Message Cult Mind Control - Regaining Control:
During the past few years, we have worked with several people who had made their way out of William Branham's mind control cult called the "Message." Often, these people find themselves in a strange place. Both mentally and physically, they claim to be free from the cult, but psychologically they find themselves still bound in many ways. "Can one ever truly be free from the 'Message'?" we're often asked.
As many of you have found, there are many elements to freedom when the 'Message' is concerned. Some claim religious freedom, because they've identified numerous passages of scripture that must be denied to support William Branham's agenda. Mistakenly believing that the 'Message' was a Bible-centered group, these people often wonder why they cannot set others free by simply showing others the Bible passages in conflict with Branham's 'Message.' Sometimes, this group of people tend to stop there -- gaining freedom from a religious standpoint, but not freeing themselves from the other bonds.
Others claim freedom from personality disorder and/or bigotry. Having been formed from the mold of a central figure from the 40's, 50's, and 60's who admittedly had a mental disorder, many of the aspects of their personality match William Branham. And what was seen as acceptable in the 1940's is not always seen as acceptable in today's world, and is often found to be labeled as discrimination, sexism, racism, or other general unfairness to race or gender. Often this group reconditions themselves to be more loving of people, but are unable free themselves from the religious bonds that they do not fully understand.
Some claim freedom in lifestyle. Having examined specific areas of the religious aspect that relate to the extra-biblical rules and regulations produced by the 'Message' cult, they are aware that their lifestyle can be free without fear of eternal damnation. A subset of this group continue this examination with Christianity in general, trying to better understand why some groups of Christians allow certain lifestyles while the more conservative groups do not. A large number of these ex-members stop there, never continuing their examination of scripture in other areas of their lives.
There are other categories of ex-members, and many subsets of these groups. But in all the groups combined, very few are able to claim full freedom of the mind. With lingering elements from each category of freedom, they find themselves still bound by the 'Message' in many ways even after being fully convinced that they were part of a destructive cult. While they find themselves able to critically think in one category of their lives, they find great fear in critically thinking about another. At this point, many think that they are broken beyond repair.
But they are not.
To regain control of the mind, one must first understand how others took control, and how the cult identity was implanted into its victim. In the 1950's, many great minds were studying the effects of mind control, specifically studying brainwashing techniques and effects of prisoners of war and mass coercive persuasion in examples such as Hitler's Germany. The most widely adopted technique to gaining control of the mind is a three-step model that came from the studies of a man by the name of Kurt Lewin. Edgar Chein's book, "Coercive Persuasion" describes the process in great detail, and is mentioned in Steven Hassan's book "Combating Cult Mind Control."
"It is one thing to identify the four components of mind control but quite another to know how they are actually used to change the behavior of unsuspecting people. On the surface, the process of gaining control of someone else's mind seems quite simple. There are three steps: unfreezing, changing and refreezing. This three-step model was derived in the late 1940s from the work of Kurt Lewin, 88 and was described in Edgar Schein's book Coercive Persuasion. 89 Schein, like Lifton, studied the brainwashing programs in Mao Tse Tung's China, in the late 1950s. His book, based on interviews with former American prisoners, is a valuable study of the process. Schein's three steps apply just as well to other forms of mind control as they do to brainwashing. As he described them, unfreezing consists of breaking a person down; changing constitutes the indoctrination process; and refreezing is the process of building up and reinforcing the new identity."
- Steven Hassan. Combating Cult Mind Control
During the course of the next several weeks, we will be studying the process of deprogramming. We are not broken. There is hope for normal life outside of a mind control cult.
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