I finished reading Combatting Cult Mind Control

by neverendingjourney 9 Replies latest jw experiences

  • neverendingjourney

    I just finished reading Steve Hassan’s Combatting Cult Mind Control. I found it to be an interesting read. I have been inactive for 2 ½ years now, so its impact was not as big on me as it would have been had I read it shortly after I began to have my doubts about the JWs. Besides, I had already read a lot of comments on JWD that made reference to a lot of the important points in the book. Also, from my 20 plus years in the JW religion (from the time I was a toddler to my mid 20s), I had been able to observe and identify (granted, without the expertise of a person with a master’s degree in counseling psychology) many of the mind control and cult practices which Hassan expertly outlines in the book.

    As I read the book, I continually nodded my head when I came across a passage the fit into my JW experience. It’s amazing to realize and understand that people go through similar (and often worse) experiences all over the world, in thousands of different cults. I plan on going through the book again. This time, I want to highlight every passage that applies to JWs and make notes on the margins

    The section that probably impacted me most was the section on phobia indoctrination. Of course, I understood that JWs tell people that leaving the religion will result in great unhappiness, but I never thought about it as a phobia. There was also a quote in there about a man who joined a cult when he was 18 and left when he was thirty. Hassan says that, physically, the man is 30, but psychologically; he’s still 18 years old. This man missed out on common life experiences and has trouble fitting into society.

    In many ways I’m that man. I was raised a JW and got out in my mid 20s. I have no experience with things that people my age take for granted. I’ve never really dated. I don’t know how to approach women. My experience with dating is all within the JW context. I’ve found it very difficult to integrate myself into this facet of normal living in particular. I just have to keep battling to make my integration into the real world as seamless as possible.

    I am curious: Does anyone know if Hassan has every written anything directly about Jehovah’s Witnesses? I assume he believes that Jehovah’s Witnesses are a destructive mind control cult because he lists references for former Jehovah’s Witnesses in the appendix, but his book never mentions them directly.

    I plan on reading Crisis of Conscience next. From there I plan to read a few more books. I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I am completely comfortable reading as much material as I can, and I think it will be of great benefit to me now. Does anyone have any books they would like to recommend?

  • WingCommander

    Hello! I, like you, enjoy reading. I'm not afraid to either, nor of reading anything critical of something else. One book that I highly recommend as a "first read," is Diane Wilson's "Awakening of a Jehovah's Witness." It is a quick read, and outlines many of the things you will read about in COC and ISOCF. (Both Ray Franz books) It is however shorter, and again a quick read of a long time JW leaving and discovering the lies, treatment, etc.

    I am currently reading about the entire JW history in the book by James Penton titled, "Apocolypse Delayed: The History of Jehovah's Witnesses." I am halfway through. This one is a thorough study made by a 3rd/4th generation ex-JW Elder history professor. A little dry, but VERY thorough, detailed, and well researched.

    Best of luck on your studies,

    Wing Commander

  • Abandoned

    Then there's Steven Hassan's book Releasing the Bonds.

  • neverendingjourney


    Thanks for the suggestions. I haven't heard much about Diane Wilson's book, but I'll definitely check it out. James Penton's book is already on my list. I don't mind reading dry historical books, and I really want to know the true history of the Jehovah's Witnesses, not the cleaned-up propoganda we were taught in the kingdom hall.


    Thanks for pointing out Hassan's follow-up. That's another one I intend to read in the near future.

  • OnTheWayOut

    Jehovah's Witnesses are discussed some in the second book, RELEASING THE BONDS.

  • esw1966
    Diane Wilson's "Awakening of a Jehovah's Witness."

    I read Diane's book. It was my first book as I for the first time started to critically examine jw. I bought the book, hands shaking of fear.

    I really enjoyed the book as it documented all of what she said about jw's with quotations from the Watchtower. It made perfect sense. I was in shock. It was the beginning of my liberation.

    A book that I really liked was What every Christian ought to know: essential truths for growing your faith by Adrian Rogers.

    I really like books from John Eldridge as well. "The way of the wild heart: A Map for the Masculine Journey." They have changed my whole view of God. I find it very exciting and I love the possibilities!

    Happy reading!

  • monophonic

    thanks for the recommendation. i haven't read the hassan book yet, but COC and i was halfway through apocalypse delayed when i needed a mental break.

  • LongHairGal

    I also recommend "Awakening" and "Crisis of Conscience".

    "Awakening" is a quicker read and told from the perspective of a married woman. "Crisis" is a little more tedious because a lot of detail went into it. This was necessary because of the nature of the story. It is told from a man who was an insider at Bethel.

    If you are already mentally 'out' like I was when I read these two books, they won't make much of a difference how you feel. But, they will drive certain points home.


  • 5go
    "Crisis" is a little more tedious because a lot of detail went into it. This was necessary because of the nature of the story. It is told from a man who was an insider at Bethel.

    An insider is an understatement he was a leader in the movement. Which goes to show no is immune if they disagree with the meme.

  • still_in74
    bought the book, hands shaking of fear.

    doesnt this tell us something? I felt the same way when my CoC arrived, I was scared to open it!

    I watched a documentary last night on Nat. Geographic about Jonestown,
    -they preyed on the most vulnerable in society
    -they use ostracism to keep them
    -they hit newcomers with the love bomb and treated them differently to put on a front
    -they showed videos of members talking about how happy they were when in reality they were miserable
    -they pushed that "outsiders" were all seeking to do them harm and that they were only safe "inside"
    -they encouraged only association among other cult members
    -they used sleep deprivation to wear them out - okay so not this with WTS but always "busy" all the time - service, meetings, study, reading, more study, more study,...meantally exhausting

    This all rang so true to me as a JW. How could we not see this for so long? How is it I dont go running now? Crazy stuff...........

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