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New in ICSA Bookstore

If You Want to Know How I Got Brainwashed - Betsy Dovydenas. Succinct narrative with 200 paintings of one woman's journey from subjugation to freedom. USA only. Purchase.

Recent Member News

Two Recent Deaths of Long-Time Contributors to ICSA's Cause

Larry Pile, RIP, passed away on November 23, 2021 at the age of 78. From May 1988 to 2005 Larry was a staff member and Specialist in Cult Education and Research for Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, initially of Albany, Ohio and later of Athens, Ohio. (Wellspring closed a few years ago.) Larry’s duties included preparing and conducting educational workshops on a wide variety of spiritual and practical issues and topics designed to help people who have suffered abuse as members of high-control, destructive organizations and relationships, including spiritually abusive churches. The type of abuse suffered was always emotional and spiritual, often physical, sexual, and financial. The goal of the workshops was to help victims/survivors come to an understanding of what happened to them, how it happened to them, and how to move on with their lives. Larry wrote often for Wellspring’s newsletter and journal (now no longer published), as well as other periodicals. He wrote an on-line book about Great Commission Association of Churches, Marching to Zion, and a commentary on the biblical book of Galatians (Free at Last! The Message of Galatians for Survivors of Cults and Spiritual Abuse), geared toward survivors of abusive churches and other totalist organizations and relationships. Larry also published a book review and article in ICSA Today (Book Review: Quivering Daughters Hope and Healing for the Daughters of Patriarchy; Back From the Brink) and co-authored an article in ICSA’s Cultic Studies Journal (Overcoming the Bondage of Revictimization: A Rational/Empirical Defense of Thought Reform - Paul R. Martin, Ph.D., Lawrence Pile, Ron Burks, & Stephen Martin)

  • Wendy Ford Wolfberg, RIP, was recruited into a Bible-based cult in 1973 while a freshman at college. She was in the cult for seven years. While involved, she completed two intensive leadership indoctrination programs and a survival program that included shooting firearms. On May 16, 1980, after a failed deprogramming, she was successfully deprogrammed by her parents. After returning home, she completed her B.A at Harvard University while working. Wendy counseled many ex-cultists, their families, and friends. She was interviewed extensively on cults both by the media and the government. She appeared on local and national television and lectured to many groups, including high school, college, law enforcement, and religious audiences. From 1987 to 1990 she was the New England Director for FOCUS, an ex-cultist support group. In 1993 ICSA (then known as American Family Foundation) published her book, Recovery From Abusive Groups.

  • Excerpts from an obituary: Wendy Ford Wolfberg, 66, of Westford, formerly of Concord and Marblehead [ Mass.], died at Lahey Clinic Medical Center in Burlington on November 14, 2021. She was the wife of Michael Wolfberg, with whom she shared 23 years of marriage. Wendy was born on June 3, 1955 in Media, Pennsylvania to her late parents, Guy Ford, Sr. and Dolly (Preston) Ford. She received a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies cum laude from Harvard University and a Masters in Education from Lesley University in Cambridge. During her professional career in computers and technology, Wendy was employed by Digital Equipment Corporation, Nortel, Global Knowledge, Kronos and Dimensional Insight, prior to retiring. She was a longtime member of First Parish in Concord, where she edited the church’s monthly newsletter over the course of a few years. A music enthusiast, Wendy enjoyed singing, and had a particular love for jazz. She occasionally acted and sang in community theater musicals at Theatre III in Acton, MA. She was also an amateur photographer and a published author. In addition to her husband, she leaves behind six siblings. and Mike’s two children.

New Support Group for Women

Pat and Heidi Knapp begin online support group for women. Becoming Free - New Virtual Support Group for Women. (Applying recovery and healing principles from religious abuse, to our daily life experience) . Date: Beginning Sunday January 16th – March 20th (4:00– 5:30pm) Mountain Standard Time. Place: Virtual-Online. You will need either a Laptop, Home PC, or Tablet to participate, and a reasonably quiet place for involvement with-in the group. This is for your benefit as well as for the privacy of the other group members. Becoming Free is located near Denver Colorado. Through offering an online format, we look forward to providing a group experience for women living in Colorado and for those living in other parts of the United States. More info.

Recordings of Events

Indexes and Collections

Current Periodicals

  • ICSA Today - published from 2010 - present, includes a variety of articles, as well as press summaries, profiles on ICSA members, art work, fiction, and poetry

  • International Journal of Coercion, Abuse, and Manipulation (IJCAM) - 2020 - present. Online, open access, free annual journal. Encourages, supports, and reports on the work of researchers, mental health professionals, and social scientists who have studied the common psychological dynamics underlying different forms of coercion, abuse, and manipulation across diverse contexts.

  • Member News - news on the activities of ICSA members

  • News Desk E-Mailings - Selected news story (2-3 per month)

  • ICSA E-Newsletter - Occasional article on news (1-2 per month)

Past Periodicals

  • International Journal of Cultic Studies - published from 2010-2019, has scholarly articles (mostly in English, but some in Spanish or French) and book reviews

  • Cultic Studies Review - published from 2002-2010, merged the functions of Cult Observer and Cultic Studies Journal, publishing a range of articles, as well as book reviews and press summaries

  • Cultic Studies Journal - published from 1984-2002, had longer articles (including many scholarly articles) and book reviews

  • Cult Observer - published from 1984-2002, summarized press accounts and published some short, original articles

  • Cultic Studies Newsletter - Several issues of Cultic Studies Newsletter preceded the Cultic Studies Journal

  • The Advisor - newspaper published from 1979 - 1984

  • ICSA E-News: 2004-2008 - Articles and other information