by Rowena Stewart, England
The recent events in Australia at the Lennox Head Community Hall on Friday evening, 12th October 2012, have prompted me to investigate further the philosophy of one David Millikan, a Reverend of the Uniting Church in Australia. On this night, David Millikan turned up (unannounced) at a public lecture given by Serge Benhayon of Universal Medicine. The event is held on a monthly basis and is open to anyone who wishes to attend. Attendees from across Australia were present; people from all walks of life from dentists, doctors, nurses and lawyers to teachers, hairdressers, students, families and single parents. These people had gathered together that night to listen to a lecture on health, wellbeing and how to live more harmoniously whilst keeping up with the demands of life in modern society.
This event is also recorded and broadcast to a wide audience across the world; it is listened to by people interested in what Serge Benhayon has to say and who find these lectures supportive and informative.
It seems that the philosophy of Universal Medicine, one that encourages the individual to freely choose for themselves a healthy way of life, is attracting the attention of a man who spends his time investigating cults. In an interview with an Australian based news program called 60 Minutes on 21 March 2004, David Millikan responded to questions about investigating cults. He stated that he “would put three tests [to the group]. One, does the group allow internal criticism and discussion? Two, does it have a hostile relationship with the world outside and, three, has it sought to isolate its members? If those things are in place I think it’s beginning to move in extreme directions.”
It seems that his tactics for putting these tests into practice are quite extreme too, using deception, aggression and sensationalism in order to manipulate the group in question into demonstrating the behaviour that will then support his theories. To this end, David Millikan tricked his way onto the stage at Lennox Head, organised for an undercover film crew to infiltrate the audience, and then proceeded to instigate a hostile attack on the general public who were gathered to listen to Serge Benhayon speak, and accusing Universal Medicine of being a cult. As Serge Benhayon and the audience begin to respond to this attack by asking him and the camera team to stop what they are doing, i.e filming without prior consent and causing a disturbance, the cameras roll and David has captured all the material he needs to prove point number 1 and point number 2. He is now convinced that Universal Medicine does not allow internal criticism and discussion, and that it has a hostile relationship with the outside world. How wrong he is.
In 30 years exploring the field of alternative medicine and spiritual practices, I have never come across such a transparent and open organisation as Universal Medicine. When I first met Serge Benhayon I was very questioning of many of the things he presented. These questions were all welcomed, received with grace and responded to in a truthful manner, even if that truth challenged me further. There was no trying to be nice, no convincing, just a constantly patient presentation of the possibility of a truth; one which, if I really didn’t agree, I could simply walk away from… no strings attached and no pressure to convince me to agree.
In the 6 years or so of freely choosing to attend regular workshops, emailing and talking to Serge Benhayon, I have personally experienced and witnessed his continual willingness to be cross-examined and challenged by people who come from a wide range of backgrounds and professions, from working class to upper class. Serge Benhayon responds to all with the same clarity, patience and respect and never condescends to treat anyone differently as a consequence of their upbringing or status. This utmost respect is demonstrated by the fact that Serge consistently encourages the audience to discern and discover what is true for them – never does he claim to ‘bring the truth to us’– this is supported by the fact that at times some of the greatest revelations come from the attendees themselves.
David Millikan has tested out point 1 and 2 in a manner solely intended to discredit this incredible openness consistently practiced by not only Serge Benhayon, but the entire Universal Medicine team and many of the everyday people who attend UniMed events.
If UniMed (Universal Medicine) is not open to criticism and discussion, David Millikan would not have attained the permission he needed to stand on stage and engage the audience.
If UniMed is hostile to the outside world, David would not have gained access to the lecture in the first place, especially when Serge Benhayon is fully aware that David Millikan has UniMed under his ‘microscope’.
All of this brings me to wonder how David will test out his third point? How will he manipulate events so as to demonstrate that Universal Medicine “has sought to isolate its members”?
This is the one very point on which David will have to be extremely cunning. UniMed has never sought to be exclusive and isolate attendees from the outside world, in fact, quite the opposite. UniMed actively and constantly encourages attendees to participate in society. It actively encourages people to take responsibility for and work at creating honest, loving relationships; firstly with self and then with partners, children, family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, and everyone we meet on a daily basis.
Personally, this has resulted in my being able to contribute to my family that hitherto I wanted to have nothing to do with; build a close, honest and loving relationship with my husband and his daughter, and generally engage with friends and strangers in a way I have not previously been able to do. I have experienced a genuine shift in my willingness and ability to be with people, and all because I have made choices based on what feels absolutely correct for me.
I know that I am not alone in experiencing such incredible shifts, and I state unequivocally that it has come about directly from my involvement with Universal Medicine. I have never been asked to make extraordinary personal sacrifices, give money, or been told how much to dedicate myself to this organisation. I have never felt robbed of my capacity to decide for myself what is best for me, in fact that is the key message that Serge keeps on expounding – discern for oneself, and do not take what he or anyone else says for gospel, or for granted. And lastly I have never, ever experienced Serge Benhayon or anyone connected with Universal Medicine causing harm or mischief to others: unlike David Millikan, who on the 12th of October 2012 at a peaceful, law-abiding event deliberately caused mischief to others in order to gratify his own ends.