“The Watchtower” Says Cigarettes, Alcohol, Drugs, and a University Education are All the Same

by Joey deVilla on September 11, 2008

Although nowhere near as amusing as Jack Chick’s looney-tunes religious tracts, I occasionally like to flip through any stray copy of The Watchtower I come across. Friends and longtime readers of this blog know that I will occasionally poke fun at and even play pranks on people handing out The Watchtower, and it’s partly because of stuff like this:

"The Watchtower" on higher education
Watchtower scan courtesy of Miss Fipi Lele.

Here’s the text:

What Will be the “End Afterward?”

Young people are often exposed to temptations and pressures to experiment with things that seem popular. Here are some likely scenarios:

  • Someone dares you to smoke a cigarette.
  • A well-intentioned teacher urges you to pursue higher education at a university.
  • You are invited to a party where alcohol and drugs will be freely available.
  • “Why don’t you post your profile on the internet?” someone suggests.
  • A friend invites you to watch a movie that features violence or immorality.

If you are ever confronted with any of such situations, what will you do? Will you simply give in, or will you carefully consider what the “end afterward” could be? You would be wise to ask yourself: “Can a man rake together fire in his bosom and yet his very garments not be burned? Or can a man walk upon the coals and his fee themselves not be scorched?” — Proverbs 6:27, 28.

I can see arguments against smoking, parties where drugs and alcohol are freely available and even movies with violence or immorality. I arched my eyebrow at the point about posting a profile on the internet. But what really got me was the bit about the well-intentioned teacher urging you to pursue higher education at a university (which is why I emphasized it in both the picture and the text).

That book-learnin’, it’s the devil’s workshop! It’s a silly belief, but there are all sorts of people out there — and not just religious nuts — who think that higher education is a bad idea, and you see echoes of that sentiment when Republican politicos hit their opponents with the “elitist” label.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

joshbuddy September 11, 2008 at 3:37 pm

ah geez, i was raised a jw and this makes me cry.

Danny V September 11, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Young Bobby Boucher: [Flashback To Bobby’s Childhood] Mama, When Did Ben Franklin Invent Electricity?
Mama Boucher: That’s Nonsense, I Invented Electricity. Ben Franklin Is The Devil!

Obviously anonymous September 11, 2008 at 4:37 pm
Mark Kuznicki September 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm

Little known fact – I was half-raised as/by a JW!

Around the age of 14, I realized the insanity of this fear of higher education (never mind the gays) and went running from this narrow literalist bible-trance crowd. Mom wasn’t happy, but dad respected my independence.

Seriously, I cannot think of any worse abuse of a young human mind than taking away one’s freedom of thought and freedom of aspirations. It is tragic.

Vlad Patryshev September 11, 2008 at 6:23 pm

Roughly speaking, all these requirements are basically for idiots, right? So what’s wrong if an idiot skips higher education? Let them have their life as they define it…

Kristina September 11, 2008 at 9:24 pm

I was a raised Jehovah’s Witness (now EX, thank God… ha ha no pun intended).

This makes me laugh. I remember being told how dangerous college and university was for the peer pressure. Now that I have a job and economical situation better than my parents, I almost enjoy their scoffing at me.

I still am waiting for a birthday party.

Joseph September 11, 2008 at 11:54 pm

Young people themselves should exercise restraint

Mary September 12, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Yep…..The Watchtower Society hates higher education and will do anything to try and discourage the young members from attending. Why? Because ‘higher education’ teaches you HOW to think—not WHAT to think.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are trained to believe that if you have “independent thinking” apart from what the leaders teach, you’ve basically handed yourself over to Satan de Debbil and will be murdered by Jehovah at Armageddon.

This is typical of cults or high control groups and nothing scares them more than someone who questions their bizarre teachings.

Any Witness who allows their children to attend university will be viewed as “spiritually weak” or “puffed up with pride” (that’s not viewed as being a good thing), or “lacking in faith.

I just can’t believe they were dumb enough to put this in the PUBLIC edition of the Watchtower, where everyone can read their insane drivel…..

Grace Nearing September 13, 2008 at 12:15 am

I still am waiting for a birthday party.

Oh, Kristina. You made me tear up a little with that one.

dakota September 23, 2008 at 12:18 pm

I was raise a witness my whole life. I’m 23 now. I’m reading all the comments and to be honest they don’t make sense. life was meant to be abundant in all areas including education. well i was raised from birth to 7 years in a congregation in Branson Missouri, then from 7 to 15 I was in a Florida congergation. at 15 I moved to Oregon and have been in this congergation since. I must say I have never heard once that a higher education must be avoided. I was only taught to choose your classes. for instance I did not become a nurse because of the bibles views on blood. I always wanted to be a baker. I’m now attending classes in Portland to gain a culinary degree. I also play Piano and can speak German fluently. no one ever told me a higher education. I do believe perhaps that the question that was highlighted could perhaps be rewritten to be clearer.

On another note: I was told to be careful not to let my long schedule of classes take away from Jehovah’s time. That’s easy make lots of lists and schedules and DON’T be lazy.

dakota September 23, 2008 at 12:20 pm

and yes, a women can have an education. I’ve heard the misconception that women cannot be better educated then men quite often. I am a woman. 🙂

edward stafford October 3, 2008 at 3:30 am

look, some of them are okay and some gotta
go…i am df’d and tried to compromise
w/ my “brothers” and they don’t want it…
oh too, my father “framed” me and mama says “kill him” and they’ve got some nerve
to think i am any crueller than they are

Daemien November 16, 2009 at 8:04 am

Well, you know education has its many bright moments, scientists predict 2012 will reap catastrophic events like never before, plundering humanity into a paranoia. JW’s preach from the bible 24/7 about a time in which the nations will go into a paranoia — The Great Tribulation. What if they were right? Im conscientious about this very much.

Chris September 4, 2010 at 3:07 pm

@dakota. A baker is not higher education. Yes, a nurse *is* higher education, but you’ve already scoffed at that.

@Daemien. I have yet to hear a single *scientist* predict disaster in 2012. Can you provide an example?

Olivia October 28, 2010 at 10:30 am

ok first of all: JW do NOT think higher education is bad. many JW people do go into university and pursue higher education. the point here is that we are encouraged not to go into high education because training ourselves for a higher education is not in our best interests in these last times. We are encouraged to spread the Bible’s message. JWs go to college and university because it is a personal choice. others do not. This is FAR from a dumb entry, it is a very wise one and those who go into higher education are not viewed as spiritually weak because it also depends on your conscience. ALSO this article is not saying that higher education is like smoking or drugs, they are all things that we cannot be bothered with because it can be hazardous to our health and/or it can waste our time.

Anonymous October 28, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Let’s say your a diabetic. Someone comes up to you and offers you a cookie. You graciously refuse but the person insists you take it. The reason for your refusing the cookie is not because it is BAD but because it is harmful to your health.
Likewise, education is not bad but it is not in everyone’s best interest to pursue.
The theme that the article is trying to highlight is not to give in to peer pressure. Sometimes people can be pressured into pursuing a higher education when that may not be exactly what they want to do in life.
Note: to become a baker, you need to take a post-secondary course. Believe it or not, to become a librarian, a University degree is required.

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: