Continuing my series on Mind Control and the Adult Child, and our discussion of Hassan's BITE model..."B" here.
dult children from deeply conservative, homeschooling families are probably familiar with the degree of "child sheltering" often taught at conferences, in homeschool groups, and shared among like-minded families. I'm sure we'd all agree that it's important to protect children from inappropriate messages, images, behavior, and other things that could bring spiritual, emotional, psychological, or physical harm. I'm sure, also, that many of us are thankful our parents cared enough to understand their responsibility to us.
Mind control within the Christian family is, understandably, a difficult topic to read about or address, especially when our heart's desire is to love and honor those who raised us. Sometimes this forces silence and hiding ~ but silence and hiding are not helpful to our walk with God or to ourselves. As previously stated, addressing issues that have arisen in our lives does not mean we don't love, appreciate, or honor our parents. Jesus was sent to heal the brokenhearted and to bind up wounds. Acknowledging that we have wounds admits that we need Jesus.
The Quiverfull Family
One challenge that full-quiver parents sometimes face is how to shelter each child properly with regards to their individual maturity. While this is a broad application, what is relevant to seventeen-year-old Mark won't be appropriate for four-year-old Jane, but to keep Mark at Jane's level won't be conducive to his growth. It's a fine balance, one that requires wisdom and the Holy Spirit for parents to navigate successfully. As adults, sometimes we need to examine some of the roots in our lives that, established in childhood, bear unwanted fruit as we mature. It is my prayer that as we look over this information and seek wisdom and truth for our inward parts, God will give us understanding of our infirmities, compassion for others, and show us the way to freedom.
While it's likely that not all of these elements will be present in your history, review the ways information is controlled within destructive or high-demand groups. How did your experience differ? How was it the same? If you were exposed to certain things at a later time, how did you feel / what did you think after absorbing the material?
II. Information Control
by Steve Hassan
by Steve Hassan
1. Use of deceptiona. Deliberately holding back informationb. Distorting information to make it acceptablec. Outright lying2. Access to non-cult sources of information minimized or discourageda. Books, articles, newspapers, magazines, TV, radiob. Critical informationc. Former membersd. Keep members so busy they don't have time to think3. Compartmentalization of information; Outsider vs. Insider doctrinesa. Information is not freely accessibleb. Information varies at different levels and missions within pyramidc. Leadership decides who "needs to know" what4. Spying on other members is encourageda. Pairing up with "buddy" system to monitor and controlb. Reporting deviant thoughts, feelings, and actions to leadership5. Extensive use of cult generated information and propagandaa. Newsletters, magazines, journals, audio tapes, videotapes, etc.b. Misquotations, statements taken out of context from non-cult sources6. Unethical use of confessiona. Information about "sins" used to abolish identity boundariesb. Past "sins" used to manipulate and control; no forgiveness or absolution
Thoughts for Discussion
A sheltered upbringing is a point of delicate concern for those on both sides of this spectrum. Please share your experience, whether you believe it was positive or negative. Some who were extremely over-controlled report a sense of betrayal when realizing that all was not as portrayed to them. How has this impacted you? Your faith? Your trust, of God and others? Please share whatever comes to mind as you reflect on these issues.
The BITE Model
The BITE Model
From chapter two of Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves
© 2000 by Steven Hassan; published by Freedom of Mind Press, Somerville MA