Current Events

Freedom of Mind Resource Center: Mid-Year Update 2018

2018-12-16T20:13:06+00:00July 12th, 2018|Blog, Current Events, News and Updates|

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 of young people born, raised or recruited into extremist groups, abusive religious organizations, or coercive/exploitative relationships."  Next year, July 2019,  there will be another conference. They alternate locations, having one in the U.S. and the next in another country. This coming international conference will be [...]

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

2018-12-16T20:48:16+00:00March 22nd, 2018|Blog, Current Events, News and Updates|

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 the Governing Body, believing that only those men know the Almighty's will and understand the Bible properly. It is especially difficult when a person is raised in such a group and their families and friends are all believers. The threat of being shunned is [...]

Is Justin Bieber in a Cult?

2018-12-16T19:15:03+00:00July 27th, 2017|Blog, Current Events, News and Updates|

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 at least one child, that the church holds faith healing services, and that many millions of dollars are being made in questionable ways. This controversy has led a lot of people to wonder, "Is Hillsong a cult?" I thought I might weigh in as [...]

My Week at the IALMH Congress

2018-12-16T20:12:13+00:00July 20th, 2017|Blog, Current Events, News and Updates|

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 a lot and got to spend time with some great people. One of the co-founders of Harvard's Psychiatry and the Law program, Dr. Harold Bursztajn, asked me if I would like to speak on a panel with him and Dr. Ivana Viani. I was [...]

Opioid Epidemic–Narconon: Scientology is Not a Treatment

2018-12-16T21:11:21+00:00July 12th, 2017|Blog, Current Events, Resources and Support|

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 illegal drugs. With so many families being affected by this issue, the drug treatment and rehabilitation industry have been growing. Countless people are looking for help and often they do not know how to choose certified, respected programs which adhere to licensing requirements. Not [...]

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

2018-12-13T16:59:51+00:00July 6th, 2017|Blog, Current Events|

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 believe that drastic military action against North Korea would surely have disastrous repercussions. North Korea is no ordinary nation. It is a country that is controlled by a narcissistic dictator–the same way a cult is controlled by its leader. Kim Jong-un is known to [...]

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

2018-12-13T21:20:43+00:00June 22nd, 2017|Blog, Current Events, News and Updates|

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 second thoughts. After Roy’s death, Carter contacted friends seeking sympathy and confessing that she had been in communication with Roy during the event itself–doing nothing to help. Though there are no specific laws in Massachusetts making it illegal not to intervene in a suicide [...]

Ex-Members Supporting One Another is a Good Thing!

2018-12-16T20:51:59+00:00June 15th, 2017|Blog, Current Events, Resources and Support|

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 him in person. He and Isaac Carmignani, an ex-Jehovah’s Witness, helped start what they termed an ex-fundamentalist support group a number of years ago. I had the good fortune of meeting Isaac previously and he kindly offered to assist me with a case in [...]

New Jersey Passes Bill to Research Predatory Alienation

2018-12-13T20:17:15+00:00May 23rd, 2017|Blog, Current Events|

New Jersey State HouseI 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 bipartisan bill which requires the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) to study predatory alienation.This bill was passed largely due to the efforts of the non-profit organization NJ Safe & Sound. (Bill Goldberg and I spoke at their panel at [...]

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

2018-12-16T19:57:17+00:00May 16th, 2017|Blog, Current Events, Media Reviews|

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 made dramatic series that is worthwhile watching. It is especially disquieting for me as it is set in New England. A political cult takes over the U.S. after a staged terrorist attack and martial law is declared. When the book and the 1990 movie [...]