destructive cults

National Child Abuse Prevention Month: Educate, Protect and Support

2019-04-11T12:54:20-04:00April 11th, 2019|Blog|

Since 1983, April has been designated as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It "recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect and promotes the social and emotional well-being of children and families. During the month of April and throughout the year, communities are encouraged to increase awareness and provide education and support to families through resources and strategies to prevent child abuse and neglect." (Child Welfare Information Gateway) And, in 2019, it is needed just as much as ever! Too many children are still being hurt: physically, mentally and emotionally, as seen by [...]

Exvangelicals Find a Voice and Speak Out Against Authoritarianism

2019-01-30T17:35:58-04:00January 17th, 2019|Blog|

  Dominionism A few weeks before the 2016 Presidential election, Stanford Russian history Ph.D. Dr. Christopher Stroop wrote an article, "After the Trump Tapes: Evangelical Authoritarianism Revisited." In it, he shared his concerns about what he saw was a powerful group of people publicly defined as white evangelical Christians who were supporting Trump and who exhibited the characteristics of an authoritarian movement. While many might not identify with the term Dominionism directly--the belief that Christians should take over America and the world and make it Christian in a very narrow way--they were Christian nationalists pursuing a de facto, and sometimes explicit, Dominionist [...]

Children Are Harmed by Destructive Cults: Part Two

2018-12-15T19:49:50-04:00September 6th, 2018|Blog|

Freedom of religion does not give permission to traumatize and abuse kids! Last week, I blogged about some ways that children are harmed physically by destructive cults, including murder, suicide, medical neglect, trafficking, corporal punishment and sexual predation. Many children that are born or raised in a group are helpless and do not have the resources to protect themselves. And very often, children are harmed psychologically and face difficulties not just during their childhood but also after leaving the group. For example, in this week's blog we list just a few things that can cause lifelong harm if not [...]

Tired of Being “On The Fence” With Your Life?

2018-12-16T21:10:57-04:00August 23rd, 2018|Blog|

Beginning to Doubt and Question There are moments when almost anybody can become disillusioned when in a totalistic, or rigid and intolerant, group (or controlling relationship). Losing one’s “faith” can happen for a wide variety of reasons. Maybe they become aware of some discrepancy or hypocrisy in the doctrine or in a leader’s behavior. Perhaps someone they respect decides to leave or is labeled an “apostate” by leadership. Exposure to critical information is a very common reason people begin to doubt. Destructive mind control groups try very hard to keep their members away from negative information about the leader, [...]

Dr. Philip Zimbardo’s 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE): A Response to Critics

2019-02-13T12:18:44-04:00July 3rd, 2018|Blog|

Dr. Zimbardo photographed for his Heroic Imagination Project. Credit: Ferne Millen Photography July 2, 2018: At this moment, there appears to be a media attack on the reputation of Dr. Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Stanford University and former president of the American Psychological Association. Indeed, there seems to be a broader attack on the field of social psychology and some of its greatest contributors in the past sixty years. We live at a time of unprecedented scientific and technological knowledge and development and, sadly, there are powerful influential forces that seek to persuade the public and deny [...]

A Response to Academics Who Say There Is No Undue Influence in Destructive Cults

2019-02-13T10:41:11-04:00June 28th, 2018|Blog|

June 28, 2018 This Influence Continuum graphic describes my model for evaluating influence–from the healthy to the unhealthy. My BITE model offers a list of concerning practices that represent unhealthy mind control: Behavior, Information, Thought and Emotional control designed to create dependent and obedient slaves to a person or ideology. One example of many is the lack of informed consent when recruiting new members. Healthy groups are honest, destructive cults lie–by withholding vital information, distorting information to make it seem more palatable or outright lies. It is my assertion that any academic who writes about controversial groups and insists [...]

Errant Belief #8: “She’s Better Off Where She Is”

2018-12-16T19:34:15-04:00May 10th, 2018|Blog|

Are They Better Off Being Left in the Group? Sometimes family, friends, and even mental health professionals may think that a person is better off in the cult. This way, the family, and friends may not feel obliged to do anything to help rescue the individual. Sometimes this is because the person has been a member for a really long time. Sometimes this is because people think of how the person was when they first got involved. This is especially true when the cult member gives a convincing argument that they would have committed suicide or overdosed on drugs [...]

How to Rescue a Loved One from a Cult or Controlling Relationship: The Strategic Interactive Approach

2018-12-15T19:56:06-04:00April 11th, 2018|Blog|

Development of the Strategic Interactive Approach Family members and friends often feel angry, confused, hurt, frustrated and helpless when they realize a loved one has gotten involved with a controlling person or group. They often notice a radical personality change. They either try to argue the person away, are reassured or told to mind their own business. I have blogged about common errant beliefs. Getting informed, choosing a professional and their approach ideally needs to happen as quickly as possible. Then a plan can be developed. Almost everyone wants to just "fix the problem" and tries to do [...]