ReligionNewsBlog.com, Feb. 15, 2005
ReligionNewsBlog.com, Feb. 15, 2005
[Alternative Healing] Running on faith
Around 15,000 spiritual healers practise in Britain, so it is important to examine whether their techniques do more good than harm. The term covers a great many approaches: reiki, johrei, therapeutic touch, intercessory prayer, faith healing and distant healing all fall under the umbrella of spiritual healing. The common denominator is that healers of all types claim to somehow channel "healing energy" into the patient's body with the intention of improving health. The concept is as simple as it is unproven - nobody, for instance, has so far been able to measure the "energy" that these healers are talking about.
[False Memory Syndrome] Experts disagree on existence of repressed memories
Forget repressed memories for a moment.
Even contemporary memories are iffy, especially when their recall could become the basis of a lawsuit or other financially motivated action, according to a Tucson forensic psychiatrist.
"Memories are much more fluid and flexible than we like to think. Studies have been done that show under even fairly innocuous conditions, you can cause a person to believe that the incident had happened or likely had happened," said Dr. Bennett Blum, who specializes in forensic and geriatric psychiatry.
[Children of God / The Family] La Jolla Foundation Donated to Charity with Ties to Sex Cult
An East County charity with close ties to a notorious sex cult has received tens of thousands of dollars from one of La Lolla's most prominent foundations. Records filed with the Internal Revenue Service show the Waitt Family Foundation gave $28,305 to the Family Care Foundation in Dulzura between 2001 and 2003.
Waitt Family Foundation chief administrator Al Panico told LOCAL 8 that he was “shocked and surprised” when he found out about the connection between the Family Care Foundation and a sex cult called The Family that once advocated sex with children.
[Dena Schlosser] Jury: Schlosser not capable of standing trial
A jury deliberated for about nine minutes this afternoon before determining that a Plano mother accused of cutting off her baby's arms and killing her is not mentally capable of standing trial.
[Transcendental Meditation] Flyaway peace palaces
Big-talking flying yogics and their "Peace Palaces" seem to have flown the proverbial coop in Toronto.
With the formal announcement of a University of Peace promised for Toronto portlands last March, there are no visible signs of construction. Rather than hammers, drills and saws, the only sound to be heard in the portlands is the piercing cry of seagulls.
Ditto for sound coming from construction of the nine peace palaces planned for Canadian soil, and no word either on the fate of the 2,000 square metre peace palace to have begun construction in Ontario, in 2004.
[Mormon Church] Bill aimed at stifling anti-LDS protesters is full of holes
Rep. Douglas Aagard, R-Kaysville, is pushing a new state law aimed at restricting protesters at the LDS Church's General Conferences. To make the bill seem broadly based, he went beyond restrictions on protests at a "place of worship" and extended the rules to protesters at a "health care facility. "
[Mariology] Last child who claimed to see Virgin Mary dies
Sister Lucia Marto, the last of three children who claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary in a series of 1917 apparitions in the town of Fatima, has died, Portuguese media reported. She was 97.
[Science and Religion] Is this Jesus?
Is this what Jesus of Nazareth looked like as a boy?
Forensic experts in Italy have come up with this computer-generated sketch of a fair-skinned young Jesus with wavy hair and dark eyes, based on historical data and images from the controversial Shroud of Turin.
The image was created with the same technology used by police to age the faces of long-time missing people or wanted criminals.
[Unification Church] Local mosque to decide Muslims' role with Moonies
The question of whether Muslims should participate in conventions run by the Unification Church, otherwise known as the Moonies, will have to be decided at the local mosque level, the Colorado Muslim Council decided at its monthly meeting Sunday.
The council had agreed to discuss the controversial practice by one of its longtime members, Muhamad Jodeh, who since 2001 has actively promoted interfaith conventions run by the Rev. Sun Yung Moon.
[Lord's Resistance Army] Ugandan army says 19 LRA rebels killed in clashes
The attacks took place in remote parts of Gulu and Pader districts, where the elusive LRA has waged an 18-year-old war against the government of President Yoweri Museveni.
Both sides embarked on the most significant peace talks for a decade in December and the government has announced a limited ceasefire zone to facilitate more talks -- but outside the zone fighting has continued.
[Personality Tests] The cult of personality tests
Personality tests are increasingly popular as management tools, yet many of them are no better than astrology at describing character or predicting behavior. Though we may regard personality tests as harmless fun, or an annoying nuisance, in fact important decisions may hang on their results -- making their widespread use deeply troubling.
[Islam] Despite religious restrictions, Saudis mark lovers' day
The kingdom's attitude toward Valentine's Day is in line with the strict school of Islam followed by the kingdom for a century. Like Valentine's Day, all Christian and even most Muslim feasts are banned in the kingdom, the birthplace of Islam, because they're considered an unorthodox creation Islam doesn't sanction.
Beyond the ban, it's a challenge for couples to be together on Valentine's or any other day because of strict segregation of the sexes. Dating consists of long phone conversations and the rare tryst. Men and women cannot go for a drive together, have a meal or talk on the street unless they are close relatives. Infractions are punished by detentions.
The muttawa, or religious police, mobilize a few days before Feb. 14, making the rounds of gift and flower shops. As Feb. 14 approaches, the flush of red fades.
[Christian Science] Christian Science facility proposed
Christian Science has seen its share of critics over the years. Founder Mary Baker Eddy believed that disease was caused by false beliefs and that drugs borrow their power from human faith. If someone becomes ill, they can cure themselves by reconnecting with God.
That belief has led to a number of high-profile court cases, often involving parents who declined to seek doctors for sick children. More than a decade ago, an 11-year-old Minnesota boy died when his mother, a Christian Scientist, refused to take him to a hospital. A jury returned a multi-million dollar verdict against the boy's mother and the church.
[Clint Brown] Singer-pastor took long road to prosperity
In 2002, a lucrative year for Clint Brown's music career, he and his family charged $242,256 on two American Express cards alone. The following year, they rang up $215,701 on the same cards. Some of the credit-card charges were paid for by the church, which is reviewing the bills.
Two developments have cast a spotlight on Brown and his 6,000-member church. A former congregation member filed a lawsuit claiming $200,000 she gave Brown in 1999 for a new church was a loan, and not a gift, as the church maintains. And Brown's 38-year-old wife, Angela, filed for divorce last year in Seminole County.
Using details from the divorce file, news accounts provided a rare glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of the minister who runs the 25-acre FaithWorld complex, all the while nurturing a music career on the side.
[Polygamy] Alleged Death Threats Against Judge Probed
Third District Judge Andrew Valdez said in court this past week that he had gotten law enforcement protection at his home last weekend, but he did not know why until learning about it at an emergency hearing where a 16-year-old girl testified that members of her polygamist family had threatened to kill him and others.
[Gerald Krein] Oregon man had been soliciting suicides for at least five years
An Oregon man, who was arrested after he tried to set up a mass suicide on Valentine's Day, had been urging women to kill themselves for at least five years, officials confirmed.
[Alternative Healing] Spiritual healing fails test in health study
Complementary therapies such as acupuncture, reiki and reflexology have gained huge public approval in recent years for the treatment of anything from epilepsy to cancer.
But spiritual healing – a mix of meditation, prayer and laying of hands – has been re jected by Scottish researchers after a ?27,000 academic study found that the technique has no effect in helping to relieve the symptoms of asthma.
[RLDS] Leader's resignation puts Community of Christ on unfamiliar ground
The succession plan for the Community of Christ has always been simple: The church's leader designated his successor, and the membership accepted that choice.
Now, the resignation of W. Grant McMurray without naming a new president has forced the church and its 250,000 members into unfamiliar territory. And so they wait for "discernment" - in other words, for God to show them who the new leader should be.
[Hate Groups] Neo-Nazi threat on Dresden anniversary
Ceremonies to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Allied firebombing of Dresden could be disrupted today by the biggest neo-Nazi demonstration in Germany since the Second World War, police warned.
[Yoga] Faith, healing and ... yoga
As yoga teacher at Jackson's First Baptist Church, Mason integrates Christian spirituality into a physical art with Hindu roots. And though some Christians shun yoga because of its Eastern origins, Mason embraces the practice that helped heal her body and spirit after debilitating cancer treatments.
[Religious Merchandising] Spirit of enterprise
New Age has shed the anti-capitalist trappings of its 1960s revival to align itself with the dogmas of the new, globalising market, embracing the ancient teachings of Adam Smith, the economic patron saint of the Enlightenment, if not enlightenment
[USA] Coalition calls FBI probe of pastor 'alarming'
The media has been telling the tale of the senior pastor of Southwest Christian Church being interrogated by FBI agents over the topics of some of his sermons, including the pastor's speaking out against abortion and homosexuality.
This week, the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition based in Washington, issued a formal statement calling the incident "alarming."
[Kenja Communication] Rau angry at sister's visit
The 39-year-old former Qantas flight attendant was expelled from the secretive Kenja cult, after being humiliated in a cruel ceremony in Melbourne.
She joined other members of the cult at a get-together in October 1998 where witnesses said she was humiliated, "demonised" and expelled.
[Children of God / The Family] Hewlett grant went to cult-linked charity
The Flora Family Foundation, an heir to the HP fortune, gave a Southern California charity with ties to an infamous evangelical sex cult $61,500 during the past three years, but a top foundation official said it never would have made the grants had it known about the connection.
The donations were made to the Family Care Foundation, which has extensive links to the Family International, formerly known as the Children of God.
[Cults] Flagler woman helps families break cult grip
Carol Giambalvo looks like a typical, active 61-year-old grandmother.
But when the phone rings in her Flagler Beach mobile home, the caller is likely to be a terrified parent, a therapist asking for advice, or a former cult member desperate for help in readjusting to society.
While she's not a psychologist, Giambalvo describes herself as a self-trained "thought-reform consultant." And although heart surgery in 1999 ended her days of traveling cross-country to lead interventions to extricate members from cults, she remains a leading force in the controversial anti-cult movement.
Giambalvo advocates for ethical standards for professionals working to free people from cults. Abductions and forced de-programmings were never her style.
"The ends don't justify the means," says Giambalvo, who's been involved in more than 200 successful voluntary interventions from 1984-99.
Anton and Janet Hein-Hudson
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