Unification Church

Shincheonji Is a South Korean Cult Similar to the Moon Cult That Recruited Me, Steven Hassan

2020-07-23T15:12:04-04:00March 6th, 2020|Blog|

The Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a South Korean doomsday cult with hundreds of thousands of followers, has been all over the news at the center of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in that country. What do we know about this cult? The Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony was founded in 1984 in South Korea by its leader, Lee Man-hee. Citing former members, the Wall Street Journal reported that the cult communicates to its members that they will live forever, and Shincheonji followers are said to believe that Man-hee Lee is the second coming of Jesus [...]

The Cult of Trump: Some Frequently Asked Questions

2019-12-08T09:25:49-05:00December 5th, 2019|Blog, Resources and Support|

On Friday, November 22nd, 2019, I did an interview with Brian Stelter of CNN's Sunday Reliable Sources show. This was put online as an audio Reliable Sources podcast. That Sunday, November 24th, The Cult of Trump was the focus of the last segment (approximately 4 minutes) of this highly regarded CNN cable tv show. It began with mentioning Anthony Scaramucci, Dan Rather, as well as, Republican John Weaver who each talked about the GOP becoming the cult of Trump. I was grateful to have my new book shown and to have an opportunity to discuss this important topic. Naturally, [...]

The Cult of Trump Book is Published!

2019-10-18T11:22:55-04:00October 17th, 2019|Blog|

My fourth book, The Cult of Trump, is finally out and on bookstore shelves everywhere. I have been receiving selfies from friends all over. If you are at a bookstore with the book, snap a selfie and share it! For those who prefer to listen to books, please be aware that I was able to read the audiobook. People who have been listening to the book say I did a really good job. After all this effort, it is truly gratifying to hear from people how important they think the book truly is. Many have told me that they never [...]

Beware of Political Cult Groups that Manipulate and Control Members

2019-08-08T13:03:56-04:00August 8th, 2019|Blog|

Many destructive groups masquerade as religious when, in fact, their DNA is actually political. They are concerned with amassing secular power, wealth and control of government. And, many "mainstream" political organizations, on the left as well as the right, meet the criteria of an unhealthy cult. As discussed in a previous blog about religious cults, it is important to evaluate the major behaviors and characteristics of a group to see if it meets the criteria. A political cult often has an authoritarian leader who has a malignant narcissistic personality disorder.  Such a person claims to have all of the [...]

The BITE Model and Religious Cult Groups

2019-08-02T13:27:54-04:00August 2nd, 2019|Blog|

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? As an expert on destructive groups and mind control, I am often asked to give my opinion about specific groups and organizations, including religious ones. In fact, there is a wide spectrum of healthy and unhealthy influence. Individual experiences vary within the same organization based on how the individual conforms to the norms of the group. I have developed an Influence Continuum which shows [...]

Robert Jay Lifton’s Eight Criteria of Thought Reform (Brainwashing, Mind Control)

2019-05-30T12:36:02-04:00May 30th, 2019|Blog|

The following excerpt is used with permission from Robert Jay Lifton's The Future of Immortality and Other Essays for a Nuclear Age (New York, Basic Books, 1987) is a concise explanation of Lifton's eight criteria for defining mind control. His 1961 book, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of "Brainwashing" in China was instrumental in my deprogramming form the Moon cult in 1976. I thought it is long overdue for me to have a full exposition of his ideas presented in his "Chapter 22" of this seminal work. In particular, Chinese "re-education" programs are being used on [...]

Tired of Being “On The Fence” With Your Life?

2018-12-16T21:10:57-05:00August 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, [...]

High Control Groups Program Members to Fear Mental Health Help

2018-12-16T19:35:56-05:00May 24th, 2018|Blog|

Mental Health Awareness Month May is Mental Health Awareness Month! I wanted to write this blog on how some high control groups program their members away from mental health help. This is true, especially in the case of Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientology, The Moonies, as well as countless other high control Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups. A recent murder-suicide by Lauren Stuart, an ex-JW, is a horrible reminder of the need for any former member to get educated about mind control as well as the healing necessary by going to a specialized mental health professional. Family members and friends need [...]

The Freedom of Mind Approach to Recovery and Healing from Destructive Cults

2018-12-16T19:49:06-05:00May 17th, 2018|Blog, Resources and Support|

The Freedom of Mind approach to recovery and healing from destructive cults is customizable and designed to meet the needs of most any person who has been influenced by a cult. People who were born or raised in a cult have spent their early developmental years under cult control. Other people may have entered into a cult later on in life as adolescents, young adults, adults, or older adults. Both sets of former cult members may have very significant needs for recovery and healing. The Freedom of Mind approach to recovery and healing helps the former cult member to [...]

Errant Belief #7: “He Must Be Weak, Stupid or Looking for Easy Answers or Someone to Tell Him What to Do”

2018-12-16T20:52:12-05:00April 26th, 2018|Blog|

"Don't Blame the Victim" This is a very commonly held, but fallacious generalization about people involved with destructive relationships and cult groups. People often try to find fault with people who experience tragedy by blaming the victim. Laying blame gives people a false sense of control over their own lives by distancing them from the victim. However, the idea that people knowingly join destructive cults is patently wrong. Most people are recruited at a vulnerable moment, without understanding the forces that are brought to bear on them. Sometimes a cult manipulates a recruit’s strength. For example, by playing to [...]