Excerpt from: Cult Control

TIME Magazine/January 27, 1997
By Rod Usher


In 1988, the Home Office funded [that funding has since been terminated] Eileen Barker, a sociologist at the London School of Economics, to establish Inform, which has built up records on about 1,600 groups. Inform is against forced deprogramming of adherents, and even exit-counseling to help people break from cults. Says Coney: "The problem with exit-counseling is that the person has not chosen to be counseled. Yes, the premise is that the person has been brainwashed, but the evidence doesn't support that these new movements brainwash people."

While some anti-cult groups accuse Inform of being apologist,[Barker herself has admitted receiving support from Moon's Unifications Church] Prof. Barker says these groups can themselves be part of the problem. "Anti-cultists often frighten parents, who go on the attack and won't listen to their adult children," says Barker. She thinks deprogramming of cult members fails on legal, moral and practical grounds. "The practical results are either that the person escapes and goes back [to the cult] far more fanatic than before, or, having been told there's no choice, comes out without having sorted things out for him or herself." Barker admits there are dangers in cults,particularly that of isolation, but points out that Christians also disappear into monasteries.


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