FINAL REPORT OF THE ENQUETE COMMISSION ON "SO-CALLED SECTS AND PSYCHOGROUPS"
The family, or the new living structures that are emerging as the family changes, is the place where children are cared for and educated by the parents or the central reference persons, on the basis of a fundamental emotional bond that encompasses the whole person. This is basically what distinguishes the family from all other institutions of the educational system, in which -- as a rule, and subject to the practical constraints of individual autonomy -- only parts of the person are the subject of education, or where instruction, training or counselling are involved, in a more specialised and less intimate relationship. But even here the family still performs the central task of "releasing" children, and especially adolescents, for these expanding and transforming experiences, supporting these experiences and making them possible.
Imparting and passing on values, beliefs and religious conceptions to the next generation is thus a key function of the family or family-like structures and of the milieu in which they are embedded. The handing down of religious ways of life is therefore not a problem as such. The teaching of "dissenting" religious views and beliefs -- i.e. views and beliefs that are different from those of the established national Churches -- can also not be seen as problematic, given the growing pluralism of religious and non-religious world views. On the contrary, respect for and recognition of pluralist, culturally heterogeneous life-styles and world views is an inescapable component of a post-traditional ethics of the recognition of diversity.
An upbringing or education based on preconceived religious and ideological notions -- like any other kind of notions -- can thus be a source of conflicts and difficulties only by reason of its specific contents, the specific standards and values that are transmitted, the way children and adolescents are required to be treated, the encroachments, the harm, the cruelty and the abuses that are committed in the name of religious education. The references here are the basic provisions of Section 1 of the Sozialgesetzbuch VIII (SGB - - German Social Code) (SGB VIII: Welfare of children and adolescents): "(1) Every young person has a right to be assisted in his or her development and to be brought up to become a responsible and viable member of the community. (2) The custody and upbringing of children are the natural right of parents, and their paramount duty.
The community in the form of the authorities watches over their actions." Intervention by the authorities, i.e. the exercise of the government's supervisory function, in the sense of "assistance with upbringing or education" (Section 27 SGB VIII) or "the taking into custody of children and adolescents" (Section 42 SGB VIII) ensues "if an upbringing or education conducive to the welfare of the child or adolescent is not guaranteed and assistance for his development is appropriate and necessary" (Section 27, 1) or "if the child or adolescent asks to be taken in custody" (Section 42, 2) or "an imminent threat to the welfare of the child or adolescent requires him to be taken into custody" (Section 42, 3). The point of reference here is the aversion of a threat to the child's physical, mental and emotional welfare, which is grounds for the withdrawal of the right of custody (cf. Section 1666 German Civil Code). Attempts by the parents to explain, legitimise or justify the inflicting of physical, mental or emotional harm are as a rule irrelevant here. Even where parents invoke the freedom to practise their religion, harm to a child's welfare cannot be thereby legitimised. 146 )
In assessing the impact of actions that are detrimental to the "welfare of the child or adolescent", including those whose effect is to hinder educational, developmental and individualisation processes, considerable problems of diagnosis and assessment generally arise, particularly as concerns the more subtle mental forms of such action. 147 ) These problems in diagnosing the incidence and milieu-specific distribution of abuse of minors are particularly marked in the case of new religious and ideological communities and psychogroups. At the Enquete Commission's hearing of psychologists and educationalists there was near-unanimous agreement that the diversity of groups, and the state of research into the situation of minors in such milieus, are not such as to allow any reliable conclusions to be drawn. Thus, there is no cogent reason to assert that adolescents growing up in new religious and ideological communities and psychogroups are in general at any greater risk of falling victim to physical or mental ill-treatment than in other environments. The ideal, that children should be enabled to become independent, must not lead to government control of the autonomous individual.
That would produce a situation where conventional and traditional ways of life which pursued other educational ideals could be declared as deviant and subject to regulation by the authorities. Parents' educational attitudes may insufficiently promote or even prevent a child's autonomy, but that is something found in the most diverse educational environments and is in no way a unique feature of "sect childhood" or of families in new religious and ideological communities and psychogroups. The impression must therefore be avoided that it is only new religious and ideological groups that practise "child-rearing for dependency".
Therefore it cannot be assumed that the generality of new religious and ideological communities and psychogroups espouse highly problematic views about upbringing and education and engage in practices that are damaging to the intellectual, emotional and physical well-being of children and deny their autonomy. 148 ) At most, it may be supposed that there is a potential for harm, but it would have to be specifically examined and identified in each individual case. 149 )
Attitudes toward the upbringing of children in religious and ideological
communities are more often than not at loggerheads with the principles
of modern life-styles that are needed for coping with the socio-cultural
demands of Western society. The onward march of modernity and the
associated cultural disruption do
indeed present considerable difficulties for traditional religious ways
This conflict-prone dichotomy with the principles of modern life, which at the same time provides coping options, can take a variety of forms which, without being exhaustive, can be briefly outlined as follows:
For children and adolescents growing up in such milieus, this can lead to problems of orientation and to chronic uncertainty, since they keep being confronted with changed orientations and group references. On the other hand, children and adolescents living such lives also have an opportunity to learn very early in life to deal openly and easily with a great variety of novel notions of meaning, thereby becoming socialised in creative interaction with a comprehensive cultural pluralism.
The essential point is that the "possible" but by no means inevitable lines of conflict always point to a clash with the highly modernised principles of a life-style in which people must take responsibility for themselves. These conflict lines involve a variety of factors, including suppression of reality, consequential problems and burdens; such problems -- which are fraught with tension -- are generated by the exacting requirements imposed by modern life itself. Here too it should be noted: Just because parents belong to a religious community or movement whose values, life-styles and beliefs are antithetical to the dominant modern, Western value system, it cannot be inferred that in general this represents a threat to children. Holding such beliefs can also be read as an expression of the parents' active resistance to the prevailing social mores and as partisan advocacy for their children's future -- as in the criticism of life-styles focused on competition and dissociation, such as children and adolescents may experience at school, where individual performance may be rated more highly than integration as a social principle. 153 )
An assessment of the risk that children and adolescents are exposed to
when they grow up in new religious and ideological communities and
psychogroups is often based on spectacular isolated cases. For a more
accurate judgement of the potential hazards to children, however, the
following three points should be taken into account: First, it is
inadvisable to jump to conclusions about the actual reality of relations
between parents and children or adolescents on the basis of programmatic
statements. Parent's views about the upbringing of their children may be
influenced by their religious ideas in widely differing degrees, even in
apparently closed religious milieus. These religious preconceptions
about child-rearing may be tempered by other views held by the parents, so that their importance
in everyday life is limited. As between programmatic statements about
child-rearing and the actual parent-child relationship, there may thus
be many intermediate steps and levels, so that the connection is fairly
tenuous. What makes it even harder to arrive at a valid assessment of
educational attitudes and actions in new religious groups is the fact
that there are no empirical analyses of the way children and adolescents
are actually taught, something that was mentioned as particularly
regrettable by educational and psychological experts at the Enquete
Commission's hearings. This does not of course mean that an
analysis of the educational concepts would be irrelevant. Such an
analysis could reveal "educational structures of meaning" which might
point to a specific "proneness" to educational problems on the part of
the groups concerned --
though these problems would not necessarily arise in general in dealings
with children and adolescents.
Thirdly, any judgement of child-rearing in these communities, groups and movements is never more than a snapshot of what is a developmental process, and must therefore be regarded as subject to change.
The following examples of ideas about the upbringing of children should be read with the above qualifications in mind, as should the reports on the way children and adolescents are treated in new religious and ideological communities and psychogroups.
Experts estimate that perhaps 100,000 to 200,000 children and adolescents are growing up in new religious and ideological communities and psychogroups in the Federal Republic of Germany. Here too there is a lack of reliable statistical data. But even the lower limit of 100,000 shows clearly that there are very large numbers of children and adolescents growing up in these milieus and life-styles.
On the basis of the available reports and studies, reference is made in what follows to educational risks which may typically arise in specific groups and movements. Examples are drawn from individual groups and movements ranging from Christian or Christian-oriented groups, through the occult, far-eastern or Hindu-oriented groups, to the more recent therapy-oriented and life-counselling groups, and finally those that lie at the triple intersection of politics, commerce and faith.
In the Unification Church of the Korean religious leader Sun Myung Moon, which links the Christian and far-Eastern traditions, family and parenthood are of central importance. Reverend Moon and his wife are seen as the "true parents", who function as God's regents, with the task of founding a "perfect family", which is supposed to make possible a perfect humanity. The mission of the "true family" is to make possible the "restoration" of a perfection that was forfeited through the Fall. As a new, perfect Adam and a new, perfect Eve, they are to redeem the Fall -- which was caused by Satan's seduction of Eve -- and thereby to complete Jesus' work of generating a new, sinless, perfect family. Moon's 1960 wedding to Hak-Ja-Han in 1960 is understood as the "wedding of the lamb" and as reparation for the crucifixion, and is said to have paved the way for the begetting of "sinless children" and the founding of a blood line that does not belong to the "line of Eve and Satan" but initiates a divine lineage of human perfection, of the "Kingdom of Heaven". The goal is to make this "Kingdom of Heaven" an earthly reality, through a kind of final struggle or "World War III" with the Satanic forces, and at the same time to release the spirits of the dead from their limbo -- an attitude which, all in all, explains the Church's intensive missionary activity. 154 )
In the Unification Church "family" and "parenthood" are particularly highly prized, albeit in strict subservience to the "true family", an exemplary expression of which is the "vow". 155 ) The ritual "blessing" of couples (also known as "mass wedding") shows this with particular clarity, for in the "blessing" the couples are said to be "adopted" and thus become children of the "true family". The "marriage" thus culminates in a new "childhood relationship", and the founding of one's own family -- which occurs at least in part at Moon's suggestion (the so-called "matching"), even if this is not generally the case and it is possible to refuse consent 156 ) -- puts the parents back into the status of children, this time children of the "true family". 157 ) This can be seen, for example, in the rules and regulations which reach deep into the privacy of everyday life. 158 ) However, this tends to devalue the parents as independent individuals and figures children can identify with, and on the other hand, the children of a given family are above all also children of the "true family". This may also explain the frequent practice -- always voluntary, of course, as the Unification Church emphasises -- of adoption, whereby children are given to childless couples.
Against this background, problematic attitudes towards children in the Unification Church can mainly be seen in the fact that children too -- like the adults -- are encouraged to accept Moon's unconditional "divine" authority. This acceptance of an irrefutable authority, and the trend towards invalidation of the parents as responsible persons with whom the children could identify, may make it more difficult for adolescents in the family to establish their autonomy. 159 )
Besides, relations between parents and children may become distant, a distance which is felt on both sides. The foundation of a non-interchangeable emotional parent-child relationship can be thereby impaired. 160 ) Thus, Schöll has shown in an empirical case study that, in the case of members of the Unification Church, there is a danger that their family orientation may remain superficial, being sacrificed to an overriding commitment to Moon. In terms of practical living, this may well give rise to a failure of social and interactive relatedness. 151 ) Although these findings cannot be generalised, they do point to an educational problem area in the parent-child relationship among followers of the Unification Church. Finally, it can be particularly stressful for children to be caught up in the struggle against the Satanic forces and the salvation of humanity in an all-embracing "plan of salvation and rescue", and to find themselves under missionary pressure as members of the first generation born without sin. Therein lies a danger that, under heavy pressure from their earliest years and facing high demands and expectations, they may in case of "failure" develop powerful feelings of guilt at being complicit in the perpetuation of the Satanic forces and thwarting the plan for salvation.
These movements form a multifaceted conglomeration of smaller circles, communes formed around charismatic individuals, and larger groups that are becoming increasingly popular, mostly outside the mainstream Churches and the Free Churches, but overlapping with the Churches' areas of interest. 162 )
Because of the great diversity of these groups, communes and smaller circles, it is hardly possible to present a coherent account of their basic beliefs. 163 ) In what follows, therefore, only some of the problems that arise in dealing with adolescents will be outlined, those that are particularly marked in certain groups and that may be associated with specific beliefs. It is stressed that the following phenomena are in no way equally applicable to all currents in this religious spectrum, and even where they are more clearly marked, they can in no way be generalised.
Thus, there is sometimes definite approval of physical discipline, even if extreme forms of corporal punishment are rejected and criticised. 164 ) To put this into perspective, it must be noted that approval of such practices is also found in other religious milieus. In any case, the acceptance of corporal punishment is not peculiar to religious groups, but is also to be found as an educational orientation in other, non-religious life-styles and milieus. If one is to believe a representative survey carried out by the EMNID Institute, only 39 per cent of fathers and mothers reject corporal punishment. 165 ) This is not to play down the problem of corporal punishment in groups of this religious persuasion, but it does show clearly that this is in no way a unique phenomenon in specific religious groups.
Ideas about a constant threat from an ever-present "Evil One" can also
impel adolescents to be constantly monitoring and controlling
themselves, to the accompaniment of strong guilt feelings and
self-inflicted punishments, all of
A strict dualism interpreted in demonological terms can, together with the ego crises and developmental processes of children and adolescents, lead to powerful anxieties, occult notions and persecution fantasies. These fears children and adolescents have of being pursued by evil forces or taken over by dark powers find fertile soil in demonic notions.
These kinds of beliefs are in no way confined to this religious spectrum, but are also widespread in traditional Catholic or strict Protestant milieus. But here, too, things need to be kept in perspective: Powerful anxieties of this sort in adolescents, the feelings of persecution and the urge to self-inflicted punishment, probably only arise this dramatically where the parent-child relationship is itself highly ambivalent.
For it is then that the ambivalence of good and evil, protector and persecutor, love and hate also takes shape as a structural element in the relations between parents and children. Then these ambivalent childhood relations can become linked with the world of demonic notions, drawing from it its images of persecution and invasion. With the crisis of adolescence and the processes of separation, a young person may begin to oscillate between good and evil, eventually more or less identifying with evil as an expression of separation from and negation of the family tradition. This may also find expression -- as the cases studies show with exemplary clarity -- in the shape of "Satanic" practices and notions. 168 )
184.108.40.206 Hindu and meditative currents
Given the changes and developments, it is by and large hardly possible to develop a coherent picture of the attitudes to education and upbringing, or the treatment of children and adolescents, in the spectrum of groups associated with Hinduism and meditation. Thus, a former member of Ananda Marga 174 ) told the Enquete Commission, at its hearing on the situation of children and adolescents, that she -- at least in Europe, though she had encountered other child-rearing practices in India -- had witnessed mainly positive relations between Ananda Marga members, most of them alternative and counter-culture sorts of people, and their children -- relations characterised by laissez-faire attitudes and a large measure of freedom. The way the children were treated seemed to her to be loving.
By contrast, the Commission heard about practices involving compulsory meditation for children, also from the nineties, mainly among the followers of Sant Thakar Singh -- practices which represented clear forms of abuse and harm. 175 )
Thus, one woman told the hearing about her life with her two-year-old
child in one of the group's centres. The two-year-old had to meditate
for ten or twelve hours a day with his right ear sealed and his eyes
blindfolded, while his father kept a tight grip on him. In those six
months he had no toys, was sometimes bathed in cold water only, and
allowed to eat only wearing a blindfold. After a few days of this forced
meditation, the child abandoned all resistance. To the adults who were
following the teaching of Sant Thakar Singh, this was a sign that the
child now felt well, his negative mood was broken and his soul was pure.
The failure to attend to the child's needs, such as hunger and thirst,
It can in no way be assumed that all Hindu-oriented groups practise these forms of compulsory meditation for children. 176 ) But this extreme example does show the way forms of intensive and prolonged meditation, 177 ) potentially dangerous even for adults, can lead to far greater stresses and dangers for young children. That the psychological methods used in new religious and ideological communities and psychogroups can indeed have a more intense and potentially more damaging effect precisely on children who are going through sensitive phases of development, have not yet formed a strong ego, are heavily dependent on others and have few experiences which would help them to put things into perspective, was pointed out by the psychological experts in the Enquete Commission's hearing on the situation of children and adolescents.
L. Ron Hubbard formulated the mission of ABLE as being designed to rehabilitate the whole field of education through the spread of the only functioning technology of study: The L. Ron Hubbard study technology. 178 )
The book "Dianetics for Children" may be taken as a statement of the Scientology Organisation's educational ideal for parents. It thus forms the basis for the upbringing of children in Scientology.
Since the founder of Scientology assumes that a child is nothing other than a "thetan" in a small body, the entire course programme is considered to be compulsory for children too. Children's fantasies are defined in "Dianetics for Children" as a form of mental illness. To L. Ron Hubbard, it is therefore "not surprising that children seem to display a similarity to psychotics and schizophrenics." 179 )
To treat this allegedly pathological behaviour, the technique of "auditing" is practised on children as well as adults. The aim is to eradicate the traces of painful experiences, in order to eliminate the so-called "reactive mind". Hubbard considers that children can be audited as soon as they learn to talk. "Heavy processing", however, he recommends from the age of five only. Regression to prenatal events, says Hubbard, should wait until age twelve.
Among the rules of Scientology, there is also a "security check" for children, which starts with the question "What have you been forbidden to tell?" 180 ) The child is confronted with a questionnaire containing over 100 questions. The procedure has the nature of an interrogation, and is intended to elicit from the child anything painful or negative that can serve as the starting point for the eradication of "engrams". Through auditing and the Scientology Organisation's house rules, children seem to be exposed at a tender age to the attempt to eradicate everything stressful, weak or emotional in them, to make them strong and insensitive to pain and weakness, thereby creating "supermen" without sensations. 181 )
We gather from a report 182 ) by former members that children are encouraged to take on a daily learning programme about which they have to keep a sort a statistical diary which is used for the purpose of systematic evaluation. These practices may be understood as an early introduction to forms of subjection to control by others.
If the parents comply with the prescribed educational ideal, the children grow up in the closed ideological system of Scientology. To ensure that they actually do so, the children are sent to the organisation's own kindergartens and schools.
From the available reports and instructions, it can be inferred that children in the Scientology milieu are required early on to carry out a daily programme similar to that of the adults. In all the parents' activities, the foremost consideration is always supposed to be the benefit to the organisation. Characteristic of this is an internal instruction issued to the Scientology elite "Sea Org", calling upon parents to give up for "production" even the one hour a day allowed for the family. 183 ) This makes it at least difficult to establish close, dependable and lasting parent-child relations, and the child learns early on -- via its parents -- that work for Scientology has absolute priority. This can even lead to parental neglect of the children, since Scientology parents have as a rule internalised the notion that the highest goal is the expansion of the Scientology Organisation, and they hold the view that they must have their children brought up to think the same.
The most extreme form for children inside the organisation applies to those who grow up in the Sea Org. Since the Sea Org is regarded as the elite unit within the Scientology Organisation, it is the ambition of many Scientology parents that their children should have a Scientology career.
Particular reference may be made here to the testimony of a young ex-member who grew up in a Scientology family and at the age of eleven came to Germany.
Until age seventeen or eighteen her experiences with Scientology were limited.
She had only tried working for Scientology for a few weeks during the school holidays, and because of family problems -- the idea being that she should get on better with her step-mother -- she had been sent on a communications course, followed by an introductory course in Scientology, which initially she had found fun. Overall, the most powerful influence seems to have been her upbringing in the family, and in particular her father's attitude. She reports that she was never allowed to say at school that her father and step-mother were Scientologists. By and large she had grown up in isolation. Her father's attitude towards her was that she could do anything, that any difficulties were her own problem and that she herself must know best. From her earliest years, even when there were problems at home, he had said that she was not four years old (her age when her mother died), but a thetan, and must cope with things herself.
Her conclusion was that Scientology parents expect a great deal from their children, too much in fact.
When she was sixteen or seventeen the family problems got worse. Her father's new girlfriend, following his separation from her stepmother, did not want her around and declared that she was unwilling to have the girl in her house. Her father had said she was a thetan and that it was up to her to decide what she wanted to do. She could work in the organisation, he said, which would give her a roof over her head. She did that for a few weeks, and never did really know where to put herself.
At this point, she was approached and asked if she wanted to become a staff member. Recruiters from Flag, Copenhagen and Saint Hill had also tried to sign her up. She was told she was highly qualified, intelligent and competent, which pleased her greatly. She finally opted for Saint Hill and the Sea Org, and her father too signed the "trillion year contract". That was important for her father, she said, because he himself had earlier failed in the same endeavour and now put his hopes in his daughter. This contract "solved" her problems, since she was now provided with board, lodging and care.
Describing her work at Saint Hill, the young ex-member reported that she studied from eight in the morning to four in the afternoon, doing the courses for the Sea Org. Afterwards, she was drilled, she said, and then there was physical work. No breaks were allowed, and during the entire day, there where only two half-hour pauses for meals. She had to jog everywhere and there was no rest, because she had to achieve optimum production. She hardly ever had any spare time, and the remuneration was less than promised and paid only infrequently. She had also hardly ever been to school. That had also been the experience of a thirteen-year-old friend, who was at the same time her superior. They had been helping to build a sauna, more often than not working through the night and going straight on to their classes the next morning with little or no sleep. She had been very exhausted, had started having back problems, and she found the work very hard.
She never got enough sleep. Even when ill she had had to work, and nobody paid any attention to occupational injuries. They were not supplied with adequate protective clothing, not even for hazardous work, e.g. when they were handling acid. They were told a thetan could do anything.
After six weeks, she wanted to go back home, partly because she felt lonely and everything was so impersonal. Thereupon, she was obliged to spend hours writing down all her mistakes, and she was put under pressure by being told that if she left now she would be a failure and a shame to her family. When she continued to defend herself, she was shouted at and publicly humiliated. The work became even harder, and sometimes, she was not allowed to take meal breaks. When she tried to run away, she was seized by security guards and locked in a room for hours. After that, she was systematically watched and monitored. Attempts to resist were particularly difficult, she said, because there was nobody one could confide in, everything was immediately passed on. Moreover, the telephones were bugged, and letters were opened. She herself had also been involved in this system, had spied on others, and opened their mail. Only when she pretended for a while that she conformed completely, did they let down their guard, whereupon she had managed to spin a credible tale about her father being seriously ill. That way she was given three weeks leave in Germany. She used this opportunity to leave Scientology, but was able to do so only with the support of others. Her father did not understand her and said she shouldn't be a failure in Scientology the way he had been, and if she didn't return to Sea Org she would no longer be his daughter.
Although she had been very glad to get away from Saint Hill, she had gone into crisis because she had lost her friends, both those from Scientology and her previous friends. She was also dropped by many of her relatives, who blamed her for her father's misfortunes and, because of his failing health, his imminent death. All in all, she tended to be withdrawn, feeling that she was too old for her fellow students and peers, not like eighteen, more like forty. The positive side was that she was able to go back to school and gradually build up new friendships, albeit with older people.
This account is valid for parents who bring up their children strictly according to the rules of the Scientology Organisation. There are also cases where parents do not follow Hubbard's rules in bringing up their children.
In conclusion, it remains to be noted that these brief accounts of various new religious and psychocult groups and currents point to potential dangers that are obvious if one looks at the groups' programmatic statements and are in fact confirmed by reports. In no circumstances, however, should these indications be misunderstood as a description of the way in which these groups generally treat children. In actuality, it must be presumed that there is a wide scatter in terms of the way in which children are treated and the quality of parent-child relations, even in these new religious milieus and groups. 184 )
Educational conflicts and the resulting dangers for children and adolescents have to do, first, with the internal reality of the family, i.e. the parent-child relationship itself, and with the impact of the group and milieu in which they are embedded; secondly, with adolescents' relationship with other educational institutions and the extra-curricular activities of children and adolescents; and thirdly, with the consequences of the respective life-styles, and the educational beliefs and practices, for the individualisation and reflexive social integration of adolescents. This section therefore outlines -- in a necessarily simplified form -- only the problematic and potentially hazardous aspects of these kinds of movements, groups and milieus for children and adolescents. Aspects that tend to promote stability, encourage development and open up possibilities are not addressed here, 185 ) and will need to be scientifically studied in the future. It should not be concluded that the involvement of children and adolescents in these groups and movements displays only harmful and problematic aspects. 186 )
The potential hazards -- as discussed at the hearing of educational, psychological and medical experts before the Enquete Commission -- are briefly listed below.
As the experts made clear, a distinction should be drawn here between the situation of children and adolescents who grow up in the new religious and ideological communities and psychogroups, and the position of adolescents and young adults who have recourse to such groups as part of the process of separation and becoming independent, or who spend time in new religious milieus as they experiment with alternative life-styles. Be that as it may, the problems outlined below cannot accurately be regarded as typical only of the new religious and ideological communities and psychogroups and families.
Analogous problems and conflicts are also found in other religious and non-religious milieus and life situations with quite different agendas.
For the group of children and adolescents who grow up in new religious and ideological communities and psychogroups, the following problem clusters may be noted:
There is the danger that parents may have insufficient autonomy and be too dependent vis-à-vis the groups, so that the way they deal with their children may also be determined by group pressures.
Particularly where the parents are heavily dependent in material terms, or where social resources and networks outside the new religious groups are largely lacking, parents may remain bound to the group even though things are going badly wrong. The parents' lack of autonomy and independence in the practical matters of life may then have far-reaching implications for the development of their own children's autonomy, because the parents are no longer effective as models of autonomous behaviour, or because the parent-child relations may be subject to outside control and adaptation to prescribed principles.
The heavy demands made on parents' time in the new religious groups may lead them to "neglect" their children. 187 ) The counterpart to this in other, more secular milieus and life-styles would be the "neglect" of children because of absolute priority given to a parent's career or the pressures of the labour market, which can minimise the time parents are able to spend with their children.
Problems and conflicts with partners may arise where one parent becomes involved with new religious and ideological communities and psychogroups.
These conflicts are exacerbated if the parents have sharply divergent religious views. A surprise conversion of one parent can place a particularly heavy strain on the family system, to the detriment of the children. This can lead to constant arguments in the family, which the children get drawn into and which can be very emotionally stressful for adolescents. Children who find themselves caught between two different religious views of life can face problems of loyalty, under pressure to "side with" one parent and "betray" the other. 188 )
It is above all in adolescence that acute generational problems may arise, as the young person strives to separate himself, and this is especially the case -- as was emphasised by the educational and psychological experts -- within relatively closed groups and those that make absolute demands on their members.
The independent individual development of adolescents is then not just
experienced as a loss, but at the same time as a fundamental calling
into question of the parents and their whole way of life. This is often
also interpreted as the road
This too, however, is in no way an invariable feature of the new religious or psychocult milieus. Similar problems are encountered in other communities of like-minded people or groups with a pronounced ideological or political bias; they may also accompany changes of status, or the transition from one social milieu to another and sharply different one in the course of social mobility.
A particular difficulty arises in the case of divorce, when decisions must be made about custody and account is taken of one or other parent's involvement in neoreligious milieus. Neither the mere fact of a parent's belonging to one of these new religious and ideological communities and psychogroups, nor appeals to "freedom of religion" as the basis of problematic parental behaviour towards children, can form an adequate basis for decision. The view of the legal experts called by the Enquete Commission was that no general regulation is possible here, but that each case has to be examined on its merits. 189 )
For adolescents and young adults who, as part of their adolescent and post-adolescent processes of separation and orientation, associate with new religious and ideological communities and psychogroups, the following problem clusters may be identified: Adolescents's search for orientation, even when pursued within new religious, spiritual or psychocult milieus and currents, can be understood as the expression of processes of becoming independent and separating from the family that are typical of adolescence, and as an experiential quest for meaning carried on outside the traditional institutions. This view of the matter was stressed by the educationalists, who indicated that social condemnation of unconventional forms of the search for meaning and choice of life- styles was not appropriate, and could cause adolescents to become entrenched in their views. This more nuanced approach can help prevent a one-sided "dramatisation" of the processes whereby adolescents or young adults become involved with groups. 190 )
Of course, the new ties can themselves become problematic, again hampering the young persons' drive towards independence.
Parents frequently experience their "children's" involvement in new religious and psychocult groups as a loss or alienation. If they try to win their children back by using compulsion or "force", this can further strain the relationship between adolescents and their parents, or completely destroy it.
The involvement of children and adolescents in areas of experience outside the family is of great importance for their individualisation and reflexive social integration. In particular, the network of school and out-of-school friendships within the same age group plays a central role in the learning processes and socio-cognitive development of adolescents. 191 ) But the availability of wide-ranging opportunities for education and training is also becoming ever more critical for adolescents's future. Major obstacles in either of these areas can therefore entail serious problems and long-term restrictions on the identity development of adolescents.
Against this background, attention is drawn to the following problem clusters: The educational and psychological experts rightly drew the Enquete Commission's attention to the fact that children and above all adolescents, with their strong urge towards independence and also their efforts to be a part of their own age group, can be pushed into an outsider situation. This may in part be because children and adolescents are forbidden by their parents to take part in the activities of their peers. But it may also happen because other parents discourage their children from making friends with adolescents from groups and movements that are characterised by public opinion and the media as "dangerous". 192) The two trends may reinforce each other, making the exclusion of children and adolescents particularly painful. No less problematic is the situation where children and adolescents have to keep secret their own or their parents' membership of a new religious movement or group, 193 ) and are thereby forced continuously to manage their own image, as well as information and its presentation, in order to prevent the discovery of a threatening stigma. 194 ) The result may be that children and adolescents are unable to talk about problems and conflicts that are crucial to their lives, either with other people of their own age or with adults, e.g. teachers, and despite their apparent involvement with a group are left to face their core problems isolated and alone. These problems are not confined to adolescents from new religious and ideological communities and psychogroups, but are also found in children and adolescents who try to control other sources of social stigma, e.g. a drastic decline in the parents' social situation, problems with alcohol or drugs, a parent in prison, etc. But even having said this, it can be assumed that the problem of the exclusion of adolescents from youth culture and from an untroubled and enriching intercourse with others of the same age group, compounded by the consequence of social isolation and loneliness, is particularly pronounced in the new religious and psychocult groups and movements.
Associated with this there may be a rejection or even "demonisation" of youth culture, youth fashion and youth style. Particularly prone to this are inter alia the traditional Christian, charismatic or Christian fundamentalist groups, the idea being that youth culture can be a gateway for the entrance of the evil and demonic. 195 ) The result may be that adolescents find themselves selves excluded from networks of friends and peers, which makes it very hard for them to take part in areas of youth experience or to gain access to information about youth culture at a time when the expansion of that culture and its increasing pluralism have made it a central field of learning and know-how for adolescents, of ever greater importance for their sense of themselves and their own future.
If adolescents are thrown back on the society of peers sharing the same beliefs, often in restricted networks, this severe constraint on the free choice of friendships, one of the central engines of development in childhood and adolescence, may prove a major hindrance to psychosocial development.
If the socialisation of children and adolescents takes place in special milieus that are cut off from the wider environment, 196 ) such adolescents may find it difficult to relate their experiences, models of meaning and world views to the requirements of modern society. This can lead to deep-seated feelings of alienation and anxiety about modern life. The long-term result may be that adolescents socialised in this manner will continue to be dependent on such "withdrawal milieus" later in life. This goes along with being deprived of the experience of the pluralism and diversity of the world and ways of interpreting it, experience which is becoming ever more important for coping with an increasingly pluralist society.
In addition there may be clashes between the requirements and expectations of school life and the family's own life-style and beliefs (e.g. participation in school events and outings, the contents of the curriculum, etc.), which can give rise to serious conflicts at school. What practical form such potential conflicts may take will, however, certainly be determined by the rigidity or otherwise of the particular family's views.
In part there may also be difficulties in moving on to later phases of the school career, with the corresponding access to vocational guidance and training, to the point where a young person ceases to attend school altogether and is unable to take the school-leaving examinations. 197 ) This can block one of the essential routes to responsible and independent adulthood. People with this background will find it considerably more difficult later in life to distance themselves from their group or leave it altogether.
Both of the previously outlined problem areas may in turn have far-reaching consequences for the individualisation and reflexive social integration of adolescents. The following problem clusters may be noted: Dietary rules, the rejection of all medical treatment in favour of alternative therapies or miracle cures, or the refusal of particular kinds of medical intervention on religious grounds, can lead to nutritional and health problems in general.
In extreme cases there may be danger to the life of adolescents, e.g. in the form of failure to secure medical treatment for a seriously ill child, or the refusal of blood transfusions, as in the case of the Jehovah's Witnesses. 198 )
In addition to these threats to the physical integrity of adolescents, there are problem clusters as concerns their psychosocial integrity. Because of their subservience to group pressures, parents may often fail to serve as an identificatory bridge for the development of a responsible and independent way of life. It may also become more difficult for adolescents to strike the right balance between bonding -- the product of a reliable parent-child relationship, as the basis for a relatively anxiety-free process of becoming independent -- and separation. This may be particularly the case if parents, engrossed in new religious and ideological communities and psychogroups, have too little time for their children or are distant in their relations with them, 199 ) while at the same time expecting their allegiance and "loyalty".
The dawning of independence in adolescence can be overshadowed by severe dissociation conflicts, guilt feelings and separation anxieties. Individualisation can thus be dominated by severe emotional conflicts and any move towards a "life of one's own" made very much more difficult.
In the case of adolescent "conversions", 200 ) there are other problems clusters: Involvement in new religious or psychocult groups may occur against a background of personal crisis and destabilisation, where there is a search for stability and orientation -- perhaps in the shape of a "better family". 201 ) There may then be a danger that the convert will be made use of by such groups. However, there is also the possibility that an area of compensation for existing emotional difficulties will be found which offers stability and involvement, but also permits the acting-out of problematic urges (e.g. the acting-out of exaggerated forms of aggression and sexuality, in contexts inspired by "Satanism"). 202 ) The experts consulted by the Enquete Commission told the hearing that such conversions could be seen as having three phases: Following severe destabilisation, a new frame of reference is offered, which eventually becomes firmly established. Of course, for an assessment of the way in which adolescents and young adults become involved in such groups, and the duration and form of their involvement, as well as for a prognosis of the likely positive or negative effects on the course of their lives, it is of vital importance to look at the entire motivational background and in particular the fit between biographical factors and group profiles. 203 )
The more hermetically sealed against the outside world the new religious, ideological and psychocult milieus are, the greater is the risk that a separate world will be created, a world that ends at the group's boundaries -- where experiences that might help adolescents to put things into perspective or to move outside the confines are hardly possible. Where these milieus display clearly destructive or self-destructive features, there can be considerable danger, as can be seen from such extreme forms as collective mass murder or suicide. It also follows that the more open and permeable the new religious milieus are to experience of the outside world, the more communication there is with outsiders, the less likelihood there is of such dire developments. That also demonstrates the crucial importance to adolescents of the way life is lived in the outside world, and the way that world relates to and communicates with these groups and milieus, or refuses to do so.
Children in new religious and ideological communities and psychogroups are usually regarded as having an important function as delegates or representatives of the group, "bearers of the message of salvation", and having a duty to pass the message on and live it out. 204 ) All this puts a heavy burden on adolescents, with clearly defined paths to be followed which prescribe ideal goals and high ambitions. This task of delegation can -- in psychocult groups (like Scientology or VPM) 205 ) -- demand the highest standards of performance and the utmost determination in conveying the group's message. These missionary obligations can make it very difficult for children -- who function as their parents' project and that of the new religious or psychocult milieus -- to dissociate themselves and to find their own way. In doing so, they must bear the burden of the great demands made on them, with the resulting danger of constant feelings of guilt and shame. Here too the danger to the psychosocial integration and identity development of adolescents is not peculiar to the new religious and psychocult context. Similar problems may often be seen for example in families obsessed with success, or in the attitudes some parents adopt towards "child athletes" 206 ) whom they urge on to high performance and maximum success.
The following remarks are not intended to give the impression that child abuse is primarily a phenomenon observed in religious, ideological or cult milieus, a notion belied by the spread of child abuse across the most diverse life-styles and milieus. It is of course true that drastic forms of child abuse and even infanticide are repeatedly associated with occult and Satanic groups. Concerning these forms, characterised as "ritual abuse", there are now a number of first-hand reports from victims, psychiatric and psychotherapeutic case studies, and some investigative journalism. The Enquete Commission organised a special experts' discussion on this subject. Even though the information we have on "ritual abuse" is not at all reliable, and the quantity and quality of the reported offences must also often be characterised as lacking corroboration, the offences reported in the available case studies and in the Enquete Commission's debate do make it necessary to tackle the issue.
"Ritual abuse" is understood to mean forms of sexual, physical and psychological encroachment on children and younger adolescents (mainly female, according to the literature), which are accompanied by recurring symbols, actions and procedures of a cult-like or ritual nature. These regularly recurring "ritual actions" and symbols may, as the experts also confirmed during the hearing, be first of all the expression of a belief system, perhaps in the form of Satanic-magical rituals; secondly, such elements may be staged and exploited for the purposes of child pornography; thirdly, the elements may recur as part of the setting in cases of collective or individual child abuse, but without any religious or cult connotations; and finally, they may be carried to the point of compulsive psychopathology. In addition there are cases where experiences of abuse are construed in ritual-Satanic terms by the victims themselves.
From the available reports of treatment and accounts of personal experience, as well as from the experts' contributions in the Enquete Commission's discussion, the following may be gathered on the subject of ritual abuse: Child abuse, beginning at an early age within the family or its immediate social environment, is accompanied by ritual settings which display violent features.
The abuse may be regularly and repeatedly accompanied by images, performances, sounds, masks or quasi-theatrical productions, which frighten the children even more badly. In particularly severe cases, children are drugged or hypnotised, then induced to believe that monsters or bombs have been implanted in them to destroy them in case they should not remain silent. Other reports speak of children being threatened with dogs, the theatrical representation of demons, and feigned or genuine acts of animal or human sacrifice, which throw the children into extreme panic. 207 )
These forms may be components of cult actions, but may also be undertaken for the express purpose of subjugating children, without any religious connotations. The objective in such cases is the total subjugation and control of the child. The reports contain indications that even in the case of small children, deliberate manipulations are undertaken in order to turn them into controllable objects, e.g. for use by the sex industry. To achieve this, children undergoing abuse are said to be pushed to the brink of physical and mental breakdowns, in a combination of extreme horror, shock and physical pain (through burns, electric shocks, suffocation, etc.), sometimes to the point of "dissociation" of the personality. The children "resolve" the unbearable situation by splitting off their experiences and projecting them onto another person, imagining that all this is happening to someone else and not themselves; in this way, the children are able to "survive" these extreme traumatic situations. As an expression of the individual's attempt to deal with such extreme trauma in early childhood, several different personalities may appear, which "share" the threat, the suffering and the pain -- personalities which can unconsciously coexist over long periods, change from situation to situation, perform a variety of functions for the overall personality, and which may be highly contradictory. This entails a breakdown in space/time co-ordination: One personality knows nothing of the actions and experiences of the other, and a third denies the actions of the first two. The experience of space and time fragments, and the presentation of the self may appear extremely contradictory and inconsistent in consequence.
These phenomena are now characterised by the concept of "multiple personality" or "dissociative identity disorder". In the international Diagnostics Book of Mental Disorders (DSM III R), this psychopathological phenomenon is defined as follows: "(A) Existence of two or more different personalities or personality states within one person (each with their own relatively permanent ways of perceiving themselves and the environment, relating to the environment, and dealing with it intellectually). (B) At least two of these personalities or personality states repeatedly take full control of the individual's behaviour." 208 ) These dissociated personalities, according to the experts who discussed the matter before the Enquete Commission, can be "programmed" at the time they are deliberately induced. 209 ) In these extreme traumatic states of dissociation the new emerging personality can be conditioned, under the influence of drugs or hypnosis, to respond to commands or signals, so that it is amenable to long-term control. The personality in question can for instance be conditioned to absolute silence, obedience or even suicide, triggered by specific word combinations or symbols.
This kind of conditioning from early childhood, characterised as "mind control", which is said to occur in extreme traumatic situations, makes it extraordinarily difficult to find out what may have actually happened. Clear and unambiguous testimony, e.g. about who did what, is hardly possible, to the extent that it is consciously accessible at all, if within a matter of minutes another personality takes over, one which knows nothing about what has just been described. In addition there are reports that children and adolescents are themselves forced to perform acts at an early age, thereby incriminating themselves.
No attempt can be made here to establish definitively whether there is an adequate scientific basis for the diagnosis of "multiple personality". 210 ) In any event, to put things in perspective it is necessary to be mindful of the following aspects, which are an expression of the uncertain state of our knowledge:
The need to tread a fine line between sensationalising and trivialising ritual abuse in connection with occult or Satanic trends is also necessary when it comes to data on the incidence of ritual abuse. At an experts' meeting on "Sexual violence against girls and women", it was reported that a survey of the German section of the "International Society for the Study of Dissociation" had come up with 305 cases from 61 locations in the Federal Republic of Germany, and that this was a minimum value. 213 ) In view of the novelty of multiple personality disorder as described, associated problems of diagnosis, and the far from comprehensive study of the subject, it was felt this was a shockingly high figure, indicating a clear need for action.
This contrasts with data from the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation and the state-level offices of criminal investigation: In response to an inquiry from the Enquete Commission, only four of the state-level offices reported past or current investigations or offences reported in connection with Satanism and ritual abuse.
In Brandenburg, for instance, proceedings in connection with child abuse and pornographic videos in a Satanic context which had been suspended were resumed after videos were found.
The Lower Saxony Office, in its reply to the Enquete Commission of 28 May 1997, mentioned a complaint filed by a young woman and extensive investigations in connection with abuse and Satanic cults: The upshot was that the allegations "in the core areas proved to be untrue and contradictory" (p. 4).
The most thorough investigation to date is probably that undertaken by the Office of Criminal Investigation of the North-Rhine Westphalia: Its April 1995 report on "Occultism and Satanism" states, about the ritual sexual abuse of children, that police investigations had as yet failed to substantiate the existence or extent of the criminal acts depicted.
Nevertheless, the report assumed that such cults do exist. It is noteworthy that the descriptions of ritual abuse, whose victims are almost exclusively female, closely resemble one another or are even in part identical. The following actions are repeatedly reported:
Whether these extremely grave criminal acts are committed frequently or
indeed at all (underlined in the original) is open to doubt. 214 ) All
in all, the conclusion is that Satanic crimes, because of their
sensationalist treatment in the media, are probably exaggerated, and --
given that no such grave crimes have yet been proved -- represent "more
a qualitative than a quantitative problem, if any". 215 )
The "data" available thus appear to be contradictory: On the one hand, minimum figures that have to be characterised as bordering on the dramatic, based on an inquiry that was less than comprehensive; on the other, no corroboration of suspicious circumstances by police and other investigating authorities. This largely contradictory data situation -- especially the failure of the authorities to establish any hard facts -- should not, however, lead us to regard the media reports and accounts of treatment as without foundation. The very gravity of the events described precludes this. What has been said about dissociation and multiple personality disorder shows why it is plausible that investigations of such matters may be particularly difficult, and that proceedings may be quickly dropped. Given the nature of the offences, this has considerable implications.
Special police training, increased sensitivity to phenomena of ritual
abuse, and a so more intensive investigation of this area -- conducted
in such a way that at first sight "weird" and apparently "incredible"
testimony does not derail the proceedings and lead to their early
abandonment -- would appear appropriate. On the other hand, because of
the uncertain data situation there are also no grounds for dramatising a
"Satanic threat". It should be stressed that there is no reliable
evidence to suggest that is it widespread, or in particular that there
is ritual abuse in "Satanic" contexts. Offences that may be committed in this area must moreover be clearly
distinguished from youth-culture forms of a stylised playing with occult
and "Satanic" symbols, so as not to expose adolescents to a stigma that
could have far-reaching consequences for them. 216 )
Educational processes with a religious or ideological slant give rise to conflicts only where they are harmful to the physical, mental and emotional integrity of children and adolescents. Only then is governmental intervention in ideological or religious training as practised in families, milieus and educational institutions legitimate. Dangers of this kind are to be found in new religious or ideological communities or movements and in psychogroups. But these dangers can in no way be regarded as universal, and need to be examined and diagnosed on a case-by-case basis. The question of whether these dangers are generally more prevalent in such groups and movements than in other milieus and life-styles cannot yet be adequately assessed, and the question must therefore remain open.
The Enquete Commission has come to the conclusion that the existing laws for dealing with such conflicts and threats as do arise are sufficient. It should however be noted that Article 4 of the Constitution cannot be misconstrued as legitimising child abuse. Freedom of religion here meets one of its limits.
The Enquete Commission submits the following recommendations:
143 ) Cf. Kühnlein, G.: "Verbetrieblichung" von Weiterbildung als Zukunftstrend? Anmerkungen zum Bedeutungswandel von beruflicher Weiterbildung und Konsequenzen für Bildungsforschung. In: Arbeit 6 (3, 1997), pp. 261 -- 281.
144 ) Cf. Schmitz, E.: Leistung und Loyalität. Berufliche Weiterbildung und Personalpolitik in Industrieunternehmen,1 st ed.: Stuttgart 1978, p. 45f.
145 ) Cf. Poweleit, D.: "Die Anfälligkeit von Führungskräften für esoterische Lehren", in Organisationsberatung -- Supervision -- Clinical Management 2 (3,1995), pp. 278 -- 287.
146 ) Cf. inter alia the account of existing case law in the Annex, Part A, on working party 4 in the Enquete Commission's Interim Report, Bundestag Doc. 13/8170, p. 105ff., and the account of the hearing of legal experts on the situation of children and adolescents in new religious and ideological communities and psychgroups, Interim Report of the Commission, Bundestag Doc. 13/8170, p. 24ff.
147 ) Cf. the detailed account in Part B of working party 4 in the Enquete Commission's Interim Report, Bundestag Doc. 13/8170, p. 94ff.
148 ) On the inevitable tension between the reconstruction of individual cases and a subsuming typology, which professionals must have to hand if they are not to increase the ever-present risk of "malpractice", see the paper in Dewe, B. et al.: Professionelles soziales Handeln, Opladen 1992 and in Combe, A./Helsper, W.: Pädagogische Professionalität, Frankfurt 1996.
The second and perhaps even more serious danger inherent in such a generalising typology is that it may give rise to or exacerbate social stigma: Parents who belong to the "sects", religious communities or "so-called psychocults" are child abusers. This can contribute to a hardening of social fronts, a negative stereotyping of specific milieus, and ultimately to a sharpening of the conflict among discrepant life-styles which can only make life more difficult for the milieus and families thus stigmatised.
149 ) Cf. the discussion between Klosinski, G. and Gehentges, U., in: Informations-und Dokumentationszentrum Sekten/Psychokulte IDZ (ed.): Auserwählt oder ausgeliefert? Kinder in Sekten und Psychogruppen, conference documents, Cologne 1996, p. 27ff. and 52ff.
150 ) It is not possible to address the complex question of whether adolescents need authorities and models to form their identity, whether their absence creates severe problems for ego development, or whether overly powerful authority figures do not rather represent a threat to the formation of identity. The fact is that in the Federal Republic of Germany there has been a sharp decline over the past four decades in the extent to which adolescents look to models.
Fewer and fewer adolescents admit to having any model at all. In 1993 only 47 per cent of ten to thirteen year olds said they still had a model. This means that so far as looking to models is concerned, children are now on the level of fifteen to twenty-four year olds in the mid-fifties, whereas by 1984 only 19 per cent of this age group still had a model. Modern adolescence seems almost to be characterised by a "model taboo" and a high regard for autonomy. At the same time, the social location of models is shifting: Models from the immediate social circle (e.g. parents) are constantly receding, while models from further afield in society, usually communicated by the media, are taking centre stage, in the form of idols (Cf. Zinnecker, J.: Jugendkultur 1940 -- 1985, Opladen 1987; Zinnecker, J./Stecher, L.: Haben Kinder heue Vorbilder? in: Zinnecker, J./Silbereisen, R. K.: Kindheit in Deutschland, Aktueller Survey über Kinder und ihre Eltern, Weinheim/Munich 1996, pp. 195 -- 213). For the general discussion on role model, authority and autonomy, cf. the study by Sennett, R.: Autorität, Frankfurt/M. 1985.
151 ) Cf. Helsper, W.: Das "postmoderne Selbst" -- ein neuer Subjekt- und Jugendmythos? Reflexionen anhand religiöser jugendlicher Orientierungen. In: Keupp, H./Höfer, R. (ed.): Identitätsarbeit heute. Klassische und aktuelle Perspektiven der Identitätsforschung, Frankfurt 1997, pp. 174 -- 207.
152 ) Cf. e.g. Luckmann, T.: Die unsichtbare Religion, Frankfurt/Main 1991; Lifton, R. J.: History and Human Survival, New York 1971; Barz, H.: Religion ohne Institution? Opladen 1992; ibid.: Dramatisierung oder Suspendierung der Sinnfrage? Anomietendenzen im Bereich Religion/Kirche, in: Heitmeyer, W. (ed.):Was treibt die Gesellschaft auseinander? Frankfurt/Main 1997, pp. 414 -- 473; Fowler, James W.: Stufen des Glaubens, Die Psychologie der menschlichen Entwicklung und die Suche nach Sinn, Gütersloh 1991; Helsper, W.: Neoreligiöse Orientierungen Jugendlicher in der "postmodernen Moderne", in: Ferchhoff, W. et al. (ed.): Jugendkulturen -- Faszination und Ambivalenz, Weinheim/Munich 1995, pp. 66 -- 82; Fischer, D./Schöll, A.: Lebenspraxis und Religion, Fallanalysen zur subjektiven Religiosität von Jugendlichen, Gütersloh 1994, p. 271ff.
153 ) For this argument, cf. Fend, H.: Sozialgeschichte des Aufwachsens im 20. Jahrhundert, Frankfurt/Main 1988.
154 ) Cf. more about the Unification Church in Kehrer, G. (ed.): Das Entstehen einer neuen Religion -- das Beispiel der Vereinigungskirche, Munich 1981; Reller, H. et al. (ed.): Handbuch Religiöse Gemeinschaften, 4 th completely revised and enlarged edition, Gütersloh 1993.
155 ) Cf. Reller, H. et al., loc. cit., p. 837f.
156 ) This also transpires from the information given by the Unification Church in connection with the Enquete Commission's hearing on 13 January 1997.
157 ) Cf. Eimuth, K.H.: Die Sektenkinder, 1996, p. 159 and in particular the analysis of Moon in Schöll, A.: Zwischen religiöser Revolte und frommer Anpassung, Gütersloh 1991, p. 184ff. Here Schöll uses a case study on Moon followers to demonstrate in an understandable and plausible fashion how Moon's central position and the subservience demanded of his followers can culminate in a denial of autonomous living.
158 ) Cf. Reller, H. et al., loc. cit., p. 836.
159 ) Cf. Schöll, A., loc. cit., p. 184ff.
160 ) Cf. Eimuth, K.H., loc. cit., p. 166f.
161 ) Cf. the analysis in Schöll, A., loc. cit., p. 184ff., especially the analysis of marriages of Unification Church members, p. 221ff. and the summary on p. 245ff.
162 ) Cf. Horst Reller et al., loc. cit., pp. 136ff., 146ff., 167ff. and 217ff.; cf. also the Berlin Senate Administration for School, Youth and Sport (ed.): Information über neue religiöse und weltanschauliche Bewegungen und sogenannte Psychogruppen, Berlin 1995, p. 27ff.; also the contributions in Meyer, T.: Fundamentalismus in der modernen Welt, Frankfurt 1989 and for some theoretical background Beck, U.: Die Erfindung des Politischen, Frankfurt/Main 1993, pp. 99 -- 149.
163 ) Cf. Gasper, H. et al.: Lexikon der Sekten, Sondergruppen und Weltanschauungen, Freiburg/Basel/Vienna 1995, pp. 135ff., 456ff., 812ff.
164 ) Cf. Eimuth, K.H., loc. cit., p. 204ff.
165 ) Cf. the EMNID study on attitudes to corporal punishment in: Das Beste, 1997, Vol. 4, p. 4 ff.
166 ) Cf. particularly the work of Klosinski, G.: Über blasphemische ¾uûerungen und religiöse Versündigungsideen im Kindes- und Jugendalter, in: Acta paedopsychiatrica 45, 1980, p. 325ff.; ibid.: Psychokulte, Was Sekten für Jugendliche so attraktiv macht, Munich 1996, p. 75ff. and various contributions in: ibid. (ed.): Religion als Chance oder Risiko, Bern and elsewhere 1994. In the course of the Enquete Commission's hearings of former group members and other concerned persons, there were clear indications of such problems, including Jehovah's Witnesses.
167 ) Cf. the remarks on demonology in the writings of Wolfgang Margies, e.g.: Margies, W.: Befreiung, Berlin 1993, p. 41ff.
168 ) Cf. also the section on Occultism/Satanism (Chapter 3.4) and in particular: Klosinski, G.: Okkultismus bei Jugendlichen: Jugendreligionen im neuen Gewand? AJS Forum NRW 4, 1990, p. 18ff.; ibid.: Der Hang zum Okkulten -- Esoterisches und Magisches bei Jugendlichen, in: Wege zum Menschen, Vol. 2, 1994, p. 227ff.; ibid.: Psychokulte, Was Sekten für Jugendliche so attraktiv macht, Munich 1996; Streib, H.: Entzauberung der Okkultfaszination, Magisches Denken und Handeln in der Adoleszenz als Herausforderung an die Praktische Theologie, Kampen 1996; Helsper, W./Streib, H.: Okkultismus in der Adoleszenzkrise, in: Wege zum Menschen 46, Vol. 4, 1994, pp. 183 -- 198ff.; Helsper, W.: Okkultismus -- die neue Jugendreligion? Zur Symbolik des Todes und des Bösen in der Jugendkultur, Opladen 1992.
169 ) Cf. the relevant chapters in Reller, H. et al. (ed.), loc. cit.; also Gasper, H. et al., loc. cit.; on the basics try: Ram Adhar Mall: Der Hinduismus, Seine Stellung in der Vielfalt der Religionen, Darmstadt 1997.
170 ) Cf. the relevant account in the Enquete Commission's Interim Report on "So-called Sects and Psychogroups", p. 52f. and p. 56f.
171 ) Cf. the account in: Hummel, R.: Gurus, Meister, Scharlatane, Freiburg 1996.
173 ) Cf. the accounts and documentation of reactions in: 25 Jahre ISKCON-Deutschland, Konferenz der Akademie für Vaishnava-Kultur am 29. Januar 1994 in Wiesbaden, 2 nd edition, November 1996; this was also manifest in ISKCON's presentation to the Enquete Commission and in its efforts to exchange views with members of the Enquete Commission.
173 ) The document "25 Jahre ISKCON-Deutschland" (loc. cit.) contains the following comments: "Minors may join a temple community only with the express written consent of their parents. Persons engaged in education or training are urged to complete their course before beginning their studies with ISKCON. Today we no longer encourage anyone to drop out of education, but point out to everyone that over 80 per cent of temple members move out of the temple after a period of three to five years in order to start a family. We also do not advise anyone to abandon his professional or family responsibilities." (p. 62) As concerns dealings with families whose members join ISKCON, tensions and problems are regretted, for which inter alia "immature and insensitive behaviour" (loc. cit.) on the part of ISKCON is conceded.
The result: "To this end, ISKCON has for example organised family meetings, in co-operation with members of the Vaishnavas, which serve as a communications forum. It is also a matter of principle with us not to admit any new applicant to our community until we have talked to the parents. Such get-togethers and family meetings may not perhaps produce a definitive solution to all problems, but they do prepare the ground. Regular contact with the family is a serious concern for us, and we do everything possible to maintain it." (loc. cit.) In the course of the hearing of persons concerned with the situation of children and adolescents in so-called sects and psychogroups, one young woman suggested that this attitude to families might also be prompted by tactical and presentational considerations. Admittedly, she had not been present at any meeting with parents, and her information had less to do with children of the second generation. Even so, what she had to say must be taken seriously. But even if there are tactical motives at work, and even if there are discrepancies between the announced changes and what really happens, these public and self-critical attitudes on the part of ISKCON do point to an effort to deal in a new and more productive manner with existing conflicts.
174 ) This rather positive account is not intended as an overall evaluation of Ananda Marga. What this former member had to say included some highly critical views, particularly as concerns authoritarian features of Ananda Marga focusing on discipline and subjection. Cf. also the experience report of Roth, J.: Der Weg der Glückseligkeit, Frankfurt/Main 1992; for a general view: Hummel, R.: Gurus, Meister, Scharlatane, Freiburg 1996, p. 210ff. and Gasper, H. et al. (ed.): Lexikon der Sekten, Sondergruppen und Weltanschauungen, Freiburg/Basel/Vienna 1996.
175 ) Cf. Eimuth, K.H.: Die Sektenkinder, Freiburg 1996; Berlin Senate Administration for School, Youth and Sport: Informationen über neue religiöse und weltanschauliche Bewegungen und sogenannte Psychogruppen, Berlin 1994, p. 13; on the effects on children of prolonged meditation with the right ear sealed with a silicon plug and blindfolded, see also the report of the Institute of Social Pediatrics and Youth Medicine at the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, of 20 April 1994.
176 ) Thus, one former member of Ananda Marga reported that in her eight years with the group in Europe she had not encountered drastic forms of compulsory meditation such as those found in Sant Thakar Singh. Meditation as practised by small children had been very brief, only a few minutes; in the case of older children it lasted fifteen to thirty minutes. In kindergartens run by Ananda Marga, the attempt to introduce meditation for children had largely failed in practice.
177 ) Thus, there are recurrent reports that certain meditation techniques may lead to psychological decompensation. One former adept of Transcendental Meditation told the Enquete Commission's hearing of former group members about alarming experiences he had had, reminiscent of drug experiences, in connection with the use of mantras.
178 ) Quoted from the report of the Hamburg Senate, Doc. 15/4059
179 ) Quoted from: "Kinderdianetik", Copenhagen 1983, p. 76
180 ) Cf. Eimuth, H.H., loc. cit., p. 79ff.
181 ) This emerges from the comments by Prof. Dr Linus Hauser at the public hearing held on the "Situation of children and adolescents in so-called sects and psychogroups" on 13 March 1997.
183 ) Cf. Anonymous: Entkommen, Reinbek 1993, p. 101ff.
183 ) Cf. Eimuth, K.H., loc. cit., p. 84ff.
184 ) Cf. the reservations about judgements as to the upbringing of children and relations between parents and children in new religious movements and groups in Section 5.2.3 of this Chapter.
185 ) Cf. the remarks on the attitude of these movements and groups to the requirements of modern life in Section 5.2.2 of this Chapter; cf. also the comprehensive, interdisciplinary and multi-perspective account of the relationship between youth and religion in terms of both problems and opportunities in Schweitzer, F.: Die Suche nach eigenem Glauben, Einführung in die Religionspädagogik des Jugendalters, Gütersloh 1996.
186 ) Cf. -- at least for the processes that attract adolescents and post-adolescents to these groups and movements -- the research project on biographies in such groups in Chapter 3.5 of this Report, and in the Annex.
187 ) Experience reports and reports from former members submitted to the Enquete Commission's hearings also contain indications, e.g. about Scientology, das Universelle Leben (Universal Life), or VPM.
188 ) Cf. the case study recounted in Klosinski, G., 1996, p. 82f.
189 ) Cf. Information and Documentation Centre on Sects/Psychocults IDZ (ed.): Auserwählt oder ausgeliefert? Kinder in Sekten und Psychogruppen, Cologne 1996 and the account of the hearing of legal experts in the Interim Report, Bundestag Doc. 13/8170 p. 24ff., p. 25.
190 ) Material that supports this more nuanced approach may also be found in the research project, commissioned by the Enquete Commission, on biographies in new religious and psychocult groups and movements; cf. Chapter 3.6 of this Final Report, and also the Annex.
191 ) Cf. Krappmann, L./Oswald, H.: Alltag der Schulkinder, Weinheim/Munich 1995 and Youniss, J.: Soziale Konstruktion und psychische Entwicklung, Frankfurt/Main 1994.
192 ) References may be found in the comments of groups made to the Enquete Commission in which they report on experiences of discrimination against the groups and members, e.g. ISKCON.
193 ) Cf. the account of the young former member of Scientology in Section 220.127.116.11 of this Chapter.
194 ) Cf. the pioneering account of these problems in Goffman, E.: Stigma. Über Techniken der Bewältigung beschädigter Identität, Frankfurt/Main 1974.
195 ) Cf. Helsper, W.: Okkultismus -- die neue Jugendreligion? Opladen 1992.
196 ) This is mainly a risk where children not only grow up in such family circumstances, but beyond that are also drawn into the context of new religious and psychocult milieus, in centres, temples, closed communities, educational institutions like kindergartens, schools, organised leisure facilities etc., so that experiences which might help them put things into perspective are at least severely limited.
197 ) References may be found in the above account of a young former member of Scientology (cf. Section 18.104.22.168 of this Chapter). In general this potential danger is to be regarded as serious where adolescents are encouraged to live their whole lives within the respective group, the suggestion being that school-leaving examinations are therefore irrelevant.
198 ) Although it should be noted that among Jehovah's Witnesses there are signs of at least a cautious moderation of this attitude -- even though they are holding fast to the categorical rejection of blood transfusions, based on the Bible. At the same time they do not call into question the entire range of medical treatment, and express the hope that with the advance of medical science forms of intervention may become possible that do not require blood transfusions. Finally, the basic legal position is accepted that transfusions may be carried out even against the will of the parents (cf. here the comments of the Jehovah's Witnesses on the Enquete Commission's Interim Report; this may also be inferred from the results of the Enquete Commission's visit to the Witnesses).
199 ) There were indications to this effect during the Enquete Commission's hearings of former members and other concerned persons with regard to Universelles Leben (Universal Life), Scientology and also VPM.
200 ) Cf. Klosinski, G., 1996 and ibid. (ed.): Religion als Chance oder Risiko? Bern and elsewhere 1994; also Streib, H., 1996, loc. cit. and Helsper, W., 1992, loc. cit. and ibid.: Religion und Magie in der modernen Adoleszenz, Opladen 1998.
201 ) Cf. Pölz, W.: Prognosen von drogen- bzw. sektengefährdeten Jugendlichen, Vienna 1981.
202 ) Cf. the Chapter on Occultism/Satanism in this Report.
203 ) Cf. in particular the findings of the research project on biographies in the context of new religious and psychocult movements and groups (Chapter 3.6 and the Annex to this Report).
204 ) Cf. in general on questions of family delegation and bonding dynamics the pioneering work of Richter, H. E.: Eltern, Kind, Neurose, Reinbek 1969 and the work of Stierlin, H.: Eltern und Kinder. Das Drama von Trennung und Versöhnung im Jugendalter, Frankfurt/Main 1975; Stierlin, H.:Individualisation und Familie, Frankfurt/Main 1989.
205 ) Clear information on these problems was provided at the Enquete Commission's closed hearing on "Children in sects" on 20 February 1997; cf. also the account of VPM in the Enquete Commission's Interim Report, Bundestag Doc. 13/8170, p. 20f. and the description of Scientology in Section 22.214.171.124 of this Chapter.
206 ) Cf. the study conducted by Rose, L.: Das Drama des begabten Mädchens, Weinheim/Munich 1992, about childhood and the attitudes of adults towards youthful gymnasts.
207 ) Cf. particularly the following scientific papers and case reports: Fröhling, U.: Vater unser in der Hölle, Ein Tatsachenbericht, Seelze-Velber 1996; ibid.: Ritueller Miûbrauch -- Die Opfer schützen! Geheime Strategien und die Folgen für die Opfer, lecture at a meeting on "Sexual violence against girls and women -- Protect the victims!" Saarbrücken 1997; Huber, M.: Multiple Persönlichkeiten, Überlebende extremer Gewalt, Ein Handbuch, Frankfurt/Main 1995; Spencer, J.: Das Martyrium eines Kindes, Frankfurt/Main 1995; Casey, J. F.: Ich bin viele, Eine ungewöhnliche Heilungsgeschichte, Reinbek 1992; Arbeitsgemeinschaft Kinder- und Jugendschutz Hamburg e.V.: Satanismus und ritueller Miûbrauch, Aktuelle Entwicklungen und Konsequenzen für die Jugendhilfe, Hamburg 1996.
208 ) Cf. in Huber, M. Multiple Persönlichkeiten, Frankfurt/Main 1995, p. 26.
209 ) Cf. the account in Fröhling, U.: Vater unser in der Hölle. Seelze-Velber 1995.
210 ) Cf. the brief but informative overview in Tölle, R.: Persönlichkeitsvervielfältigung? Die sogenannte multiple Persönlichkeit oder dissoziative Identitätsstörung, in: Deutsches ¾rzteblatt 94, Vol. 27, 1997, pp. 1868 -- 1871.
211 ) Similar views were expressed by the women experts who talked to the Enquete Commission; cf. also the accounts in Ulla Fröhling, 1995 and 1997.
212 ) The women experts told the Commission in this connection that to their knowledge whole families were sometimes still structurally caught up in the Nazi past.
213 ) Cf. Fröhling, U.: Ritueller Miûbrauch -- die Opfer schützen! Geheime Strategien und die Folgen für die Opfer, Saarbrücken 1997, p. 8.
214 ) Cf. Landeskriminalamt Nordrhein-Westfalen: Sonderauswertung "Okkultismus/Satanismus" -- Hintergründe, Straftaten, Bewertung, April 1995, p. 22.
215 ) Cf. Landeskriminalamt Nordrhein-Westfalen, loc. cit., p. 41.
216 ) Cf. also the remarks in the Section on Occultism/Satanism in this Report under Chapter 3.4.