Cults

Dr. Bandy Lee and Dr. James Gilligan: Do We Surrender Our Moral Compass to Technical Rule?

2019-03-11T16:44:47-04:00March 7th, 2019|Blog|

On February 27, 2019, Dr. Bandy Lee and Dr. James Gilligan spoke at The Program in Psychiatry and the Law (the Harvard forensic think tank). The talk was entitled, "Do we surrender our moral compass to technical rule?" They further discuss the question, "Given our professional responsibility to society, if we see dangers to public health and wellbeing, should we refrain from speaking up in professional ways because of a technical rule?" Dr. Lee and Dr. Gilligan are both experts on violence.   Dr. Bandy Lee is an expert on violence on the faculty of Yale School of Medicine’s Law and Psychiatry Division who has served as [...]

Terror, Love & Brainwashing: A Discussion with Alexandra Stein About Extremist Political Cults

2019-02-28T12:54:32-04:00February 28th, 2019|Blog|

This week, I have the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Stein, a cult survivor and renowned expert on cults and totalitarianism. Alexandra Stein, Ph.D. is a writer and educator specializing in the social psychology of ideological extremism and other dangerous social relationships. She is an academic, having taught at the University of Minnesota, Birkbeck, and the University of London, now teaching at the Mary Ward Center. Dr. Stein is a Ph.D. sociologist and expert on social psychology. She teaches as an academic but gives talks, as well as, writes books.  Her memoir Inside Out: A Memoir of Entering and Breaking Out of a Minneapolis [...]

Islamophobia and Psychiatry: Recognition, Prevention, and Treatment

2019-01-12T19:49:43-04:00January 12th, 2019|Blog|

  Introduction The book begins by covering the general and clinical challenges that are unique to Muslims, drawing from an internationally, ethnically, and intergenerationally diverse pool of experts.  The text covers not only how psychiatrists and other clinicians can intervene successfully with patients, but how we as clinicians can have a role in addressing other societally connected mental health challenges arising from Islamophobia. The text addresses three related but distinct areas of interest: Islamophobia as a destructive force, Islam as a religion that is threatened by stigma and misinformation, and the novel intersection of these forces with the field of psychiatry. [...]

Traumatic Narcissism: From Muktananda and Gurumayi to Donald Trump

2019-03-28T11:51:05-04:00December 27th, 2018|Blog|

Daniel Shaw and Siddha Yoga This week's blog features an interview with a licensed clinical social worker, Daniel Shaw.  Dan is a private practice psychotherapist in New York City and in Rockland County, New York. Dan was deeply involved for many years and even a staff member at Siddha Yoga before he woke up and walked away. As part of his healing journey and restarting his life, he decided to become a mental health professional. Like many former members, he was involved in helping others to wake up and realize that the guru was not enlightened but, in fact, a very [...]

Scientology and The BITE Model

2018-12-20T21:18:14-04:00December 20th, 2018|Blog|

BITE Model In June of 2018, I did an interview with psychologist and ex-Mormon John Dehlin for his Mormon Stories podcast. In preparation for the show, John read Combating Cult Mind Control and told me that the book was transformative. Then he did a wonderful analysis of the BITE model of the Mormon Church which we included in a blog. Afterward, we got the idea to do a similar analysis of the BITE model and the Jehovah's Witnesses. Now, it is Scientology's turn. I encourage people to use the BITE model to systematically evaluate the core beliefs and behaviors to [...]

Problems with the ISKCON Krishna Movement

2018-12-17T18:39:44-04:00December 13th, 2018|Blog|

George Harrison, Shyamasundara Dasa, and Mukunda Goswami in Vrindavan in front of Jiva Goswami Samadhi, 1996 The Truth About ISKCON Despite my profound appreciation for the musical genius of Beatle, George Harrison, ISKCON devotees influenced him. Harrison wrote songs like “My Sweet Lord” and donated large sums of money to the cult. I can only guess that many people were lured into the cult without proper research as a result of hearing his music. Clearly, the group used him as a recruiting tool. Since my own exit from the Moonies cult in 1976, I [...]

Scripted Violence, Conspiracy Theories and Concerns

2018-12-16T19:01:27-04:00December 6th, 2018|Blog|

It has been several weeks since Robert Bowers entered the Tree of Life synagogue in his hateful, rage-filled attack against Jews. This week, I had the opportunity to interview Chip Berlet, an investigative journalist, research analyst and scholar of right-wing movements. I had been wanting to interview him so he could explain the concept of scripted violence. This seems to be exactly what took place with Bowers. He had been influenced to hate and fear Jewish people to the point that he acted out and committed a terrorist act. I also wanted to ask Chip about the Protocols of [...]

Highlights from my EXJW Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything)

2018-12-16T19:12:23-04:00November 29th, 2018|Blog|

Top Ten Questions & Answers On Monday, November 19, 2018, I participated in my first ever AMA (Ask Me Anything) for r/exjw on Reddit to an overwhelming response. Reddit users interviewed me by posting questions which I then answered on the Reddit forum. I want to thank Kimmy O'Donnell who helped arrange it and everyone for their support and contributions. My opening post directed the discussion, "Good morning. I will be available for the next 24 hours to answer your questions. We can discuss the Jehovah's Witnesses and how they fit my BITE model, how to help family and [...]

What is a Cult? Whiteboard Animation Explaining the BITE Model

2018-12-16T19:12:28-04:00November 22nd, 2018|Blog|

BITE Model Since my deprogramming from the Moon cult in 1976, I have come to learn of countless thousands of groups that I have never heard of before. Are they cults? Do they use mind control? Is it brainwashing? I have also been asked to comment on destructive family systems and controlling relationships. Over the decades of research, my way of systematizing a method to evaluate a weird group with crazy beliefs from a destructive one has come to be grounded in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It seems to me that while there are countries, [...]

A Call to Action for All Who Have Suffered from Mind Control!

2018-12-16T20:47:32-04:00November 15th, 2018|Blog|

The Age of Influence I believe that we are no longer living merely in the "Age of Information" but the "Age of Influence." Information has long been collected, legally and illegally about billions of people, building very sophisticated profiles. With such a persona or profile, influence can be very efficiently used to manipulate people's minds and behavior. In the past forty years that I have been studying cult mind control techniques and patterns, in this digital age, I see "influence" developing at a high velocity. For example, the Chinese government, along with every country with a top-down control of [...]