Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jesus Ranch

Salvation in Siberia? Fascinating.

From The Mysteries of the Teacher

In the newest edition of the VICE Guide to Travel, Rocco Castoro receives the gift of being invited to the wilderness of Siberia for a rare interview with a man who has been calling himself the Voice of God since the fall of the Soviet Union. Sergey Anatolyevitch Torop, who renamed himself Vissarion at the age of 29 when he realized his divine connection, has been working on his multi-volume Last Testament, a sort of sequel to the New Testament, recording the missive of his hodge-podge of nearly every world religion.

Of course, the natural reaction to hear a story about someone claiming to hear or be the voice of God is to sit back and wait for the tell-tale sound of the ATF knocking down some doors. But I will have to admit, I found some of the footage from VICE's short 3-part documentary to be strangely appealing. Vissarion has placed his commune in a rather idyllic fold of the unspoiled expanse of the Russian landscape, and the narrator even remarks on how the village evokes connotations of an elven dwelling. The place looks right out of Middle-Earth, until you see the solar panels delivering clean energy. Or the satellite TVs and power tools, apparent anachronisms that are openly accepted. Vissarion and his church of nearly five thousand followers live off the earth and what it provides, and seem to simply exude pure joy.

I'll let you watch and pull your own conclusions from the piece. I just want to note that while some of the things the followers of Vissarion say during the interviews, combined with that fervent fire of zealotry so apparent in their eyes, is definitely off-putting. But at the same time, you can not deny how happy these people look. You don't have to bite the whole bit, hook line and sinker, but I would guess there's something to what this guy has to say.

Three Monkeys Say: I fell in love with a baked potato!!

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