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In 1992, cult leader Yahweh ben Yahweh — born Hulon Mitchell Jr. — was found guilty in connection with the plotting of 14 murders, two attempted murders and a firebombing. While many would describe The Nation of Yahweh founder as a cunning and controlling master manipulator who conned his followers into believing he was the “Son of God,” Yahweh’s daughter still believes he was a virtuous and holy man.
Venita Mitchell opens up about the trial of her father and the complicated legacy he left behind in “Uncovered: The Cult of Yahweh ben Yahweh,” premiering Sunday, March 10 at 7/6c on Oxygen.
“They prosecuted an innocent man knowing full well of his innocence,” says Mitchell. “It was just unbelievable seeing all of this unfold … knowing he didn’t deserve it.”
Describing him as a “messiah,” Mitchell remembers when her father arrived in Miami, Florida, during the late 1970s to establish his headquarters for The Nation of Yahweh, a religious sect that espoused positivity, family and Black Power.
“He created jobs. He had clothing factories, soap factories, where they made their own soap and they made lotion,” says Mitchell. “And they sold all these things within the community.”
Along with generating steady income for his own followers, Yahweh ben Yahweh was also able revamp several impoverished areas of Miami through his various enterprises. Though some community members became concerned about Yahweh’s rapid property acquisition, others embraced their new neighbors.
As one inn manager said in 1988, “They cleared out the pimps and drug dealers. … I have no problems with them.”
“Our presence in the neighborhood means that there will be no drugs or prostitution,” explained Yahweh in an interview aired on "Uncovered." “To improve it, to bring it back to its original glory and status of being a high-class area.”
But tales of Yahweh’s unyielding wrath and obsession with power began to overshadow The Nation of Yahweh’s good deeds. In the late 1980s, former cult members confessed to revenge murders and ritualistic slayings, leading to Yahweh’s arrest.
Yahweh was ultimately convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to 18 years behind bars, reported The New York Times.
He was granted parole in 2001 and died shortly after his release.
Today, Mitchell remains an advocate for her father and is the author of “The Biological Children of Yahweh Ben Yahweh Speak Out,” a book that “define[s] his message and purpose.”
“Yahweh ben Yahweh was a great man … He knew the ultimate price would be death,” says Mitchell.
To learn more about Venita Mitchell and The Nation of Yahweh, watch “Uncovered: The Cult of Yahweh ben Yahweh” on Oxygen.
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