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Member Update, 2015, Vol. 6, No. 1

News on the cult-related activities of ICSA members (in no particular order). Send us news (past 3 to 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 are here: http://icsahome.com/infoprofile.asp Please contact ICSA at mail@icsamail.com if you want to reproduce any of this information. We will include some photos with each issue. Send us a jpg if you think we might not have a photo of you.

ICSA Member Update

Robert Orell was interviewed by the New York Times on March 5, 2015 in an article entitled, “Same Anger, Different Ideologies: Radical Muslim and Neo-Nazi.”

Steven Hassan has published an updated and revised version of Combating Cult Mind Control. Steve says he “reworked the book with many additions so that people learn to develop, use, and trust their critical thinking skills and intuition, along with bodily and emotional awareness. It is essential to research thoroughly, ask the right questions, and know trustworthy resources.” In this 25th anniversary volume you’ll find much that’s new and important, including:

New stories of people who fell under the sway of cults and other forms of undue influence, but who were able to break free and find renewed hope, happiness, and sanity. These include terrorist cult and sex trafficking victims.

  • New information on the many sophisticated ways social media are now used for mind control—and how to spot and resist them 
  • Updates on the many types of organizations that often use mind control 
  • Information on the neuroscience behind mind control—and how to use that information to protect yourself and others 
  • A look at what legislators, courts, mental health professionals, and ordinary citizens can do to resist mind control and make our world safer 
  • The book is now available in e-book format. It is available on amazon.com and Amazon in Europe as well. The paperback will be available soon. 

Steve Eichel has a chapter in Diedre Barrett’s Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy: “Lay Hypnotherapy and the Credentialing of Zoe the

Cat.” To demonstrate the lack of rigor in some credentialing processes, Steve got his now late cat, Zoe, credentialed as a hypnotherapist and psychotherapist. In the application he called her Dr. Zoe D. Katze (“Katze” means “cat” in German, i.e. “Zoe da cat”). Fans of Zoe the cat is a public Facebook group with nearly 250 members (). Steve also tells us that his proposal to the American Psychological Association 2015 annual meeting in Toronto has been accepted. Sponsored by Division 41 (Psychology-Law), the talk, entitled “Cults, Extremist Movements and the Child Custody Evaluation: Pitfalls and Strategies,” is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, 8/6/15 at 11 AM.

Sharon Farber wrote about cult involvement on her Psychology Today blog, “The Mind-Body Connection” The essay is entitled, “Cults and the Mind Body Connection.”

Patrick O’Reilly presented a free public talk at La Pena Lounge in Berkley, CA on the history and creation of the Manson Family, the family’s crimes, and the psychological commitment mechanisms that cause people to join and stay in cults.

Joe Gass was interviewed on the Iowa radio station, KRUU, in a one-hour program on mental health and cults. 

Rita Swan, founder of Children’s Healthcare is a Legal Duty (CHILD) sent a brief report:
We are off to a good start in Washington State. We have identical bills in the House and Senate with 8 or 9 sponsors on each, and a goodly mix of Republicans and Democrats among them. The bills repeal the religious exemptions to criminal mistreatment and failure to report child abuse and neglect. Bill #s are HB1476 and SB5408.
We’d like to work in Idaho also. The number of deaths of Followers of Christ children is outrageous. 208 kids are buried in one cemetery used by the Idaho Followers. The politics there, however, make legislative remediation almost impossible. We have created a second webpage just about Idaho. It’s www.idahochildren.org.
This week we finally sent our petition to the IRS asking them to stop allowing bills for CS “treatment” to be deducted as medical care expenses.
We are fighting RFRA bills introduced in Georgia and Indiana and a bill to give a religious exemption from immunizations in West Virginia. (48 states already have religious exemptions from immunizations, and we certainly don’t want West Virginia to be the 49th.)
We expect the CS [Christian Science] church to get EACH bill introduced in Congress again. We were grateful it died in the U.S. Senate last year.
We’re still keeping our fingers crossed that the Tennessee Supreme Court will rule its religious defense unconstitutional and maybe even because it violates the child’s rights not just the mother’s.
Rick Ross has published a book, Cults Inside Out: How People Get In and Can Get Out. The book has been translated into Chinese. He also continues to appear on or be cited by a variety of media, including:

  • An interview concerning the controversy surrounding a Scientology sponsored anti-drug program in NYC. 
  • A report by Associated Press about a family suicide linked to an imprisoned cult leader in Utah. 
  • A report by Gothamist about a Scientology sponsored program within the NYC public school system. 
  • An interview with Nancy Grace on CNN Headline News (HLN). The interview was about the arrest of Victory Barnard in Brazil. Barnard was the leader of a group called “River Road Fellowship” and is wanted on 59 criminal counts of sexual abuse regarding minor children. 
  • The New York Times cited him as a “cult authority” in connection with a movie review. The movie is something of a comedy about a down-and-out cult expert/deprogrammer. 
  • A podcast interview for Asylum Radio. The podcast discusses Cults Inside Out, as well as cults in general and the recovery issues faced by former cult members. 
  • “Honolulu Civil Beat” cited the Cult Education Institute and its public message board as a source for a story about US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and her ties to a fringe sect, often called a “cult.” 
  • Appeared as an expert on a AHC cable network program, “Codes and Conspiracies,” on March 16th. The episode was entitled, “Deadly Cults.” It reviewed various groups, including the Peoples Temple at Jonestown, the Waco Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, and Aum Shinrikyo. 
  • A radio interview about his new book, Scientology, and cult intervention work on the Chad Benson Show on the Radio America Network. 
  • An Interview with a news outlet in Canada concerning the lawsuits filed against Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram Yoga. 
  • Consulted for an article that appeared at Guff about the fiction “Slender Man” and whether this cult following could be compared to a destructive cult. 
  • Interviewed by Jenny McCarthy for her show on Sirius Satellite Radio January 16, 2015. The show discussed destructive cults and the coercive persuasion methods and influence techniques often employed by destructive cults. 

On January 24, 2015 José Miguel Cuevas Barranquero was interviewed by Diario “Sur” Spain: “un experto alerta del incremento de sectas en la Costa del Sol, al amparo de la crisis” (Specialist warns about increase of cults in Costa del Sol, under the crisis). On January 25th, he was interviewed by Diario “Málaga Hoy” on cults today: “un programa político utópico es tentador porque la gente busca un salvador” (utopian political program is tempting because people are looking for a savior). 

Letitia Clifford is a second-year student completing a counseling diploma course level 4. She lives in Devon, UK and attends ‘Heartwood Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy Training’ in Dartington. As part of her qualification she is conducting a research project, “A study of the impact that therapy/counselling has on cult exit and/or post cult exit recovery.” To complete the research she developed a comprehensive questionnaire that is divided into four main parts: general information, cult life, cult exit, and recovery. ICSA helped her get subjects. The response has been very positive and we look forward to hearing about Letitia’s results.

Carolle Tremblay and Mike Kropveld co-wrote an opinion piece for the Montreal Gazette of 20 February 2015. The article is

entitled, “Terrorist Groups and Cults Have Some Things in Common.” 

Mark Roggeman on March 18th presented on “The Sexual Components of Cults” as part of Regis University’s 2015 Annual Speaker Series on Sexual Homicides in Denver, Colorado.

Dan Shaw has a number of upcoming presentations related to the topic of his book published last year, Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation (Routledge, 2013):

  • “Surviving Traumatic Narcissism: From Subjugation to Emancipation” (April 9-11, 2015) at the 2015 CAPS International Conference (Christian Association for Psychological Studies) () 
  • Grand Rounds and Workshop on June 11, 2015 for SUNY Upstate Medical University and the APsaA (American Psychoanalytic Association). Information: Contact Lynn Storman at stormon@mac.com. 
  • Presentation on Traumatic Narcissism for the IARPP 2015 Conference (International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy). 

Colleen Russell presented a workshop in Marin County recently: Workshop for Former Members, Interactive, Educational, PowerPoint, Former Member’s Narrative, and Discussion (February 21, 2015). She also gave a talk, “Behave, Believe, Become, Recovering From High Demand Groups or Cults,” to the Marin Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists on January 23, 2015.

In January Nori Muster gave an extensive interview to two high school students who wanted to interview a professional for an essay on cults and society. Nori was also interviewed by a local public radio station about her book, Child of the Cult, which is now available free on her website, along with the radio interview by KJZZ-FM.

Amanda Van Eck Duymaer Van Twist is the editor of Minority Religions and Fraud: In Good Faith, part of the Ashgate Inform Series on Minority Religions and Spiritual Movements. The book was published in September 2014.

Art Buchman, who is the editor of the Danish newsletter Progressive Judaism, wrote an editor’s message on: “The outpouring of support and condolences for the Jewish communities in Denmark has been gratifying and parallels the extremely positive responses received by French Jewry last month. Equally reassuring has been the almost universal condemnation of the murders of two innocent Danish citizens, one a volunteer Jewish security guard and the other a film-maker.” As part of the Jewish crisis response team in Copenhagen, Art “experienced first-hand the extraordinary cooperation and professionalism of the many participants who have volunteered their time and expertise to restore full functioning to all segments of Jewish society in Denmark within 48 hours.”

Alexandra Stein was the subject of an article in the Daily Mail, “’I was Brainwashed by a Cult’: How One Woman Escaped and Rebuilt her Life,” that appeared on 14 December 2014.)

Doni Whitsett presented a paper on Tuesday, January 6th, entitled “Cults on Campus: An Obstacle to Educational Goals.” The paper was presented at the Clute Institute’s educational conference in Maui, Hawaii.

Piotr T. Nowakowski published a paper titled, “School Social Worker Toward the Problem of Cults and Related Phenomena”

(English translation), in the No. 3/2014 issue of the academic journal, Społeczeństwo i Rodzina (Society & Family). In the paper, the role of a social worker in the school context is defined, and then social problems generated by cults and related phenomena within this context are presented. Finally, conclusions are suggested about potential outcomes to the above-mentioned issues as a result of the social worker’s professional activity, which in the Polish setting is equivalent to a guidance counselor. In relation to the school context, among potential challenges posed by cults and related phenomena, several aspects are noted. First, the discussion focuses on the problem of infiltration of schools by cults, including the issue of the introduction of New Age ideas within the school environment. This discussion is followed by consideration of the question about cultic movements establishing schools, which representatives of cultic groups accomplish by ignoring compulsory-education requirements.

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