Rabbi continues push for cult deprogramming
ALBANY (UPI) - Uncontrolled-proliferation of religious cults could lead to another tragedy like the Jonestown, Guyana, mass suicide, says a rabbi who plans to continue pushing for a law to allow relatives to forcibly take cult members home.
Rabbi Maurice Davis of White Plains, at a news conference yesterday, said he has "deprogrammed" about 150 young people who joined religious cults such as the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church.
Most of the youths, although they resisted at first, eventually admitted they were duped into joining a cult, he said.
"I have an enormous fear (of cults) and it's not based on fantasy," Davis said. "I've seen their faces."
The rabbi said he had known the Rev. Jim Jones before he "flipped out" and organized the Jonestown commune in Guyana.
"I think the path of the cults leads to Jonestown, and I'm scared," Davis said.
Gov. Hugh Carey last month vetoed a bill that would have allowed relatives of cult members to get a temporary conservatorship to snatch the member away for deprogramming. The governor said the legislation would not stand up in court, but offered to work toward a compromise.
Davis said he and other opponents of cults would continue to push for such legislation.
The rabbi said he deprogrammed cult members by taking them to hotel rooms and "just talking to them" for several days at a time. However, he is being sued for $2 million by one woman who claimed he held her against her will, and said he has received threats against his life.
Rescued from Moonies
Bonnie Kamp, a 23-year-old former member of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, said she never would have been "rescued" if her mother had not forcibly taken her away from a "Moonie" workshop.
Miss Kamp, of Syracuse, said she was drawn into the Unification Church while visiting a friend at a church center in Boston. The church members convinced her to stay by using a technique she called "love bombing," in which she was constantly showered with affection.
"They work you up into a frenzied state ... until you are willing to kill for God," Miss Kamp said. Soon, she was being sent out into the streets to preach and to solicit contributions.
However, Virginia Greene of Guilderland said her 24-year-old son had been with the Divine Light Mission, headed by the Guru Maharaj Ji, for seven years.
"He has never known a normal young life," said Mrs. Greene. "Who is protecting the rights of these young children?"