Oct 6, 2020

CultNEWS101 Articles: 10/3-4/2020

Conspiracy, QAnon, NXIVM, People of Praise, LGBTQ

Jezebel: Eat, Pray, Conspiracy: How the Wellness World Embraced QAnon
"The first sign for Hala Khouri that something dangerous, if not exactly new, was spreading in her world of health practitioners was Plandemic, a viral video filled with misinformation and conspiracy theories about the spread of covid-19. Friends and acquaintances, all people that Khouri, a yoga instructor and founder of the activist collective Off the Mat Into the World, described as fellow spiritual travelers, shared the viral 26-minute video with her and urged her to watch. They believed that Plandemic was full of revealing truths.
The slickly produced, sombre-toned "documentary," is largely a lengthy interview with the discredited scientist and medical conspiracist Dr. Judy Mikovits, who's portrayed as a stern-faced Cassandra. "[I]f we don't stop this now, we can not only forget our republic and our freedom, we can forget our humanity because we'll be killed by this agenda," Mikovits warns at the beginning.
But Khouri found it eye-opening for a different reason. She was alarmed by its wildly outlandish claims, including that masks "activate" the novel coronavirus and that any future covid-19 vaccine will "kill millions." When she questioned the documentary in comments on Facebook, Khouri said that she got 'slammed.'"

Meaww: 'The Vow' Episode 6: Bronfman sisters got Dalai Lama to endorse Keith Raniere and NXIVM amid allegations
"In HBO's miniseries 'The Vow', viewers get in-depth retellings from former members of NXIVM (pronounced Nex-e-um) that dominated the news a few years ago when it was revealed that a secret society within the cult was operating as a sex trafficking front. Both the founder, Keith Raniere, and actress Allison Mack — a prominent member of the group — were arrested on trafficking charges among others in 2018."

American Magazine: Explainer: Amy Coney Barrett's relationship with People of Praise
" ... People of Praise is not a church, so its members tend to believe what their own churches teach. Since 90 percent of the people who belong to People of Praise are Catholics, that means they follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. The organization places an emphasis on family life, traditional gender roles and a deep prayer life. It also operates three high schools, publishes a newsletter and provides support to food pantries, child care for working mothers and assistance to pro-life organizations.

The group also tends to skew conservative, at least politically. An article from 1988 in The South Bend Tribune notes support for the organization from a bishop in Grenada, who thanked its missionaries for helping to fight Marxist ideology."
" ... People of Praise, which is part of the Charismatic Renewal movement within the church that started in the 1970s, after Vatican II. The movement emphasizes personal conversion and bringing forward Christ's teachings in the world. There are tens of millions of members throughout the world, and about 1,700 members of People of Praise in more than 20 cities in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. . . .

People of Praise has been accused of being a right-wing sect. It answers that it has politically liberal and conservative members. They don't appear to be obsessed with traditionalism or orthodoxy and are ecumenical: Members include Protestants as well as Catholics. They have joined together intentionally, in community, to pray together, perform service, and run schools. They're Christians living in the world.

If they are right-wing religious extremists, someone had better tell Pope Francis, who appointed a member of People of Praise's South Bend community as auxilliary bishop of Portland, Ore. . . .

Joannah Clark, a local leader of People of Praise in Portland and the head of Trinity Academy, a People of Praise school, also appears to be failing at submissiveness. "I consider myself a strong, well-educated, happy, intelligent, free, independent woman," she laughs. She has a doctorate from Georgetown. Trinity's culture is "distinctly Christian" but "purposely ecumenical." The emphasis is on reading, writing and Socratic inquiry. 'Our three pillars are the humanities, modern math and science, and the arts—music, drama.'"

"Matthew Gong is a minority three times over — in his own words — "Chinese American, Mormon and queer."

All three parts of Gong's identity have shaped him, including heroic tales of service and sacrifice, and are worth celebrating.

Still, they often have warred within the psyche of this 29-year-old, leaving wounds that have taken years to heal.

His mother, an avid gardener, once explained the difference between flowers and weeds.

"Weeds," she told him, "were plants growing where they weren't wanted."
His queerness, the opposite of his religious ethnicity, "was something I was born with but not into," Gong says in an LGBTQ Affirmation conference speech, "I had to discover it, like a secret birthright."

And thus he came to see his gay self as a "weed" in the Latter-day Saint garden.

Gong is hardly alone in such a feeling of being misplaced, of course, but his experience is unusual. He is the son of Gerrit W. Gong, an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

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