Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Definition of Mind control

Welcome back to my blog. Today I write this bit in the nice weather in my back garden. Excellent. Now some of you mat have notices that in my last blog I stated that I was not going to touch upon mind control (thought reform) and indoctrination until the next blog. Well this is the next blog. So here goes. I am going to say right here and right now that instead of using the terms mind control and brainwashing that I am going to talk about thought reform instead as this is how many of the professionals use the term.

Is the Christian church guilty of using thought reform in the same way that the cult of scientology has? I know that some of you are screaming yes but I have to be honest and say that the answer is a resounding no. Ok I am biased but now I am going t prove my point.

What is thought reform? What is indoctrination? What is brainwashing? What is the difference between thought reform and education? Is there any? Lets have a look at what thought reform and “Brainwashing” are first off. When we think about brainwashing we think of electricity being run thought someone’s body, long sleep deprived nights and a bright light shone in someone’s eyes until they give up… Not quite. The term brain washing comes from the:

“Miami herald in September 1950. The author Edward hunter coined the word as a rather down market translation of the Chinese “his-nao”, which meant “to cleanse the mind” Denise Winn, The Manipulated Mind

What was happening, in this example, was a lot of people that were coming back from Korea were suddenly agreeing with their captors. Going from one end of the spectrum to another.

Now we all know that the cult of scientology does these things. Or do they really? Does the Christian church do this?

First lets have a look at what is termed thought reform? According to Margaret Thaler Singer author of “Cults in our Midst” (a great book which has really helped a lot of my research, in case you hadn’t have guessed) that

“thought reform is a concerted effort to change a persons way of looking at the world, which will change his or her behaviour. It is distinguished from other forms of social learning by the conditions under which it is conducted and by the techniques of the environment and interpersonal manipulation that are meant to suppress certain behaviour and to elicit and train other behaviour”

This is quite detailed I am sure that you would agree, some of you are already on your keyboards ready to condemn the Christian church as I speak. Wait thought because I am not yet finished.

Steven Hassan in his amazing book Combating Cult Mind Control Makes another definition of thought reform he states that thought reform is

“A system which disrupts an individuals identity. The identity is made up of elements such as belief, behaviour, thought process and emotions which constitute a definitive pattern”

I like both of these definitions because having read a lot about this topic I can honestly say that these really do sum up what modern cults are doing. I like to think that Singer’s definition looks at the how (social learning, interpersonal manipulation) and the Hassan definition looks at the what (identity, beliefs, behaviour). Now lets have a look at how this can occur.

Remember I said above about how electricity and bright lights were not thought reform? Well its true.

“growing evidence in he behavioural science revels that a smiling big brother has greater power to influence an individuals thought and decision making than a visibly threatening person” Singer Cults in our midst

How do many people join the cult of scientology? Someone walks up to them and asks do they want a free personality test? How does someone join the church? Someone that they know who is quite nice comes up an asks them. Remember when I said in the first blog how I would walk out of any church that shouted and screamed at me? Same principal stands here. If someone walked up to you and grabbed you and took you into the cult then ran ten million volts through your body there would be some police involvement (plus a dead you as well). A cult, to use a bible term, is a wolf in sheep clothing.

The thing that I have noticed about doing this research is that ANYONE can be a cult member. Now your sitting there and quite happily thinking not me. I did as well. As Hassan points out (which nicely ties in with the point above)

“Mind control, also called thought reform is a more subtle and sophisticated. Its perpetrators are regarded as friends or peers, so the person is much less defensive”

So that man who walked up to you and asked you for a free stress test? But then again lets look at the man on the street corner and preaches about Jesus. Are both of them an agent of thought reform? IN a way yes, in a way no. they are both trying to change you opinions in one way or another. The preacher about your opinions on Jesus and the other trying to tell you about Scientology in another. This is where the similarities end thought. Remember that thought reform has more than just the simple hook to get you into the doors. There is far more to it than that.

Remember I stated earlier about how thought reform is a social process? Well getting them in thought the front door is only the start of this process. Now the question must be raised, does the Christian church practise them and does the cult of scientology do the same? Well lets have a look. We must look at how thought reform is carried about before we can make any accusations. Singer sets out six conditions which thought control must be met in order to enforce mind control. These are

Keep them unaware - “you find yourself in an environment to which you are forced to adapt in a series of steps, each sufficiently minor so that you don’t notice the changes in yourself and do not become aware of the goals of the programme (if ever) until to late in the process”
Control the environment and the time - Just because your not at the commune or the church doesn’t means that they cannot control you time. Cults give you tasks to do during the day in order to keep your head in the cults activities.
Create powerlessness, fear and dependency - stripping you of you support networks and your wealth. Creating your dependence upon the cult for all things.
Suppress old behaviour and attitude
Instil new behaviour and attitude
Create a closed system of logic. - create a system where you cannot complain or you cannot dissuade the leadership of their teachings.

Looking at these can the Christian church be accused of thought reform? Look at all of these? Can you honestly say that the church does all of these? Some of them may but in the mainstay no they cannot. Lets have a look at these in more detail.

1) Keep them unaware - When I go to a bible study I go to a bible study. When I go to a church service I am going to a church service. When I am going to a fund raiser then I am going to a fund raiser. If I do not like what the church is doing then I am free to find another one. The church will ask you to adapt and reform some of your attitudes but than again all organisations will ask you to do so in a series of steps. For example when I joined anonymous I was forced to keep my identity secret and do certain practices that I would not normally do. The point that I am trying to make is that when you go to a lot of Christian events there is very little hidden agenda. I have always been aware of the aims and objectives of any events that I am going to.

2) Control the environment and time - Well I am controlled to certain events. Sundays for example is church day. The rest of my week is mine to do with what I want (not including my job and family commitments). I choose to regularly attend a Bible study. I can, if I choose, not to go. And some times (and it is only rarely) I choose to miss church! Dear me! The thing of it is that I do not have my time controlled.

3)Create powerlessness and fear & dependency - When was the last time I had to sell my car in order to give the money to the church? When was the last time that I had to give all of my money to the church? When was the last time that I had to work for the church because it told me that I had to? Let me think about this one… Never? When is it going to happen? Never. Now you could make the argument that the environment that is encouraged by the church is the feeling of powerlessness and dependency upon God. The accusation can hold up some light as the teachings of the church do state that you should put al of your fears and hope and fully rely upon God. The problem come with free will. God again give us the free will in order to do what we want with our lives and what we want to do. I rely upon God for most things. Do I feel fear towards God for not doing his will? No. God again gives me free will to do what he DOESN’T want as well. This coupled with the fact that sometimes I feel that God has given me the power to cope on my own sometime as well.

4&5) Suppress old attitudes and behaviours & instil new attitudes and behaviours - This one the church is TOTALLY ONE HUNDERED AND TEN PERCENT GUILTY!!! There is no way of looking at it these two without a verdict of guilty. By our very nature we have to be guilty of this one. We believe in the resurrection of Jesus and that thought his sacrifice upon the cross that we are born again into power and love. The bible tells us about the death of our old selves and the birth of the new. To the extent that cults do it though? I don’t think so. Making people confess to things they didn’t do? Making you go along exactly with the group over various topics? No. Every church will encourage you to do certain good things and leave out the bad, but then again ALL social systems will do that. From your work place to your school to your social grouping. For example when I am out with my mates, banter is extremely encouraged and not taking it well is extremely discouraged. When you look at it, its all a matter of extremes

6) Instil a system of closed logic - I don’t think that we are guilty of this one. If I have a problem with the preacher I can always walk out. If I don’t like the teaching I can go to the minister and state why I think that he is wrong. The opposite is also true. The church is a very democratic organisation in a lot of ways. Just because you think someone is an absolute silly old buffer, doesn’t mean you have to live with it. You can correct it. The accusation can be made that we have a closed system of logic when it comes to different points of view. Remember I have only talked here about complaining about the church and its teachings within the church. What about someone like Richard Dawkins OR Christopher Hitchin? Some people will have blind faith and they always will. I know some of my fellow Christian brothers and sisters who have stated how can I read the God delusion? The same can be said of ANY closely held belief thought as Elliot Aronson states in the Social Animal “often beliefs that we hold dear are never called into question; when they are not, it is relatively easy for us to lose sight of why we hold them. Thus if subjected to sever attack such beliefs may crumble”. You could therefore say that the church should teach its congregation to question its own held beliefs in order to negate this “closed system of logic”. Think of this, however, you can have a closed system of logic on any belief. This could include atheism, communism, socialism, the free market economy, a football team, ethnicity, social problems. If you are going to say that we have to question our deeply held beliefs then you would be right. You will, however, have to do the same yourself.

The main stay of this comes down to one word and I will use this word quite a lot. Transparency. The Christian church allows you to buy a bible anywhere you want and in different versions to (the street bible and the Manga bible are personal favourites). You can buy teachings from any organisation you so desire. You can even go to many different churches and hear about their ministers from other people! Can you do this in the church of scientology? Hell no.

In order to progress in scientology you have to buy the auditing and the Operating Thetan levels from the church. You have to conform to the social processes. You have to sell your house, join the sea Org and various others. Remember the church is resplendent ability to tear families apart due to disconnection policy. If you look back at all of these six points the cult of scientology is guilty upon ALL costs.

1) keep the person unaware - Stress test anyone? A bit of auditing? Join the sea Org?
2) Control the environment and time - Come on live with us. How about some auditing at night time. You need to put time on your car, let me come with you.
3) Create powerlessness and fear - If you join then you have acquire a quota of things to do. If you want to leave remember we have all your details on file. Suppressive people are everywhere remember?
4) Suppress old behavior and attitudes - those nasty thetan, why go to the doctor? Psychologists? Damn them all.
5) Instill new behavior and attitudes - Now that your in remember that suppressive are everywhere. Remember that the psychologist are responsible for 9/11.
6) create a closed system of logic - You disagree with our teaching? You squirrel (a person who subverts the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard [LRH])! Didn’t you know that LRH holds doctorates in everything!

Does the church use thought reform? Yes but lets be honest no more so than any other organization. As Hassan states

“we are all subjected to social pressures everyday, most noticeably in our work. The pressure to conform to certain standards of behaviour exists in nearly every organisation. Many kinds of influence are at work on us all of the time, some obvious, some benign and others subtle and destructive. I cannot emphasise too strongly then that when I use the term “mind control” I referring to the destructive end of the spectrum.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Definition of a Cult

One of the things that I find as I cruise various anonymous sites is the statement what is the difference between religion and cults? Many people sate that they do the exact same thing and as a result should be put under scrutiny the same way the cult of scientology is being scrutinised. So I have decided to look at what cults are and if the accusation can be levelled at Christianity specifically and any other of the other main stream faiths generally. This definition I will use then from this moment forth.

What is a cult? Well I have done some research and went to one of the best sites for cult information. The Cult Awareness Network is one of the best sites for information about scientology… Sorry I could not resist that one… If you don’t know why statement was funny or why the Cult Awareness Network ISNT the best source for information about scientology or cults anymore then your not really anonymous.

Ok lets start this blog. What really is a cult? It should be pointed out that there is no set definition of the word cult. As stated in one of the books that I have read for this one “one mans cult is another mans religion”. What I am going to do here is try and look at some of the definitions of cult and select the best to use as the definition I will use permanently.

Well lets have a look at some of the definitions of a cult and where the word comes from. Below are listed some of the definitions and I have . The origin of the word “cult”

comes from the Latin "cultis" which denotes all that is involved in worship, ritual, emotion, liturgy and attitude. This definition actually denotes what we call denominations and sects and would make all religious movements a cult.

(With thanks to www.ex-cult.org)

By this definition I would accept that all religions are cults. In this blog if I think there is something wrong OR that an accusation can be made against Christianity that is justified then I will say it. However I should point out that this is the origin of the word and how it started out. It is not how the word has developed and how it stands at this moment in time. As stated above one mans religion is another mans cult. However this is not a good definition as it doesn’t quantify anything really. I mean for example it just tells us what is involved and nothing of the people inside or how they influence their followers. It is also the start and the origin of the word. Remember tat many words that we use now have different meanings back hundreds of years ago (if you don’t believe me then have a look at the origin of the word policeman and polite and politician ok the last one here probably hasn’t changed that much) … . Lets have look at another definition.

The Christian definition is (with thanks to www.ex-cults.org again)

Any group which deviates from Biblical, orthodox, historical Christianity. I.E. They deny the Deity of Christ; His physical resurrection; His personal and physical return to earth and salvation by FAITH alone.

The problem with this definition is that it excludes any group which is not based upon Christian teaching. It also excludes cults which are not based Christianity and which are based upon principals other than religion (for example scientology). Not entirely sure that this is what we are looking for. OK lets go with the www.ex-cults..org “universal” definition of a cult.

Any group which has a pyramid type authoritarian leadership structure with all teaching and guidance coming from the person/persons at the top. The group will claim to be
the only way to God; Nirvana; Paradise; Ultimate Reality; Full Potential, Way to Happiness etc, and will use thought reform or mind control techniques to gain control and keep their members.

By this definition it would appear that all cults are religions. But does it make all religions, cults? No. As stated in her book “Cults in our midst” Margaret Thaler Singer states that “a cult can be formed around any content“. Margaret then goes on to define ten major types of cults. These are:

Neo - Christian religious
Hindu an eastern religious
Occult, witchcraft and Satanist
Zen and other Sino-Japanese philosophical-mystical orientation
Flying saucer and other outer space phenomena
Psychological or psychotherapeutic
Self help, self improvement and life style systems

As we can see the “universal” definition starts to look ok. Remember a cult can be ANY of the above things. Just because it’s a religion does not make it a cult. Just because it’s a cult doesn’t make it a religion. Now from the information that I have looked at the main belief of any cult is irrelevant. As Margaret states

“in cultic groups the belief system - whether religious, psychotherapeutic, political, new age or commercial - ends up being a tool to serve the leaders desires, whims and hidden agendas”

Now this is could be expanded further to state how this is done, but I think at this moment, in this blog there is no need to go into it further (I will be when I start talking about mind control and indoctrination). Lets go back to the universal definition. Now as stated again in the book “cults in or midst” the leader plays a massive role in what is happening. In fact the leader, and what they teach , will use:

“the ideology (as) a doubled edged sword: it is the glue that binds the member to the group and it is a tool exploited by the leader to achieve his goals”

Now how does this refer to Christianity? Well lets have a little look at what the definition says about the leader and the teaching. Its states that the group:

“has a pyramid type authoritarian leadership structure with all teaching and guidance coming from the person/persons at the top”

In the Christian church the minister definitely teaches and there is a pyramid leadership structure of sorts in place. The problem come in when we relate this to the authoritarian aspect and the teaching and guidance coming from the top.

Authoritarian - strict and demanding obedience: favouring strict rules and established authority. Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Well most of the churches that I am aware of don’t have anything like this. Strict rules? Demanding obedience? Think of this. Your sitting in church and one of the deacons comes up to you and start screaming in your face about something you have done. What would you do? I would leave. I would go to another church. I would go somewhere that would not do this to me. Remember in a church you are free to come and go as you like. You do not have to be there and you do not have to come back. Any church that demands to much to follow strict rules and total obedience is not a church that you would want to go to. So far this definition is looking a little bit as thought it relating to Scientology far more than to the Church.

As stated above its not the rules and the teaching that’s important. Its how they are used. There are rules and regulations that you have to follow. For example sex before marriage is frowned upon, swearing is also frowned upon as well. But lets be honest just because there are rules and they are enforced does not make it a cult does it? No as stated it is the way in which these rules are put into place. Ok in some Christian sects it can be said that there are rules and norms which are in place to set the leader/minister as the head. Can it be stated that the minister is using the ideology to further his hidden agendas and use it as a tool? Well it can be some times. Remember I said that good or bad I will look at it here. The accusation could be made at the church as a whole.

One example is the Catholic Church. The catholic church still keeps its command structure very much to the popes decrees. Because of the popes orders many people in the catholic church do not use condoms. If the Pope did allow this to happen then it would result in a huge drop in HIV and AIDS related infections and a decrees in the amount of AIDS and HIV related births. If you look at the command structure of the Catholic church, again the priest is still in command of a lot of what happens. Remember a lot of accusations and successful prosecutions have been made against priest for a lot of different acts. These acts were concealed for such a long time because of the way in which the priest is considered.

One of the best ways that I can show that ideology from the church have been used to further the leadership from the church about a hundred years ago. In some churches very early in the 20th centaury would have pulled you up in front of the whole of the church if you had done something wrong. There are many documented accounts that a young lady who had become a mother before marriage would have been chastised in front of the whole church with the whole of the church watching. I do not and will not agree with this. I hate it. Jesus said himself “judge not lest you be judged yourself, and the measure to which you judge will be used against yourself”.

Now to answer these accusations back. The catholic church has started to realise what it is doing with regards to the priest and is putting into place many different safeguards to keep people safe from predators. Not only that but there are many criminal background checks that are now used to ensure that certain people are band from service. Also in the protestant church the act of bringing people out and ridiculing them has long since fallen by the way side. I haven’t seen anything like that and I am quite glad about it.

What makes the difference between the cults attitude and the religious attitude is the transparency. Remember the cult of scientology is renowned for controlling its information. Remember you are not even allowed to know about Xenu until operating thetan something (cant remember off the top of my head). This leads me nicely to the teaching aspect. So far the

All teaching from above is a far stretch of the imagination for any church. Hell even many of the churches that I have been to don’t agree on the same interpretation of the bible! The church that I am in at the moment does even have a permanent minister. How can all my teaching come from the top? Ok I would accept that some of you may say that you are still teaching from the same source and that your ministers are taught to teach the bible in the same way. Not really. Remember the bible is an open document. Anyone can read it and any on can buy a copy. Its origins are open for any one to see and anyone can dispute them.

All of my teaching come from various sources. From different people with a different view. Remember anyone can read the bible in any way they see fit. This would put a massive dent in anyone saying that all of our teaching comes from the top. Remember Martin Luther called for the priesthood of ALL believers. The thought that ALL teaching comes from the top annoys me and sickens me. As the old saying goes there is more than one way to skin a cat. If you think that all my teaching has come from my minister than you are SO wrong.

Lets also think about the web and other information sources. If for example I wanted to know about “transubstantiation” (the belief that the bread and wine at the communion table turns into the flesh and blood of Christ when you eat it) I can find lot and lot of sources on this. I do not have to look to one man. If I wanted to find out more about God then I could look to Richard Dawkins if I really wanted (by the way I do not like Dawkins. Not for the obvious, the selfish gene is really good and so is the blind watchmaker). With any cult you do not have the opportunity to go for other sources of teaching or knowledge. Take scientology, you are actively blocked from looking at other sources for fear of being thrown out as a suppressive person.

Now lets go back to Scientology. If you even look at the teaching of L Ron Hubbard (from now on I will only refer to him as LRH) you are called a “squirrel”. This simply means that “profiteers who pervert scientology because of their inability to correctly apply it” (Atack 1990). This would apply neatly to the Authoritarian and the pyramid structure of the cult. The more we look at this definition the more we see the cult accusation towards the church is not that founded. The more we talk about authoritarian and the teaching aspect the more the accusation does not stand.

When we look back at the definition we can see that the more we look at it, the more that the Church (from this moment on I will use the word Church to relate to all mainstream faiths and cult to refer to scientology and other cults of sorts). However the definition has some aspects which are not included. For example the relationships between members, the objectives of the leader, the controlling aspect. I will now look at some of the other aspects of a cult definition.

There are as many churches as there are blades of grass. A good majority of them are not going to have:

authoritarian leadership
all teaching and guidance coming from the person/persons at the top
use thought reform or mind control techniques to gain control and keep their members.

Before you attack me, I am going to cover mind control and thought reform in another blog entry so wait until then. I am waiting to get more information about this topic before I explore it further.

I am going to look at the aspect of cult which I think is the most definitive. Its written by Margaret Thaler Singer. If you not sure who she is then please feel free to look at this link to find out more. In her book “Cult in our Midst” (which a lot of the reference for this book comes from) she examines a whole heap of cults and their origins. I would recommend this book to anyone investigating cults. Anyway I digress.

I am going to write her definition word for word. Here goes:

I prefer to use the term “cultic relationships” to signify a more precisely the process and the interactions that go into a cult. A cultic relationship is one in which a person intentionally induces others to become totally or nearly 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.

For our purposes the label cult refers to three factors:

1) Origin of the group and role of the leader
2) The power structure, or relationship between the leader (or leaders) and the followers
3) The use of coordinated program of persuasion (which is called thought reform, or, more commonly, brain washing)

Now I like the way she writes this definition. I love it in fact. When I think of a cult I think of more than just simply someone who turns up at all of the services and someone who wears silly robes as well. I think of someone who has completely no free will and someone who has to rely totally on the cult for everything. This definition certainly covers that aspect of cult life.

Remember we said earlier about transparency? Remember what we said about the way in which Ideology is used? Remember what we said about the relationship of the leader? In this aspect of the cult definition we can se that this is being addressed but is not totally compliant with the structure and so forth.

What I am going to do now is write a definition that I have come to and this will then be the standing definition of the word cult as well.

A cult is an organisation which has been set up in order to help further the aims and the objectives of the leader. The leader will uses values, beliefs and ideology in order to further the leaders aims. The organisation of the cult will be totally lead from the top down and there will be no deviation from the set indoctrination also. All communication, of any sort, will be vetted and only members with enough thought reform will be allowed contact with those outside of the organisation. The cult will also use any tactic it deems fit to stop any and all threats it sees.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

I am a Christian. I am anonymous. I would like to think that I am a Christianon. Now why is a Christian writing a blog about Scientology? I am writing this for three reasons.

1) Many of my anonymous brothers and sisters are Atheists (or so I gather from reading the posts)
2) Some of anonymous thing that ALL faiths should be exposed in the same way Scientology is
3) To tell my Christian brothers and sisters what we have to fight against.

Now to answer these points

1) If I am wrong then please correct me. From what I have read in the board www.whyweprotest.net and generally surfing on www.digg.com the general impression is that the majority of anonymous is Atheist. Why this is I do not know. I am a proud Christian and have been now for some thirteen years and am concerned with the cults activities. I am a firm believer in free will and truly believe that God gives us the choice to do with our lives whatever we so wish. Scientology goes against this practice. If you question Christian, Atheist or Buddhist philosophy then you are more than welcome. You may disagree with me on this one, and I wouldn’t blame you. Some Buddhists really hate being challenged… Little joke there J . Seriously thou, if you want to criticize any of philosophy you can do so Via the web, blog, anyway you can think of. If you criticise scientology though… Anyway back to the point. I wish to show that not only Atheists take up the mantle of “Anonymous”

2) This kind of hurts a little bit. But then again we should be under scrutiny. Any philosophy or theology should be put under a microscope. When we share idea, opinions and opinions we investigate not only what we believe but our way of looking at situations. We discover things we would never have thought of. Should we be classified in the same way that Scientology is? Well the Christian church has a lot to answer for. The Atheist philosophy has a lot to answer for (please don’t lambaste me stating that I am like all Christian and I blame you for “ungodliness” or whatever. I simply refer to the Cold War and many others). The Muslim Philosophy has a lot to answer for. The question must be asked are any of the three main faiths as dangerous or as aggressive as Scientology? I don’t think so (but then again I am slightly biased aren’t I?). In this blog I hope to explore this further.

3) Christians as a whole I think should be a lot more active. I include myself in this statement as well so don’t worry about this. I don’t know why more Christians are not aware of this destructive and to be honest shocking cult. Jesus preached us to be wary of false prophets and if nothing else love one another. This destructive and mind altering cult affects people in ways that they would not even conceive. I write this blog to educate my Christian brothers and sisters and to encourage them to join anonymous.

I hope to achieve my aims by doing the following

1)Showing the crimes of Scientology have committed and giving a slight biblical perspective on this
2) Drawing comparisons between Scientology practices and Christian practices (and any other faith)
3) Drawing comparisons between Scientology philosophy and dogma and Christian philosophy and dogma.
4) Showing ways in which Christians are helping to deal with this cult
5) Answering any comments that may arise on any of my blog

Ok this is the first of many. I write this for you to see what I am going to do and at the same time give myself some focus. I will now sign off

Farewell welcome friend.