What Makes a Person Vulnerable to Join a Cult ? By Steve Hassan

by flipper 45 Replies latest jw friends

  • flipper

    Most of us often wonder with amazement how we ever got caught up in the Jehovah's Witnesses mind control after having been out for awhile. And we still wonder how some of our relatives stay trapped inside it. Well, Steve Hassans book " Releasing the Bonds " explains briefly in Chapter 4 how it can happen.

    He states, " Most people would like to believe that they are in complete control of their mind at all times. But it is precisely this belief in our own invulnerability that allows cults to entrap unsuspecting recruits. "

    1." First reason is there is a pervasive lack of awareness about cults and mind control. In talk shows an interviewer will ask a cult member, " Are you brainwashed ? " And of course they will answer , " No ". What the host fails to realize is that the mind controlled member will not know that he has surrendered copntrol until he is able to step away from the group and learn about cult recruitment and indoctrination. "

    2. " Second, many situations make people more vulnerable to recruitment. A person whose parents have recently separated or divorced will be more likely to listen to a recruiter who describes his group as " one big happy family . " Someone whose romantic relationship or marriage has just ended will be more susceptible to come-ons by an attractive person. Other common variables include : death of a loved one, illness, loss of a job, graduation ( from high school or college ) , and moving to a new location. Situational vulnerabilities occur in everyone's life. It is easy to see how people tend to be more vulnerable to an attractive recruiteroffering community, love and meaning during such episodes. "

    3. " Thirdly , some individuals have psychological profiles that make recruitment easier for cults. People pleasers, who seek the approval of their peer group out of insecurity, and anyone with low self esteem, will be more vulnerable to the peer pressure exerted by cult recruiters. Individuals with learning disorders, drug or alcohol problems, unresolved sexual issues ( sexual identity orientation or, possibly, past rape or molestation trauma ) ,pre-existing phobias, and other unresolved traumatic issues will also be easier targets. Cults seek out such vulnerabilities and use them against recruits , often making grandiose claims that their group will solve all of the person's problems .

    So do you know of people you have seen sucked in to cults who have had these tendencies ? Do you have some experiences you could share with us so we can see how to protect ourselves and our loved ones from these manipulative cults ? knowledge is power, remember. As always I look forward to your responses

  • penny2

    Being born-in made me vulnerable. But once I got into my 20's, there were lots of signs which I ignored.

    Like the friend who told me straight out, "You are brainwashed."

    Or the WTS publications I read from the early 1900's which sounded crazy (like some madman had written them). I was alarmed but didn't think further.

    Well, I got out - eventually!


  • dinah

    I was born-in too, but my Mom wasn't.

    She grew up with an emotionally absent, alcoholic mother, and a womanizing father. They divorced when she was 12. My great-grandmother, who was a Witness, studied with her and pulled her in. My Mom is the only one in her immediate family who joined the religion.

    I'm sure my great-grandmother thought she was genuinely helping Mom.

  • carla

    Any new life changing event can make one vulnerable, marriage, death, birth of a child, divorce, etc..... People fear the unknown and along come the jw's who have ALL the answers and it makes life much easier, don't have to think of a thing! it's all been done for you by the brothers.

    The churches have failed to warn and teach about the cults in my opinion. People think of cults as weird guys in yellow togas selling flowers at the airport or living in communes not realizing the neighbor down the street is in a dangerous and deadly cult.

    In my family we have all pretty much agreed to not tell or let my jw know when some pretty awful things have happened because in the past he has sent jw's. He nearly got one family member evicted, yet he has no idea. One family member in another state had the jw's show up when it became public knowledge that there was a terminally ill person there, they must have been cruising the obituary column because they were there and ready with the 'death' brochure right after they died. The jw's (and all cults) are taught to search out the vulnerable and those in despair. To outsiders they think it most disgusting to use someone's tragedy to gain members and I couldn't agree more. Yes, I understand the jw thinks they are helping but I think sometimes they are also thinking it will be an easy mark, so to speak.

    That is a loss as a ubm, to have some really terrible thing happen to a family member and not be able to discuss it with your spouse and maybe kick around ideas to help the person or come up with a working solution. (imagine trying to hide an attempted suicide, that's kind of hard but do-able) Heck, my jw even went to mere aquaintances when they were getting a divorce to let them know they were sinners. Me and kids were mortified when we found out, luckily they knew jw's are nut cases and hope it is a case of temporary insanity that will soon pass. Bless their hearts.

  • BluesBrother

    J 's are told to search out those who are "Sighing and crying", not the satisfied ones, who are "having their reward in full" now in this world.

    Most of the people that came into the congo would have fitted into the description in the first post. Indeed,most of the people that would talk to us in "The Ministry" were unhappy.

    I can particularly remember talking to the teenage girl who was so uptight that her voice choked up as she spoke - all the time the apparently drunken voice of her mother was cursing from the back somewhere and calling her in . Before she went she pulled down her roll neck top and revealed a scar that ran around her neck. She said it was from when she had tried to kill herself.

    There was also the man who had had his daughter murdered a while before, it had been a national news story. He was still a broken man.

    Of course there are those ones who study and seem to be rational balanced reasonably successful people. I suspect though there is always something missing in their lives - something that they inwardly crave...even if it is not on the surface.

  • Tired of the Hypocrisy
    Tired of the Hypocrisy

    I was little when my folks came into the JW troof. My dad was raised catholic and eventually became a Pentecostal before becoming a JW. My mom was raised in a Pentecostal home. The only thing I can think of that made them vulnerable to recruitment was my mom being very ill. While pregnant with my baby sissy, she developed neuritis. She felt like she was on fire all the time. I have a feeling that the Paradise book and the promise of getting well by 1975 made a big dent in them....

  • lonelysheep

    You can see him on: E! THS Investigates: Cults, Religion & Mind Control.

    This comes on TONIGHT at 8PM.


    I caught only a few minutes the other night. Since then, I have recorded another showing in order to watch it sometime this week. In those short 10 minutes, I can tell you they went through and are going through the same things as everyone here.

  • Amha·’aret
    Any new life changing event can make one vulnerable, marriage, death, birth of a child, divorce, etc..... People fear the unknown and along come the jw's who have ALL the answers and it makes life much easier, don't have to think of a thing! it's all been done for you by the brothers.

    I think them seeming to have ALL the answers was what attracted my mother. She had started reading the bible not long before the JWs called. She prayed to God for help in understanding it and a couple of weeks later, knock knock! An answer to a prayer or what?! Very hard now to get her to see reason as the emotional impact of that event was pretty intense and still is really.

    I try hard but feel like I'm banging my head off a brick wall in the end

  • purpleplus

    Interesting... I had just graduated when I began to study and yes, them having "all the answers" appealed to me. One of my relatives began to study when her parent's health started deteriorating. And I helped "encourage" her into "The Truth". As much as I regret it now, I realize that I thought I was doing her a BIG favor at that time. Now I want to help her wake up.

  • mary stewart
    mary stewart

    i saw the last .5 hour of it and the cult on not associating with outsiders and that guy who left ith no job experience reminded me of the dubs! hehe! i hate those cults!!

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