The history of Texas is wild & strange and yes...sometimes the weirdest stories involving "cults". There have been a few that were started or came to Texas, including some of the most well knowns groups out there.

The Yearning for Zion Ranch

Also known as the YFZ Ranch, the group was founded near Eldorado, Texas by Warren Jeffs when he purchased the 1700 acre ranch in 2003. The YFZ claimed infamy after a raid was conducted on April 3, 2008; SWAT officers found evidence of...let's call them "nonconsensual acts" being performed on underage girls in the ranch.

The ranch was seized on April 17, 2014. The YFZ ranch was sold in 2019 and today Warren Jeffs sits in prison, serving a life sentence.

Church of Wells

Although they're a Fundamentalist Christian organization, people have claimed that the Church of Wells, in Wells, Texas, might be considered a cult. There have been stories of members leaving the Church of Wells, like Catherine Grove; even celebrities like Dr. Phil has spoken outright about the church as well...


Founded in L.A., The Buddhafield moved to Austin, Texas, where it would stay for 14 years. People mainly heard about Buddfield after the Netflix documentary, Holy Hell, came out in 2016. While Buddhafield is no longer in Austin, the group is still active in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Children of God

Founded in the late 60s by David Brandt Berg of Oakland, California, the Children of God made its way into Texas in 1969. 200 members established a 425 acre colony in the ghost town of Thurber, Texas. The group stayed there until they were evicted in November 1971. The COG dissolved in 1978.

House of Yahweh

The House of Yahweh is known in Eula/Abilene, Texas & have a built up a reputation of having a dark past in Texas. It was founded in Odessa by the brothers Yisrayl & J. G. Hawkins in 1980. Many reports of child labor, forced marriage & sexual assault have been claimed to have occurred at the House of Yahweh. Yisrayl died on October 8, 2021 but the House continues their teachings to this day.

Heaven's Gate

Yes we have to include Heaven's Gate on our list for 1 big reason: the founder, Marshall Herff Applewhite Jr., was born in Texas. Marshall was born in Spur, Texas on May 17, 1931 & the co-founder of Heaven's Gate, Bonnie Nettles, was born in Houston on August 29, 1927. Bonnie would die of liver cancer at the Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas on June 19, 1985, 12 years before the mass suicide happened in Rancho, California in San Diego.

Zendik Farm

While the Zendik Farm was mainly in California & West Virginia, the church's founder WAS from Texas: Wulf Zendik was born in El Paso, Texas on October 7, 1920. He founded the Zendik Farm with his wife while still in Texas before moving across the country. Wulf died on June 12, 1999 but the church continued for a few years until Arol Zendik, Wulf's wife, died in 2012.

Branch Davidians

Of course we couldn't talk about "cults" without mentioning the Branch Davidians from Waco, Texas. Originally the group settled into Waco in 1935; it wouldn't be until the 90s when the world would hear about what happened involving David Koresch & the raid that would ensue on April 19, 1993. Even today, it's a still a topic of controversy on what exactly happened that fateful day...

Keep in mind these are the groups that people have talked about; there might still be more out there that don't get talked about...

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