We regret to inform you that you have not been successful

Re: Alternative spiritualities, the New Age and New Religious Movements in Ireland: an interdisciplinary conference

National University of Ireland, Maynooth
October 30th – 31st 2009

Dear Mike,

With reference to your recently submitted proposal in relation to the above conference, we regret to inform you that you have not been successful in being selected to present at this year’s conference.

We thank you for your interest and we wish you all the best in the future.

All the best

Olivia Cosgrove

University of Limerick.

Email: olivia.cosgrove@ul.ie

Here is the proposal that was rejected:

A Proposal:
This proposal is concerned with the distinguishing characteristics of cultist New Religious Movements (NRMs.) The Magnificat Meal Movement (MMM) is the particular focus through which this is done. It traces the origins and development of the MMM, a Catholic traditionalist movement and its foundress Debra Geileskey in Australia and then in Ireland. While this is done in a chronological fashion, the proposal is concerned to identify the underlying religious patterns that come to characterise the MMM. The conflation of the person of Debra with the MMM will be evidenced. Patterns of growth and decline will also be traced in a contextual manner. Then the paper takes up the task of critical evaluation and asks the question: is the MMM a cultist NRM? The answer is unambiguous as we identify it clearly as a cultist NRM.
In reaching this conclusion there is recognition that Ireland has a scarcity of literature in regard to the phenomenon of what are commonly called cults, sects and NRMs. We investigate and evaluate the question of terminology and its classification. Oriented by methodological developments in spirituality and other academic disciplines, this paper uses an interdisciplinary approach to critically review what scholars in the field are saying. A new definition of cultist NRMs is advanced. This necessitates a move away from identifying groups or persons allegedly involved in cults in favour of the recognition of patterns of behaviour and human mentalities called cultist tendencies or attitudes that can be clearly identified and analysed. This new approach has clear pastoral, spiritual and theological advantages. The experience of working with sixth year secondary school students indicates the need to both use the wide angle lens and the close up shot to understand the phenomenon. So zooming in and looking at a particular group like the House of Prayer in Mayo on the one hand or seeing the cultist nature of society as evidenced by the tribunals, governmental failure or the banking sector with the classic style of the now nationalised Anglo Irish Bank showing the broad sweep of cultist tendencies or attitudes.

Mike Garde MA in Theology Milltown Institute 2006
Director of Dialogue Ireland Trust


From: Dialogue Ireland [mailto:info@dialogueireland.org]
Sent: Tue 28/04/2009 01:03
To: Olivia.Cosgrove
Subject: Proposal

Dear Olivia,

I was interested to hear about the conference this October from Peter
Mullholland. I have submitted a proposal on an NRM I did my MA on in 2006.
Dialogue Ireland held a Conference on this theme in 1998 called “The
Seekers,” at which Eileen Barker spoke as well the distinguished
Danish founder of the Dialogue Centres International Johannes Aagaard.
It was organised jointly with the Irish School of Ecumenics representing
at the time the only centre referencing World Religion, Dialogue Ireland,
All Hallows College, the Department of Sociology, UCD
and the Department of Anthropology, Maynooth.
Here we show our Newsletter from 1998 showing that the Seekers Conference was
the first held here on NRMs. Hopefully Eileen can cope with being the first keynote
speaker twice!

You will see by looking at the web site that we have been in this field
for 21 years and are members of the Europe wide movement
FECRIS which takes its origins from the anti religious French tradition
which just looks at deeds, not creeds and we have no problem in working
with people who take the opposite view that you can’t understand the deeds of
a group unless you look at their creeds.




Phone: 353 -1- 8309384 or mobile 353 – 87 2396229
7/8 Lr Abbey St; Dublin 1

Web site http://www.dialogueireland.org

Web site http://www.dialogueireland.wordpress.com

Charity number: CHY 14004

IRELAND and IRISH representative on the General Assembly of the European Federation
of Centres for Research and Education on Sects (FECRIS). http://www.fecris.org

2 Responses

  1. Actually, this conference is quite disturbing, IMO, what we have is L Cox of the FWBO, who will no doubt use his academic qualfication to wrestle the NRM issue from the hands of the’ Christian driven’ DI by claiming that such bodies have a vested interest in maintaining their power in Ireland by undermining groups from outside the faith (Uh, the House of Prayer?). I have little doubt that Cox will use this argument to appeal to wooly minded liberals who will fall easy prey to such an argument. What they wont realise is that what is happening is that the issue is being wrestled from the non-partisan Christian DI, to be placed in the hands of an NRM follower (no conflict of interest their then). In the UK, the FWBO have managed to hide their own dubious history from the Government and build a status which was until recently seemingly unshakeable; this despite the fact that they have a long history of male sex abuse. IMO Cox et al are on a similar mission in Ireland. My question is, in a Christian land, where the church fathers have a responsibilty to care for their flock, why were DI not invited to the conference?


  2. So one of Irelands leading authorities on NRMs, who was instrumental in organising the real ‘first’ conference on the issue in Ireland a decade ago, is refused a platform. I wonder, could this be anything to do with a certain Mr Cox, heavily involved in running the Maynooth conference and a long standing cronie of the folk down at Dublin Buddhist Centre (which, just coincidentally, appears on DI WordPress after allegations of abuse)??? I suppose one way for groups to legitimise themselves is to help set up conferences and put themselves on the platform as the ‘neutral’ authorities. Joe Stalin, take note.


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