Benny Hinn’s money machine * Narconon problems * Scientology’s money pit — Evangelist Benny Hinn brought his money machine to Pittsburgh this week. This time around he used himself as an example of the ‘seed-faith’ prosperity gospel he preaches.

You know how it works: You’re told God wants you to be out of debt and rich, but he cannot bless you with financial gifts (and/or health — which is why this scheme is also known as the ‘health and wealth gospel’) until you show him you have enough faith.

How do you demonstrate your faith? Right, by giving money to whomever tells you about this divine slot machine — in this case Benny Hinn.

‘Giving money’ sounds a bit crash, so preachers couch the process in Biblical terms. They tell you to ‘sow your seed’ (or ‘seed-faith offering’) so that you can look forward to a ‘harvest’.

Almost as an afterthought you’re told that sowing your seed into the ministry will help such-and-such preacher reach the lost and reap a harvest of souls.

Hinn is certainly not the only preacher hawking this approach, but he is a prime example of someone who takes advantage of his gullible followers.

Benny Hinn asks followers (not God) for money

Benny Hinn asks followers (not God) for money

It has long been pointed out that if this scheme works as advertised, preachers would be sending you money — so that they can reap and use their own harvests to further their ministry business ventures.

In Pittburgh Hinn made reference to his 2011 divorce and 2013 remarriage to his wife, Suzanne. Hinn said that everything, including “our house, our savings,” was lost in that divorce.

He credited Pastor Jack Hayford for helping him through the ordeal, and claims God told him to donate $2,000 a month to Hayford for the rest of his life.

Alright, so he did not quite loose ‘everything.’ There are plenty of people who live on less than $2,000 a month.

Hinn told the crowd that shortly after that God directed donors to help him pay off his debts and get his ministry back on track.

That’s interesting, because last April Hinn — apparently unwilling to wait for the harvest he says God gives to those who sow a seed-faith gift — asked his followers for $2.5 million in order to get out of debt. He said an anonymous donor would match their donations dollar by dollar.

Our advice? Don’t give Benny Hinn any more money. At least until he practices — truly practices — what he preaches. Then let’s see the results.

Learn more about the false prosperity gospel

More problems for Scientology-related Narconon

Narconon bills itself as a drug rehab center. Unfortunately, its treatment is based on the quackery of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard — and enough Scientology nonsense creeps into the ‘treatment’ for observers to consider Narconon just another Scientology recruitment front.

Narconon is in quite a bit of trouble. On-going and ever-increasong trouble.

For instance, a judge in Oklahoma has ruled that Narconon Arrowhead must produce documents related to alleged incidents of drug and alcohol use by its staff, trainees and students.

The McAlester News-Capital explains

The ruling was part of pre-trial proceedings in a lawsuit filed in March 2010 on behalf of Heather Landmeier a Narconon graduate now in a vegetative state after overdosing on heroin and oxycontin.

The suit alleges drugs were given to her by Narconon staff while she was in the program.

Three Narconon Arrowhead patients were found dead at the facility within a 9-month period in 2012. In 2009 a Narconon patient died at the hospital.

Last March, Gary Smith — the chief executive officer of Narconon Arrowhead — and several of the center’s employees had their drug counseling certifications revoked by the National Association of Forensic Counselors.

And last August the facility lost its state certification.
Narconon of Georgia loses license
Meanwhile, Narconon of Georgia has surrendered its license in order to avoid any potential criminal charges.

But, says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

the investigation into allegations of insurance fraud by those running the facility isn’t over, Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said.
“Narconon as a corporate entity has been relieved of criminal liability but no individual is,” Porter said Wednesday.

This Rock Center NBC report from last January provides everything you’ll want to know about Narconon:

Scientology’s Money Pit

In the early 1970s the Scientology cult tried to steal the city of Clearwater, Florida. Under the code name Project Normandy, the cult itself documented how it planned to take over the town.

The mayor at the time referred to it as “the occupation of Clearwater.” Later he called it a “paramilitary operation by a terrorist group.”
Scientology buys property in Clearwater, Florida
The project was discovered during a 1977 FBI raid on Scientology headquarters.

Meanwhile, the Church of Scientology — as the organization likes to be known — controls more and more real estate in the town.

Now the Tampa Bay Times reports that Scientology

has bought a big chunk of downtown Clearwater’s so-called “super block,” a highly visible stretch near the waterfront that was long touted by city leaders and various developers as key to revitalizing downtown.

While the Church of Scientology is in rapid decline, suffering defection after defection as top members leave what many consider to be abusive environment, the organization insists it is doing well.

As always it claims to represent the world’s fastest growing religion (which isn’t saying much: 1 + 1 is a gain of 100 percent, right?).

And it gets lots of PR (most of it self-published, since most real coverage of Scientology isn’t exactly flattering) when it buys landmark buildings.

Buying up high-profile real estate is a good way of securing profits (See: Scientology’s Money Machine). It gives the impression of growth — and yes, it comes with lots of PR opportunities.

It isn’t clear what Scientology plans to tod with the ‘super block.’ The Church isn’t talking.

But wait… could it be that it trying to keep the property out of the hands of Independent Scientologists?

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday September 26, 2013.
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