INDOCTRINATION OF JWs
(Investigator 110, 2006 September)
INDOCTRINATION – WHY NEEDED?
The Jehovah's Witness (JW) leaders want JWs to stay convinced that they are the only "true" religion, the only religion in full agreement with the Bible:
…the religion that is approved by God must agree in all its details with the Bible. (The Truth that leads to Eternal Life 1968, p. 14)
The leaders have, however, changed thousands of their interpretations of Bible verses. A sampling procedure estimated that one book The Finished Mystery (1917) alone has 1,300 interpretations in conflict with later JW publications. (Investigator 85)
Investigator No. 56 listed 26 dates on which JW prophecies failed – and more have been found.
JW leaders therefore have a problem. Their problem is to convince millions of people that they are correct in all details, despite doctrinal errors numbering thousands.How do they do it?
To keep JWs believing that they "agree in all details with the Bible" despite thousands of doctrinal revisions, the leaders stop them from seeing the errors. They regulate the information the followers are exposed to.
The leaders achieve information-control firstly by denying people access to older JW publications. In the late 1980s there was a drive to get JWs to donate their old publications to JW libraries, allegedly to share them. Access to the libraries was then restricted and excess copies of donated publications sometimes destroyed.
Information control is further achieved by requiring JWs to:
• Excommunicate and/or shun "apostates";
• Avoid informed persons and writings critical of JWs;
• Avoid friendships and activities outside of JWs;
• Stay busy, as if on a treadmill, by going door-to-door, reading recent JW publications, attending and preparing for meetings, constructing and maintaining meeting halls.
By these procedures converts "burn their bridges", get their beliefs constantly reinforced, and become blind and deaf to contrary information.
Besides the above methods, JWs are constantly exposed to:
• Indoctrination by repetition.
INDOCTRINATION BY REPETITION
JWs have a large stock of words and phrases that imply JWs alone have the true religion. The phrases appear repetitiously in the publications and are used in daily conversation by "mature brothers and sisters".
A phrase invented in 1926 by Joseph F Rutherford, the then JW president, is "God's organization". Some JWs recalled decades later how "thrilled" they were at the idea of "God’s organization". Belonging to "God’s organization" and repeating the phrase helped them to survive doctrinal changes and failed prophecies so drastic that 80% of members left the cult in the 1920s.
Three lists of words and phrases, taken from a wide survey of JW publications, accompany the present article.
Next I'll discuss a phrase popular in 1994 – "divine teaching".
The two main articles in The Watchtower of 1994, February 1, were Divine Teaching Triumphs and Enjoy the Benefits of Divine Teaching.
These were the "study articles" with questions to each paragraph at the bottom of the page. This means that JWs had to prepare the articles at home and underline all the answers.
At the Sunday "Watchtower study" the study conductor would have started with paragraph One and asked the audience the set question, which was, "Why can Jehovah's instruction rightly be called divine teaching?"
Audience members would have raised their hands. The conductor would have picked a few who would have said something like: "Jehovah God teaches us through his Word the Bible, which calls him 'the Divine One'. Therefore Jehovah's instruction from the Bible is divine teaching."A person previously assigned would then have read the paragraph aloud. And so on for the 20 paragraphs of the first article.
DIVINE TEACHING STATISTICS
The two articles on "Divine Teaching" covered 41 paragraphs.
The phrase "Divine teaching" in both articles referred to the Bible and to JW teaching as if identical, without distinction. That is, the Bible and JW doctrines were throughout assumed to be true and in full agreement.We see this assumption in statements like:
- By teaching what Jesus taught, anointed Christians obey their Grand Instructor. (p8)
- …we must become well acquainted with and use God's great Textbook if we are to display true wisdom as those "taught by Jehovah." (p9)
- …we need accurate knowledge of the Scriptures. We must also be guided by Jehovah's holy spirit, or active force. This will enable us to learn profound truths, "the deep things of God." (p10)
- Because divine teaching triumphs over religious error, it enables God's servants to walk in spiritual light… God's teaching also protects his servants from false reasoning. (p12
Here is a provisional count of how often certain words that JW readers associate with themselves appear in the two articles:
A host of other positive descriptions of JW doctrine also occur such as "Jehovah's instruction", "knowledge of God's word", "progressive instruction", "Global education", "teaching of Jehovah", "Divine instruction", "spiritual light", "God-given light", "God teaches his people", etc.
- Divine teaching 78 times
- God's/Jehovah's teaching 11 "
- Grand Instructor 7 "
- Taught by God/Jehovah 3 "
Similarly the Bible is called:
- God's/His/Jehovah's great textbook 6 times
- …the textbook that outstrips all others 1 "
- …his inspired Word, the Bible 1 "
The two articles also repeatedly flatter JW readers as "truth loving people", "God's people", "desirable ones", "lovers of Jehovah", "humble recipients", etc.
In addition the two articles have many statements of what God has done such as:
Since 1919 in particular, Jehovah has had his servants proclaim his judgments… (p18)
At the same time, God-fearing humans – "the desirable things" – have been drawn by God to separate themselves from the nations and share with anointed Christians in filling Jehovah's house of worship with glory. (p18)
Extensive repetition that JWs have "divine teaching" and are guided by God, combined with silence regarding their thousands of doctrinal flip-flops, is effective indoctrination.
It keeps millions of people convinced.
After the 1994 "Divine Teaching" articles, a number of major doctrines were again discarded, including:
- Millions of people alive before World War I would survive Armageddon – this was taught as "the Creator's promise";
- Armageddon would occur in the 20th century;
- The separation of the "sheep" and "goats", described by Jesus in Matthew 25, applies to the 20th century.
MORE DIVINE TEACHING
Each year the JW Organization's new publications come to about 3,000 pages. This includes The Watchtower and Awake! magazines, books, booklets, brochures, tracts, and pamphlets.
Words and phrases that flatter (See Tables 1 & 2) the Organization or its followers in those 3,000 pages have been estimated at 2,000 per year. (Jehovah's Witnesses: A Statistical Survey 1992, pp 303-322) Considering we've found over 100 in part of only one Watchtower this estimate may be conservative.
numerous and have been estimated at about 1,000 per year. See Table 3.
An important method for keeping JWs loyal to the sect and thinking they're "correct in all details" despite thousands of doctrinal changes, is indoctrination by repetition.
Various words and phrases that imply JWs are the right religion are used at high frequency for short periods and then recycled at lower frequency indefinitely.
Words Suggesting JW Doctrines Are Fully Correct
|Accurate knowledge||Feast||Light of truth|
|Adequate||Fixed in Scripture||Marvelous provisions|
|Approved of by God||Fulfilled prophecy||Message of truth|
|Bible based||Global education work||Pattern of truth|
|Bible education||Genuine Bible study||Pure Christianity|
|Bible knowledge||God-given||Pure language|
|Bible teaching||Godly||Pure worship|
|Bible truth||God's message||Revealed truth|
|Bible's message||God's truth||Seeds of truth|
|Bright light||Grand truth||Shining light|
|Brilliant light||God's organization||Scriptural|
|Clear light||Healthful words||Spirit directed|
|Divine light||Indisputable||Spiritual feast|
|Divine teaching||Jehovah's work||True Christianity|
|Encouraging||Knowledge of truth||True to God’s word|
|Facts||Liberating good news||Undefiled|
Words Used To Praise JWs
|Appreciative||Honest/Honest hearted||Persons of good will|
|Approved of by God||Honoring Jehovah||Praisers of God|
|Courageous||Jehovah’s people||Richly fed|
|Dedicated||Jesus' genuine followers||Righteous|
|Diligent||Joyful/Joyous||Servants of God|
|Faithful||Liberated||Speakers of truth|
|Faithful ones||Light bearers||Submissive to God|
|Faithful servants||Loved of God||Spirit directed|
|Faithfully enduring||Lovers of freedom||Tender|
|Faithfully serving||Lovers of truth||True Christians|
|Free/Free people||Loyal||True servants of God|
|Genuine Christians||Loyal advocates||Undefiled|
|Genuine ministers||Loyal proclaimers||Under angelic guidance|
|Glad||Loyal to God's Word||Understanding|
|God approved||Loyal witnesses||Vigorous|
|God’s people||Meek||Well fed|
|Happy||Ministers of God||Zealous workers|
|Hard working||Ministers of truth||
Words Used To Criticise Other Religions Or Their Ministers:
|Aggressive||False accusers||Pretend to worship God|
|Anti Christ||False teachers||Proud|
|Anti God||Fault finders||Proud apostates|
|Apostate||False Christians||Puffed up|
|Austere||Follow their own way||Reckless|
|Blind||Gnashing their teeth||Scornful|
|Blind guides||Good for nothing||Satanic|
|Blood drenched||God defaming||Seek flattery|
|Bloody||Groping in darkness||Selfish|
|Bombastic||Hard hearted||Self seeking|
|Bragging||Hateful||Servants of Satan|
|Breakers of God's law||Haters of God||Slanderous|
|Broke their covenant||Haters of good||Slick and wily|
|Brutish||Haters of truth||Spiritually dead|
|Cowardly||Howling in their woe||Swine class|
|Crazy||Hurtful||Tell of their own virtues|
|Crooked||Hypocritical||Tickle their own ears|
|Cruel||Hysterical||Tools of Satan|
|Deadly||Ignorant||Turn their backs on God|
|Deceivers||In deep slumber||Uncaring|
|Desiring admiration||Little men||Unspiritual|
|Despicable||Lording it over||Untruthful|
|Devil worshippers||Lovers of money||Vain|
|Devil’s servants||Lovers of pleasure||Vainglorious|
|Disgraceful||Man of sin||Vindictive|
|Dishonest to God||Malicious||Vicious|
|Doing Satan's work||Murderers||Vipers|
|Dreamers||Not spiritually minded||Warmongers|
|Drunkards||Opponents of God||Weed-like|
|Dumb||Opposers of truth||Weeping|
|Enemies of God||Persecutors||Willingly ignorant|
|Entirely ignorant||Philistines||Worn out|
|Evil slave class||Polluted||Worthless servant class|
Fight against indoctrination and get the facts about Jehovah's Witnesses: