José María Baamonde

From XFamily - Children of God
José Baamonde, 1993

José María Baamonde was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1959.[1] He died of cancer on August 23, 2006 in Spain.[2] He received a Ph.D. in psychology from the John F. Kennedy University of Buenos Aires.[3] In 1989, he founded Fundación S.P.E.S (Servicio Para el Esclarecimiento en Sectas), a cult awareness and research institution and was its president until 2001 when he assumed the position of Director of Documentation and Investigations.[4] He taught courses in Catholic Culture at Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina and psychology at the Universidad San Pablo-CEU in Madrid, Spain. He also worked as an adviser to the Secretariado para la Familia de la Conferencia Episcopal Argentina.

In 1992, he helped a former second generation member of the cult named Abigail Berry return to the United States to live with her relatives. In October 1993, he published a book, The Family: The True Story of the Children of God, which was dedicated to her and included a chapter in which she recounted some of her experiences growing up in the organization and the abuse and medical neglect she suffered in a Family Home run by Susan Claire Borowik and Manuel José Sabatasso. Other chapters in the book, which was exhaustively documented and based primarily on the organization's own publications, explored the The Family's beliefs and practices, its history in Argentina and legal action involving its members in Argentina and around the world. In March 1994, The Family sued Baamonde and his publisher, alleging that the book was libelous and seeking $2 million USD in damages. While the suit was dismissed in October 2001 when a judge ruled that the organization had not proved any of its claims and no longer wished to proceed with the case, the potential legal risk and liability resulted in the publisher deciding to temporarily halt distribution of the book.


Baamonde on Telemundo TV news program "Ocurrio Asi: Lo Mejor de lo Mejor," 1993-09


Cover of 1993 book The Family: The True Story of the Children of God

An incomplete list of writings by José Baamonde.


  • Sectas en Preguntas y Respuestas [Sects in Questions and Answers] (1992) ISBN 9505073496
  • Los Niños de Dios [The Children of God] (Ediciones Paulinas, 1992)
  • Sectas y Lavado de Cerebro [Sects and Brainwashing] (Bonum, 1993) ISBN 9505073275
  • La Familia: La Verdadera Historia de los Niños de Dios [The Family: The True Story of the Children of God] (Editorial Planeta, 1993) ISBN 9507424016
  • Los Cultos Afrobrasileños [The Afro-Brazilian Cults] (Ediciones Paulinas, 1995) ISBN 950091008X
  • Sanaciones, Posesiones y Exorcismos (1996)
  • El Fenómeno de las Sectas y los Nuevos Movimientos Religiosos [The Phenomenon of Sects and New Religous Movements] (1997)
  • Sectas y Nuevos Movimientos Religiosos [Sects and New Religious Movements] (1998)
  • La Iglesia y las Sectas [The Church and the Sects] (1998)
  • Libertad Religiosa, Cultos y Sectas en la Argentina [Religious Liberty, Cults and Sects in Argentina] (2001)
  • La Manipulación Psicológica de las Sectas [The Psychological Manipulation of the Sects] (2003).



References to Baamonde in Family Publications

DISCLAIMER: Publications by The Family are archived here for educational purposes. The content is occasionally sexually explicit, offensive or promotive of criminal acts and we collect them to document their existence and wording but do not condone the points of view or activities. Original spelling, grammar, and style have been preserved where possible.

Baamonde is mentioned in at least 20 Family publications. Below are excerpts from some of those publications.

Please pray specifically against the following backsliders who have turned into active enemies, as well as other enemies & organisations: Deborah & Bill Davis; Mene; Watchman & his brother John; Bithia; Valerie; Vivian; Rebecca Bolivar & daughter Miriam; Marie Christine & Ian Haworth; the Zees; Pearl's mother; Dr. Jack Richard & Madame Berger (ADFI, anti-cult org. in France); Dorota Abramovich (active in Poland); Mr. Silleta, reporter, & Mr. Baamonde, psychologist (Argentina); Mr. Andrade, anti-cultist (Brazil); the D.A. & enemies in Barcelona (charging the Family with the ridiculous charge of "fraud" for provisioning, calling for prison sentences of 15-23 years); militant enemies in the EE (trying to turn parents, contacts & friends against us); Shukan Bunshun magazine (Japan, Mr. Hanada, editor & Mr. Oda, writer).

Source: PRAYER LIST No.8!--From WS DO 8/92

77. Against continued media smears and persecution in Argentina. Specifically against S.P.E.S., an anti-cult organisation directed by one of our main enemies, Baamonde, and against Silletta, another of our enemies in Argentina, who is trying to help initiate certain laws in Congress against NRMs, specifically citing us. Also against new legal action in one city, initiated by a man who filed charges with a D.A. after receiving a couple of our Posters. That the Lord will "cause the wrath of Man to praise Him" (Psa.76:10), as we go on the attack to visit the authorities involved and explain ourselves and our Work.

Source: PRAYER LIST No.12!--From WS DO 7/93

The Media Storm Begins!

In the days that followed the raids, lack of evidence did not stop reporters from quoting wild rumours, ranging from "Satanic rituals" and "salvation-for-sex" (source: CAN) to child sex and selling "secret" videos to rich businessmen (source: Edouardo Lausse, an Argentine backslider, whose Bible name was "Benjamin Amor", who was interviewed on Spanish CNN.) Jose Maria Baamonde, head of SPES Foundation (the equivalent of CAN in Argentina) was also quoted, and even ex-Member Ruth Ellen McKee/Frouman, who died two years ago, was quoted as though she were alive, making kidnapping charges and demanding the Family return her children.

Source: FAMILY UPDATE NEWS #6--Special Argentine Update--September, 1993 DO

LEGAL ACTION HALTS DISTRIBUTION OF BAAMONDE'S NEW BOOK. Our lawyers in Argentina filed a law suit against Baamonde, charging that claims made about the Family in his latest book are libelous. The book has now been withdrawn from circulation, despite a great deal of publicity & promotion on the publisher's part, & our lawyers are pressing for damages.

7. Libel suit against Baamonde: that the charges made by our lawyers will stick, & that the court will award damages to the Family.

Source: FAMILY UPDATE NEWS # 16 -- March, 1994. DO

A police officer mentioned to a few of us that all the policemen, psychologists, and others involved in the operation had been required to attend seminars held by anti-"cult" activists Jose Maria Baamonde and Alfredo Silleta, where they propagandized them with wild and untrue tales about The Family. Because of this, the police and others were so paranoid that we might hypnotize them that they wouldn't look us in the eyes!

Source: Persecution Endtime News No. 3, Falsely Accused and Jailed in Argentina, 1994-03.

More Information

Notes and References

  1. Baamonde, Jose Maria, La Familia, La verdadera historia de los Niños de Dios, Buenos Aires: Editorial Planeta, 1993, inside cover.
  2. "El especialista en sectas, José María Baamonde, fallece el 23 de agosto," ecclesia digital, 2006-08-24.
    Radio Cristiandad: Ha muerto José María Baamonde, gran luchador contra las sectas — 2006-08-23
    Other sources[1][2] list the date of death as August 24 instead of August 23, 2006. Although the precise time and date of death is not known to the editor of this article, one possible explanation for the discrepancy may be timezone differences.
  3. The Experience of the SPES Foundation: Some Remarks on the Different Attitudes Toward New Religious Movements in Argentina and in Europe, Cultic Studies Journal, Vol. 11, No. 1, 1993.
  4. Conference 2005 Madrid Presenters, International Cultic Studies Association Psychological Manipulation, Cultic Groups, and Other Alternative Movements, Madrid, Spain, July 14-16, 2005.

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