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Hot picks: Narconon, Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), New Age Movement


N

Name Above Every Name Inc. Danger Alternative name for Kingdom of Jesus Christ, a cult started in the Philippines by Apollo C Quiboloy.

Nar-Anon. OK Similar to Al-Anon but to help the families and friends of drug addicts. Nar-Anon has an international Off Siteweb site but it isn't well designed so may not work for your browser.

Narconon. Danger A Scientology front group present in New Zealand. Related to Criminon. Supposedly for the treatment of narcotic addictions, the treatment can actually be quite harmful. Stay well clear of it. In other countries they have tried to push their message by Off Sitelecturing at schools. Do not confuse with Nar-Anon, Narcotics Anonymous or Al-Anon.

Narcotics Anonymous. OK Started in New Zealand in the mid-1980s. From the Off SiteNA web site:

Narcotics Anonymous sprang from the Alcoholics Anonymous Program of the late 1940s, with meetings first emerging in the Los Angeles area of California, USA, in the early Fifties. The NA program started as a small US movement that has grown into one of the world's oldest and largest organizations of its type. ... NA's earliest self-titled pamphlet, known among members as "the White Booklet," describes Narcotics Anonymous this way: "NA is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We … meet regularly to help each other stay clean. ... We are not interested in what or how much you used ... but only in what you want to do about your problem and how we can help."

Also see Nar-Anon. Do not confuse with Narconon.

Natural Health Giving Company, The. Danger Makes and sells colloidal silver, and recommends its use internally. Michelle Facer-Wood of the company makes unproven therapeutic claims for colloidal silver that would be illegal in the USA and Australia, while colloidal silver itself is illegal in Canada.

Necromancy. Danger Speaking with the dead, an occult practice which Christians should stay well clear of.

Nee, Watchman. Not Yet Rated Watchman Nee was born around 1903 in mainland China. Became a Christian in 1920. Trained Witness Lee. Imprisoned in 1952 where he remained until his death in 1972. Apparently held a few questionable doctrines (such as the belief that each city should only have one church) but was more orthodox than Witness Lee was.

Neo. Character in the cult movie The Matrix. The word means "new".

Neo-Christians. Danger A Swedenborg group. Not known to be in New Zealand under this name, but Swedenborgianism is represented here by the New Church in New Zealand.

Neuro-liguistic Programming (NLP). Danger Hot Topic Printable version NLP appears to be at best pseudoscience, at worst a self-sustaining con. It can be regarded as a Off SiteLarge Group Awareness Training (LGAT) program – being taught in seminars and workshops – and thus possibly competes with Landmark Education, although less well known than that LGAT and less likely to harm its participants. It is also distributed in audio programmes and books. NLP has been called a quasi-religion and a New Age psycho-religion. Many practitioners do have very strong New Age (and even occult) beliefs, and use NLP to support and disseminate their own teachings. In this respect NLP seems tailor-made for their purposes.

Wikipedia mentions some of the many things NLP is said to be effective for.

Bandler and Grinder [the founders] also claim that NLP can treat problems such as phobias, depression, habit disorder, psychosomatic illnesses, myopia, allergy, common cold, and learning disorders, often in a single session.

...

According to Stollznow (2010) "Bandler and Grinder's infamous Frogs into Princes and their other books boast that NLP is a cure-all that treats a broad range of physical and mental conditions and learning difficulties, including epilepsy, myopia and dyslexia. With its promises to cure schizophrenia, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and its dismissal of psychiatric illnesses as psychosomatic, NLP shares similarities with Scientology and the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR)."

...

Although the original core techniques of NLP were therapeutic in orientation their genericity enabled them to be applied to other fields. These applications include persuasion, sales, negotiation, management training, sports, teaching, coaching, team building, and public speaking.

However, even with such a long list of things it is alleged to be good for, there is no scientifically supported evidence to show that NLP is effective for anything. Quite the opposite – Wikipedia points out "Scientific reviews show it contains numerous factual errors, and fails to produce the results asserted by proponents." The Wikipedia NLP article looks at Off Sitewhy it is pseudoscience:

Among the reasons for considering NLP a pseudoscience are that evidence in favor of it is limited to anecdotes and personal testimony, that it is not informed by scientific understanding of neuroscience and linguistics, and that the name "neuro-linguistic programming" uses jargon words to impress readers and obfuscate ideas, whereas NLP itself does not relate any phenomena to neural structures and has nothing in common with linguistics or programming. In fact, in education, NLP has been used as a key example of pseudoscience.

What evidence do NLP promoters rely on? A segment of Wikipedia's summary:

... there is a lack of empirical research or evidence to support the core aspects of NLP or the claim that NLP is an effective and rapid set of techniques for enhancing psycho-therapeutic practice, interpersonal communication and social influence. ...

The experimental research that does exist was mostly done in the 1980s and 1990s, and on the whole was unsupportive of the central assumptions and core models of NLP. It consisted of laboratory experimentation testing Bandler and Grinder's hypotheses that a person's preferred sensory mode of thinking can be revealed by observing eye movement cues and sensory predicates in language use. A research review conducted by Christopher Sharpley which focused on preferred representational systems, in 1984, followed by another review in 1987 in response to a critique published by Einspruch and Forman, concluded that there was little evidence for its usefulness as an effective counseling tool. Reviewing the literature in 1988, Michael Heap also concluded that objective and fair investigations had shown no support for NLP claims about "preferred representational systems". A research committee working for United States National Research Council led by Daniel Druckman came to two conclusions. First, the committee "found little if any" evidence to support NLP's assumptions or to indicate that it is effective as a strategy for social influence. "It assumes that by tracking another's eye movements and language, an NLP trainer can shape the person's thoughts, feelings, and opinions (Dilts, 1983). There is no scientific support for these assumptions."

But it's not just 1980s papers which point out the lack of scientific evidence for NLP. Gareth Roderique-Davies, Principal Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Glamorgan, wrote a rather interesting Off Sitepaper (PDF) in the July 2009 edition of Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education that looks at the cargo cult psychology of NLP. He summarises quite succinctly in the introduction:

This paper explores what NLP is, the evidence for it, and issues related to its use. It concludes that after three decades, there is still no credible theoretical basis for NLP, researchers having failed to establish any evidence for its efficacy that is not anecdotal.

And in the conclusion:

... NLP masquerades as a legitimate form of psychotherapy, makes unsubstantiated claims about how humans think and behave, purports to encourage research in a vain attempt to gain credibility, yet fails to provide evidence that it actually works. Neuro-linguistic programming is cargo cult psychology.

Even with the lack of evidence NLP is effective, why does it continue? It seems to amount to no more than anecdotal evidence – basically, people feeling that it works for them.

... critics argue that NLP's claims for scientific respectability are not based on the scientific method. In response, advocates of NLP argue that NLP is a pragmatic discipline, largely interested in what "works" rather than existing theory. ... critics maintain that the experimental research that does exist has been overall unsupportive of the central assumptions and core models of NLP, and that it is therefore up to the proponents to back up their models and claims of effectiveness with evidence.

This is sadly similar to how Theophostic Counseling operates – the pragmatic attitude of "it (apparently) works so we should do it" without bothering to figure out if it does really work, and in the case of both NLP and Theophostic, if it's something that Christians should be involved with anyway. What people perceive as working is not a test of reality or scientific truth. If it works it should be scientifically testable to be shown to work. The attitude of NLP supporters that they don't need to provide rigorous scientific evidence for NLP's assumptions reminded the New Zealand Cult List editor of how the Gentle Wind Project marketed its healing instruments – GWP claimed scientific studies had been performed but when pressed for details claimed the studies had been cut short because the healing instruments obviously worked so well they didn't want to deny the control group the use of the instruments.

Not all our readers agreed with our former Caution rating. A Christian who was involved with NLP "prior to being saved and born again" had this to say:

NLP is very dangerous; seems great as most things do – a form of brain washing, and changing one's belief systems and values very subtly. Used a lot in business and motivational type programmes, and become very secular in its appeal.

The Off SiteSkeptic's Dictionary NLP article highlights various inconsistencies between NLP beliefs and reality, such as:

One NLP guru, Dale Kirby, informs us that one of the presuppositions of NLP is "No one is wrong or broken." So why seek remedial change? On the other hand, what Mr. Kirby does have to say about NLP which is intelligible does not make it very attractive. For example, he says that according to NLP "There is no such thing as failure. There is only feedback." Was NLP invented by the U.S. Military to explain their "incomplete successes"? When the space shuttle blew up within minutes of launch, killing everyone on board, was that "only feedback"?

The basic NLP tenet that "no one is wrong or broken" is not only self contradictory, but contradicts the Christian concept of sin. NLP also turns the focus of a Christian from depending on God to depending on their own efforts, abilities and attitude, in a similar way to Christian Science, Scientology and hypnotism.

Our thanks to British NLP practitioner Andrew Bradbury for his help in preparing this listing, grudgingly given though it was at times.

New Age Movement. Danger Basically Hinduism for the West, has no central teaching or leader, but is a collection of beliefs and practices, including the mistaken ideas that truth is relative, people have power (for supernatural healing etc) within themselves, that they will evolve to become gods, etc. The New Age Movement is not new; the name comes from New Agers themselves, referring to a new astrological age that was supposed to start a few years back. For more information see the New Age Movement Closeup or read the article about The School of Philosophy (Auckland), a pretty typical New Age group.

New Apostolic Reformation. Caution A cross-denominational movement centred around the restoration of the ministry of an apostle (from Acts) overseeing a local church or group of churches and even geographical areas. This could well provide the avenue for Super Apostles to arise. Chief leaders of this movement include Peter Wagner and Rick Joyner. Even now, at its early stages there are signs of doctrinal traits similar to Kingdom Now Theology or Dominion Theology surfacing in major proponents' writings, which gives cause for concern.

New Christians, New Christian Church. Danger Alternative name for the New Church in New Zealand.

New Church in New Zealand. Danger A Swedenborg group, also known as New Christians, the New Christian Church or Auckland Society of the New Church, or in other countries as Church of the New Jerusalem, The Lord's New Church, or Neo-Christians. The New Church in New Zealand claims to have been in New Zealand since 1888. The group is a cult and is rated Danger because it presents itself as Christian or compatible with Christianity but denies all the fundamentals of Christianity. It seriously misrepresents Christianity and Christian doctrine.

New Heaven and New Earth church. Danger See Shincheonji.

New Jerusalem Mother. Danger An alternative name for Mother Jerusalem, the present Korean-based leader of the World Mission Society Church of God.

New Testament Church of God New Zealand. OK Local branch of the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee).

New Zealand Christian Foundation (NZCF). Caution A front group for Seventh-day Adventist denomination/sect.

New Zealand Revival Network. Danger Pushes the false revival movement from Lakeland, Florida, and many false teachers including John Crowder, Ben Dunn, Extreme Prophetic, Bill Johnson, etc.

New Zealand School of Meditation. Danger New Age group. Holds free meditation classes at Ferndale House (a historic building) in Mt Albert, Auckland.

New Zealand Spiritual School. Not Yet Rated New Age outfit founded in Auckland and Christchurch in January 2005 by Lynne Towner. She was quoted in The Aucklander as saying 'the school might attract claims of "quackery"'. One wonders why. When founding it, she was hoping for NZQA recognition. Since that time its name has changed to Soul Dynamics.

New Zealand Training Centre. Caution Apparently a Local Church of Witness Lee front group in Hamilton.

NZ Training School for Prophets and Intercessors. Danger See School of the Prophets.

Niagara Therapy. Caution A strange treatment that apparently uses no medicine, no herbs, and not much of anything else, but is supposed to work wonders for all sorts of conditions, especially on older people. Probably related subject - placebo effect. Also note Consumer NZ's note on Off SiteNiagara Therapy.

Nikau Church. Danger Cult. Branch of Providence cult in Wellington, led by Crystal Liu. They run a Bible study series where communication with anyone outside the group is not allowed until the studies are finished. This involves two mind control techniques, information control and relationship control.

NLP. See Neuro-linguistic Programming.

Noah's Ark. Caution Hot Topic Printable version Noah's Ark has not been found, despite claims to the contrary from Bob Cornuke, and claims for a separate site from Daniel McKibben and Ross Patterson (and probably some Seventh-day Adventist churches), promoting the false discoveries of con man Ron Wyatt.

In 1992 Answers in Genesis investigated the evidence and thoroughly refuted any idea that the site is or ever was Noah's Ark. From the Off SiteAnswers in Genesis special report:

True/False?

  • Radar shows man-made (boat) structure..........FALSE
  • There is a regular metallic pattern............FALSE
  • Lab tests show petrified laminated wood........FALSE
  • Turkish scientists found metal rods............FALSE
  • Metal artefacts have been proved by lab........FALSE
  • There are ‘ship’s ribs’ showing................FALSE
  • There is lots of petrified wood................FALSE
  • Turkish Commission says ‘it’s a boat...........FALSE

Off SiteAnother refutation was co-written by David Fasold, a former supporter of the site who has excavated at the site and concluded it isn't Noah's Ark; it's a natural formation, not man-made:

Conclusion

Evidence from microscopic studies and photo analyses demonstrates that the supposed Ark near Dogubayazit is a completely natural rock formation. It cannot have been Noah's Ark nor even a man-made model.

However, David Fasold is still quoted by Daniel McKibben and his colleagues as supporting the site being Noah's Ark. Similarly with their attempts to give support to their claims by references to geologist Dr John Baumgardner. Although he was initially enthusiastic about the site, Dr Baumgardner now categorically denies the formation is Noah's Ark, and Off Sitegoes much further:

I am almost 100% certain that Ron 'planted' them [the rivets allegedly found at the site]. ...

Also from these excerpts it should be clear that I consider Wyatt's misrepresentation of my views as morally wrong and dishonest. But his deception of multitudes of Christians who have not had the opportunity to check his claims firsthand as I have is an even worse crime.

With evidence so readily available disproving that the site is Noah's Ark, it is the position of the New Zealand Cult List that anyone who still promotes the false Ron Wyatt Ark site and its associated false evidence is either willfully ignorant or is deliberately deceiving.

Noni Juice. Caution Juice from the noni fruit, claimed to have all sorts of miraculous medicinal properties. Apparently it tastes like horse pee. From a correspondent: "I actually use Noni juice, and yes it tastes bad". She questioned the comparison with horse pee as not being based on direct observations by Cult List researchers. This is true but sadly no researchers have wanted to try either of them.

Nooma. Danger See Nooma on the Movies page.

North New Zealand Conference. The name for the North Island branches of the Seventh-day Adventist church.

Nutritionals. USANA Nutritionals is the name of a range of products by USANA Health Sciences.

NZ Wheel Clamping Co Limited. Danger Hot Topic Printable version A notorious and barely legitimate company which commonly operated using intimidation – a classic cult technique. Before the company was put into voluntary liquidation in early 2014 they could probably have been regarded as a scam. Their registered office was Unit 7 / 203 Kirkbride Road, Mangere, Auckland, 2022, New Zealand. Their invoices contained incorrect, unexplained totals and either list GST as being $0.00 or list an incorrect amount of GST. They used the names NZWC Parking Authority and Parking Management Authority Ltd – a fictitious company – to try to appear more authoritative than they really are. All these stories feature NZ Wheel Clamping Co Ltd:

  • Off Site25 August 2008. Glenmall, Auckland. It took 11 months, but Chris Jones won her case at the Disputes Tribunal. 30 cars were clamped.

The tribunal said signs warning people that they would be wheelclamped if they parked there were inadequate and difficult to see.

  • Off Site3 October 2008. Eastgate shopping centre, Christchurch. The car of a woman with two broken ankles is clamped after parking in a disability carpark with a mobility parking permit displayed.
  • Off Site20 November 2008. Eastgate shopping centre, Christchurch. Pregnant paraplegic has car clamped in a disability carpark with a mobility parking permit displayed.

... she then had to endure a 2 1/2 hour stand-off with a "rude and aggressive" warden, and started having false contractions during the incident this month.

The warden's bosses told him to remove the clamp and in doing so, Reid said he tore the bumper and a piece fell off her car causing more than $500 damage.

  • Same article. Eastgate shopping centre, Christchurch. Tetraplegic teacher's vehicle is clamped because his permit had expired.
  • Off Site4 May 2010. Southmall, Manurewa, Auckland. Disabled man's vehicle clamped because the clamper could not read his permit (which was later found to be expired).
  • Same article. Southmall, Manurewa, Auckland. Car clamped because a woman was delayed by a fire alarm at the government office she was visiting.

She reluctantly paid the immediate fine then spent four months trying without success to get a refund from the clamping company.

The woman says she's since been told that if she'd immediately called the local police, the car would have been unclamped without payment because it's her property.

The clamping company's approach "shows a callous and cynical disregard of people for profit's sake, it demonstrates no compassion and exploits a loophole in an archaic common law", she says. She wants clamping companies to be "forced to cease their intimidation which further disadvantages vulnerable south Auckland families."

  • Off Site28 September 2011. Manukau, Auckland. Car clamped and the owner intmidated into paying. No obvious signage that the carpark could not be used for shops across the road (making this an unlawful clamping which could have been successfully fought in court – Editor).
  • Off Site11 April 2012. Glen Vickery won his case at the Disputes Tribunal and was awarded $550.

NZ Wheel Clamping would not disclose to the court the terms of its contract with the businesses which own the carpark, and so could not prove its right to clamp under contract.

...

The chicken restaurant's manager intervened to confirm Mr Vickery was a genuine customer and asked for the [two] clamps to be removed, but the clamper refused.

Mr Vickery eventually took matters into his own hands when the NZ Wheel Clamping employee left.

"I basically took the wheel off the car, then let the air down and pulled the clamp off. This all took about three hours."

He said when NZ Wheel Clamping threatened to charge him with tampering with its property after he returned the clamps he took them to the disputes tribunal.

  • Off Site12 April 2012. Southmall, Manurewa, Auckland. Woman's car is clamped and she is charged $180 for having her tyres touching the line of a disabled carpark. A friend with limited English was charged $400 for parking then crossing the road.
  • Off Site23 April 2012. Most complaints to the NZ Herald following Glen Vickery's win are about one company.

More than 60 people have contacted the Herald to complain about the practices of NZ Wheel Clamping's staff, with many alleging intimidation and abuse.

  • Off Site7 May 2012. Southmall, Manurewa, Auckland. 88 year old war veteran clamped in a disabled carpark with a valid permit displayed.

Henry Raynel, 88, ... said a raised display screen meant the permit could not be seen from one position in front of the car, but was clearly visible from every other angle.

NZ Wheel Clamping refunded Mr Raynel's fee the next day ...

"[The clamper] said, 'Well, I've already knocked [the fine] down from $180 to $80.' It was like, are you absolutely serious?"

Several people offered to remove the wheel and put their own spare tyre on the car, and a hat was passed around and enough money donated to pay the fine.

But Mr Raynel declined the offer and paid the $80 himself, before police turned up and told the clamper to refund his money.

NZ Wheel Clamping owner Gordon Ward was called to the carpark but refused to give any refund.

  • Off Site20 June 2012. Glenmall, Auckland. Mary Ellen Powdrell won her case at the Disputes Tribunal.

Mrs Powdrell was illegally clamped by NZ Wheel Clamping two weeks before Christmas after parking in the Glenmall carpark for a dental appointment.

  • Off Site18 July 2013. Mt Roskill, Auckland. Still operating illegally and outside their authority.

Infringement fees have been issued to motorists who stopped for one minute, gone into one of the businesses without buying anything and who have paused to open a garage door. ...

"In the meantime people should know that advice from the Automobile Association and Consumer Affairs is that the Wheel Clamping Company has no statutory authority to fine people.

"Rather than pay the bill people should invite the Company to take the matter to a Disputes Tribunal", Mr Goff [Roskill MP] said in a statement.

  • Off Site11 August 2013. Waitakere, Auckland. Clamping the vehicles of pregnant women. Note that cars cannot be towed if there is someone sitting in them, and note that the scammers are not "officers" except in name.

Liss Good has run an antenatal clinic for women in their last trimester out of the Waitakere Community Resource Centre for five years and has always encouraged them to park outside the building.

However, on Thursday night, just five minutes after the class had started, a late arriving couple encountered a man clamping the wheels on cars.

The man clamped three cars, including the second wheel of a couple who attempted to remove the clamped wheel and replace it with the spare, and ticketed two more. "In five years this has never happened," Good said.

The parking officer [sic], an employee of New Zealand Wheel Clamping Company (NZWCC) hired by private landowners to patrol their car parks, demanded $200 cash for the clamp to be removed.

A further $250 would have been charged if he was not paid within 90 minutes in order to have the cars towed.

    A week later an update reported Gordon Ward had Off Sitebacked down.

Update March 2014: NZ Wheel Clamping Co Limited was put into voluntary liquidation on Tuesday 11 March 2014. The liquidators' first report says the company ceased trading on 28 February 2014. This Off SiteNZ Herald article quotes the liquidation filing: "The liquidators are advised that after a drastic reduction in business, the company was unable to keep current with its debts. The decision was therefore taken to place the company in liquidation," [liquidator Rachel] Mason-Thomas said.

One month before NZ Wheel Clamping Co Ltd was liquidated Gordon Ward started Elite Parking Services Ltd. As of September 2015 he continues to extort fees of up to $450 for releasing clamped vehicles.

NZWC Parking Authority. Danger A trading name of Comprise Group Limited, registered office Unit 7 / 203 Kirkbride Road, Mangere, Auckland, 2022, New Zealand. See NZ Wheel Clamping Co Limited and Parking Management Authority Ltd.

 
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