Cultic Studies Journal
Psychological Manipulation and Society

Vol. 11, No. 2, 1994

Mind-Forged Manacles: Cults and Spiritual Bondage
Thomas Case. Fidelity Press, South Bend, IN, 1993, 289 pages.
Walter Debold

This is a book I warmly recommend. The first chapter captured me and the following chapters never ceased to hold me. I am not in love with the title or with the cover illustration, I confess, but that is a matter of taste. You and the publisher and the author may be more easily satisfied. What matters is that it keep moving out of the bookstores.

Case writes very well, indeed. The first of the two parts of the book is autobiographical. His recruitment to the Moonies and his susceptibility will prove completely understandable to those who have worked with cult victims. He fell into the Moonies and out and in and out and in and out, until the reader gets impatient with him. One would like to shake him and scream, "Wake up!" But then, as if that were not enough he turned to dally with The Way International, then he describes a "dharma high" with the Naropa Buddhists in Colorado. After all these detours, he convinced himself that he could not avoid a confrontation with the Catholic Church. That is where he finds himself today in spite of the fact that he was not welcomed with a red carpet or love-bombing. If I were the publisher, I would have been tempted to turn out Part One separately, for while it will not replace Augustine’s Confessions or Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain, it is a moving acknowledgment of one man’s gullibility and his sinfulness.

Part Two, another hundred pages, is entitled "Catholic Cults." Non-Catholics will surely find it very interesting, but for Catholics it should be required reading. It describes how a half dozen of the worst sort of manipulative groups have sprung up under the umbrella of Catholicism and how slow the administration of the church has been to recognize their malice.

Toward the end of the book the author editorializes self-confidently about the "post-conciliar" church, sentiments with which this reviewer wanted to take frequent exception. But that is not a concern for the purposes of this review. Here we must praise his professional competence, his "total recall," his economy of expression, and, finally, his vision. If you know a member of the clergy, of any denomination, make him a present of this paperback. But read it yourself before you give it away.

Walter Debold
Seton Hall University
South Orange, New Jersey