Steve Hassan, an ex-Moonie has written a number of books exposing the cult mind- control methods. He has devised a set of guidelines that any religion can be measured against to decide whether or not a particular sect can be deemed a cult.
He divides the process of mind control into four basic categories. (1) Behaviour Control (2) Information Control (3) Thought Control (4) Emotional Control. Some of the methods used are briefly summarised below.
(1) Behaviour Control includes, among many things, dictating to the members how they dress and groom themselves. How much time is spent on recreation and how much time is committed to receiving indoctrination. They are expected to ask permission before making major decisions. Information is distorted to make it acceptable to them and rigid rules are laid down. Individualism is discouraged and obedience is demanded.
(2) Information Control includes discouraging the reading of non-cult literature and information that is critical towards the group. Keeping members too busy to have time to think clearly about what they are doing and insisting they have nothing to do with ex-members. Past sins are used to pressure and control members. The leaders decide how much information the group needs and expect members to report other's misdemeanours.
(3) Thought Control includes the group accepting the stated beliefs as "truth." They are trained to see themselves in a good-versus-evil situation where every issue is simply black or white. Key words are adopted and used as "buzz words." No criticism of the leaders or their doctrine is permitted and all alternative religious groups are seen as bad.
(4) Emotional Control includes using any guilt they may feel about their thoughts, feelings, family or their past. Any problems individuals may be experiencing are to be seen as the fault of the one who has the problems. Fear is built up in the minds of the members by warning them of the dangers of the "outside" world and the enemies that surround them. Fear of losing the approval of the other members is a key factor in pressuring the members to continue. The members are indoctrinated to fear questioning the leaders or being made to leave the group as they are told they will have no future if they are outside the safety of the group. There is no legitimate reason for leaving and those that do must be shunned. Without the protection of the group they could be exposed to possession by demons.
As you can see from the length of the last paragraph, fear is a prominent factor in keeping members of cults in line. As stated, these guidelines were not written with Jehovah's Witnesses specifically in mind. These guidelines can be applied to any sect to determine whether or not that sect or religion is a cult.