STOP calling JW's a CULT--unless . . . they fit the checklist!

by Terry 17 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Terry

    It is unkind, premature and even irresponsible to label people with whom we disagree using pejorative names.

    For example, labeling a movement as a CULT.

    Consider this example:

    Sociologists D. Bromley and A. Shupe once described what they called the Tnevnoc Cult. Membership was open only to women, who were required to shave their heads, change their names, and wear specific clothing once they had entered the group. They lived communally so as to protect them from the corrupting influences of the wider world while they focused on their own growing spirituality within the group. They were forbidden from owning personal possessions, and they were given with minimal provisions for comfort. Initiation included ritually marrying the dead founder of their religion.

    People were outraged and demanded to know where this group was located. Eventually, the sociologists revealed that Tnevnoc is simply convent spelled backwards. They were describing the traditional lifestyle of a Catholic nun.

    A sweep of various writing on the subject of False Prophets and Cult communities yeilds the following distilled list of warning signs:

    Checklist for False Prophets and Cult teachers

    1. Purposely changing scripture to suit pet doctrines.

    2.Predicting things that do not happen and attributing it to God

    3.Attributing Christ's authority to itself

    4.Quirky obsession with control issues involving personal health, wealth, education and family relationships

    5.Behavior control, thought control, emotional control, and information control

    6. Elitist delusions as the "only" truth. Superiorty over all others. Disdain for contrary opinion.

    7.Central duty consists of constant recruitment goals

    8.Constant emphasis on End of the World nearness and preoccupation with world events as "signs".

    9.Using family members as snitches, informants and secret spies

    The Jehovah's Witnesses are particularly quick to deny they are in any manner to be viewed as cult like. Note the following article:

    February 15, 1994 Watchtower

    " Would it be accurate to refer to Jehovah’s Witnesses as a religious group with radical views and practices that clash with what is accepted as normal social behavior? Are Jehovah’s Witnesses a cult?

    Cult members often isolate themselves from family, friends, and even society in general. Is that the case with Jehovah’s Witnesses? ...

    And they do not live in communes, isolating themselves from relatives and others....

    More important, they are engaged in an educational program that has no comparison. ...
    It is clear that Jehovah’s Witnesses are as far from being a cult as Jesus was from being a glutton and a drunkard. "

    What conclusions are we to draw?

    1. The NWT published by the Watchtower inserts the name of their proprietary god Jehovah into the NT where there is no tetragrammaton. They also bend over backward to avoid associating Jesus with divinity.

    2.1914 1918 1925....1975 are but a few of the failed predictions for Armageddon that fell flat.

    3. The Governing Body of anointed Faithful and Discreet slaves is to be viewed as THE authority without question.

    4. Innumerable articles on quack cures, warnings about higher education, and shunning have proliferated throughout the publishing history of this religion.

    5.Constant references to the probationary nature of their salvation and the policy of "marking" any errant behavior exerts a rigorous control in Kingdom Halls everywhere.

    6. Jehovah's Witnesses don't claim to have "truth", but insist they have "THE Truth" exclusively. From the early years to present times all religon other than themselves are considered the "harlot" and "Satan's false religions".

    7. A minum goal of 10 hours for each member is what determines acceptable behavior without exception.

    8. No publication, book or discourse has failed to mention "we are living in the Time of the End." This was just as true back 1879 as it is in 2011.

    9. Each Jehovah's Witness is charged with personal responsibility for keeping an eye on all members so as to report "impurity" to elders for judiciary action.

    In view of the above, what conclusions can prudently be reached?

    Are Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophets and Cult members?

    I say an unequivocal YES!

  • minimus

    And the Roman Catholic Church fits that category too.

  • Strangelove

    I'm guilty of labeling them as a cult. And occasionally will say I am a cult victim or survivor considering how early I was conditioned. I sometimes consider it to be rude, yes. To call them a cult.

    But then I remember, they absolutely are a cult. I point to the concept of disfellowshipping as my primary reason. That kind of exclusive and/or inclusive mentality is hard not to associate with a cult.

    I know when I was in I fought against that notion, but someone once asked me, "When has any religon accused of being a cult admitted to actually being a cult?" I thought about it, and yeah, even infamous cults never admitted to that definition.

    I sometimes avoid using the term with actual JDubs though. See, I want them to see that the other side is just as kind. By screaming cult at them, then it falls in line with what they're taught that the world is out to get them. So I try to be as welcoming as possible and avoid the use of said word.

    Admitably though, it slips on occasion. Can you really blame me though? (You could..)

  • OneEyedJoe

    You can add to your list loading the language (having a vocabulary specific to cult members that redefines common words). As your other recent thread eludes to, the words one uses can have a profound effect on one's thoughts. So lets see, do JW's load the language?

    Truth -> means either JW doctrine or the organization (WTBTS)

    Service -> means going D2D

    Field -> Where you go out in service

    Spiritual -> label to give someone who does a lot of D2D work and shows up at all meetings

    Disfellowship -> shun

    appostate -> anyone who disagrees with 'the truth'

    And more....

    This is such a powerful tool to control people, especially the first one. The cult members no longer have a way to form a thought against the organization, because "The truth is wrong" just doesn't make sense and is immediately rejected.

  • Vidiot

    I still prefer the term "authoritarian high-control group".

    Way wordier, I know, but IMO, more accurate (and, I might add, more condemning).

    Best thing about it?

    Deconstruct the term down to its individual components, and even a loyal JW would be hard-pressed to deny the label.

  • Terry

    MINIMUS---are you saying the Pope is . . . is . . . not the true FDS?

  • minimus

    No he isn't. He's just the prince of the church.

  • Calebs Airplane
  • SonoftheTrinity

    Being a member of the Rastafarian community, I would say that we are labelled as cultists by society at large more than Jehovah's Witnesses which is unfair, but at the same time interesting. Perceived antinomianism, which is the opposite of the situation with the Jehovah's Witnesses, can get a religion labelled as a cult too. The different Rastafarian Orders (Nyabinghi, Boboshanti, Twelve Tribes) which resemble Fraternal Lodges more than Churches, vary in doctrine so much that the only thing that keeps them under the same umbrella is a vague patriotic and cultural unity. We are a cult because we love to start house and storefront churches that throw all night rent parties where everyone is invited and not all our square neighbors appreciate our Jerichoesque exuberance. Having values which are at odds with the rest of society doesn't make a religion a cult. Authoritarianism, where absolute power corrupts absolutely, is.

  • Terry

    No he isn't. He's just the prince of the church.

    The Pope formerly known as prince?

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