by Cold Steel 32 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • OnTheWayOut
    Read Combatting Cult Mind Control by Steve Hassan. The book is about the authors experience with The Moonies (nothing to do with JW's). They employ all four major components of mind control: Behavior Control, Thought Control, Emotional Control, and Information Control. The book changed my life and helped me realize they qualify to be grouped as a high-control cult.

    Great comment by Rank&FileGuy. Same for me. I read that one before the Ray Franz books, so it was really my first book after realizing I needed to get out of the religion.

    This issue is not as volatile as the heated debates between believers and atheists, but there are plenty of ex-JW's that don't want to call it a cult or want to remind us that most any religion can be defined as a cult. Fine and good.

    I use the common modern meaning of "cult" and don't even bother with the single word, but use the Steve Hassan term, "dangerous mind-control cult." When people ask me what makes it such, I explain the BITE method and the shunning and the blood issue and how JW's have to consult their Watchtower before they have a thought on anything.

    I think it disturbs some former members to think they were in something that turned out to be a cult. All I can say is that intelligence has nothing to do with it, and we were in a large cult far behind the Mormons and Scientologists in whackiness, but also way behind most other Doomsday cults so far in that we weren't asked to gather at some remote location for 1975 or the end of the 20th Century. But stay tuned to see if that ever happens.

  • cult classic
    cult classic
    I think it disturbs some former members to think they were in something that turned out to be a cult.

    You're right OTWO. For some, having been a member of a cult is right up there with being an apostate. They have personalized the words and take offense at them, instead of looking at the meaning of the words.

    It is what it is. You are what you are and you were what you were.

  • Ding

    The organization claims to be the only way to God.

    Only they interpret the Bible correctly.

    Understanding the Bible comes only through reading their publications.

    Watchtower studies where members must mindlessly repeat points made in the publications.

    Reading time of the publications far exceeds reading time of the Bible itself.

    Bible passages taken out of context and linked together with unrelated passages ("little flock" and 144,000; Jesus = Michael, for example)

    You have to obey them even if they're wrong and "wait on Jehovah" to straighten them out.

    You even have to control what you THINK about them lest you get involved in "apostate thinking."

    Any questioning of or independence from the organization is rebellion against God.

    Salvation depends on keeping up service to the organization -- constant meetings and more and more field service.

    Strange doctrines that separate JWs from anyone else -- no birthdays, no holidays, no blood transfusions, no attending meetings at churches, no listening to sermons or teachings of other religious groups, no heaven for most members, new covenant and Christ's mediation only for 144,000 "anointed", only "anointed" partake at the Memorial, dress codes, hair length codes, rules governing sexual conduct of consenting married partners, requirements to turn others in to the elders if they violate any rule, shunning people who are DFd or DAd..

    Not allowed to closely examine the history of the organization.

    Requirement of turning in to the elders members who express doubts about the organization's claims.

    Any people outside the group are "worldly... bad association."

    Having to change beliefs every time the organization gets "new light".

    Fear of discussing doubts with other members.

    System run by constant fear and guilt.

    Eagerly looking forward to the fiery destruction of most of mankind.

    The fact that no one ever became a JW by reading the Bible alone.

    The fact that most JWs who set aside WT publications and read the Bible alone end up leaving the organization.

    Having to worry about what you say about the organization, even in private to family members.

    Being forbidden to listen to or read writings by former members and/or organization critics.

    No honorable way for a person to choose to leave the religion.

    People who choose to leave the religion are branded as apostates and traitors regardless of their reasons for leaving.

    Thinking that it's better to die following errors of the leaders than to save the life of yourself or a loved one by refusing to follow the error (old teaching that organ transplants are cannibalism, for example).

    Members kept in line by fear of judicial committees of elders for trivial offenses.

  • leavingwt


    Please remember that many cults are HARMLESS. Watchtower, however, is a destructive, apocalyptic, mind-control cult.

    Within the JW culture, adults are strongly encouraged to allow their minor children die, rather than accept proven, lifesaving blood treatment, when ordered by physicians.

    How could an organization be any more destructive than this?

  • Cold Steel
    Cold Steel

    Thanks for all the responses. Hassan's book has been on my reading list for some time. Looks like I'll have to move it to the top!

    The Romans viewed the early Christians as a cult, and Celsus did much to encourage it. Hassan's formula could be seen as:

    Behavior Control: Christians certainly apply here. However positive, behavior control is evident throughout the NT.
    Thought Control: Same here. In fact, to "think" about adultary was tantamount to committing it, even though that's not what Christ said.
    Emotional Control: Nothing specific here.
    Information Control: Closed canon of the later church tied everyone into 66 books of scripture, even though the early church had an open canon.

    The JWs come across in a more sinister form. When my aunt's family joined the JWs, they cut off all contact with me; and though I sought to befriend a number of JWs years ago, once they found I wasn't interested in conversion, that was it. It seems that Hassan is missing an element which I'll call Social Control. If social intercourse is forbidden (and I use that in its purest form), then the control becomes even more significant. Some have called the Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists "cults," though they don't meet Hassan's requirements. In fact, the Mormons have reached out to the Catholic faith and the Muslim faith, not to mention the Jews. And the Adventists, though they've sought to distance themselves from Ellen White's wriitings, teachings and pronouncements, have spun off a number of other religions, including the JWs and the Worldwide Church of God (formerly Radio Church of God). Since both religions have added to the Christian dogma, as the Christians added to the Jewish dogma, they have been branded as cults.

    My wife thinks all religions are cults, except hers. (She's Greek Orthodox.)

  • Think About It
    Think About It

    I don't think you are really on the road to breaking free of the WTS until you can personally admit and start calling it a cult.

    Think About It

  • yknot

    Non-JW family members ..... I was told they were walking dead and their worldly activities and faults were highlighted and magnified.

    While I saw them as per the divorce order.....emotionally there has always been a detachment (us vs them)....cuz they were walking dead.

    Generally speaking it isn't a direct order from an Elder (but it could be depending on circumstance). Usually it is just the different priorities that JWs have from 'worldlies'. No gathering at holidays or b-days, Saturdays reserved for FS, ditto for Sunday afternoon. A converted JW no longer has any shared priorities except in cases of family emergencies or tragedies. Encouragement to only associate with JWs for social needs like dinner get-to-gethers or after FS plans like going over to a person's house and listening to an audio of some talk or slides of a 'needs greater' trip or video of a trip to Bethel.

  • InterestedOne

    I'm still learning about this group because I'm concerned for my JW friend. At first, I refrained from using the word cult because I didn't want to be closed-minded. However, I am starting to use the word the more as I learn about them. I have asked myself why I use the word. My primary reason is the fact that members willingly submit their minds to the thoughts of the leaders. They refuse to entertain thought processes that lead to the conclusion that the leaders are mistaken about a topic. The Insight books help them with this. When I raise a problem with one of their doctrines, they immediately go to the Insight books like a child's blanket. They find some roundabout explanation for the problem and are satisfied. They do not consider the possibility that their leaders might be wrong. To me that is a characteristic of a cult member. Doggedly holding to the teachings of men in the face of reason.

    When I confront my JW friend about this, she says things like, "We all need help. Children rely on their parents to teach them and submit to their headship." Yes, we all need help, but receiving help does not mean shutting down your critical thinking skills. As for the children analogy, it is true that in their formative years, children rely on their parents to teach them. However, as children grow up, they learn to think for themselves and often realize that their parents were mistaken about some things. It is perfectly normal for a child to learn to think critically and eventually disagree with their parents.

    As I study with JW's, I am getting the impression that they are retaining a child-parent relationship with the leadership and not growing out of it. Regarding the literature, my friend proudly says, "it's at a 5th grade reading level." And I think, "are you happy to be reading something at a 5th grade reading level? Do you think it's good that 40-year old men are studying material at a 5th grade reading level?" The fact that membership in this goup involves shutting down one's normal intellectual abilities in favor of the thoughts of the leaders tells me it is a cult.

  • yknot
    As I study with JW's, I am getting the impression that they are retaining a child-parent relationship with the leadership and not growing out of it.

    YEP, NAILED IT!!!!

    For me I started noticing this 'dumbing down' trend in the 1980s....... no 'independent thinking', run from challenges, WT pubs trump straight up Bible verses, obey, obey, obey and do lots of FS (for males it was FS and 'reaching out')

  • Jadeen

    "When our own thoughts are forbidden, when our questions are not allowed and our doubts are punished, when contacts and friendships outside of the organization are censored, we are being abused for an end that never justifies its means. When our heart aches knowing we have made friendships and secret attachments that will be forever forbidden if we leave, we are in danger. When we consider staying in a group because we cannot bear the loss, disappointment and sorrow our leaving will cause for ourselves and those we have come to love, we are in a cult."

    Deborah Layton, Jonestown survivor.

Share this