Steven Hassan (@CultExpert) is a licensed mental health counselor who has been educating the public about mind control, brainwashing, and destructive cults since 1976. He’s the author of Combating Cult Mind Control: The Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults and the founder of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center. This is part two of a two-part episode. Check out part one here!
What We Discuss with Steven Hassan:
- What to do if you suspect you’ve been targeted for recruitment by a cult.
- How to tell if your friends and family are being affected by a cult.
- What you should and shouldn’t say to someone you’re trying to rescue from a cult.
- How phobia indoctrination keeps a cult’s potential defectors tethered to its undue influence by fear (and how Steven helps people break this indoctrination).
- Why Steven is optimistic that we’ve reached a turning point at which the bulk of humanity is waking up to understanding the psychology of undue influence.
- And much more…
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The Branch Davidians. The Manson Family. The People’s Temple. Boko Haram. ISIS. Al-Qaeda. Heaven’s Gate. NXIVM. Scientology. The Unification Church. The Children of God. The Rajneesh Movement. What do these organizations have in common? They’re all destructive cults that have employed mind control, brainwashing, parental alienation, estrangement, unethical hypnosis, abusive relationships, human trafficking, multi-level marketing, violent extremism, and other forms of undue influence to recruit, subvert, and dominate their members.
On this episode we talk to Steven Hassan, a licensed mental health counselor who has been helping people exit destructive cults since 1976 — following his own departure from Sun Myung Moon’s infamous Unification Church. As a former insider, he understands how these cults captivate even society’s smartest and most resilient using some of the oldest psychological tricks in the book — and he’ll help us protect ourselves and others from their pervasive reach. Steven is the author of Combating Cult Mind Control: The Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults and founder of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Listen, learn, and enjoy! This is part two of a two-part episode. Check out part one here!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
THANKS, STEVEN HASSAN!
If you enjoyed this session with Steven Hassan, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- Combating Cult Mind Control: The Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults by Steven Hassan
- The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind Control by Steven Hassan
- Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs by Steven Hassan
- Freedom of Mind Resource Center
- Steven Hassan at Instagram
- Steven Hassan at Facebook
- Steven Hassan at Twitter
- Steven Hassan at YouTube
- Flashback: Waco Cult Showdown Ends in Disaster, Rolling Stone
- Waco: What Went Wrong? Steve Hassan at Harvard, 1997
- Cognitive Dissonance, Simply Psychology
- Robert Jay Lifton’s Eight Criteria of Thought Reform by Steven Hassan, Freedom of Mind Resource Center
- Cults in Our Midst: The Continuing Fight Against Their Hidden Menace by Margaret Thaler Singer
- Lewin’s Three-Stage Model of Change: Unfreezing, Changing, and Refreezing, Study.com
- Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of ‘Brainwashing’ in China by Robert Jay Lifton
- The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer
- Raniere ‘Proved’ His Highest IQ by Conducting His Own Study, Frank Report
- John Grinder and Richard Bandler: NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), Management Pocketblog
- Operation Clambake — The Inner Secrets Of Scientology
- Steven Hassan, The Dr. Drew Podcast 132
- Captain Marvel
- The Exorcist
- Phobia Induction and Desensitization, Open Minds Foundation
- Hate Map, Southern Poverty Law Center
- Mindfulness’ “Truthiness” Problem: Sam Harris, Science and the Truth about Buddhist Tradition, Salon
- Psychologists Express Growing Concern with Mindfulness Meditation, Cult Education Institute
- Meditation, Yes! But Please Be Careful and Do Your Homework Regarding Transcendental Meditation (TM) by Steven Hassan, Freedom of Mind Resource Center
- Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev of Isha Foundation Is a Cult Leader, Sadhguru Cult Education
- Internet Archive Wayback Machine
- New Cult Awareness Network, Wikipedia
- Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath
Transcript for Steven Hassan | Combating Cult Mind Control Part Two (Episode 238)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:03] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with producer, Jason DeFillippo. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most brilliant and interesting people, and we turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you.
[00:00:19] And today is part two of our cult special with Stephen Hassan. And if you haven't heard part one, you're going to want to go back to the last episode and check out part one from Steven Hassan. This is a continuation of that episode. A lot more cult stuff going on lately, documentaries on Netflix, exposes on the Scientology. There's woowoo yoga, there are self-help seminars in business cults, MLM stuff,
Jason DeFillippo: [00:00:40] CrossFit.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:41] CrossFit, maybe not quite.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:00:44] No? He was interviewed for a CrossFit documentary, so maybe.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:47] Was he? That’s pretty funny. You never know. I don’t know. We’ll define cults, of course, and we have former cult member and current cult expert Steven Hassan in part two. His book Cult Mind Control. So interesting. It's all about the manipulative practice cults use, advanced hypnosis, all the way down to blackmail. This stuff is crazy. The fact that it comes from intelligence agencies and things like that. Today, we're going to get into what happens if you or someone you love is being recruited by a cult, what to do, how to get people out, how his cult rescues work. There’s so much here that we had to do two parts. I hope you enjoyed this.
[00:01:23] And by the way, if you want to know how I managed to make connections like this, it's all about systems and tiny habits. So, check out our Six-Minute Networking course, which is free. That's over at jordanharbinger.com/course and by the way, most of the guests here on the show subscribe to the course and they've read the newsletter. So, come join us, you're going to be in some great company. All right, here's part two of cults with Steven Hassan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:45] Okay. So we just left off saying cult mind control might've been created by the Korean CIA, which even coming out of my mouth sounds like I've just watched too much Info Wars, conspiracy theories stuff, but that it was created as a counterpoint to the North Korean regime, which has been there makes sense to me. That's the best mind control I've ever seen. And the Korean CIA was of course trained and founded by in part by the American CIA. In this weird roundabout way, the American CIA was instrumental in creating, I can't believe I'm saying this, cult mind control techniques.
Steven Hassan: [00:02:19] Well, specifically the Moonie mind control techniques. But of course, mind control techniques were developed many years earlier. They were used by Hitler in World War II. They were developed for World War I. It's been an evolution, but in terms of my direct entry into this was as an experimental or some type of creature of this joint program between the CIA and the Korean CIA using the Moonies to influence people to be very right-wing.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:58] I think it is even scarier that the Moon cult you were in, the Moonies, they own newspapers and gun manufacturers. That is a very scary combination somehow.
Steven Hassan: [00:03:09] Yeah, they own the patent for the Thompson submachine gun, assault rifles. It's very scary, and I was thinking this morning just about how many people are being indoctrinated online to believe there's going to be a Civil War, so they should stockpile assault rifles with automatic capabilities for the war that's about to come. That’s really frightening.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:44] Well, yeah, I mean that's some Koresh Compound type stuff right there. Do you remember that? If I remember that, you certainly remember that. That was like--
Steven Hassan: [00:03:53] I was contacting my congressman and attorney general Reno saying I'd like to offer my expertise because you're don't know what you're doing and you're going to cause a lot of violence. And they said, “We've got this. No problem.” And I happened to meet the former lead negotiator for the FBI doing a taping of a documentary and he read my books and we sat down together and he said, “I wish I had known you back then.” He feels very badly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:25] I'm sure. I mean, I can imagine you reaching out saying, “Hey, I'd like to offer my assistance. You're going to end up with violence.” And them saying, “We got this,” and then cut immediately to giant compound on fire, FBI SWAT tank rolling into a garage and bunch of people burning alive in a building that totally didn't need to happen.
Steven Hassan: [00:04:43] Exactly, and I had access to family members who wanted to speak to the loved ones inside the compound. The FBI didn't allow them to do that, which was would have been my, one of my many strategies and having a really sexy voiced female negotiator with David Koresh, that would have been smart as well. I had a whole bunch of suggestions, which I later did a talk at Harvard about all the things the FBI and the ATF did wrong and what they should have done instead, which is online on my site.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:17] I will definitely link to that in the show notes. I'm curious though, the sexy voice negotiator is that because we're playing to Koresh as the ego and that's what we know works.
Steven Hassan: [00:05:27] Totally, well, part of his thing was that he said only he could have sex with all the women, even the married women couldn't have sex with their husbands and he even had sex with a 10-year-old that was part of the abuse there. But he felt like he was Jesus and the FBI looked at him and said, this is a con artist. They thought that when the gas was shot in, that he would come out and save himself. They didn't understand that he wanted to be martyred. That was part of the plan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:02] Right. So, looking at cult leaders as conmen isn't quite the right angle, right? We're not looking at somebody--
Steven Hassan: [00:06:10] That’s completely the wrong thing.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:13] And why is this? Because to me, it looks like a conman is somebody who knows deep down. They turn off their microphone and they go or their video camera and they go, “Ugh, all right, let's go to McDonald's. I'm sick of this vegan hippie self-help BS, give me my private jet and I want to go to this strip club.” And not that these cult leaders aren't doing that same thing, but there's not like this other identity in there that says, “Okay, this is just how I make money.
Steven Hassan: [00:06:42] A con artist wants the size up the mark, figure out the angle, get in, make the money or make the conquest, and move on. Cult leaders are a different creature altogether. And most cult leaders were in a cult themselves or in a cult-like family system where they internalized a very unhealthy sense of self, very narcissistic, often psychopathological. They make the mistake, but they have to because their life is oriented to surrounding themselves with people to give them narcissistic supply, of surrounding themselves with yes people, who don't say you're wrong or you lied or by the way you prophesied something completely different. People are not going to like this new prophecy. They just eject everybody. They just fire them. They have no reality testing mechanism within their sphere of reality. So, it gets more and more bent over time.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:55] Let's talk about these four components of mind control. You've got some pretty interesting, there's actually a lot of components to this, but there's four basic overarching. Cognitive Dissonance Theory is the first one that I wrote down here. Can we go through this? Because this I find is like the meat and potatoes of how your brain, essentially how your personality gets taken over by this person or this cult.
Steven Hassan: [00:08:17] Well let me explain it this way, Jordan. I've come up with something I called the BITE model of mind control. B stands for behavior control, I stands for information control, then there's thought control and emotional control. I have sub-variables under each one of these. But I came to this model from Leon Festinger’s Cognitive Dissonance model, which he wrote about in the fifties when studying a UFO cult. And what he posited is that people have thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and they seek to make choices and do things to reduce the dissonance between the three of them. So, for example, if you do something behaviorally extreme is a strong movement to rationalize and justify why it was a good thing to do and to feel okay about it. When I was studying all the models of brainwashing and mind control --the Lifton model, the Singer model, the Lewin model-- it just didn't make easy sense. But when I thought about adding information control to Festinger’s Cognitive Dissonance model and came up with the BITE model, it all fell into place where people could really understand quickly and easily whether any relationship or group is a destructive mind control one.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:48] So cognitive dissonance, just in this case, to your point, the extreme behavior requires extreme rationalization. If I've given up my life savings to some Korean guy who says that he's the Messiah, I don't go, “Man, I've made a huge mistake. I gave my life savings to this Korean guy who says he's the Messiah and now that's not really checking out.” What I do is go, “Okay, I'm having a moment of panic here. What I need to do is figure out all the reasons why I believe this Korean guy is the Messiah, because otherwise, that means I just gave away my life savings to a cult leader and I don't really want to believe that because that's going to make me highly uncomfortable. So, let me jump through some hoops.”
Steven Hassan: [00:10:25] So it's not quite that irrational, at least in the mind of a Moonie. What they're trained to think about is if you have a doubt or a question about Moon, the doctrine which is called the Divine Principle or the organizational policy, this is evil spirits trying to invade your mind or Satan is trying to test you. You're alienated from doing any type of thought process that begins to analyze anything. You are trained to do thought-stopping, which is one of the techniques under the T of the BITE model, you're trained to shut down any critical thinking and reinforce your cult identity. So, in the case of my father who read in the Washington Post one day that Moon had an M16 gun factory in South Korea and thought, “Aha, now I have the proof to get my son out and wake him up that Moon isn't the Messiah.” And he called me up and he just said, “Steve! How could a messiah have an M16 gun factory?” We are from Queens, New York, I should add. And I started immediately saying in my mind, “Crash Satan, crash Satan, glory to heaven and peace on Earth, glory to heaven and peace on Earth, true parents, true parents, true parents.” Because that's what I was trained to do.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:53] So this is the thought-stopping.
Steven Hassan: [00:11:55] Yeah, I was under persecution from Satan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:59] This is the adult equivalent of like putting your fingers in your ears and going LALALA, I can't hear you. Right? It's just that type of situation.
Steven Hassan: [00:12:06] I never thought of that one, but I'm going to use that one, Jordan. That's good.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:10] Go ahead.
Steven Hassan: [00:12:12] But, but seriously, my father's intention was to wake me up and to get me to critically think, but the way he delivered the message forced me to do this mind control technique on myself that propelled me deeper into the involvement and made me more alienated against him and distrustful of him.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:35] Other elements of thought control, I see this in a lot of these self-help cults. Those are the ones I'm most familiar with, just because so many people trying to get me to do these things. And sometimes I'd go to a quote-unquote leadership class like I mentioned before and it turns out to be some BS like this in the past years. They love making up their own words for things. They love using specific jargon. So, you'll say something like, “Well, I don't know about this.” And they'll go, “Well, that's your racket that you do when you,” and it's like you're trying to make yourself, you're trying to make me wrong and like all this weird sort of twisted language and you've got to have a frigging dictionary together to talk with these people half the time.
Steven Hassan: [00:13:14] Robert Lifton when he was doing his research on Chinese Communists brainwashing in the ‘50s and wrote his seminal book, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism in his famous Chapter 22, you outlined eight criteria of brainwashing, and one was loaded language. It’s thought-terminating cliche is how he wrote about it that it's something that's known only inside the group. It has no meaning to anyone outside of the group where people think it's childish or stupid. But it shuts down any type of understanding of reality. In the Moonies, for example, if you had any type of relationship problem, they could be reduced to either a Chapter 2 problem or a Cain and Abel problem. What's a Chapter 2 problem? Well in the Moon Cult, Moon says that Satan seduced Eve sexually and impregnated her and got her to seduce Adam and that's how all of humankind fell away from God in the Garden of Eden. And so, any feelings of impulses of sexuality is a Chapter 2 problem basically. And I was 19 years old when I was--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:43] Yeah, the whole book is Chapter 2 at that point.
Steven Hassan: [00:14:46] My whole life was Chapter 2 but you had to train yourself to do thought-stopping you. No masturbation, no dating, nothing. You can never be alone with a woman. You couldn't hug a woman or kiss a woman at all because Satan could use her to seduce you and it was just a--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:08] And you should be so lucky.
Steven Hassan: [00:15:12] --radical mind control technique. The Cain and Abel problem, the biblical story is that Cain basically killed his brother, Abel and Moon says, “That basically you need to surrender to your central figure, your Abel figure, no matter what they tell you to do, even if it goes against your conscience, it's God's will and that somehow the restoration will take place.” So, they were training blind submission to your superior by using that loaded term. But the point is, words should help us understand reality better. It should widen our view and widen our ability to connect the dots with what is, but in mind control cults, it's all about constriction and making things tighter where you're in this ideologically totalist web of control.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:15] Yeah. And we see this with even modern-day ISIS, Al Qaeda, infidels, apostate--anyone who doesn't agree with you, infidel--anyone who's not your specific branch of Islam. Those might have wider meaning when they were originally in the Quran, but really now they're just kind of designed to be…If you're not sitting in this room listening to Bakr al-Baghdad or whatever from ISIS, then you're one of these things. And those people just broadly are worthy of death because Mohammad, whatever, because of Islam, because of our radical branch of Islam. So, you see things like that happening but it can be really subtle. In North Korea and in any sort of country where they have a really high level of control. They have special words for outsider, not just foreigner, that's a common word. They have words that are like pejorative and they embrace basically everything that has to do with anything that's not, let's say North Korea friendly is just this giant pejorative word that has to do with America.
Steven Hassan: [00:17:16] The map of a mind control cult is black and white, all or nothing, good versus evil. It’s very simplistic and the map is a reality as opposed to it's a description of reality, but it's not a perfect one. When you're in a mind control cult, you're told the dogma is perfect, it’s scientific, so that if you question it, there's something inherently wrong with you that you can't see the truth with a capital T.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:52] And this is one reason why it is cult doctrine is vague. It's not, it's not supposed to be understood or studied rigorously. It's supposed to help you disregard your non-cult identity and limit critical thinking, focus on believing more strongly versus fitting the doctrine into your life as it already is. It's supposed to get rid of all this stuff that's sort of non-cult, and you talked about this before.
Steven Hassan: [00:18:16] Exactly. So, the point is not to understand the ideology of a cult, but to believe it completely. And furthermore, I think it was Eric Hoffer who said, “The vividness and tangibility of a mass movement can be measured by its devil.” The more real you can make the enemy, the more you can mobilize people to sacrifice themselves and follow you.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:18:50] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Steve Hassan. We'll be right back after this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:55] This episode is sponsored in part by HostGator.
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[00:22:06] Thanks for listening and supporting the show and to learn more and get links to all the great discounts you just heard from our amazing sponsors, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. Don't forget we have a worksheet for today's episode so you can make sure you solidify your understanding of the key takeaways from Steve Hassan. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. If you'd like some tips on how to subscribe to the show, just go to jordanharbinger.com/subscribe. Subscribing to the show is absolutely free. It just means you get all the latest episodes downloaded automatically to your podcast player, so you don't miss a single thing. And now back to our show with Steve Hassan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:40] Other elements that I think people are familiar with, things like information control, people knowing very little even about their own cult, not allowed to get outside information, can't even be critical with one another. You see this with Scientology. You see it with North Korea of course, that can't even get radio or TV from other places. No Internet. You mentioned emotional control and these emotional overwhelm--the double binds that lock us into the cult. Can you give an example of a double bind because these are so common? When you talked about those in the book, I went, “Oh yeah, I've heard these a million times.”
Steven Hassan: [00:23:11] Yeah, I'll do that in one second if I may Jordan. And just say that the number one thing about information control from my experience is deceptive recruitments or lack of informed consent that people don't know what they're getting into. Remember women were flirting with me. I didn't understand what was happening.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:35] Right. Let's go away for the weekend suddenly turns into we're at a church gathering for the whole weekend and you can't go home and we're not just hanging out.
Steven Hassan: [00:23:43] So, if anyone's listening to this and they have gotten involved with a group of any type or a relationship and you think back to the first few experiences and you can actually say they lied to me, that should cause you to step back and reevaluate what everything else that followed after it. Because a legitimate group or a legitimate person will always tell you upfront who they are, what they believe, and what they want. Like, what's going to happen if you go into this relationship or you enter this group where you go to this workshop and of course Jordan, you know that a lot of these experiential workshops--the last thing they're going to tell you is what you're going to experience. Because they don't want to spoil it for you. You need to have your own experience. No, you want my money, you want my time, you want my body. Tell me what you believe and I can decide if I want to subject myself to this environment or not.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:48] Of course. This has to do--
Steven Hassan: [00:24:49] And they never will.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:51] They can't because it has to do with the emotional overwhelm that you mentioned before. If somebody hadn't said we're going to do a leadership class, if somebody said, “Hey, we're going to go do eye-steering exercises where you're supposed to get the other person to cry after generating dopamine and oxytocin because you're staring in their eyes for a half-hour, 45 minutes at a time. When you cry, you get to crawl in the other person's lap and then, then you're good. And you do it right. So, of course, you get bored and you get ridiculously in trance with staring at someone in the eye. And then finally when you get tired, someone just goes, “Okay, screw it. I'm going to cry because I'm sick of staring and sitting here.” And other people are so firmly entrenched that they're actually doing this. And so then suddenly you've got this, you know, a 50-year-old judge in your lap crying. And I'm just thinking to myself, “What am I doing right now?” But I’m looking around and I'm not seeing other people looking around going, “What are we doing?” And the lights are low, so you can't. It's just unbelievable. So, of course, they can't tell you you're going to go to that. You would never go. You'd go, this is ridiculous. No, thank you.
Steven Hassan: [00:25:55] Exactly. And you know, you're a very sophisticated, educated person about social influence. So, you were going into those scenarios with a library of resources to analyze what the techniques and strategies are. Most people don't have that knowledge and most people do have those critical thoughts in the beginning, but they learn to suppress it. And that's another thing that I want to tell your listeners. You should never suppress your inner thoughts. It's like if you're having a thought that something's BS, maybe it is. Check it out. And if people are making you feel badly and threatening to shun you if you ask those questions. Are they really a friend? Is this a real relationship or is this just a cult person acting out their indoctrination?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:54] We see hypnosis, and this is sort of a different show here, but we see hypnosis working in the brain by shutting down in part, shutting down rational faculties. And that's what a lot of these exercises seek to do. Of course, last time we talked, we mentioned that the people who are highly critical --the doctors and lawyers in the room that stood up and went, “I can't do this. I got to be on call.” Or, “Hey, I googled this yesterday and there was some criticism online. What do you have to say about that?” Those people were removed immediately because they can't even let that seed germinate in the room.
Steven Hassan: [00:27:24] Exactly in the Moonies and many other cults, they would categorize people as sheep or goats and the goats were the ones that were going to ask the questions that were going to be difficult and they needed to be isolated or ejected so they wouldn't affect everybody else that was going to go along with it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:47] What do we do if we're being recruited or we think we're being recruited by a call? Explain what this looks like. You kind of mentioned before, if something sounds really good and it turns out to be a lie, you should put a pin in that and remember that. But what should we do in the moment?
Steven Hassan: [00:28:05] A lot of people are recruited by family or friends, or coworkers, people they like and know. So, I say, do your investigating upfront. Ask questions. Do independent research before you ever go and agree to do anything that involves your time, energy, or money. And I'm for being a good consumer. So, you say, tell me more. You know who founded it? What's its origin? What happens if people join? What happens if people want to leave? Have you ever talked to anyone who has ever left? What you can't count on is a face that is looking like it's lying. Because that was the error my father is teaching to me about. You can know if people are trying to lie to you. They won't look you in the eye or they'll look shifty or whatever. And it's like, “No, the Moonies were smiling and looking me straight in the eyes and lying there, lying their faces off, essentially. So, what do you do if you think that you're being recruited into a cult?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:23] Yeah, there's got to be direct sort of direct questions and I would love to add these to the worksheet for the episode. “Hey, if this is happening, ask them these five things or these three things.”
Steven Hassan: [00:29:33] I think the critical question is who founded the group? What are their credentials and their background? Do they any criminal history? Have you ever checked out whether these credentials are real or not? For example, Keith Raniere said that he had the highest IQ in the world.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:52] He is the founder of Nxivm who I think is in jail now, right?
Steven Hassan: [00:29:55] Yeah. He's still in jail. He's been convicted of seven counts of sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and racketeering. But he conned so many people into accepting his version of his history that he was speaking when he was really young and that he was a martial artist like no one ever checked and said, “You're not the smartest person.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:23] Yeah. Surprise. This is a bunch of BS.
Steven Hassan: [00:30:26] But I mean, the people who check never get involved. Again, it's understanding that recruiters are really good at recruiting. They're really good at developing rapport and trust. Many of them, like in Nxivm, learned NLP techniques Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques that involve mirroring and pacing and leading and breathing, et cetera. Where people feel like, “Oh my god, I feel like I've known them my whole lives and I've just met them 24 hours ago. Well, if you feel that way in 24 hours, it's really important to remind yourself, ‘It's only been 24 hours!’ And while this is a cool feeling and maybe they're really good people, maybe there's something else going on here I need to be alert to,
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:18] I remember people saying this leadership class, you know, I met people that I'm going to be friends with for my whole life and I was like, “It's day one, dude, what are you talking about?” You know, day two of a weekend.
Steven Hassan: [00:31:28] Exactly, exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:31] And I'm sure that some people made friends there, but I did an interesting experiment. I got contact info for everybody that I was in their little subgroup because they put you in these little teams or whatever to sort of came up. I made a six-month or eight-month, can't remember now, reminder on my calendar to contact all these people via email, not a single one was still in. The vast majority had taken the advanced from the beginning class. Some people went onto their fake, they call it a PhD program, which is funny because it's not a school, it's just a bunch of bullshit where you work for free for them selling other people on the intro and advanced courses. But everybody who had gone through the PhD program except for one person had said, “I'm actually really angry with them. I feel like I was mistreated.” They all kind of woke up after a while.
Steven Hassan: [00:32:19] Good.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:19] But you know it took six, eight months, I think a couple of people took like a year or more and I think they invested upwards of 30 grand for the fake PhD thing, which again was you could call in people to sell them.
Steven Hassan: [00:32:31] Yeah. So, the thing about large-group awareness training type groups and multilevel marketing groups in my experience is this huge turnover within a year. Like most people leave after a year. Very few people stay in it for multiple years, but with mind control cults of the religious bent or the political bent that do more extreme kinds of indoctrination, people can be in for 20 years.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:07] Yeah. That's terrifying. What are some mistakes that people make when trying to get people out of cults? I know direct confrontation was one of the big ones.
Steven Hassan: [00:33:19] It's kind of stereotypical, but the average person will say, “This sounds like a cult. Are you in a cult? Like the person is going to answer yes, even if they understood what was going on with them. Or “Dude, I looked your group up online. It's a freaking cult. What's wrong with you? Are you stupid or something? You're acting like a brainwashed zombie? Like those types of confrontational, put down-ish, alienating kind of things is the worst thing you can do. What I recommend is to ask questions from a curious position. Like, “Wow, you seem really into this. Tell me more. Tell me when you first met this group, tell me what you liked about it. What didn't you like about it? Oh, there's nothing you didn't like about it. That's odd cause there's always something in life that you don't like about something,” and that's like a little clue. The worst thing you can do is attack the person or put them down or label them. The best thing you can do is be curious and ask them to tell you their story and ask them how much have they actually researched independently, which means not relying on the organization for answers to their group. And have they ever sought out former members and actually asked to hear their story or read their book or listen to their podcast or whatever. Because when you're in a mind control cult, you are not allowed to talk to or listen to anything that is negative against the leader, the doctrine, or the group. In Scientology, people are told they have to disconnect from an ex-member or they're told that the information is N-theta, that it's negative for their spirit to be exposed to this. And I say if something's legitimate, it will stand up to scrutiny. And if it's not legitimate, why would you want to spend your time and energy and money in it? What you don't want to also do is overestimate your capacity to infiltrate a cult group because a lot of people go in trying to help or a friend or a relative, they go to the meetings and they get a co-opted by the indoctrination and they forget. They didn't do their homework upfront and it got to them essentially.
[00:36:04] So don't have some humility. Don't think you're invulnerable. Get coaching. Talk to former members, especially former leaders. But I say it again. If something's legitimate, it will stand up to scrutiny. And if somebody is involved with a group for 10 years recruiting you, you can say, “Hey, in 10 years, have you ever had a friend who decided to leave,“ and then a long silence, and then they may say no but they usually will say yes. “Oh, when they decided to leave, did you sit down and talk with them and find out why they were leaving?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:43] And the answer, of course, is we're not allowed to do that.
Steven Hassan: [00:36:45] Well, basically what you get is silence. They don't even want to answer that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:51] Oh that's interesting.
Steven Hassan: [00:36:52] They won’t answer that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:54] I think a lot of parents or close friends think this is temporary. This is a phase or they're like, “My kid is too smart for that.” But I'll tell you, I went to this quote-unquote leadership course realized it was cult probably a couple of days before because I was googling and said, “Screw it. I'm going to go because it'll be interesting, and a bunch of my friends are going and I'm too smart for this.” And Jen said, “You have to call me,” and this is when we were just dating, my wife and I. ”You have to call me every day afterwards and I don't care if it's four o'clock in the morning and I want to talk about everything.” And so, I would talk about things and she'd go, “Oh, you're pretty excited about this.” Because there were some things where I was like, “This is a good point, but the rest of it is a bunch of BS.” And then she would go, “Oh, okay, well you know, you promised you would not sign up for the advanced thing.” And I'm like, “I'm not going to do that.” But on day three I was like, ”Ah, I'm on the fence.” And she's like, “Nope, you promise.” I was like, “Oh, that's true.” But it's funny because going in, knowing that it's a bunch of BS, knowing that it's a self-help cult, not liking most of the stuff that you're hearing, not being able to do. All this stuff being fully cognizant of it, I still was like, “Maybe I'll go to the thing next week just to see a little bit more.” I mean, they are that good at it. You can go in the roadmap.
Steven Hassan: [00:37:59] I thank you for your honesty and I thank your wife. She's a keeper. The whole idea of if you're going to infiltrate, to have somebody who is your ground base to reality test to debrief where you even have a code word for like send in the police and get me out of here. People often sign notarized documents ahead of time. I'm going into this meeting because I have a loved one in it and I know that there's a possibility I might get brainwashed and if at any point, I am happy and I want to stay, please bring out this document and remind me that I've promised my loved ones and I'm going to take three weeks and, and talk to cult experts afterward. To really not underestimate the power of hypnosis and mind control.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:58] Yeah. I mean, I went in there knowing almost exactly what was going on the entire time and having read this is a cult danger, all these things on the website, and I was very, very much sort of a dissenter in the room. I mean, look how much can you do when you're sleep-deprived and you've got undergone 36 hours of bullshit. Like there's only so much that you can do. And unfortunately, a lot of people leaving cults, I've heard this, Dr. Drew and I were talking about this mental healthcare folks. This is just kind of out of their wheelhouse. They don't really know what's going on. And if you try to find a cult counselor, cults are onto this and now they've got like fake cult counselors and cult tribe. It's just crazy to me.
Steven Hassan: [00:39:41] Yes, there are a lot of phony people, people who are not former cult members who are not mental health professionals who don't have the credentials, who are out there hanging a shingle. I've talked with numerous former cult members who actually set up phony websites saying that they were ex-members to try to trap people to see whether or not anyone was having doubts or to find out if anyone is trying to rescue someone out of the cult. So, you have to be really careful if you have a loved one in a group to understand. They're very high tech, a lot of these groups. You don't want to use your real identity. It's better to have someone else that isn't associated with you et cetera. There's a lot of safety things that have to have to go into place. You mentioned Dr. Drew; I actually did an interview with him a long time ago.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:40] Yeah. That's why, that's why this came up. I said, “I'm doing a cult interview,” and he goes, “Oh, is it Steven Hassan?” And I said, ”Yeah.”
Steven Hassan: [00:40:47] He has a good memory. The thing is I'm thrilled to do this with you because it's epidemic and the knowledge of how to manipulate people for the good or for the bad has never been greater. And of course, as a mental health professional, I want more people to do it for the good, to help people change their lives in good ways that are ethical to help people have integrity.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:17] Yeah. There's an example of that.
Steven Hassan: [00:41:19] No, I was just going to say if you think about the prison system in the United States, it's not oriented to helping people change their identity for the better. It's, it's meant to reinforce and label them and keep them stuck, and it's a shame because we have the knowledge of how to help people heal from traumatic childhood wounds and all kinds of dysfunctional relationships and to become functional members of the world.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:41:54] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Steve Hassan. We'll be right back after this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:58] This episode is sponsored in part by Eight Sleep. This is the mattress we talked about for seven months. It's awesome. It's hot AF from Silicon Valley to Brooklyn. Don't know if you noticed. Super freaking hot and it's really tough to sleep during a heatwave. You can run the AC in the house all you want, but the Eight Sleep mattress, The Pod, it keeps you cool through the whole night. It actually has a cooling system. It's not just a mattress that heats up in the winter. It cools down. It's got a responsive surface tech that runs. Jason, how does it work? What does it run like cool water through kind of a mesh network? I'm not even sure.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:05] You know, it's funny, I, I'm getting awesome sleep scores. Of course, the bed tracks your sleep, but you always want it checked because if it's a thing that's supposed to help you sleep and it's like, “Hey, you got a good sleep score, you're like, yeah, let me double-check this.” I checked with my watch. I'm getting killer sleep scores. I just had a baby. I shouldn't be getting great sleep scores, but I am. I will tell you this cooling thing, the cooling system in the Eight Sleep works really well. You know, you think, “Oh it's probably just this mild little thing.” I was actually cold last night and I had to turn it back up because it was actually too cold. I mean, how is that even possible? It's amazing. Every, the whole mattress always feels like the cool fresh side of the pillow. It's amazing and they've already sold out of their first two batches. Of course, they're going fast. You go to EightSleep.com/jordan. E-I-G-H-T EightSleep.com/jordan. You get 150 bucks off when you go to EightSleep.com/jordan and if you get one of these, let me know what you think. This has been a game-changer for me and it sounds like for you too, Jason.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:04] This episode is also sponsored by Progressive.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:32] This episode is also sponsored in part by MedMen. I like CBD and I indulge a little bit in some edible cannabis products from time to time.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:44:42] Bedabble, you're a dabbler.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:43] I'm a dabbler, micro-doser. I don't like to feel high. I hate that feeling, but the little microdose of like the one glass of wine type feeling. That's kind of where my sweet spot is. I don't drink wine so you know, got to do some Med Men premium dispensaries would love to invite you to check out the store nearest you. They've got huge outlet. This is like the Apple store of cannabis and they've got really nice displays, really high-quality products. Everybody, there is cool and knows a lot about the products. I guess that's kind of unlike the Apple store. Everybody there’s actually really nice to you and really wants to help you and you don't have to wait around while they talk to each other, but they'll come and help you instead. They've got a huge selection, high-quality, high-safety standards. A lot of times they use local brands that they're really kind of in the know with. And I love the experience of going there. I don't feel like I'm going to the hood to deal with a bunch of thugs to get to buy weed. I don't feel like I'm buying weed in college.
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Jason DeFillippo: [00:46:17] What the hell did that mean?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:20] I'm just assuming. I'm just assuming something about you that's all.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:46:23] Thank you for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us on the air. To learn more and get links to all the great discounts you just heard so you can check out those amazing sponsors, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. And don't forget the worksheet for today's episode. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. If you're listening to us on the Overcast player, please click that little star next to the episode. It really helps us out. And now for the conclusion of our episode with Steve Hassan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:50] In Cult Mind Control, you have some great examples of persuasion and using cults as examples of mind control and letting people draw their own parallels. And I thought this was fascinating. So, if somebody’s in, let's say another religious cult and instead of saying like, “I can't believe you believe this.” The example you gave, and correct me if I'm wrong, you can sort of tell an analogous story like “Can you believe there's group in Montana where they think that some Korean guy is the messiah and this person who believes that some, I don’t know, Taiwanese guys, the messiah will be like, that's unbelievable. These people are ridiculous.” And their subconscious brain, I'm thinking it's got to be that, will then start to draw some parallels. Of course, the cognitive dissonance will eventually take over and smash that but will it plant these little bits of seeds. And your idea here that your point here was you don't convince people to leave. You just make an opportunity for their authentic self as opposed to their cult identity to come out and start questioning, which requires rapport building. I'm picturing is this one of those times where you're showing them photos of their childhood during like their family intervention and they're starting to get more emotional and the cracks begin to show, or I have I just watched too much TV.
Steven Hassan: [00:48:00] No, no, no, no. That's definitely a major piece but I'm usually recommending that the family show that stuff to the person before the intervention itself to soften them up, to get them more empowered to accept a voluntary intervention. Because remember, I don't kidnap people or hold them against their will.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:22] Not anymore.
Steven Hassan: [00:48:23] They have to agree. Have you watched the Captain Marvel?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:30] Not yet.
Steven Hassan: [00:48:32] The movie. It's a story about cult mind control on the character. I don't want to be a spoiler, but it's about her waking up to our true self and her friends are showing her pictures and reminding her experiences and saying, “We know you. You're a good person.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:56] It's scary to me though that you even mentioned this. Cult will leave baggage in people even after they leave. People will leave and they'll think, “Oh my kids are going to die of something.” And you were shown, I think was it Moon cult showed you like the exorcist. “This is going to happen to you.” And it sounds so dumb if you're not in a cult, but if you're in it at the moment, what do they tell you? Like this devil made this movie and is going to--
Steven Hassan: [00:49:20] Moon himself, said that God made the Exorcist movie and this movie as a prophecy of what would happen to you if you leave the Unification Church. Of course, he wasn't laughing when he said it. I'm laughing because of how ridiculous it is. But I had been so indoctrinated to believe he was the greatest man in human history and was capable of reading minds and knowing the future and et cetera, et cetera. That when he said it, it was like, okay, this, but it scared the hell out of me, no pun intended and I didn't understand that this is what's known as phobia indoctrination. That's one of the main pieces of the E of the BITE model. That people are made to have these irrational fears that if they ever question the leader or leave the group, terrible things are going to happen to them. And in my book, Freedom of Mind, I have four pages, single space of the most common phobias that I've encountered in my career--you'll be hit by a car, you'll get cancer, you'll die of a drug overdose, you'll be possessed by demons, you'll be reincarnated 10,000 times. But the idea Jordan is that when you're under cult mind control, you can't imagine being free and happy and fulfilled spiritually. You can only generate negative models in your brain. And at the point that a person meets a former member who is happy and functional and doing great things, it starts to open that door of, “Huh! How come he's not possessed? How come he's not spitting out green vomit, and levitating and spinning around his head.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:17] It sounds a lot like they're trying to sort of imprint PTSD. And you see the same thing from North Korea. They say, “Oh, all these defectors that go to South Korea, they're just begged to come back,” or “Oh, they die because it's so poor down.” I mean there's all this fear. And of course, they're telling people that I've seen movies in North Korea where they're like, people in America have to drink melted snow because there's no water and there's no food. They get one cup of snow per day. It's like how much snow do you think we have? We can fill up on something.
Steven Hassan: [00:51:47] The cure to brainwashing and mind control is perspective and, and we need to have critical analytic thinking that goes along with our emotional, brain, and our unconscious mind. So, in the case of fear, we need to have fear when there's a legitimate concern or danger, but we need to reality test if something is an absurdity. Like somebody drawing a chalk line on a carpet and telling you that it's got 100,000 volts of electricity and if you step on it, you're going to die.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:32] It's just madness.
Steven Hassan: [00:52:33] Because you need to know that the electricity isn't conducted by carpeting and chalk of any kind period. And even though the person is very convincing and authoritative and uses a hypnotic voice, it's bull, it’s not real.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:54] This concept, you say this is called floating. So even after leaving cult literature, certain trigger words, they can actually re-trigger your cult programming even years later. And so, there's, there are people that you mentioned in the book and that I've seen online, they need to change associations with like music, sounds, places, habits, food. They can't use jargon. They have to make all these new associations. It's so bizarre. It's like this stuff is really in there and it’s kind of never goes away.
Steven Hassan: [00:53:25] Well, it can go away. And that's what I teach to my clients is like it's your mind, you should control it. If you like a certain kind of music, you should be able to listen to it and not think of the cult, even though the cult used it and its indoctrination. It's about you having an internal locus of control for your experience. And avoiding stimuli or triggers is not a good longterm solution for someone being healed from a destructive cult mind control group. The fastest way, by the way, Jordan, to get over a trigger like that is his direct experience again. So, if you're afraid of a dog and you deliberately look at a picture of a dog or go and pet a puppy, that's going to be the fastest way to get over it. That you could visualize it. You could go to a therapist; you could do systematic desensitization if it's too scary for you to look at a picture of a dog or the pet a puppy. But if there's anyone listening and they have all kinds of phobias leftover from their cult experience, like a phobia of the Bible, for example. Like there are so many people who are traumatized by a Christian Bible cult, uh, that they are afraid to look at a Bible because it just brings back the cult programming. The best way to get over it is to go take a college course or take a course online and just study the Bible.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:04] Right, make it academic instead of--
Steven Hassan: [00:55:06] Yeah. Or with a credentialed person who actually knows the Bible. That's the best way to challenge the indoctrination and to reframe it and to neutralize it. I was just going to say in my case when I first got out of the Moonies, when somebody said, “Hey, did you see the Moon last night?” It would trigger me back to kneeling on a concrete floor in front of this fat Korean billionaire who I thought was the messiah. And I had to ask myself before I met the group when I heard the word moon, what do they think of? And I thought of the satellite that went around the earth. And then I just said, “Moon. And I thought of the satellite moon, by the satellite moon. And when people said moon, “I thought of the satellite.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:54] What groups are you most worried about right now? I know that we talked about business cults, which is actually something most people don't think about MLM, having cult mind control concepts being used routinely also.
Steven Hassan: [00:56:07] Well, I was going to say Enron, a friend of mine who wrote a book about political cults that are wonderful critique of Enron as a corporate call. He's working on another paper on Theranos, the blood corporation that was very popular. What do I worry about? I worry about governments. I worry about China. I worry about anyone who aspires to be a dictator who wants to abolish or free press, who wants to enslave and any critics or former members of their administration or regime. I think we're at a tipping point now where either the bulk of humanity wakes up to understand the psychology of influence or they succumb to it. So, I'm optimistic and that's why I love your show and I'm happy to do this podcast with you. I think there's a lot of people who realize that something very drastically wrong with the whole influence mechanisms around the world.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:19] Yeah. I appreciate you saying that because I look at ISIS, I see this. I look at Al-Qaida, I see this, but I also look at white Christian identity. And I don't mean people who are white that go to a true Christian Church. I mean hate groups that are white nationalists. I look at ISIS and North Korea and I see so many parallels, but I also see the same thing happening in street gangs. And so, you see these mind control regimes. I'm wondering, do you think, and can you extrapolate this sort of recent trend of let's say mindfulness, which leads to these woowoo influencers online? Do you think that contributes to this? Because I see people online and I go, this person is dangerous and, and people don't really know it yet. Like they're working.
Steven Hassan: [00:57:59] I, I think it's very interesting. You bring up mindfulness. So, any technique can be used in an ethical way or an unethical way. And any technique, mind technique can be good for some people and, but not for everybody. The whole mindfulness field is now taking off in a very concerning way where there are authority figures who are being treated like gurus and the techniques are not necessarily healthy ones for having been in your body and having peace and having integrity. I was actually just at a conference, a cult conference in England and I met a professor of neuroscience at Brown University who, uh, is researching the negative effects of mindfulness and there are a lot of them, so it's not the universal panacea nor is transcendental meditation, which was another program that I saw at this conference. Ex-members talking about what it was really like in the upper levels of the TM movement. But I like meditation, but the key is you need to be in control of the technique and it has to be a technique that that is resonant with who you are as a person.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:30] I've been getting emails recently, another popular personal growth podcast that I really like had this guy on recently and his video got over a million views, I think is his name is like Sadhguru or something. And somebody reached out to me and goes, “Hey, do have this guy on.” And I was like, I wouldn't, but just out of curiosity, why? And he told me the story of how his wife went to these Sadhguru meditation sessions. Ended up going to India, leaving her whole family, disconnecting from everybody, getting divorced. Then about a year, year and a half later coming back out and going, ‘Hey, you wouldn't believe it. That's a cult.” And everyone goes, “Yeah, we knew where were you for the last year and a half, two years?” And she's like, “Yeah, I just got, I went to, I went to do this TM retreats and then dot, dot, dot. I'm living in India, working for free at some vegan restaurant or whatever, helping other people in here.” And she goes, “Surprise, it's a cult.” And it was, it's just so easy to find something that seems really innocuous. “Look, we just want to keep it chill. Life's stressful. Do some TM.” And then you, you know, like Scientology, you get to the higher level and they go, by the way, this guy is, he's a prophet and we didn't want to do that because it freaks people out. But here you go. And then you believe it cause you're already in. You have two feet in.
Steven Hassan: [01:00:45] Right. But I guess I want to use the story you just shared as an opportunity to say, “Hey, if you care about a family member or a friend that you see is getting involved with a destructive group, but they're saying, “Oh, but I'm happier than I've ever been in my life. Leave me alone. I'm an adult.” Don't listen to them and just know that they don't understand what's being done to them and they'll thank you for an intervention. If my family, when I first came back from the Moonies, said, “Steve, if this group is legitimate, it will stand up to scrutiny. Do us a favor, promise us, you won't go back for the next two weeks and let's research it together.” I would have done that. That was a reasonable request. The thing is right now with the Internet is that a lot of the destructive cults are burying the best critical information that's out there. So, you can't just be satisfied with the first 10 hits on Google anymore when you're doing the name of the group plus cult plus X member plus brainwashing. You have to go much deeper into the web and in some cases go on the web archive itself. The Wayback Machine, archive.org, to find the really juicy articles and the important.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:17] Yeah, I think a, you've mentioned in the book that there are cults that buy things, they purchase or bully non-profits like cult awareness network used to be the cult awareness network. Now it's a front group, which is really scary. Like they're on it.
Steven Hassan: [01:02:30] Scientology bankrupted it Jordan, and they got all the files too in the bankruptcy court, which is crazy and unethical completely. Um, and a lot of people are intimidated by wealthy cult groups threatening to sue. So, even the media will do a show with me and then they won't air it cause they're afraid of being sued.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:54] That's crazy, because you specific names.
Steven Hassan: [01:02:58] Yeah, because I mentioned particular groups.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:01] Jeez. Should I be worried about this? That’s a natural question.
Steven Hassan: [01:03:06] Yes, you should be. You're a lawyer. So, you want to talk legally about, uh, in a way that is responsible. Yes, you should be concerned in the sense that groups do not like negative information told about them.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:27] So crazy. Unbelievable.
Steven Hassan: [01:03:30] And you have me on your show.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:32] That’s right.
Steven Hassan: [01:03:33] A lot of groups don't like me at all. They say all kinds of mean things and nasty things that they make up about me.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:40] Yeah. It's just absolutely mind-blowing. It's scary. It makes me think, maybe I should bleep out. Do I just, do I need to bleep out Scientology? People will know what we're talking about anyway, I think.
Steven Hassan: [01:03:50] I don't think so because they've kind of exhausted themselves and the legal system harassing people like there's so much information. Leah Remini has an award-winning show.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:04] Oh yeah fascinating show.
Steven Hassan: [01:04:06] And you've mentioned TM, but TM doesn't want publicity. And if they threatened to sue, you just say, “Yeah, let's do it. Let's have some, let's have some fun.” They won’t pursue it. And that's always been a useful strategy with cult. They want to, they want you to back down. And if you say, “Nope, not backing down, let's dance.” Then they go away because they realize it'll grow, create more negative publicity for them if they pursue it.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:33] Yeah, it'd be interesting. I mean I would love it if somebody said,” You lied about us,“ and I'll be like, “Well let's examine everything that was said in a public forum because I can…”
Steven Hassan: [01:04:44] Invite them on and critic ex-member.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:45] Exactly I’d love that.
Steven Hassan: [01:04:48] Let them go at it with each other.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:49] Yeah. That's the plan. That makes perfect sense to me. I would love to do that, and we'll see who looks better in the end. That's for sure.
Steven Hassan: [01:05:00] And the truth will stand up to scrutiny.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:02] Steven, thank you so much for this. This has been so interesting and the control techniques and what to look for. All of these have just absolutely been fascinating and hopefully very useful to everyone that's listened.
Steven Hassan: [01:05:13] Thanking you. Combating Cult Mind Control Is 30 years old. It tells my story about the Moonies in-depth and gives a good overview and the Freedom of Mine book is kind of the advanced stuff on how to help somebody wake up from a mind control cult.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:32] We'll link to that in the show notes. The book was excellent and we’ll link to your website as well. Thank you very much for your time. I know we did a big ole interview here, but it was worth it.
Steven Hassan: [01:05:40] Well, I really appreciate it and thanks for your good work,
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:46] Jason, the conclusion here, absolutely insane. We didn't even get to a lot of the business and MLM stuff and a lot of the other types of cults, we didn't even really get to touch on some of this stuff. The book had a ton more and he's updating it and it's a little depressing. There's so much on cults. We literally ran out of time, even with two episodes.
Jason DeFillippo: [01:06:05] The well is so deep on cults that we could actually have an entire show every week about cults. It goes so deep and I just love having Steven Hassan on the show because he's been there. It's not liked some academic that is giving us advice based on stuff that he's read or interviews that he's done. He was a Moonie, so he has been in the belly of the beast, which is fantastic. This was a great set of episodes. Thank you so much to Steven for coming on the show. This was, this was so enlightening and I can use this every time I get a new friend that wants to sign up for Herbalife.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:46] Yup, exactly, exactly. Great big thank you to him. The book is called Cult Mind Control. He's got a new book coming out. We're going to have him back on the show for that. We're teaching you how to connect with great people like Steven and manage relationships using systems and tiny habits over at our Six-Minute Networking course, which is free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. I know you're going to do it later. The problem with kicking the can down the road is you cannot make up for lost time. When it comes to relationships and networking, the number one mistake I see people make is postponing this. Thinking you don't need it not digging the well before you get thirsty. Once you need relationships, it's too late. These drills are designed to take a few minutes a day. This is the stuff I wish I knew a decade ago. It's not fluff. It is crucial. I mean, you can find it all for free at jordanharbinger.com/course. Most of the guests here on the show, they subscribe to the course and the newsletters, so come and join us for that as well. Speaking to building relationships, you can always reach out or follow us on social at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram.
[01:07:45] This show is produced in association with PodcastOne and this episode was co-produced by Jason DeFillippo and Jen Harbinger, show notes and worksheets by Robert Fogarty, music by Evan Viola, and I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. Our advice and opinions and those of our guests are their own. And yes, I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. And remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful, which should be in every episode, so please share the show with those you love and even those you don't. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[01:08:26] A lot of people ask me which podcast I listened to and recommend. I've been friends with Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income who joins us here today. I’m friends with you Pat for years now. And you recently had another friend of ours on, Azul Terronez, SPI Smart Passive Income, 379. He's like a book coach, which I didn't know was a thing that existed and turns out a lot of people need book coaches to get their stuff done and sold. And I think it's a brilliant idea. Tell us a little bit about what you and Azul.
Pat Flynn: [01:08:53] Yeah, I hired us a little back when I was writing my previous book, Will It Fly? And I spent about two years writing it because it was just so hard and it wasn't until the last six months where after I hired Azul things started to really turn into because we always get in our own heads and in our own way with especially bigger projects like that. But in this episode 379, we talk a lot about, well, why do we write books in the first place and how can they help you build your influence and help you build your authority. Because I think a lot of people know and have a book in them. But when you realize and understand that the why behind it and how it can actually put itself into your brand, not just to write a book, to write a book, but to write a book for specific business purposes, to help serve your audience and then connect to the rest of your business, well then that's when it, it makes the most sense and can help you become a better leader and a standout leader and just some really good content in the show. Thanks for allowing me to share it here as a little teaser and, hopefully, people will go and listen.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:44] Yeah, of course. I think a lot of people want to write a book, but they're like, okay, it's overwhelming and I'm not going to do it. And Azul has kind of cracked the code on getting people to sit down, do it, do it right, save themselves a ton of time, and then actually push the thing out the door. So that's always useful. That's SPI Smart Passive Income, 379 with Pat Flynn. You can find that anywhere you listen to podcasts.
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