Jehovah Witnesses are not brainwashed...

by thecarpenter 24 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • fullofdoubtnow
    Part of their mind control is they make you think you are as close to happy as you can get

    That was how I felt. I really thought the same level of happiness I had as a jw couldn't possibly exist anywhere else, so for most of my time in the org I never considered looking elsewhere for happiness. Of course, the wts endorsed this by telling us those who leave become very sad individuals, because they have left the source of ultimate happiness, and most of us, including me, believed it.

    The thing that got me to do a little self - examination was the attitude of an ex jw friend. He was clearly happier away from the wts than he ever was in it, and this baffled me, because I know him well enough to know he wasn't putting on an act, he was genuinely happy with life, far more so, I had to admit, than I was.

    Eventually, I just had to ask him his secret, and he said he was living to his own standards now, not ones set out for him by an organisation. Apart from his employers, he had no one to answer to now, and his time outside work was his own, not the property of some imaginary being who demanded that he go to 5 meetings a week and spend at least 10 hours a month knocking on other peoples doors. He wasn't critical of people (me for instance, at the time) who do that, he just said his life was far happier and more fulfilling now he didn't do that. It was that conversation that really set me on the road out of the org. I was having a few doubts at the time, though I hadn't told him that, and I really thought, long and hard, about what he'd said, and realised that maybe he was right.

    Not long after that, I started to miss meetings myself, and to examine wts doctrine as objectively as I could at that time. It wasn't long before I started to see that the org wasn't quite all it appeared to be, and after more research, I realised that the wts don't have the truth at all, I had been duped into joining, not a pleasant realisation, and I left.

  • jgnat

    I think I was permanently inoculated against such cults by my mother's manipulativeness. I'm alerted as soon as a sentence starts with "You should...". Also, with any new concept or initiative, if they tell you to expect opposition from family and friends ... I become immediately allergic. Those closest to you are your best watchdogs for stupidness. Listen to them.

    For instance, when my daughter heard I am determined to write, she said, "You're not planning on leaving your day job, are you?" A very sensible question, considering I now have twenty years of tenure!

  • Mysterious

    I think it depends on the individual and their personality type. Some are undoubtedly forced, others willingly choose. I know I would never have chosen such a quack religion if I had been a free thinking individual instead of a vulnerable child. And I can never get my childhood back nor will I ever (I fear) be able to socialize in a normal manner. I missed critical development periods to be sure and I can't get those back.

  • Apostate Kate
    Apostate Kate

    I agree with Skully that some JW children may indeed come under the brainwashing definition. Some may have an awareness of the wrongness of it.

    As children you have no clue you are being mind controlled because adults are all knowing to you. I never questioned anything. I do remember going to hang out with animals at the agriculteral center of my elementary school quite a bit by myself.

    Animals made much more sense to me, but I had yet to discover why.

  • sspo

    Always having questions of why i had to look at everyone as wicked deserving destruction when i truly enjoyed being with coworkers and family members that were not JW's

    They were fun, many had morals above the JW's and also being constantly told that as my kids were growing up they could not associate wih little ones around them, in school or neighbourhood

    How can a 5 or 6 years be so dangerous to your kids and be such bad association.

  • thecarpenter


    I started researching on the internet about 2 years ago. The society has been very strong about not looking on the internet because of apostate lies. Then they upgraded to apostate half truths. the point is that they don't want any critical information about them known. They have done a very good job suppressing their history from the rank and file which is very typical of cult-like groups. That's why the internet is a anathema to them as well as other cult-like groups like the Mormons, Scientology, Moonies, etc... Once you realized what they have done, the information control, emotional control, etc.. they have over you starts to fade. The more research you do, the weaker their grip becomes. Good for you for checking them out.


    whenever I would see the words "Jehovah's Witnesses" or anything negative about the dubs, my face would become quite warm. It was a curious mixture of feeling indignant, embarrassed, and nervous, all at once

    I would feel mostly fear that somehow the article may be right, I knew deep down that I wasn't objective enough and my research deep enough when I initially checked out the jdubs. I also had my own long lingering doubts that I suppressed.


    I came home and determined I was not going to continue to live in the poverty we endured. I would get a part time job! AND I WOULD WORK OUT AND LOSE WEIGHT AND GET INTO SHAPE! I would grab life by the horns and have what I wanted.

    This desire for self improvement was a motivating factor for me as well. Stephen Covey's book 'Seven habits of highly effective people' helped my big time to take the steps to improve myself. Interestingly, the societies counsel was quite counterproductive:

    Wait for the new system, don't waste time pursuing a highly paid job...don't worry about exercise or diet, people focus too much about these things; get your exercise walking from door to door (walking is the best exercise you know); Don't read self-help books, it might stumble you...


    I wish I was as sensible as you. They use "You should..." and similar expressions a lot. This is how they use guilt to exert emotional control over you. It's not based on good judgment but rather what you can do to further their objective. You are left feeling like if you were really devoted, you would be doing more. I remember one CO mentioning how some people were planning to enter the pioneer work when they retire. He commended their goals but then proceeded to compare that goal with offering lame sacrifices to Jehovah. If we were really spiritual, we would give Jehovah your youth and not wait until we get old. How is that for guilt infliction.

  • DannyBloem

    That piece about the differnt forms of control is very interesting....

  • MsMcDucket

    I didn't like the isolation from my family. I don't make friends easily. There wasn't a day that went by that one of the dubs didn't get on my nerves! I really hated the pompous ones. So, I thought to myself, "you're supposed to love the whole association of brothers". And "if you don't love your brother who you can see, you can't love god". So, at this point, I knew that I was damned because I knew that I didn't love all the brothers and sisters. I wrote a letter of disassociation and figured I'd just die at Gehenna or Armaggeddon or whatever. Although, I still believed it was the true religion. I just felt that I must be a goat. Now, I know. It's been a rough 20+ years having that religion hanging over my head.

  • DaCheech

    I recently mentioned to my wife the following about the Bible stories book:

    We are afraid to show our children half the shows on nickelodian, and cannot show them pg-13 and R movies... but the stories and illustrations in this book are definetely rated R!

    what child 2-9 year old would you show all the armend people getting somehow killed or punished???

    This book was a first step into mind control

  • undercover

    I'm not sure where I got this...I may have saved it from a post somewhere on this board but it compares the B.I.T.E. method to the JW belief system

    1. Behavior Control

    2. Information Control

    3. Thought Control

    4. Emotional Control

    Behavior Control

    1. Regulation of individual's physical reality

    2. Major time commitment required for indoctrination sessions and group rituals

    3. Need to ask permission for major decisions

    4. Need to report thoughts, feelings and activities to superiors

    5. Rewards and punishments (behavior modification techniques – positive and negative)

    6. Individualism discouraged; group think prevails

    7. Rigid rules and regulations

    8. Need for obedience and dependency

    1. Members are encouraged to associate only with other members. People outside of the organization are part of Satan’s world and are wicked. Guidelines for grooming are important to the organization. To dress outside of the guidelines shows an independent spirit that is not appreciated. Where to work is not influenced, but giving up as much work as possible in order to do service for the organization is constantly pushed. Where to live is not suggested by the organization except to encourage any who can to “serve where the need is greater” influencing some to sell homes and possessions and living in foreign lands.

    2. Five meetings a week on three different days; prepare for all meetings; personal study using organization’s publications; field recruiting every weekend; recreation association only with like believers; Periodical assemblies and conventions that require attendance. Encouragement to quit one’s secular job in order to attend a full convention has been suggested.

    3. Making decisions based on what the organization states is highly encouraged. Many are dependant on leaders to help make decisions. Those who strike out own without consulting the organization’s publications or leader’s viewpoint can be viewed as weak or too independent.

    4. Confession of sins required; Any who feel spiritually “weak” are encouraged to see the elders. They will suggest a study program to help align the “sick”one. Members are encouraged to confess “secret sins” which may not be considered major but can show certain motives of the one confessing.

    5. Reward = Living forever. Punishment = dying at Armageddon. On a smaller scale: Reward = approved associate of god’s organization. Punishment = removed from congregation, no social contact with family/friends

    6. Independent thinking highly discouraged. Aligning one’s thoughts with what is taught by the organization is considered being spiritual. Thinking outside of those boundaries is worldly and satanic

    Qualified to be ministers, 1955 p.156

    The first essential for study is the right condition of mind and heart, appreciating that Jehovah grants understanding only to the meek, and not to the stiff-necked. If we have love for Jehovah and for the organization of his people we shall not be suspicious, but shall, as the Bible says, 'believe all things,' all the things that The Watchtower brings out, inasmuch as it has been faithful in giving us a knowledge of God's purposes and guiding us in the way of peace, safety and truth from its inception to this present day.

    Watchtower June 1, 1967 p. 338 “Move Ahead with Jehovah’s Organization”

    How will we put these four things into effect? First, study: We may think of study as hard work, as involving heavy research. But in Jehovah's organization it is not necessary to spend a lot of time and energy in research, for there are brothers in the organization who are assigned to do that very thing, to help you who do not have so much time for this, these preparing the good material in The Watchtower and other publications of the Society. But you do not study enough? Take this suggestion: Often the very best and most beneficial studying you do is that done when you read a new Watchtower or Awake! or a new book with the joy of getting the new truths and a fresh view.

    Watchtower January 15, 1983 “Exposing the Devil’s Subtle Designs”

    Subheading “Avoid Independent Thinking”

    Pp 20

    From the very outset of his rebellion Satan called into question God's way of doing things. He promoted independent thinking.


    How is such independent thinking manifested? A common way is by questioning the counsel that is provided by God's visible organization.

    7. Strict morality rules within the organization. Other rules and regulations may not be printed but are handed down word of mouth. Unwritten rules consist of grooming rules, entertainment rules, and association rules. Examples: men cannot have beards; members should not watch R-rated movies; members should not have friends among worldly (non-member) people. Suggestions are often interpreted as rules. If it’s suggested from the podium or a publication, most try to adhere to the suggestion. Some suggestions that some have mistaken as rules include owning only 4 door cars; no alcoholic drinks; no dancing in clubs.

    8. Obedience and reliance to God expected and required. The organization represents God on earth so obedience and reliance on the organization is how obedience to God is shown.

    Information Control

    1. Use of deception

    2. Access to non-cult sources of information minimized or discouraged

    3. Compartmentalization of information; Outsider vs. Insider doctrines

    4. Spying on other members is encouraged

    5. Extensive use of cult generated information and propaganda

    6. Unethical use of confession

    1. Organization relies on current members to not know early history or controversies. Organization misstates original doctrines or beliefs and writes newer articles as if modern doctrines were always believed as currently believed

    2. Research on the organization outside of approved publications discouraged. Any negative information about the organization is viewed as from Satan. Even major press stories that show organization in bad light is viewed as if Satan was controlling them, thus warning members to not trust such information. (Interestingly, though, when the press speaks well of organization, they like to quote them and publicize the good that is spoken.)

    3. Very much of an “us vs. them” mentality in the organization. All members are considered part of God’s people; everyone else is outside and part of Satan’s world.

    4. Spying in and of itself is not encouraged, but any knowledge of wrongdoing is to be reported. Whether a third party learning of a sin pressures the sinner to confess or if the observer turns the sinner in, the sin has to be reported. Written articles suggest to members employed in the medical community to disregard HIPPAA laws and turn in any members who break the rule for refusing blood transfusions.

    5. Organization material is used almost exclusively for all organization meetings and activities. Reference is made to secular publications but rarely produced for inspection. Organization material considered “spirit-directed” and as coming from God himself. Any outside material in defiance of or disagreeing with organizational material considered worldly and satanic.

    6. Confession is required of any and all who sin. That confession is used to establish guilt and unless the member shows great deal of repentance and sorrow they are removed from the congregation and shunned by all members, including family. Even if not removed, the sinner is branded as “weak” and is watched closely for further problems or bad tendencies. The removed one can be reinstated after a period of shunning and showing remorse and repentance.

    Thought Control

    1. Need to internalize the group’s doctrine as “Truth”

    2. Adopt loaded language (characterized by thought-terminated clichés). Words are the tools we use to thing with. These “special” words constrict rather than expand understanding. They function to reduce complexities of experience into trite, platitudinous “buzz words”.

    3. Only “good” and “proper” thoughts are encouraged.

    4. Thought-stopping techniques (to shut down “reality testing” by stopping “negative” thoughts and allowing only “good” thoughts); rejection of rational analysis; critical thinking; constructive criticism.

    5. No critical questions about leader, doctrine or policy seen as legitimate.

    6. No alternative belief system viewed as legitimate, good or useful.

    1. The beliefs of the organization are referred to as “The Truth” as no one else understands or can understand what God plans for the planet and the people on it. To not be in the organization means that one is lost and part of wicked generation doomed for destruction. One must come to know this “Truth” in order to be saved from the terrible fate planned for the rest of humanity.

    2. The organization uses many “buzz words” that members recognize but most outsiders do not. The “truth” means being a member and having God’s favor. “Apostate” has come to mean ‘an enemy of God or God’s organization’ instead of one who as just left their former religion. “Apostate” is used to scare members from having any contact with one who has left the organization and may be speaking against it. It keeps the member from learning what the “apostate” may have learned about the organization from independent research. “Pioneer” is used to identify those who spend extra time in proselytizing than the average member. “Pioneer” to most people means one who moves ahead of the rest to find a way or solve a problem. “Pioneer” is used by the organization to try to impress upon those hearing the word that “pioneers” are doing more, pushing forward, so to speak, in spreading God’s message. At the same time, this word along with others, like “elder” “publisher” creates a caste system within the congregation.

    3. This is especially true when it comes to thinking about or talking about the organization. Bad thoughts or negative thinking of the organization are highly discouraged. If one has doubts of the organization being God’s chosen organization, it has been suggested that one put those doubts out of mind and not dwell on them. Consider more studying of organization publications to reaffirm one’s belief in the organization. Members are taught to push doubts out as much as possible.

    4. Independent thinking discouraged. Accepting what is written by the organization without question is encouraged. The organization is wishy-washy in this area. It will print one article on being objective and using critical thinking when pushing one agenda, but when trying to align the members to think alike, will publish other articles discouraging the same things when it could apply to organizational procedures. Constructive criticism of the organization is considered “running ahead” (another buzz word) and is considered as a spiritually weak move, thus discouraging anyone to question motives or procedures.

    5. Any questioning of leadership is the same as questioning Jesus or God themselves. Questioning doctrine is the first step toward “apostasy”. Members are afraid of anything that might label them as questioning, disloyal or apostate. The organization brushes off controversies and complaints, attributing it to non-believers or ex-members trying to discredit the organization. No complaint by outsiders is seen as legitimate, including the recent child abuse scandal.

    6. Only the organization is approved by God as his organization and only by associating with it will anyone stand a chance to survive his war on wicked mankind. Any and all other religions are considered “false religion” and are doomed for destruction along with all political organizations, big business and ordinary people who don’t join the organization.

    Emotional Control

    1. Manipulate and narrow the range of a person’s feelings.

    2. Make the person feel like if there are ever any problems it is always their fault; never the leader’s or the group’s.

    3. Excessive use of guilt.

    4. Excessive use of fear.

    5. Extremes of emotional highs and lows.

    6. Ritual and often public confession of “sins”.

    7. Phobia indoctrination; programming of irrational fears of ever leaving the group or even questioning the leader’s authority. The person under mind control cannot visualize a positive, fulfilled future without being in the group.

    1. Us vs. Them mentality. Those who die at Armageddon deserve to die. Those who are not in the organization are not God’s people and are considered wicked. They are part of Satan’s world. That mentality causes one to have less compassion and feeling for those not in the organization.

    2. The organization publishes many articles and examples of how those who trusted completely in God were always happy and satisfied, having problems taken care of miraculously. When any complain of problems or troubles, they are admonished to pray more and serve more. No real answers are given. The group is seen as a haven from the wicked world. The leaders are seen as spirit-directed. They claim they aren’t infallible, but then expect members to accept them as speaking for God.

    3. Do more in the service; give more time; give more money; “reach out” for more “privileges”; “serve where the need is greater”. Examples and experiences are constantly put in front of the members of those who gave extra and gave up other things in life in order to put “kingdom interests first”. Those who seek a “normal” life are looked down on as not spiritual enough or as materialistic.

    4. Armageddon is right around the corner. The only way to survive is to stay close to the organization. Fear of not living through this event is what drives many members to stay.

    5. The extremes of being a member in the organization or not being one lends itself to causing many members to not always feel worthy of being allowed to serve in the congregation or survive Armageddon. To do more is always pushed, those that can’t do more feel guilty about it, those who could do more, but don’t because of the comfort zone being disturbed feel guilty. Those who do give more can feel guilty because even more is asked of them or they view the “do-more” message aimed at the rest still applies to them.

    6. Confession of sins is done in private, but the end results are most times made public. The congregation may not know the actual sin, but they will know that something bad happened and that the sinner is being punished either by “restrictions” or by outright removal from the congregation. The embarrassment of the announcement of removal or being reproved is very stressful for those who undergo it.

    7. Fear of being removed from the congregation is very strong. To be disfellowshipped and no longer having fellowship with, for most persons, the only social contacts they know is a terrible thing to face. They still feel the world is wicked, but since they have sinned, they can’t associate with the congregation, they become isolated. Most members feel that there is no life outside of the congregation, even when removed from it.

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