Mindcontrol (Combatting Cult Mind Control)

Mind Control – The B.I.T.E. ModelFrom Chapter Four of Combatting Cult Mind Control(Park Street Press, 1990) by Steven HassanDestructive mind control can be understood in terms of four basiccomponents, which form the acronym BITE: I. Behavior Control II. Information Control III. Thought Control IV. Emotional ControlThese four components are guidelines. Not all groups do everyaspect or do them extremely. What matters most is the overallimpact on a person’s free will and ability to make real choices. Aperson’s uniqueness, talents, skills, creativity, and free will shouldbe encouraged, not suppressed. Destructive mind control seeks to”make people over” in the image of the cult leader. This processhas been described as “cloning”. This “cult identity” is the result ofa systematic process to dissociate a person from his or her previousidentity including important beliefs and values as well assignificant relationships. The result is the creation of a dualidentity, what I refer to “John-John” and “John cult-member”.I. Behavior ControlRegulation of individual’s physical reality a. Where, how and with whom the member lives and associates with b. What clothes, colors, hairstyles the person wears c. What food the person eats, drinks, adopts, and rejects d. How much sleep the person is able to have e. Financial dependence f. Little or no time spent on leisure, entertainment, vacations2. Major time commitment required for indoctrination sessions andgroup rituals3. Need to ask permission for major decisions4. Need to report thoughts, feelings and activities to superiors5. Rewards and punishments (behavior modification techniques-positive and negative).6. Individualism discouraged; group think prevails7. Rigid rules and regulations8. Need for obedience and dependencyII. Information Control1. Use of deception a. Deliberately holding back information b. Distorting information to make it acceptable c. Outright lying2. Access to non-cult sources of information minimized ordiscouraged a. Books, articles, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio b. Critical information c. Former members d. Keep members so busy they don’t have time to think3. Compartmentalization of information: Outsider vs. Insiderdoctrines a. Information is not freely accessible b. Information varies at different levels and missions within pyramid c. Leadership decides who “needs to know” what4. Spying on other members is encouraged a. Pairing up with “buddy” system to monitor and control b. Reporting deviant thoughts, feelings, and actions to leadership5. Extensive use of cult generated information and propaganda a. Newsletters, magazines, journals, audio tapes, videotapes, etc. b. Misquotations, statements taken out of context from non-cult sources6. Unethical use of confession a. Information about “sins” used to abolish identity boundaries b. Past “sins” used to manipulate and control; no forgiveness or absolutionIII. Thought Control1. Need to internalize the group’s doctrine as “Truth” a. Map = Reality b. Black and White thinking c. Good vs. evil d. Us vs. them (inside vs. outside)2. Adopt “loaded” language (characterized by “thought-terminatingclichés”). Words are the tools we use to think with. These”special” words constrict rather than expand understanding.They function to reduce complexities of experience into trite,platitudinous “buzz words”.

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