The 25th Anniversary edition of Combating Cult Mind Control includes extensive material on Jehovah's Witnesses
The 25th Anniversary edition of Combating Cult Mind Control includes extensive material on Jehovah’s Witnesses

When renowned cult expert Steven Hassan first published his seminal work Combatting Cult Mind Control in 1988, the world was a very different place.

There was no internet, so mega-cults like Watchtower, Scientology and the Moonies had a free run at inflicting their undue influence on people, including my parents, virtually unchallenged. There was precious little recourse for mounting any meaningful like-for-like rebuttal to the torrents of damaging nonsense spewing forth from cult leaders like the Governing Body.

And when it came to seeking support in escaping purveyors of undue influence, where could one turn? Cult refugees were forced to muddle through the best they could in their efforts to debrief themselves following their ordeal. There were no forums, reddit pages or facebook groups to turn to for solidarity, a hearing ear, or advice on what to do. Despite the groundbreaking work of pioneers like Robert J. Lifton, mind control as a serious field of study was even more taboo and misunderstood than it is now – and that’s saying something!

Step forward Steve Hassan, who since first publishing Combatting has gone on to author several other valuable guides for assisting those under undue influence, and with multiple media appearances has developed a reputation as one of the world’s leading authorities on mind control.

I had the pleasure of meeting Steven at the undue influence workshop in London last August, on which occasion he and I sat down for a quick interview (below). I recall in subsequent conversations Steven mentioned he was trying to secure the rights to re-publish the 1988 edition of Combatting so that he could bring it up-to-date with a quarter of a century’s worth of developments in the cult field.

Of course, one of the most appealing features of the 1988 Combatting was that, while introducing the BITE model as a means of recognizing cult characteristics, it didn’t mention Jehovah’s Witnesses once. This meant that Combatting could not be prohibited as “apostate literature” by the Governing Body, thus allowing doubting Witnesses to read it without having to wrestle with crippling feelings of guilt.

But why the oversight? Because as a former Moonie, Hassan simply didn’t know enough about what Watchtower was doing to consider the organization a cult back then. It took conversations with the likes of Randall Watters, a legend in the Watchtower resistance movement, to convince him that Jehovah’s Witnesses are “one of the largest contemporary cults,” and that almost everything he wrote in Combatting regarding cultic influence could be applied to Watchtower’s methods.

Steven Hassan credits Randall Watters with helping him understand Watchtower's cult-like attributes
Steven Hassan credits Randall Watters with helping him understand Watchtower’s cult-like attributes

A 25th Anniversary re-release of Combating (now minus one of the “t’s”) was the perfect opportunity for Steven to redress the balance and drag Jehovah’s Witnesses under the umbrella of organizations whose toxic influence must be urgently remedied.

Ex-Witnesses (and those seeking to be ex-Witnesses) will find chapters such as chapter 4 (“Understanding Mind Control”) and chapter 22 (“Strategies for Recovery”) very helpful. The latter includes a section titled “Floating: Dealing With The Cult Identity After Leaving,” which offers strategies for coping with the inner torment experienced by many cult victims long after they have left.

Those who are trying to help a friend or relative who has been enticed into joining the Witnesses will find chapter 8 (“Curing the Mind Control Virus”) helpful, as it walks the reader through the basic techniques involved in staging interventions for loved ones. And trust me as someone who has tried and failed with an intervention on his own indoctrinated father – though there is never a magic bullet solution when it comes to waking up family members it is all too easy to get it wrong!

Combating also features two “survivor stories” from ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses on pages 173 and 175. One is that of Lee Marsh, president of AAWA, who suffered abuse as both a child and a wife during her traumatic Watchtower experience. The other story is my own – a brief run-through of my journey out of Jehovah’s Witnesses at the expense of normal relationships with my father and sister, who now shun me for taking a stand against the organization. (This is a story that I will be detailing in my forthcoming book, which I hope will be published next year.)

I am grateful to Steven for including both these experiences. By highlighting the specific ways in which Watchtower is ruining lives, we can hopefully inoculate others, including escapees from other cults, against ever getting entangled in the organization’s corrosive web of influence.

Steven reserves some of the most scathing material about Jehovah’s Witnesses for the closing pages of his book, where he mentions the deadly prohibitions on blood transfusions and calls for Watchtower’s tax exempt status to be revoked.

“Any country that grants tax-exempt status to organizations that abuse children, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally or spiritually, should be held responsible for that abuse. Tax-exempt organizations like Jehovah’s Witnesses, that have had policies in place for decades that systematically protect pedophiles from criminal prosecution, and which disfellowship victims and their families for speaking out, should lose their exemption. The leadership should be prosecuted for conspiracy to cover up illegal activities.”

I fully endorse those sentiments, and I am grateful to Steven for adding his voice to the growing calls for greater scrutiny of cults, particularly as regards tax exemption. After all, it is bad enough that governments are doing nothing to make life difficult for cults without them effectively giving them a leg up by subsidizing their income.

More than anything, I am thankful that Steven and others in the ex-cult movement are doing such wonderful work in raising public consciousness surrounding undue influence, and advising those who suffer from it.

The 25th Anniversary edition of Combating Cult Mind Control shines a bright light on the murky world of cults, and the strategies they use so successfully in controlling people’s lives. If you are struggling from the effects of cultic manipulation, or want to help a loved one escape its grasp, you will find this book a wonderful resource.









To order your copy of the 25th Anniversary edition of Combating Cult Mind Control, click here.

To listen to a recent podcast interview with Steven Hassan regarding his new book, click here.

65 thoughts on “The Book Corner – Combating Cult Mind Control by Steven Hassan

  • July 2, 2015 at 8:45 am

    An excellent review of Steven’s book, Lloyd. A must-read for all ex-JWs. And I am looking forward to reading your book, another staple I am sure, for those books that will help to make the world aware of Watchtower abuses and its shameless use of undue influence on its members.

  • July 2, 2015 at 9:01 am

    You should lose your tax exempt status when you act more like a hate group than a religion.

  • July 2, 2015 at 9:02 am

    The Watchtower mind control program consists of illogical, rambling nonsense spewed out by the “faithful and discreet slave”, now claimed to be the Governing Body. The irrational demands of the Governing Body become painfully obvious when the facts are known:

    “Since Jehovah God and Jesus Christ completely trust the faithful and discreet slave, should we not do the same?” Watchtower 2009 Feb 15 p.27

    “We need to obey the faithful and discreet slave to have Jehovah’s approval.” Watchtower 2011 Jul 15 p.24 Simplified English Edition

    Once properly programed, brainwashed witnesses will truly believe the Governing Body’s lies and then attempt to lure others into the Watchtower cult.

    • July 2, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      Those quotes are gold!

      • July 4, 2015 at 12:23 am

        RE: “Those quotes are gold!”

        I agree. Those are a couple of real winners. And here’s another good one:

        “The Bible calls the era that began in 1914 “the last days.” ” (WT Study Edition 08/15/2015, p. 24, #1)

        As you might have guessed, there is no scripture that can be used to back up this statement.

        • July 5, 2015 at 7:33 pm

          Right ScotWm, there is no scripture that exists to back up this belief. I have spent much time going through the gyrations of how JWs get to this date, and the algebraic equation isn’t satisfied by their explanation. Basically, it’s 1260 = X + (y)X + 1/2X to arrive at that date, and unless you know the value of Y, you can not know the value of X, which they use to define as a “time.” So the whole hypothesis of all their dates fall flat without an explanation of how they arrive at 1914. Would love a rebuttal in case my math is incorrect.

  • July 2, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Thanks Lloyd for the review and info on the latest edition of “Combating Cult Mind Control”. I read the first edition, recognizing so many similarities to Hassan’s BITE model to the WTBTS. Funny how any JW elder will swear (figuratively, of course) up and down that the Watchtower is not a cult. I’m glad that Hassan has directly referenced the Watchtower in the book as a destructive cult.

    I also look forward to your new book. Keep up the good work you are doing. You are helping so many people out of the horrible control of the WTBTS.

  • July 2, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Thank you Lloyd for all your good work and help to all of us who were part of this cult in the past. We all have a book in us and I hope yours helped you personally in dealing with your losses. I also have lost all my family because I refuse to accept ” the slave “. It’s so heart breaking to lose all you once held dear. I just ordered the new book from Mr. Hassan. Thank you again.

  • July 2, 2015 at 11:07 am

    I’m going to say that leaving a cult is very hard. It might even be worth staying in, or leaving someone in.
    My life has become a mess since I’ve left the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Not because I started drinking or taking drugs but from the loss of friends, my wife leaving me, my in laws turning against me and trying to take my family away. I know that all of this just proves how evil and wrong the cult is but to try and fight all of these people on your own is absolutely exhausting and depressing.
    Then there was the ‘awakening’ to the fact that the Paradise isn’t coming and that we are all going to die. That was very hard to deal with.
    Finally, growing up in the cult doesn’t provide you with the emotional background or experience to deal with the real world on different terms.
    I know that this would sound silly to someone who has never been in a cult but these are very real problems for me. (I’m hoping to save my marriage and my family but my wife’s dream is shattered or having a ‘spiritual’ man as her head)
    Of course I think the governments should tax all religions, investigate and charge cults that do damaging things and educate people to stay away from these groups. But it might just be better off to leave some people right where they are. Be there to support them when they do come out but don’t actively try and pull people out if they’ve been raised and have an extended family in there. As wrong as it all is, there is too much to lose for most people.
    I know the cults are insidious this way but people’s lives and happiness are involved. It would be much like us going to a primitive tribe somewhere and trying to force these people into the 21st Century.

    • July 2, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      From one ex-jw to another, am sending you lots of big hugs. It isn’t easy leaving and having everything around you taken away or people attempting to take them away.
      There are a few facebook groups of people who have left which (if you haven’t already joined) might help to talk about things and to come to terms with the changing situation eg:

      It’s going to be tough but you can get through it :) Find people who like you for who you are not just for what you do or don’t believe

      Stay strong, you can do it :)

    • July 2, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      JJ, I understand your dilemmas. When I was DF, I told my wife to just come with me for one year, to travel and heal and rebuild our relationship. The only non negotiable stipulation was that no WT for that year. She could pray. Read the Bible. No WT influence. She refused, saying she was ” completely loyal to Jehovah “. As much as I tried to explain to her that the Org is not the same as Jehovah, she refused to consider it. As a consequence, I have no contact with my sons, except for business. My mother refuses to even open my letters. I was a born in. I served as an elder for many years. I saw too much that was wrong while serving. I was willing to forgive and overlook stuff because that’s our nature. ” it’s just imperfect men “. That was used too much. In combination with…” Obey those taking the lead ” it became ridiculous to try and excuse the org anymore. Even while in I tried to keep my sons and wife open minded and encouraged them to question things. Now, I see that something very bad must happen to most folks before they wake up. We cannot wake our family up if they prefer to blindly believe. As for myself, I have chosen to be true to my conscience. I cannot support the org. I believe it is stubborn, wrong on lots of levels. Just the fact that it breaks up families is reason enough to dismiss this cult. Ex JWs understand each other mostly. Find someone to talk to in your circumstance. Do not despair and return to this cult and support it to regain your families love. What a terrible way to live. I know now that if I went back to my wife, who I love still, my life and hers would be miserable. I’m an outcast now, a low life form who disrespects the ” slave. ” I have lost all I knew because of making a mistake many years ago. My wife had forgiven me, but the org didn’t. I wasn’t ” sincere enough ” in my repentance for a single act committed several years prior. If you want to get well after a life of indoctrination, you will have to work at it. Friends won’t come instantly as when you’re ” in “. You will have to take time and effort to learn patience and real love. Not love based on common beliefs. Loving your family and missing them is what makes us good humans. If the org would let folks decide for themselves who to shun or not, life would make more sense to JWs. As it is, their thinking is done for them. I am of the opinion that you cannot drag loved ones from this cult. They will leave or wKe up when they get that epiphany and realize that there are holes in the fabric of this society. In any case, good luck. We all make our own journey. Freedom to think is priceless. Aloha

      • July 2, 2015 at 3:49 pm

        Sounds like she forgave infidelity but can’t cope with rivalry against WT. Tragic. Sorry for your loss.

        But you’re right about the org. I hope you stay strong and find peace of mind, with or without your wife.

        In my view, a man does what a man has to do, with or without the support of loved ones. Not saying it’s time for you to move on, only you can know that. But given enough time, we all do.

    • July 2, 2015 at 6:14 pm


      I sympathize with your statement. Know that others are going through the same as you. I wish I could tell you the story will end OK, but that may not be the case. Hang in there.

    • July 2, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      RE: “I’m going to say that leaving a cult is very hard. It might even be worth staying in, or leaving someone in.”

      You raise a valid point. I know that there are many who remain in the JW organization to avoid the very problems that you have outlined. These floaters are easy to spot because they have only moderate knowledge of the most basic Watchtower history and doctrines. They are dragged along by faithful family members and they offer absolutely no resistance to even the most asinine pronouncements of the Governing Body. They parrot back the information presented in study articles and offer no original thoughts on the material being considered.

      Exposing false Watchtower doctrine to these people is only a partial solution toward helping them break free. If we can’t offer a viable alternative to Watchtower association and beliefs, a person may feel that remaining in good standing with the Watchtower organization is the better choice. Choosing to remain in a secure environment triumphs over being cast out, all alone, to face the unknown.

    • July 3, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      So sorry to hear how the Witnesses messed up your life. I was lured into the organisation along with my hubby and kids we brought up in it. One is still in it with his family and thoroughly brainwashed. I was shattered for quite sometime not feeling right about everything. My husband felt like he had been conned for the 17 years of our lives we were in it after we made the move. We had lost so much in material wealth, it was all catch up for us. It wasn’t easy, but somehow we made a life for ourselves. You can do it and come out sane on the other side. This time you have the freedom to think for yourself for once. I know it’s not easy but it feels like you have got out of gaol. Certainly that is a real blessing. Sure we all go a bit crazy and over the top for a while. It’s like we are finding a balance which we eventually find. Hang in there brother.

    • July 4, 2015 at 12:14 am

      Actually you’re right on JJ. As an ex-christian, I feel the same way towards my very religious family. If you’re happy as a Christian, enjoy it. Because really it’s all the same in the end. Only those who are unhappy and are seeking answers outside their religion or sect and have open minds should be given the truth, because it’ll be wasted on those not willing to listen.

      The sad reality that there is no soul, and no afterlife, means that when we die, we simply cease to exist, same as all other animals. So believing in an afterlife or not is all the same in the end. All men die and we all come to nothing. Enjoy your life in the meantime, it’s the only one you’ll ever have.

      PS: for several years after leaving Christianity I often felt that I was happier when I was a believer. But eventually that passed and I’m much happier and content with life now. There’s no going back for me. I could no more go back to believing in false religions than I could regain belief in Santa Claus.

      • July 4, 2015 at 10:38 am

        [Evangelical comment removed – please refer to posting guidelines before commenting again.]

        • July 4, 2015 at 3:14 pm

          I have re-read all of your comment posting guidelines. I also went back and re-read your article posted on April 11, 2015:

          “My response to the haters (and why I can’t always shake it off)”

          Please accept my apology for posting a personal belief that I can’t prove.

  • July 2, 2015 at 12:56 pm


  • July 2, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    I wrote a reply and puff gone. lol I just got the book on Kindle last week. Cant wait to be done with it. Much needed!! Thank You

  • July 2, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    I was, unfortunately, under the illusion that when I learned the truth about “The Truth” my wife and my Inlaws would be likewise happy and excited. I was shocked to find that Jehovah’s Witnesses DO NOT want to know anything other than what comes from their governing body. It doesn’t matter what you can prove or what makes sense, they wish to believe as they see fit and they want to know that you do too.
    That knowledge is important so that you don’t make any enemies or even have cult members become suspicious of you.
    Of course if you wish to leave then that’s your business and right to do so, just these ‘apostates’ or drifters should be aware of how most cult members will treat them.
    Also, there is a process that happens when you realize there isn’t (or might not be) a god, an afterlife or any hope at all. When someone’s belief structure gets torn away it can be quite traumatic.
    In short, you can make someone’s life better by getting them out of a cult but it can be much worse too. There are many happy Jehovah’s Witnesses who were born, raised and died in that organization. If their whole, extended family, friendships and employment were inside of the Jehovah’s Witnesses then what are you offering by getting them out?
    I don’t like the JW religion but there could be worse ways to live. Ignorance is bliss.
    I kind of feel like that one guy in The Matrix who was angry that he was ever taken out. I thought that I would bring my whole family happiness but I’ve only brought them misery and sadness, so far. I think that I’m right but it doesn’t matter. All of my predictions have come true (about owning a home, having a pension, making investments) but it doesn’t matter if they can’t be happy with me.
    I’ll never go back in but I may have to fake it. I’ll hate it but I’ll enjoy what I can and I won’t try to take anyone else out.
    My wife always asks what else I can offer her/them?!? Some people will never be ready to stare into the void.
    In fact, I feel that if there are enough people like me on the inside it would weaken the organization more than all of the websites and books ever could. We could water down all of the doctrines, temper all of the discipline, break all of the cliques and simply take seats without ever contributing one penny. Really that is every cults worse nightmare; to have unbelievers present. They would form their witch hunts but they would have to be run continuously.

    • July 2, 2015 at 5:11 pm

      That’s deep, like The Matrix. But I could never do it, no peace of mind. The simple truth works best for me. I’d rather be Tom Hanks stranded on that island alone, than living a lie among “friends.”

      • July 2, 2015 at 5:57 pm

        Simon, that is how I feel also. I can’t live a lie to keep friends that aren’t even friends. They are only friends as long as you agree with the lie of the Watchtower religion.

        I can’t go in service to promote a lie and I can’t go to meetings and give anybody the impression that I agree with lies. I’d rather be on that island alone with my volley ball than live like that. Tom got to love that Volley ball. That volley ball would be a better friend that any of the fake friends at the hall.

        If anybody at the hall cares to know why you don’t go to meetings anymore and they ask you and they listen to you and understand what you are saying and won’t turn you in as an apostate, then you have a friend.

        Who knows what they will do unless when somebody asks you why you left you try and tell them, if they turn out to be a real friend or not? You won’t know unless you talk to them. That will be the real test if they are a real friend or not.

        I know one thing. When I was still “in” and one of my “friends” at the hall told me about the Society belonging to the United Nations like what I first found out about last year, I would have wanted to prove them wrong. I wouldn’t have closed my ears to it and told them that I didn’t want to hear it. That is the kind of person I am and who knows? A person might have some of those kinds of friends if they try and talk to them. As for me, if those people don’t care enough about why I am not going to the meetings to ask me directly why I am not going to the meetings anymore, then I know they don’t care about me and I won’t press the issue with them. It’s painful to find out that you don’t have any friends anymore in the “truth” but I’d rather know than not know.

        There is a “sister” in my old congregation who gushes about all the “friends” in our Kingdom Hall but behind her back, they talk about her all the time because she’s got such a mean and arrogant mouth. What she doesn’t know is that when people are “forced” to be nice to you, that doesn’t make them your friend.

        How many of the people at the Kingdom Hall are “forced” to be nice to us? We will never know unless we drop out and they miss us so much and ask us why we left and they listen to us and give us an ear and don’t turn us in as an apostate. That is when we find out if any of those people are really our friend. A real friend will try and free their friends from the prison of the Watchtower.

        I know when I left, it was difficult realizing that I was going to die and probably not see my mother and father in the resurrection but it also freed me from the thought that I was serving an insatiable organization that only wanted more and more of my time and money and I didn’t have to force myself to sit though all those boring meetings and go in service and assemblies which I hated every minute of.

        I am no longer feeling the depression of feeling like I was never good enough unless I was a regular pioneer, which I couldn’t afford to do and didn’t want to do.

        In a way, I am glad to find out the Watchtower was all lies because now I am free of all the guilt and fear they put on me all those years.

        I have no respect for the Governing Body but I have respect for myself, which I didn’t have all those years because of what that religion did to me.

        • July 3, 2015 at 12:01 am

          The truth about the Truth is that you never had real friends in the truth. A friend will stand with you through the tough times. For that matter as a witness you don’t truly have a belief system of your own because when ever the GB changes a doctrine you must go alone with it or lose your family and your so called friends. In the end it is better to know the truth about JW friends. It is helpful to go back to the people you rejected as a Witness and ask for forgiveness for being a real turd when they needed your help. It is a very positive thing to do for them and yourself.

    • July 2, 2015 at 6:24 pm


      I thought about faking it for a while too. But, ultimately, I couldn’t do it. I realized it just wasn’t about me, the clincher was my kids. I couldn’t do it to my kids. They were still young enough to save. I couldn’t indoctrinate them with something I hated. That being said, it’s all uncharted territory for me now. I have a huge void where once was a pre-determined path for child-rearing. Now I have to make it up as I go along. I feel like my kids are at a disadvantage, but no more so than had I made them drink the kool-aid. At least there’s hope.

      • July 2, 2015 at 8:26 pm

        The idea of faking it makes my stomach turn. Being true to yourself beats living a lie in any universe. To each his own. To support this destructive cult is unconscionable to me. Everyone is different. One life is what we get. Spend it on the WT…your call. I wish you well JJ. Aloha

    • July 3, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      I’m not you JJ. We all have different circumstances, but I am not sure I would have plucked up the courage to leave if my husband had not said he wasn’t going to the meetings anymore. You see I was one of those sisters who never missed a meeting, not a week in field service or getting my pre-study (brainwashing) done. I realised after awhile he was right and so I stopped going too and did some research on the internet myself and was convinced I did the right thing after a fortnight of battling a damaged conscience. Anyway, that was my experience. I know there would be no guarantee that this would be yours.

    • July 8, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      I’m dealing with some of this too. Thankfully there are plenty of websites like this one and groups like exjw over on reddit that helped me to realize that I need to slow down and take it slowly with my wife and family.

      It pains me to think that I might not be able to wake them up and that I might have to walk away from all of them. I sometimes too have thought about what would have happened had I decided to not prove the truth to myself. I honestly doubted many things for a long time and kept taking the blue pill any time a doubt would surface. I finally took the red pill as I couldn’t help someone else come into this org if I myself had any doubts. The rest was history.

      Now that I’m faced with the questions and uncertainty of the future, I sometimes long for the certainty I held before waking up. However, I’m also glad for the freedom of choice that I now have.

      Know that you have a “great crowd of ex-witnesses” that have been through and are going through much the same as you. I hope that eventually your family, especially your children, come around.

  • July 2, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    I think getting a jw to read literature on cults is one of the better ways in. Even if you have never been in one I think its interesting and useful to know how the human brain can be handled and manipulated. Even a strong good mind can be controlled and directed towards unhealthy illogical lines of reasoning IF its an unassuming one. And of course that’s all children!

  • July 3, 2015 at 12:57 am

    As always a great read. Have to point out that at the time of reading (0855 UK time) the AAWA link isn’t working.

  • July 3, 2015 at 4:56 am

    Leaving the corporation is a real trauma. I cannot understand how people that study the Bible and learn Jesus teachings can be so cruel and selfish.

    But the important thing is that you cannot ruin your life and the relationship with your loved ones for this heartless cult.

    Unfortunatelly lots of experiences show that the organization is like a giant machine that it is prepared to destroy family relations and innocent people lives for its expansion aims.

    It practices a form of inquisition and loyalty to seven men is more important of loyalty to God, If you do not agree with them you must be avoided by family members. Crazy but true.

    I suggest that if you start waking up do not tell anyone. It does not matter how logic or true your points are. They will never agree. They can’t agree. The group mentality wins.

    Instead try buiding relationships with people outside or no jw people and clear your mind of the cult mentality. It takes years to erase the cult mentality where even the most innocent thing is seen as gross sin (birthdays, smurfs, etc).

    You could also post to blogs or write to authorities to fight for your religious freedom.

    We should not loose our vantage point for this stupid organisation but instead play smart.

    Remember you can excuse your inactivity by saying that you cannot teach to other non sense teachings like the overlapping generation, child baptsim or that you do not agree with their real estate materialistic attitude.

    Like this you can keep contact with your jw friends, make new “worldly” friends and fight from feedom from the inside. You’ll win, they’ll loose.

    • July 3, 2015 at 8:03 am

      Thank you for all the kind words of support! I can see that many of your experiences are similar to mine.
      Yesterday was a particularly hard day as I have been reported on at work. Guess by who? Yes, a good Jehovah’s Witness! (He wants to have me moved so that he could take my spot). He’s been reporting secretly on me to our superiors that even innocent and friendly things are making him feel “uncomfortable”. JW’s just don’t seem to make good friends for oneself.
      The JW’s do seem to be pre-programed to drop you and to ostricize you like in some Orwellian novel.
      I’m lucky that my parents aren’t like that at all but I really need to pull my family back together. How is life worth living without the people you love? Like your wife and children?
      I could never go like I used to but if I have to sit through an occasional boring meeting or spend a day at an assembly or memorial then I could do that. I could do a family study using the time to get closer to my children. (Maybe not using the literature as much as hearing about their experiences and letting them talk)
      Interestingly enough, my best friends are still JW’s. They are good people, the religion aside. I don’t know what would happen to them if this cult came crashing down? I mean, they’d be ok but would they go and find something else???
      Again, thank you for the kind words and I really enjoy everyone’s experiences and comments. I’m glad that you all can sympathize with my plight and understand my thoughts on how hard it will be to leave a controlling cult like the JW’s.

      • July 3, 2015 at 8:45 am

        The rank & file are good people but the GB builds a distorted mentality. At the same time I believe the normal JW should be able to understand when something does not make sense. But they are trained to swallow all. Ideally you wish to have honesty, integrity without loosing loved ones. But is not possible at the moment. If you start having doubts keep them for yourself. Loosing loved ones is devastating, also you have developed a cult mentality and you’ll find it difficult to get used to normal people.
        So better to stay in but fight for changes within the organization.

      • July 3, 2015 at 9:09 am

        JJ, it was the hardest decision I ever made but I couldn’t support lies once I knew about all the lies in the Watchtower organization. Those people aren’t real friends. They may seem like it but a real friend will listen to you and let you talk if you disagree with them or the teachings and they will give you a listening ear and not reprove you for it. If you try and talk to them and they turn a deaf ear to you, you will know who is your real friend. We don’t need “friends” like that.

        If you need moral support, read some books like Gentile Times Reconsidered or Crisis of Conscience. Watch videos over and over again. Lloyd’s are wonderful. If you watch them over and over again, it gives you strength to stand up for the real truth but you need to keep watching them over and over again to keep you strong.

        It takes a long time to get to the point that just stepping foot in the Kingdom Hall seems like stepping into cow sh**t and you have nothing but pity for all those still stuck in the tower.

        Believe me, there are people at that Kingdom Hall that you go to, that go because their arms are being twisted. Just look at the faces of the people in the audience in the jwbroadcasting video about Mosambique. Does even one of those people look happy to be there???

        • July 3, 2015 at 9:19 am

          The problem is brainwashing. The leaders use big words to convince the people. Everybody wants a better world, life after death. The outer appearance of the leaders is trustable and therefore ignorant and gullable people become victims. It is like the people who sell cancer cures. You want to live and may become victim of this charlatans. The rank & file have a some responsibility because you cannot be completely stupid. But I don’t think the normal JW are not friends, they think they doing God will, but in reality they are followers of men.

          • July 5, 2015 at 8:09 pm

            David, I never thought of it like that before but you are right, the way the JWs entice you to commit to them is by promising you a cure for death, just like a quack will offer magnetic bracelets or coffee enemas as a cure for cancer. It’s a pull on everyone’s desire to live forever and when people are desperate they will try anything. This is not to say that I don’t believe in anything else after our life on earth is through, only that I can see how manipulative the WT is by directing their initial conversations towards everyone’s basic fears. Snake Oil 101.

  • July 3, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Facing up to oblivion, after becoming wise to the cult con

    Just contemplating eternity makes my head spin.
    Of course it would be difficult to choose a cut off point
    for myself. But endless life on that scale, scares the hell
    outta me! Oblivion’s not so bad anyway, we’ve all been
    there before, and I don’t recall any anguish, or trauma, or
    “Anything at all”.

    The chances of anyone of us being here are truly astronomical.
    All our ancestors had to stay alive till they were old enough to
    procreate. Thousands of chance meetings had to happen.
    Just one variation, and we wouldn’t be here. So I’m just
    grateful for this shot. no one owes me anything else.

    The “Lure” offered by our favourite cult. — Everlasting life on
    Earth, is obliterated by scientific evidence. In the cosmos out
    there, stars like our Sun are exploding every second. Anyone
    who thinks we’re gonna get away with it, is living in the stone
    age. It will be hell down here then, not paradise!

    Before that though, Gravity is forcing our galaxy on a collision
    course with the Andromeda Galaxy. eta, 2.6 bill, years.,
    ( there seems to be a flaw in the design somewhere! )
    I’m sighing with relief, that I won’t be around to witness any of
    those events.

    • July 3, 2015 at 10:32 am

      Not all science is good science. They now say there may not be as many galaxies as once thought. An apparent “flaw in the design” may later be exposed as bad science.

  • July 3, 2015 at 12:36 pm


    I, like so many sympathize with your loss of family and friends.

    The fact that so many do not want to know that they are going to die only hastens death. Consider this, if you were on a train track and a train was coming would you want to know, or ignore that fact. Knowing certainly would be an advantage, because by knowing you would have a chance to get off of the tracks.

    Consider the facts, at the turn of the 20th century the life expectancy around the world was less than 40 years. Jehovah’s Witnesses have contributed 0 years to anyones life expectancy. They have given nothing to cancer treatment, Sciences of the heart, lungs, kidneys, or the cure to any disease or illness. Look at those who openly acknowledge they are in the path of the train (atheist and agnostic) Collectively they have cured many cancers. My mother is living proof of this. She had a cancer that would have killed her decades ago and she is able to take a simple medication monthly and leads a normal life. Leukemia, once considered the most tragic diagnosis, today we have a cure for several types of the disease and are working hard to end aml. Look at Ebola, in the developed scientific world we do not even have to worry. In the superstitious underdeveloped world, death spreads unchecked. Today, smallpox (which took between 300million-500million lives in the 20th century) cured. Polio, tetanus, rabies, whooping cough, rinderpest, yellow fever, rabies are things we do not even think about, but only 100 years ago they plagued and killed 100s of millions.

    By our facing our own mortality we have waged a war against death leading us to better health and a much longer life expectancy. Today modern technology moves forward with limitless possibilities. We change things at a molecular level. Computer chips, literally are altered at the smallest level. Stem cell research continues to provide solutions that were science fiction only a few decades ago. We grow fruits and plants in the desert using hydroponics, once considered impossible. Our opportunities are boundless.

    Not only is life longer, today, we no longer demonize the mentally ill. Today we have so many ways to help those who struggle with mental illness and in more and more cases effective cures and aids enabling people to lead happier lives. Again JWs contributed nothing, they even demonized the mental health field for a long time.

  • July 3, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    The real question is this, if you know the train is coming, do you focus on the train and impending death or a way to get off the tracks. JWs have trained you to focus on the train and feel sorry for yourself. By doing this you will ignore your own talents and ability to lead a full happy life.

    You my friend have opportunities that are limitless, take your eyes off the train and don’t feel sorry for yourself. You have abilities that you are yet to discover, those abilities will outshine Watchtowers glib world. Take the time you would to go to a meeting and volunteer at a hospital, a park, or a fundraiser. Then and only then can you contribute to all of humanity including your family and lead a life of purpose. Nothing attracts people to you more than a life of purpose. Your case will be so much more valid when you decide to begin that journey. Don’t give in, you have so much more to offer them than giving in. Find your talent and help us all live longer and better lives.

  • July 3, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    JJ, I’d like to add to some of the comments to you too and I also feel for you. We were all at where you are at. If you listen to Lloyd’s videos, it took him about 10 years to break completely once he started doubting and I think for me it was probably 10 years too.

    What the Watchtower does to us that learn what the real truth is, is devastating in so many ways. In a way, to live in the bubble works for a lot of people. They like being in the “truth” and it works for them. They will continue to think that they are saving the world through the Watchtower and it gives them real purpose in life and it will until they get old and die, still waiting for the “real” life and right up until they day they die, they have the hope that Armageddon is going to come in their lifetime and they won’t have to die.

    The problem is that we do only get one life (if the Watchtower is wrong). If they are wrong, then we don’t get a second chance. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard comments like “I wished I could learn to play an instrument but there isn’t enough time but in the new world”…..It’s always in the new world is when they will do something that they really want to do but because of being a Witness, there isn’t enough time.

    Before they know it, they are old and it’s too late to have accomplished something in their very brief life, waiting for the “real” world.

    It takes about 10,000 hours to learn to be really good at something. If you took those 10,000 hours to be really accomplished at something, the people in the Watchtower would think you were a terrible person for not taking those 10,000 hours and spending it in the door to door work saving lives. You are not allowed to be good at anything or you will be viewed as “materialistic” or something bad. You have to give up your life, waiting for something that may never come. Millions of people have given up their one and only life and are now dead and went to the grave thinking that they will wake up in the “new world” perfect. That is when they think they will finally have a life but the precious life that they were blessed with right now is being pissed away on a fantasy.

    It is the Watchtower Society that has put us in that terrible position of staying in to keep our friends and family or leave and be all alone in life. My hope is that soon the Society will be exposed for the dangerous cult that is really is and it will come crashing down and all of us and you will be set free from it’s prison.

    A lot of people say that you should build up friends now and then fade slowly. My way of doing it may not have brought anybody out (except my youngest daughter) but I am not ashamed of telling them straight out that the Governing Body are a bunch of idiots who don’t deserve even one ounce of respect from me. I won’t even pretend to anybody that I don’t hate each and every one of them and consider them all to be blood guilty for thousands upon thousands of lives lost due to their man made policy about blood transfusions. I don’t even care whether or not my family and former friends think. I know that what I am saying is the 100% truth and that is good enough for me. I can’t pretend and I can’t cover up for those men. They are all scam artists and I am not afraid to tell anybody and everybody including the elders and have but it takes time to get to that point.

    What I rely on when or if I get a chance to tell anybody is how the Society disfellowshipped Carl Olof Jonsson because he proved the Society wrong about 607 B.C.E. I can’t forgive them for doing that to him and I am not afraid to voice my thoughts about it and I will tell anybody that they should be ashamed to be supporting an organization that would do that to their brother.

    It took me a long time for my hate to get to that point. At first I wanted to give the Governing Body the benefit of a doubt but no more. There is no way that they don’t know what they are doing. Nobody can be that stupid.

    • July 3, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      Don’t underestimate the power of stupidity. Hitler thought he was an agent of God!

      “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord” (Mein Kampf)

      These people deceive themselves. Who knows why, but they do.

      • July 3, 2015 at 5:27 pm

        Simon, touche’. You are so right.

    • July 3, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      Anonymous, I just wanted to tell you that I was very touched by your very articulate comment explaining what a waste of a life it is to cling to this cult. Kudos to every single person out there who is working to expose this cult and stop people from wasting the one chance at life that we know we have on delusional hopes and fantasies.

      • July 3, 2015 at 5:28 pm

        applause, thank you for saying that.

  • July 3, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Hi Simon I can’t argue against your point that there is bad
    science. But I don’t think there’s a lot of it about.

    Scientists debating, disputing, testing out the various ideas
    is the way that knowledge is refined. That surely cannot be
    classed as bad.

    My comment was not about the varying opinions of the number
    of galaxies in the universe. But just the future of 2 galaxies
    that are thought to be on a collision course. Thereby ruling out
    eternal life. On Earth. As well as casting doubt on the efficacy
    of a system that’s heading for destruction.

    If you have any evidence, or even reasonable suggestions that
    that the galaxies will win out against the force of gravity, or
    that the earth will abide forever, I would welcome it , as I’m
    sure the scientific community would also.

    best wishes.

    • July 3, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      “Thought to be” is not hard evidence, the essence of good science. Your assertion about eternal life is more about faith, or lack thereof, than science. And the article is about cults, not science vs. eternal life.

      We could debate whether science worship is a virtual cult. But that may annoy the moderators.

      • July 3, 2015 at 11:59 pm

        “We could debate whether science worship is a virtual cult. But that may annoy the moderators.”

        You could debate it by yourself if you like, but I doubt anyone but other religious fundamentalists would be interested in debating a motion based on a false premise, i.e. that accepting science is a form of “worship,” or that evidence-based theories about our universe are akin to religious dogma.

        • July 4, 2015 at 1:06 am

          Science provable by experimentation is good science. I didn’t say that was worship.

          A theory is just an idea until proven by experimentation. Unproven theories are sometimes exaggerated with speculation. Accepting unsupported speculation in the guise of science can amount to worship.

          Why you class me with “religious fundamentalists” is puzzling. Is any praise of God or the Bible offensive to you?

          • July 4, 2015 at 1:15 am

            I didn’t call you a religious fundamentalist. I suggested your motion was one that only religious fundamentalists would be interested in “debating.”

            “A theory is just an idea until proven by experimentation. Unproven theories are sometimes exaggerated with speculation. Accepting unsupported speculation in the guise of science can amount to worship.”

            You don’t know what “theory” means in a scientific context. I suggest you look it up to avoid any further embarrassment.

        • July 4, 2015 at 1:31 am

          In physics, theories are proven by experimentation. In mathematics, theories can be proven with formal logic. Are you familiar with Gödel’s ontological proof?

          Not that I want to convince you of what Gödel proved. I can agree to disagree. No need to become enemies over this.

          • July 4, 2015 at 1:41 am

            I am familiar with the ontological argument, and I agree with Dawkins’ assessment that it is essentially a word salad and piece of trickery that doesn’t bear serious scrutiny.

            But I strongly suggest you look closer at what a theory is in the context of science. Your comments suggest you aren’t fully versed on that score…

        • July 4, 2015 at 2:03 am

          It says “A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation”

          I see no cause for embarrassment on my part.

          • July 4, 2015 at 2:11 am

            If you see no contradiction with your earlier assertion that “a theory is just an idea until proven by experimentation,” then no, there is no cause for embarrassment.

  • July 3, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    I’m glad to see that author Steven Hassan has credited Randall Watters with helping him understand the Watchtower’s cult-like attributes. I have read some of the experiences of Randall Watters and I was particularly impressed with his conclusions as to the operation of Bethel leadership.

    According to Watters, all of the constantly-changing Watchtower doctrinal inventions are done for one purpose; to control the masses. The actual doctrines are irrelevant. Convincing others, through the use of clever manipulation, is the key to allowing the Governing Body to maintain power. The literature, meetings, assemblies and field service are all used to control the minds of Watchtower followers. Any who openly doubt the teachings of the power-hungry Governing Body are thrown out of the organization. Not surprisingly, Watchtower leaders have a history of trying to control each other.

    After the death of Watchtower founder Charles Russell, Joseph Rutherford engaged in a power grab and gained control of the Watchtower. This was done against the expressed wishes of Russell. More power struggles followed as Fred Franz rose to the top and became the Watchtower’s undisputed prophet. Recently, Pastor Russell was stripped of his faithful slave status. At the same time, all of the remaining 144,000, who claim to have the heavenly calling, were also striped of their faithful slave status. So now, only a handful of high-ranking Watchtower leaders, those who comprise the Governing Body, are left to fight among themselves for the top spot. If Watchtower history is any indication, the members of the Governing Body are already plotting against each other as each one tries to gain control over the others.

    As Randall Watters said, it’s all about control. Will some of the faithful eventually see what is really going on at Watchtower headquarters? We can only hope.

  • July 4, 2015 at 3:24 am

    So proud to see your experience in the book Lloyd! I downloaded it as soon as I heard about it. Well done. Your story can help so many.

  • July 4, 2015 at 8:08 am

    So many good points in your article Lloyd. The quote
    from Steven’s book about, countries that grant tax exemption
    to cults like JWs, should be held responsible for the harm
    inflicted by them. Is very sound.

    Also, information is the key to complete freedom. The Org,
    wants to keep us in, pre- 1980s ignorance. Some totalitarian
    regimes, have put people to death for owning a cell phone.

    The WTS, can’t go to these extremes, or even ban us from
    owning computers etc. So ludicrous statements like
    “Sharing at the table demons” are used to frighten people off.

    Only their own jw,org site is recommended as safe. The same
    tactic is employed by the one family controlled regime of
    N,Korea. They have just one, “State Controlled” TV station.

    Life after JWdom. What do we replace it with?– “Freedom”!

  • July 4, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Since you are writing a book and it includes some history. Thought you might research and do a video of this:
    1)There are accusations made that Rutherford was expelled from Bethell by Russell for conduct and drinking.
    2) Rutherfords take over of the Watchtower and turning it into a “Organization” is not what it truly is or happened in the proclaimers book.
    Rutherford began anslow process of takng control of every congregation except a few who would not submitt and introduced mind controlling doctrine through fear Phobias such as a new “Armegeddon” quite different from what Russell taugh. Along with many other control phobia doctrines..
    A true look at his take over and perhaps his evolution of this group into an organization cult.

  • July 5, 2015 at 11:40 am

    I bought this book and have been flipping through it as I have time. The parallels Mr. Hassan highlights between JWs and other cults methodologies are striking.

    Not to discredit the latest edition, but I think I will purchase the older edition as well. I want to have it on-hand in the event I can share it with my JW family and friends. As stated, since the older edition did not mention JWs I think it might still be in “safe” territory, whereas I believe currently indoctrinated JWs would reject the new book outright after seeing how it includes JWs in its cult descriptions. The October 2015 Watchtower (study edition) article entitled “The Naive Person Believes Every Word” instructs JWs to reject anything that isn’t positive about the org–an unbelievable request to ask of anyone with a brain IMO. Mr. Hassan, if you’re reading this: I am not a cult expert but the article I referenced above seems striking in its attempt at mind control–might make an excellent excerpt for your next edition!

  • July 6, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Just reading the BITE model online 2 years ago is what woke me up.

    • July 7, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      That’s apart of what woke me up as well!

      Just got through purchasing the the 25th Anniversary edition of Combating Cult Mind control on Amazon. I’m so excited to start reading it.

  • July 21, 2015 at 6:56 am

    This is a very good article. But Randal Watters is still a slave to cult mond control of sorts still. Being a devout endorser of Evangelical junk without which the celestial dictator (to use Christopher Hitchens’ expression) will leave you existentially disfellowshipped and eternally suffering, he has successfully compartmentalised his own thinking by being still securely trapped in cult of a different flavor. Watters is am oversell.

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  • April 5, 2016 at 8:46 am

    What about online cults? I’m departing after 8+ years in a very controlling online community where the one who guided me was able to insert himself and his ideas into every part of my life. He controlled every aspect of my life. Now I feel as though I can’t trust myself and really kind of lost.

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