Subscribe to our email list and receive discounts and special offers from Watchman
The Profile Notebook on CD-ROM $19.95!
Only $45, this 308 page-plus binder includes over 75 Profiles many not available online!
The Watchman Expositor's annual Index now includes world religions. We included Christianity (with related doctrines) to provide what we hope our readers see as a positive contrast with the other religions listed. Readers should be able to look up brief descriptions of Christian beliefs along with non-Christian ones. We want to contrast the hundreds of alternative religions with what we believe is truth.
Begin your search by clicking on the highlighted letter on the left that is the first letter of the term for which you are searching (or, if your browser will do so, perform a word search for the term). If the term is listed, it will be followed by a brief definition. Most of these definitions contain highlighted words that are linked to the definitions for those words; clicking on the highlighted word will take you directly to that definition.
Annually Watchman Fellowship publishes an index issue of the Watchman Expositor. The 1998-99 Index contains brief definitions, descriptions or cross references on over 1,200 religious organizations and beliefs. This year's index is expanded to include world religions (including Christianity) and related doctrines. Watchman Fellowship is a Christian apologetics and discernment ministry. Thus, many references ("Jesus," "Gospel," "Christianity," etc.) contain definitions that reflect the beliefs of Watchman's staff. While Watchman Fellowship does not hold to the beliefs of non-Christian religions and doctrines, we also attempt to describe these beliefs factually, fairly and accurately.
This is by no means a complete list of cults and religions. Watchman Fellowship maintains over 10,000 files and a research library of over 25,000 books and periodicals on religions, cults, new religious movements and related teachings. The scope of material is admittedly and unavoidably arbitrary. To some degree, information is included based on the amount of questions received on a subject. Some of the doctrine and practices included are somewhat controversial within Christianity. In most cases these subjects were included because we have received a great number of questions or requests for information on the topic. It should not be assumed that the inclusion of a group or doctrine means that Watchman Fellowship necessarily disagrees with, or is critical of it. Likewise, the absence of a doctrine or group should not be considered as an endorsement.
Finally, readers should know that a work of this scope is, by nature, incomplete and prone to errors. Readers can help by suggesting corrections (typographical or factual). Also appreciated are suggestions for additional groups (with supporting documentation for our files). And, of course, donations to help make this ministry possible are always appreciated. We rely heavily on the prayers and voluntary investments made by readers like you who believe Watchman Fellowship provides needed resources, information and outreach.
By using the terms "cult," "occult," and "New Age," Watchman Fellowship is in no way implying that the followers or leaders are necessarily evil or immoral people. It simply means that such groups seem to promote doctrine or practices which may be considered outside the realm of historic Christianity.
By its primary dictionary definition, the term cult just means a system of religious beliefs or rituals. It is based on a farming term in Latin meaning cultivation. Sociologists and anthropologists sometimes use the term cult to describe religious structure or belief patterns with meanings (usually non-pejorative) unique to their disciplines. In modern usage, the term cult is often used by the general public to describe any religious group they view as strange or dangerous. Thus, cult can describe religious leaders or organizations that employ abusive, manipulative, or illegal control over their followers' lives. In addition to these usages, Christians generally have a doctrinal component to their use of the word. Cult in this sense, is a counterfeit or serious deviation from the doctrines of classical Christianity. Watchman Fellowship usually uses the term cult with a Christian or doctrinal definition in mind. In most cases the group claims to be Christian, but because of their aberrant beliefs on central doctrines of the faith (God, Jesus, and salvation), the organization is not considered by Watchman Fellowship to be part of orthodox, biblical Christianity. A Profile is available.
The term, "occult" comes from the Latin occultus or "hidden." Generally the word is used of secret or mysterious supernatural powers or magical, religious rituals. The word "occult" in this publication is used to describe any attempt to gain supernatural power or knowledge apart from the God of the Bible. Generally it refers to witchcraft, satanism, neo-paganism, or various forms of Psychic discernment (astrology, seances, palm reading, etc.).
New Age is a recent and developing belief system in North America encompassing thousands of autonomous (and sometime contradictory) beliefs, organizations, and events. Generally the New Age borrows its theology from pantheistic Eastern religions and its practices from 19th century Western occultism. The term "New Age" is used herein as an umbrella term to describe organizations which seem to exhibit one or more of the following beliefs: (1) All is one, all reality is part of the whole; (2) Everything is God and God is everything; (3) Man is God or a part of God; (4) Man never dies, but continues to live through reincarnation; (5) Man can create his own reality and/or values through transformed consciousness or altered states of consciousness. A Profile is available.
3H0: See Healthy, Happy, and Holy.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People: A book by Stephen Covey.
Aaronic Order, Maurice Glendenning, Murry, UT: Splinter group from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), founded in 1942 by Glendenning after he was excommunicated by the LDS Church for receiving and publishing revelations later known as the Levitical Writings.
Academy of Religion and Psychical Research, Evanston, IL: Organization founded in 1956 to explore psychic occurrences and metaphysical experiences while evaluating the growing interest in occult phenomena in Christian churches. See Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship, Spiritualism, Divination.
Acupressure: See Acupuncture.
Acupuncture: Chinese system of healing using needles or hand pressure (acupressure) applied to certain points on the body, traditionally believed to balance the yin and yang energies in the body by opening blocked meridians (apexes in the pathways). Once the chakras (key points or intersections) are open, the chi, or energy, supposedly can then flow through the body bringing all things into harmony. While some limited physical effects (mostly anesthetic) can be attributed to this practice, these effects have scientific, physiological explanations totally unrelated to the mystical explanation, which derives from Taoism. See Holistic Health. Profile available.
Adams, Dennis, Mt. Shasta, CA: New Age, man is God.
Advanced Organization of Los Angeles (AOLA): Promotes Scientology philosophy.
Advanced Systems, Inc.: See Zen Master Rama.
Adventism: Widespread trans-denominational movement inspired by William Miller's prediction that Jesus' "advent" (return) would take place in 1844. Even after the Great Disappointment (the date's failure), many people in the movement continued to believe. Some suggested revised chronologies and new dates, eventually forming groups such as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Others, notably Hiram Edson and Ellen G. White, suggested that the 1844 date was accurate but that a heavenly (thus invisible) event had taken place. Their teachings became the basis of Seventh-day Adventism, which eventually spawned its own offshoots, including Armstrongism and the Branch Davidians.
Aesthetic Realism Foundation, Eli Seigel, New York: Happiness can be achieved through the harmony of opposites, e.g., realizing and accepting that the world is both beautiful and horrific (see Taoism). Educators have criticized the Foundation after public school teachers in New York introduced the philosophy into high school English, biology, and art courses.
Affective Education: Also called value-free, or non-directive, education. Influenced by the philosophy of Carl Rogers, affective education programs attempt to facilitate the emotional development of children in order to enhance the learning process, particularly focusing on self-esteem. This contrasts with traditional educational paradigms that focus on cognitive, or intellectual, practices such as reading, writing, and arithmetic. Affective education has become particularly influential in drug awareness programs for youth.
Agnosticism: The claim (denied by Romans 1:18-20) that one has no knowledge of God or the origin of the universe. Some agnostics make the claim on a personal level, while allowing that such knowledge may exist but has never been known by themselves. Others assert that such knowledge cannot be had by anyone. Agnostics avoid the charge of dogmatic atheism by acknowledging the theoretical possibility of God's existence. Yet virtually all live as if the non-existence of God was an established fact, and are thus practical atheists.
Agon Buddhism: Sect of Buddhism. Uses the Agon Sutras as scriptures.
Agyeman, Jaramogi Abebe: See Pan African Orthodox Christian Church.
Ahabah Asah Prophetic Ministries: See Gatekeepers.
Ahmadiyya Movement: Sect of Islam following the teachings of Ahmad (1835-1908), an Indian Muslim; most followers in the US are black, Indian, or Pakistani.
Akashic Records: Term used in theosophy designating an alleged library that exists on the astral plane containing all the thoughts, actions, and events of mankind. Mystics, through altered states of consciousness, tune into this library for information.
Alamo Christian Foundation: Tony Alamo, leader of this group, has been imprisoned by authorities for alleged illegal activities. Teaches traditional Christianity is dead. Former followers have reported deplorable living conditions, mind control, and slave labor. Operates Music Square Church in TN, Holiness Tabernacle in Dyer, AR, and End Times Book is the publishing arm.
Alan Shawn Feinstein Association, Cranston, RI: UFOs, contactee.
Alchemy: In its original, literal meaning, theories and experiments involving the transmutation (dissolving and combining) of base metals to form gold though chemical and/or supernatural processes. Today, it caries the meaning of a mystical transformation in New Age consciousness through various mystical techniques.
Aleph: New name adopted by Japanese doomsday-cult Aum Shinri Kyo January 18, 2000.
Aleph: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Philadelphia, PA: Combines Chassidic Judaism, Native American spirituality, Eastern mysticism, A Course in Miracles, and New Age practices. Emphasizes combining syncretistic spirituality and psychology.
All-One-God-Faith, Emanuel H. Bronner, Escondido, CA: Sells Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap, which claims to clean both body and soul. The soap is widely available in health-food stores. Teaches (like Process Theology) that God is continually recreating Himself. God desires all nations and religions to unite in an "All-One-God-Faith" on Spaceship Earth. This unification will come about through following 13 precepts and 20 directives revealed to Bronner by God.
All Souls Unitarian Church, John Wolf, Tulsa, OK: See Unitarian-Universalist Association for similar theological perspective.
All Ways Free, Madison, WI: New Age periodical.
Allah: Arabic, Muslim name for God; see Islam.
Allegro, John: Wrote The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross.
Alphasonic International, Los Angeles, CA: Company specializing in tapes with subliminal messages.
Altered States of Consciousness: Trances entered through hypnosis, meditation, drugs (including hallucinogenics), visualization, etc. State of being in which one allows the subconscious to take control and guide. May heighten one's vulnerability to suggestion or susceptibility to deception.
Alternative Medicine: See Holistic Health.
Amalgamated Flying Saucer Clubs of America: See Mon-Ka Retreat...
Ambassador University, Big Sandy, TX: Now defunct Liberal arts and religious institution founded by Herbert Armstrong. See Armstrongism.
Ambassadors For Christ, Tustin, CA: See Watchtower Bible and Tract Society for similar theological perspective.
American Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, Fairfield, IA: Holistic health association founded by Deepak Chopra while he followed the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (see Ayurvedic medicine; Transcendental Meditation).
American Atheists, Inc., Madalyn Murray-O'Hair, Austin, TX: Advocates strict separation of church and state, and actively opposes Christian influence on society. O'Hair and two children disappeared in 1994 with a sizeable portion of the organization's assets. It is now believed they were murdered. Publishes American Atheist magazine.
American Constitution Committee: Political organization of the Unification Church.
American Fellowship Services: Splinter group of The Way International.
American Foundation for the Science of Creative Intelligence: A branch of Transcendental Meditation.
American Pie and the Armageddon Bible Prophecy Home Page: The pop song American Pie, which prophesies the destruction of America, was foretold in the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32. See Apocalypse.
American Study Group, UT: Defunct splinter group from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) that used the Book of Mormon and the teachings of LDS leaders to speculate on end-time events.
American Temple, Michael Whitney, Portland, OR: A "fourth wave" esoteric and mystical order led by "Patriarch" Michael Whitney reviving the doctrines of the now defunct Holy Order of MANS.
American West Publishers, Tehachapi, CA: UFOs, cosmic laws of balance. Publishes the Phoenix Journal.
AMOM: See Ancient Mystic Order of Malchizedek.
AMORC: See Rosicrucian Order.
Ancient Mystic Order of Malchizedek, Malachi Z. York, Eatonton, GA: Also known as AMOM, Nuwaubians, the Nubian Nation of Moors, Right Knowledge. A UFO group whose leader, (a.k.a. Dwight York) claims to be form the 19th galaxy, called Illyuwn. A 1993 FBI report calls the group a "front for a wide range of criminal activity, including arson, welfare fraud and extortion." York's group has also operated under other names and organizations including the Nubian Islaamic [sic] Hebrew Mission, the Ansaaru Allah Community, (an Islamic sect with doctrines similar to Nation of Islam), and the Original Tents of Kedar.
Anglo-Israelism: See British Israelism.
Animal Magnetism: See Mesmerism.
Animism: The idea that all things in the universe are inherently invested with a life force, soul, or mind. This belief is an important component of many primitive religions, the occult, and spiritism.
Annihilationism: Taught by most Adventist groups, including the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, this doctrine denies the conscious, eternal punishment of the lost. Instead, humans who do not receive eternal life will be destroyed and cease to exist.
Anointed Class: See Little Flock.
Anthroposophic Society, Rudolf Steiner, Hudson, NY: Similar to the Chicago organization (below), possibly affiliated.
Apocalypse: Also called Armageddon. From the Greek word apokalypsis, meaning "revelation, disclosure, or unveiling," the term apocalypse refers in the Bible to the summation of human history through God's direct judgment upon the world. Central in biblical apocalyptic literature is the Revelation to John (sometimes called The Apocalypse). A common feature of many pseudo-Christian groups is their attempts to predict the date of the apocalypse. For examples of groups that have falsely predicted the apocalypse, see Church of the Living Stone Mission for the Coming Days, Adventism, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
Apostasy: From the Greek word apostasis, meaning "rebellion," and the Latin word apostasia, meaning "abandonment," the term apostasy refers to a renunciation of the Christian faith. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society applies the label apostate to former Jehovah's Witnesses, who are then shunned by all Witnesses in good standing.
Apostle: From the Greek word apostolos, meaning "messenger," the term apostle refers to those leaders of the early Christian church who were chosen by Jesus. The criteria for being an apostle was 1) the individual was personally chosen by Christ; and 2) the individual must have personally seen Christ. Members of the top two quorums of leadership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claim the title today.
Apostolic Churches: A branch of Pentecostalism including several denominations as well as independent churches with the name "Apostolic"; many (but not all) Apostolic churches adhere to Oneness Pentecostalism.
Apostolic Overcoming Holiness of God, Inc., Birmingham, AL: Pentecostal church, stresses the oneness of God while accepting the Triune Being of the Godhead. Salvation depends upon baptism, tarrying to receive the Holy Spirit, and holiness. Publishes The People's Mouthpiece magazine.
Apostolic United Brethren: See Corporation of the Presiding Elder of the Apostolic United Brethren.
Applewhite, Marshall: See Heaven's Gate.
Applied Kinesiology: New Age diagnostic technique sometimes called "muscle testing." Often patients hold health care products (vitamins, herbs, etc) in their hand while the practitioner pulls or "tests" the reciprocal strength in the finger, arm, etc. to determine the effectiveness or dosage of the remedy. See Holistic Health.
Aquarian Academy, Robert E. Birdsong, Eureka, CA: Jesus only an avatar of the Cosmic Christ, of the Great White Brotherhood of Light. Man's purpose is to reach the transcendental plane, release from the wheel of fate, astral projection, meditation, cosmic truths.
Aquarian Church of Universal Service, Paul Shockley, Portland, OR: Teaches cosmic awareness but with no specific doctrine. Similar to Unitarian-Universalist.
The Aquarian Conspiracy, Marilyn Ferguson: A book documenting and advocating the widespread growth of the New Age movement.
Aquarian Perspectives Inter Planetary Mission, Montgomery, AL: UFO group, receives messages from Futron and the Rainbow Star Legionnaires.
Arefu: Company created and owned by Japanese doomsday-cult Aum Shinri Kyo for real estate brokering, financing and seminars. On January 18, 2000, the cult announced it was also changing its own name to Arefu (Aleph, in English).
Arguelles, Jose: New Ager who staged the Harmonic Convergence.
Arizona Light, Phoenix, AZ: New Age periodical.
Arizona Network News, Scottsdale, AZ: New Age periodical.
Arm of the Lord, Warren, OH: Teaches that it is a satanic idea to invite Jesus into "one's life."
Armageddon Time Ark Base Operation, O.T. Nodrog, Weslaco, TX: UFO group, channels messages from outer dimensional forces.
Armstrongism: The doctrines and religious movement originating with Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986), who founded the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). Armstrong rejected such essential doctrines of evangelical Christianity as the Trinity, the full deity of Jesus Christ, and the personality of the Holy Spirit. Armstrong taught British Israelism and believed that worthy humans could eventually "become God as God is God." Teaches salvation by works predicated on Sabbatarianism, tithing (20-30%), and keeping the Old Testament feast days and dietary laws. Under the leadership of Armstrong's successors, Joseph W. Tkach and his son Joe Tkach, the WCG has undergone a radical doctrinal transformation. Scores of splinter groups, such as the Global Church of God and the United Church of God, continue to teach various forms of Armstrongism.
Aromatherapy: Holistic health practice of seeking to heal certain diseases or illnesses by inhaling scented steam or fragrances.
Aromatherapy Seminars, Los Angeles, CA: Holistic Healing therapy, oils healing the psyche. See Aromatherapy.
Arunachala Ashram, Bhagavan Sri Ramana: Hinduism-based philosophy, also called Maharshi Center, Inc.
Aryan Nations Church, Hayden Lake, ID: A neo-Nazi paramilitary organization in the Christian Identity movement that preaches against all non-Caucasian groups. The Order, an Aryan Nations break-off group, killed Alan Berg, a Jewish radio personality in Denver, in 1984. The Aryan Nations received national notice in 1992 when the wife of member Randy Weaver was killed in a shootout with the FBI in Ruby Ridge, ID.
As It Is: See Process Church of the Final Judgement.
Asatru Free Assembly, Denair, CA: Paganism, worships Odin as Father-god, Frigga as Mother-god and Nerthus as Mother-Earth. Publishes The Runestone newsletter.
Ascended Masters: Sometimes called the Great White Brotherhood. Occult, New Age belief in alleged teachers or masters who live on an astral plane as non-physical entities beyond time and space. They can supposedly communicate spiritual truths to humans through channeling or other occult techniques. Membership includes Jesus, Buddha, St. Germain (see I AM movement), Ramtha (see Knight, J. Z.), Mafu (see Torres, Penny), Seth (see Roberts, Jane), and others.
Asheville Meditation Center, Asheville, NC: New Age, achieving man's divine nature, transcendence.
Assemblies of the Called Out Ones of "Yah," Sam Surratt, Milan, TX: Sacred Name movement.
Assemblies of Yahweh, Jacob Meyer, Bethel, PA: Publishes The Sacred Name Broadcaster magazine. See Sacred Name movement.
Assemblies of Yahweh (7th day), Cisco, TX: See Sacred Name movement.
Assembly of YHW Yoshua, Pueblo, CO: Sacred Name movement.
Associates for Scriptural Knowledge, Ernest L. Martin, Portland, OR: Anti-denominational group whose Associates study doctrine through a Home Study Course. Teaches universalism, i.e., that all people will be saved (although not all will experience the first resurrection and live in Christ's millennial kingdom), and the Sacred Name doctrine (Martin claims that the name Yahweh was removed from the Bible by Jerome). Martin was fired by the Foundation for Biblical Research (an Armstrongism splinter group in Alhambra, CA) in 1984 for espousing these doctrines. Publishes a "restored" Bible called The Manuscript Version of the Bible, and The ASK Communicator.
Association for Christian Development, Kenneth Westby Auburn, WA: Armstrongism splinter group.
Association of Unity Churches: The denominational structure affiliated with the Unity School of Christianity.
Astral Projection: New Age/occult doctrine teaching methods to induce an out of body experience (OBE), in which one's soul (i.e., astral body) departs the physical body, travels to various parts of the universe, then re-enters the body. Usually a "cord" is said to connect the soul and body at all times. Also called astral travel.
Astro Computing Services, San Diego, CA: Astrology.
Astrology: An ancient fatalistic system of divination using the position of the planets, moon and sun in the twelve Zodiac positions at the moment of one's birth to gain occult or hidden knowledge of the future. Profile available.
Astrology and Psychic News, N. Hollywood, CA: New Age periodical.
Atheism: The assertion, to be taken on faith, that there is no God. Some atheists, such as Madalyn Murray-O'Hair, have fought to prevent any recognition of God in public life. See American Atheists, Inc.
Atlantis: A mythical island/continent said to have sunk beneath the ocean. Purported to have been a highly advanced civilization. New Agers often claim to have recovered lost mystical wisdom and knowledge from Atlantis, sometimes through channeling.
Atman: A term used in Hinduism referring to the eternal or real self and sometimes refering to the principle of life in all things.
At-one-ment: Term used by several Mind Science or New Thought religions (such as Christian Science) referring to the supposed metaphysical unity or "oneness" of human beings and God as demonstrated by Christ. Contrast the Christian term "atonement," which refers to Christ's death on the cross as the means by which he reconciled sinful human beings to God.
Aum Shinri Kyo, Shoko Asahara, Tokyo, Japan: Aum (a mantra) Shinri Kyo (Supreme Truth) is the apocalyptic Buddhist sect suspected in the 1995 subway nerve gas murders in Japan. Police raiding cult compounds discovered stockpiles of nerve gas and the basic ingredients of biological warfare. Sect leaders have been charged with abduction and "murder preparation." Aum leader, Chizuo Matsumoto (now called Shoko Asahara), predicted the end of the world between 1997 and 2000. The Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism, has denied Aum claims that Asahara was ever his disciple. The sect has about $29 million in assets and 10,000 disciples in Japan and 30,000 in Russia. The sect has followers in other countries including the U.S. and Australia. On January 18, 2000, the cult announced it was changing its name to Arefu (Aleph, in English). Profile available.
Aum Supreme Truth: See Aum Shinri Kyo.
Author Services, Inc.: Promotes Scientology philosophy.
Avanta Network, Palo Alto, CA: New Age, works by Virginia Satir promoted, positive and negative energies.
Awake!: Magazine published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
Bahá'í Faith,The, Bahá'u'lláh: A sect of Islam evolving into a major independent religion with approximately five million believers worldwide. Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, Bahá'u'lláh and others are viewed as a succession of divine messengers. A 19th century Persian teacher, the Báb, (or "Gate") predicted Bahá'u'lláh's coming. Bahá'í advocates a new global order of sexual equality, a one-world economic system to eliminate poverty, and a one-world religion. Profile available.
Baphomet: The Goat God, also called the Sabbath Goat, the Great God Pan, Abraxas, Thanateros, or the Horned God. Often used as a symbol of Satan, especially in Satanism, and depicted as a Goat's Head symbol, an upside down five-pointed star (cf. pentagram), or a man with horns and goat-legs.
Baptism for the Dead: Practice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) whereby living members are baptized by proxy for people who have died without knowing the LDS Gospel. If these dead persons then accept the LDS gospel while in Spirit Prison, they can potentially attain full salvation or godhood (exaltation). This ceremony is performed only in an LDS Temple. See Baptismal Regeneration.
Baptismal Regeneration: The belief that regeneration (i.e., the new birth), and therefore salvation or eternal life, is conditioned upon water baptism. Most groups teaching this doctrine also add that proper mode (immersion or sprinkling) and/or proper minister (one authorized by the organization) is necessary. All Christians should be baptized (Matthew 28:19). The teaching that baptism is a prerequisite for salvation, however, is considered by many evangelicals to be a heretical compromise of the biblical gospel of salvation by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-10). The extreme version of baptismal regeneration, which denies the salvation even of baptized Christians outside some particular church group, is clearly heretical. See Salvation by Works, Salvation by Grace, Gospel.
Bear Tribe Medicine Society, Spokane, WA: Native American spirituality, Mother Earth, medicine wheel, moon ceremonies.
The Beatles: A highly influential rock-and-roll group from the 1960s. In 1966 they became involved in Transcendental Meditation; later both John Lennon and George Harrison repudiated TM. Harrison then became a devotee of ISKCON and recorded his hit single "My Sweet Lord" as a devotion to Lord Krishna. The Beatles are widely credited with increasing the popularity of Eastern religions in the United States.
Believers International, Tucson, AZ: Compiling a compendium of all of William Branham's teachings. Publishes Believer's News.
Bell, Art: Popular late-night radio talk show host. While his Coast to Coast weeknight broadcast and Dreamland weekend broadcast focus on a wide array of New Age and occult issues, as well as many conspiracy theories, one of the most common subjects discussed by guests on the program is UFOs.
Bermuda Triangle: Geographically, the Triangle composes the southwestern quadrant of the North Atlantic, with apexes in Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and in the Gulf of Mexico west of Florida. Some people involved in the occult and UFO studies believe the Triangle is a supernaturally dangerous area, with many ships and airplanes disappearing in the Triangle in the 20th century.
Bernard, David: A well-known Oneness Pentecostal writer and speaker.
Besant, Annie: Successor to Madame Blavatsky (founder of Theosophy) who proclaimed Krishnamurti as the Messiah. (Krishnamurti later renounced that role).
Bet Hashem - The House of YHWH, New Haven, IN: Sacred Name, man is the offspring of light, conversion is the union with the light.
Bible: Considered scripture by Christianity. Consists of the Jewish scriptures (Old Testament) and the Christian scriptures (New Testament).
Bible Believers, Inc.: See Branham, William.
Bible Code, Michael Drosnin: Bestselling 1997 book teaches that prophecies are hidden in a complex network of letters and words within the Old Testament. Drosnin claims that he attempted to warn Israeli leader Yitzak Rabin of his impending assassination based on a prediction in the biblical code. The theory is a form of numerology and has some associations with the Jewish occultism of the Kabbalah.
Bible Speaks, The: Former name of Greater Grace World Outreach.
Bible Students: Various semiautonomous groups that broke away from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society after Joseph Rutherford took control of the organization. Reprints the early writings of Watchtower founder Charles Taze Russell including Divine Plan of the Ages. Groups across the country go under various names (e.g., Fort Worth Bible Students, Chicago Bible Students, etc.).
Bible Talks: Home and campus group studies sponsored by the International Churches of Christ.
Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ: Oneness Pentecostalism denomination.
Bible Way Publications, Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Bible Students group.
Biblical Church of God, Santa Cruz, CA: Armstrongism splinter group.
Biblical Research Centers: Regional centers for The Way International.
Bind: See Spell.
BioEnergetic Synchronization Techniques: New Age method using the body's life force to heal itself.
Biofeedback: The use of EEG (electroencephalographic) feeback instruments to monitor brain waves and skin resistance with the goal of modification of brain waves. Participants can learn to control heart rates or generate brain wave activity (alpha, beta, and delta) at will to induce altered states of consciousness. Enhances the capacity for relaxation and/or inducing meditative states and physiological control similar to that in yoga and Zen.
Bio-Magnetics: New Age, the realigning of magnetic fields allegedly surrounding the body.
BioPsciences Institute, Minneapolis, MN: Astrology.
Black Mass: A ritual in Satanism that attempts to negate or profane the Catholic Mass. Black candles are used and Catholic prayers recited backwards. Allegedly, the communion is occasionally performed using human blood and flesh.
Black Muslim: Generic term referring to Nation of Islam and related groups.
Black Christian Nationalist Movement: See Pan African Orthodox Christian Church.
Blavatsky, Madame Helena Petrovna: Founder of Theosophy.
Blessed Be: A common greeting used among Wiccans to invoke or wish happiness and well-being.
Blood Atonement Doctrine: The belief, taught by the second Mormon Prophet, Brigham Young, that for certain sins the blood of Christ will not atone and for which the sinner's own blood must be shed to receive forgiveness (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, p. 53). No longer taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the belief is often preached and sometimes practiced by members of Mormon Fundamentalist splinter groups. To this day, Utah allows condemned murders to face execution by firing squad rather than methods that do not shed the criminal's blood, such as lethal injection or the electric chair.
Blue Lotus, Wilmot, WI: New Age periodical.
Body, Mind and Soul: Houston, TX: New Age periodical.
Body, Mind and Spirit: Providence, RI: New Age magazine.
Book of Changes: See I Ching.
Book of Mormon: One of the scriptures or "Standard Works" accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other sects originating from Joseph Smith, including the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and various Mormon Fundamentalist groups.
Book of Shadows: A journal for recording occult activities.
Bookmark, Santa Clarita, CA: Christian Science splinter group.
Born Again: Biblical term used to describe regeneration (John 3:3-7). Some New Age followers teach that the term was Christ's reference to reincarnation or rebirthing. In context, Jesus was speaking of a spiritual event effected by God through the Holy Spirit (see verses 6-8) to restore a sinful, fallen human to right relationship with Him (see verses 16-21). See Gospel.
Boston Church of Christ: See International Churches of Christ.
Bradshaw, John: Prominent New Age teacher on PBS and author of Healing the Inner Child.
Brahma: The creator and first member of the triad of demigods in Hinduism, including Shiva and Vishnu.
Brainwashing: Forced indoctrination using various techniques to cause a subject to abandon basic political, social, or religious ideas or beliefs and replace those ideals with a contrasting belief system. A translation of a Chinese word xinao, "brainwashing" became a popular term to describe the phenomena of radical change in behavior and core beliefs that took place in some prisoners of war held in Chinese camps in the mid-twentieth century. In a more general sense, the word is sometimes used to describe any form of persuasion perceived to be unethical that results in a radical and negative change in personality. See Lifton, Robert, Mind Control.
Branch Davidians, Benjamin Roden: Splinter group of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. David Koresh (A.K.A. Vernon Howell) was leader from 1984 to 1993. He and many of his most devout followers were killed when their headquarters near Waco, TX, was destroyed by fire in 1993 during a government raid. Taught knowledge of the Seven Seals of the Book of Revelation brought salvation. Many followers still believe Koresh's messianic claims and expect him to be resurrected soon.
Branham, William, (1909-1965): Oneness Pentecostal preacher who claimed he received healing and prophetic powers from an angel. Denied the Trinity, taught the serpent seed doctrine, and rejected other Pentecostal and traditional Christian churches. "Branhamism" is still taught at the Branham Tabernacle in Jeffersonville, IN, and in many other places around the world. Profile available.
Brethren, Jim Roberts: Also known as "the Garbage Eaters," the group follows the teachings of "Brother Evangelist" Roberts. The group requires renouncing both family and worldly possessions in order to earn salvation (see Salvation by works). Members travel nomadically, earning their nickname because of their practice of eating discarded food. Family members note that Roberts hides relatives, moving the individuals to avoid familial contact. Note: This group is not affiliated with the Church of the Brethren, an Anabaptist denomination.
Brinkley, Dannion: As chronicled in his bestseller Saved by the Light, Brinkley allegedly underwent a near-death experience after being struck by lightning. He teaches people to perform "life reviews" to enhance their perception of life and death and to find their life missions. He operates a hospice organization called Compassion in Action / The Twilight Brigade.
British Israelism: (Anglo-Israelism/Israelitism) The doctrine that the true identity of modern Israel (or the "ten lost tribes") is Britian and (sometimes) the British colonies (America). The monarchs of England sit on the throne of David. In more extreme forms, Israel is identified with a particular race--usually white Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, and Scandinavian people. Opposing versions of doctrine teach that Blacks are God's Chosen People, Israel. See Christian Identity Movement, Serpent seed doctrine.
The Bruderhof Community: A communal society started in Germany in the 1920s and based on the sixteenth-century Moravian Anabaptist sect of Jacob Hutter, which was part of the Radical Reformation. The group is also called the Society of Brothers and the Hutterian Brethren. The basic theology of the group is Protestant but, according to former members and other critics, the group exercises inappropriate control over the members and practices shunning and other forms of spiritual abuse.
Buddha: Siddhartha Gautama Buddha ("enlightened one") was born about 560 BC in northeastern India and, according to legend, received spiritual enlightenment through meditation. During his lifetime, his spiritual insights and teachings became a major alternative to Hinduism throughout India. Diverse versions of his teachings can be found worldwide today. See Buddhism.
Buddha's Universal Church, San Francisco, CA: Similar to Buddhism in theology.
Buddhism: World religion based on the spiritual teachings of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. There are a number of versions or sects of Buddhism generally teaching paths to Nirvana (enlightenment or bliss) though the four noble truths (recognizing existence and source of suffering) and the eightfold path (correct understanding, behavior and meditation). Some variations of Buddhism include traditional Theravada schools of India, Mahayana Buddhism, which became very popular in China and Japan, and Tibetan Buddhism (Lamaism) in Tibet. Two more recent forms that have had great influence in America are Zen and Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism.
Burning Man Festival, Black Rock Desert, NV: An annual festival celebrating neo-paganism and Satanism. The name comes from the culmination of the festival, in which a wooden man with outstretched arms (resembling a crucifix) is burned by the crowd.
Buzzworm: New Age/environmental periodical.
C.O.B.U.: See Church of Bible Understanding.
Cabalah: See Kabbalah.
Caelum Moor, Arlington, TX: Private park (now closed) containing menhirs (large upright stones) similar to those found at Stonehenge. Newspaper reports claim trespassers have used the site for pagan ceremonies. See Stonehenge.
Campbell, Joseph: Best known for his book and PBS series with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth, which teaches all religions are based on common mythological themes, best interpreted through a New Age world view.
CAN: See Cult Awareness Network.
Canfield, Jack: New Age education author, editor of popular Chicken Soup books. Very influential in the public school arena.
Catholicism: See Roman Catholicism.
CAUSA: Organization affiliated with the Unification Church.
Cayce, Edgar: See Association For Research and Enlightenment.
Celestine Prophecy, The: A best-selling New Age book by James Redfield that teaches enlightenment through the fictional "Nine Insights" contained in secret manuscripts written by Maya natives in the jungles of Peru.
Celticism, Celts: The Celts were a group of related tribes whose territory extended throughout Europe early in the first millennium AD, but who are most commonly associated with the British Isles. The Celts worshipped local deities (frequently associated with nature), often served by a priestly class of Druids. Human sacrifice was important to Druidic religion. Modern neo-pagans frequently claims to be Celtic, although the modern beliefs and practices bear little resemblance to ancient Celticism.
Celtic Christianity: Augustine of Canterbury evangelized England in the late 6th -- early 7th centuries. His work was later taken by Patrick to Ireland, who is largely credited with establishing the Celtic church. Celtic Christianity was heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic Church, to which it was allied, although many individuals claim a greater reverence for nature in the Celtic tradition. Differences in practice within the Celtic church were gradually eradicated during the Middle Ages as the Roman papacy asserted its authority over Ireland. Modern groups that claim to revive Celtic Christianity are frequently a mixture of Protestantism and Roman Catholicism, with few legitimate ties to the early Celtic church. Nonetheless, these groups should not be confused with neo-pagan groups that also claim to be Celtic.
Center For Spiritual Awareness, Roy Eugene Davis, Lakemont, GA: New Age, enlightenment, man's higher self, cosmic-consciousness.
Center for Studies on New Religions, Massimo Introvigne, Torino, Italy: Introvigne studies new and alternative religious groups. He and his work, which is frequently supportive of new religions, are often used by alternative religious groups to support their activities when pursuing governmental recognition.
Center for Wisdom Spirituality, Paradise, PA: Universalism. Publishes the Interconnections newsletter.
The Centers Network: See est.
Centre de Recherche sur l'Energie Humaine Universelle (CREHU): See Spiritual Human Yoga.
Centric, Houston, TX: New Age periodical.
Champaign-Urbana Church of Christ: Member, International Churches of Christ.
Channeling: New Age term for the occult practice of Spiritualism (also called trance channeling). Spirit beings, Ascended Masters, deceased humans, familiar spirits, or animal spirits allegedly communicate important messages by temporarily entering the body and controlling the voice of a host (channel or medium). Most channelers give the same basic message, that man is a God. Profile available.
Cheetham, John: See Great Lakes Society for Biblical Research.
Chen Tao, Hon-ming Chen (The Right Way, God's Salvation Church, God Saves the Earth Flying Saucer Foundation): Apocalyptic Taiwanese UFO group that drew international media attention when they predicted that God would descend to their Garland, TX, headquarters in a flying saucer on March 31, 1998. Publishes Practical Evidence and Study of the World of God and Buddha, God's Descending in Clouds (Flying Saucers) on Earth to Save People. Profile available.
Chicago Bible Students, Chicago, IL: Largest and best known of the independent "Bible student" groups. Reprints the early writings of Watchtower Bible and Tract Society founder Charles Taze Russell, including Divine Plan of the Ages.
Children of God: See The Family (Children of God).
Chiromancy: See Palm Reading.
Chiropractic Medicine: A holistic health practice whereby practitioners use a form of manipulative therapy to treat musculoskeletal problems. While many chiropractors are not engaging in alternative religious activities via their practice, critics claim that some chiropractors engage in chiropractic medicine in accordance with the Taoist principle of facilitating the flow of chi.
Christ: Based on the Greek christos meaning "anointed one," equivalent to the Hebrew "messiah." Generally used in the Old Testament of one who has been anointed with oil and/or set apart for a specific mission, as was David, the king of Israel (see 1 Sam. 16:13). Specifically used to speak of the promised messiah/savior of Israel and the world. Christians believe this to be Jesus of Nazareth, who died to atone for human sin. Other religions believe in a succession of Christ figures through history, sometimes including Jesus, who were great teachers. New Age groups sometimes understand the term "Christ" as a reference to the deity found in all humanity (the Cosmic Christ). Thus, Jesus was conscious of his deity or "the Christ within" and others can have this same "Christ-consciousness" by realizing that they, too, are divine. Other religious leaders have historically claimed to hold the office or ministry of Christ including Unification Church founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Biblical warnings are given for "false Christs" (Mark 13:22). Scripture also speaks of an antichrist and of antichrists who stand against and/or instead of the true Christ (1 John 2:18).
Christ Cathedral for Divine Abundance, Alexius Bassey, London: Universalism, Divine Consciousness.
Christ Family, Charles McHugh: McHugh, a.k.a. Lightening Amen, claims to be the incarnation of Jesus. Followers dress in robes, no shoes, practice vegetarianism.
Christ Light Community: See New Age Church of Truth.
Christ the Savior Brotherhood: See Holy Order of MANS.
Christian Community: Based on teachings of Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Anthroposophical Society.
Christian Fellowship, The: See Potter's House.
Christian Foundation, Canyon County, CA: See Alamo Christian Foundation.
Christian Identity movement: The belief that the true identity of the ten lost tribes of Israel is the white, Anglo-Saxon race. The belief is similar to but distinct from the doctrine of British Israelism. A number of independent churches and organizations (including some militant racist groups) make up the general movement. Most deny the Trinity. Some teach a form of the Serpent Seed doctrine, believing that Jews are descendants of Eve's alleged sexual relations with the serpent (Genesis 3) and are thus not fully human. Many also hold that non-Whites are descended from the union of Cain and a woman from a supposed pre-Adamite race. Profile available.
Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, Boston, MA: Officially called Church of Christ, Scientist. Eddy's teaching heavily indebted to Phineas P. Quimby, a mesmerist. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures functions as a virtual second canon of Scripture. Views God as infinite Mind, "the animating divine Principle of all that is real and good." Matter is unreal; thus, so are sickness and death, which are overcome by believing that we are Mind. Seeking medical help is discouraged, frequently resulting in preventable deaths. Christ is "the divine manifestation of God" most fully seen in Jesus, who only seemed to die. The "Holy Ghost" is Divine Science, that is, Christian Science. The orthodox doctrine of the Trinity is rejected as polytheistic. Many New Age ideas have historical roots in Christian Science and related Mind Science groups. Profile available.
Christianity, Jesus Christ: Major world religion developed in the first century AD based on the belief that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah or Christ of Israel. Followers, called Christians, were initially viewed as a sect of Judaism. It quickly developed as a separate religion as Jewish Christians became outnumbered by non-Jewish converts and, through a strong missionary emphasis, Christianity became a diverse worldwide movement. Their scripture is the Bible, which contains the Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament) and the Christian Scriptures (New Testament). Except for cults, aberrant sects, and Liberal Christianity, those who claim to be Christians have historically believed the following: There is only one true God eternally revealed in three distinct Persons - the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (the Trinity). Human beings are sinners who (without the grace of God received through faith in Christ) are eternally lost. Jesus, who is God in the flesh, died on the cross and rose physically from the dead as the sole and sufficient payment for the sins of humanity. See Gospel, Born Again, Fundamental Christianity, Evangelical Christianity, Protestant Christianity, Orthodox Christianity, Roman Catholicism, Salvation by Grace, Salvation by Works.
Chrysalis: Swedenborg Foundation periodical.
Chuang-tzu: Legendary founder of Taoism.
Church, The, Jim Roberts: See Brethren.
Church of Bible Understanding (C.O.B.U.): A controversial network of churches, headquartered in New York, that historically has been charged with spiritual abuse due to legalism, undue influence, and control mechanisms.
Church of Christ: See Churches of Christ.
Church of Christ-Consciousness: See Center of the Light.
Church of Christ Jesus: See International Churches of Christ.
Church of Christ, Scientist: Official name for Christian Science.
Church of Christ, Temple Lot, Granville Hedrick, Independence, MO: Splinter group that broke away from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, Otto Fetting, Independence, MO: Splinter group that broke away from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, Greenwood, MO: 1998 splinter group from Otto Fetting's group of the same name.
Church of Cosmic Origin, Hope Troxell, June Lake, CA: New Age, Community, Cosmic Christianity, additional scripture includes The Book of Enoch.
Church of Divine Influence: Alignment with the Divine Will of the Wise Movement of the Universe.
Church of Essential Science, Scottsdale, AZ: Kabbalah, cosmic laws of Divine spark to achieve salvation, God was All in the beginning.
Church of Freethought: A social organization for atheists that provides the opportunities for socializing, community service, and social support offered by theistic churches.
Church of God and True Holiness, Robert Carr, Raleigh, NC: Allegedly practice slavery and mind control.
Church of God Evangelistic Association, David J. Smith, Richardson, TX: Armstrongism splinter group. Denies Trinity, personality of the Holy Spirit, and the bodily resurrection. Teaches annihilationism, salvation by law-keeping, Sabbatarianism, and that man can become a member of "the God family" (Godhead). Publishes Newswatch Magazine and Newswatch radio and television programs.
Church of God Family Counseling Center, William Miller, Dallas, TX: Miller claims to be the savior.
Church of God General Conference, Oregon, IL: Rejects the Trinity. Main headquarters for the Church of God, Abrahamic Faith.
Church of God, International, Garner Ted Armstrong, Tyler, TX: Armstrongism break-off group. Armstrong recently stepped down from his top leadership position amidst allegations of sexual misconduct and litigation. Publishes the International News and Twentieth Century Watch periodicals.
Church of God Philadelphia Era, David Fraser, Pasadena, CA: Armstrongism break-off group. Publishes the Proclaim Liberty magazine.
Church of God (Seventh Day), Denver, CO: One of the older Sabbatarian churches in America. Publishes Bible Advocate.
Church of God (7th Day) Salem, WV: Rejects the Trinity; teaches Sabbatarianism; observes Feast days and Sabbath; baptism required for salvation (see baptismal regeneration). Publishes The Advocate of Truth newsletter.
Church of Hakeem, Hakeem Rasheed, Oakland, CA: Teaches how the god within makes people rich.
Church of Israel, Day Gayman, Schell City, MO: Radical Christian Identity movement sect. Publishes The Watchman.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The, Joseph Smith, Salt Lake City, UT: (Latter-day Saints, LDS, Mormonism) Main body of Mormonism; recognizes Brigham Young as Smith's successor. Smith claimed that the Father and Son appeared to him and called him to restore the true Church. LDS Church teaches that God the Father was once a man and was exalted to Godhood. God (and his heavenly Wife) begat billions of spirit children, the firstborn of whom was Jesus. Lucifer was the leader of God's rebellious spirit children. Those spirits who did not rebel become human beings in order to begin process potentially leading to exaltation to Godhood. Jesus, however, became a God while only a spirit. He organized our world and is Jehovah, the God of Israel. He is a separate and subordinate God to Elohim, the Father. A distinction is made between the Holy Ghost, who is a personage of Spirit, and the Holy Spirit. The latter is a divine energy, force, or spiritual essence that fills the universe and is used by all three members of the Godhead in the exercise and accomplishment of their will. The Church rejects the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. It also redefines salvation by grace to refer simply to resurrection. Almost all humans will be resurrected into one of three kingdoms of glory, the least of which is far superior to anything known in this life. Entry into the higher kingdoms, and one's rank there, depends not only upon the atonement of Christ, but also upon one's good works. Achievement of the highest potential within the highest kingdom--Godhood--requires complete "obedience to all the laws and ordinances of the gospel." The Bible, Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine and Covenants are all considered scripture. Publishes Church News and Ensign magazine. A Profile is available.
Church of Jesus Power, E.S. Cooke, Sr., Boulder City, NV: Astral projection via "Jesus Powered Sakraments" (sic) which changes man's electro-magnetic polarity.
Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ Apostolic Faith: Oneness Pentecostal church.
Church of Perfect Liberty, Tokuchika Tokuhara, Glendale, CA: Zen Buddhism, man is manifestation of god.
Church of Satan, Anton Szandor LaVey, San Francisco, CA: Satanism, occult, incantations, festival days include Spring equinox and Halloween. LaVey, author of the Satanic Bible, founded the church in 1966 and died in 1997 after which a struggle for leadership ensued between LaVey's daughters, Karla and Zeena, and his long-term live-in partner, Blanche Barton. Eventually, Barton became the Church of Satan High Priestess and she later appointed Peter H. Gilmore to be High Priest. As of early 2002, Peggy Nadramia joined Gilmore, her husband, in leadership with the Church of Satan with Nadramia serving as High Priestess. Barton is now serving in a lesser role as Magistra Templi Rex. The church has claimed as many 10,000 members. LaVey, a former lion tamer, organist, hypnotist, psychic, artist, and photographer. Like the vast majority of Satanists, he did not believe in a literal, personal devil, but turned to Satanic imagery to provoke a reaction and illustrate his disdain for Christianity.
Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard: Humans are immortal spiritual beings whose experience extends beyond a single lifetime (reincarnation), and whose capabilities are unlimited, though presently imprisoned by matter, energy, space, and time (MEST). Salvation is the recovery of spiritual freedom, ability, independence and serenity, including freedom from the endless cycle of birth and death (reincarnation), and full awareness and ability independent of the body, i.e., being "able to control matter, energy, space, and time." These god-like powers are achieved through auditing, a process whereby "engrams," (the mental recordings of past moments of pain and unconsciousness), and other barriers to such states are removed, abilities are regained, and greater awareness achieved. Auditing can last for years and may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Teachings are also advanced through affiliated business management companies such as Sterling Management Systems, the drug prevention program Narcanon, and in public schools though Way to Happiness. The writings and recorded spoken words of L.Ron Hubbard (contained in over 500,000 pages of writings and over 2,000 tape-recorded public lectures) constitute the scripture of the religion, his book Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health being foundational. Scientology publishes several magazines including Advance, High Winds, and Source; also several newspapers and newsletters including The Auditor, Tech News, KSW News and the FSM Newsletter. Scientology has a history of alleged abuse and illegal activities, and is fighting legal battles in countries all over the world. A Profile is available.
Church of the Final Judgement: See Process Church of the Final Judgement.
Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times, The, Joel LeBaron, Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico: Polygamous, Mormon Fundamentalist splinter group organized in 1956 by Joel LeBaron, who was assassinated in 1972, allegedly by his brother Ervil, who formed a rival splinter group, The Church of the Lamb of God. The assassination was allegedly carried out on the grounds of the Blood Atonement Doctrine.
Church of the Great God, John Ritenbaugh Charlotte, NC: Armstrongism break-off group. Publishes the Forerunner newsletter.
Church of the Lamb of God, The, Ervil LeBaron, Salt Lake City, UT: Polygamous, Mormon Fundamentalist splinter group formed in 1974 by Ervil LeBaron, who was removed from The Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times following accusations that he was responsible for his brother's assassination. The church has also been suspected in the deaths of other rival Mormon Fundamentalists, including Rulon Allred, founder of the Corporation of the Presiding Elder of the Apostolic United Brethren. LaBaron died in a Utah State Prison in 1981.
Church of the Most High Goddess, Mary Ellen Tracy, Los Angeles, CA: Revival of Egyptian religions, temple priestess, salvation through sexual relations.
Church of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA), John-Roger Hinkins, Santa Monica, CA: New Age, seminars, karma, reincarnation, spirit guide/possession, visualization, hypnosis, chanting, meditation.
Church of the New Birth: See Foundation Church of Divine Truth.
Church of the New Jerusalem: See Swedenborg Foundation.
Church of the Tree of Life, San Francisco, CA: No doctrine of God, sin, etc., only doctrine is anything goes within legal limits.
Church of the Trinity, A. Stuart Otto, San Marcos, CA: New Age; By Jesus' C.E.R.A. (Crucifixion, Entombment, Resurrection and Ascension) he imparted his Consciousness into the psyche of all.
Church of Unlimited Devotion: Worships Jerry Garcia of the rock-and-roll band, The Greatful Dead. They believe Garcia's guitar is a channel for God.
Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT), Mark Prophet, Corwin Springs, MT: New Age, Great White Brotherhood, God-consciousness, similar to I AM movement. Currently led by Elizabeth Clare Prophet. Profile available.
Churches of Christ: The independent Churches of Christ movement was one of several associations and denominations that developed from Alexander Campbell, Walter Scott and Barton W. Stone's restoration movement of the early 19th century, which was designed to promote unity among Protestants. Many (but not all) Churches of Christ today, however, differ from traditional Protestant doctrine in two key areas. Many maintain that water baptism and/or other commandments (rather than salvation by grace through faith alone) are a requirement for salvation (see Baptismal regeneration, Salvation by works). Some also believe that today's Churches of Christ are the only true churches on earth and that they can literally trace their history to the first century church in Jerusalem.
Circle, Madison, WI: Pagan newspaper.
Circle of Life, Dorothy Espiau, Houston, TX: Healing planet Earth, forces of Divinity, crystals, believes dolphins are alien beings.
Circle of Light, Dallas, TX: New Age periodical.
Clairvoyance: The supposed paranormal ability to "see" psychic information, including historical or future events or other phenomena, that cannot be discerned naturally through the five material senses. See ESP, Divination.
Cleage, Albert B., Jr.: See "Pan African Orthodox Christian Church".
Clifford E. Hobbs Foundation, Newport, WA: Hedonistic theology.
Cognitive Dissonance: A mental, emotional, or psychological state which results from attempting to hold two totally incompatible beliefs or opposing attitudes at the same time. See Double Bind.
College of Divine Metaphysics, Joseph Garduno, Glendora, CA: New Age, metaphysical teaching.
Common Boundary, Chevy Chase, MD: New Age periodical.
Communion Letter, San Antonio, TX: UFO periodical.
Community of Christ, Joseph Smith, III, Independence, MO: Smaller of the two main groups that originated from Joseph Smith's alleged restoration of the true church. When Smith died, those who accepted Brigham Young as Smith's successor followed him west to Utah; they are known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Those who rejected Young and accepted Smith's son, Joseph Smith, III, remained in Missouri and became known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS). The doctrines of the two groups eventually became radically different. On April 6, 2001, the name of the RLDS group was officially changed to Community of Christ. The Community of Christ church has a slightly different version of the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, and they reject the Pearl of Great Price as scripture. They do not hold to many of the LDS distinctive doctrines, including the polygamy of the 19th century LDS Church and the LDS belief (still held) that God was once a man. In recent years the church has experienced divisions, with more conservative Restoration Branches becoming independent. Historically, the RLDS--now Community of Christ--church also has had a leader who was a direct descendant of the Mormon founder, Joseph Smith, Jr. The current leader and prophet of the movement, Grant McMurray, was the first exception to this practice. Profile available.
Concept Therapy, Thurman Fleet, San Antonio, TX: New Age, stress management seminars, book title Rays Of The Dawn. Publishes The Beamer newsletter.
Concerned Christians, Monte Kim Miller, Denver, CO: Ironically, begun in the early 1980s as a Christian ministry to expose cults and false teaching, Miller's organization began to take on cult-like characteristics in later years. Becoming increasingly controversial and bizarre, Miller's group drew national media attention in 1998 when over 50 followers fled the Denver area and disappeared after Miller predicted the Apocalypse was to begin and that Denver was to be destroyed by an earthquake on October 10. Miller, who claims to be one of the two end-time prophets mentioned in the Revelation 11, published Report from Concerned Christians and Take Heed Update. Produced Our Foundation radio program. Profile available.
Conciliation Ministries, Dusean Berkich Lawrence, KS: Conversion should be inward to self, not to Jesus.
Confraternity of Deists, Homosassa Springs, FL: Reject sin, no need for a Savior, no consciousness after death.
Confucianism, Chiu King (King Fu-tzu or Confucius - "Kung the Master"): A world religion based on the teachings of Chiu King who, according to tradition, was born in Lu, China about 550 BC Chiu King promoted peace and social harmony through the traditions of the ancestors. He is said to have collected, edited and written commentaries on four ancient manuscripts (including the I Ching). He also wrote Ch'un Ch'iu ("The Annals of Spring and Autumn") These documents comprise the Five Classics and along with the Four Books (a collection of his sayings) form the basis of Confucianism. Doctrines include ancestor worship, devotion to family elders, and right conduct based on the inherent goodness of man.
Congregation of God, San Jose, CA: See Answers Research and Education.
Congregation of God Seventh Day, John Pinkston: Armstrongism break-off group. Publishes The Herald magazine.
Congregation of Yahweh, Pittsburgh, PA: Sacred name group, sabbatarianism, Old Testament feast days and dietary laws kept, the Holy Spirit is the power of God. Publishes The Restoration Message newsletter.
Conscious Development of Body, Mind, and Soul: Organization of Teri Hoffman.
Contemplations, Inc., Ed Heinemann, Durango, CO: The Universe is alive and speaks. Life is crystalized light.
Continuum Foundation, Chino Valley, AZ: New Age, dynamic energies, consciousness raising teachings.
Cooneyites (Go Preachers, No Name Church, Two by Twos): Meet in homes. Jesus is only part human and part God. Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to live sinless life and can do the same for any person. Salvation by works.
Cornerstone, Jim Rector, Texarkana, TX: Armstrongism splinter group. Publishes Cornerstone.
Corporation of the President of the Fundamentalist Church, Rulon T. Jeffs, Sandy, Utah: Mormon Fundamentalist splinter group of between eight and twelve thousand members. The group has a strong presence in Hilldale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona (once known as Short Creek), which was the site of a government effort to prosecute polygamists in 1953.
Corporation of the Presiding Elder of the Apostolic United Brethren, Rulon Allred, Bluffdale, UT: Polygamous, Mormon Fundamentalist splinter group of between five and eight thousand members in Idaho, Nevada, Montana and the United Kingdom. Allred was murdered in 1977 by members of a rival Mormon Fundamentalist sect.
Cosmic Christ: See Christ.
Cosmic Communication Commune, Decorah, IA: All religions have same common roots, communication from the cosmic Spirit.
Cosmic Light of Peace Center: See House of Divine Bread.
Course in Miracles, A, Helen Schucman: New Age book given through the channeled voice of "Jesus." The world, sin, and sickness are all illusions. Teaches that man is still in heaven with God and this life is a dream. Profile available.
Coven: A group two or more people (ideally thirteen) practicing witchcraft (see Wicca) or occult arts. Also called a clan.
Creme, Benjamin: See Tara Center.
Crossroads Church of Christ: See International Churches of Christ.
Crowley, Aleister: An English magician and Occultist. Crowley (1875-1947) was known for sex magic, homosexual rituals, and a fascination with drugs, blood and torture. Headed the British branch of Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), founded the Abbey of Thelema at Cefalu in Sicily. Author of Diary of a Drug Fiend and Magick in Theory and Practice.
Crusade of Innocence: Believed to be a splinter group of Process Church of the Final Judgment.
Crystallomancy: Divination or fortune telling by gazing into a crystal rock or crystal ball.
Crystals: Many though not all New Agers believe that gems (especially Crystals) possess mystical, esoteric, spiritual powers to bring the bearer health, wealth and good fortune.
Cult Awareness Network (CAN): Headed by Cynthia Kisser and based in Chicago, IL, this was once the largest secular cult watch organization or anti-cult group in America. According to Kisser, between 1991 and 1996 CAN was the victim of approximately 50 lawsuits directly or indirectly sponsored by members of the Church of Scientology, an organization considered by CAN to be a dangerous cult. CAN eventually lost one of those civil suits, which resulted in CAN filing bankruptcy. On October 23, 1996, the Cult Awareness Network's name, logo, and phone number were sold to a Scientology-related law firm as part of a $20,000 purchase of CAN assets in the federal bankruptcy court. Kisser warns that anyone now contacting CAN should be aware that they are very likely talking with Scientologists.
Cult of Confession: One of eight criteria of Mind Control according to Robert Lifton's theory of Thought Reform. A system that requires members to disclose to their leaders or superiors the personal thoughts, attitudes, and actions that do not conform to the group's ideals. This practice diminishes healthy personal boundaries and privacy, and may facilitate additional abuses.
Daily Word: A monthly publication of Unity School of Christianity.
Dalai Lama: The spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism.
Dallas Fellowship, Inc., Arlington, TX: New Age; uses The URANTIA Book as their main text. Publishes The Circle newsletter.
Dang, Luong Minh: Founder of Spiritual Human Yoga.
Davera Mission Church, Korea: Alternate name for Church of the Living Stone Mission for the Coming Days.
David, John: See John-David Learning Institute.
David, Moses (King David): Pseudonym for David Berg, the late founder of The Family (Children of God).
de Mello, Anthony: An Indian-born Jesuit priest, who wrote a number of New Age books that were bestsellers in many countries. His works include One Minute Wisdom, One Minute Nonsense, Wellsprings: A Book of Spiritual Exercises, and Walking on Water. In 1998, over a decade after his death, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (a Vatican commission) denounced de Mello's writings. They warned of false teachings in his works, including a denial of objective morality and the claim that all religion, including Christianity, are obstacles to truth.
Demand for Purity: One of eight criteria of Mind Control according to Robert Lifton's theory of Thought Reform. An environment of blame and guilt based on an impossible ideal of human behavior or perfection. This shame-based culture punishes failure and can even subtly train members to punish themselves for their inability to live up to the group's ideals or standards. See Brainwashing.
Demons:Fallen angels under the direction of Satan who seek to destroy God's purpose and people. Demons are invisible, spiritual beings (Ephesians 6:12), are organized and have supernatural power and knowledge (Matthew 12:24, Revelation 16:14), can possess humans and animals, (Luke 8:2, Mark 5:13), and can inspire false doctrine (1 Timothy 4:1).
Deprogramming: A coercive attempt to dissuade an individual of religious or ideological convictions believed to be harmful, through a concentrated (usually two to three days) counseling procedure designed to produce a sudden "snapping out." Deprogramming was developed in the 1970s by Ted Patrick and others as a way to rescue family members who were perceived to have undergone negative personality change after joining destructive cults. Often presented as an antidote for brainwashing or mind control, some deprogrammers rationalized the unethical use of force and coercion to rescue victims by illegally holding them against their will (abduction or "snatching") in a process known as "involuntary" deprogramming. Watchman Fellowship does not support or condone such illegal and unethical behavior. Not to be confused with Exit Counseling.
Deseret Shadow Church: See Church of Essential Science.
Devil: See Satan.
Di Mambro, Joseph: See Order of the Solar Temple.
Dianetics: Bestselling "bible" of the Church of Scientology.
Discover Seminars, Irving, TX: New Age, stress management.
Disfellowshipping: As practiced by the LDS and many other groups, this is a level of church discipline involving a probationary period of restricted privileges, but retaining church membership. As practiced by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, it is an alternate term for "excommunication," being completely cut off from Jehovah's organization; see Shunning.
Dispensing of Existence: One of eight criteria of Mind Control according to Robert Lifton's theory of Thought Reform. The organization's dogma determines whether or not other groups or individuals have the right to exist. All alternative belief systems or organizations are considered illegitimate. In extreme cases this mindset can promote violence or murder.
Divali: Hindu philosophy of Enlightenment.
Divination: The biblical term describing attempts to gain hidden knowledge supernaturally, usually about the future, apart from the God of the Bible (Ezekiel 21:22-25, Acts 16:16). Most often props are involved such as the hand (palm reading), the stars (astrology), cards (Tarot), or random symbols (I Ching).
Divine Science, Denver CO: Similar to Christian Science theology: God is All, man is a part of the All, thus man is God.
Doctrine and Covenants: One of the scriptures or "Standard Works" of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints accepts a different version of the work as scripture.
Doctrine Over Person: One of eight criteria of Mind Control according to Robert Lifton's theory of Thought Reform. The ideas and doctrines of the leader and organization overrule the personal experiences, conscience, and integrity of the individual.
Dominion Press, San Marcos, CA: New Thought, similar to Christian Science and Unity School of Christianity. Publishes the Theologia 21 newsletter. Not to be confused with Dominion Press in Tyler, TX, a controversial but orthodox Christian publishing house.
The Door: See Potter's House.
Double Bind: A mental or psychological dilemma caused when a person receives from a single leader or teacher conflicting messages or "truths" resulting in no appropriate response or answer. See Cognitive Dissonance.
Dowsing: Form of divination using a forked rod, a bent wire, or a pendulum. Used to locate people, objects, or substances, and to diagnose illnesses.
Druids: A priestly caste of the ancient Celtic people of France and the British Isles. They were the keepers of oral history and law, and officiates of pagan, occult religious practices. See Halloween.
Dual Covenant: The belief that the New Testament (or covenant) applies to gentiles (non-Jews) only. Thus, Jesus Christ is not the Savior of the Jewish people and they should relate to God through the earlier Old Testament or Abrahamic covenant. A similar doctrine called the Plural Covenant theory emphasizes other covenants in addition to these two major systems.
Dualism: An understanding of reality as existing in two opposite extremes. Metaphysical dualism sees the universe as existing in two contrary (and sometimes conflicting) realities--mind and matter, or spirit and physical, or yin and yang. Ethical dualism posits a conflict between universal good and an equal and opposite force of universal evil (e.g., the belief that God and Satan are equal and opposite beings).
Dungeons and Dragons: Occult, fantasy role playing game, allegedly uses demonic names and spells found in occult literature. Some parents have charged that children committed suicide under the influence of the game.
DuPage Church of Religious Science, Donald E. Burt, Naperville, IL: Religious Science, use the teachings of Ernest Holmes.
Eadie, Betty: New Age author of best-sellers, Embraced by the Light and The Awakening Heart. An active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Eadie claims to have died, gone to heaven, and returned to her body (see near-death experiences). Her books contain a combination of New Age and Mormon beliefs.
Earthsong, Wendy Moss, Dallas, TX: Journey into Mother Earth.
East West Journal, Syracuse, NY: New Age periodical.
Ebon, Martin: See Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship.
Ecstasy, Ojai, CA: New Age, man is God, realized through sexual encounters, New Age/Hedonism.
Eddy, Mary Baker: See Christian Science.
Edwards, Bishop Luke: See REACH, Inc.
Elmwood Institute, Fritjof Capra: Internationally recognized New Age author (The Tao of Physics) and lecturer.
Emmanuel, J. David Davis, Athens, TN: See B'nai Noah for theological perspective. Publishes The Gap newsletter.
ENERGIE et PARTAGE: See Spiritual Human Yoga.
Epiphany Bible Students Association, Mount Dora, FL: Splinter group from Laymen's Home Missionary Movement, one of the Bible Students groups that broke away from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
Erhard, Warner: See est.
Esoteric Order of Dagon, Soror Azenath 23rd, Abita Springs, LA: Channel the energy of the Nu Aeon, collective magical unconsciousness, worship the Old Ones or Old Gods.
ESP: Acronym for Extrasensory Perception.
est, Warner Erhard: Personal transformation seminar promising individual growth, business management skills, stress reduction, etc. Teaches the world has no objective meaning, enlightenment, and to live moment to moment with no regard for the future. New Age themes. In the midst of mounting troubles, Erhard decided to leave the United States. Est was discontinued and replaced by The Forum. Similar to other transformational/encounter seminars such as Lifespring.
Evangelical Christianity: Evangelical (from the Greek euangelion, good news or gospel) generally means a focus on the essentials of Christianity. The term can be used to describe all Christians or churches that hold to or give heavy emphasis to specific conservative Protestant beliefs. (In Germany, "Evangelical" is basically synonymous with "Lutheran.") These include: the authority and infallibility of the Bible, the nature of God (sovereign, holy, compassionate, personal, etc.), the sinful and fallen state of humanity, and salvation by grace through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ as the only means of salvation. More specifically the term has come to be closely identified with a widespread trans-denominational shift towards more conservative Christian doctrine that developed after World War II. See Fundamental Christianity.
Exaltation: In the teaching of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the highest form of salvation. It means to become a God, exactly like God the Father and Jesus Christ, and to produce and rule over one's offspring throughout eternity.
Exit Counseling: (Thought Reform Consulting) A non-coercive technique (in contrast to deprogramming) designed to help rescue members of religions or cults that are considered false, harmful, or dangerous. The program usually involves a two to three day voluntary counseling session emphasizing education and dialogue, often with a licensed mental health professional, a former member of the group, and/or a specialist on cult dynamics. The approach stresses true personal and religious freedom in the context of providing additional information and full disclosure, which facilitates more informed decision-making. Family counseling and intervention techniques may also be incorporated.
Faith Assembly Church, Raymond Jackson, Jeffersonville, IN: Similar to William Branham. Publishes The Contender newspaper.
Faithbuilders Fellowship, San Diego, CA: Theology similar to Jehovah's Witnesses.
Faithful Word, Chicago, IL: Armstrongism splinter group, teaches necessity of keeping the Law of Moses. Publishes The Faith Word magazine.
Faith Temple, Rosemary Cosby, Salt Lake City, UT: Apostolic Faith splinter group; Cosby has claimed to be the Messiah.
False Prophecy: Generally, any teaching by a prophet that is not true. Specifically, it is a prediction, made by an individual or group claiming to speak on God's authority, of a specific event that fails to occur by the specific, given date or within the specified time frame (Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 18:20-22).
Familiar Spirit: A spirit that can allegedly communicate with humans, often through possessing the body of a medium, channeler, or psychic. Also, a special type of demon that can impersonate a deceased person during attempts to communicate with the dead (see necromancy).
Family, The, Charles Manson: The followers of Charles Manson, some of whom were convicted for the 1969 Tate/LaBianca murders. Not related to the following entry.
Family, The, David Berg: Originally called the Children of God (COG) and recently called "The Family of Love," this group boasts communal "colonies" throughout the world. Best known for explicit sexual practices in recruiting converts and inner-group life, based on Berg's writings, the MO Letters. Not related to previous entry. Profile available.
Fantasy Role Playing Games (FRP): Players assume the identity of mythical characters and participate in elaborate mental adventures. Critics have expressed concern over the tremendous amount of time often invested in the games. More disturbing are reports that the games often emphasize rape, violence, spells, magic and other occult themes. Some parents have also charged that their children committed suicide while under the influence of FRP.
Farrakhan, Louis: Leader in the Nation of Islam.
Father Divine, né George Baker (1878-1965): Black founder of the Peace Mission Movement, believed by his followers to be God.
Fellowship For Spiritual Understanding, Marcus Bach, Palos Verdes Estates, CA: Similar teaching to Unity School of Christianity, denies reality of death, teaches man is God.
Fellowship of the Inner Light, Paul Solomon, Virginia Beach, VA: New Age; concept of "Meta-Human" teaches man to go beyond human to become Creator/Master.
Fellowship Press, Noblesville, IN: Soulcraft library, claims of channeled information from William Dudley Pelley in the very High Planes of Consciousness after he had died.
Feminism: See Radical Feminism.
Feng Shui: A religious "science" for the balancing of Yin and Yang in the environment, discovered or originated by farmers some 3,000 years ago and developed within Taoism. Feng Shui teaches that there is an energy called Qi (or, Chi) flowing throughout the universe, and in this world through lines, sometimes called channels or meridians, to which one must be properly aligned for optimal health, fortune, and quality of life. The position and alignment of structures and objects in one's environment affects the flow of this energy and one's own ability to harmonize with nature. Practitioners therefore arrange household and office furniture, design rooms and even whole buildings, their grounds and gardens, etc., to properly align with the flow lines of earth's energy. They thus hope to improve the balance of nature around them, not only for their own benefit, but for the benefit everyone in the area.
First Demonic Church, Efrem Del Gatto, Italy: Satanism.
First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine, Bethelehem, PA: Begun in 1988 as a marketing ploy/parody by Farndu and Karl Edwards, the church spoofs traditional religions and cults by "worshipping" Elvis Presley in weekly services held on the Internet and the campus chapel of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.
First Universal Church of God-Realization, Bhagavan Sri Babajhan-Al-Kahlil, Redondo Beach, CA: New Age, God is the self within, many paths all lead to the One Destination.
First World Conclave of Light, San Diego, CA: UFOs, 32 planets already joined but are waiting for the Earth to make the necessary commitment before the spaceships can land. See also Unarius Education Foundation.
Fitch, Joseph: See Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship.
Flag Service Organization, Tampa, FL: Promotes Church of Scientology philosophy.
Flirty Fishing, (Ffing): Allegedly discontinued practice of using sex to entice converts into The Family.
Flying Saucer Information Center, Pasadena, MD: UFOs, aliens coming to take Earth children for seedlings. Publishes the Update newsletter.
Followers of Christ Church, Walter T. White, Oregon City, OR: Practices shunning, exhibits legalism, and holds to a strict faith-healing doctrine. Doctors and hospitals are not allowed. State medical examiner claims as many as 25 children have died in the last two decades from complications from otherwise common medical problems.
Ford, Arthur: See Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship.
Form Criticism: A method of literary criticism used by many scholars in the interpretation of the Bible. It identifies the literary forms of specific parts of the biblical writings, such as the different types of psalms (thanksgiving, lament, etc.) or the different units in the Gospels (parables, miracle stories, etc.). By noting common features in passages of the same form, various conclusions are drawn about how to interpret those passages. In liberal Christianity, which pioneered this method, many of the forms are assumed to be legendary or mythical (especially those involving the supernatural). Some evangelical scholars think form criticism can be useful if such liberal assumptions are avoided, while other evangelicals reject form criticism outright. See also Redaction criticism.
Fortunetelling: A form of divination in which a person attempts to predict the future using alleged paranormal powers.
Foundation Church of Divine Truth, Washington, D.C.: New Age/occult, based on automatic writings of James E. Padget as found in the book True Gospel Revealed Anew by Jesus; teaches that man becomes the very essence of God. Publishes the Divine Truth Commentary newsletter.
Foundation Church of the Millennium: See Process Church of the Final Judgement.
Foundation Church of the New Birth: See Foundation Church of Divine Truth.
Foundation Faith, (Foundation Faith of God): See Process Church of the Final Judgement.
Foundation Faith of the Millennium, New York: Universalism. All religious leaders, including Jesus, Mohammad and Buddha were sent by God.
Foundation for Co-Creation, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Greenbraie, CA: Prominent New Age lecturer and writer.
Foundation for Higher Spiritual Learning, Centreville, VA: Formerly "Bridge to Freedom," the new name was adopted in 1979. The group follows the theosophical teachings of Guy Ballard of the I AM movement, including the Great White Brotherhood.
Foundation for Inner Peace: Organization and publisher for A Course in Miracles.
Fox, Kate and Margarett: See Spiritualism.
Free Bible Students: A small Bible Students splinter group currently consisting of only four congregations and approximately 27 home groups.
Free Spirit, Brooklyn, NY: New Age periodical.
Freemasonry: A fraternal order revived in the early 18th century in England, loosely based on associations or guilds of stone cutters ("operative" masons). Freemasonry ("speculative" masons) sought to give philosophical, moral, or spiritual meaning to the lodge, tools, and oaths of the stone cutters. Branches of Freemasonry include the Blue Lodge, York Rite, Scottish Rite, and Shriners. Affiliated organizations include the Order of the Eastern Star (for women), the Order of DeMolay (for boys), and the Order of Rainbow (for girls). Most modern adherents maintain that the organization is not a religion but a club or fraternity promoting high moral values and good works. They believe, therefore, that Freemasonry is compatible with and supplements Christianity and other religions. Critics counter that Freemasonry involves secret blood oaths or curses, and that the writings of respected early leaders (Albert Mackey, Albert Pike, etc.) are replete with occult philosophy and religious doctrine contrary to Christianity. Despite Freemasonry's promotion and funding of a number of worthwhile, philanthropic endeavors (free Shriner children hospitals, nursing homes, etc.), many Christian individuals and churches have condemned Freemasonry or warned of elements that they believe are contrary to Christianity. These churches include the Presbyterian Church of America, Southern Baptist Convention, Episcopal Church, Christian Reformed Church, Church of the Nazarene, and Lutheran Church (Missouri and Wisconsin Synods).
Freewinds Relay Office, Clearwater, FL: Promotes Church of Scientology.
Fundamentalist Christianity: Generally a reference to conservative Christians who believe five "fundamentals" of Christianity: the inerrancy of Scripture, the virgin birth of Christ, the substitutionary atonement of Christ, the bodily resurrection of Christ, and the historicity of biblical miracles. More specifically, the term is identified with the conservative reaction, especially in America, to liberal Christianity in the early 20th century. Core beliefs of the movement are virtually identical with evangelical Christianity. Some fundamentalists, however, later distinguished themselves from evangelicals (or neo-evangelicals) whom they saw as too compromising and ecumenical. More recently some have given a new, negative meaning to the term "fundamentalist" using it as a synonym for narrow-minded, bigoted, anti-intellectual or divisive Christians.Sabbatarianism, observes Feast Days, part of Sacred Name movement. Publishes The Appointed Time newsletter.
Gaia: Originally the Greek goddess of earth. Many see the earth as one large living organism made of numerous parts, much as the human body is one living organism with various parts.
Gatekeepers, Christopher James Turgeon, Pala, CA: A small cult formerly called Ahabah Sasah Prophetic Ministries in Everett, WA. Turgeon once claimed to be the prophet Elijah. He and another member, Blaine Alan Applin, were charged with first-degree murder in 1998 following the shooting death of former member Daniel Jess. Earlier that year a SWAT team served a warrant on the group's five-acre compound located 60 miles north of San Diego and recovered weapons and other stolen property.
Gateway To Light, Lloyd G. Sellman, Dewey, AZ: UFOs, telepathic communications.
Globalism: When used in a religious sense, this term most often means to lose all national identity. Mankind must see itself as one world family, without the need for distinctions between religions. All religions become true or the distinctive doctrines of the various religions must be disregarded in an attempt to achieve the new Global Family idea.
Global Times: The bimonthly magazine published by the Denmark office for Proutist International. See PROUT.
Gnosticism: From the Greek word gnosis (knowledge). Salvation comes through secret knowledge. A diverse belief influenced by Greek philosophy and similar to forms of pantheism, Gnosticism generally taught that matter was evil and spirit was good. Forms of gnosticism affected early Christianity. One Gnostic heresy taught that because matter was evil, Jesus could not have come in the flesh. Many New Agers regard Gnostic Christianity as the more enlightened form of Christianity.
Gnostic Order of Christ, The, Timothy Harris, San Jose, CA: An esoteric and mystical order reviving the doctrines of the now defunct Holy Order of MANS.
Goat's Head: An occult symbol consisting of an upside-down five-pointed star. See Baphomet.
God Saves the Earth Flying Saucer Foundation: See Chen Tao.
Goddess: New Age, occult, neo-paganism. A term used in various though related senses to affirm a feminine nature or aspect of the divine. Three beliefs are common: revering "Mother Nature," or the Earth, as divine (see Gaia); worshiping a female deity (often linked to primitive pagan religions, as in Wicca); and the search by some women for the "divine spark" of the "goddess within." Profile available.
God's House of Prayer for All People, Samuel T. Allen, Dallas, TX: Sabbath and Old Testament festivals kept for salvation (see Sabbatarianism).
God's Salvation Church: See Chen Tao.
Golden Book of the Theosophical Society, The: See Rosicrucianism.
Good Cheer Press, Boulder, CO: Publishes material promoting The URANTIA Book.
Good, Joseph: See Hatikva Ministries.
Gospel: Literally meaning "good news," the term gospel is used by traditional Christians as a reference to the message of salvation by grace through faith, based on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The first four books of the New Testament, which consist of accounts of Jesus' ministry, death, and resurrection (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), are also called the Gospels. One of the marks of a cult is that it preaches a different gospel, that is, a false way of salvation (2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:6-9). Most false gospels teach a form of either salvation by works or universalism.
Great Invocation: A New Age prayer written in 1937 by Alice Bailey (see Arcane School) and circulated by various New Age groups that believe widespread recitiation may help initiate a new utopia on earth.
Great Lakes Fellowship: Splinter Group of The Way International.
Great Lakes Society for Biblical Research, John Cheetham: Armstrongism splinter group.
Greater Grace World Outreach, Carl H. Stevens, Jr., Baltimore, MD: Formerly "The Bible Speaks." Courts required church to return funds to millionaire contributor for unethical and illegal actions. Allegedly practices mind control and shepherding.
Group for Creative Meditation: See Meditation Group for New Age.
Guided Imagery: Another term for Visualization.
Guideposts: Magazine founded by Norman Vincent Peale.
Guru: Eastern/Hindu religious teacher (sometimes thought to be a focus of worship or adoration) who gives personal guidance towards enlightenment.
Halloween: (Samhain) The term "Halloween" originally referred to All Hallows' Eve, a Catholic observance of the night before All Saints' Day. However, in its modern American form it is a holiday based on pagan, occult, Celtic beliefs and Druid rituals. Believed to be a religious high or holy day by those involved in witchcraft (see Wicca) and Satanism. Celebrated on October 31st, children are encouraged to wear costumes and solicit candy door-to-door (Trick-or-Treat). Profile available.
Halpern, Steve: Prominent New Age music composer and lecturer.
Hare Krishna: Nickname for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Harmonic Convergence: A New Age, social, environmental and personal transformational event formulated by Jose Arguelles, based on alleged Mayan prophecies and astrological conjecture. Arguelles promoted a gathering of New Age believers held 16-17 August 1987 at the earth's supposed vortexes (psychic power centers) for meditation and chanting, theoretically to usher in a cosmic transformation. Other significant dates were 31 December 1987 and a culmination in 2012.
Harmonie et Energie des volcans d'Auvergne: See Spiritual Human Yoga.
Harris, Timothy: See "Gnostic Order of Christ."
Hatha Yoga: See "Yoga."
Health and Wealth Gospel: See Word-Faith Movement.
Heaven's Gate, Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Lou Nettles, Rancho Santa Fe, CA: New Age, UFOs. Applewhite (a.k.a. Do) and 38 other members committed suicide in March of 1997, believing that by leaving their bodies behind they could join Nettles (a.k.a. Ti) and other "older members" from "the next level above human" on a UFO supposedly hidden behind the Hale-Bopp comet. Profile available.
Heaven's Magic: Another name for the followers of David Berg, founder of The Family (Children of God); produces multi-color children's posters and music.
Heresy: Literally, a theological dissension or division arising from diversity of opinions and aims. The term is usually reserved to refer to false teachings considered so serious that belief in them excludes the followers from the true faith and salvation; in other words, a belief viewed as fatal to the gospel. Religious groups founded on the basis of heresy are known as cults.
Heretic: A person who causes a division by teaching heresy.
Hinkins, John-Roger: Founder of Church of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness.
Hinduism: The major world religion that originated from the ancient religions of India, which originally embraced polytheism. As a more unified world religion, Hinduism teaches pantheism; the ancient gods (especially the triad of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) are commonly interpreted as representations of the various aspects of the divine (Brahman). Human beings progress to the ultimate realization of their oneness with Brahman (often called Nirvana) through reincarnation according to the law of karma. Some of the concepts of Hinduism are incorporated, modified, and expanded upon in the New Age Movement.
Hoffman, Teri, Dallas, TX: New Age guru, believed to practice mind control. Twelve followers or close associates have committed suicide or died under unusual circumstances. Many left large sums of money to Hoffman. Her organization is called Conscious Development of Body, Mind and Soul.
Hohm Community, Lee Lozowick, Tabor, NJ: No specific doctrine, all religions have truth, seek Divine Evolution.
Holiness Tabernacle, Dyer, AR: See Alamo Christian Foundation.
Holistic Health: (New Age Medicine/Alternative Medicine) A view of health care focusing on the "whole self" (body, mind and spirit) and natural or spiritual cures. Some holistic health remedies and assumptions (i.e., a focus on wellness and prevention) are well within the Christian worldview and are scientifically valid. Much within this movement, however, is based on pantheistic concepts, New Age visualization, and eastern religious beliefs such as Chinese Taoism (Yin and Yang). Most questionable are holistic practices that have no valid physiological explanation or scientific proof such as applied kinesiology, reflexology and iridology.
Holy Body of the Coming Jesus Christ Mission in New York: See Church of the Living Stone Mission for the Coming Days.
Holy Order of MANS, Earl W. Blighton: Monastic New Age group that practiced esoteric, mystical religion blending biblical themes with reincarnation and other concepts from Eastern religions and the occult. Blighton, an ex-engineer who was once fined for practicing medicine without a license, began the order in 1968. "MANS" was an acronym for a phrase revealed only to initiates. After advancing through the order, men reached the status of Brown Brother of the Holy Light, while women might become an Immaculate Sister of Mary for Missionary Training. After the death of Blighton, the group underwent radical changes. The majority of followers converted to Eastern Orthodoxy and the order eventually was transformed into Christ the Savior Brotherhood, a sect of Eastern Orthodoxy. Several competing groups later formed claiming to preserve Blighton's original purpose and message. They include the Gnostic Order of Christ, Science of Man, and the American Temple.
Holy Shankaracharya Order, Stroudsburg, PA: Hindu theology. Publishes Purarnave periodical.
Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity: See Unification Church.
Holyland: See REACH, Inc.
Homeopathy: Pseudo-medical holistic health techniques developed by Samuel Hahneman whereby minute doses of natural elements are said to cure diseases.
Homestead Heritage: Elm Mott, TX, formerly Koinonia Communities or Emmaus Fellowship, is an abusive shepherding goup that teaches modalism and multilevel works salvation. Their leaders claim their authority is that of “Jesus coming in the flesh.” The group operates a large farm with a crafts center and yearly public fairs. They also publish homeschool materials under the name, Essential Christian Education and Truth Forum. They were featured in the February 2005 issue of Christianity Today, and President George W. Bush chose them to construct his house in Crawford.
Horoscope: See Astrology.
House of David, Benjamin Purnell Benton Harbor, MI.: British Israelism; Purnell taught he was the seventh and last messenger or angel of Revelation. Publishes Shiloh's Messenger of Wisdom.
House of Divine Bread, J.L. Mociulewski, Bayonne, NJ: Pantheism, Father-Mother god.
House of Yahweh: Odessa, TX: See Sacred Name movement.
Hubbard, L. Ron: Late founder of the Church of Scientology.
Human Universal Energy (HUE): Alternative name for Spiritual Human Yoga.
Hypnosis: Technique inducing an altered state of consciousness or trance by verbal or non-verbal stimuli. Participants experience reduced ability for critical thinking and are generally open to external suggestion. See Mesmerism. Profile available.I AM Movement, Guy and Edna Ballard: Occult, New Age, pantheism, Great White Brotherhood, the god within. Founded 1930; directs praise and adoration on the 18th century French occultist, St. Germain. Publishes Voice of the I AM magazine.
I Ching: (Yi King or The Book of Changes) Ancient Chinese method of divination, predicting the future using random casting of the stalks of the yarrow plant or three-lined diagrams (Trigams) representing, among other things, Yin and Yang.
Identity Movement: See Christian Identity movement.
Illuminati, ("Enlightened Ones"): Secret society founded by a professor of canon law, Adam Weishaupt, in Bavaria, Germany. Originally promoted free thought and democratic political theories. Now believed by many to be an anti-democratic, elitist, conspiracy for one-world-government.
Imagery: Alternative term for Visualization.
Inner Connection, Lewisville, TX: New Age periodical.
Inner Space Center: See Prosperos.
Inner Way, Bruce Derby, Homeland, CA: Spirit guides, mystical use of names.
Insight magazine, Washington, D.C.: Politically conservative, owned by the Unification Church.
Insight Transformational Seminars: See Church of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness.
Institute for Bio-Spiritual Research, Coulterville, CA: New Age, focusing, God-Consciousness.
Institute for Family and Human Relations, Los Gatos, CA: See Life Training, same co-founder.
Institute for Human and Universal Energy Research, Inc. (IHUERI): See Spiritual Human Yoga.
Institute for the Advancement of Human Behavior, Stanford, CA: Guided Imagery (visualization) sessions.
Institute of Noetic Sciences, Edgar Mitchell, Sausalito, CA: From Greek word nous, meaning "mind." Healing through mind power, New Age holistic health. Founded in 1973 with 55,000 members worldwide. Current president Willis Harman. Publishes: Noetic Sciences Review and Noetic Sciences Bulletin and ReSource.
Institute of Spiritual Unfoldment: See Light of the Holy Spirit.
International Association of Scientologists, England: Promotes Church of Scientology philosophy.
International Churches of Christ, Kip McKean, Los Angeles, CA: Formerly called the Boston Church of Christ movement, this worldwide splinter from the traditional Churches of Christ originally developed out of the controversial "Crossroads" Church of Christ campus ministry in Gainesville, FL. Former members and critics allege mind control. Practices shepherding, teaches baptismal regeneration, and claims to be the only true church. Publishes Upside Down magazine. Aggressively recruits on college and university campuses throughout America and internationally. Profile available
International Community of Christ: See Jamilian University of the Ordained.
International Meditation Society: See Transcendental Meditation.
International Metaphysical Association, New York, NY: Similar to Christian Science theology; uses Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as textbook.
International Religious and Magickal Order of Societe, La Couleuvre Noire: See Technicians of the Sacred.
International Society of Divine Love, H.D. Prakashanand Saraswati, Austin, TX: Eastern mysticism, Divine Love consciousness.
International Society for Krishna Consciousness, A.C. Bhaktivendanta Swami Prabhupada: (ISKCON) Sect of Hinduism, uses mantras, worships Lord Krishna and uses Bhagavad-Gita as scripture. Publishes Back to Godhead magazine. Profile available.
International Space Science Foundation, Rick Ardyn, Salt Lake City, UT: UFOs, claims to possess recordings of space people.
Investigative Judgment: One of the unique doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that make the place of that church within evangelical Christianity questionable. First taught in Adventism by Hiram Edson, F.B. Hahn, and O.R.L. Crosier, it was accepted as "present truth" by those who would later become known as Seventh-day Adventists (SDAs) after it was confirmed and taught in visions received by Ellen G. White. The doctrine teaches that in the Holy of Holies in the Heavenly Sanctuary Christ is now conducting an investigation into the lives of all who have ever professed belief in Christ. He is judging all their works, by the standard of God's Law. All those whose lives fail to measure up to the standard of the Law are rejected and condemned as not having true faith. Those whose lives meet that standard and thus manifest the perfect character and righteousness of Christ are recognized as having true faith, and so their sins are "blotted out." SDAs say, "This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus. It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom." Evangelicals believe, and the Bible teaches (Rom. 3:21-26), that God's justice in saving sinners who trust Jesus to save them is vindicated by the blood of Jesus--His death in their place, in their behalf. Profile (on SDA) available.
Inward Bound, Alexander Everett, Arlington, TX: New Age, Centering, tapping into the Universal Consciousness.
Iridology: Developed by Ignatz Peczeky, a Holistic Health technique which supposedly allows one to diagnose unrelated diseases (such as a sprained ankle or weak back) by reading the color patterns of the eye's irises. Some practitioners also claim ability to diagnose emotional or mental problems.
Isis Unveiled: See Rosicrucianism.
ISKCON: Acronym for International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Islam, Muhammad: Based on the teachings and life of Muhammad (570-632 AD) in Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia (then Persia). Islam is the second largest world religion, and has recently become the third largest religious body in America with over 6 million adherents. Muslim-based sects such as the Nation of Islam (which appeals especially to African-Americans) and Bahá'í (which proclaims the unity of the human race) have special appeal to many Americans. Islam is composed of two major divisions -- the mainstream Sunni (the largest) and the more radical Shi'ites. The mystical tradition of Sufism includes many Sunnis and some Shi'ites. The Arabic word Islam means "submission to the will of God" and a person who submits is called a Muslim. The Qur'an (or, Koran), the Torah, the Psalms of the Old Testament, and the Gospel of the New Testament are regarded as holy books. However, only the Qur'an is considered uncorrupted. Islam rejects the Trinity doctrine, the deity of Christ and His Sonship, claiming that Jesus was only a great prophet. Muhammad is considered to be the greatest prophet, whose coming was allegedly predicted by Christ. Islam adheres fiercely to monotheism. In addition to good works, salvation is sought though observance of the Five Pillars: reciting "there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger," praying five times per day, fasting, giving alms (donations to the poor), and a pilgrimage to Mecca. Historically, Islam experienced tremendous growth often by forced proselytism -- unbelievers (infidels) were offered conversion or death. While many Muslims exhibit tolerance towards other faiths, even today Islamic fundamentalism promotes jihad (holy war), against those of other religious and political views.
Jainism, Mahavira: A world religion begun as a reform movement of Hinduism. Mahavira (b. 599 BC ) denied the existence or worship of a supreme deity and taught enlightenment through strict self-denial and non-violence. Later followers deified Mahavira himself, calling him the 24th Tirthankara (last great savior teacher) who descended from heaven without sin and with all knowledge.
Jamilian University of the Ordained, Gene Savoy, Reno, NV: Esoteric teachings; Jamil (Gene Savoy's son) was second coming of Christ; Jesus was a mystic.
Jehovah's Witnesses: Official name of the religion that accepts the authority of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
Jesus: The founder and central figure of Christianity. Jesus of Nazareth lived in Palestine from about 5/4 BC until AD 33 (or possibly AD 30). The name "Jesus" corresponds with the Hebrew "Joshua" and means "Jehovah is salvation." Christianity was founded on the belief that Jesus is the Messiah, or Christ, promised in the Old Testament, and that he died to save human beings from the penalty of sin. Even ancient, non-Christian sources corroborate some historical facts about His life and ministry. By far, the oldest and fullest historical information is found in the New Testament Gospels. Attempts have been made by liberal Christianity, New Agers, cults, and other religions to present Jesus as a "great teacher" whose ministry or life was radically different from the biblical historical accounts. While these efforts often define a "Jesus" compatible with their world views, they lack early supporting historical documentation and are thus arbitrary and subjective. The sources support the historic, traditional Christian belief that Jesus is the second Person of the Trinity, that he was and is fully God and fully man, that he was born of a virgin, died on the cross as a substitutionary atonement for our sins, and rose bodily from the dead.
Jihad: Literally, "struggle," more popularly, "holy war"; a term used to refer to the Muslim commitment to impose the teachings and law of Islam throughout the world, by force where that is considered necessary or appropriate.
Johannine Daist Communion, "Da Free John." a.k.a. Franklin Jones: Promotes violence against women in his book Garbage And The Goddess. It is said that he makes "love slaves" of women.
John-David Learning Institute, Carlsbad, CA: New Age, Brain-Mind expansion, Brain relations development.
Jones, Jim: Founder of the People's Temple Christian Church.
Jones, Vendyl: Founder of the Institute of Judaic-Christian Research.
Jouret, Luc: Leader of the Order of the Solar Temple.
Judaism: World religion that traces its origins to God's call to Abram (Abraham) to be the father of a great people who would inherit the land of Canaan and be the means of blessing to all mankind (Genesis 12). That people is identified as the children of Abraham's grandson Jacob, who was renamed Israel. The foundation of Judaism is the Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy), which tells of the Israelites' bondage in Egypt, their miraculous deliverance in the Exodus, and the giving of the Law through Moses. The Israelites returned to the promised land of Canaan and became a small but powerful nation there under the rule of King David and his son Solomon. After Solomon's death the kingdom split into a northern kingdom called Israel and a southern kingdom called Judah (the name of David's tribe). The northern kingdom was conquered and decimated by the Assyrians in 722 BC, after which the term Judeans, or Jews, gradually came into use to refer to all Israelites. The Jews suffered conquests by a succession of foreign powers -- the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and finally the Romans in the first century BC. Throughout this period the Jews developed a strong sense of national identity, identification with the Promised Land, and anticipation of a coming Messiah or Christ ("Anointed One"). These themes dominate the rest of the Jewish Bible, which is identical with the Protestant canon of the Old Testament. In the first century AD, Christianity originated with the belief that Jesus was that promised Messiah. The Jewish establishment at that time, however, rejected Jesus' claim to be the Messiah, and in fulfillment of his prophecy (Mark 13) the Jerusalem temple was destroyed and the Jewish nation scattered (AD 70). What is now known as the religion of Judaism originated after AD 70 as the rabbis, or teachers of the Torah, developed a system of laws and interpretations of the Torah that were eventually codified in the Talmud. Today Judaism can be identified as a cultural, ethnic, or religious concept. There are three main branches of modern Judaism: Orthodox (traditional, literal adherence to the Torah as interpreted by the Talmud), Conservative (a middle position advocating traditional beliefs and practices up to a point), and Reform (liberal, non-literal stance on the Torah and Talmud; often non-religious or secular with emphasis on Jewish culture).
Kabbalah: (Various spellings) Mystical Jewish teachings intermingled with teachings of gnosticism, Neoplatonism, magic and the occult. The word Kabbalah means secret oral tradition and was coined by an eleventh century Spanish philosopher, Ibn Gabirol. The philosophy developed in Babylon during the middle ages from earlier Hebrew speculation and numerology. An early Kabbalist, Moses de Leon, developed and systematized the philosophy in his thirteenth century work, The Book of Zolar (sometimes spelled Zohar meaning "Splendor").
Kairos Foundation: See Life Training.
Karma: The Hindu principle of cause and effect. Representing neither good nor evil, all actions and events are balanced with corresponding actions and events in the past or future (including past and future lives through reincarnation).
Keys To Understanding: See Messianic Assemblies of Yahweh.
Klassen, Frank, Ft. David, TX: Sacred Name; publishes The Overcomer newsletter.
Koresh, David: See Branch Davidians.
Kosmon: See Universal Faithists of Kosmon.
Krastman, Hank: See Metaphysical Union.
Krieger, Dolores: See Therapeutic Touch.
Krishna: According to some Hindu sects, Krishna is the eighth or ninth incarnation of Vishnu and possibly the manifestation of the supreme demigod/God incarnating as Vishnu. Devotion to Krishna has been introduced in the West especially through the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Krishnamurti Foundation of America Ojai, CA: Hindu theology. Krishnamurti, a Hindu who sought to unify Eastern religion with Western philosophy and science, was proclaimed as the world's messiah by Theosophy leader Annie Besant in 1906. He later renounced that role to be the head of the newly created Order of the Star. Teaches alternative mystical experiences.
Kunz, Dora: See Therapeutic Touch.Scientology philosophy.
Laodicean Home Missionary, John Krewson Ft. Myers, FL: Bible Students group.
Lao-tzu: See Taoism.
Latter-day Church of Christ, Merlin Kingston, Salt Lake City, UT: Polygamous, Mormon Fundamentalist splinter group led by Merlin and Ortell Paul Kingston. Membership estimates range between 300 and 1,500 members. The group is believed to own or control more than 24 companies and have holdings in Nevada, Idaho, and possibly Arizona and Mexico.
Laughing Dove, Albuquerque, NM: Produces "consciousness raising products for Body, Mind and Spirit."
Laymen's Home Missionary Movement, Raymond Jolly, Chester Springs, PA: Bible Students group; publishes The Bible Standard and Herald of Christ's Kingdom newsletter.
Lazaris: Spirit supposedly channeled by Jach Pursel.
LDS: Acronym for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Lectorium Rosicrucianism, Bakersfield, CA: Splinter group of Rosicrucianism.
Lee, Bo-In: See New Life HealthCenter.
Legalism: The belief that spirituality or salvation is dependent upon strict observance of laws and/or rituals, implying salvation by works. Or, a system of religious rules must be kept to please God or religious leaders, sometimes resulting in a kind of spiritual abuse.
Lenz, Frederick: Guru who renamed himself Zen Master Rama.
Les 18 lumieres de l'EU (LEU18): See Spiritual Human Yoga.
Liberal Christianity: A movement that seeks to retain religious and spiritual values of Christianity while discounting the infallible authority of the Bible. Its origins are in the German Enlightenment, notably in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and the religious views of Friedrich Schleiermacher. Liberals reject the stated authorship and historical accuracy of many books of the Bible. They are skeptical concerning many or all of the biblical miracles, preferring naturalistic explanations or viewing miracle accounts as legend or myth. They often deny or reinterpret in mythical terms such doctrines of orthodox Christianity as the virgin birth, atoning death, and even the resurrection of Jesus. Liberalism has been most influential in mainline Protestant denominations and is rejected in Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christianity.
Liberation Theology: A movement that attempts to unite theology with social and religious concerns about oppression. It finds expressions among blacks, feminists, Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans, but it is most closely identified with the shift toward Marxism among Roman Catholic theologians and priests in Latin America. Most traditional doctrines of Christianity are de-emphasized or reinterpreted. Jesus and the Bible are defined and interpreted in light of a class struggle, with the gospel seen as a radical call to activism (or even revolution) promoting political and social answers usually in the form of classic Communism.
Life Training, Dallas, TX: New Age seminars that seek to awaken people to a new level of awareness and belief systems; Eastern spiritual philosophy.
Lifespring: New Age seminars promoting human transformation and altering belief systems. Similar to est.
Lifton, Robert: Dr. Lifton studied Mao Tse-Tung's programs of "Thought Reform" or Chinese brainwashing while doing research for military intelligence. His study focused on radical change in personality and belief systems of certain prisoners-of-war who were held and tortured in Chinese camps. This research was later expanded in his 1961 work, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, in which he theorized that subtle elements of these brainwashing techniques could also be found in other environments. He outlined eight criteria for "thought reform," which he called: Milieu Control, Mystical Manipulation, Loading the Language, Doctrine over Person, Sacred Science, Cult of Confession, Demand for Purity, and Dispensing of Existence. While some elements of these criteria could be found in virtually any group, Lifton warned that an environment of mind control or thought reform exists when all eight are found implemented in the extreme.
Light Connections, Cardiff, CA: New Age/eastern mystic periodical.
Light of Truth Church of Divine Healing: See International General Assembly of Spiritualists.
Light of Yoga Society, Cleveland Heights, OH: Yoga. Publishes Yoga In America magazine.
Lion and Lamb Ministries, Monte W. Judah, Norman, OK: Messianic Jewish ministry. Holds that Jesus is the biblical Messiah. Legalistic tendencies, Sabbatarianism, practices Jewish holy days. Judah falsely predicted that the Abomination of Desolation prophesied in the Bible would occur by March of 1997 promising he would be "totally discredited" and would "shut down" the ministry if wrong. On March 23, 1997 he apologized for the false prophecy but reneged on his vow to disband the movement. [Note: this group should not be confused with the Texas-based Lamb & Lion Ministries, a reputable Christian organization led by David R. Reagan.]
Literary Criticism: The discipline that seeks to discover the underlying literary sources, stylistic features, type or genre of literature, authorship, unity, and date of a text, for their value in interpreting the text's meaning in its original historical context. The application of literary criticism to the Bible can be constructive, although in liberal Christianity the method is typically applied on the basis of antisupernatural and humanistic assumptions. See further Form Criticism.
Little Flock: (Anointed Class) In the teaching of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, this phrase (Luke 12:32) refers to the 144,000 Jehovah's Witnesses who will be allowed to go to heaven. All other worthy Jehovah's Witnesses (the "other sheep" cf. John 10:16) will live for eternity on a new paradise earth.
Living Stream Ministry: Publishing firm for The Local Church.
Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd., St. Paul, MN: See "Spell." Influential publisher of occult, New Age, and Wiccan materials begun in 1901 as the Portland School of Astrology. The current president is Carl Weschcke who in 1988 acquired the magazine Fate, which now has 140,000 subscribers. Their popular catalog, New Worlds, is sold in newsstands nationwide and has a circulation of nearly 200,000.
Loading the Language: One of eight criteria of Mind Control according to Robert Lifton's theory of Thought Reform. Limiting or controlling the thought processes by regulating the language in such a way that communication constricts and limits rather than expands human understanding. This may include the use of thought-stopping clichés or artificially reducing complex issues to a false black/white dichotomy.
Local Church, The, Watchman Nee, Anaheim, CA: Controversial movement begun in China in the early 1920s by Ni To-sheng (Watchman Nee). Growth and controversy developed during the administration of their second leader, the late Witness Lee, who moved to America in 1962 founding Living Stream Ministry. Among issues drawing criticism from evangelical Christians is the Local Church's use of the term "mingling" to describe the relationship between God and believers (i.e., Christians become both divine and human like Jesus). Some evangelicals have also charged that the church compromises the Trinity doctrine by confusing the Persons of the Holy Spirit and the Son in a way similar to modalism. The organization's exclusivity has also comme under fire. According to Lee, each city can and should have only one church. Denominationalism is seen as of the Devil. According to critics, the effect is that Lee-led local churches, usually called by the name of their cities (e.g., the Church in Anaheim or the Church in Chicago), become the only true expressions of the Body of Christ. Thus, according to former members, all other churches or denominations are seen as being outside the will of God or not true churches at all. The Local Church has also gained a reputation for threatening legal action to prevent unfavorable public evaluation of its movement. Even Christian critics have been targeted, adding to the evidence that they do not consider believers outside their movement to be true or obedient Christians (1 Corinthians 6:1-8).
The Lodge: See Freemasonry.
Lotus: New Age periodical.
Louis Foundation, Louis, Eastsound, WA: New Age, cosmic consciousness, Unmanifested Reality, Inner secrets, True Realization and Awareness.
Lucifer: Another name for Satan.
Lucifer Trust/Lucis Trust: See Arcane School.
Lucis Trust: See Arcane School.
Luna Astrological Services, Flint, MI: Astrology.
Mackey, Albert: See Freemasonry.
Magic: (Magick) Occult ceremonial use of amulets and talismans. May involve necromancy or divination, invocation of infernal deities or use of natural elements to gain supernatural power or knowledge. The word magic is also used to describe a type of stage performance involving legerdemain (slight of hand) or illusion with no alleged psychic or occult power. This type of stage magic is not inherently evil, although occultists have occasionally used stage magic in an attempt to claim supernatural abilities.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: Founder of Transcendental Meditation.
Mahavira: See Jainism.
Mahikari, Kutama Okada, Houston, TX: Japanese philosophy, Divine light purifies the soul, mind and body.
Malcolm X: See Nation of Islam.
Mantra: Eastern mysticism or New Age term for a word or series of words that are repeated over and over either verbally or silently. The Mantra is said to help one achieve an altered state of consciousness. Often practiced during meditation or relaxation exercises.
Maranatha Ministries, Brooklyn, MI: End-times false prophecy group. Taught Christ would return in 1998.
Mark Probert's Educational Foundation and Kethra E'Da (Teachers of Light): See Church of E Yada di Shi-ite.
Martindale, Craig: Installed as president of The Way International by founder Victor Paul Weirwille in 1982. Martindale resigned leadership April 20, 2000, after a former member filed a lawsuit accusing him of forcing her into a sexual relationship.
Marxism/Leninism, Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, V.I. Lenin: Atheistic philosophy of communism based on the "class struggle" theory of socioeconomic evolution derived from dialectic materialism. Sometimes confused by the uninformed with biblical mandates to care for the poor, and the voluntary sharing of resources practiced by some primitive Christians. Marxism advocates establishment of a classless, stateless society by revolutionary force; it has always led, however, to totalitarian statism, and has never successfully eliminated any class but the bourgeoisie, the middle class, leaving the great majority of its subjects in poverty. It is militantly atheistic. Marx wrote, "The criticism of religion ends with the teaching that man is the highest being for man..." He contended that man "looked for a superhuman being in the fantastic reality of heaven and found nothing there but the reflection of himself." Wrote Engels, "...we have once and for all declared war on religion and religious ideas and care little whether we are called atheists or anything else." Citing Marx and Engels as his authorities, Lenin declared that "the philosophical basis of Marxism" is "a materialism which is absolutely atheistic and positively hostile to all religion." His hostility bordered on hysteria: "Every religious idea, every idea of God, even flirting ith the idea of God, is unutterable vileness ... vileness of the most dangerous kind, 'contagion' of the most abominable kind. Millions of sins, filthy deeds, acts of violence and physical contagions ... are far less dangerous than the subtle, spiritual idea of a God decked out in the smartest 'ideological' customs.... Every defense or justification of the idea of God, even the most refined, the best intentioned, is a justification of reaction."
Mary's House of David, Mary Purnell, Benton Harbor, MI: Founded by the widow of Benjamin Purnell. See House of David.
Masonry: See Freemasonry.
Masters, Roy: Founder of the Foundation of Human Understanding.
Maya: The Hindu principle that all is an illusion and that ultimately the physical world, contacted through the conscious mind and the five senses, does not represent reality. This philosophy is also taught by many within the New Age Movement.
Mayan Order, San Antonio, TX: New Age, Unity between man's Inner force and Cosmic Universal force. Publishes Mayan Mysteries magazine.
McKean, Kip: See International Churches of Christ.
Meditation: Entering an altered state of consciousness by use of a mantra, yoga, deep relaxation techniques, controlled breathing or visualization. Often linked to Eastern metaphysical philosophies, the New Age and/or Eastern religions, these techniques promote the emptying of the mind or the suspension of critical thinking. This is different from biblical Meditation where one is encouraged to meditate on God, His attributes or His word, employing the whole mind (Joshua 1:8; Luke 10:27).
Mega: Periodical of the New Age Community Church.
Menhir: "Long Stone." See Stonehenge.
Mesmer, Franz: Founder of Mesmerism.
Mesmerism: An 18th century movement begun in France by the Austrian doctor Franz Anton Mesmer, who believed that astrological influence on humans was conveyed through a force or substance similar to magnetism. He first began treating patients with magnets or charged fluids but quickly modified his position, theorizing that cures were actually coming from an energy or mysterious "magnetic fluid" coming from the hands, voice, or nervous system of the practitioner. This invisible substance or magnetism was thought to be similar to electro-magnetism and was dubbed "Animal Magnetism." Mesmer's pupils were later able to induce a "magnetic sleep" (trance state or hypnotic condition) in their patients. The term Mesmerism eventually became analogous with hypnosis and was linked with both Spiritualism and Mind Science religions. See Altered States of Consciousness.
Messianic Assemblies of Yahweh, North Warren, PA: Sacred Name group; publishes The Messianic Messenger newsletter.
Metaphysics: (Meta, "after" or "beyond"; physics "physical"). Originally any study or discussion of non-physical, spiritual, or non-material realities. Later, in modern usage, it usually means experimentation with, belief in, or practice of magic, psychic powers, or the occult.
Midwest Research of Michigan, Walled Lake, MI: Visualization, deep relaxation techniques, Subliminal tapes.
Milieu Control: One of eight criteria of Mind Control according to Robert Lifton's theory of Thought Reform. Milieu control is the systematic, strict regulation of human communication, relationships, and access to outside information and alternative viewpoints.
Miller, Monte Kim: See "Concerned Christians."
Miller, William: Baptist lay minister from Low Hampton, New York who was excommunicated for teachings that Christ would return in 1844. Although Miller repented after his prediction failed and opposed further speculations, his teachings gave rise to Adventism.
Mind/Body Medical Institute, Herbert Benson, Cambridge, MA: Affiliated with Harvard Medical School, the Institute was founded by Dr. Herbert Benson, the Chief of Behavioral Medicine at Harvard, to research and train practitioners in holistic health.
Mind Control: (Thought Reform, brainwashing) While evangelicals are lack consensus on the nature, extent or, in some cases, even existence of Mind Control, the Bible does warns against seducers, deceivers, and exploiters who employ methods that can bring about spiritual harm and/or personal abuse. The Mind Control or Thought Reform model, as for instance developed by Robert Lifton, suggests that there are specific methods of deception that can be employed by abusive spiritual leaders that may result in a diminished capacity for critical thinking and suppression of autonomy in their followers. These methods are believed to involve an intense social influence conditioning program which may include a closed system of authoritarian control, manipulative, group dynamics, a system of punishment and rewards, induced dissociation or trance induction, information control, fraud, coercion, and double binds. Depending on the number and intensity of undue influence elements, and a person's own unique susceptibilities, one may experience a pseudo personality change and marked debilitation, compliance, and servitude. The Mind Control model should not be interpreted to mean that the subject is not responsible for the consequences of his or her decisions and actions. The Mind Control theory is not justification for holding individuals against their will or for conducting forcible, involuntary deprogramming.
Mind Sciences: A generic, general classification of religious groups that hold to the belief that human beings are inherently divine and that mind or thoughts are energy forms that can create and/or alter reality. Most often used in reference to the American religions formed since the middle of the 19th century, especially Christian Science, New Thought, and Religious Science, that deny the actuality of sin, sickness, and/or death and promote health though mental practices.
Miracle Distribution Center, Fullerton, CA: A Course in Miracles promotional organization. Publishes The Holy Encounter newsletter.
Mitchell, Wayman: Founder of the Potter's House church movement.
Mo Letters: See The Family (Children of God).
Modalism: (Patripassianism, Modalistic Monarchianism, Sabellianism, Jesus Only, Oneness Pentecostalism) Originally, a second and third century heresy that denies the doctrine of the Trinity, teaching there is only one Person in the Godhead. While the Trinity doctrine teaches three distinct Persons, modalism maintains that one Person (usually the Father) has manifested Himself at different times under different names (Jesus/Spirit) or modes. Thus, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three names for the same Person. Originally taught in various forms by Noetus, Praxeas and Sabellius. Modified forms of this doctrine can be found in the teachings of William Branham, some Apostolic churches and the United Pentecostal Church.
Mother Ruth: See Science of Man.
Mohammed: Founder of the world religion of Islam.
Monarchianism: View found primarily in the third century that denied the Trinity, arguing that because God's nature is one He cannot exist eternally in three Persons. The two most popular forms of monarchianism were dynamic monarchianism and modalism.
Mon-Ka Retreat and Universal Mother Mary's Garden of Healing, Energy, Love and Light, Mary Pacquette, Gabriel Green, Grass Valley, CA: Channeling, UFOs, I AM teachings of St. Germain, Ascended Masters, crystals, Rosicrucian teachings, psychic readings. Publishes the News From The Mountain Top newsletter.
Monroe Institute, Robert Monroe, Faber, VA: Out-of-Body experiences, Evolution of Human Consciousness.
Moon, Sun Myung: Founder of the Unification Church.
Moonies: Nickname for followers of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church. Considered a derogatory term by members.
Mormon Fundamentalism: A loose collection of doctrines and practices maintained by splinter groups of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). These splinter groups attempt to adhere to the tenets of earlier LDS leaders such as Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Expressions of Mormon fundamentalism may include polygamy (forbidden by the LDS Church in the 1890s), communal living, and the blood atonement doctrine.
Mormonism: Common name for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Moses de Leon: See Kabbalah.
Moyers, Bill: Former Baptist who is known for his exploration of New Age themes on public television. On PBS specials he promoted Joseph Campbell's Power of Myth as well as holistic health, i.e., New Age medicine.
MSIA, John-Roger Hinkins: See Church of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness.
Muhammad: See Mohammed.
Muhammad, Elijah: See Nation of Islam.
Murray, Arnold: Pastor of the Shepherd's Chapel.
Muscle Testing: See Applied Kinesiology.
Music Square Church: See Alamo Christian Foundation.
Muslim: Follower of the religion of Islam.
Mysteria Products Company: See Dorene Publishing.
Mystical Crossroads, Atco, NJ: Occult, magick, neo-paganism, witchcraft (see Wicca). Access to over 35,000 metaphysical books; sells incense, oils, cauldrons, candles, crystals, statues and the complete "Wiccan Altar Set."
Mystical Manipulation: One of eight criteria of Mind Control according to Robert Lifton's theory of Thought Reform. A group dynamic involving contrived, manipulated behavior designed to appear spontaneous which produces feelings and/or actions that are misinterpreted as spiritual phenomena.
Mysticism: The theory or belief that man can know God or religious truth through the inward perception of the mind, internal illumination, or special revelation, and that such knowledge is more immediate, direct, and reliable than that obtained by ordinary understanding or sense perception.Narcanon, Los Angeles, CA: Promotes Scientology philosophy.
Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad: A sect of Islam originating in America composed of black Americans. Followers, sometimes called Black Muslims, believe that Allah (God) appeared in 1930 to the last great prophet Elijah Muhammad, in the person of Wallace D. Fard. Elijah Muhammad borrowed many beliefs from traditional Islam but introduced important differences. Most notable was the focus on black oppression and equating Satan and evil with the white race. Malcolm X became a notable leader of the movement in the 1960s and the focus on black supremacy and militancy escalated. Malcolm X later converted to traditional Islam and rejected radical black supremacy and was subsequently murdered. The current leader of the Nation is Islam is Louis Farrakhan. Profile available.
Nation of Yahweh, Yahweh ben Yahweh (a.k.a., Hulon Mitchell, Jr.), Miami, FL: Sacred Name group; believes God is Black and that Mitchell is God.
National Spiritual Science Center, Alice Tindalli, Washington, D.C.: Pantheism, Universal Creative Energy.
Native American Spirituality: The religious beliefs, practices, and rituals associated Native Americans. Early Native American beliefs, though diverse, often shared common religious ideas. Many believed in a "Great Spirit," that nature in all of its forms possesses spirits (animism or spiritism), and that all life is interconnected. Seasons and moons often were viewed as marking times of evocation for spirits and prosperity. Some New Age believers promote revival of Native American spirituality, seeing obvious parallels with their own views.
Natural Law Party: Political party started by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the father of Transcendental Meditation (TM). Critics allege it exists to promote the Maharishi's religious movement at taxpayers' expense through campaign matching funds provided for political candidates in the United States.
Near-death experience (NDE): Any paranormal or supernatural experience had when a person is near death, including experiences when a person thinks he or she has died and returned from death. Reports of NDEs have become numerous in recent decades due to advances in medical technology that make it possible to revive people from comas and other critical conditions. Many patients report having out-of-body experiences (OBEs) while they were unconscious or comatose.
Neo-Orthodox Christianity: Development associated with the strong reaction of Swiss theologians Karl Barth and Emil Brunner against the barrenness of liberal Christianity. They felt that Scripture, although a flawed, fallible, human product, could still be used by God to accomplish His purposes. Thus the Bible becomes inspired in its proclamation when the Holy Spirit quickens faith and obedience in its hearers. Thus, like liberalism, this view results in a subjective, existential encounter, which denies absolute propositional truth in revelation.
Neo-Pythagorean Gnostic Church: See Proclus Society and Neo-Pythagorean Gnostic Church.
Nettles, Bonnie Lou: See Heaven's Gate.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP): New Age. Techniques developed by Richard Bandler and Dr. John Grinder that allegedly enable practitioners to read random eye movements and other visual cues during conversation or counseling to "program" a client's behavior and restructure their core beliefs. Called "software for the brain," it is supposed to be faster and more powerful than traditional clinical counseling and can work without the subject's conscious knowledge. The co-founders have been heavily involved with other New Age practices. NLP failed scientific tests conducted by the U.S. Army.
New Age Community Church, Phoenix, AZ: New Age. Publishes Mega magazine.
New Age Journal, Brighton, MA: New Age periodical.
New Age Medicine: See Holistic Health.
New Age Music: While there is music composed to promote New Age philosophy and/or facilitate altered states of consciousness and meditation, much of the music sold as such is not explicitly New Age in doctrine. Some light jazz, instrumental music has been labeled (or re-labeled) "New Age" simply as a marketing category.
New Age Symposium, Houston, TX: New Age periodical.
New Church: See Swedenborg Foundation.
New Life Clinic, Baltimore, MD: Parapsychology, psychic phenomena, clairvoyance. Headquartered at Mount Washington Methodist Church. Associate director, Olga Worrall, and her husband, Ambrose Worrall, are also affiliated with Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship and the Association for Research and Enlightenment.
New Realities, Washington, D.C.: New Age periodical.
New Thought: One of the branches of the mind sciences; unlike Christian Science, New Thought usually maintains the reality of matter and is more liberal and pluralistic in its views. Teaches that the Christ is only a principle that was embodied in Jesus as in other religious figures.
New Times, Seattle, WA: New Age periodical.
New World Translation: Official Bible translation published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Key verses have been inaccurately rendered especially to obscure the deity of Christ. This translation has been universally rejected as inaccurate by competent Bible scholars.
Newbrough, John: See OAHSPE.
Nichiren Shoshu of America (NSA): Former name of Soka Gakkai International (SGI).
Nightingale-Conant, Chicago, IL: Publishes books and audio tapes on personal growth, business, positive mental attitude, and self help. A significant portion of their material contains New Age themes.
Nirvana: Hindu state of enlightenment or bliss.
NLP: Acronym for Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
Noahides: See B'nai Noah.
The Nubian Nation of Moors: See Ancient Mystic Order of Malchizedek.
Nuwaubians: See Ancient Mystic Order of Malchizedek.
OAHSPE, John Newbrough: A 921 page "Scripture" written in 1881 by John B. Newbrough, a psychic and spiritualist who was allegedly gifted in ESP. OAHSPE is translated "sky, earth, spirit." See Universal Faithists of Kosmon.
Oasis Fellowship, Florence, AZ: Similar to Unity School of Christianity.
Occult: From the Latin word, hidden. See under the Definitions section in the introduction.
Odinism: A return to the gods of Norse mythology, Odin being the chief or supreme god, also known as Woden or Wotan. Originally worshipped as the god or warriors or leaders, it is his responsibility to delay, as long as possible, Ragnarok, the day of doom. He gained use of the Runes and passed these on to men.
Omega Press, New Lebanon, NY: Sufism. Publishes the Omega Press newspaper.
Oneness Pentecostalism: (Jesus Only) A heresy that emerged from the mainstream Pentecostal movement during the years 1914-1916. Unlike traditional Pentecostals, "Oneness" followers deny the doctrine of the Trinity in favor of a view similar to Monarchianism. In addition to this heresy, most Oneness Pentecostal organizations also teach that speaking in tongues, baptism (in Jesus' name only), and maintaining various moral "standards" are necessary for salvation. See Salvation by Works, Modalism. Profile available.
Order of the Solar Temple: Headed by Luc Jouret and Joseph Di Mambro, this group dabbles in New Age holistic health, Rosicrucian-like rites. 53 members were victims of suicide and/or murder in Switzerland and Canada in 1994. Profile available.
Order of the Star: See Krishnamurti Foundation of America.
Ordo Templi Ashtart (OTA), Pasadena, CA: Rosicrucianism splinter group. Publishes The Seventh Ray journal.
Orr, Leonard: See Rebirthing International.
Orthodox Christianity: Generically the term orthodox refers to traditional, conservative forms of Christianity, upholding the traditional Christian beliefs about God as a Trinity and about Jesus Christ as taught in the church's early creeds. In this sense orthodox Christianity includes conservative Roman Catholics, and Protestant, evangelical Christianity, and is opposed both to liberal Christianity within Christian denominations and to the teachings of the cults. More specifically, the term Orthodox (with a capital O; or, Eastern Orthodox) refers to the state churches of Eastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean who split with Roman Catholicism of the West largely over the issue of papal authority.
Ouija Board: Occult "game" using wooden board and pointer which spells out messages allegedly from the dead (a form of necromancy). Many such messages are derived from the subconscious of the operators; however, there is always potential for demonic influence.
Out-of-Body Experience (OBE): Any experience in which a person believes that his or her spirit has temporarily left the physical body and then returned to that same body. Some OBEs are associated with near-death experiences; others are induced through occult or mystical practices, especially in Astral Projection.New Age, stress management seminars, changing core beliefs.
Pacific West Fellowship: Splinter group of The Way International.
Pagan Way, Philadelphia, PA: Paganism, denies reality of sin.
Paganism: Historically, paganism has been used as a generic term to describe primitive non-Christian religions and superstitions, including religions centered on the occult. More recently paganism is used as an umbrella term referring to Wicca/witchcraft, ceremonial magic, nature worship, polytheism (especially female deities), and ancient mythologies (Celt, Norse, Egyptian, Greek and Roman).
Pan African Orthodox Christian Church, Detroit, MI: Founded by Albert B. Cleage, Jr. a.k.a. Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman. Part of the Black Christian Nationalist Movement. Teaches Jesus is the Black Messiah sent to rebuild the Black Nation Israel and liberate the Black People from oppression, brutality, and exploitation of the white gentile world (from the Black Nationalist Creed).
Pan-American Indian Association: Promotes Native American spirituality.
Panentheism: View of God taught in Process Theology.
Pantheism: The belief that all is One and that One is God, thus all is God. This God is an all-encompassing, impersonal principle or force. A central doctrine for most eastern religions and New Age groups.
Parapsychology: The study of ESP and other supernatural phenomena dating to the foundation of the English Society of Physical Research in 1882 and continued through laboratory research at Duke University Parapsychology Laboratory, Stanford Research Institute and elsewhere. This movement attempts to give scientific validity to occult and/or paranormal activities such as the alleged psychic abilities of Uri Geller.
Pastoral Bible Institute, Milwaukee, WI: Bible Students group.
Patrick, Ted: Controversial practitioner of deprogramming.
Peace Mission Movement: Based on the teaching of founder Father Divine, which contains elements of New Thought, asceticism, perfectionism, utopian communalism, and denies existence of race and strictly prohibits discrimination among members. Requires all members to turn over all property and income, severing all ties to everything but the Peace Mission. Room, board, and a small allowance for incidentals are provided in exchange for otherwise unpaid labor in Peace Mission owned businesses or projects. Father Divine did not actually claim to be God, but he fostered the belief in his followers, and required loyalty and obedience from them due only to God. The group claims the biblical prophecies about the coming Jewish Messiah and Christ's second coming were all fulfilled by Father Divine.
Peacevision, Houston, TX: Visualization; known for the blue and white bumper stickers that read "Visualize World Peace."
Peale, Norman Vincent: Was a popular writer, promoter of the belief in the power of positive thinking popularized through the interfaith magazine, Guideposts. Peale's views of Christianity were heavily influenced by his mentor Ernest Holmes, the founder of Religious Science, and also reflected the philosophies of New Thought, and Unity.
Pearl of Great Price: One of the scriptures or "Standard Works" of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Pelley, William D.: New Age author.
Pentagram: An important occult symbol consisting of a five-pointed star with a single point at the top that is used in ceremonial magic, often representing the Microcosm. Called a Pentacle when depicted with a circle around it. The Pentagram is considered a positive force--the opposite of the Goat's Head or Baphomet symbol that is made by inverting the Pentagram (two points at the top).
Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW), Indianapolis, IN: Oldest of the Apostolic churches. Oneness Pentecostal. Publishes Christian Outlook.
Pentecostal Churches of Apostolic Faith: Oneness Pentecostal denomination.
People's Temple Christian Church, Jim Jones, Jonestown, Guyana: Jones, influenced by Unitarian Humanism, Father Divine, and Marxism, founded his church in 1977. He later claimed at various times to be God, Buddha, and Lenin. In 1978 at Jones' command, 914 people (including Jones) committed suicide or were murdered. The group is now defunct.
Philadelphia Church of God, Gerald Flurry, Edmond, OK: Armstrongism splinter group. Publishes The Philadelphia Trumpet magazine.
Philadelphia Congregation of Yahweh, William Scampton, Philadelphia, PA: Sacred name group. Publishes the Yahweh's Watchman magazine.
Philosophic Community Center, Denver, CO: New Age, Egyptian rites, man is Divine. Publishes the Colorado Mind, Spirit and Soul Report newsletter.
Philosophical Publishing Co., Quakertown, PA: See Rosicrucianism.
Pike, Albert: See Freemasonry.
Plain Truth, The: Magazine of the Worldwide Church of God.
Plural Covenant: See Dual Covenant.
Poltergeist: From German ("rattling ghost"); an apparently supernatural disturbance attributed to a ghost or spirit. Usually associated with the visible movement of physical objects by an unseen spiritual (that is, occult) force. See Demon, Spiritualism, Necromancy.
Polytheism: The belief in the existence of a plurality of gods, in contrast to monotheism (one God) or atheism (no God or gods). Examples include Greek, Roman and Norse mythology; ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, and Assyrian religions; and some forms of neo-paganism, Wicca, and New Age belief. Some forms of Hinduism combine polytheism with pantheism (all is God). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches a form of Christianized polytheism, since it holds that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three Gods and that human beings can become exalted to Godhood.
Positive Confession: Alternative name for the Word-Faith movement.
Potter's House, Wayman Mitchell, Prescott, AZ: Originally called Victory Chapel, churches affiliated with Mitchell go under the names Praise Chapel, The Door, Grace Chapel, The Christian Fellowship, La Capilla de la Victory, La Casa Del Alfarero, and La Puerta. Begun in 1970, Mitchell has over 1,000 churches in 73 countries including Mexico, South America, Australia, Europe, and the Philippines. Numerous former members have alleged mind control and authoritarian/abusive leadership, and the group was the focus of a CBS News 48 Hours investigative report. Mitchell's churches are not affiliated with the Potter's House in Dallas, TX, pastored by T. D. Jakes. Also, The Door is not affiliated with the religious satire magazine by the same name.
Power for Abundant Living: Older name for the main recruitment and initial indoctrination course (and book by the same title) for potential members of The Way International, as developed and taught by its founder Victor Paul Wierwille. His successor, Craig Martindale, produced a revised version of the course entitled The Way of Abundance and Power.
Praise Chapel: See Potter's House.
Prana: See Chi.
Presleyterianism: See First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine.
Process Church of the Final Judgement, Robert de Grimston: Occult, Three Great Gods who are Jehovah, Lucifer, and Satan. Dualism--unity of Christ and Satan, both are equally good and should be loved. Grimston who wrote, As It Is, was ousted in 1974. Several splinters formed. Charles Manson was reported to be a member at one time.
Process Theology: Built on the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, process theology is a heresy within liberal Christianity that holds that reality is becoming rather than being - in process rather than static. The Bible has a relative authority in that it concurs with one's own self-evident experiences, rather than having absolute authority over all human experiences and beliefs, as in evangelical Christianity. Process theology teaches panentheism (God is in all), which is to be distinguished from pantheism (God is all). Panentheism teaches that even though God is somehow transcendent, He also includes the world within Himself. Therefore, God is in "process," evolving along with creation into future possibilities. Some New Agers (e.g., Matthew Fox) and some Mormons have found value in process theology.
Project X: See Jamilian University of the Ordained.
Prophet, Elizabeth Clare and Mark: See Church Universal and Triumphant.
Protestantism: Often used generically of all Christian churches that are neither Roman Catholic nor Orthodox, the term more specifically refers to the movement that originated in the 16th century Reformation. Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and others led efforts to correct, reform or "protest" the errors in doctrine and practice that they saw in medieval Roman Catholicism. The 16th century Protestants saw their main doctrinal differences with Catholicism to include: Soli Deo Gloria ("only to God's glory," God's wisdom and glory as opposed to church/papal sovereignty); Sola Scriptura ("Scripture only," the authority of the Bible over official Papal interpretation and tradition), and Sola Gratia (salvation "by grace alone," eternal life received from God as a free gift by grace through faith in the imputed righteousness of Christ rather than by works, rituals, or sacraments).
PROUT, Northampton, MA: An acronym for Progressive Utilization Theory, a Hinduism-based spiritual program teaching meditation and yoga that claims to enable life forms to progress from animals to divinity. PROUT is promoted by Ananda Marga, who hopes to establish through practice of the Theory a single world government and religion. Proutist Universal, Ananda Marga's formal organization for promoting PROUT, publishes Prout Journal and Global Times.
Psionics: See First Universal Church of God-Realization.
Psychic: Occult, New Age. A person with alleged supernatural or paranormal powers used to gain hidden knowledge apart from five senses (divination); or, that which relates to such person or gift. Profile available.
Psychic Healing: An occult form of New Age, holistic health care involving the alleged use or balancing of healing energy through touch or hand movements by the practitioner over the patient to bring health. Also, employing spirit guides to aid in health.
Pyramidology: Study of the Ancient Egyptian and/or Central American Mayan pyramids, which are believed to possess keys to hidden mystic knowledge or secret spiritual messages. See also Pyramid Power. Profile available.Kabbalah. New Age, Ascended Masters, Great White Brotherhood.
Radical Feminism: An outgrowth of the more moderate feminist movement which sought to influence societal views and laws to reflect women's equality and opportunity with men in all areas of culture. Radical feminism, however, pushes for a revolution to free themselves from male enslavement and exploitation. Among those holding this ideology are some lesbians who attempt to perpetuate an actual anti-male position. Theologically, radical feminism finds influence in diverse religious traditions including liberal Christianity, liberation theology, goddess worship, Wicca, neo-paganism, and New Age beliefs. The diversity of the movement aids in widespread recruitment and promotes otherwise unusual political and religious alliances.
Raelian Religion, The, Claude Vorilhon (a.k.a. Rael): UFO group founded by French journalist Vorilhon, who claims to have communication with god-like extraterrestrials known as the Elohim. Publications include: Apocalypse (a quarterly magazine), The Book Which Tells the Truth, and Sensual Meditation. Profile available.
Rainbow Group (Rainbow People): Nomadic, New Age, communal society found mostly in the southeastern U.S.
Raja Yoga: See Yoga.
Ramtha: Spirit entity supposedly channeled by J. Z. Knight.
Rastafarianism, (Ras Tafari, Rastas) Marcus Garvey: African/Jamaican religion. Teaches that the late king of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, is God. Profile available.
Ray, Sondra: See Rebirthing International.
REACH, Inc. (a.k.a. Holyland), Bishop Luke Edwards, Meridian, MS; Emele, AL: Extreme Oneness Pentecostal group, formerly associated with Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. Both adults and children raise funds by going on the "route" (going on the road for weeks at a time to solicit funds). The most common approach is for children to solicit funds outside stores under the pretense of raising money for abused children. Profile available.
Rebirthing: New Age. Participants rid themselves of negative karma (traumas/problems) by being regressed back to the womb and reenacting the trauma of their birth experience or previous births (reincarnation). Originally hot tubs or saunas were used but later practitioners developed "dry" rebirthing techniques.
Recovery Version of the New Testament: Version used by the The Local Church.
Redaction criticism: A relatively new branch of biblical literary criticism that attempts to infer the theological purposes of the "redactors" (anonymous editors, compilers, or revisers) who are thought to have helped to rewrite or shape various books of the Bible (especially the Gospels) into their final form. Whereas form criticism focuses on discerning the literary form and origins of specific passages, redaction criticism focuses on the use of those passages to convey the message of the book as a whole. Redaction criticism assumes that the book in question was written using different sources that were selected and edited to emphasize or convey certain theological concepts. Scholars in liberal Christianity typically assume further that the books that draw on the same sources (notably the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke) use those sources to convey conflicting ideas. Scholars in evangelical Christianity are divided as to whether a mild form of redaction criticism can be legitimately employed without impugning the inerrancy of the Bible.
Reflexology: New Age, holistic health practice that purports to heal the body through massaging certain parts of the foot or hand that allegedly correspond to the major organs of the body. It is sometimes believed to work by opening blocked meridians in the body which will then allow the body's energy or chi to flow freely. The foot or hand is seen as a microcosm of the human body and/or the universe.
Reformation: The 16th century movement initiated by Martin Luther, initially intended to correct, protest, or reform the doctrines and practices of Roman Catholicism. Luther's efforts (later joined and expanded by Zwingli, Bucer, Calvin and others) quickly developed into a complete break with Catholicism. The reformers' major doctrinal issues included a rejection of: the authority of the following: the authority of the Pope, church control of Bible translation and interpretation, a distinction in value between laity and clergy, and salvation being a product of the church and its sacraments (salvation by works). A more thorough (and in some cases unorthodox) reform occurred with the Radical Reformation--the orthodox Anabaptist movement being an example. To various degrees, virtually all Protestant denominations today share a common heritage concerning the issues of the Reformation.
Reincarnation: Belief originating with religions of the East (e.g. Hinduism) that when a person dies he has the ability to come again to the earth, inhabit a new body, and live as many lives as needed to progress towards a religious goal. Whereas Hindus typically believe that reincarnation includes transmigration of souls between animal, plant, and even inanimate forms, New Age believers typically restrict reincarnation to human and celestial forms. Reincarnation generally assumes a doctrine of karma. The idea is the basis for the practice of attempting past life regression.
Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), Former name of largest Mormon splinter group. See, Community of Christ.
Restoration Branches: A conservative split from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints [RLDS] (now known as, Community of Christ) that holds what they believe to be a more classical, historical RLDS understanding of basic doctrines, Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon. They generally view the institutionalized Community of Christ church as being too liberal in theology and perhaps on social issues as well.
R I Research, New York, NY: New Age; selects people called Beyonders, claims to possess Superior Essence.
Rice, Anne: Author of The Witching Hour, Vampire Chronicles, Interview with A Vampire, and other books with occult subject matter.
Right Knowledge: See Ancient Mystic Order of Malchizedek.
Righteous Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gerald Peterson, Cedar City, UT: Small polygamous, Mormon Fundamentalist splinter group of about 100 people. Peterson claimed that the spirit of Rulon Allred, who founded the Corporation of the Presiding Elder of the Apostolic United Brethren, returned to restore the priesthood to him.
Right Way, The: See Chen Tao.
Road Less Traveled, The: Book written by Peck, M. Scott.
Robins, Anthony (or Tony): Business consultant, empowerment, personal transformation and motivational speaker whose theories often contain New Age philosophies.
The Rock of Ages: Annual music concert and convention held by The Way International.
Roman Catholicism: Diverse worldwide religious tradition that officially looks to the Pope and his predecessors/successors as God's human leader of world Christianity. Because of its size and scope--both in membership (about a billion people worldwide) and geographically, the actual beliefs held by devout Catholics are widespread and eclectic. Catholicism has been influenced by liberation theology, especially in parts of South America. In Africa, the Caribbean, and elsewhere, attempts have been made to blend Catholicism with spiritism, creating a type of Catholicism with occult elements. In addition, since the 1960s there has been a small but significant element of charismatic Catholics who have been influenced by the larger charismatic movement. A small percentage of Catholics are doctrinally evangelical, and others (such as Matthew Fox) are part of the New Age movement. As a whole, however, the differences between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are still seen most clearly in the issues of the Reformation. The 16th century reformers distinguished themselves from Catholicism in two key ways. First, they saw the Bible as the sole foundation for authority (sola scriptura) rather than the Pope, church dogma or tradition. Second, the reformers taught salvation by "grace alone" (sola gracia). They also insisted that sola gracia could be faithfully maintained only by understanding the gospel to be the message of a free pardon and righteous standing with God through "faith alone" (sola fide) in the imputed righteousness of Christ. The Roman Catholic Church claimed (and still claims) to affirm sola gracia, but anathematized sola fide, teaching instead that grace is received and maintained by a combination of faith plus works (religious rites, sacraments, or human endeavor).
Ro-Hun Therapy: Balancing the energy fields of the human body (see chi).
Rosicrucian Anthroposophic League, S.R. Parchment, New York, NY: Break-off of Rosicrucian Fellowship.
Rosicrucian Order, a.k.a. Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosae Crucis (AMORC), H. Spence Lewis, San Jose, CA: Most successful organization promoting Rosicrucianism in the US. Esoteric reinterpretation of Christianity; mixture of occult alchemy, astrology, Secret Wisdom of past Masters, secret society, magic.
Rosicrucianism, Christian Rosenkreutz: (Literally the "Rose cross") Occult secret society allegedly founded in 1407 in Germany by Christian Rosenkreutz, who was under the influence of Egyptian occultism. The movement has fragmented into a number of competing organizations promoting variations of the same general pantheistic, occult themes. Similar to Theosophy.
Russell, Charles Taze: Founder of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
Sabbatarianism: Generally the view that the Old Testament Sabbath commandment is to be observed unchanged by the church. As used in this index, Sabbatarianism refers to an extreme form of the belief in which membership in the true church, or even salvation, is conditional upon keeping the Sabbath law. As such, Sabbatarianism is at the least a form of legalism and at most a denial of salvation by grace. In most cases, the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) must be observed by refraining from work, sports, and travel from sundown Friday evening to sundown Saturday evening. The belief is often accompanied by the observance of Jewish dietary laws and/or other Old Testament feasts.
Sabellianism: Alternative name for Modalism.
Sabin, Robert: A well-known Oneness Pentecostal pastor, writer, and speaker.
Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, The, John Allegro: Book and corresponding church by the late Dead Sea Scroll scholar, Dr. Allegro. "Jesus" is allegedly the New Testament code word for a mushroom to be used as a sacrament to induce hallucinations and altered states of consciousness.
Sacred Name movement: Although some Orthodox Jews and others believe that the name of God is too sacred to speak (and/or fully write), as used in this Index the Sacred Name movement refers to a modern movement that claims that God must be addressed by a form of the Divine Name in the Old Testament (Yahweh, Jehovah, Yah, Yahvah, or some other preferred form). Whichever one true name is chosen, all other terms or names for God are considered incorrect or references to false deities. Salvation, it is believed, depends on referring to God by His correct name. Most Sacred Name groups also teach Sabbatarianism and observe Old Testament dietary laws and feasts.
Sacred Science: One of eight criteria of Mind Control according to Robert Lifton's theory of Thought Reform. The group considers their doctrines and beliefs to be sacred and beyond question. Thus, no alternative viewpoint is allowed to exist and open consideration of alternative ideas and free discussion are quashed.
Saint Germain Foundation, Schaumburg, IL: Similar to the I AM Movement.
Salvation by Grace: The doctrine and message of the gospel that eternal life is not gained by or conditioned on works but is an undeserved and free gift from God received through faith in Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior who died for our sins and rose from the dead. Contrasted with salvation by works.
Salvation by Works: Any doctrine that denies salvation by grace alone by teaching that eternal life is merited, earned, conditioned, or maintained through human effort, religious ritual, financial donations, obedience to laws/commandments, church membership, and/or moral behavior.
Samhain: (pronounced Sah-ween) Alternative name for Halloween.
Sankirtana: Religious chant or mantra repeated over and over to draw practitioners into an ever closer state of God-consciousness.
Santeria: Literally "worship of the saints," a syncretism of Roman Catholicism and traditional African polytheistic religions established when African slaves were introduced to the Caribbean. Elements include animal sacrifice and voodoo.
Satan, (The Devil, The Serpent): Lucifer, a high ranking angel who wanted to be exalted to the position of God. Through this sin, Lucifer fell and became Satan, the Devil, leading a large number of rebellious angels with him who became the demons. Satan and his host now seek to destroy the plan and people of God. He will ultimately fail and be eternally punished (Matthew 25:41, Revelation 20:10).
Satanic Bible: Scripture of the Church of Satan written by the late Anton LaVey.
Satanism: Represented by two separate groups, secular and traditional Satanists. The secularists do not believe in in a literal, personal, spiritual being called Satan, but rather consider Satan to be an archetype or symbol that represents the ideas of Satanic philosophy. Various satanic ideals include self-interest, indulgence, an anti-herd mentality, and an emphasis upon rational self-interest. Examples of modern Satanism include The Church of Satan founded by Anton LaVey and now led by Peter Gilmore as High Priest, Michael Aquino's Temple of Set, and Lord Egan's First Church of Satan. Traditional Satanism, which involves the worship of the Satan of the Bible through a perversion and parody of Roman Catholicism, appeared in the fifteenth century coming out of the Inquisition. Contemporary expressions of traditional Satanism are rare, and popular elements of it, including the testimonies of alleged former Satanists and Satanic Ritual Abuse have been discredited.
Savior of All Fellowship, Montclair, CA: Universalism.
School of Natural Order, Ralph M. deBit, Baker, NV: Mixture of ancient Egyptian, Greek and Eastern philosophies.
School of Thought, Hope Troxell, June Lake, CA: New Age, Cosmic Brotherhood.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: Principal text of Christian Science.
Science of Man, Mother Ruth, Portland, OR: An esoteric and mystical order reviving the doctrines of the now defunct Holy Order of MANS.
Science of Mind: Textbook of Religious Science, written by its founder, Ernest Holmes.
Scientology: See Church of Scientology.
Scully, Nicki, Eugene, OR: Egyptian rituals, magic, Mayan ceremonies.
The Secret Doctrine: See Theosophy.
Secrets, Norma Cox, Marshal, AR: UFOs. Publishes the Secrets newsletter.
Self-Revelation Church of Absolute Monism, Swami Premananda, Washington, D.C.: Pantheism.
Serpent Seed: Doctrine that alleges Eve's sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3) was sexual. Eve had intercourse with the Serpent and begot Cain, whose father is really Satan not Adam. Cain's descendants were supposedly somehow perpetuated after the flood (usually through Noah's son Ham). Diverse groups teach variations of this doctrine. Cain's descendants are: Jews according to the Christian Identity Movement, Communists/Atheists according to the Unification Church, Whites according to the Nation of Yahweh, the lost according to William Branham, etc.
SEVA, CRISTAL: See Spiritual Human Yoga.
Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA), Washington, DC: The largest Adventist church. Ellen G. White, who claimed to have "the spirit of prophecy," was an important early leader of the movement and taught a number of distinctive SDA doctrines, including the Investigative Judgment and Sabbatarianism. While the church's official theology now appears to be generally in the tradition of evangelical Christianity, certain SDA claims and unique doctrines continue to raise questions. These doctrines include the SDA belief that Sunday worship will result in the "Mark of the Beast," imbalanced teachings on keeping the commandments (baptism, Sabbath observance) that often implies a kind of salvation by works, the "Remnant Church" doctrine that implies that the SDA is or will be God's only true church, and the doctrine of the Investigative Judgment. Profile available.
Shamanism: Spiritual world view of Native American and other early cultures that believe that "shamans," witch doctors or spiritual leaders, can provide healing, guidance (i.e., divination), or wisdom through the occult, spiritism, or altered states of consciousness. The shaman's soul is sometimes believed to leave the body during a trance (see out-of-body experiences, astral projection), at which time the shaman will speak with beings from the other worlds or assume animal forms.
Shambhla Publishing, Boulder, CO: New Age publisher
Shepherding: Christian growth is allegedly facilitated by yielding personal freedoms to a discipler or "shepherd" who controls virtually every aspect of an individual's life. This is a form of spiritual abuse, a manipulative distortion of true biblical discipleship that can ultimately rob individuals of their liberty and autonomy that is to be found in Christ. Used by many traditional cults, as well as by some religious organizations that are not cultic in their basic doctrine.
Shepherd's Chapel, Arnold Murray Gravette, AR: Denies the Trinity, teaching instead a doctrine similar to Modalism. Also teaches that humans existed as "gods" in a pre-creation existence with God. Advocates British Israelism and a form of the serpent seed doctrine. Profile available.
Shintoism: (Shen-Tao "the way of the gods.") Ancient polytheistic religion of Japan that focuses more on Japanese Culture, traditions, attitudes and ideology rather than a system of doctrines or code of ethics. The roots of the movement are obscure, but it eventually developed into the idea that Japan, unlike other countries, was uniquely fathered by the god Izanami, whose consort, the goddess Izanagi, gave birth to the Japanese islands. Consequently the concept evolved that Japanese people are divine and superior to other humans. In one form of the religion, State Shintoism, the Japanese emperors were seen as infallible descendants of the gods. Today devotion centers around public shrines and home altars dedicated to ancestors and gods. The sun goddess Amaterasu is the chief deity worshipped, and a belief in kami, a form of spiritism, is also maintained.
Shriners: See Freemasonry.
Shunning: (Disfellowshipping) An effective technique of control used by Jehovah's Witnesses and other groups to instill discipline, punish, or maintain idealistic purity. Members who do not maintain the group's behavioral expectations or who disagree on dogma are isolate the current, faithful members. This includes, in most cases, even family members or friends, who are not allowed to talk or share a meal with the shunned. The faithful, who violate the rule and communicate with the dissident, can themselves be shunned. The practice has been identified as a form of milieu control, one of the characteristic marks of cultic mind control.
Sikhism, Nanak: A religion, based mostly in the Punjab province of India, that attempts to blend Hinduism and Islam. The movement is based on a vision and subsequent teachings of founder Nanak in the 15th century AD. Disciples, called Sikhs, follow the one true God named Sat Nam ("True Name"). Their main scriptures are contained in the Granth Sahib ("The Lord's Book"), compiled by the guru Arjan, and salvation is viewed as a merging with the universal force (as in pantheism).
Singh, Sant Thakar: See Kirpal Light Satsang.
Sino-American Buddhism Association, San Francisco, CA: Basic Buddhism philosophy.
Smith, David J.: See Church of God Evanglistic Association.
Smith, Joseph: Founder of The Church of Jesus Christof Latter-day Saints.
Society for Organizational Learning (SoL), Boston, MA: An affiliate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the SoL researches and promotes learning organizations that facilitate institutional evolution and the rethinking of conventional and reactionary beliefs.
Soka Gakkai Buddhism, Nichiren Daishonin: A mystical form of Buddhism based on the teachings of 13th century Japanese fisherman Nichiren Daishonin, who taught that the true interpretations of Buddha's teachings were recorded in the Lotus Sutra.
Soka Gakkai International (SGI), Daisakqu Ikeda, Santa Monica, CA: A cult of Soka Gakkai Buddhism, formerly named Nichiren Shoshu of America. The sect promotes enlightenment though gongyo. This involves kneeling before a gohonzon (black wooden box containing passages from the Lotus Sutra), quoting this scripture, and chanting the daimoku ("nam-myoho-renge-kyo"). Compared with other forms of Buddhism, this sect is very aggressive in their missionary efforts. This sect allegedly practices mind control, authoritarianism and desires world power.
Solar Temple: See Order of the Solar Temple.
Songs of David, Marvel, TX: See Church of the Most High God.
Sons of Noah: See B'nai Noah.
Soul Sleep: (Psychopannychy) The doctrine that human souls sleep or cease conscious existence between death and resurrection. Usually (but not always) a doctrine associated with Adventism.
Soulmates: Marriage partners from previous lives. See Reincarnation.
Sovereignty, Inc., Eastsound, WA: New Age periodical.
Spangler, David: Prominent New Age writer and lecturer.
Spell: In witchcraft or Wicca, a ritual to affect a person or the future supernaturally or magically. Often involves incantations, and the ceremonial use of herbs, candles, knives, or other occult paraphernalia.
Spirit Electronic Communication Society, Manchester, England: A spiritualist organization founded in 1949 devoted to study Zwaan Rays, an alleged energy field that supposedly can arouse latent psychic abilities in humans.
Spirit of Prophecy Ministry, Las Vegas, NV: Predicted the return of Christ in 1998. Publishes Insights into Prophecy.
Spiritism: Specifically, the belief found in many primitive Cultures that inanimate objects, plants and/or animals are possessed by spirits (good or evil) which must be appeased through occult practices. More generally, the term can refer to any alleged contact with spirits through occult techniques.
Spiritual Abuse: The damage or mistreatment of someone seeking spiritual or religious help or guidance. This injury can occur when someone uses a spiritual position or office to exercise an improper and unhealthy domination or control over followers. Legalism can be a form of spiritual abuse. Profile available.
Spiritual Advancement of the Individual Foundation, Sai Baba, Los Angeles, CA: Eastern philosophy, avatars, Akashic records, teachings from the so-called lost years of Jesus. Publishes the Sathya Sai newsletter.
Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship International, Author Ford, Philadelphia, PA: Spiritualism, metaphysics, paranormal phenomena, ESP, biofeedback, holistic health. Joseph Fitch and Martin Ebon, and Elizabeth Fenske are popular leaders in the movement. Affiliated with the Academy of Religion and Psychical Research.
Spiritual Human Yoga (SHY), Luong Minh Dang (a.k.a. Kong King Knhang): Doomsday cult whose founder was arrested in Belgium but released on 50 million francs bail in April 1999. Dang relocated to St. Louis, MO, in June 1999 and started SHY there. He claims to be able to heal through "laying on of hands," but his techniques have been banned in several countries due to child deaths. Dang has operated under several names, notably Human Universal Energy, and the Institute for Human and Universal Energy Research, Inc.
Spiritualism: A movement that began in 1848 with the "raps" of the Fox Sisters (Kate and Margaret) in Hydesville, NY. A form of spiritism normally associated with mediums or channelers, who contact the spirits of the deceased (a form of necromancy).
Spring Hill Institute, Robert Gass and Judith Gass Tierre: New Age, Inner Awareness.
Stallone Astrology Center, Jacqueline Stallone, Toluca Lake, CA: Astrology center founded by the mother of actor Sylvester Stallone.
Sterling Management: Promotes philosophy of the Church of Scientology through business management services, aimed mostly at dentists, chiropractors, doctors, and veterinarians.
Stonehenge: Circular cluster of upright stones called menhirs (long stones) located in Salisbury Plain about 80 miles west of London, England. Various theories of its origins include the belief that ancient Druids built the site as a temple or that it was created by extraterrestrials (cf. UFOs). Some New Age followers, neo-pagans, and others believe that the site has mystical powers or energy.
Students International Meditation Society: A branch of Transcendental Meditation.
Subliminal Messages: Words or messages communicated at a level below the conscious mind's ability to perceive. Allegedly, messages can enter directly into the subconscious mind, thus by-passing the rational/logical center of the individual's brain.
Subud, Bapak Mohammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo [1901-1987]: Originated in Java, Indonesia, Subud has spread worldwide. Subud stands for three words, Susila, Budhi, and Dharma. The three words taken together mean, "to follow the Will of God with the help of the Divine Power that works both within us and without, by the way of surrendering oneself to the Will of Almighty God" (Internet; #link.e00137#). This surrendering of oneself occurs primarily in a spiritual exercise known as the latihan (sometimes, latihan kejiwaan), a trance like state that can produce anything from ecstatic movement and utterance to profound calm. Disengagement of the "passions, desires, and thinking" is essential for entrance into the latihan. "Only by surrendering himself completely to God, not making use of his mind, his heart or his desire, is it possible for man to come into contact with the Power of God" (Ibid.). Thus all the higher critical faculties that set man apart from beast must be suspended. Whatever the experience thus induced, it is simply to be surrendered to and "received." From a Christian point of view this is a perfect recipe for demonic possession. Regular practice of the latihan enables one to discern one's true self, which apparently turns out to be God. "So this Divine Power, which works in us during the exercise, will bring to each person what is already in himself.... Therefore, Bapak says that it is God Who will lead you toward Himself and what really happens in the latihan is that you will be introduced to your real inner self--to the real 'I'. You must not be afraid and you must not be worried because whatever comes to you in your latihan is only what is in you, and it comes from your inner self. It is the real you that arises in the latihan,..." (Ibid.).
Sufi Order of the Sons of the Green Light, New York, NY: See Sufism.
Sufism: Mystical sect of Islam. Rather than focusing on the Five Pillars of Islam, Sufis seek ultimate religious experience through mystic trances or altered states of consciousness, often induced through twirling dances (the "whirling dervish"). Although the Qur'an is considered scripture, many practitioners have more in common with the New Age movement than with classic forms of Islam.
Summit Lighthouse/Summit University: See Church Universal and Triumphant.
The Sun Chapel Hill, NC: New Age periodical.
Sutphen, Dick: See Master of Life.
Sweat Lodge: Native American spiritual ritual associated with spiritual purification ceremonies and rites.
Swedenborg Foundation, Emanuel Swedenborg, New York, NY: Denies the Trinity, rejects many books of the Bible. Swedenborg a geologist and scientist who left his Lutheran background to become a medium and mystic. He wrote Arcana Coelestia: The Earths in the Universe. Latter-day prophet, spiritism, automatic writing. Publishes Chrysalis.Profile available
SYDA: See Siddha Yoga Dham of America.
Taj Mahal, Agra, India: A 17th-century mausoleum considered to be a holy building by some, including New Age followers.
Talisman: Small stones or amulets believed to possess power in themselves to guard against evil spirits or for use in the invocation of demons by sorcerers. Also an ancient occult belief that certain objects or symbols contain supernatural magical powers, used for attraction of love, health, success and power to control nature or others. Closely aligned with witchcraft (see Wicca) and magic.
Tao, TaoTe Ching, Tao Tsang: See Taoism.
Taoism, Lao-tzu: Chinese philosophy teaching that there is no personal God--all is the impersonal Tao (similar to the impersonal God-force of pantheism in Hinduism). The Tao is composed of conflicting opposites (Yin and Yang) which should be balanced or harmonized through yoga, meditation, etc., to promote spiritual wholeness. According to legend, Taoism founder Lao-tzu wrote Tao Te Ching ("The Way and Its Power") about 550 BC. His teaching was developed and spread in the third century BC by Chuang-Tzu, whose writings inspired the Tao Tsang, 1200 volumes of Taoist scripture.
Teachers of Light: See Church of E Yada di Shi-ite.
Temple of the Psychedelic Light and the Church of the Realized Fantasy, Daniel Rakowitz, East Village, NY: Satanism, human sacrifice, cannabilism.
Temple of Truth: See Light of Truth Church.
Teresa, Joan (Power Products) Mars Hill, NC: See Joan Teresa Power Products.
Texas Wholistic Network, Azel, TX: Christ-consciousness, higher self. Publishes the Lightworker newspaper.
Theosophical Society in America, Wheaton, IL: Main organization in the Theosophy movement.
Theosophical Society - International, Pasadena, CA: Offshoot of Theosophy.
Theosophy, Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky: The Word "theosophy" literally means "God wisdom." Founded in 1875 to form a universal brotherhood of humanity. Teaches pantheism, reincarnation, striving for Christ-consciousness, and occult and paranormal phenomena. Important early leaders include Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, William Quan Judge, and Annie Besant. Important texts include Isis Unveiled, The Secret Doctrine, and The Golden Book of the Theosophical Society. Similar and/or related to the Arcane School, the I AM Movement, the Liberal Catholic Church, and Rosicrucianism.
Therapeutic Touch: New Age holistic health practice developed by Dolores Krieger and Dora Kunz of using alleged body energy (chi) to heal a patient. Therapists move their hands just above the surface of the patient, never actually touching the body. This process is said to release the body's natural psychic energy, thereby physically healing the body. Becoming very common in nursing schools and hospitals throughout America. Similar to Reiki. Profile available.
Third Eye: Highest chakra, supposedly found in the middle of the forehead.
Thought Trends, Roswell, GA: New Age newspaper.
Tibetan Buddhism: (Lamaism) A blending of Buddhism with the occultism of Tibet which developed in the 7th century AD Lamas (priests) are perpetually led by the Dalai Lama who is worshipped as the most recent reincarnation of Bodhisattva Chenresi.
TM: Acronym for Transcendental Meditation.
Touch for Health: See Therapeutic Touch.
Touch Therapy: See Therapeutic Touch.
Trance Channeling:See Channeling.
Transcendental Meditation, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: (TM) New Age, altered state of consciousness, yoga, promises to expand creativity, self-awareness, and world peace. At the group's Maharishi University in Fairfield, IA, TM students attempt levitation through meditation techniques. Profile available.
Transformational Seminars: New Age, stress management.
Trick or Treat: See Halloween.
Trinity: A doctrine held historically by orthodox Christianity. The one true God eternally exists as three distinct Persons -- the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The three are co-equal, co-eternal, and one in essence. This doctrine contrasts with both Modalism and Tritheism.
Tritheism: The belief in three separate Gods. A denial of the Trinity doctrine and a form of polytheism.
Triumph Prophetic Ministries Church of God, William Dankenbring, Altadena, CA: Armstrongism splinter group; publishes Prophecy Flash.
Triumph Publishing: See Triumph Prophetic Ministries Church of God.
True Mother and True Father: Titles of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, and his wife.
Tucson Tabernacle, Tucson, AZ: See Branhamism.
Two by Twos: Alternative name for Cooneyites.
UFOs: Acronym for Unidentified Flying Object.
Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs): The term is used generally for all reported sightings of unidentified objects in the sky, most of which turn out to be natural phenomena (e.g., Venus) or man-made craft (e.g., weather balloons). More specifically, the term UFOs refers to allegedly sighted "flying saucers" or other alien spacecrafts. UFO beliefs can range between innocuous speculation that extraterrestrial beings may have visited Earth to quasi-religious devotion to the alleged presence and teachings of aliens. Often these beings are believed to be non-physical (spiritual) entities who are communicating telepathically (psychically) with contactees. Their messages are virtually always contrary to biblical beliefs.
Unification Church, Sun Myung Moon, New York, NY: Full name, Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. Jesus brought only spiritual salvation; another "savior" is needed to fulfill Jesus' mission. Moon is that Messiah (or Christ) and "Lord of the Second Advent." This group has over 200 front organizations. Moon's Divine Principle is scripture. See Serpent Seed. Profile available.
Unitarianism: Generically, the rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity in favor of the idea that God is exclusively one person. Unlike monarchianism or modalism, which view Jesus as a manifestation of the unipersonal God, or subordinationism, which views Jesus as a secondary divine being (e.g., the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society), Unitarianism views Jesus as a mere human being. Specifically, the term refers to the Unitarian movement that originated in late 18th-century New England and to the denominational body that merged with the Universalists in the 20th century to form the Unitarian-Universalist Association.
Unitarian Universalist Association: A denomination formed in 1961 by the merger of the American Unitarian Association (the principal religious body teaching Unitarianism) and the Universalist Church in America (which emphasized universalism). While the two parent denominations were rooted in liberal Christianity, the UUA does not even profess to be a specifically Christian body. Its churches exhibit an eclectic blend of liberal Christianity, humanism, atheism, and neo-paganism.
United Church of God: Armstrongism splinter group.
United Church of Jesus Christ: Oneness Pentecostal.
United Lodge of Theosophists, New York, NY: See Theosophy.
United Pentecostal Church International: The largest Oneness Pentecostal church body.
Unity Churches: Affiliated with the Unity School of Christianity.
Unity School of Christianity, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, Lee's Summit, MO: New Age. God is the invisible, intangible something called Life. The Father is Principle, Jesus was the most complete manifestation of the One Mind, and the Holy Spirit is the activity of the God-Mind in the consciousness of man. Denies the reality of evil, pain, sickness and death. Profile available.
Unity Village: Unity School of Christianity headquarters in Lee's Summit, MO.
Universal Christian Movement, Glencoe, IL: God is Power, uses Mind Power for healing; all humans are God. Publishes The Christian Liberation newsletter.
Universal Harmony Foundation, Seminole, FL: Practical Metaphysics, REALization, Deity-and-Man.
Universal Life Church, Kirby Hensley, Medesto, CA: All people have the right to do what they feel is right; subjective truth.
Universal Life Church of the Seven African Powers, Miami, FL: Santeria; honor the god Ogun.
Universal Mother Mary's Garden: See Mon-Ka Retreat...
Universal Network, Aztec, NM: UFOs, space communiqués, cosmic telepathy, spiritual hierarchy. Publishes Universal Network newsletter.
Universalism: Generically, the belief that all people will eventually receive salvation and eternal life. Many different groups hold to universalism from various perspectives and for diverse (and sometimes opposing) reasons. This doctrine is prevalent in liberal Christianity (among both Protestants and Roman Catholics), as well as in the New Age movement and in most non-monotheistic world religions. Specifically, universalism refers to a movement dating from the late 18th century that originally affirmed universalism on the basis that Jesus' redemptive death paid for the sins of all people. As universalism developed it came to affirm that people are acceptable as they are and that no atonement or redemption from sin is needed or provided.
University of the Christ Light, Charlotte, NC: New Age; inner states of consciousness; man is the essence of God (cf. pantheism); Jesus was an Essene (i.e., a member of a first-century Jewish sect that New Agers theorize was more New Age than Jewish); Universal Mother.
University of the 12 Rays of the Great Central Sun: See University of the Christ Light.
Upanishads: One of the books considered scripture in Hinduism.
URANTIA Book, The: Written in 1955, this 2,097 page book reflects a 19th century psychically inspired gospel. Allegedly, Earth's true name is Urantia, and it is part of the universe of Nebadon (itself part of the larger universe of Orvonton) ruled by a committee. The Nebadon commission of twelve, acting under the direction of Mantutia Melchizedek, supposedly delivered portions of the book to earth. Several organizations view the book as scripture. Profile available.
URANTIA Foundation, Chicago, IL: Established in 1950. Holds the copyright on The URANTIA Book.
Urshan, Andrew: An early, well-known Oneness Pentecostal writer and speaker.
Vedas: A compilation of four holy writings forming the oldest sacred scriptures of Hinduism.
Verse 1 of Psalms 91, Marvel, TX: See Church of the Most High God.
Visualization: New Age practice of using one's imagination allegedly to affect or manipulate reality. Meditating on, affirmation of, or "naming" of an object or goal, which supposedly creates the desired effect through "mind over matter." See Maya.
Voice of Reality, Phoenix, AZ: New Age newspaper.
Vorilhon, Claude: (Rael) See Raelian Religion.
Walpurgisnacht: Alternate name for Beltane.
Warren Bible Students: See Bible Students.
Watchman Nee: See The Local Church.
Watchtower: Magazine published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society; full name, The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah's Kingdom.
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Charles Taze Russell, Brooklyn, NY: Satan is the originator of the idea of the Trinity. The Father is the supreme God whose real name is Jehovah. Jesus is a created being known originally as Michael the Archangel; he is "a god," not Jehovah. Jesus only rose spiritually, not bodily, from the dead. The Holy Spirit is the impersonal active force of God. Only the anointed class (or little flock) numbering 144,000 will go to heaven, while faithful "other sheep" will live eternally on a paradise earth; the lost will cease to exist (annihilationism). Publishes the Watchtower and Awake! magazines, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (their own version of the Bible), as well as numerous books. Originally called International Bible Students, followers today are called Jehovah's Witnesses. A Profile is available.
Way Corps, The: See The Way International.
Way International, The, Victor Paul Wierwille New Knoxville, OH: Jesus is not God or co-equal with God the Father, a Unitarian doctrine of God; latter-day verbal call from God to reestablish the true church. The group meets in small groups called Twigs, usually in members' homes. Main recruitment course is the Way of Abundance and Power, which replaced the old Power for Abundant Living (PFAL) . The American Christian Press is their publishing arm. Their annual concert/convention, the Rock of Ages, has been discontinued. Current leader is Rosalie F. Rivenbark, installed as third president after resignation of Craig Martindale, who was under accusation of sexual misconduct. The Way has experienced several splits in recent years. Profile available.
Whirling Dervish: See Sufism.
White Dove International, Stuart Wilde, Taos, NM: New Age, human potential, higher self, stress reduction seminars.
White Dove Partridge: See Mon-Ka Retreat...
White Eagle: See Star Center for the Americas.
White, Ellen G.: See Seventh-day Adventist Church.
White, Walter: See Followers of Christ Church.
Whitney, Michael: See American Temple.
Whittaker, Terry Cole: See Terry Cole-Whittaker.
Wicca: The practice of witchcraft, nature worship, worship of the Gods and Goddess, paganism and neopaganism, various groups with assorted names. In modern form, it is a revival of pagan religions (neo-paganism) and the worship of "pre-Christian" Gods and Goddesses. A common creed is, "Do what you will, and harm none." Modern Wicca owes much to the influence of Gerald B. Gardner and has been further advanced by the writings of Patricia Monaghan, Silver Ravenwolf, the late Doreen Valiente, and the leading occult publisher Llewellyn World Wide Ltd. In popular culture, films and television programs such as The Craft, Practical Magic, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Charmed have helped attract teens and children to this growing religion. See Magic. Profile available.
Wierwille, Victor Paul: See The Way International.
Wilde, Stuart: Prominent New Age author and lecturer.
Wisdom Institute of Spiritual Education, Dallas, TX: New Age, God-within.
WISE International, Los Angeles, CA: Acronym for Worldwide Institute of Scientology Enterprises; promotes Church of Scientology.
Witchcraft: See Wicca.
Witness Lee: See The Local Church.
W.J. Publishers, Brother Stanley, Toronto, Ontario: New Age, Cosmic-Psychic Treatment, Egyptian rituals.
Women's Federation for World Peace, Hak Ja Han Moon, New York, NY: Connection with the Unification Church.
Word-Faith Movement: A movement based in large part on the teachings of E. W. Kenyon (1867-1948) that became a distinct movement under the teaching and leadership of Kenneth Hagin, a Pentecostal faith-healing evangelist. God himself is said to have created the world and to do all that he does by speaking words of faith. Man's creation in God's image is commonly understood to mean that human beings are "little gods" capable of speaking creative words of faith. The fall of Adam into sin is interpreted as having transformed Adam (and all unredeemed people) into Satan's nature and as having transferred Adam's godhood or dominion on earth to Satan. Jesus is believed to have become man in order to restore human beings to godhood as renewed "incarnations" of God. He is said to have done this by dying spiritually as well as physically on the cross, suffering in hell, and then while in hell becoming the first person to be "born again," before finally being raised from the dead. Those who believe in Jesus are supposedly empowered to speak words of faith again, especially in order to obtain bodily health and financial prosperity (both of which are supposedly guaranteed as present possessions in the Atonement). . In contrast, traditional Christian theology teaches that God and God alone can bring about whatever he chooses; that man was created to reflect God's character and to implement his will, not to be little gods; that man is fallen but not Satanic in nature; that God is still in control of this world; that Jesus Christ alone is God incarnate; that Jesus died physically, not spiritually, to redeem us; that Jesus therefore was not born again; and that health and prosperity are promised to believers in the future resurrection. In the meantime God heals and prospers people providentially and miraculously when and as he sees fit. Most of the followers of the Word-Faith teachers are Pentecostals and other evangelical Christians. Profile available.
Word Over the World (WOW): See The Way International.
World Community, J.E. Rash, Bedford, VI: New Age, mystic, teaches the "five ancient Orders."
World Council of Churches: An international agency promoting interfaith dialogue and ecumenical cooperation among churches. Most participants are mainline denominations dominated by the theological perspective of liberal Christianity.
World Tomorrow, The: The now defunct radio and television program begun by Herbert Armstrong. See Armstrongism.
Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong Pasadena, CA: Under the leadership of its founder, Herbert W. Armstrong, this church rejected the essential doctrines of evangelical Christianity, denying the doctrine of the Trinity, the full deity of Jesus Christ, and the personality of the Holy Spirit. The church epitomized the somewhat eclectic set of beliefs and practices that became known as Armstrongism. Beginning in the early 1990s under the leadership Armstrong's successors, Joseph W. Tkach and his son Joe Tkach, this group has undergone remarkable doctrinal transformation. They now hold to a traditional evangelical position on the nature of God and the gospel, teaching the Trinity and salvation by grace alone, through faith alone. Large numbers of its membership have left to join splinter groups that still teach classic Armstrongism. Publishes The Plain Truth magazine. Profile available.
Worrall, Olda: See New Life Clinic.
WOW: (Word Over the World). See The Way International.Nation of Yahweh.
Yahwehism: Alternative name for the Sacred Name movement.
Yahweh's Assembly in Messiah, David Barnard, Rockport, MO: Publishes The Master Key, Unlocking Bible Truth magazine. See Sacred Name movement.
Yang: See Yin and Yang.
Yi King: Alternative form of the term I Ching.
Yin and Yang: Taoist concept, used in the New Age movement, holding that the universe consists of two opposite energy forces (positive/negative; male/female, etc.). Both are necessary and both must be harmonized for proper function. This Yin and Yang also flow through the human body so that a balance is required to maintain health. Many New Age holistic health techniques, such as acupuncture, are based on attempts to balance this alleged energy or chi. When all is balanced, the Yin and Yang harmonize and the body works properly.
Yoga: Exercises (physical, mental or spiritual) based on Eastern metaphysical assumptions designed to aid in enlightenment or self-realization. Goals sometimes include altered states of consciousness or uniting the practitioner with the impersonal pantheistic God. Types of Yoga include: Karma Yoga (spiritual union through correct conduct), Bhakti Yoga (spiritual union through devotion to a Guru), Juana Yoga (spiritual union through hidden knowledge), Raja Yoga (spiritual union through mental control), Hatha Yoga (spiritual union through body control/meditation), Kundalini Yoga (spiritual union through focusing inner energy) and Tantra Yoga (spiritual union through sexual practices). Yoga philosophy is based on the concept of reincarnation and is drawn from the Upanishads and other Hindu scriptures.
Yoga Research Foundation, Jyotir Maya Nanda, Miami, FL: Yoga, Eastern mysticism. Publishes International Yoga Guide magazine.
Yogi: A teacher or master of yoga.
York, Malachi Z., See Ancient Mystic Order of Malchizedek.
Yule: Occult holiday celebrated on the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice (December 21). Because of its close proximity to Christmas, the term Yule has often been used as a designation for Christmas.Zen Buddhism: A branch of Mahayana Buddhism believed to have originated in India from the teachings of a Buddhist master, Bodhidharma, about 600 BC, but traced back by advocates to the Buddha himself. Practitioners seek satori (sudden illumination enabling bliss and harmony), which cannot be explained but only experienced. Techniques include zazen (sitting meditation techniques) and koans, which are short riddles or sayings. The koans (which number about 1,700) are not designed to have cognitive answers but to promote the experience of Zen.
Zen Master Rama, a.k.a. Frederick P. Lenz: Occult, ancient Egyptian rituals, meditation, Atlantis. Also known as the computer guru whose software company, Advanced Systems, Inc., has been called a recruiting arm for his mind control, New Age group. See Zen Buddhism.
Zodiac: See Astrology.
Zohar/Zolar: See Kabbalah.
Zoroastrianism, Zoroaster: Religion thought to be founded about 600 BC in Persia (present day Iran). According to legend, Zoroaster received enlightenment by the Daitya river when, at age 30, he received a vision of Vohu Manah ("Good Thought") who took him into the presence of lord Ahura-Mazda. Lord Mazda taught Zoroaster the "true religion," rejecting magic and idol worship and promoting belief in heaven, hell, a devil (Angra-Mainyu) and one true god. Later followers, however, worshipped Zoroaster in addition to Mazda. Good Lord Mazda and evil Angra Mainyu are seen as equal in power. Teaches enlightenment and salvation by works, including fire worship and partaking of the hallucinogenic haoma (soma in India).
Zwaan Rays: See Spirit Electronic Communication Society.