As many exJW activists know, the Watch Tower Society is in the midst of acquiring subpoenas to compel Google and other hosting sites to produce information regarding YouTube channel owners, myself included.
While the following is not a legal response to Watch Tower’s attorney, these types of cases often have more weight in the court of public opinion than elsewhere. To that end, here is a bit of an informal response:
“Secrecy In the Name of the Lord”
Note the following quotes from the June 1, 1997, Watchtower magazine, page 6, in talking about Jehovah’s Witnesses:
“Their book Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom correctly notes: ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses are in no sense a secret society. Their Bible-based beliefs are fully explained in publications that are available to anyone. Additionally, they put forth special effort to invite the public to attend meetings to see and hear for themselves what takes place.’ … True religion in no way practices secretiveness. Worshipers of the true God have been instructed not to hide their identity or to obscure their purpose as Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
This illustration is taken from that article, also on page 6:
Watch Tower’s legal claims are based on the concept of confidentiality, or of keeping certain aspects of their organization secret, yet they brag they are not a “secret society.” This magazine says that their beliefs are “fully explained in publications that are available to anyone,” but the leaders of the religion instruct elders to destroy records of church proceedings, and then attempt to use legal means to remove videos of men giving out those instructions.
Well, which is it? The beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses are “fully explained” and “available to anyone,” or they need to squash videos discussing their beliefs? By insisting that certain videos be removed from internet hosts, Jehovah’s Witnesses are contradicting their own statement, as they are keeping their activities secret rather than revealing “what they are doing.”
The Watchtower Tells You to Investigate Proactively
Page 5 of that same article states that it’s up to each individual to “ascertain” the purpose of an organization, and decide if they want to join a society based on “facts” and not pressure from anyone:
“Obviously, anyone considering membership in a secret society would be wise to ascertain its real objectives. Pressure from friends or acquaintances should be guarded against, and decisions ought to be based not on emotion but on facts. Remember, it is likely the individual himself—not others—who will be called upon to suffer any possible consequences.”
Interesting that they state you should avoid giving in to pressure from anyone, even “acquaintances,” but should base a decision whether or not to join an organization based on “facts.” Yet, the Watch Tower wants to hide the very same facts that are needed to decide if you should join their religion!
Consider an illustration; a slick sales brochure for a new smartphone might tell you only what the company wants you, a potential consumer, to hear. The agenda of that brochure is to sell you a product, not necessarily expose the truth about how that phone really functions, if it’s safe to use, and if the company selling that phone is trustworthy.
However, internal memos and confidential instructions to staff to hide or outright destroy unflattering consumer tests, or to ensure no one knows that their products are somehow dangerous to a consumer’s health, provide more facts than that sales brochure. A sales brochure appeals to your emotions by promising you an amazing new product that supposedly does so much; but, even as the Watchtower says, you shouldn’t base decisions on emotions. Does that phone function as expected? Is it safe to use? Will it provide you the services promised in that brochure? You won’t get honest answers to those questions from that sales brochure.
In the same way, the Watch Tower Corporation presents only their slick sales literature to the general public, swaying people with emotional assertions about “brotherly love” and a paradise that’s going to be here any minute now; in other words, selling you on a product that supposedly does so much for you and offers you so much. However, what are the facts? Is this religion really based on the bible and as loving as claimed, or is it overly controlling and abusive? Have any of its past promises come true?
You won’t find truthful answers to those questions in the literature presented to you, the potential consumer, but confidential letters, handbooks, and videos meant to be hidden from the general public are very revealing when it comes to the facts of this religion.
In my opinion, the words of the Watchtower article above give tacit approval from the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses to those who want to freely share any and all information that pertains to the religion’s “purpose.” So-called confidential information given to elders and others in authority in the religion helps to determine the “purpose” of the organization more than anything.
Jehovah’s Witnesses Admit They’re Not the True Religion
This Watchtower openly states that “true religion” cannot practice “secretiveness,” and that it does so “in no way.”
By that admission, either Jehovah’s Witnesses can and should allow organizational direction, instructions, publications, and all other materials regarding their “purpose as Jehovah’s Witnesses” to be shared publicly, or they are not, by their own words, the “true religion.”
I always knew it; I’m just surprised to see Jehovah’s Witnesses admit it.
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