The late Robert Vaughn Young walked away from the Scientology -- only to be talked into returning.
When he later left the cult for good, he rejected theories about 'brainwashing' and 'mind control,' but eventually found parallels between victims of domestic violence and those who leave other abusive situations.
"Where totalism exists, a religion, a political movement, or even a scientific organization becomes little more than an exclusive cult," Dr. Robert Jay Lifton writes.
A discussion of what is most central in the thought reform environment can thus lead us to a more general consideration of the psychology of human zealotry. For in identifying, on the basis of this study of thought reform, features common to all expressions of ideological totalism, I wish to suggest a set of criteria against which any environment may be judged — a basis for answering the ever-recurring question: “Isn’t this just like ‘brainwashing‘?”
Psychiatrist and author Dr. Robert J. Lifton -- know for, among other things, his theory on brainwashing -- addresses doomsday cults such as Aum Shinrikyo. [video]
Mind control refers to the unethical use of persuasian methods with the aim of recruiting people into joining or remaining involved with a group, movement, relationship or cause.
Used of cults, "brainwashing" or "mind control" refers to the unethical use of persuasion methods with the aim of recruiting people into joining or remaining involved with a group, movement, or cause.
Also referred to as Mind Control. Sociologists, cult experts and others are sharply divided on this contentious issue. Some see brainwashing as a plausible explanation of why people join and remain in cults. Others call it "junk science."
Not surprisingly, brainwashing theories are hotly contested by cult sympathizers.