Bonewits "cult danger" rating scale

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joe sz
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Bonewits "cult danger" rating scale

Unread post by joe sz » Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:43 am ... en0703.htm

"This article uses the Bonewits Cult Danger Scale to evaluate the author?s subjective experiences with five groups: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Avatar, Center for Creative Consciousness, Conversations with God, and Human Awareness Institute. The results demonstrate that new groups can vary widely in their perceived ?cultishness.?

This paper by Benjamin Elliot appeared in the same e-newsletter as Shawn Sutherland's Krishna Venta article. ... en0703.htm

Sutherland just posted [Jan 7] here under "Krishna Venta" on "Academics:.."

Elliot studies and rates a variety of spiritual and human potential groups. I thought this is valuable for anyone who suffered harm in RSE. The big question comes up: What and who can I trust now? With Elliot's approach, there is at least some way to measure potential harm or good. In any case, the scale helps one to think about and assess the options.


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Unread post by G2G » Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:37 am

Joe writes: "What and who can I trust now?"

Excellent, excellent point, and exactly how even I felt, while not being in RSE for quite a year.

I now know that in terms of spirituality, etc., I can only trust myself, and in that, try as best as I can to live with compassion, love, and tolerance.
(it "ain't" easy) 8) 8) 8)

But I do the very best that I can to find the point of "clarity" within my deepest thoughts, and I just keep coming up with the only true thing to me, is what I've mentioned above.

First out of RSE and having lost several family members after exiting, I felt a HUGE void, since all I had known and trusted, from my strict catholic upbringing to fraudulent RSE - was not what "it" is. There was nothing to grab onto to get through the grief. Grief counseling helped me a lot. The truth though, is it was time and examining my feelings to the very origin - and knowing again, the only real thing throughout my life has been love - for others, for the people of the world, for the world itself. In this, I can feel hope that there are people who do wish to be the best "human" they can. I don't want to be a god, I just want to be who *I* am, and if there is something I learn I don't like about me, I strive to change it simply because I want to, and not because someone "bribes" me with promises of "ascension" etc. Take that and put it where the light doesn't shine.... :wink: When thinking of those trodding the mud and enduring neverending "events," there is still something within these people that hasn't been "killed" by RSE promises and abuses. They just can't see past the window, since the flame has tarnished the pane.

It's okay to be human. :)

Thanks again, for stating it so succinctly, Joe.
"I never really understood religion - it just seemed a good excuse to give" - Ten Years After circa 1972

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Unread post by Wakeup-Call » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:47 am

What a great reference, Joe - Thanks!

joe sz
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out on limb

Unread post by joe sz » Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:07 pm

I went out on a limb a bit with this reference to the Bonewits scale. fyi, Isaac and Phaedra Bonewits also operate a Real Magic neo-pagan "school" that most skeptics and conservatives in religion might view as spuriously conceived. I am not promoting the Real Magic school
[hello, Harry Potter :roll: ]
but it seems that ICSA saw B Ellliot's work with the Bonewits Scale as worthy of note, so they published it.

More to the point, Isaac and Phaedra Bonewits have been using this scale since 1979:
"In 1979 I constructed an evaluation tool which I now call the ?Advanced Bonewits? Cult Danger Evaluation Frame? or the ?ABCDEF? (because evaluating these groups should be elementary). A copy was included in that year?s revised edition of my book, Real Magic. I realize its shortcomings, but feel that it can be effectively used to separate harmless groups from the potentially dangerous ones and distinguish harmful ones from those that are merely unusual to the observer. Feedback from those attempting to use the system has always been appreciated. Indirect feedback, in terms of the number of places on and off the Net this ABCDEF has shown up, has been mostly favorable. It has been used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in its Meddigo Report on Bible-based cults (which really bothered some members of the Religious Reich). It was also used by by the government of the Union of South Africa, in its report on minority religions. This latter led to the legalization of same-sex marriage there. It has appeared in a few books by other Pagan authors as part of discussions about choosing ethical teachers and groups."

To me, so far as I can see, the scale does help people with neo=pagan and psychic leanings to evaluate groups and leaders without having to resort to all the standard "cult" books out there. But I see it as only a tool, not a total answer.

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