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ReligionNewsBlog.com, Aug. 20-21, 2004

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  • Anton Hein
    ReligionNewsBlog.com, Aug. 20-21, 2004 Sat, Aug. 21, 2004 [Catholic Church] No wheat in wafer? That’s no first Communion, Catholic Church tells girl
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 21, 2004
      ReligionNewsBlog.com, Aug. 20-21, 2004

      Sat, Aug. 21, 2004
      [Catholic Church] No wheat in wafer? That’s no first Communion, Catholic Church tells girl
      An eight-year-old girl who suffers from a rare digestive disorder and cannot eat wheat has had her first Holy Communion declared invalid because the wafer contained no wheat, violating Roman Catholic doctrine.

      [Lindsay Cutshall and Jason Allen] Two Christian camp counsellors found dead on California beach
      Two soon-to-be-married Christian camp counsellors reported missing earlier this week were shot to death in their sleeping bags on a remote beach, authorities said. The bodies of Lindsay Cutshall, 23, and Jason Allen, 26, were discovered Wednesday when deputies rescuing a stranded hiker spotted the crime scene from their helicopter. "They were shot in the head, presumably in their sleep," Sheriff's Lieut. Dave Edmonds said. "It appears to be a terrible crime absent of motive, which is a concern to us."

      [Helge Fossmo] All sides appeal murder case involving pastor convicted of murdering wife
      bizarre murder case involving a Pentecostal pastor convicted of manipulating his former nanny to shoot his wife will go another round in court as both prosecutors and defence lawyers appealed the initial ruling. Helge Fossmo was sentenced to life in prison last month for the murder of his wife, Alexandra, but prosecutors appealed Friday saying he should be convicted of killing his previous spouse as well. Defence lawyers also appealed the July 30 ruling, hoping to have the 32-year-old pastor acquitted on all charges in a case that has captivated Swedes for the last eight months.

      [Jehovah's Witnesses] Jehovah's Witnesses stay home election day
      Call it a campaign strategist's nightmare - more than 30,000 people coming to a central location in Cleveland over four weekends, and hardly a single vote to be had. In this most political of seasons, where small percentages of votes in key states could prove decisive, the Jehovah's Witnesses are staying true to their theological beliefs that their kingdom is not of this world.

      [Mormon Church] LDS beliefs prompt some to seek office
      In 1975, Rockholm joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He returned to school, worked 20 years in law enforcement and then was appointed to the Roseville Planning Commission. In 2002, he became mayor of Roseville. "We're encouraged to be involved in the political process. That's why I think there's so many of us," Rockholm says. Because the church emphasizes civic service, it is only natural for LDS members to seek public office, says Dennis Holland, public information officer for the LDS church in the Sacramento area.

      [Mormon Church] Court Upholds Mormon Sex Suit Dismissal
      A state appeals court upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit brought against the Mormon church by a mother and son who claimed they were abused by a church leader, saying the statute of limitations had run out.

      [Fraud] East Texans Scammed By Fake Church
      Loucille Howell spent most of her life in church. However, in the last few months, her poor health kept her from going as often as she would like. That's when she started receiving letters like these from the "Saint Matthews Church Ministry." [...] The letters promised her riches if she sent them money. The organization even sent her CD's with supposed live recording from church services. [...] After an investigation by Better Business Bureau and KLTV we learned that St. Matthews Church Ministries doesn't exist, it's just a mass mailing marketing company based out of Beverly Hills. "Well there is no church. It's supposed to be in Tulsa, and there is a Saint Matthews in Tulsa but it is not this church. The guy who runs this Saint Matthews is soliciting older citizens and lives in Beverly Hills. He drives a Rolls Royce, lives in a mansion, and there is no church," says Kay Robinson. The man who runs it is named James Eugene Ewing. He built the direct-mail empire and mails out more than 1 million letters a month. He gets the names and addresses from various companies.

      [Gilbert Deya Ministries] Plot Now Thickens As 'Miracle' Saga Points At Scandal
      Detectives were yesterday trying to put together pieces in the jigsaw puzzle that evangelist Gilbert Deya's 'miracle babies' saga has evolved into. And even as the preacher continued to zealously defend his bizarre claims from London, a police raid in the preacher's residence in Mountain View Estate yesterday yielded nine infants, further throwing the miracle claim into deeper doubt.

      [Gilbert Deya Ministries] A Slice of Gilbert Deya
      Until the media detonated the 'proverbial bomb' on his ministry, Archbishop Gilbert Juma Deya was just another classical latter day priest. But a sensational dig into his operations by the dominant secular Press has unearthed an explosive scandal that has left his credibility in ruins. The archbishop has found no favour in his home country in Kenya and in his base in United Kingdom where he commands over 34,000-strong following. It was the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that set in motion what is turning out to be one of the biggest religious scandals this century matched only by the Catholic priests child abuse scam. Deya's predicament has put some big names in a spot among them Presidents and Queens of nations who had publicly identified with him.

      [Gilbert Deya Ministries] Angry Deya Declares: I Won't Come Back
      The embattled spiritual leader of London-based Deya Ministries yesterday declared that he would not be coming home to Kenya anytime soon. "Kenya is hell! I am certainly not coming back to a place where my family and followers are being mistreated," an angry Archbishop Gilbert Deya declared. Speaking to the Press at Chester House over the telephone, Deya, who is at the centre of an incredulous miracle babies claim, charged that his followers were being persecuted.

      [Gilbert Deya Ministries] Nurses: We Don't Know the Oderas
      Four midwives held by police over the controversial miracle babies' saga have disowned the woman who claims to have given birth to 'miracle babies' at their place of work. They told investigators that they never saw the Mrs Eda Odera deliver at the clinic and maintained that the babies were delivered and left by different women within the clinic. Their statement contradicted those of Mrs Mary Deya, Archbishop Deya's wife, who claims that the babies were born through prayers. Sources close to the investigations said the four nurses now claim the mothers who deliver the babies and abandon them at the clinics are paid off.

      [Gilbert Deya Ministries] 9 Infants Found At Deya's Home
      Police raided the Nairobi Mountain View residence of Archbishop Gilbert Deya at dawn yesterday, arrested his wife and took away nine children to the Nairobi Children's Home. The officers from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), also arrested a Ugandan, Miriam Nyieko, who claims to have given birth at Huruma's Mama Lucy Clinic last month. They also arrested the Rev Rose Siele, a minister of the Deya Ministries, but she said the officers were harassing them for nothing. She added that God would curse Kenyans for exposing the "miracle babies" in a negative way. However, a Nigerian woman, Edith Ezedom, escaped arrest. She is said to have left for London on Thursday night but left behind her alleged two month-old baby at Deya's house.

      [Gilbert Deya Ministries] Women Lay Claim to 'Miracle Children'
      Three women sensationally turned up yesterday at the Nairobi CID headquarters and laid claim on some of Archbishop Deya's "miracle babies." And yesterday Police took blood samples for DNA tests from the three women as a pregnancy test for one of the woman who claimed to have been miraculously pregnant turned negative. Last night Police Spokesman Jasper Ombati confirmed that detectives are trying to establish a match between the women and three of the eleven children that are currently being held at a Nairobi children's home. The women said they were able to identify their children from TV and newspaper pictures whom they claim were stolen.

      [Gilbert Deya Ministries] Nurses Held in 'Miracle Babies' Probe
      Four nurses were arrested yesterday over the births of the so-called miracle babies. And two of the surviving 11 babies - whose pictures were published in the Daily Nation yesterday - were recognised by readers who believe they could be their own missing children. One of the babies was reported to have disappeared a year ago from Kayole Estate in Nairobi, while another was believed to be the long-lost son of a man from Meru. He said the boy vanished in 1999, only a few months after his birth. Both readers were going to the police to determine if the children were actually theirs.

      [more news below]

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      Fri, Aug. 20, 2004
      [Polygamy] Judge Dismisses Suit Against Kingston Beating Victim
      A judge has dismissed two defamation lawsuits brought against a woman, who, when she was 16, was beaten by her father when she fled a polygamous marriage to her uncle. The lawsuits were filed by two Davis County couples from the Kingston clan after MaryAnn Kingston, now 22, filed a $110 million lawsuit against the clan, naming 242 members and 97 of the family businesses as defendants. Her suit, which claims the clan fosters sexual abuse of young girls through illegal marriages, incest and polygamy, remains pending in 3rd District Court.

      [Helge Fossmo] Knutby - all back to court
      Convicted of murdering his second wife Alexandra, Fossmo was absolved of responsibility for the death of his first wife Heléne in 1999. She was found dead in the bath, with a wound to her head. Despite the fact that the pastor changed elements of the post-mortem documentation, removing the details about the toxic concentration of dextropropoxifen found in her blood, the court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove that her death was murder. This is what the prosecuting team wants the court to hear again, yet there could be more to come. Nanny Sara Svensson was sentenced to psychiatric care but Wednesday's Expressen published hints that prosecutors want the court to reconsider her sentence too.

      [Rwanda] To Rwanda, from the Cotswolds - naked compassion
      There's the landlady standing naked in the pub, the health therapist meditating in the nude, and 11 other women naked either in their own gardens, in the wheat fields of the Cotswolds or somewhere important to them. Although it is another calendar for which rural Englishwomen have taken their clothes off, these models - mostly mothers from Horsley village, Gloucestershire - are posing to raise money for Rwandan rape victims. It may seem incongruous, raising money for rape victims with a nude calendar, but so strong is village support that the local vicar has given his blessing and will launch the calendar from the church.

      [Catholic Church] Church invalidates girl's Communion
      An 8-year-old girl who suffers from a rare digestive disorder and cannot eat wheat has had her first Holy Communion declared invalid because the wafer contained no wheat, violating Roman Catholic doctrine. [...] Church doctrine holds that Communion wafers, like the bread at the Last Supper, must have at least some unleavened wheat. [...] The diocese has told Haley's mother that the girl can receive a low-gluten wafer, or just drink wine at Communion but that anything without gluten does not qualify. Ms. Pelly-Waldman rejected the offer, saying her child could be harmed by even a small amount of the substance.

      [Polygamy] Private eye seeks FLDS prophet
      A private investigator attempted Thursday to serve a summons and a copy of a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Prophet Warren Jeffs. Sam Brower was hired as an investigator by the firm representing the plaintiff, Brent Jeffs. The plaintiff, 21, alleged in the lawsuit that Warren Jeffs and two of his brothers sexually abused him as a child, according to a court document. Brent Jeffs, the nephew of the FLDS prophet, seeks an unspecified amount in the lawsuit.

      [Church of Jesus Christ in Zion] Novell wins 12-year-long patent infringement charge
      Roger Billings is laying down his decade-long dispute with Novell for allegedly stealing his plans for the LAN. Billings is instead turning to manufacturing hydrogen fuel cells and assuming the mantle of a Mormon-offshoot church, the Church of Jesus Christ in Zion.

      [Islam] Abu Hamza in court by video link
      Roger Billings is laying down his decade-long dispute with Novell for allegedly stealing his plans for the LAN. Billings is instead turning to manufacturing hydrogen fuel cells and assuming the mantle of a Mormon-offshoot church, the Church of Jesus Christ in Zion.

      [Fraud] FBI arrests suspects who targeted Mormons in alleged fraud scheme
      Seven people who claimed they had access to a trust fund created by descendants of Mormon church founder Joseph Smith have been arrested in what federal investigators said was a fraud ring that stretched across several states. Over a period of more than 10 years, more than 100 victims were bilked out of total of between $20 million and $50 million on a promise that they would receive returns from a $1.6 trillion trust fund allegedly created by Smith overseas, the FBI reported Wednesday. Investigators said there is no evidence such a trust fund exists.

      [Fraud] Huge fraud ring broken, FBI says
      Authorities say the story was as compelling as it was bogus: Descendants of Mormon church founder Joseph Smith had created a $1.6 trillion trust fund held overseas, and investors were needed to bring the money back home. The FBI said yesterday it had broken up a massive fraud ring operating out of an Ocean Beach liquor store and a Mission Valley apartment complex. It said flim-flam artists flew to Utah, Texas, Idaho and other states pitching ways to broker phony deals. Over 100 victims were bilked out of between $20 million and $50 million, money they earned through construction work, farming, drilling and real estate, said FBI agent Adam Lee.

      [Gilbert Deya Ministries] Why Deya's Miracle Claim is a Hoodwink
      Christians say that with God, everything is possible. Quite true. But Deya's miracles tax the imagination. A woman giving birth to 13 children in three years is not only unbelievable but quite plainly impractical, absurd even. This is a concatenation of births. Human beings do not give birth in litters and there is a definite biological process that takes place. The baby must be carried to term-nine months, and must have something in the DNA that links it to the parents. According to the DNA tests performed on at least one of those who now claim to have given birth miraculously, there is no link. Let's face the facts. Miracles do not enact themselves outside of the temporal experience. They respect the order of nature as created by God. They use the existing parameters as their agents. Even Jesus had to use water as the agent for the transformation to wine.

      [Gilbert Deya Ministries] The Churches That Aren’t
      A curious case involving 13 so-called "miracle babies" has sparked concern about the proliferation of new church groups in Kenya. An elderly couple, Eddah and Michael Odera, claim to have had the children by immaculate conception over a five-year period, after they were prayed for by "Archbishop" Gilbert Deya who heads Deya Ministries. The well-to-do Kenyan preacher is based in the United Kingdom, where he is reportedly facing child trafficking charges. Eddah Odera, who also claims to be pregnant at the moment, says her 37-year-old marriage was childless until the miraculous intervention by Deya five years ago.

      [David Francis] Oom Paul: 'Enough is enough'
      The government has now intervened to get the body of Oom Paul Meintjes, who has been dead for 51 days, into a grave. His body, in a coffin, is next to his widow's bed. If his family doesn't bury him by Saturday morning, he will receive a compulsory state funeral.

      [David Francis] 'Meintjes must be laid to rest'
      The late Paul Meintjes - whom a prophet had predicted would rise from the dead - must be buried by Saturday, according to an order delivered by police to his family in the Free State town of Hertzogville on Thursday.

      Anton and Janet Hein-Hudson
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