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Brainwashed White As Snow

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Brainwashed White As Snow:

When most former cult members try to describe the cult leader's manipulative use of thought control, they use the word "brainwashing". Not fully understanding the complex strategies used to control the thoughts of cult followers, they label the sum of all techniques with the most commonly understood term. While "brainwashing" is one technique used in destructive cults, it is far from the only one.

Thought manipulation has existed for centuries. It has been used and refined by not only religious cults, but also political groups, commercial entities, predatory individuals, and more. "The Prince", for example, was circulated as early as 1513. Niccolò Machiavelli's book depicts a ruthless, manipulative leader who used thought control to exploit his followers and increase his power. Other examples include Hitler's propaganda minister, Josef Goebbels, who used thought control techniques studied by American PR experts Edward Bernays, Walter Lippmann, and Ivy Lee. While they described the power of subtle manipulation for marketing, Hitler used it for control. Many of those techniques can be found in Bernay's book, "Propaganda".

Modern thought manipulation techniques used by religious cults are nothing new. They resurrect principles of ancient middle-eastern, mystic religion, using them to augment traditional faith. Modern charismatic and faith healing movements, for example, were brought into popularity by John Alexander Dowie, who labeled himself as a "Christian mystic". Religious cults who use his technique are reestablishing the ancient idea that the universe responds to the direct wishes of individual human beings. In the modern charismatic movement, these wishes include good health, great riches, granted wishes, and more.

When former members educate themselves to understand these techniques, they are armed with information shielding them from future manipulation. Their brain is no longer "washed", but is strengthened.