My mom joined when I was a child. We lived in a rural area with no close neighbors. She stayed home to take care of four young children with no adult company all day. Back then most families only had one car, so when my Dad was at work she was very isolated. Then two very nice Witness ladies came to visit and offered to study the Bible with her for free. Who would turn that down? She hasn't gone in years and pretty much doesn't believe it anymore, but unfortunately, my siblings are all still in, now along with their families.
What Makes a Person Vulnerable to Join a Cult ? By Steve Hassan
Points 1. thru 3. in the original message cover roughly the life situation at some point in their life of some 97 % of the world's population, don't they?
looking back i now know how vulmerable i was.when i came in i had no friends because i had moved away from home.now i had many friends who i thought really cared about me.but this was only contingent on my standing in the congregation as i found out 15 years later.
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
Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller) puts it this way: "A million to one shot happens 8 times a day in New York City"
A billion hours of preaching and a few billion people praying for answers...hmm - she's taking her experience too personally
I think being born and raised in the cult is very different than being vulnerable and joining as an adult. The best thing most people can do when you read Hassan's book, is take some courses in hypnotism and basic psychology - especially the formation of a childs mind and the ages of reasoning. I always believe a person who joins as an adult is seeking something outside of themselves and is vulnerable emotionally or mentally at that moment but for anyone born in, it can become next to impossible for some to entirely let go because you have no base from outside the cult to support you...and by that I mean your internal rational and reasoning base that would be normally formed as a child. sammieswife.
Great responses everybody ! Interesting takes by you all. Thanks, I'll respond.
PENNY 2- It is interesting how our friends outside the witnesses could see we were " brainwashed " but we could not see it while still in it ! That's the danger of cults. We don't know it when we are in the middle of it. Glad you got out !
DINAH- Interesting about your mom. So it seems your mom really needed something in her life with the adverse conditions she was growing up with. And your great grandmother was there to fill the void in your mom's life with witnesshood. Is your mom a devout hardcore witness still ?
CARLA- People do have a fear of the unknown. So many get scared and join cults. And you are correct - the perception people in the general public have of cults as being just " weird guys in yellow toggas " is true. Many times it is the neighbor down the street who appears perfectly normal who may be in a subtle mind control cult ! They appear normal on the outside ; but inside their personal lives it's a very different story ! It is sick and twisted how JW's use tragedies to gain more memvers.
BLUES BROTHER- Exactly. As witnesses they are told to try and reach out to " dissatisfied " people who are allegedly " sighing and crying" over the worlds ills. Those examples of people you gave are really sad. I think most people joining cults are missing something in their lives. And they get sucked into cult life before they know it !
TIRED of the HYPOCRISY- So your mom's illness made her susceptible to the witnesses promise of an alleged " paradise " where there will be no more sickness and death. I feel for your mom.
LONELY SHEEP- Thanks for reminding me of that cult special on E! THS! t.v. My wife and I saw about the last 45 minutes to an hour of it and it was pretty sickening how many varied cults there are and how they manipulate people ! I need to tape that show as well !
AMHARAAET- Very true what you say. Like your mom- many people feel that God answers their prayers sending a JW to help them out. But there are millions of people praying for the same thing and the witnesses just happen to show up. Doesn't mean the witnesses are special.
PURPLEPLUS- So having all the answers appealed to you too ? I understand that- because that's what I think appealed to me too- before I learned differently ! It's good you got out and are wanting to help people to wake up themselves !
MARY STEWART- Yes- That cult show was very eye opening !
MRS FIORINI- How ironic that your mom was the first one in your family to get in the witnesses - now she's out and your siblings are still in ! I'm very sorry to hear that ! At least you and your mom are out ! So that's a good thing !
THE OLD HIPPIE- I agree- A lot of those points you mention are happening to many people in the world.
JEHOVAHSHEEP- Very true what you say about friends. Whether our friends really cared about us in the witnesses was dependent on how active we were in the witnesses ! Very conditional friendships.
BESTY- I agree with you. Everybody is always praying to God for an answer. Pretty good odds that JW's would call on somebodies door who is praying as millions of people pray for help ! LOL! No rocket science to that - very true.
SAMMIE's WIFE- I do think people getting out of cults do need to study and educate themselves on psychology especially to see how the mind works. People are vulnerable who join cults as adults. I was a born in witness - and yet I have let go of it very well I believe. But as you said - to do that I have had a lot of experiences out in the " world " for years now outside the witness cult and it's given me a totally different perspective on life ! Peace out, Mr. Flipper
Thought I'd bump this thread up if anyone missed it- or wanted to comment on it
I think everybody has to find their own way - some will experience more of the 'excesses' than maybe others will, but I have met other exJW's who although 'out' for many years, still remain 'in'. Their exit was not combined with education in self and so often they will make decisions for their life that turn out badly and in retrospect can be traced directly back to their upbringing in the cult.
I think people who have been born and raised inside the cult should never question negatively the why's and how's of being taken in by the cult and it's destructive, controlling mentality and lifestyle. They should never think of themselves as conned or stupid or naive. They didn't have a choice. Their lives were railroaded by a group of men who purposely set out to deceive and twist innocent minds and so there is no blame to be laid there.
We found that more than anything, reading about and understanding the psychology of a child, how behaviour and thought processes are formed at an early age, why children are such great candidates for cult processing - that was the best education in understanding the thought process as an adult exiting from the cult. I'm not saying that the knowledge will make it easier to get someone out - but it really provides insight into why some kids are more trapped than others. That same knowledge also provides an avenue for thought, when examining adult behaviour as it relates to victims of abuse and molestation. sammieswife.
SAMMIELEE'S WIFE- Very true what you say in regards to those who leave the witnesses but don't educate themselves about what happened to them in regards to the mind control that was put on them. Many times they end up dissillusioned and confused after exiting the witnesses. I agree there is no need for any of us raised in the cult or otherwise to feel any guilt or stupidity for being sucked into it by cult mind control. We were all duped by the governing body at Bethel whose tactics were subversive . Even smart people get taken in by mind control. It is good to look at the psychology of a child and see how that is developed ; and so then we can better understand how dastardly the mind control freaks conned us from Bethel
Just wanted to bump this up for weekenders who may want to comment on it , or who may have not seen it. Your comments are appreciated