False Prophets Part 3

 

 

False Prophets and Messiahs, Teachers and Gurus,

Cons and Cult Leaders

              

 

PART III

 

 

 

Psychotherapy

       N  E  T  W  O  R  K  E  R

 

Editor’s Note: Rich Simon
July/August 2016 [excerpt]

 

If post hoc diagnosis is any indicator, many of history’s most illustrious figures had some version of what we now call obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), including Thomas Jefferson, Ludwig van Beethoven, Charles Darwin, Marcel Proust, Sir Winston Churchill, and Albert Einstein. Apple cofounder Steve Jobs even got down on his hands and knees to search for specks of dust on the floor during the rollout of the first Mac computer. 

 

Certainly, in our time, many habits of mind associated with workplace success—single-minded dedication, concentration, persistence, intensity—might appear to have a certain OCD-ish quality. But anybody who’s truly experienced the real OCD, or known someone who suffers from it, realizes just how nightmarish the actual condition can be. It turns people into prisoners of their own minds, locked into an ever-shrinking cell of unwanted mental preoccupations and the frantic desire to escape them—which has the paradoxical impact of strengthening them, thus reinforcing the whole miserable cycle.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Treating Children with OCD

 

The Essential Component

 

By Lynn Lyons 

 

OCD in children can operate like a kind of cult leader, demanding acceptance of an extreme view of a perilous reality and offering solutions that can’t be resisted, no matter how absurd they may sound. Given the overwhelming fear and worry the condition generates, falling in line with the cult leader can seem like the best strategy—except that it doesn’t work.

 


 

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

 

By Daniel Goleman, Bantam Books, 1995

 

From Chapter 14: Temperament Is Not Destiny (p. 225)

 

Psychotherapy—that is, systematic emotional relearning—stands as a case in point for the way experience can both change emotional patterns and shape the brain. The most dramatic demonstration comes from a study of people being treated for obsessive-compulsive disorder.12  One of the more common compulsions is hand-washing, which can be done so often, even hundreds of times in a day, that the person’s skin cracks. PET scan studies show that obsessive-compulsives have greater than normal activity in the prefontal lobes.13

 

Half of the patients in the study received the standard drug treatment, flouxetine (better known by the brand name Prozac), and half got behavior therapy. During the therapy they were systematically exposed to the object of their obsession or compulsion without performing it; patients with hand-washing compulsions were put at a sink, but not allowed to wash. At the same time they learned to question the fears and dreads that spurred them on—for example, that failure to wash would mean they would get a disease and die. Gradually, through months of such sessions, the compulsions faded, just as they did with the medication.

 

The remarkable finding, though, was a PET scan test showing that the behavior therapy patients had as significant a decrease in the activity of a key part of the emotional brain, the caudate nucleus, as did the patients successfully treated with the drug flouxetine. Their experience had changed brain function—and relieved symptoms—as effectively as the medication!

 


 

Post-Traumatic Therapy and Victims of Violence, edited by Frank M. Ochberg, M.D., 1988

 

From Chapter 3: The Role of Medication in Post-Traumatic Therapy by Walton T. Roth

 

THE IMMEDIATE POST-TRAUMATIC PERIOD (p. 46)

 

    Dissociative or somatic “conversion” reactions may occur shortly after a trauma. Dissociation is a trancelike state in which the sense of personal identity or voluntary control is suppressed. Losses of memory usually accompany dissociation, ranging from minor gaps in recall of the traumatic event to not knowing one’s own name or personal history. Sometimes the old “I” is replaced by a new personality, coming either from within the person or from an outside source. Somatic conversion reactions include perceptual alterations – anesthesias and paresthesias – and motor alterations – paralysis or weaknesses. Less often hallucinations appear, usually visual, but sometimes auditory or in another sensory modality.

 

    Rarely, the psychotic symptoms of what DSM-III calls brief reactive psychosis appear within hours or days of a trauma or during the stress of a prolonged traumatic event. If a victim shows signs of psychotic thinking, antipsychotic medication such as haloperidol may be indicated, as well as hospitalization. Examples of psychotic thinking are loose associations (trains of thought jump in irrelevant or bizarre directions), paranoid ideas (unreal ideas of persecution or of self–importance), delusions (idiosyncratic, fixed, false ideas), and ideas of reference (thinking that irrelevant environmental events are relevant). Hallucinations may accompany psychotic thinking, most often voices talking about the person in the third person, or to him.

 


 

NYC Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health

 

Understanding Psychosis

 

This video provides information on psychosis and available resources to help.

 


 

MENTAL FLOSS

 

9 Brainy Facts About the Neocortex

 

By Jordan Rosenfeld | Nov 17, 2016

 

The human body is an amazing thing. For each one of us, it’s the most intimate object we know. And yet most of us don’t know enough about it: its features, functions, quirks, and mysteries. Our series The Body explores human anatomy part by part. Think of it as a mini digital encyclopedia with a dose of wow.

 

The brain is arguably the one organ that makes you who you are—and the largest part of the brain is the neocortex. Taking up a vast amount of space in your skull, the neocortex is what allows you to do many things you take for granted, such as write and speak, have social interactions, and muse philosophically about the meaning of life. But you might not have known these nine crucial facts about this critical part of your brain.

 

9.  INJURY TO THE NEOCORTEX MAY COST YOU THE ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE.

 

If the neocortex is injured through accident, surgery or head trauma, patients may lose any number of cognitive abilities including speech, space recognition, eyesight, motor control, the ability to recognize social cues and more. Wear your helmets!

 


 

PsychCentral

 

15 Signs of Pathological Lying and How To Handle

 

Changing narratives, becoming defensive, and adding dramatic details could be signs of a pathological liar. But not always.

 

Pathological lying — also known as pseudologia fantastica, mythomania, and morbid lying — is a compulsive pattern of telling people things you know aren’t true.

 

Persistently lying can be an urge so strong that it’s difficult to overcome, similar to how compulsions can become difficult to stop for someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

 


 

invictus maneo October 5, 2015Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog

 

REB once told me his chief feature is greed. (He probably told other people other things at other times in his never-ending attempt to take money or sex from them.) I don’t think anybody is born a remorseless, vile predator, like him; I think this is learned behavior. But greed is an understandable starting tendency for developing an uncontrollable thirst for endless amounts of money, objects and sexual stimulation.

 


 

DW Documentary

Jan. 13, 2017

 

GREED – A FATAL DESIRE 

Part 2

 

From Buddhists and bankers to Eskimos and psychologists, we explore the phenomenon of greed with people from all walks of life. How can it be defined? What makes us greedy? And what are the repercussions?

 


 

brucelevy October 5, 2015

 

robertearlburton.blogspot.com/2014/05/sex-lies-and-grand-schemes-of-thought.html

 


 

jomopinataOctober 5, 2015

 

invictus maneo wrote:

 

I don’t think anybody is born a remorseless, vile predator, like him; I think this is learned behavior.

 

When I interviewed various people in the 1990s who knew Burton prior to 1970, what most surprised me was the absence of any indication of what came later, in terms of remorseless exploitative behavior. I expected reports of something “weird” or “off,” but that was not what people said; I was told (for example) that he was a capable, well liked fourth-grade teacher. So much for a theory that his psychopathy was “developmental.”

 

But later I read that damage to a region of the brain called the orbitofrontal cortex can produce something called “acquired sociopathy.”

 

See: scientificamerican.com/article/can-you-make-sociopath-through-brain-injury-trauma (which doesn’t actually mention the orbitofrontal cortex, but talks about how TBI can turn someone into a sociopath). It is commonly known that Burton was in an auto accident in Modesto in 1968 in which he sustained a serious head trauma. The notion of sociopathy acquired as a result of orbitofrontal cortex damage explains a lot. Maybe an autopsy report will tell us more (although I have every reason to believe Burton would sit up screaming on the end of the gurney if they tried to do one now).

 


 

Ames GilbertOctober 5, 2015

 

jomopinata,

 

I’ve heard a reference to this Modesto car accident once before on the blog (maybe from you?) It’s been so long ago (‘78–‘94), but I can’t recall ever hearing about it while in the FoF. I was hardly in the center of things, but I would have thought that I would have heard at least as much fuss about it as the “tennis shoulder injury” which required so much massage and Darvon—and which was the prelude to a number of seductions by Burton—and I heard about that quite a bit, both directly from Burton himself and others.

 

Anyone else recall this rumor or have evidence for it?

 


 

jomopinata October 5, 2015

 

Ames,

 

I heard about it in the early 1980s from people who had been around since the early 1970s. Apparently, Alex Horn made remarks about the head stitches which were a part of the story, although I do not remember what the remarks supposedly were.

 

The Scientific American article is simply a general interest piece on the subject of acquired sociopathy. I first read about acquired sociopathy several years ago in the book to which I link here. Start with the last two lines on p. 71, and proceed thereafter as long as you like:

 

books.google.com/books…

 

There are some pages missing, but you will get a feel for the argument.

 


 

James Mclemore October 5, 2015

 

I can only recall that Burton, while in meetings in the mid 70’s, spoke about the car accident on a couple of occasions. If my memory is correct it was always in the context of “C Influence” and how they arranged friction for us. Once again, if my memory is correct, he did make it sound as if something significant had taken place that day, but then you have to remember that he also thought that license plates and mail boxes could be quite significant.

 


 

jomopinata October 6, 2015

 

Ames, this is a better article about acquired sociopathy, a case study: brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/brain/123/6/1122.full.pdf

 


 

Tim Campion October 6, 2015

 

Ames,

  

I too recall Burton speaking about the accident at large meetings in the mid-70s and, as James stated, always in the context of Higher Forces/C Influence providing friction for our awakening.

 

This post [135.] by Ollie provides a modern retelling. The details seem consistent with what I heard back then.

 


 

129. OllieSeptember 26, 2011

 

WhaleRider wrote, “My guess is that the cult is currently preoccupied with the next doomsday prediction in 2012.”

 

Indeed, Robert Burton is, when there is some spare time and he is not detecting “the message” in yet another circle or square, a number six or four. I came across some recent material:

 

Robert Burton on 6/22/2011:

 

 “We received wonderful information on our visit to Dallas, Houston, and Fort Worth, and had four very nice dinners with two students in Dallas, GC and CE. As we were leaving, I mentioned to them that I felt the end was quite near for humanity. Just then there was a flash of lighting in the sky, and that night a tornado appeared in the region. I have been in many earthquakes with Influence C, but this was my first tornado! Related to the ‘circling centuries’ [this refers to a few lines by Virgil: ‘Now the last age by Cumae’s Sibyl sung/Has come and gone, and the majestic roll/Of circling centuries begins anew’], a group in Oakland predicted that the earth would come to an end on May 21st – the day we were leaving Texas. As soon as we drove away and waved goodbye to the two students, within thirty meters we saw this license plate in front of us saying ‘ALL DUN.’ Unbeknownst to us, when we left G and C, it was six o’clock at Apollo – the time at which the prophecy claimed that the world would end. There is a video we made of L pushing a globe. We call it ‘turning the world.’ After the globe began turning, he stopped it, and it weighed five thousand pounds! Then he started turning it again, pushing it four times. What this means is that Leonardo will see us though the Last Judgment. I believe that the Last Judgment will be the work of the angel Paul. Then Leonardo will begin a new civilization here at Apollo, with the new seed people from around the world. Only when we walked away did S realize that it was six o’clock Apollo time.”

 

Robert Burton on 9/14/2011:

 

 “We have been working with Influence C for forty-four years, and are still waiting for them to realize their plans. But we are much closer – everything is in place now for the Last Judgment. It is becoming much more probable.

 

Next month, on October 4th, there will [be] 444 days to the Mayan prediction of the end [of] the cycle on December 21, 2012. The messages I am receiving indicate that they will not enact the Last Judgment in 2012, but more likely in 2018. It is based upon several signals they have given. In fact, as I was speaking about this with Dorian today, an email arrived and my iPad chimed just as I said ‘2018.’”

 


 

WhaleRider September 26, 2011

 

Ollie:
Priceless! Thank you so much for your invaluable report.

 

“…as I was speaking about this with Dorian today, an email arrived and my iPad chimed just as I said ‘2018.’”

 

“As we were leaving, I mentioned to them that I felt the end was quite near for humanity. Just then there was a flash of lighting in the sky, and that night a tornado appeared in the region.”

 

“As soon as we drove away and waved goodbye to the two students, within thirty meters we saw this license plate in front of us saying ‘ALL DUN.’”

 

~Robert E. Burton

 

Ideas of reference and delusions of reference involve people having a belief or perception that irrelevant, unrelated or innocuous phenomena in the world refer to them directly or have special personal significance: ‘the notion that everything one perceives in the world relates to one’s own destiny’.

 

In psychiatry, delusions of reference form part of the diagnostic criteria for psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia, delusional disorder, or bipolar disorder during the elevated stages of mania.”

 

~Wikipedia

 


 

Tim CampionSeptember 26, 2011

 

Ollie,

  

Truth is indeed stranger, and more entertaining, than fiction! Though he’s in large part addressing a new audience, the script is right out of the ’70s. (Though I must admit it’s even more candid and detailed than anything I heard at the time. Perhaps we are approaching the final chapter, and he feels the need to tell his personal story, colorfully embellished as it may be, filling in the blanks.)

 

Returning to that “hallowed” September 5, 1967 date assures the maximum number of 44th anniversaries to be celebrated in the coming years (along with their attendant fundraising campaigns. Some clever marketing there.) And the newly-repackaged loving relationship with Alex Horn is “sweet”.

 

And those ALL DUN license plates have a habit of showing up at the wackiest times! (This is at least the third occasion that one’s been trotted out.)

 

But does it really matter that he makes this stuff up? Perhaps those around him are content to just watch and occasionally participate in the show, to humor the man in his twilight years, heedless of the personal cost and the fact they harbor a criminal.

 


 

Mind Out of Rhyme September 2, 2016

 

Imagine the hideous twist of fate required for life to turn you into something like this:

 

 


 

ton2uSeptember 2, 2016

 

FOF = Fellowship of Fops ? 

 

Why this ninny is so excessively concerned with appearances, clothing, luxuries, minor details, refined language, leisurely hobbies – seems all too obvious: the narcissist lacks empathy, compassion, and in general the qualities which contribute to emotional maturity reflecting a depth of soul. This malignant narcissist is overly concerned with appearances and superficialities (see photo), because he’s dead on the inside, there is no depth, there is no soul – so to him it’s all about surface.

 

It’s truly ironic, absurd, that an individual so afflicted is able to pass himself off as some type of “spiritual” leader – it says something tragic about the sycophants who continue to follow and support the fool….the joke’s on you.

 


 

Cult SurvivorFebruary 18, 2019

 

I just found this review of the FOF on Yelp:

 

Charles S., San Francisco, CA, 4/14/2018

 

I was a member of this organization 36 years ago for six years. I’ve been aware of its “esoteric” (hidden or hiding) activities ever since I left. That the leader of this organization is an individual you don’t want your male children around is a given. That you don’t want your boyfriend or husband to be around him also is a given. If you’re a good-looking heterosexual male, and you don’t want to be “converted,” stay away. If you’re an average-looking homosexual male, there’s nothing here for you except what, below, I say you’ll find: enslavement / conformity. The “Teacher” has a prohibition against homosexuality (except whereas his own homosexual needs are concerned). Whoever you are, do your due diligence and research the hell out of this organization and its leader on the Internet and in old and recent newspapers before you do any serious decision-making in trying to join and taking your orders from a sociopathic homosexual man who refers to himself as a goddess.

 

This organization is a pseudo-spiritual group of pseudo-psychological self-development but one of the most expensive cults in the world to join. I worked three jobs to afford the fees and paid $5,000 a year back in the day. It has an alluring surface-front but a slavish, nefarious underbelly, not unlike most cults if you’re objective. This cult and its leader have hurt and destroyed countless lives. Joining the group is a risk that has the potential for scarring you for life. That being said, there are many individuals in this organization who have been members for decades and are even grandparents now. That they remain inside a homo-pedophilic operation and don’t even try to leave is a major symptom of their mental and moral enslavement to the material seductions this cult and its leader offer: wine, theater, and music, with all the pretensions of owning or having “culture.” Instead of finding truth like a true seeker and a true sense of belonging, should you join, you shall find perversion, group-think, domination, corruption, and vanity. Hypocrisy, however, runs through every level of this group like an air-borne infection.

 

Source: yelp.com/biz/fellowship-of-friends-oregon-house

 


 

Hypocrisy: quackery, affectation, bad faith, hollowness, lip service, bigotry, pretense of virtue or piety, empty ceremony, sanctimony… The feigning of qualities and beliefs that one does not actually possess or hold, esp. a pretense of virtue, piety or moral superiority

 

Hypocritical: deceptive, double-dealing, insincere, dishonest

 

Hypocrite: liar, pretender, fraud, deceiver, charlatan, bigot, quack, Pharisee, sham, actor, cheat, trickster, malingerer, swindler, traitor, wolf in sheep’s clothing, masquerader, fake, two-face

 

From Webster’s New World Dictionary & Thesaurus

 


 

RationalWiki

 

Hypocrisy is a deceitful tactic used most often by those in power, who say “you must do this” or “you cannot do that” or “this is wrong,” while purporting that they themselves do not do said thing when, in fact, they do.

 

A hypocrite (from the Greek, “actor”) is someone who espouses a view, perspective, or philosophy without adhering in any meaningful way to it themselves, especially if they claim that their philosophy applies to all people. The ultimate snarkology of the hypocrite is “do as I say, not as I do.” Generally, “hypocrite” is a pejorative term; there are practically no cases where hypocrisy is considered a good thing unless you’re a politician like Donald Trump.

 

Deceit is a term denoting the misrepresentation of the truth.

 

Some forms of deceit may be unintentional or the result of a logical fallacy, and don’t necessarily mean the speaker intends to deceive (also see Hanlon’s razor).

 

Deceit can take many forms:

 

Affinity fraud — abuse of the trust of others because you are (or pretend to be) a member of the same socio-economic, religious or ethnic group.

 

Censorship — silencing all dissenting viewpoints.

 

Equivocation — using wordplay in a way that you’re not technically lying, but you are trying to give an incorrect impression.

 

Red herring — besides being a type of pickled fish, is a fallacious argument style in which an irrelevant or false topic is presented in an attempt to divert attention from the original issue, with the intention of “winning” an argument by leading attention away from the original argument and on to another, often unrelated topic.

 

Quote mining — presenting a real (but “hairdressed”) quote, deliberately placed out of context and presented in a new or different context, so as to make it seem like it meant something else than was originally intended. This differs from making a “misquotation”, as those are simply mistakenly attributed or phrased wrongly.

 

Lying by omission — failing to report something that wasn’t specifically asked for (yet perhaps cannot be asked for as it is an unknown, unknown to other people), with the express intent to deceive others via manipulating their perception of the truth.

 

Burning the evidence — attempting to secure plausible deniability by destroying possible trails of evidence that could, if left intact, allow potential investigators to correctly identify the true culprit.

 

One single proof — claiming that without a specific key proof, the whole argument is invalid.

 

Propaganda — affect or control the perceptions and behavior of a population.

 

Historical revisionism — revising history to something it wasn’t.

 

Willful ignorance — metaphorically (or literally…) sticking your fingers in your ears and going “Lalalala! I can’t hear you!”.

 

Statistics — sometimes statistics are used as a drunken man uses lampposts for support rather than illumination.

 

Bullshit — nonsensical claptrap, or words without any particular connection to reality.

 


 

The false teacher represents the ultimate hypocrite in the field of human development. ~ Idries Shah

 


 

Insider June 27, 2020 Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog

 

No doubt, everyone is aware of the significance of today’s date. Six years ago on June 27, 2014, The Absolute paid His first noticeable visit to Apollo and Robert Burton. The following is a transcript from a meeting Burton led 800 days later, when She (having changed its gender) came a 2nd time, and when details of the visit were finally made public, including a never-before-seen photograph of Burton spontaneously taking a knee (actually 2 knees).

 

‘This is a photograph of me kneeling and bowing, kissing the ground during the first visit of the Absolute. It occurred right in the front of the Gallery at the beginning of the rose arbor, after you walk through the four cypress trees and turn left. Petrarch said, “I bless the place, the time, and the hour of the day/that my eyes aimed their sight at such a height.” Here we see that. Then we walked straight ahead, beyond the path on the right, and our dog Apollo was doing his business – number two – on the lawn. It was the third state. Nicky [J*hns*n] was with Him. Nicky is now in drug rehab.

 

Afterwards Sasha and I went into the house. (Dorian came later.) He then did an act of humility for me. All I could think of was to get down and kiss Sasha’s feet as an act of humility too. Who are we that He should do an act of humility for us? But that was the only response I could think of. We are in the same Pavilion with Him right now. Even in your ninth life, you will probably not receive this exceedingly special experience. All I can do is speak for our school. One reason that He is visiting us is because the first angel visited us and we are at the end of the sequence of civilizations. We are the thirty-third expression of schools in different galaxies.’

 


 

InsiderJuly 9, 2021

 

The following is from robertearlburton.org, a Fellowship-sponsored website and recruiting tool (and hotbed of misinformation and outright lies):

 

“Year after year, Robert Burton’s students have come to him with their questions. Year after year, with unfaltering patience, he has taught that the only true solutions to any perceived ‘problem’ lie in our efforts to self-remember and to transform our suffering.”

 

Actually, no one comes to Burton with questions. He has disallowed this kind of interaction for 30-40 years. He cannot be approached in person, by phone, or by texting. Fact is, Burton simply does not have a Teacher-Student relationship with anyone in the Fellowship, not even with his “inner circle” or “entourage,” as was made clear on this forum by “knoti” in 2018 (page 162, #111). Any trace of such relationships back in the early days degraded and crystallized into a King-Subject relationship, or Emperor-Serf, or Dictator-Slave.

 

Robert Burton does not give a damn about anyone’s “evolution” or any aspect of their “spiritual work.”

 

Yet Burton is still universally referred to as “The Teacher” (though he teaches nothing, save how to manipulate people for one’s own selfish ends), and he refers to the Fellowsheepers as “my Students who will follow me to Paradise.” And the illusion will certainly persist right through to Burton’s physical demise, and likely long beyond.

 


 

diegoJuly 10, 2021

 

More exquisite bollocks from the propaganda dept. They’ll do and say anything to attract fresh meat for Bob or money for Bob to buy kitsch antiques with.

 

The fellowship has an absurd imaginary picture of itself. The miraculous conscious school guided by angels and the quintessence of sublime wonderfulness, Robert Burton. Truth is it’s a hideous cult run by a deluded and increasingly demented predator and serial abuser and a dozen or so enablers. Burton hasn’t answered a personal question in years, possibly close to two decades. Last one was at a meeting in St. Petersburg when the fiance of Gay Hussar basically asked him why he was having sex with her lover. He stumbled to answer, told her she was poison and had her booted.

 

He can’t empathize, he’s a malignant narcissist, he doesn’t know how, it’s an impossibility for him. The attempt to empathize would challenge his wildly whacky notion of himself as someone the Absolute visits to give a blow job to, as an act of humility. To empathize would require him to enter into the place of a sub-species, a human being.

 

Relationship with him is conditional on the other person or sub-species simultaneously recognizing and accepting his absolute magnificence and their imperfect wretchedness. If you have a problem, remember yourself and transform your suffering even if Burton is the primary cause of your suffering, e.g. if you have a problem, being fucked up the ass by him and his little cocktail sausage of a dick, separate dear and transform your suffering, after all you’re being punked by a Goddess in the body of a man and shouldn’t act like an ingrate unaware of his incalculable good luck.

 

After said meeting, cards with sanitized pithy quotes were read out by the flock at meetings, and he would wiseacre with a previously rehearsed cosmic response. No more embarrassing questions, total control re-established, Angel feathers no longer in danger of being ruffled, blow jobs after the meeting.

 


 

InsiderJuly 11, 2021

 

Fellowship gatherings, no matter how large or small, formal or casual, remind me of “improv,” or improvisational theater. It’s like each person arrives and is secretly told to play a certain role. They can do or say anything, interact with each other as they wish, but they have to stay in the role assigned to them. Unbeknownst to each person, each other person is given the same role to play.

 

And the role that each person is given?

 

That of a “conscious being.” Each person is to pretend they are “conscious,” and to be as convincing as possible.

 

The challenge, of course, is that no one has any idea what this means. [They] have a more or less definite image of how to act like they just fell in love, or their preferred team just lost in the World Cup final match, or they just inherited a million dollars. But since there is no actual, inner experience of what “consciousness” feels like, or indeed who or what is able to experience “consciousness,” or whether “consciousness” is even an experience at all, each person trying to act “conscious” has little to go on, other than imitating someone else who claims to be “conscious,” or at least more “conscious” than they are.

 

And so, off they all go to the stage of Burton’s “galleria,” or a “meeting,” or a dinner or breakfast with Burton, or just with each other, dressed as a “conscious being” would dress, walking the “conscious” walk, talking “conscious,” putting on all the “conscious” facial expressions and smiles, acting “consciously” happy, “consciously” and conspicuously eating and digesting all the supposed “higher-hydrogen impressions.”

 

And then they all go back home, smug and content that they are, indeed, one step closer to permanent “consciousness” and a free pass to Paradise.

 


 

Brought Up in ApolloOctober 23, 2021

 

Does anyone have recommendations for therapists for the children brought up in the FOF?

 


 

Associated PressOctober 25, 2021

 

Check out these resources:

 

Dr. Janja Lalich, Ph.D., (Chico):
International Authority on Cults and Coercion:
cultresearch.org/how-to-find-a-qualified-therapist

 

About Dr. Janja Lalich, Ph.D.:
cultresearch.org/about
wikipedia.org/wiki/Janja Lalich

 

Dr. Margaret Singer, Ph.D., now deceased, for historic perspective:
wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret Singer
Books authored and/or co-authored with Lalich.

 

Here is something to read immediately:
Margaret T. Singer Collection:
prem-rawat-bio.org/academic/singer.html

 

I hope this helps.

 


 

Robert Earl Burton and The Fellowship of Friends

 

An Unauthorized Blogography of

“The Teacher” and His Cult

 

 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2011

 

Children’s stories

 

[ed. – Like his mentor Alex Horn, Robert Burton (often through intermediaries) controlled most family planning decisions. From a distance, it appears part of a strategy to utterly disempower his followers. See also: “ton’s” Story and Kids Say the Darndest Things.]

 

From Stella Wirk’s website:

 

In the first year or so the group gained a reputation for wrecking marriages. Of the first batch of couples who joined 37 of them split up within a few months!

 

Rules about children caused a lot of emotional trouble. Burton’s suggestion was to wait 5 years after marriage to have children, and sometimes that’s a nice idea that doesn’t work. Burton told the hierarchy of the group to tell these people to have abortions if the “timing” was wrong! They did, and women had abortions!

 

Linda [Linda Tulisso/Kaplan] who worked closely with the teacher told us in Amsterdam in 1980 that she was “only following orders” when she told women members to have abortions! (She was a member since the early 1970s, and still is as far as we know.) Burton wanted children to be a certain age at Armageddon, for which he claimed, “I will bridge the gap for humanity at Armageddon.” Ack! People were believing this! If one *believes* this, one MUST obey. Fear of “higher forces” was instilled in members, and most easily introduced into people who did not actualize the Work ideas within themselves by personal observation so they could see what was going on and avoid the pitfalls.

 

Children were frequently spoken of as being a considerable waste of “higher energies,” and some women were convinced to give their children away!

 


 

diego October 29, 2021

 

S.F. Gate article on the FOF from 27 Oct 21

 

sfgate.com/sf-culture/article/revelations-podcast-explores-fellowship-of-friends-16565228.php

 


 

WhaleRider October 31, 2021
 

A BIG THANK YOU to all who participated.
 

I really enjoyed how Jennings portrayed his observations with the foreknowledge of what he was getting into, unlike the rest of us, that is, before the blinding cognitive dissonance sets in.

 


 

InsiderNovember 1, 2021

 

I would guess that the Fellowship let Jennings into the compound in order to preempt any negative interviews and information that he was sure to encounter, or had already encountered, from the blogs, ex-members, etc. So, as he mentions, they love-bombed him, took him to a Shakespeare play at the Theatron, invited him to an evening reception somewhere in the Galleria gardens, even arranged a flight over Apollo with Peter Morrow. Who wouldn’t be impressed, and speak only in glowing terms, after such a welcome?

 

But, from the Fellowship point of view, Jennings turned out to be a Trojan Horse. He was on a mission which some suspected, but chose to ignore, and, due to a combination of naivety and vanity, the Fellowship gave him just what he was looking for.

 

There must be quite a number of really pissed off people right now, not the least of whom is Robert Burton. I don’t think Jennings will be invited to another reception anytime soon!

 


 

diego November 2, 2021

 

Jennings Brown creator of the 6 part Revelations podcast on Spotify copied and pasted here from his twitter account @tjenningsbrown.

 

Oct 4
5/I’ve seen and heard strange and harrowing things while reporting this. I was there for the final black-tie dinner before the “end of the world.” I watched them perform Shakespeare (one of the angels), interviewed members who participated in sex rituals. It’s all in this series.

 

6/I was asked to join the Fellowship multiple times. Often I couldn’t help but be entranced by the bizarre, extraordinary, intoxicating world they built. But ultimately it became clear all their extravagance is a veil for exploitation and cruelty. No telling how many were harmed.

 

Well done Jennings and thanks, “a veil for exploitation and cruelty” is exactly what it is.

 


 

Ames GilbertNovember 2, 2021

 

I’m one of the ones that keeps repeating Burton’s quote about conscience, because I feel it is central to the debate.

“Conscience is just a collection of I’s. Anyone accumulating too much should leave the school.”

I posted about how this phrase first came to my attention, in 1994, here:
https://tinyurl.com/r94e2n5a
(page 50, post #59)

 


 

 

 

About

 

The Fellowship of Friends is an elite and secretive spiritual organization. Ex-members say it’s a doomsday cult and that its leader, Robert Earl Burton, preys on his followers. On October 20, 2018, journalist Jennings Brown was at the Fellowship’s extravagant compound, observing the final black-tie dinner before the end of the world. Robert had predicted the apocalypse was going to begin the next morning and Jennings wanted to report on the community as it prepared for a global catastrophe. But Jennings soon realized the end-times prophecy was just the beginning of the story, he’d spend the next three years investigating the Fellowship and its dark secrets.

 

open.spotify.com/show

 


 

JenningsNovember 2, 2021

 

Hi, Jennings here. I’ve been thinking about Insider’s comment about people in the Fellowship seeing me as a Trojan Horse. I wanted to address this, for anyone who helped me report this story and now feels disappointed with how it turned out. When I initially reached out to the Fellowship, I was interested in profiling a unique spiritual community with a rich and complicated history. There had not been much reporting on the organization aside from coverage about the winery and abuse allegations. I knew there had to be more to the story, but I had no idea how that story was going to turn out. I wanted to see what the Fellowship is like in its current form and understand the perspective of students who are still involved. I tried to give members the space to share what the Fellowship means to them. I met many wonderful and kind members while reporting this. Many of them gave me a lot of their time, and welcomed me into their homes and to Apollo events—and for that I am grateful. Thanks to them I was able to get a more complete portrait of the Fellowship, and showcase some of its beauty, in addition to the darker aspect. As one of the members told me in an interview: “The Fellowship, it’s a hologram. You look at it this way and it looks miraculous. You look at it this way and it’s a horror…let’s say a Fellini movie.” I became fascinated by that duality. And the more time I spent exploring that duality, the more it became clear that many people were hurt and exploited. As a journalist, I had an obligation to report on that harm and speak truth to power.

 

If any current or former members would ever like to connect, you’re welcome to email me at jenningsbrown@protonmail.com. I’d love to hear your perspective or talk about anything you think I missed.

 


 

Jomo PiñataNovember 10, 2021

 

nypost.com/2021/11/09/sex-rituals-and-fine-wines-inside-alleged-cali-cult-the-fellowship-of-friends/

 


 

diegoNovember 21, 2021

 

I somehow missed these podcasts back in 2019. They seem to have no connection with Jennings’s [podcasts] and contain a wealth of historical information, detail and psychological insight. There are two parts, links are below. I found them to be a chilling and good companion and introduction to Jennings’s series.

 

Hard to believe I was involved in this horror show. Burton is a truly sick, perverted fuck. Many of the gory details are out there now for people to find and yet and still, only the surface has been scratched.

 

Largely the crimes of the early years are documented now and available here and there in the public domain for anyone with a mind to find them and piece them together, but Burton refined his strategies of abuse and got better and better at it; he also perfected ways of isolating himself from prosecution and litigation whilst the predation escalated. He continues today largely unimpeded, financially supported by the naive and needy, and enabled by the knowing and willingly complicit.

 

Fifty years of lies, abuse, manipulation and madness, predation, greed, addiction, coercion and intimidation…….

 

“I am the brightest light since Jesus Christ.” – Burton

 

Buyer beware.

 

 

 

 

 


 

ton2uAugust 9, 2015

 

Though difficult to recognize when you’re in the cult, after you step outside of cult programming, its use of mind-control techniques becomes all too obvious.

 

For example, the “eternal damnation” meme is already deeply embedded in the collective psyche of “western” (judeo-christian and including muslim) cultures. This idea is a control mechanism that’s been used by religions for hundreds of years – along with belief that the only way to avoid damnation is to adhere to the religion and to follow its dictates. Burton adopts and uses this idea with the threat of one’s soul “going to the moon” should you “lose” the school – it’s the “4th way” equivalent of “eternal damnation.”

 

Another mind-control technique has to do with the nature of Burton’s numerous false prophecies, there’s always a prediction of some cataclysmic event hanging in the air, threatening all those who are not part of his “school.”

 

Whether the “prophecies” are true or false isn’t the point, nor the effect…. these “prophecies” are simply designed to scare those who are fooled into believing.

 

Psychological fear tactics act as part of the invisible fence which keeps the “flock” in their pen.

 

 

wolves-in-sheeps-clothing

 


 

Psychology Today

March 5, 2022

 

The Danger of Dark Triad Leaders

 

The link between psychological disorders and power.

 

By Steve Taylor Ph.D.

 

The sheer horror of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is so shocking that it’s difficult to process. It’s hard to believe that a leader — and his wider government — can be so malevolent and destructive. It seems like a return to an earlier, more brutal era of European history.

 

The war highlights the link between psychological disorders and political power. It was the British historian and politician Lord Action who coined the famous phrase, “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” However, this phrase doesn’t take account of another factor: that power attracts people who are already corrupt (and who become even more corrupt once they attain power).

 

While some psychologists like to think in terms of specific disorders like psychopathy and narcissistic personality disorder, I prefer — like many psychologists nowadays — to think in terms of a “dark triad” of three personality traits that appear together: psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism. This makes sense because these traits almost always overlap and are difficult to distinguish from one another.

 

Dark triad personalities crave power and find powerful positions easy to attain, because of their ruthlessness and manipulative skills. Since they lack empathy and conscience, they have no qualms against deceiving and exploiting other people in their rise to the top. Since they are often charismatic and charming, they often gain the support of ordinary people, who are impressed by their apparent confidence and decisiveness.

 

In my view, some of the suffering that has filled human history since the beginning of the 20th century has been caused by psychologically disordered dark triad leaders. Before the 20th century, inheritance-based systems of power restricted access to leadership roles. But once these social structures broke down — and particularly if they weren’t replaced by democratic systems — the most brutal and amoral individuals tended to rise to the most powerful positions. Some examples may include Stalin, Hitler, Mao Zedong, Mussolini, General Franco (of Spain) Pol Pot (of Cambodia), Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi. Towards the end of the twentieth century, most of Africa and South America was ruled by ruthless, amoral dictators who inflicted massive amounts of suffering on their own people.

 


 

RAWSTORY

 

Trump’s latest hate rally: A master class

in cult mind control

 

By Chauncy Devega, Salon – Commentary

Published April 30, 2022

 

Donald Trump’s political circus and freak show is continuing its American tour. Everywhere it stops, Donald Trump unleashes a torrent of lies, hatred, ignorance, bigotry, racism, narcissism, authoritarianism, threats of violence and other antisocial and evil values.

 

Trump’s political rallies resemble George Orwell’s “two minutes of hate” from 1984, expanded to two hours or so.

 


 

BUSINESS INSIDER

August 20, 2022

 

Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, and Newt Gingrich spoke at an event affiliated with the Unification Church in Seoul, South Korea, despite Japan controversy

 

By Alia Shoaib

 

The Unification Church, formed in South Korea in the 1950s by self-declared messiah Sun Myung Moon, is known to have deep-rooted ties with conservative politicians worldwide. Its followers are often colloquially referred to as “Moonies.”

 

Former CIA director and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich spoke in person at a conference affiliated with the church in Seoul on August 12 to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the death of Sun Myung Moon.

 

 Pompeo and Gingrich’s speeches spoke about the value of religious freedom and the dangers of communism – a view they share with the church.

 

The controversial religious organization – formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification – has been in the spotlight following the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

 

The assassin told police that he was motivated by anger towards Abe and his links to the church. It is widely described as a cult by former members.

 

Former President Donald Trump recorded a video message played during the meeting, per Japanese outlet NTV News 24. During his speech, Trump said that Abe was a “good friend and a great man” and praised Reverend Moon’s widow Hak Ja Han, who now heads up the church.

 

Other billed speakers included former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former US ambassadors and generals.

 

According to Dr. Steven Hassan, an expert on cults and a former Moonie, the ties between right-wing politicians and the church are due to a shared hatred of communism and the group’s vast wealth and influence.

 

The Moon empire has been estimated to be worth billions of dollars and includes ownership of the conservative newspaper The Washington Times.

 

“It doesn’t shock me that Pompeo, the former head of the CIA and the State Department, spoke for them. I’m sure he got a lot of money. I’m sure Trump got a lot of money,” Hassan told Insider, speculating about their speaker’s fees. “I’m sure they don’t believe Moon was the Messiah.”

 


 

POLITICAL PONEROLOGY

 

A Science on the Nature of Evil

Adjusted for Political Purposes

 

 


 

Psychology Today

 

 

James Fallon Ph.D.
The Psychopath Inside

 

The Mind of a Dictator
Exploring the minds of psychopaths and dictators.
Posted November 11, 2011

 

For the past 18 years, I have studied the brain activity, psychology, and genetics of psychiatric patients and the brain scans of psychopathic serial killers. A few months ago, I was approached by a non-profit human rights organization to create a presentation on the mind of a dictator—an especially compelling issue in light of recent uprisings against autocrats in the Middle East and North Africa.

 

After combing through literature on the world’s worst dictators and combining it with my neuroscience research and that of others on psychopaths, I presented my theory in May at the Oslo Freedom Forum, an annual conference produced by the Human Rights Foundation. The following article is based on my speech, an attempt to look inside the minds of these elusive and powerful world players.

 


 

Exploring

yourmind

 

July 28, 2022

 

People who lived through the 80’s might remember this incredible case that reverberated around the whole world. Known as “the psychopath little girl,” young Beth Thomas terrorized her entire family. However, it started with a terrible trigger. Even today it will put your hair on end.

 

Everything that happens during childhood leaves a mark on the child. That’s why it’s so important to have good emotional development in this formative time. The problem is that sometimes this doesn’t happen, and problems come out later.

 

That’s what happened to Beth. She went through unspeakable things, eventually earning herself the nickname, “the psychopath little girl.”

 


 

TRAUMA and RECOVERY

 


 

April 21, 2012

 

Subject: This is how it works…

 

Linda and Sam,

 

I recently read ‘Trauma & Recovery’ by Judith Herman — a powerful book. Here’s a passage that speaks to many of our common experiences:

 

“In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator’s first line of defense. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens. To this end, he marshals an impressive array of arguments, from the most blatant denial to the most sophisticated and elegant rationalization. After every atrocity, one can expect to hear the same predictable apologies, or it never happened; the victim lies; the victim exaggerates; the victim brought it upon herself; in any case it is time to forget the past and move on. The more powerful the perpetrator, the greater is his prerogative to name and define reality, and the more completely his arguments prevail.”

 

Except, of course, that Gans & Co. never apologize, ever.

 


 

THE EAST HAMPTON STAR MAGAZINE 

December 16, 2019

 

My Life in a Cult

 

For 23 years, Spencer L. Schneider says he was trapped in an ultra-shadowy group that stole from him his dignity, his youth, and his psychological freedom. Here, for the first time, he writes frankly about his secret life in the School of Sharon Gans.

 


 

 Patch 

New York City, NY

 

Plaza Denizen Ran ‘Secret Cult’ Masquerading

As Study Group: Suit

 

Kathleen Culliton, Patch Contributing Writer

Posted Wed. September 22, 2021

 

 

NEW YORK CITY — An alleged “ultra-secret cult” masquerading as a philosophic study group squeezed millions of dollars out of followers who funded their leaders’ lavish lifestyle at the Plaza Hotel, a new lawsuit contends.

 

Two former members of the Odyssey Study Group say they paid $400 a month for the privilege of serving the late founders Sharon Gans and her husband Alex Horn, both of whom fled San Francisco amid allegations of violence, child neglect and “brainwashing,” according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Manhattan’s supreme court.

 

“Through methods traditionally utilized by cults to groom, intimidate, weaken, gaslight, and exploit their victims, OSG coerced and tricked its members,” the suit contends.

 

“The members of the cult made Defendants Sharon Gans and others very rich.”

 


 

Seeing Into the Heart of Things

 

Thirty-one years ago, I joined a group that I later recognized as a cult. I left the group in 2005 and the story is not over yet…

 


 

BBC Reel

April 26, 2022 | Psychology

 

The psychological tricks that make cults so dangerous

 

Thousands of groups known as cults have arisen over history. But most cults claim not to be cults, and many people involved might not even be aware they are in one. So how do cults lure people in?

 

Tui McLean explores the secret world of cults through a psychological lens, examining what a cult actually is, and how some cults have been able to make ordinary people do unthinkable things.

 


 

Esther Friedman

 

Gentle Souls Revolution

 

Welcome to GSR Healing Arts. Have you had a strange experience in a group? Did you find this site researching cults? I understand. In 2006, a “new friend” invited me to a “philosophy group”. In 2011, I left a cult.

 

Daniel Shaw, author of Traumatic Narcissism, offers this formula: bad luck plus timing = recruitment. No one “joins” a cult. Cults lie to potential members in vulnerable moments. They recruit through deception.

 


 

The Clinician
Spring 2018

 

Books Written by NYSSCSW Members
Reviewed by Debra Kuppersmith, LCSW

 

BOOK REVIEW

 

Traumatic Narcissism:
Relational Systems of Subjugation

 

By Daniel Shaw
(Routledge 2014)

 

 

The trauma referred to in Daniel Shaw’s title is not experienced by narcissists, but by those who find themselves in relationships with them. In this powerful and highly readable book, Shaw describes in detail his understanding of what it means to be entrenched in a relationship in which an authority figure aims to subjugate another.

 

His work on this subject is informed by his personal history of living in an ashram in upstate New York for 10 years. While there, he was repeatedly denigrated by his guru and finally, after enduring this for years, was able to walk away. This experience inspired him to try to understand what drove his guru to interact with him and others in this manner and why the guru’s followers participated in their own humiliation . . .

 


     

    Jomo PiñataApril 1, 2022Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog

     

    Coming this summer, a book about the Alex Horn/Sharon Gans cult:

     

    “We were invisible. We had to be. We took an oath of absolute secrecy. We never even told our immediate families who we were. We went about our lives in New York City. Just like you. We were your accountants, money managers, lawyers, executive recruiters, doctors. We owned your child’s private school and sold you your brownstone. But you’d never guess our secret lives, how we lived in a kind of silent terror and fervor. There were hundreds of us.”

     

    Right under the noses of neighbors, clients, spouses, children, and friends, a secret society, simply called School—a cult of snared Manhattan professionals—has been led by the charismatic, sociopathic and dangerous leader Sharon Gans for decades. Spencer Schneider was recruited in the eighties and he stayed for more than twenty-three years as his life disintegrated, his self-esteem eroded, and he lined the pockets of Gans and her cult.

     

    Cult members met twice weekly, though they never acknowledged one another outside of meetings or gatherings. In the name of inner development, they endured the horrors of mental, sexual, and physical abuse, forced labor, arranged marriages, swindled inheritances and savings, and systematic terrorizing. Some of them broke the law. All for Gans.

     

    “During those years,” Schneider writes, “my world was School. That’s what it’s like when you’re in a cult, even one that preys on and caters to New York’s educated elite. This is my story of how I got entangled in School and how I got out.”

     

    At its core, Manhattan Cult Story is a cautionary tale of how hundreds of well-educated, savvy, and prosperous New Yorkers became fervent followers of a brilliant but demented cult leader who posed as a teacher of ancient knowledge. It’s about double-lives, the power of group psychology, and how easy it is to be radicalized—all too relevant in today’s atmosphere of conspiracy and ideologue worship.

     

    simonandschuster.com/books/Manhattan-Cult-Story/Spencer-Schneider/9781950994557

     

    Gans died in 2021. More about the Horn/Gans group here: nypost.com/2019/11/11/inside-the-alleged-cult-that-has-been-quietly-operating-in-ny-for-decades

     


     

    Drinking On The Job – DOTJ – February 21, 2021

     

    Season 1 – Episode 93: David Kulko

     

    David Kulko was being groomed to take over a cult but instead of drinking the Kool Aid he drank mezcal and found his true light.

     


     

    Jomo PiñataApril 9, 2022

     

    More fun with Alex Horn and Sharon Gans: cultvaultpodcast.com/podcast/episode/320a879e/161-author-esther-friedman-part-1-sharon-gans-esoteric-school-odyssey-study-group

     


     

    Spotify

     

    Trust Me: Cults, Extreme Belief, and Manipulation

     

    PODCAST EPISODE

     

    Spencer Schneider: Sharon Gans, School, &

    a Manhattan Cult Story

     


     

    ResearchGate

    December 2019

     

    Malignant Narcissism and Power:

    A Psychodynamic Exloration of Madness and Leadership

     

    Authors: Charles Zeiders and Peter Devlin

     

     

    INTRODUCTION [excerpt]

     

    Across the world, individuals and societies are impacted by unprecedented disruptive influences – globalization, neoliberalism, climate change, war, rumors of war, economic uncertainty, cultural breakdown, and mass migration. Ours is a trepidatious time when anxious people seek certainties in all manner of saviors and would-be messiahs, whose mad interiors are not at first outwardly evident but whose narcissism and criminality pose an existential threat.

     

    Prior to our graduate work, Peter Devlin and I were earnest young men when we met on Philadelphia’s famous South Street in the late 1980s. At some dramatic point amidst our always-animated early discussions, Devlin pulled from his backpack a copy of Erich Fromm’s The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (1977) and brandished the tome at me. He declared that Fromm’s work would stand the test of time; he described it as a prophetic, poly-display masterpiece. Devlin thus introduced me to an expansive form of psychodynamic, psychosocial criticism that, to varying degrees, has subsequently informed both of our clinical and scholarly pursuits. We stand firm in the Frommian conviction that psychodynamic theory is instrumental to establishing healthful interpretations, not only for the single analysand, but also for the larger society. Like Fromm, we find in the psychoanalytic tradition a body of thought that is comprehensive enough to be a critical theory of the human condition – one applicable to the mental phenomena of an individual, a group, or a world.

     

    Operating out of this mindset throughout our clinical lifetimes, we have witnessed an eruption of patients with signs and symptoms immediately emergent from institutional betrayals – antisocial policy, the security state, corporate surveilance, predatory lending, downsizing, cancelled health plans, religious rip-offs, mass fraud, and the extraction economy. They may have dashed hopes from a parade of ingenious, charismatic leaders whose tenure culminated in personal miseries and community calamities. Like Fromm, Devlin and I hold fast to the notion that informed, self-possessed people and professionals have a great deal to offer social elements seeking genuine safety from both disruption and tyranny.

     


     

    Psychology Today

    June 21, 2021

     

    The Personality Disorder We

    Don’t Hear Enough About

     

    The sadistic personality may be mistaken for antisocial

    personality disorder.

     

    Anthony D. Smith, LMHC 

     

    Key Points

     

    • Sadistic personality disorder is no longer in the DSM, but it’s still recognized by personality aficionados.

     

    • The chief component of sadistic personality is taking pleasure in cruel, demeaning, and aggressive behaviors as a means of control.

     

    • It is differentiated from antisocial personality disorder in that, for the sadistic personality, cruelty and aggression is an end unto itself.

     


     

    Choosing Therapy

     

    What Is a Malignant Narcissist? Signs, Causes,

    and How to Deal With One

     

     

    Written by Hailey Shafir LPCS, LCAS, CCS

     

    Published – July 16, 2021 | Updated – January 1, 2022

     

    Malignant narcissism is not a formal diagnosis, but instead a common term used to describe a person with traits and symptoms of both narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. Also called pathological narcissists, malignant narcissists tend to have more impairments, worse relationships, and worse responses to treatment than people with classic NPD.2,4

     

    People with narcissistic personality disorder tend to exhibit grandiose attitudes, feel superior to others, need excessive praise and validation, and respond very poorly to even the slightest criticism. People with antisocial personality disorder lack empathy, disregard the feelings and needs of others, and use and exploit others to meet their needs.5 Malignant narcissists tend to display a mix of these traits and behaviors, which keep them from forming healthy relationships.2,3,6

     


     

    Psychology Today

    July 26, 2020

     

    7 Signs of An Over-Emotional

    Histrionic Narcissist

     

    Preston NI, M.S.B.A.

     

    The Mayo Clinic research group defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) as “a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”

     

    WebMD identifies Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) as one of the “‘Cluster B’ or ‘dramatic’ personality disorders. People with these disorders have intense, unstable emotions and distorted self-images. For people with HPD, their self-esteem depends on the approval of others and does not arise from a true feeling of self-worth. They have an overwhelming desire to be noticed, and often behave dramatically or inappropriately to get attention.”

     

    Reasons for both NPD and HPD are complex and deep-seated, and often involve childhood or early adulthood injuries and traumas. In serious cases, professional mental health counseling may be needed (and is recommended) to diagnose and treat the disorders.

     

    There are certain overlaps in symptoms between NPD and HPD, below are seven signs of an over-emotional histrionic narcissist, with references from my books How to Successfully Handle Narcissists and A Practical Guide for Narcissists to Change Towards the Higher Self. While some people may occasionally show the traits below, which might not be a major issue, a histrionic narcissist will routinely display one or more of the following pathologies (dysfunctions), while causing substantial distress and harm to others and oneself.

     

    1. Dramatic Negative Emotions (High Dramas & Melt-Downs)

     

    Histrionic narcissists often have the tendency to exhibit overly dramatic negative emotions when they don’t receive the attention, appreciation, or entitlement they believe they deserve. This may range from not getting quick customer service, to momentary lack of attentiveness from a spouse, to being told “no” when seeking an “exception to the rule”, or other instances when their self-imagined privileges are not being catered.

     

    Histrionic narcissists are frequently unreasonable in their demands, inequitable in the way they treat people, insensitive to the difficulties of others, and disproportional in their emotional response. Whether it’s intense anger (narcissistic rage) or manic outbursts (histrionic drama), they often perceive a lack of attentiveness and deference as a threat to their self-esteem, and respond with hostility and even aggression. They overwhelm their victims with intense negative drama (“going nuclear”), browbeating their victims with the hope of getting what they want.

     


     

    From MANHATTAN CULT STORY by Spencer Schneider

     

     

    Sharon Nights, Part IV:

     

    The Sharon Show

      

    (pp. 167-172)

     

     

    She was the actress who couldn’t land a gig. Too difficult to work with. Too eccentric. Too untalented. So she started her own show: “The Sharon Show” a.k.a. The Work. She was now, in the waning days, coming twice weekly to “star” in Manhattan and sometimes in Boston. With general admission ranging from $300 to $500 per month, she was still pulling in quite a haul from her students. And she wasn’t letting them out of her sights. Her audience winnowed to the loyal, desperate, and the hooked; they were imprisoned in her interactive, immersive show.

     

     

    Imagine: Sharon likes to keep her audience waiting as they sit silently. The seventy-ish-year-old star and her minions, the four “junior teachers” can be heard laughing and rousing it up for forty-five or so minutes backstage in Sharon’s suite. They are dining on caviar, grilled lamb, and drinking Absolut on the rocks. Finally, the audience can hear the suite’s door open and the star and her entourage laughing, gabbing, and walking the long hallway that leads to the stage of the classroom. The house lights are dimmed, and the sound system blares the solo trumpet from Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.”

     

    We jump to our feet. We are arranged on four rows of seats on risers facing the front of the room. Our eyes betray anxiety, dread, and mild panic; but we pretend to be delighted to see the star. As she enters from the back of the room, the spotlight is on her as she walks up the center aisle which separates the risers. “Hello Sharon,” we cheer. There she is! Live, in person. The foot-high pile of bright orange hair. The deeply set cerulean eyes. The pale skin. The gaudy gold earrings and diamond rings. Sometimes she wears her Bulgari sunglasses at night. She wears her trademark long dress, fit for a medieval queen. She shuffles down the aisle waving to her fans, occasionally making small talk and greeting some individually, like the president. Then, two of her minions hurry her along and lift her by her arms to the wooden platform where sits her leather La-Z-Boy and a side table with finger foods, a water glass, her Absolut on the rocks in a stem glass, and a small vase with a single rose of Sharon. She shoos away her helpers as if to show her own resilience and then plops herself down for her performance. Seemingly summoning all her strength, she reaches her right hand down to yank back the La-Z-Boy lever. In the second between that yank and the extension of the La-Z-Boy, we take our seats and experience growling stomachs, racing hearts, jumbled minds, sweaty palms, twitchy eyes, the jitters. That’s because when that La-Z-Boy extends and Sharon is laid back and comfy, the show begins and one of us will be chosen at random to participate in the show—one where someone volunteers for a magic trick that always goes awry and terribly maims the volunteer. Sharon has been doing this show since the 1970s; she could do it backward, in her sleep, and you never know how she will open it until she selects the first person. Tonight, it’s going to be one of her favorite scenes: Public Humiliation of Select Audience Members. The silent prayers, “Please God not that one, please God not me, not me.”

     

    The La-Z-Boy extends. She begins. She is a master. She looks straight out scanning the room for her first victim to bully and humiliate. She has learned, however, to read her crowd well, and tonight she reads unease. So, to warm them up, she does a head fake and opens up with another scene: These Are a Few of My Favorite Toadies. And her toady of the moment (she tends to recycle her bootlickers) is Phil, in the front row. Phil is by most estimations gay and agreed to Sharon’s version of conversion therapy—she makes arranged marriages of gay men to straight women. Phil was set up with Karen, a recently widowed woman (whom Sharon had viciously blamed for the accidental death of her first husband).

     

    Sharon is cranky tonight, you can tell. We are scared and uneasy. But her expression of contempt and disgust for the audience changes to a slight smile when she gives Phil the nod, which is her cue for him to speak. Phil beams and starts, “Thank you Sharon, it is so wonderful to see you. I feel so privileged to have the great good fortune of being your student. I have an affirmation to share with you and the class.” With pride he boasts, “Last weekend we visited Karen’s father—an evil being—and I stood up for myself as a man for my wife.” Sharon’s slight smile turns to a full smile, her eyes widen, and she loudly sings in her falsetto, “Oh Phil, how wonderful.” She claps and the audience gives a standing ovation. We are all very relieved by her brightened mood. But we are simultaneously repulsed by Phil and the favored treatment he receives from our teacher, whom we all rely upon for our own self-worth and validation. Basing one’s happiness on a wildly volatile, arbitrary, and deranged leader is a dangerous business—most of us are miserable. But we are hooked on confirmation from Sharon.

     

    So, back to poor Phil living a completely manufactured existence. What was his affirmation all about? What he did, at Sharon’s request, was to demand that Karen’s evil father (a rather wealthy fellow) give money to Karen and Phil for their new family. Having wealthy family members give money to her followers is a favorite pastime of Sharon; it gets her really hot and really horny. So she was really turned on by this good news. That is because a lot of the money ends up in her pockets—a tithing. What a relief for the audience. But soon she had her eyes out for someone else.

     

    Hazel thinks the coast is clear. Poor silly Hazel. She’s betting that Sharon is now in a good mood anticipating that windfall from Karen’s father and will give her some positive reinforcement. So, she seizes the opportunity. She leaps to her feet so violently that the riser shakes and almost buckles. She is almost out of breath with excitement as she shares her epiphany. “Thank you, Sharon. It is wonderful to be here—I am so fortunate. I want to share with you that I am really now finally beginning to really see what a liar I am.”

     

    The entire audience quickly looks to gauge Sharon’s reaction. Uh, oh. No good. Cringe time. We’ve seen this scene play out the same way every fucking time. All breathing in the room stops. We are about to witness Hazel receive a new orifice. Our seats creak with our shifting weights. The room is still. This is the exact moment Sharon most relishes—when she can brutalize her most loyal minion—even her Uriah Heep—just because she feels like it. Like a predator, Sharon pounces. She shakes her head in disgust, looks downward at her long fingernails, and snorts in contempt, “Hazel, you don’t have the slightest idea of what a hateful, repugnant, and pathological liar you really are. Why the hell are you standing? Why? Sit down. Yes, sit down.” Hazel sits down, chastened, and sheepishly nods to Sharon. We hear not a peep from Hazel for the rest of the evening. (Later, after class, I approach Hazel to gauge how she’s doing and she assures me that Sharon gave her “gold.”) Indeed, Sharon has been calling Hazel a liar for many decades, projecting onto her. Hazel makes this kind of false confession every six months or so. It never works to assuage Sharon or to get her approval. It only escalates the public humiliations, making matters worse. Over the years we have seen Hazel demeaned to the point of hyperventilating and wetting herself.

     

    Why does Hazel keep coming back for more? Because she craves Sharon’s attention like she craves the air to breathe. It’s an existential need. Abuse is the only attention Hazel gets from Sharon, so she takes it. Like a child clinging to a violent parent. The audience painfully recognizes and understands this but not a single person challenges Sharon or comes to Hazel’s aid. Because—teachers, older students, younger students, everyone—we’re all in the same boat as Hazel. We cannot do enough for Sharon.

     

    Back to the show: After eviscerating Hazel, the blood drips from Sharon’s mouth. And she wants more. But nobody wants to get up to speak. Usually, one toady or another can be counted upon to speak. But they aren’t foolish enough to jump in tonight. Only Danny is. He stands and states, “Sharon, I need to bring back some work.” Danny is a loose cannon. Brace yourselves. This is going to be a bumpy night.

     

    Danny is perpetually oblivious to this topsy-turvy-make-believe-Gans-world—and loves to speak in class at any opportunity. He is unliked by most students because he has learned to emulate the leaders and is abusive to others. Like Phil, Danny is also a gay man who was married off by Sharon to a woman in class. His wife was a single mother named Paula. Understandably, they have an unhappy marriage. We all wince. What will it be this time from Danny: a graphic sexual grievance about his wife and how he’d like to cheat on her (while she is sitting right next to him), something about his childhood where he was mistreated by his parents (something which Sharon belittles), or even problems in his job (common for him)?

     

    But Sharon is one step ahead. She ignores Danny’s question and zeroes in on Paula. Her voice filled with contempt, she sneers at Paula, “What is your problem?” Paula jumps to her feet asking, “Me?” “Yes, you,” returns Sharon, who continues, “Why won’t you be a good wife and screw your husband and take care of him?” Paula is under the klieg lights and responds, “My husband isn’t attracted to me.” Sharon lets out a bloodcurdling scream. “That’s because you’re a bad wife. He’s a good man. I mean, he was good enough to marry you.” Paula is silent, staring straight ahead. We are so glad we aren’t her. But no one stands to her defense; not even her husband. Sharon harangues Paula for a good fifteen minutes. Sharon even goes so low as to blame Paula for the accidental death of her younger brother, an event that traumatized Paula.

     

    Sharon’s approach to trauma is like Nancy Reagan’s direction to kids to “Just say no” to drugs. Sharon tells those with traumas to “Just get over it.” For example, Lori needs to just get over the time when she was a nine-year-old girl and found her mother hanging in the kitchen: “You cannot get on with your life if you don’t just get over it. Just get over it.” Rhonda needs to just get over that time she was raped and almost murdered in her home by an intruder: “You need to go to this man and apologize to him because your negative vibrations actually caused him to attack you. Just get over it.” Alan needs to just get over walking in on his wife sleeping with his best friend—“If you had been a good husband, she wouldn’t have been fucking him.” Just get over it.

     

    After class, I drive Sharon Gans home.

     


     

    verywellmind

     

    How Does Conformity Influence Behavior?

     

     

    By Kendra Cherry | Updated on March 26, 2020

     

    Conformity involves changing your behaviors in order to “fit in” or “go along” with the people around you. In some cases, this social influence might involve agreeing with or acting like the majority of people in a specific group, or it might involve behaving in a particular way in order to be perceived as “normal” by the group.

     


     

    The University of Texas at Austin

    McCombs School of Business

     

    Ethics Unwrapped 

    2022

     

    Obedience to Authority

     

    Obedience to authority describes our tendency to please authority figures. We may place too much emphasis on that goal and, consciously or subconsciously, subordinate the goal of acting ethically.

     

     

    From Teaching Notes

     

    The pleasure centers of our brains light up when we please authority. We are trained from childhood to please authority figures, —parents, teachers, and police officers.

     

    Law and order are generally good things, so some level of obedience to authority is definitely a good thing. But if people go too far and suspect their own independent ethical judgment, either consciously or unconsciously, they are dropping the ball.

     

    Employers, we argue, pay employees for their brains, their education and training, and their judgment. Employers are short-changed if employees do not use their best strategic judgment, their best operational judgment, and their best moral judgment, because errors in any of the three areas can be quite costly.

     

    To learn about related behavioral ethics concepts, watch Conformity Bias and Role Morality.

     

    The case study on this page, “Stangl & the Holocaust,” explores an extreme example of obedience to authority, in which Nazi officer Franz Stangl, who was responsible for the killing of nearly one million Jews, claimed he was simply following orders. For a related case study that examines the dangers of conformity bias during the Holocaust, read “Reserve Police Battalion 101.”

     

    Behavioral ethics draws upon behavioral psychology, cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and related disciplines to determine how and why people make the ethical and unethical decisions that they do. Much behavioral ethics research addresses the question of why good people do bad things. Many behavioral ethics concepts are explored in detail in Concepts Unwrapped, as well as in the video case study In It to Win: The Jack Abramoff Story. Anyone who watches all (or even a good part) of these videos will have a solid introduction to behavioral ethics.

     


     

    UNDER THE INFLUENCE: The Destructive Effects of Group Dynamics by John D. Goldhammer, Prometheus Books, January 1996

     

    From Chapter 6: The Collective Machine (pp. 180-81)

     

    Rationalizing Evil

     

    When one has once given Evil a lodging, it no longer demands that one believes it.  Franz Kafka 41

     

    The numinous quality of a group and its leadership is a seductive influence that results in individuals becoming adept at rationalizing anything the group does, no matter how cruel or unethical it may actually be, and no matter how abhorrent it may be to one’s individual conscience. Learned rationalizing into-the-collective is an insidious process that kills individual critical thinking. Anything a group does is accepted and defended because it is for “the big picture,” “the company mission,” “a higher purpose,” “saving souls,” or “for Jesus.” Thus propaganda, manipulation, lying, violence, and even murder become defenses of a just cause. War comes from people who are polarized inwardly and outwardly into good and evil camps – people who are unconscious of their inner evil camp. Sam Keen, in Faces of the Enemy, calls warfare “applied theology,” explaining that outside enemies make groups feel solidarity and purpose. Keen concludes, “We create surplus evil because we need to belong.”42

     

    Greed becomes “God’s blessing of prosperity for the group’s leaders,” or necessary compensation for the Godlike person who founded the firm. Human slavery translates into “giving oneself to a higher purpose – to something bigger than the individual.” “Something bigger” in any type of group-embodied ideal or cause is ultimately destructive for individuals and consequently for society as well.

     

    Leon Festinger, a social psychologist, theorized that “cognitive dissonance”43 provides an explanation of how persons rationalize different types of behavior. According to Festinger, cognitive dissonance occurs when a person is caught by two conflicting ideas, and tries to hold both as true. For example, a group I belong to tells me that Jesus is the only way to God. But, I happen to read the life of Krishna, Buddha, or Lao Tzu, and realize that they also seem to be quite Godlike. This contradiction creates tension (dissonance). Becoming terribly uncomfortable, and to eliminate the tension, I change one of my cognitions so that everything fits together in a manner that does not threaten my group’s viewpoint.

     

    For example, in the religious group I belonged to, we explained this problem of multiple world saviors by assigning a totalistic hierarchy, a spiritual rank to each individual. Jesus was number one – a four-star general; Buddha was close, but ranked as number two in the spiritual pecking order. Other mystics and saints of various religions were well thought of, but were in differing states of evolvement. Of course, the most spiritually advanced souls were those who most closely emulated the life of Jesus. Many New Age groups obliterate this dichotomy by claiming that former world saviors were actually past incarnations of the same evolving savior.

     

    In the end, such rationalizing simply stops legitimate inquiry dead in its tracks. We miss exploring the inevitable mystery of existence, grouping different approaches to life into one amorphous mass of collective non-thought. Anthony Pratkanis, in his book Age of Propaganda, wrote, “In these circumstances [cognitive dissonance], individuals will go to great lengths of distortion, denial, and self-persuasion in order to justify their past behavior. When our self-esteem has been threatened by our own past behavior, we all have a powerful tendency to become rationalizing animals.”44  Tragedy strikes us all when this rationalizing involves cruelty and violence to others, either psychological or physical. Destructive groups depend heavily upon rationalizing-out-of-existence all conflicting ideologies and viewpoints. Right to Life groups, who justify violence and the murder of doctors who perform abortions, are excellent examples of the destructive side of rationalizing. Murder, paradoxically becomes the “Christian” thing to do, when, in fact, Christianity teaches “thou shalt not kill.”

     

    Totalistically organized groups always assume they have the right to control individual freedom of choice and autonomy. The Inquisition made the same assumptions that religious and political groups make in modern times.

     

     

     

    From Chapter 7: Going Backward: Developmental Regression in Groups (pp. 189-191)

     

    Westerners bring so much baggage into the ashram. The spiritual search coexists with the inner child’s search for belonging.   Jean Callahan 1

     

    And the word “courage” should be reserved to characterize the man or woman who leaves the infantile sanctuary of the mass mind.   Sam Keen 2

     

    Groups behave at a much lower emotional level than do individuals so that group behavior is less psychologically mature. Thus, in group situations, affect emerges as an expression of group-induced regression.   Jerrold Atlas and Laura Porzio 3

     

     

    Survival Mode

     

    The situation [in groups] is not unlike that observed in children and undifferentiated adults where the lack of a distinct individuality leaves the mind without guards against the intrusion of influences from without.   Eric Hoffer 4

     

    Adult developmental regression in groups, a state of self-helplessness, results from the individual’s attempt to survive and adapt to the group ideology. An outside authority keeps one in a dependent state, whether the FDA, a religious leader, a politician, some deity, or an advertising campaign. Joseph Campbell described this dependent state:

     

    Now if there’s a way or a path, it’s someone else’s way; and the guru has a path for you. He knows where you are on it. He knows where he is on it, namely, way ahead. And all you can do is get to be as great as he is. This is a continuation of the dependency of childhood; maturity consists in outgrowing that and becoming your own authority in life.5

     

        In destructive groups, leaders become abusive parental figures while the members become ever more dependent and incapable of independent decision-making. The propensity toward developmental regression within such groups is so powerful that most people find it nearly impossible to not modify their behavior in some fashion in order to be accepted by the group’s leader(s) and by their peers.

     

        The dark side of groups initiates a process of developmental regression, which takes place on two primary levels: cognitive and emotional. Emotionally, one is drawn into a supportive group of friends and associates who become a replacement family. A social codependence quickly develops that is extremely difficult to walk away from. Cognitively, the group dynamic slowly changes one’s thinking and thought processes with the subsequent behavioral changes. As the group message, agenda, belief system, and rules gradually take over, all outside and inner events are interpreted through the group mind-set. One’s viewpoint becomes a collective viewpoint. One alters reality to suit newly acquired concepts and ideology. Anything that challenges that new reality is rationalized away, suppressed, or transformed into an enemy of the group’s purpose. The actual reversal of the individual’s normal growth and development is a distinctive feature of destructive groups.

     

    The Cult Awareness Network’s extensive research has shown that destructive groups cause these specific harmful effects in adults:

     

    1. Development of dependency and return to childlike behavior.

     
    2. Loss of free will and control over one’s life.

     
    3. Loss of spontaneity or sense of humor.

     
    4. Psychological deterioration (including hallucinations, anxiety, paranoia, disorientation, and dissociation).

     
    5. Inability to form intimate friendships outside the group or enjoy flexible relationships.

     
    6. Physical deterioration and abuse.

     
    7. Involuntary, de facto servitude or exploitation.6

     

    In addition, according to Cult Awareness Network, destructive groups generally have some or all of these characteristics:

     

    1. Mind control (undue influence): The group manipulates by the use of coercive persuasion or behavior modification techniques without the informed consent of the individual.

     

    2. Charismatic leadership: A leader or small core of leaders with power and special privileges demand unquestioning obedience.

     

    3. Alienation: The group encourages and sometimes enforces separation from family, friends, and society, a change in values and substitution of the group as the new family — there is evidence of subtle or abrupt personality changes as members conform to the group’s social and belief system.

     

    4. A totalitarian worldview: The group has a we/they outlook: reinforcing dependence, promoting goals of the group over the individual and approving unethical behavior while claiming moral superiority, goodness, righteousness, or enlightenment.

     

    5. Exploitation: This can be financial, physical, and psychological – pressure to give money, work long hours, to buy courses, to give excessive time to special projects, and in some cases, to engage in inappropriate sexual activities.7

     

        Peer pressure in such a group is a formidable psychological weapon. When one first enters the group, one is commonly fawned over and made to feel very special and loved – a process often referred to as “love bombing.” This threshold experience of being accepted and loved feeds a deep, instinctual, childlike longing in human nature. Most persons want to belong, feel accepted, be needed, and be loved by others. However, this apparent acceptance and love from a group is conditional, which the new member quickly learns. In order to continue to receive this familial-style nourishment, new members must conform to and accept the group ideology. In fact, one soon discovers that increasing dedication to the group’s belief system results in proportionate increases of loving acceptance from the group.

     

        The group takes on a monolithic, parental, authoritarian role while the individual must play a childlike role in order to survive. As a reward, people receive love, acceptance, the illusion of belonging to something special, and the illusion of being special because of identification with the group’s mission or cause. Hence, one no longer functions as an adult but regresses to an infantile state of survival-adaptation.

     


     

    SFGATE

    News  //  Bay Area & State

     

    PSYCH SLEUTH / Margaret Singer has made history delving into the psychology of brainwashing

     

    Kevin Fagan

    May 26, 2002

     

    2002-05-26 04:00:00 PDT Berkeley — The boots of the cult thug clunking on her porch practically every night for a week about 2 a.m., the silence hanging thick and menacing as he hunkered in her doorway, the cryptic notes in her mailbox – it all finally got to her.

     

    So Margaret Singer leaned out her second-floor window the next time she heard the guy at her doorstep, and she yelled with all the bluster she could muster in her quavery, 80-year-old voice: “I’ve got a 12-gauge shotgun up here with a spray pattern that’ll put a three-foot hole in you, sonny, and you’d better get off my porch or you’ll be sorry! And tell your handlers not to send you back!”

     

    Months later, as she sits at the kitchen table of her rambling old house in the East Bay hills, Singer still chuckles at the memory of the man skittering to the sidewalk, never to return. “If that shotgun hadn’t worked, I have a World War II machine gun that can do the trick,” she says, pounding a thin, bony hand on the Formica top.

     

    Name any major cult or near-cult in America in the last half of the 20th century, and this teacher and author of Cults in Our Midst has probably researched it, debriefed its victims, or helped the cops nail its leaders.

     

     

    You find it again and again – any time there is great upheaval, a big change in a society and people feel vulnerable, there are always sharpies around who want to hornswoggle people. ~ Dr. Margaret Thaler Singer (1921–2003)

     


     

    Bryan ReynoldsJuly 20, 2018 Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog

     

    Article on the term “brainwashing”

     

    independent.co.uk/voices/brainwashing-myth-truth-jonestown-massacre-rebecca-moore-us-a8454136.html

     

    [This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article here.]

     


     

    University of California Television (UCTV)

    October 30, 2021

     

    Dark Persuasion – The History of Brainwashing

     

    Joel Dimsdale discusses his latest book, Dark Persuasion: A History of Brainwashing from Pavlov to Social Media, which traces the evolution of brainwashing from its beginnings in torture and religious conversion into the age of neuroscience and social media. Dimsdale is distinguished professor emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego.

     


     

    diegoDecember 1, 2021Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog

     

    Revealed: ex-members of Amy Coney Barrett faith group tell of trauma and sexual abuse

     

    theguardian.com/us-news/2020/oct/21/amy-coney-barrett…

     

    “The basic premise of everything at the People of Praise was that the devil controlled everything outside of the community, and you were ‘walking out from under the umbrella of protection’ if you ever left,” said one former member who called herself Esther, who had to join the group as a child but then left the organization. “I was OK with it being in a tiny little corner of Indiana, because a lot of weird stuff happens in tiny little corners in this country. But it’s just unfathomable to me – I can’t even explain just how unfathomable it is – that you would have a supreme court justice who is a card-carrying member of this community.”

     


     

    RichDecember 4, 2021

     

     

     

     

     


     

    Associated PressMarch 3, 2022

     

    Heaven’s Gate Survivors to Share New Details in 20/20 Special

     

    Diane Sayer unravels mysteries behind cult with interviews with survivors who share stories for the first time.

     

    March 3, 2022

    By Rolling Stone reporter, Althea Legaspi

     

    In 1997, 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult were found dead by suicide in their Rancho Santa Fe, California, home, which they dubbed “The Monastery.” Central to the group’s belief was that they would go to heaven on a UFO. On March 11, a two-hour 20/20 special looks to unravel the mysteries surrounding the chilling, ritualistic mass suicide and what would lead people to follow its bizarre principles.

     

    During The Cult Next Door: The Mystery and Madness of Heaven’s Gate special, Diane Sawyer interviews two survivors who share their stories for the first time. She also speaks with Rio DiAngelo, a member who left the group before the tragedy to serve as a messenger. She first spoke with DiAngelo in an exclusive interview in 1997. Family members who were left behind also share their stories.

     

    In a trailer for the special, interviewees discuss some of the rules of the cult, which included how members were to dress, brush their teeth, and even use the toilet. “They didn’t have any free will,” one person says. They also practiced celibacy, and castration was employed.

     

    The members who died in the largest mass suicide in America came from all walks of life and ranged in age from 26 to 72. They were drawn in by Marshall Applewhite, the compelling leader who co-founded the group with Bonnie Nettles (Nettles died of cancer in 1985). Known as Do and Ti, the two bonded over religious beliefs which soon morphed into a belief that they were of a higher level than others and that they could reach the “Next Level” by rejecting their human forms and becoming extraterrestrial beings who would ascend to heaven via UFO, and they recruited followers.

     

    The Cult Next Door: The Mystery and Madness of Heaven’s Gate features never-before-seen footage including home movies, as well as newly released audiotapes. It airs on 20/20 March 11 from 9:01–11:00 p.m. ET on ABC and will stream the next day via Hulu.

     

    More at:
    rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/the-cult-next-door-the-mystery-and-madness-of-heavens-gate-20-20-special-1315704/

     

    Preview:

    abcnews.go.com/2020/video/cult-door-mystery-madness-heavens-gate-83216312

     


     

    Opus 111June 16, 2022

     

    Today NYT relating a story about FOF members and Google company:

     


     

    Tim CampionJune 16, 2022

     

    “The Cult in Google” by Kevin Lloyd appears on media.com.

     


     

    diego June 22, 2022

     

    At Axios today.

     

    axios.com/2022/06/22/fellowship-ai-lamda-google-god-cult

     

    “The Fellowship is a tiny California sect based in the Sierra Nevada foothills that has run a winery, invested in antiques and espouses spiritual awakening through exposure to the fine arts. Its founder has also faced allegations of sexual abuse.”

     

    It’s a tawdry, pretentious, failed doomsday cult.

     


     

    Insider June 23, 2022

     

    Another podcast about the Fellowship. Jennings Brown, producer of “Revelations” last year, is being interviewed by “Ross and Carrie.”

     

     

    If you can’t get to the Spotify version, Ross and Carrie have their own website: ohnopodcast.com. The Jennings interview is there.

     


     

    diegoJuly 10, 2022

     

    Mihai explains Burton’s sick seduction routine. Burton is a Douchebag number 8 who has been refining and perfecting his game of molestation and rape for 50 years. He gets a lot of help from his enablers, procurers and proceresses.

     

     


     

    Predators

     


     

    Magdalena October 14, 2022

     

    Mihai was deep in the FOF culture of crime. He was one of the first rank enablers who took their slice of the pie. He abused the trust of the the general membership just as Burton did. He enjoyed the power, life style, money and sex that came with the position he carved out for himself. I don’t think it is OK and that because he moved on he is absolved. He has committed terrible crimes against that part of members that was genuine and seeking for wholeness. So now he is some woke guy in Grass Valley using his charisma to make a living as a therapist. There are plenty of others who fall into that category – the vainglorious and greedy, the corrupt and the opportunistic. Burton could never have done what he did without their complicity. To a significant extent Burton is the product of these people’s connivance. They are criminals.

     


     

    Associated PressJuly 27, 2022

     

     The Fellowship of Friends: A Cult of Gentlemen

    Dangerous Ideas S01E01

    12,127 views Aug 4, 2017 

     

     


     

    diegoJuly 30, 2022

     

    Sun newspaper today from the U.K., a Murdoch Tabloid

     

    thesun.co.uk/news/19367843/google-cult-leader-robert-earl-burton-warning

     


     

    44thWayJanuary 10, 2023

     

    This article about another cult sums up very succinctly how some of us ended up in it and how we came to leave:

     


     

    FREEDOM

    OF MIND

    RESOURCE CENTER

     

    October 18, 2022

     

     

    Our weekly newsletter which includes blogs,

    videos, news, thoughts, and announcements

     

     

    A Personal Message from Steven

     

    Hi! Welcome to our weekly newsletter. 

     

    With The Vow Season 2 airing on October 17th, it’s become clear that people need to understand the BITE model and undue influence. In the past, I’ve interviewed ex-members like Sarah Edmondson and Nippy Ames, written about the former leader of NIXVM, convicted criminal Keith Reniere, and I’ve spoken with legal experts on how to prosecute these cases in court. Scroll below my signature to see links to important information about this dangerous group.

     

    And, as usual, there are some great items here for your perusal, including:

     

    1. A podcast with Dr. Rand Waltzman, one of the world’s true experts in Artificial Intelligence,
    2. A blog post and video featuring former top Scientology executive Mike Rinder, about his newly-published memoir, A Billion Years: My Escape from Life in the Highest Ranks in Scientology,
    3. The launch of my new offering: “Understanding Cults: A Foundational Course for Clinicians,” and
    4. My coursesservices, and books.

     

    If you would like to keep up with me in “real time,” I am on Twitter with live commentary on current events and insights relating to my area of expertise. Join the conversation by clicking here: @cultexpert.

     

    We hope you enjoy this newsletter – please share it with your family and friends and encourage them to subscribe.

     

    Thanks!

     


     

    igotout.org

     

    Freedom of thought is a universal human right.

     

    Tell your story.

     

    Impact lives.

     

    Change the world.

     

    The sole mission of #iGotOut is to inspire survivors of cultic abuse to tell and share their stories, creating an online community dedicated to unflinching honesty. 

     

    We believe this simple but profound act is a catalyst for personal healing as well as community education and prevention that corrects the many systemic misperceptions of cultic involvement. 

     

    We believe the collective potential of ALL of our stories will help steer society into a new day where abuse of power is not tolerated.

     


     

    UnHerd

    August 17, 2022

     

    The infidels will not be silenced

     

    Like Salman Rushdie, I choose freedom

     

    By Ayaan Hirsi Ali

     


     

    PART  I   II   III