Mar 11, 2023

CultNEWS101 Articles: 3/11-12/2023 (Liana Shanti, Documentary, Jesus Morning Star, Larry Ray, Deprogramming, The Vineyard Church)

Liana Shanti, Documentary, Jesus Morning Star, Larry Ray, Deprogramming, The Vineyard Church

" ...'When we all first met her, she was basically running the health program,' said Julie, an early follower who did not want her real name used. "At the time, she was our friend. It's not like how now she charges $300 to be able to speak with her for 15 minutes."

Liana began by posting advice on her Facebook page called Rawganic Vegan. Some of her first posts were recipes for kale salad, "morning brain boost" juice, and raw vegan banana pudding parfait.

Over time, Liana started adding spiritual advice into the mix. "She was peppering in things about how our relationship with food was related to our mother. And, oh, we had an attachment to milk… maybe we should look at our relationship with our father," Julie said. "She did have a really large community of followers. But there was this core group of people who were asking the deeper questions, who wanted to know—not just about, 'How can I lose 10 pounds?'–but we wanted to know what did this mean about my relationship to my mom? And what can I do in a conversation with my mother in order to heal my relationship to binge-eating."

Responding to this interest in deeper healing, Liana started releasing spiritual courses in 2015. One of the first was "Mother Wounds Healing," followed by "Father Wounds Healing," and "Healing From the Pain of Narcissistic Relationships." The classes cost $495 each and consist of several hours of downloadable audio lessons. Each course begins with New Age-y meditation music before Liana launches into a stream-of-consciousness lecture, delivered with the confidence of a therapist and the tone of a hypnotist.

Former Lemurian Sisters told The Daily Beast that these recordings put them in a trance-like state and changed the way they viewed their family.

"It's like the minor things that happen, like a parent yells at you. That's not something that's very traumatic, but in Liana's eyes, she makes it to be something that's highly traumatic and something that you'd be so hurt over and so damaged by," said Amber, a former Lemurian Sister who asked that her real name not be used.

"She's planting the seed for you to isolate yourself from your family," Amber added. "I started hating my family."

Amber discovered Liana when she was suffering from post-partum health issues in 2015. She was having panic attacks and couldn't sleep. Her body seemed to be revolting against her, and she felt that doctors weren't taking her seriously. "One doctor told me that I was a hypochondriac," she said. "And, I said, I don't—I don't want to feel these ways. I'm feeling these things, and I don't—I can't accept that."

She went searching for answers online and found Liana's health programs. She connected with the other followers and found the validation and support she wasn't getting from health-care professionals. These new online friends encouraged Amber to dive deeper into Liana's teachings.

"I could tell off the bat that if you didn't get involved in the spiritual stuff, you were kind of looked down upon," Amber said."

Korea Herald: Investigative documentary series tell stories stranger than fiction

Netflix released its third Korean documentary series "In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal," featuring four Korean religious cult leaders -- Jeong Myeong-seok of Christian Gospel Mission, better known as Jesus Morning Star, Park Soon-ja of Odaeyang Church, Kim Ki-soon of Baby Garden and Lee Jae-rock of Manmin Central Church -- who all claim to be saviors of humanity.

The eight-part documentary series presents the religious cult groups' origins, how they rose to power and little-known stories about the four leaders, featuring interviews with those who left the cults. The series was produced by MBC with MBC producer Jo Sung-hyun.

Much airtime was given to JMS and its leader Jeong, who is currently awaiting trial for sexually assaulting female followers.

"Though he was eager to impart life advice to his daughter's friends, he appeared to harbor little interest in establishing an official organization. Perhaps his thrall was all the more powerful for its intimate informality. After Talia's sophomore year, Ray moved into a one-bedroom apartment in a Manhattan high-rise with five students from Sarah Lawrence, including Talia and her then boyfriend, Santos, and a sixth, who would later join from Columbia University. In those close quarters, he deployed an arsenal of extreme control tactics: isolation, financial extortion, food and sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, physical and emotional abuse, and reality distortion.

The director of "Stolen Youth," Zachary Heinzerling, lucked out early in the production process when Ray, in an effort to clear his name, handed over audio clips that seemingly implicated him further. (Heinzerling also obtained video and audio files from Felicia Rosario, as well as evidence presented in court.) The more violent footage from the apartment is difficult to watch: Ray pinching Levin's tongue with a pair of heavy pliers and threatening to split it, for instance, or Santos's attempts to quiet an anguished Felicia by slapping his own face whenever she made a noise. But "Stolen Youth," which extends far beyond the events in the magazine feature that first exposed Ray, is a remarkable work, advancing the prestige true-crime genre's slow but steady reorientation toward centering survivors."

"Michael Gatlin, who for the past 25 years served as Lead Pastor of The Vineyard Church in Duluth, Minnesota, has resigned, saying he cannot cooperate with an investigation into his son's alleged misconduct.

When the allegations surfaced last month, the church suspended Michael's son, former young adult pastor, Jackson Gatlin, and launched an independent investigation. The church has since terminated Jackson, who also refused to cooperate with the investigation, according to an update on the church's website.

Michael's wife, Brenda Gatlin, who served as super regional leader (SRL) for Vineyard USA, has resigned her position, as well, amid allegations both she and her husband knew of their son's misconduct, but did nothing.

In the update, the church acknowledged the new allegations, stating, "There are also allegations that Michael and Brenda Gatlin knew about this misconduct at the time and failed to act."

While the church updates did not disclose the nature of the allegations against Jackson, one woman claimed in a Facebook post that Jackson sexually assaulted her.

"I myself was assaulted by (Jackson Gatlin) as well," the post stated. "It was of a sexual nature. And the rest of the details will remain private."

Other women also took to social media in response to Jackson's suspension.

"I now know that the reason you called me 'little sis' was because of how affectionate you were with me in public," one woman wrote. "Clearly being an adult that was not okay. You passed as a teenager in your 20s so people often overlooked you.

"I sat and waited for anyone that I attended church with to speak up and no one did . . .Tonight I'm calling out anyone who knows anything, especially the leadership. If you were there you know, if YOU WERE THERE WE KNOW. SPEAK UP FOR THE VICTIMS."

The church said they are investigating whether Michael and his wife, Brenda, knew of the allegations when they occurred. One mother claims she told Brenda what Jackson "did" to her daughter:

"The pain and suffering my daughter has experienced in her life due to this man's actions are inexcusable. Honestly I am exhausted and tired of hearing about his poor parents and his poor wife. I'm exhausted from people caring more about the church and not about the victims.

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