When Witnesses leave the Watchtower

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According to an estimate, at least 70,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses leave that religious group annually.

Some of them are disfellowshipped for flouting their by-laws while others simply walk out of the cult due to a number of issues, such as the prevalence and cover-up of sexual abuse within the organization and spiritual emptiness.

Like most heretical sects, the JW belief system is a house of cards. If just one card falls, the entire structure crumbles. Interestingly, for each individual JW, it’s a different card which falls first.

For some, they find inexcusable errors in Watchtower teachings, some witness the injustice, others walk away when they can no longer stomach the Himalayan hypocrisy and the cruelty embedded within the system.

Janja Lalich, a professor studying cults and totalitarian leadership, made some statements regarding cult groups. “There’s this intense devotion and the inability to question or criticize or doubt,” Lalich told The Daily Beast. “They seem to be in a state of what we call cognitive dissonance, where what they believe doesn’t match reality,” she said.

Once the seed of doubt is sown into the heart of the Witness against his/her authoritarian leadership, the structure of their beliefs begins to crumble. It takes just one weak link to break a chain.

In the testimonies of former Witnesses who have come to know Jesus Christ, one can see various ways the Watchtower chains of deceit holding them down were broken.

“Between the two of us, we conducted ‘home bible studies’ with dozens of people, and we brought well over 20 of them into the organization as baptized Jehovah’s Witnesses,” says David Reed an ex-JW elder and his wife, Penni. “We weren’t stupid,” he continues, “but we were totally ignorant of the Bible. Besides, the Jehovah’s Witness program of indoctrination is so cleverly put together that it appeals to intelligent people.”

JWs will not come to your doors to talk about their most absurd beliefs, but would rather start out teaching things that most people agree with and gradually introduce the more absurd beliefs as time goes by.

“When I think of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I recall a lifetime of bondage to a cult which I served for the first 28 years of my life,” wrote Paul Blizard, who was a third generation JW.

“I was taught that Jehovah’s Witnesses had the only true religion, a religion governed from Watchtower headquarters in Brooklyn, N.Y. The governing body controls 2.3 million people. I use the word ‘control’ because Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that everything written by the Watchtower is from God and is not to be questioned,” he wrote.

In Tammie’s case, she was “a religious zealot and looked scornfully at anyone too lazy to pursue the ‘Truth’ as we called it.” She adds, “I was persuasive enough to lead five people to the point of baptism. I reported a monthly average of 10 Bible studies and [gave out] hundreds of pieces of literature. I read and studied the organization’s materials to the extent that I was able to argue doctrine better than any elder I knew, and this by their own admission.” Yet, “I was desperately lonely and empty.”

An online Christian ministry that evangelizes JWs notes that:
There are two types of converts. Those who joined this religion because it met an emotional need and those who converted because it gave them ‘answers’ to the questions they were facing in life. While the second group is easier to reach through logical reasoning about doctrinal inconsistencies, the first group is the most difficult to reach.”

What attracts people to the group usually keeps them in it. Penni recalls, “We were at a Witness convention and a handful of opposers were picketing outside. One of them carried a sign that said ‘READ THE BIBLE, NOT THE WATCHTOWER’.”

That night, she and David decided to follow that instruction. They read their Bibles and their discoveries eventually led the couple out of the cult.

Paul Blizard was given a book titled ’30 Years a Watchtower Slave’ by a fellow JW. The book was authored by an ex-JW who had found the truth by reading the Bible without Watchtower materials:

“I knew that my duty as a good Witness was to turn in my friend to the elders, for we were forbidden to read any anti-Witness material. But in defiance, I read the book. It disturbed me very much, for the author was a former worker at headquarters, and I could relate to many of the things he was saying.”

Then the Watchtower fancy cards came crashing down:

“My wife and I secretly studied our new Bible long hours into the night, discovering that many of the major doctrines that we had been willing to die for were false. I confronted my father about some of these issues. Being an elder, my father saw that I was questioning some of the main teachings, and he reported my wife and I to the elders, to stand trial for apostasy.”

Tammie, had her doubts when she met true Christians:

“I wondered why I had been warned all my life not to read other people’s religious materials. I observed these people’s lives and how they really lived what they believed and I began to wonder why a God of love wanted to kill these people at Armageddon. Was God so cruel to want to destroy these people who obviously love Him, just because they were not Jehovah’s Witnesses?”

Cynthia Cooper questioned the JW religion when her sister married a non-JW man. “My parents had literally thrown all of my sister’s clothes out on the front lawn.” She wondered “this is your child, how can you say you love your child and you love God but you are treating your child this way?… This is not the love of God.”

After Cynthia left the Jehovah’s Witnesses, she was shunned by her family and nearly committed suicide. But with the support of her Christian friends and pastor, she regained her feet and is still in the Lord.

Daniel Rodriguez, who has led many JWs to Christ observed that:

“Many who exit the Watchtower on their own never again involve themselves with “religion” of any kind. Many become agnostics or atheists. Many have suicidal thoughts. Some succumb to those thoughts. Thankfully, there are those who, in time, work out the trauma of leaving the Watchtower organization and live meaningful lives. Many publications deal with ministering to Jehovah’s Witnesses; but very few address the trauma of those who exit the Watchtower organization (Winning the Witnesses, Chick Publications Inc., 2007, pp. 75-76).

Raymond Franz, a former member of the Governing Body of JWs and cousin to a former President of the Watchtower Society, Fred Franz, provided some interesting insights into the hermetic mind control operating in this cult

“Sadly, in the case of most Witnesses, the organization has so persistently pushed its own self to the fore, has occupied such a large place on the spiritual scene, focusing so much attention on its own importance, that it has kept many from the closeness of fellowship with the heavenly Father that should have been theirs. The figure of the organization has loomed so large that it has overshadowed the greatness of God’s own Son, has clouded the vision of many from appreciating the warm relationship he invites persons to share with him, has distorted their perception of his compassionate personality.

“It is not surprising, then, that many persons, if expelled from the organization feel a sense of aloneness, of being adrift, floundering, due to no longer being tied to some visible authority structure, no longer having their lives channeled into its routine of programmed activity, no longer feeling the restrictive pressures of its policies and rulings” (Crisis of Conscience, 4th edition, Commentary Press, Atlanta, 2004, p. 397).

“When I told my parents that I had accepted Christ as my Savior, my mother cried and said she would never speak to me again,” recalls Tammie. “They believe Satan has blinded my mind so I can’t see the Truth anymore but I have discovered that the Truth is not an organization or a religion; it’s a Person, it’s Jesus Christ.”

After Paul Blizard and his wife were expelled and shunned, “Christians came to our home and helped us with food and money … The living testimony of these people affected my wife and I so much that we decided to start again studying the Bible.” From their study, “one night, my wife and I held our hands and gave our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Salvation is in Jesus Christ alone, it is not in a religious organization.

Cultic Hate: Disfellowshipping and Shunning

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In 1981, the Watchtower Society headquarters in Brooklyn was shaken by a series of schisms that led to many people leaving the organization. The opposition was led by a Canadian Professor, James Penton, whose family had been among Charles Russell’s earliest converts.

Penton and the other JWs with him sought to reform the organization by an emphasis on justification by faith and return to their original interest in Bible study.

The Watchtower Society strongly rejected their arguments and expelled everyone who supported their views. They were disfellowshipped.

It is estimated that about 1% of JWs worldwide, either leave the religion on their own (disassociation) or get expelled for various offences every year.

In 1986 alone, 37,426 JWs “had to be disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation, the greater number of them for practicing sexual immorality” (The Watchtower, Sept. 15, 1987, 13).

Disfellowshipping “is what Jehovah’s witnesses appropriately call the expelling and subsequent shunning of such an unrepentant wrong doer ” (The WT, Sept. 15, 1981, 22).

Once a person has been disfellowshipped in this way, every JW is mandated to shun him or her. In other words regard him/her as invisible or dead.

The disfellowshipped one is also reminded that “if one should remain in this disfellowshiped condition till he died, it would mean his everlasting destruction as a person who is rejected by God. Staying away from from meetings leads in that very direction” (The Watchtower, Dec. 15, 1965, 751).

To people who sincerely believe the Watchtower Society is God’s mouthpiece, this declaration is psychologically, emotionally and spiritually damaging.

Interestingly, this religion says: “No one should be forced to worship in a way that he finds unacceptable or be made to choose between his beliefs and his family” (The Watchtower 7/07/p. 29).

I have to link this remark with an article in the same magazine 4 years later. It warns JWs to steer clear of “false teachers” who are labelled as “mentally diseased” apostates who must be avoided at all cost. It also says:

“What is involved in avoiding false teachers? We do not receive them into our homes or greet them. We also refuse to read their literature, watch television programmes that feature them, examine their website or add our comments to their blogs” (The WT 7/11/ p. 16)

Let me rephrase this, replacing the “false teachers” with “Jehovah’s Witnesses”:

“What is involved in avoiding Jehovah’s Witnesses? We do not receive them into our homes or greet them. We also refuse to read their literature, watch television programmes that feature them, examine their website, or add our comments to their blogs.”

Can JWs see how “loving” this is? If this had appeared in a Protestant Christian magazine, it would have incited an Awake! martyr article. A lapsed JW, told a British magazine:

“Many like me remain associated with the Watchtower out of fear of being uncovered as an ‘apostate’ and ousted, not just from the organization, but from their own friends and families. I find I am now branded as ‘mentally diseased’ – giving any who discovers my true beliefs free license to treat me with disdain.”

Rick Fenton, a JW spokesperson, said ostracisation of ex-members is “a personal matter for each individual to decide for himself” but concedes that “if a person changes their mind about Bible -based teachings they once held dear, we recognise their right to leave” (The Independent, Sept. 26, 2011).

Like most JWs, Mr. Fenton has mastered ways of using clichéd, rehearsed words to couch his beliefs in public. Shunning ex-members couldn’t be a “personal matter” since it’s demanded by “the Society.”

This is not about recognising “their right to leave” but how they are treated after they leave.

What Qualifies for a Disfellowship?

In answering the question if JWs shun former members of their religion. They wrote on their website:

“Those who are baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses but no longer preach to others, perhaps even drifting away from association with fellow believers, are not shunned. In fact, we reach out to them and try to rekindle their spiritual interest. If however, a baptized Witness makes a practice of breaking the Bible’s moral code and does not repent, he or she will be shunned or disfellowshiped – 1Corinthians 5:13”

Again, they are trying to hoodwink the public with clichéd, flowery answers. Let’s break it down.

A baptized Witness who disassociates himself is visited by the elders. They “rekindle his spiritual interest” by knowing his stance – if he is willing to retrace his steps and submit to the organization or has quit his membership.

If he voices the second option, he is shunned as a disfellowshipped person. Disassociation and disfellowship tend to go hand in hand.

Several things can call for a disfellowship. Some of them are:

a) Apostasy (e.g reading ex-JW or “apostate” literature)
b) Adultery (remarriage without permission, polygamy etc)
c) Associating with disfellowshipped people
d) Blood transfusion
e) Smoking
f) Drug use
g) False worship (e.g attending a Christian church)
h) Employment violating “theocratic” principles (e.g serving in the military or working in a religious organization)
i) Fornication
j) Sexual perversion e.g homosexuality, lesbianism etc.
k) Loose conduct e.g disrespect to elders, incest, oral sex, anal sex etc.
l) Gambling
m) Spiritism – idolatry, worldly celebrations (e.g. birthdays, Easter etc).

From this list, we can infer that the JW slogan of “breaking the Bible’s moral code” is unduly overstretched. Nowhere does the Bible calls for disfellowship of believers because of smoking, gambling, blood transfusion or attending another church.

When a JW is found guilty of any of these offences, he is summoned before a Judicial Committee consisting of at least 3 elders.

An ex-JW describes this as a “kangaroo court with the trappings of the Inquisition.” This is the deal: “If genuine repentance is not manifest to the elders who serve on a judicial committee, they must disfellowship the person … such a decision is a loving one” (The WT, April, 15, 2015).

How loving is this decision? These elders act as the jury, prosecutor and judge. They determine if the person has repented or not, thus forcing people to publicly disclose things that should be best kept private.

For some years, married couples faced interrogation by elders about their “bedroom habits”, and those indulging in “lewd practice” were disfellowshipped. This intrusion into marital privacy caused many marriages to break up.

The policy was later revoked in the February 15, 1978 edition of The Watchtower (pp. 30-32). But none of those disfellowshipped were reinstated. Once a person is disfellowshipped, his sentence is permanent, unless “the Society” formally reinstates him/her.

For decades, tens of thousands of JWs worldwide went to prison to avoid being disfellowshipped for accepting the offer of non-military alternative service. This policy was quietly reversed in 1996 (WT, May, 1, 1996).

Yet, no compensation was offered to the thousands of families that had been destroyed over this Pharisaical policy.

The use of the term “repentance” in the context of disfellowship is also vague and misleading. Take the case of Shirley Jackson as an example. She had earlier expressed her doubt in the JW religion because of the spiritual emptiness she felt. When her daughter was sexually molested by another JW, she reported the case to the police.

The elders visited her and charged her with “speaking against a brother” and gave her 24 hours to repent. She didn’t, and was disfellowshipped.

How could she “repent” and look the other way and sacrifice her daughter’s well-being to uphold the image of the religion? Is this fair?

In the case of “apostasy” – leaving the JW religion after realizing it’s a sham – you can’t “repent” unless you are re-convinced that the Watchtower Society is God’s organization. What sin is there to repent of?

When you come to the realization that the religion you gave your allegiance to has deceived you for years, you have not sinned, you have actually been sinned against! So the “does not repent” line is irrelevant.

A Hateful Provision

Shunning and disfellowshiping former members is called a “loving provision,” but such nice-sounding words fall apart when the cruelty and injustice underpinning them are unravelled.

If you think this is a religion of love, you need to look again. The grass you thought was greener on the other side is actually dyed, dead grass.

The first Watchtower use of the term “disfellowship” was by Charles Russell:

“We are not of those who disfellowship Christian brethren on account of some differences of opinion; but when it comes to the point of denying the very foundation of all Christianity we must speak out and withstand all such to the face, for they become the enemies of the cross of Christ” (The Watchtower, December 1882, 423).

This view seems to be more Biblical than what JWs practice today. The modern definition of “disfellowhip” they follow was introduced in 1952. Here is a sample of it:

“Well, the reason for disfellowshipping is that some persons get into the congregation of God that do not love Christ. Those who are acquainted with the situation in the congregation should never say Hello or Goodbye to him. He is not welcome in our midst, we avoid him. Such an individual has no place in the clean organization or congregation of God. He should go back to the wicked group that he once came from and die with that wicked group, with Satan’s organization” (The Watctower, Mar. 1, 1952, 131, 134).

Since 1981, the treatment of the disfellowshipped has become harsher, perhaps due to the crisis in Brooklyn. The current laws are:

“We do not have spiritual or social fellowship with disfellowshipped
ones.” (The Watchtower, Sept. 15, 1981, 25)

“And all members of the congregation need to be determined to avoid the company of disfellowshiped individuals.” (The Watchtower, Nov. 15, 2011)

“God’s Word states that we should ‘not even eat with such a man’ (1Cor. 5:11). Hence, we also avoid social fellowship with an expelled person. This would rule out joining him in a picnic, party, ball game, or trip to the mall or theater or sitting down to meal with him either in the home or at a restaurant” (Kingdom Ministry, Aug. 2002, 3).

“If after sufficient warning the publisher [baptized JW] persists in associating with the disfellowshipped person instead of aligning himself with Jehovah’s organization he also should be disfellowshipped” (The Watchtower 1995, Oct. 1, 607).

They also dismissed Jesus’ command to love our enemies:

“Jesus encouraged his followers to love their enemies, but God’s Word also says to ‘hate what is bad.’ When a person persists in a way of badness after knowing what is right, when the bad becomes so ingrained that it is an inseparable part of his make-up, then in order to hate what is bad a Christian must hate the person with whom the badness is inseparably linked.” (The Watchtower, July 15, 1961, 420)

Once you scrap the “loving provision” label, there is nothing under it. A disfellowshiped person’s name is usually announced from the pulpit so that JWs must shun and brand him/her as a traitor.

While he/she has a morbid fear of being destroyed at Armageddon for being cast out of Jehovah’s organization, he/she is also rejected and shunned by family, friends, JW co-workers and members.

This is why we need to love and support ex-JWs. There is a high cost involved in leaving this religion. Many ex-JWs have committed suicide or broken down mentally as a result.

I knew an ex-JW who was pursued out of the house by his father who brandished a cutlass at him. A religion that compels people to hate and denounce their own loved ones for leaving their circle is a hate cult. To call this cruel action a “loving provision” is an insult to love.

It must be noted that the word “disfellowship” does not appear once in the Bible, and the Bible verses JWs use as support have little relevance:

1. 1 Corinthians 5:11

Only 6 categories of sinners are listed here and the passage does not say they should be totally shunned but only limits association with them.

Apostle Paul was addressing a specific case of a fornicator here (vs 1-2). When majority in the church in Corinth didn’t accept him after he repented, Paul wrote to them to receive him back so that he won’t be overwhelmed with sorrow (2Cor. 2:6-8). This is not what JWs do.

2. Luke 15:11-24

JWs claim shunning is done to bring ex-members “to their senses.” It’s emotional manipulation. The prodigal son was not “shunned” or “disfellowshipped” – he walked away and returned of his own accord.

No judicial committee was needed to assess his repentance. He returned to his father, not to a religious organization. The Lord gave guidelines for excommunication in Matt. 18:15-17, and He still greeted and ate with tax collectors. Therefore, we are not to shun sinners as well.

3. II John 10,11

Apostle John was specifically referring to those “who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (v 7). The statement “receive him not into your house” must be understood in terms of 1st century Jewish culture.

The show of hospitality to Christian travellers or evangelists was culturally important. The early churches also met in homes, thus, this was to keep those denying Christ out of the church.

This is unlike JWs whose allegiance is to their organization and not Christ. They disfellowship anyone who questions the Watchtower leadership, even if he truly believes in Christ.

Cult expert, Ronald Enroth sums it up:

“Cults require conformity to established practices and beliefs and readily exercise sanctions against the wayward. Those who fail to demonstrate the proper allegiance, who raise too many questions, disobey the rules or openly rebel are punished, formally excommunicated or merely asked to leave the group” (What is a Cult? Downers Grove, Illinois, 1982, p. 32)

Prisoners in the Tower

Serena Williams, ranked as the number one women’s tennis player, recently received a trophy in Australia. “I have to thank Jehovah God for this,” she said, facing the crowd. She and her sisters became Jehovah’s Witness in the early 1980s. “We believe in God and the Bible,” she said, “and without him I wouldn’t be here right now.” Most JWs will tell you the same, but we need to look beyond the paintings and scale over the fence to see what lies behind the tower.

When JWs show up at your door, they first ask if you have a Bible and request to study the Bible with you. They hand you their study book, What Does the Bible Really Teach? and tell you to read out a portion and answer the questions on each paragraphs. For the next hour, that’s all you do and this is how each session will go. Wait a minute, I thought they said this was a “Bible study.” They are not studying the Bible with you, but conditioning you to accept the Watchtower’s faulty interpretation of the Bible.

This is a “bait and switch” system where what you are told outside is different from what you get once you walk in. On the outside, the Jehovah Witness religion claims to have faith in Jesus or primarily study the Bible, but as you are drawn in, the main emphasis shifts to the Watchtower Society.

“The only reliable guidance by which to direct our steps is spiritual guidance which comes through Jehovah’s word, his spirit and his organization.” (The Watchtower, Sept. 1, 2005, 23)

“We should meekly go along with the Lord’s theocratic organization and wait for further clarification rather than balk at the first mention of a thought unpalatable to us and proceed to quibble and mouth our criticisms as though they were worth more than the slave’s provision of spiritual food.” (The Watchtower, Feb. 1, 1952, 80)

“We ‘see’ Jehovah and ‘hear’ his voice of salvation by heeding what he says through his inspired Word, the Bible, and through the faithful and discreet slave.” (The Watchtower, Dec. 1, 2006, 9)

The terms “Jehovah’s organization,” “the Lord’s theocratic organization” or “faithful and discreet slave” all refer to Watchtower leadership which Witnesses must submit to. Thus, when JWs tell you they are “hearing” or trusting in Jehovah, what they really mean is that they are hearing and trusting in the Watchtower Society – Jehovah’s organization through which his spirit teaches Bible truths. This principle of blind loyalty to an authoritarian leadership as a condition of “salvation” is a mark of all cults. Here are more quotes:

“Put faith in a victorious organization” (The WT, March 1, 1979, 1)

“To receive everlasting life in the earthly Paradise, we must identify that organization and serve God as part of it” (The WT Feb. 15, 1981, 12)

“Respond to the directions of the [Watchtower] organization as you would to the voice of God.” (The WT, June 15, 1957, 370)

“Come to Jehovah’s organization for salvation” (The WT Nov. 15, 1981, 212)

Contrary to what JWs say in public, their faith is not in Jesus, but a man-made organization. In their 2013 study article, Make Sure of the More Important Things, the term “organization” appears 24 times, while the name of Jesus appears only 18 times. The accompanying chart on it shows that the Watchtower Society next in command after Jehovah – omitting Jesus Christ!

We need to ask JWs: what would your life be without Jesus? Since He is the “way, truth and life” what qualifications does the Watchtower Society have that equal Jesus’ claim? If John 14:6 is true, then why do they need the Watchtower? If they were to go through life without the Watchtower Society where would they be and if they were to go through life without Jesus which loss would be greater?

The Bible is clear that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men, by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Jesus Christ – not an organization – “is the gate; whoever enters through [Him] will be saved” (Jn. 10:9) We are saved “only by believing in Jesus Christ…in order to receive God’s approval by faith in Christ” (Gal 2:16). As many as believe in Him receive eternal life (Jn. 3:16). The only way to be saved and have God’s approval is to receive Christ by faith into one’s heart. So it’s not about being in an organization but being in Christ and Christ being in us.

The totalitarianism wielded by Watchtower leadership helps absolve them of their false teachings and evil practices. Julie, an ex-JW, recalled reporting an elder whom she felt was a wolf among the sheep to another elder. “He laughed at the absurdity of my comment and said ‘Those verses [of wolves among sheep] only refer to the first century.’ ‘What?’ I asked myself. He explained that since Jehovah’s organization was fully formed, there were no wolves in the congregation.” So they are infallible!

Eventually, Julie was summoned to a judicial trial. “At those hearings, I upheld my faith in Jehovah, Jesus Christ, and the Bible, but I refused to put faith in the Watchtower Society.” This was deemed a great offense and she was disfellowshipped. Let’s look 4 facets of Watchtower control over JWs:

I. Fostering a Child-like Dependency

“[We must] show our respect for Jehovah’s organization for she is our mother and the beloved wife of our heavenly father, Jehovah God.” (The WT, Nov. 1, 1995, 25)

“So we stand up respectfully and bless his faithful organization, his queenly ‘woman’ in heaven which makes all these loving provisions for us as children of God.” (The WT Oct. 1, 1950, 348)

JWs are reduced to “little children” who depend on Father and Mother to teach them how to behave, think, what to feel or say. The Watchtower organization demands absolute submission to their control. This is why after a JW leaves the religion, he feels confused because he has depended on their leadership for his identity and direction for so long.

II. Control of Behaviour

A good example of behaviour modification is how JWs are forbidden by Watchtower policy to report any case of sexual abuse or incest within the religion to the police in order to protect the image of Jehovah’s organization – ironically, the very organization that covers the abuse and shields the abuser (as many victims have testified). Three quotes from The Watchtower November 1, 1995 article which deals with sexual abuse were quite revealing:

Can we doubt that the Devil now plays upon child abuse and the ‘downhearted spirit’ of many adults who suffered this (or are troubled by ‘memories’ of having suffered it) to try and weaken the faith of Christians?” (p. 26)

This rhetoric is aimed at preventing victims from exposing their abusers or talking about the abuse so it won’t appear that they are being used by the devil to weaken the faith of other JWs. Such a clap trap would keep lips sealed and “the Society” in a clean image.

If there is some valid reason to suspect that the alleged perpetrator is still abusing children, a warning may have to be given. The congregation elders can help in such a case. Otherwise, take your time. Eventually, you may be content to let the matter drop.” (p. 28)

You can’t miss the undertone here: “take your time…let the matter drop.” This is the same look-the-other-way policy adopted by Catholicism towards sex predators in its ranks. One wonders how only congregational elders can help in cases when the abuser is also an elder. Will an elder expose a fellow elder? I  don’t think so.

If the accusation is denied, the elders should explain to the accuser that nothing more can be done in a judicial way. And the congregation will continue to view the one accused as an innocent person…Even if more than one person ‘remembers’ abuse by the same individual, the nature of these recalls is just too uncertain to base judicial decisions on them without other supporting evidence.” (pp. 28-29)

How ludicrous! So once a sex predator in the Watchtower rank denies he abused a child, he is deemed innocent and the victim is quickly told there’s no justice! Even when several children point him out as an abuser, these are still “just too uncertain” to make him guilty. What “supporting evidence” is required? Do the judicial elders have to watch the sexual act itself before an action is taken? With this “policy,” a paedophile can continue abusing children for another 20-30 years before the Watchtower would debate whether he is guilty. Such a paradise for paedophiles.

III. Control of Emotions

Two things inform a human emotions – thoughts and pictures. The pictures on Awake! or The Watchtower magazines portray JWs as happy, peaceful people who will live in paradise earth, while non-JWs are presented as mindless hypocrites or wicked folks who will be blown to bits at Armageddon. Such images are meant to keep the JWs from leaving and at the same time lure in the foolhardy. Labels are powerful. Once they are hurled at a group, it sticks, and negative images are evoked. Here is an example:

“Suppose that a doctor told you to avoid contact with someone who is infected with a contagious deadly disease. You would know what the doctor means, and you would strictly heed his warning. Well, apostates are ‘mentally diseased,’ and they seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings (1Timothy 6:3, 4).” (The WT, Jul. 15, 2011, 16)

The venom there can hardly be hidden. Apostates, (i.e former Jehovah’s Witnesses) are labeled as “mentally diseased.” They Scripture-fish for a liberal rendering of 1st Timothy 6:5 and use the term “mentally diseased” to smear all ex-JWs. This creates an image in the minds of JWs about those who leave the cult – as insane and diseased people. It’s a psychological weapon more potent than a physical one. Remember, the pen is mightier than the sword.

IV. Control of Information

JWs are conditioned to avoid or distrust any information whether in books or websites that critiques the Watchtower Society. Their leaders do not want them to read from the other side, but continually hammer their own ideas into their heads. This is brainwashing. It is also implemented by isolating them from ex-JWs or knowlegeable Christians who can weaken their faith in “the Society” with the Gospel:

“The talk ‘Guard Against Deception’ showed that we wisely treat as poison the distortions, half-truths, and outright falsehoods propagated by apostates.” (The WT Jan 15, 2003 23)

“Like rocks hidden below water, these false Christians mask their real intent beneath a pretense of concern for the Witness youth. But their goal is to shipwreck the faith of the unwary ones. – 1 Timothy 1:19, 20. This journal, as well as other materials produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses, has repeatedly warned of this particular danger.” (The WT, Oct 22, 2005, 18)

“Having this accurate knowledge, who would become so curious as to pay any attention to apostate mouthings? May no man ‘delude you with persuasive arguments.’ (Colossians 2:2-4) False religious propaganda from any source should be avoided like poison! Really, since our Lord has used ‘the faithful and discreet slave’ to convey to us ‘sayings of everlasting life,’ why should we ever want to look anywhere else?” (The WT, Nov 1, 1987, 20)

A real truth is never afraid of lies. It is a lie that fears the knowledge of the truth. It’s the Lord Jesus Christ Himself – not a religious organization –  that has the sayings of eternal life. While true Christianity embraces and recognizes all who confess the name of Christ in faith and practice, the Watchtower Society denounces anyone who disagrees or think differently from it as “apostates.” (1Cor. 3:1-9) Typical of cults. JWs must come to the point of acknowledging their sin of giving to an organization a place of honour that belongs to God alone. This is sheer idolatry, and even the Watchtower Society agrees:

“If one renders obedient service to someone or some organization, whether willingly or under compulsion, looking up to such as possessing a position of superior rulership and great authority, one can scripturally be said to be a worshipper.” (The WT, Sept 1, 1961, 525)

“We  cannot take part in any modern version of idolatry – be it the worshipful gestures towards an image or symbol or the imputing of salvation to a person or an organization.” (The WT, Nov 1, 1990, 26)