Purported “cult” leader “Master Jong” tells his followers the way to dispense with original sin is to have sex with him, reports Japan Times.

Jong, once a member of Rev. Moon’s Unification Church decided to start his own religion. So he copied many of Moon’s “Divine Principles” and added his own article of faith. It seems enduring sexual harassment and exploitation is the path to salvation for his female followers.

Of course cult leaders that exploit their followers for sex is nothing new.

David Koresh required his Davidians to be celibate. That is, unless they were chosen to have sex with him in a joint effort to plant the “seed of David.” It is believed that most of the children who perished in the Davidian compound outside Waco were the offspring of such unions.

Interestingly, Rev. Moon was “unfaithful” and a boy was born as a result of an affair he had with a church member, according to the book “In the Shadow of the Moons” written by Nansook Hong. But Mrs. Moon said, “It was a ‘providential’ union, ordained by God.”

Sounds like Master Jong has copied more than religious principles from his former mentor.

Early this month Pat Robertson picked up a half million dollars from government coffers. The money came from discretionary funds administered by Bush appointee Tommy Thompson at the Department of Health and Human Services, reports Working for Change.

Specifically, it was Robertson’s faith-based charity called “Operation Blessing” that received the cash grant.

Ironically, the star of Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) was once critical of the program to fund social services through religious groups. He referred to the Bush “faith based initiative” as a “Pandora’s box” that once opened might benefit such groups as Scientology or the “Moonies.”

However, now that “Pandora’s box” has turned into a cash box for the good reverend his criticism has apparently ceased. He certainly didn’t turn down the grant.

According to reporter Bill Berkowitz “Operation Blessing” once blessed CBN with a $2 million dollar grant of its own. Perhaps that’s why the Robertson charity has its own critics.

An excellent editorial appeared in the Edmonton Journal written by Paula Simons regarding the background history of a Canadian “cult” child abuse case.

Lucille Poulin, the leader of the “Four Winds Commune” was convicted on five counts of assault for beating children within her group. Her defense was essentially that “God” told her to do it. However, the court found that invoking the name of God did not protect Poulin’s behavior.

Perhaps more disturbing than Poulin’s destructive delusions is how long it took authorities to take action.

According to records beginning in 1995 social workers knew what was going on—so why did it take so long to stop Poulin? Apparently they tried to protect the children seven years ago, but were frustrated by a judge who turned them away. Later one child died from medical neglect.

Reviewing the pattern of missed opportunities in the Poulin case is not unlike the sad histories of other “cults” that have abused children.

Groups that have been called “cults” such as the “Twelve Tribes,” “Children of God” and the so-called “Krishna Consciousness” movement have all at one time been the focus of child abuse allegations. Yet over and over again, such groups often escape law enforcement.

Child abuse was eventually proven to be rampant within the Waco Davidian sect, but Texas Child Protection workers once gave David Koresh a pass. Later, the testimony of one of Koresh’s young victims before Congress made it chillingly clear how wrong they were.

Krishna is now the defendant in a class action lawsuit filed by its former children who allege horrific acts of physical and sexual abuse.

The “Twelve Tribes,” just like the Poulin group was investigated for child abuse, but a judge also stopped that process and returned more than a hundred children to the group’s Vermont compound. Years later its children have recounted their experiences of abuse.

Former childhood members of the “Children of God” have discussion/support groups to help each other heal and recover from the abuse they experienced. The group’s founder David Berg has been exposed as a pedophile who engaged in incest and preached a doctrine of sexually stimulating children beginning at the age of four.

Another Canadian group “Church of God Restoration” was also recently found guilty concerning the abuse of its children through brutal beatings. But many within the Canadian press seemed to defend the parental prerogative of group members to inflict such punishment. In another case involving the same church in California a child also died due to medical neglect.

“Cult leader” Dwight York now faces more than 200 criminal counts for sexually abusing and exploiting minor children in his group called the “Nuwaubians.” According to the charges filed against him that abuse was apparently ongoing for years.

Arthur Allen Jr., the leader of the group known as the “House of Prayer” just began serving his jail sentence for a child cruelty conviction. Allen actually made such abuse a spectacle by brutally beating children publicly before his flock.

The story of Lucille Poulin is hardly unique. And the blunders made by authorities that allowed her to continue unchecked for so long are not uncommon either. Sadly, within the bureaucratic maze and legal due process of North America many children within “cults” are victimized.

Authorities seem to be reluctant in dealing with abuse within religious groups. Such groups almost always claim that any interference regarding their behavior is somehow “religious persecution.”

The lot of children born or brought into destructive cults like so much baggage is a scandal. Who will protect them? As Paula Simons laments in her editorial for the Edmonton Journal, “So much unnecessary suffering. So many unanswered questions.”

Perhaps the precedents recently set by court cases in both Canada and the United States will help. But it seems that so often, it is too little or too late.

While some restaurants develop a “cult following” others are simply run by “cults.”

But food critic Betty Cooney doesn’t seem to care how her food gets to the table. If members of some “cultish group” suffer to serve her, it appears that’s not something Betty worries about, according to her article in the Queens Chronicle.

The “cultish group” restaurant Cooney reviewed is controlled by Guru Sri Chinmoy and is located in Flushing Queens.

But contrary to what Cooney concludes, Chinmoy is not simply the leader of “a cultish group that works for world peace and promotes health.” Chinmoy is instead directly responsible for hurting many people, according to former followers and affected families. And some women once involved within the group claim the supposedly celibate guru sexually abused them.

There are websites that discuss the bad behavior of Chinmoy that are easily accessible through the Internet. But did Ms. Cooney spend her time on such research before recommending his restaurant? Apparently not, the food maven seemed to be more concerned with the guru’s “incredible salads” and “delicious smoothies.”

Sri Chinmoy is not the only guru to staff a restaurant with devotees who work for free or very little pay.

The “Supreme Master Summa Ching Hai” has a chain of vegetarian restaurants and the “Twelve Tribes” have been in the food business since the 70s, first the group had delis and now they run coffee shops.

Starbucks may need to pay the minimum wage, but not the Twelve Tribes. However, a Boston food critic joked, “What I want is to stand in a place that makes a blueberry muffin this good. I nibble a corner and want to shout my lifelong devotion to their cause.”

One month before that reporter’s observations were published the Twelve Tribes was fined for child labor violations. But that didn’t seem to affect the tenor of his story either. Maybe Betty should call him and set up a lunch?

One California “cult” called the “Fellowship of Friends” runs a winery and their wine is sold by the glass for $10.00 at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco. The Ritz doesn’t appear to care either about the terms of cult labor. Their buyer sniffed, “There is value and quality and I never took into consideration anything else about them,” reported the Sacramento Bee.

Once upon a time years ago there were organized boycotts of lettuce and other produce to protest the substandard wages and working conditions afforded to migrant farm workers. However, today it seems few people care or are even interested about how “cults” may exploit their members.

One California wine buyer did say that he didn’t want to work with “a winery that has all that excess baggage.” But he appears to be an exception. Most people are more likely to agree with Betty Cooney who wrote, “Don’t let this stop you from trying their restaurant.”

Mormons opened a new church in the hometown of their founder Joseph Smith this month, reports the Rochester Democrat.

Palmyra, New York is now the site of a historically appropriate New England style red brick Mormon church. The new house of worship is down the street from a much larger Mormon Temple dedicated in 1999.

Palmyra is important as a touchstone of Mormon mythology. It is the place where Joseph Smith claimed he first talked with God and later found the so-called “golden plates,” which Smith supposedly translated to create the Book of Mormon.

According to legend the plates were found buried outside Palymra at the Hill Cumorah. Later when pressed about their authenticity Smith said they were taken to heaven.

The Book of Mormon has been repeatedly proven false historically by scholars, archaeologists and anthropologists. Nevertheless, it is viewed as not simply a religious text, but revered as history by faithful Mormons.

Mormons have busily been building tourist destinations to emphasize the importance of their historic sites, which they then fuse into what is called “The Mormon Heritage Tour.” Tour stops include Palmyra, Nauvoo, Illinois, and Kirtland, Ohio.

Earlier this year church officials began negotiations for a property in Pennsylvania where Smith wrote much of his holy text.

Eventually Mormons should be able to drive across the nation in a series of tour stops as a family event. Many Mormons are already flooding into Nauvoo to see the place where Joseph Smith once ruled as mayor, militia general and prophet.

Disney has attractions like “Magic Mountain” and the Mormons have the “Hill Cumorah” outside Palmyra. But faithful Mormons don’t see their main attractions as part of a “fantasy kingdom.”

Once Christy Turlington appeared to be primarily concerned with her modeling career, but now it seems the “Supermodel” has become increasingly focused on other pursuits—such as her practice of yoga.

In her new book “Living Yoga: Creating a Life Practice” Turlington touts her yoga lifestyle. She has also launched a yoga clothing line.

The message seems to be—if want to look like Christy, do yoga like Christy. And for a nation increasingly inhabited by overweight people, the United States seems posed to embrace such advice.

However, there is more to Turlington’s book than just that.

Most Americans who initially become involved in yoga simply want to get in shape. But Turlington’s book isn’t just about healthy exercise; it’s also concerned with reshaping your mind or consciousness. And the fashion diva’s thinking seems to have been influenced by some pretty controversial “gurus.”

Christy Turlington’s personal odyssey in yoga apparently has included a few groups called “cults.”

The Supermodel cites 3HO, “Siddha Meditation” and “Integral Yoga International” (IYI) positively within “Living Yoga.” However, these three groups share more than the practice of yoga in common. All three have been called “cults” and have a history of abuse claims made by former members, which has included sexual exploitation.

“Yogi Bhajan” who founded and still leads 3HO, settled a lawsuit with a former secretary rather than go to court over her abuse claims. Supposedly celibate “Swami Satchidananda,” the now deceased creator of IYI, weathered a sex scandal in the early 90s. And some of Siddha’s late leader Muktananda’s former disciples also reported that he sexually abused them.

Christy Turlington’s latest teacher is Eddie Stern who runs a yoga studio in lower Manhattan. He isn’t a “cult leader,” but has generated some complaints and concern.

Ms. Turlington seems to have come through all these groups unscathed. But despite their histories, she offers no warnings or even a footnote within her book to would-be yoga buffs.

The Publisher’s Weekly review at Amazon.com says Christy Turlington’s book goes “beyond getting a nice butt” and that “there’s a lot to digest” within its pages. Maybe that’s an understatement.

Yoga still means firming up, not flipping out to most people. And readers might just choke on some of the groups and gurus Turlington includes in her eclectic yoga buffet.

One Turlington admirer at Amazon.com posted, “I look at Christy as a true role model.” Perhaps as a celebrity role model Turlington should be more prudent about who and what she promotes publicly.

Dwight “Malachi” York, the leader of a “cult” group called the Nuwaubians plead innocent concerning criminal sex charges in a Georgia courtroom last Friday, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Outside the courthouse a gathering of about 200 faithful Nuwaubians chanted “God will make a way” and “We love you.” Apparent proof that “brainwashing” can keep on working even when a cult leader is away. York has been in jail for months.

Interestingly, as the Nuwaubian leader’s following has dwindled the criminal counts within his indictment have increased. He plead to 208 related charges for molesting and sexually exploitating minor children. Possibly numbering more than the people that showed up to cheer him on.

It should come as no surprise that York’s remaining faithful remnant deny his guilt and that some even see his indictment as an “evil conspiracy” to topple their beloved leader.

Denial is often a way of life for people caught up in destructive cults. After all, there are still Davidians loyal to the memory of David Koresh living outside Waco.

Hopefully though, “God will make a way” to keep Mr. York locked up for the foreseeable future.

Arthur Allen Jr. leader of the group known as the “House of Prayer” began serving a jail term this Sunday morning, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. And he will be missing Sunday worship at his church for some time.

Allen was convicted of child cruelty and sentenced to three months in jail for the brutal beatings of children within his church. He also pulled ten years of probation, which will follow his sentence.

During his trial the proud pastor insisted upon representing himself. However, now it seems he will be relying upon more than his own resources and the “Lord.” Allen has hired a lawyer to appeal the verdict.

But regardless of whatever legal strategy Allen may employ, he is presently just another inmate at the Atlanta jail.

Some of his devoted followers also convicted for child cruelty were likewise locked up this morning.

Perhaps the “House of Prayer” leader and his brethren should convene a “Jailhouse of Prayer”? There will be no children for them to brutalize this time and they certainly are in need of prayer. Amen

Lucille Poulin leader of the “Four Winds Commune” located at Prince Edward Island in Canada was convicted for assaulting minor children, reports CBC News.

The former nun now “cult” leader told the court she receives her orders directly from God, who told her to beat the children. However, the judge and jury didn’t buy that excuse and found her “guilty.”

This may mean the beginning of the end for Poulin’s reign of terror over her followers, which included harsh living conditions, child labor and physical abuse.

Poulin seemed stunned by the verdict. Apparently though her followers regard her as a prophet, she somehow failed to foresee her fate.

The powerful and popular Internet search engine Google has seemingly secretly deleted certain controversial websites from its listings in Europe according to researchers, reports CNET’s News.com.

Apparently Google responded to legal threats potentially possible through laws in Germany and France. According to those laws hate literature can be prohibited.

Of course within the United States the propaganda of hate groups is protected by the First Amendment, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) would have a field day with Google in the US over such action.

Google previously won praise for its pledge to submit information about any legal threats to a free speech advocacy website, after a controversy developed regarding the deletion of certain listings concerning critics of the Church of Scientology.

What will happen to free speech on the Internet?

Obviously if Internet users cannot find a site they won’t know what is expressed by its creators. And typically no matter how offensive free speech is in America it is defended. However, Germans do not always appreciate such freedom and likewise the French, who also experienced the devastation wrought by hate groups during World War II, are sensitive to this issue.

ACLU stalwart Barry Steinhardt said, “Over the long term, this will become a significant issue on the Net, there’s a wide variety of laws around the world prohibiting different forms of speech.”

Others suggest Google should at least note what it has done per their previous pledge in response to such legal threats, as it ultimately decided to do regarding Scientology. Internet watchdog Ben Edelman opined, “There’s no need to be secretive.”