As an estranged member of the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood I feel I must speak in their defense. I have been to Monasteries all over this country, and the Platina monastery was by far one of the most authentic images of old world monasticism I have ever seen. The St, Michael's Skete, Spruce Island, Alaska is the most ascetic communities I have ever witnessed (I must say that I have not experienced monasticism abroad).
Now, that being said, yes they have a shady past. They were originally a cult called the Holy Order of Mans who converted en-masse back in the seventies, after struggling for decades--and in many ways taken advantage of by the aggressiveness of the various jurisdictions. It was only recently (2002ish) that we finally were taken under a truly canonical umbrella--The Brotherhood then split into three main parts, all the monastics are now under the Serbian Patriarch, and the parishes either went under Bulgaria (such as myself) or w/ the OCA (there were a few splinters that went Antiochian and Greek). Now as far as the shady past is concerned, what can I say, we're American converts. We aren't coming from the old world with a thousand years of tradition that has become almost genetic memories (not literally), to us this all completely new and we have a two-thousand years worth of knowledge that we must know relearn--and we are not working with clean slates either, there is a lot of spiritual renovation that must be done.
Anyway, if you bypass they weak metaphors and run-on sentences I believe you'll see my point. We might not have been right before, but we are now--Kill the fatted calf, y'all!
Mamas Monore Pousson