Well I did it. I got up the courage to send this paper I've been working on to every Witness I have an e-mail address for (including my family and a former Co).
Listen to this!!! Within 20 minutes I already got a reply from a JW sister who expressed how "dumb she now feels" after reading it.
Obviously not that I want her to feel dumb but her eyes are opening! For the first time I think I see some progress.
Based on the book "Combatting Cult Mind Control" by Steve Hassan
1. Individuality is discouraged. Dependence, conformity, obedience and submission are encouraged and sometimes required.
2. A person must shed his old identity and acquire a new one as desired by the group.
3.The information one is allowed to access and be exposed to is restricted. Fear of contamination by outside information is emphasized.
4. The doctrine claims to answer all questions and problems. One not need think for themselves, the doctrine does the thinking for him.
5. Members are assigned specific and often hefty goals and tasks thus restricting their free time and behavior. In cults there is ALWAYS something more to do.
6. The cult's "loaded language" keeps members feeling special and seperate from the world around them. It also confuses newcomers and implies that they must "study harder" in order to understand.
7. Members are trained to immediately disbelieve any criticism. Critical words are explained away as "the lies Satan puts in people's minds".
8. Members are told to avoid contact with ex-members, those who could provide the most information are the ones to be especially shunned.
9. People are not allowed to question the leaders or the doctrine. Since the doctrine is "truth" and the leaders are "directed by God" any problem or difficulty is always that of the individual. They must try harder and show more faith to overcome their "imperfection".
10. People have freedom to join but NOT the freedom to leave without consequences. In cults there is NO legitimite reason to ever leave.
11. Members are indoctrinated to show only the best sides of their organization. They are taught to suppress any negative feelings they may have and put on a "happy" face.
12. Members are systematically made to be phobic about ever leaving. Vivid, negative images are implanted deep into their subconcious making it impossible for them to ever conceive of being happy outside the group. The world outside is propogandized as a scary, evil place; the only security possible being within the group.
13. People don't join cults for the most part. Cults recruit people.
14. Guilt, fear and a sense of obligation are the driving forces for cult member's actions. However most members can't see this because they are conditioned to blame themselves for any "shortcomings" and they are told that their actions amount to a demonstration of "love".
15. Cult members naturally feel that they know more about the workings of their group than outsiders do, but in cults where information to members is in any way restricted, often just the opposite is the case.
16. Reality is divided into two basic poles; good and evil, black and white, us and them. There is no allowance for the validation of anything "good" outside the group for this would threaten the group's monopoly on "truth". In order to make the lines clear, labels are used to define where people stand. ("Righteous ones", "holy ones" , "chosen ones" , verses "wicked ones" , "infidels" , "heathens" ect.)
17. Members are made to feel that they are part of an elite corps of mankind. This feeling of being special is strong emotional glue that keeps people sacrificing and working hard.
18. Members learn that love is not unconditional but based upon good performance.
19. Members are indoctrinated to believe that all of their hard work and sacrifice will have a future payoff in a fantastical dream world or state of being. It is this "carrot" that keeps them going in the face of the obvious "wrongness" that they may sense around them.
20. Most recruiters will deny that they are trying to recruit anyone. When questioned they will say that they are merely trying to share something meaningful and let people make up their own minds about it. Some recruiters may even fool themselves into believing this, but an honest look into their motivations would reveal the obvious.
(Biblical or religious cults can and will find scripture and verses to back up their manipulation of people in order to give the impression that these ideas are from God himself thus propounding the sense of guilt and fear upon members. Members will emphatically deny that they are being manipulated, but rather serving God. They cannot possibly imagine why their leaders would ever lie to them.)
(After some reflection, most people will realize that if one were under mind control, it would be impossible to determine it without help from others. NO ONE wants to believe that they could possibly be under mind control. It is only through a thorough and many times painfully honest examination that it can be revealed.)
(It is extremely difficult to get one to see the influence they are under. Because their belief system is thought to be "truth" it provides the "master program" or only "map of reality" that they can possibly conceive of. Any other paradigm or viewpoint cannot be correct, thus the term "narrowmindedness". The illusion of "truth" is continually perpetuated by simply ignoring or dismissing or distorting any challenges to it. Leaders will convince members that they have truth and any appearant discrepancies or misunderstandings will be "revealed in time".
(Cults for the most part, run on the idea of a future "big event". In order to keep members motivated, a sense of urgency is continually stressed. Some even go to the extent of making a "prediction" as to the time of the occurance. When the "prediction" does not unfold as hoped, leaders issue a new timetable pushing the event up a few years or make it more abstract as to just when it will exactly happen. After doing this a few times, a few
longterm members may become cynical. Of course, by this time there is a whole new set of members that are unaware of the shifting timetable. Any rumors of such are explained away as being the fault or misrepresentation of those who have left.)
(Frequently, cult members are given examples of other members to follow so as to become "more acceptable" to it's ideology. Often these examples are an emphasizing of the traits and behavior that the cult encourages and a total ignorance of anything, although true, that does not fit the aims of the cult.)
(Many people are of the mind that cult members have a certain "look", be it a shaved head, dressing in white gowns, ect. This is a mere stereotype. A cult member is more defined by the "psychological prison" he or she is in. When qualities such as submission, obedience, conformity and devotion are lauded as "godly" or "divine" it is likely that the person is living in a world of fear and angst, hoping for the day when he or she will be released. Individuality, personal power and freedom, originality; the very things the human spirit craves, are view as being haughty and rebellious and sinful.)
(In order for any cult to thrive the leadership must create and maintain an "air of authority" from the divine. Any questioning as to the genuineness or authenticity of their authority is equated to questioning God himself. Anyone taking such a course is silenced as soon as possible or altogether removed.)
"The most difficult truth to see is the one in the mirror."