by Cindy Rideout
Regarding the recent article printed in the Brisbane Times (Da Vinci reincarnated? ‘I agree, it sounds absurd’) about Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon and the responses to those articles, it seems to me that what we have on one side is a poorly researched news item sensationalised to ‘sell’ news and keep readership up and, essentially, testimonials on the other side. Testimonials, at best, are taken with a grain of salt.
What are the accusations, overt or otherwise? 1) Universal Medicine (UniMed) is a cult. 2) Serge Benhayon is the cult leader. 3) Practitioners can cure or prevent cancer. 4) Sexual misconduct takes place during Esoteric Breast Massages (EBM). 5) Serge and UniMed is responsible for relationship breakdown. 6) Practitioners overcharge for their services. 7) Selling unregulated supplements. 8) Changing lifestyle habits. 9) Book-burning. 10) Multiple property and company ownership.
Time to inject a little reason.
- Cult – defined as “a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.” According to the Brisbane Times, there are roughly 1000 UniMed “followers”, a small group by any religious organisation’s standards, and at least the author of the article in question seems to consider the beliefs and practices of these followers strange or sinister so, yes, one could then conclude that UniMed is a cult. However, we all know that “cult” has inflammatory connotations demonstrative of a bias whereas “organisation” may have been the word preferred by someone interested in reporting the truth. As an aside, there’s this group out there, granted, it has more “followers” than UniMed but I consider their practices strange. It’s called Toastmasters. And I’m looking at Girl Guides and Boy Scouts in a whole different light now too. Alcoholics Anonymous is next.
- Serge Benhayon, the cult leader – it makes sense that if UniMed is a cult, and I have already conceded that it could very well be perceived in that fashion, then Serge must be the cult leader. Or maybe he’s just a role model. Or a mentor. Even a teacher. But that doesn’t make for very interesting reading, does it?
- Universal Medicine practitioners can cure or prevent cancer – I wish! Wouldn’t that be great? If that were the case, there’d be a line-up from the clinic doors that wrapped around the world. Twice. They might be able to support you in making choices that are less likely to promote disease but that’s about it and that’s all they will tell you too. Additionally, you won’t find “alternative” therapy practitioners more supportive of allopathic medicine than those at UniMed. It is also worth noting that there are many medical professionals who are members of UniMed , which is no small thing since there are only 1000 followers.
- Sexual misconduct during Esoteric Breast Massages – first of all, EBMs are only given by female practitioners. Ever. To state or imply otherwise was very poor research on the reporter’s part. Secondly, any woman who has ever been for a breast exam or a mammogram, or breast fed for that matter, will tell you that not all contact with her breasts is sexual in nature. It’s a male fantasy to think otherwise. Have one of your female reporters go for an EBM and then get back to me on the sexual nature of it.
- Universal Medicine wrecks relationships – unloving relationships are responsible for relationship breakdown. Don’t shoot the messenger.
- Universal Medicine overcharges – have you been for massage, physiotherapy, chiropractic, or osteopathy lately? If you have – or bother to investigate – you will find that the UniMed practitioners are competitively priced.
- Unregulated supplements – UniMed is in contact with the TGA. There’s basically a no-story story there.
- UniMedians change their lifestyle habits – a friend of mine recently had a quadruple bypass. He has since radically changed his eating habits. A whole lot less fat, minimal dairy (too high in fat), very little bread, no more junk food, lots of veggies. And he exercises regularly. I’m not game to ask about the lovemaking. UniMedians don’t eat dairy or gluten. They eat veggies, fruit, eggs, meat. No junk food. They exercise regularly. Could be they’re just trying to avoid heart attacks. Or maybe they simply want to feel good. I find that … sinister.
- Book-burning – I’ve thrown books away. Most of the self-help ones hit the bin a few years ago. All unread. They seemed like a good idea at the time. I’d have burnt them if I’d had a fire pit. There are online news articles I’d burn if they were in print.
- Capitalism – isn’t that what owning multiple properties and companies is? I didn’t know that was against the law. In fact, I thought it was an aspiration in some circles.
There’s nothing like a little common sense to ruin a perfectly good news article.