This long discussion regarding the image of the Witnesses came about because I suddenly thought again about the disgusting double standard of the Watchtower regarding Malawi and Mexico.
The Governing Body had registered the Witnesses as a ‘cultural entity’ in Mexico in order to protect potential property they may acquire in that country. Being a religious entity meant all your property belonged to the government. They lied to register in a way that would protect their monetary interests and because of that when the question came up about the cartilla card they had to find a way to not cause offense. How could they refuse to get one based on religious grounds of neutrality? They couldn’t! They weren’t a religion in Mexico! So, allowing the brothers to bribe officials to obtain the cartilla card doesn’t seem so bad since the Governing Body was already trying to maintain a façade of the ‘cultural entity’ after all. They had a image to uphold.
At the same time a very similar thing was happening in Malawi, but in this case they immediately advised the brothers to stay faithful and not buy the party card. Citing neutrality and that it was a test of their faith, they simply had to endure this terrible persecution. I remember reading about what happened in Malawi in the year books, I also remember some older sisters telling me their memories of the time, they all wrote letters to President Banda begging for better treatment of the brothers and sisters.
I thought to myself that perhaps the Governing Body didn’t foresee that terrible consequences the brothers and sisters in Malawi would face once they refused to buy the party card, perhaps they thought it was a small thing and would quickly blow over. Once the faeces hit the fan though, how could they go back on what they said? Once they saw the horror that it was causing, it went on for years, they couldn’t change their mind could they? They had to keep the hard-line of total neutrality. People were being tortured and killed, if they changed their minds and said it’s permissible to get the party card now, all those deaths would have been in vain and the Governing Body’s credibility would be undeniably harmed. There was also the very real unifying effect that was happening in the congregations, nothing like persecution to make the cult mentality really kick in.
Once again the image was all important, even in the face of rape, torture and murder.
What is the most prevalent news item regarding the Witnesses now? Child abuse. Why can’t they simply acknowledge they have a serious problem? Even the Catholic Church have acknowledged their guilt and are working with the authorities. Why can’t they just change the disgusting two-witness rule? Adhere strictly to reporting to the authorities and letting the professionals take over? I think that it all comes down to their hard maintained squeaky clean image. They will deny, lie and otherwise ‘spin’ whatever they have to because their corporate perfect image is the most important thing to them. Sadly, even death, torture, rape and thousands of molestation cases cannot out weigh the importance of maintaining that image.