By Cathleen Mann, PhD
Update: Dr Mann passed away on November 21, 2020.
There has been a push lately by a couple of anti-cult advocates who have self-labeled themselves as “cult experts. ” In the most prominent example, this is from someone who has never been relied on to give evidence in a legal case, never has been qualified as an expert by a judge (in fact, failed in his only attempt years ago), self labels himself as an expert, and who claims superiority and financially charges way more than any legitimate court qualified cult expert (there are a few of those whom I admire.)
This would normally not be such a problem, but this advocate is insisting that everyone accept his point of view or they must be “confused” or ” not understand ” the issues. Pandering for positive book reviews is stone-cold marketing, not research. Moreover, taking a political position and using that to label others negatively is spurious. There is a marketplace of ideas out there, but no invitation or willingness to discuss any of this openly has been proffered. Send the guard dogs out to quash dissent. Oh, and by the way, using fake names to post defences is not honest. I always use my real name.
The question here is not whether Trump is a cult leader. That is just a vehicle for telling others what to think. The issue is the fervour to which this idea has been pushed as “right and correct thinking.” Of course, for anyone who has been on the receiving end of some pretty intense cross-examination by attorneys hired by high demand groups like I have, these issues are pretty clear. There is no “proof” of anything, just research to support your position. Oh, and anecdotes and scary stories are not objective. Cult experiences are not the same for everyone.
In a legal case, you have to present objective evidence that supports your position. You need to demonstrate that the evidence you provide is generally accepted by the scientific community. Doing a few hundred “interventions” and counselling former cult members is not evidence. If I were a lawyer, my first question would be “have you ever seen a group or relationship that you have determined is NOT a cult?”
If someone wants to criticize others, whine about lack of support, and claim dominance, check your biases and politics first to make sure you’re not practising “mind control” (whatever that is) over others. Not everyone is required to think exactly as you do. Got it?