The first element that Lifton outlines is Milieu Control...described in chapter 22 of Lifton's "Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism" this way...
The most basic feature of the thought reform environment, the psychological current upon which all else depends, is the control of human communication. Through this milieu control the totalist environment seeks to establish domain over not only the individual's communication with the outside (all that he sees and hears, reads or writes, experiences, and expresses), but also - in its penetration of his inner life - over what we may speak of as his communication with himself. It creates an atmosphere uncomfortably reminiscent of George Orwell's 1984.
Lifton goes on to say...
Such milieu control never succeeds in becoming absolute, and its own human apparatus can - when permeated by outside information - become subject to discordant "noise" beyond that of any mechanical apparatus. To totalist administrators, however, such occurrences are no more than evidences of "incorrect" use of the apparatus.
Does that sound like anything we know? Say, perhaps the message of the proponents of the patriarchal paradigm? If we're to believe them, it's NEVER the system that breaks down. It's the PEOPLE that break down in the application of the system. You see, if the system were to be considered faulty and something less than perfect, their entire world would crumble. Therefore, it's the PERSON, not the DOCTRINE, that's at fault.
Notice Lifton's mention of "discordant noise" which results from the intrusion into the paradigm of outside information. This is what's known as Cognitive Dissonance, which Christy Stouffer recently blew off as psycho-babble for "I'm confused". It goes so much deeper than garden variety confusion. When you've been indoctrinated to believe certain things, usually from birth, and everything about your life has been engineered toward reinforcing and perpetuating that indoctrination, but then upon stepping outside of the milieu control, even the slightest bit, you see that the things you've been taught simply don't add up and may in fact be wrong, THAT's Cognitive Dissonance. It's especially troubling when your indoctrination has emphasized the evils and grim outcomes in alternative views. When so much of what you've been raised to believe proves to have no foundation, merit, or integrity once the wind has blown against it, you do your own emotional and spiritual health/experience no favors by writing it off as "confusion". It isn't YOU that's the problem. I once used the following analogy to demonstrate Cognitive Dissonance...
"These men desire to eat oranges, and given God's relative silence about oranges and orange trees, they're coming up with their own methods and speaking on his behalf. The problem is, in their prideful ignorance they're planting lemon seeds. A little orange paint to create the illusion that the lemons are oranges, talk about things like "biblical" oranges and "godly" orange juice loudly enough and with feigned authority, and you can fool some of the spectators. All while the people forced to drink this "orange" juice, err, "godly orange juice", have puckered lips, because what they taste is sour. Their hearts and minds are distressed because orange juice is supposed to be sweet, and they MUST accept that what they're drinking is "godly" orange juice from "biblical" oranges or be labeled rebellious and face emotional retribution, but their taste buds are screaming "No mas!!!"
That's a bit more than confusion. That's spiritual, mental, and emotional abuse of someone having to deal with the inconsistencies of cultic doctrine and dogma.
This is why the patriarchal/quiverfull/dominionist groups treat their children as seeds planted in a jar. Follow the formulas outlined by the doctrines to produce a person defined and dominated by the doctrine - and preferably one who has been shielded by the jar from the outside elements which produce the "discordant noise". Milieu Control. A faithless approach.
Another element of Milieu Control is the control of information and perception, including the control of the literature that members of the group access. Group approved literature and sources of knowledge are stressed. In a recent article, Stacy McDonald relied on Webster's 1828 dictionary to define the word "abuse". Why is that? Milieu Control. Control of the source of information. My friend Jeanette pointed out the following description of Webster's 1828 via Vision Forum...
“This gigantic, oversized, heavy book is perhaps second only to the Bible in terms of importance in your home. When Noah Webster first published this book, he understood that whoever defined the words of a culture would capture that culture. So he sought to give the American people a dictionary in which words have meaning in terms of their relationship to Jesus Christ. In fact, this is the only comprehensive dictionary of the English language in print that seeks to communicate a distinctively biblical worldview, even to the point of using Scriptures in the definitions.
Your children can join the ranks of those generations of American leaders who were weaned on Webster. Our book is sturdy and well bound with acid-free paper and a gold foil stamp. A worthy investment."
Group approved. I would expect so, considering Webster's personal authoritarian views on state, society, religion, and family. But, seeing as how Webster himself revised the 1828 before his death, and also published his own translation of the bible, the Common Bible, where he "corrected" the grammar errors of the KJV, and deleted words that were no longer relevant, it seems strange. Oh my God!!! The man deleted words based on modern cultural relevance?!!! God help us all!!! As such, it seems more than a little purposefully ignorant that the patriarchal cult has determined to rely on a two century-old original dictionary version that even Webster, if he were alive today, would no longer rely on. But, thankfully for the cult, the 1828 wasn't influenced by the Great Whore and Satan of modern psychology. I mean, you can't even find a currently relevant definition of the mental aspect of "denial". How convenient is that for the P/QF cult?
In Christy Stouffer's recent review of Quivering Daughters, she diminishes the emotional and spiritual abuse suffered by Hillary McFarland and most QDs to "self-pity and discontent". In Stacy McDonald's recent article which "defines" abuse, she attempts to distinguish between "common abuse" and "damaging abuse" in an effort to diminish the abuses suffered by QDs, convincing them that what they've experienced are merely the trials associated with common, everyday life. In other words, "You're the problem here! Suck it up and get over it!"
This attempt to cast guilt on the abused is the defensive attempt to elevate doctrine over person and to reestablish Milieu Control in the arena of debate - "The system didn't fail. You did." I have to wonder...Is abuse "common" in their homes and churches? I mean, if it's "common" and all...
Professor Eileen Barker has done extensive studies on cults and abusive movements. Her cult checklist looks like this...
- A movement that separates itself from society, either geographically or socially;
- Adherents who become increasingly dependent on the movement for their view on reality;
- Important decisions in the lives of the adherents are made by others;
- Making sharp distinctions between us and them, divine and Satanic, good and evil, etc. that are not open for discussion;
- Leaders who claim divine authority for their deeds and for their orders to their followers;
- Leaders and movements who are unequivocally focused on achieving a certain goal.
Apply this to P/QF, to Steadfast Daughters, to Vision Forum, to ATI, and the like.
Scary, isn't it?
Much more to come on this subject.