The more one gets to know Jehovah’s Witnesses…the more of them they speak with, the more they talk to them, the more they listen to them, the more they read about them, the more that they see of them and the more they watch them…there just seems to be something about them that one can’t quite put their finger on; and then it hits them: Jehovah’s Witnesses appear to be somehow all “the same,” and there seems to be something just not quite right with this…but what is it??Though Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to be “happy,” and though it appears that each, overall, are well-mannered and well-spoken and well-dressed and sincere people, at the same time, however, they seem to oddly, somehow, “blend into” one another. And though each has their own distinct personality, and even though each may have their own style of dress, still it is obvious in the overall picture that they are each “unique” within the strict confines of the Watchtower Organization; they all appear, overall, to be “the same.” But how can this be?
How can people, from different backgrounds and cultures and educational levels and professions, come to join an organization that has them all coming out “looking all the same”?? Like the lines in the old sixtie’s song, “Ticky-Tacky-Houses,” which goes something like this, “and the children go to Summer Camp and then to the University, and they all get put in boxes, and they all come out the same,” the Watchtower convert, however they may have been before their conversion, seem to “come out the same.”
Nearly eleven years ago I began to do extensive research on the Watchtower Organization. I had tried to share my Christian faith with Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I was truly perplexed at how quickly each and everyone of them would react; and they all acted “the same,” as if, somehow, I had pushed some invisible “button,” and indeed, as the years passed and my research progressed, I came to later define these “all the same” reactions as very real and predictable “Watchtower Buttons.”
When I was shown the truth of the Christian faith as outlined so clearly in God’s own Word, I was so excited, and I wanted to share what I’d learned with all the Jehovah’s Witnesses that I knew, both within my family and with my Jehovah’s Witness co-workers, but I was confused that all of them reacted as if, to put it bluntly, “repulsed”; as if I had somehow been extolling to them the glories of serving Satan the Devil!!
I wondered why it was that Jehovah’s Witnesses “all seemed the same” to me; I wondered if it was all in my imagination, or if there really was something deeper going on than just a large group of people all believing “the same thing.”
I happened to stumble upon a disturbing book entitled, “30 Years A Watchtower Slave,” by William J. Schnell, which was published in 1956. I was quite surprised to find a book that shed such very illuminating light on Watchtower History that was written by a formerly high-ranking member of the Organization from such an earlier time period; in my search for information on the Watchtower, I’d come across many writings of ex Jehovah’s Witnesses on the internet, but as many of the stories there told were tales expressing anger and resentment toward the Watchtower Organization, and of their personal experiences while in it, I ignored these. Emotional outbursts and tirades, however warranted, do not give me “facts,” and it was “facts” pertaining to Watchtower History that I was searching for.
According to his well-written book, William J. Schnell was very high up in the Watchtower during J.F. Rutherford’s iron-rule of the ogranization of the 1920s and 1930s. He was practically Rutherford’s “right-hand-man.” Schnell’s book is his methodical account of his loyal service to the Watchtower Organization and details his carrying out of Watchtower President J.F. Rutherford’s secret methods and means of punishments toward those who thought they could “buck” his authority in gaining ever more control over the members of the Watchtower.
Beginning circa 1917, (gaining momentum in the 1920s) from the top down, Rutherford implemented his uncompromising plan to gain absolute control of both the members of Watchtower Headquarters down to the dividing up the individual congregations around the world, (thus making them more managable), subverting all “power” and authority from the individual congregation Elders of each of them; Rutherford then ultimately taking complete control over of each one of them, placing as head of every congregation, not a “loving Elder,” but a “Rutherford henchman” in order to assure conformity. (p.58)
Beginning the real “weeding out” process of “getting rid of” any and all “non-conformists” to the “new Watchtower,” all stubborn adherents to Russell’s Watchtower, (and to those who, especially, stubbornly clung to their Christian Faith), were subsequently branded ‘Evil Slaves,’ and banished when they refused to pledge their loyalty to the “new Watchtower.”
Starting the process in Germany; of the one hundred and seventy-five Bethel members there, only eight agreed to “change over” to the “new Watchtower.” Those eight Bethel members that agreed to pledge their loyalty to the “new Watchtower” were then led out by Schnell to the home of one of the German Bethel members, and there began the “new Watchtower Organization,” the organization that the Jehovah’s Witnesses know and recognize today, which remains one of enforced conformity, though they may deny that this is true.
Replacing the kind, gentle Christians of the “old Watchtower” that had come into the organization under Russell’s tenure were the “new Watchtower” adherents; “purposefull, energetic book salesmen and Publishers, out to make their mark!” (p.59)
In congregation after congregation, the “purge” of Christians was ruthlessly carried out until finally “a new concept of congregation emerged…as the Society’s instructions multiplied. Finally the Society, in one stroke, through a Watchtower article, eliminated the postion of Elder in the congregations.” This was done in order “to end control of congregations from the local level, and to usher in a top down Theocratic arrangement from the control tower in Brooklyn.” (p.59)
Of specific interest, and to my utter horror, Schnell outlines Rutherford’s secret plan to gain absolute power and control over the faithful; sending Schnell over to the Germany Headquarters in the mid-1920s to basically practice different means and methods of mind control on them; carefully and methodically noting what worked and what did not. And why, you might ask, would Rutherford choose to “practice” on the dear brothers of the German Watchtower Headquarters? It is because it was then a well-known trait of the German People that they had a native love of orderliness, and that they are generally a respectful people; largely willing to be subservient and obedient to authority.
An elderly German Jehovah’ Witness woman sadly once told me that, “In Germany, before Hitler took power, we were a loving and happy people; we were a close-knit people; we loved our family and our friends!
But after the Nazis took control, friendships were ruined; families were destroyed as we each came to learn that while we smiled at each other on the outside, we could never be certain of anyone’s “love” or “friendship.”
We could never know who might report us to the SS for some infraction in word or deed of disloyalty to The Party. I see this in the Watchtower…it feels the same to me…and it breaks my heart.” This rendition is not made up by me, but is as close to her actual words as I can recall; I remember them so well because her words rang so true, and because she spoke with tears.
On page 61 of his book, Schnell writes, “We in Magdeburg were actually stooges for Brooklyn. We were the trial organization forming by our moves the patten for the future assault on the congregations in the U.S.A. Every detail of how most effectively to subvert the congregations was tested and tried by us and was reported to Brooklyn and there filed away for future use in the U.S.A. “The larger congregations proved to be in the most troublous, since in these the Elders were generally well trained and strong Christians. But, the tide was against them!
“As more and more books (written prolifically by none other than Rutherford, himself) were being placed carrying the new Watchtower gospel, and as many new adherents were coming in, we began to experiment with subjection by division. We did this by arbitrarily breaking up the whole congregation into from six to twelve units, all semi-autonomous to make them more palatable to the rank and file.
“We headed each unit with a specially appoinited Sevice Director from the Society. At the same time a semblance of the unity of the old congregation was retained by arranging for a monthly two-day assembly of the whole congregation in some special place. This was the method used to make the congregations more readily manageable. It worked so well that the Society in Brooklyn, when they thought the time was ripe for it (circa 1934-35), began using this same method in the larger cities in the U.S.A.” (p. 61, 62)
As has been shown per Schnell’s rendition, after the “trial program” was completed…once Rutherford had all the information that he felt he needed to accomplish his goal...“what worked” in Germany was later to be put into practice in the United States, and appears to remain the basic mode of control over the Watchtower rank and file today, however “loving” they may promote themselves to be.
Above all, first and foremost, it is not “loyalty to Jehovah” that matters most in the Watchtower, no, but it is “loyalty to the Watchtower Organization” that matters most if a member hopes to remain “in good standing” with the Watchtower.
As a side note, the Watchtower has made much of the history of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany under the rule of Hitler; how they were so faithful under the hardships of the Concentration Camps of those days, but the Watchtower’s version of the suffering of these dear and innocent members of the Watchtower seems only to serve as another one of their “bragging” stories that is meant only to serve to bolster their image and doesn’t tell the entire truth…the truth as to why Hitler felt such a hatred toward the Jehovah’s Witnesses of those days.
According to Schnell’s book, everything in the Wiemar Republic of Germany “was going from bad to worse. Unemployment was rampant and hope for better times was fading everywhere. Communism on the left claimed millions, and the Nazis on the right were growing fast. In the middle, however, were millions who wanted a spiritual and peaceful way of life, and these were the people we were after. We were fishing in the troubled waters of the German population.
“Appearing to them as God’s Organization, powerful, unafraid of opposition (actually bearding the lion in his den, so to speak), we easily became their champions. (p.71)
“If events had not transpired to put the Hitler movement into control, Germany might have become the first Jehovah’s Witnesses state of God’s Organization. The Nazis and the Communists realized this and began really to oppose us as the third force. Even though our work in Germany came to a sudden and violent end with the advent of the Nazi movement and government, we in Germany had laid for Brooklyn the pattern and the knowhow (to control Watchtower members), This sort of thing could be done in America when the time should be ripe.” (p.72)
I speak and relate the above even though it be “controversial” or upsetting to nearly every current or ex Jehovah’s Witness member. But this reaction, too, is part of the “sameness” of which I speak.
I encourage ANYONE who is thinking of joining the Watchtower to check out this incredibly enlightening book on the history of the Watchtower…the history that they have kept well-hidden…because if one reads only one source of information about this “cup” of which Jesus spoke, let it be this one, because after reading ” 30 Years A Watchtower Slave,” everything else you might read or hear in relation to this powerful organization will make absolute and perfect sense. (ISBN 0-8010-6384-1)
So why do all Jehovah’s Witnesses appear to be the same? I believe that it is because they have become the victims of a Subliminal Hypnotic Indoctrination Process on a continual basis. If the individual Watchtower member were to “take a break” from the Watchtower schedule of Kingdom Hall meetings and conventions, and to take a complete break from their study of Watchtower literature, and to prayerfully study only the Bible, itself, for a period of just six months, that one may just come to believe it over and above Watchtower Doctrine.
I dare to say this only because of my personal experience…my experience with seeing hypnosis subtly used on unsuspecting people…and because I am quite familiar with the high-powered sales tactics and training methods used by companies whose sole purpose is to send out empolyees into the field like so many well-oiled cogs in the same efficiently running machine…a machine that is ever kept in “high-performance” condition; whose sole purpose is to “bring in the most profit” for the benefit of “the company.”
I have been to these sales meetings, and I have had to attend mandatory “Sales Conventions,” and I have sat through many “sales speeches,” and I have witnessed many “demonstrations” by “higher-up” members of the particular business that I was employed by…demonstrations designed to show the audience of sales representitives just “how it’s done”; how to do it “better”; and, most importantly, to not only foster just a little bit of “guilt” for not doing better than we had been doing, but to also “put a fire under our butts”; to infuse within us a burning desire to rush right out the door, firmly committed to putting into practice what we learned at the convention in order to bring EVERYONE we met into our company…sound familiar?
It was my experience in sales…and especially in the meetings and conventions that I have mentioned…that gave me humorous pause as I sat in on Kingdom Hall meetings, Field Service gatherings, and attended Watchtower Conventions.
I found myself actually amused in noting that “God’s Organization” should so thoroughly and cleverly make use of “worldy” business methods…
Overall, I believe that the individual that comes into the Watchtower Organization is subtly and continuously infused with a desire to conform, to “be like everyone else” in “God’s” Organization. And though I am certain that each and every Jehovah’s Witness would deny what I am saying as being “lies from Satan,” I maintain my conviction that this is, indeed, the truth.
In closing, I admonish everyone to thoroughly research any organization or religion before making a committment; especially if there is no “back door” to leave from, and especially if that committment involves that religion or organization virtually taking over your life, demanding from you your absolute loyalty and humble obedience, and that would expect you to be willing to turn on your own spouse or parent or child should they ever become ex members…I believe that one should make a fully informed decision before making any committment of such an all-encompassing magnitude such as joining the Watchtower would be.
I wish that someone would have shared the above with me…