Cult buster warns families

West Australian/May 12, 2001
By Kristen Watts

WA families influenced by the Born in Zion teachings of Carol Balizet are putting themselves in dangerous situations, according to cult buster Adrian van Leen.

Mr van Leen, director of Concerned Christians Growth Ministries, said yesterday he had been warning for some time that disaster could strike as a result of people following Balizet's teachings.

Christians who were desperate to please God were attracted to the Born in Zion philosophy because they were tricked into thinking they could be closer to their maker by excluding doctors and medical help.

The movement places an emphasis on serving God rather than man. Followers are told they must put all their trust in God and not allow any man or woman to intervene in situations in which God is in control.

As a result, Born in Zion followers are against medicine, doctors, immunisation and hospital birth.

Mr van Leen said the movement appealed not only to Christians but also to others interested in living a natural life.

"It is a thing that is communicated by a woman to other women and it is attractive in that in a subtle way, it is empowering for women," Mr van Leen said. "The men find it attractive because they see their wives are happy and it seems to promise good things for the family."

But he claimed the movement was extremely dangerous. "We've had doctors and families express concern that only at the last minute and at the insistence of husbands and relatives have tragedies been avoided," he said. "There have been birth complications, breech births and so on where if medical assistance hadn't been brought in there could have been a tragedy.

"It is dangerous, it is based on erroneous thinking, it goes to extremes and it misinterprets what the Bible teaches." He claimed Carol Balizet was not medically qualified and was not a theologian.

"She has no real expertise and yet these people are accepting what she says without question," he said.

"Even sceptical husbands are being influenced by their wives. I don't think people are questioning it enough and they are not seeing the dangers."

He was hopeful that the recent death of the Perth woman would encourage families who were considering Zion home births to rethink their situation.

A book written by Balizet as a guide for expectant mothers claims that suffering is good. The book claims that childbirth is not a medical crisis and that it is safer and easier to have a baby at home, unassisted by medical practitioners of any type.

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