Saturday, October 4, 2014


As I have written, once a decision is made, the information we get afterwards tends to only confirm it in our minds.

This is even sadly true when it comes to judicial decisions. Ever since DNA testing freed the first wrongly imprisoned innocent man, groups like Project Innocence have been fighting a hard battle. Why is it so hard? Isn't the judicial system seeking truth and justice? Well, yes and no. Even more important than justice is the mind's internal, and nearly uncontrollable, desire for consistency and self-justification. "I'm an honest judge, and I would never punish the innocent." There is a natural resistance to changing one's mind on a verdict, even when presented with definitive evidence.

In my case, I was I was the honest, truth-seeking judge who made the decision to join the COG. I would not change my mind. Ironically, I was also the prisoner of that decision, kept in a mental prison, not seeing past the bars. 

This delusion I shared with the other COG members as the "called-out, elite soldiers of Christ." If it had only been me, perhaps I would have been deemed mentally ill. Surrounded with so many like-minded people, it was a group delusion.

Our minds have a reality testing feature that is very handy. This is turned off while we dream, which explains why we can believe dreams when we experience them, and then afterwards wonder at how bizarre they were. Much like a dream, being part of a group delusion hampers reality testing.

Of crucial importance to cult members was the concept of "surrender." I was oft-corrected for being willful - clearly a serious sin - and chided to "surrender my will to the Lord" (aka the whims of the leaders). Turning off my will equaled turning off critical thinking. It took me years of trying my best to attain that level of "dedication."


  1. The name of the phenomenon is called Cognitive Dissonance

    I'm sure you know this as you posted a description of the Stanford Prison Experiment. As someone with a degree in psychology and having also spent a little ove 30 year in COG/TFI, I have a compelling interest in the topos.

    This together with the Stockholm Syndrome are two strong forces which imprison people in cults.In my opinion the Stockholm Syndrome is essentially a result of cognitive dissonance.

    1. Thank you. I appreciate your comment and insight. I refer to cognitive dissonance is several of my (admittedly disorganized) posts, with the definition given in the post on the Confirmation Bias.