After 35 years of tracking cults and hate groups, counseling victims of mind control, and monitoring end-of-the-world prophecies on the Internet, cult expert Hal Mansfield is moving on, the Denver Post reports.
From a narrow basement crammed with books written about and by race-baiting and cult groups, Mansfield has helped police, communities and parents shine a light on destructive movements as director of the Rocky Mountain Resource Center.
Mansfield is handing off control of the nonprofit he started in 1981 to Lisa Monroney, herself a cult survivor.
The Denver Post says Mansfield became intrigued by cults in the late 1970s after he met a member of the Unification Church.
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Taking a break?
He began researching and found that little had been written about the motivation behind someone joining a cult. About the same time, the mass suicide of the Jim Jones cult at Jonestown, Guyana, occurred, and Mansfield knew he had a new life to pursue.
“What little I could find, it only dealt with the criminal behavior of a cult follower or leader, and there was nothing else about the motivation,” said Mansfield. […]
He quickly learned that there are plenty of odd groups and organizations out there, but few are dangerous. […]
The groups that are menacing closely resemble a violent relationship, Mansfield said. There is usually underage sex, unusual control and threats of violence against members, he said.
Monroney said she encountered that type of life when she became a member of a fundamentalist, Bible based cult when she was 21. She said she was sexually abused and deprived of sleep to keep her under the group’s thumb.
Mansfield got her in touch with a counselor, and Monroney is now teaching about cults at several local colleges.