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Is a Michigan Discount Massage Center Front for Doomsday Cult?

An investigation into a Michigan massage parlor has revealed evidence that the business offers more than cheap massages. The Agape Massage Therapy and Chiropractic Center, run by Dr. Craig Stasio, is believed by some to be a front for a Christian-based doomsday cult.

Parents of young women who live and work at the center are alarmed by the changes in their daughters. Many even dropped out of school and gave up scholarships in order to give $17.50 hour long massages at the center.

Rob Fisher told the local news that his “big concern came when all of the sudden my daughter dropped out of Wayne State University. She’s giving — like most of the other people — massages, because that apparently is what he teaches.”

Like the other girls at the clinic, Fisher’s daughter has become estranged from the family and now spends her days at the center where she works and worships with the other girls. Some parents have also reported that Stasio is filling the girls’ heads with talk of a coming tribulation and great fire and encouraging a fanatical form of Christianity.

“It’s the gospel according to Stasio,” one concerned parent remarked.

When the local news went undercover at the center to find out what was behind the massage center doors, the parents’ stories appeared to be confirmed. The staff person present, ‘Natasha’ told investigators that she had dropped out of law school to join Stasio and the women in the massage business and that she was sure, “it’s like you just know the path you’re supposed to go.”

Later, ‘Natasha’ was seen outside the clinic dancing and praising Jesus by the team, a hint of the Christian-inspired teachings and religious fervor preached by the group.

Yet, not all agree the group is a cult. A post by Jessie Chapman, a woman who claimed to be in fellowship with the group, confirmed that religion was center to the girls’ choice to remain at the center, but demanded that the girls were not being brainwashed, but rather persecuted by those trying to intervene.

“I am a 26 year old intelligent, independent, mature woman. Last time I checked, in this country, I have the right to decide where I live, where I work, what I do with my life and what religion I follow,” she wrote on Facebook following the airing of the investigation. ” The ridiculous story about me and the other Christians I fellowship with is nothing but that, a ridiculous story,” she wrote. “ Be advised that I am fed up with ridiculous, misguided attempts at unnecessary interventions.”

Photo Credit: Screenshot/WJBK-TV



About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.