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A court in a Moscow suburb has banned works by the founder of the Church of Scientology, officials said Thursday.

The Shchyolkovo court ruled that “What is Scientology?” and other books by L. Ron Hubbard “contain calls for extremist activities,” the Prosecutor General’s office said in a statement.

It said that once the court decision comes into force, scientology books will be put on the federal list of extremist materials banned for release throughout Russia. The court made the ruling following a request by local prosecutors.

Attempts by Russian authorities to ban Scientology literature have been overturned recently. In May, the Russian Justice Ministry removed Hubbard’s books from the list of banned literature after a decision by a court in Siberia was overturned.

Scientology officials said they would protest the latest court decision.

“There have been many legal violations, the case is unfounded and the trial was hasty,” the group’s attorney Sergei Korzikov told The Associated Press. “We could not defend our legal interests.”

The group’s spokesman in Russia, Yuri Maximov, said that Russia is home to “tens of thousands” of Scientology devotees. Russian media have claimed that some powerful businessmen and officials are among Scientology adepts.

Russia’s dominant Orthodox Church has denounced Scientology as a “totalitarian sect,” and the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Moscow city authorities infringed on the group’s rights by repeatedly refusing to register it. In 2007 and 2009 the Strasbourg-based court issued decisions upholding the rights of Russian Scientologists to practice their religion free from unlawful government interference.

Hubbard, a science fiction writer, founded the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology in 1954. It teaches that technology can expand the mind and help solve problems.

The group claims 10 million members around the world, including film stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

Scientologists say that there are more than 280 million copies of Hubbard’s books distributed around the world.

Belgium, Germany and other European countries have been criticized by the U.S. State Department for labeling Scientology as a cult or sect and enacting laws to restrict its operations and monitor its activities.

Original text from: http://www.facts.org.cn/Reports/World/201108/t133312.htm

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Seven members of a supposed Durham-based cult known as the “Black Hebrews” have been indicted on charges involving the deaths of 5-year-old Jadon Tyrell James Higganbothan and 29-year-old Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy.

The two victims had been missing for months before their decomposed remains were found in early June behind a 2622 Ashe St. home in East Durham.

Authorities allege the two were shot to death.

The grand jury has indicted the following Black Hebrews members on a variety of charges:

– Pete Lucas Moses Jr. — indicted for two counts of murder.

– P. Leonard Moses — indicted for accessory after the fact to the first-degree murder of Antoinetta McKoy.

– Shelia Moses — indicted for accessory after the fact to the first-degree murder of Antoinetta McKoy.

– Vania Rae Sisk — indicted for murder and indicted for accessory after the fact to the murder of Jadon Tyrell James Higganbothan.

– LaRhonda Renee Smith — indicted for murder; indicted for accessory after the fact to the murder of Jadon Tyrell James Higganbothan; indicted for felony breaking or entering and larceny after breaking or entering.

– Lavada Quinzetta Harris — indicted for murder; indicted for accessory after the fact to the murder of Jadon Tyrell James Higganbothan.

– Sheilda Evelyn Harris — indicted for accessory after the fact to the first-degree murder of Antoinetta McKoy.

Sisk is the mother of the slain boy. Pete Lucas Moses Jr. is the reported leader of the Black Hebrews.

McKoy and Jadon lived in a home at 2109 Pear Tree Lane with other members of the Black Hebrews before their disappearances.

In an affidavit for a search warrant filed earlier this year by the Teller County (Colo.) Sheriff’s Office, a detective said he was told that Sisk had left Durham with a group of Black Hebrews followers and headed to Colorado with only three of her four children.

Investigators searched the home where Sisk was staying in Colorado and couldn’t find Jadon. Social services took custody of 10 children at the Colorado home, including three of Sisk’s children.

According to the affidavit, Durham investigators said their information came from a confidential informant — a former member of the Black Hebrews — who had reportedly escaped from the group.

The informant said Jadon was shot by a member of the group in October, wrapped in plastic, put in a suitcase and placed into an attic in the house.

The report said the body began to smell and was later removed.

The affidavit quoted an informant as saying that in February, McKoy, got into an argument with a member of the Black Hebrews over car keys that could not be found. McKoy ran out of the house, flagged down a female passer-by and requested help. She got into the car and two women from the home came out and told the passerby that everything was OK and escorted McKoy back to the home.

According to the affidavit, a member of the group gave a woman in the house a 9mm handgun and told her to watch McKoy. He returned later and told her to shoot McKoy, which she did. The man then helped both women remove McKoy’s body from the house and buried her.

Original text from: http://www.facts.org.cn/Reports/World/201108/t132847.htm

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Cult leader held

AN Australian national wanted for charges ranging from tax evasion and assault to illegal possession of firearms and explosives has been taken into the custody of Immigration authorities.

Agape Ministries pastor Rocco Leo Agape was caught on Sunday, June 19 after a combined raid by the police, Transitional Crime Unit and the Department of Immigration.

The leader of the controversial Agape Ministries, which Australian authorities have described as a doomsday-type cult, is also said to have tried to hide AUD$5million (FJ$9.3m) hours before his financial assets were frozen.

Arms and explosives were also found in containers linked to the group as well as on its properties with relatives of members with children expressing concerns over their wellbeing.

After more than a year on the run from Australian authorities, Mr Agape, who had also been sighted in Vanuatu, was caught at Tiri Villas in Deuba.

Mr Agape, whom director of immigration Major Nemani Vuniwaqa confirmed entered the country last month, was apprehended along with a female.

Major Vuniwaqa said: “The pair are being detained for overstaying their visitors’ permits along with a third male who arrived in the country with the pair last year.

“The third individual handed himself to the authorities at around midday on Tuesday.”

Investigations into the trio’s whereabouts and activities over the past 12 months continue.

Original text from:
http://www.facts.org.cn/Reports/World/201107/t131924.htm

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End Time Tome

SIOUX FALLS, SD – A South Dakota legislator has begun writing a book that tells a painful story of when faith turns into fanaticism.
State Senator Joni Cutler of Sioux Falls spent several years as a member of the End Time Ministries. She hopes her book exposes the dangers that religious cults pose to people seeking spiritual meaning in their lives.
Like most authors, Cutler often straddles a literary middle ground between the free-flow of words and writer’s block.
“I sit down with my computer and it’s easy to get to it. Other times, I know what to say, but I struggle saying it,” Cutler said.
Cutler’s book recounts a painful time in her past.
“Some people say, well, I had a bad day. Well, I know when I left, I pretty much had a bad decade,” Cutler said.
Cutler is referring to the 13-years she spent as a member of the Florida-based religious cult, End Time Ministries.
“When we use the word cult, that’s a very loaded word. People immediately conjure a certain type of cult in mind,” Cutler said.
As an idealistic teenager, Cutler joined End Time Ministries hoping to find spiritual direction in her young life. But she and many other members, got much more than than they bargained for.
“I had not only my own tragedy that was never really resolved, but I saw a lot of pain and suffering of young women,” Cutler said.
End Timers shun doctor’s offices in favor of faith healing. And that firm belief in a healing power beyond the scope of conventional medicine had tragic results for Cutler when she became a new mom.
“My first daughter was born prematurely with no medical care and she died of untreated pneumonia and so that’s very difficult,” Cutler said.
Cutler says the mind-control exerted by End Time Ministries influenced every aspect of members’ lives; from what they should think, to what they should wear. Cutler left End Time Ministries in 1986 and over the years has spoken out publicly against the psychological and physical harm that cults bring upon their followers. Her book will become a new platform for her to reach an even wider audience.
“It covers kind of the major human themes in life, the search for spirituality and religion’s role in all of that. Belief, faith, family,” Cutler said.
Cutler finds writing some passages emotionally-healing.
“It’s been an interesting journey back into my past,” Cutler said.
But other times, dredging up painful memories becomes too difficult to put into words.
“It definitely takes me into places that I’ve put behind me. Sometimes I choose not to write about some of those things, and other times, I think it’s important to include some of those experiences,” Cutler said.
Even though Cutler left the End Time Ministries 25-years ago, on occasion, she’ll hear a voice from the past that’s breaking a quarter-century of silence.
“Yes, Joni, I have a word from the Lord for you…”
Cutler is troubled by this message invoking God’s will left on her voice mail earlier this month.
“To have complete strangers find me and leave anonymous message that are meant to be messages from God to me, that concerns me,” Cutler said.
Culter says religious cults are just as active today as they were decades ago. Only now they have the power of the Internet and social media to spread their misguided messages.
“In fact, I think people try to be the most fanatical they can be in selling a conviction,” Cutler said.
Cutler hopes her book will show the redemptive power of rejecting a dangerous theology while giving this first-time author the final word on End Time.
“Sometimes choices in life can be painful, sometimes you have to lose a lot to gain what it is you want,” Cutler said.
A former publisher of a Florida newspaper that covered the End Time saga encouraged Cutler to write her book. She expects to finish her yet-to-be-titled work in about a year. She’s also shopping around for a publisher.

Original text from: http://www.keloland.com/News/NewsDetail6373.cfm?Id=116871

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The Chennai Police has started a probe into the activities of a yoga center, which was teaching tantric yoga for enhanced sexual life.

A group of foreigners, who were running the centre, have gone missing. But just a few days before police laid their hands on centre, Headlines Today went undercover to a camp organized by the group.

The so-called yoga cult, Misa-satya, has been operating in Chennai for two years. But now, it has run into rough weather with the allegation being levelled that it indulges in distribution of pornographic material by mixing yoga with sex. But that’s not all. Its Romanian instructors are accused of running a business, while in India on a tourist visa.

Hindu Makkal Katchi’s Kannan says, “The instructors in this yoga center have acted in pornography. The instructors have come in tourist visas. They can’t indulge in any activities like this.”
The instructors, Mihai Stoain and Adina Stoain, went missing after the immigration department sought a report from the Chennai Police, but not before Headlines Today caprtured the truth of their operations on camera.

Mihai Stoain, lead instructor at Misa, says, “We are going to explain, co-relate and give practical elements on hormonal part of the body. We aim to improve your sexual and emotional life through yoga.”

After Mihai, Adina, and five other foreign nationals went underground, their organisation issued a statement. It says: The teachings in Chockalingam Nagar are a sharing of knowledge. The teachers perform the teachings completely voluntarily without earning any money. All the teachers have internationally recognized certifications, teaching from one of the best structured and comprehensive yoga curricula.

What goes here

What is it that exactly went on in the name of tantric yoga at the Misa camp in Chennai? The innocuous building in the heart of Chennai is actually the site where a group of foreigners taught tantric yoga. The sessions were held till a few weeks ago – that is when Headlines Today went undercover to expose what went on at the camp.

When the reporter went inside, she saw that lead couple, Mihai and Adina, were teaching exercises, giving lectures and screening movies on improving sex lives of couples. In fact, they’ve brought in Misa, which is a European cult, to India. Interestingly, Mihai and Adina have acted in a porn film as well.

Only a select group is allowed inside. The instructor, Immanuel, gave the details: “Here the erotic part is taught. In order to learn to control your energy, you need exercises that will help you. For instance for men to control ejaculation, we teach how to train yogic exercises. It is a mixture of erotic and spirituality. We even show movies.”

He also said that pornographic films were shown at the centre. “Students of school made those pornography movies. But they are very nice erotic movies and educational. Tantric is about the images to love. People of all age groups and nationalities attend the camp,” says Immanuel.

“I am a foreigner living in Delhi. I have come here for the camp,” says a girl. “The camp taught what women can aspire and what men can aspire,” she says.

Experts dismiss the claims that it can improve sex lives of couples. Sexologist Dr Narayana Reddy says, “These camps are not going to help anybody. I personally think they are exploiting ignorant people by promising them nirvana or sexual bliss.”

Yoga practitioners too are outraged. Niranjan of Bharath Swabhiman says, anything like this is destroying Indian culture.

Tantric love and yoga are not new to Indian culture, but exhibiting it explicitly in these camps has shocked people in conservative Chennai.

(India Today, June 14, 2011)

Original text from: http://www.facts.org.cn/Data/01/201107/t131076.htm

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Audiences might get more than they bargained for in a show by Shen Yun Performing Arts, now at the Civic Opera House in Chicago through Sunday, April 24.

The New York-based nonprofit organization has three companies touring the world, each dedicated to preserving and presenting aspects of classical Chinese dance and culture via lavishly costumed revues. Hence the many geometrically sparkly sequences celebrating ethnic folk dances or humorous story vignettes drawn from Chinese legends and literature in a Shen Yun performance.

But mixed in with all the cheerily choreographed numbers are a few pantomimed numbers that are highly critical of China’s internationally condemned record on religious freedom and human rights. These protest numbers, along with operatically sung Chinese songs filled with religiously tinged lyrics, quickly make it apparent that Shen Yun also uses its performing arts platform to preach on behalf of followers of Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong).

This explains why Shen Yun Performing Arts has been denounced by Communist Chinese officials. It’s also no surprise that Shen Yun has been barred from performing in China (a scheduled 2010 performance in the more autonomous Hong Kong was canceled at the last minute).

Now, any patriotic American who prizes Constitutional principles surrounding freedom of religion will surely be on the side of Shen Yun to advocate for spiritual freedom in China via its highly polished performances.

But these protest numbers (invariably showing persecuted or murdered Falun Dafa followers ascending to become spiritual martyrs on the projected video backdrop) come off as jarring in the context of all the sunnier sequences. Even worse on an artistic level, they feature subpar choreography not up to the standards of the other dance sequences.

These wordless protest numbers are also melodramatically simplistic (which could do with Shen Yun’s need to easily advocate to an international audience). But these brief numbers are so basic with their morality that they unfortunately bring to mind the infamous model operas and ballets of China’s Cultural Revolution (just mentally replace the spiritual Falun Dafa book in the sequences with a little red book written by the late Chairman Mao Zedong and you’ll be unsettled by the parallels in dramatic presentation).

Linking all the numbers together are two narrators, Kelly Wen and Jared Madsen, who provide commentary in both English and Mandarin Chinese. Sometimes you wish they could deliver more cultural context to the dance sequences, while other times you wish they didn’t attempt any humor in their banter.

But aside from these quibbles about foisted religiosity and strained humorous narration, Shen Yun Performing Arts does put on quite an impressive spectacle when it sticks to the elaborately choreographed classical Chinese dance numbers. And befitting the opera house setting, Shen Yun also features classically trained singers (soprano Haolan Geng particularly stood out) with grand piano accompaniment.

The blended live orchestra featuring Asian and European instruments is definitely a luxury. It’s also very symbolic of how Shen Yun Performing Arts is reaching out to a global audience to advocate on its behalf for religious freedom. My only wish is that Shen Yun would be more upfront in its advertising about its unabashed proselytizing amid all the dazzling dance performances.

text from: http://english.kaiwind.com/Reports/World/201105/t128048.htm

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Han Xianzhi

My name is Han Xianzhi, and I am 75 years old, a villager from Xitian Village, Yuecun Town, Hualong District of Puyang City, Henan Province. And now I am living with my son and my daughter-in-law. In the spring of 1997, I was obsessed with Falun Gong and asked my husband Lu Shoucai to learn cultivation from me. When he fell ill, I prohibited him from seeing a doctor or taking medicine, causing his death at the age of just over 60.

In the summer of 1996, when we had just gathered in the wheat, my husband felt dizzy and complained of a headache, and later on was diagnosed as hypertension by the hospital after medical examination. However, the doctor said it not a serious case. And my husband’s blood pressure would be lowered so long as he took medicine on time each day. At that time, our son and daughter-in-law worked out of Henan, so my husband and I had to take care of our grandson at home. In 1997, our grandson passed an entrance examination for junior middle school, and was admitted to a boarding school in the city. So my husband and I suddenly became people who enjoyed abundant leisure.

One day I went to my grandson’s school bringing some clothes for him. When I passed through the Cultural Palace on my way back home, I saw two elderly teaching people Gong exercise. Some of them told me: what they were learning was called “Falun Gong,” a wonderful exercise which enabled people to keep fit while helping them to cure the disease if ill. More marvelously, if one kept practicing it for a long period of time, he could even cultivate into “a Buddha.” You know, I was rather old and had a lot of work to do in the field, then I often had a sore waist and an aching back those days. So my interest was immediately aroused by their words. I told myself, “Since I have nothing to do at present, why don’t have a try? Just regard it as a body exercise.” And I learned to practice Falun Gong from them and did cultivation together with other practitioners ever since.

Since then, I went to the city and participated their “collective practicing” on Sundays. At the same time, I got acquainted with many practitioners there. As I was unable to read or write, I had to ask them for help both in understanding Falun Gong’s “theory” and in following exercise postures. By and by, I was really fascinated by the “Heavenly World” they described: no pains or bothers, every one lived a carefree life and enjoyed themselves, and everything there was made of shining gold… I said to myself, “How wonderful if some day I could reach Consummation and ascend to the Heavenly World.”

Two months after I started practicing Falun Gong, I found with joy that all my old troubles had disappeared including the sore waist and aching back. And this made me even more confident that I could obtain Consummation through intensive cultivation. I said to my husband and son, “As you can see, my old discomforts have gone to Java, and I am hale and hearty. You know what? That’s because I have been practicing Falun Gong these days. Do not spend money seeing a doctor or taking medicine if you are ill. Just follow me and practice Falun Gong.”

Ever since my husband was hospitalized for hypertension, he had been always taking hypertension pills to control his blood pressure. As my cultivation had brought about desired effects, I began to peddle Li Hongzhi’s “Karma-removing theory” and asked my husband to stop taking medicine. “Now listen to me, you old chap,” I told my husband, “falling ill means you have accumulated too much Karma, and taking medicine would only press Karma back into your body — it can not pull off the roots of your disease. Yet practicing Falun Gong can remove the Karma and naturally it can cure your illness.” Since then I concentrated myself on cultivation, and placed all the hopes on Falun Gong. In the past, I used to fetch hot water and urge my husband to take medicine every day. But after practicing Falun Gong, I forced him to stop taking medicine, and urged him to follow my example. Giving in to my request and endless chattering, my husband ceased taking hypertension pills. In stead, he sat down and meditated beside me.

However, just a few days after my husband gave up medicine, he was suffering from a headache and dizziness again. Just returning home, my son secretly persuaded his father to take hypertension pills after finding out what’s what. But soon I discovered his “tricks”. I reprimanded my husband angrily, “Master Li has told us so many times! To do cultivation, you have to keep your whole mind on it. Never go to see a doctor or take medicine. Otherwise, it is impossible to obtain Consummation.” My son refuted, “Stop being a blunder, mother. If illness could be cured without doctor or medicine, then what people set up so many hospitals for? Li Hongzhi is talking nonsense.” Their rebellion made me furious. I flung the medicine bottle into the dustbin and shouted, “I warn you two! You may distrust Falun Gong, but don’t profane the name of Master Li. Otherwise, you’ll bring the punishment of heaven on you.” Then I added, “Why am I cultivating so hard? I do it to bless and protect all family members including you.”

Interrupted by my persistence, my husband took medicine a little now and a little then, so his illness worsened after practicing Falun Gong. He suffered from severe headache and dizziness, and often complained of suffocation in the chest as well as vomiting.

I would never forget the date all my life: October 25, 1998. And I remembered vividly that when my husband was working in the field he suddenly fainted. The doctor at our village told me that my husband might have a brain bleeding which needed immediate treatment by hospital. But I thought that’s Master Li removing Karma for him, and foolishly insisted that my husband should stay at home regardless of the doctor’s advice.

At my request, my husband was taken home from the field by neighbors on a stretcher. After a period of time, he finally regained consciousness. I encouraged him, “I’ve told you that practicing Falun Gong will cure your disease. Just take my words for it. You’ve passed the first test of Master Li, and you’ll reach Consummation soon. Now, let me send out Gong powers for you.” As my husband could not move, I recited Master’s scriptures beside him and, at the same time, sent out Gong powers on him. But before long, my husband went into a coma again. Realizing that the situation is really critical, the doctor in our village summoned my son home in a hurry, and together they took my husband to a hospital in the city.

But it was too late. There was nothing the hospital could do for my husband. The doctors said, “The patient suffered from an abrupt cerebral haemorrhage, and the case admits of no delay. But you failed to take the patient here in time, so there’s nothing we can do now.” The very night, my husband passed way.

text from: http://english.kaiwind.com/Words/201105/t127896.htm

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