Sep 14, 2019

CultNEWS101 Articles: 9/14-15/2019

Transcendental Meditation, Prosperity Gospel, Benny Hinn Ministries, Imperial Valley Ministries,  Trafficking,  Taborites, Communists
"According to the Repository, Marshall "Marsh" Belden was "known for his charitable efforts in Stark County and restoration and development projects in downtown Canton." But the tax filings of the charitable foundation run by Belden and two other trustees reveal that he had other, evidently more important funding priorities beyond his local area.

Most of the funding history of Belden's foundation, The Olive Branch Foundation, is available online via this database. It shows that of over 6 million dollars donated by that foundation between 1999 and 2016, about 4.8 million dollars went to various organizations connected with Transcendental Meditation. The largest portion of that, about $2.5 million, went to the Maharishi Global Development Fund (MGDF) and its successor, the Brahmananda Saraswati Foundation (BSF). Both of those organizations primarily fund the movement's activities in India managed by Maharishi's nephew, Girish Varma, which include a chain of secondary schools and a gathering of "vedic pandits," that are sometimes called, by them, "peace-creating experts."Their task is to continuously chant portions of Vedic scripture and hymns in hopes that that activity will help to bring about world peace."

" ... TM proponents say that very few people have had any negative experiences practicing TM, and that those who did most likely had preexisting conditions that precipitated the problems they associated with TM. It wasn't difficult for me to find dozens of people who claim they were severely damaged by their TM practice. Some of them sued TM and the TM organization chose to pay large settlements rather than face them in court. In my book Transcendental Deception I recount some of their stories in a chapter on TM casualties."
All that yogic flying in the domes at Maharishi University, that's supposed to create the magical "Maharishi Effect," has no effect on infectious disease rates.

Four counties named are within 40 miles or so of Fairfield, Iowa, one, Henry County is adjacent to Fairfield, Iowa.

"Prominent televangelist Benny Hinn has captured headlines over the past week for seemingly renouncing the prosperity gospel on which he built his ministry.

"I'm sorry to say that prosperity has gone a little crazy, and I'm correcting my own theology," Hinn said in a recent "Your Love World" broadcast shared Sept. 2 on the Benny Hinn Ministries Facebook page and YouTube channel, "because when I read the Bible now I don't see the Bible in the same eyes I saw the Bible 20 years ago."

But some have questioned whether the announcement is the about-face it has been presented as, pointing to similar statements Hinn made more than a year ago."

CHRISTIANITY TODAY: Benny Hinn Renounces His Selling of God's Blessings. Critics Want More.
"Benny Hinn says he is done with the prosperity gospel. But longtime observers are not ready to take his word on faith.

Hinn has been a leading proponent of prosperity gospel theology since the 1980s, teaching that God rewards active faith with health and wealth. But on September 2, during his 3-hour, 50-minute weekly broadcast, Hinn said he had changed.

"I am correcting my own theology and you need to all know it," the televangelist told his studio audience and those watching online. "The blessings of God are not for sale. And miracles are not for sale. And prosperity is not for sale."

Hinn said he now believes such give-to-get theology is offensive to God. He specifically repudiated the practice of asking for "seed money," where televangelists tell people that God will bless them if they give a specific dollar amount. Hinn himself has done this numerous times, promising God will give material blessings in exchange for a gift of $1,000. On Monday, he said he wouldn't do it anymore.

"I think giving has become such a gimmick," Hinn said. "It's making me sick to my stomach. And I've been sick for a while too. I just couldn't say it. And now the lid is off. I've had it. You know why? I don't want to get to heaven and be rebuked."

Some of the Christians who have watched him closest, however, viewed the apparent renunciation with skepticism. While they want to be open to the possibility of true repentance, and say God could have changed Hinn's heart, they are waiting for some evidence of his transformation."

"Inside a beige bungalow in California's Imperial Valley with a well-trimmed lawn and beds of pink flowers, the 17-year-old girl felt imprisoned. The doors were locked from the inside. The windows were nailed shut.

Like the other homeless and vulnerable people who came to Imperial Valley Ministries seeking shelter, food and rehab, the teenager was not allowed to leave without supervision, was not allowed to contact her family, to "discuss things of the world" or read any book but the Bible, according to federal prosecutors. Those who lived in the church's group homes had to turn over their money and welfare benefits, their identification and all of their personal belongings, so that even if they wanted to leave, they couldn't, prosecutors said.

Then, once they settled in, they were allegedly forced to panhandle up to nine hours a day for six days a week in parking lots and on street corners — turning over every penny to the church.

Finally the 17-year-old had enough: She busted through the locked window to escape, bleeding from the shards of glass, and ran to a neighbor to call the police.

Now, after her outcry helped propel an FBI investigation, the girl's alleged captors — Imperial Valley Ministry's religious leaders — were charged Tuesday with forced labor for allegedly luring in dozens of victims under false pretenses only to lock them inside group homes and compel them to panhandle for the church's profit. Prosecutors also say a dozen ministry leaders defrauded taxpayers by taking guests' welfare benefits. The victims gave the church permission to take up to 40 percent of their benefits to go toward their expenses. Instead, prosecutors say, IVM took everything.

U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer, of the Southern District of California, called it the "most significant labor trafficking prosecution" in his district in years."  

"Six centuries ago in Bohemia, a dissenter army led by a one-eyed warrior waged war on the Holy Roman Empire. Tom Holland tells the story of the Taborites, whose creed was to reject money, property… and the Antichrist

There had never been anywhere quite like it. The castle, perched on a spit of rock above the Lužnice river, had been abandoned decades before, and the blackened ruins of the settlement that had once surrounded it were choked by weeds. The rubble had to be cleared, and a new town built from scratch. There was an urgent need of fortifications. The nights were bitterly cold. Yet still the refugees came. All through March 1420, they made the trek, drawn from every class of society, from every corner of Bohemia (a kingdom that's now part of the Czech Republic). By the end of the month, camped out amid tents and half-built perimeter walls, there were women with their children, in flight from burning villages; tavern-keepers from Prague and peasants armed with flails; knights, clerics, labourers and vagrants.All shared in the common danger – and all shared a common status. Every man was called brother, and every woman sister. There were no hierarchies, no wages, no taxes. New arrivals were obliged to hand over their possessions, which were shared out according to need. Private property was illegal. All debts were forgiven. The poor, it seemed, had inherited the earth.

The town, the first ever to be founded on quasi-communist principles, was called Tabor by its inhabitants. The name broadcast a defiant message to its enemies. In the Bible, it was recorded that Jesus had climbed a mountain to pray. "And as he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning." The site of this miracle had long been identified by scholars with a mountain in Galilee: Tabor. The radiance of the divine had suffused its summit, and heaven had been joined with earth. Now it was happening again. As lords laboured alongside peasants, toiling to provide Tabor with an impregnable screen of fortifications, they were not just constructing a stronghold, but aiming to set the entire world on fresh foundations.

Tabor had no hierarchies, no wages, no taxes. Private property was illegal. All debts were forgiven. The poor, it seemed, had inherited the earth

For centuries, the immense edifice of the Catholic church, too, had stood as a monument to this ambition. It had been raised in defiance of earthly monarchs, and fashioned to serve the needs of all the Christian people. But now the lava of its radicalism had begun to calcify; the papal order had become the status quo.

Nothing, perhaps, was more debilitating to the claims of the Roman church to be the bride of Christ than one enduring abomination: a papal schism. Back in 1378, two rival popes had been elected. The schism proved impossible to heal. In 1409, a council of bishops and university masters, meeting in Pisa, declared both rival popes deposed, and crowned a new candidate – but this, far from delivering Christendom a single pope, had merely left it stuck with three. Small wonder, confronted by such a scandal, that a few bold souls, pushing at the very limits of what it was acceptable to think, began to contemplate a nightmarish possibility: that the papacy, far from holding the keys to the gates of heaven, might in truth be an agent of hell."

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