Blog

Unveiling the La Luz del Mundo Cult: Sochil Martin’s Story of Resilience, Whistleblowing and Activism 

Sochil Martin is a Mexican-American woman who was born and raised in a religious high control group called La Luz del Mundo (LDM), which claims to have over 5 million members worldwide. LDM has been a part of Sochil’s family for four generations, starting with her great-grandmother being brought into the cult in Baja, California, Mexico. With the support of her husband, Sochil managed to escape from LDM and embarked on a journey to seek justice. In 2018, she blew the whistle on the organization to the California Department of Justice, exposing the abuse of leadership on its members and the sexual assault committed by the leader on women and minors. Five women, including three minors, called the “five Jane Does,” came forward with allegations of sexual assault and trafficking. The leader, Naasón Joaquín García, is currently in state prison and has recently been indicted by the federal government for child pornography. Despite her efforts, Sochil’s family remains in the institution, cutting off all communication with her. 

Unveiling the La Luz del Mundo Cult: Sochil Martin’s Story of Resilience, Whistleblowing and Activism  Read More

STRONGMEN: Mussolini to the Present- The Rising Tide of Online Authoritarian Influence with Ruth Ben-Ghiat 

Navigating a deeply divided, polarized world filled with vulnerable souls to the siren calls of conspiracy theories, I find it essential to shine a light on the shadows where undue influence thrives. In this discussion with historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat, we discuss the subtle and often sinister ways authoritarianism intertwines with the psychological mechanisms of control. We connect the dots from my experiences with cults and coercive persuasion. Ruth Ben-Ghiat is an NYU professor and expert on fascism and authoritarianism, a celebrated author, MSNBC columnist, and consultant, including for del Toro’s Oscar-winning ‘Pinocchio.’ Her book Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present explores the tactics of illiberal rulers and the history of resistance against them. With a focus on unraveling the complex tapestry of undue influence in modern politics, my discussion with historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat sheds light on the intricate relationship between authoritarianism and its psychological underpinnings. 

STRONGMEN: Mussolini to the Present- The Rising Tide of Online Authoritarian Influence with Ruth Ben-Ghiat  Read More

The Transformative Power of Wonder with Monica C. Parker 

While fascinated by human behavior and advocating for mental freedom, I’ve encountered many concepts, but few have struck me as profoundly as the notion of wonder. This was vividly brought to light in my discussion with Monica C. Parker, the author of The Power of Wonder: The Extraordinary Emotion That Will Change the Way You Live Learn and Lead and founder of HATCH consultancy. Monica is a celebrated speaker and expert on future work trends. She has a diverse background, including roles as an opera singer, museum designer, policy director, and defender of death row inmates. Our conversation delved into how this powerful emotion could revolutionize learning, relationships, work, and societal interactions in today’s world, increasingly fragmented by polarization, stress, and a lack of empathy. In an era overwhelmed by digital saturation and ideological extremes, the potential of wonder can be leveraged as a tool to restore balance, encourage open-mindedness, and foster positive social connections. 

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Breaking the Chains: The Role of Mind Control in Human Trafficking with Rebecca Bender 

Human trafficking is defined in international law as the use of fraud, force, or coercion to enslave people. It is a scourge that operates not just through physical coercion but through the devastating use of mind control, a method of psychological enslavement. Rebecca Bender is a courageous survivor and advocate who works tirelessly to empower survivors, train law enforcement, do expert witness work, and assist policymakers. She created the Rebecca Bender Initiative and the online Elevate Academy, which empowers trafficking survivors over the age of eighteen to move forward with their lives. She found encouragement and mentorship from Carissa Phelps and Rachel Thomas, who, with me, developed the Ending the Game ten-session program for trafficking survivors under the age of eighteen. 

Breaking the Chains: The Role of Mind Control in Human Trafficking with Rebecca Bender  Read More

Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America with Christopher Leonard 

Christopher Leonard, author of the book Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America is a respected business reporter whose book I read when it first came out in 2019. I am so pleased that he consented to an interview. Koch Industries piqued Christopher’s interest as a business reporter when he learned that it is the second largest privately owned company in America, with operations in industries spanning from blue-collar manufacturing jobs to oil refineries and energy. Because of that, they have one of the largest corporate lobbying entities in America. He also sees this as a critical subject matter because they play a significant role in limiting government regulation in the private market, especially concerning fossil fuels CO2 emissions that cause global warming. 

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The Case for Debunking Medical Cannabis Myths with Peter Grinspoon, M.D. 

In his latest book, Seeing Through the Smoke: A Cannabis Specialist Untangles the Truth About Marijuana, Peter Grinspoon, M.D. has written an excellent, comprehensive, and authoritative look at medical cannabis. Grinspoon is a primary care doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He has been a medical cannabis specialist for over twenty-five years. Dr. Grinspoon, a popular speaker, is frequently featured in the national media on issues such as cannabis, addiction, and physician health. His private practice offers comprehensive cannabis coaching, education, and certification (only in Massachusetts). Dr. Grinspoon is certified as a health and life coach to help people find their goals and follow their dreams. He offers comprehensive health and wellness coaching on various issues for which he is uniquely qualified to help. 

The Case for Debunking Medical Cannabis Myths with Peter Grinspoon, M.D.  Read More

How to Be Spiritual in These Crazy Times: A Guide with Philip Goldberg 

Philip Goldberg has been studying the world’s spiritual traditions for more than 50 years as a practitioner, teacher, and author. An ordained Interfaith Minister, spiritual counselor, and public speaker, he has presented at major venues throughout the U.S. and has been featured in numerous publications. He has authored or co-authored more than 25 books, including Get Out of Your Own Way; The Intuitive Edge; Roadsigns on the Spiritual Path; American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West; the seminal biography The Life of Yogananda: The Story of the Yogi Who Became the First Modern Guru; and his most recent, Spiritual Practice for Crazy Times: Powerful Tools to Cultivate Clarity, Calm and Courage. Phil has taught courses on various online platforms, hosts the Spirit Matters podcast, and serves on the board of the Association for Spiritual Integrity. His website is here. 

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Troubled Teen Industry Abuse with Former Victim Melanie Friedman, LCSW 

Do you worry about your teenager’s safety and fear they could fall into the deceptive webs of manipulative, cult-like groups? Are you a desperate parent seeking intervention services for your struggling teen? If so, you can’t afford to miss this interview with Melanie, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a survivor of the infamous Troubled Teen Industry —a largely unregulated web of residential behavior modification programs notorious for subjecting struggling teens to various forms of abuse. Our riveting dialogue focuses on these unregulated behavior modification programs’ stark realities and untold abuses. Melanie’s mission is to raise awareness and educate mental health professionals on coercive control settings like these. Why is this essential? Because desperate parents are unknowingly sending their vulnerable teens into the lion’s den. Keep reading to find out why you should be alarmed. 

Troubled Teen Industry Abuse with Former Victim Melanie Friedman, LCSW  Read More

The Assemblies of God; Secrets of a High-Demand Church with Paul Jensen 

I had the opportunity to meet Paul Jensen at the 2023 International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) annual conference, where he delivered a captivating presentation titled Discovering the Worst-Kept Secrets of My High Demand Church. He shared his journey of discovery after growing up in the Assemblies of God, the world’s largest denomination of the Pentecostal and Charismatic “Spirit Led” movement. In his talk, he revealed the little-known authoritarian cult roots of the Assemblies of God and how the church has created an official narrative that conceals its true history.  

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The Double-Edged Sword of Free Speech: Koch, FIRE, and Campus Disinformation 

The principle of free speech is a cornerstone of American democracy. However, the misuse of this right can become a vehicle for disinformation, manipulation, and, at times, violence. One recent case in point is the role of philanthropists like the Koch family in funding free speech campaigns and initiatives on college campuses, often under the banner of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). 

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 From MAGA Activist to National Healer with Rich Logis 

In a world marked by political extremes, high-control groups, and the Influence Continuum, the story of Rich Logis stands out as both compelling and enlightening. Formerly a true believer pundit for the MAGA movement, Rich’s transformation offers a deep dive into the mechanics of belief, mind control, the allure of belonging, and the power of self-reflection and transformation.

 From MAGA Activist to National Healer with Rich Logis  Read More

Large Group Awareness Trainings (LGATs) Weaponize Dopamine to Manipulate People with John Hunter, PhD 

LGATs (Large Group Awareness Trainings) bill themselves as transformational multi-day workshops. You often feel pressured to attend, perhaps by your corporation or a family member or friend, and you are deliberately not told what will happen there. These workshops often utilize eight to twelve-hour marathon sessions to wear down a person’s identity. According to research by South African Dr. John Hunter, they artificially create bipolar states in participants. 

Large Group Awareness Trainings (LGATs) Weaponize Dopamine to Manipulate People with John Hunter, PhD  Read More