My daughter is in a controversial New Age group. Everyone else in the family thinks that she is just exploring a new dimension in her life and that she will come out of it. They trust her intelligence and think she will be able to get the good from this experience and emerge when she wants to. Since it is vision work and clearing out the past, they think growth can come of it.
I used to think this too, until she broke from me and her mail and phone calls were blocked. I am reading a lot about cults, particularly Steve Hassan's book, and I know she is being subjected to mind control techniques and hypnotic regression therapy.
There have been abrupt changes in her life: She quit her job, sold her old truck and got a car payment, moved into the community, works for the community, is planning to have a child by artificial insemination, entered into a committed but not sexual partnership with another woman in the community, is a coach for others in this process, runs workshops, may be earning money now, but I'm not sure if she gives her money to the community.
I visited this Spring. People were gracious and I saw some good things in the community. I was unable to confront her, actually found myself getting sucked in. The people have cold eyes. They think they are going to change the world and everyone in the world should do this training. They have clear energy for their committment, but irrational thought to get there. After I returned, Ellen cut off talking for a month so that she would not have to continue to "take care of me" or relate emotionally.
When I looked for help, I recently experienced a betrayal from the Cult Awareness Network [CAN] in Chicago.
This is the way they operate: The hotline operator makes sure she gets the name of the organization the caller is worried about. Her tone of voice changed to one of urgency, but I was too emotional to notice that at the time. I was told: that the organization changed hands because of a lawsuit about a forcible deprogramming, that deprogramming is illegal, and that there is 100% recidivism rate, that mediation is recommended and that I would receive a phone call from a mediator.
Thus they got my name and phone number. No mediator called me. In the meantime, CAN called the organization in question and disclosed that they were the Cult Awareness Network and that a complaint had been lodged. Since this is a new, small organization and I was the most recently aggrieved parent, they all knew I had made the phone call.
I was still in contact with members of the organization and they told me about the call. Obviously my position became tenuous and a complete cut-off of all family soon occurred. When I learned of the betrayal, I called the hotline and complained. (I obviously had not done my research on the Internet yet. I got the listing from Gale Research Co, Encyclopedia of Organizations. I have contacted their editor about omitting the listing.)
The executive director called me back and I, still believing this was a bona-fide organization, angrily told her how their policy of calling the organization was insane and how it had damaged even further my relationship with my daughter. She seemed to be genuinely emotionally shaken. She promised that a psychologist employed by CAN would call me. Obviously no one phoned. Then I turned to the Internet and got the real story about the takeover by Scientology. I hope that is all the harm they can do.
Spread the word.