Undue Influence

Former FBI Hostage Negotiation Chief & Author Gary Noesner Discusses Waco, Anti-Government Conspiracy, and Negotiating

2020-07-17T15:48:05-04:00July 17th, 2020|Blog|

The last few years and, especially 2020, has polarized many people from family, friends, and country. There seems to be a big divide in politics, religious beliefs, and even whether science and experts are trustworthy. Most of us know someone–friend, family member, neighbor–that is caught up in a conspiracy theory or harmful belief system. To help them, I have always been a firm believer in putting yourself in their shoes, to understand how they "see the world" in order to help them. Respect and compassion and patience are all required. My guest for this week's blog,  Gary Noesner (former Chief [...]

Ministry of Evil: The Twisted Cult of Tony Alamo- A Discussion With Cult Expert and Author Debby Schriver

2020-06-30T11:11:03-04:00June 25th, 2020|Blog|

Since my deprogramming from the Moon cult in 1976, I have come to learn of countless thousands of harmful cult groups. Many years ago, I worked with victims of Tony Alamo (birth name Bernie LaZar Hoffman), befriended one of his ex-wives, and am pleased to say that I was involved with asking the Southern Poverty Law Center to investigate and ultimate help prosecute Alamo and put him in jail. They were interested in exposing Alamo for many reasons: he was notoriously anti-Catholic, anti-gay, and was a polygamist (like David Koresh) and included abusing underage girls. If you are interested in [...]

Doomsday Prepper Cult Tragedy: Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Case-A Discussion with Dr. Christine Marie Katas

2020-06-21T18:00:23-04:00June 20th, 2020|Blog|

It was a tragic ending to the mystery of where Lori Vallow's two missing children have been since last fall. The bodies of Tylee Ryan (age 17) and Joshua Vallow (age 7), were found buried on Chad Daybell's four-acre property. Cell phone pings from Lori Vallow's late brother led investigators to the bodies of her children. They have both been arrested. Each has been ordered to post a $1 million bond if they wish to be released. Three other suspicious deaths are connected to Daybell and Vallow: his wife, her ex-husband, and her brother who was responsible for the death [...]

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

2020-07-19T16:30:03-04:00January 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

2020-07-19T16:17:42-04:00January 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 [...]