Documenting Cultic Academics
Posted by: ex- ()
Date: May 22, 2020 02:58PM


I'm new to this forum and don't know your work but one first impression that I have had is that there is a missing component in documenting and critique those academics involved in Cultic Studies, and their work.

You have a sub-forum for VIPs but not one for academics.

As I am sure many are widely aware of, there is or was a network of numerous apologetic academics defending, normalizing or even advising cultic groups and influencing governmental policy the world over.

There are also a number of brave individuals adhering to standards of professional integrity. Far less so, in my opinion.

One of the agendas of the apologists was to discredit the witness and testimony of ex-members or "apostates", something I saw as understandable to a degree, but that was taken to an excess by them ... thereby damaging a more full and accurate understanding of such groups.

Many ex-adherents have done remarkable research into the history of their groups that no academics have come anywhere near but yet is excluded from the record (often because in adhering to the group, they gave up their own academic development and, hence, found themselves 'out of the game' when it came to getting papers or books published).

The sociology of religion, where most fit in, is a relatively small field. A little extra work has been done in psychology and anthropology.

Is it worth working through the list of individuals involved and critiquing their work?

Academic works, and academics, are far more likely to taken seriously by government policy makers than the usual junk media, cult-scare stories or "famous people" and I think more attention needs focused upon them.

I was quite shocked to hear of how far the collusion of some of the apologists with some of the groups went.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/22/2020 02:59PM by ex-.

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Re: Documenting Cultic Academics
Posted by: Loriwoke ()
Date: May 24, 2020 01:52AM

Interesting... perhaps you would elaborate further on this.

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Re: Documenting Cultic Academics
Posted by: ex- ()
Date: May 24, 2020 06:08AM

Imagine society like a battlefield.

You have the cultists on one side (actually numerous fronts), the anti-cultists on the other, the field is strewn with ex-cultists (many of them wounded or spiritually dead and out of the fight), from time to time "the media" charges in then out again causing chaos like an out of control cavalry ... then you have the "official battle observers", as in the days of old, documenting what has or is going on. Academics, of various fields, with an interest in religions, new religions, sociology of religion, millenarianism etc.

There's a relative small number in the entire world, so it should be relative easily to document them all and shine a light on their activities.

What are they up to?
Whose side are they on?
Who do they serve?
How good is their work?

Let's peer review the peer reviewers.

Again, to use the war analogy, it's a bit like looking back at history and discovering who you thought was a neutral journalist was actually a CIA operative, or working as a propagandist for which ever cause they favored.

Or simply paid the best, or served their interests.

What people thought was objective reportage, was actually propaganda ... views that today have become the foundations of "received information" (what people believe to be true).

As far as the more extreme apologists go, usually the finger is pointed at a small network including; J. Gordon Melton, Massimo Introvigne, and Eileen Barker and others. I've flagged up Frank Whaling in another topic. In many cases, I think the criticism are valid, however, I think there are also new and younger academics who are too seduced by the groups of their interest that they lose objectivity, or are too much under the influence of such individuals as above.

I see this site takes sides and list those they considered to be so aligned, here.

And then there are so called academics who are actually cult members and serve their cult's interests by prostituting their professional academic values by publishing false, misleading or whitewashed accounts.

I recognize those from the cult I was involved with ... and can translate what they are doing into plain English; others might know and recognize those coming from and dealing with their cult.

They may know who is behind the scene seducing and guiding academics to pickle their publications in favor of the cult.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/24/2020 06:18AM by ex-.

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Re: Documenting Cultic Academics
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: May 25, 2020 01:09AM


Let's not get into any conspiracy theories, which are speculative at best and not helpful.

All of this is discussed in depth at the Cult Education Institute database.

See []

Robert Jay Lifton wrote a paper in the 1980s and essentially established what can be seen as an objective structural and behavioral based nucleus for the definition of a destructive cult.

See []

There is a well accepted core definition for a destructive cult that has been around for a long time. And most if not all subsequent definitions simply extrapolate upon Lifton's three core criteria or characteristics.

Some academics have been funded by groups called "cults," which has been well documented.

See []

I hope this is helpful.

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