Beware the Cult-Like Control and Abuse of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Capture Jonestown

Are Jehovah’s Witnesses a cult?

Really, what difference does it make?

That’s not a flippant question, as being able to label Jehovah’s Witnesses a cult or not doesn’t really change or affect anything. If you can absolutely determine that Jehovah’s Witnesses are a cult, so what? Cults are legal in the U.S. and elsewhere. Having them escape the label of cult also doesn’t give them special rights in areas of the world where their religion is restricted. “Hey, we’re not technically a cult, so you have to let us in, Russia.” I don’t think that’s going to work, but try it on Putin and let me know how it goes.

The label or word itself may not be important, but the level of cult-like, abusive control the religion has over its members should be of concern to anyone inside the religion and to those studying the bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Steve Hassan, a leading expert on cults, uses what he calls the BITE model to determine if a religion or other group can be considered a cult or abusive. This refers to the amount of control the group has over its members’ Behavior, Information, Thoughts, and Emotions.

To help people better understand how abusive and cult-like the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses is, I’m going to post Hassan’s entire BITE model below, with short paragraphs about how the JW beliefs or thinking fit into many of those aspects of this model.

(Editor’s Note: I’m aware that some information is repeated throughout this post; I am including the same points in different sections as they apply to different aspects of this model. Thank you for your patience.)

THE BITE MODEL

Behavior Control

1. Regulate individual’s physical reality

2. Dictate where, how, and with whom the member lives and associates or isolates

Jehovah’s Witnesses are known for isolating themselves from the outside world, even family members, despite the fact that they don’t live on compounds or in secluded communes. JWs do not associate or make friends with non-JWs and are prohibited from associating with those who have officially left the religion, including family. (January 15 2013 Watchtower) While they may have limited association with family who never were Jehovah’s Witnesses, the key word here is “limited.” They may attend a cousin’s wedding or see her new baby, but won’t go out to dinner with that cousin regularly or have her over on the weekends.

Isolation can also happen within the congregations; in this post I bring out how even teens are encouraged to avoid active members whom they feel are not doing enough or living up to vague, man-made standards of conduct.

3. When, how and with whom the member has sex

As with many other Christian religions, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not allow their members to have sex before marriage or outside of marriage. This includes sexual behavior such as “manipulation of the genitals” and oral or anal sex. (Keep Yourselves in God’s Love, pp. 97-109)

Oral and anal sex are also prohibited between married persons; these were referred to as “perverted acts” in the March 15 1983 Watchtower. The True Peace book (1986) referred to these as “homosexual forms of intercourse.” (Note the important point here; while most Christian religions forbid sex outside of marriage, Jehovah’s Witnesses dictate details of sexual relations between married persons.) Pornography is also off-limits to all members, including adults and married couples. Masturbation is also prohibited; see this post.

4. Control types of clothing and hairstyles

Jehovah’s Witnesses dictate that women wear skirts and dresses when at their meetings and out in their preaching work; see this post. Men are prohibited from having beards or facial hair of any sort other than mustaches (i.e., no goatees, Van Dykes, etc.). While these are somewhat unwritten rules, individuals will be given private counsel if they don’t follow these rules; anyone not following these rules will also be prohibited from certain participation in their meetings. Men will not qualify for any type of authority in the congregation if he has a beard or any chin hair. The same is true for more “immodest” hairstyles, such as dyeing the hair anything other than a natural shade, long hair on men, Mohawk cuts, and so on.

Governing body member Anthony Morris also caused quite a stir in 2014 when he gave two public discourses that openly condemned the wearing of tight pants by men, stating that it was the “many homosexuals” in the fashion industry who like to see men in such pants. Morris actually made Advocate magazine’s list of the worst LGBT-haters for the year because of this; see this website.

This type of control is extended to those visiting and touring any of their branch offices, as shown in this brochure:

dress-grooming-bethel-tours

Morris also said during a public discourse (this site) that women should not be wearing “spanx” while exercising (it’s assumed he meant spandex, or tight leggings).

I personally had a hard time with this instruction, as I work out quite a bit and can attest that loose pants can be dangerous. You can easily step on a pant leg or they can actually get twisted between your legs when doing any type of stepping or running. Vigorous exercise can also cause what is called leaky capillaries and resultant red spots on the legs. I’ve had this happen to me and found that support of leggings addresses the issue. See this website for more information on this condition.

While it’s true that some low-quality brands of yoga pants may be very sheer, even leggings of moderate quality will be made of thicker material that doesn’t show off every dimple and curve (I certainly wouldn’t wear them if they did). Most show nothing more than what you would see from a standard pair of jeans, and certainly you see more when a woman is in shorts or a bathing suit. Leggings also have an added panel sewn into the crotch area for modesty and comfort.

The point is, Morris didn’t say, “Be modest even when exercising,” but gave exact instructions on what women cannot wear without any thought as to why they may need to wear these while exercising, and without realizing that leggings are not the same as a pair of sheer nylons.

5. Regulate diet – food and drink, hunger and/or fasting

6. Manipulation and deprivation of sleep

7. Financial exploitation, manipulation or dependence

Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that they are different from other religions because they don’t pass a collection plate, however, their magazines often feature outright cash grabs and the begging for slave labor to build their Kingdom Halls, assembly halls, and branch offices; see this post and this post. These buildings remain the property of the Watchtower Society, even though they’re paid for and built by the rank-and-file members.

Their asking for donations could be called exploitation when you consider the December 15 2013 Watchtower, which said, “In one very poor country in Africa, some brothers mark off a small section of their garden and use the funds from the sale of the produce from that section to support the Kingdom work. In that same country, a building project was scheduled for a much-needed Kingdom Hall. The local brothers and sisters wanted to assist. However, the project was to be undertaken in the middle of their planting season. Still determined to have a share, they worked on the Kingdom Hall project during the day and then planted their crops in the evening.” This is despite the hundreds of millions of dollars the Watchtower Society has been earning from the sale of their buildings in New York alone (see this news story).

8. Restrict leisure, entertainment, vacation time

Vacation time itself is not necessarily restricted or controlled by Jehovah’s Witnesses, but many activities are, and others include very strong counsel:

Gambling of all sorts is prohibited among Jehovah’s Witnesses, even in small amounts such as when playing poker with friends. (May 15 1995 and November 1 2002 Watchtower). Highly competitive sports are also counseled against; even the game of chess was mentioned in a full article in the March 22 1973 Awake magazine.

The January 15 2013 Watchtower simplified edition counseled against recreation that might be taking away from time spent in the preaching work and meetings.

The book Questions Young People ask speaks of “the dark side” of video games, counseled to keep music “in its place,” said, “Don’t take the matter of choosing a movie or a TV program lightly,” and gave a list of questions to ask if invited to any gathering where dancing would be involved, including, “Who will be going? What kind of reputation do they have? Who is taking responsibility for the event? What supervision will there be? Do my parents approve of my attending the party? What type of dancing will be featured?”

9. Major time spent with group indoctrination and rituals and/or self indoctrination including the Internet

Jehovah’s Witnesses have reduced the time spent at their meetings, but as of this writing they have a meeting on Sunday morning, then another meeting one night during the week. They then are also told to use another night during the week for Family Worship, or a special night set aside for personal or family study. Just a few years back, this second night per week was spent at yet another meeting.

In addition to attending these meetings, members are pressed to study for them beforehand, meaning reading over the materials that will be discussed at that time. They are also instructed to read their JW material as it’s released; this includes bi-monthly magazines, tracts, books, and other such pieces. They also have two conventions in the year; this number has also been decreased in the past few years, as it was two small conventions and one large convention just a few years back.

The preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses, which they call “field service,” is also a major part of their lives. The average amount of time spent by those in the U.S. in this work is just under ten hours every month, but it’s encouraged to do as much as you can. Most Jehovah’s Witnesses go out in this work every Saturday morning for several hours, and during summer months, they may also go out one night during the week in the evening. They are encouraged to “pioneer,” which may include 30 hours of this preaching work in one month or 750 hours over the course of an entire year. This number too has been reduced in the past years; the monthly activity was at one time 60 hours, and the annual hourly requirement for “pioneers” was 1000. (Note; these actual numbers may change, but the point is that they are encouraged to spend as much time in this part of their indoctrination process as possible.)

10. Permission required for major decisions

11. Thoughts, feelings, and activities (of self and others) reported to superiors

The February 15 2012 and August 15 2010 Watchtower both referred to “reporting” sin to the elders of the congregation. While these magazines used the word “serious” when talking about sinful conduct, many ex-JWs will attest to how often elders are approached about everyday activities of congregation members, including complaints regarding clothes that others are wearing, how families are raising their children or spending their money, if they feel someone has missed too many meetings or should be doing more in the preaching work, and so on.

12. Rewards and punishments used to modify behaviors, both positive and negative

Jehovah’s Witnesses can receive public or private reproof for a number of behaviors; public reproof involves a public announcement stating, “So-and-so has received counsel and is showing signs of repentance.” Private reproof means meetings with panels of elders who ask pointed and direct questions about behaviors and who give counsel and reprimands. JWs may face certain restrictions if deemed necessary by elders, such as not being allowed to comment during their meetings or handle certain responsibilities in the congregation.

Ricks-father

An elderly JW in the kitchen to avoid eating with his non-JW son.

Perhaps the most stringent form of punishment that Jehovah’s Witnesses employ is the practice of shunning, which extends even to family members and “young ones.” (See the Shunning category of this site for more information and reference material.) This shunning is virtually all-encompassing; JWs will not speak at all to a disfellowshipped or disassociated person, and may even avoid family functions where such ones will be present. While some minimal contact with close family members is allowed, this cannot include socializing and in most cases, JWs will not even eat with disfellowshipped or disassociated family members; see the photo at the right.

It’s also outright encouraged that members shun other members in the congregation if they feel these ones are not living up to certain standards of conduct; this behavior is even taught to teens. See this post.

13. Discourage individualism, encourage group-think

One of Jehovah’s Witnesses can be disfellowshipped (excommunicated) for believing or teaching anything other than their official doctrine (Shepherd the Flock of God book).

The May 8 2003 Awake magazine included an article titled, “Does Christian Unity Require Uniformity?” The article mentioned that Christians were and are allowed to make individual choices about many matters, but also stated, “… loyal Christians would not insist on their personal rights to the detriment of the consciences of others or at the expense of congregation unity. Nor should they claim freedom of action to do something clearly forbidden by God’s Word. (Romans 15:1; 2 Peter 2:1, 19) Love for God should move us to attune our conscience to God’s thinking. This, in turn, will keep us united with fellow believers.”

Note too the beliefs Jehovah’s Witnesses have that take away a person’s individualism, including the direction that women all wear skirts and dresses at meetings and when preaching and men all be clean-shaven, and the prohibitions against sexual matters even between married couples.

14. Impose rigid rules and regulations

The term “rigid rules and regulations” could be interpreted to mean any number of things; someone who is not a Christian can see the prohibition of sex before marriage as being rigid, whereas others may agree with this standard.

However, note again some rules and regulations that may seem overly rigid to most persons, including the ban on beards and the insistence that women wear skirts and dresses. Jehovah’s Witnesses require members in good standing to not only participate in their preaching work but to report on that activity every month. They require members in good standing to attend and participate in all their meetings; to fail to do so can result in counsel and the removal of “privileges,” including the ability to hold positions of authority for men. Masturbation, pornography, and oral and anal sex are all forbidden, even between married couples; this may be deemed as being very rigid and downright invasive of one’s privacy.

Another rigid rule or regulation that is noteworthy is the requirement of women to scream and resist if facing rape, and if they don’t, they are deemed as having “consented” to the act and may face shunning for “fornication.” See the category on Rape for more info.

The book “Shepherd the Flock of God,” the handbook used by elders to oversee congregations and determine judicial matters, is kept strictly confidential from other congregation members, and women especially as they are not allowed to even handle the book in order for it to be spiral-bound. This may seem like a very rigid rule when you consider that information inside the book directly affects those in the congregation and the bible, which they consider their holy book, is public and required reading. In other words, the word of their god is public but the words of men are kept secret.

According to the Shepherd book, a person can be disfellowshipped (excommunicated) for smoking and other uses of tobacco (i.e., chewing tobacco), gambling of any sort including incidental wagers (playing poker with friends, buying a lottery ticket), “manipulation of the genitals” between persons who are not married, “willful, continued, unnecessary association with disfellowshipped nonrelatives,” extreme physical uncleanness, gluttony, obscene speech or “sexually explicit, filthy expressions,” and taking up professional boxing. While there are other matters for which a person may be disfellowshipped, these may be considered the most “rigid.”

The October 15, 2006, Watchtower, in the article “Weddings That Are Honorable in the Sight of God and Man,” discussed how to have a marriage recognized by the congregation, based on varying legal requirements in each country. It then said, “If a Christian elder will deliver a wedding talk, … the speaker will not feature humor or folk sayings.” It also stated, “Unless local law requires something else, these vows that honor God are used. For the groom: “I [name of groom] take you [name of bride] to be my wedded wife, to love and to cherish in accordance with the divine law as set forth in the Holy Scriptures for Christian husbands, for as long as we both shall live together on earth according to God’s marital arrangement.” For the bride: “I [name of bride] take you [name of groom] to be my wedded husband, to love and to cherish and deeply respect, in accordance with the divine law as set forth in the Holy Scriptures for Christian wives, for as long as we both shall live together on earth according to God’s marital arrangement.”

The point being, a couple’s wedding ceremony should not include “humor” or any type of “folk sayings,” and the bride and groom have no option to write their own wedding vows. Some might view this direction as being very strict and rigid.

15. Instill dependency and obedience

Obedience to the organization is demanded and obedience to the elders in each congregation is also expected. The April 1 2007 Watchtower contained an article about being obedient to the elders, referring to them as “heavenly gifts to the congregation.” It said, “Our heavenly Shepherds, Jehovah God and Jesus Christ, expect us to be obedient and submissive to the undershepherds whom they have placed in positions of responsibility within the congregation.”

The article also noted that submission was expected even if members do not agree with the elders; “What, though, if we are not convinced that in a certain case the elders’ direction is the best way of doing things? That is where submission comes into play. It is easy to obey when everything is clear and we agree, but we will show that we are truly submissive if we yield even when we do not personally understand the direction provided.”

It is important to note also that elders in a congregation have quite a bit of autonomy when it comes to demanding obedience from others, using their authority to restrict privileges or to give counsel as they see fit. Many ex-JWs can attest to elders becoming outright angry and even verbally abusive to ones who do not follow their instructions or give in to their demands, even in matters of their personal lives. As an example, an elder just recently tried to get other elders to agree to having my own brother “reproved” because my brother would not host the man in his home for a “shepherding call,” which is supposed to be an encouraging visit. That’s it; my brother didn’t want the man, known for being verbally abusive and for having an uncontrolled temper, in his home and around his wife, and for that the elder thought my brother should be “reproved” for his lack of obedience.

The demand for obedience extends to the family, as women are expected to be submissive to their husbands in all matters, even if he is being abusive in any way. As I bring out in this post, men are told that they have the authority to “correct” their wives with “firmness,” even in matters of how she dresses or wears her makeup. Women are consistently told to be supportive of their husband’s decisions, and in the congregation, she needs his permission to “pioneer” or take on any other types of responsibilities. Many ex-JWs will attest to how JW husbands, even elders, are often outright abusive, domineering, and condescending to their wives, or may ridicule or make incessant demands of their wives, and the women have little to no recourse but to “obey” these men.

Information Control

1. Deception:
a. Deliberately withhold information
b. Distort information to make it more acceptable
c. Systematically lie to the cult member

Jehovah’s Witnesses deliberately withhold information from their members by giving instructions and directions to elders only; as an example, a letter dated October 1 2012, sent to all elders worldwide, stated outright that a known pedophile could have positions of authority in the congregation. This information is not common knowledge among the rank-and-file members. The handbook used by elders, Shepherd the Flock of God, is also for their eyes only; women are not even allowed to touch the book to have it spiral-bound and elders must oversee any other male member of the congregation who performs this work. The financial information of the organization is also kept secret from members.

In another area, they withhold information from authorities in cases of child molestation. According to their instructions, they are to report these cases only when required by law and only after calling their branch office first; this reporting is then done from a public phone booth in a nearby city so they technically follow the law, but aren’t exactly effectively sharing information. They have also been found to keep records from authorities when requested in child abuse cases.

10675689_10200287115178180_5280672774993496545_nDistortion of information and outright lies are also used to change their doctrines and teachings when a prediction of theirs has failed to come true. For instance, for years Jehovah’s Witnesses taught that the generation which was alive in 1914 would not die before Armageddon occurred and its members received a promised paradise. In recent years, as it became obvious that this generation has died out, they changed the term to “overlapping” generations; anyone that knew anyone who was alive in 1914 (i.e., their children or grandchildren) could then be included in that “generation.”  Please see this website for a more detailed explanation.

This practice of distorting their own information or outright lying about their own history is not uncommon, as you can see from the illustration on the right.

Jehovah’s Witnesses also have a long history of misquoting outside information, to make their teachings appear as if it is backed up by authoritative sources. For a list of misquotes and outright deceptions in their literature, please visit this site.

2. Minimize or discourage access to non-cult sources of information, including:
a. Internet, TV, radio, books, articles, newspapers, magazines, other media
b. Critical information
c. Former members
d. Keep members busy so they don’t have time to think and investigate
e. Control through cell phone with texting, calls, internet tracking

Jehovah’s Witnesses are strongly counseled against reading anything that is critical of the religion, referring to websites and other sources of information as “apostate propaganda.” (Watchtower May 1 2000 and February 15 2011) The book Keep Yourselves in God’s Love stated, “You can also absorb that evil spirit through objectionable literature, pornographic or apostate Internet sites, unwholesome entertainment, and highly competitive sports—really, through anyone or anything that conveys the thinking of Satan or his system.” (Bold added for emphasis.)

As mentioned above, former members are also to be strictly avoided by active Jehovah’s Witnesses, even family. When associating with family who were once JWs, biblical discussions are strictly off-limits.

Also mentioned above, members are kept constantly busy in their preaching work, consistent study of literature written by the JWs, weekly meetings, assemblies, and the like.

3. Compartmentalize information into Outsider vs. Insider doctrines
a. Ensure that information is not freely accessible
b. Control information at different levels and missions within group
c. Allow only leadership to decide who needs to know what and when

Jehovah’s Witnesses withhold information from rank-and-file members by keeping secret their instructions to elders; this in turn does not allow their everyday members to know the real truth about their religion. As an example, the handbook used by elders, Shepherd the Flock of God, is not to be shown to anyone other than elders. That book instructs elders that when a woman is accused of adultery, her husband may sit in on all her meetings with elders. However, when a man is accused or even outright confesses adultery, this information is considered “confidential” from the wife. Women are not allowed to know that this procedure is in place, much less this information about her husband’s conduct; see this post.

As another example, instructions to elders given in a letter dated October 2012 stated outright that those who have sexually abused children may qualify for privileges of service (meaning authority in the congregation) but everyday members are not allowed to know this process is in place much less know that a member of their congregation has committed an act or acts of child molestation.

4. Encourage spying on other members
a. Impose a buddy system to monitor and control member
b. Report deviant thoughts, feelings and actions to leadership
c. Ensure that individual behavior is monitored by group

5. Extensive use of cult-generated information and propaganda, including:
a. Newsletters, magazines, journals, audiotapes, videotapes, YouTube, movies and other media
b. Misquoting statements or using them out of context from non-cult sources

Jehovah’s Witnesses receive two Watchtower magazines and one Awake magazine per month, along with books, tracts, and other pamphlets and journals released throughout the year. (Speaking from personal experience, most JWs I knew struggled to keep up with reading the literature that was produced for them.) Their website, JW.org, also has videos and other media that they are encouraged to use extensively for themselves and their children.

As mentioned above, Jehovah’s Witnesses also have a history of misquoting outside sources or taking them out of context to make their own statements appear accurate and authoritative. See this website for examples. Ironically, during the writing of this post, Jehovah’s Witnesses were publicly criticized by a scientist for taking his comments out of context in order to support creationism versus evolution; the scientist publicly demanded an apology from the JWs. See this website for details.

6. Unethical use of confession
a. Information about sins used to disrupt and/or dissolve identity boundaries
b. Withholding forgiveness or absolution
c. Manipulation of memory, possible false memories

Discussing an unethical use of confession is difficult as there are no written rules about how to use confession in such a way, however, stories from ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses abound regarding elders who ask grossly obscene questions of the women when discussing sexual matters, those who mercilessly grill confessors in a harsh and draconian style, and those who have been accused of child rape being allowed to question their accusers without interruption or any type of guidance. One such inquisition asked a child rape victim how far apart her legs were spread during her attack and another asked pedophile victims if they enjoyed it at all (see this post and this post).

Training videos for elders showed a demonstration where a group of elders withheld forgiveness or absolution from a man who had confessed fornication because they didn’t feel he had the right heart condition or was concerned enough about the reproach he brought on Jehovah’s name (see this post).

Thought Control

1. Require members to internalize the group’s doctrine as truth
a. Adopting the group’s ‘map of reality’ as reality
b. Instill black and white thinking
c. Decide between good vs. evil
d. Organize people into us vs. them (insiders vs. outsiders)

Jehovah’s Witnesses outright refer to their religion as “the truth.” The 2011 Yearbook stated, ““In summary, the Writing Department insists on using only material that is accurate and truthful, even regarding seemingly insignificant details. As a result, “the faithful and discreet slave” can consistently supply spiritual food that brings honor to “the God of truth,” Jehovah.”

Along with many other abundant examples, the March 1 2002 Watchtower included a full article titled, “How Precious is the Truth to You?” referring to their religious beliefs and organization.

The “us vs. them” mentality is also abundant among Jehovah’s Witnesses. Anything outside the organization is referred to as “the world”; note the November 15 2011 Watchtower simplified edition, “Temporary Residents in a Wicked World,” which referred to Christians living in “Satan’s world.” The book Keep Yourselves in God’s Love, pages 50-61, instructs on “How to Keep Separate From the World.” It states, “Its influence often begins subtly, perhaps by way of associates who may appear to be good people but, in fact, have no love for Jehovah.”

2.Change person’s name and identity

I cannot attest to this being a current practice, but when I was active as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, married women were referred to on their official records as “Mrs. [husband’s first name] [husband’s last name].” So Mary Jones, married to John Jones, would be referred to on her records as Mrs. John Jones. This was done even if she did not take her husband’s last name when marrying him. Members are also referred to as brother and sister rather than mister or missus; an elder is “Brother Smith” and a woman is “Sister Jones.”

3. Use of loaded language and clichés which constrict knowledge, stop critical thoughts and reduce complexities into platitudinous buzz words

The loaded language of Jehovah’s Witnesses is abundant. As said, they refer to their religion as “the truth” and anything outside of their religion as “the world.” People who are not JWs are referred to as “worldly.” JWs often state that we are living in “the last days,” meaning a time when god will soon step in and destroy those who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses. The entire political and economic structure outside of the religion is referred to as “Satan’s system of things” and the paradise they have promised their members is called “the new system.”

The governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses refers to themselves as “the faithful and discreet slave” and congregants are called “sheep,” with elders and others in authority called “shepherds.” Those who do not listen to Jehovah’s Witnesses are often called “goats,” and when such ones try to refute their teachings, JWs are told that it doesn’t matter if they cannot answer them as they are looking for “honest-hearted ones” who will receive their preaching.

The terms “brighter light” and “new light” are also commonly  used to explain why their governing body needs to change their teachings and doctrines. Their teachings and literature are also commonly referred to as “spiritual food.” Other religions are referred to as “Christendom” and are outright called “false.”

Loaded and misleading language is also often used when talking about the positions of husbands and wives in a family. As brought out in this post, a woman who is not submissive to her husband is accused of “competing” with him, leaving no room for a simple equalizing of roles between them.

4. Encourage only ‘good and proper’ thoughts

Jehovah’s Witnesses are regularly encouraged to regularly meditate on bible principles (September 15 2013 and January 15 2015 Watchtower simplified edition) and to “reject bad thoughts” or “men’s thoughts.” (March 15 2011, January 1 2005 Watchtower). The August 15 2013 Watchtower simplified edition said, “If we want to be holy, we have to reject wrong thoughts and desires.” In training videos for elders, they encourage a suicidal woman to reject thoughts of suicide as she would an immoral thought (see this post).

5. Hypnotic techniques are used to alter mental states, undermine critical thinking and even to age regress the member

6. Memories are manipulated and false memories are created

7. Teaching thought-stopping techniques which shut down reality testing by stopping negative thoughts and allowing only positive thoughts, including:
a. Denial, rationalization, justification, wishful thinking
b. Chanting
c. Meditating
d. Praying
e. Speaking in tongues
f. Singing or humming

One form of rationalization or justification that Jehovah’s Witnesses use when it comes to shutting down criticisms of their failed predictions is the use of the term “brighter light” or “new light.” These phrases are meant to indicate that they have been given new guidance from god that in turn required an “adjustment” in their understanding of bible teaching.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are also consistently counseled to pray when experiencing any negative thoughts and emotions; the book Keep Yourselves in God’s Love, pages 196-205, stated, “Never give in to the negative, degraded, twisted thinking of Satan’s old world. If you sense that the spirit of this world is making inroads into your mind or heart, pray fervently to Jehovah for “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.” That God-given peace will guard your heart and your mental powers.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses compose their own music and songs, dubbed Kingdom Melodies, and openly encourage congregants to use them even when not at their meetings. The July 22 2002 Awake magazine related one woman’s experience with depression; “During difficult times, I listen to audio cassettes of the Bible and to Kingdom Melodies—spiritually and emotionally uplifting music prepared by Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

8. Rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism

Critical thinking or analysis of the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses is often described as “apostate” information or outright propaganda, to be avoided. The May 1 2000 Watchtower stated, “Some apostates are increasingly using various forms of mass communication, including the Internet, to spread false information about Jehovah’s Witnesses. As a result, when sincere individuals do research on our beliefs, they may stumble across apostate propaganda. Even some Witnesses have unwittingly exposed themselves to this harmful material.” The article also counseled against those in the congregation who may have disagreements or “debates.”

9. Forbid critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy allowed

The February 15 2009 Watchtower said of the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, “Since Jehovah God and Jesus Christ completely trust the faithful and discreet slave, should we not do the same? … The slave thus deserves our complete trust.” During a discourse given in 2014, governing body member Anthony Morris stated that those who would disagree with his words would need to “take it up with god.”

The term “causing divisions” is also used in the handbook of elders, Shepherd the Flock of God, and can be applied to anyone who outright questions their doctrine. This same book noted that a person could be disfellowshipped if they don’t accept bible teachings as set out by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

10. Labeling alternative belief systems as illegitimate, evil, or not useful

Other Christian religions are referred to by Jehovah’s Witnesses as Christendom, and a search of their literature will show that they refer to these as “unfaithful,” as being rejected by god (November 15 2004 Watchtower), “pagan,” “steeped in false worship” (February 15 2001 Watchtower), with “reprehensible actions and false teachings” (Isaiah’s Prophecy book, pages 390-402). The Isaiah’s Prophecy book also states that “calamity will come upon unfaithful Christendom, whose members claim to worship God but actually disown him by their works.” (Pages 230-243)

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Trademarks of false religion, according to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

All other religions outside of Jehovah’s Witnesses are referred to as “false religions.” The September 15 2012 Watchtower simplified edition stated that the world would come to an end first by seeing “false religion” destroyed. The September 15 2004 Watchtower said, “Satan has, in fact, built up a world empire of false religion, identified by rage, hatred, and almost endless bloodshed.” The May 1 2012 Watchtower stated that there are two types of religion; one false, and one true, and that true religion would be those who “serve Jehovah.” The book What Does the Bible Really Teach notes that false religion does not use idols, celebrate holidays (with a special emphasis on why the true religion would not celebrate Christmas), or worship ancestors.

Emotional Control

1. Manipulate and narrow the range of feelings – some emotions and/or needs are deemed as evil, wrong or selfish

2. Teach emotion-stopping techniques to block feelings of homesickness, anger, doubt

While Jehovah’s Witnesses do not necessarily come right out and deem emotions like anger or resentment as being evil, wrong, or selfish, they do give strong counsel about these types of negative emotions. For example, the November 15 2012 Watchtower, the article Forgive One Another Freely stated, “…if you suffer an affront or an injustice, what can help you to keep your emotions under control, react as Jehovah would want you to, and be willing to forgive? … The Scriptures indicate that a willingness to forgive others regardless of how often they offend us is a Christian requirement. … A person may feel anger, a sense of betrayal, the desire for justice or even revenge. In fact, some feel that they will never be able to forgive the offender. If you feel similarly, how can you cultivate the forgiving attitude that Jehovah requires? … we can lessen anger, disappointment, and other negative emotions with understanding, open-mindedness, and a willingness to forgive.”

Doubts are also strongly cautioned against. The October 1 2009 Watchtower, in the article He Fought Against Fear and Doubt, says, “Doubt can be a powerful, destructive force. If we yield to it, it can eat away at our faith and cause us to sink spiritually. We need to fight back vigorously! How? By keeping the right focus. If we dwell on what scares us, what discourages us, what distracts us from Jehovah and his Son, we will find our doubts growing. If we focus on Jehovah and his Son, on what they have done, are doing, and will do for those who love them, we will keep corrosive doubts at bay.” (Note, there is no counsel given on doing apt research to erase doubt, but counsel to simply stop thinking about what makes a person doubt in the first place.)

Things that give Jehovah’s Witnesses doubts are also referred to as “satanic propaganda” in the July 1 2001 Watchtower, which also said, “‘Are we really living in the last days? Can you believe everything the Bible says? Is this truly Jehovah’s organization?’ Satan would love to plant doubts like these in your mind.”

3. Make the person feel that problems are always their own fault, never the leader’s or the group’s fault

One distinct area where Jehovah’s Witnesses have placed blame on members is their failed prophecies; JWs have made direct statements regarding the end of the world as taking place in 1914, 1925, 1975, and before the end of the 20th century. After this end failed to come, their literature stated outright that the problem was the “inflated” imaginations of members (Watch Tower 1976) and stated that “his own understanding was based on wrong premises” (July 15 1976 Watchtower).

The August 15 2004 Watchtower stated, “When we feel tired and discouraged in our service to God, could it be because the pursuit of material things is smothering our spirituality? … One married couple decided to eliminate some of their hobbies and nonessential personal projects. They actually went through their things and literally packed all the materials related to such projects and put them out of sight. Periodically, we can all benefit from taking inventory of our habits and possessions, putting off every unnecessary weight so that we may not get tired and give out in our souls. … Do we regularly eat wholesome meals and get enough rest? Reasonable attention to our health in general can minimize feelings of emotional and spiritual exhaustion.”

On a personal level, as I bring out in this post, there are many examples of women who have been outright abused by their JW husbands being blamed for this abuse and even being told that they need to apologize to their abuser for “not being submissive enough.”

4. Promote feelings of guilt or unworthiness, such as
a. Identity guilt
b. You are not living up to your potential
c. Your family is deficient
d. Your past is suspect
e. Your affiliations are unwise
f. Your thoughts, feelings, actions are irrelevant or selfish
g. Social guilt
h. Historical guilt

Pushing their members to do more and accomplish more and live up to their potential is a hallmark of Jehovah’s Witnesses; the February 1 2015 Watchtower discussed the subject of secular work and said, “Rather than simply doing the minimum, look for ways to do more than is required. Set personal goals; challenge yourself to do your work better or faster than expected.”

The May 15 2010 Watchtower addressed the men of the religion, “If you are a dedicated male, ask yourself: ‘Do I have a full share in the preaching work, and am I assisting others to do so? Am I building up my fellow worshippers by taking a sincere interest in their welfare? Do I have the reputation of being a good student of God’s Word? Am I improving the quality of my comments? Do I diligently care for the assignments entrusted to me by the elders?’ … Such questions merit serious consideration.” The article talked about the “self-sacrificing spirit” that would be needed. The November 15 2009 Watchtower said, “What if we simply lack motivation to do more in Jehovah’s service and are inclined to coast along in the congregation? … beg Jehovah to make us want to make spiritual advancement.”

Many ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses can also attest to the many, many discourses given at meetings and assemblies that consistently encourage ones to preach more, contribute more, and seriously consider working as missionaries where possible. The goal of “pioneering,” or putting in some 750 hours every year in their preaching work, is also consistently encouraged in their magazines, with parents even being encouraged to help their children set this as a goal. This is often contrasted with pursuing a secular career, which is typically presented as being for spiritually weak. The September 15 2005 Watchtower says, “Youths, what are your plans for the future? Are you seeking to excel in some professional field? Or are you working toward a career in the fulltime service? “Keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons,” admonished Paul, “buying out the opportune time for yourselves, because the days are wicked.” He adds: “On this account cease becoming unreasonable, but go on perceiving what the will of Jehovah is.””

As for the family being deficient, governing body Anthony Morris gave a public discourse in Italy in 2014 and chastised the families, asking if they had taken their children to an amusement park versus visiting their local branch office for a tour, telling them to “explain that to God.” Consistent counsel is given to families about their “Family Worship” night and about doing more as JWs.

5. Instill fear, such as fear of:
a. Thinking independently
b. The outside world
c. Enemies
d. Losing one’s salvation
e. Leaving or being shunned by the group
f. Other’s disapproval

Fear is a very common theme among Jehovah’s Witnesses and their teachings, even if they try to “candy coat” this fear in various ways. Consider:

The July 15 2006 referred to the “trap of independent thinking” as applied to questioning the changes in doctrine over the years. The Worship God book decried the “independent” attitude of “the world,” listing in the same paragraph as “immorality and violence.” The same book also said, “We should not think that we can figure out everything by independent research.” The December 15 2013 Watchtower talked about “newspaper headlines, television documentaries, and Internet Web pages” being used to propagate untruths,” and said that those who believe them were “gullible.”

Anyone and everyone outside of Jehovah’s Witnesses is referred to as “the world.” The world is often depicted as being controlled by Satan; note what is said in the God’s Love book, ““The world” Jesus mentioned refers to all of mankind who are alienated from God, ruled by Satan, and enslaved to the selfish, prideful spirit that emanates from him.” It refers to the world as having an “evil spirit,” and says, “Simply put, the spirit of the world progressively causes the traits of the Devil to grow in the hearts of humans … [it] is deceptive and impels millions to look to money and material things for happiness.”

armageddon-watchtower-sep-15-2012Losing one’s salvation is a prominent part of their teaching; the idea of salvation being conditional is noted in the Isaiah’s Prophecy book (pp. 76-92), the book Reasoning From the Scriptures (pp. 356-361), and the December 15 2013 Watchtower, which said, “We definitely do not want to ‘miss the purpose’ of Jehovah’s undeserved kindness and lose out on the promise of everlasting life…” The August 1 2006 Watchtower said, “A person’s life can become cluttered with so many activities and pursuits that he is hard-pressed to find the time needed to maintain the all-important spiritual routine and balance. The result is that he may suffer spiritually and eventually lose out entirely on entering God’s promised new world.” Losing one’s salvation includes a horrible, fiery death at Armageddon, as depicted in this illustration from the September 15 2012 Watchtower and many illustrations like this one.

Shunning is also a common fear among Jehovah’s Witnesses, as brought out above. If disfellowshipped, a person is shunned entirely by their family and friends; even “young ones” can be shunned; note this public discourse recorded in 2013 that encourages and even downright demands that family shun each other.

This fear of disapproval is also extended to the congregation itself, as I bring out in this post. Even teens are encouraged to shun active, faithful members who are not supposedly living up to vague, man-made standards of obsessive activities within the religion.

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From the November 15 2014 Watchtower. I would say they’ve sufficiently instilled fear into that little girl.

6. Extremes of emotional highs and lows – love bombing and praise one moment and then declaring you are a horrible sinner

Love bombing and praise are difficult to define, separate from being simply courteous to new visitors at a Kingdom Hall. I would expect people to reach out to them as you would to the new kid in school. However, one thing I might note in this section is that Jehovah’s Witnesses are often concerned about the “witness” they give to others through their conduct (April 2011 Kingdom Ministry, “Our Conduct is Refreshing to Observers”) with little thought given or stressed as to the “witness” their conduct gives to ones inside the congregation. Note this post about a long, rambling, incoherent and downright abusive letter a JW mother wrote to her daughter, no doubt with little thought as to the “witness” this would give the child. Angry abuse toward children was and is common, as was domestic violence when I was in the religion; women were then blamed for this abuse because of “not being submissive enough.” These opposing actions are very common among Jehovah’s Witnesses and used to recruit or impress outsiders and then persistently browbeat those already in the religion.

7. Ritualistic and sometimes public confession of sins

8. Phobia indoctrination: inculcating irrational fears about leaving the group or questioning the leader’s authority
a. No happiness or fulfillment possible outside of the group
b. Terrible consequences if you leave: hell, demon possession, incurable diseases, accidents, suicide, insanity, 10,000 reincarnations, etc.
c. Shunning of those who leave; fear of being rejected by friends, peers, and family
d. Never a legitimate reason to leave; those who leave are weak, undisciplined, unspiritual, worldly, brainwashed by family or counselor, or seduced by money, sex, or rock and roll
e. Threats of harm to ex-member and family

The leaders of the religion are depicted as being given their authority by god himself; the Keep Yourself in God’s Love book says, “When we as individuals respect the authority of Christian elders, we are obeying Jehovah … Elders are appointed by holy spirit.” The June 15 2000 Watchtower talked about Korah, a bible figure who was not “honoring God-appointed theocratic leadership,” and said, “Korah and the 250 chieftains were destroyed by a fire from Jehovah.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses regularly teach that any life outside the religion only results in misery; the June 15 2010 Watchtower says, “… some who in the past chose to leave the ‘safe water’ of the Christian congregation now bitterly regret that decision. One sister, whom we will call Tanya, explains that she … left the congregation to “pursue worldly enticements.” … She now says: “The three years I spent away from the congregation left ugly scars on my emotions that will not go away … I want to tell all the young ones who are wishing they could ‘taste’ the world even for just a little while: ‘Don’t!’ It may taste good at first, but it leaves an extremely bitter aftertaste. The world has nothing but misery to offer. I know. I tasted it. Stay in Jehovah’s organization! It’s the only way of life that brings happiness.” … Just think what would become of you if you were to abandon the protective environment of the Christian congregation. Many, recalling their futile course of life before they accepted the truth, simply shudder at the thought … You can continue to find security and protection from the woes and misery so common in Satan’s world by staying in close company with your Christian brothers and sisters.”

As mentioned, shunning is a punishment Jehovah’s Witnesses use for those who leave the organization. This includes young ones and family literally turning their backs on each other; see the photograph above and the Shunning section of this site.

Those who leave are often referred to as “spiritually weak” (Watchtower July 1 2004, August 15 2010, August 15 2012, March 15 2013). The July 15 2011 Watchtower said that some leave in order to “draw away disciples after themselves.”

BEYOND THE BITE

Steve Hassan is the expert when it comes to cults, and I would never question his criteria in any way. I would however add some additional considerations when determining if a religion or any other group crosses the line into rightly being called abusive or high-control. Consider:

Physical Abuse

why should he change

From the May 15 2012 Watchtower. This is how Jehovah’s Witnesses expect women to respond to abusive men, even if the abuse is physical.

Hassan mentions sleep deprivation, but I might consider if there is marked physical abuse within a religion, and also consider how the group responds to such. It’s true that there can be domestic violence and child abuse everywhere, but the key word is “marked.” When I was a JW, domestic abuse was commonplace, and as I’ve brought out, women were routinely blamed for their own abuse. One elder I talked with outright told me that they sent women home to abusive men and “some of these men wound up killing their wives,” with a smirk on his face. Stories abound of elders actually encouraging physical abuse to keep women submissive.

Child abuse in the form of harsh beatings and spankings were also common; one man gave a discourse at a congregation I attended and said that while spankings and beatings were a parent’s decision, you simply should never leave a permanent mark on your child.

The reaction of the group itself to such abuse should also raise concern as to whether or not it’s a cult or too controlling. As I bring out in this post, women are outright encouraged to stay with abusive men in the hopes of converting them. Other religions run domestic violence shelters, but for a JW woman, your place is in the home, taking your beating with a smile so that your husband may be so impressed that he becomes one of Jehovah’s Witnesses too.

Admonitions Against Seeking Outside Help

This thought should apply to when people of the religion or organization need protection of sorts, or help that is beyond the capabilities of those in charge. While Jehovah’s Witnesses do not forbid their members from seeking psychiatric help, they do admonish “Christians should be sure that any treatment they pursue does not conflict with Bible principles.” (December 2014 Awake) This is a very vague statement; what if the treatment includes psychiatric drugs, or a person is told that they are under stress because of the demands of their religion? The May 2014 Awake talked about reducing expenses and time spent at work as a way to reduce stress, not reducing the time spent studying JW literature, going in the preaching work, attending meetings, and so forth.

It should also be noted that JW women are not encouraged to call the police when being abused by their husbands, but are told to be loving and submissive in the hopes of converting them. This includes when being physically abused.

Until their policy was rewritten in 2010, Jehovah’s Witnesses were outright forbidden from calling the police in cases of child molestation, being told that this violated a scriptural principle of “bringing a brother to court” and that it would bring reproach on the congregation. While they have put in print that calling the police is a personal decision for parents to make, many will attest to how elders pressure and even outright threaten families to keep them from doing this.

Serious Matters That Are Handled Internally By Those Not Qualified

As brought out in the category on Rape, a woman who is the victim of rape is questioned by elders as to her actions during this time. Elders are not trained in post-traumatic stress syndrome, criminology, psychology, and the like. When a religion allows unqualified persons to try to handle these types of scenarios internally and to supposedly “determine” if a woman has been raped, this is a sure sign in my mind that they are abusive and very high-control. Who are they to put themselves in that position of deciding whether or not a woman has been raped? They decide to control women even during a horrendous, brutal, vicious attack by threatening her with shunning for “fornication” when they are not qualified to make this call.

Questioning of child rape victims is also an abhorrent factor among Jehovah’s Witnesses; elders have been caught asking them if they enjoyed the experience at all, asking a victim to actually demonstrate in front of her attacker how far apart her legs were spread, and so on. (See the Pedophilia category for more information.) Elders are not qualified to speak to victims of any crime, much less child rape victims. Many have come forward and talked about how they felt raped all over again during these meetings with elders. This too indicates the need for more control and intrusion than is necessary for a religion.

The discouragement women face when it comes to calling police for domestic violence issues may fall under this section of something being handled by those not qualified. Domestic violence is a crime, and elders and the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses have no training or education in how this situation affects children in the home, yet they assume that a woman needs a lecture and should just take her abuse, in the hopes of converting the men. See the Domestic Violence category for more information.

As brought out in this post, elders also counsel a suicidal woman in one of the worst ways possible, actually reprimanding her for her feelings, telling her to just reject those thoughts.

Claiming Direct Communication With God

Some religious leaders claim a direct communication with god, but these claims seem to be strongest and loudest in the most controlling and abusive of all groups. Leaders claim to have a direct inspiration from god, talk with god, get direction right from god, and so on. For Jehovah’s Witnesses, their governing body has been slyly elevating itself over the rest of the organization in the past few years; at one time they talked about being just a small representative of those they thought would go to heaven, to just recently stating that they are the ones responsible for directing everyone in the religion (see this website). They note that they are guided by “god’s holy spirit,” which they believe to be a force god uses to accomplish things (September 2015 2009 Watchtower). During a discourse in 2014, governing body member Anthony Morris stated outright that those who disagreed with his words should “take it up with god.”

Sexism or Racism

Any group of people will no doubt have sexists or racists among them, but when a group’s doctrines, teachings, or overall atmosphere include a degrading view of persons based on their gender or race, this is an abuse on their part.

The early history of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is not kind toward those who are black, as the February 15 1904 Watchtower supposed that black skin would turn white in their paradise earth. The future magazines talked about the futility of trying to educate a black man, about their inherent drunkenness, and such. In 1973 it was noted in the December 1 Watchtower that a couple of different races may not want to get married if it offended their neighbors or local culture. This attitude may have softened somewhat, as a current member of their governing body, Samuel Herd, is black. However, there has never been any official apology or retraction of these earlier words. See this website for more quotes from the Watchtower about black persons.

Misogyny is abundant in the JW religion as you can see from the Women category of this blog. Women are not allowed to handle any responsibilities in the religion and must wear a hat or other head covering when they need to perform certain work, such as arranging for car groups for their preaching work, to show respect for her “submission” to men. A woman’s long hair has said to be a natural sign of her subordinate position to men (see this post). Women are not allowed to give public discourses or even public bible readings from the stage of a Kingdom Hall. She must also wear a hat or head covering when studying the bible with her own son, if he is baptized as a JW, no matter his age. A woman who has been the victim of rape must recount her ordeal to elders, who will “discern” if she did enough to resist, otherwise they will decide that she consented to the act and she may face shunning for “fornication.” Battered women are not assisted but rather blamed for their abuse.

You might also note this post, where Samuel Herd, mentioned above, said that women’s brains are too small for leadership roles and that they should hide their intellect from their husbands.

As mentioned above, Jehovah’s Witnesses have their wedding vows dictated to them, from the October 15, 2006, Watchtower; “Unless local law requires something else, these vows that honor God are used. For the groom: “I [name of groom] take you [name of bride] to be my wedded wife, to love and to cherish in accordance with the divine law as set forth in the Holy Scriptures for Christian husbands, for as long as we both shall live together on earth according to God’s marital arrangement.” For the bride: “I [name of bride] take you [name of groom] to be my wedded husband, to love and to cherish and deeply respect, in accordance with the divine law as set forth in the Holy Scriptures for Christian wives, for as long as we both shall live together on earth according to God’s marital arrangement.”

Note the difference; the bride must vow to “deeply respect” her husband, but the husband is under no obligation to make such a vow to the wife.

The Organization Above All Else

One teaching that I would think would make a group cult-like or abusive is if they feel the organization should come above all else, even the health and safety of its members.

Before their official policy was rewritten in 2010, parents were outright forbidden from calling the police in matters of child sexual assault, so they wouldn’t bring reproach on the organization. As brought out, women in abusive marriages are encouraged to stay so that the man gets a “witness” and hopefully converts to the religion.

Children in the religion are strongly encouraged to give up higher education in favor of preaching and missionary work, or unpaid volunteer services at one of their branch offices or headquarters (May 2010 Kingdom Ministry).

Perhaps one of the most obvious cases of putting the organization above everything else when it comes to being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is the practice of disfellowshipping, or excommunication, and the all-encompassing shunning that goes along with it. Despite the claim that the religion builds strong family bonds, this practice is based on the flimsiest of scriptural applications and outright misquotes (see this post), and yet members will shun even their own children who are still living at home or their elderly parents and grandparents. When a family member is shunned, their extended family (children, grandchildren) are also typically shunned along with them, even if these ones were never Jehovah’s Witnesses in the first place.

Inappropriate or Exaggerated Responses to Criticism

When a religion or other group is criticized, of course they can respond as necessary. However, the manner and type of their response may call into question their credibility and if they are trying to be overly controlling of members and how these ones view such criticism. Inappropriate responses may include threats, name calling or ad hominem attacks (meaning attacking the person or source directly, rather than answering the criticism), insulting or calling into question the other party’s level of education or knowledge of a particular subject, calling into question their motives, crying “persecution” in response to legitimate criticisms, etc. These methods of responses can demonstrate a need to control outside criticisms, and are often attempts to downgrade or diminish the critics themselves in the eyes of their followers. In turn, the criticisms are then downplayed rather than actually answered.

Often Jehovah’s Witnesses refer to critics as “apostates,” which is a derogatory term they use to describe any who leave their religion; the May 1 2000 Watchtower referred to Satan as “the first apostate.” The February 15 2011 Watchtower talked about “apostate websites” and the January 15 2013 Watchtower simplified edition said, “Newspaper headlines, television shows, and Internet Web pages are used to spread false stories…” and called these “Satan’s lies.”

In March of 2015, governing body member Stephen Lett referred to “apostate-driven lies and dishonesties” when it comes to news stories that imply they are permissive to pedophiles (see this website). This is an interesting term, because it is not “apostates” who are doing all of this reporting, but reputable news agencies such as the BBC and PBS have presented news stories about pedophilia scandals among Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The March 1 2003 Watchtower, when talking about the subject of persecution, said, “…how should we feel when newspaper, radio, or television reports about Jehovah’s Witnesses are distortions or outright falsehoods? Should we be shocked? No. We expect such things. … And we are not surprised when some believe the published lies and distortions, since ‘anyone inexperienced puts faith in every word.’ … Still, loyal Christians refuse to believe just any statement made about their brothers, and they certainly do not allow bad publicity to cause them to miss Christian meetings, to slow down in the field ministry, or to waver in their faith.”

Sexual Indiscretions and Abuse of Power by Those in Authority

One strong indicator of a religion or other group being a cult, abusive, overly controlling, etc., is the number of sexual indiscretions and abuse of power by those in authority in order to take advantage of their members sexually. Unfortunately Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have a good track record in this regard; see the page JW Victims in the News for story after story of child molestation and outright rape that happens behind their closed walls. They have been repeatedly sued by these victims because of how they have handled, or more rightly refused to handle, these incidents and have even put children in harm’s way by allowing them to be alone with known pedophiles without warning parents. These pedophiles have included elders and others in authority in the congregation.

Along with lawsuits because of child molestation, stories abound of elders asking obscenely perverse questions of the women in particular when it comes to their sexual encounters, supposedly as a way to judge their “repentance” of immorality. They may ask if they had an orgasm, if they changed positions during sex, if they had anal sex, if they performed oral sex and how many times, if the man put his fingers in her vagina (to determine if she was actually a virgin when this happened or if she’s lying about it being her first sexual encounter), and so on. These questions are typically asked of three men who are alone with the woman, and they will even ask these questions of underage women without their parents present.

This obscenity of questioning even extends to child rape victims, as they have been known to ask them if they enjoyed the sexual experience at all (this post), and in one case, asked a rape victim how far apart her legs were spread during her attack (this post).

Hate Speech

Religions may set standards as to what they feel is immoral and unacceptable according to their beliefs and holy books; many religions feel that homosexuality is a serious sin. While I would never tell a religion what to believe when it comes to morals and sexual behavior, you might note in this post how Jehovah’s Witness governing body member Tony Morris blamed homosexuals for pedophilia. As brought out in that post, study after study has debunked the idea that gay men are more likely to commit pedophilia than heterosexual men. Set aside the idea that Jehovah’s Witnesses are still refusing to take responsibility for the pedophilia in their religion; to talk about how homosexuals use young children for sexual gratification is, in my mind, hate speech.

Note too this post, where Jehovah’s Witnesses liken the death of everyone who is not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, something they feel will soon happen at Armageddon, to a homeowner exterminating “pests.” This too is hateful when it comes to people who are not JWs. While many religions teach that theirs is the only true set of beliefs, going past this exclusionary thinking to fostering outright hatred toward homosexuals and those outside the religion might be considered mental abuse and a form of extreme control. If you can teach your congregants that people outside your religion are akin to cockroaches, and that homosexuals aren’t just immoral in your eyes but downright dangerous to your children, then it’s less likely that those congregants will ever want to stray from your religion or explore sexuality outside your mandates.

SO ARE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES A CULT OR NOT?

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Jehovah’s “happy” people.

I don’t know if Jehovah’s Witnesses could legally or technically be called a cult, and 11,000 words later I still don’t care. What I do know is that they are abusive, controlling, obscene, harshly judgmental, misogynistic, and just plain unloving. They misquote and misapply scripture, have made many false prophecies and have changed their beliefs many times over.

Jehovah’s Witnesses emotionally blackmail their members into staying and abandon those who do to some of the most horrific abuses imaginable. They create guilt, depression, stifling childhoods and marriages, and downright unhappy congregants. Most ex-JWs, myself included, will attest to this; my own mother tried to commit suicide many times and was regularly in mental health facilities, as were many other women I knew in local congregations. It wasn’t unusual to see women in the back rooms crying during meetings, talking among themselves about their oppressive and abusive marriages but knowing they could do nothing about them. Depression was common, as was alcohol abuse and the use of antidepressants. Most men I knew in the religion were angry, oppressive, condescending, arrogant, and downright rude to congregants; after all, they could certainly afford to be, since they had absolute authority over members and anyone who didn’t like it could be disfellowshipped and was going to die at Armageddon. Many of us children grew up nervous, anxious, afraid of our own parents, terrified to go to meetings for fear of a beating, and dreading yet another Saturday being dragged out into the preaching work.

At the end of the day, this religion costs people their lives, not to mention children their innocence and many people their happiness, all because of scriptures they obviously don’t understand, predictions they have to repeatedly change, and teachings which seem to do nothing but allow them to wield more power over others.

The power that cults and other such groups have over their members is referred to in the legal arena as “undue influence,” and I absolutely hate that phrase. Why? Because it doesn’t even come close to describing the horrific abuses and control this religion has over its members.

I don’t know how to define Jehovah’s Witnesses, but if the words of a woman who survived the Jonestown massacre could easily be applied to them, I would say there’s probably a number of labels that would fit, “cult” being just one.

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145 replies »

  1. My sister and I were raised in the JW Cult. We are not JW’s. I need help.

    My grandmother was stripped financially by the “JW’s” and dumped back on our family. Now my elderly father has given his healthcare directive to a JW and they are preparing to strip him financially and dump him. The “pioneer”, the person who has befriended and isolated him is moving in for the kill.

    Please advise if you have any referrals of an attorney or other persons who could assist to stop this.

  2. JWs don’t believe we will go to heaven. They think heaven is reserved for the 144,000 select JWs. More than 30 years ago, a JW
    gave me an “Awake” magazine. In it was an article stating that John the Baptist never went to heaven. It quoted Mathew 11:11, where Jesus says “a lesser one in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is”. What they failed to take into account is that, as Jesus spoke those words, John the Baptist was still alive on earth. There is not a singe person I know who believes a
    person can be alive on earth and be in heaven, both at the same time.
    Apparently, they missed the entire message that Jesus was teaching: that we don’t go to heaven, just as we are. We must
    first be transformed into more perfect beings. Then he used John the Baptist as an example. Jesus pointed out that John the
    Baptist was the most perfect man on the face of the earth. But, compared to a “transformed” person in heaven, he was still
    inferior.

  3. I grew up in this religion and left when i was 19. Before then, a lot of red flags went up that made me wonder. I was suffering from severe depression and PTSD after being molested at 13. The elders when told that I was depressed and suicidal(I was 16) told me not to seek the help of a psychiatrist (as it would make me leave the religion) and that I should read the bible more to combat the depression. I was also told that suicide is a big No-no in God’s eyes and that I was sinful and selfish. I’m now 31 and I don’t like being around people as a result. I’m seeing a therapist and going to a non denominational chruch. This was my experienece only with the JW. Things are worse for my poor brother who has a special needs child. He stayed in the religion and is looked down on because he and his wife don’t have time to go door-to-door. They don’t care that my brother has a child that will never be able to walk or speak or care for herself, all they care about is how much time they spend trying to convert others. It was because of them I had a deep distrust for religion until a year ago.

  4. yes jehovah witnesses control their members. i was a child who was forced to go to meetings , forced to go door to door forced to call non witnesses worldly, forced every meeting to listen to an elder spank his son and the boy scream ,forced to sleep outside if i missed my 8 inside time , forced to get pushed or strap if i had 5 x’s by my name everyday , forced to watch when my sibling was beaten up , forced to be called names , forced to be yelled at , forced to be scared everyday of my childhood , forced to be told i was not loved by my grandma , forced to have everyone in our hall know what was happening and did nothing , i do not understand why they are still a religion they are neither godlike or religious they are a cult

    • I’m so sorry this happened to you. You were definitely a victim of child abuse. I hope you are taking care of yourself now, with counseling,etc. I’m hoping for people like yourself, that these JW’s are “outed” and stopped. It’s been going on for too long.
      Thank goodness there are people brave enough and take the time to tell their stories on You tube.

    • Hi Veronica. I’m so sorry to hear of your experience. If it’s any consolation at all, please know that you are not alone – my experience was very similar. I am now a 46-year old adult female, who left the organization 17 years ago after being a member for 25 years. I am still dealing with the aftermath after years of intense fear-based control. It was awful growing up believing that at any moment I could be one of those who violently lost their lives in Armageddon for not being good enough or found in God’s favour. It was awful being the daughter of an abusive Elder, who was one way at the Hall and another way at home. It was awful not being allowed to have a voice or question or raise doubts. It was awful being beaten at the hands of my father and then having to go to church after first covering up the bruises. Whilst I am wounded, as I suspect so many former members are, I recognize that that awful experience caused me to be the mother that I am today. My daughter is free to live her life; free to think independently; free to make friends; free to have her own belief system; free to believe that she is truly and unconditionally loved by her mother, and, most of all, by our Creator. For every tear I shed for what I went through and I what I lost out on, the smiles and joy I feel for the life my daughter has warms my heart like nothing else.

      • Ann, I am also sorry to hear about your abusive situation in which you lived with. The JW’s are the ones who will not make it through Armageddon as they are false profits. If any one of them would get their heads out of the elder’s behinds, they would realize a lot of what they preach does not go along with God’s Word. Thank goodness I was not in long enough for them to do any real harm, but please know that every time I hear a story from a person who was a JW, my heart literally aches for them. I thank God for the many support groups to minister to your wounds. And as it did for me, it helps to know that you are not the only one! May you have happiness and God’s blessings for the rest of your life.

    • I would suggest you just do an online search for attorneys who handle elder abuse in that area, it doesn’t need to be with JWs in particular. A litigation attorney can also usually manage that type of lawsuit, if that’s what you’re looking for.

    • I do not know, if there are anymore attys. who specialize in cults and cultic abuses, but I know several years ago as I was suspecting control of my sibling, I found attys. that did. Just be sure if you do find some, check them out through the Bar and make sure that they are well qualified in estate and elder law. Hope this advice is helpful; I could not proceed as I would have had to get an atty.in Oregon- in other words out of. State! The best of luck!

  5. I disagree with this. Jehovah’s Witnesses do NOT force you to do anything. If you want to go on vacation, go ahead. Want to watch a movie with some friends? Have fun! But they advise that you stay away from things like Ouija boards, or entertainment that contains things like ghosts or demons or anything like that. They insist that you follow the bible’s principles, but if you don’t want to, you don’t have to. As a human, you have freedoms, Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t going to take them away.

    • Sure, you don’t have to, and you do have freedoms. Exercising those freedoms can also mean being cut off and shunned by your entire family and being told that you’re going to die at Armageddon. They don’t “force” you in that they don’t tie you down and lead you around physically, but they also don’t respect your freedoms to do virtually anything.

  6. As a former 25-year member of the JW organization, here’s what I can attest to from both personal experience and what I allowed my eyes to be open to around me:

    – look up the definition of a cult, and take a look at the BITE model. JW’s certainly fall under “cult” definition
    – ,questioning and investigating is only allowed (in fact, encouraged) before becoming a baptized JW
    – once baptized, you are no longer to question the teachings, for to do so is to question the organization, and as the JW’s claim that they are God’s one, true organization on earth, then that means that you are questioning God
    – misinterpretation of scripture has led to so many dying needlessly from not being allowed to have a blood transfusion
    – the JW’s policy on blood/organ transplants has flip-flopped so many times over the years
    – abuse happens – physical, emotional and sexual
    – men who are not qualified to offer real counselling are the ones who counsel members on very serious matters. The church deems them qualified because they are in good standing with the organization and have been given a position within the church, such as an Elder; however, these men may be earning a living as a milkman, a garbage collector, a janitor, with no real counselling ability and qualifications, and they are counselling on serious matters such as claims of sexual abuse. (I’m not knocking what anyone does for a living; I’m simply attempting to show that the people being asked to counsel come from all walks of life with no real qualified capability to be offering serious advice).
    – we were taught not to seek advice or therapy from therapists of psychologists, for their advice would not be biblical based, and possibly anti-biblical
    – we were taught never to allow our minds to be still and quiet to not allow demons from entering our mind (there goes the ability to meditate which is so healthy and useful)
    – we were taught we were the only group of people that were God’s people
    – we would be the only ones to survive Armageddon; everyone else, including babies, were wicked
    – Armageddon was always around the corner (even though there have been 5 failed prophecies)
    – women are made to feel like they are second-class citizens; men usurp the power
    – we weren’t allowed to make charitable contributions to certain organizations, such as World Vision, because even though they are committed to feeding hungry children, the charitable organization had Christian ties (and JW’s consider all other religions, including Christian religions false and not being of God)
    – shunning is regularly practiced; I’ve seem families destroyed by this practice
    – tertiary education is severely frowned upon, so JW members remain uneducated and unable to financially support themselves and their family
    – the organization comes into your bedroom by proclaiming what married couples may and may not do in the privacy of their bedrooms
    – how spiritual you are is deemed by your commitment to the meetings and the amount of door-to-door ministry you partake in. Forget about what’s really in your heart – it’s what the JW organization sees that determines if you are spiritually weak or strong
    – being that premarital sex is forbidden, and being that courting couples must be chaperoned, so may marry young and without really knowing their spouse, who they are supposed to stay with forever, as divorce is a huge no-no
    – only biblical divorce is allowed (which is on the basis of adultery); if you divorce for other reasons you have to remain unmarried because the first person within the divorced couple to have sex has committed adultery, which therefore means expulsion from the organization, which therefore means shunning and complete cut-off from everyone you know

    I could go on and on, but ill stop here. The bottom line is this: the current theme through all scriptures (the Bible, and other non-Christian based scriptures) is that GOD IS LOVE. Looking at the long list above, the JW organization doesn’t appear to be based on love. On that premise alone, it cannot be God’s organization.

    Peace and blessings to all.

  7. Choices are not choices when a child has been brainwashed. An elder told his daughter in law that he and his son’s have increase levels of testosterone, so she needed to roll over expose her belly, to become more submissive! Suspected child abuse, is never allowed to be proven, as its kept within the abyss of the doctrines that elders are in control of. CONTROL is the operative word. It’s a religion that is extreme, and keeps women home, uneducated. or cleaning other peoples homes.

  8. So just a quick insight as to how I arrived here. I am a Christian and accepted Christ as my Savior back in 1997. Since then, my life has been drastically changed in a very good way. So, last December I decided to pursue my passion and become a pilot (I am 41 years old). I found an instructor and the very first day we met he shared he had left the airline world in part because he wanted to spend more time doing work in his congregation. I immediately asked him what church he attended and he told me he was a JW. At first I didn’t make much of if as I stand strong in my convictions as a Christian. Fast forward to today and I have a very good relationship with my instructor and at times we’ve talked about “things of God” while we fly. I’ve always expressed to him that I respect him and would not make any accusatory or offensive comments about the JWs and I am sincere in my intent. For the most part he has done the same, we often go to eat after a lesson, he comes to my house for ground lessons etc and we’ve shared a few drinks, dinner etc. In short, we’ve become “friends.” Recently he has been inviting me to attend an upcoming convention and I politely declined but told him that I appreciated the friendship and did not want our “faith/religions differences” to affect the relationship. My question is, should I expect some level of shunning because of this? Am I being too trusting and perhaps even naive that he is just pretending to be a “friend”? To be perfectly honest, I’d be very disappointing if that were to be the case, I truly like the guy and we have a good professional relationship and seem to get along. He has also provided some opportunities that most student pilots don’t get very often (free training, air time etc.) and I am very appreciative of this. I sometimes sense that he truly likes me as a friend but I think he may feel pressure from his wife or other JWs about us becoming good friends. I have not shared this with my wife although she thinks he is a nice guy and does not mind me becoming friends with him. And so in researching more about the JWs, I arrived at this site. I guess I am simply asking for some general advise on what to be cautious about and any other advice anyone may have. Thanks for reading my post and for any answers.

    • Just to let you know, he will continue to stop by your home to give you lessons and have dinner with you. He is getting service hours for this time spent with you. He will invite you to the meetings because he wants to show you how friendly everyone is and the meetings are informative and the free study books are nice. Once you are there for awhile and especially if you get baptized, as a male you will be offered to conduct some meetings and be a ministerial servant,etc. They will want you and your wife to do service hours and have control of your time and worldly friends. There “true colors” will come out. Believe me, you don’t want to do this to your wife. I hope this helps you even if only a little.

      • Hi Joy,

        It does help, I will keep my guard up. I would never allow anything to affect my marriage. My wife and kids come before anyone but God. I just do not subscribe to the notion that we should not be friends because he’s a JW but not sure he doesn’t either. As a Christian, I believe JWs fall short in several “salvation based” doctrines and would never renounce my faith. I just do not reject people because God teaches us to love all and I do my best BUT, this does not mean I tolerate sinful behavior…in other words, I am not a legalistic believer but do not compromise God’s truth and His work in my life. Thank you very much for your time.

  9. i like the fact that i typed somthing here that took about an hour an then this person took it off because i explained the true beliefs of Jehovahs Witnesses not this fake stuff just made to make us look bad.

    We read and have an appreciation for the bible we study it because its gods word. writen by men. if you want to Know what we really are and how things are supposed to work look at the ORGANIZE BOOK on JW.org

    that book tells how the congregation is supposed to be and what we do. also read GOD KINGDOM RULES to learn how the organization started and all of our beliefs. also try to find a congregation near you to experience everything for your self.

    • I appreciate the truth too and that’s why I will take the time to answer you! The truth is what JW’s say and actually do and live is different. When I became a JW, I loved going to the meetings and listening to the talks, I went into it wholeheartedly and lived according to what I was taught. I did not live a double life. But there were many at the KH who did not. There was a lot of lying and gossiping and one of the elders in particular couldn’t handle the position he was given because he was outright rude! After testing the spirits which is what the Bible says to do I found them to be false. JW organization is nothing more than a corrupt group of people living like a group of hypocrites with money as there common goal. In fact, after I had been a part of them I would feel comfortable saying that they could potentially be the next “world power” and not the UN. Which means they are on Satan’s side!

    • Dear “YOU ERASED WHAT I TYPED JW VICTIMS BECAUSE I’M RIGHT”. I appreciate that you feel so strongly about your belief system and the JW organization that you felt compelled to post a comment on this forum. I don’t know your background or circumstances (how you became to be a JW; how long you’ve been in it, etc.) but I was in it for 25 years from the age of 5. I have read these posts, and I see no “fake stuff” as you’ve indicated. Please be mindful that there are former JW’s who have been traumatized by the experience, and just because you may not have seen what we’ve seen or experienced what we experienced doesn’t mean it isn’t true. There are simply some things that cannot be denied (nor would the Watchtower organization deny them), such as: people have died (including children) from not being allowed to have a blood transfusion; people are shunned if they leave the organization (whether of their own accord or via expulsion); the threat of Armageddon is always constant; Supreme Court cases have ruled on sexual abuse cases within the organization; the organization has given 5 failed dates for the end of this system (the organization may always have an explanation for the failed date after-the fact but that doesn’t mean failed prophecies haven’t occurred); tertiary education is severely frowned upon (which directly affects one’s ability to take care of oneself and family financially); men are expected to groom a certain way (such as no beards or goatees); sexual abuse cases aren’t reported to the authorities unless the law of the land requires it; claims of wrongdoing (including sexual abuse) requires that there be two witnesses to the wrongdoing in order for the Elders or Judicial committee to even be able to consider the claims (I don’t know about you, but I can ‘t think of any child predator who is willing to commit such a heinous act in front of anyone; this then means that a child’s claim falls on deaf ears unless the law of the land requires that it be reported), etc. You refer to the Organize book on JW.org if people want to know more; however, the only information that the website and the organization’s publications provide are what they want people to know. You will not be able to find information on their website or publications about what they don’t want you to know. You can only do that by researching and looking elsewhere, which the JW organization doesn’t allow because they instill fear in its members that to do so is questioning the organization (which therefore means questioning God) and the risk of reading apostasy materials (which the organization teaches is an unforgivable act).

    • Actually I have no idea what comment you’re talking about, the only comments I erase are either abusive to other members, preachy, or far too long to stay on the site. This column stands on its own merits, as everything is taken right from WT literature and isn’t made up or just from some “apostate.” JWs are condemned by their own words.

  10. It’s a pity that some of us out of ignorance, or respect for religious people could entertain such criminal and cruel religion into our homes.
    Today, my family and I are going through untold suffering for refusing JW. They are not only murderers, but pathological liars, and chief fabricators.
    They deceived the Police, the justice system, and humanity in particular. We are suffering immensely because of our rejection to have our two sick kids killed by JW, and for practicing our right to religious choice.
    THE BLOOD OF JESUS WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT OUR CAUSE.
    Please feel free to reach me on hassjuly@hotmail.com for further information.

  11. My father was preyed upon by this cult. They convinced him to refuse a life-saving blood transfusion. He died because of that decision. The man had never attended church a single day in his life, until the JW preacher entered our home and brainwashed the man. We lost a father, and it has brought the downfall and destruction of our family.

  12. I studied for a real long time, 2-3 years at least! For me so many red flags went up, but the sisters who were studying with me kept after me to go to the KH with them. Oh and it was so nice at first. In my whole life I never met such friendly people. So then I decided to ignore the red flags and get baptized. And slowly over the course of maybe 2 years everything changed. I don’t know why they call it the truth; I never heard so much lying and covering up going on in my life. Lying to protect brothers was the worst. One of the elders started being rude to me and one excuse after another would be made for him. Well, they have enough trouble getting men to become involved so they are not going to do or say anything to upset them! I also noticed people who are well off financially are left alone and never picked on! I decided I had enough of the lies and people leading double lives. The control they want to have in people’s lives is definitely cult-like; no doubt about that. I know in my heart this cannot be God’s organization; it’s more like Satan’s! And I’m glad God helped me to find that out before investing anymore time into it.

    • I am so confused. I met a beautiful lady a year ago and we have the best chemistry together. She is a witness. She has been fighting it for a few years now. Was married to a witness and she divorced him because of adultery. She remarried a non witness and ended up divorced. She met me and we have been dating for a year. We have done a lot of things that are deemed taboo within the JW. She has been pressured threatened and is getting worn down. She is drifting back to the JW. She says she is disappointing Jehovah’s wishes and her friends and family. Our relationship is falling apart. We don’t spend nights together anymore. She is pushing me to the truth and says for us to be together she needs to marry someone within the truth or Jehovah will not approve. I love this lady to the moon and back but how can a religion state who can marry and who can’t. If two people love each other why can’t they be together. I would fully support her beliefs and would even attend meetings with her but unless I become a JW then she will be shunned and told she is a disappointment. What do I do

      • My sister is a witness and she married a no believe..my dad also wasn’t a witness and my mum was.. it’s looked down upon but so long as u dont have intercourse etc before marriage you can marry just not in a kingdom hall. I married so that I could be with my partner who was baptised and I was not.. we got divorce last year, we married too soon and for the wrong reasons. They wouldnt want you to go and be a JW just to marry her, not be forced into anything it only ends badly. Get married outside the hall if you want too not be forced to do something you dont want to please others it will only make you miserable. I hope you work it out

      • Bill, run for the hills. Love is blind but hindsight is 20/20. She may very well love you but if she really does she wouldn’t need to manipulate you into joining or even going to Kingdom Hall. What I have learned is that JW brainwashing is very slow, methodical, and subtle. Before you know it you’re screwed. What happens if you marry her and she decides to divorce? She get’s 50% of your assets. Maybe more if you have to pay alimony. Think about it. She’s being manipulated by someone in her organization and in turn manipulating you. If you don’t spend nights together anymore, she’s withholding her love from you. Let’s face it. We are just human and we all have “certain” needs. Sounds to me like she’s using her half of the bargain as a weapon. You must be strong. Be a man. But don’t confront her aggressively or in a demeaning manner. On another note, as you said, “I love this lady to the moon and back…”. Again, by what you wrote, I see she loves her organization more than you. Note, she loves her organization more than you, which is not a religion.
        One final thought. If she were a member of Jones’s People’s Temple Cult back in the Seventies and tried to pull you in, would you go drink the CoolAide with her? Good luck to you and God Bless you.

      • Thank you for the advice. It is so hard after the chemistry we have. She keeps telling me if she wasn’t a witness or if I was already a full JW we would be married by now. We share so much and have some wild times. I find it so hard how she we went from saying I love you ten times a day to just saying hi and bye after we talk. She just sits in her apartment alone while I sit in a big house alone. She is looking for a answer she can’t find. You say she can date and marry outside the religion but she feels it is back stabbing Jehovah’s wishes and she will be shunned by her friends and family. So I guess she is picking the truth over me first. I really can’t believe that a loving god would shun anyone who wants to be happy and live a happy life with someone they care deeply for It just doesn’t make sense. I live in a small town and it’s so hard to find someone local. Am I being played

      • “She keeps telling me if she wasn’t a witness or if I was already a full JW we would be married by now.”

        Hi! I’m a red flag!
        She basically said the organization goes before spending her life (or well, a short time according to her track record) with you.
        Also, her being JW aside, it is a bit strange for her to outright say that you’d be wed after having known you for only a year.
        A more typical way to introduce the idea would be to casually bring up the topic of a wedding, or a hint while watching a show/movie.
        Initial chemistry doesn’t last if lifestyles are incompatible!

        You seem really nice and cool, I wish you the best! Volunteering somewhere (animal shelter for ex.) is a good way to meet active kind-hearted people!

      • Hi Bill.

        I’m not one who regularly replies on forums but your story moved me so I’d like to offer a little advice.
        It seems the woman you love has a spiritual need.
        She thinks that that inner need can only be met by returning to the JW organisation but that’s not the case.
        Only Christ can fully meet her and your spiritual needs. And I’m referring to Jesus as He really is: a part of God.
        I used to have unstable relationships as you do now.
        15 years ago I’ve accepted Jesus’ death on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins and since then He has totally changed my life and guided me.
        If you and her call out To Him and do the same He’ll take care of the both of you as well. He loves you more than you can comprehend.
        Please read the gospel of John in a regular ( non-JW ) Bible.
        It’s the truth.
        I’m aware asking help from God may seem a bit of an awkward suggestion but please give it a chance.

        Best regards,
        Wim.

      • Dear Bill. I am a former, female JW, who was in the organization for 25 years. You may love your girlfriend deeply, but that love will grow to deep resentment. If you become a JW in order to be with her, the organization dictates your relationship and family life. They even come into your bedroom by advising what married couples may or may not do in the privacy of their bedroom. If you have children, they will grow up resentful and very depressed at all the restrictions; they will resent you for having had their childhood robbed of them. Your girlfriend has been brainwashed. No one likes to say they have been brainwashed but if you look up the definition, you’ll quickly see that JW’s are definitely brainwashed. She is fighting an inner turmoil – a fight between her heart and her brain. She wants to follow her heart but years of false indoctrination and the fear the JW organization instills in its members will prevent her from truly being able to give herself to you. The brainwashing is slow and methodical – you don’t even realize it’s happening until it’s too late. She will need to leave the organization (physically, emotionally and psychologically) in order for you both to have a happy relationship. Otherwise, your married life will be 3 weekly meetings, door-to-door ministry, preparing for meetings, etc. Emphasis is placed on using your spare time to serve the organization’s interests. JW’s are even taught that when you’re on vacation you’re not on vacation – JW’s are still expected to least attend meetings even when on vacation. Even the types of vacation you can take will be monitored. Forget about doing anything that is even remotely against the teachings, such as skydiving, or anything that can possibly be taken as a disregard for life by becoming involved with an activity with an element of danger. Forget about being able to hang out with friends and family because they are considered wicked by the JW’s. You will only be able to associate with them with the view of helping to convert them. If there’s no hope of conversion, you will be told to avoid them. Some people will never be able to leave the organization because it has too much of a hold on them. I am one of the lucky ones – I was able to leave, and the organization has no hold over me. I would suggest you read the book “Crisis of Conscience” written by a former (now deceased) member of the JW hierarchy to get a really good sense of what you will be getting yourself involved in. If you like the book, then the follow-up “In Search of Christian Freedom” is also a great read; both written by Raymond Franz. If you decide to read them, don’t let your girlfriend know – she will not be allowed to read them, and will probably end things with you, as those books are considered to be apostate material. JW’s teach that apostasy is the only unforgivable act. Everything you say and do (even how you dress and groom yourself) is monitored in the JW organization. Bill, I wish you peace and blessings.

      • Hi Bill. It’s Ann again. I just finished posting a comment and have just read through another of your posts with respect to your girlfriend’s ability to marry a non-JW. JW’s are allowed to marry non-JW’s; however, it is very much frowned upon and your wife will be considered spiritually weak for not having sought out a husband who is one of Jehovah’s servants. It’s so frowned upon that her JW family may not even show up to the wedding for fear of being thought of as not seeking God’s will first. Those who decide to attend will not be able to be part of the bridal party, and they may also not attend the reception, for the “ungodly” things that occur during “worldly” receptions, such as ungodly music and dancing (at my wedding to my JW husband, there was only slow music allowed; no toasts; no throwing of the bouquet; no throwing of the garter; and a man with a position within the church was appointed to oversee the reception to ensure nothing contrary to JW teachings occurred). My heart breaks for you. Perhaps if you read the books I recommended you can take tidbits of it and casually bring it up in conversation with her to five her food for thought You can do it under the guise of wanting to learn or have a better understanding of things. Just don’t mention it was from Franz’s books – perhaps you could say it was something you came across on the internet but that you don’t recall from where. FYI – she can’t become upset with you for investigating and asking questions because JW’s tell people they’re trying to convert to research and investigate and ask questions. It’s only once you’ve become of the member of the JW organization that you are no longer allowed to investigate and ask questions, because you have found the “truth”, and so why is there any need to question to the “truth”? My best wishes.

  13. Jehovah’s Witnesses were going to kill my two sick kids claiming the government of Canada is wasting monies on them.My life and family turned upside down since my wife and I decided to reknewed our wedding vow in 2010. Since then, we have been deprived of our rights to live a free and normal lives by seizing our privileges. We need your assistance. Please email us at hassan.sesay@mail.utoronto.ca.

    • Mr. Sesay, It sounds as if you are feeling guilty about your decisions. Don’t! I was not raised as a JW, but spent 7-8 years between studying and attending meetings. Red flags went up for me as well but I still got baptized. It actually took a rude, arrogant elder to get me to wake up! So although this elder made me felt singled out, I guess I should be thanking him! They treat men better than women because they need men to lead the others and this is also why they get away with sexual abuse! They are money hungry! What they do with this money, I don’t know. Maybe some of the elders steal some of it, who knows?? If you don’t have much money to give they are OK as long as you can go out on service everyday. It occurred to me they want you to bring more people in (not to spread the good news of Jehovah) to the KH so these people can give money. I was not good at either, giving money or convincing people to come to our meetings which is probably why they had no use for me. I was lied to which I actually didn’t want to believe at first. Don’t fall into their trap! Hopefully, you love your wife and children enough to GET OUT NOW! Stay away from them! God does not agree with their tactics!

  14. Hello all
    Im so shocked that ive been warned about these forums all my life and told of apostates can brainwash me into thinking things if I read them online, but now I have and your all so correct!
    I was brought up a JW and only recently fell away, I was in an abusive marriage where my husband was baptised and I was not, we were forced by the religion to marry as I was homeless and had no where to live. I was scared too to get baptised… if I did I would have to stay married to him and put up with it forever, I waited until it was his idea to divorce (5 years later). When I was married I went on the ministry, some JW refused to work with me on the ministry (pioneers) because I had big blonde hair, wore a wig and didn’t have expensive clothing. For my wedding anniversary my husband brought me ‘plain smart ministry shoes’ so that the sisters might work with me.
    Now divorced I wanted to go back to having a study, mostly because of pressure from all my family who keep telling me they don’t want me to die and for my deceased father to be resurrected and not find me in the new world. The guilt is enormous, it is little wonder why my whole family suffer from depression and so many sisters suffer from chronic fatigue, including myself. I studied for 6 months now and because it took so long to start one I had already started dating someone ‘in the world’ which they were disproving of. When I said I voted in the election both sisters ganged up on me saying “do you not realise that god disproves of this?!” like I was stupid and naïve or something and that in future if I want to do things I need to look it up on the societies website. After all this the sister kept making excuses not to see me and have a study, ill, no care, work, pioneer meeting, convention…etc sometimes not even turning up. When I sat down with her today she asked me the most personal questions, being rude and showing me scripture to but me down that I blamed others rather than myself. I explained that my mother had affairs growing up with elders when my dad was an unbeliever, I was sexually abused by a brother when I was young and me and my friend were told it was our fault because our tops were too low, the abuse I was given because of my ‘worldly appearance’ that because I wasn’t baptised me and my husband were ignored and left out of associating with JW’s and not allowed to have friends outside the faith, that I didn’t get baptised because of domestic abuse and that other sisters growing up did so many things wrong like sex parties but because they were born into elder families they were seen as good association and because my mum was disfellowshipped 3 times our family were shunned, so I told them everything and after they said “ we won’t be continuing with your study” like this was all my fault and that I wasn’t good enough. I know Jehovah is real, that im certain. But for this to be his organisation, I doubt it. I just wish he was separate, I give up now and accept my fate, it’s so instilled in me I think I will always believe in it unfortunately but the mental exhaustion that the religion can put you through with the guilt and the shame, its not worth it, no free thinking, the only way to be accepted is if you act as a zombie and do as your told and not speak the truth, the fact they call it the truth is ironic.

  15. That’s what I have been doing for the past 12 hrs just researching and I don’t understand how they can’t see how it a bunch of bs. I’m not very smart and I’m just a cop with no degree or anything and I have proved what they say is wrong a dozen times.

    • If you marry her, you won’t be able to be a cop. Cops sometimes have to shoot people. Who knows, you might have to shoot one of your spiritual brothers or sisters.

    • Sean
      When you marry , there are a lot of things you want. A partner, a family, a community. How happy will you be when your kids, your wife and the JW community shun you and you cannot see them again when you ’emerge’ at age 40 and realise you cannot live a lie in the JW society. You marry for character and for life! If you are happy to live the scenario above then marry her. Just realise you may waste 20 yrs of your life and then have to start again with another woman and do it all again! Remember – love is a decision and NOT a feeling!

  16. Ye that’s exactly it. I love the girl and she was raised a jw and I don’t think I could ever give up on her but I just don’t want her brain washed by “the truth”. I just want to convince her that it’s all a bunch of lies.

  17. I just need some advice on this whole thing. The girl I am engaged to is a jw but I am not. Her family loves me but they think I would consider joining them and my soon to be wife thinks I will change my mind someday. I know it’s a placed based on lies and guilt and it scares me. They were studying with me for a while and I always questioned everything and I’m a cop and a army veteran so when. They told me the whole flag thing I put a quick stop to the studying. I just want to know what to do and say to my future wife.

    • If your girl and her family are devout practicing JW’s, and if you told them your feelings and intentions, there will be no wedding taking place. And don’t make the mistake of marrying her thinking you will change her because you won’t. If she leaves the religion, her family will not be allowed to socialize with her. I’m doubting she would be willing to give her whole family up for you. What does your family say about it?

      • My family wants me to do anything that will make me happy and her family is all for us getting married. But if she gradually stops going do they punish her or what happens. And when we have kids will they punish her for them not going

    • You made it sound as if you like the girl but don’t want anything to do with being a JW. So if I were you I would ask her if she would be willing to convert to a different religion. If she doesn’t want to, you have an important decision to make.

  18. I feel so lost now. I’ve been raised as a JW my whole life. After reading through this, I just don’t know what to feel. Don’t know what to do. Everything I’ve ever believed is shattering at its base. I believe in the bible and that there is a god… But I maybe just feel like these things are the downfall of imperfect people misinterpreting things? I don’t know anymore. It’s just so different now. What do I do now? I love some of the people I’ve met through the organization, and some of the things that are taught I understand. But everything seems in vain.

    • I feel sorry for you. For a people who think they are going to either rule in heaven with Jesus Christ or will live on Paradise earth, they sure do lie a lot. Once you are baptized the “truth” as they call it, comes out. I have found they have cliques, they gossip, basically do things like other “worldly churches”, but for me were very careful not to let you see it until you’re baptized. I am on a fixed income and receive very little monthly and while I was studying, I told them this. They said, JW’s have enough money and showed me the buildings they were working on, etc. After I was baptized, I swear they must have had someone watch as I was coming through the door to see if I deposited something in the box. They claim they take care of their “own”; that is a bold faced lie as well. My husband is deceased. When I was a JW, they never helped me. I received more help from the kindness of strangers and neighbors. If you are thinking of leaving, before you do, make good friends with “other” people first, so you have support because you are going to need it. To shun your own family members is nothing short of “cruel”. And if the rest of your family are devout JW’s, they will be strongly encouraged to do this to you. I have found the elders who administer discipline and make decisions concerning others are the ones who sin the worst. I believe strongly in the Blble, Jehovah God, and His Son Jesus just like you and I try very hard to live by Bible principles. I don’t need JW’s to continue doing this. One more thing, you say you are a teen, when choosing a spouse, be particularly careful. I wish you much success in the future.

    • One thing to remember is that it’s not all in vain. You have experienced something unique. Most people wouldn’t want to experience what you have but you had no choice in being raised as a witness. You now are beginning to understand the difference between a high control group or cult and a healthy religion that encourages personal growth.

      Don’t base any decision on one resource. Look up other websites like jwfacts.com or JWsurvey and so on. Also start researching the psychology of an abusive relationship. Any JW is currently in an abusive relationship with the watchtower organization. The dynamics parallel that of a battered wife who defends her abusive husband when someone tries to help her. This is going to be very important in your journey. It will help you understand what happened to your parents and to you and the ex-jws on this forum.

      The advice to make connections with non JW people is important. Don’t make the mistake of dispensing your moral compass. This feeds into the myth that people leave the organization just so that they can commit sin. That’s absolutely false. My wife and I left and we aren’t on drugs having drunken orgy’s. There are genuinely good people among the billions on this earth. The idea that only 8 million (less than 1% of the earths population) people constitute “good association” is as ridiculous as it sounds.

      One last piece of advice. Research other groups that qualify as a high control group. Scientology, mormons, moonies, worldwide church of God (now defunct but please look up how it happened). As you read forums of ex members of these groups you’ll find yourself saying “that sounds like the witnesses” many MANY times. There’s a reason for that. Being here is a good start.

    • Pray and ask God to lead you in all truth, search the scriptures as you pray reseach like never before and you will find truth. Take every believe and weigh it out with sound reason.

    • Just goe through each day at a time! At the end of the day it’s your life and your choices and if you aren’t feeling happy then just do something about it! I’m fifteen and when I was half way through year eight I left and I honestly don’t regret it. You gotta do what makes you happy!

    • Don’t feel lost – feel found. You are allowing yourself to think for yourself and question, instead of blindly following what the JW hierarchy want you to follow. Feel blessed that you are brave and courageous to even be reading through these posts. I was a JW for 25 years (from the age of 5). I was miserable, especially as a teen, but what choice did I have? I was a minor and under my parents’ rule (who were both Witnesses [my father being an Elder]). Take things slowly – investigate, research, keep asking questions. Allow yourself your God-given right to use the brain our Creator made for you. The books that helped me free myself emotionally and psychologically from the JW organization were written by a former Governing Body member: Raymond Franz. Yes, he was labelled as an apostate by the JW organization, but of course that’s what they do when they want to prevent their members from learning anything destructive about the organization. It’s no wonder the JW’s are so afraid of allowing their members to read those books – you are forever changed once you read them. You are still young – you can free yourself (if you so choose to) from the teachings before you become so fully ingrained in them that you may never find your way out. I believe that if you’re meant to stay in the organization, then that’s the journey you were meant to have in this life; and if you find your way out of it, then you were meant to. Either way I pass no judgement on what you or anyone decides to do, but I will offer advice if asked (as you have done so). Peace and blessings to you.

  19. I could not he with a religion that tells a women to stay with an abusive husband or unqualified ppl questioning rape victims asking if they enjoyed it or how far apart were your legs are you ‘F’ing ” serious and the elders decide wethher you were raped or not..The wedding vows suck for the women you have to say “I respect you what happened toI love you…JW is so controlling and fake…JW sucks I love all holidays especially Christmas..I celebrate Christmas not for its religion nature but I love to see smiles on children’s faces plus family and friend visit its unrealistic to say you should celebrate daily with FAM and friend, from and friends live all over the world so I can not see them on the daily ..Also a man who cheats is hush hush bit a women’s cheating is shared with the husband and elders Ummmm not…JW is screwed up a thrown together practice of controlling ppl especially women..

  20. Yes, they are sect and you shoudn’t contact with them! I lived almost 2 years in Italy- they send people who are masking the JW real face.

    Do you know what is the content of the JW book?
    1.They don’t allow transfer of blood – wtf, are there people idiots or what?
    2.They won’t tell you “Give me money”, but they will try to use parts of their books.in the name of ‘Goodness’.
    3. They don’t do nothing for free!
    4. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that exactly 144,000 faithful Christians go to heaven to rule with Christ in the kingdom of God

    5.They believe the end of the World is coming soon – no such thing.

  21. Vernell Green, I would love to know what Kingdom Hall you go to, because any I went to when I was a JW was very conservative. And a person’s opinion had to be conservative, too. As far as going to lunch and doing other things with them, they like to hang with their own “kind”. They also say they do favors for people (like your carpet) but they don’t unless they get paid well. I needed an appliance brought into my house one time and even offered to pay. Not one of them would find the time to help. Finally, a kind neighbor helped me out. Why do you comment on this site with lies?

  22. My boyfriend is trying to force me to convert in order to marry him. I have a son from a previous relationship and now I have a daughter with him. He was incarcerated while I had our baby alone. He tried to get me to marry him while he was incarcerated. Thank goodness we had so many road blocks it gave me time to think. We have been together off and on since 2007. I love this man with all my heart. I have never felt this kind of love before. When our daughter was born I swore I would marry him regardless for fear of raising another baby alone. I have had my doubts about converting to be a JW. He obviously has not been a good JW and he is already trying to control me from jail. I think I will be raising our beautiful baby girl without him and it hurts. Listening to all of your statements and knowing my aunt died because her daughter refused her blood transfusion makes me very sad. My cousin then killed herself because of the guilt she felt. I am thankful to all of you for posting your experiences and sorry you had to go through them.

  23. My husband is a JW. I am not! I have Advanced Lupus and need several surgeries. My medical team is on the Western Shore of Maryland. We live on the Eastern Shore. He is willing to “Relocate me”, but not go with me because his number one priority is being close by WHEN his parents need him! Tell me, how is that Living the Truth? He has put me thru the ringer. Now he says it is my fault that we will not be staying together, I am choosing to leave him…. If I wait until his parents need his help or die, I will not be mobile, healthy as I can be or if I should pass before them! This has torn my heart into bits!

    • Hello Franny , I also am married to a JW ,I am so sorry you are going through this . I also believe my husband would not stand up for me and protect me from his elders , i did not know he was a Jw when i married him or i would not have married him .

    • Franny, I am sorry your husband has chosen to not support you during a time when you clearly need him more than his parents do. Yes, JW’s believe in taking care of their elderly parents but as his spouse, you should come first. Doesn’t he have any siblings to help out during this time? And surely with him being an active JW, another elder could check on his parents? They like to boast about helping each other but it’s all lip service. My guess is he just doesn’t want to move away and is using his parents as an excuse. I hope you went to get the help you need and deserve. He is wrong and obviously doesn’t have a conscience or any regards for his marriage vows. Again I am sorry.

  24. My father wasn’t perfect, who is, he married three times in total and his last wife was his childhood sweetheart. As it happened she was a JW, he had to convert to marry her.

    I can’t say I was thrilled, but if he was happy so was I, we did have a chat and I explained that having been brought up C of E in a family of church goers, but I had seen enough of the world to believe that no God exists and that if he does then he is a cruel vindictive son of a £$%&^$.

    My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer – there are great success rates these days, but not for him. Being a JW stopped him having blood transfusions and some other treatments. My brother and sisters watched him struggle for more than five years before he passed away needlessly.

    Several years later I found myself employed by a company that is owned by JW. They employed a lot of witnesses who were unqualified. As a result, the company has a lot of management issues.

    If there was a problem you were expected to put up with it. Speaking out gets you fired as I found out. The managers change the rules on a whim and people are treated like well paid zombies.

    I have come to the conclusion that in general terms the leadership is not kind and considerate, but rather evil and twisted.

    This single page shows them (JW) for what they are. Because of what I read here I’ve started my own website in an attempt to do a Mulder and Scully and get the truth out there about lots of things like this.

    • The more the merrier. JWfacts is a good resource with quotes from older JW publications that are no longer in print and can no longer be accessed via the JW Watchtower library CD-ROM. The reasons become painfully obvious when you research their history which includes their various medical policies that have resulted in many needless deaths.

      Even worse these policies changed more than once. Organ transplants were once considered cannibalism by Watchtower in the sixties. In the eighties that policy was changed. How many died following this mistaken policy? Not only that, there wasn’t a single word of apology from the organization, EVER. This includes blood fractions and vaccines.

      That’s just the tip of a very large iceberg. I’m sorry that your dad died because of an illogical cruel man-made doctrine. Watchtower is trying to whitewash it’s own history by removing entire publications from its library. I wish you well in your research.

  25. This is for you newtojw…..Read my comments under the name of Joy. Your decision could make a difference in your daughter’s lives and not necessarily for the good !

      • Hi,
        I know this isn’t my conversation but I was moved to write cause you mentioned you feel afraid.
        and I just want to say that it’s natural to feel afraid and even insecure.
        after all the organization you Joined is now being accused of hypocrisy, abuse, cover ups and the list goes on.
        all those things naturally make people feel insecure.
        because the general belief is that those things are part of the world or works of the flesh which god’s principles urge people to forsake.
        but when works of the flesh start growing within the organization which is meant to serve as a modern day spiritual ark,
        fear insecurity and uncertainty is bound to grow with it.
        it really saddens me to know the JW governing body has in a sense shot itself in the foot which has wounded not only them but the very people they are leading.
        I think that this will make many people within the organization feel afraid and insecure.
        cause as the world around them falls apart a bit more each day and the organization which is meant to carry them to a better place starts to fall apart,
        it then seems to look like all hope is gone?
        but I guess like with all things
        time will tell.
        but in the meantime it doesn’t look good at all.

  26. Thank you for trying to look out for me and for your concern. There is so little of this from people anymore. I never considered myself brave for sharing my experience. But I will be just fine. First let me say I don’t consider JW’s a cult. It’s more like a club where people that are well off financially and people willing to do the head leaders’ bidding are valued more than the rest. A “nice slap in the face” after they give you such a heartfelt invite to join them. I realize now, a lot of the elders and some other members of the congregation are wolves in sheep’s clothing. During the last few times I went to meetings I greeted my friends and they didn’t answer. I asked for the new years book on daily text, but guess what, they didn’t have any. I never expected anybody there to be perfect because no one is. The very first time he spoke to me rudely, many of the sisters came to me after the meeting to kind of console me. But I left it go and said to myself maybe he was having a bad day. So I tried to “turn the other cheek”. I was told by a couple of sisters, “Go to him and tell him”. Tell him, why? Because he doesn’t know when he’s being rude. These same sisters went to him to tell him what I said after telling me I could trust them and that anything I would say, would not be repeated. I don’t really care that they told him but I found out they could not be trusted and on top of that, they lied to me. (You see I know it was them because they are the only two people I told) I was taught that when people were given privileges, such as this particular elder, that they are not to “Lord it over”. If I planned on staying I would go to him and have a talk with him about his rudeness towards me. I see no point since I am finished with the whole thing. But like Alexandra said, I am lucky I was the only one in my family to go and get out. Believe it or not, I will always appreciate the knowledge of God’s word I received through all of it. But no more, thank you, I will cling to God and continue my personal bible study and daily scripture reading. I never did accept the implication that only JW’s would be saved business. Jehovah knows a person’s heart and just because they put these elders on a pedestal doesn’t mean they know what God will do. I believe if someone mistreats you once, shame on them. But, if I allow it to happen again & again, shame on me! God is with me on this decision, I can feel his blessing. By the way, this is a form of bullying: intimidation, embarrass, humiliate

  27. To all who commented:
    I just want to say there will be no end
    to this topic every side have its own.
    Just all be calm and hope you’ll not face and see each other, otherwise🍅🍅🍅🍅

    • Joy,
      I just reread your post and I want to say that I admire your honesty.
      your post gives people much needed insight into the way things work in the realm of Jehovah’s witnesses.
      but rather than use your honesty as a reason to attack the elders
      I will say instead that your post shows that when people try to imitate god and Jesus
      it is difficult to maintain it 24/7.
      and so they will inevitably be times when elders will be “human” which may manifest itself in them being harsh with a brother or sister for some reason.
      anywhere there are imperfect people it’s inevitable there will also be problems.
      so problems can’t be solved but some can,
      but the problem is made worse when people become unreasonable and refuse to help to solve the problem
      and so the problems grow and conflicts and arguments are bound to grow as well.
      and it becomes a negative cycle that keeps repeating itself over and over
      and then people are more likely to become fed up frustrated and disillusioned and decide to give up
      but they can never be the same again cause no one can enter an organization like JW’s and not be affected mentally.
      and so they go back into the world which is already overflowing with problems
      which makes them feel depressed
      but then they remember that being in the realm of JW’s made them depressed as well
      cause who can be happy waiting on someone who we are told will solve all your problems
      but he never comes?
      humans are not like god…god can obviously endure everything but humans are not like that.
      we get fed up after a short time.
      and god is not easy to love cause he takes so long to act.
      I sometimes think about that song “my sweet lord” and part of the lyrics say “I really wanna see you,
      but it takes so long”
      those lyrics can only come from a situation as the one we are all trapped in.
      this system inspires frustration and tears.
      and god doesn’t make it easy by building us up while keeping us waiting…and waiting…and waiting…and waiting.
      after a while its only natural for people to feel fed up.
      but because it is to do god they feel scared to admit it…but your obviously different Joy and yet many of your sisters and brothers would likely urge you to avoid saying how you really feel cause real honesty is seen as a lack of faith.
      but if that “faith” is making you unhappy why should you be scared to express it?
      I started studying with JW’s back in 1992-3 and though it helped me to quit smoking and drug addiction and alcohol dependance,
      the studying didn’t stop me from feeling depressed about the world I live in.
      this idea of face everything and keep smiling cause god is faithful didn’t work for me.
      if anything as time went on I started feeling evermore depressed and I eventually stopped studying and took back my freedom.
      last year I started studying for a short time but I quickly felt stressed.
      I didn’t like the controlling attitude of the person who was conducting the study.
      he would arrive with smiles and handshakes and shoulder slapping etc
      but that would then lead to criticizing the way I live…which made me feel humiliated.
      I felt that he was going too far and seemed to forget that I had invited him into my home to study not as an opportunity for him to tell me how to arrange my home.
      within a short time I felt uncomfortable and I knew it was inevitable I would give up and I did.
      but he didn’t stop and would phone or turn up uninvited and basically try to coax me back into studying but I doubt I will start again.
      I think for me the damage has been done from growing up in a world like this and then being told to dedicate my life to serving god
      and then all the pressure of having to conform
      and the way that makes me feel,
      it just seems too much and I can’t handle it anymore.
      I can’t imagine not swearing anymore when I feel stressed…I can’t imagine rushing to go to the kingdom hall on Thursday and Sunday as if my life would end if I didn’t go.
      and when I don’t go I then struggle to not feel guilty as if I have committed a major crime.
      I get tired of being told I will feel better if go…cause the fact is even if I go and I enter feeling tensed up and unhappy (as is often the case)
      and I leave feeling slightly better
      by the time I arrive back home and the hours past I inevitably feel low again.
      but I can’t go back to the kingdom hall at 3am in the morning…so I’ll lay awake in bed and pray to god to say how I feel and I can honestly say that I never feel better after.
      it just never works for me.
      but yet people will inevitably tell me to keep praying…tell god how you really feel…and yet I do that and it still doesn’t change the way I feel.
      I’m never going to be like the Apostle Paul…I don’t want to put myself through what he put himself through to gain gods approval.
      and therefore I am willing to be destroyed
      but I would prefer it to happen sooner rather than later cause I can honestly say Joy that I am really tired.
      like King Solomon
      I also hate life.
      this life doesn’t inspire me to praise god…I expect far more to make me want to praise him.
      its not enough for me to see the sky and fluffy animals etc etc
      cause after a while those things become boring.
      I want to see what god is like as a ruler not a creator…I think we have all had more than enough of living under man’s rule…its about time for god to take over and let us see what life is like under him?
      I feel hurt and disillusioned as a human beyond words and it has affected the way I feel about life and god.
      I’m not encouraged by the story of Job…it doesn’t make me feel better.
      I don’t like the Idea of being used as a human animal by an invisible spirit creature with the permission of god.
      its cruel and unfair and upsets me immensely.
      even now I feel like crying as I type…its the years of pent up frustration and disillusionment that makes me feel like this.
      this is why I can’t see myself ever becoming a JW.
      not while I continue feeling as I do.
      I can’t love god under these conditions…I don’t like his willingness to let his sovereignty be challenged and all the misery that comes as a result of that challenge.
      I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle…why should I give my time to go and stand out in the cold outside a train station holding up magazines that no one wants?
      the amount of times I have found copies of the awake magazine on the dirty pavements soaked by rain
      and people just walk on by.
      and I think to myself none of those people would walk past a dollar or pound.
      but they discard the magazine cause they see no value in it.
      if I’m going to give my life to serve god
      I want to be convinced that my time won’t be wasted.
      but I know that I can’t force the public to accept an awake magazine and a bible study.
      but yet I am convinced despite my depression and frustration that god is faithful and will bring in a new world.
      I just wish people would believe it.
      but that is unlikely especially when I consider the hold and influence false religion has upon the majority
      and the growing army of atheists who doubt god’s existence.
      all those elements strengthen the apathetic attitude towards Christianity more than any other religion.
      I just wish god would take action and deal with what’s going on down here once and for all and put us out of our misery.
      we have waited so long for him and people are getting fed up and are suffering more than ever.
      its horrible Joy.
      this is why I regularly think about taking my life cause I don’t think I can take much more of life down here.
      this life doesn’t make me love god…it has the opposite effect…cause he plays no part in life down here except being the Creator.
      humans have had far more impact on people than god…god makes himself look like a can on a supermarket shelf
      covered in centuries of dust waiting for people to chose him and they keep ignoring him in favor of false gods that don’t exist and drugs and cigarettes and abuse of every kind etc etc.
      and he just tolerates it and nothing changes…I can’t handle it anymore Joy…the amount of Times I have blasphemed god out of sheer frustration defies belief.
      even yesterday I did so after a sleepless night and a ongoing skin allergy and everything else and then the next day I just let out my inner torment and blasphemed god until I felt better.
      I know its wrong but I can’t help it anymore… I can’t live in a world like this and praise god.
      I can’t praise god just cause he inspires an organization that bears his name
      but can’t imitate him without problems.
      I feel sorry for every single JW
      cause they must be battling each day with depression and frustration and struggling to not let those things make them give up.
      and think about the effect the world has upon people Joy…we come in innocent and tainted by sin and within a short while we become tainted by tobacco and drug addiction etc etc etc…and then when we find about god we have to somehow over those addictions and influences.
      its so sad Joy and this is why I feel so upset with the governments and their lax approach to things like tobacco addiction
      and they way they use those things to their own advantage
      while people learn to become self abusers.
      and god just tolerates this day after day.
      this is why I struggle to maintain faith in him.
      when is the right time to act?
      how much longer will false religion be allowed to mislead people and governments use their authority to allow the common people to be seduced into self harming habits?
      when will this sick set up end?

    • JOY- you sound like a JOY! bless you. I can totally relate to what you are saying. My brother was born disabled (mentally challenged) and was a devout JW most of his life. (He has passed away). He was not treated well at all in the organization because of his disabilities. It was sickening. He was treated badly over and over and over again. He always turned the cheek.
      I was raised in the truth but never felt like I could fit in. I was molested by an elder at a very young age and never got baptized.
      This was during the 60’s and so I felt I had no one to turn to. I just felt angry most of my life and turned to drinking at an early age. Both my parents were good people and also JW but they were also treated badly. It is so true what you said in an earlier text. Once they get you baptized, your treatment becomes abusive and controlled!

  28. I am at present a baptized JW. I studied for 3 years before getting baptized and I really liked and admired the 2 women who did my bible study with me. It took quite a while before they got me to go to the Kingdom Hall. I was afraid I wouldn’t fit in and I was so scared when they finally got me to go out on service work with them. But I went along with everything until one of the elders started being rude to me. If I asked a question in our groups before going out on service he was very short with me and you could tell he was annoyed. I was very surprised to say the least. Everyone had always been so nice to me. I figured it was just a personality conflict and stayed away from him. But after awhile I suppose he “caught on” and soon others started ignoring me at the meetings. So I have made up my mind to not go to any meetings anymore. I was the only one in my family to be a JW so I’m glad I found out. They may be telling each other I will never live forever in paradise earth but I know deep down God did not put me here to be emotionally and verbally abused. It just isn’t healthy. I will miss the books (spiritual food) from them but I can always download them online. They always told me to look and act according to Jehovah’s righteous standards so that I wouldn’t dishonor and bring reproach on Him. What really surprised me about the rude elder was he was never concerned about bringing reproach on Jehovah. I guess what’s good for the goose is NOT good for the gander!

    • It’s good that you got out when you did and didn’t lose your family in the process. If you’re looking for spiritual food, remember that even the bible says that the word of god is “complete.” If you’re a Christian, you shouldn’t need a litany of books from men to supplement that. Be sure you’re also comparing their words with other sources of information, including history books and those written by scholars, so you don’t get duped by what they’re saying since they’re often inaccurate and quote things out of context. Visit this site for examples:
      http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/misquotes-deception-lies.php

    • Hi Joy,
      I think it is brave of you to share your personal experience of an elder who conducted himself in a way that isn’t in line with christian principles.
      sadly such things are inevitable cause of the fact that no one is perfect and therefore even if we get baptized and take part in the preaching work etc
      we still retain elements of human nature which can be manifested in ways shown by the elder you mentioned.
      however just as there are “bad apples” in a bunch
      it does not mean that all are the same.
      in my personal experience Elders I have met tend to conduct themselves in the way they are meant to.
      but in the meantime until god intervenes it will remain a challenge to adhere to god’s ways.
      but I hope you won’t let that cause you to give up.
      serving god while we are imperfect is never easy.
      it was a constant challenge for the Apostle Paul
      and we should expect it to be a challenge for us.
      until we are made perfect
      there will always be certain ones who due to imperfection and not enough experience and self discipline will cause others to complain.
      you will likely agree Joy that it tends to be that when people try to be perfect they show they are imperfect?
      simply cause they are trying to be someone they are not naturally.
      and so they have to struggle with their natural sinful inclinations while struggling to learn to discipline themselves to be obedient to god and Christ.
      I therefore sympathize with how your experience makes you feel.
      for example imagine being thrust into playing piano with a full orchestra when you have no knowledge of playing a piano or with an orchestra ?
      but you decide to do it only to find that you begin to show your lack of knowledge and experience.
      however if members of the orchestra start to complain
      the chances are you will end up feeling worse and discouraged right?
      but if they are fair and patient and remember that you lack knowledge and experience and feel nervous as a result of your inexperience,
      the chances are you will persist and hopefully with time you will start to relax and eventually fit in like a hand in a glove.
      and when someone new joins and is inexperienced and perhaps a bit apprehensive,
      your own experience will help you to be patient and gentle with the student as he or she tries to learn to play and fit in with the orchestra.
      and remember too that an over confident person is not exempt from making mistakes.
      in fact their self assurance may make them believe that they can do anything and play faultlessly
      only to find they they stumble and feel embarrassed.
      knowledge and experience and confidence follow one another naturally
      so try to be patient and weather the storm because the time will come when you’ll realize that you are precious in god’s eyes even if certain people doubt that.
      the Christian congregation is god’s property and so eventually he will bring his people to perfection.
      of course we all wish it would happen now but as we all know it takes time with god.
      and so we are advised to try to learn to be patient as we wait for the day god will intervene and put us all together as he intended way back in the Garden of Eden.
      I hope sincerely that you will make it to the end of the system.
      take care Joy.
      best wishes from Trevor.

    • Hi Joy,
      this may seem like a silly question but How do you feel being a JW
      during a testing time in which the governing body of JW’s are being accused of corruption and cover ups?
      I’m not a JW even though my posts tend to favor them.
      I just think it is so sad to know that the organization is now under the spotlight due to things which have been going on in secret.
      the scandal not only wounds the governing body but all the followers
      cause the more the allegations spread
      the less likely people will respond to the preaching work right?
      or at least it will make it more challenging for the many good witnesses to convince the uninitiated that JW is the religious organization to join
      despite the countless org’s throughout the world.
      and what is even more saddening is that the disease like scandal which is spreading started with one selfish bad desire in the heart(s) of certain individuals
      who decided to put their bad desires ahead of what is in the best interests of the Organization.
      selfishness Joy is always part of these kinds of scandals.
      its such a shame.
      but I nevertheless hope that god will prove to be faithful in the end if we both live to see the end?
      anyway take care.

      • This whole article is nuts. I’m a JW, we are not required to donate ANY money, some people do, but if you can’t it no big deal. At our meetings, we study the bible. We openly can raise our hands to be called on for questions and opinions. We don’t “join up” a person simply goes to the meetings or not. No priest or pastor jumps around telling us to repent, save ourselves. There are not any strict rules, except we are to follow the 10 commandments. That’s it. People who WANT TO GO DOOR TO DOOR DO SO IF THEY WANT, ITS NOT REQUIRED. WE DO DOOR TO DOOR BECAUSE JESUS WALKED PLACE TO PLACE TO SPREAD HIS WORD. We do talk a lot about SOCIAL ISSUES, like parenting teens is challenging these days due to music and TV. We talk about the plight of the homeless, we talk about environmental issues and how our weather is changing over the years, we talk about the importance of kindness, we talked, just last week, about emergency preparedness, NOT FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, but discussed how Hurricane Katrina destroyed a city and we should have water, batteries, food, etc., THE SAME THINGS THE GOVERNMENT SAYS IN ITS PSA FOR US TO HAVE HANDING IN CASE OF A NATURAL DISASTER, we WELCOME GAY PEOPLE, CROSS-DRESSERS, BECAUSE EVERY BODY SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GOD, JESUS, AND THE BIBLE. We AREN’T A CULT, WE BELIEVE IN GOD, JESUS, AND EVERYTHING ELSE ANY RELIGION BELIEVES. We believe in RESURRECTION, instead of heaven and hell. Lots of religions believe in resurrection. THIS ARTICLE IS NOT AT ALL TRUE, And the one issue: We don’t believe in blood transfusions, is an old old old issue, I was sick recently and NOBODY SAID DON’T GIVE ME BLOOD TRANSFUSION AND LET ME DIE. We don’t faith heal, we do pray for all the people suffering and ill in this world, as do all religions. We go to doctors, we take medicine, we drink but the rule is don’t drink too much to act like a bumbling idiot. THIS IS THE REALITY OF JWs, AND STUPID ARTICLES UNINFORMED LIKE THIS ONE GIVES US A WEIRD NAME.

    • Joy, It took you three years to allow yourself to be baptized. Can I ask you a couple of questions. It will really help me:
      1)Why did it take you three years to be allowed to be baptized? I thought it goes pretty quickly after bible studies.
      2) At what point did your “bible teacher” ask you to go door to door with her? Six months? One Year? Or right after starting to go to kingdom hall on Saturdays?

  29. If you read the watchtower that you said stay with your husband even if it’s abusive physically is not true. I Just read the whole article for the watchtower May 15 2012 It said that people may end up divorced or leave their partner because of abuse. It doesn’t state anywhere that you have to stay with an abuser.

    • What do they mean by an abuser, if your partner is not a member of the sect they automatically become an abuser which means that they can be divorced just
      for not being a part of the sect.
      That is the control they have over the members, every word they print is open to their internal code which is strictly controlled by the elders, what they say is law.

    • Theresa,
      I’m neither married or a JW
      but I do know what it is like to grow up in a household in which one’s father was abusive to his wife and children.
      it is sometimes said that an abuser is often the victim of abuse
      and that was the case with my dad.
      he suffered physical abuse from his own dad
      and maybe that was why he imitated his dad when he became a husband and father?
      and if the influence of Jehovah results in a gentle loving father and husband and friend
      then it is clear that my father and his father were not influenced by Jehovah.
      and though abusive behavior shouldn’t be condoned,
      it can be helpful if we try to understand what lead the husband or wife to behave in an abusive way?
      it could well be a sign of ignorance of how to deal with challenging situations?
      for example how cannot relate to situations where we want something to work but cause we lack knowledge we end up frustrated and that frustration can lead to outbursts of anger.
      and anger of course can never make things better.
      but if we have knowledge
      it can affect how we react to situations.
      because of our knowledge we may calm approach the situation and deal with it in a calm way which results in satisfaction and peace of mind rather than frustration and anger.
      but also when we love and treasure someone or something we tend to show it by the way we treat it.
      so abusive behavior may actually be a manifestation of hate rather than love.
      but since the basis for divorce is adultery
      and the couple are baptized servants of Jehovah,
      they are obliged to adhere to those rules.
      however that does not mean that the wife or husband is obliged to put up with being abused by their spouse.
      they are of course advised to seek help by prayer and by the elders and if need be assistance from the local authorities until the situation is rectified.
      but in the meantime the abuser is advised to reconsider their behavior and reflect on the standards of the god they were dedicated to.
      he or she will know that Jehovah does not condone abusive behavior of any kind and that the doing of such things makes them accountable to him and that it can lead to action being taken by the elders in order to remove bad influences from the congregation and give the abuser(s) time to reflect on their conduct and hopefully change in order to receive god’s mercy and repair the relationship with their spouse.

    • Amen. We JWs don’t believe you should stay in a marriage when you are a battered woman. We JWs say ‘Leave” This is another dumb idea that people believe. Usually Catholics (i’m a former one) who encourage people to stay.

      • Well no, what you just did is called an outright lie. You can visit the Domestic Violence category of this site and see how JWs encourage women to stay; the February 15, 2007, Watchtower said, “…some unbelieving husbands – even those who are abusive – will become Christians after observing the submissive conduct of their wives.” So they outright tell you to stay and be submissive even to his abuse. I’m sorry you feel a need to lie to cover up your religion’s actual conduct; I wonder how god would feel about that?

      • Yes I read this scripture. LITERALLY NOBODY WOULD ANYONE BELIEVE THAT WE WOMEN ARE SUBJECT TO THEIR HUSBANDS. It means that we should stick to family, resolve family issues, BUT DON’T EVER BELIEVE WE WOULD WANT A WIFE BEATER OR ADULTERER TO STAY IN A MARRIAGE. You are like an Inlamic jahadistt, a minory of Islamic who TOOK A SCRIPTURE OR TWO, AND RAN WITH IT, STARTING A JIHHAD, A HOLY WAR.
        You need to read more that the scriptures you quote. I have had trouble in my marriage a couple of years ogo. Nobody encouraged me to stay or go. In fact, in 2004 MY HUSBAND IM MARRIED TO NOW WENT TO THE CATHOLID CHURCH, SO WE COULD MARRY THERE. MY FIRST HUSBAND WAS AN EXTREME WIFE BEATER, BROKE MY LEGS, NOW, ARMS FOR THE 13 YEARS BEFORE I LEFT. I THEN MET MY CURRNET HUSBAND SO WE WENT TO SEE THE PRIEST AT THE CHURCH HE SPENT IS WHOLE LIFE IN, SCHOOL, ETC. THIS LIFE. WE TALKED TO THE PRIEST AND HE SAID “You [meaning me] SHOULD GIVE MORE CONSIDERATION TO MY DIVORCE FROM THE WIFE BEATER, AND THIS PRIEST KNEW ALL OF THE STORY ABOUT ME GETTING BEAT AND STABBED BY MY FIRST HUSBAND.
        SORRY LADY, MY JW ELDERS OR FRIENDS WOULD NEVER HAD SAID THAT TO ME.
        BUT THE GOOD OLD CATHOLIC CHURCH DID.
        Read more scripture, look up the topic in back of the bible and read ALL THE SCRIPTURES that made that scripture an issue. A lot of it had to do with keeping the lifeline of David. If you want some scriptures to read about this to explain more of this to you, I’ll be more than happy, if you are interested. Right now, I need to get to my granddaughters ballet classes, but can happily find these scriptures, and NO I AM NOT GOING TO GIVE YOU SCRIPTURES MADE UP BY JW, OR WANT YOU TO “JOIN JW”
        Just like anything in life, it’s a good idea to get all the information and the backstores of things that are important .

  30. Greetings,

    I would rather point out that this epistle lack substance as it is judgmental, vindictive and biase.

    There is no religious organization in the world that is completely free from ill practice by some or many of its members. I challeng you to carry out research in other religious organizations and certify any, and see if you will not get worst case scenarios.

    There are good, bad and ugly people in evry religious organization. I would have appreciated your research if done in the direction of principles upon which the organization was founded not on mere human errors.

    Tnx….

    Joe

    • Holy crap! Our friend Joe here is unknowingly exemplifying the cult mentality. Keep commenting, Joe! You’re just digging a deeper hole and everyone can see the manipulative JW’s for who they truly are. Oh and God bless 😛

      • Suzy,
        everyone is capable of being manipulative.
        that’s not limited to those that belong to a religion organization.
        I think its also right to remember that a Jehovah Witness is a person who never stops learning to be Christ like.
        and imperfect people imitating Jesus is never going to be easy simply cause they are not perfect.
        and it is made more difficult when people grow up under the influence of the world and its ways and so as a new witness
        they have to learn to imitate Jesus and that is never easy.
        it wasn’t easy for the Disciple peter or the Apostle Paul.
        think as well about Moses and how he occasionally lost his cool as he sought to lead the Israelite people in the way god commissioned him to lead.
        their imperfect nature and the influence left on them during their captivity in Egypt made it challenging not just for Moses but for themselves as well.
        so from that time to the present day
        should any of us be surprised to find that the organization in god’s name has its share of challenges and problems?
        being imperfect is easy Suzy cause its in a nature
        but imitating a perfect man such as Jesus is challenging cause we are not naturally perfect.
        and its fair to criticize those that try to imitate Jesus and stumble many times,
        I put it to you Suzy that if you tried to imitate Jesus you would find it difficult.
        in fact its far easier to criticize those who try than to try to imitate them.

      • I’d like to find out what “cult” I’m in. We ladies go shopping together, have coffee, dinner, movies, and during these things NOBODY talks religion, we just have fun. I feel sorry for people like you, so uninformed. We wear nice clothes, and we do wear other clothes than skirts. Those of us who can, still wear a bikini to the beach!!!! Our noses are not in the bible 24/7 . It’s only about the 10 commandments and the history (in the bible) of events going on in the ancient world, from Chapter 1 of the Bible to the end of the bible. We also believe in Jesus Christ. I’d love you to find the cult mentality of those who worshiped God and Jesus. There were indeed incidents of groups of people who didn’t do things the way they were supposed to When Moses came down the mountain with the 10 commandments, he saw people worshiping a gold idol, having sex, being drunk. Yes, there were people who disobeyed various issues in the bible. You can read my bible, the King James, the Gideon, and guess what? The stories are the same. Feel free if you think you are important enough, to re-write the bible to explain your opinion on cults.

    • You don’t understand, the Jw’s attack the Catholic Church when they had problems with the child scandal, but now the shoe is on the other foot so to speak, now they have a problem with people scrutinizing them for the same abuses.

      • I agree with you Dave
        but its to be expected because everyone wants to win.
        but only one will win at the end of the day.
        and even if JW’s has closet child abusers they will be removed permanently when god takes over.
        in the meantime hypocrisy is inevitable.

      • I just think no matter if it’s a church, school, neighbor, etc., molesters should rot and die in jail. People in organizations always try to spin something for damage control, BUT THERE IS NOTHING TO ME, MORE AWFUL, EVIL, UNHOLY, THAN A CHILD MOLESTER. – THEY SHOULD DIE. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church is the one case of child molesting that people making such a big deal over, because they heard more about it than other molestation cases in churches. Maybe I’m going out on a limb here about the 10 commandments, but I would PERSONALLY TRY TO KILL anyone who molested my kids or 7 grandkids.

    • To Shyn43

      It’s a common misconception that abusers have been abused themselves. Sometimes they have and sometimes they haven’t but they all abuse their wives because they are psychopaths. Fact. They have no conscience and they enjoy seeing their wife and/or children suffer. They enjoy the drama. They enjoy the power. No amount of “reflection” will cause them to change their ways. The situation never becomes “rectified”. I speak from vast experience, of my own and others’.

  31. I am studying with a wonderful jw and have been warmly received with kindness by the congregation but I am concerned after what I just read. I have two beautiful little girls and I would protect them with my life. I am torn because I have only been shown love and support and encouragement by the elders. But I do see the way women are just a little different then men and I wonder…I see nothing wrong with living a moral good life but I don’t want my girls to ever let anyone hurt them and my children will never be shunned by me no matter what they do or believe. So now I have to pause and really research before I go any further with the jws for the sake of my girls.

    • Yes, please do some research and keep your eyes open. Remember that they are going to be warm and loving to you while you’re new and will never tell you about what really goes on once you’re a full-blown member. Read through this site and others so you know what you’re getting into.

      • Continue your study and grow your love for God… Do not allow critics to demoralize you.
        If anyone is saying you are in the wrong place. Let him show you the right, then compare and contrast beliefs and practices. Then take your position.

        Joe

      • You were right. I became an unbabtised publisher in Dec and recently I’ve began to notice subtle changes in my bible teacher. I little bit of pressure and control. I got rid of a my friends. The jw’s are my family my only friends. I’m scared to step back. I don’t want to let them down or lose them. They are really great mostly…but I can’t have anyone tell me how to live every detail of my life. Its so subtle I didn’t see for so long . I’m scared to stay scared to get out…

    • Absolutely take the time needed to do critical research on something that will affect your entire life course and the future of your children.

      Most of us here (excluding Joe who is nothing more than a JW propagandist) can give numerous examples of the deceitful tactics used by watchtower to fool new members.

      As a parent a good place to start would be to investigate the child abuse policy of Jehovahs witnesses. You wouldn’t have to visit any exjw sites for that. The Australian royal commission has done an extensive investigation that exposed their horrendous record. They are receiving coverage in different media outlets as well.

      There are a great many things wrong with the religion. That’s just the start.

      • We ex Jws should also be careful in what we say against our former religion especially to those people who are just associating. It’s good to avoid negative comments but just be responsible and sensitive to the conscience and thinking of other people. One way we ex witnesses can do is to encourage them to do research in the light of what the Bible says and by giving them the freedom to choose on which future they will go.

      • its good advice Joe
        but increasingly difficult to do as this system crumbles evermore.
        I feel so fed up…even now I feel like crying as I reflect on this sick set up on earth and how god deals with it.

    • Newtojw,
      I can understand how you feel,
      But I don’t think you need to worry more than is necessary.
      I think that most JW’s try their utmost to treat people as Christ would…after all he is their exemplar.
      the difference is he was ” perfect” Jw’s are not
      and so unfortunately there will be some that will allow bad desires to override the desire to live according to god’s standards and that’s when problems grow.
      but I think your daughters will be relatively safe within the realm of JW’s.
      I things will work out well for you and your children.
      Take care.

      • I studied with two very nice ladies as well. They still are nice ladies, however, just realize that once you keep going to meetings, make a lot of friends and decide to get baptized they want complete control over you. Such as, “Oh why were you not out on service this week and you missed the theocratic meeting. Remember spreading the good news was a direct command from Jesus and we are told to keep meeting with one and other.” You may say something like, “I was afraid if I attended the meeting my children would be tired getting up for school the next day.” Remember, Jehovah needs to come first in your life. The only day you can go out on service is Sunday and you would really like to have that day as “family day”. “Well, remember, we are a part of your family and you can bring your children and husband out on service, too!” They like to speak to people in the third person at the meetings, too. They will make part of their “talk” about making sure to go out on service. I never got why they keep a record of people’s service hours either. It’s like they want recognition for going out on service. So they give names such as “pioneer” if you do a lot of hours. And I’ve been out with them countless times and they spend ample time at the gas station buying snacks and taking their time sitting in the car deciding which houses to go to and which houses not to go to. I’ve been with them plenty times when no one had any territory and they decided to go to return calls. Well, no one is ever home or people don’t answer their doors. So I thought well here I am out on service with no one to give the great news to. I could be in a store and strike up a conversation with someone. When I brought this up to them, they said well part of going out on service is getting to know each other. I came to the realization that this is their way of keeping you with them because they don’t want you spending time with “worldly people”. When your children grow up, I hope they want to marry a JW, because if they don’t, their spouse will be expected to be a JW. Well maybe their spouse does not want to be a JW and maybe he or she wants their spouse to spend time together. And your grown child will be expected to say, “Jevovah comes first in my life”. Now their spouse is angry and frustrated spending time with his friends without his spouse (your child) and maybe he’ll start entertaining the thought of “finding someone else”. You would be wise to think of all these things before committing. I always loved God and when they came by my door and offered a FREE bible study, I thought, what have I got to loose. I always had some trouble understanding the bible and they are willing to help me. Well, they did! And I have told them I will always appreciate the help they gave me. So I am that much more knowledgeable and they received lots and lots of service hours for helping me. They supply a lot of books for helping to cultivate a Godly life but believe me, they want pretty much control of your life.

      • I’m sorry, I forgot to mention if you decide to “drop out” because your adult child married a “worldly person” and it would be better because you can spend quality time with your biological family; you can kiss all the friends you made as a JW goodbye. They are told to shun you for your own good. Because if you miss them bad enough you might be an active JW again. And if you are a JW long enough this is easier said than done. I’m thankful I wasn’t a JW for too long and my family wanted nothing to do with it. I’m not sorry for this experience though, because I’m not bitter and if asked, I can educate others about it. I am still living a Godly life!

      • Kathy,
        don’t take this the wrong Way,
        but I think you are exaggerating in comparing JW’s as “hell on Earth”
        if you were more specific about what makes them appear hellish
        that would be far more helpful.
        in fact I ask you to please be more specific about what makes the JW organization comparable to an intense fire?
        Is it because of their code of conduct that puts you off?

      • We don’t join their organization. You go to meetings if you want to. You don’t pay any money if you don’t want to. I’ve had many friends whose kids married other people that were not JWs. And as to what Joy says, I’ve been friends with these ladys for YEARS! There’s no “dropping out.” If you stop going to meetings, my friends might call and say “Hey, I haven’t seen you at the hall, are u ok?” When my daughter’s carpet flooded in her house, JWs had a member that owned a carpet business. She had her carpet redone FREE, AS A KINDNESS. SHE ISN’T A JW EITHER. My surgery, when I needed blood, everyone came up to see me. Nobody worried that I needed blood. Of course they said they would keep me in their prayers, like most people say to anyone going through hard times. You are another who just creeps in to lie about what we do.

    • That’s exactly what you need to do. Investigate their history, what they really believe, what they think about our saviour JESUS-CHRIST. Don’t be distracted by that fake love and kindness they are showing you. See 2 Cor. 11:14. Please take time to investigate just the way you would do before purchasing a HOUSE and don’t just sign up and regret tomorrow. We as children of GOD are to be free, I mean really FREE. Don’t become a watchtower slave and work to enrich that multimillionaire company selling their tracks and magazines door to door. Salvation is not in joining an organization, but believing in the LORD JESUS-CHRIST. See Acts 16:30-31 GOD bless you.

    • Dear NewtoJW. I see your original post was almost a year ago, so I don’t know where things stand right now but I wanted to let you know that the JW organization doesn’t see women “a little different then men”; they see women A LOT different then men. Women are to be subservient; decision making is made by the man of the house (the husband can confer with his wife but the ultimate decision is his to make); men take the podium to deliver talks (women are not permitted to take the spiritual lead); it is the man’s responsibility to take control of the house i.e. make sure his family is living up to the JW requirements, etc. People do not need religion or any organization in order to live a moral life. Your girls will thank you for allowing them to live their lives and think for themselves, instead of being taught that anyone not a JW is wicked and will be destroyed. Here’s some food for thought: you stay in the JW organization; you become baptized; your girls become baptized; you decide to leave the organization; your girls decide to stay. Your girls will be required to shun you and cut you off. I’ve seen family ties broken and lives destroyed by this unloving and heinous organizational policy. FYI I was a member for 25 years so I speak from experience.

  32. Those who believe in it and follow it (JW’s) defend it…..Those who know nothing about it speak out of ignorance and opinions….those who lived it and experienced it speak of the truth! More people have been affected and destroyed by this thing of stupidity and what is probably the most adulterated biblical teaching that has ever been manipulated. Facts have proven it is in a world of its own and unless you are weak and empty and susceptible to be brain washed run the other way! Its a religion that offers nothing! No salvation…no soul saving…no path to god or heaven or anything else you want to call it. Its the only so called religion that believes in conditional love, shunning, dis-fellowship, and flat out shoving mis-interpreted information down someones throat! And one thing you can be guaranteed is at some point or another they will touch and contribute to destruction of someones life and family, They are probably one of the most untrustworthy and spineless group that exists. You will only know where you stand when you come to accept the fact that you stand no where with them unless you are one of them. All someone has to say is ” you are not to talk to them anymore” and thats it! Thats all it takes.. Next thing you know…you have no brother or sister or husband or wife or whomever! OVER! And anyone who has experienced it knows thats true. Plus…most truthful things whether its religion or an ad campaign, or a book, does not require defending. Most people spend their time defending what is not true not what is. JW’s spend 99% of their time defending what not! This is why they have a hard time selling their BS. Just like a bad car salesman selling a bad car! Plus …really…how many people do you see converting to and from other religions? Mostly if you do its for marriage purpose only nothing more nothing less. I have been to many sermons and masses from all sorts of religions from Jewish to catholics to baptists and never have I been in attendance to any other faith where they have bashed other religions, but I have been to JW’s meetings and circuits and assemblies where they have devoted time in order to bash the rest. Really? To all out there….want to belong and believe in crap like JW’s go ahead doesn;t matter what country or nationality or tribe you come from you have the right to believe and choose in life what you want, we are born with that right, what you don;t have the right to do is go around and affecting and destroying others because of what you choose to follow! JW;s offer a path to destruction certainly before death and probably after!

      • OK
        but the “we ain’t acknowledging you anymore” is in line with the guidelines found in the bible.
        on the surface it seems cruel to shut someone out (especially when it happens to be sibling or even a mother and father)
        but think about this…it’s the current US soldiers creed…

        I am an American Soldier.
        I am a Warrior and a member of a team.
        I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values.
        I will always place the mission first.
        I will never accept defeat.
        I will never quit.
        I will never leave a fallen comrade.
        I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
        I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
        I am an expert and I am a professional.
        I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America, in close combat.
        I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
        I am an American Soldier.

        which part of it appeals and doesn’t to you?
        do you notice how US soldiers are obliged to be loyal
        no matter how unpleasant the situation may be?
        and what about the part about “Army values”
        and destroying the enemies of the USA?

        compare all the above to the “creed of JW’s”
        Their Boss is God and he trains his army( not to destroy his enemies but to love them)
        and that love is manifested by the preaching work.
        the destroying of enemies is left to god and his son…and in the meantime the enemies of god are given a fair chance to stop look listen and decide whether to join his army or not?
        if they chose to join
        they receive training (like American soldiers) and are obliged to be loyal.
        a loyal well trained American soldier won’t even consider Betraying his country by joining the enemies on the other side
        because he/she knows that goes against the soldier creed.
        so god directs his army to shun those who chose to be disloyal,
        does that mean he is cruel and indifferent?
        no…the shunning is for a purpose even though it appears to be cruel in the eyes of bystanders.
        and if the bystanders then chose to despise JW’s for being loyal to their god
        then the bystanders are in effect despising god
        because it is he who molds them even if it is by means of a selected number of people known as a faithful and discreet slave.
        and like the American army,
        JW’s march on despite criticism and opposition because like soldiers they are loyal to their boss and they have faith that if they carry on serving him loyally
        he will reward them in due course.
        and just because their boss “appears to be sleeping in heaven” it doesn’t mean he doesn’t care and won’t act on their behalf.
        remember that Noah also faced apathy and his boss in the eyes of the majority appeared to be sleeping
        but according to the bible
        god proved to be trustworthy and Noah’s faith saved his and his family’s lives.
        whereas those who ignored Noah and God perished in the global flood.
        the bible writer Peter foretold that God intends to use the same method with the current generation…I.E…the preaching work first…and then destruction for those who don’t heed the warning and salvation for those who do.
        you surely notice that despite popular belief
        god is giving everyone a fair chance.
        everyday is an opportunity to think about the bible message…what is its purpose?
        what does god expect from us?
        is he trustworthy?
        are his principles unfair and unduly restrictive or are they designed for our benefit?
        and if by joining god’s army
        what is the reward for his troops?
        everlasting life and many more blessings.
        weigh that in comparison to the reward for an American soldier?
        it’s pretty obvious to me whose army is worthwhile joining even though god’s army has to endure much hardship and problems.

  33. So I guess you all think that Jw members are prefect, no one is, I study with them, I’ve being with them for seven years. Still not baptised, but their books help me build my self esteem. They change, what they say true, but I found it better than church. They don’t control members, they article is far exaggerated, I won’t be surprise if I don’t see my post. People not everything can be tried , but not until u try certain things u can know. All the best everyone

    • If you’re only studying then you may not be in the best position to speak for them. Note too that this information is taken from their own literature so nothing is exaggerated. As for not being perfect, that’s not the point. The point is the horrific control they have over members, to the point of abuse. Please be careful about studying with them and be sure you do your research from non-Jehovah’s Witness sources.

    • surprised? you did see your post. I was JW for 35 years, an elder and regular pioneer. When I decided to leave and dissociated myself, I lost all of my friends and family. My best friend died, and I was not even told. 35 years of conditional love, why, because I no longer wanted to be a JW.

    • Pam,
      I agree with you.
      in fact when people compare what they hear in a church in comparison to what they hear in a kingdom Hall
      there is a big difference.
      church use Images as part of their routine
      but if god is in heaven and is the source of life
      what is the need for Images or idols?
      but the catholic church digs its heels in and insists that image worship is justified by referring to the instructions given to king David and Solomon about how to make the golden cherubs etc.
      what they overlook is that worship of god no longer includes images of golden cherubs etc.
      when the Catholic church gets it’s wake up call as foretold in the book of revelation
      what a shock it will be for it.
      when it finds that it does not have god’s favor or support.
      whereas those who faithfully and properly worship god won’t suffer that fate.

      • Agree, all I remember at the Catholic Church was the words we were supposed to stay, and as a kid, laughing at the bell ringing. I had no clue why I made my first communion and my confirmation. I asked a few friends who are still Catholic “what did it mean to you and why did you make first communion?” NOBODY COULD ANSWER. A long time ago I decided to read a little of Psalms and Proverbs because I liked them. So called SAINTS DID FABULOUS WORKS IN THEIR LIVES. But to pray to them instead of God and Jesus? Same with Mary, PLEASE pray through Jesus or to God. Bless Mary for all she saw and went through watching what happened to Jesus.
        I read a book called “the Handbook of the Catholic Religion”, and they interpret so much to WHAT THEY THINK!

        So in the end, shyn23 is correct. When Jesus comes he will judge those who honored his word and taught his word. He wants us to live a good life, and enjoy the things he provided, including his word which is to me, common sense and a good way to act and behave.
        Personally I’m fighting tooth and nail trying to make industry stop polluting this earth. I ALSO WORK IN FIGHTING FOR LEGISLATION FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS, STRONGER SENTENCES FOR ANIMAL ABUSERS, AND SHELTER REFORM. I HAVE THE LEGAL EXPERTISE FOR THESE FIGHTS. I THINK GOD LEAD ME TO DOING THIS, IN ONE WAY, I SAW A HORRIBLE PICTURE OF A BEHADED DOG WHO WAS BLIND AND DEAF. THAT WAS IT FOR ME.
        I THINK JESUS AND GOD APPROVE.
        NO JW EVER IN ALL THE YEARS, SUGGESTING I STOP DOING THESE THINGS!!!!!!

      • “when the Catholic church gets it’s wake up call as foretold in the book of revelation
        what a shock it will be for it.
        when it finds that it does not have god’s favor or support.”

        You can replace Catholic Church with Jehovahs witnesses and they fit in perfectly with Revelation. You can’t cover up child abuse, use logical fallacies in ALL of your literature, not have any REAL accountability to your members, and call yourself the one true faith. Hypocritical policies, us vs them mentality, doctrine over people, these are all clear signs of an abusive high control group. When human ethics surpass that of your God you have to question which God are the JWs really serving?

    • again I appreciate your honesty Joy.
      its refreshing and should help people see that being a JW isn’t all smiles and harmony etc.
      after all they are imperfect people trying to imitate a perfect man on a daily basis…that can never be an easy thing to do.

    • I love this about JW. Nobody preaches about us being perfect and we do learn that men and women are not perfect. It’s so more realistic about everything I ever heard in a church. My daily reflection book (like the ones they have in AA) is the first think I check out, takes 60 seconds to read. See how this article makes us look? I rather study the bible instead of following some institutions (life churches) rules about money, picking and choosing what they feel like writing a sermon for that week, screaming on the pulpit about being saved. How bout we all life in harmony and courtesy to each other, respect each other, help each other. This is why I learned in JW.

      • Vernell I think you’ve posted quite enough on this page. We’ve heard your opinions about church and child molesters and the bikini you wear. This isn’t your personal page to go on on and on. Please sit back or I’ll close commenting altogether. Thank you.

    • Pam,
      I agree with you.
      JW’s are humans first and Christians last.
      it takes a brave person(many would say a foolish person) to make the decision to become a JW.
      and why?
      because it means learning to put god first and ourselves second.
      and that’s not easy when we are born into a world in which pleasing ourselves remains popular.
      it also means being willing to make changes in our daily routines in order to please god.
      and that’s not always easy.
      there will be times when people feel tired physically and emotionally Tired
      but you are encouraged to fight it and make the effort.
      that then creates a build up of stress
      and as time has shown
      that can lead to a breakdown
      and when that happens,
      one is obviously no longer fit to follow the path anymore.
      and in some cases it may put people off following the path again.
      this is why I say that it takes a brave person to put themselves forward to become a JW.
      its far easier to become a priest because they are less zealous about pleasing god.
      and yet according to what JW’s say,
      priests are due to be Judged by god.

  34. “They (JW faith) do not allow their members…”
    “Control..”

    I am not even JW. I am LDS writing a paper on the JW faith…
    But the words you use paint a certain picture of the JW faith and take a victim stance (yes… the name of this blog)…

    But the moment we position what might be God’s will as victimization, is the moment we demonstrate our pride. We can be sure we have let pride come between what IS (or may be) and what we are willing to seek out and prove in the Holy Spirit.

    I think wisdom teaches us that it is enough to say, “I have had my experiences with such and such faith. I have sought to prove the message and doctrine in the Holy Spirit, and I am following what I feel is right accordingly, I ENCOURAGE YOU TO DO THE SAME. Because you have your own journey and you need to know and are accountable for yourself.”

    We could say, “how dare this parent demand such and such of their child… that is down right abusive!” (and it may be as humans are weak and often use control, something God does not do. He honors the freedom of choice He has given us…)

    But if I am humble, I will consider the purpose behind the principle or commandment and realize the motivation for such a commandment.

    We each need to do the work… the searching of study and prayer in the Holy Spirit for ourselves – because ignorant, foolish, lazy, prideful or insincere is the man/women who takes someone’s word for matters that effect his/her salvation. There is no need to do this! We have been promised person direction if we will knock and seek sincerely.

    I have heard the doctrine. I have studied it and prayed about it. I have sat in Kingdom Halls and seem the participation. While I I am not JW, I appreciate the value they bring to our community.

    If the Jehovah’s Witness faith isn’t for you because you feel it’s off, then good for you for seeking it out. But I think honesty with self and refusing to take a victim stance is in your and your readers best interest and will help you find the truth you are seeking… Then you can fight for something, and not just against something – developing your character and lifting society in faith and not just dragging it down in doubt. Accept your experiences, let them heal, and move on to find and apply more truth. Your experience is valuable, but needs to be shared in faith, not doubt.

    Yes, ungodly action is found in every faith. Every faith has mortals in it. Wise are they who move on and consider the whole pie and not just one bitter bit. This is unwise overgeneralization. Jesus thought, Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

    No matter how many people you get joining the conversation on this blog, it will not compensate or justify your actions or in actions. For you will not answer to them after this life. That sounds judgmental, but I do willingly apply the say concept to myself.

    “Seek not to counsel God, but take counsel from His hand”

    My comment is all over the place. I didn’t time to write less. My apologies.

    Thanks

    Joel

    • Yes Joel, how dare children who are raped and molested and women who are beaten in their own homes, and rape victims who are shunned as “fornicators” take the “victim stance.” You’re so right, we should instead sit back and “consider the purpose” of being raped, molested, beaten, and then punished for having suffered those abuses.

      You appreciate the value that JWs bring to the community. Some 1006 known pedophiles in Australia with not one being reported to police. Not one. Many pedophiles had more than one victim, which is common. That’s just the ones who were recorded and reported. What a great amount of value they brought to those communities. Shunning rape victims rather than helping them get counseled and report the crime to the police, so rapists can also then walk freely. What value that bring to the community. Shunning your own parents because they choose another belief or shunning adult children because they refuse to sit under the same roof as the person who brutally raped and molested them. Lots of value there.

      If you’re saying this is god’s purpose and counsel and whatever else, I get to say it: What a horrible god you worship. My actions are perfectly justified as I stand for the victims, not for someone defending the victimization and abuse. I would gladly say that to any god in the afterlife.

    • If there are things to consider here, thank you for sharing. My point is to “share your concerns” and invite others to consider them, but you are stating them as the worst thing in the world. Dress standards are cult like, really? Because this isn’t something mentioned at other churches or occasions to show respect and put us in a spirit of preparation? I do agree with some of what you said, but I invite you to evaluate the delivery of your message so it doesn’t undermined it.

      Gratefully,

      Joel N.

      • I don’t see anywhere that I’m stating things “as the worst thing in the world.” I’m noting where JWs fit the BITE model and people can make up their own minds.

        Note too that JWs don’t have “dress standards” but instructions about specific types of dress; women are to wear skirts or dresses, which is extremely controlling when pantsuits “show respect” just as well if not better, since her legs are then not exposed. A “spirit of preparation” can still be shown in a modest pair of slacks.

        Note too that you are now also showing a level of control over others; cannot other grownup adults make up their own minds as to what is respectful? A woman cannot decide if her pants are respectful and modest, a man cannot decide if his beard shows respect and is acceptable to god? We need another fallible human to dictate those things? Deciding these things for others is putting yourself in god’s place, and that’s blasphemy. If god didn’t decide it and dictate it, who are you to do that?

        Repeating counsel found in scripture is one thing, but then dictating how others should apply that scripture is then “going beyond the thing that are written.” It also implies your god is deficient; he didn’t give you enough instruction or rules, so here are some more. It’s insulting to other people and also insulting to your own god.

      • Really? We wear anything we want, except we wear a skirt to our meetings. I’ve worn shorts, pants, sexy dresses, a bikini, I just got back from a wedding, me and my JW friends picked the dress out! An awome sexy blue dress and heels. More and more misinformation. We dress for our service JUST LIKE people USED TO DRESS TO GO TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY, IN THEIR SUNDAY DRESS!!!! Good lord Joel, we don’t dress holy rolly. I’ve never seen anybody in a mini skirt and a belly shirt, but we all dress nice, makeup jewelry, our teenagers wear what teenagers wear, except mini skirts, which ANY normal parent would say to their teenager “go back to your room and put some clothes on.” We don’t sit around or walk around in frumpy long dresses with no make up and jewelry. That kind of control would be weird to make us wear certain clothes.

    • Joel wake, up they are controlling all females they destroy a family if one of the parents do not believe in the cult. To call it religion is way above any sane persons reasoning. Ask any elder to show you their secret book that they all carry on how to brainwash their flock to obey what they say. They control all the female of their cult to obey them before their husband, they are the truth and must be obeyed.

    • OK Joel,
      you are entitled to your opinion
      but when the final book of the bible comes true
      then and only then will everyone know who has and who does not have god’s favor.
      JW’s believe they have god’s favor cause they understand what his will is and they strive to do it and help and encourage others to follow them cause that is also part of god’s will.
      Christianity was designed for the benefit of humankind.
      its promises for the future gives people hope and strength to carry on despite challenges.
      and its principles help people to see the value and benefit of living by christian principles…cause it is the daily application of those principles that are the blue print for relative peace.
      relative because perfect peace is impossible to attain as long as we all remain imperfect with the traits of sin as close to us as the skin on our bones.
      and when people unite under the realm of Christianity
      there is no need for countless religious denominations
      because Christianity is for everyone… after all if Latter day saints claim that all its members are saints,
      but is that how god views humans?
      didn’t the apostle Paul say that “all have sinned” and fall short of the glory of god?
      no one is a saint…the only “saint” was Jesus Christ since he alone served god without fault.
      The Apostle Paul started as a persecutor of the first century Christians until he was influenced by Jesus Himself and after that he changed and strove to imitate Jesus to the best of his ability.
      but he wasn’t a saint…he was an imperfect Man who humbled himself and there after succeeded in doing god’s will.
      he is now in heaven along with Peter and Jesus.
      is the LDS doctrine in line with the scriptures?
      do they do the house to house preaching as Paul did?
      do they understand that only 135,000 people will go to heaven and the rest have the hope of surviving Armageddon and helping to turn the earth into a earthward paradise?
      the 135,000 are part of the faithful slave class who Jesus uses to organize the preaching and teaching campaign.
      they are anointed with god’s holy spirit to help them achieve their objective.
      therefore if people stand up and claim to be servants of god
      they are obliged to show it by what they teach preach and practice.
      Joseph smith was not part of the 135,000 anointed slave class I can assure you.
      and whether he will receive a resurrection during Christ’s 1000 year reign is down to Jesus and god.
      Joe Smith like countless others appeared to have zeal for God but not according to accurate knowledge.
      people that truly understand the purpose of Christianity show it by what they preach teach and practice.
      and since Christianity was started by people in the first century,
      21st century people are obliged to follow the example they set.
      but if they take up the name christian but their doctrine does not align itself with the standards set by the first century Christians,
      everything they do hence forth will be in vain and futile
      because Christians are obliged to follow the example set not by Joe Smith etc but by Jesus and his disciples apostles and the first century Christians.
      for example if you were chosen to act in a film about the late Jazz drummer Buddy Rich
      would you expect to sit in front of a piano or a drum kit?
      and if you chose the former
      and upon release complaints were made about Buddy not being portrayed accurately
      who would take the blame?
      so if you see the value in portraying a Jazz musician as accurately as possible,
      then is there not greater value in portraying the founder of Christianity properly?
      cause if the audience exists in heaven and our portrayal of Jesus and God
      determines the response we receive,
      shouldn’t that give people extra incentive to strive as hard as possible to learn god’s will and carry it out to the best of their ability?
      remember as well that Jesus said that people would be divided into sheep and goats and those that respond to the Christian message properly will receive his approval,
      but the stubborn and proud defiant goat like ones wont.
      therefore again that should make people understand the importance of knowing whether what we do say and practice in god’s name is in line with god’s will?
      if its not then what people do in gods name will be useless futile and in vain.
      people of course despise JW’s cause they probably feel jealous of the confidence they have?
      but that confidence comes from accurate knowledge and putting that knowledge to use.
      the doing of that is what causes confidence to grow.
      that confidence is available to all because that is god’s desire that our confidence should be in him and his son and not in human governments and organizations who lack accurate knowledge of god’s will.
      the system we live and suffer in clearly reflects a people that are ignorant of god’s will.
      because a system or society that is spiritually and morally cleansed by accurate knowledge reflects those things by the way they conduct themselves.
      a cleansed society does not waste its precious time looking to false gods or individuals who cannot deliver themselves let alone anyone else.
      neither does it exalt and approve of what is morally wrong.
      a morally cleansed society would not approve of same gender relationships or marriage
      cause they would know that those things are sinful in god’s eyes
      and they would therefore warm people to avoid such things.
      and by doing so they are not just showing love for their neighbor
      but fear of god too.
      the system we live in is heading for judgment and JW’s strive to help as many people as possible survive that judgment
      which is why they devote themselves to doing god’s will.

  35. i have lost my wife and children to this cult, there is no other name for it, it is a cult i am a non believer of the jehovas witnesses and the elders and my wifes mother made it clear that my wife would have to divorce me for mental and phsyical abuse. This abuse was what i had to endure for a long time trying to keep my family together.

    • its not a cult Gordon
      its a place of safety for the entire human family
      designed by god for our benefit.
      within that realm we learn the truth about god and what we are required to do to receive his mercy.
      it’s not a cult at all.
      the people within that realm are human just like everyone else…the difference is they try far harder to imitate Jesus Christ and live according to god’s will and standards.
      that sets them apart from the general public
      but they don’t let that discourage them because they recognize that the gaining of god’s approval is what is important not friendship with the world which on whole remains isolated from its invisible creator.
      also people need to understand that when people become JW’s they are obliged to put god first.
      and if that means less time spent with family and friends
      so be it.
      that does not mean they become stone like and unloving…no they in fact learn to love more but in a new way…by talking to people about god and what he has in store for those who love and worship him.
      I’m sure your wife and kids still love you Gordon
      its just that their love is shared now between god and you.
      and that is something I hope you will learn to live with in due course.

      • It doesn’t seem that you know the definition of a cult. To say that it isn’t is easy when you’re in one and don’t know it because of undue influence. For instance the witnesses use black and white thinking and labels to differentiate themselves. “The world” “worldy” “us vs them” “apostate” “disfellowshipped” etc. These are examples of black and white thinking, labeling, and cult language.

        Research the B.I.T.E. model and you will see how the witnesses fit the model perfectly. Behavior control, information control, thought control, emotional control.

        I know that you are parroting what can be found in your literature. By no means is this an attack but you are badly misinformed if you don’t think that JWs fit this model.

        I can see that you are doing a kind of preaching on here while ignoring all of the aspects that make it a damaging cult. Sorry can’t let you get away with that.

        “The JWs are not perfect”. No they are not that’s true. But they will not make the same concessions for other religions. JWs like to point the finger at other religions but when the shoe is on the other foot you like to say ” the witnesses aren’t perfect “. Example : The February 1991 Watchtower Blasted other religions for becoming NGOs with the U.N. Well it turns out that very same year they applied for the same status and remained such for TEN years. Until ” The Guardian” newspaper called them out and they excused themselves by saying “we just wanted to use the Library”. Meanwhile rank and file JWs are getting chastised for joining the YMCA because they wanted to use the pool.

        They call it a violation of neutrality when a JW does that. The very same thing that they were guilty of and still are. The U.S. branch, the Russian branch, and the London branch of Jehovahs witnesses are all listed as NGO with the OSCE. A political organization closely linked with the UN in Europe. So when they say ” Jehovah opened the way” the really mean “political lobbying opened up the way!”. Just like every other religion. Don’t take my word for it. The information is a matter of public record.

        You said ” its imperfection hypocrisy is to be expected”. This is where the JW double standard hypocrisy and mind control comes in. When hypocrisy is exposed in other religions what do the JWs say? “Notice what the book of Revelation tells us when we discover the hypocrisy in our religion…Get out of her my people if you do not want to share in her sins. Rev 18:4”

        You see, they will tell people to follow this directive all while dutifully ignoring what happens within their own brand of worship. The witnesses have no self reflection and can’t see how their own standards condemn them. Also, please don’t get me started on their faulty interpretation of a parable that Jesus used to teach a lesson. A parable that they (the governing body)use as a hammer to solidify their authority.

        For anyone reading this, you must do your own independent research. DO NOT take the witnesses at their word. They are trained salesmen. Train to use deceptive and evasive tactics to get your attention. Don’t believe me? Ask them to see their copy of “Benefit from theocratic ministry school education”. Fancy title right? But its nothing more than a sales training manual. That is what their midweek meetings are about. Nothing but training on how to pitch their cult.

        The only ones that benefit are the leaders brooklyn. You will be required to donate your time and money for FREE. It’s an absolute requirement. Shyn43 here will have you believe that no one is coerced into doing anything. Not true. Everything is done under compulsion.

        I’ve gone on long enough. Hopefully I’ve made my point. This is coming from someone who has served as a pioneer, elder, gone through one of their specialized schools. As matter of fact, if shynes elders found out that he was commenting on here he would be pulled aside and told to cease and desist. Because he is not to be adding his comments to blogs and online forums that have opposing views per the kingdom ministry. Sounds very cult like doesn’t it?

  36. I had the Witless round my door today, tried to explain to them the benefit of reading more than one book, > weren’t having it. >>>>>>>>>>>>>religion is a cancer that needs to be dealt with, via education based on sound scientific principals, it is the only way, (see also ISIS) After they left I realised that they were bait fishing for vulnerable homesick students (i live in an edge of the earth university town) sick sick exploitative … gits . god would never except these manipulative ‘ks into his kingdom (new testament)_ if he actually existed …

    cheers now, ric.. europe ..where the educated people come from …;)

    • Chiafade,
      thanks for taking the time to write.
      if you don’t mind
      can you please answer this question?
      in the absence of the people who provide the spiritual food which has enlightened, comforted and strengthened many people since 1879,
      who could they turn to?
      the clergy?
      if the clergy truly do the spiritual feeding commissioned by Jesus Christ,
      why does their doctrine originate with the so called church fathers
      rather than the apostles who faithfully held to their commission?
      also if a map serves a useful purpose for those who lack knowledge of how to reach
      their destination,
      what about the bible?
      if Jesus said this means everlasting life,
      their taking in knowledge of you the only true god is true,
      what happens when unfaithful spiritual leaders decide to stray from the clear directions set by Christ and established by the apostles?
      doesn’t mean people end up going astray?
      even if certain members of the faith slave have been living a double life,
      that does not render the spiritual feeding work worthless.
      it simply means the bad ones have to be removed and efforts need to be redoubled in order to reduce the chances of members of that class taking their eyes and hearts away from the good work they were commissioned to do.
      also you need to remember that no organization can ever be problem free,
      simply cause everyone is imperfect
      and no one is able to serve god faultlessly.
      even if a child is raised in the truth,
      that doesn’t mean they are guaranteed to remain faithful.
      training ones self to remain faithful to god and his standards is probably one of the most difficult things to do,
      because we are all imperfect and are therefore prone to misuse the freewill we were born with,
      which of course started with Adam and Eve
      who passed on that inclination to us.
      therefore now we are tainted by sin and imperfection,
      being loyal to god will never be easy
      but it is clear that Jehovah is reasonable and so he makes allowances for our faults
      knowing that we are prone to err due to the rebellion of Adam and Eve.
      does that mean it is impossible to remain faithful to god?
      I say no…and you know that is true,
      having said you served as a pioneer, elder, gone through one of their specialized schools,
      you undoubtedly noticed several people who remained faithful despite being prone to sin.
      you’ll be surprised what can be accomplished when one has love for another person.
      without doubt,
      those who show a deep love and determination similar to what was shown by the Apostle Paul
      are able to conquer not just their imperfect inclination but Satan Too,
      who of course does his utmost to lead us astray.
      but if we have a strong love for god along with strong faith that he is dependable
      then nothing can stand in our way.
      I assume that the love you had has cooled?
      because a weak love tends to result in a weak faith followed by unfaithfulness and apostasy.
      we should try our utmost not to overlook the pattern followed by the Exemplars of faithlessness “Adam and Eve”
      Eve’s weak faith lead to wrong conduct ending in total apostasy
      which lead to a loss of god’s approval,
      their downfall and eventual death.
      we live because of them and we die because of them.
      Jesus love and faithfulness opened up a door which was shut to Adam and Eve.
      8 million plus people have recognized Jesus love for the human family
      and they show their love and gratitude by choosing to live their lives hence forth for god
      because they realize that that is the best way to live ones life.
      no other way of living leads to the things promised by god and Jesus.
      everyone of the 8 million that strive to stick to the narrow path despite problems,
      provide an answer to the lie by Satan that people will not remain faithful under Test.
      if you decide to make Satan rather than Jehovah Rejoice
      that’s your choice but you know that you can’t look forward to a life free from sin and death.
      Just because god is slow to act against bad people
      doesn’t mean he isn’t faithful.
      in fact I urge you to check out the bible again and see how god proved faithful to his promises to people in the past.
      Just because he doesn’t act against bad people swiftly now
      doesn’t mean he won’t act at all as many people tend to believe.
      you know as well as I
      that god will intervene and take us by surprise hence why his word urges us to stay awake mentally spiritually and morally
      so that we can remain standing when he finally judges this system.

      • Ah the age old JW question “where would you go if you leave?”

        The answer to that is painfully simple. What did Jesus say “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except though me.” The reason JWs don’t see that is because what you actually believe is “The governing body/organization is the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through us”.

        You may read jesus’ words but what you see is totally different. The witnesses are a continuation of the millerites. Nothing more. They even retained many of the same charts. For instance the image in the book of Daniel.

        Truth does not need to evolve. Truth is a constant. Something JWs and their teachings are terrible at. Your mind is shut down right now. Asleep as it were. The fact that you continue to spout Watchtowers agenda is proof of that. Even now you continue to try to use fear to elicit responses from the truly weak-minded. ” The end is coming soooooon”. As perpetuated by the millerites since 1799 then regurgitated in the 1840’s then Russel adopted it in the 1870’s which was changed to 1913 which was changed to 1914 which was changed to 1925 by Rutherford (resurrection of the prophets,Beth sarim) which was followed by most notoriously 1975.

        When you use logical fallacies and propaganda to promote an idea no longer should anyone take you seriously. You promote the idea that God chose the JWs with ZERO proof. Just their word, and you took it. Don’t worry it’s not your fault. We all fell for it. The witnesses are good at “love bombing” a propaganda technique. This alone draws some people in. But the many other cleverly worded fallacies also worked. Such as “many may try to stop you from learning. Don’t let them! It’s Satan”. The problem with that is this. Is it Satan when someone tries to stop a loved one from studying with the moonies? Or the mormons? Or the exclusive brethren? These are just examples of the many groups that use the EXACT same reasoning. ” Satan will try to stop you from learning from us because we have the truth”.

        When a truth is so weak that it cannot withstand scrutiny it doesn’t deserve to be followed. The JW truth is as weak as it gets. When you have to resort to ad hominems such as “your love has cooled and you’ve grown weak” what does that say about your argument?

        You didn’t address any of my points but decided to try to talk over me instead. Bad form shyne.

      • Chiafade, Your reply was very interesting. I have never heard of the millerites but will be looking that up. I was told that Seventh Day Adventists were started because they were JW’s who thought not celebrating Christmas and the no blood transfusions were over the top. I don’t know if there is any truth to that. I am a baptized JW who stopped going to the meetings because of a rude person who basically likes to intimitate. It’s amazing how things change once you’re baptized.

  37. Thank you for writing all of this really insightful information. It really helped me. I recently ended a relationship with a JW. It was a very complex and emotionally abusive relationship (both sided I believe) however I am still extremely confused and emotionally drained from being with this person. He was born into the religion but never baptized. I believe his mother was converted over by another and that is how his dad met her along with a couple of her other children. His dad was in a relationship with a “worldly” woman prior and decided he wanted to be a good JW and dumped her out of the blue which obviously devastated her. Afterwood he found my ex bf’s mom at a meeting hall and soon married her. Out of wedlock they became pregnant with my bf and when he was around the age of 4 his dad began sexually molesting his step sister from the age of 8-12, and confessed to it when the girl was 13. The mother did not tell anyone however the father told an elder and the elders wife reported it to the police, the father then went to jail. I’m not sure for how long. The wife divorced him and took her kids and left the state. While in prison the father was “reformed” and now is no longer a threat to society and is once again a devout JW.

    For many years after the father continued to try to get back together with the mother. She was in I believe 2 different abusive relationships during this time, married another JW who was abusive who she divorced. My ex was about the age of 12 or 14 when he decided he could not handle living with his extremely bipolar mother and went to live with his dad. He claims to have forgiven him for being a child molester (in honesty I don’t know how he could have even understood what had happened). His dad was a traveling construction person so they lived in hotels which was very hard. Eventually his dad could no longer take care of him so he was forced to go back to living with his crazy mother and siblings who now resented him, probably because he left them alone with his mother. He hates all of his siblings, including his sister. None of them are JW. The only sibling he likes is his youngest brother who is autistic and lives with his parents.

    Eventually the mother did take the father back and they are now married again and are the “perfect” JWs. The father attends all the required meetings. The mother is a hateful person and rarely attends but claims to be a devout JW and judges everyone. The bf and I met through work nearly 2 years ago and he pursued me. I had no idea he was a JW, he did not tell me. I was emotionally abused during childhood and still have not resolved those issues and tend to gravitate towards relationships where I will be abused and also be an abuser. I am in therapy for that now. Our relationship did not involve dating, just went basically straight towards intimacy, etc. I knew he went to church each week and he had a deep devotion towards god but did not know his faith, in hindsight I should have asked. Our first sexual experience was awful. I told him I did not want to but he forced himself on me anyway and I just went along with it because that is just the type of person I am. We tried repeatedly but because he was so guilt ridden about having premarital sex he could not perform. Probably not until the 4th time we tried weeks later. I was so devastated that I let him do that to me that I went into a huge depression and told him so we waited quite awhile afterword before trying again.

    Last year we ended up moving in together, I have no idea why. It was very convenient for him because it was rent free for him, he was living in a crappy place. This is when he finally told his parents about me. They knew he was “dating” a worldly woman but had no idea it was that serious. His mother flew off the handle and called me all kinds of horrible names “tool of satan” etc. His dad was just disappointed in him and over the year made it clear that he could move back in any time. His mom continued to talk badly about me. When we moved in together is when the people at his meeting hall finally found out. He’d kept it a secret from them the entire time. A couple of elders met with him to “discuss” his decision and try to talk him out of it but he held firm. After that he never attended another meeting. They didn’t shun him because he wasn’t baptized but he just didn’t want to go anymore. I know he didn’t want to go out of embarrassment. I tried to explain to him how horrible this made me feel, like I was his dirty little secret, but he never tried to understand things from my point of view. All he would say is “you just don’t understand.”

    Our relationship was rocky probably half the time. I have bipolar and the depression was hard but the way he treated me made it worse. He was very affectionate with me however he also was emotionally immature. Everything he said was always right, nothing I said was ever correct. He told me a number of times that men were smarter than women because their brains were bigger. That men were the head of the household and that they had the final say in the big decisions, whatever that means. He hated when men looked at me whenever we went out. I had a guy friend I had known for over 15 years and he hated it when I would hang out with him. He decided he wanted to be friends with a girl and that it was ok for them to go to a spur of the moment late night movie date and then a dinner wearing a suit and tie. And when I tried to explain to him that was inappropriate behavior he came up with all kinds of excuses why it was ok. He was condescending towards me many times but he also bought me lots of gifts out of the blue for no reason.

    During the course of the relationship I saw small changes begin to take place where he began to question the JW religion and their beliefs, very small things. However he still read their version of the bible with the word Jehoviah in place of the word God. That makes no sense to me at all. He began spending more and more time with his parents, people who had let it be known I was no good and never once was I invited to anything that he was invited to, nor did he even think to invite me along, even when he was the one inviting them. He never hung out with any of my friends, I now realize because they weren’t “good” people. He thought the people of the world were all stupid (probably all the “worldly” ones). What I don’t understand is how JWs can work in society and put on such a happy face and interact so kind and friendly with worldly people yet in their minds “know” that they are better than all of them? But if you ask them that they will say they don’t think they are better than them. But they do clearly think that because they have an actual word for other people than them. Just like slave owners called black people “niggers” because the owners knew they were better than them. Maybe that’s a bad analogy.

    Anyway, I tried to get him to go to therapy with me on so many occasions but he wouldn’t, this article makes sense why. In his eyes there was nothing wrong with him. When we fought he would just turn and walk away and then ignore me until I eventually talked to him and apologized. Longest was 5 days but I know it could’ve been weeks or months. I think this was either a lack of emotional immaturity or shunning or both? Ultimately the last time he did this to me I snapped and took a huge overdose of aspirin. He found me a couple hours later and took me to the hospital where I barely survived. The only reason he checked the room I was in was because I had left the light on, normally he would have continued to ignore me but I made a small sound and the light was on so he looked.

    Finally 6 weeks ago I snapped and kicked him out. The first words out of his mouth were “I wish I would have never saved your life.” Of course his parents, who had never made an effort to know me, immediately rushed over to help him move all his stuff out. A few days later he texted me to apologize for his words. I’m still extremely confused about this entire relationship. Prior to us becoming involved he had only been a devout JW for 3 years, before that he did quite a bit of illegal activities and sexual activities. I believe his dad pushed him into going back into the religion and he threw himself into it 100%, wearing his expensive suits and carrying his briefcase. I also believe that soon he will throw himself back into it because those people are the only “friends” he has. In order to do so he will have to tell himself that our living together was wrong, and I guess loving me was wrong, in order for God to forgive him. He will have to confess this to the elders so they will forgive him also. This is extremely painful to me because it makes me feel like everything is one big giant lie. And I’m betting that is how quite a few people who have been in relationships with JW feel and especially people who were JW and decided to leave and had to learn to accept everything they were taught was just not true. I think that the only way someone who is a non JW can be in a relationship with a JW is if that JW has already decided and accepted that the JW religion is wrong and they have come to terms with everything. Because being in a relationship with someone born into that religion and helping them be unbrainwashed would take to much of a toll on the other person. That person would have to do it alone and in therapy I think.

    I don’t know how long it will take me to recover from this. I think my mental illness is making it much harder on me though. I know it’s only been 6 weeks which isn’t very long but time is moving by so slow. I wish I could go back in time and have used some part of my brain to tell myself to run far away from him. Or at least someone would have slapped some sense into me, but of course nobody knew he was a JW either. He hid it from everyone. That kinda tells you something about them as well I guess. Well thanks for letting me write this long rant.

    • Charles t. Russell associated with ellen white ,barbour ,and miller of the advetists. read apocalypse delayed by James Penton D.D. 4th generation ex jw. he shows their development and constant endtimes changes. by the way Russell was a Mason. as was joseph smith. by the way the first bible used by the jw was the king james. they usede to have a cross on top of their headquarters in neon saying Jesus saves, learn proper Christology , read Josh Mcdowell – The new evidence that demands a verdict. I have studied with the JW’S for thirty years and they wanted me to get rid of a very good KJ bible that thourouly showed the deity of jesus. you can use the current NWT to do the same. do your research first. the JW will never respond to accurate biblical knowledge honestly. their assumption Kurious replaced Jehovah is incorrect. their own books in the past shows Kurios as being Jehovah !

    • Hi Rebbecca,
      I disagree.
      as you know Humans are free to make choices
      and depending on the choice they make
      to a great extent determines the outcome.
      for example
      take the bankers that caused the crash.
      does that mean the entire banking system is at fault?
      I don’t think it is.
      its just a case of a number of people that were careless in what they were doing
      which lead to the banking system crashing.
      likewise “Christianity” itself is a noble invention
      which offers a solution to all our problems on earth.
      the reason why Christianity has changed is due to people
      not god.
      if those within the organization made their goal to try as much as possible to live up to the standards of the founder of Christianity
      that would make it less likely that people would find cause for complaint.
      also it is right to make allowances for the fact that we are all imperfect.
      I’m sure you haven’t walked through your life without stumbling in action or word?
      Remember Rebecca that god’s standards are much higher than human standards
      and so like the ancient Jews that repeatedly failed to live up to the covenant they made with god,
      people today will likewise find it difficult to live up to god’s standards.

  38. This site is great! Well researched, sholarly and shedding light on the JW cult. Continue the good work. Feel free to email me to see how I can help jwvictims.org

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