APpa 11/21 1552 PA-krishna concerns (jim thorpe) -- the prospect of a hare krishna +quot;c

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APpa 11/21 1552 PA-krishna concerns (jim thorpe) -- the prospect of a hare krishna "city of god" has residents of an eastern pennsylvania mountain community fearful that members of the religious sect will try to convert their children and turn their area into an airport-like haven for panhandling. Thomas wildoner, mayor of the town jim thorpe, told krishna representatives who inspected a 400-acre site there last week, that residents were scared to death the group would buy the land. but if they do decide to buy the land, the krishna say it will be an opportunity for the people of jim thorpe to become acquainted them. The completed city would enclose 280 acres within a 4-and-a-half-mile wall, and would provide shelter for 12-thousand people inside and another 30-thousand outside. that's according to murti swami, the krishna's chief architect. Inside the city would also be gardens, towers, wells, a lake, a palace of gold, and a bomb shelter stocked with provisions for 42-thousand people for 30 days in case of attack. But representatives of the 52-hundred jim thorpe residents said they are happy with their own religions and do not need protection offered by the religious devotees who shave their heads and wear saffron-colored robes. they say they want the unorthodox religious group to stay in their headquarters in west virginia. APwv 11/21 1223 Krishna Concerns By ANITA HUSLIN Associated Press Writer JIM THORPE, Pa. (AP) -- The prospect of a Hare Krishna "City of God" in this eastern Pennsylvania mountain community has dismayed residents, who fear sect members will try to convert the youth and turn the area into a haven for panhandling. "Right now the good people of Jim Thorpe are scared to death that you might come here," Mayor Thomas Wildoner told Krishna representatives who inspected a 400-acre site last week. "There are many concerns we have about you." Members of the religious sect, a Hindu offshoot whose followers wear saffron robes and shave their heads, favor the site that overlooks the borough because it is close to its 1,000 devotees in and near Allentown, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Krishna officials said. "It will be an opportunity for people to become acquainted with us," said Krishna spiritual leader Kirtanananda Swami Bhaktipada. He and planners who inspected the defunct Flagstaff Mountain Park Resort envision their walled city as a "bastion that stands for fortification of religion, decency, purity and love of God." Owners of the land have offered to sell and the Krishnas are negotiating; no price has been revealed. The Krishnas plan to build the city first with wood and then with brick and stone, patterning it after their jeweled, marbled and gilded headquarters at New Vrindaban, W.Va., in that state's Northern Panhandle south of Wheeling. "We have to deliver it to the people in general for their welfare," said chief architect Murti Swami. "Therefore we are delivering this concept of the City of God to the people of the East Coast region ... and to 12 other locations throughout the world to help humanity restructure their communities in time so that they can save their religion, save their devotion, their culture, and their identity." The completed city would enclose 280 acres within a 4 1/2-mile wall, and would provide shelter for 12,000 people inside and an additional 30,000 outside, said Murti. Along with gardens and a palace, it would have a bomb shelter stocked with provisions for 42,000 people for 30 days, he said. But representatives of the 5,200 Jim Thorpe residents, mostly Protestants and Catholics, said they are happy with their own religions and do not need the Krishnas. "We don't want your kind here," residents told Krishnas last week at a news conference where blueprints of the proposed city were displayed. "I don't trust what they were trying to sell here," said Wayne Hunsicker, a resident of nearby Leheighton. "I'm very concerned about it because these people are coming into a very conservative society, and they will try to get younger people into their type of religion." "My encounters with (Krishnas) have been in airports and cities where they panhandled and pushed themselves on you. I don't want my customers being panhandled on the streets," said Jeffrey A. Reitz, president of the Jim Thorpe Area Commerce Association. Such reactions are not new or suprising, Bhaktipada said. "Anything new at first provokes opposition, especially anything that is very vital spiritually," he said. "We don't intend to bother anyone. We want to live and let live, but we want to make available something very wonderful." Summit Hill resident Wesley Hiles said he is particularly suspicious of the Krishnas since Bhaktipada was expelled this summer by the international Krishna movement's governing body. "If they don't want you, we don't want you," Hiles said. Bhaktipada remains head of the New Vrindaban commune, whichrefused to recognize the expulsion, prompted by a federal indictment accusing Bhaktipada of arson, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud and arson, and other charges. "They haven't proved anything yet and I don't think they will because (the charges) are not true," said Bhkatipada. He and his followers said they are not worried about being accepted in Jim Thorpe. "They will come to us, we will not come to them," said Krishna monk Vaikunthanatha Das. "They will see us by our works, not by our words and they will come to us."


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