“Research Notes” Bernie Siegel,Donald Lee Barnett
AUTHOR: Christian Research Institute
PUBLISHED ON: April 25, 2003

Copyright 1993 by the Christian Research Institute.
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“Research Notes” (articles from the Christian Research
Newsletter, Volume 2: Number 5, 1989)
    The editor of the Christian Research Newsletter is Ron

From the RESEARCH NOTES column:


*Bernie Siegel, Healing, and Miracles*

    Bernie Siegel, author of the 1986 best seller, _Love,
Medicine and Miracles,_ has just published a new book entitled
_Peace, Love and Healing_ (Harper and Row) in which he continues
his exploration into the links between body and mind, feelings
and healing. Siegel argues in both books that the course of an
illness may be altered by a change in one’s state of mind. He
thus suggests that conventional treatments of disease be
supplemented with mind-altering techniques like visualization,
meditation, and hypnosis.

    The May/June 1989 issue of _New Age Journal_ contains a
feature interview with Siegel. In the interview, it becomes
quite clear why Siegel’s writings are so popular in New Age
circles. Siegel said: “The nicest compliment I get is people
coming up and saying, ‘Just what religion are you?’ I was
brought up in the Jewish religion. Last night [when I spoke to
a group] the minister thought I was Catholic, and I said,
‘Thank you, that’s a wonderful compliment.’ Because, if they
can’t tell [my religion, it supports] the point I am making:
Spirituality is universal. Religions are a problem, but
spirituality and love are not.”

    In the course of the interview, Siegel shows a definite
openness to Eastern religious concepts: “If you say to me, do
I believe we live on in some other kind of energy after the
body dies, yes. I mean, there are just too many interesting
things I see happening in terms of communication to me from
people who have died. So I am intrigued. But whether it goes
to heaven or just goes back to the original source of energy
that created the universe, if you want to call it God — I
mean, you are just playing games with words — what’s the
difference? And can that energy pick out a new body? I don’t
know. I mean, what difference does it make?”

    It makes a great deal of difference. The fact that Siegel
even asks this question is perhaps the best reason orthodox
Christians should avoid reading his books, best sellers though
they are.

                                            — _Ron Rhodes_

*Three Lawsuits Against Seattle Area Community Chapel Settled
Out Of Court*

    The controversial Community Chapel group near Seattle,
already badly stung by a church split, is continuing to
unravel in the wake of four lawsuits filed against the church
and/or its leaders, including pastor Donald Lee Barnett.

    Since 1986 the Chapel has attracted national attention due
to the drowning death of a 5-year-old girl and several
suicides of members. All the deaths were partially blamed on
Barnett’s teachings by critics. In the drowning of Brittany
Cole in a motel bathtub, the mother, Janet Cole, did it for
fear her daughter was possessed by a “demon of hyperactivity.”
By killing her daughter, the mother thought she could release
the demon and the child would automatically go to heaven. She
was later convicted of murder.

    Critics say the suicides and subsequent divorces of about
80 church couples were related to a practice Barnett called
“spiritual connections.” It started in 1983 when Barnett, now
60, claimed he caught a new move of the Lord and began
teaching the congregation to dance solo in the aisles of the
church sanctuary. In 1985 he went further and said the dancing
could involve couples. Eventually members were encouraged to
dance with the spouses of others and develop intimate
relationships — “spiritual connections” — with them. The
dancing developed into some couples spending hours dancing,
staring into each other’s eyes, hugging and kissing.

    The suicides occurred after some developed romantic
relationships with their “spiritual connections” who were not
their spouses. In one case a woman shot herself after her
husband’s “spiritual connection” — another woman — grew so
close to him that she stayed at their home to care for him
during his illness. When the woman became depressed over this
she was told she had a “demon of jealousy.” She killed herself
when she couldn’t rid herself of the “demon.”

    In March 1987 church elders disfellowshipped Barnett after
they heard testimony of adulterous affairs he was having with
women in the church. In March 1988, however, Barnett won the
right to return to the pulpit when a King County Superior
Court judge granted a request from the preacher to prevent the
elders from removing him.

    Responding to the judge’s ruling, attorney James Leach,
representing the Chapel elders, argued that Barnett had
breached his responsibility as a board member at the church
and exposed the Chapel to liability through litigation.
Barnett eventually lost the case when a King County court
ordered him to turn in his keys and leave.

    The first suit filed against the Chapel — in July 1986 by
three women [Kathy L. Butler, Sandi L. Brown, and Christine
Hall] — alleged that Barnett and other church leaders
sexually assaulted them under the guise of ministerial
counseling. That suit was joined by a similar one filed by
several families [Sandy Ehrlich et al v. Ralph Alskog et al]
that added that Barnett’s “spiritual connections” had resulted
in sexual advances of adults against children. The third case
filed by Maureen Jorgensen, a paraplegic, was a cash recovery
case. She lent the church money from an insurance settlement
for the 1970 car accident that crippled her. From March 30 to
May 15, these three suits were not-so-quietly settled out of
court. Details of the agreements were to be kept secret but
the attorneys for the plaintiffs said their clients were
pleased with the settlements. The fourth case [Carl Petersen
v. Wayne Snoey] involves the former head of security of the
church. That case is still pending.

                                        — _William M. Alnor_


End of document, CRN0011A.TXT (original CRI file name),
“Research Notes”
release A, February 7, 1994
R. Poll, CRI

(A special note of thanks to Bob and Pat Hunter for their help
in the preparation of this ASCII file for BBS circulation.)



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