The view that higher education is spiritually dangerous is very common among Witnesses. Witness leadership also discourages higher education because they believe it’s a waste of time. Jehovah’s Witnesses have been predicting the end of the world since the religion’s founding at the end of the 19th century. By their rationale, time in college would be better spent out on the streets, converting persons to become Witnesses.
Watchtower organization doesn’t discourage education, but rather secular education. Higher education is supposedly spiritually dangerous. The most intelligent and eloquent professors will be trying to reshape the thinking of your child, and their influence can be tremendous. Continual association with non-believers in an academic setting can “erode thinking and convictions.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses are encouraged to make their preaching work the top priority in their life. Higher education is discouraged, based on their belief that it is futile to plan for secular advancement in a world that faces imminent destruction, as well as fears about succumbing to “worldly thinking” and concerns that advanced education might lead to a lack of humility or involvement in immorality. Because evangelistic activities take priority over educational success, young Witnesses rarely progress to college or university, which Holden (1.) describes as a source of regret in subsequent years among those who are raised in the organization and later choose to leave.
Watch Tower Society publications advise parents to recommend alternatives to university education for their children, suggesting associate degrees from community or technical colleges or short courses in subjects such as office administration, automotive repair, computing, or hairdressing. They urge young Witnesses to pursue higher education only to gain skills to obtain a reasonable living while maintaining flexibility to pursue their “true” vocation, serving God.
Author James Penton’s (2) major study of the Witnesses, Apocalypse Delayed, noted that of those Witnesses who do progress to university, few are likely to take studies in such areas as the humanities and the social sciences, “disciplines that are most threatening to the Witness world-view”.
Jehovah’s Witnesses provide religious training programs for their members, focusing on improving skills for their ministry. These include School for Kingdom Evangelizers. Some of these programs are by invitation only. Holden (1.)observed: “Despite the fact that Witnesses claim to reason from the scriptures, their theology is taught in a highly mechanistic fashion, and written publications encourage the members to learn almost by rote.”
The lack of higher education can translate into more tangible problems for Witnesses. Pew research also shows that Jehovah’s Witnesses are among the lowest earners of any religious group.
Leaving the faith at 18 changed my life completely. I went to university, where I made even more friends who showed me that being in the “world” is completely fine, and that debate and discussion is also OK. I began a life where constantly questioning and improving my beliefs and ideas and always being open to those of others were my only constant doctrines. I began a life where I could decide what to believe for myself, and I wasn’t afraid of someone telling me I couldn’t.
Jehovah’s Witness doctrines provide no method for baptized members to leave on good terms. Those who choose to depart and announce their decision to terminate their membership are regarded as voluntarily entering the world of Satan.
Watch Tower publications define such individuals as being “more reprehensible than those in the world” and direct that they are to be shunned by other Witnesses, including close relatives, with no social or religious contact and no greeting given. Sociologist Andrew Holden claims his research indicated many Witnesses who would otherwise defect because of disillusionment with the organization and its teachings remain affiliated out of fear of being shunned and losing contact with friends and family members.
While we are using our magnifying glass on Witnesses, we observe the Jehovah’s Witnesses are one of Canada’s wealthiest and least transparent charities. CHARITY INTELLIGENCE, an agency that monitors charities for Canadian donors, gives the group a D-grade because they do not provide details on how donations are spent. “Jehovah’s Witnesses have a one star rating out of five stars. That should be a red flag to donors. That should also be red flag to government.”
- Holden, Andrew (2002). Jehovah’s Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement.
- Penton, James M.(1997). Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah’s Witnesses (2nd ed.). University of Toronto Press.
TEACHINGS OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that all other Christian churches represent renegade Christendom, and only the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (which is the spiritual leadership of the Jehovah’s Witnesses) can be trusted.
The Bible describes how the apostles could pass on their authority to future bishops: “Let another person take over his work.”Act 1:20 Why should we believe
(1) that the Catholic Church lost its God-given authority to interpret Scripture and proclaim doctrine and
(2) that the Watchtower is God’s official organization on Earth with his authority to interpret Scripture? How does one know that Jesus has given the Watchtower special authority? You Will Know Them by Their Fruits Matthew 7:16
Why did Watchtower teach the following?
- Taught that the world would come to an end in 1914.
- Said this was a miscalculation and the world would actually end in 1915.
- Said the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be resurrected when the world would end in 1925.
- Strongly hinted that the end of the world would come in 1975.
In 1995 stopped printing the following message about the end of the world in its magazine Awake!: “[T]his magazine builds confidence in the Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure world before the generation that saw the events of 1914 passes away.”Deuteronomy 18:22 states that a person is not a prophet if he makes a prediction that fails to come to pass.
If God were really guiding the Watchtower, then why would he allow his “spirit-led” organization to lead so many people into error about the end of the world? The simplest answer to these questions is that men, not God, guide the Watchtower, and so it should not be trusted with our eternal salvation.
6. “We see no reason for changing the figures nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe, God’s dates, not ours. But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble.” Zion’s Watch Tower (July 15 1894) p.226. Over time the Watchtower started teaching that the world began to end in 1914, not that it was going to end in 1914 (even though this contradicts the Watchtower’s assertion that 1914 was not the beginning of anything but the end).
7. This miscalculation was due to confusion over whether there was a year “zero.” Russell wrote, “In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished near the end of A.D. 1915.” Charles Taze Russell”The Time Is At Hand” Studies In the Scriptures Series II (1915) 99, 101, 242.
8. “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection.” Joseph Rutherford, Millions Now Living Will Never Die (Brooklyn, NY: International Bible Students Association, 1920) 89-90.
9. “Whatever the date for the end of this system, it is clear that the time left is reduced, with only approximately six years left until the end of 6,000 years of human history.” The Watchtower (May 1, 1970) 273.
10. ‘When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you need not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:22
We need solid proof for their claim to divine authority. Jehovah’s Witnesses certainly do not appeal to any miraculous intervention from God as proof. Continue reading JEHOVAH’S WITNESS EDUCATION