Evaluating UM as a cult.

The feedback from the Universal Medicine group, its followers, some members of the public and even affected families can give one the impression that there is a question mark remaining over whether Universal Medicine is a cult. There is a general misunderstanding of the nature of cults in the public at large,  however the implacable nature of UM as a cult is not in a shadow of doubt to the well-informed. The only question is, what trajectory is the group following as they tend to have an arc of development?

I’ve cut and pasted a commonly used cult evaluation chart (the FBI have used this for cult evaluation in the US). The higher the score the more potential danger the group poses. Of course, the rankings are subjective and dependent on your knowledge of the group’s machinations. I’ve put my score in bold next to each question. (Don’t let it influence you, which of course is now quite impossible- ah,  the irony)

The commonly held misapprehension is that members are held against their will in a compound or tricked into slavish adherence to the group and its leaders after a honeymoon period. While groups do exist like this, the vast majority of contemporary groups are ‘open cults’. That is, the members more or less function as they would have done before being recruited by the cult. Many cult members ‘feel good’ and this takes precedence over logic and inconsistencies. In the case of Serge ( and like many narcissistic cult leaders) this means ignoring glaring integrity issues and questionable ethics. The accountability website has done an sensational job of highlighting many of those.

Not you're average cult leader
Sorry ladies…not you’re average cult leader
A meme found on the web
A meme found on the web

Members of these groups- UM included- are not aware that theirs is a cult and that their leader suffers from a personality disorder. If they did, then the group could and would not exist. It is in a sense, easier to believe the grandiose claims of the cult leader, than the far simpler truth that their leader has a personality malfunction. The payoff is a sense of purpose, community, and superiority ( poorly masked by love-speak).

At the limits, the metaphoric walls that keep members contained are sets of behviours that are dictated (or offered as choices) by the group ( for UM that is food, music, sport, relationships, sexual behaviour, feminine identity, art, information) and the ‘penalty’ for leaving which is usually a spiritual punishment; the thought of which is ineffable and subsumes the logic of making a rational choice based on the information at hand. In the case of UM this is  bad karma, further bad incarnations, going down the imaginary initiation scale, not becoming an initiate or member of the ‘hierarchy’; and of course rejection by the group mind which is extremely powerful. There exist groups that hold a real gun to their heads of the members, but they are few. The metaphoric gun for modern groups is turning the mind of the follower against itself, by keeping them sufficiently simultaneously dumbly happy and confused therefore disabling their sense of mortal and spiritual danger.

The stakes have risen for Serge in the last year. Rather arrogantly (one of his favourite words) he predicted the ‘new era’ and imagined himself as it’s chief advocate. In his mind Universal Medicine was a growing force ready to take on the world. Instead, he has been met with a steady stream of right-minded criticism and the soured fruits of his efforts- a wall of distraught families and unhappy partners. His medicine has been exposed as a large scale scam and his business practices called into question. Whether he knows it or not, the relevant agencies are aware of his every move and the sins of his the past and present. Long forgotten ghosts no doubt will come back to haunt him. What we need to remain vigilant of now is Serge ratcheting up the rhetoric out of an understandable sense of paranoia and foreboding. He and the group are currently following the cult-under-pressure play book to a tee. And there’s more revelations to come.

For people with loved ones in the group, keep an eye on your family member and remember, arguments won’t get them out. Real love just might.


The Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Low High

1 Internal Control: Amount of internal political and social power exercised by leader(s) over members; lack of clearly defined organizational rights for members.        10


2 External Control: Amount of external political and social influence desired or obtained; emphasis on directing members’ external political and social behavior.      8 – increasing steadily with RMRC, womens groups etc


3 Wisdom/Knowledge Claimed by leader(s); amount of infallibility declared or implied about decisions or doctrinal/scriptural interpretations; number and degree of unverified and/or unverifiable credentials claimed.                                                           12- Serge is off the scale here.


4 Wisdom/Knowledge Credited to leader(s) by members; amount of trust in decisions or doctrinal/scriptural interpretations made by leader(s); amount of hostility by members towards internal or external critics and/or towards verification efforts.           12- Serge is off the scale here also

5 Dogma: Rigidity of reality concepts taught; amount of doctrinal inflexibility or “fundamentalism;” hostility towards relativism and situationalism.              12- Serge is also off the scale here ( surprised?)


6 Recruiting: Emphasis put on attracting new members; amount of proselytizing; requirement for all members to bring in new ones.                                     10- UM has a very clever model of focusing on women health issues and word of mouth, plus satellite agencies of ‘practitioners’ that have paid for the privilege to recruit for UM/Serge


7 Front Groups: Number of subsidiary groups using different names from that of main group, especially when connections are hidden.                                        10- Oops like Serge hits the mark here too.                    


8 Wealth: Amount of money and/or property desired or obtained by group; emphasis on members’ donations; economic lifestyle of leader(s) compared to ordinary members.    10- And again… surprising? Not really.


9 Sexual Manipulation of members by leader(s) of non-tantric groups; amount of control exercised over sexuality of members in terms of sexual orientation, behavior, and/or choice of partners.                            12- Yes. He’s a royal flush. His mass scale manipulation of the sexuality of his members is monumental. What he does more privately is yet to be examined.


10 Sexual Favoritism: Advancement or preferential treatment dependent upon sexual activity with the leader(s) of non-tantric groups.             10- Based purely on the pretty girls that stay with the Benhayons sent from overseas and interstate, and the known activity of match-making for his own children, ex-wife and favoured inner members.


11 Censorship: Amount of control over members’ access to outside opinions on group, its doctrines or leader(s).                                       10- Members are told which books to read, to avoid newspapers, dissenting sites, and to clear books they  have to read of bad energy.


12 Isolation: Amount of effort to keep members from communicating with non-members, including family, friends and lovers.                        8- They havent perfected this yet. But they make an effort when they know someone is dissenting.


13 Dropout Control: Intensity of efforts directed at preventing or returning dropouts.   7- Not sure of this internal mechanism.


14 Violence: Amount of approval when used by or for the group, its doctrines or leader(s).   2- That is giving Serge the benefit of the doubt.


15 Paranoia: Amount of fear concerning real or imagined enemies; exaggeration of perceived power of opponents; prevalence of conspiracy theories.       10- Large scale paranoia of imaginary enemies and persecution from past life times.


16 Grimness: Amount of disapproval concerning jokes about the group, its doctrines or its leader(s).                                           10- They don’t like a joke at all.


17 Surrender of Will: Amount of emphasis on members not having to be responsible for personal decisions; degree of individual disempowerment created by the group, its doctrines or its leader(s).                        10- While its alleged it is a choice, that is false. The members are totally dis-empowered from differing opinions to Serge and other members.


18 Hypocrisy: amount of approval for actions which the group officially considers immoral or unethical, when done by or for the group, its doctrines or leader(s); willingness to violate the group’s declared principles for political, psychological, social, economic, military, or other gain.                                  15- Serge’s assertions are completely at odds with his own behaviour past and present.



Published by


Educator, Somerset, England. Rationalist. Realist. Bulldust detector.

10 thoughts on “Evaluating UM as a cult.”

  1. Nice criteria, and wow, yeah, UM scores on all counts.

    Number 12, isolation, I think is pretty effective in UM, because they quickly establish an us vs them, fiery vs pranic, femaleness vs maleness dynamic. So followers might be in touch with loved ones, but loved ones become very aware of an attitude change – coldness, insensitivity, loss of empathy, frigidity, passive aggression etc.

    13, dropout control, is also interesting and I’m not entirely sure of it either. I’ve heard of a couple of ex members who got out and were never contacted by the cult again. Ex student Y was treated as a leper because Y developed an Esoterically incorrect illness and required hospitalization. http://universalmedicineaccountability.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/have-your-say-ex-universal-medicine-student-y-speaks/
    On the other hand, I heard of a member who got out in the last few months, appeared to snap out of it and couldn’t believe she’d been roped in, but on her facebook page she’s being copiously love bombed, and sadly appears to be back in the midst of the Eso-harpies. I think Estoeric NICE can’t be underestimated.

    14. Violence is also an ambiguous quantity in UM and there is certainly potential there for it to escalate. A cult member’s mother’s car was egged as we know after she spoke with the media, and we’ve heard of a defector being threatened. I’d count the sexual abuse as violence – touching breasts and genitals for no good reason, and there’s also some serious self-harming behaviour going on with the Esoteric diet – followers literally starving – violence toward self. Also, Serge’s writings reveal a very violent mind. Having been in a treatment room with him, he might be soft spoken, but he’s one aggressive piece of work. I made it clear I did not want or need and ovarian reading and he persisted until I gave in. Aggression is precursor to violence, and I’d hate to think what he might have tried on me if I’d not had the defences.

    Grimness and hypocrisy? LOL & LOL

    1. I didn’t want Sergio to think we may be as unfair as he might be in my assessment of number 14. I imagine the home front is not a pretty scene behind closed doors. How many parents can keep their 20 something kids in check, close by and doing their bidding? I have also heard apocryphal tales of Natalie being kept in check in her wayward teens with Serge burning pics of her friend/s and declaring them under the control of entities. I am sure there is an element of truth to them. Natalie’s payoff: Seer with limited liability company and a dedicated revenue stream.

      One wonders how Deborah has also been kept in check given her well documented utterances of despair at her domestic affairs and the antics of her husband circa 1999. One is forced to assume a type of psychological violence.
      at the very least.

      Yes, in this scale Serge hits all of the marks. One interesting counter-point is that many groups that do not at least hit 5 of thus scale tend not to amount to much. It is because in many ways they are reasonable. That doesn’t take a lot of thought- if a group DOESN’T exercise control over doctrine, assert infallibility, control behavior, define sexuality, seek power and money, then really, they are quite boring… and really, who wants to be involved with them? I mean, if I am going to be a cult member, at least let me be a member of an interesting one that scores well!

  2. Sexual Favouritis,. Serge passed Deano around to some of his hard core devotees, Desiree, Caroline Raphael, Danielle loveless & probably a few others. I don’t know if you could call Deano much of a reward though. Don’t even get me started on Michael & Curtis, I was there when Serge was grooming their (at the time) teenage partners from the stage calling them Emily Benhayon trying making these young girls feel special so they will go out with his dolt sons!

    1. I think the money is in a safe in the wall at a couple of Goonellebah addresses, on its way to Uruguay, or turning up as anon donations to the Universal Medicine college. But it doesn’t-take an ATO investigator to figure that one out. But I am sure they are. Meantime Where’s the money, I am sure Dean has worn himself out as the cult-Lothario and boom operator ( there is some cross-skills) At least he’s settled on one for now. Until Serge says otherwise I am sure.
      And while Serge has been a good little groomer for Mike and perhaps Natalie, he’s failed Curtis. Is it because he looks so bored with the whole thing? and perhaps that is why Dad has given him the auspicious job of massaging women’s Uterus’s- to get him interested.

      1. Serge must hate Curtis. It’s like he’s acting out the Oedipus complex in reverse – a pre-emptive strike. I doubt Serge was trying to get his beloved son interested in the mostly older women he massages. He’s landed him deep in a disgraceful abusive therapy knowing just one complaint from a client to the HCCC will get him prohibited from practice. Serge is a mudslide. Taking everyone down with him.

  3. A lot of what is written is not true and should be taken off. Nowhere is it written or said that Serge is the only divine one with links to the ascended masters, we too, as well as the person writing this are children of god and are able to feel our divine soulful light. Also the way people talk unknowingly about individuals on here is upsetting

    1. Brian, you need to read all of Serge’s books, listen to his lectures and read his copious writings.
      Serge claims quite clearly to be a member of the Hierarchy. In 2012 he claimed to the “One” sent to see in the new era. He announced this at the Vietnam and UK retreats. The word quickly spread and students were emailing each other excitedly that he had revealed his true nature. He also alludes to it regularly in his books and elsewhere.
      He claims to be ‘impressed’ with the ancient wisdom from Shamballah, which is populated with other ascended masters.
      Besides that he is the re-incarnation of many famous historical people.

      He does say you too can become an ascended master, provided you follow his ‘one-unified-truth’ and his ‘spherical’ thinking. He has an initiation scale. He even went to the length of grading his students a few years back, which caused quite a stir.

      Brian, I do know all about Serge right back to his school yard days, his work, his businesses, his bankruptcies, his relationships, how he runs his businesses, his tax returns, charity set ups, books, recordings. I have spoken to his family, his friends, his ex-colleagues, people that knew the family in the 90’s, knew his wife/children/new wife. I have even spoken with him on a number of occasions. I would say I know him far better than you and a far more than any of the members think they do. I haven’t accepted what he has said about himself, and in doing so I can tell you that what you read here is factual. What is missing is a lot more detail that I refrain from adding for legal reasons. But as Serge himself knows, the truth will eventually reveal itself.

      He is not an ascended master but simply a man with an inflated sense of himself who has co-opted ideas that are freely available. His behaviour is exactly that of a cult leader. If you choose to follow him to awake your divine soul, that is your choice. However, I feel I need to warn you the more time you spend exposed to UM, the more that choice is diminished.

      If you have proof (not your opinion or feeling) that what I am saying is wrong, I look forward to hearing it.

    2. Brian, I don’t think you understand how much Richard and others outside of UM know about Serge. More than you could imagine, and much more than Serge would want you to know.

      Also, if we’re all ‘Sons of God’, which is Serge’s actual wording (not children of god) and able to feel our divine soulful light, how many of us are 5th degree initiates? Are you aware that Serge claims to be the only living one? How many of us have written ‘occult philosophy’ tomes like ‘The Living Sutras of the Hierarchy’ where large chunks of the text are ‘presented’ as ‘impresses’ from the Ascended Masters?

      It appears in UM, some Sons of God are more equal than others.

      All of us countering UM propaganda can back what we say with evidence. That’s why Universal Law haven’t sued us for defamation. We have a lot of support and they won’t succeed.

  4. Disturbing that so many women follow when the words are so sexually discriminating “sons of god”.
    II knew of serge many years ago before ethe rise of his empire, I opted for healings from his then wife Debbie rather than from the man himself as his healing style was questionable. I know a couple of people who are in love with his perception of reality, personally I find him Dodgy. No human has the answers about the after life, we are all in a state of unknowing of what is to come, while I can agree with some of the ideas and think we should treat our bodies as a amazingly as possible, the practice is much harder in a world full of temptations then I though possible so I continue to indulge.x
    I think it is time to start a cult, I have some great ideas that I can promote and I am definitely in Need of money.
    I feel for those who have bought into this crap, especially friends.
    I live in another country now andi appreciate the realness that this brings. Most of the northern nsw people live iN a state of denial. I appreciate their diet choices and wish could Live the same, but. Their obsession with themselves is beyond comprehension. No where else is anyone having a conversation which is dominated by stories of me and I and I and me.

    1. Sea breeze
      I am sorry it took so long to reply and approve. I have been out of action for a while
      thanks for the feedback. We’ve heard of many others who knew Serge back in the day, who fail to be impressed.
      Stay in touch.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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