Devotees may be 'brainwashed or under a spell'

George Town -- A tense and nervous mind can easily fall prey to brainwashing by a medium, a Taoist priest and academic here said.

The Star, Malaysia/March 27, 2012

Xiao En Cultural Endowment CEO Dr Ong Seng Huat said a brainwashed person could deviate from normal social values and end up denying their own parents.

"A tense person is unable to discern religious teaching rationally, especially if he is interested in supernatural things without much knowledge," said Dr Ong.

He was commenting on recent reports about a medium, said to be leading a cult that frowns on idols and ancestor worship, who allegedly turned children against their parents.

Some of the devotees threw away idols in their home, refused to worship their ancestors, and declined to attend funerals.

They were also told that they could not call their parents "father" or "mother" or they would die.

Dr Ong, who is also a Taoist high priest and a visiting professor of Religious and Cultural Studies in China's National Overseas Chinese University, said proper religion emphasised compassion and equality among human beings.

"It is a moral imperative that one needs to love everyone including showing filial piety towards one's parents," he said.

"One who is able to brainwash others is usually charismatic, and those facing depression or experiencing failure in society will be the target," Dr Ong said.

"This is a problem of the intention of committing psychological control and being controlled."

Meanwhile, spiritual healer Master Ong Q. Leng said the medium concerned might have had a psychological disorder.

Master Ong, who offers healing, spiritual cleansing, feng shui tips and general consultation to her clients, said it was unusual for a person to share such ridiculous teachings.

"It is also possible that the medium practises black magic or has cast a spell on her devotees," she said.

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