"A destructive sect is any group whose methods for winning over and/or indoctrinating a follower include coercive persuasion, designed to destroy (destructure) the follower's previous personality, or damage it severely."

During the 1960s, psychologists in the United States interviewed American soldiers returning from the war against North Korea. They focused in particular on those who had suffered a drastic change in their personality. Under the Communists, these soldiers experienced brainwashing. Later, other psychologists realised that some persons involved in cults experienced similar psychological changes. They recognized that cults used the same mechanism, which they termed mind control or mind reform. Therefore, it is very important to know and understand this technique in order to be able to dialogue with cult members. Otherwise, their unresponsiveness, a result of the mind control they underwent, could end up deceiving us. Even though it is true, we would never tell a Jehovah’s Witness, for example, that he is under mind control, because he wouldn’t know what we are talking about. On the contrary, he would feel attacked. Furthermore, by being on the defensive, he would think that the Catholic is the one under mind control.

In the book, Combating Cult Mind Control, by Steven Hassan, we read that mind control is more subtle and sophisticated than brainwashing. The one that affects brainwashing through torture is considered an enemy by the victim, but the cult member who controls the mind is considered a friend, a good Christian. Consequently, the victim (the one being indoctrinated) offers less resistance than if he were being tortured. By co-operating with the process of mind control, the victim little by little and without realizing it surrenders his former personality and assumes the one imposed on him by the cult. He accepts the teachings of the cult, which are considered biblical.

It is safe to say that mind control does not involve physical abuse. It is limited, instead, to certain hypnotic processes combined with group dynamics which create a potent effect of indoctrination. The individual is deceived and manipulated with indirect threats to make him carry out a prescribed behaviour.

In the hands of a cult without scruples, these methods become an effective tool for attracting converts. Not only are they successful with ignorant and naive people, the best converts are often persons of high intelligence. Is mind control evil?

Today the use of mind control is an ethical problem, but it is not objectionable in all of its manifestations. The media attempts to influence us through advertisements. However, there are certain methods of mind control which are not considered innocent, and people who don’t realize that they are getting involved in a cultist group need to be warned before it’s too late. Religious cults employ mind control tactics which are kept secret. These cults don’t consider their methods to be mind control, but rather evangelization. They sincerely believe that they possess the only answers to life’s problems.

By requiring blind obedience and loyalty, cult leaders keep their members in darkness. They understand human beings: they know that a person would be opposed to indoctrination if he knew what awaited him, and thus they reveal information gradually and at the right moment.

Controls used by cults

"A person could make an individual decision to join the Assembly of God ..... but a total submission to authority was required in order to remain in the group. In such an institution of legalistic mentality, gossip was an effective form of social control, especially when the authorities of the church got wind of it and would call the members to render an account. The pastor ..... of a church was an important figure, even the object of veneration, due to his charismatic authority. "It’s amazing to see the attention and the reverence which the people give the pastor" wrote one observer. "They do everything for him" ..... That the pastor controls everything should be emphasized ..... Nothing happens without his consent."

1. Control of Information

2. Thought Control

3. Environment and Behaviour Control

4. Special Language

5. Control of Feelings


Do only non-Catholic cultish groups use mind control?


No. There may be groups and organizations whose roots are Catholic (Nueva Jerusalen), political (Lyndon La Rouche, Neo-Nazis), and even economic (Amway Products). They all employ one or more of the above mentioned tools because these tools are more psychological than religious. The cult, Nueva Jerusalen, which was started when Gavina Sanchez received a revelation from Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, is one example. This group, lead by the priest Nabor Cardenas, is described as "the most heterogeneous community of the country..... The men work the fields and the women leave home only to go to church... Believers who decide to join the community renounce independence and marriage, as well as the consumption of alcohol, which is prohibited. They may leave to visit their families only if ‘Papa Nabor’ grants permission... Their dress should be ‘heavenly’, unadorned, and of plain fabric.... Those who do not conform to the rules as defined by ‘Papa Nabor’ are simply expelled from the community and may never return" (Epoca, August 9, 1993, pp20-21).


Each one of the above-mentioned techniques by themselves lack much force, but when taken together, they are effective in controlling the mind. Because of their subtlety, one is caught unaware. There is little communication between members who are experiencing doubts or anxiety. They are unaware that there are others who feel the same. On the outside everyone appears happy, and the person who has doubts thinks he is all alone.


Double Messages


Psychologists say that it is harmful for a mother to send mixed signals to her children. She says "I love you" and later says, directly or indirectly "Get out of here. You are always bothering me." This increases the child’s insecurity and his attachment to his mother, because he is unsure of his relationship with her. The same thing happens in a cult. they send these same kind of signals. "God is love. God is going to kill everybody, including children, who are not with us. god speaks through us, but we are not his prophets. Each person must follow his own conscience, but one must not think independently from the leaders". (Here are other examples of double messages taken from the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ magazine, The Watchtower: It teaches that the world is under Satan’s control, and yet that world leaders to not always ‘serve Satan’s ends’; they should be obeyed. It proclaims Christian liberty: "Stand fast in Christian freedom (11/15/90, p23) but it does not recognize the freedom of its people to read other literature: "Do not yoke yourselves with unbelievers" (11/1/89). It complains that people don’t read the Bible when its accessible to all, yet at the same time claims that it cannot be understood without the help of Watchtower publications (8/15/81, pp28-29). the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that the leaders of their religion, who are in New York, must be obeyed, and yet at the same time, they often proclaim that one should not place his trust in men.


Sour Grapes and Sweet Lemons


Psychologists say that a person who has opposite thoughts and convictions feels anxious and searches for coherence in his situation. The fable about the fox who wanted grapes but could not reach them is an example of this psychic phenomena. In the end, he decided that the grapes were sour. He convinced himself that they must be sour so that he wouldn’t feel bad for not being able to reach them. Sweet lemons is another example. A person spends a large amount of money to buy a car and afterwards discovers that there is something wrong with it. Then he has two thoughts: I’m a fool for having bought it and/or I don’t want to think that I’m a fool. He then rationalizes that there is nothing wrong with the car. He sweetens the lemon by denying the real condition of the car. He emphasizes the car’s good qualities while ignoring the bad ones.


These two examples, sour grapes and sweet lemons, apply to all of us. They apply to cults also, and therefore although we may show cult members all of the evils of their group, they persevere in the cult, sometimes with more conviction than ever! The person cannot live with the idea that he has lost 10 or 20 years of his life to the cult and that he is wrong. He will stress the good things and disregard the evidence that his group does not have the truth.
(Source: http://www.double-cross.com/)