[This is content recycled from my now mothballed website, www.excitablemedia.com. Please enjoy!]
Yes it's true that, during the summer of '97, the new James Bond movie was being released. But, looking up one day and seeing the numerals "007" written across the polluted LA sky, Hon-Ming Chen, ex-political science professor and leader of an expatriate Taiwanese cult named God's Salvation Church (GSC), knew he had to relocate to Texas. He chose the Dallas suburb of Garland because, to him, it sounded like "god's land." He soon declared to his hundreds of cult followers that Garland was where God's spaceship would land on March 31, 1998, to take the cult to the afterlife.
- God would appear on Channel 18 on every television set in the United States beginning at midnight on March 25.
- When God made his TV appearance, he would look exactly like Chen.
- Because people would become bored simply listening to God (looks exactly like Chen) speak, God would also show movies and other entertainment programming.
- God (looks exactly like Chen) will be able to speak all languages and walk through walls.
- Also, God (looks exactly like Chen) will replicate himself as many times as necessary, in order to greet everyone simultaneously.
- And, finally, Chen (not God, just Chen) said: "If you often eat the buttocks of chicken, you will soon find you have a pain in your ass."
Contrary to popular belief, Chen's cult, also known as the Chen Tao, did not plan to commit mass suicide, and they made quite a stir when they bought a series of houses on Garland's Ridgedale Avenue. Not oblivious to the value of public relations, members of the Chen Tao bicycled en masse through town distributing flyers expressing the group's appreciation "of your tolerating our activity in the neighborhood as well as your magnanimous acceptance."
The cult didn't make everyone in the quiet suburban neighborhood happy, however, and there was strict enforcement of civic occupancy and building ordinances, particularly when the GSC started building a concrete "gazebo" in Chen's backyard. Fortunately, hostility remained, for the most part, latent. Sure, cult members didn't frequent the "UFO sale" at the local pawn shop, but Mrs. Massey didn't really need their business anyway.
Cult/non-cult tension gradually approached the boiling point as the day of the prophecy neared. Due to intense media pressure, police were called in and cordoned off the neighborhood. Until finally, on March 31, when nothing happened, Chen gave reporters a stunning speech. Calling his prophecies "nonsense," he gave reporters ten minutes in which to stone or crucify him.
No one obliged.
God's Salvation Church moved on. Driving a fleet of white Crown Victorias, they traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia in search of the "Canadian Christ," and to Gary, Indiana to drink the sacred waters of Lake Michigan, before finally settling in a quiet town North of Niagara Falls, New York.
[For some time cult leader Chen declared that increased contrail incidence was due to UFO activity in preparation for God's arrival. When he learned about his proximity to the Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport, Chen replied, "a multi-continental shift into the second dimension will result in a dramatic increase in airplane crashes."]