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Viewers' choice: // Closeup on cultism

Title: Viewers' choice: // Closeup on cultism
Date: Sunday, 29 August 1976
Publisher: Detroit News
Main source: link (137 KiB)

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Though religious cults have existed elsewhere for thousands of years, their ranks have only begun to swell in America in the past few decades. They flourished particularly in the sixties, when celebrity involvement — by the Beatles, among others — helped make cult abbreviations like "TM" (for Transcendental Meditation) commonplace.

Unofficial estimates place the number of cults in the United States today at 5,000, with an individual total of two million members. But as that number grew, so did the controversy surrounding them.

Critics have brought charges that the cults brainwash members and purposely mislead them psychologically and financially before the United States Congress. Parents of children who are involved in them have founded a national organization called Citizens Freedom Foundation dedicated to "educating the public to the dangers of religious cults." And a 45-year-old Methodist man from Tennessee named Ted Patrick is currently facing $10 million worth of lawsuits for his efforts to "de-program" young cultists.

ABC News (Ch. 7) will examine the controversy Thursday at 10 p.m. in the hour-long special "ABC News Closeup on New Religions: Holiness or Heresy?"

The program, narrated by Jim Kincaid, will focus especially on two of the most familiar religious organizations in the United States: The Unification Church founded by South Korean evangelist Rev. Sun Myung Moon, and the Church of Scientology, started by L. Ron Hubbard. It will attempt to examine their social and political implications, as well as their operation.

Moon's church declares its three main goals as unification of religion, creation of the true family of man with the founding of God-centered families and transcendence of all racial, na- [rest of article missing]