Theocratic Lying and Watchtower Witnesses

“Theocratic Lying” and the Watchtower Witnesses

Richard Hollerman

Is Honesty A Value to You?

People who follow the Lord Jesus value truth-telling. They are truthful people and this is based on many principles from Scripture.

For instance, Jesus Himself is the Truth. He declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). As the “truth,” Jesus calls on us to tell the truth.  God also is true.  John writes, “. . . we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 5:20). If God is true, we also must be true since we are to be “imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1).

The Holy Spirit is also truthful and inspires truth. Jesus referred to Him as “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:17; cf. 15:26; 16:13). If the Lord Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit all represent Truth, it is clear that followers of the Lord Jesus must hold truth in highest regard and must renounce all aspects of falsehood or lying

God Hates Lying and Values Truth-telling

God tells us again and again in Proverbs that He loves the truth and hates falsehood.  Notice what Solomon wrote: “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD; but those who deal faithfully are His delight” (Proverbs 12:22). If we lie, God finds this an abomination! In contrast, He values faithfulness!

In contrast to lying, God loves the truth: “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). Paul continues, “Laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another” (v. 25). In another place, the apostle writes, “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices” (Colossians 3:9). Do we have this kind of regard for the truth as well as repudiating lying and dishonesty?

The Disaster of Lying

God is so serious about this matter of truth-telling and lying that He warns us of the dreadful results of dishonesty.  He says that “all liars” will be thrown into “the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). We also read that no one who practices lying “shall ever come into” the Heavenly City (21:27). Outside the City of God will be “everyone who loves and practices lying” (22:15). If no liar will enter heaven, doesn’t that make the matter of being truthful and honest very important to us?

In our world of sin, we see lying all around us. There are few whom we can trust with absolute confidence. Many people either “stretch the facts,” or exaggerate, or tell so-called “white lies.” Seemingly, they fail to have a fear of God that would keep them from deceit and lying.

The Lying of Watchtower Witnesses

Many of you may be aware that the so-called “Jehovah’s Witnesses” who knock at your door believe in lying in certain circumstances.  That’s right. And it may be a shock to you!

Witnesses believe that they are in a “theocratic warfare” and this includes warfare against anyone who opposes the Witnesses, the Watchtower, and their perverse doctrines. That probably includes you! Thus, when Witnesses come to your door and you bring up anything that would oppose one of their false doctrines, they consider you as an enemy of their truth. If you refuse to accept their message because it conflicts with Scripture, and especially if you point out their error, they consider you an unbeliever and an opponent. Because of this, they say that they have a right to lie to you or keep the truth from you.

As verification of this, notice the following short article that explains their view of lying:


Our subject is the dishonesty of the Watchtower Society. The Watchtower has a special policy towards outsiders. Those who question the Watchtower teachings are considered “opposers” and are treated in a special way.

(QUALIFIED TO BE MINISTERS (1967 edition), p. 197.) The Society actually teaches Jehovah’s Witnesses to cover-up or lie about certain facts. They call this tactic — Theocratic War Strategy. The Watchtower instructs Jehovah’s Witnesses that, “As a soldier of Christ he is in theocratic warfare and he must exercise added caution when dealing with God’s foes. Thus the Scriptures show that for the purpose of protecting the interest of God’s cause, it is proper to hide the truth from God’s enemies.”                        (WATCHTOWER, June 1, 1960, p. 352.)

When curious people examine the Watchtower’s history, they find numerous facts that the present day Society tries to cover up. For instance, Watchtower leaders are very embarrassed that the Society’s, founder, Charles Russell, was nearly worshipped by Watchtower followers for many years. Since the Watchtower believes that Russell taught many false doctrines, they go to extremes to cover-up his history.

They deny that the Watchtower ever wrote a biography of Russell’s life. In the Watchtower book, JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES IN THE DIVINE PURPOSE, page 63, we quote this question, “…is it true you have never published a biography of Pastor Russell?” The answer – they say, “That’s right. Jehovah’s Witnesses admire the qualities he possessed as a man, but were we to give the honor and credit to Pastor Russell, we would be saying that the works and success were his …” This is a good example of the Watchtower’s own use of Theocratic War Strategy on Jehovah’s Witnesses; because when we check the record we find that the Watchtower did publish the Biography of Pastor Russell in five successive years, 1923 through 1927. (STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Series 1, THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES, (1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, and 1927 editions) pp.1 to 30).

Thus we find the Watchtower practicing its belief that it is proper to deceive people. But, they say this really isn’t lying. Did you know that the Watchtower has a different definition of “lying” than most of us? In their book, AID TO BIBLE UNDERSTANDING, under the word “Lie,” we read, “Lying generally involves saying something false to a person who is entitled to know the truth….” (AID TO BIBLE UNDERSTANDING 1971, p. 1060.)

Of course, it is the Watchtower leaders that decide who deserves to know the truths.  Do you deserve to know the truth?

Published by Witness Inc. Dialogue with Jehovah Witnesses by Duane Magnani & Arthur Barrett (

Can you see how this should make you cautious in your relationship with Watchtower Witnesses. You may not know whether to trust them or not. I’ve had to deal with this false “theocratic lying” myself.

Let’s now briefly notice three specific areas in which Witness lying has a particularly negative effect.

  1.       Prophetic Lying

Most readers are aware of the massive number of times the Witness movement has been wrong in their understanding of prophecy over the years. Beginning with Charles Taze Russell in the 1800s, followers have been told that Christ’s coming may be dated on the calendar. In 1889 Russell said that the Battle of the Great Day would occur in 1914. God would establish His kingdom at that time.

We all know that our Lord did not come in 1914, as predicted. (Witnesses have been told that Christ came “invisibly” in that year rather than bodily, visibly, and audibly, as Scripture says—1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 1:7.)

Next, Witnesses were told that by 1918 God would destroy the churches and “members by the millions.” That date came and went, with no churches destroyed and millions of members were not destroyed.

The next prominent date was to be 1925, when patriarchs such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were to return. The organization even built a luxurious home for them in San Diego, but this never happened, and the then-President “Judge” Rutherford took the house for himself instead. Later, the house was sold!

By 1942, Witnesses expected to see Daniel and other “princes” “any day now.” Obviously, no “prince” arrived and the year went by without incident.

In 1966 it was predicted that the 6,000 years of earth history would come to a conclusion in 1975, and this would be the famed Battle of Armageddon. When this year came and went, we have read that some one million Witnesses departed in disappointment.  (We recall that Miller’s followers also disbanded in disappointment when Christ didn’t return in October of 1844. The Adventists found ways to account for this “disappointment” for they said that Christ didn’t return as expected, but merely left the Holy Place in Heaven and entered the “Most Holy Place”!)

Again, in 1985 the end of the world was to occur the following year. However, in 1986, Christ did not return, the Battle of Armageddon didn’t happen, and the New Earth did not commence.

In 1988, the Witnesses were told that even though Christ didn’t return in 1914, as predicted, He came “invisibly” instead!

We are aware that the “Governing Board” of the Witnesses (in Brooklyn, New York), composed of a mysterious and unknown group of about 12 men, would not call all of these “lies” (they would call them “mistakes”). All of the teachings associated with these dates and all that was supposed to happen on these occasions did involve massive lying, especially when the Governing Board tried to save face and explain their mistakes.

  1.          Doctrinal Lying

Besides the prophetic dishonesty, Witnesses have been involved in doctrinal aberrations on a grand scale. Paul the apostle wrote of false teachers who would come: “The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron” (1 Timothy 4:1-2).

We are aware that this passage is generally applied to the Roman Catholic Church (and other Eastern Churches), and this would involve over one billion deceived souls! However, surely this warning would also include the millions in the so-called Jehovah’s Witness group. Isn’t it true that the Witnesses have fallen away from “the faith” of Scripture? Do they not pay attention to “deceitful” spirits and “doctrines of demons”? Is there not the “hypocrisy of liars” involved in the Watchtower organization? Isn’t it true that the consciences of multitudes of Witnesses have been “seared”?

If you have had the opportunity to listen to Witnesses, or read their literature, or discuss doctrines with them, you have probably seen how they “twist” and “distort” Scripture “to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16-17). The common Witness that comes to your door is so “brainwashed” that it is difficult to point out the pure teachings of Scripture to him or her.

We are not suggesting that Witnesses are wrong on every single Biblical interpretation. No, they somehow get some things right, but they do manage to pervert a great amount of Scripture as well.

  1.     Practical Lying

As we noticed early in our discussions above, Witnesses believe what they call “theocratic warfare” and this involves “theocratic lying.” They believe that they are justified in lying to you if you do not accept their doctrines. They will withhold information and facts from you if they deem that you are “unworthy” of their teachings.

Again and again, I have noticed that Witnesses are willing to alter the truth, bend the truth, and change the truth to the extent that they are teaching and believing falsehood. I have tried to point this out to them at the door and in my house, but they are so blinded that they refuse to acknowledge the teachings of God’s Word. I’ve pleaded with them to take the Word of God itself in our discussions, without relying on 12 fallible men (the “Governing Board”) in Brooklyn, New York, and one leader walked out of my house when he refused to accept the Word alone, without the interpretations he accepted from Headquarters!

Another way that Witnesses are willing to lie may be noticed by some of our readers.  A number of times we have arranged to meet together again, after a discussion, and they said that they would return the following week. They often will not come. They will refuse to return to your house, even after making arrangements to come back!

Right now, this has happened to me again. Twenty-two days ago, on a Sunday, two Hispanics came to my door and we tried to communicate (I can barely speak Spanish), but they were going to come back the next Sunday. The next Sunday, one returned along with a man proficient in English.  We discussed Scriptures and they were to return one week later, on September 20. They did not return on that date. I then thought they might return on September 27. Again, they did not return. I then wondered if they would return on Sunday, October 4 (yesterday), but again this did not happen. One could say that perhaps these two Witnesses were simply irresponsible and dishonest, but this has happened too many times to be an exception. We believe that it must be an example of their “theocratic lying” to a non-Witness.

When distributing (or trying to distribute) literature at their annual local conferences (attended by 10,000 to 12,000 each week for some three or four weeks), Witness leadership will not allow their members to receive literature from me. (I’ve written about this on the website.). They so warn their members that some surely think that I am a former Witness myself (I am not), thus they think I am what they call, an “Apostate.” When I’ve tried to tell the passers-by that I am not, the leadership continue their deceptive tactics. The last time I was there, not a single member was willing to take a tract! “Theocratic lying” does have an evil effect! On this one count alone, we must reject the Watchtower Witnesses

Tell the Truth in the Midst of Untruth

We believe that there is a different response to this form of Religious Lying than becoming angry and reactionary. Let’s just realize that Satan is “the father of lies” (John 8:44). If Satan, our arch-enemy, is at work in the Witness organization and in Witness followers of the Witness “Governing Board,” it is not surprising that we do see deception, falsehood, and lying in many of our dealings with this group.

Instead of following their example of lying, let’s do all we can do walk in honesty and truthfully. As Paul says, we are to “speak the truth in love” (cf. Ephesians 4:15). Let’s make sure that when we discuss Scriptural teachings with visiting Witnesses, we do so with personal truth as well as Biblical truth. (We also definitely need love, kindness, gentleness, and honesty [cf. 2 Timothy 2:24-26] and sometimes a strong rebuke [Titus 1:9].) Let the contrast become clear.  Let’s not fall into the same deceitful ways that we find in members of this cult for it is not the way of our God of truth, and our Savior of truth, and the Spirit of truth!



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