Universal Medicine: Cult or the Antithesis?

In recent weeks, there have been a number of articles written by the media stating that Universal Medicine may be a cult organisation. However, these articles have not provided any evidence to this claim, and obvious facts about Universal Medicine have not been published. The intention of this article is to address these ‘Universal Medicine cult’ accusations and to outline the true facts. In doing so, the reader will have an opportunity to be more informed in making up his or her own mind.

The facts about Universal Medicine are:

    • All Universal Medicine events are publicly open to all, and there is no pre-qualification to attend entry-level events of any kind.
    • There are no recruitment methods used by Universal Medicine. This is in contrast to cults, as world-renowned cult-expert Dr Margaret Thaler Singer states ‘contrary to the myth that those who join cults are seekers, it is the cults that go out and actively and aggressively find followers’ (Singer, 1995, p. XXIII).
    • People who attend Universal Medicine events are clearly informed of what the organisation is that they are becoming involved with. For example, extensive information can be gained from the public website, which states key messages presented by Universal Medicine. Instead, cults typically use deceptive recruiting methods and often exhibit secret stages within the organisation (Singer, 1995).
    • People are free to attend none, some or all of the events presented by Universal Medicine. To attend an event, each person is required to individually register for every event they wish to attend. For example, some people attend only the Friday evening lectures, held once per month, at $5 per person. In contrast, cults have an expectation if not a requirement that attendees at cult events become members of the cult (Singer, 1995; Singer, 1996).
    • There are no recurring fees or memberships at Universal Medicine.
    • People are free to leave an event at any time. For example, the events are held in public rented venues and the entrance door remains unlocked at all times. Events are not held in communes, and Universal Medicine publicly announces that any attendee can obtain a full refund and exit the premises at any time without penalty of any kind.
    • Universal Medicine collects standard attendee registration information. Any person can obtain full disclosure of their personal information held by Universal Medicine at any time. This is in contrast to cults whereby cult records are typically confidential and/or hidden by members and not shared (Singer, 1995).
    • There are no rituals, no mantras, and no exceptional practices.
    • Serge Benhayon is the founder of Universal Medicine. At the core of Serge’s presentations is the importance of brotherhood and living a loving life to the best of one’s ability. In other words, Serge presents that we are all equal, and that no one is more gifted, special or chosen than any other. The essence of Serge’s presentations is about choosing to live a more loving life and treating all others equally with that same level of care and love. Serge also presents that we all have an equal and innate ability to know what is true in life and what is not. On numerous occasions, Serge has also publicly announced that he does not consider himself to be perfect in any way, and that he makes mistakes like we all do.
    • The first teaching of Universal Medicine is how to discern energy and the importance of discerning all presentations, including by Universal Medicine so that people can choose, for themselves, whether what is offered is true or not.
    • Universal Medicine publicly advocates freedom of choice. For example, people are encouraged to make up their own minds with regards to their chosen religion and political views, as well as whether they accept or reject some or all of what Universal Medicine presents.
    • People attending Universal Medicine events are free to choose their friends and family associations (including their selection of a partner or spouse). There is no restriction of access to information in relation to television, radio, telephone, mail or reading material. This is in contrast to cults which typically isolate their members from their loved ones, and from society in general (Singer, 1995; Singer, 1996).
    • Universal Medicine does not tell people what to eat or wear or where to work, sleep or bathe. Universal Medicine presents the importance of regular exercise and a sleep rhythm that honours the body’s natural rhythms. This is in contrast to cults that rarely encourage members to maintain good health practices or fitness (Singer, 1995). For example, Universal Medicine presents that the body functions well with an earlier bedtime (e.g. 9 or 10pm) and an earlier rise time, rather than doing things at night when we are tired. However, no bedtime is prescribed. Similarly with food, Universal Medicine presents the importance of discerning for oneself what food is right for you. Universal Medicine openly states that the food that one person eats will not necessarily be right for another. It is up to each person to feel this for themselves. If a person decides to make dietary changes, the main changes may include ceasing consumption of alcohol, gluten, and/or dairy. Alcohol has been well researched and scientifically documented as a chemical poison to the human body. There are also large numbers of people worldwide who do not eat gluten or dairy, as evidenced by the many restaurants that include gluten and/or dairy free meals in their menus.
    • Universal Medicine publicly encourages medical treatment. For example, many people who attend events are themselves medical and allied health professionals. The Practitioners Committee of the Esoteric Practitioners Association (EPA)* consists mainly of medically-trained professionals, such as General Practitioners, Dentists, and Surgeons. This is in contrast to cults which typically discourage or forbid medical treatment (Singer, 1995).
    • Although some of what Universal Medicine presents is unconventional, people are not asked to believe it, and there is much evidence showing that people are encouraged to question what is presented. Furthermore, unconventional statements made by any group in society do not necessarily constitute a cult. For example, there are many well-established religions that advocate a variety of beliefs, values and ideals related to reincarnation, Heaven and Hell, spirit and soul, and miracles. In fact, these beliefs are considered part of conventional society in both western and eastern cultures.
    • People from varying locations around the world attend events by Universal Medicine, such as Australia, New Zealand, Holland, England, Germany, and many other parts of the world. This is in contrast to cults that typically isolate their members geographically from society (Singer, 1995; Singer, 1996).
    • Families who attend Universal Medicine events live in normal society, attending school and participating in normal societal events. For example, children of attendees are enrolled in a variety of public and private schools.
    • Universal Medicine presents that if needed people can perform a ‘gentle breath meditation’. This is a brief meditation (publicly recommended to perform in less than 10 minutes) in a comfortable seated position, in order to allow people to feel their own gentleness. The emphasis behind this is that if a person is feeling gentle, thus at ease and more calm, they are able to make clear and informed decisions for themselves. In contrast, when people are feeling emotional they are reactive to life and thus tainted by their experience. For example, a person feeling stressed is likely to make decisions that will be influenced by this stress.
    • Universal Medicine presents that it is not a sovereign entity receiving any exceptions to the law or to any legal proceedings. In contrast, cults often consider themselves to be above the law and accountable to no-one (Singer, 1995).

There are many more true facts about Universal Medicine that could be mentioned. Suffice to say, it is clear that Universal Medicine is the antithesis of a cult. These facts show that there is more pressure to join your local swimming club or to shop at a retail store than to attend a Universal Medicine event. Swimming clubs, for example, typically advertise their services via pamphlets and newspaper advertisements, and they generally encourage their members to obtain a membership subscription (which can total 6 or 12 months). In contrast, no recruiting methods are used by Universal Medicine.

Whilst unconventional or even unpopular statements may be made by Universal Medicine, no organisation in society should ever be labeled a cult when there is absolutely no evidence to justify this claim. The term ‘cult’ carries heavy stigma for those involved and should never be used carelessly or irresponsibly. To do so would severely denigrate and demean the thousands of people who have been inspired to make truly loving changes in their lives and to support those around them. The real stories about Universal Medicine will be found here, in the countless numbers of individuals who now bring a sense of wellness to family life, to the workplace, and to all of society. So I leave it to you the reader to determine. Universal Medicine: Cult or the Antithesis?

by Brendan Mooney, Registered Psychologist BPsySci (Hons) AmusA


Brendan Mooney works as a fully-registered Psychologist. He has studied up to the level of a PhD in Clinical Psychology and Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Queensland. Brendan works as a Psychologist both privately and in the rehabilitation sector. 

* The EPA (Esoteric Practitioners Association) is a branch of Universal Medicine. It was instigated by Universal Medicine to monitor and accredit the modalities that were founded by Universal Medicine. 

Singer, M.T. (1995). Cults in our midst: The hidden menace in our everyday lives. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers
Singer, M.T. (1996). Crazy therapies. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

108 thoughts on “Universal Medicine: Cult or the Antithesis?

  1. It is quite revealing in itself, the amount of attention that Universal Medicine receives, especially when you look at the kind of simple, heathy, loving and practical tools it’s sharing.
    Why is it being called a cult when there is zero evidence of this and as you present, the antithesis of a cult?
    Why is there so much resistance to responsibility?
    Universal Medicine has supported so many to turn around their lives and yet each of these people made that choice for themselves. Universal Medicine just inspired them, a starting point for each person to decide for themselves.

  2. Brendan you present a clear and logical account reflecting my experience of attending Universal Medicine presentations.

    In addition, cults often have inappropriate and harmful sexual practices; Serge Benhayon presents the highest level of integrity around touch in the modality training courses that I have experienced as a practitioner of massage having attended many courses over the last 14 years. In addition, his presentation of relationships supports the depth of honor achieved by committing to monogamous relationships and the personal growth possible by such a commitment. As well as deepening one’s level of self care which is then naturally reflected in a more harmonious and caring way of relating, not only to one’s partner but to everyone.

  3. “There is more pressure to join a local swimming club than a Universal Medicine event.” – I love that, Brendan! It’s so true! Universal Medicine’s middle name is ‘un-imposing’.

  4. If Universal Medicine is a cult, then so is the navy and so is any of the big multinational companies. The word is here used to incite mistrust and suspicion of an organisation that is completely transparent and has nothing to hide.

  5. Very well stated Brendan. It is so clear that Universal Medicine is the opposite of a cult. Putting the fact that there is no such thing as a cult to one side for a moment, what I would recommend to anyone who is concerned that Universal Medicine is a cult is: 1) draw up your criteria of what a cult is. 2) compare Universal Medicine to your criteria. 3) compare any religion e.g. catholicism to your criteria. 4) Compare any sports team to your criteria. What you should know is that the whole cult story has been concocted to scare people from discovering what Universal Medicine is offering the world.

  6. Thank you Brendan for your very clear and insightful article. You are correct when you say no organisation should be labeled a cult because we may not agree with something. This has not been afforded to Universal Medicine with sections of the media latching onto the comments of someone who is acting out of jealousy and revenge because it will make the so called news. Its crazy really as most people I talk to about the news want good news stories, ones that they feel inspired by and this is what can be found with everyone who attends these events – stories, lives and people to be inspired by – every single one. This is a great loss to the broader community, who are struggling through everyday.

    1. Thank you Brendan and Jennifer, I agree the media are like blood hounds and any whiff of a sensational story and they attack. The media should be made responsible for their lies especially when they have been so blatantly published against the outpouring of truth in the writings of the students and Serge Benhayon. We need to get integrity back on the agenda as far as all aspects of society is concerned and there is no better place to start than with the media who are already supposedly scrutinised.

  7. The cult allegations against Universal Medicine are ludicrous and a well orchestrated campaign to instil fear and suspicion in the general public, thus trying to keep people away from what could truly support them in their everyday life. And to use reincarnation as one such proof of ‘cultish’ behaviour is not only outrageous but outrageously stupid when millions of people worldwide subscribe to it and regard it as the fact that it is – and are accorded the religious freedom to uphold what they believe in. Why does this then not apply to Universal Medicine?

  8. I found this blog expressed with such clarity the all encompassing depth and beauty that I have found in my life since discovering Universal Medicine – I feel truly blessed.

  9. Universal Medicine is definately NOT a cult. Also, I would like to thank you for the reminder to use the Gentle Breath Meditation as a tool that can help us ‘make clear and informed decisions’

  10. Thank you Brendan for your concise clarity of facts. Universal Medicine offers a way to choose an all encompassing freedom to be and live the very essence of who we are, in harmony with each other.That’s not a cult, that’s what people have been searching for since the year dot.

  11. A powerfully clear and thorough article that clearly shows Universal Medicine is the antithesis of a cult… undeniably so. The facts do just not support those intentionally throwing the word around to cause harm and incite panic.

  12. Thank you Brendan. This subject needs to be understood fully before that word is just thrown around. I’m appreciative you took the time to research and present facts about cults and how this relates to Universal Medicine. Universal Medicine has so much to offer about science, philosophy and religion more than anything I have ever experienced from any institution or group! Let’s take a serious look at what’s working out there – not much in fact is there anything on a large scale? Universal Medicine has an open door policy come and see for yourself.

  13. Yeah wow- no cult in sight with what you have presented Brendan. Thank you for doing so, so matter of factly and to the point… Making it really clear.

  14. Thanks for stating these Facts so clearly, there is a freedom in everything I have encountered since being presented to Universal Medicine. I never feel an obligation to go to any event, it is always a conscious choice to attend.

  15. Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon simply present the Truth and leave it up to each person to feel for themselves whether that is true for them or not. This is definitely the antithesis of a cult.

  16. It’s interesting talking about rituals and ‘exceptional practices’ – as there is very much traditional and bastardised senses that these words can take on in some contexts, and I feel is what has been referred to here.
    Rituals are an important and beautiful part of life, from the celebration of going to bed and lighting incense to the celebration of joining in prayer to welcome a new child to the world. Exceptional practises are related to when looking at society and seeing what is the norm. We need to know that the norm does not always equate to what is true, and most loving for all. Universal Medicine and the Way of the Livingness encompass some of the most sacred rituals and ‘exceptional’ practises that I will forever treasure as part of my life.

  17. Thank you Brendan. I love the clarity of your words that show with no doubt the lack of foundation for any acusation over Universal Medicine. The same clarity that is the basis of every event offered by it.

  18. With the facts so clearly laid out as you have shared here Brendan it’s simple to see that Universal Medicine is far from anything that has been boxed into the ‘cult’ category that your references have provided. And it’s true what you say that I have felt more pressured into being sold a loyalty card at my local shops than I ever have been at Universal Medicine presentations or sessions with my practitioners. In fact they actively question my choices as to allow me to feel if this choice is a true one or not. How many people in the shops say “Come and see if you feel this loyalty card is right for you, and if so I can help you setting one up” – it’s always “Do you have one? if not do you want one, look at all the stuff you can get with it”. There is none of this with Universal Medicine.

    1. So true Leighmatson, Universal Medicine is all about learning to discern your choices, their very teaching is to be able to know truth from falsity. I do not know any other business that supports you with this in such an open and honest way, they are not after your money, or after your soul, their sole purpose is to inform you so you can make sound choices.

  19. An awesome summary of what my experience of Universal Medicine has been Brendan, one that can only be described as the antithesis of a cult. For me Universal Medicine has offered me a fresh perspective, allowing me to see myself as an equal to all others in life and to know that I have the choice to live a life that reflects the true me. I am now learning to treat myself with self-love, take responsibility for the choices I make and live, and to see that we each have something amazing to offer the world by choosing to live the truth of who we are.

  20. Brendan, these facts clearly show that Universal Medicine is not a cult and there is certainly no recruitment of ‘followers’. If anything, students need to come out and tell the world what an amazing opportunity we have been given to change our lives and live more harmoniously so others can also be offered the choice to live a new way of life. No-one is ever pressured to do anything and people are free to come and go as they wish.

  21. Brendan, I would like to qualify one of the points you make here: ‘There are no recurring fees or memberships at Universal Medicine’. Since you wrote this we now have yearly membership for the Esoteric Practitioners Association (EPA) which is available to students and practitioners should they wish to join. The Code of Ethics has the highest integrity of any association in the world and all esoteric practitioners work with this level of integrity.

  22. This list clearly highlights the stark differences to what Universal Medicine brings to the community and what modern literature says about cults. There is no connection what so ever.

  23. Thank you Brendan, your blog has beautifully exposed the lies and false claims made by certain sections of the media about Universal Medicine and the student body. All the facts you have listed I agree with, as they have been my experiences as well.

  24. Thank you Brendan for laying out the truth and clarifying the many incorrect allegations about Universal Medicine being a ‘cult’. From the facts you have presented through this article and from the experiences of multitudes of people, myself included from around the world it is clear the Universal Medicine is and continues to be worlds away from being a cult.

  25. Thank you Brendan for sharing this powerfull piece on the truth of Universal Medicine. If the media had taken the time to do their research they would have found that Universal Medicine has no resemblance to a cult, and would be printing an article that stated the facts of how truly loving and caring this organisation is.

  26. One point that Brendan has made touches on the word reincarnation, which is presented by many religions and belief systems all over the world and has been for thousands of years. However, in my experience, I have never had it presented to me the way that Universal Medicine does, because here, reincarnation is given as an opportunity to further discover the vast love that we are capable of expressing, and that we are forever on a path of return back to the brotherhood we originally come from.

  27. You say that “These facts show that there is more pressure to join your local swimming club or to shop at a retail store than to attend a Universal Medicine event” and I couldn’t agree more. And labelling a group of people as a cult is nothing more than scaremongering driven by jealousy, spite and an insane drive for revenge from those who will not take responsibility for their own lives but seek relief in an assumed victimhood. ‘Get a life’ is what comes to mind here.

    1. I agree, there is no pressure at all and no club to join, just presentations you can attend to or not. And there is certainly no coercion, not even advertisement giving you some beautiful idea of what you will gain, etc. nothing like that, just the presentation of truth. Truth is a powerful and amazing ally.

  28. Universal Medicine is the first organisation that offered me tools to discern energy and with that empowered me to discern whether what is talked about has truth in it or not.
    There is so many ways to convince you of something through emotion, through a slick outfit, through pandering to the listener, etc. there are so many tricks, but none of those are used by Serge Benhayon or any other presenter at Universal Medicine They simply don’t need to as they are the real deal – they just present who they are and what they present and it is up to you to take that or leave it.

  29. You are so spot on with all you have said Brendan, and well done for standing up to correct the misleading lies that have spread. As you say, there is no evidence to back these allegations at all! It’s appalling that people will believe what they read in the papers with the assumed trust that it is fact when, in this case, no fact or truth has been provided as you have written ‘…these articles have not provided any evidence to this claim, and obvious facts about Universal Medicine have not been published..’

  30. Throughout life I have been acutely sensitive to people misleading and manipulating others, any form of bullying or lack of respect and lack of honouring of others, anyone looking after their own interests at the expense of others. It has been painful to see varying degree of all of these behaviours in every group and every institution. For example:
    – accepted widely used activities such as marketing and advertising rely on manipulating,
    – political campaigns rely on astonishing levels of disrespect to opponents,
    – competition is championed encouraging self interest at the expense of others,
    – a good business deal is seen as getting the better of someone else!
    It is all too painful to really feel the lack of love we have settled for.
    Thank God I came across Universal Medicine, because I had near enough given up on humanity and the possibility of finding an organisation based on absolute integrity and care of people in the world. During the past 9 years not only has Universal Medicine fulfilled every criteria I had about people living as one in honour of one another, but the organisation has actually raised my awareness of what is possible!

  31. Thank you Brendan for your extensive list of all the things that makes Universal Medicine the polar opposite of what is ascribed to the word ‘cult’. Universal Medicine a ‘Cult’? I would say the integrity, and absolute care and dedication to people reflected by Universal Medicine, shows up how ‘cult-like’ pretty much every other aspect of human life actually is! Universal Medicine should be studied closely, because in its example we will find how to have a successful organisation that does not compromise one iota on integrity, quality of service and deepest love of people.

  32. Brilliant article Brendan! Universal Medicine is the furtherest thing imaginable from being a cult, and to propose otherwise suggests a lack of basic research and observation skills and / or is simply plain ridiculous! The question should not be ‘Is Universal Medicine a cult?’ but rather ‘what are the motives and the agenda of those who would intentionally spread such lies and mistruths?’

    1. Great point Angela, the use of the word ‘cult’ is a very deliberate and calculated choice to plant seeds of doubt into people. What Universal Medicine offers is true healing and genuine support and love for everyone equally, to say otherwise is a complete lie.

  33. Thankyou for presenting some of the true ‘facts’ about Universal Medicine. As Serge Benhayon has shared with us, he never set out to create an organisation. This came about because of demand from the students of the time, to learn more and to live a different way of life. The description that makes Universal Medicine out to be a ‘cult’ shows how ridiculous that is to anyone who truly knows anything about Universal Medicine. Not one jot of ‘evidence’ has been accepted by any government body the detractors have lodged complaints with. Instead Unimed should be celebrated for inspiring people to choose to turn their lives around – witness the ‘before and after’ series.

  34. Thank you Brendan. What stood out for me from what you’ve truthfully and factually shared is that there is absolutely no controlling behaviour whatsoever with Universal Medicine towards its’ attendees and the way it operates bears no resemblance whatsoever to the way a cult is conducted. I also know this to be true from personal experience as a member of the student body of Universal Medicine. As you so clearly state: “The term ‘cult’ carries heavy stigma for those involved and should never be used carelessly or irresponsibly.”

  35. ‘…no organisation in society should ever be labeled a cult when there is absolutely no evidence to justify this claim. The term ‘cult’ carries heavy stigma for those involved and should never be used carelessly or irresponsibly’ … beautifully said Brendan. Thank you for presenting the truth so clearly to make the answer to your question obvious to all who reads it.

  36. Brendan I had to laugh when you shared that ‘….there is more pressure to join your local swimming club or to shop at a retail store than to attend a Universal Medicine event’ and yet despite this fact it has been labeled a cult extensively throughout the media over and over. It’s quite simple really. If you don’t wish to attend a Universal Medicine event then don’t, but like many others I attend because I thoroughly enjoy what is being presented and in a world that is becoming more and more anonymous, overwhelming and rushed I find Universal Medicine’s presentations and workshops quite literally a breath of fresh air.

  37. Hello! Since when is taking full responsibility for your choices and life become a cult. Choosing to be self-responsible benefits everybody. Imagine if we all chose to be aware of the effects our choices have on not only our self but on all those around us, and imagine if the media chose to be responsible enough to explore all the facts before they printed such outlandish accusations. There would then be a true story worth reading not sensationalised fiction. Universal Medicine present the complete opposite of what the media claim, part of which is living a life with integrity and honesty.

  38. Brendon,
    Your article is the type of article the media has the very real ability to pick up, research and present the findings, that all you offer here is an honest account of the integrity of Universal Medicine.

  39. A brilliant article Brendan clearly stating the differences between Universal Medicine and a ‘cult’. The very deliberate use of the word ‘cult’ immediately has you on the back foot and no matter what you say the person holding this view can be hooked by this lie. The way to deal with this is to continue to live your life with truth, love, and joy as this has a powerful flow on effect on others around us and begins to drown out any lies that say otherwise.

  40. Thank you Brendan. My experience with Universal Medicine has been very similar to what you describe here, in fact in the beginning I was rather disappointed that nobody seemed to mind if I stayed or left. Your descriptions of cults and the way they operate shows me that the media is a cult that we all have imposed on us. How ironic that the media that has the audacity to label an organisation with great integrity a cult.

  41. Never ever in my life (and I done a lot – believe me) I have been so encouraged to take responsibility, to question and to bring my commitment into my community, to the people around me and to the world. This is not a cult – this is true love in equality.

  42. This is a great example of how words can be thrown about with irresponsibility yet the mark they leave can be a heavy tarnish. The word cult has been used to describe Universal Medicine and members of the public may have lapped it up, believed it and now choose to stay away or have concern for those who do attend UM workshops and presentations. But it is not a cult. How does one recover from such a tarnish? In the case of Serge Benhayon and UM it stands as it has always stood – in full integrity with nothing to hide, welcoming of all and offering love. It is not UM or Serge that has been affected by the allegations so much, but all those who won’t come near. All of this from the use of one incorrectly used word.

  43. To be labelled a ‘cult’ when it is not true is severely abusive to the organisation and to all those who are involved attending. No human being has the right to label another for its own purpose and benefit to try and bring them down… in my opinion, it is no different to physically abusing another and therefore should be treated and prosecuted in the same way.

  44. Thank you Brendan for setting out so clearly the truth about Universal Medicine. “Serge also presents that we all have an equal and innate ability to know what is true in life and what is not.” And anyone who chooses to feel the energy of the sensation seeking media disinformation knows the truth.

  45. I am so sharing this on Facebook! Brilliant and true, I mean come on, if it was a cult, it would be failing big time, as it has pretty much broken every typical “cult” rule.

  46. Brilliant expose of the media Brendan, and its false and devious use of the word cult where Universal Medicine is clearly an organisation that could be said to be the antithesis of a cult. Fact.

  47. It is accepted that no one is guilty until proven in a court of law. Yet, the cult accusation makes you socially guilty right away and it forces you to claim you are innocent. Independent of the fact that the accusations are utterly false, why are we allowing this subversion that we would not tolerate if we were the ones being accused?

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