Anti-cult Movement - Cult-watching Groups and Individuals, and Other Opposition To Cults - Former Members

Former Members

See also: Apostasy in alleged cults and new religious movements

Some former members have taken an active stance in opposition to their former religion/group. Some of those opponents have "affiliated" with the ACM. Some have founded cult-watching groups (often with an active presence on the Internet), made their experiences public in books and on the Internet, or work as expert witnesses or as exit counselors. Most of them have associations with cult-awareness groups, for example:

  • Steven Hassan
  • Arnie Lerma
  • Robert Vaughn Young
  • Lawrence Wollersheim
  • Jan Groenveld

Some former members operate in the counter-cult movement, such as Edmond C. Gruss and J. P. Moreland.

Cult-watching groups often use testimonies of former members of cults. The validity and reliability of such testimonies can occasion intense controversy amongst scholars:

Anson Shupe, David G. Bromley and Joseph Ventimiglia coined the term atrocity tales in 1979, which Bryan R. Wilson later took up in relation to former members' narratives. Bromley and Shupe defined an "atrocity tale" as the symbolic presentation of action or events (real or imaginary) in such a context that they come flagrantly to violate the (presumably) shared premises upon which a given set of social relationships should take place. The recounting of such tales has the intention of reaffirming normative boundaries. By sharing the reporter's disapproval or horror, an audience reasserts normative prescription and clearly locates the violator beyond the limits of public morality. Massimo Introvigne argues that the majority of former members hold no strong feelings concerning their past experiences, while former members who dramatically reverse their loyalties and become "professional enemies" of their former group form a vociferous minority. The term "atrocity story" has itself become controversial as it relates to the opposing views amongst scholars about the credibility of the accounts of former cult-members.

Phillip Charles Lucas came to the conclusion that former members have as much credibility as those who remain in the fold. Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, a professor of psychology at the University of Haifa, argues that in the cases of cult-catastrophes such as People's Temple, or Heaven's Gate, allegations by hostile outsiders and detractors matched reality more closely than other accounts, and that in that context statements by ex-members turned out more accurate than those offered by apologists and NRM-researchers.

Read more about this topic:  Anti-cult Movement, Cult-watching Groups and Individuals, and Other Opposition To Cults

Other articles related to "members":

Bluetooth Special Interest Group - Membership - Associate Members
... Associate members of the SIG get early access to draft specifications at versions 0.5 and 0.7 and are eligible to participate and gain a voting seat in working groups and committees—a key opportunity to work with ...
University Of California - Academics
... The University of California and most of its campuses are members of the Association of American Universities (AAU) ... the system counts among its faculty (as of 2002) 389 members of the Academy of Arts and Sciences 5 Fields Medal recipients 19 Fulbright Scholars 25 MacArthur Fellows 254 members of the. 106 members of the Institute of Medicine Eight campuses operate on the quarter system, while Berkeley and Merced are on the semester system ...

Famous quotes containing the word members:

    If the most significant characteristic of man is the complex of biological needs he shares with all members of his species, then the best lives for the writer to observe are those in which the role of natural necessity is clearest, namely, the lives of the very poor.
    —W.H. (Wystan Hugh)

    Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Members of the House, Members of the Senate, my fellow Americans, all I have I would have given gladly not to be standing here today.
    Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908–1973)