Media Reviews

Important New Model Offers Legal Guidelines for Cases Involving Undue Influence

2018-12-16T00:18:52-05:00June 3rd, 2016|Blog, Media Reviews|

Forty years ago, I was deprogrammed from the Moonies and months later I agreed to do involuntary deprogrammings with fellow cult members. During that time, parents had the legal recourse to help their adult children involved with cults. Families could go before a judge, and petition the court for a one week ex-parte "conservatorship" giving them custody of their loved one. The family argued that their loved one had lacked informed consent and was the victim of "artful and designing people" who used undue influence to recruit them into a totalitarian cult that robbed them of their free will. [...]

Creativity, Spontaneity, All Spring from the Authentic Self: Silk Road Project Film

2018-12-16T00:19:24-05:00May 27th, 2016|Blog, Media Reviews|

By World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons This week my family was invited to an advanced showing of a new documentary, The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble which will be premiering in NY, LA and other places in June. I invite you to watch the trailer for this extraordinary movie about a most extraordinary group of genius musicians from all over the world. Trust me, it will show the very deepest and best of being human and how the “universal language of music” can [...]

A Cult Expert Reviews the Movie “Martha Marcy May Marlene”

2018-12-16T19:58:30-05:00April 9th, 2016|Blog, Media Reviews|

Last night, I went to see Martha Marcy May Marlene, the new movie about a woman who runs away from a destructive cult. Writer/director Sean Durkin has clearly done his homework. His film gets so much so right. It provides such a clear window into a lot of the psychological themes of cult indoctrination—deceptive recruitment, incremental cognitive-behavioral techniques to inculcate the new cult identity—it was almost painful to watch. At the same time, the film does not go far enough—the behaviors are portrayed but not explained or ever resolved by Martha. As a former cult member myself, I worry [...]

Thoughts on HBO’s Going Clear Documentary

2018-12-16T19:58:11-05:00March 30th, 2015|Blog, Media Reviews|

I watched the two-hour HBO "Going Clear" documentary last night and wanted to share some immediate thoughts. First of all. Wow! It was very intense and will hopefully wake up the public to the power and danger of the Scientology cult. In particular, I welcome the call to action to revoke its tax exemption status (something I do not believe it should have ever acquired). In 2010, I wrote a blog piece calling for tax exemption revocation of Scientology, when high-profile leaders like Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder started sharing their inside stories. Super kudos to all of the [...]

Steve Hassan Responds to NY Times Column Titled “The Cult Deficit”

2018-12-16T18:47:05-05:00September 29th, 2014|Blog, Media Reviews|

Steve Hassan Responds to NY Times Column titled "The Cult Deficit": a former cult member, licensed mental Health counselor, author of three books about helping people protect themselves from cults, help those in them and to recover once out, I have great difficulty with this piece entirely.Cults abound: political cults; therapy cults; religious cults; commercial cults; large group awareness training cults; cults of personality. My definition? Deceptive recruitment (lack of informed consent), control of people's Behavior, Information, Thoughts and Emotions (BITE) aimed at creating a dependent and obedient cult identity. ISIS, and other terrorist groups- a political/religious cult. [...]

Jon Atack’s Book, “Let’s Sell these People A Piece of Blue Sky: Hubbard, Dianetics and Scientology”

2018-12-16T21:12:27-05:00February 8th, 2013|Blog, Media Reviews|

Jon encouraged me to post the introduction I wrote for this book, A Piece of Blue Sky in order to help frame the importance of Jon's return to activism and the importance of his book which so many people have yet to read, or read it when it first came out. -------- Must read! This book is the definitive, factual, all-inclusive exposé on the real L. Ron Hubbard and the true story behind Scientology. If you read one book on Scientology, make it this one. Jon Atack has an extraordinary, razor-like mind and indefatigable memory. In my opinion, he [...]