Jul 5, 2020

Children returned to faith-healing grandparents in custody battle


Dan Tilkin
July 3, 2020
KOIN

OREGON CITY, Ore. (KOIN) — There is a new development in an unusual child custody case where a local mother has been fighting to get her children back from her own parents. The parents are members of the Followers of Christ Faith Healing Church in Oregon City. On Thursday, a Clackamas County judge ordered deputies to make sure the mother turned over her three daughters.

Katie Duncan stood with her lawyer, Hank Pailet, outside the Clackamas County Courthouse where cameras weren’t allowed inside. They were fighting Katie’s parents, who were asking a judge to enforce their custody rights after Katie’s three daughters had visitation with their mother.

“These children are going to be traumatized,” said Pailet. “The girls have made a decision on their own to go to [their] mother’s because of conflict in the grandparents’ home. Mother complied and took the children because they refused to go. The Kelleys filed this, which will require the sheriff going to my client’s home and forcibly remove those children.”

‘Followers of Christ’ complicates local custody battle
The Kelleys are Katie’s parents, who raised her in the Followers of Christ Faith Healing Church. She was married at the age of 17. When she and her young husband filed for divorce, the troubled couple signed over custody of their kids. Katie has been fighting to get her kids back, saying that her parents’ “intention was to take our children from us so that they could ensure the children remained in the church.”

The Kelleys’ lawyer said they’ve been negotiating a possible return of the kids to Katie, but warned about breaking the custody order.

“The Kelleys certainly don’t enjoy the idea of the police going to their daughter’s house,” said Alec Laidlaw, the attorney for the Kelleys. “Despite all the acrimony, it’s still their daughter.”

In the courtroom, the judge said she had no choice but to enforce the Kelleys’ custody rights unless Katie’s lawyer could argue they were in immediate danger.

Hours later, Clackamas County deputies talked her daughters through tears into going back to their grandparents.

“Can I walk over to the car with you and have you get in and talk to them? Do you want to try that?” asked a deputy during the transition.

So far in the custody case, court records show that judges haven’t considered the Followers of Christ’s history. At the church cemetery, you will see the graves of children who weren’t taken to doctors. Five couples have been prosecuted.

Faith-healing couple plead guilty in infant’s death
“I don’t speak for the Kelleys’ church. I speak for the Kelleys as far as this case goes,” said Laidlaw. “I’m in no position to talk about or defend or justify or not justify anything having to do with their religious leanings.”

Katie’s fight isn’t over.

In January, a judge decided she has the right to argue that her constitutional parenting rights were violated in the original order that gave custody to her parents. But, there’s frustration that the hearing hasn’t been scheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic.


https://www.koin.com/local/clackamas-county/children-returned-to-faith-healing-grandparents-in-custody-battle/amp/

Jul 1, 2020

ICSA Former Member Workshop







1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Former Member Workshop

This workshop will include an Overview of Recovery, touching on such subjects as attachment, boundaries, and identity. There will also be an opportunity to offer reflections on sessions people have attended during the first day of the conference. The workshop is intended for both first and second/multi-generation former members.

(William Goldberg, Gillie Jenkinson) 

Register: https://icsahome.networkforgood.com/events/21475-icsa-online-summer-conference

More info: https://www.icsahome.com/events/virtual-summer-conference

The Neurobiology of Sexual Abuse: Flashbacks, Triggers and Healing


Saturday, July 11, 11:05 -11:50

"The Neurobiology of Sexual Abuse: Flashbacks, Triggers and Healing" (Doni Whitsett)

The first part of this presentation presents a neurobiological understanding of flashbacks and triggers resulting from sexual abuse. The second part of the presentation offers suggestions for dealing with triggers, learning to manage them, and perhaps using them to facilitate healing.


Register: https://icsahome.networkforgood.com/events/21475-icsa-online-summer-conference

More info: https://www.icsahome.com/events/virtual-summer-conference


Government names institutions that did not sign up to National Redress Scheme for child sexual abuse victims

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston says she does not understand why institutions did not join.(ABC News: Nick Haggarty)
Matthew Doran
ABC News
July 1, 2020

Six institutions, including the Jehovah's Witnesses, have been publicly named by the Federal Government for failing to sign up to the National Redress Scheme for victims of institutional child sexual abuse.

Key points:
  • Organisations had until last night to join the program
  • The Government says those which did not sign up will no longer receive Commonwealth funding
  • 380 non-government institutions have signed up or intend to sign up to the scheme

But within hours of the Government following through with its threat to name recalcitrant organisations, the Australian Air League changed course and announced it would join the scheme.

Organisations had until last night to join the program, with the Commonwealth promising to not only reveal those which refused to take part, but also cut them off from future federal funding and consider ways to cut their charitable status.

The six institutions named this morning are Australian Air League, Boys' Brigade NSW, Fairbridge Restored Limited, Lakes Entrance Pony Club, Jehovah's Witnesses and Kenja Communications.

According to the Federal Government, 55 applications from victims of child sexual abuse could not be processed as a result of the six groups failing to sign up.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston was scathing as she urged the organisations to think about the consequences of not joining.

"Think about the reputational damage by you saying, as an organisation, that despite having a history of working with children, despite having applications against your organisation for child sexual abuse, you still refuse to accept your moral obligation and responsibility to come forward and allow these people the small thing of a bit of redress and a small amount of money to acknowledge that they actually have had wrongs committed against them," she told the ABC's AM program.

"I don't understand how any organisation can take that kind of course of action, so I'll be calling on them to actually rethink their position."
Non-profit joins scheme hours after public naming

After the announcement, the Australian Air League, a not-for-profit organisation for children with an interest in aviation, initially held firm, saying it had already done work to manage claims internally and would not join the redress scheme.

But hours later, it issued a revised statement, saying it had submitted a letter of intent to join the scheme.

"Our members are the lifeblood of our organisation and throughout the day, we have received strong feedback from them and our wider community," the statement said.

"As a result, the Australian Air League has signed and submitted the letter of intent to join the National Redress Scheme.

"We did not take this decision lightly, however our members have made it clear they believe the best way for the Australian Air League to support victim survivors is through the National Redress Scheme. We thank all of our members for their feedback."

The Commonwealth and state and territory governments have all signed up to the scheme — covering any abuse that happened within their institutions.

In total, 224 non-government institutions have agreed to take part in the scheme, while another 156 have signalled their intention to join.

Jehovah's Witnesses argued it did not have the "institutional settings" needed to be covered by the National Redress Scheme.

"Jehovah's Witnesses understand that, to date, there have been less than 10 applicants to the redress scheme who have referred to the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses," the organisation's Tom Pecipajkovski told the ABC.

"Jehovah's Witnesses have responded and will continue to respond directly to individual claims for redress in a caring, fair, and principled manner, taking into consideration the unique circumstances of each claim.

"The religion of Jehovah's Witnesses also provides spiritual comfort and assistance to child abuse victims and their families."

Senator Ruston said it was not up to Jehovah's Witnesses or other organisations to decide whether their models suited the scheme or not.

"It's not up to you to make those decisions," she said.

"Let the independent scheme assess the validity of the arguments you're putting forward because they may well be correct but it's not for them to decide.

"We have applications and we have a responsibility to process them."

The Minister said in the future, if a new non-participating organisation was named in an application, it would have six months from when it was notified of the application to join the scheme, or be publicly named and be ineligible for Commonwealth funding.
Kenja Communications denies any abuse took place

Kenja Communications has denied accusations that it is a cult.

Its founder Ken Dyers took his own life in 2007 after being deemed unfit to stand trial over alleged child sex offences. Another complainant came forward shortly before his death.

The organisation had posted on its website in the days leading up to the deadline, saying it would not sign up.

"We deny that sexual abuse has ever taken place at this organisation," the organisation's co-founder Janice Hamilton said.

"We do not accept that there are genuine claims in this regard, and for that reason we do not propose to participate in The Scheme.

"We reject the claim that in the circumstances, our conduct is reprehensible. We consider we are acting appropriately and responsibly in our community obligations, and in a society based on the rule of law."

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-01/government-names-shames-institutions-not-part-of-redress-scheme/12406850

Jun 30, 2020

What does awe have to do with it?

What does awe have to do with it?

Saturday, July 11, 2:00 - 2:50 PM

"What does awe have to do with it?" (Yuval Laor)

What is awe? What role does awe play in cult recruitment? And what brings about awe experiences? The talk will discuss these and other topics related to this strange emotion and the effects it can have on us.

Register: https://icsahome.networkforgood.com/events/21475-icsa-online-summer-conference

More info: https://www.icsahome.com/events/virtual-summer-conference 

Raised in a Cult: Psychological and Social Adjustment of Second- and Third-Generation Former Cult Members

Raised in a Cult: Psychological and Social Adjustment of Second- and Third-Generation Former Cult Members

Saturday, July 11, 2:00 - 2:50 PM

"Raised in a Cult: Psychological and Social Adjustment of Second- and Third-Generation Former Cult Members" (Sofia Klufas)

Former cult members often find themselves struggling to re-integrate into mainstream society and typically describe long periods of recovery post-exit. The current study aimed to qualitatively explore the experiences of individuals raised in cults (1) during, (2) in the process of leaving, and (3) post-cult involvement in order to understand how cultic influences might impact their ability to socially and psychologically adjust to life outside of the cult upon defection. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 8 participants from across North America and Europe who self-identify as second- and/or third-generation former cult members. Responses were qualitatively analyzed for totalistic patterns of influence which may dissuade members from leaving the group or simply deviating from its norms. Participants reported a wide range of emotional responses and psychological difficulties which they perceived to be the result of their cultic upbringing including but not limited to hyper-arousal, anxiety, doctrine-related fears, feelings of isolation, depression, anger/outbursts and suicidal tendencies. Identity reconstruction and social adjustment challenges such as relationship loss due to shunning, difficulty connecting with others, language differences were also reported by participants. Raised-in cult members are a distinct population from converted cult members as they have been exposed to cultic influence throughout the course of their developmental period. While the experiences of these two groups are comparable in many ways, previous research has demonstrated that raised-in cult members are at higher risk for social and psychological difficulties (Furnari, 2005).

info: https://www.icsahome.com/events/virtual-summer-conference


Register: https://icsahome.networkforgood.com/events/21475-icsa-online-summer-conference

Jun 29, 2020

How Female Former Cult Members Can Reclaim their Relationship with Knowledge and Self-Identity


Saturday, July 11, 1:00 - 1:50 PM

"How Female Former Cult Members Can Reclaim their Relationship with Knowledge and Self-Identity" (Jacqueline Johnson)

High-control and coercive groups work at stealing and silencing the thoughts and knowledge base, and subsequently, the voices, of its members. For females, this dynamic becomes more problematic when those female members are, or have been, part of a misogynous group that incorporates numerous ways of subjugating women. This presentation will outline the research of Belenky et al (1986), which examines the development of women’s self, voice, and mind. Belenky and her colleagues describe the cognitive and intellectual development in women in terms of five knowledge positions (ranging from silence to construction) through which women develop their identity. This presentation will examine ways that high-control, misogynous groups subjugate women, how this affects the epistemology of female cult members, her resulting relationship to knowledge, and the possible impairments to her ability to construct her own knowledge, develop her own identity, and find her own voice. Implications for therapists working with women are discussed in terms of helping former female cult members begin to develop their identity, find their voice, and construct their own knowledge.

More info: https://www.icsahome.com/events/virtual-summer-conference

Register: https://icsahome.networkforgood.com/events/21475-icsa-online-summer-conference

Jun 28, 2020

Nxivm: the Reinventive Path to Success?"


Saturday, July 11, 3:00 - 3:50 PM

"Nxivm: the Reinventive Path to Success?"(Susan Raine, Stephen Kent)

In this session I discuss the multi-level cultic organization, NXIVM. I propose that NXIVM operated as, what Susie Scott (2011) calls, a reinventive institution—that is, an organization that people enter into voluntarily, because they promise to help people transform or reinvent themselves through personal and professional growth, self-actualization, self-improvement, and success. The group’s founder and leader, Keith Raniere offered members these outcomes via the Stripe Path—a hierarchal system of courses that were supposed to empower people as they worked towards personal growth and world peace. Scott stresses, however, that reinventive institutions incorporate structures of power and are far from benign. This dynamic is evident in NXIVM, which offered to empower its members but ultimately ended up disempowering many of them—especially its most committed female followers. I follow up this discussion by addressing how Raniere had groomed many of these most dedicated women for sexual abuse and exploitation. Grant Sinnamon’s (2017) research on adult grooming and Janja Lalich’s (1997) work on the psychosexual exploitation of women in cults provide extremely useful insights for understanding Raniere’s behaviour.

Register: https://icsahome.networkforgood.com/events/21475-icsa-online-summer-conference

More info: https://www.icsahome.com/events/virtual-summer-conference


Jun 27, 2020

Lived Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Former Cult Members – Counseling Implications

Lived Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Former Cult Members – Counseling Implications





Saturday, July 11, 1:00 - 1:50 PM

"Lived Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Former Cult Members – Counseling Implications" (Cyndi Matthews; Stevie Powers)

Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) individuals growing up in religious cults can face opposition to their sexual orientation. They may struggle with depression, anxiety, drug/alcohol abuse, self-mutilation, and suicidal ideation. Research by presenters will describe lived experiences of LGB individuals who grew up in religious cults. Best practices based on this research, APA & ACA Codes of Ethics, along with ASERVIC and ALGBTIC competencies will be presented.

Register: https://icsahome.networkforgood.com/events/21475-icsa-online-summer-conference

CultNEWS101 Articles: 6/26/2020


ICSA Virtual Summer Conference, Naropa, India, Legal, Isha Foundation, Conspiracy Theories, Covid-19, UK


July 11, 11:05 -11:50 / "The Neurobiology of Sexual Abuse: Flashbacks, Triggers and Healing" (Doni Whitsett)

The first part of this presentation presents a neurobiological understanding of flashbacks and triggers resulting from sexual abuse. The second part of the presentation offers suggestions for dealing with triggers, learning to manage them, and perhaps using them to facilitate healing.

This two-day event will include a variety of presentations, panels, and workshops for former members of cultic groups, families and friends, professionals, and researchers.

More info: https://www.icsahome.com/events/virtual-summer-conference

Register: https://icsahome.networkforgood.com/events/21475-icsa-online-summer-conference
"Naropa University was founded in 1974 by Chogyam Trungpa, a Buddhist teacher (or Rinpoche) from Tibet. The school has been a major part of Boulder culture, famously hosting Beat poets and a variety of spiritual teachers. Trungpa also founded Shambhala, a Buddhist organization and worldwide community.
For the past two years, Shambhala — led by Trungpa's son known as Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche — has been engulfed in a major crisis. In 2018, a group called Buddhist Project Sunshine published a series of three reports on sexual violence in Shambhala. It led to the resignation of the Kalapa Council, Shambhala's governing body, to an investigation of some of the claims by the Halifax law firm, Wickwire Holm, and a series of "listening posts" for complaints set up by An Olive Branch which recommended policy changes.
Former guards and attendants known as Kusung wrote an open letter detailing financial mismanagement, verbal abuse, sexual abuse and physical assault by Mipham. Mipham stepped back for a period of two years but still retains full control of the organization. He was recently invited back to teach despite opposition.
The Wickwire Holm finding for Claimant #1 concluded that Sakyong Mipham committed "sexual misconduct" — a broad term that includes "sexual assault" as well as other types of misconduct that are sexual in nature. The conduct that the investigator validated is sexual assault, a criminal offense with no statute of limitations for reporting in Nova Scotia where it happened. Furthermore, the investigator was concerned there may have been collusion among witnesses to set a narrative and attempt to discredit her. There are credible allegations that members of the organization knew about Mipham's sexual misconduct and enabled it or covered it up.
Police investigations were opened in Colorado and Vermont. Two arrests were made in Boulder on charges of sexual abuse of minors. The investigation by the Larimer County Sheriff's Office focused on Shambhala Mountain Center closed after over a year without charges. SMC wrote, "We know this doesn't mean misconduct hasn't happened at SMC." The LCSO said in an email statement, "I can confirm there were allegations of sexual misconduct at the mountain center, but the statute of limitations prevented us from filing charges."
In July of 2018, Naropa removed Mipham from the Board of Trustees and from the role of Naropa Lineage Holder. However, he may regain the board seat. Naropa stated in a letter, "We find the accounts of these women to be credible and believable." Yet Naropa faculty who hold teaching positions in Shambhala have continued to minimize and distort incidents of sexual violence. Instead of compassion and justice for survivors, they have been silenced and shunned. That's to say nothing of the undealt with issue of racism, which is not unrelated."

Karnataka Chief Justice Abhay Sreeniwas Oka stated that the state government "should not be influenced by the fact that influential people are involved in this project".

"The Karnataka High Court once again pulled up the 'Cauvery Calling' campaign launched by Isha Foundation questioning who will be leading the campaign in Karnataka – Isha Foundation, or the Karnataka government.

"Karnataka Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka asked the counsel representing the Karnataka government to explain who was implementing the agroforestry campaign.

"The state (government) has said that after receiving a project report from Isha Foundation, it had forwarded it to the state forest department following which the project was allowed. The state government has to explain if it is driving the project and how it has allowed Isha Foundation to claim it is their project," Abhay Shreeniwas Oka stated.

He further stated that the state government "should not be influenced by the fact that influential people are involved in this project". He also asked whether the state government will place on record that Isha Foundation will not collect funds in the name of 'Cauvery Calling' or whether the state government will issue a notification stating the same.

The High Court judge was referring to an affidavit filed by the Karnataka government stating that a detailed project report for 'Cauvery Calling' prepared by the Isha Foundation was sent to the Karnataka Forest Department in April 2019. The state government promised that funds will be allocated in the budget and that the project will be implemented as part of a government scheme of the forest department – Krishi Aranya Protsaha Yojane (KAPY)..."

BBC: Coronavirus: Social media 'spreading virus conspiracy theories'
"Unregulated social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube may present a health risk to the UK because they are spreading conspiracy theories about coronavirus.That's the conclusion of a peer-reviewed study published in the journal Psychological Medicine, which finds people who get their news from social media sources are more likely to break lockdown rules.
The research team from Kings College London suggests social media news sites may need to do more to regulate misleading content."One wonders how long this state of affairs can be allowed to persist while social media platforms continue to provide a worldwide distribution mechanism for medical misinformation," the report concludes.

The study analysed surveys conducted across Britain in April and May this year.Facebook said it had removed "hundreds of thousands" of coronavirus posts that could have led to harm, while putting warning labels on "90 million pieces of misinformation" globally in March and April.
People were asked if they believed a number of conspiracy theories relating to Covid-19: that the virus was made in a laboratory, that death and infection figures were being manipulated by the authorities, that symptoms were linked to 5G radiation or that there was no hard evidence the virus even exists.None of these theories has any basis in verifiable fact.
Those who believed such conspiracies were significantly more likely to get their news from unregulated social media. For example, 56% of people who believe that there's no hard evidence coronavirus exists get a lot of their information from Facebook, compared with 20% of those who reject the conspiracy theory."



News, Education, Intervention, Recovery

Intervention101.com to help families and friends understand and effectively respond to the complexity of a loved one's cult involvement.
CultRecovery101.com assists group members and their families make the sometimes difficult transition from coercion to renewed individual choice.
CultNEWS101.com news, links, resources.
Cults101.org 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.

CultNEWS101 Articles: 6/27-28/2020


ICSA Virtual Event, Scientology, Legal, Trafficking

This two-day event will include a variety of presentations, panels, and workshops for former members of cultic groups, families and friends, professionals, and researchers. 

Day 1 -- Saturday Conference Sessions, July 11, 2020 (11 am - 4 pm US Eastern Time)

Day 2 -- Sunday Workshops, July 12, 2020 (11 am - 4 pm US Eastern Time)

Saturday, July 11, 2020

11:05 -11:50 / "The Neurobiology of Sexual Abuse: Flashbacks, Triggers and Healing" (Doni Whitsett)

The first part of this presentation presents a neurobiological understanding of flashbacks and triggers resulting from sexual abuse. The second part of the presentation offers suggestions for dealing with triggers, learning to manage them, and perhaps using them to facilitate healing.


11:05 -11:50 / "MIND FIXERS: The History of Mass Therapy With its Roots in Mind Dynamics Institute, Misuse of Zen Insights, and Hyping the Positive Thinking of New Thought Religion." (Joseph Kelly, Joseph Szimhart, Patrick Ryan)

The title for this presentation, "MIND FIXERS: The History of Mass Therapy With its Roots in Mind Dynamics Institute, Misuse of Zen Insights, and Hyping the Positive Thinking of New Thought Religion," covers a vast arena for specialized workshops that range from one day to several weeks. Borrowing techniques from encounter group formats, military boot camp training, and the mindfulness movements these specialized groups operate as unregulated mass therapy businesses and are not licensed as mental health professions. The stated purpose of these "large group awareness trainings" is to increase self-realization and success in life. The outcomes, however, are problematic with some critics claiming that a form of "brainwashing" is taking place that emphasizes promotion of the workshops while any real-life gains are highly questionable. Some participants report psychological and social harm. The speakers will guide a discussion to address the criticisms.


12:00 - 12:50 / "Coercive Control and Persuasion in Relationships and Groups– Intersections and Understandings" (Rod Dubrow-Marshall; Linda Dubrow-Marshall; Carrie McManus; Andrea Silverstone)

This panel will examine contemporary understandings of coercive control in relationships and groups with practitioners from both sides of the Atlantic. The way in which the term 'coercive control' is now being used and applied in different jurisdictions will be discussed and how changes to the law are reflecting advances in our understanding of how coercive control works psychologically across contexts. It will also be explored how a heightened dialogue between practitioners and researchers across the fields of intimate partner violence and cults/sects and extremist groups is leading to enhanced appreciation of commonalities in the process of psychological indoctrination. Positive implications for prevention, exit and recovery and rehabilitation across these areas will also be discussed along with recommendations for policy makers.


12:00 - 12:50 PM / "Unification Church (Moonie) SGAs: The Future is Unwritten" (Lisa Kohn; Teddy Hose; Jen Kiaba)

A panel of Unification Church (Moonie) SGAs (Jen Kiaba, Teddy Hose, and Lisa Kohn) will discuss their different experiences of living in, leaving, and learning to thrive after being part of the Unification Church (the "Moonies"). The questions and discussions will focus on how the panelists experienced being part of the Unification Church, how they were able to leave the Church, how they still feel affected by their childhood in the Church, and how they have healed since leaving the Church.


1:00 - 1:50 PM / "Lived Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Former Cult Members – Counseling Implications" (Cyndi Matthews; Stevie Powers)

Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) individuals growing up in religious cults can face opposition to their sexual orientation. They may struggle with depression, anxiety, drug/alcohol abuse, self-mutilation, and suicidal ideation. Research by presenters will describe lived experiences of LGB individuals who grew up in religious cults. Best practices based on this research, APA & ACA Codes of Ethics, along with ASERVIC and ALGBTIC competencies will be presented.


1:00 - 1:50 PM / "How Female Former Cult Members Can Reclaim their Relationship with Knowledge and Self-Identity" (Jacqueline Johnson)

High-control and coercive groups work at stealing and silencing the thoughts and knowledge base, and subsequently, the voices, of its members. For females, this dynamic becomes more problematic when those female members are, or have been, part of a misogynous group that incorporates numerous ways of subjugating women. This presentation will outline the research of Belenky et al (1986), which examines the development of women's self, voice, and mind. Belenky and her colleagues describe the cognitive and intellectual development in women in terms of five knowledge positions (ranging from silence to construction) through which women develop their identity. This presentation will examine ways that high-control, misogynous groups subjugate women, how this affects the epistemology of female cult members, her resulting relationship to knowledge, and the possible impairments to her ability to construct her own knowledge, develop her own identity, and find her own voice. Implications for therapists working with women are discussed in terms of helping former female cult members begin to develop their identity, find their voice, and construct their own knowledge.


2:00 - 2:50 PM / "Raised in a Cult: Psychological and Social Adjustment of Second- and Third-Generation Former Cult Members" (Sofia Klufas)

Former cult members often find themselves struggling to re-integrate into mainstream society and typically describe long periods of recovery post-exit. The current study aimed to qualitatively explore the experiences of individuals raised in cults (1) during, (2) in the process of leaving, and (3) post-cult involvement in order to understand how cultic influences might impact their ability to socially and psychologically adjust to life outside of the cult upon defection. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 8 participants from across North America and Europe who self-identify as second- and/or third-generation former cult members. Responses were qualitatively analyzed for totalistic patterns of influence which may dissuade members from leaving the group or simply deviating from its norms. Participants reported a wide range of emotional responses and psychological difficulties which they perceived to be the result of their cultic upbringing including but not limited to hyper-arousal, anxiety, doctrine-related fears, feelings of isolation, depression, anger/outbursts and suicidal tendencies. Identity reconstruction and social adjustment challenges such as relationship loss due to shunning, difficulty connecting with others, language differences were also reported by participants. Raised-in cult members are a distinct population from converted cult members as they have been exposed to cultic influence throughout the course of their developmental period. While the experiences of these two groups are comparable in many ways, previous research has demonstrated that raised-in cult members are at higher risk for social and psychological difficulties (Furnari, 2005).


2:00 - 2:50 PM / "What does awe have to do with it?" (Yuval Laor)

What is awe? What role does awe play in cult recruitment? And what brings about awe experiences? The talk will discuss these and other topics related to this strange emotion and the effects it can have on us.


3:00 - 3:50 PM / "Nxivm: the Reinventive Path to Success?"(Susan Raine, Stephen Kent)

In this session I discuss the multi-level cultic organization, NXIVM. I propose that NXIVM operated as, what Susie Scott (2011) calls, a reinventive institution—that is, an organization that people enter into voluntarily, because they promise to help people transform or reinvent themselves through personal and professional growth, self-actualization, self-improvement, and success. The group's founder and leader, Keith Raniere offered members these outcomes via the Stripe Path—a hierarchal system of courses that were supposed to empower people as they worked towards personal growth and world peace. Scott stresses, however, that reinventive institutions incorporate structures of power and are far from benign. This dynamic is evident in NXIVM, which offered to empower its members but ultimately ended up disempowering many of them—especially its most committed female followers. I follow up this discussion by addressing how Raniere had groomed many of these most dedicated women for sexual abuse and exploitation. Grant Sinnamon's (2017) research on adult grooming and Janja Lalich's (1997) work on the psychosexual exploitation of women in cults provide extremely useful insights for understanding Raniere's behaviour.


3:00 - 3:50 PM / "What Do I Tell People? Empowered Ways that Cult Survivors and their Families Can Tell their Stories. Cults, Recovery and Podcasts." (Rachel Bernstein)

Nearly all my clients and podcast guests have experienced fear when thinking about telling people about their cult-related experiences. Many live in isolation because of this, and at times it's for good reason. When they've tried to share their stories, they've been responded to with insulting judgment and condescension, with confusion and disbelief, or with inappropriately voyouristic interest and invasive follow-up questions. Learn how to take control of that conversation and present your story in an educational and empowered way so you don't have to live in fear of these moments and remain silent and alone.
This two-day event will include a variety of presentations, panels, and workshops for former members of cultic groups, families and friends, professionals, and researchers.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

11:00 AM - 1:00 PM / Research Workshop
The Research Workshop will be facilitated by Rod Dubrow-Marshall, Chair of the ICSA Research Network and Co-Editor of the International Journal of Coercion, Abuse and Manipulation (IJCAM). He will speak initially with a short overview about research on cults and coercive control and he will be followed by introductory talks by Cyndi Matthews, Managing Editor of IJCAM, Marie-Andrée Pelland, Co-Editor of IJCAM and Omar Saldaña from the University of Barcelona, who will each speak about research and developments in their respective areas.


The Research Workshop will focus on key areas of research currently taking place on cults and extremist groups and related areas of coercive control including intimate partner violence, trafficking and gangs. Researchers will be able to discuss the challenges they may be facing or may have faced in proposing new research projects in these areas, including getting institutional approval (IRB or ethics committee), finding participants, clarifying aspects of research design and getting support from faculty/professors. Experienced researchers will be on hand to answer questions and all those present will be able to share their ideas on current and future research including possibilities for collaboration. Plans and opportunities for the ICSA Research Network will also be discussed.   


11:00 AM - 2:00 PM / Mental Health Workshop
(Linda Dubrow-Marshall, Lorna Goldberg, Jacqueline Johnson)


1:00 PM - 4:00 PM / Former Member Workshop
This workshop will include an Overview of Recovery, touching on such subjects as attachment, boundaries, and identity. There will also be an opportunity to offer reflections on sessions people have attended during the first day of the conference. The workshop is intended for both first and second/multi-generation former members. 
(William Goldberg, Gillie Jenkinson)   

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM / Family Workshop
"Building Bridges; Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships: A Workshop for Families"
Topics discussed include assessing a family's unique situation; understanding why people join and leave groups; considering the nature of psychological manipulation and abuse; being accurate, objective, and up-to-date; looking at ethical issues; learning how to assess your situation; developing problem-solving skills; formulating a helping strategy; learning how to communicate more effectively with your loved one; learning new ways of coping. 
(Rachel Bernstein, MSed, LMFT, Joseph Kelly, Patrick Ryan)   





"A woman has dropped the lawsuit she filed last year against the Church of Scientology that alleged she was repeatedly sexually abused as a child in Scientology's care, including as a kindergartner at the church's Clearwater Academy.

The woman, named as Jane Doe in court records, filed her complaint in Miami-Dade circuit court in September, becoming the third lawsuit lodged against Scientology and its leader David Miscavige in 2019.

On May 15, a Miami-Dade judge granted Scientology's request to transfer the case to Pinellas County. Doe dismissed the case on June 5, according to court records.

A legal team led by Philadelphia-based victims' rights attorney Brian Kent represented the complainants in all three 2019 lawsuits against the church.

Kent last year described the litigation as an effort to expose Scientology's structure and policies that allegedly enable abuse, human trafficking and harassment of critics. But the dismissal of Doe's case is the second blow to Kent's legal offensive: in January, a Los Angeles judge granted the church's request to move former Scientologist Valerie Haney's human trafficking and stalking lawsuit into the church's internal arbitration.

Kent did not respond to a phone call or email requesting comment. The Tampa Bay Times is aware of Doe's identity but is not naming her because she is an alleged victim of sexual abuse. Doe told the Times she decided to drop the lawsuit because of unresponsiveness from her legal team and after getting an update from the Clearwater Police Department about its investigation into her complaints. She described the update as disappointing."

Polaris Project: Trafficking Is Also Hidden in Our Favorite Restaurant's Kitchen
"Stuck in our homes, sick of our own cooking, the individuals who flip our burgers, fry our egg rolls and top our pizzas deserve our appreciation and our support more than ever before. They are also – like all low-wage workers and particularly immigrants – more vulnerable than ever before to being trafficked and exploited by unscrupulous, opportunistic business owners and managers. And now, more than ever, we all have a stake in ensuring that doesn't happen because the health and safety of workers in the restaurants we enjoy has never been more directly connected to our own.
Since 2007, Polaris has operated the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline, which receives reports of suspected or potential sex and labor trafficking situations and provides confidential services and support to victims and survivors. In that time, Polaris learned about 672 cases of labor trafficking involving restaurant work and 1,448 cases of labor exploitation. Exploitation or mistreatment and abuse of workers becomes trafficking when force, fraud or coercion is used to recruit workers or to keep them on the job. The number of victims in these cases may be far higher as many trafficking situations victimize more than one person.
Data from the Trafficking Hotline suggests that the vast majority of workers trafficked in restaurants – some 80 percent – are foreign nationals.  From 2015-2018, the Trafficking Hotline responded to 625 victims of labor trafficking in restaurants and food service operations. Many workers are here legally on temporary work visas known as H-2Bs. These visas are inherently flawed for several reasons. While it is illegal to charge potential workers for the visas – or for any step along the way in the process – many recruiters do so anyway, leaving workers and their families in crippling debt just to secure a job. That means these workers are forced to borrow money just to get the job. If a restaurant is shuttered because of COVID, these workers will have to take whatever work they can find – no matter how exploitative – to pay off those debts.
With increased desperation from workers, unscrupulous business owners-  traffickers – can easily trap workers in a situation of forced labor.  Trafficking regularly happens on H-2B visas because workers must work for the original sponsoring business.  If they quit, they lose their legal status. A common labor trafficking situation occurs when an employer demands that a worker labor for virtually no pay or in unsafe conditions, and then threatens to have the worker deported if they refuse. Under the current situation with COVID, many businesses that sponsor workers on H-2B visas have been closed, and the legal status and income for these workers in the country is uncertain.
Restaurant workers who were undocumented to begin with face similarly unacceptable choices that can lead to trafficking.  Outside of the protection of most of our laws, the only bargaining power they have in normal, or good economic times is that these jobs are hard, and low paying. Restaurants have to fill them, workers can be choosy. Now, with jobs growing ever scarcer, these workers have no leverage whatsoever. Traffickers know they can take advantage of this vulnerable position and exploit workers."


News, Education, Intervention, Recovery


Intervention101.com to help families and friends understand and effectively respond to the complexity of a loved one's cult involvement.
CultRecovery101.com assists group members and their families make the sometimes difficult transition from coercion to renewed individual choice.
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Cults101.org 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.