The Cult Phenomenon in the United States (1979)/Alexander
Senator Dole. Our next witness is Joel Alexander.
It's been suggested, and it is a good suggestion, we have a little biographical sketch on the participants.
I would just say about Mr. Alexander, he's been involved in debriefing. He's done extensive work in this area in Arizona and set up a debriefing center in Tucscon called the Freedom of Thought Foundation.
He has had to fight numerous lawsuits. You may want to further identify yourself, Mr. Alexander. At least those who are in the audience who are not aware of your activity will better understand.
Mr. Alexander. Mr. Chairman, honorable Senators, Congressman:
I want to thank you for inviting me here today. Many thanks for giving me this opportunity to express my views on debriefing or deprogramming, as such.
I would like to briefly dexcribe my background. I was born and raised a Catholic in Koetenberg, Pennsylvania. I am the son of a coal miner, and eventually became a coal miner myself.
After serving three years in World War II, I was involved in various busineses of my own. Due to my work in this field of debriefing or deprogramming, I have been associated with numerous young adults and their parents; some of which were coal miners, attorneys, judges, business people, doctors, senators, ministers, and people of all walks of life.
To these people I am considered a lifetime friend; to the cults, I am considered Satan.
The forumula of my success is due to patience, concern and understanding in relating to these young adults.
During this brief discussion, I hope to enlighten you to the process of debriefing, deprogramming, or counseling, whichever terminology you prefer.
In counseling, I have discovered that it is of the utmost importance to place the ex-cult member in rehabilitation. The first rehabilitation center ever established relating to this issue was the Freedom of Thought Foundation in Tucscon, Arizona.
It was directed by my wife, Esther Alexander. She has much experience in this field.
The combination of the two processes, deprogramming and rehabilitation, allows the young adult to decide if he or she has been teh victim of the deceptive practices of the pseudo-religious cults.
The young people are given an opportunity to establish their freedom of thought. During the last several years, to the effects of many people, conservatorships have been granted all over the United States.
Since such time, we have worked extensively within the conservatorship laws.
I am sure you are all familiar with the laws of conservatorships. Some of our courts have been enlightened to recognize young adults were entrapped by the psychological and scientific kidnappings by these pseudo-religious cults. These courts have granted custody to the parents for 30 to 60 days.
Conservatorship laws have made my work much more effective.
The reason for this is that the cult member always has some doubt about his or her commitment to the cult. With a conservatorship, we can comfortably discuss these doubts together.
With the rehabilitation center providing plenty of good food to help give them strength, and plenty of rest and sleep to help cure their exhaustion, their minds can function once again.
Unless you have seen rehabilitation, it is difficult to understand the parallels to alcohol and drug withdrawal.
For example, we have seen and helped during rehabilitation girls having their menstrual cycles for the first time in months and years.
We have seen and helped young men whose beards have stopped growing while in the cults.
The rehabilitation center employs medical and psychiatric help as well as many lay people to suceed in releasing fear and guilt ni a person entering reality.
Let these young adults and their parents prove their entrapment in these groups. We must make the conservatorship laws stand up to this disease of our nation today. Let's not have another Guyana tragedy.
I am sure it would be difficult for members of the honorable Congress and others of you to understand the potential dangers here, for it took seven years of experience to have the understanding that I have today.
Our First Amendment rights speak for freedom of religion. Let's be the first to honor this amendment. Give our children freedom of thought processes today. Without freedom of thought, there can be no freedom of religion.
These are our sons and daughters whose minds are being manipulated by these cults. Having a person for 30 to 60 days and allowing them to question and be questioned is far less painful than the agony and mental torture that is imposed on them by the pseudo-religious cults.
In the name of God, let us take whatever steps are necessary to rescue our youth from these cults so they can once again have a free mind and a free will.
Senator Dole. Thank you.
Our next witness will be Richard Delgado, Professor of Law at UCLA.