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Best Friends Animal Society: Can Money Bring a Blessing to Dead Pets?

| by Denise A Justin

The death of a pet is a very painful experience for most of us. Best Friends Animal Society is sending out an invitation to an annual event where they will commemorate that loss, but apparently only if you send money.

The advisory of the Fourth Annual Angels Rest Blessing might already have arrived in your email in-box if you are a Best Friends member. It urges you to send a monetary gift to have a deceased pet’s name included in the Angels Rest public blessing on Sept. 26.

To include your pet or pets, you “simply make a gift in their honor by Sept. 8.” The second page suggests amounts for the “special Tribute Gift,” starting at $25 and progressing to $2,500, with an open box for “other,” which is to be made in “USD.” (See link to donation page below.)

The invitation, with a photo of a grey concrete dog with wings, says, “Please Join Us for the Annual Angels Rest Blessing ... A special event commemorating beloved pets who no longer walk with us but remain close in spirit.”

What is strangely missing is the box that offers a “hardship” waiver for anyone who cannot afford to “make a gift” to have their beloved departed pet included in the blessing.

In the small print at the very end, it reminds recipients to, “Be sure to add [email protected] and [email protected] to your safe list so that you receive your donation receipt.” This also adds you to their donor/mailing list.

The absence of an opportunity to enter a pet’s name without the gift/donation begs the question as to whether this “blessing” is actually a service that is being offered, and is the “gift” a donation or a required fee? 

“If you make a contribution to an organization and receive something in return, you may still be able to get a deduction on your taxes," Legal Zoom advises. "However, your deduction is limited to the excess of what you gave over the value of what you received.”

It is apparently up to the individual to decide the value of a “blessing.”

We are assured that all pets go to Heaven, leaving questions as to what a “blessing” after death is intended to accomplish. We also have to wonder who is offering or evoking the blessing at this event, which invites anyone to attend at the Knaab, Utah, Sanctuary.

On the Best Friends blog, Francis Batista, a co-founder of the organization, is referred to as “St. Francis, patron saint of the animals,” and he is reportedly in Knaab. Is it possible that the Angels Rest Blessing indicates a return to Best Friends’ roots as The Process Church of the Final Judgment?

BEST FRIENDS AND THE PROCESS CHURCH OF THE FINAL JUDGMENT

"Love, Sex, Fear and Death: The Inside Story of the Process Church of the Final Judgment," a book by Timothy Wylie (Father Micah), reveals the controversial religious roots of Best Friends Animal Society, one of the nation’s largest and most prosperous nonprofit animal organizations.

Best Friends describes itself as “the nation’s largest no-kill safe haven for displaced, homeless or unwanted domestic animals.” Best Friends reported an income of over $52 million in 2011.

But another perspective of Best Friends also appears on their website — that it actually originated in Arizona in the 1970s as The Foundation Faith, formerly known as the Process Church and considered a “cult” by some.

An entry on Wikipedia describes The Process mandala:

In the original 1960s literature of the church, Christ, Lucifer, Satan and Jehovah were all arranged on a mandala, with Christ at the top opposite Satan on the bottom and Jehovah on the left opposite Lucifer on the right. (from "The Hierarchy“ published in December 1967, as a part of "The Tide of the End".) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Process_Church_of_The_Final_Judgment"

"How to tell the Best Friends Animal Society from the cult who built Kanab,” by Merritt Clifton of Animal People, (March 2004), provides a history of the Best Friends’ transformation and describes how Michael Mountain (formerly known as Father Aaron and later President of Best Friends), was one of eight cofounders of the Foundation Faith Church of the Millennium, which incorporated as The Process Church of the Final Judgment in 1967 to 'conduct spiritual and occult research.' In 1995, it reincorporated as Best Friends, under a secular charitable status, rather than as a church. (http://www.animalliberationfront.com/AR_Orgs/Best%20Friends-beginnings.htm)

There are hundreds of fascinating Internet links for The Process Church connection to Best Friends Animal Society. A full spectrum of diverse opinions exist, and readers are encouraged to draw their own conclusions.

READ ALSO: Best Friends of Utah: The Process Church of the Final Judgment to Animal Societyhttp://www.opposingviews.com/i/best-friends-of-utah-the-process-church-of-the-final-judgment-to-animal-society

Sources: Best Friends, Circle Sphere, Legal Zoom

Link to donation page: Best Friends

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