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Unclassified Religious Groups

Unclassified Religious Groups

2609

All-One-God-Faith, Inc.

℅ Dr. E. H. Bonner
Box 28
Escondido, CA 92025

All-One-God-Faith, Inc. is not a church, it is a soap company. However, the products of the company have become the means of informing people of the religious vision of Rev. Henry Corey, a retired United States Marine, and Dr. E. H. Bonner, the soap maker. Their ideas are based upon the Dead Sea Scrolls, a group of Jewish religious writings from the first century B.C.E., discovered in 1948. The writings, which include texts of the Jewish Bible (the Old Testament) were found in a cave near the Dead Sea. Bonner termed their discovery the Second Coming of God' s Law.

All-One-God-Faith, Inc. (originally called the All-One-Faithin-One-God State)was founded in 1959. It unites all persons through the teachings of Confucius' absolutes, Hippocrates' ABCs of perfect health, Hillel' s moral ABCs, Jesus' Manual of Discipline, Mohammad' s love, and Thomas Paine' s army of principles for the brotherhood of man. The teachings are printed in fine print on the labels of each of the products produced by the soap company.

Membership: In the 1970s there were four congregations in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Modesto, and Oceanside, California, and Indianapolis, Indiana.

2610

Ares Pilgrims

Current address not obtained for this edition.

Alternate Address: International headquarters: Frere Michel Potay, Maison de la Revelation, B.P. 16, 33740 Ares, France.

The Ares movement grew out of revelations received by a French prophet, Michel Potay (b. 1929). Potay was originally trained as an engineer, but in 1964 became a professional occultist. He converted to Orthodoxy and in 1969 was ordained a deacon in the Eglise Catholique Orthodoxe de France (Orthodox Catholic Church of France), an independent Western-rite Orthodox jurisdiction. Two years later he affiliated with the Living Church, a Russian Orthodox schism that had emerged in the Soviet Union with a decidedly pro-Soviet allegiance. Then in 1974, Potay and his family settled in Ares, not far from Bordeaux.

Soon after his arrival in Ares, he claimed that Jesus appeared to him and dictated what would become The Gospel Delivered in Ares. It was published that same year. In 1977, Potay received further revelation from God through a stick of light, the contents of the revelations being included in a second volume, The Book. The two texts constitute The Revelation of Ares.

Potay places the new revelation within the Abrahamic tradition that includes the Bible (with the exception of some books) and the Qu' ran, though both are now seen as below the level of the Revelation of Ares. The community that has grown from the revelations affirm a belief in monotheism, but reject Trinitarian perspective and do not affirm that Jesus is God. Their goal is to transform the world in order to realize the Eden originally planned by God for humankind. This goal can be reached if a " remnant" decides to adopt a different behavior. The Ares Pilgrims, as a " small remnant" is called upon to assume a role on that change, which will appear in the only several generations from now. Ares Pilgrims often engage in grassroot activities, uniting their effort to that of people involved in various causes in order to contribute to these changes.

The Ares Pilgrims are scattered mainly in France and other French-speaking countries (including Quebec). There is a core group of a few hundred people who gather for missionary activities and various projects. An annual pilgrimage to Ares offers a major opportunity for gathering. Visitors may visit the spot where God is believed to have spoken to Potay, which is open during three periods of two weeks every summer. When approaching the House of the Saint' s Word, the pilgrims wear a white tunic and prostrate to the ground while chanting self-selected passages from the Bible, the Qu' ran or the Revelation of Ares. Potay also usually addresses the gathered pilgrims. Apart from the pilgrimage, the groups has only a few ritual practices, primarily the reciting of the prayer " Father of the Universe" (a revised version of the Lord' s Prayer) four times per day.

Membership: There is a core group consisting of several hundred members and several thousand additional people who identify themselves with Potay' s message. The majority are in French speaking countries (France, Switzerland, and Belgium). The Revelation of Ares only appeared in English in 1995, and the number of adherents in the North America remains minuscule, with most in Quebec.

Sources:

Ares Pilgrims. http://perso.wanadoo.fr/michelpotay/welcome.html. 25 January 2002.

Mayer, Jean-Francois. Michel Potay et la Revelation d' Ares. Fribourg, Switz.: Les Trois Nornes, 1990.

Mayer, Jean-Francois. " La ' Revelation d' Ares' : naissance d' un pelerinage dans la France contemporaine." Social Compass, 48, 1 (2001): 63-75.

The Revelation of Ares (French-English bilingual edition). Ares: Maison de la Revelation, 1995.

2611

Chaplaincy Institute for Arts & Interfaith Ministries/Interfaith Congregation for Creative and Healing Ministries (ChI)

PO Box 669 Fairfax,
CA 94978-0669

Chaplaincy Institute for Arts & Interfaith Ministries (ChI) dates to 1998 and the ideal posed by Rev. Jeremy Taylor, Rev. Gina Rose Halpern, and Rabbi Michael Ziegler of an Interfaith seminary utilizing the Arts and " Dreamwork" as a method of spiritual direction and pastoral care. This seminary would offer a training and ordination program for people operating in a multi-faith context (those who identify themselves as living out of two or more religious/mystical/spiritual tradition simultaneously), and especially those who have discovered their spiritual path with a decided reference to arts (dance, music, painting, etc.), or by way of participation in one of the various Twelve Step programs. To embody their ideal the trio created the Chaplaincy Institute and the Interfaith Congregation for Creative and Healing Ministries (ICCHM).

The institute and congregation seek to cultivate the Divine Spark believed to reside in each person and spur their unique gifts while supporting each student as they exercise their talents as Interfaith Ministers through the vehicles of service, compassion, ritual, creativity, and celebration. As students develop their abilities, and emerge as vital healthy individuals, they may be freed to serve in a variety of contexts, including but not limited to healthcare, hospices, educational or correctional facilities, congregations, and international peace missions.

Halpern serves as the directory of ChI and Taylor as the associate director. As the former Executive Director of Healing Through Arts, a nonprofit organization, Halpern has been concerned with bridging the creative arts and the healing arts. As the past president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, Taylor has pioneered the use of dream in spiritual development. A large faculty provides program thrusts in various related disciplines. Study may lead to ordination as an interfaith minister or certificates for spiritual directors. The curriculum has also been developed to include space for therapists, counselors and social workers who wish to include spirituality in their therapeutic practice?

An interfaith minister is seen as one who honors and respects all of the world' s and individual choice in spiritual preferences. They have a knowledge of the different faiths and a belief in the underlying connection of all religions to people of all kinds and places. In working with different people, interfaith ministers seek to work with the personal faith and tradition of those they encounter to assist the processes of inner healing and communal harmony. Ordination of ChI' s students is granted by the Interfaith Congregation of Creative and Healing Ministries, the congregation or " church" program of the Chaplaincy Institute.

Membership: Not reported.

Sources:

Chaplaincy Institute for Arts & Interfaith Ministries. http://www.chaplaincyinstitute.org/. 12 April 2002.

Jeremy Taylor. Dream Work. Ramsey, NJ: Paulist Press, 1983.

——. Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill-Using Dreams to Tap theWisdom of the Unconscious. New York: Warner Books, 1993.

Samuels, Michael. Creative Healing. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1998.

——, and Mary Rockwood Lane. The Path of the Feather: A Handbook andKit for Making Medicine Wheels and Calling in the Spirit Animals. New York: Putnam, 2000.

2612

Church of God Anonymous (CGA)

PO Box 100
Gowen, MI 49326

The Church of God Anonymous (CGA) was created over a period of 17 years toward the end of the twentieth century by a group for recovering alcoholics, drug addicts, and veteran AA activists in Michigan. They had not only been helped by Alcoholics Anonymous, the famous alcoholic recovery program that emerged in the 1930s, but had come to feel that its formation was the greatest positive event of the twentieth century. They seek to " bring the spiritual program and living lessons of Alcoholics Anonymous to all who seek serenity and real meaning in their lives." They have seen the acknowledgment of God, as conceived in AA, " God as you understand Him?" to be a point of unity between people. All people can be helped by AA' s God.

For many in the AA program, the trappings of religion– prayers, ceremonies, music, creeds, doctrines, etc., have had little meaning. " Real religion is centered upon the simple act of doing good!" Church founders have suggested that the pure clear Light of God has been manipulated by a professional class of priests and other religious spokespersons to the point that it seems encased in a lantern so that the light is filtered entirely by false and irrational dogmas. In contrast, the Twelve-Step God is the Light clearly visible with no dogma. It is expressed through the Twelve-Step experience of Love and Service.

The church differs from AA, in that it offered a variety of perspectives on various religious, ethical and moral questions not related directly to the recovery process. Ethical statements are offered to members as suggestions, and individuals may disregard them, improve them, or accept them, as they see fit.

The church has its headquarters at the World General Service Office in Michigan and finds expression in churches and small groups across the country. Leadership is placed in the president and Table of Twelve who manage the church' s affairs, make policy, and attempt to discern the group conscience on issues that come before it. Consensus is established by reference to the CGA' s Steps, Traditions and Principles (all derived from AA). Neither the president nor the Table of Twelve are to dictate to any church or church group. The church ordains minister (deacons). All must be familiar with twelve step programs, but not necessarily a participant.

As might be expected, the church approves and uses an array of material associated with twelve-step programs. Jim K., on of the church founders, has prepared a A Guide To The Twelve Steps of the Church of God Anonymous.

Membership: Not reported. As of 2002, The church reported related groups in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, New York, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas, and Illinois.

Sources:

Church of God Anonymous. http://www.churchofgodanonymous.org/index2.html. 23 April 2002.

Narcotics Anonymous. Van Nuys, CA: World Service Offices, 1989.

Peck, M. Scott. The Road Less Traveled. Touchstone Book New York 1978.

2613

Church of the Bride of Christ

(Defunct)

The Church of the Bride of Christ was founded in 1903 in Corvallis, Oregon by Edmund Franz Creffield. Born in Germany around 1867, Creffield studied for the priesthood. Before ordination, however, he migrated to Portland, Oregon, around 1902, then joined the Salvation Army and moved to Corvallis as an Army representative. In 1903 he had a sudden revelation from which he emerged with a new name, Joshua Elijah (the names of two prophets in the Hebrew Bible). He allowed his hair to grow freely.

Joshua Elijah founded the Church of the Bride of Christ and immediately began to recruit members from among the women in the town. The goal was to find the woman who would become the mother of a new Christ child. He began to hold meetings in which he and the female recruits would engage in some of the ecstatic practices associated with revival meetings, frequently in a state of nudity. As word circulated through the neighborhood of the activities, husbands and fathers began to pull their wives and daughters out of the church and in January 1904, they tarred and feathered Creffield. He remained in the neighborhood, was caught in bed with a married woman, and was eventually arrested for adultery. He was sentenced to two years in prison, and that seemed to end the church. However, following his release in December 1905, he began to correspond with his former members. He proposed the founding of a community on the Oregon Coast, a protective haven against the curse he had placed on the cities of the west Coast, which included San Francisco. As members began to gather, in April 1906, San Francisco fell victim to and was largely destroyed by an earthquake and fire, prompting some to say Creffield' s prophetic curse had come true.

The Prophet' s vision of a new Garden of Eden came to an abrupt end a month later. He was assassinated in Seattle, Washington, on May 7, by the brother of Esther Mitchell, one of his devoted followers. Tried for murder, George Mitchell was found not guilty. Several days later he was shot by his sister at the Seattle rail station as he was journeying back to Corvallis. The small band of followers reportedly continued on for several years.

Sources:

Holbrook, Stewart H. " Oregon' s Secret Love Cult." American Mercury (February 1941): 167-74.

Pintarich, Dick, and J. Kingston Pierce. " The Strange Saga of Oregon' s Other Guru." The Oregonian (January 7, 1986).

2614

Church of the New Song

1465 Exeter Rd.
Bluffs, IL 62621

The Church of the New Song emerged in 1970 as an expression of a new rights movement among residents of penitentiaries in the United States. It was begun by Bishop Harry W. Theriault, a convicted bank robber, in the federal prison at Atlanta, Georgia. The name of the church refers to the new song mentioned in Revelation 5:9 and 14:3, which church members believe is the sound of the new era, and also the new song being sung by the youth. Theriault, his co-founder Jerry M. Dorrough, and others began immediately to agitate for recognition within the prison system. In February 1972 a federal court recognized the church as a legitimate body, and ordered prison officials to permit it to meet and hold services. After that decision the church spread rapidly and became the focus of controversy. It was accused of causing a work strike at San Quentin, and its sincerity was questioned because of a claimed specification that porterhouse steak and Harvey' s Bristol Cream were its communion elements. Theriault was soon transferred to the federal prison at La Tuna, Texas.

According to the church, " Eclat" is the " new name" of the divinity referred to in Revelation 3:2, thus the church is also termed the Eclatarian Movement. Eclatarianity is the highest fulfillment of Christian prophecy. The end of the Christian era, the era of grace, is the beginning of the Eclat era. The church considers the American governmental and bureaucratic system to be so corrupt that there is no more time for grace. The message of the Church of the New Song is the word of life. The Law of Nature is to act and have power. " Eclat is the Light and the deed is love; if you seek the Light, do the deed." Man' s basic needs are said to be shelter, food, and someone to love. When these have been attained, men should busy themselves helping others attain their basic needs. The teachings of the church are summarized in Holy Mizan, termed a " para-testament." The paratestament is a third testament coming after the first, or Old, Testament and the second, or New, Testament.

The church is episcopal in polity, operating within the boundaries of prison existence. Theriault, the bishop of Tellus, is assisted by Dr. Stephen S. Fox, S.R.M. (sealed revelation minister), the international chancellor of information. Fox is also a professor of psychology at the University of Iowa. Other officers include Dr. Richard Tanner, S.R.M., prime coadjutor; Dr. Becky Hensley, envoy international; Robert Copeland, redactor international; and Jerry Dorrough, coadjutor of Tellus. Male Eclatarians are referred to as " Maverites," and females as " Sporades."

By 1972 the church had 27 chapters in state prisons and 16 in federal prisons. The church has grown in recent years both inside and outside the prison system, despite Theriault' s isolation at La Tuna. A militant program concerning religious freedom in the prison system has been pursued. In 1972 Theriault took a Nazarite vow, which included a refusal to cut his hair (a primary requirement in most prisons). He also began to question the government' s subsidy of religion through its salaries to prison chaplains.

Membership: Not reported.

Sources:

[Harry W. Theriault]. Grass Roots of the New Song. Millington, TN: Book University of the New Song, 1979.

Lightbringer Shiloh [Harry W. Theriault]. Holy Mizan, Supreme Paratestament of the New Song. Bend, OR: Sacred Text Press, 1982.

2615

Congregation de l' Aumisme

℅ Monastere de
Ste-Lucie Ste-Agathe, PQ, Canada J8C 2Z8

The Congregation de l' Aumisme is the Canadian center of the Aumist Religion, a new religion founded by Gilbert Bourdin, (1923-1998) better known by his religious name, Lord Hamsah Manarah. Bourdin was raised in France in a Catholic family but was attracted to mysticism as a young man and sought wisdom in various ancient wisdom and magical orders (Rosicrucians, Martinism, etc.) At one point he traveled to India to study with Swami Sivananda Saraswati, who in 1961 received him in the sannyasin order (the renounced life) and gave him the name Hamsananda Saraswati. During his travels in Asia, Bourdin also explored and received initiations into Jainism, Sufism, and various forms of Buddhism. Several of the teachers he met bestowed titles upon him in recognition of his accomplishments.

Upon his return to the West, L. Hamash Manarah emerged as an accomplished master of both Eastern and Western initiatic traditions. In the winter of 1962-63 he resided in a cave in the mountains of southeastern France and subjected himself to the ascetic practices of the early Christian fathers. During this time an inner voice told him that he was destined to create an initiatic order teaching spiritual liberation while avoiding the mere search for psychic powers or passing satisfactions.

Manarah then created the Order of the Knights of the Golden Lotus and established a monastery in the Alps of Haute-Province, which grew into the Holy City of Mandarom, constructed by the members of the order. Since that time the order has spread through French-speaking Europe and during the 1980s to Quebec, Canada. In the late 1980s, plans were projected for the building of a Pyramid Temple of Unity. At about the same time, the order came under attack from the anti-cult movement represented in France by the Association pout la Defense de la Famille de l' Individu (ADFI). To date the building permit for the temple has not been obtained.

In 1967 Manarah established the Association of the Knights of the Golden Lotus (replaced in 1995 by the current Association of the Triumphant Vajra) and two years later founded the holy city of the Mandarom. Over the next years he revealed himself to be the Messiah: the Lord Hamsah Manarah, and in 1990 was publicly acknowledged as such in a ceremony. He also hoped to add to the existing temples at the Mandarom, representing all the great religions of the world and huge statues, a larger Temple-Pyramid.

However, an anti-cult campaign emerged against the group which became even more intense following the deaths associated with two other groups, the AUM Shinrikyo in Japan, and the Solar Temple in Switzerland and Canada. The campaign against the Mandarom has been largely orchestrated by the Association pout la Defense de la Famile de I' Individu (ADFI), the largest French anti-cult organization. The Mandarom was raided repeatedly between 1992 and 1995 by tax and police officers. Then in 1994 a former member filed a complaint against Bourdin, based upon a recovered memory, that she had been molested and raped. He and several members were arrested. He was released pending the trial, but in 1998, he died. While the case against him died with him, a new controversy immediately arose concerning his burial.

The Prefet of the French Alpes de Haute-Provence denied the permission needed under French law in order to bury Bourdin at the Mandarom as he had requested. The burial finally took place in Castillon on April 6, 1998, under the protests of both the Aumists and local residents (who did not want their town to become a pilgrimage site). Burial at the Mandarom is still being pursued by the Aumists.

It is not expected that the Aumists will designate a new leader. They believe that the Lord Hamsah Manarah will be reincarnated, and that they will be able to detect the male infant who will be the next leader as the reincarnated Lord (a procedure similar to the practice of Tibetan Buddhists in discovering a new lama). Once the boy is found, elder Aumists will guide him in assuming his duties as the reincarnated Lord. In the meantime a college of high priests will govern the movement.

Membership: Not reported.

2616

Daheshism

℅ Dahesh Heritage
304 W. 58th St.
New York, NY 10019-1107

Daheshism is the name given to the teachings of Dr. Dahesh (1909-1984), a twentieth-century Lebanese author, philosopher, religious teacher and miracle worker. Dahesh was born in Jerusalem but grew up in Lebanon. He received little formal education but became known as a healer. In his teen years he began to speak of the return of Christ and the need of people to prepare for his appearance and to purify themselves. In 1930 Dahesh was granted an honorary doctorate in psychic research by the Sage Institute in Paris.

On March 23, 1942, Dahesh believed that he had received the Divine Command proclaiming his mission to the people of the world. Since the early 1930s, a group of followers had already begun to form around him. His activity increased, and proportionately, opposition emerged. In 1944 Dahesh and several of his closest followers were arrested, and a short time later, without a trial, he was stripped of his Lebanese citizenship and expelled from the country. He secretly returned to Lebanon and began to publish a series of " black" books and pamphlets denouncing his accusers. On June 28, 1947 he entered Azerbaidjan and on July 1, 1947, was reportedly executed and buried. The Iranian government, then in control of Azerbaidjan, issued a formal statement of his death, and his picture appeared in the newspapers in Beirut. On that same day, however, his followers attest that Dahesh reappeared in Beirut. His citizenship was reinstated in 1953, following a change of government in 1952 under a new president. Afterward, Dahesh continued his work in public.

Dahesh first came to the United States in 1969. It was not until the 1990s that his books began to be translated into English. The majority of his followers are still found in the Arabic-speaking Lebanese-American community.

Daheshists believe that Dahesh fulfills the yearning in all religions for a redeeming Messenger, most prominently symbolized as the returning Jesus Christ or the Mahdi spoken of by Muslims. They believe that Dahesh was the Coming Christ who in his person unites the personalities of all of the promised Messengers of the world' s faiths.

Dahesh taught belief in God as the Creator and compassionate Father. Creation began with the world of Spirits– spiritual fluids emanating from the World of the Spirits. Humans, in essence a Holy Spirit, need to strive for purity and freedom from attraction to materialism so they can return to the Heavenly Worlds. Dahesh performed his miracles to instill belief in God and the heavenly realms.

Dahesh taught belief in the Christ, the Spiritual Divine Force constituting the highest degree of Heaven. Union with this force is the only way of returning to God. This force extends itself into the material world in the form of spiritual fluids. These fluids are incarnated in certain people known as the prophets (Moses, Jesus of Nazareth, Muhammad) and guides (Lao Tsu, Confucius, Buddha, Socrates, Ghandi).

Membership: Not reported. Members are found in Lebanon, France, Germany, and Italy.

Sources:

Brax, Ghazi. Lights upon Dr. Dahesh and Daheshism. New York: Daheshist Publishing Co., 1986.

Haykal, Mohammad Husein. The Correspondence between Dr. Dahesh& Dr. Mohammad Huseinalim. Compiled by Dr. Farid Abou Sleiman. Beirut: Al-Nisr al-Muhalliq Publishing, 1981.

Onbargi, Salim. Born Again with Doctor Dahesh. New York: Daheshist Publishing Co., 1993.

Shahin, Iskandar. Dr. Dahesh, Man of Mystery. New York: Daheshist Publishing Co., Ltd., 2001.

2617

Embassy of Heaven Church

8777 Basl Hill Rd. SE
Strayton, OR 97383-9630

The Embassy of Heaven Church was founded in 1987 by what it believed to be a revelation from Jesus Christ. The church considers itself a corporation of the kingdom of Heaven and thus refuses to incorporate under any government of the world. The members believe that all world governments are illegitimate. There is only one legitimate government, and it is known as the Kingdom of Heaven, established by Jesus Christ during the Lord' s Supper (Luke 22:24-30). The church promotes separating from the systems of the world and giving allegiance to God' s government with Jesus Christ as Head.

Drawing their authority from various biblical passages, members of the church promote the Kingdom of Heaven as a holy nation that exists outside of the jurisdictions of state and federal governments. Pastor Paul Revere and other church leaders see themselves as ambassadors for Christ, living under the laws of the Kingdom of Heaven. Out of that belief, the church issues Kingdom of Heaven passports, driver licenses, and vehicle plates for ambassadors using the Kingdom of Heaven highways.

The church provides sanctuary to anyone who repents and sins no more. In 1993 the church received broad publicity when it was raided by the federal government in search of a man who was receiving asylum.

The church came to public attention again on January 31, 1997, when its headquarters was raided military style by a swat team and tank. Members were locked out of their 34 acres and the property was sold at auction because the church did not pay property taxes. The church is continuing to function from mobile headquarters using buses, motor homes, and trailers. The church plans on peacefully taking back the land based on Truth and without court intervention.

The Embassy of Heaven Church has received much notoriety over the years through the media. Churches leaders have been guests on televisions and radio talk shows, and featured in newspaper and tabloid articles. It publishes numerous books and tapes and a bimonthly newsletter that follows the situation of the 400 ambassadors for Christ.

Membership: In 1997 there were some 400 ambassadors for Christ. The newsletter circulates approximately 1,000 copies per issue.

Periodicals: Midnight Rider.

Sources:

" Embassy of Heaven Says Its Above the Law" . The Register Guardian (Eugene, Oregon) (August 6, 1993).

——. Revere, Paul. What Is the Embassy of Heaven Church? Sublimity, OR: Embassy of Heaven Church, 1991.

——. Would Jesus Register with Caesar? Sublimity, OR: Embassy of Heaven Church, 1991.

2618

The Emin

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Emin, a new open-ended religion still developing, was founded by Raymond Armin (born in 1924 as Raymond Schertenlieb). His father changed the family name after they moved from Switzerland to England. In his youth he began a search for the meaning of life. He had an initial enlightenment experience in the 1940s. In 1972, some chance encounters brought him into contact with several others who were on a spiritual quest. They began the Emin and the movement gradually expanded. The name is an Arabic word meaning " Faithful One." The seekers found that Armin' s prior researches and findings had great meaning for their own lives. Armin became known as Leo, the name by which he has most frequently been called in recent decades. From less than a hundred adherents in England in 1975, the movement grew to include some 2,000 people scattered around the world at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

The group has been marked by periods of focused exploration of metaphysical and ethical questions, beginning with a search in several previously existing systems of thought and practice. Beginning in 1977, under the name " Eminent Way," they began a period of focused internal searching, primarily through meditation. The following year, Leo published The Poem of the Church of Emin Coils and projected a strictly religious structure to be developed in the United States. However, the group soon abandoned the idea.

In 1993, all of the " research" to that date was collected into a cohesive body of data known as the " Emin Loom of Research Starters." As they have worked together Leo and his associates have arrived at a set of basic philosophical principles based in the assertion that Creation is ordered by natural law and has evolved toward completeness. Human life is the high point of that evolution. Individual humans are also striving toward their own completeness. The human imperative is to upgrade the mental faculty and other potential according to natural law. Life continues after death and individuals must prepare for that transition. The basic principles lead toward a life that is spent realizing one' s potentials and keynoted by pathfinding– -living so as to expand the present boundaries of understanding. From this progressive viewpoint, Leo' s writings are seen as helpful tools more than sacred scripture.

Those just beginning to participate in the Emin endeavor spend much time in an encounter with Leo' s writings, and are said to be in the Emin Stream. The more advanced members follow one of two streams of endeavor known as the Gemrod and the Acropolis, the former more practical, the latter more theoretical, an exploration of the potentials of human evolution. Members will most frequently take a new name reflecting their goal at the moment and change it occasionally as they themselves go through changes.

Over the years, as Leo aged and retired to a home in Florida, a leadership team arose, each of whom has been in the work for at least two decades. Their job is to ensure the work continues at a high level and to pioneer new methods and perspective drawn from the spectrum of research and discovery. Each has their own specialty. For example, one of the leaders, Mark Ballabon, is in his secular life the managing director of a publishing company. His Emin concerns the exploration of the roots, causes, and meanings of language and the development of new applications in music. Hana Grinboim, another of the six, is a specialist in working with children with learning difficulties. In Emin, she is especially concerned with understanding teamwork and developing methodologies in education.

The result of their " research" has led to the emergence of a eclectic perspective drawing upon many religious and philosophical impulses from the Human Potentials Movement to Gurdjieff. The group stands on the edge of religious boundaries, having adopted an abstract religious foundation from which various religions may be pursued (and some claim to do just that). At the same time there is a strong emphasis on personal ethic, a demand to live in conformity to the law of the land, and a disparagement of the group' s becoming involved in partisan politics.

Now widely scattered, the Emin groups are located in various countries of Europe and North America. In 1986 some members established a settlement in Israel that by the mid-1990s had some 130 families in residence.

Membership: Not reported. There are approximately 2,000 adherents scattered in Emin groupings located in 15 countries in North America, Europe, and the Middle East as well as New Zealand and Australia.

Sources:

Barrett, Bavid V. The New Believers: Sects, Cults and Alternative Religions. London: Cassell & Co., 2001.

The Emin. http://www.emin.org/. 7 May 2002.

Shaw, William. Spying in Guru Land: Inside Britain' s Cults. London: Fourth Estate, 1994.

2619

Freedom Church

13211 Myford Rd., No. 332
Tustin, CA 92782

Freedom Church is the religious arm of a larger movement developed to mobilize people who consider themselves to be freedom-loving and self-responsible and committed to living apart from " oppressive" control and taxation by government while freely pursuing their happiness. Freedom Church seeks to restore " Natural law" which it sees as a natural goal based upon the " sinderesis" that exists within each person. It understands natural law to be a rule of conduct that arises by the " natural relations of human beings, established by the Creator." Such relationships have existed prior to any human law-making. Such natural law can be discovered by the use of right reason assisted by Divine revelation. It applies equally to individuals and national entities. A rule of conduct arises out of the natural relations of human beings, established by the Creator, and exists prior to any positive precept. The foundation of this law is placed by the best writers in the will of God, discovered by right reason, and aided by divine revelation; and its principles, when applicable, apply with equal obligation to individuals and to nations.

Sinderesis is viewed as the natural power of the soul that moves the soul toward the good, and leads to an abhorrence of evil. Sinderesis was placed in humans by God and is sometimes called the " law of reason." It is in every person by nature. Freedom Church teaches that no one or entity (such as a nation) is above the Natural Law, and no human sanction can rightfully override or negate the Natural Law.

Freedom Church looks to the Western legal tradition to provide a base for its assertion of natural rights, which its defines as " those rights which grow out of the nature of man and depend upon personality, as distinguished from such as are created by law and depend upon civilized society; or they are those which are plainly assured by natural law; or those which, by fair deduction from the present physical, moral, social, and religious characteristics of man, he must be invested with, and which he ought to have realized for him in a jural society, in order to fulfill the ends to which his nature calls him."

Once individuals become knowledgeable of the present law (and of natural law), and join together with other freedom-loving people residing in close proximity, individuals can force government to concentrate on criminals rather than undue regulation of otherwise law-abiding citizens.

One may join the Freedom Church simply by declaring agreement with its basic principles. Joining the church is seen as nonexclusive and members may be members of another church at the same time.

The church supports the Freedom Law School, founded in 1996 by Peymon Mottahedeh, an Iranian Jew who became an American citizen in 1989. Some of his Iranian relatives had been tortured and executed by the Iranian government. In America, he became concerned with possible mistreatment of citizens by the Internal Revenue Service. Thus Freedom Law School originated as part of an effort to empower people and educate them to oppose " oppressive taxation and control" exercised by the IRS.

Membership: Not reported.

Educational Facilities: Freedom Law School, Phelan, California.

Periodicals: Freedom News.

Sources:

Freedom Church. http://www.freedomchurch.org/. 21 March 2002.

2620

Humanity Benefactor Foundation

University of Lawsonomy
4529 Hwy. 41
Sturtevant, WI 53177

The Humanity Benefactor Foundation and the University of Lawsonomy are the two institutions that grew out of the thinking of Alfred William Lawson (1869-1954), whose thoughts include a system of philosophy and theology, as well as extensive writings on science, health, and economics. Lawson, one of the more creative thinkers in American history, was simultaneously hailed by some as a genius and reviled by critics as a crackpot.

Lawson was born in London, England, but his parents moved to Canada when he was three weeks old, and then to Detroit, Michigan, in 1874. He attended public school, but dropped out and in 1888 began a career in baseball as a pitcher and a manager. He is credited with introducing night baseball in 1901 with a portable electric light system that he carried from city to city. He was both a right and left hand pitcher. He organized more clubs, leagues, and mergers than any other man. A 1908 newspaper wrote: " As an organizer, Lawson perhaps stands without a peer, as history records that he was the father of the Central League and Interstate League, which are now in existence and which are two of the strongest circuits in organized baseball… .When Lawsonfloated the Atlantic League last winter the matter was looked upon as a joke, but Lawson showed his master hand by steering the organization through the season. He managed the Reading (Pennsylvania) club, and in addition to winning the pennant for that city he successfully bucked the invasion of the Tri-State League and cleared up $12,000 profit on the season."

In 1908 he entered the world of aviation and began the first aeronautic magazine, Fly (1908-1909), succeeded by Aircraft (1910-1914). He began flying in 1910. At the beginning of World War I, he became the general manager of a small aircraft company and designed several training planes for the government. As early as 1909 he had conceived of the idea of a passenger airliner, and after the war he found backing to build such a plane. He became president of the Lawson Airplane Company. During 1919 he built and demonstrated the practicality of a passenger plane. While his work on the passenger plane was probably his most lasting contribution, he continued to work in aviation and transportation through the 1920s.

During his years in aviation, Lawson had begun to think about economics and the injustices of the capitalist system. The Great Depression of 1929 became the occasion of his pulling his thoughts together and developing the direct credits alternative system, the outlines of which first appeared in a book, Direct Credits for Everyone, in 1931. In essence, Lawson saw three players in the economic system: labor, capital, and the financiers. He saw the latter as the problem and called upon labor and capital to make common cause against them. He also proposed a new understanding of money, as nothing of value in itself, but as a measure of wealth and of ones ability to facilitate trade. He proposed doing away with interest and placing control of money in the hands of the government. The government would then make available credits to people in the form of grants and interestfree loans to nurture wealth-producing activities.

Lawson gave organizational form to his new economic system through the Direct Credits Society and through the 1930 he gained a large following. Popular support for the direct credits idea waned during the years of World War II and never regained its prewar following. Lawson also continued to expand his thought into other areas and gradually created a whole system of knowledge that came to be known as Lawsonomy, the basic ideas of which were summarized in a three-volume book entitled Lawsonomy (1935-39). In 1943 he purchased the campus of the former Des Moines University and renamed it the Des Moines University of Lawsonomy.

The volumes on Lawsonomy treated some of Lawsons theological ideas. Further elucidation of his religious thought led in 1948 to the establishment of Lawsonian Religion, the basic principles of which were laid down more definitively in a 1949 work, Lawsonian Religion. Lawsonian religion builds upon Lawsonomy, the knowledge of life and the basic laws that govern physical, mental, moral, and spiritual manifestations. It includes the highest understanding of God, the Omniparent who created humanity and is its Benefactor. It espouses a pure birth, clean life, honest dealings, kind treatment to all people (especially to people of different religions), provable education, and perpetual improvement. It is the ultimate goal to bring all humans together for the worship of the one God.

Lawson died in 1954. At a later date the university moved to rural Wisconsin, south of Milwaukee. The Humanity Benefactor Foundation was founded as the publishing arm of the Lawsonomy movement. Students of Lawsonomy may participate by reading Lawsons many books and taking correspondence courses offered by the school. Resident students engage in a self-guided reading and study of Lawsons writings, punctuated by a monthly gathering of the students. Worship services are held at noon on the last Sunday of each month, and include the singing of songs specially geared to the movement.

Membership: Membership is not counted but is national and international. People acquire the Lawson literature and become voluntary students without legal requirements. Associated centers include the Humanity Benefactor Foundation Inc., Box 3243, Melvindale, MI 48122; the Direct Credits Society, Inc., Box 3243, Melvindale, MI 48122; Lawsonian Religion Inc., Box 3243, Melvindale, MI 48122; the Chapel at the of University of Lawsonomy, 4529 Highway 41, Sturtevant, WI 53177; and the Lawsonian Religion churches in Detroit; Wichita, KS; and Murrieta, CA.

Periodicals: Benefactor.

Sources:

Farrell, V. L. A. Lawson: From Bootblack to Emancipator. Detroit, MI: Humanity Benefactor Foundation, 1934. 79 pp.

Henry, Lyell, Jr. Zig-Zag-and-Swirl: Alfred W. Lawson' s Quest for Greatness. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press, 1991. 336 pp.

Lawson, Alfred W. Direct Credits for Everybody. Detroit, MI: Humanity Benefactor Association, 1931. 80 pp.

——. Lawsonian Religion. Detroit, MI: Humanity Benefactor Foundation, 1949. 255 pp.

——. Lawsonomy. 3 vols. Detroit, MI: Humanity Benefactor Association, 1935-39.

Taylor, Margaret C., and Arlene Osmun. Songs of Lawsonomy. Detroit, MI: Humanity Benefactor Foundation, 1961. 247 pp.

2621

Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ)

1617 Southgate Ave.
Dale City, CA 94015

Alternate Address: International headquarters: 1, Central Ave., New Era, Diliman Quezen City, 1107 Philippines.

the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) was founded in the Philippines by Felix Manalo Isugan (1886-1963), who was born a Roman Catholic but later became a member of several Protestant churches. Then 1913, however, he felt a call of God to establish a new church. The Iglesio ni Cristo was incorporated in 1914 as World War I began. While started as simply the Iglesia ni Cristo or Church of Christ, Filipinos began to refer to it as the " Manalists." Growth was slow until after World War II, but then membership began to expand rapidly.

The Iglesia ni Cristo has adopted a traditional Protestant Christian view but modified it at several points that have formed a serious barrier between it an other churches. The church rejects the doctrine of the Trinity (which it considers polytheistic) and view Jesus not as God but as the messiah. The founder is viewed aprophet, the title in Spanish being sugo, the last prophet of God. They have rejected the immortality of the soul, and adopted a sectarian view called conditionalism (in which they agree with the Adventists) that suggests the dead remain in their graves until called forth at the last judgment. The church has become quite controversial, the attacks having begun with the church' s own persistent denouncing of the Roman Catholic Church.

Among their more unique view is their acceptance of the biblical command not to drink blood (a view similar to that of the Jehovah' s Witnesses). In the Philippines this belief has a cultural implication in that there is a popular dish, dinuguan, prepared with cooked animal blood, that church members refuse to consume.

The church had located it headquarters for international missions in the United States. Its unique views and obvious success has brought it to the attention of Christian counter-cultist who oppose its doctrinal differences with orthodox Protestantism.

Membership: There is an estimated Philippines membership in excess of 500,000. There are some 5,300 members in Europe, and several thousand in North America.

Periodicals: God' s Message.

Sources:

Iglesia ni Cristo. http://www.thetruemessage.com. 11 April 2002.

Tuggi, A. Leonard. Iglesia ni Cristo: A Study in Independent Church Dynamics. Quezon City: Conservative Baptist Publishing, 1976.

——. " Iglesia ni Cristo: An Angel and His Church." In David J. Hesselgrave, ed. Dynamic Religious Movement: Case Studies of Rapidly Growing Religious Movements around the World. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1978, pp. 85-101.

2622

Initiatives of Change

1156 15th St. NW, Ste. 910
Washington, DC 20005-1704

Initiatives of Change, formerly known as Moral Re-Armament, is a world-wide network of people who are committed to transformation in society based on change in individuals.

Dr. Frank N. Buchman (1878-1961) was an American Lutheran minister from Pennsylvania who, early in his ministerial career, had started a hostel in Philadelphia for underprivileged boys. A fight with his trustees led to his separation from the hostel, leaving him personally exhausted. In 1908, while traveling in Great Britain, he experienced a change of heart in a Keswick chapel. Buchman began to share his experience of release from resentment with others and became the center of an international fellowship, the First Century Christian Fellowship. The fellowship emerged in the early 1920s and included many students from both Cambridge University and Oxford University. The group was later dubbed the Oxford Group; the group becaume known for its " house parties" , group settings in which guidance and sharing was promoted.

Buchman taught that God could become real to anyone who was willing to believe in Him. Estrangement from God is man' s fault, and is caused by moral compromise. People needed examine their lives against the standards of absolute purity, unselfishness, and love. The recovery of personal morality proceedes and leads to the recovery of social morality. Buchman emphasised the need for sharing and guidance. Sharing consists of the confession of one' s sins and failures to another member of the group. Guidance could come directly from God during quiet moments when individuals record their inner thoughts. During the 1930s, the Oxford Group became known for its " house parties," group settings in which sharing was promoted. These house parties also became a source of controversy with critics charging that participants indulged in embarrassing confessions.

During the late 1920s, many Princeton University students became affiliated with the Oxford Group. However, because of opposition aroused due to the nature and content of the sharing sessions, the university kicked the movement off campus. An investigation by a university commission found the charges without weight and not only invited the group back on campus but gave it credit for the high moral standards. The president of the school invited Buchman to conduct a chapel service with him.

In 1938, as Europe armed, Buchman reached the firm conviction that the next great world movement must be one for moral and spiritual rearmament. The Oxford Group' s program for Moral Re-Armament (MRA), the name by which it then became known, was launched that year. Many of those trained by the program enlisted in the several armies or took part in resistance movements. In America, a group was deferred by the Selective Service that they might undertake a patriotic, morale building program, " You Can Defend America." General John J. Pershing lent strong support to the effort and wrote the foreword for the program' s handbook.

After the war a group of Swiss acquired a large hotel, above Montreux, in the village of Caux, to offer Europe a platform for MRA' s work of healing and reconciliation. Likening their efforts to an ideological equivalent of the Marshall Plan, MRA established a program which brought together those who had been on different sides of the war. The first group of Germans allowed to leave Germany by the Allied Occupation Forces came to Caux for meetings. In like measure the Japanese came. In 1986, Prime Minister Nakasone publically underlined the important role MRA played in building modern Japan.

After Buchman' s death in 1961, MRA continued under an informal international leadership committed to the ideals of seeing the world governed by people who were governed by God. They also continued Buchman' s emphasis on the discipline of spending time in quiet each morning to listen for God' s guidance, and accepting the fact that change begins with oneself.

In the United States during the 1960s, Up With People, a program developed under MRA auspices, began to gain some fame because of a touring singing group made up of youth members. In 1968 the individuals associated with Up With People and the affiliated Pace Publications, severed all connection with MRA; in 1999 Up With People was disbanded.

In 2001 MRA changed its name to Initiatives of Change (IC) and established for the first time an international body under the name Initiatives of Change-International. It is headquartered in Switzerland and its first chair is Cornelio Sommaruga. IC continues to function as a network of independent national organizations, each organized as a charity or appropriate body in its own land. A similar training center is located in Panchgani, India, with smaller facilities in Australia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Japan, and Great Britian. IC is registered in over 40 countries.

Membership: Initiatives of Change is not a membership organization. It has a small staff, but most of its work is carried out around the world by volunteers.

Periodicals: Breakthroughs. • For a Change. Send orders to 24 Greencoat Pl., London SW1P 1RD, England.

Remarks: Buchman was accused by his detractors of being sympathetic to Nazism. In the recent biography, Frank Buchman– A Life, author Garth Lean suggests that while he may have been naive about the prospect of " changing" Hitler, he was equally the victim of a smear campaign. Much of that campaign was spearheaded by journalist Tom Driberg, who has since been discovered to have been an agent of the KGB. On the other hand, several decades of observation of IC has revealed no alignment either ideologically or in its policies and program to Nazism.

Sources:

Buchman, Frank N. Remaking the World. London: Blandford Press, 1961.

Driberg, Tom. The Mystery of Moral-Re-Armament. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965.

Eister, Allen W. Drawing-Room Conversion. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1950.

Entwistle, Basil, and John McCook Roots. Moral Re-Armament, What Is It? Los Angeles: Pace Publications, 1967.

Howard, Peter. The World Rebuilt. London: Blandford Press, 1951.

Lean, Garth. Frank Buchman: A Life. London: Constable, 1985.

——. On the Tail of a Comet. Colorado Springs, CO: Helmes and Howard, IA.

Williamson, Geoffrey. Inside Buchmanism. New York: Philosophical Library, 1955.

2623

JeungSanDo

936 S. Crenshaw Blvd., No. 307
Los Angeles, CA 90019

Alternate Address: International headquarters: 425-26 Sunhwa-dohng, Joong-gu Taejon 301-051, Republic of (South) Korea. Canadian center: Toronto Doh-jahng, 153 Spalding Rd., Toronto, ON, Canada M3K 1K3.

JeungSanDo (or Jeung Sanh Doh) is a new Korean religious movement, a Tao or Way, that embodies the teachings of Kang Ilsun Sah-ok (1871-1909), better known as SangJeNim, believed by members to be the incarnation of the Lord God who ruled with the Triune God. He came from heaven to fulfill both the Buddhist prophecy of the coming Maitreya and the Christian prophecy of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. JeungSanDo teachings identify Shang-ti (Confucianism), the Jade Emperor (Taoism), Maitreya (Buddhism), and God (in Western traditions), and SangJeNim is the embodiment of this entity.

Kang is believed to have experienced sudden enlightenment in 1877, though he waited until 1894 to begin his work of saving and enlightening the world. In 1901, working invisible realms, he defeated all evils, opened the Great Gate of Spirituality, and began the work of Reconstructing Heaven and Earth. At this time he also began to call a group of disciples around him. He designated the first disciple, Kim Hyong-yol, the keeper of the Way of JeungSan-Do. SangJeNim suggested that a new world would arise in the relatively near future.

Having proclaimed that men and women were equal, in 1907 SangJeNim was called Ko Pam-lye (1880-1935) and Sabu, the Head of all Women. After his death in 1909, Lady Ko, now known as Tae-mo-nim (Holy Mother), succeeded him as leader of the movement. She (rather than Kim Hyong-yol) assumed the task of propagating the faith. She taught the new T' aeulju mantra, the chanting of which is believed to provide a lifeline to the enlightening and healing energy of T' aeul Heaven, the womb of the universe. Along with the mantra, she also taught a set of 16 tai chi movements (slow, controlled, and synchronized with the breath) that correspond to the sound symbols of the mantra. The movements are believed to activate the healing energy (chi) from the universe and to expel the toxic energies from the body. Each movement is also correlated to the function of one or more internal organs.

JeungSanDo experienced sporadic growth through the disruptions of life in Korea in the middle of the twentieth century, but has experienced new life in the decades after the Korean War. It initially spread throughout South Korea and then internationally. It became visible in North America in the 1990s. The 1995 publication of an English-edition of the account of the founder' s supernatural work, JeungSanDo DoJeon, has facilitated its movement intoEnglish-speaking lands.

Membership: Not reported. In 2002, there were seven centers in the United States and one in Canada. Additional centers are found in Japan, the Philippines, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

Sources:

JeungSanDo. http://www.autumncalling.com/. 25 January 2002.

JeungSanDo DoJeon. Seoul, Korea: Daewon Publishing Co., 1995.

2624

Kennedy Worshippers

Current address not obtained for this edition.

Shortly after the death of the charismatic President John F. Kennedy, people began to claim contact with his spirit. They began ascribing healings of many serious diseases, some congenital and/ or terminal, to that spirit. By 1970 more than 100 such reports were on file. Coincidental with these accounts of miracles was the emergence of a loosely organized movement in which John F. Kennedy was an object of worship. The first manifestations were home shrines centered upon pictures of Kennedy. In 1972 Farley McGivern organized a John F. Kennedy Memorial Temple in Los Angeles to provide headquarters for the movement. To believers, Kennedy is thought of as a god. McGivern believed that Kennedy gave his life for his people, to warn them of the evil around them.

The existence of this movement has been known only through the occasional encounters by reporters with people who claim to be a part of it. To most people involved in it, their belief is a very private matter which is rarely shared with others, even close friends. Hence, little information about it exists.

Membership: In the 1970s, 2,000 adherents around the United States were reported.

2625

Mandeans

℅ Lamea Abbas Amara 5757
Lake Murray Blvd., No. 50
La Mesa, CA 91942-2212

The Mandeans, a group that can be traced to the ancient Gnostics, was rediscovered by Western scholars in the seventeenth century. The Gnostics (from the Greek " gnosis" or wisdom), were believed for many centuries to have completely disappeared, but were found in Iraq, where there are major centers in Baghdad and Basra and smaller communities located in the towns along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Early Christian missionaries in the region saw them as surviving remnants of the followers of John the Baptist mentioned in the biblical book of Acts, and Muslim referred to them as " baptizers." This latter term, which appears in the Qu' ran, has allowed the Mandeans to survive in the years since Islam has dominated the land.

The Mandeans appear to have originated in Palestine as a Jewish sect in the first century B.C.E. They later absorbed beliefs and practices (including baptism) from both the John the Baptist movement and the early Christians. They left Palestine probably toward the beginning of the second century C.E. They settled in Mesopotamia but much of their early history was lost during the third century as Zorastrianism gained the ascendancy. Once the Muslims conquered Mesopotamia in the seventh century, they were recognized as a " people of the Book" and received official toleration.

The Mandeans are traditionally led by its ethnarch (" the head of the people" ). He oversees the hierarchy of bishops and priests. The office of ethnarch has, however, remained vacant since the beginning of the twentieth century, and today the community is led by a community of clergy and laity. It appears that most of the clerical leadership was killed in an epidemic in 1830 and that educated laypeople assumed a significant leadership role which they have retained.

Mandean teachings divide the cosmos into the world of light (the north) and the world of darkness (the south). A ruler leads each realm. The world has emerged as a consequence of the battle between light and darkness (good and evil). Humans, a product of darkness, possess a soul, a core of light. The soul is freed at death and begins a pilgrimage to the light realm.

There are a set of sacred books used by the Mandeans, but the Ginza (" Treasure" ) is the central book. It centers prominently in the mass for the dead (masiqta), a ceremony marking the release of the soul from the body and its " ascent" on its afterlife journey. The Jewish heritage is also marked by dietary laws (that include the ritual slaughtering of animals) and alms-giving. Worship occurs in a sanctuary (mandi), a fenced-in area usually built adjacent to a river, the water of which is diverted to provide a baptismal pool with flowing water. Baptism is central to Mandean worship, and is integral to each Sunday' s worship service. Every member participates several times per year. Mandean baptism, unlike its Christian equivalent, it is not simply a once in a lifetime event.

Membership: As of 2002, an estimated 15-to 20,000 Madeans are found in southeastern Iraq. There is one small community in Khuzistan, Iran. There are several hundred Mandeans in the United States, the result of migrations that began in the 1980s. Small communities also exist in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and various locations in Europe (including the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Holland).

Periodicals: Mandaee.

Sources:

The Australian Mandeans. http://www.mandaean.com.au/index.html. 1 December 2001.

Foerster, Werner. Gnosis: A Selection of Gnostic Texts. II. Coptic and Mansdean Sources. London: Clarendon Press, 1974.

The Gnostic Society Library. http://www.webcom.com/~gnosis/library/mand.htm. 1 December 2001.

Mandean World. http://www.geocities.com/usamandaean/who.html. 1 December 2001.

Rudolph, Kurt. Gnosis: The Nature & History of Gnosticism. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1983.

Yamauchi, E. M. Gnostic Ethics and Mandaean Origins. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970.

2626

The New Church

(Defunct)

The New Church was founded by N. N. New in the first decade of the twentieth century, but grew out of the previous work of John Fair New, a nineteenth century religious lecturer who had previously founded a New Life Society and the New Life Church. John Fair New had become convinced early in life that Christianity was a life, that this life must begin at birth, and that a new birth initiated a new life. This new life is based upon the the understanding that Jesus is essentilly identical with God the Father, that the divinity and humanity of God are one, and hence God and man are the same being. Jesus is the highest example of the divine man. This discovery of the new life principle led to the further discovery of the power of prayer to heal all illnesses.

John Fair New passed along his teachings to his son N. N. New, who established headquarters in San Francisco, California, and London, England, and continued his father' s work. He published his father' s lectures in 1909 and shortly afterward issued his own version of the teachings as a booklet, Newology, The New Bible.

Essential to the movement was the emphasis upon healing. Newological medicine centered upon conscious cooperation with God, promised reconstruction of the human body, perpetual youth, and even physical immortality to the adherents. Adherents were discouraged from wearing black, the color of sin, poverty, despair, disease, and death. The use of alcoholic beverages was forbidden. New also believed that hair was the last remnant of horns and will disappear as Man evolves. All races will loose their hair as they grow white, intellectual, and spiritual. The New Church also advocated vegetarianism.

New' s efforts met with some response within the larger metaphysical movement. Operating under the label of Newthot Science, New proposed the establishment of a NewThot Church (over which he would be the archbishop), printing plant and university. He began to enroll people in the university for $10 for which he was indicted for fraudulent use of the mails. Convicted in 1917, New was found by the court to be an imposter who regularly indulged in the very actions which he forbade to his followers. The conviction effectively ended the church.

Sources:

New, John Fair. The New Life Theology. New York: New Inc., Publishers, 1909.

New, N. N. Newology, the New Bible. San Francisco: Newthot Publishers,n.d.

Rubenstein, I. H. Law on Cults. Chicago: Ordain Press, 1981.

2627

New Enlightened Inspired Living

Current address not obtained for this edition.

New Enlightened Inspired Living is the designation given the movement inspired by and the program of Neil Howard Brandt (b.1946), who has in recent years assumed the name David Neil and has announced that he is the Messiah, The King of Kings, and NEIL (the New Enlightened Inspired Leader).

According to Neil, he first came to know of his messiahship in 1973 when he was given a vision of the future. He saw himself surrounded by a group of reporters who were shouting " The Messiah! The Messiah!" Two years later he had a second vision in which he saw newspapers with dates from the future proclaiming him as the Messiah in bold headlines accompanied by his picture. An initial story on his claims ran in 1975 in The Marin Independent Journal. However, few were aware of Neil' s claims until he published his autobiography and began a campaign to announce his mission.

Neil claims to at one time having been King David and Jesus Christ. However, he claims not to be a perfect person, rather an instrument of God. As he put it, " I co-habit my actual thinking mind with another consciousness." This God force now resides within him. The ability to access God' s energy means he is able to influence major world events.

The messianic program is termed NEIL Deal. It includes a new government with a global rather than a national base and an international peacekeeping army, navy, and air force. Economically, it calls for a balanced national budget, new housing starts, and reduced federal income tax.

Having just announced his presence, it is yet to be seen whether he and his program will develop a following or be taken seriously.

Membership: Unknown.

Sources:

Neil, David. I Am the Messiah!. Novato, CA: The Author, 1992.

2628

The Nudist Christian Church of the Blessed Virgin Jesus

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Nudist Christian Church of the Blessed Virgin Jesus grew out of a revelation received by the church' s founder, Zeus Cosmos. During 1985, while a student at Iowa State University, he asked direction from God. The Spirit of Jesus Christ was sent to Zeus Cosmos, directing him to the West, where he would meet God. He journeyed to the Canaan Wilderness (which he renamed the Zeus Cosmos Nudist National Wilderness) near the Utah-Arizona border. God and the angel Ephygeneia, both naked, appeared to him, directing him to a cave on a nearby ridge. While engaged in a fast and living in a cave, Zeus Cosmos again met " God the Almighty the Triune God" and an angel. God gave him an additional revelation to be added to the Bible, called the Book of Zeus. It was to be placed next to the Book of Revelation.

The Book of Zeus begins with an admonishment for the Mormon polygamists to give up their adulterous pagan practices and their beliefs in the inferiority of the black race. Zeus Cosmos was told of the holy land of the Nudist Christian people northwest of the Grand Canyon where a city, Cosmos, would be built. Here men and women would have godly respect for each other, their nakedness, and the wholesome natural body.

It is the belief of the church that the human body is God' s creation. Nudity means cleanliness, honesty, family atmosphere, modesty at its best, freedom, and goodliness. Life with nudity reduces sexual hang-ups, problems caused by undue expectations of one' s body, pornography, and crime. The church actively seeks the establishment of clothes-optional public areas across the United States.

Membership: Not reported.

2629

Perfect Liberty Kyodan

700 S. Adams St.
Glendale, CA 91205

Perfect Liberty Kyodan was founded in Japan in 1946 by Tokuchika Miki, but its origin goes back to 1912 when Kanada Tokumitsu, an Osaka cutlery dealer, founded the Shinto-Tokumitsu-Kyo (the divine way taught by Tokumitsu). The original group used elements of both Shingon Buddhism and Shintoism, drawing from them an emphasis on art and nature. Tokuchika' s father, Tokuharu Miki, a Zen priest, joined Tokumitsu' s group and brought into it an emphasis upon meditation. In 1919 Tokuharu inherited the leadership role. The group grew and changed its name several times before being suppressed during the 1930s. Tokuchika, who became the Oshieoya (Patriarch) in 1936, spent the final years of World War II in prison. Perfect Liberty was permanently established after his release from prison during the Allied occupancy. Perfect Liberty became the only one of the postwar Japanese religions to adopt an official English name. Tokuchika wanted the faith' s cosmopolitan nature to be reflected in its name.

The teachings of Perfect Liberty are summarized in " Twenty-One Precepts." The first and most important is that " Life is Art," by which Tokuchika means that it is all important to see one' s life as a total pattern, a single unified work of Art. Art is a striving to overcome limitation. It is a molding of what is outside of oneself into a form that is both true to itself and an expression of the artist. Life itself becomes a work of art by the artist' s self. The remaining precepts provide guidelines for the artistic life.

The center of worship in Perfect Liberty is the asamairi, a daily morning service which starts before 5 A.M., and lasts about an hour. In the service each member pledges himself to lead an artistic life during the day. Leading the service is an appointed leader who is able to give mioshie, or divine instruction. Worship is directed toward Mioya-okami, the parent God.

The artistic nature of Perfect Liberty is expressed in worship and festivals. On August 1 of each year, a giant Founder' s Day festival is held at the Perfect Liberty Seichi. Oshieoya' s birthday is celebrated on April 8. These are times for massive displays of art, dance, fireworks, and music. The Perfect Liberty peace tower is a large modern sculpture on the grounds in Osaka. The headquarters are also the site of modern buildings, a golf course, a memorial garden, baseball grounds, and works of art.

Perfect Liberty came to the United States in 1960 when several immigrants began missionary work. A minister arrived in 1961. By 1972 the group had expanded, and a center, modeled on the one in Japan, was constructed in the Santa Monica Mountains above Los Angeles.

Membership: In 1974 Perfect Liberty had approximately 5,000 members in six churches and 15 missions in the United States, all on the West Coast. Approximately twenty-five percent of the membership is drawn from black and Spanish-speaking communities.

Sources:

Bach, Marcus. The Power of Perfect Liberty. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1971.

Yashima, Jiro. An Essay on the Way of Life. N.p., 1950.

2630

The Truth

(Defunct)

The Truth was an organization founded by Peter Crames (b.1957) in September 1983 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Crames, born into the Jewish faith, had a deep spiritual crisis that precipitated a spiritual quest. The quest climaxed in November 1982 when Crames realized he was a machine controlled by God. During the next year he composed an essay that explained this basic truth and published it as a booklet entitled The Truth That Will Make You Free. While writing the essay, Crames claimed that God informed him that he was the messiah, the one who was to fulfill Christs mission of establishing Gods kingdom on earth. Crames has circulated the essay locally and nationally through magazine advertisements.

The essence of " The Truth" revealed that " the universe is one large mechanical machine whose movements, including Human thoughts and actions, are planned and caused by one God." The universe began with Gods first cause, the Big Bang. Everything was determined from that initial thrust. God does have a plan for the universe, though it is as yet unknown to humankind. The state of sin was equated with our ignorance of the Truth, and the state of salvation with our knowledge of it. At the time of salvation, individuals would be born again with Gods personality.

For many years Crames circulated some 2,500 copies of his essay, but by the mid-1990s had made no converts. In the meantime, he had concluded that the essay was not as accurate as the Bible. He abandoned the essay and became a Bible student.

Sources:

Crames, Peter. The Truth That Will Make You Free. Cambridge, MA: The Author, 1984.

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"Unclassified Religious Groups." Encyclopedia of American Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Unclassified Religious Groups." Encyclopedia of American Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/unclassified-religious-groups

"Unclassified Religious Groups." Encyclopedia of American Religions. . Retrieved September 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/unclassified-religious-groups

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