… Sun Myung Moon — who told followers that Jesus, Buddha, Martin Luther, and Mohammed supported his claim of being the ‘Messiah’ — was buried today in South Korea, following a 13-day period of mourning.
His church has been accused of brainwashing recruits and duping them out of money, but followers believe Moon’s claim that he was put on Earth to complete Jesus Christ’s works.
“His will is a divine will, different from normal people,” said 69-year-old office worker Jeong Hye-ok. “I believe he will establish a foundation to build a heavenly world that unifies peace on earth.” […]
Many mourners wept as a top church official said in a speech that Moon was moving into a spiritual world after completing the messianic role that God had asked of him.
According to the Associated Press
In the years before his death, Moon handed over key responsibilities of his empire to his children, with his youngest son appointed the church’s top religious director in 2008 and another son in charge of business operations in South Korea and Japan.
Without Moon’s unifying presence, some experts see potential for conflict between his sons who control the church’s religious and business arms and who do not command the same loyalty as their father from overseas chapters.
The truth about Sun Myung Moon, by cult expert — and former Moon-follower — Steven Hassan.
A Letter to the Disillusioned (from an ex-member of the Unification Church)
In pictures: Rev Sun Myung Moon funeral in South Korea
Serge Benhayon, the former bankrupt tennis coach turned multimillionaire “esoteric healer”, plans to open a college where he is chairman for life so his teachings can’t be “bastardised”.
Mr Benhayon, who has been accused of running a new-age cult that offers “six levels of initiation”, has registered his College of Universal Medicine as a tax-exempt charity and is seeking $750,000 in donations.
Benhayon admits he has not medical qualifications, but he nevertheless claims that his therapies, which include ‘esoteric breast massage‘ (reportedly performed only by women), ‘esoteric connective tissue therapy’ and ‘chakra-puncture’ are effective.
Oh, and his daughter Natalie, 22, talks to women’s ovaries – for $70 an hour.
According to news reports Benhayon’s followers are told to avoid dairy food, gluten, caffeine, alcohol, drugs and most modern forms of music, except for Universal Medicine’s in-house music as it has ‘negative energy.’
Sleep is recommended only between the hours of 9pm to 3am.
And after receiving breast massages, clients are told to use Universal Medicine cream to deter bad energy, and to not allow their partners to touch them without permission.
Strangely the New Age quack, who claims to be Leonardo da Vinci reincarnated, is expanding his multimillion-dollar enterprise with the help of Brisbane’s medical mainstream.
Universal Medicine is drawing a growing number of clients to Unimed, its Brisbane clinic, via referrals from eye and lung surgeons, rheumatologists and GPs.
Universal Medicine, which teaches followers to avoid the “negative energy” in everything from cheese and alcohol to sleeping late, sells merchandise from books to pillow cases, holds concerts, Vietnam retreats and “relationship workshops” that gross up to $36,000 a session.
But the group has come under fire from family members of devotees, who say Mr Benhayon holds a Svengali-like sway over members’ patterns of diet, sleeping, exercise, the music they listen to and sexual behaviour.
They claim Universal Medicine has led to the breakdown of at least 42 relationships.
One man said his wife had spent $50,000 on Universal Medicine in the past three years, another said his wife had spent $40,000 in four years. […]
Cult Counselling Australia director Raphael Aron said the number of marriage breakdowns, if true, was “probably unique in my experience in relation to the history of organisations, be they cults, sects or sub-sects, in Australia”.
“That’s an absolutely devastating figure, catastrophic,” Mr Aron said. “We have parents, husbands, coming to us concerned about the wellbeing of their wives, and certainly about the wellbeing of their children.”
Mr Aron said CCA had also counselled breakaway UM followers, who were still “battling” to withdraw emotionally from the group.
Meanwhile, some of Universal Medicine’s herbal supplements are under investigation.
Tony Ortego, editor in chief at The Village Voice, has told Scientology watchers that he is leaving the newspaper in order to pursue a book proposal about Scientology in its time of crisis.
I started writing about Scientology seventeen years ago, but in the last two years I tried a new experiment — blogging about Scientology’s many global controversies in a consistent, nearly daily frequency. In 2011 and 2012, I published 465 blog posts about Scientology — and many of them contained multiple stories. (Recently, I posted a list of some of the most significant of those pieces.)
In recent years the controversial Church of Scientology has come under increasing criticism and scrutiny.
Meanwhile the Scientology cult — which dishonestly claims to be the fastest-growing religion on earth — has opened a so-called ‘National Affairs Office’ in Washington.
The promotional material about the facility indicates the religious group plans a more active role in Washington, with more meetings, seminars and ceremonies. The notables who were on hand included “ecclesiastical leader” David Miscavige, who heads the church, plus three members of Congress and a senior manager from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. […]
Miscavige, in prepared remarks, said, “Here is an office designed to give back to a United States government that steadfastly guaranteed our religious rights, the very freedom that allows us to do what we are doing today.” He said the new office will help “extend our reach.”
The members of Congress who appeared publicly for the event, and spoke to the crowd, were Republican representative Dan Burton of Indiana, Democratic representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, and Democratic representative Danny K. Davis of Illinois. Liz Gibson, senior program manager of FEMA, also attended, and lauded the Scientologists.
… As followers of the self-proclaimed ‘Religion of Peace’ once again riot, pillage and murder in defense of their prophet, police in Southern California have interviewed 55-year-old Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the filmmaker whose anti-Islamic movie sparked the protests.
Nakoula was not arrested, but, says The Huffinton Post
Federal officials have said they were investigating the activities of Nakoula, who has been convicted of financial crimes. If the probation department determines Nakoula violated terms of his release, a judge could send him back to prison. […]
Federal authorities have identified Nakoula, a self-described Coptic Christian, as the key figure behind “Innocence of Muslims,” a film denigrating Islam and the Prophet Muhammad that ignited mob violence against U.S. embassies across the Middle East. A federal law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Thursday that authorities had connected Nakoula to a man using the pseudonym of Sam Bacile who claimed earlier to be writer and director of the film.
Earlier U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking about the movie, was quoted as saying
I so strongly believe that the great religions of the world are stronger than any insults. They have withstood offense for centuries. Refraining from violence, then, is not a sign of weakness in one’s faith; it is absolutely the opposite, a sign that one’s faith is unshakable.
Two Islamist preachers in Egypt told worshippers on Friday that those who made a movie deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammad deserved to die under sharia (Islamic law) but they urged protesters not to take their anger out on diplomats or others.
Although the comments could be taken by some ordinary Muslims as an edict to take the law into their hands, many Egyptians believe that only the prestigious Al-Azhar mosque and seat of learning has the authority to issue decrees.
The Religion of Peace website has documented 19600 deadly terror attacks since 9/11.
Controversy over anti-Islamic film shines light on Coptic Christianity
The ‘maverick’ Egyptian-American Copt behind the anti-Muslim film
Muslim-Americans: Anti-Islam Film, Violent Protests not Justified
Man Allegedly Behind Anti-Islam Film Slams Protesters
Film protests: What explains the anger?
Q&A: Anti-Islam film protests
In pictures: Anti-Islam film protests spread
Religion News Blog (RNB) provides an almost-daily selection of religion news — selected by religion- and cult experts.
RNB has a particular focus on issues dealing with groups and movements often referred to as ‘cults,’ ‘sects,’ or ‘abusive churches.’ We also cover related issues – including religious persecution and human rights.
We include a dash of opinion and perhaps a touch of humor, along with links to the original sources plus additional research resources.
Religion News Blog is an excellent way to quickly catch up on today’s top religion news reports, key facts, and other religion information sources.
Make sure you don’t miss a single article: Subscribe by email
… HAVE SUGGESTIONS FOR RELIGION NEWS BRIEFS?
If you see anything that you think should be included in Religion News Briefs? Let us know.
Possibly Related Products
Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission — at no additional cost to you — for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this service free of charge.