I no longer thought I was the only one: An exploration of the therapeutic value of internet forums in the healing process of former members of the International Church of Christ and the Divine Light Mission/Elan Vital
Date of Award
Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)
Colby College. Religious Studies Dept.
I begin each chapter with a brief summary of the religious organization's history. I then move into current beliefs and practices as well as the controversy surrounding the groups. The second portion of each chapter focuses on the web sites for former members, ExIcoc.org and Ex-premie.org. I discuss the organization of the sites and the themes that emerge from the forums. I end each chapter with a brief discussion of what these themes might suggest about the forums themselves, the people who use them, and the original religious organizations. Finally, I speculate on possible reasons that online discussion groups may appeal to people in general, and specifically to former members of ICOC and DLM/EV. I propose that the non-physicality of the Internet, the diversity of interests of web users, the anonymity allowed on the web, the ambiguity of identity, and the development of a sense of closeness with other web users may each contribute to the popularity of ex-cult sites. I further recommend that online forums such as those on Exlcoc.org and Ex-premie.org may be a valuable new therapeutic tool for ex-cult members, one that at the very least deserves further research.
Internet Forums, Cults, Therapy, International Church of Christ, Divine Light Mission
Recommended CitationRichards, Sarah L., "I no longer thought I was the only one: An exploration of the therapeutic value of internet forums in the healing process of former members of the International Church of Christ and the Divine Light Mission/Elan Vital" (2001). Honors Theses. Paper 535.
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