“You Cannot Use Your Own Mind To Interpret The Bible”

In previous articles, we examined experts Robert J. Lifton and Steven Hassan’s destructive mind control group models, and found characteristics of both models present in our experience at the World Mission Society Church of God. In a book titled, Twisted Scriptures by Mary Alice Chrnalogar (former member of an abusive discipleship group) describes abusive churches often using Anti-Intellect teachings to disorient members.  Chrnalogar states:

Members who are convinced that their intellects are evil or all their human perspectives self-centered are forced to rely more on the group’s guidance, because they cannot trust their own thoughts. Accepting this belief leads members to accept the group’s views to a much greater degree. If members cannot trust their own thoughts, then in good conscience they must reject what they are thinking. You can see that this is a clever move because members are more likely to give up their personal convictions, leaving them empty and vulnerable to the group’s and leader’s ideas without it being ‘forced on them’.

Mary Alice Chrnalogar pages 120-121

What Does Joo Cheol Kim Say?

Joo Cheol Kim, WMSCOG’s general pastor, makes it clear in his book titled “My Sheep Listen to My Voice” (1990) that using your own mind apparently has pitfalls:

The standard of discerning truth from falsehood is only God and the Bible, not the opinions of men.

Joo Cheol Kim page 49

Satan blinds the minds of people so that they cannot distinguish the truth from falsehood, and leads them to neglect the holy commandments of God. Satan gives them a spirit of stupor, so that they cannot know how to worship no other gods other than the true God–how to observe the first commandment.

Joo Cheol Kim page 169

To realize the words of God, we ought to forsake our own thoughts and accept only the words of God in humility.

Joo Cheol Kim page 313

The above statements have the potential not only to manipulate members into relinquishing common sense and critical thinking, but also serve the purpose of distinguishing WMSCOG members from those that do not accept the WMSCOG doctrine by labeling outsiders as slanderers, “self-centered”, opinionated, false, blinded and given a “spirit of stupor” by Satan.  Acceptance and belief of the above statements by members designates the WMSCOG as the ultimate authority over interpretation of the Bible.

Do Other Controversial Groups Make the Same Claim?

Jehovah’s Witnesses consider themselves to be the “infallible interpreters of the Bible” (Watchtower 1930 vol. 2, p.8) and even have their own Bible interpretation called the New World Translation.  Do they similarly advise their members not to “use their own thoughts” when reading the Bible?

Jehovah’s Witnesses:

“First, since “oneness” is to be observed, a mature Christian must be in unity and full harmony with fellow believers as far as faith and knowledge are concerned. He does not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding. Watchtower 2001 Aug 1 p.14

“From time to time, there have arisen from among the ranks of Jehovah’s people those, who, like the original Satan, have adopted an independent, faultfinding attitude…They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such ‘Bible reading,’ they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom’s clergy were teaching …” Watchtower 1981 Aug 15 p.29

The Jehovah’s Witnesses label those that dismiss their doctrine as apostates, opinionated, having private ideas, independent, and faultfinding.  It seems that a member of the Jehovah’s Witness doctrine, may also feel compelled to reject their own thoughts and leave it up to the organization to interpret the Scriptures for them.  Is this any different from what Joo Cheol Kim teaches with his statements?

Trinity Foundation:

The Trinity Foundation, lead by Ole Anthony, is another controversial religious group.  Ole Anthony has made statements similar to those made by the Joo Cheol Kim and the Watchtower Society.

“The biggest lie of modern Christianity is the idea of spiritual growth. Any effort on our part to become more like Christ is utter sin – for it is self-effort and God abhors the self. Trying to be a good Christian (reading your Bible, praying more, etc.) by your own self-efforts is pure vanity.”

“I don’t care about your silly schools of thought derived by man. I’m about real truth.”

Ole Anthony labels the thoughts of outsiders of his organization as vain, sinful, silly lies.


According to Lifton’s thought reform model, when a destructive mind control group is successful in convincing members that their own thoughts are bad, evil, or sinful, members are left with no other option but to depend on the group to make all of the decisions for them.  This includes Scriptural interpretation and guidance.  Members may then be vulnerable and easily mislead.  Members can become like putty in the leader’s hands.

If you are a WMSCOG member reading this article, ask yourself why the WMSCOG would need to employ tactics that other cults groups use, to convince you of the truth?

*The photo above is licensed under the Creative Commons license, available here.

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  1. truthwillsetmefree says

    good question 🙂

  2. eric says

    The Bible is a book. It is not self-interpreting. Therein lies the problem.

    Jesus did not found/wrote a book and said “Refer to this when in doubt.” Holy scriptures recorded His actions: He founded a Church – a body of believers – with authority to preach/teach/baptise. He singled out a lead shepherd – Peter – to lead the Church after He ascended to heaven – “Feed my lambs”. This Church will not fall into error. God literally forbid it – “…the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”
    The Church as willed by Him is not a democracy. Jesus granted authority to His lead shepherd to head the Church and obedience is the necessary consequence. This is the DNA of the Church. This (true) Church is ever ancient (circa AD 33) and ever new (2017). Go find this Church with such a DNA. Not one founded in 1964 or re-emerged from a supposedly failed Church sometime in the past.

  3. eric says

    To continue….
    Because the Bible is not self-interpreting as mentioned in previous posting, hence there is a need for a referee to settle a dispute or an area of differing views over a moral or doctrinal issue. The referee’s judgement is final and all must abide by it. This was how the early Church settled the issue of circumcision. There was a referee. If there was no referee, there would be division between church members and possible splintering of the church (this is a favourite tactic of the Evil one: to divide and scatter).
    Not anyone can just step in to be a referee. Christ hand-picked a referee. It was the one who previously denied Him 3 times – Peter. He gave the keys to Peter: “whatever you bind on earth, will be bound in heaven.” And this was the blueprint of the divine Founder for His Church – it was always to have a referee. That is how the unity of the faith (its doctrines) is preserved.

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