Jon Atack on Steve Hassan’s Combating Cult Mind Control

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Jon Atack on Steve Hassan’s Combating Cult Mind Control


Jon Atack has given us a piece that gives us the opportunity to recommend a book for our community. Take it away, Jon…
When I left Scientology, I was eager to find out as much as I could about the cult. I still believed — indeed, I was at the center of the UK ‘independent’ movement for several months — but that didn’t hinder my curiosity. As a member, I’d read Cyril Vosper’s Mindbenders, Christopher Evans’s Cults of Unreason, and sociologist Roy Wallis’s Road to Total Freedom. So, I’ve never been afraid that my mind might be changed by evidence. The refusal to even consider information in most departing members surprised me, but, then, I didn’t know about cognitive dissonance which so often prevents us from considering evidence that conflicts with our beliefs.


What I learned about Hubbard after leaving made me highly suspicious of his motives. Why would anyone believe a pathological liar who insisted that “honesty is sanity?” I collected 27 official biographies published by Scientology — most of them authored by Hubbard, all of them copyrighted to him — and no two were the same. Hubbard was careless with facts. He liked to tell stories. He was a fabulist.


It took me only a few weeks to distance myself from the “Technology” with the realization that the promises made for it had none of them been fulfilled. There have never been any Clears or OTs. The “release” grades are bogus (try persuading a Scientologist to “communicate freely on any subject” by reading my book). Scientology simply creates “auditing” junkies, desperate for the next “level.” It is actually an intelligence agency posing as a religion.


But it took me years to understand what Scientology really is: A systematic form of indoctrination that overwhelms the “self-determinism” of its members, turning them into dependent fanatics, hooked on the euphoria of its hypnotic “processes” and antagonistic to anyone who questions its beliefs. Steve Hassan’s Combating Cult Mind Control was one of the first books that I read about exploitative persuasion, and it was the first to make complete sense to me. It provided a simple route map of techniques common to all cults, and demonstrated, beyond doubt, that we Dev-OTs had been exploited and manipulated.


Soon after I read the book, I had the pleasure of meeting Steve, who stayed at my house for a couple of days. My own book, A Piece of Blue Sky, had just made legal history as the only book ever prohibited from publication in the US that did not violate state security (the only other book subjected to “prior restraint” — in violation of the First Amendment — was Victor Marchetti’s expose of the CIA). Steve read the proof copy and was overjoyed that we defeated the injunction and were able to publish. We have remained friends ever since that day, over 25 years ago.


In that time, hundreds of thousands of people around the world have benefited from Combating Cult Mind Control. Typically, ex members are baffled by their experience. They cannot understand how their reasoning was bypassed, as they come to realize just how obvious the deceptions of the cult were. In the documentary Going Clear, two-time Oscar winner Paul Haggis suggests that he was simply stupid, but this is no explanation at all (did I mention that he’d won two Oscars?).


Many extremely intelligent and talented people are drawn into cults. When I was a member, Scientology had many lawyers, doctors and scientists in its ranks. My course supervisor at Birmingham was a PhD who worked for NASA. The cult even boasted a professor of sociology who wrote a response to Roy Wallis during his brief membership. Psychiatrist Frank ‘Sarge’ Gerbode was a member for almost 15 years, before defecting to found the Institute for Research into Metapsychology.

All too often, ex-members simply ignore the evidence, without realizing that they are responding to the cult’s phobia induction. As Steve has long said, “If you were under mind control, how would you know?” With Scientologists, it is often the sense of superiority that cripples enquiry: What Hubbard called “know best” and inflicted upon us all. Cult expert Christian Szurko tells me that in over 30 years working with former cult members, ex-Scientologists tend to be the most arrogant (not a problem at the Bunker, I hasten to add, and I am extremely humble, as I’m sure you’ve realized).


Steve contacted me when he started work on the updated version of Combating Cult Mind Control, late last year. I’ve contributed material about Scientology and offered a few minor tweaks.


The new book widens the net. Those of us with significant experience of cults have long realized that the same dynamics apply to all fanatical groups. Steve has extended his argument to include terrorists and human traffickers. He includes the story of Masoud Banisadr, a former ambassador for the Iranian MeK, which has the dubious honor of inventing ‘suicide’ bombing. He also includes Rachel Thomas’s story. She was recruited by a modelling agency, but soon found herself trapped in a sex trafficking ring.


Steve has also added two of the larger cults, each of which boasts millions of members: Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons. The new edition also has a new chapter showing how we can all help to educate the public and our leaders about this increasingly dangerous phenomenon. Although the Moonies are no longer in the news in the West, the cult field is burgeoning, with new groups springing up daily. Events in the Middle East show just how dangerous fanaticism can be. Groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda grow because of the social dynamics of undue influence. We all need to understand these dynamics and educate our children, to make a safer world.


Combating Cult Mind Control remains the best introduction to the techniques of manipulation. Techniques relied upon by Hubbard and so many other narcissistic creators of totalist cults. It is a must read. And, the truth is, you won’t know if you were subjected to mind control until you truly understand how mind control works. Read this book and find out!


I’d also be grateful if, having read it, you would promote it on Amazon and other sites, give it to friends and let your political representative know about it.
— Jon Atack

 

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Jon Atack on Steve Hassan’s Combating Cult Mind Control



It is actually an intelligence agency posing as a religion.



A good friend of mine who takes a broader overview of these things and has never had much detailed knowledge of scifaggery has always said this to me. It is a point that I intended to raise. Is there any opinion that it is used as an intelligence gathering agency for sources outside of the cult?
 

NoName

A Girl Has No Name

A good friend of mine who takes a broader overview of these things and has never had much detailed knowledge of scifaggery has always said this to me. It is a point that I intended to raise. Is there any opinion that it is used as an intelligence gathering agency for sources outside of the cult?

Arnie Lerma has suggested this to me in personal conversation. I'm almost certain that you can find more about this on his website. That said, I don't always agree with him or some of his conspiracy theories. However, this is one where I don't think he lacks credibility.
 
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