James R. Lewis book Cults - Helping Scinetology rewrite history

Free Being Me

Crusader
Whar comments did I invent that you never said?

If I say I think the story is literal you'd describe me as a brainwashed idiot or similar. If I say its not literal you say the above.

Note that I don't call you a moron, a liar or a PR asshole.

I called your P.R. lying, Zenu/OT3 isn't a metaphor, it's literally part of the $cientology mind screw cult bridge that you help market. The rest of your comments are assumptive thinking for drama.

6420326019_2fe9eb6daf.jpg
 

oneonewasaracecar

Gold Meritorious Patron
Sorry to derail this thread from all the drama, but I am going to post more from Lewis' book.

I've been trying to look at the best way of exemplifying Lewis' propaganda. This quote from the overview on page 1 seems to sum it up best.
In the following sections, the story of the Solar Temple, the group involved in a series of murder/suicides in 1994, 1995 and 1997, will be used to exemplify the concerns that "anti-cultists" bring to the controversy. Falun Gong, the physical culture (Qi Gong) group that has been heavily persecuted in China, will, on the other hand, be used to exemplify the concerns of religious libertarians.
This pretty much sums up his overall approach. What he does is defines harmful cults more or less as ones that are likely to lead to suicide or serious criminal activity. There is no mention of non-violent cults that disconnect families and coerce people into donating time and money or engage in psychological abuse.

He characterizes the concern of cults as being best represented by a large sinister dictatorship. There is no mention of the Australian Parliament introducing laws to curb cultic abuse by introducing a public benefits test similar to the NZ model.

He leaves out the entire middle path of cultic abuse and political constraint. Which is the task of an apologist.
 

oneonewasaracecar

Gold Meritorious Patron
All of the names of testimonials on the back of the book leave out their qualifications and degrees.

James T. Richardson
George Chryssides
Dell De Chant
Regis Dericquebourg

I am not sure why academics would want that.
 

oneonewasaracecar

Gold Meritorious Patron
Quotes like the following, give a fairly good indication of the way the author uses language to frame his apologist agenda.
Page 4
In the wake of these events [of the Solar Temple], the mass media sought out a variety of "cult experts" in order to make sense of seemingly irrational behavior. Most of these experts offered public an explanation in terms of the notion of cultic mind control, colloquially known as "brainwashing." The seemingly crazy actions of "cult" members were not difficult to explain, this group of experts claimed, as long as one understands that meglomaniacal cult leaders are able to control the thought processes of their followers...According to spokespeople for "cult watchdog" groups, our society is populated by hundreds - perhaps even thousands of cult groups, many of which are capable of anything because they have given up their wills to the leader.
Here you can see that Lewis refuses to use the work "cult" without putting it in parenthesis, even when using it as an adjective. The exception to this is in the last sentence where he is using the term in someone else's voice. He can't even use the term to describe the Solar Temple. Now that is an apologist.

From about page 22 of the book,
The idea of "hypnotic rituals" as a key component of cultic brainwashing is ubiquitous in anti-cult theorizing <citations removed>. However, as Anthony (1999: 444) has pointed out, the scientific consensus is that "hypnosis is not an effective technique for causing people to engage involuntarily in behavior that is immorally, illegal or against their own self-interest" <further citations removed>
I am not qualified to comment on the current accepted models and language that psychologists presently have for cults. It may be that brainwashing and hypnosis are not the way these things are framed anymore. What I do know is that Lewis offers the following two models of how cults might manipulate people

1) The initial model of overnight brainwashing put forth with the North Korean brainwashing experiments.
2) Normal forms of social control.

His strategy is to create two options and discredit one of them, leaving only one conclusion. The two-model approach is common among apologists. He leaves no room for systematic behavioral modification, or long term engineered social control.

He does something similar with deprogrammers. Although deprogramming is largely discontinued and exit counseling is more accepted, Lewis attacks deprogramming but makes no mention of the role of exit counselors.
 

oneonewasaracecar

Gold Meritorious Patron
Here are Lewis' early warning signs of bad religion (which if he weren't a cult apologist he would probably call a cult checklist):-

Page 52
1) The organization is willing to place itself above the law. With the exceptions noted earlier, this is probably the most important characteristic <sic exceptions are minor laws that an ordinary citizen might flout like speeding or breaking a minor civic law>.
2) The leadership dictates (rather than suggests) important personal (as opposed to spiritual) details of follower's lives, such as whom to marry, what to study in college, and so forth.
3) The leader sets forth ethical guidelines members must follow but from which the leader is exempt.
4) The group is preparing to fight a literal, phsyical Armageddon against other human beings.
5) The leader regularly makes public assertions that he or she knows are false and/or the group has a policy of routinely deceiving outsiders.

Finally, I noted that, while many benign religions constitute semi-segregated communities, socially dangerous religions are almost always isolated or partially isolated from the larger society.

These five traits are about as close as one can get to legitimate, objective criteria for judging whether or not a given relious organization is going - or has gone - "bad." With the exeption of placing the group's actions above the law, none of these characteristics, taken by themselves, are necessarily cause for alarm. On the other hand, a group posessing more than one or two of these traits might well bear closer scrutiny.

Compare this to the cult checklist here.
A) The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

B) ‪Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

C) ‪Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

D) ‪The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).

E) ‪The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).

F) ‪The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.

G) ‪The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).

H) ‪The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).

I) ‪The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt iin order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.

J) ‪Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.

K) ‪The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

L) ‪The group is preoccupied with making money.

M) ‪Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.

N) ‪Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

O) ‪The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.
Lewis seems to omit quite a lot of points which involve psychological pressure and makes no reference to financial exploitation and limits to freedom. Lewis is tightly focused only on what might indicate a cult is going to have a massacre. Psychological and financial harm do not factor in to his view. If they aren't about to kill you, let the business continue.

Additionally, note in point 4 that he specifies that a cult which has strong apocalyptic beliefs is only dangerous if it "is preparing to fight a literal, physical Armageddon." That is quite specific. I would be concerned about any group with apocalyptic beliefs.
 

Boomima

Patron with Honors
Some of the items in list 2 would apply to far more groups than just Scientology (they might apply to sororities or gaming groups.) I doubt that you would see any scholar using it. There are many Protestant Christian groups who are focused on Armageddon. A desire to bring about the second coming of Jesus and Armageddon is why so many Evangelical Christians are supporters of Israel.

I always liked Issac Bonewits' cult checklist. He was an American Druid and was involved in neopagan scholarship and rights. He developed what he called the The Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame (ABCDEF). It is a list of 18 factors that you rate on a scale of 1 to 10 for the group. The higher the score, the more dangerous the group.

He was a member of a minority faith and he did like poking at members of mainstream Christianity who were bothered by the existence of modern day witches and druids. But he was also concerned that people would find bad teachers and join dangerous groups (especially after Jonestown - he graduated from college in 1970 with a BA in magic)


Here are Lewis' early warning signs of bad religion (which if he weren't a cult apologist he would probably call a cult checklist):-



Compare this to the cult checklist here.

Lewis seems to omit quite a lot of points which involve psychological pressure and makes no reference to financial exploitation and limits to freedom. Lewis is tightly focused only on what might indicate a cult is going to have a massacre. Psychological and financial harm do not factor in to his view. If they aren't about to kill you, let the business continue.

Additionally, note in point 4 that he specifies that a cult which has strong apocalyptic beliefs is only dangerous if it "is preparing to fight a literal, physical Armageddon." That is quite specific. I would be concerned about any group with apocalyptic beliefs.
 

Sharone Stainforth

Silver Meritorious Patron
So you confirm you have no example of myself telling lies.

I won't embarrass you any more than you already do to yourself, but here's one of the biggesst lies Terril, I have just read Revolt in the Stars written by L. Ron Hubbard, not because I particularly wanted to but because I needed to.

Unlike you, I don't leave any stone unturned.If you insist on lying to yourself that is fine, just don't lie to other people

In case you haven't read it, I suggest you do. It was recently put on this messageboard on mediafire.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolt_in_the_Stars
 
Top