Explanatory note: Whenever we use the words ‘cult’, ‘cultism’ or ‘cultist’ we are referring solely to the phenomenon where troubling levels of undue psychological influence may exist. This phenomenon can occur in almost any group or organisation
The Schools' Programme:
Generally most of us are shocked every few years when we hear about incidents like Waco, or the Solar Temple but say to ourselves it won’t happen here! Many people think that the cult issue is no longer with us. They remember the cult scares of the 70s, 80s and 90s, with the Moonies and Scientology being the prominent groups that are remembered. Now with the collapse of religion in general there is no sense of the danger cults involve. It is only when someone close to them suddenly changes and joins a group that they become aware.
Unlike the drugs issue which is quantifiable, Cults are not so easy to evaluate. How many are there? What numbers are involved? We have no statistics, but from research in other countries we can say that up to 1–1.5 % of the population are caught up. That means that up to 60,000 people could be involved. Just because we are not aware of anyone being involved should not blind us to the need for this to be given some space in either the RE programme or at least somewhere on the school programme. I am getting calls on a daily basis from families whose adult children have joined this group or that and say to me, “if only they had had that talk!” These people turn to Dialogue Ireland for guidance and support. Such situations can be unbelievably painful for the people involved. Some have compared it to the death of a loved one without the funeral. Fortunately, the experiences of most people joining new movements are much less dramatic than this. Also the general culture is becoming more aware of the real possibility of mind control as we see ostensibly normal young people taking part in suicide missions where they are educated within very narrow parameters about a particular religious tradition.
Other services from Dialogue Ireland:
Advice and information:
We provide advice and information to government departments, the media who are an essential element in opening up cultist issues in society. We also provide this service to schools, families and individuals about cultist groups. We try to help people clarify whether the problem they are encountering result from involvement with cultism or other issues. We refer people on to counsellors who understand the issues related to cult involvement.
Specific support Groups:
We also facilitate support groups for those coming out of a particular movement as a way to help them resolve the issues their involvement resulted in. We provide an initial support to the group then they become self supporting.
Thought Reform Consultancy:
Formerly it was believed that a person who joined a Group was programmed and as a result he needed to be 'deprogrammed.' This then led to 'exit counselling' where it was assumed that the only direction a person could go in was out. Now the issue has developed to the point where we talk about Thought Reform.
Contacts with government:
This is done on behalf of the victims and survivors and their families who obviously do not go to their TD to raise the issue as there is a stigma associated with joining a cult. Ireland is one of the only countries in Europe that has not addressed the issues of "cults" in a systematic manner. We have attempted for over a decade to get a hearing from government, but without success
Fees and Support:
Dialogue Ireland as a charity does not charge for advice and information on the phone or through email anywhere in the world. We charge for private consultations in person or with organisations and terms will be worked out prior to commencement of the work. However, as a charity we will provide a service to those who have an inability to pay. We welcome donations to support the work of Dialogue Ireland and details of how that can be done can be found on our website. A standing order form for Ireland and the UK is available on request. Cheques from the Ireland, USA, South Africa and the UK can be received without bank charges.