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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.

Info-Cult/Info-Secte

Michael Kropveld

Info-Cult/Info-Secte, a resource centre on cultic thinking, was founded in 1980 in Montreal, Canada following my brief experience with the Unification Church (UC) in 1977 and specifically that involving a very close friend. After the story of my friend�s kidnapping and deprogramming from the Unification Church was featured in a series of newspaper articles in 1977 (the Montreal Star: Freed, 1977 December, 1978 January), his close friends and I organized a part-time volunteer public information service.

After obtaining funding in April 1980 a full-time center called the Cult Project was started.

The center�s contention was that not all cults were problematic; hence, a distinction between �cults� and �destructive cults� was made.

The center's activities included providing information programs to high schools, colleges, universities, community centers, and professional organizations principally in and around the Montreal region. These programs were geared towards sensitizing and educating the community to the issue of destructive cults and the techniques of mind control.

A documentation center was made available to the public containing books, newspaper and journal articles, and audio-visual materials. In the beginning, information focused on the experiences of families and ex-members. However, it soon became apparent that the collection must be diversified to include other perspectives.

During the first ten years, the majority of our clients were parents of cult members, ex-members, students, and teachers. Contacts with groups perceived as �cults�, �destructive cults�, or those with opposing points of view were minimal.

In 1990 the Cult Project changed its name to Info-Cult ("Info-Secte" in French). The objectives of Info-Cult are:

  1. To promote the study of cultic phenomena;
  2. To sensitize, inform and educate the public to these phenomena;
  3. To assist those with problems related to these phenomena.

Info-Cult�s funding comes in the form of an annual grant from the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services, discretionary funds from different Provincial Ministers, foundations, private groups, and individual donations, as well as fees for certain services. Info-Cult is the only organization in North America that receives government support.

Info-Cult�s clientele has greatly expanded through the years. Besides parents, ex-members, students and teachers, clientele now includes members of different new religions, academics, mental health professionals, attorneys, law enforcement, media and others.

From 1990 to the present Info-Cult has had numerous contacts and meetings with members and representatives of �cult� groups, spiritual organizations, and new religious movements. Increasing interest and communication from academics with varying viewpoints has helped to broaden Info-Cult�s analysis and perspective on the issue.

Info-Cult is the only full-time organization of its kind in Canada. It houses a documentation center that is one of the largest in the world with over 2,500 books, 9,000 files, academic reports, journals, newsletters, government and legal documents and more than 1,500 programs on audio and video cassettes. The material, mostly in English and French, is collected from sources around the world and includes group-generated and critical literature.

The documentation center is open on a restricted basis until opening to the public is considered feasible.

Info-Cult is widely regarded as a major source of information and assistance for dealing with �cults,� new religions, Satanism, the Occult and other non-traditional and secretive groups.

With this reputation comes enormous responsibility to respond to individual and family concerns in a nuanced and balanced way. Info-Cult, as well as AFF, avoids simplistic �yes� or �no� responses to complex questions such as �Is Group X a cult?� or �Is the group my loved-one joined dangerous?�

Although Info-Cult has evolved over the years, certain positions on accessibility, kidnapping, and legislation have remained constant:

         Info-Cult has always operated out of a known location and is easily reachable by phone.

         Contrary to a popular belief concerning �anti-cult� groups, Info-Cult has not supported or assisted in the use of coercive measures to remove someone from a group (see Kropveld, 2003). In situations where we have been asked about that option, we have consistently counseled against it and have suggested non-coercive alternatives

         Existing laws are sufficient in dealing with the multiple problems associated with �cults� and cultic groups

Though the beginnings of AFF and Info-Cult are different, at present both organizations have positions that are very similar concerning how to respond to the multiple concerns raised by the issue of �cults."

_

 

Resources

<< Info-Cult/Info-Secte - Profile
Kropveld, Michael: "An Example for Controversy: Creating a Model for Reconciliation"
Kropveld, Michael: "Preventive Education: A North American Perspective"
Ω Conference 1997: PA Presenter
Ω Conference 2003 CA: Presenter
√ Video: "Symposium - Theory and Cults: In search of the Perfect Explanation, Sociological Theories, Psychological Manipulation: The Abuse of Women Conference"

 

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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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