Butner, North Carolina, May 2, 2017
Tony Alamo has died in the federal prison hospital where he was serving a 175-year sentence. In the hours immediately following the release of this news, Alamo’s followers accused the U.S. government of stealing their leader’s body and hiding it. The emotions of followers — and especially those of individuals who have managed to break free of the group — are unimaginably complicated. Those still in the group believe he will be resurrected while those who have left have a different kind of reality to grasp. As charismatic leaders die, groups often do not dimish in strength. We will have to watch to discover what will develop, but certainly the consequences of Alamo’s life run deep and will not end with his death.