The Watchtower is big money, being one of the top 40 New York City Corporations making nearly one billion dollars a year. That’s just from one of their many corporations.
Unlike in the case of Christians who are persecuted in other lands for talking about Jesus Christ, Jehovah’s Witnesses are largely persecuted for following the teachings begun during the second presidency of the Watchtower, when Joseph F. Rutherford took over in a corporate flap and began changing doctrines quickly in the Watchtower belief system.
He claimed that angels directly conveyed truth to some of those in leadership. He coined the name Jehovah’s Witnesses to make them stand out from being witnesses of Jesus, a typical evangelical expression (and a Biblical one).
Rutherford dumped holidays, birthdays and the 1874 date for the invisible return on Christ, and invented an earthly class of Witnesses, since only 144,000 can go to heaven in their teaching. The rest, meaning all 99.9% of Witnesses still alive, will live forever on a cleansed earth, under the rule of the Watchtower leaders in heaven, who will keep them in line by local elders known as ‘Princes’.
If you have been witnessed to by Jehovah’s Witnesses and you reject their message, you will likely die shortly at Armageddon with all the other non-Witnesses, since theirs is the only true religion, and (if they can live up to all the rules) they are the only ones to inhabit this new earth. If you believe Witnesses seem rigid now, any non-conformist during the future cleansed earth will be directly destroyed by Jehovah. Even now a Witness will be disfellowshipped for any one of many gaffes, such as smoking, taking a blood transfusion, or even voting.
To even vocally question the teachings of the Watchtower will result in complete cutting off, with family and friends usually being forbidden to talk to them. The Watchtower is a truly Orwellian world, in a time when Orwellian societies are nearly obsolete.
By their own Yearbook accounts, Witnesses are shrinking in number in many Western countries as of the last three years, as the internet facilitates the spread of information (much of it critical of the Witnesses). Witnesses are cautioned against creating JW-related websites, largely to prevent their members from discovering the history and dirty laundry of this organization on other websites. (There are literally hundreds of former members pages in many languages.)
The Watchtower strives hard to control the flow of information to the individual Witness, and prefers that all instruction come through the magazines they carry door-to-door. Without this form of control, even as they themselves admit, they would believe just the same as other Bible believers.
My hope is that there will be a day in each of their lives when the Watchtower magazine is no longer needed, and they can go to college, vote for office, and contribute money and time to other, more vital causes in their community. More than likely they will then cease to be persecuted, except in a few societies more authoritarian than their own.
Jehovah’s Witness X 33 years and 3rd generation (been there).
My home page, http://www.DannyHaszard.com