As people become more aware of the bad behavior of Scientology through press reports, books and documentaries, some families and individuals directly affected by the organization may be asking, “How do I get someone out?”

Moreover, former members of Scientology struggling to unravel what they perceive as its embedded programming may be wondering, “How do I get rid of that leftover stuff?”

The answer can be summed up in one word — EDUCATION.

Rather than simply dismissing Scientologists as examples of “blind faith,” it’s far more useful understanding how they were blinded.

One of the largest online archives with a trove of historical articles, reports and documents about Scientology is the Cult Education Institute.

Psychologist Margaret Singer was stalked and harassed for decades by Scientology and other groups called “cults” due to her expertise and understanding of cultic manipulation. She wrote about an educational process proven to be quite helpful to current and former cult members. Singer explained, “Deprogramming is, providing members with information about the cult and showing them how their own decision making power had been taken away from them.”

An illustration of the process of deprogramming can be pictured by the action of the little dog Toto in the movie “Wizard of Oz.” In the climactic scene of the film classic Toto pulls back the curtain and exposes the man and machinations, behind the facade that is the mystical “Great Oz.” It is through this exposure that Dorothy and her companions realize they have been tricked and manipulated. They are then freed from their former fears about Oz.

ToTo pulls the curtain

Toto pulls the curtain

Today people can pull back the curtain on groups called “cults” like Scientology through research and study, which is made easier by the Web and information technology.

My recently published book “Cults Inside Out: How People Get In and Can Get Out” is a synthesis of this specific research from the fields of sociology and psychology that includes substantial historical information. All of this material is carefully footnoted and attributed.  There is also a very detailed, up-to-date and precise explanation of how deprogramming actually works illustrated vividly through case vignettes used as working examples. This book is based upon my more than 30 years of experience exploring the world of cults and facilitating hundreds of interventions to get people out of destructive cults. The book is being published in Mandarin for the Chinese market. The English version is now available on Amazon.com. Included are two chapters about Scientology. One about Scientology itself and another specifically detailing the deprogramming of a man who spent 27 years in the organization, but left through a family intervention.

Could Tom Cruise or John Travolta be successfully deprogrammed?

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise

Sadly this seems unlikely, because both of these movie stars have no one to get them out.

Deprogramming a current member of Scientology would depend upon the concern and support of family and friends.

Tom Cruise’s three ex-wives, Mimi Rogers, Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes, apparently have left Scientology. But it’s doubtful that any of them or Cruise’s family, who are Scientologists, would help to get him out.

John Travolta is a pitiful example of someone that seems too afraid to leave. It appears that Scientology knows most if not all of his secrets, which they accumulated by providing him with spiritual counseling services called “auditing.” Kelly Preston, Travolta’s wife, is a deeply devoted Scientologist. And John Travolta’s extended family seems unwilling and/or unable to do anything about his involvement with the group no matter how much bad press the purported “cult” receives.

Scientology can be very nasty when it comes to its treatment of ex-members, even Hollywood’s elite, just ask Paul Haggis, who was ostracized by his Scientology friends when he left.

John Travolta

John Travolta

But if John Travolta and Tom Cruise genuinely wanted to unravel the Scientology programming instilled in them through endless courses, training routines and auditing sessions, it could be done through the educational process known as deprogramming.

Cult interventions are done with the help of family of friends, much like an intervention to address concerns about drug or alcohol abuse.

What occurs in such an intervention is essentially a dialog or discussion. During this discussion those present offer their sincere impressions, first-hand observations and opinions about the group or leader that has drawn concern. My role during such an intervention is to facilitate and often lead the discussion to focus attention on specific points.

There are four basic blocks or areas of discussion essential for the completion of a potentially successful intervention.

The four blocks are:

  1. What is the nucleus for the definition of a destructive cult?
  2. How does the process of coercive persuasion or thought reform used to gain undue influence really work?
  3. What is the frequently hidden history of the group and/or leader that has drawn concern?
  4. What are the concerns of family or friends?

The nucleus for the definition of a destructive cult was identified by psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton in a paper published at Harvard University titled “Cult Formation.

Lifton says that cults can be identified by three primary characteristics:

  1. a charismatic leader who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose their power;
  2. a process [Lifton calls] coercive persuasion or thought reform;
  3. economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.

Rather than focusing on what the group believes an effective intervention instead must focus on how the group is structured and behaves.

That is, if it is structured like a destructive cult and behaves like a destructive cult, it may be a destructive cult.

For example, does Scientology acknowledge that its charismatic founder L. Ron Hubbard made mistakes? Do Scientologists today feel free to discuss the mistakes made by their current leader David Miscavige? If so, what mistakes specifically made by these men do Scientologists feel free to discuss?  Did Hubbard become an object of worship? Does David Miscavige today occupy the position of an absolute dictator? If this is not true what are the limits of Miscavige’s power over Scientology staff and what boundaries exist to limit his authority within Scientology?

Does Scientology practice thought reform or coercive persuasion to gain undue influence over its members?

This can be seen by comparing Scientology training, polices, practices, behavior and group dynamics to eight criteria that define a thought reform program as outlined by Robert Jay Lifton in his seminal book “Thought Reform and Psychology of Totalism.” Essentially, Lifton explained that if a group can substantially control whatever information and impressions enter into a person’s mind the group can largely control the individual. This includes the control of information, group behavior, emotional manipulation and ultimately the restriction of critical thinking.

How does Scientology do that?

This can be seen in part through the auditing process, which solicits confession, encourages suggestibility and engenders dependency upon the auditor and the organization to make value judgments, either directly or indirectly.  It is also evident in the control over personal associations accomplished by declaring someone a “Suppressive Person” (SP) and the practice of disconnection, which is cutting people off that Scientology has labeled as an SP. The label of SP itself can be seen as what Lifton calls “loaded language” used to inhibit critical thinking and restrict reflection?

Finally, does Scientology hurt people? The evidence mounting through personal injury lawsuits, bad press and now documentaries, is that Scientology has apparently hurt many people.

In a Scientology intervention it is important to examine the mythology that revolves around L. Ron Hubbard.

L. Ron Hubbard

L. Ron Hubbard

Hubbard often greatly exaggerated his accomplishments and Scientology has a penchant for spinning fanciful stories about him. In fact, Hubbard had a deeply troubled life filled with family turmoil and it seems mental illness. Reportedly he took an anti-anxiety drug Hydroxyzine (Vistaril); his assistants reportedly said that this was “only one of many psychiatric and pain medications Hubbard ingested over the years.”

This can be a curtain puller or reality check for many Scientologists. That is, the historical facts about the wizard of Scientology. According to a coroner’s report, Hubbard ingested drugs prohibited by the religion he created.

Would Tom Cruise take Vistaril? Would he recommend it to a friend suffering from stress and/or anxiety?

If the pseudo-science of Scientology calls its “technology” couldn’t clear its founder’s mind and save him from seeming insanity how can Scientology (per its mantra) “clear the planet”?

Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz

The book “Cults Inside Out” goes into all of this in far greater depth and detail chapter after chapter, explaining how groups called “cults” use deception and mind games to manipulate and control people.  The book can serve as an educational self-help guide to pull back the curtain on any cult scheme. It can assist concerned families to help loved ones out of a cultic situation. And it can also help cult victims sort through and clear the residue of cult involvement, which often can impede recovery from cults.

To my critics who have often called me a “dog feeding on my own vomit,” my hope is to be a dog like Toto. That is, by sharing the relevant research and my many years of experience through the book I might pull back the curtain a bit and contribute to the growing awareness about destructive cults. Margaret Singer once told me that the principle difference between a cult leader and a con man is that a con man typically runs his scam and moves on, but a cult leader may essentially run the same scam on many of the same people indefinitely.

Knowledge through specific education about destructive cults and how they work is the key to freedom from their undue influence and exploitation.

(Written by Rick Alan Ross)

Note: At the time I wrote the book Cults Inside Out: How People Get In and Can Get Out I had facilitated approximately 500 cult interventions. More than 70% on an average annually left the cult at the conclusion such intervention efforts. My book is the product of more than three decades of experience. I have also been qualified and testified as an expert witness regarding groups called “cults” (e.g. Scientology) in about 20 court proceedings across the United States, including United States Federal Court after a Daubert hearing.

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Cult watcher Steve Hassan is specifically recommending and promoting a fugitive sex offender through his Freedom of Mind website. Hassan recommends through numerous links, the website of convicted pedophile and wanted fugitive Anton Hein.

CultNews has previously reported about Anton Hein, who is a self-proclaimed expert and supposed lay minister. Hein runs a website called “Apologetics Index.”

Anton Hein pleaded guilty to sex charges in the United States that involved lewd behavior with his niece, a 13-year-old child. He served jail time in California before he was released on extended supervised probation. Hein violated his probation by leaving the US. He now lives in Amsterdam. A fugitive warrant has been issued and remains currently in effect for the immediate arrest of Anton Hein.

Hein now apparently makes a living from a combination of Dutch welfare benefits and revenue from online Google ads featured at his “counter-cult” website. Steve Hassan helps him by including numerous links to Hein’s site and apparent endorsements naming Hein as a credible resource.

Hein reciprocates by endorsing and promoting Hassan.

Anton Hein runs a group of websites including www.cultexperts.org, www.cultfaq, and he also controls religion news Twitter feed.

220px-steven_hassan_headshot_02Steve Hassan (photo left) says he is opposed to sexual abuse and is a supporter of the Child-Friendly Faith Project. Hassan states at his website that this is “focused on ending child abuse and neglect within religion affiliated groups by educating the public.” Hassan also is currently involved in an effort to end sexual exploitation through human trafficking.

However, Steve Hassan states, “I recommend subscribing to the free Religion News report, compiled by Anton Hein Apologetics Index.” And at the top of one page Hassan posts, “Click here to read a review of Releasing the Bonds on the Apologetics Index!”

Hassan literally linked to Hein

antonhein2How can Hassan on one hand be opposed to sexual abuse and exploitation and then on the other hand recommend a sexual predator convicted for abusing a child?

Hassan features links to Anton Hein’s website Apologetics Index at numerous pages within his site Freedom of Mind concerning various groups of interest such as the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, where he recommends Hein (1996 photo right) as a resource.

Steve Hassan features links to Hein’s website on no less than 38 pages at Freedom of Mind.

There is a connection bettween Hassan and Hein. That is, they each promote the others interests. Hassan promotes Hein by recommending him as a resource and providing links to his site, while Hein reciprocates by promoting Hassan.

It is understandable that someone like Anton Hein, seeking recognition and validation, would want to associate himself with professionals. This might appear to imbue him with an aura of credibility.

How can Steve Hassan credibly be fighting against the sexual abuse of children and the victims of human trafficking, while simultaneously promoting a convicted sexual predator?

Isn’t this just a bit inconsistent, hypocritical and/or unethical?

CultNews contacted Steve Hassan’s office by email and phone for comment. His office advised that Mr. Hassan was not immediately available to comment on this article.

Note: Some years ago upon discovering the fugitive status and detailed criminal record of Anton Hein the Cult Education Institute (CEI), formerly known as the Ross Institute of New Jersey, purged any links to Anton Hein’s website from its database. Since that time CEI and CultNews has endeavored to make Hein’s background more publicly known. This has been done through the CEI archives and CultNews reports. Anyone involved in cultic studies can readily discover Hein’s criminal history of child sexual abuse and know about his current fugitive status.

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Julaine Semanta Roy 85, the wife of Rama Behera later known as Rama Samanta Roy and then Avraham Cohen, died May 5th of this year. But her death was not reported until this month by The Shawano Leader.

Julaine Semanta Roy’s husband Rama Behera has historically been reported about by investigative journalists for many years. Behera has often been called a “cult” leader. He and his followers have been the subject of numerous media reports in Wisconsin and nationally. It seems that Rama Behera sought to escape his bad reputation by changing his name to Avraham Cohen and identifying himself as “Jewish.” Rama Behera moved to Maryland, where he became a member of Beth El Congregation in Baltimore.

The curious religious transformation of Rama Behera, who is of Indian descent, was the focus of a previous CultNews report some time ago. At that time Behera/Cohen was affiliated with Yeshivat Rambam, a Jewish day school in Baltimore, which has since closed.

The Shawano Leader reported that Behera/Cohen’s wife, like her husband, apparently went through a similar metamorphosis concerning her own identity. Born Julaine Smith, she became Julaine Semanta Roy and later was reportedly known as Sarah Steinberg and/or Sarah Cohen.

CultNews contacted Beth El Memorial Park cemetery in Randallstown, Maryland. Staff responding to the call confirmed that Behera/Cohen is a member of the Beth El Congregation and explained that though there is an Inter-faith section at the Beth El cemetery where non-Jews are buried, Julaine Semanta Roy was laid to rest in the Jewish portion of the graveyard.

rama3Behera/Cohen’s claim that he is somehow a Jew seems quite bizarre. The group Behera/Cohen led for decades was once called “The Disciples of the Lord Jesus,” which appears to make him a Christian. Past members of Behera/Cohen’s group say that he has a penchant for inconsistency. One former devotee told the press, “It doesn’t have to be logical, it doesn’t have to make sense; Rama [now known as Avraham Cohen] says so and that’s it.”

The choice of the names Avraham and Sarah Cohen by Rama Behera (photo left) the long-time “cult” leader is interesting. Apparently, continuing to see himself in grandiose terms, Behera chose the name Avraham (Abraham) the founder of Judaism and the corresponding name of Sarah the patriarch’s biblical spouse as the name for his own wife. The choice of the last name Cohen also has special significance. Cohen indicates a claim that a family are supposedly descendents of Aaron, the high priest and brother of Moses.

But is being a Jew just a claim anyone can make? Is it based upon name changes? Is this somehow enough to become officially recognized as Jewish? Maybe it’s enough for an old “cult” leader, but is it enough for Beth El Congregation and its cemetery?

CultNews contacted Senior Rabbi Steven Schwartz at Beth El to ask him how it is that Julaine Semanta Roy (aka Sarah Cohen) was allowed to be buried in the Jewish portion of the Beth El cemetery. CultNews asked Rabbi Schwartz very specifically that if to the best of his knowledge, Julaine Semanta Roy had undergone a ritual conversion per Jewish traditional law before being buried in the Beth El cemetery.

CultNews has received no response from Rabbi Schwartz.

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The Cult Education Institute (CEI) formerly known as the Ross Institute of New Jersey, has launched a completely redeveloped modern database.

The CEI archives includes more than 36,000 articles and documents in an online library organized through hundreds of subsections by group or topic of interest. There is also a virtual library listing relevant books in association with Amazon.com and one of the largest link collections now online about groups called “cults.”

The CEI site was first launched in 1996 and has grown from a modest website to one of the largest archives about destructive cults, controversial groups and movements accessible through the Internet.

There are also other sites online included under the CEI umbrella such as the Cult News Network, Cult News and the CEI message board. Taken together the CEI Web presence offers the general public a free interactive resource for research and study, which broadly encourages the sharing and networking of information for those concerned about cults and related topics of interest.

CEI is a nonprofit educational charity and a member of both the American Library Association and the New Jersey Library Association.

 

Today US District Court Judge Gene Carter dismissed a lawsuit filed in Maine by the Gentle Wind Project (GWP) against Rick Ross and the Rick A. Ross Institute For The Study of Destructive Cults, Controversial Groups and Movements (RI).

The judge also denied the plaintiff’s motion for any further discovery, effectively ending the litigation in Maine entirely regarding both this “cult watcher” and the nonprofit RI database.

Previously, Maine magistrate David Cohen recommended that the suit be dismissed and the presiding federal judge agreed, ruling swiftly.

Judge Carter also refused to hear any oral arguments on the matter.

GWP is a nonprofit charity run by John and Mary Miller of Kittery, Maine. The group holds seminars across the country and sells “healing instruments” for suggested donations reportedly ranging from $450 to upwards of $10,000. GWP claims that its instruments are based upon a healing technology that is supposedly channeled telepathically from “spirit world.”

Some time ago I called the group “rather odd” in a Flaming Website award, which was given after GWP published a rant about me at their Web site. That rant was prompted by a link posted at the RI Links page to a Web site launched by former members of the group James Bergin and his wife Judy Garvey, which is critical of the group.

The Garvey/Bergin Web site describes the healing tools as modern day “snake oil” and claims that the group manipulates its members. The couple left GWP about four years ago after a 17-year involvement.

GWP’s lawsuit initially included several defendants, now only two essentially remain, Ms. Garvey and Mr. Bergin.

One defendant Ian Mander of New Zealand did not respond to the legal action and has been declared in default. He continues to carry negative information about GWP with a link to the Garvey/Bergin site. Mander warns that GWP is an “extreme New Age group. Believed by many to be a…cult/scam.”

Other defendants in the lawsuit Steve Gamble and Ian Fraser negotiated a settlement, which restricted the content and meta tagging of their Web site, and included deleting their link to the Garvey/Bergin site. That settlement allows them to retain some information about GWP, but within certain guidelines.

One defendant dismissed from the suit through settlement, noted anti-cult professional Steven Hassan, has complied completely with GWP demands by deleting any and all information about the group from his Freedom of Mind Web site.

The remaining active defendants Bergin and Garvey also received good news today from the court; one of the primary counts against them was dismissed.

Since the filing of the lawsuit GWP has garnered increasing media attention, which has largely been critical of both the group and its products.

“Our concern is that they are scamming people by selling basically pieces of paper and plastic,” attorney Carl Starrett of the Special Investigations Agency of California told a San Diego news channel last year.

Starrett later said, “The whole thing is ludicrous. They’re bilking people.”

“It seems the Gentle Wind Project is selling what Health Canada considers ‘risk class 1′ devices, something the group is not allowed to do without a license” reported Now Magazine.

Robert Baratz, president of the National Council Against Health Fraud in the U.S. said that GWP’s scientific explanations of their instruments are “high-sounding phrases that mean nothing.”

While doing a story about the lawsuit a reporter for the Ellsworth American dug into the publicly accessible financial records of GWP.

The group’s latest IRS disclosure shows assets of $2,077,324 as of August 31, 2003, up from $1,918,205 the year before. Revenue for the 2002-03 fiscal year totaled $1,969,923, with expenses totaling $1,810,804.

Direct donations, accounted for $1,889,227 of revenues.

Expenses during the 2002-03 fiscal year included $1,015,899 for “program services.” The project spent $358,995 in compensation to officers and directors.

As president of the corporation, Mary Miller earned $71,799 during the 2002-03 fiscal year, the same salary as the corporation’s treasurer and clerk.

GWP also spent $379,845 for other salaries and wages. Expenses also included $43,474 for employee benefits and $176,072 for “supplies.”

The project’s books also show that gifts, grants and contributions collectively totaled $4,112,751 during the fiscal years that began in 1998 through 2001. Total revenue for that same period was $5,593,033.

One filing notes a $231,660 loan to a GWP employee who is the brother of a corporation officer. No purpose for the loan is listed.

The Attorney’s General office in Maine is reportedly “looking into” GWP.

According to court records GWP has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Prominent Massachusetts attorney Douglas Brooks who was generously assisted by local counsel William H. Leete Jr. of Portland, Maine represented the Ross Institute pro bono.

GWP’s current attorney Daniel Rosenthal seems unfazed by the group’s latest legal setbacks. “It streamlines things and creates a tighter focus,” he told the Portland Press Herald.

However, it seems like Gentle Wind has blown its situation badly through all its legal wrangling and would have been better off as a quiet breeze.

Singer Lauryn Hill sold millions of albums in the 1990s and won a Grammy. But the rapper and world class singer now seems more concerned with preaching than performing.

During a scheduled Christmas performance at the Vatican Hill blasted the Catholic Church reports the Anti-Music Network.

Reading a prepared statement Hill told the audience, “I’m not here to celebrate, like you, the birth of Christ, but to ask you why you are not in mourning for his death in this place.” She added “Holy God has witnessed the corruption of your leadership of the exploitation and abuses which are the minimum that can be said for the clergy.”

Hill then did a protest song, rather than the selection that was scheduled.

So what prompted the rapper to rap the church?

It seems Hill, like so many other celebrities, is under the spell of a charismatic leader.

She follows someone called “Brother Anthony” and the two are “inseparable” according to Rolling Stone.

The rapper reportedly often begins statements with “Brother Anthony says…”

“I met someone who has an understanding of the bible like no one else I ever met in my life. I just sat at [his] feet and ingested pure scripture for about a year,” Hill told MTV.

“It was like she was being brainwashed by this man, believing everything he was saying and tellin’ her what to do. I think he’s just looking at a cash cow,” observed a former Hill friend.

Like many people that have been recruited by groups called “cults” Lauryn Hill met Anthony at a vulnerable time in her life, after a series of personal and professional setbacks.

It seems likely that the speech Hill read at the Vatican was prepared under the influence of and/or scripted by the singer’s mentor. And rather than hearing from Hill the Vatican audience may have heard what “Brother Anthony says…”

The singer’s recent performance in Rome is unlikely to be heard by the Italian public on a coming radio broadcast and will probably be edited out.

No Grammy for this one Ms. Hill.

Yesterday the national television program Inside Edition ran a report about John Gray and his educational credentials.

During that interview Gray admitted that he has no accredited degree from any institution of higher learning.

The Ross Institute/CultNews was cited as a source and I commented within the broadcast.

Gray told Inside Edition, “I don’t need to put Ph.D. by my name I’m the most famous author in the world.”

It seems the “good doctor” may have overlooked a few other authors and that modesty was not something Gray learned at those unaccredited colleges he attended and/or corresponded with.

Gray insists, “I’m not a fraud.”

John Bear, Ph.D. (an accredited degree) is a top expert on correspondence schools. He told Inside Edition that Gray’s doctorate from an unaccredited school “holds a lot less weight” than one from an accredited institution, but that having it branded on all his books must have helped sales.

“People look for respectability. Would [Gray] reach [millions] in sales with the non-Ph.D.? I would guess not,” Bear said.

Immediately following the airing of the Inside Edition program email started flowing to CultNews from Gray’s fans, though some seemed more like the cult followers of a charismatic leader, rather than people receiving advice from a supposed relationship expert.

Here are some excerpted examples:

“I was appalled to see your ‘judgement’ of Dr. Gray on Inside Edition tonight based on his degrees… he does have all three, a [Bachelors], [Masters] Ph.D., no matter what the accreditation issues are to date. A degree does NOT qualify intelligence. Are you next going to bash Bill Gates for his lack of credibility in growing a very successful business? Mr. Gates has NO degrees, along with many intelligent leaders of yesterday and today who have contributed so much to society. I have personally spoken to people with Ivy League degrees who have no common sense at all!”

However, Bill Gates did not base his career on essentially misleading credentials like John Gray, who constantly uses the moniker, advice from “Dr. Gray.”

The impression Mr. Gray sought to make, was that whatever philosophy he promoted, it was coming from a highly trained and degreed professional in the area of marriage and family counseling.

In every bio or introduction, it was always “Dr. John Gray,” John Gray, Ph.D. etc.

He also became a professional member of the American Counseling Association (ACA), even though he did not meet their minimum educational requirements.

Perhaps Mr. Gray should have promoted himself as simply “John Gray a man with ‘common sense’ and a high school education.” Though as Dr. Bear points out this probably would not have been as effective for the marketing of his books.

Another viewer wrote, “I was outraged at your daring stupidity to talk about something you have no idea what you are talking about in Inside Edition and through your nasty website…There are very few people in this world who have been able to do what John Gray has done for the benefit of others in the history of this world…The greatest people in this world never held a degree, Jesus Christ, being the greatest of all…John Gray has accomplished what he has accomplished, meaning his capacity to lift and help human kind, not because he has or does not have a stinking degree. The degree is totally irrelevant. John Gray developed, through divine intervention, a new science, a new understanding, an understanding of the human soul to help us live in peace and harmony.”

“Jesus Christ…[and] divine intervention”?

It seems like this viewer has elevated Gray to the status of a “Sacred Science,” which cannot be questioned.

However, “Dr. Gray” emphatically insists upon his titled prefix and uses it constantly, so apparently he doesn’t think it’s “totally irrelevant.”

There were also numerous personal attacks, following the old axiom “if you don’t like the message kill the messenger.”

Here are a few:

“What degree do you hold? How many people have you affected for good in this world? You are no match to John Gray.”

“You are very jealous, get over it. John Gray is better than you are.”

“Why do you feel comfortable applying such standards to everyone but yourself. I am also curious how you can reconcile your finger pointing with the [Jewish] law of lashon hora [gossip].”

I have never attended college.

My bio linked from CultNews states my education plainly as does the CV posted at the Ross Institute (RI).

Clearly the impression John Gray sought to make was that whatever philosophy he promoted, it was something coming from a highly trained and educated professional. Subsequently, it is certainly not “gossip” to report about Mr. Gray’s lack of accredited degrees.

The area of marriage and family counseling is a field typically populated by state licensed professionals. Ironically, John Gray insists upon licensed mental health professionals for his own Mars/Venus counseling centers.

The following comments came in from someone who had a more personal experience with John Gray:

“I was a…repair technician and went to ‘Dr. Gray’s’ house…I…had no idea that I was going to THE Dr. Gray’s house. I…[was] there for about one hour and 15 minutes…During that time He parked his car…in such a way that blocked my car. He seemed pissed when he had to go outside and move his car. I remember that. I overall didn’t like him…He had an assistant that he seemed to treat rudely…The guy is kind of a jerk, if you ask me!”

The fictional hero created by author J.K. Rowling continues to be a “whipping boy” for religious fanatics worldwide.

This past Sunday members of the “Jesus Non-denominational Church” of Greenville, Michigan burned copies of Harry Potter along with other damned books at a church bonfire reported Associated Press.

Like Germans under Nazi rule these zealots were led to believe that evil can be spread easily through inanimate objects like reading material.

The Nazis liked to condemn art too and they staged more than a few book burnings.

Church members in Michigan shouted “Hallelujah,” “Thank you, God” and “Burn, devil, burn” as the tomes turned to cinders and some CDs sizzled.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, other fanatics picked up on the same theme.

“The Harry Potter books are evil. They teach sorcery and run counter to the Bible,” proclaimed Ling-Leung Church preachers in Taiwan as reported by CNN.

Like their fellow fanatics in America the Taiwanese church members managed to burn some books too.

Meanwhile the latest installment of Harry Potter has sold 1.8 million copies in Taiwan alone. And the author has repeatedly stated publicly that she is not interested in promoting witchcraft, which she doesn’t even believe in personally.

Magic or sorcery in the Potter books is obviously only a theme utilized as a vehicle for fantasy.

Nevertheless a church leader in Michigan warned about allowing “Satan to take the minds of our children.”

But isn’t bad behavior or evil more likely to come forth from a mindset built upon unreasonable fear, paranoid suspicion and hysteria?

A controversial conservative Catholic organization called the Legionaries of Christ founded by a Mexican priest accused of sexual misconduct, appears to have some influence over the family of the President of Mexico , reports Newsweek.

The second wife of President Vicente Fox has historic ties to the group and two of his children have attended its schools.

Former members allege the group is excessively authoritarian and abusively controlling.

The Legionaries of Christ control 10 universities and 154 private schools.

Critics claim the group often seizes control of such institutions in what can be seen as a somewhat hostile take over process, purging those who don’t hold to their strict view of Catholicism and harsh style of governance.

There have been repeated and serious complaints within the United States by lay Catholics, priests and educators regarding the organization.

Recent defectors from a controversial Chilean group, which has been called a “cult,” offered shocking accounts of their existence within the tightly controlled community, reports Knight Ridder Tribune.

Life within the collective commune known as Colonia Dignidad is harsh. Leaders expect hard labor and exercise total control, confided “cult” escapees. They fled to freedom with nothing, but the clothes on their backs.

However, Colonia Dignidad itself is rich.

The commune consists of 70 square miles, which includes forest and 37,000 acres under cultivation. Its assets have been valued at $5 billion.

A Nazi and former Baptist preacher created this veritable “cult” empire. Founder Paul Schaefer, fled Germany for Chile in 1961 amidst charges of sexually abusing orphan boys.

Schaefer apparently continued his predatory ways inside the Chilean “cult” kingdom he established. The leader supposedly disappeared in 1996, while under investigation for 27 child abuse charges. Schaeffer would now be in his eighties.

More than 70 criminal investigations remain pending against Colonia Dignidad.

However, it seems authorities are afraid to seriously pursue and/or confront the “cult.”

The community has its own laws and security forces. It was rumored to have sinister connections to the regime of former Chilean dictator Pinochet.

A recent refugee from the group said, “There are more people who still want to get out.” But it is doubtful anything will be done to rescue them.

An American tourist disappeared, while hiking near Colonia Dignidad in 1985. He is believed dead, reportedly “executed” as a “Jewish spy,” by members of the group.

Colonia Dignidad appears to be a stark example of what can happen when a “cult” becomes so powerful it can seemingly make its own law, with little if any meaningful accountability to the government.