Unwritten Rules/Culture

Learn About the Inner Workings of Jehovah’s Witnesses Questions Answered

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Automobiles

Most people may find it strange when individuals in the congregation scrutinize others for something as simple as the type of vehicle they choose to drive. A brother drives up in a two-door Corolla, and everyone begins to question his judgment. "Don't you think a four-door-car would have been a better option, brother?" someone may ask. The notion is all about comfortably traveling to and from the territory when going out in the door-to-door preaching work. Each time a person must exit the vehicle, think of how much trouble it takes to continue lifting the seat back and forth to allow entry or exit from the vehicle.

Mainly, other members judged the level of spirituality that others may exhibit based on their car choice.

The issue with the two-door car may not happen in every locality of each Jehovah's Witness community. Nevertheless, it most definitely has been a significant issue in congregations in the United States.

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Higher Education

No one will rejoice when hearing that a young person in the congregation has received a four-year scholarship to a prestigious university. Or any other school of higher education for that matter. But why? Because according to the Watchtower leadership, higher education is futile. They claim that worldly wisdom is not better than spiritual education. According to the Watchtower, "Spiritual education has greater value than secular education. Unlike secular education, Bible-based spiritual education provides the lifesaving knowledge of God." 

Jehovah's Witnesses & Education—Primary School, Higher Education, Literacy Classes (jw.org)

That is why the Pew study shows that as a whole, Jehovah's Witnesses have the lowest level of higher education amongst their ranks. Understandably, the Jehovah's Witness leadership promotes a lot of negative comments about higher education.

Although there are numerous college graduates amongst their ranks, this certainly is not the norm. Nor are they celebrated or held up as examples to the flock. Sad to say, that when the Watchtower Headquarters or other branch offices require skilled professionals, they will often call on them for their expertise. They chastise or look at individuals in disdain for choosing to pursue higher learning. However, when it fits their needs, they beg for their knowledge to further their interests. 

Jehovah's Witnesses can share countless stories about losing out on earning a college degree. One young man reports that he found his college acceptance letter in the attic when he cleaned out his mother's home after her death. It was 25 years after he graduated from high school when he learned that she hid the letter from him. It crushed his spirit after discovering that he had a full scholarship.

The stories are countless with horrific devastation to those that find themselves struggling to make ends meet. 

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Pursuing Careers

Are Jehovah's Witnesses praised for getting a promotion at work? How about sharing their successful experiences at their worship place to encourage others to reach out for more secular responsibilities? Think again. 

Jehovah's Witnesses feed on a diet of doing less for themselves and more for the Watchtower, Bible & Tract Society. Therefore, the Watchtower encourages its members to abandon their ideas and pursue more activities promoted by them. That means fully engaging in the promotion of Watchtower's ideology by recruiting others to their way of thinking.

The one-size-fits-all approach to pursuing a full-time career as a full-time preacher is promoted heavily in their publications. Regularly featuring testimonials by individuals that have quit secular jobs to pursue full-time pioneering is standard protocol. It fosters guilt and the attitude of not doing enough by those unable to participate in such activities.

The Watchtower goes so far as to state that by pioneering, their members can gain skills as an evangelizer and enjoy the ministry more to strengthen their relationship with Jehovah. The more they talk about him to others, the more they are reminded of his awe-inspiring qualities. Thus, the relentless drumbeat of do-more, do-more for the Watchtower Corporation forces individuals' to deny themselves a life they would otherwise enjoy.  

It is especially true for women if they are married and have no children. Others in the congregation look at them as not spiritual because they choose a worldly career over doing more Watchtower activities. 

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Judging

With the writing of many words, the Watchtower sets the stage for judging. When they continue writing about how a person shows spiritual maturity if they choose a life course that meets leadership's approval, it causes people to judge others by those standards.

Jehovah's Witnesses must adhere to a laundry list of do's and don'ts. Suppose they fail to follow the Watchtower's mandates and live up to their requirements; in that case, other congregation members may judge them harshly.

Jehovah's Witnesses are prone to judging because they spend too much time measuring the value of others' actions. Because the Watchtower outlines what makes one spiritual, it is easy for others to look at the rafter in someone else's eye instead of challenging themselves.

For instance, the Watchtower encourages their followers to give up material things to pursue more spiritual things. That means recruiting more people to the Watchtower. They begin judging those they feel are not measuring up, even to the point where they shun certain ones in the congregation for no real reason. They look at each other's circumstances and categorize them as not spiritual because they believe they are not making enough sacrifices for the organization.

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Double-Life

There are countless Jehovah's Witnesses that hate the confinement of Watchtower teachings. It is not uncommon for them to live a double-life. They may act one way at the Kingdom Hall yet live a life that goes against all of the organization's rules when they are not around other Jehovah's Witnesses.

They want to be normal like other people but know the group forbids it. That is why certain Jehovah's Witnesses do everything by the book. Nevertheless, others walk around, giving a false impression that they can make their own choices. Knowing full well, they will be ostracized and shunned by their fellow brothers and sisters at the Kingdom Hall for doing anything that goes against the teachings.

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Sports

Too much recreation is frowned on in the Jehovah's Witness religion. They do not encourage their youths to play sports or engage in other recreational pursuits that show a competitive spirit. They often cite the scripture at 1 Timothy 4:8 "For physical training is beneficial for a little, but godly devotion is beneficial for all things...". When Jehovah's Witness youths are sought after by high school coaches to play sports, most of them turn down these opportunities. They have even walked away from four-year scholarships.

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Success

Jehovah's Witnesses are not interested in being successful. They believe that we live in the last days, and anything related to attaining success is futile. It is not good news when a person gets a promotion on their job, obtains a scholarship, or meets a certain success measure. Instead, they praise members for quitting their job to do more for the Watchtower. They have a long history of denying themselves any creature comforts to increase the quantity of proselyting work.

They may choose to work in remote areas to increase their chances of recruiting more members. They also look forward to volunteer work at the Watchtower's branch offices.

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Children

Unbeknownst to many people, there has been a long history where Jehovah's Witnesses looked down on couples in the congregation for having children. It is not that rampant today, but hundreds of thousands of couples are dedicated to serving the Watchtower and remain childless until after Armageddon. Some sisters even belonged to the AAA group, aka Available After Armageddon, and vowed they were not even going to marry. The warped attitude towards raising families stems from the idea that it is futile to have children in this corrupt system when individuals can wait and have a family in the new system.

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Recreation

Throughout their printed literature, the Watchtower, Bible & Tract Society often uses subtle tactics to discourage its members from basking in recreation. They guilt-trip their members into thinking that they need to be participating in something related to their religion even when they are on vacation. Thus, Jehovah's Witnesses never get a break from Watchtower activities. Of course, not everyone follows this to the tee. However, they will never come back from vacation bragging about taking a break from their everyday activities.

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Gossip

It is a shame that Jehovah's Witnesses feel it is fair game to talk about individuals that do not belong to their faith. Otherwise, if they were brothers and sisters in the congregation, they would usually not gossip about them. The Witness thinks that non-believers are "worldly" and undeserving of anonymity. It is fair game to share their business with others when they learn about their personal experiences. Mainly, this happens when they are studying the Bible with interested persons. They have no problem sharing information with other people in the congregation about their Bible students. It is sad because the person thinks they are sharing personal information in confidence. It happens more frequently than not.

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Buying Homes

Jehovah's Witnesses are encouraged not to get caught up buying and selling in this system of things because Armageddon is near. Therefore, it is not uncommon that many of them opt to rent instead of buy. Many Witnesses own property. However, they may tend to be of modest means. As a whole, they do not strive for material gain.

It is not uncommon for Jehovah's Witnesses that live in urban areas to rent apartments instead of owning their property. Nevertheless, the Watchtower, Bible & Tract Society is buying property left and right and selling it for billions of dollars.

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Retirement

It is not uncommon to hear about Jehovah's Witnesses not having any savings for retirement or feeling the need to make investments towards their future. They believe we live in the last days. The world will end any day now; thus, setting aside money for the future may represent having a lack of faith. It fails to show that an individual believes in the new system that they are eagerly awaiting. Most Jehovah's Witnesses do not work at jobs where they can even afford to put money in a retirement fund. They are discouraged from thinking of their future because they teach that the end is just around the corner. Unfortunately, when the Witness gets up in age, they discover they have few resources to care for themselves.