Jesus in Montana - Now playing in Fresno

When I started studying about cults back in the mid ‘90’s, one of the first of my misconceptions to be overturned was that cults only preyed on those who were mentally weak or stupid. This is far from reality.

People don’t join cults, instead cults recruit people – all sorts of people. Smart, stupid, weak, strong. The only real common denominator in the recruitment process is that during the process the person being recruited does not realize how much he or she is changing.

Scary, huh?

Well, now there is a lighter side. For those of my readers who live in Fresno, I’d like to point out that there will be a one-man show by comedian Barry Smith who describes the time he lived with Leland Jensen, a chiropractor who taught the Bahá'í Faith and believed himself to be Jesus Christ.

Smith’s show will be held during the Rogue Performing Arts Festival, starting tonight and held through March 10th at the Starline Theatre, 831 E. Fern Ave. Tickets are $7 at the door. See his Jesus in Montana web site for times.

From Barry Smith’s website:
Hi. My name is Barry Smith. I live in Aspen, Colorado, where I write a zany, award-winning weekly humor column for the Aspen Times. It's called "Irrelativity." I also perform comedy spoken word shows around the Aspen area, which is a real treat for people who thought they were coming to see a band.

About a dozen years ago I found myself involved in a bizarre little religious cult. This group of well-meaning folks believed that Jesus had returned and was living in ... wait for it ... Montana.


So I quit my job, put my stuff in storage, said goodbye to my girlfriend, put some stuff in a backpack, stood on the roadside and stuck my thumb out toward Montana, home of this purported Jesus Version 2.0.


I met the man claiming to be Jesus - I even lived in his basement for a while. He told us that the Apocalypse was just around the corner. I believed him. I spent a few years doing this cult thing, then some things happened and I found myself not in the cult anymore.

A few years went by and I started to wonder if all that cult stuff really happened. I mean, what the hell was I thinking? Jesus? In Montana? Holy shit!

As I got some distance from this strange chapter in my life, I would occasionally tell friends about it. Their response was always the same . After a few years of telling the story, and thanks to the promptings of some friends, I decided to write JESUS IN MONTANA: Adventures In A Doomsday Cult, the one-man show.

JESUS IN MONTANA: Adventures In A Doomsday Cult tells my whole story, from the Southern Baptist rearin', to my rediscovery of Jesus and to my eventual fall from grace. All in one exciting hour. Amazing, huh?

It's a multi-media show, with pictures, graphics, home movies, home audio recordings, all for the purpose of explaining how one goes from lapsed good-little-boy to earnest cult member. And back again.

And it's pretty funny.
This show has some good reviews, and it should be fun for nonbelievers and believers alike. (Well, believers who are not part of the Bahá'í Faith.) I hope I have time to go see this. If I do, I’ll let everyone know about it.

If not, and you get to see it for yourself, I’d appreciate a review.

Tip of my hat to Dan, who clued me in on this.

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