Cult Deprogrammers

LORELAI: I’m gonna have to be deprogrammed by cult deprogrammers to get that Tuesday out of my brain.

Cult deprogramming claims to assist people who have been “brainwashed” by new religious movements. Deprogramming was introduced in the 1970s by a high school dropout named Ted Patrick, who, despite having no qualifications or training, convinced people that he could rescue their loved ones from organisations and groups for $10 000. He had experience, having already removed his own son from the Children of God.

Essentially, deprogramming involves abducting the new convert, isolating him, physically restraining him and hitting him with a barrage of continuous arguments and attacks against his new religion, threatening to hold him forever until he agrees to leave it. Ted Patrick was tried and convicted of multiple felonies, such as kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment.

There is no evidence that deprogramming works – in fact, there is a higher rate of success from people naturally getting bored and dropping out of religious movements than there is from deprogramming. Members of the Church of Unification were particularly targeted by deprogramming efforts in the 1980s.

[Picture shows Ted Patrick trying to deprogram a young member of the Children of God].

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