Message Mind Control - Insiders:
Growing up in a "Message" church, it's vastly different from being "recruited" into the mind control cult started by William Branham. There was no gentle persuasion used to coax me into believing this religion, no men to use the deceptive phrase, "It's just a non-denominational church." There was no gradual process in changing my personality from that of a normal (not programmed) Christian to the mold of Branham's "stature of a perfect man." Those born into the "Message" need no persuasion; they are already on the "inside."
Hassan's book, "Combating Cult Mind Control," makes a very accurate observation when considering "the inside" and those being recruited into it. While potential recruits to the "Message" are often told that life on the "inside" isn't that different from the "outside," it is quite a bit different. Mind control cults often tell potential recruits that there are no walls, people are free to leave at any time, and there's nothing unique or unusual about them. They present the idea that their intentions are good, and that there is no "inside" versus "outside." But in reality, it is so vastly different that potential recruits cannot be told of all of the "mysteries" -- if they were, they'd likely never join. Hassan describes this very well:
When I asked a member why I hadnâ€™t been told the truth about the group being religious, he asked, â€œIf you knew in advance, would you have come?â€ I admitted that I probably wouldnâ€™t have.
- Steven Hassan. Combating Cult Mind Control
Hassan continues to describe his advancement in the "Moonies," and the indoctrination that came after recruitment. The first stage in his indoctrination included a small portion of the "Divine Principal," which is the "Bible" for the Unification Church. The "Divine Principal" teaches that Eve had sex with the "serpent" in the Garden of Eden, and this "mystery" is required for the Unification Church's belief system. And in the second lecture, Hassan described the cult's belief that the year 1977 was the final World War, the ending of the world as we know it. Like the "Message," those recruited into the Moonies before 1977 were told that the world was soon coming to an end.
When considering all of the many "mysteries" that the "Message" holds secret, one has to ask what would happen to a potential recruit if told the "truth" about Branham's cult in advance. What if potential recruits were told, from the beginning, that they would one day believe that William Branham was "God tabernacled in human flesh?" Or if a recruiter tried to attract wandering souls by telling them the cult leader spoke squirrels into existence immediately before blasting their heads off with a rifle? How many Christians would be attracted by telling them that they, too, should one day be able to speak things into existence?
The truth is that there is an "inside" of the "Message" and an "outside." Like every other mind-control cult, there is an "us" and "them" mentality. Those on the "inside" believe themselves to be an elite version of a Christian, and they look to other Christians as inferior. Rather than "non-denominational" as they claim during recruitment, they are "anti-denominational." Non-denominational churches believe all Christians are equal, while anti-denominational churches believe any who join a Christian denomination have crossed a line of separation. What if the potential recruit was told that the cult leader claimed all denominational Christians had taken the "mark of the Beast" from Revelation?
New recruits in the "Message" are often excited and ambitious during their "honeymoon phase." Many times they are given active parts in the churches, from ministry and evangelism to helping out with the missionary organizations or upkeep of the church grounds. Hassan captures the emotion described by each and every ex-"Message" cult member during their initial recruitment:
I experienced a wide range of other feelings, too: I was shocked and honored that I had been singled out for leadership, scared at how much responsibility rested on my shoulders, and emotionally high on the thought that God was actively working to bring about the Garden of Eden. No more war, no more poverty, no more ecological destruction. There was hope! Also love, truth, beauty, and goodness. At that point, I was still aware of a muffled voice deep within me that was warning me to watch out, to keep questioning everything.
- Steven Hassan. Combating Cult Mind Control
As the cult identity is created, the personality of the new recruit is replaced. "The old-self has died, you've put on your new self," is a common catch phrase by pastors. When the cult identity has finally been molded after the cult leader, they are no longer on the "outside." The new recruit, with their new cult identity, becomes part of the "inside."
Can the inside be penetrated? Can a person in a mind control cult break free from their invisible walls? Stay tuned for more!
Combating Cult Mind Control (Second Edition): http://amzn.to/1NCnN45
Profile of "The Message" on Freedom Of Mind Resource Center: https://freedomofmind.com/Info/infoDet.php?id=883&title=The_Message