The latest Watchtower magazine launches another attack on higher education
The latest Watchtower magazine launches another attack on higher education

The Watch Tower Society has long stigmatized higher education and dissuaded young Jehovah’s Witnesses from a meaningful career as anything other than unpaid promoters of the organization.

As far back as 1969 Watchtower was telling young ones that they would “never fulfill any career that this system offers.” Why? Because by the time they graduate, the “system of things” would be “well on the way towards its finish, if not actually gone!” (Awake! 1969, May 22, page 15)

It goes without saying that, in the 45 years since 1969, countless meaningful careers have both started and ended – including some that Watchtower has directly benefited from as technology has advanced.

Despite such demonstrably reckless past advice, Watchtower’s crusade against higher education is being waged just as ferociously as ever – as shown in the latest June 15 2014 Watchtower study edition. (download here)

A three page article entitled “‘Smooth Out the Course of Your Feet’ to Make Progress” uses strong imagery to present higher education as a hindrance and stumbling block rather than something that can lead to individual betterment and achievement.

education-pathwayThe article begins by reminding readers of the ancient Jews returning to Jerusalem from Babylonish captivity, and how they were required to clear a highway free of any obstacles to make their journey easier.

The related passage in Isaiah 62:10 is crudely hijacked, with young ones asked to view higher education as a kind of obstacle from which they should free themselves.

The article then uses extremely loaded language to present higher education as something evil and sinister.

“When a young Witness does well in school, a guidance counselor, a teacher, or a fellow student may pressure the Witness to pursue higher education as a step toward success in this system of things,” the article warns.

If you replace “pressure” with “encourage,” and “in this system of things” with “in life,” the entire quote above immediately sounds sensible and positive – but Watchtower chooses its words very carefully to achieve its agenda.

The same is true of the sentence that immediately follows.

“Or a young brother or sister who has athletic ability may find that recruiters try to entice him or her into a sports career.”

“Entice” has clear, negative connotations of trickery and deception – making it just the sort of word Watchtower can make us of in raising paranoia among parents and young people. A career in sports must be seen as threatening and dangerous.

And it isn’t long before we are introduced to the career option that Watchtower conveniently approves of.

“Rather than pursue worldly goals, why not firmly establish ‘your ways’ before Jehovah by sharing in the pioneer ministry?”

Hence an article that tries to convey concern for the needs of young people is revealed as a not-so-thinly veiled attempt at recruitment and exploitation.

There are actually two main motives for Watchtower’s stigmatization of higher education for young people. The first is, as shown above, their selfish need for volunteer evangelizers to promote the organization.

Secondly, and perhaps more pressingly, is the threat posed to Watchtower by learning and personal enlightenment. Once young people are exposed to the rudimentary critical thinking skills that are taught in colleges and universities, the fog of Watchtower indoctrination quickly clears. This has been alluded to by Tony Morris in his rants on the subject.

Thankfully, certain current and former Witnesses are able to see through the spin and rhetoric, and with such ones the latest article will not have the desired effect.

Our latest 2014 Global Survey has so far attracted 1,640 respondents. For the overwhelming majority of these, the stigmatization of higher education by Watchtower is the most contentious of all teachings and practices, with 1,316 voicing their disapproval.

The following table shows the top 10 most contentious teachings/practices in our survey.

higher-education-resultsTo dupe and exploit adults is one thing, but to rob young people of their hopes, aspirations and potential through coercion and propaganda for purely selfish ends is disturbing and immoral.

Though it is encouraging that some current and former Witnesses are alert to this alarming side of Watchtower propaganda, we should still spare a thought for the countless teenagers whose achievements in life will be stifled by this and similar Watchtower articles.









Further reading…

Related video…

110 thoughts on “Watchtower continues crusade against higher education

  • June 16, 2014 at 6:58 am

    I alwaalways wanted to become a rock star and then the elders said that its not acceptable and they make u feel bad they say somting about why be a star in satans world. There a bunch of dippsticks

    • June 16, 2014 at 10:41 am

      HA! I guess it is OK though for Michael Jackson and Prince to be Rock Stars though? Oh yea, we wouldn’t want to
      do anything that would reflect bad on the WT right?
      Like those guys set a great example.Or the former Gov Body member Greenlees who was a know Child molester.
      Hey..Maybe you can still be a Rock Star?

  • June 29, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    “Flavia soon noticed that many students
    had no interest in ‘saving the planet.’
    Also, some programs at the university relied
    on businesses for funding, so researchers
    might feel inclined to favor
    those businesses.”

    The party highlighted in the magazine appears to be of the latest generation–“Millennials” [I’ll get back to the Aramaic/Hebrew/Greek generation in a bit]. Even, if we project this as a young Generation X-er, the studies on Generation X and Y dispel the “masses of students” disinterested in ‘saving the planet’ or lacking an interest in social and political movements [Dawson, Alene (2011-10-26). “Study says Generation X is balanced and happy”. CNN. Retrieved from

    It is true that some affluent youths at pretigious universities are “floaters” but movements like “Occupy Wall Street” and the growth of Amnesty International, Greenpeace, GLSA, GLSEN, AmFar, Doctors Without Borders, etc, etc, etc would argue that youths are engaged on and off college campuses–engaged to provide world-change on a daily basis not just a catastrophic basis.

    Considering that Matthew was written in Hebrew, I found getting back to roots–Hebrew roots–informative regarding the infamous Matt 24 “generation”. This article from this Biblical Hebrew Magazine (2004) on the word “dor” highlights the term “generation” in Hebrew cultural and literature.

  • July 13, 2014 at 5:40 am

    Speaking of Prince, why is he even in this religion? I would have though that he would have more sense that that to be a member of anything like the Witnesses to begin with, especially seeing how it helped mess up his contemporary Michael Jackson

    • July 13, 2014 at 6:12 am

      Being a JW was not such a big step for Prince. He was raised as a 7th Day Adventist, of which JWs are one of several spinoffs.

      • May 24, 2016 at 5:11 pm


  • July 19, 2014 at 11:04 am

    ‘Considering that Matthew was written in Hebrew’.
    Err, I don’t think so. There is NO evidence that Matthew
    was written in anything other than koine Greek.

  • August 24, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Tis a shame. I think that the GB want to keep their followers dumb so they will be too stupid to ask any thought provoking questions. Unfortunately, I was a victim. I don’t even have a diploma. My parents believed that the new system would be here before I graduated. Now, 30 years later, I still have it hard in finding a job.

    • August 24, 2014 at 6:12 pm


      I had the same experience as you only I was 19 when I started hearing the 1975 stuff. Most of my JW friends at the time who many were talented musicians, educators, craftsmen etc werere all discouraged from pursuing anything that would improve their lives economically or give them self fulfillment. Many went intothe pioneer work or other things. 90-% of them today are very disappointed. One person who was a professional classical guitarist gave it up top pursue the pioneer work and do Janitorial work at night has so many regrets and feels like he wasted his life. Now in his late 50’s and unable to get a decent paying job he has told me how disappointed he is for giving up something he loved and something he was so good at.AT least in my own life I had a natural business good sense and started my own business nd did very well at it although many JW’s would frown at me bc I was making money and they weren’t. One brother back in the 1980’s while in field service pointed to a house that a felloe JW just bought and said, “See that Brothers House” over there? He has become materialistic. Why would he buy a home when Armageddon is imminent. He has lost his spirituality! 15 years later guess what? I sold him his first house!! Now he is retired and made tons of money off that house in the last 20 years! Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. How can any religion tell you not to get a degree, diploma, education etc unless they are paying your bills? It is a shame the WT can do that to people. I am so glad to be out of that negative kind of thinking and experience. Their minds are so small and they cannot think for themselves.

      How many JW’s gave up a decent life or career where they could have helped their family and children or gave some to the poor but were told to only make converts to Jwism. It is a shame.

  • October 12, 2014 at 11:02 am

    I was just on and watched a 4 minute video called Does God Have a Name? Of course it was all lies about “restoring” God’s name in the Bible but what irritated me a lot too was that the Society is trying to give “worldly” people who watch it, the idea that it’s okay to be an architect. Since when????? I thought everybody was supposed to be a pioneer and doesn’t it take higher education to be an architect? I don’t know any architects around here who are Witnesses. I can see the Watchtower trying how to do that video. They thought that when “worldly” people watch it, they didn’t want these “worldly” people to think that all Jehovah’s Witnesses have poor jobs like janitors and window washers but decided to make these “worldly” people think that we are doctors and lawyers etc. but of course they couldn’t come up with doctors or lawyers so the next best thing was “architect”. The hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me.

  • October 12, 2014 at 11:38 am

    HA! The WT does spend Money and effort in sending their “OWN” to get law degrees to defend them in Court against the pedophile lawsuits.
    The reason for that is they don’t have to pay them much or anything.
    They “bless’ that arrangement but for the rank and file they are not supposed to get educated outside of reading the WT and Awake. They are fake all the way. If they can use you in Bethel or somewhere else and your college degree they will not comment about it. However, unless you are selling magazines and promoting the WT as THE TRUTH! They have no use for you. Hypocrisy knows no limits when they benefit.

    • October 12, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      What? No JW defenders on this thread? Surely a case could be made that in the times of the end the only education needed can be provided at the Theocratic Ministry School and Bethel. That is realistic preparation for Paradise Earth, not for the delusory success that might be achieved in Satan’s world.

      See, I can make the anti education case! But it does depend on one small detail that the JW backers never confront. JW TRUTH needs to be true.

      So, lurking JWs. Any offers?

  • October 12, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    So, since it’s okay to be an architect, if I were in school today, I’d point to that video and go for it. I can’t see how anybody could complain if I wanted to go to school to be an architect. I got this info from Wikipedia on salaries for architects in the U.S. and the U.K.

    United States:
    The average salary for all staff, including non-architect support staff, working in architectural firms in 2009 was $81,600. Senior architects and partners typical have earnings that exceed $125,000 annually. It is not unusual for an officer or equity partner to earn a base salary of $235,000, often with a bonus of $400,000 or more in a good year. Due to the major stake in ownership that equity partners may have, they can earn incomes approaching, and occasionally surpassing, $1,000,000.

    Full-time Intern architect typically earn between $35,000 and $48,000 depending on experience prior to licensure and location of employment. Architects that have completed the internship period and are licensed can expect an average starting salary of between $40,000 and $60,000.

    The average salary (2008-09) in the United Kingdom is 45,000 pounds with a typical range of principals between 51,000 pounds and 90,000 pounds. The Royal Institute of British Architects provides a guide to the salaries typical of the various stages of qualification. Beginning level candidates (part one) can expect between $12,000 pounds and $20,000 pounds. Recent graduates (part two) earn between 15,000 pounds and 27,000 pounds. Newly registered architects (part three) earn 29,000 pounds to 34,000 pounds; part three, three to five years post-registration 34,000 pounds – 42,000 pounds (salary data collected March 2008). The range of typical salaries at senior levels (after 10-15 years in role) is 36,000-80,000 pounds, depending on the seniority of the position.

  • November 16, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    So, you spend your time waiting in ambush for another victim…? like a bully boy…

  • November 17, 2014 at 11:58 am

    The most common type of victims on this thread are those who have become WT Society prisoners. They have been bullied, via threats of imminent Armageddon execution, into becoming unpaid mag. pushers for a corrupt global publishing corporation.

  • November 17, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    A truly corrupt organisation. Unfortunately my daughters mother is a victim of their indoctrination and has ‘cut her own daughter off’ for the heinous crime of leaving the JW organisation. Hopefully young ones will stay away from this twisted organisation and sites like this will alert prospective adults to the hypocrisies and dangers of starting to ‘study’ with them. The may come across as nice people, but they really are not.

  • December 26, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Not in this lifetime….

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  • May 24, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    That’s list is the biggest bunch of lies and is disgusting. This is another way that Satan works through people to attack people that strive to be no part of the world, as Jesus done.
    Where did Jesus study…?
    What did he put first in his life?
    How many college even high school grads are working today?
    85% can’t find a job unless at Mcdonalds.
    Education is jaded, an communist in America . People can learn on the job more than any college can teach .
    JWs are some if the humblest, caring, clean, honest people I have ever known.
    Any world disaster JWs are there, but never get in the spotlight, and help survivors. They help any and everybody.
    One of the first ever faiths to be inter grated when it wasn’t accepted.

    Best friendships I ever seen.
    No pedophilia at all.
    When someone commits a crime today, what happens? They are tried, and sent to prison…. Why?
    Why does society send ppl to prison ??

    You take the bad apple an deprecate from the others…. Why?

    If you let a thief or adulter loose in the house of God, what do you think will happen. Of course they are set- out.
    So not to hurt others! No different than society.
    And God says what goes in the bedroom, not man.
    God dies not approve beating if wives .
    Bible says to love your wife as yourself.

    To be be kind and understanding .
    So get over your lies..
    You better hope you could be a JW one day…..

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