Rethinking religion: holistic death incidents

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joe sz
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Rethinking religion: holistic death incidents

Unread post by joe sz » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:27 am

January 29, 2012

· Rethinking Religion After Latest Holistic Death

·

· Religion Dispatches

· By Joseph Laycock

·

· In July 2011, Chantal Lavigne of Quebec died as a result of a personal development seminar. Last week, a coroner’s report confirmed that Lavigne was accidentally “cooked to death” during a class called “Dying in Consciousness.” Participants were wrapped in mud and plastic, covered with blankets, and left immobilized for about nine hours. Cardboard boxes were placed over their heads and they were encouraged to hyperventilate. Lavigne died of hyperthermia when her body was unable to dissipate heat properly.

The seminar was held at a spa called Ferme Reine de la Paix and organized by Gabrielle “Séréna” Fréchette. In her work as holistic healer, Fréchette channels “Melchizedek,” a mysterious king and priest that appears in the book of Genesis. Lavigne had already completed 85 personal development seminars at the spa, for which she paid more than $18,900.

This seminar may have been related to the conscious dying movement, which explores ceremonies from world traditions such as shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism that emphasize both preparing for death and gaining spiritual insight through near-death experiences. In audio recordings of the session, Fréchette allegedly states, “The time has come for this body of death that you believe is yours… Death is freedom… death is the truth.”

This is not the first time tragedy has resulted from holistic therapies that involve heat and confined spaces. In 2000, ten-year-old Candace Newmaker was accidentally smothered to death during “rebirthing therapy” that involved wrapping her in blankets and sitting on her to simulate the experience of birth. The therapists received prison sentences of 16 years. In 2009, two people died in a poorly constructed homemade sweat lodge during a five-day “Spiritual Warrior” retreat organized by James Arthur Ray, a self-help expert who appeared on Oprah and in the film The Secret.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation consulted Dianne Casoni, a criminologist from the University of Montreal who studies “cultic groups,” including self-help groups. Casoni expressed concern both about the influence holistic health providers gain over their clients and the lack of oversight over such seminars. Holistic healers have, in fact, been framed as sinister and manipulative charlatans at least since the nineteenth century.

Suspicion of traditions such as New Thought, water cure, and mesmerism foreshadowed later panics over cults. One blog has already labeled Fréchette, “a deranged New Ager.” A Quebecois commenter called her “un garou de sect” (a cult guru). However, it should be noted that Frechette has been offering similar courses for 20 years and claims that this is the first such incident out of some 2,000 participants. Fréchette also called 911 as soon as she realized one of her students had lost consciousness. It remains to be seen whether charges will be filed against her.

Instead of inciting fear of “therapy cults,” this tragedy should be used to reflect on our notions of “religion” and “medicine.” “Wellness,” as conceived by holistic health practitioners, involves the mind, the spirit, and the body. However, North Americans frequently continue to think about “religion” in Cartesian terms as a phenomenon of the mind and spirit rather than the body. This view assumes that medicine should be closely regulated, but that religion should be a thoroughly private matter. These imperfect categories make it difficult to decide when therapists should be licensed to perform potentially dangerous spiritual services.

Joseph Laycock holds a PhD in religious studies from Boston University and is the author of Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism.

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archi ... tic_death/

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David McCarthy
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Enlightenment Services....

Unread post by David McCarthy » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:50 am

Thanks for posting the article Joe
These imperfect categories make it difficult to decide when therapists should be licensed to perform potentially dangerous spiritual services.
Yikes..."spiritual services"? Big red flag waiving here!
Reminds me of the slipery slope into the RSE ditch..and the sort of twisted mindset JZ Knight-Ramtha uses to mask brutal and represive "services" at RSE.
"cook out" the critical thinking of students untill bullshit is manna and abuse enlightenment.
A new life in the 32nd Universe dancing with Ramtha? How about One Million Dollars?
Not worthy Yet? Perhaps a crucifixion? chance of a lifetime discount...
Pre-Pay.... and get yourself a resurrection discount!
No Pain No Gain folks.... Use your credit card or cash, the end of the world is coming "again" so don't delay...
Now sign our "Conditions of Participation" document :roll:

David
But he has nothing on at all, cried at last the whole people....

Lost in Space
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Re: Rethinking religion: holistic death incidents

Unread post by Lost in Space » Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:05 pm

David and Joe:

That really is a fascinating article, and shows that when it comes to alternative therapies, buyer beware. Playing devil's advocate here, how many people die or suffer really adverse effects each year from conventional medical practices? We all, surely, know someone who has had their long term meds recalled, because they caused deaths? Or, what about those horror stories about the wrong organs being removed in surgery? Why do doctors accross the board require highly costly malpractice insurance? And, didn't most effective medications start off as suspect herbal remedies?
Not that any of that justifies the woman's death at all. I just object to holistic medicine being equated with cultishness and quackery.

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David McCarthy
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Re: Rethinking religion: holistic death incidents

Unread post by David McCarthy » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:40 pm

Not that any of that justifies the woman's death at all. I just object to holistic medicine being equated with cultishness and quackery.
Hi Lost in Space
I think it works the other-way round...
Insomuch that when Cults "religious or corporate" hijack and subverse medicine, science, religion, politics, relationships, sexuality, education, individuality.............
Then tragedies are soon to follow.
I think that all aspect of human activities that involve "services to humankind' are prim targets to be infiltrated by sociopaths, and they do just that :sad:
I am sure in the future, Just as a background check and or a drugs test are requiring for certain professions,
a screening system using MRI technology to weed out the Sociopaths will be required.
Far fetched?
Check out Dr. Kent Kiehl and Dr.Robert Hares work,

David
Dr. Kent Kiehl uses MRI technology to scan prison inmates for signs of pyschopathy in the hope of discovering a treatment.
Dr. Kent Kiehl, M.R.I., and psychopathic brains : The New Yorker
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008 ... t_seabrook
Robert Hare's Page for the Study of Psychopaths, "Sociopaths",
http://www.hare.org/
There is DT-MRI evidence of breakdowns in the white matter connections between these two important areas in a small British study of nine criminal psychopaths.
This evidence suggests that the degree of abnormality was significantly related to the degree of psychopathy and may explain the offending behaviors
Psychopathy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy
Magnetic resonance imaging - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_resonance_imaging
But he has nothing on at all, cried at last the whole people....

Lost in Space
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Re: Rethinking religion: holistic death incidents

Unread post by Lost in Space » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:07 pm

That is fascinating, David, about detecting physiological differences indicating psychopathy. I always thought that psychopathy resulted from environmental factors, and that the things that separate most of us from them were sociolo/psychological.

Regardless of what you have to say about cults, and I am basically in agreement with at least half of that, do you really believe that "self help" and "holistic" are synonymous with "cult" or "cultic". Uh-oh, I use home remedies, maybe someone should call a deprogrammer! I also think, from the tone of the above article, that I detect a note of what I can only call medical authoritarianism therein. What is wrong with consulting other people besides a medical doctor, and making up your own mind about your own care and treatment. It seems some in the medical establishment want to treat people as though they were children with no common sense.

Lost in Space
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Re: Rethinking religion: holistic death incidents

Unread post by Lost in Space » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:15 pm

I suppose I am being too harsh on the article writer, who was actually writing from a religious, not medical, perspective. I do think that not all religions whose practices differ from conventional medicine should be labelled cults. I admit, I don't think really hot heat therapy or any extreme form of sensory deprivation or cleansing are good for followers.

And I anticipate, David, that you will retort that people in cults are in no position to make up their own minds. Am I right?

All the best,
LIS

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Re: Rethinking religion: holistic death incidents

Unread post by Ockham » Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:10 pm

I feel the difference between Judy Knight and admittedly imperfect scientists and physicians is that the latter are, for the most part, are sincere in their efforts while Knight is a sociopath. I want to aviod painting with too broad a brush vis-a-vis scientists and physicians; there are charlatans that brought us Piltdown Man, snake oil, cold fusion, etc.

I've wondered if Judy Knight attended an EST seminar in the 1980s. The '80s were about the time John Rosenberg (AKA Werner Erhard) peaked in popularity. The endless hours of lecturing, notion of crossing the ditch, ties to Theosophy and fascination with explaining reality with Modern Physics are common themes. The EST movement, like Judy Knight, also charged, to borrow a Rush Limbaugh phrase, confiscatory fees to disseminate training. I see a lot of parallels bwtween the way RSE and EST operate. Erhard was also an avid reader of L. Ron Hubbard, so we have a tie to Scientology. All three of these cults of personality also share the theme of trying to sue the pants off people that cross paths to the cults displeasure.

Good desciption of EST from the Erhard article on Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werner_Erh ... .931984.29

The difference is that Judy Knight has become a drunk stuck in the ditch on her ranch in Yelm. On the other hand, Werner Erhard continued to further his education and is still a respected consultant to business and government.

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Re: Rethinking religion: holistic death incidents

Unread post by David McCarthy » Sun Feb 05, 2012 8:03 am

Hi Lost in Space,
"I always thought that psychopathy resulted from environmental factors, and that the things that separate most of us from them were sociolo/psychological"
Me too!
I think we are going to see some fascinating breakthroughs early this century in the understanding and treatment of psychopathy,
or at the very least MRI screening to help stop these deranged individuals from freely running a muck and undetected in our society.
do you really believe that "self help" and "holistic" are synonymous with "cult" or "cultic"?
Thank you for your question Lost in Space, It an area seldom explored on EMF and I will do my best to answer you.
I hope others will chip in with their perspective also.
To a certain degree Yes..insomuch and ‘speaking from the perspective of a victim of cultic abuse by RSE’!
it is often those sort of venues cults use to set their bait by targeting idealist who are striving to make the world a better place or those who are sick and in crisis.
What better place for cults to target the (self help" or "holistic) businesses for recruitment?
Or worse still, to front their own "self help" organization as a front!
And the ‘positive thinking brigade' who exasperate the situation by smothering critical thinking "Oh I don't want to hear anything negative" go away,
that opens the door even wider for charlatans such as JZ Knight to waltz in to the tune of Yanni.
Cult leaders will use a members own idealism and courage against them,
This to my mind is what's so evil :twisted: 'if I may use such a loaded term on EMF' about cult leaders and cults,
they subvert and destroy some of the most gifted and giving people in our society into self-serving narcissists hellbent on spreading the cult in the name of their God.
Then we witness those incredibly irresponsible TV shows without an ounce of investigative journalism...
like "The Larry King show" who present these pontificating sociopaths as authentic human beings. :sad:
Perhaps another way to frame my point is...
Cults do not so much cause failings in society but a failing society causes Cults.
And I anticipate, David, that you will retort that people in cults are in no position to make up their own minds. Am I right?

Sadly Yes.... but every now and again the light of reasoning shines through and if they can just muster enough courage to reach those roots of reason that have not been severed they do stand a chance....
but it is one heck of a scary climb out that many would rather stay within the Cultist fold than face that journey back to reality alone.
I've wondered if Judy Knight attended an EST seminar in the 1980s.
Yes Ockham I am sure Judith has studied carefully all the competition $$$ :idea:
Many RSE recruits circa 1986-1990 had hopped over from EST.
I will search our EMF database for more information on this subject.

David
But he has nothing on at all, cried at last the whole people....

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Re: Rethinking religion: holistic death incidents

Unread post by joe sz » Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:52 pm

Lavigne had already completed 85 personal development seminars at the spa, for which she paid more than $18,900.
To me, the above is the problem in a NUTshell. cultic harm comes as a result of bounded choice, or a certain amount of freedom to choose what the guru thinks is right. Yes, Lavigne chose to pay money and show up. It is what I called running in a circle on a razor's edge around a core cult doctrine and leader. One on such an intense path is under the illusion that one is making progress merely because there is movement and enough peer encouragement.

Ms Lavigne was in orbit around a sick lunar orb. She had little insight how Frechette's insular system manipulated her into circling the drain--that poor woman just got too close to the "void" this time and could not come back.

iow, you are getting there, just keep repeating the process--as in chiropractic or psychoanalysis with endless sessions that keep finding and curing flaws that may or may not be significant or even treatable by that technique. But at least analysts and chiropractors align with some semblance of licensed restraint. There is no licensing, almost no formal regulation in RSE or this faux-Melchizidek healing path gurued by Gabrielle “Séréna” Fréchette.

At least there is an attempt to get it right in scientifically and legally regulated medicine and educational institutions.

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