As if Whitney Houston didn’t have enough problems, she has apparently continued her involvement with a group often called a “cult.” The fallen star reportedly sought help from the ”Black Hebrews” as recently as two months ago.

Whitney Houston in Israel 2003“Friends hoped she had reformed thanks to a ‘spiritual adviser’ and her renewed links to a controversial religious sect” reports the Herald Sun.

But is it wise for Houston’s friends to hope her crack habit can be cured by a cult?

Certainly there are more credible options, such as a hospital treatment program.

Houston and husband Bobby Brown first hooked up with the so-called “Black Hebrews” in 2003 on a trip to Israel. The strange group is led by Ben Carter a former Chicago resident who now calls himself “Ben Ammi Ben Israel”

Carter claims that the ”Archangel Gabriel told him that many African Americans were descendants of the lost Israeli tribe of Judah.” He led some followers to settle in Israel during 1969, but they didn’t receive permanent residence status until 2003.

The “Black Hebrews” have been linked to crime and the death of a child.

One of Carter’s henchmen was found guilty of “operating an international crime ring” in 1986 and just last year a couple was charged with manslaughter. And the death of their baby was allegedly tied to the group’s strange diet.

Houston recentlyDoes Whitney Houston really need this kind of help?

Her family has said repeatedly that the influence of Bobby Brown brought about the star’s downfall.

Is the undue influence of this strange sect really going to restore reason to the former diva?

Perhaps Houston’s friends should come up with something better than a choice between either crack or a “cult” for the troubled singer.

The life of singer Whitney Houston has become increasingly rocky, rife with rumors of drug abuse, family estrangements and marital problems.

But now it seems to have taken an even stranger course.

Houston went to Israel and stayed with a bizarre “cult” called the “Black Hebrews.”

She referred to its members as her “brothers and sisters,” reports News 24.

Houston was supposedly “looking for inspiration for her upcoming Christmas album,” reports USA Today.

But this group of polygamists seems like a dubious source for Christmas spirit.

Ben Carter, a former Chicago resident who now calls himself “Ben Ammi Ben Israel,” leads the “cult.”

Carter claims that the “Archangel Gabriel told him that many African Americans were descendants of the lost Israeli tribe of Judah.”

He led his “lost…tribe” to Israel in 1969.

First the group lived on the dole as refugees, but later achieved resident status through the clout of the US government and no doubt due to the influence of some African American leaders.

However, the “Black Hebrews” claim of ancient Jewish heritage has never been proven or officially recognized.

Carter created an idiosyncratic religion that includes a vegetarian diet and polygamy.

Largely through the practice of polygamy the group has increased and now numbers about 2,000 in Israel, though it claims to have 30,000 members worldwide.

As Houston left Israel she waved her arm referring to the Jewish State as “my land.”

What did she mean?

Her parting statement seems eerily consistent with Carter’s teachings about Israel as the “Promised Land” of the “Black Hebrews.”

Has Whitney Houston joined a “cult”?

Her spokesperson said, “She is a spiritual woman and wanted to…touch the land and be around the saints of Dimona,” reports the Denver Post.

Accepting this “cult’s” hospitality may be the worst choice the pop singer has made since saying “I do” to bad boy Bobbie Brown.

A religious group called the “Black Hebrews” emigrated from the United States to Israel in 1969. Its members claim they are descendents of the exiled tribe of Judah, driven out of Jerusalem during the First Century, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

However, unlike the Falasha Jews of Ethopia, there is no historical or archaeological evidence to substantiate such fanciful claims. Instead, like many groups called “cults,” the Black Hebrews depend upon their leader to define the group.

Ben Carter a steelworker from Chicago calls himself “Ben Ammi Ben Israel” and is the founder and leader of the Black Hebrews. And like so many cult leaders he has fantastic claims, which the group’s beliefs are based upon.

Ben says, the “Archangel Gabriel told him that many African Americans were descendants of the lost Israeli tribe of Judah.”

Right.

He then found and gathered together his own tribe of 30 disciples, which were then designated as rediscovered “Jews” from the “Tribe of Judah.”

First, the group followed Ben to Africa and stayed there for two years to be “purified.” Subsequently, Carter led them to the “Promised Land,” which ultimately turned out to be an Israeli refugee community called Dimona.

The Black Hebrews largely live on the dole in Dimona. They have remained there for thirty years because the Israeli authorities reject their claims of Jewish identity and apparently don’t know what else to do with them.

Efforts to expel the group Israelis often call a “cult” has been met with political protests from the United States and hunger strikes in Dimona.

The group has grown to 2,000, largely through its high birth rate fostered by polygamy.

The supposedly “ancient faith” practiced by the Black Hebrews is actually an odd, idiosyncratic and eclectic mix of observances concocted by Ben Ammi. He continues to dictate virtually everything the group does. Pictures of Ben Ammi dominate the homes of the insular community.

Interestingly, Jewish authorities have offered Ben Ammi who is now 63 and his followers Jewish identity through recognized conversion. However, like most cults the Black Hebrews reject anything, but what their leader defines as the “true faith.”

But though Ben Ammi has rejected Israel’s offer to become a recognized Jew, the group has accepted working papers, temporary residency, health insurance and social security benefits.