Six Conversion Techniques
Cults and human-potential organizations are always looking for new converts. To attain them, they must also create a brain-phase. And they often need to do it within a short space of time - a weekend, or maybe even a day. The following are the six primary techniques used to generate the conversion.
The meeting or training takes place in an area where participants
are cut off from the outside world. This may be any place: a private
home, a remote or rural setting, or even a hotel ballroom where the
participants are allowed only limited bathroom usage. In human-potential trainings, the controllers will give a lengthy talk
about the importance of "keeping agreements" in life. The participants
are told that if they don't keep agreements, their life will never work. It's a good idea to keep agreements, but the controllers are subverting a positive human value for selfish purposes. The participants vow to themselves and their trainer that they will keep their agreements. Anyone who does not will be intimidated into agreement or forced to leave. The next step is to agree to complete training, thus assuring a high percentage of conversions for the organizations. They will USUALLY have to agree not to take drugs, smoke, and sometimes not to eat ... or they are given such short meal breaks that it creates tension. The real reason for the agreements is to alter internal chemistry, which generates anxiety and hopefully causes at least a slight malfunction of the nervous system, which in turn increases the conversion potential.
Before the gathering is complete, the agreements will be used to
ensure that the new converts go out and find new participants. They are intimidated into agreeing to do so before they leave. Since the
importance of keeping agreements is so high on their priority list, the
converts will twist the arms of everyone they know, attempting to talk
them into attending a free introductory session offered at a future date by the organization. The new converts are zealots. In fact, the inside term for merchandising the largest and most successful human-potential training is, "sell it by zealot!"
At least a million people are graduates and a good percentage have
been left with a mental activation button that assures their future
loyalty and assistance if the guru figure or organization calls. Think about the potential political implications of hundreds of thousands of zealots programmed to campaign for their guru.
Be wary of an organization of this type that offers follow-up
sessions after the seminar. Follow-up sessions might be weekly meetings
or inexpensive seminars given on a regular basis which the organization
will attempt to talk you into taking - or any regularly scheduled event
used to maintain control. As the early Christian revivalists found, long-term control is dependent upon a good follow-up system.
Alright. Now, let's look at the second tip-off that indicates
conversion tactics are being used. A schedule is maintained that causes physical and mental fatigue. This is primarily accomplished by long
hours in which the participants are given no opportunity for relaxation or reflection.
The third tip-off: techniques used to increase the tension in the
room or environment.
Number four: Uncertainty. I could spend hours relating various
techniques to increase tension and generate uncertainty. Basically, the participants are concerned about being "put on the spot" or encountered by the trainers, guilt feelings are played upon, participants are tempted to verbally relate their innermost secrets to the other participants or forced to take part in activities that emphasize removing their masks. One of the most successful human-potential seminars forces the participants to stand on a stage in front of the entire audience while being verbally attacked by the trainers. A public opinion poll, conducted a few years ago, showed that the number one most-fearful situation an individual could encounter is to speak to an audience. It ranked above window washing outside the 85th floor of an office building. So you can imagine the fear and tension this situation generates within the participants. Many faint, but most cope with the stress by mentally going away. They literally go into an alpha state, which automatically makes them many times as suggestible as they normally are. And another loop of the downward spiral into conversion is successfully effected.
The fifth clue that conversion tactics are being used is the
introduction of jargon - new terms that have meaning only to the
"insiders" who participate. Vicious language is also frequently used,
purposely, to make participants uncomfortable.
The final tip-off is that there is no humor in the communications ... at least until the participants are converted. Then, merry-making
and humor are highly desirable as symbols of the new joy the
participants have supposedly "found."
I'm not saying that good does not result from participation in such
gatherings. It can and does. But I contend it is important for people
to know what has happened and to be aware that continual involvement may not be in their best interest.
Over the years, I've conducted professional seminars to teach people to be hypnotists, trainers, and counselors. I've had many of those who conduct trainings and rallies come to me and say, "I'm here because I know that what I'm doing works, but I don't know why." After showing them how and why, many have gotten out of the business or have decided to approach it differently or in a much more loving and supportive manner.
Many of these trainers have become personal friends, and it scares
us all to have experienced the power of one person with a microphone and a room full of people. Add a little charisma and you can count on a high percentage of conversions. The sad truth is that a high percentage of people want to give away their power - they are true "believers"!
Cult gatherings or human-potential trainings are an ideal
environment to observe first-hand what is technically called the
"Stockholm Syndrome." This is a situation in which those who are
intimidated, controlled, or made to suffer, begin to love, admire, and
even sometimes sexually desire their controllers or captors.
But let me inject a word of warning here: If you think you can
attend such gatherings and not be affected, you are probably wrong. A
perfect example is the case of a woman who went to Haiti on a Guggenheim Fellowship to study Haitian Voodoo. In her report, she related how the music eventually induced uncontrollable bodily movement and an altered state of consciousness. Although she understood the process and thought herself above it, when she began to feel herself become vulnerable to the music, she attempted to fight it and turned away. Anger or resistance almost always assures conversion. A few moments later she was possessed by the music and began dancing in a trance around the Voodoo meeting house. A brain phase had been induced by the music and excitement, and she awoke feeling reborn. The only hope of attending such gatherings without being affected is to be a Buddha and allow no positive or negative emotions to surface. Few people are capable of such detachment.
Before I go on, let's go back to the six tip-offs to conversion. I
want to mention the United States Government and military boot camp. The Marine Corps talks about breaking men down before "rebuilding" them as new men - as marines! Well, that is exactly what they do, the same way a cult breaks its people down and rebuilds them as happy flower sellers on your local street corner. Every one of the six conversion techniques are used in boot camp. Considering the needs of the military, I'm not making a judgment as to whether that is good or bad. IT IS A FACT that the men are effectively brainwashed. Those who won't submit must be discharged or spend much of their time in the brig.
Part 5 of The Battle For Your Mind