Religious Brainwashing & Dr. Phil

It’s hard to believe, but in America alone, there may be as many as 5,000 religious groups preying upon the weak and vulnerable, and all in the name of God. Dr. Phil’s guests have warnings for you and your children.” (Dr. Phil Website – Mind Control Episode)

I had a chance to catch a Dr. Phil episode concerning an issue that I have been discussing lately – with Heather and Buffy – concerning Religious Indoctrination and Mind Control.

The show featured a person from House of Yahweh called Yisrael Hawkins and his ‘cult’ like church thing he is running. What was odd was this guy was a Messianic – who took everything literally in the OT – mixed with his warped version of Christianity…when two topics I have been discussing become one – yikes.

Heather and Buffy, I wrote this blog to give you something to look at – maybe even watch some of the stuff from the show that might speak to your current situations. Here are a few links:

(a) Dr. Phil Episode: Mind Control

(b) Resources: Rick. A. Ross Institute (deals with cults and controversial groups)

(c) Information: Mind Control Warning Signs

I found some of the stuff kind of interesting to take in – and I found it very odd that 2 subjects I have been discussing actually were found in a single cult (House of Yahweh). It caused in me some certain pause that ideas like Messiah-ism and End-time-ism can ‘go horribly wrong’.


28 thoughts on “Religious Brainwashing & Dr. Phil

  1. Jason- I would like to know a little more about you and your life, so I’ve tagged you. See my blog post for instructions. Thanks! Have a great day.

    And as to this post, I know several people who have come out of cults. The cults can be very scary while appearing on the surface to be so benign. Blessings to you.

  2. isn’t it amazing how things we’re researching, all seemingly unrelated, usually come crashing together soon or later? no such thing as coincidence! RAWK!

  3. Jason,
    You have certainly been exposed to quite a spectrum of views relating to Jewish traditions and teachings.

    You have the seminarians with their view that Tanakh has nothing to do with Judaism at all since Judaism only came into existence in its present form after the time of Jesus with Christianity being the valid outgrowth of Tanakh, a view which disturbingly repeats the claims of European religious leaders during the Nazi era. (per Abraham Joshua Heschel who lived through this dark era and experienced these same comments directed to him.)

    You have the messianics who also claim they are the valid outgrowth of Tanakh but who hold to SOME rabbinic teachings and live out distorted versions of Jewish traditions.

    You have the Bruces which dismiss us totally as slaves to a failed system, which he believes God put in place knowing it would fail and us fool Jews too stupid, blind or both to realize this just continuing on our misguided path to final destruction.

    And then there is me, a true to life Jew living a liberal religious Jewish life who seems to never escape those who would distort and misrepresent a beautiful and unique way of living life.

    Your interest in Judaism has certainly led you to a bizarre mix of people! Funny thing, so much disagreement yet everyone, with the exception of me of course, trying to convince you that their way is the real deal and that if you would just become like them, you, too, would have it all and never again question or lack understanding! It would be totally amusing if it wasn’t so annoying and if it didn’t involve real people’s destroyed lives and pain, both past and present.

  4. “You have certainly been exposed to quite a spectrum of views relating to Jewish traditions and teachings.” (Yael)

    It’s a kind of funny thing to be honest – all these views about Tanakh and what it is supposed ot be saying and representing – adds up to nothing more than confusion for the ungrounded.

    What has kept me grounded in this whole ordeal – with the varying waves of interpretation concerning the Tanakh texts – is knowing that Judaism will and should define itself. The truest answers I will find concerning tents and teachings of Judaism are from within Judaism itself – not from outside it’s dimensions. This has kept me grounded in a wave of interpretations.

  5. Mah Tovu, ohalekha Yaakov, mishkinotekha Israel. How lovely are your tents O Israel…. 😉

    I’ve always appreciated that you allow us to speak for ourselves rather than having us say what goes along with your particular theological views; that you allow us to be who we are rather than some caricature which fits into a mold of your own creation.

    Rabbi Yishael taught:
    Do not render decisions alone;
    There is but One who judges alone.
    Never say to your colleagues, “You must adopt my view”‘;
    the prerogative is theirs, not yours to coerce.

  6. “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious” George Orwell 1984

    I have to ask a question, do the mainline churches make allowance these types of movements? What I mean is, there are unquestionable doctrines in mainline churches, if a person swallows these doctrines then won’t they swallow anything? If I believe the trinity, unique gifts with baptism in the holy spirit, and infusion of grace by believing that Jesus is a god? Then the belief that my pastor has special revelation knowledge is not a stretch?

    Jim Brayshaw in Saskatoon has questioned the existence of Satan and he has all but been excommunicate from his church. It is people like him, you and others on this blog that are keeping people from cults and other dangerous fringe groups within religion.

  7. Isn’t every branch of religion a cult anyways?(thejust1)

    I believe the problem is when anyone decides that their version of the Creative force is the right one(cult). Wouldnt it be so much nicer if we all just agreed we dont know shit about who/what/why/how created this Universe we see? And at that point just take from religion all the things that makes us more Loving and Nurturing and supportive for everyone in this world. What we take from the Bible and other religious texts that benefit all of Humanity are the only “real” benefits of those books.

  8. “You have the seminarians with their view that Tanakh has nothing to do with Judaism ” Yael

    hey! I don’t think that! Take it back! Take it BACK!

    unless i’m unaware that i did this or you’re not counting me in that group… umm.

  9. Luke,
    NO! I won’t!!!!! (Stomping feet and crossing arms)

    I’m sure you are aware of the seminarians of whom I speak as the ones who contribute to a certain blog which I no longer even glance at due to their statements about Judaism. I suppose I should have put the word seminarians in quotes in order to indicate I was not speaking of all seminarians, but hey, general blanket statements are the norm in the world of religion, right? So, leave me alone already! 8)

  10. well fine! i see how YOU are… i guess i’ll just have to switch back to being a supersessionist jerk! so there! and btw i’m taking your TaNaK and making it my Old Testament and you may think that because all scripture is inspired and since you have the majority of the books, you think you win, BUT NO! I’m going to mess with the order, divide up Samuel, Kings and Chronicles and won’t even read them. heck! i won’t even read my own gospel, just what Paul tells me too!

    so there 😉

    i mean 😛

    (you RAWK Yael!)

  11. Wow. This is my first visit and I must say it has been very interesting. I did lke the question posed by Tit for Tat:

    Isn’t every branch of religion a cult anyways?

    I am making every effort in my present life to truly hear what others are saying but sometimes it’s hard to hear through the deafening roar of religion.

  12. When did the word ‘religion’ become a swear word anyway? I always find it amusing when people claim to follow God, but not ‘religion’. One former friend, on hearing of my conversion to Judaism told me she understood, why I’d done so. I wanted ‘religion’. Not her. She just wanted Jesus. What a crock and a cop out. My questions are then, How does she know about Jesus? God? Does she hear voices in her head telling her things? Because if she uses the Bible as her sacred text to teach her these things, what’s her basis for doing so? Didn’t this book come to her through the awful institution of ‘religion’?

    A comment of mine from May of this year on ‘relgion’:

    Religion begins with the certainty that something is asked of us, that there are ends which are in need of us. Unlike all other values, moral and religious ends evoke in us a sense of obligation. they present themselves as tasks rather than as objects of perception. Thus, religious living consists in serving ends which are in need of us. (Wisdom of Heschel, p. 167)

    (Ah, now I begin to understand why some claim they don’t follow religion. Religion requires something of a person, whereas relying on feelings or some self-perception of God requires nothing.)

    There is only one way to define Jewish religion. It is the awareness of God’s interest in man, the awareness of a covenant, of a responsibility that lies on God as well as on us….God is in need of man for the attainment of God’s ends, and religion, as Jewish tradition understands it, is a way of serving these ends… (Wisdom of Heschel, p. 171)

  13. Just to clarify so Cliff doesn’t think I’m jumping all over what he said, he merely spoke the words I’ve heard over and over, including in the title of this blog!

    Religion isn’t some nefarious institution run by those awful Pharisees. We who desire to live religious lives have to make choices. Do we choose to have our connection to God using as our guide one of the traditions that has been around for thousands of years? Hundreds of years? A few years? Or do we think we’re an Abraham, Moses, Paul, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, etc., claim God told us a new story directly, or a new twist to the old story, write it all down, start our own religion and perhaps collect a few followers? Whatever way we choose it’s still religion! And you can’t have it both ways like my former friend was trying, where she claims she’s not a part of any ‘religion’, god forbid, when she actually is since her conception of God comes to her via the Bible and her church.

    I’m a religious person. I don’t care if people think I’m following a religion. I am! I’m not going to pretend that I don’t or that I’m too elevated to be a part of such a corrupt thing as ‘religion’. Nor am I going to go off and start my own religion. I think there are enough varieties on the market already so that the world can live without Yaelism.


  15. Religion requires something of a person, whereas relying on feelings or some self-perception of God requires nothing. (Yael)

    Usually when you follow Religion, youre following someone elses perception of God. And if you really want to get down to it Yael, how much is required of you if you follow Judaism, because its seems like youve decided to believe someone elses take on what a creator is or isnt.

  16. Well, John, first off, following Judaism requires me to have much more patience than it is humanly possible to have since on the one hand I have to put up with Christians who think I need ‘saving’ due my status as heathen while on the other hand I have to put up with former Christians, sort-of-Christians, I’m-not-religious Christians, or the I-assume-I-know-all-religions-because-I-know-something-about-Christianity non-Christians who lump me in with Christians because of course all religions must have the same priorities, beliefs and values as Christianity! I mean, the whole world is required to bow to the almighty Christianity, right?

    OK. Let me set aside my sarcasm for a moment and ask you some questions in return.

    If you don’t follow religion, whose perception of God are you following?

    If it is just your own perception, what makes you think your perception is unlike any of the perceptions had by those who came before you? Are you so unique that not one single person in the whole world ever had thoughts similar to your own? Are you that much more intelligent than all who came before you that there is nothing you can learn from their perceptions? If you follow your own perception alone how do you know that’s even God and not just some imaginary friend?

    If it is someone else’s perception than how would that be any different from what you contend I am doing?

    BTW, you might be interested to know that one of the first things I learned with my rabbi was that Torah speaks of the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob rather than the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in order to teach us that each of us must build our own relationship to God. Isaac’s relationship was not his father;s nor his son’s. I don’t know what my rabbi believes about God because he never says. Nor do you know what I believe about God because I never say either! Obviously you don’t read my Torah blog or you would realize I never make any claims as to what God is or isn’t, nor can I remember ever speaking of God as a creator.

    I have little interest in beliefs, but one belief I do hold is that for me and my sons Judaism holds the best way for us to live our lives regardless of God or no God. I am fascinated by God and my people’s experience of God. Through my studies I have found that not one thought I’ve had nor one question I have had are unique. Someone, somewhere before me pondered the same things I pondered. I don’t have to go around re-inventing wheels but at the same time I am no one’s robot.

    I enjoy the feeling of connection to the past as well as the present. It’s fun to be reading along and come across words that are an echo of my own. I find it fascinating to see where others have done with my thoughts. How did they cope? How did they work things out? What happened next? It’s not that I’m going to follow in their same footsteps, although I may at times, it’s just a great feeling to know I fit in, crazy ideas and all. I have also earned much from my rabbi but his views are not mine nor are mine his. I’ve always enjoyed studying with him because he gets me to thinking without telling me what to think. He often tells me what to do, but not what to think and I take the first part under advisement….

    Our shel rosh, the tefilla we wear on our forehead had four compartments while our shel yad, the tefilla we wear on our arm has only one. We are allowed to think what we want but our actions are the same. Mitzvot.

  17. OK. Let me set aside my sarcasm for a moment and ask you some questions in return. (Yael)

    Ah you wouldnt be the Yael weve come to know and Love without that sacastic bite you have 😉

    I think its great that you have something that makes you feel like it fits. From the little I read on Judaism from you and Jason, I can see that is very thought provoking. It also seems to be very community driven. Very different than many “Christian” views. For myself, I believe you can believe whatever you want, just so long as it doesnt directly interfere with my life. Unfortunately for the hard asses of all religions that just isnt the case. Faith should be something that can help our existences be more meaningful, but it seems that the ones on the extreme ends of Christianity, Islam and Judaism are fucking it up for the whole world. Do you have any suggestions on how that can be changed? Do you think moderate people of specific faiths bear any responsibility for the extreme Nut Jobs of their own belief system?

  18. “Do you think moderate people of specific faiths bear any responsibility for the extreme Nut Jobs of their own belief system?” (John)

    The moderates bare no blame for the extreme positions held within any faith – that’s like blaming someone with the last name Manson for what Charles did in the late 60’s. It is the same name – but it’s different people altogether – plus no one is to blame for someone else’s crimes (in religion or not).

    However, I’d be re-miss to deny what happens in religions and some of the extremism that exists – we can’t deny this exists and where it exists. I do think faiths should take a stand against abuses they see happening from within the total sphere of their faith – and address it where and when they can. I mean, we can’t really rub out an infection unless we admit we have symptoms.

    I am all for stopping people that use religion for purposes to hurt other people – or to garner control (and ego) – that’s 1/2 the reason I even write a blog – to challenge ideas that may be harmful or may not be – but at the least we need to evaluate them.

  19. – that’s like blaming someone with the last name Manson for what Charles did in the late 60’s. It is the same name – but it’s different people altogether – plus no one is to blame for someone else’s crimes (in religion or not). (jason)

    Im not so sure thats a good analogy, what happens if you believe what Charles Manson believes and even professed it, but didnt do the actual deeds. Do you not then hold some culpability? My question is more to do with people who hold the same beliefs(literalism of the bible or other texts) . What happens when people of the same faith then do what some of these texts say?

  20. I can only speak for Judaism. Yes, I do think those who are moderate and people like me who are liberal bear some responsibility for the nut jobs. In the name of political expediency we have given way too much power to the most extreme. They have control over marriage and burials in Israel and thus think they are the ones who control the whole show. Someone needs to have the guts to stand up and say, no more.

    Outside of Israel too many people see Orthodoxy as the ultimate Jews rather than as being a distortion of what Judaism was about for 1700 years until Orthodoxy came into existence. Until this mindset changes, the Orthodox will continue to have a voice disproportionate to their numbers, which is only 10% of the Jewish population. Thank goodness where I live it is only 2%.

  21. yeah dude.. judge’n religions on the worst parts/members is the worst way to evaluate as you’re always going to get skewed results.

    just take me for example.. i’m taking Yael’s book and condeming SVS and going on my campaign to stop massage and Canada in general cause we all know the end times are here and i’m the one truth absolute prophet of God.

    how’s that for synthesis?! 😉

  22. I have been a victim of Religion Mind control. Married to my first husband at age 20 I had no Idea about religions and how controling they are. I married a Christian Reform, and soon did I realize, I was to do as my husband said. If I hung laundry on the clothes line on a Sunday he went out and took it down…and it wasnt dry yet. I was to submit to the Church as often it was available, and our children were to be raised in the faith, and in the Christian Schools. Upon regristering our first son for Kindergarden, I put him in the Public School System. By evening, my Mother-In-Law was at our home, walking me around our block, and telling me I NEVER go against the faith or my husband. For my husband has the final say in my marriage. OMG I thought is she for real? Acoarse this stirred up trouble in my marriage. After having a second son and being under this control for 5 years, I could take it no more. So I took the boys and I left the martial home, and told my husband I wanted a divorce. This was putting me over the edge. I couldn’t be myself or be happy, who tells one what to do? That is not how a marriage works. My ex then decided to put me through complete HELL, he fought for custody of the boys claiming he was the better parent, but yet I was a stay at home mother.. I learn alot about Religion…and what a cult it was. The Judge was Christrian Reform, and My ex Lawyer also, and his Lawyer use to work for the same Lawyer firm as the Judge so they were all good buddies, giving each other favors in the court system. This may seem crazy but it is the truth. I had NO money to fight a legal battle, what was a simple divorce, ended up 4 days in court. The Judge gave custody to my Ex Husband. OMG There as no basis for his decision, just because he could. I had to hired a Appeals Attorney to get my boys back, and after two years, they were mine again. After I won the appeal, my ex then played every game in the book to try and make me look like a bad person and mother. For over ten years he had me in and out of court for everything under the sun he could come up with. Finally I remarried, and we then moved one hour north, to build businesses. I had to evaluate the situation of my boys. I didn’t think I was doing the right thing by moving them out of their church, community, and christian school. So I talked to them about going back to live with their father. I returned custody to my ex….only because I put my Boys first, before my emotional needs. This was the worst decission I ever made. I thought he would be satified if I returned custody and be resonable with the boys. As he said he would., and lied. He has went as far as gotten restraining orders through the same Judge, not allowing me to attend school functions, sporting events, graduations ect. He totally brainwashed the kids, and so did their church, telling them over and over I didn’t love them or want them, that is why I returned custody. And Because of the limited time I was allowed to spend with them, they were told their Step mom was their mother, that I didn’t want them, and she was a better mother then me. My whole family has been shut out of their lives. And my oldest got married two years ago, and we were told not to attend or the cops would be called. I havent seen or spoken to my boys at all. I want desparately to be in their lives, but I think the Christian Reform bainwashing has ruined a chance to have a relationship with my boys. My ex has tossed threats over their heads if they have a relationship with me,. he will cut off their college funding, jobs, ect. Its is not fair…I’m their mother, and I deserve to be in my boys lives. I’m a good person, and I have done nothing to be without my boys. The whole extended family has been shut out, because we have be label evil. Please their has be someone out there that can reconnect me with my boys, I can not continue to live with a broken heart. My God does not work this way!

  23. Tonia, thanks for sharing your story – that is a really rough experience to have to of went through and to continue going through…my heart truly goes out to you.

    I am not sure what can be done outside the court system, getting custody again (if possible), and taking your kids and leaving that situation in which this Christian Reform community is far, far behind. But that’s a battle and a half – maybe some of the links to the Rick A Ross Institute can help you out? Maybe if you e-mailed him he could get involved in some way (I am hoping that is what he does).

    I think it is key to get interaction with your kids – whether that be custody or visiting them in some way. To me, the true evil part seems to be coming from the Christian Reform church – maybe get in touch with this organization and ask them to get involved on the basis of living their principles – and intervene in this situation in some graceful way?

    I think every avenue walked down to get to the heart of the problem here – and you need a support group of some sort backing you (friends, family, and husband)…because this is no easy task…this dude (your ex) seems like a hard hearted dude.

    If I could do something I would…all I can really do is provide the possibilities – maybe the Ross Institute or getting in touch with the Reform Church. My wishes are peace be upon you and this situation.

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