Perhaps your goal in reading this book is to
reach Jehovah’s Witnesses with liberating information that will free them from
Watchtower mind control and from the organization itself. If so, you will find it helpful to understand
the role that language plays in keeping them captive, and you will appreciate
the insight you have now gained into the meaning of many crucial words that
will come up repeatedly in your discussions with them.
You may also be tempted to impress the Witnesses
with your knowledge of their language by using some of their unique terms
yourself. However, let me caution you
that this would be a serious mistake. In
fact, so that even casual readers of this book will take note and avoid making
that mistake, I will state this again in bold print:
CAUTION: You should NOT display your knowledge of
“J.W.ese” when speaking with Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The reason for this is that JWs are instructed
to avoid opposers—knowledgeable non-Witnesses who speak against the
sect. The more knowledge you show about
the Watchtower organization, the more suspicious and cautious a Witness will
become in your presence.
Members are taught that an outsider who knows a
great deal about the religion but fails to embrace it must have a wicked heart,
a heart that chooses falsehood and evil rather than truth and goodness. (Why else would someone fail to join?) And such a person who actively seeks to
converse with Witnesses must be doing so for an evil end. Satan the devil sends opposers to tempt JWs
the same way he tempted Jesus in the wilderness, they believe. If your speech identifies you as a
knowledgeable opposer, those brave or foolhardy enough to continue speaking
with you will still be placed on guard against whatever you have to say. And if you employ JW expressions in your own
speech, Witnesses will want to know where you got those expressions.
If your grasp of the “J.W.ese” language is
particularly good, you might even be tempted to enter a Kingdom Hall with the
aim of passing yourself off as a Witness.
This, too, is definitely NOT a good idea. Your “accent” will give you away, just as
surely as it would if you visited Paris
after four years of high school French and tried to pass yourself off as a
native. Individuals I have known about
who have pretended to be Witnesses were found out immediately by those who
greeted them as they entered the Kingdom Hall.
These, in turn, alerted the elders who quickly surrounded the interloper
and isolated him from contact with rank-and-file members.
If any pretense at all is advisable in reaching
out to Jehovah’s Witnesses, it is to “play dumb” and not reveal how much
you already know about their beliefs.
You will be able to share a lot more information with a Witness who is
allowed to think that he or she is teaching you. That is what JWs are trained to do, so let
them do it. Instead of attacking their
faith with evidence against the Watchtower organization, ask well-chosen questions
to get them thinking. In fact, you can
ask them questions that will reveal the same information that you would
ordinarily have presented in more direct arguments.
What information should you present? JWs
eventually need to face up to what Scripture says, and Christians need to
defend the faith, but progress with a JW does not usually begin with Bible
discussions. I wrote Jehovah’s
Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse to help Christians respond to Watchtower
misinterpretations. However, the first
step that is usually necessary is to shake the JW’s faith in the organization,
using the organization’s own materials.
You may find assistance in doing this in my second book, How to
Rescue Your Loved One from the Watchtower.
It outlines strategies and techniques that have proved successful.
most cases you could go on endlessly discussing scriptures and doctrines with a
Jehovah’s Witness, without converting him or causing him to leave the
sect. Logically persuasive arguments do
not persuade the JW due to the effects of mind control. The organization’s stranglehold on the
individual’s mind must first be broken before effective teaching can be done
from the Bible. (Most Christians I meet
find this very difficult to believe. In
fact, most refuse to believe it and persist in discussing theology anyway, with
no results.) Because the Witness has
come to view the organization as God’s spokesman, the interpretations of
Scripture that it offers must be correct, and yours must be wrong. You need to undermine the organization’s
perceived authority before you can get a JW to reason from the Bible.
usually takes a lot of solid evidence of false prophecies, back-and-forth
doctrinal flip-flops, and outright deception on the part of the Watchtower Society
before a JW can even begin to think about Scripture and what it really
says. But there are only certain ways
that this information can be presented without causing the Witness to fearfully
terminate the discussions immediately.
My book How to Rescue Your Loved One from the Watchtower explains
over the course of several chapters what material to present and how to present
it most effectively.
it really necessary to do that much preparation? Well, anyone can play Bible verse ping-pong
with a Witness on the doorstep.
Occasionally such discussions bear fruit. You may plant a seed or water a seed that
another Christian planted. God can make
such seeds grow. But if you are serious
about reaching Jehovah’s Witnesses, a lot of study and preparation is
required to do so effectively. The
people attending Kingdom Hall receive several hours training each week in how
to persuade, how to use the Bible for support, and how to win arguments. If you go into discussions with them poorly
prepared, you are starting out at a disadvantage.
I feel the need to caution you concerning the dangers involved. A Pentecostal cult-fighter comes to mind who
started studying with two JW elders to lead them to Christ, but who began to
fall for the deception himself, and who soon quit his church, renounced
orthodox doctrine, and began attending Kingdom Hall—before he eventually came
back to his senses. Also, there was an
elderly Witness I knew when I was in the organization who had been a Baptist
deacon some thirty years earlier. When
his wife started studying with two JW ladies, he joined the study to
prove them wrong, but instead he and his wife both left the Baptist church and
became Witnesses. And I myself remember
saying in 1968 that I “would never become a Witness”—only to join the
sect a year later, and I stayed trapped in it for the next thirteen years. For advice on how to prevent this from
happening in your case, please read the chapter titled “Warning: The Life You
Save May Be Your Own” in my book How to Rescue Your Loved One from the
Besides study and preparation, you will also
need support for your discussions with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Your pastor or prayer group may be able to
help by praying for you during such meetings, perhaps someone even accompanying
you, and by debriefing you after each session.
Happily there are also ex-JW
support groups and ministries active in many localities, affording the
assistance of people with considerable first-hand experience. I am constantly receiving requests from
people all over the world asking to be put in touch with such sources of help.
important, of course, is the Lord’s help.
Persons who go into discussions with Jehovah’s Witnesses confident in
their own strength are often disappointed. But those who rely on the living Lord Jesus
Christ and go into such discussions in the power of the Holy Spirit are those
who have the greatest success.