There are many disingenuous or outright falsehoods that JWs will tell you about their organization or beliefs. To be fair, they are not taught to think of them as lies so the average Witness will only be parroting something he/she read in a Watchtower and never gave it any more thought. They may sincerely belief such things themselves, however, because of the constant mental conditioning they have been indoctrinated in they can’t see the deception in their own statements. As George Costanza said in ‘Seinfeld’, “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”
The biggest bit of deception goes, in varying degrees, like this, –‘God will NOT destroy every non-JW at Armageddon’.
I was born and raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for 32 years and still I have had fellow believers look me in the eye and say that very thing to me. I have printed out whole pages of quotes from previous Watchtower articles that state the opposite, yet still they can not grasp this idea. Usually they fall back on the line ‘Well it’s up to Jehovah who makes it, he will decide‘. Fair enough, but that is not a what your own organization says about it. Let me be perfectly clear about this issue on what Jehovah’s Witnesses teach on this topic: Everyone who is not actively part of their organization when the ‘End’ comes will be slaughtered by Jesus and the 144,000 at Armageddon. Even those apart of the organization but not zealous enough might not make the cut. Yet you will be hard pressed to find a JW that will outright tell you this.
Why do they continue to lie about, or at the very least, downplay this? I believe it comes down to 2 reasons: 1 – They personally are uncomfortable with the idea of God killing everyone who isn’t part of their group. Even if it goes contrary to what is published, they can’t accept completely this concept and choose to believe (privately of course) that God will be more merciful when the time comes. When confronted with the topic, they will go with the ‘It’s up to Jehovah’ line to ease their guilty conscience. I even had an elder tell me that he believes a billion people will survive Armageddon. Far more than the current 8 million JWs.
Reason 2 – The Organization has gone to great lengths to hide and use wordplay to conceal this idea from the public. If you look on their official site under the Frequently Asked Questions section you will find this asked, “Do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that they are the only ones that will be saved?” The very first word in response is a lie -‘No’
No. Many millions who lived in centuries past and who weren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses will have an opportunity for salvation. The Bible explains that in God’s promised new world, “
there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) Additionally, many now living may yet begin to serve God, and they too will gain salvation. In any case, it’s not our job to judge who will or won’t be saved. That assignment rests squarely in Jesus’ hands.—John 5:22, 27
The very short paragraph list two reasons why. All the resurrected people from the past who weren’t JWs will be there. Also, there might be people in the future who are currently not JWs now who will get salvation. As any outsider could tell you, neither of those reasons answer the question that was asked. It ignores the real issue a person who would have asked that question would be wanting to know – If Armageddon came this very moment, who would survive? You can tell by the way they answered the question on the website that they don’t really want to tell you. Both groups mentioned in their answer that currently aren’t JWs both have one thing in common though if you understand what they are saying. That is, both groups have to come to serve Jehovah as part of his people to have “the opportunity for salvation”. So at the same time they are saying two different things: ‘No Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t the only ones to be saved. But those in the past and future that want salvation need to serve God as part of his people’. Sorry you can’t have it both ways Watchtower.
I won’t here go through a list of quotes detailing what they really believe on this. Many have done so already and is available online. Jwfacts.com did a remarkable job at compiling them. Historically though, JWs at one time believed that the majority of people on earth would survive the end. It wasn’t until the mid 1930s did they get “new light” on this and come up with the current teaching of, ‘your either one of us or Jesus is going to kill you’.
What sparked my current interest in writing this is the most current Watchtower magazine (Sept 2019). In two of its articles ( one on ‘Armageddon’ and one on ‘the great crowd’), it touches on this point but in its typically way of obscuring the ugly truth.
In the article about Armageddon under the subheading ‘How you can survive Armageddon’ it says that first you have to ‘know God’:
“We “know God” when we know his likes, dislikes, and standards. We also show that we know him when we love and obey him and give him our exclusive devotion.”
All JWs will tell you that the only way to ‘know God’ is to learn from them about Him. Can’t do that if your not a part of their group. Other people don’t even call God the right name according to them.
The next point in the paragraph is that you have to ‘obey Jesus’:
“That obedience includes keeping Kingdom interests in first place, living by God’s righteous standards, and announcing God’s Kingdom. (Matt. 6:33; 24:14) It also includes supporting Christ’s anointed brothers as they care for their weighty responsibilities.—Matt. 25:31-40.“
Is ANY of that possible to do outside of their organization? Again any JW will tell you no. You cannot serve ‘Christ’s anointed brothers’ (which to them is basically just the governing body) without being a JW. (Sidepoint here, Jesus called his brothers those that were poor, sick, hungry, etc and told his sheep to take care of them as if it were him. That JWs teach that this means to support the governing body and the organization that they run is obscene!)
In the article about ‘The Great Crowd’ we get this in paragraph 12:
“As we have seen, however, since 1935, Jehovah’s Witnesses have clearly understood that the survivors of Armageddon are the great crowd of John’s vision.”
Pretty straightforward right? So who make up the great crowd? Well just two paragraphs earlier we get this answer:
“Since 1935, Jehovah’s Witnesses have thus understood that the great crowd of John’s vision is made up of a group of faithful Christians who have the prospect of living forever on earth. In order to survive the great tribulation, the great crowd would have to be educated in Jehovah’s ways before the Millennium begins.“
Interesting. So ONLY the great crowd will survive. And to be included in the great crowd you have to be in a ‘group of faith christians’ and be ‘educated in Jehovah’s ways BEFORE the millennium begins’. The millennium begins the day Armageddon ends. So there is no other way around it. No matter how they try to say it nicely and obscurely, no matter what a JW says to you in person – Unless you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses you will not survive!
They will lie through their teeth to convince you that is not what they believe, however the proof is there. They just don’t want to see it. They relish in the thought that soon Jesus “the executioner” (as my father-in-law put it) will soon lay waste to anyone outside the organization.
At the end of the day I can see why they lie about it. I’m sure they would get much less of a response from people at the door if they were honest:
‘Good morning. I’m one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and if you don’t join our religion, then God, by means of our Governing Body at Armageddon, will slaughter you and your family.’