On Wednesday, January 20, 2021, Joe Biden was sworn into office, becoming the 46th president of the United States of America. Our nation is facing a very real pandemic (not a hoax) and a horrible economic situation with many millions of Americans experiencing hardship, anxiety and pain. Many are dealing with homelessness, have no income and are food insecure.  We need and finally have responsible leadership. We need to come together and end the vitriol.

Trump is gone and has been deplatformed. Many of his followers, especially those inducted into the QAnon cult, are feeling confused and are realizing they were betrayed by Trump and put their trust in someone who was false. I know this feeling personally. On May 11th, 1976, I had my “wake up” moment and realized that Sun Myung Moon was not the greatest man on earth and certainly not the Messiah who was going to save the planet. I cried for three hours straight. I had devoted 18-21 hours a day, seven days a week as a Moonie for 27 months. I even was told by Moon to fast and camp out on the Capitol stairs because “God wanted Nixon to be President” despite Watergate. Nixon resigned days later.

Root Problem is Authoritarianism and Not Just Right or Left

Since January 6, 2021, when the insurrection attempt took place at the Capitol, many have contacted me for advice on how to help deprogram the GOP. I have even been accused of saying that all Republicans were members of The Cult of Trump. I never thought that. But now my point of view is that EVERYONE would benefit from an education about undue influence. Everyone needs help. Everyone has been traumatized by the events of the past four years. The issue is one of authoritarianism, not just on the right-wing groups; there are authoritarians on the left, too. I even published an article on my website entitled, “Yes, There Are Left-Wing Destructive Cults!” Note: I have spoken out against cancel culture- done by right and left.

What has been a big help has been the deplatforming of Donald Trump from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram! The app with suspected ties to Putin’s Russia, Parler, was kicked off Amazon and is currently up on Russian servers along with Hamas. Cutting off the communication lines to his millions of true believers is now affording a wonderful opportunity to help.

As I explained in my book, there are many authoritarian groups in The Cult of Trump. My book offers a now validated explanatory framework for everyone to better understand the past four years. Some of the groups I describe are Putin and the Russian apparatus, The Family (also called The Fellowship), The New Apostolic Reformation (some 10 million Americans strong and over 300 million internationally), Opus Dei, Libertarians, the NRA, White Power and Alt-right extremists, to name just a few. I must mention the Moon organization, Falun Gong, and Scientology as high profile cult groups that support Trump, as well. Of course, Trump, himself, displays the stereotypical characteristics of a cult leader.

Authoritarian cults use deception to recruit and maintain members. Under the right circumstances, anyone can be persuaded to believe the most outrageous ideas. Cult leaders, like Trump, create a false reality that once adopted and incorporated into someone’s belief system is emotionally difficult to escape. People believed his lies about being a successful businessman (he is not). Trump lied about being one of “them” and not part of the swamp. A lie. He was programming people to believe the election was rigged, even before he was surprised and won in 2016. It has been the BIG LIE that he won by a landslide. (Nonsense).

It is often a gradual indoctrination process and hardened belief systems are difficult to penetrate. But people can and do wake up and realize they trusted someone who is untrustworthy. Over 400,000 Americans have died under his watch. I remember the prediction was 100,000 to 200,000. He acted irresponsibly and people have died and many more will die. The economy is in shambles. So, what can we do to help those that hold to the BIG LIE that Biden stole the election? For starters, we can learn about thought reform and authoritarian control.

Learn About Destructive Influence and Mind Control

My Doctoral dissertation is now published and goes into detail about authoritarian control. The title is “The BITE Model of Authoritarian Control: Undue Influence, Thought Reform, Brainwashing, Mind Control, Trafficking and the Law” and is available to read or download: https://www.proquest.com/docview/2476570146/. I collected a lot of data from my quantitative study of 1044 people, a large number were former cult members. This study provided quantitative research into issues of authoritarian cultism. The data was helpful in developing a potential instrument to measure aspects of undue influence.

My goal from the beginning was to provide tools for the justice system, worldwide. The justice system needs to be updated to incorporate this research that explains the psychology of predatory exploitation and factors that can help to identify it when it occurs. I suggest we do a congressional briefing to connect the dots with trafficking and authoritarian undue influence. Data from studies, such as the one conducted during my doctoral dissertation, will help develop policies and tools to better protect people from destructive influence.  My doctoral dissertation involved a factor analysis on my BITE model. My Influence Continuum, while not specifically part of the quantitative study, offers an easy to understand framework to discern ethical from unethical influence. A new construct came out of this research. I call it The BITE model of Authoritarian Control. Thought reform (mind control) is intentionally and systematically practiced on people without their understanding of what is happening.

The Influence Continuum model is a tool that can be used to evaluate any particular person’s experience, regardless of religion, gender, education, or political affiliation. In order to have a framework that can protect a person from undue influence, one needs to utilize an influence continuum which is broad and easy to understand. On the ethical side of the continuum, informed consent is a vital practice. People need accurate information about the recruiter, the ideology, and what happens to them if they say yes. Ethical, healthy influence recognizes that each person is unique. The diagram below shows ethical/healthy influence on the left and unethical/destructive influence on the right. Using this tool, and others, I have been able to recognize and warn about the dangers of the Cult of Trump.

Take Strategic Action and Build Bridges to Unite America

But we must proceed with hope and determination. We should take strategic action by educating everyone about how social influence works, assisting our friends and family and helping to heal the country. We need to build emotional and relational bridges, if they have been damaged in the past four years. I have written quite a few blogs that offer helpful suggestions, along with providing warnings of pitfalls to avoid. It is important to become well-informed about mind control and learn how to help ones that are being influenced.

The ultimate weapon against mind control is knowledge and awareness. If you have friends or family members who were or are believers in the Cult of Trump and are concerned about their well-being, stop arguing, calling them names or cutting them off. Engage in respectful, warm, regular communication which will assist them to start thinking rationally. The “bubble” will burst and reality will dawn. This is needed, now more than ever, because many of Trump’s supporters are feeling let down. They feel betrayed. Be there to help them. Support them. Don’t blame them. Listen and educate.

We are not living in a post-truth world. Truth and science are very important. We are all Americans and need to work together to reboot the country. We can move forward to repair damage, promote science, and rebuild relationships. We must unify and not divide. In the midst of all of the chaos, fear, and negativity, don’t become overwhelmed. There is hope. Joe Biden was inaugurated as president and, now, our country can begin to heal. Focus on the good. Things will get better soon.

We can rebuild our democracy by building bridges to a collaborative future. President Biden has already began making positive changes in regards to the global climate crisis, vaccines to protect against COVID-19, help for immigrants and much more. Remember, we are ALL Americans. And if we do a lot of education work on how to discern unethical influence, we can not only deprogram everyone but we can prevent this from happening again in the future.

(After the below segment aired, FOX and even RT (Russian propaganda tv) did stories trying to ridicule the idea of deprogramming all Americans. I wish to thank them for broadcasting my message to their followers.)

CNN Appearance 1-19-2021: Dr. Steven Hassan on The Cult of Trump with Alisyn Camerota

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