‘A – a – ants,’ the class chants, diligently repeating after the teacher. Along with the photocopy of the alphabet and its corresponding sounds, the students each have a copy of John’s Gospel in front of them; a book they very much hope to be able to read one day after completing the three modules of their literacy course. ‘It will only be through reading it for themselves that they will really change,’ the mission worker explained to me. After watching for a while, I had the feeling that it will be a long process. But when they have come as far as they have, there must be hope. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Cult
Was Jon Frum ‘John from America’?
As I have said in a previous post on the Jon Frum cult found on Tanna Island, Vanuatu, there is great disagreement on both the origins of the cult and the identity of Jon Frum. One particularly tantalising version has it that the name ‘Jon Frum’ came from a misunderstanding when a US serviceman who introduced himself as ‘John from America’ was misunderstood to be named ‘Jon Frum’. When I was on Tanna in April I stumbled on a diary extract that shed a little light on the matter. Continue reading
Can Goods Suffice?
By Roz Monger
‘While we might be baffled by the seeming ignorance of people who believe that raising a flag could possibly bring untold riches from over the sea, we must realise that the cult is supported by a deeply held world-view and destructive spiritual power.’ (Tom Richards)
In a previous post Tom introduced the John Frum cargo cult, centred around Sulphur Bay on the island of Tanna in Vanauatu. Cargo cults are not generally found in consumerist First World countries, but they are more common in societies where aid has been offered or settlement/colonisation has taken place. Continue reading
Reflections on Darkness: Cargo Cults in PNG
By Tom Reeve (an email in reply to “Flags and Stones“)
In 1972 I was sent (jointly by the Departments of Agriculture & Health) to investigate the reason for malnutrition and deaths in a very remote area at the very south of the Chimbu Province (Karimui), Papua New Guinea. It involved a couple of weeks walking and detailed checking of gardens etc in an area which had only recently been brought under government control. Continue reading
Cargo cult in Vanuatu | Vlad Sokhin, photojournalist
Cargo cult in Vanuatu | Vlad Sokhin, photojournalist.
The link above is to the blog of a photojournalist who has recently travelled to Sulphur Bay to photograph the Jon Frum movement.
I was interested in his opinion that the Jon Frum cult won’t be around for much longer. I asked him why he thought that, and his response is interesting (see the comments on his page). Continue reading