Mark and I had to take legal measures to counter an intensive smear campaign that lasted for more than 3 years between mid-2010 and mid-2013 in which we were cyberstalked, bullied, severely lied about, defamed, and had hatred incited against us. Lies were written about virtually every aspect of our lives; a death threat was made against Mark and we’ve had to live in hiding for years. It’s under these circumstances we created this website.
Legal measures successfully stopped them
We took a main contributor to court and the court issued an order stopping the contributor’s campaign towards us. We also personally submitted a complaint to a human rights commission about that same person and an additional complaint about another individual, who was independent of the campaign, but who repeated and promoted some of the campaign’s claims separately. Upon consideration the commission accepted both our complaints, and both individuals signed legally binding agreements that prevent them from attacking us again.
Campaign started out of revenge
The smear campaign was started by fanatical Gnostics after people were thrown out of the organization we were in (which closed in 2012) and launched a revenge campaign against us and the organization. Also involved were fringe Christians, the anti-cult movement, and we were informed that the Orthodox Church in a certain country was partly involved behind the scenes in some of it.
The sinister mechanism of the anti-cult movement
Some of the attacks can be found on anti-cult forums, which were used as a venue to abuse Mark, make false accusations about him, and frame him as a cult leader. The false allegations were made entirely anonymously and without any evidence – many by Gnostic fanatics posing as “neutral” readers under the pretense of “warning” the public. The anti-cult forums referred to are run by a person who is dedicated to destroying alternative spirituality, and is also a convicted felon.
They used the word cult (a bigoted word) to dehumanize Mark and then felt free to say whatever they wished, believing society supported them, allowing them to bully while cloaked by the anonymity of the internet. Many took pleasure in using the “cult” stigma to make people suffer, some believing themselves to be free of consequences. But if you remove the veneer created by the word “cult,” then you are just left with a bunch of lawbreakers – cyber stalkers, harassers, and bullies. Some joined in who were never part of the organization and never even knew us, yet they wrote about our life as though they were there – taking advantage of the chance to hurt someone, which many involved admitted they did for entertainment and enjoyment.
A stack of lies
They cunningly wrote about Mark as though they were victims revealing secrets, and who had the right of free speech to uncover wrongdoings – but that’s just a crafty facade to cloak their abuse. In reality they lied blatantly and without restraint in order to play on people’s worst fears, and to incite further hatred and abuse towards us.
They lied about our finances and claimed we have a huge home when we’ve lived in tiny apartments, a place with gun shootings next door, a small falling down house, hotels, and a garage apartment in someone’s backyard – moving from one place to another for years and years as we continue to write. They made grossly false accusations about our relationship, going so far as stating that we’re committing a crime just by being together. They carefully crafted their lies to fit Mark into the anti-cult movement’s criteria of a cult leader. Mark, who has dedicated the last 25 years to teaching completely free of charge, often enduring extreme personal and financial hardships to do so, they tried to make out as someone who has done everything for personal gain. The work which you see here on this website and in Mark’s books they paint as mind control and brainwashing – and so go on their false and ridiculous claims.
Over 100 witnesses
Fortunately there were over 100 witnesses that came forward which affirmed the falsity of their allegations.
We have continued in our work and don’t harbor any antagonism to anyone, we simply feel a sense of relief that we are now safer and freer.
We would like to thank everyone who has been following our journey for peace and justice for your support, and for standing up for the fundamental right we all have to pursue spirituality free from harassment.
~ Lara Atwood, June 2013
Online bullying, stalking, trolling, and using extreme lies to harm someone’s life is on the increase, and unfortunately is becoming a prevalent part of the internet and modern living. Here is a recent example of a case in which someone out for revenge used the internet to have a real impact on an innocent person’s life and family.