Russian Orthodox Targets "Totalitarian Sects"

Scientologists, Moonies and Mormons Under Scrutiny

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MOSCOW, MAY 3, 2001 ( The Church of Scientology, Jehovah´s Witnesses, Moonies and Mormons are among the dangerous «totalitarian sects» infiltrating the East, says a recent conference organized by the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Russian Orthodox Church held the international conference to call attention to the groups making inroads in former Soviet lands.

«Totalitarian sects (destructive cults) are actively attempting to penetrate and invade agencies of education, health services, governmental administration, manufacture and commerce,» said the conference´s concluding document.

«In doing so,» the document said, «they often change their names and disguise themselves, take recourse to confessional anonymity and pseudonyms, and often operate under the cover of false organizations they create, which do not advertise but rather conceal their ties with the sect.»

The congress, entitled «Totalitarian Sects — Challenge of the 21st Century,» was held in Nizhny Novgorod, in the Russian Federation´s northwest, from April 23-25. It drew Orthodox, Jewish, Catholic and Protestant conferees.

Foreign participants included American writer Gerald Armstrong, the former personal archivist of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Armstrong later broke with Scientology and published critical material about the group.

The conference document emphasized that «in speaking of totalitarian sects … we do not have in mind new religious movements but are talking about groups whose ideology and practice are dangerous for the individual and society.»

An appendix listed the groups considered to be the most dangerous sects. The list included Society of Krishna Consciousness, New Acropolis, Sinton of Koslov, Church of the Last Testament, and Reiki.

Conferees also began an initiative to introduce legislation to control or prohibit the «totalitarian sects,» modeled on similar laws in Western Europe.

During the three-day conference, Scientology members picketed the locale, the St. Nicholas Orthodox Educational Center. Scientologists in the conference room interrupted speakers about 10 times.

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