In this episode, Jon Atack and Pearse Redmond speak with their good friend Yuval Laor. They start by discussing a recent article by professor Rebecca Moore entitled The Brainwashing Myth, dissecting the strange assertions Moore makes, primarily that brainwashing does not exist. They also talk about her three “scientific, neutral, and precise” terms which can replace brainwashing.
Jon and Yuval talk about the historical roots of the term from ancient China to the through reform camps of the 50’s. They also address our problems with the flawed term “new religious movement”, discussing Moore’s history defending Jim Jones and The Peoples’ Temple. They talk about her sisters, Carolyn Layton and Annie Moore, both high-ranking members who organized and oversaw the murder of over 900 people. They look at how this has colored Rebecca Moore’s books defending Jones and the legacy of the Peoples Temple. They close out by talking about the problem of arguing over semantics within the counter-cult world.
What do you think about this podcast? Do you agree? Do you have a story about brainwashing – or the misuse of the term – that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!
You may also download episode 5 as an .mp3 here.