The anti-cult movement (abbreviated ACM and sometimes called the countercult movement) is a term used by academics and others to refer to people and groups who oppose cults and new religious movements. Sociologists David G. Bromley and Anson Shupe initially defined the ACM in 1981 as a collection of groups embracing brainwashing-theory, but later observed a significant shift in ideology towards a "medicalization" of the memberships of new religious movements (NRMs).
Publications of the International Cultic Studies Association have disputed the appropriateness of the term "Anti-cult movement"; (see for example Kropveld ) with one writer preferring the label "cult critics" rather than "anti-cult" activists.
The concept of an ACM
The anti-cult movement is conceptualized as a collection of individuals and groups, whether formally organized or not, who oppose new religious movements (or "cults"). This countermovement has reportedly recruited from family members of "cultists"; former cult members, (or apostates); church groups (including Jewish groups); and associations of health professionals. Although there is a trend towards globalization, the social and organizational bases vary significantly from country to country according to the social and political opportunity structures in each place.
As are many aspects of the social sciences, the movement is variously defined. A significant minority opinion suggests that analysis should treat the secular anti-cult movement separately from the religiously motivated (mainly Christian) groups.
The anti-cult movement might be divided into four classes:
- secular counter-cult groups;
- Christian evangelical counter-cult groups;
- groups formed to counter a specific cult;
- organizations that offer some form of exit counseling.
As is typical in social and religious movements, no unified ideology exists,  but most, if not all, the groups involved express the view that there are potentially deleterious effects associated with New Religious Movements.
Heresy in Christianity
Concern against heretical teaching and heretical groups is part of Christianity from the New Testament onwards. The apostle Paul rebukes the Galatians for accepting "another Gospel," and the Corinthians for "another Jesus." Irenaeus of Lyons (c.115 - c.202) was the first major Christian heresiologist identifying many groups as Gnostics (from gnostikos "learned"). The greatest, and most persistant, of the early church "heresies" was Arianism. Though orthodox Christian persecution of non-orthodox Christians did not start until a century after Arius. The Middle Ages saw persecution of Bogomils, Cathars and other groups, and the Inquisition (from the 12th century) formalised the use of torture and execution. Protestantism also combatted heresy with the methods of the Inquisition, most notably the Anabaptists, Calvin's burning of the Arian Servetus, and the Anglican burning of another Arian, Edward Wightman (1612). Christian debate on persecution and toleration began from the Enlightenment.
18th and 19th Centuries
In both Britain and America civil penalties against English Dissenters were progressively reduced during the 18th century, and following the Doctrine of the Trinity Act 1813 removed entirely. However orthodox Christian concern against groups such as Unitarians, Quakers, and others continued, and unorthodox groups proliferated in America.
20th and 21st centuries
In the first half of the 20th century, some conservative Christian scholars, mostly Protestants, conducted apologetics defending what they saw as Christian mainstream theology against the teachings of perceived fringe groups. More-or-less mainstream churches and groups continue this activity today on various levels of theological expertise, collectively described as the Christian countercult movement.
Members of this movement normally defined a "cult" as any group which provides its own, unconventional, translation of the Bible or which regards non-canonical writings as equivalent to Biblical teachings. The Calvinist writer Anthony A. Hoekema (1963) considered that "cults" included Seventh-day Adventists, Mormons, Christian Scientists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and their splinter-groups, such as the Branch Davidians. Most proponents of the Christian countercult movement keep a distance from secular opposition to new religious movements.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, middle-class youths and adults started to follow new religious movements and other groups (then — as now — usually lumped together as "cults"), such as the Children of God, the Unification Church, the Hare Krishnas, the Divine Light Mission, Scientology, and Synanon. These movements often stood at odds with traditional middle-class values and ideas. The families of these young people became worried about the behavior of their children, and about what they (the families) considered bizarre belief-systems. They started to organize themselves into grassroot movements, some of which merged and became regional or national organizations. One of the first such organized groups in the USA, FREECOG, originated in 1971 with parents whose children had become involved in the Children of God group.
In its early days, some such groups lobbied for conservatorship-laws to forcibly "treat" cult members. They tried (and failed) to legalize this practice by lobbying for deprogramming laws.
The opposition to cults soon consisted not only of concerned parents but of a range of people. Protagonists of the 1970s and 1980s included psychiatrists John Gordon Clark and Louis Jolyon West, psychologists Margaret Singer and Michael Langone, congressman Leo J. Ryan, deprogrammer Ted Patrick, and lawyers Kay Barney and Herbert Rosedale, as well as former members like Steven Hassan.
The cult controversies in the 1960s and 1970s also resulted in growing interest in scholarly research on alternative religions, and in the setting-up of academic organizations for their study.
The controversy divided scholars into two opposing camps:
- The first camp Langone describes as a "religion coalition", which defended the right of new religions and religious groups to continue with their beliefs and practices. This coalition consisted mainly of scholars of religion.
- The second camp comprised the "individual rights coalition", which defended the rights of individuals against abuse by religious or non-religious groups and individuals. This coalition consisted mainly of psychologists and psychiatrists. Sociologists surfaced in both camps.
Each camp has in the last twenty years produced not only scientific works but also polemics, and some proponents still regard the "other" camp as unscientific. In recent years, though, some scholars in each camp have sought some understanding with the opposing position.
Religious and secular critics
Commentators differentiate two main types of opposition to cults:
- religious opposition (related to theological issues).
- secular opposition (generally more concerned about emotional, social, financial, and economic consequences of cultic involvement, where "cult" can refer to a religious or to a secular group). For this type of opposition against cults (which covers a wide variation of backgrounds and motives), Bromley and Hadden coined in the 1980s the designation anti-cult movement (ACM). Secular critics of cults realize the diversity of the groups popularly filed under the "cult" label and do not express concerns with all of those groups, but differentiate (for example) between harmful and harmless "cults", using allegations or evidence of communal totalism, authoritarianism, charismatic leadership, manipulative and heavy-handed indoctrination, deceptive proselytization, violence and child-abuse, sexual exploitation, emotional intensity in group life, and the use of mind-control. Some individual groups get criticized for alleged tax-privileges, public solicitation, faith-healing and rejection of modern medicine, mental health jeopardy to participants, and corporal punishment.
Barker's five types of cult-watching groups
According to sociologist Eileen Barker, cult-watching groups (CWGs) disseminate information about "cults" with the intent of changing public and government perception as well as of changing public policy regarding NRMs.
Barker has identified five types of CWG:
- cult-awareness groups (CAGs) focusing on the harm done by "destructive cults"
- counter-cult groups (CCGs) focusing on the (heretical) teaching of non-mainstream groups
- research-oriented groups (ROGs) focusing on beliefs, practices and comparisons
- human-rights groups (HRGs) focusing on the human rights of religious minorities
- cult-defender groups (CDGs) focusing on defending cults and exposing CAGs
Barker is an active participant on the subject of cult watching groups.
Hadden's taxonomy of the anti-cult movement
- Religiously grounded opposition
- opposition usually defined in theological terms
- cults viewed as engaging in heresy
- sees its mission as exposing the heresy and correcting the beliefs of those who have strayed from a truth
- prefers metaphors of deception rather than of possession
- opposition serves two important functions:
- protects members (especially youth) from heresy
- increases solidarity among the faithful
- Secular opposition
- regards individual autonomy as the manifest goal — achieved by getting people out of groups using mind control and deceptive proselytization.
- identifies the struggle as about control, not as about theology.
- organized around families who have or have had children involved in a cult.
- has a latent goal of disabling or destroying NRMs organizationally.
- apostasy = the renunciation of a religious faith
- apostate = one who engages in active opposition to their former faith
- the anti-cult movement has actively encouraged former members to interpret their experience in a "cult" as one of being egregiously wronged and encourages participation in organized anti-cult activities.
- Entrepreneurial opposition
- individuals who take up a cause for personal gain
- ad hoc alliances or coalitions to promote shared views
- broadcasters and journalists as leading examples.
- a few "entrepreneurs" have made careers by setting up organized opposition.
Cult-watching groups and individuals, and other opposition to cults
Family-members of adherents
Some opposition to cults (and to new religious movements) started with family-members of cult-adherents who had problems with the sudden changes in character, lifestyle and future plans of their young adult children who had joined NRMs. Ted Patrick, widely known as "the Father of deprogramming", exemplifies members of this group. The former Cult Awareness Network (old CAN) grew out of a grassroots-movement by parents of cult-members. The American Family Foundation (today[update] the International Cultic Studies Association) originated from a father whose daughter had joined a high-control group.
Clinical psychologists and psychiatrists
From the 1970s onwards some psychiatrists and clinical psychologists accused cults of harming some of their members. These accusations were sometimes based on observations made during therapy, and sometimes were related to research regarding brainwashing or mind-control. Examples include Margaret Singer, John Gordon Clark, Louis Jolyon West, Robert Cialdini, and Louise Samways.
Some former members have taken an active stance in opposition to their former religion/group. Some of those opponents have "affiliated" with the ACM. Some have founded cult-watching groups (often with an active presence on the Internet), made their experiences public in books and on the Internet, or work as expert witnesses or as exit counselors. Most of them have associations with cult-awareness groups, for example:
Cult-watching groups often use testimonies of former members of cults. The validity and reliability of such testimonies can occasion intense controversy amongst scholars:
Anson Shupe, David G. Bromley and Joseph Ventimiglia coined the term atrocity tales in 1979, which Bryan R. Wilson later took up in relation to former members' narratives. Bromley and Shupe defined an "atrocity tale" as the symbolic presentation of action or events (real or imaginary) in such a context that they come flagrantly to violate the (presumably) shared premises upon which a given set of social relationships should take place. The recounting of such tales has the intention of reaffirming normative boundaries. By sharing the reporter's disapproval or horror, an audience reasserts normative prescription and clearly locates the violator beyond the limits of public morality. Massimo Introvigne argues that the majority of former members hold no strong feelings concerning their past experiences, while former members who dramatically reverse their loyalties and become "professional enemies" of their former group form a vociferous minority. The term "atrocity story" has itself become controversial as it relates to the opposing views amongst scholars about the credibility of the accounts of former cult-members.
Phillip Charles Lucas came to the conclusion that former members have as much credibility as those who remain in the fold. Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, a professor of psychology at the University of Haifa, argues that in the cases of cult-catastrophes such as People's Temple, or Heaven's Gate, allegations by hostile outsiders and detractors matched reality more closely than other accounts, and that in that context statements by ex-members turned out more accurate than those offered by apologists and NRM-researchers.
Christian countercult movement
A somewhat similar movement, generally not considered part of the ACM, exists within a recognized religion: the Christian countercult movement (CCM). The CCM offers two basic arguments for opposition to cults and new religious movement: one based mainly on theological differences; the other based on defending human self-determinism and targeting mainly groups (religious and non-religious) with alleged cultic behavior (according to the definition of the secular opposition to cults).
The trend focusing on theological differences has a very long tradition in Christian apologetics. Since the 1970s, "countercult apologetics" has developed, out of which the Christian countercult movement grew. The "CCM" label does not actually designate a movement but a conglomerate of individuals and groups of very different backgrounds and levels of scholarship. Other designations include countercult ministries, discernment ministries (mainly used by such groups themselves) or "heresy hunters" (mainly used by their critics).
Countercult ministries mainly consist of conservative Christians — the majority of them Protestant, but also including Catholics and Orthodox. They express concerns about religious groups which they feel hold dangerous, non-traditional beliefs, especially regarding the central Christian doctrines (which they define according to conservative views in their respective denomination). These ministries appear motivated by a concern for the spiritual welfare of people in the groups that they attack. They believe that any group which rejects one or more of the historical Christian beliefs poses a danger to the welfare of its members. Such ministries include:
- Reachout Trust
- Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry
- Probe Ministries
- Watchman Fellowship
- Walter Martin
National and international entities
- For more details see: Cults and governments and the European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Sectarianism (FECRIS).
The secular opposition to cults and to new religious movements operates internationally, though a number of sizable and sometimes expanding groups originated in the United States. Some European countries, such as France, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland, as well as China, have introduced legislation or taken other measures against cults or "cultic deviations."
Cult-watchers include Rick Ross, Andreas Heldal-Lund, Hank Hanegraff, Steven Hassan and Tilman Hausherr, as well as anti-cult organizations such as Infosekta in Switzerland, UNADFI (National Association for the Defense of Families and Individuals Victims of Cults) in France, and the AGPF (Action for Mental and Psychological Freedom) in Germany.
Specific cult-watching government agencies exist (for example) in France (MIVILUDES) and in Belgium (CIAOSN: Centre d'information et d'avis sur les organisations sectaires nuisibles).
Anti-cult movement in Russia
In the USSR, all the important questions of the state-religious relations were resolved by Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, KGB, the Counsel about religions. There was no background for any ACM as a social initiative. But some party functionaries thought that all the religions were reaction force and “sects” were especially dangerous.
In Russia “anticultism” appeared in early 1990s. Some Russian protestants used to take part in criticizing of foreigner missionaries, sects and new religious movements. Their chiefs hoped that taking part in anti-cult declarations could demonstrate that they were not “sectarians”.
Now anti-cult movements, better known as “anti-sectarian movements” take part in making laws about religion in Russia.
Some religious studies have shown that anti-cult movements, especially with support of the government, can provoke serious religious conflicts in Russian society.
Polarized views among scholars
Social scientists, sociologists, religious scholars, psychologists and psychiatrists have studied the modern field of cults and new religious movements since the early 1980s. Cult debates about certain purported cults and about cults in general often become polarized with widely divergent opinions, not only among current followers and disaffected former members, but sometimes even among scholars as well.
All academics agree that some groups have become problematic and sometimes very problematic; but they disagree over the extent to which new religious movements in general cause harm.
Scholars come from a variety of fields, many of them sociologists of religion, psychologists, or researchers in religious studies. Eileen Barker, David G. Bromley, Anson Shupe, J. Gordon Melton, Benjamin Beith-Hallahmi, Benjamin Zablocki, and Philip Zimbardo have a research-orientation. Some like John Gordon Clark, Margaret Singer, Stephen A. Kent and David C. Lane are opposed to cults, and promote "cult-awareness". Others such as J. P. Moreland or Edmond C. Gruss are considered "counter-cult". Jeffrey Hadden and Douglas E. Cowan focus on the human rights of members of religious groups. Other scholars studying and researching NRMs include Irving Hexham, James R. Lewis, and James T. Richardson.
Several scholars have questioned Hadden's attitude towards NRMs and cult critics as one-sided.
Scholars in the field of new religious movements confront many controversial subjects:
- the validity of the testimonies of former members (see Former members)
- the validity of the testimonies of current members
- the validity of and differences between exit-counseling and coercive deprogramming
- the validity of evidence of harm caused by cults, for example:
- ethical concerns regarding new religious movements, for example: free will, freedom of speech
- opposition to cults vs. freedom of religion and religious intolerance
- the objectivity of all scholars studying new religious movements (see cult apologists)
- the acceptance or rejection of the APA taskforce on Deceptive and Indirect Techniques of Persuasion and Control report (Amitrani & di Marzio, 2000, Massimo Introvigne), see also Scholarly positions on mind-control
Janet Jacobs expresses the range of views on the membership of the perceived ACM itself, ranging from those who comment on "the value of the Cult Awareness Network, the value of exit therapy for former members of new religious movements, and alternative modes of support for family members of individuals who have joined new religions" and extending to "a more critical perspective on [a perceived] wide range of ACM activities that threaten religious freedom and individual rights." Compare conspiracy-theory.
Brainwashing and mind-control
- For details, see Brainwashing controversy in new religious movements and cults
Both sympathizers and critics of new religious movements have found the topic(s) of brainwashing or mind-control extremely controversial. The controversy between sympathizers and critics of new religious movements starts with discrepancies regarding the definition and concept of "brainwashing" and of "mind-control," extends to the possibility or probability of their application by cultic groups and to the state of acceptance by various scholarly communities.
Deprogramming and exit-counseling
Some members of the secular opposition to cults and to new religious movements have argued that if brainwashing has deprived a person of their free will, treatment to restore their free will should take place — even if the "victim" initially opposes this.
Precedents for this exist in the treatment of certain mental illnesses: in such cases medical and legal authorities recognize the condition(s) as depriving sufferers of their ability to make appropriate decisions for themselves. But the practice of forcing treatment on a presumed victim of "brainwashing" (one definition of "deprogramming") has constantly proven controversial, and courts have frequently adjudged it illegal. Human-rights organizations (including the ACLU and Human Rights Watch) have also criticized deprogramming. While only a small fraction of the anti-cult movement has had involvement in deprogramming, several deprogrammers (including a deprogramming-pioneer, Ted Patrick) have served prison-terms for the practice, while courts have acquitted others.
The anti-cult movement in the USA has apparently[original research?] abandoned deprogramming in favor of the voluntary practice of exit counseling. However, this remains a subject of controversy between sympathizers and critics of new religious movements, who continue to debate deprogramming's basic assumptions and its relation to rights of freedom of religion.
Responses of targeted groups and scholars
The Foundation against Intolerance of Religious Minorities, associated with the Adidam NRM, sees the use of terms "cult" and "cult leader" as detestable and as something to avoid at all costs. The Foundation regards such usage as the exercise of prejudice and discrimination against them in the same manner as the words "nigger" and "commie" served in the past to denigrate blacks and Communists.
CESNUR’s president Massimo Introvigne, writes in his article "So many evil things: Anti-cult terrorism via the Internet", that fringe and extreme anti-cult activists resort to tactics that may create a background favorable to extreme manifestations of discrimination and hate against individuals that belong to new religious movements. Critics of CESNUR, however, call Introvigne a cult-apologist who defends harmful religious groups and cults. Professor Eileen Barker points out in an interview that the controversy surrounding certain new religious movements can turn violent by a process called deviancy amplification spiral.
In a paper presented at the 2000 meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Anson Shupe and Susan Darnell argued that although the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA, formerly known as AFF or American Family Foundation) has presented "slanted, stereotypical images and language that has inflamed persons to perform extreme actions," the extent to which one can classify the ICSA and other anti-cult organizations as "hate-groups" (as defined by law in some jurisdictions or by racial/ethnic criteria in sociology) remains open for debate. See also Verbal violence in hate groups.
An article on the categorization of new religious movements in US media published by The Association for the Sociology of Religion (formerly the American Catholic Sociological Society, criticizes the print media for failing to recognize social-scientific efforts in the area of new religious movements, and its tendency to use anti-cultist definitions rather than social-scientific insight, and asserts that The failure of the print media to recognize social-scientific efforts in the area of religious movement organizations (as our previous research [van Driel and Richardson, 1985] also shows) impels us to add yet another failing mark to the media report card Weiss (1985) has constructed to assess the media's reporting of the social sciences.
- Cult apologist
- Christian countercult movement
- Parliamentary Commission about Cults in France (1995)
- Cult Awareness Network
- International Cultic Studies Association
- Persecution of Falun Gong
- Bromley, David G.; Anson Shupe (1981). Strange Gods: The Great American Cult Scare. Boston: Beacon Press.
- Shupe, Anson and David G. Bromley. 1994. "," pp. 3-32 in Anson Shupe and David G. Bromley Anti-Cult Movements in Cross-Cultural Perspective, New York, NY: Garland, pp. 9-14.
- Kropveld, Michael: An Example for Controversy: Creating a Model for Reconciliation, Cultic Studies Review, Vol. 2 No. 2, 2003.
- Langone, Michael D.: "Academic Disputes and Dialogue Collection: Preface," ICSA E-Newsletter Vol. 4, No. 3, September 2005.
- Feher, Shoshanah. 1994. "Maintaining the Faith: The Jewish Anti-Cult and Counter-Missionary Movement, pp. 33-48 in Anson Shupe and David G. Bromley Anti-Cult Movements in Cross-Cultural Perspective, New York, NY: Garland.
- Shupe, Anson and David G. Bromley. 1994. "The Modern Anti-Cult Movement in North America," pp. 3-31 in Anson Shupe and David G. Bromley Anti-Cult Movements in Cross-Cultural Perspective, New York, NY: Garland, p. 3.
Barker, Eileen. 1995 The Scientific Study of Religion? You Must Be Joking!", Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 34 (3): 287-310, p. 297.
- Shupe, Anson and David G. Bromley. 1994. "Introduction," pp. vii-xi in Anson Shupe and David G. Bromley Anti-Cult Movements in Cross-Cultural Perspective, New York, NY: Garland, p. x.
- Richardson, James T. and Barend von Driel. 1994 "New Religious Movements in Europe: Developments and Reactions," pp. 129-170 in Anson Shupe and David G. Bromley Anti-Cult Movements in Cross-Cultural Perspective, New York, NY: Garland, p. 137ff.
- Cowan, Douglas E. 2002. "Exits and Migrations: Foregrounding the Christian Counter-cult", Journal of Contemporary Religion 17 (3): 339-354.
- "Cult Group Controversies: Conceptualizing 'Anti-Cult' and 'Counter-Cult'"
- Chryssides, George D. 1999. Exploring New Religions. London & New York: Cassell, p. 345.
- See for example Barker, Eileen. 2002. "Watching for Violence: A Comparative Analysis of the Roles of Five Types of Cult-Watching Groups." pp. 123-148 in David Bromley and J. Gordon Melton, eds., Cults, Religion & Violence. Cambridge, England & New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
- Possamaï, Adam and Murray Lee. 2004. "New Religious Movements and the Fear of Crime," Journal of Contemporary Religion 19 (3): 337-352, p. 338.
- Jonathan Wright Heretics: The Creation of Christianity from the Gnostics to the Modern Church (9780151013876)
- Hoekema, Anthony A. (1963). Four Major Cults: Christian Science, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism, Seventh-Day Adventism. Grand Rapids, Michigan,: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-8028-0445-7.
- Hadden, Jeffrey K., SOC 257: New Religious Movements Lectures: The Anti-Cult Movement, University of Virginia, Department of Sociology
- Bromley, David G., Shupe, Anson D., Ventimiglia, G.C.: "Atrocity Tales, the Unification Church, and the Social Construction of Evil", Journal of Communication, Summer 1979, p. 42-53.
- Duhaime, Jean (Université de Montréal) Les Témoigagnes de Convertis et d'ex-Adeptes (English: The testimonies of converts and former followers, an article that appeared in the otherwise English-language book New Religions in a Postmodern World edited by Mikael Rothstein and Reender Kranenborg RENNER Studies in New religions Aarhus University press, ISBN 87-7288-748-6
- Shupe, A.D. and D.G. Bromley 1981 Apostates and Atrocity Stories: Some parameters in the Dynamics of Deprogramming In: B.R. Wilson (ed.) The Social Impact of New Religious Movements Barrytown NY: Rose of Sharon Press, 179-215
- Сергей Иваненко (2009-08-17). "О религиоведческих аспектах «антикультового движения»" (in ru). Retrieved 2009-12-04.
- Robbins and Zablocki 2001, Beit-Hallahmi 2001, Kent and Krebs 1998.
- Janet L Jacobs: Review of Anson Shupe and David G. Bromley: Anti-Cult Movements in Cross-Cultural Perspective, New York, NY: Garland in Sociology of religion, Winter 1996. Online at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0SOR/is_n4_v57/ai_19178617/pg_2. Retrieved 2007-09-17
- The Foundation Against Intolerance of Minority Religions
- CESNUR - "So Many Evil Things": Anti-Cult Terrorism via the Internet
- Interview with Eileen Barker, Introducing New Religious Movements Available online (Retrieved 2007-10-17 'What can be observed in most of these tragedies is a process which sociologists sometimes call "deviance amplification" building up. The antagonists on each side behave rather badly, and that gives permission for the other side to behave more badly, so you get this spiral and increasing polarisation with each side saying: "Look what they did."')
- van Driel, Barend and James T. Richardson. Research Note Categorization of New Religious Movements in American Print Media. Sociological Analysis 1988, 49, 2:171-183
- Amitrani, Alberto and di Marzio, Raffaella: "Mind Control" in New Religious Movements and the American Psychological Association, Cultic Studies Journal Vol 17, 2000.
- Beckford, James A., Cult Controversies: The Societal Response to New Religious Movements, London, Tavistock, 1985, p. 235
- Bromley, David G. & Anson Shupe, Public Reaction against New Religious Movements article that appeared in Cults and new religious movements: a report of the Committee on Psychiatry and Religion of the American Psychiatric Association, edited by Marc Galanter, M.D., (1989) ISBN 0-89042-212-5
- Langone, Michael: Cults, Psychological Manipulation, and Society: International Perspectives - An Overview 
- Langone, Michael: Secular and Religious Critiques of Cults: Complementary Visions, Not Irresolvable Conflicts, Cultic Studies Journal, 1995, Volume 12, Number 2 
- Langone, Michael, On Dialogue Between the Two Tribes of Cultic Researchers Cultic Studies Newsletter Vol. 2, No. 1, 1983, pp. 11–15 
- Robbins, Thomas. (2000). “Quo Vadis” the Scientific Study of New Religious Movements? Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 39(4), 515-523.
- Thomas Robbin and Dick Anthony, Cults in the late Twentieth Century in Lippy, Charles H. and Williams, Peter W. (edfs.) Encyclopedia of the American Religious experience. Studies of Traditions and Movements. Charles Scribner's sons, New York (1988) Vol II pp. ISBN 0-684-18861-9
- Victor, J. S. (1993). Satanic panic: The creation of a contemporary legend. Chicago: Open Court Publishing. In J. T. Richardson, J. Best, & D. G. Bromley (Eds.), The satanism scare (pp. 263–275). Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter.
- Wilson, Brian R., Apostates and New Religious Movements, Oxford, England 1994
- Robbins, Thomas and Zablocki, Benjamin, Misunderstanding Cults: Searching for Objectivity in a Controversial Field. Toronto and Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8020-8188-6
- Anthony, D. Pseudoscience and Minority Religions: An Evaluation of the Brainwashing Theories of Jean-Marie Abgrall. Social Justice Research, Kluwer Academic Publishers, December 1999, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 421–456(36)
- Bromley, David G. & Anson Shupe Public Reaction against New Religious Movements article that appeared in Cults and new religious movements: a report of the Committee on Psychiatry and Religion of the American Psychiatric Association, edited by Marc Galanter, M.D., (1989) ISBN 0-89042-212-5
- Introvigne, Massimo, Fighting the three Cs: Cults, Comics, and Communists – The Critic of Popular Culture as Origin of Contemporary Anti-Cultism, CESNUR 2003 conference, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2003 
- Introvigne, Massimo The Secular Anti-Cult and the Religious Counter-Cult Movement: Strange Bedfellows or Future Enemies?, in Eric Towler (Ed.), New Religions and the New Europe, Aarhus University Press, 1995, pp. 32–54.
- Thomas Robbins and Benjamin Zablocki, Misunderstanding Cults: Searching for objectivity in a controversial field, 2001, ISBN 0-8020-8188-6
- AD Shupe Jr, DG Bromley, DL Olive, The Anti-Cult Movement in America: A Bibliography and Historical Survey, New York: Garland 1984.
- Langone, Michael D. Ph.D., (Ed.), Recovery from cults: help for victims of psychological and spiritual abuse (1993), a publication of the American Family Foundation, W.W. Norton & Company, ISBN 0-393-31321-2