Why We Need to Act Now to Protect Against
Mind-Control Religions

In most western-world countries, laws protect consumers from fraud and unethical business practices. But to date, there are no laws on the books that recognize destructive mind control, much less prohibit the use of it by cult-like religious groups. However, if my colleague Steven Hassan, the pioneer of exit counseling for cult members and a critically acclaimed author, and thousands of other ex-cult members have any say about it, that may soon change.

The mind, despite all of its strengths, depends on a stream of coherent information for it to function properly. Put a person into an environment where the senses are overloaded with incoherent information and the mind becomes numb. In this confused state, critical thinking skills don’t work and the mind becomes suggestible to those who would replace an individual’s self-interest with the group’s best interests.

Everyone, like it or not, is vulnerable to mind control. Everyone is looking for something better in life: more happiness, more meaning and more security. Recruiters prey upon these basic human needs. People don’t join; they are recruited, and more often than not, during a stressful time in their lives.

Mind-control religions use our fantasies of an ideal world to draw us in. The “love bombing” and the sincere, committed members that newcomers initially encounter prove far more attractive and convincing than the doctrines.

Recruitment doesn’t just happen.

“It’s a process,” Hassan says, “imposed on people by other people.”

During that orientation process—it could be a seemingly innocuous six-month Bible study—irrational phobias are placed in the potential member’s unconscious mind. The first is that no one can really be happy and successful if they’re not a member of that particular religion.

After they become members, life is about sacrifice and living in a fantasy world created by the group. The need to live in the present is continually reinforced with warnings like “Armageddon is just around the corner,” giving members a sense of urgency about the tasks at hand. Those who begin to doubt will find leaving painful, as one of the penalties will be extreme shunning.

Children raised in these groups typically receive an inferior education, are taught that the world is an evil place controlled by the devil, and must rely on church leaders’ interpretation of reality.

Mind-control clichés like “we alone have the truth” or “all non-members will die at Armageddon” are continually reinforced, which puts up an invisible wall between believers and outsiders. This makes members feel special, believing they are counted among God’s chosen few.

Behavior control, Information control, Thought control and Emotional control (the BITE model) has great power and influence on the human mind. Together, these four control mechanisms are used by destructive religious groups to form a totalistic web, which can manipulate even the strongest-minded people. (Hassan provides a thorough explanation of how BITE works in his three best-selling books.)

And if that’s not enough, mind-control religious members are required to proselytize; research in social psychology shows that nothing confirms one’s beliefs better than trying to sell those beliefs to other people.

Given freedom of choice, people will choose what they believe is best for themselves. However, the criteria for determining what is “best” should be one’s own, not someone else’s.

Freedom of choice is the first thing that one loses when one becomes a member of groups like Scientologists, Moonies and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Unchecked, these groups will continue to wreak untold psychological and physical damage on millions of people who have no idea of what constitutes unethical mind control. Unless action is taken to make manipulative religious groups accountable to society for their violations of the basic civil rights of their members, in particular the children of members, they will continue to deceive the public into believing they are a harmless group of people, deserving the same constitutional guarantees as benevolent religions.

Grant money for research projects and treatment of mind-control victims is needed now. Reform within public education must be made to encourage people to think for themselves, to understand the psychological principles of mind control and to teach students to be suspicious of any environment that discourages them from asking critical questions. If you would like additional information, you should visit FreedomofMind.com.

About Richard E. Kelly

Richard E. Kelly is the Managing Director of Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses (AAWA.co) and the author of Growing Up in Mama’s Club – A Childhood Perspective of Jehovah’s Witnesses and The Ghosts from Mama’s Club. The retired former president of a Michigan manufacturing company, Kelly was raised as a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and left the faith at age 20.


Why We Need to Act Now to Protect Against
Mind-Control Religions

  1. You cannot image the pain I feel when I see my son (now 2 years old) being “killed” psychologically. Difficult to understand it, my wife is a nurse… I don not understand how Jehovah’s Witnesses especially elders make a nurse completely “crazy” not to value even the brain of her child. Something must be done, children are innocent VICTIMS or Jehovah’s Witnesses!!!

  2. 70yrs old and still searching. At 40 I got religion thro JWs. 10yrs later I got rid of “religion” along with JWs but was left with God and the Bible.
    Your Blog above is condemning the “organisation-of-JWs” for their mind control – I agree.
    Also above you imply disapproval of the Biblical statement of Satan and demon being in control of the earth.
    In your enthusiastic rush to fault the ORGANISATION of JWs (most commendably) you seem to be throwing out the Biblical TRUTHS.
    The Bible clearly shows Satan is given the Earth to control until Jesus returns (very shortly in my option).
    Have I misread you?

    • AAWA is religiously neutral. The comment about how children are controlled by fear “the world is an evil place controlled by the devil” is one of the ways the Watchtower of Jehovah’s Witnesses get followers to “rely on church leaders”. This is in no way an opinion on religious beliefs. It’s a fact of the Watchtower. Everything outside of the Watchtower is considered evil, demonic, pagan, not good. Only THEY are good. It’s classic us/vs them, black/white thinking, of a mind control group.

      AAWA Board of Directors

    • Hi Danmera, the most dangerous thing in this world isn’t nuclear weapon. Nope, not cancer, not drug, but false perception that is contagious and idiotic. Because of that we created logic window to educate the world why both atheism and creationism are dangerous and false.

      Some of you may or may not agree with how we define atheism, that’s ok. Just patiently read everything posted on Atheism. It will help people to understand life after dead more before they commit suicide.

      Also we don’t need God to make spirit or afterlife real. Thank you.

      Logic Window

    • Religiously neutral means religiously neutral. It’s not about god vs no god. It’s not about being right or wrong because one believes this way or that.
      Everyone has the right to believe or not believe as they chose. They do not have the right to harm others while doing it.
      There are other forums, chat groups, etc. that are better suited for the discussion you wish to start. This is not a religious/atheist site.
      AAWA Board of Directors

    • Hi Danmera, I respect your decision, I will take it else where. But remember this, what drove the maniacs to fly planes into buildings? Don’t you think those terrorists were more courageous than anybody if it wasn’t because they believe fervently in the God of their scriptures? Think about it.

      All I want to say is Atheism is as ignorant as creationism. If anybody thinks I’m here to piss off everybody and I should say things to please them, then these people are no different than the apologists who make people sick.

      My point is Atheists are very closed minded and creationists are the dumbest. They all deny pointlessly just to make themselves feel better. Thanks.

  3. The point here is the mind control of people against their better interests and ability to read, listen to, think and do other than dictated by an organization who lets not reason and facts but falacies and claims of doing good by preventing someone from destruction who is NOT of their opinions and when leaving such organization are separated from their family members to extreme shunning and blackening reputation, and self-worth. Menal, physical, emotional cruelties. Let Us free to think, feel, act as our own conscience and spirit leads into going good/God. Blessing everyone. Win/Win for everyone.

  4. This article is dead on. I have painfully watched a person I GREATLY care about going through pains and rituals I am positive are due to her upbringing in her religion. recruited by her parents and older siblings from birth has left her, and her siblings outcasts and unwilling citizens in this world/country. As I see it its a free country for you to practice ANY “religion” you want in this country, but at the same time I want to shake her parents and ask WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO YOUR CHILDREN!? But in their eye they think they did the best by them…of course the devil got a hold of three of them, so they don’t talk to them anymore. HOW TERRIBLE!! I applaud AAWA for taking on this mission. It won’t be easy, OR CHEAP! But I’m down with it! Its truely sad to see one of the sweetest people I know turn into this possessed being when logic is introduced. It REALLY is like someone stole a chunk of her neocortex.

  5. Just left a young woman, former JW now living a nightmare with mental health issues, including treatments, smoking to obliterate thought of how unhappy she is and thinking of ending her life. Unable to reach her with any reasoning that she muct help herself, difficult as may be. Need to start on working for some kind of sanity and reasonable thought control in a real world-not controlled by unterior motives of others.

  6. An elder once told me “the Society are really worried, because as a religion we have one of the highest suicide rates in the world”. The harmful mind control they practice is actually responsible for thousands of deaths worldwide! I personally knew of many who committed suicide. I suspect most JW’s and exJW’s also know of such suicides. Mind control is in itself very dangerous but when innocent victims are dying as a result, it must be stopped. Then ofcourse, we must bring into the equation all those who died as a result of refusing organ transplants and blood transfusions. JW’s refuse life saving medical treatment because of the sophisticated mind control employed by the WTS. I applaud AAWA and anyone else who is prepared to stand up and be counted on this serious issue. This organisation, posing as a religion, MUST be stopped!

Leave a Reply