All posts tagged: Cults

The Rise of Right-Wing, Anti-Democratic Ideology in India: A Conversation with Narendra Nayak

Almost four years ago, I spoke with my friend Narendra Nayak about the rise of right-wing religious and political extremism in India. I had contacted him after learning of the killing of Gauri Lankesh. Lankesh was an activist journalist who was openly critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and their extremist Hindutva ideology. There are many similarities between the rise of conservative, right-wing ideologies in India and the United States. I recently spoke with Nayak to discuss the current social and political situations in India and the United States. 

The Horror of School Shootings and Where We Go from Here – with S. E. Cupp

I had the opportunity to invite S.E. Cupp and discuss the terrible shooting and mass violence at another school in Uvalde, Texas, for my podcast, The Influence Continuum. S.E. Cupp is an American political commentator, practical conservative, and writer. She is famously known for hosting a political panel show named S.E. Cupp: Unfiltered and CrossFire. She has also hosted a digital series on cnn.com called S.E. Cupp’s Outside with Insiders.

NXIVM survivors Sarah Edmondson and Nippy Ames talk to Dr. Steven Hassan

Leaving NIXVM, an Authoritarian Cult, Was Not the End: A Conversation with Sarah Edmondson and Nippy Ames

Two years ago, in May of 2020, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah Edmondson for my blog. Sarah, and her husband Anthony (Nippy) Ames, met while both were high-ranking members of NIXVM, a cult founded by Keith Raniere. At the time of that interview, Raniere had been convicted of federal crimes that included sex trafficking and conspiracy. In October 2020, Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison.

Douglas Brooks, esq.

Talking MLMs with Douglas Brooks

Attorney Douglas Brooks is a truly remarkable man. Formerly a specialist in franchise law, he now devotes his time to helping people defend themselves against financial depredation of multi-level marketing companies, known as MLMs. From bringing down the “consumer byline” scam run by now-imprisoned NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere, to appearing in the Herbalife documentary Betting On Zero, to organizing the global conference on multi-level marketing schemes, he is tireless in fighting against an industry dedicated to bamboozling money from ordinary people with promises of exorbitant wealth for little to no work.

exmormon

LDS (Mormon) Church, Leaving & Recovery–Reddit AMA: ExMormons

This past Sunday (January 9, 2022), I was invited to answer questions about the Mormon Church during an Ask Me Anything (AMA) for the subreddit group, ExMormon. This is the link to the entire thread: AMA: I'm Steven Hassan, Ask Me Anything! : exmormon (reddit.com). I had recently written...

Parental Alienation

Parental Alienation: Turning Children Against Their Parent

In my work with ex-cult members, I have been aware of the use of parental alienation tactics for many years. It occurs in situations where one parent leaves a cult, but the other parent remains. In such cases, cult policies usually call for extreme measures to “demonize” the ex-member and turn their children...

Shincheonji: A Cult Engaged in World-Wide Deceptive Recruitment

In previous blog posts, I have mentioned Shincheonji several times, most significantly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The cult was  blamed by South Korean officials for the worst outbreak of this virus outside of China, because they took no active measures to prevent the outbreak from spreading. Members are required to always attend services,

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.

Dr. Robert Jay Lifton Catastrophic Event

Surviving Catastrophic Events: An Interview With Dr. Robert Lifton

Forty-five years ago, I was deprogrammed from the Moonies. Over two years prior to that, I had been recruited into the cult, had undergone systematic mind control tactics and become a loyal follower of Rev. Sun Myung Moon. I had been fully convinced that Moon was the Messiah, sent by God to save the world.

Bill and Lorna Goldberg

Lorna and Bill Goldberg: Fifty Years of Helping People Out of Cults

I often find it hard to believe that this year marks my 45th anniversary of freedom from the insidious cult indoctrination of the Moonies. For the 40th anniversary of my deprogramming, I wrote a blog to thank the people directly responsible for the intervention that liberated me. As I reflect, there have been many people