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Names(s)

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Watchtower

Watchtower Bible & Tract Society

jw.org

JWs

Founder

Charles Taze Russell, est. 1879

Leader(s)

Charles Taze Russell

Joseph Franklin Rutherford

Nathan Homer Knorr

Frederick William Franz

*Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Group Description

Jehovah’s Witnesses. A religious denomination that expects the millennium to begin within a very few years. Jehovah’s Witnesses insist on the use of Jehovah as a name for God. They deny the doctrine of the Trinity and consider Jesus to be the greatest of the witnesses of Jehovah. (dictionary.com)

 Behavior Control
  • Green means does not apply
  • Orange means it partially applies (in other words, true for a subsection of members such as Bethelites, pioneers, and elders, but not rank and file members)
  • Red means it absolutely applies
  • Regulate an individual’s physical reality
  • Dictate where, how and with whom the member lives and associates or isolates
  • Dictate when, how, and with whom the member has sex
  • Control types of clothing and hairstyles
  • Regulate diet -food and drink, hunger and/or fasting
  • Manipulation and deprivation of sleep
  • Financial exploitation, manipulation, or dependence
  • Restrict leisure, entertainment, vacation time
  • Major time spent with group indoctrination and rituals and/or self-indoctrination, including the Internet
  • Permission required for major decisions
  • Thoughts, feelings, and activities (of self and others) reported to superiors
  • Rewards and punishments used to modify behaviors, both positive and negative
  • Discourage individualism, encourage group-think
  • Impose rigid rules and regulations
  • Encourage and engage in corporal punishment
  • Punish disobedience by beating, torture, burning, cutting, rape, or tattooing/branding
  • Threaten harm to family or friends (by cutting off family/friends)
  • Force individual to rape or be raped
  • Instill dependency and obedience

 

Information Control
  • Green means does not apply
  • Orange means it partially applies (in other words, true for a subsection of members such as Bethelites, pioneers, and elders, but not rank and file members)
  • Red means it absolutely applies
  • Deception
    • Deliberately withhold information
    • Distort information to make it more acceptable
    • Systematically lie to the cult member
  • Minimize or discourage access to non-cult sources of information, including:
    • Internet, tv, radio, books, articles, newspapers, magazines, other media
    • Critical information
    • Former members
    • Keep members busy so they don’t have time to think and investigate
    • Control through a cell phone with texting, calls, and internet tracking
  • Compartmentalize information into Outsider vs Insider doctrines
    • Ensure that information is not easily accessible
    • Control information at different levels and missions within the group
    • Allow only leadership to decide who needs to know what and when
  • Encourage spying on other members
    • Impose a buddy system to monitor and control member
    • Report deviant thoughts, feelings, and actions to leadership
    • Ensure that individual behavior is monitored by the group
  • Extensive use of cult-generated information and propaganda, including:
    • Newsletters, magazines, journals, audiotapes, videotapes, YouTube, movies, and other media
    • Misquoting statements or using them out of context from non-cult sources
  • Unethical use of confession
    • Information about sins used to disrupt and/or dissolve identity boundaries
    • Withholding forgiveness or absolution
    • Manipulation of memory, possibly false memories
Thought Control
  • Green means does not apply
  • Orange means it partially applies (in other words, true for a subsection of members such as Bethelites, pioneers, and elders, but not rank and file members)
  • Red means it absolutely applies
  • Require members to internalize the group’s doctrine as truth
    • Adopting the group’s ‘map of reality’ as reality
    • Instill black and white thinking
    • Decide between good vs. evil
    • Organize people into us vs. them (insiders vs. outsiders)
  • Change a person’s name and identity
  • Use of loaded language and cliches which constrict knowledge, stop critical thoughts and reduce complexities into platitudinous buzzwords
  • Encourage only ‘good and proper’ thoughts
  • Hypnotic techniques are used to alter mental states, undermine critical thinking, and even to age regress the member
  • Memories are manipulated and false memories are created (e.g. “1975”)
  • Teaching thought-stopping techniques which shut down reality testing by stopping negative thoughts and allowing only positive thoughts, including:
    • Denial, rationalization, justification, wishful thinking
    • Chanting
    • Meditating
    • Praying
    • Speaking in tongues
    • Singing or humming
  • Rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism
  • Forbid critical questions about leader, doctrine or policy allowed
  • Labeling alternative belief systems as illegitimate, evil or not useful
  • Instill new ‘map of reality’
Emotional Control
  • Green means does not apply
  • Orange means it partially applies (in other words, true for a subsection of members such as Bethelites, pioneers, and elders, but not rank and file members)
  • Red means it absolutely applies
  • Manipulate and narrow the range of feelings – some emotions and/or needs are deemed as evil, wrong, or selfish
  • Teach emotion-stopping techniques to block feelings of hopelessness, anger, or doubt
  • Make the person feel that problems are always their own fault, never the leader’s or the group’s fault
  • Promote feelings of guilt or unworthiness, such as:
    • Identity guilt
    • You are not living up to your potential
    • Your family is deficient
    • Your past is suspect
    • Your affiliations are unwise
    • Your thoughts, feelings, actions are irrelevant or selfish
    • Social guilt
    • Historical guilt
  • Instill fear, such as fear of:
    • Thinking independently
    • The outside world
    • Enemies
    • Losing one’s salvation
    • Leaving or being
  • Extremes of emotional highs and lows – love bombing and praise one moment, and then declaring you are a horrible sinner
  • Ritualistic and sometimes public confession of sins
  • Phobia indoctrination: inculcating irrational fears about leaving the group or questioning the leader’s authority
    • No happiness or fulfillment possible outside the group
    • Terrible consequences if you leave: hell, demon possession, incurable diseases, accidents, suicide, insanity, 10,000 reincarnations, etc
    • Shunning of those who leave; fear of being rejected by friends and family
    • Never a legitimate reason to leave; those who leave are weak, undisciplined, unspiritual, worldly brainwashed by family or counselor, or seduced by money, sex, or rock-and-roll
  • Threats of harm to ex-member and family (threats of cutting off friends/family)
Group Websites

https://www.jw.org