Archive for December 3rd, 2012

December 3, 2012

Deprogramming

Deprogramming is an attempt to force a person to abandon allegiance to a religious, political, economic, or social group. The person in question is may be taken against his/her will, which has led to controversies over freedom of religion, kidnapping, and civil rights, as well as the violence which is sometimes involved. Deprogramming is often commissioned by relatives, including parents of adult offspring, who object to someone’s membership in an organization or group.

It was started in the 1970s in the United States by Ted Patrick (widely considered to be the ‘father of deprogramming’). In addition to the ethics and legality, the efficacy of deprogramming has been questioned by scholars, as well as by members of the Christian countercult movement. Similar actions, when done without force, are called ‘exit counseling.’ Sometimes the word deprogramming is used in a wider (and/or ironic or humorous sense), to mean the freeing of someone (often oneself) from any previously uncritically assimilated idea.

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December 3, 2012

Brainwashing

The Manchurian Candidate

Mind control (also known as brainwashing, coercive persuasion, or menticide) refers to the use of unethically manipulative methods to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulator(s), often to the detriment of the person being manipulated. The term has been applied to any tactic, psychological or otherwise, which can be seen as subverting an individual’s sense of control over their own thinking, behavior, emotions or decision making.

Theories of brainwashing and of mind control were originally developed to explain how totalitarian regimes appeared to succeed systematically in indoctrinating prisoners of war through propaganda and torture techniques. These theories were later expanded and modified by psychologists including Margaret Singer, to explain a wider range of phenomena, especially conversions to cults (new religious movements, NRMs). A third-generation theory proposed by sociologist Ben Zablocki focused on the utilization of mind control to retain members of NRMs.

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December 3, 2012

Love Bombing

Love bombing is a tactic often employed by cults (or any religious, political or other group of like-minded individuals) as a way of luring prospective members. Current members typically ‘love bomb’ potential or desired new recruits by showering them with affection, praise, and offers of friendship.

Cult awareness experts warn that this seemingly kind and welcoming practice is often the first step in a mind control (‘brainwashing’) process that leads to religious conversion or involvement with a group that may be harmful to its membership or to society. While most people can discern such cynical ploys from honest offers of fellowship, anyone caught at a vulnerable time in his or her life (following a divorce, death, loss of job or any major life change) or suffering from insecurities could fall under the spell of a charismatic leader and the true believers who inevitably surround such a person. 

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