"I called the 'Cult Awareness Network'--Unbelievable and BIZZARE!"

By a former cult member who sought help from the "new CAN"

I was involved in a group for about three and one half years when I realized the restrictive, controlling changes happening there were reflecting a contradiction in previous representations by the leaders.

About the same time Heavens Gate Mass Suicide happened. I read some the spiritual lingo espoused by them in the newspaper that was eerily similar to the type of language being espoused at my own group.

I realized the shocking reality that I was involved in a cult. I went through year period of shock, trauma, and sadness. I went back to see if they were as bad as I thought. It was nothing blatant and I love all the people, but there was ever-tightening structure and requirements that were being demanded of people to fully participate and freely move within the organization.

I was ready to cut the last string. I called the "Cult Awareness Network" and spoke to woman--I told her I had been involved in a cult and wanted to know where there was support in my area to help me.

She started talking about how I should focus on the good I got out of it and some other totally inappropriate babble. I stopped her cold and said--"have you ever been involved in a cult"? She said "no". I advised that she should really know more about what you are saying and that she is not helpful to someone that has just been through a traumatic experience--a feeling of betrayal by supposed trusted people. She apologized and said she really didn't know since she had not been involved in a cult, but this was a learning experience for her.

I told her I had read some books on cults. She asked me which ones. I told her "Cults in Our Midst", "Cults in America-Programmed for Paradise", and "Captive Hearts and Captive Minds" [see "Reading"]. She immediately said the authors of "Cults in Our Midst", were "extremist" and anything could be a cult according to their definition. I found this quite weird--here I am calling for support and this person is defending and rationalizing involvement in a cult and then attacking authors of books meant to educate people on destructive cults.

She gave me the name of some people to call for support.

I looked on the Internet and saw your section about CAN--it seemingly has been taken over by Scientologists. I cannot tell you the shudder that went through me. I called the woman back and told her I did not appreciated being deceived by her. Especially, when she admitted upon direct questioning that she was a Scientologist. She denied that the Network was owned by Scientology [but is operated by a "Scientology entity"]. She said a man bought it [i.e. a Scientologist]. I told her not to ever call me, I thought she was very deceptive and that I would not be calling any of the numbers she gave me.

Unbelievable and BIZZARE!

Copyright © 1997 Rick Ross

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