Brainwashing and Indoctrination ...continued
Certain brainwashing techniques have been used by religious
or quasi-religious groups to gain or keep their converts. These groups are
usually cultic and hold heretical views as far as orthodox Christianity is
concerned. Young people are targeted, many of whom are genuinely seeking
spiritual guidance and salvation. The characteristics of a cult are
is led by a strong-minded charismatic type of leader who claims some kind of
special authority or revelation.
2. The commune is conducted in a
strict regime demanding total obedience and often asking for the money and
possessions of the adherents to be handed over.
isolates itself from society and other religious fellowships. Usually this
includes one's own family.
In his book Battle for the Mind (1957) William Sargent
includes methods employed by some Christian evangelists when seeking converts
to the Faith. John Wesley, (1703-1791) founder of Methodism, is singled out to
show how his way of preaching resembled the brainwashing technique. An extract
from Wesley's Journal dated 1739-740 gives a report of the excited state of his
congregation, often leading to temporary emotional collapse which was induced
by his particular form of preaching. The phenomenon appeared after persuading
his hearers to make an immediate choice between certain damnation and his own
soul-saving religious views. The fear of burning in hell described by his
graphic preaching could be compared with the suggestion that might be used on a
returned soldier during treatment, e.g that he was in danger of being burned
alive in his tank and must find a way out.