My Blog

Parental Alienation

Parental Alienation: Turning Children Against Their Parent

In my work with ex-cult members, I have been aware of the use of parental alienation tactics for many years. It occurs in situations where one parent leaves a cult, but the other parent remains. In such cases, cult policies usually call for extreme measures to “demonize” the ex-member and turn their children...

Synanon

Synanon and Enthusiastic Sobriety: Cults Disguised as Drug Treatment

Cults take on many disguises to recruit and control members, including religious organizations, marketing schemes, drug treatment, and even yoga or martial arts groups. But the tactics of recruitment and control are very similar, and the malignant narcissists who profit from the cults also act in similarly destructive ways.

Shincheonji: A Cult Engaged in World-Wide Deceptive Recruitment

In previous blog posts, I have mentioned Shincheonji several times, most significantly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The cult was  blamed by South Korean officials for the worst outbreak of this virus outside of China, because they took no active measures to prevent the outbreak from spreading. Members are required to always attend services,

LulaRoe Roberta Blevins

LuLaRoe and the World of Commercial Cults: Interview With Roberta Blevins

LuLaRoe is one of the largest multi-level marketing schemes (MLMs) in history. Founded in 2012, the company became famous for selling colorful, patterned leggings and advertising heavily on social media. Last month, Amazon Prime released the original series “LuLaRich,” and brought LuLaRoe’s use of undue influence and mind control to the public’s attention.

Jasmine Banks and Kochland

Charles Koch’s Undue Influence on College Campuses: An Interview with Jasmine Banks

Billionaire donors are exerting undue influence on college campuses nationwide to advance a regressive corporate agenda. When I read Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America by Christopher Leonard, I was astounded at how much I did not know about this empire. For example, patriarch Fred C. Koch, co-founder of the racist John Birch Society, was a union buster, stealer of oil from Indigenous people, massive polluter, and fanatical about their corporate “culture” which has been described by many as cult-like.

How Colonizers Use Mind Control: A Conversation with Cindy Blackstock

The “merciless Indian savages…” Those words in the United States Declaration of Independence entrenched the way colonial states defined Indigenous peoples as “savage” and their relationship with the “civilized Americans” as represented by federal and state governments. This dehumanizing propaganda was the pen of history, of social norms and laws writing on our societal manuscript about what the United States is and who we are as Americans. It served to normalize and even legitimize the wrongful dispossession of land, resources and even the children from Indigenous peoples.

Message Churches Branham

The Racist Effects of William Branham’s Message Churches

Millions of Americans are members of Message churches today. The Message cult — a collection of sub-groups that originated from William Branham’s Pentecostal Tabernacle — is characterized by its extreme white supremacy and deeply misogynistic attitudes. Claiming to be a prophet who channeled messages directly from God, Branham formed the Billie Branham Pentecostal Tabernacle in

cult involvement democracy Moonies Helen Christophi

Cult Involvement in the Attempt to Destroy Democracy

Helen Christophi, a freelance journalist working on an article for Political Research Associates about the January 6th failed insurrection attempt, contacted me for an interview. Christophi was interested in cult involvement (particularly the Moon cult) in the planning and execution of that event. One of her most pertinent questions was how the GOP became so

Opening Our Minds: Avoiding Abusive Relationships and Authoritarian Groups

Opening Our Minds: avoiding abusive relationships and authoritarian groups by Jon Atack is available in paperback, Audible and Kindle on Amazon. I am delighted to help bring attention to a new book which I think is a valuable contribution to our field. Disclosure: Jon is a good friend of mine, for decades, and is the leading

Frederick Clarkson religous freedom

Recapturing Religious Freedom & Defending Democracy: Interview with Frederick Clarkson

Freedom of Religion is one of the basic rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Ironically, the most serious current threat to religious freedom comes from those who claim to be most supportive of it. This threat is a highly organized assault on democracy as is evident in a formal agenda known as Project Blitz,