Author and cult expert Steve Hassan, writes about Behavior Control, Information Control, Thought Control and Emotional Control in his book Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves.
It is by manipulating these four components that cults gain control over a person’s identity. For instance if you control the Information a person is allowed to receive, you limit his capacity for independent thought.
For most of society that isn’t an issue, we are free to read any books that we like, watch tv or listen to the radio anytime we want. But for many young adults caught up in Controlling Religious groups, they don’t have those same freedoms. Let’s compare Scientology Sea Organization with Mormon Missionaires.
It is well known in the Scienotlogy community that young teens are targets for recruitment into the Sea Org. Kids are recruited as young as 15 yrs old where they are required to sign billion year contracts (committing future lifetimes).
They are given one day per week, Saturday mornings until 1 or 2 p.m. to handle laundry, cleaning etc. If they want any extra time off they have to ask permission and it’s usually denied unless they have a steller work ethic and can show their work has been on an uptrend for a while. The Sea Org are not allowed, nor do they have time to read anything other than Scientology material.
They are not allowed to have cable, internet, video games, etc. in their communal housing. Their environment and information resources are tightly controlled by the church. They work 12-15 hour days starting at age 15.
I lived in Clearwater, Fl in 2009 when the St.Petersburg Times newspaper ran a series of front page articles about the church. The Sea Org and students who were at the church for training were not allowed to go outside during lunch and dinner hours as they normally do, instead lunch and dinner was brought in for them. The church was afraid that they would see the newspapers around town. The church was also going around town taking all those newspapers from newsstands and tossing them.
As for the young Mormon, they are highly encouraged to go on Mission – boys for 2 years and girls for 18 months and they are expected to pay for this or get sponsorships. A Mission is basically going to a foriegn country or somewhere in the U.S.A. and promoting Mormon literature, recruiting new members. The cost is approx $400 per month per Missionaire, which covers the cost of the housing, food and travel expenses. Some speculate this is a huge money making venture for the church.
They are given one day a week called “preperation day” to handle laundry, grocery shopping or down time, but at 6pm that same day they are expected to be back to volunteering. It is dorm style living in usually lower end apts, they are required to be in “pairs” at all times, which is good for safety purposes as their usually in a foreign country, but it also means no alone time.
The missionaries can’t roll up their sleeves and can’t wear anything but sanctioned underwear. They can’t have a “faddish” hairstyle. They can’t read any book or watch any video that hasn’t been approved by the church. They can’t join clubs, musical groups or sports teams. If they play a team sport among themselves, they can’t keep score. They can’t call home, except for Christmas and Mother’s Day. They can’t flirt, and they can’t be alone with women. They can’t be without the rulebook.
Both these scenarios are perfect examples of Behavior Control, Information Control, Thought Control and Emotional Control. These young adults are eating, breathing and living only the doctrine. This is MIND CONTROL and the Scientologist and Mormon parents think the Sea Org and going on Mission are the most important thing their child could do in life!