With Best Friends, Who Needs Enemies?
Part Two - by Ms. Jade, TheDogPress Legislative Reporter
Jade's meticulous research on the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary founded by street beggars, innovative "animal rescue" fund raising and cults gives pause for those who may be tempted to donate. From Satanism and The Process Church ii (part 1) to the impact Best Friends has through CBS, Animal Planet, and other media outlets, Best Friends has tremendous impact on animals and owners.
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary was founded by The Processeans and with stunning political connections, it has exploded from a little over $1.2 million to more than $32 million in its first five years at Kanab, Utah. The Founder boasts that Best Friends has become "a flagship for this whole movement" i.e. Animal Rights.
July, 1970. “California Highway Patrol picked up "two longhairs," (see Serial Killers Central below) Stanley Baker and Harry Allen Stroup, on suspicion of a hit-and-run near Big Sur. Baker not only readily admitted fleeing the scene, but added ‘I have a problem. I'm a cannibal.’ In the pockets of both men were found human finger bones, taken from a recent victim in Montana named James Schlosser, whose mutilated remains were also missing a heart. Baker confessed to having eaten it.
Although Baker was a convicted murderer that howled at the moon, "Administrators still saw fit to let him travel through the prison system, teaching transactional analysis to other inmates" and proselytizing for a reputed splinter group of The Process called the 4 Pi, or the 4P that allegedly recruited him from a Wyoming college. Baker claimed to have participated in human sacrifices in the Santa Ana Mountains, and confessed to playing a part in the April 1970 murder of Robert Salem in San Francisco who was stabbed 27 times, nearly decapitated and discovered missing an ear. Harry Stroup was released in 1979 and Stanley Baker requested that his whereabouts remain confidential when he was paroled six years later…
William Bainbridge, future deputy Director of Information and Intelligent Systems at the National Science Foundation, joined The Process in the early 1970s and studied it from the inside for 5 years. He chronicled the group using a pseudonym in a 1978 book called Satan's Power: A Deviant Psychotherapy Cult.
Bainbridge revealed “While using the trappings of the occult, the group's main goals were power, greed and terrorism. It is the embodiment of organized evil, and it still stains America on the eve of the millennium. It has thrived because its tentacles ensnared a number of jaded allies whose influential positions enabled it to extend far beyond New York.”
Bainbridge claimed that as of the end of 1971, a conservative estimate of membership was around 10,000. This reference is from a Process pamphlet called “Fax ‘n Figgers”.
It is more likely that the actual number of core members at the group's peak was around 250, when factoring out the number of persons who contributed to street solicitations, or were otherwise engaged in some nominal way. Since Process membership involves an almost fascist hierarchy, it is inappropriate to equate casual contact with the inner workings.
By mid-1974, Chapters in the US and one in Toronto were in full swing, with headquarters located in Washington DC. In the communities where Chapters were located, Processeans took on a variety of projects and received grants from local and state government agencies. In some Chapters, prison ministries were set-up. The Church continued to expand, straining its limits. While the queen bee called the shots, the drones did all kinds of public service, smiled a lot, and burned through a lot of cash - as well as burning out some members along the way.
Instigated by Mary Ann, the D-I-V-O-R-C-E occurred in May of 1974. Officially, disputes between the ruling body of the Church and “The Teacher”, led to his dismissal. Unofficially, his affair with a woman he would later marry made him an unconvincing messiah. The Process was fractured and it soon became the Foundation - Church of the Millennium. The inner circle, loyal to Mary Ann stayed and kept their religious names but Church teachings shifted to suit “the Oracle” and her advocacy for the Jehovah incarnation. Some of the glow was fading into the endless push for more money and more rigid doctrine. A little struggle and sacrifice can go a long way for some people and processeans began to drift away.
Eventually, many gravitated to a ranch outside of Prescott, AZ. After “The Schism” Mary Ann virtually disappeared from public view. Robert and a group of lower level members tried to recreate the original pantheism but were somewhat unsuccessful in recreating their former glory.
And just when you thought you didn’t have room for another slice of “Pi”, when convicted killer David Berkowitz confessed to the “Son of Sam” murders in 1977, he also professed membership in the 4Pi. Although some of his statements are contradictory, he did appear to reveal unpublished knowledge of the California ritual homicide of Stanford, California student and Bismarck, North Dakota native Arlis Perry. Perry was slain on the anniversary of Manson’s arrest. Her murder remains officially unsolved and supposedly, the morning of Perry's funeral, a man dressed in black was seen trying to break into the church. Two weeks later, her grave marker was stolen.
Maury Terry investigated Berkowitz's allegations for his book The Ultimate Evil .(He also was later sued for statements contained therein, but this time the plaintiff was the OTO). Berkowitz professed the murder was a favor to their brethren in North Dakota, who had been irritated by the Christian woman's attempt to evangelize some of their members. Witness accounts conveyed that a cult in Bismark had held midnight meetings in the woods behind Mary College. “A married couple who lived in a trailer home near the cult meeting site at Mary told me that they saw torches and heard chanting and that three of their pet dogs were abducted in the middle of the night and later found mutilated inside a circle of stones.”
According to Terry, The Process Church of the Final Judgment continues to operate secretly in six major U.S. cities. He claims that The Process has changed its name many times, along the way accumulating millions of dollars in real estate holdings, and operates from a “remote enclave” in New York. I don’t necessarily disbelieve him.
If I suddenly turn up missing after publishing this, feel free to jump to your own conclusions.
Bad publicity usually means it’s a good time for a name change. In 1979 The Process was again reorganized and renamed itself The Foundation Faith of God. Founders at the Arizona retreat began collecting stray animals and eventually the property became too small. It soon became evident that donations roll in faster when you operate an animal rescue than when you’re begging for the occult. Perhaps, they were on to something.
Once again, they were searching for their Eden. In 1982, founder Francis Battista was driving through southern Utah and happened to visit Kanab Canyon where several classic western movies had been filmed. Everyone agreed, this was the spot.
The Arizona ranch was sold, and in 1984, they used proceeds from the down payment to purchase 2,269 acres in Kanab Utah; what would come to be called Angel Canyon. The group would acquire additional land and leased 30,000 more acres from the government. Founder Paul Eckhoff, an architect who had designed prisons, designed one of the first buildings.
In 1988, the Society of Processeans was formed and a big reunion was held.
In 1991 a crisis occurred: The buyer of the Arizona ranch went bankrupt and his monthly payments ceased, leaving The Foundation Faith in over their heads. A national S.O.S. went out to the family. Cyrus and Anne Mejia moved to Kanab from their home in Golden, Colorado. Faith Maloney liquidated her Pennsylvania residence and returned to the fold, as did other members.
”The group needed money, and getting it seemed to require a certain amount of begging, which the group called ‘tabling.’ They would go to Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, set up tables outside supermarkets and pass out brochures about the sanctuary.” And the money for animal rescue kept rolling in from every side.
In 1993, Best Friends Animals Sanctuary was incorporated as a nonprofit. The Archives were supposedly destroyed and the Church dissolved. I sure would like to poke around their compound though… and contrary to popular belief, Mark Owens says the Process is still around.
There are no more public references to Satan and doomsday. The millennium has come and gone without the apocalypse. The new focus is on fund raising, public relations, more fundraising and, oh yeah – animal rescue with a liberal dose of speuter. Brothers and Sisters let me hear you testify!
The animal sanctuary has become a huge cash cow with a herd numbering well over a quarter of a million calves. They have a multi million dollar surplus and all board members are paid a salary. In fact, Best Friends' reach has extended so far that it has again renamed itself, this time as Best Friends Animal Society, reminding everyone that it is not just an animal rescue sanctuary anymore.
The sprawling 33,000 acre compound in Angel Canyon is evidence. Tax records show Best Friends took in $1.17 million in contributions in 1993 and continued increasing to a whopping 32 million dollars in 2005, thanks to some cunning marketing over the dogs rescued from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Mountain told the Salt Lake Tribune “this money will help further Best Friends' mission, and he now is planning on "reconnecting the organization to its spiritual beginnings”. And I’ll bet all of that "animal rescue" money looks cleaner than a fresh shirt from a Chinese laundry. But you know what they say about appearances.
The hurricane dollars have stopped flowing (enter “Every Dog Needs A Home” into your search engine…), and “Spencer” has been milked for all he’s worth. Is “Spencer” even at Best Friends? Has anyone seen him outside of the website p.r. photos? Best Friends put out a recent plea to private “pit bull” rescues asking them to please take those hurricane “pit bulls” off their hands. It appears the poor things have containment issues that Best Friends and their millions are not willing to accommodate. Duh!!!
How would it look to have to publicly admit that that some dogs really are safe and happy at the end of a proper chain set up because they don’t kennel well and can’t run in packs? Better I suppose to just curtail breeding them altogether! Especially since Best Friends is aiding the legal defense of alleged dog thief and trespasser Tammy Grimes. Grimes is refusing to turn over the previously tethered canine in order to clear the air. Maybe “Doogie”, like “Spencer” only seems to exist on the internet…
They even gave Tammy a question and answer blog on the Best Friends website and booked her to present at their “Dangerous Dogs Summit” in Colorado (I’m surprised the judge allowed her to leave the state while awaiting trial). While promoting their new poster child, they omitted the fact that Tammy Grimes is not just against responsible tethering, but against pens as well. This should concern every domestic animal owner.
What was the Best Friends Dangerous Dogs Summit? I’m glad you asked. Briefly summarized, their position was:
The root cause of dangerous dogs is that “certain people” are deliberately breeding aggressive tendencies into dogs. “the rest of us…are victims”
Don’t worry… Best Friends has a “three-point plan”. It includes:
“This summit seeks to build momentum for a national movement…to protect innocent dogs from people” and they’re creating a solution based on their own interpretation of excerpts from radical European breeding restrictions.
Best Friends must have needed a new gimmick to whip up a little excitement before they unveiled their legislative master plan. Instead of using their millions to build a beautiful animal shelter for refugee pets in Lebanon, they hired former Howard Dean presidential campaign manager Joe Trippi to finagle them a media coup with CBS news/Katie Couric and they shipped the little Lebanese flea bags to our country with the cameras rolling. Private animal rescue groups howled louder than wolves under a full moon because millions of dogs are dying in America without finding a “forever home”. Taking potential homes away from American dogs seems somehow very un-American. Way to set the example for the no-kill movement! (And check out comment #30 on Joe Trippi’s blog.)
Michael Mountain told the Rocky Mountain News that "The big old organizations with whom we work quite closely now (PeTA?, HSUS?, ASPCA?), in the early days said this can't be done…We have taken on a job that the humane movement should have been doing years ago". "Best Friends", he boasts, has "become something of a flagship for this whole movement."
All the same, he was not thrilled when the reporter inquired about a series of corporate records that directly link Best Friends to The Process Church. If he had it to do over again, Mountain said, he would have let The Process dissolve and incorporate Best Friends as a new nonprofit with no links to the church. (I’ll bet!) Within days of the news article, Michael Mountain & Co. had hastily posted a warm, fuzzy and politically correct series of web pages recounting their own version of the early days. Can you say damage control?
”We do not practice tolerance here.” Mary Ann DeGrimston married Founder Gabriel DePeyer and they made their home at Best Friends, along with several other former Processean members. The Process mastermind died on November 14, 2005, leaving hardly a tangible trace of her dominant influence, which is rumored to persist post mortem. She was 74 years old.
The front man of the movement, Robert DeGrimston became a business consultant, possibly for AT&T and moved with his new wife in New York. Rumors still buzz.
Father Aaron, I mean Michael Mountain, has a daughter in Denver, is divorced and lives close to the sanctuary with other Inner Processeans.
Mountain and the Founders are calculatingly dismissive of the Process Church as nothing more than some “wacky” counter-culture social exploration from the innocent youth of current Board members and that Satan was just a metaphor. Talk about making a “mole hill” out of a Mountain! You you can hire Joe Trippi to sell it to the masses, but I’m not buying it.
"We're not saying that the Process is the only way. It isn't. Whatever works for you is valid. That's how we know what validity is-it works." - Sister Lyssandra
“Tabling” 32 million dollars last year under the “no kill” animal rescue banner must be extremely valid. And they’re still begging for more. While occultists and conspiracy theorists may have widely divergent interpretations of Best Friends’ history, take note - because this is what worked for them:
Taken from: http://abrupt.org/LOGOS/sow/sowtit.html -“Satan on War” by Robert DeGrimston
Serial Killers Central - http://skcentral.com/readarticle.php?article_id=320 "two longhairs,"Stanley Baker and Harry Allen Stroup
Animals' rescue raises questions (http://sltrib.com) The Salt Lake Tribune By Holly Mullen Date: October 10, 2006 Article ID: 4468809