The Watchtower outlooks on worldliness
The Watchtower outlooks on neutrality
The Watchtower efforts to claim the right religion regarding war
The Watchtower outlooks on freedom of speech
Complaints about the JWs leaders' use of reference material:
the issue of pedophilia
Some JWs have been persecuted. Some people of any group (race, nationality,
economic level, religious choice, age level, political party, even music pref-
erence) develop and rationalize an ingroup-biased, "hooray for us--bash them"
selfishness about their priority group in relation to others, including JWs
leaders, and some JWs followers (the leaders don't go door to door) have gotten
the bad end of that in return, too.
A collection of JWs leaders' quotes about people of other religions:
An archive of JWs-related news, some regarding problems between JWs and the
governments of various nations, is at the next link.
While the JWs leaders have created one of the most ingroup-biased religious
groups around, the leaders even requiring disfellowshipping of family members
who don't live in the same house over persistent disagreement with the JWs lead-
ers' distinctive doctrines, there are no Martin Luther King stories among the
JWs leaders here. The followers bore the brunt of the nastier examples of per-
secution shown at the next several links.
"The Hunchback of Notre Dame," 1939, starring Charles Laughton and Maureen
The Watchtower outlooks on worldliness
In the most notable time and place for the JWs leaders' stance to be put to
the test, JWs wouldn't fight for the Nazis or "heil" Hitler, then again most
lived in the U.S. and wouldn't fight against them or pledge allegiance to the
U.S. flag, for liberty and justice for all, either. The JWs leaders' expanded
rules about worldliness are so inflexible and exclusivist that JWs followers
weren't even allowed to help fight the Nazis out of harm's way by joining the
underground Christian movement. If anything, any converts they made were talked
out of fighting the Nazis.
Rutherford, from his mansion in San Diego, sent the followers door to door
with his damnation of all not Rutherford till Hitler's men were sent to harass
the JWs. Hitler didn't target the JWs for extermination as he did regarding
the Jews, but wanted the JWs to stop criticizing his political party and the
religions of many of his constituency. Basically, he just wanted Rutherford to
stay out of politics which shouldn't have been hard for someone that was honest-
ly politically neutral to do.
Then Rutherford did something profoundly dumb in terms of both claiming the
righteousness of an elite 144,000 (p.1a) and of taking strategic care of his
followers. In Feb.9 and Oct.7, 1934 letters to Hitler, Rutherford at once both
tried to cozy up to Hitler's party and anti-Semitism, and threatened Hitler that
if He didn't call off his men, Rutherford would have messages that were critical
about Hitler in the JWs tracts sent door to door and Hitler would be destroyed
(see the "Timeline of JWs leaders in regard to human government, war, propagan-
da, and persecution" on p.6).
JWs went to prison camps, where some died, and the rest shared Rutherford's
tracts and books underground.
Ironically, current JWs leaders want credit for having protected the follow-
ers with their stance of political neutrality (see the listing for 1996 on the
timeline on p.6), and to bash Christendom (meant in a derogatory way) for having
supported Hitler. Actually, Rutherford took a stance that was preposterously
elitist and inflexible (144,000, etc.), couldn't keep his mouth shut about poli-
tics, which very un-144,000-ishly included support for the Nazis and their no-
torious anti-Semitism, threatened Adolf Hitler that Rutherford would make Hitler
the target of the sort of bashing propaganda JWs literature has always been in-
famous for, and the fathead got a bunch of JWs killed. Most Christians did
their Rom.13:1-5 duty and sent the military after Hitler's troops and stopped
their onslaught, no thanks to Rutherford.
"Satan himself knows that his days as world ruler are fast running out. Hence,
he is making a desperate, all-out effort to corrupt humans beyond reform, just
as he did prior to the Flood of Noah's day. (Genesis 6:1-5; Jude 6) 'Woe for the
earth and for the sea,' says Revelation 12:12, 'because the Devil has come down
to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.'" ("The
Watchtower," Oct.15, 2001)
"7. Jesus' disciples must be no part of this wicked world. (John 17:16) They
do not get involved in the world's political affairs and social controversies.
They avoid the harmful conduct, practices, and attitudes that are common in the
world. (James 1:27; 4:4)" ("What Does God Require of Us?" 1996)
The JWs leaders created a regimented antipathy toward governments, other than
to call all of them Satanic, to be patient with the status quo and wait for
God's kingdom, which also meant they didn't rebel against segregation in the
U.S.A. (see 1952 on the timeline on p.6), didn't rebel against apartheid in
South Africa (other than having an integrated stadium assembly for JWs), etc.
Some would go through persecution to gain followers to Jehovah's love...which
the JWs leaders teach is strictly found by way of buying and spreading the JWs
Some people may think the JWs don't take part in the military because of some-
thing about the Golden Rule and "love thy neighbor." That's an easy mistake for
people who haven't followed JWs leaders' literature to make since it's more pop-
ularly known that some non-JWs use such reasons for deciding not to serve in the
military, although that interpretation verses justifiable defense is debated.
It would help to not read the JWs tracts, too, which aren't exactly "love thy
neighbor" oriented, unless you want to call damning everybody else to hell love.
Part of the JWs leaders' 'centric exclusiveness means more people to send damna-
tion out and around to, which the JWs leaders like to express with blanket prop-
aganda which doesn't doesn't indicate love for others but being anti-others.
Read some to the corresponding others sometime and see.
Actually, the JWs leaders don't teach pacifism. They're to be peaceful gener-
ally but can defend their spiritual brothers and sisters (JWs) from attack due
to their view of John 15:13. ("The Watchtower," June 1, 1968, p.347) People
trying to understand the JWs leaders' stance by way of more commonly known paci-
fist's interpretations of certain Bible verses may mischaracterize what the JWs
1975 "Should You Defend Yourself?" "The situation may be such that the only
thing a person can do is to use whatever is at hand to protect himself or oth-
ers. As a result, the attacker may receive a fatal blow. From the Scriptural
standpoint, the one acting in self-defense would not thereby incur bloodguilt."
("Awake!" Sept.8, 1975, p.28)
Russell taught that human government and non-Russell religion (practically all
of it) was ungodly. The Bible Students were originally allowed to serve in the
military but discouraged from using weapons on anyone. Russell wasn't so strict
about fellowship but was elitist about himself and salvation (he started the
Watchtower leaders' rule of claiming to be of a literal 144,000, etc.).
In 1929, JWs Pres. Rutherford had Rom.13:1-8 reinterpreted to mean the govern-
ing authorities to obey, usually interpreted by non-JWs to mean human government
generally when doing good, were God and Jesus. Human government could then be
said to be led by Satan, the "god of the world" (2 Cor.4:4), so Rutherford could
damn human government unrestrainedly.
That's always been the basic combination of Satan and human government ideas
used by the JWs leaders. The JWs leaders' overdone idea of worldliness, there-
fore Satanic control of the world, can be seen in how it creates an irony that
Rutherford's version of Rom.13:1-8 just made seem more ironic: God put the devil
in charge of human government to be God's servant to do good in the world. Cal-
vin Coolidge, Mayors, Civil Service employees of all types, etc., work for Satan
so JWs shouldn't be a part of it no matter what good they do.
Rutherford's version of Rom.13:1-8 should be seen with 1 Peter 2:13-15: "Sub-
mit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king
as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of
evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God
that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men."
In 1935, Rutherford played prophet some more and made clear that his idea ex-
tended to a ban of saluting flags and refusing to pledge to want what's honor-
able and equitable for the citizenry (p.1a). He had a bad promoter's way of
trying to get his followers into scrapes, which proved disastrous in Nazi Ger-
many. Soon after he took over and started making changes, JWs were required to
abide by his rules with strict regimentation.
In 1962, the higher authorities of Rom.13:1-8 were reinterpreted by the JWs
leaders to be human government again. This just smoothed out some phrasing
ideas, though, since the rules about not being allowed to take part in govern-
ment, due to the JWs leaders playing prophet with an expanded idea of what being
worldly means, didn't improve but just maintained Russell's prophet-playing pre-
tensions of exclusiveness. The JWs leaders were still not pacifists and the
government still offered a variety of jobs other than military ones.
One pragmatic exception is that in 1996 JWs called to be in the military could
serve the government with non-military alternative service. ("The Watchtower,"
May 1, 1996, p.20)
See the JWs leaders' definitions of "world" and "neutrality" in "Reasoning
From the Scriptures," 1989 ed.
"What scriptures have always had a bearing on the attitude of true Christians
toward involvement in political issues and activities? John 17:16: 'They are no
part of the world, just as I [Jesus] am no part of the world.'" ("Reasoning
From the Scriptures," 1985 ed., p.273)
Jesus' statement wasn't an answer to a question about politics. He just meant
his followers believe in God and God's word to not lie, steal, etc.
There are a number of the pertinent scriptures on the topic of Christians and
worldliness to deliberate over in the non-JWs article at the next several links:
Scriptures about the world and worldliness:
Matt.13.38 "The field is the world, and the good seed is the children of the
kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one." "World" here is meant as
it's understood generally, with followers the good seed and non-followers the
John 15:18,19 Jesus said being worldly is to not follow him. There are those
of the world who hated him and will hate his followers.
John 17:11,14-19 Jesus said that for his followers to be no part in the world
meant putting faith in him and preaching about him.
James 4:1-10 gives not being of the world in the sense of believing in God and
not being selfish and inconsiderate.
1 John 2:15-17 Being worldly is to not have faith in the Father but just want
to please yourself with pride and the things of the world.
Romans 13:1-7 The government does God's work in regulating things, even using
punishment for bad behavior, so subject yourself to it. (I don't think I'll be
conflicting with anyone's interpretation to add that scriptural context would at
times indicate that a government could act badly and be an exception to that
brief general statement.)
Matt.4:8-10 The idea of the devil as being able to offer the world to Jesus
represents the "world" in the sense of those who don't believe in God and/or
favor selfish inconsideration of others, the only aspect of the world he could
claim for himself to offer--compare 2 Corinthians 4:3,4 below.
John 12:30,31 Jesus says, "Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the
ruler of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will
draw all men to myself." The devil will have lost some control over people's
lives and destinies with the results of the crucifixion.
2 Corinthians 4:3,4 "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to
those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the
minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of
the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God." To not believe in the Lord
and God of Christians is to be of the world. The false "god" has domain over
unbelievers, not believers (Col. 1:13).
1 Cor.1.26 Not many of the Corinthian flock were wise by worldly standards--
by general standards otherwise.
1 Cor.7.28 Paul writes that the Corinthian flock won't sin by getting mar-
ried, but he'd spare them the worldly troubles they'll have if they do. (I
think "worldly troubles" here means activities beyond the strengthening and
growth of the flock, which he was asking the flock to devote special attention
to. This is continued in the next couple of examples.)
1 Cor.7.33,34 The married man or woman is anxious about worldly things: how
to please their spouse, etc. "Worldly" here refers to whatever that would
divide your attention from the Lord.
2 Cor.7.10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation
without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. Being worldly is to not
worship the Lord and to not avoid lying, stealing, etc.
Titus.2.12 The grace of God for salvation trains followers to renounce the
denial of God and the passion to be worldly (lie, steal, etc.), and to live
self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.
Jude.1.18-21 Scoffers who are ungodly and devoid of the Spirit in creating
divisions between flock members are worldly people. Not being worldly is to
have faith, pray in the Holy Spirit, keep the love of God, and wait for the
mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
These verses indicate a couple of ideas about what is meant in them by the
- the sin of not believing in the God of their religion, and
- the sin of going against God's word by overindulging the self inconsiderate
of others, as by lying, stealing, murdering, etc. Yet people, including them-
selves, even who know such things are wrong, may be selfish and do those things,
If and when anyone does those things, it is considered being "worldly." It
basically means to be of the "world" beyond the religion.
Being worldly is to not go by the words of Jesus (which are like ones of Moses
before him) (Deut.6:5; Lev.19:18; Mark 12:28-31; Matt.7:12, Luke 6:31) when
asked which commandment was the greatest: love the Lord your God with all your
heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.
The JWs leaders have added to those ideas about worldliness to ban the pledge
of allegiance and most government work, etc., in the same way that they create
exclusive rules that ban most holiday celebrations (p.1a) and the use of cross
symbolism (p.6b), all of which they require agreement with for salvation. The
rules create the usual contradictions between the JWs leaders' claim of
"144,000" exclusive righteousness and the methods they use to try to make the
exclusive rules look like the guaranteed intended meanings of the Bible.
A lot of the JWs leaders' rules that add to the meaning of worldliness are
just variations of a couple basic ideas--an expanded idea of what idolatry means
and a need to avoid certain things due to the connotations of them the JWs lead-
ers define, both of which go against the scriptures by apostle Paul.
For Christians, idolatry normally just means worship of whatever other than
God. It doesn't rule out love, shows of affection, or just friendly get togeth-
The JWs leaders use an overdone idea of idolatry that rules out having a holi-
day for someone (Mother's Day, Christmas, a birthday party) as allegedly honor-
ing them to the extent of creature worship (p.1a). Part of the JWs leaders'
stance on neutrality customizes the definition of idolatry likewise to brand
saluting the flag as idolatry, the 4th of July as creature worship of human gov-
At 1 Cor.8-11:1,17-34; Col.2:13-23, Paul taught that true worship isn't deter-
mined by the ceremonial things of an idol temple or the Lord's Supper. Strong
faith is what is important, and it leads to the right view of those ceremonies
and ceremonial things. The Christian thanks God for everything with worship for
no other, so Paul can eat whatever foods, including the meats commonly available
at idol temples in Corinth, and be of Christian faith, and a non-believer can
eat at the Lord's Supper and not have Christian faith (pp.37-39).
An example that makes it easy to remember is that you don't hear of an atheist
worried that they have to start going to church because they ate something by a
The idolatrous connotations of the things of an idol temple were likewise no-
thing to Paul because he didn't believe in idolatry. Paul believed God provided
those things and food, and Paul provided the worship for Him exclusively.
Similarly, at Rom.14, Paul could have taken the route of the JWs leaders and
forbid followers to celebrate Mosaic law feasts because they could be thought to
imply the connotation that Christians need to to follow Mosaic law. Paul ad-
vised Christians to feel free to have them or not--just remember that those
feasts are optional and to not judge each other about it (p.36).
Along with not having rules about unclean things (Acts 10,11), Christians can
spread into the world without having unnecessary divisions or giving offense
over artificial ritual concerns about things or being worried about certain
things having connotations that make them taboo, a worry Paul called weakness of
The JWs leaders' rules are contradictorily meant to help establish their claim
of "144,000" exclusive righteousness and examples of what Paul called weak
faith. The JWs leaders pretense of exclusiveness creates unnecessary divisions
between Christians and is discouraged by the Bible.
The Watchtower outlooks on neutrality
The safest reconciliation of verses like Rom.13:1-8; 1 Pet.2:13,14, and "We
must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29), is that a Christian can take part in
the world generally but should avoid being worldly in the sense of renouncing
their faith or sinning. If something of the world requires them to renounce
their faith in the Lord or sin, they are to follow God and not men.
JWs leaders play prophet in making rulings for salvation that restrict accept-
able participation in the world beyond that, which non-JWs typically leave to be
matters of personal conscience. JWs aren't allowed to take part in government,
so a JW can't have a Civil Service job, which can be nearly any kind of job.
Rom.13:1-8 taken in context, generally recommends government as a good thing
to take part in for the good of the community as long as it doesn't cause the
Christian to violate those principles. An example of violation of them would be
the Roman government requiring worship of the Roman Emperor, even having Chris-
tians put to death for not doing it. Likewise, another example, centuries lat-
er, would be the government making being non-Christian sedition and punishable
by death. Jesus didn't teach you should persuade to his way by finding people
who believe differently and beating them up--no, no, no.
Never mind that without the police and military, the same thing in many gov-
ernments, there would be a lot more worldliness to the world's worldliness.
(Think of what happened to the Native Americans in the lawless early western
part of the U.S.A., or how much worse the Nazis would have been if not con-
fronted.) JWs aren't pacifists, but the merit of defense of others to help them
when attacked by someone (even if the attacker otherwise says they're a Chris-
tian or anything else) is selfishly limited in the stance taught by the JWs
leaders to defense of JWs by JWs and not helping others identically.
American government, for one government, is so big and diverse in concerns,
including helpful ones that should be fine with a Bible believer, that it's un-
necessary for the JWs leaders to exclude participation in all of it, and, unfor-
tunately, prevent the good contributions a lot of JWs could make to it.
Government jobs, such as Civil Service, include just about any kind of job
there is, too, and are available regardless of political or religious choice.
In contradiction to the scriptures about not being worldly, which includes not
abandoning the Golden Rule, the JWs leaders teach a stance that prevents JWs
from helping a lot of people with those jobs.
The JWs leaders' stance on these matters, and making it a required doctrine,
is another of their examples of playing God's sole channel of information so
cooking up a minority or distinctive doctrine as a pretentious requirement that
calls for punishment of persistent dissent. (They fixed Rutherford's Rom.13:1-8
interpretation to let it jibe with 1 Peter 2:13-15, but the marketing pitch has
maintained Russell's pretensions of "144,000" elitism verses the world, beyond
the Bible's idea of not being worldly, from Russell's day to today.)
The JWs leaders' stance is that saluting the flag is idolatry (see the listing
for 1935 on p.1a). It originated as Russell's outlook on government as ungodly,
which was extended with Rutherford's June 1 and 9, 1929 reinterpretation of the
"higher authorities" of Rom.13:1-8 as being God and Christ instead of a general-
ization about human leaders (see the timeline on p.6). Human government was
called Satanic, and you wouldn't want to pledge allegiance to Satan. The Rom.
13:1-8 idea was reversed on Nov.15, 1962, but the idea of involvement in human
government and taking the pledge of allegiance as being too worldly has contin-
But it's another case of the JWs leaders hoking up an imaginable personal in-
terpretation as a required view to play God's sole channel with distinctive doc-
trines. If a Christian believes in the God of the Bible, etc., there's nothing
unchristian about professing a desire for freedom, justice, and liberty for all
in their part in the mix of a country. Wanting it to be indivisible, wanting
that we should all be on the same page in these regards, and so not have another
Civil War, isn't unchristian, either--it sounds like the Golden Rule. It even
used to have an "under God" part. I'd see any nobleness beyond pretentiousness
in the JWs leaders requiring their stance as though a Bible necessity if I saw
any real substantiation for it.
Again, JWs aren't pacifists, they'll defend other JWs but, due to the rules
described above, draw the line at defending others, notably as a soldier in the
government. The moral difference between offense and defense isn't unfamiliar
to them, but since JWs leaders' literature has frequently put the two on the
same moral plane in depicting "Christendom" as made up of war mongers, a more
balanced overview about war generally can be found at the next links:
Since much of the JWs leaders' literature on the subject has been framed in
the stance of deciding JWS have the right religion, a couple basic points I'd
add are that:
- the first several centuries of mainly mainstream historical Christians, not
JWs, were pretty peaceful. When the Roman government made Christianity the re-
quired religion, so most people were saying, "Yeah, I'm Christian--I plan to
find out what it is someday," things changed. Some government leaders could use
it as any of a variety of ideologies to mobilize people to attack at times.
- I won't promise 100% agreement, but Protestants and Catholics would at least
agree with JWs about disapproving of those who were on the offense in wars. A
lot of them aren't thrilled with the hardships of it as defense, either. And as
the Wikipedia article on war explains, more and more people are wishing to solve
things some other way. Branding all Protestants and Catholics as like the worst
example of the war monger on the offense is out of line.
"The Irrational Atheist" by Vox Day makes some points refuting accusations of
belief in God being the biggest cause of war. (I'd say being too 'centric and
intolerant about either the belief or non-belief stance, including making
either one law of the land, has the most to do with such problems.)
My personal opinion is that I'm not convinced the person who doesn't help de-
fend, and lets another be hurt while they save their own skin, is morally super-
ior. And if a lot of unnecessary division between people is due to people get-
ting too "centric" about their race, religion, nationality, political group,
etc., the JWs leaders could stand to improve in being less 'centric in several
areas before offering themselves as uniquely divine examples of selflessness
The Watchtower efforts to claim the right religion regarding war
"For instance, Trinitarians have often persecuted and even killed those who
rejected the Trinity doctrine. And they have gone even further. They have
killed their fellow Trinitarians in wartime. What could be more 'unfitting'
than Catholics killing Catholics, Orthodox killing Orthodox, Protestants killing
Protestants—all in the name of the same Trinitarian God?" ("Should You Believe
in the Trinity?" 1989, p.10 of the online version)
Regarding JWs literature slandering other Christians as having been murderous
for having been warlike, even Christian killing Christian, meant to indicate the
JWs leaders have the one true religion:
- JWs aren't pacifists, as some non-JWs mistakenly think. The JWs leaders
have an overdone interpretation of worldliness that prevents JWs from being in
government, therefore preventing them from helping in the defense of other peo-
ple and fighting against crime with the police or military (often the same thing in
many countries) and more free time to distribute JWs leaders' tracts and collect
donations for the leaders. Sociologists teach that there's less crime due to
there being police or military used for defense and fighting crime, and those
who've helped with that, sometimes being very selfless to help someone else, de-
serve praise for it.
- The JWs leaders' own knowledge of the mistake of putting offense on the same
moral plane as defense, even in regard to defense against an errant Christian on
the attack, should prevent such slander painted with a broad brush.
Much of the scripture used to decide this were written about a sect of a min-
ority religion without a government and an accompanying police or military, liv-
ing under a government they felt regarded and treated them unfairly, and may be
meant as regards how to conduct ones' self and spread the religion peacefully in
those circumstances. One thing they didn't want to provoke was offense, even a
concern to have a Christian put to death, in regard to first century Jewish
monotheism. They also didn't want to worship the emperors that demanded it, so
wouldn't see involvement in the Roman government as an enticement when it could
mean putting a Christian to death for being a Christian.
As pointed out in the Tektonics article by James Patrick Holding at the next
link, at Ex.15:3 "The LORD is a warrior; The LORD is His name" and at Rom.15:33
"Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen." (NASB) He's one or the other as
the circumstances call for.
The clear reference to a Christian regard for government and defense or pun-
ishment is Rom.13:1-7. Assuming it's a generalization for when government does
good, it says God has it carry the sword to do its duty, and the scriptural con-
text would most clearly have you compare it to how Mosaic law minimized crime,
including Mosaic law followers putting errant Mosaic law followers to death, in
doing that. (Amnesty International probably wouldn't be thrilled about all the
things it had the death penalty for compared to the U.S.A. today.)
Examples of Christians being on the offense, or fighting to impose one relig-
ious view on another (the worst excesses of the Inquisition are obvious exam-
ples), being bad would meet with only agreement between JWs and most Christians
today, and not create a point of dispute or determine whose religion is right.
Despite the JWs leaders' efforts to paint other Christians as warlike, this
Wikipedia article on war indicates a substantial percentage of people today are
inclined to want to settle things other than with war:
Looking at the other side of the coin, the JWs leaders haven't exactly been
politically neutral in playing prophet (without a miraculous validation for it
but a lot of failed prophecies) in defining worldliness with their personal
opinions required for salvation to create the idea of Satanic Civil Service den-
tists or such. This has an important part in how the JWs were put into unnec-
essary conflicts, even killed, in Nazi Germany, and couldn't help fight it and
end it. Likewise, if the JWs leaders hadn't been putting the followers to their
dubious requirements about worldliness in Malawi (compared to how the JWs lead-
ers handled things in Mexico at about the same time), there wouldn't have had to
be so many JWs hurt or killed there.
As is shown by the scriptural possibilities of the verses used to analyze the
JWs leaders ban of the medical use of blood and major blood products (pp.12-42),
the JWs leaders have held followers to loyalty unto pain of death, causing the
deaths of not only adult JWs but the children of JWs parents who decide the med-
ical treatment for their children in hospitals, for about 60 years, especially a
problem in countries in which alternative medical treatments are less available.
The JWs leaders have some points or opinions on the matter of not killing un-
necessarily, and, except for slanderous propaganda just meant to sell their own
literature, would probably only find agreement with most Christians about that.
But the JWs leaders are hardly in the position of saints on the subject. Other
Christian leaders who have been less self-centered and better about being
straight with their followers on such things shouldn't be hard to find.
The Watchtower outlooks on freedom of speech
The 1930's-'40's were the years of the most persecution of JWs, such as in
the two countries that had the most JWs at the time: the U.S.A. and Germany.
Not that the JWs leader then, Rutherford, was a model of consideration of oth-
ers. It was also the time of the JWs leader most prone to require followers to
be insulting about other group's religious believers to set themselves off as
special. He even had JWs broadcast the insults with trucks with loudspeakers
(see 1933, 1940, and 1941), which probably wasn't the most consoling way con-
scientious objectors could behave around the families and neighbors of the Al-
lies during WWII.
An interview with Watchtower Attorney Hayden Covington, held a couple of days
before he passed away, is at the next link:
I notice the JWs leaders' freedom of speech concern it sheds a little light on
is pretty JWs leaders'-centric, not a general commitment. A little taste of the
Catholic-bashing intentions of Rutherford comes through in the interview, too.
The 1940's were also a time of a lot of JWs litigation that ended up setting
legal precedents for religious freedom.
The cases settled by the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of the JWs upheld the
right of JWs to go on others' property to distribute literature at the door, so-
licite, preach, and have a parade without paying a tax or getting license or
permission from the local police, the right to use amplification in public to
preach, to be protected from arrest under unconstitutional ordinances, to not
give the Pledge of Allegiance, to receive unemployment benefits from the State
if they quit a job due to religious reasons (a JW didn't want to manufacture
weapons), and resulted in an expanded meaning of "conscientious objector" that
covered JWs (1953: a minister could make their living with secular work) so they
could be exempt from the draft and jury service.
Those not in favor of the JWs allowed a school to require a student to give
the Pledge of Allegiance (overturned), and upheld the right to arrest someone
who violates child labor laws, the right to prevent them from doing something
that could harm their child's welfare, and arrest them for using "fighting
words" (a JW called the sheriff a "a God-damned racketeer" and "a damned fas-
An irony I see is that the JW can avoid being arrested by not calling the
sheriff such things, but if the sheriff were to read some of the JWs leaders'
literature, which pretty much calls all such government officials the same or
worse (Satan's workers or such), they'd see the JW was going to spread the mes-
sage to call the sheriff something at least as bad, anyway.
It isn't that civil rights generally (see the first entry for 1952 on p.1a),
or freedom of speech for non-JWs, has always been a big concern for the JWs
leaders. The web sites at the next three links give a recent account of the
Watchtower bringing an Intellectual Property suit against Peter Mosier who had a
web site--http://quotes.watchtower.ca--that used JWs leaders' literature (dis-
tributed free of charge by JWs) quotes and revealed information about the JWs
leaders. The web site owner couldn't afford the court costs, up to $100,000 and
$10,000 a day in court, and the settlement required that it be shut down.
I hadn't seen the web site, and I'm not familiar with the stances or methods
of the web site holder, other than articles about the site make it clear it was
critical of the JWs leaders and literature and relied mainly on the JWs leaders'
literature to make a case.
According to a few things I saw on the Internet, the contention may be that he
used a lot of JWs leaders' literature in CDs he sold.
A 2007 controversy about the JWs leaders is that their organization tried to
silence people who've complained about sex abuse offenses by certain JWs higher-
An article in "Awake!" (JWs leaders), Dec.8, 2004, warning about the dangers
of the freedom of information on the Internet is at the next link:
1993 "connecting a computer to an electronic bulletin board [the more modern
equivalent being the Internet] can open the way to serious spiritual dangers.
Just as an unscrupulous individual can place on a bulletin board a virus--a pro-
gram designed to corrupt and destroy computer files--apostates, clergymen, and
persons seeking to corrupt others morally or otherwise can freely place their
poisonous ideas on bulletin boards.
"Unless a bulletin board, even one labeled 'JW Only,' is properly supervised,
with its use being limited to those who are mature, faithful servants of Jeho-
vah, it could expose Christian users to 'bad associations.' (1 Cor. 15:33) The
Society has received reports that such so-called private networks have been used
not only to speculate regarding spiritual matters but also to give bad advice,
spread gossip and false information, plant negative ideas, raise questions and
doubts that subvert the faith of some, and disseminate private interpretations
"On the surface, some information may appear to be Interesting and informative,
and yet it may be laced with poisonous elements. Christians look to 'the faith-
ful and discreet slave' for timely spiritual food and for clarifications." ("The
Watchtower," Aug. 1, 1993. p.17)
The JWs religion is created by rules established with JWs literature which is
presided over by the JWs leaders. In such an area of honest deliberation, in-
terpretation differences, and even intolerant crank reactions, being able to
produce the JWs leaders' quotes is crucial in establishing their stances and
that the foundation of your case is evidential and based on those quotes.
A May, 2007, Nashville, TN, WSMV-TV news clip, at YouTube at the next link, is
about Bill Bowen and Silent Lambs support for abuse victims, their claim that
the JWs leaders' organization 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 leaders' organiza-
tion--with gag orders.
Complaints about the JWs leaders' use of reference material:
the issue of pedophilia
The JWs leaders and child abuse issues
Thanks to Fatfreak and others of the Jehovah's Witness Discussion forum web
site for the next example.
Gail Bethea-Jackson, LCSW-C/BCD, complained that quotes of a video testimony
of hers were taken out of context misleadingly by the "Authorized Site of the
Office of Public Information of Jehovah's Witnesses." The site gives her as a
doctor (she isn't--she's a clinical social worker who specializes in the field
of victimization) who appears to support the innocence of the JWs leaders re-
garding their handling of sex offenses committed on children (that had nothing
to do with what she was talking about) because there has been "Progressive Un-
derstanding" about the matter the JWs leaders shouldn't be held to have under-
stood till recently (the site doesn't indicate the tape is at least 10 years old
as of Dec., 2007, and that she was referring to "18 or 20 years ago" regarding
when the topic of "adolescents," not adults, who abused children began to be a
field of study, to not dismiss it as adolescent adjustment reaction, since some
adult sexual offenders in prisons confessed to beginning their offenses as ado-
The link with misinformation about Gail from the Authorized Site of the Office
of Public Information of Jehovah's Witnesses web site became inactive after the
complaints from Gail went online.
"Complaints about the JWs leaders' use of reference material: the issue of in-
telligent design" on p.1a cont.
"Complaints about the JWs leaders' use of reference material under the heading
'We must preserve the sanctity of our stance on blood--truth and other's lives,
we're not crazy about'" on p.1a cont.
"Complaints about the JWs leaders' use of reference material: the issue of de-
termining when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem" on p.1c.
"Complaints about the JWs leaders' use of reference material: the issue of the
identity of Jesus and the holy spirit" on p.6b.
"Complaints about the JWs leaders' use of reference material: the issue of
early Christian history and related research material" on p.9.
"Complaints about the JWs leaders' use of reference material: the issue of the
medical use of blood and major blood fractions" on p.14.