Hulu has created a television series based on Margaret Atwood’s book, The Handmaid’s Tale, and it is highly recommended viewing*. Last year, Hulu produced The Path and I was interviewed by Vanity Fair for my perspective. This time, I am blogging about The Handmaid’s Tale as I believe this is a very upsetting but well made dramatic series that is worthwhile watching. It is especially disquieting for me as it is set in New England. A political cult takes over the U.S. after a staged terrorist attack and martial law is declared. When the book and the 1990 movie came out, there was some speculation Atwood had used a New Jersey cult as well as an alleged witch as a creative basis for her story. The series has been creatively adapted to a feared Trumpistan authoritarian dystopia.
There have already been so many articles and interviews done on the Handmaid’s Tale that I wanted to give the cult mind control and undue influence angle. For anyone familiar with my BITE Model, the cult depicted is clearly using all the major techniques plus outright coercion and murder in order to control. One can’t help think of a ”Christianesque” ISIS when you see the public hanging, hunting down and shooting, the kidnapping, beating, torturing, and brainwashing. The Bible is quoted to justify that fertile women are objects to become babymakers for the controlling elite. While I watched I could not stop thinking of Warren Jeff’s FLDS cult and their exploitation and use of young girls and women as baby machines for the “prophet” and his elite.
Surprisingly, the lead actress, is Elizabeth Moss who was raised in the cult of Scientology. My sources tell me she is still involved. Wow! If I was going to pick a role for a cult member to play to help wake her up from the programming of a group, this series would be high on my wish list. Whoever is behind this production has done a lot of cult research and not just depended on the book’s author to develop this series. David Miscavige must be really worried about Elizabeth. If he isn’t, he should be.
If you know any active Scientologists, ask them if they have watched this series, and ask them to do so, as you would like to ask their opinion. And mention the lead is a Scientologist. I know this sounds strategic. It is meant to be.
One of the fastest ways to help a person wake up from a particular cult is to educate them about other mind control cults. Specifically, the behavior control techniques, the information control techniques, the thought control techniques–especially loaded language, and emotional control techniques. And ask them if after watching they think they would join the “resistance” or cave in and just believe blindly? Ask them what kind of society would like to see in the United States of America? Freedom to get information from former members and critics? Freedom to look at information and determine whether is true or false? Freedom to believe what you want to believe based on your authentic self or a black and white / us versus them / good versus evil ideology based on loyalty and obedience?
Another current event that is brought to mind by this series is the way some dictatorship-style governments have been strategically attempting to control our freedoms. Just recently, I have written about the ban of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. While this group is definitely guilty of many human rights offenses, I believe that a ban on religious beliefs is yet another one. Outlawing religious freedoms puts us one step closer to the type of takeover illustrated in the Handmaid’s Tale. In the book, Atwood tells of how the government was overthrown incrementally and citizens were slowly coerced into an incremental “frog in slowly heated water til it boils” type control of the cult. About this she says, “Keep calm, they said on television. Everything is under control…How did they get in, how did it happen? That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on.”
As a community, we need to stay aware of what is happening! Want to support and protect human rights? For women? For people of other religious traditions? Wish to support the scientific method, which depends on testing out hypotheses and rejecting them if the facts do not support their claims? Join the resistance! We all must speak out about any injustices we see taking place. We cannot simply sit back and let our human rights be denied.
Luckily, we do still have our freedom. And I am thrilled to see a series like The Handmaid’s Tale being made that illustrates why everyone needs to be aware of techniques of undue influence and resist them. I am also happy to see that Leah Remini’s Scientology and the Aftermath has been renewed for a second season! I was fortunate enough to appear in her season one Ask Me Anything episode and am sincerely hopeful that the show continues to expose Scientology’s abuses and helps more people as it progresses.
* After a free month, you will need to pay for a Hulu subscription.
UPDATE: On Sunday, January 7th, The Handmaid’s Tale won a Golden Globe for best television drama: