Doesn’t know how to take compliments
The image of cult leaders in the collective American consciousness is a clear one. We know them as being charismatic, self-aggrandizing and manipulative. While it cannot be denied that these traits really do describe many fringe religious leaders, they aren’t always true. Self-identifying as “nothing special,” modest cult leader Frank “Lord Sunlight” Richardson wants to set the record straight.
Unlike his 600 loyal followers, Richardson asserts that he “doesn’t really see what all the fuss is about.”
“I don’t know,” Richardson told me awkwardly, looking down at his feet. “I’m not really good at taking compliments I guess; I get so weird about that stuff. When they’re all like chanting: ‘Lord, we love you! We give our eternal souls to thee as sacrament!’ I just like, freeze up.”
Meeting with Richardson, you would never guess he runs a sizable religious community. Most recently, his organization made the news for threatening to kidnap and convert American actor Steve Buscemi. Richardson is short and a bit awkward. During our interview, he repeatedly apologized for interrupting me. He told me he accidentally gained his following and that, despite feeling strange in the position, he tries to live up to expectations with the standard trappings of a cult.
“I’ll be like: ‘Hey, I know this is weird, but can you maybe give me, like, your life savings? Perhaps cut ties with your parents?’ I try to give out acid sometimes. I approach the group: ‘Hey guys, this might be a stupid idea, but I was thinking, um, maybe we could get in touch with our past lives by doing some, uh, LSD? No worries if not; dumb of me to even ask.’”
Richardson stressed that despite his status as the modern incarnation of the ancient god Sol Invictus, sent to Earth to save it from the coming Dragon Apocalypse, his life can get boring and meaningless just like everyone else’s.
“Sometimes, I feel like I’m just going through the motions,” Richardson said as he kicked at a loose carpet edge with his foot.
“I wake up just like everyone else, hit snooze on my alarm, kiss good morning to my wife, kiss good morning to my wife, kiss good morning to my wife, kiss good morning to my wife, kiss good morning to my wife, kiss good morning to my wife, kiss good morning to my husband, slaughter a chicken, ya know, mundanity. I’m just trudging through the motions, really.”
When I asked for a final message to our readers, Richardson emphasized that, at the end of the day, he’s really just one of them.
“I’m just living my silly little life and putting on one sandal before the next, like everyone else, until I die and Jesus Ralph-Michael-Christ’s mischievous cousin, Willie the Time Monster, shovels me off of this earthly air-hockey table and carries me gently into the Beyond World with the other Aardvark People. Just like everyone else.”
Eliel Safran is a first-year film, photo and visual arts major who hopes you liked reading this or whatever, it’s probably weird, sorry. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.