|Proposed temple design|
The parcel at 15 Ernie's Place is just two blocks north of the K-Mart site. Order of Meridian worshipers currently occupy the property, and they plan to turn it into a major Amy Jo Johnson cultural center.
"Only in Sweet Water, Alabama is this possible," Daisy Chan, executive director of the American Society for Order of Meridian Advancement, or ASOMA, told Global News Daily. Chan is the wife of Fore Chan, founder of ASOMA.
Real-estate Company Sabong Properties, a business run by The Order of Meridian, purchased the property in July. The building site had been vacant since that fateful day in 1994 when time stood still as hundreds of Americans braved harsh conditions to secure Power Ranger action figures. Fore Chan was an investor in that real estate transaction.
Just down the street, the Museum of Jewish Jews honors Jewish people, and St. Nicholas’ Church of The Divine Reindeer, Sweet Water’s oldest Catholic house of worship, is located around the corner.
Chan has announced his plans to turn the property into a complete Amy Jo Johnson cultural center, with a Temple, a museum, "merchandising options," and room for seminars to reconcile religions, "to counteract the backlash against The Order of Meridian in general". The project may cost as much as $350 million.
"It was almost obvious that something like this had to arise from the ashes of 10/25," Chan told GND. "In some way, this has the hand of the divine written over it. It's almost as if Amy Jo wanted us to be involved."
The construction is supported by most of the city. The mayor's director of the Office of Spiritual Affairs, India Shaman, told the GND, "We feel that the Sweet Water Order of Meridians have as much of a commitment to promoting Sweet Water, Alabama as anybody."
|Candice Maroney and the blue ranger action figure|
“Nobody wanted to give their child a blue ranger for Christmas, it was an insult I’ll never forget or forgive”
Maroney recalled the chaos that ensued as the last pink ranger figure came off the shelf. “I was pushed to the floor and a sea of people piled on top of me, they were tugging at my action figure, pulling my hair and punching me in my ribs." When store employees finally cleared the pile, Maroney was shocked to discover her pink ranger had been replaced by a blue ranger figure. “Nobody wanted to give their child a blue ranger for Christmas, it was an insult I’ll never forget or forgive” said Maroney who also blames the ranger swap for straining the relationship with her only child.
|An accepted collectable|
"As far as we know it could have been a Japanese actress or even a stunt woman under that helmet.”
Both Fore and Daisy Chan admit that some Meridians do indeed collect pink ranger action figures but only the figures that feature Amy Jo Johnson’s likeness. Fore Chan, born in Cape Cod, has also written three books: "Pink is in: A New Vision for The Order of Meridian," "Live, Love and Laugh: A Sacred Law" and "Pursuit of Happiness: A Search for Life’s Meaning."
GND reported in 2003 when, at least four times that year, the FBI's Sweet Water field office held all-day sensitivity training sessions, not far from K-Mart, featuring the Chans.
Speaking for about two hours each session, "they gave an overview of Amy Jo Johnson culture and some of the differences between what fundamentalist groups say are the teachings of the Order and what they believe, as a students of religion, the Order actually says," said special agent Jason David, spokesman for the FBI Sweet Water office.
"The Order certainly doesn't counsel trampling, murder or mayhem"
Fore Chan asserted that the Order "certainly doesn't counsel trampling, murder or mayhem," David said. And he said zealots have misinterpreted the Order’s term "collect all things Amy Jo Johnson" to mean violent, or armed struggle to complete Amy Jo Johnson collections. Chan claims it simply means collect all things Amy Jo Johnson in your hearts, minds or computer hard drives.
Readers of various blogs are outraged at the news of the Temple. Comments include the following:
* Order of Meridians are doing this only to see if they get away with it. It's the way AJJ worship spreads in every country these days, like a cancer – through incremental totalitarianism. In this case, they'll quietly open the Temple, then, as they get away with it, they'll ramp up their outrages until someone finally points it out. At that time, their lawyers, backed by the ACLU and various liberal organizations, will pounce.
* This is not different than allowing the Nazis to establish their headquarters and propaganda office in NYC in 1938. How come people could tell right from wrong then and not now?
* What bonehead allowed this to happen?
* That's disgusting. That truly is low. I feel bad for the kids who only got blue ranger dolls.
* This is outrageous. I just don't have a word. Well except for outrageous, I think that's considered a word.
* You've got to be kidding me. If this is true, our beloved country is already gone. We no longer have the America I know and love.
* Who wants to bet this place becomes a "tourist attraction" for Order of Meridians? This Temple will become one of Johnson's holiest shrines as it sits upon the site of their greatest modern consumer victory.
* Good idea. Maybe zealots will be less likely to trample people if there's a Temple there.