Who thinks JW is a cult?

by therealtruthsayer 33 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • shotgun


    They even meet every criteria they set out in the Reasoning book to define a cult.

    Then again, can you really take the WTBTS seriously when they print a book with Reason in the title?

  • Mulan
    Duhhhh........ Zany

    My thoughts exactly!!

  • willy_think
  • Sassy

    there is no doubt in my mind that they are a cult..

    how else could we have been so blinded and controlled?

  • Balsam

    Yep a cult because it fits perfectly from the guildlines given about cults.

    Its weird but it still feels weird to say it is a cult. I remember one time at that door being told it was a cult, and I said why is that? Well the householder said because we didn't believe in a burning helll and the trinity. I said is that the definition of a cult? "YES" they replied hotly. I said that sounds more like an an opinion rather than a reasonable outline of a cult.

    I went home and looked up cult. Found Steven Hassan list and shamed to realize that yes JW were certainly cultish.


  • TresHappy


  • blondie

    When I first starting posting on JWD, I found it hard to label the WTS a cult so called it a high-control group. Then I started reading Steven Hassan's books on cults. I realized then I had been part of a cult and forgave myself for taking so long to leave. But I did leave. Here is an interesting outline of Hassan's characteristics of a cult.



    Destructive mind control can be understood in terms of four basic components, which form the acronym BITE:

    I. Behavior Control
    II. Information Control
    III. Thought Control
    IV. Emotional Control

    These four components are guidelines. Not all groups do every aspect or do them extremely. What matters most is the overall impact on a person's free will and ability to make real choices. A person's uniqueness, talents, skills, creativity, and free will should be encouraged, not suppressed. Destructive mind control seeks to "make people over" in the image of the cult leader. This process has been described as "cloning". This "cult identity" is the result of a systematic process to dissociate a person from his or her previous identity including important beliefs and values as well as significant relationships. The result is the creation of a dual identity, what I refer to "John-John" and "John cult-member".

    Return to Table of Contents

    I. Behavior Control

    1. Regulation of individual's physical reality
      1. Where, how and with whom the member lives and associates with
      2. What clothes, colors, hairstyles the person wears
      3. What food the person eats, drinks, adopts, and rejects
      4. How much sleep the person is able to have
      5. Financial dependence
      6. Little or no time spent on leisure, entertainment, vacations
    2. Major time commitment required for indoctrination sessions and group rituals
    3. Need to ask permission for major decisions
    4. Need to report thoughts, feelings and activities to superiors
    5. Rewards and punishments (behavior modification techniques- positive and negative).
    6. Individualism discouraged; group think prevails
    7. Rigid rules and regulations
    8. Need for obedience and dependency
    9. Return to Table of Contents

      II. Information Control

      1. Use of deception
        1. Deliberately holding back information
        2. Distorting information to make it acceptable
        3. Outright lying
      2. Access to non-cult sources of information minimized or discouraged
        1. Books, articles, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio
        2. Critical information
        3. Former members
        4. Keep members so busy they don't have time to think
        5. Compartmentalization of information; Outsider vs. Insider doctrines
          1. Information is not freely accessible
          2. Information varies at different levels and missions within pyramid
          3. Leadership decides who "needs to know" what
          4. Spying on other members is encouraged
            1. Pairing up with "buddy" system to monitor and control
            2. Reporting deviant thoughts, feelings, and actions to leadership
            3. Extensive use of cult generated information and propaganda
              1. Newsletters, magazines, journals, audio tapes, videotapes, etc.
              2. Misquotations, statements taken out of context from non-cult sources
              3. Unethical use of confession
                1. Information about "sins" used to abolish identity boundaries
                2. Past "sins" used to manipulate and control; no forgiveness or absolution
                3. Return to Table of Contents

                  III. Thought Control

                  1. Need to internalize the group's doctrine as "Truth"
                    1. Map = Reality
                    2. Black and White thinking
                    3. Good vs. evil
                    4. Us vs. them (inside vs. outside)
                  2. Adopt "loaded" language (characterized by "thought-terminating clich├ęs"). Words are the tools we use to think with. These "special" words constrict rather than expand understanding. They function to reduce complexities of experience into trite, platitudinous "buzz words".
                  3. Only "good" and "proper" thoughts are encouraged.
                  4. Thought-stopping techniques (to shut down "reality testing" by stopping "negative" thoughts and allowing only "good" thoughts); rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism.
                    1. Denial, rationalization, justification, wishful thinking
                    2. Chanting
                    3. Meditating
                    4. Praying
                    5. Speaking in "tongues"
                    6. Singing or humming
                    7. No critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy seen as legitimate
                    8. No alternative belief systems viewed as legitimate, good, or useful
                    9. Return to Table of Contents

                      IV. Emotional Control

                      1. Manipulate and narrow the range of a person's feelings.
                      2. Make the person feel like if there are ever any problems it is always their fault, never the leader's or the group's.
                      3. Excessive use of guilt
                        1. Identity guilt
                          1. Who you are (not living up to your potential)
                          2. Your family
                          3. Your past
                          4. Your affiliations
                          5. Your thoughts, feelings, actions
                        2. Social guilt
                        3. Historical guilt
                        4. Excessive use of fear
                          1. Fear of thinking independently
                          2. Fear of the "outside" world
                          3. Fear of enemies
                          4. Fear of losing one's "salvation"
                          5. Fear of leaving the group or being shunned by group
                          6. Fear of disapproval
                          7. Extremes of emotional highs and lows.
                          8. Ritual and often public confession of "sins".
                          9. Phobia indoctrination: programming of irrational fears of ever leaving the group or even questioning the leader's authority. The person under mind control cannot visualize a positive, fulfilled future without being in the group.
                            1. No happiness or fulfillment "outside"of the group
                            2. Terrible consequences will take place if you leave: "hell"; "demon possession"; "incurable diseases"; "accidents"; "suicide"; "insanity"; "10,000 reincarnations"; etc.
                            3. Shunning of leave takers. Fear of being rejected by friends, peers, and family.
                            4. Never a legitimate reason to leave. From the group's perspective, people who leave are: "weak"; "undisciplined"; "unspiritual"; "worldly"; "brainwashed by family, counselors"; seduced by money, sex, rock and roll.
                          10. Junction-Guy

                            Without a doubt in my mind, they are a cult!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                          11. therealtruthsayer

                            Know what's funny though? The current witnesses will say that these are the words of the people who have left, don't like the witnesses becase they know someone who's been shunned or that we have never been in it to know the truth and they will tell folks to go figure it out for themselves. This was the comment I've heard a million times and what was said to me when I said they were a cult.

                          12. homme perdu
                            homme perdu

                            If the founder's literature is regarded with the same value as the holy scriptures(Bible,Torah, Quran) then that would indicate that the denomination is a cult.

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