QUESTION: How does a person that has not been raised a JW become indoctrinated? In my opinion, it happens at a point of weakness/ vulnerability. How does an intelligent person get to the point that they are being controlled? How do well meaning people end up believing EVERYTHING that they are TOLD to believe? How do they not realize that the TRUTH really CAN be scrutinized backwards, forwards, upside down and inside out?
ANSWER: You raise interesting questions and I will get right to them. But first, I should point out that the recruitment effectiveness of Jehovah's Witnesses has been absolutely abysmal for many years. For example, last year in the United States 1,200,000 Jehovah's Witnesses spent 255 million hours trying to recruit new converts. The results? They barely eked out 1% growth for the year. You could expect more than 1% growth would be attained with just the JW children coming of age and no outside recruitment efforts whatsoever. Britain and Japan have similar results. Make no mistake, the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses is in serious decline.
But you ask how does a JW become indoctrinated. What I am about describe works best with a person, as you describe, that is vulnerable. They have recently moved and have no friends, or they have had a recent life-changing event and they are unsettled. The process of indoctrination is a very polished, carefully crafted, progressive study program.
A JW cannot become a believer by a few study lessons, and the leaders know this. The WT Society has been in the indoctrination business for over 100 years and has become an expert in the gradual conversion process, not that recent results are an indicator. The technique relies on beautifully illustrated study books printed by the WT Society. The early topics in the books show pretty people, nicely dressed, with beaming faces. They are all so happy to be in a beautiful paradise earth. Do you see anyone sick? No. Do you see any old people? No. Do you see any crime, stress, or pollution? No. Did you know that God promises to bring such conditions to the earth within your lifetime? Let me show you in your Bible. Do you think it would be worth investing 1/2 hour a week to find out how God will bring this about?.......And so the hook is set. Whether the listener will continue with the 1/2 hour study with wonderful story sessions is another matter. But that is how it starts. As they continue these wonderful sugar-coated studies, they soon realize that practically everything they thought they knew about God, church, and the Bible is all wrong
! Oh my! They have so much to learn! And "taking in knowledge of the only true God leads to everlasting life." John 17:3 They will know this verse if they don't know anything else and they will learn to repeat it. Just ask any JW what John 17:3 says.
As the [Bible] WT book study continues, the listener learns about a wonderful organization that God has been using since 1914 to spread this wonderful hope to all humanity. They learn about a "faithful and discreet slave class" that has been directing this life-saving work for over 100 years. Wouldn't you like to meet more of these absolutely lovely and kind people who hope to live in God's new world too? I will be by to pick you up Sunday to go to the Kingdom Hall.
Steven Hassan is better qualified to explain how mind control starts. He works in cult exit counseling and has written several books on the topic. http://www.freedomofmind.com/
In the spirit of equal time, the official WT site will welcome you with the highly polished conversion material that I just mentioned. http://www.jw.org/en/
Thank you for the thoughtful questions. I hope I stayed on point.
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QUESTION: Thank you. I will research Steven Hassan.
What would happen if during the study, a question was asked that showed the WT's interpretation to be incorrect? Why is it that the only way to explain a belief is to discredit another's belief? It doesn't seem to be able to speak for itself.
How is it that I can use my KJV bible during study, if JWs say that it isn't accurate? How does that work?
About recruiting.....My loved one has practicing "friends" that moved to our state. I asked the wife what brought them to this state. She said that there weren't many JWs in that area and they moved to help minister to people. They moved to a different state, into a "friend's" (they didn't seem to know these people) house, and had no jobs until after the move. If this is common, would you please explain this practice?
What would happen if during the study it was shown that the WT's interpretation was incorrect? I am sure that has happened. But the Witness study conductor is not capable of mentally processing the error. I am serious. The study conductor's consciousness would only allow them to think that the student is not getting it. It is not a possibility in the Witness mind that the WT interpretation might be wrong. That does not compute. I should add that the Witness message has most of the objections covered. They are not all reasonable when looked at objectively, but the Witness has an answer for anything.
For example, there is nothing in the Bible pointing to 1914 and certainly nothing indicating that a Christian ought to set themselves to calculating something that arrives at 1914 or any other year. That doesn't stop every JW from preaching 1914 and you would be hard pressed to convince one to let go of that interpretation.
Why go about discrediting another's belief? I can think of only one reason. Because you need desperately to be the only truth. Why does one need to be the absolute and only truth? Delusion and narcissism.
Using the KJV bible during study. The Witnesses love to use your Bible, at first anyway. They will rejoice to turn here and there in your Bible to show you that "the truth" is any Bible version. But surprisingly, supposedly, the KJV is riddled with errors and mistranslation. You must begin using the NWTranslation because [wink] it is written in plain English more easy to understand. You can start with your beloved KJV, but you will assuredly be relieved of it never to be mentioned again after you start using The New World Translation.
The practice of moving into a "friend's" house with no job and calling this moving to where the need is great is not that common nowadays, but it does happen. I have seen it many times. I must confess, that after getting to know people who do this, I have never been impressed. In my limited experience, there is always something amiss. But as the story goes, Jehovah provides for those that put kingdom interests first. I should recount the stories of a pioneer couple who had no money, no food, and no gas. And what do you know! Why an envelope comes in the mail with the exact amount needed to supply the day's needs.
Please ask more. I will try give it as I have seen it and not be cheeky. Some of this might appear that way, even if I don't intend it to be.