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Diane Benscoter
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At 17, Diane Benscoter joined The Unification Church -- the religious cult whose members are commonly known as “Moonies.” After five long years, her distressed family arranged to have her deprogrammed. Benscoter then left The Unification Church, and was so affected by her experience that she became a deprogrammer herself. She devoted her time to extracting others from cults, until she was arrested for kidnapping. The shock of her arrest caused her to abandon her efforts for almost 20 years.

Now, after decades of research and study, Diane has begun to speak about her experiences. She recently completed a memoir describing her years as a member of The Unification Church and as a deprogrammer.

Furthermore, she has embarked on a new project to define “extremist viral memetic infections.” She believes that defining extremism as a memetic infection, from a cognitive neurological perspective, might allow us to develop better memes that would inoculate against the memes of extremist thought. These inoculating memes could prevent the spread of extremist viral memetic infections and their inherent dangers.

Entries by Diane Benscoter

WATCH: I Used to Be in a Cult and Here's What It Did to My Brain

(735) Comments | Posted September 27, 2013 | 8:00 AM

Extremism has become a sensationalized catchall phrase, often used by politicians and mass media to polarize and to label groups of people as "the bad guys."

But, what is extremism? And how do we get to the root of its destructiveness?

When I was 17, I learned about extremism first-hand....

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