An interesting document has found its way onto the Internet that should be required reading for Church of Scientology celebrities such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

Joe Keldani, a long-time Scientologist trained by that organization’s elite “Guardians Office,” is speaking out about the way the church allegedly managed his marriage and family life.

Keldani once headed Narconon in Canada. This is a “drug rehabilitation program” based upon the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology’s founder and strongly supported by former Cheers star Kirstie Alley.

Keldani calls his Internet postings “Justice Statements” per church doctrine and shares them publicly at a Google Group.

It seems this veteran Scientologist doesn’t see the church in the glowing light that stars like Travolta and Cruise try to imbue it with.

Keldani claims Scientology leaders once were “coaching [his]…wife’s divorce affidavit.” And that they “deliberately and without care destroyed [his] family and…many others.”

Scientology celebs certainly are familiar with divorce.

Lisa Marie Presley has gone to court three times to cut marital bonds, Tom Cruise twice and Kirstie Alley dumped her husband Parker Stevenson.

Often during these divorces were rumors that Scientology might have been a cause in these breakups.

According to Keldani the organization certainly played a role in his divorce through “relentless past and present efforts to separate [him] from [his] wife and kids.”

Keldani claims Scientology is guilty of an “abuse of human rights.”

Ironic considering the church’s campaign for “human rights” in Germany, which has been ardently espoused by Tom Cruise and John Travolta, complete with full-page ads endorsed by many of their Hollywood friends.

Maybe these stars should start a campaign for Joe Keldani’s “human rights”?

Keldani says his “wife of over 20 years” was “placed (according to her) in a very stressful, concrete, dirty, car exhaust fumes filled room, under [a] garage for more than a day (3 days)…to reconsider her marriage.”

Is this Scientology’s version of marriage counseling?

Keldani purportedly spent “$30,000.00 and almost a year away from [his] family” before he gave up on the process. In the end he says Scientology “executives, [drew] up a formula” for his wife to “legally break up with [him]” that “included paying [the church] another $40,000.00.”

Is it possible that Scientology prescribed “formulas” for the divorces of Nicole Kidman and the first Mrs. Tom Cruise Mimi Rogers?

Hollywood is known for its prenuptial agreements, maybe there is something called a Scientology post-nuptial too?

Keldani explains that Scientology told his kids they didn’t “need a father.” And says the church’s “International management obviously place no value on the family” and want “robotic, unquestioning, unwavering staff.”

The estranged father says he “sold everything…properties…businesses” and ultimately “wasted” “hundreds of thousands of dollars” on Scientology.

However, despite all his sacrifices in the end the church “declared [Keldani} a suppressive person [SP]…making it a crime for [his] daughters to talk to [him]…”

This appears to be the Scientology equivalent of being excommunicated.

And there are more juicy chunks of information from the former insider.

Keldani says Scientology’s top leader David Miscavige’s “sexual exploits, admitted to by his co-worker and personal councilor” include “sleeping with his wife and another woman.”

Is that called a “menage a trois” or a “trio la Scientology”?

He also claims that branches of Scientology have shrunk to “half or even in some cases a fifth or a tenth their size of the late 70’s” while the church reports its “expanding.”

John Travolta and Tom Cruise pride themselves on having reached what Scientologists call “clear” and moving up its spiritual tiers, which are graded from Operating Thetan One (OT1) to Operating Thetan Eight (OT8).

But according to Keldani the stars have nothing to look forward to.

He says, “OT levels have been sabotaged or have been ruined.” And that “the first few hundred OT 8 got ill and had to be recalled for repair.”

Will the former “Top Gun” turned “Last Samurai” soon need repair?

John Travolta’s multi-year string of movie flops may mean he is nearing “recall” time.

Scientology’s stars are pampered within lavish “Celebrity Centers.” But it seems devoted full-time workers are not quite so lucky.

“Thousands of Scientologists are stuck out in the field working their buts off to make enough money to go OT (spiritually free) but can’t afford it,” says Keldani.

He adds that many “are fighting to pay off their incredible debts. Debts they incurred paying for training…The entire package now costing about 300,000.00 [dollars] per person.”

And some Scientology “staff sleep 10 or 12 deep in hotel or motel sized rooms,” he advised.

Meanwhile the church’s top leader “Miscavige, has his own physical fitness trainer while the rest of the common staff are forbidden to use the public facilities,” Keldani says.

Joe Keldani paints a pretty bleak picture of Scientology in general and family life within the group in particular.

Hollywood stars may be treated like royalty, but it seems that the grunts in the group have a decidedly different life within the church that has often been called a “cult.”

A rich “New Age” guru named J.Z. Knight apparently hopes to follow in the footsteps of Mel Gibson with a documentary/movie.

Knight is promoting a film “What the Bleep Do We Know!?” starring Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin and featuring a group of scientists that it seems may have been handpicked by the guru.

The new movie is “a dramatic story” that includes “interviews with leading scientists and mystics” and supposedly offers the audience a “tour through the inner workings of the Universe.”

And of course J.Z. Knight is the featured “mystic, philosopher [and] master teacher.”

The housewife turned “teacher” claims that she “channels” a 35,000-year-old spirit named “Ramtha” who first appeared to her in a Tacoma kitchen during 1977.

Knight runs the so-called “Ramtha School of Enlightenment,” which has been called a “cult.” The school is the hub of a multi-million dollar spiritual empire based upon the sale of books, tapes and pricey seminars.

Dynasty TV star Linda Evans is a long-time Ramtha follower and like many devotees lives near her mentor in Yelm, Washington.

Much like Mel Gibson’s “Passion” J.Z. Knight hopes this mystical movie will be embraced by true believers. It is even being pitched through “street teams.”

Some suspect the project is little more than a vehicle for “cult” recruitment.

“What the Bleep Do We Know!?” is largely being promoted like a subculture event. And it seems to be selling amongst New Agers in Oregon, California, Arizona and Alaska, where it has been shown.

The world premier took place near Knight’s headquarters in Yelm.

It is interesting that Ms. Matlin, an accomplished actor with an Oscar on her shelf, agreed to participate in such a specious project.

Was this an “artistic choice” or can it be that Ramtha has gained yet another celebrity follower?

Maybe Matlin just picked up a hefty paycheck from the wealthy guru.

Madonna was photographed Saturday, exiting the LA Kabbalah Center wearing a T-shirt with “Cult Member” printed boldly across it reports the New York Post.

Well aware of the paparazzi’s penchant for hanging out at her haunts for photo-ops, this was obviously a well-planned ploy to “send a message” to her fans.

Madonna’s T-shirt logo is an apparent attempt to mock the notion that her cherished “Kabbalah Center” is a “cult” and therefore she is a “cult member.”

Of course a “cult member” rarely thinks he or she is in a “cult,” and such denial can be seen as simply a part of the ongoing process of indoctrination within the group used to dismiss criticism and reinforce its mindset.

The group may even choose to define the word “cult” as anyone deeply devoted to almost anything in an effort to obscure its real significance.

Another apologetic tactic is categorizing the word “cult” itself as a form of “persecution,” put forth by “jealous” detractors engaged in pejorative labeling.

Madonna’s Kabbalah Center has used these strategies.

However, the most obvious question remains, “Has Madonna joined a ‘cult’?”

A red flag for the public is the very fact that the group and its foremost benefactor have a need to dismiss and/or denigrate the term.

Another thing is also becoming increasingly evident, don’t expect Madonna to snap out of it any time soon.

The former “Material Girl” who reportedly now goes by the name of “Esther” has largely cast has her lot with the controversial group.

Madonna’s ego has evidently entwined with her religious mentor Philip Berg the founder of the Kabbalah Center. And it seems the star is so deeply invested she feels her personal equity is at stake.

In this sense Madonna is not unlike a “cult member” in a group like “Heaven’s Gate” or the “Waco Davidians,” trapped in a mindset that doesn’t allow the star to see the extent of the group’s influence and control over her life.

Fortunately the Kabbalah Center appears to be more focused on earthly assets and cash rather than stockpiling weapons or escaping this world in some spaceship.

But from her CD “Ray of Light” to recent children’s books and her decision not to perform on the “Sabbath,” each move in Madonna’s life increasingly seems to reflect “cult member” thinking.

The 1980s pop diva’s new persona can be a lesson though to her fans.

That is, if a strong, independent, “street smart” woman like Madonna can become a “cult member,” perhaps almost anyone potentially could.

And as for the Kabbalah Center, its missionary Madonna has made it the “‘cult’ du jour” for celebrities, arguably eclipsing its predecessor the Church of Scientology.

Scientology stars like Tom Cruise and John Travolta are aging and/or fading, but the Kabbalah Center is increasingly the “new religion” chosen by rising young stars and celebrities that seem to crave achieving “cult member” status just like their childhood icon Madonna.

“A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant,” which mocks Scientology and its celebrity stars won an Obie special citation reports Variety.

The Obies honor achievement in Off and Off Off Broadway theater, and are selected by a panel of theater critics and artists in New York City chaired by Village Voice theater editor Charles McNulty.

Promoted as an “ironic masterpiece,” the pageant production was a “completely unauthorized look at the Church of Scientology featuring a cast of children.”

Using the theme of Christmas the play was a parody of the “spectacular life story of L. Ron Hubbard…dissected against the candy-colored backdrop of the a traditional nativity play.”

A cast of 8-12 year-olds portrayed Scientology celebrities such as former sitcom star Kirstie Alley, John Travolta and “Top Gun” Tom Cruise.

The show, which sold out and was extended, was presented by the Les Freres Corbusier theater troupe.

Scientology’s New York representative didn’t seem to appreciate the spoof and no doubt was not amused by the production receiving rave reviews and now an Obie citation.

For former members of Scientology is no laughing matter, but during the New York theater season last year the purported “cult” at least provided the basis for some Christmas cheer.

Note: “A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant” will be playing in the heartland of Scientology this Fall. The curtain goes up on the production in October and it will continue through November at the Powerhouse Theatre, located in Santa Monica, California.

Eileen Barker the founder and impetus behind “INFORM” (Information Network Focus on Religious Movements) has long been considered a leading “cult apologist.”

The British professor of sociology has aligned herself with other “apologists” such as J. Gordon Melton, Massimo Introvigne and the late Jeffrey Hadden.

Barker sits on the board of Introvigne’s CESNUR an organization that regularly attacks cult critics

Hadden cited Barker prominently within a notorious memo that outlined strategies to suppress criticism of “cults.” And he hoped that funding for his proposals would come from groups called “cults.”

This would not have been anything new for Ms. Barker; whom once received funding from Rev. Moon of the Unification Church for a book she wrote about the organization and its members.

Nevertheless the London professor wants the public to believe she is an objective observer and academic.

However, it appears that the Archbishop of Canterbury doesn’t buy it.

The Church of England leader recently “snubbed” Barker’s INFORM organization reports The Guardian.

The English prelate will apparently not follow his predecessors by becoming a patron of the group.

It seems that Barker and her supporters are already busy trying to spin the bishop’s snub as the result of pressure from “evangelicals” that disapprove of “INFORM’s consensual” rather than confrontational approach to so-called “new religions” (a politically correct euphemism for “cults”).

But is this all about style or substance?

Critics of Barker have raised serious questions about the professor’s academic integrity and the substance of her “research.”

And concerned families that have historically sought help from INFORM have complained that its “consensual approach” may have included letting a “cult” know about their expressed concerns.

Maybe the snub from the Archbishop is just evidence that he is informed about INFORM.

NPR offered up its final segment regarding “New Religions” yesterday and featured coverage of the latest fashion in faith often called Neo-Paganism, categorized in this presentation under the heading “Wicca.”

Host Barbara Bradley Hagerty narrated what was billed as an exploration of “Teens and Wicca.”

Various teenagers, mostly girls, came out of the “broom closet” to discuss their fascination with witchcraft, which one expert said really took off through the popular movie “The Craft.”

But in the end it seemed that Hagerty let her own bias show a bit by giving fellow evangelicals largely the last word.

The NPR host reportedly is “on the board of directors for Knowing and Doing, the magazine of the C.S. Lewis Institute, which ‘endeavors to develop disciples who can articulate, defend and live faith in Christ through personal and public life.'”

One evangelical dryly observed on NPR that “playing with Wicca [is] dangerous,” but he failed to offer any specific examples. A “born-again” teen warned Wiccans had “sold [themselves] to Satan.”

According to a critical report about her professional conduct Hagerty “likes to say that God is her ‘employer and audience.'”

Does this mean the reporter does double duty for NPR and “God”?

The “cult apologists” Hagerty promoted through her first piece about “new religious movements” might not appreciate the sentiments expressed in her last one about Wicca.

And most of the public appears to agree that though Wiccans might appear weird they are benign, unlike the previous “cults” essentially given a free pass by Hagerty and NPR.

National Public Radio doesn’t seem to be in touch with its public through this recent programming.

But then again, maybe the only “audience” that concerns Ms. Hagerty is “God”?

NPR offered yet another installment yesterday of its “politically correct” view of so-called “New Religions” titled “Soka Gakkai” on All Things Considered.

This program focused on a controversial group called Soka Gakkai International (SGI); another group that has been called a “cult.”

But listeners didn’t hear the “c” word at any time within this report, which sounded more like an infomercial scripted by SGI than objective reporting.

SGI is a sect controlled by a by a Japanese businessman Daisaku Ikeda.

One of the most powerful men in Japan Ikeda has been both condemned and praised “as a devil and an angel, a Hitler and a Gandhi, a despot and a democrat” reported the Los Angeles Times.

Ikeda also controls the “New Komeito” party in Japan, which has been called the “political arm” of SGI.

However, NPR chose to never say Ikeda’s name or cite his role at any time during its broadcast. This was tantamount to explaining the Roman Catholic Church without mentioning the Pope, though some might observe that Ikeda’s religious significance within SGI might be more akin to Jesus.

NPR featured a plethora of SGI devotees rhapsodizing about how constant chanting helps their lives; one said it puts “gasoline” in her tank.

And of course like many groups called “cults” this one has celebrities too, Tina Turner and jazz musician Herbie Hancock are members.

NPR did mention parenthetically that the SGI teaching, you can chant for whatever you want, has been called “prosperity Buddhism.” However, there was no meaningful critique of the practice.

Former members of SGI have spoken out about the group’s abuses, but those voices were never heard.

“Very little about actual Buddhism is discussed by SGI, as most meetings and publications revolve around Ikeda and his writings, and a constant drama regarding the bad relations between SGI and it’s parent organization, Nichiren Shoshu, which excommunicated SGI several years ago.” said one former member.

NPR never cited this rift, even though they offered a supposed historical background about the group.

The broadcast also touted SGI’s status as a UN NGO (non-governmental organization).

Rev. Moon of the Unification Church also boasts UN NGO status, but as he knows such recognition can essentially be bought by paying dues and generally lubricating that international body financially.

NPR also reported that a liberal arts college was launched by SGI in California.

But nothing was said about the controversy that engulfed the school in its first 18 months. “Allegations of religious preferences” were reportedly the cause for a teacher exodus including its faculty dean and a prominent professor amidst campus protests.

NPR did find time though for two authors to plug SGI friendly books, one called “Soka Gakkai in America: Accommodation and Conversion.”

The Public Radio broadcast at times sounded more like a crusade than a news program.

Note: The introductory host of NPR’s “New Religions” series Barbara Bradley Hagerty seems to have her own critics. CultNews was recently notified that there have been serious questions raised “about Hagerty’s blatant conflict of interest and violation of professional ethics” (see report).

Cult apology is a trade for some, but it may be a “politically correct” calling for others.

This week National Public Radio (NPR) “All Things Considered” apparently was on a mission, the program featured well-known “cult apologists” in a broadcast about “New Religions.”

The two-part series hosted by Barbara Bradley Hagerty discussed the history of so-called “new religious movements (NRMs),” which is a politically correct euphemism for groups commonly called “cults.”

Feigning academic objectivity was J. Gordon Melton and James Lewis.

Both men have long been closely associated with well-known “cults,” such as the notorious “Cult of Greed” (Time Magazine May 1991) Scientology, which has recommended the two as “religious resources.”

Melton frequently hires himself out to “cults.”

Melton, the founder of the “Institute for the Study of American Religion,” has worked for the likes of J.Z. Knight, a woman who claims to channel a 35,000-year-old spirit named “Ramtha.”

“Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati” a former Brooklyn housewife and the leader of the Kashi Ashram in Florida also has retained Melton.

Melton’s professional “research,” which frequently flatters “cult leaders,” seems to provide them with academic cover, but for a price.

The peripatetic apologists Lewis and Melton were once flown to Japan all expenses paid by the notorious cult Aum, just after its leader and many members were arrested for gassing Tokyo’s subways.

Lewis claimed at a press conference after conducting an “investigation” based upon photos and documents provided by the cult, that Aum could not have produced the poison gas used to murder 12 Japanese and send thousands to hospitals.

Not to be left out Melton chimed in that the Japanese authorities “were threatening the group’s religious freedom.”

For those that don’t already know, Aum’s leader Shoko Asahara and his key subordinates were found guilty and sentenced to death through a court process that included overwhelming evidence.

Apparently Lewis and Melton overlooked and/or ignored such factual information.

Another “scholar” featured on the NPR program was Catherine Wessinger.

This academic once described the suicide cult “Heaven’s Gate” led by lunatic Marshall Applewhite as “definitely Gnostic…very similar to Hinduism (and also Buddhism).” She concluded, “The outcome with Heaven’s Gate certainly calls into question traditional Hindu beliefs and practices.”


What about the more obvious explanation that Applewhite was crazy? After all, the cult leader did once sign himself into a mental hospital, wasn’t his psychological instability a factor?

Wessinger says, “I’m not trained in psychology so I don’t articulate those opinions…”

Wessinger also engages in something like revisionist history regarding Jonestown led by another madman Jim Jones. This cult tragedy claimed the lives of more than 900 Americans in 1978. According to Wessinger “they would still be here. But due to the attacks and investigations they endured…”

Melton, Lewis and Wessinger might be the cult version of the “Three Stooges,” or maybe more like the proverbial monkeys that “hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil” when it comes to cults.

Whatever they are NPR appears to be just plain dumb, for either not doing its own research, or simply ignoring the facts in favor of some sort of “political correctness.”

Here are some glaring examples:

NPR discussed Krishna without even mentioning that the “cult” is currently embroiled in a $400 million dollar class action lawsuit filed by its childhood victims.

The Waco Davidians were labeled as a “new religious movement (NRM),” even though they are commonly called a “cult.” No mention was made about David Koresh’s bizarre claim that he was “The Lamb of God” or how the cult leader exploited and abused his followers, including the rape of a 10-year-old.

Another “NRM” mentioned was the Raelians, but again nothing about the sordid history of leader Claude Vorilhon (“Rael”) or the context of the group’s clone claim, within an endless series of self-serving publicity stunts.

Instead, all these groups were essentially whitewashed under the politically correct rubric of “new religious movements.”

And the word “cult” was never even used once throughout the entire program.

After all, according to the NPR “scholars” any meaningful discussion of “cult” bad behavior may be characterized as “persecution” and/or an “attack” upon “religious freedom.”

Note: In its second installment yesterday NPR featured yet another “cult apologist” Lorne L. Dawson. This program discussed the “Toronto Blessing,” an aberration on the fringes of the Charismatic Movement. However, in what can easily be seen as misleading, the report focused on the bizarre aspects of this Canadian group as if it offered listeners a pivotal understanding of Pentecostal Christianity.

Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his Unification Church created a media conglomerate to serve the would-be “Messiah” and propaganda purposes.

But it looks like the “cult” leader’s New World Communications is unraveling a bit; it has shed three of its publications recently.

Noticias del Mundo, a Spanish-language newspaper in New York City was dumped late last month reported the New York Post.

Insiders at Noticias said their superiors explained that the newspaper was “in bad shape.” And it appears that there was no meaningful effort to find a buyer.

Also on the chopping block was the Moon magazine known as “The World and I,” its staff of 31 got the ax.

“Insight” magazine, another Moon loser, was cut to “a five person skeleton crew” reported The Hill.

So far Rev. Moon’s media crown jewels the Washington Times and UPI news service have been spared, but perhaps staffers there should keep their resumes ready.

All these recent cutbacks are what a Moon spokesman called a “restructuring effort.” He claimed that the shutdowns would save the self-proclaimed “messiah” “millions of dollars” and help to “reposition” his other media assets reported the Washington Post.

Washington Times Editor in Chief Wesley Pruden put on a good face. “Our budget for next year is bigger than it’s ever been,” he said.

However, a bigger budget at the Times may be more bad news for Rev. Moon, since that newspaper has been a financial loser for some time.

In fact Moon’s media holdings seem to be a money pit.

Insight Magazine, which was launched in 1995, received an “annual subsidy” of $40 million dollars.

And Moon has reportedly “invested” more than $1 billion in the Washington Times.

This is not chump change, even for a rich “cult leader” with a religious empire once valued at more than $3 billion dollars, which includes a fishing fleet, canneries and valuable Manhattan real estate like the New Yorker Hotel.

Moon’s media has largely served as a conduit for the South Korean’s views and to indulge his considerable vanity. Moon has used the Washington Times Foundation as a vehicle to give him awards at upscale banquets attended by DC politicians and notables.

But now Rev. Moon is an octogenarian and he may soon fade away to some rest home for aged “cult” leaders.

It won’t be long before Moon’s financial residue is mulled over by his family, who will likely care more about the bottom line than his supposed “divine principles.”

Expect to see more dumping in the future at Moon Inc.

And that will likely lead to getting rid of everything that is not profitable, despite its prior usefulness as a vehicle for propaganda and self-aggrandizement.

Such a purge for profitability may mean eventually giving the ax to Pruden and his crew over at the Washington Times.

Things haven’t been very peaceful in Maharishi, Iowa lately.

One devoted follower attending Maharishi University (MU), named for the 1960s guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, apparently stabbed to death a fellow student reported the Iowa

And it appears that simultaneously elsewhere on campus a MU employee was busy growing marijuana reports Golden Triangle News Service.

Days after the police moved pot-growing equipment from a frat room on campus MU student and accused murderer Shuvender Sem pleaded “not guilty” in court reported the Fairfield Daily Ledger.

Perhaps it was just a bad week for Maharishi, the 92-year-old guru who once taught the Beatles TM (Transcendental Meditation).

So much for the ballyhoo about “yogic flyers” that supposedly can reduce stress and crime by bringing greater peace through meditation.

Maybe they were grounded in Iowa?

Or should the indoor marijuana grower have supplied them with leafy fuel for yogic flight?

Whatever, it’s unlikely that these recent setbacks will stop the aged guru from further fund raising for his so-called “Peace Palaces.”

A murder and marijuana bust will likely just become a minor media glitch for the tireless self-promoter and certainly won’t stop his ever-growing Maharishi/TM multi-billion dollar spiritual empire.