From Combating Cult Mind Control (2015)
I am still recovering from shock and dismay over the results of the 2016 American presidential election. I still stand by my appraisal of Donald Trump as a person who holds the stereotypical characteristics of a cult leader. Now that he is America’s President-elect, we have an even greater opportunity to educate the planet about the characteristics of cult leaders and followers. More than ever, we need organizations like the newly formed Open Minds Foundation to raise public awareness of the dangers of undue influence, and how we can fight it!
I refuse to enter into the Gloom & Doom, Apocalyptic, Armageddon mindset (especially when I think about Trump’s access to the nuclear missile button). We’re still all live on the same beautiful planet, and we must find ways to work together and move forward. Labeling Trump supporters “idiots” or “stupid” will not help. When I hear that someone doesn’t understand why anyone would support Trump, I think back to my days as a Moonie. People called Sun Myung Moon racist, sexist, homophobic, violent… I was trained to block out all negative thoughts as “satanic.” I was too focused on the fear of Satan to have any critical thinking or reflective capacity. I hope that you will take the time to understand the psychology of influence, and if you are feeling hatred toward Trump followers/supporters, then I urge you to take time to learn more so you can step out of a black and white / all or nothing / good vs. evil mindset. Please reject all appeals for hatred and violence.
The Strategic Interactive Approach has always been based on love, truth, and respect. Love is stronger than Fear and Mind Control. Let’s have respectful engagement and dialogue. It is so important to ask thoughtful questions in a curious, yet concerned manner, and to provide case examples instead of attacking the cult leader/doctrine/group directly. Think about what will encourage critical thinking, and what will just make the other person throw up their defenses and practice thought-stopping behaviors. I encourage my clients who wish to help a friend and loved one to “step into their mindset” and understand from the inside out. If you are flexible and willing to be respectful, and ask questions, people usually are willing to share why they believe what they believe. Sometimes it is a matter of looking at videos they watched or looking at information that influenced them. If you do this, it opens the door for you to ask them to reciprocate.
I am putting out a CALL to ACTIVISM! Please consider speaking out about having been “taken in” by a person, cult or set of totalitarian beliefs. I especially wish to appeal to Hollywood celebrities, professional people, and business leaders to open up a conversation that “it can happen to almost anyone.” It can happen to you, or a family member or friend. Not all undue influence comes from religious cults. It can involve hypnosis, therapy cults, large group training programs that inculcate a radical change, sex trafficking, violent extremism, multi-level-marketing (John Oliver did a wonderful segment)- I am asking anyone who has experienced undue influence to speak out and share your story! Make a Facebook or Reddit post, a YouTube video, a blog, anything! This will not only help reduce the stigma, it will educate others and help them become inoculated against undue influence. We need to do everything in our power to promote critical thinking and freedom of mind. Consider joining the Open Minds Foundation, the Heroic Imagination Project, or creating your own organization.
We need freedom of mind to have freedom of religion, and a free political system. Learn more, and do something!
About the Author:
Steven Hassan M.Ed. LMHC, NCC has helped thousands of individuals and families recover from undue influence (mind control). With over 40 years of experience, he is sought after as one of the foremost authorities on undue influence and controlling groups and individuals. Steve understands the subject from a unique perspective as both a former cult member and as a clinical professional. Steven Hassan has published 4 books about cults. His first book, which came out in 1988 under the title Combatting Cult Mind Control, was updated and re-released in 2015 as Combating Cult Mind Control. Chapter 2, My life in the Unification Church has been placed for free on this web site. This book is available as an audiobook as well as on kindle.
Steven is the Founding Director of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center, a coaching, consulting, and training organization dedicated to supporting individuals to have the freedom to think clearly and to freely consider how they want to live their lives. Steven pioneered a breakthrough method called the Strategic Interactive Approach (SIA), an effective and legal alternative for families to help cult members. The SIA teaches family and friends how to strategically influence the individual involved in the cult.
Learn about how the Strategic Interactive Approach can help rescue your friend or loved one out from under predatory influence.
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