UK Anti-Cult charity under threat of closure

by cedars 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • cedars

    Hi everyone

    I'm wondering what you all make of this story from the Guardian regarding the Cult Information Centre - a UK charity that aims to raise awareness of cults. It seems that it's on the verge of having its charitable status withdrawn (or, at least, this was the case three months ago). Unsurprisingly, the complaints that have led to its potential closure stem from cults such as the Church of Scientology.

    Here is the story:

    From the article, it certainly doesn't sound easy to set up and operate an Anti-Cult charity. All three trustees are anonymous due to fear of reprisals. It's sobering to think that life can be made so very difficult for those who are simply trying to stop people's lives being damaged (or even ended altogether) by cults such as Jehovah's Witnesses.

    (If you live in the UK and haven't yet signed our e-petition to have the charitable status of Jehovah's Witnesses revoked, please do so)

    (If you haven't yet taken part in the 2012 JW Survey, please do so)



  • Phizzy

    Sorry to hear this, a charity such as this is sorely needed.

    Full details of how they were challenged would be interesting to peruse, as they would shed light on how best to approach getting the JW's status revoked in the U.K

  • cantleave

    It's ridiculous that cults get charitable status but the good guys are threatened with the loss of it. As they say, money talks!

  • ABibleStudent

    Hi Cedars, Have you created a Facebook page for the UK e-petition, like the Facebook page (i.e., that I created for the White House petition "Protecting Million of Americans from Dangerous Orgs" (i.e., The Facebook page should be searchable by internet browsers and spread to other Facebook users by people liking the Facebook page.

    Peace be with you and everyone, who you love,


  • slimboyfat

    I think I saw a man from that organisation on the Sunday debate show a couple of weeks ago. Some anti-cult people can be almost as scary as cults themselves with deprogramming and all.

    As I mentioned on another thread the Reachout Trust looks under threat, not from legal action or revocation of their status, but lack of funds and enthusiasm by the looks of it.

  • Juan Viejo2
    Juan Viejo2

    Some of the "Christian" anti-cult groups are the scary people trying to push their own cultish agendas. They want to shut down other religions (like JWs) because they "are cults that deny the Trinity" or the "divinity of Christ." You quickly realize that these "anti-cults" approach their goals by almost the same means as those they accuse of being "mind-controlling cults."

    Remember that Jim Jones' People's Temple was looked upon as a legitimate evangelical religion when it first started. It had a large church in San Francisco that drew some rather large crowds and was frequently visited by high ranking city-county officials and other notable citizens in the area. The parallels to Jehovah's Witnesses are sometimes quite shocking and revealing as Jones was constantly preaching about the "great tribulation" that was about to come and the need for his followers to do exactly what they were told. They also practiced shunning. They had unpunished abuse of women and children in the group. They practiced "theocratic warfare" against their enemies.

    But what is not well known is that one of their outreach programs was "cult" education. San Francisco was still "hippie heaven" at the time and many youth had been swept up into "self-awareness" groups. There was a lot of Hindu and Buddhist influences (Hari Krishna) that were favored among the young people. The Peoples Temple folks would go into those neighborhoods and parks with their tracts and invite young people and minorities to come join them and learn "the real truth of Christ."

    Its easy to find a lot of ant-Witness groups online and on YouTube that identify themselves as "outreach ministries." I've noticed that many former JWs who form these groups tend to slip right back into the evangelical born again, bible-thumping, praise Yahweh! religious style that are the seed beds of new cults. I find most of these groups very offensive.

    I get a lot of emails to my websites from "former JWs" that want to submit "an article the explains the facts behind the Witnesses denial of the divinity of Christ" or to explain "God's real plan for humanity." I get so many of those type of messages that I've stopped answering most of them.

    For me to become a part of one of these "anti-JW" anti-cult ministries would be worse than going back to the Kingdom Hall and pretending to be a good little JW again.


  • cedars

    JV - Yes, that's partly the problem. Our definition of a cult and a cult's definition of a cult will never be the same! As you say, some anti-JW sites have their own agendas, i.e. bait and switch. Against such a backdrop, it's easy to see how any anti-cult organization could come under close scrutiny as to its true impartiality, or lack of.

    I think a major factor is also the lack of sympathy and/or awareness of cult survivors from the outside world. This is obviously going to take its toll on donations if the only ones donating are the cult survivors themselves.

    I get the impression that many simply reason that if you're stupid enough to get into a cult, then this is your problem and you need to deal with the consequences. I think few people realize just how predatory cults can be. JWs often make inroads in recruiting converts whenever people are going through a period of emotional vulnerability. That was certainly the case on both sides of my family.

    ABibleStudent - sorry, I don't have a facebook account under "Cedars" yet, but I'll take your advice on board!


  • talesin

    The danger to people who help others escape cults is very real. The therapist I worked with, who dealt exclusively with survivors of ritual abuse, had her life and children threatened. She had her car windows smashed. Creepy phone calls, with an anonymous voice telling her what they would do if she continued to help people.

    She now counsels people with brain trauma. After 15 years in the ritual abuse healing business, she decided it was time to have a safer practice.


  • ABibleStudent
    Cedars - ABibleStudent - sorry, I don't have a facebook account under "Cedars" yet, but I'll take your advice on board!

    Hi Cedars, Depending on your vision for the Facebook page and how much time is left before expiration of the e-petition, may influence your urgency of creating a Facebook page. My vision was to inspire people to care enough about the issue by providing a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) box, video links about cults, and then providing links to websites that I thought provided balanced and relevant information about the dangers. Learning how to use Facebook's Timeline feature to organize and show links to videos first and educational links second got easier after two months had past since the account was created.

    Creating a website using Wordpress or Google might have been easier than using Fadebook, but I did not want to spend ~ $20 for a website url from GoDaddy! for a short-term event supporting the White House petition. Has anyone thought of creating a website to promote political activism against dangerous orgs?

    Best of wishes for the UK e-petition.

    Peace be with you and everyone, who you love,


  • apostatethunder

    This is very serious. A cult is a group that manipulates and takes advantage of people, an anti-cult is a group that helps people recover from a cult. They have their own beliefs? Sure, so do you and me and everyone else. Do they coerce anyone to accept their beliefs? Do they exploit people’s vulnerabilities for their own gain? Do they respect basic human rights like freedom to dissent? Do they blackmail people that is trapped in to make them disclose their private lives, that they have no right to know much less to judge? Do they harass people that leave the group in any way? If you think about it, it is not so difficult to distinguish one from the other.

    If they talk about Jesus and the Trinity is because jws despite calling themselves Christians are anti-Christians. Exposing that doesn’t make you a cult. What someone chooses to believe is his/her personal decision, stepping in someone else’s personal rights is not. Not respecting somebody’s personal conscience goes high on the list of cult traits.

    About the therapist that had to stop helping people, that goes beyond cult or not cult, it is just criminal.

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