Dec 10, 2020

CultNEWS101 Articles: 12/10/2020

Cult Deprogramming, Hillsong Church, LGBTQ, Religion, Yoga

Boss Hunting: Inside The Cowboy Industry Of 'Cult Deprogramming'
"In the 1970s, America quite literally lost its mind. Doomsday cults, satanic sects, and saffron-robed gurus were exerting undue influence upon thousands of Americans with fatal consequences. Desperate families paid a pretty penny for rogue operators to infiltrate cults and rescue their brainwashed loved ones by any means necessary. It spawned the entirely new, highly lucrative, and dubiously ethical industry of 'cult deprogramming.'

Vigilante 'deprogrammers' continue to operate today via covert means and legal loopholes. And their services are in high demand. Cult expert and former cult member himself, Steven Hassan, estimates that over 5,000 cults operate today in the United States alone."

" ... Over the decades, U.S. judges routinely granted parents and cowboy deprogrammers the authorization to (re)kidnap their children without a hearing.

Ted "Black Lightning" Patrick, was dubbed "The Father of Deprogramming." His skin was in the game after saving his own son from a cult known as The Children Of God. He deprogrammed over two thousand clients via abduction (daylight kidnappings with the assistance of his henchman), snapping (inflicting mental, emotional, and physical abuse to undo the cult's brainwashing), and releasing (a process of freeing an individual from their trancelike state).

US courts backed Patrick's argument that, by "artful and deceiving" means, cults were robbing people of their First Amendment Rights to think and choose.

Cult deprogrammers (used to) make serious bank

Although it didn't crack the highest-earning jobs list – not to mention Patrick had US$60 million in lawsuits pending against him by 1979 – cult deprogramming is highly lucrative. Can families put a price on the freedom of their loved ones?

In the Colombrito vs. Kelly case of 1978, one deprogrammer received a US$25,000 fee (inflating to US$100,000 today and approximately AU$140,000.) It is a niche market, with just a handful of operators carrying out thousands of conversions to date. However, the industry had to go underground following the monumental court case in 1995, Scott vs. Ross.

Deprogrammer Rick Ross was duped by Jason Scott, who faked his deprogramming and pressed charges. Scott's case was picked up by a powerful backer.

The Church of Scientology, growing frustrated with the anti-cult movement, funded Scott's civil suit in 1995. It bankrupted Ross and the Cult Awareness Network (CAN). Scientology bought the CAN assets and logo and runs it as a front for their own organisation. The case ended the lawful use of involuntary cult deprogramming.

How cult deprogramming works today

"Exit counselling" has since replaced coercive cult deprogramming, yet consists of many of the same players. Ross compares his counselling sessions to an intervention. It spans three to four days, in eight-hour lengthy sessions, alongside families and loved ones. However, by law, it must be voluntary.

The subject can leave at any time, and the cults have clocked on to it. Cults and questionable self-help groups train their members to sense it coming. Many parents enlist psychologists in covert operations to assist them in gaining conservatorship powers. Through conservatorship, they can explore more coercive measures."
A disgraced former Hillsong church pastor claims he is 'stronger and happier' than ever after launching a new church.

Pat 'Pasquale' Mesiti created Reborn Ministries for churchgoers who have lost their way amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The church on Queensland's Sunshine Coast and features online Sunday sermons hosted by the 60-year-old, whose life fell apart in 2016. 

The self-confessed sex addict was caught sleeping with prostitutes in Darlinghurst and was stripped of his authority to preach in the Hillsong church.

He also pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex-wife Andrea, which he said left him considering taking his own life.

'In 2016 I lost everything — my marriage, my business, important relationships, my home, my family, my life, my reputation,' Mr Mesitis said in a video on the Reborn Ministries website.

'I thought suicide was the only option. I thought I had nothing to look forward to. God doesn't break us, he builds us.

'I've come back. I'm stronger, I'm in a happier place.'

This is considerably lower than the general U.S. population, where more than two-thirds say they are religious.

"Almost half of LGBTQ adults in the United States are religious, according to a recent report from the UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute.

Of nearly 16,000 respondents polled in the Gallup Daily Tracking Survey, 47 percent were either moderately or highly religious. Those who were older, Black or lived in the South were the most likely to be religious, researchers found.

To determine religiosity, respondents were asked about service attendance and the importance of religion in their daily lives.

Respondents who said religion was not an important part of their daily life and they never or seldom attended services were categorized as "not religious." Those who indicated religion was important — even if they attended services less than once a month — were classified as "moderately religious," as were those who attended services weekly, even if they said religion was not important in their lives.

Respondents who said religion was an important facet of their daily life and they attended regular services were categorized as "highly religious."

By that metric, 27 percent were classified as moderately religious, 20 percent as highly religious and just over half (53 percent) as not religious."

"Do famous people become famous for staying in their lane? Do some find fame by carving out a lane that never existed before? What is the disruptive promise of charisma in this wellness space, which draws consumers burdened by a double disillusionment? They arrive, disillusioned by conventional medicine and conventional religion. What can the charismatic influencer offer them, and how do they do it?

In this last free bonus episode, Matthew explores the charismatic logic of wellness, in which yoga teachers can become famous by playing at being doctors,  and doctors can become famous by playing at being priests. Starting with the strange tale of BKS Iyengar (and how he stretched his way into all three roles through sheer will), this journey will lay out how the basic schtick of the 20th-century the wellness personality has primed the ground for our current explosion in conspirituality.

Matthew will look at how MDs like Tom Cowan, Kelly Brogan, Christiane Northrup, and Zach Bush all run the "Iyengar Arc" in reverse. Where the yoga master was unschooled in medicine, these doctors are unschooled in spirituality. But that doesn't stop them from pretending to be experts in a weird cocktail that fails both. In their aspirations to spiritual leadership, they each screw the pooch. Cowan ends up shilling for Rudolf Steiner, who knew nothing about viruses, and even less about how not to be a racist. Brogan thinks that Kundalini Yoga is "thousands of years old" even though it was invented by a sociopath in the 1970s. Northrup seems to think that angel channelers are qualified to tell people how to live. And Zach Bush recounts a mystical experience to a group of retreatants in Italy, in which he became a sardine, and realized he wasn't afraid to die—partly why he uses Reiki instead of pain medication when he's on the hospice shift.

Ultimately, the "charismatic collapse" between doctor and priest distorts medicine and makes spirituality banal." Perhaps if we see this clearly, we'll look for better leaders."

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