Mar 29, 2024

CultNEWS101 Articles: 3/28/2024 (Clergy Sexual Abuse, Conversion Therapy, Book, Transcendental Meditation, Ishmael Chokurongerwa, Apostolic Church, Zimbabwe, Child Abuse, Angola, Legal, Witchcraft, Hillsong)

Clergy Sexual Abuse, Conversion Therapy, Book, Transcendental MeditationIshmael ChokurongerwaApostolic Church, Zimbabwe, Child Abuse, Angola, Legal, WitchcraftHillsong
"A former bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who was featured in an Associated Press investigation into how the church protects itself from allegations of sexual abuse was arrested by police in Virginia this week after being indicted on charges he sexually abused his daughter while accompanying her on a school trip when she was a child, according to court filings.

Police and federal authorities had been searching for John Goodrich after a grand jury in Williamsburg on Jan. 17 found probable cause that he committed four felonies, including rape by force, threat or intimidation, forcible sodomy, and two counts of felony aggravated sexual battery by a parent of a child.

Those charges were filed weeks after the AP investigation revealed how a representative of the church, widely known as the Mormon church, employed a risk management playbook that has helped it keep child sexual abuse cases secret after allegations surfaced that Goodrich abused his daughter Chelsea, now in her 30s, at their home in Idaho as well as on a school field trip to the Washington, D.C., area 20 years ago."
"In 1967, street minister Kent Philpott began outreach to lesbian, gay, and bisexual hippies in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Over the next decade, he counseled those who purportedly wanted out of what he referred to as "the gay lifestyle," combining charismatic religious beliefs in demons, divine healing, and glossolalia with psychological theories on gender and child development. This article examines Philpott's efforts to provide the nascent "ex-gay movement" with cultural, social, and intellectual foundations. This article specifically documents how sexual liberation, hippie culture, and conservative religion converged in San Francisco and spawned the "ex-gay movement." Philpott, swept up by the Jesus People Movement, incorporated religious and psychological beliefs prominent in the Bay Area and infused charismatic Christian influences and traditional understandings of masculinity and femininity into the 'ex-gay movement.'"

Christopher Publishing House: TM And Cult Mania, by Michael Persinger
"TM and Cult Mania is a non-fiction book that examines assertions made by the Transcendental Meditation movement (TM). The book is authored by Michael Persinger, Normand Carrey and Lynn Suess and published in 1980 by Christopher Publishing House."

"TM and Cult Mania analyzes the efficacy or lack thereof of the TM meditation process, concluding that it is, "no more effective than many other meditation techniques". The authors write that, "Transcendental Meditation has achieved international recognition through commercial exploitation" and "poor scientific procedures". The book notes that physiological changes observed due to partaking in TM methodology are very small.[9] Persinger, Carrey, and Suess conclude in TM and Cult Mania, "science has been used as a sham for propaganda by the TM movement."

A positive capsule review in the Los Angeles Times noted that the authors use logic to point out transparencies in the assertions of Transcendental Meditation. John Horgan, in his book Rational Mysticism, questions Persinger's neutrality and says that in his book he treats religious beliefs and spiritual practices as mental illness."

"TM and Cult Mania takes a look at the assertions made by the Transcendental Meditation movement and analyzes them from a scientific perspective. The book acknowledges that those who practice the Transcendental Meditation technique feel relaxed and experience an increase in creativity. According to the book, the physiological effects reported by the scientific studies on Transcendental Meditation are relatively small from a scientific perspective and "no more effective than many other meditation techniques". Transcendental Meditation is seen as most noteworthy due to its ability to manipulate stress and expectancy.

"Transcendental Meditation has achieved international recognition through commercial exploitation" and "poor scientific procedures", write the authors. The book notes, "Frankly, the reported effects of TM upon human behavior are trivial. Considering the alleged potency of the TM procedure, the changes in physiological and behavioral measures are conspicuously minute." TM and Cult Mania comes to the conclusion that, "science has been used as a sham for propaganda by the TM movement."
"Zimbabwe police on Wednesday said they have arrested a man claiming to be a prophet of an apostolic sect at a shrine where believers stay in a compound and authorities found 16 unregistered graves, including those of infants, and more than 250 children used as cheap labor.

In a statement, police spokesman Paul Nyathi said Ishmael Chokurongerwa, 56, a "self-styled" prophet, led a sect with more than 1,000 members at a farm about 34 kilometers (21 miles) north-west of the capital, Harare, where the children were staying alongside other believers.

The children were being used to perform various physical activities for the benefit of the sect's leadership," he said. Of the 251 children, 246 had no birth certificates.

"Police established that all children of school-going age did not attend formal education and were subjected to abuse as cheap labor, doing manual work in the name of being taught life skills," said Nyathi.

Police said among the graves they found were those of seven infants whose burials were not registered with authorities.

He said police officers raided the shrine on Tuesday. Chokurongerwa, who called himself the Prophet Ishmael, was arrested together with seven of his aides 'for criminal activities which include abuse of minors.'"
"About 50 people have died in Angola after being forced to drink an herbal potion to prove they were not sorcerers, police and local officials said Thursday. The deaths occurred between January and February near the central town of Camacupa, according to Luzia Filemone, a local councilor.

Police confirmed that 50 people had died.  

Speaking to Angola National Radio broadcaster, Filemone accused traditional healers of administering the deadly concoction.

"More than 50 victims were forced to drink this mysterious liquid which, according to traditional healers, proves whether or not a person practices witchcraft," she said.

Belief in witchcraft is still common in some rural Angolan communities despite strong opposition from the church in the predominantly Catholic former Portuguese colony."
"Investigative journalist David Hardaker's new book, Mine is the Kingdom, tells the explosive story of how Brian Houston's family went from humble Kiwi origins to run one of the world's largest megachurches. This extract reveals how their empire started falling apart."

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