Equally significant is the fact that cult mind control as a sociological model has been utterly discredited.
If brainwashing techniques did not work in the 20th century reeducation camps of communist China, it is sophistry to suppose it to be effectively employed in the ESOAL (Emotionally Stretching Opportunity of A Lifetime) weekend retreat of TMM’s Honor Academy.
How interesting it was, then, to find the following book through my university’s library: Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control by Kathleen Taylor, published in August 2006 by Oxford University Press.
I want to quote a significant passage that rebuts Hanegraaff, but first, let’s unpack the significance of the book itself.
1. It was published recently. This is not Robert Jay Lifton’s work from decades ago. I don’t mean to suggest Lifton’s work is irrelevant, only that time has not left the topic of brainwashing behind.
2. It was published by a reputable press. Oxford University Press is about as reputable as publishers can get.
3. It was written by Kathleen Taylor, who, according to the book, is “a research scientist in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at the University of Oxford.”
4. Better yet, “Brainwashing, her first book, was short-listed for the 2005 MIND Book of the Year Award and long-listed for the 2005 Aventis Science Book Prize.”
Now, the last nail in the coffin holding the remains of Hanegraaff’s irresponsible, shoddy research:
Taylor, referring to the United Nations’ efforts to defend South Korea during the Korean War, writes, “The United States, the major participant in this joint effort, soon noticed that something strange was happening to US troops taken captive by the enemy. Some emerged from prisoner of war camps as, apparently, converted Communists, ready to denounce their country of birth and sing the praises of the Maoist way of life. Of course, the phenomenon of prisoners forced to laud their captors was not a new one. But some of these soldiers continued their bizarre — and passionate — disloyalty even after they were free of the Communists’ grip. Unnerved by their behavior, and concerned about potential effects on morale, the US began to investigate what their CIA operative Edward Hunter had in 1950 publicly christened ‘brainwashing’. Hunter himself expresses his negative reactions very clearly in describing a victim of the strange new phenomenon.”
Taylor continues with an excerpt from Hunter’s book, also entitled Brainwashing. In that excerpt, Hunter describes the experience of interviewing someone who came out of a Maoist prisoner of war camp. After noting the “unnatural” way the former POW replied to the questions (distinguishing the replies from shell-shock or PTSD), Hunter notes, “This was Party discipline extended to the mind; a trance element was in it. It gave me a creepy feeling.”
Hanegraaff, if he has any intellectual honesty, must publicly recant the falsehoods in his defense of Teen Mania.