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On our website is a mirror of what used to be on the Cult Awareness Network Web page. While praying one day about teachings needed for internet use, the Lord brought C.A.N. to mind, plus a sense of urgency about them.  My husband searched the internet and found out quickly that C.A.N., belabored by multiple lawsuits brought against them by the Church of Scientology, was finally unable to continue. They were closing down, effective immediately. We were able to download their basic teachings off their Web page just before the information was no longer available.

Before its take over by Church of Scientology, C.A.N. was a Washington based 'ministry' started by ex-cult members and their family members in order to inform U.S.citizens about cults. C.A.N. was a national, tax-exempt non-profit educational organization, "dedicated to promoting public awareness of the harmful effects of mind control. CAN confined its concerns to unethical or illegal practices and did not judge doctrine or belief". They were not affiliated to either a religious organization or the government, and they were funded only by voluntary contributions. Therefore, they were not above listing psuedo Christian organizations as practicing cult-like activity.

Below are some useful outside articles of a general nature about cults:

Cult of Cultic?
by Craig Branch. Very nice introduction with book recommendations at bottom.

What do [Spiritually Abusive] Churches and Cults Have in Common?
an article about spiritually abusive systems, adapted from the book "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse" by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen.

The Cult Church
by Marlene Jones-Skurtu
a brief description and introduction to cults and cult leader mentality

The Master Manipulator
an excerpt from the book "Captive Hearts, Captive Minds"
by Madeleine Landau Tobias and Janja Lalich.

Coercive Mind Control Tactics
This short description on FactNet comes from Dr. Margaret Singer, acknowledged leading authority in the world on mind control and cults.

Abuse of Trust- When faith and parenting fail
Memorial to a deceased daughter after the parent's involvement in a cult.
Contains many good links for spiritual abuse and cults.


Recovery from cults:

Below are useful outside links:

Recovery from Spiritual Abuse
How you can help

REST ministries-- lists resources for recovery

Deception Overswing-- short article about rejecting those things associated with prior deception, even if they be 'good' things. is a ministry which offers various e-mail lists for current or former cult-members, some recovery lists for former members, and lists for family members or those affected by cults (some lists are invitation-only). You may find out about these free resources at:

Abuse of Trust- When faith and parenting fail
Memorial to a deceased daughter after the parent's involvement in a cult. Contains many good links for spiritual abuse and cults.


About specific cults or aberrational groups:

The following websites (all  outsite links) have been promoted as informational for reporting on cults as compared to the tenets of the Christian faith. Since cults or cult-like groups often have a false front and are not  generally forthcoming with what they actually believe or practice,  research and definitions by ministries such as the ones below are highly valuable.

Directory from Let Us Reason Ministries
-an outreach ministry to the Islands of Hawaii and to the world
lists the different Christian Cults and aberrational groups, plus links

Apologetics Index

Apologia Report

Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry

Quest for Truth
(Run by a former member of the International Churches of Christ)

Watchman Fellowship


The ministries above may help prepare one to recognize false doctrine.   However, doctrinal 'correctness' or 'incorrectness' can be a judgment call that is based more on individual interpretation or bias than on objective reasoning. There are also groups who seem to be 'orthodox'  yet who practice spiritual abuse just the same. That is why it is important to develop your own discernment.

In any case, though we can assume that  no one is absolutely doctrinally 'perfect' (We know in part...). there are other signs and symptoms to cult-like groups other than the usual clear or perceived doctrinal error. It is in fact possible to recognize early cult-like signs and as a result, leave a group before the more blatant symptoms. Our hierarchy page may help the reader with the task of discerning before or beyond doctrine alone.

There are many books available to help in this task. One is Twisted Scriptures by Mary Alice Chrnalogara, a self-help book designed to help victims under mind control to set themselves free. The following are some other examples of books that have been recommended in regards to cults. Although we have not read all of them ourselves yet, we still post these here for benefit of anyone who needs it:
Combatting Cult Mind Control
Steve Hassan, Park Street Press, Rochester, VT, 1988
Cults and Consequences: The Definitive Handbook, Rachel Andres and James R. Lane, Jewish Federation Council of Los Angeles, 1988 Influence
Robert B. Cialdini, William Morrow, New York, 1984
Cults In Our Midst: The Hidden Menace in our Everyday Lives
Margaret T. Singer, Ph.D., 1995, Jossey-Bass Publishers
Recovery from Cults
edited by Michael D. Langone, 1993, W. W. Norton
Captive Hearts, Captive Minds
Madeleine Tobias and Janja Lalich,1994, Hunter House
Churches That Abuse
Ronald M. Enroth, Zondervan Publishing House
Cults, Sects and the New Age
Rev. James LeBar, Our Sunday Vistor, 1989
Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A study of brainwashing in China, Robert Jay Lifton, M.D., Univ. of North Carolina Press

NOTE: some 'discernment ministries' may change from their original intent, using cult-tactics themselves and even becoming cults. A case in point may be the Christian Research Institute ( This troubled ministry has become mired in the controversies that have beset Hank Hanegraaff since he became president of the Christian Research Institute (CRI), after the death of its founder, Walter Martin (June 26, 1989). The CRI Connection ( is Walter Martin's Infonet, run by his daughter, Jill Rische, and her husband Kevin.

See: The Critical Spirit by George D. Watson, D.D
"This article was written and published at the beginning of this century. Its content, however, is timeless. The vocabulary and grammar may seem unusual, but the message is clear."

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