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TUCoPS :: Wetware Hacking :: Others :: dmcfaq.txt

Destructive Mind Control FAQ




Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below are Frequently Asked Questions about
Destructive Mind Control. 

1.  What is mind control?" Is all "mind control" bad? 
2.  What is the difference between a destructive cult and a cult?
3.  Are all destructive cults religious? 
4.  Are terrorist groups cults?
5.  Are all destructive cults equally as bad? 
6.  Is it possible for someone to be in a one-on-one mind control
    dependency on someone?
7.  Why do destructive cults say that you are anti-religious or bigoted? 
8.  Are you a deprogrammer or exit-counselor? 
9.  What should I do if I suspect a family member or friend is getting
    involved with a destructive cult? 
10. What should I do if I can't find information about a particular person
    or destructive cult?


1. What is "mind control?" Is all "mind control" bad?

My mind control model outlines many key elements that need to be controlled:
Behavior, Information, Thoughts and Emotions (BITE). If these four components
can be controlled, then an individual's identity can be systematically
manipulated and changed. Destructive mind control takes the "locus of control"
away from an individual. The person is systematically deceived about the beliefs
and practices of the person (or group) and manipulated throughout the recruitment
process- unable to make informed choices and exert independent judgment. The
person's identity is profoundly influenced through a set of social influence
techniques and a "new identity" is created- programmed to be dependent on the
leader or group ideology. The person can't think for him or herself, but believes
otherwise. The cult system reinforces an "illusion of control." Please click here
to review a detailed outline of my BITE mind control model.

"Mind control" techniques are not necessarily bad. Although I typically use the
term "mind control" when describing unethical and abusive social influence, many
of the techniques can be used ethically to promote positive spiritual and personal
growth.

For example, prayer can be used ethically or it can be used destructively as
a tool of manipulation and coercion. Praying with a person aloud, and asking
"God's blessing to help direct and guide him" (in an "open-ended" way) is just
fine. Praying with a person, and asking God to "keep this person from making the
mistake of leaving the group's workshop and returning to Satan's world" is unethical.

Meditation techniques can be used to build awareness and self control, or it can
be used as a way of "thought-stopping"-undermining independent thinking and
reality-testing. For example, if a person is having doubts and questions about
a leader's behavior, and meditates to get rid of "negativity", it might stop
the person from taking necessary action.

There are thousands of different "mind control" techniques which can be used
for positive benefit. Some these techniques include: prayer, meditation, chants,
singing songs, visualizations, affirmations, positive self-talk, breathing techniques,
hypnosis, "speaking in tongues", ecstatic dancing, music. 

I personally enjoy the benefits of prayer, meditation, chanting, singing as
well as self-hypnosis techniques. At my Jewish Temple (www.templebethzion.org)
people are free to participate at their own comfort level. A healthy skepticism
toward dogma and exclusive elitism is encouraged. People can and do ask penetrating
questions. Rabbis Moshe Waldoks and Ellen Pildis usually respond with answers
that include a variety of scholarly perspectives, and then offer their own point
of view. There is an independent board of directors and a healthy system of checks
and balances. 

Being in control of your own mind includes: being in touch with your feelings;
having the ability to question and think analytically; the freedom to act
independently as well as the ability to look at issues from multiple perspectives. 

If you have been involved with a person or group for a long time, can you have
time away to take a vacation, visit friends or family, or just be by yourself?
Are you irrationally afraid to really evaluate for yourself any critical
information, including speaking with ex-members? Do you have the access to this
"negative" information? If you are reading this on our web site, then you should
be able to find out what former members and critics have to say. Then you can
evaluate the information for yourself and make your own independent decisions.

 

2. What is the difference between a destructive cult and a benign cult?

A destructive cult is a pyramid-shaped authoritarian regime with a person
or group of people that have dictatorial control. It uses deception in
recruiting new members (e.g. people are NOT told up front what the group
is, what the group actually believes and what will be expected of them
if they become members). It also uses mind control techniques to keep
people dependent and obedient. The BITE mind control model is my way of
understanding the phenomenon. Dr. Robert Jay Lifton has his Eight Criteria
for Thought Reform. Dr. Margaret Singer has her Six Conditions for
understanding Destructive cults typically seek to "clone" recruits in
the image of the cult leader, rather than respect and encourage their
individuality, creativity and self-will.

Benign cult groups are any group of people who have a set of beliefs
and rituals that are non-mainstream. As long as people are freely able
to choose to join with full disclosure of the group's doctrine and
practices and can choose to disaffiliate without fear or harassment,
then it doesn't fall under the behavioral/ psychological destructive
cult category.

Of course, there are destructive groups that are clearly anti-social
teach hate and encourage criminal activity. A case by case evaluation
must be made to determine if a particular group is using elements of
the BITE model to recruit and control.

 

3. Are all destructive cults religious?

No. In addition to religious cults, there are psychotherapy cults,
political cults and commercial cults. There are also personality cults,
particularly if one person absolutely controls another (or a small group
of people, such as in a family). 

There are groups which combine all of these, especially when the group
is large and has a variety of "fronts" or other entities. For example,
the Moon organization combines most of these categories. However, because
the central figure, Moon, claims to be the Messiah, the group is primarily
thought of as a religious cult. This should not minimize the fact that
Moon is very active in the world of politics and business. In fact
Moon controls more business and political entities than he has religious ones.

 

4. Are terrorist groups cults?

Of course. I think it is more useful to think of them as destructive cults
(with political and/or religious orientation) which advocate the use of violence.

Any pyramid structured authoritarian group which uses deception and mind
control to recruit and indoctrinate their followers is considered to be
a destructive cult. 

While in the past, terrorist cults have focused on recruiting the disadvantaged,
uneducated youth in recent years there has been an increased emphasis on
recruiting middle-class, college educated individuals - including married
individuals with families.

Apparently, Osama bin Laden and his Al Queda group is a well financed
destructive cult which employs a whole host of classic mind control techniques
in its training program. Suicide bombers undergo a thorough and extensive
indoctrination, reportedly spending hours in a coffin reading from the Koran
in an open grave. They are told that they are already dead and will be hailed
in heaven for their heroic deeds. Like members of other destructive cults,
they are programmed to think in simplistic black and white, us-versus-them
terms. They not only depersonalize but also demonize their enemies. 

It is crucial that we understand how cult functions in order to help neutralize
this grave threat to the world.

 

5. Are all cults equally as bad?

No, there are definitely wide variations among different organizations. Aum
Shinrikyo, the Japanese "nerve gas" cult, used physical imprisonment, illegal
drugs, and forms of torture. People would be forced to turn over all of their
assets and cut off from their families and friends. If members tried to leave
the group or oppose its leadership, they would be threatened and in some cases,
killed. This is extreme when compared with large group "training" programs
which use hypnotic techniques to get you to believe the leader is the "messiah" 
and which inculcates the membership to recruit all of their families and friends.

When a cult figure gains absolute political power over a people or a country,
typically the BITE mind control model is put into place. Perceived enemies are
imprisoned or killed. Free press is abolished. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Hussein are
all examples of political cult leaders. When you compare the multitudes of
people killed by political cult leader's commands, the 39 deaths of Heaven's
Gate seem insignificant.

 

6. Is it possible for someone to be in a one-on-one mind control
dependency on someone?

Yes. In Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves I
write about some of my cases involving this form of personal control.
Sometimes, it can be an authoritarian family system. Sometimes it can be
husband, wife, "friend" or relative. Many times it can be someone in some
other position of authority. Battered-wife syndrome and prostitutes 
ontrolled by an abusive pimp also fit this category. These situations are 
ometimes far more destructive than involvement in a larger group because
all of the energy of the abusive authority figure is concentrated on the victim.

 

7. Why do destructive cults say that you are anti-religious or bigoted?

Destructive cults understand that to keep believers dependent on them,
they must try to neutralize sources of criticism. Information control
is one of the four main components of mind control. One destructive
group, Scientology, even goes so far to have "dead agents packs" for
their critics in an attempt to destroy their credibility. Their
terminology is revealing.

I am a human rights activist who very much values my spirituality
as the core of my existence. My work has received endorsements from
virtually every major religious denomination. I definitely believe
in a God who created us with free-will and wants us to use our minds
to live lives of love, peace, beauty, and goodness. My work has grown
out of my own desire to grow in understanding and to help people to
realize that they need not be psychologically constricted.

If you were to only read and accept as true what cults say about me,
then you would think that I am a kidnapper and religious bigot.

The truth is that I have never kidnapped anyone and I support people's
rights to believe whatever they want to believe. The truth is that when
I got out of the Moonies in 1976, I was involved in some involuntary
deprogrammings of fellow cult members for about one year. I never abducted
anyone. I was present along with family members to talk to the cult
member about why I left the Moonies. Most of these cases worked. A few 
id not, and the people returned to the Moonies and wrote "affidavits"
saying that I did these horrible things to them. Look at the dates. It
is important to note that I have never been charged either criminally
or civilly for any deprogramming case (or for anything else for that matter).

Of course, over the years I have been accused of doing other involuntary
deprogrammings in order to create the illusion that I am a continued threat.
The truth is that I stopped doing involuntaries and have been speaking out
against deprogramming since 1980. I have written two books, which give
much more detail about my history and my approach to counseling cult members.

 

8. Are you a deprogrammer or exit-counselor?

If the term deprogramming means abducting people and holding them against
their wills to help them exit a cult, the answer is NO!

Some people like to use the term deprogrammer in a positive way - as
someone who helps people get out of cults. I feel that the term has become
too associated with negatives. Besides, I do not think brainwashing and
mind control is like computer programming. I think it is a "dissociative
disorder." Helping a person recover from detrimental effects requires
much more than counter-programming. My approach empowers the person to
regain control of their own mind, rather than just attacking the cult
belief system or the cult identity.

When I wrote my first book, Combatting Cult Mind Control in 1988, I
described what I did as exit-counseling. But I ran into trouble with
this terminology when working with active cult members. When they would
agree to meet with me, often at the request of a family member, I would
tell them that I was there to help them with information and counseling
to decide if they wanted to reevaluate and leave their group. When they
asked me why it was called exit-counseling, I realized that they had a
point. It could be called exit-counseling at the point that a person was
asking for help to leave a group, but not before. I also decided to
abandon this term because people who were still doing involuntary
deprogramming started calling themselves exit-counselors. I wanted
nothing to do with them.

NOTE: Please understand that there are individuals who still call
themselves exit-counselors who are reputable and will only do voluntary
cases. In addition there is a new term that several people who prefer
the term Thought-Reform consultants. Most of these people are former
cult members and are not mental health professionals. Nevertheless,
they are excellent at providing information and most do valuable work.

I am a licensed mental health counselor. I received my Master's degree 
rom Cambridge College in 1985, and have taken the time and undertaken
the expense to receive counseling training from some of the top people
in America and the world. I have experience doing individual, couple
and family counseling. I teach communications techniques and strategies.
I advocate respectful, loving, compassionate and legal method of influence.
I call it the "Strategic Interaction Approach (SIA)."

 

9. What should I do if I suspect a family member or friend is getting
involved with a destructive cult?

My best advice is to get help before you do or say anything. Continue
to act naturally. Learn before you act. Think before you speak. Adopt
a "curious, yet concerned" attitude with the person you suspect is in trouble.

Don't get hysterical in front of the individual. Don't attack or confront.
Don't ask him or her if they are in a cult.

Position yourself as a possible "recruit" and try to elicit as much
information as possible. Ask questions in a friendly manner and
insist on getting specific answers. Don't settle for global generalizations
or evasions. Ask for any literature, but be cautious about going to meetings
without getting properly prepared first. From time to time I hear stories
of people falling victim when trying to help someone else.

If a group is legitimate, it will stand up to scrutiny. Members will be
forthcoming with information and that information will be verified by facts.
If a group is legitimate, they will not pressure people to make commitments
before there is complete disclosure. If a group is legitimate, it will not
lie nor will it use phobias to enslave new members.

Get information. Maintain contact. Try to get the person to engage with you
in a process of researching the group objectively. Talk with former members,
particularly former leaders if you can. Destructive cults vilify critical
former members and make up stories to make them untrustworthy. While that
might be the case, use your own good judgment to listen to all of the facts
objectively. Make your best decision based on your experience and the
information you have collected. Periodically, as new information or experiences
present themselves, you might review your evaluation.


 
10. What should I do if I can't find information about a particular
person or destructive cult?

Search our web site as well as other web sites mentioned as
resources. We can also produce custom research reports using the
extensive files in our office and our extensive network of contacts.
For pricing information, email us at center@freedomofmind.com or call 617 628-9918.



If you wish to know more about Steve Hassan, read his biography, look at his
online press kit and read some of the news articles. You can even watch some
of his appearances on major television shows. If you wish to schedule a
consultation with Steven Hassan, call 617 628-9918.
---------------------------------------------------
Steven Hassan
Phone: 617-628-9918
Fax: 617-628-8153
P.O. Box 45223
Somerville, MA  02145



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