Science of Identity Archive

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Australia: Warning on ‘homophobic’ cult

Warning on ‘homophobic’ cult

A religious sect which runs meditation and yoga courses in partnership with the Gold Coast City Council is a homophobic cult that teaches gays can be cured by chanting, according to former members.

The Australian School of Meditation and Yoga (ASMY), which runs four “lifestyle centres” on the Gold Coast, one in West End and others in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, is run by the Science of Identity sect.

The sect, which claims a membership of 20,000 worldwide, is headed by Guru Chris Butler, who began collecting disciples in the late 1960s and formed the cult in 1977. Butler’s disciples also call him Srila Prabhupad, which means ‘he who is in the position of God’.

Former member, “Justin”, 30, told SX he was “born into” the cult because his parents had been members since the 1970s. When he came out to his parents at the age of 16, he was disowned.

“They kicked me out and told me the house would need to be sterilised because being gay was dirty, and my father said he hoped I died in hospital of AIDS,” Justin said.

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“They have interesting ‘facts’ they put out about homosexuality. I was told that AIDS can live on warm surfaces for 48 hours, so that you can pick it up from toilet seats, and that kids can pick it up by putting fingers in their mouths.

“They tell stories that gays eat faeces and have up to 2,000 sexual partners a year.

“[They also taught] that by chanting you’d be cured of being gay,” he said.

Leaving the cult was the only way to find out any different, Justin said, as children in the group are all home-schooled.

“My education was practically non-existent. Everything you do in the cult is pretty much watched, and you’re insulated and isolated and you only associated with people inside the cult.

Another former cult member, Cara James, told SX Guru Chris Butler was convinced there is a “gay agenda”.

“Once, he started talking about Jesus at Christmas and went into a complete tirade against gay people, claiming that gays were trying to get rid of Christmas,” James said.

She said the cult was “very guarded” about who they allow to hear Butler’s lectures because “they are very much aware of the fact that they would breach vilification laws” if the speeches were made public.

In a pamphlet, Homosexuality: The Identity Crisis, Butler wrote: “The homosexuals are trying to convince themselves and others that their perverted sexual dealings are very satisfying, that’s why they call themselves gay, as if they are in perpetual bliss and are free”.

Certainly, bliss has eluded “Justin” in the fourteen years since he physically freed himself from the Science of Identity.

He said the experience had left him with a social phobia that made it difficult for him to trust others.

“It’s hard to overcome the cult’s teachings on society’s evils. They create a lot of fear. I’ve read that a lot of cult members have a lot of the same issues with facing the indoctrinated teachings,” he said.

The Gold Coast City Council is currently investigating its connections with the Science of Identity cult.

– Source: Warning on ‘homophobic’ cult, Iain Clacher, SX News, Australia, July 31, 2008 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Concern Over Yoga Class : City Program Linked to Sect

Concern Over Yoga Class : City Program Linked to Sect

The Gold Coast City Council has unwittingly entered into a relationship with an organisation that has communes on the Gold Coast and preaches polygamy and arranged marriages.

As part of its Active and Healthy Program the council has joined forces with the Australian School of Meditation and Yoga to offer yoga classes, which past participants claim are a gateway to the Science of Identity organisation.

A former member of six years, who wanted to be identified only as Ashley, said he joined when he was 15.

“My friends were semi-part of it but had slackened off and I started getting guitar lessons from one of their fathers,” he said.

“We started talking about religion and just before I turned 16 (the group’s leader) was coming to Australia so I came to the Gold Coast for a year.”

The Australian branch is based on the Gold Coast and Brisbane. When his parents became worried about him leaving home Ashley was told by one of the disciples to ‘just lie’.

The group encouraged him to leave his family and Ashley was told that his mother and father were not really his family, just random souls he had encountered.

“I moved up there and lived with my friend’s father and his then girlfriend and things slowly started to turn weirder,” he said.

Ashley said the leader – who is known to members as Srila Prabhupad, meaning ‘he who is in the position of God’ – told members other people were demons who were obsessed with sex.

He also preached arranged marriages and polygamy.

Another former member, Cara James, said the leader’s own wife used to be another disciple’s partner but she was given to the guru as an ‘offering’.

“I moved to the Gold Coast from Sydney after going to a few classes in Sydney, and they had me working at the massage shop in Brisbane,” she said.

“People would come to what they thought was a free yoga class and walk out in the middle of it because they didn’t know it was going to be a religious meeting.”

Gold Coast City Council Community Services director Colette McCool said she had been informed of the allegations by a staff member.

“These allegations are very disturbing and I have personally referred them to the police,” said Mrs McCool.

“Of course, the school must be given the chance to respond because the allegations are not proven.”

The Australian School of Meditation and Yoga did not return calls from The Bulletin.

– Source: Concern Over Yoga Class : City Program Linked to Sect, Bridie Jabour, Gold Coast Bulletin, Australia, July 5-6, 2008