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News Archive for January, 1998

Scholar vists Chen Tao, January 1998
In an interview with Dr. Massimo Introvigne, director of CESNUR, Richard Liu, spokesperson for Chen Tao, declared that according to the movement's expectations on March 31 God will appear in Garland as a person similar, yet different from Chen. Followers do not expect to simply see a transfigured Chen, but two different characters: God and Chen. Liu agreed to discuss the possibility that God will not appear on March 31. In this case, he said, "we will conclude that God has changed his plan and no doubt God's new plan will be revealed through God's messenger [Chen]". Liu thinks that if nothing significant happens on March 31 some followers may return to Taiwan and eventually abandon the movement. Liu denied that followers may move to Gary, Indiana, where a sacred ritual was performed by Chen Tao on January 9, although Gary has a peculiar role in God's plan according to Chen (and neighbors in Garland claim that Chen Tao members have discussed a possible move to Gary). What will really happen after March 31 is difficult to foresee. From [Editor's Note: Dr. Introvigne heads the Center for Studies of New Religions, CESNUR, which studies new, controversial groups such as Scientology, ISKCON, and others as valid religious organizations.]
Germany rejects U.S. criticism on Scientology, 8:06 a.m. PST Saturday, January 31, 1998
BONN, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Germany dismissed on Saturday U.S. accusations that it discriminated against Scientologists and said freedom of religion was guaranteed by the constitution. Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said a U.S. State Department report published on Friday was wrong in saying Germany persecuted Scientologists. "The goals of Scientology are clearly aimed at economic activities," Kinkel said. "The German labor court has ruled that Scientology uses totalitarian methods...Scientology is under surveillance in Germany only to protect our citizens."
Deepak Chopra bomb shell: Plagiarism suit settles, January 30, 1998 EXCLUSIVE -- On January 15, New Age guru Dr. Deepak Chopra quietly settled the plagiarism suit brought against him by Professor Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University. Sapolsky alleged copyright infringement by Dr. Chopra, Random House, Crown Publishers, and several book retailers over Ageless Body, Timeless Mind -- Chopra's best-known work and, many say, the cornerstone of his reputation as an alternative medicine "guru." In a memo, Dr. Sapolsky's claims, "Future printings will cite the disputed passages as being my writing -- not based on or derived from but my writing. There was some money involved. I am bitter as hell that ... all of it could have been settled with a letter like this two years ago, thus avoiding all the demoralizing crap that this lawsuit has involved ... and he apologizes for what he said on KQED." Dr. Chopra is reported to have questioned Dr. Sapolsky's motives and character during a call-in show to NPR radio station KQED San Francisco. This is the second major defeat for Chopra and his legal team since November, when San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith McConnell dismissed as "frivolous" a lawsuit brought by Deepak Chopra, claiming a local law firm and two attorneys conspired to extort money from the self-help guru. Look to http:/ for copies of Sapolsky's original complaint, The Weekly Standard article, and more background materials starting Monday, February 2, 1998. Full text of article.
Scientologists in trademark disputes, January 29, 1998, 1:40 p.m. PT
(CNET) -- The Church of Scientology International is accusing two Web sites of trademark violation and is taking action to stop it. The church has threatened to see legal recourse against a Colorado Web site owner if he continues to run a site called "," which also sells T-shirts bearing the same phrase. In the second dispute, the church sent a letter to Tilman Hausherr of Berlin on Monday telling him to remove altered Scientology graphics from his CompuServe home page, which he defends as a parody. For example, the "S" in Scientology was changed into a dollar sign, and the president of the organization's nose was elongated a la Pinocchio to imply that he's a liar. The warnings are the latest in a long string of actions taken by the church involving the Internet. "I consider Scientology to be a dangerous movement," said Ray Randolph of Fort Collins, Colorado, who produces the "" site. "I'm not going to back down. This is a free-speech issue. For this company to try to silence people through trademark disputes is outrageous." On Friday, lawyers sent a letter to Randolph warning him to terminate use of the name scientology within his registered Net site domain name and on his T-shirts. The lawyers charge that Randolph's use of the term "dilutes the distinctiveness of the mark," which could "tarnish the reputation of the owner." The "" site remains up, but CompuServe representatives in Germany suspended Hausherr's page today after sending him a notice that he was suspected of copyright violation. He is appealing that decision.
U.S. concerned at German treatment of Scientologists, 1:47 p.m. PST Friday, January 30, 1998
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States Friday included reports of discrimination in Germany against Scientologists in its annual report on human rights worldwide, repeating concerns expressed for several years. "For us, the central issue is freedom of association. We believe that individuals should be treated on the basis of their acts and not on the basis of mere membership in certain groups," Assistant Secretary of State John Shattuck said. The country report for Germany noted that most political parties "exclude Scientologists from membership, arguing that Scientology is not a religion but a for-profit organization whose goals and principles are antidemocratic." Shattuck commented: "Germany is well aware of the challenges that it faces in these areas and I think the German government has generally been a very responsive in trying to address any problems of anti-Semitism or other serious difficulties that have emerged from fringe elements inside Germany."
Interview with lawyer not so offensive: ex-AUM adviser, 8:06 a.m. PST Friday, January 30, 1998
TOKYO, Jan. 30 (Kyodo) -- A videotaped interview with a lawyer allegedly murdered by members of the AUM Shinrikyo religious cult was not so critical of the cult, a former legal adviser for the religious cult said Friday. AUM Shinrikyo allegedly demanded that Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. (TBS) cancel the airing of the interview with Tsutsumi Sakamoto, a lawyer who was opposed to AUM and helped members escape from the sect. TBS never aired the interview. During Friday's trial, prosecutors disclosed documents detailing talks between lawyer Sakamoto and Aoyama four days before the murder over cult followers' feuds with their families.
Ananda church sex case goes to jury, San Jose Mercury News, Thursday, January 29, 1998
(Palo Alto) -- A San Mateo County jury of seven women and five men will begin deliberations today in Redwood City on whether or not J. Donald Walters, 71, and his Ananda Church of Self-Realization created a climate of sexual coercion and fraud, in which he and his ministers preyed on female devotees who came to them in search of God and left "emotionally shattered," lawyer Michael Flynn said. If at least nine jurors determine Bertolucci was wronged by the church and its officials, a penalty phase would begin in which, Bertolucci's lawyers said, she may ask for up to $10 million. Bertolucci is suing Walters, the church and minister Daniel Levin. Levin's dramatic testimony captivated the courtroom earlier this month when he wept on the stand and repeatedly professed his continuing love for Bertolucci.
Ex-member accuses swami of sex abuse; others call suit an attack on their religion, San Jose Mercury News, Monday, January 26, 1998
For 30 years, members of the Ananda Church of Self-Realization have lived beneath the snow line in the Sierra foothills, practicing yoga and meditating. In the past three months, many have left the peaceful mountain retreat to travel to a Redwood City courtroom to testify in a trial fraught with allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation -- watching, they say, as their very religion is put on trial. Former church member Anne-Marie Bertolucci alleges spiritual leader J. Donald Walters -- known as Swami Kriyananda -- and senior minister Daniel Levin abused their authority and used her and at least 11 other women for sex. The case is expected to go to the jury this week. Bertolucci was 28 when she began taking meditation classes at Ananda's Palo Alto church, seeking an outlet from her high-pressure Silicon Valley job as a computer programmer. She met Levin, now 42, after she moved to the church's Nevada City headquarters when she began work at Ananda's Crystal Clarity Publishers. Bertolucci alleges Levin, a married man who was vice president of sales, forced himself on her sexually several times during the next nine months, abusing his position as a senior minister. He told her what was happening was "God's will" and that he recognized her as a "lover and wife from a past life," according to the suit. Stories also diverge on what happened one May evening in 1993 after Walters, now 71, gave Bertolucci a neck massage. She claims he guided her head down to his lap and made an inappropriate sexual advance. The Ananda case took an unusual twist in 1995 when Flynn heard a noise outside his San Diego office and found a man loading six white trash bags into a white Ford van. Inside the bags were key documents about possible witnesses, Flynn said. It was two years before the man revealed that he was a private investigator who Parsons said was hired by Ananda to look into any connections between Flynn and the fellowship. The theft prompted a ruling by Judge Lawrence Stevens barring Ananda from cross-examining witnesses about their allegations of sexual contact with Walters. Those witnesses include seven women who were contacted by Bertolucci and her attorneys and have testified that Walters sexually propositioned or exploited them. One was former member Denise Petersen, who was 22 and a biology major at San Francisco State University when she dropped out of school and moved to Ananda Village. In a court deposition, Petersen said Walters had her and another woman sexually service him under the guise of a massage. Regular massage routines soon turned into sexual intercourse, she said.
Trial of `vampire' cult leader to start as scheduled, The Miami Herald, Sunday, January 25, 1998
TAVARES -- (AP) -- A judge has decided the trial of vampire cult leader Rod Ferrell will precede as scheduled at the beginning of next month. Attorneys for Ferrell had argued this week that they needed more time for their expert to examine DNA evidence, and blamed prosecutors for not giving them the evidence sooner. But Lake County Circuit Judge Jerry Lockett said Friday that the trial will begin Feb. 2 as previously planned.
Believers from many faiths suffer, says panel studying freedom abroad, The Charlotte Observer, Saturday, January 24, 1998
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Followers of many of the world's major religions -- Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Baha'is -- suffer detention, torture and death, an official commission said Friday. The report was prepared for President Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright by the Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad, established a year ago and composed of leading scholars on religion. In brief remarks, Albright said she is taking steps to ensure that U.S. efforts to advance religious freedom are integrated into the country's broader foreign policy. Russian law restricts legal rights depending on how long a religion has had a presence in the country. The report also noted that several European countries, including Belgium, France and Germany, have recently established commissions of inquiry on sects, partly in response to fears of violent cults.

blackball.GIFCult Weekly Newsletter Editor David D. Roger's editorial, 1/9/1997

Prosecutors to seek punishment for AUM doctor March 2, 7:52 a.m. PST Friday, January 23, 1998
TOKYO, Jan. 23 (Kyodo) -- Prosecutors will announce March 2 what punishment they are seeking against former AUM Shinrikyo cult doctor Ikuo Hayashi, accused of murder in the 1995 Tokyo subway gas attack. Hayashi, 51, was the first former senior cult member to plead guilty to involvement in the sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system March 20, 1995, which left 12 people dead and thousands ill. Hayashi said he was very moved by what prosecution witnesses said in court and that he is sorry for what he did. Cult founder Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, is accused of masterminding the subway gas attack.
TM attempts to have national monument demolished, Thursday, 1/22/98
VLODROP, Netherlands (AP) Behind the idyllic scenes at the old St. Ludwig monastery -- now home to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his international Transcendental Meditation movement -- a bitter battle is brewing. Some of the group's Dutch neighbors are fighting the aging guru's plan to demolish the historic Franciscan monastery, partly because it doesn't face due east. The classification of the monastery's national monument status has been appealed by followers of the Indian guru. The Maharishi Foundation says it will take the legal fight to the Netherlands' highest court if necessary. The Maharishi pays property tax to the local municipality -- a tax that would rise substantially if his expansion was given a green light. Local officials already had granted a demolition license before the monastery was designated a protected national monument in October. According to the Maharishi's architectural theories, building entrances should face east so they can gather energy from the rising sun; the monastery's is 29 degrees off. Bad architecture, according to one of the group's many glossy pamphlets, promotes anxiety, depression, bad luck and even criminal tendencies.
Defense seeks time to review evidence, Miami Herald, Thursday, January 22, 1998
TAVARES -- (AP) -- Twelve days before vampire cult leader Rod Ferrell is scheduled to go to trial on first-degree murder charges, defense attorneys asked Wednesday for more time so their experts can review evidence. Assistant public defender William Lackay said during a pretrial hearing that an expert witness recruited by Ferrell's lawyers hasn't had enough time to review DNA test results. Lackay said the Cellmark expert hadn't received all the needed information until two weeks ago. The public defender blamed prosecutors for the tardiness, saying the lab hired by prosecutors was late in forwarding the tests to the defense. Ferrell is charged with bludgeoning the couple to death in their Eustis home Nov. 25, 1996. The trial is expected to last three weeks.
Alleged doomsday cult leader free on bail in Spain, Thursday, 22 Jan 1998
MADRID, Spain (Reuters) - A German psychologist suspected of leading a doomsday cult which plotted a mass suicide in Spain's Canary Islands was released from prison on bail Wednesday. Fittkau-Garthe cannot leave the island and must report to a local court twice a month, state radio said.
Terrorism still top concern for Olympic security staff, 8:19 a.m. PST Tuesday, January 20, 1998
NAGANO, Japan, Jan. 20 (Kyodo) -- By: Naoko Aoki When a religious cult sprayed nerve gas in Nagano Prefecture in 1994, Nagano Olympic organizers were flooded with calls from international Olympic officials worried about terrorism during the 18th Olympic Winter Games. Almost four years have passed since the gas attack, and members of the AUM Shinrikyo cult are on trial for the attack on a residential area in Matsumoto that killed seven people and injured 600 others. "AUM Shinrikyo is not a major threat anymore," says Asata Hara, security director of the Nagano Olympic organizing committee (NAOC), adding that although there are still some wanted AUM members at large, the Nagano Olympics will be an unlikely target for the cult.

blackball.GIFCult Weekly Newsletter Editor David D. Roger's editorial, 1/9/1997

Tenerife "suicide cult" documents found, Thursday, January 15, 1998, 22:25 GMT
(BBC News) Heide Fittku-Garthe has been charged with attempted murder, inducement to suicide and belonging to an illegal organization. The charges followed a raid on her house in the capital of Tenerife, where the police say Fittku-Garthe was preparing to lead 32 of her followers in a collective suicide attempt. They're also investing documents found on the psychologist's property. One of the documents, a letter written by Fittku-Garthe, and reproduced in a local paper, quotes the psychologist telling her followers that they have to plan their final days together in a ceremony that will have worldwide repercussions. Despite initial suggestions by the authorities that the sect was linked to the Solar Temple cult, experts now believe the cult is an isolated one, dominated solely by the personality of its leader, most probably for financial reasons.
Dr. Heide Fittkau-Garthe: hailed as a "star psychologist", motivational speaker for large corporations, Dr. Massimo Introvigne, CESNUR, January 1998
After the homicides and suicides of 1994, 1995 and 1997 the Order of the Solar Temple (OTS) haunts the press and the anti-cultists. New "revelations" are offered almost every month. One of two recent cases of false information have surfaced. This Solar Temple hoax concerns Dr. Heide Fittkau-Garthe, the German psychologist arrested on January 8, 1998 in Tenerife, Canary Islands. She was accused of preparing a mass suicide based on what relatives of German followers told the German and Spanish police. It is clear is that the information published by many newspapers on January 9 that Dr. Fittkau-Garthe was the leader of "a branch of the Solar Temple" is inaccurate. She was never a member of the Solar Temple. A prominent leader of the German branch of the Brahma Kumaris, she left the Indian movement (or was excluded from it) and eventually became one of the most prominent self-help motivational speakers in Germany. She lectured on behalf of a number of German large corporations and was hailed as a "star psychologist." The esoteric doctrines of her core group of followers involved references to both Western and Eastern occult lore. Her name has never surfaced in any document on the Solar Temple. Full story at [Editor's Note: Dr. Introvigne heads the Center for Studies of New Religions, which studies new, controversial groups such as Scientology, ISKCON, and others as valid religious organizations.]
Divorced TMers Johnny Gray, Barbara De Angelis offer advice on marriage, Charlotte Observer, Friday, January 16, 1998
Q. "We seem to receive a great deal of advice from divorced Southern California pop psychologists. Is it true that one of them, Barbara De Angelis, once was married to John Gray, the best-selling author of `Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus'?" A. Yes. Gray was De Angelis' third husband. Her first marriage, to a transcendental meditation teacher, was annulled. The second, to magician-illusionist Doug Henning, ended in divorce. After her divorce from Gray, with whom De Angelis had taught relationship seminars, she married a nutrition counselor whose identity hasn't been publicized. Her latest, No. 5, is Jeffrey James, a chiropractor. [Editor's note: Gray and De Angelis are former deep TM insiders. Henning continues to work full-time for the TM movement and hasn't performed professionally for many years.]
'Vampire' leader fails to stop taped confession as evidence, The Miami Herald, Wednesday, January 14, 1998
TAVARES -- (AP) -- The leader of a group of self-proclaimed vampires has tried to convince a judge that a taped confession should not be permitted as evidence at his upcoming trial for two murders. Rod Ferrell told Lake County Circuit Judge Jerry Lockett on Monday that a Louisiana detective allowed him to see his then-girlfriend only if he gave incriminating statements. The judge, however, ruled that Ferrell's statements will be allowed to be used at his first-degree murder trial. The 17-year-old is scheduled to be tried Feb. 2 for the murders of Richard and Ruth Wendorf in their Eustis home Nov. 25, 1996. The Wendorf's daughter, Heather, 16, ran away from home with the Kentucky youths, but a grand jury cleared her in the murders. She claimed she didn't know that her parents would be harmed. The group was caught by authorities in Louisiana. The other members of Ferrell's vampire cult are scheduled to be tried later this year. Howard Scott Anderson, 17; Dana L. Cooper, 20; and Charity Keesee, 17, are charged with being principals to murder.
German team to investigate Tenerife suicide bid, 3:46 a.m. PST Wednesday, January 14, 1998
HAMBURG, Jan 14 (Reuters) - A team of German detectives prepared to travel to Spain on Wednesday to investigate whether an alleged doomsday cult's suicide bid on the island of Tenerife could be punishable under German law. A police spokesman in Hamburg said the three investigators would be flying to Tenerife, one of Spain's Canary Islands, on Wednesday. Nineteen of the group apparently tried to commit suicide again overnight on Tuesday but were again foiled by police. The 16 adults and three children were released from detention after members of the group testified before a judge.
Cult members held in Spain after suicide bid, 4:58 a.m. PST Tuesday, January 13, 1998
SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Spain, (Reuters) - Spanish authorities said on Tuesday that police had detained 19 members of an alleged doomsday cult after they tried to commit mass suicide for the second time. The group was taken into custody overnight following a failed suicide attempt at a Tenerife farm owned by their suspected leader, a German psychologist who was arrested last Wednesday. The detainees were scheduled to appear in a closed-door court hearing later on Tuesday.
German cult leader charged with planning mass suicide, 5:46 p.m. PST Sunday, January 11, 1998
SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Canary Islands (AP) -- A Spanish judge has charged a psychologist Heide Fittkau-Garthe with attempted murder for planning to lead 31 followers, including five children, to a mass suicide. After her arrest, sect members told police that they had expected a spaceship to pick up their dead bodies from Teide mountain on Tenerife, one of seven islands in the Canary archipelago located off the northwest African coast. Police were analyzing the poison that the group apparently planned to take.
Alleged cult denounces charges against leader, Jamuary 11
SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Spain, (Reuters) - Alleged members of a doomsday cult on Sunday described as ridiculous and unfounded a judge's decision to charge their suspected leader with attempted murder. Defence attorney Enrique Porres said his client was a humanitarian who was providing safe haven for abused women and people with psychological problems. The mostly German sect was allegedly convinced the world would end at 2000 GMT last Thursday and that a spaceship would rescue their souls from the summit of the Teide volcano. Spanish state radio cited German police as saying that the group was not linked to the infamous Solar Temple cult. It may instead be part of a Hindu apocalyptic sect, the report said.
FOCUS-Judge hears sect leader, suicide plan denied, January 10
SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Spain, (Reuters) - A lawyer defending the leader of an alleged doomsday cult accused the media on Saturday of whipping up an "international scandal" with reports of a planned mass suicide in the Canary Islands. Heide Fittkau-Gathe was arrested on Wednesday and police have said they found poison at her home which they believe was to be used in a mass suicide by her 32 followers. Prosecutors were also taking steps against the alleged sect in Hamburg, where a criminal case against an unnamed German woman has been opened. The mostly German sect members had apparently been convinced by Fittkau-Garthe that the world would end at 2000 GMT on Thursday and they would be rescued and taken to a new world.
'Chen Tao' seeking salvation--in Gary, January 10, 1998
Thirty-two members of God Saves the Earth Flying Saucer Foundation arrived Friday at a spot on Lake Michigan they believe is sacred: Gary. The Taiwanese sect believes God is coming March 31 to save Earth and that the northwest Indiana city figures in his plans. Group leader Hon-Ming Chen, dressed in the group's standard attire of white jogging suit and straw cowboy hat, said through a translator that "God told us to come here" to Gary's Lake Street Beach. He prophesied that survivors of World War III next year would come to the same strand via celestial saucers. "This is holy," the silver-haired Chen said in front of a makeshift altar that included a 20-pound bag of rice, six crystal stars and gold sticks carved with dragons and wrapped with Christmas tree lights. Chen has predicted that God will descend on Garland, Texas, at 10 a.m. on March 31 to save the world but that in 1999 a nuclear World War III will devastate the planet.
Spanish police thwart doomsday group mass suicide, Thursday, January 8, 1998--01:39 PM
MADRID, Spain (Reuters) - Spanish police foiled a mass suicide planned by a 30-member sect whose members believed they would be carried away by a spaceship from the summit at Tenerife's Teide Volcano, officials said Thursday. The group, which may be linked to the infamous Solar Temple suicide cult or a Hindu apocalyptic sect, was convinced that the end of the world would take place this evening, according to a Canaries government official. They were planning to end their lives on earth and travel by spaceship to a new world. Police in the Canary Islands had been tracking the group's movements for some time and its leader, a German psychologist, was arrested later Wednesday for inducement to suicide.
Police arrest sect leader accused of planning mass suicide, Thursady January 8, 1998--05:23 PM
SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Canary Islands (AP) -- Police arrested a German psychologist hours before she allegedly planned to lead followers of her religious cult in a mass suicide, officials said today. Lopez Ojeda said police believed the sect was an offshoot of the Order of the Solar Temple, whose followers have carried out mass suicides in Canada, France and Switzerland. However, he said police were still investigating. The followers, 29 Germans and a Spaniard, included five children between the ages of 6 and 12, Lopez Ojeda said. If convicted, Fittkau-Garthe faces four to eight years in prison
Son of Heaven's Gate, Netly News,, January 7, 1998
Observers fear that members of the Chen Tao ("True Way") will off themselves on March 31 at 10 am. That's when, the followers believe, God will appear in the body of their leader, a fortysomething sociology professor named Hon-Ming Chen. Terry Walker, an American living in Taiwan, is using the Net to head off what he fears will be another mass suicide. The Net, says Walker in an e-mail, "can be used to help prevent an accident before it happens on March 31, rather than wait and then gloat and laugh at it all." Despite the claims made by the church's leader, Taiwanese officials have been reporting that the 150-odd members are being encouraged to kill themselves in anticipation of a visit from a flying saucer that will transport them to the heavens. In the case of Chen Tao, also known as the God's Salvation Church, group members traveled to Alaska, Colorado and Las Vegas performing rituals meant to "change the spiritual environment," according to Chi-Chia. Repeat rituals enough and participants will begin to believe they are working. It certainly seems to be having that effect on Chen's followers, who apparently believe his claims that he fathered Christ and that two of the 40 children in group are reincarnations of the Buddha and Jesus. Chen has told reporters that failing God's arrival via flying saucer he will offer himself up in penance and submit to death by stoning or crucifixion. Although Chen's claims seem batty, he is not a tyrannical leader. Cult members are apparently allowed to come and go at will and are in communication with their families. Chen's teachings are a mix of Buddhism, Christianity and millennarianism, and include the predictions that God will make a televised appearance on channel 18 six days prior to being incarnated and that the world faces nuclear cataclysm in 1999. For the 150 members of Chen Tao, a radical lifestyle change has already occurred. Most of the group is in the U.S. with work-exempt visas and is surviving on money left over from selling their homes in Taiwan. But they're certainly not saving for the trip back, and followers are are rumored to have paid handsomely for their cult memberships. Add to that the expenses incurred in moving around the country -- after originally settling in San Dimas, Calif., the group relocated to Garland, Texas, because it sounded like "God Land" to their leader. Rather than establishing headquarters there, the group has simply taken up residence in 21 homes in the same neighborhood. For the full article see:

blackball.GIFCult Weekly Newsletter Editor David D. Roger's editorial, 1/9/1997

Wealthy investor battles Church of Scientology, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Sunday, January 4, 1998
(NEW YORK TIMES) Therese Minton was shocked to find her husband's photograph on fliers stuck to cars and trees in their Beacon Hill neighborhood. Beneath the photo was text that began: "The face of religious bigotry. Your neighbor Bob Minton is not all that he seems." A few nights later, as children arrived for a birthday party, three Scientologists picketed quietly outside the home, handing out the same flier. In addition to the fliers, the church has private investigators digging through Minton's past. The same night , Minton was among about 40 anti-Scientologists marching in front of the church's spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Fla., to mark the second anniversary of a Scientologist's death, for which the protesters blamed the church. These are among the latest skirmishes in an escalating war between the Church of Scientology and Robert Minton, a retired investment banker, who has spent $1.25 million to finance some of the church's most outspoken critics. Minton became a dedicated foe of the church after learning of what he considered its heavy-handed efforts to silence the critics. Church officials questioned Minton's motives and contended that his actions and those of the people he is helping constitute hate crimes that would not be tolerated against another religion.

blackball.GIFCult Weekly Newsletter Editor David D. Roger's editorial, 1/2/1997

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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.