Steven Hassan

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 [...]

America’s Violent Culture: Does It Start With Corporal Punishment?

2019-01-24T15:01:28-04:00January 24th, 2019|Blog|

Physical violence such as being hit, spanked, whipped with a belt, and paddled as a child is unfortunately done by parents. But did you know that it is legal in 19 states for school teachers to use corporal punishment? Often with a wooden paddle. Why? Is it the Proverbs 13:24 “Spare the rod, and spoil the child” that is what is giving the authority to do violence to children, even infants? I believe this is cruel and it teaches violence to children. Do people say, "Well, it was done to me and I turned out ok?" Do we just do to [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

The Attempt to Redefine Religious Freedom

2018-12-15T19:47:51-04:00October 25th, 2018|Blog|

This week's blog is an effort to make people aware of a concerted effort to move the United States away from the Founding Fathers' plan in the Constitution. They wanted a solid foundational commitment for a clear separation of Church and State. However, we are currently seeing a trend towards giving rights to religious corporations that may impinge on the rights of others. Meanwhile, some powerful elements of the Christian Right are engaged in a well-funded effort to move us away from a democracy to a theocracy. This week, I had the good fortune to do a video interview [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]