Jan 30, 2023

CultNEWS101 Articles: 1/30/2023

Larry Ray, Legal Buddhism, Transcendental Meditation Movement, Dianne Casoni Award

Roberta Glass True Crime Report: Cupcakes Made Him Do It! Larry Ray Gets Sentenced
"Roberta attended Sarah Lawrence College cult leader Larry Ray's sentencing hearing. "

" ... In an article in Religion and Ethics News Weekly written in 2001, Carl Bielefeldt, professor of Buddhist studies, observed: "We seem to be dealing not with a religion, but with something that might be called American 'secular spirituality.'" But Bielefeldt also recognized the danger that Buddhism could be "submerged in a spiritual soup in which the Asian religion of Buddhism has been so fully blended into American culture that we may no longer be able to speak of it either as 'Asian' or as 'religion.'"

What Bielefeldt could not foresee at the time was the possibility that when Buddhism was joined to Western science, it would generate its own clarity and become not a thing of infinite passion but a sort of cult, specifically a cult of expertise. The evidence for this cult is not hard to find. Take for example, Rick Hanson's most recent book, "Neurodharma: New Science, Ancient Wisdom, and Seven Practices of the Highest Happiness." (Hanson is a psychologist and a fellow at UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center.) The book begins with a formidable list of blurbs (eight pages in all) from some serious heavy hitters on the American Buddhist scene: Sharon Salzburg, Joseph Goldstein, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Deepak Chopra. The people on this list are all credentialed. Nearly all of them are doctors of one kind or another, mostly PhDs and a few MDs, lots of psychologists and neuroscientists. Hanson, too, has a PhD in psychology, something he notes purposefully on the cover. I suppose that this is a way of saying, "You're in good hands. All the experts say so, and I'm an expert myself." As Spirit Rock Meditation teacher Jack Kornfield has concluded, confirming Bielefeldt's fears, "Buddhism is not a religion. It is a science of the mind."

Proudly foregrounding prestigious academic degrees is a symptom of the American cult of expertise, although Hanson's epic eight pages of Who's Who blurbs lead me to wonder if his isn't a cult of expertise Gone Wild! That wouldn't be anything new. The experts have been going wild for some time now — conspicuously wild since 1990, the year of the first TED talk (Technology, Entertainment, and Design), whose stage is the national shrine for this improbable cult.

Not in the least surprising, Hanson gave a TED talk in 2014 on meditation and happiness. He is not the only science guru to do so. Self-styled "mindfulness expert" Andy Puddicombe gave a TED talk, and so did a Buddhist Monk with a PhD in molecular genetics, Mathieu Ricard. There's an irony here. Hanson's TED talk is not only a presentation of "ideas worth spreading," as TED likes to say. It is also an exercise in not noticing, in inattention, the opposite of mindfulness. TED talks are exercises in not noticing how white the audience is, nor how well-heeled the audience is, nor how siloed these talks are from those who can't afford or have never heard of TED.

Extending this irony, the affluence of the TED crowd is a good part of what the Buddha meant by samsara, the world of craving, grasping, clinging, and consequent suffering. TED's congregation arrives "with a handful of gimme/and a mouth full of much obliged," as Taj Mahal sang. In short, the wealth displayed at TED talks is itself one cause of the suffering that TED's audience is hoping a neuro-Buddha can fix for them! Conflating Buddhism with a science of happiness creates a perpetuum mobile of self-inflicted dukkha, suffering. Its final meaning is, "I can be happy while keeping my wealth and a scientific worldview. I can be a Buddhist without actually having to change." From a properly Buddhist perspective, this is a delusion."

"There are two questions guiding the paper. The first, understanding TM as a social organization. The richness of the ethnographic data presented here both facilitates the classification of TM and illustrates the complex emic viewpoint in the TM movement. It is this last point in particular that is important for the main argument of the thesis — that of the relationship between the postcharismatic phase and schismogenesis — and one of the key points is incoherence in the perceptual paradigm."
(Submission deadline: March 1, 2023.)
"Dianne Casoni was an important collaborator of Info-Cult for more than 25 years, in addition to sitting on its board of directors for more than a decade. She was a prominent figure in research in the field of religion and cultic phenomena. In particular, Professor Casoni analyzed different elements of engagement or participation within various groups with a high level of control. She has also worked on issues relating to the relationship between the leader(s) and followers. Likewise, Dianne was interested in the link between the different group ideologies and their structure. Throughout her career, she worked closely with people who have lived in such groups, to better understand their experiences. Dianne has also worked on issues related to terrorism and more broadly, radicalization. As an experienced psychologist and psychoanalyst, she taught for over twenty years in the School of Criminology at the Université de Montréal.

In order to honour the memory of Dianne and to highlight her important contributions to research, Info-Cult established the Dianne Casoni Award in 2020, with the support of her daughters.

This award aims to promote and reward written work which addresses one or more aspects of cultic phenomena. It consists of two categories :
• Scientific
• Popular

Award: For each category, the recipient will receive a plaque along with a $ 500 prize (CAD)."

News, Education, Intervention, Recovery



Intervention101.com to help families and friends understand and effectively respond to the complexity of a loved one's cult involvement.

CultRecovery101.com assists group members and their families make the sometimes difficult transition from coercion to renewed individual choice.

CultNEWS101.com news, links, resources.





Cults101.org 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.

Please forward articles that you think we should add to cultintervention@gmail.com.

CultNEWS101 Articles: 1/24/2023

House of Prayer Christian Churches of America (HOPCC), Legal, Chad and Lori Daybell,  Larry Ray

The Roy's Report: DOJ: Cultic Churches' Sham Seminaries Preyed on Service Members, Bilked VA
"The U.S. Government is accusing the House of Prayer Christian Churches of America (HOPCC), a group many consider cultic, of using sham seminaries to bilk veterans out of $23 million in Veterans Administration (VA) benefits.

The $23 million in VA benefits paid for more than 200 military members, veterans, and family members to attend HOPCC schools.

The charges, which include wire fraud and money laundering, were laid out in a Jan. 6 civil forfeiture complaint for $150,191 cash, held in bank accounts. The complaint alleges seminary officials deceived VA officials, falsified financial records, lied about faculty qualifications, and fabricated course catalogs. It also claims HOPCC misrepresented the hours students spent in class, falsified attendance records, encouraged students to lie to officials, and failed to grade assignments or provide graduation or completion records."
"A judge denied a request to postpone the murder trial for Chad and Lori Daybell, and they will not be permitted to have face-to-face meetings or phone calls to prepare for trial.

District Judge Steven Boyce made the rulings during a two-and-a-half-hour court hearing in Fremont County Thursday morning. Lori Vallow Daybell appeared in a pink blouse and dark dress pants, while Chad Daybell wore a white shirt and tie. The couple rarely looked at each other as their attorneys argued motions on their behalf. Cameras were not allowed in the hearing.

Lori and Chad Daybell are charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of 7-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan – two of Lori's children – along with Chad's previous wife, Tammy Daybell.

Request for joint settlement and 'strategy sessions'

Jim Archibald and John Thomas, Lori's defense attorneys, filed a motion this month asking permission for the Daybells to meet in person and on the phone for "strategy sessions" ahead of the April trial.

'The two defendants would like to be able to talk about their settlement options," Archibald said, noting that prosecutors sent him a letter asking if Lori was interested in settling the case. "We need to be able to talk settlement and plan strategy. As we prepare for settlement conferences, as we prepare for mediation, I am asking for an order from the court, and I'd like it to start today.'"

Department of JusticeU.S. Attorney's Office Southern District of New YorkLawrence Ray Sentenced For Years-Long Predatory Crimes Against Students At Sarah Lawrence College And Others
"Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that LAWRENCE RAY, a/k/a "Lawrence Grecco," received a sentence of 60 years in prison for racketeering conspiracy, violent crime in aid of racketeering, extortion, sex trafficking, forced labor, tax evasion, and money laundering offenses.  RAY was sentenced today by United States District Judge Lewis J. Liman after being convicted at trial in April 2022.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: "Larry Ray is a monster.  For years, he inflicted brutal and lifelong harm on innocent victims.  Students who had their lives ahead of them.  He groomed them and abused them into submission for his own gain.  Through physical and psychological abuse, he took control over his victims' minds and bodies and then extracted millions of dollars from them.  The sentence imposed today will ensure that Ray will never harm victims again.  I commend the brave victims who testified in Court in the face of incredible trauma.  I also thank the career prosecutors in this Office and our law enforcement partners who made the just conviction and sentence in this case possible."

News, Education, Intervention, Recovery



Intervention101.com to help families and friends understand and effectively respond to the complexity of a loved one's cult involvement.

CultRecovery101.com assists group members and their families make the sometimes difficult transition from coercion to renewed individual choice.

CultNEWS101.com news, links, resources.





Cults101.org 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.

Please forward articles that you think we should add to cultintervention@gmail.com.

Jan 29, 2023

Where does the term ‘Stockholm syndrome’ come from?

Patty Hearst is escorted to an elevator by a deputy U.S. Marshal in the basement of San Francisco’s Federal Building, April 12, 1976.

‘When he treated us well, we could think of him as an emergency God,’ said Sven Safstrom

Asia Bown
Deseret News
January 28, 2023

“Stockholm Syndrome” is most famously attached to Patty Hearst’s kidnapping and subsequent participation in her kidnappers’ crimes.

Stockholm syndrome is a mainstay in pop culture. It inspired movies like “Labor Day” and “Stockholm,” books like “Stolen” by Lucy Christopher and the famous Wattpad story turned New York Times bestseller “The Cellar” by Natasha Preston, and songs like those by One Direction and Blink-182.

Most of us likely have an idea as to what Stockholm syndrome is. It’s what happens when someone is kidnapped or held against their will and tries to empathize with their captor for their own safety, but they end up falling in love with their captor — or so we think.

In reality, the so-called diagnosis is more gritty than that, and draws on our own survival instincts.

It isn’t romantic — it’s a matter of life and death.

What is Stockholm syndrome?
Stockholm syndrome is a way to explain certain symptoms people exhibit after traumatic situations like abductions and abusive relationships. It is not characterized as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

It also is not simply falling in love with one’s abuser. What may read as love, is actually a combination of other symptoms, and it’s quite rare.

That it is a condition at all is debatable, with some researchers arguing that it does not exist as anything other than a cluster of symptoms related to trauma bonding, battered person syndrome, emotional abuse and learned helplessness, per Medical News Today.

The symptoms include positive feelings toward the abuser, refusal to act against the abuser, negative feelings about the police or similar authorities and refusal to leave when presented with the opportunity.

How did Stockholm syndrome come to be?
The term Stockholm syndrome came out of a bank robbery and hostage situation that lasted six days in Stockholm, Sweden, per BBC.

On Aug. 23, 1973, career criminal Jan-Erik Olsson fired a machine gun in a bank in the heart of Stockholm and began his attempt at robbery.

Olsson took three hostages: Birgitta Lundblad, Elisabeth Oldgren and Kristin Ehnmark. This number later became four with the discovery of Sven Safstrom hiding in the bank.

He demanded the release of convicted armed robber Clark Olofsson, 3 million kronor, two pistols and a getaway car. To ensure his own safe exit, Olsson’s plan involved bringing the hostages into the car with him.

According to a New Yorker article recounting the events, Olsson “had counted on two factors: a deep-seated Swedish aversion to violence, and the fact that a national election campaign was in full swing — a season, he believed, when politicians would not be apt to take a hard line that might result in violence to the hostages.”

Olsson was wrong in thinking his demands would be met quickly, and the situation spiraled into a dayslong siege, in which the captives actually began to trust their captors more than the police.

The police released Olofsson, but Olsson did not receive 3 million kronor or the getaway car. The Minister of Justice, Lennart Geijer, instructed law enforcement to keep Olsson in the bank and not allow him to leave with the hostages.

In one attempt, police tried to gas the criminals out, which would have also gassed the hostages. They also sent in officers with guns focused on Olsson, though one of the hostages reportedly screamed at them not to shoot, for fear that an innocent person would be caught in the crosshairs, per The New Yorker.

This action has been scrutinized and was interpreted to be some sort of love or affection, rather than a logical response to an entity that had already put their lives in danger.

Once Olofsson made it to the bank, Olsson calmed down and began to relax around the captives. He showed them certain kindnesses, actions that allowed the hostages to feel as safe as they could in their position.

He unbound them and began to speak to them in a gentler manner. They were allowed to call their families to let them know of their situations. Lundblad could not reach her family and Olsson consoled her, urging her to keep trying, per The New Yorker.

It wasn’t that they were nice bank robbers; it’s that Olsson and Olofsson weren’t brutal captors in the stereotypical sense. They simply afforded their captives basic kindnesses during a time of extreme distress. And the hostages had their lives and families to think about.

Safstrom put it best when he said, “When he treated us well, we could think of him as an emergency God.”

In a call with Prime Minister Olof Palme, Ehnmark said: “I am very disappointed. I think you are sitting there playing checkers with our lives. I fully trust Clark and the robber. I am not desperate. They haven’t done a thing to us. On the contrary, they have been very nice. But, you know, Olof, what I am scared of is that the police will attack and cause us to die.”

Dr. Niels Bejerot coined the term “Stockholm syndrome” after the bank robbery-turned-siege. In an interview with The New Yorker, he said, without any real psychological foundation, that there was bound to be a bond between captor and captive after a certain period of time.

Who was Patty Hearst and how was she connected?
Patty Hearst is the woman people tend to think of when they hear the term “Stockholm syndrome.” In 1974 she was abducted from her apartment in Berkeley, California, by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, per Brittanica.

Allegedly, she was brainwashed into joining the group on their anti-capitalist crusade and was captured in San Francisco in 1975 after traversing the country in an attempt to evade capture by the police. Her case was explained away as Stockholm syndrome.

Hearst’s position as a public figure catapulted her case into the spotlight, whereas the original Stockholm case fell to the wayside.

Jan 27, 2023

‘A culture of complete fear’: Harvard women’s hockey coach Katey Stone under fire for alleged abusive behavior

Bob Hohler
Boston Globe
January 27, 2023

Katey Stone’s 26th season as the Harvard women’s ice hockey coach, brimming with promise most of the way, suddenly was sinking — and Stone’s anger was rising.

Her 2021-22 team, champions of the Ivy League and ECAC regular seasons, had entered the regional ECAC playoffs as the top seed, only to be upended in the first round by a mediocre Princeton rival.

As the Crimson skated through a subpar practice before the ultimate challenge, the NCAA tournament, Stone’s whistle shrieked. She abruptly curtailed the practice, profanely ordered everyone to the locker room, then stood before her players, two of whom proudly identified as North Americans of Indigenous descent.

In an outburst that witnesses described as degrading and dispiriting, Stone accused the players she had recruited of showing her too little respect and devolving into a collection of skaters “with too many chiefs and not enough Indians.”

Maryna Macdonald, a junior starting defenseman from the Ditidaht First Nation of Canada’s Vancouver Island, said Stone looked her in the eye when she made the remark.

“I had learned to navigate a lot of her toxic environment,” Macdonald said. “But now she was disrespecting me and my family and my heritage in front of everybody.”

Macdonald has since left the team, as has Taze Thompson, the 2021-22 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, who is descended from the Cree Nation of Alberta, Canada. Sydney Daniels, an assistant coach who had captained the 2016-17 Harvard team and is a member of the Mistawasis Nehiyawak First Nation of Saskatchewan, also abruptly departed before suing Harvard for alleged racial and other forms of discrimination related to Stone and the athletic department. Harvard has until Feb. 8 to respond to the complaint.

Stone’s tirade led to a review by the university, which decided to retain her as head coach, and triggered a backlash that continues to reverberate among former players who say Stone has emotionally damaged them, all while she has established herself as one of the most renowned coaches in the history of women’s ice hockey.

Sixteen of Stone’s former players told the Globe they fault Harvard for keeping her on the job despite numerous complaints about her alleged abusive coaching practices. Macdonald and Thompson are among 14 recruited players who have left Stone’s program since 2016, including three this season.

Stone declined to comment, as did Harvard athletic director Erin McDermott and the university.

Stone, in a letter e-mailed to her current team after being contacted by the Globe about this story, wrote, “This year, I have made it a priority to acknowledge and respond to direct feedback from the women in my program about my coaching style, and make a concerted effort to better support my players’ experiences.”

McDermott forwarded Stone’s letter to hundreds of former Harvard women’s hockey players, about 45 of whom then sent the Globe a letter supporting her.

Stone’s supporters, in interviews and e-mails, effusively praised her for developing them as students, athletes, teammates, and leaders. They called her kind, caring, and swift to respond to personal crises and tragedies.

“Harvard hockey is just short of holy to me, and that’s because of Coach Stone,” said Lauren McAuliffe, Class of 2004, a former captain who later served as an interim head coach at Northeastern. “It wasn’t just the four years I was there. It impacts me almost every day.”

Categories of complaints

Stone, 56, built the Harvard program into a national power after she took over in 1994. She has coached 24 All-Americans, 15 Olympians, and six winners of the Patty Kazmaier Award, the top individual honor in collegiate women’s hockey. The letter supporting her was signed by eight of those players, including Julie Chu, a four-time Olympic medalist, three-time All-American, and Kazmaier winner.

“I had a very positive experience playing for Coach Stone,” Chu said. “I felt very accepted for who I was as an Asian American and also as someone who was figuring out how to come out as gay to family and friends during my university time.”

The former players who detailed alleged abusive treatment by Stone represent a cross-section of backgrounds and skill levels: captains, marginal players, standouts who played professionally, players from elite private schools with family connections to Harvard, and players such as Macdonald with no ties at all. Their careers with Stone spanned nearly 25 years, and most asked not to be identified for fear of retribution from her supporters, the university, and its powerful alumni network.

Several former players said McDermott, while addressing the team after Stone’s outburst, said a 2019 survey of players commissioned by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences ranked the women’s hockey team last among the university’s 42 varsity sports programs in the quality of its student-athletes’ experiences.

“It’s a culture of complete fear when it comes to [Stone],” said Ali Peper, a captain of the 2019-20 Harvard team. “There is clearly a way to coach without making people hate their lives.”

By many accounts, Stone has created an environment — she calls it a “meritocracy” — that values talent, toughness, obedience, and a team-first ethic that generally prioritizes hockey over the rigors of Harvard academics.

‘“There is clearly a way to coach without making people hate their lives.”’

Her critics say she accommodates her favored players while mistreating others, creating fragile and sometimes fractured team dynamics. They detailed a litany of complaints, many of which they said they have shared with Harvard administrators to little or no avail. The complaints fall into seven broad categories:

  • Negative motivation. Each of the 16 former players said Stone denigrated them or their teammates in ways that made them demoralized, anxious, confused, or seeking mental health support. “Winning and fostering a supportive, non-toxic environment are not mutually exclusive,” said Chloe Ashton, a junior forward who left the team in December. “The best coaches produce good results by inspiring athletes physically and mentally. Unfortunately, that was not my experience in the Harvard women’s hockey program.”
  • Insensitivity to mental health issues. Stone was described by numerous former players as having little tolerance for those confronting emotional challenges. A former team leader who requested anonymity said that when Stone learned she was receiving mental health care, the coach told her, “You need to toughen up and not be a burden to your teammates.”
  • Pressure to return from concussions and other injuries. Several players said Stone downplayed the severity of their traumatic brain injuries or other physical ailments by pressuring them to return too soon or to play through excessive pain. Peper said Stone pushed her to play with a badly damaged hip that ultimately required surgery. “I will never forget the fear I lived in and the physical pain from injuries that were pushed past their breaking point as a result of the environment fostered by Coach Stone,” she said.
  • Body shaming. Several players reported developing eating disorders after Stone harshly criticized their physiques as too thin or too heavy.
  • Adverse influence on academics. Former players said Stone negatively impacted their educational goals in various ways, including advising them to take easier courses, to drop second majors, and to prioritize hockey practices over conflicting lab sessions and other class assignments.
  • Contradictory disciplinary standards. Former team members said Stone cut one player for a drinking infraction, then gave her a second chance, permitting her to train with the team for several months, only to cut her again. Yet when several seniors reported to Stone that one of her favored players had driven drunk and run a red light on Memorial Drive, the coach accused them of betraying the player and imposed no discipline, they said.
  • Hazing. As long ago as 2000 and as recently as 2016, Stone’s first-year players were subjected to initiation practices that included mandatory costume-wearing across campus, forced alcohol drinking, and role playing with sexual overtones, according to personal accounts shared with the Globe. “It made me feel extremely uncomfortable, and that feeling never really left,” a player from the 2016-17 team said.

The player reported the hazing and other concerns about Stone to Harvard in a signed survey document circulated by the school, she said, but she never heard from anyone in the administration.

“I thought that if I reported an illegal activity, someone would have reached out to me,” she said.

No one alleged that Stone was directly involved in hazing, but anti-hazing specialists say coaches are responsible for protecting student-athletes in their programs from bullying and hazing.

Stone’s supporters pushed back against most of the complaints, including her response to their emotional issues, academic challenges, and injuries.

“People are angry and really upset by this,” McAuliffe said. “I hope I’m clear that I really do question the motivation and what the impetus for these kids is. It feels petty and vengeful to me.”

Dr. A. Holly Johnson, Class of 1996, a former captain who served as team physician for the US Olympic women’s hockey team that Stone coached in 2014, said, “I don’t know the allegations against Katey, but what I do know is that as women working in a male-dominated field, we are held to a different standard.”

Johnson described Stone as a close friend and mentor, a passionate advocate for her players, a gifted motivator, and an honorable leader she hopes her daughter will play for one day.

Peper, the former team captain, said that she, too, values the friends and memories she made in the program. But there are painful memories, too.

“I will always cherish my time at Harvard,” she said. “But it was not without its physical and emotional scars. It saddens me that other young women were subjected to this culture long before I arrived, and its persistence is not fair to future Harvard players.”

Falling short in finals

Stone’s rise to prominence at Harvard began with her winning a national title in the American Women’s College Hockey Alliance in 1999. She has since qualified for 12 NCAA tournaments and reached the championship game four times, although she has yet to win an NCAA title and has advanced to the final only once in the last 17 years.

In 2010, when she became the career leader in victories in college women’s hockey at the time, Harvard quoted Stone as saying, “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t important. I’m a very competitive person. I want to be the best.”

Which is why her most prestigious moment in the international arena ended so painfully in 2014. As the first female coach of a US Olympic hockey team, Stone guided the Americans to the gold medal game in Sochi, only for her team to squander a two-goal lead with less than four minutes to play and lose, 3-2, in overtime to Canada.

The crushing finish was not unfamiliar to Stone, whose Harvard teams had lost three straight NCAA title games from 2003-05.

“The sting doesn’t go away,” she told reporters in Sochi.

Last February, her team was collapsing again in the ECAC playoffs after a regular season that earned her Ivy League Coach of the Year honors. Morale sank as Stone tried to root out what she described as unspecified players causing internal problems, according to several team members.

“We were all looking around thinking we don’t have issues here,” Macdonald said. “But when the coach says you have issues, then issues arise.”

Then came Stone’s ethnic comment, which Macdonald reported to the athletic department. Within hours of Macdonald’s report, Stone apologized to the team, but morale remained low, and the Crimson were no match for Minnesota-Duluth in their final game of the season, a 4-0 loss in the NCAA tourney’s opening round.

The administrative review ensued. Players were interviewed, some sharply criticizing Stone, others offering support, according to team members. Nearly six months later, the review ended with an e-mail from McDermott to the team.

“Most importantly, I want you to know that Coach Stone is our head coach and will remain our head coach,” McDermott wrote. “The findings of the review affirm that decision while also identifying opportunities for improvement, particularly with communication across several areas.”

Three days after McDermott’s letter, Northeastern announced that Thompson, the daughter of former NHL player Rocky Thompson, was transferring to play for the Huskies, a stunning move for a Harvard student-athlete.

Nearly every other player who has left Stone’s team since 2016 has remained as a student at Harvard.

Thompson, who in 2021 was named the Harvard team’s top scholar as a member of the ECAC’s All-Academic team, declined to comment. In 2022, the entire Harvard team received ECAC All-Academic honors for earning grade-point averages of at least 3.0.

Thompson is now a key contributor on a Northeastern team ranked first in Hockey East and fifth nationally at 23-2-1. Stone’s current team is 6-12-3.

Daniels, the former captain and assistant coach who cut ties with the Harvard program after the ethnic remark, now scouts for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. She declined to comment.

Another member of the 2021-22 team said she would not discredit anyone else’s experience with Stone but said hers was entirely positive.

“We all struggle in our own ways throughout our Harvard hockey careers, as any Division 1 athlete really does,” she said. “Coach is definitely hard on us. She asks a lot of us, and those demands can sometimes seem too high, but those demands helped shape me into a better person, 100 percent.”

Last straw for this player

In Macdonald’s case, it was no secret on campus before Stone’s “too many chiefs” statement that her heritage was central to her identity. The Harvard Gazette published a story in 2020 that cited Macdonald’s Indigenous roots, including her grandmother enduring the forcible removal by the Canadian government of her and other Indigenous children from their homes into residential schools. The goal was to assimilate them into white culture.

A Canadian national commission has described the forced removals as cultural “genocide.”

“The legacy of that trauma has really impacted my family,” Macdonald told the Globe. “I try to honor every day how much my ancestors went through for me to be able to go to a place like Harvard.”

She remains close to her grandmother, and she often volunteers to help her mother, who is the principal of the All First Nations Haahuupayak Elementary School on Vancouver Island.

At Harvard, Macdonald enlisted her hockey teammates to participate in Orange Shirt Day, which recognizes survivors of the residential schools. She also raised awareness about the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women by posting on social media an image of a red handprint across a woman’s mouth — a symbol of the movement — each time she scored a goal.

But Macdonald said she felt ill-treated by Stone almost from the start, in part for minimizing her traumatic brain injury.

Stone accompanied Macdonald in an ambulance after she was knocked unconscious in a game at the University of New Hampshire just before Christmas break of her freshman season. But when Macdonald returned from break 10 days later, still suffering from severe concussion symptoms and not cleared for hockey activities, she missed the morning session of the team’s first two-a-day practices, and Stone was furious.

“She never asked why I was late,” Macdonald said. “She just ripped me apart, said I was selfish and a disgrace to the program, that I didn’t deserve to wear the jersey.”

Stone’s sharp reprimand sent Macdonald into an emotional tailspin, she said, in which she contemplated suicide. Later, she said, Stone claimed to have forgotten about her concussion at the time of the rebuke.

Still, Macdonald said, Stone continued to single her out for ridicule, as she did last February when Macdonald arrived late from physical therapy to a team video session, and Stone began clapping and chanting, “I hate Mac,” encouraging her teammates to join in.

“It was strange and sad,” one of Macdonald’s teammates said.

When the university ended its review by keeping Stone’s job intact, Macdonald formally quit the team. She is due to graduate from Harvard in May, with an eye toward attending law school and with a year of intercollegiate hockey eligibility remaining.

“I still valued my teammates and wanted to keep playing with them,” Macdonald said. “But this program needs to heal and move forward, and that can’t happen without new leadership.”

Cults – what they are, how we can stop them and how we can reduce harm

April 21, 2023

Cults – what they are, how we can stop them and how we can reduce harm

The course will also offer insight into preventative actions that can be taken to promote healthy relationships.

By Greenwood Events

When and where
Date and time: 
Fri, 21 April 2023, 10:00 – 16:00 BST

Location: Edinburgh Training and Conference Venue 16 Saint Mary's Street Edinburgh EH1 1SU United Kingdom

About this event:
6 hours

This event is in-person and online.

'An amazing panel that worked so well together. I learned so much about High Control Groups from their vast and different knowledge.'

Despite millions of people worldwide being affected by cults – joining them, being raised in them, and leaving or attempting to leave them – the oftentimes harmful and traumatic effects are still poorly understood within the psychotherapeutic and allied health and social care professions (‘Religious Trauma Syndrome’ – Winell, 2011). Given recent worldwide developments that point to the potential harm caused by cults, such as the Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in England and Wales and similar inquiries in countries including Australia, the Netherlands, and Germany, it is important that professionals have deeper knowledge about the lived experience of cult members and the social environment which they inhabit(ed).

This course focuses on:

how we can identify these cults or extremist groups,
how we can better understand the spectrum of control and the effect that has on individuals and families,
what we can do to minimise the harm they cause, and
how we can support people’s recovery from coercive control.
The course will also offer insight into preventative actions that can be taken to promote healthy relationships and reduce risk factors relating to recruitment into cults and coercive relationships.
While various forms and sizes of cults and high control groups and relationships exist, spanning from one-to-one coercive relationships to religious and secular groups, the focus of this course lies predominantly on understanding religious cults, as this falls within the specific expertise of the speakers. Other types of groups will also be considered, due to the similar nature of how these groups operate and their shared potential for harm.

The course will include personal accounts from cult survivors and a Q&A session, where attendees can ask questions directly to survivors and academic experts. Please note that some discussions may be upsetting or triggering for people, particularly for those with personal experiences.

SEE BELOW – all attendees can receive a free copy of Lisa Kohn’s memoir, to the moon and back: a childhood under the influence, which shares her story of being raised in – and leaving – the Unification Church.

Who is this workshop aimed at?

This is an introductory course and does not rely on any previous knowledge. Anyone with an interest in the topic is invited to attend.

Presenters Profiles

Julia Gutgsell (BSc, MSc) Julia Gutgsell holds an MSc in Criminology from the Free University of Brussels, as well as 10 years of professional experience in the health and social care sector. Her dissertation on the impact of shunning in high control groups and relationships was awarded with the Jeanine Seghers prize in 2017, a prize rewarded to original and innovative research. Julia has most recently been involved in co-authoring a research paper for a core participant group of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses for The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (England and Wales). Her main interest lies in understanding how former high control group members recover and (re)claim personal autonomy post-exit. A selection of Julia’s research and recordings of previous speaking engagements are freely accessible online (https://vub.academia.edu/JuliaGutgsell)

Lisa Kohn was a member of the Unification Church (the Moonies), from the age of ten until her early adulthood. The ‘Moonies’ mostly recently drew attention due to the assassination of the former Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, because of his involvement with the group. Lisa's memoir, to the moon and back: a childhood under the influence, which was published in September 2018, details her experience in the Church as well as her difficulties in leaving the Church. Both with her memoir and with her work as a keynote speaker, leadership consultant, and executive coach (www.chatsworthconsulting.com), Lisa works to bring to others the tools, mind-shifts, and practices she’s found that have helped her heal, as well as the hope and forgiveness she’s been blessed to let into her life. NOTE: If you are an Early Bird delegate, you will have a choice between a free autographed paperback of Lisa’s memoir, to the moon and back: a childhood under the influence, or an electronic copy. Delegates who make their booking after the Early Bird period will only be entitled to receive a free electronic copy.

Paula Greenlees is a PhD researcher in psychology at The University of Edinburgh. She uses Discursive Psychology to look at language in high control settings. She is interested in language use in relation to identity and explores how it shapes the social world for individuals within these types of groups. She also looks at how group members construct their talk to build positive identity when in interactions with the public.

In relation to her research interests, Paula recently assisted a core participant group of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses with document preparation for The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (England and Wales).

Verity Carter was born in Scotland into the cult known as The Children of God (currently The Family International). Verity travelled extensively within the cult, grew up segregated from society, and suffered abuse on all levels until she escaped at 15 years old in 1995. Since 2018 Verity has been involved in two successful court cases against adults from the Children of God cult and has partaken in many media projects, including multiple podcasts, featuring in the docuseries, “Children of the Cult” and the BBC reel, “what are cults and why do people join them?” Links to the media projects Verity has been involved in are publicly available online and via her Facebook page. Verity is an activist for justice and is working with other survivors to try and get more cases to court and to promote awareness of the dangers that children especially are exposed to within high demand environments.


Early Bird Standard Price £105 / Student Price £85

After 21 March 2023 Standard Price £125 / Student £105

Included in the cost is a free copy of Lisa's memoir, to the moon and back: a childhood under the influence. If you are an Early Bird delegates, you will have a choice between an autographed paperback pr electronic version of the book. Delegates who make their booking after the the Early Bird period will only be entitled to receive a free electronic version of the book.

Ticket prices are slightly higher because we have a panel of 4 experts attending, including Lisa Kohn from the USA.

Please note that a delegate space is not guaranteed until payment is received.

Handouts and CPD certificate are included in the price.

Abnormal Normal: My Life in the Children of God - Kindle edition by Mahoney, Mary.

Abnormal Normal: My Life in the Children of God - Kindle edition by Mahoney, Mary.

A rational look into a very irrational group mentality.

The early 1970’s was a turbulent time in the US. Anti-war protesters took to the streets, countless students dropped out and became hippies, and drug use spread among the young. As if to offer the youth a way out of this societal storm, there arose a rebirth of Christianity, the Jesus People. The Children of God was at the cutting edge of this movement. It is behind the curtains of this enigmatic group that our story unfolds.

Mary was only 16 when she was swept into the Children of God. The hugs, the camaraderie, the sincerity of the members touched her deeply, and she fell in love with their pure ideology of living simply and freely for Jesus. She threw herself heart, mind, and soul into what she saw as a noble life of self-sacrifice. Her days were filled with studying and memorizing the Bible and the group’s texts, and telling others of her new-found faith. From that naive and well-meaning beginning, her world ever so gradually transformed through the years into a veritable house of horrors. But by then, she could not see the abuse, the exploitation, and the cruelty that surrounded her for what it was. Her sense of normal had also been transformed. Determined to never go back on her initial commitment, she continued on in denial, doing her best to be what she had been told “the Lord wanted her to be.”

Imagine the shock she felt when the curtain was lifted after 31 years and she saw the Children of God for what it was. The guilt she felt for having been part of that abusive and exploitative group, the years she had lost, the family she had given up—all these had been sacrificed on the altar of her misplaced idealism. But worst of all, what weighed the most heavily on her broken spirit was the horrific realization that she had raised her children—the ones she loved the most in the world—in that toxic atmosphere.

How Mary pulled herself out of the darkness of despair and rebuilt her life is a tribute to the power of education and the indomitable strength of the human spirit.

You can read this survivor memoir for free! 

'Sexual Wellness' Company Founder Loses Libel Bid Against BBC Over Podcast

KJ Yossman
January 26, 2023

The founder of “sexual wellness” company OneTaste has failed in her bid to sue the BBC for libel over a podcast.

Last March, Nicole Daedone, the co-founder and former CEO of “orgasmic meditation” company OneTaste, applied to be party to an existing libel action against the BBC over a podcast called “The Orgasm Cult” that ran in November and December 2020. She was joined in her application by OneTaste itself and Rachel Cherwitz, an “orgasmic meditation” practitioner.

The original libel action, which continues, was filed by the Institute of OM LLC and OM IP Co – understood to be a rebranded version of OneTaste – in November 2021.

However, the BBC argued that Daedone, Cherwitz and OneTaste’s libel claims were time-barred, falling outside the 12-month limitation period.

In a judgement handed down on Thursday, Mr Justice Pepperall, who heard the application, said that he would not permit Daedone and OneTaste to be added as parties to the libel claim because the time limit had expired and would be “prejudicial” to the BBC. However, he said that Cherwitz’s libel claim could proceed because she was “not aware of the original claim and did not make a deliberate decision in November 2021 not to join in proceedings.”

“While the High Court has decided not to hear my defamation claim, this does not in any way alleviate the BBC’s responsibility to correct its errors and ensure the facts are put on record,” said Daedone in a statement. “I have said I find bringing defamation proceedings distasteful. Yet despite having in its possession the true facts that unravel the false thread that holds together its podcast, the BBC has been unwilling to do its duty to ensure the public is accurately informed.”

Daedone had claimed the BBC’s podcast had defamed her by suggesting that she – along with OneTaste and Cherwitz – had “controlled a destructive sex cult which, under the false pretence of being a wellness organisation promoting empowerment for modern women, deliberately manipulated and exploited vulnerable women causing them lifelong trauma for the purpose of making themselves wealthy,” according to the judgment.

She also said that the podcast accused the trio of being responsible for “serious criminal acts including the repeated rape of a vulnerable woman, sex trafficking, and facilitating and benefiting from prostitution and violations of labour law,” the judgment continued.

OneTaste was formed in the mid-early 2000s in San Francisco after Daedone was reportedly introduced to “orgasmic meditation” by a Buddhist monk. The company operated workshops, retreats and a coaching program, among other offerings. However, following a Bloomberg deep dive titled “The Dark Side of OneTaste, the Orgasmic Meditation Company,” which claimed the company “resembled a kind of prostitution ring,” the FBI reportedly opened a probe.

Daedone sold her stake in the company in 2017.

The BBC’s 10-part podcast, “The Orgasm Cult,” hosted by Nastaran Tavakoli-Far, touts itself as “a story about people desperate for connection and how far they would go to find it.”

The logline reads: “Join Nastaran Tavakoli-Far as she investigates One Taste through exclusive interviews with former employees and asks big questions about the wellness industry.”

In November, Netflix dropped a documentary about the company titled “Orgasm Inc: The Story of OneTaste.”

A spokesperson for the BBC told Variety: “We note the court’s decision not to allow the libel claims of two claimants to proceed, and aren’t able to comment further at this preliminary stage.”

OneTaste’s current CEO Anjuli Ayer said: “I am encouraged that Rachel Cherwitz’s application for an individual libel claim has been approved. The false attack on a woman for entertainment purposes is misogynistic and should not be allowed to continue. Rachel is a courageous individual for taking on a leading global broadcaster that has lost its moral compass. I am thankful to the High Court for having carefully considered our out of time application for a libel claim against the BBC. The same claim continues from our affiliated company the Institute of OM.”


Shawn Vestal: Another year, another chance to fix Idaho's fatal faith-healing protections

Shawn Vestal, 
The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.
January 24, 2023
Jan. 24—More than seven years ago, Boise attorney Kirt Naylor signed off on a rallying cry to defend Idaho's children.

In a letter to then-Gov. Butch Otter, Naylor and the rest of the 17 members of the Governor's Task Force on Children at Risk, outlined a child mortality rate in a Canyon County faith-healing community that was 10 times greater than the state average.

The committee, including doctors, judges and citizens from across the state, urged Otter to revise the state's religious exemption to child abuse and neglect laws, which protect parents from civil or criminal repercussions if their children suffer or die as a result of their religious beliefs.

"Our First Amendment right to religious freedom does not include the right to abuse or neglect children," the letter read.

"In 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 'The right to practice religion freely does not include liberty to expose the community or child to communicable disease, or the latter to ill health or death. ... Parents may be free to become martyrs themselves. But it does not follow that they are free, in identical circumstances, to make martyrs of their children ... "

And yet year after year, more martyred children of the Followers of Christ Church are buried from treatable or preventable causes — from sepsis, pneumonia, diabetes and other conditions that most children survive — and year after year, attempts to stand up for them in the Statehouse come to naught.

"It's disappointing something more hasn't been done," said Naylor, a former prosecutor in Ada County and longtime volunteer in the state's Court-Appointed Guardian Ad Litem program for abused children. He served on the task force from 2000 to 2016.

"I believe there can be some form of agreement where religious freedoms are protected but vulnerable children are also protected from severe illness and death."

That agreement has been elusive. And as the new legislative session gets rolling, the early signs are that it will remain so.

In the task force's letter, written in July 2015, they noted the grossly high proportion of children's graves in the Peaceful Valley Cemetery, near the small town of Marsing. The cemetery serves the Followers of Christ Church, who do not believe in using modern medicine.

Between 2002 and 2011, the letter says, state records show that 3.37% of all deaths in Idaho occurred among children. During the same period, 130 people were buried at the cemetery; 40 of those deaths, or 31%, were children or stillbirths.

Since then, other efforts have been made to try and make an accurate counting of the deaths of children among the church members. The Idaho Statesman found 19 instances of child deaths since 2015, in an investigative story in 2020 and an update this month. Other journalists have covered the story, as well, and a documentary about the Followers of Christ, "No Greater Law," was released in 2018.

The Idaho Legislature has spent the last couple of sessions puffing itself up as the most "pro-life" of them all. This year is off to a nutty start on that front with the culture-war exertions of its newest counter-balance to intelligent lawmaking, Sagle's Scott Herndon.

Herndon proposed a measure that would force children to take advantage of the "opportunity" to bear their rapists' babies, by eliminating the exceptions for rape and incest built into the state's new, draconian anti-abortion laws. The measure was DOA, but it got a committee discussion.

Here is how Herndon responded when asked about decency of forcing a teenage girl to bear a child if she were raped by a father or an uncle: "Some people could describe the situation that you're talking about as the opportunity to have the child under those terrible circumstances, if the rape actually occurred."
The silver lining, if you will. The idea that this got even a brief airing in the Capitol chambers, while no one is rising up to put a stop to the ongoing deaths of children at the Followers of Christ Church, tells you a lot about the current state of "pro-life" politics in Idaho.

Over and over again, Idaho lawmakers have simply supported the rights of parents to religiously neglect their children to death. Legislative proposals to change that usually don't even make it to a full vote.

"I personally believe in prayer and medical intervention but I cannot interfere with a parent's right to worship as their faith and morals direct them," Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, who represented the district where the church is located and was a staunch opponent of removing the faith-healing exemption, said in 2018.
Even those Republican lawmakers who might have qualms seem scared to even bring it up, and in a Senate that has veered even harder to the far right — where the pandemic has driven the commitment to medical quackery to new heights — we probably shouldn't hold our breath for progress.
The new chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee, where such legislation has tended to die in past years, described the issue to the Statesman recently as "a very complicated, touchy issue."

In what universe is this very complicated?

In what world touchy?

Many states offer some protection for faith healing, but only six grant full immunity to parents for the death and serious injury of a child. (Washington has a peculiarly narrow exemption for Christian Science faith-healing.)

Good, decent Idahoans have been crying out for change for a long time now. Naylor and many others want lawmakers to protect children here, and many of those calling for change are not at all opposed to faith healing, per se.
"I believe in faith as a means of healing," said Naylor, who is LDS. "I believe in medical healing, too. But if a child is likely to die imminently or to be severely injured imminently, something has to be done to protect the rights of the child.
"In these cases, the child doesn't have a voice."
Idaho lawmakers have had a long time to change that.
And they have another chance right now.

Psychedelic church asks panel to let it seek religious exemption for drug use

A Florida church known for its use of ayahuasca tea in religious retreat ceremonies wants an appeal court to revive its challenge to a DEA decision prohibiting its use of the hallucinogenic drink.
Courthouse news service
KAYLA GOGGIN / January 25, 2023

ATLANTA (CN) — An attorney for an Orlando church asked an 11th Circuit panel on Wednesday to overturn a Florida federal judge’s dismissal of its challenge to a Drug Enforcement Administration decision prohibiting the church from using psychedelic ayahuasca tea in its religious retreats.

Billing itself as a “spiritual learning and healing center,” Soul Quest Church of Mother Earth offers three-day retreats at its facility where participants can imbibe ayahuasca, a tea that contains the hallucinogen dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, in search of a religious awakening. For a $999 donation, Soul Quest Church extends participants the chance to join in on weekend retreat ceremonies to experience the “healing” attributes of the tea.

There’s just one problem: federal drug enforcers say the church is not entitled to a religious-based exemption to the Controlled Substances Act, the federal law designating DMT as a Schedule I substance with no currently accepted medical use.

Regardless of the DEA’s decision and a wrongful death lawsuit arising from one of its retreats, the ceremonies have continued unabated for the last seven years.
An attorney representing Soul Quest Church and its leader, Christopher Young, told a panel of the Atlanta-based appeals court that a Florida federal judge unfairly dismissed his clients’ lawsuit against the DEA last March.

The church sued the agency under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, claiming in legal filings that its refusal to issue a religious exemption for the sacramental use of ayahuasca violates the First Amendment’s free exercise clause. Soul Quest Church had previously sued to block the DEA from enforcing the Controlled Substances Act against its use of the tea.

U.S. District Judge Wendy Berger ruled that the court did not have jurisdiction over the case and dismissed it.

The plant-based brew made from Amazonian vines and leaves originated with indigenous cultures in Latin America but in recent years has become popular among westerners seeking to treat physical, spiritual and mental ailments, including depression.

According to a 2016 review published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology about the therapeutic potentials of ayahuasca, the perception-altering tea often produces visions of beautiful scenery, “power animals, spirit guides, topical motifs, vibrant and varying geometric patterns” and induces self-reflection.

In its decision rejecting the church’s petition for a religious exemption to use the tea, the DEA determined that Soul Quest Church did not show that its use of ayahuasca is “pursuant to a religious exercise and based on a sincerely held religious belief.” The agency determined that the church promotes the use of ayahuasca for self-help and therapeutic reasons, not for religious ritual purposes.
But the church has claimed that the DEA failed to properly conduct an investigation into the sincerity of its religious use of ayahuasca, calling the process “defective in practice” in court filings.

Arguing on behalf of Soul Quest Church, attorney Derek Brett of the Burnside Law Group reiterated that claim on Wednesday.

Asked by U.S. Circuit Judge Britt Grant whether anyone could look at the evidence and question the religious sincerity of the group, Brett said it was not up to the DEA to make that call. Brett told the panel the church was entitled to “the same robust protections” that Congress anticipated under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Justice Department attorney Lowell Sturgill, Jr. asked the panel to uphold the lower court’s decision, arguing that the church has failed to follow the appropriate procedures to appeal the DEA’s decision.

Instead of filing a petition for review within 30 days, the church elected to challenge the denial in federal court by adding it to the initial lawsuit against the agency. This type of legal maneuvering doomed the church’s appeal, DOJ attorneys argued in an appellate brief.

The government has also argued in legal filings that its denial of Soul Quest Church’s exemption request is in the interest of public health and safety. Although the church lists common side effects of drinking ayahuasca tea on its website – including panic, paranoia, vomiting and diarrhea – it claims that the brew “seems to be safe” for healthy individuals.

According to Berger’s ruling, church members are educated and evaluated for suitability before participating in the ceremony. But an investigation by the DEA revealed that the church does not always follow its own policies.

Soul Quest Church was sued in March 2020 for wrongful death after a 22-year-old participant in one of its ceremonies died. According to the lawsuit filed in Orange County Circuit Court, Brandon Begley began behaving “erratically” and making “abnormal bodily movements” after taking part in a Kambo session.

The session involved the administration of poisonous secretions from South American giant monkey frogs through holes burned into Begley’s skin with a heated stick.

The lawsuit filed by Begley’s father alleged that Soul Quest Church's employees waited three hours before calling 911. The action claims that employees failed to properly monitor Begley or prevent him from drinking an unsafe amount of water, leading to his hospitalization for respiratory failure and an anoxic brain injury.
Begley died several days later.

Another lawsuit filed by Kevin Rupchand the following year alleged that he had a seizure and lost consciousness after drinking too much water during a ceremony in which participants consumed a poison from tree bark.

In light of the allegations, the DEA argued in its appellate brief that refusing to grant the church a religious exemption “is the least restrictive means of protecting the public health and safety.”

Grant and fellow Trump appointee U.S. Circuit Judge Kevin Newsom were joined on the panel by U.S. Circuit Judge Jill Pryor, an Obama appointee.
The panel did not indicate when it would reach a decision in the case.