133 episodes

Steven Hassan, PhD, is one of the leading experts on cults and undue influence in the world. A former member of the right-wing Moonie cult, Hassan was deprogrammed 45 years ago and has dedicated his life to helping people out of cults and destructive situations. Dr. Hassan is a licensed mental health professional and has written four books, including The Cult of Trump and the seminal book Combating Cult Mind Control. On this podcast, Steve will explain HOW mind-control works, and how to protect yourself from its grips. He will also address ethical influence as the podcast will address the entire Influence Continuum. He’ll interview the biggest names in this field.

The Influence Continuum with Dr. Steven Hassan MeidasTouch Network

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 48 Ratings

Steven Hassan, PhD, is one of the leading experts on cults and undue influence in the world. A former member of the right-wing Moonie cult, Hassan was deprogrammed 45 years ago and has dedicated his life to helping people out of cults and destructive situations. Dr. Hassan is a licensed mental health professional and has written four books, including The Cult of Trump and the seminal book Combating Cult Mind Control. On this podcast, Steve will explain HOW mind-control works, and how to protect yourself from its grips. He will also address ethical influence as the podcast will address the entire Influence Continuum. He’ll interview the biggest names in this field.

    Unmasking Climate Denial: How Cult Tactics Fuel Disinformation with David Lipsky

    Unmasking Climate Denial: How Cult Tactics Fuel Disinformation with David Lipsky

    I read David Lipsky’s article in Rolling Stone last year on how the Moonies have been the center for global climate denial for 50 years through their Washington Times organization. I immediately bought his book, The Parrot and the Igloo: Climate and the Science of Denial and wanted to interview him. Well, the paperback is now out and we had a great interaction! This enlightening conversation delves into how anti-science sentiments have flourished in American society, drawing unsettling parallels between cult behavior and climate change denial. If you are interested in the Climate crisis, disinformation, propaganda and cult mind control, this is an episode you will want to listen to throughout!
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 3 min
    The Moon Cult: An Interview with former top American leader Allen Tate Wood

    The Moon Cult: An Interview with former top American leader Allen Tate Wood

    For those who know Combating Cult Mind Control and my work, you know I was in the Moon cult. However, if you are under 50 years old, most people have no idea what the Moonies are about.  Allen Tate Wood was a four-year member of the Unification Church–aka The Moon organization. He was the Chief Political Officer of the Unification Church in the United States, commander for the state of Maryland, workshop Director and Chief lecturer for the state of Maryland, and an expert witness for the congressional subcommittee investigation led by Donald Fraser into the Korean CIA infiltration into the United States. He also authored Moonstruck: a memoir of my life and a cult to warn people against cult dangers. Wood said he left in 1973 because “they were making people into fanatics.” In addition, he testified in The London Daily Mail lawsuit where the newspaper wrote that the Moonies brainwashed members and separated them from their families. The Daily Mail won the case and the Unification Church had to pay some 2 million dollars. Perhaps most importantly, Wood testified before the US Supreme Court in 1979 and 1981in the case involving Moon’s conviction of conspiracy to defraud the US Government. Mr. Moon was sentenced to 18 months and served 13 in a posh prison in Danbury, Connecticut. Mr. Moon died in 2012, and two sons fight with their mother over billions of dollars. Sean Moon claims to be “king” and has created a religious cult called the Rod of Iron Ministries. He claims that God wants people to own and know how to use AR-15 assault rifles. Sean Moon went to the January 6th coup attempt at the Capitol and tweeted that Antifa was making the attack- a lie also pushed by Moon’s newspaper, The Washington Times. His brother Justin Moon owns a gun factory in Pennsylvania to make assault rifles and train people for civil wars. After Biden’s inauguration as President of the United States, his predecessor Moon went to the January 6th coup attempt at the Capitol and tweeted that Antifa was making the attack- a lie also pushed by Moon’s newspaper, The Washington Times. Trump, Pence, and Pompeo all appeared for a virtual event for Hak Ja Han, endorsing her. Trump received 2.5 million dollars for this. This was just a few weeks after the attempted violent coup. The Washington Times has been the center of 50 years of climate science denial according to David Lipsky.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr
    Ex-Scientologists, Recovery, and Helping Others – a Discussion with Jon Atack

    Ex-Scientologists, Recovery, and Helping Others – a Discussion with Jon Atack

    One of the most publicized authoritarian cults is Scientology and the world’s leading authority is Jon Atack. Jon and I have been friends and colleagues He is the author of Let’s Sell These People A Piece of Blue Sky, considered the definitive book on Scientology, Dianetics, and L. Ron Hubbard. During our podcast, we discussed the new audiobook versions of Scientology: The Cult of Greed and Opening Our Minds: Avoiding Abusive Relationships and Authoritarian Groups. A significant portion of our discussion focused on the struggle former cult members face in processing the mind control they endured. We consider ourselves “elders” in the work helping people to understand and recover. Yet we both are frustrated that former members fail to see “the big picture” and continue to operate out of a cult mindset of “us vs. them”- even when it comes to fellow ex Scientologists. There is a lot of interesting things we unpack, including the fact that the founder of the cult was a hypnotist. Our conversation delved deeply into the complexities of mind control, the importance of processing and healing from cult experiences, and the challenges former members face in reclaiming their lives.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 3 min
    “Conspiratorial Demonology” in the New Apostolic Reformation: LGBTQ Students and Undue Influence in Schools with Jonathon Sawyer

    “Conspiratorial Demonology” in the New Apostolic Reformation: LGBTQ Students and Undue Influence in Schools with Jonathon Sawyer

    Jonathon Sawyer is urgently speaking out against involvement of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) in education for a very clear reason. He stated, “More people need to know that those who are discriminated against [sometimes] become those who discriminate.” In psychology, we call this the victim, victimizer paradigm. It is the idea that without healthy self-reflection, people exteriorize or project their own inner “demons” onto others. This cycle of religiously motivated harm is a concern for both individuals and society: “One of the concerns that I have...is that we’re seeing more and more taxpayer-supported religious schools in the United States, particularly at the K through 12 levels,” said Jonathon—“…[and] adolescents, young people, and children are especially susceptible to some of the most...harmful aspects of radical religion.” He is the author of the important journal article titled (Un)hidden from self: on LGBTQ students and the conspiratorial demonology of the New Apostolic Reformation. A really important conversation!
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Cult Trip: Inside the World of Coercion & Control with Journalist Anke Richter

    Cult Trip: Inside the World of Coercion & Control with Journalist Anke Richter

    Anke Richter co-founded FACT (Fight Against Conspiracy Theories) and is organizing the first cult awareness conference in Australia, DECULT. Anke’s bestseller “Cult Trip: Inside the World of Coercion & Control” is about her ten-year investigation into sex cults –from tantra yoga to the Human Potential Movement to fundamentalist Christianity. She is a voice against cults, conspiracies, and undue influence in New Zealand and is working to harness efforts worldwide to fight disinformation and radicalization, especially online. Her book is now out in paperback and it was a delight to help spread the work of a citizen activist.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Raised in Scientology, He Became a Military Helicopter Pilot and Rescued His Abused Mother with Mike Brown

    Raised in Scientology, He Became a Military Helicopter Pilot and Rescued His Abused Mother with Mike Brown

    Mike tried to escape Scientology’s undue influence when he was 15. As punishment for trying to escape, he was isolated, sleep-deprived, and forced to do hard labor for over a year and a half. Mike reflects that he felt like a prisoner during this time. Mike finally escaped Scientology at age 27 and joined the military. He had little education and no credit history. Despite these odds, he was inspired by his family’s previous military service and flourished in the Army. Mike became a helicopter pilot and instructor. Mike served five combat tours between Iraq and Afghanistan in his nearly 20 years of service. Mike’s parents joined Scientology when he was seven. Later he says he was made to join the Sea Organization or “Sea Org,” a paramilitary section of Scientology. Mike’s mom, Rosemary, worked directly for one of Scientology’s top executives, Ronnie Miscavige Jr., older brother of the organization’s leader, David Miscavige. Mike reflects that the military was less controlling than Scientology for him. Later, Mike rescued his mother from the cult. An utterly fascinating story.
    Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit freedomofmind.com
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 4 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
48 Ratings

48 Ratings

Fangofthetooth ,

Just getting better all the time!

Dr Hassan thank you for doing all this. I was especially impressed with your guest and interview of March 28th/22. The ideas and cultural wisdom offer so much for a more humane future.

Abby Roared ,

Stop Interrupting Flow

Really interesting but the guests keep getting knocked off their train of thought by Dr. Hassan. Please stop and let them get their ideas out without interruption.

Dtkbcx ,

Knowledge but disrespectful host

I started one episode - the one with Daniella Young - because of my interest in cults but I couldn’t even finish it. The host keeps interrupting. Sometimes that can happen if the host wants to clarify something but this guy does it to put words in the guest’s mouth at inappropriate times. It’s very disrespectful to not listen and let a victim of abuse speak. Flattering the guest does not make it ok nor demonstrating your knowledge. Daniella is great by the way. I sure hope he doesn’t do this only to female guests, but I was so offended I could not try other episodes to check how prevalent this is. Recommend you listen to the podcast Indoctrination instead.

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

Where Everybody Knows Your Name with Ted Danson and Woody Harrelson (sometimes)
Team Coco & Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson
Come by Chance
CBC
Stuff You Should Know
iHeartPodcasts
This American Life
This American Life
Scamfluencers
Wondery
Au Parloir
Cédric Bergeron

You Might Also Like

IndoctriNation
Rachel Bernstein
A Little Bit Culty
Sarah Edmondson & Anthony “Nippy” Ames
WTF is on my Mind?!
Mark Vicente
The MeidasTouch Podcast
MeidasTouch Network
UNCOVERED
MeidasTouch Network
Lights On with Jessica Denson
MeidasTouch Network