]Aussie Cult Leader Visits Frome
An alleged Australian cult leader and former bankrupt tennis coach, who claims to be the reincarnation of Leonardo da Vinci, Pythagoras and Alice A Bailey visits Frome for a series of courses and lecture in November.
An alleged Australian cult leader, Serge Benhayon who operates out of the Lighthouse building in Frome, Somerset is visiting for a sold out lecture tour in November. Mr. Benhayon, a former bankrupt tennis coach, started his group Universal Medicine in 1999 after a 'spiritual awakening' while on the toilet.
His group teaches its mainly woman followers to make 'loving choices' which includes avoiding gluten, dairy, alcohol, strenuous exercise, music and even sex.
The group offers treatments such as "Esoteric Breast Massage", "Esoteric Uterus Massage" and "Chakra-puncture" treatments, which has captured the attention of the mainstream media in Australia, with stories appearing in News Ltd and Fairfax publications and on tabloid television programs. Many of the treatments are available at the Lighthouse and from 'practitioners' in London and as far afield as Germany and Norway.
Critics of the group, which include disaffected families including husbands, partners, siblings and parents claim that the group is actually a cult and that members change their behaviour radically to conform to the doctrine of Universal Medicine. One Australian husband, whose wife is said to have spent $70,000 AUD on courses and treatments over 5 years says that his wife became incapable of making decisions for herself, and was addicted to his courses and treatments. "Serge claims that they are free to make choices and he simply presents an alternative way of living, when in fact, they are dependent on him to tell them what is 'energetically true" or not"
The group was recently forced to withdraw a range of herbal supplements from the Australian market after an investigation by the Therapeutics Goods Administration (Aust) found that the products made false claims. The Health Complaints Commission is also investigating allegations that "Universal Medicine can cure or reduce the incidence of cancer"
Mr Benhayon teaches that cancers and ills are the result of 'past lives', 'karma' and 'evil spirits' and it has been alleged that people seeking treatments with Universal Medicine in Australia and the UK have avoided seeking medical treatment as a result of advice given by Universal Medicine practitioners.
A former cult member explains that the group is taught the world is either 'pranic' or 'fiery' and that Mr. Benhayon is a master sent by 'Lord Matreya' to see in the 'new-era' which commenced this year. The followers or students are taught to avoid pranic food, exercise, music and relationships in order to clear themselves for better future incarnations and to elevate the world from its 'astral' stage. "It's about making correct energetic choices, which he calls energetic integrity. However only Serge knows what is energetically correct or not so students become dependent on him and the group for their every decision."
A cult expert who has been looking into the group in Australia, and counselling ex-members explains. " Universal Medicine is a typical paternalistic cult. It is difficult for people to know they or a member of their family is in a cult because very few people have experience of what one is. In Universal Medicines case, the students believe they are learning 'energetic' healing, when in fact they are being taught Serge's doctrine. Over time and through subtle thought reform methodology, they become dependent on Serge and the group as their worldview alters radically. A feature of Universal Medicine is a focus on elevating the feminine and emasculating men, which tends to amplify natural gender differences which seems to be resulting in extremely high relationship failure rates. We are counselling quite a number of men whose partners have left them for the cult, and a number of woman who are now recovering"
Mr Benhayon has denied being involved in relationship breakdowns when questioned by Australian reporters. However at a recent retreat in the UK he spoke of leaving ‘pranic relatiionships’ and is known to have emailed students advising them that their partners are ‘holding them back from their glory” and “not in-truth.”
48 year old Mr Benhayon is married to a woman 18 years his junior who he first met as her tennis coach when 13 years of age. His ex-wife Deborah and his their children are all involved in the group, while his eldest daughter Simone heads up the UK operations and is said by Mr Benhayon in a recent interview to be the reincarnation of Winston Churchill.
The group is thought to making around $5M AUD a year from selling courses and is known to have collected at least £1M in donations for renovations to the Lighthouse. A recently established “Universal Medicine charity” in Australia is asking for $1million in donations to build a healing centre close to Mr Benhayon's Australian clinic and headquarters at Alstonville, in Northern NSW.