What's the mechanism?

by Half banana 18 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Magnum

    First, I limit my comments to those already in because, as has been stated so many times already, in the West, not many new ones from outside are being duped. The current crop of JWs has its roots in a time when JWdom seemed more rational, scholarly, dignified, etc. and evidence against JWdom was not as readily available as it is today. Many came in during this time. Then they had offspring who were conditioned and indoctrinated from youth and the process continued.

    To me, one of the main mechanisms that keeps all such ones in is peer pressure and the "emperor's new clothes" syndrome. Many of the smarter JWs, I think, sense that something is wrong, but they don't admit it because of peer pressure, and they think they might be the only ones who recognize that something is wrong (Just as all recognized that the emperor was naked, but almost none would say anything because they thought they were the only ones perceiving the emperor that way and that something was wrong with them for such a perception.).

    As for the less intelligent JWs, well, they don't understand a lot of the JW stuff, but they just assume the GB and the other big-shots are so smart that they just accept the stuff.

    Also, as has been mentioned above, the org keeps JWs so busy with fluff stuff, that they're always playing catch-up and don't have time to stop and think and read outside material critical of the org.

  • Oubliette

    OneEyedJoe: Humans are social apes, and social pressure is quite powerful if applied correctly.

    Well, according to the OP, we are not "apes," but we are actually legumes:

    Half Banana: there is a large pool of ready made friends who appear to be decent welcoming human beans who will accept all-comers as long as they conform and believe the cult dogma.

    It's the vine mentality that takes over. That's the root of the problem. It makes it hard for anyone to leave.

    Seriously though, there is a powerful mix of social and psychological forces at work: social pressure to conform, confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance and a severe lack of critical thinking skills all combine to create an obedient and compliant drone.

  • Oubliette

    In reference to Magnum's comments about the naked Emperor, it takes a great deal of personal courage for any individual to speak up against the status quo, especially in the case of a high-control, authoritarian group such as Jehovah's Witnesses where the stakes are high for pointing out any inconsistencies, flaws in doctrines or more egregious errors.

    The Asch Conformity Experiment examines behavior under the pressure of social forces. Notice how easily most people conform even when the stakes are very low.

    Asch Conformity Experiment

  • Finkelstein

    Half Banana says ....

    But the fear and threats you mention must be an inducement to change a person’s mind, imagining they will die if they don’t join...

    Yes thats pretty much the intent, back in 1874 the WTS proclaimed that Christ had taken his heavenly throne and is now looking down onto humanity to see who would be worthy of entering his earthly Kingdom. This was in similar fashion to the teachings of religious paster American William Miller of the mid 1900 century. J Rutherford (1919) went further to get more people engaged with his organization by proclaiming that Jesus had chosen the WTS exclusively in an effort to draw in more people to read the WTS' literature and also to distribute it. . When you joined the WTS you were committing yourself to Jesus and preaching of his soon to be established earthly Kingdom .This was the alluring factor or (Mechanism) for people to join the JWS movement in that they perceive that they are appeasing God/Jesus for their dour to door preaching of what the WTS has designed to appeal to the masses. Essentially the WTS designed doctrines which were intensionally advantageous in the marketing of its own published goods.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    Thanks for your input folks, I do think Galaxy has come up with a significant point with people "succumbing" on the basis of finding a comfort zone.Nevertheless, like most things in life, complexity rules! The psychological trigger can only be pulled when quite a number of conditions are already in place. By including your replies, here is a rough summary:

    1/ the right type of person i.e. one susceptible to belief without intellectual evidence

    2/ the person above who has a need for a hope through changing their life trajectory e.g. a bereaved person, someone without hope of improving one’s circumstances

    3/ someone introduced to JWs, studied with and been to the meetings or a JW relative, leaving or rather making the newbie to want to join in to please others and themselves

    4/ someone prepared not to look at the internet from the start regarding the history of JWs and the ex JW community

    5/ the preparation by the JW org to ASSIMILATE the newbie, love bombing, welcoming to the fold

    6/ acceptance of the belief that the Borg supplies ALL the existential answers, including the authority of the GB and Bible

    7/ exposure to the sustained propaganda from the GB to enforce the deceptive beliefs,

    8/ and indeed the primary force comes from the human impulse to conform. As the Asch experiment shows; how even perception is distorted by an innate wish to be like others even in the light of contrary information.

    9/ the conscious decision to give up worldly ambitions and henceforth look to the” future hope” putting all one’s eggs into the one JW basket,” the switch” to rely on JW religious belief driven by the threat of death at big A, and the lure of the hope of paradise.

    Well in making this simple analysis it seems that the mechanism which makes a non JW into a true believer would now look highly improbable based on condition no.4 except in those countries where internet access is too difficult to access through cost etc.

    So to fall into the JW trap involves all these things...but goodness! Surely no one can any longer evade the vast anti-witness exposure found on the net can they? This hurdle cannot be surmounted by the newbie.Will this be the downfall of the JW org? Future decline of membership will signal to the rest of the flock that it has had its day...don’t you think?

    BTW is a human bean: Homo phaseoloides or is it Phaseolus anthropoides?

  • maksutov

    I am lonely/depressed/unwell/newly retired/having a mid-life crisis/insert vulnerability here. I start studying with JWs, and they tell me I'm not going to die. Life is going to be great. Paradise. They can prove it from the Bible. I like the person who comes and talks to me about these things every week. I go to a meeting. Everyone is so friendly! Suddenly I have more friends than I've ever had before. Everyone is happy and united. I feel so much better than I did before. Whatever question I raise, they have an answer from the Bible. My JW family members are all happy for me. When I make progress I get lots of praise.

    I look on the internet and people say bad things about JWs. I know that's not true. My JW teacher tells me there are apostates - former members who don't want to live by Bible rules and who have an axe to grind so they make up lies. Apostates bad. JWs good.

  • eyefell4it2
    The spent cost fallacy also was mentioned in another thread and that has a big pull on people as well. Also the (false) lure of paradise and seemingly happy perfection is also quite hypnotizing, especially when you are really down and out.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    Too true Mak! (Good to see you here!) The psychological push to like and be with the people you admire is very relevant. The enthusiastic (but delusional) ‘friends’ who cheerily study with you and bring you hope, it’s a way out of real life problems, the talk of paradise, fairyland forever! No worries, no mortgage payments all you have to do is sell your soul to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society...you never need to have to think again...what a relief!

    Like to elaborate on "spent cost fallacy" Eyefell4it2?

  • stuckinarut2




    Add to that, an inability (or choice to) think for oneself using logic and facts.

    Add a state of instability or upheaval in a "low hanging fruit" type of person...

    Then add peer pressure, and a scare tactic of "those outside"

    That is the mechanism that attracts and binds people into a high control group

Share this