The Dangers of a Digitally Controlled Dollar

There’s a trend going on in the U.S., and for that matter in the whole wide world.

It’s one that people for the most part, both here and abroad, haven’t had the time or inclination of late to focus their energies on.

The trend is toward a completely cashless society.

There is good reason to be afraid. The timeline for its arrival is on an accelerated trajectory.

Recently in our own country, the Biden administration moved America closer to the death knell of physical money by its exploration and potential implementation of a government-created digital currency.

Ever since the advent of cryptocurrencies, government officials around the globe have longed to get in on the digital money action.

The best known crypto is Bitcoin, which was created in 2009 by a software engineer who used the name Satoshi Nakamoto. Numerous other digital coins followed, including the second-most popular, Ethereum.

The exchange of cryptos occurs on decentralized computer networks and takes place between individuals who use their virtual accounts.

Cryptocurrencies are shared on tamper-proof records known as “blockchains.”

As most folks are aware, computers and devices hold gobs of information in the form of data. A blockchain provides a specialized manner in which to hold data. It records information in a way that prohibits hacking or alteration.

Blockchain data are not contained within a central server, but instead are shared across a vast network of computer systems.

The Biden administration is pursuing something called a central bank digital currency (CBDC), also sometimes referred to as the “digital dollar.”

In March 2022 an executive order was issued, calling on federal agencies to research a number of topics that include the pros and cons of the digital dollar.

The Treasury, Justice Department, Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, Securities and Exchange Commission as well as other agencies were asked to contribute to the reports.

After the agencies came up with their reports, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen publicly cited a Treasury Department recommendation that the United States “advance policy and technical work on a potential central bank digital currency, or CBDC, so that the United States is prepared if CBDC is determined to be in the national interest.”

On the current necessity for digital dollars, Yellen explained, “Right now, some aspects of our current payment system are too slow or too expensive.”

So here we are on our way to a world in which everyday money will be held in the form of CBDCs.

According to the nonpartisan think tank Atlantic Council, 105 countries, representing more than 95 percent of global gross domestic product, are currently in the process or have already created a CBDC.

With regard to the inherent dangers of these developments, there is a whole lot to be concerned about.

CBDCs are very different from cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are private and untraceable. CBDCs are controlled by government.

Not only are CBDCs able to collect personally identifiable financial information and track the transactions of each and every individual, they are also programmable.

Programmable digital currency gives government leaders something they have never had before – the ability to limit or even stop altogether the purchases of all persons engaged in the digital currency’s use.

Money spent on things that for whatever reasons are deemed by government as “inappropriate” could be restricted, or said purchases could be totally halted.

How could a plan such as this be implemented? With the flick of a virtual switch.

Programmable currency has the capacity to have a built-in off switch. The government powers that be could then de-activate such digital currency and render it worthless, if they so choose.

Additionally, use of CBDCs would enable all shopping records to be stored in government databanks. Records could then be evaluated and measured against government created standards.

The stored data on purchases could also be used to establish a social credit system much like the one already in place in China.

Thankfully, some lawmakers on Capitol Hill are paying attention to the issue and have submitted various pieces of legislation regarding cryptocurrency and other digital assets.

One championed by Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, stands out.

Sen. Cruz has introduced legislation to prohibit the Federal Reserve from issuing CBDCs directly to individuals. The Texas senator’s bill is co-sponsored by Senators Braun, R-Indiana, and Grassley, R-Iowa.

The legislation prohibits the Federal Reserve from developing a direct-to-consumer CBDC, which could be used by the federal government as a financial surveillance tool, among other things.

Should the digital dollar arrive in our virtual wallets, the longstanding U.S. motto that has graced our coin and paper currency is unlikely to be visible.

But it will prove to be more important than ever.

Justice Samuel Alito’s Words of Warning on Religious Freedom

Justice Samuel Alito recently delivered the keynote speech at Notre Dame Law School’s Religious Liberty Summit in Rome.

The justice’s participation in the conference came as a surprise to many, since his speaker role had not been announced in advance.

He is one of the present Supreme Court’s most fervent advocates of religious freedom.

As a member of the highest court in the land and as a Catholic Christian himself, he has firsthand knowledge of the importance of faith in a higher power and the freedom to express it, both to the individual and to the greater society at large.

The justice used the occasion of his Rome summit appearance to express his concern over potential effects that may result from a “growing hostility to religion.”

In addition to the highly publicized Roe reversal, the Supreme Court upheld religious rights in a number of rulings in which Justice Alito was with the majority.

Kennedy v. Bremerton protected the right of a high school football coach to lead students in prayer at games.

– Carson v. Makin determined that the state of Maine cannot discriminate in the funding of tuition at religious schools.

Morrissey v. Beru held that anti-discrimination laws cannot force religious schools to ignore incompatible beliefs of teachers.

– Shurtleff v. Boston ruled that Boston’s City Hall was not entitled to maintain a policy disallowing religious flags.

During his speech, Justice Alito expressed concern that as the world becomes more secular in nature, people will no longer understand the vital role that religion plays in society.

Additionally, if there is a growth of secularism in society and a simultaneous reduction of religious involvement, the free exercise of religion will be in jeopardy.

Emphasizing that the decline of faith in the Western world has contributed to an antagonism toward religious traditions, which conflict with the trending moral relativism held by a sizable segment of society, Justice Alito stated the following:

“The problem that looms is not just indifference to religion, it’s not just ignorance about religion. There’s also growing hostility to religion, or at least the traditional religious beliefs that are contrary to the new moral code that is ascendant in some sectors.”

He remarked that religious liberty is “under attack” by those who seek complete power.

The drive to obtain power over others is in direct opposition to the values that religious beliefs instill, which presents an enormous obstacle for those who seek to achieve such power.

He also pointed out that Christians have been persecuted for centuries. He listed examples from history in which faith-filled individuals endured horrific torture, such as that which occurred at the Colosseum.

He reminded audience members, too, about Nero’s purported macabre use of Christians “as human torches.”

Moving forward in history, Justice Alito stated that despite the persecution of the past “more Christians are killed for their faith in our time than in the bloody days of the Roman Empire.”

He discussed the current challenge for religious liberty in the United States and Europe, where large percentages of the population have abandoned religion and are therefore no longer interested in safeguarding it.

“Unless the people can be convinced that robust religious liberty is worth protecting, it will not endure,” he warned.

He also included in his talk the tragic treatment of people of various other faiths, including the victims of the Holocaust, the slaughter of Yazidi in Iraq by Isis, and China’s “unspeakable treatment” of the Uyghurs.

Justice Alito has been an integral member of the Supreme Court since 2006. He has authored majority opinions in numerous landmark cases, including the one that is now most familiar to the public, the recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade.

As an assistant solicitor general in the 1980s, he argued 12 cases before the Supreme Court, winning 10 of them.

Recognized as an ardent seeker of justice, after an FBI agent was shot in the line of duty in 1988, Justice Alito assigned himself to the case and secured the shooter’s conviction by personally handling the trial.

During the same year, he sought the re-hearing of extradition proceedings against two foreign nationals who were accused of being terrorist assassins. He had uncovered that death threats the prosecutor had received were actually sent to her by herself.

In the recent keynote speech in Rome, he raised the hackles of the compromised press and left-wing social media, when he made some humorous remarks about foreign leaders who had suddenly become legal analysts of the Dobbs opinion.

The objects of his lighthearted barbs included outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Prince Harry, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“I had the honor this term of writing, I think, the only Supreme Court decision in the history of that institution that has been lambasted by a whole string of foreign leaders who felt perfectly fine commenting on American law,” Justice Alito said, adding, “One of these was former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but he paid the price.”

As the audience broke into applause and laughter, he quipped, “Post hoc ergo propter hoc, right?” a reference to the logical fallacy that creates a questionable causal relationship between two events that follow each other in time.

The justice kidded about a speech that Prince Harry gave at the United Nations in which the royal tried to give a lecture on American jurisprudence and described the Supreme Court’s decision overruling Roe as a “rolling back of constitutional rights” in the U.S.

“What really wounded me was when the Duke of Sussex addressed the United Nations and seemed to compare the decision, whose name may not be spoken, with the Russian attack on Ukraine,” he said.

The reaction of many leftists to Justice Alito’s speech suggests that the reason hostility against him continues may be because he remains delightfully unfazed by their hate campaign. In fact, he consistently projects a personal optimism and professional demeanor.

One theme of his speech that truly stands out was meant to inform and/or remind people of how fragile religious freedom really is.

“We can’t assume that the religious liberty we enjoy today will always endure,” he said.

He encouraged us all to be bold in our advocacy of freedom of religion, and in closing gave us the following scriptural reference to cling to:

“The champions of religious liberty who go out as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves can expect to find hearts that are open to their message.”

Words to live by and to share.

Glenn Beck and Fellow Citizens to the Rescue in Afghanistan

On August 18, 2021, syndicated radio talk show host Glenn Beck launched an effort to raise tens of millions of dollars for a non-profit entity called the Nazarene Fund.

The purpose of the fundraising effort was to raise money, which was to be earmarked for an ambitious and highly dangerous task; that being, to try and rescue thousands of Christians and at-risk Afghans following the Biden administration’s abrupt withdrawal of the U.S. military from Afghanistan.

Within a few weeks Beck had reportedly raised more than $30 million. As of this writing, he and his organization have used the funds to save 5,200 people from the group that is holding the innocent captive, the Taliban.

Beck’s daring mission was given a major assist, which arrived in the form of a private jet that would help facilitate the venture to the Middle East. The owner of the aircraft is a familiar name to many of the Christian faithful, televangelist Kenneth Copeland.

Beck used the jet to travel to an undisclosed Middle East location that is serving as a base for the rescue effort.

In a video posted to his Twitter account, Beck shared how immensely grateful he is to the Kenneth Copeland Ministries for providing the airplane that assisted in making the rescue effort possible.

He also indicated that The Nazarene Fund is not being used to pay for his travel costs. Instead, he is paying for his own expenses.

In a Twitter video, Beck discussed the financing of the project.

“We view your money as sacred money. It’s like tithing to me,” he said.

“None of my travels or my team’s travels, none of it is paid for by the Nazarene Fund. I insisted it. Not a single meal, not a cupcake-and yes there will be cupcakes on this trip. Everything is paid personally by me,” Beck noted.

Those who have been saved through his efforts from the clutches of the ruthless have been relocated to a number of undisclosed countries.

In a post on Facebook, he explained that those who had been left behind in Afghanistan had experienced the freedom of “being able to say I’m a Christian” because of the protection provided by the United States.

Tragically, that very protection quickly evaporated prior to their delivery to safety.

“We will not forget those left behind,” Beck said. “Our mission there gets tougher and more dangerous.”

Lord David Alton, a British politician known for his humanitarian efforts, praised Beck for his rescue work.

“As the world abandons Afghan minorities to the Taliban,” Lord Alton wrote, “Glenn Beck — emulating Oscar Schindler — did something about it, putting into practice the injunction to ‘rescue those who are being taken away to death…and those stumbling to the slaughter.’”

Beck is part of a valiant effort, one, however, that sadly is not being conducted by our government but instead by private individuals and groups

An example of the type of non-governmental efforts that are taking place is an operation called “Pineapple Express,” in which a volunteer group of U.S. military veterans have been assisting hundreds of Afghan elite forces and their families to exit Afghanistan.

A leader of the effort, retired Green Beret commander Lt. Col. Scott Mann, provided an explanation to ABC News regarding the operation.

“Dozens of high-risk individuals, families with small children, orphans, and pregnant women, were secretly moved through the streets of Kabul throughout the night and up to just seconds before ISIS detonated a bomb into the huddled mass of Afghans seeking safety and freedom,” Lt. Col. Mann stated.

Rescue efforts have become even more urgent in light of the reports that the Taliban has been preventing planes containing American passengers from leaving the country.

Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has said that he received classified briefings indicating that American citizens and Afghan allies are stuck at an airport in northern Afghanistan and have been unable to leave, despite approval from the State Department.

“In fact we have six airplanes at Mazar-i-Sharif airport, six airplanes, with American citizens on them as I speak, also with these interpreters, and the Taliban is holding them hostage for demands right now,” McCaul told Fox News.

As Virginia Rep. Rob Wittman recently told Newsmax’s “Wake Up America,” the U.S. citizens left behind by their own nation are “hostages by any definition.”

“Here’s the Taliban trying to shake down the United States,” Rep. Wittman said. “By any measure, you would say they’re being held as hostages. That needs to be addressed immediately.”

Unfortunately, the only hope for those left behind right now seems to be in the hands of private citizens who are willing to take matters into their own hands, just like Beck has done.

In a recent Instagram post, he criticized the Biden administration for its inaction.

“Biden will only take people [that] the cartels will charge, exploit and rape. Certainly, not those other people that are marked for death because of his policies,” Beck stated.

As his Afghanistan rescue efforts began to show real results, Beck posted a rallying cry on his Facebook page for those private citizens and organizations engaging in the difficult, but noble pursuit of delivering their fellow human beings from evil.

“America does care! America does not leave her own and the most vulnerable behind. WE CAN DO IT AS THE POWER IS WITH THE PEOPLE. We are America not our government. When they can’t do it, private citizens step to the plate,” the post read.

Down the Path to a One World Religion

The Bishop of Rome recently held a historic meeting with the chief figure in Shia Islam, the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

One phrase was repeatedly used in press reports to describe the coming together of the Pope and Sistani; that being, “interfaith dialogue.”

Interfaith dialogue is an organized effort to engage in a discussion of beliefs, along with a sharing of religious and/or cultural-community oriented practices, which takes place between people of differing faiths.

The goal of such a dialogue is to break down barriers between adherents of differing faiths, and once accomplished purportedly leads to world peace.

Any attempt to persuade others to one’s religious way of thinking, i.e., evangelization, is an unwelcome guest in the interfaith dialogue arena.

In a very real way, it is seemingly a prerequisite that those involved in interfaith activities must first embrace the notion that no single religion could possibly lay claim to the “truth.”

A religious ideology that asserts this sort of exclusivity with regard to truth is considered to be an obstacle to the attainment of harmony in the world.

With this in mind, participants in interfaith dialogue must come to the discussion table with an open mind toward the acceptance of so-called multiple truths, as well as an openness with regard to the welcoming of multiple means of worshipping a deity or deities.

So who wouldn’t want world peace?

Well, it’s not what it appears to be.

Back in early 2019, an interfaith agreement was signed by Pope Francis and a different Muslim leader, the Sunni Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb.

Their meeting produced a written document that states the “diversity of religions” that exist in the world were “willed by God.”

The implication is that the hundreds of different religions in the world are all equally acceptable to the Creator of the Universe. Millions would beg to differ.

In 2016 a video released by the Vatican appears to similarly indicate that different religions are all just assorted paths to God. In the footage, the Pontiff expresses that although faiths may be “seeking God or meeting God in different ways,” we are all “children of God.”

Interfaith dialogue denies one crucially important reality; that being, there are incompatible fundamental distinctions between the deeply held beliefs of differing religions throughout the world.

Because of this fact, it is impossible for religions to be combined or somehow blended together, without suffering the loss of the vital integrity of the respective faiths.

In order to pursue the goals of interfaith dialogue, participants must act as though such differences do not exist. They must also accept and espouse that contradictory beliefs can be reconciled.

Other thorny issues have arisen, which pose additional problems for the interfaith movement. There are so-called faith entities that have adopted the practice of worshipping an anti-deity or deities; in other words, they are involved in occult beliefs and practices.

They, too, would like to be part of the movement. Don Frew provides an example.

Frew is a Wiccan Elder and a high priest of a coven in Berkeley, California. He has been involved in interfaith work for more than 30 years. He has served on the Board of the Berkeley Area Interfaith Council and is also a National Interfaith Representative for one of the largest and oldest Wiccan organizations.

Obviously, for those of the Jewish and Christian faiths, there could never be a reconciling of their beliefs with an organization such as Frew’s.

It is literally the First of the Ten Commandments: No other gods before me. That pretty much ends the discussion on multiple truths.

The bottom line is that the interfaith movement is a deceptive one. Its supposed goal is peace, but its hidden motive is to blend faiths together into a one world religion.

A one world religion would do away with the centuries-old religious tenets of millions. It would also be at odds with a belief system that is written on the hearts of human beings around the globe. And it totally conflicts with the essence of our souls to believe what we choose to believe.

In the context of this so-called interfaith dialogue, these fundamental principles are non-negotiable.

Music to Crossover Artists’ Ears

Music is the soundtrack of our lives. Or so it’s been said.

But there really is something to it.

Music makes us happy when we’re feeling low. Dance when we didn’t know we could. Rest when there’s no way to sleep. Try when we’ve already given up. Laugh when we feel like screaming. And cry when the tears have run dry.

For a lot of us the music soundtrack has been cradle lullabies, toddler rhymes, grade school chants, high school musicals, college choirs, graduation themes, heartache tunes, romance ballads, wedding marches…Then it starts all over again.

The soundtrack of our lives is typically personalized for each of us, i.e., it takes on different forms for individuals and societal groups. In the music business, this is what the industry calls “genres.” Grammys are handed out in the different genres, or categories, by the droves.

There is one category of music that started out rather small, and in relative terms, not that long ago. It slowly grew in popularity and at one point seemed to take off like a race car.

The official category is Christian Music. In contrast to the musical and vocal performances that were heard in the traditional hymns of the past, contemporary Christian Music has a style that, aside from the lyrics, is many times indistinguishable from Billboard’s Pop, Rock, or Country categories.

Christian Music grew from a folk rock fringe type of music in the 1960s to become a major genre, which has been embraced by a huge segment of the population that is seeking positive-oriented music as well as lyric content that sets forth faith expressions and timeless truths.

“Crossover” is a term used in the music business to describe a performer or song that appeals to two or more types of audiences that represent two or more types of musical genres.

A Christian Music performer is catapulted into the arena of crossover artist when he or she starts out being marketed to Christian-oriented outlets and venues, but additionally finds that sales of recordings are selling in other mainstream markets as well.

The reverse may sometimes also come to fruition. An artist who starts out as a mainstream pop performer, but whose music and/or lyrics contain themes that Christians can relate to, may also find a newfound audience in one or more crossover categories.

Amy Grant was one of the earlier Christian artists to make the leap into crossover. In the 1980s and 1990s, Grant segued from a sole Christian audience to an additional pop music audience as well.

In 2001 a little known Christian performer named Katy Hudson released an album to Christian outlets, but the recording didn’t quite lead to the desired success. Crossover magic happened when Katy Hudson changed her marketing strategy, and her name, to Katy Perry.

Carrie Underwood became a mainstream success after winning the 2005 fourth season of “American Idol.” She highlighted her Christian faith in many of her recordings, including “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” “Temporary Home,” and “Something in the Water.” In 2020, Underwood released a faith-filled Christmas album titled “My Gift” that added to her crossover credentials.

Other notable Christian crossover artists from country music ranks include Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Rascal Flatts, and Brooks & Dunn.

The notion of the Christian crossover artist reached unprecedented heights rather recently with the popularity and success of two super star level artists: Lauren Daigle and Kanye West.

Two-time Grammy Award winner and multi-platinum selling Christian music artist Daigle is a consummate crossover, having expanded her audience from her original Christian fans to the world of mainstream pop.

Daigle’s single “You Say” experienced record-breaking success on the Christian and Pop Billboard charts. The song held the number one position for all of 2020, its second straight year, and is the longest-running No. 1 title ever to appear on the weekly Hot Christian Songs chart.

For the last three years in a row Billboard has named Daigle the Top Christian Artist.

Then there’s Kanye. He’s not only one of the best-selling artists of all time, he’s among the most critically acclaimed artists in the whole world. Winner of twenty-one Grammy Awards, Kanye has earned praise from music critics, industry peers, cultural figures, and fans from Hip-Hop to Christian.

Kanye’s song “Follow God” placed second on the 2020 Billboard Hot Christian Songs list. His album “Jesus Is King” landed number two on the Top Christian Albums year-end chart. He was the leading Christian male artist of 2020, according to Billboard, as well as the year’s top Gospel Artist. His album simultaneously placed high on multiple charts.

Kanye is best known as a super star rapper, but over the course of his career he didn’t shy away from featuring his Christian beliefs. After his song “Jesus Walks” became a hit, he was quoted in the New York Times on the nature of his faith.

“I will say that I’m spiritual. I have accepted Jesus as my Savior. And I will say that I fall short every day,” Kanye shared.

During a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show, he was asked by Kimmel if he would consider himself to be a Christian music artist, now that he had committed himself fully to Christianity.

Kanye replied in a way that may have been thought provoking for the host and viewing audience as well.

“I’m just a Christian everything,” he said.

When Two Thoughts Collide

It was the day I, Ella, finally made up my mind to run as far and fast as I could. Todd was the only person I would tell. He holds my secrets and I hold his.

It’s been that way ever since we met in Mr. Evan’s class ten years ago. I would never have made it this far if he hadn’t been there to tell me that “everything always looks better in the morning.” Even when things didn’t, he could make me believe that someday they would.

I gathered up a bunch of stuff that I thought I’d need to get me through the next couple of weeks. Backpack loaded, I slipped out the slider door.

It would turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes that I would ever make. But it would also lead me to some of life’s greatest awakenings.

I headed to a spot where the family had vacationed when we were actually a family. North of Ventura, it had a small town feel, yet was still a place where work could be found and people didn’t ask a lot of questions.

There was a bulletin board in the coffee shop that the locals checked out each day. One post caught my eye. It was an invitation to a “meet and greet.” Just what I needed – friends.

I was met by smiling faces, soothing music, and a home-style meal. Couldn’t wait till the next meet-up.

Cecie was the outgoing one. Such a free spirit, so self-assured, and so much fun to be with. Jeanie was more soft spoken, loved one-on-one conversations, and was as bright as she was beautiful. Geoff led with his intellect and entertained with his wit.

Then there was Peter. He was the proverbial high school star quarterback, prom king, and class valedictorian all rolled into one. He owned any room he walked into along with everything in it. Like everyone else, I was awestruck by his confidence and demeanor.

The fifth meeting was so different from all the others. I had moved in with my newfound friends and was contributing to the household. Meetings had become more formal. Conversations centered on more intellectual, philosophical, and spiritual subjects. More and more it seemed that my roommates were delving into my background, family connections, and friends on the outside.

There was some drug use going on, but mostly only pot. And there were some love interests and interactions, but nothing that you wouldn’t see in your typical college dorm.

At first things didn’t bother me. But as time passed, I started to feel uncomfortable. Not really knowing why, I wrote the discomfort off as just “feelings.”

Little daily pleasantries, like catching up on the news, checking out social media, or texting a friend, especially Todd, started to be sort of frowned upon. Hard to explain, but the pressure to just be with our own little group began to build.

Sleep started to elude me and confusing thoughts plagued me.

“What’s happening to me?” I whispered.

Voice to self: “Ella, am I still here?”

*********************

This is Ella’s story. But it is also the story of thousands of others who have been caught in the grip of a destructive cult.

– The young woman was at a vulnerable point in her life, ripe for recruiting.

– Her immediate physical needs were being attended to, supplying her with comfort and security.

– Friendships were cultivated, satisfying one of the most basic human needs for companionship and love.

After being lavished with attention and affection, through a process that cult experts characterize as “love bombing,” Ella was sufficiently conditioned to let her guard down.

This is the point at which some future benefit is “presented.” A cult recruit like Ella is programmed to believe that the dominant trusted friend (cult leader), along with the other trusted members of the group (fellow cult members), know the secret path to enlightenment, power, personal happiness, and other such things related to the nature of the cult in question.

There’s a catch, though. The cult recruit must now agree to conform with cult beliefs, requirements, and protocols in order to gain access to the “wisdom” and “benefits” that the inner members enjoy.

One of the most powerful forms of conditioning that an individual can be subjected to is the inducement of “cognitive dissonance.”

This term was first used by social psychologist Leon Festinger to describe a tension in the human mind that arises because of the presence of two or more beliefs, which are unable to coexist, thereby creating a conflict.

Human beings naturally seek harmony. If there is a disruption of mental consistency, this will place an individual or individuals into a vulnerable state. Destructive cults seek first to induce this state and then to exploit it.

Wildly false messages and directives are communicated repeatedly, which generates mental tension, i.e., cognitive dissonance, and softens up the cult recruit for further mental conditioning. Eventually, the cult recruit is likely to accept big lies as truths.

In fact, if some contrary concrete evidence is actually presented to a conditioned cult member, he or she will many times stubbornly reject the facts and even double-down on a false belief.

This phenomenon is something Festinger calls “belief perseverance.”

It is a sign that a soul has taken another ill-fated step toward total mind control.

‘Cult’ Is in the Eye of the Beholder

The word “cult” has been in and out of public discourse for many decades.

For a lot of people, just the sound of the word piques interest and a natural curiosity, likely due to the initial dictionary definition.

So let’s take a look at some dictionary definitions.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the word “cult” as “a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious.”

The Cambridge Dictionary defines the word “cult” as “a religious group, often living together, whose beliefs are considered extreme or strange by many people.”

For years the freedoms that we have enjoyed in our country have allowed us to engage in unorthodox religions, if we so chose.

These same freedoms also allowed us, if we so chose, to live together with others who shared our beliefs, regardless of whether society generally considered the beliefs to be extreme or strange.

Of course, those who had chosen to participate in what some in society perceived as, or even specifically designated as, a “cult” still had to abide by existing laws.

Now over the course of time, the word “cult” began to be used more frequently. It also began to be applied more broadly and even took on a negative connotation, which then allowed it to be used to insult or disparage an individual or group.

I contend that the word “cult” has actually crept into our common vernacular and is creating a significant problem. Because societal members think they are talking to one another, when they are really talking past one another.

They are operating on distinctly different denotations and connotations of the word, which will inevitably result in confusion and friction between parties.

Sadly, some people are simply unaware of what is taking place. Other people are being deliberately provocative and are actually desirous of the negative outcomes that are flowing.

Let’s delve a little deeper into cults themselves.

Cults were initially and more commonly associated with religion. But as I mentioned earlier in this article, the definition has broadened over time and may now encompass types other than religious ones, such as ideological, communal, etc.

Psychologist Sharon Farber distinguishes between groups that are merely unconventional religious organizations from those that she calls “destructive cults.”

According to Farber, destructive cults are “groups that use manipulative techniques and mind control to heighten suggestibility and subservience.”

She writes that these destructive cults “tend to isolate recruits from former friends and family in order to promote total dependence on the group.”

These are the dangerous groups that employ mind control techniques to become the sole masters of the individual or individuals, whom they seek to subjugate. The end goal is to break down will and obliterate individuality.

“The aim is to advance the goals of the group’s leaders, which is to have total control over members,” Farber explains.

A powerful tool used by dangerous cult leaders to control the minds of their members is the creation of cognitive dissonance.

Human beings have an innate need to seek intelligibility and maintain order within their minds in accordance with what they perceive to be the outside world.

“Dissonance,” a word borrowed from the world of music, comes from the word “disharmony,” which is an unpleasant combination of musical notes.

In the event a conflict exists between an individual’s thoughts, emotions, and/or behaviors, he or she will feel compelled to reduce such a conflict and seek resolution.

Cognitive dissonance occurs when what one is doing is at odds with one’s worldview and internal belief system.

Dangerous cult leaders are those who deliberately try to foment dissonance within the minds of others, specifically those whom they seek to control.

This may be accomplished by denying an individual or individuals the access to certain information, while oftentimes simultaneously conveying misinformation or disinformation.

The ultimate goal is to successfully manipulate the thinking process, emotional state, and outward behavior of those that the dangerous cult leader or leaders seek to control.

In an effort to secure this goal, members are separated from family, friends, and peers and are typically kept in isolation for extended periods of time.

Materials that may serve to undermine a dangerous cult message, i.e., newspapers, television, the internet, and the like, are kept away from the individual or individuals, who are in the process of being conditioned.

The emotional state of the individual or individuals, which is oftentimes the more insidious portal of access, may be further manipulated through use of contradictory messaging that quickly transitions; this may result in the experience of numerous emotions moving rapidly from one to another, which imparts the sensation of intense instability.

Indoctrination may also be accomplished by severely filtering the content of the information that is allowed to be seen by the individual or individuals, so only that which will reinforce the dangerous cult narrative is permitted.

Dangerous cults manipulate language itself, with certain words and phrases being banished from use and others undergoing a constant redefinition.

Isolation continues to grow in length and depth, and the individual or individuals being conditioned are further manipulated into thinking ill of people and circumstances that exist outside of cult bounds.

When dangerous cults implement these types of mind control techniques, the consequences are destructive to the very inner essence of the human being, according to Farber.

This kind of cultic mind control is “the intentional attempt to stamp out or compromise the separate identity of another person,” Farber asserts.

Esteemed psychoanalyst Leonard Shengold calls it “soul murder.”