As Promised...

Posted by: Andee / Category: , ,


I am about halfway through "Combatting Cult Mind Control" by Steve Hassan, and I can't begin to tell you how many times I catch myself highlighting sentences or even full paragraphs and mumbling the words "Amazing" or "Wow" or one of my new favorite sayings, "Holy Crap!"

As I have mentioned many times, I was lucky enough to attend a lecture by Steve Hassan when I went to the 2007 Ex-Mormon Foundation Conference in Salt Lake City. One of the very first things Mr. Hassan said to the packed conference room was that he didn't know much about the Mormon Church and he would be talking about mind control groups in a general term. As Craig, a fellow blogger and friend, and I can tell you, it was like he had studied the Church for years! Everyone in the room felt as if he knew everything we had gone through... and he did. Anyone looking at the mind control cult characteristics and comparing them to the Church objectively will have no doubt that they have been in a mind control cult.

I would like to say that if this article interests you, you should order this book. It's AMAZING and I hated putting it down. I can't believe this guy knows so little about the Mormon Church, and yet he describes it so well! I can't take any credit for the research Steve Hassan did, I am just the person typing up the book report. So far, it gets two enthusiastic thumbs up!!!

Mind control groups come in all shapes and sizes. It's not just people you might label as "weak, emotionally unstable, or unintelligent" that fall prey to these kinds of groups. Keep in mind that nobody will want to admit that their group or religion is practicing mind control techniques on it's followers. They will defend the group automatically and insist that all negative information is made up and part of a conspiracy of some kind to destroy the good work they do. They are convinced they are right, and most will refuse to even look at or read anything about their group that their leaders have not approved.

I can't even come close to counting the number of times I insisted that the Church wasn't a cult to my friends in Florida. I defended the religion automatically, and I insisted that they didn't understand the Church like I did. I wish I could go back in time and slap some sense into myself!

Mind control recruiters (a general term used to describe people that in this case are missionaries) have no idea that they are in a cult. These people truly believe that they are doing the right thing. Most of the time they are taught about personality types and how to judge the way to sell the group to different people. For example, a person who is emotional would learn about the group differently than a person who looks for facts and figures.

Approaching people this way is common, even car salesmen do it... but is it an honest representation of the group as a whole? Is it an accurate depiction of all of their beliefs and practices, or are they keeping the hard-to-believe and weird ceremonies from you until you have made a large commitment?

One of the things recruiters believe is that the end justifies the means. By not being completely honest about leaders (past and present), history, or doctrine, they believe they are right in deceiving you in order to "save" you.

Also, people are much more likely to make a change in their belief system after being approached by a recruiter if they are in a venerable time in their life. This stress is due to a major transition: moving, new job, breaking off a long relationship, financial instability, or the death of a loved one. When people are emotionally unstable, they want to hear about how the group can make their life better. One thing is certain... we are all venerable. People who join mind control groups are not stupid, in fact, most of them are very smart. They are just not getting all the information they need to make an educated choice about the group.

Once a person joins a group like this, they typically have what is called a "honeymoon phase." They are made special and "love bombed" in order to make them feel as if they made a fantastic decision and wonder how they ever got along without these wonderful people in their life. Unfortunately, the new convert doesn't really know how bad it can get, and what the life is really like. They live in a fantasy world created by the group until they are unable to see what is happening to them.

Cult members are taught that nothing is more important than the group. Their family comes second, friends a close third. Of course, if the family members and friends want to get you away from the group, you are told to cut them off from your life, or leaders monitor your relationships with these people in order to keep control over you.

There are four types of control that mind control groups use...

Behavior Control -this is the individual's physical reality. Where the person lives, the clothing they wear, the food he eats (or doesn't eat), how much sleep he gets, as well as the rituals, jobs, and other actions he performs. Most groups keep their members extremely busy so they don't have time to sit and think about the questions that might be bothering them.

This also includes the chain of command which is usually authoritarian flowing from the leader through his lieutenants to their sub-leaders down to the rank and file. All behaviors can be rewarded or punished... and that is all up to the leaders.

Thought Control - indoctrinating members so thoroughly that they internalize the group doctrine. In order to be a good member, a person must learn to manipulate his own thought process.

The doctrine claims to answer all questions to all problems and situations. A member need not think for himself because the doctrine does the thinking for him. The ideology is internalized as "the truth" the only "map" of reality. Usually the doctrine is absolutist, dividing everything into "black versus white" "us versus them."

This is when members learn that understanding the cult's doctrine is believing. In reality, they learn not to think. Another key aspect of thought control is training members to block out any information which is critical of the group. If information transmitted to a cult member is perceived as an attack on either the leader, the doctrine, or the group, a hostile wall goes up. Critical words have been explained away in advance as "the lies about us that Satan puts in people's minds" or "the lies that the World Conspiracy prints in the news media to discredit us."

Emotional Control - Guilt and fear are necessary tools to keep people under control. They are conditioned to always blame themselves, so that they respond gratefully whenever a leader points out one of their "shortcomings."

Fear is used to bind the group members together in two ways. The first is the creation of an outside enemy who is persecuting you. The second is the terror of discovery and punishment by the leaders. Fear of what can happen to you if you don't do your job well can be quite potent.

Loyalty and devotion are the most highly respected emotions. Also, mind control cult leaders use a powerful technique of phobia indoctrination to create a panic reaction at the thought of leaving the group. They are told that if they leave they will be defenseless in the face of dark horrors: they will go insane, be killed, become drug addicts, or commit suicide.

Information Control - Deny a person the information he requires to make sound judgments, and he will be incapable of doing so. People are trapped in destructive cults because they are not only denied access to critical information but also lack the properly functioning internal mechanisms to process it.

Cult members naturally feel as they know more about what is going on in their group than outsiders do, but many who leave these groups realize that they knew the least.

Destructive organizations also control information by having many levels of "truth." Cult ideologies have "outsider" doctrines and "insider" doctrines. The outsider stuff is bland and for the general public. The inner doctrines are unveiled only gradually as a person gets deeper into the group.

By creating an environment where the truth is multileveled, cult leaders make it nearly impossible for a person to make final, objective assessments. If he has problems, he is told that he's not mature enough to know the whole truth but that all will become clear shortly. If he works hard he'll earn the right to learn the higher levels of truth.

The only way to tell if a person is in control of his life choices, is to expose him to the opportunity to reflect, to have free access to information, to know that there is freedom to leave the environment.

To be continued...


2 comments:

  1. Demand More Says:

    Wow, that makes me want to order every memeber of my family that book for Christmas. Too bad they would hate me after huh?

    I saw this today http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-goldberg2-2008dec02,0,6411205.column
    Just to warn you, it will probably piss you off, it pissed me off!
    I'm so tired of the Woes is me attitude in the church.

  1. [kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] Says:

    Yeah, that talk at the conference was really surreal for me. It makes me sad to see how unable to think and controlled my whole family is.