Cults

Evangelical Support of Trump, Authoritarian Politics, and Transitioning: A Discussion With Chrissy Stroop, Ph.D.

2020-08-08T15:37:00-04:00August 8th, 2020|Blog|

Russian history expert Dr. Chrissy Stroop is back with a follow-up interview. She is an author, editor, and Stanford Ph.D., not only an activist. One of the reasons I wished to have her on was to discuss and promote the book she helped to edit, along with Lauren O'Neal, Empty the Pews: Stories of Leaving the Church. There is an exodus of people leaving authoritarian Christian organizations that use BITE model influence methods characteristic of destructive cults. Today's religious media conglomerate which includes talk radio, television, and internet channels are a vast source of influence throughout the world. These are run by [...]

Former FBI Hostage Negotiation Chief & Author Gary Noesner Discusses Waco, Anti-Government Conspiracy, and Negotiating

2020-07-17T15:48:05-04:00July 17th, 2020|Blog|

The last few years and, especially 2020, has polarized many people from family, friends, and country. There seems to be a big divide in politics, religious beliefs, and even whether science and experts are trustworthy. Most of us know someone–friend, family member, neighbor–that is caught up in a conspiracy theory or harmful belief system. To help them, I have always been a firm believer in putting yourself in their shoes, to understand how they "see the world" in order to help them. Respect and compassion and patience are all required. My guest for this week's blog,  Gary Noesner (former Chief [...]

Dr. Robert Jay Lifton on Trump, COVID-19, and Racism: The Struggle for Reality and Oppression

2020-07-15T11:22:57-04:00July 9th, 2020|Blog|

I am excited to share another interview with my first mentor regarding thought reform and brainwashing, Robert Jay Lifton M.D.. (See the list of our previous interviews below). I last interviewed Dr. Lifton in January 2020, following the October release of his new book, Losing Reality: On Cults, Cultism, and the Mindset of Political and Religious Zealotry. Dr. Lifton is quite prolific and has written many important books which are also listed below. Losing Reality is a unique and timely volume. For those that have not yet read all of his other books, this one is a summary of his [...]

Ministry of Evil: The Twisted Cult of Tony Alamo- A Discussion With Cult Expert and Author Debby Schriver

2020-06-30T11:11:03-04:00June 25th, 2020|Blog|

Since my deprogramming from the Moon cult in 1976, I have come to learn of countless thousands of harmful cult groups. Many years ago, I worked with victims of Tony Alamo (birth name Bernie LaZar Hoffman), befriended one of his ex-wives, and am pleased to say that I was involved with asking the Southern Poverty Law Center to investigate and ultimate help prosecute Alamo and put him in jail. They were interested in exposing Alamo for many reasons: he was notoriously anti-Catholic, anti-gay, and was a polygamist (like David Koresh) and included abusing underage girls. If you are interested in [...]

The Murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by the Knee of a Police Officer Has Sparked Outrage Across the United States and the World

2020-06-13T16:26:04-04:00June 2nd, 2020|Blog|

The murder of George Floyd, handcuffed with his hands behind his back and on his stomach, by the knee of a police officer on his neck for almost 9 minutes, has sparked justified outrage across the United States and the world. Peaceful protests have taken place by the vast majority of United States citizens. Donald Trump, aside from hiding in the White House bunker, later had officials use tear gas to allow him to make a photo-op of him holding a Bible and speaking outside of the historic St. Johns Church. Trump had called governors and told them he was [...]

UFOs, Anti-Government Conspiracy Theories, Covid-19, and Indoctrination With Author and Journalist MJ Banias

2020-05-31T01:29:43-04:00May 30th, 2020|Blog|

In our last blog, we talked with conspiracy theory debunker Mick West about his book Escaping the Rabbit Hole.  This week, it is my pleasure to blog and share my interview with MJ Banias about his expertise concerning UFOs as well as newer research he has been doing. Clearly, the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced people all over the world-creating social and economic upheavals as big or bigger than the Great Depression. Scientists and public health experts have given stern warnings against prematurely lifting social distancing restrictions without testing and contact tracing resources in place. All recommend mandatory use of facemasks [...]

Conspiracy Theories, Cults and How to Help Friends and Loved Ones with Debunker Mick West

2020-05-22T10:02:58-04:00May 22nd, 2020|Blog|

Mick West--debunker, skeptic, writer, and podcaster--recently interviewed me for his podcast, "Tales From The Rabbit Hole" where we discussed cults, the intersection between cults and conspiracy theories, and my book: The Cult of Trump. (Listen to Episode 44: Steven Hassan – Cults and Conspiracies.) Tales from the Rabbit Hole is an interview-style podcast focusing on people whose lives have been affected by the conspiracy theory rabbit hole. Guests include both former and current believers in a variety of conspiracy theories, as well as debunkers, skeptics, and the investigators of those theories. There was such an intersection between my work and [...]

Former 3HO Official Pamela Dyson Discusses Yogi Bhajan’s Use of Sex, Money and Power to Deceive and Control

2020-04-18T17:14:24-04:00April 18th, 2020|Blog|

My guest this week is Pamela Saharah Dyson, a former top official of 3HO (known also as Western Sikhs)  and once a long term devoted follower of Yogi Bhajan. If you have ever heard of kundalini yoga, or even taken some classes, that was the main bait to recruit people. That and promises of health--even though Bhajan died at 75 from ill-health. Even though she left the cult in the 1980s, she has now published her story in a must-read book: Premka, White Bird in a Golden Cage: My Life with Yogi Bhajan. If you have ever met or done [...]

Child Protection, Shunning, and Parental Alienation: A Discussion About the Word of Faith Fellowship With Former Member John Huddle

2020-04-10T16:13:13-04:00April 10th, 2020|Blog|

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and, now more than ever, we need to protect children.  Too many are still being hurt: physically, mentally and emotionally, as seen by recent national child abuse statistics. For those raised in cults, they are at a higher risk for physical, medical, sexual, emotional, and psychological harm. I wrote a blog about the work of Marci Hamilton and ChildUSA; it is worth checking out. Sadly, many are being hurt by destructive groups which are proving to be an unsafe, abusive environment for young ones. One such Bible cult is Jane Whaley's Word of Faith [...]

The COVID-19 Pandemic, the Religious Right, and the Threat to Our Government and World Health: A Discussion With Anne Nelson

2020-04-08T14:17:59-04:00April 2nd, 2020|Blog|

As we continue into uncharted times with the COVID-19 pandemic, we must change our focus to how we can combat this virus and support one another during this crisis. This global pandemic affects each and every one of us. Unfortunately, not everyone believes in science and nor is taking it seriously. Too many people are going against the suggestions of medical professionals and scientists, putting all of us at risk. Estimates now are that due to a lack of proper preparation to accept tests offered by WHO, as well as masks, alcohol wipes, and ventilators from suppliers, 100,000 - 240,000 [...]