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Quote of the Day:
'Victims gradually lose their ability to make independent decisions and exercise informed consent.'
- Dr Margaret Singer


Conference Address - John McALPIN
Cults in Australia: Facing the Realities
November 2, 2011 - Parliament House, Canberra

Conference Report and Video


15 Feb 2012


"MY STORY" John McAlpin


Preface : any reference I make to Groups is not a criticism of their beliefs, it is a statement of facts and events which happened to me.


There are 2 parts to my story :



    I was born in 1944 in the Exclusive Brethren group (EBs), I was taught their beliefs, lived by their rules, married and had three children while in the group, until they excommunicated me in 1980.

    Suddenly after 36 years of this way of life, I was kicked out. I knew no other life.

    During my youth I was treated by the EBs as a young leading light, growing up to be a part of their favored inner hierarchy. I tried hard to impress them, attending their meetings every day, obeying blindly all their rules, reading their ministry & bible studiously, attending many of their special meeting events over 3 days, preaching their gospel in their halls and publicly on the street corners, etc.

    Then kicked out, I was treated like a leper who they would refuse to acknowledge in the street. I was made to feel worse than the worst.


    So what happened? The reason was business related, not religious.

    At the time, I was employed as General Manager of a business called Robinhood Industries, a successful appliance manufacturer, owned by Milton Needham my father-in-law, who was in the EBs, providing employment to many people and to EBs throughout the country.

    Then in 1980 the EB world leader branded the business as unacceptable and decreed that all EB employees resign in two weeks, or else. Why? Because the EBs had no control over the business nor its money.

    I chose not to resign, rather to fulfill my duty as the General Manager, and to save the operation from failure by the walk out of many key staff. Consequently I was excommunicated from the EB group and so were my family.

    So we lost our lifelong religion and many others lost their employment, over a commercial business issue.

    For about the first time in my life, I had made a decision for myself on what was right and wrong, and carried it out, instead of blindly obeying their demands out of fear.

    This action by the EBs illustrates how far they will go when it comes to money and control of businesses. The issue they made over Robinhood Ind. had to do with a person’s private business matters, which was really none of their business. And people’s membership of their "church" was threatened by an issue that had nothing to do with their "religion". So it begs the question, is the EB group a christian religion or is it a money grabbing business club?


    Then in 2008, 28 years later, the EBs came back to me and apologized for wrongly "kicking us out"!

    So I could walk back into this group now if I chose to. Wow! But I choose not to.

    There were several other times through the years that the EBs contacted me, after various leadership changes transpired, apologizing for their wrong doing, stating they had mistreated us and asking us to come back in. These approaches only served to convince me further of the wrongness of this cult and that I could not trust people whose actions and beliefs can be deemed right one day, then wrong the next, depending on their leader of the day. And they continue right to this day to hypocritically change their rules and values. I am not a hypocrite.


    Their action against us in 1980 resulted in much trauma for our family.

    We had lost all our lifelong friends and relatives that we ever knew. I never met with nor spoke to my parents again before they died, and my wife lost her parents too for 16 years.

    When my father passed away of a severe stroke in 1982, the EBs informed me of his death one year later.

    They informed me of my mother’s death in 1994 on the day of her funeral. To never meet nor speak with them again since the day I was put out, was my most heart breaking moment in life.

    My oldest sister died without us ever meeting again. My other sister I met once, but there is no ongoing contact. Still, the good memories of my Dad & Mum and us kids years ago remain my treasured possession.

    Milton Needham, my late father-in-law was one of the kindest greatest gentlemen I ever knew. The daily diaries now in my possession, written by my late mother-in-law, document the abuse meted out on them by EBs and when I publish them in a book, it will display in the bookshops in the "Horror Story" section.


    Thrown out into an unknown world, knowing no-one, we gradually came to terms with this traumatic nightmare and rebuilt our lives.

    Back in 1980, my wife was pregnant with our fourth child. At that time, continual harassment applied by the EBs on my wife caused the premature birth of our baby. Our baby daughter, born 11 weeks premature was rushed to an intensive care unit. She struggled to live but survived.

    Their cruel harassment of my wife, resulted in her suffering a severe depressive illness lasting 3 years and some permanent memory loss to this day as a result.

    For example, two of their men kept persisting in calling at our house when my wife was alone. They would hide in their car nearby until I left home for work, visit our house and ring the bells, requesting to talk to her alone. They kept this up for a long time, despite our demands that they stop coming and the threat of legal action against them by her doctor.


    My young children suffered the trauma of the EBs trying to take them away from us and we all live with these emotional scars to this day.

    For example, one day my second son came home from primary school, telling us he wanted to leave home and live with EBs, clearly he had been "worked on by EBs during school time. After I suggested we sleep on it, I asked him the next morning, "so do you really want to leave home?" He answered "no dad I really don’t".


    However, we somehow clung together as a family, while they tried to tear us apart



    Part 2


    Then in 2001 our fourth child (the youngest daughter I mentioned before), when in her early twenties, was recruited into a personal development cult called Kenja.

    At first the group looked OK , but then we observed her progressively borrowing more money from us, isolating herself from her peers, and cutting us off as a family.

    Our concerns led us to investigate the group more closely. We were dismayed to discover that Kenja was a creation of their leader Ken Dyers, that Kenja was his own model of Scientology beliefs, that he had been expelled from the Church of Scientology, that his claims to fame in the Army were lies, and that he had been charged in court for being a paedophile.

    Several years ago, as another legal case of sexual abuse was mounting against him, Ken committed suicide, shooting himself in the head.


    After 5 years in this cult, our daughter had become a different personality, we had lost her.

    So we then enlisted the help of Steve Hassan from USA and by holding a counseling session together with our daughter, Steve, our family, & ex Kenja members, she left the cult in 2006, and has recovered from the trauma of the experience, with the help of professional counseling.

    For me personally, it was this experience with Steve Hassan that helped me to heal from my EB trauma 21 years ago. Since 1980 I had not obtained any counseling or support group help at all, like CIFS now provides.



    It is this life journey that has led me to understand first hand the damage and human rights abuse that destructive cults impose upon the lives of Australian citizens. I want to see this abuse ended. That’s why I joined CIFS group, where we support survivors, lend a hand and make a positive difference to their lives.




Disclaimer: This page is about groups, organisations or movements, which may have been called "cults" and/or "cult-like" in some way, shape or form.  But not all groups called either "cults" or "cult-like" are harmful.  Instead, they may be benign and generally defined as simply people intensely devoted to a person, place or thing.  An account from one person must be read as that; ideas could have been taken out of context or have been misunderstood.  Also, practices may change over time, or between one centre and another.  CIFS encourages readers to research widely before forming an opinion.  Information from one single source would need to be judged against other sources and one's own personal experience.  Therefore, the discussion or mention of a group, organisation or person on this page is not necessarily meant pejoratively. 
S i t e   S e a r c h :

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ABC Radio:
5 Apr 2018
16 Oct 2010
14 Oct 2010


CIFS Conference:
Brisbane 2012 *
Canberra 2011
Seminar 2011
Brisbane 2010


Visions of Paradise


Cults: After-Effects




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