He told his flock that blacks were the "true Jews,"
Sounds analogous to the old Worldwide Church of God's doctrine of British Isrealism...or how about the JW's "spiritual Israel"?
He grew to believe the Bible contained secret messages that would reveal themselves with enough studious attention.
Hmm. That sounds a bit familiar...
He claimed disciples one by one, sidling up to people in diners, in bookstores and in parks, introducing himself as a "Bible teacher," dressed in a sharp suit and talking to them in a soft, earnest voice.
Some of the strangers were intrigued and asked questions, which he happily answered. He told them that blacks were the true Jews, God's chosen people. He cracked open his dog-eared King James Bible to offer them proof, tapping the Scriptures with his finger.
"In Daniel 7:9, God is described as having hair like pure wool," he'd say. "Look at black folks' hair... it also looks like wool! And in Psalm 119:83, God says 'For I am become like a bottle in the smoke... A bottle of smoke is black!"
Wow, that sounds even more plausible than the JW line on birthdays!
He'd lean in close and tell his audience why this wasn't popular knowledge: whites had lied about their elevated status for centuries, so they could dominate and brutalize black folks.
Substitute "clergy" or "churches of Christendom" for "whites"...
These early disciples recruited more disciples, who recruited family and friends and co-workers. They went door-to-door in the black communities of Overtown, Liberty City and Little Haiti, knocking on doors, smartly dressed, polite...visiting people who were broke and broken and desperate for hope.
As his congregation grew, his belief system kept evolving.
Ah, "new light"....
He told his followers that white Jews were Satan's spawn, based on Revelation 3:9...The passage was yet another indication that blacks were God's chosen people, he said.
Satanize the competition. Oldest trick in the book!
He told his growing flock that blacks should separate themselves as much as possible from white mainstream culture and to that end he started a private school in a congregant's home. He fanned the flames of black rage in his young scholars by ad-libbing his way through Social Studies class, bringing in news articles about police abuse that "proved" there was a conspiracy against African Americans.
Going to great lengths to make the group's "enemies" look bad? Must work pretty well...
Mitchell told them that as long as they were of one mind, no one could harm them. Dissent would tear them apart, he warned prophetically, quoting Leviticus:
The ol' unity card.
"How many of you would die for Yahweh?" he'd ask as he stood at the pulpit. "Would you kill for Yahweh?"
Yes, they'd answer back, they would die for Yahweh. Yes, they would kill for Yahweh.
Funny how a slickster can get away with being the official mouthpiece for Yahweh.