Do Jehovah’s Witnesses force their Children to join the Cult?

Do Jehovah’s Witnesses force their children to follow their faith? They would answer: No. Let’s take a close look at the facts.

It is a common conception among outsiders and former Jehovah’s Witnesses that parents who follow JW.org force their children into accepting the religion of their family, given they have the lowest retention rate of all religions. It is therefore logical that they would answer this accusation on their website:

bildschirmfoto-2015-08-14-um-12-24-16
Screenshot from jw.org

So far, so good. But how does this fit in with claims of former Jehovah’s Witnesses that they were indeed forced into the belief?

The solution to this caveat lies in the answer provided by Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves on JW.org and especially in the little word ‘inculcate’.

This is what Merriam-Webster says about the word ‘inculcate’:

to cause (something) to be learned by (someone) by repeating it again and again

This definition is very important because it reveals a lot about the belief system of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In an enlightened world, beyond math formulas, you would want your pupil to learn and apply something because it makes sense.

Jehovah’s Witnesses, on the other hand, admit that the only way to make their children love their Jehovah God and consequently become Jehovah’s Witnesses is by repeating the teachings again and again. The notion of inculcating the belief appears often in literature of JW.org:

“What does it mean for parents to “inculcate” God’s standards into their child? It means that they must frequently repeat what they teach him. A small child is like a young tree that needs a little bit of water frequently.” – Source

“The Hebrew word translated “inculcate” at Deuteronomy 6:7 carries the thought of repeating a point often.” – Source

“Spiritually strong parents are prepared to apply the counsel found at Deuteronomy 6:7, to “inculcate” Jehovah’s words in their offspring at every opportunity. To “inculcate” means to teach and impress by means of repetition.” – Source

‘Teach and impress by means of repetition’. Shock and Awe, anyone? The English language has a definition for this kind of upbringing:

What Jehovah’s Witnesses practice is psychological (religious) coercion

“In a psychologically coercive environment, the victim is forced to adapt in a series of small ‘invisible’ steps. Each step is sufficiently small that the subject does not notice the changes or identify the coercive nature of the process until much later, if ever”, states The Neurotypical. This particular technique of coercion is known as the Mere-Exposure-Effect and is a very popular practice in Cults:

“A psychological phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them.”

What we have here is Jehovah’s Witnesses once again beating around the bush when answering so-called challenging questions. While most Jehovah’s Witness parents may not use violence or other obvious force to make their children go the Kingdom Hall, study and become Jehovah’s Witnesses, employing the method of ‘inculcating’ their religious beliefs in their children is – from a psychological standpoint – forcing them, coercing them into following JW.org. So we can safely assume that it is indeed not a myth at all that children of members of JW.org are forced to become Jehovah’s Witnesses. And if they do make a ‘personal choice’ that goes against their parent’s wishes, the consequences can be disastrous.

Now ask yourself: How many times did your child have to touch a hot stove to learn that it is dangerous? How often did they jump out of the window till they accepted the concept of gravity? But how often did you have to tell them to tidy up their room?

If a chore is attractive enough, if a point you are trying to get across makes perfect sense, if it’s obvious, if it is easy to see how one would benefit from accepting the thought, you will not have to repeat an idea again and again. Also, you won’t have to pressure parents into baptizing their children. If you have to, the problem is not your child or pupil. The problem may be your doctrine. Or your God, come to think of it.

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10 thoughts on “Do Jehovah’s Witnesses force their Children to join the Cult?

  1. This doesn’t take into consideration the additional considerable effect that the innate desire to gain parental approval creates. In addition to the cult-like ‘inculcation’ the added pressure of trying to gain parental approval causes a powerful motivational effect in the immature person’s mind. Thus the pressure to get children baptized ‘even as early as 9 years old’ according to a governing body member in a recent speech. Two thing happen, the child sees a way to ‘make mommy and daddy happy’ even though perhaps not consciously aware of this, and once baptized this individual becomes subject to the cruel shunning policy that would be imposed if later on the child decides that it isn’t ‘the Truth’ after all. That serves as further coercion.

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  2. Good article! And comment from Malachi Sawyer too.
    I am also left JW. Will put my Letter down.
    In one family, this is not hear and say, in ex congregation and i know them personally. Parents and four children. Father, elder left them. Mother stay with son and 3 daughters. Son baptized very early (about 7 i think) left WT when going to college.
    Than before 2 years oldest girl when reach 18 left, and last year youngest one left at 15 or 16 age of old. This girl have hard problems for some period, especially after she were with her disfellowshiped father on holidays. Elders was rebuked her for that, and after that conversation she cut her hands (self-mutilation), psychological problems and behavioral problems, school problems, pills, doctors.

    My Letter:
    1. To Society Watch Tower, Watchtower and corporations
    2. To Jehovah’s Witnesses and all assemblies
    3. To all whom this concern

    Declaration on termination of membership to a religious community of Jehovah’s Witnesses

    I was baptized in 1977 at the age of 17, then a minor. But, in good faith I answered the following two questions just before baptism, which is symbolized my dedication to God in terms of the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses religion.
    At that time (before the change of June 1 1985) questions have read as follows;
    A) Have you repented of your sins and converted, 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?
    B) 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?

    Since I have over decades closely followed the changes in various aspects of activity of this religion, I noticed some frequent collisions (1 John 4:1; 1 Th 5:21). It is visible in: a) the content of the various interpretations; b) in the theory and practice of action in everyday life issues. Overview of many historical aspects of the spiritual heritage, which the organization has, since its inception in the 19th century, left to its members-followers, and wants to cover it up, revise and incorrect display, is astounding. Who wants to drink a water from a cup in which there is a single drop of dangerous substances?
    The purpose of my statement is not to explain doctrine and practices of society and the board of directors, who are disturbed my conscience and reasoning within the love, faith, knowledge and understanding that I feel and I have to God and Jesus Christ and to the people, so I will taxatively single out only a few of them (Rom 14:4). These are obvious example, on the one hand, theological acrobatics from the main church body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and on the other hand, their dishonesty and practice in which one they are learns, and other they are works;
    1) Confusing conceptions about their own identity (Who shared spiritual food? One servant, all 144 000, a composite body or the governing body …,)
    2) Pragmatism in changing dogmatic interpretations before the change was “firmly biblical established”, such as a series of explanations about the “generation” …,
    3) Speculation about the meaning of biblical statements and how they should be understood. More than once the revised interpretation were in style of YES-NO-YES-NO; then this year’s “changed approach to the interpretation of reports from the Word of God” …,
    4) Switching of responsibility from the governing body and their representatives on the ordinary believers in respect of the decisions and attitudes that members should be carried out, when it becomes apparent that they were endangered spiritually, mentally and literally health of fellow believers (eg, multiple expectations of Armageddon, Malawi and Mexico of the 1970s, questions about blood, juvenile members / Bulgaria /, neutrality …,)
    5) Co-operation and association with political organizations such as the UN and the OSCE.
    6) Increasingly open calls for financial donations and contributions to the funds of the corporation.
    7) Careless and unkind treatment of victims of pedophilia within the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses

    Regardless of how, as collective or personal, members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses will treat me after this letter of resignation, considering the worldwide-known practice of ignoring and avoiding (shunning) that Jehovah’s Witnesses apply to all who are outside of their religion (“worldly” people, dissociated and disfellowshiped) – I with fully conscious and reason declare still this; My relationship with the people / persons in the Jehovah’s Witness religion and those who are not, is based on the words of Jesus; “Love your neighbor as yourself”; “Love those who hate you”; “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them.”

    I expecting from you, that any kind of information which is stored anywhere, in connection with me and has my full name, such as personal files, or any other files you immediately destroy!

    Zagreb, July 27/2015 Srećko Šoštar ————-
    Verified by notary public

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good article! And comment from Malachi Sawyer too.
    I am also left JW. Will put my Letter after.
    In one family, this is not hear and say, in ex congregation and i know them personally. Parents and four children. Father, elder left them. Mother stay with son and 3 daughters. Son baptized very early (about 7 i think) left WT when going to college.
    Than before 2 years oldest girl when reach 18 left, and last year youngest one left at 15 or 16 age of old. This girl have hard problems for some period, especially after she were with her disfellowshiped father on holidays. Elders was rebuked her for that, and after that conversation she cut her hands (self-mutilation), psychological problems and behavioral problems, school problems, pills, doctors.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree that the desire for parental approval is probably the most powerful tool silently used by the “Society”, reinforced by the ‘respect your parents’ teachings, so as not to offend Jehovah. It is the “hook” used to catch the fish.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As an ex JW with a brother who is an elder, a sister and brother in law who are pioneers, and several other siblings who are zealous witnesses, there is one huge element I’ve noticed. Part of the psychological (religious) coercion includes instilling great fear into little minds with the idea of demons coming after them if they get a hold of the wrong thing (a doll, a book, a card) There is the mindset of parents to have complete control over all actions and thoughts of the children. At least with my nephews, they have no critical thinking skills. I don’t think they could ever leave the ORG unless their parents did. Everything they do and say is monitored. How scary is this, my sister who’s son is 16 and she won’t let him get a license who sleeps over at his Grandmother’s house (in her bed with her), has never dated, and goes to a JW school once a week, said he wants to get married when he’s 18! My sister didn’t understand why I thought any of this was strange – his grandmother, school, getting married at 18. I told her he needed to learn to make his own decisions, make his own mistakes so he could be a healthy man/husband some day. Her reply was – No. She didn’t want him to make any choices on his own. I know her fear is that he will see the JWs for what they are, and he’ll leave. And with the shunning policy, she’ll be forced to cut ties with him. Oh, did I mention her father is a known pedophile and also a JW?
    Love your site. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

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