Activism

Highlights from my EXJW Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything)

2018-12-16T19:12:23+00:00November 29th, 2018|Blog|

Top Ten Questions & Answers On Monday, November 19, 2018, I participated in my first ever AMA (Ask Me Anything) for r/exjw on Reddit to an overwhelming response. Reddit users interviewed me by posting questions which I then answered on the Reddit forum. I want to thank Kimmy O'Donnell who helped arrange it and everyone for their support and contributions. My opening post directed the discussion, "Good morning. I will be available for the next 24 hours to answer your questions. We can discuss the Jehovah's Witnesses and how they fit my BITE model, how to help family and [...]

The BITE Model & Mormonism: An Exploration with Ex-Mormon John Dehlin

2018-12-16T19:23:59+00:00June 14th, 2018|Blog, Resources and Support|

June 14, 2018 Dr. John Dehlin & Mormon Stories Podcast STEVEN HASSAN – WHAT THE MORMON CHURCH CAN LEARN FROM CULTS TO DO/BE BETTER Mormon Stories Podcast 938-939 About a month ago, we received an email from John Dehlin requesting an interview for his podcast Mormon Stories and his Youtube channel. Frankly, I have been so busy with clients and with my doctoral program that I was going to decline. But when I read further down in his email, he wrote: "For some background on me, my excommunication from the Mormon Church was covered in the New York [...]

Errant Belief #6: “He’s Too Intelligent to Join a Cult”

2018-12-16T19:34:44+00:00April 19th, 2018|Blog|

Intelligent People Fall Prey to Cults Creativity & Imagination Can Be Used to Control a Person Cult mind control groups thrive to the extent that they can recruit such intelligent, dynamic people. It is essential for all members of the Team (part of the SIA) to realize that cults target these people for recruitment. The more creative a mind a person has, the more his imagination can be used to control him. Indeed, bright people sometimes have even more sophisticated fantasies about the group and its doctrine than does the cult leader. The bright member usually follows his [...]

Errant Belief #5: “He Has the Right to Believe What He Wants to Believe”

2018-12-16T19:34:53+00:00March 15th, 2018|Blog, Resources and Support|

The Right to Believe Anything vs. Reality-Testing Freedom to believe is only a real freedom if you also have the freedom not to believe. Having the right to believe something carries with it a presupposition of the right to not believe it, too. When recruiters deceptively ensnare people into a closed belief system, it violates informed consent. If a person wants to believe that David Koresh is the Christ, that is his right. If people want to believe that Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han are the perfect True Parents, they are entitled. However, my religious freedom was [...]

Charles Duhigg’s New York Times Podcast: “Change Agent”

2018-12-16T20:52:18+00:00March 8th, 2018|Blog, Media Reviews|

The "Change Agent" podcast is a five-episode series by The New York Times. It is hosted by Charles Duhigg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and author of "The Power of Habit" and "Smarter Faster Better." It uses real-life problems to try and solve a surprising story. (When we worked on the podcast last year, Duhigg was a senior editor, but since then he is no longer there.) The New York Times describes it "as a new five-part podcast series that turns obstacles into opportunities. Each episode unearths surprising stories from science and business to offer answers to people’s problems. [They] [...]

Errant Belief #2 “Everything is Mind Control”

2018-12-15T20:10:03+00:00February 1st, 2018|Blog|

Errant Belief #2: “Everything is Mind Control” Mind control is everywhere, some people state—in psychotherapy, advertising, education, and the military, for example— so it must be acceptable. When we generalize and say that everything is mind control, all distinctions are lost. No insight is gained. A more productive model is to think in terms of a continuum of influence: at one end, respectful, ethical, growth-enhancing influence that recognizes the value of individuality, human rights, and creativity; at the other end, conformity, dependency, and slavery, where the value lies in the leader and the group. Everything is not mind control, [...]

Errant Belief #1: There’s No Such Thing as Mind Control

2018-12-16T19:35:15+00:00January 26th, 2018|Blog, Resources and Support|

Refuting Errant Beliefs You will need to know how to address other people’s misconceptions and, eventually, you will have to articulate these issues to the cult member as well. To help prepare you, I have identified ten of the most common fallacies about mind control cults.  Today, I will discuss the first one. Errant Belief #1 “THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS MIND CONTROL” People who reject out of hand the existence of mind control usually have distorted conceptions about mind control techniques.  “Nobody can erase your personality and turn you into a brainwashed zombie,” is one common belief. Yet, [...]

How Can I Rescue My Child From a Cult?

2018-12-16T19:49:18+00:00January 18th, 2018|Blog, Resources and Support|

How Can I Rescue My Child From a Cult? Whether you are looking for help for your son or daughter, your brother or sister, mother or father, or husband or wife, my advice is to do your homework, first. In the coming weeks, I plan to share the errant beliefs I wrote about in my book, Freedom of Mind: Helping Loves Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults and Beliefs. In this digital age, make sure you are not signaling online that you are worried or seeking to help someone to reevaluate their involvement. Protect Your Identity Change all of [...]

How Jehovah’s Witness Teachings Can Damage Brain Development in Children

2018-12-16T20:48:27+00:00January 9th, 2018|Blog|

Introduction In my decades of work with helping those born into high control groups, the effects are usually quite devastating. Despite the conditions in which young people are raised, I have also seen remarkable courage and resiliency to overcome their childhood trauma, especially if they can receive proper support and counseling. I have blogged before about the trauma caused by corporal punishment. The Watchtower encourages its members to use physical discipline and it causes grave harm. There are also serious emotional and psychological abuses. I also blogged about a twenty-seven-year-old who left her child motherless because she followed the [...]

2018: Looking Forward to Helping People to Help Themselves and Others

2018-12-16T20:12:03+00:00January 4th, 2018|Blog, News and Updates, Resources and Support|

Combating Cult Mind Control For over forty years, I have endeavored to help people understand my own cult experience- being recruited into a front group of the Moonies in 1974 while a student at Queens College in New York.  This year, on November 18th, 2018, my book Combating Cult Mind Control will be 30 years old.  That hardback volume was originally published with the British spelling, Combatting, and featured a bald-headed man with a padlock and chain around his bald head.  I fought with my then publisher and told him the cover was a total turn off for all [...]