Rich Poll Leaving CRI

farewell message recommends cult apology book published by Tavistock


Christian Research Institute BBS Archives; managed by Rich Poll [1995]


The ICL/Internet Christian Library warehouses the old text files for Christian Research Institute.

[ICL was initially set up with grant money from the Murdock Charitable Trust, of Vancouver, Washington.]


The following CRI BBS-FYI in-house publication tells about Rich Poll’s departure from CRI. Other significant details are found:



Copyright 1995 by the Christian Research Institute.



If you desire to reproduce less than 500 words of this data file for resale or the enhancement of any other product for resale,please give the following source credit:  Copyright 1995 by the Christian Research Institute, P.O. Box 500-TC, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693.


March 27, 1995


"Rich Poll Leaving CRI" -- see the conclusion of this issue for details.

~ excerpts




Anton Hein has been sparring a bit with Rick Joyner ( on the subject of Holy Laughter within AOL's boards.  Let me know if you'd like a look at the dialog.  Or e-mail and ask him yourself.  In addition, I've been passing metric tons of related text files to Paul Carden that others have emailed me from all corners of cyberspace.



Someone on the NuRel [Irving Hexham & Karla Poewe] list recently asked for book suggestions regarding a course on new religions that they were planning to teach in their religious studies department.  Here are the suggestions that were made:


James Beckford, "Cult Controversies" (Tavistock, 1985) [SEE NOTES BELOW ON BECKFORD/TAVISTOCK]

Thomas Robbins, "Cults, Converts, and Charisma" (Sage, 1988)

Bromley and Shupe's [Anson Schupe––CESNUR] "Strange Gods" (updated edition coming soon I heard/read)

Robbins and Anthony's "In Gods We Trust"

Lewis and Melton's "Perspectives on the New Age" [Gordon Melton/CESNUR]

Timothy Miller, ed., "America's Alternative Religions", (SUNY Press, mid to late '95) [SUNY/Rockefeller]

Robert Ellwood and Harry Partin, "New Religious and Spiritual Groups in America".

    Englewood, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1988, 2nd edition

Robert Emmet Long, ed., _Religious Cults in America_ (H. W. Wilson Co., 1994)

"...anything by J. Gordon Melton"


There has also been a discussion of the changes going on within the Worldwide Church of God on NuRel.  I found it interesting to see what the religious studies crowd does and does not know about WCG changes.

Included was the mention of a WCG e-mail list/forum.  For more info on that contact forum administrator Mark Palmermino at or (Australia).  This is a moderated list, so subscriptions must be approved.  It has fairly heavy traffic.




An unnamed fellow ( dropped in on the NuRel list recently responding to someone's request for info on Lifespring.  He said he was the editor of the Religion Watch newsletter.


Larry Pile (, with the Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, gave a lengthy response (which included some bibliographic entries I wasn't aware of) to that same Lifespring info request.


Editor’s note: Lawrence Pile was military intelligence. Is he still an agent? See: Pile’s BIO



Here are some new goodies Probe Ministries [affiliated with Campus Crusade]

recently uploaded to their Christian Information Net area on CompuServe:



>From Anton Hein regarding the "Holy Laughter" movement within the Vineyard...



[About Rich Poll leaving CRI]


You are reading the last issue of the BBS-FYI that I'll be writing for CRI.  <sniff>  This news comes after having received a wonderful offer from the International School of Theology (ISOT) [affiliated with Campus Crusade].  At ISOT my new position will be that of an independent research associate. [Poll’s APOLOGIA web site was set up about this time.] As such I will have 80% of my time free to continue the sort of research and writing that I have done for the last decade with CRI.  The remaining 20% of my time willbe spent helping the school offer seminary courses on the Internet and include the occasional teaching of a class in apologetics to resident students.  However, I will be off raising support until perhaps as late as the end of this summer.


The plan I have is to remain on-line during this time, but not be as active in the role of apolojedi cybresearch and publishing similar to the FYI or BBS-FYI *until* I get back from support raising.  Even so I will be continuing with CRI as a research consultant at-large indefinitely.  Look for more news from me this Fall on related developments.


Anticipating your questions:

CRI has no official e-mail address or BBS.

There is presently no one at CRI to take over the BBS-FYI.

I do not know if the CRI TEXT software package will be updated in the future.

Nevertheless, by His grace I *will* be able to continue feeding content to the CRI-Article list.  The CRI-Article list will therefore be where to look for news of changes to the above.


The BBS-FYI is an in-house publication of the Christian Research Institute

Compiled and reported by Rich Poll   <-- preferred

(Having posted my e-addresses, please understand that I can not always respond to all who write.   I often get plenty more e-mail than I can manage.  These are my private accounts, not CRI's.)

*Please* refer all CRI-related questions to the main office.





Associations and affiliations



Beckford is an *initiated member* and a contributor.


James A. Beckford is Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick, UK. His research is concerned with politics and religion, publicly funded chaplaincies and new religious movements. His principle publications include, The Trumpet of Prophecy: A Sociological Analysis of Jehovah's Witnesses, Cult Controversies: the Societal Response to New Religious Movements and Religion in Advanced Industrial Society. He is currently a vice-president of the International Sociological Association. [ISA founded by UNESCO]


“My conclusion is that Scientology, whilst clearly differing from the majority of Christian churches, denominations and sects in beliefs, practices and organizational structures, nevertheless satisfies the criteria applied by social scientists in distinguishing between religion and non-religion.” - “Scientology, and the Definition of Religion,” James A. Beckford, Ph.D., Dec., 1980.


“In his book, Cult Controversies: Societal Responses to the New Religious Movements, (London: Tavistock, 1985), Professor James A. Beckford, now Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick, employs -- as a gesture to public preconceptions --the term ‘cult’, but he does so only after disavowing any pejorative connections in this usage. More important, however, is the fact that, without any qualification, he acknowledges Scientology to be a religion. He writes (p. 12),’Sociologists [are] in disagreement over the appropriate designation for religious groups such as the U[nification] C[hurch], Scientology, the Children of God, and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness...’ That disagreement relates to whether such movements should be designated as sects, cults, or simply as new religious movements -- but that they are all religions, Beckford's discussion leaves the reader in no doubt.” – “Scientology,” Bryan Wilson, Ph.D., Emeritus Fellow, Oxford University, XIX.II



Beckford’s scholarship advances global agenda of mainstreaming cults as new religions.


RENNER (Research Network on New Religions) is a university based network of researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the University of Aarhus, Denmark… RENNER is a network intended to coordinate research being done on new religions and alternative spiritual movements… What we do, largely, is to bring scholars together, make it possible for them to establish information networks and engage in research projects, and to provide channels for the publication of their research results. Our goal is to encourage graduate students, young research fellows and established scholars to engage themselves in the study of new religions and spiritual movements. This is being done primarily through arranging seminars and workshops as well as through publication activities.

Welcome to the international conference

New Religions and Globalization: Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives

A RENNER conference in Ebeltoft, Denmark, September 23-26, 2002
James A. Beckford
Curriculum vitae


James Beckford is Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick. He was President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion in 1988/89, a Vice-President of the International Sociological Association from 1994 to 1998, and is currently President of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion.

His main publications include: 

Religious Organization (Mouton 1973)
The Trumpet of Prophecy. A Sociological Analysis of Jehovah¹s Witnesses (Blackwell 1975)
Cult Controversies. The Societal Response to New Religious Movements (Tavistock 1985) 
Religion and Advanced Industrial Society (Unwin-Hyman 1989)
Religion in Prison. Equal Rites in a Multi-Faith Society (Cambridge 1998) (with Sophie Gilliat)
New Religious Movements and Rapid Social Change (Sage 1986) (editior)
The Changing Face of Religion (Sage 1989) (co-editor)
Secularization, Rationalism and Sectarianism (Oxford 1993) (co-editor)

His current research is a comparative study of the treatment of Muslims in the prisons of England and France.


Drawing principally on material from the United Kingdom, this paper will argue that processes of globalisation have helped to raise the level of public interest in religion. For example, questions about the ‘management’ of religious diversity have climbed higher on the agenda of politicians and public policy makers. The mass media and mainstream social institutions are also forced to consider the long-term implications of religious diversity. And adaptations are taking place in the curriculum of religious education in state maintained schools as a response to the growth of religious diversity. One of the questions for research is how far these changes have affected older and newer religions as well as the relations between them.


?         INFORM, Information Network Focus on New Religious Movements


James A. Beckford and Eileen Barker of the London School of Economics are on the Board of Governors of INFORM, Information Netork Focus on New Religious Movements. Beckford is the Vice Chair of INFORM and Eileen Barker is the Chair and also on the Board of the foremost cult-apology organization, CESNUR, the Center for Studies of New Religions, directed by Massimo Introvigne and fellow vampire, J. Gordon Melton.

INFORM is an independent charity that was founded in 1988 with the help of British Home Office funding and the support of the mainstream Churches. It is based at the London School of Economics.

The primary aim of INFORM is to help people through providing them with accurate, balanced, up-to-date information about new and/or alternative religious or spiritual movements.



James Beckford is published on the UNESCO website.

Beckford, James A. (1999) 'The Management of Religious Diversity in England and Wales with Special Reference to Prison Chaplaincy', MOST Journal on Multicultural Societies, vol. 1, no. 2, < >.

ISSN 1564-4901
© UNESCO, 1999


BECKFORD is/was Vice President of the International Sociological Association [ISA].  See ISKON bio above.  ISA was founded by UNESCO. “The ISA is a member of the International Social Science Council and enjoys a status of the Non-Governmental Organization in formal associate relations with UNESCO.” [ ]


James A. Beckford. Cult Controversies. The Societal Response to New Religious Movements (Tavistock 1985) 


The publisher of James Beckford’s book, Cult Controversies: The Societal Response to the New Religious Movements, is Tavistock, New York and London. Tavistock Institute in London is the premier intelligence organization and “mother agency for most of the post war Anglo-American intelligence and ‘dirty tricks’ apparatus”. 1.  Tavistock Institute is located on Tabernacle Street in East London less than two miles from the London School of Enonomics (Houghton St., West London), which is less than a mile from Freemason’s Hall, the United Grand Lodge of England (Great Queen Street, West London).  This quarter of London on the Thames River is near the London financial district. 


The Executive Intelligence Review describes the structure of the cult watch/anti-cult network as a multi-layered project of the intelligence agencies, controlled at the top by Tavistock Institute in London and the Frankfurt School for Social Research in Germany and funded by the banking establishment: “The ‘anti-cult movement is a sophisticated project of Wall Street banking and intelligence families which has a hierarchical structure, summarized in the flow chart on this page.”






Tavistock Institute



Frankfurt School for Social Research

Hannah Arendt






Morris & McVeigh

Bodman Fund

Scaife Fund

Achellis Fund


American Family Foundation [AFF]





Department of Justice



Central Intelligence Agency [CIA]


Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI]







Son of Sam


Lucis Trust /

Temple of Understanding


Process  Church


  American Jewish Committee


Anti-Defamation League [ADL]


Jewish Community Relations Council Task Force on Missionaries and Cults










1. “Warning, The Cult Awareness Network Can Be Dangerous to Your Health,” The New Federalist, Investigative Team.