in·doc·tri·na·tion: (n): teaching an individual to accept a set of beliefs or teaching without debate, questioning or criticism.

Intended to promote a one-sided opinion as being truthful, and most effective when begun during childhood without allowing access to other ideas, indoctrination is a form of brainwashing and mind control considered by medical experts to be among one of the most enduring forms of abuse. A child who is subjected to extreme religious indoctrination has no perspective and no choice but to cooperate in order to survive. This lack of trust in the child’s own ability to think rationally or critically combined with the overwhelming fear of terrifying consequences creates the perfect state of vulnerability in which indoctrination can wield extreme power and control.

Within the fundamentalist religious environment, children face a powerful array of factors which influence the indoctrination process. Many of these techniques are on display in the rhetoric taught to the Phelps children at Westboro Baptist Church. Fred was deliberate in his quest for control and often included the perpetual isolation of his children from outside influences that could present a contrary set of beliefs or doctrine. His twisted religious extremism was further reinforced to his children by a constant, underlying threat of spending eternity in hell or experiencing the wrath of God’s judgment in their day-to-day lives. Of Fred Phelps' 13 children, 10 remain active in Westboro and are raising their children to believe the same view of God that Fred instilled in them.