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This is a story of a prophet or cult leader who finds himself honored in a way that he does not quite expect or even want. In a certain far away place and at a certain distant time there was a certain man who was regarded as a prophet.He was the acknowledged leader and founder of a certain sect ofbelievers who regarded him as something divine.While they might not exactly regard him as a god per se he was at least thought of as divinely inspired.In comparison to other surrounding religions his group was small butgrowing. He had a group of clergymen governing the sect who were known simplyas The Council Of Elders.They were in charge of the administrative functions of the faith and werebasically the ruling body.They in turn answered to him the Prophet and consulted with him beforeestablishing any permanent rules or laws governing this cult of believers.It so happened one day that they The Council Of Elders had requested him to meet with them at a remote place on the edge of the city.A residence belonging to one of the council members and a prominent one too.It was this particular individual that some within the cult had come to regard assecond in importance to the prophet himself.So the Prophet himself his holy majesty showed up at this man's residence towhat he thinks is another conference on religious affairs.But it was not what he had in mind as he will soon find out.He arrives at the residence and is greeted by some of the council members.They then usher him into the main study or office where he is made to feel at ease.They ask him how his health was and how everything else in his life was going.Then they all surround him and pull out from their robes some pistols.He looked at them in bewilderment and surprise for he had no idea what this was all about."What is this? Some kind of game or joke?" says the Prophet.The leading council member looked at him rather sorrowfully and shookhis head.He replied "No your holy majesty I'm afraid it's neither".This is much too serious to be a joke or a game."He continued his talk while pacing back and forth in the room." We have been giving this some thought for quite a awhile and wehave decided that this would be in our best interest.In order for our faith to grow and survive we feel it best to have a martyrfor our cause.And we feel that this martyr should be you as opposed to anyone else.Why is that? Because you are the founder,the leader and the symbol ofour religion.What better choice can we make?Nothing would make our sect more impressive in the eyes of others thanto know that the it's founder and leader died for the cause of his faith.It would be an inspiration for those who are in the sect and those who will joinin the future."The Prophet looked at the men surrounding him and was pondering seriouslythe situation he was in.Like others the situation of losing one's life was not exactly appealing and this was something that of course alarmed him greatly.Again the leading Elder continued " In some religions they have practiced human sacrifices. I would say in most cases they choose what they consider the best asopposed to the weak,the sick or the crippled.They would not think of offering something inferior to the gods they honor.And you my dear prophet are going to be a sacrifice to our god and the true faiththat honors him.I know the fact of death causes one great concern but losing one's life for a highercause is something that unfortunately cannot be helped.At the same time your holy majesty you should be honored that we have chosenyou as opposed to some other member who does not come close to your statureor reputation.What better choice could we make your holy majesty?You will be remembered and revered for having sacrificed your life for the faith."The Prophet looked at all of them and replied " But why? our sect is small but it'sgrowing and we are not suffering any persecution so far. True we are discriminatedagainst sometimes by others who do not understand us.But there's no reason to kill me as a martyr."The leading Elder looked at him rather sadly and replied " But that's just why we have to do this. It's because we have not suffered any persecution or martyrdom.Some of our members have become complacent and have taken their membershipin our cult for granted.A few have even drifted away to other faiths that they feel might offer more meaningand purpose.So to keep our flock together and make it stronger we need something that will bindus like glue.Persecution will drive our members into each other's arms for security and strength.It will give us a purpose to live and die for.Otherwise a religion or sect may simply stagnate or become a mere hollow institutionof conformists.It will resemble more a social club where the faithful gather only to exchange gossip or the latest news."The leading Elder looking at him and then continued " This is our plan. Some of ushave made contact with members in the government and have worked out a plan withtheir cooperation. For this we have paid them a certain undisclosed some of money.They will stage or commit an incident that will be blamed on us. It will either be an actof terrorism or some illegal act. It will then provide them with an excuse to crack down on usand make us a scapegoat.This will of course provide much publicity for our sect. It will be like free advertisement to abusiness.The more the world hears about us and the supposed injustice that we are suffering the more sympathy we will obtain for our cause.Remember the Romans and the christians? The Romans thought that by persecuting and killingthem that they would wipe christianity off the face of the earth.But of course the reverse happened and the only thing that persecution did was to gain more sympathyand more converts to the Christian faith.It was just a matter of time before they the christians would come to see their faith the official religionof the Roman Empire.The very nation that tried to exterminate them in the first place. How ironic indeed."As for you my Holy Majesty you will be shot by us and will then have it blamed on the governmentwho will see you as a threat to their national security.They will make it appear as though they believe this and will dupe the media into thinking that thisis the case.The mass media is always for the moronic masses since the herd is like a flock of mindless sheepwilling to follow anything that seems authoritative and more informed than they are. Your Holy Majesty you should be honored that you have been chosen to be thus sacrificed like this.For us it is our way of honoring you the leader and founder of our faith.To die or be made a martyr for one's cause is something that many people in other religions havelonged for.But rarely has it happened that one's own followers would be so willing to grant martyrdom to oneof their own, especially one who happens to be their prophet."His Holy Majesty the Prophet looked at all of them and replied " What have I not said about walkingin the light of truthfulness and being sincere in character?This is no genuine act of martyrdom! this is murder! You are going to kill me and then have thegovernment take responsibility for this?!This is a sham and a fraudulent act indeed!"The rest of the elders looked at him and seemed about to waver in their decision when the leadingElder spoke in reply " But you have said yourself several times before that it may be justifiable at times to practice deception in order to advance the cause of truth and righteousness.That at times it may be necessary to withhold facts and alter them in order to save people fromtheir own errors and delusions.You said yourself that you would lie to someone delibrately if it meant saving someone from beingmurdered or to prevent one from commiting suicide.Well what we are about to do is not going to hurt anyone else but ourselves. We are not attackinganyone else. But the pain we bring on ourselves will be only a temporary sting. It will be the very thing that will advance our cause and bring glory to our faith.Persecution will strengthen our cause by eliciting sympathy from others who will see us as victimsof injustice.It will attract converts who would otherwise not benefit from our message of hope and redemption.Only when we have attracted enough followers will we be in a position to bring about change in the world.A change for the better and as you know Holy One this world needs it badly as you have often said.Bless you Holy One and for the glory of all that shines in righteousness farewell."The leading Elder aims his pistol at him and fires. One,two and three shots.The prophet staggers back clutching his abdomen. The other elders likewise fire their pistols athim.He falls over on the floor and soon becomes lifeless.Now they had their first martyr. To be useless to others is to be free from exploitation.