I want to echo what kdag has written.
If you want to identify new and old cults, these fairs are excellent places
to spot items you can research later.
People who attend these events are curious. The people at the booths are fun
to talk with.
(No cult is gonna select representatives who are depressed
and breaking down from prolonged abuse. They're gonna select representatives
who are bright eyed and happy -- because these people have not yet been abused enough to have the lift sucked out of them.)
Get copies of literature. Do all you can to get biographies of the people who
make the offerings.
Then fact check, fact check, fact check.
This is where owning a smart phone is valuable.
For fun, here is an article by someone who tried to break into the
self help business. People trying to break into the business will
have booths at these fairs.
If a booth is selling books, see if a variety of authors are represented, or
if its all by the same guru.
Here is a list of groups on cultwatch lists who have booths at some
fairs I have attended in the past 2 months.
Some time back, there was a Himalayan festival. Here are some groups with outreach booths at that fair.
International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKON/Hare Krishnas)
ISKON is not representative of Hinduism. It is a tiny sect, what is called a devotional or bhakti sect, in turn derived from a Bengali devotional sect whose founder (adi guru) Chaitanya, was a devotee of Krishna in 16th Century Bengal.
ISKON is woman negative, sex negative. Devotee's children have been neglected and
a lawsuit was brought against ISKON boarding schools where children were molested.
At the fair, ISKON did have a booth. Once you are familiar with the artwork on their books, these are easily identifiable. This booth emphasized Krishna, had all the ISKON books on the Bhagavad Gita, the Srimad Bhagavatam -- all with Srila Prabhupada's translations and commentaries. Recipe books, too. But no photos of
Prabhupada or any sign identifying them as affiliated with ISKON.
Adi Dam (aka Da Free John. He learned his tricks from Scientology)
Art of Living -- (this guy stole his material from Maharishi and Transcendental Meditation)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the leader of Art of Living is involved with supporting
right wing Hindutva (extreme Hindu Nationalist) political agendas in India - supported by all the hard currency donated by Sri's trustful Western devotees.
And, some years ago, this guru had an outreach booth at the Himalayan festival.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/26/2017 10:30PM by corboy.