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Message Mind Control - Cult Growth

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Message Mind Control - Cult Growth:

One of the most common questions I receive from people that have just made their exit from the mind control cult called the "Message" is, "How in the world has this gone on so long?" After realizing that not one single prophecy by William Branham came to pass as he claimed, almost none of the details of Branham's life story are accurate, and most of his Bible teaching is unscriptural, it is a good question. How has something so terribly wrong been able to grow into the large cult following of today?

Most people who came into the cult later in life mistakenly think that they are to blame. It's really no different than any other cult -- even the theology is very similar to other commonly known cults. The authoritative central figure, the focus on his doctrine above all other men, the fear tactics and indoctrination techniques -- all basically the same when compared to other cults. How were they lured? Why could they not see the similarities?

In his book, "Combating Cult Mind Control," Steven Hassan describes three major reasons that mind control cults are successful.

First, accepting that mind control can be effectively used on almost anybody challenges the age-old notion that human beings are rational, and responsible for (and in control of) all their actions. Such a worldview does not allow for any concept of mind control.
- Steven Hassan. Combating Cult Mind Control

Since the "Message" is a religious cult, most people associate their responsibility to their spiritual life. They mistakenly think that either their lack of knowledge in scripture or "backslidden condition" was to blame, and mistake the mind control for demon possession. Especially after leaving the cult -- conversations with cult followers that challenge the cult leader results in the cult identity suppressing the authentic identity of the victim of mind control. Do they have a demon?

But the truth of the matter is that everyone is vulnerable. Even a born-again Christian whose faith lies fully in the Gospel of Jesus Christ can be programmed. In fact, their own sense of security may make them more susceptible, paying closer attention to the doctrinal aspects of a sermon while completely unaware of the hypnotic technique. When their minds are entrusted to a speaker practicing mind control strategies, they stand a great chance of undue influence. Hassan's next point follows that same trail of thought:

Second, we all have a belief in our own invulnerability. It is too scary to think that someone could take control of our minds. We all want to have a belief in our own ability to completely control our lives.
- Steven Hassan. Combating Cult Mind Control

Those of you still wrestling with the cult programming of the "Message" will likely pause to reflect on your experiences, both inside the cult, outside the cult, and the painful experience leaving. After having been through such an experience, it's difficult to separate the positive aspects of your lives. During the worst emotional pain experienced during the journey out, most consider their time of cult bondage, as a whole, negatively. And after leaving, any influence by others becomes painful.

But we must work to separate "influence" from "undue influence." No matter who we are, where we are, and who we are with, we are influenced by others. It is part of human nature. A motivational speaker may influence us to think positively, and critically examining his speech, we may decide to agree with him. But we critically examined his speech. We were influenced, but we chose to be. In a mind control cult, we receive "undue" influence. Without critically thinking about the cult leader's influence on our lives, we who were in the mind control cult called the "Message" fully accepted our influence without critical thought.

The third and final point Hassan gives towards how mind control cults are so successful explains the difference between healthy influence and undue influence:

Third, the processes of influence start from the moment we are born, so it’s easy to take the position that everything is mind control. Why worry about it? We tell ourselves, “It’s a normal part of life.” But, just as sex is a normal part of life but seduction by a womanizer or femme fatale, or rape is not, influence is a natural part of life, but undue influence is not.
- Steven Hassan. Combating Cult Mind Control

Stay tuned for more!

Combating Cult Mind Control (Second Edition):

Profile of "The Message" on Freedom Of Mind Resource Center: