Cult leader and brother charged with assault, other crimes

Frederick Madison King
Cult leader Frederick Madison King, leader of the Church of Jesus Christ Restored has been charged with assualt and a range of other crimes.

Some of the charges date back to 1978 and involve seven victims, who were all members of the church.

Jesus’ wife?

It’s getting close to Easter, so the Jesus theorists and pundits are coming out of the woodworks again. Among them is Dr. Karen L. King, who has been speculating about a tiny fragment of papyrus she chose to call the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.”

Criticism has been fierce, of course, with one scholar saying the fragment is so patently fake that it “seems ripe for a Monty Python sketch.”

‘Satanic’ Craigslist killer; The prophecies behind Syria conflict

Miranda Barbour
Want to understand what’s going on in Syria? You need to be familiar with some 7th century prophecies.

“Craigslist killer” Miranda Barbour, who claims she was a Satanist and has killed “under 100 people,” has had her first court appearance.

Also: In some countries, not wearing a proper veil can get you arrested. By the religious police.

The beard-cutting-cult leader is back in the news. Plus more…

Knowledge Report: A documentary on Scientology fraud and abuse

Television journalist Mark Bunker has been working on a feature-length, professional-produced documentary film that exposes the abusive practices of the Church of Scientology.

The film is almost ready for release.

Black Magic, Religious Exemptions, Religious Insanity, and more…

gri gri necklace
Today in 1997 police in Southern California discovered the bodies of 39 people — who had committed suicide in order to board a UFO they believed would take them to heaven.

Black magic is firmly ingrained in some African belief systems. We’ll tell you what gri-gris are used for.

Then there is an illustration of religious insanity provided by a preacher who thinks he is an apostle.

Plus: get up to speed on the religious exemption case the US Supreme Court is grappling with.

Will Phelps’ Westboro hate cult disappear? +more religion news

Fred Phelps
There has been some speculation that the death of hate preacher Fred Phelps will spell the end of the hate group he founded.

That may be a case of wishful thinking, especially when you take into account that Phelps was excommunicated from the church after a power-struggle in August, 2013.

Also inside: A Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist monk, a Hindu and a Taoist priest get together — and its not a joke.

Plus: help make an anti-Scientology cult conference possible; and more…

“Doomsday prophet’s” massage business closes; Is he a cult leader?

Craig Allen Stasio
Doomsday cult leader Craig Stasio’s massage business closes after revelations that it does not have a license to provide massages.

His 28 followers believe Stasio ‘hears from God without interference,’ but parents and others are concerned about the cult-like aspects of his ‘ministry.’

Religion News Briefs: Warren Jeffs, Fred Phelps, Catherine Schaible …

Jailed FLDS cult leader Warren Jeffs is hospitalized. A mother convicted together with her husband for the faith healing death of their young son starts her prison sentence.

Also: Fred Phelps, the founder the Westboro Baptist Church is near death (and was reportedly excommunicated from the hate group).

Plus: Pilgrims are drawn to a glowing Virgin Mary statue . And more….

Country stymies opening of UFO sect’s Clitoral Restoration Hospital

Clitoraid, a charity backed by the Raelian Movement, has built a hospital in Burkina Faso for the purpose of helping women who have been subjected to genital mutilation.

But the country forbids the hospital from opening, and has cancelled the work permits of a team of surgeons.

Raelians believe pressure from the Catholic Church is behind these moves. But concern over the Raelian gospel may also play a role.

Scientology rips friends and families apart

Scientology is worst than you think
The so-called Church of Scientology is based on the fantasies and unethical ideas of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

His ‘Disconnection’ policy — in which friends and families are ruthlessly ripped apart — is a huge embarrassment for the cult.

Religion ‘not that important’ to growing number of Americans

Craig Allen Stasio
Is Dr. Craig Stasio running a doomsday cult? Parents of the young people he has surrounded himself with think he has brainwashed their daughters, who refer to him as “the prophet.”

Plus: a poll shows that increasing numbers of Americans don’t consider religion all that important. Russians, on the other hands have become more religious — and religion plays an important role in the current Russia – Ukraine conflict.

Also: Christians urgently need to gain an understanding of Islam.

Christ Embassy’s false gospel; Bill Gothard quits; Ultraman banned

Bill Gothard, founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, has resigned in the wake of an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse.

Sometimes the Prosperity Gospel scam does work. But guess who gets rich of it?

A former Aum Shinrikyo cult member who surrendered after 17 years on the run has now been sentenced to 9 years in prison for his participation in three cult-related crimes.

Cult leader Victor Barnard, who faces abuse charges, is missing.

Plus: The fictional True Detective series may have been inspired by the Hosanna Church child abuse case.

Documentary, lawsuit accuse Jesus People USA of past abuses

A recently filed civil lawsuit and a 90-minute documentary released online today allege that decades ago members of Jesus People USA, a Christian commune in Chicago, engaged in abusive behavior.

Also: Bill Gothard, founder of the Basic Institute in Life Principles, has been place on administrative leave by the organization’s board of directors.

Plus: the Scientology cult does what it does best: spew hatred regarding an ex-member.

Religious Freedom vs. Human Rights

The ‘Church’ of Scientology, among other things known for tearing relationships apart, is delighted that two of its members in the UK have finally been able to marry in one of the cult’s ‘chapels.’

We also highlight a couple of other cases in which human rights and religious freedom interact.

Did teenage ‘Satanist’ really murder dozens of people?

Miranda Barbour
Self-proclaimed Satanist Miranda Barbour, in jail along with her husband on charges of homicide, claims to have killed ‘undere 100’ people.

Investigators are skeptical, and the Church of Satan says it has had not contact with the couple.

Faith healers sentenced to prison; abusive church continues

Herbert and Catherine Schaible
Herbert and Catherine Schaible are sent to prison for the faith healing death of their 2nd child.

But the abusive church they belong to — a cult of Christianity — continues unhindered.

Snake-handling preacher dies of snake bite; Bob Jones dies

Jamie Coots
False prophet Bob Jones has died — again. And a snake-handling preacher known from the reality TV show ‘Snake Salvation’ has died after he was bitten by a snake.

A recently-married teenage mother claims she is a Satanist who has murdered more than 20 people. And the Son God Movie can count on sold-out theaters. Here’s why…

Mormon head ordered to appear in court over ‘fraudulent’ doctrines

Inside this issue of Religion News Briefs: items on Scientology, the International Cultic Studies Association, the Plymouth Brethren (which you know as the Exclusive Brethren), and more. Also: the Book of Mormon vs DNA. And Saudi Arabia’s religious police. As always we include a modicum of opinion, as well as links to research resources.

Lawmaker seeks to remove Christian Scientists’ religious exemption

'Christian' Science
When it comes to issues of child abuse or neglect, followers of Christian Science — which is neither ‘Christian’ nor ‘science’ — should be held to the same standards as members of other groups.

A lawmaker in Washington state has introduced a bill that would eliminate a ‘faith healing’ exemption for Christian Scientists.
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