Cult interventionist and professional counselor Steven Hassan is the focus of a recently released video produced by the World Missionary Society Church of God (WMSCOG). The online video is critical of Hassan and it quotes both a CultNews critique of his latest book and comments posted at the message board within the Ross Institute of New Jersey (RI) Web site.
Hassan runs a for-profit corporation called “Freedom of Mind” and is a licensed counselor in Massachusetts. Apparently WMSCOG sees Hassan as an adversary largely due to his intervention activities and ties to some former members of WMSCOG.
Fans of Steven Hassan have frantically contacted the author of the book review and RI to share their dismay. They are concerned that criticism of Hassan is accessible through the Internet, which can therefore potentially be quoted by anyone.
However, despite the dismay and demands nothing will be deleted or censored at this blog or within the RI database. No one is above criticism and simply because a purported “cult” has quoted critical material doesn’t mean that information must be purged from the Web.
Apparently Hassan’s fans also have a history of “information control” at Wikipedia.
Steve Hassan warns about what he calls “mind control the BITE model.” Ironically, the “I” in BITE stands for an effort to control information.
RI has a history of protecting critical information about groups and/or leaders and has repeatedly resisted attempts to censor its database. Five frivolous lawsuits have been filed against RI and/or Rick Ross in various harassment efforts. Nothing has ever been taken down as a result of such litigation. All the lawsuits were dismissed, though some claims are still pending regarding a single lawsuit associated with a group called NXIVM (pronounced nexium).
Former cult deprogrammer Steve Hassan has a long history of borrowing upon the ideas of others for his writings without proper attribution and charging exorbitant fees for his services. In recent years his fees have ranged from $2,500.00 to $5,000.00 per day. He also promotes “team” interventions, which consists of former cult members and other professionals assisting him before, during and/or after an intervention effort. The other team members charge additional fees and expenses. All of this means that hiring Mr. Hassan can be a very expensive proposition. Some families have mortgaged their homes and/or raided 401k retirement accounts to pay the bill.
RI has received repeated complaints about Mr. Hassan. Families have said that his approach has failed and/or produced questionable results at great expense.
CultNews and the Ross Institute certainly do not endorse or support in any way, shape or form WMSCOG. But as the old adage goes “even a broken clock is right twice a day.” In this context WMSCOG has correctly quoted the cited material, which raises meaningful questions concerning Steve Hassan’s books, methodology and fees.
RI does not endorse or recommend Steven Hassan and does not list his books through the reading list at its database.
WMSCOG is included as a controversial group within the RI database.
WMSCOG certainly bears more than a faint resemblance to another Korean organization known as the Unification Church founded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon, which has been called a “cult.” Interestingly, instead of a male “messiah” WMSCOG has a female leader they often call “mother,” who seems to wield dictatorial power over the group with little if any meaningful accountability. Rev. Moon who occupied a similar position of authority was often called “father” by his followers.
RI has received many complaints about WMSCOG from families, former members and others concerned. Many of the “warning signs” attributed to a potentially unsafe group or leader appear to apply to WMSCOG.
Update: The Ross Institute does not recommend Steve Hassan see this disclaimer.