The theme of this post, “Do Others Do Your Thinking?” was the title of an article written in the Awake magazine dated August 22, 1978 pages 3-4. I have copied and pasted excerpts from the article but I highly recommend that you read the article in it’s entirety so that you can see for yourself that I am not quoting it out of context. Here’s how the article starts;
“Propaganda has power. Does it overpower you? Or do you have a mind of your own?
EDUCATION teaches you how to think. Propagandists tell you what to think. True educators present all sides of an issue and encourage discussion. Propagandists hammer hard on their view and discourage discussion. Many times their true motives are hidden.”
Now let’s be honest about the opening remarks of this Awake article. If you are currently an active Jehovah’s Witness (JW), or if you’ve ever been a JW, do these introductory questions and comments promote any thoughts in your mind? Please prayerfully ask yourself, Does the organization “teach you how to think” or do they in any way “tell you what to think?” Once you are a baptized publisher, does the Watchtower Society “present all sides of an issue and encourage discussion” or do they “hammer hard on their view and discourage discussion?” Before we continue, notice this Question Box blurb from Our Kingdom Ministry 9/2007 Page 3,
“Does “the faithful and discreet slave” endorse independent groups of Witnesses who meet together to engage in Scriptural research or debate?—Matt. 24:45, 47.
No, it does not. And yet, in various parts of the world, a few associates of our organization have formed groups to do independent research on Bible-related subjects. Some have pursued an independent group study of Biblical Hebrew and Greek so as to analyze the accuracy of the New World Translation. Others explore scientific subjects related to the Bible. They have created Web sites and chat rooms for the purpose of exchanging and debating their views. They have also held conferences and produced publications to present their findings and to supplement what is provided at our Christian meetings and through our literature.”
Now let’s continue with the Awake article,
“…the propagandist sees to it that his message is made to seem wise, the right and moral one, and gives you a sense of importance and belonging if you follow it. You are one of the smart ones, you are not alone, you are comfortable and secure—so they say.”
At this point does it appear that those in charge at the Watchtower Society are propagandists or educators? The article continues,
“Propagandists have little respect for people’s thinking abilities. Hitler wrote: “The intelligence of the masses is small. Their forgetfulness is great. They must be told the same thing a thousand times.“ (Emphasis mine throughout)
Under the subheading “Tricks of Propagandists” The article continues,
“Symbols stir feelings. Words such as mother, home, justice, freedom—all pack a wallop for the heart.
Please note the following quotes from the Watchtower using the word mother as used by propagandists.
Watchtower 4/1/2006 page 24 paragraph 14, “God’s organization plays a vital role in our spiritual growth. …Like a mother who makes sure that her child is well-fed and cared for, “the faithful and discreet slave” provides an abundance of timely spiritual food for our spiritual advancement”
Watchtower 6/15/2001 Page 26, “In order to remain spiritually protected, we must remain under the wings of Jehovah. This means that we must not develop a spirit of independence. Let us always stay close to Jehovah and his motherlike organization, not separating ourselves from their direction and loving counsel.”
Watchtower 12/15/1986, page 23 paragraph 11, “When the “great crowd” appeal to their “mother” organization for help, this is given instantly and in good measure.”
Watchtower 10/1/1978, page 24, “…our loving brothers in the United States, by means of the Watch Tower Society’s branch in Paris, provided us with clothes and other material help. That proved to us how Jehovah’s organization takes care of us, as a mother would.”
Watchtower 7/1/1976, page 400 paragraph 3, “Jehovah sees to it that all the “sheep” are taught through his wifelike organization, their “mother,” so that they may have abundant peace and be firmly established in righteousness.”
Now notice the word justice as as the organization applies it to themselves,
Watchtower 7/1/1988, page 22, “All these years in God’s organization have taught us an important lesson. It is only among God’s people that true justice may be found, with no racial, tribal, or religious barriers.”
Watchtower 5/15/1984, page 19 paragraphs 1, 7 & 8 SINCE 1914 a heavenly King has been enthroned and empowered to rule. And provision has been made for an earthly organization under “princes” who rule for justice itself.
Paragraph 7, “Honest-hearted people who now come streaming into Jehovah’s visible theocratic organization are attracted by the wonders of a spiritual paradise. Nowhere else on earth have they found righteousness and justice.”
Paragraph 8, “Certainly, justice and righteousness dwell in Jehovah’s visible theocratic organization.”
The Awake article “Do Others Do Your Thinking” continues to say,
“Tyranny of authority, ridicule, name-calling, smears, slurs, personal digs—all such tactics are marshaled to assail your mind and take it by storm. Sound evidence, reasoning, logic? The propagandist’s deadliest foes! He therefore attempts to rout reason and stimulate passion. As emotion rises, judgment declines; and, under the lash of stinging words and reckless rhetoric, the mind is herded along… Even educated, sophisticated persons fall prey to a very unfair and untrue type of propaganda. This type assumes a superior air of dismissal of an opponent’s viewpoint, treating it as rather pathetic and really not worth attention… They prove neither their assertions nor their smears, but by the tyranny of authority they pontificate their opinions, squelch objections and intimidate opposers.”
For more information on how the Watchtower describes those who once believed in the JW teachings and have left the ranks of the organization, please see my article “Analyzing The Watchtower’s View Of Apostasy”
Now lets take just a moment to look at another article about propaganda which was written in the January 8 1980 Awake beginning on page 14. This article is entitled, “Has Mass Persuasion Affected You?” The subheading is “You Can Protect Yourself” Here are the concluding remarks,
How can you protect yourself against such subtle persuasion? The following five points can be helpful:
1. Have strong convictions: As noted above, the person most easily brainwashed is the one quickly swayed by others. Do not go along with an idea just because your associates accept it. Make sure that the views you adopt are truthful. The best way to do that is by comparing them with the inspired Word of God, which is ultimately “the truth.”—John 17:17; 2 Tim. 3:16.
2. Find the reason: Inadvertently we often accept attitudes without knowing what is behind them. For instance, people in your community may have a negative view of certain races or ethnic groups. But why? If you find the reason unconvincing, why adopt the viewpoint?
3. Resist improper thoughts…
4. Speak up for what you know to be right: This will give you opportunity to test what you believe and more firmly entrench the truth in your life. If you are convinced of the truth of a matter after thorough search, do not be disconcerted by ridicule from others. The Bible shows that Noah was convinced there was going to be a worldwide flood and he talked to others about it. (2 Pet. 2:5) Indifference on the part of Noah’s contemporaries did not change the facts. There was a global flood…
5. Live the truth: Do not look for excuses to compromise what you know to be right. Remember, if something is right and proper, it will work out for your good… Do not allow mass persuasion by popular opinions to sway you into accepting viewpoints that the Scriptures show to be wrong…
Personally, I find these concluding remarks to be EXCELLENT counsel! If you are or you were an active Jehovah’s Witness, this brings me to several vital questions for you.
- Do others do your thinking?
- By their own definition, does this make the “faithful and discreet slave” propagandists or educators?
- Do you speak up for what you know to be right or are you afraid of the consequences?
- What happens to you as a JW should you decide not to adopt the Society’s viewpoint?
- Are there things the Society teaches which you disagree with? If so, do you feel free to express your thoughts and show others in the organization why?
- Does the Society really promote thinking or do they as the article said, ”pontificate their opinions, squelch objections and intimidate opposers”?
So again, the theme of this article was, “Do Others Do Your Thinking?” If you are a JW in good standing and you want to remain as such, then unfortunately the answer to this question at some point has to be, yes.