New Profile of Scientology (Plus a free DVD Offer)

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Did you know…

  • Lawsuits: We have been sued by Scientology for $9.5 million.
  • Espionage: Our Watchman Fellowship offices were infiltrated by Scientology operatives.
  • Intimidation: We have been threatened with search and seizure for owning copies of Scientology’s top-secret “OT” documents.

I want to tell you the whole story so this month we are offering a FREE copy* (see details below) of our DVD, Escaping Scientology. On this video, I share a brief overview of the history and beliefs of Scientology. I also expose details about the spying, lawsuits, and threats to shut down our ministry that we have faced over the years.

Next, I introduce you to Karen Pressley who shares for the first time on DVD the amazing story of her 17 years in Scientology. She worked 16-hour days for $34 a week to spread the “gospel” of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. When she joined the headquarters staff at their secretive compound in the California desert, things went from bad to worse. Karen knew she had to get out. But she quickly found out leaving would not be that easy!

Why is the DVD Free?

I want you to have this DVD for free this month because I don’t want money to stop you from owning this powerful video. All I am asking is a donation of at least $3.81 to cover shipping and handling. If you can do more, we certainly appreciate it. In fact, the December donations we receive the last two weeks of each year are critical to the future of our ministry. If you choose to make a generous end-of-year donation, please know that you are investing in a biblically solid Christian ministry of apologetics, evangelism, and missions.

Also, be sure to download our free 4-page Profile on the Church of Scientology. This is a completely rewritten, much-needed update to replace the original Profile we published twenty years ago.

* Free DVD Details: The DVD, Escaping Scientology (c) 2006, is available for free. All we ask is an online donation of at least $3.81 to cover the postage and handling. This offer ends December 31, 2014 and is valid for USA addresses only. International donors will receive an email receipt with a link and password so that they may also watch the video for free online. Thank you for your support!

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Austin, TX Gunman Tied to the Christian Identity Movement

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As we noted in our Twitter and Facebook streams, recent news reports have linked the man who shot at governmental buildings in downtown Austin, TX to the Christian Identity movement. According to these reports, Larry Steven McQuilliams owned the book Vigilantes of Christendom (with which he included a handwritten note), and was allegedly a member of a Pacific Northwest Christian Identity movement called the Phineas Priesthood.

What is the Christian Identity movement? In our Index of Cults and Religions we define the movement as follows:

The belief that the true identity of the ten lost tribes of Israel is the white, Anglo-Saxon race. The belief is similar to but distinct from the doctrine of British Israelism. A number of independent churches and organizations (including some militant racist groups) make up the general movement. Most deny the Trinity. Some teach a form of the Serpent Seed doctrine, believing that Jews are descendants of Eve’s alleged sexual relations with the serpent (Genesis 3) and are thus not fully human. Many also hold that non-Whites are descended from the union of Cain and a woman from a supposed pre-Adamite race.

We give far more information about the movement, including its history and a biblical response, in our free Profile of the Christian Identity movement.

Rob Bell’s New TV Series for the Oprah Winfrey Network

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In our Twitter and Facebook streams we linked to a news story about Rob Bell’s new television series for the Oprah Winfrey Network. The article interestingly notes, “Bell sounds more like Oprah than a theologian.”

Why is this important? What does Rob Bell believe, what does Oprah believe, and why is it significant that the two have joined together in their teaching? You can learn about these individuals and their beliefs in our free Profiles on Rob Bell and Oprah Winfrey, and also learn about the biblical perspective on their teachings.

You can also subscribe to our free newsletter to receive the latest information and resources from Watchman Fellowship.

Our New and Improved Digital Profile Notebook

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We’ve updated the digital version of our Watchman Fellowship Profile Notebook with special features for smartphones and tablets. Our Profile notebook contains over twenty years of research, and 452 pages of information on cults, alternative and world religions, and you can now carry it with you wherever you go.

New features in the digital version of our Profile Notebook include:

You can learn more, and see these special features in action, in our video demo of the digital version.

You can order the digital version of the Profile Notebook for $25, or you can order the printed version of the Profile Notebook for $49.

Chicken Soup for the Soul in the Workplace

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In our Facebook and Twitter feeds we recently linked to a news story looking at the Chicken Soup for the Soul empire of books, discs and other items for sale. The author of the story concludes, “The problem with Chicken Soup for the Soul (is that it) gets to you, even when you know better.”

In an article in The Watchman Expositor, Jason Barker wrote about one installment in the series, Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work, “As is the case with many books dealing with infusing spirituality into the workplace, the books of Jack Canfield contain a great deal of common-sense. Nonetheless, Christians should be aware that the books also are steeped in a spirituality that is opposed to biblical Christianity.” In this article Barker points out that, not only does the book present a wide array of world and alternative religions as being true and useful, but it even twists the Bible itself in its effort to present inspirational literature.

Another article by Brad Scott looks at how the New Age movement is being repackaged to bolster “a syncretistic, spiritually diverse society.” “New Age hucksters, savvy as always,” Scott warns, “are exploiting this postmodern waffling and semantic dream-weaving.”

You can also subscribe to our free newsletter to receive the latest information and resources from Watchman Fellowship.

The LDS Church Acknowledges Facts About Joseph Smith and Polygamy

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As we’ve noted in our Facebook and Twitter feeds, on October 22, 2014 the LDS Church added an essay to its website that—when combined with an earlier essay—gives a more complete picture of polygamy in early Mormonism (particularly as practiced by Joseph Smith) than the Church would previously publicly acknowledge.

Mormon blogger Jana Riess lists five things the LDS Church has acknowledged in its essays:

  1. Joseph Smith was sealed to women who were already married.
  2. While some of these relationships were for “eternity only,” others may have been sexual.
  3. Joseph Smith’s first plural marriage took place as early as the mid-1830s.
  4. Many of Joseph Smith’s plural marriages occurred without the consent—or even the knowledge—of his first wife, Emma.
  5. Most of Joseph Smith’s plural marriages were to women between the ages of 20-40, but others were to teenagers—including a fourteen year-old.

These acknowledgements are significant because, as Riess says in the summary for her article, “Some used to consider it ‘apostate’ to say that Joseph Smith married women who were already married to other men. Now the LDS Church has acknowledged it openly.”

Over the years Watchman Fellowship has published many articles about Mormon polygamy, one of the most notable of which is on our website. In “The Pain of Polygamy,” Jill Martin Rische looks at the practice of polygamy in the early LDS Church, the continuing practice among Mormon splinter groups, and a biblical response to the practice.

We also have two books in our resource center on the subject (each is available for a donation of $20 dollars):

You can also subscribe to our free newsletter to receive the latest information and resources from Watchman Fellowship.

The Long Island Medium Profile

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We’ve just added to our website a Profile of Theresa Caputo, host of the popular The Long Island Medium television program. In this free Profile, Brady Blevins looks at the history and distinctive beliefs and practices of this TV personality, and presents a Christian response.

You can also subscribe to our free newsletter to receive the latest information and resources from Watchman Fellowship.

Surprising Survey Results Are In – Should Christians Practice Yoga?

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This surprised me! We just tabulated the results of our One Question Reader Survey “Should Christians Practice Yoga?” We contacted over 5,000 Profile readers like you by email and 451 of you participated in the survey. I really thought our readers would be divided about evenly on this and I would probably get a lot of “hate mail.”

I was wrong. We were amazed to see that over 90% of you (401 total) answered “No” to the survey question while 20 did not vote but left comments. I was surprised and encouraged to see that only 32 responded “Yes” to the question “Should Christians practice Yoga.” Even some of those voting “Yes” included qualifying stipulations or other words of caution. There were also some very good comments posted on both sides of the discussion.

Want to learn more? We are still offering our 4-page Profile on Yoga and leaving the survey open a little longer so you can still add your voice.

Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts. I also greatly appreciate your continued prayer and support for our ministry. If you would like to help, you may partner with us today. Just click here: http://www.watchman.org/donate.

Satanism in the News

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A recent spurt of public Satanic activity has attracted the attention of the mainstream media. Whether it involves a Black Mass held in Oklahoma City (which failed in attracting attendees, but succeeded in attracting the media), or attempting to distribute an activity book in Orlando-area public schools, Satanists have been highly effective in using the media to garner attention for their groups.

How should Christians respond to all this activity from Satanists? Should we simply follow the practice (as some commentators assert) of “ignore them, and they’ll go away?”

It is, of course, important to avoid falling into what folklore and occult expert Bill Ellis calls “”Satanic panic,” ascribing greater power and levels of activity to Satanists than they currently employ (you can read more in our interview with Ellis). As we say in our Index of Cults and Religions,

Contemporary expressions of traditional Satanism are rare, and popular elements of it, including the testimonies of alleged former Satanists and Satanic Ritual Abuse have been discredited.

At the same time, however, we have also frequently warned against the danger of Satanists who truly believe in diabolical, occult power. For example, in the same Index definition quoted above we also say:

(Satanism is) represented by two separate groups, secular and traditional Satanists. The secularists do not believe in in a literal, personal, spiritual being called Satan, but rather consider Satan to be an archetype or symbol that represents the ideas of Satanic philosophy. Various satanic ideals include self-interest, indulgence, an anti-herd mentality, and an emphasis upon rational self-interest. Examples of modern Satanism include The Church of Satan founded by Anton LaVey and now led by Peter Gilmore as High Priest, Michael Aquino’s Temple of Set, and Lord Egan’s First Church of Satan. Traditional Satanism, which involves the worship of the Satan of the Bible through a perversion and parody of Roman Catholicism, appeared in the fifteenth century coming out of the Inquisition.

You can learn about the best-known Satanic group, the Church of Satan, in our free Profile, which gives this Christian response to Satanism:

It is best to keep in mind when talking to Satanists that they generally are both atheists and hedonists. That being said, it is best to deal with them on both levels…Satanists need to see clearly that any pleasure they derive from sin is ultimately shallow and short-lived. It is sweet at first, but bitter soon afterward, and the philosophy of a Satanist eventually leads to a vacuous and wrecked life.

You can see the full response in our free Profile, and you can equip yourself for the vital ministry of reaching out to people in cults and false religious groups by subscribing to our free newsletter.

If you are a pastor and want the staff of Watchman Fellowship to speak in your church about Satanism or other topics, see our list of programs and feel free to contact us.

Patterns in the Cults Profile Updated

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We’ve updated our popular Patterns in Cults Profile. In this free Profile, James K. Walker looks at the differences between biblical Christianity and false religious systems, focusing on the ways in which pseudo-Christian groups add to the Gospel, subtract from the deity of Christ, divide members’ loyalties, and multiply the requirements for salvation.

You can also subscribe to our free newsletter to receive the latest information and resources from Watchman Fellowship.