One of my biggest pet peeves about the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses is their consistent bashing of higher education. And please, make no mistake about the direct effect on JW young ones that this condemnation of secular education has. Unfortunately, JW youths have been brought up to believe that the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses (also know as “the faithful slave”) are the only humans on the face of the earth that receive directions directly from God. Therefore, it is understood that these men, and these men only……are speaking for God……no matter what it is they say. Subsequently, when they give directives, it would be the equivalent of disobeying God if those directives weren’t followed.
A 2008 PEW study was done that combined the percentage of households with an income about $75,000 and the % of college graduates amongst the worlds major religions. Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, Catholics, Muslims, etc were all polled. Amongst the ones polled were also Jehovah’s Witnesses. The graph you are about to see should not shock you. Jehovah’s Witnesses ranked dead last in percentage of college graduates and second to last in household incomes above $75,000. The REASONS you should not be shocked will follow:
Here is a glimpse as to WHY Jehovah’s Witnesses rank so low in income as well as college graduates. It is a quote from one of their magazines:
“If you are approaching the end of the schooling required of you, you may find yourself in good health and with few responsibilities. Have you seriously considered entering the regular pioneer ranks? No doubt, school counselors sincerely believe that it is in your best interests to pursue higher education and to plan for a secular career. Yet, their confidence lies in a social and financial system that has no lasting future. On the other hand, by pursuing a theocratic career, you will be pursuing truly worthwhile and lasting goals. And you will be following Jesus’ perfect example. Such a wise decision will make you happy. It will protect you. And it will show that you are determined to live up to your dedication to Jehovah.” – Watchtower 2012 June 15 p23
This is the type of rhetoric that young JWs encounter. Instead of pursuing secular education to make their futures more secure, they are instead encouraged to “pioneer” (go into the FULL TIME volunteer door knocking work while finding a way to support yourself with part time jobs). The opinions and advice of school counselors are to be eschewed. And why? Because JWs are literally taught that any day now, God is going to bring about armageddon and such advanced education will have been a waste. The quote above actually says that the current social and financial systems have no “lasting future”! THIS is exactly why most JW children don’t go to college. Please consider the following as well. It is a link to a painstakingly long rant on advanced education by one of the members of the governing body of Jehovahs’ Witnesses, Anthony Morris. In it you will hear the following quote:
“I have long said: ‘the better the university, the greater the danger. The most intelligent and eloquent professors will be trying to reshape the thinking of your child, and their influence can be tremendous.'”
It is quite alarming, but this is actually the viewpoint that Jehovah’s Witness leadership has on higher education. The better the university……the more qualified the professors are……the more DANGEROUS it is for a child????? Yes. They really believe this. And why? They won’t come out and say it, but the reason is obvious. Advanced education teaches a young person HOW to think instead of WHAT to think…..like they do. It teaches them to use critical analysis. It teaches them how to spot fallacies and one sided propaganda. This is a danger to the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses because when one is properly educated, he/she can easily spot the flaws in JW teachings, rules, regulations and dictates. Simply put, the skills gained in college help to prepare a young person’s mind to see through their propaganda. Education is their kryptonite because it does the opposite of indoctrination.
In the video link I posted above, Mr. Morris also spouts this next gem. “It is one thing to work on a job with others, and quite another matter to immerse oneself in an instituion of “learning”. (Yes, he actually used finger quotations if you watch the video)
You see, they mask their opposition to higher education well. They use the platform of “spiritual harm”. They claim that obtaining a university education will entice young ones to abuse drugs or alcohol, become sexually unclean, and cause them to “fall away from Jehovah”. But this is nothing more than another diversionary tactic of theirs. Drugs and alcohol can be prevalent in high school. So can sexual promiscuity. The same is true of the workplace. A 19 year old JW kid working a night shift job at a supermarket or a factory is going to have ample opportunity to “get involved with the wrong crowd”. So what it really comes down to is JW leadership’s paranoid fear of their young ones, that they have indoctrinated from infancy on up, actually learning how to think for themselves. What they’ve done here is use fear mongering to its fullest extent. If they can convince young ones that drugs and alcohol and getting involved with the wrong crowd (which will cause them miss out on church activity…..which will in turn, make them lose their favor with God) is an inevitable outcome of university life…….then they can coerce and intimidate the vast majority of youths into obeying them……thus keeping another generation of uneducated and indoctrinated individuals under their control. In this way, they actually succeed in convincing young ones that “learning” is a BAD thing!
The “scriptural” basis this sermon uses for why advanced education is condemned is 1st Corinithians 15:33. This scripture was beat into my head on a daily basis as a child. “Bad associations spoil useful habits.” And what are bad associations? ANYONE who does not agree fully with the propaganda being disseminated by the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is why I wasn’t allowed to have friends at school. This is why I wasn’t allowed to go to parties or dances. This is why I wasn’t allowed to be in any after school clubs or play sports. It was “unnecessary association” with non JWs. In regard to college education it is apparent that JW leadership doesn’t want their youths to have unnecessary association with students that are learning critical thinking skills and faculty that are teaching the same.
Mr. Morris goes on to say “If we are in continued association with those who do not believe the same, it can erode our thinking and convictions”.
All I can say is WOW. If this isn’t the epitome of cult group think, I don’t know what is. If every organization in the world insulated itself from the “dangers” of critical analysis, open discussion and free questioning, while avoiding association with others that might encourage the aforementioned, while also insisting that you must believe exactly as you are told to believe in order to be accepted by God, the world would descend into social mayhem. There would be no “reaching across aisles” politically speaking, in order to accomplish something for the good of the people. There would be no loving acceptance of the differences of other people. There would be no compromise.
The advice that Jehovah’s Witnesses have for young ones is clear. Beware of college education! It is bad. But my question to leadership is, why are you so afraid? Why are you intimidated by advanced education and intelligent professors? If you truly have the one and only undeniable “truth”, then it shouldn’t matter how intelligent and eloquent the faculty is. It shouldn’t matter how much criticism or scrutiny your teachings get. Doesn’t truth pass all tests? Shouldn’t the idea of an advanced education scrutinizing your teachings actually ENHANCE the validity of the “truth” you claim to spread?