Listed below in reverse chronological order are brief descriptions of some of the educational, helping, legal, and research activities of ICSA members. This list demonstrates the importance of maintaining the ICSA network. The most recent member news is listed on the home page (scroll down).
Being able to meet with (e.g., at conferences) and communicate with others working in this field enables the members of the ICSA network to achieve more collectively than they could individually. Please support ICSA and help us help others.
If you are an ICSA member, send us news of upcoming or recent (past few months) activities you would like to share with the ICSA community. Try to include what, who, where, when in your description. Send your emails to email@example.com.
At the bottom of the list is an embedded Google folder that contains past ICSA Member Updates, which was how we used to share news about member activities. The Member Update was only published 3-4 times a year, so news was sometimes late. We now temporarily post news soon after it arrives on the icsahome.com home page, and then move the news to this page. Make a point of reviewing member news regularly to keep abreast of what ICSA members are doing.
Biographical sketches of many ICSA members can be found here.
ICSA Member News
Maria Peregolise. Book Launch Q & A with Patrick Ryan and Dr. Ron Burks: Culted Child: The True Story of a Daughter Disciple, Maria D. Peregolise. “Culted Child” and its website, https://cultedchild.com/, presents a true story & research on cults, spiritual abuse, narcissistic behavior, memory loss, etc. with links, books, & articles from qualified sources: Ph.D., LMFC, Psychology Today, F.B.I., ICSA, etc. To share new resources for consideration contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pat Knapp. Understanding Religious Abuse and Recovery: Discovering Essential Principles for Hope and Healing. Pickwick Publications, an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers.
Ken Garrett. In the House of Friends: Understanding and Healing From Spiritual Abuse in Christian Churches. Wipf and Stock Publishers.
Rick Ross was featured in an interview broadcast by BBC June 2nd titled "The perilous world of a ‘cult deprogrammer’."
Charlene Edge gave a VIRTUAL presentation on April 1st, “Don’t Be Fooled by Cults,” for a college religion class, “Extremes in Religion,” taught by Todd French, PhD. This was the sixth year Charlene’s been Todd’s guest speaker. Students are assigned to read Charlene’s memoir, Undertow, before her visit. Q&A is always part of the program. She also gave a VIRTUAL presentation, “A Cult Insider’s Story,” on April 17 for a public lecture series sponsored by the Global Center for Advanced Studies, an online university based in Ireland. It was recorded and posted on YouTube: CHARLENE L. EDGE --Author "A Cult Insider's Story" - YouTube
RIP: Maureen Griffo, MA, MEd,, an ex-member of The Church of Bible Understanding as well as several fringe churches, passed away on April 16, 2021. Maureen was Chair/Coordinator of reFOCUS (a former cult member organization) and also was one of four collaborators who established the Leo J. Ryan Education Foundation in the 1990s. Ms. Griffo moderated an online chat/support group for former members for many years. She participated in the ICSA New York City Educational Initiative and many ICSA conferences. She earned a Master's in Sociology with a focus on cultic practices as well as a Master's in Education with a focus on special education. She worked with children with severe emotional and developmental disabilities in New York City. Maureen’s kindness and insight inspired many former cult members. Her ICSA publications included: How Could Anyone Join a Cult?!! Spiritual Abuse Across the Spectrum of Christian Environments
Jose Fernandez has published a book in Spanish on healthy relationships: Las Relaciones Respetuosas Autenticas y Libres (Respectful, Real, and Free Relationships). Célebre editorial - Tienda online de Libros, envíos gratis a toda España (celebreeditorial.es)
Gerette Buglion announced the forthcoming publication of her memoir AN EVERYDAY CULT.
Wendy Duncan's Book: I Can't Hear God Anymore: Life in a Dallas Cult, is now available in audio format. Click HERE to access.
Robin Barbosa was featured in the following article for Authority Magazine
Ashlen Hilliard was featured in the following article from The Bee: Woodstock woman combats cults, heals survivors of spiritual abuse
Mike Kropveld was featured in the following article: Zen and the Art of Talking to Conspiracy Theorists
Neil Daamgard has started a new podcast! You can check it out here: https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-ie4v6-f82b89
Jeff Bryson has three entries in the forthcoming The Encyclopedia of Crime, Law Enforcement, Courts, and Corrections: (1) Bryson, J. (2021). Female criminals. In C. Lewandowski & J. Bumgarner (Eds.), Criminal justice in America: The encyclopedia of crime, law enforcement and courts (Vol. 1). ABC-CLIO. (2) Bryson, J. (2021). Miller v. Alabama. In C. Lewandowski & J. Bumgarner (Eds.), Criminal justice in America: The encyclopedia of crime, law enforcement and courts (Vol. 1). ABC-CLIO. (3) Bryson, J. (2021). Terrorism. In C. Lewandowski & J. Bumgarner (Eds.), Criminal justice in America: The encyclopedia of crime, law enforcement and courts (Vol. 2). ABC-CLIO.
Joseph Szimhart is featured in the following article: https://www.insideedition.com/trying-to-convince-someone-to-leave-behind-qanon-this-cult-interventionist-knows-the-way-62334 You can also check out his new Youtube Channel by clicking HERE
Joe Kelly, Cult Mediation Specialist was on the Dan MacDonald Show - Nxivm's Keith Raniere, featured in HBO's The Vow, sentenced to 120 years in prison . You can listen to the Interview by clicking HERE
Rick Ross was interviewed for a New York Times report published March 1st about a former Sarah Lawrence College student prosecuted for crimes tied to cult leader Lawrence V. Ray. He also appeared on NBC Dateline segment reporting new information about notorious "sex cult" NXIVM in February. October - November Member Update can be viewed by clicking HERE
RIP. Loomis, Ronald Neri, 82, of Dedham, Massachusetts, formerly of New London CT and Ithaca NY, died peacefully, Saturday, September 26,2020, after a brief battle with late stage prostate cancer. Ron was born in New Britain, CT. He was the son of the late Thomas B. Loomis, and Rena N. Loomis. He attended the University of Connecticut and did graduate work at the University of Minnesota. Ron was the past Director of University Unions and Activities at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY where he lived and worked for 25 years. He was also the past president of the Cult Awareness Network. Ron was active in the College Bowl and ACUI (Association of College Unions International) while working at Cornell University, Hamilton College in Clinton, NY, and The University of Wisconsin at Madison. Ron was a caring and social man who enjoyed being with friends and family. He was easy going and willing to help anyone in need. He was an avid sports fan and enjoyed all sporting events. Watching in person events, including those of family and friends or on TV, the game’s outcome was always “amazing”. Later in his life he became an avid hot air balloon enthusiast, riding and chase crewing regularly. He immensely enjoyed taking in a good sunset. He is survived by his children, Cathy Loomis Skahill, of Springfield, PA, Christine Loomis, of Randolph, MA, Thomas Loomis, of Windham, NH, and Stephen Loomis, of Orleans, MA. Ron also had 7 grandchildren: Sean, Mallory, Brandan, Chula, Jordan, Briana and Leighton
More info here: http://www.cartwrightfuneral.com/viewObit.php?id=5460
Anke Richeter's recently wrote an article on, Conspiracy Cults and the Mental Health Pandemic. View here: https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/19-09-2020/conspiracy-cults-and-the-mental-health-pandemic/
Paula Rose Parish wrote a book called "Nothing Good about Grief" available on Amazon. Her website is: paularoseparishministries.org
Ellie Bernstein is in production for a documentary about the Sullivanians, Vimeo link to Escape From Utopia Trailer: https://vimeo.com/135292892 Password: fourthwall
Maria Peregolise was interviewed by Rachel Bernstein on her Podcast IndoctriNation. The episode was called Thought Adjusters: https://soundcloud.com/indoctrinationshow/unseen-friends-w-maria-peregolise & https://cultedchild.com/
Lisa Kendall, MPA is hosting a blog about matters related to coercive groups. You can subscribe at; https://www.countercultcoalition.org/blog
Rick Ross appeared on "Dr. Phil" to discuss the controversial group "Love Has Won," which recently left Hawaii amidst public protest. Rick Ross, Diane Benscoter and Steve Hassan were interviewed for a report about "Why So Many Celebrities Joined NXIVM" published by Vice. Rick Ross is quoted in a Vanity Fair September 3rd report about the connection between Southern California and cults. Rick Ross was interviewed for the documentary series "Cult of Personality" featured on Reelz TV in September, which includes the Unification Church and the Children of God. Rick Ross was interviewed for the Reelz Channel documentary series "Cult of Personality" launched in August, which explores some historical groups called "cults" and their leaders. Rick Ross interviewed for the "Guru" podcast on Wonderly by Matt Stroud describes his intervention work, some of his hi-profile cases and the controversy that has at times surrounded the "Cult Buster."
Rev. Dr. R. Mack Pumphrey of Brown Deer, Wisconsin will feature a spring course, “Christianity, Cults, & Religions.” More info: www.reachclinic.org.”
Adam Arnold, MA, LMFT, LADC started a new blog on cults, coercive control, and spiritual abuse. You can click here to view!
Gillie Jenkinson provided an update for Hope Valley Counseling! Click here to view.
Paula Rose Parish recently wrote a book about the subject of grief. You can view more information here.
Robert Crompton announced that his new book: Pathways to Freedom is now available on Kindle! You can access here. It's a slim volume based in part upon the presentation which he gave at the Manchester conference last summer and it's especially for former Jehovah's Witnesses trying to build new lives following defection from the Watchtower movement.
Rick Ross appeared on Fox News to discuss "Cult Mom" Lori Vallow, whose two dead children were found buried on the farm of her husband and doomsday book author Chad Daybell. He did a podcast interview with Eric Hunley on "Unstructured" July 9th, which included talking about the creation of the hit video game "Far Cry 5" by Ubisoft and the historical cults that the game is based upon. He also appeared on Court TV regarding "Cult Mom" Lori Vallow and her alleged leader Chad Daybell.
Interviewed for a upcoming special on MOVE.
Patrick Ryan and Joe Kelly were filmed for an upcoming documentar on the arrest of Lawrence Ray, who allegedly ran a "sex cult," psychologically manipulating his daughter's roommates at Sarah Lawrence College.
Interviewed for the Talk Beliefs show on YouTube:
Interviewed for an upcoming NPR episode called “Altered States”.
Patrick Ryan/Joseph Kelly and Ashlen produced a 30-day webinar series "Cult Recovery and Family Support Not Cancelled!"
Rick Ross Click here for member update May
RIP: Benjamin Zablocki. The family of Benjamin Zablocki has announced the passing away of their beloved one. He died on April 6, 2020. Click here to view his obituary.
Rick Ross was interviewed by Business Insider concerning the history of Church Universal Triumphant, once led by Elizabeth Clare Prophet, and a doomsday online network called "Preparing a People" linked to Lori Vallow, the other of two minor children that have not been seen for many months and are now sought by authorities. Vallow is now being held in custody pending $5 million dollars bail. Ross has also appeared repeatedly during the past month on HLN True Crime Live commenting about the Vallow case.
Rick Ross is interviewed in a recently released podcast series about a "So-Called Prophet from Pittsburgh," which is the story of Gabriel of Urantia, a failed musician-turned-cult leader who is currently living in a compound in the desert of Arizona with 100 of his loyal disciples.
RIP: Dianne Casoni. Mike Kropveld informed us: "For those not already aware I write to let you know of the sudden passing of Dianne Casoni, a colleague, friend and board member of Info-Cult. Her death has stunned us all and our thoughts go out to her family and friends. As more information becomes available I will let you know. For now what I know can be found here: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/montreal-qc/dianne-casoni-9028379?tm_source=obit_alerts&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=obit_detail&utm_content=decedent_name
Charlene L. Edge, author of the award-winning memoir, Undertow: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International, gave a talk, "Cults on Campus," to about 50 student services staff at Rollins College on February 7, 2020.
The Loveland, Colorado Reporter-Herald published an article, "Survivors of cults, gangs and human trafficking share their stories at Loveland conference," on a February 8, 2020 conference organized by Connie Mitchell.
The Violence Prevention Network published an article by Michael Langone in their journal, Interventionen, "Pathway to Violence: A Cultic Studies Perspective."
On February 21, 2020 WTVF-Nashville presented a program, Coercive Control and Cults, featuring Debby Schriver, Bill Goldberg, and Dylesia Barner.
Maria Peregolise was featured author and a Gold Writer for her article, In God My Father: A Portrait of Divinity published in ArtAscent Magazine.
Wendy Duncan presented on The Wounded Sheep Project at the Episcopal Church evangelism conference in Atlanta in January. The Wounded Sheep Project is a call to churches to support the Spiritual Safe Haven Network in building resources and safe churches for individuals who need a safe place to process spiritual or cultic abuse.
Doug Duncan was interviewed in The Recovering Hunbot podcast on February 10, 2020, on the topic of shame experienced by individuals who were involved in multilevel marketing networks. The hostess, Alanda Carter, was in a multilevel marketing network and is now an activist in exposing MLMs for their cultic schemes. She has a weekly podcast and is passionate in her desire to help others who have gotten involved in MLM scams.
Doug and Wendy Duncan were featured in a documentary on their former cult, Trinity Foundation, produced by Grant Chaparro and Brooke Mondor at a film festival at the University of North Texas in December 2019.
Rick Ross's recent contributions to media included: (1) interviews on December 31st, February 7th, February 12th, and February 21st on HLN concerning Lori Vallow, the mother of two missing children sought by authorities that have been missing for months. Vallow is linked to an online doomsday network with ties to her husband Chad Daybell, a publisher and writer known for his apocalyptic books. (2) interviewed by CBS News in New York concerning the arrest of Lawrence Ray, who allegedly ran a "sex cult," psychologically manipulating his daughter's roommates at Sarah Lawrence College.
Sad News About the Wellspring Lodge
Barb Martin shared some sad news with us. The Wellspring lodge, a beautiful A-Frame building that housed hundreds of former cult members helped by the late Dr. Paul Martin and his staff, burned to the ground in the middle of the night, November 7-8, 2019. After Paul’s death, Wellspring struggled financially and closed the overnight lodge program several years ago. The cause of the fire appears to be a deteriorating veteran who was living in the lodge and fell asleep smoking. Photo of fire.
It broke my heart to see the final end of the calling that Paul and I (and Martin family) had to serve those in spiritual deception and psychological bondage and sometimes abuse. Tim [Barb’s son] and others tried to remind me that we will all still have the memories of all the lives touched by this venture, which I know is true. I have reviewed, since the fire, all the countries that sent film crews there to do documentaries on this work, all the foreign interns we trained in cult counseling from places like Spain, England, and Denmark and all the interviews for print and radio media that were done in that lodge. Professional counselors from all over the U.S., some housed at the lodge, came there for a big research get-together that laid the foundation for expanded research in the field of thought reform analysis and established a victim database.
More than 1000 former members attended the Wellspring program. Paul was exceptional among mental health professionals in this field because of his insistence on doing pre- and post-assessment using a battery of established psychological instruments. In 1992 ICSA published a report based upon Paul’s work to that point. The Wellspring fire is a sorrowful reminder of how much the field lost when Paul passed away on August 14, 2009.
Gerette Buglion was featured in an article written by a local independent newsletter called Seven Days.
Doni Whitsett co-authored a chapter in Global Violence of Women in Cults.
Rick Ross was quoted in a January 9th report published by The Guardian about Bentinho Massaro, a 29-year-old self-styled spiritual teacher with a considerable online following. Rick Ross also commented in a Fox News report about the disappearance of two children in Idaho now sought by police. Three deaths are linked to Chad Daybell, a former member of the Mormon Church, author, and purported prophet, who leads a group called "Preparing The People," devoted to preparation for an apocalypse. Daybell and the children's mother Lori Vallow are wanted for questioning. Here is the most recent version of the Fox News report regarding the Daybell group "Preparing The People." Rick Ross also did a second interview with Fox News in Salt Lake City after an earlier interview with Fox News Phoenix about a cult-like group led by Chad Daybell. Rick Ross' work was cited by the Albany Times-Union in its review of the "Top stories of 2019" regarding the fall of NXIVM's criminally convicted leader Keith Raniere.
RIP. Arnold Markowitz, LCSW, passed away on 25 October 2019. He worked for the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s' Services (JBFCS), one of the nation’s largest nonprofit Mental Health and Social Services organizations, for many years. He started and directed the Cult hotline and Clinic which helped thousands of cult victims and families, and he provided direct treatment to approximately one thousand cult-involved clients. In 2006 ICSA awarded him the Margaret L. Singer Award for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion and undue influence.
Olivia Djouadi, UKCP Accredited Psychotherapist was recently interviewed online in London on YouTube about her work and cults. She presented at the ICSA Annual Conference in Manchester last year.
Danish Qasim posted an article about Muslim cultish groups, "The Challenge of Leaving Spiritually Abusive Groups," on his website, In Shaykh's Clothing.
Rick Ross was extensively quoted in an article published by Sacramento News $ Review about the Sterling Institute of Relationship. Sterling is an LGAT (large group awareness training) weekend seminar led by Justin Sterling, which has a troubled history of complaints. He also appeared on the new nationally syndicated "Mel Robbins Show" with former "cult" members, including a woman that allegedly escaped from a Scientology compound in LA. Ross was also quoted by the New York Post in an investigative report about a secretive "cult" called the Odyssey Study Group, which recruited wealthy patrons in Manhattan and Boston led by former film actress Sharon Gans.
Steve Hassan has been so busy with presentations that we have posted his achievements in a Google Drive document.
Rick Ross was quoted by The New York Times in a report "Does Belief in QAnon Make You Legally Insane? Mob Hit Trial May Tell," which questions the influence of conspiracy theories. Ross also appears in a documentary special at 9 p.m. (EST) Sunday, December 8th on the Investigation Discovery channel "The Lost Women of NXIVM." He was also included in a panel presentation "The Cult of NXIVM: Former Members Engage with Future Policy Makers" at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University on November 22nd led by Professor Linda Demaine, a faculty fellow with the Center for Law, Science and Innovation and affiliated professor of Psychology. Ross was also interviewed for the "Failed Missionary" podcast titled "Is YWAM a Cult?" and quoted within a report by Vice News about the Kabbalah Centre, which appeared November 26th. Rick Ross did an interview for a podcast with Ben Straight, Ph.D., J.D. Professor and Associate Dean of Criminal Justice & Paralegal Studies NATIONAL AMERICAN UNIVERSITY.
In November 2019, Cyndi Matthews gave a presentation, Cults and Therapy, to about 40 counselors/therapists at the Texas Counseling Association Professional Growth Conference. In October she spoke to a group of 50 ex-JWs about "life after the cult: relationships with family members who stay" at the Rodney Allgood's Empower Conference in Dallas.
Anne Iris Miriam Anders authored an article for Religions 2019, 10(11), 622 entitled, Silencing and Oblivion of Psychological Trauma, Its Unconscious Aspects, and Their Impact on the Inflation of Vajrayāna. An Analysis of Cross-Group Dynamics and Recent Developments in Buddhist Groups Based on Qualitative Data.
Charlene Edge gave a presentation on November 14th titled: “A Cult Insider’s Story: Recruitment, Commitment, Escape” using her personal story from her memoir, Undertow: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International. She included a PowerPoint presentation of relevant photos and sold copies of Undertow. Proceeds from book sales went to the scholarship fund at the Hamilton Holt School at Rollins College, her alma mater. This event was at the invitation of The Women’s Club of Winter Park, Inc. About 40 attendees.
Marcia Rudin and Kent Burtner are quoted extensively in an October 24, 2019 Catholic Sentinel article, Abusive Churches Seek Best and Brightest.
Rick Ross was quoted by The New York Times in a report "Does Belief in QAnon Make You Legally Insane? Mob Hit Trial May Tell," which questions the influence of conspiracy theories. Ross also appears in a documentary special at 9 p.m. (EST) Sunday, December 8th on the Investigation Discovery channel "The Lost Women of NXIVM."
Steven Hassan has a new book, The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind Control, that was published on October 15 by Simon and Schuster. Click here to access Steven’s full member update for December 2019. You can access his past full member report for November here.
Xavier Legere participated in a television documentary that will be broadcast on Planete +.
On Sunday, November 3 at 9:15 – 10:15 a.m., Robin Boyle Laisure and a representative from NJ Safe & Sound will speak at the Sunday Forum Series at Garden City Community Church (GCCC) on The Aftermath of “Sex Cult” and the Potential Legal Remedies.
Steve Hassan will be interviewed about his new book, The Cult of Trump, at the New York Society for Ethical Culture Event: Sunday Platform, November 10, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Paul Engel talked about ICSA at an October 19, 2019 conference, When Rights and Religions Collide, in New York City.
Lisa Kohn, author of to the moon and back: a childhood under the influence, was involved in two recent podcasts: Lion Rock Recovery, Oct 1; Generation Cult, Oct 14, episode 3 on the Moonies. Her last book readings were in July and June. She has five scheduled book readings during the next few months:
SAJ-Judaism that Stands for All – 15 West 86th Street, New York, NY, Saturday Nov 1, 9-9:50 am
Temple Beth Sholom – 17139 Northern Blvd, Flushing, NY, Sunday Nov 17, 10:30-11:30 am
Ridley Township Library – 100 East Macdade Blvd Folsom, PA, Monday Nov 18 6:30-8pm
Congregation Beth Or – 239 E Welsh Road, Maple Glen, PA, Sunday Nov 24, 10:00am-12:00pm
Haverford Township Free Library – 1601 Darby Road, Havertown, PA, Wednesday Jan 29, 6:30-8:00pm
Gerette Buglion in Hyde Park, Vermont will conduct "Power and Empowerment - a Workshop for Yoga Teachers, on February 9, 2020. One of the topics she addresses is how to address and support those who have experienced trauma from the abuse of power within yoga. Gerette was also featured in an October 18, 2019 Times-Argus (Barre, Montpelier) article, "Hyde Park Couple Turns Cult Experience into Support Group,"
G. Leunens on October 17, 2019 gave a presentation, "Introduction to Religiosity and Spirituality in Psychiatric Settings," to the quarterly annual meeting of psychiatrists for their quality educational accreditation. in Tienen, Belgium.
Eileen Barker says that that INFORM's Winter/Spring Seminar will be on the theme of immortality as expressed within minority religions. The seminar will take place on Saturday 1 February 2020 in Bush House, from 9.30 am. It is offered in association with Inform Research Fellow Dr Suzanne Newcombe’s project on Yoga and Alchemy in South Asia and in collaboration with the Theology and Religious Studies department at King’s College London. Details will be posted on INFORM's website before Christmas.
Rick Ross was interviewed by Joan Jones for "The Pink Pill" WGRN Radio 94.1 FM, a women's issues program aired in Columbus, Ohio. He was featured on "The Quickly" podcast on Mamamia in Australia about "cult-like" manipulation within multi-level marketing (MLM) companies and in a podcast sponsored by the Albany Times-Union October 15th concerning NXIVM. Ross also was interviewed by Ian Collins on UK TALK RADIO regarding the recent discovery of an apparent family cult in the Netherlands.
The grooming of children for sexual abuse in religious settings: Unique characteristics and select case studies Susan Raine and Stephen A. Kent. Aggression and Violent Behavior, Volume 48, September–October 2019, Pages 180-189. Abstract: This article examines the sexual grooming of children and their caregivers in a wide variety of religious settings. We argue that unique aspects of religion facilitate institutional and interpersonal grooming in ways that often differ from forms of manipulation in secular settings. Drawing from Christianity (Catholicism, Protestantism, and Seventh-day Adventism) and various sects (the Children of God, the Branch Davidians, the Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints, a Hindu ashram, and the Devadasis), we show how some religious institutions and leadership figures in them can slowly cultivate children and their caregivers into harmful and illegal sexual activity. A number of uniquely religious characteristics facilitate this cultivation, which includes: theodicies of legitimation; power, patriarchy, obedience, protection, and reverence towards authority figures; victims' fears about spiritual punishments; and scriptural uses to justify adult-child sex. Full Article is available until December 1, 2019 (follow link in title).
The producers of “The Dream” podcast have released interviews with Douglas Brooks and Steve Hassan (bonus episodes 3 and 4) dealing with some of the cultic aspects of multilevel marketing (MLM), including discussion of the NXIVM cult. View podcast.
Bob and Judy Pardon have spoken on cults numerous times in recent months, were interviewed for a World Magazine article, taught a course, "Pastoral Issues and Cults," at a seminary, spoke on cults at a seminary’s fundraiser, presented to University Bible Fellowship (UBF) in Chicago, conducted a workshop for cult survivors on Identity, facilitated a weekend workshop for former multi-generational Christian Scientists in St. Louis, and led a workshop on cults at an apologetics conference. Next year they plan to speak at the UBF in Chicago, will speak in Denver at a conference for former Christian Scientists, and will start their support group meetings again.
Kent Burtner, Ken Garrett and Jennifer Olajuyin are quoted in a Catholic Sentinel article entitled, "Narcissism a hallmark of religious abusers." The article discusses the ICSA monthly meetup in Portland, Oregon run by Ken Garrett.
Shelly Rosen is running a monthly consultation group/study group in her Manhattan office with three clinicians who have taken former members into their practice. She will teach a class on cults and trauma to the March 14th, 2020 Saturday Seminar group at the Integrative Trauma Studies Center at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies. She will also teach an introductory class on cults and trauma for second-year candidates at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy Trauma Studies Center in May 2020.
The latest book of Lisa Aronson Fontes, PhD, Invisible Chains, Overcoming Coercive Control in Intimate Relationships, is now also available in Spanish. English language version. For the second year in a row, Dr. Fontes is teaching a one credit First Year Seminar at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Cults: Mind Control and the Search for Meaning. She also has an irregular column on Coercive Control and related topics in psychologytoday.com.
Lisa Kohn and Julia Gutgsell will contribute to a conference in Perth, UK on November 8, 2019: Religious Cults and Other Coercive Relationships: what they are, how we can spot them and how we can support people affected by them.
Charlene Edge, author of the award-winning memoir, Undertow: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International gave a talk on October 1, 2019, titled: “A Cult Insider’s Story: Recruitment, Commitment, Escape,” conveying her 17-year experience in The Way. This event was for the Psychology Speakers Forum series hosted by Derek Schorsch, M.S. Professor of Psychological Science at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida
Pat Ryan and Joe Kelly gave a talk at the September 27, 2019 NY monthly meeting, "Building Bridges; Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships." A video is being edited and will be posted soon. Pat and Joe also conducted, with Rachel Bernstein, an 8-week virtual event between April and June 2019, "Building Bridges: Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships - A Virtual Event for Families and Former Members." Recordings of this event are available to ICSA members via the member portal.
22 ICSA members are speaking at the Santa Fe conference, Nov. 1-2, 2019.
In September Xavier Leger was interviewed by Golias Hebdo about a book he co-authored with Blandine de Dinechin, Abus spirituels et dérives sectaires dans l’Eglise (Spiritual Abuse and Cultic Deviations in the Church).
Rachel Bernstein was interviewed recently for several podcasts: On Beliefs, Talk Beliefs, Nurses and Hypochondriacs. She also led, with Patrick Ryan and Joseph Kelly, an 8-week ICSA virtual event, Building Bridges: Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships. She has been asked to teach a course on Cults for Millennials through a program called Urban Elective.
On September 25, 2019, Prof. Robin Boyle Laisure presented at a think tank for Harvard Medical School, called the Program in Psychiatry and the Law (PIPATL). PIPATL members hold degrees in psychiatry and law. The topic of her talk was "Litigating Against Cults: Avoiding Undue Influence Conundrum." Prof. Boyle summed up the history of United States Supreme Court decisions, in which expert testimony was challenged when it pertained to "mind control" or "brainwashing." She argued that we can now look to the case of United States v. Raniere, tried in federal court (EDNY) last May, as a paradigm for litigation against cults and high demand groups. In that case the leader of the Nxivm organization, a purported network of self-help workshops, was convicted on seven counts, including human trafficking and racketeering. At her talk, Prof. Boyle offered some suggestions about revising the requirements for establishing undue influence in the civil context. The members of PIPATL engaged in a robust discussion about how much weight courts should afford to the mental state of the victim in cases of undue influence.
Vincent Starnino of Indiana University and colleagues have published four articles this year on the topic of trauma and spirituality: (1) Preliminary Report on a Spiritually-Based PTSD Intervention for Military Veterans. Community Mental Health Journal, Vol. 55, No. 7, 2019, 1114-1119. (2) “Staring into the abyss”: veterans’ accounts of moral injuries and spiritual challenges. Mental Health, Religion, & Culture, 2019, VOL. 22, NO. 1, 25–40. https://doi.org/10.1080/13674676.2019.1578952. (3) Moral injury, coherence, and spiritual repair. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, DOI: 10.1080/13674676.2019.1589439. To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/13674676.2019.1589439. (4) Like a Blanket Over a Fire: Group Work and Spiritual Repair in Military Trauma. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services 1–15. © The Author(s) 2019. Article reuse guidelines: sagepub.com/journals-permissions. DOI: 10.1177/1044389419862081journals.sagepub.com/home/fis.
Doni Whitsett is co-author of a chapter, "Violence of Women in Cults in the United States," in a forthcoming Oxford University Press book, Women's Journey to Empowerment in the 21st Century.
In April Sofia Klufas completed a dissertation at the Depatment of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster University, Raised in a Cult: Psychological and Social Adjustment of Second- and Third-Generation Former Cult Members.
Rick Alan Ross and his book, Cults Inside Out, were cited within the Lifetime movie "Escaping the NXIVM Cult: A Mother's Fight to Save Her Daughter." Ross was also interviewed for a Gretchen Carlson documentary, which aired directly after the movie premiere on September 21st and was also quoted in an E online report regarding the movie. Rick wrote the forward for The Program: Inside the Mind of Keith Raniere and the Rise and Fall of NXIVM Grand Central Publishing (September 2019).
More than 100 ICSA members presented in July at the Annual Conference in Manchester, UK. View abstracts and bios of presenters.
RIP: Dr. Sandy Andron, whom many remember from the early days of ICSA, passed away on September 9, 2019. was former Director of Education at Temple Kol Emeth in Atlanta. Additionally, he served as an education consultant who served for over twenty-five years as Director of Religious Education high-school programs in Miami, Florida. His work in the anti-cult movement included creation of a high school curriculum, Cultivating Cult-Evading. He was the recipient of the Leo J. Ryan Award in 1988, from the then Cult Awareness Network, for which he served as vice-president for five years. An obituary from the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel can be found in his ICSA bio.
Deborah Glasscock's dissertation, Spiritual abuse among ex-cult members: A descriptive phenomenological psychological inquiry, is now published in ProQuest.
Kent Burtner is cited in a Catholic Sentinel article, "Spiritual Abuse: It's Easy to Get Taken In."
Gillie Jenkinson is offering training on spiritual abuse in the UK repeated in 5 different venues. Go to her website and scroll down.
Dhyana Levey's podcast, Generation Cult, is back for a second season.
Robin Boyle will present at the Garden City Community Church on Long Island, NY on Sunday, Nov. 3rd at 9:00 AM: "The Aftermath of the 'Sex Cult' Trial and Potential Legal Remedies." This presentation will shed light on the multi-week trial of Keith Raniere, which took place in the federal courts in the Eastern District of New York last Spring. Mr. Raniere allegedly ran a purported "self-help" organization, called "NXIVM," that was headquartered in upstate NY with multiple centers. He was convicted of human trafficking, racketeering, and other crimes. This successful prosecution will help courts and law enforcement to further police high demand groups and to protect victims. Robin was also selected to serve as a Vincentian Research Fellow for St. John’s University.
Charlene Edge gave a talk to about 90 attendees on August 18th titled: “Is There a Cult in Your Neighborhood?” using her personal story of recruitment, commitment, and escape from The Way International. Included PowerPoint presentation of relevant photos. Presentation given at the invitation of the Central Florida Freethought Community, University Club, Winter Park, FL.
Aryeh Siegel, author of Transcendental Deception, has been educating people about TM's attempts to insert its brand of meditation in public schools, something that critics say violates the separation of church and state.
Cyndi Matthews was co-author of "Counseling Individuals through a Crisis of Faith," published in the Spring 2019 issue (pp. 9-10) of Interaction, the newsletter of the Association for Spiritual, Ethical & Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC).
Steve Hassan has been active in a variety of ways:
He has a new book that will be released by Simon & Schuster on October 15, 2019: The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How The President Uses Mind Control.
Peer-reviewed journal article: Hassan, S.A. and Shah, M.J. (2019) The anatomy of undue influence used by terrorist cults and traffickers to induce helplessness and trauma, so creating false identities. Ethics, Medicine and Public Health (2019) 8, 97-107. Elsevier Masson SAS.
Book chapter: Hankir, A. and Hassan, S. (2019). Psychological Determinants and Social Influences of Violent Extremism In S. Moffic, M.D., J. Peteet, M.D., A. Hankir, M.D. and R. Awaad, M.D (Ed.), Islamophobia and Psychatry: Recognition, Prevention, and Treatment. Springer Publishers,
Podcast on The Jordan Harbinger Show, 8/13/2019.
Instructor at Harvard Law School for Trial Advocacy Day (Expert Witness Workshop), 1/22/2019
Pat Knapp successfully defended his doctoral dissertation on August 22nd for the Graduate Theological Foundation. The title of his dissertation is A Survey of Religious Abuse and Recovery.
Grace Adams and Poia Alpha gave presentations on their book, Hearken O Daughter, and their journey as former Branch Davidans: Author Talk event hosted by Manukau City Public Library - Auckland, New Zealand - March 27; Author Talk event hosted by Bombay Bible Fellowship - Auckland, New Zealand - July 24; Tea & Topics event hosted by the Papatoetoe Public Library - Auckland, New Zealand - September 17.
Kathryn Keller in July co-presented a 3-hour training for the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center on spiritual abuse.
Joe Szimhart was interviewed for a podcast on August 4th: Cults, Firsthand Experience, & How to Get Out.
The British Association of Counseling and Psychotherapy shared a news item detailing Gillie Jenkinson's desire to contact therapists who try to help cult survivors.
In June Gordon Neufeld released a Second Edition (revised and updated) of his memoir, Heartbreak and Rage: Ten Years Under Sun Myung Moon, A Cult Survivor's Memoir. The new version includes a section that brings readers up to date on Gordon's life since the release of the first edition, which was 2002.
Stuart Lachs has written an article, Tibetan Buddhism Enters the 21st Century: Trouble in Shangri-la," for Info-Buddhism.com.
Bob and Judy Pardon were featured in a World Magazine article on former cult leader and convicted murderer Jacques Robidoux: “When the Fog Lifts” by Emily Belz. World, June 29, 2019.
Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse: Creating Healthy Christian Cultures, written by Lisa Oakley and Justin Humphreys, is a No. 1 Best Seller on Amazon in the UK and is about to enter a second print run.
Bob Williston's two books were exhibited in May at the National Book Expo in New York: I Will Disentangle Myself And Leave (personal story); The Handmaiden's Diary (fictional story based on a women's experiences with the clergy).
Rick Ross continues to be very busy with media. He was also active in the NXIVM case. Among his recent accomplishments:
Quoted in various news media, recently including The Boca Raton Observer, Mirror News, Daily Caller, Vice, Toronto Sun, Inside Hook, The New York Times, Forbes, ABC News 10 Miami podcast and The Daily Beast.
Featured within a Yahoo News 50-year anniversary report about Charles Manson and the Tate-LaBianca murders.
UK magazine, Total Film, interview regarding reviews and analysis of movies about cults - published online by Games Radar.
Testified as a fact witness in June at U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. Ross testified for the prosecution against Keith Raniere, the leader of a purported "sex cult" known as NXIVM, who was ultimately convicted on criminal charges of racketeering, sex trafficking, forced labor and conspiracy.
Interviewed on July 3rd for The Morning Show, The Ideas Network of Wisconsin Public Radio, regarding multi-level marketing groups. Ross spoke about the influence techniques used by many MLMs to recruit and retain distributors.
Rick Ross' court testimony about the group NXIVM was cited by Newsday after a jury convicted the purported "cult" leader, Keith Raniere, on multiple felony charges. "NXIVM developed classic cultish traits — from near-worship of its leader, to vows of secrecy that isolated devotees, to an impenetrable, jargon-filled ideology," Ross explained during Raniere's trial in New York as a witness for the prosecution.
Interviewed June 3rd by Danielle Smith of Canadian Global News Radio about the alleged "sex cult" NXIVM
In May Charlene Edge was a Creativity Festival participant at St. Richard’s Episcopal Church, Winter Park, Florida. Charlene was invited to set up a vendor table where she offered free cult resources information and sold her memoir, Undertow: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International. At the Authors’ Reading time that day, she read a portion of Undertow. In April Charlene was a guest speaker for the American Association of University Women, 18th Annual Literary Luncheon at the Interlachen Country Club, Winter Park, Florida. She also presented for two classes of college students at Rollins College, Winter Park, Fl. The students had been assigned to read Undertow. Charlene focused her presentation on deception in cult recruitment using her personal story as an example. Q&A followed.
In May Gillie Jenkinson delivered a 2-day CPD training in Nottingham, England entitled: Introduction to Counselling Survivors of Coercive and Radical Cultic Groups.
Megan Lundstrom of Free Our Girls told us: "Starting in June 2019, Sparrow’s Landing will open up operations as a part-time day center and part-time boutique for Free Our Girls. Out of the space, hot meals, laundry services, showers, and counseling will be provided for commercially exploited folk in Northern Colorado during the week. On weekends, Sparrow's Landing will transform to a posh boutique selling new and gently used apparel and gifts, and all proceeds will support the living wages of survivors employed by Free Our Girls. The home will also be utilized as office space and meeting rooms for staff and our partners."
In April Kent Burtner, Margaret Eichler, and Ken Garrett gave a one-day CE program, Destructive Cults and Clinical Work with Former Members, at Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling.
In April Eileen Johnson posted an article on Opus Dei on OpusLibros.org.
In April Jose Fernandez gave a two hour seminar on Bullying and CyberBullying to the Pediatrics team of the Barcelona Health Primary assistance of the district of Maragall.
In April Robin Barbosa answered questions based on readings of her book, I Am Revealed: Behind the Ashram Door, at the Ethical Culture Society in New York City.
In April Esther Kiszler did an interview with the BBC, who are putting together a new documentary on the Bruderhof,
In February Doni Whitsett gave in-service training at the Rape Crisis Center, Santa Monica, CA - an overview of cult dynamics and treatment.
Ros Hodgkins, President of Cult Information and Family Support (CIFS) in Australia, notified us of some of their activities. CIFS organized a private viewing at a cinema of a short film, “Follow MY Way.” CIFS held its third annual two-day former members recovery workshop in 2018 and is planning another for October 2019. The workshop will be held in Sydney with mental health care facilitators, Jill Henry, Mary Janetzki, and Tore Klevjer. CIFS acknowledges ICSA’s Colorado model and thanks those who made this model available. CIFS supporter Esther Rocket, who recently won a court case against the leader of Universal Medicine, which sued her in 2014 for defamation. CIFS now offers a quarterly newsletter.