Secular Books

If you cannot obtain some of these books through, you may be able to obtain some free e-books through the International Cultic Studies Association, a secular organization.

You may also wish to check our Amazon special offers page and our page on Amazon of material related in some way to spiritual abuse.

The Boston Movement The Boston Movement: Critical Perspectives on the International Churches of Christ Editors Carol Giambalvo and Herbert L. Rosedale- If you desire to learn about the ICC and how they operate, what they teach and the effect it has on many followers, then read this book. It gives ample room for several people to relay aspects of their involvement and how it changed them, as well as some history on the organization. In 1997 I happened to meet a young man who had been recruited into one of these churches and saw firsthand some consequences of his involvement. I found this book to be enlightening on the subject.

Cult EncounterCult Encounter and An International Story of Exit Counseling by Helen & Rick Larsen- Helen Larsen became involved with an extraterrestrial cult called Earth Mission. The book is written from the perspective of Helen and her husband, Rick, as well as brief thoughts of other family members and friends. The Larsens are very open with what they went through and were able to show the thoughts and feelings of several people. They take one before the cult encounter and on through Helen's exit and just a little into the recovery days. I would have liked more on their recovery phase. This book is good reading for anyone who wants to learn about cults and how a person can become involved.

Recovery From Abusive Groups Recovery from Abusive Groups by Wendy Ford- The author of this book underwent two involuntary interventions and had been involved in a Bible-based group. Contains brief thoughts on various issues related to being involved in an abusive group. To me, it only skimmed the surface of different issues and appears to assume that most members of these groups have little or no contact with friends and family members. I rated it fair due to the above.

Captive Hearts Captive Hearts, Captive Minds: Freedom and Recovery from Cults and Other Abusive Relationships by Madeleine Tobias & Janja Lalich- The beginning of this book is dry and has psychological explanations, but readers are forewarned. There is some good information, both for ex-members as well as family members, wanting to understand what happened. Discusses the cult phenomenon, healing process, some special concerns, as well as containing several personal experiences.

Cults in our Midst Cults in Our Midst: The Continuing Fight Against Their Hidden Menace by Margaret Thaler Singer & Janja Lalich- I find it is an easy-to-read expose on the damaging effects of cults. Though it includes psychological information and terminology, it can be understood by the average person. Find out what cults are, how they work, and how people can escape and recover.

Snapping Snapping: America's Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change by Flo Conway & Jim Siegelman- From Amazon: "Explores the way cults and other factors are causing people to give themselves over to those like David Koresh of Waco infamy, or becoming walking time bombs like Timothy McVeigh, the alleged perpetrator of the Oklahoma bombing...a powerful look at a social phenomenon that is making headlines."

Influence Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini- From Amazon: "Some people just won't take no for an answer. In 'Influence,' Dr. Robert Cialdini explains the six psychological principles that drive our powerful impulse to comply to the pressures of others and shows how we can defend ourselves against manipulation (or put the principles to work in our own interest)."

Combatting Cult Mind Control Combatting Cult Mind Control by Steven Hassan- From Amazon: "A former cult member, now a counselor helping those affected by destructive cults, Hassan exposes the troubling facts about cults' recruitment, their use of psychological manipulation, and their often subtle influence on government, the legal system, and society as a whole."

Releasing Bonds Releasing The Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves by Steven Hassan- From a review on Amazon: "While there is no substitute for professional counseling, 'Releasing The Bonds' goes a long way toward helping those affected by destructive mind control. That includes not only people recruited into manipulative relationships or groups, but their relatives and friends as well. In what may well turn out to be the definitive handbook on cult intervention, Hassan presents his "Strategic Interaction Approach (SIA)" - a non-coercive, highly effective counseling system refined over the twelve years since he wrote the best-seller, 'Combatting Cult Mind Control.' This tried-and-true approach has none of the drawbacks of involuntary deprogramming or voluntary exit-counseling. Many other books on cult issues are long on describing problems, and short on practical advice. 'Releasing The Bonds' is different, in that that it is a step-by-step manual filled with sensible, useful information."

Freedom Of Mind Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults and Beliefs by Steven Hassan- This is Steve's most recent book, released in June of 2012. "In the post 911 world, people are more susceptible than ever to charismatic figures who offer simple, black v. white, us v. them, good v. evil, formulaic solutions. The rise of the Internet; increasingly sophisticated knowledge about how to influence and manipulate others; and the growing vulnerabilities of people across the planet - make for a dangerous, potentially devastating combination. Steven Hassan's new book Freedom of Mind provides the knowledge and awareness needed to help yourself and loved ones avoid or escape from such dangerous people and situations. This must-read volume is a significantly updated and revised edition of Hassan's groundbreaking Releasing the Bonds (2000). People who read and benefited from that book- and also his earlier book, Combatting Cult Mind Control (1989)- will want to read Hassan's latest. It provides an up-to-the-minute guide to the reality of 'undue influence'- the preferred term for mind control- in the post 9/11 era."

Cults Cults: Faith, Healing, and Coercion by Marc Galanter- From Amazon: "From the mass weddings of Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church to the ritual suicides at Heaven's Gate, charismatic cults and their devotees have become facts of American life. Using material gleaned from twenty-five years of direct encounters with cults and their detractors, as well as extensive research, Marc Galanter offers the most extensive psychological analysis of these organizations available. 'Cults' explores not only how members feel and think at all stages of their involvement, but also how larger social and psychological forces reinforce individual commitment within the cults."

Recovery From Cults Recovery from Cults: Help for Victims of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse by Michael D. Langone- From Amazon: "Drawing upon the clinical expertise of professionals and the personal experiences of those formerly involved in high-intensity mind-control groups, this book is a comprehensive guide to the cult experience. Michael Langone and his colleagues provide practical guidelines for helping former cult members manage the problems they encounter when leaving cults."

Take Back Your Life Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias- From Amazon: "Cult victims and those who have suffered abusive relationships often suffer from fear, confusion, low self-esteem, and post-traumatic stress. 'Take Back Your Life' explains the seductive draw that leads people into such situations, provides guidelines for assessing what happened, and hands-on tools for getting back on track. Written for victims, their families, and professionals, this book leads readers through the healing process."

Bounded Choice Bounded Choice: True Believers and Charismatic Cults by Janja Lalich- From Amazon: "Heaven's Gate, a secretive group of celibate "monks" awaiting pickup by a UFO, captured intense public attention in 1997 when its members committed collective suicide. As a way of understanding such perplexing events, many have seen those who join cults as needy, lost souls, unable to think for themselves. This book, a compelling look at the cult phenomenon written for a wide audience, dispels such simple formulations by explaining how normal, intelligent people can give up years of their lives--and sometimes their very lives--to groups and beliefs that appear bizarre and irrational. Looking closely at Heaven's Gate and at the Democratic Workers Party, a radical political group of the 1970s and 1980s, Janja Lalich gives us a rare insider's look at these two cults and advances a new theoretical framework that will reshape our understanding of those who join such groups. "

Updated January 6, 2018

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August 23, 1997
Copyright © 1997-2018 by Lois E. Gibson
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