columns from the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 3: Number 3, 1990.
The Editor of the Christian Research Newsletter is Ron Rhodes.
Nancy Reagan's Astrologer Publishes Book.
Joan Quigley, a San Francisco astrologer hired by Nancy Reagan during her husband's presidency, has published a book, according to the April 1, 1990 issue of Parade Magazine. Entitled "What Does Joan Say?" My Seven Years as White House Astrologer to Nancy and Ronald Reagan, the book debuted March 15 with a first printing of 175,000 copies.
In Nancy Reagan's recent book, My Turn (which was on The New York Times best-seller list for 14 consecutive weeks), 10 pages are devoted to Joan Quigley. "I want to state one thing again and unequivocally," Nancy Reagan writes, "Joan's recommendations had nothing to do with policy or politics -- ever. Her advice was confined to timing -- to Ronnie's schedule and to what days were good or bad, especially with regard to his out-of-town trips."
Lloyd Shearer, author of the Parade Magazine article, phoned Joan Quigley to find out how important a role she thought she played as White House astrologer. Quigley claimed that "for seven years, she had selected the times for his press conferences, most of his important speeches, his State of the Union addresses, [and] many of the takeoffs and landings of Air Force One. 'I delayed President Reagan's first cancer operation from July 10, 1985, to July 13,' she said, 'and I chose the time for Nancy's mastectomy.'"
According to another article in The Washington Post National Weekly Edition (April 9-15, 1990), Quigley even helped Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter in the presidential election: "Quigley says Carter made his famous 'my daughter Amy' gaffe because she had recommended that the debate be held when the positions of Mercury and Uranus foretold 'sudden and unexpected' words from his lips."
According to The Washington Post "Quigley says she read President Reagan's horoscope for seven years -- 'often hourly.' And though she admits to missing a few blips during her watch (for example, she didn't 'see' Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev), more typically she simply skips anything that doesn't fit her argument. In this book there's no mention of the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, the taking of new hostages in Lebanon, [or] of the appointment of many dubious shysters to Cabinet positions."
Christian Science Church Explains its Beliefs in Full-Page Ads.
The Boston trial of David and Ginger Twitchell -- a Christian Science couple accused of manslaughter in the 1986 death of their 2-year-old son, Robyn -- is now well underway. Before the trial began in April, the Christian Science Church took out full-page advertisements in The Boston Herald and The Boston Globe in an attempt to explain its religion. The ads are intended to "help the community understand the church as the Twitchell case unfolds," according to W. Michael Born, a church spokesman.
Young Robyn died after his parents rejected a simple medical procedure in favor of the spiritual healing practices advocated by the sect. As reported in the Winter/Spring 1989 CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL, Robyn died on April 3, 1986, "after suffering for five days from a congenital bowel obstruction." District Attorney Newman Flanagan, who is prosecuting the case, said: "They've lost a child. But that child had an awful, awful death....When parents act wanton and reckless and allow their child to die it's a crime and they'll be prosecuted for it," the JOURNAL reports.
In the Boston ads -- headlined "WHY IS PRAYER BEING PROSECUTED IN BOSTON?" -- the sect warns: "Selective prosecution of Christian Science here and elsewhere is of grave concern. Today, it is the prayers of Christian Scientists. Tomorrow, it may be the prayers of those in other established religions. Perhaps your religion."
John Kiernan, a special assistant district attorney, is quoted in the April 16 Orange County Register as saying: "The whole idea is to bring to the front: 'What is the required conduct of parents?' We are advocates of children. We are not persecutors of religious beliefs."
Hare Krishnas Protest $5 Million Court Award.
In 1977, Marcia George and her daughter Robin (of Cypress, California) brought suit against the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) charging that Robin was abducted and brainwashed at age 15 by the Hindu sect. In June 1983, a jury in Santa Ana, California, ordered the Krishnas to pay the Georges $32.5 million in damages -- most of it in punitive damages. The April 9 New York Times reports that "the lawsuit accused the Krishnas of false imprisonment and causing emotional distress and wrongful death. Lawyers for the family said the stress from the loss of his daughter brought on a heart attack that killed James George, Robin's father, four months after she returned home."
The $32.5 million judgment against the Krishnas was substantially reduced in ensuing weeks. The April 17 Los Angeles Times reports that "the trial judge, James A. Jackman, reduced the award to about $10 million, and the 4th District Court of Appeal further reduced it to $2.9 million plus interest. The interest amounts to more than $2 million," bringing the total to about $5 million.
In March, Judge Jackman "ordered five Krishna temples, including the group's Los Angeles headquarters, to be auctioned off to satisfy the award," the New York Times reports. The Krishnas quickly responded and "asked the United States Supreme Court to hear their appeal of the award, and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor asked...that the group's assets remain undisturbed...to give the Justices time to decide whether to hear the appeal." David Liberman, a lawyer representing the Krishnas, asserted that "the damage award would not only suppress the religious freedom of thousands of Krishna followers but could also open the door to similar judgments against other religious groups," according the Times.)
If the U.S. Supreme Court decides to hear the appeal by the Krishnas, it could be another two years before the issue is decided. If the court rules against it, the case reverts back to Judge Jackman for administration of the payments to the Georges.
Hare Krishnas Are Returning to Airports with a New Approach.
According to the March 20 Wall Street Journal, "late last year, a federal judge ruled that the three major airports that serve New York City -- Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark -- are 'public forums' much like sidewalks and city parks. Though under appeal, the decision clears the way for the Society for Krishna Consciousness Inc. -- which filed suit 15 years ago -- to approach travelers again. Other sects would be able to return as well."
The Krishnas intend on using a different approach than they used in the 1970s. "The way that we preach has changed," says David Lieberman, a Los Angeles attorney and a Krishna devotee. "Before, as an icebreaker we would pin a flower on people and then ask them for a donation. We realized we were offending people. Our public relations was down."
Seeking a broader appeal, male members of the sect are shelving their bright orange robes in favor of shirts and trousers. Moreover, they've stopped shaving their heads and they're told to "soft-pedal literature such as their holy book, the Bhagavad-Gita, instead of chasing down travelers for money," the Wall Street Journal reports.
Elizabeth Clare Prophet Continues to Warn of Imminent Doom.
An earlier edition of the Christian Research Newsletter (Volume 3, Issue 1) reported that Elizabeth Clare Prophet, head of the Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT), claims to have received revelations from "Ascended Masters" (an alleged group of exalted beings who help guide the spiritual evolution of humankind) regarding the end of the world. Two years ago, Ascended Master El Morya allegedly warned Prophet that the U.S. risked war with the Soviet Union, possibly as early October 2, 1989. When that day came and went, the timetable for war was pushed back to December 31, 1989. Five months later, the most recent date to have passed uneventfully is April 23 -- a date Prophet said 25,800 years of karma would come due.
Murray Steinman, a CUT spokesman, is quoted in The Watchman Expositor (Volume 7, Number 4) as saying that "Mrs. Prophet is not convinced that recent international events mean tension is abating in the world; rather, she believes they are a result of deception by the Soviet Union to lure the United States into complacency." Steinman also said that "we are hoping for the best but planning for the worst."
Because of Mrs. Prophet's "revelations," CUT members in Paradise Valley, Montana have constructed massive fallout shelters stockpiled with food, medical supplies, diesel generators, and computers. Local merchants say "survival-type" gear -- including aspirin, flashlights, batteries, and first-aid kits -- have been selling very well.
Mrs. Prophet says she hopes her doomsday prophecy will fail, according to the April 24 New York Times. "I pray regularly that this prophecy will fail. I would be happy to be a fool for Christ," she said.
TBN Torpedoes Agreement to Expose Moon Funding of Christian Ministries
After reaching an out-of-court settlement with David Balsiger's Biblical Scoreboard organization that involved co-producing a one- hour special exposing Unification Church funding of various Christian ministries, the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) has backed out of it.
As reported in the last Christian Research Newsletter (Volume 3, Issue 2), TBN had been locked in a dispute with Balsiger's organization over Trinity's continual airing of "The Washington Report," a show partially sponsored by the American Freedom Coalition. (The AFC has received millions of dollars in funding from the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church over the years.) When Balsiger's Scoreboard Alert newsletter called the program a "Moon TV Show," TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch went on the air attacking Balsiger by claiming he was a liar and threatened him with a lawsuit. But Balsiger had done his homework on the Moon-AFC connection and threatened a countesuit. Eventually, both sides agreed to apologize to each other on live television, and to co- produce a program exposing Moon funding to ministries.
According to documents obtained by CRI, however, TBN recently tried to change the original agreement in several areas -- including a new demand that no ministries receiving Moon funding be named in the television special. Later, a TBN attorney accused Balsiger of beginning a campaign "to damage the reputation of Trinity Broadcasting Network...[Therefore, Balsiger's] conduct has forever foreclosed any possibility of Trinity participating in the television program we discussed."
Changes in Mormon Temple Ceremony
In an apparent response to pressure from within and without the LDS church, Mormon officials have removed several of the most offensive parts of the secret temple "endowment" ritual. The endowment is considered essential for one to achieve eternal life -- "exaltation" or godhood -- in Mormonism. Although it was allegedly given by revelation from God, the ritual has been changed repeatedly through the years. The most recent changes were made with no written revelation and no prior notification of the church's membership.
Among the portions reportedly eliminated are:
- Gestures depicting the throat being slit from ear-to-ear, disembowelment, and having the heart torn from one's chest as the penalty for revealing temple secrets.
- The "Pay Lay Ale" chant. ("Pay Lay Ale" means "Oh God, hear the words of my mouth" in the Adamic language.
- The Masonically-inspired "Five Points of Fellowship."
- A film segment that depicts Christian ministers as Satan's hirelings and mocks basic doctrines of Christianity.
- The veiling of women's faces during the prayer circle -- a symbol of subservience to the priesthood and dominance of the man.
- Wives swearing an oath of obedience and covenant to their husbands.
For more information on this, contact CRI.
Cults Seize New Opportunities in East Bloc
In the closing months of 1989, the world watched in awe as Eastern Europe's communist governments crumbled one by one. Decades of fear and repression gave way to renewed courage, hope, and freedom. In the Soviet Union, glasnost has meant greater possibilities for religious expression. Throughout the East Bloc, Christians are cautiously celebrating the beginning of the end of a dark era.
In the past, the iron bars of repression not only shut out open Christian witness; they insulated communist lands from the cults. One grim consequence of the new climate of openness is the opportunity for major cults to spread their message in nations where they were once banned. Eastern Europe's long-suppressed hunger for spiritual truth is now being met with poison, as the following examples demonstrate.
Jehovah's Witnesses. The Watchtower Society, which once worked clandestinely behind the Iron Curtain, now operates freely in both Hungary and Poland -- and with notable results. In August 1989, conventions in Poland drew over 160,000 Witnesses and sympathizers, including "tens of thousands" of Czechs, Germans, and Russians, according to the January 1 Watchtower magazine. In fact, the Jehovah's Witnesses are now the second-largest religious group in Poland.
On April 21, the Watchtower Society was legalized in Romania, where it had been banned since 1948.
Unification Church. On April 19, the New York Times printed the stunning news that would-be messiah (and anti-communist fanatic) Sun Myung Moon had met privately with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. The encounter took place during the eleventh World Media Conference, which was held in Moscow under the auspices of the World Media Association (one of Moon's front groups). Forty former heads of state were said to have attended.
Syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer commented: "What is Moon getting out of his unique Soviet connection? As one of his top assistants put it, 'He is saying that he has brought the message of God right into the Kremlin.'" (He is also paving the way for future proselytizing efforts, no doubt.)
Moon's Soviet strategy also includes cultural events, such as the debut of his daughter-in-law, Julia, at the famed Kirov Ballet.
The Mind Sciences. Rather than deploying missionaries in Eastern Europe, the Christian Science cult is spreading its message through radio. In an official letter in February, church treasurer Donald C. Bowersock wrote: "The recent recognition of Christian Science in the German Democratic Republic and other East Bloc countries is clear evidence of the Christ's presence being witnessed. Most recently, we rejoice that the final unrestricted right to worship was granted our Church in Poland by their government on February 16, 1990. How grateful we are that our shortwave broadcasts have been and are being received in those countries....As this has been done, we have consciously drawn upon the financial reserves of The Mother Church. We should replenish those funds, and the need is $37 million, which was expended for the construction of the shortwave facilities."
Meanwhile, the Spring 1990 Progress Newsletter, published by the Unity School of Christianity, reported that the cult's "latest and most exciting placements have been in Russia! People eagerly received pamphlets, periodicals, and books from Unity ministers visiting in Russia."
Mormonism. The LDS church now enjoys legal status in Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia -- with missions scheduled to begin operations July 1. In February, Mormon general authorities made exploratory visits to Romania and Bulgaria, offering aid to orphans in the former nation.
There have also been independent reports from the USSR that in Leningrad and Tallinn (Estonia), LDS representatives -- despite a lack of legal recognition -- have been giving public lectures on subjects like "The Restoration" in rented halls. The LDS church has allegedly won some 50 converts in Leningrad.
Mormon missionaries in Austria are also reportedly at work in East Bloc refugee camps, distributing free copies of the Book of Mormon in Russian among newcomers.
As these and other examples chillingly demonstrate, the political upheavals in the East did not catch the major cults off guard. To the contrary, all evidence indicates that the Mormons -- to cite but one example -- have for years been carefully readying themselves to exploit any opening in East Bloc nations. Similar preparations are now being made for China and other countries.
Perhaps most disturbing of all, the Christian church and the general public in Eastern Europe are largely ignorant, and all but defenseless, in the face of this cult invasion. Knowing that the cults will concentrate their efforts among believers, Christians in the West must respond immediately to this challenge by providing literature, audio-visual materials, and whatever other resources may be needed to inoculate and equip pastors, seminary students, and laymen throughout the region before widespread, irreparable damage is done.
The major cults are committed to waging -- and winning -- the war for peoples' souls on a global scale. We cannot afford to do less.
End of document, CRN0021A.TXT (original CRI file name),
"Research Notes" and "International"
release A, June 30, 1994
R. Poll, CRI
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