Another well known “cult apologist” has surfaced in news coverage of the Elizabeth Smart abduction.

Rodney Stark, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington, was quoted in the Desert News.

Though Stark’s comments within the Desert News article are general observations, he has a long history of working closely with groups called “cults” and they frequently cite his writings.

The academic has defended such organizations as the Unification Church of Rev. Moon and testified as an expert witness regarding the “Local Church.” Critics have called both of these groups “cults”.

Stark was included amongst a list of scholars that have received money and/or expenses from “cults” in connection with research, court testimony and/or “cult” sponsored conferences, within an article titled “Brainwashed! Scholars of Cults Accuse Each Other of Bad Faith.”

The followers of “Brother Julius” Schacknow who died in 1996 seem intent upon carrying on their leader’s penchant for outrageous behavior, reports the Hartford Courant.

Some group members have surfaced in Connecticut in an apparent organized effort to crash local church services.

One member stood up abruptly as an uninvited speaker during a Sunday service and proclaimed himself the “Prophet Peter.” He then proceeded to make pronouncements and warnings of impending judgement. When asked to leave the “prophet” resorted to curses.

Sound bizarre?

Well not for the followers of Julius Schacknow, who was born in Brooklyn, but claimed he was “Jesus.”

During Schacknow’s “ministry” he was often referred to as a “cult leader,” but cast himself as a “sinful messiah” and repeatedly exploited his female followers for sexual favors.

He also built lucrative businesses through the hard labor of his disciples, which eventually collapsed.

But it seems despite their leader’s death; Schacknow still has a faithful remnant that refuse to move on. And following in his footsteps they are apparently intent upon adding to the legacy of lunacy wrought by their “Jesus” from Brooklyn.

Groups like this often feed upon confrontation and claims of “persecution,” which bind members together and keep them dependent. The current activities probably reflect a desperate need to energize the flock.

Local ministers and church ushers in Connecticut are now watching theirs doors for the next uninvited “prophet.”