Freedom of Mind

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 [...]

Ending the Game: Explaining Coercion to Help People Heal

2019-02-13T16:31:44-04:00January 3rd, 2019|Blog|

Human Trafficking Human Trafficking is a form of undue influence and a serious global issue affecting an estimated 21 - 27 million worldwide. According to the Defense Department, "Human trafficking is a crime in which force, fraud or coercion is used to compel a person to perform labor, services or commercial sex. It affects all populations: adults, children, men, women, foreign nationals and U.S. citizens, and all economic classes." Pimps and traffickers control the environment, access to information, relationships – every aspect of a person’s life – using techniques that manipulate how a person thinks, feels and acts. Using [...]

Traumatic Narcissism: From Muktananda and Gurumayi to Donald Trump

2018-12-27T11:42:01-04:00December 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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Time to Abolish the Statutes of Limitation for Child Sexual Abuse!

2018-12-16T19:40:23-04:00October 18th, 2018|Blog|

"Children's Rights are Human Rights" is the first thing you see when visiting the CHILD USA website. CHILD USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit think tank dedicated to protecting kids and preventing abuse. Its two founders are law professor and author Marci Hamilton and Dr. Rita Swan. Both are dedicated to ensuring children receive proper medical treatment (but do not provide direct services). Marci is the Founder and CEO of CHILD USA, which is the successor organization to Rita Swan’s CHILD Inc. I have had the opportunity to meet and know both of these extraordinary activists through my involvement on the advisory [...]

Malice Found by Jury in Montana Watchtower Society Sex Abuse Case

2018-12-16T20:47:55-04:00October 11th, 2018|Blog, News and Updates|

The huge decline in membership due to critical information on the Internet, as well as lawsuits, are forcing leadership of older established clergy organizations, like the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons, to try to find ways to cope. In the case of Watchtower, documents listing predators have been leaked. Also, in the case of the LDS Church, documents are being leaked and put online. Long term dedicated members are realizing that they have been systematically lied to about the actual goings, causing large scale defections. Psychologist John Dehlin was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for speaking out about a need to change their policy [...]

Women in High-Control Groups: Disrespected, Treated as Subservient, Sometimes Abused and Even Raped

2018-12-13T21:01:44-04:00September 27th, 2018|Blog|

As the U.S. Senate has agreed to hear the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford about the alleged sexual assault incident that happened years ago with Judge Brett Kavanagh, people's attentions are back on women's rights, #WhyIDidn'tReport, and men's misuse of power and sex. Some Republican members act as if they will confirm Kavanagh as a new member of the Supreme Court no matter what they learn, even with a second and third woman coming forward with accusations of alleged abuse. Twenty-seven years ago, Dr. Anita Hill testified at the Senate confirmation hearing of now Supreme court Justice Clarence Thomas [...]