Maurice Davis

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Maurice Davis (15 December 192116 December 1993) was an American Rabbi and human rights activist. He was a past director of the American Family Foundation, now known as the International Cultic Studies Association. Davis was the rabbi of the Jewish Community Center of White Plains, New York. Davis was a regular contributor to The Jewish Post and Opinion, where he had a column. Davis served on the President's Commission on Equal Opportunity, in the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration.


  • Ladies and gentlemen, every path leads somewhere. That is what a path is all about. The path of segregation leads to lynching every time. The path of antisemitism leads to Auschwitz every time. The path of the cults leads to Jonestown and we watch it at our peril.
  • It seems to me that any cult has to have the following characteristics: One, a dictatorial leader, often called charismatic, who has total and unlimited control over his group. Two, followers who have abdicated the right to say no, the right to pass judgment, the right to protest, who have sold their souls for the security of slavery. Three, possibly the most dangerous doctrine known to our civilization, that the end justifies the means; therefore, any thing from the Moonies' heavenly deception to the violence of Synanon to the theft of government documents by Scientology, to the brutality of the Children of God, all the way to the murder-suicide of Jonestown, all is permitted because the ends justify the means and there is no one there to tell them no. Four, unlimited funds. The Unification Church with its some $50 million brought in each year by its mobile fund raising teams is duplicated by the Hare Krishnas dressing as Santa Claus or the Children of God sending out their women as fishers of men. Five, the instilling of fear, hatred, and suspicion of everyone outside the camp, of the entire outside world in order to keep the victims in line. You put them all together gentlemen -- You have a prescription for violence, for death, for destruction. It is a formula that fits the Nazi Youth Movement as accurately as it describes the Unification Church. Or the People's Temple.
    • Ibid., February 5, 1979.
  • I am here to protest against child molesters. For as surely as there are those who lure children with lollypops in order to rape their bodies, so, too, do these lure children with candy-coated lies in order to rape their minds.
    • Cults Hearing Noisy, Tense, By Marjorie Hyer, Washington Post Staff Writer, Tuesday, February 6, 1979; Page A14, The Washington Post
  • The last time I ever witnessed a movement that had these qualifications: (1) a totally monolithic movement with a single point of view and a single authoritarian head; (2) replete with fanatical followers who are prepared and programmed to do anything their master says; (3) supplied by absolutely unlimited funds; (4) with a hatred of everyone on the outside; (5) with suspicion of parents, against their parents -- the last movement that had those qualifications was the Nazi youth movement, and I'll tell you, I'm scared.
    • Rabbi Maurice Davis, quoted in Ronald Enroth, Ph.D.'s Youth, brainwashing, and the extremist cults, 1977, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House.
  • It’s frightening what these Moonies can do to the family unit..I get letters from parents all over the country telling me the same story..The kids are swept along by his outfit and then taken away for a few days to a ‘workshop.’ By the time the parents see their kids again – if they can manage to see them – the kids are starry-eyed and ready to take on anyone who disagrees with them. It’s a form of hypnotism. There is something very unhealthy going on.
    • United States Congressional Record, 94th Congress, United States House of Representatives, 2nd session, January 28, 1976, Congressional Record, Volume 122, Part 2.


  • A great and gentle radiance has left our scene with the death of Rabbi Maurice Davis. He was one of the people who first brought me into the circle of those devoted to helping cult victims. His compassion and vision were inspiring. He saw clearly the dangers which awaited those who lost their free will to totalism. I remember vividly one of my early contacts with Rabbi Davis, when an attorney for a destructive group was trying to get him to explain what he had said to a member of that group when she returned briefly to her family and agreed to speak with him. "I prayed with her," he said. "I prayed that she remember the teachings of her youth and her love for her family ." The lawyer for the group was taken aback. "Is that all you did?", he said. "Was that all it was.'? ....Yes," Rabbi Davis answered, "the rest was up to her." It was that blend of hope, vision, and respect for the judgment of others that became the cornerstone of the American Family Foundation's ideals. We owe much to Rabbi Davis and we honor him with our continued commitment.
  • Rabbi Maurice Davis -- Senior rabbi of the Jewish Community Center of White Plains, N.Y.; faculty member of Manhattan College; actively engaged in combating cults for over five years; responsible for separating 128 young people from cults.
  • The next witness is a constituent of mine, Rabbi Maurice Davis. He comes from White Plains, a Rabbi of the Jewish Community Center. He is a faculty member at Manhattan College. He has been actively involved with working with young people to deprogram them from cults for over five years. He is responsible for separating some 128 young people from these organizations. I would just like to take the opportunity to welcome a very distinguished constituent.

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