Continued from part #4 (see also parts #1, #2 & #3) with this my part #5 of my reply to your comment on my post "`What Does the Bible Really Teach?' pp.7-14." Your words are bold to distinguish them from mine.
Compare the cult-directed deaths of about 900 People's Temple cult members in Jonestown, Guyana in one year (1978), and the about about 90 Branch Davidian cult members at Waco in one year (1993), with the below conservative estimate that "between five thousand and twelve thousand" JWs have died "every year ... for ... fifty years." Which works out to be an estimated total of between 250,000 and 600,000 unnecessary cult-directed deaths which the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society is blood-guilty of. That is a death toll which is between 50 and 120 times the combined total of Jonestown and Waco deaths in one year, repeated every year for fifty years and continuing! All because of the Watchtower's refusal to allow JWs to have blood transfusions.]
>A cult is defined as a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader. It can also be defined as a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
You are presumably quoting from the Dictionary.com definition:
"cult ... 1. a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies. ... 6. a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader." ("cult," in "Dictionary.com Unabridged," Random House Dictionary: Random House, Inc. 2010, 4 December 2010).
Other online dictionary definitions of "cult" (ignoring "system of religious worship ...its rites and ceremonies" type definitions which is not what is usually meant by Jehovah's Witnesses being a "cult") are:
"cult ... 1. a. A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader." ("cult," in "TheFreeDictionary," The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2000: Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009, 1 December 2010)
"cult (noun) ... 3: a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents ...." ("cult," in "The Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary: Merriam-Webster, 2010, 4 December 2010).
"cult ... a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or as imposing excessive control over members ... " ("cult," in "Oxford Dictionaries Online," Oxford University Press. 4 December 2010).
Common to the above are the following criteria of a "cult": "1. a religion or sect"; 2. "generally considered to be extremist"; 3. "having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange," "false," "spurious," or "unorthodox"; 4 "its followers often living in an unconventional manner" or "outside of conventional society"; 5. "under the guidance of an authoritarian ... leader"; and 6. "imposing excessive control over members."
As we shall see below, the Watchtower Society fits all six of these criteria (and more) of being a "cult"!
In what is usually meant by "cult" in respect of Jehovah's Witnesses (and what I mean) is a "destructive cult":
"A destructive cult is a religion or other group which has caused or has a high probability of causing harm to its own members or to others. Some researchers define `harm' in this case with a narrow focus, specifically groups which have deliberately physically injured or killed other individuals, while others define the term more broadly and include emotional abuse among the types of harm inflicted." ("Destructive cult," Wikipedia, 29 August 2010).
As we will also see below, the Watchtower Society is a "destructive cult," in that it "has caused ... harm to its own members" and "to others" and this includes having "deliberately physically injured or killed ... individuals" (in the sense of allowing them to die for lack of medical treatment and/or driving them to suicide); "emotional abuse among the types of harm inflicted"and sexual abuse (including covering it up).
The Watchtower Society itself has defined "cult" (again ignoring irrelevant definitions) as:
"What Is a Cult? ... Today, the term is applied to groups that follow a living leader who promotes new and unorthodox doctrines and practices.' Endorsing the popular usage of the term, Newsweek magazine explains that cults `are normally small, fringe groups whose members derive their identity and purpose from a single, charismatic individual.' ... `a cult is a group or movement exhibiting excessive devotion to a person or idea and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control to advance the goals of its leaders.' Clearly, cults are generally understood to be religious groups with radical views and practices that clash with what is accepted today as normal social behavior. Usually they conduct their religious activities in secrecy. ... Their devotion to a self-proclaimed human leader is likely to be unconditional and exclusive. Often these leaders boast of having been divinely chosen or even of being themselves divine in nature." ("Cults-What Are They?," The Watchtower, February 15, 1994, pp.3-4, p.4. Emphasis original).
Having set up that definition, the Society then admitted that "the media have referred to Jehovah's Witnesses as a cult," tries to exclude itself from being a cult by its own definition, and ends with the question, "are Jehovah's Witnesses a cult?":
"Occasionally, anticult organizations and the media have referred to Jehovah's Witnesses as a cult. A number of recent newspaper articles lump the Witnesses with religious groups known for their questionable practices. But would it be accurate to refer to Jehovah's Witnesses as a small fringe religious group? Cult members often isolate themselves from friends, family, and even society in general. Is that the case with Jehovah's Witnesses? Are the Witnesses using deceptive and unethical techniques to recruit members? Cult leaders are known to use manipulative methods to control the minds of their followers. Is there any evidence that Jehovah's Witnesses do this? Is their worship cloaked in secrecy? Are they following and venerating a human leader? Pointedly, are Jehovah's Witnesses a cult?"(Ibid.)
The Society then continued in the same issue answering its own question and ending, predictably, with:
"It is clear that Jehovah's Witnesses are as far from being a cult as Jesus was from being a glutton and a drunkard. " ("Are Jehovah's Witnesses a cult?," The Watchtower, February 15, 1994, pp.5-7, p. 7).
As can be seen above, the Watchtower tries to exclude itself from being a cult by denying some criteria of what comprises a cult. But ironically, most of these criteria: "fringe religious group," "members often isolate themselves from friends, family, and even society in general," "using deceptive and unethical techniques to recruit members," "use manipulative methods to control the minds of their followers," do apply to the Watchtower (see also below)!
Other criteria, "worship cloaked in secrecy" and "following and venerating a human leader" also apply to the Society but not necessarily as "worship" (other than "worship" many of the Watchtower's activities are "cloaked in secrecy" and while JW's nowadays don't "follow... and venerat a human leader" they do "follow... and venerat a human leadership" namely the Governing Body and a human organization, the Watchtower Society itself (see below).
>We, JW, live in society and do not have an earthly leader.
JW's only "live in society" in the sense that they mostly live in ordinary houses, send their children to school and have jobs. But in many other important ways the Watchtower, like all cults, tries to isolates JWs from their family, friends and society in general.
Also, while JWs no longer have one absolute "earthly leader" in the sense of one dominant individual, as it did have in the reigns of its first three Presidents, Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916); Joseph Franklin Rutherford (1869-1942) and Nathan Homer Knorr (1905-1977); it does have an absolute "earthly leader" in the sense of the Governing Body, who is effectively "The Faithful and Discreet Slave," and to whom JWs are its "belongings" over which the Governing Body rules (my emphasis below):
"... Jehovah supports and develops his organization today through his active force upon the anointed society, his `faithful and discreet slave,' and upon its governing body. `Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics to give them their food at the proper time? Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings..' ... -Matt. 24:45, 47" ("Supporting Jehovah's Organization," The Watchtower, March 1, 1955, pp.145-157, pp.145-146).
"Those belonging to Jehovah's organization know that the `faithful and discreet slave' is a class made up of the faithful remnant of God's anointed ones, gathered now in one company and working together under the direction and authority of the governing body of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society." ("Faithful Stewardship," "The Watchtower, November 15, 1956, pp.689-695, p.692).
"As in the days of the apostles, the Christian flock of Jehovah God has over it a visible governing body. It acts for and in expression of the `faithful and discreet slave' whom Jesus Christ has appointed since coming into his kingdom in the heavens in 1914. ... Since 1919 this `faithful and discreet slave,' who is a composite person made up of all anointed Christian joint heirs of Jesus Christ, has been taking care of `all his belongings' on earth." ("Overseers in Apocalyptic Times," The Watchtower, January 15, 1958, pp.41-50, pp.45-46).
"This governing body is the administrative part of a `faithful and discreet slave' or `steward' class concerning which Jesus promised: `His master ... will appoint him over all his belongings.' (Matt. 24:45-47; Luke 12:42-44) So, recognition of that governing body and its place in God's theocratic arrangement of things is necessary for submission to the headship of God's Son." ("Do You Submit to Christ's Headship Today?," The Watchtower, December 15, 1972, pp.755-757, p.755).
"In this time of the end, Christ has appointed the collective `faithful and discreet slave' over `all his belongings,' or Kingdom interests on earth. (Matthew 24:45-47) As in the first century, this slave is represented by a governing body of anointed Christian men to whom Christ has given the authority to make decisions ..." ("The Christian View of Authority," The Watchtower, July 1, 1994, pp.18-23, p.22).
"Similarly, today a limited number of anointed men have the responsibility of representing the slave class. They make up the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses. ... What effect should the above facts have on the ever-increasing great crowd who hope to live forever on earth? As part of the King's belongings, they are happy to cooperate fully with the arrangements made by the Governing Body, which represents `the faithful and discreet slave.'" ("The Faithful Steward and Its Governing Body," The Watchtower, June 15, 2009, pp.20-24, p.24).
"Today, the other sheep are part of `all things' placed by Jehovah under the headship of his Son. They are also among the `belongings' that Christ has entrusted to his `faithful and discreet slave.' (Matt. 24:45-47) Those with an earthly hope should, therefore, recognize Christ as their Head and be submissive to the faithful and discreet slave and its Governing Body and to the men appointed as overseers in the congregation. (Heb. 13:7, 17)" ("Be Aglow With the Spirit," The Watchtower, October 15, 2009, pp.3-7, p.5).
>We also do not have any rites or ceremonies.
JW's do have "rites and ceremonies," e.g. the "religious ceremony" which the Watchtower Society calls, "The Lord's Evening meal":
"WHEN on earth, Jesus Christ instituted an observance that honors God. This was the only religious ceremony he directly commanded his followers to observe. It was the Lord's Evening Meal, known also as the Last Supper." ("An Observance That Affects You," The Watchtower, March 15, 2004, p.3).
"In the annual observance of this occasion by Jehovah's witnesses on the evening of April 17 this year, a speaker will explain the meaning of the Lord's Evening Meal and its significance in our lives today. The Bible account at Luke 22:19, 20 is followed closely in use of the bread and wine-a simple but meaningful ceremony." ("Encouraging All to Attend the Lord's Evening Meal," Our Kingdom Ministry," March 1973, p.4).
but that is irrelevant (see above).
The following quotes show that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (i.e. Jehovah's Witnesses) are a cult (and indeed a destructive cult) according to the Society's own definitions of what is a cult (my numbered headings are bold below):
1. "promotes new and unorthodox doctrines and practices"
As for "new," the Watchtower Society started in 1879:
"C. T. Russell took it as the Lord's leading that he give up traveling and begin publishing a journal. Thus in July 1879 the first issue of Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence made its appearance. Now known world wide as The Watchtower ... The journal's beginning was a `day of small things,' as its first issue consisted of only some 6,000 copies. (Zech. 4:10) C. T. Russell, chairman of the Pittsburgh Bible class, was the editor and publisher. ... In 1879 and 1880 C. T. Russell and his associates founded some thirty congregations ... C. T. Russell and his associates believed they were in the time of harvest, and they were few in number-only about one hundred strong in 1881." (WB&TS, "1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society: Brooklyn NY, 1975, pp.38-39).
"How old is the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses?... The modern-day history of Jehovah's Witnesses began with the forming of a group for Bible study in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., in the early 1870's. At first they were known only as Bible Students, but in 1931 they adopted the Scriptural name Jehovah's Witnesses. (Isa. 43:10-12)." (WB&TS, 1989, "Reasoning from the Scriptures," , Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York: Brooklyn NY, Second edition, pp.202-203. Emphasis original).
so it is very "new" compared to Christianity, which started in 33, i.e. 1846 years before.
And the Watchtower admits that its "doctrines and practices" are "unorthodox", i.e. "different from other religions":
"What beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses set them apart as different from other religions? ... God: They worship Jehovah as the only true God ... Jesus Christ: They believe, not that Jesus Christ is part of a Trinity, but ... the first of God's creations ... that Christ is actively ruling ...over all the earth since 1914. ... Heavenly life: They believe that 144,000 spirit-anointed Christians will share with Christ in his heavenly Kingdom ... The earth: They believe that ... the earth will be completely populated by worshipers of Jehovah ... Death: They believe that the dead are conscious of absolutely nothing ... that they do not exist except in God's memory... Last days: They believe that ... some who saw the events of 1914 will also see the complete destruction of the present wicked world [a false prophecy: see my "1914: The Generation That Will Not Pass Away?"] .... Separate from the world: They earnestly endeavor to be no part of the world ... they do not share in the politics ... of any nation. ... Apply Bible counsel: ... if anyone thereafter makes a practice of adultery, fornication, homosexuality, drug abuse, drunkenness, lying, or stealing, he will be disfellowshipped from the organization [and then shunned by all JW's including his JW family and friends]. (The above list briefly states some outstanding beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses but by no means all the points on which their beliefs are different from those of other groups.)" (WB&TS, 1989, pp.199-201. Emphasis original. My comments in square brackets).
Other "unorthodox doctrines and practices" which are unique to JWs include that "Jesus ...was a human incarnation of Michael the Archangel," "rejection of Christmas and Easter as `pagan holidays' ... and their refusal to salute the flag or to serve in the military ... are forbidden to run for public office or even to vote" and "that members who question the leaders can be put on trial":
"Witnesses reject the doctrine of the Trinity and instead see only the Father ('Jehovah') as God. Jesus, to them, was a human incarnation of Michael the Archangel-the first angel God created. The `holy spirit' (JWs avoid capitalizing either word) is neither God nor a person at all, but is a mere force God uses to accomplish things. They reject traditional concepts of heaven and hell, believing instead that death equals total annihilation, with bodily resurrection to eternal life on an earth restored to paradise the hope God offers to obedient humans. ... Witnesses' rejection of Christmas and Easter as `pagan holidays' raises eyebrows, and their refusal to salute the flag or to serve in the military raises some people's blood pressure. Few outsiders, however, know that JWs are forbidden to run for public office or even to vote; or that members who question the leaders can be put on trial and punished-factors that should raise red flags in thinking people's minds." (Reed, D.A., 1996, "Blood on the Altar: Confessions of a Jehovah's Witness Minister," Prometheus: Amherst NY, pp.16-17).
"The second level of doctrinal reinforcement is what I call the secondary doctrinal matters. ... especially the Jehovah's Witness `don'ts': blood transfusions, war, participation in political affairs, various celebrations (Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, birthdays), the use of the cross as a religious symbol, and the like. ... Because the Jehovah's Witnesses are typically alone in their views on these matters, their distinctive position is regarded by Witnesses as further evidence that they have `the truth.'" (Bowman, R.M., Jr., 1991, "Understanding Jehovah's Witnesses: Why They Read the Bible the Way They Do," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, pp.93-94. Emphasis original).
2. "are normally small, fringe groups"
Again, according to its own definition, the Watchtower Society was a cult "in the early days of the movement" and besides, "small cult groups can grow to become large" and still remain a cult (e.g. "the Mormons"):
"The article continues by describing a cult `as a small fringe religious group.' When Charles Russell began the International Bible Student Association it was just `a small fringe religious group.' So the Watchtower Society itself had this mark of a cult at least in the early days of the movement. However, all groups are small when they first begin. But even small cult groups can grow to become large groups-even larger than the Watchtower Society. ... The Watchtower Society also classifies the Mormons as a cult, but the Mormons have a much larger following than the Watchtower Society and are growing at a faster rate." (Lingle, W., 2009, "What the Watchtower Society Doesn't Want you to Know," CLC Publications: Fort Washington PA, pp.79-80).
3. "whose members derive their identity and purpose from a single, charismatic individual"
According to its own definition (and the Dictionary.com definition quoted by you, "under the direction of a charismatic leader") the Watchtower Society was a cult for 37 years (1879-1916) when it was under the absolute rule of its founder, Charles Taze Russell, who "was the sole author of all the Watchtower articles, and he had complete rule over the movement":
"Jehovah's Witnesses a Cult? In America alone there are over one thousand cults. None of them, however, admits to being a cult. But just because a group denies it is a cult, does not mean it is not a cult. Apparently the Watchtower Society is aware that there are many people who consider them a cult. For this reason the feature article in the February 15, 1994, Watchtower was `Jehovah's Witnesses a Cult or Ministers of God?' The article offers the Watchtower Society's definition of a cult and explains that it is not a cult, but rather true `ministers of God.' But if it is not a cult now, it used to be one, as defined by this article. .... The February 15, 1994, Watchtower article identifies a cult as one `whose members derive their identity and purpose from a single, charismatic individual.' This describes the early situation in the movement exactly. Charles Russell certainly was `a charismatic individual.' He was the sole author of all the Watchtower articles, and he had complete rule over the movement.) Actually, the early Jehovah's Witnesses were known as `Russellites' ..." (Lingle, 2009, p.76. Emphasis original).
Indeed, under its own definition, the Watchtower Society was a cult for a further 26 years (1916-1942) during the continued absolute reign of its second charismatic President `Judge' J.F. Rutherford, who gave the Society a new "identity and purpose" in its members' "New Name ... Jehovah's Witnesses":
"In exalting Jehovah's name, however, the convention of God's people at Columbus, Ohio, July 24-30, 1931, was a milestone. ... The meaning of `JW' was revealed on Sunday, July 26, 1931, when thrilled conventioners heartily adopted a resolution presented by J. F. Rutherford and entitled `A New Name....`THAT ... to make known to the people that Jehovah is the true and Almighty God; therefore we joyfully embrace and take the name which the mouth of the Lord God has named, and we desire to be known as and called by the name, to wit, Jehovah's witnesses.'" (WB&TS, 1975, pp.149-150. Emphasis original).
That is a total of 63 years the Society was a cult by its own definition!
And note that the above definition does not preclude a cult remaining a cult when its founding "charismatic individual" has died and the cult continues to be controlled by his successors.
4. "a group or movement exhibiting excessive devotion to a person or idea"
Leaving aside the Watchtower's above claim above that its Governing Body is "a composite person" to whom JWs must be devoted to in order to be saved, one example among many of the Watchtower's "excessive devotion to [an] ... idea" is that "eating blood" is the same thing as "transfusing blood":
"Jehovah God knew the effect of taking another creature's blood into one's body, whether by eating or drinking it or by transfusing it. He doubtless forbade it for more reasons than that the life is in the blood and that taking blood means taking life to at least some degree." ("By Man's Way or by God's Way-Which?," The Watchtower, December 12, 1967, pp.719-727, p.721)
including the completely nutty and false idea that, "The blood in any person is in reality the person himself. It contains all the peculiarities of the individual from whence it comes. This includes hereditary taints ..." (my emphasis):
"Are idolatry and fornication damaging to the Christian personality? Disastrously so! So too is the taking in of blood, whether through blood foods or blood transfusions, for the Christian governing body has included this in the same category as the other evils. Moreover, recent medical research has indicated in a realistic way how blood transfusions may damage the individual's personality. According to one authority: "The blood in any person is in reality the person himself. It contains all the peculiarities of the individual from whence it comes. This includes hereditary taints, disease susceptibilities, poisons due to personal living, eating and drinking habits." Transfusing blood, then, may amount to transfusing tainted personality traits. How great the danger may become if the blood is taken from blood banks to which criminals and other derelicts of society have contributed!" ("The Faithful Creator," The Watchtower, May 15, 1962, pp.297-303 p.302).
5. "employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control ... leaders ... use manipulative methods to control the minds of their followers"
The society practices "mind control," .e.g. JWs are "not allowed to read any religious books other than Watchtower publications" and by not allowing JWs "to read any religious books other than Watchtower publications" and JWs are "not allowed to talk to" non-JWs "who have studied the Watchtower Society thoroughly":
"The article [Watchtower, February 15, 1994] further defines a cult as a group whose `leaders are known to use manipulative methods to control the minds of their followers.' If the society doesn't practice `mind control,' why are Jehovah's Witnesses not allowed to read any religious books other than Watchtower publications? ... Why are Witnesses not allowed to talk to people who have studied the Watchtower Society thoroughly from an objective point of view? If the society taught its people discernment and did not manipulate them, it would allow its followers freedom to read what they wanted to read and talk to whomever they wanted to talk. If the society didn't consider itself vulnerable to honest criticism, it would not have to forbid its followers from reading other literature!" (Lingle, 2009, p.82).
6. "religious groups with radical views and practices that clash with what is accepted today as normal social behavior"
One of the Watchtower Society's "radical views and practices that clash with what is accepted today as normal social behavior" is forcing JWs to die for lack of blood transfusions. As ex-JW elder David Reed points out, "JW leaders at Watchtower headquarters ... have led many more people to an early death than the eighty-seven Branch Davidians who died at Waco." Reed conservatively estimates these JWs deaths for lack of blood transfusions to be the order of "between five thousand and twelve thousand ... every year ... for ... fifty years" = 250,000 - 600000, and this "represent just the tiny visible tip of ... a gigantic hidden iceberg ... a mammoth tragedy of vast proportions":
"People who know a bit about JW beliefs label them as unorthodox, perhaps even cultic; but hardly anyone puts them in the same class with the sect that brought infamy to Waco, Texas. ... `The Waco cult was deadly' is the typical response made by people asked to compare the two, `while Jehovah's Witnesses are merely unorthodox and annoying.' Why is it not generally known that JW leaders at Watchtower headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, have led many more people to an early death than the eighty-seven Branch Davidians who died at Waco? The problem is largely a matter of perception and of media coverage. When many die together at one time, people notice and headlines are made. But when one or two die here and there at different times, it can easily escape public notice-even when the individual deaths add up to a much greater catastrophe ...
In a manner much less spectacular, Jehovah's Witnesses have been dying one at a time, refusing vaccinations for themselves and their children between 1931 and 1952, refusing organ transplants between 1967 and 1980, and refusing blood transfusions and certain blood fractions since the mid-1940s, all in obedience to new interpretations of Old Testament dietary laws. ... No one seems to have kept statistics on the number of JW deaths. But with the steady accumulation of a man dying here, a child there, a woman in another place, an infant somewhere else-for roughly fifty years-the JW death toll is substantial. ...
How many, altogether, have followed Watchtower commands to their deaths? American Red Cross figures published in 1980 indicated that one hundred people per thousand, or 10 percent, need blood in some form every year. With today's Watchtower organization drawing more than twelve million people worldwide to its meetings, nearly five million of these being active Witnesses and the rest children and new converts in the process of joining, 10 percent would mean that between 500,000 and 1,200,000 among them `need' blood in some form every year, yet refuse treatment. How many of those needing blood would actually die without it? Again, few statistics are available. A chart published in the February 1993 issue of The American Journal of Medicine shows that studies based on 1,404 operations-mostly cardiovascular surgery and hip replacement-performed on Jehovah's Witnesses without blood transfusions reveal that 1.4 percent of the patients died due to lack of blood as a primary or contributing cause of death. Extrapolating that figure to the entire membership, if 1.4 percent die in cases where a JW `needs' blood, and 10 percent of the five million active Witnesses and twelve million attending JW Kingdom Halls `need' blood each year, that 1.4 percent death rate would mean that between seven thousand and 16,800 die by refusing blood each year. However, that 1.4 percent death rate in scheduled routine surgery suggests a much higher figure in cases of uncontrolled hemorrhaging due to childbirth complications, automobile and industrial accidents, and other common causes of extreme blood loss. But even if blood products were critical in only 1 percent of the cases where `a JW `needs' blood, and 10 percent of the five million active Witnesses and twelve million attending JW Kingdom Halls `needed' blood each year, a 1 percent death rate would mean that between five thousand and twelve thousand die by refusing blood every year. ...
The Watchtower Society has banned blood transfusions for its members for some fifty years now; so, although lower memberships in earlier years would yield lower death tolls for those years, the total number of deaths attributable to this policy must be staggering. Yet, as mentioned earlier, the ban on blood is not the Watchtower's only deadly doctrine. At various times Witnesses have been taught to avoid vaccination and organ transplants such as kidney replacement. These policies, no doubt, added to the total number of persons dying in obedience to the sect's teachings. Amazingly, little of this is public knowledge, and even the normally alert investigative news media have virtually tripped over the story without noticing it. ...
The actual cases documented here primarily involve Americans and are taken mainly from reports found in major American newspapers and wire services. Since U.S. Witnesses account for only about 20 percent, or one-fifth, of the JW population worldwide, it would be reasonable to project that each such death reported in this country could be accompanied by four additional heartrending stories from other parts of the world. Mexico and Brazil, each with more than a million attending Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Halls, certainly have their share of deaths. And so do Argentina, France, Germany, Italy, Nigeria, Zaire, Zambia, the Philippines, and Japan, since Watchtower followers number roughly in the quarter-million to half-million range in each of those countries. The lack of cases reported here from any of these nations certainly cannot be taken to mean that the more than nine million people attending Kingdom Halls outside the United States are not refusing blood and dying at the same rate as their American counterparts. Most certainly they are, and the headlines and human interest columns of newspapers printed in the Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, and various African languages just as certainly carry their share of hospital dramas and JW obituaries ...
It should be stressed again that most adult Witnesses who refuse blood products in life-or-death situations die quietly in hospitals without attracting outside attention. Well in advance of a scheduled operation or procedure, they seek out a cooperative physician who will not fight them on the issue. Only cases involving police accident reports, court intervention on behalf of a child, or other legal controversies are likely to come to the attention of the press and to be reported in major newspapers. When JWs sign legal waivers and doctors agree to exclude blood from the operating room or the treatment schedule, the role this plays in the resulting death usually escapes public notice. Multiplying the overall tragedy, in addition to the Jehovah's Witnesses who die in this manner, there are untold numbers who just barely make it through an operation or who survive an accident, but with permanent damage due to loss of blood. Some suffer irreversible brain damage. Others lose limbs or lose the full use of them. Less dramatic than actual deaths, these cases go largely unreported. ... So, as the various cases are encountered throughout the book, it should be kept in mind that these are only a small sampling of the overall picture. They represent just the tiny visible tip of -a gigantic hidden iceberg-a mammoth tragedy of vast proportions." (Reed, 1996, "Blood on the Altar," pp, pp.16-19,25-26,28-31).
7. "Usually they conduct their religious activities in secrecy ... worship cloaked in secrecy"
Even "though the five meetings a week held by the Jehovah's Witnesses are open to anyone, the actual workings of the Watchtower Society are kept secret, even to most Jehovah's Witnesses":
"The article [ Watchtower, February 15, 1994] describes a cult as often meeting in secret, and claims that Kingdom Hall meetings are open to the public. .... First of all, I question whether `secret' versus `public' meetings is a valid mark of a cult. ... though the five meetings a week held by the Jehovah's Witnesses are open to anyone, the actual workings of the Watchtower Society are kept secret, even to most Jehovah's Witnesses. An interesting statement is made in the preface to the 1945 book The Jehovah's Witnesses by Herbert Hewitt Stroup, published by Columbia University Press. When Mr. Stroup tried to objectively study the Watchtower Society in the process of writing a book, he ran into resistance from the organization's leaders. He wrote: `Since the movement is in many ways a "secret" one, the members were loathe to give me openly any information. Moreover, the leaders issued orders to all local groups that I should not be aided in any direct way in securing my information.' Even as late as November 1943, the present leader of the Witnesses, Mr. N.H. Knorr, informed me by letter that the `Society does not have the time, nor will it take time, to assist you in your publication concerning Jehovah's witnesses... .' Aside from the scant material to be found in the brief Yearbook, `there is no other information that we have available to the public. This makes it rather clear that the Watchtower Society is run in `secrecy.' It is still done so today. Just try writing a letter or making a phone call to get any inside information and see what happens! .'" (Lingle, 2009, pp.82-84).
"Another example of secrecy can be seen when charges are brought against an individual Jehovah's Witness and he or she is called before a" secret "`judicial committee'" where "only the verdict is announced to the congregation" and "The Watchtower Society's finances are also kept in complete secrecy":
"Another example of secrecy can be seen when charges are brought against an individual Jehovah's Witness and he or she is called before a`judicial committee.' The accused person must appear alone; women as well as men must appear before three men (so much for a `jury of your peers'); and the hearing may not be recorded. (As far back as Old Testament times, a trial has been considered fair only if it is held openly, a public record is made of the hearing, and the accused is allowed to have defense counsel.) When this `judicial committee' finds a person guilty, only the verdict is announced to the congregation; no opportunity is given to the accused to explain his or her side. Why all the secrecy? The Watchtower Society's finances are also kept in complete secrecy. No financial statement is provided. The average Jehovah's Witness is never told how much is made through literature or other donations to the society. Nor does the society reveal where it invests its money. Why are the finances such a secretive matter when the money comes from the rank and file among the Witnesses? 'Kingdom Hall Funds' are raised for the purpose of construction, yet it is estimated that in about forty percent of the cases, no new Kingdom Hall or addition is ever built. These funds are not returned to the donors but are put into a special fund to be used only by the governing body, and no accounting of these funds is ever given." (Lingle, 2009, pp.84-85).
8. "Their devotion to a self-proclaimed human leader is likely to be unconditional and exclusive."
See above on the Watchtower's "self-proclaimed human" leadership the Governing Body to whom JW's devotion must be "unconditional and exclusive."
9. "Often these leaders boast of having been divinely chosen or even of being themselves divine in nature."
See part #4 on the Watchtower "leaders" claiming that they are God's sole channel of communication to mankind and that this is effectively a claim to be God.
Then there is the core Watchtower's claim that in 1918-19 it alone was "divinely chosen" by Jesus to be His "Faithful and Discreet Slave" and "appointed ... over all his belongings":
"On inspecting the remnant of his anointed disciples in the year 1919 C.E., the reigning King Jesus Christ did find the appointed `slave' faithful and discreet in the feeding of his `domestics.' Accordingly, he appointed this `slave' class over all his belongings." (WBTS, 1973, "God's Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached," Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: Brooklyn NY, pp.354-356).
"On arriving to inspect his slaves in 1918, therefore, whom did the Master, Jesus Christ, find giving to his body of attendants their measure of food supplies at the proper time? ... The facts show that it was the group of anointed Christians associated with the publishers of the magazine Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, now called The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah's Kingdom." ("`The Faithful Slave' and Its Governing Body," The Watchtower, March 15, 1990, pp.10-14, pp.13-14).
"In 1918, when Jesus Christ inspected those claiming to be his slaves, he found an international group of Christians publishing Bible truths for use both inside the congregation and outside in the preaching work. In 1919 it truly turned out to be as Christ had foretold: `Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings.' (Matthew 24:46, 47) These true Christians entered into the joy of their Master. Having shown themselves `faithful over a few things,' they were appointed by the Master to be `over many things.' (Matthew 25:21) The faithful slave and its Governing Body were in place, ready for a widened assignment. How glad we should be that this was so, for loyal Christians are richly benefiting from the devoted work of the faithful slave and its Governing Body!" ("`The Faithful Slave' and Its Governing Body," The Watchtower, March 15, 1990, pp.10-14, p.14).
"In the modern-day fulfillment of these prophecies [Isa 66:6; Eze 43:4, 6-9; Mal 3:1-5], there was an important spiritual development in 1918 in connection with Jehovah's worship. Jehovah and Jesus evidently made an inspection of all of those claiming to represent pure worship. That inspection led to the final casting off of corrupt Christendom. For Christ's anointed followers, the inspection meant a brief period of refinement followed by a swift spiritual restoration in 1919." (WB&TS, 2001, "Isaiah's Prophecy: Light for All Mankind: Volume II," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York: Brooklyn NY, p.397).
"`The appointed time' for the `judgment of the house of God' to begin evidently arrived in 1918 ... Those claiming to represent God and his true worship on earth were duly examined. The churches of Christendom, who for centuries had taught God-dishonoring doctrines ... were rejected. A faithful remnant of spirit-anointed Christians were tested, refined as with fire, and approved ... Jesus stated: `Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings.' (Matthew 24:3, 45-47) `On arriving' to inspect the `slave' in 1918, Christ found a spirit-anointed remnant of faithful disciples who since 1879 had been using this journal and other Bible-based publications to provide spiritual `food at the proper time.' He acknowledged them as his collective instrument, or `slave,' and in 1919 entrusted them with the management of all his earthly belongings." ("Loyal to Christ and His Faithful Slave," The Watchtower, April 1, 2007, pp.21-25 , p.22).
10. "members often isolate themselves from friends, family, and even society in general.
Not only in the past, but here in the present, according to the Society's own definition, it is a cult because "Cult members often isolate themselves from friends, family, and even society in general":
While the Watchtower does not isolate its members geographically, it does isolate them socially, e.g. it "urges all its members to separate from their friends" and so "very few Jehovah's Witnesses have close personal contact with anyone outside of the organization":
"Another definition in the [February 15, 1994] Watchtower article is that `Cult members often isolate themselves from friends, family, and even society in general.' Then it asks, `Is that the case with Jehovah's Witnesses?' Let us examine some of the Watchtower Society's practices and see what kind of an answer we come up with. The Watchtower Society urges all its members to separate from their friends because they are all considered `worldly' (no matter what kind of moral character they have). Even when a person is just studying with a Jehovah's Witness, he is urged to make this break. For this reason very few Jehovah's Witnesses have close personal contact with anyone outside of the organization." (Lingle, 2009, p.80).
The Society "isolates its members from their family members is by not permitting them to participate in the activities of holiday times" e.g. celebrating birthdays and Christmas "when family members get together," :
"One very subtle way the society isolates its members from their family members is by not permitting them to participate in the activities of holiday times when family members get together. Very few Jehovah's Witnesses have a warm, loving, close relationship with family members who are not Witnesses." (Lingle, 2009, p.80).
An extreme cultic form of isolation is the Watchtower's policy and practice of disfellowshipping and shunning of lapsed and ex-JWs, i.e. "If a Jehovah's Witness decides to leave the organization," all JWs including family and friends "are instructed to ... have nothing to do with him" including "Husbands are separated from wives, wives from husbands, children from parents, grandparents from children and grandchildren" which is one of "the most severe punishment that can be inflicted upon a person" and is a sentence of socially death and "a figurative "hell" on earth":
"If a Jehovah's Witness decides to leave the organization, his or her so-called `Witness friends' and `Witness family members' are instructed to stay away from him and have nothing to do with him. Husbands are separated from wives, wives from husbands, children from parents, grandparents from children and grandchildren. While the Jehovah's Witnesses claim to be against going to war and killing people with a gun, they have no qualms against putting people to death spiritually and socially, so to speak. They say that a disfellowshipped or even a disassociated Jehovah's Witness no longer has any contact with God, because one can only have contact with Him through the Watchtower Society. So the disfellowshipped Jehovah's Witness is completely ostracized from all his former acquaintances. This is about the most severe punishment that can be inflicted upon a person. One can lose all material possessions and still survive with the support of family and friends; but to be considered socially dead and have no friends is very, very difficult. While teaching that God is a `God of love' and that the society is God's representative here upon this earth, it inflicts this cruel punishment on those who dare to question its authority. The Watchtower Society does not believe in a place of punishment-hell-in the next life, but it does believe in and practices putting former members through a figurative `hell' on earth." (Lingle, 2009, pp.80-81. Emphasis original).
The Watchtower does "isolate" JWs from "society in general," e.g. "It does not allow members to vote in ... elections or participate in community activities":
"Jehovah's Witnesses have absolutely nothing to do with `society in general.' Watchtower publications constantly point out all the wickedness in the world, yet forbid members from doing anything to keep it from getting worse. The society does not allow the exercise of freedom of speech and choice. It does not allow members to vote in federal, state or local elections or participate in community activities. Instead, they stand on the sidelines and condemn everything in the world without offering a helping hand. Thus again, by its own definition, it would be considered a cult." (Lingle, 2009, pp.81-82
11. "using deceptive and unethical techniques to recruit members"
Deceptive and unethical techniques used by the Watchtower to recruit members include:
a) not disclosing to a prospective new converts the downsides of being a JWs, including the effective loss of all their non-JW family and friends (e.g. not permitted to share birthday and Christmas celebrations with them), effective withdrawal from non-JW society, including not being allowed to vote, shunning by their JW family and friends if they fall foul of any of the Wathtower's 1,177 rules are disciplined, or disfellowshipped, if they or their children need a life-saving blood transfusion they will have to let them die, and a life of unending slavery to the Watchtower with no assurance of salvation;
b) the use of a false Bible, The New World Translation, in which Biblical doctrines are systematically twisted to conform with Watchtower doctrine;
c) presenting a false portrayal and false history of Christianity as "Christendom" which supposedly became apostate at the end of the first century; etc.
One example (among many) of the Watchtower "using deceptive and unethical techniques to recruit members" is in their former recruiting manual, "Reasoning From the Scriptures" (1985), which provides "clever responses and lines of argument to use in discussions with outsiders" many of which "are tricky" and "deceptive," e.g. telling JWs to falsely tell a Christian that they are "glad" they are "saved" when "In actuality the JW views `saved' Christians as enslaved by the devil" and also evading the Christian's question, "Have you been born again?" by instructing JWs to deceptively assure the Christian that, "I have accepted Jesus as my Savior and have received holy spirit":
"Reasoning From the Scriptures, 1985 This ... book goes beyond the scope of its predecessor by providing not merely Scripture verses but also clever responses and lines of argument to use in discussions with outsiders. These are presented under the heading `If Someone Says-' at the end of many of the chapters. ... Many proposed responses are tricky, or perhaps even deceptive, and are designed to overcome a householder's objections and permit the Witness to continue with a prepared presentation. Thus, on page 360 the book suggests:If Someone Says-I'm saved' You might reply: `I am glad to know that, because it tells me that you believe in Jesus Christ. The work in which I am sharing is one that Jesus assigned his followers to do.'In actuality the JW views `saved' Christians as enslaved by the devil, and he is not at all glad about this claim of salvation; but he is glad to know what his listener thinks, and uses this as a jumping-off point for the remainder of his rehearsed speech. Similarly, although the millions of Jehovah's Witnesses have been taught that they cannot be born again, but that this privilege is reserved for an elite group of some eight thousand people on earth today, they are encouraged to give this reply to an outsider who asks, `Have you been born again?'You want to know whether I have accepted Jesus as my Savior and have received holy spirit, is that right? May I assure you that the answer is Yes; otherwise I would not be talking to you about Jesus. (p. 79).With their weekly training in the use of such evasive maneuvers and carefully thought-out arguments, it is no wonder that Jehovah's Witnesses are so difficult to deal with when they call at the home." (Reed, D.A., 1993, "Jehovah's Witness Literature: A Critical Guide to Watchtower Publications," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, pp.170-171. Emphasis original).
13. "following and venerating a human leader"
See above that JWs do "follow... and venerat a human leadership" namely the Watchtowers' Governing Body and a human organization, the Watchtower Society itself. In its songbook, "Sing Praises to Jehovah" (1984), "the shift away from Jesus Christ has been accompanied by a growing emphasis on the organization, which itself takes on the role of a corporate false Christ obeyed as master and looked to for salvation":
"Sing Praises to Jehovah, 1984 Musically the book of 225 songs released in 1984 differs from earlier versions in that it provides notations for guitar. But more significant is the different doctrinal emphasis commented on in the Watchtower Society's book Revelation-Its Grand Climax At Hand!, `In the songbook produced by Jehovah's people in 1905, there were twice as many songs praising Jesus as there were songs praising Jehovah God. In their 1928 songbook, the number of songs extolling Jesus was about the same as the number extolling Jehovah. But in the latest songbook of 1984, Jehovah is honored by four times as many songs as is Jesus. ... Watchtower leaders are well aware that the organization's doctrinal shifts over the years have made it far less Christ centered, and that this changed emphasis is reflected in its songs of worship. But what the quotation fails to reveal is that the shift away from Jesus Christ has been accompanied by a growing emphasis on the organization, which itself takes on the role of a corporate false Christ obeyed as master and looked to for salvation. Hints of this can be found in a number of the newer songs. For example, song number 8 in the 1984 book is titled `Loyally Submitting to Theocratic Order,' and its third and final stanza begins `Then we have God's `steward' and His active force. These will ever guide us in our Christian course.' ... Note, too, these words from song number 38 titled `Displaying Loyalty': `To God's loyal congregation We too will show loyalty, Give it our steadfast allegiance Even in adversity,' Also, these from number 42, `This is the Way': `He has a fine channel that's surely unique, And thru it he chooses to warn and to speak.' Such verses, sung with deep conviction, continually impress upon Jehovah's Witnesses that the organization speaks for God and that loyalty to God is manifested by loyal allegiance to the organization." (Reed, 1993, pp.167-168. Emphasis original).
Also, in its baptism questions, the Watchtower has replaced "the Holy Spirit" with "God's spirit-directed organization", i.e. itself, which "removes JW baptism even farther from the biblical pattern, transforming it into an organizational membership commitment rather than a relationship with God" and making the "organization ... essential to salvation and demanding obedience" to it, which reveals the Watchtower as "a false savior and lord, a corporate false Christ, and thus one of the `false Christs, and false prophets' that Jesus warned against":.
"Baptism ... For many years the Watchtower organization baptized candidates after they publicly answered yes to these two questions: (1) `Have you repented of your sins and turned around, recognizing yourself before Jehovah God as a condemned sinner who needs salvation, and have you acknowledged to him that this salvation proceeds from him, the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ?' and, (2) `On the basis of this faith in God and in his provision for salvation, have you dedicated yourself unreservedly to God to do his will henceforth as he reveals it to you through Jesus Christ and through the Bible under the enlightening power of the holy spirit?' (The Watchtower, May 1, 1973, page 280) .... But in its issue of June 1, 1985, The Watchtower magazine presented new questions to replace those used previously. These new questions are as follows: `On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will? Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with God's spirit-directed organization?' (page 30) ... The old formula bore at least some resemblance to the biblical injunction to baptize disciples `in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.' (Matthew 28:19 NIV, NKJB, RSV) The revised wording, however, removes JW baptism even farther from the biblical pattern, transforming it into an organizational membership commitment rather than a relationship with God. This may be acceptable to persons indoctrinated to believe that `identifying themselves with Jehovah's organization is essential to their salvation.' (Our Kingdom Ministry, November 1990, page 1) But such a baptism is offensive to those who see Christ as the true Savior and as the only one to be obeyed as Lord. Any organization inserting itself into the picture as essential to salvation and demanding obedience must be viewed as a false savior and lord, a corporate false Christ, and thus one of the `false Christs, and false prophets' that Jesus warned against. (Matthew 24:24)" (Reed, D.A., 1996, "Answering Jehovah's Witnesses: Subject by Subject," pp.39-40. Emphasis original).
Concluded in part #6.