Message Cult Mind Control - One Way Door:
There have been many books written, movies produced, and songs composed about mind control cults. While inside the "Message," the mind control cult following of William Branham, I came across several without knowing that they were describing my own situation. Science fiction, my favorite genre of books and movies, often use the fundamental elements of a mind control cult to describe the most evil opposing forces for the heroes to encounter. Star Trek's Borg, for instance, was created as a cyborg representation of a mind control cult.
After leaving the "Message," these become more interesting and appealing. Hotel California for instance, a song released in 1977 by the Eagles, describes that trapped feeling inside of a cult. As one of the most popular songs of all time, I had heard it played on the sound systems of many stores, shopping malls, and other public places. But it wasn't until after leaving the cult that I realized the meaning behind this song. Three lines of the last verse pretty well sum up the experience inside a mind control cult:
We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave!
- Hotel California, Eagles
When a person makes their decision to leave a mind control cult, they find that the group has no exit door. Yes, people are told that they can leave at any time. But at the same time, they are indoctrinated to believe that leaving is a sign of weakness. Leaving the group is failure, according to any mind control cult, and any who leave were not part of the "chosen ones." As a result, when a person leaves, the members of the mind control cult sever them from fellowship. A mind control cult follower is programmed with an "us versus them" mentality, and any who leave have just become "them."
In a destructive cult, there is never a legitimate reason for leaving. Unlike healthy organizations, which recognize a person's inherent right to choose to move on, mind control groups make it very clear that there is no legitimate way to leave. Members are told that the only reasons that people leave are weakness, insanity, temptation, brainwashing (by deprogrammers), pride, sin, and so on. Members are thoroughly indoctrinated with the belief that if they ever do leave, terrible consequences will befall them, their family and/ or humanity. Although cult members will often say, "Show me a better way and I will quit," they are not allowed the time or given the mental tools to balance the evidence for themselves. They are locked in a psychological prison.
- Steven Hassan. Combating Cult Mind Control
When first leaving a cult, the newly freed member is torn between two opposing forces. On the one hand, they are aware that critical, fundamental flaws exist with the core teachings of the cult. This was the very reason they chose to leave. But they also battle with the the lingering effects of the programmed response to those who leave. At one time, they too would have reacted the same towards any who chose to leave the cult. It isn't until they are fully aware that the concept of "one-way doors" into a group only exists in destructive cults that this pain is conquered. Some conquer it by examining other, healthy, groups of people and their reaction to those who leave.
With former members of Branham's "Message" cult, the best way to experience this is in a healthy church with clearly visible outreach programs and transparency. Ex-members tend to do better in non-charismatic and non-fundamentalist churches, as those types of churches by-and-large have many of the same issues found in a religious cult though not nearly to the same level. During the course of one or two years, and after having watched the church's reaction to those who chose to leave, it is an entirely new and exciting experience. Many who leave still remain very close to the members of a healthy church, and even attend functions outside of the services. And there is no sign of scorn, dis-fellowship, or hatred when a person leaves from a healthy church. A healthy church has an easy accessible exit door.
A destructive cult has a one-way door, programmed deep inside the teachings, and implanted in the mind.
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