Sep 6, 2018

CultNEWS101 Articles: 9/6/2018


Transcendental Meditation, David Lynch Foundation, Book Review, Catholic #MeToo, Snake-handling Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church, Jaggi Vasudev, Baba Ramdev, Coptic Church, Survey, Podcast, NXIVM, Sogyal Rinpoche

"The subtitle indicates the content of this well-researched yet straightforward response to the quasi-religious sect founded after 1955 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1918–2008). Mahesh first taught his religion as “transcendental deep meditation” in India. Later, this savvy businessman trademarked Transcendental Meditation (TM) for foreign consumption. A major meditation cult was born: Cultus means to care for; TMers care for themselves and the world through a special meditation technique."

" ... In Siegel’s book, we learn that TM has relied partially on multimillion-dollar grants from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund services to schools and prisons to study TM. The NIH agencies gave TM nearly $23 million from 1992 through 2010, then the awards stopped. Siegel offers evidence that the NIH finally discovered or admitted that, with all the new studies about many forms of mindfulness and meditation that are equally effective yet offered for low fees or are free, TM is nothing special. TM’s latest effort at proselytizing through many high-profile celebrities who support the David Lynch Foundation may be an effort to rescue a failing and deceptive business model. Furthermore, studies have shown that all forms of meditation may be overhyped with respect to their effectiveness for lowering blood pressure and bringing about inner harmony. The one-size-fits-all offerings of most yogic and meditation styles may be too good to be true."

"I [Rev. Bambrick,pastor of St. Aloysius Church in Jackson, N.J.] read the grand jury report on the Catholic Church from Pennsylvania, which after two years of combing 70 years of records found that over 300 priests sexually abused more than 1,000 known victims, I saw a lot that I recognized and have experienced myself — and much that could be changed if there was the willpower to do so."

"I’m a Catholic priest who himself survived sexual abuse from a member of a clergy, though not in Pennsylvania. The perpetrator was a visiting priest who repeatedly molested me when I was a 15-year-old altar boy from New Jersey and who I remember telling me about the others — that is, the other boys and the other priests he sometimes shared them with. In 1991, eleven years after he abused me, I filed a complaint against him with Archdiocese of New York. And for nearly two decades after, I tracked his movements throughout the country and fought to remove him from the various positions he held across several states: as a pastor (including at schools) and, after he was defrocked in 2006, as a hospital chaplain, among others. I kept notes. I investigated and found other victims and spoke with them. I was stunned by the responses I received from Church officials. One monsignor, later a bishop, dismissed it as “a summer romance” — as if it could ever have been consensual. I recall an Archdiocesan official suggesting I made it all up, and accusing me of having committed incest with my own mother prior to the events, which he said inspired some kind of projection onto the priest. I remember that some asked why I wanted to ruin the man’s life — that I was the abnormal one."

" ... Cody Coots is a fourth-generation snake-handling pastor at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus’ Namechurch in Middlesboro, Ky. In a new documentary, “My Life Inside: The Snake Church,” which premiered on Friday on the YouTube channel Barcroft TV, Coots is seen holding a snake during one of his sermons, which generally has 14 parishioners in attendance each week, when the serpent suddenly bites his ear."

"His father, Jamie Coots, was 42 years old when he was handling a rattlesnake at the church in 2014. He was bitten on the hand and died “within probably 10 minutes,” according to Cody."

"Jaggi Vasudev, commonly known as Sadhguru was seen riding a Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled with Indian yoga guru Baba Ramdev. The two popular Indian spiritual leaders also shared their experience in a video uploaded on Youtube with a title “Biker Dudes”. The two rode the bike at the foothills of Velliangiri which is near the outskirts of Coimbatore, along the Western Ghats. In the video, Baba Ramdev shares his experience where Sadhguru told him “Don’t take both your hands off” as they were riding at pretty good speed."

"WADI NATRUN, Egypt — Christian monks living in the solitude of Egypt’s deserts have always faced the threat of attack from outside. In the early centuries, they built drawbridges and windowless towers to repel marauding nomads."

"More recently, barricades and armed police officers ring the monasteries to guard against Islamic State suicide bombers, who target Christians."

"But now, to the shock of the faithful, it turns out that danger also lurks inside the monastery walls."

"The death of Bishop Epiphanius, the abbot of the fourth century Monastery of St. Macarius, last month has set off an ecclesiastical murder mystery worthy of a Dan Brown novel. More than a simple whodunit, the case has exposed simmering tensions of a theological, if not personal, nature in an influential corner of the Coptic Orthodox Church."

"A scholar of ancient manuscripts with a frizzy beard typical of Orthodox clerics, Bishop Epiphanius, 64, was found at dawn on July 29, lying in a pool of blood outside his monastic cell. Injuries to his skull indicated he had been hit on the head with a blunt object, possibly a pipe, the police said."

"The intrigue deepened days later when the Coptic authorities defrocked a younger monk, Isaiah, who had clashed with the bishop in the weeks before his death. Soon after that, another monk, Faltaous, 33, slashed his wrists and tried to throw himself from a four-story building."

Open Minds Foundation: How to Tell if a Group is High-Control?
"Are you concerned about a group that you or someone you know belongs to? Do you wonder if the group has high-control or manipulative elements? We are pleased to present an adapted and translated version of this Dutch questionnaire created by ... Frances Peters." 

"[This] anonymous, informative ... survey gives immediate, helpful results, based on the five characteristics of high-control groups:
  • Peer pressure and control
  • Dependency on the leadership
  • Separation from normal society
  • Use of harassment
  • Loss of identity
Even if you aren’t part of a high-control group, feel free to take the questionnaire to rate the level of control in your club, church or other organization, or to rate the levels of control of a group you have left."

IndoctriNation podcast: Escape From NXIVM w/ Catherine Oxenberg - Episode 19
"In [the September 5th] episode of IndoctriNation, Rachel is joined  by Catherine Oxenberg, star of the TV show Dynasty, and the daughter of  the Princess of Yugoslavia, to discuss both her recently published book, Captive, and how her daughter India is doing after leaving the cult run  by Keith Raniere and heavily bankrolled by billionaire Seagram's heiress Clare Bronfman called NXIVM. Catherine and Rachel consulted with  each other when she found out her daughter was recruited into the  secret upper-echelon of NXIVM called DOS where women were branded."

"Whilst I have seen evidence that many people feel that they have benefitted greatly from having Sogyal Lakar as their teacher, individual experiences are very different. There are varying degrees of closeness to Sogyal Lakar, with the closest relationships regularly referred to as the “inner circle”. The experiences of some of the members of the inner circle are very different from the experiences of many of those who are less close.

Not all of the allegations against Sogyal Lakar are upheld, as explained in the body of the report below, but based on the evidence available to me, I am satisfied that, on the balance of probabilities:

a. some students of Sogyal Lakar (who were part of the ‘inner circle’, as described later in this report) have been subjected to serious physical, sexual and emotional abuse by him; and

b. there were senior individuals within Rigpa who were aware of at least some of these issues and failed to address them, leaving others at risk.”

A number of serious concerns arise out of my findings which, in my opinion, must be addressed. Recommendations and proposed action points are set out at the conclusion of this report."

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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.

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