of J.W.ese

the unique language
of Jehovah's Witnesses

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Dictionary of J.W.ese - the Unique Language of Jehovah's Witnesses, by David A. Reed, book cover
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 words starting with . . .
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Language's Role in Control

Orwell’s 1984 and J.W.ese

Language with an Agenda

J.W.ese Changes on Command

Breaking the Language Barrier

The Author’s Testimony


Key to Abbreviated Refs.



Breaking the

Language Barrier


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.

In 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.

It 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.

Is 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.

Moreover, 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 Watchtower.

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.

Most 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.