True Way Cult, Circa 1997
Forensic psychologist Dr. Shiloh of the podcast L.A. Not So Confidential joins me as we uncover the story of God’s Salvation Church, also known as Chen Tao or the True Way Cult, which called San Dimas home for a short time in the mid-1990’s. The cult originated in Taiwan, and congregants believed they would be saved by God aboard a spaceship. As we explore this interesting bit of San Dimas history, Dr. Shiloh and I discuss what makes a cult, explore how cults work, and touch on some modern-day cults and conspiracy theories.
Related media recommended by Dr. Shiloh:
L.A. Not So Confidential: QAnon and the Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
L.A. Not So Confidential: California Cults
Die-Alogue: Rick Alan Ross | Cult Expert, Part 1
Die-Alogue: Rick Alan Ross | Cult Expert, Part 2
Die-Alogue: Janja Lalich, Cult Expert, Sociologist, Author
Die-Alogue: Frank Lyford, Heaven’s Gate Cult Survivor
Die-Alogue: Female Persuasion: Women and Cults
HBO’s The Vow
Links + resources for this episode
Congregants Wait for Spaceship, Associated Press 12/23/1997
Chen Tao (True Way Cult), Wikipedia
Taiwanese Group Prepares to Meet God–In Texas, The New York Times 3/4/1998
San Dimas City Council Study Session: February 9, 2021 | 5:30pm | Watch here
San Dimas City Council Meeting: February 9, 2021 | 7pm | Watch here
Isabel in San Dimas: True Crime San Dimas: Constable Funkhouser’s Unsolved Murder, 1922 with Dr. Shiloh
As a long-time San Dimas resident, it was news to me. But it sounds like they were a small group and not interested in interacting with the public like the Hari Krishnas did. Still, they had to buy or rent the building, purchase supplies, and food locally. A few of the merchants of the 1990s must remember them. Perhaps your podcast will jog someone’s memory.
Isabel in San Dimas
Yes, I too hope that someone who listens to this episode can share more insight. A few folks have posted on Facebook saying they remember the group, but not much new information has emerged.