Listener Magazine – Sept. 1983


What would you do if your child joined a perceived cult? Or if, as an adult child yourself, you decided to follow a lifestyle opposed by your parents, how would you want your parents to deal with it? What defines a cult? What’s the difference between a cult and a religion? Some say, about a hundred years. Is deprogramming justified? Have you ever wondered what it might be like to be the target of a deprogramming? Could it actually be harmful to the victim? Could it damage family relationships instead of improving them?

I am an artist on a mission. I like to write about matters of the heart and things that are personal and important to me. One of those things is religious freedom. I believe that adult children must be allowed to live their lives according to their own consciences and consciousness.

At the age of 25 I was forced to spend ten harrowing days with deprogrammers. It would have been longer had I not been rescued by some brave, loyal and resourceful friends. I speak from personal experience when I assert that deprogramming is an extreme expression of intolerance. It is abusive. It is a violation of personal freedoms. Organizations and individuals such as the police, established churches, mental health professionals, media and groups like TED, all of whom have helped promote deprogramming either actively or passively, are guilty of enabling and perpetuating this heinous crime. They need to be held accountable.


I am the mother of four extraordinarily gifted adult children who are perfectly free to make their own choices in life. I am a piano teacher and church organist. I am a peace activist who dreams of the world someday becoming a peaceful global village without borders as taught by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his wife Hak Ja Han Moon.

Free Maree is the title of a book I’ve written detailing my abduction, imprisonment and ultimate rescue from my captors.  It is also an account of my personal journey of faith, which I see as a journey towards ultimate freedom.

Maree P. Gauper

When faith, family, and freedom collide.