The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses

The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses

HEATHER BOTTING
GARY BOTTING
Copyright Date: 1984
DOI: 10.3138/9781442664616
Pages: 212
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442664616
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses
    Book Description:

    The Bottings, both Witnesses, can and do answer the questions everyone asks about this sect. They examine its history, the ways in which history itself has been interpreted in the light of bible prophecy, the basic beliefs or ?symbols? in which Witnesses are required to put their faith, and the dynamics of conversion and indoctrination.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6461-6
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xxii)
    Gary Botting
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
    H.D.H.B. and G.N.A.B.
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. xxvii-2)

    As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we have both had an obvious subjective immersion into the Witnesses’ corpus of belief. But, in researching this book, we have sought to examine Jehovah’s Witnesses from a more objective perspective in order to come to understand the dynamics of attraction to, as well as defection from, the Witnesses’ world. Such an examination has become imperative, for the denomination is becoming increasingly regimented as it perceives the last days’ of this world drawing near. Since 1982, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society has focused pointedly on ‘unity at all costs’ – emphasizing the need to close ranks...

  7. CHAPTER ONE The World View of Jehovah’s Witnesses
    (pp. 3-33)

    Each year over the past two decades, literally hundreds of thousands of individual ‘seekers after Truth’ have opted for Jehovah’s Witnesses as being the religious society offering symbols of significance most consonant with their individual aspirations and visions of man's purpose and destiny. Each year, tens of thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses forsake the religion which they once actively embraced to search for other alternative realities of significance. In 1983, the 2.5 million active Jehovah’s Witnesses in 46,235 congregations located in 205 countries, preaching in almost as many different languages, spent close to 436,721,000 hours distributing more than a billion pieces...

  8. CHAPTER TWO The Historical Development of Jehovah’s Witnesses
    (pp. 34-59)

    The history of the Witnesses consists of four distinct phases paralleling the tenures of the four presidents who have controlled the organization from its inception in 1874 to the present (see figure 21). The Russell period is of particular interest to those seeking to understand the evolution of the organization as a formal theocracy and the contemporary criticism of it on the part of modern dissidents. Russell’s theology and attitudes towards organization surprise, at times shock, those Witnesses who seek their roots by reviewing Witness publications over the last century.

    Russell, born on 16 February 1852, was raised in a...

  9. CHAPTER THREE The Cyclical Movement of History and Prophecy
    (pp. 60-75)

    As we have seen, many Jehovah’s Witnesses, firmly believing that Armageddon was due to arrive by October 1975 – the postulated 6,000th anniversary of Adam's creation – sold their properties and quit their jobs, bracing themselves for the inevitable. Many could not understand why the world as we know it was not destroyed then and there. But an explanation was soon forthcoming from the society: Adam and Eve were the culmination of God's creation, and therefore were created towards the end of the sixth creative day. But how close to the end is nowhere specified. Thus, there is an indeterminate period from...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR The Conversion and Indoctrination Process
    (pp. 76-93)

    The non-ecstatic, non-carthartic quality of conversion as it applies to Jehovah’s Witnesses has been dealt with previously by many scholars. One of the most succinct descriptions was offered by J.A. Beckford:

    First and foremost we must report the virtual absence of anything which closely resembles the phenomenon of religious conversion as it is customarily understood. Jehovah’s Witness converts certainly experience no sudden conviction that they have miraculously received God’s grace nor that they have attained an immediate assurance of salvation. In fact, very few Witnesses can isolate a particular moment in time as a decisive turning point in their religious...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Watch Tower Literature
    (pp. 94-110)

    The power that the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society has subsumed for itself over the past century presupposes a sophisticated system for maintaining and sustaining the symbolic vision for the membership and interpreting it in meaningful ways. The onus has thus devolved upon the society itself to keep the symbolic corpus alive within the minds of its members. Since the early 1940s, the symbolic superstructure of the sect has remained essentially stable, new revelations building upon, or only marginally modifying, the mythic fabric already in place. A primary function of the organization has thus become symbol management, or more...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Discipline and Mental-Regulating of Youth
    (pp. 111-131)

    Within the rigorously controlled social world of the Witnesses, parents are held personally responsible for bringing their children up in the ‘discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.’ The purpose of the regulation of the child is to encourage him to accept the vision of the organization as a whole, and the status the parents will continue to enjoy within that world depends largely upon their success as parents. As the 1 August 1975Watchtowerindicated: ‘An elder must be a man presiding over his own household in a fine manner, having children in subjection, namely, “If indeed any man does not...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN The Seeds of Dissension
    (pp. 132-150)

    Like other sectarian groups, Jehovah’s Witnesses must depend heavily upon ongoing conversion to sustain the levels of fervour and commitment necessary to keep the group vital. The demand for continued proselytizing does serve to provide a stream of converts entering the mainstream of the Witness community and helps to maintain the sectarian quality of the group; but the major source of membership growth is the children born to members. The problems occasioned by this phenomenon within sectarian movements was explained by Richard Niebuhr:

    By its very nature the sectarian type of organization is valid for only one generation. The children...

  14. CHAPTER EIGHT Crisis at ‘The Top’
    (pp. 151-165)

    Dissident members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses are at present undergoing a renewed search for freedom – freedom of thought, speech, action, and worship. Supposedly, ‘freedom’ was one major factor in their original association with the Witnesses, or at least in that of their parents. As George Richardson noted: ‘New sects all start with profuse professions of LIBERTY, because usually their members are excluded by someone else. But they, too, end up the most full-blown bigots because they do not really determine what true freedom means and, therefore, do not hold to it’(TBE1; no. 4 [October 1981] :4). The fall...

  15. CHAPTER NINE Nineteen Eighty-Four
    (pp. 166-186)

    According to the chronological calculations of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the world as we know it should end by the autumn of 1984. Every recent publication of the Witnesses’ official corporate mouthpiece, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, has pointed to 1914 as marking the end of the ‘Gentile Times’ or the ‘Appointed Times of the Nations’ when Christ returned to heavenly power, casting Satan to the earth, where the Devil began misleading the entire inhabited earth’ and causing global grief as described in Matthew 24. In 1958, the Witnesses’ main doctrinal primer,From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained‚emphasized that...

  16. Glossary of Terms Used by Jehovah’s Witnesses
    (pp. 187-194)
  17. Significant Dates
    (pp. 195-196)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 197-206)
  19. Index
    (pp. 207-213)