On October 23, 1996 the Cult Awareness Network, Inc.'s servicemark and trademark rights, including rights to the use of the CAN stylized logo, were sold to a Scientology-related law firm as part of a $20,000.00 purchase of CAN assets in the federal bankruptcy court. The purchase became final on October 30, 1996.


Do *not* contact CAN or send financial or other contributions to this organization -- you will be contacting, from 30 Oct 1996, an arm of the Cult of Scientology.

This page is a mirror of CAN's original home page.

Cult Awareness Network

What is a Cult?

A serious problem exists in our society as a result of the emergence of groups, popularly called cults, using mind control (undue influence) and unethical means to recruit and retain followers. Association with these groups can be harmful to followers and disruptive to families, friends and society.

The CULT AWARENESS NETWORK is a national, tax-exempt non-profit educational organization, dedicated to promoting public awareness of the harmful effects of mind control. CAN confines its concerns to unethical or illegal practices and does not judge doctrine or belief.

  • CAN National Office
  • 2421 W. Pratt Blvd., Suite 1173
  • Chicago, IL 60645.
  • 312/267-7777


    EVERYONE - often those who believe they are too intelligent or strongwilled to be recruited!


    During normal transition times, including:
    The first year away from family home.
    A job change or loss.
    A year off or after graduation.
    A sudden illness, death, or accident.
    Loneliness: without or away from friends or family.
    Traveling or on vacation.
    Growing up or growing old: the idealists, curious and/or depressed.
    A change in life-style or homeland.


    On campus, in dorms, in student unions, outside counseling centers, or within student organizations or where they gather.
    At a conference, self-improvement seminar, stress class or training session.
    On the street corner, in front of the library or post office, on a military base, in your office (solicitations to feed the hungry, fight drugs, help the homeless, improve or save the environment, promote peace), in high schools.
    In religious organizations, nursing homes and hospitals.
    At a dance, party, fast-food restaurant, sports event, concert, or weekend retreat.
    In your own home: contacts with service people, childcare workers, housekeepers, and others.
    Through business associates or co-workers.

    By WHOM?

    The friendliest person you have ever met.
    A person too interested in what you like to do.
    Someone who thinks you are wonderful and knows you have connections, influence, or financial resources.
    Someone who has all the answers.


    Mind Control (undue influence): Manipulation by use of coercive persuasion or behavior modification techniques without informed consent.
    Charismatic Leadership: Claiming divinity or special knowledge and demanding unquestioning obedience with power and privilege. Leadership may consist of one individual or a small core of leaders.
    Deception: Recruiting and fundraising with hidden objectives and without full disclosure of the use of mind controlling techniques; use of front groups.
    Exclusivity: Secretiveness or vagueness by followers regarding activities and beliefs.
    Alienation: Separation from family, friends and society, a change in values and substitution of the cult as the new family; evidence of subtle or abrupt personality changes.
    Exploitation: Can be financial, physical, or psychological; pressure to give money, to spend a great deal on courses or give excessively to special projects, or to engage in inappropriate sexual activities, even child abuse.
    Totalitarian Worldview (we/they syndrome): Effecting dependence, promoting goals of the group over the individual and approving unethical behavior while claiming goodness.


    Loss of free will and control over one's life.
    Development of dependency and return to child-like behavior.
    Loss of spontaneity or sense of humor.
    Inability to form intimate friendships outside the cult or enjoy flexible relationships.
    Physical deterioration and abuse.
    Psychological deterioration (including hallucinations, anxiety, paranoia, disorientation, and dissociation).
    Involuntary, de facto servitude or exploitation.
    Note: Not all of these harmful effects will be experienced by everyone who has a destructive cult experience.

    When you meet the friendliest people you have ever known, who introduce you to the most loving group of people you've ever encountered, and you find the leader to be the most inspired, caring, compassionate and understanding person you've ever met, and then you learn that the cause of the group is something you never dared hope could be accomplished, and all of this sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true! Don't give up your education, your hopes and ambitions, to follow a rainbow.
    Jeanne Mills,
    former member of the People's Temple and subsequent victim of assassination a year following the November 18, 1978 Jonestown suicides/murders of 911 adults and children.


    Destructive cults fall into several different categories, including: 1. Religious, 2. Therapy/Self-Awareness, 3. Political, 4. Commercial, 5. New Age, 6. Satanic/Ritual Abuse.


    Group pressure and "Love-Bombing" discourages doubts and reinforces the need to belong through use of child-like games, singing, hugging, touching, or flattery.
    Isolation/Seperation creates inability or lack of desire to verify information provided by the group with reality.
    Thought-Stopping Techniques introduce recruit to meditating, chanting, and repetitious activities which, when used excessively, induce a state of high suggestibility.
    Fear and Guilt induced by eliciting confessions to produce intimacy and to reveal fears and secrets, to create emotional vulnerability by overt and covert threats, as well as alternation of punishment and reward.
    Sleep Deprivation encouraged under the guise of spiritual exercises, necessary training, or ugent projects.
    Inadequate Nutrition sometimes disguised as special diet to improve health or advance spirituality, or as rituals requiring fasting.
    Sensory Overload forces acceptance of complex new doctrine, goals, and definitions to replace old values by expecting recruit to assimilate masses of information quickly with little opportunity for critical examination.
    NOTE: Not all of these features need to be present simultaneously for a mind control regime to be operative.

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