Did Manson Borrow British Cult’s Beliefs?

LONDON, Jan. 4 – Members of a British cult which venerates Satan, Christ and animals, says that Charles Manson, leader of the hippie group accused in the Sharon Tate murders, may have borrowed the cult’s beliefs.

A bearded member of the cult named Malachi fingered a red devil embroidered on the neck of his black jersey and added that if Manson did do so, “he was irresponsible.”

Malachi’s cult calls itself “The Process.” It is a group of about 60 young people who live communally in a large pillared house in London’s Mayfair district. They returned two months ago from a tour of the United States where they claim they converted some 200 American hippies to their sect, and brought four back to England with them from California.

Los Angeles police investigating the Tate murders say they have not heard of “The Process.” But the London-based Church of Scientology, whose one-time member Robert De Grimston founded the group, says Manson was involved with the youth cult.

“We have sent the Los Angeles police all the information we have on ‘The Process,’ ” a Scientology spokesman said.

“The Process’ members here deny ever having met Manson.

“But he might have learned of us while we were in Los Angeles,” Malachi said. “If he adopted some of our ideas, then he distorted them a bit.”

A musty, thick-carpeted hallway in a sedate house on a quiet, winding street in Mayfair is where one finds the cult. Red lamps light up wall plaques which carry the commandments of “the Process” … “The ultimate sin is to kill an animal”…”Christ said love your enemy. Christ’s enemy was Satan. Love Christ and Satan.”…

The long curling fingers of Malachi beckon visitors into a cavernous coffee bar. Snakes of silver and gold foil curl around the wall. Sitar music jingles in the background. A high-priced menu coaxes you to eat wheatflour panaceas (pancakes) and drink an ogmar, a fresh banana drink.

The cafe is open to all — a place where the hopes to recruit new members. Processeans, as they call themselves, stride in and out like shadows, clad in solid black. Thick silver crosses dangle from their necks. Red devils mark their collars. Swastika-like rings — a symbol of eternity, they say — flash under the room’s red lamps.

The atmosphere is curious — a mixture of the gentle and benevolent and the bizarre and menacing.

Malachi speaks in a drowsy, persuasive voice. “Satan and Christ live in all of us. They are the Process. We are the Process. The Process is us.”

And the world is in the process of destroying itself, according to Malachi  and his comrades. Mankind is doomed and the only ones who will survive are the Processeans. The second name of the cult is “Church of the Final Judgement.”

Each of the members is allowed to choose, or rather recognize within himself which of the cult’s three gods — Lucifer, Satan, Jehovah — he wishes to follow. Lucifer represents light, optimism, enjoyment. Jehovah symbolizes purity, discipline, self-denial. Satan, a dual god, represents violence and lust as well as detachment and mysticism. Christ is the combination of them all, the essence.

In the group’s bookshop, lit with prismatic lights, is a large portrait of “The Process” founder, Robert De Grimston. Bearded and Christlike, his face is bathed in a halo of light and Processeans bow their heads when they pass him.

De Grimston’s gospels, which he claims to have recorded from conversations with Satan and Christ, lie in brightly colored bindings all over the room. They cost one pound ($2.40) each.

De Grimston, 34, and his wife Mary, 37, started the cult six years ago as an offshoot of Scientology, a semireligious sect that claims to strengthen people’s minds through scientific methods.

The followers of De Grimston — among the hierarchy are Malachi, advocate of Satan; Lars, advocate of Lucifer, and Christian, advocate of Jehovah — without their beards and costumes could be taken for members of a provincial church youth group. Friendly, clean, and placid, they seem inspired in their beliefs; although it is hard to pin them down on just what those beliefs are. They glorify death and violence. They espouse the gentle qualities of Christ and preach harmony and peace. They answer critical questions about their dogmas with vacant stares.

Newspapers and members of Parliament have accused “The Process” of brainwashing its members. Londoners have nicknamed the cult “the mind-benders” because of its members’ trance-like devotion to the Process philosophy.

Says Malachi: “It’s not brainwashing or any of that rubbish. It’s just that the rightness of De Grimston’s theories comes to all of us with a tremendous flash. We are very much held by the religion. It’s changed most of our lives so that we cannot envisage living or believing any other way.”

The Process is well financed. Several of its converts, once wealthy, have given all they own to the cult. The group has managed to maintain a luxurious Mayfair home, put out a well-designed, highly professional magazine, and set up chapters throughout Europe and North America.

By LUCINDA L. FRANKS

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