A newborn child died needlessly from an infection that apparently could have easily been dealt with through antibiotics.

The unfortunate infant had parents who are members of the General Assembly Church of the First Born, a controversial group that teaches its members to avoid doctors and eschew medical care.

It seems the couple stood by as their child suffered and died.

Parents in groups like this have been prosecuted and laws were enacted in Colorado specifically regarding this issue to avoid further tragedies.

But it appears that in Indiana such fanatics are safe and may be allowed to essentially kill their children.

Indiana’s child neglect law “allows parents to provide prayer instead of medicine” reports WISH TV.

However, the question still remains, are these parents guilty of infanticide?

And if the laws of Indiana don’t protect children subjected to such seemingly wanton and criminal neglect shouldn’t the law be changed?

Increasingly it is becoming apparent that nothing ever really changes in the land that Brigham built.

Despite demographics that show Salt Lake City (SLC) is becoming less Mormon, the Mormon Church (LDS) essentially still dominates everything.

Forget that contrived image created for the Summer Olympics by LDS leaders through a slick public relations campaign. They wanted tourists to believe that their city was somehow a modern cosmopolitan place, a pluralistic experiment within largely ethnocentric Utah.

The first proof of this false image came when LDS stamped out free speech for dissenters around its historic temple in downtown Salt Lake.

More cracks in the Mormon PR façade are now showing as the church makes clear it has its own master plan for SLC, even when it comes to shopping.

The Mormon Church is now defining Salt Lake City’s Planning Commission policy regarding anchor stores proposed for a new shopping plaza reports the Salt Lake City Tribune.

Maybe it is God’s will that city residents should not have a Nordstrom or Target?

The same LDS attorney who cut the deal with the city to silence free speech around Temple Square is now busy working the latest church demands concerning potential shopping destinations.

It seems the Mormon Church has a salvation plan, even when it comes to shoppers.

SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson has already learned the hard way that bucking LDS is an easy way to lose your job. And so he is dutifully waiting to receive the latest LDS commandments from on high.

However, one developer said these latest church edicts are “going to send a chilling message to retailers across the country” about coming to Salt Lake City.

But LDS doesn’t seem to care if the city’s shoppers lose out.

The salient point is simple; the Mormon Church rules SLC. And if you don’t do things its way, there’s always the highway out of town.

The International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) went bankrupt to avoid financial problems due to child abuse claims.

However, despite claims of insufficient cash to cover a court judgement ISKCON has found the spare change to remodel a temple complex in India reports Mid Day of India.

New additions will include “a wedding hall, guest houses and new classrooms for its ICSE board[ing] school.”

It was within boarding schools run by Krishna that children were raped and horrifically abused.

In the recently dismissed class action lawsuit some of those Krishna kids sought compensation for their pain and suffering, which was openly acknowledged by ISKCON leaders.

A Ford Motor heir donated $10 million dollars to build yet another temple for ISKCON in Calcutta. Alfred Ford, the great-grandson of Henry Ford, says he wants it to be Krishna’s version of the “Vatican.”

But why doesn’t the organization earmark this money for rebuilding the lives of abused Krishna children rather than erecting another edifice?

ISKCON wants the public to believe it has “changed,” but many of the key leaders that presided over the group’s darkest days are still in power.

It often seems that when Krishna leaders say “change,” they really mean a bit of remodeling, like the announced additions to an Indian temple.

However, the basic problems that have caused many to consider ISKCON a “cult” still seem intact.

Maybe that’s why former Beatle George Harrison, a long-time supporter of the group, left all his money to family and no cash for Krishna in the end?

A guru in Jamaica Queens, New York names races after himself such as the “Sri Chinmoy 3100-Mile Race” and the “Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence Race.”

The annual events were reported in the Fresh Meadows Times and Ultramarathon World, which seems to be the point, the aging guru wants recognition and likes to see his name in print.

Other publicity stunts historically have included Sri Chinmoy reportedly lifting sheep and fantastic weights, but always with the help of a mechanical device.

The guru’s followers at times have broken world records in his name, such as the most consecutive summersaults, or hopping on a pogo stick underwater—anything to draw attention to their guru.

Some say such extreme devotion reflects “cult” control. One young man allegedly died practicing for a stunt to honor Chinmoy.

This is one event the guru wants forgotten and there are other issues he hopes will be ignored.

Former members have repeatedly accused the guru of sexual abuse and exploitation of his followers. They say the self-proclaimed “celibate” actually takes in more than exercise to meet his physical needs.

And like many “cult leaders” this guru has restaurants, which can be quite profitable since devotees often work for little pay. Chinmoy runs several vegetarian eateries; one thrives within Flushing Queens.

A New York food critic recently raved about Chinmoy’s low prices though she admitted, “The place is run by…a cultish group.” But then advised, “Don’t let this stop you from trying their restaurant.” Adding, “You get used to the Sri Chinmoy music in the background,” reported the Queens Chronicle.

The guru business continues to pay well and Chinmoy apparently can count on the press to promote his pet projects and business concerns.

This is one guru that likes to meditate comfortably.

CultNews reported last month how Scientology seemed to be using the plight of New York firemen to promote its own agenda through a so-called “clinic” in downtown Manhattan.

Well it seems Scientology is now taking its show on the road and soliciting donations with NY firemen as featured guests.

Firefighters from New York flew to Colorado apparently as promotional props for the Scientology related project “Downtown Medical” reported the Vail Daily.

Some funding was solicited through “The New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Fund.”

James Woodworth, who heads another Scientology related program called HealthMed in California, was on hand in Vail as the director of operations for the “New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project.”

Doctors at the California Department of Health Services have accused HealthMed of making “false medical claims” and of “taking advantage of the fears of workers and the public about toxic chemicals and their potential health effects.”

A retired New York fireman appeared in Vail and claimed that the Scientology ritual of cleansing called the “purification rundown” “miraculously reversed [his] health.”

However, a source recently told CultNews that some New York firemen and their families are not happy with the “Downtown Clinic” and feel their union should identify its programs as Scientology related and investigate any related health risks.

The “purification rundown” used by the clinic is based upon the teachings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. The “rundown” includes sweating out toxins in a sauna and large doses of niacin.

A Swedish medical expert concluded, “There is no documentation to show that the Hubbard method of detoxification…conforms to scientific standards and medical experience.” And that “the risks and side effects of the treatment method have also not been evaluated in a serious way.”

It seems like Scientology is shilling Hubbard’s “rundown” frantically lately.

John Travolta’s wife and fellow Scientologist Kelly Preston promoted another “purification rundown” program on Montel to expel environmental toxins like carpet cleaner.

The “rundown” is also an essential component of Narconon; a Scientology related drug rehab program.

So why has the New York Fireman’s Union remained silent about all this?

Shouldn’t union officials protect firemen by investigating such controversial programs before they become involved to avoid any potential health risks?

Scientology related programs might prove to be a “toxin” difficult to purge from within the New York Fire Department.

Goldie Hawn has been hired to speak at an event sponsored by a group called a “cult.”

The actress is being paid by “NXIVM” (pronounced Nexium), formerly known as Executive Success Programs (ESP), to speak at its “Vanguard Week” celebration.

NXIVM was recently criticized by residents of Albany, New York and labeled a “cult.”

Ms. Hawn will speak about “the importance of seeking joy in one’s life,” reports MSNBC.

But what the star doesn’t know is she is actually featured entertainment for the group leader’s birthday party.

“Vanguard Week,” the event Hawn has been hired for is named for the NXIVM founder Keith Raniere, called “Vanguard” by his devoted students.

Raniere formerly ran a multi level marketing (MLM) scheme “Consumer Buyline,” which tanked after State Attorney Generals took action against it. The MLM was also the subject of a class action lawsuit.

Some years later Raniere started up ESP with the help of Nancy Salzman, a registered nurse.

ESP seems to borrow heavily upon the teachings, philosophy, seminar structure and/or terminology of Scientology, EST, Landmark Education, the Forum and Ayn Rand.

An ESP “Intensive” can cost thousands of dollars and take 10 hours a day for 16 consecutive days.

One clinical psychologist has compared ESP training to “thought reform,” often called “brainwashing.”

Complaints associated with ESP range from strained relationships, estranged families and at least one breakdown during an “intensive” that led to a hospital stay.

Hawn is not the first star to be seemingly used by a purported “cult” to promote an event.

Both Bill Cosby and Whitney Houston were once booked as entertainment for events associated with Rev. Moon’s Unification Church.

Scientology routinely uses celebrity members to promote its associated programs, such as Tom Cruise and his recent round of appearances related to “Applied Scholastics.”

Goldie Hawn is probably picking up a hefty honorarium for her professional appearance at Raniere’s birthday bash. But the Oscar winner, who first became widely known through the television show Laugh In, should realize that this is no joke.

Raniere and his group are using her name to promote NXIVM, a group that has allegedly hurt families and students.

Note: Goldie Hawn later cancelled the engagement.

While Scott Peterson sits in jail charged with murder, his defense team keeps busy spinning one tired “cult” theory after another.

In the midst of what looks like a “Satanic panic” the alleged murderer’s lawyers are still churning out one cult claim after another in an apparent attempt to shift attention away from their client.

Despite a court gag order the defense team keeps leaking.

The latest leak is that paintings by an obscure San Francisco Bay area art club somehow represent evidence of a “Satanic cult” connected to the murder.

One of the artists scoffed at the idea. “That’s utterly ridiculous. That’s reaching for straws,” reported the Oakland Tribune.

The art club called “The Bulb” has no connection to Satanism and represents little more than a hobby for a few Bay area residents.

But because the artists painted violent scenes that included a devil figure and a baby near where Laci Peterson’s body was found, it is somehow proof of a malevolent cult murder.

Peterson’s lawyers appear willing to grab at anything and then force a parallel upon it to posit a new theory as a defense for their client.

However, as usual, the defense team offers no meaningful details outside of wild speculation.

What is the name of this alleged “satanic cult” that murdered Laci Peterson?

Who is its leader?

What documented history exists within public records or police files about a violent San Francisco cult that supposedly murders pregnant women for ritual sacrifice?

The Peterson defense team appears mute on these points and unable to provide any meaningful facts.

Like alleged “satanic cult victims” at the height of what was once called the “Satanic Panic” during the late 1980s and early 1990s, Peterson’s lawyers spin tall tales without substance.

Investigations by law enforcement, experts and officials have proven repeatedly that such fantastic claims regarding Satanism were false more than a decade ago.

The Peterson defense increasingly sounds like the plot for some horror movie.

But unlike film producers hoping for good reviews and box office, criminal defense lawyers should draw upon more than urban myths, superstition and fear to free a client.

After all, Peterson’s audience will be a jury and his lawyer’s ultimate critic the judge.

The prosecution must meet its own burden of proof in the Peterson case, but the defense will probably need more than groundless theories without substance to win an acquittal.

The International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is opening the gates of its Golden Temple near Hillsborough, North Carolina later this month for a night of celebration reports The Herald Sun.

A spokesperson for ISKCON says this will be “a wonderful opportunity for the public to experience cultural diversity.”

But critics of Hare Krishna often call the movement a “cult” not a culture.

ISKCON has a troubled history, which includes a top leader’s arrest and imprisonment for mail fraud and three counts of racketeering, including conspiring to kill a former member. And that leader once controlled one of Krishna’s most important Temples in West Virginia.

ISKCON has also admitted the horrific abuse endured by many of its children held within its private schools.

Some of these childhood victims joined in a class action lawsuit claiming they had never received meaningful consideration or compensation for what was done.

Rather than take the case to trial ISKCON declared bankruptcy to protect its assets.

However, that lawsuit was dismissed recently by a federal judge in Texas reports clickwalla.com.

Many say Hare Krishna leaders ignored abuse allegations for years. And some of those same leaders still rule over the organization today.

ISKCON continues in an apparent public relations effort to convince people they have changed. So it’s open house in North Carolina with pretty flowers and a picnic area.

But despite the decoration and public party has anything really changed within the Hare Krishna movement?

It should be noted that many Hindus reject the Krishna’s claim that it represents a legitimate branch of Hinduism rooted in that religion’s long history.

According to the mainstream magazine Hinduism Today, “There are reports of Hindus who joined ISKCON only to be taught to reject their family’s religion…so many have assumed they are Hindus. To find out they are not will certainly surprise many–Hindus and non-Hindus alike. It may even surprise a few Hare Krishnas themselves.”

ISKCON has certainly learned the hard way that they are vulnerable to the courts and public opinion and they seem intent upon changing their sordid image.

A Krishna monk is now traveling across Canada in what he calls a “spiritual healing walk” for that country in yet another apparent image-improvement effort reports The Sault Star.

But what has really changed other than appearances?

One visible sign of meaningful change might be no more chanting Krishna devotees peddling books at airports.

But ISKCON lawyers continue to litigate against any restriction that might stop that business endlessly.

Some things never change.

According to one news web page in England purported “cult leader,” “liar” and “crazy” L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, was really a “humanitarian, world-renowned photographer and author.”

Well, he did write.

Liz Nygaard a reporter for the web page “This is Kent” gushes these posthumous titles within an article about photography workshops held annually within Hubbard’s old mansion in England.

The event, which has been run for seven summers, was organized Gray Levett an English camera dealer.

Levett a Scientologist is ranked by the organization as one of its top 100 International Patrons. This essentially means he gives a lot of money to Scientology.

Levett apparently managed to get Nikon UK LTD, Kodak professional films and the Nikon Owners Club International as sponsors for the Hubbard house workshops.

The stately stone Saint Hill manor house was once a kind of royal residence for L. Ron Hubbard. It was from this manse that he ruled over a burgeoning Sci-fi religious empire through much of the 1960s.

And it was there that Hubbard often instructed his disciples in Dianetics and offered them other Scientology courses and training.

But maybe Ms. Nygaard should have dug deeper and done a little research about the history of this place.

Saint Hill was also where one former member of what he called an “evil cult” testified that “subconscious duress following a period of processing” took place.

Some critics call this process “brainwashing.”

However, now instead of “processing” people it appears film is the preference at Hubbard’s old haunt.

The fictional hero created by author J.K. Rowling continues to be a “whipping boy” for religious fanatics worldwide.

This past Sunday members of the “Jesus Non-denominational Church” of Greenville, Michigan burned copies of Harry Potter along with other damned books at a church bonfire reported Associated Press.

Like Germans under Nazi rule these zealots were led to believe that evil can be spread easily through inanimate objects like reading material.

The Nazis liked to condemn art too and they staged more than a few book burnings.

Church members in Michigan shouted “Hallelujah,” “Thank you, God” and “Burn, devil, burn” as the tomes turned to cinders and some CDs sizzled.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, other fanatics picked up on the same theme.

“The Harry Potter books are evil. They teach sorcery and run counter to the Bible,” proclaimed Ling-Leung Church preachers in Taiwan as reported by CNN.

Like their fellow fanatics in America the Taiwanese church members managed to burn some books too.

Meanwhile the latest installment of Harry Potter has sold 1.8 million copies in Taiwan alone. And the author has repeatedly stated publicly that she is not interested in promoting witchcraft, which she doesn’t even believe in personally.

Magic or sorcery in the Potter books is obviously only a theme utilized as a vehicle for fantasy.

Nevertheless a church leader in Michigan warned about allowing “Satan to take the minds of our children.”

But isn’t bad behavior or evil more likely to come forth from a mindset built upon unreasonable fear, paranoid suspicion and hysteria?