Combatting Mind Control by Steve Hassan - Review

by TheListener 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • TheListener

    I'll admit that when I first began having doubts I thought for sure I was crazy. Once I totally didn't believe it was the truth I thought for sure I was going to die at Armageddon because my faith wasn't strong enought to understand that this was really the truth.

    Since then I've gotten over those feelings and have always said I feel the witnesses are a cult. Maybe not as destructive a cult as Jim Jones, but a cult nonetheless. I must say, however, that if the GB asked the dubs to do anything, I believe the majority of them would do it without hesitation - illegal, unethical, immoral or not.

    To better arm myself for dealing with my family I finally took the advice so often given here to read Hassan's books about cults. I'm halfway through Combatting Mind Control by Steve Hassan.

    As I put the book aside just a couple of minutes ago I felt this amazing rush of frustration and anger. Although I've been saying it's a cult for the last year or so, it finally hit me that it IS a cult. I have read and heard evidence from an expert in the field and recognize much of what he says about cults applying to the dubs.

    Before I was disappointed that my family will, in all likelihood, remain witnesses even after my eventual faded exit. Now, I feel helpless watching them be manipulated like puppets. I don't know how I'll stomach my children being involved. It already upsets me when I see them being indoctrinated, but now my frustration and anger will take on new strength.

    Perhaps I shouldn't be reading the book, perhaps being ignorant and blissful that me being free was enough should have satisfied me. But, no, I want to know the real situation my family is in and the best way to help them. So even though the book(s) will be painful to read and apply I am going to do just that. It has made me more determined than ever to help my family break free.

    Some of the information in Combatting applies to really culty-cults like the Moonies; but some of the paragraphs hit home with the witnesses amazingly close. Like the part about talking with former members and finding out why they left, or being able to leave without repurcussions. The books will be very beneficial to me and hopefully my family.

    Thank you all for recommending them. I wish I had read them long ago.

  • GetBusyLiving




  • jaredg

    i just ordered Releasing the Bonds by Hassan. I can't wait to dive into it. Hey wanna book swap when I'm done?

  • PaNiCAtTaCk

    Thanks for the review I just ordered Releasing the bonds and combating cult mind control last night on and Im excited. Is there one book I should read before the other?

  • Texas Apostate
    Texas Apostate
    Hey wanna book swap when I'm done?


    That's nasty....

  • hopelesslystained

    culty-cults GBL- funny, yes, but a very so. cal way of emphasizing.

  • logansrun
    Although I've been saying it's a cult for the last year or so, it finally hit me that it IS a cult.

    Dude, a cult is a human construct. Three-hundred years ago the practices of the Watchtower society would not be considered "cultlike." I doubt that people back then even thought in such terms. The only reason people say that it IS (capital I-S) a cult is because there is a general consensus that it is a cult. Personally, I think that patriotism is just as cultlike, but since there is no consensus that this is so my opinion is looked down upon. Too bad.

    You can't prove that the JWs are a cult, period. It's all relative.


  • Gill

    Logansrun - sometimes for a very intelligent person, you come out with some.......

  • trevor

    When one is a member of a group such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, it is not possible to be aware of the degree to which personal freedoms that are normally taken for granted are lost. The mind-control techniques used by the Watchtower Society are by no means unique. Part of the process includes creating an atmosphere of isolation from society and a policy of non-involvement in the running of many of the institutions that are a part of normal society. Many books have been written about cults and the way that those belonging to them are controlled and manipulated. Of course those under such control are always offended at the notion that they are involved with a cult.

    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.

  • Scully
    I think that patriotism is just as cultlike


    If, in referring to patriotism as "cultlike", you mean the fervor and passion with which some people behave in a manner that they perceive as "patriotic", then I can agree with you, on that count only.

    I haven't heard of anyone displaying patriotism to the point of shunning and excluding (à la Disfellowshipping) members of their own family who disagree with their patriotism.

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