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A Former Cult Member Explains How He Escaped

We sat down with Steven Hassan, a former cult member turned expert on the subject, to hear how he broke away from the Unification Church back in the 1970s.

When Steven Hassan was 19 years old, he was recruited by the Unification Church, an infamous cult know for its mass marriage ceremonies. He spent two and a half years with the group, working to bring in new members, raise money, and preach the teachings of its controversial founder, Sun Myung Moon—until a near-fatal car accident helped him realize he’d been brainwashed, and led him to flee the cult.


After the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary—an offshoot of the Unification Church—nabbed international headlines for holding a blessing ceremony complete with AR-15s and bullet crowns earlier this year, we met up with Hassan to hear more about his time as a “Moonie,” find out how he escaped, and learn why he’s since dedicated his life to becoming an expert on cults.

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