Friday 21 August 2009

Older but wiser - QW2 follow-up

Now that the poll has closed, the results can be discussed. The original question was part of an in-depth interview situation (Wright, 1984) with forty-five "voluntary defectors" (smile, that's us too!) from the Unification Church, the Hare Krishna, and the Children of God. You might think we'd have nothing much in common with that lot, and in fact the demographics do indicate some real differences.

But the thing these folk do have in common with WCG's "voluntary defectors" is a process of disengagement that took some time to work through (they weren't "deprogrammed".) The forty-five had an additional option on the question that wasn't particularly practical on this poll: "other." The AW version had a healthy 176 responses - thanks to everyone who participated. Here's the comparison (factoring out the "other" option.)

Original response %
81% Wiser for the experience
11% Duped/Brainwashed
8% Angry
0% Indifferent
(Wright, 1984)

AW response %
66% Wiser for the experience
18% Duped/Brainwashed
12% Angry
4% Indifferent

The balance is a little different (and that's to be expected given the very different methods used) but the same pattern is clearly evident.

So most of us aren't eaten up with the root of bitterness after all. Or at least not after putting a little distance between ourselves and the experience. On the other hand, coming out from a group like this doesn't allow most of us the luxury of indifference: yes, it mattered.

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