Current news and an extensive archive and resource for anyone wanting to know more about cults, their methods and advice.
FAIR has hosted its own lectures, seminars and conferences in the past. This section lists some of the past, present and future events which may be of interest to you. Please note that FAIR News is not responsible for the content or opinions given in events hosted by other parties.
Mechanisms of Control: How Cults Exploit Human Weakness. Hosted by FAIR, 25 October 2006. St. Peter’s, Vere Street, Marylebone, London.
Speakers at this event included, amongst others, the Conservative front-bench MP, Michael Gove; a keynote delivery by Professor Stephen Kent; Tom Sackville, former Home Office Minister and then Chairman of FAIR; Friedrich Griess, then President of FECRIS; Professor Alexander Dvorkin; Professor Rod Dubrow Marshall; and Dennis Tourish.
The subject was criminal behaviour, deception, brainwashing, narcissism in cults; and links with psychological and physical harm in those afflicted by them, and terrorism to wider society; and reasons for governments’ apathy on the issue.
Brainwashing: A Threat to Us All. Hosted by The Family Survival Trust, 30 April 2008. The University Women’, Audley Square, Mayfair, London.
Professor Ben Zablocki, world-renowned expert on the sociology of religion, who currently holds the chair in Sociology at Rutgers University, USA, gave the keynote speech at a seminar presented by the Trust. He sought to prove that brainwashing exists as a technique widely used by those seeking to exert inappropriate control over others, including by pseudo-religious organisations whose activities can have tragic consequences for individuals and their families, and terrorist groups who pose a global threat to public safety. He is currently writing a book on the subject of brainwashing.
Tom Sackville, former Home Office Minister and Chairman of The Family Survival Trust, commented: “It is a matter of great regret that our UK authorities have for years followed the advice of local academics, some of them known to be involved with or even supported by cults, instead of common sense: they have thus adopted an irresponsibly laissez-faire policy based on the idea that brainwashing does not exist.
“Any rational observer can see that this is nonsense – how can young people be turned so absolutely against friends and families and throw away their lives for the benefit of obviously bogus religious leaders, or plot to blow up themselves and hundreds of innocent bystanders, unless their minds have been systematically interfered with?
“I hope Professor Zablocki’s visit will help alert UK government and media to the connection between abusive cult behaviour and national security, and demonstrate that mind control techniques are a potent weapon in the hands of evil people.”
Scientology: Deception & Infiltration. Hosted by The Family Survival Trust and AGS Hamburg, 15 April 2009. Millennium Hotel Mayfair, Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London.
Speakers at this event included Tom Sackville, former Home Office Minister and Chairman of the Trust; Ursula Caberta, Director of AGS Hamburg; Christophe Heroufosse of CIAOSN, Brussels; Dr. John Butler, clinical therapist with special interest in mind control techniques employed by cults; Peter Martinelli, Deputy at the Common Council of the Corporation of London; John Duignan, ex-Scientologist; members of Anonymous; and Audrey Chaytor, Chief Executive of the Trust.
The subject was the infiltration and deception employed by Scientology to recruit members and persuade public authorities of its viability. The various investigations into Scientology, past and present, were detailed.
One of the most important elements of FAIR News in the past, as well as now, was and is the inclusion of “news-round” material. This has always sourced articles from around the world’s English-speaking press, and translated articles from other, non-English-speaking, press. The importance of grouping articles under the cult banner is very significant and unique, because it brings together and themes otherwise scattered material. It becomes clear through amassing these articles that the cult problem is not something which affects small numbers of people, but instead is a large social problem.
If you are working for a newspaper, radio station or television company and find what you suspect to be a dangerous cult, you may find FAIR News & Archive useful in showing the activities of a particular group, or cults more generally. If you consider the group to be harmless, perhaps some of the articles may surprise you.
Because totalitarian cults tend to use deception as part of their public relations, be wary of any information which you find produced by the group itself, or the apparently kind attention of its representatives, who are always interested and suspicious of a journalist carrying out research. Sometimes, cults have spies or their own investigative journalists whom they have bought or deceived, so it is always worth corroborating any sources, and watching for unwanted interference, either covert or overt. Some cults are capable of very nasty harassment. Be particularly careful in any undercover work you may carry out. Some investigative journalists, even critical ones, have fallen victim to the powerful, insidious indoctrination techniques of cults.
Much of the material for this section comes from the often horrendous experiences of former members. Ex-members, please contact us if you would like to publicise your story. If you need help, please see the links page: help is out there. FAIR News & Archive is an information service only, and does not offer advice and support.
Other victims, such as parents, need a voice. We can help, if you tell us your stories. Your children are vulnrable to undue influence. Cults need to take children away from home in order to monopolise their time, money, labour and remove them from balanced and healthy relationships. Watch for sudden changes in behaviour, and remember to be patient with your child. Angry reactions, though natural, help no one. Even if they have become very unpleasant, it may be that they have been subjected to surprisingly subtle but traumatic indoctrination. Always think twice about giving your child any money if they are in a totalitarian cult.
Sometimes, cults will try to manipulate you as parents. They would rather recruit you or have you remain silent. Do not buy their story outright – check this website and elsewhere. Also be aware that in public relations many of these groups are slick operators who have bought academics and other apparently objective authorities.
Be thorough in your researches, and look for evidence to back any claims made to persuade you that everything is all right!
These items may be more of interest to students and researchers. Students – check FAIR News & Archive, and/or subscribe, so that you are more familiar with the activities of a particular group, or cults more generally. It is better to be informed before someone inflicts a hard sell on you.
You are likely to be approached by friends or colleagues who have already been recruited by cults. Watch for changes of behaviour in those close to you. Recruiters will be under pressure to bring in new energy, labour and money to their cult. Remember that most groups are only interested in exploiting you for your time and money.
Watch out for pushy individuals, especially when they ask you for money or try to introduce new ideas or concepts to you. Recruitment techniques can be very sophisticated, and cult members can seem very friendly or persuasive.
Be wary of anyone who spends all of their time trying to persuade you of something, and if in doubt do some research on the internet, or in your library. Make sure to cast the net wide and deep. Some cults have persuaded academics to write favourably about them. Other cults have produced their own books, films and promotional material to make their case.
If, as an academic or researcher, you are researching something you suspect to be a dangerous cult, you may find FAIR News & Archive useful in showing the activities of a particular group, or cults more generally. If you consider the group to be harmless, perhaps some of the articles may surprise you.
Because totalitarian cults tend to use deception as part of their public relations, be wary of any information which you find produced by the group itself, or the apparently kind attention of its representatives, who are always interested and suspicious of anyone conducting research. Sometimes, as noted, cults have bought other researchers, so it is always worth corroborating any source material you may have. A group described as harmless in one source may have another very critical opinion of it elsewhere.
You should also be aware that some cults have a record of suppressing freedom of speech, and researchers who discover uncomfortable truths may be the target of harassment.