Synanon

Synanon and Enthusiastic Sobriety: Cults Disguised as Drug Treatment

Cults take on many disguises to recruit and control members, including religious organizations, marketing schemes, drug treatment, and even yoga or martial arts groups. But the tactics of recruitment and control are very similar, and the malignant narcissists who profit from the cults also act in similarly destructive ways.

LulaRoe Roberta Blevins

LuLaRoe and the World of Commercial Cults: Interview With Roberta Blevins

LuLaRoe is one of the largest multi-level marketing schemes (MLMs) in history. Founded in 2012, the company became famous for selling colorful, patterned leggings and advertising heavily on social media. Last month, Amazon Prime released the original series “LuLaRich,” and brought LuLaRoe’s use of undue influence and mind control to the public’s attention.

Jasmine Banks and Kochland

Charles Koch’s Undue Influence on College Campuses: An Interview with Jasmine Banks

Billionaire donors are exerting undue influence on college campuses nationwide to advance a regressive corporate agenda. When I read Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America by Christopher Leonard, I was astounded at how much I did not know about this empire. For example, patriarch Fred C. Koch, co-founder of the racist John Birch Society, was a union buster, stealer of oil from Indigenous people, massive polluter, and fanatical about their corporate “culture” which has been described by many as cult-like.

How Colonizers Use Mind Control: A Conversation with Cindy Blackstock

The “merciless Indian savages…” Those words in the United States Declaration of Independence entrenched the way colonial states defined Indigenous peoples as “savage” and their relationship with the “civilized Americans” as represented by federal and state governments. This dehumanizing propaganda was the pen of history, of social norms and laws writing on our societal manuscript about what the United States is and who we are as Americans. It served to normalize and even legitimize the wrongful dispossession of land, resources and even the children from Indigenous peoples.

Message Churches Branham

The Racist Effects of William Branham’s Message Churches

Millions of Americans are members of Message churches today. The Message cult — a collection of sub-groups that originated from William Branham’s Pentecostal Tabernacle — is characterized by its extreme white supremacy and deeply misogynistic attitudes. Claiming to be a prophet who channeled messages directly from God, Branham formed the Billie Branham Pentecostal Tabernacle in …

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left-wing cult

International Marxist Tendency (IMT): A Left-Wing Trotskyist Cult

The story of Aaron Kyereh-Mireku, a former member of a left-wing Trotskyist cult (IMT), is very important for two reasons. His experience is more proof that anyone can be seduced into a cult, no matter how intelligent, educated or influence-resistant they may be. Further, his story demonstrates that there are cults with left-wing, communist ideology, …

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corporate cults Dennis Tourish

Corporate Cults: An Interview With Professor Dennis Tourish PhD

Every business has its own corporate culture. Yet many companies have been accused of being run like an authoritarian cult by former employees and observers. Many factors are involved in creating this culture, including the values and personalities of the founder(s), the goals of the organization, styles of leadership and reward systems. When these factors …

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Dr. Frances Chapman Coercive Control Law

Coercive Control, Undue Influence, Emotional Abuse and the Law

Since the attempted insurrection on January 6, more than 460 people have been arrested on various charges resulting from their participation in the assault on the Capitol. A significant number of them have stated they were there at the urging of the former president in order to reverse the “stolen” election. Some of those arrested …

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science and faith

Christianity, Anti-Vaxxers, and Politics: An Evangelical Perspective

Is there a really a conflict between faith in science and faith in Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other world religions? I do not believe there should ever be a black/white, either/or mindset when it comes to listening to responsible medical experts and religious leaders. In the United States, there has been some negative media focus …

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Dr. Barry Roth and Human Trafficking and Torture

Healing From Torture and Human Trafficking

Survivors of authoritarian cults who engage in the difficult work of regaining true sense of self and ability to think freely give inspiration to the professionals who work with them. When a person has been trapped in the most violent expressions of authoritarian control—torture and human trafficking—but still retains their dignity and integrity it is humbling.  My colleague and friend, Dr. Barry Roth, is …

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