This quote, taken from the drama of the 2009 District Convention this year, is startling to me in what it reveals about Jehovah's Witnesses. In reality this quote isn't some kind of unearthed spiritual revelation, it is a demand. It is a standard, and it reveals all anyone wants to know about how judgmental the Governing Body indoctrinates its members to be.
First off, lets get a couple of misconceptions out of the way.... Jehovah's Witnesses are small time. Having been deep into this religion myself, I realized it then, and I especially realize it now. Few people care about them. They are only known worldwide because they are one of the loudest, most visible fringe groups out there. They insist that all of their members preach to people, whether they want to hear it or not. Tell them they can't preach in a town, they will take you to the Supreme Court. (which is fine, if JW's didn't challenge free speech laws, another group would have)
I say this because those who have left, or who were kicked out and are now former Jehovah's Witnesses, often spend time on the internet. (although truth be known, I would wager most former JW's rarely if ever post on the internet) They try to direct attention to this group, they call them a cult. They want to sue them, and bring them down. There is very real anger directed towards the leadership and/or the people as a whole.
And if you are an outsider, you must be saying, "Why? Don't they realize how small time they are? Who cares" (to you non JW's, I say, stick around, you might learn something)
And if you are a JW lurking on the internet and reading this, (in disobedience to the 9 men in charge at Brooklyn), you must say sometimes (as I used to) "Jehovah's Witnesses aren't all that bad. Yeah, I don't agree with everything (not that I am ever going to let that be known), but they aren't evil. I have friends. I am not bad.... So why do former Jehovah's Witnesses make such a big deal? Why can't they leave and just leave us alone?"
Back to Exhibit A for the answer: "Remember, nobody can REALLY love you unless they know and love Jehovah first."
I know Jehovah's Witnesses are really big on Repetition for Emphasis, so for them, one more time....
"Remember, nobody can REALLY love you unless they know and love Jehovah first."
In the context of the drama, a father is talking to his child, who is confused about wanting to hang out with his worldly (read: non JW) friends or to continue to deepen their involvement in the preaching activities of Jehovah's Witnesses. The whole idea is to basically say "There are no friends, no people that you can love or trust, unless they serve and follow OUR god." And so millions of JW's this year will watch a play designed to indoctrinate this idea into their followers once again....
This isn't the first time this indoctrination tactic has been introduced, but it is the most recent attempt, and it bears further examination. I will break it down word by word (or relevant phrase by relevant phrase)
"Remember" As if it were already a decided, foregone conclusion, which it absolutely isn't. There are so many excellent non JW people out there who do great things. Sorry though, if you aren't a JW, then you don't count. And by the way, according to JW's, you will be destroyed by Jehovah, because you didn't listen to the words found in the Watchtower, presented by that cute 6 year old trying to remember a memorized presentation. Should've listened......
"nobody" Yes, nobody, as in, not you, not anyone, unless you are a JW. And a card carrying active JW at that.
"can REALLY love you" I don't really give a damn whether you are a JW, were a JW, or are just curious about JW's: This is one of the most offensive, destructive teachings of this cult. Love, the most powerful, tender emotion. Regulated, controlled, and often denied, by an idea that shuts out all but about 7 million people around the world. Dear reader, I ask you to consider the power behind this idea that is being presented. It isn't that JW's aren't allowed to love YOU, it is that YOUR LOVE AS A NON JW FOR THEM doesn't count. The idea here from the JW point of view is, "If they loved you, they would serve Jehovah with us. But it is clear that they don't love you, because they aren't Jehovah's Witnesses." (Signed: The Governing Body)
Can you understand a little better how outright horribly offensive this is? Can you understand the damage that this causes? This idea divides families, children, mothers and daughters, and it serves only one purpose: The propagation and protection of power by the men known as the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses. (and if you think I am exaggerating, I shunned my suicidally depressed younger brother when he needed me most because of this very idea. I wish my story was an isolated case: I promise you, it isn't)
"unless they know and love Jehovah first." Here is the fake standard, the coup de grace. Notice the order: Even if you felt like you did love Jehovah, you still have to know him. What does that mean? How does one get to know Jehovah?
*** w07 4/1 p. 24 par. 12 Loyal to Christ and His Faithful Slave ***
Therefore, when we loyally submit to the direction of the faithful slave and its Governing Body, we are submitting to Christ, the slave’s Master. Our showing due respect for the instrument Christ is using to manage his earthly belongings is one way in which we “openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”—Philippians 2:11.
*** w07 4/1 p. 25 par. 16 Loyal to Christ and His Faithful Slave ***
16 The other sheep recognize that they have greatly benefited from the diligent efforts of the faithful slave in supplying them with timely spiritual food. They humbly acknowledge that were it not for the faithful and discreet slave, they would know little or nothing of precious Bible truths, such as Jehovah’s sovereignty, the sanctification of his name, the Kingdom, the new heavens and new earth, the soul, the condition of the dead, and the true identity of Jehovah, his Son, and the holy spirit. Out of sheer gratitude and loyalty, the other sheep lovingly support Christ’s anointed “brothers” on the earth during this time of the end.—Matthew 25:40.
Simply put, you are not allowed to know Jehovah on your own. As these two statements bear out, the Governing Body is the group that assumes control of how one gets to know Jehovah. No individual is ever allowed to do this on their own. Does that sound right? Here is what I mean....
Suppose one wanted to get to know Jehovah on their own, using only the bible. And it wasn't the JW version "New World Translation". And suppose that, without any JW produced literature full of the Governing Body's thoughts, they instantly see that Jehovah is no where to be found in any bible other then the NWT. Well, thats a pretty glaring fact right there.
But lets get past that... Maybe they want to call their god "Jehovah" anyway, even if it is found only in the OT. They love "Jehovah". The get the monotheistic slant of JW's, and want to come in and worship "Jehovah" with Jehovah's Witnesses, yet they haven't studied in the JW approved way.
Would their love for "Jehovah" be recognized? No.
You see, such a person's individual claim that they love "Jehovah", even that they loved Jehovah's Witnesses, wouldn't matter. Because they didn't get to "know Jehovah" in the Governing Body approved way.
You see, to "know Jehovah" in the JW way means that you accept the Governing Body's teachings, and accept their authority. That, in a nutshell, is what "know Jehovah" means. It's not unlike the Wizard of Oz. Like Oz, Jehovah is run my some pretty simple minded old men, who meet behind a private curtain once a week around a corporate board room, and discuss the religious business they run. They discuss how to make sure that though they are in charge, everyone doesn't see them, they see the great and powerful Jehovah...
Oh. Don't forget to love him too.
And don't forget to love those that love Jehovah. They are the ones to be trusted. Anyone else who says they love you, or worse, SHOWS that they love you? Sorry, they don't count. Because they don't know Jehovah, and they don't love Jehovah, so their love isn't real.
Dear reader, if this somehow doesn't put off alarm bells in your head, then maybe you were meant to be in a cult all along. Maybe your personal epiphany will come later. No one can say.
But if you are reading this and know something isn't right, do you really think that god would give both a heart and a brain, and expect us to turn off one at the expense of the other?
It is possible to know god, I suppose, but if you were to look at it from gods point of view, he would much rather you know yourself first, just like any good parent would. And just like any good parent, love, while not naive, should be given freely, and not regulated by men with a clear agenda of power and control.