Barker, Dr. Eileen – THE MAKING OF A MOONIE (BRAINWASHING OR CHOICE?) 1984 Basil Blackwell –
Controversial book which is not just a study of the Unification Church Of The Reverent Sung Myung Moon (The Moonies) but a direct attempt to discredit the whole theory of brainwashing and mind control in a cult environment. The book raises many challenges to the cult-monitoring groups who have dared to protest against cult activities. Barker was A London School Of Economics sociologist who, on Home Office funded project, joined the Moonies as a participation observer to assess how members are recruited and how their minds are affected. She became highly supportive of the cult, raising the counter-challenge that she may have been a/. Brainwashed herself B/. Shown only that which she wished to see. Though she was dismissive of brainwashing by cults, she accuses cult-watchers of the same offences. She is particularly damming in her condemnation of deprogramming, (the forced kidnapping and counter-brainwashing tactics of ex-cultists like Ted Patrick), though deprogramming is now largely out of fashion anyway. Many of her views on Scientology can apply to most other cults, including Scientology. Though she has occasionally spoken out against some cult practices as an expert court witness, her stance is mostly that of a cult apologist. Her claim to neutrality in her studies is undermined by her affection for her subjects. At one point she assists another apprentice Moonie in escaping over the wall of their centre for a night out on the town. She is also highly uncritical of the well-established Moonie practice of Love-Bombing, (saturating people with a great deal of group affection to break their independence). On the basis of her book, she became the founder member of INFORM, a Home Office funded Cult Monitoring body that in its day largely assured inquirers that cults were relatively harmless and that they had nothing to worry about. Government cutbacks and controversies caused the Government to withdraw INFORM funding in 1997, pushing the society to the brink of closure, but surprisingly, funding was restarted in the year 2000. The decision was not popular with Barker's opponants. Barker is considering the establishment of an INFORM like group in the USA. .
© Copyright. Arthur Chappell
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