Iranian follower of cult of Christianity released from prison

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The wake for a self-styled messiah: The Independent says the funeral of Sun Myung Moon, “one of the most preposterous egomaniacs of the post-war world,” will be as grandiose as his mass weddings.

The paper notes that Moon — whose followers believed him to be the “True Father” told TIME magazine, “God is living in me and I am the incarnation of Himself. The whole world is in my hand and I will conquer and subjugate the world.”

In 2004, he told a grand audience on Washington’s Capitol Hill that long-dead emperors, kings and presidents, including Hitler and Stalin, had declared “from beyond the grave… to all heaven and earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity’s saviour, messiah, returning Lord and parent”.

As such, his absence would pose a problem to any organisation, let alone one rent like this one by family feuding and scarred by family tragedy.

Moon has claimed that he “…will continue to lead the church from the spirit world,” so whomever end up leading the cult he founded may well subject us to more of Moon’s fantasies.

Research resources on the Unification Church

Scientology front group Narconon fights judge’s order to release staff records The Oklahoma Supreme Court is considering a request to block a judge’s order for Narconon Arrowhead to produce records on staff misconduct.

The order is related to a negligence lawsuit filed on behalf of Heather Landmeier, a former student and trainee of the facility. Court records state Landmeier was kicked out of the program in March 2008 after testing positive for drugs. Tulsa World says she was found the next morning suffering from a near-fatal drug overdose of heroin and Oxycontin.

Today, Landmeier is in a vegetative state and requires around-the-clock care, according to family members.

Narconon, which bills itself as a drug detoxification facility, is based on the teachings of L. Run Hubbard. Hubbard’s medical views are widely considered to be nothing short of quackery.

In August the parents of Hillary Holten, a 21-year-old Texas woman who died this spring after spending two days at Narconon Arrowhead, filed suit against the organization.

Last April health officials in Quebec, Canada ordered the Narconon rehabilitation centre for drug addicts in Trois Rivières to evacuate and relocate its 32 residents, citing concerns over procedures that “may represent a risk to health” and a lack of doctors on staff.

Narconon is one of several Scientology front groups. TIME magazine has referred to Narconon as a ‘classic vehicle for drawing addicts into the cult.’

Narconon’s Writ of Prophibition petition to block a judge’s order regarding staff misconduct records PDF file
Response on behalf of Heather Landmeier PDF file

Speaking of Scientology, the cult is a master at fighting windmills. The New York Post says the church has been ratcheting up its opposition to Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie, The Master.’

“The Master” stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as an enigmatic church leader and Joaquin Phoenix as an early disciple. The church leader is widely believed to have been based on L. Ron Hubbard, the fantasist who founded the Scientology business.

Both Anderson and Hoffman claim the film isn’t about Scientology, but the cult doesn’t buy it. According to The Post

Sources tell Page Six that Scientology is countering the film’s marketing by running its own ads promoting its message in places where ads and stories about “The Master” appear.

Calls and mail from people believed to be Scientologists to Weinstein’s office have grown numerous enough that some on the film’s team have hired extra security, a source said. Weinstein had already been under close guard following a recent attempt to blackmail him by a man unrelated to the film.

Read more:

A secret report from Germany’s police warns of neo-Nazi attacks, even assassination attempts, on foreigners, prominent politicians and police officers. According to The Local

Der Spiegel magazine said on Sunday it had seen the report which said that attacks “should be expected” against foreigners, Jewish institutions and “representatives of the Federal Republic of Germany, such as politicians, public figures, and police officers.”

The paper from the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation, BKA, dated July 2012, warns the attacks could come from individuals or groups, and could include fatal injuries from arson attacks, possibly on refugee hostels, for example. Potential homicides were also included in the nightmare list.

For our German readers, this story as covered in Google Nachrichten Deutschland

In 2001 Dino Mazzoli developed mobility problems and health concerns that left him housebound. Since then he has spent more than a decade painstakingly copying out every single word of the Bible: 1,500 pages of handwritten text complete with more than 5,000 illustrations.

The Eastbourne Herald says

Plans are afoot to publish the book both in print form, on the iPad and as an eBook and Mr Mazzoli is waiting on the final copyright permission to come through after using text from an American-based translation.

I won’t make a penny from it,” explained the artist, who lives in Old Town. “I want the proceeds to be divided up between charities, including Save the Children.

Baptist Press and other news outlets report that Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was acquitted and released from prison.

According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Nadarkhani was acquitted of apostasy — converting from Islam to Christianity — but found guilty of evangelizing Muslims. He was sentenced to three years in prison on that charge, but released to due time served.

Nobody should be jailed for converting to another religion, and no one should be prosecuted for sharing his faith with others. So in that regard we rejoice in Nadarkhani’s release.

However, in many news articles Nadarkhani has been misidentified as either a Christian or an Evangelical Christian.

In fact, Youcef Nadarkhani is a follower of the late William Branham — a self-proclaimed prophet who was considered a heretic of the Christian faith.

Those who follow and promote Branham’s teachings have abandoned the essential doctrines of the Christian faith, and are therefore viewed as heretics.

Evangelical Christians consider groups of his followers (which have no formal affiliation or central oversight) to be, theologically, cults of Christianity.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has launched a major attack on his critics in the Government and Church of England months before he leaves office.

The Telegraph says For almost 10 years he has endured a simultaneous barrage of criticism from those who say he should not meddle in politics and those who argue that when he talks about the Bible he becomes “irrelevant”.

Dr. Rowan Willams’ attacks is found in the foreword to his new book Faith in the Public Square, a collection of lectures from his decade as Archbishop.

Under AB 1964 signed by Gov. Brown, California employers face new restrictions against shunting Sikh and Muslim workers out of public view for wearing turbans, beards and hijabs.

The BBC will resist calls to include atheists on Thought for the Day, the corporation’s head of religion has said. The feature consists of “Reflections from a faith perspective on issues and people in the news.” [See also: No thought for God]

Gabriel Vahanian, a theologian whose 1961 social critique, “The Death of God: The Culture of Our Post-Christian Era,” gave a name to a seemingly atheistic but widely misunderstood theological movement, died on Aug. 30 at his home in Strasbourg, France. He was 85.

The New York Times says: “The Death of God” was a scholarly work that took church leaders to task for what Vahanian considered the trivialization of Christian teaching in the secular age. It was not an endorsement of Friedrich Nietzsche’s 1880s-era announcement of God’s death.


Religion News Blog (RNB) provides an almost-daily selection of religion news — selected by religion- and cult experts.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday September 10, 2012.
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