Press Release
Boston, March 18, 2015

The HBO movie “Going Clear” has ruffled Scientology’s feathers while also whetting people’s appetite for answers to significant questions–not least–why people get involved and indoctrinated into destructive cults?

Cult expert Steve Hassan says, “Alex Gibney’s sobering movie has likely opened the floodgates to a public examination of destructive cults.”

Former scientologist “Spanky” Taylor, who is featured in the documentary, states, “Although it took years for me to seek out professional help in recovering from my cult experience, I was grateful for the works of Robert Lifton, Margaret Singer, and particularly Steven Hassan in assisting me to sweep away many of the cobwebs that remained in my head and heart after years of indoctrination.”
The Oscar award winning and prolific documentarian, Alex Gibney has said that his movie “Going Clear” explores “how people have become prisoners of faith in various ways.” Lawrence Wright, upon whose book the movie is based, was quoted in “The New York Times” last week as saying, “The kind of people who get involved with groups such as Scientology are oftentimes good-hearted people, idealistic, but full of a kind of crushing certainty that eliminates doubt.”
Steve Hassan, author of “Freedom of Mind” and the soon to be published, updated “Combating Cult Mind Control” says that although Wright and Gibney have identified the question and have come up with a simple answer, they have missed a primary reason people join high control groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientology, and the Moonies.
Hassan, while welcoming the movie, says, “People get deceptively recruited into cults, and not only because they are nice gullible people. I am eager to create a pathway whereby former members can understand how destructive cults operate and the methods of destructive mind control. While Wright and Gibney have greatly illuminated Scientology, there is a real opportunity to explore and further understand social psychology and undue influence.”
“The process of mind control is a major and absolute essential piece in the understanding of why and how people are deceptively recruited and indoctrinated into an entire belief system– in fact even into a new identity– that suppresses their true self and their real identity. My BITE model (control of Behavior, Information, Thoughts and Emotions) explains the vital overlapping components of how any cult, like Scientology, manages to get and keep intelligent, educated people for decades,” Hassan says.
Hassan adds, “When people watch HBO’s ‘Going Clear’ and listen to the former members’ stories, I hope it will persuade each viewer to take a step further and think about the induced phobias and thought-stopping techniques those former members have endured and reach for more insight into the process of cult mind control.” The 25th Anniversary edition of the classic text, “Combating Cult Mind Control,” provides a deeper understanding of why people join cults.

The book explores:
• New stories of people who fell under the sway of cults and other forms of undue influence but who were able to break free.
• New information on the many sophisticated ways social media is now used for mind control.
• Updates on the many types of organizations that use mind control
• Information on the neuroscience behind mind control.
• A look at what legislators, courts, mental health professionals, and ordinary citizens can do to resist mind control and make our world a safer place.

Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue and Recovery from Destructive Cults will be available in e-book format and paperback by the end of March.

There is an online press kit on as well as many videos, a full description of the BITE model and many more resources.


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