The primary aim of Inform is to help people by providing them with accurate, balanced and up-to-date information about minority religious and/or spiritual movements, enabling them to make a more informed response.
Most people are unprepared for dealing with religious groups other than the one in which they were raised. Their responses are often based on insufficient, unreliable and/or over-generalised information. This can have (and frequently has had) unforeseen and undesired consequences.
On the one hand, the religious groups themselves are unlikely to reveal negative aspects of their beliefs and practices. Consequently,
- potential converts may take the groups' accounts at face value, without realising what they are letting themselves into until it becomes difficult for them to extricate themselves.
- relatives and friends, unaware of the potential problems, may adopt a laissez-faire attitude.
On the other hand, the movements' opponents and the media may sensationalise the more unusual aspects of minority religions and/or report only negative aspects of the movements, using blanket terms such as cult or sect. In doing this, they can fail to consider the variety of attractions that the movements might offer. Consequently, potential converts who come across apparently normal members talking about the more ordinary and/or attractive aspects of their beliefs and practices, may:
- not recognise them as one of the 'sinister cults' about which they have been told, and to which they had assumed they could not possibly be attracted.
- conclude that the stories they have heard are totally ludicrous that they dismiss all warnings.