Deprogramming Testimony

Joyce Bathhurst Butler

This case is a bit unusual. It appears to be a case initiated by Christian fundamentalists, unrelated to the family of the cult member, to "save" the baby of a pregnant Krishna devotee.


I, Joyce Bathhurst Butler, of 216 Ridgewood Avenue, Minneapolis, Mn., do hereby make oath and say as follows:

1. That on January 13th, 1977, at the age of 27 years, having been a member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness for a duration of two years, I was kidnapped by four unknown persons outside the temple at 216 Ridgewood Avenue. I was forced under threat of gunpoint, which I never saw, to enter a car, and I was blindfolded and then driven away.

2. That after having been driven a long distance--I cannot say how long--I was taken to a motel room where I was disrobed and forced to remain without any clothes. I was made to listen to tapes of blasphemy against my religion, God and my spiritual master.

3. That I was continually harassed day and night without being allowed to eat or to sleep except for very minimal amounts. Although I was six months pregnant, I was beaten by these men at various times and intervals. I was never allowed to be alone, and I was always guarded whether awake or asleep.

4. That I was moved around from one hotel to another--I do not know exactly how man times--and that at all times I was blindfolded when outside.

5. That this 'deprogramming' continued for a period of two to three weeks. I cannot say exactly how long as I lost track of time. I was continually guarded b five individuals who occasionally came and went. I later learned that they were simultaneously 'deprogramming' someone else.

6. That I was continually questioned about the activities of the Hare Krishna Society at the St. Paul-Minneapolis International Airport in the matter of their solicitation. I was asked what their collections were and what illicit or fraudulent methods they use to distribute books. They further inquired about where our money goes and where we send our money after the collections and what the disbursements of the money are. I answered all the questions that I could and told them that the process was straightforward and that I did not know how much money was collected or what the disbursements of the money were. But they continually insisted that they knew that the money was being sent somewhere else.

7. That after three weeks I was taken to some kind of boarding house where I was kept under guard for four to five days in the association of another 'deprogrammed' Moonie girl. Here we were always under guard of a woman whom I also did not recognize. Neither do I know the location of the house having been continually blindfolded.

8. That I was met by Mr. D M Sr. after a period of three to four days who came to the house and offered me shelter in his home.

9. That I went to Mr. M's house and was taken care of there by him and was given a private room.

10. That Mr. M's family, who are Pentecostal Christians, tried to convert me and tried to present the Pentecostal philosophy to me. Because of their kindness I did not rebuke them.

11. That after several days residence at the M house I got in touch with my husband, Barry Butler, at the Hare Krishna temple and on the next day I went over to talk to him and explained the circumstances of my abduction.

12. That after a few days I went from the M house to the hospital for a check up since I was pregnant, and I told my husband when I saw him there that I wanted to go back to the temple and live there and continue on my Krsna conscious faith.

13. That I was so humiliated and primarily frightened by this incident, having been threatened with a worse fate if I returned to the Krishna temple, that I was completely horrified to take any legal action or to inform the police of my abduction.

14. That I have no parents, being an orphan, nor do I have any near relatives who could have had me abducted or put me into custody for 'deprogramming' nor have I yet discovered who sponsored the 'deprogramming'.

15. That while I was reestablishing contacts with my husband and the temple, Mr. M tried to preach to me that this was a heathen faith not in line with Christianity and that the Hare Krishna devotees were brainwashed and followed a false religion.

16. That during my residence at the M house I was unaware that these M were the same people who were persecuting our religious book distribution at International Airport.

17. That after two months of contemplation, I decided to overcome my fear of threats by the 'deprogrammers' and render this affidavit for use by the Hare Krishna temple in presenting the injustice that was practiced upon our society by some unknown persons.

18. That I decided to continue in my Krishna conscious practice being happily situated in my faith and my worship. I desire to remain and not be taken away by anyone for any reason or obviously against my will.

19. That at no time did I agree or consent to be 'deprogrammed'. Nor did I at any time encourage my abductors or agree to their tactics or philosophy, but that I found their activities abusing physically and mentally, depriving of my moral, religious and human rights. These tactics are completely violent and the people that performed them were devoid of any humane or moral scruples and treated me as if I were an animal or slave. I was never 'deprogrammed' successfully since I am now practicing my chosen faith, but because I had been so frightened by the incident, I was actually in shock and reacted very slowly to the circumstances around me.

Signed: Joyce Bathhurst Butler

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