Resources for the cult curious

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TIBETAN BUDDHISM – STRUGGLING WITH DIFFI·CULT ISSUES

BLOG by Tenzin Peljor (Michael Jäckel)

Addressing certain controversial issues related to Tibetan Buddhism, Tibet, the Dalai Lamas and Buddhism.

Controversies include: New Kadampa Tradition, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso // Dorje Shugden // Rigpa, Sogyal Rinpoche // Tsem Tulku, Kechara // Ole Nydahl, Diamond Way // Sangharakshita, Triratna // Shambhala, Sakyong :: Tibet & Dalai Lama :: Dharmakaya, Zen & More

WHICH CULT SHOULD I JOIN? A CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN GUIDEBOOK FOR THE SPIRITUALLY BEREFT

BOOK by Jo Stewart

Do you prefer applesauce (Heaven’s Gate) to Kool-Aid (Peoples Temple)? Do you think carrots are “the food of the Masters” (Church Universal and Triumphant) or that swimming and joking should be forbidden (the Fellowship of Friends)? This is the book for you! We help sort your E.T.-loving Raelians from your Moonies, your snake-handling Church of God with Signs Following from your Branch Davidians.

 

PROPHETIC CHARISMA: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF REVOLUTIONARY RELIGIOUS PERSONALITIES

BOOK by Len Oakes 

New religious movements-or so-called "cults"-continue to attract and mystify us. While mainstream America views cults as an insidious mix of apocalyptic beliefs, science fiction, and paranoia, with new vehicles such as the World Wide Web, they are becoming even more influential as the millennium approaches. Len Oakes-a former member of such a movement-explores the phenomenon of cult leaders. He examines the psychology of charisma and proposes his own theory of the five-stage life cycle of the two types of prophets: the messianic and the charismatic.

THE GURU PAPERS: MASKS OF AUTHORITARIAN POWER

BOOK by Joel Kramer  & Diana Alstad 

The Guru Papers demonstrates with uncompromising clarity that authoritarian control, which once held societies together, is now at the core of personal, social, and planetary problems, and thus a key factor in social disintegration. It illustrates how authoritarianism is embedded in the way people think, hiding in culture, values, daily life, and in the very morality people try to live by. The book unmasks authoritarianism in such areas as relationships, cults, 12-step groups, religion, and contemporary morality. Chapters on addiction and love show the insidious nature of authoritarian values and ideologies in the most intimate corners of life, offering new frameworks for understanding why people get addicted and why intimacy is laden with conflict. By exposing the inner authoritarian that people use to control themselves and others, the authors show why people give up their power, and how others get and maintain it.

 

JESUS CAMP

DOCUMENTARY by Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing

a 2006 American documentary film about a Charismatic Christian summer camp, where children spend their summers being taught that they have "prophetic gifts" and can "take back America for Christ". According to the distributor, it "doesn't come with any prepackaged point of view" and attempts to be "an honest and impartial depiction of one faction of the evangelical Christian community"

ARE CULTS LEGAL?

ARTICLE by HG Legal

It seems like every year another cult ends up in the media, having amassed weapons, engaged in child sex crimes, or after killing or abducting someone. This has led many to ask how cults remain legal in the United States. The answer is actually more complicated than it might appear at first blush. Many might assume that cults are legal simply because of the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion. But, in fact, some cults actually are illegal. Others are protected by the First Amendment, but their activities may not be.

 

ESCAPE: MY LIFELONG WAR AGAINST CULTS

BOOK by Paul Morantz

“Cults are really a study of society in microcosm.” In this recounting of his career, Morantz, a legal expert on cults, persuasively shatters the vision of cultists as losers on the fringes of society: “the most fanatical converts also are the most intelligent.” His overview of cults ranging from the politically fanatic (e.g., the Symbionese Liberation Army) to the seemingly innocuous (e.g., the Unification Church) emphasizes the use of brainwashing to achieve a coercive, yet voluntary, redefinition of reality. 

THE PATH

TV SERIES via Hulu

The Path follows a family at the center of a controversial cult movement as they struggle with relationships, faith and power. Each episode takes an in-depth look at the gravitational pull of belief and what it means to choose between the life we live and the life we want. The series blends elements of mystery-thriller, romance and the supernatural.

 

Wild Wild Country

DOCUMENTARY SERIES by Netflix

Wild Wild Country is a six-part Emmy-award-winning documentary series about Rajneesh (Osho) and the controversial community he founded in Oregon. Per Wikipedia, “Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com wrote ‘by handling this story so intelligently and by opening its heart to a very complicated idea of good and evilWild Wild Country has a profound, mesmerizing power itself’.” It tops the IMDB list of best documentaries about cults.

Psychic Self-Defense

BOOK in form by Dion Fortune (Violet Mary Firth)

Psychic Self-Defense is a classic work of occult literature that, while heavy with late-Victorian and Edwardian era cultural overlay, is still of great practical relevance today. It explores numerous issues of power, exploitation, intimidation, manipulation, influencing, suggestion, hypnosis, money, drugs, health, psychology, and more as they relate to cults and occult practices. Chapters IX and X are of particular interest, though one must be prepared take the attitudes expressed towards women in their cultural and historical context.

 
 

TED Talk on Leaving a Cult

VIDEO on YouTube

A woman who grew up in a family cult describes the complexities and opportunities she found regarding leaving her family’s cult. Both her and her cult could have benefitted from cultsulting ConsciousCults.com.