April 18, 2022

ICSA Annual Conference!

The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) is conducting its 2022 Annual International Conference jointly with Info-Secte/Info-Cult of Montreal.
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, Relationships, and Environments.


ICSA Annual Conference - Virtual:  June 24-26, 2022
(11:00 am - 5:00 pm EST)

June 17, 2020

ICSA Virtual Summer Conference!

ICSA announcement about the Two-Day Virtual Summer Conference!

Many of you have seen the recent ICSA announcement about the Two-Day Virtual Summer Conference!

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

Please contact ICSA if you need financial assistance to attend this event. mail@icsamail.com

After registering, you will receive a conference packet which will be sent to your email soon with the detailed schedule, conference related materials, and meeting codes.

Thank you so much to all the volunteers, speakers, and ICSA staff members that helped make this event possible!

Saturday, July 11, 2020
11:00 AM - 11:05 AM
"Opening Session" (Steve Eichel)
11:05 AM - 11:50 AM
"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)
11:05 AM - 11:50 AM
"The Neurobiology of Sexual Abuse: Flashbacks, Triggers and Healing" (Doni Whitsett)
12:00 PM - 12:50 PM
"Coercive Control and Persuasion in Relationships and Groups– Intersections and Understandings" (Rod Dubrow-Marshall; Linda Dubrow-Marshall; Andrea Silverstone; Carrie McManus)
12:00 PM - 12:50 PM
"Unification Church (Moonie) SGAs: The Future is Unwritten" (Lisa Kohn; Teddy Hose; Jen Kiaba)
1:00 PM - 1:50 PM
"Lived Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Former Cult Members – Counseling Implications" (Cyndi Matthews; Stevie Powers)
1:00 PM - 1:50 PM
"How Female Former Cult Members Can Reclaim their Relationship with Knowledge and Self-Identity" (Jacqueline Johnson)

1:00 PM - 1:50 PM
"What cults and fervor can teach us about the evolution of religion."
(Yuval Laor)
2:00 PM - 2:50 PM
"Raised in a Cult: Psychological and Social Adjustment of Second- and Third-Generation Former Cult Members" (Sofia Klufas)
3:00 PM - 3:55 PM
"What Do I Tell People? Empowered Ways that Cult Survivors and their Families Can Tell their Stories. Cults, Recovery and Podcasts." (Rachel Bernstein)
3:00 PM - 3:55 PM
"Nxivm: the Reinventive Path to Success?" (Susan Raine, Stephen Kent)
3:55 PM - 4:00 PM
"Closing Session" (Steve Eichel)
Sunday, July 12, 2020
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
"Research Workshop"
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
"Mental Health Workshop"
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
"Former Member Workshop"
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
"Family Workshop"

September 23, 2019

Event: Building Bridges - Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships

Event: Building Bridges -  Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships  Speakers: Joseph KellyPatrick Ryan

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; formulating a helping strategy; learning how to communicate more effectively with your loved one; learning new ways of coping.

This event will be part of the NY Monthly Meeting.

When: September 27, 2019, 7 pm – 9 pm.

Where: Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew (United Methodist), 263 W. 86th St., New York City - Social Hall (Subway stop: #1 train at 86th St. and Broadway)


February 3, 2018

CultNEWS101 Articles: 2/3-4/2018 Weekend Edition

Faith Healing, Legal, Shinto, Japan, Scientology, Ireland, Neo-Nazi,  Wolfpack, Turpin's,  Quiverfulls, Duggars

"The battle over Idaho's faith healing laws is starting to churn at the Statehouse."

"But now, one lawmaker is taking a new angle on the battle."

"In Idaho, parents are allowed by law to shield their children from medical care, even when faced with potentially life-threatening illnesses or injuries, in lieu of prayer or faith-healing."

Gannon's bill looks to simply remove the section of the law that allows parents to cite faith healing. 

"Primitive Shinto is one of the loveliest religions in the world. It’s beautiful in its simplicity — defenseless too, as it proved, against the nativists and nationalists who warped it into 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century xenophobia."

"Rudimentary, vague, undefined, undefinable, Shinto for centuries didn’t even have a name. It didn’t need one; there was nothing to distinguish it from, nothing it was not. One good sentence can say everything there is to say about it — this one, for example, by historian Takeshi Matsumae: “In some rural areas even today (1993), elderly villagers face the rising sun each morning, clap their hands together, and hail the appearance of the sun over the peaks of the nearby mountain as ‘the coming of the kami.'”"

"That’s Shinto — the way (“to”) of the kami (“shin”). As to the kami — who might they be? “Gods,” we say in English, the language offering nothing better, but it’s too freighted a word, too suggestive of power rather than innocence, of something specific as opposed to anything, one knows not what."

"Irish police are investigating the alleged assault of a 14-year-old at the new Church of Scientology center in Dublin."

"A woman is claiming her son was attacked at the €6 million facility in Firhouse, south Dublin, and suffered a fractured wrist, cuts and bruising, The Irish Sun reports."

"Local Sinn Fein TD Sean Crowe said: “I would have huge concerns about the ­allegation a minor has been assaulted at this facility."

“A lot of paranoia surrounds this group and there are also a lot of concerns in the local community about what their aims and objectives are."

Neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin admits that he’s trying to target – and brainwash – “pubescents” into believing his views; what happens when racists find out they’re not white; and some good news from Kansas.

“My site is mainly designed to target children – 11 through teenage years, through high school. Middle school through high school.”

"When she heard the news story of the 13 siblings allegedly held captive in their California home by their parents, Susanne Reisenbichler’s said her first reaction was, “Oh no. Somebody else.”"

"Reisenbichler and her sons Govinda Angulo and Josef Reisenbichler said hearing the reports on the Turpin siblings brought back memories of what they experienced while being confined to a cramped New York City apartment until just a few years ago."

"In a 2014 study of child torture, Barbara Knox, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin, found that 47% of school-age victims had been withdrawn from school for homeschooling and an additional 29% had never been enrolled."

"We keep a database of homeschool abuse cases and have found disturbing details repeated over and over. More than 40% of severe and fatal cases involve some form of imprisonment. The Turpin children were found chained to their beds. So was Calista Springer, a 13-year-old Michigan girl who died in a house fire in 2009 when she was unable to free herself. Christian Choate of Indiana was kept naked in a cage; he died in 2009, at age 13, but his death was not discovered until two years later. In Arizona, a 14-year-old girl was locked in a bedroom for more than a year and routinely raped by her father; she escaped by kicking down the door when the rest of the family was away and running two miles across town to the home of a friend from when she attended school."

"...[The]Turpins are also Quiverfulls, the sect of Christianity that strongly values a patriarchal, conversative culture. With the Duggars fronting as the group’s most visible members, the movement has been met with countless criticisms in the years since we met the reality TV family and stars of 19 Kids and Counting."

"In a piece for AlterNet, a woman who spent 16 years being raised in a Quiverfull church detailed what the abuse was like — detailing how “spiritual abuse” in the forms of physical, emotional, and mental abuse was especially detrimental."

January 22, 2018

CultNEWS101 Articles: 1/22/2018

Ultra-Orthodox, Israel, University Bible Fellowship (UBF), Patricia Hearst, Gaslighting, China, Religious Discrimination, MSM, Canada, Legal, Transcendental Meditation
"Moshe Lifshitz says he always felt motivated to serve in the Israeli army even though, as an ultra-Orthodox Jew, he was entitled to a military exemption."

“I don’t know where my desire to serve in the IDF came from, but I’ve always felt it,” said Lifshitz, who spent three years in a combat unit and still performs yearly reserve duty.

“My father didn’t serve and neither did my nearly 100 cousins, not that I hold it against them.”

Lifshitz is one of a growing number of ultra-Orthodox — also known as haredi — men who have defied expectations and enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces. They join despite often intense pressure from other haredim to study sacred texts full time and avoid the military.

A list compilation of press releases of UBF ex-members and press articles.
"Patricia Hearst has spoken out against two new projects about her high-profile kidnapping and ordeal with a guerrilla group, Deadline reports."

"The heiress was abducted from her apartment in 1974 by the Symbionese Liberation Army. Over a year and half later, she was arrested with other members after participating in some of their crimes. Hearst served time in prison, though she maintains she was brainwashed by the group (she was eventually pardoned in 2001)."

"Her case is the subject of an upcoming CNN docuseries – The Radical Story of Patty Hearst – and an unnamed Fox 2000 film starring Elle Fanning, based on Jeffrey Toobin’s recent unauthorized book, American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial ."

BBC: Cheating and manipulation: Confessions of a gaslighter

"Greg, a Canadian lawyer, is 28 but he's already had 11 serious relationships. He says each of those relationships ended with infidelity, on his part, and severe self-doubt on the part of the women. He is a self-confessed "gaslighter"."

"Chinese police officers demolished one of the country’s largest evangelical churches this week, using heavy machinery and dynamite to raze the building where more than 50,000 Christians worshiped."

"The Golden Lampstand Church in Shanxi Province was one of at least two Christian churches demolished by the authorities in recent weeks, part of what critics describe as a national effort to regulate spiritual life in China."

"Under President Xi Jinping, the government has destroyed churches or removed their steeples and crosses as part of a campaign that reflects the Communist Party’s longstanding fear that Christianity, viewed as a Western philosophy, is a threat to the party’s authority."
A B.C. man and an Alberta woman face dozens of Food and Drug Act charges related to the promotion of a so-called miracle tonic touted as capable of curing everything from AIDS to autism.

"The charges against Stanley and Sara Nowak follow years of Health Canada warnings about the sale of sodium chlorite, a bleach that a global community of believers is convinced can eliminate pathogens and poisons from the body when diluted with water."

Transcendental Meditation Initiation Puja

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi recalls visiting Kerala in 1955 and instituting the puja ceremony in order to teach meditation:-

'And now I remember when I begin to look into the past, what I, what happened. the first such thing happened somewhere in Kerala, where I went from Uttar Kashi to Kerala, dakshina [Hindi for 'south'] .. South India, and people wanted to learn this practice of meditation.

I thought: "What to do, what to do, what to do?" then I thought, "I should teach them all in the name of Guru Dev. I should design a system, a system of puja to Guru Dev." 

And in that puja the reality came out, the reality of Guru Dev, the totality of Guru Dev and what it was:

"Gurur Brahma", the Creator, "Gurur Vishnur", the Maintainer

"Gurur Brahma", the Creator, "Gurur Vishnur", the Maintainer, the Administrator,

"Guruh Sakshat Param Brahma", totality of knowledge, totality of enlightenment. 

"Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnur, Gurur Devo Maheshvarah", silence, "Shiva", 

"Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnur, Gurur Devo Maheshvarah", "Shiva", silence, eternal Purusha. 

"Guruh Sakshat, Param Brahma", transcendental "Brahma". 

Totality of all, infinite diversity, that is the guru - "na guror adhikam*", "na guror adhikam" - "there is no one greater than guru", guru is everything, Creator, Maintainer, Sustainer, everything is the guru, the guru, the guru. 

I formulated the puja to Guru Dev, I started through that instrumentality to transfer Guru Dev’s reality to the one who wanted to teach meditation [Maharishi himeself]. So what flowed was, totality of Guru Dev, flowed through the puja.'

- transcript of Maharishi speaking on 21st October 2007