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Please send questions, comments, problems, and letters to the editor to All editorial correspondence becomes the property of -- unless requested otherwise -- and may be edited for purposes of clarity and space. Except where noted, entire contents Copyright ©1995,1996,1997 Society. trancenet.netTM is a trademark of Society, an unincorporated nonprofit organization. The opinions and viewpoints of contributors do not necessarily reflect those of, its editorial staff, nor Society, its board, officers, employees, volunteers. Neither Society nor its editorial staff conclude that any group discussed on this site is necessarily cultic in nature. We provide suppressed and alternative information so that you may make informed decisions for yourself. Copyrighted works are reprinted with permission as noted or are made available under the "fair use" exception of U.S. copyright law, for research and educational purposes only.
News Archive for October, 1997

In her final years, Scientologist spent $175,000, by Thomas C. Tobin, ©St. Petersburg Times, October 31, 1997
Today, as the Church of Scientolgy tries to rebut assertions that it caused Lisa McPherson's sudden death, it also takes credit for her successes. But McPherson's turnaround came at a financial price. From 1991 until she died in December 1995, McPherson spent more than $175,000 on Scientology courses, according to financial records. Her donations to the church ranged as high as 55 percent of her income. Although the church says its services are not expensive, McPherson regularly gave far more of her income to Scientology than Americans, on average, give to traditional religions and charities. Her records also illustrate how the 1993 IRS decision to grant Scientology tax-exempt status helps underwrite payments from individual Scientologists to the church and the finances of the church itself. In 1994, McPherson spent so much money taking Scientology programs she reduced her income by 42 percent, filing for a government refund of $17,000 -- 4 times the average for her income group. In an interview, church officials and their attorneys said the Times is unfairly singling out Scientology by reporting what McPherson spent. In depositions in the family's lawsuit, the church's attorneys characterized McPherson as a once-promiscuous young woman with a drug problem and a bad early marriage who turned her life around with Scientology's help. In November 1995, she turned psychotic again. This time, she was taken to a room in the Fort Harrison and watched around the clock by Scientology staffers at "Flag." By the church's own account, she emerged 17 days later drawing what would be her last breaths. McPherson had donated 55 percent of her income that year to "Flag" and Scientology causes. The nation's 30-million Protestant members gave an average of $477 per member in 1994. The nation's 59-million Catholics give an average of less than $200 per member each year. The church uses its tax-exempt status as a marketing tool. Many mailings show Uncle Sam urging Scientologists to take church services "now" to deduct it from their income tax.
Town wants cat-killing furor to run out of lives: Punishment for grisly crime splits old and new residents, Chicago Tribune, October 31, 1997
(Fairfield, IA) Early on March 7, 16 cats were beaten to death with baseball bats, allegedly by two local teenage boys. Much has happened since the cats were cremated at Daivd Sykes' Noah's Ark Animal Foundation shelter in Fairfield, an unusual town of 10,000 where a strong New Age influence overlays what is still basically a typical Iowa farm community. The town is split whether the two young men, who go on trial Tuesday, should receive prison terms if a jury finds them guilty. The case has stirred up so much publicity and such intense passion that it was moved 30 miles to Jefferson County. Kyle Sloan, 35, says she was initially sickened by the killings at the Noah's Ark shelter. Now she is equally sick of the controversy, which she maintains has been kept smoldering by the Sykes to rake in donations for their shelter. Sloan also said she was glad the trial was moved because of Fairfield's many Transcendental Meditators. TMers, including the Sykeses, began moving to Fairfield 23 years ago, when bankrupt Parsons College was purchased by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and renamed Maharishi International University. Sloan is concerned that "meditators" on a Fairfield jury might condemn the young defendants out of hand. Since the maharishi's followers began landing in Fairfield--bringing high-tech businesses, vegetarian restaurants and a bevy of New Age ideas--relations have waxed and waned between the "roos" (for gurus) and the townies. The trial, scheduled for the same day a roo challenges the incumbent townie mayor in a city election, has diminished town tolerance even lower level than 20 years ago, when MIU began advertising they could train people to fly and to disappear into balls of blue light. The townies could only shake their heads. Two of the boys could get 10 years in prison and $7,500 fines.
Submitted by Steven Hassan
Hospital staff indicted in brainwashing scheme, October 30 11:03 AM EST
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Five former staff members at a Houston psychiatric hospital were indicted on charges they brainwashed patients into believing they had been in a satanic cult so they could bilk them of millions of dollars, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. The defendants, who worked at Spring Shadows Glen psychiatric hospital in Houston, told a number of patients from 1991 to 1993 that they had multiple personality disorder caused by their participation in a satanic cult, according to prosecutors. Some patients came to believe their children had been sexually abused by the alleged cult and saw their families torn apart as a result. One woman was awarded $5.8 million by a Houston jury in August for damages caused by the treatments.
The Maharishi restricts usage of Hindu statues, Oct 31, TranceNet
The TM monk group known as Purusha recently received a message from the Maharishi's headquarters about statues of devatas (Hindu gods). TM became famous for its claims of being scientific, nonreligious, and specifically non-Hindu in the 70s. In addition, the TM movement claimed that followers need not follow any lifestyle or belief systems. In this message, TMers were asked to tell all their friends that god statues should not be kept without proper "mantra installation." Since such installation is not available, they were encouraged to give away all such statues. This directive did not apply to pictures of gods. TMers were told they can continue to enjoy all pictures of gods.
German court hears arguments about treatment of Scientology, 10:19 a.m. PST Tuesday, October 28, 1997
BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's fight with Scientology entered a federal court Tuesday, but judges signaled they would not decide whether the U.S.-based church is a religion or a commercial enterprise. Scientology had hoped that a court ruling in its favor would give it legal grounds to challenge treatment of adherents. German officials insist their actions are justified against what they see as a totalitarian, profit-oriented sect out to bilk members and undermine democracy. The Scientologists went to court after Baden-Wuerttemberg revoked the non-profit status of a Stuttgart branch in 1986. The state said the group did not deserve tax breaks because it was primarily concerned with making money, not "idealistic goals." A Stuttgart court upheld the revocation, but a regional court overturned the ruling, saying first it must be determined whether Scientology is a religion and thus entitled to raise money as a non-profit. A ruling is expected Nov. 6, a federal court spokesman said.
Scientologists protest bias, Thousands of marchers accuse German government of religious discrimination, Tuesday, October 28, 1997,in the Akron Beacon Journal
BERLIN (AP): Thousands of Church of Scientology followers marched through Berlin yesterday protesting what they call "the most odious religious discrimination . . . by the most oppressive German government" since World War II. The group has been placed under government observation as a threat to democracy, and Scientologists claim discrimination in all levels of German society: from being denied political party membership to having their children rejected from schools to being blocked from buying real estate to being refused the right to open a bank account. Yesterday's march came on the eve of a crucial court decision on whether Scientology is a religious society or a business. The case could be precedent-setting for the group's legal status across the country. The Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology has fought other battles over whether it is a legitimate religion or a commercial operation. Only after a 25-year campaign did it win U.S. tax-free status as a religion in 1993. But protesters yesterday said that confronting Germany's treatment of Scientology was its toughest struggle.

Travolta Defends Scientology, 8:27 p.m. PST Monday, October 27, 1997
(Reuters/Variety Entertainment Summary) John Travolta told a mass rally of Scientologists in Berlin protesting Germany's tough stance on their group that there was no excuse for governments to discriminate against religious bodies. "Scientology is our religion," Travolta said in a video message taped in Los Angeles where he is working on a new film. "It has helped us a lot, as it has helped so many others around the world." Two other celebrity Scientologists -- actress Anne Archer and singer Isaac Hayes -- joined the protest march through Berlin to the Brandenburg Gate.

Berlin braces for Scientology protest march, 3:47 a.m. PST Monday, October 27, 1997
BERLIN, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Berlin city officials said they expected a protest march on Monday by members of the U.S.-based Church of Scientology to go peacefully, despite a counter-demo planned by a parents' lobby group against religious sects. A message from celebrity Scientologist John Travolta would be relayed to protesters on a huge video screen, Scientology spokesman Georg Stoffel said. Other famous Scientologists, including Hollywood stars Kirstie Alley and Ann Archer, were flying to Berlin to take the podium with U.S. soul musician Isaac Hayes after a march through the city ending at the Brandenburg Gate, he said. "A counter-demonstration of parents has been registered with the police, but we expect it to go peacefully," Raabe said, referring to a German lobby group based in Berlin called the Parents and Concerned Initiative. The group campaigns against what it calls "psychological dependence" and offers advice to parents who say their children have been "taken over by extremist religious groups and sects."

Yogic Flyers plan $100 billion investment fund, 8:32 a.m. PST Sunday, October 26, 1997
EDINBURGH, Scotland (Reuters) - The Natural Law Party , known for its belief that transcendental meditation can cure society's ills, plans the biggest ever private investment fund. The Global Development Fund, to be used as collateral to help rebuild dwellings and urban surroundings across the world, has a target of $100 billion. "The fund aims to be the largest private investment fund that exists," said Reinhard Borowitz, secretary-general of the Maharishi International Council of Natural Law Parties. Borowitz told a news conference on the fringes of this weekend's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that $400 million had already been raised from "well-wishers" and investors. The fund "would help release people around the world from the stranglehold of the Western banks," said Geoffrey Clements, leader of the Natural Law Party in Britain.
Reuters historical calendar - Oct. 30
LONDON (Reuters) - Following are some of the major events to have occurred on Oct. 30 in history: 1988 - Over 6,500 couples from the Unification Church were married in Seoul in a service conducted by the church's Korean leader, Sun Myung Moon.

Raelians in Germany Show Their Support for the Church of Scientology, Press Release from "Raelian Church," Oct. 24, 1997
TELCA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--RAEL, the spiritual leader of the Raelian Church, expressly requested that over 500 raelians participate in the demonstration for Religious Freedom, organised by the Church of Scientology, on Monday, Oct. 27. Over 10,000 demonstrators are expected from different religious minorities. The German government is known to have just signed decrees forbidding Scientologists from holding public positions. This is against the charter of Human Rights, of which Germany is a signatory. RAEL reminded that, even if it has no problem in Germany, the Raelian Church will always be ready to take to the streets to defend minorities, be they religious, racial or sexual. For an interview with RAEL, please call Sylvie Chabot: 514/366-3734. CONTACT: Raelian Church Sylvie Chabot, 514/366-3734.
Teen defendants hinted at dark side: 7 held in murder plot easily led into Hitler, devil worship, police say, USA Today, 10/24/97
PEARL, Miss. -- The 7 youths said to have worshiped Satan and plotted killings between homework assignments lived in neat suburban ranch houses and attended church on Sundays. But sitting around the school cafeteria, they talked admiringly of the devi and of Adolf Hitler. On Oct. 1, police say, Luke Woodham, strode into Pearl High School with a rifle. He fatally shot Christina Menefee, 16, a girl he had dated, then her friend, Lydia Dew, 17, before wounding seven other students, police said. Later, police found the stabbed body of his mother, Mary Anne, in her red-brick ranch house. Law enforcement officials now say Woodham, at 16, was the appointed assassin in a teen-age satanic cult. The authorities say the youths, led by an 18-year-old Pearl High graduate, Marshall "Grant" Boyette, self-named their "father," planned to lay siege to the high school, kill their perceived enemies and flee to Cuba. Isolated from most of their classmates, they bonded into a group they called the "Kroth." Boyette and Justin Sledge, 16, were fascinated with World War II and Hitler. Woodham also read books on war and brainwashing. The only known hint of how Boyette may have gained the allegiance of his young followers came from Boyette himself in an interview with The Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger before his arrest. "No one else took care of him," Boyette said of Woodham. "When he cried, I held him. When he was in trouble, I helped him when no one else did. I just didn't know this was going to happen. No one could know this was going to happen."

Cult leader Thomas released, may return to Ohio -- If former minister convicted of sex crimes relocates to Ohio, neighbors and local officials must be notified, Akron Beacon Journal, Friday, October 24, 1997
Controversial religious cult leader Wilbert Thomas has been released, New Jersey officials said yesterday. Thomas, 66, completed his prison term for assault and sex crimes Sept. 27, but remained in custody until Wednesday. "He is probably dangerous, but he is not mentally ill," said Cynthia Lecardo, an attorney for the Mercer County prosecutor's office, which prosecuted Thomas in 1985. Lecardo said New Jersey officials overreacted when they tried to prevent Thomas' release by seeking to have him committed to a psychiatric hospital. "All his constitutional rights were clearly violated," Lecardo said. Thomas moved to Akron in 1983 and set up the former Christian Alliance Holiness Church. Thomas ordered his followers to submit to his commands, ordering severe beatings for members reluctant them, including that members have sex with him. In 1985 he was sent to Riverfront State Prison in Camden, N.J., after a jury found him guilty of 18 counts including conspiracy, atrocious assault and battery, sexual assault, lewdness, assault with a deadly weapon, criminal coercion and aggravated sexual contact. Former members say there's a small core of followers still loyal to Thomas. In 1993 Thomas was denied parole when authorities ruled that Thomas was directing the lives of his followers in daily telephone calls from prison, including calls in which he would order underage followers to have sex with each other while he listened.

3 Convicted in SAfrica Bombing Case, 10:13 AM (ET) 10/22
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) -- Three men were convicted today of planting bombs at a crowded shopping mall on Christmas Eve that killing 4 and injuring 67 in a mostly mixed-race area of Worcester, northeast of Cape Town. In August, a fourth man, Daniel Coetzee, got 40 years in prison for his part in the blasts. Coetzee told the court that he and his three co-defendants belonged to a white-supremacist cult that believed non-whites were "animals of the field."
Submitted by David D. Rogers

Taiwan says its students can go to China, Wednesday, October 22
TAIPEI, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Taiwan on Wednesday opened a door for its students to pursue college degrees in arch-rival China -- as long as they avoid Beijing's communist ideology. The Ministry of Education, easing a 48-year-old ban, said it would recognise college degrees in wide range of disciplines. Karl Marx's communist creed and its Chinese variant, Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, are not among them. ``Of course we can't let our students study communism or related subjects,'' a ministry official said by telephone. ``Undergraduates are relatively young people whose minds are not completely matured. They can be totally brainwashed.''

AUM planned coup d'etat in '94, ex-member says, 1:51 a.m. PDT Tuesday, October 21, 1997
TOKYO, Oct. 21 (Kyodo) -- AUM Shinrikyo planned to abduct the Japanese prime minister, attack the Diet and spray sarin nerve gas from a helicopter in 1994, a former AUM follower said in court testimony Tuesday. The witness quoted AUM founder Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, as saying he planned to seize political power. Hideo Murai, the cult's top scientist who was stabbed to death at AUM's Tokyo office in April 1995, had agreed, calling it a great plan, the man said. The former follower, who had acquired helicopter licenses in the US and Russia to prepare for the gas spraying, said Asahara told him he would not leave the cult alive if he decided to quit. Asahara faces criminal charges in 17 cases, including the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in March 1995, which left 12 people dead and thousands injured, and another gas attack in Matsumoto, people.
Court rejects ex-AUM member's claim on false documents, 3:34 a.m. PDT Monday, October 20, 1997
TOKYO, Oct. 20 (Kyodo) -- The Tokyo High Court rejected claims Monday by a former follower of the AUM Shinrikyo cult that he had to use false resumes to get work because he was mistakenly wanted in connection with a 1995 bomb attack. The Tokyo District Court ruled that Gentaro Takahashi, 34, forged his resume to find er, was convicted by a job and earn money so that he could stay on the run from police. He also gave 350,000 yen to another wanted AUM member to help the member evade police, the court said. He was accused of submitting false resumes to a hotel in Hokkaido and other businesses between August 1995 and October 1996. At that time he was wanted in connection with the March 19, 1995 attempted bombing of a condominium where a pro-AUM religious scholar, Hiromi Shimada, once lived -- but prosecutors did not indict him in the case. The AUM sect was believed to have arranged the bombing in order to divert the attention of police, who were thought to be planning a raid on a cult.
State rejects Scientology schoolbooks, October 20, 1997, Scripps-McClatchy News Service
SACRAMENTO -- "Learning How to Learn" looks like any other children's study manual, save for the name printed in inch-high type: L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology's publishing arm, Bridge Publishing, submitted the five-volume set to the California Department of Education last year for classroom use. While some educators raised concerns about the religious group's entry into public schools, approval of the materials has been stymied twice by a separate issue -- their representation of the disabled and people of color -- by a citizens' board, the Legal Compliance Review Panel. The materials will be revised and presented again this fall, said Ian Lyons of Applied Scholastics, a Scientology nonprofit wing. Almost since its inception in 1954, the Church of Scientology has led a controversial existence. Based on the science-fiction writings of Hubbard, some church detractors have labeled it a cult. State book reviewers "did spend a lot more time looking for (the religious) aspect," Salinas said. "If it was there, we simply could not find it." The books are part of what Hubbard called "study technology." Until now, they've mainly been used in private schools and the World Literacy Crusade, a Scientology-run remedial program in place in Del Paso Heights and other largely low-income areas. Earlier this year, the materials came to the attention of the Los Angeles Unified School District, when a teacher tried to open a charter school that board members believed would have been on them. The district called for a legal review. The teacher, a Scientologist, has withdrawn the application. The controversy amplified concerns by the American Civil Liberties Union and some former Scientologists that the classroom materials may also serve as a proselytizing hook for the organization. Scientology isn't mentioned in the Hubbard books. However, certain "study technology" terms are also key Scientology concepts found in his other works. For instance, Hubbard's learning approach calls for "clearing", or locating and understanding, unfamiliar words.
Sweden agrees to keep secret Scientology manual from public, 9:32 a.m. PDT Saturday, October 18, 1997
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- Under pressure from the U.S, Sweden has agreed to stop allowing public access to a Scientology publication that the controversial church guards closely. The case that placed Sweden's law on open public records in conflict with international copyright regulations -- and U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky and Rep. Sonny Bono, R-Calif. The case began last year when a copy of the church's training manual was sent to the Swedish Parliament. Swedish law permits Parliament to provide access to documents filed with it. Last month, Bono wrote to Justice Minister Laila Freivalds, asking her to order a stop to the release of material copyrighted in the U.S. Scientology, with adherents worldwide including many celebrities, is frequently in disputes between those who say it is a legitimate religion and those who contend it is a cult or a commercial operation. The church won tax-free religious status in the U.S. in 1993 after a 25-year campaign. Scientology was founded by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1954. Hubbard contended that mankind's trouble began when Xenu, leader of an intergalactic federation 75 million years ago, attempted to solve a population problem on federation planets. He transported surplus populations to Earth, where they were chained to volcanoes and blown up with hydrogen bombs. Their essence, or "thetans," were implanted with imperfections, and they remain the cause of people's troubles today, according to Hubbard's writings.
Education conference organized by a scientologist draws criticism, 1:34 p.m. PDT Saturday, October 18, 1997
ORANGE, Calif. (AP) -- Advocates of "back to basics" education decided against attending an Orange County conference because the main organizer belongs to the Church of Scientology. Several advocates said their Christians beliefs prompted their decisions to skip the Back to Basics Education Crusade, which was held Saturday. "I've been a Scientologist for 20 years," Bock said. "I don't make it a secret. But this has never been about that. I have two kids in public schools. I have a right to speak out on that." Keynote speaker Carolyn Steinke, founder of Palm Desert-based Parents Involved in Education, who received a 1995 award from the Scientology-supported Citizens Commission on Human Rights, said her work has no affiliation with any religion.
Second coming of the doomsday cult, Saturday 11 October 1997, The Age: Melbourne Online,
Two young men and a woman are frantically handing out flyers on a Tokyo street corner for a cut-price computer store. They are anything but what they seem. They are the new followers of Japan's notorious Aum Shinrikyo (Supreme Truth) doomsday cult, a quasi-religious organisation that unleashed a lethal sarin nerve gas attack on Tokyo's subway in 1995, killing 12 commuters and poisoning thousands. Aum is back in business, recruiting members, building its finances and pressing its weird concoction of Buddhism and Armageddon. While Aum's leaders, including its supposedly half-blind guru and founder Shoko Asahara (his real name is Chizuo Matsumoto), trek in and out of Tokyo's District Court on murder and related terrorism charges, the cult is franticall preparing for its second coming. According to police, Matsumoto's wife Tomoko and her trusted associates run the cult from a large communal house in Fukushima prefecture in northern Japan. Archery, Matsumoto's 13-year-old daughter, is believed to have become the new spiritual head of the cult. Police are convinced that he is still Aum's de facto leader, secretly passing orders on to his wife. Incredibly, Aum was never outlawed despite extensive police evidence that it murdered scores of innocent people including its runaways; built a stockpile of deadly nerve gas; carried out the gas attacks; and came alarmingly close to buying nuclear weapons on Russia's black market. According to the author and cult watcher Andrew Marshall, the commission's decision reflected the Government's wish to avoid controversy and criticism from powerful religious groups that did not want such a precedent to be set. Aum is just one of thousands of cults and quasi-religious groups that permeate Japanese society. Aum appears to have ruthlessly exploited the commission's failure to ban it. Police now estimate that since the crackdown on Aum that followed the gas attacks, the cult has rebuilt its membership to about 6000 - about half the original number. Although the group has bee formally stripped of its status as a religion, which gave it tax breaks and an extraordinary amount of protection from official scrutiny, it has rebuilt its organisation with an injection of funds from its computer stores. It brazenly maintains a web page on the Internet that offers a bizarre range of free prizes to new members including a cassette of Asahara's songs and chants and stickers.
Rocky Mountain good-bye to region's best ambassador, 6:42 a.m. PDT Friday, October 17, 1997
DENVER (AP) -- Friends, family and fans of John Denver gathered today to say good-bye today to John Denver. Today's memorial service at Faith Presbyterian church in suburban Aurora, was the first of two scheduled for Denver's mourners.

Local SPCA temporarily bans adoptions of black cats as Halloween nears, PDT Thursday, October 16, 1997
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Like humane societies and other SPCA's across the nation, the local SPCA will ban adoptions of black cats between Oct. 18 through Oct. 31 at its two shelters in Los Angeles and Hawthorne. At any time of the year, cats may be targeted by cults and drained of blood, beheaded or disemboweled during a satanic ritual, Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles. But, she said, such activity can escalate on Halloween.

Suspect in killing spree expressed rage in writing, 10:52 a.m. PDT Thursday, October 16, 1997
PEARL, Miss. (AP) -- A teen-ager accused of stabbing his mother to death, then going to school and gunning down two students, spewed anger at society, his ex-girlfriend and God in newly released writings. "I am the epitome of all Evil! I have no mercy for humanity for they created me, they tortured me until I snapped and became what I am today," Luke Woodham wrote in the papers used as court evidence this week. Prosecutors allege he was a member of a devil-worshipping group known as "Kroth" and was instructed by the group leader to kill his former girlfriend and others at Pearl High School on Oct. 1.

Service for Denver, 06:46 a.m. Oct 16, 1997 Eastern, Reuters/Variety Entertainment Summary
Instead of flowers, the family would prefer donations in Denver's name to the charities that he founded or supported, the including the Hunger Project. Note: The Hunger Project is a controversial organization that has its beginnings as a grassroots organization founded and run by those that participated in Werner Erhard's programs, namely Erhard Seminars Training otherwise known as est. The main controversy surrounds the amount of money that the organization pulls in from donations to the actual output to those in need.

Leader thanks doctor with gift horse, 7:56 a.m. PDT Thursday, October 16, 1997
ASHGABAT (Reuters) - A grateful Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov has rewarded the German surgeon who operated on his heart last month with a thoroughbred Akhal Teke racehorse, an official said Wednesday. Niyazov, 57, and focus of a bizarre personality cult in the former Soviet republic, said earlier this month the surgery would give him another 35-50 years of life.

Suharto nominated for 7th presidential term, 2:09 a.m. PDT Thursday, October 16, 1997
JAKARTA, Oct. 16 (Kyodo) -- Indonesia's ruling Golkar party Thursday officially nominated President Suharto as its candidate for the 1998-2003 presidency to be decided in March. "This is the people's will, this is the aspiration of democracy," Golkar Chairman Harmoko said. Suharto's nomination came two days after he told the nation not to turn him into a cult figure, saying it was against religious teachings. "Cultism will only encourage a person to sin," he was quoted by Religion Minister Tarmizi Taher as saying.

Teen accused of leading satanic cult denied bond, 7:48 a.m. PDT Wednesday, October 15, 1997
BRANDON, Miss. (AP) -- Grant Boyette is charged with masterminding a shooting spree Oct. 1. A friend who said Boyette prayed to Satan for power "prove[s] to this court that Grant Boyette apparently lives two completely different lives ... (and) must have engaged in extreme deception," Judge Kent McDaniel said in denying bond. Rumors of a satanic cult had circulated in Pearl, a town of 22,000, ever since Boyette and five other teens were arrested on conspiracy charges Oct. 7. The six arrests came nearly a week after Luke Woodham, 16, was charged with stabbing his mother to death, then fatally shooting two students -- including his former girlfriend -- and wounding seven other students. Investigator Greg Eklund portrayed Boyette as the undisputed leader of a group named "Kroth" that plotted to kill students over a 10-month period.

Former AUM member gets 1 year for confining follower, 1:06 a.m. PDT Wednesday, October 15, 1997

OSAKA, Oct. 15 (Kyodo) -- The Osaka District Court on Wednesday sentenced a former AUM Shinrikyo cult member to one year in prison for forcibly confining another former AUM follower in December 1994.

Satanic cult leader plotted school killings with suspect, investigator says, 9:27 p.m. PDT Tuesday, October 14, 1997
BRANDON, Miss. (AP) -- A teen-ager who led a secret satanic cult that plotted a killing spree with a follower charged in the slaying of his mother and two students, an investigator said Tuesday. Investigator Greg Eklund portrayed Boyette as the undisputed leader of a group named "Kroth" after a satanic verse. Boyette, who called himself "father," urged Woodham to kill his ex-girlfriend and persuaded another, Donald Brooks, to poison his father, Eklund said. Eklund said the group's goals were money, power and influence and its motto was "We cannot move forward until all of our enemies are gone." Boyette was being held on $1 million bond on each of two counts of conspiracy to commit murder. Woodham was being held without bail on three counts of murder. Eklund said Boyette had urged the 17-year-old Brooks to kill his father. Brooks, Delbert Shaw, 18, and Wesley Brownell, 17, have been released from jail. Justin James Sledge and Daniel Thompson, both 16, are being held in a juvenile facility.

Whole Life Times: The Journal of Holistic Living, Los Angeles, Oct 1997
U.S. Dist. Judge John Davies said that Hare Krishnas will be allowed to continue selling books and collecting donations at (LAX). Striking down the city's proposed ban June 6, he said it violated freedoms guaranteed in the state constitution. In 1979, LAX officials negotiated with Krishna officials to keep their solicitors behind red "safety lines" painted around the escalators, to limit the number of devotees in each terminal and to be more considerate of travelers. Since then, the number of Krishnas at LAX has declined, until the 1990s, when only a half dozen still go there to sell books. The background of this practice, which the Krishnas call sankirtan (a Sanskrit word for preaching), is covered in Betrayal of the Spirit, My Life behind the Headlines of the Hare Krishna Movement by Nori J. Muster (Univ. of Illinois Press). Muster is a former secretary from the organization.

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Creation has two sides: intelligence, which is the cause of everything, and the manifestations of intelligence, which are the physical and psychological features of the everyday world. Because Transcendental Meditation directly approaches intelligence, rather than the manifestations of intelligence, it solves problems by introducing harmony and well-being at the most basic level, and not by dealing with problems themselves. That's why it is so effective.

Consider this example: The gardener supplies water to the root of a tree. That water, that nourishment, then reaches all parts of the tree - leaves, branches, flowers, fruit - through the sap. We can think of the sap as analogous to intelligence and the green leaves or yellow flowers as analogous to the manifestations of the intelligence. The leaves and flowers are the intelligence of the sap, after it has been transformed. So intelligence - like the leaves and flowers of a tree - appears as the many different forms of manifest life. Those manifestations include every aspect of existence, from the material and physiological, through the psychological, intellectual, and spiritual. All of those features of life come from transformations of intelligence. In meditation, we directly meet this essential intelligence. Therefore, we have the possibility of nourishing all of its other levels, and thus all levels of manifestation, in a way that is harmoniously related to the whole universe.

How is Transcendental Meditation different from the various other forms of meditation?

Maharishi: The basic difference is that Transcendental Meditation, in addition to its simplicity, concerns itself only with the mind. Other systems often involve some additional aspects with which the mind is associated, such as breathing or physical exercises. They can be a little complicated because they deal with so many things. But with Transcendental Meditation there is no possibility of any interference. So we say this is the all-simple program, enabling the conscious mind to fathom the whole range of its existence.

Transcendental Meditation ranges from active mind - or performing mind - to quiet mind - or resting mind. In this resting mind, one has purity and simplicity, uninvolved with anything other than the mind, uninvolved with any other practice. In Transcendental Meditation, because we deal only with the mind, we nourish all expressions of intelligence.

The mind meditates, gains Transcendental Consciousness and brings about transformation in different fields of manifestation. All fields of life, which are the expression of intelligence, are nourished or transformed and made better through experiencing Transcendental Consciousness.

The mind, of course, is always concerned with other aspects, such as the physiology of the body, the environment, and the whole universe for that matter. But since Transcendental Meditation deals only with the performance of the mind, from its active states to its settled state, it remains unconcerned with those other aspects, though it deals with them all, because intelligence deals with them all. -- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, unknown interview, copyright presumablyheld by Maharishi Vedic University, The Maharishi Foundation, or another group within the TM family.

Cults come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Categories of cults that are recruiting successfully today include:

Eastern meditation: characterized by belief in God-consciousness, becoming one with God. The leader usually distorts and Eastern-based philosophy or religion. Members sometimes learn to disregard worldly possessions and may take on an ascetic lifestyle. Techniques used: meditation, repeated mantras, altered states of consciousness, trance states.

Religious: marked by belief in salvation, afterlife, sometimes combined with an apocalyptic view. The leader reinterprets the Scriptures and often claims to be a prophet if not the messiah. Often the group is strict, sometimes using physical punishments such as paddling and birching, especially on children. Members are encouraged to spend a great deal of time proselytizing. (Note: included here are Bible-based neo-Christian and other religious cults, many considered syncretic since they combine beliefs and practices). Techniques used: speaking in tongues, chanting, praying, isolation, lengthy study sessions, many hours spent evangelizing, "struggle" (or criticism) and confession sessions.

Political, racist, terrorist: fueled by belief in changing society, revolution, overthrowing the "enemy" or getting rid of evil forces. The leader professes to be all-knowing and all-powerful. Often the group is armed and meets in secret with coded language, handshakes, and other ritualized practices. Members consider themselves an elite cadre ready to go to battle. Techniques used: paramilitary training, reporting on one another, guilt, fear, struggle sessions, instilled paranoia, long hours of indoctrination. -- Captive Hearts, Captive Minds, Lalich and Tobias, Hunter House, 1993.