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Message Cult Mind Control - Unfreezing, Changing, and Refreezing Part 1

Seek The Truth Blog

Message Cult Mind Control - Unfreezing, Changing, and Refreezing Part 1:

To understand how to regain control after having been indoctrinated in a mind control cult, it is essential to understand how others took control. Many have studied mind control and the long-lasting effects it has on its victim, and have noticed similarities between the strategies employed by leaders who created unquestioning followers through mind control techniques. The most generally accepted outline of this process is a three-step model derived in the 1940's from the work of Kurt Lewin, a German-American psychologist, known as one of the modern pioneers of social, organizational, and applied psychology in the United States.

This process is simple: Unfreeze, Change, and then Refreeze.


Unfreezing is the process of disorienting the victim to the extent that they question their current view of reality. In most "Christian" religious mind control cults, this is a process of altering the perception of other Christians. Where once the convert to Christianity felt unity with other Christians, even with doctrinal differences, they must be trained to believe that those differences are life-and-death important rather than inconsequential.

"To ready a person for radical change, their reality must first be shaken up. Their indoctrinators must confuse and disorient them. Their frames of reference for understanding themselves and their surroundings must be challenged and broken down."
- Steven Hassan. Combating Cult Mind Control

Unfreezing can be accomplished through a variety of ways, from sleep deprivation and diet alterations to hypnotic techniques. But as it relates to the "Message" cult, the most obvious methods include sensory overload, temporary confusion, and sometimes isolation. At first glance, one would question why so many of William Branham's stories are in conflict, but when compared to the mind control technique, one can identify purpose. To enter the unfreezing stage, one must enter a temporary state of confusion and try to reconcile.

Many new converts to the "Message" cult are given the "Seven Seals" sermons. As they are introduced to William Branham, they are told by cult members that the "Mysteries" are hidden in the tapes. But new converts, not yet having been placed under mind control, hear nothing but hunting stories, a very minimal amount of Bible text, and an overwhelming amount of self promotion by William Branham. Listening to them over and over again, they are unable to find a single "mystery." To add to this confusion, new converts will often ask cult members what the "mysteries" are, and then are given little or no satisfaction. With each person they ask, they find a different answer or no answer at all. In fact, the vast majority of cult members questioned result in a single answer: "I don't understand it, brother, but I believe it."

This confusing situation is amplified by the urgency of understanding the "mysteries." New converts are told that William Branham was a "end time messenger," one whose sole purpose was to prepare a "bride" to be "raptured" before the "impending destruction" of the United States. And they are told that understanding these "mysteries" is very critical to avoiding William Branham's doomsday. But how can they understand when those inside the cult cannot agree on the "mysteries," and many do not know what these "mysteries" are? Which of those members are "saved" and which are not?

This is one example of temporary confusion, which leads to unfreezing. There are many other examples, all fundamental elements of William Branham's "message." As a new convert studies aimlessly to understand, listening to the recorded sermons more frequently to "catch the vision," they eventually place themselves under sensory overload. This is the point where the critical mind becomes an open vessel, allowing cult leaders to fully indoctrinate. Their mind has become open to programming.

"Sensory overload, like sensory deprivation, can also effectively disrupt a person's balance and make them more open to suggestion. A person can easily be bombarded by emotionally laden material at a rate faster than they can digest it. The result is a feeling of being overwhelmed. The mind snaps into neutral and ceases to evaluate the material pouring in. The newcomer may think this is happening spontaneously within themselves, but the cult has intentionally structured it that way."
- 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: