Mormons

Highlights from my EXJW Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything)

2018-12-16T19:12:23+00:00November 29th, 2018|Blog|

Top Ten Questions & Answers On Monday, November 19, 2018, I participated in my first ever AMA (Ask Me Anything) for r/exjw on Reddit to an overwhelming response. Reddit users interviewed me by posting questions which I then answered on the Reddit forum. I want to thank Kimmy O'Donnell who helped arrange it and everyone for their support and contributions. My opening post directed the discussion, "Good morning. I will be available for the next 24 hours to answer your questions. We can discuss the Jehovah's Witnesses and how they fit my BITE model, how to help family and [...]

What is a Cult? Whiteboard Animation Explaining the BITE Model

2018-12-16T19:12:28+00:00November 22nd, 2018|Blog|

BITE Model 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? I have also been asked to comment on destructive family systems and controlling relationships. Over the decades of research, my way of systematizing a method to evaluate a weird group with crazy beliefs from a destructive one has come to be grounded in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It seems to me that while there are countries, [...]

Malice Found by Jury in Montana Watchtower Society Sex Abuse Case

2018-12-16T20:47:55+00:00October 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 [...]

Help For Those That Leave a Cult But Still Have Beliefs That Are Harmful

2018-12-16T19:15:56+00:00September 13th, 2018|Blog|

I previously wrote a blog about people who are still living inside high-control groups that no longer believe in the leader or group. They remain trapped inside due to a variety of reasons, but there are also practical reasons which include the high exit cost of losing family, money, and friends. Most people can and do leave the group eventually, sometimes taking years. As I wrote in that blog, creating a workable exit strategy is important. This includes networking with former friends and family who have already left, developing alternatives for income production, and helping to apply the strategic interactive approach [...]

Children Are Harmed by Destructive Cults: Part Two

2018-12-15T19:49:50+00:00September 6th, 2018|Blog|

Freedom of religion does not give permission to traumatize and abuse kids! Last week, I blogged about some ways that children are harmed physically by destructive cults, including murder, suicide, medical neglect, trafficking, corporal punishment and sexual predation. Many children that are born or raised in a group are helpless and do not have the resources to protect themselves. And very often, children are harmed psychologically and face difficulties not just during their childhood but also after leaving the group. For example, in this week's blog we list just a few things that can cause lifelong harm if not [...]

Children are Harmed by Destructive Cults – Part One

2019-02-13T13:47:02+00:00August 31st, 2018|Blog|

Freedom of religion does not give permission to traumatize and abuse kids! Last week, I blogged about adults in totalistic, destructive cults who are physically still in but psychologically out and sitting on the fence. This week I wanted to blog about children who are helpless and were born or raised in a group. They do not have the resources to protect themselves. In this blog (part one of a two-part series) I focus on the physical and medical harm to children. Next week, I will discuss psychological harm to children. Both weeks, I will include some resources for [...]

Tired of Being “On The Fence” With Your Life?

2018-12-16T21:10:57+00:00August 23rd, 2018|Blog|

Beginning to Doubt and Question There are moments when almost anybody can become disillusioned when in a totalistic, or rigid and intolerant, group (or controlling relationship). Losing one’s “faith” can happen for a wide variety of reasons. Maybe they become aware of some discrepancy or hypocrisy in the doctrine or in a leader’s behavior. Perhaps someone they respect decides to leave or is labeled an “apostate” by leadership. Exposure to critical information is a very common reason people begin to doubt. Destructive mind control groups try very hard to keep their members away from negative information about the leader, [...]

The BITE Model and Jehovah’s Witnesses

2018-12-16T20:48:05+00:00August 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 [...]

A Response to Academics Who Say There Is No Undue Influence in Destructive Cults

2019-02-13T10:41:11+00:00June 28th, 2018|Blog|

June 28, 2018 This Influence Continuum graphic describes my model for evaluating influence–from the healthy to the unhealthy. My BITE model offers a list of concerning practices that represent unhealthy mind control: Behavior, Information, Thought and Emotional control designed to create dependent and obedient slaves to a person or ideology. One example of many is the lack of informed consent when recruiting new members. Healthy groups are honest, destructive cults lie–by withholding vital information, distorting information to make it seem more palatable or outright lies. It is my assertion that any academic who writes about controversial groups and insists [...]

Errant Belief #10: “We Have Lost Hope”

2018-12-16T19:33:48+00:00June 21st, 2018|Blog, Resources and Support|

Have a Positive Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Not a Negative One In my opinion, giving up hope is a dysfunctional coping mechanism to deal with the pain. Unfortunately, it suggests incorrectly that there is nothing constructive that can be done. If family members and friends no longer believe that the person will reestablish contact (if they have disconnected) or leave the group, then at least they will no longer be angry, frustrated, sad, disappointed and even depressed. Some people have actually told me that they have grieved their loved one as if he had already died. I say, “If the person [...]