Press release concerning important event from ICSA which takes place the first week of July:
Ever since the 1978 mass murder-suicides at Jonestown in the jungles of Guyana, when nearly 1000 people died, cults have periodically made front-page news. Aum Shinrikyo’s release of sarin gas in the Tokyo subway and the murder-suicides of Solar Temple members in Switzerland, France, and Canada are two other well-known tragedies that captured the media’s attention.
These are striking examples of cult-related harm. Many people do not realize, however, that there are thousands of mostly small high-demand groups, some of which psychologically and/or physically damage members and families.
The researchers, mental health care professionals, families, former members, and others who will be coming to Montreal for the annual conference of the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) share a common concern about group-related abuse. The conference is open to the public and will take place from July 5-7. It is organized jointly with Info-Cult/Info-Secte in collaboration with the Université de Montréal, The International Centre for Comparative Criminology (ICCC) of the Université de Montréal, and l’Association québécoise Plaidoyer-Victimes.
Lorna Goldberg, President of ICSA, says that “the goals of ICSA’s annual conference are to help victims and families, provide training and support for helping professionals, and bring researchers together to improve understanding of the phenomenon.”
Attorney Carolle Tremblay, President of Info-Cult/Info-Secte, says, “We eagerly collaborate with ICSA on bringing this important conference to Montreal for the first time. Since researchers consider the province of Quebec to be fertile ground for alternative groups and movements, we hope that many educators, mental health professionals, and others come to the conference to learn more about this intriguing phenomenon.”
This year’s conference will offer special sessions for former group members and families, and will feature presentations in English or French by more than 100 speakers from 16 countries on 5 continents.
Here are titles of some of the English sessions:
• "By their fruits ye shall know them” - perhaps: how good and bad works can deceive - the case of the Legion of Christ
• Constructive activism: what can I do?
• Manipulation and victimization by the Exclusive Brethren: conceptual, legal, historical, and psychological issues
• A practical approach for law enforcement when dealing with cultic groups
• Recovering your sexual self after the cult
• From perception to reality: the case of ISKCON [“Hare Krishna”] in Belgium
• Spiritual manipulation in pseudo-Christian cults: a panel discussion with former members
• The neurobiology of belief
• Teen Mania: exploitation in a teen cult?
• The popularity of Christian evangelical patriarchy in the US and the resultant vilification and abuse of women and children
• Listening to the still small voice: reclaiming the self after leaving religious totalistic groups
• Cult-induced ecstasies, dissociation, and psychosis
• Healing the rift between ex-cult member parents and their second generation adult children (SGAs)
• The case of freedom of belief vs. freedom of speech
• The guru pedophile unmasked
• An indirect cult experience in psychotherapy
Here are the titles of some of the French sessions:
• La dynamique des croyances
• Les sectes et nos enfants : pistes pour une liberté religieuse responsable
• Discours sur le châtiment corporel des enfants chez les protestants conservateurs québécois francophones : l’influence des différences générationnelles
• Victimes de crime d’honneur : entre religion, culture et tradition
• L’isolement social : une situation pouvant justifier une intervention en matière de protection de l’enfance en milieu religieux fermé
• Criminalisation de l'abus de faiblesse
• Intégrisme religieux entre manipulation et victimisation
• Comprendre l'expérience de la polygamie
The conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Select Montreal Centre Ville Downtown.
I know you'll pray for the success of this conference, and share with me the chagrin that comes from seeing our Church embrace such a group.