Watchtower Society Goes Under the Microscope

John Cedars has published the first post of a four-part series that closely examines the Watchtower Society’s claim to be “God’s Spirit Directed Organization” on earth.

Cedars is most noted for his “Global Survey of Jehovah’s Witnesses”  – hosted and maintained at Along with his “Global Surveys” (and occasional “Mini-Surveys”) that ask for opinions on  Jehovah’s Witnesses’ beliefs and practices, Cedars also presents his own thoughts and commentary on a broader range of issues in his “Cedars’ Blog.”

His most recent posting, “Under the microscope – the Watchtower’s claims to divine direction (part 1),” analyzes the Watchtower’s assertion that it is the only religious organization on earth that receives special treatment and direct guidance from Jehovah God.  The first article examines the claim that Jehovah’s Witnesses can prove their blessed situation because of their continued annual membership growth throughout the world. Cedars checks the facts to verify that the Watchtower’s teaching is not only correct, but credible. Considering the  hours that Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to spend in the worldwide preaching work, do actual performance results prove they have a special gift from God?

In future articles, Cedars will check the Watchtower’s other major claims “proving their unique selection” by God  to be his earthly organization.

Cedars is hoping that his readers will share their comments about the articles based on their own knowledge and experiences as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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5 thoughts on “Watchtower Society Goes Under the Microscope

  1. Thank you for this first in a series of articles to come. It was well researched, well-written and for those who read it, there should be no denying anything you have said. I, being a former JW, realize how important it is to count the hours in field service, preaching the good news. If you don’t reach a certain quota each month, then you will be considered “inactive.” The problem with all of this counting your time, is that is where your focus really is. You’re more into getting those hours in order to please the “higher ups” than being concerned about helping others to learn the “truth.” I have been out in service many times when our group would ride for miles in rural territories, making so-called “back calls” to while away the time, even joking sometimes about how we could count our time. As far as growth in the organization, I have been away for many years and do not know any new members in the local Kingdom Hall I once attended. Some of the elderly have died; others have grown older, and their children and grandchildren continue to keep the membership from taking a drastic dive. I also wanted to mention that I didn’t know about all baptized witnesses, but when I was baptized at 13 yrs. of age, I certainly don’t remember that question agreeing to be a part of a religion that had the only spiritually direct channel from God. I don’t doubt that it was asked, I know I was just too young to know what it meant. If I had known that, my answer would have been a resounding “NO!”

  2. Faith, I was baptized at the age of 10 or 11 (can’t remember if it was the spring circuit assembly or the one in the fall that year). They did not ask us any questions in those days. You just showed up with a towel and dressed in your bathing suit. I don’t even recall any special talk being given before or after the baptism. They would make an announcement afterwards that “x-number of persons submitted themselves to Jehovah through baptism earlier today. Let’s all welcome these x-number of new brothers and sisters who have dedicated their lives to Jehovah’s service.” Baptisms would often take place at a beach or an inside pool rented for the occasion (sometimes even at the hated YMCA/YWCA). So there was no place for individual interviews or questions. I think the baptism qualification program, and the two question procedure came into play in the 1970s. Maybe one of our readers can enlighten us on the facts.

  3. @ Editor, Thank you for clearing that up for me, I do remember standing in line with towel in hand, getting baptized in the pool at a local motel. So many things have changed since then. I also would like to hear from those who remember having to answer in the affirmative to that question.

  4. Re Baptism Questions
    In the days of Pastor Russell, two simple questions were asked:

    Have you repented of sin with such restitution as you are able, and are you trusting in the merit of Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of your sins and the basis of your justification?

    Have you made a full consecration of yourself with all the powers that you possess–talent, money, time, influence–all to the Lord, to be used faithfully in His service, even unto death?

    Before proceeding with your baptism it is proper, first,
    that you answer affirmatively these questions to show you
    are taking this step with the Scriptural understanding
    thereof and are fit for baptism as a devoted servant of
    the Lord, fully responsible to Him:
    (1) Do you believe in Jehovah GOd the Father, that
    “salvation belongeth unto Jehovah”, and that Christ Jesus
    is his Son in whose blood your sins are washed away and
    by whom salvation comes to you from God ?
    (2) Have you therefore confessed your sins to God
    and asked for cleansing by Christ Jesus, and therefore
    turned away from sin and the world, and consecrated
    yourself without reservation to God to do his will?

    Your answer, being Yes, is testimony that you are worthy
    and in line for water baptism in obedience to God’s will.

    Watchtower October 1st 1942 page 302

    (1) Have you recognized yourself before Jehovah God as a sinner who needs salvation, and have you acknowledged to him that this salvation proceeds from him the Father through his Son Jesus Christ?

    (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 enlightenment of the holy spirit?

    Watchtower July 1st 1956 page 407

    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?

    Watchtower June 1st 1985 page 30

  5. “in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?” WHY did they add this in there? A legal reason? I remember being asked this Q but it was not discussed when I was going over the questions. Why was this added? I don’t quite get it.

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