Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Cult Phenomenon, HOW GROUPS OPERATE # 5 How to



Click link and when page comes up follow little YELLOW ARROWS to read on line this excellent material

(From the Intro):

Since the beginning of time, human beings have been attracted to individuals who proclaim divine messages. They have also felt the need to share their beliefs and practices with others. Therefore, the existence of groups referred to as “new religious movements,” “spiritual groups” or “cults” is not a new phenomenon.

Since the 60s, these groups have elicited reactions from the media, the public, academics and governments. For some, they are innovative organizations trying to respond to the needs of specific groups of people and should not be the object of monitoring or special attention. For others, they warrant closer observation in order to better understand the experiences of their members and to step in when members are being harmed.

When tragedy strikes, fear of these groups is re-ignited. Examples include the deaths of 913 members of Jim Jones' People's Temple in Guyana in 1978; the violent deaths of members of the Branch Davidians in Waco in 1993; the murder, arson and suicide carried out by members of the Order of the Solar Temple in 1994, 1995 and 1997; the sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway by members of Aum Shinrikyo in 1995; and the suicide of Heaven's Gate members in California in 1997. These dramatic events reinforced the idea that “cults” are dangerous.

While these events (arson, murder or suicide) are extremely rare, they do occur and are a serious issue that merits attention.

The “cult” phenomenon is first and foremost a group phenomenon. Understanding how groups operate and the rules that govern interpersonal relations can provide insight into all of the organizations termed “cults” or “new religious movements.”

Info-Cult produced this publication to address these various issues and to inform the public about the internal and external functioning of groups.

Work on this publication began in 1999, which coincided with the 25th anniversary of the National Assembly's adoption of the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the 20th anniversary of the creation of Info-Cult. Four years later, the project has become a reality. This book, inspired by the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms as well as a desire to understand how these groups operate in a democratic society, explores various aspects of the “cult” phenomenon. Here are some of the objectives:

· Inform the reader about the position of groups in a democratic society;

· Understand the internal and external operations of groups as well as some of their problematic aspects;

· Foster discussion and debate about groups in general and on the “cult” phenomenon;

· Promote the development of critical thinking about groups in our society.

To achieve these objectives, each chapter addresses a different aspect of how groups operate in a democratic society.

Chapter 1 offers an historical overview of Info-Cult, from its creation to the present. It also traces the organization's understanding of the cult phenomenon, its services, its clientele and relations between Info-Cult and national and international organizations.

Chapter 2 provides a summary of the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and explains the role of the Commission (Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse).

Chapter 3 focuses on how groups operate. How they serve as places of social participation, reassurance and exchange, but also as places of exclusion and psychological brutality. This chapter provides an introduction to the general knowledge of how groups operate and their effects on their members.

Chapter 4 looks at how three groups function: Roch “Moses” Thériault's group, the Order of the Solar Temple (OTS) and Heaven's Gate. These portraits provide a history of each group, from its inception to the violent acts that lead to the physical abuse or death of their members.

Chapter 5 provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions received by Info-Cult.

Six appendices complete the publication.

The “cult” phenomenon is a vast topic that can be approached from a number of different angles. This book does not address all of the questions that can be asked on this subject but the objective is to present a different view of the “cult” phenomenon.


Monday, March 23, 2009

# 4 How to get my Loved One Out of the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi

We cannot use Unethical Methods to get people out of cults

We would be using their unethical methods

The playing field is not level; they use unethical methods to get people in; we cannot use unethical methods to get them out. One of the principles of a cult is that the end justifies the means. We cannot do that. It is wrong, unethical. If we consider ourselves Christians we have to trust God and Grace, and believe the Holy Spirit still has some wriggle room. And Pray!

From professional Mental Health Cult Counselors

Covert Interventions and Professional Codes of Ethics

Q/ This topic has been discussed in the context of ethics of exit counseling, but I wanted to ask for people’s thoughts on this issue when such methods are employed by licensed mental health professionals bound by codes of ethics such as APA, NASW, or counseling who are in some way interacting with current cult members. Do people here think that MH professionals conducting covert interventions on people in cults violates professional ethics? By “covert intervention” I mean the professional interaction with someone in a cult without identifying self to the person with the family paying the professional to interact with the person and this not being disclosed. A more subtle form is employing covert communication techniques in an intervention with a cult member – in this case, the cult member knows who the professional is but is unaware of the techniques being used. Would either be considered a violation of professional ethics, in the opinion of people here? In addition to the issue of informed consent that is in all professional codes of ethics, what comes to mind for me is the core social work value of client self determination and how such an interaction may violate this. Even though it could be argued that the cult has already violated the person’s self-determination does that mean it is okay for the professional to do covert intervention? In my opinion, I don’t think it does and it is modeling cult manipulation. For this reason I have declined doing covert interventions since I have become a mental health professional because as a professional (and also as a human being) I no longer feel it is right.

A/ I was wondering when this issue would be brought up for discussion. Of course there are exit counselors who are not licensed mental health professionals who do covert interventions, but I am even uncomfortable with that situation. Both myself and X, who was my partner for many years in Int’l Churches of Christ interventions, were adamant with families that the cult member knew who we were and why the family had asked them to interact with us. We even struggled at times with the “surprise” aspect of the intervention and encouraged families to make sure that they fulfilled the stated purpose of the family getting together (family vacation, etc.). Intervention work is very difficult ethically at times! However, for a mental health professional to be covert in working with a cult member or to use techniques of communication that often times the cults themselves use, I have a very, very hard time with that. I don’t know how they can get around the ethics required for professionals. And for those who state that they use a “therapy” model for interventions, to me I have a question about whether any individual should have their informed consent for therapy usurped even in a cultic situation.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

#3 -How to get my loved one out of the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi

Anonymous asked how to get someone out and how to help exiting members:

My answer:

that's a tall order...

Helping exiting/exited members is easier than trying to get someone to leave.


there is quite a lot written about his on the webpage re Recovery and Healing and through reFOCUS; the links are here, I believe.

EXITING members need what most people need when they are in a PERSONAL CRISIS

[there was an old book out there called "Living Through Personal Crisis"; perhaps the would-be helper should read it first]

1- Understanding, acceptance and listening from friends and family:

Don't judge, or tell them "I told you so" and other blaming messages.
KEEP ALL ADVICE to a minimum, including pious stuff;
Give them a lot of privacy, with suport and freedom to start finding their own way out of the woods; dont push, dont very, very pacient.
Be gently available if and when and in whatever area they need you.

2- May need material help such as money, a place to stay, and a job. Company is good, in general, while respecting their privacy. The warm atmosphere of a family or home is good for them. While respecting their privacy don't leave them alone for too long. This is a delicate balance.

3- Pastoral and/or psychological counseling -they may be suffering from Depression, Anxiety and or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; crisis of faith in God, in Jesus, the Church, humanity in general, may be fearsome, almost paranoid... Make sure they are not suicidal. It does no harm to ask. You may gently suggest counseling if you see them "in bad shape" but dont insist or reject them because they don't accept your advice. Remember YOU are their resource!

4- All the modern stuff about Active Listening really works.

5- Open yourself up to contemplative prayer and to be guided by the Holy Spirit [and the Blessed Virgin Mary, if such is your devotion]; but keep this to yourself.