As parents have been taught to learn the signs of drug abuse, they can, says cult expert Jean Merritt, learn to recognize the symptoms of cult recruitment.

Among them: a complete change in diet, moodiness, unquestioned espousing of someone's philosophy or theory, severing of friendships with peers, going out without giving a destination and alteration of language.

Parents or other concerned persons may contact:

Jean Merritt, (703) 821-6811.

The Citizens Freedom Foundation (CFF), whose goal is to educate the public on cults and provide support to families. The Washington D.C.-area affiliate of the national organization may be reached by writing: P. O. Box 113, Kensington, Md. 20795.

B'nai B'rith International Department of Adult Jewish Education, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. Nw, Washington, D.C. 20036, may be written for information on cults.

The American Family Foundation, provides a monthly newspaper, the Adviser, with updated information on cults, legal and social aspects, activities and recruitment techniques and related books. Write: AFF, P.O. Box 343, Lexington, Mass., 02172.

As a basic primer on destructive cults, Merritt recommends Cults and Kids: A Study of Coercion , available free by writing: The Boys Town Center, Boys Town, Neb. 68010. a

Other CFF-recommended reading:

Snapping: America's Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change , by Flo Conway and Jim Siegleman (J. B. Lippincott Co.).

All God's Children: The Cult Experience -- Salvation or Slavery ? by Carroll Stoner and Jo Anne Parke (Penguin Books, Inc.).

Moonwebs: Journey Into the Mind of a Cult , by Josh Freed, Toronto, Ont., Canada (Dorset Publishing, Inc.).

Gifts of Deceit , by Robert Boettcher (Holt, Rinehard and Winston).

Youth, Brainwashing and the Extremist Cults , by Ronald Enroth (The Zondervan Publishing House).