Compliance: How Far Will Some Go?

What Is Compliance?
In psychology, compliance refers to changing one’s behavior due to the request or direction of another person.

Group behavior plays a big role in influencing compliance. We often refer to this as peer pressure. If it appears that the majority are agreeing to one thing, an individual is more likely to follow along. And cult indoctrination is notorious for using conformity methods as a means to keep its members controlled. Alongside this technique is placing a trusted authority over the group to create a fear of disobedience. The authority can then direct the actions of those who will do the actual bidding. If one authority can direct a few, the few can influence those under them.

Several studies have been done on compliance. In The Milgram Obedience Experiment, “participants” were directed by one authority called “the experimenter” to deliver electrical shocks to a person called “the learner.”

It’s important to note that the experimenter merely gave direction. They did not physically touch the controls to deliver the shocks. The participants under their charge sat at the controls where they could deliver the shock and hear the reaction of the learner.

The shocks were not real as they were merely pretending to be shocked, but the participants administering the controls believed they were real shocks and that these were affecting the learners based on their anguished cries.  This didn’t stop with a few whimpers of discomfort.

“As the experiment progressed, the participant would hear the learner plead to be released or even complain about a heart condition. Once they reached the 300-volt level, the learner would bang on the wall and demand to be released. Beyond this point, the learner became completely silent and refused to answer any more questions. The experimenter then instructed the participant to treat this silence as an incorrect response and deliver a further shock.” (Milgram’s Experiments and the Perils of Obedience By Kendra Cherry)

Human compassion and a healthy crisis of conscience was present in the participants yet most asked the authority above them (the experimenter) whether they should continue.

Yes, they deferred their responsibility to the authority
rather than stop when their own conscience
was telling them to show compassion.

Whenever the participants expressed concern, the experimenter would respond with commands to “please continue.” If they persisted, more encouragement was sent by the authority commanding, “the experiment requires that you continue.” The participants were told, “it is absolutely essential that you continue.” And finally the threat,
“you have no other choice; you must go on.”

In his 1963 report on his research, Stanley Milgram asked Yale University students to predict what percentage of participants would continue and deliver the maximum shock. The average prediction was that about 1% would. In reality, 65% of the participants in Milgram’s study delivered the maximum shocks.

This is an important study of human behavior to consider when understanding those under high control groups.
Many factors are at play in the recruitment and indoctrination of members, but once a person is convinced to trust an authority, they can easily be manipulated to ignore even their most basic human compassion.

Once a person is convinced to trust an authority,
they can easily be manipulated to ignore
even their most basic human compassion.

One very overused verse I recall from my indoctrination in the Watchtower reads as follows from the New World Translation:

“Be obedient to those who are taking the lead among you and be submissive, for they are keeping watch over your souls.” — Hebrews 13:17

The authority I agreed to follow were my local elders. They, of course, were under the Governing Body of the Watchtower. All were “taking the lead” and therefore my role was to “be submissive” regardless of what my conscience dictated. After all, I was convinced they were “keeping watch over my soul.”

And that is another key factor in compliance. Generally speaking, when we’ve been assured that something is for our own good or the common good of others, we’re more likely to comply.

Prior to entering the Watchtower, I assumed certain men asserted power in order to obtain money or sex, but once in the organization, I learned some men are simply drunk on power itself. They seem to delight in control for control’s sake. It appears they get excited just to know they can make other human beings do what they command.

Have you ever been someone else’s experiment? Perhaps going along with the gradual progression of compliance until you realize you’re being played? Couldn’t happen to you? Remember, in the Milgram experiment 65% of the participants followed the instruction to apply what they thought were death dealing shocks to their fellow man. They were merely “following orders” given by a trusted authority. Consider, if more than half of the participants complied based on command alone, imagine how much more vulnerable human beings are under the increased threat of losing a job, family, or life itself? At what point does a person comply? I’ve observed it occurs much sooner than expected.

The 2012 independent film “Compliance”  is based on a true story in which a man poses as a police officer on the phone to make a theft accusation against an innocent girl working in a fast food restaurant. As the manager gets locked into obeying his authority, this poor girl was strip searched and humiliated for hours in the back room of the restaurant. Like the experimenter in Milgram’s study, the “officer” on the phone never touched the girl, he just commanded the attention of the manager who obediently carried out his orders. Like that manager, elders in the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses are ALL guilty of complying with the leadership above them who must surely derive pleasure from posing as princes anointed by Jehovah God Himself. They go on to abuse their “authority” by making demands which ultimately strip innocent persons of their dignity and human rights. It amounts to spiritual rape. Shame on them.

The fast food manager was guilty for her compliance and what she instigated, yet she was also a victim duped into believing a lie presented by a false authority. That’s the way I see most elders. They carry out the oppressive rules coming down from the Governing Body and end up victimizing the publishers under them. Even so, they are all guilty of following a lie through their collective compliance.

This movie is guaranteed to make you uncomfortable, but that’s good. I hope it inspires you to expose the puppet masters in the Watchtower as well as any other schemes of men you discover you’ve fallen prey to.

Keep alert, keep questioning authority, and keep yourself in God’s love!


At that time, the lifesaving direction that we receive from Jehovah’s organization may not appear practical from a human standpoint. All of us must be ready to obey any instructions we may receive, whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not. –November 15 2013 Watchtower, p.20

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Author: Julie

As a convert to Jehovah’s Witnesses, Julie believed she had found “the Truth,” but when she was “disfellowshipped” for “apostasy” when she questioned the organization's policies and refused to trust the organization over Jesus as her ONLY mediator, Julie left to find true freedom serving the REAL Jehovah God in joy and truth! Call Julie at 719-355-7164 ext 113