Nov 29, 2018

Woman sentenced to 6.5 years for transfer of stolen millions to Church of Scientology

November 29, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG  – The Oktyabrsky District Court of St. Petersburg on Thursday sentenced Ekaterina Zaborskikh, who had been earlier convicted of embezzling millions of rubles from real estate investors and transferring the money to the Church of Scientology Moscow, to 5.5 years in prison for a similar crime, the United press service of St. Petersburg courts told RAPSI. 

For this once, Zaborskikh was found guilty of stealing over 33 million rubles (about $500,000) for the religious organization. Thus, she received accumulative sentences for a term of 8.5 years.

In October 2017, the woman was sentenced to 6.5 years in prison for embezzling over 130 million rubles (about $2 million) from real estate investors for the benefit the Church of Scientology Moscow. The Oktyabrsky District Court of St. Petersburg also granted lawsuits filed by victims demanding 133 million rubles in total from the defendant.  The woman was also ordered to pay 600,000 rubles ($9,000) of court costs.

According to investigators, Zaborskikh was a chairman of several consumer committees and housing cooperatives. Allegedly she was responsible for deceiving people into paying her money under the guise of selling apartments, houses and land plots around St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region while she had no ability to provide such real estate. Allegedly she stole over 130 million rubles from her clients between 2012 and 2014.
Zaborskikh allegedly used the money on her own volition by, among other things, transferring it to the religious organization called “The Church of Scientology Moscow”. According to investigators, she gave away money to the organization both in cash and through cashless transfer.

Dianetics and Scientology are a set of religious and philosophical ideas and practices that were put forth by L. Ron Hubbard in the US in the early 1950s.

The scientific community never recognized it as science.
A resolution passed in 1996 by the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, classified the Church of Scientology as a destructive religious organization.

The Moscow Regional Court ruled in 2012 that some of Hubbard’s books be included on the Federal List of Extremist Literature and prohibited from distribution in Russia.

Nov 28, 2018

The millions of new yogis in the U.S. should use these tips to avoid injury

Gabriella Boston
The Washington Post
November 28, 2018

Yoga is known for its many mind-body benefits: It releases tension, prevents injury, creates more flexibility, adds strength and balance, and calms the mind. So, it’s hardly surprising that yoga practice among American adults increased 50 percent between 2012 and 2017, according to a report released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, yoga was the most commonly used non-mainstream health approach among U.S. adults, with 9.5 percent of adults practicing in 2012 and 14.3 percent practicing in 2017.

What these new yogis may not be aware of is that, despite its reputation as a gentle, low-impact practice, yoga carries risks, as with any exercise routine. The practice can exacerbate carpal tunnel syndrome, add instability to joints, and contribute to strains, sprains and tendinitis. A study published in 2016 in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine reported that there were close to 30,000 yoga-related injuries seen in emergency rooms from 2001 to 2014, and that injuries per 100,000 participants grew from a rate of 9.6 percent to 17 percent. Most injuries were to the upper body and constituted strains and sprains. The greatest injury increase was in people age 65 and older.
That doesn’t mean older adults, or anyone, should steer clear of yoga. But before you try downward-facing dog pose, which looks like a canine stretching, you need to know the risks of yoga, the appropriate types of yoga for you and ways to stay injury-free.

The risks of yoga

“I see quite a bit of yoga-related injuries,” says Bobby Chhabra, an orthopedic surgeon with the University of Virginia Health System. “Mostly it’s overuse injuries like tendinitis and sprains. It’s rare for patients to have traumatic injuries from yoga.”

When it comes to overuse injuries, yoga usually doesn’t cause the injury, Chhabra says, but can exacerbate it. For example, wrists that spend the day in an extended position at a keyboard and then are forced to extend even further in positions such as downward dog, upward dog and chaturanga (a type of pushup) can be particularly vulnerable to tendinitis and carpal tunnel.

People with arthritis also need to be extra cautious when it comes to yoga, because arthritic joints “can really flare up during yoga and result in a week to 10 days of pain,” he says. Yogis with arthritis could consider a gentler form of the practice or at least avoid overloading arthritic joints to prevent further inflammation. People with osteoporosis should avoid forward bends and twists.

And another group that should be extra cautious are yogis with hyper-mobililty, which means their joints are very flexible.
“You don’t want to have mobility without stability,” says Chris Estafanous, a physical therapist in the District. “That increases your risk for injury.” This particular group needs to work on the strength part of yoga, not the deep stretching, he says.
The right yoga for you
This doesn’t mean yoga is out for these groups. It does mean you should be careful about choosing a class and teacher. “I actually recommend investing in a few private sessions with a yoga instructor to figure out what your body needs and what type of class is appropriate,” Estafanous says. “Not all yoga is created equal.”

Alyson Shade owns Realignment Studio in the District and offers many variations of yoga — fast, slow, gentle, power and more. She recommends that anyone who is new to yoga or who has injuries and other limitations talk to the teacher before class. “Having that one-on-one conversation is important,” she says. “If someone has restrictions in their joints, then power yoga or flow would not be recommended.” Shade might instead steer that yogi toward a restorative yoga class or Iyengar, a style that emphasizes support and alignment.

Staying injury-free

Experts agree that to get the benefits but not the injuries after finding the right type of yoga, you need to listen to your body. “You have to be smart about it. If a pose bothers you, don’t do it,” Chabbra says.
Estafanous encourages practitioners to become more aware in their everyday lives about how they move in space: posture, repetitive motions, sitting too much. “Part of the yoga practice is to become more mindful of where your body is positioned in space,” Estafanous says. “So, make that body awareness a daily practice of life, because injuries don’t start on the mat. They start before the mat.”

In terms of specific poses, Shade recommends that hyper-flexible folks bend their elbows and knees slightly in planks and downward dog to avoid hyperextension; and that people with shoulder injuries skip everything that requires their arms to be over their heads, such as downward dog or handstands. “They can do table top instead,” she says. (In this pose, the hands are placed on the mat under the shoulders, the knees are placed on the mat under the hips and the back is flat.)

For wrist health, Estafanous recommends taking frequent breaks from putting weight into the hands and skipping poses such as wheel (which looks like a reverse table top, except with an arched back) and upward dog (in which you push up from a prone position, keeping arms straight and back arched), which require an extreme extension in the wrist. For herniated discs and osteoporosis, avoid forward folds. For people with extreme range of motion in the hips, pigeon pose (a floor position with one leg bent under the torso at a 45- to 90-degree angle) can do more harm than good, he says. For people with neck pain, headstands and shoulder stands should be avoided.

In general — and this is true for all fitness — thoughtful progression is key. Don’t jump into a class with lots of push-ups or arm balances if you are new to yoga. If you do too much, too soon you are likely to compromise your form: In the case of push-ups, for example, lack of core strength might cause you to dip your hips, which leads to lower back pain, or move your shoulders forward, which leads to wrist pain.

Police prevent ultra-Orthodox underage wedding in Jerusalem; bride-to-be is 13

Two women and four minors are seen at a police station after being detained in a raid on an underage wedding in the ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, on November 29, 2018. (Israel Police)Two women and four minors are seen at a police station after being detained in a raid on an underage wedding in the ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, on November 29, 2018. (Israel Police)
Authorities say girl had been reported missing by her father 2 months ago, may have been hidden by her mother; 6 detained in raid, including 4 minors

The Times of Israel
November 30, 2018

Police halted a wedding between two minors Thursday in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood.

Officers detained two women and four minors in a raid on the roof of a building in the neighborhood where the wedding was taking place.

Among those taken to a police station were the 13-year-old bride-to-be, who police said was reported missing by her father two months ago.

“The suspicion is that the mother hid [the daughter] until the date of the wedding,” police said in a statement Friday.

The mother is being questioned on suspicion of violating a legal order and other unspecified offenses. Police said their report was given to welfare officials.

Officers were working to determine the identities of the rest of the detainees.

Police did not provide the age of the prospective groom, but the Ynet news site reported he is 16. The legal age of marriage in Israel is 18.

It was not immediately clear what sect those involved in the wedding belonged to. A police photo showed those detained in the raid wearing burqas, a rare religious stricture in ultra-Orthodox Judaism often associated with the Lev Tahor cult.

Nov 27, 2018

Cops catch Canadian clairvoyant and charge her for creeping on clients

Boing Boing
November 26, 2018

Our current news cycle pushes out stories, scandals and tales of catastrophe faster than shit through a goose. There's no keeping on top of it all anymore. With this being the case, it's little wonder that we managed to miss the fact that a Canadian woman was charged with what amounts to witchcraft this past October.

From Vice:

This weekend police in Milton, a small town in Ontario, arrested 32-year-old Dorie Stevenson who was running a psychic business out of her basement. She was charged with extortion, fraud over $5,000 [$3,813 USD], and witchcraft/fortune telling. If you’re thinking, whoa, Canada has witchcraft laws? Well, the answer would be yes, but they’re probably not exactly what you think.

It's covered under section 365 in the Criminal Code under the title “pretending to practice witchcraft.” It focuses on anyone who “fraudulently” gets paid to tell fortunes, “pretends to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment, or conjuration,” or using their “skill in or knowledge of an occult or crafty science” to find where lost things are.

Stevenson was picked up by Halton Regional Police after it was discovered that she was running a business, selling psychic insights to folks out of her basement. That's fine: there's plenty of folks in Canada doing much the same. What the cops took exception with, after a months-long investigation, was the fact that Stevenson was preying on her customers while they were in a vulnerable state. According to the police, Stevenson was routinely telling her customers that she could foresee terrible things happening to them if they didn't bring her cash, jewelry and other expensive bobbles that would help her to divert their encroaching disaster. Many of Stevenson's victims were said to have believed that she would return the cash and merchandise once she was done with them. Nope: by the time the cops dinged her, Stevenson had milked $45,757 USD from her clients.
It could well be that the police caught Stevenson just under the wire. Last year, legislation was tabled by the Canadian government that would do away with some of the nation's more archaic laws, including the illegality of witchcraft and fortunetelling.

Image via Flickr, courtesy of Ervins Strauhmanis

Nov 22, 2018

Request for Participates in Research About Abuse Experiences in Group Settings

Invictus Research Group
We are professors at the University of Barcelona and the Autonomous University of Madrid. Our research group has been studying the phenomenon of cults for years. Currently, we are conducting a study about the abusive practices applied in these groups, and the consequences that their former members can suffer.

For that purpose, it is essential a thorough understanding of the experiences of people who have been members of this type of groups. Therefore, we ask you to answer and distribute the following online survey we are doing:

We would greatly appreciate that you answer and disseminate the survey for reaching as many former members as possible, so we can achieve significant results that will help to show the social relevance of this phenomenon. Once we reach an adequate number of participants, we will send you a report with the main results of the study.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any doubt or questions.

Thank you very much in advance.

Emma Antelo, Omar Saldaña, Álvaro Rodríguez,  Carmen Almendros (ICSA Board Member)
Invictus Research Group University of Barcelona and Autonomous University of Madrid

If you have any question or doubt about this questionnaire or about the study, do not hesitate to contact us:

Emma A.Faculty of Psychology, University of Barcelona, SpainEmail: invictusinvestigació 933125177

Nov 20, 2018

The C-word: what are we saying when we talk about cults?

 Aerial view of mass suicide at the Peoples Temple Cult at Jonestown, Guyana in 1978. Photograph: Bettmann/Bettmann Archive
All kinds of violent deeds have been perpetrated in the name of religion, from wars to witch-burnings to child sex abuse cover-ups. Why don’t we use the word cult more widely?
Laura Woollett
The Guardian
November 19, 2018

Most people have heard of Jonestown and Jim Jones, in some form. Even if the names don’t ring a bell, if you’ve ever seen a fictional depiction of a cult, certain details are likely to be familiar: jungle commune, poisoned fruit punch, paranoid preacher in sunglasses, dead bodies. Tellingly, fewer people have heard of Peoples Temple, the group best known for that 1978 mass murder-suicide of more than 900 of its members in the remote settlement of Jonestown, Guyana. Even fewer have an understanding of what Peoples Temple actually believed in.

“Drinking the Kool-Aid” is an idiom that derives from the Jonestown tragedy, commonly used to refer to blind obedience or belief in a flawed idea. Despite this, the fundamental belief of Peoples Temple was equality – hardly a kooky concept. Jonestown wasn’t supposed to be a place of death, but a place where members (the majority of whom were racial minorities) could live free of discrimination.

In 2015, I spent two months in the US researching Peoples Temple. I visited Richmond, Indiana, where Jim Jones met his wife, Marceline, in the 1950s, and where her grave is located. I visited 7700 East Road in Redwood Valley, California, where the Peoples Temple church constructed in the late 1960s still stands. I sat in kitchens and coffee shops, talking to people who had lost friends and family in Jonestown, and who could have easily been lost themselves. Some of these conversations continued months later, over email or Skype. Not one of them used the word “cult” in earnest.

“We weren’t a cult, we were a social movement,” one survivor made a point of telling me. “We were revolutionaries.”

Earlier, the same man had told me about his wife and child dying in his arms. He had told me of his contempt for Jim Jones, the man who ordered their deaths, and who had fostered an atmosphere of such fear and desperation that these orders seemed almost justifiable. He had told me also of his contempt for the current state of US politics, Trump’s racism, sexism and fear-mongering. As far as I could tell, he seemed like a reasonable person, albeit one who had lost a lot.

Originally, the word “cult” simply meant “to worship”. Deriving from the same root as “culture” and “cultivation”, it described rituals and offerings intended to cultivate the favour of gods, saints and other holy figures. The term later took on negative connotations, and by the mid-20th century was mostly associated with charlatans and violent or otherwise bizarre fringe groups.

Today, a cult might loosely be defined as any group exhibiting a combination of qualities including (but not limited to): a charismatic leader, mind-altering practices, sexual and economic control and exploitation of members, us-versus-them attitudes towards outsiders, and an ends-justify-the-means philosophy.

By this definition, it’s difficult to argue that Peoples Temple wasn’t a cult. After all, they had a leader who was notoriously charismatic and who exerted a disproportionate level of control over his congregation. Members were often overworked and overtired, their finances and sex lives regulated by leadership. Relationships with outsiders were generally discouraged, and Jones was known to sexually abuse both male and female followers. Meanwhile, an ends-justify-the-means line of thinking was employed to justify everything from faked healings to the ultimate massacre of more than 900 individuals.

Yet I can understand the impulse of Jonestown survivors, and others, to shy away from the “cult” label. It’s reductive, at best; dehumanising, at worst. “Cult is an expression reserved for those religions of which we disapprove,” states Rebecca Moore, a religious studies scholar who lost two sisters and a nephew in Jonestown. When headlines labelled the Jonestown dead “cultists” in the days immediately following the massacre, they relegated them to the sidelines of humanity.

This made it easier for the public to distance themselves from the tragedy and its victims, dismissing them as weak, gullible, unsuited to life and unworthy of postmortem respect. Bodies weren’t autopsied. Families were denied the timely return of their relatives’ remains. A thousand “don’t drink the Kool-Aid” jokes were launched.

Is the violence of the group’s demise, and our eagerness to distance ourselves from it, ultimately to blame for the persistence of the “cult” label? Certainly, we seldom hear of cults that don’t end catastrophically. Certainly, had Jonestown ended some other way – with Jim Jones dying of natural causes, for instance, and his followers leaving the group or carrying on without him – Peoples Temple would likely be remembered differently. As significant as the violence is, however, all kinds of violent deeds have been perpetrated in the name of religion, from wars to witch-burnings to child sex abuse cover-ups. Why isn’t the C-word applied, in these cases?

The association between “cult” and “cool” is a more recent phenomenon. We talk of cult films, cult bands, cult novels, the cult of fitness, Bitcoin and Justin Bieber. It seems that almost anything can be called a cult, provided it has a following – a trend that feels especially meta, given the contemporary craze for cult-related media. Popular true crime podcast My Favorite Murdereven went so far as to establish a “Fan Cult”, offering members exclusive content and matching T-shirts at a cost of $39.99 per annum.

It’s hard to know what to make of the cult craze. In some ways, it seems to be an extension of our enthusiasm for all things vintage – think “cult”, and you’ll likely think of long hair, folk blouses, a groovy soundtrack – combined with our enduring craving for sex and violence in media. Yet the appeal of stories about people adopting alternative lifestyles, often involving communal living and a return to nature, might be further explained by the frustrations of late-stage capitalist society and growing anxieties about climate change.

Whatever the explanation, I believe that the current popularity of cult stories presents an opportunity for these stories to be told differently – more sympathetically, with an emphasis on the humanity of followers rather than just the bloodshed and crazy-charismatic leaders. Because, ultimately, cult stories are human stories. They’re stories of community, the search for meaning and a better life. In such stories, we can all find a bit of ourselves.

Laura Woollett is the author of Beautiful Revolutionary (Scribe, $32.99)

Nov 17, 2018

CultNEWS101 Articles: 11/17-18/2018

UK Conference, Coercive Control, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, Colonia Dignidad, Chile, Ultra Orthodox,  Anti-vaccination, Aum Shinrikyo, Jehovah's Witnesses, Lev Tahor, Universal Medicine, NXIVM, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Charles Manson, Jim Jones, Tony Alamo, Yaweh Ben Yaweh

Sat 24 November 2018, 09:30 – 17:00 GMT
University of London
The theme of this conference is Shine A Light and will look at Coercive Control both within Sec 76 of the Serious Crime Act, 2015 as well as outside of the legislation which criminalizes it.
  • ​T​he Elderly and Coercive Control
  • Cultic Abuse and Coercive Control
  • Online Coercive Control
  • Post Separation Abuse   
"German lawmakers have proposed that former members of a Chilean cult established by an ex-Nazi in the 1960s be offered compensation by the German government, according to the parliamentary group of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives."

" ... The cult and the community that housed it, called Colonia Dignidad, was a secretive sect founded in 1961 by former World War II German army medic Paul Schaefer in the foothills of the Chilean Andes."

"Schaefer preached ultra-traditional values while sexually abusing and torturing dozens of youths. During the 1973 to 1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, the community also served as a detention and torture site for enemies of the state."

"Many of the Israelis affected by a recent measles outbreak have been ultra-Orthodox Jews. Although Israel has an overall vaccination rate exceeding 95 percent, in isolated communities within ultra-Orthodox society only half the children are vaccinated."

"... The health commissioner of Rockland County, N.Y., home to New Square and Monsey, two heavily ultra-Orthodox towns, has ordered unvaccinated kids to stay home from schools, and at least one Jewish school has barred “religious exemptions” as an excuse for not vaccinating."

"One Lakewood, N.J., synagogue told its members that “anyone who is not vaccinated, adults or children, may not enter the shul [synagogue] under any circumstances,” according to the Yeshiva World."
"A family squabble over the remains of Aum Shinrikyo founder Chizuo Matsumoto have kept them and his belongings in a prison for four months after his execution amid fears they could become objects of worship."

" ... When asked by a prison officer what he would like to be done with his body and possessions just before the execution, he named his fourth daughter as the recipient, according to the detention house."

"However, Matsumoto's wife and second and third daughters have filed a formal complaint with the Justice Ministry, saying it would have been impossible for Matsumoto 'to name a particular person as the receiver, given his mental state.'"

"The fourth daughter has expressed her intention to scatter her father's ashes and remaining bones into the Pacific Ocean so the items do not become objects of worship and the place of interment does not turn into a "holy site." She has also asked authorities for assistance with doing so, as she is concerned that followers might try to take possession of their guru's remains."

"A Jehovah’s Witness church elder was jailed for five years today for sexually assaulting a “terrified” schoolgirl while preaching door-to-door in the Brecon area in the 1970s."

"Brian Jenkins, 75, groped the girl during missionary work, at bible classes and at swimming lessons organised by the Jehovah’s Witness congregation."

"A court heard Jenkins took advantage of the religion’s ban on females wearing trousers to force his hand up the girl’s skirt."

"He sent her older brother to knock doors trapping the girl in the back seat of his car to molest her."
" ... As many in 100 officers are reported to have taken part in the raid, reportedly on [November 5th] evening, in an attempt to rescue children of a woman who was ex-communicated by the cult, but was previously attacked with knives, rocks and gunfire when she returned to try to rescue them."

"Sadly, the rescue mission was unsuccessful, as it appears that cult leaders had moved the children to a different location in advance of the raid at the cult’s barbed-wire surrounded compound."

"A "cult" leader who received $1.4 million from a dying devotee coached her on how to restrict her children's share of her fortune, warning that they represented an "attack" on the divine purpose of his work."
Key points:
  • Breast cancer victim Judith McIntyre gave $1.4 million to Universal Medicine leader before she died
  • Emails show the "cult's" leader advised her on her will, her diet, and dealings with her family
  • A NSW jury found last month that he "swindles cancer patients"

"Secretive, coercive and often magnetic, cult leaders are known to manipulate their followers’ minds."

"In PEOPLE’s True Crime Stories: Cults, read the ... tales of people lured into traps of abuse, manipulation and death, in the name of everything from religion to family. Through PEOPLE’s unparalleled crime reporting, take a look into the lives of those who followed controversial group leaders Charles Manson, Jim Jones, Tony Alamo, Yaweh Ben Yaweh and more."

"See how spiritual but violent teacher Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (as seen in Netflix’s Wild Wild Country) took over a sleepy Oregon town, and the ritualistic horrors that led to the fiery death of David Koresh and his 74 devotees."

News, Education, Intervention, Recovery to help families and friends understand and effectively respond to the complexity of a loved one's cult involvement. assists group members and their families make the sometimes difficult transition from coercion to renewed individual choice. news, links, resources. 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.

Nov 15, 2018

White supremacy can be addictive, and leaving it behind can be like kicking a drug habit.

White supremacy can be addictive, and leaving it behind can be like kicking a drug habit.
October 10, 2017

The 2016 election and the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this year have focused the attention of many on to the resurgence of far-right extremism and radicalization. In new research based on interviews with former white supremacists, Pete Simi, Kathleen Blee, Matthew DeMichele and Steven Windisch find that many of those involved in such movements consider themselves as having been “addicted” to white supremacism. They write that the totalizing lifestyle and extreme hatred-based identity associated with white supremacism may explain why former white supremacists feel they are addicts.

The tragic violence in Charlottesville, Virginia in August prompted many to ask questions about the resurgence of far-right extremism and how individuals become radicalized into these movements. Even before Charlottesville, the 2016 presidential election helped cast a spotlight on the “alt-right’s” efforts to rebrand white supremacy while appealing to a younger and more tech savvy generation. Far less attention, however, has been devoted to understanding what happens when people leave white supremacist hate groups and the challenges they may encounter.

Does leaving hate behind involve a recovery process that mimics what substance users and other types of addicts’ experience? Based on extensive life history interviews with 89 former US white supremacists, we find that a substantial portion of our interview subjects report a difficult time shaking their former thoughts, feelings, and bodily reactions, and, in many cases, come to think of themselves as being “addicted” to white supremacism.

On the one hand, conventional wisdom suggests white supremacists are entirely consumed by hatred where the prospect of change seems unlikely (“once a hater, always a hater”). In this sense, being addicted to hate might make sense. On the other hand, previous studies have noted the high burn-out rate among members of the white supremacist movement and the substantial retention efforts initiated by various groups to sustain participation. The question is not whether people can leave white supremacist hate groups as they clearly do, but, rather, what happens after they leave?

White supremacy has a long political, economic, and social history that permeates US institutions and culture. Our focus on the personal consequences of white supremacy is not an effort to reduce the problem to an individual pathology but rather highlight the deep-seated nature of white supremacy. But sociologists have been reluctant to study the addictive qualities related to identity formation and change and the social significance of hate.

Why would hate result in consequences so severe that former white supremacists use the term addiction to describe their struggles? In truth, we are only beginning to learn about the neurocognitive dynamics related to involuntary and unwanted aspects of a past identity. We think two factors are especially important for understanding what generates these addiction-like qualities among former white supremacists.

First, white supremacy involves a totalizing, all-encompassing lifestyle that typically dominates everything from their thoughts, feelings, and relationships to their selection of television shows, music and even food they consume. In short, becoming a white supremacist is a complete identity transformation similar to what has previously been described in relation to drug and alcohol addiction.

Second, extreme hatred is characterized by rigid boundaries of “us” and “them” and various types of dehumanization. Identities, like white supremacism, that involve extreme hatred related to group-based prejudices, are likely to produce long-term neurophysiological consequences.

The routinized and insular nature of white supremacy along with the focus on extreme hatred produces an identity that may be much harder to leave behind than previously thought. In this sense, disengagement is not really the end of that identity as a whole other layer of unwanted and involuntary thoughts, feelings, bodily reactions, and behaviors may persist and continue to shape the person’s life.

Yet, the persistence of hate is not inevitable. The formers we interviewed also devised extensive self-talk strategies to respond to the sudden resurfacing of their previous identity as a white supremacist. Self-talk is part of a larger process of learning new ways to act by reminding themselves that their past need not be their current or future self.
Self-talk represents an internal dialogue and allows formers to suppress manifestations of a self they no longer embrace. Instances of self-talk may contribute to a person’s sense of self efficacy by cumulatively demonstrating their ability to initiate change.

While we do not endorse the idea, “once a hater, always a hater,” there may be shreds of truth in this statement in that any kind of powerful identity will leave traces on the remainder of a person’s life. The point is not that change is impossible but rather transformation is rarely complete and past identities linger while continuing to shape future selves. It is much better for individuals to understand how these past identities may continue to shape their lives rather than remain oblivious and unaware of these influences.

This article is based on the paper, ‘Addicted to Hate: Identity Residual among Former White Supremacists’ in the American Sociological Review.

About the authors

Kathleen Blee – University of Pittsburgh
Kathleen Blee is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. She has written extensively about organized white supremacism, including Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate Movement and Women in the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s, as well as methodological approaches and the politics and ethics of studying racist hate groups and strategies for combatting racial hate.

Matthew DeMichele – Research Triangle Institute

Matthew DeMichele is a Senior Research Sociologist at the Research Triangle Institute, where he conducts research on correctional population trends, risk prediction, criminal behavior, community corrections, terrorism/extremism, and program evaluation. He is currently leading research projects for federal and local governments, and for private foundations. DeMichele has several technical reports and policy briefs as well as publications appearing in Crime and Delinquency, Theoretical Criminology, and Criminology and Public Policy.

Pete Simi – Chapman University

Pete Simi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Director of the Earl Babbie Research Center at Chapman University. He has published widely on the issues of political violence, social movements, and street gangs.

Steven Windisch – University of Nebraska Omaha

Steven Windisch is a 3rd year doctoral student in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska Omaha. His research interests include domestic terrorism, extremist radicalization, violence, street gangs, collective behavior, social movements and qualitative research methods.

Is There A Cure For Hate?

Taly Kogon and her son Leo, 10, listen to speakers during an interfaith vigil against anti-Semitism and hate at the Holocaust Memorial late last month in Miami Beach, Fla.
Taly Kogon and her son Leo, 10, listen to speakers
during an interfaith vigil against anti-Semitism
and hate at the Holocaust Memorial late last month in Miami Beach, Fla.

November 6, 2018

For months prior to the recent shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, suspect Robert Bowers spewed venomous bigotry, hatred and conspiracies online, especially against Jews and immigrants. During the Oct. 27 attack, according to a federal indictment, he said he wanted "to kill Jews."

He is charged with 44 counts — including hate crimes — for the murder of 11 people and wounding of six others at the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue.

The attack follows a spike in anti-Semitic incidents, concerns about the rise in domestic extremism and calls for politicians to rethink their anti-immigrant rhetoric.

We wanted to know what programs, if any, are effective in getting violent and violence-prone far-right extremists in America to cast aside their racist beliefs and abandon their hate-filled ways.

Here are five key takeaways:

1) Neglected, minimized and underfunded

Creating and expanding effective programs to get homegrown far-right racists to find the off-ramp from hate is, overall, an under-studied, underfunded and neglected area.
White supremacy is really a problem throughout the United States. It doesn't know any geographic boundaries. It's not isolated to either urban or rural or suburban — it cuts across all. - Pete Simi, Chapman University
"We haven't wanted to acknowledge that we have a problem with violent right-wing extremism in this kind of domestic terrorism," says sociologist Pete Simi of Chapman University, who has researched and consulted on violent white nationalists and other hate groups for more than two decades.

"White supremacy is really a problem throughout the United States," he says. "It doesn't know any geographic boundaries. It's not isolated to either urban or rural or suburban — it cuts across all."

But it's a problem and topic that America has "tended to hide or minimize," he adds.

That willful denial, Simi says, has left many nonprofits, social workers and police and other interventionists largely flying blind.

"There really haven't been much resources, attention, time, energy devoted to developing efforts to counter that form of violent extremism."

In fact, the Trump administration in 2017 rescinded funding that targeted domestic extremism.

The administration, instead, has focused almost exclusively on threats from Islamist extremists and what it sees as the security and social menace of undocumented immigrants including, again, whipping up anti-immigrant sentiment ahead of the midterm elections.

2) There's no consensus on what really works

The research done so far shows that adherence to white supremacist beliefs can be addictive. Some who try to leave can "relapse" and return to the hate fold.

But Simi says, "We're really very much in the early days."

And there is no consensus yet on what works best over the long haul.

Academically, there has been more attention and research on interventions with American gang members or would-be Jihadis.

And while there is some crossover, far-right hate comes with ideological baggage often absent in gangs and is different from the religion-infused Jihadi belief system.

3) Best practices are costly and labor-intensive

Can racist radicals and homegrown right-wing violent extremists successfully be rehabilitated and re-enter civil society?

"The answer to that question is absolutely 'yes,' " Simi says.

The groups with the best approach, he says, seem to be those that partner with a broad section of civil society — educators, social workers, those in health care and police — to tackle the full range of problems someone swept up into an extremist world might face.

They may need additional schooling or employment training, he says or "maybe they have some housing needs, maybe they have some unmet mental health needs," such as past trauma or substance use problems.

It's a more holistic approach that he says, in the end, is far more effective and less costly than prison and packing more people into the already overcrowded U.S. criminal justice system.

But that "wraparound services" model is also labor-intensive, expensive and hard to coordinate.

It's also severely hampered, Simi says, by America's woefully inadequate drug treatment and mental health care systems.

"A big, big problem that we face as a society is abdicating our responsibility in terms of providing this kind of social support and social safety net for individuals that suffer from mental health," as well as drug problems, he says.

4) Life after hate

Tony McAleer knows the mindset of the suspect in the synagogue shooting.

A former member of the White Aryan Resistance and other hate groups, he once echoed the type of racist invective Bowers spewed online; the kind that sees a cabal of malevolent Jews running the world by proxy through banks, Hollywood, corporations and the media.

I think of them as lost...And I can tell you being in that place is not a fun place to be. When you surround yourself with angry and negative people I guarantee you your life is not firing on all cylinders. - Tony McAleer, Life After Hate

And McAleer knows how savvy racist recruiters can be. He was one of them.

"I was a Holocaust denier. I ran a computer-operated voicemail system that was primarily anti-Semitic," he says.

He eventually renounced his bigotry and helped co-found the nonprofit Life After Hate, one of just a handful of groups working to help right-wing extremists find an off-ramp. It also was among those that lost funding — a $400,000 Obama-era federal grant — when the Trump administration changed focus.

In McAleer's experience, adherence to racist beliefs — whether as part of a group or as a lone wolf like the synagogue suspect — is more often sparked by a flawed search for identity and purpose than by a deeply held belief.

The group doesn't attack people's ideology verbally. He calls that approach "the wrong strategy. Because it's about identity."

The best method, he believes, is simply listening and trying to reconnect to the person's buried humanity.

McAleer says he tries to get at what's motivating the hate, to find out why people are really so angry and upset to begin with, and to start the dialogue from there.

You condemn the ideology and the actions, he says, but not the human being.

"I think of them as lost. Somewhere along the line, they find themselves in this place," says McAleer, "and I can tell you being in that place is not a fun place to be. When you surround yourself with angry and negative people, I guarantee you your life is not firing on all cylinders."

He says that's the way he felt. "I was just so disconnected from my heart."

The birth of his children and compassion from a Jewish man, he says, helped him to leave that life and to reconnect with his own humanity and that of others.

People often have never met the people that they purport to hate, he says.

"And there's nothing more powerful — I know because it happened to me in my own life — than receiving compassion from someone who you don't feel you deserve it from, someone from a community that you had dehumanized."

5) How do you scale compassion?

But there are only a few programs like Life After Hate.

And they're often small. Since the summer of 2017, for example, the Chicago-based group has taken on only 41 new people who want to leave their racist hate behind.

"Keep in mind, de-radicalization is a lifelong process," says Life After Hate's Dimitrios Kalantzis. "We consider it a major success when formers remain active in our network, even if that means checking in within our online support group. That means they are engaged and unlikely to relapse."

But is inspiring compassion really scalable, and how can groups more effectively structure and organize similar efforts?

How can researchers and others scale it to reach as large a number of people as possible?

"That's the answer I can't provide because at this point, we really don't know," sociologist Pete Simi says.

Nov 14, 2018

Jehovah's Witnesses Recount Stories of Abuse, Estrangement in Leah Remini-Hosted Special

Scientology and the Aftermath's
Katie Kilkenny
Hollywood Reporter
November 13, 3018

In a special preceding 'Scientology and the Aftermath's' third season, Remini gathered ex-members to discuss their experiences with the church on issues including blood transfusions, justice and women's rights.

Leah Remini kicked off the third season of her A&E series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath on Tuesday night with a deep-dive, two-hour special on the Christian denomination Jehovah's Witnesses.

On Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath: The Jehovah's Witnesses, Remini led a panel of ex-Jehovah's Witnesses as they explained some of the church's most controversial positions and practices: its belief in Armageddon, disavowal of blood transfusions, disfellowships and subjugation of women.

As Remini explained at the beginning, the special stemmed from letters and social-media messages the production received, asking it to look into the denomination. "I thought Jehovah's Witnesses were just nice people knocking on doors," Remini said. But "We have received many letters, [saying], 'Please look into the Jehovah's Witnesses'" and making the connection between Scientology and Jehovah's Witnesses, she noted.

"Take Scientology, add eight million members, and you've got Jehovah's Witnesses," Lloyd Evans, a former member of the church and author of a book called The Reluctant Apostate, told her.

Jehovah's Witnesses emerged from the International Bible Students Association in the 19th century but was officially given its current name in 1931. Believers differ from other forms of Christianity in denying the the Trinitarian belief that Jesus is divine, instead acknowledging him only as the son of God. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Armageddon is coming, and when it does, non-Witnesses (or "worldly" people) will go to Hell and God's Kingdom will be established on earth with only Jehovah's Witnesses populating it. They do not celebrate holidays or birthdays and also famously oppose blood transfusions on grounds of faith.

The church has recently weathered accusations that it helped cover up accusations of child sexual abuse and other misconduct worldwide.

In an early discussion on Armageddon during the special, one man noted that his beliefs stopped him from being friends with "worldly" children, as he believed that those could imminently die once Armageddon came. Another, Nate Quarry, said, "As long as you can understand words, you're being told Armageddon is coming … I had the most horrific nightmares for at least 10 years after leaving the organization."

Believing that those Jehovah's Witnesses who stray from scripture also will not survive Armageddon, followers police each other, panelists said. One means of doing this is "disfellowshipping," or shunning church members who have disobeyed rules that range from adultery to smoking a cigarette; family, friends and church members avoid contact with those who have been disfellowshipped.

Quarry and panelist Sharon Follis noted that they had been disfellowshipped for dating "worldly" partners. Another panelist, Cliff Henderson, was disfellowshipped for having a relationship with a woman while he was depressed. After, he says he made "desperate" attempts to re-contact his family, including showing up at his brother's wedding, where his father rebuffed him. When his mother saw him, she started crying but didn't say a word: "I have to accept that I may never have a relationship with them again, and that hurts," Henderson said.

"The basis of this organization is conditional love," Quarry noted.

The panelists lingered on the topic of suicide, which is forbidden in the church but had touched many of their lives. Panelist Jerry Minor attempted to commit suicide because he thought he was too flawed to survive Armageddon; the mother of another panelist, Shannon Rowland, took her own life after experiencing a long period of depression. Panelists Rick and Sharon Follis, who are siblings, noted that they only reunited with their parents after having left the church at the funeral of a brother who also committed suicide.

The last quarter of the special touched on hot topics that have pervaded news coverage of Jehovah's Witnesses in recent years. The Witnesses' position on blood transfusions — that they are forbidden by scripture — led to the death of Rowland's brother, she says, before he was about to get married. "Imagine finding out the one medical thing you cannot do is what your loved one needs," Rowland said. One panelist noted that a Jehovah's Witnesses publication, Awake!magazine, once published a list of "youths who put God first" by dying instead of accepting a blood transfusion.

The church also believes that women should live in subjection to men, using such fictional justifications as their brains are 10 percent smaller and that their skulls are lighter than men's. The only grounds for divorce within the church is adultery, which, three of the female panelists said, led them to be entrapped in marriages with abusive husbands.

One, Cynthia Hampton, reported the alleged abuse to church elders, only to be told to be more submissive and stop "nagging" her husband. Only when she was able to prove he smoked — forbidden by the church — was she able to separate from him.

Rubio described giving her daughter up for adoption to a congregation member when she was disfellowshipped for getting a secular divorce. "I felt I couldn't let her suffer the consequences of my sins," Rubio said. But her daughter, Mikaysha Soto, who was also on the panel, said that the night she was officially adopted, her adoptive father began molesting her.

The special's final discussion, on the topic of child abuse, especially homed in on the church's "two-witness" rule, which does not allow members to punish a crime unless two people have witnessed it (which is naturally rare in cases of child abuse). Followers are strongly encouraged to handle judicial matters within the church, and pedophiles can be forgiven if they say they're sorry, one panelist noted. Soto was eventually able to prosecute her alleged abuser because a 9-year-old friend of hers said she was also being abused by the man, satisfying the two-witness rule.

At the end of the special, Evans noted, "As a Jehovah's Witness you're taught to look forward to paradise. But you never realize that the paradise is being able to think for yourself." The final sequences showed panelists estranged from family members who are still within the church telling them what they wish they could say in person.

Season three of Scientology and the Aftermath will examine the church's tax-exempt status and vast resources that enable its organization. The series will return Nov. 27 at 9 p.m. on A&E, with eight new episodes and four specials.

Jonestown survivors lost only life they knew, built new ones

November 14, 2018

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Jonestown was the highlight of Mike Touchette’s life — for a time.

The 21-year-old Indiana native felt pride pioneering in the distant jungle of Guyana, South America. As a self-taught bulldozer operator, he worked alongside other Peoples Temple members in the humid heat, his blade carving roads and sites for wooden buildings with metal roofs. More than 900 people lived in the agricultural mission, with its dining pavilion, tidy cottages, school, medical facilities and rows of crops.

“We built a community out of nothing in four years,” recalled Touchette, now a 65-year-old grandfather who has worked for a Miami hydraulics company for nearly 30 years. “Being in Jonestown before Jim got there was the best thing in my life.”

Jim was the Rev. Jim Jones — charismatic, volatile and ultimately evil. It was he who dreamed up Jonestown, he who willed it into being, and he who brought it down: First, with the assassination of U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan and four others by temple members on a nearby airstrip on Nov. 18, 1978, then with the mass murders and suicides of hundreds, a horror that remains nearly unimaginable 40 years later.

But some lived. Dozens of members in Guyana slipped out of Jonestown or happened to be away that day. Plunged into a new world, those raised in the temple or who joined as teens lost the only life they knew: church, jobs, housing — and most of all, family and friends.

Over four decades, as they have built new lives, they have struggled with grief and the feeling that they were pariahs. Some have come to acknowledge that they helped enable Jim Jones to seize control over people drawn to his interracial church, socialist preaching and religious hucksterism.

With their lives, the story of Jonestown continues, even now.


Jordan Vilchez’s parents were Berkeley progressives in the 1960s — her father African-American, her mother Scotch-Irish. They divorced when Jordan was 6.

When a friend invited her family to Peoples Temple’s wine country church, they were impressed by the integrated community. And when her 23-year-old sister joined, Jordan went to live with her at age 12.

“The temple really became my family,” she said.

Devotion to its ideals bolstered her self-worth. At 16, she was put on the Planning Commission where the meetings were a strange mix of church business, sex talk — and adulation for Jones. “What we were calling the cause really was Jim,” she said.

Instead of finishing high school, Vilchez moved to San Francisco, where she lived in the church. Then, after a 1977 New West magazine expose of temple disciplinary beatings and other abuses, she was sent to Jonestown.

Grueling field work was not to her liking. Neither were the White Nights where everyone stayed up, armed with machetes to fight enemies who never arrived.

Vilchez was dispatched to the Guyanan capital of Georgetown to raise money. On Nov. 18 she was at the temple house when a fanatical Jones aide received a dire radio message from Jonestown. The murders and suicides were unfolding, 150 miles away.

“She gives us the order that were supposed to kill ourselves,” Vilchez recalled.

Within minutes, the aide and her three children lay dead in a bloody bathroom, their throats slit.

For years, Vilchez was ashamed of the part he played in an idealistic group that imploded so terribly. “Everyone participated in it and because of that, it went as far as it did,” she said.

Vilchez worked as office manager at a private crime lab for 20 years and now, at 61, sells her artwork.

This past year, she returned to long-overgrown Jonestown. Where the machine shop once stood, there was only rusty equipment. And she could only sense the site of the pavilion, the once-vibrant center of Jonestown life where so many died — including her two sisters and two nephews.

“When I left at 21, I left a part of myself there,” she said. “I was going back to retrieve that young person and also to say goodbye.”


Though he waved and smiled at Peoples Temple services, seemingly enraptured like the rest, Stephan Gandhi Jones says he always had his doubts.

“This is really crazy,” he recalls thinking.

But Stephan was the biological son of Jim and Marceline Jones. And the temple was his life — first in Indiana, later in California.

“So much was attractive and unique that we turned a blind eye on what was wrong,” he said, including his father’s sexual excesses, drug abuse and rants.

As a San Francisco high school student, he was dispatched to help build Jonestown. It would become a little town where people of all ages and colors raised food and children.

Stephan helped erect a basketball court and form a team. In the days before Ryan’s fact-finding mission to the settlement, the players were in Georgetown for a tourney with the Guyana national teams.

Rebelling, they refused Jones’ order to come back. Stephan believed he was too cowardly to follow through with the oft-threatened “revolutionary suicide.”

But after temple gunmen killed the congressman, three newsmen and a church defector on the Port Kaituma airstrip, Jones ordered a poisoned grape-flavored drink administered to children first. That way no one else would want to live.

Stephan Jones and some other team members believe they might have changed history if they were there. “The reality was we were folks who could be counted on to stand up,” he said. “There is no way we would be shooting at the airstrip. That’s what triggered it.”

He went through years of nightmares, mourning and shame. To cope, he says he abused drugs and exercised obsessively. “I focused my rage on Dad and his circle, rather than deal with me,” he said.

More than 300 Jonestown victims were children. Now, Stephan Jones is father of three daughters, ages 16, 25 and 29, and works in the office furniture installation business.

He says his daughters have seen him gnash his teeth when he talks about his father, but they also have heard him speak lovingly of the man who taught him compassion and other virtues.

“People ask, ‘How can you ever be proud of your father?’” he said. “I just have to love him and forgive him.”


Eugene Smith recalls how his mother, a churchgoing African-American, bought into Jim Jones’ dream after they attended a service in Fresno. She gave her house to the Peoples Temple and they moved to San Francisco.

He was 18 and running a temple construction crew when the church sanctioned his marriage to a talented 16-year-old singer, Ollie Wideman. After Ollie became pregnant, she was sent to Jonestown; Eugene remained behind.

When Smith reunited with his mother and wife in Jonestown, Ollie was 8½ months pregnant.

The reunion with Jones was not as joyous. Jones berated three other new arrivals for misbehavior on the trip; they were beaten and forced to work 24 hours straight.

“He made a promise — once we get to Jonestown there is no corporal punishment,” Smith said. “In an hour, that promise was broken.”

Life became more tolerable after the couple’s baby, Martin Luther Smith, was born. Ollie worked in the nursery, and Eugene felled trees. But he said his discontent festered.

When he was ordered to Georgetown to help with supply shipments, Smith said he concocted an escape plan: Ollie and other temple singers and dancers, he believed, would soon be sent to Georgetown to perform, and the family would flee to the U.S. Embassy.

But the entertainers stayed in Jonestown to entertain Ryan. And Smith’s wife, son and mother died.

“All I could do is weep,” he said.

After more than 22 years at California’s transportation department, Smith retired in 2015. He’s 61 now. He’s never remarried, and Martin Luther Smith was his only child.


When John Cobb was born in 1960 in a black section of Indianapolis, his mother and older siblings already were temple members. But in 1973, John’s oldest brother and a sister, along with six other California college students, quit the church and became its enemies. When the prodigals visited, the Cobbs kept it secret from Jones.

John was attending a San Francisco high school when he was allowed to join his best friends in Jonestown. There, as part of Jones’ personal security detail, Cobb saw the once captivating minister strung out on drugs, afraid to venture anywhere for fear of his legal problems.

“If anything, we felt pity for him,” he said, “and it grew into a dislike, maybe hate.”

He too was a member of the basketball team. His biggest regrets revolve around the team’s refusal to return to Jonestown. “I believe 100 percent that not everyone would have been dead,” he said.

Cobb lost 11 relatives that day, including his mother, youngest brother and four sisters.

Now 58, he owns a modular office furniture business in the East Bay and is married with a daughter. 29. One day, when she was in high school, she came home and told her parents that her religion class had discussed Peoples Temple; only then did her father share the story of how his family was nearly wiped out.

She wept.


The Joneses adopted a black baby in Indiana in 1960, and Jim gave the 10-week-old infant his own name. “Little Jimmy” became part of their “Rainbow Family” of white, black, Korean-American and Native American children.

In California, he was steeped in temple life. Those who broke rules were disciplined. At first it was spanking of children. Then it was boxing matches for adults.

“To me the ends justified the means,” he said. “We were trying to build a new world, a progressive socialist organization.”

The church provided free drug rehabilitation, medical care, food. It marched for four jailed Fresno newsmen. When Jim Sr., a local Democratic Party darling, met with future first lady Rosalyn Carter, Jim Jr. proudly went along.

After the temple exodus to Guyana, he was given a public relations post in Georgetown — and was part of the basketball team.

He was summoned to the temple radio room. In code, his father told him everyone was going to die in “revolutionary suicide.”

“I argued with my Dad,” he said. “I said there must be another way.”

Jim Jr. would lose 15 immediate relatives in Jonestown, including his pregnant wife, Yvette Muldrow.

In the aftermath, he built a new life. He remarried three decades ago, and he and his wife Erin raised three sons. He converted to Catholicism and registered Republican. He built a long career in health care, while weathering his own serious health problems.

Of course, even if he wanted to forget Jonestown, his name was an ever-present reminder.

He has taken a lead role in a 40th Jonestown anniversary memorial to be held Sunday at Oakland’s Evergreen Cemetery, where remains of unclaimed and unidentified victims are buried. Four granite slabs are etched with names of the 918 people who died in Guyana— including James Warren Jones, which deeply offends some whose relatives perished.

“Like everyone else, he died there,” his son said. “I’m not saying he didn’t cause it, create it. He did.”


Tim Reiterman, AP environment team editor, covered Jonestown for the San Francisco Examiner and was wounded when temple members fired on Rep. Leo Ryan’s party in 1978. He is the author with the late John Jacobs of “Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People.”

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Nov 13, 2018

Bizarre Korean cult leader jets into Harare

Mandla Ndlovu
November 13, 2018

Hak Ja Moon, the Leader of a Korean cult, The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, is landing at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on the 21st of November to advance her bizarre beliefs that have drawn worldwide condemnation over the years.

Hak is coming under the guise of healing the wounds of the past and to support the Zimbabwean government's endeavours for peace and reconciliation.

The Moon cult has lined up music heavyweights such as Oliver Mtukudzi, Mathias Mhere, Minister Mahendere and Hope Masike among others to offer entertainment during the event which they have dubbed; Peace and Family Festival.
In Zimbabwe, the movement is led by Reverand Bosako Iyolangomo.

Pastor Scotch from Christ the Saviour Ministries spoke to Bulawayo24 and said,"This is very worrying that a time when we are supposed to seek the face of the one true God, we are seeing our country being invaded by strange people of bizarre beliefs. This woman and her late husband have all over the years taught a strange doctrine about our Lord Jesus Christ and they claim they are the physical parents of all humanity. 

"If our government allows this woman to come and preach her doctrine and cement it in Zimbabwe using her money that she is flashing around, we are bound to see God reacting by deserting our country. 

"I am even shocked at how this woman got seriously known Christians like Minister Mahendere and Mathias Mhere to be part of her event. 

Hak is the second wife of Sun Myung Moon the late Founder of the Unification Movement.

The Unification movement believes that God s original intent was for Jesus to form a perfect marriage in order to redeem humanity and undo the harm perpetrated by Adam and Eve.

Because Jesus (the second Adam) was executed before accomplishing his mission, a third Adam was needed to form this perfect marriage and complete Jesus'  task. This third Adam would be recognized as the second coming of Christ. As the perfect man, he would marry the perfect woman and become the true spiritual parents of humankind. 

Members of the Unification Church regard Moon and his second wife, Hak Ja Moon, as these True Parents. Married couples and their families within the movement are regarded as the True Children and linked to God through the True Parents.