You must be indoctrinated thoroughly. This process begins by agreeing to study Watchtower literature with one or more JWs, usually once a week. Along with this literature, selected scriptures are read from their own translation of the Bible, unless you absolutely refuse to use it. They will agree to let you use your own Bible, but will "encourage" and pressure you to use theirs, claiming it is superior (personally, there are some things I like and some things I dislike about it). Though rare, you might begin to consider "dedication and baptism" after completing a study of their primary book for new recruits. Currently this book is called "What Does the Bible Really Teach?", a question many JWs should ask themselves daily! More often the case is that they want you to have completed the study of at least two of their publications, sometimes a brochure but most often another book. Meanwhile, you are expected to "progress", meaning that you should start going to the meetings at the Kingdom Hall and, if your indoctrination is going smoothly, you might be encouraged to become an "Unbaptized Publisher", which is a person who does the door- to- door preaching work alongside a JW but who is not a JW themselves yet. After your study conductor feels that you are well enough indoctrinated, you will be encouraged to consider baptism, and to begin taking the steps toward it.
After making a personal dedication to God in prayer, you cannot simply inform the elders that you have made your dedication and then expect to be baptized on the next opportunity. First, you must meet with three different elders on three separate occasions and answer over 30 questions per elder, for a total of 104 questions about JW doctrine. Some of these questions, found in the book, "Organized To Do Jehovah's Will", deal with things such as;
- Why people who have a "potentially fatal disease" should "not initiate public displays of affection" (page 196).
- Keeping people with "potentially fatal diseases" (such as HIV) away from congregation book studies held in private homes whenever possible (page 197).
- Why someone with such a disease should not react negatively "WHEN" someone chooses not to invite them into their homes (page 197). *Yes, it actually says, "when", meaning that such a person should expect this behavior and just accept it!
- How you can "identify 'the faithful and discreet slave' today" (page 209). *Matthew 24:45-47 is cited as the source of the answer. Nothing in those two verses points to the Governing Body of JWs, whom they believe is the "faithful and discreet slave"!
- What the Governing Body is (page 209). *Acts 15:1, 2 are cited as the source of the answer for this one. Evidently, the Governing Body place themselves on par with the Apostle Paul and Barnabas!
- How to demonstrate submission to the elders (page 210).
- What efforts you make to attend all the meetings (page 211). *What does this have to do with anything???
- Why " approved works" are so important (page 211).
- In what ways are you "sharing the good news" with others (page 212) *Does God really care how as long as you do it?
- How (not why) you can give "material support" to the "Kingdom work" (organization) today (page 212).
- What your attitude should be "toward giving of yourself and your material possessions" (page 213).
- What you can pray about (page 214).
- Why it is important to be called a "Jehovah's Witness" (page 215).
After these 104 questions, the elders will discuss with each other whether or not you're adequately indoctrinated (page 218, under "Instructions For Congregation Elders"). If so, one of them will review with you the two questions which will be asked aloud of you on the day of your baptism in front of hundreds of JWs. The second of these questions is;
"Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with God's spirit- directed organization?"
In other words, do you acknowledge that your being baptized by JWs makes you one of them, a part of their organization, and binds you to their rules, policies, and dictates?
This is perhaps the most important question in the hierarchy of the JW chain of command.
If you answer these questions to the elders' satisfaction, then you are considered "qualified" for baptism. Then you go through the motions of answering the two baptism questions in front of other JWs at a convention or assembly, and then you get immersed in a pool. When you emerge, you have just sealed your fate to be shunned by any JW whom you know and love the moment you discover that you don't agree with the organization's teachings anymore! Those who embraced you while you were taking in all of their indoctrination will discard you like a soiled diaper the moment you question that indoctrination!
Anyway, that's how you become one. I have seen this process take anywhere from 8 months to 6 years, depending on how much natural resistance a brain has to the indoctrination and the type and amount of pressure applied.
· 1 decade ago