2017 is off to an exciting start!
This Tuesday, January 17th, A&E’s Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath aired a special Reddit AMA show that I taped the week before along with Mike Rinder, Lawrence Wright (who wrote the book Going Clear that became an HBO documentary) and attorney Ray Jeffrey. Ray successfully represented former top FLAG executive Debbie Cook and her husband in a lawsuit brought by Scientology. After Ray put Debbie Cook on the stand in open court and she started recounting the horrific abuse, Scientology wisely dropped the suit and settled for an undisclosed amount of money.
I have watched the entire series; in my opinion, each episode got better and better. The horror stories and the bravery of Leah, Mike, and all of her ex-member guests brought me to tears. It was the first major show hosted and led by ex-members of a any cult- and specifically one renowned for its efforts to silence critics and ex-members.
When it was my turn to sit on the couch next to Mike Rinder, I found myself overwhelmed with emotion. As head of the Office of Special Affairs (OSA) International, he oversaw the horrendous abuse of my friends for many, many years. Since leaving the group and speaking out, Mike himself has been victimized by agents and members of Scientology. The harassment continues to backfire. Mike and Leah have only grown more and more determined to expose the lies and abuses. That has been my reaction to harassment by cults as well; it motivates me to work harder to expose them.
I think I shocked everyone, including myself, when I started to cry. But everyone was moved, and I have heard from innumerable people that they cried too when they watched the segment. I’d like to thank all of you that contacted me for your kind words and for sharing your personal stories about how you have been affected by Scientology.
One of the important points that made the cut is that there are ways to help a loved one still in a cult. You do not have to sit idly, feeling powerless.
Please watch the segment, and if you haven’t watched the whole series, watch it. It is focused on Scientology, but if you are in the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, LaRouche, or one of the many thousands of mind control cults, you will be struck by parallels to your organization.
We also recently launched our new website, which you can check out at www.freedomofmind.com. We are developing workshops and webinars for mental health professionals, survivors of undue influence, and families who are concerned about a loved one. Please sign up to become part of the FoM Community and let us know about your interests. Are you a former member who wants an in-person or online healing workshop program? Do you want help to assist a friend or family member? Are you a mental health professional who wants to learn how to help former cult members in their recovery process?
I will be doing a webinar with the Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) on March 14. More details to come!
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About the Author:
Steven Hassan M.Ed. LMHC, NCC has helped thousands of individuals and families recover from undue influence (mind control). With over 40 years of experience, he is sought after as one of the foremost authorities on undue influence and controlling groups and individuals. Steve understands the subject from a unique perspective as both a former cult member and as a clinical professional. Steven Hassan has published 4 books about cults. His first book, which came out in 1988 under the title Combatting Cult Mind Control, was updated and rereleased in 2015 as Combating Cult Mind Control. Chapter 2, My life in the Unification Church has been placed for free on this web site. This book is available as an audiobook as well as on kindle.
Steven is the Founding Director of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center, a coaching, consulting, and training organization dedicated to supporting individuals to have the freedom to think clearly and to freely consider how they want to live their lives. Steven pioneered a breakthrough method called the Strategic Interactive Approach (SIA), an effective and legal alternative for families to help cult members. The SIA teaches family and friends how to strategically influence the individual involved in the cult.
Learn about how the Strategic Interactive Approach can help rescue your friend or loved one out from under predatory influence.
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