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Certains membres du Congrès US ne sont pas dupes des sectes



[nota: Leo J. Ryan était membre du Congrès US; c'est lui qui a été assassiné lors du massacre du temple de Jonestwon, celui des 930 morts "suicidés" au Guyana; il s'y rendait pour enquèter pour le compte du gouvernement sur les abus commis dans la secte; ce qui suit est un résumé d'une conférence tenue au Congrès US]

Voir détails et lauréats du Prix Ryan

3 novembre 1977

EFFETS DES SECTES RELIGIEUSES SUR LA SANTE ET LE BIEN-ETRE DE LEURS CONVERTIS

HON. LEO J. RYAN

CALIFORNIE

Congrès américain

Mardi 3 novembre 1977

M. Ryan a la parole; les activités de l'église de l'unification du rev.Sun Yung Moon continuent à perturber beaucoup d'entre nous. Comme vous le savez, le sous-comité du congrès sur les organisations internationales, présidé par mon distingué collègue DONALD FRASER, enquète sur les allégations de liens étroits entre le Rd Moon et certaines de ses organisations avec le gouvernement sud-coréen, y compris avec la KCIA. En tant que membre du sous-comité, je suis bien sûr très ennuyé de ces affirmations. Mon plus grand souci concerne cependant les jeunes gens convertis à ces sectes religieuses, ainsi que leurs parents, qui souffrent d'avoir perdu leur enfant.

L'un de ces parents, Mme Ida Watson Camburn de Sunnyvale, Californie, m'a apporté le témoignage de John G. Clark, Jr., M.D., professeur assistant en psychiatrie à la faculté de médecine de Harvard; ce témoignage a été fait devant un comité du Vermont qui enquètait sur les sectes religieuses. Les observations du Dr Clark proviennent de deux ans et demi de recherches quant aux effets des sectes religieuses sur la santé physique et le bien-être de leurs convertis. J'en recommande vivement les conclusions à mes collègues:

Témoignage de John G. Clark Jr. M.D.

Lors de ce témoignage présenté par devant le comité établi par la législature du vermont, j'ai l'intention de prészenter des conclusions substantielles tirées de deux ans et demi de recherches sur les effets de l'adhésion à des sectes religieuses, sur la santé phyisque et le bien-être de leurs membres. Mes conclusions sont plutôt dures: les risques pour la santé sont énormes. Bien que je discute surtout des dangers importants pour la santé mentale et pour le développement personnel, je dois aussi, en tant que médecin, attirer l'attention sur les dangers tout uassi graves, voire mortels, ebnvers la santé physique.

Je dirai que la persuasion coercitive et les techniques de réforme de la pensée sont efficacement pratiqués sur des sujets naïfs, non-informés, avec des conséquences désastreuses sur leur santé. J'essaierai de donner assez d'information pour les enquètes supplémentaires, ainsi qu'un aperçu des procédés légaux applicables.

A partir des données spécifiques recueillies durant mes recherches, on peut désormais décrire assez justement la façon dont on s'implique dans une secte. Ce faisant, je crois pouvoir démontrer convenablement les risques majeurs encourus pour la santé ainsi que d'autres risques sociaux provoqués par les activités de certaines sectes que nous tenterons de définir comme sectes destructrices. Elles sont nombreuses, et comprennent les célèbres Hare Krishna, l'Eglise de l'Unification, les Scientologues et la Mission de la lumière divine, toutes utilsatrices de techniques similaires. Le fait que j'utilise le terme techniques indique que ces enquètes ont dévoilé une série d'aspects techniques sur la question, techniques ayant besoin d'être comprises, et que l'on peut expliciter.

Tous ces groupes dont nous parlons ont des chefs encore en vie, et très riches. Les croyances de ces sectes sont absolutistes et intolérantes d'autres systèmes de croyances. Leurs systémes de gestion sont totalitaires. Parmi les obligations pour être membre figure l'obéissance absolue sans discussion. L'intérêt qu'ils portent au développement de l'individu dans la secte en direction d'une forme de personnalité adulte satisfaisante est, selon leurs doctrines, très faible ou inexistant. Il est évident que presque tous mettent l'accent sur faire de l'argent sous une forme ou une autre, bien que certains paraissent très impliqués dans des actions et rituels d'auto-dénigrement. La plupart de ceux que j'ai étudiés possèdent de grosses fortunes à la disposition discrétionnaire de leurs chefs.

La plupart de ces sectes se considèrent purement religieuses, d'autres plutôt politiques. L'une des caractéristiques communes les plus marquantes de ces sectes est la présence d'une leader qui d'une façon ou d'une autre, prétend disposer de pouvoirs spéciaux, pouvant aller jusqu'à se proclamer Messie. Ces leaders ont des qualités individuelles particulières comprenant une vision unique du monde et une volonté spéciale d'effectuer des changements drastiques sur l'esprit et le comportement de leurs adeptes.

Les techniques utilisées par ces sectes paraissent très similaires, bien que chacune use d'un style qui lui est propre. C'est évident que ces sectes ont élaboré des méthodes permettant d'accéder aux individus sensibles pour les assujettir jusqu'à un certain point. Ceux qui succombent à ces systèmes semblent divdiés en deux groupes: le premier comprend les "chercheurs"; nous en connaissons tous - selon le sens populaire, ils constitueraient l'ensemble de la population des gens susceptibles d'être pris, mais c'est inexact. Il s'agit en fait de personnalités schizophrènes ou marginales chroniques.



It is quite clear
that the existence of emotional or personality problems is a reason for becoming
involved in the cults and that most mental health professionals consider only
this reason at present. These inductees involve themselves in order to feel
better because they are excessively uncomfortable with the outside world and
themselves. Such motivated versions are "restitutive," in that the "seekers" are
trying to restore themselves to some balance of comfort in a fresh, though false
reality. We also see this attempt at restitution in the development of the
so-called secondary symptoms of schizophrenia and other forms of mental illness
as the attempt of a troubled or damaged mind to put together a new, simplified
mental world and style of reasoning in order to compensate for the terrible
awareness (or near awareness) of personal vulnerability. Approximately 58% of
inductees were found to be in this first group from my studies.

L'existence de problèmes de personnalité, ou émotionnels, est une des causes évidentes d'implication dans les sectes; la plupart des professionnels de la santé mentale la croient actuellement l'unique cause. Ces gens y pénètrent d'eux-mêmes, pour aller mieux, car ils se sentent assez mal par rapport au monde extérieur et à eux-mêmes. Ceux qui ont ces motifs sont "restitutifs"

The remaining 42% of the examined sample, however, were not illl or damaged in
the sense I have mentioned before. That is, they were found to be apparently
normal, developing young people who were going through the usual crises of
development on the way to becoming adults, who, for any number of reasons, had
fallen into the trap laid by the cults and had been taken in. On examination
they were strong growing students on the average who were facing the normal
pains of separation from their families, the normal depressions therefrom, the
new, clear slightly feverish view of the complexity of outer reality which is a
part of early college life. I think of they are joining the cult as being
"adaptive"; that is, they are presented with certain problems by the cult and
adapt themselves to it by psychic, social and physiological processes which are
not in themselves as pathological as those involved in the "restitutive"
conversions. In some ways it is this more healthy "adaptive" group that is most
alarming to the observer.

From a clinician's point of view the first or restitutive group under the
influence of cult indoctrination and practices is very much at risk. In many
ways it can be very easily shown from long experience within the mental health
field how very much more damaged they may become by being given a thought
disorder by a group that conforms to a prior tendency to this sort of thinking
disability. Their chances of ever developing a good relationship to outer
reality and becoming autonomous individuals must, perforce, diminish with the
passage of time. I am reminded of the chronic schizophrenics of some years ago
whose psychotic style of thinking became totally institutionalized when placed
in the back wards of hospitals for such a long enough time that they ultimately
could no longer think at all effectively. The healthier second group, though
theoretically less totally vulnerable, is more easy to identify with; their
problems may be especially revealing as I will try to explain.

These people tend to be from intact, idealistic, believing families with some
religious background. Often they had not truly made any of the major shifts
toward independence and so, left home at the appropriate time believing they
were ready for freedom. When this belief was seriously challenged in this brave
new world by their first real set backs or by any real crisis they became
covertly depressed , thus enhancing their susceptibility to the processes of
conversion.

For individuals in this state of vulnerability to be converted a series of
circumstances, techniques and events must occur to bring about the complete
subjugation of the mind and person which I am attempting to describe. The first
event is the gaining of access to these potential converts which is raised to a
high art by all of the successful cults. Some even have printed manuals
describing where to approach prospects, exactly what types of initial pressure
to put on each of them and what the odds are that they will acquire a certain
number of converts from a given amount of pressure well applied. The general
openness of manners of this group adds to the ease of access. Once such a
prospect has agreed to investigate the rather simple propositions expressed by
the representatives of the cult he or she is brought into the next and highly
sophisticated activities of the conversion process. From the first, intense
group pressure, lectures, lies, false use of facilities and other inter-personal
pressures, unexpected by the individual, are brought to bear. Singing, chanting
and a constant barrage of the kinds of rhetoric which catch the young idealistic
minds, are constantly in play. So intense is this that individuals who are under
such pressure and are susceptible tend to enter a state of narrowed attention,
especially as they are more and more deprived of their ordinary frames of
reference and of sleep. This state must be described as a trance. From that time
there is a relative or complete loss of control of one's own mind and actions
which is then placed into the hands of the group or of individuals who have been
the direct contact with the individual inductee. This induction

period has also been described as "coercive persuasion".

Once this state of passive, narrowed attention and willingness to be influenced
is achieved, the true work of conversion, (or of thought reform) begins in
earnest. This is always a program of unbelievable intensity! During this, all of
the cults step up their ideological reform pressures by increased group
pressure, change of diet, and introduction of elements of guilt and terror. The
question of supernatural pressures that one must face in the future are brought
out more and more explicitly and concretely. Many promises are made of
redemption or safety, in the certainty that the world will soon end at which
time there will be enormous rewards or terrible punishments to believers or
non-believers. The threats may be implicit but are sometimes increasingly
physical and explicit physical threats. Preaching is constant from all sides:
supervision is absolute and privacy of body or of mind may not be allowed for
days or weeks into the future, even to use the bathroom. All relationships to
other people are organized and stereotyped and no chances given for
idiosyncratic expression. The victims are induced rapidly to give up all
familiar and loved past objects -- parents, siblings, home, city. etc -- and
they are physically and emotionally moved to as foreign an environment as is
possible to imagine. Thus, it becomes increasingly hard for them to reconstruct
in imagination what one has once experienced sometime in the past. Reality
becomes the present and includes in it elements of the supernatural, magical,
terrifying thought which has been expressed constantly all around. There is no
base left for reality testing.

Perhaps as important a factor as any is that the base of each individual's
language which has been part of the mind and the body function from the very
early stages, is slowly and deliberately changed. All words of any emotional
importance have had some shifting of their meaning to an over simplified,
special sort of related definition. Each person is given more and more tasks to
learn, to study, to grasp, and has last time to believe that the past ever
existed. By this time the indoctrination has defined parents as being infected
by Satan's influence and parenthood is reinvested in the leaders of the cults.
The urge to go home has been replaced by the need for absolute authority of the
cult and its leaders, and at the same time the value of education and need to go
to school has disappeared from the consciousness. This much radical change of
attitudes loyalties and thinking style occur and regularly does occur within a
few days to a few weeks.

From this time the problem of maintenance of the state of mind is apparently
rather simple. Leaving the old familiar life setting and renouncing it for a new
communal theology the eccepting of a new family with new definitions of love and
denouncing of natural parents leads as individual to think all bridges to the
past are closed and that a very brave move into a new world has indeed it made.
In some cults members are taught intensive chanting and meditating procedures
which in case of any attack on their beliefs can cover up all possible thoughts
and doubts. Others can apparently reenter a trance state with a narrowed
consciousness of reality the first moment that somebody questions or challenges
their beliefs. They are then promoted to the next steps or stages in their cults
usually as proselytizers, money raisers or in some cases garbage collectors.

In my opinion, the last stage of this process in both adaptive and restitutive
groups probably may evolve after four to seven years. This would be
"acculturation" and would be irreversible. This stage may be compared to that of
the untreated person with a schizophrenic illness who slides without proper help
into a kind of personal degradation which, if unchallenged or untreated in time
finally becomes acculturated and permanent. Anyone trying to nudge a person from
this acquired style of thinking and behavior as we in mental health field know
very well is going to feel that he is the natural enemy of his own patient. In
my opinion, I repeat, by acculturation this new style of thinking may become
irreversible.

Before this final state cult members seem to experience two forms of
personality, the original and the imposed. The original is complex, full of love
relationships, expectations, and hopes and, especially, rich language. This
richness of language is that which parents suddenly miss when they first see
their thought reformed children. Their reaction is appropriately panic! They
recognize and correctly identify terrifying, sudden, unacceptable changes in the
style of language and the style of relating as well as a narrowing and thinning
down of the thought processes. Formally bright, fluent and creative individuals
are rendered incapable [of ] the use of irony or a metaphor and they speak with
a smaller carefully constricted vocabulary with cliches and stereotyped ideas.
They also appear to have great difficulty using abstractions in their speech or
arguments. They do not love except in cliches and established forms. Almost all
of the charged, the emotion-laden language symbols are shifted to new meanings.
Parents notice this long before professionals because they'd do not need
cumbersome and elaborate tools to analyze language patterns. Their memories and
intuition are sufficient.

The evidence for what I call a shift in personality which may be what we call in
psychiatry "depersonalization", comes from several kinds of observation. The
first is that despite the appearance to very experienced clinicians of flagrant
and classical schizophrenia in many converts, the induced mental state being
discussed does not respond to the most effective antipsychotic drugs or any of
the methods of treatment customarily applied by the mental health professionals
to restore effective thinking.

Thus, we are relatively helpless to restore thinking processes because under the
current interpretations of the laws we cannot maintain physical control for long
enough to bring about the confrontation therapies which might be effective in
reestablishing the original personality style in the way it was done with the
Korean war prisoners. On the other hand antipsychotic medicines are still
effective in treating acute psychosis in these same people though not affecting
the state of conversion.

The second and rather compelling piece of evidence is that the thought reformed
state is dramatically altered by the process of deprogramming about which,
though I cannot legally advise it as a therapy under most circumstances, a great
deal is known. The deprogramming process as it is now practiced effects, in a
large number of cases, a fairly rapid return to the old organization of the
mind, a repersonalization, and brings back with it the old language skills and
memories, original personal relationship patterns and of course the old
problems. Furthermore it is regularly observed that for some time after the
deprogramming the affected individuals are very vulnerable for about a year,
and, especially during the first few weeks to two months, they feel themselves
aware of and close to, two different mental worlds. Their strong impulses to
return to the cult are altered by logical reasoning processes and the great fear
of someone taking control of their minds from the outside once again. During
this time a former convert can quickly be recaptured either by fleeting impulse
or by entering a trance state through a key word or piece of music or by
chanting or by a team from the cult.

In general, however, after a return to an original state of mind the
individual's problem[s] begin to seem like ordinary health problems. Most of
them are depressed, depleted people reminding one very much of that status of
patients who have recently recovered from acute psychosis who are able to feel
that for the first time in their lives they had lost a clear sense of reality
and of control. They feel ashamed of what they have done and the pain they have
inflicted, are very scared and for a while unable to manage their lives
effectively. To remain within the strict mental and social confines of the cult
experience for even a short time is disastrous for some, who have become
psychotic or have committed suicide. Continuing membership appears to invite a
deeper acceptance of the controlled state of mind and, in my opinion leads to
the gradual degradation of ordinary thought processes necessary to cope with
highly differentiated and ambiguous eternal life problems of the future. In this
state after some time the intellect appears to lose a great many IQ points; the
capacity to form flexible human relationships or real intimacy is impaired and
all reality testing functions are difficult to mobilize so that judgment is
poor. An individual with even moderate prior psychological disability is likely
to be set back considerably and permanently in his or her maturation to
adulthood and will certainly be impaired in the ability and capacity to deal
with the real world opportunities and dangers. The loss of educational and
occupational experiences will confirm these losses beyond any doubts.

This is the rough picture of the phenomenon of thought reform as practiced by
present-day cults and the natural history of this process and its effects on the
involved individuals. Though incomplete it is based on examination of 27
subjects at all stages of involvement in six different cult's as well as
interviews with many more interested and informed observers. I believe the
overall outline is sound though, of course, incomplete. The fact of a
personality shift in my opinion is established. The fact that this is a
phenomenon basically unfamiliar to the mental health professional I am certain
of. The fact that our ordinary methods of treatment don't work is also clear as
are the frightening hazards to the process of personal growth and mental health

In this paper I have tried to describe the phenomenon of involvement of young
people in destructive cults. The problems of special vulnerability to conversion
were described and two major groups of susceptibles were identified. A natural
history of access, induction by coercive persuasion, the processes of thought
and attitude reform and the maintenance of conversion described. An opinion that
a permanent state of acculturation was likely to occur after a number of years
was expressed. The rapidity of these catastrophic changes were emphasized as
well as many of their qualities and these were related to mental health and
maturational concerns.

Specific and important problems such as suicide, depression, psychotic reactions
and psychosomatic disorders are most serious and deserve another discussion and
much more study it is also clear that the multiple, serious and often bizarre
problems of physical illness need careful and official attention. Both the
mental health and physical health problems presented by the activities of the
cults should be investigated in much greater detail by official agencies. I
believe that they merit active interest of such constitutive authorities as this
Legislative body who I trust can see some of the greater implications of all
that has been discussed and will be further revealed in these hearings.

--END-of segment of the United States Congressional Record


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Le député US Ryan fut assassiné le 18 novembre 1978 durant le massacre du Temple du Peuple à Jonestown au Guyana. Ayant reçu des plaintes de parents de membres de la secte, Leo J. Ryan s'y rendit en visite le 18 novembre 1978, afin d'enquèter sur des allégations de violations des droits de l'homme.

Ainsi que le fit observer un critique de la CIA, Ryan était co-auteur d'un projet de loi Hugues-Ryan qui aurait exigé que la CIA fournisse par avance au Congrès le détail de toutes ses opérations secrètes. Les Services du Premier Ministre US ne lui offrirent aucune assistance ni réponse, en dépit de ses nombreuses tentatives.

Il arriva à la secte avec un officier de l'ambassade US, Richard Dwyer, et quelques journalistes. L'un d'eux était Tim Reiterman, qui avaity traité de l'affaire Patty Hearst pour le compte du San Francisco Examiner. Il est probable que Ryan avait une idée de ce qui allait arriver à Jonestown.

Leo Ryan est donc le premier congressman US à être mort en service commandé; les reporters fuurent également assassinés. Le projet de loi Hugues Ryan ne survécut pas. Les assassins furent par la suite décrits comme des "zombies au regard glacé...


Le traducteur était à l'époque scientologue : les services secrets de la secte anoncèrent que l'assassinat des 930 membres de la secte était l'oeuvre de la CIA.


Un prix Leo Ryan est attribué depuis 1980. Il a souvent été attribué à des gens dont la plus évidente spécialité était la lutte contre la scientologie.

1980 Howard Lasher
1981 Dr. Margaret Singer
1982 Rabbi Maurice Davis
1983 Fr. Kent Burtner
1984 Dr. Ronald Enroth
1985 Dr. John Clark
1986 Gabe Cazares

1987 Dr. Robert Lifton
1988 Dr. Sandy Andron
1989 Fr. Bill Wasmuth
1990 Dr. Louis Jolyn West
1991 Bob Lobsinger
1992 Richard Behar
1993 Maynard Bernstein
1994 Patricia Ryan
1995 Cynthia Kisser
1996 Michael Langone
97-98 pas de récompense accordée
1999 Bill & Lorna Goldberg
2000 Flo Conway & Jim Siegleman
2001 Robert S. Minton

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