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Free the Children of God
Abbreviation FREECOG
Merged into Cult Awareness Network
Successor Citizen's Freedom Foundation (1971), Cult Awareness Network(1978)
Formation 1972
Founder Ted Patrick
Merger of 1978

FREECOG, or Free the Children of God (Family International), originally named The Parents' Committee to Free Our Children from the Children of God was founded in 1972.[1] Scholars consider it the first Anti-cult movement group.[2] FREECOG eventually merged with the Cult Awareness Network, which later as a result of their activities bankrupted and was bought by the Church of Scientology, an organization that the original founders of CAN strongly opposed.

One of the founders of FREECOG is Ted Patrick, widely considered the "Father of Deprogramming".[3][4][5]


FREECOG was the first organized "anti-cult" group,[2][6] formed in large part in response to the total commitment required by the Children of God, as well as Ted Patrick's son's attraction to the Children of God[1]

FREECOG accused the Children of God of brainwashing and used various methods including conservatorship and deprogramming to counter the group. By the mid 1970s, as the Children of God and other new religious movements grew and expanded around the world, a wider anti-cult movement developed in North America, Western Europe, and elsewhere. FREECOG became the Citizen's Freedom Foundation before joining many of the parent groups in the 1980s which merged into what became known as the Cult Awareness Network, which is now owned by the Church of Scientology.


In response to FREECOG, a smaller group called ThankCOG (Thankful Parents & Friends of the Children of God) emerged, founded by parents of Children of God members who were pleased that their children had found religion and were free from drugs.


  1. ^ a b Bromley, D.G. 1998. The Politics of Religious Apostasy: The Role of Apostates in the Transformation of Religious Movements: Praeger.
  2. ^ a b Melton., Gordon (2002). "The Modern Anti-Cult Movement in Historical Perspective". In Jeffrey Kaplan (Ed.). The Cultic Milieu: Oppositional Subcultures in an Age of Globalization. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira. p. 268. ISBN 0-7591-0204-X. 
  3. ^ Ted Patrick, Religious Freedom Watch
  4. ^ Dan Fefferman, The Rise and Fall of “Deprogramming” In the United States, International Coalition for Religious Freedom, July 21, 2010
  5. ^ Chryssides, George (1999). Exploring New Religions. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 346–348. ISBN 0-8264-5959-5. 
  6. ^ Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune. 1995. "CULTS OR JUST NEW BELIEFS? EXPERTS AIM AT NEWEST OF RELIGIONS." The Salt Lake Tribune. 1995 Jun 10.