Cults in Our Midst: The Threat of Intimidation - Margaret Singer
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 06, 2018 09:59PM

Cults in our Midst:Psychological Persuasion Techniques

Jossey-Bass Publishers San Franciso
By Margaret Thaler Singer (with Janja Lalich)

Chapter 9: The threat of Intimidation


One of the most illogical positions taken by the apologists is their claim that only current cult members tell the truth. However, the findings of many researchers, as well as my own numerous interviews with former members, show that cult members are so dependent on the group while they are in it that they dare not tell the truth, dare not complain.

Many of the large international cults have nearly unlimited financial resources and the power to intimidate publishers, newspapers, television producers, academic researchers, professionals, and any of the public who may speak up about cults.

If cults and their sympathizers block publication of scientific studies about their groups the histories of their leaders, and fair comment from scholars, the cults become the arbiters of what the world hears about them. Without a free press, scientific publications, fair comment, and the ability to express opinions, all of us are at the mercy of cult leaders who would determine what we read, what we say, and what we think.

Former CAN president Patricia Ryan, the daughter of Congressman Leo J. Ryan who was assassinated at Jonestown, said, "The American courts were never meant to be used as a weapon available to those with money to destroy with frivolous legal actions anyone perceived as their enemy. Scientology has a long history of using the courts this way, and it has to stop if justice means anything in our courts today."

There are many frightening examples of cults' stark and widespread efforts at silencing and intimidating critics. Not only have researchers, journalists, authors, and ordinary citizens been intimidated, attacked, and sued, but cults have also attempted to frighten professionals away from the courts, waging concentrated attacks on professionals who have testified on behalf of ex-members. In the hope of stifling attorneys, physicians, psychiatrists and psychologists, social workers, child welfare evaluators, and any others who might aid cult victims in legal suits or child custody cases, certain cults have stooped to vicious ends and terror tactics.

For more information go here:


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Re: Universal medicine
Posted by: HerbertKane178 ()
Date: March 30, 2018 02:06PM

A recent news report from Vietnam, where the cult holds an annual retreat, sheds much light on the condition of its members:

“Mr. Ser Beheryon - Universal Medicine School (Australia), who led the delegation 400 people to Hoi An medical tourism - said: "All the members that I travel this disease or have. manifest disease ".

Mr. Ser Beheryon said his school is a place where he organizes tourism activities combining healing with spiritual therapy. "Our guests are mostly elderly people who are suffering from diabetes, degenerative spondylosis, cancer or psychological disorders, etc. Our criteria is to travel to the end. With fun, eat, make people feel most relaxed, optimistic to minimize, overcome the disease, "said Ser Beheryon.”

One high profile member in particular is singled out for special attention in the article:

“Dr Eunice Minford, 52, a visiting medical crew member, said she was a surgeon, but her mental illness was not good enough to make her travel 10 years ago. "When I came to Hoi An 10 years ago, it gave me a great feeling, and after a month back, my spirit, my health, my life and my work was wonderful. I went to call Ser Sereryon and said that his travels were so good and I had been following him for 10 years, and every day I tried to work and spent a month with a holiday to heal. Disease in his Hoi An, "- said Dr. Eunice Minford.”

I certainly hope the NHS is aware of the mental condition of one of their surgeons.

Source: []

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Re: Universal medicine
Posted by: HerbertKane178 ()
Date: April 16, 2018 06:39AM

University of Queensland launches investigation after researchers promote Universal Medicine 'cult'
Exclusive by Josh Robertson

An ABC investigation can reveal three members of UQ's faculty of medicine have publicly advocated for the controversial group.

Founded by Serge Benhayon — a former bankrupt tennis coach with no medical qualifications who claims to be the reincarnation of Leonardo Da Vinci — UM is a multi-million-dollar enterprise with 700 mostly women followers in 15 countries.

It is linked to Mr Benhayon's Way of the Livingness religion, with UM followers urged to follow his strict lifestyle instructions from diet and sleep to sex.

Mr Benhayon's acolytes include Christoph Schnelle, a UQ faculty of medicine researcher who was the lead author of three articles on UM health practices.

He and eight co-authors are now under scrutiny for an alleged failure to declare their roles in what has been described as "a dangerous cult" by eminent medical educator Professor John Dwyer from the University of New South Wales.

The ABC has obtained video of four of the researchers publicly advocating UM practices, including two doctors.

Two more researchers are presenters at the Benhayon-founded College of Universal Medicine.

The others are a naturopath and a psychologist who practice at UM's Brisbane clinic, and a director of its UK-based charity.

'Unbelievable conflict of interest'

Professor John Dwyer, a former head of immunology at Yale University in the US, said the researchers had "an unbelievable conflict of interest" as "apostles for Universal Medicine, heavily involved in the organisation and the teachings of the group".

"[They] have let the university down badly in their fervour for promoting the benefits of Universal Medicine's approach to treatments, which have no basis in science, couldn't possibly be effective and really represent a pre-scientific approach to how the body works..." Professor Dwyer said.
A second public advocate of UM within UQ's faculty of medicine is an associate lecturer, Dr Amelia Stephens.

The Clayfield-based GP is listed in a research team with Mr Schnelle to conduct future clinical trials of UM back pain treatments.

They are running a public appeal to raise $40,000 for proposed trials in Australia and the United Kingdom.

However, one of the studies last year said "the lack of high-quality evidence" for the effectiveness of the UM treatment meant it was not possible to conduct the trials in Australian hospitals.

The researchers plan to run trials in two hospitals in Vietnam, where the group last month held a retreat.

Professor Dwyer said it was "fascinating just to see the range of individuals who can be attracted to cults and this sort of thinking and obviously this can affect a number of registered health professionals".

He said they were registered on a "promise to practise evidence-based medicine" and "to desert that and promote this cultish behaviour is highly reprehensible".

UM denies it is a cult, saying online that "interestingly, professionals from the health industry represent a disproportionately higher element of [its] student body".

'Wishy-washy' penalties imposed

Health authorities have reprimanded some UM-linked doctors, including another former UQ associate, medical lecturer Sam Kim, and allied health professionals "but they've been very wish-washy type penalties," Professor Dwyer said.

"These people are in a position of giving undeserved credibility to the nonsense that's coming out of Universal Medicine," he said.

He said there was "absolutely no evidence" to back the so-called "esoteric" techniques devised by Mr Benhayon, "which he claims can help people with a myriad of different conditions".

"To put yourself in the hands of this group is to really risk your health and wellbeing," Professor Dwyer said.
Mr Schnelle was also named in a court case as a financial planner to a terminally ill UM follower who gave $1.4 million to Mr Benhayon.

Her children unsuccessfully challenged her will.

Journal looks at withdrawing academic articles

The Canadian-based Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) is considering the extreme step of withdrawing the UM-related articles from publication.

JMIR's editorial director told UQ's office of research integrity on March 6 that "the omission of this conflict of interest, which appears to be highly significant in this case, is a clear violation of our policies".

"There was clearly some conflict of interest which should have been declared but wasn't," the editorial director said on March 9.

The editor pressed for an update on the UQ investigation on March 22.

"We feel that if the paper should be retracted it should be done soon and we would preferably like to have the backing of UQ if we take that action," he wrote.

UK-based BioMed Central is also investigating an article it ran where seven of the researchers stated they were "insiders in that they attend Universal Medicine events" but did not receive "any funding, reimbursement, instruction or direction of any kind from Universal Medicine or its affiliates".

UQ ethics committees approved the studies but researchers must fully disclose conflicts of interest.

UQ confirms investigation into alleged 'conflicts of interest'

UQ pro vice-chancellor of research Professor Mark Blows confirmed the university was investigating alleged "undeclared conflicts of interest by some researchers".

He said the university was "recognised as a research institution of international standing that takes research integrity extremely seriously".

"When investigations into allegations of errors or research misconduct are substantiated, the university notifies relevant academic journals, funding agencies and issues public statements as appropriate," Professor Blows said.
Mr Schnelle denied a request for an interview, while Mr Benhayon, Dr Stephens and the other researchers did not respond to requests for comment by the ABC.”

Source: ABC News

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Re: Universal medicine
Posted by: HerbertKane178 ()
Date: May 02, 2018 07:09PM

More bad news for Universal Medicine:

Doctor who gave patient medical history to Universal Medicine 'cult' stands down from AMA

Exclusive by Josh Robertson

Updated Wed 2 May 2018, 7:10am

"A doctor who endorsed an alleged cult and secretly shared a patient's medical history with its leader has stood down from his role representing the Australian Medical Association (AMA).

Dr Sam Kim withdrew from the AMA's Queensland council after an ABC investigation into his second case of professional misconduct in a year relating to his ties to the controversial group Universal Medicine (UM).

UM, a multi-million-dollar enterprise that touts questionable treatments including "esoteric breast massage" and boasts 700 followers, has also drawn criticism for publicly revealing a former client's schizophrenia diagnosis.

In March, the NSW Privacy Commissioner found Dr Kim had violated his patient's privacy by sharing his records with Serge Benhayon, the UM founder who claimed to be the reincarnation of Leonardo Da Vinci.

'Why does he need this information?'

Business owner Riley Martin consulted Dr Kim, a thoracic physician who practises in Brisbane and at UM headquarters in Lismore, for a lung condition in 2010.

Mr Martin had already received "energetic treatments" from Mr Benhayon but had grown sceptical about their value.

He stopped the treatments and later criticised UM in the media, but only learned last year that his medical history had been shared.

Mr Martin said he was surprised to discover the privacy breach when his GP looked up his records.

"Of course I must say at that time I was very shocked," he said.

"I felt very aggrieved that my private medical information had been passed on to Mr Benhayon, who has no medical qualifications whatsoever.
"It raises questions — why does he need to have this information?"

The privacy report said it was "unclear ... why it was necessary for Dr Kim to provide such a summary of what appears to be Mr Martin's entire medical history to Mr Benhayon".

The privacy commissioner did not accept Dr Kim's claim that he had verbal consent to share the records, or that Mr Martin would reasonably expect this after telling Dr Kim about his consultations with Mr Benhayon.

Mr Martin could use the findings to take legal action against Dr Kim but said he would prefer an assurance that other patients' information would not be shared.

Following questions by the ABC, AMA Queensland chairman Dr Shaun Rudd said Dr Kim had "decided to stand down from the council pending resolution of his current situation".

Dr Rudd said the council had "a robust conflict of interest policy and AMA Queensland has full confidence in Dr Kim's ability to serve as a councillor".

Dr Kim was elected last year as a greater Brisbane area representative on the AMA Queensland council, which makes "by-laws about ethical considerations (including handling complaints related to the profession)".

Last May, shortly before his election, a medical professional standards committee of the NSW Medical Council found Dr Kim made "significant ethical errors and failings in respect of proper professional standards" in another case of referring a patient to UM practitioners, including Mr Benhayon.

The professional standards committee found that Dr Kim, who told the patient that "deep-seated grief is a major driving factor in lung disease", failed to disclose his ties to UM to the patient or explain there was "no clinical evidence" its treatments worked.

UQ confirmed Dr Kim also holds an academic title as a senior lecturer.

He is one of three members of UQ's faculty of medicine who have publicly promoted UM, which University of NSW medical educator Professor John Dwyer has called a "cult" that could put its followers' health and wellbeing at risk.

Last month, the ABC revealed UQ had begun an academic misconduct probe into studies by faculty researcher Christoph Schnelle and eight other UM promoters.

Schizophrenia diagnosis published online

In a separate case last month, a former UM client's full name, image and schizophrenia diagnosis were published on a webpage run by UM's "facts team".

It appeared weeks after the man wrote an online blog under a pseudonym in which he criticised Universal Medicine, while being open about his diagnosis.

"I was preparing for a job interview and wanted to know what a possible employer finds when he googles my name," he said.

"Finding UM's article was shocking. My privacy in respect to that diagnosis is very important. I'm worried about not finding a job because of that."
Former Queensland mental health commissioner Lesley van Schoubroeck said it was "entirely inappropriate for any organisation, particularly one purporting to be a health organisation, to publicly reveal identifying information of anyone's diagnosis, be it mental health or physical health".

"It's certainly the case that people with schizophrenia suffer stigma and discrimination in the workplace and in the community," she said.

The UM "facts team", which responds to those who publicly criticise the organisation, includes former legal academic Alison Greig.

Her husband, Brisbane barrister Charles Wilson, was also on the "facts team" until last year, but was not part of it when the man's details were published.

'Fascinating range of individuals attracted to cults'

UM has denied it is a cult, citing the large number of health professionals among its membership.

Eight doctors have publicly endorsed UM, along with four dentists and 17 allied health practitioners across pharmacy, physiotherapy and psychology.

Mr Benhayon encourages followers to adopt strict lifestyle measures around diet, sleep, sex and even books and music.

Dr Kim has written online about consulting Mr Benhayon over the underlying cause of a minor eye condition.

"I felt that there was a deeper meaning to this so I consulted Serge Benhayon who generously offered his Reading (sic)," he said.

Professor Dwyer, a former head of immunology at Yale University, said it was "fascinating just to see the range of individuals who can be attracted to cults and this sort of thinking".

He said health professionals reprimanded in relation to UM had been given "very wishy-washy-type penalties and to date there's evidence that they ... continue to support Universal Medicine".

Mr Wilson declined to comment. Ms Greig and Dr Kim did not respond to the ABC.

Mr Benhayon told the ABC: "I've got nothing to say to you"."

Publisher: ABC News

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Re: Universal medicine
Posted by: HerbertKane178 ()
Date: May 11, 2018 02:36PM

And yet more press on UM: []

A comprehensive look at UM from Professor John Dwyer and a plea for greater oversight of groups of its type. Well worth a read.

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"Western Medicine" - Condescending Orientalist Put Down
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 11, 2018 09:30PM

Alternative health set ups such as Universal Medicine are NOT spiritual.

Its a business model that operates by instilling fear and distrust in the subject.

A quotation from Professor Dwyer's article:


Herein lies the great weakness of our regulators’ approaches to consumer protection from health care fraud.

Protection should be about stopping harm from occurring by due vigilance of what is being offered to patients, rather than chasing culprits after harm has been done.

And the mandate of responding to serious physical harm should be extended to include the harm associated with a delay in accurate diagnosis and timely effective treatment, the psychological damage from false hope, and robbing patients of funds when there is no evidence for treatment programs.

Improving health literacy would protect many, but not all, from being duped by supposed health care that lacks a basis in evidence. But the immediate challenge for all interested in better protecting consumers is to have the regulatory agencies charged with doing just that be far more proactive and tougher on miscreants.

The comments follwoing Professor Dwyer's article are well worth a read.

This one comment is a standout it tells how to recognize many health and religious scams.


Francis Holden

A giveaway of a scam/quackademic/alt magical thinking and mystical processes is the mention early on of the term “Western Medicine”. There is usually no definition of what on earth is meant by Western Medicine - West of what?

The term Western Medicine itself is a condescending form of Orientalism or Exoticism. Putting forward a view of Asia/Africa, or more particularly China, as a hidden enclave of spiritual and other wisdom stuck firmly in an imagined Nirvana of heath and knowledge usually located as static and somewhere before 1600. Or some other imagined “prefect” age.

Just a few other comments to entice you to read them all. An exciting and very informative discussion.


n reply to Eveline Van't Foort
You’re simply incorrect, Eveline. The author provides multiple links to Benhayon’s bollocks in order to provide us readers with the means to fact-check for ourselves. Your objections were off the point, implied the author was part of a group you sarcastically referred to as ‘all-knowing’, ‘god’-like and putting the rest of us ‘at their mercy’.

Small point but you didn’t fault his arguments either. Nor mine. Your outrage is confected and has no substance.

6 hours ago
Kaplan Barla
The plan is quite simple.

He wants some of the taxpayers’ money (from our ‘public’ universal health care system) to be funnelled into his Universal-Medicine-pocket.

To be able to do this, he needs to recruit General Practitioners (real doctors, medical professionals) into his business and with their help try to convince other GPs, medical institutions & organisations and politicians to make some changes in rules and regulations so that he can shaft people left right and centre legally.

He is in it to make money.

But this guy is in the wrong country for this particular choice of business. Although there is no comprehensive health care system to milk, he should have started this business in The United States where he can find more “consumers” to shaft among 300 million people. Unfortunately for him, there are bigger and better scammers in the United States than this charlatan. Go duck yourself!


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/11/2018 09:48PM by corboy.

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Re: Universal medicine
Posted by: essay ()
Date: May 21, 2018 01:52PM

Thought for the day. Oh Great God of Goonellabah, it looks like they're on to you!

'It's the tragedy of the world that no one knows what he doesn't know - and the less a man knows, the more sure he is that he knows everything.'

Joyce Cary

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Re: Universal medicine
Posted by: essay ()
Date: May 23, 2018 11:58AM

Two questions for the students and congregation of Universal Medicine - Cult.

Q. 1 Have you ever heard of an organisation being called a cult that wasn't actually a cult?

A. No

Q. 2 Have you ever heard of any cult whose members (a rose by any other name) didn't vociferously deny that they were members of a cult?

A. No


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Re: Universal medicine
Posted by: HerbertKane178 ()
Date: May 24, 2018 02:51PM

Looking through the boards it is amazing how many hits this thread has, even in comparison to so many well known and long established cults. It just goes to show how interested people are in the UM cult. A google search of UM brings up page after page of their own websites (why do they need so many, does the leader have a sideline in hosting servers?!) which would appear to be paid to sit so high in the rankings. But what does come up that is certainly NOT paid for is many newspaper articles on the group. Each and every one finds fault with them. And this is from media groups around the world who are unconnected. UM's current battle cry of "click bait" or "copy and paste" journalism fall flat against this broad spectrum of journalistic examination. A consensus has been reached and it is far from flattering for UM.

Those that have spoken out on UM are viciously attacked online - witness the recent pillorying of Josh Robertson, a journalist from ABC News. UM characterises him as a tabloid journalist and has tried to tarnish him on Twitter. And yet having worked previously for The Guardian, one of the most respected newspapers in the world, and have a back catalogue of articles any writer would be proud of, UM's words are as hollow and empty as the reincarnation claims of its leader. The members will of course go along with it - those that are instructed to steer clear of Wikipedia, avoid any negative press on UM, and read only the websites sanctioned by the leaders. Nothing can get through to them anymore and that in itself is one of the biggest indicators that they are lost in a cult. When one's sense of critical enquiry goes and "feelings" are the only thing trusted (feelings that remarkably always seem to be line with those of the cult leaders...hmmm) then it's very clear to all what's going on.

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Re: Universal medicine
Posted by: essay ()
Date: May 27, 2018 04:35PM

Some six years and almost as many months ago HerbertKane178 posed a simple question on a this cult education site, 'has anybody heard of Universal Medicine?'

Some 208,542 views(and counting) from 1,599 posts later HerbertKane178 makes an equally important statement, 'It just goes to show how interested people are in the Universal Medicine cult.'

By creating this thread HerbertKane178 not only did you expose a dangerous and exploitative cult to the world, but you also brought hundreds of affected people together. In those 208,542 views(and counting) you've saved hundreds from being recruited, and kept supplying relevant information to all those questioning the dangerous practices of Universal Medicine.

Rest assured the Dark Lord Saurge himself also firmly fixes his cruel, fiery eye on this site. What he hates most in the world aside from being ridiculed, is being exposed as the uneducated conman we have come to see he is!

Had your peppermint tea yet oh Dark Lord?

It won't save you, either!

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