BRIEF REPORTS from INVESTIGATOR MAGAZINE 70 to 79
Investigator 70 to 79 (2000 January to 2001 July)
INVESTIGATOR 70, 2000 January
NO-FOOD WOMAN FAILS
Investigator 69 briefly reported on Ellen Greve (also called Jasmuheen) who teaches that it's possible to survive on air and sunshine without food and water.
The Queensland president of the Australian Medical Association, Beres Wenck, monitored Jasmuheen's health after she accepted a challenge by the TV program 60 Minutes to fast for a week.
After four days Jasmuheen lost 6kg and was dehydrated and the experiment was terminated. Her excuse – despite having agreed to the conditions – was that the air was polluted.
This failure to go for a week has negative implications for the $100,000 Skeptics challenge to Jasmuheen to fast for a month without weight loss.
Recent media reports have attributed three deaths in part to following the ideals of "Breatharianism" i.e. living on air and sunshine.
END OF MILLENNIUM CELEBRATIONS STILL FUTURE
Our calendar reflects a calculation – perhaps a faulty one – as to when Jesus was born. There are many other calendars:
- The new-year for Buddhists in Tibet is February 6.
- China, Korea and Vietnam follow a Lunar calendar with a different new-year date each year.
- In India different religions have different new-years such as March 21, April 13 and April 14, August 22.
- In Japan the reign of each new Emperor's starts with the year 1.
Most estimates for the year of Christ's birth are 7 BC or 4 BC with a few saying 2 BC or 1 BC.<>Furthermore, since by our Gregorian Calendar there was no year 0 and the year after 1 BC is 1 AD, the second millennium ends with December 31 2000 AD not with December 31 1999.
VOTING IN ELECTIONS IS NOW O.K.
The Governing Body of JWs (which invents the JW doctrines) has changed another major doctrine.
For about 80 years JWs had to abstain from voting in political elections or be excommunicated. Excommunication in turn implied loss of eternal life and made the salvation purchased for mankind by the death of Jesus, as taught by Christians, worthless for JW voters.
In November 1999 voting became a conscience matter. (The Watchtower 1999 November 1 pp 28-29)
When altering ethics, commands and policies the Governing Body often presents the previous stance as a conscience matter. When the WTS ban on vaccination was revoked in 1952 and the WTS ban on tissue transplants in 1980, such issues became conscience matters.
Some observers suggest that rejection of blood transfusions will – after thousands of needless deaths – also become a conscience matter.
After a policy is left to conscience it fades away. JWs now routinely accept vaccinations and tissue transplants and there are articles in medical journals on transplants in JWs without blood transfusion.
A SIGNIFICANT DECISION
Something as minor as moving a finger an inch can change the history of the world.
Bizarre magazine for July 1998 tells of Private Henry Tandey (died 1977) who won the VC on September 28 1918 at the battle of Marcoing. While aiming at a German corporal Tandey realized the man was already wounded and so did not pull the trigger. The wounded corporal was Adolf Hitler.
In 1940 when Hitler's Luftwaffe bombed England Tandey said: "I'm sorry to God I let him go."
PARANORMAL ON THE INCREASE
Fortean Times magazine has a yearly "Wierdness Index" based on stories received by FT. The issue of 1999 March showed the trend:
1993 – 3,520; 1994 – 3,450; 1996 – 3,480; 1997 – 3,620; 1998 – 3,770.
Increases in 1998 over 1997 included Apparitions, Close Encounters, Weeping Statues, Miracles, Poltergeists, UFOs. Crop circles remained steady and Spontaneous Human Combustion declined.
INVESTIGATOR 71, 2000 March
Investigator 36 showed that the famous 1934 photo of the Loch Ness Monster was a hoax. However, sightings continue:
Past Investigator treatment of "Bigfoot" (e.g. Investigator No. 8) was skeptical and whimsical. However, there is a "Science Institute" that takes Bigfoot seriously:
Would you like to talk to a Yeti? Try:
GOD GIVEN TALENT
Northern Territory skeptic Brian De Kretser objected to people who win contests or have lucky escapes and attribute their success to God. (Investigator 69 p. 5)
His latest example is a press clipping about Pakistan cricket player, Shoaib Akhtar, who is quoted saying: "I want to be the first bowler to bowl at 100 miles per hour" and "My talent is god-given."
"POSSESSED" GIRL KILLED
An 11-year-old-girl was beaten to death in Stockholm by parents who believed her to be "possessed by evil spirits". The Northern Territory News (1999 Dec. 27 p. 9) cited Aftonbladet (a Stokholm daily) that neighbours heard "terrible thuds and screams for a day-and-a-half" alternating with crying, singing and clapping.
FBI WATCHES 1000 CULTS
The Sunday Territorian (1999 Dec. 26) reported that the FBI monitors 1000 US sects and was on the lookout for possible sectarian terrorist acts in the new millennium. In Florida and California militia members were arrested for allegedly planning to dynamite power pylons and [also] blow up 90 million litres of propane gas.
Of course, as argued previously in Investigator, the new millennium actually starts with 2001 and not 2000!
GAMBLERS STILL LOSING
Adelaide's Sunday Mail (2000 Jan. 30) reported that South Australians lost $465 million last year to poker machines of which $200 million went to the State Government as taxes and $263 million went to hotels and clubs.
TIRHAKAH (TAHARQA) SHOWS UP
Relevant to Anonymous' article THE GOD OF THE PROPHETS VERSUS THE ASSYRIAN EMPIRE is a press clipping titled Bike rack ancientstatue. (The Advertiser 2000 February 5 p. 49) The press report is about Tirhakah of Egypt (who tried to intervene when Sennacherib devastated Judah) and starts off:LONDON: A piece of polished stone used by museum staff as a bicycle rack has turned out to be a 2700-year-old statue of King Taharqa.The 68cm sculpture lay in a Southampton Museum for a century until noticed by two Egyptologists!
CYCLONE AND STORM "PREDICTIONS"
Brian De Kretser of Darwin is skeptical of people who predict cyclones. He writes: "We have this every year since I've been here (30 years)."
Copies of press reports, supplied by De Kretser, say that on average ten cyclones develop over tropical Australia every wet season and two or three of them affect or approach the Northern Territory.
INVESTIGATOR 72, 2000 May
REMOVING THE DEVIL
Another exorcism death has occurred. The Northern Territory News reported that a woman, 34, of NSW went into a trance at an Assembly of God meeting after which she believed her four-year-old son was possessed of the Devil. The next day she allegedly tried to get rid of the Devil by stomping on the boy's chest, placing him in a scalding bath, and pouring boiling water into his eyes and mouth. (December 15)
For similar reports see Investigator 8, 29, 38, 40, and 50.
GHOST STUDY COURSE
The topic of ghosts has become infrequent in Investigator. If you feel let down go to the Internet and find the International Ghost Hunter's Society.
The site includes an ad for the IGHS Certified Ghost Hunters Course for US$149.95. This is a home study course for Certified Ghost Hunter Certification and includes 23 separate topics such as:
1 Folklore and Traditions; 6 Poltergeists and Apparitions; 9 Ghost Hunting Tools; 11-16 Ghost Photography; 21 Careers and Jobs as Certified Ghost Hunter.
You can: "Learn the tricks of the trade for capturing fantastic ghost photos."
The web site is unclear regarding which meaning of "certified" is intended. Funk & Wagnall's Dictionary gives three meanings including: "Legally committed to a mental institution."
LOST ROMAN CITY IN CHINA!
Legionnaires of the Roman Empire may have built a city in China! This theory – by Adelaide author David Harris – was mentioned in Investigator No. 6. Now, eleven years later, it seems Mr Harris, 57, is right. (Sunday Mail 2000 April 9 p. 51) Parthians defeated Roman general Crassus in Mesopotamia in 53 BC and sent captured legionnaires east to defend Parthia's borders against the Chinese.About 145 Romans were later captured by Chinese general Ch'en T'ang near Tashkent in Central Asia. They were sent to the Great Wall of China in modern-day Gansu province where they built a fortress, Li-jien, which continued to exist for about 800 years. Harris found the ruins in 1989. The Chinese Government has declared them a national relic. There are plans to identify Chinese of Roman ancestry using DNA technology.
INVESTIGATOR 73, 2000 July<>
EMPLOYMENT IN THE CHURCH >
Careers that last a lifetime are getting fewer – careers in religion being an exception. In South Australia 942,000 people belong to a denomination including Roman Catholic (300,000), Anglican Church (225,000) and the Uniting Church (180,000). The churches collectively are the State's largest private-sector employer. Becoming a Catholic priest includes training at a seminary and an academic course at university. Once you're a priest you're supplied with accommodation, a car and running expenses, a travelling allowance, sometimes a housekeeper, plus $10,000 for living expenses – a package approximately equal to $30,000 per annum. (The Advertiser 2000 April 22 p. 99) However, consider this:
Priests are dying [of AIDS related illnesses] at a rate at least four times that of the US population, according to estimates from medical experts…and an analysis of health statistics by The Kansas City Star newspaper. (Sunday Mail 2000 January 30 p. 22)
A MOTHER AT 90
Awake! (1986 Dec. 8 p. 31) cited the Bombay newspaper Times of India that "a 90-year-old woman Luxmi, wife of 92-year-old Asha Ram, gave birth to a baby girl" in the village of Kalwasia in India. The newborn died soon afterwards. The intent behind the Awake! item may have been to suggest the Bible is correct in stating that Abraham's wife Sarah was 90 when she gave birth to Isaac. However, Guinness World Records 2000 knows nothing about the event in India and puts the oldest mother at 63.
MIRACLE-CURE ADS NEED EVIDENCE
Herbs, aromatherapy, vitamins and other non-prescription health-care products are now subject to new promotional regulations.
The Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code put out in April by the Federal Government requires that advertising claims of wonder cures for cancer, arthritis, obesity, etc, must be supported by evidence.
Consumers must not be told a product is a sure cure, or be encouraged to diagnose themselves or inappropriately treat themselves.
Medical centres and chemists have brochures explaining the Code.
In March and April police in Uganda found the bodies of 925 cult members at four locations. In the town of Kanungu 530 burnt to death in a boarded up church and bodies of six strangled were found outside. Mass graves of 153 and 81 strangled and stabbed victims were later found at two of the cult's compounds. A further 155 dead, mainly children, were found in graves at the home of a cult leader – Father Dominic Kataribabo, 64 – who later died in the fire at Kanungu.
Police speculated that the motive for the murders was fraud. The main leader, Joseph Kibwetere, 68, of the ten-year-old cult had predicted the world's end for December 31, 1999. In preparation the sect members donated their goods, land and money and lived lives of fasting silence and prayer. However, when Armageddon did not come many wanted back what they donated.
Leaders of the cult therefore apparently organized mass murder and then went into hiding. The name of the cult was The Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments – a name that the leaders clearly did not live up to. (Time Australia April 10; Herald Sun March 30 p. 29; April 2 p. 42)
Idi Amin's brutal rule in Uganda from 1971 to 1979, followed by AIDS, poverty and urbanisation provided a setting in which end-of-the-world cults could arise and flourish.
Other cult suicides/murders in recent decades were:1978 Jonestown, 913 deaths in Guyana;
1985 Ara Tribe, 60 deaths in the Philippines;
1993 Branch Davidian cult, 85 deaths in Texas;
1994 Solar Temple, 69 deaths in Canada, France and Switzerland;
1997 Heavens Gate. 39 deaths in California.
Deaths among Jehovah's Witnesses since 1945 due to rejection of blood transfusion – although not classed as murder or suicide – have been estimated at about 3,000. (Investigator No. 12 pp 20-27)
SOUTH AUSTRALIANS WARNED AGAINST PSYCHICS
The Office of Consumer and Business affairs issued a warning against a "Queensland psychic scheme". According to a Consumer Affairs spokesman, Paula Zikorski guarantees winnings of $200,000 and luck in love to people who send her $49.95:"For those who respond, Zikorski says she will send them lucky numbers, a lucky date, a personal horoscope, a bad spell report and a lucky talisman blessed by her." (Sunday Mail 2000 May 7 p. 43)The spokesman said that the address used by Zikorski has been used by other "psychics" in recent years – last year by one Madeleine Mochot, and in 1998 by James Simpson Winslow who used a "Pythagorean Pyramid" to predict winning lottery numbers.
SECOND MIRACLE IMAGE ALONGSIDE FIRST
Christ Church at Yankalilla, a small town about 50km south of Adelaide, received international attention in 1996 when theology graduate Susan Fehlberg viewed irregularities in the plaster above the altar as an image of the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus.
A television documentary on the image was shown around the world and pilgrims and tourists flocked to Yankalilla. (Investigator 50/44; 56/23; 61/14)
In February this year the parish priest of the 150-year-old church, Father Andrew Nutter, noticed a second image slightly above and to the left of the first image. The second image is said to be of a man's head with shoulder-length hair and is interpreted to be Jesus as an adult. (Sunday Mail 2000 April 23 p. 9)
PROGRAMS QUIETER, ADS LOUDER
If your TV room is next to a bedroom you may have had the experience of someone, trying to sleep, yelling at you to turn down the volume when commercials came on.
Networks have denied what many of us have experienced – that commercials are broadcast at greater volume.
The Daily Telegraph conducted checks on all commercial channels by measuring the sound level. Channel 10 measured an increase of four decibels during advertising and Channels 9 and 7 and increase of 3:
"The human ear perceived the change in volume as an increase of about 40 per cent." (The Advertiser 2000 January 29 p. 41)
BENJAMIN CREME AND SHARE INTERNATIONAL
Investigator used to reprint copies of The Emergence. This pamphlet lists the appearances of "Maitreya" at gatherings of religious people. Maitreya is described as a world teacher who fulfils the return of Christ and who is about to gain world-acceptance and bring about world-wide prosperity.
In the 1970s Benjamin Crème – at that time a major figure in the New Age movement – announced Maitreya's appearance on the world scene for 1982.
When Maitreya did not show up Crème lost much of his influence but continued his teaching via the Share International Foundation.
Benjamin Crème was born in Scotland in 1922. From age 14 until about 1945 he developed as an artist doing paintings. Then he turned to the occult and read the writings of Helena P Blavatsky, Charles W Leadbeater, Swami Vivekananda, Swami Sivananda Saraswati and others.
The main influence, however, was Alice Bailey the alleged scribe for an Ascended Master named Djwhal Khul. Bailey channelled 19 books between 1919 and 1960. In The Reappearance of Christ (1948) she predicted that a new world-teacher would soon appear.
In 1953 Crème studied George Adamski's first books about extraterrestrials in flying saucers visiting Earth. He joined a UFO contactee group called the Aetherius Society in 1957 and learned to transmit cosmic energy from aliens.
In 1959 Crème responded to an internal message to go to London to meet persons unknown. There he found out about Maitreya.
Crème then resumed his painting career. In 1972 he formed a group to "transmit" energies from a Maitreya-led hierarchy of Masters to the world. In 1974 Maitreya spoke directly through Crème – an experience referred to as being "overshadowed" – on the topic of his coming visit to Earth. This was apparently like the alleged "channelling" of Alice Bailey and also of the Aetherius Society.
In 1977 Maitreya revealed that he had left the Himalayan home of the Masters and had begun his mission to disseminate his teachings.
Crème travelled in Europe and America to make this known and published The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom. (1979/1980) In 1980 Crème published 100 Messages from Maitreya the Christ. In 1981 he started a magazine called Share International.
Crème then travelled widely to announce Maitreya's (Christ's) public appearance to occur in 1982. He also established meditation groups.
In April 1982 Crème took out full-page ads in 17 major newspapers to announce The Christ Is Now Here and would manifest himself to the world in two months.
In May Crème told the media that Christ was living as a Pakistani in London and it was the media's responsibility to find him. Some reporters tried but failed.
After 1982 Crème continued to travel, speak on Maitreya's coming, and formed more Transmission Meditation groups. He says that Maitreya is about to announce himself to the whole world by television. The pamphlet The Emergence lists numerous alleged appearances of Maitreya to small groups of religious people – Muslims, Catholics, Lutherans, etc – which appearances are a preliminary to worldwide acceptance. (Investigator 26; 27; 28; 30; 33; 36; 40; 43.
PLANETS LINE UP – CATASTROPHES GO UNNOTICED
Six planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – lined up on one side of the Sun on May 5. Doomsayers had warned that the lineup would shift the Earth's poles and trigger devastating Earthquakes and inaugurate the Age of Aquarius. But nothing so noteworthy happened.
Similar lineups of planets occur about every twenty years – 1962, 1982, 2000, 2020. The planets are so small compared to the Sun and so far away compared to the distance of the Moon that any additional gravitational effect on the Earth of a lineup is insignificant.
The book The Jupiter Effect by Gribbin & Plagemann had a prediction of a major Californian earthquake during the 1982 line-up. The earthquake did not happen.
Richard Noone in the more recent book 5/52000: Ice, The Ultimate Disaster forecast a shift in Earth's poles with worldwide earthquakes and tsunamis hundreds of metres high. Astrologer Norman Areus similarly predicted giant earthquakes along with stock-market reverses and decline of Christianity.
In 1998 Dr Julian Salt, a risk expert who advised the London underwriting agency D P Mann, warned of mile-high tsuamis, volcanoes, earthquakes and climate change. (International Express 1998 May 12 p. 6)
A spokesperson for The Astronomical Society, Dr Jacqueline Mitton, in contrast said: "Its not going to have any impact on Earth. Jupiter's mass is more than double that of all the other planets combined."
Perhaps Investigator will be rehashing these things in 2020!
See also The Survival Center website:
PREDICTIONS FALL FLAT
In an article titled Global 2000 (Australian Evangel 1991 Jan.-Feb. pp. 8-9) Barry Smith, a New Zealand Assembly of God author and preacher, wrote: "But, the events which are about to unfold in the decade from 1991 to 2000 are incredible."
Smith listed 13 events including:
A Jewish irreligious man who is also the "Antichrist" will confirm a 7-year Middle East peace treaty. The same man will be appointed leader of the European Community. A world-wide monetary crash. Plastic cards become the method of currency. Everyone will either have silicon chips implanted into their right hand and forehead or be executed. Jesus Christ returns and takes Christians off the Earth.
PAUL EHRLICH WRONG
Population ecologist Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University has been: "consistently and tragically wrong for four decades and counting." (Sydney Morning Herald 1999 October 9)
In his book The Population Bomb (1968) Ehrlich predicted that population would expand exponentially but food only in a linear way. Based on this Ehrlich has repeatedly predicted world wide famines:
In 1968 he predicted that hundreds of millions would starve to death in the 1970s.
In 1969 he predicted Earth's population would be down to 1.5 billion in 1985 and the population of the USA would be down to 23 million in 1999.
In 1974 he predicted 1 billion starvation deaths by 1985.
END OF THE WORLD FAILS—NOSTRADMUS WRONG
Nostradamus, the famous 16th century seer, predicted calamity in 1999. A TV documentary, for example, interpreted Nostradamus as predicting a comet impact for September.
In Japan Akido Arakawa, 41, a typist predicted cataclysms caused by a shift in the Earth's axis!
Journalist Ben Goto introduced Nostradamus into Japan in 1973 when he wrote the first of ten books on the topic. Movies, media, charlatans and new religions took up the theme of Nostradamus. Aum Shinrikyo, the cult that gassed the Tokyo subway in march 1995, believed in Nostradamus.
Nostradamus' prophecies were published in 1555, a year before his death in 1556. He wrote in "quatrains" verses of four lines – one of which said:The year 1999, seven months, from the sky there will come a great king of terror.No one really knows what this was supposed to mean.
SUVIVAL GOING WELL
We have almost survived the 20th century – only a few months left.
We survived the 1975 Armageddon of the Jehovah's Witnesses and their Armageddon "within our twentieth century".
We survived the "rapture" – Christians being whisked off the Earth – which was predicted for 1988 and broadcast over 90 radio stations by retired civil engineer Edgar Whisenant.
In 1997 we survived 6,000 years from the alleged biblical creation date of 4004 BC.
We survived catastrophes of 1999 predicted by many from the writings of Nostradamus.
We survived "Doomsday 1999 A.D." as described in a book of the same name by Charles Berlitz.
We survived the "Jupiter Effect" the line-up of planets in 1960, 1982 and May 2000.
We survived predictions of astrologers, psychics, futurologists and cults too many to list.
However, we're yet not off the hook. Many further predictions terminate in the 21st century. Some Bible-believers, for example, look forward to 2007 – forty years from the year Israel took Jerusalem in 1967.
Others cite II Peter 3:8 in the New Testament: "…with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." By limiting this to two "days" or two thousand years and having a starting point with Jesus's ministry or with Pentecost (Acts 2) a termination date in the 21st century is reached.
REAL LIFE VAMPIRES?
Some years ago the origin and acceptance of vampire myths was linked to a genetic condition called porphyria. This interpretation has now generally been dismissed. (Investigator 30 p. 5)
In 1998 a Spanish neurologist drew a connection between vampires and rabies. Rabies starts with flu-like symptoms of fever, loss of appetite and fatigue. The virus then attacks the central nervous system causing agitation, dementia and death. Some rabies victims become violent, "muscle spasms in the face and neck can give the victim the look of an angry dog", they may vomit blood and also attack and bite people. The spasms can be triggered by bright light and mirrors – both connected to the vampire legend. Further, a bite can transfer rabies to the bite-victim – again compare the vampire who turns others into vampires with a bite, or a bite plus a suck.
Therefore it's suggested that symptoms of rabies were incorporated into folklore about vampires. (New Scientist 1998 September 26 p. 22)
There is also a gene for "werewolf" syndrome on the X-chromosome. The condition is called congenital generalised hypertrichosis with the main symptom being "dense eyebrow-like hair all over their face and upper body." (New Scientist 1995 June 3 p. 10)
MORE CATASTROPHES FAIL TO HAPPEN
William Kamm also called "The Little Pebble" heads an Australian sect called Order of Charbel:The Little Pebble has told his 1500 followers to expect the world to end on May 5 or May 28.In 1997 Mr Kamm predicted a collision of the Hale-Bopp Comet with the Sun causing an explosion that would decimate life on Earth.
(Northern Territory New 2000 April 11 p. 11; Herald Sun 2000 April 5 p. 1)
Two UFO groups – National UFO Hotline and the Australian Centre for Mystery Investigations – say that 50,000 UFO sightings were reported in the past four years.
The most common sightings were of silver-coloured discs. Also frequent were cigar shapes and whizzing orange-coloured lights.
(Sunday Mail 2000 March 19 p. 50)
CHILDREN OF GOD – THE FORMER SEXY SECT
Remember the Children of God Sect? They made headlines in Australia several years ago when authorities temporarily removed many of their children while investigations into alleged child-abuse were under way.
The sect began among hippies in California in 1968. Members scattered around the world in 1974 when the leader David Moses predicted wide destruction from the comet Kohoutec.
The sect was also famous for its "flirty fishing" – discontinued after the advent of AIDS – which referred to attracting new converts with free sex.
The 1518-page book Basic Mo Letters (1976) has reprints of about 150 letters out of 541 that David Moses circulated among his followers between 1970 and August 1976.
No. 258 for 1973 March 27 was titled: "Revolutionary Sex".
No. 286 for 1973 December 22 was: "Come On, Ma! – Burn Your Bra!" This said in part:
Letter No. 240 titled "Mountain Maid" consisted of two pages of rhyming couplets urging females to bare their breasts:
Letter No. 259 on "Revolutionary Love making" advised:"Well, you better take it easy on the bosoms too: suck them, but don't go biting them or you might bite 'em off when you get excited!"Many letters were about prophecy – Letters 343 to 349, for example, explained the prophecies of Daniel in the Bible. Letter No. 156 for March 1972 gave 1993 for the Second Coming of Jesus.
NEW MORMON TEMPLE IN ADELAIDE
A Mormon temple costing $8 million opened in Adelaide in June.
The exterior is of polished granite from Italy, the interior is furbished with handcrafted timber and gold leaf.
The temple will be known as the Adelaide Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Mormon temples are their highest places of worship and ceremonies and, after dedication, closed to all except Mormons in good standing who will go there several times a year and wear white when inside. They'll need an entry recommendation from their local church and must be baptized, chaste, non-smokers, non-drinkers, and must tithe.
Temple ceremonies include weddings and baptism for the dead – the Temple has a large font for baptisms.
The Adelaide Temple was dedicated by 89-year-old Gordon Hinkley – an American who is the world leader of Mormonism.
The president of the Adelaide Temple is Bob Wilmott, 69, a fifth generation Mormon who will work there for four days a week.
Another temple, Australia's second, was completed this year at Wantirna, Victoria. The first Mormon temple in Australia was built in Sydney in 1985.
Mormons number 12,000 in South Australia, 35,000 in Victoria, 100,000 in Australia, and world-wide 11,000,000.
The Mormon religion has numerous beliefs that non-Mormons consider strange and unbelievable. For example, they claim that the Apostle John of the first century and three other men of that time are still alive and preaching! An Investigator reader, Doug Davies, has sought evidence for these four 2,000-year-old men but got nothing! (Investigator 61; 65; 70)
LUCRATIVE FOOT READING
Foot-reading netted a Japanese cult US$800 million before the leaders were arrested in May, 2000.
Hogen Fukunaga, 55, who claimed to be the reincarnation of Buddha and Christ was arrested with 11 followers and charged with defrauding five women of $240,000.
Cult leaders charged $960 US per foot-reading – scrutinzing marks and colour – and diagnosed illnesses and predicted the client's future. Marks on the big toe represented problems derived from parents, the second toe problems inherited from grandparents and so on.
Clients had to write down their problems before diagnosis and hence mostly bad things were diagnosed – such as debt, suicide or dying from AIDS.
The foot-readers also made apocalyptic predictions which could be averted by attending lectures costing $24,000 or by paying $190,000 for a pinch of Buddha's ashes.
Darwin skeptic Brian De Kretser writes:I am enclosing a letter I received from a world-renowned who has this wonderful message for me. Unfortunately she is not able to tell that she is writing to the most hardened skeptic in the world.The "world-renowned" is Valerie Taylor – "renowned international psychic." Calling Mr De Kretser "My dear friend" to whom she is "psychically attuned…as a deserving human being" Taylor offers to guide him to renewed energy and zest and riches so that he'll need a "heavier wallet".
This guidance will come via a report costing $30 – a report that Taylor advises De Kretser not to show to others but "keep in a secure place."
Taylor claims: "the scenes that I visualize almost always come true."
With a money-back guarantee if huge financial and personal improvements are not seen within 60 days it seems the client can't lose!
Without in any way impugning Valerie Taylor's offer it should be noted that skeptics sometimes reason somewhat as follows:
If 10,000 letters, that offer possible wealth by applying psychic insight costing $30, are sent to 10,000 addresses we need only one person in fifty to accept for the psychic to recover his postage and other costs and enjoy a profit. And if hundreds of people pay $30 some will indeed by chance get richer within the time period stipulated. But this will happen to some people in any large group of hundreds whether they pay a "psychic" or not!
INVESTIGATOR 76, 2001 January
RELIGIOUS SEX CULT
Claiming to be Jesus Christ Ian Lowe, 71, used religion to control nine wives and produce 63 children.
Lowe, a former New Zealand baker and police constable, moved to Australia in 1969 and started his religious cult in Sydney in the early 1970s. He changed his name to Alistah Laishkochav and began with three wives.
The cult later moved to Byron Bay in northern NSW where by 1983 his wives increased to nine – some only 14 to 15 years old. All the wives got new names and were forbidden to talk with each other or with the outside world. Further control was exercised by slapping and punching wives and children in the face. Laishkochav taught them he was Jesus Christ and that UFOs would take the whole group away in 1988.
He justified his polygamy from the Old Testament and Mormon and Islamic writings. Having nine adult wives, however, wasn't enough – he also believed in child abuse.
The cult moved to Melbourne where in October 1999 Laishkochav was arrested for sexual assault on children. In August he was convicted on 22 counts of sexual assault upon four girls aged 7 to 10 and sentenced to 7 ½ years. Four women aged 18-27 testified that he "used to sneak downstairs to prey on them as little girls." The accused justified his conduct with: "Some countries do have younger marriages. In Iran the girls can be married at nine or 10."
(Sunday Territorian August 13 p. 21; The Australian July 21 p. 5, July 22-23 p. 11; The Advertiser August 12 p. 38)
A Federal Government Report completed in June found that 15% of women experienced domestic violence in the previous 12 months. The report "Between Two Worlds – Older People: Abuse and Violence in Couple Relationships" said that older women who sought advice from doctors or ministers of religion found both these groups on balance unhelpful.
The report said: "The parish communities can be extremely judgmental and seek to exclude from the church community the person who declares that they have been the victim of domestic violence." Some women spend their old age caring for a former abuser whose abuse was stopped by ill health.
GAMBLE TO LOSE
Week after week newspaper reports keep confirming what Investigator has consistently stated, that if you gamble the odds are you'll lose.
A former West Adelaide footballer fled Australia in September to avoid being sentenced for stealing from his employer. He landed in jail in Austria and awaits extradition. The former footballer was a chartered accountant who forged company cheques and lost the money at poker. His gambling addiction started years earlier at the card tables of the Adelaide Casino. (Sunday Mail 2000 December 3)
A former supermarket manager caught the pokie habit and sought to finance it by robbing two service stations. (The Advertsier 2000 October 14) His addiction started when he initially won $4500. Thereafter he lost but kept going back to recuperate his losses.
In the 1999-2000 financial year Australia's thirteen legal casinos had a combined profit of $867 million from pokies.
It's been calculated that the odds of experiencing a traffic accident while on your way to the poker machines are greater than the odds of you getting rich if you arrive there safely. This means that more poker machine users will get injured or killed than get rich.
Australia has 90% of the world's poker machines. Often the poorest suburbs have the highest per family losses.
INVESTIGATOR 78, 2001 May
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"Religious involvement is associated with higher rates of survival (or, conversely, lower odds of death) during any specified period." (Health Psychology 2000 May)
M E McCullough, W T Hoyt, D B Larson, H G Koenig and C Thoresen co-authored a study titled "Religious Involvement and Mortality: A Meta-Analytic Review".
The study summarized 42 previous studies of religion and longevity based on 126,000 participants and analysed their combined results. It was found that being non-religious is as dangerous as heavy alcohol consumption.
INVESTIGATOR 79, 2001 July
STONE AGE REVISION
Japan's earliest Stone Age tools are only 40,000 years old and not 60,000 as taught in textbooks.
Shinichi Fujimura, deputy director of the Tohoku Palaeolithic Institute has worked on 150 ancient sites and led excavations at some major palaeolithic sites.
Unfortunately he planted much of the stoneware that he later "discovered".
(New Scientist 2000 November 16)
Witchcraft is becoming popular. Highschool kids in record numbers are visiting new age bookshops or searching the Internet to find out about spells, wands, cauldrons, altar cloths and suchlike. One Internet site lists 100 young witches in Victoria.
An article by Sasha Baskett in the Northern Territory News (2000 August 15) attributes this trend to shows such as Buffy, Sabrina and Charmed together with young people's alienation from mainstream churches.
WIN WITH ASTROLOGY
Australian astrology Alison Moroney says she correctly predicted the Melbourne cup result seven times from 1991 to 1999. She claims an accuracy rate of 60% to 80%.
Moroney's horse-racing tips for this year appear in the book 2001: An Astrology Guide. Her method is to prepare an astrology chart for the time and venue of the race and let each planet stands for a colour and a number.
HOW RELIABLE IS ASTROLOGY?
According to astrology the Princess of Wales (Princess Di) will live at least 30 years beyond 1991!
Women's Day magazine (1991 July 23) had an article titled DIANA'S NEXT 30 years. We read of things she will do "at the turn of the century" and "In her late 40s, around 2008 or 2009" and also "by 2017 and 2018". The article then suggests the possibility of divorce from Prince Charles at the end of the thirty years!
The astrologer who made these predictions was "Royal astrologer Russell Grant".
As we know, the Princess died in a car crash in 1997. How reliable is astrology?
Skeptics versus religion and the paranormal in Investigator Magazine: