Life In A Cult.


Uploaded by MSLawdotedu on 05.08.2011

Transcript:
i was i was in a political cult for about ten and a half years and uh...
initially i thought i had really found something i thought i
you know finally had a group of people that would give me uh...
purpose and
meaning and it was just the most wonderful feeling in the world although
i was even from the beginning sort of cautious and skeptical and wondering well really
what is this
but as time went on uh... the group became more and more restrictive and and
more and more controlling of my daily life and um... i would say
when i think about it I mean the the thinking back on from that group uh... i
think the main thought that comes to mind is
anxiety
confusion and fear those were the main
feelings that i had during most of those years I for a lot of that time was in
leadership positions and had to carry out
acts that now i find reprehensible and um... it was a very very stressful time
do you feel comfortable telling us about any of those acts
well sure
i don't in fact you know one of the ways i think it's important for
people who leave these groups is to really look back and evaluate what they
did and why they did it and um... how people got to do things they wouldn't
ordinarily do
uh... our group was very abusive in the sense of having uh... constant
uh... criticism sessions where we sat in a circle and somebody got blasted and
um... i was one of the most harsh of the enforcers of that regime
I also expelled many people I separated couples i convinced people not
to have babies i convinced people
not to go home for their parents funerals not to get married to a
particular person uh... i stood guard over people who were under house arrest
for weeks at a time
uh... i was part of a special elite team called the eagles who served
as a bodyguard for the leader and who we were often sent out to intimidate other
groups or former members of our own group
so those were the kinds of things we did which which were'nt very pleasant
steve were your experiences as a moonie and I know that was many many years
ago at this point similar
uh...
in many many ways yes I was recruited when i was nineteen back in nineteen
seventy-four while a college student and i basically within a few weeks
after going to a three day intensive indoctrination workshop came to
believe that moon was the messiah
and that the world was coming to an end that world war three was going to
happen in nineteen seventy seven
and i was quickly promoted to a leadership position where i too
separated people uh... interfered with letters and phone calls from
families was involved with fraudulent fundraising practices in the moonies and
doing front group political demonstrations for the moonies i was
involved for about two-and-a-half years unfortunately i had a near fatal car
crash which led to my parents intervening and then i've spent the last
twenty three years as a
mental health counselor helping other families and people recover from
mind control
tell us a little bit about how you did get out
of the moonies what it was like did you undergo psychological stress when you
were
contemplating leaving i wasn't contemplating leaving at all i was a
fanatic
and uh...
you cited jim jones you cited david koresh and and uh...
uh... herb applewhite the leader of heaven's gate and i can tell you that
it's cut from the same mold
of this kind of total dictatorial authoritarian figure
and as a member you're told to emulate that figure
and uh... you're told to suppress your own thoughts your own feelings are evil
so members are taught mind control techniques
phobias are implanted in members' minds to give them irrational fears that if
anything if they ever leave or even question the group terrible things will
happen to them
and so for me uh... i was in the near fatal car crash i
three days up no sleep at all
uh... so i almost died i was in the hospital needed an operation my family
found out
surreptitiously where i was and it led to a five day intensive intervention so they sent somebody in with former members 0:04:14.540,0:04:19.180 well i was lured home to my sister the only person in my
family who was not critical of my involvement
and they took my crutches away I had had a broken leg in a cast up to here and they
said steve we want you to talk to these former members and of course I said
satan
get away from me
so initially it was involuntary but uh... within a day i basically ah...
saw how much my family was concerned about me i still didn't
believe i was under mind control i was convinced i was doing god's will
but my father started to break down in tears and said steve what would you do
if it was your son
who dropped out of college quit his job donated his bank account and went off with this
controversial group wouldn't you want to make sure he heard the other side
just talk to them for a few days and if you decide you want to go back I'll drive
you back but at least i'll be able to sleep
at night as your parent
and because i knew he loved me and i loved him and i was absolutely convinced
I agreed to meet with the ex-members
and I was taught what mind control was and came to the realization that in fact i
had been the victim of a very systematic
social influence program that systematically stripped away my ability
to think for myself
and that
in mental health terms created a dissociative disorder in me it literally split
me into a pseudo identity
a cult
identity that was following moon as my parent as opposed to the real steve
hassan
and it was that new identity that was prepared to kill on command or
kill myself on command it was that level of total dedication
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