Thought Reform Self-Check
How to tell if you have been subjected to coercive thought reform and authoritarian control by a master manipulator or religious predator.
Put a check mark by each one that applies, then count the total.
Your ability to think freely is impacted
___You feel concerned about taking this quiz.
___You feel uncomfortable talking to other believers about your doubts.
___You believe your leader has access to divine information or special
knowledge that can only come from him, not you.
___Angels, divine messengers, and resurrected beings are only seen by your
___You avoid seeking out information that could make you doubt your leader.
___You think in binary terms: good vs evil, friends or enemies, nothing in
___You feel guilty for having conflicting thoughts.
___You are afraid to think things your leader would disapprove of.
___You have seen hypocrisy in your leader but dare not speak of it.
___He interprets scriptures in a whole new way.
You are afraid to doubt because your leader “does no wrong”
___You believe your leader has an understanding that is supernatural.
___You cannot point out what your leader has done wrong for fear of
___When your leader has done something wrong, he makes the problem you,
or you feel that that problem must be you.
___When you find reasons to doubt your leader such as a failed prophecy or
contradiction from what he said earlier, he will reframe it as a “test.”
___You cannot get yourself to write a list of all the things that have made you
doubt your leader.
___When you start to doubt, he tells you to remember an important spiritual
experience from the past you had that involved him.
___When someone speaks negatively about your leader, it hurts you.
___You believe your leader knows what you are thinking.
Your personality and identity changed
___The most important thing about you is being part of this cause or group.
___Group approval is so important, you conform to whatever the group wants
___You find that you have changed your dreams, your personality, your
clothes, maybe your name, and even your core values have changed.
___You have done things now that you would have never done before, ever.
___How often you laugh or cry has been modified.
___Your personal needs are considered selfish so you try to forget your own
___Sometimes you don’t know who you are or what you stand for.
___You have felt like you are not free to be yourself.
Relationships are impacted
___Your leader controls your relationships, including being in control of your
___You look at those who are not part of the group as enemies.
___You, or others in your group have had to change their relationships with
wife, husband, parents, or children.
___Your leader gave unhealthy instructions on how to parent.
___You were not free to date or have marital relations in the way that was
natural for you.
___You have been isolated from past relationships.
___You feel like your new group is your new family.
___When you think of people who left the group and spoke the truth, you feel
rage and desire to retaliate against them.
You have learned amazing new things
___You have learned things that have changed your life for the better.
___You have a higher understanding about how God works.
___You feel more inspired than ever before.
___You feel a tremendous amount of positive meaning associated with your
___There is always some important event right around the corner that keeps
you working hard for the cause.
___Your leader has interpreted your dreams. Total ____
There are sacrifices or tests required
___Your leader requires you to make enormous sacrifices for him because if
you don’t you will not be in the highest place in the next world.
___You are willing to sacrifice family members to serve this higher purpose.
___Your leader has taught you that God’s laws are more important than man’s
___You have been willing to lie or break the law to protect your leader.
___You have been asked to give up personal things for the cause.
___You’ve had to give up your education, change your living circumstances, or
change your career choice.
___You’ve had to work without pay, and you did it happily.
___Sometimes you have felt like a slave but were afraid to verbalize it.
___Your money or credit had to be given to the leader or someone else the
You’re on a special mission
___You believe that you are on a special mission for God or humankind.
___This new mission has become part of your new identity.
___You believe that when you stand before the bar of judgment, you will be
counted as one of the bravest, most righteous souls for following your
___You know people will disapprove of what you are doing, but you realize
that persecution is part of the plan.
___You believe you are part of a grand purpose for God and will go down in
history, just like characters from the scriptures.
He wants you to forget your past life
___Your past life or old life has been made unimportant.
___You have had to give up your relationship with your past friends.
___You have had to destroy or discard items that remind you of the past.
___You reinterpret the past from his perspective.
___You have been taught that the old you was a bad you.
___You no longer participate in activities you used to love.
He has created a culture of fear
___Your leader declares all sorts of damnation and predicts horrifying
outcomes for those who leave or betray the group.
___People in the group who have done wrong have been publicly humiliated
them as a lesson for everyone else.
___You feel the need to check with your leader before making any decisions,
sometimes even about the most minute things.
___Sometimes you feel you are walking on eggshells, worried about upsetting
___He has used spiritual, psychological, or physical threats to keep you and
others in line.
You believe you are happy and free, but
___When you achieve the approval of your leader, it is one of the high points
of your life (but when he is upset with you, it is devastating).
___Your leader has told you that you are free to leave (but you know that
leaving would come with consequences).
___Sometimes you are happy beyond description (but other times you have to
hide your confusion and sadness).
___You don’t have to be told what to do, you have internalized it (but your
brain stops you from feeling negative about it).
___There is always some monumental positive event right around the corner
(but it never really happens.)
___You believe you have made a free choice and are acting on your own free
will (but you really can’t see any other options).
Your leader controls your behavior
___You can’t lay in bed all day if you want to.
___You need to check with your leader before making important decisions.
___Your leader controls where you live, who you live with.
___He has decided what you wear, how much sleep you get.
___He controls the words and phrases you use or can’t use.
___He decides what should and should not be eaten.
___He has made medical decisions he had no authority to make, such as when to go
to the doctor or which medication to take or not take.
___You cannot go where you want to go without his approval.
___You have to do repetitive things that keep your mindset where he wants it.
___He monitors where you go and to whom you speak.
___He requires confessions which gives him information to use against you.
___Your leader has personally benefitted with more money, more power, and
more sex at your expense, or the expense of your fellow believers.
These patterns are not unique to you, or your particular leader.
This is how authoritarian leaders, or cult leaders, work.
You are likely in a situation where still make your own choices but be aware that you are vulnerable.
You are subjected to authoritarian control. Your well-being is at risk.
41 or more
Your mind and your freedom are being controlled by your spiritual leader. There is an abuse of power. Your health, welfare, and future are at risk. You are most likely being exploited for the benefit of a master deceiver and manipulator.