How to Rescue
Your Loved One
from the

an online guide
to helping
Jehovah's Witnesses
escape from bondage

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paperback book

How to Rescue Your Loved One from the Watchtower 2010 edition
Buy printed book from publisher
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"Rescue" from a Religion?
Don't Delay--Act Today!
Overall Strategy
Techniques that Work
Tools to Use
Step by Step
God's "Prophet"
A Changing "Channel"
Doctoring Medical Doctrines
Strange Ideas Taught in God's Name
"God's Visible Organization"
Providing an Alternative
Can This Marriage Be Saved?
When Children Are Involved
Warning: The Life You Save May Be Your Own
Afterwork: Gradual Rehabilitation
Appendix: Resources & Support Groups

How to Rescue Your Loved One from the Watchtower
Home | Preface | Introduction | "Rescue" from a Religion? | Don't Delay--Act Today! | Overall Strategy | Techniques that Work | Tools to Use | Step by Step | God's "Prophet" | A Changing "Channel" | Doctoring Medical Doctrines | Strange Ideas Taught in God's Name | "God's Visible Organization" | Providing an Alternative | Can This Marriage Be Saved? | When Children Are Involved | Warning: The Life You Save May Be Your Own | Afterwork: Gradual Rehabilitation | Appendix: Resources & Support Groups
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Chapter 5
Tools to Use

The principal tools that will prove useful in liberating a Jehovah’s Witness fall into three main categories: (1) Scripture, (2) literature critical of the JW organization, and (3) Watchtower Society literature. In order to employ each effectively, it is necessary to understand how they can help you—or hurt your cause if used incorrectly.


Using the Bible

When using Scripture in discussions with Jehovah’s Witnesses, it is important to keep in mind how they view the Bible and various translations thereof.

First of all, the organization has taught them to view the Bible as the inspired Word of God. They accept it as inerrant and authoritative. Whatever the Bible says is the final word on a subject.

Why then is it so difficult to get a Witness to see what the Bible says when it plainly refutes Watchtower doctrine? Why is it that a scriptural presentation that should reach a Witness’s heart simply bounces off his chest like a BB pellet ricocheting off a Sherman tank? Why do your biblical arguments fail to penetrate the JWs thinking? The answer lies in a fuller comprehension of their view of the Bible.

Witnesses believe that the Scriptures are “the holy writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation.… All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness.” They often quote these words from 2 Timothy 3:15, 16 (nwt) to show their reliance on the Bible, but they seldom comment on verse 17, which follows in the immediate context: “that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” They may read verse 17 in order to complete the thought and to finish the sentence begun in verse 16, but in actual practice the Witnesses do not believe that the Bible alone is sufficient to make a person “wise for salvation.” Nor is one “fully competent, completely equipped” with just the Bible. Rather it is absolutely necessary to have Watchtower Society publications that explain and interpret Scripture.

From very early in its history the organization has portrayed the Bible as worthless without Watchtower study aids to accompany it:


… not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the SCRIPTURE STUDIES aside and goes to the Bible alone, although he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES with their references, and had not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of the two years (The Watch Tower, 9/15/10, p. 298).


This explains why you can not simply quote from the Bible and reach the mind and heart of a fully indoctrinated Jehovah’s Witness. He or she does not dare look at the Bible alone, without the guidance of Watchtower publications. Doing so might lead to apostasy, which JWs redefine as the most deadly sin of turning away from God by rejecting “God’s organization.”

Speaking of some who left the organization after pursuing independent Bible study, The Watchtower comments:


They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such “Bible reading,” they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom’s clergy were teaching 100 years ago … (The Watchtower, 8/15/81, pp. 28, 29).


So if people rely on the Bible alone, without Watchtower Society study guides, they tend to return to the doctrines of traditional Christianity. What a strange admission! Still, not realizing the irony of such a statement, Jehovah’s Witnesses get the point that they must never read Scripture without subjecting it to the organization’s interpretation. In effect, they look at the Bible through Watchtower-tinted lenses. They see in the Word only what they are told to see.

If you yourself have never been a Witness, this may be difficult to grasp. It is hard to understand how someone can see a clear statement in the Bible, read it out loud, repeat it from memory, and still not get the point of what the verse is saying. But the encounter, mentioned earlier, that I had with two JW ladies on my own doorstep well illustrated that this is exactly what happens. Remember in Chapter 3 I had asked one of them to read Revelation 19:1, in her own Bible, to see where it positions the “great crowd”? She obligingly opened her New World Translation and read, “ ‘After these things I heard what was as a loud voice of a great crowd in heaven.’ ” “The ‘great crowd’ is on earth!” she commented, eventually admitting that “It says heaven, but the ‘great crowd’ is on earth” because “We have men at our headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, who explain the Bible to us. And they can prove that the ‘great crowd’ is on earth; I just can’t explain it that well.”

So although the Witnesses will tote their Bibles to your door and will read from Scripture to support their teachings, they are not actually taking their instruction from the Word of God, but rather from the men at Watchtower headquarters who tell them what the Bible says and what it means. Likewise, when you show them a verse, have them read it, and ask them what it says, their response is governed by the prior indoctrination they have received, rather than by what they have just read from the page.

To cope with this type of behavior on the part of the particular Witness you are trying to help, you must remember that what is happening is more than what meets the eye. When you ask the individual to read a verse from the Bible,  he or she reads it—and then instantaneously does something else without your knowledge. The person’s preprogrammed mind automatically replaces what the verse says with the organization’s interpretation of what it says. This is not a conscious dodge, but rather a knee-jerk, reflex action that the JW is not even aware of. Reading the verse triggers the official interpretation to pop up in the brain.

Being aware that this is what goes on in the Witness’s mind, you are in a better position to handle a biblical discussion. You will realize that it is not enough simply to read a verse and comment on it. Painstaking effort is necessary in order to get the JW to truly grasp what the verse says. The following steps are often helpful.

1. Rather than read the verse yourself, ask the Witness to read it aloud from the organization’s New World Translation. (If you simply quote the verse from memory, the JW may assume that you misquoted it; or, if you read it first from a non-Witness translation, that it was mistranslated.)

2. Have the Witness break down the verse into clauses, phrases, and individual words. Ask him or her to comment on what each means. The Watchtower interpretation of the whole may disintegrate when the parts are examined separately.

3. Read the same verse from other translations: first from the Watchtower Society’s Kingdom Interlinear word-for-word rendering of the Greek, then perhaps from Steven T. Byington’s The Bible in Living English (also published by the Watchtower Society), and finally from a few other recognized translations—a multiversion parallel Bible is helpful in this and can be obtained through a local Christian bookstore. Unless you are considering one of the few hundred verses that Watchtower translators altered to fit official doctrine, the purpose of such a comparison would not be to discredit the New World Translation but rather to avoid the word pattern that triggers recall of the preprogrammed interpretation.

For example, while reading the nwt’s familiar wording of Christ’s command regarding the communion cup, to “Drink out of it, all of you,” the Witness likely will see no contradiction in the Watchtower’s teaching that only a small percentage of believers should partake. But reading “Each one drink from it” in The Living Bible’s paraphrase might be just enough to get him to see that “all of you” in the nwt really means “all of you”! (Matt. 26:27, italics added).

Before leaving the subject of how to use the Bible, a word about the New World Translation itself is in order. For a number of years Jehovah’s Witnesses carried with them to their neighbors’ doors a green-covered copy of this Bible. The green cover was helpful as a warning to non-Witnesses, because it tipped them off that something was different. More recently, however, the Brooklyn Bethel factories have been turning out nwts with black covers, making them easier to pass off as ordinary Bibles. But that could not be further from the truth. Actually, the New World Translation contains hundreds of verses that have been altered to fit Watchtower doctrine.

Before it was published, Witnesses had to employ the standard translations used by everyone else. Their printing presses actually produced thousands of copies of the King James Version. Then they began using the American Standard Version, because it featured the name Jehovah more frequently in the Old Testament. But JWs were constantly facing the embarrassing problem of a knowledgeable householder asking them to look up John 1:1, where Jesus Christ is identified as “God,” or Galatians 6:14, where it speaks of “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now, with their own tailor-made version, they can turn to these same verses and show that Jesus is merely “a god,” and that he was put to death on a “torture stake” instead of a cross.

There is much more that could be said about the nwt; in fact, whole books have been written about it. But the important point to bear in mind when having discussions with a JW loved one is this: while it may prove useful to show the Witness that a certain point is in fact in his Bible, the nwt should not be relied on for unbiased accurate renderings of the Word of God.


Using Other Books

In addition to this book there are many others written by Christians to expose the errors of the Watchtower Society (see Appendix). For instance, as mentioned before there is my own Jehovah ’s Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse, a quick reference guide that discusses dozens of passages misinterpreted by JWs and suggests how to respond to them in each case. The more such aids you read before your encounter, the better. They can make you more familiar with the sect’s history and beliefs, and can prepare you for some of the off-the-wall arguments you can expect from well-trained JWs.

But these books are best left unseen and preferably unmentioned to the Witness. The only book that you should bring to the table is the Bible itself, with the possible exception of Watchtower literature, which we will discuss shortly. (Your own hand-written notes are best kept on a small sheet of paper taped inside your Bible.)

The reason that other literature should be kept out of sight is twofold: (1) Having on hand material written by an apostate ex-Witness like myself would be almost as offensive as having a disfellowshiped person join you at the table. The JW views “reading apostate publications [as] similar to reading pornographic literature” (The Watchtower, 3/15/86, p. 14). If he knows that you are using such materials, he will suspect that you may be a willing instrument of the devil, or else duped by “wicked apostates.” On one occasion back in the days when I was a JW elder, I took the traveling Circuit Overseer with me to visit a man who had expressed an interest in talking with us. We had just stepped inside and had exchanged no more than a greeting with the man, when my companion noticed some anti-Witness books on the table. “Come on, Dave! Let’s get out of here!” he barked, turning toward the door. “We’re not supposed to cast our pearls before swine!” Your discussion with a Witness could similarly be cut short if a book such as the one you are now holding were to be seen. (2) It should be made clear that your faith and your beliefs are based on the Bible alone, rather than books authored by men. This should stand out in sharp contrast to the Witness, who depends completely on publications of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. If he sees you using books in addition to the Bible, he will automatically assume that you derive your beliefs from your books, the same as he does his.


Using Watchtower Literature

The most powerful tool you can use to help a fully indoctrinated Jehovah’s Witness is his own literature. But, how could that be so? Would not his own literature simply reinforce his existing beliefs? No, because it is here that you will find the documentary evidence disproving the Watchtower Society’s claim to divine authority.

Buried in the back issues of The Watchtower are countless contradictions, false prophecies, back-and-forth doctrinal changes, fraudulent deceptions, and patently ludicrous notions—all taught as “the Truth.” As we shall see in later chapters, the leaders in Brooklyn at one time believed that the Great Pyramid of Egypt contained prophetic wisdom from God; later, they decided the Pyramid was Satan’s Bible. Although condemning others as false prophets, they themselves predicted that the world would end in 1914; later, that the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would rise from the grave in 1925; and, more recently, that the world would end and the thousand-year-reign of Christ would begin in 1975. For years they taught that Almighty God Jehovah resided in a particular location in outer space, namely, on the star Alcyone in the Pleiades star system. They proclaimed that God forbade certain medical procedures, allowed their followers to suffer or die in obedience to these beliefs, and then years later dropped the prohibitions.

Most Jehovah’s Witnesses have no idea that these things happened; or else, they have heard a vague, sugar-coated version. For example, they often hear in their Kingdom Halls that the Watchtower Society back in the 1800s predicted a world war for 1914, the year World War I broke out; whereas the war predicted for that year was actually the Battle of Armageddon, in which God would destroy all human governments, replacing them with his kingdom. When confronted with the facts on such matters, JWs can not help but be shocked. And presented with one such shock after another, they can not help but question their leaders’ claim to speak for God.

The evidence is all right there, in black and white, in the pages of the Society’s publications. Although instructed not to read other people’s “false religious literature that is designed to deceive” (The Watchtower, 5/1/84, p. 31), Witnesses can hardly refuse to look at their own literature. In fact, each one collects a personal library of the organization’s books for that very purpose, and they are accustomed to doing research and looking up information in back issues of their magazines.

But it usually is not sufficient merely to quote the literature, citing the publication, page, and paragraph. The Witness will likely assume you misquoted it, or will favorably alter the quote in his own mind and never bother to look it up for verification. The most effective approach is to produce a photocopy of the actual page, with the quote highlighted, circled or underlined in its original context. This can not be dismissed as a baseless, hostile accusation. In fact, it is not your accusation that the Witness must contend with, but rather the Watchtower Society’s own words printed in its own publications—literature that the JW has been taught to revere as coming from “God’s organization.” Jesus said, “ … out of your own mouth you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:37 neb), and the Watchtower leadership certainly has furnished more than enough evidence out of its own mouth to condemn it before God and man.

Even here you must exercise discernment as to when and how you will share these photocopies with a particular Jehovah’s Witness. Since the originals are not available to you and you are copying from a book such as ours, be sure to block out or cut off any added headings or page numbers, so that only the original Watchtower headings and page numbers remain. And then present them as “copies of Watchtower literature,” which they truly are. If you fear the Witness will question you as to their source, you could visit the local public library to copy some Watchtower books directly, or you could visit the organization’s official web site at to print some pages from the literature provided online—and then say that you researched materials pro and con.  You might even ask the Witness to look up the copied pages in his own Kingdom Hall library to verify their accuracy. 

Be sure to read the highlighted quotes aloud with the Witness, rather than just hand him or her a pile of papers in the hope that he or she will read them later on. But let the quotes themselves do most of the talking, rather than your repeatedly hammering home the point that the organization is false. After reading all the quotes in a calm, prayerful atmosphere, the JW will reach that conclusion himself, whether or not he admits it to you then.


Literature to Give the JW to Read

As pointed out above, anti-Witness literature is best kept hidden from sight and unmentioned during discussions with JWs. Eventually, however, if those discussions prove successful, the Witness will want to start reading some outside material to further explore the organization’s errors on his own. What should you recommend or give him to read? It should be something written especially for Witnesses, preferably by a former member who understands how they think. Most anti-Witness literature is written by Christians for Christians, not for JWs themselves to read. Such books employ certain basic assumptions and vocabulary peculiar to churched people that a Jehovah’s Witness reader would find either confusing or offensive or both.

Of the few books written for JWs by ex-JWs, the one that has shown itself most effective in helping them decide to leave the sect is Crisis of Conscience by Raymond V. Franz. This is the personal story of a man who spent most of his life in full-time Watchtower service, including nine years as a member of the elite Governing Body in Brooklyn, the group’s supreme council. Nephew of President Frederick W. Franz, Raymond personally wrote Watchtower literature and shared in deciding what would be taught as the revealed “truth”—until his conscience finally got the best of him and he found himself in conflict with his peers, resulting in his expulsion. Although “boring” to many non-Witness readers, Crisis of Conscience is so fascinating to JWs that many will read it in spite of the knowledge that they could be put on trial and punished if caught with the book in their possession. And those who do read it usually leave the organization as a result. If not available through a local Christian book store, Franz’s book can be found on the internet.

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