Italy – Jehovah’s Witnesses in Crisis

Jehovah’s Witnesses, a religion in crisis between internal discontent and the flight of the faithful

Article in Italian news portal

20/07/2021 – 19:32 Jehovah’s Witnesses have always declared themselves to be the “happiest people on earth”, but certain events are contradicting this statement, giving the image of a religion subject to increasingly loud and revolutionary protest movements. In recent years, in fact, thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been publicly denouncing the climate of hypocrisy that reigns within the community. They are believers and former believers who surf the net, hiding behind a nickname so as not to be recognised, because they fear retaliation from a religious group that does not tolerate criticism and objections from within.

The progression of the number of new followers has begun to stagnate or decrease in many Western countries, where the diffusion of the Internet has allowed most people to access information that was once segregated in the archives of the organisation. Doubt began to spread among congregations, mistrust increased, and reports circulated quickly. Like the one according to which Jehovah’s Witnesses for ten years, from 1991 to 2001, were part of the UNO, a world political institution that they themselves have always branded as a “satanic institution”. This discovery has prompted many believers to accuse the organisation of hypocrisy and inconsistency with respect to what has been taught for years in congregations all over the world.

Rebellion and disobedience are on the rise among those who accuse the movement of being authoritarian and libertarian. The rule prohibiting any contact with a disassociated person is continually challenged. Fewer and fewer Jehovah’s Witnesses agree to follow the diktats of the governing body, the highest authority in the organisation. The outflow of young people from the community is impressive. According to data, almost seventy per cent of children born into Jehovah’s Witness families leave the cult when they become adults. This is a percentage not found in any other religion in the world. Many outcasts have denounced what they describe as an occult system that manipulates consciences and publishes subliminal images of a Masonic nature in its publications to encourage plagiarism among readers.

The most critical of Jehovah’s Witnesses are those who have left the organisation and describe a claustrophobic reality. It is a closed world where individual freedom is nullified and members are isolated from the outside world by the threat of divine punishment against anyone who dissents from the organisation’s directives. However, many former Jehovah’s Witnesses have still found the courage to break down the wall of silence and fear and have decided to recount their experiences in order to inform public opinion about what is happening among Jehovah’s Witnesses. The aim, according to them, is to unmask the contradictions of the movement and bring to light the skeletons that the organisation has hidden in its wardrobes. The most clamorous of these is paedophilia, perpetrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses all over the world and covered up by the movement’s leadership. A phenomenon that has already cost the religious group tens of millions of dollars in compensation in civil lawsuits.

Hundreds of thousands of people leave the community every year because they are tired of being subjected to the dictatorship of a governing body that has proclaimed itself to be God’s only channel on earth. Not all of them do, of course, but those who remain often live a double life. On the one hand, they follow the rules of the organisation and, on the other, those of the world. Not only that. But, from what we read on the Internet, it seems that many Jehovah’s Witnesses no longer feel like Jehovah’s Witnesses and have started to frequent dissident sites. Physically they are still part of the organisation, but mentally they have already jumped ship. Thousands of them are double agents. In the congregations they behave in an exemplary manner, but in private they interact with dissidents and provide them with confidential information about what is happening in a banned community in several countries.

The discontent within the movement is growing day by day and is also affecting those who, for one reason or another, decide to remain in the organisation. The recent organisational changes have created turmoil among the community leaders. Many elders who worked in branches or served as ‘overseers’ or ‘special pioneers’ have been sent home to cut costs. Hundreds of congregations around the world were closed. Two thousand in America alone. Constant doctrinal changes, such as the end of the world being postponed until an increasingly uncertain and imprecise future, have created weariness and apathy in many Jehovah’s Witnesses who have ceased to be zealous preachers.

In short, dissent among Jehovah’s Witnesses is spreading like wildfire, and the movement seems to be in recession all over the world. The reason for this is said to be the invasive policies of the organisation’s leadership and religious doctrines taken too far. But also the inability of the leadership to plug the many cracks that have opened up and that are bringing to light the true nature of a movement that, like all religious movements, is showing itself to have an increasingly human and increasingly less divine nature.

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