Austin Daily Herald, July 25, 2002
By Lee Bonorden/Austin Daily Herald
Now all of Austin will hear the rest of the story.
Joanne Hansen has written a book entitled “Blinded By Deceit,” which details how she sought to rescue her daughter from a religious cult.
The story of Leo and Joanne Hansen’s struggle is well-known to Austinites. The mother became an outspoken critic of the influence of religious cults. She spoke to churches and other organizations and helped families intervene on behalf of their own children.
Meanwhile, she relentlessly pursued the mind-captors of her own daughter, Kate.
She went to jail, spent thousands of dollars traveling here and abroad and literally put her life on the line for her daughter.
She also questioned God and the Roman Catholic church and soon enough her own faith.
In the end, God was the answer and her faith persevered despite the dogged temptations to give up.
Although rooted in the late 1970s, Hansen believes her book is as relevant today as it was during the so-called “Christian family movement.”
Hansen believes the same strategy she employed to regain her daughter’s affection and reselect can be applied to families dealing with chidden seduced by gangs or terrorist organizations today.
“I started the book over 20 years ago,” she said. Having survived the ordeal of literally kidnapping her daughter from a religious cult, Hansen decided to write about it, but then had second thoughts.
“I put it aside at that point. We just wanted life to return to normal,” she said.
As time went on, Hansen observed an America reeling with the influence of organized gangs and she was reminded of something. “They play with your mind just like cults,” she said. “It’s all about intimidation.”
So, she picked up the manuscript and went back to writing about her ordeal “It was risky what we did and it was expensive and it was even illegal. I served time in jail,” she said.
Receiving her daughter Kate’s endorsement, was all the encouragement she needed to see the book printed. That is, in spite of the naysayers.