Observations from an Ex-Elder Part 1
Agreed that is a terrible mix of traits. I was actually secretary when i stepped down myself.
I had long realized that I, as secretary, got beat up for people not turning time in... i never asked people to make time up, i just averaged there previous months for them, with the exception of pioneers.
In the end its a honor system reporting mechanism and i encouraged people to play fast and loose. Nobody ever cared as long as the CO was happy and then it was six months before anyone cared again.
It was then and is now a travashamockery.
doubtfull1799 19 hours ago
I was thinking about the FOG model this morning, particularly about the "Obligation" part.
The Nine Symptoms of Cult Influence
In the same way that a doctor looks for symptoms to help detect a disease, the following symptoms warn us that a family member or friend may have come under the influence of a cult. Of course, not all of these show up in every case, but they provide a red flag that something may be wrong. No single symptom may be conclusive, but you should be suspicious if you see several of the following symptoms together--and remember that the more quickly cult influence is detected, the easier the rescue.
Personality changes: Do you find yourself saying, "He's a different person," or, "I don't know her anymore"? Destructive cults successfully replace their members' personalities with new identities. Dramatic shifts of values or beliefs: Of course, values and beliefs change gradually over a lifetime--but psychological research has shown that beliefs and values are highly resistant to dramatic short-term change. Such radical changes require extreme situational influences such as those provided by skilled cult leaders. Changes in diet or sleep patterns: Cults will often restrict the diet and sleep of members, possibly in an effort to hamper normal, rational thought processing. In addition, the vegetarian diets commonly required by cult leaders allow the cults to feed members cheaply. Refusal to attend important family events: Family members pose a strong threat to the influence of the cult. As such, many cults refuse to allow members to attend family events such as marriages, sick relatives, graduations, etc. Inability to make decisions without consulting a cult leader or guru: One of the signs of dependency upon a cult leader is the loss of personal autonomy. Sudden use of a new ideology to explain everything: Like a harpist playing an instrument with a single string, a cult member uses his or her new ideology to explain the entire world--even when it's wildly inappropriate. Black and white, simplistic reasoning: Underneath all the complicated jargon, you'll find a cult recruit dividing his or her world into 'good' and 'bad'. The shades of grey in which we all live are usually intolerable to a cult member. New vocabulary: Is the person suddenly using complex jargon to obscure irrational or simplistic thinking? (Although this could merely be a sign of attending graduate school!) Insistence that you do what they are doing: Recruitment is one of the first duties a new cult member is given. It consolidates the recruits beliefs while it inflates the cult's ranks.
brainwashing & mind control techniques
The term "brainwashing" came into common language through the work of American journalist Edward Hunter who was an expert of Oriental issues; the very word being the direct translation of Chinese "hsi-nao". By "hsi-nao" the Chinese meant certain techniques in dealing with adversaries and/or training of officials. To the Western usage the term "brainwashing" spread in the 1950s through several publications depicting the treatment of American soldiers at Chinese prison camp during the Korean War 1950-1953.
Below is a list of the usual brainwashing/mind control techniques used in schools, hospitals, army, religious cults, totalitarian states; with political prisoners and dissidents, mentally insane, some versions of psychoterapy, etc., etc. "Indoctrination" is a more slight and more subliminal form of brainwashing (e.g. commercials). However, these concepts are nothing short of controversial and open to various interpretations, which should be kept in mind while perusing the Web sources below.
I can't guarantee the information found from some of these pages is totally unprejudiced or scientifically verifiable under skeptical observation. So, it's up to you to decide whether to believe them or not.
1) HYPNOSIS - Inducing a high state of suggestibility, often thinly disguised as relaxation or meditation.
a. Repetitive Music (most likely with a beat close to the human heart 45 to 72 beats per minute). Most likely used during "study sessions" as the teacher will say the music helps you relax and concentrate better!
b. Voice Roll -- A "voice roll" is a patterned, paced style used by hypnotists when inducing a trance. It is also used by many lawyers, several of whom are highly trained hypnotists, when they desire to entrench a point firmly in the minds of the jurors. A voice roll can sound as if the speaker were talking to the beat of a metronome or it may sound as though he were emphasizing every word in a monotonous, patterned style. The words will usually be delivered at the rate of 45 to 60 beats per minute, maximizing the hypnotic effect.
c. Room "Feel" - The way a room feels is essential to hypnotizing unknowing subjects. It needs special lighting, florescent lights are best because they aren't too dim, but aren't too harsh. Also, Room Temp helps a bit, usually a little cooler than normal room temperature. You need to have the unknowing subjects very relaxed, perhaps even close to falling asleep.
2) PEER GROUP PRESSURE - Suppressing doubt and resistance to new ideas by exploiting the need to belong.
3) "LOVE BOMBING" - Creating a sense of family through physical touch, thought & feeling sharing and emotional bonding.
4) REJECTION OF OLD VALUES - Accelerating acceptance of new lifestyle by constantly denouncing former beliefs and values.
5) CONFUSING DOCTRINE - Encouraging blind acceptance and rejection of logic through complex lectures on an incomprehensible doctrine.
6) METACOMMUNICATION - Implanting subliminal messages by stressing certain key words or phrases in long, confusing lectures.
7) REMOVAL OF PRIVACY - Achieving loss of ability to evaluate logically by preventing private contemplation.
8) DISINHIBITION - Encouraging child-like obedience by orchestrating child-like behaviour
9) UNCOMPROMISING RULES - Inducing regression and disorientation by soliciting agreement to seemingly simple rules which regulate mealtimes, bathroom breaks and use of medications.
10) VERBAL ABUSE - Desensitizing through bombardment with foul and abusive language. (Physical abuse, such as torture, is the more extreme form of this.)
11) SLEEP DEPRIVATION AND FATIGUE - Creating disorientation and vulnerability by prolonging mental an physical activity and withholding adequate rest and sleep.
12) DRESS CODES - Removing individuality by demanding conformity to the group dress code.
13) CHANTING OR SINGING - Eliminating non-cult ideas through group repetition of mind-narrowing chants or phrases.
14) CONFESSION - Encouraging the destruction of individual ego through confession of personal weaknesses and innermost feelings of doubt.
15) FINANCIAL COMMITMENT - Achieving increased dependence on the group by 'burning bridges' to the past, through the donation of assets.
16) FINGER POINTING - Creating a false sense of righteousness by pointing to the shortcomings of the outside world.
17) ISOLATION - Inducing loss of reality by physical separation from family, friends, society and rational references.
18) CONTROLLED APPROVAL - Maintaining vulnerability and confusion by alternately rewarding and punishing similar actions.
19) CHANGE OF DIET - Creating disorientation and increased susceptibility to emotional arousal by depriving the nervous system of necessary nutrients through the use of special diets and/or fasting. Also applying drugs for these purposes fall in this category.
20) GAMES - Inducing dependence on the group by introducing games with obscure rules.
21) NO QUESTIONS - Accomplishing automatic acceptance of beliefs by discouraging questions.
22) GUILT - Reinforcing the need for 'salvation' by exaggerating the sins of the former lifestyles.
23) FEAR - Maintaining loyalty and obedience to the group by threatening soul, life or limb for the slightest 'negative' thought, word or deed.
He coldly and unmercifully suggested that all the work this man did for the congregation and the brothers meant nothing if his hours were not at the bar the Society (unofficially but in all reality) set. That this brother should be encouraged to do less other stuff and spend longer out in the ministry, the other stuff (practical and charitable things like helping brothers move house, working on hall maintenance, helping with IT issues at the hall etc).
Ray Franz tried to point out that doing good for each other was part of our ministry. He was shot down.
Sad, all the brother had to do was put down a fictional number and he was golden. Heck, it didn't even have to be fictional- he could just learn a better way to "count time" like many pioneers and others have done. He could attempt to hand a tract to someone before a drive and at the end of the drive, while driving for some other reason. Now he has the whole time of that drive to count. I could go on, but I think we understand.
He coldly and unmercifully suggested that all the work this man did for the congregation and the brothers meant nothing if his hours were not at the bar the Society (unofficially but in all reality) set. That this brother should be encouraged to do less other stuff and spend longer out in the ministry,
COs have the responsibility to review and evaluate each congregation's ministerial work as in how many hours are tabulated, how many literature placements and how many personal studies are started.
That's their given position within organization, which being that this religion has a publishing house operating its core its not surprising in reflection of that fact.
Co's in other words are division mangers to this publishing house and from their perception if a congregation posts good hours in service. then that congregation is perceived to be spiritually strong.
That's pretty much how I got deleted as an MS (the first time). I was accounts servant, sound servant, volunteered for most building projects, maintenance projects, etc etc etc. But as soon as my hours dropped below the 10.0 average, I got a pep talk about getting those hours back in line. So, I lied on my time report for a few months. Then I just got burned out, and let the hours slip again, and let them delete me. It was actually a load off my shoulders. I should have realized then that if being 'punished' by being demoted was a relief, then there is something wrong with God's earthly organization.
True enough. The field service hours are the bottom line to defining someone's spirituality, goodness, and worth in the org. (And money is a close second).
I know of two kind-hearted, truly "spiritual" young pioneer sisters who decided to incorporate into their ministry looking in on the elderly. Their idea was that they kept a list and systematically visited once a week with a hot meal and encouraging words and offered to do a chore or two. These elderly ones were truly touched and appreciative. In fact, one widow mentioned that she was visited by these sisters more than her only son (he was an elder in a neighboring congregation, 10 minute drive to mom's house).
As you might expect, a short time later the 2 pioneer sisters were reprimanded by the elders for "running a Meals on Wheels". No more looking after widows. Back to only recruiting for the org. I'm guessing the elder son from the other congregation had something to do with it.
So, yes, I wholeheartedly agree with the OPs observations.