BITE Model

When Religion Hurts You: Healing from Religious Trauma and the Impact of High Control Religion with Dr. Laura E. Anderson 

Laura E. Anderson, PhD, specializes in complex trauma, with a particular focus on domestic violence, sexualized violence, and religious trauma. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a Ph.D. in Mind Body Medicine from Saybrook University. Her new book is When Religion Hurts You: Healing from Religious Trauma and the Impact of High Control Religion. She founded and directed the Center for Trauma Resolution and Recovery, an online coaching company.  

When Religion Hurts You: Healing from Religious Trauma and the Impact of High Control Religion with Dr. Laura E. Anderson  Read More

Breaking the Silence: Alva Johnson’s Journey as a Director in the 2016 Trump Campaign

Legally released from an unenforceable NDA, the former 2016 campaign staffer discusses the cult-building tactics, Russian interference, and the who’s who of bad actors behind the scenes of the Trump campaign.  

Alva Johnson, a former large-scale event producer, found herself thrust into the midst of a presidential campaign after taking on what she thought was a short gig to assist with coordinating one rally. The massive success of that one rally eventually led to Alva becoming deeply involved in the Trump Campaign in 2015 and 2016.

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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

The Borg Collective: Applying The BITE Model© of Authoritarian Control and Influence Continuum 

Many writers base their work on what they care about, and science-fiction writers are no exception. The various iterations of Star Trek have perennially given us parables about racism, class issues, medical ethics, war, politics, and many other real-world issues. So, it is no surprise that when Star Trek Next Generation showrunner Michael Piller read Combating Cult Mind Control and met cult expert Steven Hassan to discuss his interest in high-control groups, the result would be one of the franchise’s most iconic races: the Borg. Piller invited Hassan to do a TV series based on his life story. Regrettably, Hassan regrets saying “no” instead of “yes.” On a visit to Los Angeles, Piller invited Hassan to the Paramount set of Next Generation. Hassan met Patrick Stuart in uniform as they were filming that day. When he learned he was a cult expert, Stuart had several questions for Hassan. A funny moment was when someone goofed on Brent Spiner (Data) and said Hassan was going to be his replacement.

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Finding Her Way Out of Scientology’s Infamous Sea Org with Katherine Spallino  

Katherine Spallino, the author of a new book, The Bad Cadet: Growing Up in the Church of Scientology’s Sea Organization, has had quite a life journey. Katherine grew up on a secluded ranch within the cadet org, Scientology’s Sea Org school for children. At a young age, Katherine began to journal about her day-to-day life, capturing the thoughts and experiences of a child coming of age in a cult. Katherine’s background offers the rare opportunity to tell the story of the hundreds of children who rarely saw their parents and were indoctrinated to become future Sea Org members.  

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Chinese Netizen’s protests and Freedom of Mind as a Human Right with Researcher Matt Bywater  

This week, we focus on two crucial overlapping and timely subjects: Freedom of Mind as an essential new human right and using my BITE Model of Authoritarian Control by Chinese netizens during the November 2022 protests in China against the zero covid lockdown policy.  

Matt Bywater first learned the phrase and idea of Freedom of Mind during his research into authoritarian cults, which began with my books Combating Cult Mind Control and Freedom of Mind. He decided to work towards identifying a pathway for freedom of mind to enter into the international human rights architecture. Shortly thereafter, he came across the first Declaration of Freedom of Mind in history, issued by the World Mental Health Coalition, founded by forensic psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee. Dr. Lee edited the best-selling book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, with 37 experts weighing in on Trump. When I put together a panel at the 37th Annual Conference of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health in Lyon, France, presented his research on Freedom of Mind and why he believes the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is insufficient to protect the mind. He has also presented at the 2023 International Cultic Studies Association conference. He is currently looking for a human rights scholar and academic institution to supervise his research into freedom of mind as part of a doctoral program.

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Unmasking the Kundalini Yoga Cult of Yogi Bhajan With Els Coenen 

Over the last four decades, I have met and worked with many former members of the Kundalini Yoga cult founded by Yogi Bhajan. He set up numerous profit and non-profit entities, including the Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization (3HO), the Kundalini Research Institute, Sikh Dharma International, the multibillion-dollar companies Yogi Tea and Akal Security and the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation overlooking them all. 

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Recovery From Mormonism

This past March, I visited Utah at the request of psychologist John Dehlin and the Thrive Beyond Religion non-profit movement. It was a solid opportunity for me to learn more about the LDS organization and its impact on its members. My last trip to Utah was at the request of the Ex-Mormon Foundation in 2000 after my second book, Releasing the Bonds, was published. I became deeply interested in the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). Dr. Phil (the television show host) asked me to counsel, pro bono, two 15-year FLDS runaways who did not want to marry men in their sixties or older. FLDS sticks to the original Joseph Smith polygamous teachings. I agreed to help counsel them, and the show sent them to Boston. The resulting expose motivated the Attorneys General of Utah and Arizona to investigate Warren Jeffs, the so-called prophet, who is currently in jail but still influencing his true believers. 

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Seventh-day Adventism, Adventist

Concerns with The Seventh Day Adventist Church with Dr. Steve Daily 

The Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA) is a widely recognized Christian organization with around 20 million members worldwide. However, many of its beliefs and practices align with my BITE Model of Authoritarian Control, which causes great concern. To gain more insight into this organization, I invited Dr. Steve Daily, a former pastor of the SDA, to share his valuable personal and professional experiences.

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Watchtower Society: Understanding the Jehovah’s Witnesses with Isaac Carmignani 

Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) are well-known for their door-to-door solicitation and distributing literature, such as their Watchtower and AWAKE! magazines. However, most people do not know of the authoritarian BITE Model policies that affect JWs. Consequently, former JW elder Isaac Carmignani, a friend and colleague, shares critically important facts about this religious organization.  

Carmignani was raised a Jehovah’s Witness (JW) and was baptized at age 11. As a child, he experienced severe corporal punishment, a well-known cult practice. From 1995 to 2006, he was an elder in the JW organization; however, in 2007, Carmignani formally disassociated himself. He disagreed with their interpretation of the Bible and the belief that only JWs were good Christians while all other Christians were evil. In fact, a member was not allowed to enter any church other than a Kingdom Hall; the name JWs call their meeting places.

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Born Into And Married In The Moon Cult With Elgen Strait

Elgen Strait was not only born into the Moonies but participated in an arranged mass marriage ceremony (the so-called “blessing”). His parents were active members when I was in the cult in the 1970s.  He’s a fellow survivor. Strait hosts Falling Out with Elgen Strait, a podcast focused on the experiences of second-generation survivors of the Moonies. Strait’s work on the podcast aims to expose the abuse, manipulation, and hypocrisy of the Moon cult. He provides a forum for ex-second-generation members to share resources that can aid them in their journeys out of the cult and through the transition into living in the “outside world.” Listening to Falling Out has been a catalyst for many members to wake up and exit the cult. Many who left the cult continue to have difficulty staying connected and accepted by their parents, who remain in the cult. 

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Mormonism, Mental Health, And Whistleblowing With Dr. John Dehlin 

Whistleblowers often suffer consequences for speaking out, and our guest Dr. John Dehlin knows that first-hand. A 6th generation member, he was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) for speaking up about gay rights and the suicide problem within the LDS church and for hosting a podcast that discussed problems with LDS Church history, truth claims, etc. They didn’t like him raising those issues, but he persevered and is now helping provide support for Mormons experiencing religious faith crises.   

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