Jehovah’s Witnesses

Watchtower Leadership Uses COVID-19 to Frighten and Recruit, Plus Interview With Former JW Member Cliff Henderson

2020-03-20T14:52:41-04:00March 20th, 2020|Blog|

With the recent pandemic, COVID-19, thousands, if not more, "doomsday" cults are using fear to ramp up their claims that the "end is near" and frighten members to stay in, recruit new and reactivate former members. The Watchtower has been saying Armageddon is imminent for over 100 years and falsely prophesied an actual date 4 times. Children are shown horrifying videos of all "non-believers" being destroyed and believers living forever on planet earth. (Yes, they are actually taught and continue to teach this.) Jehovah's Witness leadership recently released a video about COVID-19 on their website. Governing Body member, (one of [...]

Shincheonji Is a South Korean Cult Similar to the Moon Cult That Recruited Me, Steven Hassan

2020-07-23T15:12:04-04:00March 6th, 2020|Blog|

The Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a South Korean doomsday cult with hundreds of thousands of followers, has been all over the news at the center of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in that country. What do we know about this cult? The Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony was founded in 1984 in South Korea by its leader, Lee Man-hee. Citing former members, the Wall Street Journal reported that the cult communicates to its members that they will live forever, and Shincheonji followers are said to believe that Man-hee Lee is the second coming of Jesus [...]

Alienated from her Mother at Age 4, Parental Alienation and Patterns of Cult Mind Control

2019-08-29T12:49:21-04:00August 29th, 2019|Blog|

Over the last four decades of my work with cults and destructive groups, I have seen the almost standard operating procedure for mind-control cults to instruct members to do parental alienation behaviors. For example, if one parent realizes they are in a cult and leaves, if the other parent doesn't leave with them, they are indoctrinated to remain loyal and keep the children. In destructive groups, like Scientology, Jehovah's Witnesses,  the Mormons, Moonies, and many others, the parent still in the cult is ideologically driven to poison the child against the parent who exited. This is known as parental [...]

The BITE Model and Religious Cult Groups

2019-08-02T13:27:54-04:00August 2nd, 2019|Blog|

Since my deprogramming from the Moon cult in 1976, I have come to learn of countless thousands of groups that I have never heard of before. Are they cults? Do they use mind control? Is it brainwashing? As an expert on destructive groups and mind control, I am often asked to give my opinion about specific groups and organizations, including religious ones. In fact, there is a wide spectrum of healthy and unhealthy influence. Individual experiences vary within the same organization based on how the individual conforms to the norms of the group. I have developed an Influence Continuum which shows [...]

Jehovah’s Witnesses, Child Abuse and the Child Victims Act: A Discussion with Mark O’Donnell

2019-10-31T11:44:25-04:00July 29th, 2019|Blog|

In the last year, we have seen a major change in how sexual and child abuse is viewed and handled by authorities. In the #MeToo and #ChurchToo era, more courageous survivors are safely telling their stories. Even cult leaders are being held accountable for abuses they inflicted. For example, recently NXIVM leader Keith Raniere was convicted. Other harmful groups are also being sued such as Scientology. Attorney Marci Hamilton, founder of the nonprofit think tank ChildUSA, is accomplishing many victories. I previously published a blog and video of her talk about my forensic think tank at The Program in Psychiatry [...]

National Child Abuse Prevention Month: Educate, Protect and Support

2019-04-11T12:54:20-04:00April 11th, 2019|Blog|

Since 1983, April has been designated as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It "recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect and promotes the social and emotional well-being of children and families. During the month of April and throughout the year, communities are encouraged to increase awareness and provide education and support to families through resources and strategies to prevent child abuse and neglect." (Child Welfare Information Gateway) And, in 2019, it is needed just as much as ever! Too many children are still being hurt: physically, mentally and emotionally, as seen by [...]

Malice Found by Jury in Montana Watchtower Society Sex Abuse Case

2018-12-16T20:47:55-05:00October 11th, 2018|Blog, News and Updates|

The huge decline in membership due to critical information on the Internet, as well as lawsuits, are forcing leadership of older established clergy organizations, like the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons, to try to find ways to cope. In the case of Watchtower, documents listing predators have been leaked. Also, in the case of the LDS Church, documents are being leaked and put online. Long term dedicated members are realizing that they have been systematically lied to about the actual goings, causing large scale defections. Psychologist John Dehlin was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for speaking out about a need to change their policy [...]

The BITE Model and Jehovah’s Witnesses

2018-12-16T20:48:05-05:00August 2nd, 2018|Blog|

August 2, 2018: This past June, I did an online survey on influence to conduct, analyze and publish research on undue influence. Scientific data is required to help establish specific evaluation criteria to update legal and social policy in the United States and around the world. The initial results of my research show that former members of the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses report many meaningful behavioral criteria. With over 700 respondents, there is significant preliminary evidence that both groups use specific methods and techniques that influence how a person thinks, feels, and acts to instill obedience over conscience.  I formulated the [...]

Shunning and the BITE Model of Mind Control in the Jehovah’s Witnesses

2018-12-16T20:48:16-05:00March 22nd, 2018|Blog, Current Events, News and Updates|

The Trauma of Being Cut Off: Disfellowshipped While Still Indoctrinated Unless it has happened to you, it is impossible to describe the pain, confusion and suffering a person endures when they are excommunicated from an authoritarian Bible group like the Watchtower Society. People's entire identities are molded around ideological conformity and dependence on commands from the Governing Body, believing that only those men know the Almighty's will and understand the Bible properly. It is especially difficult when a person is raised in such a group and their families and friends are all believers. The threat of being shunned is [...]

How Jehovah’s Witness Teachings Can Damage Brain Development in Children

2018-12-16T20:48:27-05:00January 9th, 2018|Blog|

Introduction In my decades of work with helping those born into high control groups, the effects are usually quite devastating. Despite the conditions in which young people are raised, I have also seen remarkable courage and resiliency to overcome their childhood trauma, especially if they can receive proper support and counseling. I have blogged before about the trauma caused by corporal punishment. The Watchtower encourages its members to use physical discipline and it causes grave harm. There are also serious emotional and psychological abuses. I also blogged about a twenty-seven-year-old who left her child motherless because she followed the [...]