Jehovah's Witnesses
and
Mind Control

Excerpts from Article entitled Jehovah's Witnesses and Mind Control

source:
http://www.uq.net.au/~zzmstefa/JWMINDCONTROL.htm
http://www.wauk.freeserve.co.uk/control.htm#milieu (dead link)

If you are one of Jehovah's Witnesses your mind is being controlled by someone else without your knowledge.

Do you think that is a ridiculous suggestion?
Read on and examine the evidence!

Mind Control - what is it?

What is "mind-control"? If Jehovah's Witnesses are under mind-control, are they all hypnotised? Do Witnesses operate like automatons? Not at all. In fact, mind-control is most effective when people think they are exercising free will. When a controller forbids something outright, it may provoke rebellion, but if the person is programmed to act as a self-regulator, then the control is really successful. Who would want to control your mind and why? How is it done? And what are the consequences for you?

Most Witnesses willl argue that they exercise free choice, but if I offer you a choice from a selection, strictly limited by me, is that really a choice? Well, even "Hobson's choice" is a choice! But restriction is one method of control. It is an illusion of free choice and it is effective because you are led to believe that you are still a free agent, making your own decisions. As we shall see, Witnesses have their choices limited in many areas of their lives.

Witnesses might be offended by the suggestion that they are controlled, but can you deny that the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses has control of five million people? Notice this: "...opposers....may also question the need for an organization to direct the minds of God's people. Their view is, God's spirit can direct individuals without some central, organized body of men giving direction" (w83 3/1 25) Does it govern or not? If they say "Jump", the loyal Witness asks, "How high?" And why? Because Witnesses trust them, believing they are God's spokesmen.

The Rest of Us == Techniques of mind-control are applied by advertisers, armies and parents. Important differences between these and the Witness religion is gradation of amount, consent and purpose of control.

Most of us are aware of the influence of advertising (or think we are!), but do you find yourself occasionally making a shopping "choice" which defies reason? To what extent has advertising strongly infuenced your mind? However, most of the time, you control your choice of purchase. When the salesman asks, "Would you like this one or that one?", you can say "Neither, thanks".

Armies control people. Basic training reprograms the soldier's mind to do the will of the Army under special conditions, but in civilian life, the recruit is allowed freedom of expression and choice. Also, the soldier is fully aware of the terms and conditions of Army service before joining.

Children are controlled by parents (or they used to be!), but again, this is temporary and the child breaks free in adolescence to stand alone. Most parents are happy to see their children grow to maturity and become independent of their necessary control.

In the case of Jehovah's Witnesses though, we are talking about, not a temporary or limited control, but an infiltration of the individual's whole life - your decisions and actions now and for all the foreseeable future.

Not a lot of people know this........ Let us suppose that your mind is controlled. Would you know? How could you? Surely the whole point of mind-control is that the person being controlled is unaware? If, as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, you have difficulty agreeing with this, you must be aware that one of your major teachings is that Satan the Devil is the ruler of this world. Everything, everyone on this planet, except Jehovah's Witnesses, is under his control. Do people know this? No!

Witnesses teach that Satan has blinded the minds of the unbelievers (non-JWs) and that they are oblivious to his mind-control. In Watchtower illustrations, the Devil has been depicted as a manipulator of strings attached to governments and people of this world, his world. Does the puppet know it is manipulated?

If Jehovah's Witnesses are indeed under mind-control, how is this accomplished? Dr Robert Lifton, a psychologist who studied subjects who had been brainwashed by the Chinese during the Korean War, offered eight criteria to determine that subjects had been exposed to mind-control. These are:

Milieu Control
Mystical Manipulation
Demand for Purity
The Cult of Confession
Sacred Science
Loading the Language
Doctrine Over Persons
Dispensing of Existence

Let's examine each of these as they relate to Jehovah's Witnesses Notice that, according to Lifton, only six of these psychological themes are necessary for the lives of any group to be controlled (it is noted that in any group or study, there will always be a few individuals who are exceptions) As is mentioned later, not everyone is susceptible to all aspects of mind-control - its effectiveness depends on many things - and the person.

Milieu Control

What are the social surroundings of Jehovah's Witnesses? True, many of them go to work in the local community and have business dealings with "the world", but for the good Witness, social contact with "worldly people", including non-Witness relatives, is kept to a minimum. (Some Witnesses prefer self-employment in office/house cleaning work which allows them to futher reduce their "worldly" contacts, giving them extra time for "increased opportunities of service")

Typically, employed Witnesses do not attend, or give only token support, to parties, dinners or works-outings because these are usually connected with "worldly holidays". They are "in the world, but no part of it". As time goes on, the Witness has fewer and fewer "worldly friends" until eventually, all social and business contacts are in the local congregation. Is that the case with you? If you left the religion to-morrow, would you have any friends?

Stop reading for a few moments and make a list of all the social calls you have made in the last month. Check your phone-bill to see how many non-Witnesses you have phoned for social reasons in the last six months.

You, the Witness, made this separation from society and you are led to believe that you made the choice yourself, to avoid "bad associates" or influence of "the world". The fact that this is not a physical separation behind a wall, but psychological, is unimportant to the effect it has. In fact, psychological separation is more effective than shutting someone in a prison, for by mental control, a person is completely isolated from everyone in a crowd - or a country.

Have you visited a country whose language you do not understand? What effect did it have on your relations with the people? Do Jehovah's Witnesses have a special "pure language" which separates them from the "world"?

Does the leadership influence the thinking of the group? Well, if one considers the schedule for Jehovah's Witnesses each week, it would be very surprising if they didn't! The Witnesses attend meetings three times each week for a total of five hours plus perhaps, 20 minutes before and after each gathering. During that time, the ideas and language of Jehovah's Witnesses are continually reiterated.

If you watched TV adverts for the same product many times, would that have an effect on you? Advertisers think so and are prepared to spend millions of pounds to back up their belief in the power of repetition for emphasis.

Do the leaders control the information in the Witness environment? Yes. It does not take long for the new Witness to learn where s/he should look for information on the Watchtower Society's history and doctrines and for Bible study - the publications of the Watchtower Society. Few Witnesses research in commentaries which are writtten by "worldy scholars". (Just as well - an examination of the sources for the Society's "Creation" book (1985), yields scores of dishonest misquotations and inaccurate references by Watchtower writers).

Witnesses rely upon the Writing Committee of the "faithful slave" to research for them. This is encouraged by the leadership. Regarding personal study, The Watchtower said, "do some spiritual digging in order to begin getting the very knowledge of Jehovah's heavenly organisation" (w15/6 98) Where is this "digging" to be done? In the Bible? No. But through the predigested knowledge from their publications using the Watchtower Index.

And the quality of this "spiritual food"? The best available! How do you know? Because Mother told you so! "......we must recognize not only Jehovah God as our Father but his organization as our mother" (w57 5/1 274) "The finest spiritual food is supplied through Jehovah's organisation" (w98 1/9) What Witness would dare question that statement? Not only is it written, but during the congregation study, it will be reinforced publicly by answers from the congregation and heard by all present.

How long does it take, do you think, for statements to become deeply ingrained as truth in the minds of any group, when it is exposed regularly to the same sentiments, in the same. familiar surroundings, among friends, week after week, without any opposition? And when one considers that many of those attending are impressionable children, doesn't that sound like the ideal environment for mind-control of the next generation?

Closely linked to the repetition of teaching and phrases is the use of songs in Witness worship. If you ever want to memorise something, sing it. It is a very effective way to learn and remember written material. One note or phrase can help you recall a whole song that you have not sung for years. ("Baa, baa, black sheep, have you.....")

All of the 225 songs used in Witness meetings are written by Jehovah's Witnesses to avoid the influence of "false religion" in the hymns of the Christian church (this does not prevent Witness writers "borrowing" musical phrases and themes). Each week at Witness meetings, six songs in total are sung and Witnesses are "encouraged" to sing these as part of their worship and to listen to the "upbuilding" music of Kingdom Melodies at other times. When listening to these tapes, the words of the songs inevitably come to mind. Music is a very powerful influence as the Society itself is aware - it discourages listening to popular "worldly" music.

Does the leadership control other information? Yes, most effectively. It never actually forbids the reading of any material, but "advises", "encourages", "reasons with", the faithful Witness to avoid material which, they say, would be harmful to you.

But are not you, the reader, now exercising freedom of choice, to read what you wish despite the discouragement of the Society to look at the internet? Perhaps.Your eyes are certainly here, but where is your mind? Where is your reasoning power? Did you come to look, but not to believe? Have you actually agreed with anything you have read so far? Has it changed any of your opinions and beliefs about the Governing Body? Will you forget it as soon as you switch off - or have you "switched off" already?

If you are still of the same opinion as you had, you may be under control, for an aspect of milieu control is that your judgement of material is affected regardless of its content. If, in research on the internet, you find facts at odds with what you have been taught, will you explain these away by saying that they are lies created to mislead you?

Do you see information or discussions which are critical of your religion as "bad", "untrue", "lies", even before they are put on the scales of reason to be weighed? Right now, if you are one of Jehovah's Witnesses, you probably think you are seeing this information objectively. But are you prejudiced?

The bias of environment affects "worldly" people too. An accurate report is discounted because it is in a tabloid newspaper - while the same information in a "serious" broadsheet (from the same newspaper group) is accepted without question because of its environment.

Similarly, British people abroad may prefer BBC news reports, believing them to be more accurate and impartial than others. People trust familiar voices and settings - and that is the greatest danger for Witnesses.

The Watchtower environment also influences the way you view people outside your organisation. Already you have seen the use of "worldly" as a pejorative adjective; that is the way Jehovah's Witnesses use it. Later, you will see other examples of the way in which Witnesses' minds are preconditioned by words. It is very easy - advertisers and successful salesmen do it all the time!

How do you view people who are not Witnesses? Do you believe they are immoral and dishonest? "Well, not all of them, of course", you say. Are there any really good people who are not Jehovah's Witnesses? If there are, why does the Society forbid - or strongly discourage - marriages with non-Witnesses? (w15/10 98)

Do you disbelieve the stories about Jehovah's Witnesses who have committed fraud, child abuse, rape and other crimes? Do you think that they were never "proper" Jehovah's Witnesses? Do you try to convince yourself that they were "never really in the truth"? The facts show that some active and approved Witnesses are dishonest. I was a victim of dishonest Witnesses and my professional colleagues were also.

How often have you seen negative articles in Society publications telling about the dishonesty of "worldly" workers compared to the outstanding honesty of Witness employees who, they say, are preferred by "worldly" employers?

Another way in which milieu control is upheld in the Witness environment is by forbidding criticism or comment against the group. If you only ever hear positive comments about a subject, does that colour your judgement, or not? If you hear only positive comments about something for five hours every week, is that likely to give you a balanced view of it? If in addition to meeting attendance, you say grace to Jehovah three times daily over meals, and talk with friends and family, referring to the Witnesses and their teachings as "the truth" and spend your time reading and preparing Watchtower Society publications for meetings, do you not think that you are constantly reinforcing that Jehovah's Witnesses are true - whether inadvertently or not? Surely!

Suppose that you dare to criticise something connected with "Jehovah's organisation" - what will happen? Won't other Witnesses quickly withdraw from you because "you are discouraging"? Certainly!

Undoubtedly your whole environment as a Witnesses is one which is controlled toward positive thinking about the Society and negative thinking about the world beyond as directly in opposition, inherently evil, ruled by Satan - the god of "them" not "us".

You may say that the Governing Body does not tell you what to do and often emphasises the need for individual thinking and a "Bible-trained conscience"(w1/9 98 p7) Do they really want you to develop your conscience? What do they mean exactly?

"Always let your conscience be your guide"

By the time we are adults, most of us have developed a conscience - but sometimes we don't follow it because it is inconvenient to our desires. That doesn't mean it isn't there - the prompting of a friend (or a policeman!) may be enough to bring it back into play despite its lack of use.

Even people with scarred consciences know, deep down, that taking someone's property or marriage mate or doing someone a bad turn, is not quite right. If they were to ponder on it, their pangs of conscience might turn them away from a course of action which would harm others.

Cultivating a "Bible-trained" conscience sounds very noble: what could be better than a conscience trained by the very thoughts of God found in his written Word? But on closer examination, we find that what the "faithful slave" says is not what it means.

The Society has a slogan: "Read God's Word the Holy Bible Daily". Witnesses are encouraged to study the Bible, but they are told that they cannot understand it unless it is explained to them. And by whom? By the "faithful and discreet slave" composed of about 8,000 spirit-anointed" men and women world-wide, but represented by only a dozen men in Brooklyn. The Society said, "...how can faith overcome doubt? Two key ways are intense personal study of God's Word and regular attendance at, and involvement in Christian [ie JW] meetings" [my underlining] (w15/6 98)

When a Witness reads the Bible, there is no allowance for direction by Holy Spirit and forming a public opinion which is outside the teaching of the leadership. Thus, it is not by reading the Bible itself that Witnesses conclude that Acts 15:29 ("abstain from blood") means that blood transfusions are forbidden (in fact the Society does not uphold its own teaching) and the use of Hebrews 10:25 ("do not forsake the gathering of yourselves together") as a proof text is intended to make Witnesses feel very guilty when they miss any of the five Kingdom Hall meetings each week.

As they say, "Paul urged us "not to forsake the gathering of ourselves together". (Heb.10:24,25) In spite of this counsel, some take a casual view of Christian [JW] meetings. They may feel that missing some of them or even omitting certan meetings entirely is inconsequential"
[w15/7 98 p13 - underlining mine]

So when the Governing Body talks about the importance of a "Bible-trained" conscience they mean in reality, "a conscience following our interpretation of the Bible and not your reading or understand- ing of it".

Too often, Witness parents have been faced with the unpleasant dilemma of holding to the group conscience rather than listen to their own consciences telling them, "This isn't right! Save the life of your child!", dying for lack of a blood transfusion or other
forbidden medical treatments.

So far, are any of the comments about Jehovah's Witnesses and their environment true? If so, the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses may be exercising milieu control over people - your brothers and sisters - or even you!

A Few Questions for You:
Do you limit your contact with "worldly" people because of their bad influence?
Would you have made that choice if you were not aWitness?
When did you last see your (non-Witness) father?
Why don't you visit or call your ex-Witness parents more often?
Why don't you let your children meet your disfellowshipped relatives?

Mystical Manipulation
Contriving events

There's nothng like the odd miracle or three to impress the masses. Do Jehovah's Witnesses show miracles as evidence of God's approval? No, although many things are attributed to "the blessing of Jehovah"

At the end of every assembly, a speaker from the national headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses usually gives an inspiring talk relating how "Jehovah has blessed his people in xyz country"- usually inolving numerical increases and experiences in various lands. These talks, and others on assembly programmes, are often punctuated by enthusiastic "spontanous applause" from a claque, cued by expressions such as "Isn't that something we are all very happy about Brothers?" (applause)

Sometimes the acquisition of a new printing press, or prime property to be used in their publishing empire, has been attributed to God's intervention. This makes the Witnesses feel that nothing can beat them, that nothing can prevent the accomplishment of God's will by and through them alone, "for if God is with us, who can stand against us?" It does not occur to "Joe Witness" that such transactions are simply the result of competent business practice - with a lot of his money behind it.

Have you been told that the New World Translation is the best of all Bible translations? Do you believe that only Jehovah's Witnesses, as a special group of people, were chosen by God, to "preach the good news before the end comes"?

Who told you these things? Who needs to tell you? Doesn't the name itself, Jehovah's Witnesses, remind you that you were selected by God - his chosen people? (In fact, the name was selected by Rutherford in 1931. Whether God approved, or was consulted, is another question).

At assemblies and in their literature, stories and experiences are often told about the honesty of Witnesses, handing in cash-filled wallets and how it worked out well for them to give a "fine witness" (they are not shy about telling the recipient of the good deed that "we are Jehovah's Witnesses, by the way") Has it been suggested to you that Witnesses, as a group, are the most honest of people on this planet?

Witnesses out preaching knock on a door, just in time to prevent a suicide. Coincidence? Has anyone else ever prevented a suicide or an accident, or done a good turn, when calling at a home?

A Witness woman listening to Kingdom Melodies is told, "I'm a music teacher and I'm really impressed by that lovely music you're playing" and another "fine witness" is given. Or did she say, "Do you like the music?" to start a conversation?

The Mayor says, "I've never seen such clean and friendly people as Jehovah's Witnesses. You can have an assembly in our town any time". Or did he politely answer "Yes", to "Do you think Witnesses are clean and friendly?"?

A recent Watchtower article (w1/9 98) - one of many such - tells of a priest on a Greek island who has nothing but praise for Jehovah's Witnesses and their literature. Why? Does he believe they are Christians without any prejudice against others? Does he know what Witnesses are taught about the Roman and Greek Orthodox churches? Does he know what you and thousands of former Witnesses know about the Watchtower Society and its opinion of Christians?

Are all of the experiences true? Maybe. Did the people actually say all the things they are attributed with or is there some "artistic licence" in the writing? How do you know? Have you ever checked them? Could you? How many word-of-mouth experiencies are embroidered? How many actually give names and dates and places? [see also w15/8 98 p32]

Do you believe that the Watchtower Society always wins its court cases? Or that they never lose on Appeal to a Higher Court? Several Witnesses I know said this, but the Society had not told them about their support of the Jimmy Swaggart case or the recent failures in France - serious losses which will cost them (or you!) millions of pounds.

The fact is, that the Watchtower Society can write almost anything in its publications (and with-hold information) and five million faithful Witnesses will buy them, regardless of content, and distribute them, without checking or publicly challenging the truthfulness of the articles they are promoting.

Have you found any true comments about your religion in this section? Will you check the things written here and in The Watchtower? Is the "faithful slave" controlling you and your brothers and sisters by mystical manipulation?

Demand for Purity
Persil washes whiter

The purity of "Jehovah's organisation" is very important to Witnesses. How can it be kept clean? "Only Jehovah can read hearts" and "we cannot judge by the appearance of a man" Or can we?

Although the Bible warns Christians not to judge others since we are all sinners, Jehovah's Witnesses do this all the time. It is reasoned that, although we cannot judge the inner man, we can know his "heart condition" (spirituality) by his words and actions - "out of the heart's abundance the mouth speaks". That is enough for Jehovah's Witnesses.

A householder might ask a visiting Witness probing, but sincere, questions and be considered "argumentative" or "not sheep-like" (humble, biddable), but if an uninterested person, wishing to close the conversation quickly, politely takes their literature and gives a donation, usually they will be viewed favourably.

Witnesses judge others who are not Witnesses all the time - they are pigeon-holed, categorised, labelled by language. This affects the way that Witnesses view the world and the "worldly" people in it. Even where the Witness does not actually voice prejudices, how can they avoid being affected, surrounded as they are by the influences? If bad language affects us, surely what we hear from other Witnesses will influence our judgement also?

Witnesses judge each other too. It may not be obvious to the outsider, but a process of judgement is on-going for Witnesses' meeting attendance, preaching activity and dress and conduct, both inside and outside the Kingdom Hall.

Those who do not attend all meetings are "weak" or uncommitted unless they have exceptional reasons. Even in the case of severe disability, every effort is made to attend meetings and assemblies - in wheelchairs or on beds and stretchers if necessary.

If a man works shifts, he will be encouraged to find other employment and if he wishes to gain a position as elder, he really must attend the Kingdom Hall regularly. Tales are told of Witnesses traversing crocodile-infested rivers or terrain frequentd by dangerous animals to attend meetings, while The Watchtower encourages swapping of unpopular shifts with fellow-employees so that Witnesses do not miss meetings. And a woman "paid a fellow-worker to cover her shift so that she could be free to attend these important meetings" (w1/9 98)

Dress and grooming are constantly monitored under Society guidelines. It is easy to see what is acceptable by an examination of illustrations in the publications.. Control of clothing and grooming has long been recognised as control of an individual's freedom of expression, but if you want approval of your peers, you conform.

An examination of Watchtower Society literature shows that the leadership is willing to give its opinion on diverse subjects - which Witnesses follow as rules thereafter - like the latest fashion, except this is control over their life decisions. Often, a Witness will ask, "What is the Society's view on......?" before they will undertake a project. Reference is usually made, not to the Bible, but to the Society's literature where they can find information on secular matters which is always based on the Governing Body's interpretation of scripture. Notice:

"Jehovah's organization as directed by his "faithful and discreet slave" class should influence our every decision also. How may we avail ourselves of this good influence? By doing personal research in the Bible publications of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society on whatever subject our decision concerns. This always proves to be a real aid in making clear to us the Bible principles involved and their application to our lives. (w69 3/15 172)

These include matters such as: appropriate dress/clothing; use of narcotics; suitable movies; declaring bankruptcy; birthdays; conduct in courts; oral sex in marriage; lotteries; dating after divorce; drinking toasts; growing a beard; joining a club for nudists; breaking engagements; drinking tea/coffee; cosmetics and jewellery; hunting and fishing; suitable TV viewing; contraception methods; national anthems; masturbation; inter-racial marriage and jury service, to name just a few. Be assured that, if the Society makes a ruling on a matter, Jehovah's Witnesses will immediately follow, with an emphasis on "now".

Since the introduction of simultaneous translation of The Watchtower, identical instruction can be circulated in major languages to almost all Witnesses within days and the congregations obediently conform, otherwise individuals will be "counselled" on the matter by local elders. If it is seen as serious enough and the person is considered "rebellious" (i.e.vehemently disagrees) "marking" or even disfellowshipping may result.

How do elders discover if a person is breaking rules which can lead to disfellowshipping? If the conduct is not obvious or public, (e.g. a pregnancy or court case) then usually through informers who are encouraged to tell the elders of "wrong conduct" (or even suspected conduct) to "keep the congregation clean". This happens!

To my shame, I reported three people to elders: one had admitted taking a blood transfusion and the other two had smoked cigarettes together. I believed that I was doing my duty in obedience to the Society's direction, ("just following orders"!?) to make the elders aware of what was going on in the congregation. Although no disfellowshipping action was taken against the offenders, I look back on those incidents with acute embarrassment. Unfortunately, I have never had the opportunity to apologise to the recipients of my enthusiasm for their purity.

As a result of this demand for purity, people sometimes resort to dishonest practices to maintain their status as Witnesses: each month, every Witness submits a Field Service Report which is used by the elders to assess the publisher's progress or spirituality. The number of Hours spent preaching as well as the Return Visits, Bible Studies and placements (sales) of Magazines, Books and Booklets are recorded.

Anyone who fails to report, is "irregular" (although sometimes reports can be turned in late to save face) and after 6 months of failing to report, is labelled "inactive". Every Witness is encouraged to report something every month, even if it is only one hour knocking on doors without actually speaking to anyone.

Did you know that, because of the pressure to report regularly, your brothers and sisters sometimes falsify reports? This applies especially to pioneers, elders and ministerial servants who may add to their "scores" because their reports must be "above average". They may submit extra hours with the intention of "repaying" them in the next month.

Does this shock you? Or have you done this "embezzling" yourself? Unfortunately, it is a necessary part of the system which determines a person's worth by a score-sheet. (I was obviously slow to realise this and had my "privilege" of holding the roving microphones (!!) taken away when my Report went down during some difficult months).

The Society often boasts of its accomplishments in preaching, but how many of the one billion hours counted each year is reported like this? It makes nonsense of a report which already includes many hours spent travelling between calls (the "long way round" to "count time") and for calling at "not homes". Some days go by when a Witness speaks to only one or two uninterested people. Witnesses working in pairs doubles this wasted effort which is still recorded as "time spent preaching".

In the foregoing various ways, Witnesses purify themselves and purge their organisation, "keeping it clean" and as can be seen elsewhere on this site, (Tom n Jerry) Witness elders maintain the purity even by pursuing members of the public - former Witnesses - who may have left the religion years earlier, but who are seen as a threat to the local congregation.

The Cult of Confession

Although there is no formal "public confessing", as in some abusive ministries, Witnesses are encouraged to go to elders to confess sins. To confide a sin to another Witness might be a short-cut to a judicial committee (church court). There are very few trustworthy relationships in Jehovah's Witnesses. Denouncing members for sins done in the privacy of the home is not unusual.

Even deeply personal matters should be confessed to unqualified, unprofessional and uneducated elders according to the Watchtower Society. This may include smoking tobacco or secret alcoholism. Or if a youngster "has a problem with masturbation", s/he is expected to confess this to an elder. (In the case of a female, a mature female Witness may be asked to help, but always monitored by a male elder)

Usually, to tell one elder anything is to tell all the elders. Most are incapable of making decisions independently and taking responsibility outwith a committee. Indeed, they are not encouraged to do so.

Some elders tell their wives private matters too. When I confided something - not "congregation business"- and emphasised the need for confidentiality, the elder went straight home and told his wife, as she revealed later. On another occasion, I was told the name of a young man who was being "helped" after confessing to masturbation.

Apart from real or defined sins detailed by the Governing Body, there are the imaginary variety. In any congregation, there may be Witnesses who regularly confess, or express anxiety about, "bad thoughts" or fears about demons or demon harassment. Some are paranoid about introducing demons into their homes through a piece of second-hand furniture (or any object) and, quite superstitiously, will attribute any unfortunate occurrences to "demon-possession" of objects they have bought, or inherited from a "worldly" relative who may be a very unlikely friend of Satan.

In general, Witnesses are in a constant state of uncertainty and unworthiness before God. There is always the fear that they are not doing enough and this is fed by the Governing Body in its literature and meeting programmes - "Could we do more study?"; "Could you pioneer (report 60 or more hours preaching) in April?"; "Could we prepare better for meetings?"; "Could we place (sell) more magazines?" and so on.

Have you yourself ever questioned your worthiness and felt that you should be doing more? Do you feel that the congregation's needs outweigh your own? Do you neglect your family in favour of the congregation? Many elders do.

There is also the omnipresent threat of "Sin Lurking at the Entrance". Some Witnesses walk around as if they were out on patrol behind enemy lines, expecting an attack at any moment from Satan, who is "walking about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone" (a JW of course - who else?)

They are especially vigilant against the Sin of Fornication - regardless of their physical attractiveness e.g. when a young man was falsely accused of "committing fornication" with a female Witness, she was mortally offended to discover her name was even associated with this "least appealing" male.

Witnesses believe that people outside the group conspire to ensnare them under Satan's direction. Surely, the worst Witness nightmare must be "falling into a sin" the day before Armageddon starts, on the assumption that God would be so unmerciful....... They imagine that Jehovah has a personal and obsessive interest in them for they continually worry that their conduct or some fairly innocent and unintentional action "might displease Jehovah".

As well as the possibility of an act of sin, Witnesses worry about appearances. I knew a 70 year old man who would not share a car with a widow aged 40 for appearances' sake - for whose appearance, I am not certain.

I had a similar experience with a female "senior citizen" thirty years older than me. Meanwhile, I was taking a non-practising, homosexual Witness to meetings, alone in my car, but no-one seemed to realise the potential moral dilemma or contradiction in that.

A Few Questions
Have you ever confessed anything to elders?
Have you ever waited outside a house rather than be alone with a single person?
Do you know any Witnesses who have?
Does the fear of committing a sin preoccupy you?
Have I tried to trap you?
Is anything I have said true?

Sacred Science (and Sacred Cows)

Jehovah's Witnesses are closely modelled on the congregations of 1st century Christians. How do we know? The Watchtower tells us so!

This idea came to the forefront about twenty years ago as the modern organisation sought provenance for itself by claiming that ""Jehovah's Witnesses" can be traced back to Abel" while quoting Hebrews 11. Then, like Topsie, the myth "just grow'd". It doesn't take long for myths to become well-established in Witnessworld - a few repetitions and suddenly, "Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia".

As these myths are left unchallenged, next-generation Witnesses start building onto the castles in the air. If as a Witness, you doubt this, I can only suggest that, during the next Watchtower study meeting, you raise your hand and say, "Wait a minute! How did we know this?"

Or you might look at the Society's "charitable" status: in UK; the International Bible Students Association (forerunners of JWs) is a registered charity, but is that the case in USA? How do you know? Have you ever checked? Would you know where to start an investigation? Would you confine your search to the official history, the Proclaimers book? And if the Watchtower Society is really non-profit-making, why did the French government penalise it over donations? Why not write to Brooklyn and ask them? Would they reply? Perhaps, but typically, their replies cleverly evade the questions raised.

If you examine The Watchtower, you will see bold and broad statements made, which assume the reader's acceptance of them, without question. The more this has been allowed, the more it has occurred. Now, the Governing Body can say almost anything in The Watchtower and remain unchallenged by the majority. Only an "apostate" would dare question their teaching.

"Some have questioned whether it is fair that authority in the congregation is exercised only by qualified men or that some have a heavenly hope while others have an earthly hope (Psalm 37:29; Phil:3:20) Dedicated Christians however, appreciate that these arrangements are outlined in the Word of God. They are theocratic. If they are questioned, it is usually by those who do not recognise Bible principles"

Who have questioned? Why? Are the men really "qualified"? Who gives them their authority? Do those giving them authority have the right? "Dedicated" i.e."real"; "proper" - a weighted word. "Outlined" perhaps, but interpreted and defined by whom? And a warning to other Witnesses to mark those who question - they "do not recognise Bible principles" - as interpreted by the leadership.

"During this century, Jehovah's Witnesses have suffered greatly at the hands of despotic rulers - just as Jesus foretold. (Matthew 24:9,13) In some lands, lies and misrepresentations are circulated by those trying to pressure the authorities to act against these sincere Christians" (w1/9 98 pp15-16)

Did Jesus foretell that Jehovah's Witnesses would suffer? In which lands? What lies and misrepresentations exactly? Circulated by whom? Why would they wish "to pressure the authorities" against "sincere Christians"? Are Jehovah's Witnesses Christians?

The above are just two extracts taken, for covenience, from a recent issue, to illustrate the kind of questions that you should be asking as you read Society literature.

The "faithful slave", represented by the Governing Body, nurtures this believing attitude in itself, telling Witnesses repeatedly that they should "gratefully accept" counsel from the "faithful slave" on "our choice of music and entertainment" (w98 15/7 p13) and "we are grateful that the "faithful and discreet slave" continues to help us..." (p14) or "That "slave" made up of anointed Christians, provides the very best of spiritually good things - accurate, Bible-based knowledge that can lead to eternal life" (w1/9 98 p11)

Has the "slave" been "faithful and discreet"? Why do they keep telling you how wonderful they are? Is it "the very best" that they offer? Is it "accurate"? How do you know? Should we be grateful when they keep giving us incorrect information and changing it later?

Loading the Language

"The limits of my language mean the limits of my world" Wittgenstein

Why don't you play a little solitaire?

John Frankenheimer's 1962 film, The Manchurian Candidate, tells the story of a group of US Servicemen brainwashed by Chinese communists in Korea. While the techniques are less effective on some of the soldiers, Sergeant Shaw proves susceptible and is programmed to act on hearing a key phrase, after which he becomes responsive to suggestion. On his return to America as a decorated hero, he is controlled with this "trigger" phrase with humorous, but eventually tragic, consequences.

Are Jehovah's Witnesses "brainwashed"? Perhaps, but not as is commonly understood. Are Jehovah's Witnesses, as a group, controlled by words and phrases? Yes, definitely - to deny this, is to deny human nature. We are all conditioned by words and their meaning to us e.g. what effect do the words "child-molester" or "rape" have upon you? They are words with unpleasant connotations for most of us. To meditate on what they really mean could stir up feelings of revulsion, fear, anger and hatred in us. Similarly, fifty years on, some people are still upset by "Auschwitz", "Nazi", "Hiroshima" and "Dresden". Intense feelings can be provoked by words alone.

Are there any "trigger words" which control or affect Witnesses? Yes - not only do certain words start "alarm bells" in their minds and put them on guard, but also the way words are used repeatedly in meetings and Watchtower Society literature, conditions the way that Witnesses view people and institutions in this world.

Word Games

Look at the following two lists and read the words slowly. Try to picture those things in your mind's eye where possible. The non-Witness reader may see no significance in some words, but a Witness may feel uncomfortable with them. Which list contains the negative words and phrases? Where did they come from? How are they used? [the colours have no significance]

lack of faith; wrong mental attitudes; lack of confidence; Catholic sign of the cross; sect; counterfeit Christians; uncleanness; mainstream religions; religious rulers; human concepts; clergy; complainer; Babylon the Great; doubt; apostate; run ahead of Jehovah; lies; internet; evil slave; worldly; independent thinking; critic; uncertainty; philosophy; lands dominated by the Catholic Church; hat; doubts; evolution; hard-hearted; world empire of false religion; political rulers; narrow minded; persecutors; self-righteousness; United Nations; church; false prophet; overweening pride; improper conduct; cult; true Christians; Christendom; enemies of the truth; mat; lack of appreciation; Trinity; religious cowards; biased critic; polygamist; fanatical opponent; corrupt system of things; partial obedience; wicked heart; ridiculer; Catholic military squad; university; Christmas; ignoring of counsel; wrong thinking

close relationship with Jehovah; dedicated Christians; congregation; loving provision; apostles; oversight; approved associate; elders; holy angels; "other sheep"; personal study; wonderful privilege; "remnant"; cross; the truth; apostle; preaching work; angelic support; refuge; bat; faithful ones; sovereignty; exclusive devotion; Jehovah's organisation; humbly conforming; spirit-anointed; scriptures; spirit-appointed; meetings; cat; qualified men; wait on Jehovah; eager expectation; legally married; whole-souled; lovers of Jehovah; well-motivated; Armageddon; Kingdom interests

The Meaning of a Word is its Use

To make you think, and in case you fell asleep, or didn't bother to read the lists properly, there are a couple of short "nonsense words" in each list and one word which does not belong to each list - mentioning "the cross" rings alarm bells for a Witness and cannot belong in the second list beside "the truth" because Witnesses say, "the cross" is pagan. Witnesses insist that Jesus Christ died on a "torture stake" and will not admit to anything else. People who say "Christ died for us on the cross" are not Jehovah's Witnesses!

"True Christians" belongs in the "positive" list and cannot stand beside "Christendom". Witnesses believe that they alone are Christians, hence the addition of positive adjectives for the benefit of readers of Witness literature. In reference to all other people, "Christian", standing without a qualifying adjective, ("counterfeit-"; "false-") is meaningless. Similarly, the adjective, "Christian" can only apply to things pertaining to Jehovah's Witnesses - e.g. "Christian meetings".

The word "internet" is correctly placed in the "negative" list despite the fact that some Witnesses are here, contrary to the advice of the Society, published in "Awake!" and elsewhere. Witnesses who are unfamiliar with the internet have a very negative, even fearful, opinion of it, influenced by the warnings in Watchtower literature.

I will now discuss a few of the words from the above lists, which are by no means exhaustive. In the first list (negatives), most of the phrases were published in The Watchtower (1998)

"Spirit-appointed": It is no accident that this word sounds like "spirit-anointed" which refers to the 144,000 who expect to go to heaven. "Spirit-appointed" has crept into Witness vocabulary quite recently. Usually, it is used with reference to elders, reinforcing the false belief that local elders are selected by holy spirit - not, notice, "the" Holy Spirit.

"Sect": Jehovah's Witnesses do not like to be called a "sect" or a "cult" and have gone to considerable lengths to argue their case. They are not a sect [they say] because they have not broken away from something else. The word "cult" is over-used against unpopular religions although it is tempting to use it when speaking to Jehovah's Witnesses, just to annoy them. (just kidding)

"Evolution": A Very Bad word for Jehovah's Witnesses (and other fundamentalists). As with other technical words, it causes much confusion to Witnesses. Their lack of understanding of the nuances of the theory is apparent and is not helped by their belief that a theory is slightly above a guess.

In Witnessworld, there can be no grey area to allow for any form of evolution. In general, if the Society agrees with a scientist and needs support for an argument, s/he is "a noted scientist"; "an expert", but those who present disagreeable views of the world (as seen through Watchtower spectacles) will be labelled "God-dishonouring scientists promoting human concepts" or "worldly scientists", even if they are the most devout Christians. Philosophy or university (with the epithets "worldly") and anything which leads to "independent thinking", are also disapproved.

"Catholic": And now for something completely controversial - Jehovah's Witnesses, as a group, hate all things Catholic. You will disagree - and no unkindness is intended to the many decent Witnesses who respect other people - but I have rarely heard such bigoted intolerance and disrespect for Catholicism anywhere else. Although I was never a Catholic, it was the insistent "pope-bashing" and quiet intolerance of that particular religion, repeated at meetings and in The Watchtower, that contributed to my leaving Jehovah's Witnesses.

Of the Christian denominations, Catholicism is the major component of "Christendom" which in turn, is part of "Babylon the Great", the "world empire of false religion" (ie not JWs). Witnesses are quite ignorant of the finer points of Catholic doctrine. Their knowledge is usually based on Watchtower literature and meetings. In any case, to add the word "Catholic" to anything, is to sound its death-knell for Witness approval. If I introduced a "Catholic friend", s/he would be in a pigeon-hole with hell-fire and the Inquisitors faster than "eternal souls" could fly there.

"wrong thinking": To "avoid wrong thinking" is really another way of saying "not thinking" or a form of "thought-stopping" as in Orwell's 1984. Witnesses are taught to react instantly to situations with an approved response, rather than thinking about the question.

For every situation, there is a "scriptural principle" (actually a rule) based on the leadership's interpretation of the Bible. Spontaneity is discouraged. When the Witness is put in a new situation, not covered by Watchtower teaching, s/he may flounder unless an elder is nearby to give a ruling. If you doubt this, consider the diversity of "Questions from Readers" over the years. The Governing Body does not expect you to think for yourself despite what it may say.

Eventually, as with anything, if you don't use your ability to think critically, you lose it, and start to say, "What is the Society's view on this?" before you make a "decision"

"Independent thinking" Jehovah's Witnesses are not expected to "run ahead of Jehovah" or "Jehovah's organisation", represented on earth by about 8,000 men and women of the "faithful and discreet slave class". About a dozen of these (all men) make up the Governing Body. Notice:

"Not only must we study God's Word, have the right mental attitude and pray for God's spirit, but we must recognize God's visible organization. God......does not impart his holy spirit and an understanding and appreciation of his Word apart from his visible organization". (w65 7/1 39)

In theory, thinking Witnesses may write to Brooklyn to present ideas after their own Bible research, but if this does not fit current Watchtower policy or worse, if it is embarrassing to the Governing Body, the information will not be accepted. Carl Jonsson discovered this when he presented extensive proof of the inaccuracies in the Watchtower Society's 1914 chronology, privately inviting them to change it. He was disfellowshipped.

Twenty years later, when the Society was running into problems with their "generation of 1914" because of this same false chronology, they "borrowed" a theory published one year earlier in "Crisis of Conscience" - a well-known "apostate" book.

Witnesses who disagree with Watchtower teaching or who keep asking awkward questions are called "proud", "complainers", "uncertain"; "unsubmissive" or "doubters". If they continue, they may become "hardhearted" because of their "partial obedience", "ignoring of counsel" and "lack of appreciation" for the "bounteous spiritual food" prepared by the "faithful and discreet slave" and provided at "Christian meetings".

How is such independent thinking manifested? A common way is by questioning the counsel that is provided by God's visible rganization... Yet certain ones have professed to know better. They have rebelled against such counsel and have done what is right in their own eyes. (w83 1/15 22)

Witness dissidents who leave the religion after realising the truth about it and who dare to comment upon, or question the Society's teachings in the media, will find themselves under the following categories in Witness literature: "apostate" (an all-time favourite); having "overweening pride"; "fanatical opponent"; "enemies of the truth"; "ridiculers" having a "wicked heart"; "persecutors"; "liars"; "biased critics" and so on.

Notice this: "Jehovah's organisation does not discourage sincere, timely questions, as some opposers mistakenly claim. (1Pet.1:10-12) However, the Bible counsels that we avoid foolish, speculative questions. (Titus 3:9) Asking reasonable questions and searching God's Word and Christian publications to find Scriptural answers can increase our accurate knowledge and can thus strengthen our knowledge in Jehovah." (w98 15/8 p20) [underlining added]

What Joe Witness doesn't know, is that the Society reserves the right to answer only those questions it considers "sincere" or "timely". Some of the questions written to Brooklyn when people were Witnesses were very pertinent and anything but "speculative" or "foolish".

In Watchtower-speak, "foolish" means "a question that would be embarrassing for us to answer". The Governing Body often declined to reply and failed to properly correct previous errors, which would mean admitting that they are hiding behind a cloak of self-appointed, Godly authority.

In fact, in The Watchtower quoted above, they side-stepped the apology which was due to thousands of young men worldwide who, for many years, had gone to prison after following the "faithful slave's" indiscreet counsel to refuse legitimate, alternative service to military training [see discussion below]

"Trinity": Another red rag to Witnesses. Christians who realise that we cannot hope to explain God completely may not accept the doctrine vebatim, but this does not stop Witnesses launching enthusiastic attacks, using diverse single proof-texts, at the mere mention of a particular denomination which they believe is "trinitarian". Unfortunately, their knowledge usually comes from (you guessed) Society literature e.g. the infamous "Trinity brochure" (more misquotations), leading them to imagine that all Christians who accept the Trinity believe in a three-headed God and other such nonsense.

As a doctrine of most denominations, the Trinity may be a major obstacle for you, the leaving Witness, seeking to worship God. However, Witnesses do not realise that, unlike their own restrictive conformity, Christians do not insist that you accept every aspect of every doctrine. Essential Christian teachings are very simple and based on the Bible - however surprising that may seem.

"Worldly": Satan is the ruler of the world. Everything and everybody - Jew, Christian, atheist, Muslim, Buddhist - all people ouside Jehovah's Witnesses are "in the world" (Witnesses are "in the world, but not part of it") The adjective is applied by The Watchtower to anything that a Witness should dislike or disapprove.

"Political rulers": True, some politicians are corrupt and don't make the best decisions, but at least they are doing something and trying to manage the planet. According to Witnesses, the United Nations Organisation is a type of all evil in world politics and along with Big Business and Babylon the Great, is in line for destruction at Armageddon.

"Armageddon": This word is correctly placed in the positive list. To Witnesses, it is a magical solution, a panacea for all ills, the gateway to the New World. Unfortunately for five billion people, the solution involves the destruction of everyone outside "Jehovah's organisation". If you are a Witness, have you actually considered the consequences of such a slaughter? Think about it!

Since the first issue of The Watchtower over one hundred years ago, Armageddon is always coming "very shortly", "soon" or is "very near", teasing the Witnesses, like a carrot in front a donkey. "Time is very short for this wicked system of things", says the leadership. But Jesus said, "Look out that you are not misled; for many will come on the basis of my name, saying.... "The due time has approached". Do not go after them" - Luke 21:8

"The Truth": Recently a Witness asked me, "Is your sister in "the truth"?" With a smile, I replied, "No, she's one of Jehovah's Witnesses". I was being mischievous, but I was also refusing to play her word-game.

To be one of Jehovah's Witnesses is to be in "the truth". An early question after meeting another Witness is usually, "And how long have you been in "the truth"?" Witnesses use the expression often. Can you think of a better reinforcement for a belief? It is like saying, "How long have you been right about everything?" (which Witnesses think they are)

Alternatives are frowned upon. If you say, "in the faith", you will be looked upon with suspicion and might even be asked, with some degree of uncertainty, "You do believe it's "the truth", don't you?"

As you may have come to realise, by reading elsewhere, "Jehovah's Witnesses" (the religion) and "truth" are mutually exclusive. If unintentionally, I use the term "the truth" to a Witness, I always correct myself. Some former Witnesses go further, using expressions such as "the Lie" or "when I was in the Untruth" or the "Borg". Which brings us to.......

"Jehovah's organisation" In a recent rewriting of its history, The Watchtower referred, not to the Bible, but to two Watchtower issues of 1922, linking the phrase ".....the Lord does everything in an orderly manner" with a verse in Corinthians referring to the human body and arriving at the conclusion "That is an excellent illustration of an organisation!"

Although they refer to the issues of 1922 (implying, "we have always believed in an organisation") it is only in recent years that emphasis has been put on the organisation in Watchtower publications and since 1985, converts have declared a measure of allegiance to the organisation in their second baptism vow: "The second is: Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with God's spirit-directed organization? (w85 1/6 30)

The expression "Jehovah's organisation" can be applied conveniently to any aspect of the religion and is interchangeable with expressions such as "being in the truth"; "Jehovah's people"; "the congregation"; "Jehovah's Witnesses"; "the Watchtower Society", although the last expression is rarely used by Witnesses because strictly, it is a business corporation which they say, is for "legal reasons".

This continual repetition and appropriation of God's name and connecting it with their international publishing corporation is an ingenious marketing ploy. Quite intentionally, God and the Governing Body are blurred and it becomes more difficult to criticise the leadership who become God. "It is vital that we appreciate this fact and respond to the directions of the "slave" as we would to the voice of God, because it is His provision". (w57 6/15 p370) Note the following reference to those who obediently refused alternative service:

"Was it unrighteous on Jehovah's part to allow him to suffer for rejecting what he might now do without consequences?......What reason could anyone have to regret having followed his conscience in taking a firm stand for Jehovah? By loyally upholding Christian principles as they understood them or by reponding to the proddings of conscience, they proved worthy of Jehovah's friendship...." (w98 15/8) [underlining mine]

Who told Jehovah's Witnesses to refuse alternative service? Who told them much later that it was acceptable? Was it God? Definitely not! It was the Governing Body representing the "faithful slave". Unless we agree that the Governing Body is God, we have to admit that it was men who instructed Witnesses to follow the leadership's conscience, but notice how "the Governing Body" is deftly replaced by "Jehovah" in the above quotation.

Yes we can criticise men, but what Witness would criticise God for this gross error? As a result of their instructions, thousands of young men suffered years of unnecessary imprisonment. The fact is, Jehovah had nothing to do with the instruction.

Your own Words

Witness converts soon learn that they should answer "question and answer" meeting parts "in their own words". This means that they should not read answers verbatim from the paragraphs of The Watchtower or study book being used. Instead they should rephrase their answers. This does not mean that they will answer in their own words because they will still conform to the well-understood jargon phrases of Jehovah's Witnesses e.g. "Babylon the Great" which is the "world empire of false religion" instead of "all religion in this world which does not worship Jehovah through his organisation and, according to the Society, has pagan origins from ancient Babylon".

As far as loading the language is concerned, the Writing Committee of the Governing Body in Brooklyn cannot deny that it uses this controlling technique to substitute itself for God and to control the very thoughts of five million Jehovah's Witnesses, including you.

Doctrine over Persons

Witnesses who dare complain may not be taken seriously. Sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint what is actually wrong - it may be a feeling of depression that Christ's love is not in the congregation, but the complaint seems petty, based as it is on feelings rather than rock-hard evidence. (These feelings may be well-founded, for Witnesses will cold-shoulder any "brothers and sisters" of whom they disapprove i.e. they may be seen as "worldly" or a single person may not fit into a couples clique).

Criticism of the organisation or local congregation is not appreciated and the blame for anything may be turned upon the complainers, making their problems worse, no matter how true their concerns. A complainer may be accused of lacking faith and be reminded that s/he should be grateful for "Jehovah's organisation" or that s/he should do more, keeping busy by spending more time preaching, attending meetings and studying "Christian publications". And telling a person to "wait on Jehovah" (i.e. do nothing) is hardly an answer, is it?

Sometimes a person who criticises is suspected of secret sin. There can never be anything wrong with the organisation. Therefore, the fault can only lie in you, the complainer, no matter how justified your criticism.

To complain about matters of policy can be fraught with danger for the innocent who believes in truth and justice. A confidential letter to the national Branch Office, sincerely questioning doctrine or policy, will usually be forwarded to the local elders.

If a serious problem exists in a congregation and someone brings it to the attention of the elders, but is not satisfied with their way of handling it (or more often, not handling it, while they "wait on Jehovah" to do what - something miraculous?) they may be accused of "rebellion" or "apostasy" to shut them up. If they do not take heed, disfellowshipping will prevent their voices being heard by others.

Criticism against "Jehovah's organisation" is not tolerated. At all costs, doctrine must be upheld over people. And you, as one of those people, are expendable.

This is seen in the behaviour of Witnesses toward those who leave informally (i.e. without being disfellowshipped or disassociating) They are soon forgotten. Previous friendship counts for nothing. Rarely, the leaver may be contacted to tell them about a funeral or to be invited to a special meeting, but social visits to someone who has "left Jehovah" (not a corrupt Society, of course!) even when the person is an exemplary Christian, are unlikely.

Waste of resources

Within the organisation, human resources are squandered and talent wasted if a person "does not qualify" according to Watchtower policy and doctrine. Women never "qualify". The highest step a female can achieve is that of a door-knocking, foot-slogging missionary, or as the wife of a prominent Witness male. In this way alone, more than half the population is controlled.

The talents of men are wasted too. Unless he conforms to the standards of a "spiritual man" according to the local elders' interpretation of Society policy, a male will have little respect in the congregation regardless of his Witness experience. Meanwhile, he is expected to take counsel humbly from young elders who are still wet from their baptism. In the hierarchy of Witnessworld , such a man is one step above women, who suffer in silence, and their children.

Some men are talented, but if they fall foul of grudge-holding elders who are less than impartial, they will never progress to contribute to the benefit of a congregation. (Two elders held old grudges against me as I discovered - twenty years later!)

As a result of this control, some of the most boring and uninspiring public speakers are inflicted on Sunday morning audiences only because they are elders. Similarly, some elders could not organise a "booze-up in a brewery" and the congregation, with its hands tied, has to "wait on Jehovah" to do something, since to act would be presumptuous.

"Is your ball coming out to play?"

Although a man may be given little respect and no position, if he is a talented tradesman or if he owns a car or minibus, he will often be invited to help in Hall maintenance or construction or to act as a free taxi-service for older and infirm Witnesses. The Society, through its local congregations, rarely pays for any service. Tradesmen and labourers are taught that is a "privilege" to use their talents to "serve Jehovah" by giving their time and labour - free of charge, of course.

Dispensing of Existence

Cogito, ergo sum - right?

Does God care about us? I believe so. Does "Jehovah's organisation" care about you? Before you were one of Jehovah's Witnesses, what were you? Nothing - persona non grata. When you leave, what will you be? Even less than nothing - a non-person.

Outside the organisation you did not exist. You were "spiritually dead". You were not one of "Jehovah's people". And if, in the future, you dare to leave, you are as good as damned. Too harsh? But true.

Modern business corporations are learning to care about their employees. They are a valuable resource. A company with a high turnover of employees would be concerned if their best people were moving out, but now, some of the best educated, most resourceful and conscientious Witnesses are leaving the organisation as fast as new converts are coming in - or faster perhaps, since many baptised "converts" are actually the children of Witnesses who would "never grow old in this system of things".

In the past, Witnesses would call for years on former colleagues who had "fallen away", giving them Watchtower literature and a friendly word. Now when someone leaves s/he is viewed with suspicion, as having abandoned, not a religion, but God himself. There may be some efforts to restore the person to the congregation, but those who don't respond by attending "Christian meetings" are soon seen as "a waste of time". "A person who is free to attend such meetings, but neglects to do so, lacks appreciation for his place in God's organisation". (w98 1/9)

Witnesses have less compassion for their "brothers and sisters" now. Illness is no excuse for missing meetings - it is a sign of spiritual weakness, especially when the person appears hale and hearty - as may be the case for those who suffer ME (chronic fatigue syndrome), allergy or depression. I have heard many stories of Witnesses who missed meetings during illness, even heart surgery, and who were not visited for weeks - or never. "I fell sick and you looked after me"? Whatever happened to Christian love and compassion? (This was another contributing factor to my leaving Jehovah's Witnesses)

Make no mistake - as a human resource in the Watchtower corporation, you are expendable. If you do not keep running forward with "Jehovah's chariot-like organisation", you will be left behind.

Periodically, Witnesses are reminded that no-one can stand against them - or as children would say, "I'll set my Big Brother on you!" The Watchtower reminded Witnesses, "there are more who are with us than those who are with them" (w98 15/6) However, this does not prevent Witnesses being hypersensitive to criticism, which they say, is "persecution". Any disagreeable comment is "persecution". If they fear words, how will they respond to sticks and stones?

Although they preach to "worldly" people - and Witnesses consider this a better act than charity - they will have no further contact unless the person responds to their message. As for former-Witnesses, they are avoided and labelled, but this does not prevent elders interfering in the lives of former- Witnessses who have left the religion - see my own experience when elders investigated me three years after leaving the religion (Tom and Jerry - a chat with the elders).

It does not take long for slander to circulate in congregations. In September 1998, a Spanish Witness, Juan Lledo, was disfellowshipped when he questioned the Society's teachings. Within a week, rumours were circulating that he had been expelled for immorality. This suits the leadership very well, both locally and nationally. It puts fear into others and reinforces the prejudice that all who leave are wicked and unworthy of remaining in "Jehovah's organisation".

If you are not one of Jehovah's Witnesses, by now you should have an answer to the question "Do I exist?". If you are leaving the religion, you know what to expect from your present colleagues and why.

Ah, but..........

At this point, you, the Witness may be saying, "I recognise some problems, but we're all imperfect and the organisation does so much good" or "None of those things has ever happened to me". Then you are lucky.

Thousands of Witnesses have been on the wrong end of bad - even criminal - experiences caused by the over-riding influence of false Watchtower doctrine - for it is that doctrine combined with elitist views - that makes Jehovah's Witnesses act as they do.

Conclusion

Are Jehovah's Witnesses the subjects of mind-control? I believe so. It is the inevitable result of hearing and exposing oneself to only one point of view - with a mind closed to all others - for many years.

I hope that this information has brought you to that conclusion too and shown you how every aspect of your life is influenced by the human leaders in Brooklyn, New York - no matter where you live on this planet.

If you leave the Witness religion, you will benefit immediately. Your life will be your own again. If you are young enough, you can live a normal life - pursue a career and fulfil various ambitions with the enthusiasm and vigour of youth driving you. But you should give attention to your spitiual life.

The essay exposed some of the duplicity and controlling methods of the so-called "faithful slave". Although it mentions doctrine - and it is false doctrine that gives the Governing Body its authority and hold over five million people - little has been said about Christian doctrine and truth.

The "faithful steward" presumes to take praise and authority to itself while directing people to Jehovah. Meanwhile, it assumes the position of a mediator by promoting itself as the "one true channel of communication" to God - a false Christ. So, it is important that you replace the lies you have learned with the truth about Jesus - "..the way and the truth and the life". No one comes to the Father except through me" - John 14:6

Despite the lies you have been told to the contrary about the Bible - "....to be able to understand it we need the help of God's holy spirit,[true] for which we are told to pray. However, for God to answer our prayers for his spirit we must meet his conditions, among which is that we recognize the visible channel he is using[false] for that very purpose. (w65 7/1 391) - you can understand it and learn the truth - if you read it!

You have two options:

If you stay in the organisation, at least you are informed now. That is a protection against mind-control. However, it will also lead you to frustration as you forever-after perceive the double-talk of the "faithful slave", the false Christ. Will you be able to tolerate it? Will it make you angry? Or depressed perhaps? I believe that remaining in the organisation, while suppressing your true feelings in a continual state of denial cannot be healthy for your mind.

The longer you vacilllate, the more difficult it is to leave. If you do not act soon, you will slip back into inertia and, before long, you will be passively swallowing all the spiritual junk "food" again, as fast as the "faithful steward" can serve it.




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