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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

Vol. 2, No. 6

Annual Report 1996, Letter From the President

Herbert L. Rosedale, Esq.

Dear friend of AFF,

Although the general public believes that the cult problem is disappearing, the unethical psychological manipulation cults often practice continues to create serious problems for individuals and society. Cults are a worldwide problem. The violence caused by cults such as at Jonestown, Guyana, Waco, Texas, and by the Aum Shinrikyo group in Japan is very troubling.

Experts estimate there are 3,000 to 5,000 active groups with six million present and past members. Cults have mainstreamed themselves, so they appeal to a broader population, from every background and age group. While they still target young people, they also recruit older, established, and more affluent people. Small children and the elderly are also caught up; entire families are often involved. Abuse of children and women in these groups is tragically common.

The techniques used vary from cult to cult, but the basic method is the same: through subterfuge, skillful members convince vulnerable recruits that salvation, a better world, self-improvement, or total happiness can be achieved by joining the group. By selective reward and punishment, the systematic denigration of independent critical thinking, separation from family and friends, and other mind-manipulation techniques, cults create a growing state of dependency in members. Once a member becomes highly dependent on the group, psychological and sometimes even physical threats strengthen the group's hold and ensure obedience.

AFF continues to respond to the desperate need for information and assistance from more than 5,000 annual inquiries from all over the world. We provide telephone and written information to families, ex-cult members, the general public, media representatives, helping professionals, and scholars. In 1996 we greatly expanded our information service through our extensive new prize-winning Internet Web site, which enables people to easily find out about AFF's resources.

During our seventeen years we have nurtured a burgeoning professional community of volunteers and provided a place for the vital community of mental health professionals, educators, attorneys, clergy, counselors, and others to exchange ideas and build on their understanding of the cultic phenomenon and the risks it poses to our society. We've helped to establish and share our expertise with a growing network of international cult-education organizations and with individuals in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, the former Czechoslovakia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the former Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, among other countries.

Today millions find themselves involved in a phenomenon that is little understood and difficult to explain -- a phenomenon that society in general has chosen to ignore. Every day such people who believe they are alone and not understood receive succor from AFF's professional network. And every day AFF helps former cult members to understand what happened to them so they can get on with their lives.

This annual report will tell you about our important accomplishments in 1996. But our real success is shown by the people whose dignity and respect has been restored by the information and assistance we provide. Please reaffirm your support of AFF's vital work and make a generous donation today. We thank you.

_

 

Resources

+ AFF News, 01.02: Giambalvo, Carol: "Post-Cult Problems: An Exit Counselor's Perspective"
+ AFF News, 02.01: Martin, Paul, Ph.D.: "Pitfalls To Recovery"
+ AFF News, 02.02: Ford, Wendy: "The Role of the Family"
+ AFF News, 02.05: Lifton, Robert J., M.D.: "Cult Formation"
+ AFF News, 02.06: Rosedale, Herb: "Annual Report From the President"
+ AFF News, 03.01: Lalich, Janja Ph.D.: "Crazy" Therapies: What are They? Do They Work? - The Therapeutic Relationship
+ AFF News, 03.03: Lalich, Janja Ph.D.: "We Own Her Now"
+ AFF News, 03.05: Rosedale, Herb: "Conference Report"
+ AFF News, 03.06: Rosedale, Herb: "Annual Report: Letter From the President"
+ AFF News, 04.02: Stein, Alexandra: "Recovering From a Political Cult"
+ AFF News, 04.03: Henry, Roseanne: "Why We Need To Become Spiritual Consumers"
+! AFF News - College Outreach - Cult Observer 14(3) 97
+! AFF News - Cult Observer 13(1) 1996
+! AFF News - Cult Observer 14(3) 1997
+! AFF News - International Students - Cult Observer 13(1) 1996
+! AFF News - Program In Poland - Cult Observer 14(3) 1997
Lalich, Janja, Ph.D.: "Individual Differences Affecting Recovery"

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