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November 18th is recognized as International Cult Awareness Day, sponsored by Cult Recovery 101People Leave CultsCult MediationCult Intervention101, Cult Education Events, and CultNEWS101.

About International Cult Awareness Day:

About International Cult Awareness Day:

On November 18th, 45 years ago, over 900 individuals were victims of a mass-murder suicide who were members of the Peoples Temple cult. This event is most commonly known as the “Jonestown Massacre” which has been described as, “one of the largest mass deaths in American history”.

We want to be sensitive so as not to exploit those affected by this tragedy. Cult Awareness Day brings awareness to harms* that some have experienced in cultic systems. This year’s International Cult Awareness Day is a time to reflect on the 45th Anniversary of Jonestown for the following goals:

1) remember the victims of tragedies that have occurred in cults, with a specific focus this year on remembering the victims of Jonestown,

*Additional tragedies have occurred in the following other groups: Chinese Dragon Buddha, Movement for The Restoration of The Ten Commandments of God, MOVE, Synanon, The Children of God, Alusi Okija, Aum Shinrikyo, Beasts of Satan, Faith Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith, Falun Gong, Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Remnant Fellowship Church/Weigh Down Workshop, Heaven’s Gate, Word of Faith Fellowship, Solar Temple, Béchard Lane Eckankar, WACO and many more.

2) spread awareness of those harmed by cults, and 

3) provide resources for those who have been harmed while in these settings.

This year, we will remember the victims of the Jonestown tragedy…

This year, we will remember the victims of the Jonestown tragedy…

We want to honor the lives that have been taken. 

Jonestown survivor, John Cobb, has created a memorial site, and with assistance from the San Francisco Historical Society, provided photographs that show the faces of massacre victims. The victims ranged from children to seniors and the vast majority of them were African Americans. 

As stated on the memorial site, family members and friends of victims will be gathered at the annual Jonestown Memorial Gathering which will be held at the Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland, California at 2:00 pm on Friday, November 18th, 2022. 

The memorial will also be live-streamed on the Jonestown Memorial Facebook site.

Continuous Support

Cults became front-page news after the catastrophe of Johnstown in 1978, which was the launchpad for discussions and debates in which academics, family members, activists, and others yielded different perspectives on how to approach those in cultic environments as well as concepts that existed in those settings such as “brainwashing” (Langone, 2015).

Defining “Cult”

The term ‘cult’ historically has definitional ambiguity amongst professionals in the field. 

Due to this challenge, an alternative approach has been to identify the effects of destructive group settings, which can lie on a continuum, which can encapsulate many different types of destructive groups, from extreme exploitative groups to those who lie in the “gray zone” (Aronoff, Lynn, & Malinoski, 2000, p. 94). It is important to note that the Jonestown massacre was on the extreme end of the continuum of harm that can occur in cults, and such extremes are in the minority.

Because cults can encompass a broad range of psychologically abusive environments, they can also be referred to as totalist systems, destructive group settings, abusive group settings and defined as:


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