How to Rescue Your Loved One from the Watchtower differs from Reed’s other books in that its primary focus is not on doctrinal understanding but on witnessing do’s and don’ts. It has one main approach—giving the reader a step-by-step method for showing the Watchtower organization’s unreliability by documenting its changes in teachings on a small number of issues.
Reed’s strategy is to forego what he considers to be fruitless discussions on doctrine for which Jehovah’s Witnesses are usually well prepared.
The author relates an encounter at his door in which he got into a discussion of the Watchtower’s two class system (anointed v. great crowd). He had the Witnesses read aloud Revelation 19:1, which speaks about the “great crowd in heaven” and asked them where the great crowd is located. They replied “earth.” Why did they believe this, given that the Bible says heaven? Because the Watchtower says the great crowd will live on a paradise earth and never go to heaven.
Because of experiences like this, Reed—himself a former Jehovah’s Witness elder—concludes that the most important issue to address with Witnesses is “the Watchtower organization itself. You will need to demonstrate that the leaders have made repeated false prophecies, have changed doctrines back and forth, and have misled followers to their harm—that is, they are not a reliable guide to follow.” (p. 29).
To this end, Reed focuses on Watchtower false prophecies, changing directives regarding life-saving medical procedures, significant doctrinal changes, and strange ideas taught by the Watchtower throughout its history.
The book concludes with advice for readers who are trying to keep their marriages together and situations of Watchtower-related strife where children are involved.
How to Rescue Your Loved One From the Watchtower contains the following chapters:
Chapter 1: “Rescue” from a Religion?
Chapter 2: Don’t Delay—Act Today!
Chapter 3: Overall Strategy
Chapter 4: Techniques That Work
Chapter 5: Tools to Use
Chapter 6: Step-by-Step
Chapter 7: God’s “Prophet”
Chapter 8: A Changing Channel
Chapter 9: Doctoring Medical Doctrines
Chapter 10: Strange Ideas Taught in God’s Name
Chapter 11: “God’s Visible Organization”
Chapter 12: Providing an Alternative
Chapter 13: Can This Marriage Be Saved?
Chapter 14: When Children Are Involved
Chapter 15: Warning: The Life You Save May Be Your Own
Chapter 16: Afterword: Gradual Rehabilitation
Appendix: Resources and Support Groups
One of the key strengths of the book are the number of photocopies of Watchtower literature it contains. Rather than simply telling Witnesses about what the Watchtower has taught, the reader is able to photocopy the relevant pages from Reed’s book and provide them with the evidence.
The book contains many valuable do’s and don’ts of witnessing to Witnesses, as well as guidance on how to get points across to them without causing unnecessary antagonism.
Reed also provides a five-step method for using his materials (p. 53):
- Establish the Watchtower’s claims.
- Disprove the organization’s claims.
- Draw the conclusion that the Watchtower is not God’s organization.
- Establish the real truth.
- Aid in deprogramming and readjustment.
Reed’s approach is excellent, but limited. First, it is targeted towards circumstances in which the Christian has a pre-existing bond of love or friendship with a Jehovah’s Witness. It would be far more difficult, though not impossible, for a Christian householder to produce photocopies of old Watchtower literature without arousing suspicion as to how he came by this information.
The book also doesn’t help the reader who considers it necessary or advisable to discuss doctrinal differences with Witnesses. I firmly believe that if we are to get through to Witnesses with the light of the gospel, at some point we need to help them work through these doctrinal issues.
Despite these limitations, the book has so many strengths that I recommended it heartily.
Have you ever shown Jehovah’s Witnesses old Watchtower literature that demonstrates the unreliability of the organization? How did it go?
Share your thoughts in the comments.