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Outreach to Ex-Cult Members: The Question of Terminology


Cultic Studies Journal, 1991, Volume 8, Number 1, pages 134-150


Outreach to Ex-Cult Members: The Question of Terminology


Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.
American Family Foundation

William V. Chambers
University of South Florida, PhD

Abstract

A  questionnaire  listing  terms applicable to cults  was  sent  former  members of cultic groups.  108 were returned  in time  for analysis. Subjects were asked to rate and rank terms with  regard to the degree to which they would be meaningful and  acceptable to cultists who left their groups  on their own ("walk-aways").  71 of the 108 subjects were themselves walk-aways.  Although subjects on average gave favorable ratings  to the terms, subjects indicated that walk-aways would relate  less well to traditional terms used by cult educational organizations, e.g., "cult," "brainwashing."  Terms such as "psychological abuse," "spiritual  trauma," and "trust abuse" received higher average ratings and rankings. A factor analysis produced  five factors, two of which, Abuse and Trauma, were significantly more acceptable  than  the other  three  factors, Mind Control, Social Manipulation, and Group Intensity. The implications of  these findings for cult educational organizations are discussed.

Organizations  such as the American Family Foundation (AFF)  and the Cult Awareness Network (CAN -- originally called the Citizens Freedom Foundation) came into being in the late 1970s in order to respond to the needs of individuals and families troubled about involvement with groups that appeared to use high-pressure tactics to recruit and retain members. Such  groups  were often called cults because a) most at  this time were religious and  b)  the  term "cult" typically referred to new, marginal religious movements that were not connected to mainstream religions, as were sects for example (Nelson, 1968).  The families and individuals disturbed by cult involvements began to organize and form  organizations such as AFF and CAN because traditional helping sources, mental health professionals  and clergy in particular, dismissed or misunderstood their concerns

Affected individuals and families saw similarities between the tactics they had  observed  in  the groups causing  concern  and  those observed   by students  of  Korean  War  POWs.   The terms "brainwashing" (Hunter, 1953),  "coercive  persuasion"  (Schein, 1961),  "thought  reform" (Lifton, 1961),  and  the more popular "mind control" were used  to  describe  and explain  the disturbing phenomena.  The process  of deprogramming,  in which  a cultist's family hired former cult members to  physically  restrain the  cultist and force him or her to listen to information not available  in the  cult (Dubrow-Eichel, 1989), was a frequently employed  method  for helping family members in cults (in recent years "forced" deprogramming has  been largely replaced by voluntary deprogramming, now called  "exit counseling").

The controversy over deprogramming became bitter as cult propagandists and sympathetic academicians (Bromley  & Richardson, 1983),  on  the  one  hand, and  affected  persons  and academicians and professionals  sympathetic to the other side (Delgado, 1978;  Langone  & Clark, 1985)  argued  about whether  cults  or   deprogrammers   more severely  curtailed civil rights.  A change in terminology  quickly resulted from  this  debate.  Academicians sympathetic to cults stopped  using  the term "cult" (see Robbins, 1969 for an early article in which the term "cult" was used),  which  they felt had acquired  a  pejorative connotation,  and began to use the more neutral "new religious movement" (NRM).

Cult  critics rejected "new religious movement" because it seemed to give undeserved respectability to noxious groups and because even during  the early   days   it  was  apparent that not  all   controversial groups were religious.   Galanter's  (1982) "charismatic group," although neutral  and applicable  to nonreligious groups, is vague (was Red Auerbach's  Boston Celtics   a "charismatic  group"?)  and, like NRM,  often   perceived   as euphemistic.

Many  professionals felt uncomfortable with "cult" because not  all "cults" employed  the high pressure tactics that fueled the controversy (e.g.,  the Meher  Baba group described by Robbins, 1969).  Shapiro (1977)  coined the  term  "destructive cult" in order to distinguish that subset  of groups that  was harmful from that subset which was not.  Shapiro's  distinction, however,  was not consistently employed by workers  in  the  field.   The adjective "destructive" was often omitted, and "cult" and "destructive  cult" in practice became interchangeable.

Many  cult  critics, especially those associated with the  American Family Foundation, attempted to downplay the categorization of the "group" and stress  the  "processes" that harmed people. In a booklet for the  layman (Langone, 1982),  for example,  the  author  purposely did not discuss specific groups  in order to  encourage  readers to avoid "cataloguing" groups  into "bad" and "acceptable" and to look instead at how the  social influence processes in a particular group affected a particular individual.

This booklet also introduced the term "unethical social influence," which, it  was hoped, might replace "cult," "brainwashing," "coercive persuasion," etc.   Around  the  same time, Margaret Singer  (Singer, 1982)  proposed "systematic manipulation of psychological and social influence" (SMPSI).  Although fellow professionals saw the advantages of such terms, they  did not   strike a  chord  among  the parents and  ex-cultists  we   and   our colleagues   were  trying  to help.  Thus,  many  of  us   found   ourselves employing   a   variety of  terms  to  describe   the   same phenomenon, adjusting  the terminology  to suit the group to which we  were  trying  to communicate.

By  1988  it became clear that despite their shortcomings  we  were stuck with  "cult,"  "mind control,"  and their brethren.   Too  large  a body  of popular  and professional literature had been produced, and these terms were  implanted in the public mind.  In 1988 the 1982 booklet, which had been  entitled "Destructive Cultism:   Questions and   Answers,"   was revised.   The  new booklet,  acknowledging popular  usage, was called "Cults:  Questions and Answers" (Langone, 1988).

During   the   past  few  years,  however,  the  terminology   we   have so grudgingly  come  to accept has been challenged by a  new development.  As  cult educational organizations have matured and endured, more  and more  people  have  become  aware  of  their services.   In recent   years substantial  numbers  of people who left cultic groups  without  a  family-inspired intervention have turned to such organizations for help.   Some of  these  people have simply left the group for  whatever  reason.   These have  come  to  be called "walk-aways."  Others,  who have  been  ejected from  the  group, have  come  to be  called  "cast-aways."   Based  on  the reports of those who do contact cult educational organizations, it appears that many, and probably most, walk-aways and cast-aways  not  only  do not relate to terms such as "cult," but indeed find them offensive.

Several factors appear to account for this phenomenon.  First, ex-cultists, like  the  public at large, tend to subscribe to the  popular misconception that  "cults"  are deviant, "weird" groups for "weird" people.   (The recent spate  of media reports on Satanism has reinforced  this misconception.)  Because  their group, their friends in the group, and they  themselves  are not "weird,"  their  group is not a cult.  Second,  even  when ex-members become  aware  of the ideas of those who see  unethical  manipulation  as central  to  cult conversion, they do not automatically see  their  group  in this   light. For  example,  a  former  cult member, who   now provides psychological  services to ex-cult members, told the senior author that he had  been out of his group for two years before he realized it was a  cult, even  though  he had read material such as Lifton  (1961).  Reevaluating years of deception is not easy.  Third, not all cults are highly manipulative or destructive.  Some groups are only mildly so and will not  comfortably wear   the label "cult."   And  lastly, the typical  cult  victim   has   been indoctrinated  to  believe  that  the group is always right  and  he  or  she, when  dissenting, is always wrong.  Many, therefore, stumble out of  their groups  feeling  guilty and inadequate.   They try  to  figure  out  what  is wrong   with themselves   and  frequently  do   not   even consider   the possibility that their problems may in large part have been caused by  the group, rather  than caused  by  their inability to  live  up  to  the  group's standards.

The  tendency  of  walk-aways  and cast-aways to turn a  deaf  ear  to the terminology traditionally used by cult educational organizations poses  a problem  for  those  engaged  in outreach to  this population, a sizeable minority  and  possibly  majority of  whom  have psychological  problems (Galanter,  1983).  These people  will  not avail  themselves  of  help   if helpers  do not use terms that catch the ex-members' attention.  In  order to  shed  light  on  this problem a brief  questionnaire  was  designed  to measure ex-cultists' opinions about various terms.

Method

A  one-page  questionnaire  was mailed to 204  former  cultists  who had previously  completed a 19-page questionnaire currently  being analyzed. The  questionnaire inquired into how subjects left the groups with which they  were  affiliated,  the  names of the groups, and  whether  or  not in retrospect    the   subject would   consider the group   a    cult.     The questionnaire  then listed 20 terms which the subject was asked  to  rate and  rank.  Specifically, the questionnaire said, "Keeping in mind  the  full range  of  groups people leave, please rate how well walk-aways who are unfamiliar with  'counter-cult' literature would  relate to  the  following terms.   Use  the following rating scale....1 = will relate very  well  to  the term,  2  =  will relate to the term, 3 = uncertain/not sure, 4  =  will  not relate  to  the  term, and 5 = will not relate to the term  at  all."  Subjects were  further asked:   "Again keeping in mind the  full  range  of  groups, please rank the above terms.  Give that term  which  you  believe  walk-aways will most readily relate to a ranking of '1' and mark '1' to the right of  the term.  Mark '2' to the right of your second choice, and so on until you have ranked them from 1 to 20."

Subjects were not asked their own ratings or rankings for it was believed that their ratings and rankings would reflect education they had  obtained since  leaving  their  groups.  Subjects were also asked to suggest  other terms  that  they  believed  walk-aways might respond  to.   Results were tabulated and subjected to a principal components analysis.

Results

One-hundred-eight   subjects  had  submitted  questionnaires   when the results  were tabulated (several more arrived after tabulation).   Of these subjects,  71 were walk-aways, 10 had been involuntarily deprogrammed, 10  had  been  exit  counseled, and 17 had left through  "other" means  -- usually they were ejected.

Nearly  all subjects (N = 100; 93%) considered their group in retrospect to  be a cult.  The groups from which subjects came are listed in  Table  1 (3 subjects did not list group names).

Average  ratings  and  ranking  of  the  listed  terms  for  all  subjects are presented in Table 2.

Inspection  of  Table 2 reveals that a) subjects did  not  ringingly endorse any  term, b) there was general agreement between ratings and  rankings and c) the terms traditionally employed by cult educational organizations did   not   fare   as   well  as  innovative terms,   such   as "psychological abuse/trauma/manipulation" "trust abuse," and "spiritual abuse/trauma."  Respondents on average were uncertain about "cult," "brainwashing," and "totalist groups."Subjects  in this study were much more varied with respect to group than in  previous  studies.   In  Conway, Siegelman, Carmichael, & Coggins (1986), for example, 76% of the subjects (representing 48 groups) came from five  groups: Unification  Church  (44%), Divine Light Mission (11%), Scientology  (10%),  The Way International (6%), and  Hare Krishna (5%).  The largest number from any one group in this study was 14 (13%) -- from Scientology.  We believe that these sample differences reflect changes   in  the population of ex-cultists seeking assistance, including the increase in walk-aways. Seventy-three percent of Conway et al.'s sample were deprogrammed subjects, whereas 66% of  this  study's sample consisted of walk-aways.


_____________________________________________________________

Table 1

Numbers of Subjects, By Group

______________________________________________________________

Group                                                             Number

______________________________________________________________

Alive Polarity Fellowship                                        1

Aquarian Church of Universal Service                        1

Bawa Muheyaddeen Fellowship                                1

Boston Church of Christ Movement                                7

Bethel Christian Center                                        1

Bible Speaks                                                        2

Blue Mountain Center of Meditation                                1

Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit                                1

Campus Crusade                                                1

Church of Today/Le Pavillon                                        1

Children of God                                                 2

Community Bible Church                                        1

Covenant Players                                                1

Church Universal and Triumphant                                5

Dayton New Covenant Church                                1

Democratic Workers Party                                        2

Direct Centering                                                1

Divine Light Mission                                                1

Eckankar                                                        2

Emissaries of Divine Light                                        4

est                                                                2

Family Ark                                                        1

Hare Krishna                                                        3

Jehovah's                                                         3

Kashi Ranch                                                        1

Lifespring                                                        2

Living Water Christian Fellowship                                1

Love Family                                                        1

Maranatha                                                        1

Mt Hope Foundation                                                1

Muktananda                                                        1

Navigators                                                        1

New Early Christian Church                                        1

Nichiren Shoshu (NSA)                                        1

Opus Dei                                                        1

People of Hope                                                2

People of Praise                                                1

People's Temple                                                1

Rama                                                                1

School of Metaphysics                                        1

Scientology                                                          14

Seed, The                                                        1

Spiritual Walk, The                                                1

Sullivanians                                                        1

Synanon                                                        1

Transcendental Meditation                                        3

Unification Church                                                3

UFO                                                                1

University Bible Fellowship                                        1

Warren Truth Fellowship                                        1

Way International                                                4

Worldwide Church of God                                        5

Zion Bible Fellowship                                                1

No name/not clear                                                4

Note:    A group's being listed here should not be interpreted as a definitive statement as to its cultic  nature.  These results reflect the opinions of subjects only.

_______________________________________________________

Table 2

Average Ratings and Rankings of descriptive terms in Ascending Order (N=108) _____________________________________________________

Ratings                                Rankings____________________

psychological trauma        2.22        trust abuse                          7.81

psychological abuse        2.36        psychological trauma                 7.96

spiritual trauma        2.28        psychological abuse                 8.09

psych. Manipulation        2.31        spiritual trauma                8.33

spiritual abuse        2.38        psych. manipulation                8.49

trust abuse                2.38        spiritual abuse                8.78

mind manipulation        2.39        mind manipulation                 8.92

high demand groups        2.43        high intensity groups                 9.31

relationship maniplt.        2.49        high demand groups                 9.32

relationship abuse        2.56        relationship abuse                 9.60

high intensity groups        2.58        relationshipmaniplt.             10.01

coercive persuasion        2.61        mind control                                   10.76

charismatic groups        2.64        coercive persuasion             10.82

mind control                2.81        charismatic groups              11.32

mind-game victims        2.88        mind-game victims               11.73

exploitative persuasion        3.08        exploitative persuasion         12.75

manipulated conversion        3.10        brainwashing                       12.79

brainwashing                3.17        cult                                          13.03

totalist groups        3.19        manipul’d conversions        13.35

cult                        3.19        totalist groups                13.72

Note:  Ratings were based on the following:

1 = will relate very well to the term

2 = will relate to the term

3 = uncertain/not sure

4 = will not relate to the term

5 = will not relate to the term at all

_______________________________________________________

In  order  to  determine  if  there was  an  unusually  high  number  of "3" ratings  ("uncertain/not sure"),  all ratings for all subjects  were totaled.  Table 3 summarizes these data.


_______________________________________________________

Table 3

Summary of Ratings for All Subjects and All Questions

_______________________________________________________

Rating                                Frequency                          Percent

1.  Will relate very

    well to the term                     440                                26.4

2.  Will relate to the term     645                                29.9

3.  Uncertain/not sure         495                                22.9

4.  Will not relate to the

     term                         397                                18.4

5.  Will not relate to the

     term at all                             182                                    8.4

Total                                       2160                                   100.0

Note:  Each subject was asked to rate 20 terms in response to the question of how well walk-aways would relate to each term.

____                                                                                     __________________________________________________

Given  an  average rating of all terms across all subjects of 2.65, this distribution indicates that ratings of "3" were not over-represented. Table 3 suggests that about half the ratings were favorable

_______________________                                                                                     _______________________________

Table 4

Factor Analysis

Term         Factor Loadings        Factor 1  Factor 2   Factor 3    Factor 4         Factor 5

  1. Mind Control

        Mind Control                 .87          .05              .09                 .17           .03

        Cult                         .85          .05              .15                 .05           .00

        Brainwashing                 .81          .02             -.13                 .05           .14

        Psych. Manipulation         .54          .30              .01                 .39           .22

  1. Social Manipulation

        Relationship Maniplt.        -.04          .77              .14                 .23           .02

        Mind Game Victims         .40          .72              .01                -.11           .07

        Relationship abuse      -.14          .71              .07                  .06           .33

        Mind Manipulation         .47          .54              .04                 .36              -.09

        Manipulated Conversion .26          .49              .45                 .03           .13

  1. Group Intensity

        Totalistic Group                 .13          .12              .80                 .23              -.08

        High Demand Group    -.12          .18              .78                     -.12           .29

        High Intensity Group        -.18          .21              .72                 .09           .20

        Charismatic Group         .18         -.12              .45                -.18               -.23

  1. Trauma

        Psychological Trauma         .27          .24             -.07                 .79           .13

        Spiritual Trauma        -.01         -.06              .09                 .72           .43

        Coercive Persuasion         .19          .27              .48                 .56           .01

  1. Abuse

        Spiritual Abuse         .11          .05           .10              .17                   .85

        Psychological Abuse         .34          .29             -.09                 .44            .60

        Trust Abuse                 .06          .47              .19                 .09                  .58        

A principal components analysis was conducted in order to ascertain the structure of the ratings.  Results indicated the presence of  five components with eigenvalues greater than 1. Varimax rotation suggested the following factors: Mind Control, Social Manipulation, Group Intensity, Trauma, and Abuse (see Table 4).

In order to determine the extent to which acceptability ratings differed across  the factors, the 20 terms were partitioned into  subsets corresponding to the factors.  The average rating or "total score" for each factor  was calculated for each subject. For example, the total score for subject one on the Mind Control factor consisted of the average of his or her ratings on the terms mind control, cult, brainwashing, and psychological manipulation. This procedure was used instead of factor scores because  available computer  programs did not supply non-normalized factor scores.

The  mean  acceptability ratings across all subjects  were: Mind Control 2.86, Social Manipulation 2.75, Group Intensity 2.71, Trauma 2.37, and Abuse 2.33.  Analysis of  variance disclosed significant differences (F=7.32, df=4, 535, P<.0001) among the means.  The Duncan procedure delineated two groupings: (Abuse and Trauma) vs. (Mind   Control, Social Manipulation, and Group Intensity). No other groupings  were revealed.

Among  the terms suggested by subjects were: destructive cult, spiritual disillusionment, information disease, guilt inducement, total commitment, cultic, cult-like, thought reform, mental abuse, authoritarian groups, hierarchical groups, manipulative groups, psychologically manipulative  groups, totalitarian  groups, psychological rape, headship/submission groups, fear-inducing groups, religious abuse, religiously exploitative, group think, enforced lifestyle, emotional abuse, authority abuse, confidence game, high pressure groups,  Bible/Scripture abusers, disciple/discipling abusers, predatory spirituality, con games, manipulative  religions, cultic trauma group, cultic abuse victim, false religions,  dysfunctional organizations, professional deceptionists,  closed intense groups, spiritual blackmail, emotional blackmail, double-message groups, elitist groups, enmeshment, mind rape, and religious addiction.

The terms and comments in the question asking for  other terms were generally consistent with the terms that received the highest ratings/rankings. Manipulation is a common underlying theme throughout  the list.  There was, however, some disagreement about the advisability of using the word "victim."  Some subjects obviously liked terms implying victimization,  e.g., "psychological abuse," "mind rape." Others thought "victim" was negative:

[a  word] that implies they have been taken advantage of  (their consent) but not one that refers to them as victims which in my opinion keeps them in the "cycle of abuse."

I think most walk-aways are quite defensive at first.  "Victim" is a very harsh concept.

Several expressed frustration over the question of terminology:

I can't figure out if you are assuming the walk-away knows  he was  in  a cult. It took months of therapy before I could even begin to look at the possibility I had been manipulated. These terms are premature.

This  question  is  nearly an impossible one for me to answer because I think that the terms listed are all poor  ones to  use for  people  who are just beginning to "think" after coming out of a group that uses "mind control."  I have seen someone  who was questioning "the church" who literally threw the Bible  help book on the floor and stormed out of the room because she read the definition of the term "cult."

Discussion

The  frustration expressed by several subjects is not foreign to those  who help ex-cultists and their families.  Explaining the subtlety and complexity of the unethical social influence observed in cults is difficult enough when one  has  a  person's  attention  and  plenty of time, such as in an exit counseling. It is perhaps impossible to capture the essence of  the phenomenon in one term. Nevertheless, those of us engaged   in counseling, consultation, and education must attempt to communicate with  our audiences, however imperfect that communication may be. In academia, where one's words may be printed in a specialized journal actually read by no more than several dozen colleagues, it is relatively easy to establish a consensus regarding  terminology. When, however, one is attempting to communicate with thousands of people,  for whom this subject is not a "specialty," the matter becomes a bit more slippery.

The results of this study testify to the difficulty of achieving consensus regarding  terminology. The results also suggest that no term will  suffice for all people and all situations. Some people will respond to  "cult"; others will be highly offended. Some may respond to "psychological abuse"; others may rebel against any term containing "abuse." Some may respond to "spiritual trauma"; others may see their experience as neither spiritual nor traumatic.

The factor analysis was particularly revealing. On the whole, subjects perceive Trauma and Abuse as more acceptable than Mind Control, Social Manipulation, and Group Intensity. The contrast between these two groups of factors may reflect a higher-order dimension of effects versus processes.  Trauma and abuse may represent the phenomenological effects of processes that are generally misunderstood or repressed by cult walk-aways. The processes of Mind Control, Social Manipulation, and Group Intensity, on the other hand, may serve as abstract explanations that help parents understand the changes they have observed  in their children. Thus, during the years in which  parents constituted the largest category of help seekers,  the second group of terms was most acceptable.  But now that walk-aways are seeking help in greater numbers, the first group of terms becomes attractive to more people. In  short, walk-aways may tend to relate to  terms that describe what they actually experienced (i.e., trauma and abuse), while parents and "educated" ex-cultists (i.e., those who were exit counseled or deprogrammed) may tend to relate to terms that explain what the cultists experienced (i.e., mind control).

Although individual variation may be considerable, it should be kept  in mind that the spread of mean acceptability ratings, even though statistically significant, was relatively small. Thus, none of the terms should be perceived as necessarily unacceptable at the individual level. The results merely suggest nomothetic dimensions worthy of further study. The meaningfulness of the factor loadings do, however, offer strong support for the coherence of the ratings. The ratings probably do reflect meaningful constructions that have been little affected by  random or systematic measurement errors. As such, the factor analysis represents a significant step in the empirical exploration of the cult experience.

Given these conclusions, what do those of us in the trenches do? We should keep three concepts in mind:  individuality, variety, and audience.

Our communications will, for the most part, be directed at eight audiences: (1) family members seeking help; (2) cultists who are willing to  talk about their group involvement; (3)  former cultists requiring assistance in adapting to post-cult life; (4) the general public; (5) youth; (6) former cultists who are unaware of  helping resources;  (7) professionals; and (8) academicians. Each audience has different needs and backgrounds. Professionals and academicians, for example, may expect more precision in terminology and an explicit connection to prior professional or scholarly work.

As  this study of the ex-cult member audience demonstrated, even within a particular audience there will be different preferences. Some think "victim" is a harsh  word; some think it is on the mark. Therefore, a program of  education directed at any particular audience ought to deliberately and intelligently use a variety of terms -- but in a coherent, meaningful way. Thus, one outreach effort may formulate the message in terms of "psychological abuse," while another formulates the  message in terms of "spiritual trauma."  Newspaper and magazine articles and talk show appearances are fleeting opportunities to get the  attention of an audience one wishes to educate. To talk about "spiritual  trauma" when addressing the readers of Christianity Today  and  "psychological abuse" when addressing the readers of  Psychology Today  is  not necessarily inconsistent (provided one's message variants are conceptually integrated and not deceptive  or otherwise manipulative); it is merely a sign of respect and concern for one's audience.  (See Litfin, 1982 for an interesting discussion of the ethics of persuasion.)

Sometimes the use of multiple terms may be appropriate  in order to emphasize that there is no agreement on the most appropriate label for the phenomena under study. A recently developed draft questionnaire, for example, states:

This brief survey will inquire into your experience -- personal and professional -- with cultic and related groups that use highly manipulative psychological techniques of persuasion and control to exploit members.  Such groups may be religious, psychotherapeutic, political, or commercial. A variety of have been applied  to these groups  and  their  psychologically manipulative processes, including:  "thought reform,"  "coercive persuasion," "brainwashing," "mind control," "charismatic groups," "spiritually abusive groups," "high demand groups," "new religious movements," and "cult." Groups that cause the most concern tend to be leader-centered, highly  manipulative, exploitative, and totalistic (i.e., they dictate in great detail how members should think, act, and feel).

Variety may be desirable -- most of the time. But sometimes it may be counterproductive. Each situation should be examined individually. With professional audiences, for example, an endless variety of terms is counterproductive, for the function of the professional community is to advance clarity and understanding.  A variety of terms and concepts can be temporarily useful only when a  weeding mechanism separates  the wheat from the chaff.

In order to contribute to the development of such a weeding mechanism, we would like to recommend particular terms for particular purposes. Doing this, however, would be premature. This study demonstrates two important  points: (1) the terms we have traditionally used in this field are inappropriate for many people in many situations; (2) people affected by cults (and we strongly suspect the same would be true of professionals working in the field) disagree considerably about preferred  terminology. Our recommending specific terms at this time might be an exercise in arrogance.

We are willing to recommend, however, that the American Family Foundation organize a study group on terminology.  This study group should examine this study's findings, convene meetings to discuss the pros and cons of various terms for different audiences, and publish a  set of recommendations to be reviewed by professionals and lay activists.

Most cult educational organizations are now more than ten years old.  In the early years, they mainly helped families with children in cults. As time passed, public and preventive education occupied more  and more time. In recent years, as evidenced by AFF's "Project Recovery" (a multi-year program to improve the quality and quantity of services for  ex-cultists), more and more attention has been paid to the needs  of  cult walk-aways.  The activities of cult educational organizations have changed dramatically over the years.  Perhaps these organizations should now consider adjusting their terminology.

References

Bromley,D., & Richardson,  J.(1983).The Brainwashing/Deprogramming Controversy: Sociological, psychological, legal and historical perspectives.  New York:  Edwin Mellen Press.

Conway, F., Siegelman, J.H., Carmichael, C.W., &  Coggins,  J. (1986).  Information  disease: Effects of  covert induction and deprogramming. update: A Journal of New  Religious Movements, 10, 45-57.

Delgado, R. (1977). Gentle and ungentle persuasion under the First Amendment. Southern California Law Review, 5 (1), 1-97.

Dubrow-Eichel, S.   (1989). Deprogramming:  A case  study. Cultic Studies Journal, 6 (2), 1-117.

Galanter, M. (1980). Charismatic religious sects and psychiatry: an overview. American Journal of Psychiatry, 139 (12), 1539-1548.

Galanter, M.  (1983). Unification Church ("Moonie") dropouts: Psychological readjustment after leaving  a charismatic religious group. American Journal of Psychiatry, 140 (8), 984-989.

Hunter, E.(1953).  Brainwashing in Red China: The calculated destruction of men's minds. New York:  Vanguard.

Langone, M. (1982). Destructive cultism: Questions and answers. Weston, MA: American Family Foundation.

Langone, M. (1988). Cults: Questions and answers.   Weston, MA, American Family Foundation.

Langone, M., & Clark, J.G. 1985). New religions and public policy: Research implications for social and behavioral scientists. In  B. Kilbourne (Ed.), Scientific research and new religions: Divergent perspectives, San Francisco:  Pacific Division, American  Association for the Advancement of Science, pp. 90-113.

Lifton, R. J. (1961). Thought reform and the psychology of totalism. New York: W. W. Norton.

Litfin,  A. D.  (1982). The perils of persuasive preaching. Cultic Studies Journal, 2 (2), 267-273.

Nelson, G. (1968). The spiritualistic movement and the need for a  redefinition of cult. Journal for the Scientific Study  of  Religion,  8, 152-160.

Robbins,  T. (1969). Eastern mysticism and the resocialization of drug users: The Meher Baba cult.  Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 8 (2), 308-317.

Schein, E.  (1961). Coercive persuasion. New York: Norton.

Shapiro, E. (1977, February). Destructive cultism.  American Family Physician, 15, 80-83.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank  Dr. Arthur Dole of the University of Pennsylvania for his extensive and valuable comments and suggestions and Carol Giambalvo and Nancy Miquelon, leaders of FOCUS, an ex-cultist support group, for their assistance in gaining access to subjects.

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Michael  D.  Langone, Ph.D., Editor of the Cultic Studies Journal, is the Executive Director of the American Family Foundation and coauthor of  Cults:  What parents  should  know  and  Satanism and occult-related violence.

William  V. Chambers, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of  South Florida.   His specialty areas include Personal Construct Theory and psychometrics.

Cultic Studies Journal, Vol. 8, No. 2, 1991