All posts tagged: destructive cults

A Billion Years: My Escape From a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology with Mike Rinder

I was excited when I learned that Mike Rinder wrote a new book, A Billion Years: My Escape From a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology. The book’s title was an ode to his billion-year commitment when he joined the Sea Organization (Sea Org) shortly after graduating high school in 1973. Rinder rose to become the top leader in the Office of Special Affairs (OSA), where, among other duties, he oversaw the “fair game” harassment of all perceived enemies, including the non-profit Cult Awareness Network. When he left Scientology in 2007, he decided to expose the criminal behavior of Scientology. I was very interested in asking him specific questions about his knowledge of Scientology.  

Frederick Clarkson and Andre Gagne discuss the New Apostolic Reformation

The Growing Rift Inside the New Apostolic Reformation with Frederick Clarkson and André Gagné

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is a reorganized, large Pentecostal and charismatic movement reframed by the religious right to move into politics. My guests on this episode of the Influence Continuum are warning people about the dangers associated with the rise of the NAR.  Frederick Clarkson has written and worked at the intersection of religion and politics for over four decades. He’s currently a Senior Research analyst at Political Research Associates, a is a social justice research and strategy center in Somerville, Massachusetts. He’s also the author of a very important book that I recommend everyone read called Eternal Hostility – The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy, a subject that everyone’s talking about in the media these days. 

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. 

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

Leaving NXIVM, 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 NXIVM, 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.

Opening Our Minds: Avoiding Abusive Relationships and Authoritarian Groups

Opening Our Minds: avoiding abusive relationships and authoritarian groups by Jon Atack is available in paperback, Audible and Kindle on Amazon. I am delighted to help bring attention to a new book which I think is a valuable contribution to our field. Disclosure: Jon is a good friend of mine, for decades, and is the leading

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

People of Praise Covenant Community: BITE Model of Authoritarian Control Evaluation

Since Judge Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to the Supreme Court to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republicans are seeking to fast track her confirmation before the end of October. The Trump administration and its Senators are trying to frame some of the opposition to her nomination as religious intolerance.

COVID-19 Pandemic is NOT Proof of the End Times as Proclaimed by Doomsday Cult Leaders

This year, 2020, has unfortunately been full of triggering events for many former members of Doomsday cults. There have been earthquakes in Croatia, Russia, and Texas to name just a few. Locusts have swarmed parts of East Africa damaging crops and livelihoods. The coronavirus pandemic is being described by some as a global pestilence. All

Lev Parnas, Michael Cohen, Omarosa Manigault Newman, George Conway, Anthony Scaramucci, Rick Wilson and Others: Trump is a Cult Leader

Lev Parnas, during his interview with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, described himself as waking up from a cult and Donald Trump like a “cult leader.” Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney for twelve years, expressed similar thoughts and feelings. Omarosa Manigault Newman, in her book Unhinged, described leaving the cult of Trumpworld. George Conway, Republican attorney

The Cult of Trump: Some Frequently Asked Questions

CNN Appearance 1-19-2021: Dr. Steven Hassan on The Cult of Trump with Alisyn Camerota On Friday, November 22nd, 2019, I did an interview with Brian Stelter of CNN’s Sunday Reliable Sources show. This was put online as an audio Reliable Sources podcast. That Sunday, November 24th, The Cult of Trump was the focus of the