The "Intervention" Con

The con job perpetrated by so-called “deprogrammers” on the public goes like this: After frightening their marks with vicious, blatant lies about a family member’s religious beliefs, “deprogrammers” insist the parishioner in question must be “deprogrammed” or suffer dire consequences at the hands of their religion. In this way they manage to extort thousands of dollars in fees from a now-desperate family.

For these “services,” Rick Ross came highly recommended by the Cult Awareness Network, whose executive director touted him as one of the half-dozen “best” deprogrammers. Through violence and intimidation, Ross and his cohorts kidnapped parishioners of various faiths and held them for days against their will in an effort to force them to recant their religious beliefs. By the time Ross and CAN were finally called to account for their actions in a court of law, the damage to the individuals and their families was devastating.

From all outward indications, the Ross Institute is performing precisely the same function as the old Cult Awareness Network. By promoting intolerance and hatred on the Internet and to the media, Ross attempts to establish himself as a “credible source” for at least one gossip columnist, Jeannette Walls at This in turn promotes his deprogramming business.

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