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Episode 3: The Leader

The founder of the Students of Light, John Hanas, has been called everything from a spiritual master with supernatural abilities to an evil, manipulative man with a God complex. John’s former followers claim that he began as a humble leader of a loosely organized religious movement. But some claim he eventually began exerting more and more control over his followers’ lives, sometimes with disastrous consequences.


  • Written and narrated by Daniel Munro

  • Audio editing and production by Carolyn Smillie

  • Additional research by Robert Munro

  • Artwork and web design by Megan Hilario 

  • Voiceovers by Robert Munro and Carolyn Smillie

  • Excerpts of interviews with Joseph C., Lorne Dawson, Cynthia Watson, and an anonymous contributor


Sources consulted: 



  • Lorne Dawson, Comprehending Cults

  • Marc Galanter, Cults: Faith, Healing, and Coercion (2nd ed.)

  • Robert Pollock, Twenty-Five Years with Jesus

  • Robert Pollock, Navigating by Heart

  • Ellavivian Power, The Auric Mirror



  • Encyclopedia Britannica, “Theosophy”

  • Encyclopedia Britannica, “Rosicrucian”

  •, “Theosophical Society”

  • Southwestern College and New Earth Institute, “SWC History”



  • Docket Entries for United States v. Kollmar (4:19-mj-70677)

  • Public historical records for Alberta, Saskatchewan, & Manitoba (family name “Hanas”)

  • Mia Donovan (director), Deprogrammed 

  • Website of the Canadian Theosophical Society

  • Website of the Theosophical Society in America

  • Website of The Rosicrucian Order, AMORC

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