Brainwashing Archive

You'll find articles about this subject in each of the items listed, even if the term does not necessarily occur within the headlines or descriptive text.

Man who claimed he was brainwashed by religious group wins back house he gave away

A man who claimed he was ‘brainwashed‘ into signing over his £800,000 home to a spiritual guru has won a court battle to get his property back, the Daily Mail reports.

Richard Curtis, 53, and his wife Fiananda were active members of a the guru’s controversial ‘healing centre’ and donated their farmhouse and possessions to their leader, Rena Denton.

Miss Denton – who prefers to be known as Mata Yogananda Mahasaya Dharma – is the 79-year-old ‘spiritual head’ and founder of the Self Realization Meditation Centres movement, which has been described by some critics as a ‘cult‘.

Denton is said to have viewed herself as next in line to Paramahansa Yogananda, founder of the Self Realization Fellowship. When the movement did not recognize her claims she started her own ‘spiritual healing group.’

[The Self Realization Healing Meditation Centre] is run by self-styled guru leader Denton, and professes to teach life skills, yoga and philosophy, from its base in the village of Queen Camel, near Yeovil, Somerset.

On the centre’s website she is described as a ‘Master’ who was ‘asked by the Divine Power […] to be a Guru in this age, to the many souls who are awakening and seeking Universal Truth, Unconditional Love and Wisdom, within and without’.

It has been using Mr. Curtis’ house as an alternative center for its activities.

Mr Curtis left the religious group after discovering his 48-year-old wife was having an affair with another man, the Daily Mail says.

The intelligence specialist then sued the organisation, a registered charity in which followers are referred to as ‘disciples’, to get his house back, claiming he had been ‘brainwashed’.

In July 2009 another former follower sued Denton for the £750 he gave her:

Dr Yehu Azaz says he was ‘unduly influenced’ by guru Rena Denton into donating all his money and assets.

The 50-year-old also gave up a promising medical career to work at the centre for little or no pay, the High Court in London heard. […]

He was allegedly discouraged from speaking to family and handed his assets to the centre – a registered charity, run by Mrs Denton, also called Mata Yogananda Mahasaya Dharma.

A judge dismissed the overwhelming majority of Dr Azaz’s claim on the basis that these claims had been brought many years too late.

“Brainwashing” or “mind control” refers to the unethical use of persuasion methods with the aim of recruiting people into joining or remaining involved with a group, movement, relationship or cause.

Family Brainwashed by Dad Struggles to Heal

Marcus Wesson Raised Kids in Abusive Cult-Like Manner, Trained to Perform Suicide Pact

The San Joaquin Valley in central California is one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions. It’s an arid desert irrigated to make a land of plenty, where crops such as grapes and garlic are grown.

But on March 12, 2004, the city of Fresno was stunned by the revelation that the devil had seemingly sowed his seed in their midst.

What started out as a routine custody dispute at a house in the west-central area of the city suddenly and inexplicably escalated into the worst mass murder in Fresno’s history.

Nine people were found dead inside the house, their bodies piled in a back room. In the tangled heap, there were two adults and seven young children — three of whom were under the age of two.

Police arrested 57-year-old Marcus Wesson, who emerged from the residence with blood on his clothes. Neighbors’ accounts led police to believe that Wesson controlled his family in a cult-like manner, and that he possibly had fathered several of the deceased children with his own daughters and nieces.

Two of those nieces had come to the house to get their children, which ended up triggering the mass murder.

But several of Wesson’s surviving sons rose to his defense, telling reporters that that Wesson was a wonderful father who loved his children and never could have hurt them.

Exactly how the purported “wonderful father” also could be one of the most deranged monsters in American history is the strange question at the heart of this story.

The answer lay in Wesson’s extraordinary power to control the minds of his wife and children. It seemed to be a power that placed him in the company of such madmen as David Koresh, who led his followers to their fiery death at Waco, Jim Jones, whose flock committed mass suicide in Guyana, and of course, Charles Manson, who turned flower children into random killers.

Wesson was all of this, and more. To help understand how he was able control his family so completely, “Primetime” sat down with Wesson’s wife Elizabeth Wesson and five of his surviving children.

Wesson’s sons — Adrian, Serafino and Dorian — told ABC News correspondent Jay Schadler that only now, years after the crime, could they see their father for what he was: psychotic, delusional and narcissistic.

Thirty-five-year-old Dorian Wesson told Schadler, “He said that … if you’ve seen God, you’ve seen me.”

Wesson mixed ruthlessness with indoctrination. His Bible studies and prayer sessions would last for hours. His children told ABC News that they didn’t realize they were living in a hellish situation because they were born into it and had no outside influences to teach them otherwise.

The roots of Wesson’s obsessions snaked back four decades to the day he staged a homemade wedding ceremony. The bride, Elizabeth Wesson, was just 8 years old.

In June 2005, a jury convicted Wesson of nine counts of murder and multiple counts of rape and sexual assault. He was sentenced to death row at San Quentin State Prison. Elizabeth Wesson and the kids no longer have any contact with Marcus Wesson, though he still lives unrepentantly in their nightmares.

– Source / Full Story: Family Brainwashed by Dad Struggles to Heal, JAY SCHADLER, HARRY PHILLIPS and ELISSA STOHLER, ABC News, July 6, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

See Also

Marcus Wesson