The Epsilon Program is a fictional religious cult across a number of Grand Theft Auto games, led by Cris Formage. The cult first emerged as a teaser site for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and more recently a twitter account for GTA V.
The cult is an obvious scam, intended to gain money by brainwashing its followers into paying large sums of money, parodying real-life cults in the late 20th century. In Formage's own words, it is "a fellowship of like-minded adults who tithe money in exchange for salvation and merit badges". The cult seems to be a parody of Scientology, which is followed by Hollywood celebrities, and is likely to be a central theme to Vinewood celebrities in GTA V.
The main ideals of the Epsilon Program are established on their website. The religions main deity is Kifflom, and members follow his twelve tenets:
- The world is 157 years old, and it doesn't age.
- Dinosaurs are a lie that people believe because they are weak.
- You are happy, you just don’t know it.
- We all come from the same tree.
- Everyone is related to everyone else, except for people with red hair.
- Sperm does not exist - it is a lie spread by biology teachers - along with everything else you have ever been told.
- Men are supposed to lie with nine new partners a week. Women are supposed to lie with six, except for in July, when they must lie with five men a day.
- Aliens exist and are present on earth. If you have a birth mark, you may be descended from Kraff, the famous Emperor of the 4th Paradigm.
- Trees talk, but only some people hear them.
- People who believe in something live much longer than atheists, and they have eternal life thrown in for good measure.
- If you believe this and turn you hands and wallet over to EPSILONISM, you’ll live a happy life. Otherwise you are doomed.
- KIFFLOM - HAPPINESS IS YOURS! KIFFLOM!
Their site contains a page about the Tract, which is expected to hold the truth about Epsilon. However, the site states that the tract has not yet been written. There is an address in Grand Canaria to send a cheque to, from which you would supposedly be sent a copy of the Tract. Grand Canaria is well known as a tax haven and offshore location for many dubious companies.
Cris Formage tells us in his wonderful book, It Happened To Us All, that the TRACT will be written when we are all ready. However, Cris is also very clear on another point - although the TRACT has not yet been written, it can still be read by those that are willing to read it.
The cult attracts many celebrities, including Samantha Muldoon, who famously converted from Buddhism to Kabbalah to Epsilon within one week, and musicians Jezz Torrent and Maccer, who both claim the cult helped them with their drug addictions.
Other followers are listed on the cult website under "testimonials":
The cult is mentioned in small talk by pedestrians in San Andreas; in particular, barbers (excluding Old Reece), and a certain kind of pedestrian commonly found around Verdant Bluffs (identifiable by his rucksack), who claim to be followers.
The Program is mentioned further in Grand Theft Auto IV: Bluesy St. John claims she once ended up spending her Thursday nights in a group that prayed to Kifflom, and the cult sponsors Chiropracticovernight.com.
The Epsilon Program is named after the Greek letter E. The name could possibly be in reference to the Epsilon Team, a Greek secret society. In 1987 film Dragnet two cops are involved in investigating a crime. The crime gang is ran by a reverend, who has a voice similar to Cris Formage's. All members of the gang are in a cult, and perform a number of weird rituals throughout the movie. In certain scenes a quiet background music can be heard, identical to the one on the Epsilon Program website. The movie is shot in Los Angeles and some scenes are shot near the observatory - which is sometimes linked with Epsilon in the game. The short scene from the movie featuring both reverend's voice and the music can be seen here.
The game takes place in the year 1992; as Cris Formage says that the Earth is 157 years old, that would put its creation at 1835. The supposedly-recent creation of the earth as insisted by the program also alludes to the Young Earth creationism beliefs, in which people who believe in it claim that the Earth is much younger than what scientists state.
GTA IV and GTA V Eras
The Epsilon Program also exists in the GTA IV Era. It is referenced on the radio and Internet, and the phrase "kifflom" is heard several times. Brendan Roberts may be a member of the cult. This may be a reference to Tom Cruise's religion being Scientology, as Roberts is speculated to be based on Cruise.
In July 2012, Rockstar created the EpsilonismToday twitter account. This suggests the cult continues in GTA V, but it's not known whether this will play a major part in the storyline. Recently, the real religion of Scientology has caused controversies in the media, and it's famously practiced by Hollywood stars in LA - so Epsilonism is likely to be a central theme to the celebrity lifestyle in Vinewood.
In December 2012, Rockstar released for sale two t-shirts with the game's logo and a third light-blue one saying "KIFFLOM" on the front and "The tract is not yet written" on the back,<ref>KIFFLOM t-shirt</ref> thus verifying that it continues in GTA V.
On April 2013, R* released a newswire page about Kifflom, revealing that 'directions' will be provided within one week<ref>R* Newswire</ref>. A collection of screens showed off the facts of Kifflom, with one showing a Caucasian male dressed in a light-blue attire. The terrain behind it appeared to be in-game footage.