How do you categorise the Society - Cult or High control religion
I think JW's were a cult in the beginning seeing as how they were founded by a man and were too new to be accepted by the general population as a full on religion. Those who have a complaint against JW's tend to use the term cult because it has a negative connotation in our society and using that word is sort of an intellectual way to engage in name calling.
As far as I can see, there is no specific line of demarcation between a religion and a cult. To me, JW's are a religion with cult like overtones. When it comes down to it, I suppose Jesus was viewed by some as a Cult Leader at one point and Christians were his Cult. Most religions were probably cults at one time until their warped views eventually became more mainstream. They all have a degree of hold over their members and strive to ensure that they all hold the same beliefs and are moving in the same direction.
People who feel left out or misunderstood by the general population for some reason, tend to be attracted to unpopular or off beat religions like JW's. Like anyone else, they are on some level, looking for answers to unanswerable questions but they don't fit into the already existing religions. They feel extra virtuous by being part of something that is looked upon as odd or a bit crazy by others. I know some JW's who would be utterly disappointed if JW's were ever thought of anything but offbeat and they very much dislike the recent changes that make their once quirky religion, more mainstream.
JW's raise their children in the religion and the children often feel alienated from the general population like their parents did, but unlike their parents, it's because of the religion itself. The parents as well as the children are caught up in the religion because of it's cult like aspects. Most if not all of these cult like aspects come from the man made rules and policies rather than from the actual doctrines themselves. There is limited information about the inner workings of the organization and there is a price to be paid if one leaves.
Anyway....rambling thoughts but that's my take on JW's. If I had to choose just one of the terms offered to describe JW's I'd have to go with "High Control Group".
1. Sadly, I now have a mother who outright told me that if I dissociated, she would have to remain loyal to Jehovah and shun me.
2. Unfortunately, if you want to find real psychological and sociological scientific literature, you won't find it by searching for "cults."
1. You answered your own question.
2. See link.
"Dependence on a leader
Cult leaders demand loyalty and suppress criticism. For them, power must be absolute. Authoritarianism takes precedence over anything else. They often claim that 'special' knowledge, secret ancient doctrines or divine revelation is guiding them.
But cults, because they only serve the leader, exploit and pervert that useful habit and, to establish and maintain itself, does everything possible to destroy family ties, and any other secure and conventional anchor in a person's life. This has the effect of strengthening a member's bond with the cult and its leader. From this viewpoint, the cults that promote celibacy and the cults that encourage indulgence in sexual promiscuity are seeking the same ends — the destruction of normal family life and the substitution of dependence on the cult group authority."
How do you categorise the Society - Cult or High control religion
Bat Shit Crazy Cult
If you read "Combating Cult Mind Control" (Steven Hassan) it will removal any remaining doubt you may have!
I'm not pedantic about it. They are a cult, they are a sect, they are a religion, they are a scam, and they are a bunch of batshit money-sucking vampires.
So what's your your perspective? Cult or High Control Religion?
I'm not a pro, but I am well educated in the matter. I follow what professionals who study them and have decades of unbiased research on them and on organizations like them conclude and say.
The term cult is not necessarily one to which all professionals feel comfortable using, mostly because of what the media have made people believe a cult is. When people mention cults, the average person thinks of things like this:
Instead of using the term "cult" they prefer to use "high demand" or "controlling" groups and/or relationships. That includes a number of groups and relationships that are nothing like the ones that people normally think of. In fact, professionals define cults in 4 different ways, based on 4 different perspectives: cults as dangerous, authoritarian, cults as culturally innovative or transcultural, cults as loosely structured protoreligion, and Bainbridge’s taxonomy that distinguishes: audience cults, client cults and cult movements
With that in mind, I made my own comparison between the characteristics of what the professionals call a high demand, controlling group, and the WT. Here are the characteristics of a cult or controlling group that I experienced in the WT:
- Charisma and High Demands - a cult is characterized by an ideology, strong demands issuing from that ideology, and powerful processes of social-psychological influence to induce group members to meet those demands.
- Risk of Harm - A high-demand controlling group is leader-centered, controlling of the social climate in their group, which places their members at risk being exploited and injured, although they may remain benign if leadership doesn't abuse its power.
- It treats people as objects to be manipulated for the benefit of the leader(s).
- It believes that and behaves as though the group’s supposedly noble ends justify means that most people deem unethical.
- It harms some persons involved with or affected by the group.
Those things make me believe in the WT as a cultic organization. I'd call it a cult based on what I know from my studies and research in the matter. However, my definition of a cult is this:
A group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control (e.g. isolation from former friends and family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc.), designed to advance the goals of the group's leaders, to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community.
The WT fits that definition to a T.
unshacklethechains: How do you categorise the Society - Cult or High control religion
There is no "or".
The Society is both.
They fit into the category of "totalitarian organization". It doesn't matter if you want to call it a high control religion or a cult, those are just labels that are stuck on it - it doesn't change what it actually is
If your actually talking to a JW whether they come to your door or you see them minding a cart I dont think using any of those terminologys , cult ,mind control ,or high control religion /group etc.will get you anywhere it will just shut them down and defence mechanisms spring up straight away.In other words you show your cards up front , not away to win a card game.
What could work is to ask questions that dont raise such flags to them immediately.Play dumb.ask more questions ,play dumb till you get your point across without coming across as an apostate or somebody who knows much about JW`s.beliefs .Theocratic warfare in reverse.
Let's review: it's a cult!
Thread number 3679 on whether JWs are a cult.
Cults are by definition high control.