[ot] cult influence and power, 1988-2018
Undiscussed Groomed for Male Slavery, One Victim of Many
gmkarl+brainwashingandfuckingupthehackerslaves at gmail.com
Mon Aug 8 15:55:23 PDT 2022
Introduction to the 2018 Edition
–Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States of America
In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
–George Orwell, (actual name, Eric Blair) in his dystopian novel
1984, published in 1949
Spring, 2018. I am waiting to fly home to Boston, exhausted, but
with a deep feeling of fulfillment. Last night I concluded a three-day
intervention with a wonderful group of family and friends who had
hired me to help a loved one wake up from a deep involvement with a
Hindu guru group. Her marriage and their family business were
threatened. The new guru had instructed believers to move to India and
not speak with ex-members. Her husband and now two adult children had
hired me, along with her sisters, to do my best to develop, guide and
implement a Strategic Interactive Approach that culminated in this
three-day voluntary intervention. Last night and again this morning
tears came to my eyes as I read texts from everyone filled with
gratitude. Her true believer trance was gone. She was now thinking
for herself. Before we began, many had doubted we could be successful
because she seemed so programmed. Thankfully, they were mistaken.
She agreed to listen because her sisters, children, husband and
her close friends begged her to stay and learn. They asked her to have
an open mind and learn about cults and mind control from me. With the
help of long-term former members who had been her friends while in the
group, she was overwhelmed with compelling and believable stories.
She learned about horrible abuses of power that her daughter
experienced and discovered had happened to others. She sat with and
listened to her old friends she had previously dismissed and avoided.
Love, patience, and respect guided the process. It worked beautifully!
As I am waiting at the airport, I get into a conversation with
some fellow travelers who have recognized me from my appearance on the
Leah Remini show exposing Scientology abuses. They have many
questions. They ask me to tell them more about how I got interested in
helping people out of cults.
I ask them if they have ever heard of the Moon cult? No, they
haven’t. But they have heard of the newspaper owned by them, the
Washington Times. As I’m describing how high-demand groups have
proliferated over the past few years, reaching what I consider
epidemic proportions, they stop me. They can’t believe it’s true. They
are amazed to hear that cults are successfully recruiting people.
I go back through decades of big stories: “Charles Manson?” The
woman had read that he was supposed to get married. “Patty Hearst and
the SLA?” They’ve never heard of her. “Do you know about Jonestown and
Jim Jones?” Astonishingly, no, they don’t.
This edition is being published on the 40th anniversary of the
Jonestown tragedy, which took place November 18th, 1978. The
hardcover edition of Combating Cult Mind Control came out on the 10th
anniversary of the Jonestown tragedy. While today most Americans know
the expression “drink the Kool-Aid,” many people have never heard of
Jim Jones and his cult, the Peoples Temple. Even fewer know the grim
story of how cyanide was mixed with Flavor Aid and forced down the
throats of over 300 children and hundreds of adults. Jones told them
it was an act of “revolutionary suicide.” They believed he was God on
earth. In total, he killed 912 people.
What about Waco, David Koresh, and Branch Davidians? Heaven’s
Gate? The Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo and their sarin gas attack in
the subways of Tokyo?” No, no. Sadly, no. They are not alone in not
knowing. The world has changed. While the names of the big cults of
the 1970s and 1980s have disappeared from the headlines, even more,
insidious names—Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, the Lord’s Resistance
Army, led by Joseph Kony—have taken their place. In fact, my traveling
companions ask me about ISIS, also known as Islamic State or Daesh—it
seems to them that it might be a cult. Yes! I tell them that, in my
opinion, it is a political cult that uses religion to lure and
influence people. It exhibits many of the classic signs—recruiting
people through deception, whisking them away to isolated locations,
giving them new names, clothes, controlling their access to food and
information, implanting phobias, and making false promises.
We talk about North Korea, its nuclear arms development, and
assassinations of enemies, cyber attacks against Sony Pictures, whose
movie, The Interview, casts the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, in a
decidedly unflattering light. I tell them that North Korea is a
classic example of a mind control regime. They are entirely dependent
and obedient to their “great leader,” and his picture is everywhere.
North Korean dictator Kim and President Trump, ignoring criminal human
rights abuses, decided to meet in person. This event fascinates me as
the United States’ unorthodox move follows some of my significant
principles of the Strategic Interactive Approach (SIA) including
communicating directly in person rather than through others, or phone
or email, rapport and trust building by giving respect. I also liked
the 4 minute video shown to Kim of a future of economic promise.
We then discuss human trafficking—one of the most common felonies
committed in the United States, second only to identity theft. Sex and
labor trafficking are now multibillion-dollar industries. It is
finally getting significant media attention. However, it seems
everyone is missing the core issue. The human trafficking racket is
accurately understood as a “commercial cult” phenomenon. Pimps are
business people who operate like cult leaders. They use psychological
techniques to recruit, indoctrinate, and control their members. I tell
my companions about a book sold on Amazon, written by a pimp, showing
men how to use mind control on women to get them to be sex slaves. I
tell them that human trafficking has become a focus of my energies
over the past few years.
In the summer of 2013, I was invited by Carissa Phelps and her
Runaway Girl organization to speak at a training session for six
hundred law enforcement personnel on the subject of trafficking. My
role was to talk about the mind control tactics used by pimps and
human traffickers, the effect on women, and how law enforcement can be
most effective in responding. Later, Rachel Thomas, Carissa Phelps,
D’lita Miller and I developed the first program for sex trafficking
survivors to understand pimp mind control. It is called Ending the
Had I taken the conversation further with them—had I scratched
the surface of their personal lives a little deeper—chances are they
would have mentioned someone they know, a friend or a relative, who
has undergone a “radical personality change.” It happens all the time.
Someone has been acting strangely, possibly avoiding contact with
parents, friends, or community. Maybe they’ve married a controlling
spouse or become involved with a charismatic person on campus or a
small group of people.
One of the most significant changes I have seen over the past
decades is the rise of “mini-cults,” which consist of anywhere from
two to twelve people. The leader could be a husband or a wife, a
teacher, a therapist, or even a client. One of my most memorable cases
involved a therapist who had fallen victim to the undue influence of
Today, the issue of unethical and psychological social influence
permeates the fabric of our society, and societies all over the world.
Destructive cults are just one manifestation of the application of
what is now routinely studied academically, the science of social
influence. The need for this book has not diminished. On the contrary,
it is, if anything, even more pressing.
Cult Efforts To Stop Exposure
Since my deprogramming in May of 1976, I have written three books,
given countless talks, workshops, and seminars all over the world, and
done an incredible number of media interviews. I have been invited
several times to speak in Professor Rebecca Lemov’s History of
Brainwashing course at Harvard University. When I ask the students if
they are curious how I became interested in the science of
brainwashing and mind control, and my involvement in the Moon cult,
almost no one in the room knows what I am talking about. Most people
have forgotten about the Korean cult leader Sun Myung Moon, who
founded the Unification Church in 1954, declared himself the Messiah
and arranged mass weddings between members—earning the group notoriety
during the 1970s and 1980s.
Some Americans do remember the Moon cult, but they think the
organization disappeared years ago. That is hardly the case. It is
still very much alive, even though Moon himself died in 2012. The
organization continues to be very active in world affairs. It owns,
among many entities, The Washington Times and United Press
International (UPI) in Washington, DC. For the past three decades, the
media have provided little coverage on this group’s destructive
activities. This year, Hyung Jin Moon, made headlines with his Rod of
Iron Ministry which advocates assault rifles are necessary for God’s
people. His brother Justin Moon owns Kahr arms, a gun manufacturing
company that makes pistols, assault rifles, and submachine guns.
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Scientology was also very well known.
Since the early 1990s, however, it has received much less media
attention. Not because of a lack of public interest, but because of
Scientology’s bottomless pockets and litigious nature. In fact,
Scientology now holds the title of one of the most litigious
organizations in the history of the world.
Scientology sued TIME Magazine over their 1990 cover story,
“Scientology: The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power,” and forced TIME
to defend the article all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The
lawsuit was eventually dismissed, but its writer, Richard Behar, was
viciously and continuously harassed. Personal and legal harassment
sent a strong message to other writers and news producers: Do a story
on Scientology, and you will spend a fortune defending yourself while
living in fear that you and your family will be harassed.
For decades after the TIME lawsuit, I was invited to appear on TV
or radio programs, but would be warned by the producers to avoid
mentioning Scientology. Because of similar fears about Moon’s
organization, which was also wealthy and litigious, I was told that I
couldn’t mention the Moonies, or say I’d been a member of Moon’s
Unification Church. When I mentioned it anyway, my comments would
routinely be edited out, unless it was a live interview.
Scientology took over the most important counter-cult
organization, the Cult Awareness Network (CAN)—an organization which
was established to provide useful, accurate information on mind
control groups. Contrary to cult propaganda it was not founded by
deprogrammer Ted Patrick. CAN was made up of volunteers across the
United States: parents, ex-cult members, mental health professionals,
educators, lawyers, and other concerned citizens. When I first wrote
this book, CAN was the essential information resource on cults.
However, Scientology sued CAN into bankruptcy in 1996, and then bought
their name, logo, and telephone number. They later obtained all of
CAN’s files and records. Scientology ran CAN as a deceptive front
group for years. It now appears to be offline.
Scientology has also used legal warrants to raid databases around
the world, including the counter-cult site factnet.org. Fortunately,
this aspect of their legal maneuvering backfired, leading to greater
public interest in the group, and sending Jon Atack’s masterful
exposé, Let’s Sell These People a Piece of Blue Sky, into the Amazon
The media has done many stories on Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, John
Travolta and other celebrities associated with Scientology. Former top
executives of the group have left and gone public, revealing how they
managed, after 25 years of fighting and dirty tricks, to force the IRS
to give them tax exempt status as a “religion” which it is not in my
In the years since the first edition of this book was published,
some of the larger mind control groups spent millions of dollars to
retain top law firms, public relations agencies, and private
investigators. Some of these professionals are paid handsomely to
threaten former group members; to underwrite significant
disinformation campaigns; to undermine the fundamental human rights of
current members; and to defend the mind control organizations against
prosecution for blatantly criminal acts.
Destructive cults have tried repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, to
discredit other activists and me. Most of this has taken the form of
disinformation campaigns, but some of it has been much shadier. For
example, cult members would call my office, pretending to be
ex-members or distraught parents, and ask for help. Their goal was to
deceive or manipulate me into saying or doing something that could
hurt my reputation. Cult agents have been sent out to sow seeds of
distrust among cult activists by telling untruths about fellow
activists. By undermining these collaborations and friendships, cult
agents have occasionally disrupted or neutralized efforts to help
victims of destructive cults.
Courageous former members who dare to speak out often suffer
significant harm to their reputations, finances, or both. Careers and
often marriages destroyed, people followed, tires punctured, dwellings
broken into, and frivolous lawsuits filed. A book could be written
just telling the stories of the heroes of the mind control awareness
movement. Part of the reason I am republishing and updating this book
is to share some of those critical and inspiring accounts.
Changes Since The 1988 Edition
This edition marks the 30th anniversary of this book. So many
things have changed since it was first published. I still hear from
people all over the world who tell me it was transformative and even
saved their lives.
Over the years, I have heard from hundreds of people that the
stories in this book provided many parallels to their own experiences,
and helped transform their lives. I am delighted to republish it
fundamentally intact, but with many important updates and additions.
Let me describe some of the changes and factors to consider as you
read this new edition.
When I was deprogrammed from the Moonies in 1976, there was no
Internet. Since then, life on planet Earth, especially our
relationship to information and people around the world, has changed
radically. I used to carry with me pounds of books and photocopies of
information when doing my work. There was no Wikipedia. No Google. No
Facebook. There were no cell phones, no text messaging, and no
tracking GPS chips.
Before the Internet, no one knew where to go for help. Perhaps
they would talk with friends, relatives, doctors, or clergy. Or they
would use the card catalog at their local library to look for a book.
People felt helpless, afraid, alone, and confused as they watched a
loved one undergo a radical personality change.
Similarly, people recruited into a cult had few resources to
reality-test what they were told while in the group. When people leave
cults they are confused, ashamed, lonely, depressed, and often
suicidal, but there were few places to turn to for helpful information
The advent of the World Wide Web created a new era, as it was a
fast and effective way to network and share information. In 1992,
computer genius, Bob Penny, built factnet.org, the first dedicated
counter-cult website, which was then launched by his fellow
ex-Scientologists Lawrence Wollersheim, Gerry Armstrong, and Jon
Atack. I had my website in 1995.
The Internet provided light on the dark deeds of megalomaniac cult
leaders and their unethical, often criminal behavior. In those early
days of the Internet, the information control of destructive groups
was temporarily broken, and cults scrambled to cope with that fact.
Unfortunately, just as diseases evolve to resist or avoid new
medical treatments, many organizations now use the Internet to mislead
and misinform the world. Some examples:
• Unfortunately, Wikipedia is constantly patrolled by agents of
destructive groups. Critical information is removed or confusing
information is added. These wealthy groups with free labor have the
advantage when it comes to information control and currently,
Wikipedia has not found a way to protect the public and mitigate their
power. Perhaps they are substantial donors? Members continuously try
to remove accurate information about their organizations and replace
it with falsehoods. Some of the larger organizations have staff whose
sole job is to erase truth from the web and upload propaganda.
Valuable sites, such as factnet.org, are hacked and driven out of
operation. Thankfully, there is the Wayback Machine Internet archive.
If you know the critical site URL, there is a chance the useful
information has been saved and archived.
• Mind-control organizations routinely sponsor websites that
purport to provide help, empathy, and guidance to former members, as
well as to current members who are thinking of leaving. Some of these
sites include links to ostensibly supportive professionals.
Unfortunately, some of these websites are shams. They are run by the
mind control organizations themselves and are used to lure ex-members
back in and to identify and isolate people who are thinking of
leaving. There are also some disturbed people, including hucksters
pretending to be deprogrammers and cult experts trolling for business.
They have questionable personal histories, lack credentials and will
attack me or colleagues in an attempt to harm our reputations. Do not
believe information that does not make sense. Ask for verifiable
proof. Or ask me what is going on. Legitimate experts have legitimate
other experts to verify they are responsible and trustworthy.
• Because vast amounts of personal information are now available
for purchase online, cult recruiters (as well as ordinary scam
artists) can now go online and develop extensive profiles about future
targets. They then pretend to read people’s minds, or intuit their
deepest hopes and fears, or channel spirits, or act as agents of
divine inspiration. This technique of mystical manipulation often
plays a significant role in a person’s recruitment. The Internet has
provided an entirely new way to influence people and control them.
Totalitarian countries block access to sites they consider to be
“dangerous” for their continued control. AI, sophisticated deep data
mining algorithms, and social media represent a far greater danger for
mass mind control.
In the past several years, a number of fiction movies and
television series have been developed around the idea of destructive
cults with charismatic leaders. Unfortunately, they all far short in
giving useful information that will enable people to truly understand
cult mind control and protect themselves and loved ones.
What Else Has Changed
In this edition, I will often use the terms mind control and undue
influence. In previous versions, I regularly used mind control but
rarely used undue influence. Both refer to the process of controlling
people by mentally hijacking their rational thought processes. Undue
influence has been primarily used in a legal context, but one of my
hopes is that undue influence will be understood and used by the
general public soon. In many ways, undue influence is a better term
than mind control, as exploitation is part of the definition of undue
influence. In truth, undue influence can infect people to such an
extent that they form a programmed cult identity. It is a kind of
“virus of undue influence” which invades and alters its host. I have
become a member of the Program in Psychiatry and the Law at Harvard, a
forensic think tank, where I discuss these concepts with esteemed
colleagues. I have taught Psychiatry Grand Rounds at Harvard Medical
School and have begun teaching there. And, I have entered a doctoral
program at Fielding Graduate University to do scholarly research on my
BITE model. Hopefully it might be shown to be a useful instrument for
helping to define undue influence.
I would like to talk about and define three other terms:
intervention, deprogramming, and exit-counseling. Over the years, my
work has evolved dramatically to deal with the many new realities in
mind control or undue influence. As a result, none of these terms
accurately describes what I usually teach and do.
An intervention is a sit-down, ideally three-day process in which
I, along with former cult members, experts and key family members and
friends surprise someone who is in the grips of mind control. We then
use friendly persuasion to secure their voluntary agreement to sit
with us, listen, and learn.
Before the first edition of this book was published, it was
relatively simple to do an intervention, and many of them were
successful. But after this book’s initial success, many leaders of
mind control organizations adapted their strategies in response.
So—especially with the major groups I’ve written about—members were
told never to go home alone, especially for more than a day or two.
Also, since the advent of the smartphone, people under undue
influence are regularly monitored and controlled via voice mail
messages, texts, phone calls, and emails. As a result, the old
intervention techniques are no longer as effective. These days, I
agree to do interventions only when I’m sure there is no better way to
help, and I am reasonably sure that the person will not get up and
walk out (or call the cult).
I also stopped using the term exit-counseling many years ago. For
one thing, the term proved counterproductive. When a cult member was
told that Steve Hassan, an exit-counselor, had arrived to talk with
them, they would refuse to speak with me unless they were already
interested in leaving. Furthermore, in parts of Europe, the term
exit-counseling is used to describe counseling someone who is dying.
Although I did some deprogramming very early in my career, I have
avoided the practice for over three decades. As you will see, I
differentiate deprogramming—which is conducted by force, and which
sometimes included actual abduction—from voluntary, respectful, and
legal methods of helping.
Over the years, my colleagues and I have endeavored to find a more
descriptive term than deprogramming. For a vast number of people in
the media, as well as the general public, the word has positive
connotations. For a time I would say that I was a cult exit-counselor,
and everyone would ask, “What is that?” When I added, “voluntary,
legal deprogramming,” they would understand that I was involved in
helping group members think for themselves and make their own
decisions. But the word deprogramming continues to be problematic for
me to feel comfortable using as a term. People don’t erase people’s
mental hard drives. Instead, I give people a toolkit for helping them
make their own decisions and taking back their lives. I help people
detect and remove the virus of mind control on their own. Reclaiming
one’s power is something they ultimately need to do themselves, for
themselves, not something I do to them.
However, when people are operating in full cult-identity mode,
they often need help to encourage them to step back and reality-test
their commitments, including their beliefs and behaviors. Helping
people reclaim their integrity and free will is a complicated process.
In any case, all of these terms are just sound-bites. The full
name for what I teach and do is the Strategic Interactive Approach. A
mouthful. What does it mean? It’s a customized, sophisticated, complex
systems-theory approach, whereby I create a unique and ethical
influence campaign to help individuals acquire a set of experiences
and realizations that help them remove many of the invisible chains of
The goals of every SIA effort are to empower the individual to be
their own person: to think critically, to evaluate, and to
reality-test and to exercise their own free will. The person learns to
listen to their inner voice, rather than the instructions of an
authority figure. In this process, I engage family and friends and
employ a wide variety of helpful strategies and resources.
In this edition, I have re-titled chapter 6 Courageous Survivor
Stories and added new stories of people who were members of mind
control groups, which includes terrorism and sex trafficking. I also
have highlighted several people’s courageous activities to help
others, and de-stigmatize their own earlier involvement in these
These stories shed light on the full range of such organizations.
Some are relatively unknown, such as the apocalyptic cult Eternal
Values, or the Zen Buddhist organization Shasta Abbey or the Iranian
terrorist group MeK. Others, such as Scientology and Transcendental
Meditation (TM), are more recognizable to the average reader.
Still others, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons, have
been highly visible for many decades. In the early editions of
Combating Cult Mind Control, I did not include stories about those
aberrant Christian groups. However, over the years I have been
contacted by many people who were born into those organizations,
telling me how the book helped them. Paradoxically, because the
earlier editions didn’t mention either group, the book wasn’t banned
by church leaders, and so it was widely read by church members as a
An Invitation To Safety
The techniques of undue influence have evolved dramatically, and
continue to do so. Today, a vast array of methods exists to deceive,
manipulate and indoctrinate people into closed systems of obedience
Sadly, the essential information in this book is still not widely
known or understood. People around the world remain largely unprepared
for the new realities of mind control.
But we are far from helpless. There is a great deal you can do to
stay safe, sane, and whole—and to help the people you care about to do
the same. And if someone you love is already part of a mind control
group, there is much you can do to help them break free and rebuild
their lives. This book will give you the tools you will need.
As you read this book, you will learn to develop, use, and trust
your critical thinking skills, your intuition, your bodily and
emotional awareness, your ability to ask the right questions, and your
skills at doing rapid and useful research. You will also learn to
cultivate a healthy balance of openness and skepticism. As you will
see, the entire process begins and ends with you.
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