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Spotting Teens Who Are Into Cults

Prompted by the Pamela Vitale murder, and its rumored cult connection, CBS dedicated a news segment to the signs parents can spot when their child joins a cult.

Co-anchor Rene Syler spoke with cult expert Steven Hassan on The Early Show.

[...] there’s no evidence that there’s a specific cult or any undue influence of some other person on him.

[...] I don’t believe that the Goth look is, in any way, a destructive cult.

[...] But I can definitely tell you families need to be alert, (get) preventive education, letting young people know, especially, that there’s no instant friends. Become a researcher. Understand that destructive cults are out there. They don’t tell you what they believe and what they want from you.

Video: Steven Hassan on The Early Show


Gerry Armstrong’s extreme restriction of Freedom of Speech continues

[1] On Wednesday, Oct. 19 2005, the California Court of Appeal’s granted the Scientology organization’s petition to reinflict the punishment of jail sentences and fines against Gerry Armstrong, Hubbard’s former official biography researcher, that Marin County Judge Lynn Duryee had discharged in April 2004.

Scientology’s appeals court success in its religious war against Armstrong begins with his punishment of twenty-eight days in jail and $4600 in fines, but the potential exists for Scientology to keep him jailed forever. What is Armstrong’s crime? Nothing more than discussing the Scientology religion. Not lying, not libeling Scientology, but telling the truth about this religion and organization as he believes the truth to be.

For every mention Armstrong makes of his sincere beliefs about the Scientology religion, or even about his own religion and his own church (the Church of Wogs (CoW) Scientology wants him jailed, fined and forced to pay the organization $50,000 in damages. Unimaginable but true, and extensively documented on his Scientology v. Armstrong legal archive.

Armstrong’s position is that it is no more lawful for the U.S. Courts to jail and financially crush him for discussing his beliefs about Scientology than it would be lawful to jail and ruin a person for discussing his beliefs about God and Jesus in the Christian religion [2].

[1]: This entry contains portions of Suppresive Person’s press release on the matter. The Suppresive Person site is named after the Scientology definition of a suppresive: “A SUPPRESSIVE PERSON or GROUP is one that actively seeks to suppress or damage Scientology or a Scientologist by suppressive acts.
[2]: In a number of countries, Scientology is not considered a religion at all, but a commercial and totalitarian cult with a goal of world domination.


Cult expert Steven Hassan on Montel

Monday, October 24, Steven Hassan appeared on the Montel Williams Show titled Sex Abuse and Mind Control: Raised in a Cult.

The show featured survivors of a controversial religious cult who risked their lives to tell their story publicly for the first time.

Caryn, a young woman who was born and raised in “The Family” and suffered years of abuse, claims that this organization formerly known as the Children of God (now renamed to The Family International) has doctrines that allow their adult members to literally “beat the devil” out of misbehaving children.

Don, another former member, also shares in Caryn’s recollections. He says they beat and molested his sister and then published her battered image in the cult’s magazine to display an example of what acceptable punishment is.

Steven talked with the guests and offered them free counseling after the show.


Judge denies Amway arbitration

Sep. 21, 2005 – U.S. District Judge Richard Dorr refused arbitration in a suit filed two years ago.

Amway had argued that the disputes arose under rules of conduct for Amway product distributors that were subject to arbitration.

Judge Richard Dorr made short with argument, calling those rules of conduct agreements “unconscionable” because they were offered on a “take it or leave it” basis and because Amway hand-picked the arbitrators and trained them.

As if that wasn’t enough he also pointed out that the agreements weren’t signed by the parties, did not form valid contracts or weren’t applicable to the suit.

The suit, which describes Amway as a pyramid-type scheme, charges that a few Amway “kingpins” — those who bought into Amway early on — control thousands of down-line distributors and make most of their money by selling them motivational materials, known at Amway as the “tool and function” business.

The suit says that Amway helped the few big players monopolize and restrain trade in the motivational arena, using it to subsidize the rest of its business.

The denial of arbitration is a big deal. Former Emerald distributor Eric Scheibeler, author of Merchants of Deception, describes it as “the legal equivalent of the Titanic hitting the iceberg”.

The full legal ruling is available from Freedom of Mind‘s Amway Quixtar resources.

See also:


Open letter by Fawn Holm, FLDS escapee

The Fawn twins, who left the abusiveFundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints cult to escape polygamy, haven’t left the news after cult expert Steven Hassan was called in for his counseling expertise and did follow up pro bono counseling with them and the family who took them in, since their taping of the Dr. Phil Show.

Their strength shows through in Fawn Holm’s open letter, sent to the editor of the Arizona Republic.

To all ex-Creekers:

Those who judge me for being on TV, for standing up and doing something about the crimes and abuses at the “Creek,” who say I am “hurting my family” or “ratting on the Creek” – I have something to say to you.

I, at least, am not sitting around pretending it never happened.

I am not trying to run away from the pain by working myself to death or partying with drugs and alcohol.

You can only run for so long.

People say I hurt my parents. What did they do to me? I asked them nicely if I could leave. Do you think they said, “OK, let us find you a safe place to go?” No! My parents got a restraining order on my brothers who had left, and had me placed under house arrest.

Since I left, I am no longer welcome in their house. Why? Because I will bring “evil spirits” with me, and they would have to “rededicate” their house.

Our families talk about having to stand before God and atone for our sins. How do you think our loving God is going to react to parents who say, “We could not let our kids into our house because they might bring in evil spirits”?

Our families tell us that they “hurt for us” and wish we would come home. But they only say that until they realize how strong and free we have become. They then say there is no hope for us.

I think my parents’ should be proud of me! I stood up and fought for the freedom I believe in. I stood up, and I am not sitting until this job is done.

I am the youngest of my mom’s 18 kids. I was born three months early and nearly died. My mom said the reason I lived was because I had a big mission.

Standing up is my mission.

To all of you who wonder if you should go back to the Creek, because you are going to “burn in the fire of the last days if you don’t,” let me get this straight: You are afraid that our God, a loving, caring God, is going to make you choose between happiness, love, success and heaven? I don’t think so.

Our families, the ones who won’t let us visit them, say living at the Creek is the only way to have happiness, love, success and heaven. I have witnessed love at the Creek. For example:

· A wife leaves a husband whom she “loves” to go and suddenly “love” another man, because the “prophet” told her to.
· Little kids (or big ones) “love” their father, then turn around and say he’s a bad man because the “prophet” said so.
· Families turn their backs on “apostate” children because “prophet” Warren Jeffs told them to. Ten minutes earlier they were begging those same children to return because they “love” them.

I understand that you miss your family and friends at the Creek. But if you go back, the people at the Creek will make you choose them only. You will not be allowed to speak to those “inside.” You do not have to make that choice out here. That is love and happiness to me.

I’m fed up with ex-Creekers judging me for speaking out. We need to stand up together and take a position. You are in or you are out – there is no middle.

Stop running and stand up. Let’s stop this abuse together.

Recently the Fawn twins returned to Boston for some follow-up counseling with Steven Hassan.


Oprah Magazine quotes Steven Hassan

The Last 10 Pounds is a feature article in the August issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.

The Last 10 Pound wonders if those pounds really should stand between you and happiness. Is it worth the misery? Is it worth the self-loathing?

A team of experts provides a long over-due reality check.

Feeling that our culture indoctrinates women to believe they need to be thin to be beautiful, O, The Oprah Magazine spoke with cult expert Steven Hassan. He showed the women the Asch conformity study and talked with them about positive ethical ways to control their thoughts, feelings and behavior.

The web site quotes Steven Hassan under the heading “Good advice: mind set”:

If you’re losing weight to please a partner or follow some ideal, you will rebel. You must be your own authority figure to succeed.


Dr.Zimbardo’s Discovering Psychology video course online

The entire Psychology 101 Course done by Dr. Zimbardo is online and free for viewing.

Cult expert Steven Hassan was interviewed for the 20th segment, “Constructing Social Reality1.

Despite pressure from Scientologists to pull the five minutes on cults that Steven Hassan was speaking on (including Scientology, the Moonies, the krishnas), Annenberg and Zimbardo said no to their pressure.

Highlighting major new developments in the field, this updated edition of Discovering Psychology offers high school and college students, and teachers of psychology at all levels, an overview of historic and current theories of human behavior. Stanford University professor and author Philip Zimbardo narrates as leading researchers, practitioners, and theorists probe the mysteries of the mind and body. Based on extensive investigation and authoritative scholarship, this introductory course in psychology features demonstrations, classic experiments and simulations, current research, documentary footage, and computer animation. This series is also valuable for teachers seeking to review the subject matter.

: 20. Constructing Social Reality
Many factors contribute to our interpretation of reality. This program demonstrates how understanding the psychological processes that govern our behavior may help us to become more empathetic and independent members of society. With Steven Hassan, M.Ed., of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center and Dr. Robert Cialdini of Arizona State University. Updated.


William Kamm court case

William Kamm, a.k.a. “Little Pebble”, leader of the Australian Catholic cul tOrder of St. Charbel, has recently been convicted of four counts of aggravated indecent assault and one of aggravated sexual intercourse. The five charges involve a then 15 year old girl.

William Kamm claims to receive revelations from Jesus and the Virgin Mary. At times these revelations included doomsday prophecies, which so far have failed to come true.

One of these end-of-the-world prophecies included the advice that William Kamm should choose 12 queens and 72 princesses who would become his mystical wives to spawn an immaculate race after the world ended.

According to William Kamm, at that time, the sexual abuse victim was one of these queens and pricesses.

A good but not always up to date resource page on the court case is Australia’s Greatest Cult, The Order of Saint Charbel: Kamm in Court.

Additional news can be found via this pre-defined Google News search, and on Religion News Blog.


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