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News Items of Interest to Apologists and Counter-Cult Professionals
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Religion Items In The News

News Items of Interest to Apologists and Counter-Cult Professionals

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Religion Items in the News - August 28, 1998 (Vol. 2, Issue 45)

Abbreviated Issue

===== Main
1. Court upholds cult deprogramming ruling (CAN)
2. Japanese cult uses broker: Group may be building new base (Aum Shinrikyo)
3. Parents seek son lost to religious group (Brethern/Roberts Group)
4. Fort Collins police arrest Mass. man whose parents want him out of cult
5. Religious group, skeptics differ on path (Brethern/Roberts Group)
6. Group member fights extradition to Mass. (Brethern/Roberts Group)
7. Similarly named group not linked to Brethren
8. Scientology continues to buy land
9. Dispute over Scientology records nearing end
10. World's end not far away, doomsday author Lindsey says
11. Mormons to build Spokane area temple
12. Mormon Temple Planned Here (St. Paul)
13. Utah Struggles With a Revival of Polygamy

===== Noted
14. Scholar Spells Out New Meanings in Bible Grammar

===== Homecoming
15. My Dad Is Home

===== Main

1. Court upholds cult deprogramming ruling
Source: Excite News/UPI, Aug 27, 1998
http://my.excite.com/news/u/980827/19/us-ca-cultrulingoffsite
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   (Story no longer online? Read this)

A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling that requires an anti-cult organization to pay $1.09 million in damages for attempting to "deprogram" a Washington state teenager.

The decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals against the CultAwareness Network (CAN) came with a strongly worded warning from seven dissenting judges, who said the ruling is a setback for free speech.

The Judge Alex Kozinski, writing for the dissenters, said "We have taken a great leap backwards in the protection of First Amendment Rights."
[...more...]

2. Japanese cult uses broker - Group may be building new base
Source: Los Angeles Times, Aug 25, 1998
http://www.latimes.com/CNS_DAYS/980825/tCB0013790.htmloffsite
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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The Aum Supreme Truth religious cult, which was held responsible for the 1995 Tokyo subway nerve gas attack, has allegedly used an unsuspecting real estate broker as cover for a property purchase. Police and public safety officials are concerned the group is again trying to set up a base of operations.

A 1,300-square-meter forest property in Tokigawamura was purchased by a 56-year-old broker and placed in the agent's name after a cult representative contacted them -- without revealing the group's involvement.
[...more...]

[Related link in article: http://www.aum-shinrikyo.com/english/ ]

3. Parents seek son lost to religious group
Source: Denver Post, Aug. 21, 1998
http://www.denverpost.com/news/news0821a.htmoffsite
[Story no longer online? Read this]
   (Story no longer online? Read this)

A bizarre and heartrending saga is unfolding in Fort Collins as a Massachusetts couple attempt to reclaim their son from a group called The Brethren.

Mickey and Dorothy Rooney of Wilmington, Mass., have doggedly pursued their son, now in his 20s, since he joined The Brethren in 1996, cut ties with his family and began wandering the country to recruit other young people.
(...snip...)

"A lot of people who join this group drop out of sight, change their names and you don't know whether they're dead or alive,'' said Hal Mansfield, director of the Religious Movement Resource Center housed at the campus ministry at CSU.

Karan Townsend of Washington, D.C., said her daughter, 19-year-old Shannon Townsend, disappeared from the University of Colorado at Boulder in May. A religion and premed major, Townsend was last seen talking to known members of The Brethren, said her mother, who, like the Rooneys, has flown around the country in her search.
(...snip...)

Families of children who have joined The Brethren have established an informational Web site on the group:
http://members.tripod.com/~nfishel/index.htmloffsite
[Story no longer online? Read this]
[...more...]

4. Fort Collins police arrest Mass. man whose parents want him out of cult
Source: Inside Denver, Aug 22, 1998
   (Story no longer online? Read this) http://insidedenver.com/news/0822cult6.shtmloffsite
[Story no longer online? Read this]

Fort Collins police have arrested a Massachusetts man whose parents want him sent home to separate him from a religious cult called The Brethren.

"We used to call them 'the garbage-eaters' because to eat they rifle through dumpsters in the back of restaurants," said Carol Giambalvo of the New York City-based American Family Foundation, which monitors cults.

Patrick Rooney, 24, of Wilmington, Mass., left his family and joined the cult in 1996.
(...snip...)

Although Roberts is a strict leader who demands obedience, the group is not dangerous to itself or others in the sense of a cult like the Branch Davidians, who died at Waco, or Heaven's Gate, whose members committed mass suicide in California, Guerra said.

"He is a man who believes in what he's doing. He's not in it for the money or fame. And the members are some very religious, very decent people," said Guerra, who spent 10 years in the group before leaving in 1986 after an argument over doctrine with Roberts.
[...more...]

5. Religious group, skeptics differ on path
Source: Denver Post, Aug 27, 1998
http://www.denverpost.com/news/bro0827.htmoffsite
[Story no longer online? Read this]
   (Story no longer online? Read this)

Members of a group known as The Brethren said they offer spiritual fulfillment for young people who think their lives are hollow, aimless and loveless.
(...snip...)

"It is very clearly communicated to them that they must not initiate contact with their parents," said Ronald Loomis, a cult-awareness educator with the American Family Foundation in Naples, Fla. "That is the best way for the cult to maintain 100 percent control of their lives."
(...snip...)

Asked whether his group is a cult that brainwashes its members, Williams responded: "If your definition includes mind control, then no. We have a lot of liberties. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what I think and why."
[...more...]

6. Group member fights extradition to Mass.
Source: Denver Post, Aug 27, 1998
http://www.denverpost.com/news/bro0827a.htmoffsite
[Story no longer online? Read this]
   (Story no longer online? Read this)

A Massachusetts man who joined The Brethren two years ago appeared in Larimer County District Court on Wednesday and said he wants to fight extradition to his hometown.
[...more...]

7. Similarly named group not linked to Brethren.
Source: Denver Post, Aug 27, 1998
http://www.denverpost.com/news/bro0827b.htmoffsite
[Story no longer online? Read this]
   (Story no longer online? Read this)

The Church of the Brethren, which traces its American roots to 1723, is not connected to The Brethren, a nomadic, cultlike group accused of separating members from their families.
[...more...]

8. Scientology continues to buy land
Source: St. Petersburg Times, Aug 20, 1998
http://www.sptimes.com/NorthPinellas/82098/Scientology_continues.htmloffsite
[Story no longer online? Read this]
   (Story no longer online? Read this)

The Church of Scientology has spent $3.2-million to purchase most of a city block across the street from its waterfront Sandcastle property, continuing its spate of downtown land buys over the last year.
(...snip...)

Since June 1997, the church and companies that represent it in real estate transactions have purchased 12 properties in the downtown core for a total of $7.2-million.

The latest purchase is part of the church's still-evolving plan to expand its counseling and hotel-like accommodations for visiting Scientologists, said church spokeswoman Pat Jones. In its publications, the church has referred to the plan as a large Scientology "campus" in the city's downtown core.
[...more...]

9. Dispute over Scientology records nearing end
Source: St. Petersburg Times, Aug 25, 1998
http://www.sptimes.com/NorthPinellas/82598/Dispute_over_Scientol.htmloffsite
[Story no longer online? Read this]
   (Story no longer online? Read this)

The Police Department tentatively has agreed to destroy any "unnecessary" records in the 40 boxes of documents accumulated during its 13-year investigation into the Church of Scientology, which ended in 1994.

The agreement, if approved, would settle a four-year federal court fight between the city and the church. The church argues the intelligence files include false information and that their release to the media violated privacy rights.
(...snip...)

The settlement would not pertain to current investigations involving Scientology, said City Attorney Pam Akin, including the ongoing inquiry into the unexplained death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson in 1995.
(...snip...)

The settlement document concludes with two additional provisions. One is that the police department may never speak publicly about the settlement. The other is that church attorneys are to be notified immediately when the public or media seek access to the documents.
[...more...]

10. World's end not far away, doomsday author Lindsey says
Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press, Aug 23, 1998
http://www.pioneerplanet.com/seven-days/2/living/docs/004513.htmoffsite
[Story no longer online? Read this]
   (Story no longer online? Read this)

A weekend of fiery oratory and gospel singing was set to begin Friday, amid some sobering news from the scheduled opening-night speaker, author Hal Lindsey. He says almost all signs pointing to the end of the world are in place. He won't predict when Judgment Day will come, but at age 68, he says he's confident he'll live to see it.
(...snip...)

Lindsey is author of "The Late Great Planet Earth". A sequel, due out this month, will be his 17th book since 1970.
[...more...]

11. Mormons to build Spokane area templeoffsite
[Story no longer online? Read this]
   (Story no longer online? Read this) Source: Spokane.net, Aug 25, 1998

The building will change the lives of the 75,000 Mormons living in Eastern Washington and North Idaho, local officials said Monday.
[...more...]

12. Mormon Temple Planned Here
Source: Channel 4000, Aug 27, 1998
http://www.wcco.com/news/stories/news-980827-122235.htmloffsite
[Story no longer online? Read this]
   (Story no longer online? Read this)

State's 20,000 Mormons Will No Longer Have To Travel To Chicago For Ceremonies, Ordinances
[...more...]

13. Utah Struggles With a Revival of Polygamyoffsite
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Source: New York Times, Aug 23, 1998
http://www.nytimes.com/yr/mo/day/news/national/utah-polygamy.html   (Story no longer online? Read this)

In today's open climate, the debate over the practice is led by two rival groups savvy in the modern ways of Web sites, news conferences and television talk shows.

Tapestry of Polygamy, a self-help group of former polygamous wives, says it seeks to "free" women and children from polygamy. The Women's Religious Liberties Union, an association of women content with their lives in polygamous relationships, seeks to legalize what it calls "plural marriage" and to win a ban on discrimination against polygamists.
(...snip...)

Even though they are not members of the Mormon Church, most polygamists in Utah call themselves "Mormon fundamentalists," reaching back over 150 years in church history to the early 1840s, when Joseph Smith, the church founder, sanctioned the practice.
(...snip...)

Other Places of Interest on The Web
Tapestry of Polygamy, ex-wives of Polygamy and others offering support, choices and services.
Practical Polygamy, first-hand accounts of what worked and what didn't work in polygamous relationships.
Mormon Polygamy, past, present and future of polygamy.
[...more...]

===== Noted

14. Scholar Spells Out New Meanings in Bible Grammar -
   (Story no longer online? Read this) Language: University of Judaism researcher retranslates ancient Hebrew. His theory could change interpretations of important events.
Source: Los Angeles Times, Aug 22, 1998

New evidence about the grammar of ancient Hebrew could require retranslation of some major storytelling verses in the Bible, according to a scholar at the University of Judaism.

Among other implications, the research suggests that the biblical narrative of Adam and Eve may need to be reinterpreted in one important respect: Cain may have been born before the couple was expelled from the Garden of Eden. Ziony Zevit, professor of biblical literature and northwest Semitic languages at the university, which is located in the Sepulveda Pass, has challenged a century-old scholarly tenet that declares that ancient Hebrew grammar lacked a way to say someone "had done" something.
[...more...]

===== Homecoming

A personal message from Anton Hein:

15. My Dad Is Home

Dear Friends,

On Wednesday morning, while asleep, my dad went Home. He was 73 years old. He died of complications after being involved in a car accident last Monday.

Some health professionals considered my dad to be a medical miracle as - during the past two decades - he survived a wide variety of serious illnesses. True to his calling as an evangelist, during his frequent hospital stays he led many people to the Lord.

My father is well-known throughout Holland's Christian community. The horrors my dad had seen during World War II had caused him to be very angry at God. Often, he could be found standing on a downtown street corner, tearing up Bibles and yelling at God. At times he was jailed for "disturbing the peace." On one of those occasions, an angel appeared to him during the night. The next day, he let everyone know he had made peace with God, and had accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. Shortly after, he co-founded "Amsterdam for Christ," an organization that became widely known for its street evangelism work in Amsterdam (yes, some meetings took place on the same corners where he used to tear up Bibles.)

My dad was a servant, and as such was involved with many Christian organizations. He has done anything from organizing evangelistic campaigns to helping build a Christian coffee house in Amsterdam's Red Light district, and from encouraging people in private to speaking via one of Amsterdam's local Christian radio stations. A few years ago, Holland's Christian TV Network broadcast his life story.

Despite his many illnesses, my dad never complained. His was not a religion shaped by emotions or circumstances, but rather a rock-steady belief in the written Word of God. This is what he preached, whether on the street when healthy, from his specially built car once handicapped, or whispered from his hospital bed.

Whenever he found himself back in the hospital, he always said "Either I'm going home, or I'm going Home." This morning, he went Home - joining my younger sister who died two years ago. My mother, brother and myself expect to meet them there once we go Home as well.

Thank you for your prayers and concern.

Love in Jesus,

Anton

Compiled by Anton Heinoffsite
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