Loaded Language

by Duncan 19 Replies latest jw friends

  • Duncan

    I recently was called upon by JW?s at my door and given the brochure ?Keep on the Watch? ? I posted about it last week, the very nice JW lady with the novel take on ?How Close the End is, with Special Reference to How Many Bible Pages I am Holding Between my Fingers?.


    I?ve become aware from reading posts here that this pamphlet is not like a regular magazine, but is a special campaign brochure. Yet another ?special campaign? to try to drum up some enthusiasm and get some extra effort from the poor exhausted flock.

    My mind takes me back to the ?special leaflet campaigns? we had in the mid-seventies, anyone remember those? In particular I remember a comment regarding this ?special work? which was made by our CO at the time. It got me thinking about how the Society is absolutely masterful in its usage of loaded language.

    So, the CO is standing on the platform, reminding us how important this work is, given the urgency of the times etc. etc. He goes on to explain that we will not simply be dropping these leaflets through letter-boxes, oh no! - we will be calling on the householder, making personal contact, explaining what we are about, and then handing the precious gems of spiritual nourishment to them personally. This was important:

    ?Brothers,? he said ? we are not going to be promiscuous with this life-saving literature! Everyone must be handed his copy personally.?

    This hit me like a ton of bricks. Promiscuous? PROMISCUOUS? Where the hell did that come from? Promiscuous?

    You see, just the previous week on the platform in the Service Meeting we were being encouraged that ?? a good way to get the message out to people is to leave old copies of the magazines through the doors of not-at-homes. You never know who might read them and come into the Truth [cue: some made-up experience illustrating exactly that] - and it?s much better than simply letting them lie around at home in useless piles? - but now such largesse with the literature is ? promiscuous?.

    I almost laughed out loud, it seemed such an outlandish, over-the-top usage of a word to get his point across. But it certainly had its effect. After the meeting, chatting with our Book Study Conductor (Ted, I?ve mentioned him before, loads of times), well, he was really enthusiastic and fired-up about the whole thing:

    ?Duncan , it?s wonderful, isn?t it? You can really see how close we are now! And we won?t just be throwing these away like litter! It?s not like we?re leaflet deliverers? (at that moment, in his voice, you could hear that leaflet deliverers were truly, absolutely, the lowest form of life on the planet) ? this is a wonderful privilege, Duncan, why, we might even one day learn all about what Bible prophecy we?re fulfilling in doing this!?

    I?m pretty sure that, if I?d asked him, Ted couldn?t have quoted back the exact words that the CO had said used in explaining the work. It was enough that the CO?s choice of words - even if the words themselves were instantly forgotten - had impressed upon his listeners the desired effect. Dropping through letter-boxes ? Wrong! Handing them out personally ? Right! Why, just delivering them, that would be - well - disrespectful, wasteful; dirty even. Yup, it would be : promiscuous!

    An object lesson in the judicious use of Loaded Language.

    Thinking further on the same lines ? how about the Watchtower?s use of the word ?Youth??

    I might be entirely wrong, but my memory-impression is that ?youth? was overwhelmingly a negative word. Within the Organisation we might have had ?Young People? but the world had ?youths.? Despite the fact that there were some scriptures that basically talked about worshipping Jehovah in your youth, or whatever, it did seem to me that in the literature ?youth? was always associated with the word ?rebellious?.

    I remember reading a little Watching the World news snippet in the Awake! magazine that described some crazy, drug-fuelled crime committed by a 26 year old man in the states, who was described in the magazine as a ?youth?. We had an Elder in our congregation only 2 years older than that. From ?youth to ?elder? in 2 short years - the power of Loaded Language.

    Another example springs to mind: Is it just me and my memory, or was it the case that whenever the Society mentioned sexual disease, it would be preceded by the word ?loathsome?? Now, I realise that a venereal disease is unlikely to be described by anyone as ?pleasant? or ?wholesome? but it does seem to me that the Society was simply relentless in the way they associated the phrase ?sexual disease? with the word ?loathsome?. Perhaps it?s possible with CD-ROM technology to do some sort of comparison.

    I realise that this is not in the slightest a new, original observation. The society has been manipulating its readership for well over 100 years with all kinds of loaded language designed to get the response it desires - appeals to ?right-hearted persons?, references to ?true Christians? and ?spiritually mature ones?, the absolute demonisation of any they call ?apostates?, all this has been commented on many times before.

    But it?s always instructive, and fun, to point it out. Perhaps some ?mature ones? here on JWD, or indeed some of our ?young people? might like to offer some of their own examples of this kind of thing.

    But no youths! No promiscuous or rebellious apostates, please!


  • itsallgoodnow

    My mom said she didn't want to participate in this "campaign" because they were told they had to do a special sermon at the doors with this brochure, and had to read scriptures and couldn't give it out to just anybody, but the householder had to show some interest first. She gets nervous at the doors and didn't think she could handle all that. I thought that was rather strange, they used to just hand out the special brochures to people and it was simpler than regular service where you had to speak more.

    I didn't like being told exactly what to say to people. I guess any good JW asks how high when they say jump. I remember the last time I went out in service I volunteered to go first and only pretended to ring the doorbells. We didnt get anybody home that day.

  • kwintestal
    I remember the last time I went out in service I volunteered to go first and only pretended to ring the doorbells. We didnt get anybody home that day.

    Hehehe. I remember all those times when my friend and I would "forget" to knock. We'd leave a mag at the door though so we could get back to the cargroup and brag up our placements!


    P.S. A very good read Duncan!

  • hillary_step


    Very amusing, thank you. I am sure somwhere the WTS must have used the phrase 'Loathsome,. promiscuous, youth" to describe a twenty-six year old, riddled with venereal diseases and not a JW.

    I was always tickled by the oversuse of the words 'fine' and grand', normally in completely inappropriate places. You know the sort of thing : "Brother, my rich Auntie has just left me Manhattan in her will" - 'That is very fine Brother". "Soon Jehovah God will destroy all the ungodly at Armaggedon - imagine what a grand day that will be Brothers".

    I remember years ago when I met a JW elder who believe it or not went to an elders meeting a few hours after his wife died. I was speaking with a rather camp JW at the time and spotted this chap walking in looking dazed. We were unaware that his wife had died but he looked miserable. I said, Hello E***, is evrything alright?". He replied, "Not really, my wife died this afternoon". The camp JW who was with me whistled through his teeth and said, "Ooooo, nasty".....lol That word should be in regular WTS use : "and they piled their foreskins before the altar in the mid-day sun, and the sons of Israel all shouted in one voice...Ooooooo, nasty".

    Best regards - HS

    PS - Thank you so much for your gift Duncan - a very interesting read. I managed to have yet another hard disk crash and lost all your contact details, so please drop me a line as soon as convenient.

  • Duncan

    Now HS,

    Did I or did I not specifically state:

    No youths! No promiscuous or rebellious apostates, please!

    What are you even doing on this thread?


  • hillary_step
  • LDH


    After the way you chastised HS, I decided it best to keep my non-virginal athiestic mouth shut!


  • blondie
    1. [adj] casual and unrestrained in sexual behavior ; " her easy virtue "; " he was told to avoid loose ( or light ) women "; " wanton behavior "
    2. [adj] not selective of a single class or person ; " Clinton was criticized for his promiscuous solicitation of campaign money "

    That reminds me of how any word selected by the WTS had a meaning not intended, or was it.



    km 2/71 p. 8 Presenting the Good News?Starting Bible Studies with Subscribers ***

    When waiting for others at rendezvous for field service, as a family, with a pioneer partner and on other informal occasions, one publisher could take the position of a typical householder in the territory and the other could use this or other approaches for starting a Bible study.

    1. [n] a meeting planned at a certain time and place
    2. [n] a place where people meet ; " he was waiting for them at the rendezvous "
    3. [n] a date; usually with a member of the opposite sex
    4. [v] meet at a rendezvous

  • hillary_step


    How are you? Long time no read.

    After the way you chastised HS, I decided it best to keep my non-virginal athiestic mouth shut!

    Duncan is the ultimate hairy chest-iser in a vestal virginian, non-loathsome, promiscuous but right-hearted sort of way. He is without doubt as grand and fine a fellow as one would like to rendezvous with.


    PS - The WTS is reporting a worldwide 1% growth for 2004, the lowest for decades. Maybe it has to do with all the loathsome diseases one can catch on the Internet.

  • RunningMan

    The first time that the tract work was done (I think in the early 70s), we got literally (or should I say litter-ally) thousands of them. A bunch of us sat at our kitchen table, folding and stamping a phone number on them. The instructions were specifically to make sure that every household got one during the 10 days or so of the campaign. If no one was home, we were to leave it in the door. Every home in every territory had to be covered during those 10 days, so we had to get on our running shoes.

    Little did I realize that that we were nothing more than tract whores, promiscuously flogging our papers, when we should have been keeping our bookbags snapped tightly shut, opening them only when the householder is ready to make a committment. After all, why join the cult if you can get the propaganda for free?

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