ISKCON's Minister of Communications, Anuttama Dasa, spoke in October at the World Parliament of Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah, on a Panel entitled "Understanding and Mitigating the Dangers of Manipulation, Undue Influence and Abuse within Religious and Spiritual Communities."
Anuttama was joined by Dr. Michael Langone, the Executive Director of the International Cultic Studies Association. Both discussed potential problems of spiritual leadership and the means of avoiding abuse through training, accountability, and transparency. The official abstract of the panel is as follows:
"It is an unpleasant fact, but religious and spiritual communities, despite all good intentions, are highly vulnerable to developing, or tolerating, cultures of manipulation, undue influence, and abuse by spiritual leaders.
In this panel, a world expert on cultic behaviors, and a leader of a world-wide Hindu bhakti movement that suffered leaders who became isolated and then abusive, will discuss what years of research and practical experience have revealed: All communities are vulnerable to abusive and manipulative practices.
More importantly, they will discuss what practical steps organizations, communities, members, practitioners, and leaders can--and should--take to ensure healthy social dynamics and interpersonal care."
To watch the full video, please click below.
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