Sunday Cult Watch

cult – n. A particular form or system of religious worship; esp. in reference to its external rites and ceremonies. -Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed. 1989

This is the recent cult news for the last few weeks.

The Catholic Cult

A 55-year old Delaware woman becomes the first female survivor of priestly sex abuse in the state to file a suit against the Catholic Church. She alleges that Rev. Leonard Mackiewicz, who died in 1994, sexually abused her, along with nine other children, when she was only 13 years old. Mackiewicz was removed from the ministry in 1987 and was one of 20 other priests with substantiated cases of sexual abuse. The Delaware woman also alleges that Church/cult officials knew Mackiewicz was abusing young boys and girls and did nothing to protect the children. When she reported the incident to her mother, which must have occurred around 1966, her mother slapped her and stated, “no priest would ever do something like that.”

In another part of the country, a priest hasn’t gotten off by simply dying. Rev. Raymond Kownacki is named as the defendant in a suit that goes to trial Monday in Belleville, IL, in which it is alleged that he molested a 13-year old boy. The Church has been obstructing justice at every turn, attempting to have the case thrown out, refusing to reveal internal church reports on the abuse in a timely fashion, etc.

Cult’s like this see cases of sexual abuse as “minor” when compared with their self-aggrandized place in society, placing them above the law (what they deem as “man’s law”) and, subsequently, the Church, in general, feels no remorse for the actions of a few no matter how heinous those actions may be. Pathetic. And sad.

The Purpose Driven Life Cult (a.k.a. the Cult of Rick)

Rick Warren hosted a discussion at his BFC in Lake Forest, California on Saturday. The idea was to give the candidates an opportunity to appeal to evangelical voters with their “values” discussion. McSame desparately needs them and has been criticized for intenet attack-ads that compare Obama to the so-called “anti-christ” -a mythical deity in the Christian cult’s pantheon. Warren is often described as “The Next Billy Graham.” Incidentally, that link has this quote: “John McCain recently visited him to pray for “God’s will to be done in the upcoming election”. But for the most part the prophet has retreated to the mountain-top.” Wow. Prophets and God’s will. It doesn’t get any better.

The Mormon Cult

Levi Barlow Jeffs, son of Warren Jeffs, jailed child rapist and polygamist, copped a plea with authorities last week. Basically he got 1 year probation for interfering with a public servant, which will be dismissed if he follows the terms of his probation. Nothing special there.

But if you want to walk away from this post shaking your head in amazement, watch the video below.

To give you a gist, 30 years ago this month marks the time in which a mother threw her seven kids off an eleventh floor balcony at a hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. Their father, Immanuel David, had just committed suicide two days before as the FBI was “closing in on him.” The mother jumped off the balcony just after tossing the kids over. One 15-year old girl survived and was severely injured. They belonged to a sub-cult of the Mormon cult which professed that Immanuel David was “God and Jesus” on Earth. The cult is now making its comeback with a new leader, Matthias David, who says of the suicide incident: “[t]hey couldn’t live without him. Can you imagine what kind of faith it would take for a whole family to leap from the 11th floor of a hotel? Can you imagine what kind of faith that would take?”

My question is, if Immanuel David was God and Jesus, then why would anyone want to follow a god that kills himself when mere mortal police are about to arrest him for God knows what (pun intended)?

That’s all I’ve got this week. I’ll try to do this a couple of times a month. Maybe I’ll start the post and add to it throughout the week, so if anyone has any cult news or views to share, send the links to me at ylooshi AT gmail DOT com and I’ll give you a hat-tip in the post.

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Sunday Cult News

cult – n. A particular form or system of religious worship; esp. in reference to its external rites and ceremonies. -Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed. 1989

Here’s a brief look at what’s going on with various cults and cult leaders around the world in the last week or two.

The Cult of Scientology
Xenu.net is the best place to find all the accurate, up-to-date, and embarrassing to the cult’s adherent’s information. On that domain is a list of quotes [1] from judges and court officials from around the world. Here’s an excerpt:

“Scientology is evil; its techniques are evil; its practice is a serious threat to the community, medically, morally, and socially; and its adherents are sadly deluded and often mentally ill… (Scientology is) the world’s largest organization of unqualified persons engaged in the practice of dangerous techniques which masquerade as mental therapy.” –Justice Anderson, Supreme Court, Australia

“[The court record is] replete with evidence [that Scientology] is nothing in reality but a vast enterprise to extract the maximum amount of money from its adepts by pseudo scientific theories… and to exercise a kind of blackmail against persons who do not wish to continue with their sect….” –Judge Breckenridge, Los Angeles Superior Court

“It is dangerous because it is out to capture people and to indoctrinate and brainwash them so they become the unquestioning captives and tools of the cult, withdrawn from ordinary thought, living, and relationships with others.” –Justice Latey, High Court of London

The cult of Scientology has an obvious appeal to celebrities, which makes sense for several reasons: good PR; celebrities have lots of money to scam from them; people want to be like their favorite celebrities; celebrities come with fan-bases which offer a source of potential marks to con money from; etc. Everyone knows about nuts like Tom Cruise, Kirsty Alley, Vinnie Barbarino and Will Smith (the list goes on), but you might not know about lesser known celebrities like Jodhi Meares [2]. Her career is “ailing,” she’s suffering from a breakup with her husband, and just gets deeper and deeper involved with the cult (meaning, they get more and more of her money).

But if getting good PR from celebrities isn’t enough, the cult of Scientology can also just generate its own PR. By lying and stealing.

In case you weren’t aware, the cult employs what it calls “volunteer ministers” which rush in to “assist” whenever there are disasters or tragedies, basically exploiting the suffering of others for their own gain by getting in the way and preventing legitimate first responders from doing their work. The cult then takes credit by announcing their “good deeds” to the world. Among their goals is to block and prevent real psychologists and and real counselors from providing assistance. This is actually a goal.

So, when a flake that buys into their cult nonsense comes along and gives the Church of Scientology the Medal of Valor for their “service” [3] did anyone in the cult mind that this flake wasn’t in an official position to give an award that “has been awarded POSTHUMOUSLY and EXCLUSIVELY for line of duty death?” … or that the award carried any more weight or meaning that a $3 bill with Clinton’s face on it? Nope. I suppose when you’re a fake religion having a fake award and being proud of it is par for the course.

The Messiah-with-a-hardon Cult

Wayne Bent is cult leader and sexual abuser of children that has his followers convinced he’s the Messiah. If it weren’t for the tragedy and trauma experienced by the kids involved in the case, it would be comedic. The worse part of it is that Bent is apparently in communication with his victims, so perhaps his legal strategy is to continue with the brainwashing and indoctrination and with the pressure from his followers to avoid jail time. I won’t be surprised if when this goes to trial the victims have a change in their story. Sad stuff. How do his followers deal with it? By participating in a “word fast” -at least when it comes to speaking with prosecutors and the press.

The Mormon Cult
From the Beat-the-dead-horse-with-a-stick dept.: Warren Jeffs, already incarcerated, joins 5 others indicted by a Texas Grand Jury for charges that include felony sexual assault of a child [5]. Get your magic underwear on, Warren. Looks like they may extradite you from your Arizona Jail cell to face charges here in Texas. The “real Christians” here don’t cotton to “fake Christians” like Mormons.

The “Real Christian” Cults
I recently wrote about the Texas girl that was assaulted by religious nuts that forced her to participate in witchcraft ritual known as an “exorcism” (only the members of the cult don’t consider it witchcraft). The experience has left her father, who was once a missionary and a minister, agnostic in his religious beliefs. It’s left the girl, Laura, traumatized. She attempted to slit her wrists with a box-cutter after the so-called “exorcism.”

The Texas Supreme Court dismissed her lawsuit against the church last month, so the Pearson, 17 at the time of the abuse but now 29, says she and her parents are willing to take the issue to the United States Supreme court [6]. She states, “You can’t use your religious beliefs to get away with harming a child.”

I say, more power to you. Texas, through its Supreme Court, has stated it’s okay to abuse kids in the name of religion as long as sex isn’t involved. Typical of the Christian cults.

Televangelist Cults
Who wants to be a millionaire? If you have your credit card handy, all you need to do is make a $1000.00 donation to the Benny Hinn during his “South Africa Miracle Cursade” and you will earn a “special blessing” [7]. Apparently this special blessing from God will last only two minutes but would “create 500 churchgoing millionaires or even billionaires.” One of Hinn’s minions had credit card machines ready and told people that God would bless their credit cards “and they would be able to rule over South Africa with their money.”

It never ends.

There is more. Believe me. There is plenty more. But I’m out of time for the day. I’ll save a few of the others I marked this week for next time.

References and Sources

1. Xenu.net (2008). What the judges have to say about Scientology. Found online at: http://www.xenu.net/archive/disk/archive/quotes.htm

2. News.com.au (2008, July 25). Stressed Jodhi Meares takes comfort in Scientology. News.com.au. Found online at: http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/story/0,26278,24074268-10388,00.html

3. von Marcab, Lily (2008, July 19). Scientology Cult Fraudulently Claims “Medal of Valor” from New York Fire Department. The San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay). Found online at: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/07/19/18517551.php

4. KOAT.com (2008, July 18). Cult Leader Appears in District Court. KOAT.com. Found online at: http://www.koat.com/news/16926528/detail.html

5. Ramshaw, Emily (2008, July 23). Grand jury indicts six people from West Texas polygamist sect. Dallas Morning News. Found online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/072208dntexpolygamy.7a60fc1c.html

6. Baker, Max (2008, Jul 27). Family resolves to take fight over exorcism to Supreme Court. Fort Worth Star Telegram. Found online at: http://www.star-telegram.com/state_news/story/786870.html

7. News24.com (2008, Jul 20). ‘God Bless Your Credit Card.’ News24.c0m. Found online at: http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_2360893,00.html

Sunday Cult Watch

cult – n. A particular form or system of religious worship; esp. in reference to its external rites and ceremonies. -Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed. 1989

Here’s a brief look at what’s going on with various cults and cult leaders around the world in the last week or two.

Warren Jeffs and the Mormon cult (U.S.)

Jeffs is (or at least was) the leader of a sect within the Mormon cult, which approves of child rape and polygamy. It turns out [1] that he actually married off his 15 year old daughter to a 34 year old man (the son of his “chief deputy” of the sect within a cult). “[P]ictures, diaries and a marriage record” recently obtained by the Houston Chronicle show that authorities are still pursuing additional charges against Jeffs -as well they should. The majority of the Mormon cult, it should be noted, doesn’t embrace polygamy and rape.

Previously, the daughter’s attorney refused to testify [2], asserting attorney-client privilege, regarding the case. Both of the above sources report that Theresa Jeffs, the daughter of Warren Jeffs, wanted a new attorney because of conflicts, but the first reports that the attorney was looking for a restraining order against “Willie Jessop,” who she charged was intimidating the girl as a witness. I couldn’t find any confirmation, but it seems reasonable to conclude that “Willie Jessop” is the son of William E. Jessop, and a long-time patriarch of the cult. So this may very well be the “husband.” If so, he’s a true nutjob if the Austin television station, KXAN, has the scorecard right [3]. Apparently, “Willie the Thug” has a “passion for violence, weapons, and explosives” and was banned from Jeff’s court proceedings because of witness intimidation.

Jeffs has maintained throughout that he never married his underage daughter off to an adult to be raped, so the new documents that have come to light are new evidence which shows not only that he did but that this isn’t just a one-off within the cult -the trail of documents implicates many and creates a situation where people were complicit and knowledgeable of these crimes.

So how’s Jeffs taking it all? He was transported to the hospital a couple of weeks ago, around the time this information was coming to light, after being found in his cell convulsing and running a fever. He was released a few days later. Jeffs has attempted suicide in the past [4] and I’d be willing to bet he poisoned himself somehow.

Demonic Possession within a Christian Cult of Pentecosts  (Australia)

The Mercy Ministries has closed two of it’s facilities in Australia due to financial problems [5], but it’s Queensland facility remains open for the business of “treating” mental illness and dysfunctions through “prayer” and “exorcism.” One of the ministries’ victims recounts through the source cited above a desire to get help for her anxiety disorder and panic attacks. She was attracted to the Mercy Ministries because they advertised “free treatment” for her disorders but:

[…] she quickly became disheartened after “free” meant signing over her Centrelink payments to the group and “treatment” didn’t include proper access to doctors, psychologists and social workers.

“The ‘counsellor’ I had was not qualified to treat mental illness… nobody there was. She was in the middle of a mercy ‘in-house program’ to teach her how to prayer counsel,” says Smith.

“I spent months there and the only ‘therapy’ I had was prayer readings and an exorcism.”

Colonia Dignidad Leader Jailed for Torturing Children (Chile)

What do you get when you mix a former corporal in Adolf Hitler’s army with religion and give him a “sealed off complex” and a bunch of kids? You don’t want to know the answer [6]. Paul Schaefer was sentenced to 3 years and 1 day for torturing children in Chile. Apparently, he gave 8 kids psychotropic drugs and electroshock therapy from 1970 to 1980 at a religious commune he started in the 1960s. From this commune he led a group of followers and preached “rigid morality” while physically and sexually abusing children in the “sealed off complex.”

Cult on Cult Action – Raelians vs. Catholics (Australia)

A group of gay Raelians attacked the Pope and the Catholic church last week. If you have the same sense of humor I have, then your first thought might have been like mine: picturing a “queer-eye for the Catholic-guy” makeover on the Pope and a local church. It seems as that might have been tame compared to what really happened. They demonstrated outside the Parliament house for equal recognition for their own cult and their cult leader, Rael [7]. Spokeswoman Eden Bates said she was insulted that “our gorgeous, fantastic spiritual leader Rael wasn’t even given the respect of a visa. I’m not Catholic, I’m Raelian and I’d like to see police escorts for our beautiful profit when he comes to Australia.” When asked the difference between the two cults, Bates said:

“We are an international, non-profit organisaton that understands that we have been created by an advanced civilisation that came to this planet 25,000 years ago and created everything that we are and everything we see around us.”

What the Raelians believe is that humanity was created specially just a few thousand years ago instead of evolving gradually over millions of years and that some god-like deities took a special interest in us. All without a shred of physical evidence? In other words, there’s no difference between Raelians and Catholics. They’re both batshit. At least Raelians don’t think a cracker will turn into the body of a dead guy in your mouth like some sort of perverted candy that transsubstantiates in your mouth, not in your hands.

Hey Kool-Aid! It’s Jesus-Fucking-Christ! (Houston, TX)

Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is a former heroin addict and now claims to be Jesus Christ [8]. No shit. And it almost isn’t comical when your realize that he has a following of thousands in over 300 “learning centers” worldwide. His followers donate millions of dollars to him each year; the guy wears Rolex watches and designer suits and has other Christian cults hopping mad! Christian cults like Methodists, Episcopalians, Mormons and Catholics would be mad enough just having someone claim to be their god on Earth in the Second Coming, but apparently his followers also go to other religious events and wreak havoc. There’s apparently no love or tolerance being taught -quite the opposite: Miranda teaches that the other cults are wrong (you think?) and that his is the “true” cult (right.), so it’s okay to disrupt and destroy them as enemies.

Doomsday Cult Leader in Court (Russia)

Pyotr Kuznetsov didn’t follow his followers into the bunker they built for the coming apocalypse. Instead, he took their money and assets instead. Meanwhile, the cult members were all tucked unsafely in a bunker built underground in a ravine, threatening mass suicide if authorities dared disturb them. They eventually emerged, among them four children, after snow melt began flooding the bunker. Their already disturbed leader was jailed and spent time in a psychiatric asylum until his trial begins at the psychiatric hospital. Two women died in the bunker, exact causes unknown [9].

God and Guns – The Baptist Cult (Oklahoma, USA)

The Windsor Hills Baptist Church canceled its plans to giveaway a semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle to a “lucky” teenager [10]. In case you’re wondering, it wasn’t because the church realized it mightn’t be morally sound or a reasoned giveaway item for a teen when compared with an iPod or even a laptop computer as a means to drum up attendance among teens. Apparently, the reason was that one of the event organizers could’t attend, so the church plans to give the gun away next year instead. To a teenager.

To quote a nut from this cult: “[we are] putting a weapon in the hand of somebody that doesn’t respect it who are then going to go out and kill.” One is left to wonder how it is that this guy professes to know the mind of a teenager well enough to award said teen with a weapon designed to do nothing other than kill other people in the most economical and efficient means possible. If the church couldn’t afford an iPod or a laptop, and really MUST stick to a firearm since it hosts an annual shooting competition, aren’t there some very good sporting models made by Remington they could have chose?

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That’s the Sunday Cult news for this week. I’m thinking of making this a weekly series, so if you have any comments, suggestions or ideas, comment here or email me at ylooshi AT gmail DOT com.

Sources and References

1. Langford, Terri (2008, Jul 19). Documents could play role in criminal probe of FLDS sect. Houston Chronicle. Found online at: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5895744.html

2. Adams, Brooke (2008, Jun 27). Attorney for Jeffs’ daughter refuses to talk. Salt Lake Tribune. Found online at: http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_9714570

3. KXAN.com (2008, Jun 23). Letter on FLDS persons of interest. Austin News KXAN.com. Found online at: http://www.kxan.com/Global/story.asp?S=8544087&nav=menu73_2_9

4. AP News (2008, Jul 11). Warren Jeffs found Convulsing in Jail Cell, Transferred to Hospital. AP News Wire via FoxNews.com. Found online at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,380762,00.html

5. Brunero, Tim (2008, Jul 18). How to Cure Anorexia with Exorcisms. Live News. Found online at: http://www.livenews.com.au/Articles/2008/07/18/How_to_cure_anorexia_with_exorcisms_101

6. AAP (2008, Jul 12). Commune Head Sentenced for Child Torture. AAP News Wire via Sydney Morning Herald. Found online at: http://news.smh.com.au/world/commune-head-sentenced-for-child-torture-20080712-3dx1.html#

7. Hildebrand, Joe (2008, Jul 9). Glamour Lesbians Attack Pope and Catholic Church. The Daily Telegraph. Found online at: http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,23994345-5006009,00.html

8. Peters, Kevin (2008, Jul 14). Man who says he’s Jebus spreads controversial message in Houston. Texas Cable News. Found online at: http://www.txcn.com/sharedcontent/dws/txcn/houston/stories/khou080714_tnt_miranda.5447ee70.html

9. RT (2008, Jul 15). Doomsday Cult Leader Stands Trial. Russia Today. Found online at: http://www.russiatoday.ru/news/news/27510

10. UPI (2008). Church cancels semi-automatic assault rifle giveaway. KFI-AM640. Found online at: http://kfiam640.com/cc-common/news/sections/newsarticle.html?feed=104673&article=3949295