There are two major topics that should never be discussed at the dinner table: politics and religion. Well, why is that? Both politics and religion change your way of life, thought and how you see the world. My brother always told me that we never see the world to its full extent. We always will have “glasses” on when we see the world. These glasses come in different colors and shape the way we see the world. For example, if you grow up under the influence of Nazis you will start to think the whole world is like that for everyone. Whenever you see a German you will start to see him as a horrible person even though he’s done nothing to you.
Both politics and religion are their own set of glasses and when your dad claims to see blue through his glasses even though you see red, the nice lovely dinner your mom cooked often turns into shouting, yelling and someone running off in tears. We all see the world differently unless you are raised in a more extreme environment, like me.
In this post, I’m going to address a topic not many people like to talk about. Religion and more specifically, cults.
I was raised in a very conservative Mormon family. I believed in every word I was taught and I knew without a doubt that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was the church of christ that he himself led. But of course, that was because I was taught to put on these glasses so I can receive my salvation. Of course, I did, but I never took the glasses off. The glasses that I wore showed me that sex and drugs were bad and anyone who did those things was influenced by the devil. Sounds kinda brainwashed right? Once I started befriending my classmates who had done things I surely thought were of the devil, but they still were good, kind and loving people, I began to question my glasses and whether it was cult-like or not.
It’s a difficult path to try to find out if you’re brainwashed if you indeed are brainwashed. What do you do? You look at cults. The ones I looked into are Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh-Day Adventists. In my search for brainwashing and mind-controlling, I stumbled upon the BITE model. Behavior Control, Information Control, Thought Control, and Emotional Control. If you follow the link there are a lot of points that the LDS church does to control their followers. I’m not sure how much of it is on purpose or if it’s more a tradition in the church but it definitely has the power of controlling the minds of the people who follow the prophets. Examples are in the church for behavior control are: Restrict or control sexuality, Control clothing and hairstyle, and Exploit you financially. Information Control: Deliberately withhold and distort information, Forbid you from speaking with ex-members and critics, Discourage access to non-cult sources of information, Divide information into Insider vs. Outsider doctrine, Generate and use propaganda extensively. Thought Control: Instill Black vs. White, Us vs. Them, & Good vs. Evil thinking, Use excessive meditation, singing, prayer, & chanting to block thoughts, Reject rational analysis, critical thinking, & doubt. And lastly, Emotional Control: Instill irrational fears (phobias) of questioning or leaving the group, Label some emotions as evil, worldly, sinful, or wrong, Promote feelings of guilt, shame, & unworthiness, Shower you with praise and attention (“love bombing”), Teach that there is no happiness or peace outside the group.
These are all from the BITE model but are also found excessively in the Mormon Church. And for me, this was the first step of me realizing how I was raised in a cult.
If you liked this post please leave a comment and if you’re interested I’ll continue writing about my journey out of the Mormon cult.
Also: I do not mean to offend anyone by telling them that the Mormon church is a cult, I remember hearing that at a young age and being offended. I did not mean to, this is my opinion and conclusion.