Watchtower Study June 12, 2016—”Let Endurance Complete Its Work”
I honestly have always found the description of the tactics that Gideon uses to defeat his enemies in battle amazing. The horns he gave his men were horns that usually only occurred one in so many groups of soldiers, so for that many horns to blow at once back then would have given the impression that a huge army had surrounded them. Once the army of Gideon blew these horns they pulled their torches out and, it being night, the men of the enemy army would not have been able to see past the fire. They panicked because they heard the horns and thought there was a large army around them, when it was really only 300 men they couldn’t see. It is a fascinating story of a marvelous tactician.
By way of metaphor, I find a similarity between the fire of the torches that Gideon’s men held and the claims and doctrine of Watchtower. They have set up for all of you readers a logical trap, one that goes round and round in circles. You verify the truth of their claims by checking their own publications, and you aren’t allowed to doubt them. If you have doubts, they say, “Just do research in Watchtower Library and find the answers to your questions. But don’t use the internet, if you google anything on the internet you’ll get pornography or Satan will somehow try to get you. You should be afraid of using the internet for anything except our website.”
However, just like Gideon’s torches, this is all trickery. The reality is that if you Google their claims or doctrines you will find they don’t hold any substance at all. You will even find that they have outright lied to you and deliberately tried to mislead you. And, unlike Gideon and his army, they most definitely do not have God’s backing. Let’s see an example of why I can say this in the first heading.
What Is Endurance?
Endurance is “the spirit which can bear things, not simply with resignation, but with blazing hope,” says one reference work. “It is the quality which keeps a man on his feet with his face to the wind. It is the virtue which can transmute the hardest trial into glory because beyond the pain it sees the goal.”
Once again we have a huge redflag, the same one I’ve pointed out many times in these discussions. What reference work? Why are we not being cited to it? The reason you aren’t being cited to it is because Watchtower does not want you to research the author or the works of this author. Yet again, this is an example of Intellectual Dishonesty. They are pulling a quote out of context to support their own ends (See the article What is “quote mining”? by Toru El).
The author that penned these words is William Barclay, a theologian who passed away in 1978. These words can be found in his work entitled, “New Testament Words” on pages 144 – 145 where he is discussing the meaning of the greek word “hupomoné” which is translated as “endurance” in the New Testament. So, why wouldn’t Watchtower want you to read about this author or read any of his works? Well, because his views were as follows (taken from his Wikipedia page):
- scepticism concerning the Trinity: for example “Nowhere does the New Testament identify Jesus with God.”
- belief in universal salvation: in his autobiography he wrote, “I am a convinced universalist. I believe that in the end all men will be gathered into the love of God.”
- pacifism: “war is mass murder”.
- evolution: “We believe in evolution, the slow climb upwards of man from the level of the beasts. Jesus is the end and climax of the evolutionary process because in Him men met God. The danger of the Christian faith is that we set up Jesus as a kind of secondary God. The Bible never, as it were, makes a second God of Jesus. Rather, it stresses the utter dependence of Jesus on God.”
Certainly, as a Witness, you will not be surprised at his conclusions regarding the Trinity or war. But this well-educated theologian, a man whose words Watchtower is fit to use in their publications to effect and influence your life and beliefs, accepted evolution as true, fitting it into his belief system, and also concluded that all human beings would be saved in the end. Do you think he would be okay with Watchtower using his words to convince you that the only way to salvation is to endure as a Jehovah’s Witness? I certainly do not.
The argument is made that, “Christian endurance is motivated by love” citing the verse at 1 Corinthians 13:4, 7. In other articles I’ve endeavored to demonstrate that Watchtower often applies verses taken completely out of their context, and this verse requires no in-depth study to see how this is happening. Please, read 1 Corinthians 13. Would you say that the chapter is about endurance or love? The point Paul is making in this chapter is very clearly not that endurance is motivated by love but rather that it is a quality of love. What Watchtower is doing is showing you the word “endurance” associated with “love” and telling you what it means rather than allowing you to meditate on what the point of this verse is actually supposed to be. For instance, if love is patient, kind, and endures all things, then why do Jehovah’s Witnesses shun people? It is not being patient with them. It is not being kind to them. It’s definitely not enduring whatever about them it is that you are shunning them for – so why? It doesn’t fit the definition of love found in this chapter. This is where my mind goes when I read this verse and think critically on it, but Watchtower isn’t allowing you to think critically. They are telling you what it means and what you should think about it for the purposes of this study article.
What Will Help You To Endure?
The title of this next heading is a perfect example of why you should be confused at the above application of 1 Corinthians 13. Love means enduring all things according to that verse; endurance is an aspect of what it is to be loving. So one would think that love itself would be what is going to help you to endure. Apparently that is not the case.
Turn to Jehovah for strength. Jehovah is “the God who supplies endurance and comfort.” (Rom. 15:5) He alone fully understands not only the problems we face but also the way our environment, emotions, and even our genetic makeup affect us. He is thus the best one to equip us to endure. “He satisfies the desire of those who fear him,” the Bible says. “He hears their cry for help, and he rescues them.” (Ps. 145:19) How, though, will God answer our prayers for strength to endure?
So what is going to help you to endure is not love, it’s fear. Now as a Jehovah’s Witness you are probably thinking, “But wait! This isn’t the fear like a sort of dread, it’s a fear like you have of your parents. It’s reverent, you don’t want to disappoint them.” It is correct that the word used here is to be reverent. But it is incorrect to suggest that it’s the same kind of fear you would have for your parents.
If you disappoint your parents somehow, what is going to happen? Yes, it will be sad. But they will still love you and they’ll still be there for you. Please, think on this question and answer honestly:
What are you afraid will happen if you displease Jehovah?
If you can answer that question honestly, I’m sure you see how drastically different the fear you have of God is from the fear you have of your parents.
Nourish your faith with spiritual food
This seventh paragraph deserves some serious attention, let’s discuss.
… Similarly, to endure in our Christian course and reach our goal, we must regularly take in as much spiritual food as possible. We need self-discipline to devote time to reading, study, and our Christian meetings. These activities nourish our faith with “the food that remains for everlasting life.”—John 6:27
If you are a Witness and are unfamiliar with Steven Hassan or his works, I highly encourage you to read them. Steven was never a Jehovah’s Witness, so it cannot possibly be construed as apostate material. He is founder of the Freedom of Mind foundation, and he is very keen to help you with determining whether or not you are in a mind control group. He has coined what he calls the B.I.T.E model, which is a means by which high control groups (cults) take over your mind and rob you of your authentic sense of self – replacing it with an entirely new self that isn’t really you. The acronym stands for Behavior Control, Information Control, Thought Control, and Emotional Control. All four of them are at work in this article to varying degrees, and three of them are found in just these two sentences. I will explain.
Behavior control is the regulation of an individual’s physical reality…
This need for behavior control is the reason most cults prescribe a very rigid schedule for their members. Each day a significant amount of time is devoted to cult rituals and indoctrination activities. Members are also typically assigned to accomplish specific goals and tasks, thus restricting their free time – and their behavior. In destructive cults there is always something to do.
-Combating Cult Mind Control, page 117
These two sentences from the seventh paragraph are an overt effort to regulate your physical reality, to ensure that you are spending your free time devoted to indoctrination activities. This ensures you never have the chance to think independently or critically, so as to realize that maybe something isn’t quite right. In this way, they maintain control over what you are doing.
Information provides the tools with which we think and understand reality. Without accurate, up-to-date information, we can easily be manipulated and controlled. Deny a person the information they require to make sound judgments and they will become incapable of doing so.
Why does it take, “self-discipline” to do what these sentences direct? Because what would you rather be doing? Surfing the internet? Watching the news? By encouraging members to discipline themselves to avoid doing these things and instead read propaganda they publish, they are using Information Control. They are also overtly instilling a phobia in this paragraph, having compared nourishing yourself spiritually with a climber keeping up their carbs on Mount Everest (this suggests that if you don’t keep a strict, self-disciplined regiment of this sort that, like the climber who fails to nourish themselves, you will fail to meet your goal – so you’ll die rather than see paradise). I will elaborate on how cult groups instill phobias later. For now, back to Information Control.
Most importantly, people are told to avoid contact with ex-members and critics. Those people who could provide the most outside – that is, real – information are to be completely shunned.
If you’re a Witness reading this article, I cannot express how happy I am that you are here. I hope very much that you will continue to ask questions and continue to be willing to explore the possibility that Watchtower isn’t what it seems to be. A lot of people who leave the Jehovah’s Witness religion are understandably angry about the things that they have lost. After all, they have suffered irreparable damage to relationships with loved ones, they have lost out on the very potential of their lives. How many stories have you heard of people who could have gone pro in a sport, or become great musicians, or done some other great thing, but that gave up on this because of their devotion to Jehovah. If you later discovered it was all a lie and had lost out on some opportunity, would you not be angry?
This is why, as a Witness, you likely have indeed met people who didn’t treat you very kindly. I hope that you will not use such experiences to define what all ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses are like. I do not include this short aside to excuse that behavior, because it disappoints me a great deal when I see Jehovah’s Witnesses being accosted on social media by people who should show more understanding. Please, do not let these experiences define all previous members. I will happily talk with you without insulting you in the slightest, as will many others that I know. I’ve included in the “Other Resources” section of this website links to places that would be very welcoming to you. I hope you will use them.
The third part of the B.I.T.E model being used here is Thought Control.
Thought control, the third major component of mind control, includes indoctrinating members so thoroughly that they internalize the group doctrine, incorporate a new language system, and use thought-stopping techniques to keep their mind “centered.” In order to be a good member, a person must learn to manipulate their own thought processes.
In totalistic cults, the ideology is internalized as “the truth,” the only map of reality. The doctrine not only serves to filter incoming information, but also regulates how the information can be thought about.
This is thoroughly at work all over this article, and it is weaved into the very heart of this religion – also known as, “the Truth.” Make no mistake, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not the only group to refer to their own belief system this way. I hope that reading this passage is jarring for you as a Witness, because when you first started attending this “new language” was probably a little creepy. It should still be seen as creepy.
Returning to our two sentences though, they are also an overt effort at Thought Control. They are telling you what to do, they are telling you what to study, and they are thus controlling what you think about.
While you’re thinking about all of this, I want you ask you a question and were I there in person it would be with the most warm and friendly tone I could use:
Who are you?
Think about that question. What makes you up? What are your interests? Hobbies? Goals? Do all of the answers to these questions somehow relate to Watchtower? Have they completely taken over your life?
Will Endurance “Complete It’s Work” in You?
I’ve given you a lot to think about here, and there isn’t anything more I’d like to discuss about this article until the last subheading. So lets skip to it.
Above I mentioned how the seventh paragraph was instilling a phobia with the mountain climber metaphor, and I promised to elaborate.
What do phobias have to do with cult groups and mind control? In some cults, members are systematically made to be phobic about ever leaving the group. Today’s cults know how to effectively implant vivid negative images deep within members’ unconscious minds, making it impossible for them to even conceive of ever being happy and successful outside of the group. When the unconscious is programmed to accept such negative associations, it behaves as though they were true. The unconscious mind of the typical cult member contains a substantial image-bank of all the bad things that will occur if they, or anyone, were to ever betray the group.
Do you have a bank of images that vividly portrays what will happen to those who aren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses? At this years convention, you are shown an example of a coming of age woman in dull, dreary colors who is sad and depressed as though that is what you can expect if you leave the group. All throughout your association with this group, be it for only months, a few years, or your entire life, they have instilled – through use of imagery and metaphor – a phobia of leaving Watchtower into your mind. And they are doing it again in this article. It was insidiously done with the mountain climber, and it’s overtly done at the end.
We must endure, not for a time, but to the end. To illustrate: Imagine a ship that capsizes. To survive, the passengers must swim to shore. The swimmer who gives up only a few yards from shore faces the same fate as the swimmer who gave up much earlier. Similarly, we are determined to endure until we reach the new world. Our life depends on our enduring. We have an attitude like that of the apostle Paul, who twice stated: “We do not give up.”—2 Cor. 4:1, 16.
Phobia instilled. If you do not keep up with Watchtower by doing as they are instructing you to do, you will die.
But return again to the beginning of this article, where reference is made to the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians. Is this what love means, that you would threaten people with death should they fail to listen to you? Surely you must agree it’s not loving at all, and why would God want people to love him out of fear of death?
I know this post is rather full of information, perhaps a little more than I originally intended. But I hope you will take it all in and think about it. Jehovah’s Witnesses are a religion that is no different from any other group who uses these same methods here described which you would readily identify as a cult. With all of this in mind, the introduction to “new language,” the thought control, the behavior control, and the information control; I invite you to watch a video of a member of another cult talking about the group. You will recognize this man, and I show this to you for a very important reason: being a victim of such a group does not mean you are weak-willed, or unintelligent, or any other negative thing you might think it means. It means merely that you are a human being. Please watch, and compare the terms he uses to the terms you, as a Jehovah’s Witness, would use: