Continuation of ”Combatting Destructive Mind Control – Part I” which describes what is destructive mind control and how some organizations control individuals through mind control. Part II presents Steve Hassan’s keys to combating mind control and Part III will be about how to use/adapt Steve Hassan’s theories to overcoming the challenges of helping born-in JWs.
Before describing the “Keys” to combating mind control, I would like to overcome an individual’s natural tendency to believe that they could never be controlled, to increase their awareness to personality behaviors that they may have developed while under the influence of mind control, and how to protect themselves in the future. Being controlled by an organization using mind control can still influence how a person perceives his environment and affect how a person behaves even after leaving that organization.
Quote from: Chapter 5, “Cult Psychology”, pg 76
”Since my departure from the Moon cult, I have counseled or spoken with more than one thousand former members of cults of all kinds. These people have come from every sort of background and ranged in age from twelve to eighty-five. Although some of them clearly had severe emotional problems before becoming involved, the great majority were stable, intelligent, idealistic people who tended to have good educations and come from respectable families.
This fact hardly surprises me, for when I was a leader in the Moonies we selectively recruited “valuable” people – those who were strong, caring, and motivated. People with emotional problems, on the other hand, always had trouble handling the rigorous schedule and enormous psychological pressures we imposed on them. It took lots of time, energy, and money to recruit and indoctrinate a member, so we tried not to waste our resources on someone who seemed liable to break down in less than a year.
Like any other business, all the large cult organizations watch these cost benefit ratios. They fear that otherwise they may fold within a few years. Those that endure for more than a decade must have competent individuals managing the practical affairs that any organization with long-term objectives must handle.”
Steve Hassan describes the following universal themes that organizations that use mind control have in common:
1) The Doctrine is reality – members are not allowed to disagree with the organization’s doctrines. The most effective doctrines are those “which are unverifiable and unevaluable” in the words of Eric Hoffer.
2) Reality is Black and White, Good versus Evil – there is no room for interpretation, deviation, and compromise.
3) Elitist Mentality – “members are made to feel part of an elite corps of mankind. This feeling of being special, of participating in the most important acts in human history with a vanguard of committed believers, is strong emotional glue to keep people sacrificing and working hard.”
4) Group Will over Individual Will – “The group comes first. Absolute obedience to superiors is one of the most universal themes in cults. Individuality is bad. Conformity is good.”
5) Strict Obedience: Modeling the Leader – new members are often encouraged to imitate people who they are paired with (i.e., how they dress, speak, behave) to effectively overcome their individuality.
6) Happiness through Good Performance – “One of the most attractive qualities of cult life is the sense of community that it fosters. The love seems to be unconditional and unlimited at first, and new members are swept away by a honeymoon of praise and attention. But after a few months, as the person becomes more enmeshed, the flattery and attention are tuned away toward newer recruits,. The cult member learns that love is not unconditional but depends on good performance.”
7) Manipulation through Fear and Guilt – members come to live within a narrow emotional band of fear, guilt, and shame. It is always the members fault for all problems.
8 ) Emotional Highs and Lows – members swing between the extreme happiness of experiencing the “truth” with superiors, and the crushing weight of guilt, fear, and shame for failing.
9) Changes in Time Orientation – how members interpret their past, present, and future are changed. A member’s past is rewritten to color everything dark. An organization creates a great sense of urgency for members to keep members extremely busy on daily tasks and to prevent them from thinking too much. As time-tables pass, the leaders will establish new time-tables to keep members busy.
10) No Way Out – there is never a legitimate reason for leaving an organization. Members are told that they must be weak, immoral, tempted, brainwashed by deprogrammers, pride, sin, etc.
Quote from: Chapter 6, “Cult Assessment: How to Protect Yourself”, pg 97
”The groups that I label destructive cults have very specific characteristics that undermine individual choice and liberty. In this chapter I will describe my model for evaluating the destructiveness of any group or organization. The three basic areas are leadership, doctrine, and membership. By examining these three areas, you will quickly be able to determine whether a particular group has the potential to be a destructive cult.”
Although Steve Hassan uses eight “Keys” to free an individual from mind control, the first three are the most important. There is no way to get around building on a foundation of trust and rapport. Steve Hassan's Keys are:
1) Key #1 Build Rapport and Trust – use both verbal and non-verbal techniques to build rapport and trust.
2) Key #2 Use Goal –Oriented Communications – “The rule of thumb is do what works. If what you are doing doesn’t work, try a different approach. Keep focusing on the goal.”
3) Key #3 Develop Models of Identity – about how did the person think, feel, and behave before joining an organization, how does a typical member behave, and how does the person think, feel, and behave as a member so that you can develop more effective ways to communicate them.
4) Key #4 Access the Pre-Cult Identity – to help the person back to his pre-mind control personality.
5) Key #5 Get the Cult Member to Look at Reality from Many Different Perspectives – to help the person to think for themself.
6) Key #6 Side-Step the Thought-Stopping Process by Giving Information in an Indirect Way – to avoid having to overcome the mind-controlled defences.
7) Key #7 Visualize a Happy Future to Undo Phobia Indoctrination – to overcome the fear of leaving the organization and the conditional love of members.
8 ) Key #8 Offer the Cult Member Concrete Definitions of Mind Control and Characteristics of a Destructive Cult – enables a person to understand how they were controlled and how to overcome it.
Quote from: Chapter 10, “Strategies for Recovery”, pg 168
”People leave a group in three basic ways: they walk out, they get kicked out (often in a very “burned-out” condition, both psychologically and physically), or they get counseled out. Although they are fortunate to leave the destructive cult, the adjustments to life in the “real world” can be extremely difficult. If they don’t get good information and counseling after they leave, the cult induced phobias they carry with them can make them into walking “time bombs.”
Does anyone see how to use Steve Hassan’s information and “Keys” to help free the minds and the Holy Spirit of born-in JWs? Do you want to read Steve Hassan’s book for yourself to learn more about what he knows?
Peace be with you and everyone, who you love,