Are Jehovah's Witnesses a Cult?

The Loaded Language of Watchtower – Part 2 … How Words Became an Easy Means to Scapegoat Runaway Slaves

13263839_10154245507772628_343589911278686685_nThe great 1975 prophecy has failed, one of many.

Five years on, tension is high at headquarters of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Brooklyn. The people are restless and disciple-making is slowing down, with growth even in the negative, as time drifts on with expectations unfulfilled.

Someone is to blame.

The answer suddenly arrives. Apostates!

Backrooms inquisitions fill Bethel, intent on rooting out the infestation of dissenters. Their crime? Private bible study without the “help” of State-approved literature. It must be time for God to thresh his organisation! “Love of enemy” is replaced with instant dismissal and rejection of once-fellow brothers and sisters. The shocking side of this important event in the Watchtower corporation’s history, as told by Raymond Franz in his book, Crisis of Conscience, is the hunt for apostates – even stretching its bony hand right into the governing body’s boardroom!

New decrees are formed: Eating a meal with a suspected dissenter will bring a person to spiritual, social, and emotional ruin. Leaving the Organisation for any reason will mean the penalty of social death as if they had committed an actual biblical crime. Doctrinal unity will be enforced and no challenge will ever be successfully made against “spiritual light,” which will come only from the top – and that light will be the one and only Truth!

Words: Watchtower’s Stock-in-Trade

As discussed in my last article, The Loaded Language of Watchtower – Part 1 … Shocking Where We’ve Heard this Before, the Watchtower corporation wasn’t the first to use words to seduce the minds of an entire population; how easy it is to create a chilling parody with simple modifications to speeches we wouldn’t give the time of day to now.

Watchtower’s rivers of words have continued to flow over time. In fact, this religion maintains libraries full of publications with endless passages on every conceivable subject. Unacquainted with modesty, Watchtower has regularly and creatively updated even its own history to meet a generation of increasing scepticism. But who are these apostates, and why are they such easy targets for the Watchtower Society? Examining their words and language can tell us more.

Who Are Apostates? The Answer is Surprising

Like the word ‘trinity,’ the word ‘apostasy’ does not appear in the Bible. So from where do we get this word? Surprisingly, the term ‘apostate’ came originally from the Greek term for runaway slave.

Don’t underestimate this point; the Watchtower takes its runaway slaves seriously, as have many slave owners over the centuries. Thirty years prior to the major purge mentioned above, the Watchtower of November 15, 1952, Questions from Readers section asked, “In the case of where a father or mother or son or daughter is disfellowshipped [disassociated], how should such person be treated by members of the family in their family relationship?” The reply, in part:

“The law of the land and God’s law through Christ forbid us to kill apostates, even though they be members of our own flesh-and-blood family relationship… Being limited by the laws of the worldly nation in which we live and also by the laws of God through Jesus Christ, we can take action against apostates only to a certain extent, that is, consistent with both sets of laws.” (Bold and italics added for emphasis.)

The Contents of “Beware of Human Apostates”

f79723869ce64b2f6498ed73e29f111cThe Watchtower convention talk, “Beware of Human Apostates,” given worldwide in 2013, received a great deal of strong criticism for its use of what was considered, to put it mildly, inappropriate language.

Referring confusedly to their ‘privileged’ servitude as ‘domestics’ while eating at the ‘table of Jehovah,’ Jehovah’s Witnesses were reminded of their lowly part as menial workers in a loving God’s great scheme of things (in contrast to those who sit at the head of the table and who do the feeding).

From out of this spiritual paradise, however, come ingrates, dissatisfied worshippers who do not know their place. They have eaten the meals prepared by god’s representatives on earth (of course, meaning the governing body of the Watchtower Corporation) but have pushed away from the table to eat at the devil’s table. Not only this, but these evil dissenters have helped the devil in his kitchen to prepare beautiful but poisonous dishes to serve in his Satanic restaurant (an oddly mixed metaphor).

Like the Joseph Goebbels’ newspaper article excerpt in Part 1, no particular group, individual, or defining characteristic of this rebellious uprising is mentioned, risking any and all to be deemed an apostate and who can be placed under suspicion even for questioning doctrine. Like “The Jews” of Goebbels’ writing, the ‘apostates’ too are conspiring against the State, all of them!

In true patriarchal fashion, the Watchtower corporation repeatedly make claims that their source of “truth” comes from the top, a source even beyond them, using words like “God’s representative” and “Jehovah’s Organisation” often and with emphasis. Short on scripture, in fact, the entire talk makes little distinction between what is clearly Bible-authorised and what is Watchtower construction.

The Liberal Use of Terms of Contempt

Pejoratives (words expressing disapproval and contempt) flow from this discourse. ‘Apostates’ are“Satan’s helpers,” “wicked humans,” “seed of the Serpent,” “like kidnappers,” “part of the Antichrist,” to name a such terms.

These apostates “imitate the original apostate, Satan,” “are unruly men,” “cook up wicked reasonings,” “season their brew with poisonous lies and deceive minds,” “partake of falsehood,” “allow bitterness to take root in their hearts,” are “defiant and false,” “speak twisted things,” “prey upon trusting members,” “cause divisions,” “bring in destructive sects,” “use smooth talk,” are “daring, self-willed,” “do not tremble at (God’s representatives),” “lie,” “discredit,” “incite,” “instigate,” “falsely state,” “accuse,” “reject,” are “mentally diseased,” “infectious,” “contradict,” “not sincere,” “manipulative,” “undermining,” “double-hearted,” “infected,” and “liars and deceivers.”

Rhetorically powerful, the audience are told that ‘apostates’ are fatally flawed, dangerous, and should be avoided at all costs!

Of course, with such a free-flow of put-downs, the writer of the convention talk must have just as much evidence to match the description of these apostates! Or so you would think.

Are the Watchtower Claims Trustworthy?

At the convention the speaker lists his charges against apostates. These ones:

  • “lie to authorities”
  • “seek to discredit Jehovah’s people”
  • “incite bans on” (the preaching work)
  • “falsely stated that Jehovah’s Witnesses supported Hitler’s regime during World War II”
  • “used the media to accuse Jehovah’s Witnesses of refusing to give medical treatment to their children”
  • (accuse Jehovah’s Witnesses) “of deliberately condoning serious sin committed by fellow believers”

Can we say that the provenance of these claims can be trusted and are assumed to be accurate? Hardly; with no researchable detail made available to listeners, we have only the word of the author of the talk to rely on.

What we do have as a guide, however, is Watchtower’s own definition of lying presented for us as recently as the January, 2016, Watchtower magazine:

“WHAT IS (Lying)? Saying something false to someone who is entitled to know the truth. Lying can include misrepresenting or distorting facts in order to mislead a person, omitting key information to deceive someone, and exaggerating the truth in order to give a false impression.”

Not being able to find a dictionary that contains this added meaning, “saying something false to someone who is entitled to know the truth,” this will likely beg a few questions: Does this mean that if one is not judged as being ‘entitled,’ that person can be misled and it doesn’t count as lying? Who decides who is ‘entitled’ to know the truth?

With such a serious lack of detail, could even the audience of this discourse be included in those not “entitled to know the (full) truth”? Slanting a story, after all, is the very reason why propaganda is so effective.

It’s ironic that Watchtower’s runaway slaves are charged with gross lies and fabrications, when even a basic examination of what Watchtower calls ‘theocratic warfare strategy,’ the definition of which includes their own modified definition of lying mentioned above, shows that misleading those whom this religion deems ‘not entitled to know the truth’ is just routinely applied for its own protection. Though the convention talk, “Beware of Human Apostates” is little more than 15 minutes, it is designed to explode to cause maximum damage in the limbic systems of the unsuspecting. It also then becomes an easy means to scapegoat others who simply want an answer as to the failed prophecies and predictions of the Watchtower, and who disagree with their treatment at the hands of their slave owners.

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For more information on the failed predictions of the Watchtower Society as to the year 1975 as being significant in human history, please see this page of JWfacts.com.

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4 replies »

  1. Excellent article Marcel. At the time my then 11 yr old son was still attending conventions with his Mum and I pre-warned him about what he would hear in this talk. I had faded and was no longer an active JW. I asked him if what was described in this talk in any way reminded him of what I was like. He said no and it started him along the way of understanding how the use of language can be manipulated to marginalise targeted groups such as ‘apostates’, gays, Jews etc. Fortunately both my children are no longer involved with WT and are not baptised.

    Children of JW parents are being constantly indoctrinated with this crap, the latest offering being the 2016 Loyalty conventions. Add to that the recent homophobic children’s cartoon. Before they’re mature enough to formulate independent ideas, these children are being told what to think WT has been very successful with this tactic, as most baptisms are children of JWs rather than those brought in from their preaching activity.

    • Homophobic ? Nice way to explain a child the disturbing idea of someone having two mothers or to fathers instead of a father and a mother. Just saying …
      Thanks for “inviting ” me to watch the video .

      • What is so “disturbing” about having two parents who just happen to be of the same gender? I’d rather that than two parents who are abusive but who just happen to have different genders. Jehovah’s Witnesses have been caught red-handed putting the interests of their religion and the child molesters in the religion above the safety of their own children; I’ll take gay parents who love, nurture, and protect their children over a “nice” heterosexual JW couple who would let a child molester walk around freely so they “don’t bring reproach on Jehovah’s name” any day.

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