Murphyism: Our Great Leader

THE GLOWING GOD / Photographer: Matia Schwartz

Standing at over six feet, Brother Murphy is a charismatic, striking figure. He fits the profile of a cult leader: authoritarian-leaning, 140 IQ, with tendencies towards manipulation, sadism, masochism, and paranoia. “It’s not a cult,” he smiled coolly over his tea — strangely convincing, despite the evidence pointing towards the growing existence of Orcas Island’s own Murphy-driven cult. “We just pursue hedonism. Is there anything so wrong with that?” He clasped his hands together. “Look. God is in everyone, but particularly in me. We’re starting to recognize that.”

“It’s just my senior project,” he smirked. “I can’t believe you’d think that. Honestly? You call yourself a journalist? I could do your job better than you.” Another sip of his hot tea. “The name Brother isn’t on purpose, either. That’s just stupid. It’s just a name. There’s nothing sinister about it.” He turned, a flash in his eyes. “Did you know we’re anti-capitalist? We sell our livers on the black market, and sacrifice animals for profit. Self-determined economics.”

Murphy’s fascination with forming his own religion began in the depths of Wikipedia articles, poring over information regarding Shoko Asahara and Adolfo Costanzo, among others. His mother reports seeing him sweating, feverishly typing up a senior paper proposal on the “ambiguous line between religious groups and cults.” “It was like a haze, like he couldn’t breathe,” she said. “It’s like he first realized cults were based on the formation of a new religion. It’s like he found a loophole. He screamed at me, belligerent, incredulous that I could even think that. Then he smiled — it was like his mood totally switched. He looked into my eyes — I couldn’t even recognize him — and asked me if I knew there was profundity in suffering.”

Murphy’s mother was not the only individual concerned with Murphy’s growing obsession and troubling personality changes. Philip Comito — Murphy’s Current World Issues teacher — reported attempting to convince Murphy to try writing on a different topic, concerned with his student’s glazed eyes and clammy complexion when discussing the topic with him.“I was scared — not just for him, but for me,” said Comito. “I think I saw a knife sticking out of the back of his sweatpants. Unsheathed. He told me that if I didn’t allow him to write about this topic, he’d make sure something was done about it. It was like he was in a trance. I think his eyes were red.” Comito shuddered, then pulled his oversized beanie over his eyes, ensconcing himself deeper within his Carhartt jacket. “It freaks me out just to think about it. I need a minute.”

Sweating zealots / AP

Murphy’s friend Axel Greening noted changes, as well. “He started calling me late at night, just as I was getting ready for bed,” he said. “He’d just breathe into the phone for a minute straight. I had no idea what was happening. But just as I was about to hang up, he’d start muttering incantations and prayers. It was like he had a page with religious quotes open — he’d whisper things like ‘religion is the everlasting dialogue between humanity and god’, and ‘the Bible is worth all the other books which have ever been printed’. I was scared.” He converted quickly after, however. “Yeah, everyone’s in on it. I’m in it, so is Charlie Holmes, Cyrus Amour, Henry McMurray, Miles Harlow, and Aidan Kruse. Many others are in the process of formal conversion.”

Murphy insists this phase was nothing more than a process of slow realization. He turned to my colleague, a calm solemnity in his eyes. “I was learning things about myself, the world — and I was ready to share my knowledge. Did you know I’m in the process of writing the ‘Bro-ble’?” He clasped his hands, pulling him closer. “Are you ready to experience what I know?” He placed a hand over his head, hissing deeply. “I know everything. Everything’s pointless, and the only way to achieve happiness is to be able to do something for no reason.” Turning to face me while still grasping my colleague’s head, his eyes rolled back into his skull; he muttered another Zizek quote, then snarled. “There’s a schedule in the works,” he said. “Maybe on Tuesdays, behind my house, in the dumpster.”