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  • Jeff Thomas

Exploring "Armageddon's Disciples" backstory, part one

Updated: May 16, 2023

I've been fighting some health issues. As you can see from the posts on this site I have not been doing much. I'm changing that. I've decided that my first goal is to have fun. I enjoy creating stories, I need to keep that front and center.

I have two passions in my writing: history and shedding light on religious extremism. The first book I wrote used the "Armageddon's Disciples" title. After completing it in 2000 I tried without success to market through traditional publishers. I then turned to writing alternate histories and sharing them with an online writers' group.

When COVID hit, with encouragement from a co-worker, I self-published an alternate history trilogy about a war between the United States and Japan in 1910. Those books sold fairly well on Amazon. I then did a massive re-write of "Armageddon's Disciples" and published it, by then COVID was abating and sales have been slow. I have also published a historical novel about naval action in the revolutionary war. I am currently working on sequels for both books.

The religion at the core of "Disciples" is a creation of my imagination, although it is based on my fifteen-year experience with a similar organization. My fictitious church believes the world is in the Last Days, shortly God will destroy the wicked, and His Disciples will live in a Paradise on Earth. Unfortunately, they have been predicting the imminent arrival of this Paradise for decades.

These failed prophecies have left the Disciples rudderless. Some double down on their hopes for the future, they have invested too much time and energy into the religion. Others try to find a way to separate themselves from the church's tight control of every aspect of their lives. Keith Thornton, one of my main characters is in this second group. His wife, a member of the first group, considers him already dead and has started divorce proceedings.

Other Disciples have lost their fear of punishment by God and engage in forbidden (even illegal) pleasures. In the course of writing these books, I assembled extensive notes on the prophecies, church government, theology, and lives of the Disciples. Upcoming posts will explore these issues and what they tell us about the nature of religious belief.

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