Author Topic: How Was Compliance Gained?  (Read 3066 times)

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Offline Anne Bonney

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Re: How Was Compliance Gained?
« Reply #45 on: October 21, 2010, 02:29:32 PM »
Quote from: "Shadyacres"
Lifton's list as applied by the LIFE program, Sarasota FL, where I was a resident from October '85 to March '86.  I escaped as soon as I made it to phase 2 and was allowed to move back into my mothers house.  I am sure that I have forgotten a lot of this garbage in the last 25 years, but I hope this helps.  I will update as and if anything else comes back to me.

Lifton outlines the "Eight Criteria for Thought Reform":

Milieu Control. This involves the control of information and communication both within the environment and, ultimately, within the individual, resulting in a significant degree of isolation from society at large.  

No radio, no TV, no reading at all.  Lower level residents were not allowed to talk to each other.  Boys and girls were not allowed to talk to each other.  Once the kids got on phase 3 they could go back to school, where they were not allowed to talk to the other students.  If they were seen talking to non-program kids they would be in big trouble and at risk of starting over again from phase 1.

This included reading the back of a cereal box or glancing at a billboard on the way to the 'host-home'.  We were told that even that was a "sign of druggie behavior".  Going back to school was a nightmare, especially if you were an "in town" person who had to go back to the same school you used to attend.  We'd end up a year behind our former classmates, hadn't seen them in months, sometimes a full year and of course they wanted to talk to us.  But, as Shady said, if we were seen saying anything other than "I don't want to talk to you, I'm straight now" (and it had to be "want", not "I can't talk to you" because that would imply that we'd like to talk to them), we were in for a huge confrontation by the full group when we got back and usually either dropped a phase or outright started over.

Even on higher phases, we were not allowed contact with anyone, including close family such as grandparents, that wasn't "checked out" by staff.  There were only certain radio stations we were allowed to listen to.  If we read the paper, our parents were told to monitor what we were reading and to report to staff anything 'unapproved', but this was discretionary so it was wide open to interpretation of the parents/staff and staff's interpretations were so unrealistic that it just wasn't even worth it to open the paper up.  I remember them bringing in the Peters Brothers ( http://www.amazon.com/Truth-About-Rock- ... 0764220535 ) to scold us for even wanting to listen to 'rock music'.

The basic premise of this was to not allow us any contact with anyone or anything that would in the slightest or most benign way conflict with Straight's rigid way of life, which was so completely unrealistic...which is one of the many reasons why so many of us had a hard time when we did get out.  What they had taught us did not match reality.


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Mystical Manipulation. The manipulation of experiences that appears spontaneous but is, in fact, planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority, spiritual advancement, or some exceptional talent or insight that sets the leader and/or group apart from humanity, and that allows reinterpretation of historical events, scripture, and other experiences.

All the group sessions, or ‘raps’ had this goal at their heart, to show us how worthless and contemptible we had been in our “past lives” and how much better our lives will be once we surrender and start “working our program”.  It was very common to hear the opinion expressed that we now have a big advantage over non-program people, who do not have such a rigid guide on how to run their lives.  

That was a big part of the "break 'em down" portion of the theory of "break 'em down to build 'em up" in Straight's mold.  As we've said before, these "confessionals" needed to be 'up to par' with what Straight thought.  If what we were talking about was the truth but not 'bad enough' for what Straight thought we did, we were confronted (we really need to define 'confrontation' too) for not "being honest".  If we didn't cry enough tears, they'd turn "group" loose on us and the confrontation would begin and sometimes last for hours.  In my time, there were anywhere from 200 - 350 kids or more in 'group'.  "Raps" were group sessions, as described above by Shady and we had to "motivate" to show how badly we wanted to get called on, which supposedly showed how badly we wanted to get straight.  Then they'd call on people to come right up to our face, sometimes inches away, and called horrible things (well, screamed really....to the point of literally being spit on and as stated before - girls were always called 'sluts, whores' etc. - guys got "faggot" etc.).  If someone in group wasn't motivating hard enough to confront the person, according to staff's perception, they themselves were at risk of being stood up and confronted as to "what's going on with them" that they didn't want to "help" their fellow group member realize how awful they were "in their past".  We learned to verbally eviscerate each other and the worse you ripped someone, the "stronger" you were referred to by staff and the quicker you advanced.  It created an extremely emotionally and physically violent atmosphere and an equally violent outburst of 250 - 300 kids or more.

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Demand for Purity. The world is viewed as black and white and the members are constantly exhorted to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for perfection. The induction of guilt and/or shame is a powerful control device used here.

We were expected to purge ourselves of all kinds of “druggie behaviors”, like parting our hair in the middle (for boys), wearing T shirts, listening to, well, ANY music made after 1960 (unless it is Christian).  Any behavior the staff disapproved of was labelled “druggie behavior”.  The end goal seemed to be to turn all of us into Wally Cleaver.

Jeeez, I'd forgotten about the parting the hair in the middle for the guys.  ::)    Girls hair was immediately cut upon intake and the front was plastered down with those gawd-awful snap barrettes. No looking at the opposite sex.  Rules were to be absolutely adhered to and could be interpreted differently at any time by different staff members, so it was impossible to not commit some slight infraction, which would again bring the wrath of the group down upon us.


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Confession. Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group. There is no confidentiality; members' "sins," "attitudes," and "faults" are discussed and exploited by the leaders.

This is how progress is judged, the staff, and the group, decides whether or not your confessions are genuine.  Generally they have to be pretty outrageous or the group would tell us that we still need to “get honest”.  Once we had confessed to all the horrible things we usually hadn’t done, then the staff would use that as leverage against us, and our parents, as proof of how screwed we would be if we ever left the program. Any criticism of the program was seen as a “druggie attitude”.  Also, we were expected to inform on each other, to confess other peoples sins if we knew about them.

Yup....so, even though most of us really were normal teens, we were turned into these fire-breathing, needle in the arm druggies by the whole process and it "proved" to our parents that we "needed to be there".


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Sacred Science. The group's doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute. Truth is not to be found outside the group. The leader, as the spokesperson for God or for all humanity, is likewise above criticism.

The ONLY route to happiness and success is to ‘work your program”;
“Without this program I would be dead, insane or in jail.”


The red, bolded quote is pretty much exactly how it was.  In my case, Newton was God.


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Loading the Language. The group interprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand. This jargon consists of thought-terminating clichés, which serve to alter members' thought processes to conform to the group's way of thinking.

Any behavior they approve of is “working your program”, any behavior they do not approve of is “druggie behavior”.  If you said a persons name while they were not in the room it was considered “talking behind backs”, which seriously limited conversations about what went on in group.  If you were in a bad mood you were “in your shit” or “on the pity pot”, both of which caused the other kids to view you with contempt.


Oh god....there's so many.  Stinkin' Thinkin', internalizing your program, druggie attitude/tendencies, in your head, that's too "pat" (usually used if the confessions weren't tear jerking enough), let go and let God, attitude of gratitude, dime therapy, sick and tired of being sick and tired, easy does it, first things first, the whole Serenity Prayer, gift of awareness, dead, insane or in jail.  The list goes on and on.


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Doctrine over person. Member's personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group.

This was a constant issue, I think because of the sheer incompatibility of the program with real life.[/color] Some higher phaser was always wanting to do something the staff had told them is a “tie” to their “druggie past”.  Like play football, or music, or even go to a certain movie.  This was treated as a test, if the kid agreed and put all thoughts of playing football, or seeing Rocky V, or whatever, out of their minds forever then they were “working their program”.  If not, they were “backsliding”.

Yup.  That bolded part above can't be stated enough.


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Dispensing of existence. The group has the prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who does not. This is usually not literal but means that those in the outside world are not saved, unenlightened, unconscious and they must be converted to the group's ideology. If they do not join the group or are critical of the group, then they must be rejected by the members. Thus, the outside world loses all credibility. In conjunction, should any member leave the group, he or she must be rejected also.

The group, and the staff, decides who is worthy for advancement and who is not.  Who can start working their way back to being a person, and who has to continue to rot on those wooden benches for 12 hours a day.  All non program people are seen as some kind of walking dead zombies who are dead already, they just don’t know it.  There is no truth outside of the program.  When somebody seven stepped but there were no staff positions for them to fill they almost always got ostracized from the program, I guess because they were living proof that the program DID NOT prepare them for life in the real world.

Even people outside the program who had no addictions or substance problems were considered inferior or not as "fortunate" as we were because they weren't "blessed" with the "gift of awareness" and "tools for life" that we were.  If a kid was pulled out of the program by their parents and we happened to see them at school, they were to be shunned.  If someone graduated (7 stepped) but was listening to the "wrong" music, wearing the "wrong" clothes etc., they were to be shunned.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
traight, St. Pete, early 80s
AA is a cult http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-cult.html

The more boring a child is, the more the parents, when showing off the child, receive adulation for being good parents-- because they have a tame child-creature in their house.  ~~  Frank Zappa

Offline Samara

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Re: How Was Compliance Gained?
« Reply #46 on: October 21, 2010, 04:02:12 PM »
Ditto for Cedu and offshoots. Very similar.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline DKincaidCFS

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Re: How Was Compliance Gained?
« Reply #47 on: November 02, 2010, 10:47:09 AM »
Quote from: "RobertBruce"
At my program it was all the same kind of stuff as well.

Coercion through rationing of food, sleep deprivation, forcing you to remain in the same position indefinitely, forced labor, forced PT, coercion therapy, restricted communication et cet. The list goes on and on.

This is terrible, but seems par for the course in these programs.  Which program did this to you, RobertBruce?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Lon Woodbury molests

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Re: How Was Compliance Gained?
« Reply #48 on: November 07, 2010, 01:54:48 PM »
Violence. All these "programs" use violence to force victims to submit (with the exception of the programs aimed at those post 18, and even then, a more subtle form of violence is used; refusal of access to phone, or seizure and refusal of return of property that is necessary for survival )

All these "programs" are incarnations of the Synanon cult
http://motherjones.com/politics/2007/08 ... n-industry

These programs force submission as concentration camps or prisons force submission: through the force of violence or through the threat of violence.

The only difference between the programs is how fast violence is used to force submission. That is to say, some will use violence immediately in response to defiance, some will use the threat b4 using reactive violence, some will repeat the threat multiple times b4 using domination intended violence...but violence is the foundation and means of control in all programs.
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Offline psy

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Re: How Was Compliance Gained?
« Reply #49 on: November 07, 2010, 02:18:38 PM »
Quote from: "Lon Woodbury molests"
Violence. All these "programs" use violence to force victims to submit (with the exception of the programs aimed at those post 18, and even then, a more subtle form of violence is used; refusal of access to phone, or seizure and refusal of return of property that is necessary for survival )

All these "programs" are incarnations of the Synanon cult
http://motherjones.com/politics/2007/08 ... n-industry

These programs force submission as concentration camps or prisons force submission: through the force of violence or through the threat of violence.

The only difference between the programs is how fast violence is used to force submission. That is to say, some will use violence immediately in response to defiance, some will use the threat b4 using reactive violence, some will repeat the threat multiple times b4 using domination intended violence...but violence is the foundation and means of control in all programs.
I strongly disagree.  Physical violence is only used in a minority of programs (mainly WWAPSs).  It's usually counterproductive to the thought reform goal anyway.  Most programs use a thought reform regimen closer to those seen in China's rehabilitation facilities or during the Korean war.  Despite popular misconception, most of their methods were comprised of social pressures and encounter groups.  (See Robert J Lifton's writing for more information).
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline Lon Woodbury molests

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Re: How Was Compliance Gained?
« Reply #50 on: November 07, 2010, 02:55:12 PM »
I was abused by threat of violence and was not imprisoned at wwasp.

The thought reform prisons lifton studied, including those at N.K. and China, all used violence as their basis of gaining compliance and applying thought reform, and they were the organizations studied to draw those conclusions described in the paper you link to.

Violence to force compliance is indeed the means by which compliance is gained.

For example, we prisoners could not simply walk away because violence would be used to prevent our escape and force punishment upon us. For example, we could not simply say “no, I refuse to do such and such” because violence would be used as a punishment, or a means to force punishment on us and compel us to do such and such.

Violence was not we were afraid of, precisely, necessarily, but violence was the means by which what we were afraid of was forced upon us.

So, for example, we could be afraid of the insanity generated by sleep deprivation, peer denunciation, constant movement restriction / restraint, force feeding, forced labor, and continued imprisonment, BUT force of violence was the method that we were compelled to suffer what we feared.

Therefore, at bottom, violence was what compelled our submission, even when violence wasn't the most commonly used or most feared punishment, or even the reason "why" on some level we submitted at any given moment.

Does that make sense?

As an adult oriented program survivor—basically a survivor of a semi -traditional cult--- I suspect your experience was a bit different. For me, and the teens of the cultic torture prisons (cults, yes, but not traditional cults, more like the thought reform prisons of China or north korea)  if I could have left, or not participated, I would have! Alas, violence would have compelled my participation and continued incarceration.
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Offline Shadyacres

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Re: How Was Compliance Gained?
« Reply #51 on: November 07, 2010, 04:02:59 PM »
Quote from: "Lon Woodbury molests"
I was abused by threat of violence and was not imprisoned at wwasp.

The thought reform prisons lifton studied, including those at N.K. and China, all used violence as their basis of gaining compliance and applying thought reform, and they were the organizations studied to draw those conclusions described in the paper you link to.

Violence to force compliance is indeed the means by which compliance is gained.

For example, we prisoners could not simply walk away because violence would be used to prevent our escape and force punishment upon us. For example, we could not simply say “no, I refuse to do such and such” because violence would be used as a punishment, or a means to force punishment on us and compel us to do such and such.

Violence was not we were afraid of, precisely, necessarily, but violence was the means by which what we were afraid of was forced upon us.

So, for example, we could be afraid of the insanity generated by sleep deprivation, peer denunciation, constant movement restriction / restraint, force feeding, forced labor, and continued imprisonment, BUT force of violence was the method that we were compelled to suffer what we feared.

Therefore, at bottom, violence was what compelled our submission, even when violence wasn't the most commonly used or most feared punishment, or even the reason "why" on some level we submitted at any given moment.

Does that make sense?

As an adult oriented program survivor—basically a survivor of a semi -traditional cult--- I suspect your experience was a bit different. For me, and the teens of the cultic torture prisons (cults, yes, but not traditional cults, more like the thought reform prisons of China or north korea)  if I could have left, or not participated, I would have! Alas, violence would have compelled my participation and continued incarceration.

Yes, unfortunately it makes perfect sense.  Violence is what they used to insure our adherence to their mostly non-violent thought reform process.  Only they did not call it violence, they called it "restraint".  As if they were protecting others from you, which, to be honest, may be the case because every kid in there is effectively your jailer.  Love and violence go hand in hand for these people, they yell "I love you" in your ear even as they are seemingly trying to break your arm, or ribs, or whatever.
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Offline Samara

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Re: How Was Compliance Gained?
« Reply #52 on: November 07, 2010, 10:59:06 PM »
Gatekeeper's description is actually mild. It was four hours of intense, brutal, boundary-less, bully fests. The confrontations could be because you wore pink barrettes. (No shit.)  You were expected to participate both in humiliating others and yourself.  You were forced to either divulge, concoct or exaggerrate the most personal details of your life and then either get attacked for hours or cry and scream primally in an environment that was emotionally unsafe and unworthy of trust. When you get out, you take these  brutal, boundary-less interative styles with you and then you accuse of others of not being real or honest when they don't concede.
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Offline Anne Bonney

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Re: How Was Compliance Gained?
« Reply #53 on: November 08, 2010, 12:21:00 PM »
Quote from: "Samara"
Gatekeeper's description is actually mild. It was four hours of intense, brutal, boundary-less, bully fests. The confrontations could be because you wore pink barrettes. (No shit.)  You were expected to participate both in humiliating others and yourself.  You were forced to either divulge, concoct or exaggerrate the most personal details of your life and then either get attacked for hours or cry and scream primally in an environment that was emotionally unsafe and unworthy of trust. When you get out, you take these  brutal, boundary-less interative styles with you and then you accuse of others of not being real or honest when they don't concede.

 :nods:
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
traight, St. Pete, early 80s
AA is a cult http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-cult.html

The more boring a child is, the more the parents, when showing off the child, receive adulation for being good parents-- because they have a tame child-creature in their house.  ~~  Frank Zappa

Offline Samara

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Re: How Was Compliance Gained?
« Reply #54 on: November 08, 2010, 12:56:43 PM »
Can you believe we actually got academic credit for "Communications" for these raps? All part of the fraudulent accreditation system. Of course, no teachers taught this "course" and the only learning was how to verbally abuse, intimidate, and humiliate people into anxiety laden submission, but whatever.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »