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Newsletter March, 1998

FACTNet Newsletter
FACTNet, Inc.-Fight Against Coercive Tactics Network

Protecting freedom of mind by exposing cults and mind control...
because only you have the right to control your mind.


bullet bullet http://www.factnet.org bullet manage@factnet.org bulletMARCH, 1998
Inside
Cult Celebrities

Page 1Another Suicide for Heaven's Gate

Page 1Spring Campaign Drive! Help!

Page 2The Mind Control Problem

Page 2Your donations at Work

Page 3Ex-People's Temple Member Runs

Page 3

CAN out of Bankruptcy
Page 4

Internet Breeds Hate Groups
Page 4

News Briefs

Page 3

Celebrities Search for Spirituality, Find Cults

Pop star Madonna has been in the news lately for giving up her "Material Girl" image for a spiritual life. However, Jewish leaders and cult experts have warned that her mystical group is a cult.

Madonna's new spirituality is based upon the Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism. She studies with Rabbi Phillip Berg at his Kabbalah Learning Center, with offices in Israel, New York, and London. The Learning Center has other celebrity members such as Liz Taylor and Roseanne. Madonna, Taylor, and Roseanne all wear red strings around their wrists as a sign of their devotion. One might assume their newfound spirituality is nothing but positive, especially in Hollywood.

However, cult expert Rick Ross describes the Kabbalah Learning Center as "a deeply troubling group." According to the New York Post [12/4/97], the cult revolves around leader Berg and his wife Karen, and quotes a former member as saying, "The methodology is divide and rule. If, for example, she [Karen] sees that there is too great a love between a couple, and this threatens her, she knows how to separate the couple, and she always wins.

Madonna, Liz Taylor, and Roseanne are not the only celebrity cult members in Hollywood. Scientology is infamous for its star-studded membership, which includes John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Chic Corea, and others.

What is the connection between celebrities and cults? Certainly celebrities offer cults the credibility they might otherwise lack. And celebrities can offer the substantial donations cults subsist on – sometimes lavishly. For example, Scientology's Celebrity Center in Los Angeles pampers the group's Hollywood members. Some cults have elaborate recruitment strategies to lure well-known people into the fold.

Of course not all Hollywood stars fall for the cult trap. Many see the dangers these groups pose. And many subscribe to bona fide religions.

FACTNet has accumulated a great deal of information on Scientology's celebrities. For details, see the FACTNet web site at Scientology/celebrities.htm.


Member of Heaven's Gate commits suicide; estate is sued by trustees

Almost a year after the deaths of Heaven's Gate members on March 27, 1997, a former member apparently committed suicide in a tent in the Arizona desert. Charles Edward Humphrey of Denver was found with a pipe running from the tail pipe of his car into his tent. He was wearing the same clothing as the members who died last year, including a purple shroud and black sweatpants and T-shirt.

Authorities who located Humphrey were responding to an alert from Humphrey's

daughter, Kathryn Morea, who had received a note from her father.

Subsequent to Humphrey's death, the trustees of Heaven's Gate have sued his estate charging that he illegally used the Heaven's Gate web site to sell Heaven's Gate audiotapes, videotapes, T-shirts, coffee mugs, and mouse pads for his own profit.

Kathryn Morea continues to operate the web site, trustees say in violation of

Heaven's Gate teachings. The trustees are not Heaven's Gate members but do support the group's teachings. Their lawsuit requests damages and an injuction against the Humphrey's estate (including Morea) profiting from sales of Heaven's Gate materials.

Last year, Heaven's Gate leader Marshall Applegate induced 38 followers to commit suicide at Rancho Santa Fe near San Diego, CA, expecting to be rescued by a spaceship flying in the wake of the Hale Bopp comet.


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