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WHY WE USE SYMBOLS/ICONS IN OUR LISTS.

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ICSA does NOT maintain a list of "bad" groups or "cults."  We nonjudgmentally list groups on which we have information.

Groups listed, described, or referred to on ICSA's Web sites may be mainstream or nonmainstream, controversial or noncontroversial, religious or nonreligious, cult or not cult, harmful or benign.

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See:  Definitional Issues Collection; Understanding Groups Collection

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Helping Families: What Have We Learned

 

Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.

Executive Director, AFF

Editor, Cultic Studies Journal

 

 

Presented at Conference

20 Years After Jonestown: What Have We Learned?

 

Chicago, Illinois

November 13-15, 1998

 

 

1.                Introductory Remarks

Other speakers will discuss practicalities of helping families and ex-members

This talk focuses on providing some historical context, especially in relation to changing views of and about families of cult-involved persons

2.                Early Days (1970s)

Responses of professionals

Patronizing:  �don�t worry; just a phase�

Blaming:  �Mother did it�

Kid must be sick � what group does for individual

If its� religion it must be good

Bewilderment

What parents did

Worry and hope

Try to talk kids out of groups

Get angry at kids

Mobilize with other parents

Emergence of deprogramming and ad hoc parents groups

�I finally found somebody who understands!�

Adoption of brainwashing-deprogramming model

Brainwashing often portrayed in sensationalized, �Manchurian Candidate� terms � in part because concept was communicated through the mass media

Circularity: brainwashing justifies deprogramming; apparent necessity of deprogramming supports belief in brainwashing.  Nobody leaves cult unless he is deprogrammed.

Seek media attention to get support and let others know about new organizations

Lobby for conservatorship legislation

Ex-members seen as �the kids� � parent dominated organizations

Deed not creed position

Emergence of sympathetic professionals

MTS, LJW, JC, W/LG, RE, cult clinics

Promotion of thought reform model: �What group does to individual�

Clinical methodology � medical model

Base opinions on available samples (exploratory research, but not always described as such)

Clinical rather than empirical writing style

�Moonification� of cult phenomenon (C & S statistics)

Some opposition to conservatorship legislation

Parents vs. professionals

�We�re the real experts� but needed professionals� credentials

Treatment of deprogramming casualties

�Excitement� of deprogramming process impairs objectivity (JC protectiveness)

Parents groups formed in large part by parents who had tried to deprogram their kids

Professionals� advice to parents

What parents wanted to hear, but also true

Parents not to blame; situational problem, not family caused

Kids not sick

Maintain contact

Enhance rapport by communicating more skillfully

Most professionals kept their distance from deprogramming

Emergence of �anti-anti-cult movement�

Vehement opposition to deprogramming and conservatorship

Apparently caused change in perspective and vocabulary

Richardson study on Jesus movement � early study talked about thought reform
Robbins & Anthony on Meher Baba cult

Opinions based on awareness of wider variety of groups

Prejudice against �medical model�

AAAS quote

Overreaction to clinical style and popularized brainwashing-deprogramming  model

Solidified the divide into two �camps�

Brock Kilbourne editorializing

CSN �two tribes� quote

Cracks in the brainwashing-deprogramming model

Rabbi Maurice Davis and reevaluation counseling

Didn�t have to kidnap; didn�t have to �snap�

Incontrovertible evidence that people left without deprogramming

Eve Eden informal study of former Moonies (one-third walked out)

Clinical work with families and ex-members in which member left without any formal intervention

Academic literature on psychology of religious conversion and sociology of spectrum of cultic groups

Parallel world of evangelical cult ministries (largely unknown to parents� groups)

CRI, SCP, Dialog Center

Walter Martin and brainwashing

Creedal emphasis; subcategory of apologetics

Engage people on creed level; sometimes works to get them thinking

Virtually everybody left without deprogramming

General opposition to deprogramming

3.                Organizational Development (1980s)

Professional organizations: AFF, cult clinics, Wellspring

Mental health emphases

Recognition of need for practical research, though limited resources

Articulation of issue in professional journals

Speaking at professional societies

Systematic reporting (Cult Observer) and scholarly publication (Cultic Studies Journal)

Development of professional networks

Treatment of ex-members

Consultation with families

Recognition of need for practical resources

Information packets

Cults: What Parents Should Know

Exit Counseling

Hassan papers & books

CSJ articles

Collection of lists of resource organizations and persons

Development of preventive education resources: ICEP

Relationship to grassroots organizations

Teaching

Learning

Enhance credibility

 

 

Grassroots organizations

Citizens Freedom Foundation/Cult Awareness Network; various ex-member support organizations (e.g., ex-Moon, TM-ex)

Goals (especially CFF/CAN)

Mobilize parents and ex-members by giving them outlets for activism (e.g., talk to press; maintain local phones; run support groups; participate in conferences)

Cultivate media

Educate public
Enhance credibility
Help others find out where to get information & assistance
Give platform to sympathetic professionals (which further antagonizes �anti-anti-cultists�

Establish support groups (affiliates)

Provide information about groups

Provide resource persons for inquirers

Relate to sympathetic professionals

Legal evolution:  conservatorship laws abandoned; emphasis placed on suing cults for damages (Herb Rosedale will discuss this issue Friday night)

General replacement of brainwashing-deprogramming model with thought reform model (see diagram)

Influence of sympathetic professionals

Influx of walkaways and castaways

Problems of grassroots approach

Conflict between need for centralized control and need to make volunteers feel empowered

Conflict resulting from legacy of parent-deprogramming origins and influx of ex-members, especially walkaways, who weren�t always �kids�

Ex-members aren�t always �the kids,� whose job is to tell their stories to the media; wanted larger role in running the organization
Ex-members, especially those who study the issue, tend to have more nuanced view of cult issue than parents (Langone & Chambers terminology study

Media focus tends to expose organization�s members to simplified, black-and-white portrayals that typify media presentations of the issue

Success generates stronger opposition

Necessity of �rah-rah� emotionalism, which is vital to mobilize volunteers, becomes �war� mentality as a result of opposition�s counterattacks (counterproductive for organization and for families who get caught up in battle mentality)

Mistakes more likely to occur as move away from center of power (Scott case)

Adversarial spillover

String of �anti-cult� successes in courts (Wollersheim, George, Molko & Leal, variety of judgments against LGATs)

�Pro-cult� expert witnesses on losing side repeatedly

Adversarial nature of legal battles corrupted academic search for truth � legal battles continued outside of court

APA affair

Hadden memo

Virtual cessation of dialogue between members of two camps � neither side wanted to give other side credibility

4.                Emergence of Ex-Member Professionals and Expansion of Research (1990s)

Project Recovery (begun in 1989)

Recognition of need for ex-member resources

Majority of help needs to which we can respond adequately belong to ex-members

Recovery from Abusive Groups

Captive Hearts

After the Cult

Singer videos

Recovery from Cults

Project Outreach:  workshops (Carol Giambalvo)

Recognition at AFF that future of cult education rests with ex-members

They have a more nuanced understanding of phenomenon than parents (terminology study)

Majority entering helping network left without parental intervention.  They do not enter as �satellites� of activist parents (70% in 91 study vs. 20% in C&S); moreover, former �kids� who remained active matured

Many become professionals and some enter AFF professional network.  Important:  Identity is as professional who happens to have been a group member, not an ex-group member who happens to be a professional.

Attempts to conduct systematic research

Planning meeting at Wellspring (199____)

Major areas of research:

Psychological distress (vital role of Wellspring)

Prevalence

Assessment: GPA/GEI

Outcome effectiveness

Other research in CSJ

Thought reform consultants ethical code and professionalization of exit counseling

Developing more resources for families

Workshops (Livia Bardin)

Family Education Service plans

Internet resources

Development of detailed handbooks regarding assessment, communications, strategies

Search for more effective, encompassing, and integrative theoretical models

MDL diagram

Cracks in the �pro-cult� �anti-cult� divide:  Hope for fruitful dialogue

Beit-Halahmi

Balch

Zablocki

Fundamental proposition on which to begin dialog:

Some groups do things that hurt some people at least some of the time.  (not mere �atrocity tales�)

Debate should center on:

Nature and quantity of harm

Prevalence of harm among and within groups

Factors that cause harm

Theoretical models for explaining and studying the phenomenon

 

We�ve come a long way from �cult-not-cult� thinking of brainwashing-deprogramming model.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Brainwashing-Deprogramming Model

 

 

 

Cult?

 

Not cult?

 

 

 

If it is a cult,

is access possible?

 

 

 

No

 

Yes

 

 

 

 

Stay connected

wait & hope

 

Deprogram

 

Wait for opportunity to deprogram

 

Rehab to solidify deprogramming

           

 


 

 

Thought Reform Model

 

 

 

Spectrum of Thought Reform in Groups

 

Thought Reform

 

Gray Area

 

Not Thought Reform

 

 

 

 

Person x Situation Assessment

 

 

Action Options

Ex-Member

Counsel.

 

Rehab

Collect info & reassess

Exit

Counsel-ing

Family

Treat-ment

Family

Consul-tation

 

_

 

Resources

 

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Our E-Library contains full text articles and other resources related to the information below.  Click here.

WHY WE USE SYMBOLS/ICONS IN OUR LISTS.

Please note:

ICSA does NOT maintain a list of "bad" groups or "cults."  We nonjudgmentally list groups on which we have information.

Groups listed, described, or referred to on ICSA's Web sites may be mainstream or nonmainstream, controversial or noncontroversial, religious or nonreligious, cult or not cult, harmful or benign.

We encourage inquirers to consider a variety of opinions, negative and positive, so that inquirers can make independent and informed judgments pertinent to their particular concerns.

Views expressed on our Web sites are those of the document's author(s) and are not necessarily shared, endorsed, or recommended by ICSA or any of its directors, staff, or advisors.

See:  Definitional Issues Collection; Understanding Groups Collection
 

Views expressed on our Web sites are those of the document's author(s) and are not necessarily shared, endorsed, or recommended by ICSA or any of its directors, staff, or advisors.

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