Groups List: L
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Laishkochav, Alistah. Alistah Laishkochav is a New Zealand-born leader of a cult in Melbourne Australia. At his commune he had a total of nine wives and 63 children. Also known as Ian Francis Lowe and Ariel Abraham Enki. In 1999 he was charged with 40 various sexual offences. Convicted of 22 of them, he was jailed for seven and a half years.
Lake City Church. Former name of Destiny Church Rotorua.
Landmark Education Corporation. Started in 1985 with the old est "technology". Headed up by Harry Rosenberg, who is the brother of est founder Werner Erhard. This particular group was originally known as Landmark Forum, which is now just the name of the initial (and most popular) training course they offer. In other countries (USA, Australia, Netherlands) Landmark Education has made a name for itself for suing those who publish information about it. Landmark Education competes with Neuro-linguistic Programming. Landmark enthusiasts claim that the courses are non-religions but The Watchman Expositor comments: "For those unaware of EST (Erhard Seminar Training), known to the business world as "The Forum," it is one of many New Age organizations based on hard-core pantheism." Landmark Education's strongly New Age beliefs can be recognised in some of its teachings - for example:
You are God in your universe. You caused it. You pretended not to cause it so that you could play in it, and you can remember you caused it any time you want to.
This report from a Landmark researcher:
Landmark borrows very heavily on a large number of other very successful and well-proven [albeit often erroneous] ideas and beliefs putting then all into one package. The ideas they borrow come from diverse fields such as Zen Buddhism, Dale Carnegie, the New Age, Scientology and L Ron Hubbard, etc.
Their courses are hideously overpriced. Basically you are placed in a classroom setting for up to 14 hours per day over three and a half days being subjected to intense peer pressure from "volunteer landmark workers" - they call them coaches. During this 14 hour day (yes 14 hours) you WILL NOT be provided with any written material at all (take your own notes), neither will Landmark supply you with any refreshments (except water) at all. Not bad considering you paid them NZ$500, is it?
Landmark Corporation is a dubious organisation that preys on the vulnerable people in society (people with personal issues mainly - eg, I don’t love myself, or my parents, or my partner).
Landmark does absolutely no discernable marketing in New Zealand via any of the main stream media (radio, television, print). Their primary way of marketing is via pyramid selling of attendees signing people up for for what is called the communication course.
Do not be fooled at all, the communication course curriculum from Landmark states quite clearly that the object of your communication is to phone as many people as possible and get them to sign up for a Landmark course. This is all cleverly disguised as getting you to communicate better and is backed up by occasional short classroom sessions.
Due to a slightly secretive nature (they certainly would not respond to any of my queries), it is very hard to gauge how large they are, but they are certainly very active in Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland.
It's possible that Landmark's various courses are run slightly differently. For example, the matter of written notes appears to be up for debate - in contrast to the above report, a correspondent claims no note taking at all is allowed in the beginner courses: "Participants are provided with a written Syllabus, and it is a strict ground rule of the Forum is that they do not take any notes. However, in all subsequent courses they run, including the Advanced Course, note taking is permitted." Prices also vary; one correspondent reported he paid $575 for a course in Melbourne (presumably Australian dollars). He also mentioned the course was "12 hours per day for three days and one needs to be present for that whole time to benefit from it." Similarly, Laura McClure says her course (US$500) was allowed "just one meal break per 13-hour session," and it and the shorter toilet breaks each had its own assignment to complete. Seminar attendees are allowed very little time to think for themselves and attendees are mocked and ridiculed if they stop out of line. The objective of the introductory course is to replace an attendee's individuality with Landmark's thought patterns. Jargon abounds. Time control, personality replacement, loaded language, deception, and fear, guilt and intimidation as used in the introductory courses (as indicated in Laura McClure's report or Milla Goldenberg's report) are classic mind control techniques.
For examples of some of Landmark Education's nonsensical, religious and self refuting teachings see this article. For more information and some great examples of how badly Landmark Education takes criticism, see the Landmark Education article at Apologetics Index, or the Skeptic's Dictionary Landmark article which points out "Those in need of psychotherapy should not participate in LGAT [Large Group Awareness Training] programs. They may be too intense for the emotionally fragile." A correspondent who did a course in about 2004 says "By the way you are discouraged from participating even if you’ve been to the doctor once claiming to be depressed." That's good to know, and they may have been getting even stricter; another correspondent who did her first course in 2009 writes "people sign a legal waiver regarding their mental health and their participation in the Forum in the registration forms." This is confirmed in an article by Laura McClure, which explains in more detail just what is agreed to:
I signed a six-page disclaimer in which I declared that I understood that after attending the Forum, people with no history of mental or emotional problems had experienced "brief, temporary episodes of emotional upset ranging from heightened activity...to mild psychotic-like behavior."
Remember, that's Landmark Education themselves saying that. Landmark Education well deserves its Danger rating.
Landmark Forum. The most popular course of Landmark Education.
Larson, Bob. Bob Larson is a controversial self-styled exorcist who toured New Zealand at the end of October 2005. Bob Larson was born in Nebraska, USA, in 1944. Among his various doubtful claims is that he is the world's foremost expert on cults, the occult, and alternative spirituality. The source code of his web site claims Bob Larson is the foremost authority of occult, cults and the supernatura. [sic] Apologetics Index's Bob Larson page says those familiar with the field of countercult ministry know that his claim is patently false. We agree. Another doubtful claim is that he has exorcised more demons than any other human on the planet - over 6,000 in October 2005, although a television programme screened here in December 2007 the figure of 10,000 was claimed, along with a rate of 500 to 1,000 exorcisms per year. It doesn't quite add up, especially as a reference was made to Bob Larson's age that would have put the production of the programme in 2005. A claim of 15,000 is from September 2013. (FWIW the New Zealand Listener magazine says the Vatican's chief exorcist, Gabriele Amorth, has performed over 30,000 exorcisms, while Wikipedia says he lays claim to 50,000, this article pronounces it's actually 160,000, and this article says 70,000.) Jon Trott wrote an article for Cornerstone Magazine where he put Bob Larson's ministry under scrutiny. The article casts doubt on many of Bob Larson's claims, past and present. Bob Larson charges for his exorcisms and this article says "he insists that one session almost never does the trick"; compare with Jesus Christ's instructions when he sent out his disciples:
"Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give."
– Matthew 10:8 (NIV).
The Last Reformation. Group led by Torben Søndergaard.
Latter-day Saints. Cult. Full (and correct) name is Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (although they are more commonly known as Mormons).
Latter Rain Movement. Submissions for this listing are now being accepted. Please see the Contact page.
Lee Chongwi Press Ltd. Publishing company apparently founded by Lonnian Lee. The two books it lists are both written by Lonnian Lee.
Lee, Joanna. Joanna Lee (actual name Kim Ouk Lee, aka Keum Ok Lee) was a member of Lord of All cult, killed by Lord of All pastor Luke Lee (no relation) after a six hour exorcism session on 10 December 2000. Luke Lee thought she had at least 20 demons in her who had told him they would not leave without killing her. Before joining the cult she was involved with a religious group in Korea, but lived basically as an orphan. She came to New Zealand after being accepted into the Lord of All cult. When her family could not be found the Christian Korean community in Auckland performed a Christian funeral/memorial service for her in the middle of 2001 and her body was cremated. After the trial and conviction of Luke Lee in December 2001 her family has still not been found and her ashes have not been claimed.
Lee, Lonnian. Lonnian Lee is the founder of Synergetic Medicine and Yang Tsin Su. He received a PhD in Asian Studies from Auckland University in 2002 for his thesis A Feasibility Study of the Combination of Western Medicine & Traditional Chinese Medicine which is part of the basis of the two groups he has founded. He has apparently also founded Lee Chongwi Press Ltd.
Lee, Luke. Luke Lee (aka Yong Bum Lee) is the former pastor of Lord of All cult and a graduate of the Assemblies of God Bible School in west Auckland. Infamous for killing Lord of All member Joanna Lee (no relation) after a six hour exorcism session during which he also broke her sternum and cracked two of her ribs. Accompanied by 10 members of the cult, Luke Lee attempted (noisily) to raise Joanna Lee from the dead, during which time Joanna Lee's body lay on a mattress in the same room, black and decaying. Neighbours complained to the police about the noise levels of this activity. Luke Lee was convicted on 5 December 2001 for the 10 December 2000 manslaughter of Joanna Lee. In court Luke Lee defended himself and did not cross-examine any witnesses, including members of the Lord of All cult, although he had previously tried to get some of them to lie. While in court he also admitted that he had a criminal past in Korea, before accepting Jesus. Luke Lee has claimed several times she will be resurrected. On his conviction for manslaughter he again claimed she would rise from the dead, at midnight on the evening of Sunday 9 December 2001. The date passed without incident.
Update: Yong Bum Lee was convicted for 6 years but was removed from New Zealand in January 2005. In April 2006 he successfully appealed, and the Court of Appeal overturned Mr Lee's conviction based largely on Joanna Lee's consent to the exorcism, an activity in which there was apparently a known risk of harm. The decision stated Ms Lee's consent was "a possible defence which the jury should have been allowed to consider." Crown prosecutors wondered if they should bother with a retrial, considering most of the witnesses (other Koreans in the cult) had by then left the country.
Lee, Witness. Witness Lee founded the Local Church of Witness Lee, a Christian sect. Born 1905 in northern China. Trained under Watchman Nee who sent him to Taiwan in 1949. Lee moved to the USA in 1962. Died 1997 age 91.
Lewis, Richard. Richard Lewis was the Manager of Destiny Church for the 13 years until December 2013, when he left to start his own Grace Global Church. In the six months to October 2009 he drafted and prepared the oath of loyalty document for Destiny Church. He is also leader of the (inactive) Family Party, and former leader of Destiny NZ. Richard Lewis has stated:
"It is completely in line with Christian teaching and philosophy, that wealth is an outcome of living according to the path that God puts in the Bible."
This contrasts to the teaching and philosophy of Jesus Christ:
"If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
"I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven... it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
"But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort."
As of October 2009 Richard Lewis is rated Danger for his activity with and defence of Destiny Church's cultic activities.
Liberal Friends. One of the three main branches of Quakers (formally known as the Religious Society of Friends), along with Conservative Friends and Evangelical Friends. Liberal Friends are a distinct minority of Quakers worldwide but form the majority of Quakers in New Zealand and are by far the most likely to be encountered in this country. They are regarded by many Quakers worldwide as having left the faith, as they (as a group) deny all the fundamentals of the Christian faith. According to a clerk from the Conservative Friends (overseas) "Liberals are an abhorrent group who should NOT use the label Quaker as they deny our historical Christian Faith." (His emphasis.) For example, the doctrines of Jesus' deity and the virgin birth are nonessential and not accepted as fact. The idea of sin and therefore the need for salvation is also not accepted, and it is possible for even atheists to be Liberal Friends. As a result of this there is wide variance in what individual Liberal Friends believe, and it is quite possible that many are genuine Christians - hence it should be emphasised the Danger rating here refers to the group, not the individuals in it. (There are many fine individuals who are Liberal Friends.) Since the Liberal Friends itself gives the appearance of being compatible with or a denomination of Christianity it qualifies as a Christian cult. It should be noted it does not use mind control, so is not a mind control cult, and is not understood to be sociologically harmful.
Licona, Mike. Representative example of several contemporary [conservative philosophical] Christian apologists who seem to deny the inerrancy of the Bible by denying the historical accuracy of various passages such as Matthew 27:51-54. Mike Licona's teaching has been promoted in NZ.
Liebscher, Banning. Banning Liebscher is a speaker at the Manifest Presence conference, appearing for the first time in 2015. Married to Sea-Jay, together they are directors of Jesus Culture, a youth ministry at Bethel Church, Redding California. He credits Kathryn Kuhlman as being a mother of the faith. Rated Danger for associations with the Manifest Presence conference, Bill Johnson (the senior pastor of Bethel Church), and Cindy Jacobs.
LifeStream. One of many New Age based Large Group Awareness Training (LGAT) programs. Founded by Jim Quinn (from Mind Dynamics) and Janet Quinn in 1973. Competes with Landmark Education although less well known and less often run than that LGAT. Particular Lifestream courses include Breakthrough and LeaderShape (an advanced course). See the Skeptic's Dictionary LGAT article for more information about LGATs.
Life Training Program, Life Training Mastery Course. Courses run by Kairos Foundation, yet another Large Group Awareness Training (LGAT) program. Said to be "similar [to] Landmark", and is in competition with that LGAT.
Living Church of God. A splinter group of the Worldwide Church of God, they publish Tomorrow's World magazine and produce a television programme of the same name. Their false doctrine includes the belief that the Holy Spirit is the essence of God, not a person of the Trinity, and so incorrectly refer to the Holy Spirit as "it" not "He". They incorrectly teach that baptism by immersion is essential for salvation. For thorough refutations see the PDFs Water Works and Water Baptism and Salvation. They exercise legalism by insisting the Sabbath must be kept and tithes paid.
Local Church (of Witness Lee). Christian sect, verging on a cult. In New Zealand they are probably most accurately regarded as a sect, although many cult researchers worldwide call them a cult. For example, Dr Norman L Geisler, Dean of Southern Evangelical Seminary and one of the world's foremost Christian apologists, has stated that the word cult is doctrinally appropriate to use of the group (and gives reasons). In a submission to the Supreme Court of Texas, Dr Norman L Geisler has written:
In over fifty years of research on doctrinal matters, it is my professional opinion that: 1) It is doctrinally appropriate to label some groups by the terms unorthodox, heretical, or a cult. 2) It is appropriate to use these labels of The Local Church.
My reasons in support of the second point are two-fold. First, in every list of essential orthodox Christian Doctrine of which I am aware, including the doctrines used by CRI, the doctrine of the Trinity is an essential Christian Doctrine, and deviations from it are considered unorthodox, heretical, or cultic. Second, after carefully reviewing the unretracted material published by The Local Church, I find numerous statements that are not in accord with the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity.
American anti-cult web sites claim that after Scientology they are the most litigious cult in the USA, using legal threats and action to dissuade authors from speaking out against them. (This is not the reason they are rated here as a sect rather than a cult.) Also known as "The Lord's Recovery", the Local Church uses the Recovery Version of the Bible (which they believe is the only true version), and publishes under the name Living Stream Ministry. Note that most members of the Local Church are just misled/confused Christians and should be kept distinct from the group itself, which has serious problems with theology and practice. For example, according to Watchman Fellowship "Some evangelicals have also charged that the church compromises the Trinity doctrine by confusing the Persons of the Holy Spirit and the Son in a way similar to modalism." (The issue is complex, and the Local Church publicly denounces modalism as heresy. Many problems arise with trying to determine their actual beliefs due to the fact that orthodox terminology is used by them but in probing their meaning, their definitions can differ greatly from that which is orthodox. A similar problem is found in cults such as the Latter-day Saints.) They have also been criticised for their beliefs that they are they only true church and other problems. Individual branches are called The Church in [city name]. For example, The Church in Rotorua. They have a missionary training centre in Hamilton and have a presence on University campuses around New Zealand as Christians on Campus. For more info see Apologetics' Index Local Church page or The Bereans' Local Church modalism article. Alternatively An Open Letter To the Leadership of Living Stream Ministry and the "Local Churches", from several dozen evangelical Christian scholars.
Lodge. Normally refers to the Freemasons (Masonic Lodge) - the Blue Lodge is the first few levels of Freemasonry. The Buffalo Lodge (another secret society) is also reported to be in New Zealand, apparently set up as a recruiting scheme for Freemasonry. There's also a supposedly very good (and expensive) restaurant called the Hunting Lodge.
Long, Bishop Eddie L. Eddie L Long is a Word Faith preacher, false prophet, self-proclaimed bishop, and is the "spiritual father" of Brian Tamaki. (Consider Matthew 23:9 - And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.) In September 2010 Eddie Long had allegations made against him of sexual improprieties (NZ Herald article). At this time it is too early to know if there is any substance to the allegations.
Lord Of All. Cult, now discontinued after its leader Luke Lee killed a member while trying to exorcise a demon from her. Used to meet in suburban Auckland, but now most of its members have returned to Korea.