are Jehovah's Witnesse considered to be a cult?
one reads extensively on religious cults one topic that keeps on
cropping up is the idea that radical religions use mind control
on their members. Today there exists some controversy amongst
social scientists whether mind control theories have any
scientific merit in relation to religious movements, but for the
sake of argument lets assume that they do.
Now to reason
on the point there is a book called “Popular psychology: An
encyclopedia by Luis A. Cordón.”
In it there are
the details of five steps that can be used to accomplish coercive
persuasion (called brainwashing in the book).
People are put in physically or emotionally distressing
2. Their problems are reduced to one simple
explanation, which is repeatedly emphasized
3. They receive
unconditional love, acceptance, and attention from a charismatic
leader, if the subject will come to him.
4. They get a new
identity based on the group identity.
5. They are subject to
entrapment (isolation from friends, relatives, and the mainstream
culture) and their access to information is severely controlled.
The members agree to a few small changes but then demands begin
to gradually increase. When the demands become unreasonable, it's
too late, and COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is reduced by continuing to go
along with the demands.
So lets see how Jehovah's
Witnesses fare on these five points.
People are put in physically or emotionally distressing
2001 a gallop poll on the website faceyourfearstoday.com, public
speaking was second only to snakes as the top fear experienced by
Now all baptized Jehovah's Witnesses as well as
approved publishers are expected to partake in regular public
speaking by doing monthly door-to-door preaching activity. If
they do not, they are not viewed as an active Jehovah's
Furthermore all baptized Jehovah's Witnesses and
approved publishers are expected to join the Ministry School.
Here they are subjected to immersion therapy where they stand on
stage and either present a talk to the congregation (if you're a
man) or re-enact door-to-door ministry (if you're a woman).
not only does the society generate the problem, preach regularly
or be viewed as a lesser citizen (inactive), but they also
provide the solution by giving training to cope with the
stressful situation which they have created. The long term effect
is a case of Stockholm syndrome.
Note: Point one deserves a
full yes tick.
Their problems are reduced to one simple explanation, which is
rebelled against Jehovah. Satan caused Adam to sin. Therefore
illness, wars and all of mankind's problems can be directly or
indirectly attributed to the devil.
If anything bad happens,
it is Satan's fault. If anything good happens, it is Jehovah's
The solution to the problem is just as simple:
Preach the good news of the kingdom so you can reply to Satan's
Scared of H1N1?
Alcoholic friend? Preach.
Dog died? Preach.
of preaching? Preach.
Note: Point two also deserves a full yes
receive unconditional love, acceptance, and attention from a
charismatic leader, if the subject will come to him.
one deserves only half a tick.
The leader in this case would
be the Watchtower Organization itself. At the highest level it is
the nine ruling members of the Governing Body in Brooklyn NY and
at the lowest level the local congregation elders who are picked
for the job because they are loyal organization men. But one
would have to say that they are not charismatic at all. The last
fire of the Governing Body went out with the death of Judge
Rutherford back in 1942. Since then the Governing Body has been a
dour and solemn creature with as much charisma as an undertaker's
accountant. The local elders are not allowed any charismatic
presence either because it is systematically drilled out of them.
If you have ever been to a Jehovah's Witness convention you will
know what is being talked about. Snore.
Next comes the
unconditional love. The Governing Body DEMANDS unconditional love
instead of GIVING unconditional love. It has made deadly mistakes
over the past decades, for example changing position on the blood
issue, but will not apologize for any mistakes and it still
demands unconditional loyalty and love from all its members.
the reason for half a tick.
It gets one because the Society
expects its members to confess all their 'sins' to the local
elders. Have you been reading independent literature online?
(Called apostate literature because it has views other than the
governing body's). Confess!
Have you spoken to a member of
your family who is no longer a witness? Confess!
Has your wife
given you oral sex? Confess! (Yes oral sex is illegal in the
Jehovah's Witness religion)
They get a new identity based on the group identity.
wonder why Jehovah's Witnesses dress so similar?
they are forced by the organization to project the same identical
conservative image. Those that rebel are viewed as outcasts and
Insignificant things like wearing a beard or
having the latest hair style could be viewed as being rebellious.
But it goes much much further than physical appearance.
patterns are groomed to be identical as well. Organization life
has to be the individuals prime concern. The individual is taught
to police their own thoughts.
Independent or critical thoughts
against the organization is strongly discouraged.
Another full tick here, checked off with a big fat red
They are subject to entrapment (isolation from friends,
relatives, and the mainstream culture) and their access to
information is severely controlled. The members agree to a few
small changes but then demands begin to gradually increase. When
the demands become unreasonable, it's too late, and COGNITIVE
DISSONANCE is reduced by continuing to go along with the
Witnesses are not allowed to read or look at anything that is
critical of the organization.
Expressing discord can result in
shunning or even disfellowshipping.
individual's witness family and friends are not allowed to have
any contact with the individual, so information is severely
restricted in both directions. The dis-fellowshipped person
cannot tell their family why they have been dis-fellowshipped and
the family cannot explore any critical thinking with the ousted
member. Prospective members of Jehovah's Witnesses are encouraged
from their first bible study to start giving of their time to
attend meetings. These demands grow until the individuals life is
consumed by the activities associated with the Watchtower
Society. All other activities are now viewed as secular and is of
Note: Another big yes tick here
all in all, four and a half out of five ain't bad, wouldn't you
Information South Africa
The original article that
was written by Watchtower Information South Africa can be found