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Title Centers of Light - Families: Religious Group Uses Cult-Like Methods

Families: Religious Group Uses Cult-Like Methods June 28th, 2004 - Over the last few months, NewsCenter 5 has heard from a number of former members and families of members who say the Order of Christ Sophia strips people of their past and turns them into strangers. NewsCenter's Liz Brunner reported that the order is small but has centers in nine cities. [...] former member Nancy Wainer said that the order of Christ Sophia is a dangerous cult that breaks up families. "They use deception, mind control, hypnosis, all kinds of devious tactics to get you to follow them blindly. It continued to get more uncomfortable," Wainer said. By the time Wainer left the group, her adult daughter was already immersed in it. Like all order members, Andrea was given a new name: Michelle. She moved to Oakland, Calif., where the group's leader and self-ordained cleric, the Rev. Peter Bowes, runs a center "They've taught my daughter that I'm a terrible person. My daughter doesn't have any memories anymore of the loving relationship we have," Wainer said. [...] "The change is so negative, so destructive and so un-Christian. that it is absolutely shattering," NewsCenter 5 interviewed the co-founder of the order, Mother Claire Watts, during a recent visit to Boston. "The things they call brainwashing is visualizing yourself in a bubble of light, letting go of negative energy. I feel sorry for their sons and daughters who parents get on TV to say how stupid they are," Watts said. This is a summary extract of the full article as ran by WCVB on Jun. 28, 2004 Full article