Feb 28, 2022

CultNEWS101 Articles: 2/28/2022 (Greg Locke, Northridge Church, Clergy Sexual Abuse, Legal, In Sinu Jesu, Spiritual Abuse, Shen Yun, Falun Gong, China)

Greg Locke, Northridge Church, Clergy Sexual Abuse, Legal, In Sinu Jesu, Spiritual Abuse, Shen Yun, Falun Gong, China

Controversial Tennessee preacher Greg Locke has turned from claims of election fraud to conversations with demons.

" ... In recent years Locke has used his sermons to attack LGBTQ people, accuse Democratic politicians of child abuse, spread claims about election fraud, denounce vaccines and claim that the COVID-19 pandemic is a hoax. During Sunday's sermon, he blamed witchcraft for an outbreak of illness in the church."

" .... Two of the witches were in his wife's Bible study, '' said Locke, who warned the alleged witches not to make a move during his sermon. He then retold the New Testament story of Jesus casting a demon out of a man and into a herd of pigs, turning it into an extended monologue about witches in the church."
"The senior pastor of a rural Minnesota church and his wife have resigned amid mounting allegations of abuse and cover-up by family members on the church staff.

Mark Perryman reportedly resigned last Sunday from Northridge Church, an Assemblies of God congregation in Owatonna, Minnesota. His resignation came less than a week after his son-in-law, former associate pastor Sean Masopust, was charged with criminal sexual conduct."
"On Friday of last week, Irish blogger Pat Buckley reported that four men have come forward with allegations including boundary violations, spiritual abuse, and sexual harassment against Dom Mark Kirby of Silverstream Priory, the author and alleged visionary behind the popular devotional book In Sinu Jesu. These new allegations follow a lengthy August 2021 interview with Fr. Benedict Andersen in the Pillar.

Fr. Andersen is a Silverstream monk who is currently in canonical limbo, unable to minister as a priest after his complaints of inappropriate behavior and spiritual abuse by Fr. Kirby resulted in an apostolic visitation of the priory. Formerly the sub-prior of the community, Andersen was the first person to publicly bring forward allegations against Kirby, although stories about Kirby's past and his allegedly abusive treatment of his subordinates had been circulating for years.

If these new allegations are true, it appears that Fr. Andersen has been vindicated. Not only was he mistreated by Fr. Kirby, but his treatment by the diocese has been unjust."
" ... This dance company, whose name roughly translates to "Divine Rhythm," performs under the auspices of Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, a spiritual practice drawing on the Chinese Buddhist and Daoist traditions. Followers practice qigong, meditation, and moral philosophy with the aim of achieving spiritual enlightenment. Uniquely among qigong practices, however, this school incorporates apocalyptic and messianic elements centered around founder Li Hongzhi—a battle for human consciousness between the enlightened and space aliens (!) to be followed by an impending judgment day.

While practitioners are instructed to be opaque about Li's teaching with the uninitiated, what can be found about Falun Gong's beliefs is a bit concerning. Li has claimed that alien life forms intend to displace humanity with clones and that scientific development is the result of alien interference. He has further claimed that race-mixing in humans is an alien plot to drive humanity further from God and that heaven is racially segregated. Li apparently so despises miscegenation that he has been recorded as saying: "When a child is born from an interracial marriage, that child does not have a heavenly kingdom to go to."

Among other regressive tendencies, anti-communism is a central tenet of Falun Gong. Shen Yun performances have regularly incorporated explicitly anti-communist and anti-Communist Party of China messaging. In 2019, Shen Yun's performance even included an act in which "Chairman Mao appeared, and the sky turned black; the city in the digital backdrop was obliterated by an earthquake, then finished off by a Communist tsunami. A red hammer and sickle glowed in the center of the wave."

As Shen Yun so campily demonstrated, Falun Gong has a long and strained history with communism. Since being banned in China in 1999, the organization and its media outlets have lambasted the Communist Party there, claiming severe and unjust religious persecution, backed up with ample help from Western media until recent years."

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.

Please forward articles that you think we should add to cultintervention@gmail.com.

Golden Dawn Girls

What happened to Greece?

Norwegian documentary filmmaker Håvard Bustnes examines the rise of far-right nationalist party “Golden Dawn”

The key male members of the far-right political party Golden Dawn are imprisoned accused of carrying out organized criminal activity. To maintain Golden Dawn’s position as the fifth largest political party in Greece, their daughters, wives and mothers step up to the task of leading the party through the upcoming elections. As the elections and trial unfold, the Norwegian film crew gets access to secret chambers and witness the family dynamics of one of Europe’s most notorious nationalist parties. This documentary exposes the mindset, values and personalities of the people on the front lines of modern nationalism.

This is filmmaker Håvard Bustnes’ impression of this disturbing documentary. In recent years, Greece - with its sunny beaches and friendly people has been overshadowed by political ideologies that are close to Nazism. In this documentary, Bustnes leaves the camera running, revealing not only the depraved side of this political party but also revealing an ever-widening gulf between facts and political image-making. While it’s frustrating that the women are so inflexible in their views, it illustrates how wearing blinders can derail an entire society.


Golden Dawn, also known as Χρυσή Αυγή or Chrysí Avgí, is an ultranationalist, far-right political party in Greece, led by Nikolaos Michaloliakos. Scholars and media have described it as neo-Nazi, fascist, hard eurosceptic and anti-globalist, though the group rejects these labels. Michaloliakos began the foundations of what would become Golden Dawn in 1980, however Golden Dawn first received widespread attention in 1991, and in 1993 registered as a political party. By this time Golden Dawn had adopted several southern Balkan focused regional objectives as its main program: to promote the idea of a Greater Greece through the expansion of Greek territory through war with Turkey and to combat Islam in the region. By the mid-2000s, Golden Dawn had redirected its attention to opposing non-European, and particularly Muslim, immigration into the mainly Greek areas of southern Greece and Athens.

At local elections on 7 November 2010 Golden Dawn got 5.3% of the vote in the municipality of Athens, winning a seat at the City Council. In some neighborhoods with large immigrant communities it reached 20%. The party ran a campaign during the May 2012 Greek national elections based on concerns about unemployment, austerity, the economy, and immigration, which gained a large increase in support from the Greek electorate. It received 7% of the popular vote, enough for the party to enter the Hellenic Parliament for the first time with 21 seats. Following a second election in June 2012, this was reduced to 18 seats. As a result of the January 2015 Greek national elections, the party became the third largest in Parliament, despite winning only 17 seats.

Following an investigation into the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas in September 2013 by an alleged supporter of the party, Michaloliakos, and several other Golden Dawn MPs and members, were arrested and held in pre-trial detention on suspicion of forming a criminal organization. The trial began on 20 April 2015 and is ongoing as of 2017.


Second and Multi-Generational Adult Former Cult Member Series - Free

Announcing new presentations in the Second and Multi-Generational Adult Former Cult Member Series!

Free ICSA Webinar Series! 

Free ICSA Webinar Series! 

Mark your calendars:

Sunday, March 6th, 2022, 1:00 - 2:15 pm EST: Overcoming Barriers to Healthy Sexuality for S/MGAs, Presented by Doni Whitsett and Katharina Meredith

Sunday, March 13th, 2022, 1:00 - 2:15 pm EST: After the Cult: Exploring Healthy Relationships for LGBQA+ Individuals, Presented by Cyndi Matthews and Ashlen Hilliard

Sunday, March 20th, 2022, 1:00 - 2:15 pm EST: The Impact of Yesterday on Today, Presented by Lorna Goldberg and Ck Rardin

Sunday, March 27th, 2022, 1:00 - 2:15 pm EST: Destigmatizing Medical Care Post-Cult, Presented by Eva Mackey and Ck Rardin

Staff turn to HRC to save them from 'cult-like' course

Allegations workshop includes being sworn at, sexual degradation, physical abuse and sleep deprivation

Times Live SA
February 27, 2022

Employees of a direct-marketing insurance company in Durban have turned to the South African Human Rights Commission (HRC) to save them from a leadership course in which they say they will be sworn at, belittled  and made to cross-dress and sing nursery rhymes — or face being fired.

Employees of The Unlimited said the Turning Point and Spring Joy course — which costs R25,000 a head — will be held over five days in Gauteng next month. During this time their cellphones will be confiscated and they will be barred from communicating with their families, will have limited bathroom breaks and will have to endure “tough and challenging” role-playing games and activities that run until the early hours of the morning.

But the company, which sells data, sim cards and medical insurance, has defended the mandatory workshops as part of its commitment to “building future leaders”.

In a letter to the HRC from about a dozen people who wished to remain anonymous for fear of being fired, employees voiced concern about the course content after hearing about it from colleagues and former colleagues. The employees have asked the commission to investigate the company for ordering them to go on the course or face  dismissal. 

“They are forcing employees to participate in controversial transformational workshops that have nothing to do with workplace skills, and it is either you do it or you get dismissed,” staff say in the letter. “What is making things worse is the fact that these courses have controversial reviews and there are allegations of brainwashing, verbal and physical abuse, sleep deprivation and being like a cult.” 

The Sunday Times spoke to three current and former employees who said the courses “break you down to build you up” and are known to trigger people psychologically. This is harmful to employee wellness, they said. 

A former employee who left the company a few years ago after attending a course run by transformation facilitator Steven Gullan, said it involves participants swearing at each other, parading in bikinis, sexual degradation and a naming ceremony during which a participant was rocked while being serenaded by fellow participants.

The employee said the course — based on neurolinguistic programming — broke her and led to her having a stroke after high blood pressure and anxiety. 

“For months afterwards, I would break down if I heard someone say 'The Unlimited' or heard it on television. Their whole corporate ethos is aimed at manipulation and control. They had pins and scarves as badges of honour, a different way of speaking, and people couldn't just walk, they had to walk with purpose.”

She said people are afraid to speak out because they have been headhunted and relocated to Durban, paid very well and become financially dependent.

The Unlimited CEO Andrew Wood said he is “concerned” that staff complained about having to go on the workshop when it had been  “deliberately explained” to them during their recruitment process.

He said staff were told that the context of the course was in keeping with a corporate culture aimed at developing leaders, though employees were not given the specifics of what it entailed.

“I have been on the course twice, once mandatory and the second time voluntarily. In my experience it is tough and challenging and not for everyone but I am not aware of the cross-dressing and the swearing. There have been about 1,000 employees who have gone on this course and we don’t know of anyone who has been negatively impacted from a psychological point of view,” said Wood. 

Wood said he was aware that one woman said she had bipolar disorder and was excused from attending.

He said staff were “reminded about the upcoming course and the contractual obligations” in terms of compulsory attendance during a routine weekly engagement session recently.

“Two people resigned because we are effectively enforcing the contractual agreement. We didn't force them to resign, they chose to leave.”


R25 000 - the cost of the course, which was introduced about 15 years ago by company founder
Iain Buchan

1,000 - the approximate number of staff who
have attended the mandatory courses over the past
10 years

Wood said the course is run by Royee Banai, whose late father, medical doctor Baruch Banai, founded the Insight Centre in Gauteng as a life coach.

The website is inactive and efforts to contact Banai via a contact number listed under the Insight Centre, as well as through a facilitator, Mkhuseli Ciyo, who works with him and Wood, were unsuccessful.

Specific questions about the course content, allegations of abuse, sleep deprivation and employees' concerns about being ordered to attend the course were not answered by Banai or Ciyo.

Wood said staff will pay 20% of the course fee as part of a new model because there does not seem to be “commitment” from staff.

HRC KwaZulu-Natal head Lloyd Lotz confirmed receipt of the complaint and said it would be assessed.

Clinical psychologist Nazia Iram Osman said for any therapeutic intervention to be effective or “transformational”, it has to have the client’s informed consent.

Pursuing Counseling after Having Been in a Psychotherapy Cult

ICSA Annual Conference: Pursuing Counseling after Having Been in a Psychotherapy Cult
ICSA Annual Conference: Pursuing Counseling after Having Been in a Psychotherapy Cult

Rachel Bernstein, MSed, LMFT

Friday, June 24th

12:00 PM-12:50 PM

So many people are justifiably panicked about pursuing counseling for themselves after having been at the mercy of the leader of a psychotherapy cult or a counselor in an abusive residential treatment center. I work with many people who were terrified about getting help again and waited for years to come for therapy or participate in my support group because their last counseling experience had been so traumatizing, abusive and manipulative.

People who were controlled and manipulated by therapists and coaches who crossed boundaries, took advantage of their power and that relationship, made them dependent on them and took them away from their families and friends, need to know that their new counselor can be trusted. People who have also endured being attacked in psychotherapy group settings and also have resultant guilt from having been pushed to attack other participants in the group are often too afraid to participate in groups that could actually offer them healthy support and community.

This presentation will provide counselors with ideas about how to address the specific needs of these clients who were abused within previous therapeutic settings and will also provide guidelines for people previously abused by a counselor who are now seeking treatment for themselves to help them assess if their new counselor will provide them with a healthy and safe therapeutic environment.


Rachel Bernstein Former Member Support Group, Facilitator

Rachel Bernstein, MSed, LMFT, has been working with former cult members for nearly 30 years. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Educator, who lives in Los Angeles, CA. She has been a member of ICSA for many years and has presented talks and moderated panels at ICSA conferences. Rachel previously ran the Maynard Bernstein Resource Center on cults, named after her father. She was the Clinician at the former Cult Clinic in Los Angeles, as well as the Cult Hotline and Clinic in Manhattan. She now treats former cult members and the families and friends of those in cults in her private practice. Rachel has facilitated numerous support groups for former cult members, for people who were in one-on-one cults, and for the families of those in cults. Rachel has published many articles, made media appearances, consulted on shows and movies about cults, and has been interviewed for podcasts and YouTube videos. Rachel is the host of her weekly Podcast, "IndoctriNation," about breaking free from systems of control. RachelBernsteinTherapy.com, bernsteinlmft@gmail.com 818-907-0036

ICSA Annual Conference
Rachel is speaking at:

Pursuing Counseling after Having Been in a Psychotherapy Cult

June 24, 2022

12:00 pm-12:50 pm

Panel Part 1: The Evolution of Cult Intervention

June 25, 2022

11:00 am-11:50 am

Panel Part 2: The Evolution of Cult Intervention

June 25, 2022

12:00 pm-12:50 pm

Conspiracy Theories- Why They Have Recently Grown and What They Teach Us About Our Need for Answers

June 25, 2022

4:00 pm-4:50 pm

Building Bridges; Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships: A Workshop for Families

June 26, 2022

2:00 pm-4:00 pm


Feb 27, 2022

Victim Derogation in the Cultic Context

Linda Demaine
ICSA Annual Conference: Victim Derogation in the Cultic Context

Linda Demaine

3:00 PM - 3:50 PM

Friday, June 24th


The goal of the present project is to contribute to the existing literature on why victims of cults often are attributed great responsibility for the loss they sustained when they actually exerted little control over the environment in which their loss occurred.

The project investigates the ways in which we as a society tend to conceive of harm and how we treat persons who we conclude have suffered harm. Some harms are generally considered to have a stronger impact on the person than other harms. At times, these conclusions are accurate, yet in other instances the magnitude of the harm is over- or under-estimated. Some harms are more socially accepted than other harms, for example, because they derive from certain sources or happened in particular ways. Some harms are readily visible whereas others are more difficult to identify, rendering the latter more suspect and less accurately assessed even when acknowledged. These and related demarcations are important, because we commonly feel great sympathy toward victims of certain types of harm yet show a propensity to further injure other victims by placing unwarranted blame on them. The latter victims endure not only the original traumatic experience but layered on that an unjustified degree of responsibility for the outcome.

The project considers the underlying psychological bases for the victim derogation phenomenon and explores the degree to which they manifest in the legal system’s willingness to recognize and vindicate different types of harm. It then applies this perspective to help explain victim derogation in the cultic context.

Linda Demaine

Professor of Law

Arizona State University, College of Law

Linda J. Demaine, JD, PhD (social psychology), is Professor of Law and Affiliate Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University. She is founder and director of ASU's Law and Psychology Graduate Program. Before arriving at ASU, Dr. Demaine was a behavioral scientist and policy analyst at RAND, where she led and participated in diverse projects, including an analysis of biotechnology patents and the strategic use of deception and other psychological principles in defense of critical computer networks. Dr. Demaine has held an American Psychological Association Congressional Fellowship, through which she worked with the Senate Judiciary Committee on FBI and DOJ oversight, judicial nominations, and legislation. She has also held an American Psychological Association Science Policy Fellowship, working with the Central Intelligence Agency's Behavioral Sciences Unit on issues involving cross-cultural persuasion. Dr. Demaine's research interests include the empirical analysis of law, legal procedure, and legal decision making; the application of legal and psychological perspectives to social issues; ethical, legal, and social issues deriving from advances in technology; and information campaigns and persuasion.

The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) is conducting its 2022 Annual International Conference jointly with Info-Secte/Info-Cult of Montreal.  Conference Theme: Exploring the Needs of People Who Leave Controlling Groups and Environments

Register: https://whova.com/web/icsaa_202207/

Cultic Dynamics and Psychics

Cultic Dynamics and Psychics

Joseph Kelly; Patrick Ryan; Joseph Szimhart

Twenty-two percent of American adults have consulted a psychic or medium. One third believe they have had a psychic experience. Nearly half of women and a third of men have felt the presence of a spirit. Over twenty percent of American adults believe that a psychic can see into the future and contact the dead. We will explore activities and tools that psychics use to influence and foster dependence on their psychic powers. We will discuss how people are fooled. We will examine the potential impact of questionable psychic influence on the mental and emotional health of people who are involved and consider what educators and caregivers can do to implement possible prevention and intervention strategies.  

ICSA conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico November 1-2, 2019.

Feb 26, 2022

Fifty Years in Polygamy - Big Secrets and Little White Lies

Fifty Years in Polygamy - Big Secrets and Little White Lies

Fifty Years in Polygamy Paperback – Unabridged - by Kristyn Decker

Fifty Years in Polygamy is the personal history of Kristyn Decker, the daughter of a polygamist prophet. Within, she reveals a rare, uncensored, firsthand account of the inner workings of a Utah-based polygamist sect whose members today include high-profile reality television stars. Her gripping narrative describes the rampant anguish and abuse behind the happy faces that polygamist women present in public. Fifty Years in Polygamy is Kristyn's inspiring journey; Kristyn challenges the common misconception that polygamy is simply a harmless lifestyle choice. "For many, it is like modern-day slavery," she says.

Polygamy - A Cruel Arithmetic

Kristyn Decker
ICSA Annual Conference: Polygamy - A Cruel Arithmetic

Kristyn Decker

2:00 PM-2:50 PM

Friday, June 24th


I was born and raised in, and lived polygamy before I finally found freedom and genuine happiness. For 28 years of my life, my father was the Prophet of the AUB cult, centered in Murray, Utah. My mother was the first of his 13 wives and I was number 12 of his 23 biological children. While on my way out, I obtained a B.A. in Education. After I escaped, I published my first auto biography, Fifty Years in Polygamy - Big Secrets and Little White Lies. With many speaking engagements, book tours, and helping victims who wanted to leave, came the necessity to establish the Sound Choices Coalition: Informing Society of the Realities of Polygamy and Advocating FOR its victims. Because of these things and much more, I’d like to talk about the amazing “findings” in the 2009 Canadian Court Case against polygamy. Chief Justice Bauman finds polygamy “as harmful to women and children and to society at large, and even to the very foundation of democracy itself.” In 2009 a team of lawyers from the federal and provincial governments, along with a handful of allied public-interest groups, set out to prove the experts wrong and to show there were devastating harms that inevitably flowed from polygamy’s “cruel arithmetic”. The case against polygamy would proceed for almost two years, and was laid out through forty-four days of trial and more than 100 witnesses. The evidence ranged from the testimony of pre-eminent academics to stark and disturbing confessions of polygamists testifying under the shield of anonymity. The eventual (2011), 357-page decisions of the Chief Justice based on “the most comprehensive judicial record on the subject ever produced,” he finds 'that the harm against women and children outweighs concerns over protecting religious freedom.'

Fifty Years in Polygamy - Big Secrets and Little White Lies

Kristyn Decker

My father was the “Prophet” of the cult I was born into. While living polygamy with severe depression, and raising my 7, and my sister-wife’s 4 children, my teen run-away's actions opened doors to “outside” help—the unknown world.

Register: https://whova.com/web/icsaa_202207/

Through the Transit Zone

Robert Crompton
ICSA Annual Conference: Through the Transit Zone

Robert Crompton

2:00 PM-2:50 PM

Friday, June 24th

My proposal is to develop some ideas from my earlier presentation, Remote Control (2019 ICSA Conference) and my book, Pathways to Freedom (2020 Independent publication). Defectors from the Jehovah’s Witnesses (and others) do not move easily from within that highly controlled ethos into a new, self-determined lifestyle, but enter a “transit zone” before freedom from all the lingering hindrances to further progress and which can cause considerable distress. At this stage the focus is largely upon failings of the WT doctrinal narrative and lifestyle restrictions. Beyond this stage the defector’s destination in life may still be some distance off. The kind of guidance or mentoring which can be helpful on this latter part of the journey needs to draw upon experience gained beyond the transit zone. The problem, however, is that the overwhelming majority of people engaged in life-enhancing pursuits beyond the transit zone have no experience of engaging with defectors from high-control movements. Whereas help can readily be found for those seeking to consolidate their exit, at the other end of the transit zone sympathetic guidance may not be so clearly available.

Pathways to Freedom: from the Watchtower to New Life
During the comings months and years, this has potential to become something of a problem as the current exodus from the Jehovah’s Witnesses can be expected to gather pace. At its most troublesome for defectors this could result in a large loosely bonded community whose main basis for association is the shared roots which they have rejected. People could helped beyond the transit zone to fulfilled lives by an effort to promote greater awareness among people who are already actively engaged in a whole range of activities and interests, so that welcoming assistance can be given to those coming through the transit zone rather than through more usual routes into rewarding lifestyles.

Robert Crompton

Minister (retired), Writer

The Methodist Church of Great Britain
I was brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness, baptized at the age of eleven and appointed Book Study Conductor at the age of seventeen. I became a “regular pioneer” and, a year later, a “special pioneer” in Clydebank, Scotland, where I served as Theocratic Ministry School Servant, leading the weekly meeting for training in public speaking. I was a bit of a contradiction as a special pioneer. Although I was keen to put in impressively more hours than the quota, I was seduced by Clydebank Public Library. What a wonderful place! I began to read avidly, particularly from their fine collection of books on psychology. I also dipped into philosophy and logic. After little more than two years of pioneering I took what I said was to be a short break for health reasons, but I knew deep down that my pioneering days were over. I did not expect at that stage that I would ever leave the Witnesses. But as a keen reader and independent thinker I was rapidly becoming a misfit. It all fell apart one Thursday evening in July 1965. The Bible reading at the Ministry School was from Genesis 30 – the story about Jacob’s miraculous sheep-breading con trick. I suddenly realised that so much in these ancient narratives was simply unbelievable and not in any sense the word of God. I left the Kingdom Hall that evening on my way to freedom. Long before this I had been given a complete set of Russell’s Studies in the Scriptures and lots of Rutherford’s books. They had been sitting on my bookshelves unread but when I began at last to look into them the whole Watchtower system of belief fell apart with nothing remaining. I explored various churches from fundamentalist to liberal but never felt at home anywhere so I gave up on Christianity altogether. It made no sense and I wanted to be free of it. A part-time degree course with the newly established Open University became a springboard for full-time study of philosophy and linguistics at Lancaster University. The troublesome religious impulse kept nagging at me, however, and I delved into eastern religions and meditation systems but none were for me. Their stories were not my stories – their culture was not my culture. And besides, I couldn’t be open about any of this if I still wanted to be able to visit home. I was beginning to feel a bit wretched again because, even though living alone, I was letting Watch Tower bigotry restrict my life choices. That would have to stop – no matter what the consequences might be. A moment of insight led to a further big step. A crazy thought came into my mind that I should enter the ministry. “Hey! That’s silly,” I thought, “I’m not even a Christian.” But the idea stayed with me. I started attending a Methodist Church and immediately felt completely at home there. After a few weeks, I spoke with the minister about this wild notion that I should enter the ministry. He was very helpful and encouraging, leading me in due course to the long process of application. In late spring of 1984, I was accepted for ministerial training and allocated a college place in Cambridge. As part of my studies there, I would read for a degree in Biblical studies in the University. Cambridge was wonderful and I very much appreciated the rigorous academic approach to Biblical Studies. My only regret was that those three years could not be prolonged indefinitely. I was ordained in 1987 and began my time as a minister in the north-east of England. As a newly ordained minister I was obliged to engage in some form of further study. I was accepted to do part-time post-graduate research for an MLitt degree in the University of Durham. My topic? The origins and development of the Watchtower doctrine of the Millennium.

Counting the Days to Armageddon
The spin-off from this research was my book, Counting the Days to Armageddon. (James Clarke & Co Ltd. 1996.) I have now retired from ministry. When I began I was very much at the liberal end of the spectrum and during the years since then I have progressed even further in that direction. I no longer preach, but I am always willing to lead study sessions and seminars. Since retiring I have devoted my time to writing – and returned to my early interests. My novels, Leaving Gilead, and Shadows of Gilead , tell the stories of some very different defectors from a JW-like religion trying to break free and rebuild their lives after being brought up in a repressive and often abusive religious movement. My most recent book, Pathways to Freedom, is intended as a helping hand to defectors from the Watchtower movement.