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Newsletter February, 1998

FACTNet Newsletter FEBRUARY 1998

Clinton, Cultgate, & Travolta (from p.1)

might engage in? A critic on the Internet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology points out "Clinton has done most of his politicking in Arkansas. This is one of several states in the US that is often spoken of as an 'I've got a brother-in-law state' - meaning the business of government gets done by secretive friendships, business relationships and kinships to a large extent."

Has Clinton assisted Scientology in other matters? Scientology was recently given a billion-dollar tax break and a private religious education deduction by the IRS not extended to other religions. Did the Clinton White House have a role in this?

Scientology has been called "the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen" [Time, May 6, 1991]. Scientology has also been known as anti-Christian. The cross Scientology uses is a crossed-out Christian cross (a cross with an "X" over it). Should the moral majority and Christian Coalition be concerned that a cult of this nature has presidential influence?

Scientology boasts a number of celebrity members - Tom Cruise, Ann Archer, Lisa Marie Presley, Nicole Kidman -- due to its strong recruitment of high-visibility figures who bring credibility and large contributions to the cult. But never before has one of these celebrities influenced U.S. foreign policy as appears to be happening here.

Despite the Hollywood Scientologists, not all celebrities view Scientology favorably. Actors Jim Carrey and Nicholas Cage have "prank-called" Scientology's Los Angeles Celebrity Center. Seinfeld, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, Ellen, and Mystery Science Theatre 3000 have all poked fun at Scientology on television; Howard Stern frequently jokes about the cult. The Simpsons and Millennium have devoted entire episodes to stories surrounding ominous Scientology-like cults. Tennis player Boris Becker threatened to sue Scientology for posting his name and photo on its web page, and racecar driver Mario Andretti had Dianetics logos removed from his car. [Full story at].
Time Magazine

News Briefs

A group of self-proclaimed vampires, according to the Miami Herald [January 14, 1998], is on trial for murdering the parents of one of its members. 17-year-old leader, Rod Ferrell, is facing charges of first-degree murder, while members Howard Scott Anderson, 17, Dana L. Cooper, 20, and Charity Keesee, 17, are charged with being principals to murder. Richard and Ruth Wendork were killed in their Eustis home November 25, 1996. Their daughter Heather, 16, was cleared of charges by a grand jury after she claimed that although she ran away with the group of "vampires" she did not know her parents would be harmed. The group was caught by police in Louisiana. Rod Ferrell is bing tried currently in Lake County Court, and the other members are scheduled for trial later this year.

Three white supremacists were arrested in Little Rock, Arkansas in December. They were planning to create the Aryan Peoples Republic by overthrowing the U.S. government through an involved plot involving murder, kidnapping and theft. According to the Associated Press, the plan included killing police and public officials, then increasing the population of their new nation "by recruiting certain white people into the Republic and by engaging in polygamy so that the number of these white persons would greatly increase."

A former member of the Ananda Chruch of Self-Realization cult is suing the group claiming that leader J. Donald Walters, 71, and his ministers sexually coerced her and other female devotees. Cult leaders are being charged with sexual coercion and fraud for forcing themselves upon women who entered the group trusting the leaders as spiritual guides to God, and left the group "shattered," according to the Mercury News [January 29, 1998]. The trial is in Redwood City, California.

The 150 Taiwanese members of the Chen Tao cult moved to Garland, Texas because their leader thought it sounded like a "God Land." Most are in the U.S. with work-exempt visas and living off the profits they gained by selling their homes in Taiwan, expenses which include allegedly high cult membership dues. Members are living in 21 homes in one neighborhood of Garland. Leader Chen Tao claims his two sons are the reincarnations of Jesus and Buddha, and that God will enter his body March 31st of this year at which time he and all members will be rescued by a spaceship. He says they have no suicide plans.

In early January, the leader of the Church Universal was reported to have fallen ill. The San Antonio Express-News [January 10, 1998] wrote that Elizabeth Clare Prophet, 58, has epilepsy and a neurological disorder. She is the cult's spiritual leader and former president. Church spokesman Chris Kelley told the Express-News that Prophet remains assured of her ability to lead the group.

FACTNet director Bob Minton was invited to meet with the United Nations in late January to discuss dangers posed by cults, and specifically Scientology. Bob met with the Special Rapporteur to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. He also attended meetings hosted by the International League for Human Rights and the Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief, both of which are dedicated to freedom and human rights

FACTNet brecieved an alert from Eva Jung reporting that despite the death of David Korresh, the Branch Davidian cult is still around and recruiting. Via a Christian newsgroup, the Davidians were encouraging people to visit their web site for free literature. For research purposes, Jung ordered the literature and received "a package the size of a large hardbound dictionary. It contained two very large volumes filled with fear tactics and propaganda touting the deceased Korresh as the Messiah or going to Hell."

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