[ot][cults] 02: cult intro course
Undescribed Horrific Abuse, One Victim & Survivor of Many
gmkarl at gmail.com
Fri Nov 18 18:20:28 PST 2022
Below the promo video is the first lesson. At the very end is a very
simple quiz on the most basic material.
MP4 format: https://arweave.net/booaga88a6AFc2DmZWJGM3l60lt7t4Yy-F6wtYuayKw
Hello. My name is Dr. Steven Hassan.
- I'm a licensed mental health counselor, and a former member of the Moon cult;
- I was deprogrammed 45 years ago after a near-fatal van crash; and,
- I wanted to introduce you to this foundational course, Understanding Cults:
In order for you:
- To better understand the whole issue of the difference between ethical
influence and unethical influence;
- To learn more about my BITE model of authoritarian control, which I did my
doctoral research on;
- To be able to understand the dual identity model, the dissociative quality of
being in a mind control authoritarian cult;
- To basically have a foundational introduction to the whole phenomenon,
Of, not just:
- Religious cults, but,
- Political cults,
- Therapy cults,
- Relationship cults,
- Multi-level-marketing, and
- Trafficking cults.
Because it's your mind, and you should control it.
So, please consider reading:
- Combatting Cult Mind Control, the 2018 edition [this is the book gmkarl
- If you want to know more about how to rescue someone, Freedom of Mind, and of
- The latest book is The Cult of Trump.
- I'm busy working on a course for mental health professionals who need more
clinical orientation, but
- That will be based on experiencing this first foundational course, and
- I intend to do a course to how to help a loved one, a friend, or anybody, out
of an authoritarian mind control cult,
- And then a recovery course, for if you've exited, yourself: tips and
strategies and tools.
- I invite you to enjoy this course.
- Learn a lot, and
- I answer questions.
And the course for mental health professionals is forthcoming. We hope to be
able to offer CEU credits for a variety of different mental health
I'm very excited.
$ b2sum 00-Promo.mp4
https://arweave.net/NamOn6ENmnI8u0XXYC_P2_PoLJFAjurRzGfRag9Di_s [mp4 format]
Hello, I'm Steve Hassan, and I'm here to share with you over 44 years of my
life experience, as:
- A cult expert!
- A mental health professional, and
- Someone who was not only involved with a cult,
- Rescued by my family,
- Did deprogramming, helping other people get out.
And, over the course of my career:
- Became a licensed Mental Health Counselor,
- Recently got a Master's and Doctorate from Fielding Graduate University.
Author of four books:
- Combating Cult Mind Control
- Freedom of Mind
- Releasing the Bonds, and
- The Cult of Trump
I wanted to take this opportunity to provide something that would be
educational for the public, to give the basics about cult mind control, how to
understand it, and I would like to share my slides now with you.
[slide 1. centered text, logo and title backed by white, rest backed by blue
[logo] Freedom of Mind
 Resource Center
UNDERSTANDING CULTS: The Basics
Steven Alan Hassan, PhD.
Freedom of Mind Resource Center, Inc.
1: The logo of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center is a depiction of
birds flying from
opened hands, in blue.
So, let's get started.
My company is called Freedom of Mind Resource Center. My theme is:
=> It's your mind, and only you should control it. <=
(I'm going to make this just a little bigger) [portrait of Dr Hassan largens]
- You shouldn't let anybody else control it. And,
- You need to understand how the mind works,
- How social psychology works, and
- How destructive authoritarian groups operate, and
- How to get out, as well.
So, let's dive in, and move forward.
[slide 2. centered yellow text on a blue background.
Introduction to Cults
- My website is freedomofmind, and
- I also have a research site, freedomfromundueinfluence.org .
And, let's get moving.
[slide 3. centered white text on a blue background.
HOW I GOT IN AND
OUT OF THE MOONIES
My story. How did I get in and out of the Moon cult?
[slide 4. two large photos on a blue background.
[left photo] [right photo]
1: A recent photo of an Asian couple, smiling, in front of a bronze curtain.
The man on the left is very balding, is wearing a black suit with red and
yellow embroidery or adornments on the upper left chest. Under it he has a
white collared shirt and a red tie with yellow hashing. The woman on the right
is a few inches shorter than the man, both with black hair. She wears small
glasses with minimal rims, and has lipstick. She is dressed formally in a long
blue skirt and coat with white trim at the clasps. Yellow and red flower-like
adornments are on her upper left chest, and white embroidery is horizontal at
the waist and around the wrists. Underneath is a white shirt. She wears a large
ring on her ring finger and may have a necklace. Both are in formal black
2: An old, grainy black and white photo shows an aging man with a tall
paper-like crown extending his hand over a line of at least 6 people, possibly
opposite other people. His eyes aim downward and there are adornments on his
upper right chest. Vertical embroidery and embroidered sashes are along his
garment, which drapes the sleeve at least a foot below his outstretched arm.
His fingers are extended and in motion. His face looks detached, like it might
be familiar with the behavior. He stands partly behind a metal railing or
tubing of some sort, which his left hand might be holding. The people standing
in front are aiming to the left, lined up on the right in front of him, only
their upper torso and heads visible. There are at least 3 men and at least 1
woman. They have light-colored flower-like adornments in their hair. Their
faces are causal, some looking a little sour, some a little satisfied. Some of
their eyes are closed. An object on the lower left has uncertain nature; it
may be a larger decorative item held by someone off-camera.
You know, a lot of young people have never heard of
- The Moonies, [Hassan's cult] or
- Sun Myung Moon, [the leader]
- Hak Ja Han, [the leader's wife]
- "The true parents of the universe" .
But, back in the 70s, when I was a 19-year-old,
- I had never heard of them.
- I was a creative writing major in college,
- the youngest of 3 kids, living at home, (I have two older sisters).
- Was not a joiner,
- Read books,
- Wrote poetry, and
- Was an upper junior at Queen's College.
But within a very short space of time, I got recruited by a fringe
group, into ...
[slide 5: a single large black and white photo on a blue background.
A man wearing a tall crown, with right hand outstretched, adornments on the
upper-right of his chest, wearing a long white robe, stands in front of a mass
of people dressed in white gowns and black suits.
It looks like the women are in white gowns, and the men in black suits, and
that there are about the exact same number of men and women. The people toward
the lower right are nearer, and one can perceive them standing in lines,
alternating women and men, marching with their backs toward the camera in rows
toward the upper left. Somebody also in a white robe stands opposite the
person with their hand outstretched, also wearing a shorter crown, with
something white falling over their back from the crown. Both people with
crowns are standing on raised stairs that look like they are made from
successively smaller blocks of a fancy stone such as marble, with no handrails,
The person with the smaller crown has a single woman in a gown standing next to
them, on a much lower terrace of the wide stone stairs. The leaders stand on
their terraced stone with their feet somewhere between waist and shoulder
height of the crowd.
The rows of marching pairs can be seen to continue past and between the people
wearing crowns, toward the upper left of the photo, where the patterns in the
crowd can be seen to change. There is a mass of people aiming back toward the
camera without a clear pattern, and behind them pairs of men and women along
the side, behind the leader facing the photo. Behind everyone, a structure can
be seen, similar to where a crowd might sit at a sports game, with vertical
parts keeping people from entering the area, and railings alongside stairs that
extend up the viewing area. The vertical structure between the observers and
participants has vertical stripes on it, which are in a repeating pattern of 6
or so successive colors.
In the foreground of the camera, at the lower left, is a large bouquet of
... this cult, which is very well-known for its mass weddings. In fact, I think
Moon has the Guinness Book of Records for most people married at a single time.
I think it was thirty thousand couples.
And, to accomplish this, members believed that:
- He was clairvoyant [can see things not visible]
- And clairaudient, [can hear things out of earshot]
- He was the Messiah,
- He was sometimes greater than Jesus,
- They were all in the spirit world, supporting him.
- He was going to save the planet,
- Get rid of sin,
- And evil,
- And crime.
And at these wedding ceremonies,
- He'd select men and women, and
- Tell them "you" and "you", and
- People would have 5 minutes to decide if they accepted the Messiah's
- Of course, most people did.
- Of course, many many years later, most of the marriages have failed. People
are very disillusioned.
[slide 6. centered text and a photo on a blue background. a small logo in the
Sun Myung Moon:
Founder and Owner of the _Washington_Times_
1: A very balding man wearing a suit stands behind a seated woman in a long
gold dress, on a featureless white background. The man's right hand is closed,
his left hand not visible. He is wearing a black suit, a white collared shirt,
and a red tie with yellow visible on it. Both are smiling. Bright lights
reflect off their skin. The woman has her hands clasped over knees shaped as
if sitting on a chair. They do not have adornments on their chest, and the
woman's ring is not visible.
2: The logo has the image of birds leaving hands next to the text FREEDOM / OF
A lot of people don't know:
- He founded the Washington Times newspaper.
- His son has a gun factory.
On my website, freedomofmind, I have a long list of different fringe groups
that the group has operated. Just check the Resource section of this course,
and you can find a lot more information about the cult.
[slide 7. centered text and two adjacent color photos on a blue background
Sun Myung Moon's Coronation as the
"King of Peace"
[left photo ] [right photo ]
1: A man and shorter woman are having unique crownsaplaced on their heads by
off-camera people holding them. The crowns have vertical spires coming from,
the ones of the man's more prominant. They are dressed in blue robes with
golden decorations and white cloth covering their shoulders and upper chests,
that clasps at the neck but flares out. The two people have their heads
slightly bowed. The people holding the crowns have white gloves. In the
background is some kind of poster. The non-gold parts ofth ecrown are maroon.
The crown-holder on the left has blue sleeves, whereas the one on the right has
grey sleeves. There are deocrations on the arms of the crown holders.
2: A closer shot of the man wearing the crown in front of the large poster. He
is looking to his lower-right, the lower-left of the camera, and appears to
have a happy expression on his face that may be a little suppressed in some
way. Styled writing is visible on the poster in the background, partial words
such as maybe "for" or "lox" /, then maybe "Reconce .. and Pea", / then "ce
Build...23rd 200". In the closer shot, a tag of some sort is visible on the
man's chest, hanging from something. A somewhat large rectangle of white and
yellow that looks like it contains writing.
Oh, here's a set of images where:
- He was in the Senate Office Building,
- Being crowned the Messiah by some congressmen.
It was very controversial and upsetting, that:
- A convicted felon,
- (he was convicted; owner of a newspaper in our nation's capital I might add
Could be crowned the Messiah, in our government buildings.
[slide 8. centered text on a blue background; small logo in lower right
How would you
know if _you_ were
The critical question that I always like to ask people: to really stop and
think, how would you know if you were under mind control?
And I'm serious.
How would you know? How would anyone know?
Cause I can tell you, 100%, for the two and a half years that I was in the Moon
- People told me I was brainwashed,
- They told me that I was in an authoritarian, destructive, cult,
- But I didn't believe it.
- I didn't feel it.
I guess I had a misconception in my mind that to be brainwashed implied that I
was tortured, or beaten, into submissions, which did not happen at all. In
fact, in my story:
- My girlfriend had dumped me,
- Some women were flirting with me at my campus,
- Pretending to be students,
- And they deceptively recruited me.
But this is a very important question [How would you know if you were under
mind control?]. I'm going to come back to it in the course, and explain that
there really is a reality-testing process that I recommend, for anyone to
understand whether or not they're involved in a mind control relationship or
[slide 9. a rectangular graphic, white on dark dark blue and black, on a
somewhat less dark blue background.
>From the BITE Model:
Behavior, Information, Thought and Emotional Control
[full-justified text and charts:]
[offset chart, backed by light blue on left, black on right:]
Authentic Self False (Cult) Identity
Unconditional Love Conditional "Love"
Compassion For Individuals Hate
Conscience <=================> Doctrine
Creativity and Humor Solemnity, Fear and Guilt
Free Will / Critical Thinking Dependency / Obedience
[offset chart, backed by light blue on left, black on right:]
Psychologically Healthy Narcissistic / Psychopathic
Knows Own Limits Elitist / Grandiose
Empowers Individuals For Leaders Power Hungry
Trustworthy <=================> Secretive / Deceptive
Accountable Claims Absolute Authority
[offset chart: backed by light blue on left, black on right:]
Checks and Balances Authoritarian Structure
Informed Consent For Organizations Deceptive / Manipulative
Individuality / Diversity <=================> Clones People
Means Create End (and Relationships) Ends Justify Means
Encourages Growth Preserves Own Power
Free to Leave No Legitimate Reasons to Leave
>From _Combating Cult Mind Control_ (2018) by Steven Hassan
What I would like to focus (I'm just going to move this over a tad), is on the
[This section is referring heavily to the above slide.]
- This is a critically important graphic.
- It is on my website, freedomofmind.
- It's in my books as well.
But, I really want people to think (I'm going to just grab a pointer I think.
Yeah, good. I've got a handy-dandy pointer.)
[points along first <==> line]
So, if you think about influence
- On a continuum,
- From Ethical/Constructive/Healthy,
- To Destructive and Unhealthy,
It's a very important organizing slide, for people to really be able to discern
[points along the left end of the first <==> line]
So, first of all, I want to just point out,
*Constructive, Healthy* influence, people and groups, involves:
- Honesty, and what's known in the law as
- Informed Consent.
So that if someone is inviting you to something, or getting involved
- There's no lying.
- There's no lying by withholding information,
- Distorting information, or
- Outright lying.
[points along the right end of the first <==> line]
Whereas, on the *Unhealthy* side:
- There's always lying.
- People do not understand what they're getting into.
Because, in my experience, people do not voluntarily enter destructive,
authoritarian cults. They just don't want to be:
- Abused, and
- Exploited, and
By another person or a group.
[makes circles with the pointer around the different areas of the first chart:
the center line, and then each item while going through them]
So, let's just go through some of these important themes. I've kind of
organized it in the slides as *For Individuals*.
Think about, we're born with an *Authentic Self*:
- Who we truly are.
And, the Steve Hassan of Flushing Queens New York, that I was; through the mind
control process, indoctrination process (which I will get to in detail in
I became a *Different Identity*:
- A different belief system,
- A different language system.
- I looked to Moon and his wife as my parents, my true parents,
- And Milton and Estelle Hassan, my real parents, were just my physical parents.
And, on the healthy side, *Love is Unconditional*,
- It's based on your beingness.
But in authoritarian destructive relationships and groups,
The "love" is really *Not Love*. It's really:
- They like you _if you do what they tell you to do_.
- So it's very Conditional.
And people find that out especially:
- If they start questioning and wanting to exit,
They start experiencing some of the negatives and threats and such.
On the healthy side *Compassion*; on the unhealthy side *Hate* -oriented.
This is very important: *Conscience* and
- Your own morality system,
Vs the *Doctrine* of the cult, where
- They define what is ethical and what is not ethical.
In the real world, *Creativity and Humor* is:
- An essential part of the human experience,
But in mind control cults, it's often very *Solemn*, very *Fear,
And, in the ethical side, *Free Will / Critical Thinking*:
- Being able to ask questions, is okay.
But in an authoritarian relationship or group,
*Dependency and/or Obedience*:
- To the authority figure,
- To the group,
Is what is critical.
[begins pointing similarly along the second chart]
And I have two other dimensions that I'll just go through quickly.
Healthy leaders are
- *Psychologically Healthy*,
Whereas most destructive cult leaders and controllers are very
- *Narcissistic and Psychopathic*,
And we'll get into more details about what I mean by that, in later slides and
different parts of the course.
But, Healthy leaders
- *Know their Own Limits*
- They *Empower other People*,
- They're *Trustworthy*,
- And *Accountable*.
Whereas, cult leaders are typically very
- *Elitist and Grandiose*,
- They're *Power Hungry*,
- They're _very_ *Secretive and Deceptive*,
- And they want *Total Authority and Power*. They want *Total Loyalty and
[continues to pointing similarly along the third chart]
And then, in terms of organizing principles for organizations:
*Egalitarianism* [healthy, on the left side of the chart]
vs *Elitism* [destructive, on the right side of the chart];
There are *Checks and Balances* in a healthy organization or in a country, and
unfortunately destructive cults are very *Authoritarian in their Structure*.
I've already mentioned *Informed Consent* is critically important, vs
*Deceptive and Manipulative*.
- When a person tells you a false story about who they are and what their
history is, it should make you very alert that there's something wrong here.
It's very interesting, but the *Means Create the Ends*, whereas in mind control
groups, they say the *Ends Justify the Means*.
So, because we're "going to save the world",
- It's okay to lie to people,
- It's okay to steal in some cases,
- It's okay to kill in some cases as well.
This [healthy organizations and relationships on the left] is
- Very *Growth* oriented,
Whereas this [destructive organizations and relationships on the right] is
- Just about *Preserving Power*.
And, most importantly, Healthy organizations, if you don't like it,
- *You Can Leave*.
And, in a mind control group, they
- *Don't Want Anyone to Leave*.
So, in the mind of a cult member, there's *No Legitimate Reason, ever,
So, when you're thinking about the *Influence Continuum*, and you're meeting
somebody for the first time, I really want you to think about:
- Are they Ethical?
- Are they Healthy?
- Or are they Destructive?
And, a little bit later, we'll get into my 4-part model, called the BITE model,
of authoritarian control, that looks at Behavior Control, that's up here
[points at top of slide listing BITE parts, underlining each part]:
- Behavior Control,
- Information Control,
- Thought Control,
- and Emotional Control.
And, the more a group does these overlapping components, [circles around right
end of first <==> line], the more *Destructive* they are.
Every group has some rules, some behavior control, they have their own
language, etc, but the really authoritarian, bad groups, they use B I T E to
[slide 10. white text on blue. the heading is centered, the rest is
It's Not As Obvious As You Think
* People who are under undue influence usually
don't see their situation clearly
[ ] They believe it is their own free choice
[ ] They are indoctrinated to not think independently
[ ] They are isolated from other points of view and critical
information -- they are living in a cult bubble
[ ] They really cannot SEE their situation objectively
* Helping people realize they are victims of undue
influence is the first step in liberating them
So I want to just say,
- It's Not As Obvious As You Think,
Because when people are under mind control, or undue influence
(that's a term that the law likes to use: due influence vs undue
- You don't realize it,
- You don't recognize it, because
- They subvert your own mechanisms for reality testing, so
- People think it's their own free choice.
- They can't think independently, and if they do they're punished, typically.
- They're often isolated from other people's points of view and
- They live in a cult bubble.
And I just want to comment, that
- We're living in the 21st century now.
And a lot of people think of destructive cults as people with shaved heads
living with robes in an isolated compound somewhere, but in fact, especially
during the covid pandemic:
- People are forced to be online,
- Isolated, and
- Sitting in front of their computer or some screen or their phone.
And, because of the nature of social media and our computer and digital systems
- We are now in a bubble,
- Even if we're living by ourselves, in an apartment or a house, working a job,
- We can still be totally isolated in our minds, in an information bubble.
And one critical piece that I want to comment on, is:
- People can't see their situation objectively.
So, one technique, and we'll get into this a little bit more later, is:
- If you're not sure if you're able to think critically, etc,
- Can you step out of your situation and see your situation objectively?
Or, when you look at your situation:
- You justify, rationalize, all of the things that you're doing, and such.
But, I believe healthy people can step out of:
- Their own mindset,
- Their own belief system,
- Their own organization,
- To critics
- And former members,
And Assess, more objectively, what it is they're involved in.
So, helping people realize they're victims of undue influence, is really the
first step to liberating them.
[slide 11. white text on blue. heading centered, content left-justified
Fundamental Attribution Error
+ Over attribute personal variables
+ Under attribute personal variables
+ Putting emphasis on personal
characteristics to explain someone's
behavior in a given situation instead of
considering the external factors that may
lead them to act in such a way
And, I really wanted to talk about the *Fundamental Attribution Error*.
I first learned this in Social Psychology, in college, decades ago. It's
considered to be:
- The single most important principle of social psychology.
And essentially how to explain it, is that:
- Human beings have a bias.
When they think about other human beings, and look at what they're doing, and
they want to understand:
- Why are they doing what they're doing?
- An over-emphasis on personality variables, and
- An under-estimation of the context, and the social-psychological variables.
So, what do I mean by this?
If you think about it, people talk about somebody in a cult,
- Whether it's the Moonies,
- Whether it's NXIUM,
- Whether it's Scientology,
- Whether it's Multi-Level-Marketing group,
They tend to look at the person and go,
- "oh, they were stupid for getting involved,"
- "they were weak,"
- "they were looking for something,"
_As if there was something wrong with them_ for being interested and curious to
In other words,
- There's a "blaming the victim" phenomenon that
- Typically happens
- When trying to look at people involved with mind control cults or
But what we've learned in social psychology is, in fact,
- The human mind is doing shortcuts all the time,
in terms of the information that we're taking in, and
- We can be tricked, and
- We can be indoctrinated,
- Very quickly in some cases,
And it's not our fault, other than not being *inoculated* and:
- Understanding at the very beginning of meeting a new person,
- Or even going to a website,
Doing *independent evaluation*:
- Before you get involved,
- Before you give any personal information.
I really also want to comment that,
In the 21st century:
- A lot of our personal data is now "owned" on the web,
- On the dark web, and
- If somebody wants to figure you out, and know what buttons to push,
- The data is out there on the web, if somebody has the money and the desire to
figure you out.
And so, we have to be extra careful, especially:
- If we meet someone or some group, and
- It seems like they're reading our minds,
- Or it seems like we've known this person our whole life,
but you've just met them a couple of hours ago,
There could be something else going on, that's outside of your conscious
- Most people are ethical, at least in my experience,
- They don't think like a cult recruiter,
- They don't think like a con artist person either,
And I know this because I got deceptively recruited and indoctrinated into a
- I learned to become a recruiter,
- And recruit a whole lot of other people, into the Moon cult.
And of course, in my case, my family found me after a near-fatal van crash that
I had due to sleep deprivation (I should say I was sleeping about 3-4 hours a
night), woke up as I was driving into the back of a tractor trailer truck on
the Baltimore Beltway at 5:30 in the morning, and nearly died, and needed
surgery on my leg.
And deprogramming was arranged:
- Through my sister,
- And my parents,
- And some former Moonies.
And, that's another story, we'll get into that a little bit later, but I'm so
- That my family cared about me,
- That they didn't give up on me, even though I was a fanatic and I tried to
recruit them, and
- They tried everything, to talk to me logically and rationally.
And nothing seemed to help at all, until that opportunity where:
- I couldn't fight,
- And I couldn't run away,
- And I was at my sister's house,
- And my family confronted me with love.
"Steve, what are you doing? We think that you've been indoctrinated, we think
you've been brainwashed."
"Oh no, I'm not brainwashed!"
"Prove it. Just give us a few days, listen with an open mind, and decide, if
you want to go back to the group, at least we'll be able to sleep at night,
knowing that we did the responsible thing. But please, open your mind and
And some of what I learned there was so interesting to me, because for example:
- Chinese Communist brainwashing was one of the major models used to describe
thought reform and brainwashing, and
- As a Moonie we were indoctrinated to hate Communism and fear it, because we
thought it was Satan, and of course God was in the Moonies,
- So I was very willing to listen about Chinese Communist brainwashing.
- And, of course, the former Moonies would share their own experiences, in the
workshops and in the whole structure of the cult, and
- Eventually my mind started to start thinking again,
- And I started to realize that Moon wasn't the Messiah,
- And I had been lied to,
And here I am. More than 40 years later.
So, welcome to Understanding Cults: The Basics.
And this is the end of Lesson 1.
$ b2sum 01-Introduction.mp4
Choose only ONE best answer.
1. What was the nickname of the group Steve joined?
A) The Sunnies
B) The Moonies
C) The Unity
2. Why is it difficult for people to know when they are under mind control?
A) They believe it is their own free choice
B) They are isolated from other points of view and critical information
C) They really cannot SEE their situation objectively
D) All of the above
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