...people who care about other people who are in authoritarian religions.
...networking with others who care.
...warning the public of cults and their deceptive recruiting techniques, and efforts to create fear and isolation in new recruits.
Randall Watters is the founder of Free Minds, Inc. (formerly Bethel Ministries) and has been engaged in the work of freeing people from the mind control bondage of cults for the last twenty years.
Randall was a Jehovah's Witness for eight years, from 1972 to 1980, and served as an elder and factory overseer at the Watchtower headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. He left the organization by way of resignation in 1980, became a Christian and served as a pastor for a number of years, most recently at the now-defunct Hope Chapel of West Manhattan. Leaving the pastorate and organizational ties to focus on cults and exit-counseling only, Randall formed Free Minds, Inc. as a non-profit educational organization in 1992, with the goal of educating the public about mind control and the danger of cults.
The purpose of FREE MINDS, INC. (a registered non-profit organization) is to educate the public about the methods that ALL cults use, and how to combat them. If you have a loved one or relative involved in a cult, or suspect they are, read on.
How do I know if a religious, political or psychological organization is a cult?
Cults use the following agenda:
Deception - The group's identity and/or their real motives are not revealed at first. The group's leaders tell members to withhold information about the group from outsiders.
Love Bombing - Cults offer instant friendship and acceptance. Recruiters will not take no for an answer without making you feel guilty or ungrateful. If you say yes, guilt and obligation will increasingly be used to lower your defenses.
Exploit Personal Crisis - Situations such as a broken relationship, death in the family, loss of job, recent move, and loneliness as well as depression are exploited.
Crisis Creation- The world around you and even other believers are seen in a darker light, or the end of the world is imminent, etc. You must be part of this group to be saved or healed.
Answers- The group has over-simplified answers to life's questions for every question you ask. Theirs are the ONLY answers.
Intense Study - The focus is on group writings and doctrine. The Bible, if used, is quoted selectively but out of context.
Warnings - Recruits are told that Satan will cause relatives and friends to say bad things about the group. Recruits soon trust only group members.
Guilt and Fear - Groups focuses on individual's sinful nature and the need to purge the old personality.
Schedule Control, Fatigue - Study and service to group are mandatory, taking up almost all the time of the new member, making them too busy to question or to listen to others. Family, friends, jobs and hobbies are squeezed out, further isolating the new member.
Attack Independent Thought - Critical thinking is discouraged as prideful and sinful. Blind acceptance is encouraged.
Divine Commission - Group leader(s) claim new revelations from God, and that they are God's sole spokesmen to mankind today.
Black and White Mentality - All issues have simple answers, and require unquestioning obedience to the group. "Us against them" thinking strengthens group identity. Everyone outside of the group is labeled as weak or misled.
Motives Questioned - When sound evidence against the group is presented, members are taught
to question the motives of the presenter. What is verifiable is
ignored due to what is non-verifiable.
Information Control - Group controls what member may see or hear. Forbids contact with ex-members or anyone critical of the group.
Isolation and Alienation - Group becomes a substitute family and is taught that no others are needed, including natural family. Members may be told to quit school, leave home, give up sports, etc.
Coercion - Disobedience, including even minor disagreement with group doctrine will result in shunning and expulsion.
Phobias - Fear of the world and other people is magnified, as is fear of the devil or evil. Members are taught that something very bad will happen to them if they leave the group. No honorable way out of the group.
Striving - Group membership and service are essential for salvation. No matter what you do, it is never enough.
Dependency - Member adopts a childlike dependency on the group.
Personality Disorders - Depression, disorientation, anxiety, stress, neurotic or psychotic behavior and even suicidal tendencies may result.
Diminished Capacity - Members lose ability to think clearly and critically. Logical contradictions in doctrine have little or no impact on member.
Broken Relationships - Family and friends are cast aside.
Exploitation - Member is exploited financially, physically and/or mentally. May be manipulated into giving all possessions to group, leaving school or job to put in long hours selling literature or other items, providing low cost labor for the group, etc.
Why do group members:
Because they lack a free mind!
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