To read a brief overview about the campaign, see About the MovementsofGnostics Campaign
The MovementsofGnostics hate site has been instigated and run entirely by 4 to 5 people who are all in Greece, and are all friends and involved in business together. The smear campaign was first instigated by two ex-members referred to on this site with the pseudonyms Barbara and Vernon (who are married). They headed a rogue religious faction within The Gnostic Movement, which members felt was attempting to take over the democratically elected boards of the organizations. They were asked to leave The Gnostic Movement for behavioral issues and then tried to return for around a year. When they were denied re-admittance because of ongoing behavioral problems, one claimed that they felt humiliated by the events surrounding their ousting and that they had been left with a “stain” on their name and no longer wished to return. Just one week later in May of 2010, they began the smear campaign, coming out with the most fantastical apparently true stories about their time in The Gnostic Movement, paradoxically portraying it as a “dangerous cult” (after they had spent a year unsuccessfully trying to get into it) and effectively attempting to destroy Belzebuub as a spiritual teacher through promoting a mass of vicious lies about his private life.
They were initially joined by 3 other people, who were all very close friends of theirs (2 who were involved in business with them) and also former attendees of The Gnostic Movement who were part of their religious faction. As their campaign continued over a number of months, they were joined by a number of other former attendees of The Gnostic Movement whom they fed with their false allegations and solicited for negative stories.
Then, a number of members from other Gnostic groups piled in who opposed The Gnostic Movement, some who are members of Gnostic religious organizations that have been known to have attacked Belzebuub for decades. They readily took the opportunity to submit their own distorted and false allegations to the campaign’s hate site, including one who had made a slew of anti-Semitic comments on YouTube. At least one Christian who has never been involved with The Gnostic Movement joined in and became involved in an attempt by Barbara to blackmail Belzebuub.
The smear campaign found support with a number of anti-cult groups who allowed them to post material to their websites, without contacting us at all, as well as a high-up media contact of Vernon in Cyprus, and the Greek Orthodox Church.
Following is a sequence of events that chronicle the lead up to the smear campaign and how it was perpetrated, revealing who is really behind it and why.
Instigators of Smear Campaign Asked to Leave The Gnostic Movement for Behavioral Issues
In June 2008, Barbara announced that she and her then husband were separating. Three weeks later (and just days after her husband had moved out of the apartment they lived in together), she and Vernon were seen publicly displaying their relationship together at a retreat where a member warned them that they were giving a bad image to Gnosis (in which relationships are seen as sacred) by acting publicly as a couple so soon after Barbara had announced that her marriage had broken up. As Barbara and Vernon were active members and teachers, their actions created an uncomfortable situation within our organization which required a general clarification that was not specific to them, and they continued in the organization. Barbara wrote in an email in 2010 that both she and Vernon “wish they could turn back the clocks and change the way they did things” as they “understand now that it was a serious mistake.”
In 2009, Barbara and Vernon were asked to leave The Gnostic Movement for behavior contrary to the principles of The Gnostic Movement (which had nothing to do with their relationship).
A summary of some of these former members’ behavior that was deemed inappropriate was explained in their own words in emails they each sent in 2009 to The Gnostic Movement in Australia, which they have publicly discussed, where they expressed their regret and sorrow for their actions within The Gnostic Movement and toward other members. They cited that their negativity affected their perceptions which caused them to see problems that weren’t there at all, that they had tried to force things, act in a bossy way in an attempt to take control of things, that they had become resentful and reactive, and had blamed external factors for problems they were experiencing. This behavior was seen as contrary to the principles of our organization and of Gnosticism, such as respect for free will, good will towards all people, and objectivity. Both apologized for their behavior, asking to return to the organization.
Barbara and Vernon Attempt to Return and are Denied
Barbara and Vernon attempted to return to The Gnostic Movement for about a year, but the organization felt that Vernon had continued with the behavior which warranted their being asked to leave. Then Barbara was told that there were people in the organization who were with Vernon but at the same time negative toward the spiritual teacher of The Gnostic Movement Mark H Pritchard (Belzebuub), and therefore it was impossible to keep contact. Two months later, Barbara and Vernon launched a smear campaign which publicly attacked The Gnostic Movement and Mark H Pritchard (Belzebuub).
Barbara and Vernon Instigate Smear Campaign
Just before the smear campaign began, Barbara stated in an email that she was finally no longer interested in returning to The Gnostic Movement, accusing it of gossiping about her and Vernon and stating that she was embarrassed and humiliated by the events surrounding her departure from the The Gnostic Movement, and furthermore, that she wished she did not have to walk away with a “stain” on her name. A week later in May 2010, the two ex-members Barbara and Vernon initiated the smear campaign by sending out mass emails to people in The Gnostic Movement with false allegations that effectively blamed and accused Mark Pritchard (Belzebuub) and others in The Gnostic Movement, for the things that had happened to them.
The Gnostic Movement did not instigate or encourage any gossip about them or their departure, and in fact, they themselves have brought attention to many aspects of their personal lives and departure from the organization through their own accounts and publicity of the matter through television shows, press releases, emails, phone calls, and most prominently through their accounts on a hate site on the internet.
Along with two other close friends, and business associates, they continued spreading their false allegations to numerous people—including members, teachers, and students of our organization—on a dedicated hate site that was set up as part of the smear campaign, through the media, social networking sites, phone calls, and in-person meetings. They also made legal threats against the organization and individuals within it, in many instances to threaten anyone who spoke out against them.
In June 2010 Vernon sent an email to Mark Pritchard and Edith Pritchard titled “A Warning” in which he admitted to people having fanatically followed him while he was a teacher of The Gnostic Movement, stating that he and Barbara would not “tolerate any more lies and spilling of our names to others. I am therefore giving the opportunity for you to put a stop to this on your own before I am forced into taking formal action.” However, Mark and Edith were not aware of any gossip about Barbara and Vernon, and even if there was “gossip,” they did not wish to intrude upon the personal conversations and thoughts of others, which is beyond the scope of the organization and anyone in it to deal with.
Yet Vernon expressly threatened that if Mark and Edith did not put a stop to people gossiping immediately that he would launch a public smear campaign against them. In his email Vernon continued, “Stop immediately any gossiping in our names from you and your members. This is the first and last non-official email that I am sending to you and I expect an immediate action.” And, “If you do not put a stop to the slander and wrongful actions, then I, as well as a large group of former members of the movement will speak publicly about the harm you have caused and are causing to cause to those within your movement.” Here in this email, Vernon admits to having fanatical followers, and that he and a large group of people who he was obviously in contact with and would organize to speak publicly, would speak out unless Mark and Edith met the demands he made which were all to do with the supposed gossip he and Barbara felt had harmed their lives and reputations.
This threatening email from Vernon “coincided” with the first appearance of the hate site.
The Hate Site Appears
The anonymous WordPress blog hate site where the allegations first appeared in May 2010 was presented as a site for the study of the Gnostic teachings as well as a look at various Gnostic groups – including in its slogan “how The Gnostic Movement of Belzebuub misuses the teachings”; however, it contained nearly exclusively negative statements and allegations about The Gnostic Movement and its spiritual teacher Mark H Pritchard (Belzebuub). Though untrue, these allegations are first made and then reinforced over and again in new articles and comments as already accepted facts. Read the official response to the false allegations.
The Group Behind the Hate Site and Smear Campaign
The articles written on this hate site and appearing in its first two months of existence (May and June 2010) totaled fourteen in number and were written by just 5 different users. Two of these people are the former members cited above, Barbara and Vernon, and the other three were a few former students of The Gnostic Movement, including namely Vernon’s business partner, former student, and friend (who will be referred to with the pseudonym “Les”) and two other close friends and former students of his (who will be referred to with the pseudonyms “Jake” and “Felicity”). After being asked to leave The Gnostic Movement, Vernon, Jake, and Les took over The Gnostic Movement in Greece, against the wishes of our students, teachers, and members in that country. They instated themselves as the directors of the organization, and then went on to use it as a vehicle to intensively publicly attack the remaining Gnostic Movement organizations around the world.
After multiple pages of their WordPress blog were suspended for copyright violations, they moved the blog’s content to a website hosted in Iceland, registered to The Gnostic Movement of Greece, which as mentioned above, Vernon, and his close friends and business associates Les and Jake are now directors of, having taken it over against our wishes. The administrative contact for this site was Les (Vernon’s business partner). This information was available from a public Whois domain search before they made it hidden, the very same day Vernon sent out a mass unsolicited email to people in The Gnostic Movement worldwide (which was later reported as spam along with others he had sent during the smear campaign). We have come to the conclusion that the hate site was conceived and maintained entirely out of this core group of five people – namely Barbara, Vernon, Les, Jake, and Felicity.
Since those first two months, others have also joined the blog to write articles and comments. The core group of people who founded the hate site have portrayed their efforts as something akin to a “grass-roots” movement, a spontaneous outburst of criticism with no central organization or leadership. However, people from this core group had been making contact with and spreading their allegations as facts to large numbers of both current and former students, teachers, and members of The Gnostic Movement and their families through not only the emails as we have mentioned above, but also through social networking sites, and via phone and in-person meetings once they took control of The Gnostic Movement in Greece. There is evidence to show that they would attempt to actively recruit collaborators through various channels, such as a long message that urges the recipient to leave The Gnostic Movement, presenting reasons why The Gnostic Movement is a “cult”. Adult members of The Gnostic Movement (who are fathers themselves) reported that accusers contacted their parents to disseminate these accusations.
Despite their attempt to conceal their administration and control of the hate site, an analysis of the hate site’s content revealed that around 70% of the articles on the site were written by Barbara, Vernon, and their close associates (using multiple anonymous usernames). And as mentioned above, Vernon had sent a threatening email before other contributors joined the hate site, in which he stated that he and a group of former members would speak out unless his demands were met, which indicates that the other contributors to the hate site were organized and being prepared by Vernon.
Furthermore, many of the postings on this main blog website show similarities that are not likely to occur naturally, such as the repeated use of the term “The Gnostic Movement of Mark Pritchard” (which is not a title that has ever been used by our organization) and the use of the specific term “destructive cult” which is woven repeatedly into many postings by many different contributors. The repeated use of these and other similar terms has a cumulative psychological impact on readers, making “The Gnostic Movement” and “Mark Pritchard” synonymous with the term “destructive cult,” which is a label used to describe groups that commit heinous crimes like murder and group suicide.
Despite the anonymity of their attack, all of these details suggest a high level of coordination and organization amongst the small group of core people behind the smear campaign – namely Barbara, Vernon, and his close friends and business associates, Les and Jake. People belonging to other Gnostic groups who have long been doctrinally opposed to our organization and its spiritual teacher have also taken the opportunity to contribute their negative, hateful, and untrue opinions to the hate site as they have elsewhere on the internet for many years – again with evidence to suggest that people from these groups were in contact with Vernon.
Allegations Made On TV in Cyprus
These allegations have also been disseminated by using the media relationships of one of the accusers. This accuser has presented allegations against The Gnostic Movement on a TV show in Cyprus, hosted by a longtime friend of theirs, which denounced us as a “heresy”. They would then use the opinions of the Christian psychologist and theologian who were asked to sit on the panel as “proof” of the legitimacy of their claims, stating that we had been classified by psychologists as a “cult,” when the show was a set up and one of the panel members stated that off camera she had been asked by members high up in the orthodox church to destroy us on the show. This is part of a wider series of events in the smear campaign that took place in Greece and Cyprus.
Perpetrators Stated Wish to See Our Organization Close Down
Two of the main instigators of the campaign, Vernon and Jake, who are close friends, took over The Gnostic Movement in Greece against our will and the wishes of the directors at the time with the intent of closing it down. It appears that at least Jake wishes this upon our organizations in other countries as well, as he states, “There is only one way to continue my life without have a look here and there on them: to close their organization…” Les, close friend and business associate of both Vernon and Jake, and administrative contact of the hate site, also stated verbally that he wished to “destroy The Gnostic Movement legally.” Another former attendee has stated on an anti-cult website, “I just thought I would put a note here for everyone that all the Centres and studies groups in Greece are now gone. However this happened, it is an excellent occurrence.” Barbara stated that seeing some of The Gnostic Movement centers close brought her “satisfaction and happiness” and another user had stated that the distress at the events of the campaign expressed by some of our adherents online was “their morning entertainment.”
Statements Made That the Attacks Could Continue for Years
In April of 2011, a contributor to their blog, but someone who had never attended The Gnostic Movement, approached a teacher of the Gnostic Movement offering to act as an intermediary in an attempt to reconcile the two parties. He passed on a list of demands that he stated, were from Barbara and Vernon and sent from Barbara’s own email account, saying, “…it’s on behalf of Barbara and Vernon. I think Barbara wants her name cleared, and is prepared to remove a large obstacle that prevents Belzebuub from having his name cleared.” Barbara set a number of terms with a 48 hour deadline for response. She stated that they would cease participation in the smear campaign against Mark Pritchard only if he issued a public apology admitting the key allegations Barbara had made were true. This was effectively demanding that Mark Pritchard concede he was guilty of something he had never done. The intermediary finished by stating, “Do please make a positive reply before 23:00 BST tomorrow, 8th April. If not, then as I said before, you cannot realistically expect these attacks to end in the next however many years…“
Instead of submitting to Barbara’s demands, we have continued to put the truth about what really happened, and the attacks have indeed continued (going on now nearly 1.5 years as of August 2011), with further posts being made on the hate site and anonymous users leaving negative reviews and comments wherever Belzebuub’s work appears on the internet, posing as neutral readers but repeating the same false allegations of the campaign and continuously trying to funnel people interested in Belzebuub’s work to their appalling hate site.