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The Family Survival Trust

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The Family Survival Trust

The Family Survival Trust
Advice and support for the families and friends of cult members
Formation 1976
Type Anti-cult organization
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
500 plus
Honorable Tom Sackville
Key people
Cyril Vosper, Audrey Chaytor, Lady Daphne Vane, Paul Rose

In November 2007, FAIR (Family, Action, Information, Resource), Britain's main "anti-cult" group, re-established itself as The Family Survival Trust (TFST).


The Family Survival Trust evolved from FAIR ("Family, Action, Information, Rescue") Britain's first "anti-cult" group.[1][2] FAIR was founded in 1976 by Paul Rose, as a support group for friends and relatives of "cult" members,[1] with an early focus on the Unification Church, although in the years following this focus expanded to include other new religious movements (NRMs) or what it referred to as "cults".[3] In the late 1970s, it started to publish FAIR News to provide information and reports on new religious movements.

FAIR set up a network of regional branches, and also worked closely with evangelical groups, despite not describing itself as non-religious in outlook. Its membership includes many committed Christians.[4] FAIR has consistently objected to the "anti-cult" label and "has repeatedly pointed out that it is not anti-religious, but opposes practices detrimental to the well-being of the individual". It has also publicly disapproved of activities like "Moonie bashing".[5] However, NRM scholar George D. Chryssides has pointed out that "[a]lthough FAIR officials reject the term 'anti-cult', FAIR's main strategy seems designed to hamper the progress of NRMs in a variety of ways."[6] Yet Elizabeth Arweck adds that FAIR's "commitment to raise cult awareness was tempered by repeated warnings against witchhunts".[7] In fact FAIR changed its name to "Family, Action, Information, Resource" denoting a concern "more with the place of these cults in public life and governments than with the issues of recruitment and brainwashing, although these remain[ed] important.".[8]

FAIR has often been perceived as supporting "deprogramming", but has publicly distanced itself from it.[9][10] Citing such reasons as high failure rates, damage to families and civil liberty issues, FAIR chairman Casey McMann said in 1985 that FAIR neither recommended nor supported coercive deprogramming and disapproved of those practising it, considering "coercive deprogramming a money-making racket which encouraged preying on the misery of families with cult involvement."[10] In 1985 members of FAIR who believed that the group had become too moderate created a splinter group called Cultists Anonymous.[10] In 1987, a FAIR committee member, Cyril Vosper, was convicted in Munich on charges of kidnapping and causing bodily harm to German Scientologist Barbara Schwarz in the course of a deprogramming attempt.[10][11] The hardliner Cultists Anonymous group was short-lived and rejoined FAIR in 1991.[12]

FAIR's applications for government funding were not successful; such funding has instead gone to INFORM (Information Network Focus on Religious Movements), set up in 1988 by the sociologist Eileen Barker, with the support of Britain's mainstream churches.[13] Relations between FAIR and INFORM have at times been strained, with FAIR accusing INFORM of being too soft on cults.[14] FAIR' chairman Tom Sackville as MP and Home Office minister abolished government funding for the INFORM in 1997 but funds was reinstated in 2000.[15]

FAIR is a member of FECRIS.[4]


The Family Survival Trust provides a confidential helpline for individuals and families effect by cult involvement and organizes national conferences [16][17]

External links

  • The Family Survival Trust Official site

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Wilson, Bryan R. & Cresswell, Jamie. 'New religious movements: challenge and response'. Routledge, 1999 ISBN 0-415-20050-4
  3. ^ Chryssides, George D. "Britain's Anti-cult Movement". In New religious movements: challenge and response, edited by. Brian R. Wilson and Jamie Cresswell. Routledge, 1999. pg. 260
  4. ^ a b Clarke, P. and R.M.H.F.P. Clarke. 2004. Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements: Taylor & Francis.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Chryssides, George D. "Britain's Anti-cult Movement". In New religious movements: challenge and response, edited by. Brian R. Wilson and Jamie Cresswell. Routledge, 1999. pp. 260–261
  7. ^
  8. ^ Clarke, Peter Bernard. New religions in global perspective: a study of religious change in the modern world. Routledge, 2006. Page 52
  9. ^ Woodhead, Linda, Kawanam & Fletcher. Religions in Modern World: Traditions and Transformations. Routledge, 2004. Pg. 322
  10. ^ a b c d
  11. ^
  12. ^ Chryssides, George D. "Britain's Anti-cult Movement". In New religious movements: challenge and response, edited by. Brian R. Wilson and Jamie Cresswell. Routledge, 1999. pg. 266
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Oct 2006 Conference
  17. ^ Operation Clambake present: Alt.Religion.Scientology Week In Review
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