Current Events

Freedom of Mind Resource Center: Mid-Year Update 2018

Steven Hassan speaking at 2018 ICSA conference July 12, 2018, 2018 ICSA Annual Conference Last week, I was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and gave a talk on the Freedom of Mind Approach to helping people raised in cults and dysfunctional families at the 2018 annual ICSA conference. The theme of the conference was “The global challenge

Shunning and the BITE Model of Mind Control in the Jehovah’s Witnesses

The Trauma of Being Cut Off: Disfellowshipped While Still Indoctrinated Unless it has happened to you, it is impossible to describe the pain, confusion and suffering a person endures when they are excommunicated from an authoritarian Bible group like the Watchtower Society. People’s entire identities are molded around ideological conformity and dependence on commands from

Is Justin Bieber in a Cult?

A few days ago, there was an announcement that Justin Bieber abruptly canceled a large portion of his “Purpose” tour dates. Now we hear it might be because of his involvement with Pastor Carl Lentz of Hillsong Church in Montclair. Several articles have been posted that allege that the founder of Hillsong Church had molested

My Week at the IALMH Congress

I want to share with you the wonderful experience I had attending the 2017 Congress of International Academy of Law and Mental Health (IALMH) in Prague. From July 9-14 I was among over 1500 people from over 100 countries who gathered at this event. Being at the congress was a fantastic experience. I truly learned

Opioid Epidemic–Narconon: Scientology is Not a Treatment

The opioid epidemic in the United States is claiming more lives than ever. Recent data estimates that 59,000 Americans died from drug-related causes in 2016. And, the estimate for 2017 is even higher. Much of this can be attributed to opioid addiction which often starts with dependency on prescribed painkillers that leads to abuse and

Kim Jong Un and North Korea: Can we learn from Jim Jones and David Koresh?

The cult leader of North Korea seems to be threatening Donald Trump and the United States. This week, Trump spoke to an audience in Poland stating he was considering, “some pretty severe things,” when it comes to the threat of North Korea. This is something that concerns me deeply. As I have written before, I

Persuading Someone to Take His Own Life: Judge Says She is Guilty!

On June 16, 2017, a Massachusetts woman, Michelle Carter, was found guilty in the precedent setting case of the involuntary manslaughter death of her boyfriend Conrad Roy. Roy, who died on July 13, 2014, carried out his suicide plan after receiving a number of text messages and phone calls from Carter when he was having

Ex-Members Supporting One Another is a Good Thing!

I was going to New York City to tape an interview for a one hour documentary on Heaven’s Gate and reached out to see if I could finally meet Todd Kadish, an attorney who is an ex-modern Orthodox Jew. Todd and I had had several very interesting phone calls and I really wanted to meet

New Jersey Passes Bill to Research Predatory Alienation

New Jersey State House I have been posting a lot of blogs recently about several sad and discouraging topics, so I’d like to share some good news! It’s an exciting development which shows the power of dedicated activists who want to help the public. Thoughtful and strategic activism pays off! New Jersey recently approved a

Undue Influence, The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu, and Current Events

Hulu has created a television series based on Margaret Atwood’s book, The Handmaid’s Tale, and it is highly recommended viewing*. Last year, Hulu produced The Path and I was interviewed by Vanity Fair for my perspective. This time, I am blogging about The Handmaid’s Tale as I believe this is a very upsetting but well

Mooniverse (My Former Cult) is Attempting a Reboot

Forty-one years ago today, I was deprogrammed from the cult of Sun Myung Moon. Many of you may not be familiar with the Unification Church, AKA the “Moonies.” The church and its many front groups and related organizations have not been in the news as much recently. They lost a lot of their American membership

North Korea: Hopefully Not a Potential Global Waco?

When it comes to North Korea, the Trump administration has been quick to rattle sabers regarding the threat of nuclear missile testing although it turned out the Naval Armada was traveling in another direction for maneuvers in the Indian Ocean. Fortunately, the last big North Korean missile launch was another flop–some news sources cite possible