Woman pleads guilty in cult killings

One of three women charged in connection with the murders of two fellow cult members, 28-year-old Antoinetta McKoy and 4-year-old Jadon Higganbothan, has plead guilty to second-degree murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges.

After her plea, LaRhonda Renee Smith, 28, was sentenced to consecutive sentences of 141 to 179 months, for a total possible of 282 months (23.5 years) to 358 months (almost 30 years).

Last June Peter Moses, leader of a Black Hebrews-related cult, plead guilty to killing the woman and the boy.

The woman was killed because she wanted to leave the cult.

Moses shot the 4-year-old because he thought the child was gay.

RNB’s Quick Takes

  • A decade before his death, cult leader Sun Myung Moon — founder of the Unification Church — sent a band of followers deep into the wilds of Paraguay, with orders to build the ultimate utopian community and eco-resort. So how’s that working out?
  • Samuel Mullet, the renegade Amish cult leader whose followers engaged in beard- and hair cutting attacks against fellow Amish they disagreed with, has filed a federal appeal against the 15-year prison sentence he received last week.
  • Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who received death threats after depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a dog, says he will display new paintings of the prophet at an exhibition later this year
  • Lawyers in New Zealand are still trying to get assets belonging to fugitive cult leader Rocco Leo unfrozen.
  • While the Scientology cult is not banned in Germany, the controversial organization is still being monitored by that country’s domestic intelligence services. And rightly so, we think. Here’s an explanation of how Germany views Scientology:

    The German government considers the Scientology organization a commercial enterprise with a history of taking advantage of vulnerable individuals and an extreme dislike of any criticism. The government is also concerned that the organization’s totalitarian structure and methods may pose a risk to Germany’s democratic society. Several kinds of evidence have influenced this view of Scientology, including the organization’s activities in the United States.

    Don’t you wish we could hear such clear language from the U.S. government as well?

Tweets we like


Documents reveal Legion of Christ’s deception

Newly released documents in a Rhode Island lawsuit show that the scandal-tarred Legion of Christ shielded information on their founder’s sex life from a wealthy widow who donated $30 million over two decades, the National Catholic Reporter says.

A judge last Friday revoked a protective order, releasing thousands of pages of testimony, financial and religious records — providing a rare view into the Legion culture shaped by its Mexican-born founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, NCR says in one of a series of articles on the group.

Sect leader’s wife recounts life in cult

A sect named Defensores de Cristo (Defenders of Christ) that was broken up in Mexico last month forced women to participate in orgies, discouraged baths and made people eat raw animal organs, the wife of a cult leader says.

Spanish leader Ignacio Gonzalez de Arriba saw himself as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and used the internet to recruit adherents, offering classes on ‘bio-programming’, alternative health care, psychic powers and sexuality, according to Red de Apoyo — a support network for cult victims, which helps people who flee sects.

The sect’s followers were treated with cruelty, including humiliation and psychological torture, the network said.

Who joins cults, and why?

Human Bones Found in Altar Bought on eBay

The Los Angeles Coroner’s office says that some bones and a skull found Sunday atop an altar in a Pasadena backyard are human.

A man told a local NBC affiliate that his sister had bought the bones on eBay, and used them for religious reasons.

He said the woman practices Palo Mayombe.

Palo Mayombe is known as the ‘dark side’ of Santeria.

But R. Andrew Chesnut, PhD, Professor of Religious Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, tells NBC, “What caught my eye was that the backyard altar was obviously primarily an altar to Santa Muerte, the Saint of Death…whose cult has been mushrooming both in the United States and Mexico over the past decade.”

Convicted Cult Leader Appeals To US Supreme Court

Cult leader Tony Alamo has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in the hope it will overturn a ruling in a civil lawsuit against him.

Two former members of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries were awarded $33 million each after they sued Alamo for ordering them to be beaten.

Lawyers for the men are now seeking the seizure of six of Alamo’s properties in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in order to satisfy the judgement.

“If the court orders that these properties be sold, it will effectively kill Alamo’s operations in Fort Smith, which has served as one of the group’s nerve centers for decades,” says lawyer David Carter.

In what lawyers refer to as “The Scam” these properties are currently held in the names of loyal Alamo followers.

Alamo took those properties out of his name after he was convicted of tax evasion, but the lawyers say it is clear Alamo is the owner.

The cult leader is serving a 175-year sentence after being convicted in 2009 of bringing young girls across state lines for sex.

Moon cult holds mass wedding

Remember the failed, self-proclaimed ‘messiah’ (and crowned ‘King of America‘) Sun Myung Moon?

Among other things his religious cult was known for organizing mass weddings between people who, in most cases, met each other only on the day of the wedding. And added problem: Moon preferred cross-cultural weddings, and often the man and wife didn’t even speak each other’s language.

The Unification Church teaches that its ‘blessing ceremony” removes couples from the lineage of sinful humanity and en-grafts them into God’s sinless lineage, to that any resulting exist free from the consequences of original sin.

Moon, who claimed that after his death he would continue to lead his church “from the spirit world,” died last September.

His 70-year-old widow Hak Ja Han last Sunday presided over another mass wedding, the first after her husband’s death.

3,500 couples were married in the organization, whose numbers are dwindling.

Theologically the Unification Church is a cult of Christianity.

Muslim hate preacher encourages fraud

Muslim hate preacher Anjem Choudary has been secretly filmed encouraging his followers to defraud the British government by seeking benefits from the state in order to fund ‘holy war.’

He told Muslims that some revered Islamic figures had only ever worked one or two days a year, and that “the normal situation is for you to take money from the kuffar” (non-believers).

The Muslim extremist refers to money thus obtained as “Jihad Seeker’s Allowance.”

The hate monger also proclaimed that Islam is taking over Europe.

“Now we are taking over Birmingham and populating it,” he said.

“Brussels is 30 per cent, 40 per cent Muslim and Amsterdam. Bradford is 17 per cent Muslim.

“These people are like a tsunami going across Europe. And over here we’re just relaxing, taking over Bradford brother. The reality is changing.”

Choudary, who has but a handful of followers, also told his audience that David Cameron, Barack Obama and the leaders of Pakistan and Egypt should be killed.

Evangelist T.L. Osborn dies

International evangelist T.L. Osborn passed away last Thursday, at the age of 89.

Tulsa World says, “Osborn preferred face-to-face preaching over television, and some believed he preached to more people that way than anyone else in history.”

Known for his emphasis on faith healing, his theology has much in common with that of other Word-Faith proponents.

Our favorite headline this past week? This one: That “zombie apocalypse” warning in Montana? It was fake

Religion and Couples

Less than 3-in-10 (29%) Americans say that having different religious beliefs is a major problem for a couple.

But when spouses lose faith, sticking together is hard, writes Peggy Fletcher Stack, focusing on that issue among Mormons.

Vacation? Short break? Day trip? Get Skip-the-line tickets at GetYourGuide.


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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday February 25, 2013.
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