The 'International Cultic Studies Association' (ICSA) a good topic to also explore on EMF, particularly that Joe is a member it will be good to hear his perspective.
From my personal experience and perspective I see red flags flying over the ICSA.
It attracts victims of cultic abuse by using and advertising the cult word, yet is at the forefront at diluting the meaning of the word Cult through the public media. This to me is muddying the waters.
Ask a person on the street to define what a Cult is? I think their perception is more likely to be Jonestown or Waco and not likened to a bad 'group', or a bad marriage. (all respects Joe)
The ICSA calls organizations like RSE 'groups',See: ICSA View by: group
http://icsahome.com/infoserv_respond/by ... &B1=Submit
The ICSA also refuses to name or list destructive cults (past or present) while actively dissuading those enrolled in its CULT recovery program NOT to sue 'the group' for damages :-(
The ICSA does have some good resources of information, but in the bigger picture the ICSA is first and foremost a 'group' of "interdisciplinary network of academicians" and a business that plays it safe.
The Definitional Ambiguity of Cult and ICSA's Mission by Michael Langone:
The majority of those persons who attach the “cult” label to these phenomena share a disapproval of the group or organization they label. That is why some people have dismissed the term “cult” as a meaningless epithet hurled at a group one doesn’t like. Although this position may appeal to one’s cynical side, it ignores the reality that many common concepts are fuzzy. Lists of diverse phenomena could also be drawn up for terms such as “child abuse,” “neurotic,” “right wing,” “left wing,” “learning disabled,” “sexy,” “ugly,” “beautiful,” etc. We don’t banish these fuzzy terms from our vocabularies because, contrary to the cynic’s claim, most people most of the time use these fuzzy terms with enough precision to be meaningful and understood by others.
"ICSA has chosen the latter course (On Using the Term Cult). We acknowledge the term’s ambiguity, but we also recognize that, for better or for worse, “cult” is the term that our inquirers, particularly on Internet searches, are most predisposed to use. Although we try to focus the meaning of the term, we must, nonetheless, also try to respond constructively to the wide spectrum of phenomena that our inquirers collectively associate with “cult,” however misguided their linguistic usage may sometimes be."
Langone, Michael: "The Definitional Ambiguity of Cult and ICSA's Mission"
http://cultmediation.com/infoserv_artic ... ofcult.asp
The ICSA Describes itself as an "interdisciplinary network of academicians"
International Cultic Studies Association - Wikipedia,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internatio ... ssociation
Jesuit Law Professor Alan W. Scheflin,former President of ICSAInternational Cultic Studies Association:
from ICSA Website
ICSA does NOT maintain a list of "bad" groups or "cults." We non-judgmentally list groups on which we have information.
Groups listed, described, or referred to on ICSA's Web sites may be mainstream or non-mainstream, controversial or non-controversial, religious or nonreligious, cult or not cult, harmful or benign.
We encourage inquirers to consider a variety of opinions, negative and positive, so that inquirers can make independent and informed judgments pertinent to their particular concerns.