Sagamore 1979-11-12

Dr. Jay Cohen - Deprogrammee

Cohen cartoonDeprogramming: Doctor glad he was

(Note - Fifth in a series on religious deprogramming, this article begins an interview with a 'successfully' deprogrammed doctor.)
By William A. Barton

About four months ago Dr Jay Cohen, a first year resident at St Francis Hospital in Indianapolis, was deprogrammed by "master" deprogrammer Ted Patrick.

Dr. Cohen, who spent 4 and a half years as a member of the Divine Light Mission of Guru Maharaj Ji, is an example of what deprogrammers would call a successful subject.

Dr. Cohen got involved with Divine Light shortly after graduating from IU in Bloomington and coming to Indianapolis to attend the IU medical school.

"It was a pretty traumatic, chaotic time in my life," said Cohen, "making adjustments from being an undergrad in Bloomington and coming up here to medical school, starting a profession. That and another important factor at the time was the relationship I was having with a woman.

"We'd been dating all through college and it looked like we were going to split up. That was traumatic and confronting, too."

Due to the turmoil he was experiencing, Dr. Cohen began to look for a deeper meaning to life.

It was this search that led Dr. Cohen to the Divine Light Mission.

I was at a bookstore and I saw a girl there, a very attractive person. She seemed happy and sort of had a sort of aura around her - a real positive thing. So I approached her and asked her what she was into. It turned out she was in the Divine Light Mission.

She invited me to one of their nightly meetings and it sounded real attractive to me - like the kind of thing I needed to fill the void in my life. So I went that evening and actually got 'hooked' the very first night.

Cohen believes that it was at this initial meeting that he was put under a form of "mind control" by the cult.

"A lot of people have asked me, 'Well how is it they hook you, what is it they do?' because it is something that the cult does. It's not just the weakness of the person.

"I've been to college, I've travelled. I don't feel I'm a naive person. No, something was done to me that first night. It's difficult to explain, because I don't really understand it, but somehow they contacted a subconscious part of my mind and actually took a small bit of control over me. They brainwashed me in a very subtle sophisticated way."

"Soon I was going every night at their coaxing and suggestion. Before I knew it I was one of them and I was inviting others to come too.

"I was made to believe that this was the purpose of my life, what I've been looking for, that I was so fulfilled and happy and experiencing peace and love like never before - all those outrageous claims that I can look back at objectively now and see that none were true. But I was programmed to believe they were and I would tell anyone the same story I was told."

Cohen's involvement with DLM grew to the point that he eventually moved into the Mission's local Ashram, a sort of monastery for those who have given their whole life to the movement.

He lived there for two years, during which time he became the chief official for DLM in Indianapolis, until he was deprogrammed.

"I'd taken a vow of poverty, chastity and obedience," he explained, "which means that every cent I made was turned over to DLM. I wasn't allowed to have sex of any sort and I had to do whatever I was told by the ones in control, specifically Guru Maharaj Ji and anyone who worked for him."

During that time he was in the Ashram, Cohen never visited his

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parents though they lived 10 minutes away. He claims that the cup looked down on members visiting parents.

"They'd say your parents would only try and confuse you, that they wouldn't listen to you and when you told them about the Lord, so don't bother.

"Just let them die and maybe they'll be reborn in other body and have another chance. So I wouldn't go see them. Plus there was always the fear they'd deprogram me,

He stated that every DLM member was warned against deprogramming. They were told it was literally a fate worsened death. "It was to the point I was afraid to even talk to my parents."

He says his parents were "devastated" about what they saw happening to him. "They saw me living a completely miserable life and they saw the hurt I was inflicting on them and on the rest of my family. I lived five minutes from my grandmother and hadn't seen her for two years. They were kind of desperate they were that kind of desperate."

Cohen believes that that's the point a parent has to read to consider deprogramming. "Most parents get mighty desperate before they turn to a deprogrammer. Mine were at that point and they turned to Ted Patrick."

Cohen's parents hired Ted Patrick to deprogram their son for a considerable sum. He doesn't know how much they paid, but admitted it was a substantial amount." In any event, the stage was set for the deprogramming.

His mother picked him up at the Ashram and two of them had lunch at a nearby Dairy Queen. "I didn't suspect a thing. Then on the way out to the car, two guys jumped me and forced me into it."

Cohen says he fought "like hell." He was scared to death and did what he could to get away. In response his captors did whatever they had to do to prevent this. "As hard as I fought, that's how hard they fought."

He reports he got hurt pretty badly in the struggle. "Blood was drawn, and I have a bad back which was re-injured at that time.

Next - The deprogramming is successful