Saturday, October 17, 2009

How the Watchtower Indoctrinates

What is one of the greatest lies that Jehovah's Witnesses, particularly, the organization they use - The Watchtower - tell you about themselves? Which is one lie that I feel falls in the most-deplorable-lies list? It is this: That it is OK for them to question your beliefs, but it is definitely not OK for you to question theirs.

An interested person who sits down to study with them (I shall refer to such a one as a 'student'; some people begin 'study' with them because such individuals just do not know how to say 'No' to Witnesses who have been trained to push Bible studies, and thus they begin their spiral into the Watchtower) has little inkling what they are letting themselves into.

Witnesses are taught to present the 'good and bright' front to such students, never telling them what their secret agenda really is, which not simply to convert them, but to eventually wholly consume their energies, time and resources to further the Watchtower's agenda.

Some of the students who study with them are undergoing critical situations in their own personal lives which makes them easy prey for the Watchtower: an abusive spouse, a difficult parent, peer pressure at school, low self-esteem or worry over the worsening world conditions. In fact, check out their magazines, and you will find that the Witnesses will use some of these very topics to attract people and pry open the lid of initial resistance.

They soften the person's reasoning powers by appealing to their emotions, by showering them with love and attention which the student finds lacking from other quarters. If, at this point, the student tries to ask Watchtower-specific questions, this will at once alert the Bible study conductor into giving out a masked answer, and in some cases no answer at all, and simply say, 'You will understand this better at a later time.'

When the teacher perceives that the student has sufficiently let down his mental defenses because he has come to trust the Witnesses, he starts with the Watchtower indoctrination process.

Even how and when they 'move in' is done in measured and calculated ways. The first carriages to move into your mind will never be pure Watchtower doctrine; it will be stuff from the Bible. (Yes, there is an enormous difference to the two, as any person who has been 'in' and escaped would tell you!) More basic teachings which are designed to numb your thinking power and lull you into trusting them completely, are like, What is original sin, who is Satan, why did Jesus have to die. Suchlike is the initial diet a potential recruit is fed on.

Soon comes the doctrine that states that it is us against them. This is also the approximate time when the student is taught that those who do not accept the Bible's (read 'The Watchtower's) message -whether they are his long-time friends or his family members - are unbelievers, and hence, not actually God's friends and deserve to be kept at arm's length. Such doctrine meets up with a lot of mental resistance on the student's part, but the teacher reminds him that the student's first duty is towards God, not men, and besides, there is nothing that he has to give up now that won't meet with adequate rewards in the short and longer run.

Over some months, the student is convinced that the Witnesses really know the Bible enough and have the right interpretation; he has developed a certain degree of reverence for what he is learning, so the student lets down his guard. Whatever they print is lapped up by the student. 'Secular references' that are quoted as proof supporting Watchtower doctrine goes unchecked, strange sounding rules that are laid down by them go unchallenged: the Witnesses are taught extensively how to approach people and indoctrinate gullible ones (but don't worry, soon enough you will be programmed to prey on others too, when you start attending their five weekly meetings!)

All this is groundwork for what will come next: introducing the student to the Watchtower society. Gradually, the society and the 'faithful and discreet' slave are elevated to the position of God's 'spokesperson', and eventually anything that the governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses says is equated to the Word of God. The student is taught how the Watchtower had small beginnings in the late 1800's, and how expansion shows that they are indeed god's organization. He is shown that they are the true congregation of God, which is 'evidenced' by the love they have for each other. He is led to believe that obeying the 'chosen ones' is equal to obeying God, and questioning them is the same as disrespecting God's sovereignty.

At some point now, the student begins to realize that to keep enjoying the 'blessings of the brotherhood more fully and to avail of the privileges in the congregation' he has to follow a set of rules laid down by the Society. Little by little, the student keeps handing over bits of his life to the Watchtower: whether it was his previous decision to attend university, or pursue a rewarding career, cultivate a hobby, own a dream home, or simply marry - all go out of the window.

This quest ultimately consumes his life, to the exclusion of everything else. Fear, guilt, a cracking of the whip, masked expressions of praise and love are what drives him. He knows that if he slips in any commandment, he may lose Jehovah's favour, lose his privileges and perhaps the joy of everlasting life - and worst of all, the infamy of being shunned by his friends whom he begins to regard as his family.

He is kept busy in a neverending routine of preparing for and attending five weekly meetings, long hours in preaching and teaching, and attending assemblies and conventions. Any pursuit of research, education or knowledge that is outside the circle of the Watchtower is seriously frowned upon. Speaking to an ex Jehovah's Witness is a total no-no; such ones know the truth behind the Watchtower, and the only way the Watchtower can keep their flock from listening to them is by labelling ex JWs as God's enemies.

Initially, all in this newfound way of life is hunky dory and picture perfect and therefore a real pleasure, but the deeper he dives into this life, the more he realizes he has entered a never ending maze, with seemingly no way out.

For those of us who have come out, we can only blame ourselves for allowing ourselves to be lured in by the Watchtower (except for those who had no choice because they were indoctrinated by their parents). Most of us feel anger (to put it mildly) at the Watchtower, for the relationships we broke off because of them, the amount of money we directly or indirectly gave to them, the time they took from us, the dear pursuits we gave up... all because we once believed that they were god's true people.

In the end, we are left alone to pick up the shattered pieces of our lives. We were used and thrown away by the Watchtower; cast aside as rejects unworthy of any consideration because we dared to fall out of line with them; while the Watchtower continues to search for new ones to lure. It is our duty to alert them about the deceitful and unloving ways of the Watchtower.

2 comments:

spiritualbrother said...

Nice article.

JB said...

I agree with spiritualbrother. It definitely lays it all out there, and a lot of it holds true to some of my experiences with JWs.