Cults, Terror, and Mind Control

Though differing in appearance and purpose, cults and terrorist organizations nevertheless share many of the same essential dynamics. Both exploit the basic human need to belong;  both feed on feelings of alienation and marginalization so common in the world today. In addition, both use similar mind control techniques to control members and maintain adherence.

With examples from numerous groups and first-hand accounts of individuals who survived their involvement, the book Cults, Terror, and Mind Control explains:

·        the nature and history of cults and terrorist groups

·        how cults and terrorist groups share the same psychological dynamics

·        who is vulnerable

·        what is mind control

·        the attraction of these groups and how hard it is to extricate yourself once involved


About the Author

Raphael Aron is the Director of the Gateway Family Counselling Centre in Melbourne, and Director of Cult Counselling Australia. His previous books include Cults: Too Good to be True (HarperCollins), and Believe: From Addiction to Redemption (Fontaine).



“Raphael Aron is a counselor and therapist who has dedicated 35 years to working with individuals involved with cults. This book represents the cumulative understanding he has gained from his personal observation of cults and from his experiences as a therapist dealing with the psychological damage caused by cults … Aron clearly understands the psychology of cults … a very welcome addition to the growing literature on the similarities of cults and terrorist groups.”

—Dr. Anthony Stahelski, Professor, Psychology Department at Central Washington University


“Raphael Aron challenges our ideas about the role of mind control and the part that it plays in cults and terrorist groups—and provides an interesting new take on how terrorism might be countered.”

—Professor Clive Williams MG, Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism at Macquarie University, Australia


Table of Contents



1.     The Evolution of Cults and Terror

Cults: An Overview

Terrorism: An Overview

Cults, Terror, and the Internet

2.     Understanding Mind Control

What Is Mind Control?

Does It Exist?

Eight Characteristics of Mind Control

Control of Behavior, Thoughts, Emotions

Information and the Environment

Unfreezing, Changing, and Refreezing 

Mind Control and Culpability

3.     The Subtle Process of Recruitment

Who Is Vulnerable?

Entering a Cult or Terrorist Group

Cults, Terrorism, and Religious Fundamentalism

4.     Delving Deeper into Extremism

Terrorism and Cultism

Debunking Myths about Terrorism

The Cult of Hitler

Philosophy of Hate—The Christian Identity Movement

5.     The Tragic Ramifications of Mind Control

Fundamentalism and Exclusivity

Personality Breakdown

The Destruction of Innocence—Mind Control and Children

Victimizing the Mentally Ill

6.     The Dilemma for Families

The Role of Family and Community

The Value of Certainty

7.     Responding to Cults—A Role for Governments and Lawmakers

Cults, Civil Liberties, and Religious Freedom

Cults and Courts

Government Intervention

Government Control

8.     Responding to the Terrorist Threat

Mind Control and Manipulation

Misinterpretation and Martyrdom




The Doomsday Document