To call them a cult using a definition formulated to include them, in conflict with their legal standing in most areas, seems neither honest nor truthful.
I'm not arguing that they do not show many aspects of being a cult. Kevin Crawley's "behavioural definition" of cultism, loosely based on the incorporation of Margaret Singer's list of cult indoctrination techniques with Dr. Robert Lifton's methods of thought reform, appears to be properly applicable to Jehovah's Witnesses. However, as far as I am aware, no one qualified to do so has written associating the said techniques/methods/definition with Jehovah's Witnesses.
Given their legal standing and the lack of a professional opinion otherwise, I argue that calling them a cult is a matter of personal opinion and at most a topic of controversy. It should be limited to a section dedicated to controversies about the religion, not throughout other sections as a statement of fact.
If you do have a professional opinion linking Singer and Lifton's methods, or even Crawley's definition, to the Witnesses, I'd be glad to hear it. Reference away.
--Jaban 05:26, 22 September 2008 (CDT)
I also agree that cult usually has a connotation of things that JW's don't necessarily fit in (though I do believe they are probably the closest of the main Christian denominations due to their beliefs of blood, door to door preaching and especially in their belief of disfellowship and shunning). However it is hard to draw the line as to what is truly a cult. Some definitions would end up getting all religions whereas some would only get the most extreme groups (such as the ones that have killed themselves to follow comets and what not).
Gizmoiscariot 12:45, 22 September 2008 (PDT)
The recently added paragraph on blood transfusions, in my opinion, is entirely dishonest. It represents their beliefs and practices inaccurately, and uses hostile language and misconceptions to attack their obviously distasteful (and arguably immoral) rule.
While stated opposition to transfusions is required by members, and parents are usually encouraged or asked to actively prevent transfusions, it is not the official policy, and in my experience not actual practice, to demand active prevention on penalty of excommunication. I have not heard of a single case where a member was threatened with excommunication if they did not cooperate with a "plot" to kidnap their child from a hospital.
And excuse my sarcasm, but they are "generally" charged with negligence? You mean more than the zero documented instances I've been able to find? When I was a Witness I heard stories of children being temporarily made wards of the court throughout medical procedures requiring blood, and those cases are all documented. But I've never found any documented cases of the parents being charged with negligence for refusing treatment, nor parents being charged with kidnapping. The stories circulated within the church and among former members seem to be based on "what if" scenarios, not actual cases.
I would like to see an attack on the religion for (a) teaching people untruths about blood transfusions to create an environment of fear surrounding them and mistrust of the medical system in general, (b) encouraging members to actively and illegally prevent blood transfusions for critically ill minors (part of which would include "kidnapping"), and (c) their continuing to use the legal system to delay treatment for each new case, despite the fact that they lose every time. But I'd like to see the attack done honestly and with legitimate arguments.
--Jaban 06:59, 22 September 2008 (CDT)
I agree, its the last two sentences that I have an issue with. Unless you have some source to back it up, I suggest it be deleted. I personally think the blood transfusion ban is stupid, and its personally scary as one of my best friends is a JW and would hate to have her need a blood transfusion to stay alive and have her refuse it. But I would not suggest that JW's kidnap children to prevent blood transfusions without backing it up. Unless someone can source that, I say delete it.
--Gizmoiscariot 12:04, 22 September 2008 (PDT)