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Posted on Wednesday, May 16 - 2007

Sweeney on his outburst: What I did was wrong and stupid.

Copyright © Telegraph

A bitter row has erupted between the BBC and the Church of Scientology after an experienced reporter lost his temper on camera and screamed at a senior member of the controversial group for 30 seconds.The corporation has been forced to defend itself against claims in a Scientology DVD that it orchestrated a demonstration against the group, whose adherents include Hollywood actors John Travolta, Tom Cruise and Anne Archer, in which a "terrorist death threat" was allegedly made.John Sweeney, a journalist for Panorama, has also had to apologise for his outburst after he was filmed shouting furiously at Tommy Davis, aScientologist. But Sandy Smith, the investigative programme's editor, has denied that it organised a protest against the group. Mr Smith said: "Their DVD contains two grossly defamatory claims about us - one, that we staged a demonstration against Scientology and two, that a terrorist death threat was made. "It is absolutely outrageous to suggest that the BBC would organise a demonstration - why would we?" He added that the Scientologists wrote the script for the DVD in a "curious way" but that it "clearly implied that a terrorist death threat was made" at the demonstration. A BBC spokesman added: "These allegations are clearly laughable and utter nonsense." But a Scientology spokesman replied: "The BBC's statements are incorrect." Mike Rinder, a Scientology official, said the group had beenforced to film Mr Sweeney because the BBC crew had "pre-written" the documentary. He added: "It became clear to us that his story was pre-written. "He wouldn't let the facts get in the way, so we decided to do a John Sweeney on John Sweeney." In the Scientologists' clip of the outburst, which it posted on video-sharing website YouTube, Mr Sweeney is heard screaming: "Now listen to me! You were not there at the beginning of the interview! You were not there! "You did not hear or record all the interview! Do you understand? "You are quoting the second half of the interview, not the first half.

You cannot assert what you are saying!" His shouting all but drowns out the words of the Scientologist, who simply repeats over and over again: "Brainwashing is a crime against humanity." Last night Mr Sweeney said his behaviour hadresulted in him hav......

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Posted on Thursday, March 22 - 2007

Ten years ago, 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult committed mass suicide inside a Rancho Santa Fe mansion. First responders are still haunted by the gruesome discovery.Ten years ago next week, one of the strangest events in county history exploded into the public's consciousness. For several days, it was the biggest news story in the world. It began unfolding the afternoon of Wednesday, March 26, 1997, during a period when the Hale-Bopp comet could be seen in the night sky. Inside a mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult lay dead. Convinced that a spaceship was traveling behind the comet and that they wouldbe transported to the vessel to begin a new life “beyond human,” they had poisoned themselves.

Twenty-one women and 18 men died by eating pudding and applesauce laced with phenobarbital and other drugs – the largest mass suicide on U.S. soil. "We didn't know what to expect going in there," said sheriff's Deputy Robert Brunk, who returned to the site of the now-razed Rancho Santa Fe house last week. He was the first to arrive in 1997. All went willingly under the guidance of their leader, Marshall Applewhite, also known as “Do.” Their bodies were discovered by a former cult member who had received videotapes in the mail telling him that by the time he watched them, the group would have moved on. Rio DiAngelo, whose real namewas Richard Ford, drove with his boss from Los Angeles to the mansion. After looking inside, he placed an anonymous phone call to 911 that dispatchers initially found inconceivable. “I don't think anybody really believed what the person was saying,” said Robert Brunk, a sheriff's deputy who had just started his shift at the Encinitas station. “It was an anonymous call to the communications center stating that 40 people had committed suicide and they were cult members. It came out as a 'welfare check,' and they had held the call for a while because it was busy.” Multimedia: For more information, go to more/ heavensgate Brunk went to the address, 18241 Colina Norte, which turned out to be a9,000-square-foot,. ...

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Posted on Tuesday, February 20 - 2007

As real-estate listings go, this one is out of this world. A property is on sale in Quebec for a cool $2.95-million, and it even comes with its own flying saucer. UFOland, the playground and pied-a`-terre of the white-robed prophet known as Rael, is on the market — a onetime utopia that appears to have fallen to Earth.The Raelians, who gained global notoriety in late 2002 after announcing the birth of a yet-to-be-seen cloned baby, say their popularity has peaked in Quebec. So they are packing up and moving south.“We’ve been in Quebec for30 years and our membership is saturated.

Our future is in the United States,” said group spokesman Jocelyn Chabot, who describes himself as a Raelian priest.Observers say it’s a sign of decline for a sect that once piled up publicity with its beliefs in telepathy, aliens and free love. UFOland was the group’s headquarters and world embassy, a shrine to its belief that humans were created in an alien lab 25,000 years ago.Only four years ago, the cloning announcement brought throngs of journalists to UFOland from as far away as Australia and Japan.Now it’s all available for the right price. The property, which is already posted on one Internet site, sprawlsover 110 hectares in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. It offers campgrounds, lakes, an amphitheatre, offices and — for those with otherworldly tastes — a condominium building in the shape of a spaceship.Also on site is the copy of the UFO that Rael says he encountered while hiking along a volcano in France in the 1970s. Before that, he had been a race-car driver and failed sportswriter named Claude Vorilhon.

View: Full Article | Source: Religion News Blog

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Posted on Tuesday, January 09 - 2007

The Diana of Versailles

Copyright ©

Along the Mediterranean where Dea Diana was honored existed several different cultures. Each culture existed with its own system of religious tendance, sacred days and sites.It was the blending of these cultures that resulted in the multi national acceptance of the deities of other cultures. The Goddess we know as Diana has been accepted conceptually in many regions with varying differences. The closest of which we know as the Hellene Artemis. In Ephesus, Turkey stood one of the greatest structures of the classical World. The Temple of Artemis of Ephesus built as early as 600 BC was hailed as one of the greatest wonders of the Ancient world by Callimachus. The famous statue of theEphesian Artemis depicted the Goddess with many breasts, symbolizing her ability to provide for all creatures. Originally a fertility deity in the Anatolian region, under Hellene influence Artemis came to be associated with Virginity.

The Temple of the Ephesian Artemis burned down in 356 BC and was still in the process of repairs for the next one hundred and twenty years. When finally rebuilt it was three times larger than the Parthenon in Athens. Priests of both genders cared for the temple there, females were required to be virginal while their male counterparts served as castrati.
Diana's earliest temple in Roma was commissioned in the 6th century BC by King Servius Tullius in order to transfer the base of the Latin League to Aventine Hill from Diana's sanctuary in Nemi. Its dedication date was the Ides of August, or August 13th, which has sincebecome the annual festival of Diana. It not only served as headquarters for the Latin League, it was also a safe haven for run away slaves. As was Diana's Temple on the Southern Lake of Nemi, though the later was a much more isolated location, dedicated to the Diana of the Wilderness (Diana Nemorensis). The early tradition of Sanctuary was practiced at both temples, one in need could seek sanctuary at the arae located just outside the front temple doors. Diana was also considered by Classical peoples to be a healing deity, as evidence of the anatomical ex-votos found in the vicinity of the Shrine at Lake Nemi. As the twin sister of Apollo, Diana shared many of the same associations as her "brother." Evidence for this can be found in texts that always link the two, possibly a Hellene tradition but nevertheless one that was carried on into Roma.  ......

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