“Mad Sweeney” comments on the 2011 “Let God’s Kingdom Come” District Conventions:
I’d like to write a bit about what is going on at the district conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses this summer. There is always a lot of buzz about the conventions among Jehovah’s Witnesses and their families. Witnesses are looking forward to the new releases of books and DVDs, and are ever-hopeful for what they call “new light.”
Leading up to the conventions, the Watchtower Society always prints out color invitations that are ostensibly for the Witnesses to distribute in their territories. However, for all practical intent their real purpose is to arouse enthusiasm among the Witnesses themselves.
This year’s district convention invitation seems to have done just that. I have heard from some friends and family still in the Watchtower that their friends are all up in excitement over the convention this year, and much of it is sparked by the image portrayed on the back of the invitation itself.
They save discussion of the prophecy from Daniel chapter 2 for Sunday afternoon. So if the Witnesses need to sit through two and a half days of dry, mind-numbing, indoctrinating chatter, I think the least my readers can do is to sit through a few paragraphs while I run down some of the other highlights of the convention.
Interestingly, there’s been hardly a peep about the primary (supposedly “keynote”) address, “Will Humans Ruin This Earth?” It’s a talk that seems geared toward the visiting Sunday morning crowd that (to use a common Watchtower term) evidently flocks to the convention site in response to the invitation campaign to hear the public talk. As it turned out, it was a basic re-hash of their usual “You can live forever in paradise on earth – or you be killed by God – your choice.”
Two of the more often discussed parts of the convention seem to have been the symposium on Saturday afternoon and the drama on Sunday.
The symposium is entitled: “Beware of Enemies of the Kingdom!” It’s four parts (crammed into a 45-minute scare-fest) are:
- Satan and the Demons
- Babylon the Great
- Our Imperfect Flesh
So loyal and faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses are supposed to be afraid to communicate with – or in any other way interact with – any of those things that evidently endanger their spirituality. They are supposed to fear Satan and the Demons. They are supposed to fear people from any and all other religions. They are supposed to fear people like you and me – anyone who finally wised up and left the cult. Just in case that isn’t enough to be afraid of, they are also supposed to be afraid of:
That’s right. When you are tempted to do something, that something must be wrong. When you enjoy doing something, that something is naturally wrong. When you begin to reason in your mind about how illogical and lacking in support and evidence Watchtower doctrines are, your own mind is wrong. Fear it. It is trying to fool you. It is under satanic influence.
This is BITE mind control at its most ruthless. People who listen to this talk and obey its counsel will undergo both “Information control” and “Emotion control.” That’s Watchtower efficiency right there, taking on two letters of BITE in one talk.
By avoiding association with people of other religions, Jehovah’s Witnesses are kept in ignorance about what those religions really teach. By avoiding association with people who have left the Watchtower, active Witnesses are kept away from any information that exposes the Watchtower as an abusive, oppressive, mind control cult. So there is the information control.
Then they make those sorts of things an object of fear, a powerful motivating emotion and putting them on par with Satan and the Demons. The “Thoughts” of the member are convinced that Satan, the Demons, other religious people, and apostates are all “scary dangers” to be avoided. The result is that the Watchtower gets the “Behavior” it desires from its rank and file members, making sure that they will avoid those people and maintain their lack of any need to question or doubt.
The “doubt your own self” doctrine is particularly heinous and destructive and, as a lot of us know, has resulted in many depressed people with low self-esteem within the Witnesses – even among many of us who have broken free.
On Sunday afternoon, Jehovah’s Witnesses are presented with an odd sort of drama in which a young Jehovah’s Witness man is liked by (heaven forbid!) a “worldly” girl. For those listeners not familiar with Watchtower’s loaded language, the word “worldly” in simple terms means a “non-Jehovah’s Witness.” But also loaded into that word are other indoctrinated meanings designed to invoke emotional reactions of fear and loathing. Members are constantly warned to avoid “worldly” associations, that “the world” is ruled by Satan the Devil, and that “friendship with the world is enmity with God.” That word “world” or “worldly” triggers a reaction in Jehovah’s Witnesses of THEM, enemies of God who he is going to soon destroy, not US, friends of God who he is going to save. WE are with God and The World is against Him. Those are the responses invoked by the simple word, “worldly.”
That’s how loaded language works and used by cults. A word or phrase has “loaded” into it more than just its linguistic or dictionary meaning. It’s “loaded” with extra meanings that carry manipulative psychological weight that influences the regular listener or reader (who are the core members of the “group”) into behavior that conforms to the “group” leaders’ goals.
Returning to the narrative of the convention drama: The boy is hit on by the girl, and drawing a parallel with Joseph from the book of Genesis, he refuses to get with her. Then, again loosely following the plot of Joseph’s life (which they also dramatized as a parallel story), the girl makes claims that the boy DID have sex with her – and then posts the claim on “the Internet.”
“The Internet” as a phrase is quickly becoming a loaded phrase for Jehovah’s Witnesses as well. Not an assembly or circuit overseer visit goes by without multiple warnings of “the dangers of Internet use and social networking” – by which the Watchtower means Facebook. Private Internet use and Facebook are things the Watchtower organization has no control over. They are rife with information that exposes the Watchtower’s false teachings, the lies the organization tells about its own history, and the cult-like manipulation of its members. You name it – anything you’ll ever want to know about the Watchtower can be found on the Internet. The Watchtower leaders do not want members to know the truth about the organization, so they disparage it at every opportunity. “The Internet,” as a phrase, has become as negative in its connotation as “the world” is to older Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watchtower leadership. But it is clearly a problem with the younger crowd because there is hardly a kid under 25 in the western world that doesn’t access the Internet.
So in the drama at the convention, the “worldly” girl posts on “the Internet” that she had sex with the JW boy. Somehow this gets back to the elders in the boy’s congregation. How? Because all good Jehovah’s Witnesses rat out their friends, that’s how. Another Witness teen found out and told the elders. All good Jehovah’s Witnesses rat out their friends is one of the many indoctrinating lessons of this drama.
Now this boy is accused of – and here’s another loaded phrase in Jehovah’s Witness land – “premarital sex.” If this young man had actually made love to this young woman, the price would have been expulsion from the congregation and shunning by all his family and friends. Complete and total social isolation would have been the judgment against him.
The Sunday District Convention Drama – Joseph and the Accused JW Boy
Because of this punishment, the word “sex” itself is loaded with fear and guilt. The fear of the harsh punishment for exercising the natural biological tendency of having sex with someone you’re not married to is designed and used to keep the members under control and obeying the organization’s rules about sex.
But the boy gets off (pun intended) because in the girl’s Facebook post (they don’t actually say “Facebook,” but everyone knows that’s what they mean) she also claims they watched a certain television program just before engaging in the act. He has an alibi and witnesses for the time period when the show airs. Thankfully the elders don’t have a clue about DVR or Tivo, so they hold their little Jehovah’s Witness trial and then declare him “innocent” of the charges.
The moral of the story is that if you are busy enough serving the Watchtower organization, you won’t have time to even talk with “worldly” people (unless you knocked at their door to give them a magazine and ask for a donation), let alone socialize with them enough to “have premarital sex” or be their “friends on Facebook.”
Look how close this guy came to losing every one of his friends and family forever! And all he did was talk to this girl long enough to tell her he refused to get with her! So teenage Jehovah’s Witnesses are indoctrinated to be afraid of even the slightest association with “worldly” people and “the Internet.”
The fact that the Watchtower leadership created this drama shows me that the Internet is working. Witness kids are making friends outside the cult and learning things the Watchtower doesn’t want them to learn. Those of us on the internet have become a problem for them. All of us, in one way or another, are helping JW kids escape the Watchtower. So to everyone who si contributing to the vast pool of information about the Watchtower on the Internet – keep doing what you’re doing. The more Witness teens leave, the happier and safer everyone will be.
END OF PART ONE
“Mad Sweeney” is a frequent poster on Jehovahs-Witness.net and other websites. He is also host of Cult Free Radio, a bi-weekly podcast. Sweeney can always be counted for a well researched discussion on almost any subject relating to Jehovah’s Witnesses.