Cult Mind Control (Cont.)

Posted by: Andee / Category: , , ,

As promised, here is the second half of the cult mind control article. For the first half, go here.

Steve Hassan, a noted mental health counselor working with people on their way out of many mind control cults, was an amazing speaker at the 2008 Ex-Mormon Conference. As I mentioned yesterday, you can go to for more information about him as well as find info on the books he has written.

Mr. Hassan mentioned that when people come out of mind control cults they are in a state of confusion. They have no idea who they are without the cult and it's beliefs. They also have "triggers" that put them right back into the mental state they were in while a believer. He used the word "moon" as his example. Every time someone used the word moon around him, his mind went to the cult. He had to train himself to think of the moon in the sky instead of Reverend Moon, the leader of his former group.

I can empathize with this at times. When I hear certain church hymns or phrases my mind goes back in time to me sitting in a church pew, bored out of my mind or something similar.

He also mentioned a term, "Spiritual rape of the soul." I can identify with that, because the church and it's beliefs were drilled into me since I was a fetus... and when I found out it was all crap I felt as if I had been used, lied to, and I was deeply hurt. The leaders of the church didn't care about me (some, not all) they cared about keeping me active, paying a full tithe, and acting as a missionary.

In mind control cults, there is no objectivity. You only see things from one side, and that leaves the group open to fill your mind with anything they want.

As church leaders have said, anything can withstand criticism... if they really believed that, they wouldn't be so afraid of believing members reading so-called anti-Mormon literature. If the church can withstand it, why are they hiding it?

The floor was opened for questions after his presentation and there were tons of people with their hands raised. One woman asked how to ask the right questions in order to start a healthy conversation about Mormonism and mind control. He told her to ask these questions to members:

  • What if you were never in the group and you were happy? What would you be doing right now?
  • If God himself came down and told you it was your duty to leave the group, would you?
Beyond asking questions and starting conversations, it's important to remember that if you come at them attacking the group they will tune you out. Mention other groups like Heaven's Gate or the Moonies. The best thing to do is lay seeds and build trust. This isn't something that can be done overnight.

Most people who have been in mind control groups have phobias of what would happen to them if they walked away. The best cure for these phobias is ex-members of that group. Show them that you are okay, that everything is fine... these instilled phobias are a major source of manipulation. I don't know how many times people told me that if I left the church I would end up on drugs, an alcoholic, or some kind of criminal.

Love is more powerful than mind control. Be there for them no matter what. Remind them that everyone is accountable for the decisions they make, and any level of power a person has in the group doesn't give them a free pass to hurt others.

Above all, here are some of the important things I learned...

  • A good way to heal is to mentally go back in time and imagine doing things differently. For example, when leaders would teach me that it was my Heavenly Father's divine role for me to be a wife and mother... what would I do now if I were in that position.
  • Many people who have been in groups like this have an automatic allergy to people who claim to have the "truth." This is completely normal and healthy. We should question these people and look closely at what they are saying. Again, anything can withstand criticism.
  • Actively seek out opposite points of view. This cannot hurt! Being objective and looking at both sides of the coin give you a better understanding of the situation. If they tell you not to look at things from other points of view, it's a sign that they are hiding something.
  • When family and friends are still in the group, ask yourself what you can do in your power to make things better. You can't control them in any way, and they won't get it until they are ready to. It's another reason laying seeds and trust is important. Bashing the church or group will not help them trust you. It will only push them farther away.
  • Each of us has an authentic self. It is not selfish to find out who you are without any influence of religion or group.
A list of websites you might enjoy about this topic:


  1. [kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] Says:

    Thanks for writing these. I've also been wanting to write a post about the cult aspects of Mormonism. What I found fascinating is that Mr. Hassan didn't really know anything about Mormonism, and yet the criteria for a cult fit Mormonism so perfectly.

    I don't know if you noticed but he also mentioned that cults often do things like "give a new name" and "special clothing". Creepy. I don't think he was even aware of that aspect of Mormonism in the temple.

  1. Andee Says:

    I agree completely!!!!

    He knew next to nothing about Mormonism, yet he seemed to have the religion wrapped up so neatly in the cult-like box! It was amazing.

    When he mentioned things like special clothes and new names I remember putting my head down and nodding in agreement that it was cult like. I couldn't believe how much Mormonism fit the cult mold.