Oct 14, 2019

Rethinking Polygamy: An Interview with Sarah M.S. Pearsall

 Polygamy: An Early American History
Kyla Sommers
History News Network (HNN)
October 13, 2019

Kyla Sommers is the editor of the History News Network.

Sarah M. S. Pearsall teaches the history of early America and the Atlantic world at the University of Cambridge. She is the author of the prizewinning Atlantic Families: Lives and Letters in the Eighteenth Century. She lives in Cambridge.

Her latest book is Polygamy: An Early American History (Yale, Press, 2019). Dr. Pearsall answered some questions and elaborated on why marriage is a "building block of societies and empires."

KS: What is the stereotype of polygamy you’re working to correct?

SP: When Americans think of polygamy, they tend to imagine one of two forms. One is a harem with scantily-clad women dancing for a tyrannical sultan figure. This is the version they tend to see as an erotic and exotic one. The other, decidedly less erotic and very much home-grown, is of wives in Little-House-on-the-Prairie pastel dresses and French braids, set against Western mountains, trailing after a husband/leader who seems to have mesmerized his flock into polygamy and a number of other problematic activities. The first of these images is very old indeed, dating back at least to the sixteenth century. The other is more recent, stemming initially from polygamy associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons and now with so-called “fundamentalist” offshoots of it (not part of the mainstream LDS Church). Neither stereotype captures the richness of the many forms which plural marriages have taken. Both also emphasize the submissiveness and passivity of the wives in ways that are misleading.

KS: In the introduction, you write: "Polygamy controversies place us amid major events in early America because such clashes were about the organization and governance not just of house- holds but of societies, nations, and empires.” This is a very compelling passage. I wonder if you can elaborate a little – how was the structure of marriage such a powerful building block of societies and empires?

PS: Marriage does so much. To marry or not is a major decision. Whether you are married or not, you know this. Yet, perhaps for that very reason, people often do not think much about it as a structuring system; it feels timeless, underpinning the world as we know it. It brings states, religious authorities, communities, and families into the most intimate of realms, legitimizing children and ordering and transmitting property and inheritance. Sex and reproduction without marriage can be, and often have been, deemed illegitimate, a problem for individuals and society. With marriage, sex becomes a blessed act, a means of family continuation, and a way of putting new souls into the world to serve dynastic, religious, and political functions. Marriage also carries responsibilities and privileges, shaping gender, race, and rank. Who can marry whom, and how their roles are defined within the marriage, are powerfully foundational in any society. Nations and churches impose their views about which sex and families are legitimate, recognized, and clean, and which are not—or they try to do so anyway. They do not always succeed. Contesting changes in marriage forms has often been a way of expressing anxieties about larger social and cultural and religious changes, as seen most recently in same-sex controversies. These debates have also shown how central the nation-state has become to the regulation of relationships, but that rise was not inevitable. It was the product of centuries of contests over marriage. We tend to take certain forms of it as natural. Until recently, in the western world, that form was one man plus one woman. Although things are changing, what I call “the infrastructure of monogamy” remains remarkably foundational in American society. I became interested in those who saw lifelong indissoluble monogamy as the strange novelty in their world, as well as the investments colonial and national powers had in ensuring that their monogamous version of marriage was the only acceptable one.

KS: You deliberately preserve the agency of women in polygamous marriages, writing “Defiant defenses of plural marriage are worth taking seriously, even when—indeed, especially when—they puzzle us so much.” How did you approach taking the beliefs women in plural marriages seriously while also interrogating the patriarchal aspects of not just plural marriages but marriage writ large?

SP: I followed the women, especially the plural wives, themselves. Sometimes they surprised me by doing things like defending polygamy. In trying to figure out why they might have done so, I realized that I gained a new way of understanding their lives and worlds. Too often people have not listened to the unexpected testimony of these wives. It’s discomfiting, the idea that this “backwards” form of marriage might have served their needs sometimes. In addition, the lack of first-person accounts by most of them makes it fatally easy to ignore their perspectives. Most of the sources we have for these women were left by those keen to stamp out their marriages (missionaries and secular authorities) or by the men who benefitted most obviously from the system themselves. This situation meant I had to “read against the grain.” The women themselves lived in these marriages, and they knew firsthand how oppressive they could be. Yet these women also made lives for themselves and their children, responding to the challenges of change, colonialism, and nation-building in creative and innovative ways. Increasingly, women across a range of cultures were better able to express their sentiments in lasting ways. Some of them condemned only polygamy, but some also questioned marriage itself and the ways that it shaped gender relations. Polygamy for them was not a problematic outlier against a great system of monogamy which is how many male thinkers on polygamy framed it, especially in the age of Enlightenment. For at least some women, polygamy represented merely an extreme version of the inequalities they rightly identified in the monogamous Christian marriages of their day.

KS: Your work is cross-cultural, discussing the differences between how different communities approached polygamy while also emphasizing that this was a broader phenomenon. Why was it so important to you to take a cross-cultural approach?

SP: “Monogamic marriage,” one political theorist asserted in an American magazine in 1855, was “one of the elementary distinctions…between European and Asiatic humanity,” the very foundation “of our liberty, of our literature, of our aspirations, of our religious convictions” as well as “one of the pre-existing conditions of our existence as civilized white men.” Race, ethnicity, religion, and culture, as well as gender, have been vital to the history of marriage; this is a big, intersectional story, involving many different kinds of people. Polygamy has been a code for inferiority, one connected with these variables. Certain kinds of marriage defined certain kinds of people. Polygamy claims helped to make modern understandings of race, culture, and religion, in ways which continue to underpin American commitment to “monogamic marriage.” Yet polygamy has had defenders across all cultures, even among Christian ministers at points. This is intriguing. Moreover, examining polygamy reveals a great deal about the role of gender and sexuality in major transitions of colonialism, slavery, and the rise of the nation-state. I hope that this book helps people to ponder what is “natural” in marriage as well as what “early America” looks like. It was not all pilgrims and planters. It had many faces, languages, and cultures. To investigate how individuals navigated disputes over households helps to illuminate the richness and diversity of early America, with women’s perspectives central.

KS: Finally, how can this book help us understand and think about the state of modern marriage and challenges to it from the increasing popularity of polyamory to the increasing age of first marriages?

SP: I did not write this book to argue that polygamy should be legalized; I wrote it to show how fundamental marriage, gender, and sexuality have been to larger processes of change and continuity, in ways not always fully appreciated. Popular perspectives on gender and sexuality have shifted considerably in the last few decades. It is therefore hardly surprising that marriage, too, has been undergoing alterations. Polyamory seems an obvious offshoot. Working on this book, and talking to many people about polygamy, it came to strike me as increasingly strange that people accepted “the infrastructure of monogamy” so unthinkingly. I hope this book will prompt further reflection on these issues. To me, it’s good if people think about how best to define marriage, and what its wider meanings are for themselves and their society. Yet, with all the modesty of a historian who mostly thinks about the past, not the future, I might suggest a couple of cautions. Patriarchal privilege tends to bob to the surface in most systems of marriage; it’s easy to see how polyamory might go down that route. Second, as queer people learned to their cost and plenty of others over the centuries have, too, living in a family unrecognized by the state, not having privileges of health insurance and next of kin status and inheritance, is a challenging way to live. We might not all love state authority here (as people divorcing sometimes find), but we should recognize it for what it is: a force that shapes all of our lives, whether we are married or not. Marriage and its varieties connect individuals with that power, as I have tried to demonstrate in this book.

https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/173295

CultNEWS101 Articles: 10/14/2019



Grooming, Manipulation, Devadasis, FLDS, Child Sexual Abuse, Magical Thinking, HIV, Podcast, Jehovah's Witnesses, Grace Church, Wicca 


Susan Raine(a) and Stephen A. Kent
Aggression and Violent Behavior
Volume 48, September–October 2019, Pages 180-189

Abstract
"This article examines the sexual grooming of children and their caregivers in a wide variety of religious settings. We argue that unique aspects of religion facilitate institutional and interpersonal grooming in ways that often differ from forms of manipulation in secular settings. Drawing from Christianity (Catholicism, Protestantism, and Seventh-day Adventism) and various sects (the Children of God, the Branch Davidians, the Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints, a Hindu ashram, and the Devadasis), we show how some religious institutions and leadership figures in them can slowly cultivate children and their caregivers into harmful and illegal sexual activity. A number of uniquely religious characteristics facilitate this cultivation, which includes: theodicies of legitimation; power, patriarchy, obedience, protection, and reverence towards authority figures; victims' fears about spiritual punishments; and scriptural uses to justify adult-child sex."

Full Article is available until December 1, 2019 (follow link in title)



Season Four, Episode Ten


October 9, 2019


72 minutes





"Kernan Coleman became an activist and critical thinking advocate after losing loved ones who denied the existence of #HIV though they were effected. He shares his encounters with celebrities and their belief systems, and how growing up agnostic affected his skepticism as he navigated the world of entertainment. Kernan brings a vivid language to his perspective on anti-vax culture, and discusses other uses of mysticism that can cloud critical thinking and cause people to act on myths. He advises everyone to steer themselves away from 'grief vampires' that offer false but convenient information to people who have suffered a loss and are searching for answers. Kernan's evolution from 'science geek kid', to credulous new ager, to becoming an advocate for critical thinking and scientific skepticism- is a work in progress. Rachel gives an update on Alan and Dee from storytelling episode, 'Home Invasion'."



H2H: Sharon Tyson - Abuse and Recovery Among Jehovah Witnesses and Other Cults
"Sharon is an ex-JW Cult survivor, the mother of 4 children and has served for the past 10 years as an Anti-Cult Activist working with many such groups around the world including the U.S. Nigeria, Italy, Africa, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia and the Phillipines. She has also been a volunteer in various grass roots projects aimed at helping ex-JW children and adults to recover and has developed a series of programs for ex-JW Children to help them heal. For more information about this program series – check out www.exjw-help.com."


WXYZ-TV Detroit: Parents, alumni raise serious concerns about church [Grace Church] near CMU campus
"When you send your teens off to college, you have an expectation that they will stay a part of your family, even as they grow in independence. But some families say when they sent their kids to Central Michigan University, a nearby church [Grace Church] isolated and manipulated them and they want the school to do something about it."

Grace Church Exposed
"The purpose of this site is to provide a place where those who have been negatively affected by their experiences with Grace Church and its leadership can find support and information to help them work through what has happened or is currently happening to them. Also, we hope this site can help to warn people about what can happen if one is not alert to methods used by controlling and manipulative church leaders. Further, this site has now become an avenue for the accountability that Grace Church leaders have lacked."

WXYZ-TV Detroit: Ex-church [Grace Church] member: 'They try to encourage you to not go visit your family'

"When you send your kids to college, you don't expect that they'll end up spending more time and money at a local church [Grace Church] instead of on their studies. Dozens of people have come forward to warn parents about a church near Central Michigan University's campus that some say is controlling and manipulative."


Capilano Courier: Wicca, Not Wicked
"Beyond the confines of fictional tales like Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Rosemary's Baby, practicing witches live among us. Far from the grotesque, sexual and terrifying depictions in the media, most covens reject the cackling cryptic rhymes for individual empowerment and personal transformation. It's hardly the collaboration with Satan we tend to imagine.

Anxiety—fed by negative public reactions and Hollywood's demonization—has contributed to a certain stigma around witchcraft. Paganism is often confused with Satanism. But, like many other religions, Wicca exists in various forms and denominations, none of which are related to Satanism. Today, many witches practice in secret.

Privacy and geographic limitations can lead modern covens to choose to pursue their practices online. Lily, a member of the Correlian Nativist community (one of the many branches of Wicca), has been practicing Wicca—both collectively and on her own—since she was a young child. In fact, she said her talents first manifested at the age of two and she remembers predicting the rise of sea levels at 13. By 18, she knew it was her destiny to lead a coven of her own.

It wasn't until her mid-thirties that she finally understood why her dreams forecasted future events. After running from fate for years, she finally came full circle when she asked the universe to aid her in starting her own coven. "I know a lot more than I did at eighteen, don't we all," Lily mused. Now in her fifties, she says the answer to her question arrived subconsciously in a dream, the day before she opened the Coven for membership.

Today, *Lily, who lives far from urban city life in the mountains of Northern Ontario, is the high priestess of a Correllian Nativist Coven that practices entirely online. She believes that the misconceptions that surround Wicca only serve to stigmatize those who practice magic, pushing them further from widespread acceptance. Lily asked for anonymity, as speaking about her craft can still result in backlash."




News, Education, Intervention, Recovery

Intervention101.com to help families and friends understand and effectively respond to the complexity of a loved one's cult involvement.
CultRecovery101.com assists group members and their families make the sometimes difficult transition from coercion to renewed individual choice.
CultNEWS101.com news, links, resources.
Cults101.org resources about cults, cultic groups, abusive relationships, movements, religions, political organizations and related topics.

Selection of articles for CultNEWS101 does not mean that Patrick Ryan or Joseph Kelly agree with the content. We provide information from many points of view in order to promote dialogue.

Oct 13, 2019

The Latest: Mormons leader warns of Satan's temptations

The Salt Lake Temple, at Temple Square, is shown Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, in Salt Lake City.
ABC News
October 5, 2019

The Latest on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints conference (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

A leader with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is cautioning people to be aware that Satan tries to tempt them to use their bodies improperly and "love as we should not love."

David A. Bednar made the comments Saturday during a speech at church conference in Salt Lake City. Bednar is a member of a top church governing board called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

His speech came after fellow Quorum member D. Todd Christofferson earlier in the day urged members to uphold sexual purity and adhere to the faith's law of chastity, which forbids premarital sex.

Neither mentioned same-sex relationships in their speeches, but the faith has recently reaffirmed its opposition got gay marriage and belief that homosexual intimacy is a sin.

The two-day conference brings nearly 100,000 people to Salt Lake City and is watched by hundreds of thousands of others in live broadcasts online and on TV.

———

11:10 a.m.

A leader with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is urging members to withstand mocking and adhere to the faith's strict rules, including the law of chastity that forbids premarital sex.

D. Todd Christofferson said Saturday during a speech at church conference in Salt Lake City that church members shouldn't waver even in a "hedonistic age" where people who uphold the faith's standards for modest attire and sexual purity face "merciless attacks" on social media.

Christofferson is a member of a top church governing board called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

He didn't mention the church's prohibition of same-sex relationships in his speech, but fellow church leaders have recently reaffirmed the religion's opposition to the practice.

———

10:35 a.m.

Several hundred people are calling on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other religions to implement stronger rules to prevent child abuse.

A group called "Protect Every Child" gathered several blocks away from where the faith's twice-annual conference is underway in Salt Lake City. It is led by Sam Young, who was kicked out of the religion last year after his public opposition to closed-door, one-on-one interviews of youth where he and his followers say inappropriate sexual questions are sometimes asked.

Former church member Stuart Shellenberger or Arizona held a sign that read, "Protect every child. No sexual questions."

Church leaders have defended the interviews as an important way for bishops to determine youth's obedience to God. The church changed the policy last year to allow children to bring a parent or adult with them.

———

9:12 a.m.

The president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has rolled out a dizzying number of policy changes during his first two years at the helm of the faith, leading to heightened anticipation for what he may announce at this weekend's church conference in Salt Lake City.

The twice-yearly conference kicks off Saturday three days after President Russell M. Nelson announced that women can now be official "witnesses" at two key ceremonies: baptisms and temple sealings for married couples. The move is considered to be a small but important step toward breaking down rigid gender roles in the religion.

It added to a long to a long list of noteworthy moves made by the 95-year-old former heart surgeon since he assumed the post in January 2018.

https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/latest-protesters-urge-mormons-protect-children-66083610

CultNEWS101 Articles: 10/7/2019



Thailand, Animal Abuse, Transcendental Meditation, Marianne Williamson, Documentary, Pastafarians, NXIVM

"More than half the tigers rescued three years ago from a Buddhist temple in Thailand where they served as a popular tourist attraction have died of disease, wildlife officials said Monday.

The tigers were vulnerable to illness because of inbreeding, leading to laryngeal paralysis causing respiratory failure, said national parks official Patarapol Maneeorn. Eighty-six of 147 rescued tigers kept at government-run wildlife sanctuaries have died."

" ... Police found tiger skins and teeth and at least 1,500 amulets made from tiger bones when they raided the temple, as well as 60 cub carcasses stuffed in freezers and in formaldehyde in jars.
Tiger parts, such as ground bones, are popular as traditional medicine in Asia. Tiger hides can sell for tens of thousands of dollars in China."
" ... Something about Williamson's unconventional candidacy, though, has certainly sparked voters' curiosity. After all, a candidate who flits between the worlds of traditional, institutional religion and New Age spirituality is a rarity in presidential politics. And she was the most-searched candidate after the first night of the July debate, when she accused President Trump of harnessing the "dark psychic force of collectivized hatred" and declared that she wants "a politics that speaks to the heart."

But the more voters learned more about her, the less they seemed to like her."

" ... According to the Pew Research Center, about one-third of Democrats identify as "spiritual but not religious" — an amorphous identity that has a lot in common with Williamson's nondenominational spiritual practice. She identifies as Jewish and still attends High Holiday services, but she also practices transcendental meditation. She rose to prominence as a commentator and teacher of "A Course In Miracles," a mystical book published in 1976 whose author claimed to be dictating revelations from Jesus.

'She's really the definition of spiritual but not religious," said Laura Olson, a political science professor at Clemson University, about Williamson. "In that sense, she represents — and you'd think might be able to reach — a very sizeable group of Americans.'"

"Some time next year, the European court of human rights will decide on the case of a Dutch woman who feels unfairly treated because her country's highest court has told her she cannot wear a plastic colander on her head for her ID photo.

It may combine Mienke de Wilde's plea with that of an Austrian former MP, Niko Alm, who proudly wears the offending kitchen utensil on his official documents but now insists his country recognise Pastafarianism – the faith both follow – as a religion.

Watching the pair closely is Mike Arthur, an independent American film-maker whose smart, funny but above all thought-provoking documentary, I, Pastafari, about the world's fastest-growing faith premieres in the US in October."

" ... In an interview with Refinery29, Edmondson role-played her way through a typical pitch for the cult's seminars. She showed the ways that she focused on insecurities that a recruit might have and used them as an opening to bring them on-board. 

"Well, first things first: You don't attempt any kind of a pitch until you have established a rapport. That's something that has always come naturally to me, just chit chatting and engaging with people. Part of pitching is that you kind of want to tailor the approach to the specific person and what they're looking for," she said. 

She said that similar approach went all the way up the line, with senior officials convincing others that the sex and rituals were also part of a path to betterment. Edmonson has the founder's initials branded on her and said it was sold as self-improvement. 

'If you look at the branding ritual as an example, they convince you that you are triumphing over your own weakness," she said. "One of the things that can be helpful in terms of an explanation is to look at the ways in which cults are similar to abusive relationships. Nobody seeks out an abusive partner, but so many people stay in these relationships longer than they should — they make excuses, they ignore red flags, and they allow themselves to be emotionally manipulated.'"




News, Education, Intervention, Recovery

Intervention101.com to help families and friends understand and effectively respond to the complexity of a loved one's cult involvement.
CultRecovery101.com assists group members and their families make the sometimes difficult transition from coercion to renewed individual choice.
CultNEWS101.com news, links, resources.
Cults101.org resources about cults, cultic groups, abusive relationships, movements, religions, political organizations and related topics.

Selection of articles for CultNEWS101 does not mean that Patrick Ryan or Joseph Kelly agree with the content. We provide information from many points of view in order to promote dialogue.

Please forward articles that you think we should add to CultNEWS101.com.


The Cult of Multi-Level Marketing Schemes (MLMs)

Alexandra Stein
Talk Beliefs
August 24, 2019

"Selling products from home - a cult? Is it possible that Multi-Level Marketing schemes selling products such as make-up, vitamins, cleaning products, etc, could actually be alarmingly similar in structure to a religious cult?"


"ALEXANDRA STEIN, Ph.D, is a writer and educator specializing in the social psychology of cults and other dangerous social relationships."

"MARK from TalkBeliefs chats with Alexandra on MLMs, how they work and why the way they are organized are frighteningly similar to the coercive structure of cults."

#mlm https://youtu.be/Z97NXI_3kmI

What Is A Cult and How Does It Work?

Margaret Singer
International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA)
October 12, 2014

Margaret Thaler Singer, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and emeritus adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who counseled and interviewed more than 3,000 current and former cult members, relatives and friends.



  • What is a Cult and How Does it Work?
  • What are cults?  
  • How do cults operate?  
  • How many people are involved in cults?  
  • What are cult leaders' goals and methods?  
  • How do cults recruit?  
  • What is thought reform?  
  • Inside the group.  
  • Development of a cult. 
  • Pseudoidentity.  
  • Returning to the outside world.

What is a cult? Are all cults dangerous? Do they use brainwashing?

Eileen Barker, Ph.D.
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
January 15, 2019



Eileen Barker
Professor Emeritus of Sociology of Religion
London School of Economics
Houghton St
London WC2A 2AE
U.K.

Tel: +44 (0)208 902 2048
E.Barker@LSE.ac.uk
www.Inform.ac

There's a Body Count to Magical Thinking

IndoctriNation
IndoctriNation
Season Four, Episode Ten
October 9, 2019
72 minutes

Kernan Coleman became an activist and critical thinking advocate after losing loved ones who denied the existence of HIV though they were effected. He shares his encounters with celebrities and their belief systems, and how growing up agnostic affected his skepticism as he navigated the world of entertainment. Kernan brings a vivid language to his perspective on anti-vax culture, and discusses other uses of mysticism that can cloud critical thinking and cause people to act on myths. He advises everyone to steer themselves away from 'grief vampires' that offer false but convenient information to people who have suffered a loss and are searching for answers. Kernan's evolution from 'science geek kid', to credulous new ager, to becoming an advocate for critical thinking and scientific skepticism- is a work in progress. Rachel gives an update on Alan and Dee from storytelling episode, 'Home Invasion'.

Stay tuned, Before You Go: Rachel lists some of the 'new agery' myths that can be used to play to the needs of followers to an organization or individual.


About This Show
Welcome to IndoctriNation: A weekly podcast covering cults, manipulators, and protecting yourself from systems of control.

Support This Show via Patreon
If you become a patron to Rachel Bernstein, you’ll immediately get access to as many as 72 patron-only posts.




Supreme Court of the U.S. DENIED Watchtower's Petition

On June 25, 2019 Watchtower NY filed a Petition for a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Society asked SCOTUS to reconsider a $4 million judgment against it in a California child abuse case.

This morning, October 7, 2019, it was announced the Supreme Court of the U.S. DENIED Watchtower's Petition.

FYI - SCOTUS Order list
Page 42, #19-40 in the list
Watchtower Bible
CERTIORARI Denied

How The New Kadampa Tradition Attack Critics: Understanding DARVO

Recovery from The New Kadampa Tradition
September 28, 2019


The Natural Tendency singing for Maharishi

Paul Fauerso
December 11, 2014

Paul Fauerso and Rick Stanley (known as The Natural Tendency) singing three songs for Maharishi (Knowledge Is Structured In Consciousness, Take It Easy, and Master Of My Heart) on stage at the Teatro in Fiuggi Fonte, Italy, 1972.


Transcendental Meditation "Holy Tradition"

Song: "Holy Tradition" from Guru Purnima 2008
Rick Stanley


Transcendental Meditation Puja





Maharishi at the feet of Guru Dev.

"Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnur, Guru Devo Maheshvarah, Guruh Sakshat Param Brahma, Tasmai Sri Gurave Namah." Guru Brahma—Guru is the creator. Guru Vishnu—Guru is the maintainer. Guru Devo Maheshvarah—Guru is eternal Shiva, absolute silence. 

And Guru Sakshat Param Brahma, and Guru is the summation of the three, diversity, and unity. Tasmai Sri Guruve Namah. That is why we bow down to Guru Dev. Bowing down to Guru Dev is in essence, in reality, subjecting ourself to that eternal unified state which is the be-all and end-all of existence.'

CultNEWS101 Articles: 10/5-6/2019




Recovery Workshop, SGA's, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, Podcast on Cults, China Baiyang Sigui Lingbao Holy Path 

When: Friday 1st November (4-7), Saturday 2nd November (9.30-5) and Sunday 3rd November 2019 (9-4)
Where: Grindleford, Hope Valley, Derbyshire
Cost: £350 including Assessment, Workshop & Workbook [accommodation and meals not included]

Purpose & RationaleTo help you raise awareness and understanding of the dynamics and processes involved in your membership, and to support your emotional healing and growth process. That is, to promote 'understanding' and 'healing'.

Attend the Recovery Workshop and experience some time away to concentrate on yourself and your recovery in the beautiful Hope Valley in the Peak District National Park.

World Magazine: An easy 'A'
"Does approval from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability offer Christians useful information about an organization's financial discipline?

Picture yourself as a board member of the National Religious Broadcasters, an association of 1,100 member organizations that attempts to "communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world," according to its website.

Important work. Potentially life-changing work. With headquarters located blocks from the U.S. Capitol, NRB has marketed itself as being to the First Amendment what the National Rifle Association is to the Second. U.S. presidents have spoken at NRB's annual convention.

Last Dec. 7 you receive the NRB's latest audited financial report. Your reaction might be like NRB Treasurer Frank Wright's, revealed in an email legally obtained by radio host and independent journalist Julie Roys, who sent it to WORLD's editor in chief last month. Wright wrote, "The fact that [the report] arrived 11 months after the close of the fiscal year was an immediate red flag for me, and the substance of the Audit Report and the Management Letter more than verified my concerns."

In March Wright tells you that after receiving the audit report, he reviewed reports going back to 2014: "The results of this analysis are deeply troubling." NRB had suffered operating losses of $873,000 since 2014 and had been "financially insolvent for each of the last three fiscal years." As of Dec. 31, 2018, NRB's deficit in unrestricted net assets was $613,000. Its cash reserves were virtually depleted. The independent auditor, Wright says, "had flagged NRB as being at-risk as a 'going concern'—the worst language you can ever see in an audit."

On April 10 you receive another email from Wright: 'NRB needs $750,000 to pay all its convention obligations AND carry it through the summer slump until September 1. To date, we have received $164,500 in pledges. … Let me be candid here. Without your full financial support in raising this $750,000, NRB will have no option but bankruptcy reorganization.'"

"What exactly is the definition of a cult? How and why do people join them? And why are Americans so fascinated by them?

These are surprisingly difficult questions to answer despite the media saturation of cults in the United States. Cults are often thought of as inextricably tied to religion. However, the meaning of the word "cult" has shifted over time. Today, the term means a group with socially deviant behaviors.

This nebulous designation means that it can be a lot easier to join a cult than most think. Some businesses might be considered cults. Some exercise classes are described as cult-like. More than a few political movements are classified as cults.

However, it should come as no surprise that leaving can be extremely difficult. Trying to leave can challenge a person's entire belief system or even lead to physical or mental abuse from other cult members.

We sit down with a former cult member, a professor and a psychoanalyst to learn more about this phenomenon and what you can do if you or a loved one ends up in a cult."

"Nineteen people were rescued from a Chinese cult, while its leader and four other followers were arrested in late August, central Taiwan, after a young Taiwanese was allegedly tortured to death by cult members in China.

The religious cult, China Baiyang Sigui Lingbao Holy Path (中華白陽四貴靈寶聖道會), was founded in China by a 61-year-old woman claiming to be a living Buddha. Surnamed Lin (林), she was busted in a remote mountainous area of Nantou by Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) officers, Taichung and Nantou police.

The raid was the culmination of several months of investigation begun by the CIB earlier this year. This followed the suspicious death of a young female member of the cult, after visiting the group's compound in China.

In March, the 20-year-old Taiwanese woman told her family she would be traveling to Nanning, Guangxi Province, to study religious teachings. She died in mysterious circumstances and her parents suspected she had been tortured to death by cult members.

Her parents reported the case to the Taichung District Prosecutor's Office, which in turn notified the CIB and joined up with Taichung and Nantou police to carry out an investigation. Police determined the Holy Path cult was founded by Lin, who claimed to be a living Buddha and had been recruiting followers since 2009."




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