Rutherford's Propaganda Machine

a post by Alan F

In the thread "Righteous Requirements" below, I presented a lighthearted example of how the Watchtower Society might go about influencing Jehovah's Witnesses to "deal scripturally" with "apostates". Most readers became chillingly aware that this example, even though perhaps humorously exaggerated, is in the spirit of Watchtower "arguments" they've seen before. That's because my spoof was taken directly from a 1943 Watchtower article. I changed only enough words to change the subject and to condense it.

The point of this exercise was to illustrate how subtle but powerful techniques of persuasion are used in Watchtower literature, techniques that suck the reader in before he's aware of it. These are pure propaganda techniques, and the WTS is a master of them.

As an exercise for the reader, the following material from the 1943 Watchtower is presented. The reader is invited to see how many propaganda tricks are used. The style of the material indicates that Fred Franz wrote it.

In 1943 the Society was apparently having trouble getting JWs to go out and preach as much as the headquarters staff thought was desirable. So a Watchtower article was written to correct the situation and stimulate members to preach more and in the prescribed organizational manner. The article is a classic in the field of persuading by guilt and tyranny of authority. It also nicely illustrates the Society's technique of finding all sorts of plausible reasons for doing something, but never explicitly giving the real reason. In the article the Society declares explicitly that its instructions are exactly the same as if God himself spoke directly to the members. The outline of the article goes something like this:

1. Declare that it is a fine thing to serve God.

2. Declare that the Watchtower Society is God's representative on earth.

3. Declare that members must listen to the Society because its instructions are equivalent to those of God.

4. Issue explicit instructions.

5. Downgrade those who would slack and commend those who would respond.

The article makes free use of Watchtower Society jargon and special symbol words or phrases such as "service," "love," "pleasing to God," "the Lord's people," "righteous," "call to action," "consecrated," "spirit-begotten," "anointed," "cleansed," "commissioned," "meat in due season," "household of faith," "faithful and wise servant," "organization," "righteous requirements," "vindication of Jehovah's name," "the work of the Lord," "those who have the mind of the Lord," "appreciate," "responsibilities," "faithfulness," "Jehovah's will," "organization instructions," "God's channel," "joyfully accept his part," "faithfully carry out," "visible mouthpiece," "privileged to represent the Lord," "established agency," "prove your integrity," "magnify the Lord's "name," "rank unfaithfulness to the Lord," "bear his burden before the Lord," "provisions the Lord has made," "excuses," "duties," "those who really love the Lord," "fighters for the New World," "obey instructions," "take responsibilities seriously," "old world interests," "New World interests," "wholeheartedly," "blameless," "by God's grace" and "do your part."

From the July 1, 1943 Watchtower article "Righteous Requirements," pages 204-6:

The kingdom of God is the highest government any creature can serve. All kingdom service to be acceptable must find its motive in love for the Lord. The intelligent creature desiring to be pleasing to God must always have this fact foremost in his mind. The call to action going forth to the Lord's people throughout the earth at this time is a righteous call, and action is a righteous requirement. This call to action the Lord's people have received particularly since October, 1938. In 1938 the Lord through The Watchtower presented indisputable Scriptural proof establishing the fact that Jehovah is the great Theocrat, that Christ Jesus is his anointed King, and that in 1918 the King came to his temple class composed of the consecrated, spirit-begotten and anointed members of his body. These he has judged cleansed and commissioned to act as his "faithful and wise servant".--Matt. 25:45-47.

This servant he has placed over his earthly household and has given him charge over all his goods with specific instructions to bring forth "meat in due season" for the household of faith. The servant was also anointed "to preach good tidings unto the meek; ...to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn".--Isa. 61:1-3.

The Scriptures and the facts clearly establish that the commission given to the "faithful and wise servant" is grounded in the Word of the Lord. There is only one organization on earth today fulfilling the righteous requirements outlined in this commission from the Lord. The Society, represented by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, is the only one

Preaching good tidings unto the meek, Binding up the brokenhearted, Proclaiming liberty to the captives, Proclaiming the opening of the prison to those that are bound, Proclaiming the acceptable year of the Lord, Proclaiming the day of vengeance of our God, and Comforting all that mourn.

The "Society" is composed of the Lord's consecrated, spirit-begotten and anointed servants, and is the "faithful and wise servant" class, who, under the leadership of Jehovah's commissioned King Christ Jesus, are fulfilling this commission. We should not expect more than one organization doing this work, and the fact that there is no other proves clearly who is the "faithful and wise servant" whom the Lord places over his household. The Lord did not commission a number of servants to act for him, nor did he scatter his work and goods over a great many organizations. No! There could be only one "servant"; and as Jephthah demonstrated that he was the Lord's choice by doing the Lord's work in the spirit and power of the Lord, so the Society today clearly demonstrates to all who have the mind of the Lord and are interested in the vindication of Jehovah's name that it is the Lord's choice and is his "faithful and wise servant" doing the work of the Lord in the power and spirit of Jehovah.

This Society was authorized by the Lord to bring forth things new and old for the household of faith and do the work for which the Lord had organized it. Therefore it is fully qualified and duly authorized to issue a "call to action" to all who claim to be on the Lord's side to busy themselves in doing the work of the Lord.

This "call to action" sent out by the Lord through the Society is based on the fulfilled prophecies of his Word clearly revealed to those who have the mind of the Lord, by such Watchtower articles as the prophecy of Daniel 11:27-45, "Micah," "Song-Call to Action," "Defeat of Persecution," "The Only Light," "Fighter for the New World," etc. These thrilling prophecies were called to our attention during the past year and clearly reveal the Lord's requirements for those who are under the leadership of his King. These are, therefore, right and righteous requirements to every consecrated servant of the Lord.

How does the Lord issue the call to his people? Does it come in the form of a harsh ultimatum: You do thus and so, or else--? No! Such ultimatums are not necessary. The Lord never adopts that attitude toward his servants, and no one else has a right to. Much trouble in company organizations would be avoided if all of the Lords's people could appreciate this point. Those who really love the Lord do not require any such treatment. Of them it is written, "Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory." (Ps. 73:24) Those who do not love the Lord and are opposed to his kingdom, the Lord does not want in his service. Of such the Lord says, "What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?"--Ps. 50:16.

This call is therefore for those who love the Lord and rejoice in his righteous requirements and who wish to live in and accept the responsibilities of the New World. Such show their faith and faithfulness by their response to the call to action. When this class sees the issue and hears the call, that is all that is necessary. Jesus says of them, `For they know the good shepherd's voice, and a stranger will they not follow.' (John 10:4,5) The Lord always issues his call to action in an organized, systematic manner. This is emphasized throughout the bible, from the opening chapters of Genesis to the concluding chapters of Revelation. Let us consider one or two by way of illustration.

In Genesis 1:26 Jehovah issued a "call to action" to his Son, the Logos, and such other agencies as were required for the creation of man, in these words: "And God said, Let US make man in our image, after our likeness." This is all there was to it. Jehovah expressed his will. That expressed will became "organization instructions" to the Logos. It was at that time that "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy". (Job 38:7) Another splendid illustration of Jehovah's expressing his will, which expressed will became "organization instructions" to Jesus and all other servants of the Lord participating in the great drama, is the 110th Psalm, particularly the first three verses: "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth."

Every organization requires specific instructions for all those who serve in it. In the past the Lord issued his "organization instructions" to his servants through his central agency or channel. Each one joyfully accepted his part therein and faithfully carried it out.

Now, the apostle says, Jehovah speaks to us through his Son. (Heb. 1:1, 2) The Son has returned as King; he has come to his temple. He has appointed his "faithful and wise servant", who is his visible mouthpiece, and says to those who are privileged to represent him upon the earth, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations" (Matthew 24:14); and, "The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD and to seek the LORD of hosts" (Zech. 8:21); and, "Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks."--Jer. 16:16.

These expressions of God's will by his King and through his established agency constitute his law or rule of action for the "faithful and wise servant" and for their goodwill companions today who will dwell upon the earth for ever in the New World. The Lord breaks down our organization instructions further and makes them more practicable by further instructing us through his "faithful and wise servant". He says, `Let us assign the field, the world, to special pioneers, regular pioneers and companies of Jehovah's witnesses in an orderly way, sufficient for everyone to thoroughly witness therein, and let us place upon each one the responsibility of caring for the New World interest in these respective assignments.' He says the requirements for special pioneers shall be 175 hours and 50 back-calls per month, which should develop into a reasonble number of studies; and for regular pioneers 150 hours and as many back-calls and studies as can be properly developed during that time. And for company publishers he says, `Let us make a quota of 60 hours and 12 back-calls and at least one study a week for each publisher.' These directions come to us from the Lord through his established agency directing what is required of us; and, for those who really love the Lord and are guided by his counsel, that is a reasonable service requirement. This expression of the Lord's will should be the end of all controversy. It is for your good that these requirements are made; for thereby you are enabled to prove your integrity and magnify the Lord's name.

These directions from the Lord come to us as individuals and as collective units called "companies". Almost everyone who is consecrated to the Lord recognizes that a company requires organization in order to function properly, but not all of these same brethren appreciate the fact that they as individuals require just as complete an organization to carry out their individual responsibilities as the company does. To illustrate: All realize that every company should have a definite assignment of territory in which to witness, but not all appreciate that each individual in that company should have his or her own personal assignment of territory in which to witness. It is just as foolish for a publisher to conclude that he can serve the Lord properly without a personal assignment as it would be for a company to decide that it could function acceptably to the Lord without a territory assignment. A company is required to have an assignment and to systematically work in it from house to house, make back-calls, conduct book studies, and generally aid the people of good-will. They are to carry on all the forms of magazine work in that assignment. They logically hold their own city and such adjacent territory as they can properly handle. It would be the height of foolishness for them to leave their own city and go to a city twenty miles away held by someone else and try to systematically witness in it. Every intelligent person will admit that that would be not only foolishness but rank unfaithfulness to the Lord. The same principle applies to the publisher who refuses to accept the responsibility for a personal assignment of territory and have that assignment as close as possible to his home. The farther away from his home that assignment is, the less time he will have to devote to it and the more difficult it will be to give proper attention to the interest in the territory. Consequently, it is a measure of unfaithfulness to the Lord to thus waste time and energy that belongs to him.

The time has come when each one must bear his own burden fully before the Lord. With the provisions that the Lord has now made in supplying us with new books, question booklets which contain complete instructions for properly carrying on a study, etc., there is absolutely no excuse for anyone, man or woman, to claim to be unable to accept an individual territory assignment and assume full responsibility for it. Those who really love the Lord and are fighters for the New World will not try to excuse themselves on that or any other ground, but will hear the Word of the Lord when he says, Let us do thus and so, and always keep in mind the us includes the Lord, who will be with you in every undertaking.--Matthew 18:20.

The Lord through his "faithful and wise servant" now states to us, "Let us cover our territory four times in six months." That becomes our organization instructions and has the same binding force on us that his statement to the Logos had when he said, "Let us make man in our image." It is our duty to accept this additional instruction and obey it. But someone will say, "The conditions are different. In the case of the Logos, he could accomplish what Jehovah commanded him to do; but when it comes to covering our territory four times in six months, that is out of all reason. We have never covered it more than once or, at the most, twice in six months. It just can't be done." We have all heard that argument before. And if it were true it would look bad indeed, and would imply that the Lord was asking us to do something that is impossible for us to accomplish. The children of Israel walked around Jericho seven times the last day.

The territory now being covered one to two times in six months could very easily be covered four to six times in the same period if everyone took his Kingdom responsibilities seriously. This is not theory, but actual facts based on figures gleaned from a number of companies during the past six months. Psalm 116:12-18 seems worthy of consideration here: "What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people. Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds. I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people."

To do this may mean taking time and effort that is now being devoted to "old world" interests and transferring them to New World interests, which are of God and shall abide for ever. The words of the apostle Peter are to the point in this respect: "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?" (2 Peter 3:11) Before real progress will be made in increasing our activity we must each one recognize these calls to action as coming from the Lord and applying to us personally, and respond to them wholeheartedly.

The New World Government is 29 years old. Consequently it should be kept before the minds of the people at all times by calling at their homes and telling them about it, by making back-calls and conducting studies with them, by working business territory and calling on them in their offices. They should be witnessed to on the streets with our magazines, publishers presenting the message of the New World. No matter where they go, the people should have always before them the evidence that the New World Government has begun to function.

Just as the pile of stones in the midst of Jordan made it necessary for the on-rushing flood to continually roll over them and between them as it rushed on, so today, no matter where the people turn, in their homes, in their businesses, on the streets or in the stores, they are confronted by the evidence of the New World Government in operation represented by its servants "holding forth the word of life". The people of good-will among men will see, hear, and turn aside and take their stand for The Theocracy; and the servants of the Lord will be blameless in this day of the Lord because they have, by God's grace, done their part in meeting the righteous requirements of The Theocracy.


How an elder who left used this to talk to his children

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