The Message Cult

White Supremacy’s Influence on Modern Pentecostalism

With millions of American members, The Message cult has been influential in spreading hatred in the United States. The Message cult is a collection of churches — characterized by extreme white supremacy and profoundly racist and misogynistic attitudes — that originated from William Branham’s Pentecostal Tabernacle...

Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand’s Cult Leadership and Influence on the GOP and Celebrities

You may be familiar with Ayn Rand because of her popular novels, “The Fountainhead,” and “Atlas Shrugged.” But, you may not be aware that Rand was an authoritarian cult leader, and her ideology promoting selfishness continues to influence the GOP. Rand was born in St. Petersburg, Russia...


Traditionalism, Religious Fundamentalism, and Politics with Joe Szimhart

Our last blog post focused on the possible connections between Ginni Thomas’s experience in the Lifespring cult, her religious fundamentalism and her texts to Trump’s former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows supporting the QAnon conspiracy theories regarding the 2020 election being stolen. I had released a video of Ginni Lamp (Thomas) at a

Ginni Thomas

Ginni Thomas, Lifespring, QAnon and the Jan.6th Coup attempt

On April 2, I shared a special podcast on the Influence Continuum, responding to a profound interest in Ginni Thomas and her husband, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. To explain the context, in late March, numerous news sources reported that Ginni Thomas would be asked to appear before the Congressional Panel investigating the January 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol. This decision...

Indigenous Worldview

The Worldviews of Indigenous Peoples Can Help Repair Social & Political Discord

Last October, I did an interview and blog with Dr. Cindy Blackstock to discuss Indigenous People’s Day (no longer Columbus Day). I recently interviewed her again for my new podcast, The Influence Continuum. We had an extraordinarily rich and stimulating discussion that included the truck convoy’s presumable protest against COVID vaccination and mask mandates...

psychiatry and the law

Mental Health, Psychiatry, and the Law with Dr. Thomas Gutheil

Dr. Thomas Gutheil is a Professor of Psychiatry and co-founder of the Program in Psychiatry and the Law (PIPATL) at Harvard University, and the first professor of psychiatry in the history of Harvard to be board certified in both clinical and forensic psychiatry. Gutheil is one of the most prominent voices in defining the relationship between psychiatry and the law. Gutheil has served as...

Religious Freedom

Religious Freedom vs. Christian Dominionism

The topic of religious freedom has been in the news lately, as several states have passed, or are attempting to pass, regressive educational bills under the guise of religious freedom. For example, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill recently passed in the Florida Senate, which would ban curricula related to LGBTQ issues in Florida public schools. Supporters of the Florida bill have cited “religious freedom” as a reason why discussions...


Violent Extremism: Best Practices for Prevention and Rehabilitation of Terrorists

I recently had the honor of interviewing my colleague, Dr. Anne Speckhard, on the Influence Continuum. Dr. Speckhard is Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) and an expert in terrorist recruitment and rehabilitation. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University’s Medical School. The ICSVE was founded in 2015 to provide research, training, and strategic advice to governments, intelligence, defense, international organizations, police, and civilian communities worldwide. The goal of ICSVE is to prevent...


Malcolm Nance: Terrorists are Cult Members Who Do Violence

In the current global political climate, the threat of terrorism from both foreign and domestic groups is an important concern. However, many approaches to fighting terrorism lack a fundamental understanding of the cult tactics of undue influence and the techniques of hypnosis that terrorist groups use to recruit and maintain control over their members. On a recent episode of my podcast...

Heroic Imagination

Heroic Imagination as a Positive Project for Human Rights

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Matthew Winkler for my podcast, The Influence Continuum. Winkler is the Program Manager for the Heroic Imagination Project (HIP), which provides training for individuals and groups using groundbreaking scientific research and experiential training workshops. He has taught and mentored teens and young adults in middle schools, high schools, and colleges ...