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Written by: Gordon, Ruth    Posted on: 04/29/2003

Category: Cults / Sects / Non Christian Religions and Topics

Source: CCN

                      DEFINING MIND CONTROL                         by Ruth Gordon

To better understand mind control, we need to examine the criteria for determining if any environment is a mind control environment. The following criteria were first proposed by Dr. Robert J. Lifton in his pioneering work, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism.

This book was a result of his work with the study of mind control after the Korean War as used by the Red Chinese. As more and more psychologist, ex-cult members, and cult watchers began to see the patterns of cult experience match Lifton's findings, his eight criteria have become accepted as the standard by which any organization can be measured to determine if mind control is being used.

Each criteria will be listed and defined. Specific instances where these are in effect in different cults can be seen on the chart MIND CONTROL IN CULTS.

The degree of destructive mind control will correlate with the intensity and occurrence that a group may employ of the following:

1) MILIEU CONTROL: The control of communication within an environment. (Essentially, it is a purposeful limitation of all forms of communication with the outside world, such as isolation from friends and family, reading newspapers, magazines or books, geographical distance or unavailability of transportation, constant seminars, lectures or group encounters which can become so intense that it makes it extremely difficult for an individual to leave, both physically and psychologically.

2) MYSTICAL MANIPULATION: Extensive personal manipulation is used. It seeks to provoke specific patterns of behavior and emotion in such a way that these will appear to have arisen spontaneously from within the environment. (The potential convert becomes convinced that there is a higher purpose within the special group, the leader becomes a mediator for God, and the cult is the only true path to salvation.)

3) DEMAND FOR PURITY: This calls for radical separation of pure and impure, of good and evil, within an environment and within oneself. Absolute purification is a continuing process. The group become the ultimate judge of good and evil within their world. They are able to use normal urges and tendencies toward guilt and shame as emotional levers. (This becomes a source of stimulation of guilt, shame, and inadequacy. This also causes further dependency on the group for ones salvation and/purification process.)

4) CULT OF CONFESSION: Confession is carried beyond its ordinary religious, illegal and therapeutic expressions to the point of becoming a cult in itself. There are four aspects to this type of confession: a) It enhances the group's hold upon the person and their guilt; b) it is an act of symbolic self-surrender; c) it is a means of maintaining a tone of total exposure; and d) it makes it virtually impossible to attain a reasonable balance between worth and humility. (The thrust is toward personal change. )

5) SACRED SCIENCE: Combines a sacred set of dogmatic principles with a claim to a science embodying the truth about human behavior and human psychology. (The cult's laws, regulations and rules are absolute and must be followed without question. Any thought or action which questions leadership is unacceptable.)

6) LOADING THE LANGUAGE: A literalization of language þ and to words or images becoming God. (In each cult a new vocabulary is invented confusing well known words with their own new meanings. Cliche-ridden simplified language can have enormous appeal and psychological power in its very simplification, and can produce thought-stopping or inhibit reflective thinking.)

7) DOCTRINE OVER PERSON: This occurs when there is a conflict between what one feels oneself experiencing and what the doctrine or dogma says one should experience. (An individual's value is insignificant compared to the group as a whole. You must subject your experiences to the truths that are taught. The experience of contradiction or the admission of that experience can be immediately associated with guilt. Doubts are a reflection of one's own evil.)

8) DISPENSING OF EXISTENCE: If one has an absolute or totalistic vision of truth, then those who have not seen the light þ have not embraced the truth, are in some way in the shadows þ are bound up with evil, tainted, and do not have the right to exist. (One placed in the in the second category of not having the right to exist can experience psychologically a tremendous fear of inner extinction or collapse. However, when one is accepted, there can be great satisfaction of feeling oneself a part of the lite.)

All destructive cults use mind control to some extent. At a conference in 1985, Dr. Margaret Singer described mind-control relationships as "those relationships in which a person or persons intentionally induces others to become totally or nearly totally dependent on him or her for almost all major life decisions, and inculcates in these followers a belief that he or she has some special talent, gift or knowledge" (Issues in Diagnosis and Treatment of Cult Members, Cult Awareness National Convention, 1985).

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