I recently returned from the annual conference of the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA).
At the annual ICSA International conference, cult studies experts come together to reveal common seduction, manipulation and recovery issues from many groups.
Their efforts provide tools for individuals, families, corporations, attorneys and governments to understand cult movements.
My children tease, saying I belong to the ACC or Anti-Cult Cult! When they see my computer screen lit by TMFree blog's green screen they say "Oh, Mom's busy with the TM's ACC." The difference between ICSA or other academic groups is that there is not a defining theology, lifestyle, charismatic unaccountable leadership, nor viewing of outsiders as somehow inferior or unenlightened.
The fascination of attending an ICSA workshop, for me, is to learn the common experiences among different-appearing groups.
Every human being is fallible, and thus every human group will be fallible. While ICSA is not perfect, there is benefit to uniting for common good, to expose manipulative tactics in religious, political, business and personal relationships.
By coming together for research, conversation and activism, we can provide tools for a larger audience, and also diminish our own isolation.
We, here at TMFree, reveal and discuss what we know of the underbelly of Transcendental Meditation Movement.
There are other such sites and communication venues which address the wrongs of a variety of individual cultic groups.
Cult is as cult does, regardless of the facade.
My personal greatest experience at this year's ICSA conference was a long conversation with a woman raised in polygamy. While our upbringings appear quite different, we discovered that we share identical life issues today, resulting from commonalities of our respective cult-family histories.
Other former TMers could find commonalities with former cultists from various groups. Looking at another's experience in a totalistic group can allow one to reflect back upon their TM experience.
With the release of Judith Borque's memoir as Maharishi's lover and Conny Larsson's soon-to-be-released-into-English memoir of his time with Maharishi and Sai Baba, the similarities between the TM experience and that of other cults becomes increasingly obvious.
Readers of TMFree could probably benefit from reading blogs and websites that address other cults' methods, and general cult recovery issues. While Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation has its own twist; we can all learn by exploring similarities of life issues with those from other groups. One can begin such explorations via links on the right column of this blog.