interviews personal stories

Freedom of Mind Resource Center: Mid-Year Update 2018

2018-12-16T20:13:06+00:00July 12th, 2018|Blog, Current Events, News and Updates|

Steven Hassan speaking at 2018 ICSA conference July 12, 2018, 2018 ICSA Annual Conference Last week, I was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and gave a talk on the Freedom of Mind Approach to helping people raised in cults and dysfunctional families at the 2018 annual ICSA conference. The theme of the conference was "The global challenge of young people born, raised or recruited into extremist groups, abusive religious organizations, or coercive/exploitative relationships."  Next year, July 2019,  there will be another conference. They alternate locations, having one in the U.S. and the next in another country. This coming international conference will be [...]

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

2018-12-16T20:11:41+00:00July 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

2018-12-16T21:05:58+00:00June 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 [...]

2018: Looking Forward to Helping People to Help Themselves and Others

2018-12-16T20:12:03+00:00January 4th, 2018|Blog, News and Updates, Resources and Support|

Combating Cult Mind Control For over forty years, I have endeavored to help people understand my own cult experience- being recruited into a front group of the Moonies in 1974 while a student at Queens College in New York.  This year, on November 18th, 2018, my book Combating Cult Mind Control will be 30 years old.  That hardback volume was originally published with the British spelling, Combatting, and featured a bald-headed man with a padlock and chain around his bald head.  I fought with my then publisher and told him the cover was a total turn off for all [...]

My Week at the IALMH Congress

2018-12-16T20:12:13+00:00July 20th, 2017|Blog, Current Events, News and Updates|

I want to share with you the wonderful experience I had attending the 2017 Congress of International Academy of Law and Mental Health (IALMH) in Prague. From July 9-14 I was among over 1500 people from over 100 countries who gathered at this event. Being at the congress was a fantastic experience. I truly learned a lot and got to spend time with some great people. One of the co-founders of Harvard's Psychiatry and the Law program, Dr. Harold Bursztajn, asked me if I would like to speak on a panel with him and Dr. Ivana Viani. I was [...]

Robert Jay Lifton MD: An Interview with a Genius

2018-12-16T20:12:24+00:00October 7th, 2016|Blog, News and Updates|

As this year marks the 40th anniversary of the day I left the Moonies, I want to take some time to acknowledge an individual who played an important role in my personal and professional development. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the famous psychiatrist and my mentor, Robert Jay Lifton. I was first introduced to Lifton’s 1961 book on brainwashing, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, during my deprogramming in May of 1976. It helped me understand that the tactics used by the Moonies to indoctrinate me were the same used by Communist China and other cults [...]

An Interview with Cracked.com

2018-12-16T20:12:35+00:00July 15th, 2016|Blog, Media Reviews|

Just recently, I had the pleasure of being interviewed for a podcast entitled “Modern Cults (Are Scarier Than Jonestown)” by Jack O’Brien of Cracked.com. The show was a long one, and in the first segment author Karen Stollznow discussed why America is such a good breeding ground for cults. I particularly liked that she discussed, as a linguist, that speaking in tongues is glossolalia and there was not a shred of evidence that people are speaking in a language of any kind. It is interesting that there are many millions of people doing this altered state of consciousness practice, believing [...]

My Waking Up Day- 40 Years Later- I am Filled with Gratitude!

2018-12-16T21:01:22+00:00May 11th, 2016|Blog, News and Updates|

A recent photo of Gladys Gonzalez, myself, and Nestor Garcia M.D. May 11th 1976 was the day. After five days of deprogramming, I “woke up” and emerged from being a “model Moonie” and leader to a very upset, confused, angry, ashamed self. A team of four people hired by my parents: Nestor Garcia, Michael Strom, Gladys Gonzalez, and Gary Rosenberg* worked together until I “snapped” from my fanatical involvement in the Moon cult and allowed a doubt to surface. The rest is history. Nestor, Michael, and Gladys were all former Moonies themselves. Gary was not but played [...]

Interview with Masoud Banisadr on MeK

2018-12-16T20:12:58+00:00February 20th, 2013|Blog, Guest Blogs|

USED WITH FULL PERMISSION- Q & A with a reporter with Masoud Banisadr (author of Masoud: Memoirs of an Iranian Rebel, SAQI Books, 2004). I have had the pleasure of spending several hours with Masoud. In my professional opinion, the extreme influence (brainwashing) used by this destructive cult to recruit, indoctrinate and maintain control over their members ranks extremely high. Steve Hassan ----------------------------------------------- Good afternoon Masoud, Thanks so much for speaking with me. I think e-mail will work best, so I’ve put my questions below. Just as background, I’m writing about the potential role that the People’s Mujahedin could [...]