Article Summary:

Dr. H. Newton Malony, Senior Professor of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary, conducted a study of local church members to assess the claims of sociological deviance made in The God-Men. He found those claims to be without basis. [Note: Dr. Malony retired from Fuller in 2009.]

“The Experts Speak”—H. Newton Malony, Ph.D.

    MR. MORGAN: What is your business, profession, or calling?

    DR. MALONY: I’m a clinical psychologist.

    MR. MORGAN: All right. Let me show you what has been marked as Exhibit 23, and I will ask you if you can identify that?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. This is an abbreviated vitae plus my annual reports to my institution for the last three or four years. Basically, my updated vitae.

    MR. MORGAN: I will offer that into evidence, Your Honor.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: It may be admitted.

    MR. MORGAN: Let’s talk a bit about your education. Would you tell the court where you went to college, when you graduated, what degrees you received, and what further education you have in that regard?

    DR. MALONY: I received an A.B. degree from Birmingham Southern College, Birmingham, Alabama, in 1952; a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School in 1955; a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, 1961 and 1964; and I have done further study at the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Psychoanalysis, Emory University, Vanderbilt University, and Harvard University.

    MR. MORGAN: Now you have mentioned a divinity school?

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: Was there some purpose in going to divinity school?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. In addition to being a clinical psychologist, I’m an ordained United Methodist minister; I served as parish pastor for over four years full-time, and part-time for eleven years; I was also chaplain during that time. I’m under appointment by my bishop in my present role.

    MR. MORGAN: And what is that role?

    DR. MALONY: I am Professor and Director of Programs in the integration of psychology and theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, Graduate School of Psychology.

    MR. MORGAN: Can you tell us basically what your field is that you have told us about, this integration of religion and psychology?

    DR. MALONY: I should preface what I have to say by saying that Fuller Seminary has three schools: Theology, World Missions, and School of Psychology where we train doctoral- level clinical psychologists who are Christian psychologists and who we hope are able to integrate their psychological knowledge with their theological expertise. Our students receive a masters in theology along the way toward their doctorate. And I direct the program that interfaces the two disciplines.

    MR. MORGAN: In addition, do you do teaching at Fuller?

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: Can you tell the court generally what courses you teach at Fuller?

    DR. MALONY: Having been there now sixteen years, I’ve taught across the curriculum. But over the last seven or eight years, this has narrowed down.

    I teach the psychology of religion, I teach the integration of psychology and theology. I teach what are called topical integration courses on healing, conversion, behavior change, and conflict management. I teach courses on organizational management and church planning to the theology students every now and then. All sorts of courses. I teach clinical courses in such areas as consulting skills, psychodrama, management of clinical cases, transactional analysis, that sort of thing.

    MR. MORGAN: Are you ever engaged in the private practice of psychology?

    DR. MALONY: Yes, I have a private practice, up to ten hours a week, in which I counsel with adults, largely on individual matters. I do some marriage counseling, and then I consult with religious bodies and church organizations on a variety of matters having to do with organizational life.

    MR. MORGAN: All right. Doctor, is there some board, similar to the medical profession, where a person can be certified as a specialist in the field of Psychology?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. There are two levels of certification for clinical psychologists, both in the state and nationwide. One is licensure in a state. Psychology is a legal term in this state. You cannot call yourself a psychologist without being licensed. That requires a doctoral degree plus a minimum of one year supervised post-doctoral experience.

    I’ve been licensed sixteen years and was previously licensed in the state of Tennessee. There is that first level of licensure, and then there is a subsequent optional level for which one may aspire. After a minimum of five years’ experience, you can submit yourself to the American Board of Professional Psychologists to stand for their diplomat examination. I stood that examination in the early seventies and since 1972 have been a diplomat in clinical psychology under the American Board of Professional Psychology.

    MR. MORGAN: And have you also participated as an examiner of other diplomat candidates?

    DR. MALONY: I was the Chairman of the Western Regional Board of that board, have served on its national board, and have been an oral examiner here for the state licensing board exams which are held every year.

    MR. MORGAN: In addition to the activities you have outlined already, do you also contribute as an editor to various publications in your profession?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. My special area of research is the psychology of religion, so the journals on whose editorial boards I serve are all primarily related to that. For example, the Journal of Psychology and Christianity, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, the Review of Religious Research, the Journal of Psychology and Theology, and the Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation.

    MR. MORGAN: In addition, Exhibit 23, your vitae, indicates you have written numerous other articles. Is that correct?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. And have either authored or edited, I think, thirteen books.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. Fine. Now let me ask you, you use the term “psychology of religion.” What does that mean?

    DR. MALONY: Well, the psychology of religion has been divided into two basic areas, one called functional psychology of religion; the second called substantive psychology of religion. William James, at the turn of the century, called this the study of roots on the one hand, which would be functional psychology of religion, why religion comes to be in persons’ lives. Then he contrasted that with the fruits of religion, what people believe, how they behave, what it looks like out in the world. So that’s briefly what the field is about, roots and fruits.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. Great. Now, Doctor, were you requested on my behalf to make certain studies about Witness Lee and the “Local Church” as they relate to some publications by Neil Duddy and SCP?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. I assume as a result of a book which I co-authored several years ago, now entitled Christian Conversion, Biblical and Psychological Perspectives and also as a function of a book of readings called Contemporary Perspectives in the Psychology of Religion.

    A representative of the “Local Church” approached me about entering in or serving you in that way, and I should say, personally, I had never heard of the “Local Church” before that. I may have heard of the Spiritual Counterfeits Projects. I don’t remember. I knew nothing about the whole issue.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. Would you tell the court what you understood your assignment to be on my behalf?

    DR. MALONY: First of all, to read the accusations made against the “Local Church” in, I guess, such books as the one in front of me, The God-Men. Then to undertake any endeavor to ascertain, in my opinion, the extent to which these accusations were well-founded, legitimate, and true.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. Can you tell the court what, in your opinion, is the thrust of Exhibit 1, the manuscript, as it relates to Witness Lee and the “Local Churches”?

    DR. MALONY: The thrust was defamatory.

    MR. MORGAN: And can you tell us in what respect?

    DR. MALONY: It seemed to me to be an attempt to discredit both the contents or teachings of this group and their behavior and social practice.

    MR. MORGAN: All right. And in your opinion, did the book create any form of an image of both Witness Lee and the group?

    DR. MALONY: Without any question.

    MR. MORGAN: And what was that image?

    DR. MALONY: It was to associate this group with what was called an aberrant Christian group or, more specifically, by innuendo, to associate it with what would be in the common world “cults,” common everyday language. And I basically assume that those groups that the public calls “cults” are going to be avoided.

    MR. MORGAN: All right. What is your understanding of the common definition of a cult today?

    DR. MALONY: I’m much more acquainted with the technical definition of a cult, but I can give you my impression of what people think of when they hear the word cult, as something resembling the church of Satan or Jim Jones or Charles Manson or Hari Krishnas or the Moonies, which I think are thought to be semi-secret, manipulative, non-Christian groups who are seducing the public in some way toward an evil end.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Doctor, in the common language today, secret doesn’t seem to be evil-you know the Masons are secret.

    DR. MALONY: And the Masons have been called a cult.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Maybe they are in your definition. What I am trying to find out is, in our common understanding, is there anything that associates people and cults today with some form of mind-controlling, mind-influencing?

    DR. MALONY: Oh, yes, I think so.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Is that part of your understanding today?

    DR. MALONY: It may not have been the terms. I think the deviousness, the misrepresentation, or even the counter-cultural dimension of it.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Well, let’s say, for instance, we hear the term in this day and age which has been relatively new, “brainwashing.” Would you, in this day and age, associate brainwashing with cults?

    DR. MALONY: I think that definitely the term brainwashing has become associated with cults, that they brainwash people against their will, against their better judgement, for ends that are not good.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Does the average person, when he reads a story and it says, “This is a cult,” does he associate it, in your opinion, to some form of religion that’s mind-controlling, brainwashing, secret, some of the things that you have said?

    DR. MALONY: Yes, I don’t think there is any question about it. I think, for example, not only in the general public but in the educated public from other fields of study. For example, I think that my colleagues who are not students of the psychology of religion or the sociology of religion, my colleagues perhaps in New Testament, or my colleagues in World Missions, if somebody was to say to them, such and such a group is a cult, those are the exact associations they would have.


    MR. MORGAN: Now will you tell us what you did to carry out the assignment that we requested of you? What I would like you to do is to go through, just in general terms, the various things you did in order to assist you in formulating certain opinions.

    DR. MALONY: First of all, I asked for materials, both this manuscript and other materials, that might help me. And I was provided with depositions that had been taken from, I guess, expert witnesses or other people in this issue. I asked for writings of Witness Lee and for the writings of the church, and I was provided more than a human being could read.

    Then I asked for addresses of “Local Churches” in the Los Angeles area where I might attend firsthand. I attended worship or training meetings in Anaheim, Fullerton, Temple City, and El Monte. On three of those occasions, I went unannounced, simply knowing the hours of meeting. On two other occasions, I went because I was invited to the training to hear Witness Lee.

    I heard Witness Lee give two training addresses, I attended pray-reading sessions, and I attended Sunday morning meetings of the group. I also viewed videotapes of contemporary meetings within the last year, plus videotapes of meetings that were associated with the accusations against the “Local Church.” I attended two depositions that were taken in this trial of expert witnesses. Then I undertook a survey to better acquaint myself with what was going on.

    MR. MORGAN: Does that cover pretty well what you did in this regard?

    DR. MALONY: I talked with a number of persons, leaders of the church.

    MR. MORGAN: Now after doing all that work, did you form some basic opinions regarding the charges or allegations that are in Exhibit 1?

    DR. MALONY: I did.

    MR. MORGAN: Based upon your opinion, what did you see as the basic charges that were being made in Exhibit 1, when you read it, as it relates to Witness Lee and the “Local Church”?

    DR. MALONY: I saw them to be of two types: beliefs and practices. I saw my charge to be that of functioning as a clinical psychologist, with background in the psychology of religious groups, to evaluate the practices.

    MR. MORGAN: All right. Fine. And what did you see were the defamatory charges of the practices in Exhibit 1?

    DR. MALONY: I believe they were three basic types: one, having to do with recruitment practices under the general rubric of a “seduction syndrome;” two, having to do with worship practices under the general rubric of brainwashing; and three, having to do with what I will call maintenance practices, how you keep people in the organization, under the rubric of coercion.

    MR. MORGAN: Let’s take the first one, the recruitment, the “seduction syndrome.” First, is that an accepted professional term “seduction syndrome”?

    DR. MALONY: No, that is a term coined by the author of this book.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. What do you understand the author intends to convey to the reader by the term “seduction syndrome”?

    DR. MALONY: That the recruitment practices of the “Local Church” were qualitatively different and bad and evil, qualitatively different from those recruitment practices of other religious groups.

    MR. MORGAN: In your opinion, having done all the work you have related, is there any validity in that charge?

    DR. MALONY: I do not think there is any validity to that charge.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. Let’s go to the next one, worship, and you said it was under the rubric of brainwashing?

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: Did you form any opinion as to whether there is any validity to that charge?

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: What is your opinion?

    DR. MALONY: There is no validity to that charge.

    MR. MORGAN: Then the last one was the general field of maintenance or, namely, coercion. Are you saying coercion in keeping the people?

    DR. MALONY: In line and in their organization.

    MR. MORGAN: All right. Did you form any opinion as to whether there was any validity to that charge?

    DR. MALONY: I felt there was no validity.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. Now we’ll go back to them. First, let’s talk about the so-called “seduction syndrome” that the defendants have coined. What do you understand that the writers are saying the church is doing in this regard?

    DR. MALONY: I understand that the writers are saying that the church follows a pattern of preying on the weak and then seducing them against their knowledge or will by a process of seduction. The very phrase of seduction means to me that something is done by the use of one dynamic for another purpose.

    MR. MORGAN: All right. And what you have told us now is that in your opinion, that it’s not true as it relates to either Witness Lee or the “Local Church.” Is that right?

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: Now will you explain to the court why, in your opinion, you feel that is not a true statement?

    DR. MALONY: Let me begin by saying that I think that the writer of the book misused a scholarly article in this regard, the Lofland and Stark model of “conversion to a deviant perspective,” which is now over a decade old. It was intended to say one thing, but the author of this volume misconstrued it to say another thing, and then applied that to the “Local Church.” There is an interesting issue here.

    The Lofland and Stark Model, called a problem-solving model, presumes that an individual is in the time of stress and that they somehow are then met by another individual with a simplistic solution to their problem and that then they are swept off their feet and only discover later, if ever, that they have been duped.

    That was not the intent of the original article itself, nor has it become the obvious implications of this model in a number of scholarly articles written since that time. I’ll explain what I mean.

    The Lofland and Stark article assumed that persons who are converted are under stress, trying to settle a problem in their lives. That is what we might call an accidental event in their lives, their parents have died, they failed a course, ad infinitum, something you wouldn’t expect in the developmental process.

    Later events have reconfirmed what we have known to be true for seventy years, since the early study of William James and his students at Harvard. Conversion is predominantly an adolescent phase of life experience. Many of the persons that Lofland and Stark thought of as experiencing problems are really seeking purpose or meaning to their lives, quite normally, and the social institutions that they were involved with in their earlier years may or may not meet those needs. So transferring one’s loyalty to another group, another social institution, is much more a normal late-adolescent phase of the life problem than the author of this book makes it out to be.

    I can only presume that the author didn’t know developmental psychology or has had limited religious experience. Charles Stewart, for example, writing from the Menninger Foundation on adolescent religion, says there is one of three ways that adolescents may react to their former religious background. Quite normally, they may leave it entirely, which a number of adolescents do. That’s been a documented sociological phenomenon, that people leave religion in late adolescence. Secondly, those who leave but return to it in mid-life. Thirdly, those who conform to their religious upbringing, go right on with it, and become ardent members of it.

    I’ve seen that in my parish, where certain churches were characterized by parents and their children as proselytizers. Or they may take an alternative route that has similarities or dissimilarities to their parent’s religion.

    Melton and Moore, for example, writing in The Cult Experience, see this as very normal and as very natural. And they say, for example, that most people leave the cults after two or three years. I don’t think that’s been necessarily true of the “Local Church.” People find their homes there. It’s much more the similar type to their parents’ religion.

    MR. MORGAN: Then are you saying that even the first premise that the author of this book was utilizing, namely, that the people are walking around wounded, is not a scientific basis that’s been accepted by the professions?

    DR. MALONY: That’s right. I’d also like to say that it’s much more a natural social process, not a deviant one.

    For example, I wonder if the author of this book has read any evangelistic theory. I understand the author had seminary training at Westminster. But one wonders, did he ever take an evangelism course? Some of these processes are taught as natural conversion overtures in most evangelistic courses. Church growth theory, which is a very important theory at my seminary, even makes the point that, if you are wanting your church to grow, you approach the people, the transients, that have just moved. If you want your church to grow, approach people who are in times of stress. Meet their needs.

    Another interesting implication in the way this author describes the whole process is to suggest that religion offers simplistic, immediate answers to hard problems. Well, I think Christians, from the time of Jesus to the present, would say, Praise the Lord. That’s true. That’s what religion does.

    MR. MORGAN: I think His Honor has a question.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Professor, sticking to your first point, “seduction syndrome,” I understand-maybe you recall this in the book, there was some place where the author says this religion is anti-sports, and there seems to be some exception to tennis playing. I don’t understand why that comes in there, but they are contrary to sports. Now would you feel maybe, perhaps, that what the author is trying to convey is that taking these things away from people, such as normal activities like sports activities, gives more time in the church, that this would then hold them closer to the church? Is that the inference that is being made by that connotation?

    DR. MALONY: That’s the inference.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Could that be inferred normally from a layperson reading the book?

    DR. MALONY: Yes, in the sense that it is correlated also with not watching television and not being a part of the culture or not spending your time reading other than religious documents. But let me qualify it in two ways.

    MR. MORGAN: First, he wants to know what the book portrays.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Is that what the book would portray to the average person reading it?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. And they would say, “That is bad. That is evil.”

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Now do you know from your experience in your investigative processes whether you found out that statement is true or not with respect to the principles and tenets of this religion?

    DR. MALONY: I found it not to be true from the survey that I did.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: I mean that statement about the fact that they discourage sports and TV watching; that is not a true statement?

    DR. MALONY: I think you are going to be provided in a minute with the questions I did ask. I didn’t ask sports, but I asked the question, “Was the reading of newspapers, looking at TV, or listening to the radio discouraged? The uniform answer was, “No.”

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: But you didn’t ask about this business about sports? In other words, would this church discourage people from participating in sports activities?

    Again, this is what the book is saying. I’m asking you whether you did anything to verify whether that statement is true or not with respect to this church. This may be going beyond what you were assigned to do, but I was curious to know.

    DR. MALONY: No, but I would respectfully submit to Your Honor, I don’t know what the statistics are on the percentage of the American population that participates in sports. I don’t see participating in sports as a big deal one way or the other. I’m gathering you do.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Maybe because I’m a sports lawyer. You are right about that. But I’m thinking now to the average layperson or someone reading this book, and what I am trying to find out is, do you believe in your experience, that if a church does discourage sports activities on the grounds that you will give more time to spend in more higher things, such as your church and your religion-would you think that would go into what we call the “seduction syndrome,” holding you to the religion?

    DR. MALONY: As read by the average person, would the average person say, oh, that’s bad?


    DR. MALONY: I think the average secular person would.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Let’s take you, for instance. Would you, as an expert, feel that if a church discourages sports activities, for instance, this is the one thing I’m just pointing out, and/or TV watching, for instance, and says to do so takes you away from the time that you can spend in your religion. And this is where your time should be spent. Do you feel, in your opinion, that is a form of seductive holding or seductive syndrome?

    DR. MALONY: No. But let me qualify that. I don’t use the term “seductive syndrome.” And my experience seems to have been broad enough in my life to say that I have met many churches. I know churches who will not have a baseball team or not have a softball team, and it’s not simply the “Local Church.” I don’t know whether they have softball teams or not, but they will do it out of conviction that Christians should not participate in activities like that.

    They will not allow men and women to go swimming together. There is a de- emphasis on the ways of the world. And it will also be coupled with, “Don’t watch television; spend your time reading the Scriptures.” I’ve seen a lot of that in Christian churches that I call Christian brothers, but that’s not my persuasion, you know.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: But is that a way of holding the people to the religion more than if that principle was not one of the teachings of the church or that religion? I mean do you think that the reason they do that is, in your opinion, to hold these people and get them more involved, or is it just the practice or principles they believe?

    DR. MALONY: I would hope that’s the reason they do it, because, you see, there is a higher theological reason above that, that it is the job of the Christian to so live in this world that they glorify God and are prepared for heaven.

    You have to remember that the “Local Church” is in a great body of churches throughout Christian history that would be called, for the judge’s term, Separatists. They withdraw from the world, but they do it in a quite different way from the Amish or Mennonites. Remember, I think as far as I can tell, most of the “Local Church” people drive cars. I don’t see the Spiritual Counterfeits Project going out after the Mennonites. God knows if they want to get somebody who really withdraws, take them on.

    As far as I can tell, I’ve never seen any unusual dress in these people. In the survey that I took, one man said to me, “Yes, the brothers’ house that I lived in didn’t take a newspaper and didn’t have a television, but I went out and bought mine every day because I wanted to read the news.”

    Sure, my answer originally was, I hope it does, because that is the theological bent for us to spend the time we have preparing ourselves for heaven. Now I said the secular person would say, “Oh, that’s bad,” because the secular, non-religious person would not have that motivation and would tend to believe that all religion was world-denying.

    MR. MORGAN: Maybe you better explain the expression “world-denying.”

    DR. MALONY: That your job is to avoid the temptations of the world. And Saint Paul writes a lot about that. You know, that’s not bad ground for theological thinking.

    MR. MORGAN: And are there certain denominations that are readily accepted in the Christian community that feel very strongly about this separating from or denying the world in that religious sense?

    DR. MALONY: Oh, yes.

    MR. MORGAN: Can you name some of them?

    DR. MALONY: Church of Christ, for example, many primitive Baptist groups, even some Southern Baptist groups, Mennonites, Amish, Apostolic Church of America, Brethren in Christ. Give me a list of denominations, and I would say that fully a third of the Christian denominations still feel that way.

    In the sociology of religion, there has been the term “Sect church,” and it is said that many of the denominations began as Separatists’ movements, withdrawn from the world, world-denying, but became, over time-I don’t mean this pejoratively-culturally accommodating, meaning they made their accommodation with the culture.

    My own church is probably a better example than any of this. The United Methodists began in England in the 1700s, and I doubt if any historian of religion would back away from calling it a sect. It was a break-off from the Church of England. And the teachings of John Wesley were immensely Separatist.

    There were weekly meetings where the chief question was, “What is the state of your soul; how much temptation have you undergone this week?” Most social analysts would now say it is very much a church that interacts with the world and does not consider itself Separatist. All of its members would have televisions.

    MR. MORGAN: Let me ask this question. Does the author try to create an image that these Christian beliefs that you have just discussed are some form of cult activity?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. I think that’s definitely the emphasis, which makes the writer have a strange bedfellow, it seems to me. That’s the same kind of comment that secular, non-religious social and behavioral scientists have made since the time of Sigmund Freud.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Doctor, you might help me here. As I understand, the book doesn’t use the word “cult.” Is that correct?

    DR. MALONY: That may be correct. I think it uses the phrase “cult type.” And in the appendix of this group, it quotes persons who have studied the cults, the Transcendental Meditationists, Moonies, and the like.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Hari Krishnas?

    DR. MALONY: Hari Krishnas. And without any question, it says that the “Local Church” has these qualities. Now why else would they use those authorities who have studied cults? I mean the word “cult” is all over the final chapter or two.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: What you are saying is, the inferences are there even if they don’t use the word per se “cult”?

    DR. MALONY: There is so much there that not only you but others I have had to talk to had to remind me that the church was not called a “cult.” I was convinced after the first reading that they were called “cult.” I had to go back. I don’t think they ever used that word and probably that’s by design. But after my first reading, there is no question in my mind as to what the import was.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Maybe I’m way out in left field, but I’m trying to understand. This is a subject that is theological, and I’m trying to put the right emphasis where cults fit and where they don’t fit. It is not the easiest thing in the world for me.

    If a religion holds its people in the sense by saying, we discourage TV watching, we discourage sports activities, which gives you more time to study this religion, to do the things that we believe in, the reading of the Bible and the understanding of these texts, and so forth. Okay, we say that that’s the furtherance of that religion and that’s the way that they practice their religion. That’s okay.

    Then we get on the other group, and let’s take these other people on the other side, the “cults.” They say, look, we hold these people, we hold them here so that they can spend more time with us and do things that we believe.

    Where does the difference come in?

    DR. MALONY: I don’t think the difference is on that basis.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Is the end result what they each believe in rather than how they do it?

    DR. MALONY: What they believe in is the distinction that the social scientists would make. That’s the way I would define a cult, as on the basis of beliefs.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: What that religion or cult stands for, what its teachings and principles are. Is that what you are saying?

    DR. MALONY: I think that’s primarily where I would draw the line.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: See, because we define cults by names of organizations, but I don’t know, from a technical standpoint, exactly what these organizations really believe in.

    Like if we use the Moonies, we all heard that they use brainwashing and so forth. Well, that might be a method in which they hold their members.

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: What is it, in your opinion, that says they are not good, that’s a cult, and that’s bad?

    DR. MALONY: Let me back up a minute. As a social scientist, I use the term “cult” neutrally. I don’t say good or bad. I use what I think is the dictionary and social-scientific understanding of the word “cult,” which is, a cult is that kind of religious group which is not indigenous to your culture.

    Now that makes the Christian faith a cult in the Roman world, and it was. Social historians say that’s exactly true; the Christian faith was a cult in the Roman world up until the time of Constantine who, by fiat, made the whole Roman Empire Christian, and it is no longer a cult.

    That’s a very neutral definition. You have in America a plurality of religious groups so that who is a cult and who is not a cult, on that basis, is becoming much more difficult to say. What is indigenous American religion, particularly in California? Well, I think you do have to have some “standard orthodoxy.” They call us a Christian nation, which is a very interesting description, because the United States became Christian sometime mid-century of the 1900s in terms of whether the majority of the people ascribe to “the Christian faith” over all denominations. We have been called a Christian nation largely because of the founding fathers’ supposedly somewhat Unitarian points of view. We have been a pluralistic nation.

    When you come to the people like the Moonies, I know that most Christians, and I would probably agree here, would call their theology heterodox, or completely outside the pale of the Christian faith, even though they would have some affinity with it. And from that point of view, let’s say it is not indigenous to the United States, therefore, it’s a “cult.” But, I know when I use that word outside of scientific circles, that has a value judgement placed with it. That means “bad.”

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: That’s right. The average person today who would read this book that we are talking about, if they got the connotation that it was a cult, would their feelings be it’s bad, in your opinion?

    DR. MALONY: Bad and dangerous. Don’t get involved.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Okay. Now you have got to help me a little bit further.

    DR. MALONY: Okay.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: When we are talking about the common layman’s understanding of a cult that’s bad and dangerous, they associate it with certain organizations. We know Jim Jones, because he caused so many of those people to kill themselves. What is it, in your opinion, that is bad with respect to these cults?

    DR. MALONY: I’m formulating this sort of right now. I would think two things. One is a centralized authority. The second is manipulating social processes for devious ends.


    DR. MALONY: In that case, you have got to prove there is a charismatic figure who has that kind of authority and uses it in a way that manipulates social influence for devious ends, for ends that are not fully apparent.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: And would those ends be good ends or evil ends?

    DR. MALONY: Well, the implication of a cult is that they are devious ends. The presumption is made that the cult leader primarily wants control over the persons, though they may use an ideology which says, I’m telling you about the divine light, or I’m telling you about the Christian faith, that the real motivation is social or personal, individual control.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: That helps me a great deal, what you just said then. Some of this stuff I understand, but I think we are getting at the heart of it because we are doing a lot of talking about cults but not really trying to understand it. You are helping me now to understand it.

    DR. MALONY: Okay.

    MR. MORGAN: Let me pursue that a little further, Doctor. Is it your opinion that Exhibit 1 is conveying to the readers that in this case Witness Lee is that charismatic leader who is engaging in deceit and manipulating the minds of the people in the church for some devious purposes and to gain control of them?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. The book is saying Witness Lee knows all there is to know about social influence processes and has intentionally decided to use them on individuals and groups under pretense of one thing, and what Witness Lee really wants, his primary goal, is to have control of people’s lives.

    MR. MORGAN: And based upon your study and investigation, is that totally false?

    DR. MALONY: I think it’s invalid. Totally false.

    MR. MORGAN: Thank you. Now let’s go to the test that you took. Let me mark this as Exhibit 24.

    (Questions and summary of responses in survey by Dr. Malony marked for identification as Exhibit 24.)

    Let me show you what has been marked as Exhibit 24. And first I will ask you if you can identify what that is?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. Exhibit 24 is a four-page document; the first page is a list of twenty questions which I used in a survey for five groups, and pages two, three, and four are summary tables of the responses to those questions.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. I’ll offer that into evidence.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: It may be admitted in evidence.


    In your experience at the church:

      Were you told who to marry?

      Were you told where to live?

      Did the leaders control your finances?

      Did the leaders tell you where to work?

      Was the reading of newspapers or looking at TV or listening to the radio discouraged?

      Were you told when or where to go to school?

      Were you ever counseled by church leaders about your behavior?

      Were you pressured to take the advice of church leaders?

      Were you ever chastised publicly by church leaders?

      Were you ever encouraged to behave unethically by church leaders? to lie? to deceive?

      Was the church misrepresented to you? Did you know and understand what you were getting into?

      As a result of church worship, did you ever go into a trance? Did you feel spacy? Confused? Out of control? Hypnotized?

      As a result of church worship, did you ever feel like you had to obey the leaders without thinking things through on your own?

      Do you study the Bible on your own? What Bible helps do you use in your study?

      Have you ever felt brainwashed? Coerced?

      What role does Witness Lee (John Wesley) play in your faith?

      Is the Local Church the only church?

      How long have you been (were you) a member of the Local Church?

      When and how did you become a Christian?

      Who is Jesus Christ?

    MR. MORGAN: Now let’s start out this way. First, will you tell the court the rationale behind going forward with this type of an examination?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. In my reading of the documents used in the accusations against the “Local Church,” I was impressed with what I felt to be an inadequate and confusing methodology on the part of the social and behavioral scientist used by the accusers. I had some immediate questions, such as: Why did they not interview or talk to present members? Also another question: Why did they not compare their impressions with other Christian groups to see if some of the same predominant practices were going on there? And why did they not interview some other ex-members to see if the reports that they were getting were typical? They seemed to presume some interesting over-generalizations.

    MR. MORGAN: All right. Now can you tell the court, then, again in just general terms, what you did by way of the examination, then we’ll get to the specifics. Precisely what did you do in this regard?

    DR. MALONY: I asked the “Local Church” to provide me with the membership list of two of their churches, from which I selected, using a table of random numbers, a representative sample in each church of fifteen members from each church, present members.

    MR. MORGAN: You say by a random sample?

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: Can you describe to the court how you go about that?

    DR. MALONY: Well, random sample basically means a non-systematic sample. Like if you took every fourth name, that’s a system. A random sample takes a table which scrambles numbers in a way that investigators know how to use and generate out what looks like a hodgepodge of names, the first one, the twentieth one.

    MR. MORGAN: What is the purpose in doing it that way?

    DR. MALONY: Well, the assumptions underlying statistical tests, to know whether the differences that you get could have occurred by chance or not, always presume that you have taken a random sample as opposed to a systematic sample. So it’s one of the presumptions of statistical tests, a random sample.

    For example, you can make fairly accurate generalizations, it has been proven, on the basis of very small random samples. Several years ago, we did a one-percent random sample of research, and it gave us 750 people out of 50,000, I can’t remember the exact number, and we were able to print that in a professional journal as characterizing the whole group. That’s what you do; you make inferences in your sample to what is true in the whole group.

    I feel very confident that the samples I took from present members are a worthy and accurate reflection of what goes on in present members in these two churches.

    MR. MORGAN: That was one category. What was another category?

    DR. MALONY: I went to Methodist churches in the same community, one in Fullerton. The Methodist pastor cooperated with me in Anaheim because I knew him. He gave me a selective sample from his church, meaning his is not a random sample, so I have less confidence in that.

    I went to the pastor in Fullerton who didn’t know me; he promised to give me a list. He didn’t. I went to a church in Sierra Madre. I picked out seven in Anaheim and seven in Sierra Madre. These are both selected samples.

    MR. MORGAN: So now on one side, you have the present members of the “Local Church”; you have reports.

    DR. MALONY: Present members of the Methodist Church, which I would consider a traditional, mainline church.

    MR. MORGAN: What else did you do?

    DR. MALONY: I asked the “Local Church” to provide me with a list of ex-members, and they did so. Again, they gave me a list of about fifteen or sixteen. I was able to make contact with thirteen, a number living in distant cities. They were very cooperative. I think you would have to say, this, too, is not a random sample. I did not have a list of all the ex-members of all the churches of America from which to take a random sample. I asked the “Local Church” to simply give me as many as they could find.

    MR. MORGAN: Did you feel that what you were given was sufficient to assist you in performing this test?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. I would want you to call it action research. It’s not fully controlled. I would say that this selected sample of ex-members is about as representative as any other selected sample.

    In other words, we have got a group over here that’s mad at the church, and here is a group that has left, and we are going to ask them questions. I don’t know whether one is more representative than the other for sure, but I certainly have some faith in this.

    MR. MORGAN: Was there in addition a fourth category that you used; did you get ex-members from any other church?

    DR. MALONY: No.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay.

    DR. MALONY: I know a bunch of ex-members from other churches, and seemingly I’ve heard some of the same gripes. I have seen Baptist churches split where SCP surely would not want to get a hold of them. They are saying some of the same things about the leaders.

    MR. MORGAN: Then you formulated some questions to ask to these groups.

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: And did each of these questions relate to some charge in the book?

    DR. MALONY: Indeed. That’s where I got the questions.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. And then how did you perform the examination?

    DR. MALONY: By telephone. All the interviews were performed by telephone.

    MR. MORGAN: And then did you tabulate all of those results?

    DR. MALONY: I did.

    MR. MORGAN: All right. Now let’s start with the first question on Exhibit 24, and it says, “Were you told who to marry?”

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: To assist the court in that regard, Your Honor, if you will go to a portion from the Duddy manuscript:

    The regulation of intimacy reached its fullest expression in a northwestern U.S. Local Church where marriages were arranged by elders and their wives between people who were only casually acquainted with one another. Couples were paired according to the elders’ consentient belief that God was leading them to arrange marriages among the good brothers and sisters. In one month alone, this matchmaking yielded more than a baker’s dozen of marriages under the guidance of the yenta-like elders’ wives.

    The regulation of intimacy by Local Church authorities serves a dual purpose. First, the laity’s submission to church leaders insures the individual’s burial. Relinquishing all personal responsibility and authority for their lives (e.g., choice of a marriage partner) signals total vulnerability among church members.

    And I might add to the court that we are going to introduce evidence that the “baker’s dozen of marriages” never took place. But that will come from another witness. Was that basically what this question was relating to?

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: Will you tell the court your findings in that regard?

    DR. MALONY: No one of the present members, no one of the ex-members, and no Methodist reported their marriages were arranged.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. Let’s go to number two: “Were you told where to live?”

    DR. MALONY: It had to do with living within three miles of the church, moving close enough.

    MR. MORGAN: That’s right. There is something in that vein. Would you tell the court what your results were in that regard?

    DR. MALONY: No one of the present members, no one of the ex-members, and no Methodists were told where to live.

    MR. MORGAN: Fine. Let’s go to number three: “Did the leaders control your finances?”

    DR. MALONY: Once again, no one of the present members, no ex-members, and no Methodists said that their finances were controlled.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. Number four: “Did the leaders tell you where to work?”

    DR. MALONY: No one of the present members, no one of the ex-members, no Methodists were told where to work.

    MR. MORGAN: Let’s go to number five: “Was the reading of newspapers or looking at TV or listening to the radio discouraged?”

    DR. MALONY: Three of the present members, that’s three out of thirty, three of the ex-members, one of the Methodists were discouraged.

    MR. MORGAN: So we have three out of thirty of present members. Three out of thirteen of the ex-members. And then one out of fourteen Methodists. Okay.

    DR. MALONY: Now I would like to say to the court that the inferential statistical test that would be performed on data such as this to ask whether one group differed from another would be a Chi Square analysis. A Chi Square analysis of this data said these results were chance variations, not due to something other than chance. That’s the way you reason.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. Can you sort of translate that for us? What does that mean, then, to you in making this test?

    DR. MALONY: That means if I had taken thirty other present members, thirteen other ex-members, fourteen other Methodists, I might have gotten different results, which would, over the replication of this test a hundred times, vary just by chance in terms of which group had the highest and which group had the lowest. Does that make sense? Let me put it this way. In other words, if you got ten of the present members and seven of the ex-members, and none of the Methodists, I feel confident that Chi Square analysis would tell you something other than chance is occurring.

    MR. MORGAN: So you are saying that if you got that kind of a report, that would indicate to you that it was fairly probable that was discouraged?

    DR. MALONY: That was discouraged.

    MR. MORGAN: All right.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Let me see if I understand that. Are you saying, then, from the number that you got, if you were to try to put the position of the “Local Church” with respect to this question, would you say that based on these answers, the “Local Church” does or does not discourage reading newspapers?

    DR. MALONY: Here is the sort of statement we make. There is no statistical evidence that the “Local Church” discourages looking at television or reading newspapers or listening to the radio any more than do the Methodists. But let me hasten to add, that surprises me, because the “Local Church” is as I said a while ago, in general terms, a Separatist church, and one would expect them to discourage looking at television.

    If this was a Southern Baptist sample, I have a feeling that the leaders of the Southern Baptist Church would say, “I’m very sorry that doesn’t show that our church discourages it more than the Methodists.” Do you understand what I am saying? If I were a “Local Church” member, I would say, “Oh, that’s discouraging.” I’m just being facetious.

    MR. MORGAN: Let me ask you this. In asking the questions, did anyone indicate to you that the “Local Church” forbade the watching of movies or television or reading the papers?

    DR. MALONY: No. Now that’s an interesting thing. In no case did they forbid. For some of the qualifications in these answers, they said, “Well, I lived in a brother’s house where the mother and father did not take a newspaper or watch television, but nobody ever told me not to. It was more peer pressure, what everybody else was doing, than it was the leaders.”

    Now they said, “The leaders did encourage us to spend what spare time we had serving the Lord. At lunch time, if you have got a few minutes, read the Bible or try to attend all the meetings of the church.” But, you know, I again would hasten to add, we are making qualitative judgements here. In church life, in pastoral life, there is a lot of talk about how much time you are spending at the church as opposed to how much time you are spending with your family. It’s not only the “Local Church” that requires people to be there every night.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. I might point out to the court, there is the statement in the Duddy manuscript and in the German edition, and it reads:

    Local Church policy expands the New Testament mandate to shed immorality to include forbidding members to watch television, read newspapers, or go to movie theaters.

    That was carried over into Die Sonderlehre. But when it got to the one published by Inter-Varsity Press, it comes out more of discouraging than prohibiting. And so that was what we worked at on that one.

    DR. MALONY: By the way, many of us grew up in churches in the South, where the old adage, “I don’t smoke, I don’t chew, and I don’t go with the girls that do,” was very pervasive. You definitely didn’t go to movies; you didn’t buy phonograph records; you didn’t listen to the radio. All those were worldly activities. It’s not new with the “Local Church.”

    MR. MORGAN: Put in another context, there is nothing that makes it a cult if a minister or a leader encourages the people not to watch television and not to go to the movies and not to read newspapers, but spend that time learning the Lord and being a part of the Lord’s work?

    DR. MALONY: Not unless you want to call a lot of conservative churches cults.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. Fine. Let’s go on to number six: “Were you told when and where to go to school?”

    DR. MALONY: None of the present members, none of the ex-members, and no Methodists were told where to go to school or when to go to school.

    MR. MORGAN: Number seven: “Were you ever counseled by church leaders about your behavior?”

    DR. MALONY: One of the present members, one of the ex-members, none of the Methodists.

    MR. MORGAN: What, if anything, does that indicate to you?

    DR. MALONY: It may indicate that the pastors of the Methodist Church weren’t exercising good pastoral behavior. I’m being facetious there. I would hope that church leaders would counsel church members about their behavior. This is another one of those things where I think the implication of the book is that people were called to elders’ meetings and chastised and humiliated in the same way that number nine talks about chastising publicly. I think that is the import. That’s the way I asked the question.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. What is your conclusion?

    DR. MALONY: My conclusion is that there are no differences across the group.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Is this another question where you feel the “Local Church” leaders would hope there were more yeses?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. And I believe the Methodist leaders would have hoped there were more yeses. I believe the Catholic priest would have hoped there were more yeses.

    MR. MORGAN: Number eight: “Were you pressured to take the advice of church leaders?”

    DR. MALONY: None of the present members, two out of thirteen of the ex-members, and none of the Methodists reported being pressured.

    MR. MORGAN: Again, what does that indicate to you?

    DR. MALONY: I think statistical tests on this would say no difference between the groups. Though two of the ex-members did report that they felt at some time or another pressured. Two out of thirteen. Probably chance variation.

    MR. MORGAN: Again, what would that indicate to you as to what was in fact the practice in the church?

    DR. MALONY: Well, as one person said to me, “I was counseled and then told to pray about it and seek the Lord’s will.”

    MR. MORGAN: And does this response give you any indication that the church members are told that they must follow the elders or leaders?

    DR. MALONY: Absolutely no. I think that would be an invalid presumption.

    MR. MORGAN: Number nine: “Were you ever chastised publicly by church leaders?”

    DR. MALONY: None of the present members, none of the ex-members, and none of the Methodists were chastised publicly.

    MR. MORGAN: Number ten: “Were you ever encouraged to behave unethically by church leaders? to lie? to deceive?”

    DR. MALONY: None of the present members, none of the ex-members, and none of the Methodists reported such.

    MR. MORGAN: And this, of course, goes to the teaching that he is advocating immorality?

    DR. MALONY: I got some strong reactions counter to this, saying quite the reverse. “We were always encouraged to behave ethically.”

    MR. MORGAN: And would that be also from the ex-members?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. The fact is that I remember that strongest from one of the ex-members.

    MR. MORGAN: Number eleven: “Was the church misrepresented to you? Did you know and understand what you were getting into?”

    DR. MALONY: This question, as you can realize, was a no-yes question.

    MR. MORGAN: All right.

    DR. MALONY: ‘”Was the church misrepresented?” None of the present members, none of the ex-members, and none of the Methodists reported the church being misrepresented to them. That goes to the seduction issue, deviant motive, thought you were getting one thing and got another.

    MR. MORGAN: That’s the “seduction syndrome” Mr. Duddy created?

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: And the answers there show it was totally false?

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: How about the second phase of the question?

    DR. MALONY: It reversed. All of the present members, all of the ex-members, and all of the Methodists reported they knew what they were getting into.

    MR. MORGAN: Was that of some significance to you?

    DR. MALONY: That was two sides of the same question.

    MR. MORGAN: Fine. Let’s go to number twelve: “As a result of church worship, did you ever go into a trance? Did you feel spacy? Confused? Out of control? Hypnotized?” Now first, can you explain to His Honor why this question is being asked?

    DR. MALONY: Well, the book talked about altered states of consciousness, as if the church meetings were basically of two or three types. One is the training session led by Witness Lee that will begin or end with a testing where people stand up and he asks them questions or they volunteer. Another is a regular Sunday morning led by the elders. The third would be the pray-reading sessions which often occur midweek or on Saturday; I’m unclear, and they asked me what did I mean, and I mentioned all three of those.

    MR. MORGAN: Why are you asking this question?

    DR. MALONY: Because the inference, if not the outright accusation, was that these events caused persons to lose mental control, lose rationality, become hyper- sensuous and emotional, even go into an altered state of consciousness, at which time, according to this interpretation of the literature, they become very susceptible to leader influence, leader commands, as in a hypnotic state.

    MR. MORGAN: And again, is this sort of the popular conception of a cult leader?

    DR. MALONY: Of a cult leader or a cult situation. Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: Would you tell the court your findings in that regard?

    DR. MALONY: One out of thirty present members, one out of thirteen ex-members, and none of the Methodists reported that experience.

    MR. MORGAN: What did that indicate to you?

    DR. MALONY: Those are chance variations. There are no differences between groups.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. Did you personally participate?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. In all three of those.

    MR. MORGAN: Let’s take the pray-reading. Was there anything in that experience that in any way could cause you to become in an altered state of consciousness where somebody could then get hold of your mind?

    DR. MALONY: I certainly did not feel so, and I went incognito. I went as a participant/observer and, in fact, entered into the worship experience, which is an experience of either taking the Bible at a certain passage or taking printed verses from the Bible and reading them through together in a way that does not differ radically from what my church does on Sunday morning in what is called responsive reading. When I say radically, it was different because after the verse is read through completely, everybody reading it, then the practice is to go back to the first part of the verse and read it phrase by phrase and make comments after each phrase is read.

    One person might say, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help,” Psalm 121. Everybody would read that. Then somebody would start it, very spontaneous leadership, “I will lift up mine eyes. Praise the Lord! Thank goodness for ability to lift up mine eyes! I WILL lift up mine eyes. I will LIFT up mine eyes.” There is a fair amount of Amening and “Thank you, Jesus” that goes on with that, though I must say that I was expecting a real blowout experience. And my thought was, after I left, that whoever wrote this book sure hadn’t been around. You know, I’ve been in many revival and testimony periods that were much more persuasive and moving than that, as far as going into whatever might be called an altered state of consciousness.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: What you are making reference to is what they call their pray-reading?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. It’s reading of the Scripture, very focused on the Scriptures.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: There are other churches that perform similar things where everybody gets somewhat emotional in the sense that you are getting on a high?

    DR. MALONY: A high, that’s right.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: And as a psychologist, what is the reason for doing this? Is there a reason why this is done?

    DR. MALONY: In the “Local Church” or wherever?

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: I think there is a similar practice done in some other churches.

    DR. MALONY: Oh, I also think so.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: What is the reason? Is there some reason why you think this is done?

    DR. MALONY: Well, you have to realize that not only throughout Christian history but in the psychology of religion, there is this whole thing; religion is what you believe and what you experience. Christian history is replete with movements which start out as experience movements and then become fairly ritualistic and dogmatic. And then there will be another group that critiques them, and they rise up, and they have experiences, and they go over history.

    Both of those facets, Christian experience and Christian belief, have been important facts of Christian experience down through the centuries. So what this is intended to do is deepen one’s Christian experience.

    I know that the “Local Church” has a theology behind that that has to do with imbibing the word, making the word come to life, which, you know, I hadn’t heard about before, but I found a fairly refreshing counterpart to this kind of word study which takes the Hebrew or Greek and, God knows, goes back and tries to repeat that.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: I’m asking you as a psychologist, now, as a man who has studied psychology for many, many years, this type of reading of a passage and spontaneous explanation and so forth, what does it do to a person? How does it put them in a state of mind? What does it do to their state of mind?

    DR. MALONY: Oh, I think it expands it. I love the words “mind expansion.”

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: What do you mean by “mind expansion”?

    DR. MALONY: Well, it takes them, so to speak, out of any presumption that life is really lived entirely in the frontal lobe of the brain.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Does it take them out of the world of reality for that moment?

    DR. MALONY: Well, another way of saying it, it might put them into the real reality. You know, one of our fairly contemporary theoreticians, Fritz Pearls, the Gestalt psychologist, says that the primary way to do therapy is to get out of your mind and come to your senses.

    And we talk in our therapy about getting in touch with all of you. And the Hebrew understanding of the human being is a mind-body-soul complex.

    It seems to me that this book, and much of contemporary social science, really has bought into a twentieth century view of what reality is all about, a scientific point of view which is hyper-rational; it has no experiential dimension. Anybody who has been to Catholic mass knows that the Catholic Church never bought into that.

    MR. MORGAN: Doctor, let’s go back to the pray-reading for a moment. The purpose of the pray-reading, can you indicate this is some form of a devotional function of the church or of this church?

    DR. MALONY: It is. I would think of it as worship, very much similar to the practices of the church throughout the years, of supposedly “deepening the Christian life.”

    MR. MORGAN: Can you give us some analogies of other churches? Let’s take the Catholic Church; is there something that might be considered comparable?

    DR. MALONY: Well, I was thinking of the saying of the rosary, the mass itself, certainly if you took the rule of Saint Benedict.

    MR. MORGAN: Which I don’t know. You have got to tell me that.

    DR. MALONY: Well, like many monastic orders, they are built on a rule or a way of life defined by a given charismatic figure like a saint, which would order the days. Then, for example, one of the practices in the Benedictine rule would be to take a passage of Scripture, meditate on it, and say it over and over again to yourself, and come back to your spiritual confessor or adviser. Or it may be more like the Ignatian Rule.

    MR. MORGAN: Or the Eastern Orthodox, the Jesus Prayer could be comparable?

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: One of the concepts of the book is that this is a form of hypnotism. Since you participated in it, will you give the court your observations as to whether this practice could in any way be a form of hypnotism?

    DR. MALONY: Well, I don’t think so, in terms of what we understand to be hypnotism, so to speak, in the trade or where the term is technically used. Though hypnotism has pretty much of a long history, it’s a contemporary term that applies to an old process, putting people in a state in which they can, so to speak, get in touch with their unconscious or either follow the directions of a leader.

    But, I would hasten to add, our understanding of hypnotism as a process is, a person will never submit to following a leader’s commands unless they inwardly and deeply want to do what the leader is telling them to do.

    MR. MORGAN: Let me ask you this. On the pray-reading that you participated in, first, was there some leader that was directing how they were doing this thing?

    DR. MALONY: If there was, I couldn’t find who that was. And I was there from the beginning. I felt the person who began it was going to be a leader, but that leadership shifted all around, and another person closed the event that day.

    MR. MORGAN: And when the event was closed, was there then some intent to instill in the minds of the people some particular principle at that moment?

    DR. MALONY: No sir, as far as I could tell. It was, “Time’s up, let’s have a cup of coffee.”

    MR. MORGAN: Again going back, were you hypnotized in any way by going through this process?

    DR. MALONY: No. I found it to be an important experience, one I will remember, certainly not negative.

    MR. MORGAN: In what respect?

    DR. MALONY: I was impressed with the sharing, which was a lovely experience. It was not negative.

    MR. MORGAN: When you use the term “sharing,” what do you mean?

    DR. MALONY: As the verses were being read through, phrase by phrase, one person might say, “I had the Lord close to me yesterday when I was working, and my boss told me to do something I didn’t want to do, but I just prayed to the Lord to be with me, and I got through the day.” And the rest of the people would say, “Amen.” It was primarily sharing like that.

    MR. MORGAN: Did it indicate to you the people were in fact using their minds?

    DR. MALONY: Certainly. They were certainly not out of their minds. They were relating it to their daily experience. The whole event was focused on a set of written Scriptures, quite unlike, say, a more charismatic worship experience which is somewhat typical of other places. I would hasten to add, this didn’t feel like a non-cognitive experience.

    MR. MORGAN: Let’s talk about the mantra. Are you familiar with a mantra?

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: Was this a mantra where you repeat things you don’t know?

    DR. MALONY: Or repeat them over and over. In the appendix of this book it compares this to a mantra. Then it goes ahead to explain how a mantra is to be used in both Transcendental Meditation and the Hare Krishna movement. In those cases, a mantra is supposed to be repeated for hours at a time. This whole experience lasted an hour and a half, and we went over four pages of Scripture. So there is no one phrase being repeated in any repetitive way by any means. I’ve talked to some other folks, and I gather I was in on a very typical experience.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. Let’s go to the next question, number thirteen: “As a result of church worship, did you ever feel like you had to obey the leaders without thinking things through on your own?”

    DR. MALONY: None of the present members, two of the thirteen ex-members, and none of the Methodists felt that way.

    MR. MORGAN: And what did those figures, indicate to you?

    DR. MALONY: Chance variation, no difference between groups. I think that particular question was directed toward the presumption that under a trance state, as in question twelve, or under a hypnotic state, a person might be told something to do and do it kind of as an automaton or zombie, without thinking it through. The book also presumes that what the persons are told to do will be evil.

    MR. MORGAN: The two that said “Yes” to that, did they give any comments?

    DR. MALONY: They qualified it and said that they took it more to be the group exhilaration, the pressure of the group experience.

    MR. MORGAN: Number fourteen: “Do you study the Bible on your own? What Bible helps do you use in your study?” First, can you tell the court why this question was asked?

    DR. MALONY: It had to do with the accusations that the people were told entirely how to study the Bible and that they were always under control when they did study it, as if there were some distortion going on.

    MR. MORGAN: In other words, that the leaders are telling the people this is what you will read and this is all you will read and this is what you must interpret and, in effect, you can’t do your own thinking?

    DR. MALONY: Yes, and of course, the implication is that all they had were the writings of Witness Lee to study.

    MR. MORGAN: Right.

    DR. MALONY: I did not report the figures here because everybody said they studied the Bible on their own. And the variety of helps that they said they used were just all over the map from one person saying, “Well, I had a concordance,” or “I used the writings of Darby,” or “I went to see the writings of the Brethren,” or “I just read it on my own.”

    I think, by the way, that if I were Witness Lee, I would be a little embarrassed how few times they mentioned they studied my books or used them when they did self-study. It certainly was not an imperialistic “This is the only thing we read,” you see.

    MR. MORGAN: And what does that indicate to you?

    DR. MALONY: It indicated that the accusation that their minds were being controlled by input from as far as what they were using to study the Bible was a false accusation.

    MR. MORGAN: Let me go on to the next one, number fifteen: “Have you ever felt brainwashed? Coerced?”

    DR. MALONY: None of the present members, one out of thirteen of the ex-members, and none of the Methodists felt that way. And I concluded chance variation. Questions fifteen, thirteen, and twelve are related, you see.

    MR. MORGAN: In the course of that, did you come across a comment by any ex-member about the conduct of another ex-member?

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. And what was that in response to?

    DR. MALONY: Well, it was an interesting comment, and I can’t remember whether it was the one that reported they felt brainwashed or not, but there was one ex-member who said, “Yes, I felt it, definitely, from one leader who has now left the church and whose behavior was not characteristic of the leaders of the church.”

    MR. MORGAN: Okay.

    DR. MALONY: You want me to name the leader?

    MR. MORGAN: Sure. Did the person name the leader?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. A person named Rapoport.

    MR. MORGAN: Let’s now go to number sixteen: “What role does Witness Lee (John Wesley) play in your faith?” Now can you explain the question first?

    DR. MALONY: The question had to do with the accusation of Witness Lee exercising, as the text said, almost papal authority, and the inference being that he was somehow even quasi-divine, somehow having a special role. And I asked the Methodists, their leader would be John Wesley, the founder of the church in the 1700s, and Witness Lee would be the parallel to today.

    MR. MORGAN: What results did you get?

    DR. MALONY: And again, these are all anecdotal, so I couldn’t summarize them. Witness Lee was pictured as an elder brother, a teacher, a respected leader. Each of them said that Witness Lee was important to them. I was embarrassed; many of the Methodists didn’t remember who John Wesley was. Then I prefaced that question with a subsequent question: “Is Witness Lee Divine?” And there was no uniformity, “Of course not,” that sort of answer.

    MR. MORGAN: When you use the word “Divine,” that has a special significance?

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: What does it mean?

    DR. MALONY: Is he somehow a God? Does he have a special place over and above being simply a leader? And there was denial throughout.

    MR. MORGAN: And that’s both ex-members as well as present members?

    DR. MALONY: Across the board. No difference there.

    MR. MORGAN: So, basically, he was looked upon as either an elder person-

    DR. MALONY: An elder brother, a person who teaches us the Scripture, a leader, answers I think that might be given to any important leader in a group. No difference.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. Fine. Let’s go to number seventeen: “Is the ‘Local Church,’ the only church?” What is the significance of that question?

    DR. MALONY: Well, to some extent, you have to remember that my wording of these questions reflects some misunderstanding of “Local Church” theology. I don’t think they would ask that question in quite the same way. I don’t think the “Local Church” would call any people members.

    MR. MORGAN: That’s right.

    DR. MALONY: So I’m a little in error there. But what I was trying to get at was the exclusiveness that the accusations made, that people are told, “If you leave this, you are going to hell. If you don’t come into it, you will never be saved.”

    MR. MORGAN: “Your only chance is to be in this church.” Is that basically the thrust?

    DR. MALONY: That’s right. So I went ahead and prefaced this with everyone and said, “Are there other Christians outside the Local Church?” And this is a kind of no-yes question; no, the “Local Church” is not the only church.

    All of the present members said no; all of the ex-members said no; and all the Methodists said no. Then they answered yes to the other question: “Are there Christians outside the “Local Church”? Are there Christians outside the Methodist Church?” And they all said yes.

    MR. MORGAN: What does that signify to you?

    DR. MALONY: It signifies to me that they are not as Separatist as I thought they were. In other words, being the only church is something different groups have asserted down through the years. And I presumed that we would get the opposite here.

    MR. MORGAN: You thought that the members would say, “Yes, we are the only ones,” but they said, “No”?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. They surprised me.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Excuse me. Did you phrase the question at all, “Do you agree that the “Local Church” should be the only church”?

    DR. MALONY: No, I did not.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: That isn’t part of this question, is it?

    DR. MALONY: No. But I understand the import of what you are saying. And as I understand, better now, the “Local Church” theology, it would be that denominational separatism, separating ourselves into denominations, is not the will of God, that we are to come together as Christians.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: You mean one church?

    DR. MALONY: One church in each local community. You have to remember, the Disciples of Christ in the nineteenth century were based on the same assumption. So this is not unique.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: I just wanted to know if that was part of the question.

    DR. MALONY: No, I did not ask that question.

    MR. MORGAN: Now, eighteen: “How long have you been or were you a member of the ‘Local Church’?” What sort of response did you get there?

    DR. MALONY: What I have summarized is the average and then the range. There are significant differences here. I’m not sure what to make of it, but present members have been members of the “Local Church” an average of over 12.9 years, ranging from one to twenty-seven years- somebody just come in, somebody who’s been there twenty-seven years.

    The ex-members were members or attended an average of 8.2 years with a range of two to sixteen years. And the Methodists have been members of the Methodist church thiry-one years on the average with a range between four and seventy years. So we must have gotten one of the older members there.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. Now, number nineteen: “When and how did you become a Christian?” What is the significance of that question?

    DR. MALONY: I was interested in knowing whether all their Christian experience had occurred in the “Local Church.” I didn’t summarize it. This was anecdotal. The vast majority were Christians before they came into the “Local Church.”

    MR. MORGAN: What is the significance of that, at least in your local study?

    DR. MALONY: From my study, it would be that this is not the only experience. It has not been so narrowly defined for them that they are limited in this point of view. Now to be sure, I would assume that most of those who came from other churches did so out of conviction that this was a better way, you know.

    MR. MORGAN: Right. And number twenty: “Who is Jesus Christ?”

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: Again, why was that question posed?

    DR. MALONY: I asked that to see if I could, in my kind of theological naiveté, get at the accusation that somehow the “Local Church” misconstrued the Trinity in some way. Modalism, I think, is the word they use, but I wouldn’t want to be pressed exactly what that means. But I do feel that the answers I got were just plain orthodox answers, “Jesus is the Son of God,” “Jesus is our Savior,” “Jesus saves us from sin.”

    MR. MORGAN: In other words, you didn’t hear any responses that were different than you would expect to hear in any other Christian organization. Is that what you are saying?

    DR. MALONY: That is right. I heard one or two super liberal responses in the Methodist Church that I was ashamed of.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: I have a question about this survey, and I want you to help me. I understand that when you take, for example, a lie detector test, before they give the person the lie detector test, they take a sample of something that is known to test what is going to happen on the machine.

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: They look, for example, at a brown wall and say, “Tell me if that color is white.” The person says, “White,” and he knows it is brown, and the machine starts jumping, and they know they have got a good test sample. When this person says a dishonest example, it is going to register on the machine.

    DR. MALONY: That’s right.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: What is bothering me here, if we determine with respect to questions five and seven that the “Local Church” does discourage reading of newspapers and looking at TV and listening to the radio, and we also find out that the “Local Church” does counsel their people with respect to their behavior, and yet these people all say “No,” doesn’t that affect the effectiveness of the survey as to how valid it is?

    If we have a couple of knowns in here and we have not really got the kind of answers that you would have liked to have had-

    MR. MORGAN: You are assuming that we have knowns.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: I’m saying, assuming that is the teaching of the church. We haven’t gone into that specifically.

    MR. MORGAN: That’s right.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: If that were. Maybe we will determine that it does not turn out to be. Is there going to be testimony, Mr. Morgan, that reading newspapers, looking at TV, and listening to the radio are not discouraged?

    MR. MORGAN: Is not discouraged. That’s right. So I don’t mislead the court, the teaching will be that you should spend as much time as you can with the Bible and with Christ. But there is no dogma set out that it’s not good, you’re not going to get to heaven, or anything like that.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: The question doesn’t say that. The question is: “Is reading of newspapers or looking at TV or listening to the radio discouraged?” Does the church discourage that or not?

    MR. MORGAN: I believe the testimony will be that it does not. It doesn’t encourage it, though.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: I’m missing you. The question is, do they discourage? Does the church discourage reading of newspapers or looking at TV and listening to the radio?

    MR. MORGAN: I believe the answer is “No,” Your Honor.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: They do not. All right. Their answers would be that.

    MR. MORGAN: And I think the test shows that the people don’t see it as being any discouraging. That’s why I was a little concerned about the question, because I think that was the charge made in the book. The book said “forbidden.” It didn’t say “discouraged.”

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Yes, they go further.

    MR. MORGAN: They say “forbidden,” which is totally false. There is no discouraging, but certainly there is the encouraging of spending more time with the Bible. But that, I don’t think, equates into discouraging the reading of the newspaper and the like. I should also add this, that there clearly is discouraging of watching things that are immoral.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Okay. I can understand that. The Catholic Church couldn’t pass that test.

    MR. MORGAN: That’s right. I think any church would be the same.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Okay. I thought in some of the witnesses we had that they made an inference that was discouraged. Maybe I’m wrong. When we get the actual people from the church on the stand, we will be able to determine. If this was discouraged and the people said “No” when it should have been “Yes,” I would have questions about the validity of this survey.

    DR. MALONY: Or I might have questions about whether they were listening. As you were talking, I had an interesting thought: The church teaches a lot of things people don’t hear or the church would desire them to do a lot of things they don’t do.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Does the church counsel them with respect to their behavior?

    DR. MALONY: You also have to remember, I designed these questions without any consultation with them.


    DR. MALONY: I did not want, by any stretch of the imagination, the people I was talking to to know the questions in advance. So I might have phrased that a little differently.

    What we were trying to get at was: Are there indiscriminate elders’ meetings to which people are called on any regular basis and given the third degree?

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Oh! Okay. If you kind of had that as part of your oral questioning of these people, I can understand that. But if it is just as it’s written here, I would hope, as you say, that the church does counsel them about their behavior. I think that’s the purpose and the role of the church.

    DR. MALONY: That’s right.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: And for the people to say, “No,” I’m having difficulty understanding that. Would this be chance variation on question number seven, about being counseled?

    DR. MALONY: Yes, I guess. But let’s remember that the book here makes an explicit statement or two: “We consider our reporting of these incidents typical of the practice of the ‘Local Church.'” It does, I think, make that statement, does it not?


    DR. MALONY: And I am saying that you may have a chance variation. You see, in one of the depositions, I believe, by one of the expert witnesses, he reports a humiliation from one of his friends that led to becoming anxious or something. Well, that sounds like a chance variation, you know.

    MR. MORGAN: In other words, it doesn’t reflect what is the practice?

    DR. MALONY: Not the typical practice. Now if I might give an example. Last year’s superintendent of the Sunday school in my local church just left in a huff because she was not reappointed. The pastor did not go to see her. Now if somebody took that one incident and said that’s typical of the practice of my church, I would say, “No.”

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: I think what you are telling me here is that what this question is in reference to is that the emphasis has to be “Counseled your behavior,” meaning a one-on-one type thing.

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Rather than maybe in one of the lectures or something where they discuss each other’s behavior, you are talking about a one-on-one situation?

    DR. MALONY: A calling in.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: A calling in?

    DR. MALONY: A calling in, yes.

    MR. MORGAN: And that’s relating to authoritarianism and control, is it not?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. The picture that is painted in this book is that that is the practice; the elders spend their time that way, humiliating people.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Did the people answering these questions understand that question as you have explained it to me now?

    DR. MALONY: I know what you are getting at; yes and no. I think that the very phrasing of my question may not have always drawn that out, but I would consider that would come out in their answers to this question. In some cases they would say, “What do you mean?” and I elaborated.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Okay. All right.

    MR. MORGAN: Do you also find, Doctor, that to some extent, eight and nine would qualify seven? In other words, what you are looking for here is the real authoritarian control?

    DR. MALONY: Yes. Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: All right. Now let me ask some basic conclusions now, or opinions, of yourself. First, have you formed an opinion whether the teachings of Witness Lee and the “Local Church” come within what is generally known as orthodox Christian teachings?

    DR. MALONY: I have formed an opinion.

    MR. MORGAN: What is your opinion in that regard?

    DR. MALONY: I will say yes, they do, and I would qualify my statements.

    MR. MORGAN: By all means.

    DR. MALONY: Although I have a divinity degree and doctoral minor in contemporary theology, I do not want to present myself as a theological expert.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. No problem.

    DR. MALONY: Okay.

    MR. MORGAN: I can put your mind at ease, because we had theologians on the other day.

    DR. MALONY: Okay.

    MR. MORGAN: Have you formed any opinion whether there was any mind manipulating by Witness Lee or the leaders of the “Local Church” through their teachings or their practices?

    DR. MALONY: Yes, I have formed an opinion.

    MR. MORGAN: What is your opinion?

    DR. MALONY: That there was none. I am equating the phrase “mind manipulating” with thought control, with brainwashing.

    MR. MORGAN: All right. Fine.

    DR. MALONY: There was social influence.

    MR. MORGAN: As opposed to if Witness Lee is teaching the Bible, and he is encouraging people to live a higher life than the Ten Commandments? That is some form of teaching, is it not?

    DR. MALONY: Of teaching, yes.

    MR. MORGAN: So hopefully it will have some effect on the mind of the individual?

    DR. MALONY: Indeed.

    MR. MORGAN: All right.

    DR. MALONY: As part of my data gathering, I contacted one of the prime experts in the Department of Defense, Major Robert Dussert, who has had no prior connection with the “Local Church” as far as I know. I submitted to him some materials, and we then dialogued. I reached a conclusion, he reached a conclusion, and we tried to compare notes. And as he said, “I see the practices as part of education or teaching or social influence. The practices of this church do not meet the criteria of brainwashing as understood in the literature and by the Department of Defense.” And that’s the same conclusion I reached in regards to brainwashing, mind control, or thought reform.

    MR. MORGAN: All right. Have you formed any opinion as to whether, either in the teachings or the practices, there is some threat or coercion to keep the members in the church?

    DR. MALONY: Generally, yes.

    MR. MORGAN: What is that opinion?

    DR. MALONY: That there is no threat or coercion.

    MR. MORGAN: All right.

    DR. MALONY: There is encouragement.

    MR. MORGAN: Have you formed any opinion as to whether there has been any psychological damage or whether there even should be any psychological damage on a member because of either the teachings or the practices of the “Local Church”?

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: What is your opinion?

    DR. MALONY: My opinion is that there is no evidence to that effect.

    MR. MORGAN: Have you formed any opinion that either in the teachings or the practices that there is some form of encouragement of engaging in immoral acts and justifying it because “inside of me it says okay”?

    DR. MALONY: Yes, I have formed an opinion.

    MR. MORGAN: What is your opinion?

    DR. MALONY: I find no evidence for that. Strong evidence the other way.

    MR. MORGAN: All right. In the talking to the ex-members of the “Local Church” and in reading the depositions of Mr. Smith and Mr. Painter, did you form any opinion that there was some loss of mental acuity by people once they left the “Local Church”?

    DR. MALONY: I have formed an opinion.

    MR. MORGAN: What is your opinion in that regard?

    DR. MALONY: On the basis of my talking with ex-members, I saw absolutely no evidence for that. They are all fully functioning human beings.

    MR. MORGAN: Let’s just talk another moment about your study. Do you feel that study is a fair representation of the responses of both ex- and present members of the church in regard to those questions?

    DR. MALONY: Let me say yes to that and then qualify it.

    MR. MORGAN: By all means.

    DR. MALONY: It is a much fairer representation than the data on which this book was written. From an ideal point of view, and this almost never happens in social science research, it would be nice to have random samples of ex-members and a larger number of surveys, but more times than not, we are content in this kind of research with this level of data, with what are called volunteer samples.

    MR. MORGAN: Okay. Speaking about the manuscript, Exhibit 1, what is it about their methodology, if there is such, that you feel your approach was fairer?

    DR. MALONY: They made no attempt, as far as I can tell, other than in an adversarial role, to do any interviewing of the experience of present members. They based all of their inferences, in the one case, on the report of one man, and at least they are honest enough to say that, one man who left under great turmoil and who spoke only after he left.

    And in the other cases of ex-members, I don’t believe they are named here, there is an amorphous ex-member group. I think you would find that ex-member reports, particularly of persons who left under duress, are all characterized in many groups by a hostility toward the group.

    MR. MORGAN: And does that hostility, then, in some way alter or temper the truth?

    DR. MALONY: Oh, I think it does. I don’t want to use the word distortion, but it is a perceptual alteration. Let me hasten to add, Judge, that I’m not sure we know what social reality is. Every one of us sees through certain eyes. And members who are happy in a group are going to see that group more positively than those that are unhappy. And the truth is the other way, too.

    MR. MORGAN: Let me ask you this, do you believe that the results you got from your study fairly reflect and are consistent with what you observed at the church?

    DR. MALONY: Very consistent, yes. Very consistent.

    MR. MORGAN: Now let me ask you, in this appendix that you have referred to, could you class that as a psychological study?

    DR. MALONY: No.

    MR. MORGAN: And does it show any psychological scholarship or use of psychological methodology?

    DR. MALONY: It refers again and again to the writings or testimonies of certain psychologists and certain persons or groups that have written about social groups. My sense is that it is an essay written from a point of view using those resources in a truncated and, I would say, inappropriate manner.

    MR. MORGAN: Let me ask you, finally, do you have an opinion based upon your study (what you have been told and what you have read) as to what impact, if any, the charges that have been made and the books that have been published would have on Witness Lee and the “Local Church”?

    DR. MALONY: Yes.

    MR. MORGAN: Can you give us what that opinion is?

    DR. MALONY: It would be a negative impact.

    MR. MORGAN: And why?

    DR. MALONY: Because it would be guilt by association and guilt by innuendo of portraying Witness Lee as an authoritarian, cult-type leader, and the “Local Church” as a cult-type organization, both of which should be avoided.

    MR. MORGAN: Do you have any opinion as to the duration of this kind of damage on Witness Lee and this group? In other words, is this something that’s transitory?

    DR. MALONY: The studies that have been done on rumor since the time of the Second World War suggest that rumor is very, very hard to counteract. It is best counteracted by the accusers, or those who start the rumor, correcting it. That’s ideal. But when that doesn’t occur, you are fighting an uphill battle often.

    MR. MORGAN: I once had a society editor testify in a libel case that gossip never dies. Would it be the same in rumor?

    DR. MALONY: I think it’s similar because most people will say,”Where there is smoke, there is fire.” There is some truth there, you see.

    MR. MORGAN: Thank you. I have no further questions.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: We have had testimony here, Professor, that the days of McCarthyism, where you label somebody as a communist, even if you have a judicial trial that determines you are not a communist, it is a stigma that stays with you.

    Do you feel that if a certain group were classified as a cult in this day and age as the average layperson understands a cult, that stigma would remain in spite of the fact that, let’s say, you had a judicial determination that it really is not a cult? Do you think some people still want to believe the worst in things until, as you say, the accusers retract, as they say?

    DR. MALONY: I would presume so. Though I think the judicial process certainly would help in that regard. It’s a little like the church-state issue, though. There are people who will say, “What does the state know about what we really know? How can they make a judgement in that case?” I think the judicial process is a very appropriate process because a group certainly has the right, being innocent, to be proven guilty and to confront their accusers.

    I was interested in a recent Christian publication in which one of the advisers to the Spiritual Counterfeits Project, a social scientist like myself, made what I thought was an outlandish, naive statement, that in our day and age Christians can’t accuse others of their heterodoxy, or something to that effect, without a fear of being sued. My thought was, we certainly have the right of free speech, but we have the responsibility of responsible speech of someone asking us what we mean, and if it is defamatory, I think there is a legal process that has the right to be undertaken, and certainly that does right the wrong at one level.

    JUDGE SEYRANIAN: What I am trying to get from you, because I think you probably have been the witness with the most studies in psychology and perhaps psychiatry-is there something about people that they always like to look for the worst in things, or is that an old farce that we hear that is really not true?

    DR. MALONY: I think there is a segment in the Christian community, perhaps that segment having some of their own historical issues tied up in here, that does express their faith by confrontation and accusation. I don’t think that mindset characterizes people in general or Christians in general.


MR. MORGAN: Can I ask one? But, Doctor, I think you know what the court is asking you. Let’s assume that the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs here and, in effect, says, this is all false. Do you think that the stigma will, therefore, immediately evaporate-


MR. MORGAN: -and be gone forever?

DR. MALONY: No. But I think that will have to be publicized. I think that will have to be believed.

MR. MORGAN: Even then, do you think that will end it, or do you think there will still be those who feel that, well, they didn’t know what they were doing or it was uncontested, or whatever else?

DR. MALONY: I do think there will be some people who will feel the court didn’t get all the facts or that the court has no business in it.

JUDGE SEYRANIAN: Thank you very much.

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