News on the activities of ICSA members (in no particular order). Send us news (past 3-6 months or future events) you would like to share with the ICSA community. Tell us who, what, where, when. Biographical sketches of many ICSA members can be found here: http://icsahome.com/infoserv_respond/by_profile.asp. Please contact ICSA at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to reproduce any of this information.
Please tell people who might benefit by attending upcoming ICSA workshops and the annual conference. There is a workshop for SGAs in Connecticut, April 26-28; a workshop for former members in Colorado, July 26-28; a seminar/workshop for former members and families in Orlando, May 17-19; and the annual conference in Italy, July 4-6.
ICSA began two-hour meetings for former group members in the Boston area. The first meeting took place on Saturday, January 26th. Subsequent meetings are scheduled to be held every other week. Meetings will take place at MeadowHaven, a residential facility for former group members that is located about 25 miles south of Boston. Facilitators are MeadowHaven’s founders, Robert Pardon and Judy Pardon. The meetings are educational yet supportive. Former members of any high-control or cultic group are welcome. Through these meetings, participants can acquire conceptual tools to help them understand troubling issues, get to know others wrestling with similar problems, improve communication skills, and facilitate healing. Directions. If you are interested in attending the former member group, please e-mail ICSA. Please tell others who might be interested in these meetings, especially if you think they are not on our mailing list.
ICSA’s localmeetings continue in Philadelphia and New York.
Bill and Lorna Goldberg will facilitate a special program for parents of SGAs (those who are born and raised in cultic groups). The program will take place on Sunday afternoon, April 14, 2013 from 2pm to 5pm in Englewood, NJ (directions to be sent to attendees). The goal of the program will be to offer an environment in which parents can give one another mutual counsel and support. Parents will have an opportunity to focus on the complex relationships resulting from multi-generational cult involvement. There is no cost for the program; however, participants will be expected to help ICSA help others by becoming a member of ICSA. Please let others know about this program. Space is very limited and attendance will be first come first served. Interested persons should e-mail ICSA soon.
Lois Kendall published an article in the January 8, 2013 New York Times entitled, “In Sects, Children Have Few, If Any, Rights.”
On March 1st, Gillie Jenkinson ran a workshop entitled, “Pathological Spirituality,” for the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London.
The 50th INFORM seminar, “New Religious Movements and Counselling,” will take place on May 18th at the London School of Economics. ICSA network speakers include Eileen Barker, Linda Dubrow-Marshall, Joe Kelly, and Pat Ryan. More info.
FECRIS, the European Federation of Centres of Research and Education on Sectarianism, will host its annual meeting on May 30th in Marseille, France. Entitled, “Cults and the Rule of Law,” the meeting will include a talk by Stephen Kent.
On February 20th, Lorraine Derocher gave a talk at the University of Sherbrooke: “La protection de la jeunesse en milieu sectaire” (“The protection of youth in a cultic environment”).
CESNUR’s 2013 International Conference, “Changing Religious Movements in a Changing World,” will take place at Dalarna University, Falun, Sweden, June 21-24, 2013.
Margery Wakefield has published a new book, Damaged Lives: The Legacy of Scientology. The book is available at Amazon.com. Ms. Wakefield, a retired social worker living in Denver, was a member of Scientology for 12 years. Along with friends, she also posts YouTube videos on this subject.
Christine Marie was the subject of a History Channel documentary, “Predator Prophet,” which tells her story as the “spiritual wife” of a man claiming to be a Mormon prophet. The program first aired toward the end of January.
Joe Szimhart consulted on a documentary, “Martyrs for Christ,” for the Oprah Winfrey Network as part of the series, “Our America with Lisa Ling.” The documentary aired on February 19th.
Rachel Bernstein has started a new former cult member support group in her office in Encino, a suburb of Los Angeles. The group is also open to loved ones of cult members. More information: 818-907-0036 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 818-907-0036 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, email@example.com.
José Miguel Cuevas was interviewed by Isabel Martinez for the January/February issue of Tribuna Express in an article entitled, “Grupos sectarios, lobos con piel de cordero.” Professor Cuevas also tells us that Europapress had an article entitled, “La Costa del Sol considerada ‘zona caliente’ de sectas, según la asociación Aiiap” (“The Costa del Sol is considered a “hot zone” for cults, according to the IberoAmerican Association on Psychological Abuse” – to which several ICSA members belong). Another Spanish news article appeared in elalmeria.es.
Nathaniel Lachenmeyer’s new full-length play about cults, entitled “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” had a staged reading on January 20, 2013 at 7 Stages in Atlanta, with some of Atlanta’s best actors. The reading was free and open to the public. www.NathanielLachenmeyer.com.”
Europapress.es recently had an article quoting Massimo Introvigne saying that minority religions do not exceed 2% of the population in any European country.
Janet Heimlich discussed religious child maltreatment on the God Discussion show (goddiscussion.com) on January 17th.
On February 1st Sharon Farber, author of Hungry for Ecstasy: Trauma, the Brain, and the Influence of the Sixties published by Jason Aaronson (www.jasonaronson.com), had a “Meet the Authors” interview at The Practice Institute. The book includes a chapter on cult-induced ecstasies and psychosis.
Sharon Farber has also recently published a paper: Eating disorders in women’s prisons: an underreported phenomenon?, Advances in Eating Disorders: Theory, Research and Practice, 1:1, 39-50 (2013).
An ICSA Today article by Leona Furnari and Rosanne Henry (“Lessons Learned from SGAs About Recovery and Resiliency”) was translated into Italian (“Lezioni imparate con gli Adulti di Seconda generazione (SGA) sul recupero e la resilienza”) for the Italian journal, Manipolazioni e vessazioni, n.2, 2012, for which Cristina Caparesi is Scientific Editor: http://www.abusievessazioni.it/.
Patti Millar was interviewed by Vera Chan, a senior editor and front page writer for Yahoo. Ms. Chan is doing a piece on “women escaping cults” in light of the publicity following the departures of the Westboro Baptist Church founders’ granddaughters. Patti was also contacted by an SGA who wanted information about her research about the effects on identity development from growing up in a cult-like environment.
Dennis Tourish has a new book coming out in March 2013: The Dark Side of Transformational Leadership: A Critical Perspective, published by Routledge, London and New York. The book looks at the destructive power of uncontrolled leadership, and in doing so illustrates its point by discussion of a variety of cultic organizations.
Mark Roggeman and Grace Dominguez speak regularly during the year at Regis University in Denver, Colorado on the topics of cults, cult leaders, the role of thought reform, recovery, and life after the cult. They normally speak to classes in criminology and psychology. Mark usually presents first and talks about different cults and their leaders, then Grace talks about Dr. Lifton’s 8 Criteria for Thought Reform, using a diagram developed by the late Dr. Paul Martin (Wellspring) and adapted by Carol Giambalvo for the ICSA Recovery Workshops. Grace ties that in with her experience as a former member of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas. She also talks about her recovery after leaving the Branch Davidians. This year Mark and Grace spoke to two classes on January 15th and February 9th. On February 28th, Grace Dominguez was interviewed by a Reporter from New Zealand, Rob Harley of Project Melting Pot regarding her recovery after leaving the Branch Davidians in 1991. The 7-minute interview will be aired on Good Friday, March 29, on a radio station in New Zealand called Newstalk ZB: www.newstalkzb.co.nz. Mark and Grace will present a workshop on cults at the 2013 Evangelical Ministries to New Religions (EMNR) conference, April 11-13 in Littleton, Colorado. Mark Roggeman’s website usually has his past and present speaking engagements
Doni Whitsett was interviewed for a February 20th Malibu Times article on the Westboro Baptist Church: “Controversial anti-gay church to picket Malibu sanctuaries.”
Sometimes ICSA members have to maintain anonymity because of a loved one’s cultic involvement. That is the case in the development of an interesting Website: http://www.njsafeandsound.org. This site is rather timely because a number of us who field calls and e-mails from inquirers have noted that in recent years we have seen an uptick in the number of family members whose loved one is involved in a relationship that the family sees as cultic, even though the relationship isn’t with a group per se. The processes of influence and control the family members have read about in articles on cults seem to apply to the relationship. This Website is a resource for such concerned family members.
While in Central Mexico from Feb 17-25 Paul Lennon had the opportunity to visit with and strengthen the bonds of friendship with Legion of Christ Marcial Maciel’s accusers: Arturo Jurado, Jose Antonio Perez-Olvera, and Alejandro Espinosa. Paul also was in contact via phone and email with Jose Barba. Another survivor, Francisco Gonzalez-Parga, who in 2005 came forward during the investigation by Vatican Promoter of Justice, Mons. Charles Scicluna, contacted Paul but could not make the rendezvous in Queretaro City because of business commitments. The first four men were part of the original group of nine to conjointly lodge complaints beginning in the 1960s to bishops and Rome about the abuses of Fr. Maciel. They continued to press their case to the end of the century, but-to no avail. Articles in the Hartford Courant in 1997 brought their cause to the US media’s attention and lent weight to the accusations. The men finally brought their cause directly to Cardinal Ratzinger at the Congregation for the Faith around the year 2000. After stalling and delays, in 2004 Cardinal Ratzinger “decided to reopen the case,” and in May 2006 Fr. Maciel was finally reprimanded by the Vatican. Espinosa published his testimony, El Legionario, in 2003; Gonzalez-Parga published Yo Acuso al Padre Maciel. (I Accuse Fr. Maciel) in 2012; Jose Barba, PhD, who has basically dedicated his life to the pursuit of his abuser, Maciel, has written numerous articles on the subject; Paul Lennon wrote a memoir of life in the Legion and more recently penned, Fr. Marcial Maciel, Pedophile, Pyschopath and Founder of the Legion of Christ.
Vega Gonzalez, psychologist specializing in clinical psychology and manager of AIS in Barcelona, gave a presentation in February: “Without substance addictions, new technologies” in the series “Addictions: Dare you wake up?” organized by the College of Nursing of Huesca (Spain). More information here.
Last July Anita Solomon presented a paper at The International Congress of Psychology, entitled, “Group Therapies Using Expressive Arts in Psychiatric Hospital Settings”.
Steve Kent (Department of Sociology, University of Alberta, Canada) has three new articles published or in press, two of which he wrote with graduate students:
(first author with Terra A, Manca). A War Over Mental Health Professionalism: Scientology Versus Psychiatry. Mental Health, Religion & Culture ifirst (2012): 1-23. [Note that this is an open access article that soon will be available for free on Dr. Kent’s web site.]
Religious Justifications for Child Sexual Abuse in Cults and New Religions. International Journal of Cultic Studies 3 (2012): 49-73.
(first author with Robin Willey). Sects, Cults, and the Attack on Jurisprudence. Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion (forthcoming Spring 2013).
Greg Jemsek recently gave a talk and facilitated a series of discussions at the Center for Family Massage Education in Ashland, Oregon on the impact of ideology and belief on the personal sovereignty and the pursuit of spirituality: “Beyond Ideology,” January 30, 2013; “Dogma Dialogues,” facilitated discussions Feb. 6, 10, 13, 17.
For the past three months, Steve Martin has given a series of cult education programs from time to time at Living Water Worship Center, a church in the Albany Ohio area.