Jerusalem: Sadistic leader of polygamous cult convicted — The sadistic leader of a cult that was based in Jerusalem and the Tiberias region of Israel has been found guilty of a range of crimes, including physically-, mentally-, and sexually abusing six women and dozens of children.

The cult was busted in August 2011, based on report from a young woman who, in May that year, busted in August 2011, based on the report of a woman who called the Israel Center for Cult Victims [Hebrew-language website. English version via Google Translate].

YNetNews says

A gag order has been placed on the full indictment in a bid to prevent the identification of the dozens of young children and their mothers. […]

According to the indictment, D. saw himself as the successor of a well-known figure from his Hasidic movement and the person chosen to distribute his doctrine in the world. He got more and more women to join his cult by convincing them of his “powers.”

Once these women fell into his trap, his pleasant behavior was replaced with violence, abuse and contempt — which moved on to the next generation when the children were born.

According to Haaretz, the judges in the case wrote that D., 58, “caused his wives to believe that their behavior and thoughts harmed not only him, but also the salvation of the nation of Israel.”

The women were under his influence to such an extend that they developed deep feelings of guilt and self-loathing, and ” they could atone only by confessing to him and undergoing suitable punishments.”

D.’s brutal punishments, to which some of the children were subjected as well, included rape, sodomy, electric shocks, whippings, starvation and being imprisoned naked in a storage shed.

The verdict says:

The women, who believed with perfect faith that the defendant sought to help them and redeem the nation of Israel, desperately sought to please him and gave themselves over completely to his caprices. They fully accepted, and sometimes even initiated, the punishments imposed on them.

Previous articles about this cult

Micah Moore Trial

It is our understanding that the trial date for Micah Moore has been set for March 3, 2014.

Moore has confessed to the murder of Bethany Deaton, his religious sect leader’s wife, reportedly in order to prevent her from revealing she was being sexually assaulted.

In the probable cause statement, Moore also claimed he killed the woman after he was instructed to do so by her husband, Tyler Deaton.

But Moore’s lawyer claims his client’s confession was false, and maintains that — as the police originally believed — the woman committed suicide.

Moore and the Deatons were members of the International House of Prayer — a controversial €˜charismatic Christian’ organization based in Kansas City, Missouri.

Moore and several other men lived in a house together with the Deatons. They referred to it as a “community,” and to Tyler Deaton as their “spiritual leader.”

Several of the men living in the home told detectives they were involved in a ”sexual group,” having sex with each other, including Tyler Deaton -- and that this was part of a ”religious experience.”

According to the lawyer the doctrines taught within this “extremely close-knit religious community” affected Moore’s mental state and dominated his thinking, leading to his “fictional account that was bizarre, nonsensical and most importantly, untrue.”

The church has tried to distance itself from those involved in the case, saying that Tyler Deaton’s group operated “entirely independently”.

The International House of Prayer is associated with religious figures whose doctrines and practices tend to vary from those of normative, Biblical Christianity.

The church and its university have not been implicated in the crime, but various people have raised concerns about possible cult-like elements within the church.

Tyler Deaton has (yet?) not been charged in the case.

Moore pleaded not guilty last February:

The Prosperity Gospel Scam: More Popular Than Thought

Hard to believe, but the so-called ‘Prosperity Gospel‘ enjoys wider support than you’d think possible.

And that while, as Christianity Today puts it, for the rest of us “the ‘health and wealth,’ ‘name it and claim it,’ ‘confess it and possess it’ TV preachers and their blessing-seeking, hap-hap-happy followers” are a constant source of amusement and incredulity — if not outright contempt.

The scam — for that’s what it is — works as follows:

  • God wants to bless you — with health and wealth
  • But He will not do so unless you first demonstrate your faith
  • You demonstrate your faith by ‘sowing’ a ‘seed-faith offering’ (yes, money).
  • You give this money to whomever told you about this scheme
  • God will than bless you — with a thirty, sixty, or even hundred-fold return

If this greed-based theology worked as advertised, televangelists would be sending you money. But as noted that hasn’t stopped a sizable

Kate Bowler’s Blessed is the first book to fully explore the origins, unifying themes, and major figures of this movement.

In its book review, Christianity Today says Bowler takes the believers seriously.

[She] moves beyond conventional wisdom to tell a more complex story about the movement. Part history, part theological analysis, part sociology, part ethnographic study, Blessed explores how this movement came to be, analyzes its central teachings, traces its networks, and notes its appeal. […]

Bowler’s take on the Prosperity movement is hardly boosterish or all-embracing. […]

Nonetheless, in its overall trajectory, Blessed serves as a corrective to dismissive stereotypes. It reminds us, as well, of the Prosperity movement’s internal coherence, as well as its important function in the lives of many American Christians as a source of hope, values, and personal and communal improvement.

Meanwhile, here are some excellent research resources on the Prosperity teaching.

Religious Cult Tries To Sue Ex-Member Into Silence

The World Mission Society Church of God wants to stop former member Michele Colón from speaking out about her experiences online.

The church has filed two lawsuits against her — in part because she refers to the movement as a “cult”.

Theologically, the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG) is a cult of Christianity — placing it outside the boundaries of the historic, Biblical Christian faith.

Sociologically the movement has cult-like elements as well.

Here’s the latest on the group’s lawsuit.

Oh… and Michele has not been bullied into silence. Among other things, she has filed a lawsuit against the church.

Here’s how you can help her.

James Arthur Ray’s Sweat Lodge Deaths Conviction Stands

A jury’s decision to convict self-help author James Arthur Ray on three counts of negligent homicide following a botched sweat lodge ceremony in Sedona, Arizona, will stand.

Ray was sentenced to two years in prison.

Just weeks after his recent release, Ray earlier this month withdrew an appeal of his conviction, stating that he wishes to “avoid any possibility of a retrial and a resentencing.”

Insurer Wants To Drop Narconon

Narconon of Georgia, already mired in trouble, faces yet another hurdle.

WSBTV, which has ran a year-long investigation on the group, reports

Narconon of Georgia’s own insurance company is now trying to drop its coverage, accusing the program of fraud.

In a federal court filing, the Illinois-based Evanston Insurance Company says Narconon of Georgia “made the misrepresentations with the actual intent to deceive” and that the insurance company has “no obligation … to defend or indemnify Narconon.”

A federal judge has yet to rule on the status of the insurance policy.

Narconon claims to be a ‘drug rehab’ organization. However, its treatment are based on the quackery proposed by fantasist and Scientology cult founder L. Ron Hubbard.

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This post was last updated: Friday, May 9, 2014 at 3:41 PM, Central European Time (CET)