| Wearing a bodysuit with decorations Demi Rose rides a bicycle in the middle of the desert | | In a mini skirt and corset, Selena Gomez unleashes a furor in Paris | | Demi Rose wears a metallic top covering only the essentials | | In a mini bikini Clarissa Molina celebrates her birthday on a yacht | | Age does not stop these Latinas from playing soccer | | Tropical Storm Ophelia strengthens and threatens the US East Coast | | Olivia Rodrigo occupies number 1 on the Billboard 200 list with her new album “Guts” | | Romance rumors arise between Odell Beckham Jr. and Kim Kardashian | | Top photos of Jailyne Ojeda that heated up Instagram | | Californians can now buy Narcan in pharmacies | | Flying taxis in Ohio, the new plan launched by Governor Mike DeWine | | Florida's governor suspended a councilman for corruption | | Clarissa Molina premiered her look and shared it with a sensual photo in front of the mirror | | Nadia Ferreira publishes unpublished photos of her pregnancy with Marc Anthony on Instagram | | Athenea del Castillo reiterates her support for Jennifer Hermoso, but.. | | Wearing a red microbikini Demi Rose shows off her curves in the middle of the desert | | Artificial Intelligence is leaving Iowa's rivers without water: what is happening? | | Demi Rose top 10 Best photos of in last three Months | | Get to know Simon Cowell's ex-mansion that has just been sold for a million dollars in Beverly Hills | | After leaving the hospital, Kourtney Kardashian shows off her pregnant belly | | Does Belinda agree with Christian Nodal? She calls herself toxic | | Yanet Garcia poses in profile and with string lingerie, showing off her spectacular figure | | Tragedy in Libya exceeds 6,000 dead, morgues reach their limit | | Karol G: translucent looks and show drive Anuel AA crazy at the MTV Video Music Awards 2023 | | Shakira arrived in gold Versace and hand in hand with Milan and Sasha to the MTV VMAs 2023 | | Ariana Grande got fed up with Botox and ‘fillers’. She told everything for Vogue | | Unpublished Paloma Cuevas confirms that she is still with Luis Miguel on her networks | | The New York medical examiner has identified the remains of two victims of the 9/11 attack | | Maripily Rivera and the 5 hot bikinis with which she raised the temperature on networks | | Yailin La Mas Viral shows off in a micro bikini and bathed in oil | | Ball boy goes viral due to an incredible mistake |
Latest Photo News

I was a member of a cult and now I help people escape from them

Time to Read: 7 minute
I was a member of a cult and now I help people escape from them
I was a member of a cult and now I help people escape from them
Khushbu Kumari

The BBC spoke to Steven Hassan, one of the victims of a Christian sect. Hassan says he draws on his experience to free people trapped in these kinds of organizations.

The case shocked Kenya, and the entire world: hundreds of followers of a Christian sect of the apocalypse stopped eating until they starved to death in the hope of meeting Jesus. The instructions came from his pastor.

But what are the characteristics of a cult and how do people fall under its influence?? Lebo Diseko, BBC Global Religion correspondent, spoke to a man who was once a member of a cult and now dedicates his life to helping people Get out of them.

“At the time, I didn't believe I had been brainwashed. I didn't think I was in a cult, Steven Hassan tells me,

Hassan now describes the group he belonged to as a teenager as a dangerous sect.

The man, who joined the Unification Church at the age of 19, says the experience of leaving the group religious was“like waking up from a nightmare”.

“I felt so ashamed,” he says.

Followers of the Unification Church were called “ Moonies” by its critics, referring to the group's former leader, Pastor Sun Myung Moon, who died in 2012.

The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, as this group is now called, insists it is a “bona fide religion” and not a sect, but Hassan assures that his experience proves otherwise.

While the exact definition of a cult is controversial, psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton identifies three characteristics. It must have a charismatic leader who becomes a cult object. There has to be a process of coercive persuasion, called “brainwashing”. And its members must be victims of economic, sexual, or other types of exploitation by members of the same group.

Hassan assures that he was recruited by the Unification Church “gradually”.

First, he was approached by a group of young women in the college cafeteria. Since his girlfriend had “abruptly dumped” him  Hassan had recently felt vulnerable and flattered by the attention. “I remember asking them if they were part of any religious group. They told me ‘No, not at all’. It turned out to be a lie”.

Then he began a process of “love bombing,” giving him affection to attract him to the group and to manipulate him, according to Hassan. At that point, they invited him to dinner and told him they wanted to introduce him to “our friends around the world”.

Finally, they invited him to attend a talk where they told him they were going on a trip. “You should come, it's going to be a lot of fun“.

It was that weekend that “ they got into his head, Hassan says. It was a special moment in history, before the gates of a Third World War between Russia and the United States, there were several spiritual proposals going around”.

Later, they taught him the other beliefs from him. Among them, Hassan says that the leader of the group, Pastor Moon, born in North Korea, presented himself as “the Messiah, greater than Jesus” and he said that Koreans were the master race.

Although Hassan was born into a Jewish family, within three months of joining the Unification Church “he came to believe the Holocaust was justified”. “I was totally radicalized,” he says.

The Church strongly denies these claims. There is no suggestion in the group's teachings that the Holocaust is justified. In addition, they say they have “many members who were also born and raised Jewish.”

The religious group said there was “no suggestion in his teachings that Reverend Moon “was greater than Jesus” or “that the Koreans were some kind of ‘master race.”

The Church also denies using love bombing, Hassan says that at that time he dropped out of university and became one of the leaders of the group. He even helped recruit new worshipers.

To do this, he evaluated potential new members based on whether they were “thinkers, feelers, doers or believers,” in order to use the right speech to convince them.

“If someone belongs to the group of those who feel, we will talk about love and how nice it is to have brothers and sisters who take care of each other. Doers are people who want to fix things and have an impact. In the case of believers, the approach was spiritual: “Let us pray together and ask God to open your heart”. The strategies changed according to the person”.

Hassan was a member of this sect for two and a half years. The situation changed after a car accident, while he was in the hospital, when he had time to be alone and call his sister.

She asked him to visit him, promised to take care of him. and reminded him that he had a nephew he could spend time with.

What he didn't know was that she had organized a session behind his back to rescue him. The sister had her listen to the stories of other people with similar experiences, who had been through the same thing, and who had managed to break free.

“I cried. I thought how could I believe this? What has happened to my mind?”

The Unification Church says Hassan's views on the group are “distorted, wild, disturbing, inaccurate and unreliable” and that the accusation that the group became more and more extreme “doesn't make any sense”.

The Unification Church also rejects accusations of brainwashing. They say the allegations “appear to have been used as a convenient if unsubstantiated way to explain why someone would join a religious group.” And they ensure that the term “Moonies” is used to “denigrate and ridicule the Unification Church”.

For Hassan, however, his time in and out of the Church led him to spend the next few decades helping people free their loved ones from cults. He is now a certified consultant and cult expert.

He says that there are things to do and others not to do when approaching someone you want to help.

“You must not shout, attack the leader, the doctrine, or the group”. He says this behavior can cause people to redouble their defense of their belief system. Rather, he suggests adopting an attitude of curiosity, saying, “I know you're smart, you seem very interested in this, tell me more.”

If the person is unable to explain why to Complete the beliefs of the group, Hassan says that it can suggest a pause that can be taken advantage of. “Let's investigate it together. Let's find out who they are.

“If you're ever in a situation where nothing makes sense and everything is confusing, trust yourself, trust your own judgment,

Hassan says he no longer uses confrontational methods to rescue the faithful because, without the acceptance of the person, any attempt to leave the group is likely to fail.

In addition, he says that cell phones make it almost impossible to cut off someone's communication with a group unless the person agrees. “If they're on the phone all day talking to the cult, there's no way to be effective”.

Hassan focuses on helping the family and loved ones of the victim, what he seeks is to “empower people to think for themselves, to make their own decisions”.

“For example, I would ask a family member to ask their loved one who is in a religious sect to sit down and watch the documentary “The Social Dilemma in Social Media”, which is not going to make them defensive or feel attacked. But it's a way to start a discussion about the tactics used to manipulate people's attention”.

Hassan argues that changes in life, such as bereavement, moving, or, as in your case, a couple breaking up,

But he says the biggest mistake people make is thinking it could never happen to them.

He calls it “the myth of the malleable mind: [the idea that] ‘my mind can't change. Someone else's yes, but I'm too smart or too good”. “We are programmed to fit in with others, to follow authority figures we believe to be legitimate”.

Hassan has now come full circle in his faith journey. He did it 26 years ago when he became a member of a progressive Jewish temple. “What I like about Judaism is that it is a questioning religion,” he says.

Remember that you can receive notifications from BBC Mundo. Download the new version of our app and activate them so you don't miss out on our best content.

Read full article

Recent News:

About | Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy