A photo of us from when we were heavily under attack.

Debunking the dreaded “Belsebuub Cult” myth

Mark (Belsebuub) and I, along with some of our friends and colleagues, were maliciously and systematically lied about by anonymous trolls on the forums of an anti-cult website from the end of 2008 until mid-2012.

These lies were made entirely by anonymous users – mostly just one actually, who never met us, attended 2 free weekly courses offered by The Gnostic Movement for a total of 5 months, and wrote huge rants on his own as the only one responding to himself. To put it in perspective – this person started a thread, and commented in it 196 times, with many comments made solely in response to himself; in one year alone he posted an average of one comment every one and a half days. This person has admitted to having mental health issues.

The anti-cult site is run by a convicted felon, and is designed as a harbor of hatred towards alternative spiritual groups of virtually every kind. These anti-cult websites clearly have an agenda to wipe out alternative spiritual information outside of mainstream religion. We discovered that forum moderators deliberately deleted any kind of differing or positive viewpoint about us and banned those posting them, and then refused to delete a forum post full of lies about us even when the original poster asked for it to be removed. Instead those with solely negative opinions were openly encouraged by the website’s moderators. By simply styling their lies around the “criteria for defining cults” these haters were afforded the protection to lie anonymously without evidence, credibility, and often posing as neutral readers under the guise of “warning” the public – using their cult criteria styled lies in order to damage the reputation of innocent people and whip up a fabricated social stigma toward us.

shutterstock_392166100This kind of set-up benefits both the anti-cult movement – who provides the forum for anonymous internet bullies to lie, then using these lies as material to destroy thousands of spiritual sources of information; and also the bully – who has a place to enjoy hurting others in safe harbor, without accountability, and without consequence. We actually found out that these bullies admitted to lying about us on the internet for fun, with one even stating they would do it whilst laughing over drinks. Others openly made statements, such as “I would love to know what I can do… other than ripping down their posters whenever I can,” and “welcome to the fold, I lurk on these boards,” and  “I have been wondering for a while if anyone might have made contact with any real negative entities [demons]? I would like to know so I can send some to Mark…”, also mockingly stating we should “just close down” as there was no need for us to have any kind of physical presence, and instead just do things “in the astral.”

The people who attacked us have hidden behind a myriad of anonymous names to do their dirty work from the shadows, leading a double life which they have wished to keep secret. This style of tactic is increasingly being used by nasty and unhealthy individuals to destroy people’s lives, whether for entertainment, revenge, or both. In our case, it was both, which is why their campaign against us lasted for over 3 years until a number of participants started facing legal consequences. We took legal measures against a number of individuals involved, which successfully stopped them and allowed us to continue our work.

These anonymous bullies write as though they know the details of our lives, but did not even live in the same country as us.

Our response

This kind of low-level hatred and abuse doesn’t deserve a response, and from our perspective we have only ever wanted to continue with providing the free spiritual information that has the power to truly improve lives and the world, without harboring any resentment or hatred toward those who have dedicated much of their lives to stopping us from doing what we feel is most important. However, for those who actually read the negativity and nonsense they have written, we have explained the truth behind many of the events which they have lied about below, and along with some key excerpts taken from the over 100 witness accounts to the falsity of the claims made. You can read the full list of excerpts from the over 100 witness accounts given in relation to the various accusations here.

Mark at home working on writing.

Mark at home working on writing by donation only.

They literally took every bit of good Mark had ever done, and twisted the facts and events to try and turn it into something awful to destroy the ability for people to find the spiritual information which you can find here on this website. Those who know us and who get to know us, can verify just how false and in many cases, outright ridiculous, the claims made about us really are.

Attacked by religious fanatics

Most of the allegations were directed at Mark and his involvement with the non-profit spiritual organization The Gnostic Movement, which now no longer exists. Mark has been attacked by Gnostic religious fanatics in various other so-called “Gnostic” organizations for nearly 20 years; they openly despise Mark, and yet at the same time plagiarized his work and websites for years.

Gnostic religious fanatics were asked to leave

However in 2009 a religious faction developed within The Gnostic Movement itself; it then broke off and set out to destroy The Gnostic Movement and Mark in a relentless 3 year smear campaign. Whilst taking part in The Gnostic Movement the people in this faction had eagerly volunteered their time, donated to various projects, and expressed a deep appreciation towards Mark and friendship toward their fellow colleagues, all of which they wrote about on forums and in various emails they sent. However, after a number of years fellow members began observing power-seeking and very negative behaviors in these few individuals. They had created their own faction in the organization, and were working towards taking The Gnostic Movement over, so members of The Gnostic Movement asked the heads of this faction to leave the organization. The faction’s heads then tried to return for a year, and after finally being denied participation on the belsebuub.com website forum, they set out on a campaign of revenge.

The campaign of revenge began

Having been unable to effectively take over The Gnostic Movement, paradoxically they then dedicated themselves to spreading allegations about it being authoritarian – claiming they had been thrown out because they had challenged authority when in reality they had tried to return to it for a year, and had already admitted to many of the mistakes they had been asked to leave for, including controlling and negative behaviors, in emails.

The takeover of the Greek organization

They then took control of The Gnostic Movement in Greece, against the wishes of the democratically elected directors and used it as the vehicle to attack Mark and the other Gnostic Movement organizations around the world, justifying their actions by claiming The Gnostic Movement in Greece had acted illegally under the direction of Mark and that they had heroically taken control of it to shut it down. In reality however, they seized upon an unintentional paperwork error one of the legitimate directors had made in actually trying to remove one of the hijackers from the board of directors for inappropriate behavior caused by the very same hijacker through delaying in cooperating with their removal. The director who made the error openly admitted to it, Mark had no knowledge of it, and it was not illegal. Instead of closing the organization as they declared they would, these hijackers then used it to run their smear campaign, and posted the false allegations of their campaign on the above mentioned anti-cult forums.

Other opportunistic Gnostic fanatics from around the world piled in

Gnostic fanatics from other groups also joined in, using the anti-cult movement to try and give themselves credibility, yet at the same time giving strength to the anti-cult movement as they did – the very thing that is set to destroy them. So great is their hatred; the expression is “to cut off your nose to spite your face.”

Mark had spent 20 years in the field of Gnosticism (Gnosis is a word that denotes knowledge of a spiritual kind), teaching, and giving completely without profit and making huge personal sacrifices in order to do so. Over 90,000 people in over 100 countries took the free courses he put together from his own experience on astral projection, self-discovery, and enlightenment. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

We have the evidence

However, this religious faction attempted to turn everything Mark had done into false accusations of personal gain by simply making up claims that he took money from various places, without a shred of evidence. Instead we have evidence that disproves their claims in various legal documents, tax returns, government records, emails, and in the statements of over 100 witnesses.

100 witnesses spoke out against the lies about Belsebuub

TGM logo membersMany of these witnesses poured out on the internet to write their statements publicly, including on the WordPress blogging platform; these were later collated and added to on a dedicated website.  Those on anti-cult forums claim that WordPress removed these initial statements due to defamation, when those making the statements had in fact removed them and decided to make their statements on the dedicated website instead. WordPress does not remove material for defamation unless there is a court order, and despite all their threats, those in the smear campaign never even initiated any legal action. Instead the opposite is true, in that legal measures were successfully taken against them.

Incitement of religious hatred causes Gnostic Movement to close

Despite the efforts of the smear campaign to turn the public and those involved in The Gnostic Movement against Mark, all 50 members of the organization stayed (having witnessed first hand the falsity of the claims made) and no wrong doing was ever found. Sadly however, the abuse reached such an intensity, with people harassed online, their families and colleagues contacted with lies, posters ripped down and vandalized, and even a death threat towards Mark, that it was decided that the weight of the incitement of religious hatred was too great and too dangerous for The Gnostic Movement to continue.

Even now, after several years, I can still remember the wonder, inspiration and freedom I felt when coming across these teachings for the first time. The wonderful online classes, free downloadable PDFs, and a great friendly support from the teachers were an inseparable part of it. There was even a direct chat feature where people could chat to each other at any time, without fear somebody would misuse it for gossip or slander. The enthusiasm of everybody at those times was unbelievable and many people (including myself) had amazing spiritual experiences, as the whole atmosphere was very positive and motivating. However, as it often happens, things slowly started to be misused by those who wished to do harm. Free downloadable PDFs started to be stolen and presented elsewhere, chat feature trolled, forums abused. Still, even in this situation the classes continued, a new, technically better website was put up, with practical videos and many new features, everything for free of course. Finally, the smear campaign come up, the name of The Gnostic Movement slandered online to such an extent, that the website with the online classes had to be closed down as it was not the environment anybody would want to practice in. I wrote this for those who maybe didn’t have a chance to experience the beginnings of the online courses of The Gnostic Movement (former Mysticweb), the amazing light and freedom of those times, with a hope that maybe one day we will have an opportunity to experience something like that again, and more.
~ Excerpt from a statement by a teacher of The Gnostic Movement

The Gnostic Movement

RTGM website screenshot

This website showcases and chronicles everything The Gnostic Movement did, offered, and produced – including free courses, books, video productions, and retreats.

The Gnostic Movement was organized as a non-profit and was administered by a democratic board as laid out in its constitution. Mark fulfilled the role of international coordinator for a number of years, as The Gnostic Movement was the name of a number of separate but affiliated organizations in 7 different countries. Mark later resigned from this post and was instead elected by the boards of the different organizations as their recognized spiritual teacher.

You can read a detailed history of The Gnostic Movement here, and find their response to the false allegations here, along with detailed personal accounts of people’s experiences with The Gnostic Movement and with Mark.

In its impeccable 10 year history the various Gnostic Movement organizations fulfilled all government requirements. The Gnostic Movement in Australia was audited according to Government requirements, and the auditor found no financial mismanagement or dishonesty whatsoever. In fact many lawyers, accountants and professionals who The Gnostic Movement hired often commented on how completely outstanding and responsible the organization and its directors were in fulfilling their duties.

When I became a teacher and then later on a member, I became more involved with the running of the center and The Gnostic Movement. When we had teachers or member meetings, it was always done with open discussions, and I can remember on several occasions when I had ideas but was shy about proposing them, Mark (Belsebuub) would encourage me to speak up. All decisions were also voted upon among the members and meetings were and are run in a democratic matter.
~ Excerpt from a statement by a director of The Gnostic Movement

When Belsebuub would speak to any of us, he never gave orders, but rather made suggestions on courses of action. Many times, his suggestions were very on target or he’d present a different perspective that no one else had considered. Because of this intelligence, obviously his opinion was taken quite seriously. Now I see that negative people called this a form of dictatorship, but in reality, decisions and action plans were formed based upon key insights and expertise of ALL the members present, not just Belsebuub. Actually, it would have been much easier if Belsebuub would have assumed authority and given us orders. It’s always much easier to passively obey and carry out instructions mindlessly. But he NEVER did this… Looking back, I’m extremely thankful that Belsebuub always maintained his respect of the choices of others and for the democratic process. That alone has been a powerful lesson in owning up to my actions and choices… Even in times when we were working to carry out a decision and for whatever reason, we were going off track with it, Belsebuub still wouldn’t try to force his will, which again would be frustrating at times. Let me just repeat this in order to communicate the significance of this point. Even in times when he saw those at the helm of the organization that he created and had worked passionately for throughout a good chunk of his life, were going off track with the objectives everyone agreed upon, he STILL wouldn’t let the pressure created from these situations to tempt him into breaking one of the highest codes in spirituality – respect for free will.
~ Excerpt from a statement by a member of The Gnostic Movement

During the 6 years I have been a student, volunteer and trainee of The Gnostic Movement and Belsebuub, I have never once been pressured (or even asked!) to give money. In fact, to be honest, during that time I have barely had enough money to buy a decent pair of sneakers. Any time I did give a donation, I gave it sincerely, without wanting anything in return. I wanted to help cover some of the many costs of running the center and the bills that arise (such as electricity, heat, water, maintenance, advertising, websites, and so on). Providing free courses for people costs more than one would think. I was very grateful for what the teachers at the center provided me with: the teachings, a comfortable atmosphere to practice in, a community of people to experience things with, copious amounts of tea/coffee, and food. Giving a couple of bucks was really the least I could do compared to the generosity I received without any expectations of repayment.
~ Excerpt from a statement by a volunteer of The Gnostic Movement



One of the posters for the free course Mark wrote.

The Gnostic Movement was a spiritual school that was based around a series of very popular free courses offered both online and in person, which anyone could come and go from. There were three beginner level courses which anyone could take, which were then followed by more advanced courses for people who were interested in pursuing their study further. A person who completed this course of study could opt to train to become a teacher of the courses they had just gone through themselves, at which time they then received all the information the organization had to offer.

The courses were specifically designed to start very practically – for instance teaching someone how to have out-of-body experiences, so that any later theoretical information could be explored and verified by the individual through their own personal, metaphysical experience. However most people decided not to take their study further, and many people enjoyed the beginner courses, and chose to keep attending them for many years as they were full of activity and people had a lot of spiritual experiences from them. Only those who wished to take up their studies more seriously took the voluntary step to become teachers, which were very few.

I remember taking the first couple of courses which were packed with people, and then moving to the more advanced courses (not Teacher’s Course), where the number of people diminished. Only a handful people really entered the Teacher’s Course. A significant number of people stayed below this level for years without being removed or threatened in any way. So, if the whole course system was a brainwashing scheme, my empirical perspective hints that it was a really ineffective one.
~ Excerpt from a statement by an attendee of The Gnostic Movement

When I began the courses they were structured so that the information and practices built a foundation from one course to another with the information and practices developing throughout the courses. There are accusations that this was to suck students in, however I understood this to be because if the earlier practices were not used enough, the ones to come later on could not be understood or used properly. In retrospect from my own experience I know that the progressive giving of information and practices is an effective way to discover and teach the exercises. When I was starting, although the courses I was doing only had introductory techniques, we were all given access to books that explained the advanced techniques. I also spent a lot of time interacting with other students from all levels in the centre cafe after class and hearing about their understanding of the more advanced practices and information (we were never kept separate or anything like that!).
~ Excerpt from a statement by an attendee of The Gnostic Movement

The information presented therein was always “take it or leave it”, just like on any other course one would take. The structure was the same as with any other courses, except that Belsebuub’s ones were free. For example, if you were to enroll to a language course, you would go to a class, get a weekly lecture explained by a teacher, and then you would study it at home so that you can be ready for a new lecture. The structure of them was completely the same in the Gnostic movement. There was no forcing or anything in it that would resemble cultish elements.
~ Excerpt from a statement by an attendee of The Gnostic Movement

Like all organizations it had its rules in order to keep the organization’s good functioning. If someone didn’t want to adhere to them, they could simply not partake in the courses or organization. However, there were people who wanted to participate, but at the same time not follow the rules, and who therefore had to be blocked or asked to leave. They would then later retaliate on anti-cult forums posing as victims who had simply “questioned” or “challenged” authority, when in reality they attacked and undermined various individuals in negative and underhanded ways, and then simply continued their attacks on other websites. The Gnostic Movement strove to keep a harmonious environment where people could study peacefully and comfortably – and disrespectful, personal attacks were treated as unacceptable.

Religious title


Mark chatting and eating with everyone at a retreat in 2008.

Names of respect are given to people who have completed certain spiritual works in Gnosticism as they are in every religious tradition. However, there was no special dress, or salute, just a simple prefix of respect. Mark never wished to be worshiped as any kind of God-like figure; but those who have relentlessly attacked him have tried to portray him as one to mock and discredit him. He is one of the most ordinary looking people, speaking simply to those who wanted to hear about what he had experienced. The Gnostic Movement was only a vehicle to allow this to happen, and to create a free public environment for anyone to practice and experience the spiritual realities that were being spoken about firsthand.

Having read tons about spirituality from all kinds of authors and ‘gurus’ that all seem to have this ‘mystical persona’ about them, I was kind of expecting the same from Belsebuub. I was actually surprised to find him to be a very normal, down-to-earth person. Actually ‘very normal’ is kind of an understatement. I found him to be extremely normal – he dealt with things in a very calm, rational manner. He spoke to me and others with real interest and understanding, making hilarious observational humor occasionally. As hard as I looked, I couldn’t find anything eccentric or weird about him other than the fact that his extreme normalcy magnified the eccentricities of the people around him, including myself, in comparison.
~ Excerpt from a statement by an attendee of The Gnostic Movement

The attackers claim that we worship Belsebuub as a god. They even published videos that had nothing to do with us where people were doing some crazy things like worshiping gurus and some other weird stuff. What a ridiculous claim! Although I deeply respect Belsebuub and I am grateful for his teachings in no way do I worship him or anyone else. And I haven’t perceived any such attitude by anyone else either. Such attitude would be the opposite of what these teachings are all about.
~ Excerpt from a statement by a teacher of The Gnostic Movement

One thing I remember Belsebuub saying (paraphrased) during the retreat I attended with him is that it wasn’t up to him for us to do this spiritual work, it was up to us. And I’ve always found that to be true. I greatly respect Belsebuub, but at the end of the day my personal journey to awakening/enlightenment is my own responsibility and not his or anyone else’s. When I studied harmful organizations in school, the leaders weren’t like that. They were portrayed as rulers over people’s emotions, thoughts and even physical well-being. It’s laughable to think of Belsebuub trying to control people in manipulative ways, when what he teaches is how to gain objective personal experience.
~ Excerpt from a statement by an attendee of The Gnostic Movement

Personal finances

Mark's office where he was working when the attacks started. In this mix of cheap furniture Mark did the work on what became the free eBook The Path of the Spiritual Sun, and also revised his book on self-knowledge.

Mark’s office where he was working when the attacks started. It was here that he uncovered the ancient mysteries of the veneration of the sun (creating what became the free eBook The Path of the Spiritual Sun), and also thoroughly revised his book on self-knowledge.

Anonymous haters claimed that Mark has worked for over 20 years without profit, giving all his own work away for free, going through tremendous personal and financial hardship—all for his own gain. For anyone who objectively looks at how Mark has lived, this is a totally ludicrous claim—for example, an accountant upon going through his finances commented “If everyone was as generous as you, the world would be a better place.” Contrary to their claims, Mark never made a single dollar from the sale of his books. The lawyer who drafted the contract between Mark and his publisher commented that she had never seen a contract where the author made no money from it, ever.

There have also been claims that Belsebuub receives profits from the sale of his books. I know this to be a lie. I volunteered for Absolute Publishing Press, I helped out with the book keeping and accounting so I saw the money that went in and out of the company. No money was ever paid to Mark (Belsebuub). And as others have reported, the company barely made enough to survive and pay the bills. There were no profits made by selling Belsebuub’s books.
~ Jenny Alswinn, director of Absolute Publishing Press

During my years of volunteering with Absolute Publishing Press, I can attest to the fact that Mark never received any payments from the sales of his books. All the sales of the books went back into the printing of more books, and the running of the company. As it is, Absolute Publishing Press is a company run as not-for-profit and has always struggled to survive. The rep of Absolute Publishing Press at the time related to me privately of the comment made by the lawyer who drafted the Author’s contract between Mark (Belsebuub) and Absolute Publishing Press. From memory, the comment is as follows: “This has to be the worst author contract I have ever drafted in my whole career – where the author is not entitled to anything, no royalties whatsoever. I have never ever seen this, never”.
~ Geraldine Price, director of Absolute Publishing Press

Mark (Belsebuub) was extremely principled in all he did. He provided all of his teachings for free, ensuring no one charged for the teachings, and any texts provided were provided at cost of production. He was extremely meticulous in all he did. He was very careful to ensure everything he did was in line with the teachings of gnosis. In financial matters, all money had to be accounted for and methodically recorded and witnessed. Counter signatures were required for all banking transactions and on all cheques to ensure money was spent correctly. Mark (Belsebuub) is the most financially prudent person I have met. He was extremely careful to ensure donations were only used for the purpose for which they had been given. No money was ever diverted to an alternate purpose. As teachers, Mark stressed we had the same financial prudence.
~ Excerpt from a statement by an attendee of The Gnostic Movement

For years Mark was a teacher, running centers of The Gnostic Movement, and at times hardly had enough money to afford to eat. Later he then lived off donations people gave him to pay for his living costs, and off his own personal inheritance, so that he could totally dedicate himself full-time to writing and teaching spirituality. When he went to work in the United States for The Gnostic Movement, his wages were funded by monies donated solely for that purpose and money he got from the sale of his home which he donated to pay his wages, as he had to have a wage as part of his visa requirements; all this was done solely to get a spiritual message out to people in North America and Mark spent large sums of his own funds in order to do so.

The wage was the lowest that he could legally be paid as that is what he wanted. The housing allowance provided was due to the fact he was going to be doing work for the organization from home and part of how he could be paid the lowest minimum wage…Only funds given for the purpose of supporting Mark and his work in the US were used to pay his salary and housing allowance. General public donations to The Gnostic Movement for the general running of the organization were not used to pay his remuneration. Mark himself has donated a lot of money to The Gnostic Movement USA for the purpose of helping to pay his employment expenses.
~ Jenny Alswinn, Treasurer of The Gnostic Movement USA

I was privy to some general information regarding his salary from the treasurer of the Gnostic Movement, and know it to be a fact that his is just paid over the minimum wage set in the United States and has refused a raise in his small salary several times which was offered to him to help him live better and more comfortably.
~ Excerpt from a statement of a volunteer of The Gnostic Movement USA

To this day we continue to operate in the age old spiritual tradition of accepting donations to pay for our living expenses so we can devote ourselves full time to giving spiritual knowledge free of charge, only buying what we need, and without taking holidays trips.

At another time, I was attempting to give them some money to help them with some projects that were happening. Surprisingly, he [Mark] refused to accept my donation because he knew I was getting ready to make a big move somewhere and felt that I needed to hold on to it. He could have easily just taken my money if he had been someone that only provided these spiritual teachings for profit – but he didn’t. He was more concerned with my own situation than in the money.
~ Excerpt from a statement by an attendee of The Gnostic Movement

One time when chatting, Mark asked if my wife and I would be attending an upcoming retreat that he knew we’d like to be at. Upon hearing that we probably wouldn’t be able to due to our financial situation being tight at the time, he immediately mentioned not to send him a penny more (we had been sending a donation through to him every couple months), and instead, save up anything we would’ve sent him to go to the retreat. If he was actually interested in exploiting friends and followers for personal gain as the haters claim, he never would’ve said that to us.
~ Jordan Belikov, director of The Gnostic Movement Canada

Mark has made all his teachings available for free, or in printed books sold at the cost of production, from which he has made not profit. All his teachings were initially available as free downloadable PDFs in The Gnostic Movement’s courses, now they available as free eBooks, which anyone can download from his website at no charge. If Mark was “in it for the money” would he really do that? How many other authors are so generous? To claim that Mark was after money by setting up an organisation that provided free courses, based on his teachings made available for free, is completely ridiculous.
~ Matthew Osmund, member of The Gnostic Movement Australia

House and retreats

Here’s me warming up some canned soup in our kitchen for dinner – not exactly one you’d see in a fancy home.

They made false allegations about Mark owning a mansion and leading a life of luxury, when Mark has moved house 8 times in the last 8 years alone, often living in poverty without basic utilities, and has never owned a mansion.

Using his inheritance, Mark bought a run-down shack in a virtual jungle that he used as a base to run his free online courses taken by over 90,000 throughout the world (laughably, he was also lied about as being afraid of insects and germs, when the place was crawling with some of the world’s deadliest snakes, spiders, and scorpions that came in through the open gaps in the floors and walls). It had been bought by The Gnostic Movement for a retreat, but it turned out to be unsuitable as they only had a small amount of money, which was hardly enough to buy any kind of house, let alone a developed retreat. The members offered to sell it to Mark and he bought it off them using the inheritance he had only just come into for nearly twice what they had paid for it so that he could have somewhere to work from and The Gnostic Movement could get a better retreat.

At the time it was a tiny almost uninhabitable cabin, crawling with dangerous insects, without enough power, no sanitized water, on a dial-up internet speed of 14kbps, with no cooling and no insect screens on the windows, and surrounded by dense vegetation etc. Mark wrote by the light of one candle at night to try and save the amount of insects pouring in through the gaps in the house, unable to open the flyscreen-less windows during the day in sometimes 40 plus centigrade temperatures, reading books whilst waiting 10 minutes for one webpage to load. A number of members of The Gnostic Movement, who had building and handyman experience, offered to help with renovations to make it more livable and safe.

When I was at the property I found out a bit about how Mark (Belsebuub) had needed to live when he stayed there. He had a tiny room as his bedroom, which was attached to an even smaller kitchen. The whole place was quite run down and termite infested, and as it was in the bush he needed to be careful of snakes. There was no stove, so he had to use a gas bottle hooked up to a portable stove, and it was almost more like camping than living in a permanent dwelling. It was mentioned to me that at one point he had needed to live on just $7 or $8 a day.
~ David Arkyn, member of The Gnostic Movement

Mark had hoped one day to create a monastery out of the increased value of the property from its renovation. But as the potential for it began to look unlikely due to the events of the smear campaign, it was decided that the best allocation of its use would be to divide it into three. Around a third went to the Gnostics, by selling it to them at about 30 percent under the property’s market value, so that the profits could be put toward their spiritual retreat. Another third was used to grow and develop The Gnostic Movement in the United States by paying for Mark’s wages and living expenses while he was there doing that job. And the final third was used for our accommodation. At the end of it all, Mark was left with the same amount he started with, which was the amount he had received from his parent’s inheritance.


A photo taken of an expedition to find a retreat in Australia by The Gnostic Movement. This particular property was a unique one, and after a year and a half under contract it finally fell through. As it turned out, it needed too much money to get the road access up to council requirements.

Mark had wanted the property to be a monastery-like retreat for the Gnostics. He used his own funds to make that an opportunity. Mark sold the property in 2010 to the Gnostics to help them get a retreat property started. He had spoken to me and others about his wish for the property to be a monastery-like place for the Gnostics to be able to study, meditate and have some time away from the demands of life to spend quality time on their spiritual pursuits while he owned it. He did everything he could to make it a reality, and that also included selling the property at less than half the market price it was worth. In actual fact Mark did not gain any profit from the property. I know this as I managed his personal building funds he used for the property development. He sold it for what he had purchased it for plus the amount he had spent on it, as I accounted for all these things myself.
~ Layla Fowler, member of The Gnostic Movement Australia

The retreat property owned by The Gnostic Movement in Australia was valued by an independent professional property valuer and bought from The Gnostic Movement by Mark for that price. The Gnostic Movement received the full market value of the property which was more money than what it had originally bought it for. No one else in The Gnostic Movement was interested in buying the property and all were happy to sell it to him. I have sighted all the documentary evidence of all these points. From then on any donations to the building project were being consciously made to Mark to support him and his headquarters. In the end he sold it back to the Gnostics for far less than what it was really worth. Again I have seen the documentary evidence for all of this. His generosity is boundless.
~ David Hayes, Treasurer of The Gnostic Movement Australia

Whilst an anonymous troll claimed we live in a mansion, we were moving from place to place, creating this website in hotel rooms, a falling down house, rented accommodation with gun shootings next door, a converted garage in someone’s back yard, and a small rented house in the suburbs.

The rent was extremely cheap because of the location. To give you an idea, I was paying about the same price he did for his rent while I lived in a 1-bedroom apartment and he lived in a 4 bedroom-house with a yard. The reason that his rent was so cheap was the location where he lived, which was particularly unsafe… And to give you an even better idea of how unsafe it was where he lived, one day I went to join him to go for a walk, and we drove to the nearby park. As we got off the car and started walking we heard gunshots, several gunshots actually. We quickly ended our walk, and drove back home. It was sadly the only neighborhood that he could afford to live in.
~ Geraldine Price, member of The Gnostic Movement USA

Whilst on a business trip nearby, I visited him [Mark] at the small unit he rented, this was the first time I met Mark in person. The first thing that struck me about his living conditions was the lack of material comfort… There was very little furniture. The living room contained an old hand-me-down table, a bookshelf and a couch. The couch wasn’t a real couch (I later found out he couldn’t afford one), instead he’d arranged a series of meditation cushions in the shape of a couch and covered it with old blankets. Mark’s office was in a bare concrete garage with an unsealed roller door. It contained a bookshelf, a computer and a desk that was surrounded by cardboard boxes. Some of the cardboard boxes were strategically placed to minimise the wind draughts around the edges of the roller door. They did this poorly; it was an unhealthy and difficult working environment. In summer it was an oven, in winter a freezing cold.
~ Excerpt from a statement by an attendee of The Gnostic Movement

Mind control

Me at work in my home office, which consisted of a table and some inventive arrangements of cardboard boxes in 2009 when we were supposedly living a life of luxury.

Accusations about mind control and brainwashing, and any other psychological type of manipulation aimed at us are obviously ludicrous. If anyone would like to make an assessment of that themselves, all the information that was given freely in The Gnostic Movement is also freely available here on www.belsebuub.com in the many articles and free eBooks. These kinds of assertions are clearly being used to try and shut down alternative spirituality and ways of thinking. They can equally be applied to any religious practice in the world, including Christianity and Buddhism.

Every few months The Gnostic Movement organized worldwide astral meet ups, where people from around the world would spend a Saturday night waking every couple of hours to do an astral practice and fall asleep again. This method is a highly effective way of having an out-of-body experience; anti-cult posters ridiculously claim this was “sleep deprivation” when people lost no more sleep than they would “out on the town” on a Saturday night.

There are claims that Belsebuub and The Gnostic Movement use sleep deprivation in order control its students. These are just bogus claims to scare people. What they claim to be sleep deprivation are actually all night practices for astral projection where groups of us get together and practice throughout the night with several wake ups; however, to practice for astral projection requires sleep, so it’s not much different from a normal night’s sleep anyhow! During each wake up we would try to get into the astral plane consciously though different techniques such as Concentration on the Heart (i.e. listening to or feeling our heartbeats) as we went back to sleep. I was never forced to come these practices but wanted to do it in order to be able to improve my astral projection abilities. This was done totally out of our own free will and all of us did it with much eagerness. I have a keen interest in these matters I was willing to do these practices. Note that contrary to these restful practices, many people are willing to stay up all night going to parties because that is what they really like to do with their time and enjoy doing it. Very often I would feel more rested after one of these than from a normal night sleep. Occasionally I would sleep through the wake ups or just get up for a few seconds and then go back to sleep and no one ever tried to deprive me of that sleep other than loud snorers, which was unintentional. This is just another manipulation of facts in order to harm the teachings of Belsebuub and portray them as something harmful.
~ Excerpt from a statement by an attendee of The Gnostic Movement

The people who went on a smear campaign against us tried to use claims that The Gnostic Movement was classified as a “cult” to damage our reputation, but these claims are based on a number of complete set-ups created by the very people making the claims.

The first set-up is a rambling article by a so-called “cult expert” that mentions Mark. This person has admitted to having no formal credentials, and to having been approached to write the article – what he doesn’t mention of course, is that he was also paid to write it by people involved in the smear-campaign.

The second is a listing on an anti-cult website which was contacted by the people on the smear-campaign to have The Gnostic Movement listed, but the website itself disclaims that a listing on their site does not classify any group as a cult.

Marriage, children and families

Anonymous trolls rolled out passing one liner accusations of marriage break ups, abandoned families, and mistreated children in an attempt to portray Mark as anti-social, without recounting a single instance of it even as hearsay, let alone by providing one jot of evidence.

Mark and I personally deeply love and treasure our families, value children, and are in a loving marriage ourselves. I personally have not ever heard of one account of someone in The Gnostic Movement even coming close to mistreating a child, nor abandoning their family, and the divorce rate was no higher in The Gnostic Movement than it is anywhere else. In the US for example, the divorce rate is around 40-50%, and for second marriages this is even higher (according to the American Psychological Association).

In fact, instead the lies spread by the smear campaign so affected the family members of some of those involved in The Gnostic Movement, that it contributed to a number of marriage break ups, in which one in the partnership became negative or even publicly hostile towards the other partner’s spiritual pursuits. This is one of the very many destructive consequences of the anti-cult formula, which has the effect of creating a completely illusory and negative perception of those in alternative spirituality; turning their once very normal life upside down – ostracizing them from their relationships, workplaces, and their communities.

When I learned and shared that I was having a baby, I was greeted with support from those in The Gnostic Movement (TGM). I let teachers know in a TGM forum, and they posted comments, best wishes, and advice. Upon giving birth, Belsebuub made a post on my public profile inquiring about the baby, which meant a lot to me. I replied with the news of the birth and a picture, and he sent positive regards and encouragement to keep updating. I know another mother within TGM, and her care, concern, and love for her child are remarkable. I know that her child is her top priority and responsibility. Unfortunately for reasons outside of her control, she has to work harder than most as a single parent. Ironically, it is the hate campaign which has prompted the breakup of her family, setting her daughter up to experience the pain of her parents’ separation later in life.
~ Excerpt from a statement by a teacher of The Gnostic Movement

I attended courses run by the Gnostic Movement while I was pregnant, and after I had my daughter. The teachers were very supportive of myself and my daughter. When I met Mark at a retreat we spoke about my daughter and he was kind and supportive, even giving helpful ideas of ways to enrich her life.
~ Vida Narovski, attendee of The Gnostic Movement

People’s personal relationships are treated as a sacred thing in The Gnostic Movement and when I was training to be a teacher I was taught that it was important never to interfere in anyone’s relationships in any way, advice that was repeated later on as a teacher. I was never told who I could or couldn’t associate with, and when I had some time when I wasn’t coming along to the courses, my Gnostic friends still all kept in touch with me and I did not feel any judgement from them.
~ David Arkyn, member of The Gnostic Movement

My relationship with family has changed over the years since I’ve found the courses offered by The Gnostic Movement, because I myself have changed — not because I’ve been brainwashed, but because I have a desire to change and wish to be a more spiritual person. The way this change manifests in people’s lives and their families life differs from person to person. In my case, I’ve been able to develop a new relationship with my family which wouldn’t have otherwise happened. As I worked on changing different self-centered states, I became a better listener. And because I didn’t speak as much as before or at such great length, what I do say now tends to have more substance. In this way my family came to have a new relationship with me that allowed me to listen and help them in ways I wouldn’t have cared to before. In general, I’m a bit more quiet and calm than I was before, but this is part of what I now value as being important to me. I don’t go to bars because I don’t like them and the general behaviour of people in them. I don’t laugh anymore at jokes which are meanly at the expense of others or have a dirty sexual connotation. I’ve learned to eat just what my body needs and not more than that; eating more than that makes me feel bloated, heavy, and tired. And these things make me “different” than before, but I work to help my family understand why I’ve made these choices and why it’s important to me and they still love me and respect me, perhaps even more now than before.
~ Excerpt from a statement by a teacher of The Gnostic Movement

When I came to courses in The Gnostic Movement I was single. After about a year I began a relationship with another student I met there. Thank goodness I had the teachings and was able to work on inner states associated with intimate relationships. We built a strong relationship and have been married for many years now, and I feel the love we have for each other only grows with the passing of time. This is completely contrary to almost any other relationship I’ve witnessed in my life, as often once the people come together sexually it seems the arguments and downright hatred inevitably appears down the road, staying together simply for “the sake of the relationship”, one’s reputation, family reasons, etc. On the other hand, the relationship we’ve built actually serves as a foundation for true love and awesome spiritual feelings to grow. It’s something I really never thought possible, and something I wish everyone had the opportunity to experience.
~ Jordan Belikov, director of The Gnostic Movement

Mark’s character


Mark chatting with people at The Gnostic Movement’s center cafe in the San Francisco Bay Area, as he did for years.

Posters on anti-cult forums attacked Mark’s character, lying to make some sort of bogey man out of him and portray him as the ultimate personality cult leader – when you couldn’t find someone in the field of spirituality and religion who is more down-to-earth. We took legal measures against a number of these anonymous internet bullies and found that whilst we had endured their hateful onslaught for over 3 years which even included a death threat, they went cowering at the first sign of any consequences coming their way.

Mark (Belsebuub) was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. Reserved, gentle, caring of others to the point of selflessness. He worked tirelessly to write his spiritual courses on self-knowledge, astral projection and the esoteric path. Often without concern for his own well-being and to the point of physical exhaustion.
~ Excerpt from a statement by an attendee of The Gnostic Movement

My impression of Mark (Belsebuub) from that retreat was that he is a straight forward man, very friendly, down to earth and very genuine in his concern and care for others, very knowledgeable and inspiring about spiritual matters and quite genuinely humble without trying to be. He had a good sense of observational type humour too. There were no airs or any sort of putting on an act of being a guru or anything like that. He spoke to anyone and everyone, he ate his meals with us all, anyone was free to approach him and he was more than happy to talk to them. He is just a genuine person striving honestly for what he sees as the common good for the world without seeking any reward for it and very encouraging of those interested in the same thing.
~ David Hayes, director of The Gnostic Movement Australia

Another false allegation in regards to Mark (Belsebuub) is that he is afraid of germs. I can attest to the fact that Mark is not. He takes public transportation, eats in restaurants and shakes people’s hands. Not only that, but I can attest to the fact that Mark (Belsebuub) has visited a student of the center I attended in a hospital as that student was undergoing some serious health treatment. A person afraid of germs would not be able to do all the things I have listed, yet he has been falsely accused of such traits in an attempt to discredit his character.
~ Geraldine Price, member of The Gnostic Movement

One of the core tenet’s of Mark’s work is on the sanctity of marriage and relationships. He writes that for those interested in spiritual development, intimate relationships should only take place between completely faithful, loving, and committed couples, and he totally rejects adultery in any way, shape or form. Mark lives what he says; both in his writing and his life, he has maintained the highest standard of personal conduct. He is the most loving, devoted, and faithful husband anyone could ask for and has only ever been in long-term or married relationships. Both of us hold a faithful and loving marriage as one of our highest ideals, and see it as absolutely essential to our own spirituality – a spirituality which we have completely dedicated our lives to.

During my conversations with him [Mark] we spoke about relationships, and it was pretty obvious to me how he held a monogamous relationship in the highest regard as a personal and sacred thing, especially when it comes to the spiritual work. This is also obvious from his many books and videos and the talks he has given where he has spoken about it openly.
~ Excerpt from a statement by an attendee of The Gnostic Movement

Our wedding

Predictably then, trolls, who looked to attack and undermine Mark and his work in whatever way they could, targeted his writing on relationships by making completely spurious, and outrageously defamatory allegations about his own. These allegations were always put forward anonymously as vague and passing one-liners with no references to names, details, or evidence, and then fancifully embellished with each and every retelling. Attacking a man’s conduct in his personal life is the easiest way to smear his reputation in the public, and so it’s obvious why internet trolls would use such an underhanded tactic. Ironically, they couldn’t have targeted a more decent and upright gentleman as Mark.

Female (and male) members of The Gnostic Movement, who worked closely with Mark, have testified that he always behaved himself as a complete gentleman toward them, and always treated whoever he was around with the utmost dignity and respect.

As a woman, I felt very comfortable around him and was always treated with utmost respect and equality. […] Mark was certainly a role model of how people especially women should be treated. It was unheard of that a woman would feel uncomfortable in any shape or form within the organization. On one occasion, when I wanted to ask Mark a question regarding alchemy, he referred me to speak to a woman teacher instead due to the delicate nature of the subject matter, which cancelled out any potential uncomfortableness that even I wasn’t aware would have existed. This careful attention in making sure the relationship between genders was respectful and courteous was always present around Mark.
~ Olga Grapsas, director of The Gnostic Movement UK

Mark treated me and others with respect, dignity and an almost brotherly care, which as a woman was very heartening. His actions and conduct was always honourable, and he set an example for others, especially men, in the way he treated women with great respect and equality. […] I didn’t have to worry about flirting, sexual harassment, or anything like that because Mark and the other men I worked with were all absolute gentlemen.
~ Priya Osmund, Secretary of The Gnostic Movement Australia

As a woman participating for years in the capacity of student, teacher, and member, I always felt a sense of safety, if you will, that I didn’t necessarily feel when interacting with men in other parts of life, specifically because of the values of chastity and respect that were exemplified by Mark, and present in the functioning of the organization at all levels. Not only were men and women treated as equals within the organization, everyone also respected each other as equal counterparts, without the need for any kind of exploitation of the other gender or the sexual overtones that commonly get introduced between men and women in other places in life.
~ Dara Hayes, member of The Gnostic Movement Canada

Mark was a strong role model for me regarding relationships and interaction between genders, and I looked up to his example in the principled way he conducted himself with both men and women in The Gnostic Movement.
~ David Arkyn, member of The Gnostic Movement Australia

Through all my interactions with Mark over the years I’ve witnessed and was impressed by his consistent efforts for upright conduct… From what I had observed, Mark was always a gentleman […] He also always treated men and women in the organization with dignity…
~ Jenny Belikov, director of The Gnostic Movement Canada

We were able to take legal measures against one of the people who had made some of these defamatory allegations about Mark. They posted them in a comment on an anti-cult website (they only signed up to make this one comment). The “misdemeanor” and “misbehaviour” with a “young female” the poster referred to in their comment is actually a description of the relationship between Mark and I, an adult married couple, which is obviously totally false and slanderous! As part of the legal measures we took they emailed the anti-cult forum where they posted it, and asked for it to be removed. The anti-cult website owner’s reply was only: “No!” I know this, because I was given this email correspondence as part of the legal measures we took. It just goes to show how this anti-cult website has a vested interest in gathering whatever negative information they can on practitioners of spirituality, whether it’s true or not.


Those on the anti-cult forums have a particularly derogatory view of women. In fact one user, who makes false and speculative claims about Mark’s fidelity – making no attempt to provide any evidence (why would he – there is none), repeatedly refers to mature women as “girls.” Their tactic to construe Mark in the worst possible light only laid bare their own embarrassingly bigoted and condescending mindset towards women (most trolls are not particularly intelligent). In contrast, Mark has always acted with total respect and decency towards all peoples, and as a complete gentleman towards both men and women alike.

Instead, these trolls painted women as being incapable of making their own decisions and construed them as continuous victims who are merely “exploited” – unable to stand up for themselves, unable to choose their own partners, unable to do anything without help, etc. This is not only derogatory, it is also the complete opposite to the reality of women involved in The Gnostic Movement, most of whom are still very good friends of mine. In actual fact, most of the key organizational positions in The Gnostic Movement, at least in Australia (which was the largest organization), and in the publisher of Mark’s work, were all held by women. Many women in The Gnostic Movement were highly successful teachers, managers, and directors in the organization, and ran Gnostic Centers and retreats, sat on international boards, and oversaw many of the organization’s major projects. These women were all strong, intelligent, independent, critical thinkers, who had decided to pursue their own choices, marriages, and destiny, often in the face of opposition from families who had differing religious ideologies.

Within The Gnostic Movement, women have been treated with complete respect, fairness, and equality. I have personally seen that women played an equal part in administering the organization, making decisions, teaching, and volunteering.
~ Excerpt from a statement by a (female) teacher of The Gnostic Movement

Our view is that women and men have equal rights; both can transform their consciousness, and both masculine and feminine forces exist as a dual and integral part of the supreme Godhead. Mark writes a lot about the sacredness of marriage, and the practice of alchemy between a husband and wife which has been referred to in the world’s major religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and early Christianity. His work endorses complete fidelity, equality and respect between partners, and we believe they should cooperate in completely mutual and loving harmony to each awaken.

Finishing comments

The smear campaign was a traumatic time for all who suffered its consequences. Many individuals suffered the loss of the spiritual organization they once enjoyed and were part of; others felt a danger to their safety and were subjected to religious bigotry; a number of people’s families were affected; and others still had their own reputations attacked publicly due to their association with the spiritual faith of their choosing. The power of lies and deception becomes many fold on the internet—it is much harder to bear the brunt of it, having to provide evidence to disprove a seeming endless stream of lies about your own private life in the public, whilst chasing anonymous trolls across the world through various legal authorities to try and just secure your own safety, privacy, and peace.

Despite the difficulties however, we have learned a lot. A big thank you to those who supported us through this time.

~ Lara Atwood, August 2013

Read more in response to the claims

Legal Measures in Our Favor Stop Individuals Smearing Us

Mark and I had to take legal measures to counter an intensive smear campaign that lasted for more than 3 years in which we were cyber-stalked, bullied, severely lied about, defamed, and had hatred incited against us. Lies were written about virtually every aspect of our lives…

History of The Gnostic Movement

This website recounts the history of the Gnostic Movement and provides detailed responses to the false allegations on an anti-cult forum, along with detailed accounts of people’s experience with The Gnostic Movement and Mark…

Remembering The Gnostic Movement

The Gnostic Movement was the largest Gnostic organization in the western world; over 90,000 people attended its courses online and in nearly 20 study groups across the world. This website showcases everything it did, produced, provided, how it worked, etc…

Witnesses to the Lies Written About Us on Anti-Cult Forums

There were over 100 witnesses who came forward and gave an account of the falsity of the claims written about Mark and I on anti-cult forums. Below are a selection of excerpts taken from them grouped by topic…

Find out how the anti-cult movement is being used to suppress spirituality

Jenny Alswinn of Total View interviews David Arkyn from The Conscious Reporter on his article How Fear is Used to Turn You Against Spirituality.

How Fear is Used to Turn You Against Spirituality

Fear is a weapon of social control used to manipulate thoughts and actions without people even knowing it. Today it’s used to control and alienate would-be practitioners of alternative spirituality. How has this happened and who stands to gain from it? By understanding how fear is used we can be free of manipulation in our choice of spirituality…

Spiritual freedom in the West: Are we drifting into a culture of suppression?

Increasingly in the West practitioners of alternative spirituality are subjected to discrimination and censorship. It’s sobering to look at the possible outcomes of living in a society where spiritual freedoms are heavily restricted. This article looks at the Chinese government’s oppression of spirituality as an example, to illustrate why we should not take our spiritual rights and freedoms for granted…

The Rise of Online Harassment

Online harassment is a problem of epidemic proportions that is increasing around the world at an alarming rate. Frequently cloaked in anonymity and with an air of moral righteousness, online trolls and cyberstalkers reveal the worst side of human nature in their efforts to attack and suppress the expression of free will and freedom of belief. There have always been people with a predisposition to preying on others. The schoolyard bully, the jealous friend or ex, the boss hiding feelings of inferiority by putting down his employees…

Exposing Manipulative Media Techniques that Restrict Spiritual Freedom

The use of propaganda and negative framing techniques is rampant in both print and broadcast media. These techniques are used to portray alternative spirituality in a negative light, manipulating mass media consumers to fear and despise new religious movements as a criminal evil to be avoided at all costs. This article examines the framing techniques used to harm spirituality…

The Anti-Cult Movement: History and Impact

Small religious groups, are at particular risk of being labelled a “cult” and considered potentially dangerous or harmful. This can happen quite easily, not because of anything a group has done, but simply because they are a small religious movement, which today is becoming synonymous with being a “cult”. But who gets to decide which spiritual groups are “cults” and which are legitimate?…

How the “Cult” Stigma Destroys Freedom of Belief — A Fundamental Human Right

Today, religious liberty continues to exist on paper in the west, but remains threatened by those who perpetuate moral panics, putting minority beliefs at the mercy of mob mentality – a recurring historical trend. The designated slur, and rallying cry, by which alternative groups and teachers are targeted has shifted from “heretic” to “cult”, but the mentality driving the stigmatization is the same.

Mass Media Cult Scare: How the “Free Press” Targets Spiritual Minorities

Mass media outlets around the world are overwhelmingly negative towards small spiritual groups. This article explores the origin of this bias and the harm caused by positioning all new religious movements as criminal groups or dangerous “cults” which should be feared and despised. For over 30 years positive media coverage for small spiritual groups has been virtually non-existent. But why?…

Breaking Down the “Cult” Formula

Let’s try a quick experiment: think of the word “cult.” What does it make you feel? What concepts are associated with it in your mind? What would you think of a group if someone told you it was a “cult”? What would you think of someone who joined that group? “Cult” has become one of the few remaining socially acceptable slur words. It provokes fear and suspicion and is used to vilify and discredit alternative spiritual groups. The “cult” concept is almost universally recognized and is generally associated with a set of stereotyped characteristics…

The Anti-Cult Movement and its Suppression of Spiritual Rights and Freedoms

The anti-cult movement is a loose collection of individuals and organizations who are involved in attacking alternative spiritual teachers, small religious movements or groups, and support those who are against non-mainstream religions. On the surface that movement appears to care about the welfare of others. They use words like support, victim, protect, care and family, and use convincing terminology. They place themselves apparently at the center of society’s moral good and generally find support among the media and some politicians. But in my view, far from being concerned with the welfare of others, they are a shelter to and facilitator of bullies and anonymous lawbreaking internet trolls, and they promote the kind of propaganda that instills religious bigotry and intolerance within a society…

Jonestown Massacre: The 9/11 of the War on Alternative Spirituality

It was the largest death toll of US civilians by human acts until 9/11 , but was it really “mass suicide” or were people murdered? What’s to be made of the spectre of CIA conspiracies looming over Jonestown? This article examines how the Jonestown narrative was manipulated, and the claims of covert government connections to a massacre that fuelled a war against alternative spirituality…