An ex-member of Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio gets encouragement from a surprising source—destructive cult expert Steven Hassan.
When yet another member of Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio “community” recently stepped forward with a video presentation on YouTube, he found encouragement from a surprising source—cult expert Steven Hassan from the Freedom of Mind Resource Center.
Some consider Hassan to be the leading U.S. expert on cult manipulation and mind control today. 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.
He learned his lessons from the inside out, having been a believer and leader in the Sun Myung Moon cult (“Moonies”) for over two years in the 1970s. After exiting the cult, he became a clinical professional who has been working full time in the field since 1976. Hassan holds a Masters degree in counseling psychology from Cambridge College. His book Combating Mind Control is the most widely read text on destructive cult deprogramming and recovery.
Molyneux’s organization has already been on the radar of a number of cult experts, including:
- Ian Haworth of the Cult Information Centre in Britain, who says that the success of Freedomain Radio is “symptomatic of a worrying trend.” Haworth observes, “I’ve seen these families torn apart by loved ones first of all accessing the Web sites of this group and then being influenced in some way by the leader and becoming—from that point on—alienated from family and friends.”
- Destructive-cult expert Rick Ross, whose Cult Education Institute tracks the activities of FreeDomain Radio.
- And finally, a search of the International Cultic Studies Association (I.C.S.A.) Web site—perhaps the largest anti-destructive cult organization in the world—turns up several instances of Stefan Molyneux and FreeDomain Radio.
But it appears that Hassan’s interest in Molyneux’s “community” may be growing. We got the hint recently, when yet another ex-FDR member named Truth About bravely stepped forward with a compelling video about the seductive nature of the group:
I say “bravely” because Molyneux’s followers police public forums where Molyneux is discussed to gang-attack critical opinions. (On the channels that Molyneux can personally control, dissenters are simply banned and their comments deleted. See Stefan Molyneux and the Secret Silencing.)
But this time, a different kind of comment appeared in response to the video:
Now, Hassan already has a page at his Resource Center dedicated to Stefan Molyneux and Freedomain Radio; however, the fact that he is paying close attention and offering personal encouragement to ex-members who have been negatively influenced by this group makes me wonder if he is taking an even greater interest.
In 2008, when I started this blog, this is how I answered the “Is it a cult?” question:
You’ll have to decide that for yourself. I think it might be. If it is, I think of it as a baby cult. It’s relatively new and I’ve been watching it with the same fascination that an astronomer would watch the birth of a star. I don’t think Molyneux has a master plan. I think he is, in fact, the most loyal FDR member of them all. FDR seems to be springing up organically around his need to be revered.
It’s seven years later, and Molyneux now has over 250,000 subscribers on YouTube.
So what is FDR now? Is Hassan trying to tell us something?
Truth About released another powerful video soon after the one above, Why I Think Stefan Molyneux is a Manipulative Cult Leader:
(By the way—both of Truth About‘s videos can be found on QETV!, under the Members tab.)
If you’d like to know a little more about Hassan, this is a very interesting video where he talks about his experience with the moonies, how he exited the cult, and his amazement that—despite the public awareness of the group—it continued to grow. Any similarites you hear between that group and the the FDR community are probably coincidental.
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