All posts tagged: Cults

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

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

The Current Schism in the Catholic Church and How We Might Help

On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden became, after John F. Kennedy Jr., the second Catholic President of the United States of America. During his first days in office, Biden signed many orders designed to undo the damage caused by his predecessor. Biden, the Congress and Senate put in place funding and coordinated scientific leadership to address

Meghan Markle Oprah Suicide Mental Health

Mental Health Issues Including Suicidal Feelings and Authoritarianism

Oprah’s interview with Meghan Markle, watched by tens of millions worldwide, was riveting and upsetting. The topic of racism in the Royal Family (“The Firm”) needs further in-depth discussion. However, in this blog, I want to focus on Meghan’s disclosure that she felt such high levels of stress and isolation that she became suicidal. Meghan

Authoritarian Bible Cults Actively Recruiting at College and Online: Interview With Former BCC Member Chris Lee

Searching for spiritual meaning and connection with others is common when young adults enter their college years. There are many positive and ethical religious groups open to these young people, but, unfortunately, there are also destructive religious cults actively recruiting new members through deceptive and authoritarian means. I have recently been contacted by people from

How to Help People Involved in QAnon–A Reddit AMA: QAnonCasualties

On Sunday, January 10, 2021, I was invited to answer questions during an Ask Me Anything (AMA) for the subreddit group QAnonCasualties. This is a link to the entire thread:  https://www.reddit.com/r/QAnonCasualties/comments/kukco0/ama_with_steven_hassan_phd/.  Below are most of the questions, along with my answers. This blog is longer than usual, but I felt it was important to include

Dr. Robert Jay Lifton on Trump, Democracy, COVID-19, Climate Change Crisis and the Election

If you are interested in the field of cults, Chinese brainwashing and thought reform, as well as apocalyptic cults, like the terrorist cult Aum Shinrikyo, then you already know some of Dr. Lifton’s many important contributions. My previous interview with Dr. Lifton was in July 2020 when we discussed Trump, COVID-19, and racism. Since then,

Starting to Question if You Are in a Controlling Group or Relationship?

Have you recently started questioning your life and how you are spending your time and money? Have you read a book or article, listened to a podcast, or watched a documentary about a cult such as NXIVM and saw parallels to your own life circumstance? What about engaging with a former member? Perhaps you have

The BITE Model of Authoritarian Control: Undue Influence, Thought Reform, Brainwashing, Mind Control, Trafficking and the Law

Update: January 2021: Dissertation has been published. <https://www.proquest.com/docview/2476570146/> In 1976, I was deprogrammed from the Moon cult. Since then, I have helped thousands of individuals leave and recover from the harmful influence of destructive cults. I have written four books, published a peer-reviewed article, conducted multiple scientific research studies, and spent decades learning and educating

Dismantling QAnon: A TEDxMidAtlantic Must Watch Program

Assuming the predictions are accurate and there is a Biden/Harris landslide, what will happen with the millions of people who believe that President Trump is a man of God doing Apocalyptic fulfillment, especially QAnon followers? This is an important question as most of us have friends or family members that are affected. I wanted to

Social Media, Cyber Warfare, Data Mining and AI Used to Target, Manipulate and Control People

  “The Great Hack“, “The Social Dilemma“, and “People You May Know” are three excellent documentaries that everyone must see to understand how modern day authoritarians are recruiting and indoctrinating people to do their bidding. Private and personal information is being harvested and used to create sophisticated psychological and political profiles which allow political and