CAN YOUR MIND BE CAPTURED?
Spiritually Correcting Abnormal Human Behavior
A few years ago I was in a South Florida home with a young man who had captured a
wild hawk and in a short time had converted it into an obedient Falcon. At the sound
of a whistle, the bird would fly from its perch, light on the man’s arm, take food
offered it, and on command return to its roost. When it was outdoors and free to
escape, the hawk made no attempt to do so or return to its natural state. I was amazed
that this wild creature could be made to abandon its instinct, its normal behavior, its
ancestry, and submit to the command of another who had deprived it of normal life.
More so, I was astonished to learn that the hawk’s complete transformation had been
accomplished within three days after its removal from the wild. In that brief time it
had become a voluntary prisoner, submissively doing the will of its captor and
adapting to a strange and unnatural environment. But as I watched, I saw much more
than a falconer and his captive bird. I saw a spiritual truth unfolding before my eyes
—Truth—in the form of a question I want to ask you:
Can humans be mentally captured, removed from their natural state, subdued, and
forced into a life-style that is totally alien to themselves and God’s intended purpose
Let me illustrate the answer: In 1973, four bank employees in Stockholm, Sweden,
were captured during a robbery and kept inside a vault. Strangely, within six days
they became so devoted to their captors they not only resisted rescue but afterward
refused to testify against the criminals. This psychological phenomenon became
known as the Stockholm Syndrome and is identical to what happened to the hawk.
The most notorious instance of the Syndrome in America came in 1974 when 19
year-old millionaire-heiress Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation
Army, kept in a dark closet, blindfolded, unfed, and abused. Then something strange
happened; Patty joined her captors’ organization, renamed herself "Tanya" and took
part in robbing a bank of which she and her parents were part owners. When captured
and tried, Patty was sentenced to seven years in prison. In another case, an airline
hostage later married one of her captors. Politically, we call this transformation
"brain-washing". A large Church of Christ in Boston, Massachusetts, was recently
accused of using this tactic in "converting" new members. One of their steps was to
deprive the people of sleep through all-night "prayer", then, at dawn, church officials
mentally bombarded them with religious ideology and overwhelmed them
psychologically. In such a deviate method, the Holy Spirit was unneeded–just "mind
I have a dear friend who as a child was accused of a crime he did not commit—but
one to which he confessed after police interrogated him under bright lights for eight
hours. Thankfully, he is a committed Christian today but his normal life was stolen
from him by this horrendous childhood event. We have all heard of traumatized wives
who refuse to leave an abusive husband. The style of maltreatment may change but
the end-result is the same: The mind can be taken captive by powers of darkness.
In my own ministry, the most extreme case I encountered was a young female victim
of childhood Satanic Ritual Abuse who had been deliberately made schizophrenic by
her Satanist parents and was controlled by them through her alter-ego. One part of
this young woman’s mind was an educated, trained R.N., and a believing Christian.
Her other part was a totally different personality who used an alias name and
participated in Satanic behavior. Impossible!, you say. Not so. The Apostle James
warned twice about being "double minded"– a word which In Greek means "two-
souls". As Christians, we see varying degrees of this condition in people who become
captive to Satan but refuse to escape his control–even when they have opportunity to
do so. In extreme cases, it takes only 3-4 days for the Stockholm syndrome to emerge
even when captive and captor are strangers. Bizarre? Yes, but true.
According to psychologists, the victimized person bonds to the abuser as a means to
endure the violence. A psychotherapist explains, "When someone threatens your life
but doesn't kill you, the relief generates intense feelings of gratitude. This, coupled
with fear, makes the captive reluctant to display negative feelings toward their captor.
The victims' need to survive is stronger than his/her impulse to hate the person who
has created the dilemma." The victim then comes to see the captor as a 'good guy',
even a savior. I have even met Satanists who insisted that the devil was good.
In June, 2002, the nation was shocked by the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, a 14 year
old Utah girl from her bed at night, who was kept by her abductors nine months.
Elizabeth later showed Stockholm Syndrome effects when she made no attempt to
escape though she had ample opportunity to do so. Airplane hostages have been
known to sympathize with their captors and one became so emotionally attached that
she married him. In some cases, former hostages have visited their captors in jail,
recommended defense counsel, and one even started a defense fund for them. We see
this in the behavior of some abused wives who voluntarily stay with a dangerous
In explaining the process of converting a wild hawk into an obedient falcon, of how
the bank employees, Patty Hearst, and others, were mentally abducted, I want you to
make that comparison to the way Satan captures and subdues his victims. This
condition occurs in response to these conditions:
1. The hawk must be a grown but immature, inexperienced male.
2. The hawk is drawn to the trap with "food", usually a mouse or small animal that is
under a clear but protective dome. When the hawk dives down to grab the prey, his
feet become trapped in the snare and he is captured. —By the way, he never gets the
food that tempted him.
3. The hawk is immediately hooded, deprived of light, the ability to see, or the power
to fly away.
4. For the next 24 to 72 hours, the hawk is kept awake on the falconers heavily-
gloved arm. Though the hawk is not allowed to sleep it is periodically offered food—
which, in the beginning—it refuses. The hawk associates sleep and accepting food
with surrender so it desperately fights to stay awake and refuses to eat.
5. Deprived of light, food, and sleep, when the hawk finally eats and falls asleep, it
psychologically acknowledges its’ dependency on the captor and becomes "bonded"
to him. From that time on, the bird may fly freely in the outdoors but will voluntarily
return to its owner like a young bird returning to its parents’ nest.
6. Lastly: After bonding to the falconer and accepting its’ new identify, many hawks
revert to "baby-bird chirping". In humans, we call this "arrested" or "reversed
emotional development". In effect, the falconer becomes a foster parent and the
hawk, mentally returns to a state of infancy; at this point it begins making the "baby
bird" sounds when it wants food or the falconer's attention.
Much of the problem which Pastors encounter in their congregations is this same
condition in immature church members. We hear a lot of "baby bird chirping" in
individuals who have reached their adult years but have not grown emotionally. In
most cases where I encountered arrested (or reversed) emotional development there
had been a childhood crisis or traumatizing event that paralyzed the person’s mental
development. Divorced parents, serious illness, unwanted moves, sudden changes,
loss of security, caused the mental difficulties.
COMPARING THE HAWK AND THE HUMAN PROBLEM SCRIPTURALLY
1. IMMATURITY: 1 Corinthians 14:20-21: "Do not be children in understanding ...
in understanding be mature." Hosea 4:6. "My people are destroyed for lack of
2. SNARED: Proverbs 7:21-23. "With her flattering lips she seduced him.
Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as a fool to the
correction of the stocks, Till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare,
He did not know it would cost his life."
3. BLINDED: 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to
those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not
believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God,
should shine on them."
4. DENIED REST: Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are
heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for
I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is
easy and My burden is light."
5. RETURN TO INFANTILE BEHAVIOR: Galatians 5:1-5: "Stand fast therefore in
the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a
yoke of bondage ..."
6. THE ESCAPE: 2 Timothy 2:24-26. "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel
but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in
opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the
truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having
been taken captive by him to do his will."
SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES TO THE "MIND"
"And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,
in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them
repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses
and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will." 2
"But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and
bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." Romans 7:23.
"Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; The snare is broken,
and we have escaped!" Psalm 124:7.
Isaiah 26:3. "You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You."
Mark 12:30. "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your
soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment."
Romans 12:2. "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and
perfect will of God."
Ephesians 4:23. "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind."
Philippians 2:5. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."
Colossians 3:2. "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth."
2 Timothy 1:7. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love
and of a sound mind."
2 Corinthians 13:11. "Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good
comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with
Best of all, remember that Jesus came to "set the captives free." No where is this truth
illustrated better than with the maniac of Gadara. Mark 5:17, explains that the
townspeople " ... went out to see what it was that had happened ... and saw the one
who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his
right mind." What the devil had taken from him, Jesus had restored. This part of
Kingdom Ministry must be continued in the Church today!