Re: "Jesus Christians," "Australian cult," Dave McKay
Posted by: zeuszor ()
Date: June 26, 2008 11:46AM

This was from last October:

I personally feel that there were signs that they themselves were NOT really living by faith, even back in the early days. But they had a lot of the "theory" down, and that inspired me. I have often noted that when they got into full-on religious prostitution, the persecution from the churches actually died down. Even today, they continue to teach "sharing" (wife-swapping), but have a look at the Rick Ross forum and see how much is being said about that? Brian couldn't give a damn about the COG (Family) now, because they are becoming respectable.

When I joined the COGs there was some emphasis on sex, including "Old Church, New Church", which I really strongly disliked. (That's a letter where Mo compared his real wife with Maria, a young girl that he had taken up with in preference to Eve. Even though Eve was still in the group, he publicly humiliated her by saying that she had more or less lost her first love for him, and Maria was like this new, young hippy movement.) Mo was also claiming to get some revelations through spirits that possessed him. I was definitely against that. But, like others are pointing out, Brian and his ilk operate on the idea that you ONLY look for evil in the world and you run away from anything that is not absolutely perfect (like smelly feet). No, I just kept putting that stuff aside.

Flirty Fishing started out as women supposedly using their ability to capture the attention of males to witness for God. I remember asking an older member of the COGs what Mo meant by "going all the way" in order to win someone to God, because, I said, that meant having sex with someone back in my teen years. She said, "No, no, no! He's talking about us being willing to marry someone to show them God's love." In other words, I was being given conflicting information throughout those three months. But if Brian wants to date more precisely when I was in the COGs, he can check the "Arthur Letters", where it became crystal clear that Mo was talking about women in the group doing more than just "flirting". He was promoting full-on sex. I think I was actually out of their community and living with my family (on the grounds that our kids were my disciples, and I was a shepherd) at the time, and Cherry (who was NOT a member of the COG) and I discussed what we should do about it. I wrote a letter condemning it and sent it to all of the COG addresses that I could find.


Info on the Arthur Letters is here:


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/26/2008 11:49AM by zeuszor.

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Re: "Jesus Christians," "Australian cult," Dave McKay
Posted by: zeuszor ()
Date: June 26, 2008 12:51PM

This is great. I just found this while researching articles. Somebody very recently added some analysis to some of the articles at See the little link that says "analysis?" Try it.


Here's what will come up:

The McKay Agenda is to undermine the reader's existing faith. He hopes that
no-one will actually look up the verses he quotes. Here we have 9 verses to
back up his claim. Five of these are partially relevant to the topic.

The intention here is to get the reader to basically ignore the bulk of the
Bible and to concentrate on the four Gospels. Fine in theory, except that
Jesus can't be understood in isolation. His background and role was
interpreted by Paul and others in the rest of the New Testament.

In Point 1, McKay makes the claim that Jesus did not think every word of the
Old Testament was eternally true. He forgot to quote Jesus here:

Matthew 5:18 "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot
or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law

In Point 2, McKay has found some verses of Paul's where Paul says this is
his own opinion. I wonder if any of the output of the "Apostle" McKay is
divinely inspired.

Point 3. The Revelations verse is a beauty. Irrelevant, but boosts the
number of quotes. Fair enough about the John 1 verses.

Point 4. Look at verse 15 in the II Timothy 3 quote: "from a child thou hast
known the holy scriptures". To the reader in New Testament times, that can
only refer to the Old Testament. McKay tries to make some distinction between
inspiration and infallibility, and somehow brings the Quran into the argument.

His greatest point here is in the final quote from II Timothy 4. Paul is
asking to have some books and papers which he had left behind to be brought.
McKay somehow takes this to mean that not all of the Bible could be called
"Scripture". Actually McKay himself probably knows what garbage it is that
he's written, but that doesn't matter. Hopefully the reader will accept it all
and go on to become a member of his Community.

There's analysis for this one and the Top Forty article and that's all I have found so far. Like hunting for Easter Eggs, it is...

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/26/2008 12:55PM by zeuszor.

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Re: "Jesus Christians," "Australian cult," Dave McKay
Posted by: zeuszor ()
Date: June 26, 2008 01:36PM

private eyes
Zeuszor, I see Dave is now exercising what's known in the business as the, I don't recall defence.

Dave McKay Quote:

"I don't know the exact year during which I was a member of the Children of God for a few months. I don't really keep records of what year it was that I did such and such thirty years ago. Whoops! I mean ROUGHLY 30 years ago! I'm living in the present. So if I suggested that I was a member one year, and some media report suggested that it was another year, I don't think it's a big deal."

Of course it is a big deal. It goes to credibility.

I don't suppose there is much point asking him now what month and year he saw, "The Gift of Love" on an International flight and specifically what month and year he was working shoulder to shoulder with David Wilkerson, now that his memory appears to be suffering.

It's funny how he is able to discuss sophisticated conspiracy theories with John, his retired Freemason friend. Yet, allegedly can't recall many specific historical events.

He has now suggested/implied that David Lowe (who he thinks is me) is blackmailing, threatening and apparently now involved in a conspiracy to bring down every Christian group involved in discipline. All backed by the Quakers.

Perhaps, if he is really interested in living in the present, he could ask the staff of the Broken Hill Library (who I spent almost three full days with recently), whether I even look like David Lowe.

I am also definetely not a Quaker. Whilst I do have great respect for the Quakers. I personally have issues with there accepting of the “new age” belief that God is a force and in everyone, not the personal loving God of scripture, John 3:16.

Yes, it is a very big deal.

Lately I have been sleeping so poorly...

Good post, sir.

I'd still like to know the name of Chery's classmate who died in Jonestown, too. Maybe Sacramento holds the key?

You have given me an idea, Eyes: I'll work on that tonight, the dates connected the things you mentioned. Try and put some stuff together.

That sentence really gets me:

The McKay Agenda is to undermine the reader's existing faith. He hopes that
no-one will actually look up the verses he quotes.

Bloody brilliant. That hits the nail right on the head.

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 06/26/2008 01:43PM by zeuszor.

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Re: "Jesus Christians," "Australian cult," Dave McKay
Posted by: Blackhat ()
Date: June 26, 2008 06:22PM

private eyes
He has now suggested/implied that David Lowe (who he thinks is me) is blackmailing, threatening and apparently now involved in a conspiracy to bring down every Christian group involved in discipline. All backed by the Quakers.

Perhaps, if he is really interested in living in the present, he could ask the staff of the Broken Hill Library (who I spent almost three full days with recently), whether I even look like David Lowe.

I am also definetely not a Quaker. Whilst I do have great respect for the Quakers. I personally have issues with there accepting of the “new age” belief that God is a force and in everyone, not the personal loving God of scripture, John 3:16.

Now there is something to consider Dave! Private Eyes has laid it on the line regarding his identity. And he states that is is not a Quaker. Would a Quaker do that? You could even show the staff at the Broken Hill Library the Four Corners program online, and ask if that man on the program had spent three full days there.....

The challenge is out there!

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Re: "Jesus Christians," "Australian cult," Dave McKay
Posted by: Blackhat ()
Date: June 26, 2008 06:51PM

Now Dave has revealed that Private Eyes has passed his password on to someone else, and that the someone else was the person who went to the Broken Hill Library. He says of the Quakers:

"I guess they have always been successful in the past by intimidating people who dared to question them."


Actually, I think it's time for all of us to come clean. We are all Private Eyes. We are a collective who all have the password, and we pass the job around, and Rick Ross deletes postings when we ask him to, if Dave is getting too close to the truth.

"But now he's starting to realise that I hardly even NEED to prove anything anymore. His world is crashing around his ears."

There is a large core of disgruntled Quakers who we have silenced. The Quakers have done this terrible thing to many people, and we have silenced them all. These disgruntled ex-Quakers have been banished to a far corner of the Universe, where they are gathering a force we are prepared to meet with massive internet postings should they choose to reveal the true identity of Private Eyes.

You are right Dave, you hardly even NEED to prove anything anymore!

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Re: "Jesus Christians," "Australian cult," Dave McKay
Posted by: apostate ()
Date: June 27, 2008 04:46AM

A response to Dave's 4 corners rant.

The "Four Corners" program broadcast on ABC-TV last night (June 23, 2008) is a classic example of what appears to be a fast-growing and well organised assault by the political and religious Left on more traditional evangelical religious groups here in Australia.

Dave is deliberately hedging his bets here by saying “appears to be” rather than “ it is”. As to be expected his hedge gets thinner as it soon becomes statement of outright fact.

The ABC has a reputation for giving balanced, well-documented reports, especially in situations where the secular media and/or the political Right have (often under pressure from advertisers) distorted or hidden the facts. When Ben Cheshire, the producer of the two "Australian Story" reports on Ash's kidney donation, wrote to me in April, saying (in reference to his own reporting versus that of the secular media) "The journalist who gave you the fairest go was me, by a country mile!", I wrote back and said that I agreed with him, but pointed out that what he did (where he broadcast blatant lies from Kate Croft, stating that Ash was not allowed to visit her while in the Jesus Christians, without giving Ash a right of reply) was still more damaging for one simple reason: "People BELIEVE the ABC, whereas they don't believe the secular media." (NOTE: The ABC in Australia is run by government funding, and does not sell advertising, so that it will not be manipulated by the advertisers.)

How odd, when did the ABC and Ben Cheshire stop being part of the “secular media” in Dave’s mind? Does he think the ABC is a religiously based broadcasting station?

Nevertheless, what the ABC did last night on the Four Corners report, titled "The God of Broken Hearts", was definitely on a par (i.e. a very low par) with anything that you can find on the secular media. It was a report which attacked several churches in Australia, based entirely on unsubstantiated accusations and innuendo from disgruntled ex-members of those churches. Such a flimsy basis for a documentary could be found to attack almost any organisation in Australia, probably including the ABC itself.

There he goes with comparisons to the “secular” media again.

The angry ex-members complained that their lives had been ruined by people who led the churches they attended, even though there was no evidence to show that anything worse happened than would happen in any organisation. Strangely, in the same week, there was news of similar attacks on Mercy Ministries, both in Queensland (Nambour), and Sydney, and on Gloria Jeans, a coffee shop, whose Australian franchise is now apparently owned by the Hillsong Christian Church in Sydney.

“attacks” is a loaded word to use for what could well be little more than an investigation into the funding base of the Gloria Jeans coffee shop franchise. Sounds like Dave is getting upset about the money making tables of the Hillsong Church being overturned by the ATO (Australian taxation office) Funny for him to be defending a church owned franchise.

For us as Jesus Christians, it is significant that one of the angry ex-members of the Brisbane Christian Fellowship was Quaker Private Eye, David Lowe, who has been attacking myself and other Jesus Christian members and friends on the Internet in a similar campaign to the one used to drive Mercy Ministries out of Queensland. The Queensland Regional Meeting of the Society of Friends, which David Lowe attends, is also responsible for the publication of an article by Ron Bean (one of its members) in its September, 2007 edition of "The Australian Friend". That article unfairly slanders the former leader of "Faith Tabernacle" in California, and includes quotes from Ron Bean about what he purportedly suffered at the hands of this leader, which were actually lifted verbatim from a book that Ron read. See our article, "Mr. Bean" for details on that story.

It is interesting how Dave tries to portray a stereotypical image of an organisation’s ex member as being “angry” as though somehow that emotion, even if it was the case, renders all criticism invalid. Does he apply the same standard to himself? NO.

What the ABC has said against the Brisbane Christian Fellowship (located in Samford, Queensland), and the Melbourne Christian Fellowship in its "Four Corners" report is so lacking in substance that I would think that a large number of its viewers would see through it immediately. But I thought that a large number of Quakers would be able to see through the lies that have been levelled against myself and the Jesus Christians too, but I had not taken into account the strong desire that many people have to believe those lies... if it will exempt them from having to listen to what we (and perhaps some of these other dedicated Christians) are really saying.

So now he is saying that viewers who accepted the truth of the 4 corners report are doing so to stop them listening to what “dedicated” Christians are saying. So now these people have become “dedicated” instead of simply “churchies warming pews”. Is this Dave’s way of trying to wiggle into the media light again by sliding up alongside the BCF to give his “support”?

Witch hunts invariably stem from fear. People come across a person or group that is "different" in some way, and they become frightened. If they hear (or even think they hear) that the group is saying God is not happy with the way they are living their lives, then there is an instant desire to silence the group. This certainly seems to be happening here in Australia at the moment, and it is disappointing to us that the Religious Society of Friends, a group that has been famous for centuries because of its religious tolerance (from their crucial role in ensuring religious freedom in the American Constitution to their efforts to gain better conditions for prisoners, women, and homosexuals), seems to be intimately involved in the whole bigotted campaign.

“Campaign”... another loaded word and goes to the mind of the author of this article. Many simply see some religious groups being either challenged for the financial practices or exposed for their religious abuse upon members

Let's look at the ABC report, to hear what they had to say about the Brisbane Christian Fellowship (BCF) and the Melbourne Christian Fellowship (MCF), to see how much substance exists. Remember, as we go through this report, that Jesus taught that, unless we are free of guilt ourselves, we should be very careful about throwing stones at others. How many parents have ever been guilty of saying harsh things to their kids, making threats, invoking the fear of God, etc. How many employers have ever been guilty of saying things to their employees of a similar nature? In fact, how many leaders of anything have not, at times, abused their power and said things which they later regretted? Think about that as we go through this disgusting attempt to incite hatred toward the BCF, David Lowe's former church.

Jesus also taught to shout things from roof tops. Dave are you saying that you regret how you treated your children and other ex members now?

Chris Masters of the ABC prepared the report. He included a few quotes from Victor Hall, the leader of the BCF, in an effort to support his case, and yet, when all of those quotes are examined, there is surprisingly little in them that would shock the average evangelical Christian (although apparently much to produce shock in believers of the Chris Masters variety).

Dave, please supply the results and evidence from your survey as to what shocks the average evangelical Christian since this report went to air... otherwise this comment is unsubstantiated by factual research.

Chris says that he was surprised to hear Victor Hall say: "The Lord met us with a miracle for which we are very grateful..." Why does that surprise him?

He asks a disgruntled ex-member if Victor Hall is saying that God visits him. "Yes, he is," replies Brian Rensford, who left the group more than a quarter of a century ago, before Vic Hall even started leading the group.

Chris then asks David Lowe, "And what do you understand was his [Vic Hall's] contact with Christ?"

David replies: "Oh, one on one. Christ, or Jesus appeared to him in his office."

This is particularly surprising as it comes from a man who is now a well-respected Quaker. George Fox, the founder of the Quakers is recorded as having said that Jesus visited him, and that what he experienced led him to start the Quakers. Friends are called "mystics". Mysticism is defined as "Immediate consciousness of the transcendent or ultimate reality or God." So why can't Vic Hall also have revelations from God?

So Dave, when did you last have Jesus appear in front of you for a 1 on 1?

Chris Masters says that the BCF has a multiple eldership which "speaks for God", and he gives us a quote from Vic Hall to illustrate that: "The Lord spoke to us and confirmed a word to which I wasn’t looking for back there..."

Let’s try this. “The Lord spoke to us and told us to set up a coffee shop franchise”. If I was to challenge that by saying that this church believe they “speak for God” by telling their congregation that such an act was justifiable am I challenging the notion that God is speaking to someone or what the person SAYS God is speaking to them?

Some professing Christians are well aware of the conmen claiming to have had Jesus personally visit them, some listen and some don’t.

Let's compare that to the Society of Friends, where it is argued that God can be revealed through the meeting itself in a way that can transcend any private revelations that members might have. I should know! There have been a number of "gathered meetings" that have damned myself and the Jesus Christians, and they all hide behind one another in the belief that no individual has to answer for the decision made by the mob, for the mob has spoken on behalf of God.

Dave you sound like an “angry disgruntled ex-member”. Do you consider yourself dammed?

Another disgruntled ex-member of the BCF, Bill Johnston, gives a partial explanation for why he left the group: "I thought, why is God always talking to him? Why doesn’t he talk to me? And I began to wake up."

Wake up to what? That maybe he was not listening closely enough? Or that there is no God, and that anyone who says that God is talking to them is evil? It seems like he arrived at the latter conclusion. Do you see why I say that people get most upset at those who seem to be doing or saying something that suggests a need for spiritual growth in themselves? Their thinking is along the lines of, "If God isn't talking to me, then he can't talk to anyone else."

How do you know Dave, that I do not speak for God when I remind you of the teachings of Jesus you ignore?

Then Chris Masters goes on to talk about the "human wreckage" that has been hidden from the congregation (and, of course, revealed to Chris Masters)! He says sarcastically (and in a display of unprofessional journalism), "Lord Vic of Samford is a hard god." We have not been given a scrap of evidence that Vic Hall claims to be "Lord" or "God", much less that there is anything so harsh in his behaviour as to have caused the "human wreckage" that Chris refers to, so it seems a bit early for him to be passing such judgment... if he needs to pass such judgment at all to make a good story.

I really think you should join this group Dave.

He does, however, produce a quote from yet another disgruntled ex-member of the BCF, Haydn Simmons, who left the group 16 years ago, at the age of 20. Haydn says of Vic Hall: "He is a bully, a bit of an ego maniac, just not a real nice man."

More stereotyping of ex-members as “disgruntled”, except this time he has thrown in a dash of time. Is the fact that someone left a group “16 years ago” a reason to ignore claims of abuse? Such defence does not hold water if the Catholics were to use it to defend their priests from charges of child abuse, so why should it make this particular ex members claims any less valid and worth responding to?

Not content with what he has gotten Haydn to say, Chris adds a few words supposedly based on his own experience of the BCF: "Measuring up to the demands of the church can prove impossible."

As a journalist myself, I know that it is the job of a journalist to get other people to make the statements, and then let the public decide for themselves. You can often bias the report by including some quotes and excluding others. But when you have to depend on your own judgments, it usually indicates a fierce shortage of evidence. Chris goes on to let the viewers know that he is not only interested in presenting a story about something bad that is happening, but that he is going to press for "penalties" to be imposed on the people with whom he has a complaint. And the "penalties" are apparently going to start with castigation by himself, through his powers and credibility as an ABC journalist. He says, "Tonight on "Four Corners" a small outwardly civilised church causing extraordinary harm and a big question: In a civilised nation where all forms of penalties apply to perpetrators of grief and harm, how does a house of God get away with this?" Sounds like the kind of stuff I would expect from Channel 7 or a London tabloid. "Extraordinary harm", eh? It may suck the viewers in, but I can tell you right now, don't expect anything more than some disgruntled ex-members who are angry because there are others (often relatives) who still have not experienced their own disgruntlement.

I did not hear any BCF ex members criticising current members for not experiencing what they experienced. Bit of a red herring Dave. What is so wrong with the Chris Masters asking the question about how a “house of God” can do such things? Jesus constantly challenged the “house of God” which lends weight to a perspective that those claiming to represent such an abode needs to be challenged, and challenged publicly.

The spin continues with a woman who has never been in the group, but who appears on the show primarily because she is good with words. Morag Zwartz: "The level of pain and cruelty is just, is just incredible."

Dave, how do you know what she says is not true? Have you met the people of which she apeaks?

Chris Masters himself could not have said it better!

Then Chris turns to a professional "cult-buster" named David Ward. He asks: "On a scale of one to 10, when you consider the level of abuse that we know about through the world, where does BCF rate?"

Ward says, "In terms of emotional abuse it would be a solid eight." Hmm, a solid eight. That's pretty high. Right up there with rape, torture, terrorism, I should think. Surely, the viewers think the same thing. They assume we are going to hear about something that would make Schapelle Corby thankful that she is only languishing in a jail cell by comparison.

Chris admits that the BCF is "on the surface welcoming", and he includes quotes from ex-members themselves attesting to that.

Theresa Coulton: "They were lovely people. They were very warm and welcoming and they couldn’t do enough for you."

Haydn Simmons: "To be honest, there were some really fun times."

So where does the level eight pain and cruelty come in? Chris seems to think that it springs from their "unto perfection" doctrine. In fact, this is a doctrine which has been taught by quite a few different churches including, if I'm not mistaken, the early Quakers! It is often referred to as the "holiness doctrine". John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church taught, for example, that it is possible for a person to achieve "sinless perfection", although he never claimed to have arrived at such a state. (He said that he knew a few people whom he thought had.)

The pain and cruelty came in to our dealings with you Dave when you instructed your followers to try and “smash the pride” of one of your children, and when you tried to break up the marriage of another, and when you tried to get your daughter to betray her own brother by enabling your lies and deception.

Such a doctrine has fallen off in popularity today, with the Salvation Army, Methodists, United Pentecostals, Amish, Nazarenes, and Mennonites being the main denominations still teaching it, though usually not with so much conviction as they did in their earlier days. Nevertheless, it is worth some time to digress here, because this idea of anyone trying very hard to discipline themselves in spiritual matters has become the new trademark for labelling a group a cult. They are usually called "high demand groups". There seems to be little doubt that the BCF and the MCF are high demand groups, as are the Jesus Christians. We can accept such a label almost with pride. But that does not make a group evil, nor does spiritual discipline qualify for a level eight rating of cruelty and pain!

What of the above “high demands” you made of your children and those you expected to follow them Dave?

Haydn Simmons notes that the BCF also taught that we are in the "end times" and that "the second coming of Christ is near". My guess is that David Lowe reacted to this when I first me him and answered certain questions he was asking about the Jesus Christians. I said that I thought our (Jesus Christian) emphasis on the second coming of Christ was something which distinguished us from the average Quaker... although I could see nothing in Quaker teaching that labelled such a belief as heretical. (George Fox, in fact, also believed such a doctrine, except that he appeared to have beleved that the Quakers were the fulfillment of the prophecies about the coming kingdom of heaven.)

Thanks for sharing your “guess” here Dave, but as such it hardly constitutes anything more than “unsubstantiated accusations and innuendoes” and we know how you disapprove of that.

Haydn says that the BCF teaching is that those people who are 100% committed to Jesus and living as he lived when he returns will "go off with Him". Nothing too shocking in that to most evangelical Christians. So Haydn gives it a little spin of his own by saying that "basically" this is the same as teaching that members of the church are "Jesus incarnate". But is that really what they teach? I see nothing in the Four Corners report to indicate that, and Haydn's use of the word "basically" suggests that he is just cranking it up a notch in an effort to discredit the whole idea of TRYING to be perfect.

A bit like your “guess” is like a wild stab in the dark, eh!

And Chris Masters gives another quote from Victor Hall to back up the fact that the group has teachings based on The Revelation. Vic says (obviously of Jesus and of a quote from The Revelation): "He has a name written that nothing can take away." Shame on you, Vic Hall for saying such a shocking thing! (Sarcasm intended.)

David Lowe adds that he often did not understand what Vic was saying, and that some of the others would say that it wasn't real clear to them either. He finds it hard to accept that these other people stll felt that Vic was basically a good speaker. I can understand that. I have experienced a lot of that in churches. But it's there in Quakers too, where people pretend to be getting something really heavy and esoteric out of a meeting, and yet you could not get two people from that meeting to agree on what it was. Just different people, speaking (and hearing) from the perspective of different "conditions", according to Quakerspeak.

Currently we are hard pressed to find you saying something consistently so I can well imagine those in your group with definitely be seeing different sides to you as you go through your various “conditions”.

It's not hard to produce evidence of this from almost anyone (including Chris Masters himself) if you just include a half-sentence of them trying to describe something that they find difficult to describe. So he has a quote from Vic Hall saying, "There's something here that's completely and absolutely indestructible, that’s in resurrection life, that’s in the principle of the seed." But what is odd about this is that Quakers too talk about the "seed" and about esoteric truths which cannot be easily put into words.

Bill Johnston says that he travelled around preaching for the church. He says: "I was, you know mouthing off what Vic was teaching, only I was breaking it down to help people to understand this whole thing that he was talking about." Very good, Bill. If Vic himself was a bit too complex for the average person to understand, it was handy that he had someone like yourself who could make it easier for others to understand. You seem to see yourself as having had that gift. But that wasn't what Chris Masters wanted you to say, so he leads you to change your story by asking: "But did you understand it yourself?

Bill gets the hint and says: "If I was really honest today - no." So, in other words, Bill was NOT being really honest when he said that he broke it down to help people understand what Vic was talking about. But why does he say, "If I was really honest TODAY?" What if he had been really honest back then when he was doing it? Isn't he saying that he DID think that he understood it then... probably because he believed what he was saying then? And isn't the difference "today" just that he no longer believes it? That is what people experience quite frequently when leaving a group. They find themselves embarrassed at things they had believed earlier. It made sense at the time, because they had accepted it as true. But when they no longer believe it, they don't want to be seen as endorsing it in any way... and so Bill took the hint and said that even when he was preaching it himself he did not know what he was talking about. Sorry, but I don't believe that.

Could it be that Bill has become more insightful now than he was then and has come to see that he was wrong in his previous understanding? What exactly is wrong with that? Why is his character being attacked for changing his mind based upon what he sees as the fruit of his previous understanding?

Chris Masters says that it is difficult to "capture the identity" of the church, because they "eschew Christian emblems". Hmm, sounds like another religious society that I know of! He says that their meeting houses do not look like "conventional churches". Yes, I know of other groups that would fit that description too! Then he says, "The congregation appears to be generally educated and prosperous." C'mon, Chris. Are you sure you're not talking about the Religious Society of Friends?

Then another ex-member says something very interesting. Fiona Bronte says that the members of the BCF are "very well heeled families, you know well dressed, well behaved children, very stable..." Remember this, because we are soon going to be told that the organisation practically exists for the sole purpose of destroying families! Chris really goofed by putting this quote into his report.

I took the context to be coming from a “stepford” family type approach as in all part of the presentation which does not represent reality.

Chris admits to the viewers that "the main reason the Brisbane Christian Fellowship ... has come to our attention is through those no longer welcome." Disgruntled ex-members, Chris. You can find them anywhere. Just name the group, advertise on the ABC that you want to find someone who doesn't like the group, and hey, presto! You have yourself the makings of a documentary.

Again with the “disgruntled” thing.

He starts with Helen Pomery who wrote 500 letters to BCF members to share her complaints. My goodness! I wrote THREE to Friends in Australia and was damned for it! The BCF must have been incredibly patient to have put up with such an obsessive malcontent.

Here is a fresh one… “malcontent”, and “obsessive” to boot. How many words in this article you just wrote??

We then see footage from her daughter Kayleen's wedding to Vic Hall's son, where Kayleen's new husband says: "I accept the call to honour Christ's lordship and to offer myself in headship to Kayleen..."

Chris Masters says, "A central teaching of the church is headship." Headship, by the way is another term for "leadership", but some churches use the word "head" instead, based on a passage from the Bible where it says that Christ is the head of the church (which is his "body") and the husband is the head of the wife. It implies that anything done to hurt the wife would hurt the husband too, since the wife is his body, and since he should love her the same as he would his own body.

In the wedding video, Helen's husband, Graham, says to the newlyweds: "It is only through that whole order of headship that that can ever operate - where God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of man, and man is the head of woman. Now that has been a revelation from scripture and many years ago Vic Hall had that revelation. He not only preached that word but he began to live it in his own family."

Helen says that the church taught that Christ speaks to the husbands through the elders of the church. It's a doctrine which is widely held, but widely open to abuse too. I have no doubt that it probably was abused at some times, as I have seen it abused by elders in the Quakers as well!

Chris Masters then says that Helen's other daughter proved "unsubmissive" to the elders and found a partner who was not a member. She was kicked out of the fellowship, and a year later Helen was also kicked out because she would not agree to cut off all communication with her daughter.

I can understand why you have no issues with this paternalistic approach to marriage as you promote it in your group, but today most people take a approach based more upon equality than leader follower roles in marriage.

I think the Quakers call this shunning. They do not answer your letters. They do not answer your calls. They do not talk to you if you attend meetings. Some will not even shake your hand. It's not something that we Jesus Christians support, but we can appreciate that there are some extreme circumstances where it may be quite difficult to maintain a relationship with someone who is fiercely opposed to what you believe. I just think that it is strange if a Quaker such as David Lowe really thinks that Quakers have (or even that he himself has) progressed to something better than what he and others damn in the BCF.

Tsk, tsk, dave. Your “disgruntlement” is showing.

Helen says, "I was not permitted to write to her, to phone her, to make contact in any way. It was horrifying. I used to go and sit in her room and cry just for sheer terror of where was my daughter and what was happening to her."

This may or may not be true. I am a bit biased, because I watched the ABC broadcast similar lies about ourselves from Kate Croft, who later admitted privately that it was not true. The ABC allowed neither Ash nor myself the opportunity to refute what Kate said in that documentary.

Are you saying Helen is lying about going to “sit in her room and cry just for sheer terror of where was my daughter and what was happening to her”? A tad minimising don’t you think?

Helen, who left the church to be in touch with her daughter, divorced her husband, who stayed in the church. Now this is interesting. She was in a predicament where she was apparently going to be cut off from one or the other... her daughter or her husband. And she chose to be cut off from her husband (and her other children, who stayed in the church) just so she could be with her grown daughter. A bit of a dumb thing to do, I should think, unless she just wanted to divorce her husband anyway, and the alleged rule about her daughter became a good excuse to do it.

So you believe you “should” think Helen did a “dumb thing”. Why is that? What belief system compels you to think she was being dumb to leave her husband? Is it your own belief that women are in a secondary position to men in the JC spiritual hierarchy?

At this point, Chris Masters, for the first time, actually puts a hard question to Helen: "What do you say to the proposition - well you got yourself into this; it was your choice to join the church?"

She accepts that it was her choice to join, but says that she has a responsibility to fight the church on the grounds that "I took my children in there and they didn’t have a choice." Hang on! Wasn't it her daughter that chose to marry someone outside the church? She obviously was not trapped. She obviously was not a prisoner. Getting out was as simple as saying that she did not want to follow the rules of the church. And surely if it is so easy to be expelled, then those members of her family who are still there must be there because they have freely chosen to be there... as adults. Kids don't have much choice about ANYTHING that their parents do. But we each grow up and we each make our own decisions. A lot of us go along with decisions that our parents made while we were still quite young, and a few of us rebel and go a different way. That's life.

“Hang on!” Wasn’t the daughter shunned because of her choice making it untenable for her to remain? Why would the daughter’s choice of partner have anything to do with the church? If she was an adult then why was her choices not respected as such by this organisation?
Chris Masters then turns to Haydn Simmons' sad story of level eight pain and cruelty. Haydn left the group when he was twenty years old. He is now 36. He is the one who said (above) that there were some fun times in the group. But in a different frame of mind, Haydn says, "The day I left the church I was saved, my life begun when I was 20 really." Haydn's father, John, left in 1993, the year after his son left. John had been a pastor in the church for over 20 years, after having been a minster in the Salvation Army.

Chris Masters (to John Simmons): "Do you think it’s a deliberate strategy, the driving of the wedge?"

John: "Deliberate and intentional... They try to separate husband from wife. They would set a husband against a wife, a wife against a husband. They would try to put a wedge between children."

Remember the earlier quote about the group being composed of happy, stable families with well-behaved children? So which are we going to believe? Here is a guy who was actually allowed to be a pastor in the church for over twenty years, and whose family stayed together until one son left, at the age of 20, telling us that the group more or less sets out to destroy families. Something doesn't sound right here! Would it be too much to suggest that the son leaving was the wedge that caused this family to leave, and that they now want to rewrite their whole time in the group in such a way as to suggest that the group had been trying to bust up their family all along? Sure took ole John a long time to see the light!

I remember that quote about the church consisting of what LOOKS like stable happy families. Take your family for example you promote it as being a fountain of functionality, happy, and stable… and yet all bar of one of your children were driven away by your religious excesses and demands, and even today struggle to find a positive thing to say about you.

Chris Masters: "John Simmons, a gentle spirited former Salvation Army minister, was constantly out of step with the hard line Brisbane eldership."

So these are the harsh leaders exercising level eight cruelty against John Simmons for more than twenty years as he "constantly" disagreed with them. My goodness! Such tolerance! They actually let him continue leading for more than twenty years despite his lack of submission to their eldership. If only I could find such tolerance amongst Quakers! Ha!

Then Haydn drops a clanger. He says of his father: "He didn’t really believe that taking children away from the parents if the children were born out of wedlock was an answer."

Now here could be the making of a real story. Where are these children born out of wedlock being disposed of? Who owns them? Who adopts them? Surely a good investigative reporter would latch onto this, as it could constitute a genuine story of misbehaviour. But, instead, Chris Masters leaves the quote in, but makes no further reference to it. Could it be that he hopes to start a scandal for which he has no evidence? Until he comes forward with some evidence, that would be my best guess.

That is your “best guess”? That Chris deliberately left the quote in the “hopes” that it will “start a scandal”. It is interesting that your “best” guessing always points to someone’s guilt. Is this the level of your apostolic godly discernment? Guesses?

Haydn then tells a story about Vic Hall's son, David, coming to him as a teenager at a camp, saying that the Lord told him that he was struggling with something. The two prayed together, and Haydn shed a few tears. Then, a few weeks later, he learned that his brother had told David about the problem. The assumption is that David had no business bringing God into it because he only knew about the problem because Haydn's brother had told him about it. yeah, perhaps. But I've seen people in just about any church whisper about any number of things behind other people's backs, and then work on what they think "the Lord" would want them to do about what they know. My goodness, the Quakers have a whole committee that deals almost exclusively in discussing the private problems of members of the congregation so that they can deal with them in a "spiritual" way. Level eight cruelty? Hardly!

Why do you keep bring the Quakers into a report on the BCF? One would think you suffered “level eight cruelty” at their hands the way you go on.

Then Chris Masters makes an amazing statement. He says that a heart attack suffered by John Simmons in the early 90s was partly caused by problems in the church. How on earth could ANYONE make such a statement with surety, much less a reporter who wasn't even in touch with the man at the time. He doesn't quote anyone else as saying it, or better still "alleging" it. He just states it is fact, to be believed purely and simply because Chris Masters said so.

Is that a bit like you stating Chris left a quote in the “hopes” that he can “start a scandal” and that it is “to be believed purely and simply because David Mckay [ed] said so”?

Then John Simmons says that Vic Hall told his wife that the heart attack was God's judgment on him (for what, we don't know). Vic Hall's statement is equally amazing (stating that the heart attack was God's judgment), but this is the sort of thing that happens all the time in religious circles. People take the good things and the bad things that happen in their lives and they INTERPRET them in relation to their walk with God. John Simmons may want to say that Vic Hall caused his heart attack, and Vic Hall may want to say that God caused it. I would tend to say that wear and tear caused it (and possibly poor diet or not enough exercise), as is the case with the breakdown of most body organs as we get older.

Good to see you using some balance in what you would say probably due to an awareness of your own body’s “wear and tear”, but I do recall you once saying that “God blinded” one of your sons so you get something off of him that he was hesitant to give. In that case I would say you misrepresented God, as Vic did, by saying to John that his heart attack was caused by God’s judgement.

Haydn was talked to by some people from the church in relation to his father's heart attack. He says that he was instructed not to talk to his father about "anything personal", presumably because the elders thought that John Simmons was out of line, according to rules of the church.

John Simmons says that another son, Brett, was also spoken to by someone from the church. John says, "Brett just wept and wept when he came back from Brisbane and told us how Vic had just so robbed him of his own respectability and had robbed us of our rights to be his parents. He said, 'I’m finished Dad, I’m never going back there again'." This is confusing, because I thought it was Haydn who left a year before his father left, but now we have this other brother leaving. Or maybe it was Haydn.

So did Vic Hall really "rob" anything from John's sons? Did he, as the boys say, rob John of his rights as a father? He may have TRIED, as it seems that he said some negative things to this boy about his father. But the boy disagreed with what was being said, and so he made an apparently wise decision not to go back there again. Case closed. Nothing was robbed. It's the sort of thing that happens all the time, in families, in churches, in workplaces, in other organisations. If you don't like what people say, you just go somewhere else to find your friends. Once again, no level eight cruelty here as far as I can see. Just a huge beat-up on the part of the ABC.

No acknowledgement from you either that it is inappropriate for church leaders to slander parents to their children. It is may happen all the time… but is also challenged all the time as being wrong.

John then says that Vic talked to him too, and he didn't like what Vic said, and "it wasn’t that long after that we left." Okay, so the incident must have occurred in 1993... or maybe it was in 1992, and that was the thing that made Haydn leave first. Hard to say.

Then we have another quote from Victor Hall apparently preaching to his congregation, saying: "We are born from above and we are a supernatural people, and from day one - in our marriages, our individual life, - this is the basic gospel. You cannot be saved if you don’t buy this, I don’t care how religious you are." It's not clear what "this" is referring to in this quote, but it is probably the idea that God doesn't just want us to go to church on Sundays. He wants to be in control of our marriages and in control of our lives, seven days a week. A very good message; but not a popular one amongst those who believe religion should be kept inside the box and restricted to one day a week at best.

Earlier Chris Masters said that there was emotional wreckage hidden from the congregation. Then he said that they taught "sinless perfection". Now he tells us that people outside the church have not been given a chance to see all the wreckage that we assume he is soon going to tell us about. He says: "The high octane teaching of the church in its various incarnations has generated a long history of emotional turmoil and scandal, all of which has so far escaped the attention of the outside world." Okay, so people inside think they have happy little families... something like the Brady Bunch, we are told. And people outside think the same. Then it obviously does NOT have a long history of scandal. Scandal is defined as:
A publicized incident that brings about disgrace or offends the moral sensibilities of society; Damage to reputation or character caused by public disclosure of immoral or grossly improper behavior; disgrace.
So what is really happening is that Chris Masters is trying to CREATE a scandal. He could do it by publicising some grossly improper behaviour, but at this point it still seems like he has failed to locate the grossly improper behaviour. So he just SAYS that there is scandal attached to the church, in the hope that people will believe that there has been something immoral done even if there hasn't. What shocking journalism!

Gee, I thought this was just a guess. Now it has progressed to a certainty, all in the same article, and Chris has not even had the chance to respond. I think some projection is occurring here. What shocking leadership!

(Note: We observed from news reports that exactly the same approach was taken to Mercy Ministries, where there was talk about scandals in general, but no specifics.)

The woman who has never been a member of the church then makes a general comment on why the church was so successful in its early days, and this is fairly significant. Morag Zwartz says that it "was a reaction against what had in many churches become the influence of liberalism and the "God is dead" in a lot of churches kind of effect. In the Pentecostal churches in general and these ones in particular, they represented a God who was very real and very alive."

Sounds good to me. And it sounds like the situation is not so different now. It still seems to be the "God is dead" people who are trying to make sure that God STAYS dead, who are trying to destroy groups that they think show evidence of serious faith in a living God... like ourselves.

So far you have expressed concerns about the coffee shop franchise owned by Hillsong Christian church being taken to task, or the challenges against a paternalistic approach to marriage, or in the doubts expressed about a personal visitation from Christ, and defended each and everyone of these things. I do not recall anyone attacking God, or the concept of a God.

Then Rachel Kohn, religious affairs expert for the ABC gives a pretty good description of the movement: "The Pentecostal movement does believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are being poured out in the latter days and so they do have contact with God, the Holy Spirit does wash into the leader and wash the soul of the individuals who are ready for it. And it is through that that they can attain perfection."

Chris then goes into the history of the movement a bit, and notes that the man who founded it was actually removed in 1988, when the church found him and another man guilty of adultery and "sexual abuses". We get no further explanation of this, or evidence of the truth behind it. But what seems most encouraging is that the men were actually removed. That is the sort of thing that is not supposed to be possible in a "cult". The leader exercises absolute control, and can never be removed, or so they say.

A man who left the group the same year that the truth got out says that it was as simple as someone in the group standing up and telling the truth. So surely the congregation had both the will and the opportunity to do such a thing. And, presumably, if something really wrong were happening today, they could do the same thing. But that does not mean that disgruntled ex-members should be allowed to make them shut down just for believing what they have each freely chosen to believe.

Do you think the BCF were being asked to “shut down”? I did not see that.

Chris Masters says that, in a book, "Journey to Ephesus", Hall says that the Lord directed him to move from New Zealand to Australia and to preach in Brisbane. Fair enough. And eventually he seems to have taken over leadership of the church after the 1988 "implosion" when the original leader fell from grace. Vic's assumption of power seems fair enough too.

The guy who left when that happened, Tony Lyon, seems to contradict himself when he says, "He had always seen himself as the successor. He hated any of us ever saying that." My guess is that in the first sentence, Tony is saying what he BELIEVES about the inner secrets of Vic Hall, but the second sentence is what Vic Hall actually said. There seems to be so much of this in the stuff that people say in this report... giving vent to their imaginations, but providing precious little evidence.

“There seems to be so much of this in the stuff that Dave says [ed] in this article [ed]... giving vent to his [ed] imaginations, but providing precious little evidence”

Chris Masters tells us about "the mounting weight of psychological abuse cases" over thirty years. He says, "Greg Passmore, a brother in law to Vic Hall is now a Baptist minister settled close enough to the BCF to have seen a lot of damage in the last three decades."

A strange statement. Like how far down the street can one be and still "see" "psychological abuse" in a church that you no longer attend. Greg says that he has been pastoring for the opposition (the Baptists) for 30 years, and he knows that some people in the church "are seeking help very, very secretly." Wow! Three decades of files on this "mounting psychological abuse". Greg Passmore must have some juicy stories to tell. Or does he? That's the end of the topic as far as the ABC is concerned. Just take it from Chris and Greg that there is "mounting psychological abuse spread over thirty years". But they are not going to say anything more about it, and I'm probably just a sour old cynic to think that it's because they haven't got diddly squat when it comes to evidence for such claims.

It would have to be easier for Greg to see what is going on than for you being a different state to see what is not happening

To be fair, however, much later in the report, Chris comes back to the subject of these very very secret visits to psychologists, etc. that Greg Passmore can observe from his house in the neighbourhood. Chris Masters says, "Medical professionals in Brisbane have confirmed to "Four Corners" a problem of stress and breakdown among BCF members, often seeking secret treatment." Does the ABC really believe that the thinking public is going to fall for that? What kind of research was done (and by whom) to come up with such a broad statement specifically about the Brisbane Christian Fellowship? And what kind of a medical professional would break their code of ethics to share such information with "Four Corners" even if they had such information? What MAY be true is that someone from the fellowship has seen a psychologist for stress or whatever. Has a Quaker ever sought psychological counselling? I know of Quakers who have actually committed suicide. But is that proof of something wrong in Quakerism?

Odd that you would criticise medical professionals for confirming cluster of stress and breakdowns emanating from a high demand group when you make no qualms about lying to similar authorities when you feel the need.

Then we heard from another disgruntled ex-member, who left 28 years ago (long before Vic Hall ever became leader of the church) and he tells us that any group, whether religious or political that tells grown adults to get advice before they do anything "is just plainly nuts". I guess that means a lot of our politicians and corporate executives should be in mental institutions, doesn't it? Because they are always dealing with advisors, consultants, etc. I say that anyone who is afraid to get advice before making important decisions is plainly nuts!

Did you seek advice from outside of your group before you whipped that Kenyan volunteer?

Then another pastor, working for the opposition, who left the group 24 years ago (four years before Vic Hall took over), says, "I can remember one of the leaders there saying that, you know, we are the bride of Christ and that the rest of the church is not the bride of Christ." Whoooah! Definitely mental cruelty that one! Seriously, in one way or another, all sorts of churches say something like that. Don't the Catholics think that they are the One True Church? And what about people who feel they have to damn other groups like the Quakers have done with the Jesus Christians, and like this mob has done with the Brisbane Christian Fellowship? Aren't they trying to say that such groups are NOT a part of the spiritual elite that they belong to? It's sad that there is so much bigotry on all sides, but it is a fact of life. Most of us just learn to live with it.

“working for the opposition” Really? Why is someone who offers up a criticism “working for the opposition”? There seems to be a pattern where you consistently minimise or defend false statements. So what if the Catholics make a statement that they are the one true church? Does that make it right?

Bringing the Quakers into it again I see.

Chris Masters says: "Morag Zwartz who is preparing a book on the BCF movement is possibly the only expert who was never a member. She has addressed an obvious question: If the church is so abusive why don’t people simply leave?"
Good question. And one which seems to be answered by the fact that many people actually HAVE left; but they just get upset that everyone else didn't come with them.

I saw them being upset because they HAD to leave in order to escape the controlling influence of paternalistic beliefs.

However, another more obvious question is overlooked. If Morag was never a member, how does she qualify as an expert on the church?

Would you accept me as an expert on the JC’s seeing that I was in it for years? Or does the fact that I disagree with you automatically disqualify me?

Morag's answer to the question of why people don't leave is fairly obvious when you think about it. It's more or less the same reason why people don't leave any church, club, or other social organisation that they are heavily involved with. She says: "You do everything as a family, you’re caught up with the men if you're a man or you’re caught up with the women if you’re a woman. You don’t really have any life outside there. So ... you can’t just decide to leave."

Obviously, if someone was suffering level eight abuse, they would do pretty much what Hadyn did at the age of 20 when someone suggested that he not discuss something personal with his father. He left. Easy as that. But little differences are overlooked all the time by members of all sorts of organisations. God knows we overlooked heaps of things in the Quakers until they decided to kick us out. And it was because we saw other things in the organisation that appealed to us. There are pluses and there are minuses in all organisations, and the BCF, like the Jesus Christians, obviously has a lot of pluses that keep people in. The malcontents don't like that.

Your response suggests you know little of the mind of an oppressed person.

Morag continues: "As soon as you start to question you are really going to cop it and then you’re going to need to be counselled." Hmmm, I'm not so sure that everyone needs to be "counselled" as Morag puts it, but I know that when I started to question what was happening to us in the Quakers, then I really started to cop it too, and it has been pretty stressful. It seems that every organisation tends to think that its members should either be "compatible" by the standards set by the elders or else leave. Some organisations, like the Jesus Christians, allow a lot of freedom for people to disagree. We have one of the most open web sites in the world, with people free to say almost anything against our leaders. Others, like the Quakers, have had to close down their web sites because they could not handle anyone criticising their leaders. It's just a difference in emphasis, I think.

What the Quakers again! Maybe you need some counselling to help you let go of your resentments?

Then there is a rather disturbing suggestion made by Helen Pomery, the woman who divorced her husband to get away from the fellowship. She says that there is a file of written confessions that is kept by the organisation, apparently as a way of blackmailing ex-members. One thing I strongly dislike is people gathering private information to be used to blackmail people... you know, the kind of stuff that David Lowe and Brian Birmingham have been doing with me for the past year or so. So I perked up on hearing that. But, once again, the so-called scandal just never eventuated. It seemed to exist all in the heads of the people feeding Chris Masters this incredible line. We are not given one single incident of anyone in the fellowship ever producing these supposed files and using them against anyone. Helen says "If they can get people to confess and they’ve got those confessions filed away then they have got dirt on everybody." So if they have dirt on everyone, and especially if they gathered it for the purpose of controlling ex-members, why hasn't that happened? But notice the big "if" in Helen's statement. She says, "IF... they've got those confessions filed away..." So do they or don't they, Helen?

Didn’t you at one stage use similar things for your members so that when they swapped bases it travelled with them? Like a letter of recommendation. Please correct me if I am wrong.

But Chris Masters tells us that "HELEN POMERY kept a record of the so-called confessions". Why did SHE keep a record? Is she just accusing these people of something that she herself is guilty of? It does, however, say that she also "obtained copies of the... files kept on her by the elders." And that file is produced as a way of embarrassing the elders... exactly what she and Chris Masters are trying to say that the BCF would do with them. Chris tells us that in one session the elders counselled Helen to turn loose of her attachment to her father so that she could "wholly submit to her husband". I dare say that most professional counsellors in the world keep files, and that there would be more than a few who might suggest to some of their clients that emotional ties in one area are keeping them from growing in another.

Interesting that you accuse a whistleblower of blackmail when then blow a whistle.

And then we learn that David Lowe was actually one of those horrible counsellors! And he says that he didn't know anything about counselling, that he's just an electrician. Nice little side comment, David. Tell the world that you are an electrician so they won't look into whether you may be a Private Investigator as well, eh?

Then we have the question of confidentiality. John Simmons tells us that it was stated that there should be no secrets. I think Quakers call that "transparency". They don't practice it, but they preach it occasionally. It's nice that the BCF teaches transparency, and that they tell people right up front that they will need to be accountable for the things that they say. Quakers prefer gossip. In fact, they solicit it. You can go to them with lies about anyone in the meeting, and if your lies suit their agenda, they will protect your identity and pass it on to all the right people. That is what Cherry and I have had to endure for the past year and a half. The M&O Committee tells the convenor of the House Committee, who tells the Warden, who tells anyone who phones in and wants to know what is happening.

Then we get another quote from Vic Hall: "Unless we... put God first and honour him with the first fruits of our substance, your business is cursed, you’ll never make a dime."

A bit of an exaggeration, I suspect, but I think people are not going to go far spiritually if they are not prepared to put God first, with you make one dime or a million of them.

You say it is an exaggeration and then go on to agree with him. Hmm. I don’t know what to make of that bit of circular reasoning.

Chris Masters talks about the BCF "taxing" its members. I've seen this one used too many times before. I would be pretty certain that, while it teaches that tithing is the biblical pattern, no one is "taxed" in the sense of being forced to tithe. A bit like what we have in the Quakers, where all members are urged to donate $400 per person a year toward maintenance costs (on top of other donations). Unlike the tithe, which is linked to a person's actual income, the Quaker system asks the same from the poorest member that they ask from the richest. You don't have to pay it, but people take notice if you don't. This last year Cherry and I finally decided not to pay it. Maybe THAT has something to do with them deciding to kick me out.

You still seem to have difficulty with the notion of “force” existing where there are no bruises. As I have mentioned to you previously, force does not have to involve the use of physical violence. It can also involve mental pressure through the use of guilt, peer pressure, manipulation.

Money is a serious concern to David Lowe. He is always trying to put forward a theory that I am making a fortune off the Jesus Christians. So it is understandable that he should be the one to speak out against tithing in the BCF. He says of the tithe, "If the word got out that you weren’t tithing, you know, everything would go wrong with your life." Notice this. No mention of any discipline from the church elders if you didn't pay your tithe. No mention of a record being kept of who gave what. Just a reference to things not going well in your life if you don't pay tithe. I was raised in that kind of church. I grew up thinking that if you gave to God, he would bless you, and if you did not, things would not go well for you. It seemed to make pretty good sense. Certainly nothing abusive or cruel about such a belief.

There is nothing untoward about growing up in a belief system that says bad things will happen to you if do not give money??? I have received, and enjoy deleting, such superstitious emails when I receive them as they are designed to coerce and persuade people by using fear of possible outcomes. Hardly the work of a God of love I think.

Then Chris gets onto how much money the leaders of the church make. Remember that they have already said that the congregation is "well-heeled". So it's not surprising that the leaders are able to live well and to dine at five-star restaurants when they like. It's not OUR lifestyle, but we accept that it is "normal" for a lot of other people... like David Lowe and other Quakers. We have often had to refrain from attending Quaker functions because we simply could not afford the prices that they set, or the caterers that they hired.

If the prime minister of Australia can be called to account for wining and dining at lavish restaurants at tax payer expense then it is only right and fitting that church leaders are also challenged on such things. Why are you defensive of this?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/27/2008 04:48AM by apostate.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: "Jesus Christians," "Australian cult," Dave McKay
Posted by: apostate ()
Date: June 27, 2008 04:47AM

Chris Hall says that the "extended" Hall Family has three houses. But the extended Hall Family is actually three families, isn't that right? So isn't that pretty much the norm in Australia? One house per family? I don't see the scandal in that.

Chris Masters asks David Lowe: "How much transparency applied to the church’s accounting?"

David answers: "I’d say zero. I’ve been to annual general meetings. Annual general meeting, number one is you only go by invite." Okay, to start with they apparently HAVE an annual general meeting. Number two, David himself was free to attend them... unless he considers himself to be a zero. There are laws which govern charities and churches, and even registered businesses. If they have annual general meetings, they usually have to give an audited account of the income and expenditure for the year. So when David Lowe says, "I'd say zero," I feel inclined to ask what the Australian Government says about it. I know, because I've seen this before. David thinks it is his business to know every time I buy a hamburger, and if I don't tell him all that he wants to know then he says I am not financially accountable

Besides the fact that David has not questioned you about hamburgers, just who are you accountable to outside of your group?

Now let's move on to this annual general meeting being by invitation only. Sounds an awful lot like Yearly Meeting with Quakers. You have to apply for permission to go if you are not a full member, and if you are a Jesus Christian, you get refused permission simply because you are a Jesus Christian. How "transparent" is that? If the whole world is supposed to know the BCF's personal business, why can't everyone know what the Quakers are up to?

Even the members are not told what goes on in Ministry and Oversight Committees or what the Standing Committee or certain other committees do. So is there one standard for Quakers and another for BCF?

What… Quakers again!!!

Greg Passmore, the Baptist minister who left the group THIRTY YEARS AGO, says, "It comes through that any enquiry as to what's happening financially, how much do our leaders get paid, that kind of thing, it can be regarded as ranging from impertinence to dire spiritual rebellion." Did you say "our leaders", Greg? How did they become your leaders? You left thirty years ago. If you expect to be told how much THEIR pastors are being paid, then I would see that as impertinence too.

Is it impertinent to know how much the Australian Prime Minister and Governor General earns as well? Accountability and transparency say different.

Then Chris Masters gets back onto the church's teaching about trying to be perfect, since this seems to be what is bothering all of them more than anything else. They don't want to be perfect and they don't want anyone else trying to be perfect. Chris tells us that Greg "undertook extensive studies gaining a series of degrees. He has in particular measured the "unto perfection" doctrine against the scriptures."

Do you think you can make yourself “perfect” Dave? Why do think you are imperfect?

Maybe Chris is just naive and knows nothing about theology and theologians. Virtually every denomination of any size has theologians who have undertaken extensive studies gaining a series of degrees. It does absolutely nothing in terms of bringing any of them closer to some absolute truth. They all end up believing whatever they choose to believe... usually something very close to the beliefs of the institution that gave them the degree. Nevertheless, Chris Masters tells us that Greg Passmore "has in particular measured the "unto perfection" doctrine against the scriptures."

And Greg's verdict: "I’d say it’s not supported at all in the sense that they put it, that it is attainable." "In the sense that they put it?" That phrase could cover a multitude of sins. The question is just whether or not there is anything in scripture (after all that study and all of those degrees) to suggest that God expects anyone to attain perfection, or to even try to attain it? I say that, not because I am committed to that doctrine, but because I know that for those who are committed to that doctrine there are a LOT of scriptures that are used to support it. But they would definitely not be supported by Baptist theological schools. So, can we take it that the ABC position on this is specifically Baptist... thanks to all the degrees that Greg Passmore has?

Chris goes around the circle, asking each of his informants if they think they could ever be perfect. They all answer no, of course. Obviously. That's pretty much why they all left... They got tired of trying. But it would be more interesting if he had asked others who attend the church. My guess is that they would say something similar, except that they would add that they are still trying. That's the main difference.

Yes, it would have been interesting hearing people say that they think they can make themselves “perfect”

David Lowe then makes a strange comment, which seems to suggest that he is lacking in intelligence. He says, "It’s not a matter of intelligence. Hey, I was there for about 18, 20 years."

He is actually saying that even though he is intelligent it still did not prevent him from staying there for so long. Odd how you see the opposite of what he said! It must be hard for you to hear things when you so easily misrepresent what is actually said.

Morag steps in to explain for him: "It’s some other part of our psyche. It’s some other part of that combination of vulnerability and need and all those other things that we all have that the church addresses."

Isn't that true of virtually all religion? It seeks to help us with areas of weakness in our lives? In fact, it's one of the most common reasons people give for becoming atheists, i.e. that religion exploits our weaknesses, and the truly "strong" thing to do is to stand on your own without God.

One wonders where you got those statistics from. The only difference between you and an atheist is that believe is that they believe in one less God than you.

The ABC religious affairs expert, Rachael Kohn, joins the judgment on the BCF, when she says: "It is abusive to actually interfere in someone’s private life, to tell them that they mustn’t be married to that person or that they must leave their children because they have been somehow caught in Satan’s web. It’s very important that this kind of teaching, wherever it emerges, is seen as not only abusive but indeed even un-Christian."

Quite apart from the fact that we still have no evidence that anyone was told not to marry someone or that they must "leave their children", it seems a bit short-sighted of Rachael to have made such a statement, given that social workers are forever advising families, parents, wives, etc. And pastors are constantly called on to counsel people with problems... often deep emotional and psychological problems. They encounter marriages and parent-child relationships that are abusive, and they often counsel people to walk away from some situations, to turn loose of their dependency on various friends and relatives if that dependency is dragging them down psychologically. We can disagree with the wisdom of various counsellors, but it does not help to make across-the-board blanket condemnations of anyone who seeks to counsel family members through the complex issues that face them.

You are a master at throwing up smokescreens in order to defend a cult that at times wrecks marriages. Why is that? Do you think you were seeking to “counsel family members through the complex issues that face them” when you called Roshini telling her to leave Gary at the airport in India, or telling Kevin to abandon his wife, or Sheri to lie to her brother?

Chris makes yet another attempt to drum up a scandal by mentioning that someone with a "troubled history at BCF" is believed to have committed suicide. But, again, he refuses to tell us about the "troubled history". It would be fair to say that most people who commit suicide have a troubled history leading up to it. That seems to have been the case with a member of our local (Quaker) meeting in Newcastle, when one of our members committed suicide. But no one would have suggested that it was our fault that she committed suicide.

It was YOUR fault when your own son was just about driven suicidal due to you telling your followers to break him and force him to leave his wife. Lucky for you he had support outside of your little cult.

Chris tells us that Bill Johnston, who left the church in 1984, had a son who subsequently also left the church. The son committed suicide in 2004, TWENTY YEARS after Bill left the church. And we're supposed to think that the church is somehow responsible for this.

Do we get any information at all that the suicide rate at that church is any higher than any other church? No. In fact, we are told that the families in that church are quite stable. In fact, it seems like it is the people who leave who have most of the problems... those people who put themselves under the care of anti-cult "deprogrammers"... people whom we have seen specialise in generating hatred and bitterness against anyone they disagree with.

I have not seen people debating with you “generating hatred and bitterness against anyone they disagree with”. How do you think this article of yours will be received by your followers? Do you think it will be generating anything else in them than that which you accuse others of doing?

Chris goes on to say that those who have left the church don't like the way the church is moving toward shared housing for younger members of the congregation. Like is it any of their business? Ex-members are ex-members, and if they keep feeding their paranoia about what they IMAGINE is happening back in the church that they left, it will only ruin their lives.

Chris makes vague reference to a church teaching that families can be fortresses (where young people are nurtured and protected), or they can become cults (where young people are trapped and abused). Sounds reasonable enough to me. Ask any social worker who has dealt with families and they will almost certainly agree.


John Simmons (who has been out of the group for fifteen years) sums up the paranoia that the whole report seems to be leading up to, i.e. not what has actually happened, but what they have all convinced themselves is GOING to happen in this church full of happy families. He says: "It disturbs me, it distresses me deeply, ... because it is so contrary to what I believe the word of God says. They teach children, they teach children to dishonour their parents."

We have the word of one twenty-year-old boy that someone told him not to share anything personal with his father sixteen years ago. He left the church because of it. That seems to be the start and finish of what is distressing all these people so many years later.

Let’s not lose the mother, daughter, the ex salvo, David Lowe, and all the others, in the smoke you are blowing around the place.

Now we begin to sense that the program is working toward an emotional climax, after having waited through all of it, in the expectation that some real evidence would be produced to support the beat-up that preceded it. We've been told that people in the church are stable, well-behaved, and blissfully unaware of the "suffering" that ex-members are going through. But now a new picture is drawn, of a church which sets out to destroy families just for the sheer fun of destroying families.

The "expert" who has never been a part of the church says: "They’re more than happy to facilitate the break-up of families. You could argue that it goes one step further than that, they actually orchestrate it. As soon as there’s hesitation or there’s questioning in one partner, instead of allowing the normal process where couples might work things out together, they’ll be in there with a sledge hammer bringing a wedge between those two people." One could be forgiven for thinking that Morag may be exaggerating a tad with this statement. Once again, we have a phrase like "You could argue" which is a pretty clear indication that what she is saying is an exaggeration, and not supported by evidence. After all, why would a church set out to destroy all of its families? And is this handful of malcontents, spread over a period of 30 years really typical of the average member in the church? I doubt it.

Helen Pomery sums the report up well, when she says: "People don’t ask questions and people don’t know the full story." Well, we've been asking some questions in this article, and it would be helpful to everyone if the ABC had the courage to give us the full story and not this potted and distorted version.

Helen continues: "People over decades had been exiting Melbourne Christian Fellowship and Brisbane Christian Fellowship and no-one knew why."

Yes, and we probably STILL don't know why, any more than we know why people have been exiting the Quakers for 350 years, or even why people exit the ABC every year. It's just the way people are. The stay someplace for a while, and then they move on. So stop trying to make more of it than there is.

“ Once again, we have a phrase like "we probably" [ed] which is a pretty clear indication that what he [ed] is saying is another guess, [ed] and not supported by evidence”, as some people now do know why. I am one of them.

And then Chris Masters finishes by saying that he has collected many stories from people who are too fearful to go on camera. Of course they are! But not because Vic Hall is going to bomb their home. We know, because we've been through this with David Lowe, and a lot of other detractors. They are afraid to put their name to the lies that they spread, for fear they will have to be legally accountable for what they say. And it would be good if those who DID put their names to this article (including Chris Masters) were made legally accountable for the smear campaign they have mounted against the BCF and the MCF.

It would be good if you “were made legally accountable for the smear campaign you [ed] have mounted against David Lowe [ed]"

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/27/2008 05:07AM by apostate.

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Re: "Jesus Christians," "Australian cult," Dave McKay
Posted by: matilda ()
Date: June 27, 2008 06:05AM

repost from Matilda from page 68

This post contains a repost from circa 2003

It claims that Freelance organised a meeting between Dave and the Family in 2003

The LJR (Lovong Jesus Revolution) may have been discussed here

It refers to a personal epistle or letter Dave got from David Berg back in the days of his COG membership.

The letter seemed to endorse Dave's mission to the churches. It appears that David Berg considered Dave to be a Family member at that time.

David Berg was an exacting man and he kept clear tabs on his members. If Dave had left the COG by then, David Berg would probably have ignored him or written him a different type of letter.

Here is the post

n 23 December 2003 someone called Hope (aka Freelance) posted a message on confirming that
'[i:503f0f4d13]The Family and the Jesuschristians had a get together in Ocean Beach California. ' .....' This was organized by Freelance.'[/i:503f0f4d13]

One of the topics under discussion was the latest Family teaching the LJR or the Loving Jesus Revolution. there have been other meetings, this is just one example that is documented on a forum. *Dave usually denies that he makes contact with them, despite using their literature and artwork)

A poster called 'Not surprised' responded on 29th Dec 2003 to say

'[i:503f0f4d13]Well Hope, you appear to be related to/Freelance
So Dave has gone back to the fold then , like a dog to its vomit. His teachings on masturbation and the importance of dreams always reflected the Fam beliefs on sex and spirit guides. He never left. Always contributed to World Services. The Jesus Christians are more than an offshoot of the Family. The leader has always been a member, always supported them financially and continued to be a Berg 'shepherd'. My guess is he will be very angry that you have spilled the beans. News like this got him thrown out of a few churches he had 'joined' in the past. The Quakers will not be impressed.'

On friday 26th December a poster called [b:503f0f4d13] The Jesus Christians
[/b:503f0f4d13] posted the following message in support of Hope and in response to a poster called [b:503f0f4d13]Darkangel[/b:503f0f4d13] (ex member of the Family_

[i:503f0f4d13]What are the numbers of the Jesuschristians? How can you say Hope only talked to 2 or 3?
By these very statements you have lied! As for the LJR the Bible itself talks about a marriage relationship between Jesus and His bride!
That means sex real sex with all of the trimmings!
If Love is the paramount rule as Christ taught than sex between non-marriad adults is an expression of love your either with the law or your not!
As for Lydia your meeting with the Jesuschristians was correct you forgot to say you screamed your head off in the streets at the very sight of them!
You cant nickname yourself (Darkangel) such as the Devil is and then claim to be a soul winning Christian!
This whole board has perjured itself your own words condemn you! [/i:503f0f4d13]

Freelance and Dave seemed posted regularly on NDN around that time and had a similar writing style. Dave was very critical of Family ex members and those who campaigned against the Family's work. Both got banned from NDN Freelance had a reputation on the newdaynews site for posts that were leery and sex obsessed. Dave was aware of this as were the entire readership of NDN. Here is one example of Freelance's postings.

[i:503f0f4d13]NewDayNews Crossfire
Re: David F'lance you are probably HIV POSITIVE
By:David Freelance <Send E-Mail>
Date: Monday, 14 January 2002, at 12:05 pm
In Response To: David F'lance you are probably HIV POSITIVE *N/T* (Mekka)
Just had the test a second test Im clean thank God! How do you like? Do you like it over the shoulder or below the shoulder?
Enquiring minds want to know! Personally I like it up and down and it turns me on to hear a woman Pant,Pant,Pant! I like em all the long the short and the tall I like it tight but Ill take it loose! I hope you like turkey cause I like a hot goose! Ive did it in church and in a lake Ive had a lot but thers alot more to take!
David Hotpants Freelance[/i:503f0f4d13]

Freelance travelled extensively with the JC's and appeared on TV with them in the Kidneys for Jesus documentary.

A few questions here in light of comments posted at JC forum.

1. What lengths did Dave go to to keep this man seperate from youngsters and to inform them and protect them?

2. What differences are there (if any ) between the LJR and Dave's latest spin on masturbation?

A final thought

The JC's have issued numerous statements denying the connection between themselves and the Family but it is not entirely true to say that they are merely influenced by the early COG. Cherry may have left Dave if he remained in the Family. Dave left because of her reaction and on condition that she left her church and joined him. In his own words he 'took advantage of a COG ruling' ( posted on exfamily ) which allowed anyone who had a couple of disciples to set up independantly as a COG shepherd. The JC's were started as an off shoot of the Children of God. It evolved over the years but spiritually Dave never made that break away from them. Dave's only objections to that group are on the liberal teachings on sex but on nothing else of significance. dave still looks up to Berg. Berg's letter was prized by Dave. Berg had his spirit guides. Dave has his dreams. The spirit of Berg remains in the group and it is still obsessed with sex. Dave works round the clock controlling the groups lives and their sexuality, manipulating their private lives, enforcing celibacy and teaching about masturbation as a substitute. The Family also preach masturbation in the LJR. Both teach members how to and when to lie. A rose by any other name.....

End of repost

One more thought

Dave has alwys said that he is the only member of the JC's who was ever a member of the Family.
He goes on to claim that he ' took advantage of a COG ruling' and became a shepherd, recruiting his own children and family.
If Dave was recognised as a COG shepherd with his oiwn flock, it does not matter whether he lived in the commune or in his own home or up a tree.... his recruits wold also have been recognised as COG members. Therefore, it is entirely possible that there was more than one member of the JC's linked to the Family.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/27/2008 06:18AM by matilda.

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Re: "Jesus Christians," "Australian cult," Dave McKay
Posted by: zeuszor ()
Date: June 27, 2008 06:32AM

I have a hard copy of the entire LJR series and will post it all ASAP if you like. Would that be helpful?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/27/2008 06:59AM by zeuszor.

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Re: "Jesus Christians," "Australian cult," Dave McKay
Posted by: zeuszor ()
Date: June 27, 2008 06:44AM

Now David is somehow aligning the JCs with Falun Gong, and extending sympathies to them as fellow victims of "religious persecution." He even wrote a special mid-month newsletter over it. Most of the JCs do not even have kidneys left to be forcibly harvested by the Chinese government, so what is he talking about? He must be losing his mind. As Mr. Kyoo pointed out, "He has now suggested/implied that David Lowe (who he thinks is me) is blackmailing, threatening and apparently now involved in a conspiracy to bring down every Christian group involved in discipline. All backed by the Quakers." Yeah, his dementia is coming through more and more...


We send our regular newsletter out once a month, usually at the start
of the month. Below is a report we received on treatment of the
Falun Gong in China. We have been increasingly concerned by the kind
of persecution small religious groups are experiencing and the apathy
of the general public about it. The Falun Gong are a good example of
just how serious persecution can become if it's allowed to continue.
Thank you. - Jesus Christians


1. China's Olympic Committee President was found liable for torture
2. To prepare for the Olympics, Chinese security ordered a "strike
hard" against Falun Gong.
3. Falun Gong practitioners are being killed in custody faster and
more frequently than before.
4. Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners around China have been
arrested "in preparation" for the games.
5. Falun Gong practitioners are officially excluded from the Games
because of religious belief, in clear violation of the Olympic
6. Falun Gong has never taken a position on an Olympic boycott.
7. A "clean up" of districts hosting Olympic venues has included the
arrest of local residents who practice Falun Gong.
8. Despite ostensibly freer regulations for foreign journalists,
Falun Gong remains taboo.
9. Hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners will experience
the Olympics from inside labor camps, where they are often tortured.

10. Most Chinese are unaware of any of the above because independent
information about Falun Gong remains blocked inside China.

(1) China's Olympic Committee President was found liable for torture
In 2004, a U.S. federal court found that Liu Qi, the man heading
Beijing's Olympic Organizing Committee, was responsible for the
torture of Falun Gong adherents during his tenure as Beijing's mayor
from 1999 to 2002. According to the Center for Investigative
Reporting, which publicized the case in April 2008:

"In an extensive legal opinion, the U.S. District Court in San
Francisco determined in 2004 that Liu Qi was responsible for the
illegal detention and torture of two Chinese nationals and a sexual
assault against a French woman in China."

The plaintiffs, who were represented by the Center for Justice and
Accountability, presented evidence that as mayor, Liu directed
security forces to violently crush Falun Gong. In addition, police
under his command subjected the plaintiffs and other Falun Gong
adherents in Beijing to severe beatings, sexual abuse, and 'electric
shocks through needles placed in [the] body.'

For more information visit:

For a summary of the case and relevant legal documents visit:

(2) To prepare for the Olympics, Chinese security ordered a "strike
hard" against Falun Gong.

According to Amnesty International, in preparing for the Games,
Former Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang issued the following
order in the context of "successfully holding the 17th Communist
Party Congress [in October 2007] and the Beijing Olympic Games":

"We must strike hard at hostile forces at home and abroad, such as
ethnic separatists... and 'heretical organizations' like the Falun


(3) Falun Gong practitioners are being killed in custody faster and
more frequently than before.

Within the first three months of 2008, the Falun Dafa Information
Center (FDIC) documented six cases of practitioner deaths occurring
within merely 16 days of arrest and in some cases, within hours. By
comparison, in 2007, it was over the course of the entire year that
the same number died within such a short time in custody. In several
of the recent cases, family members were able to view the body before
its cremation and saw signs of torture, including strangulation marks
or bruises from electric shock batons.

One of the most prominent victims was Mr. Yu Zhou, 42, a musician who
was arrested with his wife Ms. Xu Na at the end of January on their
way home from a performance by his band. Eleven days after their
arrest, the authorities notified their family members to come to
Qinghe Emergency Center, where they found Yu already dead. He had
been in good health before his detention, but the hospital refused to
conduct an autopsy. Ms. Xu, who was released in 2006 after serving
five years in prison for practicing Falun Gong, remains in custody.

According to The London Times, which reported on Yu's death:

"[T]here has been lively discussion among music fans on Chinese
websites over the fate of the singer Yu Zhou, 42. "Another beautiful
soul has left the world," commented one distraught fan....Yu won a
following among young Chinese for his mellow folk ballads. His group,
Xiao Juan and Residents from the Valley, released two successful CDs
and appeared on the Phoenix television channel.

For more information on the recent surge in deaths in custody, see:

For The London Times' coverage of Yu Zhou's case, see:

(4) Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners around China have been
arrested "in preparation" for the games.

Following orders such as Zhou Yongkang's (see #2 above), Chinese
security agencies have been conducting large-scale arrests of Falun
Gong adherents throughout China in recent months as authorities step
up efforts to "stamp out" the practice in advance of the Olympic
Games in August.

Since January, the FDIC has been receiving regular reports from
adherents and their families inside China of door-to-door searches
and arrests. According to statistics compiled from these reports,
there have been at least 2,000 arrests across 29 provinces, major
cities, and autonomous regions. In Beijing alone, over 150 arrests
are known to have taken place.

See: []
NOTE: A follow-up report with up-to-date statistics and details will
be released shortly.

(5) Falun Gong practitioners are officially excluded from the Games
because of religious belief, in clear violation of the Olympic

Throughout 2007, several statements by top officials, as well as an
internal document, indicated that Falun Gong adherents from both
inside and outside China will be excluded from participation in the
2008 Beijing Olympics, as athletes, coaches, journalists or
spectators. Such a policy that discriminates on the basis of
religious belief contravenes both the Olympic charter as well as the
code of ethics signed in Beijing in April 2007.

One official admission of the intent to exclude foreigners who
practice Falun Gong from the games was provided by Li Zhanjun,
director of the Beijing Olympics media center, in November 2007.

While rejecting allegations that the Chinese authorities intended to
limit the entry of Bibles for personal religious use, Li singled out
Falun Gong texts as an exception. As reported by the Associated Press:
"We don't recognize it [Falun Gong]... So Falun Gong texts, Falun
Gong activities in China are forbidden."

For more information see:

See also:

(6) Falun Gong has never taken a position on an Olympic boycott.

As a spiritual practice, Falun Gong in and of itself does not take a
stance on issues such as whether or not to boycott the Olympics. Yet,
individual adherents are entitled to take their own positions and
make statements accordingly. Nevertheless, such views represent the
opinion of that particular individual, rather than Falun Gong as a

What the FDIC is concerned about is the escalation of abuses and
extrajudicial killings of practitioners ahead of the games, and
indeed, because of the games. There is ample evidence, including
points presented in this document, that shows how China's communist
leaders are using the Olympic games as a reason to intensify the
campaign to 'eradicate' Falun Gong.

(7) A "clean up" of districts hosting Olympic venues has included the
arrests of local residents who practice Falun Gong.

Between December 2007 and March 2008, at least 16 Falun Gong
adherents had been arrested from Chaoyang District alone, which is
set to host the beach volleyball and tennis events, and 10 from
Shunyi district, the site of the Olympic rowing and kayaking venues.
In total, over 156 practitioners in Beijing and at least 1,878
nationwide have been rounded up during this time period.

According to reports received by the FDIC, many of the arrests have
followed a common pattern. Officers from the local police station or
Public Security Bureau (PSB) branch come to the adherent's home or
workplace, conduct a search for any Falun Gong-related materials, and
take the individual into custody at the district detention center. In
some cases, family members or co-workers who do not practice Falun
Gong have been taken into custody as well.

The systematic nature of the arrests suggests that authorities are
using a previously compiled list of local adherents - a common
practice of the PSB. According to former PSB agent Hao Fengjun, who
currently resides in Australia, authorities in the city of Tianjin,
where Hao formerly worked, had a database of 30,000 Falun Gong
practitioners' names.

For a list of 67 adherents detained in Beijing as of March 2008,
including the above-mentioned 16, visit:

(8) Despite ostensibly freer regulations for foreign journalists,
Falun Gong remains taboo.

The Chinese government issued temporary regulations for foreign
journalists in January 2007. The directives, in place until October
2008, reduce travel restrictions and the need for pre-approval of
interviews. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ),
however, in practice "the government continues to interfere with
foreign reporters," particularly regarding taboo topics like Tibet or
Falun Gong.

The following is an excerpt from a recent CPJ report illustrating the
official obstacles placed before reporters seeking to cover Falun

Bracing for the 21,500 accredited and 5,000 to 10,000 unaccredited
foreign journalists who will descend on Beijing for the Games,
China's Olympic planners have issued police an English phrasebook.

It gives some indication of the welcome that foreign journalists will
receive. In a section titled, "How to Stop Illegal News Coverage,"
the practice dialogue features a police officer confronting a
reporter who tries to cover a story on the outlawed religious group
Falun Gong.

"Excuse me, sir. Stop, please," says the officer politely but firmly,
before explaining in impressively advanced English: "It's beyond the
limit of your coverage and illegal. As a foreign reporter in China
you should obey China law and do nothing against your status." "Oh, I
see. May I go now?" says the visiting reporter hopefully. "No. Come
with us," the officer is told to reply at this point. "What for?" "To
clear up this matter."

For the original report from which this excerpt is taken and a full
discussion of press freedom violations ahead of the Olympic Games,
see "Falling Short" at:

(9) Hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners will experience
the Olympics from inside labor camps, where they are often tortured.

Sentencing without trial to "re-education through labor" camps
remains one of the most prevalent ways in which the Chinese
authorities punish people for practicing Falun Gong. According to the
U.S. State Department's 2007 report on human rights in China: "Some
foreign observers estimated that Falun Gong adherents constituted at
least half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in reeducation-
through-labor camps, while Falun Gong sources overseas placed the
number even higher."

Adherents are usually picked up by police from their home, workplace,
or while attempting to distribute leaflets about the practice and the
persecution against it. After being held in a detention center, they
are sentenced to a labor camp. They are never brought before a judge
and most are denied the right to employ a lawyer. According to
Amnesty International:

"The decision to assign a person to RTL is taken by the police,
without charge or trial. People can be detained for up to three years,
which can be extended by a further year when necessary...n the
lead-up to the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing police have used abusive
detention practices such as RTL to 'clean up' the city."

Once in a labor camp, Falun Gong adherents are beaten, deprived of
sleep, and tortured, including with electric shock batons, in order
to force them to recant their faith. In 2006, the U.N. Special
Rapporteur on Torture reported that Falun Gong practitioners
accounted for 66 percent of victims of alleged torture in custody.

For two stories Falun Gong practitioners who had been detained in an
RTL, see: Daily Mirror: "Annie Yang reveals Olympic torch guards
place her into labour camp":

For information about Bu Dongwei, a Falun Gong practitioner detained
in a Beijing labor camp for whose release Amnesty International is
campaigning, and to write an appeal letter on his behalf, see:

(10) Most Chinese are unaware of any of the above because independent
information about Falun Gong remains blocked inside China.

For the majority of Chinese people, their only source of information
about Falun Gong is the state-run media or government sponsored
websites, all of which have been used to vilify Falun Gong and deny
rights abuses. Domestic journalists receive specific directives
forbidding independent reporting on the topic.

On the internet, Falun Gong and related terms remain among the most
highly filtered by the "Great Chinese Firewall." According to the
Committee to Protect Journalists: "A Web search for "Falun Gong," [...
] would not draw a blank, but it would yield carefully vetted sites
that present the government-approved line."

Websites such as the FDIC's, that are run by overseas Falun Gong
practitioners and include information about rights abuses, are
inaccessible from inside China. So are the sites of independent
rights organizations like Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch.
Even discussion of the issue over Instant Messenger is prevented by
filters built-in when Chinese IM software is downloaded (see below).

The only way to access independent information about Falun Gong from
inside China is with a proxy server used to circumvent censorship, a
technological luxury that remains out of the reach of most Chinese.

As a result, though they live in China, many Chinese remain oblivious
to the nonviolent nature of Falun Gong adherents or to the brutality
meted out against them.

For a brief explanation of online censorship in China, see:

For a list of censored words integrated into downloadable IM software
(20% of which relate to Falun Gong), see:

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