An excellent book you need to read on Apocalyptic Belief

by drew sagan 8 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • drew sagan
    drew sagan

    I have recommended this book in a number of other thread but have never taken the time to start my own thread for this book.

    The book is titled War in Heaven, Heaven on Earth (Theories of the Apocalyptic). It is a collection of essays by a number of prominent scholars which analyze millennialism and apocalyptic belief form a number of different contexts.

    Other than Crisis of Conscience & In Search of Christian Freedom I can say that no other book has been as important to me in helping understand the Watchtower movement that this one has. The articles touch on various religious experiences from Native American traditions, Islam, American Evangelitical Christianity, and more. The stricking feature of these articles is that no matter what differant religious tradition you are reading about you will not be able to hold back from saying "that's exactly how it is in the Watchtower!" This book more than any other opened my eyes to apocalyptic belief as happens worldwide and got me to step out of my experience as a JW to see the bigger picture.

    One of the biggest gains is in a chapter entitled "A Cusp Catastrophe Model of Cult Conversions" in which psychology professor Leslie L. Downing puts forward a 'cusp model' that illustrates the method by which people are converted to apocalyptic beliefs. It is an amazingly informative article that describes in detail how people come to join apocalyptic movements, as well as how people leave them. If you want to understand the psychology of being a JW (or a member of any other deeply apocalyptic sect) this article is definitely for you.

    While this book never specifically mentions the JWs (it does once in passing I believe) the information is dead on in terms of describing movements that are amazingly similar. It helps you understand the wider context of what is going on with groups like the JWs.

    Not all articles will provide a direct insight into the JWs and some are written on a very scholarly level and may take a few readings before you understand the thrust of what is being discussed. That being said, I believe the benefits of taking the time to read this book are well worth it.

    As far as understanding the social psychology of a movement like the Jehovah's Witnesses and other like minded groups, I cannot think of any other publication that is as insightful as this one. Used copies at Amazon start at around $17.

    Here is a link to the book on

  • hillary_step


    Another book which helps one see the history of apocalyptic thinking in context is. 'In Pursuit Of The Millenium' by Norman Cohen. It is carefully researched and well written and follows the threads of apocalyptic and Chiliast thinking from the C1st to the C20th without exception.

    I recommend every lurking JW to read this book. It is not written by an 'apostate' so it is a legal read. ;)


  • startingover


  • drew sagan
    drew sagan

    hillary_step, just thought you would find it interesting to note that the publisher of this book actually has promoted it as somewhat of a sequel to that work. They say in part:

    Not since Norman Cohn's The Pursuit of the Millennium has there been such a profound theoretical exploration of millennial themes, coupled for the first time with a strong comparative dimension.

  • drew sagan
    drew sagan

    double post, deleted.

  • Eyes Open
    Eyes Open

    Thanks drew.


    Thanks a lot for the books suggested

  • Switch

    thanks for the link. another book for Amazon wish list.

  • Alpaca

    Thanks...will add to the "read list"


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