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Hot picks: Brian Tamaki, Theophostic Counseling, Theosophy/Theosophical Society, Tithing, Eckhart Tolle, Transcendental Meditation


Tai Chi. Not Yet Rated Chinese martial art, normally used as a form of exercise characterised by its slow and fluid movements. Sometimes called "meditation in motion." See Wikipedia's listing Off site link: T'ai chi ch'uan for more information.

Tamaki, Brian. Danger Hot Topic Brian Tamaki is the Pentecostal pastor of Destiny Church in Auckland and former pastor of Lake City Church in Rotorua. Senior pastor and self-proclaimed apostle for Destiny Churches International. As of February 2005 Brian Tamaki is being called a bishop – the first bishop in Destiny. The title was formally bestowed on him at the 7th anniversary celebrations in July 2005. Brian Tamaki can also be regarded as a false prophet, as can his "spiritual father" and self-proclaimed Bishop Eddie L Long, because in around October 2003 they claimed (falsely, as it turned out) that Destiny would be Off site link: ruling New Zealand.

Last year Tamaki told his followers: "I predict in the next five years, by the time we hit our 10th anniversary – and I don't say this lightly – that we will be ruling the nation."

On that same night Tamaki joined forces with Bishop Eddie L Long, senior pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, USA.

Tamaki said the self-appointed bishop was his spiritual father.

Long blessed Destiny's vision that it will be ruling New Zealand before its 10th anniversary.

"He made a declaration that in five years you shall be ruling and reigning in this nation," Long told the Destiny Church.

"That means you control the wealth, that means you control the riches, that means you control the politics, that means you control the social order, that means that you are in charge."

Tamaki says his prediction is no slip of the tongue but a prophetic utterance.

Emphasis added. Note: "And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven." Matthew 23:9.

While the November 2008 general election would have been an ideal time for the prophecy to be fulfilled, nothing came of it. There has been no other fulfillment; hence the prophecy is clearly false. Brian Tamaki and his wife Hannah present Destiny Television. In August 2002 he used his television program as a platform for launching broadside attacks on denominational churches."Vipers in the Church" dealt with the pharisaism (?sp) rampant in all other churches. On Sunday, TV1, in October 2004, Brian Tamaki said "Well, the Bible doesn't call you to be poor. I mean, why would I want to be a Christian if it says you're going to be poor and poverty stricken? That's just the opposite of what the Bible speaks." No, Brian, the Bible doesn't speak that, and "Because you want to do only what God wants and to spend eternity in Heaven with Him" is the answer to your question.

In September 2021 Brian Tamaki spread disinformation about vaccinations and mask wearing, showing not only that it's dangerous to follow his advice, but also that he's a complete idiot. Sadly, he's a complete idiot leading a cult. He spread further disinformation at a public protest on 2 Ocober 2020, a protest which itself Off site link: drew strong protestations.

Submissions for this listing are now being accepted. Please see the Contact page. However, if you are a Destiny Church member who has been told to write to us, please don't bother. We already know you are required to defend Brian Tamaki.

Tamaki, Hannah. Danger Hannah Tamaki is the wife of pastor Brian Tamaki of Destiny Church in Auckland.

Tamariki, Brian. Brian Tamariki is the fictitious pastor of the satirical Density Church supposedly based in Auckland.

Tara Center. Danger An early name of the Los Angeles Office of Share International, and thus linked to the New Age cult Masters of Wisdom.

Tarot cards. Danger (Pronounced "tarro.") A set of cards used to supposedly read fortunes. Very occult.

Tauranga House of Prayer. Caution Offers a rather expensive 12 week live-in course called Awaken Internship. Probably founded by YWAM as a branch of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (Kansas, USA), and thus likely part of the New Apostolic Reformation, for which it gets a Caution rating. It is nothing to do with the Off site link: House of Prayer in Atlanta (Georgia, USA). For some concerns about the International House of Prayer see Dan Edelen's article Off site link: Charismatic Churches and the Cult of the New where he writes about discernment in the Charismatic Movement and identifies at least 3 (and as many as 5) of 7 warning flags. With YWAM the Tauranga House of Prayer founded Bethlehem Mission Trust.

Tax Reduction Integrity Movement. Aka TRIM. Front group for the cult Zenith Applied Philosophy (ZAP).

Te Hahi o Nga Matamua Holdings Limited. A Destiny Church charity, to be stripped of its charitable status on 20 December 2017 for not filing annual returns.

Te Kahika, Billy. Caution Billy Te Kahika is a conspiracy theorist who runs The Freedom Alliance and is a former leader of political party Advance NZ, abandoning politics when the party failed to get anywhere in the 2020 general election. He is rated Caution for promoting conspiracy theories, and producing and distributing Off site link: conspiracy propaganda which if followed could endanger the lives of New Zealanders. (The truth is masks can greatly reduce the spread of airborne particles, and can greatly reduce the spread of COVID-19. Be responsible, wear masks on public transport. It's not hard.) Billy Te Kahika and three others were arrested at an anti-lockdown protest on 18 August 2021 – the first day of an Alert Level 4 lockdown due to the Delta strain of SARS-CoV-2 spreading in the community. He was released the next day, temporarily banned from using the Internet, and will reappear in court in October. In October it turned out that he is also Off site link: facing deception and electoral charges.

Teaching of Ascension. See Ascension meditation.

Temple, Howard. Howard Temple, formerly Howard Smitherman, is the present leader of the Gloriavale Christian Community. Off site link: This Stuff article says he "is an American mechanical engineer, who served in the US Navy." The article goes on to say he married a New Zealand woman, Joy, who became the head of its school system.

Terminators. A "Bible discussion" group run by the International Christian Church cult.

The, The Event. Caution Possible scam. The (pronounced "tay") – a trade name for New York Studio, Inc. – is basically a children's modelling agency based in the United States that runs a recruitment drive called The Event, which has been held in New Zealand. The's basic method of operation appears to use The Event to select children who "pass the auditions". The then tries to get the parents of those children to pay thousands of dollars for modelling and acting courses for the children to proceed to further auditions, all in order to give their children a chance at a Hollywood acting career. In the United States the Better Business Bureau has Off site link: posted a warning about The. Anyone getting involved in New Zealand should be especially wary of large up-front fees and non-refundable deposits.

Update: The NZ Herald has reported on this (at least) twice, Off site link: here and Off site link: here. The Herald says the "winners" of The Event in Auckland will be invited to attend an event in Orlando, Florida, USA, at a cost to the parents of the winner of up to NZ$9,600.

Update: NZ families have found out the hard way it wasn't a good idea to get involved, including one family waiting for a $20,000 refund. NZ Herald article Off site link: here:

Another mother, Sheryle Barham, attended Saturday's audition with her daughter Deanna Bond, 11, but things turned sour when they had a meeting with organiser "Monique" the next day. (The same woman used the name "Layla" in Australia recently.)

When Mrs Barham said she would not be able to pay, "Monique" ripped her daughter's photo from an information sheet and threw it back at her. "She said, 'I told you you had to bring your credit card' ... She really told me off in front of my children. She was really rude."

Established Hollywood casting director Billy DaMota has told the Herald such "pay to audition" set-ups used the lure of real casting directors to suck in parents and kids.

"The fact is [the casting directors] are not there to find talent and bring home the next Miley Cyrus. They're there to make their couple of thousand dollars and take a nice holiday."

The organiser using different names in Australia and New Zealand is interesting, and is another indication the organisation is not on the level.

The company which runs The Event was founded by Michael David Palance. Reports from the United States indicate that he is also the founder and chief executive of Premier+ which runs similar money-grabbing recruiting drives. Premiere+ has not yet been seen in New Zealand.

The Church in Rotorua. Caution Christian sect. The Rotorua branch of the Local Church of Witness Lee (10 Helena Place, Westbrook, Rotorua). The almost arrogant sounding name ("The Church..." – as if there's only one, of any denomination) dates back to Witness Lee's mentor Watchman Nee believing that there should be only one church per city. Distribute the Recovery New Testament for free. Strong links to Bibles For New Zealand.

The Church in [city name]. Caution The Local Church of Witness Lee names its branches after the name of the city the church is in. Don't confuse The Church in [wherever] with the church (small c) in [wherever].

The Event. See The.

The Family International. Danger Cult, formerly known as Children of God. Founded by David Berg is the USA in 1968. Unknown arrival date in New Zealand, they are believed to have a branch in Mangere, Auckland. See Watchman Fellowship's Off site link: The Family profile for more information.

The Forum. See Landmark Education.

The Glory Realm conference. Danger False revival movement conference held in 2008, in association with Fusion church.

The Nest. See Nest, The.

Theophostic Counseling/Theophostic Prayer Ministry. Danger Hot Topic Printable version A method of (supposedly) Christian counseling developed by Dr Ed Smith of Kentucky, USA. From the Greek theo "God" and phos "light or illumination." Used in the Beyond Tolerable Recovery training course. The emphasis is on genuine recovery rather than just "tolerable" recovery, which might be gradual, involve relapses, etc, and is based on the idea that many of our problems are (supposedly) caused by lie-based thinking, that episodes in our past that have led to present problems – not unlike the engrams of Scientology. (For example being told "you're fat" as a young child leading to bulimia much later in life. As soon as the person recalls the possibly deeply repressed memory of being told the lie and recognises they were not fat and they don't need to believe that lie any more, they can allegedly be instantly freed from bulimia.)

Theophostic Counseling is far from controversy-free. For example, there are well-supported claims that when misused the Theophostic techniques can lead to recovered memory syndrome and other serious problems. The techniques themselves appear very easy to misuse and this seems to have been recognised by Ed Smith, who significantly revised his course material to specifically try to avoid some of the biggest problem areas, such as guided imagery and directed visualisation. Sadly, this rewrite does not prevent practitioners from ignoring Dr Smith's directions and continuing to misuse the techniques, and has not addressed theological problems inherent in the teachings. Incidently – and importantly – Ed Smith doesn't care if recovered memories are true, instead focusing on the pain those memories cause. This is a serious concern in itself.

Also, the Theophostic Counseling techniques do not appear to be biblically sound. For example, looking at things at a simple level, Jesus told us to pray to the Father (not to himself, Jesus), and also that the Holy Spirit would be our Counselor (again, not himself, Jesus). In Theophostic theology the concept of a sinful nature apparently doesn't exist and personal accountability for sin is deminished (since sinful deeds are ultimately caused by bad things happening to people in the past), while salvation (healing) comes from within – a highly New Age concept. Dr Gary Almy, MD, Off site link: highlights some of the strongly New Age (broken link) theology with quotes from Ed Smith:

... sanctification "is not a process of becoming more like Jesus because we are already as much like Jesus as we will ever be," but is "a revealing of what already is" ...

Ed Smith has also taught that Christians can be possessed/inhabited by demons (not just oppressed by them), and associates truth subjectively with what works and what feels right, instead of objectively with what reflects reality. Dr Gary Almy quoting Ed Smith again:

He is not concerned with and openly devalues "logic" as getting in the way of the search for insight into the unconscious and makes such statements as: "I do not ask how true it logically may be, but rather how true does it feel"; "You do not want them to reason out the truth/lie or use their logic" ...

However, the Bible places a high importance on the active use of our mind (quotes from NIV):

  • Matt. 22:37-38
    Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. (Emphasis added.)

  • 2 Timothy 1:7
    For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

  • 1 Timoth 1:4-7
    As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work — which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

  • 1 Timothy 6:20-21
    Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you.

Theophostic teachings adds to the teachings of the Bible, which is deemed insufficient for God to heal through. The Bible again:

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17
    All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (Emphasis added.)

It also appears Theophostic theology leads to a distortion of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, and a certain spiritual blindness, as those heavily involved with it are just concerned with (the power of) seeing results, not with whether the methods are godly.

The original Lying Spirits website raised the question Where does scripture say the work of the Holy Spirit is to produce, on demand, an encounter with a spirit Jesus for the purpose of illuminating past memories? Meanwhile, Anton Hein of Apologetics Index calls it Off site link: Inner Healing repackaged: Not surprisingly, inner healing is a New Age concept used in one way or another in many different New Age and Eastern religions. The NZ Cult List asks: If the techniques are godly why does God honour the New Age with their successful use therein? If the techniques are not godly why are Christians using them? If the techniques are occuring naturally rather than spiritually how can Christians using them bring glory to God through their use when the source of healing is falsely credited?

Theophostic Counseling is rated Danger for its non-biblical, extra-biblical, and very strongly New Age teachings. For those interested in conducting more research into Theophostic Counseling, more information may be found in these places:

We recognise that Theophostic Counseling has apparently helped many people but we recommend that people do NOT engage in Theophostic ministry (small m) – either receiving or practicing – until they have read the evaluation PDF linked above, and Dan Edelen's article.

There may be a link between Theophostic Ministry and spiritual apathy, and we'd like to look into this further. To make a submission about this please see the Contact page.

Theosophy/Theosophical Society. Danger Cult. Founded by Helena Petrovna Blavatski in New York around 1875. Annie Besant followed Madame Blavatski as leader. Other early leaders were Colonel Henry Steele Olcott and William Q Judge. Theosophy holds the motto "There is no religion higher than truth" but doesn't teach the truth. Off site link: Watchman Fellowship lists Theosophy as teaching "pantheism, reincarnation, striving for Christ-consciousness, and occult and paranormal phenomena." For more information see the Off site link: Skeptic's Dictionary entry for Theosophy.

Therapeutic Touch. Danger An alternative medicine treatment that claims healers are able to alter a person's energy aura to induce healing; it thus has an occult base. Introduced in the 1970s by nurse Delores Krieger in the United States, and discredited by 9 year old Off site link: Emily Rosa in a school science fair project, a project which after a second round of testing which went on to be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 1998 (an accomplishment making Emily Rosa the youngest person to have a paper accepted, as joint author, by the journal).

Third Testament Assembly. See Lighthouse Christian Fellowship.

Third Wave. Danger A term used by false prophet Bob Jones to refer to the false revival in Lakeland, Florida. According to him the first wave was in Toronto and the second was in Pensacola. See False Revival Movement.

Thoughtstorm. Danger Trademark of Avatar Masters Training.

Tice, Lou. Caution Lou Tice (1935-2012) was the founder of The Pacific Institute.

Tithing. Caution See tithing in the Glossary.

Toastmasters. Neutral A secular organisation for the practice of public speaking. No cult connections.

Tolle, Eckhart. Caution Hot Topic Eckhart Tolle is a New Age writer, the latest fashionable thing according to some. Author of The Power of Now. Supports many New Age beliefs, including meditation.

Toronto Blessing, Toronto Movement. Danger See False Revival Movement.

Towner, Lynne. Lynne Towner is the founder of the New Zealand Spiritual School. (FYI listing.)

Transcendental Meditation. Danger A New Age practice. A dangerous form of empty-your-mind meditation started by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and made popular by association with the Beetles (music group). For more information see the History page in the Closeup on the New Age.

Transmission Meditation. Danger A New Age practice. Supposedly a method used by the Masters of Wisdom to spread good vibes through willing subjects.

TRIM. Acronym for Tax Reduction Integrity Movement. Front group for the cult Zenith Applied Philosophy (ZAP).

Trinity. Neutral Character in the cult movie The Matrix. For the Christian doctrine see the Trinity entry in the Glossary.

Trumpism. Danger A political ideology strongly promoted (but not founded) by Donald Trump in the United States, and growing in popularity in New Zealand. Stephen Hoadley, Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Auckland, used the following definition in an op-ed in the NZ Herald on 22 January 2021, while warning that Trumpism will not stop with the end of his presidency:

Commentators agree that “Trumpism”, meaning white supremacy-inspired grievance politics and disdain for the federal government and the alleged “elites” that dominate it, collectively called “the Deep State”, preceded Trump and will persist.

Trumpism should not be confused with the Trump Cult.

Truth Watch. OK Christian apologetics-oriented group in Wellington. They ran a website which appears to have changed hands.

TTTM Religion. Danger While claiming to blend science (including evolution) with religion it actually fails at being scientific, and in embracing pluralism it fails religiously.

Tui Spiritual & Educational Trust, Tui Community. A community in Wainui Bay, near Takaka in Golden Bay, founded in 1984. PredominantlyBuddhist beliefs. The homepage of their web site quotes Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Anthroposophical Society cult.

Tuina. Danger A type of Chinese massage that resorts to occult explanations for how it works.

Turning Point. Danger Hot Topic A course based on Landmark Education's Landmark Forum, and run in Australia by People Knowhow. The course has apparently led to the death of a woman in Australia – see Off site link: here and Off site link: here.

Tvind. Danger Hot Topic Cult, strong mind control. Also known as Humana, front groups include College for International Cooperation and Development and One World Volunteers Institute. The name Tvind is from a farm where the cult was started in the late 1960s in Denmark by Mogens Petersen. He went underground in 1979 and has not been seen outside the organisation since then. According to the New Zealand Herald "It is an empire, with schools, colleges, 'charities,' trading companies, volunteer networks and national organisations in many countries." They run humanitarian aid programmes where volunteers have to pay thousands of dollars in advance. The money is not spent in accommodating the volunteers. In 1983 Danish journalists estimated the Tvind-funded empire to be worth $15 billion.

Twelve Step Method, Twelve Step Program. OK The main technique of Alcoholics Anonymous, Emotions Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, etc.

Two by Twos. See Cooneyites.

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