Are Jehovah’s Witnesses a Cult?

by mankkeli 28 Replies latest jw friends

  • elder-schmelder

    Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.

    1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.
    2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
    3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.
    4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.
    5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
    6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.
    7. There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.
    8. Followers feel they can never be "good enough".
    9. The group/leader is always right.
    10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.
  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I don't like "cult" b/c it is perjorative in some sense. It was my family religion. I viewed the low-status Witnesses as heroic modern Pilgrims, Puritans, and Quakers. Certainly, a strict minority religion. I was in denial. Not a religious cult. A mind control cult with some religious aspects.

    Growing up Witness, I knew all that counted was knocking on doors. (Sounds of Bob Dylan here). Quality was always sacrificed. The control was far more than needed to market a coherent message. Now I recall Deep Throat's advice "Follow the money." Dangerous tight mind control pyramid scheme.

  • LostGeneration

    Telling a witness they are in a "cult" will simply cause their brain to shut down. It is veiwed as a pejerotive and you may as well call them a d!ck or a b!tch depending on their gender, you will get about as far.

    But as a deprogrammed JW, I agree the WTS meets more than enough of the BITE model describing a cult. Another good site is

  • thetrueone

    Yes the Jehovah Witnesses organization is a mind controlling corrupt religious cult.

    Thats constructed around a publishing house at its core foundation.

    There is nothing else to describe it.

    Therefore It can also be described as a business cult.

  • Apeman

    Tools of Mind Control:

    1. Control environment: Loved ones are cut off from family, no communication.

    2. Break down sense of self: Break down their sense of self-esteem, literally attack them as individuals on the basis that they are wrong and that the group is right.

    3. Instill new sense of identity: New identity is reinforced by the group environment, where you get no feedback except from other members who tell you that they understand the right behavior and the right way of being.

    4. Isolate: Cut off from outside world. Fear keeps them trapped inside the environment of the group.

    Warning Signs of a Potentially Harmful Group/Leader:

    1. Totalitarian: Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

    2. Little tolerance: No place for questions or critical inquiry.

    3. Unreasonable fears: Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

    4. Never good enough: Followers feel they can never be good enough.

    5. No reason to leave: Former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

    People Who Are Vulnerable to Mind Control:

    1. Recently divorced
    2. Illness
    3. Personal tragedy
    4. Career failure
    5. Away from home for the first time

    Warning Signs of a Brainwashed Victim:

    1. Obsessive: Extreme obsessiveness regarding the group/leader resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration.

    2. Dependency: Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought, a seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without group/leader involvement.

    3. Agrees with group: Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.

    4. Loss of spontaneity: A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor.

    5. Isolation: Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.

    I'd say the witnesses meet every single one of these.

  • OnTheWayOut

    By the strictest sense of the definition of "cult," virtually all religions are cults.

    Cult: A system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.

    But all philosophies and groups redefine and look for the obscure words and meanings of things to make themselves look better and/or to make other groups look worse. It's done concerning the Bible with the various groups and it's done with modern words and philosophies and meanings.

    WTS chooses to define "cult" as something to try to say they are not one. Even there, they are pretty weak. All they have is that they no longer follow a single leader and that the majority of them don't live in a compound.

    I choose to use the full term that describes them. Jehovah's Witnesses are in a "dangerous mind-control cult." While they may want to argue over the word cult, this way I have introduced the important part: "dangerous mind-control."

  • sizemik
    Perhaps not a full-blown cult . . . Rydor

    Genuine question Rydor . . . in your opinion, what elements are missing with JW's, that are required for them to be "full-blown"?

  • GOrwell

    Something about a bear in the woods and some fecal matter...

  • Rydor

    Genuine question Rydor . . . in your opinion, what elements are missing with JW's, that are required for them to be "full-blown"?

    Well I've read Steve Hassan's book and some of the more extreme elements found among the Moonies and other cults are not found within the Watchtower. For example, in the Moonies Hassan mentions how cult members are kept physically distant from their family members and have to ask permission to go anywhere. JW's are not physically isolated and can go anywhere they please (provided of course they're not missing meetings!)

    Also in some cults members are strongly encouraged to give all their entire bank accounts to the cult and thus are left completely poor. (The WTBTS of course encourages donations for the "world wide work" but they don't go to that extreme. At least when I was in, I never felt any strong pressure to give financially; it may vary by region.)

    In some cults the leader is treated as divine and outright worshipped. While it's true that the Governing Body certainly holds god-like power over the rank and file, I bet less than 1% of the membership could tell you the names of all the current GB members. So that "creature worship" isn't really there in modern times. (Early 1900s is of course another story.)

    It's funny, last Friday I actually met a girl who had been raised in a Moonie family in Japan. I shared with her my background and we had a really interesting conversation. She truly believed that her mother died prematurely because she worked herself to death in the cult. So compared to her experiences, I had to admit that while I may have had it bad, she had it worse.

    Look what you made me do! I just wrote a post defending the Watchtower! I think I have to go shower now...

  • still thinking
    still thinking

    OnTheWayOut...I agree with that definition...


    Some are just more destructive than others.

    Rydor...was that "full blown"? or fly blown?......ha!, same flies on sh*t!!

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