Women survivors of religious cults, new books

The former convent in Velddriel, later home of the Dutch Pentecostalist cult, the Assembly of God

This photo shows the former Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity convent in Velddriel, later home of the Dutch Pentecostalist cult, the Assembly of God.

Translated from (Christian) daily Trouw in the Netherlands, by Marijke Laurense, 5 April 2020:

You should be silent when the Lord speaks

Two young women liberated themselves from the cults they grew up in, the Assembly of God and the Apostolic Society.

Cults are timeless. Take a charismatic leader who knows the way and the truth, a select group of followers who are willing to give up their “old” lives and cut all ties with their families. Who want to sacrifice everything for the good cause, often in the expectation that the world will end soon. So that they will then be saved, while the sinful rest of mankind inexorably will go to hell. …

Some more recent examples of cults: the collective suicides (?) in 1978 in the jungle of Guyana under Jim Jones. Bhagwan. Scientology. A family [offshoot of the ‘Unification Church‘] that has been waiting for the end of time in a Drenthe farm for nine years. Gurus and therapists who feel they can be on top of and inside anything. No, whoever is wise should keep far from anyone who claims to be a prophet or the Messiah. Yet they keep popping up again and again, in living rooms, back rooms and villas, where after a warm bath of interest, attention and love you have to let yourself be pushed over and turn in all your savings. And from which it is then incredibly difficult to leave.

But if it is so difficult for adults to turn their back on such a cult, what if you grew up in it? Have been indoctrinated since childhood that the outside world is ignorant and evil? Two books about this were published simultaneously.

The secret world of the Society

Eg, next week there will be “Apostelkind”, the story of Renske Doorenspleet (1973), born in the Apostolic Society, a highly idealistic community of exemplary citizens. …

It must indeed have been difficult for Doorenspleet to commute between two worlds as a child: the first world of school and the second, secret world of the Society, for which you can go to ‘The Building in a long skirt until well into the 1990s, and where ‘being allowed to’ almost always meant ‘should’. …

What amazes Doorenspleet in particular is that the democratic outside world never paid attention to the conservative terror that marked her youth. That no one has ever noticed that it was a totalitarian organisation, which systematically committed itself to emotional abuse and which will have damaged its youth members, eg, the author, for life. No, it is clear that the hurt Doorenspleet twenty-two years after her departure from the Society is far from finished with her anger and sorrow at a troubled youth.

Nightly retreats in the chicken coop

Indeed, it is highly questionable that an “Apostle” interferes so imperatively with the education of the children of his followers. But that it can get even crazier and sicker, according to Frank Krake’s story told him by Hannelore Geerdink (1978), whose parents fell under the spell of the prophet Sipke Vrieswijk, who really meets all the characteristics of a cult leader who gets crazier and crazier.

Book about Hannelore in the cult

It starts with a warm reception at the Assembly of God, where faith healer Vrieswijk can relieve you of a headache. He concludes his instructions and revelations more and more with the phrase “Thus speaks the Lord of hosts.” Those who criticize are “occultly infected”. He also expects his followers to be deeply in debt to buy a former nunnery in Velddriel to live as one big family. Reality soon turns out to be less idyllic: Vrieswijk deals in unpredictable outbursts of anger, senseless cinderella assignments and nocturnal retreats in the chicken coop. He is also not averse to psychological terror to exchange his wife for a mistress, who as “Prophetess” makes herself especially creditable by arranging extra “Brides of Christ” for in bed – the gluttony knows no bounds.

Not allowed to go to your father’s funeral, not to speak to your children anymore. Fines for the silliest offences or on the contrary getting jewellery or a beautiful new name: Vrieswijk knows how to make his followers yearn for his attention. And in that environment, can a child grow up in a balanced way? While Hannelore was raped for the first time by Vrieswijk at the age of eleven? And six years later, very much against her now addicted mind, is liberated thanks to a stubborn police officer?

But in the end she even dares to report the cult leaders to the police and the prophet couple is sentenced to psychiatric imprisonment.

Trump-supporting Florida fundamentalist preacher endangers congregation’s lives

As Brazilian extreme right president Jair Bolsonaro wants churches to stay open, endangering to kill religious people by coronavirus contagion; and Bolsonaro’s United States colleague Donald Trump wanted the churches to be full on Easter Sunday, 12 April; a Trump-supporting megachurch boss in Florida did not wait for Easter. Like the ‘Reverend’ Jerry Falwell Jr. reopened his fundamentalist Liberty University for financial profit. Now, Liberty University students have coronavirus.

This 18 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Conservative Pastors Encourage Congregants to Dismiss COVID-19 | NowThis

‘We’re raising up revivalists, not pansies’ — This evangelist pastor slammed social distancing, encouraging his congregants to shake hands during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In US news and current events today, Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne called the coronavirus a ‘phantom plague’ made to scare people into getting vaccines that will kill them. He also encouraged his congregants to shake hands amid the coronavirus pandemic because they’re not ‘pansies’.

An NBC/WSJ poll found Republicans were taking coronavirus less seriously. Only 30% said they were likely to avoid public gatherings compared to 61% of Democrats polled between March 11-13.

Guillermo Maldonado, a megachurch pastor & self-proclaimed apostle, also urged his congregants to attend mass, mocking those who are afraid of getting the coronavirus.

The [Roman Catholic] Archdioceses of New York, Seattle, Chicago cancelled all masses until further notice.

Howard-Browne, who was born in South Africa and built the River into a megachurch with 4,000 members, is a prominent evangelical who prayed in the Oval Office with Trump in 2017. In recent days the Pentecostal preacher has made controversial remarks and floated conspiratorial theories about the coronavirus. … Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne said he wouldn’t close the doors of his Tampa, Florida, megachurch until the End Times begin. The police weren’t willing to wait that long: here.

The ‘Reverend’ was released 40 minutes later.

US televangelist preaches bloody war on Vuvuzela … err… Venezuela

This 12 April 2019 video from the USA is called Pat Robertson Recommends Droning Vuvuzela.

As fundamentalist televangelist Pat Robertson does not know the difference between the South African music instrument vuvuzela and the oil rich country Venezuela, which is in the crosshairs of Robertson’s fellow Republican Donald Trump.

To help the bloodthirsty ‘reverend’ Robertson, here is a video about vuvuzelas.

The 14 June 2010 video shows vuvuzelas played by football supporters during a Netherlands-Denmark international match.

The Pentagon has been ordered to draw up military plans “aimed at deterring Russian, Cuban and Chinese influence” in Venezuela, CNN reported late Monday: here.

Dutch preacher against Christmas musical, trees, dinners

Announcement of Christmas event in Nunspeet, photo by Omroep Gelderland

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

In the Veluwe village of Nunspeet, the preacher of the Gereformeerde Gemeente

a fundamentalist Christian church

and the organizer of a Christmas event argue about the ‘right’ way to celebrate Christmas.

The reason is the So this is Christmas event. That will be held on the market square this weekend, including a musical about the birth of Jesus. The Reverend Schot has distributed a glossy leaflet in which he condemns the event. …

“We don’t need this in Nunspeet”, he says to Omroep Gelderland regional broadcaster.

In the leaflet, the vicar also condemns Christmas trees and Christmas markets: “All kinds of things that in our opinion also have nothing to do with Christmas.”

The flyer went down the wrong way with Sander Klugt, the organizer of the event. “The leaflet is also about Christmas trees and eating together, which is not done, apparently. But to be honest, we are the only ones who actually pay attention to the Christmas story.”

Mr Klugt’s event is not on Christmas day itself. So, one can hardly say it competes with Christmas church services.

Fundamentalist school expels African American girl for her hair

This 22 August 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Christian School Expels Girl For ‘Unnatural Hair’

Young Black Girl Humiliated & Kicked Out Of School For ‘Unnatural Hair’…. Francis Maxwell Breaks down this atrocity.

United States Republican-Christian fundamentalism-anti-Semitism connection

This January 2010 video from the USA says about itself:

President Obama and Uganda Gay Genocide

The Rainbow Sash Movement is calling on President Obama not to attend this prayer breakfast with [Ugandan homophobic politician] David Bahati, sponsored by the Fellowship Foundation in February. Murdering people based on homophobia is wrong for individuals as it is for Nations such as Uganda.

The secretive fundamentalist theocratic Fellowship Foundation, aka The Family, based in the USA, was pushing to have a law in Uganda condemning LGBTQ people to death.

They used to have and still have many influential supporters, like the late Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. Tony Blair, ex-British Prime Minister, addresses their meetings.

From The Young Turks in the USA:

July 25, 2018

By Ken Klippenstein

Maria Butina, the alleged Russian agent arrested by the FBI last week, is said to have attended the National Prayer Breakfast in order to cultivate Republican officials.

But Butina is far from the religious group’s only questionable association.

The organization that runs the National Prayer Breakfast, the Fellowship Foundation, sent Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) to Romania in May of last year to meet with an infamous anti-Semitic political operative, Marian Munteanu, according to federal travel disclosure records. Once there, Aderholt met with Munteanu on two separate occasions. Other travel records show they met in May of 2015 as well, again at the behest of the organization.

The purpose of the trips was to “build new and maintain old relationships with business leaders and officials from throughout the region”, according to the travel records.

The relationship that the Fellowship Foundation has with Munteanu doesn’t seem to be limited to Aderholt. Last year, Munteanu said in a post on his Facebook page that the Fellowship Foundation’s founder, Doug Coe, was a “close friend”. Also, Munteanu’s personal website includes a photo of him with Coe.

Fellowship Foundation founder Douglas Coe with Marian Munteanu. Photo via Marian Munteanu’s personal website, munteanu.ro.

Coe passed away last year.

Munteanu attended last year’s National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, according to a Romanian report quoting Munteanu’s Facebook page. The report does not identify who invited him.

Neither the Fellowship Foundation nor Aderholt responded to multiple requests for comment.

The Fellowship Foundation is a Christian group that counts top business and political leaders among its ranks. It is also famously secretive; its members take a vow of silence about Fellowship activities.

Last week, TYT reported that the Fellowship sent Aderholt to several eastern European countries shortly after Donald Trump won the Republican primary. TYT also reported that the Fellowship, along with its Ukrainian affiliate, sent at least four Republican members of Congress to various eastern European countries, where they worked with political advocates of anti-LGBT policies which could jeopardize E.U. membership.

Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former White House Chief Strategist, told The Daily Beast last week that he plans to spark a political revolution in European politics by starting a right-wing foundation that would rival George Soros’ Open Society. Bannon said the foundation would be called “The Movement”—similar in name to a political organization Munteanu previously led, “Movement for Romania”.

Movement for Romania was a far-right, Christian-nationalist organization that modeled itself on one of Europe’s largest fascist movements of the 1920s through the 1940s, the Iron Guard. While leader of the group, Munteanu signed a statement saying that Jews “obtain illicit moneys from Romanian people through disinformation and manipulation of public opinion, with the complicity of treacherous elements who infiltrated the Romanian institutional structures.”

In April of 2016, Munteanu criticized a law against anti-Semitic speech and Holocaust denial, saying there is hardly any anti-Semitism in Romania, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post citing the Romanian newspaper, Evenimentul Zilei.

Explaining his rationale, Munteanu said, “We are all philo-Semites because we are all Christians.”

The Jerusalem Post also cited a report in Romania’s national news agency, Agerpres, that The Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of Holocaust said Munteanu “presents a concern” for statements “minimizing or denying” the Holocaust.

On May 29, 2017, Aderholt’s originally planned itinerary describes a lunch with Munteanu for the purpose of “Catching up on spiritual and personal lives and current events.” The day prior, Aderholt attended a dinner with Munteanu. The original itinerary noted it as “Dinner with long term friends” and listed Munteanu as a host.

Planned itinerary for Rep. Robert Aderholt’s 2017 eastern European trip sponsored by the Fellowship Foundation

In May of 2015, Aderholt’s itinerary shows plans to dine with Munteanu and his wife.

Munteanu was not the only figure of controversy with whom Aderholt met during his 2017 trip. Aderholt also met with a number of scandal-plagued political and business elites.

On May 29, 2017, Aderholt met with the Prime Minister of Romania, Sorin Grindeanu, whose ministership would end up lasting all of five months. Several months prior, Romania had been rocked by the largest protests in decades in response to a decree issued by Grindeanu that decriminalized certain forms of corruption, protecting dozens of politicians from prosecution. Less than one month after Aderholt’s visit, Grindeanu was forced out by an overwhelming vote of no confidence—241 to 10.

On three separate occasions, from May 27 to 29 of 2016, Aderholt met with former defense minister of Albania, Fatmir Mediu. Like Grindeanu, Mediu’s government role came to an abrupt end: He resigned in 2008 after an arms dump he was in charge of accidentally exploded, raining shells on nearby villages, killing 16 people, injuring almost 300, and destroying homes.

Later in 2008, a U.S. envoy accused Mediu of covering up an illegal arms deal. Albania’s prosecuting general also reportedly launched an investigation into Mediu’s personal finances, citing discrepancies.

IOWA NEWSPAPER SLAMS KING The editorial board of The Sioux City Journal has endorsed Rep. Steve King’s Democratic challenger for Congress, reversing its longtime support for one of the GOP’s most openly racist lawmakers. [HuffPost]

GOP CHIEF NIXES JEWISH CONSPIRACY TWEET House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) deleted a tweet that warned three wealthy Jewish Democrats are “buying” the midterm elections for their party. [HuffPost]

HowToFightAntiSemitism.com, a project of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action and Jews Against White Nationalism, went live on Tuesday afternoon. It features an up-to-date timeline of stories about GOP figures promoting anti-Semitic tropes, collaborating with fascist groups or condoning hate directed at Jews: here.

Donald Trump and the United States religious right

This video from the USA says about itself:

WATCH: Trump Is A Puppet To Fundamentalists & Is Too Stupid To Know It

I am not so sure about Trump being a ‘puppet’ and ‘stupid’ in this. An alternative explanation might be that Trump uses the religious right and its ideas like homophobia to move the USA in the direction of dictatorship.

26 June 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump told former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in an interview released over the weekend that evangelical Christians are more grateful than Jews for his moving of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump said that the reaction surprised him.

“I tell you what, I get more calls of thank you from evangelicals, and I see it in the audiences and everything else, than I do from Jewish people”, Trump said. “And the Jewish people appreciate it but the evangelicals appreciate it more than the Jews.”

Read more here.

The pro-Trump, openly nazi, Holocaust-denying site the Daily Stormer claims: ‘The Trump Train is driven by Jesus Christ himself’; while ‘the Jew Train’, they write, is going to Auschwitz.

Ivanka Trump Donates $50K To Anti-Gay Church To Help Families Separated At Border: here.

Donald Trump’s theocratic USA

This video says about itself:

Caliph Donald Trump and the Rise of the Christian Taliban

20 June 2018

Mehdi Hasan is here to warn you about a growing threat to the laws and values of the United States from a group of religious extremists and fanatics.

No, he’s not talking about so-called jihadists or Islamists, or to “creeping Sharia”. Mehdi is referring to what he like to call the “Christian Taliban” — those Bible-thumping fundamentalists who are bent on theocratizing the U.S. government.

There’s the attorney general of the United States, Mullah Jeff Sessions, who wants Sharia law, but of the biblical variety. And there’s Mullah Ted Cruz, who calls himself a Christian first and an American second.

As in the Middle East, to really politicize religion, you need a bunch of politicized clerics. Caliph Donald Trump can call on some of America’s finest to make the case for Christian supremacism.

Mullah Robert Jeffress said God gave Trump the authority to “take out” Kim Jong-un. Mullah Jim Bakker says we have to “obey” Trump because God “had him elected”.

If that isn’t the language of theocracy, of zealotry, then what is?

Trump rally

Deporting refugees in the name of Jesus: here.

BACHMANN: GOD WORKING THROUGH TRUMP Michele Bachmann thinks she knows why everything Trump touches has “turned to gold” — because God is working through the thrice-married accused sexual predator. [HuffPost]

In God We Trust‘ now must be displayed in all Florida schools, school buildings: here.

TRUMP WARNS OF VIOLENCE IF GOP LOSES MIDTERMS Trump pleaded with evangelical leaders to promote him from the pulpit, warning of violence if Republicans lose in November elections. [HuffPost]

United States televangelists want 54 million $ for private jets

This video from the USA says about itself:

Televangelists: God Says We Need Another Private Jet!

16 January 2016

There’s an insane phenomenon called “prosperity gospel” where preachers tell their audiences to send them tons of money so they can live lives of luxury/private jets. Cenk Uygur, host of the The Young Turks, breaks it down.

“If you’ve ever wondered why some Christian preachers must hopscotch the globe in fancy private jets, it’s in part so that they don’t have to get on commercial planes with the “demon” common folk.

Preachers from the so-called “prosperity gospel” movement, Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis, tried to explain their controversial need for their followers to give up their hard-earned dollars so they can fly in luxury in an interview posted Wednesday.

Copeland then pointed out he could “scratch my flying itch” by riding around in his single-engine, open-cockpit plane.

Read more here.

That was two years ago.

And today …

A video from the USA used to say about itself:

Jesse Duplantis Exposed ($54 Million Private Jet)

30 May 2018

False prophet Jesse Duplantis along with the majority of televangelists are false prophets (Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, TD Jakes, Benny Hinn, Paula White, TBN etc) fleecing the flock. Duplantis asked his congregation to fund a $54 million dollar jet in the name of “God”.

Yes, it costs millions and even more millions to sing the praises of capitalism and preaching for killing LGBTQ people and for subjecting women [sarcasm off].

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Duplantis from Louisiana is a well-known person in the United States with followers around the world. To reach them, he already has three private planes, but he does not find that enough. The preacher says that the Lord even whispered to him the type of plane. “He said I need a Falcon 7X and I said ‘okay!'” …

Duplantis is not the first well-known preacher who says he talks to God about private jets. In 2015, TV preacher Creflo Dollar asked for 60 million dollars for a new airplane and earlier this year preacher Kenneth Copeland bought a Gulf Stream V from donations by his followers.

This 4 May 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

You’ve seen them on TV, popular televangelists who preach the gospel to millions around the world. You may be surprised that these men of God are living a lifestyle few could imagine. Jesse Duplantis and Kenneth Copeland drive fancy cars and live in lavish mansions. They also fly in private jets. It’s impossible to know exactly how much money these ministries take in each year because they are not required to make financial disclosures of donations they receive and all of it is tax-exempt.

A Florida church will no longer serve as a polling location after its pastor put up a sign on Election Day that suggested Christians shouldn’t vote for Democrats.

A South Carolina megachurch pastor is passionately defending his decision to buy his wife a $200,000 Lamborghini Urus luxury SUV.

This 1 September 2019 video is called “Stop GIVING Money to Pastors” – 9 year old girl goes VIRAL.

PASTORS ACCUSED OF PUSHING YOUTH TO GIVE BLOOD FOR DONATION MONEY A controversial church praised by politicians for its work to tackle knife crime has been accused of “sickening” allegations that some of its pastors pressured young people from the congregation to sell their own blood for money to donate to the church. [HuffPost]

From the BBC, 8 December 2019:

German [Pentecostalist] evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, who drew huge crowds in Africa over decades of preaching, has died aged 79. …

In 1999, 16 people died in a stampede during a rally organised by Bonnke in Benin City, Nigeria.

In 2014, the Associated Press reported that he was living in a $3m (£2.3m) apartment near Palm Beach, Florida.

‘Religious freedom only for Christians’, United States preacher says

This video from the USA says about itself:

Televangelist: Freedom Of Religion Doesn’t Apply To Jews & Muslims

4 May 2018

On his radio program yesterday, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer declared, once again, that only Christianity is protected by the First Amendment and that all non-Christians—including Jews, Muslims and Native Americans—have no constitutionally guaranteed right to freely practice their faiths.

Fischer, who routinely puts forward a completely incoherent theory regarding the meaning of the First Amendment, was discussing a case involving a North Carolina inmate who is suing for the right to practice Wicca when he declared that “worshipers of the devil” and all other non-Christian faiths are not entitled to First Amendment protections.

Read more here.