ReligionNewsBlog.com, Feb. 12-14, 2004
- ReligionNewsBlog.com, Feb. 12-14, 2004
Sat, Feb. 14, 2004
[The Body] Obedience to cruelty
Under the circumstances, it is hard to imagine how Ms. Robidoux, now 28,
ever developed much sense of self. The mother of two children by age 15, she
was told then by her sect-member parents to either obey the group or move
out. Former sect members testified that she was viewed as a "baby machine"
and the "goat" of the group, even by her husband.
[Polygamy] Family ripped apart
The five daughters and five sons who loyally follow Warren Jeffs, the
self-proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints, have pitted themselves against their apostate siblings,
distancing their 40 children from the rest of the family.
[Aum Shinrikyo] Report: One-fourth of doomsday cult followers returned to
More than a quarter of the members of a doomsday cult arrested over a deadly
gas attack on Tokyo's subways returned to the group after they were released
or served their prison terms, a report said Friday.
[Aum Shinrikyo] Asahara death would be 'loss for mankind,' says Russian
The widely expected death sentence to be handed down on Shoko Asahara, the
founder of the AUM Shinrikyo cult that is blamed for the 1995 subway gas
attack in Tokyo, would result in ''a loss for mankind,'' an imprisoned
Russian cult follower said Friday.
[Aum Shinrikyo] Film set of Aum commune too real
Yamanashi Prefecture-Residents of this village at the foot of Mount Fuji
where Aum Shinrikyo committed foul deeds were spooked to see cult facilities
resurrected. But it was only for show, as props for a docudrama. [...]
Village authorities had no qualms about shooting. But residents got a jolt.
"There was no warning, so it was a complete surprise,'' said Shigeru Arai,
47, a dairy farmer who lives nearby. "It isn't as if Aum came back to build
them. But (the set) brings back bad memories of a dark time.''
[False Memory Syndrome] Psychiatric patient tells of ordeal in treatment
When Elizabeth Gale sought psychiatric treatment in 1986, she suffered from
depression, the most common of psychiatric illnesses. But Dr. Bennett Braun
and his colleagues convinced her that her family indoctrinated her as a
child so she would make babies for sacrifice in a satanic cult, Gale charged
in a malpractice suit she settled Wednesday for $7.5 million. The
therapists, she alleged, told her she needed their help to recover memories
hidden beneath layers of rare multiple personalities that she had developed
as a psychic guard against her childhood trauma.
[Allen Harrod, et. al.] Couple faces federal charges
Self-proclaimed religious prophet Allen Harrod has been indicted in federal
court along with his wife on nine counts of transporting children across
state lines to engage unlawful sexual conduct. Harrod, 56, has been accused
of writing his own interpretations of Scripture to justify the molestation
of children. He was convicted in state court last month on criminal charges
related to the same group of children. Harrod could face life in prison
when he returns to state court Feb. 23. His wife, Irene Hunt, 49, faces up
to 18 years for her role in what prosecutors called a religious cult.
[Gwen Shamblin] NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Firm Beliefs (Part 1)
A religious movement based in Williamson County is now part of a murder
investigation. The question: did the Remnant Fellowship's Firm Beliefs
inadvertently lead to the beating death of a little boy. Now, evidence
uncovered by NewsChannel 5 could help investigators answer that question.
Gwen Shamblin developed a following of thousands with a Christian diet plan
she called the Weigh Down Workshop. That message led to the formation of her
own religious movement, the Remnant Fellowship. The church claims about
1,000 members spread throughout some 130 cities. It's a movement that
demands strict obedience -- even from its children.
[Gwen Shamblin] NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Firm Beliefs (Part 2)
[H]is parents, Joseph and Sonya Smith, are charged with beating him to
death. Investigators say they had turned to the Remnant Fellowship with its
message of strict discipline -- instead of seeking professional help. It
seems to be thought by Remnant Fellowship leadership that these mental
illnesses are more sort of fabrications of a poor spiritual life where you
are not in obedience to God," says former Remnant recruit Adam Brooks.
Brooks notes that, in Remnant's own videos, depression and anti-depressants
are equated with sin.
[Gwen Shamblin] NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Firm Beliefs (Part 3)
An exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation focused on a Williamson County
church, and how its Firm Beliefs may have led to the child abuse death of a
little boy. One of the questions: why are members so willing to let the
group's founder tell them how to run their lives? In the Bible, there are
the prophets, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Malachi. In Remnant Fellowship,
there's Gwen Shamblin. "She seems to be considered a prophet by all members
of Remnant Fellowship," says former Remnant recruit Adam Brooks.
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Fri, Feb. 13, 2004
[Aum Shinrikyo] Day of Judgment: Matsumoto's decision to be 'big' followed
by fraud, arrest
This is the fifth installment of a series on Chizuo Matsumoto, the founder
of the Aum Supreme Truth cult.
[Cloning] Scientists clone 30 human embryos
South Korean scientists have cloned 30 human embryos to obtain cells they
hope could one day be used to treat disease. Seoul National University's
Woo Suk Hwang, and colleagues, took the genetic material from normal cells
in women donors and combined it with their eggs. The resulting embryos were
then grown up to produce so-called stem cells that can divide into any
tissue in the body. The aim is to use the cells to replace ones that have
failed in patients with problems such as Alzheimer's disease.
[Cloning] Cloning milestones since Dolly the sheep
As the most advanced human embryo clones yet are produced, BBC News Online
looks back as some of the landmark moments since 1997, when British
scientists unveiled the first successful mammal clone.
[Cloning] Q&A: Cloned human embryos
South Korean scientists have created 30 human embryo clones. BBC News Online
looks at the significance of the announcement.
[Cloning] South Koreans call for baby clone ban
The South Korean scientists who successfully cloned human embryos to extract
stem cells have called for a global ban on cloning to make babies. Woo Suk
Hwang, who led the research, said reproductive cloning was clearly wrong,
and should be outlawed.
[Polygamy] A State Run Hotline Offers Help To Polygamist Families
The Utah Attorney General announced Thursday the expansion of the state's
Domestic Violence Information Line to serve victims of abuse in polygamous
communities. Attorney General Mark Shurtleff also said his office was
working to erect a billboard advertising the anonymous and confidential
service in Hildale, the polygamous stronghold 300 miles south of Salt Lake
City on the Arizona border.
[Polygamy] Plural wives defend lifestyle
First came the book, Voices in Harmony: Contemporary Women Celebrate Plural
Marriage. Then a short-lived and mostly overlooked magazine about polygamy:
Mormon Focus. Now, women behind those efforts have organized Principle
Voices for Polygamy to air positive information about living "the
principle," as those engaged in plural marriage call it. [...] They
describe plural marriage as a "wonderful experience" -- which sets them
apart from the very vocal Tapestry Against Polygamy, which offers help to
those who would leave polygamous relationships.
[Benny Hinn] US Preacher's India Visit Sparks Controversy
American faith-healer Benny Hinn's India visit beginning Friday has become a
contentious issue, with the Indian Christian community divided on whether or
not to welcome the popular Evangelist television star.
[Jehovah's Witnesses] Silent Lambs conference to confront child abuse
A support group for Jehovah's Witnesses who say they are victims of sexual
abuse put a white stuffed toy lamb on the steps of a Kingdom Hall in west
Nashville yesterday to call attention to its cause. It also announced plans
for a conference next month to draw more attention to the problem of sexual
abuse. The group, Silent Lambs, says it is the only support group for
sexually abused Jehovah's Witnesses.
[Reina y Señora de Todo lo Creado] Doomsday Cult Investigation
An accused pedophile from San Antonio now serves as a spiritual advisor for
a doomsday cult. News 4 WOAI Trouble Shooter Brian Collister traveled to
Costa Rica to investigate and find if cult leader Juan Pablo Delgadois a
visionary or a con artist. His name is Juan Pablo Delgado and he says the
Virgin Mary speaks to him.
[Reina y Señora de Todo lo Creado] Priest or Pedophile?
The Catholic Church says he's a renegade priest. The Archdiocese recently
warned followers to stay away from Father Alfredo Prado. He is accused of
molesting young boys. Prado now belongs to a violent dooms day cult in Costa
Rica. Trouble Shooter Brian Collister and his photographer risked their
lives, traveling to Central America to track down and confront Prado about
[Cloning] S. Korean cloning intensifies debate
Politicians, philosophers, lawyers and scientists have argued about it for
years, but therapeutic cloning - making a human embryo for medical research
- is now a reality. And the debate over the procedure is growing more
[Cloning] The Cloning Success in Korea
The day scientists might be able to create a human baby through cloning
moved closer this week, when South Korean scientists revealed that they had
cloned some 30 human embryos, grown them for a week in a laboratory and
extracted stem cells for more research. Although the experiments were not
intended to produce a baby, and none of the embryos were implanted in a
woman, the techniques described by the Koreans will probably make it easier
for some scientist somewhere to clone a human. Clearly it is time for the
United States and other nations to ban cloning for human reproduction. For
now, the only legitimate use of cloning should be for research and medical
[Cloning] S. Korea reports cloning of human embryo
The achievement, to be published tomorrow in the journal Science, was hailed
by many scientists because it brings closer the possibility that replacement
tissues might one day be grown to treat medical conditions such as diabetes,
spinal cord injuries and Parkinson's disease.
[Polygamy] 2 in Kingston clan sue ex-member, attorneys
Two members of the Kingston polygamy clan sued a former member and her
attorneys Wednesday, claiming she defamed them at a news conference that
announced a $110 million civil lawsuit against 242 Kingston family members
and 97 businesses. Stephen Kingston, of Arizona, and Ted Kingston, Las
Vegas, filed separate lawsuits in U.S. District Court, each seeking at least
$2,000 for each news media report of the news conference and at least $1 for
each person who saw the coverage. The suits list some 79 separate news
organizations that published reports of the Aug. 28 news conference.
Thu, Feb. 12, 2004
[Raelians] Australia casts doubt on cloned baby claims
Claims that a human baby had been cloned in Australia were dismissed as "the
medical equivalent of a UFO story" by officals here. Biotechnology group
Clonaid claimed late Wednesday that its sixth human clone had been born to a
previously infertile Sydney couple last week at a local hospital. But the
organisation, linked to the Raelian religious sect, declined to produce DNA
evidence to back up its claims.
[Raelians] Send in the clones
They want us to believe that humans are descendants of aliens who arrived
recently in UFOs. Now the cult known as the Raelian Movement claims its
subsidiary company Clonaid has cloned a Sydney man at a cost of around
$300,000. [...] One of Australia's leading reproductive experts, Professor
Robert Jansen from Sydney IVF, said yesterday: "They claim life on Earth is
of extraterrestrial origin. "I think it is about time someone applied the
Trade Practices Act."
[Aum Shinrikyo] Day of Judgment: Humble beginnings shed light on Aum cult
This is the fourth installment of a series on Chizuo Matsumoto, the founder
of the Aum Supreme Truth cult.
[Tvind] Tvind sought troubled kids to employ
Tvind leaders hit on a novel strategy to make the most of the bright green
clothing-collection bins that dot Chicago-area streets: They attempted to
enlist foster children and juvenile delinquents to help gather and sort the
clothes. Since it gained a foothold in the U.S. in the 1980s, the Danish
organization known as Tvind has tried without success to operate schools and
residential treatment programs for troubled youth.
[Tvind] The green bins of Gaia
Gaia's clothing collection business flourishes in Chicago, but its promises
to promote the environment are questionable. Meanwhile, the organization's
leaders are under criminal indictment in Europe.
[False Memory Syndrome] Not in cult: Woman gets $7.5 million
Rush North Shore Medical Center psychiatrist Bennett Braun and psychologist
Roberta Sachs paid a northwest suburban woman $7.5 million to settle her
claim that they brainwashed her into believing she was a member of a cult
and needed to be sterilized so she would not bear any more babies to be
sacrificed for the cult. The truth is that Elizabeth Gale, 52, never had
any children. She was just a woman with mild depression who surrendered
herself to the care of Braun in 1986.
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