The Cult Awareness Network (CAN) was an organization created by deprogrammer Ted Patrick that provided information on groups that it considered to be cults, as well as support and referrals to deprogrammers. It was founded in the wake of the November 18, 1978 deaths of members of the group Peoples Temple and assassination of Congressman Leo J. Ryan in Jonestown, Guyana, and was shut down in 1996. Its name and assets were later bought by a group of private donors (some of whom were Scientologists) in bankruptcy proceedings; with the transfer of ownership, the organization was renamed the New Cult Awareness Network.
CAN and its representatives were known for being highly critical of Scientology, Landmark Education, and some other groups and new religious movements, referring to some of these groups as "destructive cults".
|Cult Awareness Network|
Logo, (Old) Cult Awareness Network
|Services||Deprogramming, support and referrals to deprogrammers and exit counselors|
Executive director 1991–96
Co-director 1995–1996 Vice president 1992–1995
|Cynthia Kisser, Patricia Ryan, Louis Jolyon West, Margaret Singer, Priscilla Coates, Rick Ross, Steven Hassan, Paul Engel, Janja Lalich, Mike Farrell, Edward Lottick, Sandy Andron (former vice-president), Nancy Miquelon, John Rehling, William Rehling|
|Subsidiaries||NARDEC, Free Minds of North Texas|
|FREECOG, Citizen's Freedom Foundation (CFF) (1971),|
Ted Patrick founded the FREECOG organization, later known as the Citizen's Freedom Foundation, in 1971 before becoming successively the Citizen's Freedom Foundation ("CFF"), the "Cult Awareness Network of the Citizen's Freedom", and finally the Cult Awareness Network, renamed in the wake of the 1978 Jonestown mass murder-suicide. CAN was initially directed by Patricia Ryan, the daughter of US Congressman Leo J. Ryan (D-Millbrae, California), who died from gunfire while investigating conditions at the Jonestown compound.
The Citizen's Freedom Foundation was originally headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and collected information on New Religious Movements. By 1991, the Cult Awareness Network had twenty-three chapters dedicated to monitoring two hundred groups that it referred to as: "mind control cults."
In 1990, the Cult Awareness Network established the "John Gordon Clark Fund", in honor of psychiatrist John G. Clark, who had given testimony about Scientology and other groups. The fund was established to assist former members of destructive cults.
The CFF was originally in favour of deprogramming, but distanced itself from the practice in the late 1970s, when it changed its name to the Cult Awareness Network. Despite this, The Cult Awareness Network also became the subject of controversy, when CAN-associated Galen Kelly and Donald Moore, were convicted in the course of carrying out deprogrammings.
Detractors Susan E. Darnell Anson D. Shupe, Darnell, and Church of Scientology attorney Kendrick Moxon charged that CAN deliberately provided a distorted picture of the groups it tracked. They claimed it was "a Chicago-based national anticult organization claiming to be purely a tax-exempt informational clearinghouse on new religions".
In 1991, Time magazine quoted then CAN director Cynthia Kisser in its article "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power". Kisser stated: "Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen. No cult extracts more money from its members". This quote has since been referenced verbatim in other secondary sources discussing Scientology. These comments and other forms of criticism from CAN garnered the attention of the Church of Scientology and Landmark Education, and both separately began litigation proceedings against the organization.
CAN declared bankruptcy after a jury found that CAN conspired to violate the civil rights and religious liberties of Jason Scott, a Pentecostalist, who had been forcibly kidnapped and subjected to a failed deprogramming by Rick Ross, a CAN-referred deprogrammer and others.:97–98 The court ordered CAN to pay a judgment of US$1 million. The large award was intended to deter similar conduct in the future; the court noted that the defendants were unable to appreciate the maliciousness of their conduct towards the deprogrammee, and portrayed themselves, throughout the entire process of litigation, as victims of the alleged agenda of the plaintiff's attorney, Church of Scientology attorney Kendrick Moxon.
In 1996, CAN went bankrupt and its assets were bought by a coalition of organizations and individuals, including Scientologists. The Bankruptcy Trustee told The Washington Post that he put CAN's name-brand assets on the auction block only because Kisser herself asked to buy them. As a result of a legal settlement with Landmark Education, CAN agreed not to sell copies of Outrageous Betrayal, a book critical of Werner Erhard, for five years after it emerged from bankruptcy proceedings. Following its bankruptcy, the files of the "Old CAN" were made available to scholars for study and transferred to a university library.
Since then, academics who published a joint paper with Kendrick Moxon and later others referencing their work have stated that the "Old CAN" covertly continued to make and derive income from referrals to coercive deprogrammers and to activist members for distribution, while publicly distancing itself from the practice. Some deprogrammers relied upon CAN to provide a steady supply of paying customers.
The National Resource Development and Economic Council was formed in the mid 1980s and had become institutionalized as a special unit within CAN by 1987. The unit's role was to provide referrals to deprogrammers in exchange for a 'kickback' – either in cash or in the form of a tax deductible "donation" or "commissions" which were then funneled back to national CAN headquarters.
Journalist Nora Hamerman, in writing about the Dobkowski deprogramming, referred to CAN as "a clearinghouse for kidnap-for-hire rings", referring to the "financial symbiosis between CAN and coercive deprogrammers".
The Jason Scott case in 1995 demonstrated the ongoing involvement of the "Old CAN" in deprogramming referrals. Also, in 1993, deprogrammer Galen Kelly's trial following another botched deprogramming attempt had revealed that the "Old CAN" had, contrary to its stated policy, paid Kelly a monthly stipend during the 1990s.
At the 2000 meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, sociologist Anson Shupe and Susan E. Darnell presented a paper co-authored with Church of Scientology attorney Kendrick Moxon, based on their analysis of the files of the "Old CAN", and raising various allegations against the way the "Old CAN" was operated. Shupe, Moxon and Darnell repeated these allegations in a 2004 Baylor University Press publication entitled New Religious Movements and Religious Liberty in America, edited by Derek Davis and Barry Hankins. They expressed the view that the "Old CAN" could reasonably be described as a criminal organization operating in large part for the profit to certain actors, and that it cultivated a hypocritical and deceptive public persona. They alleged that despite public denials, the "Old CAN" operating policy included routine referrals to coercive deprogrammers, citing, among others, FBI wiretap evidence documenting frequent, casual contact between coercive deprogrammers and Cynthia Kisser, the executive director of the "Old CAN". They further alleged that the "Old CAN" operated as a money laundering scheme, with coercive deprogrammers expected to "kick back" to the "Old CAN" part of the fees they charged families, in the form of direct or indirect donations. Other allegations made by Shupe, Darnell and Moxon included irregularities in finances suggestive of personal enrichment by some "Old CAN" officials, as well as the use of legal and illegal drugs by deprogrammers during deprogrammings, and occurrences of sexual intercourse between deprogrammers and deprogrammees. Shupe and Darnell expanded on these topics in their 2006 book Agents of Discord, referencing their prior work with Kendrick Moxon.
The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements (Oxford University Press, 2004, edited by James R. Lewis) states that the "Old CAN" countered fiscal challenges by soliciting donations for referrals. In a chapter co-authored by David G. Bromley, Anson Shupe, and Susan E. Darnell, the Handbook states that exit counsellors or deprogrammers either made donations themselves, or had client families make donations to the "Old CAN", and that these donations made up as much as one-third of "Old CAN" revenues. While the "Old CAN" was set up as a tax-exempt organization serving educational purposes, coercive depogramming referrals remained an integral part of its economy and response pattern, a contradiction that was concealed, but not resolved by the "Old CAN" publicly renouncing deprogramming while covertly engaging in referrals. Ironically, the authors state, the "Old CAN" was finally "undone by the same kind of civil suit strategy it had employed against NRMs [new religious movements], in a case involving the same type of coercive practices it accused cults of employing".
According to the (Old) Cult Awareness Network's executive director, Landmark Education and the Church of Scientology were the two groups for which CAN received the highest number of inquiries from concerned relatives – twenty-five per month per group. In an interview, CAN's executive director emphasized that the label "cult" with regard to Landmark Education was not important; but rather greater scrutiny of its practices was needed. Specifically, CAN stressed concerning characteristics, such as "the long hours during which the participant is in the organization's total control, receiving input from only one source, removed from any support system except for the seminar group itself". In 1994, Landmark Education Corporation sued the Cult Awareness Network for US$40 million, claiming that CAN had labeled Landmark Education as a cult. The case itself involved a dispute over the legality and applicable usage of what Matthews termed "cult indoctrination procedures". CAN later settled and made a statement that it did not consider Landmark Education a cult, as part of the settlement agreement.
During the litigation proceedings between Landmark Education and the Cult Awareness Network, Landmark Education spent months attempting to compel legal journalist Steven Pressman to respond to deposition questions aimed at obtaining the confidential sources he used for research on his book about Werner Erhard, Outrageous Betrayal. Though the deposition questions were brought under the pretext of compelling discovery for use in Landmark Education's lawsuit against CAN, Pressman concluded that the deposition questioning was mainly a form of harassment. The discovery commissioner who entered an interim order in the matter, commented that "it does not appear that the information sought [from Mr. Pressman] is directly relevant or goes to the heart of the [CAN] action, or that alternative sources have been exhausted or are inadequate". The action against Pressman was dropped after the Cult Awareness Network litigation was settled. As a result of the Cult Awareness Network settlement with Landmark Education, CAN agreed to cease selling copies of Outrageous Betrayal for at least five years. From the resolution of the CAN board of directors: "In the interests of settling a dispute and in deference to Landmark's preference, however, CAN now agrees not to sell the Pressman Book for at least five years after CAN emerges from bankruptcy". CAN's executive director maintained that the purpose of Landmark Education's lawsuits was not to recover lost funds, but to "gag critics". Along with Scientology, Landmark Education was granted access to Cult Awareness Network's files, which contained phone records and data on individuals who had previously sought information on these groups.
The Church of Scientology had long characterized the Cult Awareness Network as both an opponent of religious freedom and a "hate group". In 1990, a woman named Jolie Steckart, posing as Laura Terepin, applied to volunteer for the (original) Cult Awareness Network. Bob Minton later hired a private investigator to look into this, and in 1998 discovered that she was actually a "deep undercover agent", who was managed by David Lee, a private investigator hired by the Church of Scientology. Steckart had also attempted to infiltrate the Scientology-critical organization Fight Against Coercive Tactics Network or "FACTnet".
In 1991, over fifty Scientologists from across the United States filed civil suits against the Cult Awareness Network, many of whom used the same carbon copy claims through influence from the Los Angeles, California law firm Bowles & Moxon. In addition, Scientologists filed dozens of discrimination complaints against CAN, with state human rights commissions in the United States. The Cult Awareness Network, which ran on a budget of US$300,000 per year, was unable to cope with this amount of litigation. By 1994, it had been dropped by all of its insurance companies, and still owed tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Kendrick Moxon, chief attorney for the Church of Scientology, had stated that the lawsuits were brought to address discrimination against individuals who wanted to reform the Cult Awareness Network. These fifty individuals had all simultaneously tried to join the organization. When the Cult Awareness Network's executive director turned down the applications for fear that the new Scientologist applicants would overtake control of CAN, they sued in separate lawsuits claiming religious discrimination. Though Moxon handled the litigation for all of the lawsuits, the Church of Scientology maintained that it did not provide the financial backing for the suits. Moxon did acknowledge that his firm Moxon & Bowles had represented the plaintiffs in the case at virtually no charge, and that Scientology churches "helped a little bit, but very little", with the litigation costs.
Daniel Leipold, the attorney who represented CAN in the suits, believed that the Church of Scientology did indeed have a role in the financial backing of the suits, stating, "for every nickel we spent, they spent at least a dollar". Leipold also stated that when he began to take statements from some of the Scientologist plaintiffs in the process of his defense of CAN, "Several of the plaintiffs said they had not seen or signed the lawsuits, even though the court papers bore their signatures". One Scientologist plaintiff told CAN attorneys that he could not recall how he initially got the contact information of CAN officials, or who had asked him to write to the organization. Another Scientologist later fired his lawyer and asked a judge to dismiss his own case against CAN, saying that Eugene Ingram, a private investigator for the Church of Scientology, had paid him three hundred dollars to have lunch where he agreed to be a plaintiff and signed a blank page for Church of Scientology attorneys. CAN attorney Leipold stated, "Scientology planned, instigated, coordinated and sponsored a plan to subject CAN to multiple lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions in order to overwhelm and eliminate it or take it over and control it". Frank Oliver, who was until 1993 an operative in the Church of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs division (OSA), asserted that his last assignment with the OSA branch was to assist Kendrick Moxon in developing a special unit to target the Cult Awareness Network. Oliver stated that this unit was tasked with recruiting plaintiffs to sue the Cult Awareness Network, with the intention that these lawsuits would put CAN out of business. In 1995, members of the Church of Scientology picketed the home of ex-Scientology staff members Robert Vaughn Young and Stacy Young. A Scientology spokeswoman called it "a peaceful First Amendment demonstration to protest the Youngs' involvement with the Cult Awareness Network". In a 2005 interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a Church of Scientology spokesperson stated that the Church was not responsible for the litigation leading to CAN's bankruptcy.
Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige appeared in his first ever interview with the media on the program Nightline on February 14, 1992, and was interviewed by Ted Koppel. Miscavige stated that he believed Scientology did not "lend itself well to the press", and he criticized a piece on Scientology that aired on Nightline shortly before his interview. In his criticism of the piece, Miscavige asserted that Nightline correspondents had only interviewed members of CAN, stating, "For instance, something that isn't mentioned in there is that every single detractor on there is part of a religious hate group called Cult Awareness Network and their sister group called American Family Foundation. Now, I don't know if you've heard of these people, but it's the same as the KKK would be with the blacks. I think if you interviewed a neo-Nazi and asked them to talk about the Jews, you would get a similar result to what you have here." Koppel then posited the notion that others critical of Scientology were less apt to come forward and speak publicly due to fears of potential recrimination from the Church. In 1994, the Cult Awareness Network opened a counter-suit against the Church of Scientology, eleven individual Scientologists and the Los Angeles law firm of Bowles and Moxon.
In 1995, CAN, and two co-defendants were found guilty of negligence and conspiracy to violate the civil rights and religious liberties of Jason Scott, then a member of the Life Tabernacle Church, a small United Pentecostalist congregation in Bellevue, Washington. Rick Alan Ross was acquitted in the criminal trial. A CAN volunteer had referred Ross to Scott's mother, endorsing his ability as a deprogrammer. The mother thereupon retained Ross's services. In a civil trial, Ross was ordered to pay more than US$3 million in damages; CAN, having referred Ross to Scott's mother, was ordered to pay a judgement of US$1 million. The court found that CAN volunteers had routinely referred callers to deprogrammers.
CAN appealed the decision but a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the award, two of the three judges finding against CAN, with the third judge dissenting. The full 9th Circuit court then voted against reconsidering the case. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a final appeal by CAN in March 1999.
Ross went into bankruptcy, but emerged in December 1996 when Scott reconciled with his mother and settled with Ross for five-thousand dollars and 200 hours of Ross's services "as an expert consultant and intervention specialist". Scott fired his attorney Kendrick Moxon the next day and retained long-time Church of Scientology opponent Graham Berry as his lawyer instead.
After Scott fired Moxon, Moxon filed emergency motions in two states and alleged Scott had been influenced by supporters of CAN to hire Berry as his lawyer. "He's really been abused by CAN and disgustingly abused by this guy Berry", said Moxon in a statement in The Washington Post. Moxon, who had argued in the case that Ross and associates had hindered a competent adult's freedom to make his own religious decisions, immediately filed court papers seeking to rescind the settlement and appoint a guardian for Scott, whom he called "incapacitated". That effort failed.
Scott stated that he felt he had been manipulated as part of the Church of Scientology's plan to destroy CAN. According to the Chicago Tribune, Scott and his relatives felt Moxon was not paying enough attention to Scott's financial judgment, and was instead focused on a "personal vendetta" against CAN. "Basically, Jason said he was tired of being the poster boy for the Scientologists. My son has never been a member of the Church of Scientology. When he was approached by Moxon, he was lured by his promises of a $1 million settlement, so he went for it", said Scott's mother Katherine Tonkin in a statement to the Chicago Tribune.
Scott sold his $1,875,000 judgment against CAN for $25,000 to Gerry Beany, a Scientologist represented by Moxon, whereby Beany had the largest claim against CAN in the bankruptcy proceeding. In satisfaction of that debt, CAN agreed to give Beany all of CAN's files and records. Beany, in turn, donated the records to the Foundation for Religious Freedom.
That bankruptcy was the demise of the "Old CAN", marking the end of the cult wars—at least in North America. Controversies surrounding new religious movements continued, but the debate thereafter largely moved to other arenas than the courts.
According to Alexander Cockburn, the role of the Cult Awareness Network and its representatives "may well have been crucial" in the law enforcement actions during the 1993 Waco siege. A series of newspaper articles in the Waco Tribune-Herald and allegations of child abuse by CAN Executive Director Priscilla Coates were followed by increasing interest and investigation by law enforcement.
On the 8th of April 1993, during the siege of the Branch Davidians compound, CAN president Patricia Ryan (daughter of slain U.S. Representative Leo Ryan) stated that the FBI should use any means necessary to arrest David Koresh, including lethal force. Throughout the siege, representatives from CAN offered unsolicited assistance to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and FBI. Representatives also made numerous media appearances, including making statements that the FBI commander felt "could set back negotiations substantially". The siege ultimately ended on April 19 with the death of 76 people, including Koresh.
In a 1996 joint hearing before the United States Congress on the Waco Siege entitled: Activities of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Toward the Branch Davidians, it was stated into the record that publicists for the New Alliance Party had circulated a report to Congress and the media called "What is the Cult Awareness Network and What Role Did it Play in Waco?" Testimony was also entered into the record stating, "Their report relied on [conspiracy theorist] Linda Thompson, organizations created or funded by the Church of Scientology and the Unification Church" and a "long-time cult apologist".
In 1997, two years after the Scott case, CBS News aired a 60 Minutes special on the case. Amongst other things, it discovered that a signatory who had responsible for one of the most damaging affidavits against CAN had renounced his testimony. 60 Minutes also reported that a private investigator could find no evidence regarding CAN's alleged use of deprogrammers. Given this evidence sociologist Stephen Kent concludes that the case against CAN was "weak".
Anson D. Shupe, Jr. (21 January 1948 – 6 May 2015) was an American sociologist noted for his studies of religious groups and their countermovements, family violence and clergy misconduct. He was affiliated with the New Cult Awareness Network, an organization operated by the Church of Scientology, and has had at least one article published in Freedom magazine.Galen Kelly
Galen Kelly (sometimes misspelled Galen Kelley in newspaper articles) is a private investigator and Cult Awareness Network-associated deprogrammer.
In 1988, Kelly investigated the "kidnapping" of Tawana Brawley and dug up evidence that she had been at parties within the four days of her disappearance. Articles describe him as a "forensic psychologist".
In 1992, Kelly was indicted for allegedly planning to kidnap du Pont heir and Lyndon LaRouche follower Lewis du Pont Smith. The trial ended with acquittal.In 1993, Kelly was convicted to a seven-year three-month sentence in federal prison for the 1992 kidnapping of Debra Dobkowski, the head of the Washington cell of a group called "The Circle of Friends". Kelly had mistaken the victim for her roommate Beth Bruckert, who had been the intended target. During the trial it was also established that the Cult Awareness Network, contrary to its publicly stated policy, in which it dissociated itself from deprogramming, had for many months during the 1990s paid Kelly a monthly stipend for preparing a pamphlet on Lyndon LaRouche.Kelly's conviction was overturned in 1994 by the appeals court because of prosecutorial misconduct: Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Leiser had failed to turn over a search warrant affidavit that contained impeachment material and an impeaching memo written by the kidnap victim Dobkowski. Subsequent investigations by the Department of Justice, the Virginia State Bar and the D.C. Bar vindicated Leiser of those allegations finding that the affidavit was in the public record and available to defense counsel prior to Dobkowski testifying, and that the impeaching memo was not discovered until weeks after the trial had concluded. Dobkowski had claimed that she wasn't a member of the group, while Kelly had claimed that Dobkowski set him up by switching beds with her roommate, changing her hair and entering the van voluntarily and later claiming to have been kidnapped. Dobkowski later pleaded guilty for money laundering crimes and served a 21-month prison sentence.Jason Scott case
The Jason Scott case was a United States civil suit, brought against deprogrammer Rick Ross, two of his associates, and the Cult Awareness Network (CAN), for the abduction and failed deprogramming of Jason Scott, a member of a Pentecostalist church. Scott was eighteen years old at the time of the abduction and thus legally an adult. CAN was a co-defendant because a CAN contact person had referred Scott's mother to Rick Ross. In the trial, Jason Scott was represented by Kendrick Moxon, a prominent Scientologist attorney.
The nine-member jury unanimously held the defendants liable for conspiracy to deprive Scott of his civil rights and religious liberties. In addition, the jury held that Ross and his associates (but not CAN) "intentionally or recklessly acted in a way so outrageous in character and so extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency and to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community." The case resulted in an award of $875,000 in compensatory damages and punitive damages in the amount of $1,000,000 against CAN, $2,500,000 against Ross, and $250,000 against each of Ross's two associates. The case bankrupted the Cult Awareness Network and marked a watershed for non-traditional religions and the Christian countercult movement in North America.Kendrick Moxon
Kendrick Lichty Moxon is an American Scientology official and an attorney with the law firm Moxon & Kobrin. He practices in Los Angeles, California, and is a lead counsel for the Church of Scientology. Moxon received a B.A. from American University in 1972, and a J.D. degree from George Mason University in 1981. He was admitted to the Washington, D.C. bar association in 1984, and the State Bar of California in 1987. Moxon's early work for the Church of Scientology involved legal affairs, and he also held the title of "reverend". He worked out of the Scientology intelligence agency known as the Guardian's Office (GO), and was named as an unindicted co-conspirator after the Federal Bureau of Investigation's investigation into criminal activities by Scientology operatives called "Operation Snow White". An evidence stipulation in the case signed by both parties stated he had provided false handwriting samples to the FBI; Moxon has since said that he did not "knowingly supply" false handwriting samples.The bulk of Moxon's legal work is Scientology-related. He has served as Commissioner of the Scientology-affiliated organization Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR). He represented the Church of Scientology in 1988 in a billion-dollar class action lawsuit against the organization by former Scientologists which was dismissed in Los Angeles Superior Court. In 1990 Moxon represented the organization in a suit against the Internal Revenue Service in an attempt to gain access to information about Scientology held by the IRS. He assisted 50 Scientologists in filing separate lawsuits against the organization Cult Awareness Network (CAN), which led to the bankruptcy of the organization. He represented the plaintiff in the Jason Scott case against CAN and cult deprogrammer Rick Ross.
A Scientology publication said Moxon had used church doctrine in bringing down CAN. Its assets were bought in bankruptcy court by a Scientologist and legal associate of Moxon's. Moxon said he was proud of what he had done, referring to the old CAN organization as a "hate group". Moxon represented the manager of the Scientology facility Golden Era Productions in a filing against Keith Henson, a critic of Scientology. Moxon filed an affidavit in 2000 in the case involving the criminal prosecution of the Church of Scientology in the death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson, and defended her treatment by Scientology staffers as part of a religious practice.Margaret Singer
Margaret Thaler Singer (July 29, 1921 – November 23, 2003) was a clinical psychologist and researcher with her colleague Lyman Wynne of family communication. She was a prominent figure in the study of undue influence in social and religious contexts.
Singer's main areas of research included schizophrenia, family therapy, brainwashing and coercive persuasion. In the 1960s she began to study the nature of social and religious group influence and mind control, and sat as a board member of the American Family Foundation and as an advisory board member of the Cult Awareness Network. She was the co-author of the book Cults in Our Midst.Moxon
Moxon may refer to:
Moxon Huddersfield, a British textile manufacturer of luxury worsted and woollen cloth
Moxon & Kobrin, a law firm located in Los Angeles, California, USA
Moxon antenna, a rectangular two-element array antenna often homebuilt by Amateur radio enthusiastsNew Cult Awareness Network
The "New Cult Awareness Network" (NCAN, often referred to as simply the "Cult Awareness Network", though other than inheriting the name, it is unrelated to that older group) is an organization that provides information about cults, and is owned and operated by associates of the Church of Scientology, itself categorized in many countries as a cult. It was formed in 1996, with the name purchased from the now defunct Cult Awareness Network, an organization that provided information on groups it considered to be cults, and that strongly opposed Scientology.
The "New CAN" organization (also known as the Foundation for Religious Freedom) has caused both confusion and controversy among academics and its opponents. Board members of the "Old CAN" have characterized it as a front group for the Church of Scientology. In December 1997, 60 Minutes profiled the controversy regarding the history of the "Old CAN" and the "New CAN", with host Lesley Stahl noting, "Now, when you call looking for information about a cult, chances are the person you're talking to is a Scientologist". James R. Lewis has described "New CAN" as "a genuine information and networking center on non-traditional religions". Margaret Thaler Singer expressed the opinion that any experts the public would be referred to by the "New CAN" would be cult apologists. Shupe and Darnell noted the "New CAN" had been able to attract support from donors such as Amazon.com, and by 2000 it was receiving thousands of phone calls per month. The "New CAN" promotes itself as a champion of human rights and freedom of religion. An August 2007 article on Fox News on the Wikipedia Scanner noted "a computer linked to the Church of Scientology's network was used to delete references to links between it and [...] the 'Cult Awareness Network'" on Wikipedia.Patricia Ryan
Patricia Ryan may refer to:
Pat Nixon (1912–1993), née Patricia Ryan, wife of U.S. president Richard Nixon
Patricia Ryan (CFF), former director of the Cult Awareness Network, daughter of former U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan
Patricia Ryan (author) (born 1954), American writer
Patricia Ryan (actress) (1921–1949), active in old-time radio from childhood until her death in 1927
Patricia Ryan (equestrian) (born 1973), Irish equestrian
Patricia E. Ryan, American human rights advocate and women's rights lobbyistScientology front groups
The Church of Scientology uses front groups to promote its interests in politics and to make itself appear legitimate. Many of the groups are founded on pseudoscience, named disingenuously, and underplay their links to Scientology.Scientology in popular culture
Scientology has been referenced in popular culture in many different forms of media including fiction, film, music, television and theatre. In the 1960s, author William S. Burroughs wrote about Scientology in both fictional short stories and non-fictional essays. The topic was dealt with more directly in his book, Ali's Smile/Naked Scientology. The 2000 film Battlefield Earth was an adaptation of a novel by L. Ron Hubbard.
Musicians and playwrights have made reference to Scientology on some of their work, with some pieces treating the topic in a negative light by their references, and others in a positive manner. Frank Zappa's 1979 concept album/rock opera Joe's Garage lampoons Scientology in the song "A Token of My Extreme". Scientologist Chick Corea has made reference to Scientology in his work, and two of his albums were influenced by L. Ron Hubbard novels. Maynard James Keenan of the metal band Tool, has been critical of Scientology, and the 1996 song "Ænema" contains a negative reference to L. Ron Hubbard. Both Scientology and the life of its founder L. Ron Hubbard were addressed in the 2003 Off-Broadway musical, A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant. The play took a tongue-in-cheek look at both Hubbard's life and the history of the Church, and received an Obie Award in 2004.
Scientology has also been dealt with in fictional television shows, including sitcoms, cartoons, and dramas. The 2005 South Park episode "Trapped in the Closet" dealt with Scientology, and related the story of Xenu. This episode resulted in a deal of controversy, including the departure of Isaac Hayes, and questions over why the episode was not initially rebroadcast. In season four of the television program Nip/Tuck, characters Kimber and Matt join the Church of Scientology. Issues addressed within Nip/Tuck have included both the Xenu story and a look at deprogramming. In Boston Legal's third season, character Alan Shore helps defend an employer sued for discrimination after firing a Scientologist. The episode delves into some of the employee's more eccentric beliefs as well as a debate on religious bigotry, but Shore ends up winning the case for his client. In the radio sitcom Old Harry's Game, Satan claims he invented Scientology.Scientology in the United States
Scientology was founded in the United States by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard and is now practiced in many other countries.Steven Hassan
Steven Alan Hassan (born 1954) is an American mental health counselor who has written on the subject of mind control and how to help people who have been harmed by the experience. He has been helping people exit destructive cults since 1976. Hassan has appeared on the TV news programs 60 Minutes, Nightline, and Dateline, and is a published author and lecturer.
Hassan is a former member of the Unification Church, and he founded Ex-Moon Inc. in 1979 before assisting with involuntary deprogrammings in association with the Cult Awareness Network. In 1999 Hassan developed what he describes as non-coercive methods to help members of cults to quit their groups.The Mind Benders
The Mind Benders was written by Cyril Vosper, a scientologist of 14 years who had become disillusioned, Published in 1971 (hardback, Neville Spearman, ISBN 0-85435-061-6) and reprinted in 1973 (softcover, Mayflower, ISBN 0-583-12249-3), it was the first book on Scientology to be written by an ex-member and the first critical book on Scientology to be published (narrowly beating Inside Scientology by Robert Kaufman). It describes the lower levels of Scientology and its philosophy in detail (it does not go into the Operating Thetan levels) and also includes the story of Vosper's expulsion from the Church.
The book was released as an electronic edition on the internet with the approval of Vosper by the old Cult Awareness Network, in April 1996 and then again in August 1997.Tim Bowles
Timothy Bowles is an American attorney who has worked for the Church of Scientology and its related organizations for the majority of his career.
Along with Kendrick Moxon and Laurie Bartilson, Bowles was one of the lead attorneys for the Church of Scientology in the oft-cited legal case: Church of Scientology International v. Fishman and Geertz.He is the executive director of Youth for Human Rights International, and is a Commissioner on the Board of Advisors of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, both Church of Scientology sponsored organizations.