Talk:Anti-cult movement/Archive 2

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Untitled

This article is still incomplete and inaccurate, especially with regards to its history and its controversies. Please help to improve it. Andries 12:39, 15 Jun 2004 (UTC)

A majority of scholars of new religions supported these movements and invented various scientific theories that purportedly proved the danger of "cults".

Never "a majority of NRM scholars" supported anti-cult movement and invented the "brainwashing" and "mind control" theories. The wording is misleading, I suggest to rephrase. - ExitControl.

Also, I don't understand the meaning of the following passage:

Supporters of purported cults state that the term "anti-cult movement" is an attempt to create a grand conspiracy theory, which suggests that there is a vast, organized network of individuals and groups who are dedicated to wiping out these organizations, out of religious intolerance, obscurity or bias.

Cultists "state" that they invented the label "anti-cultists" to accuse anti-cultists in conspiracy to wipe them out? Obvious absurdity, anti-cultists may say so, but surely not "cult supporters" (even if we assume "cult supporters" are somehow connected to each other). Removed. - ExitControl

--

Scholarly anti-cult activism, references

"In the 1970s the new concept of "moral panic" was developed (see Jenkins 1998) in order to explain how some social problems become overconstructed and generate exaggerate fears. Moral panics are defined as socially constructed social problems characterized by a reaction, both in media representation and in political forums, out of proportion to the actual threat, often based on folk statistics that, although not confirmed by scholarly studies, are repeated from media to media and may inspire political measures." *[1]

One area where reports of Type II are still very much uncertain is mind control ... . They seem to believe that a real problem exist and that something should be done. It seems that the radical extent of criticism of the brainwashing theories by most (English-speaking) mainline scholars has not yet been appreciated even by Type II reports. Behind these labels, however, there is often in Type II reports a legitimate concern for consumer protection. *[2]

  • I think, it is important to note that there is more than just difference of opinions among scholars: "cult-lovers" are commonly accused not in naivety, but is being funded by the cults, connection to paedophiles, participation in Vampire fan groups etc. At the same time, anti-cultists are not only relatives or "victims", there are anti-cult scholars and there are people who receive pay for "deprogramming" (and many of the latter served prison terms for that - kidnapping+bodily harm). IMO that means that there is some (probably government-endorsed as the below reference to MK-Ultra suggests) more or less organized anti-cult hysteria campaign, of which conformist academics play an important role.
  • "The AFF attracted criticism because several of its advisors had "hands-on" experience with brainwashing, by virtue of their association with the CIA's MK-ULTRA project: these were Margaret Singer, Robert J Lifton, Louis Jolyon West, and Maurice Davis."

Can somebody please provide references for this sentence. Andries 21:11, 21 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I added a brief note on Jolyon West; I will see if I can provide more comprehensive references over the weekend when I am less pressed for time. My sense is that some of the most dangerous cultists may be found in the anti-cult movement, an opinion which I will not put in the article in order to try to preserve NPOV. --Herschelkrustofsky 00:36, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I think it is fair to say that there are widespread allegations of this sort against all four, because there are; I will devote some time soon to finding more specific citations. --Herschelkrustofsky 18:59, 27 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Supporting a danger

Cut from intro:

A majority of scholars of new religions supported these movements and invented various scientific theories that purportedly proved the danger of "cults". Thus a number of theories and concepts were been born.
  1. What evidence is there that a "majority" of scholars "supported" the NRMs?
  2. Why would they support them, if the theories the came up with "proved" their danger?

I have no idea what these sentences were trying to convey, so I can't repair them myself. Please help me. --Uncle Ed (El Dunce) 17:57, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Those sentences seem to have been added in this edit. I believe, given the rest of the edit, that what the editor was trying to say was that:
  1. A majority of scholars of new religions supported the anti-cult movement(s), and
  2. created new psychological theories which justified the actions of the anti-cult movements.
I think the sentences are probably better left out, however; 1) is unverified opinion, and 2) is just plain wrong, since most of the theoretical constructs referred to were posited to explain the apparent forced conversion to Communism of Korean War POWs, not the actions of middle-class young people. -- Antaeus Feldspar 18:48, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)
That edit was done by IP 62.141.83.33 that is user:ExitControl. I requested on his talk page to make edits via user:Ed Poor because I think his edits on this subject are generally bad quality, or to confine himself to the talk page. He should read more before making substantial edits on this subject. Andries 22:21, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I'm a Mediator for interpersonal conflicts -- not a filter for user edits ;-) --Uncle Ed (El Dunce) 14:53, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)


The words "they claim" is unjustified

Anti-cult activists disclose information or perspectives that the movements themselves do not disclose. That is a proven and documented fact. Andries 23:22, 25 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Brainwashing

Since brainwashing has its own article, there is no reason for this article to describe it with the oversimplification of "now discredited". Changing the description from "existing theory on brainwashing" to "now discredited theory on brainwashing" also restores the incorrect impression that brainwashing was a theory proposed by the anti-cult movement in the 1960 and early 1970s to explain the behavior of middle-class youths doing things their parents didn't understand, rather than proposed a decade earlier to explain far more dramatic apparent alterations of people's beliefs and behavior. -- Antaeus Feldspar 23:49, 25 Dec 2004 (UTC)


I have restored my last edit, with the exception of "now discredited theory..." It is a much better NPOV version than the previous one. --Zappaz 02:53, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)
It isn't, actually. Your version makes numerous POV and unsourced statements which can most charitably be called oversimplifications, and none of them are really necessary, since the question is rather properly addressed in the brainwashing article itself. If you feel the section as written contains disputable statements, dispute them. -- Antaeus Feldspar 05:57, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Yes, the brainwashing theory have been totally discredited as it pertains to cults, as presented in Brainwashing#Brainwashing_by_cults. On the other hand, this article, treats brainwashing very differently. Why do you see a problem in explaining to the reader that fact? --Zappaz 19:54, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
It's not well-sourced in Brainwashing#Brainwashing_by_cults, either; for instance, the reference that is given to back up the assertion that the APA found Margaret Singer's work "not scientific" (quotes in the original) does not in fact contain those quoted words, and seeing how the page being referenced is on the site of the new Cult Awareness Network, owned and operated by Scientology, it can hardly be claimed that this is all the citation that is needed to support the conclusions announced in the article. -- Antaeus Feldspar 20:36, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Hope my last edit stays. I just added some referenced text. ---Zappaz 20:28, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Changed reference to APA documents: http://www.cesnur.org/testi/APA_Documents.htm --Zappaz 20:54, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Much better. Perhaps even it should even be changed to this one (the only one, if I'm not mistaken, which directly quotes the APA's Molko brief on the matter): [3]. -- Antaeus Feldspar 01:31, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
There, changed it to a citation to the APA's actual Molko brief (and an actual quote from them, since "not scientific" turned out to not be an actual quote. There's still some work to be done; for instance, I've discovered we have an article on mental health law and I'd like to see if we can find from there references to the specific legal terminology for a state of diminished competency. -- Antaeus Feldspar 02:07, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Good hunting... Just note that the discredit of brainwashing theories is not limited to the APA... --Zappaz 16:35, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Book cover

I have removed twice the book cover from this article. It is innapropriate to have books that sell commercially to have covers featured in articles, for the following reasons:

  1. This is an encyclopedia. What is the encyclopedic value of a book cover?
  2. As a precedent, if this is allowed, anyone could add book covers to any article. This is not Amazon.com.

--Zappaz 00:59, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The book cover is an example of the activities of the anti-cult movement. There are many articles that have book covers as pictures because they are fair use. See [[Category:Book_covers]]. Every article should have a picture to make it more attractive. That is a requirement for a Featured article. Please replace it with a better pic if you find one. Andries 14:23, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)


The fact that book covers are fair use, does not mean that these are encyclopedic. IMO., it is pretty ridiculous to feauture a book cover in this article. --Zappaz 19:56, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I continue to disagree. What do you suggest as an alternative picture? May be you can ask for a request for comment, Andries 19:59, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I would not go to the extent to do a RfC for this...! But again, IMO, it is a ridiculous idea to have a picture of a book cover in this article. --Zappaz 20:26, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Could you explain why you consider this ridiculous? I really do not understand. Andries 20:28, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Allowing both sides of the debate to be represented

Antaeus, you added this text (now reverted TWICE):

Those criticized, however, often reply that they are being unfairly lumped into one large generalization dubbed "the anti-cult movement" by the very groups that are protesting the unfairness of being compared to proven destructive cults.

In order to maintain NPOV, you need to attribute this POV. Otherwise is incompatible with stated guidelines regarding original research, and unacceptable. --Zappaz 02:34, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Well, Zappaz, let me show you what we would need to remove from the section on "Criticisms and Controversies" because it had not been adequately attributed, if we were following this absurd standard:
Criticisms and controversies
Critics of the antihe reference that is given to back up the assertion that the APA found Margaret Singer's work "not scientific" (quotes in the original) does not in fact contain those quoted words, and seeing how the page being referenced is on the site of the new Cult Awareness Network, owned and operated by Scientology, it can hardly be claimed that this is all the citation that is needed to support the conclusions announced in the article. -- Antaeus Feldspar 20:36, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Hope my last edit stays. I just added some referenced text. ---Zappaz 20:28, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Changed reference to APA documents: http://www.cesnur.org/testi/APA_Documents.htm --Zappaz 20:54, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Much better. Perhaps even it should even be changed to this one (the only one, if I'm not mistaken, which directly quotes the APA's Molko brief on the matter): [4]. -- Antaeus Feldspar 01:31, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
There, changed it to a citation to the APA's actual Molko brief (and an actual quote from them, since "not scientific" turned out to not be an actual quote. There's still some work to be done; for instance, I've discovered we have an article on mental health law and I'd like to see if we can find from there references to the specific legal terminology for a state of diminished competency. -- Antaeus Feldspar 02:07, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Good hunting... Just note that the discredit of brainwashing theories is not limited to the APA... --Zappaz 16:35, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Book cover

I have removed twice the book cover from this article. It is innapropriate to have books that sell commercially to have covers featured in articles, for the following reasons:

  1. This is an encyclopedia. What is the encyclopedic value of a book cover?
  2. As a precedent, if this is allowed, anyone could add book covers to any article. This is not Amazon.com.

--Zappaz 00:59, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The book cover is an example of the activities of the anti-cult movement. There are many articles that have book covers as pictures because they are fair use. See [[Category:Book_covers]]. Every article should have a picture to make it more attractive. That is a requirement for a Featured article. Please replace it with a better pic if you find one. Andries 14:23, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)


The fact that book covers are fair use, does not mean that these are encyclopedic. IMO., it is pretty ridiculous to feauture a book cover in this article. --Zappaz 19:56, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I continue to disagree. What do you suggest as an alternative picture? May be you can ask for a request for comment, Andries 19:59, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I would not go to the extent to do a RfC for this...! But again, IMO, it is a ridiculous idea to have a picture of a book cover in this article. --Zappaz 20:26, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Could you explain why you consider this ridiculous? I really do not understand. Andries 20:28, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Allowing both sides of the debate to be represented

Antaeus, you added this text (now reverted TWICE):

Those criticized, however, often reply that they are being unfairly lumped into one large generalization dubbed "the anti-cult movement" by the very groups that are protesting the unfairness of being compared to proven destructive cults.

In order to maintain NPOV, you need to attribute this POV. Otherwise is incompatible with stated guidelines regarding original research, and unacceptable. --Zappaz 02:34, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Well, Zappaz, let me show you what we would need to remove from the section on "Criticisms and Controversies" because it had not been adequately attributed, if we were following this absurd standard:
Criticisms and controversies
Critics of the anti-cult movement often accuse that it has done the following:
* created a moral panic and witch hunt through exaggeration of the harm and dangers of new religious movements;
* generalized inappropriately, lumping together relatively harmless groups with dangerous groups, such as the Peoples Temple;
* endorsed pseudoscientific theories regarding brainwashing and mind control;
* infringed religious freedom through deprogramming;
* polarized the debate over new religious movements due to its focus on the negative aspects of these groups.
Vocal critics of the anti-cult movement include J. Gordon Melton, the sociologist David G. Bromley, and to a lesser extent the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR).
The religious movements may see the activities of their opponents as unjustified stigmatization and persecution. See Hate groups and NRMs
So in your compartmentalized mind, any criticism of the anti-cult movement can be made without citation or attribution, but any response to those criticisms must be reverted endlessly with puerile, transparent demands for citation and attribution. Like hell. You don't give a damn about NPOV, you just find it a convenient way to push your POV, and nothing stands in clearer testament to that fact than this jaw-dropping double standard under which you purport that NPOV means "both sides of the debate can get heard, except that while one side gets to push unattributed claims about what the entire scientific community believes, the other side needs citations and attributions just to respond to the accusations against them." You can't have it both ways. -- Antaeus Feldspar 23:30, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I kindly request that you cool off and stop making personal attacks. This is the second time I am asking this of you.
  • Regarding the text that you say is not attributed, is all found in the References provided in this article.
  • Concerning that paragraph that I deleted from the Brainwashing article and you re-added, removing the whole paragraph is the right thing to do. Quoting from the footer of this edit page: Please cite your sources so others can check your work. . As editors that care about NPOV, we should challenge unattributed statements as the ones contained in the paragraph. Please alo note that your interpretation of NPOV as "both sides are represented, as is crucial for NPOV)"[sic] is totally off mark, in particular as the text in that paragraph is not attributed and the source of the last statement is Antaeus Feldspar. You many need to go are re-read NPOV. --Zappaz 00:21, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)
The notion that you can make any claim that you wish in the body of the article, Zappaz, and defend it as properly sourced by pointing to the plethora of references you've added to the article and said "Sure, it's adequately supported, somewhere in there" would not have been acceptable before.
The idea that it flies after the discovery that the reference cited for the APA calling brainwashing "not scientific" was discovered to not support that quote, and was replaced -- by you -- with a link to a plethora of documents, none of which supported that quote either, is ridiculous. The fact is that you were allowed to put in that "criticism and controversies" section all the many things that cults/NRMs accuse the anti-cult movement of, because it's common fact and we all know it and NPOV is not a codeword for "harass anyone you don't like by pretending they need citations for the obvious". Whether those criticisms are true, that is of course another story altogether, but no one seriously disputes that those criticisms have been levelled.
Now you are taking advantage of that and saying "Even though it is blatantly common knowledge that many of those who are criticized as part of the 'anti-cult movement' object to being considered as part of that abstraction and many even believe that the cults deliberately created the myth of a big organized 'anti-cult movement' just for that purpose, that blatantly common knowledge cannot be included in the article until it's heavily cited and attributed and all those things which were not demanded of my claims." If you want to play that game, then guess what? It's already referenced. Yes indeed, somewhere in the references section is all the attribution that is needed, and until you've read through each and every thing referenced there, you can't say that it isn't and you have no justification for trying to remove it. At least, none that isn't based on a double standard... -- Antaeus Feldspar 02:35, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)
You don;t make any sense. Please re-read your comment with a cool head. Your debate skills are sharp, but anyone can see a lot of wind and no substance. Face it, Antaeus: APA says in its brief ""The coercive persuasion theory ... is not a meaningful scientific concept" --Zappaz 02:54, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)
From the amicus curiae brief:
  • The coercive persuasion theory that plaintiffs advance is not a meaningful scientific concept, and proffered expert testimony in support of that theory was properly excluded.
  • The theory of coercive persuasion plaintiffs advance is not accepted in the scientific community.
  • The conclusions of drs. singer and benson are not recognized as scientitic conclusions in the relevant professional communities
  • The methodology of drs. singer and benson has been repudiated by the scientific community.
  • Given the inadequacy of the scientific support, plaintiffs' claim of coercive persuasion is, as the courts below concluded, simply a negative value judgment in scientific garb.
... and on and on. In fact 60% of the amicus curiae brief is focused solely in the lack of scientific support for the theories of brainwashing as peddled by anti-cultits, and is was a huge blow to their standing. --Zappaz 03:03, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

CESNUR

The CESNUR in their own words (my highlights):

CESNUR, the Center for Studies on New Religions, was established in 1988 by a group of religious scholars from leading universities in Europe and the Americas. Its managing director, professor Massimo Introvigne, has held teaching positions in the field of sociology and history of religion in a number of Italian universities. He is the author of twenty-three books and the editor of another ten in the field of religious sciences. CESNUR's original aim was to offer a professional association to scholars specialized in religious minorities, new religious movements, contemporary esoteric, spiritual and gnostic schools, and the new religious consciousness in general. In the 1990s it became apparent that inaccurate information was being disseminated to the media and the public powers by activists associated with the international anti-cult movement. Some new religious movements also disseminated unreliable or partisan information. CESNUR became more pro-active and started supplying information on a regular basis, opening public centers and organising conferences and seminars for the general public in a variety of countries. Today CESNUR is a network of independent but related organizations of scholars in various countries, devoted to promote scholarly research in the field of new religious consciousness, to spread reliable and responsible information, and to expose the very real problems associated with some movements, while at the same time defending everywhere the principles of religious liberty. While established in 1988 by scholars who were mostly Roman Catholic, CESNUR has had from its very beginning boards of directors including scholars of a variety of religious persuasions. It is independent from any Church, denomination or religious movement. CESNUR International was recognized as a public non-profit entity in 1996 by the Italian authorities, who are the main current contributors to its projects. It is also financed by royalties on the books it publishes with different publishers, and by contributions of the members. As a public non-profit entity, accounts of its projects are filed with the Region of Piedmont, in Italy.

Definitively worth mentioning in this article as one of the most vocal opponents to anti-cult ideology and propaganda. --Zappaz 16:22, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Zappaz, such a reticent way of saying things differs quite a lot from the way Melton and Bromley formulated their strong criticism. Andries 16:38, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Agree... but CESNUR is still an important source of criticism. --Zappaz 17:39, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Introvigne makes a charicature of anti-cult activism

  • Most ex-members activists focus on specific complaints
  • He forgets to mention that most ex-members were only short-term or superficially involved. No wonder that they do not feel manipulated.

Andries 03:44, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Yes, I agree... and many other scholars join him in debunking the anti-cult movement. Let's face it, the anti-cult movement (at least the ones that call themselves that) have a very dubious history in regard to scientific rigor, being more interested in ideology than in science. --Zappaz 16:35, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Unfortunately, Andries, the anti-cult movement's activities, in particular those by the CFF and the AFF, impinge on people's freedom of religion and belief, promoting vigilantism and using totalitarian tactics of the worst kind:
"Cult activity is still alive in this country. Maybe in your own neighborhood. They're stealing your children and possessing their minds. We, the American Family Foundation, are fighting back, but we need your help."
  • stealing your children - (1) Instill fear
  • maybe in your own neighborhood - (2) Don't trust anyone (more fear and doubt)
  • possessing their minds - (2) Use posession as in possessed by the devil
  • we are fightintg back - (3) Only we the AFF, can save your children
Yikes! --Zappaz 16:54, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I think we have made a mistake

Larry Shinn has critized the anti-cult movement for its ridiculous, distorted way it depicted the Hare Krishna movement [5] but later endorsed a publication by Nori Muster, an apostate ex-member, who complains about criminal gurus and sexual abuse of minors in ISKCON and rejects brainwashing. Is Shinn an anti-cult activist or not? I think Zappaz was right when s/he wrote that it is wrong to make generalizations about people who oppose certain cults. Andries 05:52, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I think I wrote down a bad definition, "In a wider sense, the term encompasses all groups and individuals that actively oppose a certain cult, new religious movement, or sect. " Many "anti-cult activists" do not do more than criticizing (often mostly on the internet). Not actively oppose. But we can not include everyone who has criticized a NRM because then we would have to include all NRM scholars (except may be Melton). I think the definition should be somebody who criticizes several movements and sees that NRMS as part of a wider, general problem with cults, not as individual cases. I think Bromley wrote something like that. Have to check. Such a definition would exclude several people, like Lane and most apostates of cults. Andries 18:58, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)


I changed the definition to what Bromley and Shupe had written "organized opposition to NRMs" and changed the list of anti-cult activists accordingly. Andries 20:52, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Thanks. Makes sense, although some individuals and not organizations, such as Hassan and Ross do not belong to an organization... Somehow you need to add some text to include them. I am adding some text so that it includes anti-cult activists.
--Zappaz 21:53, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Thanks fort adding biblio material. But please keep separated from the References. These are citacions for the text in the article. Mixing the two is not good practice. Thanks. --Zappaz 22:54, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

References and Bibliography are not the same. In References you only list items you have actually cited. In a Bibliography you list all of the material you have consulted in preparing your essay whether or not you have actually cited the work.[6]

Pgreenfinch edits

You need either provide sources or citacions for these statements, or to NPOV them. Otherwise these will be mercilessly deleted. --Zappaz 19:39, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Zappaz, don't try to play that attribution game just to orientate an article in a one-sided way that would suit your opinions. Btw, I have seen already your hand caught in the cookie jar with fake attributions. Or you accept that this article stop being one-sided or I will tag it as an article with a conflict of neutrality. --Pgreenfinch 22:57, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

This is a serious acussation, and totally unacceptable. Fake attributions? Show me where. Please note that WP is not the place for original research. I am sure that we a bit of honest work, you can find a source or citacion in support for your text. This is not for me. It is for the readers. We have to cite our sources, otherwise WP is useless as a tool. Regarding the POV tag, please go ahead and place it. No problems. Hopefully it will attract other editors to help NPOV the article even further. --Zappaz 03:03, 5 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Unacceptable or not, it was, don't play the offended virgin, and don't hide behind the readers. Just look at the various edits and discussion in the cults and guru articles. You even invented critics by a non existing organization (the European Convention of Human Rights, which in fact is a tready) and you made believe that some apparently lofty official conference criticized a French law about cults when in fact it was the cult representatives that made the criticism. Now this article has to be balanced, and I understand that you don't like that. --Pgreenfinch 08:43, 5 Mar 2005 (UTC)

P, you know by now which side I'm on, and it's not pro-cult. But your recent edits are POV, which is why I actually ended up being the first to revert them. Take this paragraph:

One of those reproaches is that many cults are organized for the only personal advantage of their money-seeking and power-seeking gurus (in the Western sense of the word), at the expense of their adepts.

Even without the emotional loading of "money-seeking and power-seeking", this commits a version of the existential fallacy by describing the dispute in terms that can only be endorsed by one side of the dispute. I mean, which of these is a neutral statement of the debate here?

Critics of Pgreenfinch say that many of his statements violate NPOV.

or

Critics reproach the anti-cult fanatic Pgreenfinch for violating NPOV in order to soothe the dark rage in his twisted heart.

While that's exaggerated for effect, the principle really is the same; your imaginary critics should not be prejudicing the debate by talking about your 'twisted heart' and your 'dark rage' -- and you shouldn't be prejudicing the debate by talking about their 'money-seeking and power-seeking gurus'. It's easy to phrase it in such a way that both sides can clearly agree that that is what one side claims, at which point it is NPOV:

One of the claims made by critics is that many cults are only organized in order to deliver money and power to their leaders, at the expense of their adepts.

Anyone who is still protesting that simple statement of "this is what this side believes", it is then their problem. -- Antaeus Feldspar 19:46, 5 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Something must be stirring in the heavens ... this is the second comment by Antaeus that I agree with today! --Zappaz 20:17, 5 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Removal of text about apostates by Andries

Andries, please explain why did you removed the text about apostates. As explained in the opening sentence, the "anti-cult" movement is composed of organizations as well as individuals. Apostates fit the latter. It does not make sense to delete it. I will restore the text unles you can give good reasons. --Zappaz 19:35, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Well, organized opposition or individuals who do this as a profession form the ACM. That means very, very few of the many disaffected former members are part of the ACM. I do not think that a network of disaffected former members of a particular group are part of the ACM. Andries 20:37, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)
You still do not explained why you removed this text. Please do so. --Zappaz 22:35, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Also, please provide examples of this:
Other critical former members have their own networks that are not or only loosely related to the ACM.
I must say that I feel very uncomfortable with your edits, Andries. It seems that there is a lack of rigor on these edits, and are done simply to exclude Apostates from being associated with the anti-cult movement. Fact is that what you are trying to do is not possible. The anti-cult scene is pervaded by ex-member apostates. Some of its most strong proponents are apostates themselves. --Zappaz 22:48, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)
The current text accurately states that some critical former members of cults form or are associated with the ACM. The former text that I moved suggested that all or most apostates of cults are involved in the ACM which is not true. Examples of networks of critical former members are www.ex-premie.org, www.exbaba.com, Cults on Campus, former members of Andrew Cohen. There may be some loose contacts between some of these members of those networks and the ACM. Andries 06:48, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Edits by Pgreenfinh

You will need to do better that add comments that accuse a person to be this or that. You can, if you wish, provide references to articles or papers in which Party "A" says Party "B" is this or that, and then clearly denote in the the text. Pleasde read NPOV. --Zappaz 22:41, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Your latest edits keep falling outside NPOV. Please read the NPOV guidelines before editing. --Zappaz 17:50, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I love those critics from a master of the game, my compliments to the chef ;-)) --Pgreenfinch 18:45, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I disagree with the idea that everything referenced deserves to go in and everything unreferenced deserves to go out. For instance, Massimo Introvigne does not speak for the anti-cult movement; his eight-point "apology" in which he presumes to speak for them and explain their supposed criteria merits, at best, a condensed summary. Gems such as asserting that the anti-cult movement states "scholars can't be trusted" are not less straw men just because it's not an editor here doing the misrepresentation. -- Antaeus Feldspar 19:39, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Change of definition: almost any generalization is wrong

Please note that after Zappaz change of the definition the ACM is highly diverse and almost any generalization is wrong. Andries 21:07, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Andries, I propose we let other editors look at the edits we have done in the past few weeks. We need a pair of fresh eyes to look over the new text and help us get it to the right place. We can invite a few editors directly or we can place the article in RfC. What do you think? --Zappaz 21:28, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Something is very wrong with this article because opposition to NRMs and cults is as diverse as NRMs and cults. To label that all under ACM is a bit strange, in my opinion. We either need good references or put it on Rfc. Andries 21:59, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I think that the definition should start with the beliefs of the ACM and starting from this set of beliefs determine who and who does not belong to the ACM. Andries 22:14, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)
The article on NRMs states "NRMs are very diverse both in its beliefs, practices, the way they are organized, and the degree of acceptance by society."
Hence opposition by critical former members against a certain NRM is very diverse but the current version does not reflect that. I think the current version is highly biased and hence I will give it a NPOV warning. Andries 23:35, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Allegations against cults section by Andries

You need to add a citacion/source for the list you added. I have added an NPOV waring to that section till you do so. Each and every edit
I can provide a citation for each and every allegation made by critical former members of cults but that takes some time of course. Andries 07:37, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
If you chose to do this then we will need to add to the title: "Allegations against cults by ex-members". I would prefer to stick with scholarly citacions.-Zappaz 14:40, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Andries I checked 3 encyclopedias in the library and could not find any information on the "anti-cult" movement. The only place I found a mention is online at the Encarta encyclopedia. The definition in Encarta is supportive of the current definition in the article.

This is what Encarta says: http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761580494/Cult.html#p18 ... a pretty good NPOV summary.

Regarding the anti-cult movement allegations against cults, I found a good reference:

  • Tomas Robbin and Dick Anthony, Cults in the late Twentieth Century in Lippy, Cgarles H. and Williams, Peter W. (edfs.) Encyclopedia of the American Religious experience. Studies of Traditions and Movements. Charles Scribner's sons, New York (1988) Vol II pp. ISBN 0-684-18861-9
  • Critics of cults, recognizing the diversity of groups lumped under this label have identified of "cult", or "destructive cults", as the object of their concern. The criteria offered generally involve communal totalism, authoritanism, charismatic leadership, manipulative and heavy-handed indoctrination, deceptive proselytization, violence and child abuse, sexual exploitation, emotional intensity in group life, and alleged use of mind control. Other controversies postulated by these critics, include tax privileges, public solicitacion, faith healing and rejection of modern medicine, mental health jeopardy to participants, and corporal punishment.

I would suggest replacing the section you added with this (from the above book). --Zappaz 14:34, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I do not see the use of scholar when the evidence can be directly linked to with attributed accusations against specific groups instead. That is closer to NPOV than general unattributed statements without mentioning the specific group. Besides not all of the accusations come from former members but also from skeptics and scholars like David Lane. Andries 15:00, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Then we should make two sections: one listing allegations by apostates and one by scholars.--Zappaz 15:02, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Not necessary, I will indicate clearly in the list whether the accusation was made by a scholar or by a former member. In the case of SSB they strongly overlap. Andries 15:06, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Zappaz, I think it is crazy to have two or three lists (former followers, scholars, skeptics). How can you seperate the criticism by David Lane of Eckankar from that of former members? Or that by scholar Robert Priddy from that of other former members? Andries 15:25, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
It is not crazy, Andries. It is fair that we make these distinctions. If there is a scholar that is also a an ex-member, we can note it. I will separate these into sub-sections, and whatever is not attributed I will move to the talk page. This will allow us to remove the disputed tags, while you continue your research. --Zappaz 15:56, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I do not agree because it is too intertwined. For example the first one to make the accusations against SSB was David Lane and he founded the crucial yahoo group sathyasaibaba2. I have indicated it as much as possible already. It must be sufficiently clear for the reader now. Andries 16:02, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Seems Zappaz doesn't understand, or want to understand, that the allegations are obviously from "anti-cultist". It is even superfluous to give all those sources as seeing their content they are obviously from that side, if not who from !!! Just a harassment method by Zappaz to block the article with his overattribution craze. Wikipedia doesnt want to go to such extremes as giving attribution to all sentences as long that it is common sense that they are not inventions from the writer. Imagine the mess if any article was peppered with references all along! Interpreting so narrowly a rule is changing is nature. In French, this is called an "abus de droit". I think we are going for a big conflict of principles here. --Pgreenfinch 16:45, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Are you saying that if a statement is made a ex-member Joe Blow, and another is made by the government of France and yet another is made by a sociologist studying religions, we do not need to give the readers the benefit of these sources? How can you say this is harassment? --Zappaz 16:52, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Pgreenfich & Zappaz, I think that ex-member Joe Blow can be more accurate, fairer, and certainly more up to date than those sociologist and the French govt. Most of the negative information of these sociologists and governemnts come from Joe Blow ex-members. Though I have to admit that Joe Blow's testimonial may be colored by his sense of betrayal, esp. when he has just left the movement. I would appreciate help in finding more references and attributions. Andries 17:10, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
If that is the case, you need to state it. You and I know very well that the reliability of apostate's testimony has been widely challlenged and it is highly controversial. I have helped, didn't I. I think that the ref from Robin and dick Anthony was such... --Zappaz 17:18, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I have told you several times that the testimonies, according to Bromley are only unreliable if, the ex-members are pressured to fit them into a ideological model such as the brainwashing model. Andries 17:27, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
There are many other scholars besides Bromley. Apostasy#In_new_religious_movements_.28NRMs.29

References

It is not enough that you place a link to a website. Each one of these statements needs to be accompanied by a label denoting who said it. Is is a scholar?, a newspaper?, an apostate?, etc? only then it will be NPOV. --Zappaz 14:52, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Okay, I will try but it takes some time and besides I have already done that to a great extent. I assume that you will remove your disputed label as soon as I have finished that. Andries 15:00, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Done, can the NPOV warning removed now? Andries 20:03, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

PGreenfich your edits are very POV

I agree with you that Introvigne portrays a charicature of anti-cult activism (in a wide sense) but your edits are very POV. Andries 19:09, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Just my good heart trying to save Zappaz from shooting at his/her own foot, somebody has to help, but maybe I should try love bombing ;-))) --Pgreenfinch 22:15, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
why do you see the need to "save" me? Are you an evagelical Christian? --Zappaz 22:33, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Just protecting biodiversity, we need to keep all specimens ;-)) --Pgreenfinch 23:08, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Major edit

I have performed a major edit, including:

  • New expanded intro para
  • Created appropriate subsections on "Allegations against cults"
  • Removed NPOV tag for that section
  • Rearrangement of sections for continuity
  • Removed duplicated wikilinks
  • Overall cleanup, formatting and tightening of spacing
  • Added list of groups studying new religions and the anti-cult movement
  • Expanded see also section
  • Many typos and grammar corrections

I spent a lot of time on this edit, cleaning-up and re-arranging... I leave the {{ActiveDiscuss}} for now, and until article reaches stability. --Zappaz 00:10, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Still quite messy article. I tried to put some order in the starter part (intro / origin / motives) so the reader can identify what is the gin, the vermout and the olive. I wonder who had interest in creating such confusion, and adding to it in its new "major edit". I don't see much future as a writer for that sloppy bartender, not that he/she should worry, as usual I'm here to help ;-)). Btw, I'have seen you left the childish part by massimo. Your insistance is cruel for that poor..., how do you say..., oh yes: "scholar". This piece would not enhance his academic résumé. On the other hand, no problem for Hadden's platitudes, the guy does not need a job anymore. I enjoy this article, hope you share the fun ;-)) --Pgreenfinch 08:59, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Can somebody please explain me why those scholars can make all kinds of charicatural generalizations about former followers who speak out about abuses that they observed, documented or experienced? In contrast, all the accusations by former followers are attributed, specific and documented. I think the current version shows a lack of balance and fairness in that respect. Another reason why I think this is unfair is that the current version of the cult article tends to avoid generalizations about cults. It is insulting and unfair to subject the testimonies of former members to excessive skepticism. Andries 19:20, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Where do you see that unfairness? After reading the article, with the huge list of allegations made by ex-members (I think that the only allegation missing is drinking the blood of little children in the sabbath), what do you expect? I would say that it begs skepticism. If you are in favor of the anit-cult movement, I would argue that by putting that list in the article you are not doing your movement any favors. As per Pgreenfinch words in the edit summary, that my edits are "vandalism", I would argue to quite the contrary. He has been deleting whole sentences, for no apparent reasons. The fact that I edit anonymously does not give you the right to trash my edits or treat me with disrespect. --38.119.107.72 23:14, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
How gross! You are the one who deleted whole sentences for no apparent reason, unless it was to avoid the embarassement to have the term defined, a thing I consider an obvious minimum as an article starter. --Pgreenfinch 09:42, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
No, I do not think that the list begs skepticism. I challenge you to find one false allegation in the list. It is just a natural consequence of the great power that gurus have over their disciples. One person I know quite well almost committed suicide due to a this SSB guru whom I followed for 9 years. Scholars can and are sometimes wrong e.g. George Chryssides wrote that SSB practiced what he preached! Read the well documented scholarly article "A Guru Accused" by Alexandra Nagel on http://www.exbaba.com And I also know other stories about a still well-respected guru that I am not allowed to tell. One of the reasons that the list is so long is because there are so many different gurus, NRMs and cults. Only a fraction is mentioned.Andries 23:27, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Oh, and I know quite a lot of those people who make these allegations. I phone with them and emailed with them. Andries 23:35, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
38.119.107.72, if the only reason that you do not believe these allegations is because they are so horrible then I can fully understand. They were horrible for me too and it took me years of talking and doing research before I came to the conclusions that those horrible accusations against SSB were supported by sound evidence. Andries 10:55, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Andries, if you add more text, please try not to repeat wikilinks. If a term is already wikilinked early in the text, there is no need to redo it. One is enough. Thanks. --Zappaz 04:48, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)


As I had suggested on talk:Apostasy I wanted to create an article Opposition to cults and new religious movements. Nodody protested so I went ahead. I think that the new articlemore more accurately reflects the diversity of the subject. Note that David V. Barrett defines the ACM in terms of its beliefs and methods i.e. Mind control, brainwashing and not talking with members of purported cults. Andries 12:07, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Good initiative, Andries, it will help clarify things. --Pgreenfinch 14:10, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
We don't need yet another article on this. It is well covered already. Placed on VfD. --Zappaz 16:16, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Pgreenfinch edits (2)

Your edits are not useful. It seems to me that this is a game for you and not taking editing seriously enough. Please discuss here what is the problem with the opening paragraph. Note that an article 'needs to have a good summary of the whole article. That is the reason for it. --Zappaz 02:22, 11 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Your remark is inconsistent with your refusal to give a definition of the term, the first thing to do in a summary. And historical considerations are not what makes a good summary. I suggest to include instead, following a short definition, the two types of oppositions. After seeing your asymmetric requirements in various articles, it seems to me, but I'm not Sigmund, that you are so routinely used at playing games to others that you don't realize when you trap yourself in them. As always, trying to help. --Pgreenfinch 08:48, 11 Mar 2005 (UTC)



This way of editing is leading nowhere. We first have to find a good definition and then procees further. Doing otherwise will result in neverending edit wars. Andries 18:10, 11 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I agree. I think we are getting there. --Zappaz 19:49, 11 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Cults/Anti-cults

A big section of this article is "Allegations against cults". Of that, a small portion is "Anti-cult brainwashing theories and de-programming practices", which seems relevant here. The other subsections, "Some allegations made by former members of purported cults", "Allegations made by scholars and skeptics", and "Other allegations", are criticism of cults, and so should be in the Cults article itself. -Willmcw 00:32, Mar 18, 2005 (UTC)

uh? why? Also note that there is another one called Opposition to cults and new religious movements. Some of these articles: Cult Anti-cul movement and Opposition to cults and new religious movements could do with a merge. Much of the text is duplicated anyway... Although some editors (not pro-cult for sure!) disagree with a merge... Your help in merging would be appreciated. --Zappaz 02:20, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Opposition to cults and new religious movements is the more general title, and also, contrary to anti-cult movement, unassailable regarding NPOV, so, if a move should be considered, it would be merging this article into the other. --Irmgard 16:58, 1 August 2005 (UTC)
I frankly have to ask -- does the "anti-cult movement" even exist? Who is it that decided that "anti-cult movement" would be the name used for a particular subset of those opposed to cults, and who decided the criteria that would identify this subset? -- Antaeus Feldspar 21:04, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
Is this article about the anti-cult movement, or is it a critique of cults? If it is the former, then a miscellaneous list of criticisms of (alleged) cults does not belong. It should be in the cults article. -Willmcw 02:24, Mar 18, 2005 (UTC)
OK, I moved the 'allegations about cults' sections to cult. -Willmcw 04:01, Mar 18, 2005 (UTC)

Unnamed critics

These charges ar so incendiary that they cannot go uncredited:

Critics affirm, without clear evidences, that the anti-cult movement exacerbated the fanatical reaction of destructive cults by encouraging a cult phobia among the public and authorities, that helped to precipitate mass tragedies like Jonestown, Waco, and the Heaven's Gate. According to these critics, the most active being American-based cult representatives, the anti-cult movement of today is the main force behind purported discriminative measures promulgated against minority groups in France, Germany, and China.

Unless someone can give us the citation, I'm pulling this. -Willmcw 04:57, Mar 18, 2005 (UTC)

If you would stop from creating havoc on the cult-related articles, we may find the citacion. --Zappaz 06:10, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, there's no rush. Cheers, -Willmcw 06:19, Mar 18, 2005 (UTC)
Yo, chill, Zap: he didn't delete it, did he? He either moved it to talk or just copied it. Either way, he's "talking about it". (Let's give the new guy some space to show us his chops. :-) -- Uncle Ed (talk) 18:20, Mar 18, 2005 (UTC)
I get the impression that no one is searching actively for a citation for this material, so I'm gogin to pull it fromthe article for now. It's copied here, and when these critics can be named then we can easily replace it. -Willmcw 05:30, Mar 20, 2005 (UTC)
Man... you are too fast. I believe the citacions are from here:
  • Shupe Anton. D Jr, Bromley, David G., DL Olive, The Anti-Cult Movement in America: A Bibliography and Historical Survey, New York: Garland 1984. and
  • Anthony, D. Pseudoscience and Minority Religions: An Evaluation of the Brainwashing Theories of Jean-Marie Abgrall. Social Justice Research, Kluwer Academic Publishers, December 1999, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 421-456(36)
Added by anon 38.119.107.72. [7] --Zappaz 05:45, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for your reply. So are the critics Shupe, Bromley, Olive, and Anthony? Or are they writers reporting on critics? -Willmcw 06:41, Mar 20, 2005 (UTC)

Not sure... we ought to put a message on the anon's User's talk page and hope he/she responds. Otherwise, it will require a trip to the library. --Zappaz 16:17, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for doing that. I've pulled the text until we can name those critics who say that anti-cult activists precipitated Waco. -Willmcw 17:43, Mar 20, 2005 (UTC)
First, the text does not say that. And second the citacions are solid. I have re-addded them. Give me some time to complete the research. --Zappaz 22:09, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)
You have all the time in the world to complete your research. I don't know what you mean by saying the citations are "solid" when the assertion about who said it and why are vague. Until we find out who made these assertions and why, I see no reason to leave that material in place. -Willmcw 01:02, Mar 21, 2005 (UTC)
I see that an editor, user:38.119.107.72, maybe the original writer of that material, has added some additional info that appears to name the critics. Thanks, -Willmcw 01:04, Mar 21, 2005 (UTC) PS - It appears that the source was not contained in either of the "solid" references that you had suggested it would be in - searching them would have been a wild goose chase, apparently . -W.
Certainly it saved me a trip to the library! Thanks .72! --Zappaz 02:17, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Play nice

Let's adhere to the advice given in Wikipedia:Avoid personal remarks. Comments like the following don't seem to be helping us get the article written:

  • inconsistent
  • not taking editing seriously enough
  • not useful
  • playing games, a game for you
  • you trap yourself
  • your asymmetric requirements
  • your refusal to give a definition

Let's talk about the article, please. -- Uncle Ed (talk) 18:28, Mar 18, 2005 (UTC)

Love the teacher in you Ed! Thanks... --Zappaz 21:20, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Will I be invited to the wedding? --Pgreenfinch 23:45, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Thank you SlimVirgin

Great NPOV job on that intro para... Only demonstrate how much I have still to learn...! -- Zappaz 05:05, 19 Mar 2005 (UTC)


What does it mean?

Opponents of the view that cults are rarely harmless and that apostates testimonies cannot be relied upon are the scholars David C. Lane, Benjamin Zablocki, and Stephen A. Kent.

This line is almost nonsense. If I understand it correctly, it means that Stephen Kent thinks that cults are usually harmless and that apostates cannot be trusted. This is obviously not true, as anyone who have studied his work can testify to. --62.107.36.217 12:31, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Hmmmm... you have a good point on one part but I think you're misreading the other. To rearrange the pieces of that sentence:
  • "the scholars David C. Lane, Benjamin Zablocki, and Stephen A. Kent" ...
  • are "Opponents of the view that" ...
  • "cults are rarely harmless" and that ...
  • "apostates [sic] testimonies cannot be relied upon".
Treating the third and fourth segments separately, the fourth looks correct: Lane, Zablocki and Kent (as far as I'm familiar with their views) oppose the notion that apostates should be looked on as any less reliable than current members. The third, however, does not fit. Perhaps it was meant to be "rarely harmful", or it was originally describing Lane et al. as supporters of the idea, and the idea was not changed when "supporters" was changed to "opponents". I don't know which one more accurately captures the actual views of Lane et. al.
Good catch, 36.217. -- Antaeus Feldspar 04:46, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

"Scientology" section in "Opposition to cults and new religious movements"

Hi Fossa. In kicking out the Scientology section on Opposition to cults and new religious movements, despite my elaboration in the section, you give this edit summary: "rv a) undue weight b) this is not about the opposition to cults in general, but Scientology in particular, c) even if it was, the connection would need to be demonstrated more clearly". Some questions...

(a) Practically the whole article is POV in favor of NRM theory, so I don't understand your basis for complaining that a Scientology paragraph gives "undue weight" to anything.

(b) Where does it say that the article has to be about opposition to cults in general?

(c) I think the connection is pretty danged clear. The section is about an attempt by one of the most powerful and dangerous[8] groups that I can think of to quash a small number of those who (extremely bravely) try to express their "opposition" to a "cult". It is totally "connected". Tanaats 01:46, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

(a) I dunno what you're talking about.
(b) Quite simple: This is an article about the opposition to all sorts of "cults", Scientology is just one of hundreds, if not thousands of groups, and it is not even a very typical case: Why should it be given space?
(c) Please don't link to xenu.net's fairytails, when you want to explain something. Do you have an academic source that explicates the particular importance of Scientology for opposition against "cults", as opposed to, say, the Unification Church? Fossa?! 12:34, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

Merger with Opposition to Cults and NRM

The distinction betweem ACM and CCM is a minority opinion in academia. Even those who propose the distinction acknowledge that fact. Wikipedia is not the place to minority opinions, but instead should follow the majority opinion. Wikipedia should use the lemma that is the most common label for this opinion: "Anti-cult movement". Fossa?! 12:17, 21 December 2006 (UTC)