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7 indicted in slaying of boy, woman here

11 Dec

Seven members of a supposed Durham-based cult known as the “Black Hebrews” have been indicted on charges involving the deaths of 5-year-old Jadon Tyrell James Higganbothan and 29-year-old Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy.

The two victims had been missing for months before their decomposed remains were found in early June behind a 2622 Ashe St. home in East Durham.

Authorities allege the two were shot to death.

The grand jury has indicted the following Black Hebrews members on a variety of charges:

– Pete Lucas Moses Jr. — indicted for two counts of murder.

– P. Leonard Moses — indicted for accessory after the fact to the first-degree murder of Antoinetta McKoy.

– Shelia Moses — indicted for accessory after the fact to the first-degree murder of Antoinetta McKoy.

– Vania Rae Sisk — indicted for murder and indicted for accessory after the fact to the murder of Jadon Tyrell James Higganbothan.

– LaRhonda Renee Smith — indicted for murder; indicted for accessory after the fact to the murder of Jadon Tyrell James Higganbothan; indicted for felony breaking or entering and larceny after breaking or entering.

– Lavada Quinzetta Harris — indicted for murder; indicted for accessory after the fact to the murder of Jadon Tyrell James Higganbothan.

– Sheilda Evelyn Harris — indicted for accessory after the fact to the first-degree murder of Antoinetta McKoy.

Sisk is the mother of the slain boy. Pete Lucas Moses Jr. is the reported leader of the Black Hebrews.

McKoy and Jadon lived in a home at 2109 Pear Tree Lane with other members of the Black Hebrews before their disappearances.

In an affidavit for a search warrant filed earlier this year by the Teller County (Colo.) Sheriff’s Office, a detective said he was told that Sisk had left Durham with a group of Black Hebrews followers and headed to Colorado with only three of her four children.

Investigators searched the home where Sisk was staying in Colorado and couldn’t find Jadon. Social services took custody of 10 children at the Colorado home, including three of Sisk’s children.

According to the affidavit, Durham investigators said their information came from a confidential informant — a former member of the Black Hebrews — who had reportedly escaped from the group.

The informant said Jadon was shot by a member of the group in October, wrapped in plastic, put in a suitcase and placed into an attic in the house.

The report said the body began to smell and was later removed.

The affidavit quoted an informant as saying that in February, McKoy, got into an argument with a member of the Black Hebrews over car keys that could not be found. McKoy ran out of the house, flagged down a female passer-by and requested help. She got into the car and two women from the home came out and told the passerby that everything was OK and escorted McKoy back to the home.

According to the affidavit, a member of the group gave a woman in the house a 9mm handgun and told her to watch McKoy. He returned later and told her to shoot McKoy, which she did. The man then helped both women remove McKoy’s body from the house and buried her.

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Cult leader held

19 Nov

AN Australian national wanted for charges ranging from tax evasion and assault to illegal possession of firearms and explosives has been taken into the custody of Immigration authorities.
Agape Ministries pastor Rocco Leo Agape was caught on Sunday, June 19 after a combined raid by the police, Transitional Crime Unit and the Department of Immigration.
The leader of the controversial Agape Ministries, which Australian authorities have described as a doomsday-type cult, is also said to have tried to hide AUD$5million (FJ$9.3m) hours before his financial assets were frozen.
Arms and explosives were also found in containers linked to the group as well as on its properties with relatives of members with children expressing concerns over their wellbeing.
After more than a year on the run from Australian authorities, Mr Agape, who had also been sighted in Vanuatu, was caught at Tiri Villas in Deuba.
Mr Agape, whom director of immigration Major Nemani Vuniwaqa confirmed entered the country last month, was apprehended along with a female.


Major Vuniwaqa said: “The pair are being detained for overstaying their visitors’ permits along with a third male who arrived in the country with the pair last year.
“The third individual handed himself to the authorities at around midday on Tuesday.”
Investigations into the trio’s whereabouts and activities over the past 12 months continue.
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End Time Tome

31 Oct

SIOUX FALLS, SD – A South Dakota legislator has begun writing a book that tells a painful story of when faith turns into fanaticism.

State Senator Joni Cutler of Sioux Falls spent several years as a member of the End Time Ministries. She hopes her book exposes the dangers that religious cults pose to people seeking spiritual meaning in their lives.

Like most authors, Cutler often straddles a literary middle ground between the free-flow of words and writer’s block.

“I sit down with my computer and it’s easy to get to it. Other times, I know what to say, but I struggle saying it,” Cutler said.

Cutler’s book recounts a painful time in her past.

“Some people say, well, I had a bad day. Well, I know when I left, I pretty much had a bad decade,” Cutler said.

Cutler is referring to the 13-years she spent as a member of the Florida-based religious cult, End Time Ministries.

“When we use the word cult, that’s a very loaded word. People immediately conjure a certain type of cult in mind,” Cutler said.

As an idealistic teenager, Cutler joined End Time Ministries hoping to find spiritual direction in her young life. But she and many other members, got much more than than they bargained for.

“I had not only my own tragedy that was never really resolved, but I saw a lot of pain and suffering of young women,” Cutler said.
End Timers shun doctor’s offices in favor of faith healing. And that firm belief in a healing power beyond the scope of conventional medicine had tragic results for Cutler when she became a new mom.

“My first daughter was born prematurely with no medical care and she died of untreated pneumonia and so that’s very difficult,” Cutler said.

Cutler says the mind-control exerted by End Time Ministries influenced every aspect of members’ lives; from what they should think, to what they should wear. Cutler left End Time Ministries in 1986 and over the years has spoken out publicly against the psychological and physical harm that cults bring upon their followers. Her book will become a new platform for her to reach an even wider audience.

“It covers kind of the major human themes in life, the search for spirituality and religion’s role in all of that. Belief, faith, family,” Cutler said.

Cutler finds writing some passages emotionally-healing.

“It’s been an interesting journey back into my past,” Cutler said.

But other times, dredging up painful memories becomes too difficult to put into words.

“It definitely takes me into places that I’ve put behind me. Sometimes I choose not to write about some of those things, and other times, I think it’s important to include some of those experiences,” Cutler said.

Even though Cutler left the End Time Ministries 25-years ago, on occasion, she’ll hear a voice from the past that’s breaking a quarter-century of silence.

“Yes, Joni, I have a word from the Lord for you…”

Cutler is troubled by this message invoking God’s will left on her voice mail earlier this month.

“To have complete strangers find me and leave anonymous message that are meant to be messages from God to me, that concerns me,” Cutler said.

Culter says religious cults are just as active today as they were decades ago. Only now they have the power of the Internet and social media to spread their misguided messages.

“In fact, I think people try to be the most fanatical they can be in selling a conviction,” Cutler said.

Cutler hopes her book will show the redemptive power of rejecting a dangerous theology while giving this first-time author the final word on End Time.

“Sometimes choices in life can be painful, sometimes you have to lose a lot to gain what it is you want,” Cutler said.

A former publisher of a Florida newspaper that covered the End Time saga encouraged Cutler to write her book. She expects to finish her yet-to-be-titled work in about a year. She’s also shopping around for a publisher.
(, June 17, 2011)
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Chennai’s yoga centre under scanner

30 Oct

The Chennai Police has started a probe into the activities of a yoga center, which was teaching tantric yoga for enhanced sexual life.

A group of foreigners, who were running the centre, have gone missing. But just a few days before police laid their hands on centre, Headlines Today went undercover to a camp organized by the group.

The so-called yoga cult, Misa-satya, has been operating in Chennai for two years. But now, it has run into rough weather with the allegation being levelled that it indulges in distribution of pornographic material by mixing yoga with sex. But that’s not all. Its Romanian instructors are accused of running a business, while in India on a tourist visa.

Hindu Makkal Katchi’s Kannan says, “The instructors in this yoga center have acted in pornography. The instructors have come in tourist visas. They can’t indulge in any activities like this.”
The instructors, Mihai Stoain and Adina Stoain, went missing after the immigration department sought a report from the Chennai Police, but not before Headlines Today caprtured the truth of their operations on camera.

Mihai Stoain, lead instructor at Misa, says, “We are going to explain, co-relate and give practical elements on hormonal part of the body. We aim to improve your sexual and emotional life through yoga.”

After Mihai, Adina, and five other foreign nationals went underground, their organisation issued a statement. It says: The teachings in Chockalingam Nagar are a sharing of knowledge. The teachers perform the teachings completely voluntarily without earning any money. All the teachers have internationally recognized certifications, teaching from one of the best structured and comprehensive yoga curricula.

What goes here

What is it that exactly went on in the name of tantric yoga at the Misa camp in Chennai? The innocuous building in the heart of Chennai is actually the site where a group of foreigners taught tantric yoga. The sessions were held till a few weeks ago – that is when Headlines Today went undercover to expose what went on at the camp.

When the reporter went inside, she saw that lead couple, Mihai and Adina, were teaching exercises, giving lectures and screening movies on improving sex lives of couples. In fact, they’ve brought in Misa, which is a European cult, to India. Interestingly, Mihai and Adina have acted in a porn film as well.

Only a select group is allowed inside. The instructor, Immanuel, gave the details: “Here the erotic part is taught. In order to learn to control your energy, you need exercises that will help you. For instance for men to control ejaculation, we teach how to train yogic exercises. It is a mixture of erotic and spirituality. We even show movies.”

He also said that pornographic films were shown at the centre. “Students of school made those pornography movies. But they are very nice erotic movies and educational. Tantric is about the images to love. People of all age groups and nationalities attend the camp,” says Immanuel.

“I am a foreigner living in Delhi. I have come here for the camp,” says a girl. “The camp taught what women can aspire and what men can aspire,” she says.

Experts dismiss the claims that it can improve sex lives of couples. Sexologist Dr Narayana Reddy says, “These camps are not going to help anybody. I personally think they are exploiting ignorant people by promising them nirvana or sexual bliss.”

Yoga practitioners too are outraged. Niranjan of Bharath Swabhiman says, anything like this is destroying Indian culture.

Tantric love and yoga are not new to Indian culture, but exhibiting it explicitly in these camps has shocked people in conservative Chennai.

(India Today, June 14, 2011)

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Polygamous leader’s tax trial set for January

30 Oct

Polygamous leader Winston Blackmore will testify under oath for the first time about his ‘lifestyle’ during his 12-day trial in federal Tax Court begins Jan. 23, 2012.

Blackmore had asked for an unprecedented ban on the publication and use of any witness testimony or evidence related to polygamy during his tax trial so that none of that information could be used against him in any future criminal trial. His motion was denied by Judge Campbell Miller. Blackmore is not appealing the decision and now has three months to pay the $50,000 in court costs that Miller ordered him to pay.

Polygamy is illegal in Canada, but the law is under review by Chief Justice Robert Bauman of the B.C. Supreme Court, who was asked by the B.C. government to determine if the criminal sanction is constitutional since the Charter of Rights guarantees religious freedom and freedom of expression.

Blackmore’s unprecedented request was denied earlier this month, clearing the way for his trial which is also a precedent-setting case to determine how he and his extended family ought to be taxed.

Blackmore is appealing the reassessment of his personal income tax filings for 2002 to 2006 that concluded he had under-estimated his earnings by $1.5 million and the $147,000 he was assessed in penalties.

At issue is whether Blackmore’s large family (which includes 19 or more wives and more than 130 children), plus his extended family of siblings and their multiple wives and children constitute a “congregation” for tax purposes.

The government of Canada says they don’t. Up until 2002 when he was ex-communicated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Blackmore was the bishop of the congregation in Bountiful, B.C. Since then, the government says he and his family are not “a constituent part of any religious organization.”

In Tax Court, it’s up to the taxpayer to prove that the government’s interpretation is wrong. So, it will be up to Blackmore, his wives and others to prove that they all lived and worked together and share beliefs. And under cross-examination, lawyers for Canada will be able to ask questions about all of that including how many wives Blackmore had during the disputed tax years and where they all lived.
(Vancouver Sun, June 8, 2011)

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Another Falun Gong member reportedly burns himself in China

3 Jul

BEIJING, Feb. 16 — Another member of the banned Falun Gong spiritual group committed suicide by setting himself on fire today, according to Chinese state media. It was the second time in less than a month that group members were reported to have resorted to self-immolation to bring attention to their cause.

Tonight, state television showed police officers covering the body with a sheet and quoted a witness as saying, ”He poured gasoline over his head, lit it, and burst into flames.”

Five people, including a 12-year-old girl, set themselves ablaze in Tiananmen Square on Jan. 23 while adopting the group’s meditation poses. One person, the girl’s mother, died.

Since then, clips from police videotapes of the incident have been widely broadcast on Chinese state television to justify the government’s suppression of what it has called an ”evil cult.”

The earlier self-immolation was witnessed by a group of foreign journalists in Tiananmen Square, the scene of almost daily small nonviolent protests by individual Falun Gong members for the last 18 months. These mostly pass silently, in the blink of an eye, as members unfurl small banners and, in turn, are quickly whisked away in police vans.

There was no independent confirmation of today’s suicide, which the official New China News Agency said took place around noon on a street in the western part of the capital.

Beijing is busily cleaning itself up for a visit by an inspection team from the International Olympic Committee next week. China desperately wants Beijing to play host to the 2008 summer Olympics. Protest suicides do not help that cause.

Since the five Falun Gong members set themselves on fire in Tiananmen Square nearly a month ago, security in the square has been extremely tight, with police officers blocking the entrances and inspecting identification cards and packages to check for gasoline. But the group still has many followers in China and the incident today took place miles from the square, involving a man who is said to have practiced Falun Gong’s blend of exercise and meditation since 1997.

The news agency identified the dead man as Tan Yihui, a shoeshiner from Hunan province, in central China. It said Mr. Tan, 25, was dead by the time the police arrived and extinguished the fire.

Officials said they discovered a six-page suicide note nearby that identified him as a member of Falun Gong and that said he wished to ”forget about life and death and achieve perfection in Paradise.”

Falun Gong officials have generally denied that those who set themselves on fire were genuine practitioners, noting that the teachings of its exiled leader, Li Hongzhi, specifically forbid suicide.

Still, Mr. Li — who lives in the United States — recently wrote an essay that seemed to encourage his followers in China to take more drastic actions than the silent protests that had characterized the group’s resistance.

Also, after 18 months of persecution by the Chinese government, many group members have been almost continuously harassed by the police or have lost their jobs; they are apparently increasingly desperate and ready to act.

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Should Vancouver consult the Falun Gong cult on a bylaw

17 Apr

Canadians were rightly astonished and angry when it was revealed that City of Vancouver staff consulted with the Chinese regime before drawing up Vancouver’s controversial draft protest bylaw.

The input was sought on the new bylaw which would effectively prevent Falun Gong practitioners from erecting signs or a kiosk outside the Chinese consulate on Granville Street.

Clive Ansley, a lawyer representing Falun Gong, described the consulation with the Chinese as “disgraceful” and “indefensible.”

Councillor David Cadman questioned why we would talk to a government that imprisons artists and squashes liberties.

Falun Gong spokesperson Sue Zhang accused China of ‘genocide’ while expressing her outrage, alongside the B.C. Civil Liberties Union and others.

What was largely ignored was that the City of Vancouver also met with Falun Gong practitioners when the original draft was being drawn up.

But no one seems to mind that, because the Falun Gong has become a sacred cow in the minds of many in the mainstream media.

If anything, there would be a louder outcry against the cult group, should the mainstream media start looking at some of their teachings instead of parroting unsubstantiated reports that Falun Gong has millions of followers who are constantly being persecuted.

Here are some Falun Gong facts that get ignored;

Falun Dafa, which was founded in 1992, is an idiosyncratic blend of beliefs and practises as assembled by its founder Li Hongzhi. This includes Taoist and Buddhist references predicated upon a belief in extraterrestrials and practised through a set of prescribed exercises and meditation techniques.

While Li Hongzhi talks about “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,” neither he nor his followers actually demonstrate any tolerance concerning critical questions or inquiry. You question them, they call it persecution.

In Mr. Li’s world view, mixed-race people are part of a plot, contrived by the evil extraterrestrials. “By mixing the races of humans, the aliens make humans cast off gods,” he told a gathering in Switzerland in 1998.

“Mixed races” are supposedly excluded from the “truth” and “have lost their roots, as if nobody in the paradise will take care of them. They belong to nowhere, and no places would accept them . . . the higher levels do not recognize such a human race,” he preached.

According to Mr. Li, the offspring of mixed race unions are therefore “intellectually incomplete” or “with an incomplete body.” In such cases, only he, Master Li, can help and “take care of it” (i.e. resolve the “incomplete” state). However, that can be done only if “such a person wants to practice cultivation.”

Li Hongzhi also encourages hatred of homosexuals. “The disgusting homosexuality shows the dirty abnormal psychology of the gay who has lost his ability of reasoning at the present time,” Li Hongzhi wrote in Volume II of Zhuan Falun, or Turning the Law Wheel, which was translated into English in 1996.

In his talk in Switzerland, Li Hongzhi also stated that gay people would be “eliminated” by “the gods.” Asked in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1998 whether gays could practice Falun Gong, Mr. Li answered, “You can cultivate, but you must give up the bad conduct.”

And for good measure, Master Li preaches that Africa has a two billion-year- old nuclear reactor, that aliens who look human, but have “a nose made of bone,” invaded Earth to introduce modern technology and whose teachings are at ” a higher level than those of Buddha and Christ .”

He apparently also can fly and has the power to telekinetically implant the falun, or law wheel, into the abdomens of his followers, where it absorbs and releases power as it spins.

Now some of you may wonder why we are bringing this up. That’s because we have felt the brunt of the Falun Gong hypocrisy when it comes to freedom of expression, which apparently is central to the group’s cause.

In 2009, Frank Cui, the owner of the Burnaby-based Epoch Press, which is affiliated with the Falun Gong movement, and which used to print the Asian Pacific Post, held our publication hostage because they did not like what they read in that edition.

The non-controversial story was about an elaborate dance production showcasing Chinese culture. Cui and his cabal did not like the story’s “balanced” approach. They did not want readers to see the Chinese government’s views of the Falun Gong. They wanted to control the content and said they had a “legal right” to do it.

When Harbinder Singh Sewak, the publisher of the Asian Pacific Post, said no, Cui refused to release the paper from the print shop. He did so later, after being advised that you can’t do such things in Canada.

Cui in an e-mailed press statement said “Unfortunately, news reporters feel that they must ‘balance’ stories about Falun Gong or events they are involved in by adding the bad words or opinions from the CCP [Chinese Communist Party], but in my feeling, between victim and perpetrator there can never be any neutrality or balance.”

This matter of the Asian Pacific Post newspaper being held hostage will be heard by the Supreme Court of B.C. soon, where more intriguing details of how the Falun Gong cult operates, where they get their money from, and how they influence politicians etc., will take centre stage in a court room.

For now, it is suffice to say that consulting with the Chinese government is as outrageous as consulting with the Falun Gong cult, when it comes to Vancouver bylaws.

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