My wife and I finally finished Steve Hassan's latest book called " Freedom of Mind " so I wanted to devote one more thread to it in discussing how to recognize phobia's in Witnesses or cult members and some methods Hassan mentions to assist cult members.
On pg. 146 Hassan states, " A cult phobia is a man-made mental illness that is an integral part of destructive influence. A phobia is a persistent, irrational fear. All phobias are triggered by a cue that initiates a closed cycle of fearful images, thoughts, and feelings. The cue can be an internal or external stimulus, such as a thought, image, word, smell, taste, feeling, or behavior. This stimulus causes the phobic individual to generate negative images, often subconsciously, and sometimes to imagine impending doom. Phobia's destabilize and undermine a person's view of reality, their perception of emotional and intellectual control, their self-confidence, and judgment. " So is it any wonder that Jehovah's Witnesses and other cults use these methods of phobia's to CAUSE a person to be unstable thus distorting their views of reality , emotional and intellectual control or self-confidence ?
Hassan explains what happens during a new cult members recruitment by cults , he states, " phobias of the outside world and of the pre-cult self are methodically implanted, nurtured, and employed. The critical faculties that would allow a non-phobic person to analyze the claims of the leader and the doctrine are SHORT-CIRCUITED . Independent thinking or action is precluded. Fear prevails over logic. " Hassan continues about how cults instill fear into members stating, " The members fear's are tapped to include anything designated as a threat to the cult identity, such as any thoughts, feelings, or information critical of the cult leader , doctrine, or ORGANIZATION ; criticism of former members or the group ; any doubts or thoughts about leaving the group. Once these phobias are in place, the cult member becomes filled with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness about escaping. Cult leaders want to cultivate low self-esteem and manipulate members to work harder for praise and promotion. " It's a dangerous thing when Witnesses are controlled by these phobias as they can't see the forests through the trees or even consider exiting the cult. WE can all see there is a possibility of freedom, but they cannot, they think they are stuck for good.
Hassan mentions 3 steps to help a cult member understand phobia's.
" Step 1 : The cult member is told what a phobia is, how it differs from a legitimate fear, and it's potential impact. Using examples of different phobias, you explain how a cure is possible. "
" Step 2 : As time goes by you explain how other destructive groups or people deliberately install phobias to control people. You provide several examples of cult phobias, and ask the cult member what he thinks of these OTHER groups. You give examples of how former members of other groups came to understand phobia indoctrination, and applied the cure to themselves . "
" Step 3 : Finally, you discuss the specifics of your loved one's relationship or group. Once the person sees that his situation - like the other groups you discussed - involves phobia indoctrination, much of the hold will loosen. Ask your loved one if he has ever talked with a former member of the group who had left and is HAPPY they did so ? Would he be open to doing so, even if only to show the family that he isn't controlled through fear ? It is probably best not to attempt to do all three steps all at once, nor is it wise to spread them out over many weeks. Timing the steps so there is continuity is most effective. Ideally, you want cult members to make the connections at their own pace. "
So that's about it that time and space allows for on the highlights of Hassan's " Unlocking Phobia's " chapter in his new book. So what do you think ? Have you seen many of these signs of phobia in Witnesses ? And what are your opinions on how some of these options may work in unlocking JW cults phobia's ? Have any of you had success in using Hassan's methods in helping JW family or friends escape the WT Society ? Look forward to your takes and comments ! Thanks ! Peace out, Mr. Flipper