The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on June 28, 1980 · Page 24
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 24

Cincinnati, Ohio
Issue Date:
Saturday, June 28, 1980
Page 24
Start Free Trial

B-12 THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRERSaturday, June 28, 1980 Sect Spanks Its Members In Exorcisms BY STEVE JOHNSON Knight News Service SAN JOSE, Calif. Former members of a religious sect tell of spankings that blacken backsides and of members who beat their heads against walls to drive out demons. Some describe rituals In which adults babble like babies and have to wear diapers. Others claim the authoritarian sect has torn apart families. The sect calls Itself Faith Fellowship Church of San Jose Corp. a group of about 150 to 200, most of them adults, who meet Sundays. Members of the congregation resemble traditional churchgoers. But the beliefs and rituals of the Fellowship hardly resemble those of traditional churches. ITS MEMBERS - mostly in their 20s and 30s, but including some in their 50s - Interpret the Bible literaly, say they speak "In tongues" directly with God, and are "saved." Its "elders" say the world outside Is ruled by Satan and has fallen victim to misleading media reports. Fellowship members often form "spiritual families," with strict obedience to "elders," who sometimes are younger than their "spiritual children." Members sometimes move into elders' homes, legally change their names to those of their elders and slash ties with their natural T6l3(tiV6S And in what some observers say is highly unusual among religious cults, at least one of the Fellowship's four elders, Joseph Bentley, is trying to legally adopt nine of his "spiritual children," all adults. PARENTS HAVE contacted local police, but officers say they don't have cause to Intervene. "It's frustrating for us because we can't really get involved," said George Hesse, of the district attorney's office. Allegations persist, however, that the Fellowship's leaders physically abuse and psychologically dominate members and that they condone behavior even they call "bizarre." The church especially dominates women. Men make nearly all major decisions and women's liberation is considered the devil's doing. Fellowship elders say God demands that they enforce discipline in their church. Although elders say members volunteer for punishment, others aren't sure. The Fellowship, now headed by Gordon Powlison, was incorporated in 1976 when members from Grace and at least five other churches In California and Oregon merged. IT CONTINUED the exorcisms until about four months ago when Powlison said about "99 " of his members achieved salvation. Some former Fellowship members described all-night exorcisms called "deliverance" In the sect where those believed to be possessed by demons were held down by their hands and feet, and sometimes not allowed to drink to go the bathroom for hours. ' "I'd say most of the violence (during the exorcisms) was self-Induced," said former member Mike Hahn, 20. "You feel like you're driving the devil out. People' would beat their heads against the wall or floor, slug themselves, scream. ..." And there are the spankings, which Powlison said have increased in recent months and which he conceded was "the weirdest-sounding thing that's ever come along." TONY LEE, who Joined the Fellowship in 1976 and adopted one of its members as his spiritual daughter, quit a month ago after a severe spanking. He Is trying to have the adoption annulled and thinks the Fellowship "should be disbanded." Lee, 31, said he was spanked with a belt "more than a hundred times" by his 31-year-old spiritual father, John Storlle, the Fellowship elder In charge of the church's books. Afterward, Lee said, "My backside was . . . black." Lee said he submitted to the spanking after Storlle told him it might get rid of Lee's demons. Said Storlle: "It sounds blzzare. But it's with my family and within the family there will be discipline." Lee explained why he accepted the punishment. "You have to realize to be a part of that group It involved total commitment and unquestioning faith. The premise Is absolute obedience. "They call It spanking but ... I don't think you can call It anything but a beating." Lee's 28-year-old wife, Darla, said one woman member's spanking had left belt marks that "extended up her back." "Getting small" Is another Fellowship ritual in which members act like children to achieve spiritual Innocence and to get close to God. HAHN DESCRIBED how his spiritual father made one of his spiritual daughters slip In and ' out of the mood. "He would put his hand up on her head and say, 'Lord Jesus, make her small.' And she's start talking baby talk. Then, when he wanted her to drive a car or something he's put his hand up to her head' and say, 'Lord Jesus, make her big' " so that she could control the vehicle. Several former members mentioned one woman In her 30s who "became so small" that she had to be dressed in diapers. They were told she sometimes lost control of her bowels. "They would be so little," said Powlison's brother Warren, who has quit the church, "that they'd Just go, 'Goo goo, ga ga.'" Powlison, however, said he stopped the getting-small practice a few months ago because some members were making a "game" of It. RELATIVES CLAIM Fellowship members also go through radical personality changes. But, former Fellowship members, say, they aren't pressured to give or solicit money or property. Members do, however, routinely hand over a tenth of their income, and sometimes more. Last year the Fellowship grossed $139,000, according to Storlle. The elders received the bulk of that in salaries and housing allowances. Powlison earned about $24,500, plus smaller gifts. Fellowship members seem happy, though. During Sunday services they hug and kiss one another, raise their arms to heaven, dance during rousing song sessons, and "testify" about tne iei-lowshlp. Some who study cults worry that members are victims of psychological arm twisting. "I have a sense that there Is a lot of pain on the part of (Fellowship) members and they are accepting It," said Gary Scharff, a former member of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church aiid a cult deprogrammer. "And that disturbs mti because that happened ;4i Jonestown also." Court Permits Forced Report Of Spilled Oil WASHINGTON (AP)-The Supreme Court, boosting efforts to clean up the nation's waters, ruled Friday that polluters must report oil spills even though those reports subject them to fines. By an 8-1 vote, the Justices upheld the Federal Water Pollution Control Act's oil spill report requirement. A federal appeals court had ruled that the requirement violated constitutional protections against self-incrimination. "We believe It quite clear that Congress intended to impose a civil penalty," Justice William H. Hehn-qulst wrote for the court. "Thus, we have no doubt that Congress Intended to allow imposition of penalties, under (the anti-pollution law) without regard to the procedural protections and restrictions available in criminal prosecutions." The law imposes a criminal penalty only for those polluters who fall to report the discharge of oil into navigable waters. But the law states that polluters who report their spills are subject to automatic "civil" fines. FRIDAY'S DECISION reversed a 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in a case from Oklahoma. On March 23, 1975, oil escaped from a drilling facility owned and ODerated by L.O. Ward near Enid, Okla. When the spill reached Boggle Creek, a navigable tributary of the Arkansas River, Ward notified the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA forwarded Ward's report to the Coast Guard, which in turn fined him $500. Ward could have been fined up to $5,000. Now the maximum civil fine under the law is $50,000, or $250,000 if there is willful negligence or misconduct. Ward challenged his fine, charging that he should not be required to report a spiU when that report is used as the basis for fining him. Only Justice John Paul Stevens, who voted to uphold the 10th Circuit's ruling, agreed with Ward. Stevens called the oil spill reports a type of impermissible self-incrimination. IN OTHER decisions, the court: Ruled that a company holding a patent on a process for using an unpatented material may, in effect, exercise a monopoly over the product. The court, voting 5-4, said the Rohm and Haas Co. of Philadelphia does not violate antitrust laws when exercising exclusive rights to license the sale of propanil, a weed-killer used in growing rice, in packages with instructions on how to use the herbicide. Although propanil is not patented, it is effective only when used by Rohm and Haas' patented process. Barred Arizona from imposing its motor-carrier, fuel-use or "transaction privilege" taxes on non-Indians doing business on Indian reservations. The court said such taxes are disallowed because the on-reserva-tion transactions are governed by federal law. Radioactive Spill, Legal Fight Compound Met Ed's TMI Woes HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP)-Metropolitan Edison Co. officials completing preparations for venting radioactive krypton from the damaged unit at Three Mile Island were confronted Friday with a spill of about 10,000 gallons of radioactive water at the plant's undamaged but Idled No. 1 reactor. Meanwhile, an anti-nuclear coalition filed a last-minute appeal to block the start of the venting operation today. The spill, which occurred about 8:30 a.m., caused "slight contamination" to the basement floor, Met Ed spokesman Blaine Fabian said. No radiation was released to the environment, he said, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and state officials were routinely notified of the incident. "THE LEVEL of radiation Is minimal," said Karl Abraham, an NRC public-affairs officer. "There's no hazard to the workers or to the public." , Reading from a prepared statement, Fabian said: "A valve control malfunction in the undamaged containment building . . . caused the release of about 10,000 gallons of coolant water ... which drained into the building sump and was pumped into plant storage tanks." The petition by the anti-nuclear coalition asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia to overturn a decision by two of its members allowing the venting to proceed. At least six of the court's 10 judges would have to agree to overturn Thursday's ruling in order for a stay to be granted. Judges J. Skelly Wright and George E. MacKinnon, in denying the coalition's request to stop the venting, said a hearing would be held no later than September on the merits of the case. "The two- to four-week venting process would be long over by then," said Steven Sholly, research director of the Three Mile Island Legal ' Fund. The anti-nuclear coalition wants the NRC to hold a hearing before the venting begins. COALITION ATTORNEY Daniel Sheehan said if the latest request is denied, he will try to schedule a hearing before, the appeals court while the venting is in progress. "We are watching the courts, of course, but - we are proceeding on schedule. We are making all our plans as if we are going to vent," said Sandy Polon, a spokesman for Met Ed. Polon said a postponement could revive fears ; among area residents, some of whom have made plans to leave the area while the krypton is released. "The general public has accepted the venting. They are mentally prepared for us to begin. If it's delayed, it will cause some apprehension," Polon said. In addition, he said a delay would hinder cleanup efforts at the crippled reactor. Some 57,000 curies of krypton gas has been trapped Inside the containment building of Three Mile Island's Unit 2 since March 28, 1979, when the plant was the scene of the country's worst commercial nuclear accident. PENNSYLVANIA GOV. Dick Thornburgh, two congressmen, state officials and utility officers will be at the plant, some with their families, when the venting begins. Met Ed Senior Vice President Bob Arnold has moved his wife and 18-year-old son into a trailer across the Susquehanna River from the plant. The family will live there for the duration of the venting. YOUR CINCINNATI AREA LINCOLN-MERCURY DEALERS WANT YOU TO M 2, 21, m& 28! CELEBRATE WITH CASH REBATES FROM MOO TO 5 1, 000 ON ALL NEW 79 AND '80 LINCOLNS AND MERCURYS. $1,000l CASH REBATE Lincoln Continental "Ml, VI"wi- MPS lEST. Gash Rebate on Grand Marquis and Colony Park 17 EST. $500 Cash Rebate on Cougar XR-7 with Luxury Group mmk 18Lft 24 HWY. EST. Compare this estimate to the estimated MPG of other cars. You may get different mileage depending on how fast you drive, weather conditions and trip length. Highway mileage wlH probably be lower. PLUS CASH REBATES ON THESE GREAT LltlCOLNS AND MERCURYS: $1,000 Cash Rebate on Continental Marks $1,000 Cash Rebate on Lincoln Versailles $500 Cash Rebate on Colony Park Wagon $400 Cash Rebate on Monarchs t $300 Cash Rebate on all other Cougars $200 Cash Rebate on Zepher $200 Cash Rebate on Capri $ 1 00 Cash Rebate on Bobcat TKlWia & FMo nil OTn 9DL P.Ca. P.C3, Here's how the rebate program works. You can take your rebate in a check direct from Lincoln-Mercury Division or you can use it as part of your down payment. You decide. Some dealers contribute part of the rebate. At participating Lincoln-Mercury Dealers only. But remember; this is a limited time offer ... and it's all on top of our already great prices! i. -, , vv SEE YOUR PARTICIPATING GREATER CIIICIIIIIATI AREA LIIIC0LM1ERCURY DEALERS 1. DIXON LINCOLN-MERCURY 6195 DIXIE HWY. Fairfield 874 1740 2. KENWOOD LINCOLN-MERCURY 8103 MONTGOMERY RD. 793-1300 3. CASTR5SCI LINCOLN-MERCURY 8880 C0LERAIN 385-1515 4. TAYLOR LINCOLN-MERCURY 429 OHIO PIKE West of 1-275 ei Btcehnoit 52&-5900 5. RIBSEVIEW LINCOLN-MERCURY 633 W. 3rd Ctvintloi at 1-75 431-4444 6. STILLPASS LINCOLN-MERCURY 8200 READING RD. Oiei 'til 6 P.M. 761-180 i

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 22,600+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Publisher Extra® Newspapers

  • Exclusive licensed content from premium publishers like the The Cincinnati Enquirer
  • Archives through last month
  • Continually updated

Try it free