Steven Hassan and Brian Karcher discuss various topics from Steven’s book “Combating Cult Mind Control” and Brian’s book “Identity Snatchers”.
Steven A. Hassan, M.Ed., LMHC, NCC is a former cult member who has been educating the public about mind control and destructive cults since 1976. As a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) and Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), Hassan is the author three books that have received extensive praise from former cult members, families of former members, clergy, cult experts, and psychologists. Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best Selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults(1988, 1990, 2015), Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves(2000), and Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults & Beliefs, (2012, 2013). He also co-developed “Ending the Game”, a non-coercive curriculum designed to educate and empower commercial sex trafficking victims.
He has appeared on 60 Minutes, CNN, NPR, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Larry King Live, Oprah, Dr. Drew, Dr. Phil, and many other programs, and has been featured in People Magazine, USA Today, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, and dozens of other major publications and websites. Learn more about him and the Freedom of Mind Resource Center, Inc. at FreedomOfMind.com
In 1990, Steven Hassan courageously published the book, Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best Selling Guide To Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults. Now, 25 years later, Hassan has published an updated edition. Here is my book review, and brief introduction to Steven Hassan.
Jean Vanier knows something about community.
Born in 1928 as the son of a high-ranking official in the Canadian government, Vanier traveled the world and served in the Royal Navy. Sensing that there must be something more to life, he resigned from his naval commission in 1950 to study theology and philosophy, eventually completing a Ph.D. at the Catholic University of Paris. Through his friendship with a Catholic priest, he renewed his faith in God and became deeply concerned about the plight of people with intellectual disabilities. In 1964, Vanier invited two disabled men to leave their institutions and move into his home. This led to the establishment of L’Arche (“The Ark”), a worldwide federation of residential communities where people with intellectual disabilities live, pray and worship together with caregivers in an atmosphere of friendship, mutuality and inclusion. Although L’Arche was founded as a Christian organization, the communities are open and welcoming to people of all religious beliefs. Vanier has studied, taught, and written extensively on topics related to faith, disability and community. He became a close friend and mentor to the late Christian author Henri Nouwen (1932-1996), who resided at a L’Arche community in Ontario, Canada for the last ten years of his life. In recognition of Vanier’s influence and achievements, he was awarded the Templeton Prize in 2015. (Previous winners of the Templeton Prize include Billy Graham and Mother Teresa of Calcutta.)
So in August ubfriends started a book club. The book was A Fellowship of Differents by Scot Mcknight. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, good choice Joe! There is so much to write about from it, but I would like to share only my favorite part of the whole book here. On page 139 it says, “If some said, you must be kosher to eat with us, Jesus said, eat with me and I will make you kosher.” There, that’s it. This is my favorite line in the whole book. Continue reading →
Over a year ago, I wrote a provocative article here on ubfriends, entitled Shepherd Brian is Dead. It is an unfortunate reality that in order to have any kind of conversation with UBF members, I need to use such rhetoric. Dropping the C-bomb (as Joe likes to call it) is the only way I have found that leads to some honest, real answers about the UBF ministry. In my article last year, I wrote this:
“Why do I claim University Bible Fellowship is a cult? The answer is because ubf shepherds and missionaries are identity snatchers. They spiritually abused me and thousands others by stealing our identity and persuading us to adopt their identity. That identity was called “Shepherd Brian”. But that is not who I am. That was never who I was. That is not my authentic self.”
That comment about identity snatching stuck with me. It has now lead to my new book.
Yesterday we sent off our second daughter to college. Wow, time flies so fast! My wife and I are so thankful there is no ubf chapter there :) To celebrate this back to school season, I have three gifts for you!
The recent Christianity Today book review of a UBF 2nd gen’s book “The Spirit Moves West” prompted me to get back to a book draft of my own. Rebecca Kim’s book is a fair perspective of some aspects of UBF, but she leaves out the dark side of UBF–the side that we’ve been discussing here in our 18,000+ comments. So today I want to share with our readers some of my thoughts on the CT book review and my new book.
Hey ubfriends community, how’s about we form a good ol’ book club on this site? After seeing some of the theology-related comments and perusing some of the old articles, I realize that this could be a great place to hold discussions on a book. The first step would be to agree on a book to read and choose a start and finish date. Then, we could each take turns writing an article on a given chapter of the book and have the whole community dialogue in the discussion section. We could even do a final video chat to close out the discussion. These are just my ideas, but if you’re interested, let’s work out the details in the comment section below.
[Drawing of penguins by my daughter, Anna] At one point in my life, I thought I had Christianity all figured out. I felt the twinge of pride as I “kept the faith” while people around me seemed to abandon their mission from God. I did everything I could to “present myself to God as one approved”. I went to Russia as a short-term missionary. I amassed over fifteen thousand hours of bible reading. I missed only three Sunday services in twenty four years. And then it all fell apart. The fabric of my faith unraveled. The spirit of my mission decomposed. And the walls of our community collapsed.
Constantly constipated. When I did what was “right” and played “by the book” I was rigid, inflexible, easily irritated, determined to “fix up sinners,” and rather condescending toward others (who are not like me!). Basically, I was constantly constipated. This lasted for about a quarter of a century from 1980 when I became a Christian to the mid 2000s. Then I began doing things “wrong” and began “breaking all the rules.” But very strangely and surprisingly, when I did what was “wrong,” I became happy, far more welcoming of others, and most of all my soul and spirit feels free, like an eagle soaring in the sky (Isa 40:31).