Blog

The Netflix Docuseries “The Family”: A Review by Steven Hassan

2019-09-13T12:11:20-04:00September 12th, 2019|Blog|

I binge watched this excellent docuseries the day after it was released. I only recently have caught up to blogging about it. I want everyone to watch it! And ask friends and your family to watch it all also. Especially activists. Rather than covering the same ground as this superb review by Frederick Clarkson, I hope you will read Frederick's piece after you read this. If you haven't already watched the series, start by watching the trailer below. "The Family" is a five-part Netflix documentary described as: "An enigmatic conservative Christian group known as the Family wields enormous influence [...]

Alienated from her Mother at Age 4, Parental Alienation and Patterns of Cult Mind Control

2019-08-29T12:49:21-04:00August 29th, 2019|Blog|

Over the last four decades of my work with cults and destructive groups, I have seen the almost standard operating procedure for mind-control cults to instruct members to do parental alienation behaviors. For example, if one parent realizes they are in a cult and leaves, if the other parent doesn't leave with them, they are indoctrinated to remain loyal and keep the children. In destructive groups, like Scientology, Jehovah's Witnesses,  the Mormons, Moonies, and many others, the parent still in the cult is ideologically driven to poison the child against the parent who exited. This is known as parental [...]

Multi-Level Marketing and Self-Help Cult Groups: Learn the Warning Signs

2019-08-22T13:57:51-04:00August 22nd, 2019|Blog|

I recently wrote about religious and political cult groups that manipulate and control members and how it is important to evaluate the major behaviors and characteristics of a group to see if it meets the criteria of a cult. In addition to religious and political groups, there are other types that recruit millions of people all over the world, but, in reality, use deception and coercive influence with cult-like features. These are multi-level marketing (MLMs) and self-help groups and Large Group Awareness Training groups (LGATs). It is important to recognize the warning signs so as to avoid being caught up in their trap.  MLMs have been called [...]

Announcing My New Book with Simon and Schuster Entitled The Cult of Trump

2019-08-15T13:18:45-04:00August 15th, 2019|Blog|

Many of you are aware that I have been writing a large number of blogs concerning the current President of the United States, Donald Trump. I have been working tremendously hard on an extremely short deadline to produce a book that connects the dots with my involvement with the Moon cult since 1974 and my fasting on the Capitol stairs for President Richard Nixon because "God wants Nixon to be President" despite Watergate and calls for impeachment. Sun Myung Moon was brought to meet Nixon right after the Family's National Prayer Breakfast in 1974. Jeffrey Sharlet wrote about this group [...]

Beware of Political Cult Groups that Manipulate and Control Members

2019-08-08T13:03:56-04:00August 8th, 2019|Blog|

Many destructive groups masquerade as religious when, in fact, their DNA is actually political. They are concerned with amassing secular power, wealth and control of government. And, many "mainstream" political organizations, on the left as well as the right, meet the criteria of an unhealthy cult. As discussed in a previous blog about religious cults, it is important to evaluate the major behaviors and characteristics of a group to see if it meets the criteria. A political cult often has an authoritarian leader who has a malignant narcissistic personality disorder.  Such a person claims to have all of the [...]

The BITE Model and Religious Cult Groups

2019-08-02T13:27:54-04:00August 2nd, 2019|Blog|

Since my deprogramming from the Moon cult in 1976, I have come to learn of countless thousands of groups that I have never heard of before. Are they cults? Do they use mind control? Is it brainwashing? As an expert on destructive groups and mind control, I am often asked to give my opinion about specific groups and organizations, including religious ones. In fact, there is a wide spectrum of healthy and unhealthy influence. Individual experiences vary within the same organization based on how the individual conforms to the norms of the group. I have developed an Influence Continuum which shows [...]

Jehovah’s Witnesses, Child Abuse and the Child Victims Act: A Discussion with Mark O’Donnell

2019-07-29T23:12:44-04:00July 29th, 2019|Blog|

In the last year, we have seen a major change in how sexual and child abuse is viewed and handled by authorities. In the #MeToo and #ChurchToo era, more courageous survivors are safely telling their stories. Even cult leaders are being held accountable for abuses they inflicted. For example, recently NXIVM leader Keith Raniere was convicted. Other harmful groups are also being sued such as Scientology. Attorney Marci Hamilton, founder of the nonprofit think tank ChildUSA, is accomplishing many victories. I previously published a blog and video of her talk about my forensic think tank at Harvard called the [...]

The 2019 International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) Conference in Manchester, England

2019-07-17T06:57:34-04:00July 11th, 2019|Blog|

Last week, I attended the excellent ICSA 2019 Annual International Conference entitled, "Coercive Control and the Psychology of Influence Across Comparative Contexts – Implications for Policy, Practice and the Criminal Justice Process." I presented a 90-minute, well-attended workshop on the “The Influence Continuum and the BITE Model and its use for Determining Undue Influence in Trafficking and Terrorism.” The video is below for all who were unable to attend.  I was encouraged to present at this European conference because, at this time, there seems to be much more openness in Europe to the fact that cult mind control models [...]

Light the Way to Freedom to End Human Trafficking: 2019 Summit in Austin, Texas

2019-07-04T14:33:41-04:00July 4th, 2019|Blog|

On June 25 - June 27, 2019, I had the honor of attending an amazing gathering of over 800 case investigators, law enforcement, judges, and therapists convened by the Governor and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. This was an invitation-only event, closed to the public. Trafficking experts presented and offered training workshops. Survivor advocate experts were among the most knowledgeable, effectively educating any involved with helping those in need. I learned that the existing system in Texas (and indeed everywhere) does not take a systems-oriented approach, focused on helping those who are being victimized. Commissioner Whitman, former [...]

The Solipsistic Reality of President Trump: A Discussion with Dr. Robert Jay Lifton

2019-06-27T17:12:23-04:00June 27th, 2019|Blog|

This past February of 2019, I interviewed Dr. Robert Jay Lifton about his thoughts about the current political situation in America. It is always a privilege. I have been fortunate enough to interview him a few times before. (Listed at end). Recently, he gave me permission to republish his Eight Criteria of Thought Reform. In his seminal work, he concisely explains mind control, brainwashing, and thought reform. I also posted a blog about Dr. Paul Martin's expert report on Raniere's NXIVM in which he used Dr. Lifton's criteria. He is a psychiatrist, an author, an expert, and an activist, [...]