Glen T. Winstein


GTJ Brooklyn 4



  Theocratic warfare
  Peer pressure

  Theocratic warfare

  A good collection of quotes from Watchtower literature about the JWs leaders'
stance for JWs called theocratic warfare is at the silent lambs web site at the
next link:

  Here's a May, 2007, Nashville, TN, WSMV-TV news clip about Bill Bowen and Si-
lent Lambs support for abuse victims, their claim that the JWs leaders' organi-
zation provides a way for abusers to be handled in the JWs organization and not
be brought to task by the law, and that in March, 2007, over a dozen molestation
lawsuits were settled by the JWs organization--with gag orders.

  JWs are taught to withhold self-image damaging truth about the JWs leaders'
organization from others--"theocratic warfare."  JWs are taught how to create a
softened version of JWs leaders' stances for court cases specifically.

  "Do you swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth?" (oath taken
before taking the stand in court).

  JWs leaders' response:

  "Of course, being truthful does not mean that we are obligated to divulge all
information to anyone who asks it of us.  Do not give what is holy to dogs, nei-
ther throw your pearls before swine, that they may never...turn around and rip
you open, warned Jesus, at Matthew 7:6.  For example, individuals with wicked
intent may have no right to know certain things.  Christians understand that
they are living in a hostile world.  Thus, Jesus advised his disciples to be
cautious as serpents while remaining innocent as doves. ( Matthew 10:16; John
15:19)  Jesus did not always disclose the full truth, especially when revealing
all the facts could have brought unnecessary harm to himself or his disciples.
Still, even at such times, he did not lie.  Instead, he chose either to say
nothing or to divert the conversation in another direction." ("Awake! Feb.8,
2000, p.21)


  Peer pressure

  The JWs leaders' stance on such a distinctive doctrine involves a strong ele-
ment of peer pressure.  Peer pressure is a two-edged sword that could be thought
to cut either way in such things, and I won't consider it a decisive factor in
determining the validity of the JWs leaders' stance on the medical use of blood.

  It does bear pointing out that the Governing Body's way of regulating regi-
mented obedience commonly has the effect of keeping many of the followers from
reading or listening to persistent criticism of the JWs leaders' rules.  The JWs
are taught that such critics are to be considered hateful of God (even though
the alleged "apostate" may have not had anything like that in mind).

  That can't be healthy in regard to the basic procedure used by courts and by
common sense about making judgments otherwise: you need to hear both sides give
their case and weigh evidence against gossip before rendering judgment.  No
matter how persuasive the forced points, etc., may seem in isolated considera-
tion, it should at least seem suspicious to followers on the face of it that the
JWs leaders' make a literal 144,000 claim of exclusiveness, make forced points
to insist on agreement with distinctive rules that seem meant to serve the es-
tablishment of that exclusiveness, yet it's about common old material and taught
by JWs leaders who discourage that basic procedure, described above, of judging

  I won't follow that example the other way around and shun people if they read
JWs leaders' literature.  Some of the JWs followers I met are some of the nicest
people I've met.  You don't have to have the same outlooks as me on such stuff
to be a friend of mine (or not be).  (Not pushing 'centric condemnation of other
whole groups to the fore is a plus for that to work out.)  And I need to use the
JWs leaders' literature as a part of the comparison of evidences that are impor-
tant to a study of the issues of this article.

  Psychologist Ruth W. Berenda and associates once tested peer pressure.  When a
teacher asked ten students to "Raise your hand when we point to the longest
line" of three lines, nine were prepared beforehand to raise their hand when the
2nd longest line was pointed at.  The tenth student was the tested variable and
was a different student for each effort of the test.  The tenth student con-
formed to the group and raised their hand for the 2nd longest line 75% of the
time this was tested.

  A JW might get peer pressure from JWs or non-JWs.  But I'd imagine that if the
JWs leaders maintain a threat of particularly strict disfellowshipping from a
JWs' friends and family in on the mix, you could get a lot of people who show
that, as Ruth put it, "Some people had rather be president than right."


  The JWs leaders' doctrine on transfusions isn't the only or most reasonable
way to interpret the pertinent verses (pp.12-42), so it's likely that the reason
that some followers don't want to look at alternate views, or admit that they
doubt their leaders' views, to avoid disfellowshipping.  This could be handy for
the JWs leaders whose flocks go various places and talk to lots of people.

  If the JWs leaders know their blood doctrine isn't a scriptural guarantee, and
don't think they're God's sole channel of info any more than I think so, the
leaders are then using their extreme version of disfellowshipping, beyond the
intended scriptural use of disfellowshipping (interpretations differ, but it's
generally seen in Christianity as a punishment for extreme sin), to keep a
larger percentage of their followers from learning or expressing faults with the
JWs leader's distinctive doctrines and claims of exclusive (144,000, etc.) au-

  1967  "In Jehovah's organisation it is not necessary to spend a lot of time
and energy in research, for there are brothers in the organisation who are as-
signed to that very thing...." ("The Watchtower, June 1, 1967, p.338)