Nov 27, 2019

Hugo Stamm on Yogic Flying and the Guru-Cult around Transcendental Meditation

November 27, 2019

Cult expert and journalist Hugo Stamm on Yogic Flying and the Guru-Cult around Transcendental Meditation.

The interview was shot 2008 in Rütli, Switzerland, for the production of the documentary "David wants to Fly" by David Sieveking.

Nov 24, 2019

CultNEWS101 Articles: 11/21/2019

Tajul Khalwatiyah Syekh Yusuf School, Robert Jay Lifton,  Jehovah's Witness, Church of Almighty God
"Police in Gowa, South Sulawesi recently arrested an elderly man named Puang Lalang on suspicion of blasphemy over his leadership of a sect that was considered too deviant for Indonesia.

According to the police, Puang Lalang founded the Tajul Khalwatiyah Syekh Yusuf school — an Islamic offshoot —  in 1999 and declared himself a prophet.

In mainstream Islamic beliefs, the Prophet Muhammad is believed to be the last messenger of God.

"The suspect spread misguided beliefs by having followers take a pledge, indoctrinating them and promising them safety in life and the afterlife," Gowa Police Shinto Silitonga told reporters this week.

Police suspect that the sect was a vehicle for self-enrichment for Puang Lalang. According to the police, Puang Lalang charged followers IDR10,000-50,000 (US$0.71-3.57) for the aptly-named "heaven card" to signify membership. He also mandated members to pay religious alms, which amounted to IDR5,000 for every kilogram of the followers' body weight."

The author, most recently, of 'Losing Reality: On Cults, Cultism, and the Mindset of Political and Religious Zealotry' selects books on the aftermath of cataclysm.

"In 2013, after Debbie McDaniel left her Jehovah's Witness congregation in McAlester, Oklahoma, she went to police and told them members had been sitting outside her apartment, monitoring her every move. The Witnesses, she said, were trying to make the case that she was unfit to parent her son, on account of being in a relationship with a woman. But it was something else she told a detective that most alarmed the cops, she said: "You would think an organization that would allow me to be molested for years could now just let me go in peace."

Within weeks, cops had arrested Ronald Lawrence, whom McDaniel, 50, accused of molesting her when she was underage, as Reveal News reported. At least two other people came forward with similar allegations. According to the Tulsa-World, Lawrence told prosecutors he had been "disfellowshipped" (basically excommunicated) from the church over sexual abuse allegations, that he had admitted misconduct in the past in order to be reinstated, and that law enforcement had never previously been informed. He has also denied abusing any Jehovah's Witness children, including McDaniel. When brought before a judge in 2014, 19 charges of sexual abuse against him were deemed to have passed the statute of limitations, and he walked free.

Eventually, Witnesses stopped waiting outside McDaniel's home."
" ... Chinese media reported a case involving the unusual deaths of Qian Xude and three of his family members from Xinzhuang village, under the jurisdiction of Nanjing city in the eastern province of Jiangsu. The bodies of Qian Xude and two others were found hidden in a freezer in a rental room in Shenzhen city in the southern province of Guangdong, while Qian Xude's daughter, Qian Limei, committed suicide by jumping off a building in Shangqiu city in the central province of Henan. However, the police never filed a case after investigating the deaths, attributing some to natural causes and others to suicide.

On October 17, The Beijing News, owned by the Beijing municipal Party Committee, and Southern Weekly, a well-known newspaper owned by the Guangdong provincial Party Committee, simultaneously published an article, repackaging and sensationalizing this sensational case, placing the blame on The Church of Almighty God (CAG). Afterward, this fake news story was widely reported by the official media, in an attempt to create a new public opinion campaign against the CAG."

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.

Guest Commentary: Reporting on the La Mora massacre has harmed efforts to normalize Latter-day Saints

Graves of Rhonita Maria Miller and her children on Nov. 9 in Le Barón, Mexico. Three families were traveling in separate SUVs from their homes in La Mora in Sonora to farm town Le Barón in Cihuahua on Monday when they were ambushed in two separate attacks by cartel gunmen hidden in the mountains along the dirt road. As a result, three women and six children died. All family members had dual Mexican-American citizenship and belonged to a Mormon offshoot group not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Denver Post
November 20, 2019

It’s time to be candid about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), or the Mormons. The massacre of nine U.S. citizens in the mountains of northern Mexico on Nov. 5, has drawn the international spotlight onto an enclave of Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints (FLDS) in Sonora. Headlines locally and internationally read “Mormons ambushed…”, “Mormon family massacred…”, “How a Mormon community became…” The coverage is heart-wrenching, horrifying, and a glimpse into the very drastic state of violence in Mexico — but these headlines mislead.

The people of La Mora, and fundamentalist communities aren’t Mormon. In fact, they are a sect, independent from the main body of the church — as Mormon as Anglicans are Catholic. In addition to highlighting cartel-fueled violence, the subsequent reporting has undone massive strides the church has taken toward normalizing their image and becoming more than the quirky “cult” they are still perceived as.

Mormons, or members of the LDS community, have historically been misunderstood, caricatured and hated for the novelty of their faith, often resulting in violence toward the group. The term “Mormon” originated as a slur, a jab at a prophet from their sacred text. Joseph Smith, the church’s founder and first prophet, was executed by a mob while imprisoned in Carthage, Illinois. His followers were forced to flee Illinois, and subsequently Missouri, while under an extermination order from the then governor of Missouri, Lilburn Boggs. Almost a third of the U.S. standing army was committed to a continuation of the extermination order by President James Buchanan, in what was known as the Utah War.

Following Utah’s assumption of statehood, illegalization of polygamy, and incorporation into the Union, offshoot sects of “fundamentalists,” those unwilling to abandon plural marriage, fled to Canada and Mexico, resulting in the formation of the La Mora community. From the church’s inception in 1830 to the ongoing coverage of the murders in Mexico, much, if not all, of what Americans assume about Mormons comes from a stigmatized, stereotyped image that hasn’t changed much since Smith’s death.

2011 is described by Time as a “Mormon moment” in American history. Mitt Romney, perhaps the most prevalent member of the church, was campaigning against Barack Obama and secured the Republican nomination. A smash-hit musical opened on Broadway and was nominated for 14 Tony awards; “The Book of Mormon” was the largest-scale pop culture phenomenon about a church ever.

Still, however, 82% of Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center stated they learned little, if anything, about the church during Romney’s presidential bid. Likewise, as the auditorium cleared after a show, those who saw “The Book of Mormon” were left with the caricatures of Elders Price and Cunningham, perpetuations of how the public has viewed the church. In the same Pew survey, the most common one-word descriptor of the church from respondents was “cult.”

What coverage of the recent deaths in Mexico tells, aside from the gruesome realities of life in the region, is that eight years later, the perceptions are the same. Fundamentalist or not, members of the church or not, the incorporation of all sects of Latter-day Saints into a generic “Mormon,” does both LDS and FLDS a disservice in ignoring the essential differences between the two, like polygamy.

The public confusion of Mormon beliefs stems from media misrepresentations as old as the church itself — as seen in the past, this sometimes manifested in violence, but mostly manifested in all-encompassing othering of members of the church.

I’ve grown up with Romney, “Sister Wives,” “The Book of Mormon,” and now La Mora. When I’m asked what I believe, I shouldn’t be forced to justify decisions made in 1890, let alone face jeers and smirks for continuous gross mischaracterization. Understanding and normalization of a church that tries desperately to be understood and accepted starts with the reportage, with headlines.

Jackson Deakins is originally from Los Angeles and in his final year studying journalism and political science at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

CultNEWS101 Articles: 11/22/2019

Falun GongTimothy Leary, Psychedelics, Bikram Yoga, Unification Church
"One day in November, 2006, Jintao Liu, a 26-year-old chemical engineering student at the China University of Petroleum in Beijing, got a phone call from his lecturer, asking if he could come to the chemistry lab for a quick chat. It was about noon and Jintao was about to start lunch, but the lecturer was an important man, so Jintao did as he was told.

"I thought he wanted to talk to me about work," says Jintao. When he entered the lab, however, he saw his lecturer, together with two policemen and four plain-clothed members of the 610 Office, an extra-judicial body set up by the Communist Party with the sole purpose of eradicating Falun Gong, a spiritual movement the Chinese government regards as an evil cult and a challenge to its authority.

Jintao, who practised Falun Gong, had recently downloaded some material – music mainly – onto his desktop computer in the lab. When the policemen examined the computer, they found the Falun Gong material and arrested him. "I asked them if they had a search warrant or an arrest order and they scribbled on a piece of paper, chucked it at me and said, 'That's your warrant.' "

Jintao, who has anglicised his name to Tony, lives in a 1970s red-brick home in Epping, a quiet, leafy suburb in Sydney's north-west. He and his wife, Tina, fled China in 2013, coming to Australia where they were granted protection visas. (They are now Australian citizens.) At 39, Tony has broad-set eyes, a cautious smile and a pronounced liking for black tea, which Tina supplies in prodigious quantities throughout our conversation. He still adheres to Falun Gong, which he credits with far-reaching mental and physical benefits. In a country like China, where organised religion has been repressed, Falun Gong gave Tony what he calls "a deeper sense of meaning".

Following his arrest, Tony underwent four months of brainwashing in the Beijing Changping Detention Centre, where he was forced to watch videos and read newspapers detailing Falun Gong's alleged crimes. When he refused to denounce the movement, he was put in a cell with eight drug addicts who were induced by the guards to regularly beat him. 'One day, they were beating me around the back and waist when a guard ran in and told them, 'Don't damage his organs!' '"
"Fobes Ranch, once home to psychologist Timothy Leary, has been purchased by YouTube star Logan Paul. 

Located in the San Jacinto Mountains near Lake Hemet, the 80-acre ranch, which features a 500-square-foot residence, served as a gathering place for Leary and the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, otherwise known as the Hippie Mafia. 

The ranch was on the market for $1.495 million, and Paul purchased it for a dollar over $1 million, as first reported by the Los Angeles Times. Known for a controversial video showing the corpse of a man who committed suicide in 2018, Paul is also an actor and has appeared on the TV series "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" and the 2019 film "Airplane Mode."  

The cozy getaway home in Duchess Canyon has one bedroom with sleeping loft, a three-quarter bath, slate tile shower, solar-powered electricity, Vermont soapstone wood stove and pine cathedral ceilings along with propane cooking, refrigeration and tankless hot water."

"Last year, Netflix proved our cultural obsession with cults is far from over with "Wild Wild Country," the hit docu-series about Rajneeshpuram cult leader Bhagwan Rajneesh and his followers. In the years since its massive international popularity has grown, yoga has attracted millions of devotees as fervent as any cult followers. But none as cult-like as Bikram yoga, or hot yoga, founded and popularized by Bikram Choudhury. A new Netflix documentary titled "Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator" tells the story of the cult-like figure, who abused his position to rape, assault, and harass multiple women in his ranks. The newly released trailer showcases countless interviews with his followers and victims, often blurring the line between them.

"He sees himself as a cross between Mother Teresa and Howard Stern," one male interview subject says in the trailer. Another woman recalls, "I'd see flashes of megalomania, but I didn't know how diabolical he actually was." The rest of the trailer is full of explosive interviews with women who remain supportive of Choudhury, as well as difficult to stomach archival footage of Choudhury literally standing on top of multiple women in supine yoga poses."

"The new documentary "Blessed Child" provides a fascinating look at the Unification Church, a movement founded by Reverend Sun Myung Moon, through testimonials of those who escaped."

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.

CultNEWS101 Articles: 11/23-24/2019

Christian IdentityKu Klux Klan, George Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi Party, Cult Characteristics, World Mission Society Church of God, Law of Attraction, AmazonSmile,  Polygamy, Kingston Group, Mormon

"Vancouver antiracist educator Tony McAleer is astonishingly transparent about his past life as a neo-Nazi activist.

In his new memoir, The Cure for Hate: A Former White Supremacist's Journey From Violent Extremism to Radical Compassion, he describes attending the Aryan Nations World Congress of 1988, which took place at the racist group's compound in Idaho.

'There were various members of Klans (contrary to popular belief, the Ku Klux Klan is not a large solitary force but has splintered into dozens of regional and sometimes competing groups of different sizes) and old-school Nazis from the days of George Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi Party, founded in 1959, wearing brown shirts and swastika armbands,' McAleer writes. 'Every major white supremacist faction was represented, but at this Congress, skinheads were present in large numbers for the first time. There was even a group of Christian Identity skinheads from Las Vegas accompanied by sisters and girlfriends who all had blonde hair and brown Nazi uniforms—they were euphemistically referred to as the Brown Skirts.'"

We suggest that you check all characteristics that apply to you or your group. You may find that your assessment changes over time, with further reading and research.
  • The group is focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.
  • The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
  • The group is preoccupied with making money.
  • Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
  • Mind-numbing techniques (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, debilitating work routines) are used to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
  • The leadership dictates sometimes in great detail how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, get married; leaders may prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth).
  • The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity).
  • The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with the wider society.
  • The group's leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations).
  • The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify means that members would have considered unethical before joining the group (for example: collecting money for bogus charities).
  • The leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control them.
  • Members' subservience to the group causes them to cut ties with family and friends, and to give up personal goals and activities that were of interest before joining the group.
  • Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
"Christy's name has been changed to protect her identity due to fear of retribution from church members.

Christy listened eagerly as the stranger from the post office told her about their bible study group. She'd grown up religious and wanted her son to have a similar upbringing, so she wrote down the church's address and paid them a visit. Less than two years after joining the church, she was homeless, had lost over $3,500 and was sharing custody of her son with her now ex-husband.

Christy's experience with the World Mission Society Church of God, which occurred in Nebraska, wasn't unique. Since the church was established in Korea in 1964, several ex-members have released videos urging the public against joining. Two UTD students reported recruitment attempts from church members while one witnessed what happened after her friend joined the UTD chapter of the church, the Elohim Bible Study Club. Political science senior Kathryn Higgins ran into church members in 2018 while running errands in Arlington."

"New Age guru Abraham Hicks has made many shocking and disturbing statements about rape, slavery, 9/11 victims and Holocaust deaths. She claims "less than 1% of rapes" are "true violations" and the rest are attractions. Hicks believes slavery was "the beginning of a journey that was better" and part of an "overall improvement in humanity." She says "AIDS is the physical manifestation of not liking yourself." Hicks and others like Rhonda Byrne, creator of "The Secret," have taken a partial truth and concretized it into a religious absolutist system known as the Law of Attraction and made millions in the process. The teaching is harmful and a form of spiritual bypassing."
New York Post : Inside the alleged 'cult' that has been quietly operating in NY for decades.

"In December 1978, a bizarre theater company headed by an actress from the "Slaughterhouse-Five" film was run out of San Francisco.

Members of Sharon Gans' so-called Theater of All Possibilities had come forward to claim they were pressured into arranged marriages, beaten if they didn't sell tickets and had gone broke paying for classes — while Gans and her husband lived in a tony home in the posh neighborhood of Pacific Heights.

With the police asking questions and the ex-members' claims splashed across the pages of local papers, the actress and her theater group closed up shop and seemingly disappeared from public view.

But they never really went away.

A new group sprang up in the 1980s in New York under the name Odyssey Study Group and has been operating here quietly ever since — still led by the washed-up actress, now 84, who reigns from a $8.5 million apartment at Manhattan's Plaza Hotel that was mostly paid for by devotees, according to public records."

" ... No one is sure what will come of La Mora after the ambush, suspected of being perpetrated by a drug cartel, but everyone agrees the place has changed. The people who grew up here tell of a childhood of romping in the brown desert hills that surround the valley, of fishing and swimming in the river that runs past the homes, and of helping their families raise the crops or cattle that thrive nearby.

Now, they talk about their fears.

"I do not feel safe here and I won't," David Langford, the husband to Dawna Langford and father to Trevor and Rogan, said Thursday at the closing remarks to their funeral.

Later Thursday, Joe Darger, a polygamist from Herriman, Utah, who attended Thursday's services, tweeted that Dawna Langford's family members planned to relocate, though they didn't know where yet."

Mexican officials have confirmed an "unspecified number" of arrests in connection with last week's cartel massacre that left nine Mormon women and kids dead.

"There have been arrests, but it's not up to us to give information," Security Minister Alfonso Durazo told reporters Monday.

Prosecutors in Sonora, as well as at the federal level, are leading the investigation, according to Durazo.

But a spokeswoman for the state government of Sonora told Reuters, "We don't have that information."

Three women, 8-month-old twins and four other children were killed in the Nov. 4 bloodbath in the border state of Sonora, near where they worship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The families were members of La Mora, a decades-old settlement in Sonora founded as part of an offshoot of the mainline Mormon church."

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.

Beck Reveals 'I'm Not a Scientologist' in New Interview

Beck, one of the most prominent musicians associated with Scientology, is no longer is a member of the controversial organization.
“I don’t have any connection or affiliation with it,” singer says of controversial organization

Rolling Stone
NOVEMBER 22, 2019

Beck, long considered one of the most prominent musicians associated with the Church of Scientology, has revealed in a new interview that he no longer is a member of the controversial organization.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald on the day his new album Hyperspace was released, Beck told the newspaper, “I think there’s a misconception that I am a Scientologist. I’m not a Scientologist. I don’t have any connection or affiliation with it.”

In interviews dating back two decades, Beck admitted that he was a Scientologist, although he never openly endorsed the organization like Scientologist celebrities Tom Cruise, John Travolta and (formerly) Leah Rimini. (Scientology watchdog site The Underground Bunker notes that Beck last appeared at a Scientology Celebrity Gala in 2005).

“My father [composer David Campbell] has been a Scientologist for a long time, but I’ve pretty much just focused on my music and my work for most of my life, and tended to do my own thing,” Beck said of his current status with the Church of Scientology. “I think it’s just something people ran with.”

Beck’s ex-wife Marissa Ribisi and her brother, actor Giovanni Ribisi, are both Scientologists, and the Underground Bunker lists Beck’s longtime bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen as a member of the Church; Beck and Ribisi divorced in February after nearly 15 years of marriage.

Beck previously stated in a 2005 interview (via The Hollywood Reporter), “Yeah, I’m a Scientologist. My father has been a Scientologist for about 35 years, so I grew up in and around it and stuff. People can sort of say and do whatever they want. All I can do is live my life with integrity and raise my child and work hard and work hard for the people I work with. I don’t have anything to hide. I am completely proud of my life.”

The singer also defended the Church at the time, “It’s unbelievable the stuff they are doing. Education — they have free centers all over the place for poor kids. They have the number one drug rehabilitation program in the entire world… When you look at the actual facts and not what’s conjured in people’s minds that’s all bullshit to me because I’ve actually seen stuff firsthand.”