11/29/09 – TG: Alamo dispatches are poor window dressing ***COMMENTS***

Texarkana Gazette
November 29, 2009
By: Les Minor

Alamo dispatches are poor window dressing

It would be reasonable to assume with the conviction of Tony Alamo to 175 years in prison that the activities of his supporters would quickly cease. After all he was larger than life to his followers, and beyond challenge. Without his active participation, what would hold his band together? Wouldn’t they scatter to the four winds?

But there is nothing reasonable about Alamo or his remaining followers.

Even today his supporters are wailing about what they consider a travesty of justice. They seem as invisible as ever, but just as effective at getting his message out.

They are still papering parking lots in Texarkana with propaganda on windshields. And they still use the Internet to muddy the water of what happened with conspiracy theories.

They said they were going to come en masse to both his trial and his sentencing, but never did. It makes you wonder just how many people still buy into his church and way of life. But the ones that do are still capable of making plenty of noise.

When he went to jail in the mid-’90s for tax evasion, he was still able to maintain control of his operations. However, he (and they) knew he would be out at some point. There was a reason to hang on.

And last year and this year while he was being housed in Texarkana waiting trial for sex crimes with minors, he still had the clout to intimidate any disenchanted followers and keep them under his thumb. But again, there was a chance he would be acquitted and be free again.

Now, failing appeals, there is no chance he will ever leave prison. What is the incentive to continue to do his bidding? It serves no purpose.

The problem with these zealous followers is their whole life is built around his controlling, antiestablishment ministry. It is all most of them know. While most reasonable people would see his conviction as a reason to abandon the cause, it is not so easy for them.

To believe in something, even wrongly, and then to find out it is not what you thought it was leaves a terrible void. (Remember, some of these folks were rescued from the streets. They had no hope and no structure when they threw in their lot with him.)

It is often easier to cling blindly to what you know, to find some strange validation in it, than to acknowledge that much of what you believe in is a lie and you are left adrift with no anchor.

Alamo, as a leader, in the context of his church was seen as infallible by his followers. If God commanded him to take a child bride, then parents of the child risked both Alamo’s wrath and, in their minds, God’s wrath if they dared defy him.

People who gave up so much to belong to this fellowship did not wish to be separated from it either. They complied.

Alamo’s greatest gift was his ability to create and sustain an us-against-them mentality. The attacks from the mainstream only brought his followers closer to him and each other.

In the past, the charismatic cult leader managed his fiefdom from prison by phone. While Alamo will be afforded phone privileges, he now lacks the leverage that a future release date once provided.

This suggests that Alamo’s organization might peter out at some point. It just hasn’t done so yet.

The Gazette was faithful in its coverage of the Alamo trial, and other media outlets provided the same reports, basically collaborating the primary reporting. So there is no reason not to believe what you read in the newspaper or to believe the nonsense that gets hawked on the Internet or pinned under windshield wipers.

The latest press release, as he calls them, is not a rerelease. It is new material. But it is still the same strange mixture of piety and politics, prayer and prickliness, protest and posturing.

One of Alamo’s strengths has always been his ability to persuade weak minds and to find unique ways of disseminating his message. Alamo newsletters, forums for his rants against the U.S. government and the Vatican, were windshield dressing long before he was let out of prison the first time. Over the years, the same message, old as it was, was churned out again and again. It didn’t matter that some of the material had dates more than a decade old.

The newest Alamo propaganda does not claim a different conclusion than the mainstream media, only that key prosecutorial witnesses lied. The Alamo newsletter gives the backstory of why they lied, and the motives behind those lies. To believe this you would have to believe the media is also involved in the same conspiracy as a corrupt Vatican and U.S. government.

It is unlikely that the Internet will ever be free of the shadow of Tony Alamo, his outlandish claims, his theological manifestos, his supporters crying foul, his willingness to play the martyr. The Internet is ripe for this kind of abuse.

But it would be nice if we could just get his trash—his newsletter—off the streets. There is enough litter tossing around Texarkana parking lots without adding these unsolicited fliers to the top of the heap.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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3 Posts

  1. Jael Says:

    Okay, you have one thing right, and one thing wrong. You are right about the emptiness after having lived an entire life in a force of intense, do or die hysteria. The tornado is over. Kansas is still as the desert- Now what?
    Some have compared loss of faith to loss of a limb- phantom pains persist.
    “I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening;” says Aleister Crowley in the Book of Lies.

    On the other hand you suggest people who came to the Alamo group were desperate. Thay may be true for some, but it is no more the case for Alamo-ites than converts of other popular myths. The people who were converted there were neither more nor less intelligent on average than the general population. They were more idealistic (indicated by the age in which they were converted.)

  2. erik o Says:

    just reading what you wrote makes me smarter. you are so brilliant. wow what a gift you have with words.

  3. Jael Says:


    The plot thickens, though.

    Crowly was denounced in the press of his day as “possibly the wickedest man in the world.” He was Satanist, among other things; it goes to show that a man can speak a truth in the midst of a thousand lies…and I think most of us who were part of TSAF would agree that is why we did not leave sooner. The social outcast-ness appealed to our independence on one level- completely isolated us on another.

    In the end, we were simply human, struggling with most of the same poignancies of life as any other human. The number one item on my “To get over” list was being “special.” We were neither specialy good, nor were we especially bad people. Most of us were average people who either fell into, or were born into a mind trap.

    My quote was not a condoning of Crowly’s ideas or his words, even. I quoted his thought to demonstrate how someone else felt after finding himself betrayed by religion.

    We are not alone, historically, or at present, in our feelings of betrayal and disconnect. That is evident by the many dark statements regarding organized religion.

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