All posts tagged: Cults

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

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