The New York Review of Magazines

The Most Widely Read Magazine in the World

By Joel Meares

It’s the first Saturday of March and a perfect day for Jehovah’s Witnessing. The sky is clear, the air is crisp and a fresh copy of The Watchtower, stamped March 1, 2010, is ready to be distributed.

At least, I assume it’s a good day for Witnessing; this is my first time. Frank and Lydia Tavolacci — from a Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Glendale, Queens — have invited me along for a morning of door-knocking in their mostly residential neighborhood. A longtime recipient of the Witnesses’ famous “good news” wakeup calls, I jumped at the chance to see what it’s like on the other side of the door.

The day begins at the small, red-brick Kingdom Hall on Glendale’s Myrtle Avenue, where about 40 Witnesses gather in couples and families. Some thank Jehovah for the blessed day, others thank him for the coffee that got them here by 9 a.m. A few quick hellos in the Hall — a trapezoidal room with churchlike rows of chairs, a churchlike stage but no churchlike iconography — and the Witnesses head downstairs to arm themselves.

Their ammunition is The Watchtower and its companion magazine Awake!, each sitting in piles on a bench in the beige basement-level hallway. At first glance there’s not much difference between the two — both are flimsy, pamphlet-like 31-page monthlies, each colorfully adorned with photos of smiling faces and illustrations of Biblical happenings. But while Awake! is an attempt at a general interest magazine — travel and science stories, with a Witness twist — The Watchtower is strictly Biblical, its contents a doctrinal guide to Witness beliefs. March’s cover boy — a bearded scribe writing at a desk awash with golden light — sits over the cover line: “The Bible, Is It Really God’s Inspired Word?” Inside, a table of contents provides the answer. Page 4: “The Bible Really Is God’s Inspired Word.” Page 8: “Why You Can Trust the Biblical Gospels.”

Frank takes six copies of the English-language Watchtower, while others select from of piles of Romanian, Italian and Polish editions. Every month, nearly 40 million copies of The Watchtower are printed in more than 180 languages and sent to 236 countries. There are no subscriptions and you won’t find it on newsstands, but it’s still hard to miss. Thanks to the efforts of Witnesses like the Tavolaccis, The Watchtower is the most widely distributed magazine in the world, with a circulation of more than 25 million. Last year, the world’s 7.3 million-strong Jehovah’s Witnesses spent 1.5 billion hours knocking on doors and “street Witnessing” — stopping folks in parks and on streets — to preach the “good news” with a copy of The Watchtower. Its closest competitors are AARP The Magazine (circulation 24.3 million) and Better Homes and Gardens (7.6 million). It doesn’t hurt that The Watchtower has been free since 1990, with the option of a small donation.

Armed with their copies, Frank and the other Witnesses at the Glendale Kingdom Hall head back upstairs for a pep talk. “Elder” John Juels leads the 10-minute session from the stage, offering tips on how the congregation might keep doors open this morning. Frank Tavolacci calls it “a little bit of rah rah rah.”

“Raise a topic of interest,” suggests Juels, a short, bespectacled man in a bright orange tie. He invites a young blonde, “Sister Rachel,” up from the crowd to the stage for a role play. After a quick knock-knock and some polite doorfront introductions, Juels says the government is a hot topic right now, so Witnesses might raise the spectre of Governor Paterson to keep their bleary-eyed targets listening. “The government of Jesus Christ is coming,” he tells his mock door-opener. “Certainly God would do a better job than some of the people we have today.”

After a prayer, the group divides into pairs to tackle a block of Queens for the morning. I join the Tavolaccis to cover the block directly next to the Kingdom Hall. The two Glendale locals have dressed for what they call “the best volunteer work there is.” Frank’s wearing a checkered beret, gray suit and orange tie, and Lydia has wrapped herself in a chic, ankle-length black coat, her long blond hair tucked under a black woolen cap. Both are 40, gregarious and equally endowed with the kind of thick “Noo Yawk” accents you might expect to hear heckling the umpire at a Yankees game.

Their first door belongs to a large, two-story brick home on the wide and leafy Union Turnpike. Stepping up to the door, Lydia switches off her BlackBerry and tells Frank to get Psalm 104 ready in his black leatherbound Bible. Hers is a little tatty from use. Passages are highlighted, verse numbers circled and dozens of bright orange and pink sticky notes peek out from pages. Lydia is out on “field service” for at least two hours every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Ringing the bell, she asks Frank to hold The Watchtower so it is visible to whomever should open the door. Nobody does.

After three minutes, she rings again. She always rings twice. Again, nobody answers. On a piece of yellow paper called a “House Call Card,” a Witness couple working in tandem with the Tavolaccis notes the address and writes “NH” next to it, for “not home.” Other codes include “CA” for people who ask Witnesses to call again, “B” for busy and “C” for when a child answers the door.

And so it goes. NH, NH, NH. “It’s not a chore,” Lydia insists, as they move on to a woman who dismisses them with a curt “I’m Catholic.” “I mean, it’s not something you want to do, but it’s an important thing to do and it’s something you can do for God. You’re saving people’s lives.”

Frank and Lydia get their chance at the second-to-last house on the block. Amanda, a teenager with pulled-back frizzy brown hair opens the door wearing pajama pants decorated with pictures of milkshakes and the words “Shake it baby!” She is in the mood to talk. “Do you believe the Bible is inspired by God or just written by man?” asks Lydia in a sweet, slow elementary school teacher’s voice. “Inspired,” answers Amanda, after taking a moment to think.

They talk for five minutes before Lydia returns to the sidewalk and takes a purple-covered diary from her bag. On the top leaf of a pad of heart-shaped sticky notes inside, she writes down the scripture they discussed and which Watchtower edition she left behind. She promises to return next Saturday.

“I want to come back with a good question,” she says, clearly excited by Amanda. “Like, ‘Do you think we’re living in the last days?’”

While some magazines have religious followings, few have actually started religions. The Watchtower did just that. Back then, it was Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, so named by its founder, the writer and preacher Charles T. Russell. A former assistant editor of the Second Adventist magazine The Herald of the Morning, Russell released the first edition of Zion’s Watch Tower on July 1, 1879. It looked much like a newspaper of the time, with two columns, simple headlines and no images. Inside, readers learned that “we are living in ‘the last days,’ ‘the days of the Lord.’”

Russell, a charismatic Pennsylvania preacher with a big graying beard and an even bigger bank account, amassed followers in the years leading up to 1879 through public speaking tours and writings in newspaper columns and the Adventist magazine. He began questioning Adventist doctrine when the world failed to end, as it had predicted, in 1878. Russell used the monthly Zion’s Watch Tower to expound a new brand of Christianity to small congregations of Bible Students, as Witnesses were then known, mostly in the Northeast.

The new brand, familiar to many today from television exposés and house calls, taught that Christ would return to Earth in 1914 to govern the world, destroy nonbelievers and leave Witnesses to transform the planet into Paradise. It was revised in the 1930s, when the religion adopted the name Jehovah’s Witnesses, to teach that Christ did return in 1914 — he was just invisible — and that within a generation Armageddon would finally arrive. Witnesses now take a less specific approach to the end of the world.

Today, The Watchtower is the flagship publication produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses. The magazine and other literature is published by their not-for-profit corporation, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania; Witnesses also use another not-for-profit corporation in the United States, named the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., which is responsible for printing and distributing the magazine. The Tract Society’s catalogue includes the two magazines, a ballooning collection of books and brochures and The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, the religion’s official Bible. As of this year, 165 million New World Translations have been printed since it was first published in 1961.

The mammoth operation is funded by donations, mainly from Witnesses leaving anonymous contributions in boxes titled “Worldwide Work” at the back of Kingdom Halls. The money is funneled to the U.S. world headquarters to fund the publishing empire, as well as disaster relief. Just how much moolah makes that journey is unknown — as a religious organization, the Tract Society does not have to file an annual return with the IRS — but in 2001, Newsday listed the Tract Society as one of New York City’s 40 richest corporations, with revenues of $951 million. Last year, a report stated that the Society had pulled in $125 million for the fiscal year ending in August.

Manhattanites might recognize the Tract Society’s headquarters from the skyline to their east — a pair of stout beige towers nudging the base of the Brooklyn Bridge and the shore of the East River in Brooklyn Heights; squint and you can see the word “Watchtower” stamped across their peaks. The Brooklyn Bethel, as the faithful call it, also functions as the religion’s world headquarters. Here, the nine-member governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses pulls the sect’s doctrinal strings and steers its publishing enterprise. All members of the governing body claim to come from the “little flock,” an anointed class of 144,000 Witnesses who will ascend to heaven upon Armageddon; other Witnesses will have to be satisfied with paradise on Earth.

Few non-Witnesses are allowed inside the Bethel headquarters and you’d be forgiven for conjuring fantastical reasons as to why — the anti-Witness publishing industry rivals The Tract Society’s in size and includes among its titles The Orwellian World of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and 30 Years a Watchtower Slave. But the day I visit, Brooklyn Bethel is less Airstrip One than Pan Am corporate headquarters circa 1965. In the lobby, a dull-painted plaster globe — the size of a boulder Indiana Jones might have to outrun — spins forlornly. Along maroon-carpeted corridors, cheery men in snug dark suits apologize for being too rushed to stop and chat. Everywhere, everyone asks you to stay for lunch.

Despite the absence of a masthead and bylines, The Watchtower is no immaculate conception. Each edition’s journey to your door begins a year ahead of publication at a meeting of the nine-member Writing Committee in the Writing Committee Conference Room, a boardroom dominated by a long polished wooden desk and two mammoth Sony flat screens on the wall; more Vogue Living than Mother Jones.

James Pellechia is one of the magazine’s writers and a member of the Writing Committee. Dapper in a dark gray suit, dark gray vest and even darker gray tie — all under wispy gray hair — 66-year-old Pellechia is a third-generation Witness. His grandparents converted in 1908 after migrating from Italy to Roseto, Pa., and he came to Bethel in 1982 to join the Writing Department. He and his fellow committee members choose the theme of each Watchtower issue and the articles it will feature. “It’s for Witnesses but also for the public,” Pellechia says of The Watchtower. “For people who would be interested in what the Bible would say about subjects like child-rearing and how to keep marriages united.” The magazine might focus on infidelity in May, homosexuality in June and earthquakes in July. Articles might answer questions like “Should you be honest at all times?” and “Has God left us?” (Yes, and no, in case you were wondering.) Each article is littered with scriptural references, which function like hyperlinks, directing readers to Bible pages for further reading. The committee also decides questions and answers for the special “study” editions of The Watchtower produced specifically for Witnesses already in the flock to study at Kingdom Halls every week. The number of study editions printed is undisclosed.

The Watchtower then comes together like most magazines, Pellechia explains. A writer is chosen as a “Compiler,” functioning like a magazine editor, and an assignment editor distributes briefs to writers — there are about 20 on staff. Copy is fact-checked, copy-edited and rewritten as it moves through the 70-person Writing Department. Illustrators and photographers, at a Witness training campus in Patterson, N.Y., provide the images.

Writers live with about 1500 other Bethel workers, including cooks, secretaries, cleaners and committee members, in five buildings throughout Brooklyn Heights. Meals, accommodation and an allowance are provided to keep the focus on God’s work. One Witness-occupied residential tower on Wilson Street might be the best deal in New York, housing 500 Witnesses, a library, a medical center and a dining room. Witnesses call it the “Towers Hotel.”

Despite rumors to the contrary, women can write for The Watchtower, but not on scriptural matters. “That’s what the Bible indicates according to our concept of it,” says assignment editor John Wischuck. “If they wanted to write something about dressmaking, a sister could do that. It might be in another case that she interviews another woman and writes up her life story. That would go through an editor or a rewrite.”

Before the magazine is sent to a facility known as Watchtower Farms, in Wallkill, N.Y., and to 16 other production centers across to the world — to be printed, bound and packaged for distribution — the Writing Committee takes a final look. “All nine of us read it,” says Pellechia. “Each one sees the previous writing committee member’s marks and either adds to it, reinforces it, or, once in a while, may change it. We need to ensure it is in agreement with our doctrine, scripturally.”

Of course, the magazine does not always agree with itself — or past versions of itself — on these matters. Early in its history, for example, The Watchtower told followers that the mischievous men of Sodom and Gomorrah would be resurrected. In 1988, an article in The Watchtower reversed this position. “Our publications are not infallible,” Pellechia says. “Certain Bible texts, certain doctrine, may need adjustment as more information is researched and understanding grows.”

David A. Reed, a critic and former high-ranking Witness, wrote in his book, Jehovah’s Witness Literature, that “much like a collection of White House news releases written during successive Democratic and Republican administrations, the Watchtower Society’s books and magazines reflect the sect’s changing leadership over the years.”

In an e-mail to me, Reed wrote that he stopped reading the magazine in 1999, a year before Don Alden Adams became the religion’s leader. In general, Reed says, today’s Watchtower and the religion behind it are far different from their earliest incarnations. “In terms of internal organizational politics, or religious positions, they are more conservative now than in the days of founder C.T. Russell. The Witnesses are now a tightly controlled, disciplined group, which they were not under Russell.”

The most tightly controlled aspect of the Witnesses’ publishing arm may be the names of Watchtower authors. No Tract Society publication has carried bylines since the early 1940s, because, according to assignment editor Wischuck, the “glory should go to God.” Pellechia expands on that: “There were about 40 writers of the Bible and for the most part, people who read the sacred texts may or may not have known who wrote that information. The material should stand on its own merits and attention should be focused back on the word of God rather than the individual.”

This sort of fifth-person approach to writing means The Watchtower can read like a textbook rendering of the Bible; big on plague and pestilance but short on the simple, beatific prose that marks its source. Former Witness Kyria Abrahams describes the magazine she read growing up in a Kingdom Hall in Pawtucket, R.I., as “extremely boring.” “They were pretty much all on the same theme,” she says today. “‘Why does God allow blah blah blah?’ ‘Is blank okay?’ And you know that it isn’t. For the most part, it was written at a fifth grade level.”

Abrahams, now 36 and living as a writer in New York City, parted with the Witnesses 11 years ago. She courted her own “disfellowshipping” by cheating on the husband she had married at 18. “I wanted out of the marriage so bad that I ended up just having an affair,” she says. “I was so entrenched in the idea of the religion that it was like I was somehow playing by their rules in order to leave.”

Abrahams has not spoken to her father since she left the religion, and has not heard from her mother in three years. She probably won’t hear from either ever again after the release of her acerbically funny account of her life as a Witness, I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed, last year. In the first chapter of the book, she reveals that her Jewish grandmother became a Witness after discovering a copy of The Watchtower on top of a trash can. In the third chapter, she describes her own experience with the books and magazines produced at Bethel. “My children’s books alternated between Dr. Seuss rhymes and tales of how sinners would scream and gnash their teeth at Armageddon,” she writes.

Like the Tavolaccis, Abrahams did her duty, door-knocking three times a week in her teens with a close friend named Kathy. She would do anything to get out of it — only pretending to ring the bell, encouraging Kathy to take long coffee breaks — and remembers many slamming doors. But it was a man who played along that stings her memory most sorely. After Abrahams told him she’d be happy to accept a small donation, he looked at her disdainfully and said, “I bet you would,” before handing her some change. “He saw right through me,” says Abrahams, who was 14 at the time. “I was totally aware that I was just this really annoying, weird person at the door, and I didn’t even know what I was talking about.”

Today, she sometimes sees The Watchtower in the back of a cab or in a doctor’s office. “I will pick it up and look at it for nostalgia,” she says. “It’s still the same as it was when I was a kid — nothing shocking, nothing weird. I would think that I’m going to get a big laugh out of it, but I just end up being sad and put it away.” No Witnesses have knocked on her door since she left her religion, husband and family behind.

But there are those who look forward to the familiar ring of the doorbell on a weekend. I joined Frank and Lydia Tavolacci on their fifth return call to 81-year-old Dominic Bonura’s small one-bedroom walkup in Glendale. The couple makes several of these return visits to people they’ve met while door-knocking every week. “What took you so long?” Bonura asks cheerily, opening the door.

Bonura’s wife died 12 years ago. “She was the most gorgeous thing you ever saw,” he says as we take our seats in a small living room cluttered with portraits of grinning grandchildren. A former butcher and sometime boxer, Bonura’s thin-skinned hands have been knotted by carpal tunnel syndrome. Resting on his knees, they look like large, crushed spiders.

He is dressed as if he were expecting us — polished shoes, pressed pants, a navy button-down all buttoned up — and he has a lot to say. He cuts Frank short before he can discuss the last readings he left. “This carpal tunnel is killing me, Franky,” he says huskily, stretching his arms and fingers out in angry defiance. “I tried to lift a two-pound weight the other day and it hurt so bad I wanted to go somewhere and croak. I’ve been disgusted with people in the world and with myself. I’m not going to lie to you Franky, I didn’t read a scripture, a Watchtower or an Awake!.”

Frank moves over to Bonura, crouches beside him and asks him to read from a Bible page stamped with extra-large print. Bonura pulls a pair of glasses from his pocket and loudly and clearly reads from the book of Isaiah. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” He lowers the Bible.

“When a father is holding a little boy’s hand, how does that little boy feel?” asks Frank.

“He feels safe and protected,” answers Bonura, his face softening. Reflecting on his recent tough times, he says, “Satan might have grabbed me by the shirt, but he doesn’t have me by the heart.”

From here, Frank talks with Bonura about his wife, his daughter and the stresses of staying cooped up in his apartment. Frank explains that “All scripture is inspired, not half, and not a quarter. God’s word can help us with any principle of life.” This is the message of the month’s Watchtower cover story.

Before we leave, Bonura stops Frank. “I was just thinking about that little guy in the street, Franky, holding his father’s hand. If he let go, it wouldn’t take a second for a car to sweep him away.” He pauses. “He can’t let go.”

“And he hasn’t let you go,” says Lydia from the couch. “Dom, we’re here.”

Bonura then turns to me and tells me to write this down, word perfect, with an exclamation mark. “There’s nothing like the truth, nothing!” he says. “These people, this organization, are beautiful. You can trust these people with your life.” He looks at Lydia. “You keep coming back like a song.”

“You know who encourages us to come back,” asks Lydia. “Jehovah.”

The Tavolaccis make tentative plans to return next Saturday before heading downstairs, leaving Bonura alone with his thoughts and a copy of The Watchtower.

202 Responses to “The Most Widely Read Magazine in the World”

  1. Ted Carnahan says:

    “Last year, the world’s 7.3 million-strong Jehovah’s Witnesses spent 1.5 trillion hours knocking on doors…”

    Perhaps you meant billion? Because 1.5 trillion hr between 7.3mil people is 56.3hr/day, 365 days/year!

    Interesting article, though. It would be interesting to explore the formative aspect that all that rejection has had on the Witnesses. Does being forcefully rejected reinforce their group membership?

  2. I worked at Watchtower headquarters in Brooklyn for six years, was an elder and a factory overseer in charge of printing millions of their books. I left on my own in 1980 after realizing this was a very destructive religion, and you can read about how 50-100 people left the headquarters at that time for the same reason I did; they are very destructive to society as a whole, and tolerate no other religious opinions even in personal conversations with one another. []

  3. Byron says:

    The church of Scientology or Jehovahs Witnesses – there is no difference.

    They are a high-control group and I feel for anyone who has a loved one who is active.

    I’d say the Watchtower is more akin to the most widely magazine thrown in the trash on the planet without being read. Trust me, I used to peddle them.

  4. Jehovah’s Witnesses were/are the largest landowner in Brooklyn?
    The Watchtower Society corporation in 2010 is ‘getting out of Dodge’ cashing in on their Kingdom assets.Selling off property in Brooklyn and moving upstate to their Patterson complex.
    Three generations of my Jehovah’s Witnesses family donated heavily to the Watchtower investing in their *new order* after Armageddon.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses are noted for their chief doctrine that Jesus had his second coming in 1914 and going door to door with Watchtower magazines,google * Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower * for facts on this group.

    Danny Haszard

  5. Heth says:

    Bonura then turns to me and tells me to write this down, word perfect, with an exclamation mark. “There’s nothing like the truth, nothing!” he says. “These people, this organization, are beautiful. You can trust these people with your life.” He looks at Lydia. “You keep coming back like a song.”

    “You know who encourages us to come back,” asks Lydia. “Jehovah.”

    “Write this down, WORD FOR WORD… ‘with an exclamation mark’”?

    I dunno… that little anecdote seems awfully… artificial… like a sales pitch…

  6. Kay says:

    I am a Jehovah’s Witness trying to exit the religion; unfortunately people who accept a “free bible study” think they are learning how to devote themselves to God, of course what really happens is they are taught to devote themselves to a publishing corporation.

    The Watchtower Society is a multi-level marketing business in the guide of religion. As the New World Translation says says at Ecc 12:12, “To the making of many books there is no end, and much devotion [to them] is wearisome to the flesh.”

    How I wish my grandmother never accepted that doorstep bible study. Three generations of our family have been subjected to living in suspended animation, being told the end was any moment now.

  7. Stuart says:

    There are many who attack Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some are ministers of churches who have seen members of their flocks leave to become Witnesses and some are ex-Witnesses who were disfellowshipped for grossly dishonest or immoral conduct. Stubbornly refusing to accept correction their only defense is to retaliate with apostate lies and slander.
    Disgruntled former Jehovah’s Witnesses never divulge to those whom their hate mongering is intended to influence just why it was that they were excommunicated. Telling the truth on just this point alone might prove helpful to those who read their comments but being helpful is no part of their motives. Instead of accepting correction they give in to the injured pride and jealousy that can result from being unmasked and not getting to have it their way. They allow their personal chagrin to fester until vexation leads them into open declarations of animosity, spewing forth all consuming tirades with such vehemence that they no longer have any capacity left for telling the truth.
    As a result, readers who relish hate filled criticism eagerly believe apostate lies and become their latest victims, while those interested in knowing the truth look for factual evidence and are not taken in by falsely contrived stories. If you are one who prefers to know the facts contact the nearest Kingdom Hall or ask the next Witness who calls at your door and it will be supplied to you.

  8. Stuart says:

    The Problem with “False Prophecy” Polemics
    Suppose I had access to everything you had done or said since you were a little child, stored on a computer. It would be a simple matter for me to pick out a hundred or two hundred of the worst things you’d said and done over the course of your life, to write them up in a list with dates, times and places and then to proclaim, in the same way as a correspondent did in one of his emails to me: “The question is not what you have got wrong, but whether you got anything right.” On the other hand, by a similar process of selecting the 100-200 kindest, most generous, loving things you’d done, I could equally make you look like a saint. Both pictures would be true in a sense, but neither would be the whole truth. Why is this important?
    Click this link to find out

  9. Gordon says:

    At a time when I and my family needed the support and help of our JW brothers and sisters. They caused the break-up of the family instead.
    Incidentally in your first picture you show a man hold a Bible.
    That is not the kind of Bible a JW would use.
    It would have written on the front “New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures” not “Holy Bible”.
    They consider other translations inferior to their own. Wich is slanted to their beliefs.
    So I presume the picture is posed by models.

  10. Heather says:

    When I was 6 years old, I was being told the following type of information by the Watchtower and Jehovah’s Witnesses:

    Awake! 1969 May 22 p.15

    “If you are a young person, you also need to face the fact that you will never grow old in this present system of things. Why not? Because all the evidence in fulfillment of Bible prophecy indicates that this corrupt system is due to end in a few years. … Therefore, as a young person, you will never fulfill any career that this system offers. If you are in highschool and thinking about a college education, it means at least four, perhaps even six or eight more years to graduate into a specialized career. But where will this system of things be by that time? It will be well on the way toward its finish, if not actually gone!”

    I am now 46 years old and just celebrated my 25th work anniversary. The fulfillment of the Armageddon prophecy of the Watchtower has had a 100% failure rate.

    Most Jehovah’s Witnesses know nothing of the origins and history of their religion. To find out more about what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, go to

  11. junction-guy says:

    This is definitely one destructive cult, that is emotionally damaging to the minds of developing children. Parents keep your children away from this devil inspired doctrine.

  12. Mike in Texas says:

    The next time a Jehovah’s Witness comes to your door, ask them these questions.
    How many sick people that weren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses has the Watchtower Corporation helped to get well?
    How many hungry people who weren’t Jehovahs Witnesses has the Watchtower fed?
    How many homeless people that weren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses has the Watchtower helped to get off the street and back on their feet?

    “By their fruits YOU will recognize them” Matthew 7:16 NWT

  13. Dan says:

    Watchtower deceives millions of it’s followers and many whom they recruit. When they recruit you, they try to control any information that may paint them as a cult and any information that may show their followers how twisted their past teachings were and also are today. Most of the watchtower followers don’t even realize that 1874 was taught (not thought as Proclaimers book implies) as Jesus’ invisible return for some 50 years!!!!! 606BC was taught as destruction of Jerusalem and changed to 607BC since the math didn’t add up even though no proof in the world can substantiate that date as all astronomical and archeological evidence proves Jerusalem was destroyed in 586/7BC by the Babylonians which shows that Watchtower 1914 dogma is wrong and that their leadership is self appointed men who control millions of people by fear and at times intimidation. The teachings the witnesses get from these men they attribute to God and that is why many times they say they follow “Jehovah” while they really follow their leaders – the Governing Body who are self appointed frauds.

    Anyone studying with this group should do their own research without being blinded by Watchtower deception that their old teachings don’t apply since that is “old light” while their new improved teachings are “new light”. Anyone familiar with this group knows wts lingo and what the “special” phrases referred to here mean. Watchtower is a deceptive, high control group which operates on keeping vital information away from those whom their recruit and after they get fully recruit a member (past baptism) they try to cut off outside influence as outsiders are viewed as bad association who won’t help members to get into God’s world, while wielding the fear that any who question their teaching will die by God and all their present friends and for many this includes their own family members will also abandon them. This leaves many without a choice of ever leaving this group – a cult.

  14. judge rutherFRAUD says:

    THE WATCHTOWER destroyes families, if a family member wants to leave the jw’s. They throw family into the street, break up marriages, let children die needing blood tranfusions. I would think David Reed would have said much worst about the WTS. than you published. the only reason the watchtower mag’s are free today is because in feb. 1990 the calfi. surpreme court said religions will have to PAY SALES TAX ON BOOKS/MAG;S. watchtower mag’s had a 25 cents price on each mag, that cost the wts about 3 cents a piece to print paper,ink,slave labor and all. FUNNY in march 1990 JEHOVAH TOLD THE WATCHTOWER TO GO TO DONATIONS??? jw’s call every other religion/people followers of the DEVIL AND TEACH GOD WILL KILL ALL NON JW’S WATCHTOWER Officials Pellechia and Wischuck are BOLD FACED LAIRS they are well aware that the wts prints lies, misquotes other author’s/ newspapers, scientists, doctors, religions just to get their point across, which is intellectual dishonesty. jw’s are banned from reading other religions books. Did Pellechia tell you that the WATCHTOWER in the last 6 years threw out into the street 1000+ 20-50 year full time bethelite workers. That were paid anywhere from $14-$120 A MONTH. Many of which spent their whole adult life slaving in a printing factories, without a dime in thier pocket ,no social security or benefits. After the watchtower uses up your best years they just dump you off at the bus station with a ticket to PALOOKAVILLE. While WTS leaders like Pellechia live like kings traveling all around the world taking GREEN HANDSHAKES from jw’s that worship these CON ARTISTS. what a scam these LEADERS OF THE WATCHTOWER HAVE GOING…

  15. John F. says:

    I mean this to be accurate….But it’s more like they waste about 1.5 billion hours knocking on doors and talking to no one. The average JW who spends 2 hours in the field on a Saturday, actually only talks for about 20 minutes, but of course reports 2 hours of time. Very dishonest, no?

    They’re own records indicate only about 1/4 of every magazine printed is actually placed with householders and then how many of those are actually read? Most people that i knew only take them to get rid of the us, the JW’s at the doors.

    As A JW, I read the magazines, but most told me they never had time to read them. Really, many JW’s found them boring.

    Most read? Don’t think so……

  16. Susan says:

    I found this quote in the above article interesting. “Articles might answer questions like “Should you be honest at all times?””

    The thing is if Jehovah’s Witnesses were honest and upfront about their beliefs and barbaric practices (such as a family shunning their own son or daughter/brother or sister/mother or father who chooses to leave the JW religion) then very few would join this religion.

  17. Andy Watson says:

    If one is looking for consistency whether it be in accuracy of material, history of an organization and sound doctrine coming from the doctrine, then don’t look to the Watchtower or the Awake magazine. You won’t find neither. Each of the above categories reads like a proverbial nightmare when trying to “stomach” the Watchtower material. Current members of the WTBTS would be well-served to read their own historical book in which they call “the Proclaimers” book (Jehovah’s Witnesses: Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom). This book was published by the Society back in the early 90’s. Every Witness that I know that has seriously read and studied this book and the history of the movement has left and the reasons are many.

    First, the Society is not what it claims to today and neither is the “faithful and discreet slave”. Russell got his ideas from Nelson Barbour who was a Seventh-day Adventist who taught that the coming of Christ was in 1874. Second, the Society states that “king Jesus” did his examination from 1914-1918 and declared the Society the “slave” in 1919 meeting his approval for what they were teaching and doing at that present time. What were they doing and teching? Using the KJV Bible which states that “The Word (Jesus) was God” in John 1:1; serving in the military, celebrating Christmas, wearing crosses, celebrating birthdays, smoking cigarettes, etc. There are pictures on pages 200-201 for starters. The Witness “jesus” approved of Russell’s “The Finished Mystery” (completed in 1917) and approved it (supposedly). Anyone that has ever read that book knows that there is no way that even the Watchtower “jesus” of today would have approved of Russell’s insanity and theological heresy. The Society today is not what the Society was back then. Modern-day Witnesses have nothing in common with Witnesses back at that time when Jesus did his examination. This is the mistake that all Witnesses have made today: they have not made the examination that their “jesus” supposedly did back then.

    Second, it’s hard to keep up with the ever-changing teachings of the Watchtower. Almost everything has to be redefined. Just in April of this year (2010) the Society had to redefine once again what the generation of 1914 meant. With almost all of that generation deceased today, the Society is forced to redefine that group so they can stay afloat as a religious theocracy. The masthead of the Awake magazine has changed numerous times to fit their ever-changing theology. Look at issues in the past going back 15 years and then look at the current masthead. See for yourself.

    Third, the Society can’t make up its mind on what the Bible supposedly teaches: teachings on Romans 13:1; eternal destiny of those at Sodom and Gomorrah, etc. Add to that flip-flops on organ transplants, immunizations, allowing blood fractions but not full transfusions, false prophecies from 1874, 1914, 1918, 1925 and 1975 that never came to pass, etc. It’s a real mess and this is not from God. This is a man-made organization led by false leaders to lead people astray and this is exactly what they are doing today.

    Witnesses need to stop reading the Watchtower and Awake and read their Bible – not the New World Translation. It’s a corrupt book modeled to fit Watchtower teachings that the Society could not reconcile from the KJV or other versions of the Bible. The evidence and documentation is out there. The real Jesus is revealed in Scripture and has warned repeatedly against false prophets and teachers which is exactly what the Society is today.

  18. Donny says:

    I was at volunteer at their HQ in Brooklyn. It wasn’t until years after I left that someone helped me to escape this high-control group.

    Please study the history of this religion, before you join. Once you’re a member, you’re forbidden to read information critical of the religion. Those who disobey are expelled and subjected to institutionalized shunning. This practice has broken up tens of thousands of families around the world. Their no-blood doctrine has caused thousands of people to reject modern, life-saving medical treatment, resulting in premature death.

  19. Sara says:

    The reason for a large amount of their membership is that if you have a disagreement with any of what the JWs teach you can NOT voice it to anyone or they “forcibly eject” (in the words of another commenter) you from the congregation. This is called “disfellowshipping” and if they do it to you NONE of your friends in the faith can even talk with you.

    Your entire social network (because you are not really allowed to have close ties or associate with anyone outside of the JW faith) will be GONE if you even voice a disagreement or decide that any of their beliefs are wrong. For many JWs their whole family, social circle and employment are all JW.

    MANY people that are JWs are forced to stay in the religion because of this. I cannot tell many of my JW friends about what I truly believe because they will not ever talk to me again. Friends who I have known for 20+ years. Thankfully my JW mom knows my real beliefs and respects me for who I am and does not follow what the 12-member governing body of the JWs tells her to do.

    For any JWs reading this: so many of your members cannot stand the prison they are in. You do not have the truth. What you do to so many families is terrible.

  20. Paul says:

    There is little difference between Watchtower followers and those of other high control groups. A Witness that is actively involved receives the benefits of belonging to a close community. However, followers that leave are required to be shunned by family and friends. This has a significant, negative impact on lives.

    As shown in the latest Pew study at, the Watchtower has the highest turnover of any religion. This has resulted in hundreds of thousands of people now being shunned by their Witness families.

    Reports regarding this religion should highlight the dangers, which far outweigh any benefits offered. The core message is that God will shortly destroy billions of people at Armageddon because they are not Jehovah’s Witnesses. Small groups that promote such black and white thinking and intolerance need to be avoided.

  21. nathan turner says:

    I was very intrigued by this article being raised a Jehovah’s Witness (now Catholic). I found it to be like someone telling a tale of my youth. I feel that the “Witnesses” prey on the weak of mind and spirit and also the elderly. People have said the JW’s perfected the art of the religious sales pitch; I believe that only people who are in need of something to explain a personal crisis or death or other loss are the ones who get conned by this horrific cult. This “religion” condones the sacrifice of children for their ridiculous belief that blood is more precious than life itself. If you now someone who is a JW, try to get them to start asking questions about their faith, for that will be the only way to save their life.

  22. Jody says:

    The Watchtower Jehovah’s Witnesses is one grand religious Ponzi scheme. The governing body sits at the top of the pyramid and receives the perks and benefits of being a top insider. To keep the masses in the game , they promise paradise to the rank and file if they obey the governing body. Watchtower reminds me of the religious version of Amway.

    I have no doubt that the rise of the internet, and it’s ability to help you research the truth about these sects, has been key to the declining rate of growth. The internet will tell you what the visitors at your door will not.

  23. JW Elder says:

    Stuart is apostate Steve Klemetti

  24. Trina says:

    Most of the magazines are stored to the houses of JW members. Even them don’t read their magazines. They think they are for worldly people. As far as the hours they spend on the ministry, only God, if he exists know how they “cook” them.

  25. Claude Kenneson says:

    Some Jehovah’s Witnesses love to sling the epithets “apostate,” “disgruntled,” “immoral,” etc., around in an effort to try to discredit those who have left the movement. Apparently those who are dissatisfied with a “product” often have legitimate reasons to complain. It often results in a recall of the “product.” Jehovah’s Witnesses discourage independent thinking from their mother headquarters in New York. Their official website does not have an open discussion forum. Those Witnesses who host their own sites (which are often monitored for “apostates”) will not allow dissent. Moreover, headquarters does not approve of these Witness sites. They claim their site is all one needs.

  26. BJ says:

    Really enjoyed the writing style of Joel Meares.(you made me laugh a little in a good way with some of your descriptions)
    I have been one of Jehovah’s Witnesses since 1974 and cannot believe how bitter some people are. As for me, personally, I would probably be dead or dying had I not stopped smoking when I did because of wanting to get baptized. Has life been perfect? No. But it has been lots better than it would have been had I kept on the way I was going.
    When I read other materials and books about what doctors, etc recommend in order to have better physical and mental health, the Bible has always proved to be true. Volunteering, doing generous things for others without expecting anything back,giving of your time, having a purpose in life that is greater than you are–all of these make us healthier and happier. And not counting the physical exercise we get by going from door to door; forcing ourselves to get up out of that bed and clean up, dress up and make ourselves as attractive and clean as possible–this has a huge impact on improving our spirits and the way we view ourselves–with self-respect.Just being outside and communicating with other people.It truly,truly makes you come outside of yourself and your selfish concerns and expands your world and creates feelings of love and compassion for others.
    I can truthfully say that never have I given anything that I haven’t received back much, much more.
    Serving Jehovah God,even in my small way, has been and will always be the very best way of life.

  27. RG says:

    In reply to “Stuart” who said that those who are critical of JW’s are people who were disfellowshipped for gross moral sins, and are bitter and disgruntled, I want to say that this is not the case in many, many instances.
    Many are like me, a former lifelong witness who is not DF’d, who live moral, happy lives with nothing to be ashamed of, and who see the religion as false and hypocritical.
    There is no blanket “one size fits all” description of former witness who are critical of the religion. We do have one thing in common, though: we see the truth about “the truth”.

  28. Leo says:

    Reading through the comments, I came across the one from Stuart, who basically states that only those that are gross immorral sinners are the ones spreading lies about the witnesses. I can attest that I left on my own free will, and not because of a “gross” sin.

    This idea that everyone not in their collective is a sinner is one they teach the new recruits, their children and fellow members.

    To visit a Kingdom Hall for answers will only get you a pretty picture, much like was presented to this writer, but the real truth of the high control group they really are.

  29. Stuart says:

    2Thes 2:9 But the lawless one’s presence is according to the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and portents 10 and with every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth that they might be saved. 11 So that is why God lets an operation of error go to them, that they may get to believing the lie, 12 in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.

    Dan 12:9 And he went on to say: “Go, Daniel, because the words are made secret and sealed up until the time of [the] end. 10 Many will cleanse themselves and whiten themselves and will be refined. And the wicked ones will certainly act wickedly, and no wicked ones at all will understand; but the ones having insight will understand.

  30. Of all the comments only one was remotely favourable to the JW outfit. That was ‘Stuart’. He wailed about apostates exposing the litany of duff JW Armageddon prophecies. He suggested that detractors should highlight the good points of the JWs in order to redress the balance. He also assumed that members would leave only if the JW org. excommunicated them. JWdom has no good points whatever. It is a cruel, totalitarian cult which preys on the lonely and vulnerable, as illustrated by your correspondent. JWdom was, by far, the darkest aspect of my childhood. The notion that the old men in Brooklyn are God’s sole channel of communication with earthlings is patently ridiculous. The idea of a God who will shortly murder all who do not attend the Kingdom Hall and go door knocking with a bag of awful magazines is disgusting. The WBTS is a run by a bunch of money grabbing liars.

    Angry ex JWs probably outnumber current members. With any luck the internet will expose the lies and cruelty of this cult in such a way that it soon ceases to exist.

  31. Dara says:

    Oh Stuart–Just as you make sweeping generalizations of all Ex-JW’s being apostates, you are asking readers to not do so to the Witnesses.

    My name is Dara. I was baptized at age 11 not fully understanding the ramifications of what would happen should I grow up and change my mind. A person is not legally allowed to marry, have an abortion, drive, smoke,drink,or even get a credit card until various ages because each have lifelong consequences or require maturity. However, when I decided to leave at age 19, because I knew so many honest, kind, loving “worldly” people and couldn’t understand why God would not recognize them as valuable, good human beings and kill them at Armageddon. So, I sat down with my mother and two elders in our living room. I told them of my wish to leave and asked them to remove me from the membership roll. I never went to a meeting again. And of course my family never spoke to me again, except for my mother.

    About 1.5 years later, I was called at work by a local elder, and told that there would be a meeting to determine if I would be disfellowshipped. He asked if I would attend that meeting. Of course I said no, because I had made my intentions clear in my mothers living room many months before. So would you like to know why I was disfellowshipped? Now we both know that the Witnesses do not release the reasons a person is disfellowshipped, and that if you as a member somehow know why that you are not to discuss it. And that if you do discuss it, you too can be counseled, reproved, or not allowed to participate in meetings/field service if the elders think that is a good idea. I think it would fall under the gossip/slander type of discipline. Nonetheless–I am happy to tell you why I was disfellowshipped a year and a half after I asked to be removed. I met my now husband 6 months after I left, and goodness gracious, we were living together, having sexual relations and everything for 4 months before we got married. Scandalous.

    I would also like to tell you that my father, a former elder and second generation Witness was disfellowshipped too. For child molestation dating from 1964-1995. And you know something? He was reinstated in while he was in prison and had alzheimers. Apparently he had the ability to make the sound decision to apologize to the elders (not his MANY victims) and was forgiven..and reinstated. (For those readers not privvy to that meaning–he was allowed back into the congregation and no longer shunned)

    I was not allowed back in the congregation after I got married, I guess b/c I didn’t go and ask to be. And I wouldn’t b/c I don’t believe there is one true religion that has all the answers and we as imperfect humans CANNOT hold any doctrines interpreted by other imperfect men to be absolute truths. So, while family members and various members would go and see my father in prison, they would not even say hello to me in Wal Mart. I am no hypocrite, so despite my years of missing loved ones and being shunned by all family & friends who are Witnesses, who were great influences in my life and nurtured me since birth, I would never return.

    To borrow words from Witness songs, “I’m staying awake, standing firm, growing mighty” and “keeping my eyes on the prize”–of my own paradise–living a healthy, loving life filled with unconditional love. And, I’m not afraid to speak of the reasons. Any info I have given could be verified by the elders in my congregation. Or my mother–who is still a Witness. But then you would get in trouble for speaking about it.

    What a fabulous account of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Thank you so much for writing this thought provoking article!

  32. Danny Hasturd says:

    I absolutely LOVE the JWs. The are like family to me.

    Unfortunately, I was expelled and now even my apostate friends are shunning me.

    I am trying to get back in the JWs and worship at the feet of the governing body.

  33. Roxanne Castle says:

    When I was a teenager I wondered
    Why my sister was born mentally retarded and not me.
    Were there any Christains today like the ones in the Bible
    who do not go to war but “love their enemies” “turn the other cheek” and “do unto others as they would have them do unto you.”
    Is the scripture about the Devil being cast down to the earth in the last book of the Bible literal…can I see him with a tail walking around in the earth? And a list of other questions that I could not figure out.

    I went to many churches but got no answers. Then JW’s answered them all.

  34. Pete says:

    Hmm… a lot of disgruntled people here. Listen if you want to attack a religious group because you are not happey with it do so honestly. As usual, most of the folks who have attacked this group in their comment have had one or more personal issues. There is no reason not to diagree with the group, but it should be based on facts. Most JW’s are successful people, with a rational mind, not boxed in by personal preferences and lack of accounatbility (finger pointing when you fail). They understand we are accountable to a higher being and have taken on that responsibility. The fact that their literature does not stick to a misunderstood idea written at a differnet point in time, and admits to being fallible shows humility and a wilingness to learn and make the right changes. For examples on blood transfussion..go ask any doctor what they would rather do, use blood or no blood. If you work for a coompany you would realize this as part of a learning process.. and by the way, if you read the bible…take note actaully read the bible…you will have to admit to yourself that your struggle is with the bible and not with a religious group that reads the bible.
    The negative comments I have read so far is an indication of how shallow many people are. My two cents.

  35. carla says:

    The jw’s destroy many families each and every year due either to their extreme shunning or in the initial indoctrination process in which they teach that all non jw’s are to be considered worldly and evil. So called worldly people include your non jw spouses, non jw children and all extended family who will be destroyed at Armageddon because they do not accept the Watchtower’s ever changing doctrines. All governments, courts, religions, etc.. are under Satan’s influence.

    By some reports the number of jw’s who die each year due to the Watchtower’s unbiblical ban on blood would be equal to a Jonestown each and every year worldwide.

    People who attempt to leave this destructive cult are called apostates and liars even when they can produce facts from the Watchtower’s own literature. Most leave not because of ‘gross sin’ or ‘immoral’ behavior but because they have found out they have been lied to, the scholarly dishonesty, and the lack of love among the congregation. Most jw’s are so busy trying to get in their hours so they can report to their elders they don’t have time or inclination to truly study what their own religion has taught or is teaching today. I doubt many could explain the generation change in 1995 and now they have changed it yet again.

    They have a pedophile problem far worse than the the Catholic situation but they hide it much better.

    Protect yourself and your children from this dangerous and deadly cult.

  36. Lenell Wolf says:

    When you become a witness you know what the requirements are, you know if you violate God’s laws you are disfellowshipped. Learn to be responsible for your actions. Stop gripping about the places your choices have brought you to. If you don’t want to be a witness, great it is your choice. Just move on and do what you want to do and stop looking for validation for your choices, make new friends and get the life you want and quit ragging on about what you have left behind and how bad it is.

    Those of us who do want to serve God are happy with our choices, we chose knowing full well what we were doing, nobody tricked us. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not a cult, a cult is where you follow a person blindly, like the Catholic church. We all know what we are doing and we follow the bible’s standards not society in general.

  37. Robert says:

    I have been one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for 36 years. I continue to notice a striking simularity among comments of former witnesses. They all seem to feel the need to justify their exit. It’s as if they do not possess the courage to just say “I don’t believe”. I suppose there is solace in convincing others that we are wrong. But one thing is for sure. We are either right, or we are wrong. I say, consider the possibilities if we are right. Imagine a world where we, the human race, choose to live in harmony. Consider what we could accomplish if the problems we face today, (crime, violence,polution, war, famine, terrorism & fear, natural disacters, sickness, old age, & death) no longer existed. The possibilities are endless.
    For me, it all comes down to one overriding question: “Why are we here?”. I simply cannot find a better or more satisfying answer than what I believe the Bible (and I do believe the Bible is the word of God, and how He has chosen to communicate with us)teaches.
    If, and when, someone can show me a more plausible reason for our existence (that Jehovah created us out of love and wishes us to live in peace and security forever), then I’m all ears.

  38. Mitch says:

    Excellent article, very factual except for a couple minor errors.

    However – thumbs down to the ugly, untrue and vicious people who left negative nasty replies.

    You wonder what hate and putrid puss must exist on the inside of these individuals. Wow

  39. Chris says:

    I usually would not comment on something like this. But this is the hard truth, NO ONE forces any other person to become a Jehovah’s Witness. It is completely elective and each person who dedicates their lives to serving Jehovah understand that their manner of living and conduct has to be in accord with bible principles. It is painful for those who have to dissasociate themselves from family members because of being disfellowshiped (it is really hard). That is not to say that there is zero interaction, but we are wise as individuals to choose who infulences us (for good or for bad) regardless of whether they are family members or not. I saw from a lot of the posts that many were disfellowshiped for wrong moral conduct. I want to ask these people, did anyone FORCE you to become a witness? The answer to that will be most likely a resounding NO. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you’ve determined that being a Jehovah’s witness is not for you and that we are a mind-controlling organization, the thing to do then would be to dissasociate yourself and look for the truth elsewhere. What is the use/benefit of the malicious sayings? To me, that would be a waste of time because once I’m done with something, I move on and not waste my time.

  40. Terry Walstrom says:

    The Watchtower Society through its leadership (Governing Body) has gradually become a test of loyalty to men rather than a means of practicing Christianity.
    Instead of Jesus Christ as mediator between God and man, JW’s have this Governing Body constantly reinterpreting and apologizing for their early teachings which have all proved false.
    The main preoccupation of the members is speculating on why their Armageddon
    predictions have been falsified.
    The last firm date was for 1975 which was the headline grabbing bulletin in all the magazines and publications from 1968 until the “nothing” passed by quietly.
    Without charity, education, daycare, hospitals, women’s shelters or encouragement for any self-betterment from the leadership the average JW’s lives in denial and depression and leads a double-life to preserve what is left of their mental health.
    I wasted 20 years of my life in what I thought was the only true religion only to find I had been trying to please feckless leaders in a cult.

    JW’s are not allowed to research their own previous publications or read Ray Franz’s books about how the religion actually functions. If this isn’t mind control it is bullying intimidation and petty authoritarianism.

    Ask any Jehovah’s Witness you meet one question and watch them squirm: “Why do you say Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 b.c.e when no text book, scholar or encyclopedia agrees with you? Is it because you have to prop up your false teaching that Jesus returned invisibly to rule in 1914?
    What has Jesus been doing for the last 96 years as king of Jehovah’s kingdom?
    Has he been helping the Watchtower continue changing its doctrines when they don’t pan out?
    If the holy spirit were directing the Governing Body they wouldn’t continue getting their doctrines and teachings wrong again and again and again.

  41. Hours reported does not reflect, truthfully time spent actually “preaching”. Some “count time” traveling to and from their destination to “preach” by contacting some unbaptized JW, then they are officially “in the ministry”.

    Most Widely read? or Most widely distributed? Does a stockpile of hundreds of back issues of the Wachtower and Awake and books count as distributed too??

  42. robin Morgan says:

    Good article. Mostly factual. In the comments there are typical non-effective and unsubstantiated babble against the Witnesses and Bible. One of the most mentioned “destructive” doctrines of the Jehovan’s Witnesses is the practice of “disfellowshipping’ or shunning. Many have realized, not only JW’s that this is Biblical teaching and did not originate with the Witnesses. Most people who vilify vehemently the disfellowshipping doctrine are those who have undergone the experience or are family members affected by the strict adherence to the Bible doctrine.

    When people say things like “a very destructive religion” or “high-control group” or JW’s are a cult, they are usually very disgruntled x-JW’s. The Bible’s direction by design is very controlling. Disowning ones-self and “following” Jesus and the Biblical teachings, is by definition controlling. MATTHEW 16:24.
    As recently as Sunday May 15, 2010 in an article entitled “WALK BY SPIRIT AND LIVE UP TO YOU DEDICATION” the words “govern” “influence” and “guide” are used in relation to our worship of God. We give ourselves up to Jehovah God’s control. For that we are “brainwashed.”

    Investigate the religion by visiting a Kingdom Hall and getting to know the people. Better yet, the next time we knock on your door, spend a few minutes getting to know the person who is motivated by love and the urgency of our times, to come and talk to their neighbors.

  43. piggly says:

    Wow, look at all these salivating apostates and their nasty, negativity! Their “poison of asps..” Yuck, you people need to get a life and move on from your hatred. Oh, yah, I forgot, you were prophesied to be around…

    Seriously though, ex-Witnesses who spit out their hateful words are the most sick, unhappy, unfulfilled people who exist. I’ve met a few – they totally act demonic.

    Hey, but we are all entitled to our opinions… and every human has’em!!

  44. D. Lyn says:

    It’s unfortunate that most postings here will be from those who feel victimized and disenfranchised in some way, blaming it all on the Witnesses and the WT Organization. But, really, having an extramarital affair, breaking up a family, and claiming she was playing by the rules in order to leave? Give me a break.

    I studied with the Witnesses for a long time before I made my decision to join. I had a lot of lifestyle changes to make, all for the better I might add. I also had a lot of experience with other religions, having attended numerous churches in the past. This was the only religion I found that made sense. Is it perfect? No. But I challenge anyone to scripturally compare it with other Christian organizations and see who adheres more closely to the Bible. I read other literature and points of view and do not feel threatened by them. Nor is it forbidden, as some here claim. I also have longtime friends who are not Witnesses. Nobody forces you into anything. I’m in the Organization by choice. There is no better way of life and it offers something that the world and other religions don’t – hope. Will it come true, as the Bible states? I guess we will all find out eventually, won’t we?

    In the meantime, I am proud to be part of the greatest brotherhood on earth. I predict these other lost souls will continue to bumble through life, always blaming somebody else for their problems. Grow up and accept responsibility for your life and the choices you make. If you don’t want it, fine. But stop being a stumbling block to others – Matthew 18.

  45. Earl says:

    You trust the webernetz?
    You are more gullible than any Watchtower follower you chastise.

  46. Emmanuel says:

    Jehovah Witnesses will continue to attract mostly nagative comments from people because the bible at
    2 Tim. 3:12 has long said so. Many critics speak out of personal brute not because of any well founded bible reasons. At
    2 Pet. 3:3,4 we read that their exist ridiculers with their ridicule saying ‘where is this promised presence of his’? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s begining’. So we are not suprised to be opposed and ridiculed by those who want to live their lifes as they please, those who desist authority- especially God’s authority. While we have never claimed perfection, we have endervored to allow the guild our thoughts and actions and this has resulted in our living a morally balanced life. There is certainly much to say in reply to the comments of some here, especially those of disfellowshiped, ex-communicated unfaithful fellows who became witnesses for selfish and half-hearted reasons. Double minded persons who lack faith and trust and disobiedent to the word, I ask that anyone who has any query about our bible based teachings should point them out with scriptural supports then mail me at with it an await a bible based defense, only be to read my replies to you meticuliously. The fact remains that the Watchtower and Awake magazines are the most widely published and distributed the world over. They dynamic and ever green, ever captivating and always interesting with something new or something old presented in a better approach. As the continue to remain its authority these publication will never face out, no matter what.

  47. Leigh says:

    I feel sorry for those who have decided not to be a JW. If you have found something better, go preach it, teach it, live it and be happy. Let others decide for themselves what the Bible teaches and what they choose to submit to.

  48. Atticus says:

    Anti-witness posts by opposers and apostates are both unreliable and distorted. Consider this observation by non-Witness professor of religious studies:

    “Neither the objective sociological researcher nor the court of law can readily regard the apostate as a creditable or reliable source of evidence. He must always be seen as one whose personal history predisposes him to bias with respect to both his previous religious commitment and affiliations, the suspicion must arise that he acts from a personal motivation to vindicate himself and to regain his self-esteem, by showing himself to have been first a victim but subsequently to have become a redeemed crusader. As various instances have indicated, he is likely to be suggestible and ready to enlarge or embellish his grievances to satisfy that species of journalist whose interest is more in sensational copy than in a objective statement of the truth.” – Bryan R. Wilson, Ph.D., University of Oxford Bryan Wilson (1926 – 2004), Emeritus Professor at All Souls College, Oxford was one of the most well known British scholars of religion and wrote extensively about New Religious Movements and apostates (ex-members who become openly critical of the group they were once a member of). In an article entitled Apostates and New Religious Movements

  49. Stuart says:

    No Claim of Inspiration

    The Problem with “False Prophecy” Polemics
    Suppose I had access to everything you had done or said since you were a little child, stored on a computer. It would be a simple matter for me to pick out a hundred or two hundred of the worst things you’d said and done over the course of your life, to write them up in a list with dates, times and places and then to proclaim, in the same way as a correspondent did in one of his emails to me: “The question is not what you have got wrong, but whether you got anything right.” On the other hand, by a similar process of selecting the 100-200 kindest, most generous, loving things you’d done, I could equally make you look like a saint. Both pictures would be true in a sense, but neither would be the whole truth. Why is this important?
    Click this link to find out

  50. Stuart says:

    Jerusalem 607 B.C.E. – Why 587 is wrong according to the Bible
    Click here

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