Category Archives: Cult and Cult Recovery

“Madman” by Kahil Gibran

You ask me how I became a madman. It happened thus: One day, long before many gods were born, I woke from a deep sleep and found all my masks were stolen — the seven masks I have fashioned and worn in seven lives — I ran maskless through the crowded streets shouting, “Thieves, thieves, the cursed thieves.”

Men and women laughed at me and some ran to their houses in fear of me.
And when I reached the market place, a youth standing on a house-top cried, “He is a madman.” I looked up to behold him; the sun kissed my own naked face for the first time. For the first time the sun kissed my own naked face and my soul was inflamed with love for the sun, and I wanted my masks no more. And as if in a trance I cried, “Blessed, blessed are the thieves who stole my masks.”

Thus I became a madman.

And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness; the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us.
But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief.

Kahlil Gibran “Madman” 1918

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Child of the Cult – includes Transcendental Meditation chapter

Nori Muster spent several years researching, interviewing, and editing stories of adults who had been raised in a variety of cults for her latest book “Child of the Cult”.

This book is now available, here as an ebook or kindle through amazon.com.

Through skillfully applied personal narratives, psychological and sociological analysis, along with historical context for each group, Nori uses the stories of five individuals, raised in different cult groups, to illustrate how cult dynamics contribute to child neglect and abuse in totalitarian systems.

This e-book is a valuable contribution to the literature on cult dynamics, child abuse, cult recovery and personal voice.

Because this book defies tidy publishing categories, traditional publishers rejected it. They didn’t know how to market the book.

Thus, Nori opted for an e-book through amazon.
To support the children.

Yes, there is a summary chapter of an upbringing (moi) in Transcendental Meditation.

There are virtually no profits from sales of this book. This is a public service document to help former-children from cults, now in recovery. This is also a useful tool for therapists, school teachers and social workers who suspect that youth under their professional guidance may be living in a totalitarian abusive system.

About Nori : After working in the publications dept of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness. Ms. Nori Muster authored “Betrayal of the Spirit” about her time with the inner core of the Hare Krishna group.

Nori is an activist on behalf of children injured in cults, and on cult recovery in general.
You may read more about Nori at norimuster.com

Psychotherapy with Former Cult Members

Dr. Patrick O’Reilly provides an introductory Continuing Education essay for the psychology profession – linked with this respected online Continuing Education (CE) provider : Psychotherapy with Former Cult Members.

Former cult members are often ineffectively treated by well-intentioned therapists. Unless a therapist has specifically sought training for cult recovery, she or he may have minimal background about former cult members’ myriad of concerns – such as shame, social isolation, social and professional handicaps, financial losses, separation from family, depression, vulnerability, self-distrust and possible Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, to name a few.

Further complicating therapy – many former cultists do not even realize they were in a cult. A therapist must identify if a client’s self-described depression or vulnerabilities result from a cult history. After identifying cult history, the therapist can better help a client or refer to an appropriate specialist.

Please send Dr. O’Reilly’s CE essay to therapists and psychologists. The concerns are more common than many realize. In-depth resources are available elsewhere, including some links in this blog’s margin.

Psychotherapy with Former Cult Members by Patrick O’Reilly

Confronting the Great White Brotherhood – Occult Psychodrama

(Addendum of August 6, 2013 : The psychic, Ms. McClendon, referenced in this essay, phoned me this morning after she read this post. Ms. McClendon stated that 1) She’s never received complaints about her services, 2) She does not prey upon others, 3) She does not advertise her services other than a long neglected website, and, 4) She provides readings to those who contact her of their own accord. According to Ms. McClendon, my mother had initiated contact after being referred by another psychic. As the author of the post, I must add that in the two years since I wrote this essay, my family is faring better without intrusion by psychics and fantasy directives.)

The following story demonstrates an inner drama that can occur to any true-believer who stands steadfast in spiritual fantasy. Complex cognitive dissonance is exhibited by many who leave one cult while still carrying their fantasy belief system.

After leaving one cult, many former cultists incorporate other equally egregious teachers, forming an inner multi-cult-uralism to avoid the pain of facing life losses related to following one charlatan.

Following a few paragraphs of family background guru-history, a transcribed “reading” demonstrates how both the Reverend Carol Lockhart McClendon and any predatory guru-psychic flatters and encourages vulnerable clients.

Background :

“The Great White Brotherhood” (GWB) aka Reverend Carol Lockhart McClendon convinced my mother that her two recent gurus, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (The Beatles guru) and the younger Hasmukh Taylor became financial grubbing charlatans because other spirits overtook their bodies. This fantasy excuse for the gurus’ unethical behavior states that original good spirits left those bodies because they completed their Earthly work. This phenomenon is identified in New Age circles as a “walk-in”.


According to the GWB, early devotees of the Maharishi in the 1960s during the Beatles heyday received true spiritual teachings from an enlightened “Master.” Then the last few decades of increasing grandiosity within Maharishi’s TM Movement – e.g. rajas, palaces, costly prayer treatments (yagyas) – are attributed to leadership by a walk-in spirit assuming Maharishi’s identity. For a true devotee, the Maharishi could never have become so materialistic. Belief in a fantastical “walk-in spirit” allows one to deny having succumbed to skilled con artists. Others believe that Maharishi’s followers (not Maharishi himself) orchestrated the secretive and wealthy inner workings. Such justifications protect one from facing the painful cognitive dissonance between belief and reality.

Cognitive dissonance threatens a disciple’s vulnerable psyche such that a convoluted justification is required to maintain a fantasy worldview. This is common with many who slowly awaken to having been misled by one spiritual deception, only to succumb to another.

The deemed GWB also explained that the person currently known as Hasmukh Taylor, coincidently, is also a “walk-in”. In this case, my mother believes she (and now I also) are the only people on Earth who understand the grand spiritual deception by these walk-ins to Maharishi and Hasmukh Taylor.

The simpler explanation – that many spiritual seekers succumbed to inspirational spiritual con artists – is too threatening to a true believer’s sense of self.

In this mindset, the person Hasmukh Taylor is a masquerade overtaken by another soul using Hasmukh’s body. No logical conversation will convince my believing mother to the contrary. She comforts her sense of rejection from her beloved young guru Hasmukh by the belief that the original Hasmukh is gone, and another spirit assumed his identity.

In reality, Mr. Hasmukh Taylor ceased responding to this one disciple because I directly threatened to expose him after he had accepted money from my vulnerable aging mother. As deemed disciples, my mother and her friends believed they had earned the right to receive initiation from him after nearly a year of study. Hasmukh thus established himself as the personal true guru to a small group of my mother’s friends, demanding spiritual subservience. She and a few friends enthusiastically offered services and funds for the right to be accepted into Hasmukh’s discipleship. This typical cycle of manipulation creates dependency through the use of praise, judgement, withholding and then honor bestowed by an unethical leader.

As expected after I confronted Mr. Taylor about his shenanigans, during a private audience with this deemed guru, he ceased responding to my mother’s telephone calls and emails. She was crushed by his rejection. I informed her that Hasmukh ceased speaking with her because I threatened to expose him.

Rather than painfully acknowledging that she had fallen for (another) spiritual con-artist, this disciple (my mother) is convinced that she maintains a spiritual connection what-she-calls the “original Hasmukh” and that “Hasmukh II” (as she now refers to him) builds his earthly following using Hasmukh’s writings, through his website for Pranava Yoga, and charging for spiritual seminars. Unfortunately I cannot also protect my mother’s friends who continue to follow Hasmukh, believing that he is a true guru.

Such a psychological house of cards is the inevitable result of “New Age” spirituality brought to Illogical conclusions. Those so-called gurus who peddle spiritual scams feed off pain and isolation of the vulnerable.

Seeking counsel by using familiar resources, my well-intentioned mother discussed her concerns with another spiritual con-artist who claims to channel Earth’s spiritual leadership – “The Great White Brotherhood” no less!

The “Reverend” Carol Lockhart McClendon claims to channel a group of spiritual beings ostensibly called “The Great White Brotherhood” (Wikipedia definition) (GWB). My mother has paid for these consultations for years, believing she receives a direct line to our planet’s highest spiritual governing body. As channel for the GWB, Reverend Carol Lockhart McClendon has a small group of clients. She also holds meetings and mini-retreats for her followers.

Concern for my mother’s confusion about conflicting ‘spiritual’ lies, and Reverend Lockhart McClendon’s advice contrary to that from my mother’s physician, prompted me to schedule a “reading” with this self proclaimed spiritual channel.

According to her website “Carol uses a process of working with spiritual guides, the Christ Consciousness, the Council and the Great White Brotherhood. These energies work with each individual to explore questions related to this life, past lives, future lives and parallel lives, as well as working with the client’s energy system. “

After my $150 check had cleared, Reverend Lockhart McClendon provided a telephone “reading” at our appointed hour on May 11, 2011. As you read the transcript please notice her cheerful flattering manner for vulnerable clients.

My “Reading” with the Great White Brotherhood follows :

Carol : Hello? is this Gina? It’s so good to hear you, honey. I know your mother well. It’s wonderful to work with several members of a family.

Gina : Hello Carol. It’s nice to meet you, so to speak. You have a warm voice. My mother has been appreciative for your services for years.

Carol: Well bless your heart. We’ll have a good reading.

Gina : Would you please explain to me how this works?

Carol : The Great White Brotherhood comes in to raise a person’a vibratory field so that you can plug into your main source and receive information yourself. They are about empowering you. Sometimes a person is too close to a situation to see clearly. Objectivity, they can be necessary to help a person redirect to their own inner source.

I never encourage people to become dependent upon me. They, the Brotherhood I mean, direct everyone back to their own source. They offer only support and validation for a person’s own perceptions. A person should not call weekly, for example. Everyone must act on their own. I help clients to be comfortable with “them” (The Great White Brotherhood). Because of this approach, clients maintain their own connection to their source and emotional independence.

This information is coming in to this planet everywhere now. The time has come to support this. The Great White Brotherhood is coming through many channels to uplift the planet. They place seed information, do you understand? S-E-E-D?

Gina : Yes, I understand. My mother exposed me to such teachings all my life.

Carol: Good for you. Then you have an advantage over others new to the Path. They place seed information in at least 5 places with others so teachings are leaked to uplift the world. Do you understand the process of how they work? Has your mother told you, or should I explain it?

Gina : It’s better if you explain it, just to be sure I have it straight. It’s been awhile.

Carol : Ok, I will begin with a prayer of protection so that we are all protected by the light. Then I will step aside and they will come through my body. They usually begin with a monologue. Often your questions will be answered within the monologue. When they are done, they are gone. I will trance and observe the proceedings; it’s more fun for me that way to observe the whole thing. Your akashic record comes up. There is one thing very important that you must do. (a moment of serious silence)

Gina : What’s that?

Carol: When you are done with your questions, you should always ask “If there anything I need to know that I haven’t already asked?” That will allow them the opportunity to read anything anything else of relevance from your akashic record.

Gina : Ok, I’ll add that to my list.

Carol : Then we shall begin the prayer now. Are you ready?

Gina : Yes.

Carol : Call your guides around you. We all have spiritual guides you know. They are available for you to call them to support you at any time.

The white light surrounds and envelopes Gina and all her guides right now, that she maybe receptive to the Great White Brotherhood and heavenly host. May Gina be protected from negativity and guided to her highest truth. May I also be protected and blessed as they access the higher wisdom to raise Gina’s vibratory rate and connection to the source of truth. The air and miles between us are drenched in the white light to support our work today. We ask these things in thy name. Amen

(After the prayer, Rev. Carol Lockart switched to a slow paced, controlled, deeper voice)

Carol as the GWB : You have been on a long spiritual journey of many lifetimes. You’ve come so far already. You have already traversed 2/3 of the path toward your spiritual goal. You are taking flight now in an individuating way. You have walked this path in so many lifetimes and are now near the end of your journey. We are here to tell you you have arrived in the last third of your consciousness expansion.

We must tell you something that you may not like. Your body is your vessel for this journey. You are to complete your spiritual journey this lifetime. But remember this.
You must begin to take better care of your vessel, so that your vessel can carry you for this last 1/3 of your journey.

Things are changing for you. Your life will become smoother. You will find that you think of things and they come across your path in unexpected ways. Life will become must easier and smoother for you. Your rewards are upon you.

Do you have any questions for us?

Gina : Yes. My mother has been speaking with you for many years. She finds great comfort in your guidance. She was both relieved and concerned about some things you explained to her. I would like to understand these things better myself.

Carol as the GWB : Yes. Continue.

Gina : As you know, my mother was devoted follower of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for many years. Her life was dictated by her role as a TM Initiator. She tells me that you explained that the changes she saw in Maharishi’s Transcendental Movement in the last years of his life were because he had stepped out of his body and another soul entered his body.

Carol as the GWB : Yes, that is so.

Gina : Would you please explain more about this to me? How does this work and why?

Carol as the GWB : There are souls to receive the blessings of the guru. When those early acolytes received their blessings, they could move on. That guru’s work was done and he could leave. A “Walk-in” is another soul, another entity if you will, who assumed the body of the Maharishi. This allowed the guru who instructed your mother to move beyond to his next role. All that the original acolytes received was good and pure teachings. Do you understand?

Gina : So you say that another entity assumed the body and identity of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi? My mother said you explained the new entity did not present true teachings. That is why the TM Movement became such an expensive business enterprise.

Carol as the GWB : Yes. Fresh and new acolytes need the new person to hang onto. The original acolytes had outgrown the old teacher, so he left and a new teacher is there for those who remain in kindergarten, if you will. You cannot fit a size 6 into a size 5 shoe. It is like that. The original acolytes grew to a larger dimension, so the soul in the body left and another came in. This is a slow process you see, as the new soul and the original soul slowly make the shift.

Gina : What year would you say this happened?

Carol as the GWB : The debriefing process was complete in 1973.

Gina : So, in 1973 Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s body had a new soul inhabiting his body?

Carol as the GWB : Yes, the walk-in.

Gina : Hmm. I understand. My mother spent 3 months with Maharishi in Mallorca Spain in 1971. That implies her six months with Maharisihi in 1976 were with someone else. You gave the same explanation for her more recent guru Hasmukh Taylor. You said he left his body and another entity took over.

Carol as the GWB : Yes, he is still in the process of transitioning, but another is taking over so he is liberated to move to another realm. You see, when someone outgrows a size 5 and becomes a 6, they must move forward to the next level. He has moved to a higher realm and can no longer fit the identity he has been.

Gina : My mother says you attributed my concern about Hasmukh’s misleading behaviors due to my spiritual atunement to this process?

Carol as the GWB : Yes, Gina, your preconception of this occurrence is due to your high spiritual evolution. You detected a change of this guru’s energy. You knew he was not quite the same. He was true to the new identity, which you perceived as different from the original. You see, the walk-in self is often not even aware of this process himself, but you detected it.

Gina : So, you are saying that the walk-in person himself might not be aware of the process?

Carol as the GWB : Correct.

Gina : I see. My mother is amazed that she is only person on the planet who knows that other beings inhabited both the bodies of Maharishi and Hasmukh Taylor. More correctly – that would be 3 people on the whole planet who know this – my mother, you and now I have this insight. This seems incredible to me. My mother is grateful for your explanation. However, this information causes her some distress. Her beloved friends continue to follow teachers who you claim to be entities using gurus’ bodies. She doesn’t know how to address this to her friends, nor within herself.

Carol as the GWB : Original acolytes have reached a certain peak and new ones are at kindergarten level. Those that say in the teachings have other lessons to learn with the new energies. They should stay with the teacher. It is not up to your mother to alert them. They have to figure this out for themselves. As they grow spiritually, they will feel the change in the gurus’ energy, just as you did Gina.

For those of you further along on the path, the lesson for you is patience. This is your spiritual lesson, be patient as you are so far along. The others might not want to question yet. Do not interfere with their information and teachings.

The key to being so far along on the spiritual path is to know when to say something and when not to say anything. The best is to wait until others’ ask. Do not offer the information.

Gina : So, you say my mother and I are not to disclose this information to others?

Carol as the GWB : That is correct.

Gina : Hmmmm. In general, how would one know if a changed personality is due to another walk-in assuming a person’s identity? It can be unnerving to wonder who has switched out use of various identities.You are describing a world with zombie-like beings assuming others’ bodies. At any time, someone such as my mother, could attribute a personal disagreement to a deemed personality change from another soul assuming someone’s identity. This level of delusion can potentially extend to a dangerous extent. How is a believing but vulnerable person to cope?

Carol as the GWB : That is when you need to trust. See the change in personality. That there is a shift when you see the change. Prayer will ground your mother. You mother actually knew when the shift took place. It takes place over a long time. If it keeps coming to you again and again, it is not about the person, it is about you recognizing true teachings and rejecting that which is false. Do you understand what we are saying?

Gina : Yes, I believe I understand as well as anyone from Earth can understand this. I’m also interested in the GWB’s referral to Carol to discuss my mother’s medical conditions. Carol suggested that my mother defer her prescribed thyroid medication and use iodine drops. Does the GWB or Carol have access to clients’ medical records to make such recommendations?

Carol as the GWB : (after a brief hesitation) When we offer health guidelines, we always say to “clear this with the physician and to find fi the physician will agree with the plan.” Iodine is an organic substance, any physician would agree that this can only be beneficial. Organics will always work. You mother should take small amounts and clear it with her physician. The thyroid is a master organ as far as organs are concerned. Taking iodine drops will take some time to take affect. Organic substances always work. There is no harm. Your mother’s physician would agree.

Gina : OK. Is there anything I need to know that I have not already asked?

Carol as the GWB : There is much to come your way. You came across high consciousness. encourage you to trust what you perceive. You are on the final leg on the edge of graduating to another level this lifetime. Remember that when one door closes, another opens. This is a very exciting time for you. You do not need to be concerned with the guides and how they will impact. Your guides are always with you even without your concern.

Gina : Thank you for the encouraging words. Now please listen to what I have to say. My mother, like others, consults you in times of vulnerability. Your words may offer a degree of short term comfort.

Please be aware that your talk about walk-ins confuses an older woman’s sense of reality. When a person has a tenuous grasp upon reality, such delusions can push a person further into uncertainty. You’ve established a zombie-like world where spirits assume other’s bodies, in which a vulnerable person has trouble navigating.

Your suggestions about her medical care are also of questionable sources. Your work could construed as elder abuse or practicing medicine without a license. You should be careful. I’m paying close attention to your activities. With your spiritual access to google, you may find that I’ve been published and spoken at conferences about cults and undue influence. I have personal friends in the legal and psychology profession who work in this arena. It is your prerogative if you choose to hear my words as a threat. I suggest you be careful. Do you understand what I am saying?

Carol as the GWB : Yes, we understand your words. Please understand we do not speak of zombies. We have never discussed zombies!

Gina : You are right. “Zombie” is the term I am using. It is a natural extension of the world of walk-ins that you speak. You do not know the full situations of your clients. You should take care not to plant risky delusions to those who consult you. You could perhaps be held liable for undue influence. “Walk-in” or “zombie”- the semantics are unimportant. You are planting seeds of fear and identity confusion to clients whose psychological and physical states you are not licensed to influence.

Carol as the GWB : We understand. We will leave now. (a moment of silence ensued)

Carol : (with a normal voice, no longer metered and slow) I observed your interaction with them. I understand your concern for your mother. She has one reading left that she paid for. I will refund her money for that reading and not speak with her again. She no longer needs our services.

Gina : I think that is a wise decision.

Carol : Could you tell me what you mother’s diagnosis is?

Gina : It is not my place to discuss another’s medical or psychological state with you. And it is not your place to reveal information about one client to another. I merely suggest that you be careful as you make your living by deluding the vulnerable. Thank you for your time. I wish you a good day.

Carol : I understand.

Gina : Ok. Good bye.

Carol : Good bye.

click.

Undercover in Netherlands – Miracle of Love. TV show review

Alberto Stegeman, Undercover in Nederland

On February 27, 2011 Alberto Stegeman televised an investigative report with hidden cameras, revealing cult recruitment in the international “Miracle of Love” (MOL).

The entire Dutch Show can be watched here :

UNDERCOVER IN NEDERLAND (49), Miracle of Love

The television show highlights the path that a new participant in Miracle of Love’s Intensive- Seminar may traverse as he or she enters MOL entry level activities. Eventually a vulnerable new member’s entire social world becomes MOL based, at the expense of family, former friendships, and work relationships.

True MOL members relinquish personal direction to the mercy of MOL’s leadership. They believe that MOL involvement and recruiting others will help them “break free of this illusory world” to “come home to their True Self” as taught by their deceased “Lord Gourasana.”

With hidden camera footage of actual group “Intensives” and “meditations,” Stegeman highlights practices known to alter brain chemistry and create a highly suggestible state in vulnerable participants : long hours, limited sleep, no caffeine, no contact with outsiders, highly emotional small group confessionals, dancing naked and singing embraced with others – regressing to the state of a child at summer camp. Stegeman graphically compares MOL’s methods to those used by the late Reverand Jim Jones of the People’s Temple in Jonestown.

Participants in MOL "Intensive" or "Seminar"

Stegeman interviews various experts for psychological and legal implications of promoting such practices as therapy.

As with any “cult” membership, no one intends to join a cult. A person at time of crisis seeks help, finds a “loving” support group and unwittingly is both exploited and becomes a co-conspirator. The ultimate goal is cult expansion while padding the leaders’ wealth and power.

Limitations of this TV show are that the investigator did not reach MOL’s higher echelons to reveal leadership’s lifestyle and orchestrations. Reaching higher levels of MOL requires more time, donation of large sums of money, recruitment power, an accessible trust fund or business skills needed by the cult. As in any cult, only tested devoted MOL members reach the upper echelons.

Overall, the TV show was a breakthrough of insider cult reporting.

Thank you to Alberto Stegeman and crew!

Two former MOL participants blogged responses to the TV expose’ – linked below.

My thoughts after “Undercover Nederland on Miracle of Love” by Milena, on her blog dedicated to sharing My life with Miracle of Love.

DriekBlog writes a review of Miracle of Love exposed on Dutch TV from his perspective as a former MOL participant.