Psychologist/Author Steve Hassan on Thought Reform Used By High-Control Groups. Inspired by Work of Psychiatrist Dr. Robert Jay Lifton

by Velour/MtnShepherdess ©

My former church, the authoritarian Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley, is a high-control, abusive group and uses Thought Reform techniques to gain church members’ compliance. GBFSV pastors/elders are extremely abusive and manipulative, as scores of ex-members whom have been interviewed have stated was their first-hand experience.

I recommend Steve Hassan’s website, videos, and his books including Combating Cult Mind Control to anyone who is thinking about going to Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley, wants to get out of Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley and has serious concerns about what goes on at GBFSV, anyone who has left Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley and is trying to figure out what happened there, and for the family and friends of people who are going to Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley and have seen changes for the worse in their loved ones’ behavior after being at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley.

 

Here is an excerpt from Steve Hassan’s website about the B.I.T.E. Model that high control groups, like Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley, frequently use. Study it carefully.

https://www.freedomofmind.com/Info/BITE/bitemodel.php

“Steven Hassan’s BITE Model of Cult Mind Control

Many people think of mind control as an ambiguous, mystical process that cannot be defined in concrete terms. In reality, mind control refers to a specific set of methods and techniques, such as hypnosis or thought- stopping, that influence how a person thinks, feels, and acts. Like many bodies of knowledge, it is not inherently good or evil. If mind control techniques are used to empower an individual to have more choice, and authority for his life remains within himself, the effects can be beneficial. For example, benevolent mind control can be used to help people quit smoking without affecting any other behavior. Mind control becomes destructive when the locus of control is external and it is used to undermine a person’s ability to think and act independently.

As employed by the most destructive cults, mind control seeks nothing less than to disrupt an individual’s authentic identity and reconstruct it in the image of the cult leader. I developed the BITE model to help people determine whether or not a group is practicing destructive mind control. The BITE model helps people understand how cults suppress individual member’s uniqueness and creativity. BITE stands for the cult’s control of an individual’s Behavior, Intellect, Thoughts, and Emotions.

It is important to understand that destructive mind control can be determined when the overall effect of these four components promotes dependency and obedience to some leader or cause. It is not necessary for every single item on the list to be present. Mindcontrolled cult members can live in their own apartments, have nine-to-five jobs, be married with children, and still be unable to think for themselves and act independently.

We are all subject to influence from our parents, friends, teachers, co-workers… When this influence helps someone grow and maintain an internal locus of control, it is healthy. Influence which is used to keep people mindless and dependent is unhealthy. To download a PDF of the Influence Continuum graphic, click here.

Destructive mind control is not just used by cults. Learn about the Human Trafficking BITE Model and the Terrorism BITE Model.

 

The BITE Model

I. Behavior Control
II. Information Control
III. Thought Control
IV. Emotional Control

Behavior Control

1. Regulate individual’s physical reality
2. Dictate where, how, and with whom the member lives and associates or isolates
3. When, how and with whom the member has sex
4. Control types of clothing and hairstyles
5. Regulate diet – food and drink, hunger and/or fasting
6. Manipulation and deprivation of sleep
7. Financial exploitation, manipulation or dependence
8. Restrict leisure, entertainment, vacation time
9. Major time spent with group indoctrination and rituals and/or self indoctrination including the Internet
10. Permission required for major decisions
11. Thoughts, feelings, and activities (of self and others) reported to superiors
12. Rewards and punishments used to modify behaviors, both positive and negative
13. Discourage individualism, encourage group-think
14. Impose rigid rules and regulations
15. Instill dependency and obedience
16. Threaten harm to family and friends
17. Force individual to rape or be raped
18. Instill dependency and obedience
19. Encourage and engage in corporal punishment

Information Control

1. Deception:
a. Deliberately withhold information
b. Distort information to make it more acceptable
c. Systematically lie to the cult member
2. Minimize or discourage access to non-cult sources of information, including:
a. Internet, TV, radio, books, articles, newspapers, magazines, other media
b.Critical information
c. Former members
d. Keep members busy so they don’t have time to think and investigate
e. Control through cell phone with texting, calls, internet tracking
3. Compartmentalize information into Outsider vs. Insider doctrines
a. Ensure that information is not freely accessible
b.Control information at different levels and missions within group
c. Allow only leadership to decide who needs to know what and when
4. Encourage spying on other members
a. Impose a buddy system to monitor and control member
b.Report deviant thoughts, feelings and actions to leadership
c. Ensure that individual behavior is monitored by group
5. Extensive use of cult-generated information and propaganda, including:
a. Newsletters, magazines, journals, audiotapes, videotapes, YouTube, movies and other media
b.Misquoting statements or using them out of context from non-cult sources
6. Unethical use of confession
a. Information about sins used to disrupt and/or dissolve identity boundaries
b. Withholding forgiveness or absolution
c. Manipulation of memory, possible false memories

Thought Control

1. Require members to internalize the group’s doctrine as truth
a. Adopting the group’s ‘map of reality’ as reality
b. Instill black and white thinking
c. Decide between good vs. evil
d. Organize people into us vs. them (insiders vs. outsiders)
2.Change person’s name and identity
3. Use of loaded language and clichés which constrict knowledge, stop critical thoughts and reduce complexities into platitudinous buzz words
4. Encourage only ‘good and proper’ thoughts
5. Hypnotic techniques are used to alter mental states, undermine critical thinking and even to age regress the member
6. Memories are manipulated and false memories are created
7. Teaching thought-stopping techniques which shut down reality testing by stopping negative thoughts and allowing only positive thoughts, including:
a. Denial, rationalization, justification, wishful thinking
b. Chanting
c. Meditating
d. Praying
e. Speaking in tongues
f. Singing or humming
8. Rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism
9. Forbid critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy allowed
10. Labeling alternative belief systems as illegitimate, evil, or not useful

Emotional Control

1. Manipulate and narrow the range of feelings – some emotions and/or needs are deemed as evil, wrong or selfish
2. Teach emotion-stopping techniques to block feelings of homesickness, anger, doubt
3. Make the person feel that problems are always their own fault, never the leader’s or the group’s fault
4. Promote feelings of guilt or unworthiness, such as
a. Identity guilt
b. You are not living up to your potential
c. Your family is deficient
d. Your past is suspect
e. Your affiliations are unwise
f. Your thoughts, feelings, actions are irrelevant or selfish
g. Social guilt
h. Historical guilt
5. Instill fear, such as fear of:
a. Thinking independently
b. The outside world
c. Enemies
d. Losing one’s salvation
e. Leaving or being shunned by the group
f. Other’s disapproval
6. Extremes of emotional highs and lows – love bombing and praise one moment and then declaring you are horrible sinner
7. Ritualistic and sometimes public confession of sins
8. Phobia indoctrination: inculcating irrational fears about leaving the group or questioning the leader’s authority
a. No happiness or fulfillment possible outside of the group
b. Terrible consequences if you leave: hell, demon possession, incurable diseases, accidents, suicide, insanity, 10,000 reincarnations, etc.
c. Shunning of those who leave; fear of being rejected by friends, peers, and family
d. Never a legitimate reason to leave; those who leave are weak, undisciplined, unspiritual, worldly, brainwashed by family or counselor, or seduced by money, sex, or rock and roll
e. Threats of harm to ex-member and family”

 

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More information about Dr. Robert Jay Lifton, Yale psychiatrist, and his research of Thought Reform techniques used by high control groups written about by Christian researcher Brad Sargent on his blog:

https://futuristguy.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/the-hunger-games-trilogy-5a/

Thinking Fellows interview: Eternal Subordination of the Son controversy

http://www.thinkingfellows.com/blog/2016/8/4/episode-28-eternal-subordination-of-the-son

This week the Thinking Fellows are joined by Elyse Fitzpatrick and her son Joel Fitzpatrick to talk about a controversy revolving around the idea of the eternal subordination of the Son. The Fellows aren’t here to join the fight but instead talk about the misapplication of the Trinity happening within the controversy. Sit back, relax, and grab a drink as the Fellows cover this special listener requested show.

Crossway Reverses Decision to Make ESV Bible Text Permanent

crossway_esvbibleGleanings

September 28, 2016

Crossway Reverses Decision to Make ESV Bible Text Permanent

Amid much public debate, publisher says strategy for a ‘stable’ Bible was a ‘mistake.’

Crossway Reverses Decision to Make ESV Bible Text Permanent

The publisher of the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible has reversed its controversial decision to finalize the text after tweaking 29 verses.

“We have become convinced that this decision was a mistake,” stated Crossway president and CEO Lane Dennis in an announcement released today. “We apologize for this and for any concern this has caused for readers of the ESV, and we want to explain what we now believe to be the way forward. Our desire, above all, is to do what is right before the Lord.”

“Good for the ESV,” tweeted Scot McKnight, who had criticized the decision to make the text permanent.

Jonathan Leeman: Parsing Words and Deleting Comments (Guest Post by Todd Wilhelm) — [This is about my ex-church Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley]

Why are comments disappearing under posts on the 9Marks website?

via Jonathan Leeman: Parsing Words and Deleting Comments (Guest Post by Todd Wilhelm) —

 

9/26/16. Note: This is about my former church Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley and the authoritarian 9 Marks practices that they follow.  I wrote a 1-star review on Amazon about Mark Dever’s 9 Marks of a Healthy Church and described the implementation of the recommended practices as being “like the Salem Witch Trials”. I stand by every word.  Jonthan Leeman at 9 Marks wrote an article about my 1-star Amazon review. More than 30 comments were made to the article, logical and critical of the 9 Marks system overall. Todd Wilhlem, in United Arab Emirates (an American who works/lives there and had dealings with an abusive 9 Marks church as well) wrote about the article. 9 Marks subsequently scrubbed the internet of all comments which a webmaster had to retrieve. Todd Wilhelm’s latest article is about the scrubbing of the internet by 9 Marks and of comments. There is no adult discourse, or so it seems, with 9 Marks. If their ideas will “float” (i.e. are viable) why do they shut down critiques?  – Velour/MtnShepherdess

Only the weak are cruel

From Suzanne Pardue via Twitter on 9/26/16

Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong… – Leo F. Buscaglia”

 

tigerandcub_weakandstrong