Caodai Calling: Victor Hugo’s Vietnam

By John M. Edwards
“What on my first two visits has seemed gay and bizarre (was) now like a game that had gone on too long.” —Graham Greene, on Vietnam’s Caodai cult.
It really didn’t make sense. There in front of me, outside the smudged bus window, was “The Great Divine Temple” at Tay Ninh, Vietnam—a whacked-out EPCOTy architectural hallucination resembling Gaudi on opium—and I didn’t really want to go inside. The idea of a cult creeps me out. Er, would they try to abduct and brainwash me?

I had come all the way to Vietnam to investigate a weird supernatural religion called Caodaism, an ...

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