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Iron Sharpening

Seek The Truth Blog

Iron Sharpening:

Good followers must be good listeners, actively engaging their minds as they listen to leaders. Though it sounds counter-intuitive, good listeners must apply both receptive and critical thought processing. Listening with an open mind should never close the door to reasoning, as this is a key factor to understanding what the speaker has to say. In cases where a concept is not understood, however, good followers do not simply nod their heads and move along. Good followers will reason with the leader as a means to give feedback on their understanding of a concept. By doing so, the leader has a chance to further explain something that might have been missed. Also, as the proverb says, it allows for "iron to sharpen iron"; the leader might also learn something he or she did not know from the follower.

In religious cults, this type of "sharpening" is either forbidden, frowned upon, or ridiculed. As the supreme authority on doctrine and scripture, the central figure of a cult cannot allow other members to witness error or lack of understanding. Over time, cult members' listening skills begin to dull, and their minds glaze over from lack of critical thought and proper feedback. Many mistakenly call this process "brainwashing", however this specific issue is less about control and more about lack of mental exercise. Had cult members continued to exercise critical thought, it is unlikely they would have been controlled, and the mind-numbing techniques would have had far less effect.

Former members who escaped many years of listening without exercising critical thought often suffer with poor listening skills after escaping. Some fear losing their mental faculties when they are unable to focus when faced with situations that require attentive listening. It takes time to realize that the brain must be exercised just as any other body part. By engaging in critical thought often, former members can strengthen their minds and quickly recover.