Undue Influence

Former Jehovah’s Witness and Activist Mark O’Donnell Discusses Michael Jackson, Leaving Neverland, and the Profile of Child Abuse Predators

2020-05-15T14:42:34-04:00May 15th, 2020|Blog|

I watched the HBO Documentary Leaving Neverland and the follow-up Oprah special that interviewed the two abuse victims and have been wanting to write a blog about the series for a long while now. Leaving Neverland is a 2019 documentary film directed and produced by the British filmmaker Dan Reed. It focuses on two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allege they were sexually abused as children by the pop icon singer, songwriter, and entertainer, Michael Jackson. The four-hour documentary offers incredible archival footage and gives a very detailed description of events. However, I feel strongly that the documentary [...]

Former NXIVM Member Sarah Edmondson Talks About Being Recruited Into and Escaping Keith Raniere’s Cult

2020-05-05T09:17:51-04:00May 4th, 2020|Blog|

I am pleased to share a long-awaited interview with Sarah Edmondson--a former high-ranking member of NXIVM, founded by Keith Raniere. Sarah Edmondson is a Canadian actress who has starred in the CBS series Salvation and more than 12 films for the Hallmark Channel and Lifetime. She is featured in the CBC podcast Uncover: Escaping NXIVM and The Vow, the upcoming HBO documentary series on NXIVM. She is the author of the book, Scarred: The True Story of How I Escaped NXIVM, the Cult that Bound My Life. Scarred is a memoir of Sarah's recruitment into the NXIVM cult, founded by the now-convicted trafficker, Keith Raniere. It [...]

Child Protection, Shunning, and Parental Alienation: A Discussion About the Word of Faith Fellowship With Former Member John Huddle

2020-04-10T16:13:13-04:00April 10th, 2020|Blog|

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and, now more than ever, we need to protect children.  Too many are still being hurt: physically, mentally and emotionally, as seen by recent national child abuse statistics. For those raised in cults, they are at a higher risk for physical, medical, sexual, emotional, and psychological harm. I wrote a blog about the work of Marci Hamilton and ChildUSA; it is worth checking out. Sadly, many are being hurt by destructive groups which are proving to be an unsafe, abusive environment for young ones. One such Bible cult is Jane Whaley's Word of Faith [...]

Watchtower Leadership Uses COVID-19 to Frighten and Recruit, Plus Interview With Former JW Member Cliff Henderson

2020-03-20T14:52:41-04:00March 20th, 2020|Blog|

With the recent pandemic, COVID-19, thousands, if not more, "doomsday" cults are using fear to ramp up their claims that the "end is near" and frighten members to stay in, recruit new and reactivate former members. The Watchtower has been saying Armageddon is imminent for over 100 years and falsely prophesied an actual date 4 times. Children are shown horrifying videos of all "non-believers" being destroyed and believers living forever on planet earth. (Yes, they are actually taught and continue to teach this.) Jehovah's Witness leadership recently released a video about COVID-19 on their website. Governing Body member, (one of [...]

Anti-Semitism and Psychiatry: Recognition, Prevention, and Interventions

2020-03-18T12:34:48-04:00March 13th, 2020|Blog|

I am very pleased to share a remarkable new book to help clinicians,–as well as the general public,–to have a deeper understanding of Anti-Semitism. This text by Springer, a leading academic publisher followed the publication of a previous Springer volume, Islamophobia and Psychiatry: Recognition, Prevention, and Treatment. I wrote a previous blog about my chapter for this earlier book with psychiatrist and editor Ahmed Hankir. The description below is for the chapter Anti-Semitism in Cults and Hate Groups that I and Jon Caven-Atack, an Independent Scholar,–and former Scientologist wrote for this book. "For many centuries, Jews have been the focus of [...]

Announcing a New YouTube Channel: jon atack, family & friends

2020-01-30T12:55:59-05:00January 30th, 2020|Blog|

This week's video is a chat with my good friend, Jon Atack about his recently started YouTube channel: jon atack, family and friends. I told him that I wanted to let my readers know about the really interesting and important content he has been posting. I am excited to announce he now has over 500 subscribers! He has been covering so many important topics. Jon Atack is an independent scholar on manipulation and undue influence. His first major book was the best-selling, Let’s Sell These People a Piece of Blue Sky. In my opinion, it is the best book on [...]

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

2020-01-19T16:40:37-05:00January 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 [...]

The Cult of Trump: TV Appearances and Book Signings

2019-11-14T12:59:41-05:00November 14th, 2019|Blog|

Greater Boston (WGBH) Television Interview On November 7, 2019, I was honored to be interviewed by political reporter Adam Reilly for the PBS program Greater Boston. I really enjoyed our conversation and tried to be as thorough in my responses, as time would allow. I loved that they showed the actual footage of the scene I describe in the book where Trump is surrounded by his Cabinet members and they all take turns complimenting him and telling him what an honor it is to serve him. This scene so reminded me of my time in the Moon [...]

Opus Dei: BITE Model Evaluation and Discussion with Former Member Eileen Johnson

2019-10-05T16:19:09-04:00October 3rd, 2019|Blog|

Former Opus Dei Member Eileen Johnson This summer, while in Manchester, England for the 2019 ICSA Conference, I sat down with Eileen Johnson, ex-Opus Dei insider, to talk about Opus Dei, a Catholic right-wing cultic group. (You can watch our discussion here.) We only had a short amount of time and there was much more to cover, so I recently interviewed Eileen again. This blog covers highlights of our discussion, an analysis of how Opus Dei meets the BITE model criteria, and a link to watch our entire interview. (see below). It should be stated that there are many, many [...]

Webinar: How to Help a Family Member Who Is Being Mind Controlled

2019-09-27T13:00:47-04:00September 27th, 2019|Blog|

Next Thursday, October 3rd, I will be doing my first webinar with Donna Andersen, founder of the nonprofit, Lovefraud Education and Recovery. It will be live starting at 6:30 p.m.- 8:30 pm Eastern. It will be recorded for anyone unable to participate in the live program. The description and details are below. Donna Andersen, program administrator, launched Lovefraud.com in 2005, and has collected more than 10,000 cases of people who have been involved with sociopaths. It is a great idea to do training videos for mental health and other healthcare professionals, as well as, the general public. My webinar [...]