Anton Hein, a former US resident and registered sex offender with an outstanding warrant issued for his arrest runs a counter-cult Web site called “Apologetics Index” from Amsterdam.

Hein also runs the affiliated Web sites Cult FAQ and Religion News Blog.

Hein plead to the charge of a “lewd act upon a child” in 1994, served jail time and was given probation, but then violated the terms of his release.

A felony warrant (see Anton Willem Hein) was issued in 1996 and remains outstanding for his arrest without bail. Hein admits the likelihood that he will “never again be able to enter the USA.”

Anton Hein, California sex offender file photoMr. Hein is a registered sex offender in the State of California. His offense is described at that state’s official Web site as “lewd or lascivious acts with child under 14 years.”

Hein admits that the penal code states the offender must have the ”intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person or the child” and he says “that is what the plea bargain form reflects,” which he signed.

The minor child involved was Hein’s 13-year-old niece.

Hein, who is Dutch, married an American citizen and moved to California in 1979.

But the marriage ended in divorce shortly after he was charged as a sex offender.

Hein then returned to the Netherlands, ultimately violating the terms of his release, which required that he be supervised within the United States.

He married again in 2002, this time to an English citizen living in Amsterdam.

Hein says he operates an “independent, personal ministry” from “an orthodox, evangelical Christian point of view.” He also leads “an English-language house church” in Amsterdam called “Bethlehem.”

However, CultNews could not find any official recognition of Hein as a “minister,” other than his name listed as one of the “various ministers” that have “sexually abused children” at Reformation.com.

Hein’s father was a part-time “street preacher” and as a child he attended a “floating Sunday school” on a houseboat run by two evangelical American women in Amsterdam. After that he went on to become “involved with a variety of Christian ministries” including “Teen Challenge,” “Youth With a Mission” and the controversial “Vineyard Christian Fellowship.”

Today Hein largely targets Americans both through his Web site, which is in English and to attend his house church.

“Many people who visit us are…expats, tourists,” he says and they are often brought in through his Web site with an invitation to “a safe place to ‘park’ for a while.”

But is Anton Hein safe?

Not with minors according to the State of California Penal Code and the terms of his probation.

California law specifically states, “Sex offender registrants whose sex crime was against a victim under age 16 are prohibited by law from working, as an employee or volunteer, with minors…”

Despite his plea agreement though Hein insists he is “innocent.”

“As a result of my plea bargain, I spent six months in jail. Those who follow U.S. child abuse cases, real or alleged, know that is a very short period of time compared with the usual lengthy sentences.” And he claims that he “had no choice in that matter.”

It does appear that Hein got a good deal from the prosecutor given the serious nature of his offense. But the terms of his plea don’t negate it, they rather suggest the reason for his choice.

Mr. Hein was essentially forced to publicly explain his criminal record after some folks unhappy with his counter-cult work exposed it online through the Internet.

However, at times that posted response sounds more like an attempt to indict his victim and her family instead of an explanation. For example, he wants everyone to know that “the girl” (as he refers to his niece) was “sexually active” and given to “running away from home, smoking marijuana at school, and becoming promiscuous.”

But it wasn’t the girl who was charged and convicted of a sex crime it was Anton Hein.

Hein also notes “those who claim I fled ‘justice’ have not been paying attention.”

“Anyone who researches the U.S. justice system and the plea bargain approach knows the system’s shortcomings, and anyone who finds him or herself in a situation similar to mine will understand,” he concludes.

Perhaps this explains why Mr. Hein has devoted an entire subsection within his Web site to what he calls “America’s…human rights violations” and “faulty ‘justice’ system.”

Hein doesn’t appreciate the US judicial system, but he does want American dollars.

Mr. Hein says that he has been “declared 100% disabled…due to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” and that he “live[s] on disability pay.” He also solicits and receives gifts or “donations” from the United States.

Hein provides for overseas funds transfers at his Web site.

He states that his site is “nonprofit” and “not financially sponsored by any church, ministry, organization or individual. Therefore, the publishers of Apologetics Index rely on donations.”

However, he uses his Web site to sell advertising and once again the money appears to come largely from America.

Amazon.com, Google and other American companies currently pay Hein for ad space at his Web site.

He also quotes his own individual rates for running a single ad at $70 per week or $200.00 per month, three months runs $550.00.

Anton Hein doesn’t like to discuss his past and considers recent disclosures about him “propaganda.” He warns, “Only Satan and his ilk are interested in portraying sins – real or perceived…parading them as juicy bits of gossip, or using them in ad hominem attacks.”

Hein ultimately concludes, “I do not intend to engage such people in discussions on this issue…As a Christian I try to live my life in a way that is pleasing to God. When I fail, I confess my sins and know them to be forgiven.”

Maybe God has forgiven Anton Hein, but the United States and the State of California have not and there is nothing satanic about making such distinctions.

Note: At times Anton Hein has changed his posted public statements after they have been reviewed and/or criticized. CultNews has copied all the material from Mr. Hein’s Web site that is quoted within this article.

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Landmark Education, a privately owned for-profit company that sells controversial large group awareness training programs to the public, has sued the Rick A. Ross Institute (RRI) for more than one million dollars.

The lawsuit was filed in New Jersey and is currently moving forward within the court of federal Judge John Lifland (Civil Action No. 04-3022 (JCL)).

RRI is a non-profit tax-exempted charity devoted to providing educational information to the public about destructive cults, controversial groups and movements through the Internet.

RRI is one of the largest single resources regarding this subject area on the worldwide web today. More than 15,000 individual unique users visit its database daily. And the RRI Open Forum message board has more than 1,300 registered members.

The lawsuit recently filed by Landmark Education claims that information posted through the RRI archives about the private for-profit company constitutes “product disparagement” and represents “interference with [its] ongoing business relations.”

Landmark Education is certainly a big business; it has 58 offices in 26 countries. And boasts that “more than 125,000″ people participate in its programs annually, which represents millions of dollars in profits for its owners each year.

This litigation appears to be an effort by Landmark to purge critical information about the company from the Internet.

RRI has archived articles, documents and personal testimonies about Landmark, which features a course called “The Forum,” that was earlier offered by a previous incarnation of this business enterprise known as Erhard Seminar Training or “EST.”

The titular head of Landmark Education today is Harry Rosenberg, but it was his brother “Werner Erhard” previously known as Jack Rosenberg, a high school graduate and former used car and encyclopedia salesman, who created the seminar “technology” touted by the company.

EST, something of a craze in the 1970s, drew endorsements from celebrities such as sitcom star Valerie Harper (“Rhoda”) and singer John Denver.

Forbes Magazine dubbed Werner Erhard a “millionaire guru.”

But the programs Mr. Erhard devised were soon associated with and/or linked to “psychiatric disturbances” and “psychosis.” Amidst extensive and unfavorable media coverage he sold EST in 1991 to employees, who then formed the current company Landmark Education.

Landmark then agreed to pay substantial annual licensing fees to Werner Erhard for his so-called “technology.”

No peer reviewed scientific study has ever been published by an objective scientific or professional journal to substantiate that the programs offered by Landmark Education produce any meaningful measured results, though what can be seen as its “mass marathon training” remains controversial.

New Jersey attorney Peter L. Skolnik of the law firm Lowenstien Sandler located in Roseland, New Jersey has agreed to represent RRI pro-bono.

An answer to the Landmark lawsuit was filed on September 20, 2004.

Other lawsuits involving RRI include litigation filed by another seminar selling company in New York named NXIVM (not to be confused with the “purple pill” Nexium used to quell acid reflux).

NXIVM, also known as “Executive Success Programs” (ESP), after two losses in court hopes to appeal before the US Supreme Court. Like Landmark, NXIVM seeks to purge critical information about its business from the Internet.

RRI is represented pro-bono regarding the NXIVM case by Massachusetts attorney Douglas Brooks of the law firm Gilman & Pastor and Tom Gleason of the law firm Gleason, Dunn, Walsh & O’Shea, in Albany, New York.

Public Citizen, a nonprofit, advocacy organization with 160,000 members nationwide, is assisting Mr. Brooks and Mr. Gleason regarding the possible NXIVM appeal pending before the US Supreme Court.

In another interesting case a group called “The Gentle Wind Project” located in Kittery, Maine, which hawks “healing cards” for “suggested donations” allegedly based upon plans from outer space, sued RRI for stating it is a “rather odd group” and for providing a link to a website critical of the organization.

RRI is also represented pro-bono concerning this action by attorney Douglas Brooks and local counsel William Leete of the law firm Leete & Lemieux in Portland, Maine.

Despite legal threats and later lawsuits filed by Landmark, NXIVM and The Gentle Wind Project, RRI has refused to be intimidated and continues to provide historical, analytical and/or critical information about these groups and other controversial organizations to the general public through its Internet database.

I have previously personally withstood frivolous litigation regarding my professional comments and/or providing website information in other notable lawsuits.

The “Church of Immortal Consciousness” founded by Steven and Trina Kemp sued me in 1995.

Judy Hammond of “Pure Bride Ministries” sued me for $15 million dollars in 2001.

The Kemp lawsuit ended after an appeal to the US Supreme Court failed and I was awarded costs. Arizona attorneys Paul Eckstein and Daniel Barr of the law firm Brown & Bain represented me pro-bono in that case.

The Hammond lawsuit likewise ended in a dismissal only months after its filing. Florida attorney Robert Rivas represented me pro-bono.

RRI is listed immediately after Landmark’s own commercial website on Google and has prominent positions regarding searches for information abut NXIVM and The Gentle Wind Project.

In this “Information Age” the pubic increasingly has turned to the Internet for background about people, companies, organizations and movements.

The word “Google” has become a verb and is synonymous with this process—as Internet users frequently say, you can “Google” someone or something as a quick way to obtain whatever information is readily available.

Landmark Education, despite its name, seems intent upon making sure that essentially only self-serving promotional advertising and/or propaganda largely appears on the Internet about the company and its courses.

Landmark apparently hopes that it can somehow control its published history, either through legal threats and/or what can be seen as frivolous litigation.

However, instead the Landmark Education lawsuit is likely to become another landmark for freedom of information on the Internet.

Note: Cult expert Steven Hassan was also sued by the Gentle Wind Project. However, he was dropped from the suit after a negotiated settlement, which included him deleting all material and references to the group from his website.

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.

An apparent suicide took place almost one year ago directly linked to Executive Success Programs now known as NXIVM, a privately owned for-profit company that has been called a “cult.”

Kristin Marie Snyder was in the midst of her second 16-day “intensive” program through NXIVM in Alaska when she apparently took her own life on February 6, 2003.

Ms. Snyder had just turned 35.

The young woman was initially reported as missing, her truck was found abandoned at Millers Landing in Seward.

A note was found in the truck that said:

“I attended a course called Executive Success Programs [also known as] NXIVM based out of Anchorage, [Alaska] [and] Albany, [New York]. I was brainwashed [and] my emotional center of the brain was killed/turned off. I still have feeling in my external skin but my internal organs are rotting. Please contact my parents…if you find me or this note. I am sorry…I didn’t know I was already dead. May we persist into the future…No need to search for my body.”

An old kayak was missing from the landing and it is believed that Kristin drowned herself.

Authorities searched the waters for five days, but never recovered her body or the boat. The water in Resurrection Bay is glacier fed and extremely deep, it is doubtful that Kristin will ever be recovered.

Last month an application for a death certificate was submitted to Alaska authorities.

Kristin Snyder was an attractive young woman with a loving family and many friends. She was a self-employed environmental consultant, member of the Nordic Ski Patrol and an avid outdoorswoman. And according to her family had never experienced any psychiatric or emotional disorders.

A close friend, who attended the same ESP intensive, told CultNews that Kristin had discussed suicide several times that week and was implicit about her intention to kill herself the day she disappeared.

The same friend advised that this was reported repeatedly to NXIVM leaders, but their assessment was that the distressed young woman was merely attempting to manipulate people for attention.

No meaningful help was sought from a mental health professional and no referral made.

New York psychiatrist Carlos Rueda told Forbes Magazine and the Albany Times Union last year that he has treated three NXIVM students, one who experienced a psychotic episode and required hospitalization.

“I think that the stress and the way the courses are structured may make people who have a tendency to have a psychotic disorder have an acute episode,” Rueda said.

And the psychiatrist warned that NXIVM leaders weren’t prepared or certified to deal with the potential psychological problems that can surface during the training.

Carlos Rueda is the Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Our Lady of Mercy Hospital in New York City and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at New York Medical College in Valhalla, Westchester County.

Two other highly respected mental health professionals have also been critical of NXIVM and the potential consequences of participating in its programs.

Forensic psychiatrist John Hochman an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA wrote that NXIVM is “a kingdom…with psychological borders – influencing how…subjects spend their time, socialize, and think. Increasing involvement serves to…distance participants from their relationships in a manner that is slow and subtle, and thus not at all obvious to them.”

Clinical psychologist Paul Martin wrote two reports regarding NXIVM. He is the director of Wellspring Retreat, a licensed mental health facility for the rehabilitation of former cult members.

Martin recently testified as an expert witness on “cult brainwashing” in the trial of Lee Malvo, the so-called “D.C. sniper.” In his report about NXIVM the noted psychologist specifically compared “Robert Jay Lifton’s eight criteria of thought reform as applied to the Executive Success Programs.

Lifton, a renowned psychiatrist and Harvard Medical School professor, is the author of the seminal book Thought Reform and Psychology of Totalism.

“ESP has characteristics that are consistent with the themes of thought reform [often called ‘brainwashing'] Martin stated within a “A Critical Analysis of the Executive Success Programs.”

Some of the consequences the psychologist cited that might occur as a result of such a thought reform program are a “borderline psychotic state, split identity, fear, confusion, feeling…lonely and an inability to distinguish the real from the unreal.”

Martin also noted that thought reform victims might experience relief through “suicide.”

Kristin Snyder’s parents told CultNews, “We had serious concerns about her involvement with the group and about personality changes that we sensed in her after her first exposure to ESP…We attempted to dissuade her from attending again, but to no avail.”

Kristin lived in Anchorage, thousands of miles from her concerned family.

The Snyders researched NXIVM more in-depth recently through the Internet.

Kristin’s mother wrote, “We only recently became aware of your website, but from the beginning we were aware that controversy surrounded ESP. I wish we had known more a year ago when my husband and I were so terribly concerned about our daughter.”

Sadly, such in-depth analysis of NXIVM by mental health experts only began to appear publicly after Kristin Snyder’s untimely death.

In what seems to be an effort to suppress such information NXIVM filed lawsuits against doctors Hochman, Martin and the Ross Institute for publishing the cited reports on the Internet.

However, the judge denied NXIVM’s request for an injunction.

“Our hearts are broken, but we are also enraged that a group like this can legally peddle such destructive propaganda in America,” says Mrs. Snyder.

“Kris was a lovely and gifted young woman who loved life and had never before had any emotional instability, but her descent into mental illness was rapid and we believe that it was a direct result of the manipulation of her mind by…’Vanguard’ and his doctrine,” the Snyder family concluded.

“Vanguard” is the self-proclaimed title Keith Raniere, the creator of Executive Success Programs, has chosen for himself.

When asked about NXIVM causalities Raniere told the Schenectady Sunday Gazette that the number of people who have gripes with the program, he estimates at 1 percent, are disproportionately reported in comparison with the 99 percent who had a positive experience.

Such self-serving spin offers no solace to the Snyders.

It looks like Falun Gong networks its members for managed media events. The group, which has often been called a “cult,” staged such demonstrations recently in New York City.

One march took place in Flushing, NY and included group members that flew in from around the US and internationally, from as far away as Taiwan and Australia. They all pay their own expenses.

The same Falun Gong faithful often travel from protest to protest, which hardly seems spontaneous.

Instead, this appears to be orchestrated and carefully coordinated by a well-organized network of Falun Gong devotees, that have become very media savvy. And some must work closely with their leader Li Hongzhi, who lives in exile within the United States.

One demonstrator claimed, “We feel as though Chinese people in America have been subjected to propaganda of the Chinese government, saying Falun Gong is evil and practitioners of Falun Gong are crazy,” reports Fresh Meadows Times.

Hongzhi’s disciples handed out tracts while marching through Flushing and also while demonstrating at Times Square in Manhattan.

“We’re clarifying truth by just walking around,” one Falun Gong follower said.

That “truth” includes the claim made by Li Hongzhi, that there is a conspiracy concocted by alien beings from outer space for “embedding technology in human minds…[to] control thoughts.”

Don’t worry though, Hongzhi will supposedly save humanity. That is, those who listen to him and follow instructions.

One Falun Gong follower in Times Square said, “We build tolerance for our fellow man,” reported Newsday.

However, such “tolerance” should not include everyone, according to Hongzhi.

The Falun Gong leader preaches that “mixed-race people [are]…instruments of an alien plot to destroy humanity’s link to heaven.”

His view of homosexuals is even harsher. Hongzhi once stated publicly that gay people will be ”eliminated” by ”the gods.”

The Falun Gong founder, like most “cult” leaders, appears to cynically manipulate his followers.

He uses them to promote his own agenda, which ultimately includes recruitment and personal aggrandizement. And while his disciples may suffer and/or struggle, Hongzhi lives in relative comfort.

Devout Falun Gong’s believers have refused medical care due to their leader’s controversial teachings. This has resulted in suffering and death.

Some Falun Gong fanatics have chosen suicide by self-immolation, as a form of protest. A mother even set fire to her child. Falun Gong later claimed it had no responsibility in the tragedy.

These facts might prompt many Chinese and non-Chinese alike to say, “Falun Gong is evil and practitioners of Falun Gong are crazy.”

The devoted followers of a controversial guru in New York City are apparently engaged in an ongoing Internet spamming campaign.

Guru Sri Chinmoy, often called a “cult leader,” has been the subject of repeated allegations of abuse made by his former followers.

Most recently some say that the supposedly celibate spiritual leader exploited them sexually. This disturbing information has been posted on websites and within discussion groups.

But it seems that Chinmoy’s devotees, in an effort to suppress that information and/or anything critical about their beloved guru, are now spamming search engines and weblogs to swamp search results.

One blogger claimed, “This would appear to be a sinister cult organization abusing Weblogs.com to generate traffic for their propaganda.”

If you enter “Sri Chinmoy” on Google the result is largely a litany of “propaganda” links. This means that Web users will largely see what Chinmoy and his followers want seen.

The guru has a reputation as something of a narcissistic media hound and appears willing to pull almost any stunt to gain press attention. This has included outlandish claims, such as his ability to lift 200 sheep simultaneously.

But Mr. Chinmoy doesn’t like negative attention. So despite the growing presence of critical reports about him on the Internet, that information is seemingly being suppressed through the “sinister” use of spamming.

The guru once had a celebrity or two involved in his group, which included musician Carlos Santana.

But the multiple Grammy winner walked away and later said in a Rolling Stone interview, “Everything about [Chinmoy] turned to vinegar.” And added that after he left, the group became “vindictive.”

Well, it looks like the guru and his group are still “vindictive” and now they are turning out their “vinegar” on the Internet.

Apparently “cult apologists” are concerned about the Elizabeth Smart case. They seem to feel a need to dismiss any claims that the kidnap victim was “brainwashed.”

Veteran cult defenders James Richardson, H. Newton Malony and Nancy Ammerman, have all been quoted concerning the case.

Dick Anthony, another “cult apologist,” more recently weighed in.

The mainstream media apparently overlooked Anthony, who describes himself as a “forensic psychologist,” so he found another outlet for his opinions.

His commentary about Elizabeth Smart is now posted on the website CESNUR (“Center for Studies on New Religons”), run by Massimo Introvigne.

Introvigne is an interesting character and reportedly connected to a group that has been called a “cult.” The organization is named “Tradition, Family and Property” (TFP). Not surprisingly, Introvigne seems to be personally offended by the “C” word (“cult”) and the “B” word (“brainwashing”).

Within his treatise Anthony laments how the “proponents of brainwashing theory” are misleading the public by “asserting that Elizabeth Smart was brainwashed.”

According to Anthony that “theory” was “formulated by the American CIA as a propaganda device.”

Hmmm, was Elizabeth then somehow the most recent victim of a CIA conspiracy?

No.

Anthony speculates that due to Elizabeth’s “strict Mormon upbringing…[she] may actually have been predisposed to accepting the stern religious authority of the self-appointed prophet Brian David Mitchell.”

Does this mean the Mormon Church and/or her family not only somehow predisposed Elizabeth to embrace the bizarre beliefs of others without question, but also to not seek help or identify herself to authorities when kidnapped?

Anthony seems to think so.

He says, “Such offbeat theological worldviews allegedly primarily attract conversions from rebellious young persons from Mormon backgrounds.”

Despite his self-proclaimed title of “forensic psychologist,” Anthony doesn’t offer any factual “forensic” evidence. And he doesn’t really explain Elizabeth’s strange behavior. Instead, everything is attributed to her “totalistic personality,” which was apparently just waiting to be Mitchell’s next “conversion.”

The good doctor is less kind to 70s cult kidnap victim Patricia Hearst.

Anthony says, “There is good reason to think that her involvement in SLA [Symbionese Liberation Army] crimes was based upon a real conversion.”

He does admit Hearst was exposed to “indoctrination.”

But just like Elizabeth, Anthony claims the then 19-year-old Patty Hearst’s capitulation to her captors, was all about “the interaction of her pre-existing totalistic personality.”

Anthony gets a bit nasty bashing Hearst as a “rebellious” teenager who “…took psychedelic drugs” and was “dualistically divided between corrupt mainstream people and good counter-culture people and down-trodden minorities.”

Uh huh.

He concludes, “Hearst fit the profile of an ‘individual totalist’ prone to seeking for a totalitarian counter-cultural worldview.”

Huh?

Apparently, the SLA really didn’t need to violently abduct Hearst at gunpoint from her college campus or imprison the girl for months in a closet and brutally beat her. She was ready to accept their beliefs willingly, and all they needed to do was proselytize a bit to produce a “real conversion.”

Likewise, Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapping, months of confinement and her assault, did not contribute to her “brainwashing”—it’s that old “totalistic personality” ready for a “real conversion” once again.

In his latest foray in the realm of “forensic psychology” Anthony cites the “research” of a relatively small group of academics that share his views about “cults.”

He mentions the work of Stuart Wright, “Jim” James Richardson, Eileen Barker, H. Newton Maloney, Anson Shupe, David Bromley and Gordon Melton and of course his sponsor Massimo Introvigne.

However, all these “academics” are within the world of “cult apologists.”

In fact, Bromley, Melton, Maloney, Richardson and Wright have all been recommended as “religious resources” by the Church of Scientology.

Melton and Barker were funded by “cults” to produce books.

Anson Shupe was paid hefty fees by Scientology lawyers to become their “expert witness” about the “anti-cult movement.”

Benjamin Zablocki, Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University put it succinctly when he said, “The sociology of religion can no longer avoid the unpleasant ethical question of how to deal with the large sums of money being pumped into the field by the religious groups being studied… This is an issue that is slowly but surely building toward a public scandal. I do think there needs to be some more public accounting of where the money is coming from and what safeguards have been taken to assure that this money is not interfering with scientific objectivity.”

This brings us back to Dick Anthony.

Last year Anthony made $21,000.00 consulting on one civil case alone, without even appearing in court.

That case involved a wrongful death claim filed against Jehovah’s Witnesses and a “Bethelite” (full-time ministry worker) named Jordon Johnson in Connecticut, by John J. Coughlin, Jr., Administrator of the Estate of his mother Frances S. Coughlin .

Johnson killed Francis Coughlin in an automobile accident and was criminally convicted for manslaughter.

The Coughlin family sued both Johnson and the organization that controlled him, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, commonly called Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Dick Anthony was hired by the Watchtower Society as an “expert,” to assist them in their defense. And in the process was deposed under oath on October 11, 2002.

The man, who prides himself as a “scholar” and “academic” actually admitted that he hasn’t worked within an institution of higher learning (i.e. a university or college) for more than twenty years.

So how does Dick Anthony support himself?

He is “self-employed.” The name of his business is simply, “Dick Anthony, Ph.D.”

What does Dick Anthony Ph.D. do?

Dr. Anthony explains, “Probably two-thirds of my time to three-quarters of my time is spent writing for publication, and probably a quarter of my time to a third of my time is involved with participating in legal cases.”

Anthony’s writings are most often connected to defending “cults,” attacking the so-called “anti-cult movement” and/or the “proponents of the brainwashing theory.”

His work on “legal cases,” is as an “expert” hired by “cults,” or somehow as a “expert witness” in a related area of interest.

What this admission by Anthony means, is that he can easily be seen as a full-time professional “cult apologist,” who has no other means of meaningful income.

How much does he get paid?

Anthony stated for the record, “My fee for reviewing materials in my office is $350 an hour. And my fee for work outside my office is a flat fee of $3,500 a day plus expenses.”

Anthony admitted that he collected “$21,000″ on the Coughlin/Watchtower Society case alone. And that was without even appearing in court.

For his deposition of only a few hours, he was paid “$3,500.”

Who else besides Jehovah’s Witnesses is willing to pay such substantial fees?

Anthony listed some of his clients for the record. That list included the “Unification Church, the Hare Krishna movement…The Way International [and] Church of Scientology.”

All of these groups have been called “cults.”

But Dr. Anthony doesn’t like the “C” word, he prefers “nontraditional religions.”

On his list of “nontraditional religions” are the Branch Davidians, Unification Church and he says, “In the United States, the Catholic Church, well it’s definitely the largest nontraditional religion.”

Dr. Anthony belongs to a “nontraditional religion” himself.

Explaining his own background Anthony stated, “I’m a follower of Meher Baba” and a member of the “Meher Baba Lovers of Northern California.”

According to Jeffrey Hadden, a fellow “cult apologist” who is now deceased, Meher Baba and his followers believe that he was the “God incarnate” and the Avatar of the ‘dark or iron’ age, also called the Kali Yuga.”

Baba died in 1969. Gordon Melton says, “By loving Baba, Baba lovers can learn to love others. In the highest, most intense, state of love, Divine Love, the distinction between the lover and the beloved ceases and one attains union with God.”

Sound like a personality-driven group that would be perceived by many as a “cult”? Anthony would of course prefer the description “nontraditional religion.”

The good doctor calls himself a “forensic psychologist,” which supposedly means the application of medical facts to legal problems.

So what facts does Dick Anthony apply to resolve the legal cases he is paid to testify and/or consult about?

When asked what specific research he relied upon regarding the Coughlin case against Jehovah’s Witnesses Anthony replied that he would largely rely upon “a range of materials provided me by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

Did Dick Anthony have any experience as a psychologist helping Witnesses, “None as far as I know,” he said.

Anthony also openly admitted he had done no formal research or published any paper about Jehovah’s Witnesses.

So what facts or direct working experience would be applied or used as the basis for rendering his expert opinion?

Anthony said he would base his opinion largely on a “general knowledge of the sociology and psychology of religion.”

When pressed repeatedly during the deposition for something more specific and scientific Anthony cited, “The research of Rodney Stark…generally considered to be probably the leading expert on sects and cults.”

Stark like Anthony has received money from “cults” and has often been called an “apologist.” He is not “generally considered” a “leading expert” on the subject cited either.

Anthony later said he would rely on an article by his old friend “James Richardson [though he couldn't remember the title]…and…several articles by Catherine Wah [correct name actually Carolyn Wah].”

Carolyn Wah was the in-house attorney assigned to defend Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Coughlin case and a long-time “Bethelite” herself, working full-time at Watchtower headquarters.

Interestingly, it was Richardson who Anthony later admitted had referred him to the Witnesses for the job.

During his deposition Dick Anthony cited other legal cases he was working on at the time.

He claimed to be “a witness for the prosecution” in the criminal case against Winnfred Wright. Anthony said some of Wright’s followers were “claiming that they are innocent because they were brainwashed.”

This criminal case involved the starvation death of a 19-month-old boy.

Described as a “cult” by Associated Press, Anthony called the criminally destructive group a “little family.”

Apparently the judge didn’t agree with Anthony’s expert opinion. He ordered one of Wright’s followers released for “cult deprogramming” so she could “enter a treatment clinic for former cult members,” reported the Marin News.

Wright received the maximum sentence allowed.

Anthony also said he was advising “the Church of Scientology in Ireland…in Dublin.”

This is clearly a reference to a lawsuit filed against Scientology by Mary Johnson, a former Irish member who alleged “psychological and psychiatric injuries.” Anthony said, “I’ve had a number of conversations with [Scientology] about that.”

But despite those “conversations” Scientology decided pay off Johnson. And costs alone ran them more than a million.

And what about the Coughlin case?

After paying Anthony $21,000 in fees and on the first day of trial, the Jehovah’s Witnesses opted to settle too. They cut a check to the plaintiff for more than $1.5 million dollars. This was historically the largest settlement ever paid by the organization, which has been around for more than a century.

It seems Dr. Anthony doesn’t have a very good track record in the recent legal cases he has consulted on.

Perhaps Anthony himself explained this best during his deposition when he said, “It is the nature of pseudo-science…to pretend to certainty in interpreting situations where such certainty cannot possibly be based upon scientific knowledge. Such false claims of certain knowledge in the absence of a clear factual foundation for that knowledge are more characteristic of totalistic ideology than of genuine science.”

Indeed. So who really has a “totalistic personality” after all?

Dick Anthony seems not only a “pretend[er],” but as can be seen through the Coughlin case, he actually offers no directly applicable “scientific knowledge” or “clear factual foundation” to form his opinions.

Instead of applying medical facts and/or “genuine science” to resolve legal problems, this “forensic psychologist” seems to offer only “pseudo-science,” in an effort to please the “nontraditional religions,” who are paying clients and represent his predominant source of income.

Despite Anthony’s repeated failures he is still being paid $3,500 per day, which is not bad, or is it?

Note: Copies of the Dick Anthony deposition are available for an $18.00 tax-deductible donation to The Ross Institute

Long before the Raelian “cloning cult” garnered media coverage for its leader through publicity ploys, the devoted followers of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of Transcendental Meditation (TM) were at it.

Now it seems TMers are churning out one story after another in hot pursuit of publicity. This has included the creation of Maharishi money, peace palaces and even a country for the aging guru.

Former presidential candidate and Maharishi man John Haeglin pitched the latest hype.

Haeglin’s last effort at propaganda was trying to convince American voters he was a viable political candidate and not just a Maharishi sock puppet.

Now the supposed “political activist,” who is back at his day job as a professor at Maharishi U in Iowa, wants to go “political” again for the old man. His latest act of devotion will be to form a “peace government,” reports the Fairfield Ledger.

Haeglin says this government will promote, “the strategic application of meditation,” which is Maharishi-speak for more TM. And of course the guru immediately endorsed his disciple’s effort.

In another interesting TM development, the guru-controlled Iowa town “Vedic City” wants loan guarantees to build dormitories for 1,600 Indian immigrants, a likely source for cheap labor within the small community.

It’s interesting that probably the wealthiest guru in the world wants loan guarantees for cheap financing.

Maharishi may be 92, but the master hasn’t lost his TM touch—that is for generating money and attention.

Personality cults and Communism have historically often gone hand in hand–from Stalin to Mao.

Oddly, today the only remaining political legacy of Stalinism is not in Russia, but within North Korea under the regime of the “Great Leader” Kim Jong Il.

And now an interesting historical exhibit has opened at Moscow’s Museum of Russian Contemporary History, titled, “Stalin: Man and Symbol.”

This retrospective explores the strange phenomenon of Stalinism through its residue of artifacts and memorabilia, which fills two rooms, reports the London Telegraph.

Stalin died in 1953 after a reign of terror that lasted thirty years and in many ways paralleled the modern history of North Korea.

Millions of Russians died through Stalinist purges, forced labor, gulags and mass starvation. But all this took place while the evil despot was seen as a benign father figure of almost supernatural stature, as the artifacts now on exhibit attest to.

Sound like the “Great Leader“?

But today Russians overwhelmingly recognize the horrors of that era, though a small minority still long for the certainty that accompanied Stalin’s rule.

There were no loose ends or ambiguity in Stalin’s Russia. He was the “great leader” and seemed to have all the answers.

Looking back it was Stalin’s total control of Soviet society, which enabled the dictator to essentially “brainwash” his people.

Russians were kept ignorant and unable to obtain and asses the information necessary to think outside of the box Stalin constructed, then known as the Soviet Empire.

Today some in Russia fear that admiration for President Vladimir Putin might evolve into another “personality cult.” However, it is doubtful that he has the will or the infrastructure to implement such a reactionary change.

Plainly put, Putin probably couldn’t close the box again, even if he wanted to. Russia is now a far more open society.

Old pensioner’s fond memories of Stalin seems like a longing for childhood, when daddy told them stories, controlled their lives and provided for the necessities.

It is very difficult for a totalitarian state to make the transition, from a society built upon learned dependence and absolute authority, to one based instead on independence and the value of individual freedom. In a free society people are expected to think for themselves.

North Korea’s Stalin was ironically born in Russia and died in 1994. But unlike his Russian prototype he left behind a family dynasty. Now Korea’s second Stalin rules over a closed, controlled and isolated domain with another son and heir apparent in waiting.

The question is, how many “Great Leaders” can North Korea endure?

Hopefully, one-day North Korea like Russia, will have an exhibit rather than a ruler to reflect upon the meaning of its own personality cult.

The museum curator of the Stalin artifacts said, “The exhibition is supposed to show how far propaganda can carry people in the praise of one person.”

“I will kill you like an American Imperialist,” is a popular curse in North Korea. The people there are subjected to a barrage of constant anti-US propaganda in an effort to unify the country, often through hate of the outside world, reports Associated Press.

A South Korean fisherman who was kidnapped and spent 20 years in North Korea said, “It’s a daily fodder in North Korea. The first thing you hear when you wake up for the day is some form of diatribe against the Americans.”

A North Korean who defected in 1994 says, “If you rule a destitute country with a personality cult, you must present the people with something to hate. It’s brainwashing.”

Not unlike totalitarian dictators of the past who promoted cults of personality North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Il, known as “Dear One,” reinforces his control through fear and hate.

Like Hitler, Tojo and Mussolini, the original “Axis of Evil,” Kim Jung Il uses the requisite scapegoats, mythology, alleged conspiracies, grandiose pretension and xenophobia, to reinforce his rule.

North Korea, frequently described as a “Stalinist state,” follows that sorry chapter in Russian history closely too. Stalin was responsible for the deaths of millions of his countrymen and created an aura of almost supernatural power and mystique about him.

“Stalinism” was by definition personality-driven.

And just like Stalin the “Dear One” largely possesses the minds of his people by controlling all information within his country and virtually any contact with the outside world. Kim Jong Il has carefully crafted a worldview for North Koreans, which effectively excludes any objective accounts of history.

Hopefully, one day North Korea will follow Russian history one more step and eventually pull down the statues of the Stalinist demigods, who have brought that nation decades of needless misery.

But the pressing question now is what has the rest of the world learned from history about dealing with such tyrants?