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Brisbane Atheists Message Board Brisbane Atheists Meetup Group (BAMG) Discussion Forum › Protest Gold Coast Council Promoting Religious Cult

Protest Gold Coast Council Promoting Religious Cult

A former member
Post #: 1

I'm new here and travel a lot, although I love Brisbane and visit often, so I hope it is ok that I signed up.

I have been sending out a lot of emails about this topic to people that may be interested, and if the issue interests you please contact me since people have a tendency to think that someone else will surely act on it and no-one does. shock

From next week Gold Coast Council is providing for and promoting Australian School of Meditation and Yoga passing off their Hindu-esque rituals as healthy fun exercise. ASMY worships Chris Butler aka Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda as 'God's Representative' and follows his own brand of hare krishna/christian revisionist/various mumbo jumbo which as he puts it : "When we teach the Science of Identity, we are actually attempting to help people come to experience a completely different and correct view of themselves and reality."

The group is militantly homophobic, believes in polygamy for men and that women are less intelligent and need to be a servant to their husband in order to become liberated. They have a lot of money from business interests including Brandon Raynor Massage School, Firm-n-Fold Massage, Wai Lana Yoga and Vege Chips in Australia. Their programs specifically target young people because they are 'less polluted' (cult speak for easier to convince.)

Council has refused to accept information from former members (including myself) or to consider that this is a religious organisation which it is inappropriate to support through public resources. ASMY is the Australian Branch of the Science of Identity Foundation using yoga as a front for recruitment into their religion (the 'science' of identity) Claims have been made of referring the issues to the police, which police have since denied, but under any circumstances the current laws do not permit them to act against or investigate an organisation for being a cult.

A recent article in the Gold Coast Bulletin summarises the issue and concerns very well­

I have written a lot about the issues, but there is still a lot more being done. If I met a few people that were interested in being involved I would like to hold an organised protest, help get the word out and circulate a petition to the council to withdraw their support.

Please consider becoming informed of the issues and supporting this protest and please forward this message or links to anyone you know who may be interested.­­


Cara James

(My contact details are on the front pages of the sites.)
Brisbane, AU
Post #: 309
Hi Cara

They certainly do seem like an insidious and damaging cult, and I'm angry that they are not only getting funding from, but working in conjunction with, the Gold Coast City Council.

I checked out the the websites you mentioned in your post, and also followed various links. (The Cult Information Service seems to be a very worthwhile organisation.)

I'd be happy to support the protest, and to "support the campaign for GCCC to withdraw this support" as requested on www.australianschoolofmeditationandyoga.­com, but I can't find any practical way of doing this, apart from forwarding links as you suggested. But even then, if others want to support, they might have the same question as me, like how to actually support the campaign?


PS: Has anyone contacted Today Tonight, particularly an ex-cult member who is willing to be interviewed?
A former member
Post #: 2
There is a page titled What You Can Do which already needs to be updated.

The best course of action right now that any individual can do, which was in the 200 protest emails that I sent out this morning at least is to write to the CEO of Gold Coast Council and contact the media to show there is an interest in coverage. The Bulletin has been supportive. The Courier Mail has had the story since November last year and promised to print in January. pfft. Above all just know who ASMY are and tell anyone you know who is going along to this program what they are getting involved with. Maybe no one will show up given it was in the paper.

Today Tonight and ACA have declined to go ahead because of a lack of video (yeah as if they are going to let me go to meetings that are by invite only with a camcorder) There are videos on Video Introduction where you can see little kids bowing down to Chris Butler and lots of other disturbing stuff in short clips.

I think it is going to have to come down to a petition which isn't something I am looking forward to given my experience with these people, but I will do it. Right now I am trying to brace myself for the indignity of going to live on Council's steps until they do something.

Letters of complaint can be sent to

Mr Dale Dickson
Chief Executive Officer
Gold Coast City Council
PO Box 5042
Gold Coast MC 9729
Further Contact Options :­

Cult Info Brisbane are quite nice people and have a lot of great info on their site, but very hard to actually get in touch with. Still waiting to see if they will help out.
user 6983727
Brisbane, AU
Post #: 120

Thanks for the information, that looks interesting.

I think the two links you provided are for anti-cult websites, do you have any materials/websites provided by the cult?

I find the best way to bust a cult is to follow the money (giving up time for cult activities only really raises public scrutiny if

a. hours are long and forced or
b. children are involved

Cara, do you have any details on the money this cult collects - how much, do they pressure people into donations etc?

Also, how did you become aware of the cult? That sort of information may be personal but it would help us understand your drive.

A former member
Post #: 3
Hi Alex,

I don't mind providing information about my background. I was a former student in 2005-2006. I had casual involvement with the cult over a few years prior to this and due to the relationship that I had with a long-time follower went straight into experiences and information that he has come to consider as normal. No gradual indoctrination for me. I started researching and gradually have come into contact with other former followers in several countries.

The main businesses in Australia are Brandon Raynor School of Massage, Ajita's Vege Chips (which are tax free trustee to the Australian School of Meditation and were founded on free labour including that of children) and Firm-n-Fold massage store. There is also Wai Lana yoga which is the brand of the guru's wife. All of this money goes directly to the cult as a tax-free trust set up to 'benefit yoga' with close to 100% going to the sole benefactor, the Science of Identity Foundation. There are more businesses and details on the site under SoI Businesses.

Followers give 25% of their income as minimum. If they work for a cult business (as most of them do, and is strongly encouraged) it is automatically deducted from their wages. Many work for free. They have a strong interest in government with the current senator of Hawaii being a disciple and Brandon Raynor founding the EarthSave and Stop Promoting Homosexuality Australia Party here. They are militantly opposed to gay people and attack them at any opportunity in addition to distributing hate literature.

Children are definitely deprived of any freedom, denied access to medical care, schooling and hidden from parents who leave. There are detailed articles on children and women on under Abuses in SoI.

The official site is and there is also Besides this there is approxmiately 10 000 spam listings on Google at any given time for common search terms. Before my site there was none.

You may be interested in­ which is materials directly from ASMY and SoI including letters from the guru. You can see the original documents and to make searching easier we have transcribed them all into plain text. For more about homophobia and politics you can visit Also on Cult of Butler there is a sizable collection of materials just click Library in the menu and you can select from books audio and video. They are oppossed to this material being available and have sent claims of copyright infringement, but their claims are debatable and a story in itself, so the stuff is there for now.

Thanks heaps to Vonnie for her feedback on the site. I put up an easy to spot Act Now page on the council issue which has some sugguestions for letter writing and signing the online or paper petition on this issue.

If anyone would like to sugguest a venue for a info session/documentary screening I am looking for a place to organise one on the Gold Coast and/or Bris. The documentary Yoga Inc. while it doesn't have SoI in it is a very revealing look at yoga and it's shady practices.
Ben P
user 6288712
Brisbane, AU
Post #: 175
Hey, I'm interested in this. I'll take a closer look at all of this, when it's not, you know, some ridiculous hour of the morning, and I might be down for some letter writing.
A former member
Post #: 4
Hi Ben,

I am glad I waited until today to login becaue I could use anyone saying that they are interested at the moment.

I got a very irate call from the manager of the CEO's office at Gold Coast Council today. The classes have already started and are going ahead and council has refused to address any of the issues that were raised with them. They are just sticking to saying that they have referred it to the police. I might none of the high ups I have spoken to can tell me who with the police or have any interest in involving myself or anyone else in talking to the police eventhough they are referring issues raised by other people. When we have contacted the police they point out there is nothing they can do and it is not a police issue.

I am promised another newspaper article in a couple of days and I can only hope that people won't go to the classes because it looks like council do not intend to stop supporting lying deceptive cults.
user 6983727
Brisbane, AU
Post #: 167
Sometimes when one person protests something it is an irritation that government officials can blow off. When two write it becomes a problem. For this reason I've written a draft letter that I think will cover some of the issues. As usual I would prefer someone else to send it, but I will given the potential danger of this cult to the public.

Put your hand up or I will send it in the evening post on Wednesday 30 June.


EDIT: Obviously there are potential legal obligations in regards to the above letter as it may be seen as attempting to induce the GCCC to 'shun or avoid' the business of the Australian Meditation and Yoga School - such could be viewed as defamatory. Thus, I would feel more comfortable if I sent it personally.
Kirsty B.
user 7196747
Melbourne, AU
Post #: 59
...and again I am grateful to know that Alex is on our side. You write a splendid letter dude.
A former member
Post #: 5
I'm sorry that I didn't get to see your letter before the edit Alex.

I understand your reasons for removing it from this site though, and cults can be pretty litigious. They threatened to sue me for religious vilification over 12 months ago and never went through with it. The lawyer's letter that they sent had a couple of abnormalities that made me suspicious (eg-it came from a hotmail account, didn't have a personal signature and was postmarked from a different state to where it alledgedly come from. When I contacted the office no-one would own up to it)

I would be more than happy to host your letter for you and accept full responsibility for it's publication if you would like for it to be available on the internet. I think you could PM me (?) if you like.

I have tried to get in touch with the Minister and Shadow Minister for Local Government, all of the members of QLD state parliament, the Department of Fair Trading and the QLD Anti-Discrimination. Still working on it, but progress is a bit slow although I am expecting a pretty damning media story to come out in the next couple of days.

I think I have mentioned this before, but the online petition is looking pretty sad crying if anyone would like to sign it.­
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