I think to the benefit of all, I will write my comments of Steven Hassan's latest book, Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs.
You can purchase the book in Amazon.com, there is a Kindle version which is very handy since you can read it wherever you have internet connection, or if you have an iPhone, an iPad, android phone, etc.
You can get it here:
The first chapter talks about determining whether a particular group is a cult.
"Destructive cults are distinguished by their use of deception and extreme influence."
Do JW's fit the bill? ABSOLUTELY.
Consider these quotes from the Watchtower Publications (with help from www.jwfacts.com):
"Jehovah's Witnesses have consistently shown from the Scriptures that the year 1914 marked the beginning of this world's time of the end and that "the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men" has drawn near." Watchtower 1993 Aug 15 p.9
vs. the reality:
"THE "Time of the End," a period of one hundred and fifteen (115) years, from A.D. 1799 to A.D. 1914, is particularly marked in the Scriptures. "The Day of His Preparation" is another name given to the same period " Studies in the Scriptures - Thy Kingdom Come p.23
So there, very simply... JW's use deception.
How about "extreme influence"?
The Watchtower is not the instrument of any man or set of men, nor is it published according to the whims of men. No man's opinion is expressed in The Watchtower. God feeds his own people, and surely God uses those who love and serve him according to his own will. Those who oppose The Watchtower are not capable of discerning the truth that God is giving to the children of his organization, and this is the very strongest proof that such opposers are not of God's organization." Watchtower 1931 Nov 1 p.327
Someone who claims that opposing them is opposing God? I consider this "extreme influence", IMHO.
Authoritarian Leadership? YEP
Destructive Mind Control? --> "immersing people in a tightly controlled, high-pressure social environment... they limit their access to outside information" YEP
Therefore --> JW's are a destructive cult.
There are four types of cult: Religious, Political, Therapy, Commercial. JW's are, obviously, in the "Religious cult" category. "In some, an elite group claims to know the real meaning of Scripture"... YEP! JW's do that. A lot.
I guess another, fifth type of cult, that Hassan didn't mention directly, is the one-over-one relationship. People can act like destructive cults.
Then Hassan goes into more detail on the Common Characteristics:
"Exclusivity/Isolation: Manipulation, deception, dependency and isolation, all other churches are dead and unspiritual, recruit spends his back on all his friends
Abuse of power: Threatening prophecies, cult leader or leadership asks for money and property"
Then Hassan describes his Strategic Interactive Approach, which is different than his previous books or methods. It is better because it not only worries about getting the cult member out of the cult, but it also takes care of solving other issues that might exist in the family like lack of trust or others, that help created the problem in the first place, or that would make it hard to get the cult member out of the cult.
I really like this quote:
"Real love is stronger than conditional love... The member will realize that your love is unconditional, while the cult's 'love' depends on their meeting expectations and goals'"
Then he talks about doing preparatory work, thinking strategically, and having goal-oriented communication.
One needs to learn about cults, as much as possible. Also, one needs to learn how to think strategically, to sloooowly get the cult member's trust and work towards opening up his/her mind.
That's the first chapter!!
Tomorrow I will talk about the second one.
I hope you like this! (I also hope that I am not infringing any copyright laws... please purchase the book, it is an invaluable aid!!)