Leaders of cults are usually very good at what they do when it comes to recruiting new members, and in convincing current members to stay. Even without realizing it, they may use certain common cult-like tactics in their recruiting, or in their teachings.
One such tactic is fear mongering, or teaching their members that other people are out to hurt them in some way, or keep them from reaching their true potential.
Another tactic common with cults is to teach its followers that they are somehow better than others, that they’re smarter, that they know certain secrets or have special understanding that others don’t, or that they’re more moral and pure than the rest of the world.
These cult-like tactics were demonstrated in some disturbing anti-masturbation videos that were recently leaked from Bethel, the headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and which are apparently being shown to new members. Note this snippet of one video below, which is shown to the women only, and the cult-like tactics used in these few short minutes alone:
It takes literally one minute for the man in this video to use a fear mongering tactic, by saying that the whole world is bent on making someone unfit for god’s service, and that Jehovah’s Witnesses live in a “wicked world that actively tries to mold everyone into its ways.”
Consider the lunacy of these very broad, sweeping statements; many people in the world are atheists who don’t believe in god in the first place, so how and why would they be concerned if someone is “unfit” for service to that god? Many Christians I know also think that any good and decent person is in line for salvation, no matter their religion, so no, they are not “bent” on making people unfit for their god’s service.
It’s also very bold to say that the “world” is “actively” trying to mold everyone into “its” ways. Citizens of just one country, much less the whole world, don’t think the same way when it comes to laws, taxation, healthcare, socialism, capitalism, if the earth is flat, and whether or not you can buy beer on a Sunday. The “world” hasn’t even picked a mold for themselves, much less is that whole world, as a collective, trying to squeeze Jehovah’s Witnesses into “its” thinking.
While we’re on the subject, stick your own head out the window and look left, then look right. Do you see anyone “actively” trying to mold you into anything? Sure, advertisers want to sell you on a product, and some people may be more vocal about their political or social agendas, but how often do you come across these people in your daily life? Most people I know are just gliding through life, going to work in the morning and then sitting on their porches and drinking their Saturday-bought beer for the rest of the day. They’re too lazy to even be actively “molding” their own children, much less are they concerned about Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Note, too, that this speaker, as is common with cults, doesn’t provide one shred of evidence for his statements! He reads a scripture about no longer being “molded,” but this alone offers no proof that the entire world is trying to do this molding, much less that Jehovah’s Witnesses are somehow a special target. Instead, the speaker simply frightens the audience into full-blown paranoia about the whole world around them, and then uses this fear to convince them that they should listen to the counsel he’s about to provide.
Cults often convince their members, or potential members, that they’re special; this is something I’ve seen especially with Tom Cruise, when talking about Scientology:
So, according to Top Gun here, Scientologists are the only ones who can help in an accident. Color me crazy, but I would prefer a paramedic, nurse, doctor… heck, even a veterinarian… to help me after an accident, versus someone whose sole claim to expertise is reading the ramblings of a two-bit science fiction writer who thought tomatoes feel pain. It’s also obscenely insulting of Cruise to think that Scientologists are the only non-medical personnel who can help in such situations; there are many, many stories you can easily find of everyday civilians rescuing accident victims, stranded animals, etc., even at great risk to their own safety.
Back to the point; this is part of how cults operate, by convincing their members that they’re somehow special and “above” other people, and that people outside their cult are somehow less intelligent, less capable, blind to what’s going on around them, immoral, and the list could go on. This cult-like indoctrination method can be seen in this video to Jehovah’s Witness women, where the man talks about the world being “unclean,” while the women watching the video have a “clean standing” before god. Late in the video, he states that “Satan has managed to influence the world’s thinking on the subject of sexual immorality…,” and also says that the audience should outright “feed” their “hatred for the perversions of Satan’s system.”
In other words, Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only “clean” persons in the world, while everyone else is “unclean,” or dirty, controlled by the devil, and perverse. Much like creating a fear or paranoia, this type of teaching creates an arrogance in cult members, and a distaste or disgust for those outside their religion.
This, too, keeps cult members from even considering what people outside the cult have to say on the subject, allowing the cult to then more easily control a person’s thinking and reasoning. No matter what a nonmember may say, it’s already been determined that their opinion and viewpoint are perverted and immoral and from Satan himself. This makes it even easier for cult members to simply put their fingers in their ears and ignore anything and everything that outsiders try to share, no matter how logical or reasonable, and no matter how much fact or proof they might offer.
All of these cult indoctrination methods aside, this video itself is an ironic hypocrisy. Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that the world outside of their religion is trying to “mold” people into their ways, but what are they themselves doing with these anti-masturbation videos alone? They refer to masturbation as “self-abuse,” and say that this habit might make them “unfit” for service to god; this is despite the fact that masturbation is not mentioned anywhere in the bible. That makes these teachings nothing but their opinion alone!
So, while working hard to create a severe and disturbing paranoia about the influence of nonmembers, the religion does exactly what it warns against, and works just as hard to mold and control the thinking, and even the sexuality, of its own members … which is exactly what you would expect from a cult.
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