Influence Continuum

Multi-Level Marketing and Self-Help Cult Groups: Learn the Warning Signs

2019-08-22T13:57:51-04:00August 22nd, 2019|Blog|

I recently wrote about religious and political cult groups that manipulate and control members and how it is important to evaluate the major behaviors and characteristics of a group to see if it meets the criteria of a cult. In addition to religious and political groups, there are other types that recruit millions of people all over the world, but, in reality, use deception and coercive influence with cult-like features. These are multi-level marketing (MLMs) and self-help groups and Large Group Awareness Training groups (LGATs). It is important to recognize the warning signs so as to avoid being caught up in their trap.  MLMs have been called [...]

Announcing My New Book with Simon and Schuster Entitled The Cult of Trump

2019-08-15T13:18:45-04:00August 15th, 2019|Blog|

Many of you are aware that I have been writing a large number of blogs concerning the current President of the United States, Donald Trump. I have been working tremendously hard on an extremely short deadline to produce a book that connects the dots with my involvement with the Moon cult since 1974 and my fasting on the Capitol stairs for President Richard Nixon because "God wants Nixon to be President" despite Watergate and calls for impeachment. Sun Myung Moon was brought to meet Nixon right after the Family's National Prayer Breakfast in 1974. Jeffrey Sharlet wrote about this group [...]

The BITE Model and Religious Cult Groups

2019-08-02T13:27:54-04:00August 2nd, 2019|Blog|

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? As an expert on destructive groups and mind control, I am often asked to give my opinion about specific groups and organizations, including religious ones. In fact, there is a wide spectrum of healthy and unhealthy influence. Individual experiences vary within the same organization based on how the individual conforms to the norms of the group. I have developed an Influence Continuum which shows [...]

The 2019 International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) Conference in Manchester, England

2019-07-17T06:57:34-04:00July 11th, 2019|Blog|

Last week, I attended the excellent ICSA 2019 Annual International Conference entitled, "Coercive Control and the Psychology of Influence Across Comparative Contexts – Implications for Policy, Practice and the Criminal Justice Process." I presented a 90-minute, well-attended workshop on the “The Influence Continuum and the BITE Model and its use for Determining Undue Influence in Trafficking and Terrorism.” The video is below for all who were unable to attend.  I was encouraged to present at this European conference because, at this time, there seems to be much more openness in Europe to the fact that cult mind control models [...]

Light the Way to Freedom to End Human Trafficking: 2019 Summit in Austin, Texas

2019-07-04T14:33:41-04:00July 4th, 2019|Blog|

On June 25 - June 27, 2019, I had the honor of attending an amazing gathering of over 800 case investigators, law enforcement, judges, and therapists convened by the Governor and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. This was an invitation-only event, closed to the public. Trafficking experts presented and offered training workshops. Survivor advocate experts were among the most knowledgeable, effectively educating any involved with helping those in need. I learned that the existing system in Texas (and indeed everywhere) does not take a systems-oriented approach, focused on helping those who are being victimized. Commissioner Whitman, former [...]

John Walker Lindh: Saving the ‘American Taliban’ By Steven Hassan, 12/19/2001

2019-05-23T12:41:46-04:00May 22nd, 2019|Blog|

I dug up an old OpEd I wrote. Now that Lindh is being released–17 years later– there is a concern that he may not have received proper counseling about cult mind control and brainwashing. My guess is that is correct. Whether or not he is a danger to commit any criminal atrocity, I do not know. What I do know is that the U.S. government continues to be blind to applying the expertise and knowledge of decades of cult experts. Why? In my opinion, if he was properly counseled he would be a huge asset to speaking out against extremism. [...]

The Anatomy of Undue Influence: Scientific Study and Elsevier Journal Article

2019-07-03T00:12:33-04:00April 25th, 2019|Blog|

This is my first peer-reviewed academic journal article. It's genesis began when I gave a talk entitled, The "anatomy of undue influence used by terrorist cults and traffickers to induce helplessness and trauma, so creating false identities" at the prestigious 2017 Congress of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health in Prague. I blogged about it here. This July, I will be attending the next Congress in Rome, Italy. I will be presenting a paper on a model on how to do a forensic evaluation for undue influence using Scheflin's Social Influence Model. I intend to write another journal article [...]

Political Cults, Leadership, Idealism, and Totalism: A Discussion with Dennis Tourish Ph.D.

2019-04-04T13:55:36-04:00April 4th, 2019|Blog|

On January 18, 2019, during the longest government shutdown in history, I had the pleasure of interviewing Professor Dennis Tourish. He is a former member of a left-wing political group, having left in the mid-1980s. It was during this period that he found my book Combating Cult Mind Control which was the first time he had "read anything about this phenomenon and it just lifted the lights wonderfully." Dennis is Professor of Leadership and Organisation Studies at the University of Sussex in the U.K.. Additionally, he is an author, researcher, academic, and consultant. Professor Tourish has co-written or co-edited eight [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]