The Making Of A Jehovah's Witness.
By Victor Escalante
What motivates people to study and eventually become a Jehovah's Witness (JW)?
Every religion I know of offers two things: first a set of practices, disciplines, and behaviors, which identify the members of that religion and shape, when successful, their perceptions and consciousness. Secondly, a religion offers security; it says that out of the many paths we as humans could tread this specific path defined by the practices, disciplines, and behaviors is the correct one, that if you follow these directions you will be rewarded either with heaven or a paradise as JWs believe.
JWs have been programmed with a set of beliefs to proselytize as a prerequisite for that reward. This creates a potential for uninformed persons to be indoctrinated and recruited to the Watchtower belief system. The negative consequences are not explained nor are they apparent to the new recruit until it's too late to leave honorably without any emotional, mental, and spiritual pain.
In my own experience I was recruited at a very young age of 17. With 20/20 hindsight I made the JWs my surrogate family due to the emotional vacuum in my personal life. In all fairness those were kinder and gentler times and the people I came in contact were for the most part sincere Christians. They were followers of followers and they did not know the long-term consequences of their choice in religion. One clue my parents should have seen in my indoctrination with the JWs was my obsessive meeting attendance on weekends and midweek. The dichotomy though is that they could not see anything wrong with these friendly people that came to study the Bible with me every Tuesday.
Once I bought lock stock and barrel into this ideology there was no way anyone was going to convince me that JWs or I were wrong. What I did not know was that my perceptions had been skewed to see only what I believed therefore I only believed what I saw. This was a reflection of an illusion and I did not know it until some twenty years later with my disillusion as I faced the facts.
There are many outward signs friends and family can look for in a person that is studying or ready to become a JW proselyte. Some of these can be:
PREOCCUPATION OF CURRENT EVENTS
This is a sign that the new recruit is twisting the facts to fit the end of time theology.
AN IMBALANCED SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS
This is due to conforming and following the dictates of the JWs, such as wanting to legalize a divorce, changing bad habits like smoking etc, etc.
ISOLATION FROM RELATIVES
This may be due to the lack of disposable time due to meeting attendance and a substitution of friendships to incubate the new recruit and feed more propaganda.
FAILURE TO CELEBRATE CUSTOMARY HOLIDAYS
Many of us will remember how we demonized usual and customary holidays and celebrations.
DESIRE TO ATTEND JW CONVENTIONS
This is further investment in the JW way of life and a constructed perception of: love, strength of numbers, and JWs being a mainstream religion.
OBSESSIVE DESIRE TO PREACH TO RELATIVES
This is due to the "zeal" of the newfound "truth".
AN UNBALANCED OPTIMISM WITH THE FUTURE
This can be seen when a person makes life changing decisions like quitting college, not making long term plans etc. etc.
QUOTING JW MEMBERS OR JW LITERATURE
This is due to a person not doing their own thinking but parroting clichés or oversimplified answers to complex problems.
We should be ready to revise any belief, we should change a belief where there is compelling reason to change it, and we should not change a belief wantonly without some good reason. The first point needs intellectual courage, the second, intellectual honesty, and the third, wise restraint. Do not believe anything but question only what is worth questioning.