Among the items in this issue of Religion News Briefs: Criticizing the Mormon Church can get you excommunicated. Leaving the destructive Scientology cult is scary (and wise).
Also: After three decades of debate on homosexuality, the Presbyterian Church has changed its definition of marriage. Plus: the Ex-Hijabi Fashion Photo Blog.
A judge has ruled that religious beliefs and practices can be used as evidence in the manslaughter trial of a couple charged with manslaughter in the faith-healing death of their 12-year old daughter.
Travis and Wenona Rossiter belong to the Church of the First Born, which eschews modern medicine in favor of faith healing.
The Nebraska Board of Pardons on Tuesday commuted the sentence of former cult member Timothy Haverkamp
, who has been on parole since 2009.
Haverkamp was one of five men convicted of the 1985 murder of James Thimm.
Bloggers have been picking apart the claims of a man who says he is a Muslim-turned-Christian. Ergun Caner has sued some of them for posting a video they say shows him lying. Thus far, the bloggers are winning.
In England, viewers are upset with ITV for showing a an ad during prime-time in which the Scientology cult spouts its usual nonsense.
Find out why Russian Orthodox Church priests are getting ridiculed on Twitter.
Narconon facilities are billed as a ‘drug rehab’ centers. But the organization’s approach is built on the quackery of fantasist L. Ron Hubbard, the dishonest man who saddled us with the Scientology cult. Small wonder then that Narconon is facing heaps of legal problems.
Are our bodies designed to connect with God?
Two serial killers in today’s edition: Charles Manson and David Berkowitz.
Authorities in Texas have today taken physical possession of the 1,700-acre Yearning For Zion Ranch that until recently belonged to the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).
Under Texas law, law enforcement can try to seize property that was used to commit or facilitate certain criminal conduct.
Cult leader Frederick Madison King, leader of the Church of Jesus Christ Restored has been charged with assualt and a range of other crimes.
Some of the charges date back to 1978 and involve seven victims, who were all members of the church.
It’s getting close to Easter, so the Jesus theorists and pundits are coming out of the woodworks again. Among them is Dr. Karen L. King, who has been speculating about a tiny fragment of papyrus she chose to call the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.”
Criticism has been fierce, of course, with one scholar saying the fragment is so patently fake that it “seems ripe for a Monty Python sketch.”
Want to understand what’s going on in Syria? You need to be familiar with some 7th century prophecies.
“Craigslist killer” Miranda Barbour, who claims she was a Satanist and has killed “under 100 people,” has had her first court appearance.
Also: In some countries, not wearing a proper veil can get you arrested. By the religious police.
The beard-cutting-cult leader is back in the news. Plus more…
Television journalist Mark Bunker has been working on a feature-length, professional-produced documentary film that exposes the abusive practices of the Church of Scientology.
The film is almost ready for release.
Today in 1997 police in Southern California discovered the bodies of 39 people — who had committed suicide in order to board a UFO they believed would take them to heaven.
Black magic is firmly ingrained in some African belief systems. We’ll tell you what gri-gris are used for.
Then there is an illustration of religious insanity provided by a preacher who thinks he is an apostle.
Plus: get up to speed on the religious exemption case the US Supreme Court is grappling with.
There has been some speculation that the death of hate preacher Fred Phelps will spell the end of the hate group he founded.
That may be a case of wishful thinking, especially when you take into account that Phelps was excommunicated from the church after a power-struggle in August, 2013.
Also inside: A Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist monk, a Hindu and a Taoist priest get together — and its not a joke.
Plus: help make an anti-Scientology cult conference possible; and more…
Doomsday cult leader Craig Stasio’s massage business closes after revelations that it does not have a license to provide massages.
His 28 followers believe Stasio ‘hears from God without interference,’ but parents and others are concerned about the cult-like aspects of his ‘ministry.’
Jailed FLDS cult leader Warren Jeffs is hospitalized. A mother convicted together with her husband for the faith healing death of their young son starts her prison sentence.
Also: Fred Phelps, the founder the Westboro Baptist Church is near death (and was reportedly excommunicated from the hate group).
Plus: Pilgrims are drawn to a glowing Virgin Mary statue . And more….
Clitoraid, a charity backed by the Raelian Movement, has built a hospital in Burkina Faso for the purpose of helping women who have been subjected to genital mutilation.
But the country forbids the hospital from opening, and has cancelled the work permits of a team of surgeons.
Raelians believe pressure from the Catholic Church is behind these moves. But concern over the Raelian gospel may also play a role.
The so-called Church of Scientology is based on the fantasies and unethical ideas of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard.
His ‘Disconnection’ policy — in which friends and families are ruthlessly ripped apart — is a huge embarrassment for the cult.
Is Dr. Craig Stasio running a doomsday cult? Parents of the young people he has surrounded himself with think he has brainwashed their daughters, who refer to him as “the prophet.”
Plus: a poll shows that increasing numbers of Americans don’t consider religion all that important. Russians, on the other hands have become more religious — and religion plays an important role in the current Russia – Ukraine conflict.
Also: Christians urgently need to gain an understanding of Islam.
Bill Gothard, founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, has resigned in the wake of an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse.
Sometimes the Prosperity Gospel scam does work. But guess who gets rich of it?
A former Aum Shinrikyo cult member who surrendered after 17 years on the run has now been sentenced to 9 years in prison for his participation in three cult-related crimes.
Cult leader Victor Barnard, who faces abuse charges, is missing.
Plus: The fictional True Detective series may have been inspired by the Hosanna Church child abuse case.
A recently filed civil lawsuit and a 90-minute documentary released online today allege that decades ago members of Jesus People USA, a Christian commune in Chicago, engaged in abusive behavior.
Also: Bill Gothard, founder of the Basic Institute in Life Principles, has been place on administrative leave by the organization’s board of directors.
Plus: the Scientology cult does what it does best: spew hatred regarding an ex-member.