Does the Watchtower organization control the Jehovah's Witnesses' thinking?
by Matt Slick
Following are quotes from the literature of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society--better known as the Jehovah's Witnesses organization. After reading the quotes below, it is obvious that the Watchtower discourages individual thinking among the Jehovah's Witnesses and requires them to submit to the teaching of the Watchtower organization.
Romans 14:5 says, "One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind." The Bible wants us to think and to be convinced in our own minds about issues that are debatable (Rom. 14:1-12). However, the Watchtower does not want its people to be convinced in their own minds. It wants them to submit to the Watchtower.
- The Bible can only be understood via the Watchtower organization.
- Quote: "Only this organization functions for Jehovah's purpose and to his praise. To it alone God's Sacred Word, the Bible, is not a sealed book," (Watchtower, July 1, 1973, p. 402).
- Comment: This is an amazing quote. Only the Watchtower organization can properly interpret the Bible. It is saying that the Lord Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, cannot give a Christian a proper understanding of the Bible even though it is Jesus who opens the mind to understand Scripture (Luke 24:45). This effectively prevents the Jehovah's Witness from thinking and interpreting the Bible for himself apart from the Watchtower organization's guidance.
- Individuals are not able to rightly interpret the Bible apart from the Watchtower organization.
- Quote: "Thus the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible," (Watchtower, Oct. 1, 1967, p. 587).
- Comment: The Watchtower restricts its followers from looking at the Bible by itself without the guidance of the organization's input. This is not freedom to think for oneself, and it is a sure way to keep the Jehovah's Witnesses intellectually in line with Watchtower teachings.
- Also, contrast the quote above with the following quote from the Watchtower: "The Vatican belittles Bible study by claiming it is the only organization authorized and qualified to interpret the Bible," (Watchtower, July 1, 1943, p. 201). The funny thing is that that is exactly what the Watchtower does. It claims to be the only source of true spiritual knowledge.
- If you don't understand something, meekly wait for the Watchtower to tell you what the truth is; otherwise, you are foolish.
- Quote: "We should eat and digest and assimilate what is set before us, without shying away from parts of the food because it may not suit the fancy of our mental taste . . . We should meekly go along with the Lord's theocratic organization and wait for further clarification, rather than balk at the first mention of a thought unpalatable to us and proceed to quibble and mouth our criticisms and opinions as though they were worth more than the slave's provision of spiritual food. Theocratic ones will appreciate the Lord's visible organization and not be so foolish as to put against Jehovah's channel their own human reasoning and sentiment and personal feelings," (Watchtower, Feb. 1, 1952, p. 79-80).
- Comment: Here, the Watchtower tells us that submission is to God's "theocratic organization," the Watchtower organization, and that submission must be complete and meek. Undoubtedly, this is clearly teaching that independent thought is not welcome in the Watchtower Organization.
- The Watchtower magazine is the means of God's communication.
- Quote: "It should be expected that the Lord would have a means of communication to his people on the earth, and he has clearly shown that the magazine called The Watchtower is used for that purpose," (1939 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, p. 85).
- Comment: This says that the Jehovah's Witness organization is the means God uses to communicate on earth today, but the Bible says that God speaks to us through His Son: Heb. 1:1-2 says it is Jesus: "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world."
- Cannot understand the Bible outside of the Watchtower organization.
- Quote: "We all need help to understand the Bible, and we cannot find the Scriptural guidance we need outside the 'faithful and discreet slave' organization," (Watchtower, Feb. 15, 1981).
- Comment: The Jehovah's Witness organization has set itself up as the sole means of understanding the Bible. In contrast to this, Jesus opens the mind to understand the scriptures (Luke 24:45). It isn't the Watchtower organization that does this but God. Admittedly, we have denominational differences, but the differences are not in the essentials; and we certainly are able to understand those essentials apart from the Watchtower.
- See CARM's article on the "Faithful and Discreet Slave," for clarification on this issue.
- Those who think apart from the Watchtower's guidance are like Satan.
- Quote: "From time to time, there have arisen from among the ranks of Jehovah's people those, who, like the original Satan, have adopted an independent, faultfinding attitude...They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such 'Bible reading,' they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom's clergy were teaching 100 years ago . . " (Watchtower, Aug. 15, 1981).
- Comment: So, if you think independently, find fault with something the Watchtower says, then you are like Satan. Is this freedom of thought? Is this how Christ works in the church? Hardly.
- Also, what are the apostate doctrines spoken of in the above quote? Of course, that would be the Trinity, the deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit, the physical resurrection of Christ, etc.,--all things the Watchtower organization denies. So, if you read the Bible by itself, reading it for what it says and without the Watchtower guiding you, you will adopt these doctrines--which the Watchtower says are not true!
- If you love God, then you accept the Watchtower.
- Quote: "We cannot claim to love God, yet deny his word and channel of communication," (Watchtower, Oct. 1, 1967, p. 591).
- Comment: In other words, if you love God, then you will be "in" the Watchtower organization. If you reject the organization, then you reject God. Amazing! So, the Jehovah's Witness is urged to not leave the organization lest they end up rejecting God. Is this encouraging freedom on thought? No.
- The truth of God can be known only through the Watchtower organization.
- Quote: "All who want to understand the Bible should appreciate that the "greatly diversified wisdom of God" can become known only through Jehovah's channel of communication, the faithful and discreet slave," (Watchtower, Oct. 1, 1994, p. 8).
- Comment: Here, the Watchtower states that the only way to understand God's word is through the Watchtower organization. In other words, your thinking must be in submission to the teaching of the Watchtower.
These few quotes should be more than adequate to demonstrate that the Watchtower not only maintains a control over the thinking of its adherents but also actually discourages independent thought. This is definitely one of the signs of a cult.
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