[0] Am I Brainwashed? How Can I Tell

57 Why do you not judge also for yourself what is righteous (Luke 12)

Definition:  A brainwashed person judges every matter according to his accepted ideology, and judges no matter according to his own mind or his own conscience. He has ceased questioning the ideology that he has accepted. He is an idolater of that ideology.
Definition:  A person is brainwashed in respect of an idea or ideology if he refuses to consider any new arguments against it.

15 However, the spiritual man examines indeed all things [including whether or not there is a God], but he himself is not examined by any man [He is not sitting an entrance exam set by men. God is his examiner]. (1 Corinthians 2 NWT)

Examples of Brainwashed groups

The Suicide Bomber

He believes that...

1. God wants him to kill a specific group of people who are infidels.
2. The most courageous thing he can do with his life is to end it along with a few other lives.
3. If he does what God wants he will be rewarded in the afterlife.
4. If he kills both himself and others he will be a hero both to men and to God.
5. Killing himself and others will make him into a martyr.

The Jehovah's Witness

He believes that...

1. God speaks through the Watchtower Magazine and the Watchtower Society.
2. Only the writing committee of the WTBTS can get a correct new understanding of the bible.
3. Only JWs have true love from God. Non JWs cannot have true love.
4. Non JWs are dangerous and intrinsically wicked people and that JWs are safe and better people.
5. At Armageddon only JWs will be saved, the rest go to Hell
6. Everyone in Hell is destroyed and forgotten forever.
7. Those who leave the Watchtower must be shunned and will go to Hell
8. He should not socialize with or marry people who are not JWs
9. The only purpose of personal bible study is to confirm WTBS doctrine, since God will not reveal anything new to him.
10. The purpose of bible study with others is not to discover new truths or rediscover old truths together, but to persuade others that only the WTBTS has that truth. If something new comes up it should be shelved until the WTBTS has commented. If the others who are interested in the bible, do not accept WTBTS doctrine, the bible study has become useless and is terminated.
11.  He and his children whether baptised or not, should not take blood transfusions in any circumstances. In life threatening circumstances they should be martyred on the altar of WTBTS doctrine.
12.  He should not read literature from any other religious group.
13.  He should not accept any bible understanding that is not a part of WTBTS doctrine.
14.  He should accept all bible understandings that are a part of WTBTS doctrine.
15.  He is one of God's chosen people. Non JWs are not.
16.  In the event of a conflict between his conscience and Watchtower doctrine, God wants him to follow the latter.
17.  There are so many obligations on him to attend meetings read literature, do door to door evangelism etc, that he has no time to think for himself and always feels somewhat guilty. Could he do more for Jehovah? 

The Fanatical Communist Party Member

He believes that...

1.  The State is more important than him or than any individual
2.  Left wing media outfits tell the truth and should be believed, right wing media outfits lie and should be shunned
3.  Right wingers are greedy and selfish and corrupt, left wingers and philanthropic and selfless and pure
4.  The public sector is helpful good and should be expanded and must control the wicked greedy private sector
5.  The state knows best and is more loving than untrustworthy individuals.
6.  Positive discrimination against straight non disabled white men, in favour of women, gays, disabled and non-whites is a really good form of discrimination.
7.  Public transport, housing, schooling, health services are good. Private transport, housing, schooling, health services are bad.
8.  He puts idealogy before people. He will ruin the lives of people using private transport if it persuades a few more of them to use public transport.
9. He wears red tinted glasses, seeing and judging every matter according to his accepted ideology and no matter according to his own mind or conscience.

The Fanatical Fascist Party Member

He believes that...

1.  The individual is more important that the state
2.  Right wing media outfits tell the truth and should be believed, left wing media outfits lie and should be shunned
3.  Left wingers are corrupt negligent incompetent greedy parasites, who never did a real job in their life. Right wingers are professional hard working properly trained people who build the financial security of the nation.
4.  The public sector is a bureaucratic parasite which only ever puts speed humps in the road of your life and should be contracted, the private sector is intrinsically self regulating through competition and helpful productive innovative and good.
5.  The individual knows best and people are more loving and trustworthy than the state.
6.  There is a scapegoat group that is to be detested bullied and demonized: In the US it was blacks, then communists, then islamic terrorists. In Nazi Germany was the Jews. Today in the West it is also the paedophiles.
7.  Public transport, housing, schooling, health services are bad. Private transport, housing, schooling, health services are good.
8.  He puts ideology before people. He will justify rewarding the rich on the basis that they will spend money more wisely than the state and in doing so the poor will benefit from the trickle down theory (which in reality tends to be a drip down reality).
9. He wears blue tinted glasses, seeing and judging every matter according to his accepted ideology and no matter according to his own mind or conscience.

Incidentally God is a politically dead centre. He does not believe that the state is more important than an individual and neither does he believe that an individual is more important that the state. He believes that the state is an individual. His second law is that we should love every individual not more than ourselves (as the left wingers do in the case of the state) and not less than ourselves (as the right wingers do) but as ourselves, as God does.

The Characteristics of Brainwashing

Mental dependency, psychological addiction, mental imprisonment. Throwing away the conscience. Handing over decision making in an area. Having an unquestioning absolute acceptance of one source and an unquestioning absolute rejection of all other sources. Being used by the brainwasher for a purpose, which is not in your interest. Believing that those not brainwashed are wicked/demonized/communists/fascists/Hell-fodder. Believing that those who are brainwashed are glorious and elite. Believing that people in the brainwashed fold have a high status of some type and people not in that fold have a correspondingly low status. In fact the brainwasher creates a false type of internal status for his victims and uses this to replace the generally accepted external status yardsticks of non brainwashed people. Believing that those who have escaped the brainwashing are unhinged and exceptionally dangerous. Having no time to consider whether or not you are brainwashed due to very time consuming obligations from the brainwasher. Not making judgmements yourself, but accepting all judgements from the brainwashing source. Wearing ideology coloured glasses all day and all night.

Stages of Brainwashing

Here are the stages required to brainwash someone...

1. Show them their ideological inadequacy or indeed create a fictitious inadequacy.
2. Offer what appears to be a better ideology, the new ideology, which is a cure for that inadequacy.
3. Get them to become dependent upon that cure by persuading them that they cannot 'live' without it. [a lie]
4. Cut them off from all other competing cures, by convincing them that your ideology is the only cure. Persuade them that all other ideologies do not cure. [another lie. 3&4 are the basis of all brainwashing. Together they say: You cannot live without this and nobody else has this.]
5. You can now start exploiting them.
6. Maintain their dependency by re-enforcing the lie that only by keeping to the new ideology can they remain cured whilst everyone else is still infected.

Brainwashing Tools

1.  Control Freak Brainwashing - maintainance
2.  Fundamental Deception - bringing in & maintainance
3.  Logical thought blocking - trinity - maintainance
4.  Fear of loss Brainwashing - maintainance
5.  Status Brainwashing - bringing in
6.  Pack Brainwashing - bringing in and maintenance

1.  The Control Freak keeps you busy, controlling what you do and when you should do it and he takes delight in telling you how to do it. He also dictates with whom you might associate and whom you should avoid. The idea is to control as many aspects of the victims life as possible to deny them the time or energy to think their way out of the deception.

So it is a feature of brainwashing organizations to alienate you from your family, your friends, your colleagues and if needed even from your spouse. Then to substitute your former social environment with other victims of this brainwashing. Thus it will get harder and harder for the victim to escape the trap since there will be less and less people on the outside who are able to counteract the indoctrination he is receiving. Also these arrangements will make the victim socially and psychologically more and more dependent on the applause and support of those inside the organization. Once brainwashed you lack the perspective to escape the deception. A third party is always needed to pull you out of the quicksand. By cutting you off from anyone with a non deceived perspective, they guarantee your continued incarceration.

To achieve the goal of ideological isolation, the brainwasher keeps you busy doing jobs or works for him, that are made to appear useful and good, but in truth serve only to eat up your time.

A further element of this tactic is to instill the feeling of falling short in the victim. There is always more one can do, there is always more time or effort that could be put into the work. Thus, a subtle feeling of permanently being a failure is developed by the brainwashed person. Guilt and shame will push him to try harder in order to get the acknowledgment of his new peer group. This then creates a social dependency upon the new peer group of brainwashees.

2. The essence of brainwashng is the lie that the victim cannot live/survive/function/enojy life/ be saved, without the new ideology and that no other ideology can fix that problem.

3. See intro39.

4. In order to maintain the control gained over the victim, there has to be an element of fear of losing something that the victim has gained and is now dependent upon. It is something the brainwashed person doesn't believe can be found outside the group. Examples of this are loss of spiritual life, loss of loving social group, loss of God's approval, loss of financial security, loss of life even. By cutting the victims off from their previous life and social contacts, the victim knows that if he leaves the new life, he has no old life to return to.

5. The proponent of the new ideology might be a monarch or a president or a prime minister of a celebrity or the pope or a bishop or any one with conserably more status that the brainwashee. This regrettably does carry a lot of weight with shallow people, which even more regrettably, make up the majority of mankind. The brainwasher will give artificial status to his victim and the victim will believe that this status is lost if he leaves the fold. The victim is fooled into believing that they have no status in themselves or in their non brainwashed contacts or job or family member, or in any part of their old life, but all the real status comes from their espousal of the new ideology. This is Status Replacement. Globally accepted measures of external status (however valid or invalid) are replaced by an artificially created internal status. In fact good brainwashers get their subjects to believe that it is a high status privilege to be used or even abused by their leaders in the most mundane or demeaning of tasks.

6. The pack of those who accept the new ideology exert unrivalled peer pressure on each other due to their isolation from external non deceived influences. All the brainwasher needs to do is to succeed in isolating his flock and then emotional peer pressure automatically works in his favour.

There is nothing wrong with having a new ideology. A new ideology is like dynamite, a powerful force. The problem arises when the dynamite is not used to blow tunnels in mountains for roads and railways but is rather used to drop on civilians in a murderous military power game between two heartless leaders. We should all be open to new ideologies yes. But new ideologies that close our minds to further new ideologies are what we must reject. Just as a democratic country should reject a newly elected president who later declares himself to be president for life.

OK so perhaps I am brainwashed: How do I escape?

Here is the LW step by step de-brainwashing guide...

1. Blindly accept totally all LW Doctrine as the word of God! - Sorry couldn't resist that one!

The aim is to break the central deception of the brainwashing. Here are the steps needed to achieve this in our experience (many LWs have escaped from JW brainwashing themselves).

1. Speak to several trusted friends and relatives, who have never been brainwashed in the way you may be, or better still who have been brainwashed in some way, and yet have escaped. Ask them if they think you are brainwashed. Remember that nobody can pull themselves out of quicksand, and you being brainwashed will find it hard to be objective enough about yourself to convict yourself. Alcoholics do not immediately accept that they are addicted! Enlist the help of several non brainwashed friends and relatives to brainstorm with them until either you convince yourself that you are brainwashed or together with them you plan a way to test the central deception of the brainwasher to determine whether or not its true. Work with these outsiders to academically asses other ideologies and objectively determine whether, contrary to what you have been taught, they can indeed provide what your new ideology is providing, or whether you cannot live without it and whether the status it confers upon you is real. How for example do the outsiders manage without your new ideology? Are they more open than you? Are they more informed than you?

2. Once you realise that you are brainwashed, you should convince yourself that the brainwasher is your cocaine. He is the most dangerous substance on earth for you. You must not under any circumstances discuss the matter with him. That would be like discussing your rehabilitation with your drugs dealer!. It cannot possibly work. You must go cold turkey and shun him and the brainwashed group until you have conquered your addiction. Your confidant was the one who helped you to realise that you were brainwashed. It was not your brainwasher and neither was it anyone in his group.

So many people go and get angry at their brainwasher, confronting him face to face. They normally end up even more brainwashed as a result. You must end the association with the brainwashed group convincingly and finally from your standpoint. If you do this then the control freakery actually starts working in your favour, because they will classify you as unhinged and deranged and dangerous and thereby deny you any more cocaine which is exactly the treatment you need. So make a large obvious exit from a distance, in writing basically. If you discuss your exit with your brainwasher or indeed with anyone in the brainwashed group, they will know your plans and then they will try as hard as they can to frustrate them. Do not tell your enemy your plans. If you do you will lose the war.

3. Remember that all brainwashing is basically a deception. It is a big bluff. When you see through it after having left you will not believe how stupid you have been. Do not try to help anyone else to leave until you have made sure that you have gone cold turkey for long enough to cease being addicted. There is an oxygen mask on a hidden shelf, before helping your neighbour, put it on yourself. Or as Jesus said for those feeling to the mountains of Jduea which mountains are the 1NC and 2NC administrations of the LWs, the church which contains which contains the new Jerusalem - we assert!

17 Let the man on the housetop not come down to take the goods out of his house
18 and let the man in the field not return to the house to pick up his outer garment. (Matthew 24 NWT)

In the case of the Watchtower, the central brainwashing doctrine is that you can never work out anything new from the bible for yourself because God only gives new interpretations to the Watchtower administration. It is easy to see that this is a lie once you realise that most JW doctrine was given by God to other churches and then taken by the JWs from them. The Watchtower preaches the visions of other people whilst representing that only they can see. Their central chronological doctrine, the Gentile Times, was seen by the Reverend John Aquila Brown for example - see U120. The founder of the Watchtower, Charles Taze Russell, the 3rd Christian Elijah, said:

“Our work . . . has been to bring together these long scattered fragments of truth and present them to the Lord’s people - not as new, not as our own, but as the Lord’s. . . We must disclaim any credit even for the finding and rearrangement of the jewels of truth.” He further stated: “The work in which the Lord has been pleased to use our humble talents has been less a work of origination than of reconstruction, adjustment, harmonization.” (Kingdom Proclaimers p49).

This humble truth has been corrupted by blind idolaters of Watchtower status (Baal worshippers) into the following exclusive channel doctrine...

"Jesus foretold that among his people there would be a "faithful and discreet slave" class who would be providing the spiritual food to God's family of devoted servants on earth, acting as his channel of communication and overseeing the carrying out of the Kingdom interests world-wide (Matt. 24:45-47). These anointed overseers serve as though being guided in their activities by the right hand of Christ," (Watchtower, Jan. 15, 1969, p. 51).

"All who want to understand the Bible should appreciate that the "greatly diversified wisdom of God" can become known only through Jehovah's channel of communication, the faithful and discreet slave," (Watchtower, Oct. 1, 1994, p. 8).

That is the central brainwashing lie of the Watchtower.

One cannot be an idolater of God. But can one be an idolater of God's law?

This section is supposed to be an innoculation against brainwashing and help for those who are caught by that trap to escape. But before we start that work, we must consider the deep question above that is begged by our definition of Brainwashing...

If, for the sake of argument, a church could deduce the perfect doctrine of Christianity from the bible. And if a member of the church became brainwashed with that doctrine so that he only judged using that doctrine, then he would make the correct judgement, yes, so long as the case did not require a principle behind the law, but he would be an idolater since he does not serve God with his own mind and his own heart and his own conscience. It is important to remember that both Moses and Abraham argued with God and Jacob contended with the angel all night. There is no escaping the exercise of one's own mind and conscience in true worship. 

If you obey God's perfect law (assuming you know it) unquestioningly, because after all, it is a perfect law and he is God, but parts of it defile your conscience. Then you defile your conscience and you do not serve with your whole mind or whole heart unless you have taken each law and analysed it and seen what is behind it and understood the basis of its righteousness based on already accepted axioms tested in the same way. One can serve a dead image of Jehovah just as readily as one can serve an image of Baal.

True worship consists of making the effort to understand what belies God's righteousness, and therefore seeing its veracity for yourself. Only then you may apply it without idolatry. For we are to be sons of God not photocopies of him. Because a son is a living image of God, but a photocopy is a dead image. When we say to ourselves, yes, if I was God then I, myself, would make that very same law because of this principle and that expediency and this manifestation of love, then we have become a true worshipper and a son of God. A son who will one day become a God himself. Abraham pushed God over Sodom's destruction until the point where he himself was satisfied with God's judgement. Moses reversed God's judgement on an idolatrous people. That is true worship. And God wants to be pushed in that way by his sons.

This is not to say that we should refuse to obey God's laws until we have fully analysed them. It is fine to obey God's perfect law so long as that law does not defile your conscience. In faith we do obey God's laws that we have not analysed so long as they do not defile our consciences. But imagine for example that God's law required you to stone an adulteress caught in the act of adultery (although actually it does not, it requires both the adulterer and the adulteress to be stoned, there are no grounds to stone only one or other of them). 

But imagine that you knew something of the circumstances, for example that the girl was a prostitute who did not know the man was married etc. So you do not think she should be stoned. 

If you stone her defiling your conscience you are a false worshipper, an idolater of God's law. But if you fail to stone her and actually protect her and rescue her, you may break God's law but keep your conscience. The latter is true worship since you must serve him with your whole heart and mind and soul and strength, he does not want lip service. 

Jesus did not stone the girl in his case in John8, but neither did he break the law of Moses. The girl may have been too young to be responsible under law (under 20), or Jesus may have been applying the law that both the adulterer and the adulteress should be stoned together, not merely one of them.