Larry Pile

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Lawrence A. ("Larry") Pile
Born (1943-05-11) May 11, 1943 (age 71)
 United States
Occupation Cult researcher
Nationality American
Subject cults, Totalist Aberrant Christian Organizations
Literary movement Christian countercult movement

Lawrence A. ("Larry") Pile is a cult researcher, archivist, and workshop leader at Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center. He received his bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois and has 5 ½ years experience within "The Blitz Movement" (today known as Great Commission Churches), later writing a book about its history and counseling former members of the group. He has been studying the "cult phenomenon" for more than 30 years.[1][2]


Larry Pile was born on May 11, 1943 and is from Beachwood, Ohio. He holds a Bachelor's degree in German from Wheaton College, where he graduated in 1965. Pile served three years in West Berlin as a German translator for U.S. Army Security Agency. He was an interpreter of German, French and Russian on a fact-finding and assistance team visiting Christians in Warsaw Pact countries in 1971.

Great Commission researcher[edit]

Pile was a member of "The Blitz Movement" (later Great Commission International and today known as Great Commission Churches) from 1971 to 1977, rising to the position of deacon before leaving because he felt the group had become too "authoritarian."[3][4]In 1979, following his departure, he published Marching To Zion, an account and analysis of the movement, a book he would later revise in 2002 with updated information.[5][6] Throughout the 1980s Larry was quoted in various newspaper articles about the group.[4][5][7] In the mid 1980s, Larry and several others held conferences for former members of Great Commission International to help them "recover from the emotional and psychological damage they'd experienced" while in the movement.[8]

Wellspring counselor[edit]

Pile became a "cult counselor" at the world's first accredited cult recovery center[citation needed], the Wellspring Retreat, in 1988.[6][9][10][11] He acts as workshop developer and leader at Wellspring, as well as acting as the resident cult and fringe group researcher and archivist. He also acts as a consultant for families and friends of alleged "cult victims". He is the editor of Wellspring Journal. Pile is a researcher for legal cases involving groups he refers to as cults as well.[9]

Workshop process[edit]

Pile shows videos to Wellspring clients during group workshops to illustrate what it is like to be in a cult, to demonstrate how cults are formed, and to demystify his clients' experiences.[12] Pile also runs a theological workshop where debates over the Bible are deconstructed.[13]




External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Pile, Lawrence - profile". Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  2. ^ Pile, Larry (Summer 2000). "Making of a Cult Counselor". Wellspring Journal 9 (2). 
  3. ^ Jeff Truesdell (1991-10-17). "How The Sun Set". The Weekly (Orlando, Florida). 
  4. ^ a b "Church group draws fire". Wheaton, IL: The Record. 1988-1.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ a b "Cult label follows new church". Wheaton, Illinois: The Sunday Journal (Wheaton, IL edition). 1988-11-06. 
  6. ^ a b Pile, Lawrence (2002). MARCHING TO ZION: A Personal History and Analysis of the "Blitz Movement" aka Great Commission Association of Churches (2nd ed.). Albany, Ohio: Christians United to Remedy Error (CURE). 
  7. ^ "Ex-members label GCI a coercive environment". Wheaton, IL: The Sunday Journal (Wheaton, IL edition). November 6, 1988. 
  8. ^ ""Just Who Is Jim McCotter?" North & South". New Zealand. April 2002. 
  9. ^ a b "Lawrence A. Pile". Archived from the original on 2000-10-02. Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  10. ^ "Larry: Cult Research & Workshop Leader". Archived from the original on 2005-04-05. Retrieved 2007-04-30. 
  11. ^ Laura Withers (February 15, 2002). "Students susceptible to cults' lures". The Post (Ohio University). Retrieved 2007-04-30. 
  12. ^ Laura Withers (February 14, 2002). "Cult recovery center product of experience". The Post (Ohio University). Retrieved 2007-04-30. 
  13. ^ Philippe Boulet-Gercourt (November 1999). "WELLSPRING, la clinique de l'âme pour les gens blessés par les sectes". Le Nouvel Observateur. Retrieved 2007-04-30.