2011/09/14 – The Cult of the Deprogrammer: Rick Ross

The Cult-Deprogrammer Hall of Fame

“Anticultism can turn out to be as narrow minded and dangerous as cultist. Worst of all, it often exacerbates the cultic mindset of those they oppose, and can worsen situations that are already bad at the outset. The irony of it is that they are the ones supposed to know better, but are also the same who, more often than not, exemplify cultic behavior better than cultists themselves.” [1]

Believe it or not, there are people who hold the opinion that self-proclaimed “cult buster” and “cult deprogrammer” Rick Ross is an “expert” on “destructive cults.” The so-called Ross’ “Institute” [2] of “Cult Awareness” and his “Cult Education Forum” are devoted to scour the news in search of so-called “destructive cults.” These misguided folks who consider Rick Ross’ singular campaign against “cults” as a worthy or heroic pursuit probably haven’t investigated Ross or his “Institute” or know anything  about his criminal background as a convicted felon. They may have taken at face value what others have said about Ross as being an “internationally known expert regarding destructive cults” (Bond, 2005). An online article about Rick Ross at the Religious Freedom Watch site offers an unbiased view on Ross’ activities, background and his “Institute.”

It says that, “Although Rick Ross promotes himself as a professional “cult expert”, a review of his educational background shows that quite apart from being anti-Christian (he refers to Christians as “Bible bangers”), Ross  has no religious educational credentials whatsoever.’ Rick Ross, who’s apparent religious intolerance may be informed by his Jewish upbringing, allegedly began his “cult-busting” career working in his grandmother’s nursing home. The date of this event is not given, but could have occurred anytime during his troubled youth.  Ross had undergone many years of psychiatric therapy starting at age 6. After his second arrest and imprisonment, Ross was seen and evaluated by psychiatrist Dr. Domiciano E. Santos of Arizona State Hospital who found Ross to be, “an arrogant, self-centered individual with some hostile tendencies” who “does not seem to profit from his past experiences and cannot realize that what he does is socially unacceptable and dangerous … He does not seem to identify himself with society and its laws, and believes that punishments are an injustice.” According to Religious Freedom Watch, “A September 10, 1975, report from Dr. Jerome J. Kaye, stated that Rick Ross had been under his care from 1957 through September 1971. In 1965, at age 10, Ross was put on the psychiatric drugs “Deaner” and “Librium” which he took daily in an attempt to suppress his anti-social behavior.”

Rick Ross’ Pro-Jewish, Anti-Christian Religious Paranoia: “The Missionary Threat”

We have mentioned Rick Ross’ Jewish heritage before, but it is telling that his efforts to stand against “destructive cults” carries a potent anti-Christian charge.

In Ross,’ The Missionary Threat, a treatise published by the Institute for First Amendment Studies in 1995 (now defunct), the first sentence reveals the that the incident involving his grandmother being targeted for “conversion” in 1982 has never been far from his mind.

“Jews around the world are now faced by the greatest missionary threat in history.”[2]

Further into this shrill and alarmist screed, Ross lays out his starting point for becoming an anti-cult crusader. “Missionaries associated with a “Hebrew-Christian” group called the “Jewish Voice” once infiltrated the Jewish nursing home where my grandmother was a resident. As a direct result, I became an activist and helped to stop this unwanted intrusion.”

This reveals that at the heart of Ross’ “cult-busting” crusade is the expression of religious paranoia that Jews are being forcibly indoctrinated into Christianity against their will. Ross further claims that, “…there are many Jews swimming in troubled waters. Some may become captured within the drift nets of fundamentalist and evangelical missionaries. Predatory sharks proselytizing as “messianic Jews or “Hebrew-Christians” may stalk others. How many Jews with the potential to make a meaningful contribution to Jewry have been, or will be, lost because no “rescuers” were there for them?” [3]

Thus the impetus of Ross’ crusade against cults, besides  the economic point, is his religious hatred and intolerance of bible-based Christianity, which he blames for destabilizing Judaism through deceptive missionary means. Yet we wonder how many of Ross’ faithful followers know of his anti-Christian program?

 “Everything we need to know and believe in is already here on earth: from homosexuality to Judaism, as I practice it, the truth is already here. Nobody is going to add one jot or tittle to it… and those who try – are trying to brainwash innocent people and create cults and that’s a fact…” – Rick Ross

The Strange Case of Jason Scott 

The reported “hostile tendencies” and “anti-social behavior” would emerge in Ross’ criminal activities as a young adult through thefts and forcible kidnappings. According to court testimony, Rick Ross masterminded the assault and abduction of Jason Scott, a Pentecostal Christian who was handcuffed, and taken to a remote house for 5 days under 24 hour surveillance to be deprogrammed. Scott escaped, and sued his captors. On Sept. 29, 1995 the Washington state jury found that Mr. Ross “intentionally and recklessly acted in a way that is so outrageous in character and so extreme in degree as to be beyond all possible bounds of decency and to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community. The federal judge remarked that, “the defendants seeming incapability of appreciating the maliciousness of their conduct towards Mr. Scott …”   eerily echoing Dr. Santos’ warning of Ross’ anti-social behavior. An effort to challenge this judgment was unsuccessful. While Ross was able to evade criminal charges, he was unable to dodge a civil suit by Scott. Ross was found liable for violations of Mr. Scott’s civil rights and ordered to pay $2,500,000 in punitive damages, which led to Ross’ bankruptcy and the loss of CAN, which was bought and taken over by Scientologists. It also marked the end of involuntary deprogrammers seeking to make money through kidnapping.

Being forced out of the involuntary deprogramming business (which Ross admits to have performed “two dozen involuntary cases”) and losing CAN, the Cult Education Forum is the latest scam that Ross has been able to mislead people into believing that he has the credentials to back up his claim of being an “expert” on cults. However, Rick Ross has NO professional credentials other than a high school diploma. His “Institute” is apparently nothing more than a post office  box.

The “Cult-Watching Groups

Ross’ “Cult Education Forum” and his “Institute” place him firmly within the “anti-cult movement,” which has become a dubious field of academic study.

The Wikipedia article on ACM states, “According to sociologist Eileen Barker, cult-watching groups (CWGs) disseminate information about “cults” with the intent of changing public and government perception as well as of changing public policy regarding NRMs. [New Religious Movements].

Barker has identified five types of CWG:

  1. cult-awareness groups (CAGs) focusing on the harm done by “destructive cults”
  2. counter-cult groups (CCGs) focusing on the (heretical) teaching of non-mainstream groups
  3. research-oriented groups (ROGs) focusing on beliefs, practices and comparisons
  4. human-rights groups (HRGs) focusing on the human rights of religious minorities
  5. cult-defender groups (CDGs) focusing on defending cults and exposing CAGs

Barker is an active participant on the subject of cult watching groups.”

Another scholar, the late Jeffrey K Madden, claimed that opposition to cults presented two rewards (among others). That is, to “protect members from heresy and to make the group stronger.” Thus Ross’ Anti-Cult Crusade (an Anti-Christian Crusade, really) must be exposed as a religious deception as well – which is in essence, an attempt of asserting mind-control in his followers. How ironic.

Others have ideas why Rick Ross had dedicated his life to “cult-busting.” It is strange that someone with a documented history of anti-social behavior would care a fig about anyone other than himself. So maybe we should reconsider Ross criteria of a “cult.” We get this entry from a page critical of Ross: “A cult, according to Rick Ross, is ANY group of people (or particular persons) who will choose to submit parts of their life and a big proportion of their energy to someone who either isn’t popular enough or teaches things that the majority would perhaps disagree with. To put it simply, if you choose to change your worldview in a radical, or original way which is little known to the public and you actually stick to it and call others to it because you believe that is the best way to be, you are setting up a cult.”

This is a good analysis of Cult-watchers. The author continues:  “Rick Ross seems to have dedicated his life to this cause. What does it offer? It offers money, fame and acknowledgement, but most importantly of all, it offers authority. What Rick Ross is really after is this exactly. It is the taste of power that they get when they watch themselves becoming a turning point to another person’s life. If you compare him to his own profile of cult-leader, you will see it matches perfectly.

It is a perverted instinct but it makes perfect sense, if you consider the people he hates the most (people with authority) and the practices he uses (impose authority). The deprogramming has this goal exactly, as is shown by the example of the Stockholm Syndrome. What it wishes to accomplish is the shift of loyalty from thecult” to the deprogrammer. This is obvious as the only way a “cult member” will let go of his (or her) own worldview and probably a cause that he has sacrificed a lot to achieve, is to fully trust and bow – so to speak – to the deprogrammer. Consider torture victims, victims of rape and abuse and kidnapped people and the Stockholm Syndrome. What happens is that the victim gives in unconditionally to exactly what their abuser imposes: full control.” [5] (Emphasis added)

Rick Ross’  credentials. as we have seen before, are completely worthless, and yet he manages to convince unknowing dupes that he’s a “cult expert.” However, Ross has been on the shit list from other “cult deprogrammers” for years. “For a variety of reasons, many cult experts refuse to work with – or to refer people to – Rick Ross. Much of that has to do with Ross’ behavior toward those experts whom he disagrees with – as well as his attempts at getting others involved in those disagreements.” [6] ~Apparently, Ross has burned many bridges within the Cult-Buster movement over his inflammatory, anti-social religious bigotry.

Ross and the Waco Siege 

…your stock cult leader. They’re all the same. Meet one and you’ve met them all. They’re deeply disturbed, have a borderline personality and lack any type of conscience…No one willingly enters into a relationship like this. So you’re talking about deception and manipulation (by the leader), people being coached in ever so slight increments, pulled in deeper and deeper without knowing where it’s going or seeing the total picture.” – Rick Ross in interview to the Houston Chronicle on Branch Davidian leader David Koresh.

 “I’d been in touch with Rick Ross, who was acting as an independent cult ‘deprogrammer’ and informant to the ATF and FBI. When I got to know him in Waco, I understood that he was instigating the most negative aspect of the situation because he wished violence toward David Koresh. He never said he wanted him to be helped out. He wanted him wiped out.” – Article for “The Nation” by Alexander Cockburn, quoting Balenda Ganem, the mother of Davidian survivor David Thibodeau.

Did Ross’ desire to “wipe out” David Koresh out of existence stem from Ross’ militant Jewish bigotry, or was it just another manifestation of his anti-social behavior?

“Nancy Ammerman, a Visiting Scholar at Princeton University’s Center for the Study of American Religion, was one of the outside experts assigned by the Justice Department to evaluate BATF and FBI’s handling of the Branch Davidians. She was particularly critical of Rick Ross and the Cult Awareness Network. “Although these people often call themselves `cult experts,’ they are certainly not recognized as such by the academic community. The activities of the CAN are seen by the National Council of Churches (among others) as a danger to religious liberty, and deprogramming tactics have been increasingly found to be outside the law. . .Mr. Rick Ross, who often works in conjunction with the Cult Awareness Network (CAN), has been quoted as saying he was `consulted’ by the BATF. . . The Network and Mr. Ross have a direct ideological (and financial) interest in arousing suspicion and antagonism against what they call `cults’. . .It seem clear that people within the `anti-cult’ community had targeted the Branch Davidians for attention.” (JDR:Ammerman:1)

Ammerman’s report  also mentions Rick Ross trying to inflame the government against the Branch Dividians and points out the “ideological and financial interest” Ross had in “arousing suspicion and antagonism.” against what he calls, “cults.” We’re not going to side on whether the Waco Siege was a mass-suicide or a massacre, but those who wish to have more info on what went down can look here. A profile on Koresh is here. The culmination of the Waco Siege where over 70 people – including women and children – perished in the fire ultimately paved the way for Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing. One wonders what plans karma has in store  for Mr. Ross.

The Cult Education Forum

“I want the whole world to be free of cults. maybe someday there will be a deprogramming machine and the government will require brainwahsed cult members to be cleansed in it.” – Rick Ross

Not many people are prepared to face the sheer, brutal wackiness of Rick Ross’ Cult Education Forum when they first attempt to post their views. If one tries to reason with them, they are banned and ridiculed. Andrea Roussow relates her experience with the Cult Forum. Rick Ross has said about his own website: “If you follow the linked discussion section to the entry about me you can see that this popular place on the Worldwide Web can become a venue for those that wish to attack someone or something they don’t like.”

Thus it should be no surprise that Rick Ross labels  the Desteni community a “cult.” Anything that can’t be reduced or aligned to his Judaic bias must necessarily be a “cult.”

Here is a brief exchange by Ross and Bernard Poolman after a few Desteni members responded to the outrageous lies promulgated on the CEF. Here is Rick Ross’ “expert opinion.”

“There seems to be an organized effort by destini [sic] devotees to post here.

And each of the devotee posts is eerily the same sing-song of mantras and slogans that reflect a group mindset.

Not exactly a good reflection, but rather a cult-like demonstration of destini [sic]  dynamics.

People here don’t have to go a participate at destini [sic] to have an opinion about the group.

This is again a typical response from cult members. That is, if you have not directly experienced the group first-hand your opinion is discounted.

But the first-hand evidence here through recent posts does seem cult-like.”

Bernard Poolman: “It seems to me that the anticult devotees spew the same stuff as every one belonging to any group — by definition all groups are cults –even those on this forum – The question is whether this actually benefit humanity or the egos of those unwilling to look critically at us as human beings and how we live and what we allowed this world to be.”

“Thanks for all the exposure –obviously would be nice to know who is funding this and who benefits from this attempt to misdirect mankind from real issues that has an effect on so many daily. Desteni is preparing to enter the political arena under the economic banner of equal money — with guaranteed results — In this world where one man has one vote — this is the end of elitist manipulation of words and constructs to keep mankind in poverty with the few benefiting through control of knowledge – obviously all political groups are also cults — so lets plat cult and establish a culture where there is a win win for all the people with basic needs. Poverty according to the law of attraction are the result of visualized self creation. For the anticultees there must be a fear button so great that self respect and self trust as a responsible person becomes impossible.

“Please share with us how you fund this — we are not non profit — non profits are controlled by donors — we generate what we require to do what we do — and for politics –we are in the process of establishing the necessary foundations. There will be a non profit part that will operate only to educate with the focus on law and psychology –that will make for great relations with you guys in the future.”

No doubt.


[1]  The Anticult Movement Mindset.

[2] “The Ross Institute is Ross’ latest money scam. The “Institute” is actually a mail drop just across the street from Ross’ apartment in Jersey City… While Ross promotes the “Institute” as a tax-exempt, non-profit organization and solicits donations from the public, the “Institute” is clearly a front and promotional arm for Ross’ deprogramming business.”  Buyer Beware if you get involved with the Rick Ross Anti-Cult Scam Cult.

[3], [4] Ross, The Missionary Threat.

[5] Rick Ross and the Deprogrammers

[6] Rick Ross – Problems with Various Cult Experts

23 thoughts on “2011/09/14 – The Cult of the Deprogrammer: Rick Ross

  1. Great article, and a breath of fresh air.

    I recently wandered into the Rick Ross forum and found out the hard way what it’s all about. Disappointing, and fraudulent.

  2. I wish there would be an investigation of what that criminal Rick Ross has been doing to Chinese American citizens. Recently he bragged in one place, (in his resume at cultnews I think,) that he was under contract to the Chinese government to “consult” about Falong Gong believers, and even more recently he bragged in his forum, in the thread about Ross victim Dave Mckay (a man Rick Ross has been openly targetting for the crime of being a street-evangelist), he bragged that he has assisted in “interventions” against falon gong members in the US. This means that on US soil Rick Ross has been helping the Chinese government grab people for following a group that gov’t does not like.

    This needs NEEDS to be investigated! This is a terrible precedent. Will rick Ross next be assisting Muslim countries outside the US who want to “intervene” against any Muslim Americans who convert to Christianity or to any other non-Islamic religion? It is mindboggling, truly mindboggling.

    1. Are you serious, Denise? I will absolutely spread the word, as well as look into this! There is a recent case where a Syrian-American provided the Syrian govt information on Syrian democracy movements here in the States; apparently that is a federal offense, and if Rick Ross is doing something similar, he could also be subject to investigation.

  3. Hi Sheila, just google “Rick Ross China Consultant” for a large number of reference points, including Ross’s own resumja boasts. The comments about interventions were in one of the Mckay threads in his hate-forum at rickross dot com

  4. Sheila,
    I don’t feel like learning wordpress’s system so please “friend” me in Facebook and we can talk more. I am extremely concerned about the ramping up I have seen among this hate-group’s postings and I want to work with you on this. Thank you Darryl Thomas for including a wide range of concern around your own interests. Rick Ross is certainly an “equal opportunity” oppressor!

    1. I think Ross gets some traction form other gov’t elements. Remember, the ATF was even more involved in Waco than FBI and in general is certainly more involved in questionable tactics (as far as the average person can see from general media). His connections in massachusetts really involve the east coast mafia elements and thus heavily embedded in the Democrat party.He is certainly running more of a petty mafia than a cult. ” Corboy” is a seriously evil part of that, in those forums, because of his veneer of intellectual talents.

  5. I don’t know if this information is 100% correct, however, I can share my experience, which gives it more credability. I left one hell of a nasty cult. I’d learned about the ross institute through other cult members that were leaving as well. But, don’t tell the ross institue anything because there is something wrong. The information provided through the ross institute is VERY TOPICAL, and is so limited that it seems they were pulled from news articles and that there was no cult investigation at all. I’m begining to wonder if the ross institute was actually a way for the cult to identify members that were leaving. As I have said, I was told about the ross institute through cult members.

    1. I think you are at least partially right about the possible hidden agenda of identifying critics. I have noticed that any inquiries about certain well-known criminal cults in the USA are sure to lead to real problems including physical stalking from Ross’s “associates”.

      Steven Hassan has a fake rivalry going on with Ross and in Massachusetts he has been paying stalkers to attack witnesses who could damage politically-influential Catholics as well as members of that very bizarre Neil Brick cult. BTW, there was a “Fred Brick” who was a lawyer with the CIA. I have no idea if he is related to Neil Brick, but he was active during the set-up period of the so-called “Satanic Panic” which of course feeds into those Illuminati fantasies. He would be very elderly if he is still alive. I noticed his name when trying to find out why neil Brick is able to threaten journalists with libel suits so easily. Conspiracy or just plain nepotism? the whole mess has “Irish mafia” written all over it and that certainly is a dominant cult in the USA!!!

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