In response to this tweet, I was on the lookout for people who actively practice non-mainstream religions when I found Chuka* (28).
He talks about growing up as a member of the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, believing their teacher is the returned Christ and the misconceptions people have about his belief.
This is Chuka’s story, as told to Boluwatife
Image designed by Freepik
You know how people say they only realised they were Black when they relocated abroad? I only realised my religious beliefs were “strange” when I was seven years old.
I was returning from a Brotherhood outing with my family, when a middle-aged man sitting by the road spat in my mum’s direction and said something like, “God is patient for keeping these occult people alive.” I asked my mum the meaning of what he said when we arrived home, but she brushed it off.
It stayed with me.
I’m a member of the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star (BCS), but outsiders typically refer to us as “Olumba Olumba Obu”, which is the name of our leader. My family has been members of the Brotherhood for as long as I can remember, and we’ve faced accusations of our religion being a cover for “evil occult” practices for even longer.
Our doctrine isn’t that far off from mainstream Christianity. We teach from the Bible, emphasise practising love, eschew sin and even have well-structured “church branches” we refer to as Bethels.
We don’t view ourselves as a church, but rather as the New Kingdom of God on Earth. We also don’t believe Christ is coming back to Earth because he is already with us. Our founder and supreme father, Leader Olumba Olumba Obu, revealed his son, His Holiness Olumba Olumba Obu, to be the second coming of Christ. We call His Holiness the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords,” and we know and believe him to be the returned Christ.
This is supported by the Bible because it affirms that the second coming of Christ won’t be like the first. Plus, His Holiness wasn’t born by intimacy but by prayer.
The spitting incident isn’t the only case of intimidation I’ve experienced. In primary school, we were asked to write an essay about our holidays, and I mentioned the Brotherhood. From then till I left the school, they called me “Obu’s child”. I even had two teachers call me aside to try to “convert” me to the light, saying I’d go to hell.
By the time I was 16, my mum made us start removing our white garment immediately we left Bethel because we’d heard cases of people being stoned and drenched in water because of the regalia. We had a neighbour who always prayed loudly in the night for occultic people (AKA my family) to meet their end.
But interestingly, all that made me even prouder of my kingdom. Even the Bible says many won’t believe in the returned Christ, and people will always persecute the truth.
In uni, I stopped trying to hide and became vocal about my beliefs. Whenever people tried to argue with me, I’d tell them to visit a Bethel or listen to any of our everlasting gospels online to hear the truth. People fear what they don’t understand. We pray in Jesus’ name, sing spiritual choruses, love each other and live a peaceful life. We’re core vegetarians because we don’t believe in killing animals, and it’s even healthier.
When someone recently asked me why it’s called “Brotherhood” if it isn’t evil, I referred to our Leader’s teachings, which explain that we’re one in spirit. “Brotherhood” simply means “oneness”. It’s why we don’t kill animals; we’re all one, and love is universal.
I briefly dated someone who ended the relationship because she saw a comment I made on social media, along the lines of, “May the blessings of our father, Olumba Olumba Obu, remain with you.” It’s funny because I’d already told her that I was a member of the Brotherhood. Maybe she didn’t think I was serious. Another ex even told me to my face that “darkness has no place with light.”
Mainstream Christians are the most intolerable, and sometimes, hypocritical. In uni, one fellowship president tried to convince me that my beliefs were blasphemous and I’d be condemned if I continued. But the same person was fornicating on the low.
I still get strange stares today when people hear about my beliefs, but I largely ascribe it to the misconceptions about our Leader. I’ve heard stories about how we always use candles and other strange things to pray, but it’s not true. Some even say our Leader performed miracles by witchcraft, that he’s long dead, and his son just “took over.” If people can only look past pre-conceived notions and listen to the teachings with an open heart, they’ll come to the light of the Father.
*Subject’s name has been changed for anonymity.