Cult recruiters target students

Reading Chronicle/January 30, 2003
By Kate Cooney

Students at Reading University have been warned to be on their guard after members of a fanatical American religious cult were spotted recruiting on campus.

The group, which calls itself the Local Church of Witness Lee, has been distributing leaflets offering students free deals and offers of weekends breaks.

But when students try to qualify by claiming their free copy of the New Testament - by sending in their address - they are bombarded with extra pamphlets and propaganda.

First year history and sociology student Kim Hart, 19, sent off for a free New Testament last term after being handed a leaflet.

Kim said: "A woman gave me the leaflet. I'm a Christian and sent off for it.

"It was only when I saw the university newspaper I realised the group were a cult.

"Now I keep getting lots of leaflets inviting me on training weekends away.

"When I received the Bible there was a form with a box I could tick to stop me receivingany more information. I ticked it but I still keep getting sent stuff.

"I think these groups target students because they tend to be quite idealistic and open to new ideas."

The Californian-based group, which also calls itself the Living Stream Ministries and Amana Books, has pounced on at least three youngsters on the campus.

They have handed out two leaflets, one entitled Pascal's Greatest Discovery, and the second called The Mystery of Human Life.

Ian Howarth, from the Cult Information Centre, said: "This is one of the groups we're concerned about.

"I've been aware of its activities for most of my 24 years in this field. I've also received calls of concern and complaint about its activities.

"The concerns I have are those which have been expressed all over the world that the group might not be what they appear to be. People can become alienated when they get involved, similar to how the Moonies work, with the use of psychological coercion or mind control techniques."

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