Destructive Mind Control
Sep 16, 2013 | 5778 views | 6 6 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Why We Need to Act Now to Protect Against Mind-

Control Religions

By: Richard E. Kelly

In most western-world countries, laws protect consumers from fraud and unethical business practices. But to date, there are no laws on the books that recognize destructive mind control, much less prohibit the use of it by cult-like religious groups. However, if my colleague Steven Hassan, the pioneer of exit counseling for cult members and a critically acclaimed author, and thousands of  other ex-cult members have any say about it, that may soon change.

The mind, despite all of its strengths, depends on a stream of coherent information for it to function properly. Put a person into an environment where the senses are overloaded with incoherent information and the mind becomes numb. In this confused state, critical thinking skills don’t work and the mind becomes suggestible to those who would replace an individual’s self-interest with the group’s best interests. 

Everyone, like it or not, is vulnerable to mind control. Everyone is looking for something better in life: more happiness, more meaning and more security. Recruiters prey upon these basic human needs. People don’t join; they are recruited, and more often than not, during a stressful time in their lives.

Mind-control religions use our fantasies of an ideal world to draw us in. The “love bombing” and the sincere, committed members that newcomers initially encounter prove far more attractive and convincing than the doctrines.

Recruitment doesn’t just happen.

“It’s a process,” Hassan says, “imposed on people by other people.”

During that orientation process—it could be a seemingly innocuous six-month Bible study—irrational phobias are placed in the potential member’s unconscious mind. The first is that no one can really be happy and successful if they’re not a member of that particular religion.

After they become members, life is about sacrifice and living in a fantasy world created by the group. The need to live in the present is continually reinforced with warnings like “Armageddon is just around the corner,” giving members a sense of urgency about the tasks at hand. Those who begin to doubt will find leaving painful, as one of the penalties will be extreme shunning.

Children raised in these groups typically receive an inferior education, are taught that the world is an evil place controlled by the devil, and must rely on church leaders’ interpretation of reality.

Mind-control clichés like “we alone have the truth” or “all non-members will die at Armageddon” are continually reinforced, which puts up an invisible wall between believers and outsiders. This makes members feel special, believing they are counted among God’s chosen few.

Behavior control, Information control, Thought control and Emotional control (the BITE model) has great power and influence on the human mind. Together, these four control mechanisms are used by destructive religious groups to form a totalistic web, which can manipulate even the strongest-minded people. (Hassan provides a thorough explanation of how BITE works in his three best-selling books.)

And if that’s not enough, mind-control religious members are required to proselytize; research in social psychology shows that nothing confirms one’s beliefs better than trying to sell those beliefs to other people.

Given freedom of choice, people will choose what they believe is best for themselves. However, the criteria for determining what is “best” should be one’s own, not someone else’s.

Freedom of choice is the first thing that one loses when one becomes a member of groups like Scientologists, Moonies and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Unchecked, these groups will continue to wreak untold psychological and physical damage on millions of people who have no idea of what constitutes unethical mind control. Unless action is taken to make destructive religious groups accountable to society for their violations of the basic civil rights of their members, in particular the children of members, they will continue to deceive the public into believing they are a harmless group of people, deserving the same constitutional guarantees as benevolent religions.

Grant money for research projects and treatment of mind-control victims is needed now. Reform within public education must be made to encourage people to think for themselves, to understand the psychological principles of mind control and to teach students to be suspicious of any environment that discourages them from asking critical questions. If you would like to help, go to and

About Richard E. Kelly: Richard E. Kelly is the Managing Director of Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses (AAWA) and the author of Growing Up in Mama’s Club: A Childhood Perspective of Jehovah’s Witnesses and The Ghosts from Mama’s Club. The retired former president of a Michigan manufacturing company, Kelly was raised as a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and left the faith at age 20.

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Janine Garcia
September 17, 2013
Very well stated. I enjoyed reading all of your points. Mind control methods should be policed by human rights commission agencies, if they are not already, and the mental health professionals should start to petition the proper authorities to document which groups are accountable for causing actual harm, emotional distress and irreparable damage, allowing members who have been mentally assaulted by these groups the ability to sue for mental distress and damages. Something has to change. We don't allow physical abuse or assault or slander in this society of our nation, yet mental abuses by religious cults still is allowable by law. Laws are ratified and changed when they are found to cause possible harm. This control group causes harm, and destroys human lives.
Under Belly
September 18, 2013
Totally paranoic. BITE mind control theory from a scientific point of view is at the same level of Dianetics or Star Trek. The anti-cult movement WITHOUT any scientific evidence is trying to destroy human rights and religious freedom stating that "cult" members are robots, not humans, this is a new kind of racism.

But if you think that millions of people are no longer humans, but robots, where are evidences?

Oh... right... Steve Hassan's books...
September 17, 2013
"deserving the same constitutional guarantees as benevolent religions." (translation: getting tax breaks from the i.r.s. as the other established mind control religions have)

All religions use the "BITE" method.

Free mind
September 17, 2013
No, not all religions practice the bite model. To state this is to not understand BITE at all and the nature of destructive mind control. To claim all religion practices BITE is to minimize the difference and destruction that cults like the Jehovah's Witnesses wreak on the weak.
Under Belly
September 17, 2013
A perfect example of inducted sect-phobia. "Cult" members are no longer humans, but robots... right? So the only consequence of a similar premise is to steal them their rights to believe or to live in a manner they love, just because you think their beliefs are irrational... well... this forma mentis is the root of all dictatorship, it's medieval and is evil.
Janine Garcia
January 28, 2014
Your remarks defend cults - that are allowed to slander other "sects" - yet you defend them? Why? What premise in our culture defines the square-footage of a sect? I am very curious. Since you know nothing of how a cult graudually works messages into other's ears ... you will never fully appreciate how this whole schematic thing works / religious head leaders profit - and the people at the bottom? Broke - and missing family. Seriously? You have no clue. Obviously - by the vague comments - lacking much detailed factual information.