Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Forgotten Cults #5

Spencer T. Laveen

"The Church of the Holy Mackerel" started after an unusual dream where an Angelfish told Mr. Laveen his mission in life was to start a new religion. The Angelfish said he should start recruiting members immediately. He awoke and found an empty bottle of Cod Liver Oil beside him. He took this as confirmation that his dream was real and started calling people randomly from the phonebook. After he gathered a dozen followers, and annointed them with fish oil, he sent them out to collect money for a church building. (Most of the money collected was from Christians who never questioned the doctrine. They just heard "church" and donated their cash.)
The church (pictured below) was built in two weeks. 

Mr. Laveen preached every morning and evening for two years. He had a local TV show, "Being Pacific", where he touted his toxic doctrines. Here are a few of his teachings:
  • Humans will become fresh water fish in the afterlife.
  • Baptism should be followed by swimming upstream against the current.
  • If you are not buried at sea you are in danger of an eternal fish fry.
  • The Pygmy devil ray (Mobula eregoodootenkee) is our enemy and should be shot on sight.
  • Women should wear fish net stockings when going to church.
  • The card game, "Go Fish", is of the Devil.
  • Members of the Church of the Holy Mackerel will be Kingfish someday. 
Spencer T. Laveen was hit by a lightning bolt while fixing a flat on his Plymouth Barracuda in 2002.
The church disbanded and became extras in the 2003 Australian film, "Swimming Upstream" directed by Russell Mulcahy.


  1. The Church was decorated with Fishy Sayings on the inside walls like:

    Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after

    Give me a fish and I eat for a day. Teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime

    Fish and visitors smell in three days

    Do not tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don't tell them where they know the fish

    If you want to catch a trout, don't fish in a herring barrel

  2. Under his pillow, Mr Laveen kept a copy of the script for The Incredible Mr. Limpet, which he believed to be divinely inspired.

  3. They had a sign in the foyer listing the number of soles saved.

  4. A visitor to the service was referred to as the "catch of the day."

  5. For communion it's oyster crackers with a small but generous cup of Omega-3 fatty acids.

  6. The scripture "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men", was modified, due to the obvious offense it caused the Church.

  7. A relic of the cult was featured as the "Major Award" won by Mr. Parker in the Christmas Story.


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