Last week, we highlighted the Southern Poverty Law Center and the work it does to combat bigotry and hate crime. This week is a similar kind of organisation in many ways, and is based mainly around creating a knowledge resource. Collecting information, news articles, interviews, personal accounts and more surrounding the topic of ‘destructive cults, controversial groups and movements’, The Rick A. Ross Institute has been collating a great deal of data over the past thirteen years.
I first came across this site many years ago whilst searching for information about various groups that were often seen in my home town: groups like the Hare Krishnas (The International Society for Krishna Consciousness) and the Church of Scientology. Once I had found it, my interest in such organisations and movements never waned.
The Rick Ross Institute has collected what I believe is the largest online archive of news articles and other resources on just about any new religious movement that you can think of, as well as many political and human potential based ones. If you want to find more information about almost any group that you come across, they should definitely be the first place you go to. It is important to note that they provide articles of all perspectives, not just necessarily negative ones, so you are better able to formulate a complete picture about a particular organisation.
On top of these archives, there is also a very active forum connected to the site which has as members hundreds of ex-members of various organisations who are there to tell their personal story and answer any questions that others may have. The power of such a resource cannot be underestimated, and, even more than the news archives, there is so much useful information to be found here that you can literally lose weeks reading through it all.
New religious movements have become a very prominent part of society throughout the last 100 years, and many of us come into contact with them without even knowing it. Many of these groups are harmless, or indeed can even be beneficial, but there are many more that are structured in such a way that they can be a real detriment to one’s lifestyle and personal freedom.
Stories of disconnection from family members, forced imprisonment, malnutrition, mass suicide, murder, fraud, sexual abuse, and countless other crimes and immoral activities are well documented if you know where to look. The problem is that these groups do everything in their power to hide such information.
The Rick Ross Institute does everything in their power to ensure that this information remains available for anybody who wishes to see it. Which is exactly why we are pronouncing it as our Site of the Week! There is such an important service being provided within its pages, and one that could literally save you decades of lost effort and loved ones by stopping you from getting too involved in a group that does not have your best interests at heart.
In many ways, The Rick Ross Institute provided the indirect influence for my ‘5 signs that you may belong to a dangerous cult‘ article that has proven popular here, as it was one of the first sites that really opened my eyes to how prevalent these problems really are.
My fascination with such movements and organisations has always been predominately an academic one, but I have known others who have been personally involved in groups without knowing the whole story. Directing them to this page was a big step on allowing them to see the whole picture, and I know that it has saved more than a few people I know personally from making some very bad choices in who they hand over their freedom to.
The Ross Institute Internet Archives is an incredibly important site, and one that deserves as much praise as we can give it.