When my wife, Patty, and I were in Japan a few years ago, our hosts suggested we take a free afternoon to visit what was then the fastest-growing church in the world. So three Japanese pastors crowded themselves and Patty and me into a small Toyota and headed for a hilly area just outside downtown Tokyo.

After winding through crowded streets, we turned onto a beautiful, tree-lined drive leading to imposing black gates marking the entrance to the headquarters of the PL Kyodan (the Perfect Liberty Church). Since only members of this Buddhist sect could be admitted, we had to content ourselves with peering through the gates.

Rich, green lawns stretched as far as the eye could see, blending into a distant, sprawling golf course. From the front gates the drive meandered toward an elegant white mansion surrounded by artistically sculptured gardens. Except for the pagoda roof, it might have been mistaken for Jefferson’s Monticello or Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Within the gates, we learned, was a “town” of 3,000 residents. Perfect Liberty Church boasted the most complete recreational facilities in all of Japan, along with such landscape delights as artificial lakes, cherry trees, and waterfalls.

While we gazed at the grandeur of the complex, called “paradise” by its founders, our host explained the simple theology of the Perfect Liberty Church: We are all children of God who find The Way to eternal peace and welfare by freely exercising our individuality. This involves free, creative expression in prayer, golf, or group sex. The important thing is total freedom for individual expression, which results in complete joy and fulfillment. Perfect Liberty also offers a utopian vision of the future. In time, ...

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