Warning: session_start(): Cannot send session cookie - headers already sent by (output started at /home/content/67/6532567/html/article.php:1) in /home/content/67/6532567/html/inc/_fci.php on line 21

Warning: session_start(): Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /home/content/67/6532567/html/article.php:1) in /home/content/67/6532567/html/inc/_fci.php on line 21

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/content/67/6532567/html/article.php:1) in /home/content/67/6532567/html/inc/_fci.php on line 22
Mind Control Tool Box · The Free Believers Network
The Free Believers Network
Contact Us Frequently Asked Questions FBN Forums
Oct 12, 2009

Mind Control Tool Box

by Mark Vrankovich


Copyright © Cultwatch 1996 - 2001. Written by Mark Vrankovich

Important Note 

Remember, all together these form Mind Control. Separately they are undesirable but they are not Mind Control. 


A cult will use deception. The cult will not normally tell people exactly what they believe, their origins, what they practice, and what life is really like in the cult, because if people knew they would not join. This information is taught to the new recruit slowly and in pieces - a "frog in the pot" tactic. 

Deception is a key pre-requisite to Mind Control. The cult must be willing to deceive people. The Bible teaches that Christians are not to use deception. Many cults know this and yet practice deception. 

Deception is a very effective tool in the Mind Control Tool Box.  


A mind control cult will promote an "Us verses Them" environment. They will teach their members that their church is the only true church, the only church in which you can be saved. If you leave the cult then it is said you have "fallen away from God." This is done to instill fear in the members which can be expressed like this: If you ever think of leaving this body of true Christians or do something which forces us to expel you from this body then you will be losing your salvation and God will hate you. There is nowhere else you can go and still be a Christian. This is a powerful control mechanism. 

Exclusivism is fear based control mechanism, the Bible tells us that we have no reason to fear except for a healthy fear of God. Exclusivism imposes false criteria on salvation - "If you do not join us and/or if you are not doing what we are doing you are not saved." This of course is a serious doctrinal error ingrained in the practice of the group. Remember, just because a group does not teach it officially does not mean they do not practice it. 

Fear and Intimidation 

Leadership is feared. To disagree with leadership is to disagree with God. If the leaders tell you to do something, you had better do it. Often intense breaking sessions are employed to destroy any supposed rebellion or threat to the leadership. These sessions can involve many people at once attacking the character and motives of the target. 

The Bible tells Christians not to "lord it over people," but rather to be one another's servants. Jesus attacked the Pharisees who placed themselves between God and the people. It does not take much to realise that fear and intimidation is not the biblical model for Christian leadership. (Fear and Intimidation is very different from having respect for Christian leaders.) 

Love Bombing 

A mind control cult practices love bombing or false love. When you first join the cult you will gain instant friends, you'll be hugged and everyone will want to talk to you. For someone who is lonely or comes from out of town this is especially wonderful. However, after a while this "love" becomes conditional on your performance and/or you measuring up to the cult's unpublished standards. If you ever leave the cult then you know you will lose all of your new friends just as quickly as you gained them. Like an unhealthy marriage relationship, love is switched on and off to control. Of all of them, this is probably the most effective implement in the mind control tool box. 

We are relational beings with the ultimate aim of regaining a relationship with the God who created us. It only requires common sense to see the power this "love bombing" tool could have on someone. We have all seen it at work in the cults, at work in manipulative relationships and at work as peer pressure in schools and society in general. This false love is a distortion of true love which is defined in 1 Corinthians 13. 

Information Control 

Those who control the information control the person. In a mind control cult any information from outside the cult is considered evil, especially if it is opposing the cult. Members are told not to read it or believe it. Only the cult-supplied information is true. 

This technique is really a partner to deception. Common sense tells us that a person who does not consider all information may make an unbalanced decision. Filtering the information available or trying to discredit it not of the basis of how true it is, but rather on the basis of how it supports the party line, is a common control method used throughout history. A Christian should have nothing to fear from any source of information - after all "Falsehood runs from truth, but truth stands solid against falsehood." 

Reporting Structure 

In a mind control cult like in Nazi Germany or Communist Russia you must be careful of what you say or do; "The walls have ears." Everyone is encouraged to watch out for "struggling" brothers and report what they see to the leadership. Often information given in deepest confidence will find its way to leadership. Cult members are sometimes shocked to find their problems preached about in the cult meetings. People comment that while in a Mind Control cult they were acting, always being worried about people watching. 

This is opposite to the biblical model. The Reporting Structure is an important fear producing method in the Mind Control Tool Box. 

Loaded Language 

The cult will have their own language and terms. These prevent people outside the group being able to engage in "dangerous" conversations with members and it gives the members a sense of belonging. It also allows a phenomenon known as thought stopping where a simple word can stop any thoughts in the member's mind which are against the cult.

Harmless by itself, "loaded language" is used in all areas of life from the computer industry to orthodox Christianity. Every group or specialist field develops its own words or meanings for words, and this is often called "jargon." However, when mixed in with the other Mind Control tools, "loaded language" can take on a threatening attribute which is unbiblical. For example, in the International Church of Christ cult "loaded language" is used throughout the world - a typical conversation might go like this... 

"The Bible says that we are saved by grace, not by works. You are telling me that I must get people baptised or I'm not a real Christian," says the Disciple. 

"I am more spiritually mature than you and you are questioning what I am saying. You are PRIDEFUL and REBELLIOUS, you need to get RADICAL about your SIN," replied his Discipler. 

Prideful & rebellious = You are the problem, not the ICC teaching.

Radical = Plunge into obeying the ICC teaching.

Sin = Thinking or acting outside the ICC rules, often including disobeying your discipler. 

Time Control 

Mind control cults keep their members so busy with meetings and activities that they become too busy and too tired to think about their involvement. 

Again, common sense allows us to see that this would be an effective tool for controlling people. The flip side to this is that if a person can get out of the cult's "time control" schedule then after a few weeks, in our experience, they can begin to contrast "normal" life with the controlled cult environment and often this results in them leaving. The ICC, in New Zealand at least, has preached that it is best to not have a holiday at Christmas because that is when most people fall away from God (leave the ICC). 

Relationship Control 

A mind control cult will seek to maneuver your life so as to maximise your contact with cult members and minimise your contact with people outside the group, especially those who oppose your involvement. Cult members will be moved into cult communities or cult flats where they can be watched more closely and immersed in the cult environment. The cult must cut off any contact through which information or reminders of your past life will come. You cannot marry or date anyone outside of the cult and often your spouse will be chosen. 

Controlling relationships is a powerful Mind Control method. Friends and family are important influences on our lives. By controlling those who we associate with and those who we respect, a Mind Control cult can influence a person towards becoming like those people who are "good" to be around. The Bible tells us that those we associate with do effect us. Every parent knows that the peers their child associates with affects the child, moving them towards what the peers have as a norm. All people are affected by society and the groups to which they belong. By defining who is "good" and who is "bad" the Mind Control cult is attempting to move the subject towards the "group norm" that their group has. Often intense pressure is put on people to stay away from the "bad" people which are often friends, parents and their old church. 

Personal Identity Replacement  

Three stages are involved; breaking, indoctrination and finally refreezing. 

Fear and intimidation are used to break a person. Often the cult calls into question a person's salvation, and in some cults a person is not truly broken until they are crying uncontrollably. 

Next the cult indoctrinates the person by pumping them full of cult doctrine and systematically destroying anything which does not agree with the party line. If a person objects to anything, their sincerity, character and motives are questioned. 

Finally the person is frozen into the cult member mold. They become like all the other cult members to a certain degree. Friends and family will complain that the cult member has become a different person. Often in the early stages the cult member will float between their true identity and their cult identity, but as their cult involvement continues their true identity becomes more and more repressed. 

This is a well established method of changing how people act and think, to mold them into a team member like everyone else. The Armed Forces use this method in basic training and throughout the career of their soldier. The difference is, that unlike in a Mind Control cult, the Armed Forces recruits know what is going on; it is expected. The Mind Control cult recruit goes through this process covertly. The cult recruit does not lose his true personality but rather represses it. They realise that by conforming there is more acceptance and less pressure to change. This is why people in a Mind Control cult will often seem to think, act and sound the same, whereas in a normal church group individual personalities are more evident. 


Mind Control is not what many secular authors have tried to portray it as - a magic method of controlling its targets against their will making them only victims. Neither is it what those in opposition to the secular Mind Control model have defined it as, in their reaction they let the pendulum swing to the other side saying that Mind Control does not exist and is a fable invented by anti-Christian secularists.

Cultwatch says that Mind Control is a suite of practices Mind Control groups use to influence their members and potential recruits, a real attempt to control their minds. There is an enormous amount of evidence that certain groups are employing the Mind Control methods. 

Mind Control will fail or succeed to a certain degree depending on the many factors of its target. The target of Mind Control is always able to choose to stop allowing it to influence them. 

Mind Control is a morally wrong, unbiblical and unethical practice for any group. All Christians and non-Christians should strongly oppose its use. Counter-cult groups should oppose its use, labeling correctly any group which has been proven to use it as a Mind Control cult.


Rate This Article:


  1. Gravatar

    Darin, this is a wonderful article that every believer needs to read. Mind control is one of the tools effectively used by abusive groups and people need to know when they're the target of this type of abuse. Thanks for posting it even though you did steal it. :)

  2. Gravatar
    lyn myers

    I was part of a Church and for a little while part of the 'leadership'. They kept us busy from Mon to Sun..meetings, meetings... if one did anything, like baptising a new convert, without the 'leaders' permission, or questioned a teaching etc, one was called a loose canon. I didn't realise it was control at the time, but I got out of there - should I say - the Lord got me out of there! He sure showed me where I wasn't meant to be. I have many stories of 'leadership' control etc, it's so dangerous. My life was almost ruined because I did what I was told. Can't blame it all on them, I had my own free will, but in those days we were taught that the 'leaders' were the voice of God and to 'submit'. However, I forgive then and know that God show them the Light again, He faithful,never lets go!

  3. Gravatar

    We do have our freewill and if we have our own relationship with God in the Word and Spirit we would NOT get caught up in so called "mind-control" As a pastor your article does not reflect the churches I'm familar with.

  4. Gravatar

    I disagree with Doug. This article was good but, I think you should have just come out and said it. Practically every Christian teaching has sadly come from men and their churches and people are a CULT. I have come from such churches and experienced everything you wrote about. Doug's comment sounds like a robot talking. You are a controlling person. Great article, Mark. I just found your site and will be studying it. I am a very disillusioned person seeing the way the "church" is just feeding spoonfuls of delusions and lies to the sheeple. I'm not perfect but, I have learned to follow Jesus and Him only. I study cults and aberational teachings in the church and the occult. That's how I have found the church has gone the wrong way.

  5. Gravatar

    Gee, this sure seems familiar....hm. Seriously though, I agree with V. I can see (in varying degrees) every "institutionalized" church I've ever been part of somewhere in this article. Oh, there wasn't always a "cult leader" as many pastors were sincere and humble, but, (especially in denominational settings) there is definitely a "cult" mentality of control. This is not surprising considering most of the modern traditional church's organizational structures come from Imperial Rome! When Christianity was made the state religion of Rome, it became corrupted. And sadly, still is. Shake off your chains and arise from your stupor!

  6. Gravatar

    While I can see some parallels to where I came from, there are things that dont fit. And though we do have a free will, we also have needs and we grow up in a certain mindset. So our will might be technically free, but it is influenced by so many things that it is not really free anymore...especially when needs are involved that we have not learned to be fulfilled by God himself. What I also find is, that mind controlling aspects happen without peoples intention to do so and without them realizing what they do. Thats the difficult part for me...because otherwise you can blame them and call them criminals or whatsoever...

  7. Gravatar

    This sounds like most of the churches I have been in.

  8. Gravatar

    i was part of the International Churches of Christ and recognize every one of these "tools". Imagine my surprise when we left that bunch and found the same tools being used with other groups. It's a product of being part of an organization. The organization must protect and feed itself. People usually have good, sincere motives, but the need for control is very powerful, both because they think they are doing it to save souls, and so they can keep growing, which is an important "sign" that you are a movement of God.

  9. Gravatar

    Very well written and completely true! Coming from cult about 17 years ago you have nailed the box together with reality. Unfortunatly this is also describing many of the CHURCH buildings to which the body belongs. It has been hard to stay in church building when it has become so much like the cult I once belonged to. The number one thing that I learned and have held on to through everything is that the Spirit will teach you all things, and that you have no need that man teach you. If you have a red flag, if they try to "put things on the back burner" If they tell you that you out of Gods will if you do not agree, or that you are walking away from God if you do not follow the LEADER...run don't walk!Jesus is your leader! And THANK God that you had eyes to see and ears to hear HIM. Keep up the good work Mark!

  10. Gravatar

    Just came across this article while searching the net for some more help. My husband and I finally escaped a well established church here in the UK that wielded very successfully every single one of the tools as described in the mind control toolbox to control and dominate the congegations' life. Sad thing is that it still does. I was there over 25yrs, having left my homeland to serve God overseas, or so I thought. Everything was done very subtily at first, even being so kind as to 'keep' hold of my passport under the guise of sorting out my visa for me whenever it expired. Then I was discouraged from getting even a part time job with the reaction that it was better to serve God(their purposes)fulltime, for free of course, than to work elsewhere. It is a travesty of the highest degree to deliberately thwart God's will and purposes for someone's life. And in many instances, I can assure you, getting away ain't as easy as some seem to think. But God can make a way.

  11. Gravatar

    All religious organizations use this method and the bible koran etc are all structured this way

  12. Gravatar
    SF Bob Y

    Interestingly, we recently re-watched a documentary of the Jonestown fiasco. That whole thing has remnants still in the California governor's office, San Francisco mayor's office and several other state and federal places of 'authority.' The tactics described here were alive and well there for certain. It's also the way politicking and media communications work these days . . . a complete attempt to push agendas that anyone with knowledge of facts, and the time to reflect, would not agree to. When did the term 'to spin' eliminate the accountability we have to tell the truth in a way that can not even be misconstrued to mean something other than what it does? It's simply lying. It takes real diligence and vigilance to sort through everything and discover the truth. Even/especially in the 'churches.' Let's get back to a biblical term also and stop using that word (church) and start using the biblical word/s: 'called out' or 'assembly'. The IC box is not of the Lord. Never was.

Leave a Comment


E-mail (not published)


Thumbs Up!

What is this?

Did you Digg this post?
Was this post Del.icio.us?
Should others Stumble across this post?
Post this on Reddit.
Make this post Float!

20 Ratings

The Free Believers Newsletter

Sign up for our FREE newsletter!