Transcript: Dateline’s 1998 Expose’ on Gabriel of Sedona (aka Gabriel of Urantia)

Transcript: Dateline’s 1998 Expose’ on Gabriel of Sedona (aka Gabriel of Urantia)

May 22

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RELATED LINKS:

• Preserving Dateline’s Expose on Gabriel of Sedona
• Gabriel of Urantia and Spiritualution
• A 1998 Undercover Report About Gabriel Of Sedona/Urantia
• The Emperor Has No Clothes
The Streisand Effect

Watch and/or download the complete video here:

• Gabriel of Urantia and Spiritualution
• DropBox

Download an audio copy here:

NHNE Pulse (MP3)
American Cynic (MP3)
BayFiles (MP3)

Read transcribed copies here:

NHNE Pulse
America Cynic

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EXCERPTS:

Q. (John Larson) You were Francis of Assisi?

A. (Gabriel) Yes.

Q. Martin Luther?

A. Yes.

Q. King Arthur?

A. Yes.

Q. You were also George Washington?

A. Yes.

Q. Father of the United States?

A. Well —

Q. Led the troops?

A. Yes, yes. I’m either insane or egotistically mad, or I am who I say I am.

JOHN LARSON: And remember Gabriel saying that polygamy, having multiple wives, is common practice on other planets but not in his community?

Gabriel and his common-law wife, Niann, have three children, but our hidden camera investigation also came cross this woman. Her name is Tiendey [phonetic]. She was introduced to the group as another of Gabriel’s complements. She’s holding a baby named Elenora, introduced as Gabriel’s newest child.

Q. (John Larson) You don’t have more than one complement?

A. (Gabriel) I have two spiritual complements here in this community right now —

Q. These are spiritual complements?

A. — but we are not in a sexual relationship. But they are spiritual complements.

Q. Have any children with these other complements?

A. Past lives?

Q. No. Currently, here.

A. Yes, I have children with one of these complements.

Q. I thought you said it wasn’t sexual?

A. It was sexual. Yes, it’s — I have a very beautiful lovely little daughter. Her name is Elenora Desminey [phonetic].

Q. Okay.

A. She’s also from another planet. An inter-universal planet. And it was God’s will for me to be with her again in this life. She has been with me in other lives.

Q. Niann, this is all right?

A. (Niann) Yes. When I first met Gabriel, and we began learning about this, I wasn’t ready then. I didn’t want to hear about that. You know, that type of thing. But I’ve moved into that.

Q. Why is it always the guys who are spiritually advanced to the point where they can have multiple partners? And it’s rarely the women?

A. I could. It’s just that there’s no one who I’m interested in.

Q. And if she does, Gabriel, it’s all right?

A. (Gabriel) No. It’s not okay with me. Many men could be okay with — and these would be men basically that would be more mother-circuited. I’m a very strong father-circuited male.

Q. This is what confuses me. I ask you about complements here, you tell me something that’s not true. I ask you about your complements sexually, you tell me something that’s not true.

A. I have clairvoyance. I knew fully well where you were headed before I even sat down in this chair.

Q. Clairvoyance? You know this is coming? We’ve had a few Dateline employees come join your community.

A. Dateline employees?

Q. Employees. Employees of Dateline. You know who they are?

A. (Niann) Would you like to name them?

A. (Gabriel) Yeah. It’d be great to know.

Q. Well, you’re the clairvoyant.

A. John? A fellow from Florida?

Q. No.

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Transcription: Dateline NBC – 1998 February 24

Description: A “hidden-camera investigation into alternative religious groups,” according to producer Joe Ferullo, focuses on an Arizona group led by Gabriel of Sedona. Correspondent: John Larson.

Canonical URL: http://mretc.net/~cris/gabriel/DatelineGabrielOfUrantia.txt

Last updated: 2012/06/23 15:04:53

Transcribed June 19, 2012

Please send any corrections/improvements to chris@mretc.net

To download the video or audio associated with this transcript, see “Preserving Dateline’s Expose on Gabriel of Sedona”

For background information about Gabriel of Sedona (AKA Gabriel of Urantia), see “Gabriel of Urantia and Spiritualution”

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JANE PAULEY: Dateline cameras go undercover to find out why someone would give up so much to join something quite out of the ordinary. You’ll meet a self-proclaimed spiritual leader. Find out how he influences his followers. But not everyone is buying the pitch. John Larson with an inside look that may fascinate and trouble you.

ANNOUNCER: From Studio 3B in Rockefeller Center, here is Jane Pauley.

JANE PAULEY: Good evening. Would you give up your job, your money, your family? Would you walk away from it all for spiritual enlightenment? More and more people are doing just that as they join alternative spiritual movements sprouting up around the country.

But mainstream America remains deeply suspicious of these groups and of the motives of their leaders. Do they prey on insecure, unhappy people searching for meaning in their lives? Dateline tonight takes you inside one of these movements. You’ll meet the movement’s charismatic leader and see a world many wonder about. Here’s John Larson.

GABRIEL: God chose me. I didn’t choose this.

Q. (John Larson) What happens if they don’t pay attention to what you’re teaching?

A. (Gabriel) They could die of diseases. We have terrible plagues happening today, terrible viruses that are caused by the negative thoughts of people. Because energy is thought.

JOHN LARSON: It is a vision of how the world might end brought to you by a man who calls himself Gabriel of Sedona. He claims to have this vision thanks to alien rulers of the universe who are speaking through him.

Q. (John Larson) You’re the only person here who’s getting the message from above?

A. (Gabriel) Yes, and pray for me because I need it.

JOHN LARSON: And what are the aliens saying? That the end could be near, and only they through Gabriel can save us.

GABRIEL: It’s a very unconventional claim that sounds like, on the surface, that I’m some egomaniac or something.

JOHN LARSON: Nonetheless at least one hundred people believe him and have joined Gabriel at his Aquarian Concepts Community in the Arizona desert town of Sedona.

Here they work in a place they call the new Garden of Eden where Gabriel says if Dooms Day comes spaceships may land and save all the believers.

What’s going on here? Are these simply religious people or have they surrendered their free will? Are they peaceful followers of a man with unusual beliefs, or could they harm themselves and others?

The Aquarians let our cameras in to shoot certain aspects of the community, and we’ll show you that tonight. But what the Aquarians didn’t know was that we also sent these Dateline staffers into the group undercover over a three-month period. Posing as potential recruits to see how the community operates when it believes TV cameras are not around.

Over the next hour we’ll give you a rare inside look at the Aquarians and Gabriel. How a twice-divorced musician from Pittsburgh now appears to control lives, get money, and create new rituals. You’ll see the influence he has over many of the most intimate aspects of members’ lives from parenting to sex partners.

An important point to bring up before we move further into our story, and for you to think about over the next hour. Just when does a religious group become something else, something like a cult? Some in the academic world don’t even like that word cult. They say it smacks of religious persecution. In this country, remember, we’re free to believe what we want to.

Yet cult experts say don’t look at the beliefs, no matter how far out. Look instead at behavior. Look how power is concentrated, usually in the hands of just one member of the group, and whether that power is abused, used to control people. That, say the experts, is when a seemingly innocent religious group can become dangerous.

The suicides at Heaven’s Gate. The deaths at Jonestown. These are the most extreme examples of religious groups gone wrong, of control by a leader that spun out of control. These tragedies have heightened concerns about the growing alternative religious movement.

The Aquarians did not appear to be dangerous, but what more do we know about them? The Aquarians believe that sometime between May, 2000, and May, 2001, much of the human race may be destroyed if major changes don’t occur, and only those faithful to Gabriel will be carried away in a spacecraft and will return with him to rule over a cleansed earth.

Q. (John Larson) So you’re also an alien being?

A. (Gabriel) Yes, I guess you can say that. My point of origin is another universe.

Q. And you’ve been reborn many times on this planet?

A. Yes.

JOHN LARSON: Also aliens, according to Gabriel, most of the major religious figures we know, including Jesus and the angels.

Q. (John Larson) For example, Adam and Eve. Extraterrestrials?

A. (Gabriel) Yes. I guess you could consider them extraterrestrials. They’re material sons and daughters.

JOHN LARSON: To keep their ranks growing, to draw in potential new members, the Aquarians rely on sophisticated marketing techniques

The Aquarians have produced this video, pitching their group, their leader Gabriel of Sedona, and his common law wife, Niann, whom he calls his complement.

Gabriel also sells books. Including his autobiography, The Divine New Order. He sells tapes and CDs of his music. Audio cassettes of his lectures with titles like There Are No Real Leaders. And, like an increasing number of new religious groups, Gabriel has a state-of-the-art website painting an inviting portrait of the Aquarians.

But as you’ll see later, this website is also used to attract people who may have no idea what they’re getting into.

REGINA SPRAGUE: I went from a really comfortable life to like a living hell.

JOHN LARSON: Regina Sprague says she didn’t realize what she was doing when she joined the Aquarians four years ago with her husband, Mark, and their daughter. Now Regina believes she knows exactly what he is.

Q. (John Larson) Is he a con man?

A. (Regina Sprague) Yes.

Q. A liar?

A. Yes.

Q. Is he purposely trying to control those people there?

A. He’s a very dangerous person. I think he’s very ill.

JOHN LARSON: The Spragues’ journey began with a trip to the stunning red rock desert town of Sedona. Regina’s twelve-year marriage to Mark was in trouble. They decided to take a vacation without their daughter. The beauty and tranquility of the place drew the Spragues here. Once in town, Mark and Regina stumbled upon a red rock tour company called Spirit Steps Tours.

Q. (John Larson) You were just going to see some historic sites?

A. (Mark Sprague) Exactly. They had a lot of places in Sedona called vortexes. And a lot of American — Native American, Indian legends.

JOHN LARSON: But Spirit Steps Tours is more than it appears to be. It’s owned by the Aquarians, and as you’ll see, taking this tour can be the first big step into the world of Gabriel.

JANE PAULEY: When we return, the Spragues take the tour, as do our a Dateline undercover staffers. They’re about to hear the pitch of the Aquarians.

ANNOUNCER: Returning to our story, Mark and Regina Sprague have gone to Sedona to help get their troubled marriage back on track and take a tour of the Arizona desert.

But they’re also about to take the first step into Gabriel’s world, as are two Dateline staffers with a hidden camera. They’re all about to discover what is for some appealing and for others troubling. Here again is John Larson.

JOHN LARSON: Sedona is America’s unofficial New Age capital. Spiritual groups and healers thrive here. New Age tourism is old-fashioned good business.

And local authorities here say the Aquarians are good neighbors. Gabriel is low-key, quiet and the group keeps to itself.

It’s an appealing town. So say you want to visit Sedona and access its website looking for local tours. You’ll find this group, Spirit Steps Tours.

Pull up their web page and little here indicates you are actually dealing with the Aquarian Concepts Community religious group. Only by going further into the website can you find out who is really behind this tour company.

It was even simpler for Dateline’s staffers, Jeff and Sarah. In a Sedona hotel there was a table of brochures, including this one for Spirit Steps.

SARAH: It just said, Get a spiritual tour of Sedona. A very special, different kind of tour.

Q. (John Larson) It didn’t say who?

A. (Sarah) No. It didn’t say anything about Aquarian Concepts Community. It didn’t say anything about Gabriel of Sedona.

JOHN LARSON: We called the number listed and the phone rang here, the administrative headquarters for the Aquarians. We were asked several questions about our interest in spirituality and booked a trip. The cost: $54 per person for a three hour tour and a spiritual lecture.

Mark and Regina Sprague also went on a Spirit Steps tour. Their tour guide was Gabriel’s common-law wife, Niann.

REGINA SPRAGUE: I had mentioned to her during the tour that we were there because we were having some problems. And —

Q. (John Larson) Problems?

A. (Regina Sprague) With our marriage. And she had mentioned that her husband did spiritual work and that he could help us.

JOHN LARSON: After our Spirit Steps Tours and lecture, we wanted to learn more. We were invited by the tour guide, an Aquarian himself, to a workshop. Suggested donation: $40 each. We paid our money and went.

We never told anyone we were journalists. Instead we presented ourselves as a young couple with problems, searching for something. That’s often the profile of people drawn to alternative religious groups, and often into cults.

Carl Raschke is a Denver religion professor. He’s appeared in court as an expert on new religious groups.

CARL RASCHKE: Strong personalities who think for themselves do not go to the cults. It’s people who are dependent, people who can’t think for themselves, people who have had a lot of emotional trauma —

JOHN LARSON: Gabriel says that’s not his group.

GABRIEL: These are not people that have no mind of their own. These are very intelligent people and spiritually grown people who know that the kind of control that I have over them is a control of love, respect, and honor.

JOHN LARSON: Gabriel tells his followers they were all part of his cosmic family on another planet, and he was the father. Gabriel then gives members new cosmic names like Centria and Pointiay [phonetic]. New identities, new personalities.

SARAH: They say, Come here, you’ll be healed. Come here, you’ll find true love. Come here you’ll find your perfect career. You’ll find your cosmic family, all your brothers and sisters. If you don’t have a great family life, this is your real family.

CARL RASCHKE: They tend to break down the natural bonds of affection between family members so that they can create the larger cult family.

JOHN LARSON: For Mark Sprague and his wife, Regina, the cosmic family also struck a chord. Six months after meeting Gabriel, trying to fix a broken marriage, they moved to Arizona with their six-year-old daughter, Angie.

MARK SPRAGUE: If we stay here in Houston, I know we will get a divorce. And we will separate. And the only other alternative that I can see, the only open door that I see that we have, is to move to Sedona.

REGINA SPRAGUE: It was kind of straws I was grasping at. It was maybe there was some hope, maybe some how they could help us get through the situations we were going through in our marriage.

JOHN LARSON: The Spragues say Gabriel was warm, friendly and attentive at first. The whole community was.

And it was the same for us. We are rarely left alone while inside the community.

JEFF: There are a lot of hugs, and a lot of kisses, and a lot of I love you’s, and a lot of, You really belong here, this is God’s mission for you.

LOUIS WEST: And they make you feel more important than you ever have in your life, all of a sudden.

JOHN LARSON: Psychiatrist Louis West of UCLA studies alternative religious groups and has been a court expert on them.

Q. (John Larson) Makes you feel like you’re on top of the world. You finally found the people you’ve been looking for all your life.

A. (Louis West) And they’re being so wonderful to you, the least you can do is hang around as they’re urging you to do.

JOHN LARSON: Next, we’re invited to a Sunday service led by Gabriel. At one point Gabriel and Niann come over to us. The discussion quickly turns personal.

Q. (Gabriel) Do you have brothers and sisters?

A. (Jeff) No. I’m an only child.

Q. Only child. Your mom and dad are alive?

A. My father is alive — my mother is alive as well, but I don’t really have much of a relationship with her.

JOHN LARSON: Then, suddenly, the friendliness appears to fall away. Another side of Gabriel emerges. A member of the group has apparently questioned why Gabriel doesn’t do all the hard labor in the community garden with all the other members.

GABRIEL: Me going over there and shoveling dirt is not the highest use of my talents and abilities right now, believe me. Some of you have too much freedom. Thus again, that’s the problem. Where does leadership say, Don’t do that?

JOHN LARSON: Then, the man who claims to be the wisest soul on the planet scolds the group and anyone who might criticize him.

GABRIEL: Oh, you want to test me? You want to go out and go one-to-one? Great. Send me a note and we’ll do it. Choose the weapons. You bad enough? Let’s do it.

JOHN LARSON: Mark Sprague says he saw Gabriel flash that kind of anger more and more at him and his wife after the initial warm feelings wore off.

MARK SPRAGUE: Gabriel would always come up with statements like this, embarrassing people and making outlandish statements and nobody said anything.

Q. (John Larson) You’re afraid that God’s mad at you?

A. (Mark Sprague) Yeah. And that’s how he portrays it, exactly.

JOHN LARSON: And beyond those harsh words, Gabriel’s control over the Aquarians appears widespread. Since April of last year, when full members join, they are asked to turn over their money.

Q. (John Larson) How much do you typically ask a person to donate who comes here to live? Five percent?

A. (Gabriel) We ask everything.

Q. Everything?

A. Everything. Just like Jesus asked me in the first century.

JOHN LARSON: With that money Gabriel has purchased or been given twenty-two acres of prime land on a creek in Sedona. He also runs six cottage industries staffed by members, including Spirit Steps Tours, a gardening outfit, and a house cleaning service.

Q. (John Larson) Why is it so important to relieve all of your flock of all their dough?

A. (Gabriel) Because we give them higher dough, which is the bread of life, which is Jesus.

JOHN LARSON: Thanks to all this bread, Gabriel’s group is now worth at least $800,000. And it’s been granted tax-exempt status by the IRS as a charitable organization involved in evangelism.

Once in the group, Gabriel assigns members to live in communal houses, several to a standard tract home. There are thirty three children in the group. Under Arizona law, Gabriel can home school these children. So all of them attend his Starseed School full-time, year round.

As for personal mail sent to the members, well all mail is sent to a central location. An Aquarian mailman makes the deliveries. As for personal travel, well no one is supposed to leave the protected five-mile area without special permission. And even shopping, there are designated people who leave the area and shop for the group.

But there is contact with the outside world, at least electronically. In Aquarian buildings we saw phones and computers, TVs, radios, and video tapes. Other entertainment choices? Many members join the group’s Bright and Morning Star Choir to sing songs written by Gabriel of Sedona.

But as you’ll see, Gabriel’s influence extends further, into the most intimate areas of members’ lives: Marriage, children, sex. The Spragues say they found that out soon enough.

ANNOUNCER: Aquarian Concepts points out that in return for contributing financial resources, community members are provided with all their material needs including food, housing, clothing, health care, and education. When we come back we’ll find out just what kind of marital help the Spragues say they got from Gabriel.

JANE PAULEY: Back to your story now. We’ve seen how Gabriel can influence his member’s day-to-day activities: Where they live, how they educate children, how they travel. His reach can extend even into the most private areas of their lives. How can he do that, and why do they let him? John Larson continues his journey into the world of the Aquarians.

JOHN LARSON: According to one estimate there are about two hundred alternative religious groups in America today. As we head towards the millennium, more of these groups preach the end of the world by the year 2000, promising protection only to people who sign on.

Mark and Regina Sprague say it was one way Gabriel got them to join the Aquarians.

MARK SPRAGUE: He always was very concerned about us because saying that Houston’s going to be under water soon. We need to get to Sedona as soon as possible. Saying that the earth changes could happen at any time.

JOHN LARSON: On Gabriel’s advice they’d given up their home and careers, moved to Sedona where Gabriel gave them new names. Regina became Tacina [phonetic]; Mark, Justin.

Gabriel told them they were his niece and niece and nephew in the cosmic father and mother family. But the Spragues say almost immediately Gabriel’s control of their lives began growing. Within a year the man they hoped might save their marriage told them they were cosmically incompatible and should separate.

REGINA SPRAGUE: They told my ex-husband that he needed to leave me, that we were in an inappropriate relationship, and that we would no longer have the support of the community if we stayed together.

JOHN LARSON: They say with Gabriel’s divine approval, Mark moved into a tent in the desert. Regina and her daughter were living in a trailer Gabriel had set up for them. Regina says with Gabriel’s encouragement she and her daughter went on welfare.

REGINA SPRAGUE: I’m losing myself. I don’t know who I am anymore. They changed my name, I didn’t hear from my family in a long time. They told me I couldn’t visit my family. I was scared. I was scared to death.

JOHN LARSON: Gabriel says he actually tried to keep the Spragues together, but he admits he does tell followers, based on what celestial overcontrol tells him, who their mates should be.

GABRIEL: If overcontrol comes in and tells me — a finaliter tells me that this person definitely has a higher partner, then I will tell them that, You have a higher partner. If overcontrol doesn’t tell me, then I can only ascertain based on my own clairvoyance and my own relationship with God.

Q. (John Larson) So you’re actually telling people who they ought to be mated with?

A. (Gabriel) Uh-huh. Most of them a few years later say, Thank God you told me, I mean should have listened to you three years ago.

Q. I know from reading your book that you went through a couple of bad marriages?

A. That’s right.

Q. And you’re giving these people marital advice.

A. Yes. What better — someone that’s been through it? I mean, not only in this life have I been through it, but in other lives.

A. (Niann) When people come here, we don’t tell them who to be with and who not to be with.

JOHN LARSON: In our investigation, Dateline staffers wearing hidden cameras sought to step even deeper into Gabriel’s world.

We’re invited back for a weekend seminar, an intensive nonstop course in Aquarian doctrine. And we’re told to write these essays about Gabriel’s autobiography. The suggested donation for this weekend: $500 each.

The first event of the weekend is a sharing session called Heart to Heart. The session is run by an Aquarian who once worked as a clinical psychologist.

Q. (John Larson) It’s basically like a group therapy session?

A. (Sarah) A little bit, yeah. And we told — we went around the circle and told our life stories.

JOHN LARSON: Including ourselves, six newcomers attended the session. They were people with careers and families. The psychologist leading the group says she left her husband and family to join Gabriel, and it worked for her life.

LOUIS WEST: It’s part of the process in which the bonding goes on with others who are also opening up.

JOHN LARSON: Psychiatrist, Louis West, says the more new recruits open up, the more they’re inclined to trust the Aquarians. Our staffers felt that too.

SARAH: I — you know, I felt a lot closer to everybody after hearing their tribulations, their unhappiness in their lives.

Q. (John Larson) You were actually starting to feel like you were partners of the group?

A. (Sarah) A little bit, yeah.

JOHN LARSON: Whether Gabriel intends to control his followers or not, his influence on their lives, even the most basic activities, appears extraordinary. As we’ve told you, citing divine inspiration he often controls their finances, assigns them their jobs, even influences who they should be sleeping with. And as we soon discovered, that’s only the beginning.

Once a newly recruited family moves into the Aquarian community, Gabriel sometimes separates children from their parents.

MARK SPRAGUE: Gabriel, again, tries to micro-manage people’s lives and claims he knows what’s best for the parents and the children. It has been known that children have been taken away from their parents to live in other people’s homes.

JOHN LARSON: Mark and Regina say Gabriel tells women their destiny is as breeders for the new world to come.

MARK SPRAGUE: He claims that a balanced male individual can heal a female with his sperm.

Q. (John Larson) So you say to the woman, I not only want to get you into bed, but it’s good for you?

A. Yeah.

JOHN LARSON: It’s right there in Gabriel’s book, The Cosmic Family. He writes, Sperm injection from a male to a female can bring balance to her in many ways.

Throughout the weekend our staffers hear more about Aquarian doctrine. Much more. Along with the other recruits, we’re emersed in continuous Aquarian teaching.

Saturday 9 a.m. to noon, a lecture on inter-relationships between complementary polarities; 2 p.m. to 4, a lecture on the Lucifer Manifesto; 7 p.m. to 10, the beginning fusion of pride in relationship to the circuitry of the brain; Sunday 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Gabriel himself on the cosmology of the master universe. Fifteen hours of lectures over two days.

JEFF: They watched you very carefully. Every time a lecture session finished, there was someone that was right next to you asking you how you felt and whether you were understanding what was going on.

SARAH: You have a hundred people looking you in the eye and saying, The sky is green, the sky is green, we believe the sky is green.

Q. (John Larson) You start thinking maybe it is a little green?

A. (Sarah) Yeah.

JOHN LARSON: And then, the weekend’s grand finale: A heavenly transmission where Gabriel channels alien super powers. Our staffers get a telephone call about the transmission. Things look shaky for Jeff.

SARAH: She said to me, Jeff is not going to be invited to the transmission, but you are. We feel Jeff is having some problems with authority. Gabriel feels that he really doesn’t respect Gabriel.

JEFF: I very quickly assured them that I didn’t have a problem with the power structure and that I thought Gabriel was a perfectly nice person. She then said, Okay, well you’re invited now.

Q. (John Larson) So it was sort of like they didn’t want a skeptic in there?

A. (Jeff) That’s exactly what it was like.

JOHN LARSON: Our undercover video is hard to see here, just burning candles in a dark room. But that high pitched voice you hear coming out of the Gabriel’s mouth is, according to Gabriel, the voice of the Bright and Morning Star, a perfect alien being, one of the rulers of the universe. And the first thing that the perfect being does is praise Gabriel’s music.

GABRIEL (high pitched voice): Gabriel’s cosmic pop is cosmo-pop because it is universally popular.

JOHN LARSON: Then the alien sings one of Gabriel’s songs.

GABRIEL: Oh when starseeds have flight on the world —

JOHN LARSON: Finally everyone in the room joins in chanting the word “stabilization” for twenty minutes.

Regina Sprague went often to these transmissions, but she says one night it all turned against her.

Q. (John Larson) So he’s in his channeling —

A. (Regina Sprague) He’s in his channeling mode.

Q. — mode. And you want to know whether or not you’re going to get back together with your husband?

A. Right. He just jumped down my throat and said you’ve never been grateful for anything. Here you have a great husband and you don’t appreciate him, and you’re the one that ruined your marriage.

JOHN LARSON: That humiliation was the last straw. After eighteen months in the community, Regina grabbed her daughter and got out. Mark did the same a couple of weeks later.

But new members come all the time, drawn in by the weekend seminar we went through. They bring with them hope, and money. At the end of our seminar we were given this questionnaire to fill out. It required us to list all our financial assets and turn those assets over to the group if we joined.

We were also offered personal transmissions, in writing, where Gabriel channels the aliens on your behalf. Suggested donation: Three to six hundred dollars each. Our transmissions arrived in the mail. Jeff is told he’s a spiritual beginner who needs to change his attitude.

JEFF: And he said that Sarah and I should not be together, that we should break up, that I should release her, that she should release me. Because she was an old soul. If I did come and if I did show up that there were other women that could be my complements. That I could have a chance of finding someone new.

JOHN LARSON: Sarah, on the other hand, is told that she knew Gabriel personally in a past life when Gabriel was Saint Francis of Assisi, and that she donated a lot of her parents’ money to him back then. And she’s actually a highly evolved alien being who’s had an interesting sex life. In one life, dozens of lovers. In another —

SARAH: In my past lives on different alien planets I was used to being the wife of a husband who had had other wives.

Q. (John Larson) Ands it was okay with you, in your past lives?

A. (Sarah) Yes. I was very used to that in past lives.

Q. Seems like the indication is that if by any chance it should come up in this life it should be okay with you now.

A. That if I have a problem with it now it’s only because I’m not in touch with my past lives.

JOHN LARSON: In his book, The Divine New Order, Gabriel says polygamy, having multiple husbands or wives, is common on other planets and good for higher souls.

GABRIEL: Some of those planets a husband has several wives. And some of those planets the wives have several husbands, complements.

JOHN LARSON: But according to Gabriel, polygamy is not practiced here on earth in his community.

Q. (John Larson) Are people here having multiple sex partners?

A. (Gabriel) No, because they’re not ready.

Q. A husband with two wives? Three wives?

A. They’re not ready for that.

JOHN LARSON: But as you’ll see, our hidden camera investigation found that Gabriel’s own New Age journey may be on a different path from those of his followers.

GABRIEL: Why would I give you information that you’re going to use to make me look dirty and ugly and black and all that stuff?

JANE PAULEY: Where did Gabriel come from. When we come back we’ll find out more how his life — he’ll say his past lives — led him to this point.

ANNOUNCER: Who is Gabriel, this New Age guru who can convince people to give up jobs, family, and money for the privilege of joining his league of followers? Well, it turns out his earlier life may hold clues to how Gabriel got where he is, and what he does with the influence he now has. John Larson has the conclusion to our story.

JOHN LARSON: Gabriel leads a community of one hundred people, calls himself the next planetary prince, and he began our interview with a prayer.

GABRIEL: Father in heaven, Jesus Christ, Michael

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JOHN LARSON: But it wasn’t always this way. He started out life as Tony Delevin from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, an Italian-American raised catholic. He became a Protestant preacher and worked in Arizona. But according to his own autobiography, after two traumatic divorces and the death of a seven-year-old daughter, he began to hear voices.

He went to Las Angeles to be a musician, and when that failed, he says, the voices grew stronger. They told him he had had many past glorious lives on earth. He’d been Saint Peter and Alexander the Great.

Q. (John Larson) You were Francis of Assisi?

A. (Gabriel) Yes.

Q. Martin Luther?

A. Yes.

Q. King Arthur?

A. Yes.

Q. You were also George Washington?

A. Yes.

Q. Father of the United States?

A. Well —

Q. Led the troops?

A. Yes, yes. I’m either insane or egotistically mad, or I am who I say I am.

JOHN LARSON: So which is Gabriel? From our research, psychiatrist Louis West’s impression is that Gabriel shows all the warning signs of becoming a cult leader: Accumulating power, controlling his followers, getting rich.

LOUIS WEST: That guy is as phoney as a $3 bill, and you can tell it right away.

Q. (John Larson) But how do you know? How can you say that?

A. (Louis West) Because I’m seventy-three years old, and I’ve been practicing medicine for half a century, and I know a sly con artist when I see one.

JOHN LARSON: But ex-member Regina Sprague sees someone more dangerous than just a con man.

REGINA SPRAGUE: I think he’s creating his own doomsday. The more people believe in him, the more power he gets, and the more greedy he’s going to get. And he’s thinking of himself as a god. And God can do anything.

Q. (John Larson) You’re not a cult leader?

A. (Gabriel) I don’t like the word cult. I’m a leader of a divine administration.

Q. You’re not dangerous to these people?

A. Absolutely not.

Q. When the end of the millennium comes, under any circumstance, you wouldn’t ask them to hurt themselves?

A. Oh my god, no. We’re not waiting around on top of a mountain waiting for a spaceship to come and pick us up.

JOHN LARSON: No? In his autobiography, Gabriel writes about encounters with aliens who tell him they are ready to evacuate the planet and save all believers in spaceships. Gabriel now says that’s just a vision of what might happen. But then why does he tell followers they risk losing the protection of alien forces and their spaceships if they travel?

Q. (John Larson) Are they free to leave?

A. (Gabriel) If they want to. Of course.

Q. No restrictions on their personal movement?

A. No.

JOHN LARSON: But one former member gave us this document warning followers of a protected five-mile radius and urging the approval of elders before leaving the safe zone.

Q. (John Larson) It says, “At times some areas may be designated by overcontrol as too dangerous under any circumstances.” I mean basically this is a permission slip —

A. (Gabriel) But they can go. We’ve had people that decided against my counsel and they went and they got into accidents. One broke their leg, one broke their arm.

JOHN LARSON: And remember Gabriel saying that polygamy, having multiple wives, is common practice on other planets but not in his community?

Gabriel and his common-law wife, Niann, have three children, but our hidden camera investigation also came cross this woman. Her name is Tiendey [phonetic]. She was introduced to the group as another of Gabriel’s complements. She’s holding a baby named Elenora, introduced as Gabriel’s newest child.

Q. (John Larson) You don’t have more than one complement?

A. (Gabriel) I have two spiritual complements here in this community right now —

Q. These are spiritual complements?

A. — but we are not in a sexual relationship. But they are spiritual complements.

Q. Have any children with these other complements?

A. Past lives?

Q. No. Currently, here.

A. Yes, I have children with one of these complements.

Q. I thought you said it wasn’t sexual?

A. It was sexual. Yes, it’s — I have a very beautiful lovely little daughter. Her name is Elenora Desminey [phonetic].

Q. Okay.

A. She’s also from another planet. An inter-universal planet. And it was God’s will for me to be with her again in this life. She has been with me in other lives.

Q. Niann, this is all right?

A. (Niann) Yes. When I first met Gabriel, and we began learning about this, I wasn’t ready then. I didn’t want to hear about that. You know, that type of thing. But I’ve moved into that.

Q. Why is it always the guys who are spiritually advanced to the point where they can have multiple partners? And it’s rarely the women?

A. I could. It’s just that there’s no one who I’m interested in.

Q. And if she does, Gabriel, it’s all right?

A. (Gabriel) No. It’s not okay with me. Many men could be okay with — and these would be men basically that would be more mother-circuited. I’m a very strong father-circuited male.

Q. This is what confuses me. I ask you about complements here, you tell me something that’s not true. I ask you about your complements sexually, you tell me something that’s not true.

A. I have clairvoyance. I knew fully well where you were headed before I even sat down in this chair.

Q. Clairvoyance? You know this is coming? We’ve had a few Dateline employees come join your community.

A. Dateline employees?

Q. Employees. Employees of Dateline. You know who they are?

A. (Niann) Would you like to name them?

A. (Gabriel) Yeah. It’d be great to know.

Q. Well, you’re the clairvoyant.

A. John? A fellow from Florida?

Q. No.

JOHN LARSON: At this point we did not name our undercover staffers, but we did play clips from our hidden camera video. We showed him the Sunday service.

We also showed him what was referred to as kind of an ordination. A New Zealand woman is mandated as a full member. The vow Gabriel reads includes what seemed like a threat not to break away.

GABRIEL (in video clip): The actions that celestial overcontrol will have to take upon you will be more critical and harsh.

JOHN LARSON: Gabriel says he’s not making threats, God is.

Q. (John Larson) You’re saying if you break this vow, there’s hell to pay?

A. (Gabriel) God’s saying that there’s a law of cause and effect. The angelic forces will see to it that these people’s lives are not as comfortable as they would like it to be. Not us.

JOHN LARSON: Finally, we showed Gabriel the transmissions he’d done for our staffers, including Sarah.

Q. (John Larson) The gist of what you’re saying to her here is, You knew me in a past life, you liked me a lot, you gave me a lot of money, you had a lot of partners in one of your lives, you’re comfortable with pluralistic marriages, and you need to come here.

A. (Gabriel) Well it’d be good if she still did.

Q. I mean, word of God or cosmic come on?

A. How about inter-universal absolute reality?

REGINA SPRAGUE: And it’s very sad that someone could have this much power that could harm so many souls.

JOHN LARSON: For Regina Sprague, Gabriel’s words are frighteningly familiar. Her first year after leaving the group, she says, was the toughest on her and her daughter, Angie.

REGINA SPRAGUE: She was so scared. She was so scared. I mean she would just literally get into cold sweats saying, I don’t want you to die because I don’t know where you’re going to go. I don’t want to die because I don’t know where I’m going to go. Because it was drilled to her, we’re all going to live in a spaceship.

JOHN LARSON: The Sprague’s have been out nearly three years now. They divorced shortly after leaving the group. Mark is writing an a book about his time with the Aquarians.

MARK SPRAGUE: No one else h your life but you. What the people in Sedona were doing, they were believing that this man Gabriel could hear from God better than they could. And nobody can do that.

Q. (John Larson) You’re sure of that now?

A. (Mark) Absolutely.

JOHN LARSON: But Gabriel says God speaks to him in special ways and people need to listen and listen now.

GABRIEL: I am either a right-motived, divinely appointed, godly ascending son of God who God trusts to lead people, or I am not. I like to believe that I am.

JOHN LARSON: And people keep coming to Sedona, to Gabriel, looking for answers. In the same way Mark and Regina came there from their home in Texas hoping to find answers to a crumbling marriage. Regina says she now knows she was looking in the wrong place.

REGINA SPRAGUE: Everybody has a cross to bear. Everyone has a story. And that’s when these people can prey on you is when you’re at you’re lowest point. Always look within. There isn’t anyone on this planet that’s any more powerful than you. And there isn’t a human being on this planet that has the answers to everything.

ANNOUNCER: A note concerning travel by Aquarian members. The lawyer for Aquarian Concepts tells us members of the community are able to travel freely to downtown Sedona and neighboring towns, and to visit relatives and friends.

The lawyer adds that because, she says, Gabriel and Niann are clairvoyant, members consult them for advice concerning the safety of overnight or longer trips. She says the travel policy memo we showed Gabriel in our interview with him was outdated.

And finally, even before this broadcast, some relatives of Aquarian members wrote us to say they had no trouble getting in touch with their family members or visiting them. One member’s father told us he sees, quote, No reason why the Aquarian Concept Community should be looked upon with suspicion or distrust. End quote.

But some ex-members tell us that the general rule is Aquarians cut off contact with families unless those families support what their loved ones are doing. And that exceptions are made to this rule, but the Aquarians don’t make it easy.

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