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The All Things Risk Podcast

The All Things Risk podcast explores the themes of risk, uncertainty and resilience as applied to sports, the arts, current affairs and just about any other domain. We feature long-form conversations with interesting guests who have loads of fascinating stories, tips and tools.
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Aug 25, 2020

Today, we talk cults, mind control, and Donald Trump. My guest is Steven Hassan, one of the world’s foremost authorities on cults and mind control. Steven has made this his life’s work since the 1970s when he left the cult of the Unification Church (a.k.a. “The Moonies” after its leader Sun Myung Moon). As you will hear, Steven left the cult and deconstructed how his recruitment involved the use of unethical and powerful psychological influence techniques.

Since 1976, he has helped thousands of people exit destructive cults. He has written a number of books on the topic, his first entitled Combatting Cult Mind Control. In 1999, Steven founded the Freedom of Mind Resource Centre which helps rescue victims of mind control and to recover from the experience. Steven is a qualified mental health professional and has also studied neuro-linguistic programming and hypnosis. So, he knows of what he speaks.

This brings us to the focus of this conversation – the current President of the United States, Donald Trump. Steven’s most recent book is called The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind Control. As you will hear, cults don’t have to be religious – they can be political, commercial (e.g. multi-level marketing schemes) or cults of personality. When Steven started looking into Trump’s behaviour – how he tries to control behaviour, information, thoughts and emotions (Steven’s BITE model of mind control), he found significant parallels between the President and cult leaders like David Koresh, Jim Jones, L. Ron Hubbard and Sun Myung Moon.

The book is a fascinating and in-depth analysis of the US President and also why people who may be sane, rational and well-adjusted can be persuaded to believe outrageous ideas. We get into all of that. In addition, Steven shares expertise on how to engage with anyone who may have been under the influence of mind control as well as how to check ourselves for mind control influence.

 

Show notes:

 

Steven’s bio

Steven on Twitter

Freedom of Mind Resource Centre

Steven’s latest book The Cult of Trump

Steven’s first book Combatting Cult Mind Control

The BITE model

The Unification Church (“The Moonies”)

Margaret Singer

Robert Jay Lifton

The Science of Social Influence by Anthony Pratkanis

Jim Jones

L. Ron Hubbard

Charles Manson

Malignant Narcissism

Opus Dei

National Prayer Breakfasts

Netflix documentary “The Family”

New Apostolic Reformation

Norman Vincent Peale

QAnon

The Mueller Report

The Influence Continuum

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