Poul Bregninge launches his exceptionally well-written must-read book, Judgment Day Must Wait – Jehovah’s Witnesses: A sect between idealism and deceit, about the American-born religion, Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs), by stating that religion can be a force for faith, hope and love. But, not with this group! His impeccable research chronicles a 138-year history best described with words like “denial”, “suppression”, “superstition”, “masters of manipulation”, and the overriding fake news: “Armageddon is just around the corner“.
Poul’s treatment of the movement’s history, members’ experiences and disquieting statistics are eye-opening, to say the least. The 600-page book is “sometimes academic, often documentary and an endlessly human examination of a wholly manmade theocracy and its apocalyptic crimes of ideology and religious folly.”
Poul alerts us early onto Watchtower’s culture by reporting:
“Psychologically speaking, the movement’s own self-understanding is enormously exaggerated. From a world point of view, it is largely inconsequential. As a phenomenon, the JWs are hugely well known—far beyond what the movement’s size warrants! But, their history is at the same time extremely interesting, fascinating and frightening.
“JWs find themselves in a conceptual world characterized by delusions, making it impossible for them to grasp the gravity of their situation. The systematic subversive and detrimental influence, to which they are constantly exposed, causes their real ‘I’ to be overlaid with the weight of organizational matter, absurd doctrines, and unreasonable rules, all of which are done to keep them detached from anything considered normal by the rest of society.”
For all that Watchtower has done to champion “freedom of religion”, it does not practice what it preaches. Poul does a masterful job of showing readers just how difficult Watchtower makes it for members today if they want to leave.
The organization has become a “giant”, with neither heart nor sense. Members stay with the group because of family and social ties, the threat of severe shunning if they leave, and a phobia-induced fear of Armageddon.
Poul’s book clearly illustrates how foolish people can be when they too strongly and uncritically engage in a utopian ideal. And, he concludes his story with: “We now find ourselves in 2016, more than 100 years after the Day of Judgment failed to materialize. But in spite of it all, and once again, according to the Witnesses, we are nearing the end of the road; Armageddon is just around the corner.” Their “good news” is the ultimate in “fake news.”
What do you think about this article? Do you agree? Have you read Poul’s book? Do you have a story about the Jehovah’s Witnesses, their history, or ‘fake news’ that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!
 Dawn M. Johnson