Following Hassan's Book: Chapter 4

by ILoveTTATT 4 Replies latest jw friends

  • ILoveTTATT
    ILoveTTATT

    Hi all,

    I have been very busy trying to avoid the elders... so far, so good! Somehow they got through the call blocking on my home phone and left a message. I plan to call them and leave a message to call me to my cell, and then block them there (keeps them thinking THEY are in control ;)

    Anyways, here is my analysis of the 4th chapter of Steven Hassan's latest book, Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs.

    You can purchase it in Amazon, and I highly recommend getting it, reading it, and applying the ideas there. I have or will find them VERY useful.

    The 4th chapter is called Evaluating the Situation.

    It encourages you to really evaluate the situation: WHY your loved one came into the cult, WHAT you dislike about your loved one's involvement with the cult, and WHAT you plan to do about it.

    A very common myth about cults is "I/he/she/my loved one am/is too smart to go into a cult!"

    When seen from an outsider's perspective, yes, cults are a bunch of lies and stupidities, but once in the realm of mind control, it is very difficult to get out.

    Think about someone living in the year 1000. You have an IQ of 130 (relatively smart). For you, unless you somehow figure out that a) the sun is round, b) the moon is round, and c) that a lunar eclipse is a shadow of the Earth on the moon, proving that the Earth is round, you will likely think that the Earth is flat, despite your relatively high intelligence. It's "what the Bible (read the Roman Catholic Church) says", it's what everyone says, it's what you have believed all your life.

    Hassan says that there is a "pervasive lack of awareness about cults and destructive influence."

    Another factor that helps the cults is that they recruit a person when the person is vulnerable.

    He says:

    For example, a person whose parents recently separated or divorced might 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 might be more susceptible to come-ons by an attractive person. Other situational factors include the death of a loved one, illness, loss of a job , graduation, and moving to a new location. Situational vulnerabilities occur in everyone’s life.

    Hassan, Steven (2012-07-03). Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs (p. 48). Freedom of Mind Press. Kindle Edition.

    This scarily describes JW's! How many times have you heard that we go out in serve-us and knock on people's doors often because their life situation may have changed and THEN they are more receptive to the troof™? When people have just lost a loved one, the JW's are pre-programmed to prey on that situation and offer them the petting zoo with fruit platters (aka the blue pill)!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQ1_IbFFbzA

    Does personality play a role in how easy you are recruited in a cult? ABSOLUTELY!

    Experiments show that people are easily and deeply affected by the roles they play in society, and will alter their behavior accordingly. But, in addition, individuals who are not given to critical thinking are easier targets. People-pleasers who seek approval are more vulnerable to peer pressure exerted by cult recruiters. Individuals with good concentration and vivid imaginations are more susceptible to hypnotic suggestion.

    Hassan, Steven (2012-07-03). Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs (p. 49). Freedom of Mind Press. Kindle Edition.

    I can think of reasons why my mom is involved with the JW's. It's not that she's not smart. She is just "not given to critical thinking"... she has a bad habit of asking me to do stuff for her when it comes to computer stuff. I took a note of that and I told her that we are going to change things up. I showed her how to Google things, and now I just supervise her Googling, perhaps suggesting the words she needs to search to answer her question. She is learning! I am so happy about that... She will be more independent that way.

    Hassan goes into where your loved one is living. Why is this important? A lot of cults tend to group their members into compounds. Unless you (or your loved one) are in Bethel™, this part probably does not apply. However, if you live in the same household with the cult member (the best case scenario), you have to be careful not to let your loved one see your reading material, such as Hassan's book.

    The next question is "How deeply is your loved one involved"?

    This part is interesting for UBM's (Un-believing-mates):

    A new cult member who is in the honeymoon phase will typically be harder to convince to leave since he has mostly positive associations with the group. Try making contact with other members. Meet the cult member’s friends, taking notice of their names. Ask where they are from. Befriend them. Also pay special attention to older members who often have valuable stories about the group’s past.

    ...

    Long– term members are actually sometimes much easier to help, since they have already experienced many lies, contradictions and letdowns. Also, most long– term members know people who have left the group. You may ask them, “Do you think it’s possible to leave for legitimate reasons? Do you know anyone who ever left the group? Did they leave for legitimate reasons? Would you be open to talking with them about why they left?”

    Hassan, Steven (2012-07-03). Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs (p. 51). Freedom of Mind Press. Kindle Edition.

    I also like this quote:

    If someone was born into a cult, it could take years to decide to leave. But remember, many disillusioning experiences take place inside cult groups. As long as the member knows that there are people on the outside who care about him, he will feel that he has a choice. Create positive, loving experiences for him.

    Hassan, Steven (2012-07-03). Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs (p. 51). Freedom of Mind Press. Kindle Edition.

    I am trying REALLY hard to make good experiences with both my mom and my dad. I want them to know that I love them dearly and always will...

    I remember now that the ONE time in my life when I had seen my dad really angry (we had a family crisis back then, probably 15 years ago), one auntie (who was DF'd), made me a cup of chamomile tea, and told me things were going to be allright. I was very young back then, but I STILL remember thinking, "wait, isn't she DF'd? Aren't those bad people? How come she is being so nice to me?"

    Then he tells you how to discover the pre-cult self:

    Think about relationships he has had with different people (grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends). Think about places you used to live, or vacation. Think about activities he enjoyed, like sports, music, exercise, reading, or movies. Consider your loved one’s strengths and weaknesses. ... how would you rate his self-esteem before cult involvement ? Did he have interests, hobbies, athletic skills, art, music? How old was he when he joined? Did he have clear-cut goals? Did he have friends? Did he communicate well with others? ADD or ADHD? Other learning disabilities? Aspberger syndrome?

    Hassan, Steven (2012-07-03). Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs (p. 52). Freedom of Mind Press. Kindle Edition.

    About my mother (relationships are from my mom's viewpoint):

    Mom: Violent, abusive, swore a lot. So you have an idea of the level of abusiveness, she would call my mom a scatological term (I am not gonna write it, it's painful to even think about)... My grandma is my mom's example of what she did not and does NOT want in life. However, she says she always wanted a "family and a home, a place where I will not be kicked out"... I will remind her of her words when the time is right. One time the Witnesses came to my grandma's house and my mom overheard them saying that "God's name is Jehovah" and that stuck with her. It also stuck with her that my grandma was really mean to the JW's. Ironically, now she is a JW. My mom has problems going to visit her, despite many years of not living in the same household (actually thousands of km away).

    Grandpa: A "lesser evil"... gave her SOME love, but still would spank her (and we are talking Latino, 1950's kind of spanking...), for things such as "playing for too long" on the swings. Her Grandpa said he didn't trust any other religion but the Witnesses, and THAT stuck to her too.

    Auntie Kelly (names will be changed): Never was a witness, is not now. Still alive, probably 80-90 years old. One of only two people in my mom's entire childhood who treated her nicely. Would defend her publicly, would give her shelter, would tell her to "get a good husband" and taught her how to cook, how to sew, and many useful things. Compared to the abusive environment at home, Auntie Kelly was much better. I have managed to make my mom think and promise to go visit Auntie Kelly, just for gratefulness's sake, despite her not being a witness.

    Other aunties: Witnesses, but were very mean to my mom. Except for another auntie who passed away who wasn't a JW.

    Cousins: My mom has three cousins with whom she hung out with almost all the time. These three cousins became JW's... cousin Melanie, cousin Norma, and cousin Nancy... cousin Melanie started studying with the witnesses first, in university. She studied initially with two male JW's who became friends with my mom, these male JW's my mom saw as "normal", not "fanatical"... cousin Melanie started talking to my mom, cousin Norma, and cousin Nancy about JW's... eventually all came in. My mom said that one of the reasons why she became JW was because she didn't want to lose the friendships of her cousins... also they played on my mom's pre-existing fobia that there was going to be an end of the world. Cousin Norma also said to her to "become a JW or you and your kid (i.e. me) would die in Armageddon"

    Friends: My grandma did not allow my mom to make any friends, except for the cousins. She says that it was a good thing because it protected her from drugs and prostitution. I called her out on that. I asked her, "mom, would you really have? I doubt it... most people do not go into drugs and prostitution, and a lot of the time it's your own personality that determines what you will end up like." She agreed with me. My mom wanted to hang out with the kids, but she couldn't. She also avoided anything that, in her mind, would stop her from getting her goal of having a "family and a home"... one time one kid touched her leg (probably innocently), playing tag, and she immediately told him to stop and went home and (according to my mom at least), she never played tag since. I asked her why... she said, "because I thought that I would get a bad reputation and then later no one would marry me"... I was like... "WTH??? Don't you think that that thought was a little extreme?"... "Yes, but that's how I thought back then"....

    So that's my mom's pre-cult self.

    Then you need to learn about the cult personality. It is simple if you are a JW, you already know how JW's feel. If you are a UBM, you have to learn a lot about his/her history in the cult. For example,

    Is he a recruiter, or does he work in one of the group ’s businesses? Is he still rank -and-file after ten years? Was he once a leader, but has since been demoted? What kind of access does he have to the head of the group? Where is he stationed? Is he at the headquarters or at a satellite location?

    Hassan, Steven (2012-07-03). Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs (p. 52). Freedom of Mind Press. Kindle Edition.

    Then you need to learn about the cult, and determine its destructiveness. For me personally, my biggest issues with my parents still being JW's are:

    1. The blood issue. I would never want them to die or be maimed because of this doctrine.

    2. The shunning. If I leave, and I convince my dad to come out, my family may be destroyed because of a lie.

    So two REALLY big things are at stake: 1. My parent's literal lives. 2. Our family.

    Questions about the cult that Hassan recommends that really stand out for me:

    Does the leader make claims of exclusive wisdom, power, and spirituality? Are there any checks and balances of power in place?

    Hassan, Steven (2012-07-03). Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs (p. 53). Freedom of Mind Press. Kindle Edition.

    The answer to the questions is YES, and NO. This makes for a very destructive cult, because of its extreme control over people's lives and spirituality.

    Another interesting quote:

    The most dangerous groups change doctrine at the whim of the leader.

    Hassan, Steven (2012-07-03). Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs (p. 55). Freedom of Mind Press. Kindle Edition.

    Anyone have the July 15, 2013 Watchtower??? Many 90-year doctrines, changed at the whim of the leader (the GB).

    This creates a façade of respectability which can be quite convincing ... It is in the interests of cults to raise controversy, and they frequently claim they are being persecuted for their beliefs. But destructive groups change the truth to fit the situation. Legitimate groups do not need to alter their doctrine to deceive the public.

    Hassan, Steven (2012-07-03). Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs (p. 55). Freedom of Mind Press. Kindle Edition.

    Malawi-Mexico scandal? Rutherford claiming PERSECUTION!! because he started it?

    Make no doubt about it, IT'S A CULT!

    Acknowledging the GOOD of the cult is something that must be done to get rapport. Perhaps your loved one stopped smoking or doing drugs or doing very harmful things because they became a JW. Commend that, since that will create trust and rapport, besides also being FAIR. Not all about cults is necessarily bad. It's all the strings attached that are bad.

    So that you buy the book, I am not going to quote the entire "Evaluation Checklist" to note negative changes, but here are some:

    Does he have health insurance? Would he receive good medical care if sick or injured?

    Prior Commitments Education: He had one term to complete to get his college diploma but he walked away. We can’t believe it! No amount of rational argument will convince him to finish. Career/ Goals: She was planning to become a doctor. Now she stands on street corners recruiting new members. Significant relationships: They were going to be married and he broke off the engagement.

    Hassan, Steven (2012-07-03). Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs (p. 58). Freedom of Mind Press. Kindle Edition.

    That's all folks!

    I know, it's long... but this is therapeutic for me. Writing down my process through Hassan's book. I would love it if you could share your own struggle and what you have discovered about your loved one's pre-cult, cult, and real personality.

    ILTTATT

  • ILoveTTATT
    ILoveTTATT

    Too long? yeah I thought so... =P

  • bohm
    bohm

    Well I enjoyed reading it :-).

  • Oubliette
    Oubliette

    “Do you think it’s possible to leave for legitimate reasons? Do you know anyone who ever left the group? Did they leave for legitimate reasons? Would you be open to talking with them about why they left?”

    Hassan makes a great point with these questions: There is NEVER a legitimate reason to leave a cult!

    This is one of the ways you know it's a cult.

  • jgnat
    jgnat

    Excellent insights, buddy.

Share this

Google+
Pinterest
Reddit