The Power Of Loaded Language In The World Mission Society Church Of God
One characteristic of a cult is the use of loaded language. For example, the cult of Scientology has two dictionaries of words that have been redefined within the group. For example, Scientologists refer to critics as “SP’s” or “suppressive persons.” Groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses use loaded language that is similarly defined by other cults. Jehovah’s Witnesses, like the World Mission Society Church of God, are conditioned to refer to their doctrine as “the truth,” making it difficult for members to question inconsistencies in the group’s doctrine or the actions of the leadership.
The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché. The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly selective, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed. They become the start and finish of any ideological analysis.
Is every group that uses loaded language a cult?
You might be thinking, other groups such as college fraternities and the military have language that is specific to the members within those groups. The difference between those groups and cults are the reasons why loaded language is used as we explain in more detail below.
What does loaded language accomplish?
- redefines words
- shuts down critical thinking, also known as thought-stopping
- triggers emotional or psychological responses
- isolates the group, making it difficult to communicate with outsiders
- internalizes the ideology of the group
In the movie Ticket to Heaven, cult members of a group very similar to the WMSCOG, chanted “stamp out doubt” as a thought-stopping technique when they heard something negative about the group. World Mission Society Church of God members are taught to pray immediately if they experience any doubts.
What are some examples of loaded language in the World Mission Society Church of God?
|“God Bless You”||hello, goodbye, thank you, must be said with a bow||Bolsters the “us vs. them” mentality (insiders vs. outsiders). Bowing encourages humility among members despite their outright arrogance.|
|“Dorm”||home, apartment, dwelling||The church is referred to as “home”. Causes the person to view the place where they sleep as their dorm and the church as the place they will spend most, if not all, of their free time.|
|“Physical Family”||parents, siblings, other blood relatives||Fellow members who observe WMSCOG doctrine become the spiritual family. Facilitates a disconnect from the member’s “physical family” (spouse, parents, children, etc.).|
|“Slanderers”||anyone who says anything negative about the WMSCOG||Ad hominem attack on critics so that they are immediately perceived not to have any credibility.|
|“Ten Talents Movement”||ten new recruits||Campaign for members to recruit at least 10 new members in 2010.|
|“Preaching”||recruiting||Applies a religious meaning to an activity that can be viewed as soliciting.|
|“Branch”||member who recruited you||Similar to what multi-level marketing groups refer to as your “upline.”|
|“Fruit”||members you recruit||Similar to what multi-level marketing groups refer to as your “downline.”|
|“Fragrance”||public confession||See Robert J. Lifton’s definition of the Cult of Confession here.|
|“Idol”/”Thorn”||any person, thing or activity that interferes with the member’s ability to fulfill all of the group’s requirements||Applies a negative connotation to normal things such as sleep, a romantic relationship, work, friends, etc., that the cult views as an obstacle in the indoctrination process.|
|“Satan”||anyone who attempts to take the member’s time away from the cult or criticizes the group||Enables the view that anyone who interferes with the cult’s agenda is evil and “fighting against god.” See the Us vs. Them Mentality here.|
|“Being Physical”||curiosity or concern over the leaders’ history or anything non-religious such as asking if Ahn Sahng Hong was married and had children||Keeps the member’s focus on what the cult decides is important. The leadership is seen as perfect despite the contradiction between the doctrine and the leader’s behavior.|
|“Your Own Mind”||a member’s individual thoughts and opinions that do not line up with the cult’s ideology||Encourages members not to trust their own thoughts. More on this here.|
*This is in not an all inclusive list.
Why is this important?
The use of loaded language can be an early sign that the indoctrination process is taking hold of the individual. Early detection is key in preventing someone from fully committing to membership within a cult, or other group that exerts undue influence over individuals’ lives. Because the newly recruited member wants to fit in and be able to communicate with other members in the group, he or she will adopt the cult’s loaded language relatively quickly. When a member first joins the World Mission Society Church of God, those closest to the member may begin to notice changes in their loved one’s manner of speaking. Indoctrinated WMSCOG members have been said to sound robotic. Members who’s first language is English, begin to sound like Korean members who speak English with a Korean accent. Members also presumptuously use the word “actually” quite often in conversation when speaking to those outside of the group. For examples of this, see long term members Rebecca Gardner and John Power‘s interviews with The Today Show journalist Ronan Farrow.
I was a member for 9 years. I last attended in 2019. I just wanted to say that I appreciate what you’re doing here with your website. This is all so accurate and spot on. “Own mind” *cringe* How extraordinarily harmful those words were for me. I became a shell of a person filled with self-hatred (the goal). Reading all of this does make me uncomfortable, because it brings back the experience, but I’m glad to be on the other side of all of it. I had a mental breakdown from the pressure of it all (I was there 7 days a week for years and was terrified of the end of the world) and it wasn’t until I had that break from attending that I allowed myself to really explore the doubts I had. I decided to “eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil” and go on the internet to look up some things I had been wondering about, and it was a lot to take in.
It took a while for me to drop the language. It was my therapist, who specializes in cults, who pointed out the way I was speaking, and that that was part of the mind control. I still can’t talk about the Bible without my voice falling back into that…accent. Anyway, I hope this site helps people.