Watchtower Quotes: Propaganda and Deception

Misquotes

“…Because propaganda “is likely to be most effective,” says one source, “if people . . . are discouraged from thinking critically.” (Media and Society in the Twentieth Century)…”

Watchtower, July 2017, Winning the Battle for your Mind

This quote is indeed accurate, but something sinister lies between the ellipsis (…) I tracked down the original book and the quote reads as follows:

“Therefore, it is likely to be most effective if people do not have access to multiple sources of information and if they are discouraged from thinking critically. Michael Balfour has suggested that the “best touchstone for distinguishing propaganda from science is whether a plurality of sources of information and of interpretations is being discouraged or fostered.”

It is interesting that the Watchtower writers removed the statement “access to multiple sources of information”. Jehovah’s Witnesses are discouraged from using multiple sources of information.

Ad Hominem / Name Calling

Some people insult those who disagree with them by questioning character or motives instead of focusing on the facts. Name-calling slaps a negative, easy-to-remember label onto a person, a group, or an idea. The name-caller hopes that the label will stick. If people reject the person or the idea on the basis of the negative label instead of weighing the evidence for themselves, the name-caller’s strategy has worked.”

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1986203

The Watchtower is guilty of this exact Ad Hominem attack where members are not told to “resist apostates and their gangrenous, empty speeches” [Watchtower 2013 Apr 15 p.11], that they are using “counterfeit words.”. Apostates are accused of being “mentally diseased” [Watchtower 2011 Jul 15 Study Ed.]

When someone tries to reason with a fellow Jehovah’s Witness and presents an idea that is different from what the Watchtower teaches, the Elders are instructed to give the congregation a talk based on the 1986 Watchtower “Do not be quickly shaken from your reason” where the person is labeled as an Apostate, and that the accused must never be mixed with, never to be received in their homes, or even say a greeting to them and that any letter or other written material from them is “satanic propaganda”, and is equated to allowing your child to watch pornography.

“It would be a mistake to think that you need to listen to apostates or to read their writings to refute their arguments. Their twisted, poisonous reasoning can cause spiritual harm and can contaminate your faith like rapidly spreading gangrene.” Watchtower 2004 Feb 15 p.28
It is especially important to avoid websites promoted by apostates. Their whole purpose is to tear down God’s people and to distort the truth. …

Watchtower August 2018, “Do You Have the Facts?
A person goes bad because he lets his own selfish reasoning, his own ambitions and desires, his chosen associates and surroundings, mold his thinking and determine the direction of his will.

Allow No Place for the Devil!
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom—1986
He becomes resentful, claiming that others are trying to take away his Christian freedom. But what is behind such reasoning? Is it not usually pride, an independent attitude, or a rather childish desire to have one’s own way?

Allow No Place for the Devil!
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom—1986
Occasionally you may hear someone question whether the Scriptural prohibition against eating blood really applies to transfusions. But what is behind that reasoning? Is it fear​—fear of possibly losing one’s present life or the life of a loved one? Is hope in the resurrection fading?

Allow No Place for the Devil!
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom—1986
Some who have a critical attitude claim that Jehovah’s organization is too strict about cutting off social contacts with disfellowshipped persons. (2 John 10, 11) But why do such critics feel that way? Do they have a close family tie or mistaken loyalty to a friend that they are putting ahead of loyalty to Jehovah and his standards and requirements?

Allow No Place for the Devil!
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom—1986
Finally, we might consider what the Society has published in the past on chronology. Some opposers claim that Jehovah’s Witnesses are false prophets. These opponents say that dates have been set, but nothing has happened. Again we ask, What is the motive of these critics? Are they encouraging wakefulness on the part of God’s people, or are they, rather, trying to justify themselves for falling back into sleepy inactivity?

Allow No Place for the Devil!
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom—1986
What is often the motive of those who criticize the Society or those taking the lead? Is it not often that some application of Scripture affects them personally? Rather than conform to sound doctrine and direction, they want the organization to change.”

Watchtower 1986, March 15, Allow No Place for the Devil!

The information is false, even if you don’t know what it is.

“But if someone sincerely asks about certain claims of apostates, what can be done? First, we can ask what, exactly, has caused the concern. It may be only one or two points. Then we can stick to these and answer from the Scriptures, from the Society’s publications, and from what we truthfully know about the subject. We need not conclude that we have to read a book or a pamphlet that is filled with slander and half-truths in order to refute the false claims and teachings of opposers.”

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1986203

Questioning and Dissent

“Avoid questioning the counsel that is provided by God’s visible organization.

Watchtower 1983 Jan 15 p.22
“We need to guard against developing a spirit of independence. By word or action, may we never challenge the channel of communication that Jehovah is using today.

Watchtower 2009, Treasure Your Place in the Congregation

Generalizations

Another very successful tactic of propaganda is generalization. Generalizations tend to obscure important facts about the real issues in question, and they are frequently used to demean entire groups of people.

The Manipulation of Information, Awake!, 2000

Hatred

“Hatred is a strong emotion exploited by propagandists. Loaded language is particularly effective in triggering it. There seems to be a nearly endless supply of nasty words that promote and exploit hatred toward particular racial, ethnic, or religious groups.”

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102000442#h=23

Play On Pride

Some propagandists play on pride. Often we can spot appeals to pride by looking for such key phrases as: “Any intelligent person knows that . . .” or, “A person with your education can’t help but see that . . .” A reverse appeal to pride plays on our fear of seeming stupid. Professionals in persuasion are well aware of that.

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102000442
[A mature Christian] does not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding. Rather, he has complete confidence in the truth as it is revealed by Jehovah God through his Son, Jesus Christ, and “the faithful and discreet slave.”

Watchtower 2001 Aug 1 p.14
“The point is that Christians have implicit trust in their heavenly Father; they do not question what he tells them through his written Word and organization.

Watchtower 1974 Jul 15 p.441
If we have love for Jehovah and for the organization of his people we shall not be suspicious, but shall, as the Bible says, ‘Believe all things,’ all the things that the Watchtower brings out” Qualified to be Ministers (1955) p.156
As loyal servants of Jehovah, why would we want to peek at the propaganda put out by rejecters of Jehovah’s table…” Watchtower 1994 Jul 1 pp.12-13
a mature Christian must be in unity and full harmony with fellow believers as far as faith and knowledge are concerned. He does not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding. Rather, he has complete confidence in the truth as it is revealed by Jehovah God through his Son, Jesus Christ, and “the faithful and discreet slave.”

Watchtower 2001, Aug 1, Make Your Advancement Manifest

Play on Fear

FEAR OF DEATH

“During the war of Armageddon, Jehovah will execute people, not in a cold, clinical manner, but in a “great rage.” He will direct the explosive force of his anger, not against one army or one nation, but against countless individuals living across the globe. 

Pure Worship of Jehovah – Restored at Last! (2018) p.189
“Still, if anyone hopes to be concealed in “the day of Jehovah’s anger,” he will need help to do more than be a regular reader of our publications.”

Kingdom Ministry Mar 2005 p.1

FEAR OF DISFELLOWSHIPPING / CUT OFF FROM LOVED ONES

“Disfellowshipping serves as a powerful warning example to those in the congregation, since they will be able to see the disastrous consequences of ignoring Jehovah’s laws. [Do] not converse with such one or show him recognition in any way … Walk away from him. In this way he will feel the full import of his sin.”

Watchtower 1963 Jul 1 p.411,413

FEAR OF OUTSIDERS / UNBELIEVERS

“While some contact with worldly people is unavoidable – at work, at school, and otherwise-we must be vigilant so as to keep from being sucked back into the death-dealing atmosphere of this world. Let the world go along in its way, reaping its bad fruitage in the form of broken homes, illegitimate births, sexually transmitted diseases, such as AIDS, and countless other emotional and physical woes.”

Watchtower 1987 Sep 15 pp.12-14

Play on Guilt

“We do not want to take it easy and then defend our attitude by saying that we are being reasonable. Rather, all of us need to “exert [ourselves] vigorously” in support of Kingdom interests.

Examining the Scriptures Daily 2015

Slogans and Symbols

Slogans are vague statements that are typically used to express positions or goals. Because of their vagueness, they are easy to agree with.

Red Herring

Some opponents of Jehovah’s Witnesses have accused them of spreading Zionist propaganda. Others have charged that the ministry of the Witnesses promotes Communism. Still others have claimed that the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses promotes the ideals and interests of “American imperialism.” And there are those who assert that the Witnesses are anarchists, fomenting disorder with the aim of changing the social, economic, political, or legal order. Obviously, these conflicting accusations cannot all be true.
The simple fact is that Jehovah’s Witnesses are none of the above.

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102000442#h=35

Contradictory

WATCHTOWER QUESTIONS THE MOTIVES OF THE MOONIES WHO DISCOURAGE HIGHER EDUCATION

“what do you know about the beliefs of the Unification Church? What is motivating the Church’s small army of apparently idealistic youths? Why are they willing to give up college and careers to follow Sun Myung Moon? What is he promising them?

Awake! 1982 September 8 p.10 Moon’s Unification Church-What Does It Believe?
“Many schools now have student counselors who encourage one to pursue higher education after high school, to pursue a career with a future in this system of things. Do not be influenced by them. Do not let them “brainwash” you with the Devil’s propaganda to get ahead, to make something of yourself in this world. This world has very little time left! Any “future” this world offers is no future!

Watchtower 1969, What Influences Decisions in Your Life?

WATCHTOWER QUOTES ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EDUCATION AND PROPAGANDA

They also help people to find the strength to overcome bad habits and to develop the ability to get along with others. Such a work would hardly be termed “propaganda.” As The World Book Encyclopedia says, in a climate where ideas circulate freely, “propaganda differs from education.”

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102000442
THERE is a difference—a big difference—between education and propaganda. Education shows you how to think. Propaganda tells you what to think. Good educators present all sides of an issue and encourage discussion.

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102000443#h=3

WATCHTOWER QUOTES ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS TO FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND RESPECT TO BELIEF

The right to change religions is supported by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the United Nations has called “the foundation of international human rights law.” That document states that everyone has the “freedom to change his religion or belief” and “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas,” including religious ideas. Of course, these rights carry with them the obligation to respect the rights of others both to maintain their beliefs and to reject ideas that they disagree with.”

Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Pressure People to Change Religions?
“We follow the Bible’s advice to “respect everyone”—regardless of their religious beliefs.”

Are Jehovah’s Witnesses Tolerant of Other Religions?

The above two statements are published on the public website, JW.org, and present an image that Jehovah’s Witnesses are tolerant to, and support the right for people to change their religions and beliefs, and share information and religious ideas. Sure, the Jehovah’s Witnesses expect others to allow them this freedom, but do they grant others the same?

“16. Apostasy…”

“Celebrating false religious holidays”

“Bowing before altars and images and sharing in false religious songs and prayers.

Deliberately spreading teachings contrary to Bible truth as taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses. If one obstinately is speaking about or deliberately spreading false teachings, this may be or may lead to apostasy. If there is no response after a first and a second admonition, a judicial committee should be formed.

“Continuing in employment that makes one an accomplice to or a promoter of false worship would subject one to disfellowshipping”

Offenses Requiring Judicial Decisions, Shepherd the Flock of God p.64

The above is a list of offenses that will be punished with disfellowshipping if the accused does to stop the activity and repent. How can Jehovah’s Witnesses say that they support religious freedom, the right to free speech, and respect others’ beliefs when they punish those that exercise those rights in their organization?

They expect these rights from others, but do not grant others these rights when they do not agree with doctrine as taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“Bible copyists, of course, made mistakes. But none of those mistakes corrupted the Bible. … So, has the Bible been corrupted. Emphatically, no!” Watchtower 2017 no.6 p.14

“No striking or fundamental variation is shown either in the Old or the New Testament. There are no important omissions or additions of passages, and no variations which affect vital facts or doctrines.” Reasoning from the Scriptures p.64

VS.

“When apostate Christians made copies of the Christian Greek Scriptures, they evidently took Jehovah’s personal name out of the text and substituted Ky′ri·os, the Greek word for “Lord.”” Watchtower 2010 Jul 1 pp.6-7

“no ancient Greek manuscript that we possess today of the books of Matthew to Revelation contains God’s name in full.” The Divine Name that will Endure Forever p.23
“Jehovah’s Witnesses have been targets of false accusations – barefaced lies and twisted presentations of their beliefs… The accusation that numerous children of Jehovah’s Witnesses die each year as a result of refusing blood transfusions is totally unfounded.” 

Watchtower 1998 December 1 p.14
“In former times thousands of youths died for putting God first. They are still doing it, only today the drama is played out in hospitals and courtrooms, with blood transfusions the issue.” 

Awake! 1994 May 22 p.2
“… you have made a dedication to Jehovah God himself, not to a work, a cause, other humans, or an organization. Your dedication and baptism are the beginning or a very close friendship with God-an intimate relationship with him.”

2005 book What Does the Bible Really Teach
“Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?” Watchtower 1985 Jun 1 p.30
“No one should be forced to worship in a way that he finds unacceptable or be made to choose between his beliefs and his family.”

Awake! 2009 July p.29

Outright Deception

They sift the facts, exploiting the useful ones and concealing the others. They also distort and twist facts, specializing in lies and half-truths. Your emotions, not your logical thinking abilities, are their target.

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102000443
The propagandist makes sure that his message appears to be the right and moral one and that it 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.

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102000443#h=4
Moreover, if we want to be fair-minded, we must be willing to subject our own opinions to continual testing as we take in new information. We must realize that they are, after all, opinions. 

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102000443#h=12
“Do not be “quickly shaken from your reason” when faced with what appear to be damaging attacks by apostates or other such deceivers of the mind—however plausible their charges may seem.”

July 2017 Watchtower, Propaganda – Winning the Battle for Your Mind

DIVORCE STATISTICS

“By applying unselfish love in their marriages, Jehovah’s Witnesses achieve stable relationships. In some countries one marriage out of every two or three ends in divorce. But the above-mentioned survey indicated that presently only 4.9 percent of the Witnesses are divorced or separated from their mates.

Awake 1997 Sep 8 p.11

This statement is misleading. It compares the number of people who are currently divorced with the number of people who will end up divorced. In reality, the percentage of the general population that are currently divorced is 4%, less than what is claimed by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Do not trust external information

“In Jehovah’s organization it is not necessary to spend a lot of time and energy in research, for there are brothers in the organization who are assigned to that very thing, …”

Watchtower 1967 Jun 1 p.338
“Thus, “the faithful and discreet slave” does not endorse any literature, meetings or Web sites that are not produced or organized under its oversight. … For those who wish to do extra Bible study and research, we recommend that they explore “Insight on the Scriptures…”.”

Kingdom Ministry Sep 2007 p.3
We need to be especially cautious when we come across reports regarding Jehovah’s people. … (p.4)

Watchtower August 2018, “Do You Have the Facts?
“False religious propaganda from any source should be avoided like poison! Really, since our Lord has used “the faithful and discreet slave” to convey to us “sayings of everlasting life,” why should we ever want to look anywhere else?”

Watchtower 1987, Nov 1, Are You Remaining Clean in Every Respect?

Secrecy

ELDERS BOOK

“There is no objection if an elder personally spiral binds or laminates his own textbook or does so for other elders. If he has another baptized brother who is not an elder do the work for him, the elder must watch while the work is being done. Outside companies, unbelievers, or sisters are not permitted to do this work. The material in the book is confidential, and confidentiality must be preserved.”

Letter to Elders, October 7, 2010:

Black and White Fallacy

“If we stop actively supporting Jehovah’s work, then we start following Satan. There is no middle ground.”

Watchtower 2011 Jul 15 p.18

Former members and critics

“Beware of those who try to put forward their own contrary opinions.”

Watchtower 1986 Mar 15, Allow No Place for the Devil!

Seperatism

“Any recreation you take outside of school should not be with worldly youths.” Watchtower 1964 Sep 1 p.535

Circular Reasoning

“There are many reasons to have complete trust in the slave class. First and foremost, Jesus has appointed them over all his precious “belongings.” This is a clear indication that he has complete trust in them.”

Organized to Do Jehovah’s Will (2005) p.18

We tell you, as the “slave class” that Jesus has appointed us and trusts us, the “slave class”.

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