Reprinted from Meridian Magazine (19 Apr 2007).
©2007 by John P. Pratt. All rights Reserved.
|1. Rejection of Truth|
|2. Blindness Conditioning|
|2.1 Desensitize by Inundation|
|2.3 Deceptive Definitions|
|2.4 Falsify History|
|2.5 Stifle All Opposition|
|2.6 False Peer Pressure|
|3.3 Marketing Evil|
Have we been so conditioned to believe lies that we cannot see truth?
The previous article in this column discussed “How Can We Know Truth?” It concluded that we should not depend too much on any one method, but rather would have the best chance of being right when our inspired feelings and our detailed mental analysis agreed. But we all know cases where the truth is right in front of people and yet they are blind to it. And someone else might have looked at us and wondered why we could not see the obvious. Let us now consider the question of just why people cannot see plain truth when it should be as unmistakable as the noonday sun.
Reader discretion is advised: this article implies that nearly all of us have believed at least some lies and fallen into traps set by wicked, deceitful men. Hence, to the extent that you too have been deceived, this article might be upsetting to your world view. All of the views expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not represent the official position of this magazine nor of any church.
1. Rejection of Truth
The Savior shed some light on the question of why people reject truth. He said if people obeyed His word that they would know the truth, and the truth would make them free (John 8:32). His listeners replied that they had never been in bondage. That speaks volumes in itself, because they were then in subjection to Rome. But the Savior let that example of blindness pass and went directly to the root of the problem. He explained, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34). They didn’t like that answer and sought to slay Him, claiming that it was He who was wicked and was possessed by a devil.
This is a great example of blindness to truth. Can you see a problem with people who attempt to prove their own righteousness by executing a man whose only crime was to hint that they might be in bondage to sin? Being slain for revealing wickedness has been the perennial problem of prophets. The Savior’s attackers saw no problem with themselves, and crucified their promised Messiah by claiming blasphemy to prove their righteousness and His wickedness. How could they be so blind? This same problem is rampant today: those who expose sins are squelched. In fact, it is not even politically correct to use the word “sin” because it could offend an atheist. What did the Savior say was the root of this problem? He taught them plainly: “Ye seek to kill me because my word has no place in you” (John 8:37).
The Lord said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man” (Gen. 6:3). We are all born with a conscience which tells us right from wrong, and which can reveal truth to us, as discussed in the last article. When we continually ignore it, that still, small voice gets even softer until finally we cannot hear it at all.
The Lord gave the parable of the sower which summarized three broad categories of why people reject the truth of the word of God (Mat. 13:3-23). The first group of people mentioned are those who are hard-hearted and reject truth outright. The second group accepts the truth at first, but then persecution convinces them to reject it. The third group also accepts the truth initially, but then they are seduced by the deceit of riches. They love money more than the truth, and cannot serve two masters. These groups are easily identified today. Note the influence of persecution and deceit.
Why is it that knowing the truth can make one free? What is the relationship between truth and freedom? This is a deep subject which could be a book, but there is one scripture which throws much light on the subject:
And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. (Moses 4:4)
Thus, Satan’s purpose is to deceive and to blind men so that he can lead them captive, and he is successful with those who do not hearken unto the voice of God. This explains why knowing the truth can make one free. The truth is that we have been blinded by Satan, and we cannot see that he is leading us around captive. We are captive without even knowing it, just as were those whom the Savior taught. And once blinded, it is difficult indeed for us again to awaken and open our eyes and see the truth.
As a first step toward recovering from our blindness, let us consider systematic methods for conditioning people to ignore the voice of truth. Keep in mind that on own personal Judgment Day, we will not be able to use the defense that we were deceived, because part of the test was to see if we would heed our inner voice.
2. Blindness Conditioning
The Lord has said, “For there are many . . . who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it” (D&C 123:12). What are some subtle methods used by scheming men to purposely blind us to the truth?
There are several methods of mind control which vary both in method and severity. One technique is hypnosis, which has both light and deep varieties. Another technique is conditioning, which can vary in degree from simple training of a dog or child to full blown brainwashing. These methods can be used for good or evil: a dog can be trained to be a seeing eye dog or a killer even as a child can be conditioned to love and become a good citizen or to hate and become a suicide bomber.
Let us consider some degrees of mind conditioning. Brainwashing, the most severe form, is defined as “a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas.” The definition for “marketing” is similar but less severe: “the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.” If what is being sold is “beliefs and attitudes,” then marketing techniques can be similar to brainwashing techniques. Note that neither definition says anything about whether the beliefs being promoted are true or false, the purpose of both is simply to convert to a new belief system. At the least severe end of the scale we might find simple appeals to emotion or reason.
There are many articles on the internet about brainwashing techniques. Many methods have been used, but it is hard to find two authors who agree on exactly what constitutes brainwashing. Often the victim is in a controlled environment that includes abrupt changes, being deprived of sleep and of family and friends or any support system, and is prevented from getting information from any other source. The victim usually doesn’t know what happened, but gradually accepts ideas that he previously might have fought to the death to resist. The brain is “washed” clean of what it used to think, leaving it open to accept a whole new belief system. Afterward, the victim usually will defend his new slave master as having “enlightened” him.
In this article let us focus on a form of mind conditioning which is less severe than brainwashing but more than marketing. Moreover, it is always dedicated to converting to lies and to evil. It may be best to coin a new term to describe it, so let us refer to it as “blindness conditioning.” It is a process used to train someone to become blind to the truth.
I have chosen six methods to define “blindness conditioning.” All of them are found among the many techniques used in both brainwashing and marketing. These seem to be both especially effective and also commonly used by crafty men who are in the business of deception. Once we learn these techniques, we can recognize the pattern and realize when we are purposely being manipulated to accept some belief against our will. Then when we see it in advertising, in politics, in religion, or (perish the thought) even in science, it can be recognized. Once we can “see” again, we can recognize the truth and the truth can make us free.
2.1 Desensitize by Inundation
Begin by flooding the victim with constant barrage of the lie, even though it is completely opposite of what the person knows to be right. The goal here is simply to get acceptance of the belief as an acceptable “alternative” rather than something to be shunned or fought against.
The purpose of inundating is to desensitize the person to any existing negative connotations. If the individual is smothered with so much of it that his early warning system to detect falsehood is blaring constantly, then he may choose to ignore the warnings. In other words, he stops listening to his conscience because it becomes annoying. He is conditioned not to follow the light within. He then becomes comfortable with the higher levels of evil. Clothing that was once shockingly immodest no longer offends.
If one floods the market with too much poison too quickly, the intended victims might get sick and vomit it out. So if there is time, the desensitization should be done by gradually turning up the level of inundation so the victim becomes totally accustomed to it. Our desensitization to immodesty was accomplished by modifying necklines and hemlines little by little.
Perhaps the best analogy is “frog boiling.” It is said that one can boil a live frog by very slowly turning up the heat, so that it gets used to higher and higher levels of heat. When it finally realizes it is being cooked, it is too late because its muscles no longer have the strength to leap to safety. I personally don’t know anyone patient enough to cook frogs this way, but it makes a great story. A faster way is to simply behead the critters and get on with dinner, but that is the old-style method of brute force, rather than the modern way of using gradual conditioning to convince victims to voluntarily choose to stay in the kettle.
2.3 Deceptive Definitions
Words with negative connotations are dropped and much more user-friendly words are introduced. Or better, well-known words are hijacked and redefined to support the concept being sold. This is an important support step of inundating with lies. If the lie is too obvious, it will be rejected even with inundation. So words are redefined to sound like concepts that are already accepted, and even espoused by the listener.
The redefining of old words is done blatantly, with no thought of honesty. Consider an example from politics. A political “party” in the United States is supposed to be a group of people sharing similar views of how to govern, but always in the context of swearing to uphold the U.S. Constitution. But we see candidates listed on the ballot as representing the “Communist Party.” Communists cannot be a legitimate “party” at all in the U.S. because they are openly working to destroy the constitution and freedom. Simply renaming “treasonous conspirators” to be a “political party” gives acceptance. Did you complain to the proper authorities the last time you saw communists on the ballot? Simply renaming evil has incredibly powerful results.
2.4 Falsify History
Another method is to rewrite history so that the lie appears to be a long-established truth. Convince people that Christopher Columbus, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln were evil. This can be done without a shred of actual evidence by simply using a big-name professor who fabricates outright lies. There is much real evidence that all three of those men were called of God to perform a mission, which they did with honor. Each used to have his own national holiday, but now Columbus Day is a day for hate rallies and the birthdays of our two greatest presidents have been replaced with “Presidents’ Day” as if all presidents (some of whom were scoundrels) were equally honorable.
2.5 Stifle All Opposition
Another important step is to squelch or completely silence the opposition, effectively removing any freedom to choose. This can be done by ridicule, by comparing them to hated images such as Hitler, by punishment, or even legally outlawing the opposition and making a public spectacle of offenders to instill fear in others. Perhaps the best way of all is by “science.” People think of scientists as totally objective, who always discover truth with their experimenting. After scientific evidence is entered, then anyone who dares to question is accused of being unscientific and believing in a flat earth. A common technique here is not to let any dissenter be employed. That way, you can claim that there is a consensus of all experts in the field.
2.6 False Peer Pressure
One of the final techniques leading to “conversion” or acceptance of the product, is to falsify evidence to show that all of your friends believe it, or are using it. At first this is an outright lie, but in a successful conditioning campaign it can become true. For example, many commercials for beer imply that everyone drinks beer because is “cool” to do.
Now let us consider the examples of socialism, evolution, and the marketing of evil. You can decide for yourself it there is any chance you have been “blindness conditioned” to some degree.
Socialism is a political and economic system designed to enslave society. What? That isn’t what you were taught in school?
Let’s see. My dictionary says that socialism is “a political and economic theory which advocates that the community as a whole should own and control the means of production and distribution, and exchange.” We need to decode this definition. What is the “community as a whole” (sounds like the neighbors). It is the government. Who is the government? It is a few people at the top who enforce their laws with armed police and soldiers if necessary. They control and distribute all of the goods in the country. The citizens work for the state. The workers may own nothing at all, or perhaps just what the state feels might be acceptable for them.
If you cannot own any property, what freedom do you have? What if you had no home, car, clothing, food, or even water? What could you do but work for the state and hope they supply your basic needs? How would that differ from being a prison inmate? Hence, this article refers to socialism as a system of enslavement. Stalin starved to death some 25 million of his own slaves in the Soviet Union, which shows what can happen when the state controls the distribution of food.
Socialism enslaves slowly, like cooking frogs, conditioning the future slaves into accepting their new bondage as being “progressive.” In contrast, the more primitive communism accomplishes the same thing by force and revolution. That seems less desirable for the slave masters because many of the slaves are killed in the takeover and it is too obvious that they have become slaves.
Note that in conditioning people to be slaves, it is extremely important to have all their primary allegiance be to the state. That means that religion, family, and education must all be suppressed because they can lead to people to have loyalty to God, to family members, or to principles. Slaves must be kept in ignorance, with their family members separated, with prayer and any mention of God being strictly forbidden.
Now let us review how the six blindness conditioning techniques are used in spreading socialism in general and also with specific programs.
Accepting Socialism. Inundate with lies about the evils of capitalism and utopian glories of socialism. Redefine enslaved states to be “Republics” (the “R” in U.S.S.R.) and the United States to be a “Democracy” (rather than Republic). Convince Americans they are encroachers on the land and imperialists who are forcing freedom upon cultures around the world. Rewrite every aspect of history and award the authors the Pulitzer prizes, applauding their objectivity. Stifle all opposition by using the A.C.L.U. to give equal rights to communists, threatening to sue anyone who dares to stand up for the rights the Constitution guarantees. And finally, use the peer pressure of having the United Nations decree that the United States is out of line and needs to forfeit its sovereignty and to do as told by the “world community”.
Atheism. The state religion of socialism is atheism. Atheism is nothing more than an apparently rational excuse to ignore one’s conscience, which testifies of God, and to hope to escape responsibility for sin by claiming ignorance. Note that atheism is a relatively recent phenomena, only attracting many followers after the advent of Darwin. Before that, the existence of some kind of Creator was obvious to anyone who examined a flower. They could see the truth right in front of them.
We are now inundated with atheism, which has gradually become accepted to be a rational belief. History was rewritten claiming that the Founding Fathers were deists, meaning that they believed in a God who might as well not exist because all he did was create everything and then leave. That is false; they were mostly Christians. And the A.C.L.U. fights for the rights of atheists above all, forcing their religion to be the state religion contrary to the First Amendment.
Anti-Family Persecution. The family is another source of allegiance which must be destroyed in order to have properly behaving slaves. Did you know that one of the first things Lenin did in the newly created communist Russia was to institute “Postcard Divorce”? If a married couple had a spat, either spouse could be instantly dissolve the family by simply mailing a postcard. The other did not even need to be aware of it. Now we have followed that example with our “no-fault divorce.” So much for marriage being a legal “contract” that needs to be kept.
Lenin also attacked the family by forcing women out of the home into the workforce, promoting infidelity in marriage, and legalizing abortion. Does any of this sound familiar?
Moreover, the government can make a mockery of marriage by defining it to be between any two people, or between people and animals, or between animals. In Germany, children who are obedient to parents are now being diagnosed as having a mental disease because “normal” teenagers rebel against their parents. They are being forcefully removed from their parents and incarcerated in mental institutions.
Dumbing Down Schools. It is also important to keep slaves ignorant of the truths which could make them free. Mandatory free government schools can control indoctrination of youth. Some education benefits the socialist state, namely the production of workers. But all real truth, such as could make them free, must be avoided. Such truths are not only taught in the scriptures, but also in all great literature, true art, true history and even classical music. Hence these must all be corrupted with trash posing as writing, garbage as art, and indoctrination as history. Actually, it is best if the slaves cannot read at all, so teaching to read phonetically was replaced with the mind-confusing “look-see” method. Teaching might best be done in the socialist state with television, graduating students who cannot read, and giving tests which require only the rote memorization of the state’s “correct answers.”
Radical Environmentalism. Another facet of this same socialist movement is to somehow curb the overwhelming economic success of this experiment in freedom called the United States. So it was necessary to declare pollution-free nuclear energy as horrible and stop the creation of all such power plants so that we would be crippled by simply all turning on our air conditioners at the same time. Manufacturing must be curtailed by shutting down factories. Also it is important to keep us dependent on foreign fuel, so development of alternative energy sources such as solar or wind energy is economically discouraged, even though given lip service.
Of course we all want clean air, pristine forests for our children to appreciate, and responsible environmental policies. The radical extreme enters when balance is lost. We are told God did not give man dominion over the earth but rather that all use by man of plants, animals and minerals is wrong. We are told we should stop eating animals because it is wrong to kill. If so, should we also stop eating plants for the same reason? Is it wrong even to build a hut in the jungle? Any good idea when pushed to the extreme becomes evil.
6. Global Warming. What about global warming? Is the earth heating up? If so, is it carbon dioxide that is causing the heating or is the sun warming the earth (Isa. 30:25-26)? It is hard to get at the truth of this matter because blindness conditioning techniques are being used in foisting the socialist global warming agenda on the entire world. We are inundated with hearing of climate change daily and the huge threat to our very existence. Anyone who questions it, including President Bush, is declared to be an anti-scientific flat-earther. The state meteorologist in Oregon has his job in jeopardy because he dares to question it. After dissenters are purged, then a consensus of those remaining is declared. Laws now state that carbon dioxide is an air pollutant. That means we are polluting when we exhale!
When such manipulation techniques are employed we can be sure that there is more to the agenda than pure science alone would dictate.