New cult awareness group plans to educate, inform
The Forum (St Louis Community College at Florissant Valley), November 15 1990.
The first meeting of a cult awareness group designed to educate students, faculty and staff about cults and their recruiting tactics was held November 1st.
The meeting, held in the United Campus Ministry office, focused on the group, St Louis Church of Christ. The group has ties to a similar organization based in Boston and is not affiliated with other St Louis religious groups with similar names, such as the United Church of Christ or other independent Church of Christ organizations.
Michael and Catherine Morgan, the leaders of the Cult Awareness group, are former members of the St Louis Church of Christ. Michael Morgan said although the cult is not affiliated with other Church of Christ organizations, its founder, Chuck Lucas, based the church in the beginning on the principles of the Crossroads Church of Christ.
The cult doesn’t prey on the poor or people of lower intelligence, he said. It preys on upper to middle-class intelligent people of all ages. “We are starting this group to make students aware,” he said. “That is their best defense.”
Morgan said the group is planning to focus on as many cults as possible in future, but they are starting by focusing on the St Louis Church of Christ because it is the prevalent cult in the area right now, and they know the most about it.
Morgan discussed ways to avoid cult tactics – the best of which is just to firmly say no. “It may start out where they will just ask you to a soccer game, but as you get more and more into it, sooner or later they will ask you to a Bible study,” Morgan said.
Sister Toni Temporiti, UCM adviser, said students here have reported being harassed by cult members from the St Louis Church of Christ. “I know of four or five students who have been approached by the cult in the Student Center Cafeteria,” she said in an earlier article. “The students were angry at these people for bothering them.”
Morgan declined to comment further on the students approached in the cafeteria because he said the issue was too sensitive at this time.
Morgan said if a student is approached, they should try to get the person’s name and report it either to the campus police, the student activities office, or the UCM. “If you think your privacy is being invaded or you are being harassed you should report it,” Morgan said.
He noted that anyone who reports harassment will be kept anonymous. “The biggest tactic they use is community outreach, they’ll go banging around on doors, throw a hand in your face, say ‘I am so and so and I’m from so and so,” Morgan said.
“It’s easy to say no then, you just slam the door in their face and call the police here it’s not as easy,” he said. “This is a more community type of thing, and it’s hard to run around a door and shut it, but you can recruit the help of a police department.”
The cult awareness group is scheduled to meet monthly.