Aug 14, 2020

CultNEWS101 Articles: 3/14/2020

Exorcism, Online Event, Leaderless Cults, Witches, Jehovah's Witness 

"International Association of Exorcists wants people to understand the practice better.

An international association of Catholic exorcists has published a new manual on the practice of exorcism, and it’s being made available to the general public.

That’s not to say that the association is encouraging the general public to begin performing deliverances. Quite the opposite. The International Association of Exorcists insists that exorcisms be done only by priests who are authorized by their bishops.

Guidelines for the Ministry of Exorcism was published in May in Italian. The IAE said an English version is being reviewed by the Vatican but should be out by late 2020 or early 2021.

The IAE was founded 20 years ago by Fr. Gabriele Amorth, a well-known Rome exorcist, and a few other priests. The current president, Fr. Francesco Bamonte, said in an interview with Avvenire, an Italian daily newspaper affiliated with the Bishops’ Conference of Italy, that the book is intended to offer priest-members of the association a handbook of doctrine and practice in light of the Ritual of Exorcisms of the Catholic Church. Originally, it was published online, accessible only to members, but the association decided to make it public after many priests and bishops said it could do a lot of good. Fr. Bamonte added that its publication could also help clarify “several obscure and confused points that accompany the delicate ministry of exorcism … to act as a counterweight to the many publications that emphasize the sensationalist aspects of diabolical action.”

The ministry does not arise from a “fear of witches,” he said, but from Jesus Christ, who gave the power of exorcism to the apostles and their successors. Thus, the authority to perform exorcisms belongs exclusively to priests assigned by their bishop. There are too many “rogue operators” who do not acknowledge that fact, said a report at Crux."

Abstract: It is routine for abusive churches to justify their cult-like treatment of members based on adherence to historic Christian beliefs, or to claimed affinity with well-known, trusted denominations and religious organizations. 

This talk will focus on how unhealthy Christian churches can become de facto cults, the role controlling theology can play in creating a high-pressure environment in which people adopt group prejudices, and conclude with questions you can raise about a group to help evaluate spiritual abuse, the potential for it, or if high-control scenarios already exist.  

The context for this discussion will pull from reflections of being a born and raised former member of a fundamentalist Christian sect.

Biography: Ashlen Hilliard is the Assistant to the Executive Director for the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). Before ICSA, she worked as a case manager that helped individuals leaving polygamy out west. ICSA has provider her with a greater appreciation of the spectrum of coercive control and its international dimension, and her current focuses are event organization and former member outreach.

She was born and raised in the fundamentalist churches of Christ (Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement), and attended the sect’s choice of higher education at Florida College, where she received her BA in Communication with a minor in Biblical Studies.

Ashlen relocated to Portland, Oregon earlier this year where she is involved in local Spiritual Abuse Forum for Education (SAFE) Meetups for survivors of cultic and spiritual abuse. Ashlen facilitates support groups and meetings online for former members of cultic groups, and organized a webinar series during COVID-19 to help provide cult recovery and family support in an online format.

She has been interviewed on cults on NPR One Podcast Series with FGCU and The Tennessee Holler. She has published an article in ICSA Today 10.2 / 2019 on, The Genesis, Text, and Implications of Utah House Bill 214: Office for Victims of Crime Amendments.  In addition to event organization, she has also presented at multiple ICSA conferences. 

More Information:

* Pacific Rim/UK: September 12/13, 2020, Saturday/Sunday
* North America: September 11/12, 2020, Friday/Saturday
"Witch hunts are far from being a thing of the past — even in the 21st century. In many countries, this is still a sad reality for many women today. That is why August 10 has been declared a World Day against Witch Hunts.

Akua Denteh was beaten to death in Ghana's East Gonja District last month — after being accused of being a witch. The murder of the 90-year-old has once more highlighted the deep-seated prejudices against women accused of practicing witchcraft in Ghana, many of whom are elderly.

An arrest was made in early August, but the issue continues to draw attention after authorities were accused of dragging their heels in the case. Human rights and gender activists now demand to see change in culture in a country where supernatural beliefs play a big role.

But the case of Akua Denteh is far from an isolated instance in Ghana, or indeed the world at large. In many countries of the world, women are still accused of practicing witchcraft each year. They are persecuted and even killed in organized witch hunts — especially in Africa but also in Southeast Asia and Latin America."

"When 16-year-old Sian sat down and told her mum she had been sexually assaulted, she said she was subjected to a barrage of questions like what was she wearing, did she enjoy it and did she definitely say no?

Her mother, a zealous Jehovah's Witness, told her teenage daughter if she had been more immersed in the faith, maybe even prayed more, it would never have happened.

Now aged 35 and with three of her own children, Sian has virtually no contact with her mum despite the fact they live immediately next door.

In a pitiful effort to maintain some sort of normality, occasionally Sian comes across small bags of sweets left on her garden wall for her children. Sometimes, envelopes stuffed with money are posted through the letterbox and once a package containing an X-Box was dropped off at the house." to help families and friends understand and effectively respond to the complexity of a loved one's cult involvement. assists group members and their families make the sometimes difficult transition from coercion to renewed individual choice. news, links, resources. resources about cults, cultic groups, abusive relationships, movements, religions, political organizations and related topics.

Selection of articles for CultNEWS101 does not mean that Patrick Ryan or Joseph Kelly agree with the content. We provide information from many points of view in order to promote dialogue.

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