Cultic symptoms include isolation of members, lack of accountability of leaders, denial of appropriate care for members, unquestioned submission to leaders, excessive demands upon followers, and physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual abuse by leaders. Not particularly inspiring topics. So why go to a conference discussing them?
ISKCON's Minister of Communications, Anuttama Dasa, spoke in October at the World Parliament of Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah, on a Panel entitled "Understanding and Mitigating the Dangers of Manipulation, Undue Influence and Abuse within Religious and Spiritual Communities."
I'd like to point out an important aspect of ISKCON's interaction with anti-cult organizations, or cult-watching organizations. The goal of such dialogue is not to ascertain whether ISKCON is, or is not, a "cult."
It was the first time Anti-Cult members have visited an ISKCON temple and did a presentation. It was held during Radhadesh’s hosting of the ISKCON Europe Communications conference. ISKCON is no stranger to the organisation. Over the years Anuttama Das, ISKCON Global Communications Director, has built a relationship with the organisation by attending conferences and speaking openly about ISKCON’s issues.
More than 300 religious practitioners and representatives of cultic study organizations, including academics and ex-members, took part in a three-day conference entitled the “2011 International Conference: Psychological Manipulation, Cultic Groups, Social Addictions and Harm”(ICSA) in Barcelona Spain, July 7-9.