Cult deprogrammer to address Convo goers Thursday

The University Journal/March 4, 1996

The methods used in the recruitment of followers to radical movements will be explored by a nationally recognized authority on cults and fanatical groups March 7 at a Southern University convocation presentation.

Rick Ross, a self-made "deprogrammer," will discuss "Paramilitary Terrorism" at the free 11 a.m. lecture in the SUU Auditorium.

The public is invited to attend the presentation.

Among the topics Ross is expected to cover are the militia mindset, networking hate across America, how militias recruit and maintain members, and the favorite conspiracy theories of militias.

Since 1986, Ross has traveled throughout North America as a private consultant on the methods of cults, radical hate groups, and what he calls, "destructive Bible-based religious groups."

He has worked to deprogram hundreds of individuals from fanatical groups and has handled thousands of inquiries about these groups.

As a deprogrammer, Ross works with persons who have come under the influence of a cult, usually at the request of family members who are seeking to break the group's hold on a loved one.

The deprogramming process, which usually takes from two to five days, involves interventions as Ross attempts to get the person to look at his or her cult experience objectively.

He has successfully deprogrammed members of racist skinhead and Christian Militia/anti-abortion groups.

"Rick Ross is a leading expert in a field that includes few people in the world," Lana Johnson, SUU director of lectures and special projects explains.

"He has not gained his expertise in a classroom, but through actual experiences and through dedicated individual study. He is in what he considers a fight for the freedom of the human mind against the tyranny of totalism," said Johnson.

Since 1982 Ross has been involved in deprogramming, has advised law enforcement officials across United States, and has testified often in court as an accepted expert witness.

For 12 years he has been a member of two national committees for the reform movement of Judaism.

Ross is also a past chairman of the religious advisory committee to the Arizona prison system and the B'nai B'rith international coalition for Jewish prisoner programs.

Ross, considered an expert on the Waco Branch Davidians, was consulted by both the ATF and FBI before and during the standoff in Texas.

He began studying the Davidian movement in 1988 and has successfully deprogrammed four members, including two from the Waco compound.

Since Waco, he has followed the activities of numerous groups such as the "Patriots" and "militias" regarding their conspiracy theories concerning Waco.

During and after the 1993 Waco standoff, Ross became a pivotal source of information because of his direct experience in dealing with the group. Newspapers, magazines, and electronic media world wide gathered information from him.

Recent feature stories in "GQ Magazine" and television's "The American Journal" and ABC's "Day One" have demonstrated public interest in Ross' continuing work.

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