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Mind Control

Four Aspects of Mind Control
(as it relates to people in cults)


  • Important information which is available to the general public is withheld from members and potential members.
  • Deception is the basic feature of all cult recruitment. It is also what keeps people inside cults.
  • Information is one of the best weapons against cults.
  • In cults information about the cult's history, purposes, doctrines, financial disclosures, methods of dealing with problems, counseling, training, and discipline for offenses are kept as confidentail as possible.
  • Only those members with trusted status are allowed inside information.



  • "Truth" and reality are distorted for those inside the group by subtly changing the definitions of common terms with new meanings through the use of code words, cliches, and slogans.
  • Different words make the members feel special and separate from outsiders.
  • These different words confuse outsiders who want to understand what the group believes and talks about.
  • The change in definitions of significant words keeps even the members from understanding their own beliefs.
  • Leaders of cults repress questions by conditioning their members to employ "thought-stopping" statements, prayers, hymns, Bible verses, mantras, tongues or rituals to drown out doubt, questions, anxiety or uncertainty. "I can't think about that." "How can you question (the leaders) after all they have done?" etc. The intention is to stop questions regarding the system or leaders.
  • The word "faith" is employed in a negative sense. Members are conditioned to view "faith" in terms of blind submission to the leaders, rather than positive certainity in God's love.
  • Members are conditioned to feel guilty for any curiosity about what is going on within the group; curiosity is a lack of faith. (Therefore, even after some people leave a mind control group, they may be afraid to examine information which explains the background of their old belief system.)
  • Typically, the word "grace" has a different meaning from the Biblical use. The "God" of the group is also different from the God of the Bible. God is defined by, and eventually becomes the group.


  • Guilt, fear and shame are projected onto the members, prompting blame toward themselves for their depression, lack of understanding, anxiety, or inability to cope, rather than examining the leaders, the group's policies, history, doctrines, scandals, and at times, even crimes.
  • Phobic attitudes or behaviors are sometimes noticeable when attempts are made to converse with members regarding their belief in the group or its leaders.
  • Fear, anger, rage or repetitious statements which only go in circles keep the members from thinking through to any rational conclusions.
  • Fear of confrontation with family is common, resulting in very few people being rescued.



  • Tight control of behavior secures the leaders' position of authority and importance.
  • The behavior control impresses members and outsiders to view the group as especially spiritual or successful.
  • The leaders link the required behavior to their special "revelation" of a text of scripture. However the required behaviors are usually superficial controls, affecting appearances and outward activity rather than inward character. These can include grooming, daily activities, career choices, clothing, specific technology, posture, speech mannerisms, food choices, recreation, education, even decisions about marriage, sex and children. (They usually do not deter moral sin.)
  • If a person does not conform, he may be urged to become more like an older group member; to follow the leaders' "example".
  • The leaders cannot totally control one's inner thoughts, but if they can command behavior, hearts and minds will usually follow.
  • The behavior control isolates the members from society even more effectively.