credibility attacks against former cult members by stephen a kent fecris 2011 warsaw n.
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CREDIBILITY ATTACKS AGAINST FORMER CULT MEMBERS by Stephen A. Kent FECRIS 2011, WARSAW PowerPoint Presentation
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CREDIBILITY ATTACKS AGAINST FORMER CULT MEMBERS by Stephen A. Kent FECRIS 2011, WARSAW. 1. FORCED DECONVERTS : a. Began with 1970s deprogrammings . b. group denunciations at the end of the deprogramming as signed statements or press conferences . .

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1. FORCED DECONVERTS:a. Began with 1970s deprogrammings.b. group denunciations at the end of the deprogramming as signedstatements or press conferences.

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Sociologists’ reactions:a. developed non-coercive conversion modelsb. asserted that deprogrammings caused trauma, not cult involvement

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2. RETURNEES:a. deprogrammed/exit counseled; denounced group; then rejoinedb. called into question the integrity of the denunciations
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Academics’ reactions:a. deprogrammed—most critical exit counseled—somewhat critical voluntary—least criticalb. all former member accounts are untrustworthy ‘atrocity tales’

3 delusional alleged former members mentally ill never belonged but probably believed that they had
3. DELUSIONAL ALLEGED FORMER MEMBERSMentally ill; never belonged, but probably believed that they had.
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3-PART (INADEQUATE) TESTA) told the same story consistentlyB) Experts confirmed that such things did happenC.) Had good character references

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PROBLEM: CONSISTENCY, PLAUSIBILITY, AND A CONVINCING CHARATER DO NOT PROVE THE VALIDITY OF HISTORICAL EVENTS.

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4. CON ARTISTSa. Never belonged, and know it. b. Lie for money/power/famec. Religious, well-intentioned people most vulnerable

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5. SPIES:a. Still belong, but pretend that they don’t. b. Espionage, theft, possibly subversion c. Be kind to a caught spy—some do deconvert

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6. EX-MEMBERS WITH ‘HISTORIES’:a. Want to become spokespersons against their former groups b. May have done/said things that groups will throw back at them c. Anti-cult groups must help these people make best decisions for themselves

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7. PROFESSIONAL FORMER MEMBER ANTI-CULTISTS:a. Become expert witnesses, authors, exit counselors, anti-cult organizational staff, etc. b. Tough positions to maintain: little money; one’s information likely becomes datedc. Must resist the impulse to embellish/overstate/perjure

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8. FORMER MEMBERS WHO BECOME PROFESSIONALS:a. Can be very effective critics because they have professional credentialsb. Credentials, however, are no necessary guarantee of producing, objective, critical work

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9. CONCLUSION:a. Blanket rejection of former members’ testimony is ideological—worse than bad science b. Triangulate—try to get similar information from multiple sourcesc. What happened to anti-cult groups in North America likely will repeat (is repeating) in Europed. Bottom line—former members are valuable assets; just be careful