Paul Morantz on Cults, Thought Reform and Confession

Cedu Documentary Clip 14:

Attorney and cult expert Paul Morantz ( talks about the origins of ‘brainwashing,’ and the practical methods of bringing someone into a cult.

From the Cedu Documentary.


About Liam Scheff

"Author, Artist, Film, Permaculture." Liam Scheff is a writer, artist and stand-up lecturer on issues that people usually don't make comic books about. (Visit Liam's highly-praised book "Official Stories" reveals the complex details behind the myths of our times.

Posted on December 11, 2009, in Surviving Cedu. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life
    The Thought Reform Machine

    By Paul Morantz
    Copyright 2009

    After Mad Dog Saturday more squares– called nonresident members– came to Saturday night parties and joined the game club. Dederich needed their skills. He felt he couldn’t depend on managers who but for Synanon would have died by now from overdoses. He needed lawyers, doctors, engineers and scholars. He promoted Synanon as an alternate to financial success, a place where those who had fortune could find something they lacked–fun. To know of the game and not play it more was akin to not using electricity. He was the innovator of a new psychology that would lead them to a better life. America’s cities we subjected to criminal anarchy. Neighborhoods will be attacked. Synanon was safety. He indicted squares in games for their non-involvement. They should “stop taking” and join the movement all the way. They were needed to build Synanon II.

    Read the rest:

  2. How did these delusional ideas become practice and recommended to my parents by doctors as in my case? Is it because they had achieved the financial success that they criticized? I am very confused.

  3. Hi Joe,

    Have a read through Paul Morantz’s piece on the history of Synanon. Cedu was a Synanon spin off, (as was EST. And then, Lifespring and the Landmark forum are spin-offs (or re-namings) of EST).

    The fame of the game continued to grow. L.A. Times reporter-turned-resident, Skip Ferderber, wrote of its wonders, this time a 6-page story in Los Angeles Magazine.

    Roderic Gormey, M.D., a square game player wrote in his book The Human Agenda praise for Synanon and scoffed at fears that people who join might learn to be violent. But he also noted a phenomenon which he called “synphobia.” Squares who were attacked in games, all defenses broken, sometimes developed a disabling anxiety or depression, changes, he wrote, similar to experiences in concentration camps and war combat.

    Observing the Synanon school’s use of the game, which seemed to fit the times, Marin County looked into setting up its own school “sensitivity training.” But a local psychiatrist Dr. William M. Lamers, warned: “It may be as dangerous as allowing a two-year medical student to perform brain surgery.”

    Have a look here too:

    The ‘self-help’ self-drug-cure movement was popular in liberal circles, among some artists, musicians, and even politicians and judges, who sent kids and young adults to these ‘start-ups.’ CEDU was made out of that fabric – the self-help, drug-cure model of Synanon.

    Why it wasn’t stopped… I don’t know. They took the children of (primarily) wealthy people who had abused or neglected their kids, or who had failed as parents for some variety of reasons – drugs, excess, narcissism – and they sold them a bill of goods. And more or less remolded the pliable young people to repeat, verbatim, the happy statements made in the brochures.

    So, it took a while, a number of dissappearances, rapes, and charges of abuse, for the school to close.

    But, of course, it still exists, as a model, living in other, currently-existing schools. Because there will always be troubled kids, or really, kids having some difficulty whose parents are utter narcissists, who also have enough money to make their child someone else’s problem.

    For the rest of the world, there are the streets, or boys and girls town. Which are also harrowing abuse farms, or have been. Which would any of us have preferred? I suppose many of us would have preferred to have parents who weren’t narcissists.

    That was the through-line in talking to people who got sent there – the parents were not emotionally, psychologically adult, but they were successful and had enough money. There are exceptions, I’m sure. The really nice, naive people who just got suckered. But they also chose to put their children on a mountaintop for two years. And knowing the kids who were there when I was there – there were no murderers. No dangerous psychotics. There were one or two who I thought were so badly socialized that they might have been a little dangerous to others. But most of the kids were just looking for someone to be an adult in their lives.

    And they ended up with that bunch of losers and drop-outs and drug-addicts, and lost or searching people, who would be attracted to working and staying at a place like Cedu, and not reporting the abuse that they witnessed.

  4. Thanks Liam,

    Your work here is very much appreciated. I have been very curious about the origins of this. I have also been craving yelling at it a little bit I think. I sure hope I haven’t upset anyone with my comments.

    Regards and muchos kudos

  5. Nice clip, glad I got around to watching it. It is educational, but I wish it was more specific to Dederich and Synanon and maybe how that trickled down to Cedu. Or…is that another Paul Morantz clip coming up? Hmmm.

  6. Michelle Carmichael

    Hello. We need more current research. My heart grieves for what you all have been through and I am grateful for the fact that I did enough research prior to sending my own son away to a “therapeutic” boarding school in VA.

    More current research is needed and more current publicity is needed.

    – Michelle

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