reprint from the Jun/Aug 1995 Free Minds Journal
Cults are basically an extended family, an abusive family to be more accurate. In a bad family situation, the mother or father may seek to dominate every aspect of the children's lives - from what they can or cannot question, to what posture and tone of voice they are to have when speaking to their superiors. Punishments may be out of proportion to the mistakes of the children as well, and trust is a stranger.
In a normal or healthy family, rules are only temporary and are replaced with trust and the responsibility to make decisions later in life. In a cult, the "children" are never allowed such responsibility, as this would lead to unacceptable variations in behavior (clone-like behavior is vital to cults). Cult members are not often trusted by the leadership, as the leaders know that their recommended behavior is not natural or inherent in the followers, but must be patterned (demonstrated) before their eyes repeatedly. "Give `em a rope and they'll hang themselves" is often the mentality of the leadership. As a result, rank-and-file cult members are perpetually treated as children, not to be trusted with important decisions.
In a regular family, "little white lies" are sometimes used by parents to avoid giving complicated or unpleasant explanations of things to their children. Daddy cheating on mommy, the identity of Santa Claus, and whether mommy has enough money to buy junior's favorite toy at the supermarket are often covered by these little lies. Hopefully, the lies are stopped as the child matures and the parents are willing to become vulnurable and admit their own failures. Unfortunately, some parents choose to retain the false appearance of and to their children long after they have physically grown up.
One such bad example of parenting (in an extended sense) is the Watchtower.
As any organization grows and flexes its muscles, its "collective ego" gains more influence, often silencing dissent that might otherwise be healthy for the long-term growth of the organization. The little guy is often trampled upon, and "human sacrifices" are made to feed or maintain the outward appearances of the organization. (Hmmm, let's see, where did I put my Bethel Stories?) Any scandals or weaknesses must be concealed quickly, lest outsiders come to view the organization in an inferior light. The reputation of an organization becomes an entity in itself, that must be nurtured at all costs. Certain side effects of this "ego" are inevitably passed on to the children, i.e., they may secretly feel proud of having such a formidable mother, creating in them a complex form of collective pride, which helps the children compensate for their own misery in having to be obedient to a deranged parent. Take a look around, and you will notice this phenomena in families, organizations, and even cultures and nations. (example: "It's MY country, right or wrong!")
To the Jehovah's Witness, Jehovah is the father and the organization is the mother. This was drilled into our weak little minds from the very beginning. Obey the mother, or else get kicked out of the family, an ever-present fear forever held over the head of the Witness.
In our current discussion, the children know the mother (the Watchtower) has predicted THE END (for all those outside of this elite family) on at least one occasion. They discover, either through their own breach of etiquette or by watching the misfortunes of others (oh, those human sacrifices!) that mother is not to be reminded of such things, since mother cannot be wrong! !!!!
(Now mother knows she can be wrong, but it is not tolerable to have the children know or talk about that - mother is not to become truly vulnerable to them, or the children will lose all respect for her, and, "GOD KNOWS what a Pandora's box that would be." )
Lately, mother has taken about all she can stand from the errant children who no longer worship her, and who have been diligent to point out her dirty laundry. Keeping her eyes closed and her nose up in the air has not silenced the whispers of the little brats, and punishments are not always effectual, so a campaign of lies and misinformation regarding her past is now the rage.
The method of mind control most often used on the "kids" (publishers) is a form of "selective focusing," an old favorite in their programming techniques. It involves a clever play on words, where a sentence is constructed in such a way that the statement may be true from a specific focus, but is misleading to others who don't understand how to "turn the lens." If you have ever heard a Witness respond to the question, "Will only Jehovah's Witnesses be saved?" you will know what I mean. Their answer, provided to them by the Watchtower Society, is carefully worded, and goes something like this:
"No, there are others who will be saved in the end."
What the listener understands the JW to be saying and what the JW actually believes are two different things, however. It is merely a ploy to keep from telling an outright lie. The Witness rationalizes the answer in his mind, reasoning that some who are not now Witnesses will become Witnesses in the end, and will therefore be saved. Their answer is, after all, a lie.
In 1992 the Watchtower released the book, Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. It was her slick attempt to alter how the children see their family's past. Her most recent effort, however, was just published in the Awake! magazine of June 22, 1995 in the article, "Can You Trust God's Promises," a discussion of failed expectations with regards to prophetic dates. (p. 6-9) Note how the above-mentioned tactics are used to create a more honorable impression of the mother organization:
No mention is made of the founder, Charles Taze Russell himself, believing that he was to be raptured in 1914, or that Macmillan was a member of the Bethel headquarters staff and his sentiments were shared by all present. Instead, a single individual (and not even the main one) is selected as a scapegoat. Why does Russell escape being included in this scenario? The article continues,
One would think that an official spokesman for the Watchtower organization should make a statement that the organization, through the pages of The Watchtower and other books, made the mistake (thereby acknowledging her limitations). Or, that the founder of the Watchtower, who himself penned the false prophecies, would now be seen in a more fragile light. Yet Macmillan is the only clearly identifiable scapegoat. The article then concludes with a statement that is almost comic:
In other words, Witnesses are not to allow the past or future false prophecies, or "failed predictions" if you will, to hinder them in their service to God and in the expectation of the end. They are to remain in a state of constant awareness of the short time left, even if this state of mind is to be maintained through several false predictions. It is an attitude similar to that espoused in the New Testament for Christians in Bible times, except that the Watchtower's children must be willing to ignore the obvious lack of divine inspiration in the mother's leadership -- a factor not present in the first-century Christian scenario. How clever mom is! We should be proud of her! (Remember the "collective ego.") Joseph Smith and Herbert W. Armstrong would love that one, were they still alive to lead their respective organizations (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and The Worldwide Church of God).
Curiously, no mention is made in the companion articles about the "generation that would see the end." We believe that the Watchtower's Governing Body and the Writing Dept. are having a struggle over how they are going to interpret Matthew 24:34 in the days ahead, since the "1914 generation" explanation is fading in credibility. Go, mom!
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