Monday, June 8, 2009

The Motivating Power of Fear

When dealing with anyone from a cult it is important to understand that they are not as free as other people. They are under the bondage of fear. Their minds have been captured by techniques of mind control that allows them to declare black to be white apparently without seeing a problem. Dr. Robert J. Lifton described eight mind control techniques used by the communists against our Korean War POWs. Each of the eight criteria is based on some element of fear.

One might ask, “What is it that would cause a person to remain in an organization that produces so much tension, so many struggles, and frequent doubts? Why don’t they just get out?” Well, for many the answer is FEAR. The fear of losing everything that they hold dear to them, including their friends, family, and salvation.

For Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Watchtower organization acts as the “voice of Jehovah” for them. The fear of being “disfellowshipped” threatens them with losing everything they have come to know as a way of life, and the thought of being ostracized by friends and family is simply too much for many of them to risk getting out.

The thought of turning one’s back on God and receiving His judgment for it because of some temporary struggles is too great a price to pay. They will resort to a form of equity rescuing to avoid that decision.

In his book Behind the Watchtower Curtain, David Reed, an ex-Jehovah's Witness, explains the effects of this fear. “There are also broken homes, youngsters deprived of a higher education, families separated by mistrust, and millions of people living lives of guilt and fear. There is a whole ‘nation’ of people living under a totalitarian ‘kingdom’ government that denies them freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom of conscience."

Jehovah’s Witnesses, like all other cultists, will vigorously deny these allegations. Their reasoning is much like the 'doublethink' in George Orwell's book, 1984. The chains that bind them are fastened on the mind, instead of on the wrists. Mind control can function like the person put under a spell by a hypnotist, when they open their eyes they will be ‘wide awake, happy, and refreshed,’ not realizing that a mind controlling 'post-hypnotic suggestion' planted in their minds must remain there to control their conduct.”

Psychologists really are on target in pointing out fear as a motivator. Dr. Jay Adams in his pamphlet, “What Do You Do When Fear Overcomes You?”, says “…fear may get such a tight grip upon you that at times it may seem to be some powerful force from the outside that takes you captive. Because of fear, people have changed jobs, moved from one city to another, sealed themselves in houses, killed, and fled to mental institutions. Because of the fear of cats or bridges or elevators or other people, people have developed styles of life that are weird and unfruitful. Fear of this sort, fear out of control (or would it be better said, fear in complete control), is the fear that you have come to fear.”

It is necessary for Christians who witness to Jehovah’s Witnesses, or anyone in such a high control group, to remember that they are under such bondage. Unconditional love and a non-judgmental attitude will help to soften their heart to you as a person who is interested in them personally. Sharing information with a respectful attitude may give them reason to begin thinking for themselves again. But in the final analysis it is the Holy Spirit Who will open their eyes and heart. So pray for them as you “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).