Several weeks after I published my first article on suspending critical thinking, the cult leader employed a more blunt and direct tactic in an attempt to quash critical thinking. He declared it a sin. My articles about the cult had been passed around among people who were leaving.  I can only assume that those still in the cult may also have read them, including the cult leader. He even used the term “critical thinker” while behind the pulpit addressing the group.  He was telling his remaining cult members the unspoken but clear message, if you are even thinking about what that guy wrote, then you are against God. He could not tolerate anyone thinking opposite of what he told them to think. That is a sign of a cult leader.

The Latest Tactics

The cult leader employed a combination of mental misdirection, bait-and-switch theology, appeal to emotion and loaded language in this mind-control attempt. None of these are new. He has used them extensively in the past.  He framed it as a biblical character-building lesson based on the principle of alacrity, which he also called agility and quickness.  Below are his words:

Preparing the Targets

If you want to serve God with all your heart and mind, you have to be flexible. If you’re a person who doesn’t bend, I promise you, you ain’t gonna make it. You have to start learning how to be flexible. God, I’m open to hearing this. Even though it goes against everything I’ve known, I’m flexible. Did it make sense for Abraham to circumcise at the age of 99? He’s got a foot in the grave already. Did it make sense for Abraham to do this? No, but he did it with [snaps fingers] alacrity. Guess what? When he was healing from circumcision, it says he rushed to attend to the three strangers.  He rushed to the three strangers, even though he’d just been circumcised. That’s the most painful thing, yet he rushed to do it. He didn’t say I’m sorry, today we’re closed. We’re not serving today. I was just circumcised. Hey, any one of us today would convince themselves that God would understand.

[These preparatory bible verses are paraphrased to set the stage. This information from the bible is accurate. His additions are not. It is also emotionally loaded; an old and frail man being able to stand up and suffer for God. Nobody in the group will now want to look weaker than a 99-year-old man. Everyone wants to be at least as good, if not better. It establishes the premise that flexibility is a quality desired by God in His followers. Next comes the mental misdirection and bait-and-switch to employ this flexibility in the service of the cult leader.]

Dropping the Bomb

I want you to start thinking this way folks, because the reality is when you start thinking this way, challenge your thinking. Especially all you critical thinkers. Challenge your critical thinking. Would you have done that? Come on, you know you wouldn’t. We can laugh about it today and it is good we can laugh about it. At the same time, we need to polish. Would God want this from me? We always reason to ourselves, “I don’t think God would want me to do thaaaat.”

[The mental misdirection here is simple. Don’t think! Delayed obedience is disobedience!  Moreover, what he briefly describes is not even critical thinking. It is hesitation. This creates a strawman that is easy to knock down and dismiss. He never made a case against critical thinking.  People are now primed to obey when God speaks … except, it is not God speaking but a man pretending to speak for God. Bait-and-Switch completed.  We cannot confirm with God whether the leader really speaks for him. If he really speaks for God, his actions will align with God’s word in the Bible. We will see later in the article if this is so.]


Abraham was also very quick to leave Haran, although he had family there. I mean think about these things, guys. You don’t think Abraham was close to his father? Of course, he was. You don’t think he was close to his brothers? Of course, he was. Look what he had to do. He a had to leave. He had to separate. I know a lot of people don’t like to hear that, but there is a time for it.  Why did he have to leave his father’s house? It was the idolatry and mixed seed. Oil and water doesn’t mix, folks. Just remember that. But he left quick. That was the whole point. He didn’t hesitate. He didn’t say, “OK God, give me about three years to actually lean into this” No. C’mon. Let’s go. We’ve got something bigger for you. I need you to trust me.

[Another mostly accurate biblical account, but with a spin. The talk about separating, idolatry and mixed seed are aimed at those who have left or were thrown out of the cult. The message here is that they were bad (idolaters and bad seed) while those remaining are good.  Even close family who disagree with the cult are bad and you need to separate yourself from them quickly. This is what God wants! One could use the exact same argument he makes to say that those who departed the cult are the ones separating to follow God and those remaining are bad. Those leaving did not hesitate to get out of the cult. They displayed alacrity. Either side has the same amount of factual evidence at this point. None.]

Sealing the Deal

By the way, here’s another aspect of alacrity. Abraham was told that there was a great land awaiting him, and great promise, and seed. You know, at this point, he had no children.  He was very quick … alacrity … very quick to believe that. In other words, the promises of God, pretty much, were higher than any soul tie he had in Haran.  He saw that like, “Wow, nothing is holding me back.” I don’t know if you ever felt that way in your life folks. You are ready to burst out of this eggshell and you want out. Even the thought of somebody trying to keep you captive is sacrilege. That’s what God wants from you. Are you really ready to be free, to get out of the shell, to be free with Him, to trust in Him. For a journey that is unknown. It can be scary, but it is unknown.

[One more mostly accurate biblical example, the first part anyway. The commentary is again, the leader’s own. By now the group is already mind-controlled and framed into projecting it onto the current situation. It is all geared towards convincing the remaining cult members to dismiss any remaining doubts, turn their backs on their former friends and families who are trying to hold them back, burst out of their shells and follow him. It will feel so good!  This is pure appeal to emotion and loaded language. Anybody who questions you being in the cult is “holding you captive.” That is way over the top with the intent of manipulating emotions to suspend critical thinking.]


The cult leader used his usual mind-control tactics, applying them in a predictable manner. Cherry-pick some bible content out of context that can be repurposed to apply to what he wants to control. Mentally misdirect the members and then employ bait-and-switch theology to direct obedience to God into obedience to the cult leader.  He defeats the main argument by creating a straw man, claiming it to be what he is disproving (in this case, critical thinking) and easily knocking it down. Then he employs appeal to emotion and loaded language to cement the deal. It works again. Just like it always does.

Litmus Test

Rather than taking the word of the cult leader that he speaks for God, let us examine some of the commands he has given various cult members (which most obeyed with alacrity) and see if they align with God’s word in the Bible.

  • Commanding a woman to divorce her husband
  • Commanding the group members to shun and never speak to that former husband again
  • Commanding a woman to lie to her husband, abduct his children, and drive 200 miles to live on the cult property
  • Commanding that same woman to falsely accuse her husband and oldest daughter in court
  • Commanding a man to leave his wife if she would not obey the cult leader
  • Commanding a disobedient man to live in a tent for several weeks on the cult leader’s property
  • Commanding a woman to observe holy days on the cult leader’s property or else go to hell
  • Commanding members to work on improvements to the cult leader’s property (framing it as work for the church)
  • Commanding members to work on improvements to a cult lieutenant’s property (framing it as work for the church)
  • Commanding members to donate financially and work on another cult lieutenant’s property improvements (framing it as work for the church)
  • Commanding the entire group to shun and not speak to anyone who left the group or had been thrown out
  • Telling group members that they should all strive to be like one cult lieutenant who said he would die for the cult leader
  • Telling group members who they should marry (within the cult, of course) and manipulating them if they refuse
  • Supporting bullying of members who were not as enthusiastically devoted to the cult leader
  • Determining who was and was not permitted to attend “worship services” based on criteria known only to the cult leader*
  • Determining who was and was not permitted to be a member of the “church” based on criteria known only to the cult leader*

I challenge you to find valid (not twisted or misrepresented) Bible verses that support these commands. Even churches full of hypocrites playing religion do not say or do these types of things. These commands are not from God, but the cult leader wants everyone to think they are so they will obey without question. That is the primary goal of all his efforts.  Obedience and devotion to him.  Watch his actions, not his words.  Of course, the people remaining loyal and devoted to him are not looking at the actions. This is mind-control.


What the cult leader is doing still works.  His simple and basic tactics work. Sure, he’s lost a lot of people, but those remaining are a hard-core group, completely loyal to him and blind to anything else.  They will give their time, their money, their families … in service to him, thinking they are giving all those to God.  What the cult leader is doing is not illegal. He can (and will) claim that he did not command any of these things. The members are doing them of their own free will.  The people are willingly following him.  Or are they? As for the question of legality, cult expert Dr. David McDermott states that almost all of these groups are doing something illegal beneath the layers of misdirection created for public consumption. He says it is simply the nature of how they operate. Only time will tell if this group is doing so as well.

* Use of unknown or vague criteria is another common cult tactic. It keeps people off balance and walking on eggshells, for fear of violating some sacred principle unknown to them. The cult leader will employ this to keep people obedient to his every whim.

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A Chad is a stereotypical alpha male. He is depicted as attractive, successful, muscular, cocky and very popular among women. He has a tendency to play the field and will not commit to any woman.

An enabler of a highly narcissistic person or someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). A flying monkey is an agent who acts on their behalf.

Projection involves taking an unacceptable part of oneself, disowning it, and placing it onto someone else. The manipulator describes the victim and paints them in a light that more accurately portrays the attacker himself.

Toxic amnesia is a tactic where the perpetrator pretends to not remember abuse, betrayals, lies, and other hurtful and dysfunctional behaviors they've engaged in. Its a form of gaslighting. Its purpose is to make you doubt your perceptions and memories.

Narcissistic rage can be triggered by various situations, such as criticism, perceived rejection, or being ignored. The reaction is often extreme and disproportionate to the event or comment, as the narcissist's fragile ego struggles to cope with the perceived attack on their self-image.

Triangulation is when a toxic or manipulative person, often a person with strong narcissistic traits, brings a third person into their relationship in order to remain in control. There will be limited or no communication between the two triangulated individuals except through the manipulator. It may appear in different forms, but all are about divide and conquer, or playing people against each other.

The action or practice of lavishing someone with attention or affection, especially in order to influence or manipulate them.

Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors. This produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance.

To gaslight someone means to manipulate another person into doubting their own perceptions, experiences or understanding of events. ~ American Psychological Association

Because their sense of self is determined by what others think of them, narcissists use relationships for self-enhancement. Everyone must feed them. In addition, they seek validation and attention in their public and professional life. Other people are used as objects in order to provide their supply. For example, they may need constant compliments or applause, more status and money, or may check their appearance in the mirror several times a day. ~ Psychology Today

Fraud that targets people belonging to a particular community or group, typically that in which someone pretends to be a member of the group in order to gain the trust of others.

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Second Attack
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Initial Dispositions
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ZSU 23-4
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Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

A religious leader uses valid verses or concepts from the Bible about following and obeying God to generate enthusiasm in people, then misdirects that obedience to himself as a representative of God. The group believes they are following and obeying God, but in reality are obeying the leader.

A fictional, exaggerated version of an opposing viewpoint, especially one that is intentionally created to be easy to dismiss or argue against and to make one's own argument seem stronger. Straw man arguments can be made unintentionally, but most are made on purpose to make the other side seem evil, incompetent, or extremist.

The religious leader distracts members from mentally registering what he is doing.  Screaming praise to God when something he proclaimed does not come to pass.  Acting like a bad thing is really a good thing.  Just keep talking and talking and talking, while ignoring that nothing is happening. It is the same thing politicians have done successfully for years.

The leader calls members flattering adjectives or nouns, like righteous, holy, or saint.  These are often vague and difficult to define, so the member feels the leader’s superior knowledge has recognized something good in them.  Conversely, if the leader later withdraws this praise, the member is eager to toe the line to recover it.

Manipulation of a person or group's emotions in order to make them believe something is factual (or false) in the absence of any evidence. The manipulator tries to draw on the recipient's inward feelings such as fear, pity, or joy with the goal of convincing them that the statements being presented are true or false.

Essentially a black-and-white worldview with the leader as the ultimate moral arbiter. This creates an atmosphere of guilt and shame, where punishment and humiliation are expected. It also sets up an environment wherein members spy and report on one another. Through submission to the guilt-inducing and impossible demand for purity, members lose their moral bearing.

The use of jargon internal to (and only understandable by) the group. Constricting language constricts the person. Capacities for thinking and feeling are significantly reduced. Imagination is no longer a part of life experiences, and the mind atrophies from disuse.

The process whereby the group becomes the ultimate arbiter and all nonbelievers become so-called evil or non-people. If these non-people cannot be recruited, then they can be punished or even killed. This process creates an us-versus-them mentality that breeds fear in followers who learn that life depends on a willingness to obey. This is when individuals merge with the group’s belief.