CBC’s Ideas recently aired a fantastic episode by Jen Moss about Brother XII, the cult leader who flourished near Nanaimo nearly a century ago, in which she speaks with Justine Brown, author of All Possible Worlds: Utopian Experiments in British Columbia.
Brother XII was a charming metaphysical charlatan filled to the eyeballs with such intoxicating bullshit that the susceptible couldn’t empty their wallets fast enough. He’s the sort that we’ve traditionally elected to high public office in BC, but for some reason his realm was confined to De Courcy and Valdes islands (and the eternal souls of about 8,000 followers). The community he founded was an idyllic utopian refuge from the post-Great War world, until it wasn’t.
It’s a great story well worth a listen. The episode is available here, and is supplemented by a wealth of links and pictures. To read more about Brother XII and other fascinating utopian experiments in BC, check out All Possible Worlds.
(PS: if you like listening to radio and podcasts (or “earbooking,” as we pledge to call it from now on) you may be interested in our two earbooks, ft. Julie Emerson & Roxanna Bikadoroff and George Bowering & George Stanley, respectively.)