'Homophobic cult' - 2008-07-31
A religious sect that runs meditation and yoga courses in partnership with the Gold Coast City Council is a homophobic cult that teaches gays can be 'cured' by chanting, according to former members.
The Australian School of Meditation and Yoga, which runs four "lifestyle centres" on the Gold Coast, one in West End and others in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, is run by the Science of Identity sect.
The sect, which claims a membership of 20,000 worldwide, is headed by Guru Chris Butler, who began collecting disciples in the late 1960s and formed the cult in 1977. Butler's disciples also call him Srila Prabhupad, which means "he who is in the position of God".
Former member, "Justin", 30, told Queensland Pride he was "born into" the cult because his parents had been members since the 1970s. When he came out to his parents at the age of 16, he was disowned.