On my Facebook page recently, I had posted a video about the high control practices found in the Watchtower Organization. The video showed how the person trying to do the outreach to Jehovah's Witnesses was totally ignored as though he were not there. The host kept asking various Jehovah's Witnesses if they have "the truth" and they just refused to answer and did not acknowledge his presence. He was "invisible" to all the JWs who were there to attend their convention at the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Many of us former Jehovah's Witnesses know very well the shunning practices used by the Watchtower to control their people from talking to any of us who have the organization. The video can be found here:
Although some sects of Christianity can be considered very high control, in my experience all the denominations (six major evangelical denominations) that I have been associated with in the past 32 years do not practice high control procedures.
A responder to my Facebook post who has never been a Jehovah's Witness and is not a Christian made the claim that ALL organized religion is controlling. She went on to say:
I have studied religion for years. All organized religions of today sprang from nature based religions where women were the priestesses and all creatures were respected. Then along came the Crusades when men destroyed 3000 years of women's "history" slaughtering the priestesses and their followers. Christianity Judaism and the religion of Islam all were invented to control people and create a hierarchy of power. 90% of people who believe themselves to be religious know nothing about the origins of their religions or the blood that has been spilled and is still being spilled to protect the money and power that came from these religions.My, my, that is quite a claim! She provided no citations and no substantiation for her claim. Come on now, women were "priestesses" for 3000 years of prehistoric history before men came along in the crusades that destroyed their history and culture? I find absolutely no evidence that remotely substantiates her claims. I searched through various scholarly journals I could find through the University of Phoenix Library and could find nothing. Sounds like one WHOPPER of a conspiracy theory to me.
I consulted with Marcia Montenegro and asked if she had ever heard of anything like this since she specializes in refuting New Age philosophies. Marcia confirmed that these theories, which are present in Wiccan and feminist circles have been debunked in academia. As a former new ager and now a Christian for many years, she works in full time ministry to educate people about the dangers of the New Age and Occultic practices. She went on to say, "This theory about an original nature loving culture with priestesses and being in a universally female dominated, sprang mainly from feminist spirituality in Wicca and New Age Circles."
My friend Nick Peters, made this response to my Facebook friend who made these outrageous claims. He gave me permission to quote him here from his original Facebook post responding to her.
Religions created to control? Yep. Because Christianity did everything right to control people!
Let's see. Create a shameful Messiah who suffered the most shameful death of the time and who if you were a Jew, identifying with him would be kin to being a blasphemer to YHWH and if you were a Gentile, would mean you were identifying with a traitor to Caesar? Check.
Create a religion that would not accept worship of other gods when you were in a culture where you worshiped the gods of the people around you lest you invoked their wrath and judgment? Refusing to worship them would mark you out as deviant and lead to shaming and persecution.
Create a religion with a Messiah figure who came from a people of no reputation and a city of no reputation who never traveled, went to war, ran for political office, wrote a book, established a philosophy, etc.
Create a religion that was seen as new when instead, it was the traditional systems of the day that were honored and the new was looked at with suspicion. (See for instance Robert Wilken's "The Christians as the Romans Saw Them.)
Create a system where resurrection of the body was emphasized when in reality, the body was seen as a prison to escape from and so returning to the body would be like going back into prison. (Crossan and Reed "In Search of Paul.")
Create a religion with a strict ethical code and no advantages in this lifetime but rather all waiting for the next?
And that's just a start and this can be found in scholars like Pilch, Malina, Neyrey, Richards, DeSilva, Jeffers, Witherington, etc.
You're right on one thing. Many people don't know the origins of their religious beliefs because they don't read real scholars.
Even worse, many people fool themselves into thinking that they know because they take comparative religion courses at a university.
The moral of this story is that even though we who have been Jehovah's Witnesses once believed what was false in the Watchtower, we need to search for real truth and not fall for another lie or cleverly told story. This whole story given to me by my Facebook friend is nothing but a myth, a fairy tale with no substantiation. I know that many Ex Jehovah's Witnesses have followed after New Age philosophies because they have eschewed religion, specifically Christianity, in any form, saying they don't want to be "controlled". They keep looking and looking for something to fulfill them and have not found complete freedom because they do not know what freedom in Christ means.
Some actually believe that Christianity is a faith for the ignorant and the uninformed. They see us as a bunch of idiots who are unenlightened and practice "blind faith." They have no idea what Christian scholarship is and the extent of research within Christian scholarship in many universities and seminaries. I do not know whether my friend has ever heard of or read any of C.S. Lewis's works. There are so many wonderful Christian scholars out there with impeccable credentials from excellent universities and seminaries. A few off the top of my head would be William Lane Craig (Talbot School of Theology and Houston Baptist University), John Lennox (Oxford University), and Daniel B. Wallace (Dallas Theological Seminary).
So my Ex JW friends, keep reading and keep researching. Read the Bible, but if you need help, look up scholarly information on Biblical subjects. Most of all, really consider all of the evidence concerning the truth of scripture and Christianity. The more you research the real evidence, the more the real truth will shine.
Nick's blog can be found at: http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/
Marcia's website and information is at: http://christiananswersforthenewage.org/AboutCANA_Background.html