Saturday, 28 January 2012


If you are looking at this site, you most likely are either a current member of Universal Medicine experiencing a healthy sense of doubt, or you are a relative or friend of a person who has been caught in the organisation's dangerous web. To the former, I hope to present an analysis underlining the unsavoury elements of the group's ideology which will perhaps trigger a critical reaction or at least a glimmer of suspicion. As for the latter, this can be a place where you can share your frustrations, successes, and just discuss opinions with those who have been similarly negatively affected. Given my experiences so far, such people are not in short supply. It can be incredibly saddening and frightening to see those close to you slowly drift away from reality towards a group psychology aggressive to all debate, so hopefully this page can both be a solace and an impetus towards helping those affected. To freedom!

Members of Universal Medicine make claims about feeling more alert, healthier, more emotionally stable etc and whilst these are all great, if it is all based on a foundation of pseudoscience, group mental/psychological manipulation and a charismatic cult of personality, then those gains are null and void. Would you say that a labour slave was happy, even if he believed that his master loved him and that he was well-treated? 
A slave is a slave, and the unquestioning way with which UM followers have accepted Serge Benhayon's doctrines is tantamount to or even worse than physical slavery. 

Serge Benhayon likes to claim that major religions brainwash or fabricate truth and whilst this is valid, how does it make Universal Medicine look any better? They are based on the same principles of unchallengeable religious authority and a moralistic categorization of reality, so they are ultimately the same. Is a man who 'only' abuses 2 children a better person than one who abuses ten? The degree of manipulation is not the issue here, and the end result is the same, major religion or not.

Although freedom of expression/belief is important, UM members tend to become self-absorbed and aggressive with their views, and it becomes impossible to have any kind of conversation regardless of topic without them bringing in their beliefs, and always in an extremely condescending way. This can make relationships difficult to handle as members always believe that converting friends or family is the only way they can be happy.

For a person who believes strongly in the use of empiricism and logic versus the irrationality of faith, such mental slavery is truly shocking. Members become almost completely incapable of looking at any event outside of the paradigm that they have been absorbed into, and react aggressively when this is challenged, especially when effort is expended on pointing out inconsistencies and contradictions in its doctrines, which are endless. For example: 

They believe in past lives and an invisible and immeasurable energy force which regulates the entire physical world, regardless of actual scientific explanation. They follow fabricated charts which invent functions for the body such as thigh muscles which hold childhood memories, or kidneys which contain evil energies called 'Prana', and these consequently allow Serge Benhayon and his accomplices to claim authority in curing illness, which they 'do' by treating their own invented causes. 

Such absurdities allow Serge to gain complete mental and emotional dominance over his slaves; because they believe Serge has access to these 'energies', they let him assume complete control over the way they live their lives: he decides what they eat, what art they like (Da Vinci is a favorite), what music they listen to, what time they sleep, who they mix with, and most frighteningly, what they think.

The cult encourages a highly negative attitude towards the mind, encouraging an emphasis on vague faculties such as 'feeling' and 'listening to oneself'. These doctrines combined are incredibly convenient in manipulating members, as Serge Benhayon is the one who decides and teaches members what 'correct' feeling is, yet he does it in a way which makes them believe they are attaining these realisations themselves. Yet if one was to decide that one 'felt' like eating gluten or sleeping at 2 in the morning, Serge would claim that you are not 'feeling' things properly. Such genius could be put to better use.

This clever manipulation is further illustrated by his claim that his members are not 'followers', and he is not 'teaching' them anything, only revealing what they already know (what does that even mean?). But it lets him deflect attention away from his own domination and deludes his followers into believing that they have somehow retained their own freedom, and in the same way the devaluation of the intellect in his value system allows him to dismiss anyone who tries to challenge him logically by pointing out the endless contradictions in his system.

Another of the more disturbing aspect of Universal Medicine is its targeting of the emotionally vulnerable; women are a key target, and truly serious issues of female abuse are tapped into with quack therapies such as 'breast massage therapy'. This of course extends beyond women, and people who have dealt with illness, loss, both financial and emotional, are the main demographic hooked in.

Serge Benhayon claims he isn’t brainwashing people, but when one is sitting in a tent, with a man on stage lecturing over you for several hours, making baseless claims about health, politics, morality etc, talking about imaginary energies that regulate the world, and pushing you to follow behaviours which conform to these 'energies', then it is difficult to find a more precise word. 

Of course Serge is clever enough to claim that he is only revealing 'truths' that members already know, so that he can deflect away the fact that he is directly manipulating them. But in the end that is all he is doing, and the sooner those caught up in this tragedy awaken the better.

Universal Medicine and Serge describe themselves as not being a ‘cult’, yet common criteria used to categorize dangerous groups do not seem to support this claim; below are a list of these, and their applicability to UM.

1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability: Serge claims to receive knowledge from transcendent sources, he calls himself a messenger. This allows him to deflect responsibility from his manipulation and put himself out of reach of criticism.

2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry: Serge expertly uses the device of devaluing the mind, which allows him to dismiss all criticisms based on critical reflection and analysis. Despite the innumerable contradictions in his doctrines, his followers believe so strongly in anti-intellectualism that they put themselves out of reach of genuine reflection.

3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement: Does not exist.

4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions: Serge talks frequently about his ability to predict future dangerous trends in sickness and disaster, and often describes future trajectories using apocalyptic language, cynically creating an emotional despair in his followers which drives them into adopting his doctrines, in order to escape this frightening vision.

5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil: Despite Universal Medicine's rhetoric that people are free to leave or join as they please, they clearly view themselves as the only possibility for living a truly good life, and consequently this implies that all who leave are of a lower status than members. Members frequently use moralistic language to describe those who reject doctrines, e.g. 'she isn't ready for this', 'one day she will 'get' it'.

6. Followers feel they can never be "good enough: Serge describes his 'way' as a never-ending process. One is on a constant path of 'clearing' and improvement, this keeps the money flowing and the followers eternally hooked.

6. The group/leader is always right: Obviously applies to Serge and UM

7. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible: As mentioned above, Serge describes himself as a channeller of knowledge, which regular members do not have. Despite protestations to the contrary, he is the only source of correct behaviour in the group.

The criteria for unsafe behaviour among group members themselves also coincides well with the attitudes of Universal Medicine followers. The following all describe UM members accurately

 1. Extreme obsessiveness regarding the group/leader resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration.

2. Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct and separate categories of existence become increasingly blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these identities become substantially and increasingly fused--as that person's involvement with the group/leader continues and deepens.

3. Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned it is characterized as "persecution".

4. Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, cloning of the group/leader in personal behavior.

5. Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without group/leader involvement.

6. Hyperactivity centered on the group/leader agenda, which seems to supercede any personal goals or individual interests.

7. A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor.

8. Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.

9. Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.

10. Former followers are at best-considered negative or worse evil and under bad influences. They can not be trusted and personal contact is avoided.