With Netflix’s ‘How to Become a Cult Leader’ delving deep into the way one can master the art of acquiring unconditional and unwavering devotion, we get a documentary series unlike any other. After all, it incorporates not just archival footage but also exclusive interviews to really shine a light upon the mostly successful workings, terrors, and offenses of six such manipulative individuals. Amongst them was actually Buddhafield founder Jaime Gomez, leading to the feature of ex-cult member Christopher “Chris” Johnston as well — so now, let’s simply find out more about him, shall we?
Who is Christopher Johnston?
It was reportedly back when Christopher Johnston AKA Chris was merely 19, that he arrived in California from his home state of Texas to attend music school, only to suddenly find himself surrounded by several institutions. The truth is he was well aware of the reputation Scientology, the Monnies (Unification Church), and other such religious sects held, which is why he was utterly intrigued by the rising Buddhafield. That’s because he was admittedly under the mistaken impression cults were known societies instead of those wherein a leader primarily utilizes his charm to lure people into doing his bidding.
Therefore, before Chris could even realize the actuality, he ended up gladly joining Buddhafield under the authoritative figure Jaime Gomez (AKA The Teacher, Michel Rostand, or Andreas). That’s when he began his own peaceful journey towards enlightenment, just for everything to turn upside down following 2½ years as the leader outrightly approached him for a secret sexual affair. We specify secret because the duo would have to maintain a facade of celibacy in front of everyone else if they moved ahead since such relations were outrightly banned for good by Jaime himself.
Chris has actually expressed, “After 2½ years of believing in the [group’s] ideology and believing that [Jaime] was this sort of Christ-like, Buddha-like character, I went along with it.” Then came the exploitation and the power trip, turning things extremely sour for the former without any chance for separation as the leader had already ensured his isolation from loved ones.
Moreover, per Chris in the original production, “When I suggested that I didn’t want to have sex with him anymore [years down the line], his answer to me was ‘Maybe you don’t need to be here anymore. Maybe you’ve outgrown this.’ It was like being threatened with excommunication. I didn’t want to pay that price ’cause what would I do? Where would I go? This is my path.”
Where is Christopher Johnston Now?
Despite the issues between Jaime and Chris behind closed doors, the latter was seemingly still dedicated to Buddhafield’s cause of personal as well as communal enlightenment, that is, until 2006. That’s when it came to light the leader was allegedly nothing but a criminal, master manipulator, and sexual predator, driving several members, including Chris, to walk away for good. Since then, from what we can tell, Chris courageously went on to study cults/religious movements at university in the hopes of making sense of his own experiences before settling down for good.
Hence, today, nearing his late 50s, the former Buddhafield member turned Pepperdine Caruso Law graduate has genuinely managed to build a good life well away from the limelight in San Diego, California. Though he does sometimes openly feature on podcasts as well as true-crime film/television specials to shine a light upon the way even the slightest decision can change your life for better or for worse, especially as the one solace he has from here is that he found some lifelong friends.