Jean-Michel and his team
|Jean-Michel and his team|
History and organization
Presented as being charismatic, Cravanzola was born in France in 1945, and grew up in Algeria. He became evangelist in Lausanne and, after two dreams with alleged divine origin, decided to found a hierarchic and patriarcal community in Essertines-sur-Yverdon to help poor people, drug addicts, and convert them. Life in the community was devoted to prayer, work and proselytism. Followers had to sell 30 books per day.
After an important tax adjustment, the association was dissolved in 1980, but a commercial company with approximately 400 employees and a jewelry factory was founded in the Ticino canton. After a suspicious conviction for fraud in charity, the founder went in Florida and unsuccessfully tried to build a biblical theme park named Bibleworld. In 1992, the company cut Cravanzola's authority and the group ended. There were about 300 believers in Europe and U.S.
The community was criticized by some former members and Swiss anti-cult association ASDFI whose founder, Paul Ranc, started to warn the population against the group in 1979. Criticisms included exaggerated focus on donations (voluntary work and double tithe), psychological pressures exerted by Cravanzola, excessive control of life, difficulties to leave the community. In Switzerland, media widely gave negative reports about the community and contributed to raise mistrust towards new religious movements, but French association for the defense of religious freedom CICNS criticized this point of view.
- Isabel Câmara (2006). Les sectes : sortir .: .. et après ? (in French). pp. 19–44. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
- Jean-Michel escroc ou prophète?, J. Cornaz, 1979, JC editions (J. Cornaz) (Romanel (c.p. 21))
- Alain Portner (21 June 2005). "Dix-sept and sous influence". Migros Magazine (in French). Retrieved 26 September 2009.
- "Cravanzola & Co". Tell Quel (in French). TSR. 26 September 1980. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
- "ASDFI official site" (in French). ASDFI. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
- Patrice Favre (30 May 2006). "Le plus dur commence après la secte". La Liberté (in French). Prevensectes. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
- Jean-François Mayer (1993). Les nouvelles voies spirituelles: enquête sur la religiosité parallèle en Suisse (in French). p. 325. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
- André Tarassi (June 2006). "La souffrance des sortants de sectes ?" (in French). Sectes-infos. Retrieved 26 September 2009.