The Gentle Wind Project (GWP) founded by John and Mary “Moe” Miller sued its critics Judy Garvey and her husband James Bergin apparently hoping to silence the couple, but instead called attention to its practices, finances and leadership.

John MillerAfter two years of litigation it looks like GWP is experiencing something of a meltdown.

The Millers sued former followers Garvey/Bergin because their Web site shared insider information about GWP through the Internet. The Miller’s lawsuit alleged defamation and slander.

When the Ross Institute (RI), which sponsors CultNews, posted a link to the critical Web site GWP began a “war of words” with its perceived enemies through its own Web site.

RI gave GWP a “Flaming Websites” award.

However, John and Mary didn’t think that was funny so they sued RI too. And they also legally threatened and/or sued others including a man in New Zealand for calling GWP a “cult.”

GWP is a controversial “nonprofit” organization that manufactures so-called “healing instruments” in the form of plastic cards and pucks, which they claim, have healing powers.

'Healing puck'?CultNews reported in 2004 that a Special Investigative Agency in California looked into GWP and announced that its claims were “not supported by any scientific evidence.”

But John and “Moe” say the secret plans for their instruments come from outer space. And how can you disprove that?

Shades of Scientology and its story about Xenu?

Press reports began to pile up about GWP after the lawsuit was filed, which brought growing attention to the group and a continuous stream of interesting court documents. All of this afforded RI enough material to launch a subsection within its database about the group.

This once little known organization had become a news story as more and more interest was garnered through its lawsuit.

Is that the kind of attention what John and “Moe” Miller really wanted?

Probably not.

Instead of silencing their critics the Millers had effectively provided them with a platform to share their story. Meanwhile John and “Moe” were draining their once considerable financial resources on court costs, while simultaneously watching GWP revenues decline due to bad press.

In the new “Information Age” the Internet has seemingly become a nightmare for some groups called “cults” that rely upon the control of information.

Now anyone with Internet access can read what former members have to say about GWP and follow the Miller’s saga in the press through archived articles.

The most recent article about GWP includes information about an apparent liquidation of the group’s assets. Property accumulated by the group in Maine is being sold off to finance its legal fees and court costs.

Meanwhile Garvey/Bergin have received some pro bono help from lawyers interested in defending First Amendment free speech rights.

Again and again withering judicial decisions have come down, which have left the Millers with what appears to be a hopeless legal situation.

RI was dismissed out of the GWP lawsuit some time ago and so was the defendant in New Zealand, various causes of action have also been stripped away and then the whole case was tossed out of federal court.

Did all this discourage or dissuade the Millers?

Apparently not.

John and Mary “Moe” refiled their suit in a Maine State court seemingly oblivious to both their legal situation and worsening circumstances.

This month delivered what may be the final blow to GWP and perhaps last significant twist to the story. The Millers have been sued by the Attorney General of Maine.

That’s right, the plaintiffs have become defendants. But unlike the lawsuits they have filed the Millers face very serious litigation.

The Attorney General of Maine has alleged that GWP engaged in no less than 13 violations of the state’s Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Puck anyone?In court documents filed this month GWP is accused of lying about medical studies that supposedly proved their instruments worked.

A spokesman for Maine’s top prosecutor told the press, “We’re trying to put them out of business and we want restitution for the people who have been taken.”

Things are getting scary for John and Mary.

It seems that the Millers would have been better off if they had simply ignored their critics and/or laughed off any criticism rather than drawing so much attention to themselves through lawsuits.

It has been said that “pride comes before a fall.” And perhaps purported “cults” and their leaders have more pride and hubris than almost anyone else does.

The Millers once controlled a spiritual empire, but now they may end up broke.

The growing legal storm swirling around the pair is hardly a “gentle wind” and may just blow GWP to bits.

Perhaps the moral of this story is that controversial groups hoping to sue into silence their perceived enemies should consider the consequences carefully before filing such frivolous litigation.

They should consider if they have anything to hide?

And if they can afford the public scrutiny that often accompanies such litigation?

The Millers apparently never gave such things serious consideration.

It seems that John and “Moe” Miller of Maine must now face the consequences for that blunder.

Note: GWP has a new nonprofit spin-off registered in New Hampshire called “Allies for Trauma Relief.” Despite the new name and no mention of GWP at the organization’s Web site, people are still holding the cards called “healing instruments” made by GWP for “relief.”

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Attention President Bush and world leaders concerned about recent developments in the Middle East, someone has a way to “prevent the impending danger,” which can become “the basis of indomitable peace.”

Maharishi has a planWho has this fantastic peace plan?

None other than Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, former guru to the Beatles.  

John Hagelin, Maharishi’s point man and a past presidential candidate, wants to “mobilize the entire country” to “pull together in this hour of need,” according to an urgent message he sent to key leaders within the guru’s Transcendental Meditation (TM) network this week.

CultNews received a copy of Hagelin’s communication, which amounts to “marching orders” or rather flying orders, for what TM calls its “yogic flyers.”

Yogic flyers” are something like Maharishi’s spiritual air force.

However, these pilots have an unconventional takeoff that consists of essentially going into a trance and then hopping around within various buildings controlled by the guru.

This is what TM devotees mean when they claim to be airborne doing “yogic flying.”

Figuratively they are “flying high” through their guru’s meditation techniques, which can produce dissociated states of altered consciousness through something, more commonly called hypnosis.

Just like a stage hypnotist can get a subject to cluck like a chicken, Maharishi’s methods make them think they can fly and feel the sensation.

Hagelin reports, “I am returning to America today to rally…1,500 Yogic Flyers from Fairfield [Iowa]…and to mobilize another 1,000 from across the nation to fly together in the Domes. [Other TM devotees] will immediately mobilize 1,000 for Washington, DC…Only we can save the nation and bring peace at this critical time.”

And to think world governments rely upon diplomacy and at times military defenses.

Why bother when Maharishi has this magical solution?

David Lynch fundraiserBut there might be some cost for the faithful to participate in the old guru’s peace plan, at least “$30.00 per day” for “room and board” according to Hagelin.

The official name for the plan is the “Invincible America Course” and it’s all part of the Maharishi pitch that includes “Peace Palaces.”

Those palaces have price tags, and Maharishi devotees like film director David Lynch travels around engaged in seemingly perpetual fund raising.

Despite Maharishi’s advanced age the guru wants to keep building his global spiritual empire that reportedly is now worth between $6 and $9 billion dollars.

At thirty bucks a day the guru’s billions could fund a virtual wave of “yogic flyers” to cover the earth, but something tells me that if Maharishi had to personally pay for his peace plan the guru’s spiritual air force would be grounded. 

Now seems like a good time to sum up the net results of the “war of words” between television cartoon show South Park, Scientology and Tom Cruise.

Cruise the loserWho won and who lost?

South Park recently picked up a Peabody Award and received an Emmy nomination specifically for the controversial episode that mocked the “world’s biggest movie star” and Scientology, which is probably the most litigious organization called a “cult” on the planet.

Not only did South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone ridicule Cruise and get away with it, they also accurately exposed Scientology’s bizarre doctrines. This included a discourse about a belief in space aliens, something that the general public otherwise wouldn’t know, considering the way that Scientology zealously guards its secrets.

'Trapped in the Closet'The cartoon episode “Trapped in the Closet” was carefully crafted to be legally “bullet proof” as a parody, so from the start Cruise and his church didn’t have the basis for any serious claim of slander.

That’s why the actor allegedly relied instead upon his star power to cancel a repeat of the controversial episode, which was set to launch South Park’s current season.

Apparently, Scientology’s “Top Gun” took his best shot through Viacom, the parent company of both Paramount, which produced Mission Impossible and Comedy Central that airs South Park.

However, this strategy backfired, only garnering more attention and publicity for the show while Cruise came across as a bully. South Park’s ratings soared and arguably this confrontation paved the way for both the Peabody Award and Emmy nomination that followed.

“Trapped in the Closet” remains the biggest hit as measured by the viewing audience that South Park has ever recorded for a singe show.

Good-bye ChefScientologist Isaac Hayes, who quit South Park over the Scientology episode hasn’t fared very well either. Like Cruise he didn’t gain public sympathy through his protest and also lost his job.

Subsequently Parker and Stone got the last word regarding Hayes departure through a good-bye “Return of Chef” episode that portrayed the former 1970s star as little more than a “brainwashed” puppet.

Tom Cruise also appears to have lost ground.

The actor who hasn’t had a genuine unqualified hit since Jerry McGuire and is now perceived by much of the public as a “weirdo.” His Mission Impossible series is all but dead, with the latest installment doing less than expected at the box office.

Don’t look for a “Mission Impossible Four.”

In fact, some Hollywood pundits say it may be difficult for the middle-aged actor to star in a major film project budgeted at the same size as MP-3 in the future.

The public seems tired of Tom Cruise, other than as a focus of gossip about his relationship with Katie Holmes and their unseen baby girl Suri.

And Scientology seems to have become something of a running joke, seen more like a wacky “Hollywood cult,” rather than a serious religion.

Whatever Tom Cruise and his church hoped to accomplish through the star’s media blitz promoting Scientology solutions to life’s problems, both he and his faith failed to convey any meaningful positive message that the public responded to, but don’t expect them to admit that.

Trey Parker warned about getting “that Tom Cruise stink on you” in a recent interview, but there is nothing like the sweet smell of success.

'Cult heroes' Parker and StoneAnd South Park has never been more popular, while its creators have burnished their “cult hero” status through the face-off with the star, along with some official mainstream recognition that perhaps was long overdue.

The moral to this story is never take on a weekly comedy show like South Park in a “war of words,” because the show will get the last word and also last laugh.

Demonstrating this pointedly will be the long awaited repeat tonight of “Trapped in the Closet.”

Li Hongzhi,” the founder and leader of Falun Gong also known as Falun Dafa, has been repeatedly described as “homophobic” and as a “racist.”

Li HongzhiCultNews previously reported about the media meltdown Falun Gong experienced in San Francisco concerning its leaders nasty pronouncements.

During the Bay area controversy a member of the San Francisco gay community said, “I challenge any gay person in this city to get any Falun Gong practitioner to state they do not agree with their master’s belief. I have never heard them refute what he has said. There is deception here.”

What is it that the man called “Master Li” says that causes concern, which his followers never refute?

Interracial marriage is one thing that seems to rile the religious leader, but he saves some of his most harsh words for homosexuals.

Here are some quotes from Hongzhi as provided by the blog “…smell the Kool-Aid…fun with cults”.

Li Hongzhi: “Is homosexuality human behavior? Heaven created man and woman. What was the purpose? To procreate future generations. A man being with a man, or a woman with a woman”it doesn’t take much thought to know whether that’s right or wrong. When minor things are done incorrectly, a person is said to be wrong. When major things are done incorrectly, it’s a case of people no longer having the moral code of human beings, and then they are unworthy of being human…When gods created man they prescribed standards for human behavior and living. When human beings overstep those boundaries, they are no longer called human beings, though they still assume the outer appearance of a human. So gods can’t tolerate their existence and will destroy them.”Leading lights of the “Religious Right” like Jerry Falwell might agree that homosexuality is a sin, but they would say “love the sinner and hate the sin,” allowing that gays are still “human beings.” Hongzhi however seems to question that status and he apparently just hates instead.Li then goes on to tell why his work is so worthy.Li Hongzhi: “Let me tell you why today’s society has become how it is. It results from there not being an upright Fa to keep human beings in check. This Dafa is taught right in the most chaotic environment, at a time when no religion can save people, and where the circumstance is that no god takes interest in people anymore. The Fa is almighty. The best time periods wouldn’t require such a great Fa to be taught. Only in the worst time periods can the power of the Fa manifest. There are other reasons, too.”

“No religion can save people”?

“The Fa is almighty”?

Sounds like an “evil cult” leader making exclusive claims about himself now doesn’t it?

Hongzhi then says that he is actually something like a savior for gays.

Li Hongzhi: “Let me tell you, if I weren’t teaching this Fa today, gods’ first target of annihilation would be homosexuals. It’s not me who would destroy them, but gods.” And here is Hongzhi’s piercing and some might observe “homophobic” historical analysis.Li Hongzhi: “You know that homosexuals have found legitimacy in that homosexuality was around back in the culture of ancient Greece. Yes, there was a similar phenomenon in ancient Greek culture. And do you know why ancient Greek culture is no more? Why are the ancient Greeks gone? Because they had degenerated to that extent, and so they were destroyed.”Huh? 

History doesn’t quite reflect the downfall of Greece that way. It seems it had something more to do with internal conflicts, the Macedonian and then the Roman conquest.

Since the Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great was gay, does that mean a gay caused the ultimate downfall of Greek gays?

And didn’t someone once partly attribute the “Fall of the Roman Empire” to sexual promiscuity and homosexuality too?

So does that mean that the gays got the great gay’s empire for getting the gays? 

This is all getting too confusing, but perhaps Hongzhi enlightened by the “Almighty Fa” can figure it out.

Did you ever wonder why there is so much suffering in the world?

Well, Master Li has all the answers. 

Li Hongzhi: “Do you know why wars, epidemics, and natural and man-made disasters happen in this world? They’re precisely because human beings have karma, and those events exist to remove it. No matter how wonderful a time period may be in the future, there will still be wars, epidemics, and natural and man-made disasters on earth. They are a way of eliminating karma for people. Some people who have sinned can have their karma eliminated through the death of the flesh body and suffering, and then they’ll be free of that karma when they reincarnate. Their lives don’t really die and they reincarnate again. But the karma that some people have accrued is too much, in which case the fundamental elements of their existence will be implicated and destroyed.”

It seems that Hongzhi’s preaching includes a little bit of Buddhism with an ample dose of Armageddon-like “doom and gloom.”

Maybe that’s good for the guru business?

That is, it keeps people worried and looking for a little “karma relief.” Then they are more willing to be taken in by the man who supposedly speaks for the “Almighty Fa” to save them since “no religion can save people” and “no god takes interest.”

Now back to some more of Hongzhi’s homophobic rant.

Li Hongzhi: “Homosexuals not only violate the standards that gods set for mankind, but also damage human society’s moral code. In particular, the impression it gives children will turn future societies into something demonic. That’s the issue. That kind of destruction, however, isn’t just about disappearing after they’re annihilated. That person is annihilated layer after layer at a rate that seems pretty rapid to us, but in fact it’s extremely slow in that time field. Over and over again, one is annihilated in an
extremely painful way. It’s terribly frightening. A person should live in an upright manner, living honorably like a human being. He shouldn’t indulge his demon-nature and do whatever he
likes.”

Don’t expect any of Falun Dafa’s gays to “come out of the closet” or even repent. It’s better to hide out than be “annihilated…over and over again.”

Isn’t it odd how the same man that claims he and his followers have experienced “persecution” in China and who protests human rights violations speaks with such hatred and intolerance about the human rights of others?

Maybe some of “Master Li’s” followers can clear this up?

This blog has a provision for comments and in the past Hongzhi’s devotees have posted here to protest any criticism of their master and his movement.

Will they post again to refute his hateful words?

 

 

Known for their persistent door-to-door missionary work and handout magazine called “The Watchtower,” “Jehovah’s Witnesses” have repeatedly predicted the “end of the world” with a sense of urgency to anyone willing to listen.

The Watchtower in BrooklynHowever, the sect seems to repeatedly fail regarding its dates, including a purported final judgment set for 1925 and another that never came some fifty years later.

According to the “Religious Tolerance” Web site, which is known for its frequent apologies rather than admonishments regarding groups called “cults,” the Witnesses have actually made many more failed predictions. The theologically tolerant site without apology lists 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920 and 1994, as examples of additional Witness failures.  

Much more religiously conservative Christian Web sites have longer lists of apparent blunders, such as a “Watchman Expositor,” which examines the organization’s supposedly “biblical” calculations.

Perhaps as a result of all these mistakes the Witnesses appear to have given up on the dating game. The group says now that the “end is fluid,” which sounds more like “hedging a bet” than anything related to the bible.

However, an embarrassing fact still remains despite all the sect’s calculations, recalculations and subsequent spin.

Jehovah’s Witnesses historically bought a great deal of real estate over the years in what seems to be a very shrewd long-term investment effort.

But if they really expected the world to end so soon, why didn’t the Witnesses just lease?

Well, the reasoning for buying up so much property becomes quite clear when looking at the group’s recent penchant for selling off some of its valuable accumulated assets.

As CultNews previously reported the Witnesses religious devotion apparently includes developing real estate in New York.

And the controversial organization that some have called an End Times “cult” has recently made millions selling off and/or developing its holdings in Brooklyn alone.

Where there was once a Watchtower magazine warehouse and distribution center near the East River, “swanky condominiums”  are going up with a view of Manhattan.

And now the Witnesses have put more of their New York property up on the block reports Knowledge Plex.

For sale is a three-story residential building at 409 Central Park West between West 100th and 101st streets.

The Witnesses want $4.5 million for the “air rights” to this property and expect to stay on the first three floors, allowing a developer to build on top or adjacent to the property.

Jehovah’s Witnesses also own a building at 960 E. 174th St. in the Bronx, which is currently used for worship.

However, the faithful will have to meet somewhere else, as this property is currently listed at $1.35 million, for development as affordable housing.

Knowledge Plex points out that many nonprofit organizations and other tax-exempted religious groups in New York are also taking advantage of recent real estate appreciation to sell off their properties for record prices.

But the leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses have always attempted to separate their organization from such worldly things. 

Witnesses don’t vote, participate in clubs, organized team sports or the military because to do so would somehow represent involvement with an earthly “system,” which is ultimately influenced by Satan.

Witnesses claim that their organization is the only one today that is sanctioned by Jehovah on earth.

However, it seems when it comes to making money, Witness leaders can be very worldly indeed. And they have no problem cooperating with developers and making savvy business deals to work the worldly system for profit.