The New England Institute of Religious Research

Who We Are

The New England Institute of Religious Research was founded in 1991 as a mission outreach to provide churches, secular organizations and concerned individuals with up-to-date research on cultic structures. The Institute also provides training for people who work with those caught up by such destructive groups. We personally meet with the members of various groups to discuss Behavioral/Biblical/Theological issues with them. Another important dimension of Institute ministry is to provide an emotionally and spiritually healing environment for ex-members. We offer information, resources, support groups and counseling to those who have a loved one involved in any type of spiritually abusive group.

The staff currently consists of four full-time members holding advanced degrees in their field. Rev. Robert T. Pardon, (M.Div., Th.M.) is the Executive Director, a position that he has held since its inception in 1991. Rev. Pardon is recognized as an expert in the United States on a number of religious groups, including various communa groups, and the B'ahai faith. He has been a frequent speaker at various conferences across the country. Judith K. (Barba) Pardon (B.A., M.Ed) came on full-time staff with the Institute in 1992 and serves as the Associate Director. Mrs. Pardon is recognized as an effective and compassionate exit counselor, and is likewise well known for her thorough knowledge of aberrant religious groups.

David and Ellen Ronka recently joined the Institute staff serving as resident advisors for the Meadow Haven project.

Standing with the staff are scores of individuals across the country who participate in this ministry by their prayers, financial support, and research. NEIRR is deeply grateful to all those who have helped this ministry as it helps those trapped in cults and aberrant religious groups.

Current Projects

The NEIRR is regularly called upon by family members of those ensnared in dangerous groups. The Institute provides information, and where possible, will intervene to help bring freedom to the individual in the group. In the most extreme cases (i.e., communal groups), an individual will desire to leave, but be prohibited by the fact that abandoning the ideology of the group will mean not only losing their friends, but their home and job as well. For this reason, NEIRR began the task of creating a "safe house" as a temporary shelter in such situations. In 1999, the Institute purchased a former nursing home situated on 2 1/2 acres off a quiet country road overlooking acres of rolling farm land, and the project, now called Meadow Haven, began to become a reality. NEIRR purchased Meadow Haven "as is." Since it had been vacant for three years, major renovations needed to be made before anyone would be able to live there. Therefore, we are in great need of financial partners as well as fellow laborers. Please contact us if you would like to be part of this ground breaking work. There are many ways to be involved.

Support For NEIRR

NEIRR is a non-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) entity. We are not underwritten by any particular church or denomination, and exist by the free-will offerings of those who feel called to support this ministry.

Board of Advisers


Rev. Steve Macchia (Director) E.A.N.E. Burlington, MA

Rev. Jim Eubanks (Pastor) Brookville Baptist Church, Holbrook, MA

Peter Marinelli (Lawyer) Cambridge, MA

Rev. Eric Sweitzer (Director) Charis Counseling Center, Middleboro, MA


Dr. Norman Geisler (Dean) Southern Evangelical Seminary, Charlotte, NC

Dr. Daniel Trathen (Therapist) Denver, CO

Dr. J. Bjornstadt (Professor) Cedarville College, Cedarville, OH

Craig Branch (Director) Apologetic Resource Center, Birmingham, AL

Comments From The Religious Community

"...there are hundreds of ways the Institute helps people, including crisis intervention for those caught in cults, and counseling for those who have loved ones trapped in some aberrant religious group. Their ministry is cutting edge, something that we may all need to call on someday..." Rev. Ron Tovmassian, Pastor, Armenian Memorial

"Thank you for coming and conducting your seminar at Church in the Pines. Both our Church and Zion Congregational very much appreciated your ministry here. Many people left with new insights into various groups touched upon." Rev. Joel Knudsen, Pastor, Church in the Pines

"...(the New England Institute of Religious Research) is serving as an outstanding resource for our six state area. Many of our New England churches are not prepared to deal with the present cult explosion." Rev. Jim Eubanks, Brookville Baptist Church

[Home] [ Send E-Mail ]