The Stanford Prison Experiment

Dr. Philip ZZimbardoimbardo is most famous for his involvement in the “Stanford Prison Experiment” in which several people were split into 2 groups, prisoners and guards. The study found that given conditions of absolute authority and absolute submission all while given the opportunity to leave at any time, the prisoners found themselves willing performing acts of human degradation and the guards found themselves excercizing absolute authority. These findings were even further confirmed during the scandals at the Abu Ghraib prison facility.

One other take away from this is that any one can be susceptible to these oppressive behaviors given the right conditions. Cults are another example of Zimbardo’s results in play. While people enter into the world of the cult, they do so under false understandings. People do aim to join a cult.

Love Bombing – Cult Tactic

Love Bombing is a tactic often employed by cults as a way of luring prospective members.  Current members typically “love bomb” potential or desired new recruits by showing them with affection, praise, and offers of friendship.  Experts warn that this seemingly kind and welcoming practice is often the first step in a mind control (“brainwashing”) process that leads to religious conversion or involvement with a group that may be harmful to its membership or society.


I was made aware of this once I left.  A member of the group told me that they were instructed to give us special treatment and to be extra nice to us.  I was showered with attention, and people found just about everything I talked about interesting.  I felt a sense of belonging and I felt understood.  I felt that I was in a place where “real” love was going on.

This technique created a sense of euphoria and belonging.  I felt loved and appreciated and longed to give back the same feelings.  When new people came, I would always be so excited to meet the new people and be around them, listen to them and encourage them too.  Both the giving and receiving of the love bombing was rewarding.

This tool is not only a hook, but its also the net which entraps them member into the group.  Many people often wonder, “Why would you stay there?” after hearing about much of the bad practices and abuse, and mind control going on.  The love bombing created a “high” that was always longed for.  It can easily be compared to the gambling addict.  (S)He keeps going back to the casino again and again, loosing every time, hoping for the next “big win”, and every now and then, there is a win.  That keeps them coming back, and over time, the addict has lost way more money than they have won.

Its the same thing with cults. Similar to the boiling frog story that can be placed in a pot of cool water, and then slowly heated up to a boil.  The frog can escape at any time, but doesn’t notice the change until it is too late.

Here are a few other videos I found interesting on the topic of love bombing that really help explain the concept.  I apologize for any inappropriate language. Also, please don’t focus on the specific groups, but rather the concepts that are being presented.

Conversational Hypnosis Language Patterns and NLP

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States in the 1970s.

  • What Would Happen If…
  • It’s No Secret
  • Speed Up Language

People that have been known to use these tools. (most well known orators)

  • Barack Obama
  • Bill Clinton
  • Adolf Hitler
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Winston Churchill
  • Mahatma Ghandi
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Mass Marketing
  • Movies


It takes a special skill (which I don’t have) to decode NLP and conversational hypnosis, but we can identify when the tools are being used.

Cults are about “Mind Control”

mindcontrolWhen you get down to the nuts and bolts of what a cult is and how they work, the ultimate root of everything is mind control.  And what I mean by that is having the ability to control someone’s thoughts and actions in a very covert or overt way.  While most examples are very covert.

While most cults have one centralized, charismatic, guru-type leader, some don’t, but I have seen that most all have at least been started with a guru character.

Cult leader develop a “god complex” when they realize that they have the power to control and manipulate others.  As their time progresses, they seem to get worse and worse.  For example, Jim Jones started out as a preacher in Indiana, but most people considered him harmless.  But using his political perspective of communism and extreme Christian views, those combined resulted in what eventually became “The People’s Temple” and led to a more communal life style of isolationism and psychological entrapment.  Jones eventually began calling himself a god to people.

The phrase remains true “power corrupts, ultimate power corrupts absolutely”.  Mind control is power, and this power is like a drug, and cult leaders want more of it, and cannot get enough of it.


Cults are not about Religion

OurAmericaShotWhile my experience comes from what cult experts call a “Bible Based Cult”, cults are not confined to religion, Christianity, New Age philosophies, Buddhism, finding your perfect chakra, etc…  That happens to be one perspective of cults.  Ultimately once you realize what is going on, the religion or spirituality is not the center of what is going on,   the religion is only a tool or a mechanism for engaging in mind control and providing a means to tear down internal barriers.

What seems to happen in Bible Based Cults is that the doctrines of Christianity become a “red hearing” and usually leads people down a path of redirection and completely misses the whole concept of how cults work and the whole mind control.

But it is easier just to call someone a false prophet and disprove their doctrines.  But then it comes down to a disagreement of philosophies and it looks like the age old argument of “tastes great, less filling“.  If you have ever heard the phrase: “You can’t argue with a mad man”, then you will understand that cult members eventually take on the identity of the cult leader or the cult group and when encountering with a doctrinal discussion with a bible based cult member, your really not going to get anywhere, because you will essentially be arguing doctrinal differences with the cult leader.  Unless you can tear down those psychological barriers.

Conversational Hypnosis

You wouldn’t believe this was possible unless you watched this for yourself.

A man is tricked into giving his watch, phone, and house keys to a total stranger A man is tricked into wanting a Red BMX Bike when he really wanted a leather jacket
Using hypnosis and word triggers, a man is able to feel like he is drunk without drinking anything.


Cult leaders who know these skills can covertly convince people to do things that they normally wouldn’t do.

Zimbardo – Who is Susceptible to Join a Cult?

ZimbardoDr. Philip Zimbardo:

“Whatever any member of a cult has done, you and I could be recruited or seduced into doing–under the right or wrong conditions. The majority of ‘normal, average, intelligent’ individuals can be led to engage in immoral, illegal, irrational, aggressive and self destructive actions that are contrary to their values or personality–when manipulated situational conditions exert their power over individual dispositions.”

The stark reality is that given the right conditions, anyone is susceptible to falling under the influence of a cult.  Cults are not just confined to religions.

Quoting Zimbardo again:

No one ever joins a “cult.” People join interesting groups that promise to fulfill their pressing needs. They become “cults” when they are seen as deceptive, defective, dangerous, or as opposing basic values of their society.

Slain In the Spirit

BennyHinnQuite often we hear about a concept known as “slain in the spirit” as an experience that many more charismatic Christians will claim to have either witnessed or experienced.

Here is what I found when  I looked up the definition of the term:

Slain in the Spirit or slaying in the Spirit are terms used by Pentecostal and charismatic Christians to describe a form of prostration in which an individual falls to the floor while experiencing religious ecstasy. Believers attribute this behavior to the power of the Holy Spirit.

As a Christian, we need to anchor everything we do behind scripture.  If an experience that we are claiming to be a movement of God, then we should see an example of it in the Bible.  Now, I understand that NOT EVERY experience we have will be explicitly in the Bible, like experiences with electricity, modern technology and many other things.  But, it is important to still try and find anything you are experiencing in the Bible.

Because, “Slain in the Spirit” is not in the Bible as we are seeing it presented today.  Examples of such an experience in the Bible can be found in the Gospels and in Acts, but they do not coincide with the experiences we see today. In the Gospels when Judas, the soldiers and priests came to take Jesus away they fell backwards to the ground when Jesus said “I Am” (see burning bush).

John 18:4-6 (KJV)
4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said to them, Whom seek you?
5 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said to them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.
6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.

This was not a pleasant experience and neither were these people really “entitled” to some form of blessing at this point.  So this example would generally not be a good thing happening to people.

Here is another example when Annanias and Saphaira

Acts 5:1-9 (KJV)
1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.

This may be the best example of a true “slain in the spirit” example.  These 2 people DIED.  and in the context of the scripture, it was God that killed them because of their lying. (Imagine if that were to happen today?)

There is so much more information on this topic and there are several Biblical discussions out there, but what I want to get at here is:


Hypnosis tricks are being performed here.  There is a lot of mind trickery going on. And here are the tools they are using.

Music: Music has a very strong influence on the mind and can quite often invoke emotional responses.  It is used all the time in movies and television.  We don’t quite notice it when it is going on.  Have you ever noticed that while watching a move and after a character has died they play this soft music and its so sad and it ties in so perfectly with the mourning of the characters that are crying on screen?  Imagine what would happen if they mixed the sound tracks up.

Here, let me illustrate. Notice the music in these clips and Imagine how you would react if the music were heavy metal music.  What reaction would you have to it?

In many of these exhibitions of “slain in the spirit” you will see that music plays a vital role in the experience.  They play fast songs, then slow songs, then fast songs, and it prepares your subconscious for what is coming next.

strange-kid-optical-illusionExpectation: People come to these events expecting to see something happen.  The mind has an interesting way of forming the reality of things based on an expectation.  Take a look at the picture to the right.  Your mind is expecting to see something different than what is actually in the picture.  Why does it look differently than what you are expecting?  Because your mind; your subconsciousness mind is expecting to see a completed picture differently than you conscious mind is.  It is a mental “bait and switch”.

Hypnotic Suggestion: I will attempt to discuss more on this topic, but this plays a vital role in creating and developing the experience.  Hypnosis is a tool that people use to speak commands into the subconscious mind which ultimately controls your identity in many ways.

For example: the preacher will often say things like: “I feel the presence of God here tonight” and “there will be a slaying tonight”  These are all forms of suggestive language to get your mind thinking and saying to yourself on a subconscious level: “I am going to be slain in the spirit tonight”.  Which adds to your exception of experience.

Preaching Methods: Have you ever noticed how often preachers will preach in a sing/song method(ah).  go on… you know you have heard that?  Have you noticed that the patterns of a preacher will consist of talking softly, and then abruptly changing to a shouting method.  Have you also noticed that you just don’t see a CEO or a keynote speaker using the same methods?  These are tools to catch you off guard and alert your subconscious to a change.

Another indicator is to notice how sleepy or drowsy people get.  Invoking trance states is how to open the door into the subconscious mind.

Also notice that sometimes the soft talking is accompanied with soft background music, especially right before prayer time, or an alter one of the musicians secretly sneaks up on stage and starts playing music over the speaker.  If you have ever spent regular time in church sessions or prayer sessions, this is also a subconscious clue to expect what is coming next.  You identify that the sermon is over and now is the time for prayer/miracle time?

As I have pointed out before, it is clear that some of these people out there are knowingly performing these acts.  These performances are three fold opportunity for them.

  1. It gives them a sense of power of the human psyche. Look what powers I have over people. It feeds their already inflated narcissistic ego.
  2. Validates to the audience that they are God’s “special anointed one”
  3. And gives them credibility for people to send more money in the guise of “spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ”

Now, here is where I struggle.  Because not all churches are bad.  Not all preachers that talk like that are out to GET YOU.  Not all experiences are false.  But some are and the result is that it drives a “wedge” between me, the individual, and the church.  Which in turn further empowers the devil to take souls away from Christ.

  1. He has separated the preacher from God as a false prophet.
  2. He has separated the follower from God because they don’t feel they can trust God anymore.
  3. He has stripped the believer of the power of God by possibly denying any form of true charismatic experiences.

The One Leg is Shorter than the Other Trick

Here are a few examples of street healing “ministries”

Now watch Derren Brown (BBC) explain what is really going on here from his show Miracles for Sale

Now that you have watched both of these videos you can see what is going on here. Mr. White like many, many other folks out there claiming to perform miracles by God are clearly not being up front with everyone. The purpose of this is not to specifically point out Todd White (I could have found any other person performing these tricks). The point here is to show that there are people out there that are KNOWINGLY performing trick acts to get people to think that God has healed them, when CLEARLY HE HAS NOT.

If you watch the whole show “Miracles for Sale” you will see that these “healings” are nothing more than hypnosis and mind tricks. I encourage you to watch this video as it really opens your eyes to what is going on in the “faith healing” world and exposes the truth behind what is really going on. While Derren Brown is a self professing atheist, and certainly not a Christian, I applaud him in his efforts to show what is going on here. In the end here, we need to respect peoples choice to believe or not believe in the Christian faith. God himself has given us the same choice. (maybe a topic for another discussion).

This is a huge deception and a travesty played against humanity.  These people come up to people, claim they are representing God and then perform faux miracles to get them to “believe”.  This does nothing more than drive a wedge between God and the individual and this person is really doing a disservice to God and his people.

I once had a boss that I worked for tell me that he believed there is a place in hell called “sub hell” where these charlatans will most likely end up in.

I tend to agree with him.

The Narcissistic Cult Leader

SuperMan-ClarkKentAt the heart of most cults is a narcissistic cult leader.  While not all cults have a cult leader, you will see that the majority of cults today are either run by 1 very charismatic guru or began under such leadership.

A very good documentary on the Narcissist Personality Disorder put out by the BBC is called “Egomania” can be found here:

In this documentary, they explain 9 traits associated with the Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

  1. Grandiosity
  2. Arrogance and Domineering
  3. Preoccupation with Success and Power
  4. Lack of Empathy
  5. A Belief of Being Unique
  6. A Sense of Entitlement
  7. Requiring Excessive Admiration
  8. Exploitation of Others
  9. Being Envious of Others

Sam Vaknin, Author of Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited, who is a self professing “Psychopathic Narcissist” makes some interesting observations about the Narcissistic Personality:


  •  Narcissists are addicted to both positive and negative attention (he calls this a drug called “Narcissistic Supply”).
  • Narcissists have “x-ray” vision in that they are able to instantly diagnose the weaknesses, vulnerabilities, soft spots, predilections, fears, hopes, and emotional needs of everyone around them and to put it to use instantaneously, relentlessly and ruthlessly to further their needs of “Narcissistic Supply” (either positive or negative)
  • Narcissists well never regret what they do, because they do not hold themselves responsible to the consequences of their actions.

In comparing my experiences I make the following observations concerning the leader of the group I was a part of:

In regards to Grandiosity, the leader considered himself not only an Apostle of Jesus, but the greatest of all Apostles (quoted from a former member: “a greater Apostle than Apostle Paul”).  He considered himself the leader of “The End Times Army” and one of the “Two Witnesses” spoken about in the Book of Revelation in the Bible.

The cult leader was Arrogant and Domineering whenever there was an argument or discussion.   He would argue and argue with someone every in his own mind PROVING without any doubt that he was right and the other was wrong.  If ever challenged, he would boast that he knew more than the other person and that he KNEW the Bible better than anyone else.  He implied and often declared that he was MORE gifted in the “fruits of the spirit” than anyone else.  He considered himself MORE HUMBLE than anyone else.

The cult leader constantly boasted that he was/is successful and will make lots of money (because God promised him)  through various internet schemes such as replacing Facebook, Craigslist, Search Engines, etc…  He had plans to replace the entire system of the Internet, local computer networks, how cellphones work and communicate.

The cult leader showed a complete lack of empathy and responsibility when asked about a former member who was arrested for obtaining materials and creating plans for fire bombing several churches in a rural town.  When asked if he had any responsibility for his actions, he emphatically stated without a show of emotion: “NO” and that he found it unusual that anyone would interpret his words to indicate any form of violence or destruction.

The cult leader believed and taught the he was the only one performing as a Christian “correctly”, and that he and his followers were specially “hand picked” by God for such a special time as this to go out and be martyrs to the world.

The cult leader would not overtly stated “I want your admiration”, but he clearly fed off of it by boasting about how much better he was at other people, and his followers attributed many miracles, successes, salvation from hard times to the leader.

The cult leader exploits other by “tricking” them into believing that he is doing “good works” in his community and that he is the only one in a large community doing these good works, and thus people continually give him money, trucks, cars, trailers, food, supplies, etc… “for his good works cause”

The cult leader would often speak about how the “other churches” had money, and big buildings, and that he was doing so much more than him.  He often criticized local food pantries who had more than them (claiming he would take over their operations soon).  He clearly didn’t like it if someone was doing more than he was on a larger and more successful scale.