How bad is this “mildly dangerous” cult? And what’s their connection to near-death experience scienc

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#41
At the end of the podcast, Robert Mays said Anne Archer Butler's role with IANDS will be to help with publicity and "coordinating relations with the media". Just pragmatically, that sounds like a potentially really dumb move for IANDS. If Butler becomes a representative for IANDS with the media and the media starts looking into Butler and notices her links with Eckankar, that could mean a huge credibility hit for IANDS - and a negative impact for making NDEs and NDE research better known to the wider public.
 
#42
At the end of the podcast, Robert Mays said Anne Archer Butler's role with IANDS will be to help with publicity and "coordinating relations with the media". Just pragmatically, that sounds like a potentially really dumb move for IANDS. If Butler becomes a representative for IANDS with the media and the media starts looking into Butler and notices her links with Eckankar, that could mean a huge credibility hit for IANDS - and a negative impact for making NDEs and NDE research better known to the wider public.
I agree, its terrible to have somebody that could be seen as a representative of a "cult" as the face of your publicity team, its counterintuitive as hell. Regardless if this "cult" is benign or not, the cliché is there and the common person will only see Kool-Aid and mass suicide, which is likely to sink your organization and taint the rest of the field with stereotypes.

If this person was really trying to push an agenda in one of IANDS' conferences, that is more than just a red flag and a warning of things to come.
 
#43
Perhaps I'm in the minority here but I think Alex gave Robert a really hard time here but he (Robert) came out admirably.
Here we have an organisation making a scientific study of a phenomena which does not choose to manifest according to one's belief - although I have always suspected folks' beliefs may influence what they experience or simply their interpretation of it.
How scientific is it to pick and choose between the experiencers based on opinions about the spiritual path they've chosen?
Would Alex prefer that IANDS keeps a list of NDE experiencers NOT to study based on their religions, so as not to 'taint' the science?
To do that you'd have to define 'respectable' religions, which in my opinion are few if indeed any.
I have known people who have been into Eckankar who probably knew nothing of its alleged dodgy background but simply liked its emphasis on consciousness and astral travel.
I see no reason, if they happened to have an NDE, why their experience would not be as valid to study as that of a Christian, Mormon, Satanist, Scientologist or even - to use a category bizarrely inserted by Alex - a Holocaust denier
If science studies wildlife it doesn't pick and choose between nice and nasty animals - and NDE science shouldn't do similarly with experiencers, be they Eckankar followers or criminals.
The evidence is, as was mentioned in this interview, that meeting recognised religious figures in NDEs is a minority experience - possibly linked to the religious beliefs of the participants.
But how would we ever know that, if we had excluded experiencers because we disagree with their belief system which we think might be 'culty' or dangerous.
In my opinion most religions preaching separation and a hell for non-believers, are dangerous!
Where the line must be drawn, I do agree, is that IANDS should never be used as a platform to preach religious dogma. If that has been done, as some posters have claimed above, then it is wrong.
But Robert Mays in the interview denied this.
It's a pity if this has been happening that Alex didn't challenge him with it giving specific examples.
I don't think people's personal NDEs should be discounted or excluded if they interpret it with a religious bent or frame of mind. Our beliefs are going to have an influence on our perceptions and interpretations, it's almost unavoidable. But we have people like Maurice Rawlings deliberately altering the facts of other peoples' accounts to fit his religious beliefs. That's just plain deceit and manipulation. That's the concern with having a person who is connected to cult-y groups on the board of an organization like IANDS. It's not that Butler's NDE shouldn't be included in the research due to her association with Eckenkar, it's more concern of how the overall data may be altered or manipulated for the benefit of that organization. Mays was making the claim that because Butler had an NDE and she is a follower of Eckenkar, Eckenkar must therefore be a legitimate organization. That's really not his call to make.
 
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#44
Maybe so, maybe not. But I do think that the idea of authority does not deserve to be placed side-by-side with the idea of having insight. Seeking to control is perhaps as far from being insightful as one can get. I'm not particularly trying to make any point here, just thinking out loud as it were. I think something touched a nerve in me as I've spent some time recently studying painting.
I don't know why the subject of painting was brought up, I don't see any correlation between criticizing OSHO aka Bhagwan Rajneesh and painting...
 
#45
Perhaps I'm in the minority here but I think Alex gave Robert a really hard time here but he (Robert) came out admirably.
Here we have an organisation making a scientific study of a phenomena which does not choose to manifest according to one's belief - although I have always suspected folks' beliefs may influence what they experience or simply their interpretation of it.
How scientific is it to pick and choose between the experiencers based on opinions about the spiritual path they've chosen?
Would Alex prefer that IANDS keeps a list of NDE experiencers NOT to study based on their religions, so as not to 'taint' the science?
To do that you'd have to define 'respectable' religions, which in my opinion are few if indeed any.
I have known people who have been into Eckankar who probably knew nothing of its alleged dodgy background but simply liked its emphasis on consciousness and astral travel.
I see no reason, if they happened to have an NDE, why their experience would not be as valid to study as that of a Christian, Mormon, Satanist, Scientologist or even - to use a category bizarrely inserted by Alex - a Holocaust denier
If science studies wildlife it doesn't pick and choose between nice and nasty animals - and NDE science shouldn't do similarly with experiencers, be they Eckankar followers or criminals.
The evidence is, as was mentioned in this interview, that meeting recognised religious figures in NDEs is a minority experience - possibly linked to the religious beliefs of the participants.
But how would we ever know that, if we had excluded experiencers because we disagree with their belief system which we think might be 'culty' or dangerous.
In my opinion most religions preaching separation and a hell for non-believers, are dangerous!
Where the line must be drawn, I do agree, is that IANDS should never be used as a platform to preach religious dogma. If that has been done, as some posters have claimed above, then it is wrong.
But Robert Mays in the interview denied this.
It's a pity if this has been happening thaconventionst Alex didn't challenge him with it giving specific examples.
I think the issue with Eck and IANDS has more to do with allowing a cult to recruit members at IANDS conventions. Butcher is now a board member of IANDS. And she uses her connection to IANDS to bring legitimacy to a cult.

NDErs such as Anita Moorjani have often been called upon to provide proof of thier claims. For instance, Moorjani has allowed her medical records to be examined by researchers to show that she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and that she recovered from that condition.

Linda Anderson, who is the official Eck publicist, spoke at the IANDS conference about her ability to communicate with animals using special powers conferred on her by using techniques promoted by the cult. I don't believe Anderson claims to be an NDEr, but she does claim special powers that would be easy for scientists to test. As far as I know, she has never been tested. Having her as a speaker at IANDS lends credence to untested claims by a member of a group (Eck) that was founded on dishonesty from the start (see David Lane's book ).

Anne Butcher also makes a lot of claims that have never been put to the test. Plus she violated the IANDS charter. One would think a board member would be required to follow the charter and set a good example.
 
#46
Oh help me Rhonda:
"Hand-picked teams of Rajneeshees had executed the largest biological terrorism attack in U.S. history, poisoning at least 700 people. They ran the largest illegal wiretapping operation ever uncovered. And their immigration fraud to harbor foreigners remains unrivaled in scope. The revelations brought criminal charges, defections, global manhunts and prison time.

"But there was much more."
http://www.oregonlive.com/rajneesh/index.ssf/2011/04/part_one_it_was_worse_than_we.html
 
#47
I don't know why the subject of painting was brought up, I don't see any correlation between criticizing OSHO aka Bhagwan Rajneesh and painting...
OSHO was a crap painter? Too much damned orange!!

Seriously though, in full agreement with the posters expressing concern with the IANDS/Eckankar association. Careful discrimination is one of the first casualties of cultism. And yes, it matters a great deal when you base a movement on stuff you have just made up, plagiarized and lied about. Lane's research is case closed strong.

Guilt by association is best avoided.
 
#48
I don't think people's personal NDEs should be discounted or excluded if they interpret it with a religious bent or frame of mind. Our beliefs are going to have an influence on our perceptions and interpretations, it's almost unavoidable. But we have people like Maurice Rawlings deliberately altering the facts of other peoples' accounts to fit his religious beliefs. That's just plain deceit and manipulation. That's the concern with having a person who is connected to cult-y groups on the board of an organization like IANDS. It's not that Butler's NDE shouldn't be included in the research due to her association with Eckenkar, it's more concern of how the overall data may be altered or manipulated for the benefit of that organization. Mays was making the claim that because Butler had an NDE and she is a follower of Eckenkar, Eckenkar must therefore be a legitimate organization. That's really not his call to make.
Maurice Rawlings is dead now, Selina. I believe his interest in NDE probably began when one of his patients was having a stress test for his heart on a treadmill and dropped dead in front of him. (think he was a mailman in his fifties) During the time Rawlings was resuscitating him he claimed to be in hell etc (don't let me die I'm in hell). Apparently Rawlings advised him to say some kind of a prayer and his next experience (he went out again) was positive, seeing his deceased mother and light.

The point I'm making is that if the account is honest (and it seems to be because the mailman has been interviewed ) it's perhaps understandable that Rawlings began to give credence to hellish reports. I don't like bible thumping hell fire mongers but I don't know what to think with any certainty about this other world environment and the variety of "places" that may or may not exist. With what we know so far, it seems to be a positive experience for the vast majority and that's about all we can say IMHO.
 
#49
During the time Rawlings was resuscitating him he claimed to be in hell etc (don't let me die I'm in hell). Apparently Rawlings advised him to say some kind of a prayer and his next experience (he went out again) was positive, seeing his deceased mother and light.
Interesting post. I'm of the opinion that this world is somewhat like swimming through treacle at times. Often this might be cause for complaint. But it can also protect us, it can slow down our slide into hellish experiences too. Everything happens more slowly here. But the idea of having a hellish experience and making some kind of prayer in an attempt to get out seems to describe this world just as accurately as any world beyond. Maybe there is no 'beyond', there is only more of the same, but with faster motion (metaphorically speaking).
 
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#50
Seriously though, in full agreement with the posters expressing concern with the IANDS/Eckankar association. Careful discrimination is one of the first casualties of cultism. And yes, it matters a great deal when you base a movement on stuff you have just made up, plagiarized and lied about. Lane's research is case closed strong.

Guilt by association is best avoided.
Welcome to the forum, laborde!

It's unfortunate that those people who have supported IANDS with membership dues don't have a say in any of this. It's not like a scholarly organization in which the membership votes in a president and board members. There is no accountability to the members of IANDS at all. So when the organization heads in a bad direction, nothing can be done.

IANDS is quickly losing all credibility. I'm sure they have gained many new uncritical members (because cults are like that). Conference attendance will probably soar, so the organization will have money. But it won't be an organization anyone will trust to educate them about NDEs. Researchers associated with IANDS will lose credibility. It's a sad situation.
 
#51
Interesting post. I'm of the opinion that this world is somewhat like swimming through treacle at times. Often this might be cause for complaint. But it can also protect us, it can slow down out slide into hellish experiences too. Everything happens more slowly here. But the idea of having a hellish experience and making some kind of prayer in an attempt to get out seems to describe this world just as accurately as any world beyond. Maybe there is no 'beyond', there is only more of the same, but with faster motion (metaphorically speaking).
Thanks, Typoz that's a bit cryptic for me :) but I agree with you about "swimming through treacle and I've actually heard someone who came back from that other world (what ever it is) describe this existence as just that.
 
#52
You're not going to base on opinion on them when people are being threatened and abused? This is real life -- making death threats, breaking into people's homes, theft, wire-tapping, physical and sexual abuse, financial abuse are kind of red flags. There's plenty of information on Scientology, Eckankar and Rajneesh or his rebranding as "OSHO" to come to the conclusion they are abusive cons. It's not just one person's "thesis" or a couple of YouTube videos.
Here we face a dangerous ambiguity, since it is exceptionally hard to describe what "abuse" is, especially "sexual abuse". There are a few pretty clear cases of physical or sexual violence, that is, actions that were forced by ones on the others without their consent. But in view of many anti-"abuse"/anti-"cult"/anti-something-else fighters, the definition of "abuse" may be widened to the point of sheer meaninglessness, when any kind of (consensual) sexual act in a religious/spiritual setting may be labeled as "abuse". With such stance, it is pretty easy to condemn almost anything, since sexual and sex-related practices was a part of many mystical and magickal traditions from the beginning of times.
 
#53
Oh help me Rhonda:
"Hand-picked teams of Rajneeshees had executed the largest biological terrorism attack in U.S. history, poisoning at least 700 people. They ran the largest illegal wiretapping operation ever uncovered. And their immigration fraud to harbor foreigners remains unrivaled in scope. The revelations brought criminal charges, defections, global manhunts and prison time.

"But there was much more."
http://www.oregonlive.com/rajneesh/index.ssf/2011/04/part_one_it_was_worse_than_we.html
Christianity, Islam, even Buddhism - all this "traditional" religions - are guilty of the countless atrocities. Does this mean that they are "cults"? Why is this label used only in connection to small and novel groups?

So, I will side along Robert Mays when he is saying:

Well, you would like IANDS to take a stance. I’m saying that IANDS will not do that. It’s up to the individuals. And if we can objectively present all of the data and we’re not going to present whether this religion is valid, and that one is not valid; whether this one is a cult and these are just fine, and this is a true one, we can’t do that. But what we are going to do is objectively present the data from the near-death experiences of people–and they happen to be from Mormons or fundamentalist Christian, or atheist, or Eckankar…whatever…we will present those and let people make up their own minds. And if they are interested in a particular spiritual path then it’s up to them to have their eyes open as they enter that path.
 
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#54
Christianity, Islam, even Buddhism - all this "traditional" religions - are guilty of the countless atrocities. Does this mean that they are "cults"? Why is this label used only in connection to small and novel groups?

So, I will side along Robert Mays when he is saying:
I don't think anyone is asking Robert to discriminate against anyone's belief system. But allowing any religion to have an undue influence on IANDS hurts it's credibility. Having a high ranking member of the Eck clergy represent both IANDS and Eck is a problem. That individual was proselytizing on behalf of the cult at the last conference. She was recruiting for her cult at IANDS. That's a problem.
 
#56
Radio Mysterioso recently did a show on the California Cult scene. It's worth checking out.

Here's the link to the show:
http://radiomisterioso.com/audio/Mike_Marinacci_2_15_15.mp3

Esalen has also had to deal with the problem of cults trying to take over the organization. This is from a talk with
Michael Murphy and Jeffrey Kripal moderated by Mark Gonnerman at Stafford in 2007.

http://auroraforum.stanford.edu/event/esalen

http://auroraforum.stanford.edu/fil...nscript_Esalen_Murphy_and_Kripal_12.07.07.pdf

the group that I was part of was
centered around the teachings of Sri Aurobindo, so I ended up eventually going to his
ashram. But I’ve said this a lot and it’s in Jeff’s book: it provided a tremendous support
for me—for meditation practice, for reading and all this, but at the same time, it was a
real vaccination against cult, because contending with the wild dogmatic claims that were
starting to rise up in that ashram—fifteen hundred people there.... So I came back
inspired by Aurobindo but determined not to fall into a cult. When we started Esalen, it
was very much Dick Price and I taking vows: No one’s going to “capture the flag” here
and let this happen, and a lot of people tried.
The Esalen founders decided from the start to stay away from cults (and not to become one). It took some effort to steer clear of those influences. IANDS needs to put in that same effort.

I think the Heaven Tourism movement is part of that tendency for the NDE community to be turned into a religion, or co-opted by religious movements to support their worldviews. I know NDErs who won't talk about their experiences in public any more because they feel pressured to give the accepted narrative of NDEs that audiences want to hear. That pressure is certainly part of speaking at an IANDS conference. The conference committee is very clear on what they want you to say.
 
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#57
Radio Mysterioso recently did a show on the California Cult scene. It's worth checking out.

Here's the link to the show:
http://radiomisterioso.com/audio/Mike_Marinacci_2_15_15.mp3

Esalen has also had to deal with the problem of cults trying to take over the organization. This is from a talk with
Michael Murphy and Jeffrey Kripal moderated by Mark Gonnerman at Stafford in 2007.

http://auroraforum.stanford.edu/event/esalen

http://auroraforum.stanford.edu/fil...nscript_Esalen_Murphy_and_Kripal_12.07.07.pdf



The Esalen founders decided from the start to stay away from cults (and not to become one). It took some effort to steer clear of those influences. IANDS needs to put in that same effort.

I think the Heaven Tourism movement is part of that tendency for the NDE community to be turned into a religion, or co-opted by religious movements to support their worldviews. I know NDErs who won't talk about their experiences in public any more because they feel pressured to give the accepted narrative of NDEs that audiences want to hear. That pressure is certainly part of speaking at an IANDS conference. The conference committee is very clear on what they want you to say.
That's interesting, K9. Is there a specific type of NDE report they favour ?
 
#58
I know NDErs who won't talk about their experiences in public any more because they feel pressured to give the accepted narrative of NDEs that audiences want to hear. That pressure is certainly part of speaking at an IANDS conference. The conference committee is very clear on what they want you to say.
That is mortifying. I have always suspected that there is some cherry picking going on, but not that they actively pressured people towards a certain narrative.
 
#60
Jeez! IANDS directly associates with another cult member, Betty Eadie. Come on, IANDS!

I've e-mailed IANDS for a copy of their tax filings for the last few years. Lets follow the money on this organization and find out the real story.

-----------

https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V29N03_107.pdf

http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/cri/cri-jrnl/web/crj0171a.html

http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/eadie.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Eadie


http://www.mormoncult.org

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False Religions/Mormons/sex_cult.htm
 
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