An Expert for any Occasion: Media Myths in Mackay

By Rebecca Baldwin, Internet Professional

new_pen-red-corner-resizeWhilst this occurred in Mackay some months ago, the community response has not been fully acknowledged or explored. This article and the following letters are published here to bring light to an inspiring story about community, people and the power of speaking the truth in the face of injustice and calculated discrimination.

In late October 2012 a well-respected practitioner in Mackay became the target of illegal activity aimed at bringing disrepute to her business – the Mackay Telegraph then published a story. Rather than the intended harm, the illegal attack prompted an outpouring of support from the local community. Many appreciative clients sent letters to the paper, both before and after the story went to print.

In the lead-up to the printed article appearing in the Mackay Telegraph, Belinda-Jane Hodgson’s neighbourhood of Eimeo was targeted by an unidentified person distributing ‘black propaganda’ style leaflets. The leaflets contained hate-material attempting to bring disrepute to Belinda-Jane and the healing business with which she studies (Universal Medicine). The police were contacted and provided Belinda-Jane with a great deal of assistance and advice.

What was an outright attempt to ostracise Belinda-Jane in her own community backfired; the community saw right through it.

What instead unfolded is testament to the power of people when they refuse to remain silent. The Mackay Telegraph reporters were surprised by the outpouring of support that Belinda-Jane Hodgson received; those who had experience of Belinda-Jane and her healing business were anything but.

Local miner Darren Cooke told the Mackay Telegraph that his sessions at Esoteric Soulutions had helped him transform his life. Since seeing Belinda-Jane for Esoteric Healing sessions he had addressed health problems that had arisen due to a lack of sleep, long working hours and not enough exercise. He also shared how since he had been seeing Belinda-Jane, he had lost 16kg and put his life back on track:

“My experiences have been awesome come to think of it, and I owe it all to the work of Universal Medicine and Esoteric Soulutions.”

To the journalists’ and editors’ credit, the Mackay Telegraph ran a story which attempted a great deal of balance, although when half that ‘balance’ is from some very unbalanced sources, i.e. the same tireless disgruntled few with an ‘axe to grind’ (as the paper rightly pointed out), there is something distinctly unjust about the unnecessary publicity given to their ridiculous claims.

As Justine Price said to the paper, “I am deeply saddened by the constant bullying and misleading allegations made about both Universal Medicine and Esoteric Soulutions here in Mackay. I don’t believe enough true journalistic reporting has been done on the positive stories and the thousands of people whose lives have been improved immensely since being involved with Universal Medicine and Esoteric Soulutions. I feel the people who are making these false claims towards Belinda-Jane are imposing their personal issues onto her and Universal Medicine.”

What is powerful and heartening, and what is becoming apparent, is that people are starting to speak the truth of this situation and the papers are starting to print it. The true accounts won’t be heard unless the people being talked about start speaking out. And those experiences are starting to cut through the miasma of misinformation that has thus far been propagated by a sad few (with the help of some very sensationalist and often alarmingly inaccurate reportage).

When is it appropriate to label a group of people a ‘cult’, especially with all the Waco-loading that word has in the mainstream media? What kind of damage does that label do in real terms, to real people? The anonymous nature of these attacks makes them all the more questionable. How far have we progressed when instead of a mob with pitch forks we allow a cybermob of anonymous keyboard cowards to influence the press so easily, or as was the case in Mackay, have we indeed gone so far backwards in our treatment of others that these actions are deplorable even by ancient standards?

Here is an actual letter written 112AD about a ‘degenerate kind of cult’ known as the early Christians. (thank you Sara Williams for making us aware of this). Note the bolded sentence at the end.

112AD – Emperor Trajan’s response to Roman governor

Pliny seeking assistance on dealing with a ‘wretched cult’ – the early Christians:

 “You have followed the right course of procedure, my dear Pliny, for it is impossible to lay down a general rule to a fixed formula. These people must not be hunted out; if they are brought before you and the charge against them is proved, they must be punished, but in the case of anyone who denies that he is a Christian, and makes it clear that he is not by offering prayers to our gods, he is to be pardoned as a result of his repentance however suspect his past conduct may be. But pamphlets circulated anonymously must play no part in any accusation. They create the worst sort of precedent and are quite out of keeping with the spirit of our age.”

It is high time we cultivate a culture that does not seek to repress people for their chosen beliefs and ways of living. When the most damning claim about students of Universal Medicine is that they avoid seeing their local GP (which is easily proven to be baseless), we have to wonder what all the noise is about: we have to start examining the intolerance and the hate that is fuelling the few who are continuing to put an extraordinary amount of energy into a divisive and vindictive campaign.

Religious and Ideological persecution is the biggest cause of violent death in modern times. This kind of persecution starts with whispers and innuendo and rumour. It starts with communities turning on minority groups in their midst and this is only possible when hate is allowed to fester unchecked and the majority stay silent. It is exacerbated by those who blindly jump on the bigot’s bandwagon without taking the time to gain an understanding or respect for another’s choices or perspectives. Especially alarming is when ‘experts’ are trotted out and given a platform to greatly influence public opinion after forming positions based on hearsay and falsities fed to them by those with a vested interest in doing harm. This can be evidenced in the Mackay article when counselling ‘expert’ Raphael Aron is quoted as saying, “Any organisation with alternative therapies for aggressive diseases may be putting people at risk if time is a crucial factor”.

Of course Serge Benhayon would be the first to agree with this. A rudimentary amount of research reveals all the modalities are complementary not alternative and never a replacement for Western Medicine, and where medical attention is required Benhayon is a vocal advocate for a pro-active pro-medicine approach. In fact in stark contrast to what is being asserted by Aron, many who have frequented Benhayon’s lectures know he has for a long time caused some eyebrow raising and at times a mild reaction amidst the Byron Bay alternative therapy set for his decidedly pro-medicine stance, making Aron’s claims all the more farcical.

If this kind of airplay is given to baseless assertions, at what point do we call the media to account? Where is the responsibility of the media in ensuring that intolerance and fear is not spread throughout our communities? Fortunately we live in a country where there isn’t such social unrest that having differing beliefs can easily get us killed. But this is no reason not to stand up and say no to this kind of dangerous and deliberate hate-mongering. And there are plenty that have and will continue to stand up to and call to account those who engage in this kind of reckless and discriminatory activity.

What is deeply inspiring to witness in the Mackay case is the level of support that naturally emerges from people who have had a previous experience of that same support and care being shown towards them. This is evidenced in the many powerful letters and telephone calls the paper received in support of Belinda-Jane Hodgson, Esoteric Soulutions and Universal Medicine. A selection of these very moving letters can be found below:

Editor’s Note: The article referred to was printed in Mackay Telegraph ‘Controversy erupts over cult claims’ by Melissa Grant on the 3rd November 2012. At the time of publishing Mackay Telegraph’s digital version is still in development.

134 thoughts on “An Expert for any Occasion: Media Myths in Mackay

  1. I agree Doug, how else will we establish standards of decency and truth for society if there is no legal deterrent? No one should be above the law.

  2. “Where is the responsibility of the media in ensuring that intolerance and fear is not spread throughout our communities?” A great question and a very serious subject matter. I suspect the word “cult” is the new permission slip to unload all kinds of negative judgements and allow abusive behaviours. It seems we never truly heal prejudice, we just shift it from one group to another. From the extermination of the Jewish people, the apartheid in Africa and discrimination worldwide based on skin colour, and the more recent issues in Australia with fear mongering towards refugees, it seems any word is ok to use for a time with our “us and them” mentality, and our obvious resistance to the simplicity of respect, decency, and caring for one another as community values.

  3. What an incredible response to Belinda Jane-Hodgeson, it says so much for the quality of work she delivers.

  4. I am amazed at the blatant lies about Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine being against the Medical Profession, something that is absolutely so untrue, and if they cared to investigate a little further they would know this. So great for the people of that area who had had personal experiences with Belinda-Jane and the healing modalities that she practises to speak up about their experiences in support of her situation.

    1. The problem with some parts of the media is they intentionally don’t investigate as they may have a pre-set agenda to write a certain story, so despite any facts they collect they still may write a story that is absolutely untrue and doesn’t represent fair and balanced reporting.

  5. We might like to say it’s the fear of the unknown or unfamiliar, but the truth is we do know. It’s like, how do we argue with someone who says ‘I am blind and I don’t like what I am seeing’?

  6. If you stand back and wait for another to do or hope for truth to be revealed it is not bringing the truth to reality of what is felt within. Therefore, no truth is claimed.

    That is what I love about Serge Benhayon and Belinda-Jane Hodgson — they don’t hold back their truth , and what a difference it has made to many upon many upon many lives.

  7. Powerful article exposing those who willingly jump on any passing bandwagon without checking out what they are signing up to and the responsibility of those labelled as ‘experts’ to discern what they are aligning to rather than just having a ‘rent a quote’ mentality. They certainly chose the wrong target here as the outpouring from the local community demonstrates and great that the paper published some of the letters of support.

  8. ‘Religious and Ideological persecution is the biggest cause of violent death in modern times.’ I have no doubt that this is true – but how can it be so, when at the ‘heart’ of most religions is love (apparently). How can this be so? What kind of love is this?

  9. Super awesome article here Rebecca that really highlights how prejudice and discrimination begin in our societies and that we really have not moved on from the trial by ‘mob with pitchforks’ and a sobering reminder of how much harm this attitude does to our world.

  10. Unless there is absolute respect for another and the choices they make then there will always be war within and outside of ourselves. I cannot say what I belong to (Universal Medicine) is better than another… All I know within me it is universal truth and I have my full acceptance for those that choose to disagree.

  11. Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine have always supported the use of western medicine, and have encouraged people to seek medical advice when needed, to suggest that Serge Benhayon is against western medicine is totally ridiculous, he is one of their most avid supporters.

  12. Truth and balance are two words that do not mix. Balanace presupposes two points of view that are brought into a narrative. Balance (if done properly) allows us to see an issue from different angles. In truth there are no different angles. It is only one thing. Hence, truth cannot be balanced. That means that what was balanced was not truth in the first place.

  13. “What instead unfolded is testament to the power of people when they refuse to remain silent” There is an undeniable power when people stand up and speak their truth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.