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Jan Groenveld
Born 1945
Died Template:Death date
Queensland, Australia
Occupation Founder,
Cult Awareness and Information Centre
Spouse Simon
Children 5

Jan Groenveld (1945 - 22 October 2002) was a former member of the Mormon Church and the Jehovah's Witnesses.[1] She spent a total of fifteen years in these organizations before leaving them in 1975.[1][2] After her negative experiences in these organizations, she resolved to make more information about what she saw as "cults" available to the general public.

Her personal experiences involving these groups were featured in Richard Guilliatt's book, Talk of the Devil.[3][4]

Groenveld coined the often quoted phrase:

The most dangerous lie is that which most closely resembles the truth.

—Jan Groenveld - See also Wikiquote: Cult[5]


Helped affected individuals

Groenveld first began providing information about what she referred to as cults to the public and helping affected individuals in 1979.[1] In 1980, she founded the Freedom In Christ ministry, whose purpose was to counsel former members of controversial groups, and provide information about coercive religious sects.[2]

Jan founded the Cult Awareness and Information Centre (CAIC), in 1990.[1][2] Groenveld's CAIC website was started in 1991, with an original size of 500 kilobytes.[6] Groenveld first met Steven Hassan in 1993, when she brought him to Brisbane, Australia from the United States for a seminar. Hassan educated Groenveld as to the serious potential for doubt and lack of veracity in satanic ritual abuse stories.[2]

Groenveld's name eventually became well-known as an educator and campaigner against so-called cults and controversial religious sects. Groenveld's Cult Awareness and Information Centre was listed with her name as a resource in Marlene Winell's book, Leaving the Fold.[7] "Jan Groenveld" is a prohibited term on the Church of Scientology's internet filters, software it gives its members to filter out critical information on the internet.[8] See Scientology versus the Internet.

Cited as "cult expert"

In 1999 an Australian publication interviewed Groenveld on the likelihood that more destructive cults would show up in their country. The publication titled Groenveld a "cult specialist'"[9] and two other Australian publications titled her a "cult expert."[10][11] She warned the publication about a cult called the Twelve Tribes Mission, believing them to possess militant tendencies. She warned: "There are people out there all over the place who would like to be another Jim Jones", referring to the Peoples Temple cult suicide.[9]

Groenveld's definition of a cult was cited as "any group which has a pyramid type authoritarian leadership structure with all teaching and guidance coming from the person at the top. The group will claim to be the only way to God...and will use thought reform or mind control techniques to gain control and keep their members."[12]

Groenveld's work has also been cited in Snow's Deadly Cults: The Crimes of True Believers[13].


Jan died in October 2002, and was survived by her husband Simon and five sons.[14]




See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 About Jan, Cult Awareness and Information Centre, 2006.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "My Story in: Talk of the Devil", Jan Groenveld, excerpted portion of Talk of the Devil (with permission), 1996.
  3. Talk of the Devil: Repressed Memory & the Ritual Abuse Witch-Hunt, Richard Guilliatt, The Text Publishing Company, 1996 [1]
  4. Book Review, Talk of the Devil, 3 September 1995. News Review Page A14, New Zealand Herald
  5. Parable of the New Soap, Jan Groenveld, Computers For Christ, Chicago, Illinois
  6. Who on Earth is the Cult Awareness & Information Centre??, Jan Groenveld, Cult Awareness & Information Centre.
  7. Leaving the Fold, Marlene Winell, December 1983, New Harbinger Publications.
  8. The Scientology Net Censor, List of censored terms, retrieved 1/6/2006.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Griffith, C. (10 January 1999) "Doom Cults Aussie Alert", Sunday Mail Brisbane, Australia, pages 1, 4.
    However, Queensland cult specialist Jan Groenveld said the doomsday merchants were more likely to come to Australia. "If it's a biblical cult, they may go to Israel, but eastern, Nostradamus-based and UFO-based cults believe the southern hemisphere, in particular Australia, may suffer less or later damage as the end approaches."
  10. Twelve Tribes Café in Australia, Griffith, Chris; Watt, Amanda (26 December 2001), Courier Mail, Australia, page 7.
    Brisbane cult expert Jan Groenveld said that the group's commercial operations may look benign, but that the public should be wary if approached by cult members with invitations to visit their community.
  11. Binet, Harriet (2 November 2000) "Cult Alert", The Mercury, (Australia), page 1.
    A Brisbane cult expert Jan Groenveld has worked with the families of members involved with Infinity. She described it as a cult which used subtle mind control to manipulate people for financial gain. "They cut off their family if there is any opposition," Mrs Groenveld said. "People become separated from families and become totally absorbed. "They really get hooked on the leader. No one that's in a cult knows that it's a cult. "It's not until you start to see that things are wrong that you can see what you're in." Mrs Groenveld, who has counselled victims and families of cults for more than 20 years, said isolating people from their family and urging them to "stay away from unbelief" was a common tactic.
  12. "Keith Butler: Minister, Senatorial Candidate, Fanatic", JM Kern, T Foundation, [2]
  13. Snow, Robert L. (2003). Deadly Cults: The Crimes of True Believers. Praeger/Greenwood. p. 196. ISBN 0275980529.
  14. In Memory of Jan Groenveld, Free Minds, Inc.

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