Sep 14, 2019

CultNEWS101 Articles: 9/13/2019

Falun Gong,  Word of Life Church, Meditation app Headspace,  Hope for Wholeness, Conversion Therapy, LGBT  

Business Insider: Inside Dragon Springs, the high-security compound in upstate New York that's home to a 'cult' tyrannized by China
"About 100 people are said to be living in a 400-acre property in upstate New York, in the shadow of the Shawangunk Mountains. It's meant to be a mecca for the estimated tens of millions of Falun Gong followers, members of a religious and political group persecuted in China, which calls the group a "cult."

Inside Dragon Springs, according to sources who spoke to NBC News, internet access is restricted, medicine is barely used, and relationships are often arranged. David Ownby, a history professor at the University of Montreal who studied Falun Gong, also calls it a cult and says it exists because of China's efforts to keep traditional religions weak.

For years, nearby towns like Deer Park have been trying to rein in the compound. But Falun Gong leaders want to expand it even more. It wants to build a 920-seat music hall, a new parking garage, a wastewater treatment plant, and turn a meditation hall into a residence hall. If allowed, the compound would go from housing 100 people to 500."
"The grainy emergency room surveillance video shows an unconscious and bleeding Lucas Leonard being wheeled on a stretcher while EMS workers tried to keep him alive.

Some hours earlier on October 11, 2015, he and his brother, Christopher, were confronted by three family members and six other parishioners in the sanctuary of Word of Life Church in Oneida County. Their so-called "counseling session" grew more violent and deadly over the course of 14 hours.

The boy's half-sister, Sarah Ferguson, was convicted of second-degree murder for her role in the attack. In New York's appellate court in Rochester on Wednesday, she argued her conviction and 25-year sentence are too harsh.

"As soon as she saw the blood, she stopped the whipping, so I would argue the whipping was a reckless act (not intentional)," said her attorney, Peter DiGiorgio.

The case exposed the cult-like activities of the church. Ferguson was the only defendant to go to trial. Eight others, including the parents of the boys, pleaded guilty.

During the counseling session, the brothers were first beaten around their stomachs with an electrical cord. After their father dealt them blows, he handed the cord to Ferguson.

The location and intensity of the blows changed.

"Sarah Ferguson was aiming repeated blows - maybe 50 blows - at his groin," said Susan Ashline."
" ... In 2005 Andy [Puddicombe] returned to the UK to set up a meditation business, but it still wasn't a widely-appreciated practice in his home country at the time.

"Some people were put off by the language behind meditation, or saw it as a bit of a hippy thing to do," he says. "It was quite inaccessible. People didn't have time for it, or know how to do it."

Setting up his own small private practice in London, Andy taught burnt out professionals how to use meditation to help them in their daily lives.

Today he and his co-founder Richard Pierson, 38, run popular meditation app Headspace, which has been downloaded more than 54 million times around the world, and has annual revenues said to be more than $100m (£82m)."
"The founder of one of the nation's largest conversion therapy programs has announced that he's gay — and disavowed the "harmful" practice.

McKrae Game, who led the faith-based conversion therapy group Hope for Wholeness in South Carolina for nearly two decades, came out of the closet this summer at 51, The Post and Courier reported Saturday.

"Conversion therapy is not just a lie, but it's very harmful," Game told paper. "Because it's false advertising."

The revelation came two years after Game was abruptly fired from Hope for Wholeness.

In the interview, the former crusader called for the dissolution of conversion therapy groups.

The widely discredited practice, which is intended to suppress or change a person's sexuality through counseling or religion, is currently banned in 18 states, including New York."

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