April 10th, 2008
08:00 AM ET

Polygamy: What happens to the kids?

Editor's Note: Steven Hassan is a licensed mental health counselor and an exit counselor and was a guest on Wednesday's AC360°.

I applaud the authorities in Texas who stepped in to rescue the hundreds of children and women who experienced what is likely years of sexual abuse. I am not shocked by the reports of what life may have been like inside the compound, since I've heard first hand and counseled two runaways a few years back from this group.

In fact, during my 30 years as a mental health counselor, I've helped thousands of people who were brave enough to escape from various dangerous cults. Mind control can easily happen to anyone, and often in the most unlikely of places.

As a former member of the Moon cult, I've experienced the dangers of mind control, and know that traditional psychotherapy almost never works. Today, I work with ex-cult members from various cults around the world who seek me out for specialized counseling. My experience and the methods I use and developed over the past three decades (Strategic Interaction Approach) allows me to help victims recover from symptoms other mental health professionals are not trained to address.

It is vital for society to recognize the signs of mind control, and have made this my life mission. My organization, Freedom of Mind Resource Center, Inc., keeps track of the hundreds of cults that lurk in society. Many go under different names and most are extremely dangerous.

Two cult groups that authorities need to expose is the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries – the similarities to power hungry Warren Jeffs is frightening – and another organization called The Children of God, also known as The Family. Both these groups sexually abuse children and women.

In fact, it has been reported that children as young as three years of age have been sexually abused in The Family group, which was led by the late self-proclaimed prophet Moses Berg. I've counseled runaways from both these groups, and hope that local and state authorities take action, like we are now seeing in Texas.

– Steven Alan Hassan M.Ed. LMHC, NCC

Hassan is author of  Combatting Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults, and Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves

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Filed under: Polygamy
April 10th, 2008
07:45 AM ET

Beat 360 4/10/08

Hey Bloggers!

A little more, a litttttle more! Oh no, thats way too much... Hey gang, its time for ‘Beat 360°.’

Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption. Our staff will get in on the action too.

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite! Can you Beat 360°?

Here is today’s “Beat 360°” pic of the day: A firefighter looks out of a parking house as half of a car hangs out of the building... The driver, a 49-year-old woman who remained unharmed, had tried to park her car backwards and alledgedly mixed up the gas and brake pedals (ya think?!)

Beat 360°
Have fun with it.

Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

– David Reisner, 360° Digital Producer

UPDATE: Check out our Beat 360 winner!

Filed under: Beat 360°
April 10th, 2008
07:18 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning folks...

There is a new Morning Buzz in town...TODAY begins our NEW  format. No more links to articles (if you want the very latest news go to www.cnn.com) Instead - YOU will get a raw inside look at what AC360 is planning to put on TV tonight.... PLUS a few interesting news "nuggets" that we are mulling over and trying to figure  out how to make into watchable television.... So grab your coffee and take a read...

First and foremost - CNN Baghdad reporter Michael Ware...hands-down...the man who has spent the most time on the ground covering the war in Iraq for the last 5 years. Michael will go KNEE to KNEE with General David Petraeus in Washington this morning. This will be  "MUST SEE TV" Michael will join us LIVE for analysis...

In polygamyland - David Mattingly continues pouring through court documents down in Texas. What happened inside the YFZ ranch near Eldorado continues to just shock all of us. Meanwhile Gary Tuchman is hot on the trail of Dale Evans Barlow in Arizona. The man identified in court  as the alleged "abuser"  of the 16 year old tipster. According to documents he "beat, choked and sexually assaulted her..."

In Raw Politics John McCain sits down with the ladies of The View today...so Dana Bash looks at Mccain and the female vote. He has that "maverick" appeal, but Planned Parenthood wants you to know the real John Mccain....Candy Crowley will cover the democrats for us today...Hillary Clinton is in Pittsburgh and Barack Obama spends the day in Indiana...

AND finally....President Bush comes out today to defend his war policy...surprise, surprise!! He will also announce a reduction in combat tours, and pledge his support for Petraeus' plan to suspend the "drawdown."  We are also watching a huge storm system ripping across Oklahoma, Texas and Michigan...tornadoes have been spotted with winds up to 70 mph and quarter inch sized hail..Thankfully, only one death so far...

SOOOO that's all for now...check back later has we formalize our plans....




Filed under: The Buzz
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