The Cult of Trump

The Dangerous World of Harmful Yoga Cults With Yoga Teacher and Author Matthew Remski

2020-08-06T18:40:12-04:00July 31st, 2020|Blog|

Earlier this month, Matthew Remski interviewed me for his podcast “Conspirituality” (my interview starts at the 37-minute mark) where we talk about my newest book, The Cult of Trump, and explore the overlaps between the cults of personality that destroy political, wellness, and spiritual cultures. We discuss changes in cultic technique in the age of lockdown, and how best to maintain contact with a person transformed by manipulation. It was such a good conversation, I wanted to continue the discussion for my YouTube channel and blog. Matthew is a former member who now helps people to understand destructive yoga cults.  He has helped to expose the [...]

Dr. Robert Jay Lifton on Trump, COVID-19, and Racism: The Struggle for Reality and Oppression

2020-07-15T11:22:57-04:00July 9th, 2020|Blog|

I am excited to share another interview with my first mentor regarding thought reform and brainwashing, Robert Jay Lifton M.D.. (See the list of our previous interviews below). I last interviewed Dr. Lifton in January 2020, following the October release of his new book, Losing Reality: On Cults, Cultism, and the Mindset of Political and Religious Zealotry. Dr. Lifton is quite prolific and has written many important books which are also listed below. Losing Reality is a unique and timely volume. For those that have not yet read all of his other books, this one is a summary of his [...]

My Top Blogs About The Cult of Trump

2020-06-11T20:05:49-04:00June 11th, 2020|Blog|

In the weeks since George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis, Donald Trump has escalated his authoritarian ambitions, prompting notable military Republicans and insiders to speak out against him. Trump has been harsh on protestors, (not remembering protesting publicly is a right for citizens, told more lies, and even promoted more conspiracy theories– this time accusing protestors to be part of Antifa. He even went as far as to say that Martin Gugino, the 75-year-old man who was violently pushed to the ground by Buffalo Emergency Response Team officers during a protest in Niagara Square was actually [...]

Conspiracy Theories, Cults and How to Help Friends and Loved Ones with Debunker Mick West

2020-05-22T10:02:58-04:00May 22nd, 2020|Blog|

Mick West--debunker, skeptic, writer, and podcaster--recently interviewed me for his podcast, "Tales From The Rabbit Hole" where we discussed cults, the intersection between cults and conspiracy theories, and my book: The Cult of Trump. (Listen to Episode 44: Steven Hassan – Cults and Conspiracies.) Tales from the Rabbit Hole is an interview-style podcast focusing on people whose lives have been affected by the conspiracy theory rabbit hole. Guests include both former and current believers in a variety of conspiracy theories, as well as debunkers, skeptics, and the investigators of those theories. There was such an intersection between my work and [...]

Former 3HO Official Pamela Dyson Discusses Yogi Bhajan’s Use of Sex, Money and Power to Deceive and Control

2020-04-18T17:14:24-04:00April 18th, 2020|Blog|

My guest this week is Pamela Saharah Dyson, a former top official of 3HO (known also as Western Sikhs)  and once a long term devoted follower of Yogi Bhajan. If you have ever heard of kundalini yoga, or even taken some classes, that was the main bait to recruit people. That and promises of health--even though Bhajan died at 75 from ill-health. Even though she left the cult in the 1980s, she has now published her story in a must-read book: Premka, White Bird in a Golden Cage: My Life with Yogi Bhajan. If you have ever met or done [...]

The COVID-19 Pandemic, the Religious Right, and the Threat to Our Government and World Health: A Discussion With Anne Nelson

2020-04-08T14:17:59-04:00April 2nd, 2020|Blog|

As we continue into uncharted times with the COVID-19 pandemic, we must change our focus to how we can combat this virus and support one another during this crisis. This global pandemic affects each and every one of us. Unfortunately, not everyone believes in science and nor is taking it seriously. Too many people are going against the suggestions of medical professionals and scientists, putting all of us at risk. Estimates now are that due to a lack of proper preparation to accept tests offered by WHO, as well as masks, alcohol wipes, and ventilators from suppliers, 100,000 - 240,000 [...]

The Definitive Guide to Helping People in the Cult of Trump

2020-02-21T14:14:24-05:00February 21st, 2020|Blog|

Under the right circumstances, even sane, rational, well-adjusted people can be deceived and persuaded to believe the most outrageous ideas and leader. President Trump uses the same deceptive psychological techniques that cult leaders do (cult leader's playbook) that influence his devoted followers' behavior, information, thoughts, and emotions. Some people are also unwilling to entertain the idea that Trump displays the characteristics of a cult leader (malignant narcissism). Very concerning is that some are so fervently devoted, they have cut off relationships with any that do not believe the same way as them, including close friends and even family. Do you [...]

The Cult of Trump? What “Cult Rhetoric” Actually Reveals: A Response to Benjamin Zeller and Other Cult Apologists

2020-07-19T16:17:42-04:00January 9th, 2020|Blog|

In October 2019, Benjamin Zeller wrote an article in Religion & Politics critical of my new book, The Cult of Trump, which he had not even had the courtesy of reading. It was entitled, "The Cult of Trump? What “Cult Rhetoric” Actually Reveals." A response was thoughtfully written by independent scholar Jon Atack who is an expert on Scientology, author, and researcher and sent to Religion & Politics. The editor refused to publish it. When cult expert and sociologist Stephen Kent heard about the refusal to publish it, he emailed the editor the following: Dear Ms. Stanley, Although I [...]

Jim Heller and Steven Hassan Debate “The Cult of Trump”

2019-12-26T15:11:42-05:00December 26th, 2019|Blog|

This week, we have a blog about a civil discussion I had with Jim Heller, a Canadian criminal lawyer and Trump supporter. After the release of my book, The Cult of Trump, Jim wrote me explaining that he was a Trump supporter who found my argument that Trump was a cult leader untenable and insulting. He expressed his interest in challenging my thesis but offered to do so with civility and respect. Moreover, Jim felt that his opinion warranted extra weight given his own experience as a former cult member (a former follower of Guru Maharaji Ji, who now uses [...]