You folks play aggressively here, and I'm starting to understand why. But let's not waste time.
Life as one of Jehovah's Witnesses could accurately be described as an Orwellian nightmare come to life. As I read '1984' by George Orwell, I was overwhelmed by just how identical the m.o. of the Watchtower Society is to that of the Party and Big Brother (who we affectionately know as 'the faithful and discreet slave class'). Frankly, one could almost take the entire book, a few highlighters, and a lot of time, and one could pretty much have the simplified version of the Proclaimers book, every Watchtower article written, and Organized To Do Jehovah's Will in one simple nutshell.
With the assistance of a Kindle device, I have compiled several quotes from '1984' for our discussion. (Hopefully I'm not violating any copyright laws by using so many quotes. This one is more of a skim kind of entry, so just skim it and see if any quotes stand out to you. I'll clearly have to break this one up into a few parts...) Feel free to shoot off your mouths as you always do about whatever you feel like saying. Fact is, I'm glad you have the freedom to do so now. Very glad.
"It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane that you carried on the human heritage. He went back to the table, dipped his pen, and wrote: To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone--to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink--greetings!"
"WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH"
"Tragedy, he perceived, belong to the ancient time, to a time when there was still privacy, love, and friendship, and when the members of a family stood by one another without needing to know the reason."
"The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible." (We certainly never worshipped Jesus, did we? And yeah, we celebrated Christmas back in the day, but that was...for years after we were freed from spiritual captivity...oh, uh oh...)
"His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself." (Accept evidence from one source about 539 B.C.E. and reject evidence from the same source pointing to 587 B.C.E. as the destruction of Jerusalem...)
"All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove than any falsification had taken place."
"Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record."
"And somewhere or other, quite anonymous, there were the directing brains who co-ordinated the whole effort and laid down the lines of policy which made it necessary that this fragment of the past should be preserved, that one falsified, and the other rubbed out of existence."
"There were occasions when Big Brother devoted his Order for the Day to commemorating some humble, rank-and-file Party member whose life and death he held up as an example worthy to be followed."
"Winston thought for a moment, then pulled the speakwrite towards him and began dictating in Big Brother's familiar style: a style at once military and pedantic, and, because of a trick of asking questions and then promptly answering them ('What lessons do we learn from this fact, comrades? The lesson--which is also one of the fundamental principles of Ingsoc--that,' etc., etc.), easy to imitate."
"Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness."
"Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious. That, he reflected, might almost have been a transcription from one of the Party textbooks. The Party claimed, of course, to have liberated the proles from bondage."
"But simultaneously, true to the Principles of doublethink, the Party taught that the proles were natural inferiors who must be kept in subjection, like animals, by the application of a few simple rules."
"And even when they became discontented, as they sometimes did, their discontent led nowhere, because being without general ideas, they could only focus it on petty specific grievances. The larger evils invariably escaped their notice."
"He picked up the children's history book and looked at the portrait of Big Brother which formed its frontispiece. The hypnotic eyes gazed into his own. It was as though some huge force were pressing down upon you--something that penetrated inside your skull, battering against your brain, frightening you out of your beliefs, persuading you, almost, to deny the evidence of your senses. In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it."
"The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command."
"Freedom is the freedom to say tha two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows."
"This was the second time in three weeks that he had missed an evening at the Community Centre: a rash act, since you could be certain that the number of your attendances at the Centre was carefully checked."
"And when memory failed and written records were falsified--when that happened, the claim of the Party to have improved the conditions of human life had got to be accepted, because there did not exist, and never again could exist, any standard against which it could be tested."
"The family had become in effect an extension of the Thought Police. It was a device by means of which everyone could be surrounded night and day by informers who knew him intimately."
"But she only questioned the teachings of the Party when they in some way touched upon her own life."
"History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right."
"In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird."
"The terrible thing that the Party had done was to persuade you that mere impulses, mere feelings, were of no account, while at the same time robbing you of all power over the material world. When once you were in the grip of the Party, what you felt or did not feel, what you did or refrained from doing, made literally no difference. Whatever happened you vanished, and neither you nor your actions were ever heard of again. You were lifted clean out of the stream of history. And yet to the people of only two generations ago this would not have seemed all-important, because they were not attempting to alter history. They were governed by private loyalties which they did not question. What mattered were individual relationships, and a completely helpless gesture, an embrace, a tear, a word spoken to a dying man, could have value in itself. The proles, it suddenly occurred to him, had remained in this condition. They were not loyal to a party or a country or an idea, they were loyal to one another...The proles had stayed human. They had not become hardened inside. They had held on to the primitive emotions which he himself had to re-learn by conscious effort."
"It's the one thing they can't do. They can make you say anything--ANYTHING--but they can't make you believe it. They can't get inside you."
"If you can FEEL that staying human is worth while, even when it can't have any result whatever, you've beaten them."
"They could spy on you night and day, but if you kept your head you could still outwit them. With all their cleverness they had never mastered the secret of finding out what another human being was thinking."
And a concluding quote (yes, go ahead, deride, deride...)
"You will work for a while, you will be caught, you will confess, and then you will die. Those are the only results that you will ever see. There is no possibility that any perceptible change will happen within our own lifetime. We are the dead. Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part in it as handfuls of dust and splinters of bone. But how far away that future may be, there is no knowing. It might be a thousand years. At present nothing is possible except to extend the area of sanity little by little. We cannot act collectively. We can only spread our knowledge outwards from individual to individual, generation after generation. In the face of the Thought Police there is no other way."
The fact that these quotes are not even half of what stood out to me is an indication of just how powerfully the Watchtower Society influences people. I find it particularly sad that, just as in '1984', even your family has no problem whatsoever with spying on you, turning you in for disagreeing with the party line.
"By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have [organization] among yourselves."
"...if you have [conditional love, fear, guilt, and shame] among yourselves."
"...if you have [unquestioning obedience] among yourselves."
"...if you have [secret trials] among yourselves."
"...if you have [insider doctrine and outsider doctrine] among yourselves."
"...if you have [a Governing Body that consults the Bible--unless they're otherwise busy that week--before casting a vote that will be determined by a two-thirds majority, regardless of whether or not lives are at stake] among yourselves."
And one of my favorites, from math. If a = b, and b = c, then a = c. Applying that principle to the Society gives us a simple and easy equation:
If the organization = God, and the organization = the Governing Body, then the Governing Body = God. This equation is what helps us understand why most people do not see what you and I see. Because separating the organization from God himself is quite impossible for most. The concept of organization has become God in itself. Any mention of God or Christ is merely incidental to the service of the organization. This, perhaps, is the key idea that enables the organization to BE God, not merely to be like him, but to BE him.
Someone on the inside said to me recently, "You think too much about things you shouldn't be thinking about." Indeed. Then why did God give us such magnificent brains, assuming you believe in God, of course? So we could just outsource our thinking to someone else? Our capacity for creative reasoning should not be suppressed. It is what enables a diversity of expressions of faith in worship in the first place.
But I know. This is far too long. I just...I was feeling down today and I needed a distraction. I'll understand if I get bashed for such a long entry. For those who care enough to be gentle, you're greatly appreciated. Times are hard on a declining double agent. Very hard. You folks take care. To be continued...