My experience with the anticult movement (ACM) started in 1996 when I met ACM activist Walter Shiel. Walter Shiel was on the board of a large ACM organization called Cult Awareness Network (CAN). CAN collapsed under the weight of a lawsuit around the time I started. This gave rise to various ACM organizations.
I left the Jehovah's Witnesses in anger, which started with mistreatment by an elder. I took this single mistreatment and blamed the whole religion. It took me years to recover from this mistreatment, and now I will never go back. I officially left when a legitimate social issue arose: pedophile problems. I could not believe what was being done and how the Jehovah's Witnesses treated the entire problem as collateral damage.
My advent from the ACM came in three stages. Two were ideological, and one was social.
Now I study the science of cults and sects, not the ACM way. The ACM way is not scientific and not human rights friendly. More to come...
- Stage one. In the early 2000's I was introduced to human rights through three documents called the International Bill of Human Rights. These three documents are the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, along with its optional protocols. The ACM seemed at odds with the international bill, particularly the deprogramming process. Deprogramming involved forcing a person to recant his "cultic" beliefs
- Stage two. This involves the brainwashing model used to sometimes justify deprogramming. Brainwashing emphasizes that a person's identity is changed or repressed. One day in the early 2000s, I checked the scientific literature to see what it said about brainwashing. It said zero. That is because the brainwashing model is not scientific. A person can be socialized, but his identity cannot be changed.
- Stage three. This was the most emotional part and started in 2005. Walter Shiel had a kiddie porn video, which bothered me a little bit. It was a video stolen from a "cult's" storage unit to use against them. At the same time, Walter planned and carried out a deprogramming on me for studying Wicca. I started talking about him. No one listened, and those affiliated with Wally stopped socializing with me. This is ironic that they would do that because these very same people accused the Jehovah's Witnesses of being the same way. In the end, I was accused of stalking and booted from the ACM. I had already had a difference of opinion with the ACM. It was only a matter of time before it erupted into something heated.