Part 2 will focus mainly on how open the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses is with their propaganda techniques. Sadly, the degree of openness they have with their teaching methods is a testament to the high level of control they possess over the rank and file JWs. The blind allegiance and veneration by individual JWs toward the organization and its unquestioned leadership is so strong that examples of blatant propaganda…….the very propaganda this magazine is warning about……can be hidden in plain view……within the very pages of their publications…….and individual JWs are unable to make the connection. And they are unable because the ability to think critically and to apply scrutiny against the organization has been removed through constant one sided indoctrination and refusal to allow dissent or disagreement……enforced by disfellowshipping and mandatory shunning for any that dare make a challenge. Because of this…….the idea that they should apply the advice found in this very Awake magazine to their own teachings and publications……will never enter the mind of a fully indoctrinated JW. THAT is the power of mind control. This part will bring out many more examples of propagandistic material from the Jehovah’s Witnesses (again….using the very techniques that this June 22, 2000 Awake magazine warns against). This is a very long blog in comparison with what I normally try to write. But it needed to be that way for the purpose of showing just how egregiously bold JW propaganda truly is.
There is indeed a big difference between education and propaganda. Education teaches one HOW to think. Propaganda teaches one WHAT to think. Let’s look to see examples of whether or not JW leadership urges and trains the rank and file to think for themselves or to simply accept doctrine as it is handed down and obey.
“Avoid questioning the counsel that is provided by God’s visible organization. Some point out that the organization has had to make some adjustments before, and so they argue: ‘this shows that we have to make up our own mind on what to believe.’ This is independent thinking. Why is it so dangerous?” Watchtower 1983 January 15 p22
“False religious propaganda from any source should be avoided like poison! Really, since our Lord has used the faithful and discreet slave to convey to us sayings of everlasting life, why should we ever want to look anywhere else?” Watchtower 1987 November 1 p20
“Approved association with Jehovah’s Witnesses requires accepting the entire range of true teachings of the bible, including those scriptural beliefs that are unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses”. Watchtower 1986 April 1 p31
“Thus “the Faithful and discreet slave” does not endorse any literature, meetings or websites that are not produced or organized under its oversight. … For those that wish to do extra Bible study and research, we recommend that they explore Insight on the Scriptures…” Kingdom Ministry Sep 2007
One needs only to attend a couple of church sessions (meetings) to learn that their method of teaching is a strictly controlled session of indoctrination. Take for example their “Watchtower” study each Sunday. In it, paragraphs written by JW leadership are read to the group from the stage. Then a question…..written by JW leadership….is asked. At that point crowd participation is expected. People raise their hands to comment and the speaker chooses someone……. similar to a classroom setting. That person is then expected to give the answer that is found in the paragraph that was just read (and written by JW leadership). The answer can be put in one’s own terms. In fact, this is encouraged in order to give the facade that an open and honest question and answer session is being conducted. But make no mistake. The answer MUST be in line with what is approved in the paragraph. Never is a discussion permitted that deviates from what is written. Never are personal opinions allowed.
The initial paragraph goes on to explain that good educators present ALL sides of an issue and actually encourage discussion…..while propagandits force you to hear their view…..sifting facts, exploiting useful ones while concealing others.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are expected to fully accept any and all doctrines and decisions made by leadership under the belief that leadership is being directed by God……even if the new doctrine or belief is a complete change from what was previously taught. And notice the what the April 1 1986 Watchtower said above please. You must do this in order to be an approved associate. In fact, being open and honest with others about NOT accepting a change in teaching will get you disfellowshipped and shunned. It happened to me. So tell me…..exactly how is this teaching method of theirs NOT propaganda? Propaganda TELLS you WHAT to believe, no? And education, conversely, shows you HOW to think and encourages presentation of ALL sides of an issue with open discussion. Critical thinking is what helps humans make good decisions and avoid being taken advantage of…….yet the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses expects you to suspend this practice when it comes to the things that THEY teach? So we’ve established that Jehovah’s Witnesses relentless force you to hear their view without consideration of any alternative viewpoints…..but what about facts? Do they engage in fact sifting? Let’s see:
“The Greek word rendered “cross” in many modern Bible versions (“torture stake” in NW) is stau·ros´. In classical Greek, this word meant merely an upright stake, or pale. Later it also came to be used for an execution stake having a crosspiece. The Imperial Bible-Dictionary acknowledges this, saying: “The Greek word for cross, [stau·ros´], properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground. . . . Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole.”-Edited by P. Fairbairn (London, 1874), Vol. I, p. 376.” Reasoning from the Scriptures p.89
“The Greek word for cross, (stauros), properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling (fencing in) a piece of ground. But a modification was introduced as the dominion and usages of Rome extended themselves through Greek-speaking countries. Even amongst the Romans, the crux (from which the word cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole, and always remained the more prominent part. But from the time that it began to be used as an instrument of punishment, a traverse piece of wood was commonly added: not however always then.
… There can be no doubt, however, that the later sort was the more common, and that about the period of the Gospel Age, crucifixion was usually accomplished by suspending the criminal on a cross piece of wood.
… But the commonest form, it is understood, was that in which the upright piece of wood was crossed by another near the top, but not pricisely at it, the upright pole running above the other, thus “a cross” and so making four, not merely two right angles. It was on a cross of this form, according to the general voice of tradition, that our Lord suffered.
… It may be added that crucifixion was abolished around the time of Constantine, in consequence of the sacred associations which the cross had now gathered around it.” The imperial Dictionary p.376
The first italic quote you see above is taken from a publication of theirs in support of their idea that Christ died on a stake in lieu of a cross. The second italic quote (the underlined part) shows what they purposely left out. Notice how they “quote-mined” as I call it. They selected only the section of the quote that was useful to their argument while ignoring the rest, thus completely changing what the quote was intending to say. This is a dishonest practice. Let’s look at another:
“At this point a reader may begin to understand Dawkins’ comment in the preface to his book: “This book should be read almost as though it were science fiction.” Life: How did it Get Here – By Evolution or Creation? p39
“This book should be read almost as though it were science fiction. It is designed to appeal to the imagination. But it is not science fiction: it is science. Cliché or not, “stranger than fiction” expresses exactly how I feel about the truth.” The Selfish Gene 1976 pIX
Again, the first italic quote you see is taken from a Jehovah’s Witness publication. This time in support of their teaching of creation. The second italic quote (the underlined part) shows what they purposely left out. They attempted to show Mr. Dawkins in such a light that he agrees with them and that evolution is nothing more than science fiction. This is dishonest.
Jehovah’s Witness publications have, for decades, sifted facts, dishonestly showing you what they want you to see while concealing what is damaging to their argument. There are dozens of examples I could have showed. So the question is why? Why do they have to resort to dishonest practices if they have “the truth”?
“The propagandist makes sure that his message appears to be the right and moral one”. If you obey it, you are “the smart one”, and it will make you “comfortable and secure”.
“At the same time, we recognize that our knowledge of God’s purpose is not perfect; our understanding has undergone adjustments over the years. Loyal Christians are content to wait on Jehovah for all such refinements.” Watchtower 2004 Feb 15 p.17
“Mature Christians also realize that being at the Kingdom Hall for the Bible-based talk is more important and beneficial than being at a wedding feast or a gathering that might follow.” Watchtower 2006 Oct 15 p.30
“Is it presumptuous of Jehovah’s Witnesses to point out that they alone have God’s backing? Actually, no more so than when the Israelites in Egypt claimed to have God’s backing in spite of the Egyptians’ belief, or when the first-century Christians claimed to have God’s backing to the exclusion of Jewish religionists.” Watchtower 2001 Jun 1 p.16
Do you think that any of the quotes you see above might make rank and file JWs feel like they should be comfortable and secure? Perhaps because “they alone have God’s backing”? The October 2006 Watchtower quoted above makes sure to correlate “mature christians with being at the kingdom hall”. The Feb 2004 Watchtower says that those that “wait on Jehovah” (in other words…..don’t rock the boat) are considered to be “loyal christians”. These are the wise or smart ones.
Next, advice on how to protect yourself from propaganda is given. The advice is to protect yourself by being selective……scrutinizing what is presented and then deciding what to accept and what to reject. I couldn’t agree more. The point should be to have an OPEN mind and then allow your EDUCATION…..your ability to CRITICALLY ANALYZE to guide you.
“We do not want to be so narrow that we refuse to consider facts that can improve our thinking”. What an incredible quote!
“For one thing, some of the apostate literature presents falsehoods by means of “smooth talk” and “counterfeit words.” (Romans 16:17, 18; 2 Peter 2:3) What would you expect from the table of demons? … Those who have continued to feed at Satan’s spiritual table, the table of demons, will be forced to attend a literal meal, no, not as partakers, but as the main course-to their destruction!” Watchtower 1994 July 1 p12
“True Christians share Jehovah’s feelings toward such apostates; they are not curious about apostate ideas. On the contrary, they “feel a loathing” toward those who have made themselves God’s enemies, but they leave it to Jehovah to execute vengeance.” Watchtower 1993 November 1 p19
“Thus the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible. For this reason the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah’s visible organization in mind.” Watchtower 1967 Oct 1 p.587
But what is the advice given in the quotes above encouraging individual JWs to do? It is encouraging them to disregard any information from “apostates” before they even have a chance to contemplate it. Remember, “apostates” are former JWs that have been disfellowshipped for failure to accept current teachings. This advice is written for a reason. So long as leadership can make the rank and file witnesses afraid of “apostates” and any information they may have, they can keep the rest of the flock from making an honest examination of the facts under the guise that they are being protected from spiritual harm. It is information control. Plain and simple. Because, when you really think about it, who has the most damaging information to share? Likely former JWs because they’ve done all the research that led them to leave the cult to begin with. And if current JWs are prohibited from talking with former members or reading any information they have……how are the majority of them ever going to find out the REAL TRUTH about their organization? Combine that with periodic reminders that only JW leadership is capable of understanding the bible (such as this October 1st 1967 Watchtower), and you have the makings for a mind controlled follower that will willingly bury his head in the sand as opposed to searching for and examining facts that could improve his thinking.
Yet another great question. How CAN one discern when something is misleading……..if that same person is prohibited from questioning or researching the facts?
The point is that Christians have implicit trust in their heavenly Father; they do not question what he tells them through his written Word and organization.” Watchtower 1974 July 15 p.441
“Avoid questioning the counsel that is provided by God’s visible organization. some who point out that the organization has had to make some adjustments before, and so they argue: “This shows that we have to make up our own mind on what to believe.” This is independent thinking. Why is it so dangerous?” Watchtower 1983 Jan 15 p.22
This quote about the sponge is a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black. JW leadership wants individual witnesses to be spongelike…..but only in regard to what THEY teach.
So…..what are YOUR thoughts thus far? Have the examples I’ve given in the first two parts of this three part series shown that the Jehovah’s Witnesses regularly engange in the very same propagandistic methods they condemn?
Finally, I couldn’t agree more that the trustworthiness of our opinions depends on the validity of facts, quality of reasoning and the standards or values that we apply. So……when I was disfellowshipped, I had a long list of questions, facts, and misleading information from Jehovah’s Witness publications that I wanted to talk about. Yet none of the three elders that voted to disfellowship me wanted any part of such a discussion. The only question they repeatedly asked was “do you believe that the governing body is directed by Jehovah’s holy spirit?” They did not care about truth. They did not care about facts. They did not care about what misleading information and outright lies I had discovered. Truth did not matter. The only standard that applied was blind allegiance to JW leadership. By the way, I recorded the entire procedure so my daughters can hear them reject my plea to discuss the questions I had.
Let’s see…..is there bias within the messages of JWs? Well…..admitting that they have lied, that they sift facts, that they misquote and that they have falsely prophesied would prove that they are NOT directed by God…..which would in turn decrease membership…….. so…..do you think they might have reason to be biased?
Even more maddening is the fact that they (in this article) encourage the reader to ask questions……..so long as those questions are pointed at OTHER organizations………or so long as they don’t undermine the authority of their leadership structure. In JW land, you may ask questions so long as you accept the written answer from their publications. It is the questions that challenge their written answers that are not allowed and quickly dealt with.
Checking the track record is indeed of the utmost importance. A one time mis-quote isn’t the end of the world. Sometimes mistakes happen. It is when the same “mistake” is repeated over and over again that one realizes that it isn’t a mistake at all…..rather….a deliberate act of intellectual dishonesty. Why have I found multiple misquotes? Why have I found multiple examples of information suppression? Why have they quoted certain “authorities” on a particular matter but then conveniently NOT mentioned who that “authority” is or what publication I can find that quote in? Repetition proves that the track record of Jehovah’s Witnesses simply cannot be trusted.
Do not just follow the crowd. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Yet……what does JW leadership say individual JWs must do? The following quotes indicate that a JW must be prepared to FOLLOW THE CROWD.
All of us must be ready to obey any instructions we may receive, whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not.” Watchtower 2013 Nov 15 p.20
“First, since “oneness” is to be observed, a mature Christian must be in unity and full harmony with fellow believers as far as faith and knowledge are concerned. He does not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding.” Watchtower 2001 Aug 1 p.14
Sadly, since JWs are not allowed to think for themselves, or possess any opinions or beliefs not in line with what leadership demands, they are easily duped. When leadership says “Jehovah’s Witnesses unequivocally subscribe to Jesus’ statement to God ‘Your word is truth'”, this means that rank and file witnesses accept whatever dictates come down the line whenever they are served. Remember, it is taught that Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot understand the bible without the help of the organization so when that mindset is accepted, any interpretation or opinion by leadership can be passed off as though it is coming from God or as though it is biblical. To them, “Jehovah’s Word” is synonymous with “whatever information is given to us by the governing body.”
So…..when anything and everything that is handed down from an organization is to be believed without question…..tell me please……..how would an individual JW ever know if he/she is being “exploited with counterfeit words”???????