http://prezi.com/hhuioj5hmqya/waking-up-from-scientology-part-2/ http://youtu.

be/_1nqSkCkGcw
Waking Up From The Scientology Trance (Part 2):
Cognitive Dissonance vs Moral Dissonance & Related Coping Mechanisms

As explained in Part 1 of this series, Scientology is a closed belief system that exerts an undue influence over the cognitive processes of its followers.

This influence is instilled in cult members through coercive persuasion and various thought reform techniques. The classic Thought Reform Model of
Dr. Margaret Thaler-Singer was defined in 19 95 as a system of coercive tactics that reprograms the way a person thinks.

These tactics rely on six conditions for optimal success:

1. Isolation
2. Creation of a Siege Mentality
3. Dependency
4. Powerlessness
5. Fear and Vulnerability
6. Victim Being Kept Unaware of what is happening to them.

Scientology's applied philosophy excels at creating an environment where all these conditions are firmly in place. Breaking free from the coercive
persuasion in such an environment is no easy task, and requires changing how a person thinks and reacts to dissonance.

The diagram featured in part 1 focused on the role cognitive dissonance plays in the process of changing how a person thinks by changing their
system of beliefs.

The diagram featured in this presentation focuses on two different variations of dissonance – cognitive and moral – along with the coping
mechanisms a cult member commonly uses to reduce or eliminate the uncomfortable feelings dissonance causes.

Understanding the different reactions caused by cognitive dissonance and moral dissonance can help those who have loved ones trapped in the
bubble of Scientology’s influence to break free from the coercive tactics that are used to control them.
Waking Up From The Scientology Trance (Part 2):
Cognitive Dissonance vs Moral Dissonance & Related Coping Mechanisms


In this model, cognitive dissonance is defined as a pre-decisional state that impacts the way a person thinks.

Alternatively, moral dissonance is defined as a post-decisional state that impacts the way a person behaves.

Not all social scientists make this distinction between these two types of dissonance. Conversationally, the term cognitive dissonance is used to refer
to both types of dissonance.

The differences highlighted in this presentation are primarily drawn from a 1998 social theory textbook chapter entitled Social mechanisms of
dissonance reduction by Timur Kuran.

Cognitive Dissonance by Bo Bennett
http://youtu.be/gN-6nBs7sbI
Waking Up From The Scientology Trance (Part 2):
Cognitive Dissonance vs Moral Dissonance & Related Coping Mechanisms

Scientology's closed belief system directly mirrors Singer's Cult Model for Thought Reform. This is why it is so easy for parishioners to get stuck in
the bubble of undue influence and often find it hard to break free of the conditioned way of thinking.

Waking Up From The Scientology Trance (Part 2):
Deconstructing The Bubble of Undue Influence

Cognitive dissonance is felt prior to decisions being made, and is triggered by statements of new information that conflict with existing ideas, beliefs
or cognitions that are deemed to be true.

Reduction Mechanisms typically used by cult members to eliminate the psychological discomfort cognitive dissonance causes include:

1. Avoidance
2. Confrontation
3. Internalization.

When these mechanisms are used as means of dealing with cognitive dissonance, the effect is the application of thought-stopping techniques.

Rather than confronting the statement that triggered their psychological discomfort and thinking it through logically, cult members in a closed belief
system are conditioned to block out uncomfortable thoughts using these tactics.
Waking Up From The Scientology Trance (Part 2):
Breaking The Bubble of Undue Influence
Cognitive Dissonance Reduction Mechanisms
Pre-decision Trigger: STATEMENTS of new information that conflict with existing ideas, beliefs or cognitions that are deemed to be true. Results
in the use of THOUGHT-STOPPING tactics.
1. Avoidance
 Denial & Trivialization
 Information Blocking & Filtering
 Moral Disengagement

2. Confrontation
 Information Distortion & Misattribution
 Mindset & Perspective Adjustments
 Selective Hypocrisy

3. Internalization
 Motivated Forgetting
 Preference Falsification
 Suppression of Emotions

Waking Up From The Scientology Trance (Part 2):
Deconstructing The Bubble of Undue Influence

Moral dissonance is felt after decisions are made, and is triggered by questions raised about choices made or actions taken that conflict with
someone’s existing standards, beliefs or opinions that are deemed virtuous.

Reduction Mechanisms typically used by cult members to eliminate the unpleasant emotions moral dissonance causes include:

1. Rationalization
2. Redemption
3. Moral Reconstruction

When these mechanisms are used as a means of dealing with moral dissonance, the effect is the introduction of behavior changing techniques.

These tactics are a positive indicator that a person is confronting questions that arose after certain decisions or actions triggered an internal conflict
related to their own personal integrity and caused them unpleasant emotions.

Cult members in a closed belief system are conditioned to not raise questions, nor point out contradictions, that are contrary to their beliefs. Once
they do begin questioning things, the process of waking up from the spell of undue influence can begin. Additionally, Scientology Ethics and PTS
tech has built in handling that is triggered when members begin to ask the wrong the questions. This handling can help to drive a person out of the
bubble of cult influence.

Therefore, when some is trying to help a loved one wake up from the Scientology trance, the important thing to remember is to opt for thought
provoking questions rather than using statements that trigger thought-stopping responses. This effectively allows moral dissonance to be a good
thing, as opposed to cognitive dissonance being a bad thing that causes a cult member to shut down and tune out.

Examples of helpful questions that can be used to push Scientology practitioners towards confronting the situation they are trapped in will be covered
in part 3 of this series.

Waking Up From The Scientology Trance (Part 2):
Breaking The Bubble of Undue Influence
Moral Dissonance Reduction Mechanisms
Post-decision Trigger: QUESTIONS raised about choices or actions that conflict with their existing standards, beliefs or opinions that are deemed
virtuous. Results in the use of BEHAVIOR-CHANGING tactics.
1. Rationalization
 Selective Reasoning & Biased Assumptions
 Self-affirmations & Overconfidence
 Self-concept Adjustments & Concessions
 Self-justification & Defendable Excuses

2. Redemption
 Problem Identification & Change Outreach
 Person Activism & Advocacy
 Other Actions to Alleviate Guilt or Make Amends

3. Moral Reconstruction
 Collective Action
– Group Activism & Advocacy
– Problem Resolution
– Worldview Transformation

 Conflict Removal
– Simplification of Goals/Values
– Transcendence of Personal Philosophy
– Compartmentalization of Beliefs & Disbeliefs

 Reinterpretation of Beliefs
– Adjust Ranking of Goals/Objectives
– Discard or Replace Values/Standards
– Redefinition of Belief System

Waking Up From The Scientology Trance (Part 2):
Deconstructing The Bubble of Undue Influence

The long-term effect of employing the various tactics for reducing or eliminating cognitive and moral dissonance is that many of those techniques
stop working after awhile. When a cult member can no longer rely on thought-stopping or minor behavior changing adjustments to bypass the
psychological discomfort dissonance causes, other response mechanisms begin to kick in.

These alternative dissonance reduction mechanisms typically include:

1. Expressing Emotions
2. Transference
3. Separation.

When these mechanisms are used as a last resort means of dealing with the cumulative effect of dissonance, the result is a gradual change in
someone’s perspective and cognitions related to the issues causing them discomfort.

These tactics are another positive indicator that a cult member is beginning to recognize that something is not quite right in their view of reality. This
is also a sign that their cognitive processes are changing, which may eventually lead them into waking up from the undue influence they have been
exposed to.
Waking Up From The Scientology Trance (Part 2):
Breaking The Bubble of Undue Influence
Other Dissonance Elimination Mechanisms
Cumulative Trigger: LESSER DISSONANCE REDUCTION MECHANISMS STOP WORKING as a crutch to alleviate uncomfortable feelings.
Results in a GRADUAL MINDSET CHANGE of perspective & cognitions.
1. Expressing Emotions
 Acknowledging Negative Feelings
 Discussing Upsets & Disappointments
 Voicing Frustrations, Outrage & Anger

2. Transference
 Assuming New Responsibilities
 Blame & Attention Shifting
 Fabrication of False Excuses

3. Separation
 Belief & Disbelief System Changes
 Behavior, Personality & Environment Adjustments
 Social Segmentation
 Fresh start or new lease on life

Waking Up From The Scientology Trance (Part 2):
Deconstructing The Bubble of Undue Influence

Diagram Summation
Waking Up from the Scientology Trance is not an easy process. When friends & family are looking for a way to help a loved one break free from the
group’s undue influence, it is important to realize that cult intervention is not something that can be accomplished in single day or by strictly using
confrontational deprogramming tactics.

Proper cult intervention often requires specialized knowledge and professional experience to unravel the various defense mechanisms covered in this
diagram over a period of time.

Some cult members will eventually begin to drift out of the bubble of Scientology’s influence as a natural result of negative experiences. Others will
simply become stuck inside in the bubble, in limbo, unless they are forced to deal with situations that cause them dissonance.

For more information, please see the free e-book from the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) titled Coping with Cult Involvement: A
Handbook for Families and Friends by Livia Bardin, MSW
Waking Up From The Scientology Trance (Part 2): Bibliography
Primary References:
Bardin, L. (2000). Coping with Cult Involvement: A Handbook for Families and Friends. ICSA (formerly American Family Foundation).
http://bit.ly/1mKfgf0

Festinger, L., & Aronson, E. (1960). The arousal and reduction of dissonance in social contexts. Group dynamics, 214-231.
http://bit.ly/RTLvhZ

Kuran, T. (1998). Social mechanisms of dissonance reduction. Social mechanisms: An analytical approach to social theory, 147-171.
http://bit.ly/1mIIYkE

Robinson, A. (2013). The Impact of Cognitive Dissonance and Cognitive Flexibility on Belief Systems. Adler Graduate School, M.A. thesis.
http://bit.ly/1gYDY6I
Additional References:
Blanton, H., Pelham, B. W., DeHart, T., & Carvallo, M. (2001). Overconfidence as dissonance reduction. Journal of Experimental Social
Psychology, No. 37(5).

McConnell, A. R., & Brown, C. M. (2010). Dissonance averted: Self-concept organization moderates the effect of hypocrisy on attitude change.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, No. 46.

Shu, L. L., Gino, F., & Bazerman, M. H. (2012). Ethical discrepancy: Changing our attitudes to resolve moral dissonance. Behavioral business ethics:
Shaping an emerging field, 221-240.

Simon, L., Greenberg, J., & Brehm, J. (1995). Trivialization: the forgotten mode of dissonance reduction. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, No. 68(2).

Singer, M. (1995/2003) Cults in our Midst: The Continuing Fight Against Their Hidden Menace. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA.

Singer, M. (1996) An interview with Margaret Singer on Undue Influence. Nexus Volume 2, Issue 1.

Tsang, J. A. (2002). Moral rationalization and the integration of situational factors and psychological processes in immoral behavior. Review of
General Psychology, No. 6(1).

Wollschleger, J., & Beach, L. (2011). A cucumber for a cow: A theoretical exploration of the causes and consequences of religious hypocrisy.
Rationality and Society, No. 23(2).

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