Feb 11, 2018

Welcome to Intervention 101!

If you are reading this, chances are you or a loved one are in a "cult" crisis or may be in need of help.

Since 1984, we have helped people with destructive cults, mind control, brainwashing, parental alienation, estrangement, abusive relationships, gurus, multi-level marketing, violent extremism and other forms of undue influence.

Our approach is based upon our philosophy designed to help families and friends understand and effectively respond to the complexity of a loved one's cult involvement.

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Joseph Kelly
Patrick Ryan

©1997-2018 Joseph Kelly, Patrick Ryan
Rev: 01/01, 07/03, 8/04, 9/05,  4/06, 9/06, 12/08, 09/11, 11/12, 6/17, 1/1/
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Cult Recovery Readings

Cult Recovery Readings

Feb 9, 2018

9 of 8,643 CultNEWS101 Articles: 2/10-11/2018

Book, New Religious Movements, Scientology, Jehovah's Witness, Pyramid Schemes, China

There are many different ways in which minority religions and counselling may interact. In some cases there can be antagonism between counselling services and minority religions, with each suspecting they are ideologically threatened by the other, but it can be argued that the most common relationship is one of ignorance – mental health professionals do not pay much attention to religion and often do not ask or consider their client’s religious affiliation. To date, the understanding of this relationship has focused on the ‘anti-cult movement’ and the perceived need for members of minority religions to undergo some form of ‘exit counselling’. In line with the series, this volume takes a non-judgemental approach and instead highlights the variety of issues, religious groups and counselling approaches that are relevant at the interface between minority religion and counselling.

The volume is divided into four parts: Part I offers perspectives on counselling from different professions; Part II offers chapters from the field leaders directly involved in counselling former members of minority religions; Part III offers unique personal accounts by members and former members of a number of different new religions; while Part IV offers chapters on some of the most pertinent current issues in the counselling/minority religions fields, written by new and established academics. In every section, the volume seeks to explore different permutations of the counsellor-client relationship when religious identities are taken into account. This includes not only ‘secular’ therapists counselling former members of religion, but the complexities of the former member turned counsellor, as well as counselling practised both within religious movements and by religious movements that offer counselling services to the ‘outside’ world.

"The exhibition condemns psychiatry as the "industry of death" which "denies the most basic of human rights". On graphic, even potentially disturbing posterboards, it attacks electro-shock therapy and suggests naturopathy as one alternative for the mentally ill."

"But visitors to the 'mental health exhibition', in a shop unit at the Highbury Mall in Birkenhead, Auckland, would need sharp eyes to realise that the displays hosted by an incorporated society called the Citizens Commission for Human Rights were backed by the Church of Scientology."

"...[T]wo former Scientologists–one a woman, the other her colleague– who’ve known Haggis for decades. They each worked for Hollywood guilds that Haggis belonged to..."

"Each of these former Scientologists told me similar stories: a very high placed Scientology executive had asked them recently for dirt on Haggis. “Anything to do with women,” the exec said."
"A recently released Federal Bureau of Investigation file on the Church of Scientology shows that more than twenty years before Central Intelligence Agency accused WikiLeaks of being a “non-state hostile intelligence service,” the FBI received an official inquiry asking if the COS was one."

This is the story of growing up as a Jehovah's Witness and how a young man got out, and life after. 

Pyramid schemes cause huge social harm in China

"THE authorities call them “business cults”. Tens of millions of people are ensnared in these pyramid schemes that use cult-like techniques to brainwash their targets and bilk them out of their money. In July 2017 victims of one such fraud held a rally in central Beijing, an extremely unusual occurrence. The police quickly dispersed it and the government, in panic, declared a three-month campaign against the scams. Hundreds of them were closed down and thousands of people arrested. But the cults are adopting new guises. The problem may still be growing."

Feb 6, 2018

Cult Prevalence

Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.
Executive Director, International Cultic Studies Association

In 1984 the Cult Awareness Network compiled a list of more than 2,000 groups about which they had received inquiries (Hulet, 1984). As of May 24, 2003 ICSA (formerly AFF) had 4426 groups listed in its electronic files, which are populated mainly as a result of inquiries or news reports. I would not hazard an estimate of what percentage of these groups would be at risk of harming members. The quality and quantity of data on individual groups is simply too low to justify generalizations.

Most cultic groups appear to be small, having no more than a few hundred members.  Some, however, have tens of thousands of members and formidable financial power.

Several surveys shed some light on the number of people who may have been involved in what they perceived to be cultic groups.

Zimbardo and Hartley (1985), who surveyed a random sample of 1,000 San Francisco Bay area high school students, found that 3% reported being members of cultic groups and that 54% had had at least one contact with a cult recruiter.

Bloomgarden and Langone (1984) reported that 3% and 1.5% of high school students in two suburbs of Boston said they were cult members.

Sociologists Bird and Reimer (1982), in surveys of the adult populations of San Francisco and Montreal, found that approximately 20% of adults had participated in new religious or para-religious movements (including groups such as Kung Fu), although more than 70% of the involvements were transient. Other data in this study suggest that approximately two to five percent of the subjects had participated in groups that are frequently thought to be cultic.

A weekly omnibus survey conducted by ICR Survey Research Group for ICSA/AFF in 1993 found that about 1% of respondents said that they had been involved in a cult or what others might consider a cult.

Lottick’s (1993) survey of more than 1000 physicians (who are accustomed to making differential diagnoses) found that 2.2% reported that they or a family member had been involved in a cultic group, with "cultïc” clearly defined as a noxious group. It seems reasonable, therefore, to estimate that at least two million Americans have been involved with cultic groups.

In the research study that led to the development of the Group Psychological Abuse Scale (Chambers, Langone, Dole, & Grice, 1994) subjects' average age of joining was 24.8 and their average time in their groups was 6.70 years (308 subjects from 101 groups; 60% left on their own without outside, formal assistance; 13% had been deprogrammed; 17% exit counseled; 9% ejected by their groups). Assuming a lifetime incidence of 2,500,000 people having belonged to cultic groups, a "lifetime" period of 30 years, and an average length of stay of six years, I roughly estimate that approximately 500,000 people belong to cultic groups at any one time and approximately 85,000 go in and out of cultic groups each year.

However, as West (1990, p. 137) says, "cults are able to operate successfully because at any given time most of their members are either not yet aware that they are being exploited, or cannot express such an awareness because of uncertainty, shame, or fear."  Therefore, in any survey, however random, the actual number of cultists is likely to be much greater than the number of persons who identify themselves as members of cultic groups or even of groups that other people might deem cultic.  Because the group members do not identify themselves as such, they are not likely to be identified as cult-affected by psychotherapists or other helpers unless the helpers inquire into the possibility that there might be a cult involvement.

Bird, F., & Reimer, B. (1982).  Participation rates in new religions and para-religious movements. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 21.

Jan 21, 2018

CultNEWS101 Articles: 2/3-4/2018 Weekend Edition

Faith Healing, Legal, Shinto, Japan, Scientology, Ireland, Neo-Nazi,  Wolfpack, Turpin's,  Quiverfulls, Duggars

"The battle over Idaho's faith healing laws is starting to churn at the Statehouse."

"But now, one lawmaker is taking a new angle on the battle."

"In Idaho, parents are allowed by law to shield their children from medical care, even when faced with potentially life-threatening illnesses or injuries, in lieu of prayer or faith-healing."

Gannon's bill looks to simply remove the section of the law that allows parents to cite faith healing. 

"Primitive Shinto is one of the loveliest religions in the world. It’s beautiful in its simplicity — defenseless too, as it proved, against the nativists and nationalists who warped it into 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century xenophobia."

"Rudimentary, vague, undefined, undefinable, Shinto for centuries didn’t even have a name. It didn’t need one; there was nothing to distinguish it from, nothing it was not. One good sentence can say everything there is to say about it — this one, for example, by historian Takeshi Matsumae: “In some rural areas even today (1993), elderly villagers face the rising sun each morning, clap their hands together, and hail the appearance of the sun over the peaks of the nearby mountain as ‘the coming of the kami.'”"

"That’s Shinto — the way (“to”) of the kami (“shin”). As to the kami — who might they be? “Gods,” we say in English, the language offering nothing better, but it’s too freighted a word, too suggestive of power rather than innocence, of something specific as opposed to anything, one knows not what."

"Irish police are investigating the alleged assault of a 14-year-old at the new Church of Scientology center in Dublin."

"A woman is claiming her son was attacked at the €6 million facility in Firhouse, south Dublin, and suffered a fractured wrist, cuts and bruising, The Irish Sun reports."

"Local Sinn Fein TD Sean Crowe said: “I would have huge concerns about the ­allegation a minor has been assaulted at this facility."

“A lot of paranoia surrounds this group and there are also a lot of concerns in the local community about what their aims and objectives are."

Neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin admits that he’s trying to target – and brainwash – “pubescents” into believing his views; what happens when racists find out they’re not white; and some good news from Kansas.

“My site is mainly designed to target children – 11 through teenage years, through high school. Middle school through high school.”

"When she heard the news story of the 13 siblings allegedly held captive in their California home by their parents, Susanne Reisenbichler’s said her first reaction was, “Oh no. Somebody else.”"

"Reisenbichler and her sons Govinda Angulo and Josef Reisenbichler said hearing the reports on the Turpin siblings brought back memories of what they experienced while being confined to a cramped New York City apartment until just a few years ago."

"In a 2014 study of child torture, Barbara Knox, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin, found that 47% of school-age victims had been withdrawn from school for homeschooling and an additional 29% had never been enrolled."

"We keep a database of homeschool abuse cases and have found disturbing details repeated over and over. More than 40% of severe and fatal cases involve some form of imprisonment. The Turpin children were found chained to their beds. So was Calista Springer, a 13-year-old Michigan girl who died in a house fire in 2009 when she was unable to free herself. Christian Choate of Indiana was kept naked in a cage; he died in 2009, at age 13, but his death was not discovered until two years later. In Arizona, a 14-year-old girl was locked in a bedroom for more than a year and routinely raped by her father; she escaped by kicking down the door when the rest of the family was away and running two miles across town to the home of a friend from when she attended school."

"...[The]Turpins are also Quiverfulls, the sect of Christianity that strongly values a patriarchal, conversative culture. With the Duggars fronting as the group’s most visible members, the movement has been met with countless criticisms in the years since we met the reality TV family and stars of 19 Kids and Counting."

"In a piece for AlterNet, a woman who spent 16 years being raised in a Quiverfull church detailed what the abuse was like — detailing how “spiritual abuse” in the forms of physical, emotional, and mental abuse was especially detrimental."

Jan 20, 2018

CultNEWS101 Articles: 1/23/2018

Knights of the Crystal Blade, FaithLeaks, LDS, Child Abuse, FLDS, Short Creek, Falun Gong, Vietnam, Russia, Jehovah Witnesses

"The leaders of a fundamentalist Mormon offshoot called Knights of the Crystal Bladetook each other’s daughters as child brides, according to a search warrant that was recently unsealed."

"The men, Samuel Shaffer and John Coltharp, were arrested in December and charged with kidnapping after an Amber Alert was issued for Coltharp’s daughters."

"FaithLeaks, a young transparency organization focused on religious communities, published its first big trophy this week: a collection of 33 letters and documents from an internal investigation into alleged sexual abuse within a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses."

Sam Young, a former bishop in the Mormon church launched his [a] petition on Oct. 31 asking the Mormon Church to “cease the practice of subjecting children to questions about masturbation, orgasm, ejaculation, sexual positions or anything else of a sexual nature” which, when asked, are typically in a private office with the child and the bishop alone."

"The petition is currently struggling to find 11,000 supporters. "

"The FLDS church has dominated the politics of Short Creek since its inception, until now. In Hildale's first municipal election since the twin cities of Hildale and Colorado City were found guilty of religious discrimination in a lawsuit by the Justice Department last year, three city council seats and the mayoral seat were up for election."

"Despite Hanoi banning the Chinese spiritual practice of Falun Gong and labelling it a “counter-revolutionary” cult, hundreds of members still meet in Vietnam’s capital."

“For the Chinese government, Falun Gong is a cult; many people who practise say it is a spiritual practice; scholars would say it is a religion,” he said, adding that the key components typically associated with cults have not been observed within Falun Gong.

“I don’t believe in the therapeutic virtue of Falun Gong exercise, but I think the [Chinese] government overreacted against those people, often retiree women, who found that meeting to practise these exercises was a nice way to socialise and stay fit,” said Laliberté.

"Although the practice is officially banned in Vietnam, members say they get little trouble from authorities."

RAPSI: Seizure of Jehovah's Witnesses $15.5 million property appealed

A ruling to confiscate property worth 881.5 million rubles ($15.5 million) belonging to Jehovah's Witnesses organization banned in Russia has been appealed, the St. Petersburg courts’ press office has told RAPSI.

The appeal was filed by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania registered in the U.S.

The Jehovah's Witnesses assets included 16 property items in St. Petersburg, according to prosecutors.

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