Jun 19, 2022

Profile: Jon Atack

Jon Atack
Jon Atack is best known as a leading expert on Scientology, but in the 30 years since the publication of Let’s Sell These People a Piece of Blue Sky, he has studied many other destructive cult groups and other forms of authoritarianism, including terrorist radicalization, racial supremacy, multi-level marketing, conspiracy theories, human trafficking, pedophile grooming, and domestic abuse.

Jon is a court-appointed expert witness who has consulted on more than 150 cases around the world. He has been a source for more than 200 media pieces, including many books and documentaries. Jon has written more than 500 papers and articles. He recently published a chapter co-authored with Steven Hassan, Ph.D. in the Oxford University Press book, Lone Actor Terrorism.

Jon has lectured extensively, including hosting the Getting Clear of Scientology seminar in Toronto with Professor James Beverley, and giving a talk at the highly prestigious Eton College this year. Jon’s latest book is Opening Our Minds: avoiding abusive relationships and authoritarian groups, which is available in print, as an e-book, and as an audiobook. As emeritus professor of law, ICSA Board member Alan Scheflin says in the introduction, “If you want to make your body stronger, go to a gym. If you want to make your mind stronger, pay close attention to what this book tells you. Not only will you learn how to spot and avoid threats to your mental integrity, you will also have the pleasure of reading a very fine book.”

Jon has posted more than 300 videos on his YouTube channel jon atack, family and friends,including interviews with some of the leading experts on cults, authoritarianism, and coercive control. Jon is currently working on a preventative curriculum for schools covering all the topics raised in the book. By teaching the next generation how to recognize human predators and their techniques, and how to spot fake news and propaganda far fewer of them will be lured into authoritarian groups or other abusive relationships.

Jon is currently working on a preventative curriculum for schools covering all the topics raised in the book. By teaching the next generation how to recognize human predators and their techniques, and how to spot fake news and propaganda far fewer of them will be lured into authoritarian groups or other abusive relationships.

Jon has made a special video for the ICSA conference, which you may view here: https://youtu.be/U8TvHvHZUfc

And feel free to dip into the complete Jon Atack video library on YouTube. Here are some sample videos:

Our ‘Essentials’ playlist -


Yuval Laor’s “Belief and Fervor” presentation, which describes the evolutionary adaptations that make us more susceptible to groupthink:

Jon’s favorite interviews:

When mindfulness harms w/ Joe Kelly and Pat Ryan - https://youtu.be/up30Qh0M32o

False friendships in cults w/ Hoyt Richards- https://youtu.be/Ku3vLyI_zYk

Surviving NXIVM w/ Sarah Edmondson - https://youtu.be/U7pdXoVUMqI

The enemy within w/ Sam Atack - https://youtu.be/66NzDyx4pVc

Advice for would-be interventionists w/ Pat Ryan and Joe Kelly - https://youtu.be/_aMUdR7v3NU

Helping people escape authoritarian cults w/ Joe Kelly - https://youtu.be/-RJt_-VsXmo

Cults, New Religious Movements, and diplomacy w/ Pat Ryan - https://youtu.be/ALrmv_MGeKo

How Scientology harassment works w/ Mike Rinder - https://youtu.be/M6KxZ6lnvIU

Hypnosis and altered states w/ Pat Ryan - https://youtu.be/0m8wAhg85fQ

Membership, c-word cults n culture w/ Pat Ryan and Joe Kelly -

Part 1 :https://youtu.be/eUu9mTNFjeg

Part 2: https://youtu.be/NbsdY2ivHpk

And, finally, an offering by Spike, discussing dangerous misconceptions people have about authoritarian groups and relationships: https://youtu.be/1eRSvAUSxm8

Some praise for Jon from Professor Steven Kent:

“I appreciate the staggering amount of research material that Mr. Atack had to assimilate and present.

He demonstrated impeccable judgment concerning his sources, and similarly he showed artistic skill in his ability to present complex … material in graceful and clear prose. Had his book been offered by a doctoral candidate … it would far exceed necessary standards … an unrivalled piece of superb scholarship. Quickly his book has become one of the classic studies of sectarianism and deviant belief systems. All future scholarship on Scientology will build upon his contribution.”

—Professor Stephen Kent, Sociology and History of Religion, University of Alberta

And one may download our free, printable ‘how to spot a predator’ poster here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-Xlw2b5YJqq1j766GhFGLhTyUn_z46CG/

how to spot a predator’ poster

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