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

by simon17 67 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • ziddina

    Simon17, have you ever read ANY other books on the subject of cults????

  • OnTheWayOut

    I can sum it up for y'all.

    Watchtower is a dangerous mind-control high-control group that uses many cult tactics and many other religious groups are more money-hungry and/or use some of those cult tactics to a higher degree.

    I get it. It's a tough label for even experts to agree upon. But we don't need to fight over labels. WTS is bad. Get out of her.

  • littlerockguy
  • ziddina

    Simon17, here is a link to a thread in which I posted a list of books on the subject of cults...

    Some of them were published around the time of the "Jonestown" massacre... Many of the books I read fit the Watchtower Corporation's characteristics. I read many of these, immediately after my therapist recommended that I research cults, upon exiting the Jehovah's Witnesses...

    page 2...

    Also, I bumped a thread or two in the process of my search. You might want to take a look at this one, too...


  • NewChapter

    I was just looking at Steve Hassan's website. At the top there are pictures of cult leaders, and I THINK the fifth one is Charles T. Russell. Can anyone look and tell me if I'm seeing right?

  • simon17

    Simon17, have you ever read ANY other books on the subject of cults????

    I already said I haven't. I have no problem if other people (or other books define them as a cult). It may very well be true. At the least I find them a high control group as I stated. I just don't see that this particular book is very convincing of putting witnesses among cult status. Which is why I don't think I recommend it as a tool for witnesses to "come to their senses" as much as other books I've read because I think most people (especially JWs) will read that book and find that witnesses don't really fit THAT BOOKS' description of cults.

  • simon17


    I appreciate your dislike of the witness organization. But you're twisting words to make the witnesses fit every thing in that book and its just simply not correct (whether they are a cult or not, and I'm open to either). FOr example, when I say I've never personally been asked for money, you say

    " Thats BS and you know it..

    Money is asked from Kingdom Hall and Assembly Hall Stages all the time..

    Who do you think their asking,your neighbour down the street or you?"

    Is that PERSONALLY me being asked for money? Does anyone ever know if I contribute or not? So no its not BS. No one has every asked me PERSONALLY for money or asked if I've been donating. And no one ever knew. Asking a group of thousands of people for a donation is simply that. I get asked in that manner for money from Red Cross and a ton of other commercials about various causes. I get asked for money PERSONALLY from my school, from my local fire department and ambulance core. NONE Of these are coercing me to donate or judging me if I don't.

    If you think the Witnesses are out of line in the frequency or method in which they ask for donations, then either your circuit operates COMPLETELY differently than mine or you are truly blinded by hatred.

    Its clear we're not going to agree much on this topic so I won't bother addressing your other points. I dont like the way this organization operates but I believe I will try to be fair on what points they are wicked and cultish (i.e. disfellowshipping), what points they are wrong (i.e. 607 BCE), what points they are like any other benign religion or organization (i.e. donations), what points they deserve protection under the 1st ammendment for (i.e. public house to house ministry), and even what points they are admirable (i.e. I won't even mention one lest you jump me for it).

  • sizemik

    If you look for small points of difference . . . then almost any cult can find reasons to dodge the cult label. If all cults fitted the mold exactly . . . they would all be exactly the same . . . so that's an ilogical premise . . . and plain silly.

    Using the term "high-control group" is just using semantics to cater to sensitivities. A high-control group is a cult, because invariably the controls they employ are the same. We're only talking about degrees.

    The WTS use of the conceptual F&DS as their "charasmatic leader" has afforded them many opportunities. Cults that rely on a single individual, live and die along with that individual. The F&DS concept has given JW's their longevity and subsequent size . . . which makes the control more insideous and them an even more dangerous cult IMO.

    @simon17 . . . did you read the Discovery Channel summary? . . . it's a very neutral source. And very simple to understand.

    I will try to be fair on what points they are wicked and cultish . . . simon17

    Not all cult characteristics are plainly "wicked and cultish". You may have a confirmation bias there yourself if that's what you're looking for. Not all cults appear overtly evil or sinister, and many bring benefits to the adherents as well as dangers. The less a cult appears to "fit the mold" the better . . . so you need to simplify the matter not complicate it. All of the fundamental cult characteristics are present with the WTS, and in good measure.

  • steve2

    The trouble with a word like "Cult" is its historcially loaded meanings. It's a very elastic and derogatory term. No one likes to be accused of belonging to a cult. In the eyes of believers, others belong to a cult - but not them. The most immediate image is of a group under the rotten spell of charismatic individuals.

    Yet, during Rutherford's time, the newly-named Jehovah's witnesses were at their most fiercely cult-like - due primarily to the way in which this man dominated proceedings, authored their most important works and attacked in print any who dared question his authority. However, since his death, the organization has seen the value in not putting so much (relative) attention on the individual. Knorr was in charge - but he was bland and lacked charisma. Since Knorr there've been a succession of dull looking and sopunding old men. Hence, JWs argue that they're not a cult because they do not "adore" a charismatic individual.

    By the way, there's been a similar transition in the Mormons. The same arguments apply. Are they a cult? Depends who you ask.

    The fairest position seems to be that, in some respects, the JW are cult-like but in others they're not.

  • NewChapter

    I don't know Simon, who is twisting. The fact is everyone feels a personal responsiblity to the org.

    But basically what this should come down to is the effects. No cult will fit in 100% in any list---and they will use those few points to prove they are not a cult.

    Members are bullied and manipulated into staying put. They are not free to leave without heavy, sometimes unbearable, sanctions. They are not allowed to think for themselves, and they openly and loudly say that independent thinking is evil. They have thousands of tiny rules to control every aspect of a members life---from their medical care, to their marriage bed, to their entertainment, their recreation, their friends, education, employment EVERYTHING.

    They spy on each other and have set up a network where others will rat you out. They will take everything you love if you don't submit.

    Okay---if you don't think that is a cult, then I guess nothing short of starvation and beatings will fit your criteria. I feel like an ex-cult member. I experience the emotions they experience. They made me afraid of the "world". They made me think I was inherently evil with a desperate need for salvation. They stole 2 decades of my life. I have none of my former friends. That's cult enough for me. But it's just a word.

    Did anybody look at my link above?


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