Watchtower articles designed for the non-Witness audience often challenge people outside of the organization to question their religious beliefs, no matter how long they have held them. The general public is urged to have an open mind “which is receptive to new ideas,” and to be “willing to examine and evaluate information without a biased attitude.”45 A prejudiced and closed mind is described in the following terms:
A closed mind may betray a lack of interest in the subject or a reluctance to look into the matter. In fact, it could be a sign of uncertainty or doubt. For example, if we are unable to defend our religious views, we may find ourselves lashing out against those who challenge our beliefs, not with logical arguments, but with slurs and innuendoes. This smacks of prejudice and of a closed mind. . . . Even some religious people have closed minds. They are interested only in “their” religion, showing no willingness to as much listen to the views of others.46
When dealing with the issue of “apostates” (critics of the Watchtower), however, organizational policy quickly reverses itself. Jehovah’s Witnesses are repeatedly warned not to read any material designed to expose the inconsistencies of Watchtower doctrine.
Therefore, resolve in your heart that you will never even touch the poison that apostates want you to sip. Heed the wise but firm commands of Jehovah to avoid completely those who would deceive you, mislead you, turn you aside into the ways of death. If we love Jehovah with our whole heart, soul, and mind, while loving our neighbor as we love ourselves, we will leave no room for penetration by apostate thinking. . . . We will not “allow place for the Devil” and will not “be quickly shaken from our reason” by some counterfeit teaching.47
We have been forewarned that there will be apostates and people who just like to have their ears tickled. Counsel such as 2 John 9-11, 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 and 2 Timothy 3:5 allows no room for associating with those who turn away from the truth. Nor do we purchase or read their writings.48
Witnesses do not go to people’s doors searching for truth or enlightenment. Rather, they already have devoted countless hours learning the truth from God’s Word. . . . So it would be foolhardy, as well as a waste of valuable time, for Jehovah’s Witnesses to accept and expose themselves to false religious literature that is designed to deceive.49
Here again can be seen a classic example of “double-think.” Those on the outside are urged to be open-minded; those inside the Watchtower are told to “beware of those who try to put forward their own contrary opinions.”50
The March 15, 1986 issue of the Watchtower magazine (page twelve) features a picture of a woman throwing pieces of paper into a large waste basket. Underneath the photograph are the words, “Do you wisely destroy apostate material?” In the background can be seen a mailman just leaving, indicating that the woman has not even examined what she received. Surely the words of Jesus are applicable here, when He says:
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.51
Independent Thinking Can be Dangerous to Your Health
Independent thinking is still another freedom not offered to the average Jehovah’s Witness. Jehovah has “an organization to direct the minds of God’s people,”52 which means that once an organizational policy or doctrine is announced to the faithful, all the necessary thinking has already been done. Any “independent thinking” is regarded as prideful and dangerous.
As we study the Bible we learn that Jehovah has always guided his servants in an organized way. And just as in the first century there was only one true Christian organization, so today Jehovah is using only one organization. . . . Yet there are some who point out that the organization has had to make adjustments before, and so they argue: ‘This shows that we have to make up our own mind on what to believe.’ This is independent thinking. Why is it so dangerous? Such thinking is an evidence of pride. And the Bible says: ‘Pride is before a crash, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.’. . . . If we get to thinking that we know better than the organization, we should ask ourselves: ‘Where did we learn Bible truth in the first place? Would we know the way of the truth if it had not been for guidance from the organization? Really, can we get along without the direction of God’s organization?’ No, we cannot!53
Along with “independent thinking,” the fostering of any doubts about the organization is also a serious matter. Doubts must be eliminated at all cost.
Fight the tendency to doubt. . . . If some tinge of doubt about Jehovah, his Word, or his organization has begun to linger in your heart, take quick steps to eliminate it before it festers into something that could destroy your faith. . . do not hesitate to ask for help from loving overseers in the congregation. They will help you trace the source of your doubts, which may be due to pride or some wrong thinking. Has the reading or listening to apostate ideas or worldly philosophy introduced poisonous doubts? . . . act quickly to rout out of the mind any tendency to complain, to be dissatisfied with the way things are done in the congregation. Cut off anything that feeds such doubts.54
Criticism of the organization is also forbidden. As the Watchtower warns:
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 foolish as to pit against Jehovah’s channel their own human reasoning and sentiment and personal feelings. 55
The same article points out that when the organization needs direction or correction, it will come from “Jehovah and Christ.” Any advice from the average believer is not welcomed.
Stay Close to “Mama”
A Spanish Jehovah’s Witness, quoted in the April 1, 1994 issue of The Watchtower, makes the following statement about her relationship with the Watchtower Society: “We refer to the organization as ‘Mama.’ We feel close, near. It’s beautiful. It’s wonderful!”56
This type of mentality has long been encouraged and fostered in Watchtower publications. Jehovah’s Witnesses are incapable of visualizing any kind of spiritual life apart from “Mother.”
After being nourished to our present spiritual strength and maturity, do we suddenly become smarter than our former provider and forsake the enlightening guidance of the organization that mothered us? “Forsake not the law of they mother.” (Prov. 6:20-23)57
If we are to walk in the light of truth we must recognize not only Jehovah God as our Father but his organization as our mother.58
The Watchtower’s Wall of Fear
When confronted with the prospect of leaving the Watchtower organization, the average Jehovah’s Witness will inevitably respond with the words of Peter found in the sixth chapter of John’s gospel. Many disciples had walked away, prompting Christ to ask the Twelve whether or not they intended to leave as well. Peter responded, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”59 In Watchtower theology, Peter’s expression of loyalty is applied directly to the organization.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are firmly convinced that, apart from “Jehovah’s organization,” there is “no place else to go for salvation and joy.”60 Only those who “stay by the faithful organization” are assured of “Jehovah’s favor and blessing.”61 All that is available outside of the organization is fellowship with “Babylon the Great.”62 God has appointed the Watchtower as the only ark of salvation for mankind.
Do not conclude that there are different roads, or ways, that you can follow to gain life in God’s new system. There is only one. There was just the one ark that survived the Flood, not a number of boats. And there will be only one organization–God’s visible organization– that will survive the fast-approaching “great tribulation.”63
Reasoning of this nature erects an invisible but towering wall of fear around Jehovah’s Witnesses–fear of what may happen if they ever leave “God’s organization.” For them there is no choice but to remain inside.
A Balanced and Biblical Viewpoint
Mind control offers to many an opportunity to escape the responsibility for making personal choices and having to accept their consequences. They find it easier to let others think for them, choose for them, or make decisions for them. They seek security in belonging, through membership in a visible organization that claims to have all the answers. Many do indeed find security, but that security is obtained only at a horrendous cost. Victims of mind control lose the freedom to use and develop the mental powers that God has given them, and with that loss of freedom, forfeit all opportunities for true mental, emotional, and spiritual growth.
Biblical Christianity is by no means a mindless faith. Nor is it blind obedience to an organization.
Christianity is a personal relationship with God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.64 Christians are challenged to discern on their own what is best and to seek for themselves the knowledge of God’s will for their lives.65 They are to be convinced in their own minds about what is right for their lives, even though their convictions may not agree with other believers.66 All believers have the sure word of Christ that the “Spirit of truth” will guide them into all truth.67 And all have the promise that “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”68 Herein lies the basis for true spiritual security and genuine peace of mind.