Extortion Through Behavioural and Emotional Control

At the 2021 online Regional Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Gajus Glockentin, a helper to the Publishing Committee, gave a talk entitled, ‘Set Something Aside’ as part of the symposium, Enter the Door to Activity in Faith. The following is an extract from his sermon where he manipulates a single Bible verse to extort money from his listeners.

Too small a contribution

There was a second concern that might hold us back from giving generously. We might consider our circumstances and feel that the contribution we can make is so small that it makes no difference. Do you still have 1 Corinthians 16:2 open? What did we read there? Let us read it again, 1 Corinthians 16:2: “On the first day of every week, “each of you should set something aside according to his own means.” Did you notice that Paul did not specify a certain minimum amount?

And later, he mentioned the Macedonian Christians — they were in deep poverty. Yet, they begged for the privilege of giving. They were happy to give even beyond their means because they were giving to Jehovah. Being poor meant that they individually could not give much, and yet they understood that giving materially is an expression of our worship. Many of you brothers and sisters are like those in Macedonia — you have very little.

And yet, we see your faith by your contributing generously according to your circumstances. No matter how small the amount might be, you imitate our generous God, Jehovah.

Here we have a classic example of abuse through behavioral control and emotional control. The scripture he chose to use literally says each one SHOULD set aside some thing. By using this scripture in the context of this talk instead of the context it was originally applied, he was making clear the expectation set for all members of the organization. The majority do NOT set aside an amount to give weekly, because that is called tithing and Jehovah’s Witnesses are supposed to be a voluntary donation based organization.

What emotion is invoked by being told by one of the governing body members about some thing you should be doing but then you have to acknowledge you are not doing? GUILT.

What effect does feelings of guilt have on the human body? Guilt induces both negative psychological and physical effects, including insomnia, loss of appetite, anxiety, depression, a feeling of dread, of worthlessness, of hopelessness.

In the second paragraph he reinforces this requirement by stating the Macedonians understood this was a part of their worship to Jehovah. In other words if you’re not doing it, you’re guilty of not worshiping Jehovah acceptably.

If you believe the Bible accounts, you have to take the context into consideration. The Macedonians were very giving people, and they ASKED for ways in which they could give. They were not reminded on a weekly basis at every congregation meeting, in every congregation announcement, at every assembly, or in specific convention talks of their obligation to give. When it really comes from the heart and someone really desires to give, they don’t need to be reminded over and over again, or guilt tripped.

In the case with this talk, the only purpose it serves is to instill feelings of negativity through a controlled emotional response that then forces the person to engage in a desired behavior (ie giving away your money) so that you no longer feel burdened with the negative emotions they instilled in you in the first place.

It is a classic cycle of abuse that no one perpetuates better than the Watchtower organization.

Jilayna Arcoren.

One Response to “Extortion Through Behavioural and Emotional Control

  • Donald Brown
    1 year ago

    This is also a kin to the television preachers who ask you for money as well telling you that you will be blessed when you give them your money. Forcing people to give through manipulative practices is wrong. Making people feel guilty for not giving is also wrong. If you want to give, then you should give willingly and cheerfully without being coersed into giving by a man in a suit on a stage.

    This is the Watchtower’s version of asking you for money for a fancy jet.

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