B J Kotwall
(Investigator 58, 1998 January)
The Watchtower Society (WTS) advises against association with the occult including spiritism, astrology, necromancy, mysticism and other similar beliefs and practices condemned in the Bible. (Deuteronomy 18:9-l l)
Let's examine whether the WTS has followed its own advice and avoided spiritism, necromancy and astrology.
Necromancy is divination through alleged communication with the dead.
After Charles Russell the first president of WTS died in 1916 the following was said about him keeping contact with the WTS:
Hence our dear
now in glory, is without
doubt, manifesting a keen interest in the harvest work, and is
by the Lord to exercise some strong influence thereupon.
(Watch Tower 1917, November 1 p. 6161, WTS reprints)
The second president of the WTS Joseph Rutherford under whose aegis the above two statements were made, later contradicted them:
However, in a complete flip-flop the WTS in 1989 reverted back to their necromantic belief:
Charles Russell believed that:
In similar vein the WTS of today also uses any sources at their disposal to confirm their "truth", notwithstanding that Russell's statement is condemned in the Bible! (John 8:44)
Although rejecting spiritism the WTS repeatedly used the writings of a known spiritist, Johannes Greber, as a scholarly support for their beliefs. The WTS was aware of Greber's spiritistic connections from 1955 but continued to use his works until 1987 (particularly to support their incorrect translation of John 1:1) while at the same time denying that they were aware of Greber's spiritistic practices! (Investigator No. 24, May 1992.)
After being exposed for the use of Greber's works, the WTS apparently stopped using him.
WTS has however found another spirit medium in one John S. Thompson to support their John 1:1 translation! He is listed as an authority in the WTS's Kingdom Interlinear Translation 1985 p. 1139-1140. Research in Thompson's book, The Monotessaron, or The Gospel History, According to the Four Evangelists (1829) shows that his inspiration and direction came from the spirit world!
The WTS has always had a morbid fascination with the subjects of demons and Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) have developed tremendous fear of demons and Satan. Russell used to write about spirit manifestations. (e.g. Zion's Watch Tower 1907 October l p. 4069, WTS reprints)
Recent Watchtower publications also have warnings and instructions on how to deal with demons and demonized objects, shunning omens and "voices", rejecting modern "demonized" music, resisting wicked spirits, etc. (The Watchtower 1974 June 1 p.328; 1983 October 15 pp. 11-15; 1963 March 15 pp. 186-190)
Jerry Bergman in his book Jehovah's Witnesses and the Problem of Mental Health (1992) relates case histories showing how the WTS is seriously demon-oriented.
There have been numerous cases where a JW was perceived by the WTS elders to be demon-possessed. The elders then frequently take charge of the unfortunate situation and enter the house of the "possessed" JW and systematically start to destroy by burning whatever objects which they think are devil-related! This Shamanistic practice would result in the destruction of crosses, rosaries, pictures, books, heirlooms and even items like blankets, furniture and clothing if acquired from someone considered by the elders to be in league with Satan!
Havor Montague in his article, The Pessimistic Sect's Influence on Mental Health: The case of Jehovah's Witnesses states, that he "has worked with many cases where the suggestion of "demon influence" has been the factor that has caused the neurotic witness to become a complete psychotic." (p. 144)
The WTS regularly condemns astrology and star worship as pagan. (Awake! 1994 July 8 pp. 3-7)
But, for 62 years (1891-1953) the WTS taught that God resided on the star Alcyone, which was the eternal throne of God, and from there he governed the universe. Also the Great Pyramid of Egypt, considered by the WTS as God's Stone Witness, provided additional proof of the location of God's throne on Alcyone. (Studies in the Scriptures Volume 3 1891 pp. 313-369; Reconciliation 1928 p. 14)
At the WTS's burial lots in near Pittsburgh City a large pyramid shaped monument is erected near Russell's grave, seven feet high and nine feet across with the Knight Templar logo atop the pyramid.
Astrology and planetary positions were used to support the WTS's predictions of the "long promised era" to start by 1914. (The Watchtower 1903 May 1 p. 3184, WTS reprints)
The three Magi, who came to visit the new-born Jesus, are considered by the WTS as pagans because they came "from eastern parts" which was the then centre of occult worship and because they depended on astrology (a star) to guide them! (The Watchtower 1983 October 15 pp. 11-15)
For more details regarding WTS astrology connection refer to Investigator No. 41, March 1995.
WTS and the Freemasons
Fritz Springmeier in his book The Watchtower and the Masons presents insight into the WTS's early connection with the occultic Freemasons.
The following are a few of the parallels between the two organizations presented by Springmeier:Russell used the Egyptian Trinity Winged Sun-Disk on his books and tracts. This use of the Sun-Disk is similar to the 33 degree Masonic Knights Templar logo. (Springmeier p. 111-115)
Jehovah is the most important word being the basis of their dogma, and the name of their God. Both use the Masonic term "Great Architect". Both believe God yielded power to a lesser god. Both believe in a future life for all mankind, a new Golden Age. Both emphasize continuing revelation. Both see an exclusiveness to truth.
Communication with Angels
Joseph Rutherford, the second president of the WTS, believed his spiritual enlightenment came from angels because the Holy Spirit had ceased functioning since 1918. The angels channeled information into his mind from God residing on the star Alcyone. (Preservation 1932 pp.5l; 201-203; Watchtower 1931 November 1 p. 327; The Watchtower 1934 April 1 p. 105)
Finally a quote from The Occult (Colin Wílson 1979):