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Hot picks: Satanic Ritual Abuse, School of Philosophy, School of the Prophets, Scientology, Seventh-day Adventists, Shincheonji, Sozo, Jack and Gaye Stradwick, Subud, Super Apostle


Sai Baba. See Sathya Sai Baba (Hindu guru) or Sai Baba of Shirdi (Hindu/Muslim holy man).

Sai Baba of Shirdi. He was a figure regarded – and worshipped – as a saint by some Hindus and Muslims. Born ~1835, died 15 October 1918. "Sai Baba" translates as "holy father" (or "saintly old man"). He has a small following in New Zealand, Shri Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan. Sai Baba of Shirdi is not to be confused with Sathya Sai Baba (1926-2011), a Hindu guru.

Sanitarium. Neutral Breakfast cereal company founded and owned by the Seventh-day Adventist church. Specifically, Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing Company is the trading name of New Zealand Health Association Ltd (and the separate Australian Health and Nutrition Association Ltd in Australia).

Sansthan. See Shri Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan

Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA). Caution Perhaps best described as an urban legend, mostly arising from bad therapy leading to Recovered Memory Syndrome. Please note that many "victims" of SRA really are victims, but are victims of bad therapy rather than the extreme ritual abuse they claim to now remember. (Of course, there's another group of people who make such claims just for the attention.) Also please note, we are not saying that satanic rituals and practices do not take place. See the Occult Closeup for more info. For more information on SRA see Off site link: Apologetics Index's SRA page.

Sathya Sai Baba. Danger Hindu guru and New Age leader. Born 23 November 1926, died 24 April 2011 – which is rather ironic considering that he said "I am God" and millions of his followers considered him a living god (Off site link: NZ Herald article). "Sai Baba" translates as "holy father" (or "saintly old man"), a title he adopted after he claimed to be a reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi (1835-1918), a figure regarded as a saint by some Hindus and Muslims.

Sathya Sai Pre-school Rongomai. A preschool run by Institute of Sathya Sai Education NZ Inc.

Sathya Sai Service Organisation NZ. Danger Represents Sathya Sai Baba in New Zealand. One of their activities is to run the spiritually dangerous Sathya Sai Spiritual Education classes.

Sathya Sai Spiritual Education. Danger Classes for children run by Sathya Sai Service Organisation NZ with the basic aim of teaching them they are God.

Scam cult. A cult which was started as a deliberate scam. Examples include Gentle Wind Project and Kosmic Fusion. Cults very probably started as scams and which are now self-sustaining include Scientology, Aetherius Society and Raëlians.

Scamwatch. OK A Off site link: web site run by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, and highly recommended. "The aim of Scamwatch is to provide you with information you need to protect yourself from scams, so you can recognise a setup and avoid the hook and the inevitable sting of a scam."

School of Economic Science. See School of Philosophy.

School of Higher Consciousness. Not Yet Rated Also known as the (former) New Zealand Spiritual School, now known as Soul Dynamics.

School of Meditation. Danger New Age group. See NZ School of Meditation.

School of Philosophy. Danger Also known in England and other countries as School of Economic Science, or School of Philosophy and Economic Science. It is a New Age cult with Vedic/Hindu teachings, such as reincarnation and meditation. Gives lip-service to Christianity only in as much as it serves their purposes. Arrived from London in 1961. Branches in Auckland, Hamilton, Masterton and Wellington. Founded Ficino School in 1997 for primary and intermediate aged children. For more information on their actual teachings – which have nothing to do with real philosophy – read The School of Philosophy (Auckland) article.

School of Spiritual Science. Danger Cult. See Anthroposophical Society.

School of the New Zealand Training Schools for Prophets and Intercessors. Danger See School of the Prophets.

School of the Prophets. Danger Hot Topic Printable version Cult, featuring bad doctrine, a charismatic authoritarian leader (since deceased) and mind control. Founded by Walter Simpson Ballantyne (deceased) in 1997, with branches reported in Auckland, Tauranga, Gisbourne, Wellington and Christchurch, as well as Australia and South Africa. Also known as New Zealand Training School for Prophets and Intercessors. It appears that people leaving School of the Prophets are deemed by the group to be lost, with no hope of salvation. The mind control technique thought stopping is used to protect members from the almost inevitable rejection of their message by outsiders, while jargon and loaded language is used to obfuscate true beliefs from outsiders (for example, Mr Ballantyne states "the Gospel of the Kingdom" is not the same as "the Gospel"). The School of the Prophets is given a Danger rating because of its bad theology, mind control, and reports of marriage breakups in Tauranga, Gisborne, Australia and South Africa as a direct result of the work of Walter Ballantyne and this group.

It is unclear how active the group has been since the death of the founder, but his many recorded messages were in circulation (hundreds of teaching tapes). Submissions for this listing are now being accepted. Please see the Contact page.

Similarly-named groups: The idea of a school for prophets (ignoring for the moment the biblically-sound notion that prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit, not something taught) apparently came to New Zealand from Australia (in recent times, at least), where a Brisbane School of the Prophets was (at that time) led by Chris and Debbie Gaborit, and from America before that. However, Walter Ballantyne does not acknowledge this chain of descent, and claims originality of concept – the school was supposedly revealed directly to him by God in a vision. (He needn't have bothered trying to emphasise the originality of the idea, as the concept was raised as early as 1860.) Functionally speaking the Tauranga-based School of the Prophets is unrelated to the American and Australian groups of the same name.

There is also a School of Prophecy founded by false prophet Graham Cooke.

School of the Prophets Charitable Trust. Danger See School of the Prophets.

Science of Mind. Danger Alternative name for United Church of Religious Science. There is also a similarly named book, The Science of the Mind.

Science of the Soul Study Centre. Not Yet Rated A group with a building in Mt Roskill, Auckland. They meet on Sunday mornings at "normal church time" and are said to have lots of pictures of an Indian guru on their walls, but they expect us to believe their claims they aren't religious. Sure. It's actually very religious; apparently a local branch of Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB, aka "Sant Mat"), which includes the teachings of Surat Shabd Yoga. It is a New Age mix of typical Eastern beliefs including meditation. RSSB is also the umbrella organisation for the Science of the Soul Research Centre in Delhi, India, another mystic group which publishes books teaching relativism and that the world's religions are really the same. Freedom of Mind called RSSB "a super secret organization" and lists Eckankar as being a spin off from it. The Mt Roskill building used to be owned by the Exclusive Brethren and required alterations to their car park due to a motorway extension built nearby.

Scientology. Danger Very Hot TopicVery Hot Topic Printable version Full name Church of Scientology, this is a very dangerous cult group. Extreme mind control practices which in some cases have been seen to have very long lasting effects, screwing up the beliefs and thinking of some former members for years after they leave the cult. Founder L Ron Hubbard (a pulp science fiction writer). Head PR person/Secretary in New Zealand is Mike Ferriss. Chairperson is Marion Moffat (who is possibly married to Claude Moffat). Ian H Gillott is another long-time member. Granted charity status by the New Zealand Inland Revenue Department in the mid 2000s (on the basis that Scientology is a religion – even though its religious writings bear a strange resemblance to cheap science fiction). In December 2003 and January 2004 New Zealand Scientologists attempted to suppress the information in this listing by contacting the company which hosts this site. (It should be noted that all the information on this site is completely legal.) Scientology has rather a lot of detractors on the Internet, which keep Scientologists busy trying to suppress. The online book Off site link: The Scandal of Scientology by Paulette Cooper makes for a good, well, actually slightly sickening read. For more juicy information on Scientology have a look at the Closeup on Scientology or click the graphic below to visit Off site link: Operation Clambake. (It should be noted that linking to another web site is completely legal.)

Off site link: Operation ClambakeScientology is a UFO cult

Googlism has its own ideas about Off site link: what Scientology is (satire).

ScienTOMogy. Neutral Hot Topic ScienTOMogy was a satirical web site detailing some of the crazy antics of renowned Scientologist Tom Cruise. Thanks to the crazy antics of some not very Clear Minded Scientologists who threatened to sue it for breach of copyright (or something), the site made headlines around the word and grew from obscurity to widespread fame – a great example of the Off site link: Streisand effect. Of course ScienTOMogy also quickly listed their crazy legal threats too. (Well, what did they expect?) The link from ScienTOMogy to the New Zealand Cult List also resulted in October 2005 being the busiest month ever for our own site, with lots more people getting to read the information we have about Scientology – all due to Scientology's free advertising. The ScienTOMogy site no longer exists in the same format, although the basic idea was continued under different management with a slightly different domain name.

Scotland, John. Danger Leader of the Drunken Revival Movement, which is itself part of the False Revival Movement. His web site is headed "Blissful Spiritual Intoxication" – see the Drunken Revival Movement entry for a quote from Lee Grady regarding biblical injunctions for sobriety. Has visited New Zealand more than once (the latest in Feb 2011) and is shown near the beginning of Off site link: Part 3 of Andrew Strom's Kundalini documentary. John Scotland is supported in New Zealand by Gaye Stradwick.

SDA. See Seventh-day Adventist.

Searle, Howard. Danger Based in Gisborne, pastors Gisborne Christian Fellowship and runs Gospel Tape Ministry which distributes William Branham material.

Seatoun School, Wellington – Board of Trustees.Caution The board of trustees at this Wellington primary school banned a religious group that met during their Wednesday lunch break. The Caution rating is assigned here for suppression of religious freedom. From the New Zealand Herald:

In a written opinion, Sir Geoffrey [Palmer] said the ban breached the Bill of Rights Act's guarantee of freedom of religion. The lunchtime "KidsKlub" meetings were not in school time, were voluntary and were allowed under the Education Act.

FYI – Seatoun School also hit the headlines in 1989 when it announced it was adding two more school years (to include intermediate age children), a decision which resulted in significant controversy since it affected other local primary schools and the local intermediate school. (Competition in education?)

Seed of the Serpent. Danger Fruitcake material taught by William Branham. The Off site link: William Branham article at Apologetics Index includes a brief overview.

Self Knowledge Foundation. See Foundation for Self Knowledge Inc.

Sensé. A range of USANA Health Sciences products.

Service for Peace scheme. Danger A Moonie front group/campaign.

Seven Ray Foundation. Danger A former charitable trust, now closed but replaced by Christ College of Trans-Himalayan Wisdom.

Seven Ray Institute. Danger Occult/esoteric cult based on Ageless Wisdom and other Eastern teachings, backed up by University of the Seven Rays in the USA.

Seventh-day Adventist. Generally OK but some branches Danger. Hot Topic Printable version A Seventh-day Adventist is a follower of a Christian denomination which believes strongly in Sabbath worship (Saturday) rather than Sunday. That's fine in itself but some Seventh-day Adventists in New Zealand (believed to be a minority of SDAs in this country) go overboard in this and proclaim that only they are saved because other denominations do not do this – a cultic claim. Seventh-day Adventists (as individuals or the organisation) run the publishing company Patriotic Christian Distributors, Final Warning Ministries, New Zealand Christian Foundation, television station Firstlight, breakfast cereal company Sanitarium, and the tabloid newspapers Discovery News and The [South Pacific] Signs of the Times. The denomination was founded by Ellen G White, their Prophetess. It varies on a branch-by-branch basis, but any particular branch that practices or teaches that Ellen G White's teachings are more important than the Bible qualifies itself as a cult. Most New Zealand branches apparently do not hold strongly to that (although they do hold her writings to be an "authoritative source of truth"), whereas in other countries the tendency is in the other direction, and her writings are deemed to be more important than the Bible. In New Zealand the Seventh-day Adventist Church is divided into the North New Zealand Conference (North Island) and South New Zealand Conference (South Island). Both officially believe her writings "make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested" and that the Bible is "the authoritative revealer of doctrines". However, people have questioned how this is played out in practice, since the Bible is often interpreted for Seventh-day Adventists by Ellen G White – or rather, her writings, with which there are many serious problems. This leads them to misinterpret clear passages such as Romans 14:5-6 (NIV).

5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

Also 1 Timothy 4:1-5 (NIV).

1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

Robert K Sanders has written a testimony of how he Off site link: left the SDAs after 37 years. He points out that Ellen G White often contradicted the Bible.

SGI, SGINZ. See Soka Gakkai International New Zealand.

Share International. Danger A front group for the New Age cult Masters of Wisdom. Also the name of the magazine they publish. Share International also uses the names Elder Brothers and Way Showers.

Shelton, Matthew. Danger Dr Matthew Shelton is a conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer who represents NZDSOS in public. He was a Wellington GP, and was investigated for a text message sent to his patients in August 2021. He is rated Danger for the risk of death and long-term disability his disinformation poses to the general public. Update: In mid-December 2021 Matthew Shelton had his practising certificate suspended while he is investigated for speading COVID-19 misinformation.

Shiatsu massage. Caution A type of alternative medicine involving various massage techniques based on acupuncture channels in the arms and legs. Practitioners make claims about the benefits that are not supported by scientific evidence. See Wikipedia's Off site link: Shiatsu entry for more information, which says "There is no scientific evidence proving that shiatsu is effective at treating any disease."

Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony. Danger Hot Topic Printable version A cult from Korea, present in Auckland. The name comes from the Korean characters for New Heaven and Earth, but also operates under the name Mount Zion. In April 2017 the Off site link: NZ Herald reported The New Zealand Korean Churches Association has been warning New Zealand Korean congregations about the cult because of their concerns that the cult deceptively recruits new members before separating them from their families, and tries to take over churches. They plan to warn other denominations as well, since the cult also targets non-Koreans. Warnings were posted in 2019 Off site link: by a Wellington pastor and Off site link: by a former member. In November 2017 Mt Albert Baptist Church had trouble with the cult, as Off site link: reported by the NZ Herald: "It is the tearing apart of family relationships that is the hardest to watch, but also the destroying of an individual's future," [lead pastor Steve] Worsley said. "The process of thought reform is astonishing. People of good character end up deceiving people. Shincheonji teaches a theology of deception." In November 2016 the Church of England formally warned 500 parishes in London.

Mind control techniques used by the group include deception and relationship control (to the extent of taking new members back to Korea to live with group members in order to keep the new members away from family and friends, as mentioned in Off site link: this NZ Herald article). Also known as New Heaven and New Earth Church, Mount Zion, and Zion Christian Centre, with a front group Mannam Volunteer Association. Shincheonji (also sometimes spelled "Shinchonji") was founded in the 1980s by Lee Man-hee who is believed by followers to be the second coming of Christ. The cult teaches that only they have truth, and only Lee Man-hee can help people to understand the Bible – both cultic claims. The group is reported to still be actively attempting to recruit from New Zealand evangelical churches in January 2022, when it also stepped up its use of the Mount Zion name, distancing itself from the Shincheonji name.

Show Us Your Glory Conference. Danger False revival movement conference held in 2007.

Shri Ji. Danger "Holy name" of Sunil Kumar Porumamilla, the male co-leader of Kosmic Fusion.

Shri Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan. An Eastern group that follows the teachings of Shri Saibaba, otherwise known as Sai Baba of Shirdi. They say he preached religious tolerance, although Off site link: Wikipedia points out "He was an opponent of religious orthodoxy – Christian, Hindu and Muslim" and "He criticized atheism" (which is also a religious worldview). As of early 2012 they are spending $5 million converting an Onehunga, Auckland warehouse into a temple and community hall.

Shunning. Danger A mind control mechanism. Involves shunning, or completely ignoring, former members, even to the point of crossing the street to avoid them.

SkyBiz, SkyBiz 2000. Danger Internet-based con scheme, multi-level marketing scheme, possibly illegal in New Zealand. Reportedly most effective at conning those aged over 40 who do not own a computer... which is almost funny since the scheme is to sell web sites. We haven't heard anything of it for the last five years, but if it is still operating, stay clear of it.

Smith, Barry. OK and Caution Barry R Smith 1933-2002, end-times proclaimer, traveling preacher, now deceased. Author of the books Warning, Second Warning, and Final Warning. While his gospel message was described as "solid" and the evangelism work he did (especially in the Solomon Islands) was excellent, the books are a different matter. He had an annoying tendency in those books to not back up wild claims (of which he made many) with solid evidence; they should certainly be read with caution.

Smith, Dr Ed. Developer of TheoPhostic Counseling (aka Theophostic Prayer Ministry).

Smith, Joseph. Danger Founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints cult group (better known as Mormons). For more information see the Latter-day Saints Closeup History page.

Snake oil. See snake oil in the Glossary.

Soka Gakkai International New Zealand (SGINZ). A Buddhist group.

SoldOut Discipling Movement. Danger Cult, normally called International Christian Church. The name "SoldOut Discipling" was used for over a year before the International Christian Church was formally founded in 2006. An Auckland branch has appeared since then. Also called SoldOut Movement and "God's SoldOut Movement".

Solution. Caution Youth ministry of Destiny Church in Rotorua, New Zealand.

Somatic Education. Not Yet Rated Posture and movement exercises and techniques which are supposed to reverse or reduce various effects of aging. One set of such exercises and techniques is the Feldenkrais Method.

Son of Thunder. Danger The ministry name of Ian Clayton. Rated Danger for false teaching of New Age and occult practices. Note the similar name to Sons of Thunder.

Søndergaard, Torben. Caution Hot Topic Printable version Torben Søndergaard is the leader of The Last Reformation, a group which focuses on water baptism and healing. His doctrine in a number of areas is questionable, leading to him being accused of the following (not an exhaustive list).

  • Saying the gospel is baptism.
  • Teaching "Baptism is the forgiveness of sins. Baptism is the washing away sins."
  • Emphasising feelings instead of truth.
  • Directly contradicting the clear Bible teaching that salvation is by grace, not works.
  • Supporting Todd Bentley.

This report from a researcher:

Torben Søndergaard of The last Reformation and Todd Bentley?

June 2016

Years ago I was advised by a friend who knows Torben Søndergaard well, that Torben was a repentance preaching healing evangelist opposed to Todd Bentley, Lakeland, Toronto and alike. Also that Torben had been ostracized for many years in Denmark for holding that view. Like most people would, I accepted that from my friend because he was outspoken re Kundalini etc so I didn’t look into Torben. But in recent times I became increasingly concerned with reports of alleged strange statements made by Torben in The Last Reformation kick-start meetings and comments from those who follow him on blogs of a doctrinally dangerous nature so I decided to do some investigations. This was challenging given that any search of Torben would be in the Danish language and not show up in English search. Obviously this language barrier meant Torben was not well known or indeed scrutinized by the English speaking Christian world. Thanks to the internet and translation software this is not impossible so here are some of my findings.

Back in 2003 Torben was not anti-Todd Bentley but quite the opposite. Torben Søndergaard was one of the leaders who invited Todd Bentley for the first time to Denmark and was the Master of Ceremonies at the first meetings ever held by Todd Bentley in Denmark. Here are excerpts from two reporters’ articles written on the 3rd of September 2003 for Kristeligt. They report…

"It's all about Jesus, because he took our guilt and punishment, just like 'get em. It's cool, yeah", says the evening's master of ceremonies, Torben Søndergaard from Brande, who on singing Jutland introduces the evening's preacher, the 27-year-old Canadian Todd Bentley.

On stage in Herning Sports now comes her son, Torben Søndergaard. He is one of the leaders of the Free Church who invited Todd Bentley.

Well OK, that clearly establishes a strong Todd Bentley connection. But then there is commentary sometime later on (I have not been able to establish details of or when this happened yet) Torben opposed Todd Bentley and supposedly wrote to the editor of The Challenge in Denmark.

Now let’s come forward to 2015 where at that same newspaper Torben now has a column. Torben writes in the newspaper The Challenge on 22 January 2015…

"10 years ago a man came from the US to Denmark with a prophetic word to us our country. The word was that Denmark would become known as the Pool of Bethesda. That is a place where the sick could experience salvation and healing. He said that it would not only be one or two places, but it would be all over the country. Yes, no matter where you came in Denmark, there would be people who would ask for one and set one free."

OK, so Torben is quoting a prophecy without naming the source, but some Danish Christians looked for the prophetic source and found one that’s very familiar – prophetic words given by Todd Bentley Wednesday, August 6, 2003.

"Only on this occasion I have seen it as clearly as I see in the spirit of the evening. God will do something on a national level. In the Bible, in John 5 provides a healing outpouring – the Pool of Bethesda, which means outpouring of grace. And there were people from all over Israel, who went to this geographical location. The Bible says that a quantity of sick, blind, lame and crippled came to this place, the pool of Bethesda. They came from across the nation, to be healed. And international said, there is healing in the place. And at a certain time an angel came and touched the water in the pond, and the one who first came in, was cured no matter what disease he failed. The sick said there is a healing anointing at Bethesda Dam.

When I asked for my trip to Denmark, the Holy Spirit said: "Todd, not just in one region or a church or a town, there will be a 'Pool of Bethesda'." I asked, "Lord, where would it be?"

The entire Danish land will be known for the healing power, and people from abroad will say: "If we can come to the country to Denmark, then we will be healed. And it does not matter what city or church we go to, for healing happens everywhere in the country"

The last four years I have prophesied churches, cities and regions, which will host the healing outpourings. But I've never seen an entire country, as all sides have a healing anointing. Healings will happen all the time in all cities. It will be bigger than the revival in the 40s, 50s and 60s in North America with Jack Co., AA Allan, William Branham, Gordon Linsey and healing the weakening of America in the 1950s. And it will be the tool for the great harvest. The kind of anointing that was to harvest the 1950s and 60s in recovery weakening, where in 100's of cities every day could be meetings with healing and miracles. It will not just Todd Bentley, Charles Ndifon or Benny Hinn, but 100's of people and also Danes. There will be a fire, and I saw it burning up against the Scandinavian countries.

The Holy Spirit said, "Todd, I want you to say that this is more than four days of healing. I want you to tell them that there comes a healing revival. And it will be like with the Pool of Bethesda in John 5. You should take all pastors and leaders up and put hands on them, so they can receive the anointing which you have. So they can take it to those parts of Denmark which they come from.
(Source) [broken link]

So Torben is publishing in January 2015 the false teacher Todd Bentley's 2003 prophecy that came on the lead-up to the very same meetings where Torben worked with Todd Bentley back in 2003. Was Todd Bentley obedient to whomever it was talking to him back in 2003 and did he do what was asked?

"You should take all pastors and leaders up and put hands on them, so they can receive the anointing which you have. So they can take it to those parts of Denmark which they come from." *
(Source) [broken link]

With an emphasis on passing on "the anointing" or "the blessing" so prevalent at the time from Rodney Howard Brown, Jill Austin and a host of others it's likely that Todd did just that. See quote reported from an attendee of the 2003 meeting desperately seeking healing…

"And even if some of her friends outside the church have a little difficulty relating to her trust in God holding Kirsten Søndergaard maintained this position and will continue to seek out pastors as Ndifon and Todd Bentley to have part of their anointing. I certainly understand their skepticism, because that was exactly how we felt about Torben and his talk, as he had been saved before we even began attending church, says Kirsten Søndergaard. But as I have said: Going to meetings and hope for a miracle can never hurt, she adds." *

All this raises some questions as to what is going on.

* Note that quotes are from articles that do have minor translation errors from Danish to English but have not altered context.

Sons of Thunder. Danger The ministry name of John Crowder, and also known as The New Mystics. Rated Danger for false teaching of New Age and occult practices. Note the similar name to Son of Thunder.

Soroptimist International of Aotearoa New Zealand. OK A women's volunteer service organisation with the first New Zealand branch founded in 1939. The name comes from the Latin words soror "sister" and optima "best". For more information see Off site link: this history of Soroptimist International in New Zealand.

Soul Destiny. Danger A New Age/occult instructional group and probable cult led by Wayne Morgan. Members are reported to typically stay in the group about a year before most "figure it out and then get out". Several aspects of the group sound very similar to the Gentle Wind Project New Age cult/business cult/scam, in particular the pseudo-scientific babble used to promote ideas, courses and products. Products sold include colloidal silver. Soul Dynamics is rated Danger because of its New Age and occult teachings, its promotion of colloidal silver for ingestion, and for alleged use of mind control techniques in leading the group.

Soul Dynamics. Not Yet Rated A New Age instructional group, formerly called New Zealand Spiritual School or School of Higher Consciousness.

South New Zealand Conference. The name for the South Island branches of the Seventh-day Adventist church.

Southern Star. OK A national Christian radio network owned by Rhema Broadcasting Group Inc. Features music for older listeners. See also Life FM and Radio Rhema.

Sovereign Hikoi of Truth. Danger A group of anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists who have stated they believe they are "living, breathing divine beings" and have a right to restriction-free travel in the middle of a pandemic lockdown. In October 2021 the group decided to travel from Rotorua to Waitangi – both at Alert Level 2 at the time – but when they got to Auckland's Alert Level 3 border, found that they weren't as divine as they thought. They were stopped and denied entry, their misguided beliefs of divinity completely ignored. Rated Danger because their actions and disinformation could lead directly to people dying from COVID-19.

Sozo. DangerHot Topic Also called Sozo Healing and Sozo Ministry; the name comes from the Greek word for "to save". It is very similar to Theophostic Ministry but is mixed with teachings from the Toronto Movement. In other words, yet another repackaged Off site link: Inner Healing, but with some big name backers like Bill Johnson, at whose church it was started. Sozo and the other practices from the Inner Healing Movement are strongly New Age. For more information see these pages:

It is often pointed out that there is no precedent in the Bible of any ministry like Sozo. On the contrary, the Bible warns against false teaching and the Sozo-style guided prayer.

For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

– Matthew 24:24 (NIV)

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,

– 1 Timothy 2:5 (NIV)

Spierer, Hannah. Danger Hannah Spierer is a "reporter" for Counterspin New Zealand. She is rated Danger for the risk of death and long-term disability her disinformation poses to the general public.

Spirit of Truth. Danger Believed to be an alternate name for Providence cult.

Spiritism. Danger According to Elliot Miller "the practice of attempting communication with departed human or extrahuman intelligences (usually nonphysical) through the agency of a human medium, with the intent of receiving paranormal information and/or having direct experience of metaphysical realities" which is a complicated way of saying "they speak to dead people." This is what King Saul did in the Bible in 1 Samuel 28, although modern television spiritists (and "platform mediums") are better described as con artists.

Spiritual Growth Ministries and Spiritual Growth Ministries Trust. Caution A loosely knit community of writers, poets, and thinkers going under rather vague definitions – not that they always specifically attempt to define themselves. Many writers are Catholic. They do however purport to be taking a contemplative/meditative approach to “spirituality” – their meaning of “spirituality” being also vague and including some unbiblical views. Some Christian views appear to be orthodox and even evangelical but there are few references to scripture and little exegesis of biblical texts used. There is also no Statement of Belief on their website. There is a publication called “Refresh, Journal of Contemplative Spirituality” which is also available on the website as well as printed. While using Christianity as its primary reference SGM stops well short of orthodoxy and veers off into mystical tangents. For example, one article promotes “panentheism [not pantheism] – meaning ‘God in everything’”, and in another “the ancient symbol of the net of Indra” (as in Eastern religions) is spoken of as “a beautiful image for … connectedness” (Summer, 2012, p.38). The same edition speaks of “using the breath as our sacred symbol in Centering Prayer …” (p.54). In the Winter, 2018 edition, an article speaks of “Jesus’ use of Hindu symbols” (p.23) and there is a whole article centred around a lesbian relationship (pp.29-31), plus a picture of a naked (cave?) man on p.36 beside a strongly evolutionist-influenced piece. Whatever SGM is, it is based on biblical Christianity in only a few articles, more often very loosely so, and in some cases not at all. Other religions are at times considered as equally valid reference points as Christianity. SGM is frequently heterodox rather than orthodox in its beliefs.

Spiritualism. Danger Spiritualism is a religion incompatible with Christianity, as it involves occult activities forbidden in the Bible. Swedenborgianism is a Spiritualist group present in New Zealand. See Wikipedia's Off site link: Spiritualism article for more information. Please see the Contact page.

Splendour of Truth, The. Not Yet Rated A Roman Catholic bookshop, Milford, Auckland.

Springbank Christian Community. The name of a former commune home of the Cooperites, also at that time known as Cust Christian Community and Christian Community Church. It was a 100 hectare property near Cust in North Canterbury. The Cooperites outgrew the property and over the period 1991 to 1995 moved to Gloriavale Christian Community on the South Island's West Coast.

Sree Maa. Danger "Holy name" of Kaveeta Bhavsaar, the female co-leader of Kosmic Fusion.

Sri Chinmoy. Danger New Age cult. Has many peace related front groups and activities. Holds a meditation week once a year.

Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi. See Sai Baba of Shirdi.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Danger Started the Art of Living Foundation.

Star's Edge International. Danger Trademark of Avatar Masters Training.

Steiner, Rudolf. Danger Founded the Anthroposophical Society cult in 1912. There are Rudolf Steiner Schools named after him. He also helped start a branch of the Theosophical Society in Germany in 1902.

Steiner School. See Rudolf Steiner School.

Stop Suffering. Name sometimes used for the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.

Stradwick, Jack and Gaye. Danger Hot Topic Printable version Jack and Gaye Stradwick are the pastors of Auckland "church" Origin, and formerly Fusion. As of June 2008 have recently returned from Lakeland, Florida. They support Todd Bentley, Joshua and Janet Mills, Bill Johnson, John Scotland, Jason Westerfield, Extreme Prophetic, and false prophet Bob Jones, and – as is typical for those in the False Revival Movement – actively teach against discernment (one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit). For example, Gaye Stradwick, regarding false prophet Todd Bentley's false revival: "Please please please - if there is nothing good in your heart to say about this wonderful out-pouring of the Spirit of God, at least say nothing." The possibility that Todd Bentley and his false revival were not of God at all was sadly not an option for her. The Stradwicks are assigned a Danger rating because of their ongoing encouraging and teaching of unbiblical experiences and practices including the endorsement of fallacious miracles, misquoting of and misuse of the Bible, connections with and support of false prophets, and spiritual danger they pose in deceiving both the wider Christian church and their own young and impressionable congregation. As of May 2012 this rating is unchanged.

Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine, in "LIFE AFTER LAKELAND: Sorting Out the Confusion" writes about the false Lakeland revival led by Todd Bentley (with emphasis added):

Why did so many people flock to Lakeland from around the world to rally behind an evangelist who had serious credibility issues from the beginning?

To put it bluntly, we're just plain gullible.

From the first week of the Lakeland revival, many discerning Christians raised questions about Bentley's beliefs and practices. They felt uneasy when he said he talked to an angel in his hotel room. They sensed something amiss when he wore a T-shirt with a skeleton on it. They wondered why a man of God would cover himself with tattoos. They were horrified when they heard him describe how he tackled a man and knocked his tooth out during prayer.

But among those who jumped on the Lakeland bandwagon, discernment was discouraged. They were expected to swallow and follow. The message was clear: "This is God. Don't question." So before we could all say, "Sheeka Boomba" (as Bentley often prayed from his pulpit), many people went home, prayed for people and shoved them to the floor with reckless abandon, Bentley-style.

I blame this lack of discernment, partly, on raw zeal for God. We're spiritual hungry – which can be a good thing. But sometimes, hungry people will eat anything.

Many of us would rather watch a noisy demonstration of miracles, signs and wonders than have a quiet Bible study. Yet we are faced today with the sad reality that our untempered zeal is a sign of immaturity. Our adolescent craving for the wild and crazy makes us do stupid things. It's way past time for us to grow up.

FWIW Lee Grady has apparently learned from the Todd Bentley saga. On 27 October 2009 he wrote about John Crowder, saying "Let's put the childish things behind us. It's time for us to grow up and sober up." (More of his article is quoted in the Drunken Revival Movement listing.)

Sadly, since Todd Bentley's fall from grace the Stradwicks have continued to support the false revival he started and the false miracles Todd Bentley claimed to perform, continue to support other False Revival Movement teachers and Extreme Prophetic, and continue to encourage a lack of discernment.

Update May 2012: Gaye Stradwick has contacted us with a promising-sounding claim.

Over the past year, our focus at Fusion has shifted and is now totally on the finished work of the cross. [...] Could you please remove these references to us on your site as the information there is no longer applicable.

We had been aware she had been making a similar claim for at least a couple of months, and were encouraged by the prospect of this change. However, the NZ Cult List has been unable to verify any genuine change. We asked her for clarification about the information we list and Gaye's response made it clear that her change in focus would be better described as a change in emphasis. There is no change in belief evident. She still believes the things mentioned in this listing all grew out of genuine moves of God. Compare the Bible with Gaye Stradwick's teaching:

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.

– Ephesians 4:14.

Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.

– 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22.

This [Todd Bentley] revival was 100% God ordained and birthed. The salvations, healings and miracles were real, [...] This is God’s revival. It will therefore continue, and spread around the world.

– Jack and Gaye Stradwick, Sep 2008.

But when a new season is here, you move with it, [...] To camp around an experience once the cloud has moved on is denial. [...] While we have shifted focus, it is obvious you are as stuck as ever in your role as the error police.

– Gaye Stradwick, Apr 2012.

As Christians we should not be camping around an experience; we should be camping around the truth. The Todd Bentley revival claimed at least 21 resurrections. Not one has been verified. We should test everything. People make mistakes, but acknowledging our mistakes is the first step of truly moving forward. Gaye Stradwick has not admitted that any of her very public and very enthusiastic endorsements of Todd Bentley were wrong. In public statements and in correspondence received from her it doesn't appear that Gaye Stradwick has learned anything except to control and restrict where she publicly posts their false teaching. Compare the life of Jesus Christ with Gaye Stradwick's actions:

"I have spoken openly to the world," Jesus replied. "I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret."

– John 18:20.

Strom, Andrew. Andrew Strom is an advocate for the "coming street revival". He points out that the early church mostly ministered in the open-air and met house to house, and believes that reaching the masses will happen when the body of Christ moves in unity in the community. Andrew Strom also teaches about "true revival" as opposed to "false revival" and in May 2008 published Off site link: a book on that topic. [Editor's note: I see that the first two reviews posted were from people who have not read the book. One includes the classic line "Books like this are published for the self-righteous to enjoy judging what they don't understand." Could it equally be said reviews like that are posted by the really self-righteous to enjoy judging what they don't understand?] In the middle of 2008 Andrew Off site link: posted five videos on YouTube expressing his concern with the Lakeland Revival. Part Three contains graphic examples which show the similarities between false revival manifestations and occult Kundalini manifestations. The videos made him the 7th most subscribed YouTube user in New Zealand for July 2008 and the 19th most viewed. In mid-2010 he posted another documentary – False spirits invade the church, Off site link: part 1 and Off site link: part 2 – which include graphic examples of the extreme behaviour (some say demon possession) of the False Revival Movement. Off site link: Part 3 from October 2010 is said to be the most revealing yet, and is recommended watching. In September 2015 he released a Off site link: trailer for his upcoming documentary Kundalini Warning Part 4. Detracting from this work is his teaching that baptism is essential for salvation. For refutation see Waterworks (PDF, 29 KB) and Water Baptism and Salvation (PDF, 64 KB).

Structural Integration. See Rolfing.

Subritzky, Bill. OK Off site link: Died December 2015, age 90. Faith healer and pentecostal leader. Got a bit carried away sometimes, such as supporting the Toronto Movement, but did a great deal of good evangelism in New Zealand. His web site is

Subud. Danger Hot Topic Printable version Once a very secretive New Age cult, Subud is now expanding and becoming more open, and no longer hides its teachings behind password-protected web sites. (A cynic would say they've realised they don't need to – people will fall for anything.) Subud was founded in the 1920s in Java, Indonesia by Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo (b. 1901, d. 1987), who is normally called Bapak ("Father") by Subud members. There are a little over 200 members in NZ (as of mid 2007), with about 90 in Christchurch led by Hammond Peek; most of the rest in Auckland. There are perhaps 10,000 members worldwide.

The name Subud comes from the three words Susila ("the good character of man in accordance with the will of God"), Budhi ("the force of the inner self within man"), and Dharma ("surrender, trust and sincerity towards God"), and is not related to Subuh ("dawn"). The founder expected members to pay 3-5% of their income to the cult (but they can also have many supposed financial crises to respond to each year) and expected members' enterprises (businesses) to pay 25%. These are not enforced – indeed, most Subud members have not heard of those figures, perhaps indicating that Subud's teaching that Subud has no teaching is working – the members have never been taught what their founder said. (Hiding of origins is actually a big problem in many cults, but most don't have self-contradiction at their core.)

The founder's daughter took over leadership when her father died. From Indonesia she picks names for many children and some adults, which helps reinforce group identity (another sign Subud is a cult). This leader is considered to have all the power of her father, who proclaimed himself to be a Christ-like/Muhammad-like figure and was believed by some to be the second coming of Christ. [Can anyone see anything wrong with that belief? Hint: He's now dead. – Editor.]

Central to Subud practice is the latihan – an occult activity like transcendental meditation which according to Dr Stephen Urlich, a Christchurch scientist who wrote an article published in a journal of the American Psychological Association, involves “uninhibited weeping, shouting, writhing, moaning and speaking in tongues” and that “Laughing, jumping and dancing can occur”. Compare this with Kundalini. A Christian perspective is that this activity involves channeling demons that masqerade as either angels of light, the Holy Spirit, or even Christ himself to reveal supposed truth to the Subud member. Nasty. Some Subud members call the latihan "getting opened" which is appropriate for an activity that involves opening oneself to demonic manipulation. Subud has been known to practice strong relationship control, and in a 1964 study cited by Dr Urlich, 24 cases linked Subud to "schizophrenic episodes requiring hospitalisation". This has been referred to as "Subud Syndrome" by a Subud supporting correspondent, who attempted to play it down by implying it was nothing special because "all religious experience can become traumatic for vulnerable people". This is not true of most religious experience and is strong evidence of cultic practice when it occurs.

Like many New Age groups and practices, Subud in particular appears to primarily appeal to those for whom rational thought is not a high priority, meaning that feelings are far more important to them than clear logical thought is. (For example, one Subud member has emailed us claiming black and white can be the same thing because they're both colours.) This combined with the experiences of the Latihan means that it can be very hard to convince a Subud member just how bad it is – they feel it is right, therefore as far as they are concerned it is. Subud is here rated Danger for its heavily New Age theology, its very occult practices, its strongly self-contradictory teachings, and its risk of psychological damage.

Sudarshanaloka Trust. A Buddhist organisation.

Success Life Institute. Not Yet Rated Run by Destiny Church in Tauranga. Submissions for this listing are now being accepted. Please see the Contact page.

Sullivan, David. Leading Feldenkrais Method practitioner in New Zealand. (FYI listing.)

Sunny Day Homeschool. Danger Homeschool run on principles from L Ron Hubbard and Scientology. Based in Papatoetoe, Auckland, and run by the same person who leads Applied Scholastics New Zealand. Rated Danger because quite simply Scientology screws people up for life; there is no way that children should be exposed to Scientology teachings.

Super Apostle. Danger A term used by Cultwatch and others to refer to a Christian leader who sets themselves up as being specially chosen or appointed by God to control a number of churches. The New Apostolic Reformation is the ideal platform for Super Apostles. Read Cultwatch's Off site link: Super Apostle article for more information, or their article Off site link: How Pastors Get Rich for typical money-making techniques used.

Swart, Leon. Leon Swart, also known as Leo Swart, heads FANZA in New Zealand.

Swedenborg/Swedenborgianism. Danger Spiritualist cult founded by Emanuel Swedenborg. Claims to be "True Christian Religion" but denies all the fundamental beliefs of Christianity. Present in New Zealand as the New Church in New Zealand, and known in other countries as The Lord's New Church. For more information see CARM's Off site link: Swedenborg article or Watchman Fellowship's Off site link: Swedenborg profile which explains that Emanuel Swedenborg "discounts over half the Bible as from God based on his authority alone." Or read how one man Off site link: left Swedenborg and came to know Christ as his saviour on the Off site link: CARM site. Swedenborgianism is rated Danger for its seriously bad misrepresentation of Christianity.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. Danger Founder of Swedenborg spritualist cult. Lived 1688-1772. His teachings are called The Word of the Third Testament.

Synergetic Medicine Ltd. Caution Possible scam. A company founded by Lonnian Lee based on a combination of Chinese traditional medicine and western medicine. Sells expensive products with creative names like "Alimentation System (Spleen Energy)". While Lonnian Lee is marketed as a doctor, it should be emphasised that he has a PhD, not a medical degree, and it's in Asian Studies, not medicine or physiology.

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