Message Mind Control - Illusion, Abuse, and Addiction:
When we first begin working with a cult follower of William Branham to help them break free from mind control, there is an almost 90% track record for their first statement: If William Branham is not the "prophet" for our day, then who is?
As with any habit-forming routine, the mind can be wired to crave aspects of the routine. Just as an alcohol addict will struggle to fight the desire for more booze, the programmed cult mind will struggle to replace one "leader" with another. Key concepts that have been programmed in their mind -- even select passages of Scripture taken out of context -- have wired the mind to seek another central figure. Like bees separated from a hive, they will try to find a new "hive" that they can plug into.
Christians look to the Holy Spirit as their guide, Christ for their salvation, and the Father for their blessing. By definition, a "Christian" is a follower of Christ. Trinitarians believe these three are One, while modalistic or Oneness Pentecostalism theology says that these "one" are "one." But in all cases of healthy Christian churches, they look to no man for leadership -- they look to the God of the heavens for guidance.
But cult groups replace the Holy Spirit from this belief system with a human being. Technically speaking, they cannot honestly call themselves "Christian," as they are followers of a man who claims to be leading them in a healthy direction. For this reason, the followers of William Branham are technically called "Branhamites."
This change is not an immediate process. When one is recruited into the cult, they do not instantly proclaim, "I am now in an elite group; I have replaced the Holy Spirit with a human being." This is a gradual process, that begins with a "honeymoon phase." It is very similar to the union between two people after a wedding; they begin to learn how to adjust their lives to match the other human being. They take on a new identity, a cult identity, just as a wife takes on the identity of a spouse. While normal (not programmed) Christians enhance their own identity with a more loving, less prideful lifestyle to display the "Fruits of the Spirit," cult followers replace their own identity with a cult identity matching the central figure and the belief system he has created. They strive become more like the leader.
In his book, "Combating Cult Mind Control," Steve Hassan describes this process very well:
Once a person joins a destructive cult, for the first few weeks or months they typically enjoy a â€œhoneymoon phase.â€ They are treated as though they were royalty. They are made to feel very special as they embark on a new life with the group. The new convert has yet to experience what life in the group is really going to be like. Even though most cult members say publicly that they are happier than theyâ€™ve ever been in their lives, the reality is sadly different. Life in a destructive cult is, for the most part, a life of sacrifice, pain and fear. People involved full-time in a destructive cult know what it is like to live under totalitarianism, but canâ€™t objectively see what is happening to them. They live in a fantasy world created by the group. Some destructive groups essentially make addicts out of their members. With alcoholism and substance abuse treatment so much in the national spotlight today, it is important that mental health professionals pay attention to this former cult member population. People indoctrinated to perform excessive (hours-long) meditation or chanting techniques every day can become psychologically and physiologically addicted to the mind control technique.
- Steven Hassan. Combating Cult Mind Control
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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