Not wishing to interject myself in an ongoing discussion on the differences between obstinence and certainty (sort of like arguing between being dead or being no longer in existence.....)
Terry's excellent essay is a very revealing look at the theology JW's offer.
The mechanism is less romantic, but no less telling.
Binary is a preferred language for programmers. There are other's out there. Binary is convenient and easy. JW's use their own version of binary that Terry so eloquently points out for their own dubious purposes.
As Terry's essay points out, JW's (and other religions as well) seek to serve their cause by offering a canned "either/or" scenario that ultimately points the less wary towards the groups objectives.
What has fascinated me since leaving JW's (and why I can't write much about JW's lately) is how simple the whole thing really is. The JW technique that is used to introduce their binary "either/or" teachings is almost boring, yet brilliant at the same time.
How can you get people to accept only two choices when it is so apparant that many more alternatives exist? Simple. You control the conversation, and most importantly, you control the questions.
When you control what questions are asked, you control the answers too
JW's from the leadership on down through the rank and file are adamant about not free lancing when it comes to studying, that their "bible based" publications "save lives". The unwary at first get a magazine or book. They read the articles, see the pre printed control mechanism questions at the bottom of the page, and then read on, unaware of the purpose that these questions will in time serve.
At first, it is the home bible study. "But what do JW's teach about going to heaven, who?" What is always the answer? "That answer is found in chapter 10, and we will get there, be patient. Build upon this knowledge first."
A pattern develops at the very start. Inoculate the weird teachings that would be dismissed out of hand by giving out the candy first. "Live forever in paradise". "The ressurection!" "The love of Jehovah's people".
Then, and only then, can you slowly give out the weird 144,000 go to heaven doctrine. The unsustainable teaching of the JW hiearchy (aka, listen to the governing body and the elders) How is this slipped in? Little by little, with each seemingly innocuous question, and the cute little answer, almost read out of the paragraph, but put in your own words of course.
By the time you get use to this, it is time to go to the meetings, where the unwary is introduced to the wholesale level of question control, esp at the WT study.
The answers are already there! Did you study? You didn't? Why not?
How can you answer the questions correctly when you didn't read and memorize the supplied answers first???
Either/or. Binary. The control mechanism for JW's is to control the questions. Because at that point, you control the answers.
And then you really do have a bunch of sheep, nodding their heads, forgetting that the answers were never their own, and now, they have been tricked into not caring about where the answer comes from anymore.
Sort of sick isn't it?