Holy Rollers: Murder & Madness in Oregon's Love Cult is a story that has everything a good read should have: sex, religion, insanity, the downfall of prominent families, murder and sensational court trials. And all of it is true.
In 1903 Edmund Creffield lured most of Corvallis’s Salvation Army Soldiers to his church, The Brides of Christ. One of them, he preached, was destined to be the mother of the next Christ, and like the first Mary, she would be a virgin. Even those sitting next to their children could be considered virgins in the eyes of God if they were “purified,” he said. So orgies—in the name of God and purification—were held. Mothers were debauched in front of their daughters, and daughters were debauched in front of their mothers. And after all had been debauched—purified—Creffield instructed the women and girls “to submit themselves to the lust of other men.”
They did this in private. In public some spent days lying flat on the floor, face down. Some refused to eat, and some locked themselves in a closet. Eventually, most were committed to the insane asylum, and men went gunning for Creffield.
Those involved in the Holy Roller story weren’t just any men and women, but highly respected men and women, men and women who were some of the leading pioneers in Oregon, God-fearing, decent men and women, not the sort you would expect to be lured into a sex cult and involved in multiple murders.
That makes Holy Rollers not just a story about mass insanity, but also a cautionary tale. Cults have been around since the beginning of recorded history, will always be with us, and anyone can be lured into one. The methods Creffield used to control people are similar to the methods used by Jim Jones, David Koresh, and others.
The eBook version of Holy Rollers has over 100 photos and newspaper front pages, book group discussion topics, links to newspaper articles, insane asylum records and information about cults and brainwashing.