Book Review - Cults Sects and the New Age

This article is an electronic version of an article originally published in Cultic Studies Journal, 1990, Volume 7, Number 2, pages 219. Please keep in mind that the pagination of this electronic reprint differs from that of the bound volume. This fact could affect how you enter bibliographic information in papers that you may write.

Book Review - Cults, Sects and the New Age

Rev. James J. LeBar

Introductory comments by Cardinal John J. O'Connor and Cardinal John J. Krol. Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Huntington, Indiana, 1989.

This book provides warnings and advice on how to withstand and cope with cultism's many-sided assault on individuals, schools, churches, the family, and the state. Professionals are being lured into so-called "management training" courses. Individuals and families are harmed by pseudoreligious cults. Unethical psychotherapists systematically make patients more dependent instead of autonomous.

Father LeBar explains how such groups work to undermine the Judeo-Christian ethos. He describes the activities of the most controversial groups: The Way International, Hare Krishna, the Unification Church, Scientology. These and other groups erode the balance of reason and faith on which our society rests.

This book shows how a free meal, supposed warmth of a "friendly stranger" (a cult recruiter), or an invitation to what seems an innocent Bible study group can be the first steps into a cult. These pages caution us to consult knowledgeable sources when approached by a group and to be suspicious of strangers. If cult traps aren't recognized in time, one can be tricked by the same methods as Chinese thought reform into separating from one's family, friends, vocational aspirations, careers, even one's identity and sense of reality.

This book's description of social and personal damage to individuals rebuffs those who are quick to scorn "organized religion" while discounting the shattered lives, marriages, and other tragedies of "organized tyrannies" described in this book.

This book describes self-appointed cult leaders who lure unsuspecting recruits into webs of illusion: avatars, channelers, occultists, satanists, corrupt therapists, corporate mind-control entrepreneurs, New Age smoothies. This book tells us who these persons are and how to unstick their prey. Father James E. McGuire, who contributes to the book, offers constructive guidance to fortify youth as they meet unethical pressures from fundamentalistic, manipulative groups. Very moving are his discernments of deeper sensibilities and most helpful and fair are his suggestions on dealing with unethical proselytizers. Father Debold and Father Burtner, two other contributors, out of their hard-won experience teach readers how to survive New Age scams and defeat pseudoreligious conartists. Father Debold exposes Transcendental Meditation's scheming in the Philippines and the New Age's assault on reason.

Shyness about saying "no," peer pressure, group-induced fear, naivete about mind-tricks: these keep recruits in a cult, a mind-padlock on a door that won't open. This book provides the kind of accurate information needed to protect the unwary.

Rev. Dr. Wallace W. Winchell, Hartford, Connecticut

Cultic Studies Journal, Vol. 7, No. 2, 1990