Don Cameron, as a former member of a Body of Elders of Jehovah's Witnesses has much experience with the Watchtower Society. According to Cameron, "The concept that still holds millions of Jehovah's Witnesses captive is their belief that the Watchtower Society is God's chosen organization to teach them what he wants them to believe; that all of God's directions to mankind comes through this one 'channel of communication.'" Don Cameron writes in a very authoritative style, with references listed for all important assertions. As such, Captives of a Concept is quite a scholarly work. Cameron begins to unravel the Watchtower Society by showing that their own interpretation of Matthew 24:45-47 (which is supposed to authorize the Watchtower Society as God's organization) does not correspond with the organization's history.
Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus' Second Coming occurred invisibly in 1914, and then in 1918 began to make an examination of all religions, finding that only the Jehovah's Witnesses were being faithful to the true teachings of the Bible. Therefore according to their theology, He appointed the Watchtower Society as God's organization. Cameron then goes on to show that numerous teachings of the Watchtower have changed since 1919, therefore making the basis upon which they were chosen as God's organization (their "correct" teaching) to no longer be valid.
For example, the organization had proclaimed that Jesus had returned invisibly in 1874 up until 1943, when the date changed to 1914. Even their own publications refer to this change of dates. The book continues by describing 48 teachings that have changed since "Jesus appointed the Watchtower Society as God's organization." If Jesus really had selected the Watchtower on the basis of their teaching down till 1919, then He would be very upset that they have subsequently changed all those 48 teachings since.
A large section deals with many of the false teachings and prophecies that the Society has promulgated. Although admitting they were not true, the Watchtower never refers to them as "false" but simply as "errors", "mistakes", "misunderstandings", "inaccurate concepts", etc. Besides pointing out these "mistakes," Cameron provides specific examples where the Witnesses' religious leaders have been less than honest in order to cover up their "errors."
Of course, even with overwhelming evidence that the Watchtower is not God's organization, members are unwilling to even examine this evidence for fear of being disfellowshipped. However, Cameron suggests a way to get around their unwillingness to examine the evidence. Since Jehovah's Witnesses take pride in teaching, one way to get them to examine the evidence that the Watchtower Society is not God's organization is to ask them to teach you about the history of the organization. Since they have little or no information in this regard, they will have to do some research to "help you out". The primary source of information about the Society's history is contained in their current 750-page book, Jehovah's Witnesses -Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. Surprisingly, this book contains all the information needed to allow a Jehovah's Witness to teach themselves the truth about the Watchtower Society, if only they knew what to look for and where to find it. Their 'student'' who does know what to look for and where to find it may be able to help the Witness teacher discover what that book is willing to teach them about their religion.
Having tried the biblical approach to witnessing to Jehovah's Witnesses, I can tell you that you can defeat them at scripture and they will leave unaffected (presumably). At this point, they haven't been back to my house for a few years (they usually come every year to most residences in the United States). I think my house is on the "do not visit" list. If they come again, I will try this approach. If you get the book and try it out, let me know what happens as you are "taught" Watchtower history.
More information along with ordering info can be found at www.CaptivesOfaConcept.com.
Last Modified June 26, 2006