Massimo Introvigne

The Cult of Cult Apologists: Massimo Introvigne Part 1

Scientology’s Freedom Magazine published interview with Massimo Introvigne

The Scientology Money Project is undertaking a new series called The Cult of Cult Apologists.

Our thesis is that the Cult of Cult Apologists is an organized long-term effort by scholars working in the service of cults in order to change perceptions about how these groups are viewed by governments, academia, law enforcement, and the public. This effort has a public-facing side and a more private and covert side. We discuss some of these scholars and their work; examine  evidence; and offer some glimpses into the money trail. We also discuss the results these scholars have produced over time for their clientele.


The Cult of Cult Apologists was formed by sociologists David Bromley, Anson Shupe, and others in the early 1980’s. The religious scholar J. Gordon Melton did some earlier work and became affiliated with the sociologists that then composed the bulk of the Cult of Cult Apologists.

These academics began by using overt, and often hostile, propaganda tactics. Their first goal was to persuade, cajole, or otherwise persuade Western Culture and governments to stop calling religious cults “cults” and instead call these deviant groups “New Religious Movements” or NRM’s.

In order to make this repositioning of cults viable, this clique called themselves New Religious Movement scholars. In our analysis, we see the public role of NRM scholars as conducting research and writing papers primarily on religious cults that were founded in America in the 19th and 20th centuries or had deep ties into America. These NRM’s included the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Theosophy, Scientology and other groups that began in the 19th and 20th centuries. The NRM clique also researches and writes on cults outside of America such as the Unification Church and Aum Shinrikyo.

Based upon the evidence, the more private role of NRM scholars has always been to act as operatives for cultic groups by participating as volunteers within governmental bodies; teaching and speaking at universities; and joining ecumenical groups in order to gain influence and collect intelligence. Any influence gained would be used to change laws, policies, media perceptions, and public perceptions in order to effect favorable changes which benefitted cults. We argue that, when understood properly, NRM scholarship is a form of long-term ideological subversion and active measures designed to change the perception about cults.

Active measures speak to the creation of religious front groups; working with lawyers, lobbyists, and elected officials to create political lobbying organizations whose declared purpose is “religious freedom” where this means freedom for cults form outside interference; and the infiltration of ecumenical groups. If, for example, NRM operatives were able assist Scientology in finding common ground with the Lutheran Church, then this would give Scientology perceived legitimacy by association.


As part of its ideological subversion of discourse on cults, the second critical component and aim of NRM propaganda was to dehumanize and discredit  former cult members by calling them “apostates.” We consider this naked aggression on the part of the NRM scholars. Anyone who is, or has even been, a member of any religious group in the Judeo-Christian or Islamic faith traditions knows just how severe the term “apostate” (murtād (مرتدّ) is. The Bible and the Qur’an make it clear that God’s wrath is to be poured out upon apostates.

Despite this, NRM scholars disingenuously claim their use of “apostate” is a neutral term, but this claim brands them as outright liars in our view.

We argue that NRM scholars use “apostate” as a trigger word; as a form of psychological warfare; and as a way to dehumanize, intimidate, discredit, and hopefully silence former members of cults. In NRM scholarship, the testimony of apostates is very heavily discounted. This self-serving tactic exposes part of the duplicity and dishonesty of NRM methodology.

Based upon their blatantly biased writings, financial support from cults, and public support for cults, the NRM scholars were long ago correctly dismissed by critics, former members, journalists, and governments as cult apologists. When financial support from cults could be documented these compromised scholars were called paid cult apologists


Cult apologist Dr. Eileen Barker, for example, had her “research” into the Unification Church paid for by the Unification Church. Indeed, Reverend Moon paid  her expenses paid to attend 18 conferences held by the Unification Church. This is a clear conflict of interest by any standard. It is no different than Big Tobacco paying scientists in the 1950’s to write studies proving that cigarettes were not harmful. Dr. Barker wrote a letter of support for Reverend Sun Myung Moon when he was seeking to move to the UK. How is this not being a paid cult apologist? There is no academic distance whatsoever. Rather, there is direct personal involvement with, and support for, the cult leader from an NRM scholar.

Dr. Barker defended taking the money because her employer, the London School of Economics (LSE) , had approved it. This is not saying much as LSE had also accepted a £1.5 million donation in 2008 from Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi via his Gaddafi Foundation. LSE had also signed a  £2.2 million contract to train Libyan officials. LSE’s Director Sir Howard Davies was later forced to resigned over the LSE-Gaddafi scandal.


Born in 1955, the Italian lawyer and sociologist Massimo Introvigne has made a career of manufacturing and publishing disinformation and propaganda for Scientology and other cultic groups. He does this through his Turin-based organization CESNUR, an acronym for the Center for Studies on New Religions. 

Introvigne and his colleagues have authored 70+ pro-Scientology articles in CESNUR’s journal. These articles turn a blind eye to Scientology’s flagrant human rights abuses;  cover ups of rape and child molestation; its Master Race doctrine; use of child labor, and other serious violations of both public policy and human rights.

Introvigne’s work on behalf Scientology precludes him from writing about Xenu or the the telepathic auditing of body thetans conducted by Scientologists on the OT levels. We say this assuming that Introvigne even knows about the specific contents of the OT materials. The Church would never allow him to read the OT course packs. If Introvigne asked OSA about what he read online concerning Xenu and BT’s, his OSA handlers would likely talk in generalities about how exorcism is a historical part of all religions since antiquity.

Introvigne presents Scientology as a persecuted minority new religion and acts at all times to defend Scientology. We regard Massimo Introvigne’s work on the topic of Scientology to be rank propaganda at best and spazzatura disonesta at worst.


In an interview with Scientology’s in-house magazine Freedom, Introvigne was asked about religious liberty. He answered by asserting an all-or-nothing-at-all approach to religious liberty:

We cannot take a knife and fragment religious liberty. If we don’t defend the religious liberty of all groups, we’re not credible when we say we want religious liberty for Yazidis in the part of Iraq controlled by ISIS, or for Christians in Pakistan, or for evangelical churches when they refuse gay marriages. Either we defend the religious liberty of everybody or we don’t defend it at all.

Introvigne’s call for a broad and indiscriminate defense of religions freedom is reductionist in the extreme as it forecloses upon any ability to oppose the many evils that exist within religion. For example, some Islamic religious groups perform female genital mutilation upon young girls and engage in the honor killings of women. The men in Mormon polygamist cults want to take 12 year old girls as their wives. The list of religious horrors is long and yet,  according to Introvigne, religious liberty needs to be defended.

When his views are taken to their logical conclusions, Introvigne can be seen as an extremist. Introvigne offers us a concrete example of his mindset when he states that evangelical churches must be defended when they refuse to perform gay marriages. It follows from Introvigne’s call to defend the religious liberty of evangelicals that he is also morally bound to defend Pastor Dillon Awes’ freedom to openly call for the execution of gay people. He may not agree with Pastor Awes’ call for executions, however he is bound to defend it by his own argument that religious freedom may not be sundered.


KEEPING MASSIMO WORKING (KMW): MASSIMIO INTROVIGNE’S STANDARD FALLACY-LADEN ARGUMENT

We consider Massimo Introvigne to be both a conniving and industrious cult operative. We say this based upon his 34 years of repeating and publishing his same formulaic and fallacy-laden argument he began giving in 1988. This was the year he founded CESNUR.

This is the basic outline of Introvigne’s standard cult apologist argument with our comments:

1. Brainwashing is pseudoscience and is not accepted by academia.
Comment: Introvigne asserts this as if it can stop all disputation on the subject. However, it is an evasion on his part. It is crucial to note that there are far more sophisticated ways to talk about what cults do to people. Undue influence; lies; love-bombing; isolation; milieu control; sleep deprivation; beatings; thought-stopping; threats of shunning and disconnection and many other techniques are used by cults. Massimo Introvigne uses a simplistic 1950’s concept of brainwashing as a strawman he can easily knock over on behalf of Scientology and his other clients.

2. There exists an “anti-cult movement” (ACM) whose core argument is that cults brainwash their followers.
Comment: The “anti-cult movement” is a strawman created by NRM scholars. There is no monolithic anti-cult movement. Atheists, agonistics, and believers alike agree that pernicious religious cults exist. This rational view is based upon the direct evidence of the predatory and destructive and behavior of religious cults.

3. The anti-cult movement is secular in nature and driven by an intense hatred of religion.
Comment: Introvigne goes further and argues that the “anti-cult movement” is an ideology. We have never seen the ACM Bible, the ACM manifesto, or any other evidence of the ACM ideology. Introvigne has never produced any evidence of an ACM ideology.

4. Because brainwashing does not exist, the claim made by the anti-cult movement that cults brainwash their followers is false. 
Comment: As previously stated, there are far more sophisticated ways to describe the control techniques cults use on their members. We can eliminate the word “brainwashing” altogether and still be able to talk in precise and scientific ways about what cults do to people. For example, many cult survivors suffer from PTSD as a result of what they suffered in a cult. We do not need the word “brainwashing.” Nevertheless, the term “brainwashing” is often used as a form of shorthand to describe far more complex processes. Introvigne’s attacks on the 1950’s notion of brainwashing does not falsify the suffering survivors of cults endured. The cult apologists seem hellbent to falsify human suffering caused by cults by attacking the concept of brainwashing and attacking the victims as apostates. This deliberate malice on the part of NRM scholars is why they are called cult apologists.

5. Cults are actually New Religious Movements (NRM’s) and their religious liberties must be protected at all costs.
Comment: As Introvigne sees it, governments should not allow any commissions to investigate or oversee NRM’s. Introvigne argues that governmental investigations into NRM’s constitute religious persecution motivated by the anti-cult movement, mainstream religions, and the media.

6. The religious liberty of New Religious Movements must be protected from governmental scrutiny; negative coverage from the secular media; the anti-cult movement.
Comment: Governments have a legal duty to investigate deviant groups where evidence of human rights abuses, financial fraud, suicides, homicides, and other crimes exist.


THREE EXAMPLES OF INTROVIGNE PRESENTING HIS STANDARD FALLACIOUS   ARGUMENT IN THE PERIOD 1994-2022

  1. In his 1994 paper on Opus Dei, Massimo Introvigne presented his fallacious and formulaic argument:

…Opus Dei continued to grow, reaching the present figure of nearly 80,000 members. That growth, not only in number of members but also in apostolic activities, could not but provoke the secularist world, that had got accustomed to receiving with satisfaction successive statistics on the Catholic Church, which apparently showed an unstoppable decrease in the number of faithful, of apostolic activities, and of associations as well as in the number of members of religious orders.

For qualitative and quantitative reasons, Opus Dei thus found itself in the midst of two ecclesiastical battle fronts. First, it was in the line of fire between “progressive” Catholics, who were for ever invoking, generally inopportunely, a “spirit” of the Second Vatican Council which went against the letter, if the matter so required, and the Catholics who were faithful to the doctrine of the Church as taught by its Magisterium.

Secondly, Opus Dei was at the forefront of the battle between anti-Catholic secularism and a Church which was increasingly less ready to accept the future role of cultural and social irrelevance that the prophets of the contemporary post-Enlightenment wanted her to play.

The secularist anti-cult movement, as Messori cleverly points out, arises from a similar reaction. Sectors of the secularist world could not tolerate any “return to religion” which would turn the tables on what they had confidently predicted that would happen: “There was no longer any room for religion”, Messori says, “in a postmodern technological culture”. Or, in other words, what the proliferation of “new religions” proved was that “what was happening was exactly the opposite”, as always, “of what had been predicted by the usual ‘experts’: sociologists, futurologists, and even theologians and specialists in different religious matters, not excluding many priests and bishops”

As it had been forecast that religion was set on a course of irreversible decline and the new interest of young people for religious phenomena could not happen spontaneously, the anti-cult movement concluded that something sinister and nonspontaneous must have happened. It then applied to the religious movements the theories of “brainwashing”, that had been devised to explain the (relative) success of the communist North Korean and Chinese “re-education camps” during the Korean war.

2. In his interview with Scientology’s Freedom magazine (op. cit.) 28 years later, Introvigne repeated verbatim his standard formulaic argument:

Now, there’s a second phenomenon we should not overlook, and this is of secular ideologies trying to marginalize religion. And that started with the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, perhaps as a reaction to the excessive power of religion in the years before the French Revolution.

Scholars agree that the French Revolution was very different from the American Revolution. Both separated church and state, but as one of my French colleagues likes to say, France separated church and state to protect the state from the church, and the U.S. separated church and state to protect the churches from the state.

Basically the French Revolution launched aggressive secularism. In Europe particularly, secularists severely reduced the influence of traditional religion. Lo and behold, all of a sudden new religions came. The secularists were not expecting that. And so they became quite angry and started studying strategies to make sure these new religions didn’t replace the old ones and didn’t carve a niche too big for themselves. 

3. In a February 2021 YouTube video — which has 203 views as of this writing — Introvigne presents his same old formulaic trope: The anti-cult movement is an ideology which spreads intolerance, discrimination, and persecution. The desultory manner in   which Introvigne gives his canned speech betrays the ennui of a person who has given the same speech more times than he can remember:


MASSIMO INTROVIGNE AS CULT PROPAGANDIST

In his work as a cult apologist, Introvigne must engage in propaganda, disinformation, and semantic dishonesty. We next show three examples in which Introvigne engaged in semantic dishonesty to recast the violence and atrocities carried out by cults. He did so in order to give credence to his invented “anti-cult movement” bogeyman. He writes of the 1990’s Order of the Solar Temple homicides and suicides:

The three incidents of suicides and homicides involving the Order of the Solar Temple (in French, Ordre du Temple Solaire, OTS), an esoteric new religious movement based in Switzerland and Quebec, had a crucial role in energizing the anti-cult movements in Europe, and persuaded governments and Parliaments in several countries that “cults” should be investigated through special commissions.

In total, 74 people perished in murder-suicides carried out by the Order of the Solar Temple in Europe. It is the legal duty of governments to investigate and prosecute any group, cultic or secular, in which murder-suicides have taken place. The media will also investigate in the public interest. Nevertheless, Introvigne opportunistically used the murder-suicides in a propagandistic attempt to put forth his hackneyed “anti-cult movement” argument . This is what a propagandist does in an attempt to control a narrative. Specifically Introvigne wrote that the Order of the Solar Temple suicides and homicides “had a crucial role in energizing the anti-cult movements in Europe.”

Introvigne used this exact same propaganda line to describe the carnage at Jonestown: The 916 suicides and murders re-energized the ACM:

Anti-cultists, however, were re-energized by the suicides and homicides of the Peoples Temple in Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978. Although the Peoples Temple was technically a congregation affiliated with a mainline Christian denomination, the Disciples of Christ, and had never been a main target of the anti-cultists, it was quickly offered as evidence that “cults” were a lethal menace.

Always strong on generalities, Introvigne offers no specific citations to support his claim that anti-cultists seized upon Jonestown to claim that cults were a lethal menace. The mass suicides and murders at Jonestown in 1977 resulted in the US and Guyanese governments conducting several parallel investigations, Almost all of the dead were American citizens. The widespread and massive media and governmental investigations into the Jonestown mass suicides were not part of any “anti-cult movement.” Rather, given that almost one thousand people committed suicide or were murdered in one day in an isolated cult compound lead by an insane cult leader was a matter of serious concern to governments and the public at large.

Does Introvigne see Jim Jones’ role at Jonestown as the organizer of tragedy? We ask as we briefly touch on Introvigne’s semantic dishonesty in the next section.


INTROVIGNE’S SEMANTIC DISHONESTY 

Part of Introvigne’s intellectual dishonesty is to recast cultic murders as “tragedies” and thereby seek to characterize premediated criminal homicide as a tragedy. He did this when he reported on the additional murders of 16 members of Order of the Solar Temple (OTS) murders: (emphasis ours):

Notwithstanding the continued police interest in what was left of the OTS, a second tragedy happened in 1995. On December 23, sixteen members of the OTS, including Patrick Vuarnet and his mother Edith Bonlieu (1934–1995), a former Olympic skier like her husband Jean Vuarnet, and three children of the members were found dead in the Vercors mountains near Grenoble. The first findings of the French investigation concluded that at least some of the dead (and certainly the children) were murdered. At any rate, all died by pistol shots.

Introvigne continues his propaganda by redefinition by calling the cult leader responsible for the murders “the organizer of the tragedy” (emphasis ours):

The organizer of the tragedy, and the leader of what was left of the OTS in Europe after Di Mambro’s death, appeared to have been Swiss psychotherapist Christiane Bonet (1945–1995), seconded by two French policemen in active duty who were members of the OTS, Jean-Pierre Lardanchet (1959–1995) and Patrick Rostan (1966–1995). French investigators concluded that the victims were killed by Lardanchet and by a Swiss OTS member, André Friedli (1956–1995), who finally shot themselves.

In Introvigne’s world, a mass-murderer operating within a cult is an “organizer of tragedy.” Following this bit of semantic dishonesty, Stephen Paddock, the individual who murdered 60 people in a 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, must also be called an “organizer of tragedy.”


BRAINWASHING

The NRM scholars have been in pitched battle with brainwashing since the 1980’s. The NRM crowd must destroy the concept of brainwashing in order to argue that cults cannot possibly brainwash people because, ipso facto, brainwashing does not exist. This circular argument forms the crux of NRM scholarship.

Following the 9/11 attack by Islamic terrorists, the older term “brainwashing” was still used interchangeably with the newer term “radicalization.” The term brainwashing has remained in wide use in popular culture and media as a shorthand term to describe the processes, which are still not completely understood, whereby individuals and groups of people undergo religious and political radicalization which expresses itself in extremism and violence.

What the NRM scholars are doing is semantic in nature. If brainwashing, as conceived of in the 1950’s is outdated, then this does not change the fact that extremist and fanatical groups use sophisticated and coercive methods to recruit, indoctrinate, and radicalize people.

The search for answers about radicalization and the processes which drive it became a central subject of scientific research as Western governments, law enforcement, and militaries sought to understand the framework of both extremism and terrorism. Nevertheless, changes in terminology did not change the underlying fact that the personalities and behaviors of individuals and groups could be modified into violent and destructive expressions by use of coercive and complex methods.

Radicalization, or brainwashing, became understood in terms of a constellation of interactive forces including coercive persuasion, extremist religious and political indoctrination, and the massive pressures an extremist group can exert upon an individual. .

In 2012, the US Department of Defense the Joint Chiefs of Staff released a study entitled Cyber on the Brain: The Effects of CyberNeurobiology & CyberPsychology on Political Extremism. This study presented several sophisticated models of radicalization which show just how badly Introvigne and his colleagues are stuck in the past. Two examples of contemporary models of radicalization:

The processes of cultic, religious, and terrorist radicalization are described in the FBI Radicalization Framework as a “a dynamic, multi-tiered process involving multiple interacting factors that influence an individual. These factors range from personal-level factors to the political and social context within which individuals find themselves… radicalization and mobilization are neither linear processes nor are they necessarily permanent….” This is a sophisticated description of a complex process in which many forces interact to effect personality change.

Conversely, the 1980’s-era Bromley-NRM model does not posses this level of sophistication and instead NRM practitioners such as Massimo Introvigne lazily default to the mere negation of the 1950’s model of brainwashing as their a strategy to defend their cultic clientele. This strategy is obtuse to the point of failure and helps to explain why NRM scholars have no measurable influence in Western Culture. Outside of their own colloquiums, journals, and paid appearances at NGO events no one notices the small cabal of cult apologists.


L. RON HUBBARD & SCIENTOLOGY v. MASSIMO INTROVIGNE, DAVID BROMLEY ET. AL.  

In his January 2022 Elements publication entitled Brainwashing, Introvigne declares, “The events of January 6, 2021 gave new currency to the idea of brainwashing… Most scholars of religion reject the theory as pseudoscience, but the controversy continues to this day.” This is an absurd statement on its face. While religious scholars can debate the meaning of religious language; the problems of faith in a pluralistic society; or how to obtain funding for their jobs when universities are focused on pouring money and faculty into STEM studies, it is meaningless for religious scholars to dismiss brainwashing as pseudoscience given their lack of academic credentials in the hard sciences.

Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote a book on brainwashing. Researcher Chris Owen has written an excellent essay on Hubbard’s book.

L. Ron Hubbard very much believed in brainwashing and he used various terms to describe it including the use of Pain-Drugs-Hypnosis (PDH) and implanting. Massimo Introvigne himself concluded that L. Ron Hubbard was the likely author of the Brain-Washing Manual. The Church of Scientology believes in brainwashing and declares:

Factually, Mr. Hubbard was one of the first to discover and expose actual mind control and brainwashing experimentation as conducted by United States military and intelligence agencies during and after World War II. Moreover, he also discovered the technology he had developed, Dianetics, could undo the effects of an insidious form of hypnotism called “pain-drug-hypnosis.”

The irony here is rich. Massimo Introvigne dismisses brainwashing as pseudoscience even as his client the Church of Scientology insists it is real. If Scientology is correct and brainwashing exists, then people can be brainwashed into joining cults.

Introvigne spots the dilemma in which he has placed himself and tries to tap dance his way around it in his book on Hubbard’s Brainwashing Manual:

I also distinguish between the Communist brainwashing Hubbard described within a Cold War context, and anticultists’ claims that brainwashing is practiced by “cults,” including Scientology.

Introvigne wants it both ways: Communist brainwashing as described by Hubbard exists. However, Communist brainwashing is different from the “anticultists’ claims that brainwashing is practiced by ‘cults,’ including Scientology.

Introvigne dismisses brainwashing as pseudoscience while simultaneously acknowledging as valid Hubbard’s description of Communist Cold War brainwashing. But then he denies that cults practice brainwashing because, he avers, brainwashing does not exist and is a pseudoscience. What a mess of contradictions Introvigne has created for himself here.


In Introvigne’s 2021 YouTube video he concedes that the “anticultists” have succeeded in television, with journalists, and in popular culture. This observation by Introvigne shows that former cult members and the critics have a powerfully compelling message that Western Culture wants to hear and which television executives are willing to invest time and money into.

Indeed, Leah Remini’s show Scientology and the Aftermath won two Emmys in three seasons. Alex Gibney’s documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief also won an Emmy. Gibney’s documentary was based upon the bestselling book of the same name written by Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright.


In his YouTube video, Introvigne grandiosely declares that the anticult movement has not succeeded in academia. We were not aware that Massimo Introvigne speaks for the entire global academic community when he makes such a sweeping statement. The more realistic statement for him to make that the NRM’s opponents have not succeeded in persuading any members of the largely geriatric and all-Caucasian clique of NRM scholars to reconsider matters. Massimo is correct here. The NRM scholars are the gatekeepers of their own academic ghetto. The NRM crowd is ideologically biased and will not allow contrary points of view to exist in their self-referential ivory tower. At least they have the CESNUR journal to read.


MAASSIMO INTROVIGNE AS THE JACK CHICK OF THE NRM CROWD 

Massimo Introvigne’s “anticult” work for Scientology evokes for us the histrionic imagery and storyline structure of the American fundamentalist Christian pamphleteer Jack Chick (1924-2016). With this in mind, let us take another look at Introvigne’s thesis on brainwashing:

As it had been forecast that religion was set on a course of irreversible decline and the new interest of young people for religious phenomena could not happen spontaneously, the anti-cult movement concluded that something sinister and nonspontaneous must have happened. It then applied to the religious movements the theories of “brainwashing”, that had been devised to explain the (relative) success of the communist North Korean and Chinese “re-education camps” during the Korean war.

Introvigne’s deeply flawed argument is why we say brainwashing is Introvigne’s favorite strawman. By dismissing brainwashing as meritless, Introvigne can then dismiss the attacks against his clients as also being meritless. Introvigne is a lawyer by profession and so we understand why he would make such an argument: It pleases his clients and reassures them that the attacks against them are baseless. Massimo can then bill his clients for services rendered.

We consider Introvigne’s simplistic ACM/brainwashing model to be on a par with Jack Chick’s infamous Big Mama pamphlet. This Chick piece is an insane attack upon Catholicism. Chick identifies Catholicism as the Whore of Babylon spoken of in the Book of the Revelation of St. John the Divine. Chick also attacks Freemasonry, Southern Baptists, evolution, and environmentalism in this piece. An excerpt:
Jack Chick and Massimo Introvigne are cut from the same cloth in terms of hyperbole and spewing decades of simplistic venom in service of their respective causes. Jack Chick was a rabid anti-Catholic, anti-LGBTQ+, and anti-everything else he deemed contrary to his rabid Protestant fundamentalist views. Jack Chick was also prolific; his .10 cent pamphlets have circled the world many times over. A Vox article on Chick states: According to Chick Publications, around 900 million copies of the cartoons have been sold in 102 languages.” 

While Massimo Introvigne certainly gets around, his work is not well known to the general public. Massimo is no Jack Chick but we consider him just as deranged in his own way. In Part 2 of this series we continue to explore the Cult of Cult Apologists. 

9 replies »

  1. A fascinating rant… As an NRM scholar I am curious about Introvigne’s ideological stance but I don’t read the CESNUR journal. Instead I read Nova Religio, which he contributes to but does not edit. I’m not sure what to take home from this article, other than that you think the FBI is a trustworthy source for learning about civil rights and popular movements.

  2. J.L.S.: Unless you publicly state your name and your credentials, we must regard you as just another cultist pretending to be something they are not. A real NRM scholar would have no problem stating their name. Where you give yourself away as a fraud is your remark, “you think the FBI is a trustworthy source for learning about civil rights and popular movements.” This screams “Scientologist” because the FBI raided Scientology in 1977. It was a massive raid and one which drove L. Ron Hubbard into hiding for the rest of his life. To reiterate: Name, rank, and serial number or you are deemed a fraud.

  3. I was actually referencing the FBI’s monitoring of MLK, Malcolm X and so on. Fwiw, I think I am not the only scholar who is cautious about handing out my name and academic affiliation to people with a very strong complaint.

  4. “If you can’t stand the heat then stay out of the kitchen.” — Harry Truman

  5. My name is Tory Christman.I was a member in Scientology for 30 years. I worked directly with their Office of Special Affairs as a volunteer, for years
    Just getting academics to change using the word “Cult” to NRM sounds like a program written by Scientology.
    They hate the word “Cult”. They told me their goal was to be considered a “real religion” (vs a cult, as they are). Great work, Jeffrey! If you want more info, just call me. My best! 🌹 Tory

  6. This is absolutely fantastic. I’m an exJW youtuber currently working on a longform criticism of CESNUR and Massimo, and this is an invaluable resource.

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