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Apr 01st
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Predators on campus: An inside look at cults in New Jersey

cultstory113009_optBY JILLIAN RISBERG

Cults are probably the last thing on your mind when considering a place of higher learning for your son or daughter, but these groups regularly use college campuses to enlist kids aching for a sense of community far from the glare of discipline.

“The myth most people have is that people that join cults are looking to join a cult,”   says William Goldberg, a licensed clinical social worker with a private practice in Englewood, New Jersey, who co-leads a support group for ex-cult members.  “It’s usually not the case.  Cult recruiters are predators and learn how to be good conmen.  Healthy kids are more likely to get involved because they feel ‘if I don’t like it,’ I can leave.”

That’s not always so easy, as cults smother new recruits with affection to convince them to stay, a tactic known as “love-bombing.”  This behavior often escalates to manipulation, threats, intimidation and mind control.  Eventually they cut the person off from friends and family so the cult remains the driving influence.

They even have it down to a science – Goldberg says the cult blankets an area by fundraising or proselytizing there, and then sets its sights on bright students who  are in a period of transition.  Colleges are ripe with them.

Individuals believes they are being invited to join a religious, political or social group,   but the cult often hides their true intention and the degree they’re going to attempt to take over a person’s life.

According to Rick Ross, of the Rick A. Ross Institute of New Jersey, groups called “cults” that have a history of recruiting on college campuses include the Unification Church, International Church of Christ, University Bible Fellowship, Transcendental Meditation, Scientology, Soka Gakkai International, Dahn Yoga, International Society of Krishna Consciousness, Kabbalah Center, Falun Gong, National Labor Federation, the Lyndon LaRouche Executive Intelligence Report (EIR), Prem Rawat/Elan Vital formerly known as Divine Light Mission, Twelve Tribes Messianic Communities, the Brethren led by Jim Roberts, Sri Chinmoy organization, Humana People-to-People associated with Tvind and Xenos Christian Fellowship.

And time has not slowed the proliferation of groups that lure young souls.

“Eighteen to 26-year-old college students have historically been the most targeted single demographic group,” Ross says.

He adds that there are cults operating on virtually every college campus, with Jersey as no exception, but the colleges aren’t likely to acknowledge such activity.

Both experts agree – to protect yourself, realize your own vulnerability and though it’s easy to be swept up in the intensity, make sure you thoroughly research an organization before moving forward.

During his tenure at Rutgers University in New Brunswick from 1989 to 2001,  Father Ron Stanley, O.P., a former campus chaplain at the Catholic Center, says  he became aware of a religious group, Campus Advance (part of the ICC) using  high pressure and deception to take control of students’ lives.  As a result, their recruits utilized the same unethical methods to scout for additional members and bring money  into the cult.

An interfaith group of clergy stepped in and sponsored a panel, “Cults on Campus”  that garnered sufficient publicity.

“We were able to get Rutgers to prepare and distribute a leaflet entitled, ‘Responding to High Pressure Groups on Campus’ and to include a skit on high pressure recruitment as  part of its orientation for incoming students,” Stanley says.

Steve Hassan spent two years as a Unification Church (Moon cult) leader while a student at Queens College in the ‘70s and that early involvement left an indelible mark. Fresh off a breakup, three women claiming to be students approached him during a lunch break.   He asked if they were part of a religious group and Hassan says, “They flat out lied.”

A leading cult expert and licensed mental health counselor, Hassan has studied the phenomenon of free will for more than 30 thirty years and believes that through unethical deceptive recruiting and mind control techniques, including hypnosis and sleep deprivation,  dietary manipulation and environmental control – a person can be reprogrammed to  have a different belief structure and even a different identity.

“When I was in the ‘Moonies,’ my cult identity would suppress any negative thoughts  against the group and re-label my feelings towards my family as satanic,” Hassan says.

Can such brainwashing be reversed?  Hassan says if a person has a monumental dissolutive experience, one may wake up to how one is being bullied - but more commonly, an erosion of the cult identity leads someone to incrementally question what’s going on.

He typically does three to five interventions a week and holds steadfast to the belief that making a difference in the lives of those affected by cults is possible.

With counseling, they’ll understand the issue of social influence and it will minimize any sense of guilt or embarrassment that they got involved with the group.  Hassan also tries to connect them with ex-members, so they can talk to people who relate and won’t look at them and say, “They did what” or other less than helpful responses.

He offers some words of advice:

  • Remember that cult recruiters are attractive, intelligent, nice people and they don’t have a sign on them that reads, ‘cult member.’
  • Be wary of instant friendships; real friendships take time – and don’t disclose too many personal details with a stranger because they could use that information to manipulate you.
  • Many abusive relationship situations look like cults, except they’re just cultic personalities, religious cults.
  • Legitimate groups and people stand up to scrutiny.

Above all, Hassan says, “trust your gut (and) trust your inner voice.”

For more information:

William Goldberg or; Rick A. Ross Institute of New Jersey or; Freedom of Mind or

Comments (32)
32 Saturday, 13 July 2013 06:23
Concerned precious cult member
Gatekeepers Fellowship Church, aka: Soul Searchers is another NJ cult. This cult grabs youth and keeps them for as long as they can. their secretary was indoctrinated into the ministry at 17 and has worked full time in the ministry without any pay for over 25 years. This church is led by a egotistical leader that goes by Apostle Dr. James D Treadwell Jr. This leader is controlling and manipulative. He initially pulled my family in through love and kindness and within a short period of time had us calling him dad and his wife mom. He and his wife then began to demand more and more and praise more and more. It was a vicious cycle of praise and expectation...then finally disappointment and teachings in why we and the other members were not experiencing peace in our lives. But, we were expected to be at the ministry four or five nights a week till 1:00-2:00am, give exorbitant amounts of finances, put all church events first and push all family events and relationships with others aside. The leader and his wife became more and more accusatory and demanding mixed with a demand to acknowledge their love and sacrifice for our family and the church. Late nights, praying in tongues for hours, hours of service, late night and early morning prayer, weekly designated fasts for the entire family including children, fasts demanded at the whim of the leader and no questioning or opinions were allowed other then compliance....21 day fasts, 40 days fasts for the entire family were common...these fasts would include nightly services of intense prayer, confession of sins, teachings on sin, financial sacrifice to get Gods attention. These fasts would often include the assignment to download and listen to audio books such as juanita bynham My Spiritual inheritance, which teaches that inheritance..blessings from God come only from complete submission to church leadership and your destiny is in the leaders shutout, stop having an opinion and simply submit. The audio books assigned where to be listened to 24-7. Another favorite book of the leader was by Watchman Née ...again on Spiritual Authority. This audio book was expected to be listened to and seen in the congregants behavior...changes of absolute, unquestionable obedience were expected and demanded of babies-adults. Whatever the leadership said...u were to obey without question, pray or thought. Another twist came when they began to demand "fervent" praying in tongues. This prayer was to be loud and exerting...and was overseen by a leader...who would time the prayer concert of voices...the leader would time fifteen minutes of harsh, almost painful excretion. No one was to stop...or even pause until the leader said the time was completed. Children were no exception to any of the demands of time or spiritual fervor. In fact, if your baby, children or teens did not comply with absolute, as the parent, were critized and encouraged to devote yourself further and "more completely" so as to save them from the potential curse. Curses were a fear that was constantly referred to. Blessings were preached, preached, preached...prophecied....and anything that wasnt seen as a blessing was a result of lack of commitment to "God's" appointed leaders....or lack of faith. This crazy church is a sad place to be. The leader and his wife live in a 500,000.+ plus home and they have not paid their full time staff in 20+ years...they are expected to live by faith....they are often evicted from with other church members...or off of the finances of other members. Visit there and see for's controlling and potentially dangerous to children and families. 3600 Earl Ave Pennsauken NJ 08110. I would LOVE to see a newspaper step in an expose the harmful control that is happening in this cult. I have reported them to the church above then...Christian International, Bill Hamon...but it's been a year and no intervention has taken place. Bill HAMON gave James D. Treadwell Jr a "honorary" doctorate. He doesn't even earned a bachlores degree...but is referred to as dr. He has a school and ministry in Kenya...and is known for not paying rent, breaking leases and promising pay to African workers...but not paying them. Please investigate...please intervene.
31 Monday, 18 April 2011 18:01
Mother of Xenos Member
The article is completely accurate, all of the Christian apologetics on here notwithstanding. Cults do inestimable damage to families, destroying the parent-child relationship and going after minor children without the consent of their parents.
30 Sunday, 12 December 2010 01:01
Eric Smith
I go to school in Norfolk, VA at Old Dominon University and was in a cult for a year. Now that I am in a better environment where I can worship God in my personal way it could not have been better. I am a sophomore and agree that every college campus should have a mandatory "cult awareness program" during freshman orientations. The President of the university should mail or email students a survey on their religious background and the option to attend a scheduled "cult awareness program." This survey would be mandatory to answer to. This way, for those who choose to attend the awareness program will already have an understanding on how cults operate what to look out for etc. As for the others who choose not to, they will have to find out on their own. Eventally
29 Friday, 30 April 2010 03:07
Shelly Barrett
I was brought into SGI by a nutcase from new jersey. This person is constantly depressed. Over time I realized its SGI making him depressed. He is too blinded by the cult to see what the problem is. I tried to tell him there are different sects of buddhism and he swears and acts like SGI is god. When I found out that SGI members almost all have mental problems of some sort, i backed out. SGI draws to its doors the mentally weak and hopeless and once something good happens they swear its their chanting that draws it when anybody knows its the positive thought which brings positive energy. Its not the chant till your brain is dead. All that does is create an unbalanced mind and body.
28 Thursday, 24 December 2009 23:07
I find it amusing how the cult members, in denial, never fail to attack the messenger rather than debate with facts. They think that getting the spotlight off of their cult somehow will convince people they are not a cult. But it only further demonstrates the cult-mentality and militant mindset of cult members.
I am a former Soka Gakkai cult member from 1984 until 1991. I was also in denial, and brainwashed as hell. After I woke up, I was embarassed and ashamed how stupid I was. But sometimes the only way to learn the truth is through the "school of and knocks."
Thank you for this article, I'm sure it will be helpful to many potential victims of these blood-sucking parasites of society.
Happy holidays to all!
27 Wednesday, 16 December 2009 18:09
Having been a member for 20+ years of SGI, I can tell you that the rhetoric they use to defend the mind bending principles of their "buddhism" such as working for "world peace", the importance of the mentor- disciple relationship (devotion to Ikeda) to personal happiness and protecting the "unity" of members in the organization screams cult. There is no room for internal criticism of leadership either here or in Japan, and the individual is deemed as poisonous if they manage to use their minds when analyzing the validity of their faith or activities.

After much time, I have become aware and have been able to scrub the poison of such mind controlling ideas that I was soaked in as a member of SGI.

This mind control used in SGI may be evident in other groups as well, but it has become such a cult of Ikeda worship that it is even scarier than when I first joined.
26 Thursday, 03 December 2009 23:58
Jan Jaap ter Horst
This article from the American School Counselors Association shows to identify which cults are destructive, and how professional school counselors can assist students involved with such group.

When Spirituality Goes Awry: Students in Cults
25 Thursday, 03 December 2009 19:05
Jim Fyde
Yesterday I have left a comment below that said that often cults have protectors on the internet that try to defend themselves by attacking the sources you site.

the best defense against an organization being called a cult is to have a member of the organization come out and address the claims made by their critics. A "true" religion doesn't have anything to hide and certainly does not attack its former members for their bad experiences. They apologize to them, and ask them if they need help for any hardship they have been caused by the organization.
24 Thursday, 03 December 2009 14:42
The guy who is a "devout christian" and goes on to praise scientology is a scientologist in disguise. They are known to pull the "I'm not a scientologist, but..." argument. It is impossible to deny the facts about their messiah, L. Ron Hubbard. He was an uneducated conman. Just go read about him in the military (thank you Freedom of Information Act). Scientologists will yell about how he was a "war hero," which is just more lies.

Look up - the truth is there.
23 Thursday, 03 December 2009 05:15
As if to prove the point of your article, please see the new article in the Utah Daily Chronicle entitled, "Scientologists conduct stress tests in Union"

It describes the ongoing presence of Scientology on the campus, though the author of the piece sadly did not understand much about Scientology before she wrote it...
22 Wednesday, 02 December 2009 19:28
Lisa's Ghost
"The Soka Gakkai is a member of the NGO's", and so are most of those other cults. NGO status is not a sign of legitimacy, look up 'NGO' and 'cult'. NGO status is the go to Trojan horse for proselytizing cult groups. The Moonies are an NGO too, and they own the Washington Times but they are still a cult.
21 Wednesday, 02 December 2009 19:06
People in groups accused of being cults normally don't make for very objective commentators. I think it would be very difficult to find three people not directly affiliated with SGI who have a good understanding of it, who don't think it is seriously blurring the line between cult and religion.

Clearly SGI is pretty cult like, and your vast majority of Buddhist from all other traditions who have had experience with the group, tend to agree that it has a lot of cult like qualities and have trouble finding the aspects of it that would qualify it as being Buddhism.

I looked into SGI pretty heavily, I read a few of its books, and even was getting some newsletters, but it continually did things that were to me extremely cult'ish behavior. My favorite is when I got a official SGI newsletter requesting that everybody recruit at least two new members. You know what is really cult'ish about SGI, is that 98% of the suggested reading material was written by the president of SGI Daisaku Ikeda, who has a lot of cult of personality type scandals and qualities.

SGI isn't labeled a cult because it isn't Christian based, because nobody is saying Zen Buddhism is a cult or Theravada Buddhism is a cult. SGI earned the cult label by doing the stuff a cult does, it is also why it has cult survivor groups, write ups on cult awareness websites, and has many people scratching their heads about how exactly is qualifies itself as being a type of buddhism. You are "offended" because you happen to be a member of this particular cult and probably invested a lot of yourself in it.

Also, I like your tricky language... but lets be clear the group SGI started in 1975 (SGI is not the same thing as the original lay society). "The largest Buddhist school in America" sounds like some more tricky language to make it sound like SGI is the largest segment of Buddhist population... it is not, and not by a long shot. SGI makes up maybe 1% of Buddhist worldwide, and likely not much more than that in the US. Doesn't matter though, because Scientology has more members than SGI, that doesn't mean Scientology is not a cult... so size is something of a non sequitur.

I have to say though that SGI is getting better, but so are the Moonies. That's one of the benefits of fast wild growth, because if they grow too big too fast, cult groups usually have to start softening their edges to deal with the politics that arise inside them.

I know and love some SGI members as dear friends, but the more exposure they get to traditional forms of Buddhism, the more they start to realize that SGI is kind of its own animal and they got sucked into something better judgment would of told them to avoid.

Anyway, I look forward to a lengthy cult'y defensive rant. =)
20 Wednesday, 02 December 2009 17:46
jeremiah ramsey
I think everyone who commented on this article belongs to that internet cult, whazit called, somethin like "The Internet Cult" or somethin because noobody would choos to be in a cult so jesus loves u.
19 Wednesday, 02 December 2009 17:35
Jeremiah Ramsey
That has to be one of the most in-depth articles concerning on-campus cult groups I've read.

I noticed one of the others commenting mentioned the inherent sadness in the lack of cult awareness programs on college campuses.

I agree with this totally- it is sad.

Unfortunately one of the trademarks of cult like behavior is "high pressure." This leaves me wondering how one could encourage kids to join such a program void of pressure without itself garnering attention from Rick Ross.

I think the best advice in the article is for people to trust their inner voice. I've been doing this for years and years. On the downside, it is my inner voice which encourages my actual voice to say things like "My, what an ugly sweater." or "You're very fat."

If only more people would respond to high-pressure friendships by listening to their inner voice(s), I think the world would be a better place.

Actually, I just thought of an idea for a cult. I'll call it "inner voice" and we'll meet to talk about all the things our inner voices say that we ignore.
18 Wednesday, 02 December 2009 15:20
"Yellow Journalism" definition of "yellow, adj." from Oxford English Dictionary

3. (orig. U.S.) Applied to newspapers (or writers of newspaper articles) of a recklessly or unscrupulously sensational character.

A lot of this article seems to be overly simple in regarts to an important topic. I'm pretty disatisfied with the level of writing of this article. Like I posted before as well, the picture of the girl seems to have nothing to do with the article and seems to be sensationalist in its placement in the article.

A further critique or criticism, the only defintion of what a cult constitutes is given by Rick Ross. I'd like to see further investigation by the writer into either Rick Ross, as he seems to be a pretty sensational character, or perhaps one other definition of what a cult is.
17 Wednesday, 02 December 2009 14:45
I was looking at this article earlier and was wondering when I re-read it, what does the picture of the sad-looking girl have to do with the article?
16 Wednesday, 02 December 2009 13:03
Claire Kane
To find out more about SGI, go to or Members of the Soka Gakkai are not pressured to contribute financially. In fact, pressure to contribute financially is prohibited in order to prevent anything to do with suspicion about finances to come between a person and a harmonious beneficial practice. Members certainly are not discouraged from keeping in touch with family or friends! In fact, relationships with family generally improve from the effects of a daily practice. Although the president of the organization, Daisaku Ikeda is deeply respected, he is not worshiped (another sign of a cult). The respect for him is due to his accomplishments in service. I fact, Soka Gakkai members are taught that human beings are absolutely equal to each other in potential and power, and that to behave or believe otherwise is to miss out on gaining one of the main benefits of taking up of this sect of Buddhism. This view most certainly extends to the current leader, and also the originator of the sect - Nichiren Daishonin, a monk who lived in Japan in the 1200's as well as Shakyamuni Buddha who is the historical originator of Buddhism. These are all human beings and not to be worshipped. The Soka Gakkai is a member of the NGO's in the United Nations and a member serves (or was serving - I haven't kept up) as a vice-president of that body.
15 Wednesday, 02 December 2009 12:12
Edmund Murray
I have been a member of SGI for 25 years, and I am sorry, but it is not a cult. We do not make you give up money, cut off relations with family or make you solicit donations. Our school of Buddhism started in 1253, and the lay society was established in 1930. Any religion that is not Christian based is considered a cult in the west. We are the largest Buddhist school in America, and I was involved in our student group while at The Ohio State University. We are trying to introduce the practice of Buddhism nothing more. I am offended that the article lumps us in with some groups that do act in a cult manner. This was a poorly vetted article.
14 Wednesday, 02 December 2009 09:11
Lyn Marcus
The Larouche cult has a franchise in NJ located in Hackensack and has burnt may a person in NJ with their criminal loan scams in the 1980s across the state.

Larouche is nothing but a convicted criminal and cult leader who was sent to prison in the 1980s for hijacking over 30 million dollars from people who thought that he was a legitimate person. In this regards, Larouche is more of a Bernie Madoff with his cult's promissory note schemes and credit card fraud. Like Madoff, hardly anyone who lost a total of nearly 34 million dollars in this madmans delusions and fraud will ever see a dime.

Larouche has been a socialist, communist, Christian, left/right winger, pro Russian, anti Russian and anything else you can imagine to sucker people to his delusions.For over 40 years he has been running a cult of endless economic collapse, New Dark Ages and Nuclear war to recruit enough naive colege kids to drop out of school and support him. His cult dances around many labor laws as he has them called "volunteers" and has them running like hamsters 18 hours a day, 6 1/2 to 7 days a week with one crisis after another for about 20 to 40 dollars a week.

This cult circus has been going on for over 40 years by Larouche who has to recruit new blood to replace the worn out and broken down cult members who are discarded or those who have figured out how this farce works. Several hundred people have left the cult and in the last dying days of the elderly Larouche, he needs a few naive people to keep him and his wife living that millionaire lifestyle.

You can read about how this charade is run on sites like: under discussions where there are over 9K posts from former members about this lunacy.

This is a bum who had the anti semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion placed in his propaganda .

If you want to see what the real Larouche has to say about Obama, check out what he told his cult privately last year .

If you give your name and phone number to the cult, they will be calling you endlessly to save humanity which seems to be only done by emptying your bank account with them. If you are in college, then the way to save humanity is for you to drop out of college, toil endlessly at their card table shrines or boiler rooms raising money for him. You basicaly work for free as most people do in cults.

Whatever is the current script is all just a mirage as it can change on a dime when Larouche needs you to raise money from another list of people. Last year, Obama was the devil incarnate,. Then , Obama is being advised by Larouche. Now Obama is Hitler. Read up on how this cult operates so you do not get hoodwinked by them.

If you have a desire to do political work, find a real org instead of a cult to spend your time with.

These cultists call themselves Democrats?

Read what the cults LPAC National Leader had to say about a Black Democratic Senator years ago to see what sort of crazy town you are about to enter.

Just google Debbie Freeman (current Larouche national leader) with Parren Mitchell and see that the Senator had to pull a gun on the cult gang sent to his house.

"His outfit smacks of fascism to me," Rep. Parren J. Mitchell (D-Md.) said in a statement introduced in the libel case. Mitchell said in an interview that LaRouche supporters tried to break up his political gatherings in Baltimore and distributed literature calling him a drug dealer and a "house nigger." Mitchell said he received several anonymous telephone calls, including one death threat.

"I knew it was them because I recognized some of their voices," Mitchell said. He said the harassment ended soon after he pulled a gun on a group of LaRouche supporters gathered outside his Baltimore home. "

These are very sick people who have to recruit on campuses to replenish the ever diminshing cult of older , burnt out members and rapidly escaping younger members who dropped out of college when young and naive.
13 Wednesday, 02 December 2009 02:40
Educating our youth about high-pressure groups is indeed important. If you do get involved with them (which is not necessarily a bad thing; the military is one for example, as is the AA), you need to be able to stand your ground. Because there are mountains of evidence that groups can push young people to let go of criticial thinking abilities and engage in or allow themselves to be subjected to abuse.

Recognizing the standard influencing techniques that such groups use is not too difficult, if you know what to look for. Better education on this subject is important, as it will go a long way to solve a completely unnecessary problem.

This is a completely reasonable assertion. Nobody in their right mind would disagree, at least not totally. If you would disagree vehemently, something would have to be wrong with your critical thinking skills, right?

Now please read the comments below. It will become very clear what brainwashing can do to your critical thinking skills.
12 Wednesday, 02 December 2009 00:26
Kirk Reed
I see that the regular scientologist's are here attacking an article that shows scientology up for the scam cult it is.

CAN went bankrupt because a group of scientologists sued it into the ground. Then THEY bought it. So if you call CAN for information about a cult I just hope it's not The CULT of scientology! You'll get a lot of spin in that case.

Scientology is not, nor EVER will be a religion. IT is a criminal organization. Ask France. Australian police are investigating their cult as we speak. Senator Nick Xeno[hon has called on Parliament to do an Inquiry into this dangerous criminal organization.

They are guilty of human rights abuses against their own members. yet they portray to the world that they support human rights.

This cult needs to have it's tax exemption revolked and face charges for it's crimes.
11 Tuesday, 01 December 2009 23:49
I thought Jillian Risberg's article was well researched, extremely compelling and far from "yellow or tabloid" journalism, as the previous poster accused. That poster also said "I only see "Rick Ross" cited for your sources," but he is obviously not reading the same article I did because there are four people interviewed in the piece, not just Rick Ross. This is a must read for both parents and kids and it is so obvious that the writer would be attacked either way. Had she also spoken to cult members or groups considered to be cults, she would then be viciously assaulted for supporting or pandering to groups that destroy young minds and poison society. As I see it, some of you would never have a decent or kind word to say either way and you definitely come across on here as being brainwashed yourself.
10 Tuesday, 01 December 2009 21:22
Smooth Jazz
As a journalist, I know it's S.O.P. to have two corroborating sources, but I only see "Rick Ross" cited for your sources. Does this site deserve to be called a "Newsroom" at all? Why not instead call it "Yellow Journalism", as in "Gossip Tabloid".
9 Tuesday, 01 December 2009 19:39
Cults are obviously dangerous.

It is a well-known tactic to attack or discredit critics and those who simply wish to inform. Cult members might use emotional words to do so, like "fanatic" and "absurd", or "tripe" for instance. Often they will get so excited they find themselves unable to complete sentences....

I feel it is important to inform our young people about cults.
8 Tuesday, 01 December 2009 18:36
I want everyone who reads this to fully understand and become aware of how EVIL Rick Ross is. He has been accredited with as many as 30 kidnappings and deprogrammings. He has continually violated our right as individuals and as citizens of the United States Of America to choose what religion we wish to be associated with because Rick Ross, Mr. Hassan, Galen Kelly, Priscilla Coates and many other schmucks have deemed them "DANGEROUS CULTS" they have felt justified to seize innocent people at night against there will and hold them in undisclosed locations with horrible living situations. Fortunately the "Cult Awareness Network" has gone bankrupt so nowt there is not an organized effort to deprive people of there inalienable rights, now its just a bunch of renegade thugs such as Hassan and Ross out there convincing people that they are standards of how people should think when they are nothing more than useless criminals.
CAN was driven into bankruptcy when a court found CAN guilty of having conspired to violate the civil rights and religious liberties of Jason Scott, a Pentecostalist, who had been forcibly kidnapped and subjected to a failed "deprogramming" by Rick Ross, a CAN-referred deprogrammer. The court ordered CAN to pay a judgement of US$1 million. The large award was intended to deter similar conduct in the future; the court noted that the defendants were unable to appreciate the maliciousness of their conduct towards the deprogrammee, and portrayed themselves, throughout the entire process of litigation, as victims of the alleged agenda of the opposing counsel, Church of Scientology attorney Kendrick i hope you all understand who these people are.
7 Tuesday, 01 December 2009 17:23
You should look up the definition of a "Cult" before writing about them.

As a friend of various Scientologists (though not one myself, as I am a devout Christian) there is absolutely NOTHING Cult-ish about them or their beliefs. They genuinely do what they can to create a better place, and for you to attack that simply shows what "side" you're on.

And for how long, by the way, was Christianity considered a "cult" by many before becoming a "bonafide" religion.

Your article simply perpetuates the same false information anyone who doesn't truly do their research would think.
6 Tuesday, 01 December 2009 16:51
Jim Fyde
I have been studying cults for the last few years, and I thought the article was a nice overview. One of the of the things you will notice is that cults have people on the internet to try to discredit their critics.

I did laugh when one of the posters before me said "that at least one of the groups mentioned was not a cult". That doesn't mean that he or she belongs to one of those groups or even that the group IS a cult, but it does show how people can be taken in by a group.

In my experience quite often people who are involved in groups that are not cults will actually reflect and try to get more information about the workings of their group if someone so much as suggest that it might be a cult. Cultists on the other hand deny first and DON'T ask questions later.

So it is always a good idea to diligently investigate the organizations you give your time and money, because not every member of a group is subjected to brainwashing, cults often rely on outsiders or partial members for fund raising, and support.

PS (my advice) The internet is also ripe with a new types of cults that are designed to shape your opinion in one way or another both politically and socially, so don't believe everything you read, try to get information from as many sources as possible and don't accept information with out independent confirmation from known other sources. Especially if that information seems to inform your of some huge urgent problem in society.
5 Tuesday, 01 December 2009 16:42
Alleged "cult" victim
Rick Ross tried to deprogram me in 1991, he excaped prosecution because of his several leghthy letters from pat robertson convincing the evangelical district attourney
Freedom of religion is one of the basic tenets of this country, men one's freedom to chose to pursue life, liberty amd the pursuit of happiness are the evil ones.
Cults on campus is a very good orgization, i have attended several workshops of theirs. Rick ross and hasan however charge families like mine f
thousands for there services on top of the finest hotel accomendations, first class flights.... There are many local pastors will do it for free
4 Tuesday, 01 December 2009 16:31
It is very sad that most campuses do not have any sort of "cult awareness" program. Each year thousands of young lives are destroyed by the influences of cults.

Furthermore, the influence of cults is not just at the campus level, but also in the military too.

We prepare our children for academics but they are very unprepared to deal with high-pressure groups.
3 Tuesday, 01 December 2009 15:59
I think that our kids do need to know the difference between a legit group/church and a cult. But Jillian didn't do the research needed for this article. Before you spout off a group of what you think is a cult. Do your homework and take the advice of what you printed; "make sure you thoroughly research an organization before moving forward." I know of at least one of the ones that you mentioned is NOT a cult and if you would have done the research you would have known that. The only possitive thing about calling a church a cult, that is not one, is that people are curious and they go to that church and hear God's message.

One of the things that I agree with what Bob said is '"if you are inclined to waste your time digging into such tripe, go a little further and research the other side of the story!!"
2 Tuesday, 01 December 2009 15:28
Thank you for this fine piece on a topic that deserves more attention. From my understanding, these groups find their opportunities with potential members who are at a crossroads in their lives, such as the transition into adult life, as well as marriage trouble and divorce, substance and mental health issues, etc. They approach you with what appear to be novel and welcome solutions to your problems, and progress into more manipulative stages of indoctrination.

The comment here that begins with "This article is absurd" is quite upsetting. Here you have an article which helps young minds recognize the warning signs of a cult, and he objects? What is his motivation?
1 Tuesday, 01 December 2009 15:01
This article is absurd.

Rick Ross is a fanatic and shouldn't be given this type of attention. His motivations are not at all clear. He invests an enormous amount of resource in bringing all this data together, and yet presents a totally one sided view point.

I don't deny that some of the groups he mentions have negative aspects, but the problem is that he tarnishes all with the same brush. What organization, Coca Cola included, doesn't have its detractors that are willing to fabricate, distort and exaggerate situations to their own ends.

If you want my advice, if you are inclined to waste your time digging into such tripe, go a little further and research the other side of the story!!

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