A Study of the Persuasion Techniques Used by Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watchtower.
A research report submitted to Tabor College, Adelaide, by NATHAN CHARLES BEEL as the Directed Study Project component for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Christian Counselling--- November, 1997.
-Lifton’s Criteria for Thought Reform
-Loading the Language
-Doctrine over Person
-The Sacred Science
-The Cult of Confession
-The Demand for Purity
-The Dispensing of Existence
-Hassan’s Criteria for Mind Control
Summary of Study
The Watchtower Society utilises manipulative techniques and environment to recruit and maintain their membership. According to Robert Lifton (1961), a psychologist who examined American soldiers subjected to mind control techniques by the Communist Chinese, there are eight criteria that are used evaluate if the environment that people have been subject to has been a mind control totalist environment. The Watchtower was found to utilise each of his criteria to varying degrees in their indoctrination process. The cult identifying criteria set out by exit-counsellor Steven Hassan (1990) also proved conclusively that the Watchtower (now abbreviated to ‘WT’) exerted behaviour, information, thought and emotional control to maintain their membership. The study then proceeded to identify the persuasive techniques of the propagandists in selecting their messages to have maximum effect on their audiences. Various pieces of WT literature were analysed and found to utilise similar techniques and thus could be appropriately classed as propaganda. Leon Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957) was then examined to help explain the psychological reasons why both people become JW’s and why people remain JW’s even though there are more credible alternatives. Clinical hypnotic processes were also examined and compared with cultic applications. And again through their literature and social structures, Jehovah’s Witnesses were shown to employ these, especially in their recruitment processes. The conclusion affirmed that the WT applies a variety of powerful psycho-social techniques to recruit and maintain membership and summarised some different evangelism pointers and approaches when dealing with JW’s or those interested in becoming Jehovah’s Witnesses.
[url= http://users.uniserve.com/~renford/persuade.htm#emot]Persuasion Techniques Used by Jehovah's Witnesses[/url]
Edited by - waiting on 9 July 2000 11:34:9
Edited by - waiting on 9 July 2000 11:35:1