related stories by others

This entry will be occasionally updated with related stories, some set in full some linked.

1.Ten Years After Jonestown, the Battle Intensifies Over the Influence of ‘Alternative’ Religions
November 17, 1988|BOB SIPCHEN | Times Staff Writer
But the most interesting litigation of late involves either a former member who is suing the organization to which he or she belonged, or a current member of a new religious group who is suing a deprogrammer who attempted unsuccessfully to persuade the person to leave the group.
The most significant case, everyone agrees, is last month’s Molko decision by the California Supreme Court, which anti-cult groups have cheered as a major victory.

In that reversal of lower court decisions, the justices agreed that David Molko and another former member of the Unification Church could bring before a jury the claim that they were defrauded by recruiters who denied they had a church affiliation and then subjected the two to church mind control techniques, eventually converting them.
Mainstream religious organizations including the National Council on Churches, the American Baptist Churches in the USA and the California Ecumenical Council had filed briefs in support of the Unification Church, claiming that allowing lawsuits over proselytizing techniques could paralyze all religions.
“What they’re attacking is prayer, fasting and lectures,” said Biermans of the Unification Church. “The whole idea of brainwashing is unbelievably absurd. . . . If someone had really figured out a method of brainwashing, they could control the world.” The church plans to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. Paul Morantz, the attorney who was struck by the rattlesnake placed in his mailbox by the “Imperial Marines” of Synanon, gave pro-bono assistance to the plaintiffs in the Molko case.
“For me, it was a great decision for freedom of religion and to protect against the . . . use of coercive persuasion,” he said.
Morantz currently is defending Bent Corydon, author of the book “L. Ron Hubbard, Madman or Messiah” against a lawsuit by the Church of Scientology. He said he’s confident of how that case will turn out.
But he shares the belief of others on several sides of the multifaceted cult battle, in concluding that education rather than litigation should be the first defense of religious and intellectual liberty.
He’s not, however, optimistic.
“If anyone thinks they’re ever going to win this war, they’re wrong,” he said. “As long as we have human behavior, there will be sociopaths who will stand up and say ‘follow me.’ And there will always be searchers who will follow.”

2. USC archives’s+Temple+Morantz&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla

3. From a blog by ex-members of Conversation (Siegel)
“Gag said: “Paul Morantz is a Los Angeles-based lawyer who has specialized in cult and brainwashing cases for 20 years, specializing (perhaps the only attorney to do so) in litigating against cults and self-help groups raising the issue of brainwashing. He also specialized in suing psychotherapists and religious leaders for dual relationship violations and undue influence, particular sex with their clients/followers.”

“Gag, should you ever encounter the situation that your son/daughter/sister/etc has emerged from the fog and discovered that s/he’d been dreadfully entangled in a group that is in fact a cult, and thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars is involved, I am sure that you will discover that you have a heart and a brain, and Paul Morantz will be among the first people you call. Or if your not-as-smart-as-you-are sister or daughter finds herself devastated by having been tricked by a therapist into beleiving that her psychological problems could be eradicated by entering into a trusting sexual relationship with the therapist himself, I am betting that Paul Morantz might be the guy you call.” Nov. 2004

From San Francisco Chronicle, Tuesday November 25, 2003
By Steven Rubenstein, Chronicle staff writer. Kevin Fagan contributed to this report.
Margaret Singer, the soft-spoken but hard-edged Berkeley psychologist and expert on brainwashing who studied and helped authorities and victims better understand the Peoples Temple, Branch Davidian, Unification Church and Symbionese Liberation Army cults, has died.
Professor Singer, 82, died Sunday after a long illness at Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley.
“She’s one of a kind, the foremost authority on brainwashing in the entire world,” said lawyer Paul Morantz in an interview last year. Morantz led the effort against the Synanon cult in the 1970s. “She is a national treasure.”