The Pentecostal group Culture Shifters says it has healed people suffering from cancer and multiple sclerosis and is developing a large youth following.
South Australia’s chief prosecutor is calling for new laws to thwart the rise of cults across the nation.
Stephen Pallaras says a new approach by law-makers needs to address the “mental damage and mental harm” caused by cults.
“Our beaches should be a place where no one is offended, whether it’s their religious or cultural views,” he said.
“If they’ve come from a Middle Eastern or Asian country where women never go topless – in fact they usually wear a lot of clothing – I think it’s important to respect all the different cultures that make up Australia.”
The Presbyterian Church of Australia has declared heretical six principal teachings of a cult inside a Melbourne Presbyterian church, and ordered that the church’s findings against the cult be read at every Presbyterian congregation in Australia.
The declaration, to be released today, vindicates the church in its decade-long battle to expel the cult, headed by stockbroker Bruce Teele, that dominates Trinity Presbyterian Church, Camberwell.
Alison Pels, 20, thought Jan Hamilton and another Kenja co-member “were going to kill her” when she discovered they had disguised themselves and posed as directors at a stage audition she attended.
Hillsong describes Shine as a “practical, life-equipping, values-based course” and its website is awash with glowing testimonials from young women whose lives have been improved by learning about “being a good friend” and “learning about myself”.
But serious concerns have been raised by teachers, adolescent developmental experts and parents groups. They say the program is inappropriate for troubled young women, that the under-qualified facilitators are reinforcing gender stereotypes. and that some parents have not been properly informed.
Former members of an Australian movement known as the “Christian Fellowship” claim the church is a cult that is ripping their families apart.