Far be it for me to single out one particular ludicrous belief system, after all, it’s easy to laugh at talks of aliens, intergalactic rulers, thetans, Xenu, and cosmological conspiracies, but it’s just as easy to laugh at demons, devils, ghosts, gods, spirits, virgin births, triune divinities, talking snakes, or intelligent design.
My top three insidious ersatz religions of the world today are Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, and Scientology.This is based on my opinion alone of course.I will discuss the other two another time, but explain a bit about JWs here.This is a subject I’m very familiar with.
This group was founded back in the 1870s.Now, say what you like about JWs, but they are proficiently versed in the bible, or at least their version and interpretation of it.I would definitely class them as fundamental Christians.They also reject core doctrines of mainstream Christianity, such as the Trinity, Hell, or the concept of an immortal soul. Whether you think this discounts them as “true” Christians depends on your interpretation of scripture (which not many Christians themselves can agree on).The concept of Hell was invented in the New Testament, and the Trinity is a pagan Babylonian teaching that you will find mixed support for in the bible itself.The idea of life after death and souls also came later; the Jews of the OT under Yahweh had no such beliefs.
JWs are generally very nice, law-abiding citizens.They also use their good reputation as a huge PR fillip.A favourite catchphrase is “if everyone in the world was like us, there’d be no war, suffering, violence, or hatred.”However, nothing could be further from the truth.
JWs merely demonstrate that when religion is small, powerless, and frightened, it keeps its head down, minds its own business, and preaches love and gradual assimilation.Whereas when religion gets big and powerful the result is oppression, totalitarianism, suffering, and death.At its zenith, religion doesn’t need to proclaim love and brotherhood, it simply threatens and forces its way to victory.Religion with power is very much like the Borg.What it cannot assimilate, it destroys.And with god on its side, it believes resistance is futile.
The commonalities between a sinister religious cult and a mainstream religion are core ridiculous myths.The differences are that whereas a mainstream religion has had centuries to integrate the absurdities into enlightened times, or convolute a series of ad hoc preposterous justifications for original nonsensical doctrines, cults like JWs resemble a badly written TV drama series: they have to keep the viewer entertained by constant cliffhangers, and because of the absurd claims and awful continuity errors, they’re forced to rehash original story, distort previous doctrines, lie, or suggest that if you have a problem with any changes, perhaps there was something wrong with your original understanding.(Jehovah’s Witnesses were clearly the role model for George Lucas when he made his Star Wars prequels.)
My gripe is not that the Watchtower is consistently wrong (which it is), but that they rewrite their history and lie to their members.Their stance on organ transplants has changed at least twice, and they have publically eased off on the stance of blood transfusions.(I suspect hardly any rank and file members are aware that religious sanctions for accepting a blood transfusion are against EU law which the Society agreed to abide by.Does this stop JWs being disfellowshipped?I’d be very interested to know!)
JWs are sternly ordered not to review any apostate material (so it’s unlikely any of them would visit my blog anyway!) and unfortunately they are unlikely to give any critical literature the time of day.What a wonderful self-perpetuating trap.Aren’t the ones who most strongly censor those with something to hide?
One of the most overriding emotions of association with Jehovah Witnesses’ meetings and literature is boredom.This is because nothing new is ever produced.The society has been churning out the same old bilge for decades, but rehashing it in various forms.Every now and then a change in doctrine comes along (called “New Light”) which is either a minor or major change in what was believed all along.In other words, what was “true” ten years ago may be considered “false” today, and JWs are required to go along with whatever the latest understanding is.One might find something grotesquely Orwellian with terms like “New Light”, “New Truth”, and “Follow the society’s latest understanding, whatever that is”, flying about.Even Jehovah’s Witnesses’ parlance and euphemisms have an air of Newspeak about them.
Another unfortunate observation I have of Jehovah’s Witnesses is their low intelligence.You may think me rather arrogant or superior-thinking to say that, but the reality however is really just that simple.In general, attendees are not very well educated and not very good at logical thinking.A Big Brother who will tell you right from wrong and what to think, and even how to think, is no doubt comforting for these people.It is also this type of people who are most likely to be attracted to the ‘Party’ too, in my opinion.The Society takes advantage of this in its members.It undoubtedly encourages reading, writing, and talking skills, but this is just a means to an end.A JW who cannot be brainwashed through words or thought, and who cannot assimilate new members is useless.(If you doubt this, you ask a JW to give you the proper scientific definition of evolution, or the common arguments against the existence of god – you will get no response.This is because JWs are not trained to be experts on philosophy, or religion, or science, or debate, or discussion; they are trained to be experts at converting.)
Independent thought, excessive questioning, and free enquiry are unashamedly suppressed.Independence is openly denounced as a vice of The World (JW Newspeak to refer to “us”, the non-JWs who are wicked and will be destroyed, although JWs rarely openly admit this.Jehovah’s Witnesses therefore employ Doublethink quite a lot: pretending that people of The World may or may not be destroyed, yet simultaneously believing that they will).A newcomer will be welcomed to question freely, but once they are a fully-fledged member, this sort of honest enquiry is inappropriate.There is no room for unilateral opinion or thought; if you don’t agree with a Watchtower doctrine, you must learn to understand it or ‘wait until Jehovah reveals it’.
I’ve loved science since as far back as I can remember, and I was frequently flabbergasted by the scientific illiteracy demonstrated by the JW members I was surrounded by, and those who actually gave talks.I distinctly remember hearing one “Brother” on the platform saying something like:
“Scientists now are having second thoughts about the Big Bang, aren’t they?After all, if there was a big explosion, wouldn’t there be stars everywhere scattered all over the place?”
Whether he spoke for the Society or not is irrelevant; this sort of embarrassing ignorance sent alarm bells ringing in my head; would that anyone else in the congregation have known any better than the credulous speaker did . (Although I’m sure my mum did).Would it have been too much to ask for someone to cough out rather loudly: “GRAVITY!”?I guess so.
Those that fill positions of authority in the Organisation are not generally very intelligent in my experience, and a long familiarity with their literatures leaves me with the distinct impression that the Leaders themselves are either very unintelligent or incredibly deceptive.There is simply no way to explain the contradictions, reversals, deceptions, distortions, misquotes, and outright lies without assuming that the Society knows what it’s doing.There’s no greater example of this than their publication: “Life – How did it get here?By Evolution or Creation?”(In this day and age, the Society routinely churns out more strawmen and lies about evolution, whilst resorting to the Argument from Design that was exposed for the vacuous flotsam it was over a hundred years ago!)
Let me return to their claim that if only there were more people like them in the world it would be a much better place:
To live in a world of Jehovah’s Witnesses would be to live in a sterile ignorant Dark Ages.Freedom of speech and right of opinion would be the first to go.Next would follow the right to gamble.Sexual freedom?Not a chance.One partner, forever, in the one position.Sex before marriage? Gone.Homosexuality?Punishable by death.Dating?No, not unlessyou intend to marry.Science?Only if it doesn’t conflict with the Society’s understanding of scripture.(So, no then.)There would be only one train of thought: The Society’s.Any contrary viewpoint would be censored.
However, a world of JWs if their beliefs were true would be even worse!You would live in the worst possible land of totalitarian rule.Thoughtcrime would be a reality!Your entire existence would be based around worshipping another being every single day for eternity.Of course, no real progress in society, technology, or science would ever be made, because sooner or later some unfortunate fact about the real world would rear its head and have to be rejected by the Society, or incorporated into Newspeak and history would be retrospectively altered as though it was there all along.Paedophiles and more paedophiles would be protected by the Organisation.Evil sadists would go uncovered for years because of their long standing in the congregation.
The JWs are not the most dangerous (yet) of small cultish sects, but they are one of the most despicable and insidious.Not because of the unfortunate ignorant uneducated masses that count among the standard ranks, but because of the hateful fundamentalist dogma they believe, and because of how ignorant and backwards their followers are kept.The Governing Body has a lot to answer for, and I wonder how long they can keep putting Armageddon back and telling their members “any day now!It is just around the corner!”Perhaps forever?
But why would you want to escape a prison of lies when you are told the outside is a hopeless world of wicked evil sinners?What is independent thought when your own ideas and doubts are not to be trusted, and when your memories can be transformed by the revising history-altering publicists at the Watchtower Party?
“He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.”
This is an interesting although melodramatic video. Unfortunately it ends with all the wrong messages: don’t choose JW’s god, choose another. Don’t believe the Jesus of JWs, believe the “real Jesus”. In other words, some people who leave JWs just replace one pack of superstitious lies for another. I couldn’t do that. (But then, my reasons for leaving were not because of the lies of the Watchtower, but because critical thinking excludes all religions, JWs included.)
*Broken link now.