Jehovah’s Witnesses “a cult” in new Combating Cult Mind Control

CCMC book cover-finalThe HBO movie “Going Clear” has ruffled Scientology’s feathers while also whetting people’s appetite for answers to significant questions–not least–why people get involved and indoctrinated into destructive cults?

Cult expert Steve Hassan says, “Alex Gibney’s sobering movie has likely opened the floodgates to a public examination of destructive cults.”

The HBO film “Going Clear” is scheduled to be shown on Sunday 29, March 2015, at 8pm. (Check for local listings)

Former Scientologist “Spanky” Taylor (who is featured in the documentary) states, “Although it took years for me to seek out professional help in recovering from my cult experience, I was grateful for the works of Robert Lifton, Margaret Singer, and particularly Steven Hassan in assisting me to sweep away many of the cobwebs that remained in my head and heart after years of indoctrination.”

The Oscar award-winning and prolific documentarian, Alex Gibney, has said that his movie “Going Clear” explores “how people have become prisoners of faith in various ways.” Lawrence Wright, upon whose book the movie is based, was quoted in The New York Times last week as saying, “The kind of people who get involved with groups such as Scientology are oftentimes good-hearted people, idealistic, but full of a kind of crushing certainty that eliminates doubt.”

Steve Hassan, author of Freedom of Mind and the soon to be published and updated Combating Cult Mind Control, says that although Wright and Gibney have identified the question and have come up with a simple answer, they have missed a primary reason people join high control groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientology, and the Moonies.

Hassan, while welcoming the movie, says, “People get deceptively recruited into cults, and not only because they are nice gullible people. I am eager to create a pathway whereby former members can understand how destructive cults operate and the methods of destructive mind control. While Wright and Gibney have greatly illuminated Scientology, there is a real opportunity to explore and further understand social psychology and undue influence.

“The process of mind control is a major and absolute essential piece in the understanding of why and how people are deceptively recruited and indoctrinated into an entire belief system – in fact even into a new identity – that suppresses their true self and their real identity. My BITE model (control of Behavior, Information, Thoughts and Emotions) explains the vital overlapping components of how any cult, like Scientology, manages to get and keep intelligent, educated people for decades.”

Steve Hassan

Steve Hassan

Hassan adds, “When people watch HBO’s ‘Going Clear’ and listen to the former members’ stories, I hope it will persuade each viewer to take a step further and think about the induced phobias and thought-stopping techniques those former members have endured and reach for more insight into the process of cult mind control.” The 25th Anniversary edition of the classic text, Combating Cult Mind Control provides a deeper understanding of why people join cults.

The book explores:

  • New stories of people who fell under the sway of cults and other forms of undue influence but who were able to break free.
  • New information on the many sophisticated ways social media is now used for mind control.
  • Updates on the many types of organizations that use mind control
  • Information on the neuroscience behind mind control.
  • A look at what legislators, courts, mental health professionals, and ordinary citizens can do to resist mind control and make our world a safer place.

Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue and Recovery from Destructive Cults will be available in e-book format and paperback by the end of March.

Chapter 6 of the new book features interviews with former Jehovah’s Witnesses, along with former Mormons, Scientologists, Moonies, ISIS, people involved with trafficking and others.

Two former Jehovah’s Witnesses, Lee Marsh, President of AAWA (Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses) and Lloyd Evans, editor of the popular and informative website JWsurvey, share their experiences of undue influence and mind control.

Here are a few reviews of Steve Hassan’s work and new revised book:

“Steven Hassan is one of our most eloquent defenders of freedom of the mind. For decades he has labored mightily on behalf of the majesty of the human spirit. His good work has brought psychological and spiritual relief to countless victims and families who have unknowingly stumbled into the clutches of mind control perpetrators. As a spokesperson for the ordinary individual’s right to be the master of his or her own thoughts and choices, Hassan has resisted the dangers and threats manufactured by manipulators who have sought to silence his courage.” – Alan W. Scheflin: Professor of Law Emeritus, Santa Clara University. Coauthor of The Mind Manipulators and Memory, Trauma, Treatment and the Law.

“Steven Hassan was the first to take on the Moonies, and understands cults better than almost anyone else. Happily, he’s still sharing his knowledge, this time with a 25th anniversary updated and revised edition of his classic book, Combating Cult Mind Control. Fascinating and important reading.” – Paulette Cooper: Author of Scandal of Scientology and subject of Tony Ortega’s book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper.

“In my judgment, this is a singularly important and valuable book. I was especially impressed by the author’s candor in addressing his experiences both within the Unification Church and subsequent to his departure from it. Beyond the value of this illuminating personal account of a practitioner of ‘exit counseling’ lies a remarkably useful collection of information about cult-related issues in contemporary American life. I heartily recommend this book to lay readers who for one reason or another wish to become better informed on this topic. It will also be valuable to professionals in health-related fields, clergy, attorneys, and others whose responsibilities bring them into contact with cults, their members, and the families whose lives are affected.” – Louis Jolyon West, M.D.: Former chairman of the Department of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine.

“This newly revised version of Combating Cult Mind Control is an eye-opening, ‘must read’ for victims and their families who are, or were at one time, trapped in a high-control pseudo-religious group or an abusive personal relationship. Steven Hassan skillfully describes the persuasion methods used by cult-like groups to overcome the free will and judgment of people who choose to listen and join. He also makes it easy to understand how and why intelligent people allow themselves to be unduly influenced and willingly sacrifice their best personal interests. In so doing, he makes a very compelling case for all readers about the clear and present danger of undue (unethical) influence in today’s world. In fact, I predict that most people will read this book more than once and share it with friends; the book is that relevant and it is that good.” – Richard E. Kelly: Managing Director, (AAWA) Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses, and author of Growing Up in Mama’s Club.

More information:

Updated and revised – Combating Cult Mind Control – pre-order or add to wish list on

Combating Cult Mind Control is due out Wednesday, March 25th,  2015 as an e-book and shortly thereafter will be available in paperback. Link

Freedom of Mind Link

HBO Movie – “Going Clear” – Link


About Susannah

"Susannah," JWReport's News and Opinion Editor, is very familiar with the Watchtower Society and its leaders past and present. An experienced editor and writer, she was born and raised in the UK where she was an active Jehovah's Witness until she was 28. She now lives and works in southern Europe.

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