Many people have told me and it is well documented that the witnesses employ similar tactics to the tabloid press. Allow me to elaborate. We often see in the newspaper statements usually associated with some form of celebrity scandal, they state “a close friend said”, or “our source tells us”, in both these cases there may or may not be a source or a close friend, no one can verify this due to the fact that there is no name attached to the sources. The witnesses often use accounts of “a young French brother found…” Or suchlike, usually followed by an interesting and encouraging account of how he overcame some potential pitfall, the idea being to help its members realise that there is hope, provided they stick to the guidance in the organisations publications. There is nothing to stop them from making up these accounts as there is more often than not no way of knowing the authenticity. It then forms a type of propaganda that they can use to control its members with.
Whilst writing and researching this I came across an article on the official website www.watchtower.org, regarding the subject of the manipulation of information. Ironically there is an instance of the above in an article designed to safeguard the faithful readers from exactly what the article itself does, it is on the subject of Martin Luther’s effective incitement to what would these days be considered racial hatred: A professor of government and social studies who has studied that era says: “Antisemitism has fundamentally nothing to do with the actions of Jews, and therefore fundamentally nothing to do with an antisemite’s knowledge of the real nature of Jews.” He also notes: “The Jews stood for everything that was awry, so that the reflexive reaction to a natural or social ill was to look to its supposed Jewish sources.” Now here it is not so much the subject matter that is the important part. Rather, the fact that no name is given for this professor, therefore giving no credence to the whole quote. If you quote for example Steven Hawking in a document, the point you are making becomes credible and verifiable, if you just say “an eminent scientist” it will only lead to questions regarding the credibility of the quote. Despite many of its members, my parents included, being intelligent enough to reason in this manner, the majority of them choose to just accept these quotes on face value, they would hate (and quite rightly so) that they could be mere victims of propaganda.
It is also at this point vital to understand that many of these faithful witnesses, who never question or doubt what the organisation tells them to do, have converted to the faith. In many cases they have terminated former friendships and relationships. They have turned their backs on former ways of life, in most instances this has caused a lot of friction between them, family members and friends etc. For so many it has been a struggle to achieve a separate life from the world. However, with the help and support of the witness organisation they have found a “good standing in God’s eyes”. Many of these ones have gone as far as to openly condemn others for the way that they conduct their lives.
I know in my own family it has in the past caused friction with Grandparents on both sides of the family. So for these reasons people really want to believe what the religion preaches. If they were proved wrong for whatever reason there would be lots of apologies to make and bridges to build, so when something is printed in the Watchtower magazine or any of the other publications, immediately it is accepted as fact. Perhaps there is a split between the fear I spoke of in earlier blogs and also the fear that they will realise that they have made a mistake…