Over the last couple of weeks there have been publications in the Australian Press accusing Serge Benhayon of being a ‘cult leader’ and of claiming to cure cancer with esoteric breast massage and other modalities. The intial story was run by Byron Kaye of the Medical Observer and then followed up and elaborated upon by Heath Aston of the SMH. Following that, several other news outlets picked up the story and published even more outlandish material some of which has since been withdrawn.
In response to the lies and false accusations UM students wished to have their voice heard and established several blogs where students could comment on their experience of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine. These blogs convey words and truth about Serge Benhayon and also there is one by doctors and healthcare professionals who support Serge’s work and have benefitted from UM presentations. Of note, no-one has written on these blogs that they believe these allegations to be true and are no longer having anything to do with UM – indeed the opposite is true. To a man, all the comments affirm that Serge is a man of high integrity and who has a deep love for humanity and who has inspired others by his commitment to love and truth and how he lives his life. There are many stories of personal transformation, of lives being significantly enhanced through applying the esoteric principles in one’s life.
This is not because we are all under the ‘mind control’ of the ‘cult leader’ and unable to think for ourselves. The people attending UM come from all walks of life and all professions including legal, medical, dental, business, scientific, finance and on and on the list could go. They are intelligent successful people and not the stereotype portrayed in the papers. It was interesting to note that the papers kept repeating how his ‘followers’ were mostly women in a way that was clearly intended to imply that women would be more susceptible to this ‘cult leader’ and not as able to discern his character as well as a man could! In fact UM has more men attending their workshops than any “New Age” group and just to be clear, those attending are not followers or devotees but people who take responsibility for their own lives.
It has been clear from the start that this whole episode is a result of a smear campaign that was orchestrated on line in the RIck Ross Cult Forum. Around page 53 of the Rick Ross site concerning UM, it is there for all to see how they were going to email various bodies, political people, medical magazines and organisations over the course of a month (July) in order to cause as much heat or damage to Serge and UM as possible. Of course, those running the campaign will say that they did it to protect others from the ‘cult’ of Serge Benhayon, to ensure that no-one else was harmed by this ‘cult’.
So what is their grievance? As I understand it, most are ex-partners of UM students who feel that Serge is responsible for the breakdown of their marriages and blame him, rather than look at themselves – which is the first place we all have to look in any relationship issue. It also is rather demeaning to their partners to imply that they are not able to make up their own minds regarding their lives and relationships.
So what has been the consequence? Well that is still to unfold and play out. The UM students have made their presence felt on the web with the blogs and in writing letters to the various editors of the papers and providing a very different picture to that portrayed in the early stories. It has been very revealing to see the level of journalistic integrity, or the lack of it, in this case. Both Byron Kaye and Heath Aston had significant material from Doctors and others to counter the allegations prior to publication – yet they chose to ignore the vast majority of it. I wonder why? The desire for a sensational story over facts perhaps? That of course is not surprising in the world of media as we know it, however, it is ironic that they are calling into question the character and integrity of Serge Benhayon (read the testimonies) when they have not abided by their own code of ethics.
One paper, the Echo, has thus far turned around and been supportive and published a follow up story with the truth of this all being an orchestrated smear campaign. Indeed as soon as the Unimed students opened a blog for words on SB, the campaign group did the same using similar words for the URL for families detrimentally affected by UM. Thus far the UM blog has over 100 comments in support and the campaign blog has 7 entries, one of which was a test and a couple were anonymous. In the words of one of the campaign bloggers on the Rick Ross site:
“The fact is, we are seeing a great volume testimonial evidence from the students of UM whose exposure to ‘the work’ has had a profound Positive effect on themselves their friends, partners,and family. We cant hold them to criminal account any more than a million crazy Mormons who might also testify that their values are helping them. (Though we may try) People have the right to make their own choices. We should respect that.
No laws are being broken. No civil crimes being committed. Other than an easily correctable mistake in registering food supplements which will be sorted one way or another.
So far it seems if we are to make count of the people that have come forward (accurate or not) we have a landslide in favor of the merits of UM.
The call has gone out and we have the results”
Yes – indeed, the call went out and the students voices have spoken and are being heard and yet more is to unfold. The truth is stronger than lies, the truth of people being empowered to live true lives according to their own truth, not Serge’s truth, and to express that in their own words is powerful. Let us not forget that.