Read S. Hassan's Book: Do JW's really fit the cult mold?

by simon17 67 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Judicial Committee
    Judicial Committee

    Read S. Hassan's Book: Do JW's really fit the cult mold?

    “I think its an interesting case because very little of the physical cult experience described in the book fits a typical witness (no physical isolation, no sleep deprivation, no public humiliations, they don't seem to have the right type of money hungry charismatic cult leader, no constant fundraising efforts, no chanting/hypnosis/etc, etc etc. Reading anyone of the many case studies in there fits what I would generally have pictured as a cult. The Witnesses don't fit any of that.”

    “Please” you have got to be putting us on.

    You say: “No public humiliations,” they “”Don’t seem to have the right type of money,” Hungry charismatic leader or leaders,”No constant fund raising,” “No chanting.” I say balderdash.

    I think in reality you are presently a faithful follower of the governing body of Jehovah’s witnesses concealed; which is fine, but don’t play us for fools or children.

    1. Public humiliation - Disfellowshipping fits this.

    2. No physical isolation - Disfellowshipping fits this.

    3. No sleep deprivation - Disfellowshipping fits this.

    4. They don't seem to have the right type of money hungry charismatic cult leader, no constant fundraising efforts. – What about magazine campaigns and including them in your will after you die.

    5. No chanting/hypnosis/etc, - I consider their so called Theocratic Language to be chants that are quite affective, just try not talking like a Borg at a district convention, and talk like a real person and feel the pressure of not being conformed puts on you.

  • sabastious

    I am a strong advocate of the word balderdash and I totally agree with you JC.


  • ziddina

    Simon17, your OP conclusion is EXACTLY why I cringe everytime someone on board recommends Steven Hassan's books WITHOUT recommending ADDITIONAL READING on the subject of cults....

    I left in the early 80's. Steven Hassan may have just been sucked into the "Moonies" cult at that point in time; just beginning to "cut his teeth" on the subject of cults...

    The stress of having been beaten/bullied into the cult caused emotional problems, and luckily I found a very wise therapist. My therapist recommended that I read about cults; after I read the first book on the subject, I devoured over 15 books about cults...

    I found that the Watchtower Corporation fit 9 out of 10 cult markers - the only one they were missing was the "charismatic leader" aspect.

    Of course, they ALSO fit THAT characteristic - both Charles Taze Russell and J.F. Rutherford were "charismatic" leaders of the Watchtower Corporation with all the power resting in their hands. But of course I didn't know that AT THE TIME - due to the TOTAL lack of information available to the average Witness about the origins of the cult...

    From what I've read - and learned since then - yes, the Watchtower Corporation is most definitely a CULT.

  • ziddina

    Uhm, I just got to Judicial Committee's post...

    To his comments, let me add:

    1. "Public" humiliation - as he said, disfellowshipping fits this, as does the often excruciating "reinstatement" process, not to mention being "marked" as "spiritually weak", even though one might not be disfellowshipped or even on public or private reproof... Add to that, the inevitable "special needs" talks that usually follow such "spiritual discipline", and you have a horrendous brew of humiliations, all designed to keep errant members strictly in line with Watchtower Corporation's edicts and teachings...

    2. "No physical isolation" - you've got to be kidding me... Just ask ANY relatively normal JW kid, whether or not they're being PHYSICALLY isolated - there are SO many ways the Watchtower Corporation accomplishes this - no birthday parties/holidays/school sports/social events - proms, dances, parties/school clubs like chess, computer, music, art, science/prepping for college/dating or having "crushes" on 'worldly' boys/girls

    And it gets worse as the child reaches adulthood - no seeking a MARRIAGE MATE outside the Watchtower Corporation is a HUGE form of "isolation", though RARELY RECOGNIZED AS SUCH by average Jehovah's Witnesses... No associating with your neighbors/co-workers, no attending the holiday parties - not even at one's place of employment, and so on...

    One is EVEN ISOLATED from one's own spouse by the intrusive Watchtower Corporation's edicts on SEXUAL PRACTICES IN THE MARRIAGE BED - exacerbated by the admonition to TURN ONE'S OWN SPOUSE IN TO THE ELDERS for ANY SUCH INFRACTION...!!!!

    3. "No sleep deprivation" - not only the worry coming from being disfellowshipped, but the stress of attending 3+ meetings a week, going out in service AT LEAST 10 hours a month, "personal" study, studying the Watchtower article for the meeting - 4 times a month, preparing for parts on the Theocratic Ministry school.... And dealing with the emotional stresses of being in a group of people who would snap at the chance to turn one in to the elders for ANY infraction, minor OR imagined... All while attempting to support one's family or oneself financially, often WITHOUT a college education, denied opportunities to obtain overtime work, or to accept promotions...

    4. "Right type of money-hungry charismatic leaders"... Ahhhhh, you need to get your hands on a copy of their "Charitable Planning to Benefit Kingdom Service Worldwide" pamphlet, if you want to see "money-hungry"... And as I stated earlier, their early decades - Russell, Rutherford, Knorr - were ALL dominated by a SINGLE leader - oftentimes VERY "charismatic"...

    5. "no chanting/hypnosis/etc." As Judicial Committee said, their "Theocratic Language" is VERY hypnotic - as are the new songs which replaced the older and much better loved songs... The repetitive reading of each paragraph in the Watchtower magazine and then the exact parroting of the words from the same paragraph, regurgitated as an "answer" by whomever raises their hand during the Watchtower study, is yet ANOTHER example of the monotonous repetition that tends to create a mild hypnotic state...

    I can clearly remember how numb my mind would become, shortly after the beginning of the Watchtower study or worse yet, ANY assembly - circuit, district or "special" one-day assembly... Observe, if you're still attending meetings, how difficult it is to stay awake - that's a significant indication, right there, that mildly hypnotic language is lulling you into a semi-relaxed state... Where information can be more deeply "imprinted"...


  • Morbidzbaby

    "Right type of money-hungry charismatic leaders"...

    As Zid said, the early leaders of the Bible Students/Jehovah's Witnesses/Watchtower Society WERE charismatic leaders. Rutherford was especially money-hungry. And power-hungry! He weaseled his way into the position of WTBTS President. Who builds a mansion in California, claims it's for the returning "princes" (David, Moses, and the like), and then when they don't show up, lives in the house himself, all the while boozing it up, whoring around, and driving 2 very large (was it 16 cylinder???) cars...DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION??!!!! That's no better than these televangelists who use people's money to live high on the hog! And that's NOT money-hungry?? Oh and he was VERY charismatic...Advertise Advertise Advertise, remember? And how about changing the name of his peons to "Jehovah's Witnesses"? That was all Booze Joe's idea.

  • Aussie Oz
    Aussie Oz

    Another challenge for calling the JWs a cult, is that it is impossible for a Jehovahs witness to even concieve that they are in a cult. Just because one exits the 'religion' does not change the thought process in itself.

    So deep is the ingraning of 'we are not a cult' thinking that i believe the majority of those who do exit do not see them as a cult, or at least not for some time.

    I also believe a good many jump on the apostate bandwagon very quickly complete with all the disgust and name calling of the Watchtower long before they have spent much time researching anything, that includes the subject of calling them a cult. Just because a person is angry is no good reason for joining in calling them a cult before doing research.

    I hope this makes sense... For example, ok, i was pissed off with the JWs over various issues before i found JWN. I quickly grasped the magnitude of all the so called apostate information out there. I would not allow myself to call them a cult without first reading as much as i could. In fact so deep is the cognitive disonance in myself that only after two years on here am i ready to concede that they just may be a cult after all. With all my disgust for the WT and the JWs it has still taken me that time to do that part of my research!

    I don't think it particularly fair nor understanding to dismiss as fools, idiots or dumb, any who have trouble seeing it as black and white as others. Like i said, some don't jump on the bandwagon just because the WT has D/F'd them for asking questions or screwing somebody.

    Why do we welcome some and ask them to stick around and learn and them smack them down when they don't agree with a common view of the ememy? So what if one thinks they are a cult and another does not? It takes time is what i am saying, not suddenly joining a forum of Ex JWs and taking on the boards status quo of 'official exjw beliefs'.



  • ziddina

    Oz, we're not "smacking people down" - I haven't seen any "smacking" going on, on this thread...

    However, those of us who HAVE read extensively about cults, perhaps even recognized certain aspects of the cultish behavior of the Watchtower Corporation, DON'T want new members to continue being trapped in self-deluded attitudes or selective mental blindness...


  • Indian Larry
    Indian Larry

    I too read S. Hassans first book, and based on the definition of cult in that book I would not say that the WT meets the definition of a cult. AS IT IS DEFINED IN STEVE HASSANS FIRST BOOK. I am not saying they are not a cult, I am simply saying that as that book defines the word cult they do not meet the criteria. They do meet the criteria in that book for high control group. Another thing that goes in favor of the WT not being a full blown cult would be all of the churn seen in the org. They are really busy trying to bring new publishers in the front door but just as many are walking (or kicked out) the back door. I would say most cults like the moonies for instance don't have as high of a churn rate as the WT.

    Before everybody jumps on me, keep in mind I am not defending the ORG just stating an opinion. I also do agree with the person who mentioned how many lives they have ruined. That is the worse part of all, how they have torn apart families. It is sickening. I know some on this board no longer believe in God, but I still do. I believe that those at the top who are responsible for this will be called into account. At least I hope so.

  • Aussie Oz
    Aussie Oz

    I agree Zid, not on this thread...perhaps i was guilty of some generalization in making my point. My apologies.

    It is not a popular subject to disagree with on here. I think we all know what i mean.

    I am not defending the WT but peoples right to see them as they see fit. I have trouble calling them a cult probably because i have not suffered as much as others at their hand. Yes some of the control measures and attitudes have done me over but not like some. Those who have suffered long and hard and truly felt the hand of cult behaviors are more likely to see it for all its stark horror.

    Sometime 'book learning' about it doesn't make it real if one has not felt it.


  • soft+gentle

    I agree with you simon (re your opening post).

    Also the word cult does not have the same associations here as it does in the US imo. And if you say Jehovahs witnesses are a dangerous cult you are likely to be disbelieved in the UK.

    But steve's book is great for people who are already doubting because it enables one to take a more objective view of their beliefs and help to build resistance to indoctrination.

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