|By: Lorri MacGregor; ©September 2003|
|Are Jehovah’s Witnesses really free? Lorri MacGregor suggests that they are free—free to do exactly what the Watchtower Society tells them—and not much else.|
Jehovah’s Witnesses are always being told how “free” they are. After all, they are free from the false religions of Christendom they are told, free from holidays of all types, free from their non-Jehovah’s Witness relatives, free from anything and everything that does not involve working for the Watchtower Society!
One usually equates freedom with choice. This never happens in the ranks of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are told they are free, but they can never choose options in the Society. What do I mean?
There is no freedom of worship. Everyone must sing the same songs in a monotone at the Kingdom Hall. No one would dare suggest a song not from Watchtower sources. Headquarters tells them which songs to sing. The individual congregations have no choice. Individual prayers give way to organizational prayers, since their God Jehovah deals with an organization, in preference to individuals. None of the things associated biblically with worship can be found at the Kingdom Hall—no joyous singing, no testifying of God’s goodness in one’s life, no sharing of answered prayer, in short, no joy. No freedom of worship.
Moving on to the “public talk” (replacing the term “sermon”), the person instructing the congregation must stick faithfully to his outline provided by the Society. No outside thoughts are permitted. The driest sermon you have ever heard would be roughly the equivalent of the public talk the Jehovah’s Witnesses are subjected to each week. No freedom of thought in the Watchtower Society. Individuality is suppressed.
Following the “public talk” comes the Watchtower Study. The leader asks questions printed on the bottom of the page, and the obedient Jehovah’s Witness reads off the answers which he has underlined in the paragraph, parroting the Watchtower views. Just try injecting your own ideas or comments, or, heaven forbid, a question, and you will find out how much “freedom” you have! You will be marked as a trouble-maker and never be called on again during the Watchtower Study. You may even find yourselves invited to a committee meeting to have a little talk with the elders over your “rebellious attitude.”
No freedom in the Watchtower Study! The exact same scenario exists at the “book studies” held in various homes during the week. One soon learns to conform, and stifle their individuality.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have no freedom in choosing members of the governing body at headquarters who appear mysteriously by “appointment.” Others have now usurped the authority of this once-powerful governing body, and no one is quite sure who has the real power behind the multi-million dollar corporation running the ship. This absolute power trickles down to the District and Circuit Overseers, and through them to the local congregations. Individual Jehovah’s Witnesses have no say in any of this, being told only that they are in a “theocracy” or “rule by God,” so trust and obey. No freedom in Leadership. Submit or depart are the only two choices.
The long arm of the Watchtower control reaches far beyond the Kingdom Hall. You may think you can choose your individual friends, but you can’t. “Worldly” friends (nonJehovah’s Witness ones) are discouraged, along with non-Jehovah’s Witness relatives and co-workers. Big brother is watching you! You likewise cannot choose to smoke or not smoke—that decision has been made for you. You cannot choose your own medical treatment—that decision has been made for you also. The claim has now been made that you can choose to receive blood products or not, but if you choose one they do not like, you have disfellowshipped yourself and saved them the trouble! This is not freedom!
You could be disciplined harshly for such “offenses” as attending a family funeral or wedding in a church, or a family dinner at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Almost all family get-togethers are discouraged, as the Watchtower Society wants to be viewed as your new “family.” No wonder there are so many family breakdowns in the ranks of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Even within the family there is no freedom to choose!
You will not be free to be patriotic to your country in any small degree. You will not be able to stand for the National Anthem of your country. You cannot salute the flag. You cannot support any political party or non-Jehovah’s Witness organization like service clubs. You cannot be part of the military. You cannot vote. And yet, you are told you are “free” in the Organization!
Children suffer the most in this totalitarian regime of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They cannot have a normal childhood. Rather than a carefree life growing up, as soon as they can read, they are programmed into a joyless existence of going door-to-door, participating in the meetings at the Kingdom Hall, and becoming small, responsible, adults. They must avoid “worldly” friends at school and not participate in sports, dances, or socializing. They grow up isolated and lonely.
In addition to all this, Jehovah’s Witness children are at real danger from the pedophiles operating in the congregations. If they do get molested, they must produce two eye-witnesses to the offense or else keep quiet. They are easy targets, being preprogrammed to never question the elders’ actions. Six thousand of these victims have gone public with their experiences on the website www.silentlambs.org. Children have no freedom in this repressive organization. They are small victims with no voice.
So, where is this promised freedom in the Watchtower Society? There isn’t any! Yet believers are continually told they have freedom in articles such as the April 1, 1992 Watchtower, with this article “True Freedom—From What Source?” The question is answered that if they explicitly obey the Watchtower Society, (i.e. God’s only organization), then they are free!! These deceived ones go home telling each other that they are free because the Watchtower says they are! They embrace their lives of bondage, body and soul, and look to the organization to save them.
Does not your heart ache for such ones who are prevented from entering into the true freedom that is in Christ which allows one to have his own individuality and freedom of choice? Please pray for the breaking of the Watchtower hold over these lives, so the captives may go free, and equip yourself to witness to them at the door.