May 18, 2020

CultNEWS101 Articles: 5/16-17/2020

Covid-19, Haredi, Cult Recovery, Shame, Fear, Siddha Yoga, Mindfulness, Scientology, Obituary, Polygamy, FLDS

The Jerusalem Post: Hundreds of haredi Jews in Brooklyn celebrate Lag Ba'omer, break lockdown
"Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn violated coronavirus social distancing restrictions when taking to the streets celebrating Lag Ba'omer on Monday night, The New York Post reported, citing several videos and witness accounts.

Cellphone footage taken by Crown Heights resident Richard Ward depicts Orthodox Jews dancing hand-in-hand to music near a bonfire in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area, telling The New York Post that he had seen an estimated 200 people there while delivering food.

Noting that many of them were not covering their faces, Ward told The New York Post that "When I first saw it, I was in shock. I was like, 'This is crazy.'"

Describing the scene as a "block party, pretty much," Ward called the police."

Session 9, Cult Recovery and Family Support NOT Cancelled Series

Moderator: Ashlen Hilliard, Assistant to the Executive Director ICSA

Fear and shame are what bedevil all traumatized people, as they struggle to feel safe in a world where they have felt the trapped, helpless, powerlessness of traumatic experience. I explore in this talk how shame plays a part in successful cult recruitment; the role of shame in the cult leader's psychology; the use of shame in cults as a means of control and domination; and the ways that shame haunts those who leave cults.

Daniel Shaw, LCSW, is the author of Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation, published by Routledge. He is a Psychoanalyst in  Private Practice in New York City and Nyack, NY; and he is Faculty and Clinical Supervisor at The National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP), in New York City. Shaw spent thirteen years as a staff member in Siddha Yoga (SYDA Foundation). There he wore many hats, including: manager of the residential Manhattan facility, educator, spokesperson, public relations coordinator, community organizer, and writer/director of public programs. Shaw exited Siddha Yoga in 1994, published an Open Letter about Siddha Yoga on the internet in 1995, and helped create the Leaving Siddha Yoga website, one of the first internet websites for ex cult members. Shaw is the author of Traumatic Abuse in Cults: A Psychoanalytic Perspective, published in the Cultic Studies Journal, numerous psychoanalytic papers, and the editor of a special issue on the traumatizing narcissist in ICSA's  International Journal of Cultic Studies. In 2018 Mr. Shaw received ICSA's Margaret T. Singer Award for for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion and undue influence.

Website: Email: Phone: (845) 548-2561
"Mindfulness is hugely popular these days. Once an esoteric topic only familiar to people with interests in Eastern spiritual traditions, today mindfulness is commonplace, with books, magazines, videos, podcasts, and training programs readily available for consumption.

However, the popularity of mindfulness may have outstripped the science. Media portrayals generally lead people to believe that the effects of practicing mindfulness are inevitably positive, and it is safe to say that people usually practice mindfulness because they think it will improve their lives. Unfortunately, research reveals that this is not always the case. Mindfulness can be bad for you.

Mindfulness is often considered to have two main components, awareness and acceptance. Awareness involves monitoring your experiences, and acceptance refers to monitoring those experiences with an attitude of non-judgmental openness, making no attempt to change or avoid anything that pops up in your mind. Implementing both components, by being a non-judgmental observer of experience, is necessary to derive benefits from mindfulness.

Two recent studies have found that just focusing on our experiences without the corresponding attitude of acceptance is associated with undesirable outcomes. The first study looked at the mindfulness profiles of university students. The researchers found that compared to students who had other profiles, the students who paid attention to their experiences but did so with a judgmental attitude—the "judgmentally observing" profile—had the poorest emotional outcomes, including the highest levels of depression, anxiety, and emotional instability.

The second study, which looked at both meditators and non-meditators, found similar results. Compared to people with other mindfulness profiles, those with the "judgmentally observing" profile suffered more depression, rumination, worry, and distress intolerance.

Evidence is accumulating: that cultivating the awareness component of mindfulness without the associated acceptance component may lead to unwanted outcomes. This finding is consistent with other studies showing that the quality of self-focused attention is instrumental in determining whether it leads to well-being or distress.

Other research suggests that mindfulness can have adverse effects involving the development of new psychological problems or the intensification of existing ones. Although not all mindfulness practice involves formal meditation, there are a number of published examples of meditation leading to negative outcomes such as anxiety, depersonalization, and depression. One published report found that 25 percent of meditators experienced unwanted effects, most of which were transitory. Another study involving Buddhist meditation practitioners found that 73 percent experienced significant impairment as a result of their practice, but the authors noted that their results might not apply to more general mindfulness-based interventions."

"The "Stay Well" booklets give tips on avoiding the coronavirus, but a church spokesman says it was an error to distribute them on public school property.

A group of volunteers helping to distribute free food for the Pinellas County public school system last week inserted pamphlets produced by the Church of Scientology into dozens of student meal boxes.

The activity violated school district policy against engaging in religious activities on school property and sparked criticism from some parents. It also brought an apology from a church spokesman, who said the volunteers were trying to do some good but were in error.

The pamphlets contain information about safety and prevention regarding the coronavirus, including tips on hand-washing and social distancing, and are part of Scientology's pandemic safety campaign. The only mention of the church is on the back cover, which reads "Courtesy of Church of Scientology International."

Smartphone users who take a photo of a barcode on the back are directed to the Scientology website.

School officials were unaware that the volunteers were distributing the pamphlets, and the individuals were asked to stop as soon as the district learned what was happening, said Pinellas Schools spokeswoman Isabel Mascareñas. The school system could not confirm how many booklets were distributed, or at which school sites.

Parents expressed outrage on social media over the weekend as families unpacked their food and some found the pamphlets."

"Vera Black, who made international news in the 1950s when she let the state of Utah remove her children rather than teach them polygamy was wrong, died Monday in Colorado City, Ariz. She was 102.

One of her sons, Harold Black, said she died in the home of her oldest living daughter. Black had been bedridden for about 30 years after suffering a series of strokes. Her death happened the day before a new Utah law took effect reducing the offense for polygamy among consenting adults from a felony to an infraction — less than some traffic tickets.

In the more than 60 years since Black let her children go into state care, then got them back after she and her husband made the promises Utah sought, the case of the Black family has been a cause célebrè for both polygamists and their detractors. Polygamists and sympathetic scholars and authors have seen the custody case as a government oppressing a religious minority.

Arizona's 1953 raid on Short Creek, near its border with Utah, which happened a few months before proceedings against the Blacks began, and the custody case have been cited as a reason for a multigenerational mistrust by polygamists of child welfare and protection agencies. Members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, to which Black and many of her descendants belonged, compared Utah's treatment of the Blacks to what Texas did in 2008, when it removed children from the Yearning for Zion ranch.

Critics of polygamy have appreciated the 1955 Utah Supreme Court decision that upheld the children's removal. That ruling, which has been cited in subsequent polygamy cases, found the religious protections in the Utah Constitution did not extend to polygamy."

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Selection of articles for CultNEWS101 does not mean that Patrick Ryan or Joseph Kelly agree with the content. We provide information from many points of view in order to promote dialogue.

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