechism 教理问答
7. prophet 预言者，先知
8. on the run 在逃
9. proliferation 扩散，繁殖
10. indigenous 本土的，土生土张的
11. apocalypse (基督教)启事(录)《圣经新约》
12. be susceptible 易受人影响
13. ravage 蹂躏，劫掠
14. fatalism 宿命论
15. apocalyptic 预警的
16. icon (东正教)圣像
17. doomsday 世界末日
18. Jerusalem 耶路撒冷，喻：天堂
19. Kenya 肯尼亚
20. Nairobi 内罗毕，肯尼亚首都
21. mommy 嬷嬷=mother
22. repent 忏悔
23. Sikh 锡克教(信徒)
24. defrock 免去…圣职的。这里指：免去圣职的牧师
25. sect 宗教小组
26. pose 提问
1. …the Movement for the restoration of the Ten Commandments of God…
【结构简析】Ten commandments 十戒，是圣经中上帝再西奈山上给予摩西(犹太人的古代领袖)十大行为的神圣准则：
a) have no other god.
b) Do not make or warship idols.
c) Do not take the word of the lord in vain.
d) Keep the Sabbath holy.
e) Honor one’s father and mother.
f) Do not kill.
g) Do not commit adultery.
h) Do not steal.
i) Do not give false evidence.
j) Do not covet another’s property or wife.
2. the 1978 Jonestown mass suicide and killings by followers of American cult leader Jim Jones that claimed 913 lives.
3. they are susceptible to any one who is able to tap into their insecurity.
4. drew on features of Roman Catholicism.
1. A 许多人由于要归还他们的财产而遭到杀害。答案见第二段倒数第二句，这一对邪教领袖曾预言世界将于1999年12月31日借宿――世界末日来临。结果并没有发生，追随者就要求归还他们在入教时献上的一切，而遭到有计划有步骤地杀害。
B. 他们发现邪教头目欺骗他们。这只是起因之一，如果发现后不吭声也许不会遭劫。C.他们对邪教失去了信任。D. 他们愿意去死。
2. A 贫穷。主要原因就是穷。答案见第四段。许多专家认为非洲之艰苦生活促使人民在邪教中寻找希望。这些邪教群体之兴起就是因为贫穷。人民没有支柱、保障，很容易受影响。任何人都可利用他们不安的情绪。其次艾滋病在东非之猖獗，培育出宿命论观点，从而帮助预示可怕事情即将来临的思想扎根于心灵。
3. C 她预言世界末日。
4. B 他们把基督教会视为西方的或非非洲的而拒之门外。见第五段：有些非洲人在把基督教会视作西方的或非非洲的而拒之门外后皈依邪教。
5. A 邪教行动神秘。例：第一段中描述的好几百乌干达邪教组织成员死于初看好像是自杀性的火焰之中(自焚)，在一个场院诱发现了153具尸体，在搜查邪教头目的房子中又发现了156具尸体，许多埋于房子的混凝土地板下面，还有好几十具从邪教成员家中挖出，其中有些人被毒死。其他，特别是孩子都是扼杀(窒息而死)。共计924人，至少有530人烧死在封闭的教堂里。倒数第三段，乌干达世界末日邪教一个头目――免去圣职的牧师，据说80年代中他研究神学，他告诉邻居他在家挖一个地窖放冰箱。现在警察发现地板下81具尸体，附近一场地74具尸体。上述两例都是神秘杀害，至于要归还财产之人更遭神秘杀害了。