From: modemac@netcom.com (Modemac)

[ Article crossposted from alt.support.ex-cult,alt.pagan ]

[ Author was Rain ]

[ Posted on 9 Feb 1995 20:51:46 GMT ]

Someone recently posted asking about Isaac Bonewits and his cult evaluation

form. I posted some brief information and he was kind enough to send it to

me. Below is the "ABCDEF" (Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Form),

with his comments in private e-mail.

 

Date: Mon, 6 Feb 1995 09:24:37 -0500

From: Isaac Bonewits

Subject: The ABCDEF

Greetings:

In answer to your recent inquiries on the nets, the Advanced Bonewits Cult

Danger Evaluation Frame is:

(1) by me, not about me; :)

(2) in print in my book "Real Magic" (Weiser Pubs) and Margot Adler's book,

"Drawing Down the Moon";

(3) available in ascii form;

(4) may be freely posted with its accompanying copyright info.

I will attempt to include it below.

For information about "my group", A.D.F., contact our Chief Electronic

Information Officer, <<kithoward@delphi.com>>. She has all our basic lit,

up-to-date grove lists, and misc. essays available in ascii.

yours in the Mother,

Isaac Bonewits

Adr./ADF

************************************************************************

THE ADVANCED BONEWITS CULT DANGER EVALUATION FRAME

(c) 1979, 1994 by P. E. I. Bonewits

Events in the last few decades have clearly indicated just how

dangerous some religious and secular groups (usually called "cults") can

be to their own members as well as to anyone else whom they can

influence. Brainwashing, beatings, rapes and murders, mass suicides,

military drilling and gunrunning, meddling in civil governments and

other crimes have been charged against many groups, and in several cases

those accusations have been true. People need a relatively simple way to

evaluate just how dangerous or harmless a given group is liable to be,

without either subjecting themselves to its power or judging solely on

theological or ideological grounds (the usual method used by anticult

groups).

 

In 1979 I constructed an analytical tool which I now call the

"Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame," or "ABCDEF," a copy of

which was included in the revised edition of my book, "Real Magic"

(Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach, ME 03910, $13 ppd) and is reproduced

at the end of these notes. I realize its shortcomings, but feel that it

can be effectively used to separate the sheep from the wolves. Feedback

from those attempting to use the system would be appreciated.

 

The purpose of this evaluation tool is to help both amateur and

professional observers, including current or would-be members, of

various organizations (including religious, occult, psychological or

political groups) to determine just how dangerous a given group is

liable to be, in comparison with other groups, to the physical and

mental health of its members and of others subject to its influence. It

cannot speak to the spiritual "dangers," if any, that might be involved,

for the simple reason that one person's path to enlightenment/salvation

is often viewed by another as the path to ignorance/damnation.

 

As a general rule, the higher the numerical total scored by a given

group (the further to the right of the scale), the more dangerous it is

likely to be. Though it is obvious that many of the scales in the frame

are subjective, it is still possible to make practical judgments using

it, provided that all numerical assignments are based on accurate and

unbiased observation of actual behavior (as distinct from official

pronouncements).

 

This frame can be used by parents, reporters, law enforcement

agents, social scientists and others interested in evaluating the actual

dangers presented by a given group or movement. Obviously, different

observers will achieve differing degrees of precision, depending upon

the sophistication of their numerical assignments on each scale.

 

However, if the same observer used the same methods of scoring and

weighting each scale, their comparisons of relative danger or

harmlessness between groups will be reasonably valid, at least for their

own purposes. People who cannot, on the other hand, view competing

belief systems as ever having possible spiritual value to anyone, will

find the Frame annoyingly useless for promoting their theocratic

agendas.

 

It should be pointed out that this evaluation frame is founded upon

a) modern ideas of humanistic psychology concerning the nature of mental

health and personal growth, and b) the author's many years of

participant observation and historical research into minority belief

systems. Those who believe that relativism and anarchy are as dangerous

to mental health as absolutism and authoritarianism are, should count

groups with total scores nearing either extreme (high or low) as being

equally hazardous. As far as dangers to physical well being are

concerned, however, both historical records and current events clearly

indicate the direction in which the greatest threats lie. This is

especially so since the low-scoring groups usually seem to have survival

and growth rates so small that they seldom develop the abilities to

commit large scale atrocities even had they the philosophical or

political inclinations to do so.

=====================================================================

THE ADVANCED BONEWITS CULT DANGER EVALUATION FRAME

(c) 1979, 1994 by P. E. I. Bonewits

Factors: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Low High

1. INTERNAL CONTROL: Amount of

internal political power exercised

by leader(s) over members. 1. _____________________________

2. WISDOM CLAIMED by leader(s);

amount of infallibility declared

about decisions. 2. _____________________________

3. WISDOM CREDITED to leader(s) by

members; amount of trust in deci-

sions made by leader(s). 3. _____________________________

4. DOGMA: Rigidity of reality con-

cepts taught; amount of doctrinal

inflexibility. 4. _____________________________

5. RECRUITING: Emphasis put on

attracting new members; amount of

proselytizing. 5. _____________________________

6. FRONT GROUPS: Number of subsid-

iary groups using different names

from that of main group. 6. _____________________________

7. WEALTH: Amount of money and/or

property desired or obtained; em-

phasis on members donations; eco-

nomic lifestyle of leader(s). 7. _____________________________

8. POLITICAL POWER: Amount of ex-

ternal political influence desired

or obtained. 8. _____________________________

9. SEXUAL MANIPULATION: of members

by leader(s); amount of control

over sex lives of members. 9. _____________________________

10. CENSORSHIP: Amount of control

over members' access to outside

opinions on group, its doctrines or

leader(s). 10. _____________________________

11. DROPOUT CONTROL: Intensity of

efforts directed at preventing or

returning dropouts. 11. _____________________________

12. ENDORSEMENT OF VIOLENCE when

used by or for the group, its doc-

trines or leader(s). 12. _____________________________

13. PARANOIA: amount of fear con-

cerning real or imagined enemies;

perceived power of opponents. 13. _____________________________

14. GRIMNESS: Amount of disapproval

concerning jokes about the group,

its doctrines or its leader(s). 14. _____________________________

15. SURRENDER OF WILL: Amount of

emphasis on members not having to

be responsible for personal deci-

sions; degree of individual dis-

empowerment created by the group,

its doctrines or its leader(s). 15. _____________________________

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Low High

========================================================================

Copyright 1979, 1994 by Isaac Bonewits. This text file may be freely

distributed by BBSs provided that no editing is done and this notice is

included. If you have enjoyed reading this "Sharetext" essay, and would

like to encourage him to post more such essays, send $5 to the author

at: Box 72, Dumont, NJ, USA 07628. If you would like to be on the

author's personal mailing/phone list for upcoming publications, song &

lecture tapes, and appearances, send your data to the same address. For

more information about Neopagan Druidism, call 1-800-DRUIDRY or send

$3US (or $4Can) to ADF Info, Box 516, E. Syracuse, NY, USA 13057.

========================================================================

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

 SubGenius is a Dangerous Cult!!!

From: modemac@netcom.com (Modemac)

 

I took a look at the Bonewits Cult Danger form, and I was SHOCKED - nay,

HORRIFIED - to discover that I have been seduced by a dangerous cult!

The facts are inarguable. Observe:

 

=====================================================================

THE ADVANCED BONEWITS CULT DANGER EVALUATION FRAME

(c) 1979, 1994 by P. E. I. Bonewits

 

Factors: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Low High

1. INTERNAL CONTROL: Amount of

internal political power exercised by leader(s) over members.

1. Absolute. Followers are ORDERED

to stop following other leaders, including elected

officials and leaders of other religions.

 

2. WISDOM CLAIMED by leader(s);

amount of infallibility declared about decisions.

2. "Bob" claims absolute infallibility,

and while he may make a lot of

mistakes, he NEVER admits to being wrong.

 

3. WISDOM CREDITED to leader(s) by

members; amount of trust in deci-

sions made by leader(s).

3. Church leaders have unshakable faith in "Bob," which

they encourage in Church minions. This includes

such things as making mistakes and fucking up,

because "Bob" is infallible and if HE can screw

up, then so can his followers.

 

4. DOGMA: Rigidity of reality con-

cepts taught; amount of doctrinal

inflexibility.

4. ALL dogma written by SubGenii

becomes Official SubGenius Literature; therefore, Church

members are taught that the SubGenius writings are NEVER

WRONG.

 

5. RECRUITING: Emphasis put on

attracting new members; amount of

proselytizing.

5. Extremely high. SubGenii are encouraged to mention the

Sacred P.O. Box and convince people to send

money for ordainment.

 

6. FRONT GROUPS: Number of subsid-

iary groups using different names

from that of main group.

6. Extremely High. Some examples:

The SubGenius Foundation, Doktors 4 "Bob,"

The Clan of the Recycled Head of Marcia Brady,

The Shining Path of Least Resistance, Kings of

Feedback, innumerable Clenches.

 

7. WEALTH: Amount of money and/or

property desired or obtained; em-

phasis on members donations; eco-

nomic lifestyle of leader(s).

7. Extremely high. "Bob's" billions cannot be counted, and

the untold number of sex slaves - male, female

and nonhuman - he has his beck and call outnumber the

population of several small countries.

 

8. POLITICAL POWER: Amount of ex-

ternal political influence desired

or obtained.

8. "Bob's" connections include nearly everyone from

L. RonHubbard (or his Overinflated Head)

to the Xists to JHVH-1 Himself!

 

9. SEXUAL MANIPULATION: of members

by leader(s); amount of control

over sex lives of members.

9. "Bob" encourages wild, deviated sex practices, and he

encourages members to engage in deviant

sex AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE.

Control factor: "normal," boring

Missionary sex is frowned upon and

discouraged.

 

10. CENSORSHIP: Amount of control

over members' access to outside

opinions on group, its doctrines or

leader(s).

10.

 

11. DROPOUT CONTROL: Intensity of

efforts directed at preventing or returning dropouts.

11. Absolute. SubGenii CANNOT leave

the Church once they are Ordained.

Even if they declare themselves

as no longer SubGenii, they are

still part of "Bob's" flock.

 

12. ENDORSEMENT OF VIOLENCE when

used by or for the group, its doc-

trines or leader(s).

12. X-day promotes the idea of complete

and utter destruction ofthe world.

The Church of the SubGenius not

only endorses this idea of global

catastrophe, they encourage all members

to participate in the carnage

WHEN THE DAY ARRIVES!

 

13. PARANOIA: amount of fear con-

cerning real or imagined enemies;

perceived power of opponents.

13. The SubGenius doctrine demands

belief in "The Conspiracy," whose

power is perceived to be nearly

absolute. The "Conspiracy," of

course, "persecutes" the Church

of the SubGenius and its members.

 

14. GRIMNESS: Amount of disapproval

concerning jokes about the group,

its doctrines or its leader(s).

14. Well, okay, here the Church

differs from most other cults.

But we've gotten this far,

haven't we?

 

15. SURRENDER OF WILL: Amount of

emphasis on members not having to

be responsible for personal deci-

sions; degree of individual dis-

empowerment created by the group,

its doctrines or its leader(s).

15. Absolute. "Bob" not preach forgiveness

- he offers an EXCUSE for SubGenii to engage in

acts of reckless behaviour. The

Ordained Minister's membership card confirms

this, by giving permission for the

minister to do whatever the hell he/she wants to do.

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Low High

 

- end -

 --

(@ @)\DynaSoar\___, Doktor DynaSoar Iridium, Scienfictiontologist

ll ll Yetii Genetii Research InstiToot, Somedamnwhere, VA

Clench of The One True Pipe Dream, ElectroChurch of the SubGenius

In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a pole. Not enough of this lately.