Even as a JW i was fascinated with hypnosis and seeing people like Derren Brown putting people under almost instantly. In the last 2/3 years when i was a JW but beginning to wake up from the bullshit i read up on hypnosis, watched a few YouTube demos and explanations etc. but never actually studied it seriously until about a year ago. I read books, bought expensive DVD courses and tried out what i'd learned on non JW friends who were skeptical but willing to try. It didn't work :( so i gave up on it.
Then... 2 years later (now) i get a sudden interest in it again. This time i decided to actually learn it from actual teachers. I booked and paid for a course with a famous UK hypnosist who specialized in Rapid Inductions. I seen this guy online put people under in seconds using "shock inductions".
So there i was, on my way to London for a few days to see if i could learn something cool and, who knows, useful in my future. I already knew the theory of hypnosis, what it is, how it works etc but never actually successfully put anyone under at this stage.
I get to London, check into my hotel, find a McDonalds to refuel then make my way to where the course is being held. A very posh hotel in Westminster. I get a little lost looking for the seminar room but a very nice hotel staff member helps me find it. In i go, and i meet the man holding the course. I'm a little star struck but be my usual chatty friendly self. I make a joke about not wanting to shake his hand (as i shake his hand) because I've seen what he can do.
More people come in and there's about 25 people in total. Some are already hypnotherapists, some are stage hypnotists, some are laymen and some are just curious with more money than sense (this wasn't cheap).
I wont go into it all because it was a few days long. But all in all we learned the theory behind hypnosis, and dispelled some myths. That a person cant be made to do something that they would find immoral or "bad". That we all go into hypnosis many times a day without realizing.
On one of the days when we had all become more friendly I went for lunch with a group of 5 people. We found a nice Italian place in by the Thames. At the table was a Doctor, a stage magician and 3 full time hypnotists. One specializes in stage hypnosis. I tell them my back ground and they're fascinated by the cult side of it. The Doctor told me his mother was a JW for 2 years when he was younger and that they left over the blood issue. The stage hypnotist asked if we could pair up at some point to practice the new inductions. I said yes.
Back at the seminar we learned 4 rapid inductions. We were made to practice them on eachother. My first one worked! I was quite surprised and in my excitement forgot to use a deepener to keep the guy under and he woke up after about 10 seconds. I tried another, and another and they worked. By the end of the course i'd successfully put 12 people under. One time i put 4 people under at the same time. The stage hypnotist i worked with put me under a few times, i put him under and one time couldn't bring someone out!
One guy put me under and in while under hypnosis I heard his people gasp and the hypnotist shift my body. When i was brought out people were asking me if was ok. I didn't know what was up. The hypnotist told me i smacked my arm on the table. I looked at my arm and there was a graze, a little cut, but i didn't even feel it.
Back in Liverpool. My friends knew i was going on this course and a few has said "do it on me when you get back!". So i tried it on them. It worked. Although i kept to my word and brought them out of it after putting them under. At best the only suggestion i'd give was that they'd feel great when they come out of it.
So all in all, i have taken the step once more to defy Watchtower and call bullshit on their outrageous claims.
I always remembered the Watchtowers condemnation of hypnosis here (my comments included):
Awake! July 8, 2003
The Bible’s Viewpoint
Is Hypnotism for Christians?
“There should not be found in you anyone who . . . binds others with a spell.”—DEUTERONOMY 18:10, 11.
HYPNOTISM has been the subject of much debate and controversy.* Even experts in the field find it difficult to explain. It is generally understood that hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness, or trance. Most people, however, are more interested in what hypnotism can do than in what it is.
In recent years it has become common for health practitioners in some lands to recommend hypnotism as a treatment. For instance, the magazine Psychology Today states: “Hypnotherapy can treat headaches, ease labor pains, help you quit smoking, replace anesthesia, and improve study habits—all without side effects.” On the other hand, many associate hypnotism with spiritism and the occult.
Many? Who are these many? Cite your sources please?
What is the Bible’s viewpoint? Of course, the Bible is not a health textbook, and it does not comment directly on the subject of hypnotism. But the principles found in God’s Word can help us determine God’s view.
"The bible is not a health textbook". So any mention of blood and it's relation to blood transfusions should be ignored then?
Hypnotism and Occultism—Is There a Link?
Is the claim that hypnotism is linked to the occult just a figment of someone’s imagination? Fantasy tales in movies and novels may have nurtured the idea, but the connection between hypnotism and spiritism has a real basis. Regarding hypnotism, the Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology explains: “Its history is inextricably interwoven with occultism.” Religious trances, which have been a part of sorcery and magic throughout history, are commonly viewed as a form of hypnosis. Also, the priests in ancient Egypt and Greece induced a type of hypnotic state when trying to cure illnesses in the name of their false gods.
Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology is written by people who actually believe in the occult. So they would say that wouldn't they? Lots of things have been used in sorcery and magic... fire, blood, even the passing of the emblems and not partaking...
The above-quoted encyclopedia notes: “Even today much hypnotic phenomena is classed as ‘Spiritualist.’” While it is difficult to determine to what extent various forms of hypnotism may have to do with the occult, the fact is that God clearly condemns all forms of spiritism. (Deuteronomy 18:9-12; Revelation 21:8) Thus, Christians cannot ignore the clearly unscriptural aspects of hypnotism.
Effect on Behavior
What about the effect of hypnosis on a person’s mind and behavior? Are there any risks involved? One valid concern is that while hypnotized a person may have little control of his behavior. Stage hypnotists utilize this feature, impelling volunteers to do things they would not normally do, even to seem to be drunk.
False. Hypnosis cannot make someone do something they do not want to do. Suggestions can be, and are, rejected if the subject finds them morally wrong or not something they actually want to do. Some people are more suggestible than others, some people like being the center of attention and dont mind acting the fool in their normal life.
Suggesting to someone that the floor is made of ice is not morally wrong, so most people wouldnt have a problem accepting that suggestion for example.
The Encyclopedia Americana says of these public displays of hypnosis: “The hypnotized subject may be openly susceptible to even veiled suggestion, he may have ready access to his more usually heavily veiled unconscious drives, and he may while hypnotized feel that all social and personal curbs on his behavior have been removed.” Collier’s Encyclopedia states: “The hypnotized subject enjoys an undiverted concentration of his faculties, which makes him intensely attentive to the hypnotist’s suggestions and cooperative in carrying out suggestions.”
Correct. In a hypnotic state you're actually in a heightened stage of awareness.
Does this sound harmless? Would it be advisable for a true Christian to let others influence his mind by means of hypnotic suggestions? This would be contrary to the apostle Paul’s admonition: “Present your bodies a sacrifice living, holy, acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason. And quit being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”—Romans 12:1, 2.
Influence his mind? Like what you're doing with your magazines and propaganda? Again, a hypnotist can only give suggestions. It's up to the subject to accept or reject those suggestions.
Could a Christian “hold a good conscience,” if he allowed himself to be put into a state where he could not fully control his thoughts or desires or even his actions? (1 Peter 3:16) The Bible admonishes: “Each one of you should know how to get possession of his own vessel in sanctification and honor.” (1 Thessalonians 4:4) Clearly, hypnosis would hamper one’s ability to follow such counsel.
"...if he allowed himself to be put into a state where he could not fully control his thoughts or desires or even his actions?" This is the biggest misrepresentation that WT has written about the subject.
A Hope for Perfect Health
In view of the above-mentioned Bible principles, Jehovah’s Witnesses avoid techniques that involve hypnosis or self-hypnosis. They heed the command at Deuteronomy 18:10, 11: “There should not be found in you anyone who . . . binds others with a spell.” For those confronted with health problems, there are many other treatments that do not involve exposure to the dangers of occultism or allow for one’s mind to be manipulated by others.
Such as? Psychiatry? You've already condemned that too.
By keeping clear of practices that are contrary to Bible principles, Christians can have the hope of living forever in God’s righteous new world. Then mankind will enjoy perfect health in body and mind without the use of hypnotism.—Revelation 21:3, 4.
There is it. God's new world. Just put up with whatever you're going through, go out in the ministry and wait for the new system which is still "just around the corner".
Hypnosis is defined as “a sleeplike state usually induced by another person in which the subject may experience forgotten or suppressed memories, hallucinations, and heightened suggestibility.”—The American Heritage Dictionary.
There is actually no single definition for what hypnosis is. It's better explained as that point in between awake and asleep which we all naturally experience at least twice a day before going to sleep and upon waking up.