The Association of Anti-Watchtower Activists (AAWA) describes itself as “a new organization dedicated to respectful and well informed activism against the Watch Tower Society.” The latter is the legal entity behind a religious movement whose members are known as “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
AAWA says it is
a legally incorporated organization representing an international group of campaigners against the Watch Tower Society. Most of its associates are either current or former Jehovah’s Witnesses.
And that spells trouble for the Watch Tower, because the activists are taking no prisoners:
At Apologetics Index (parent site of Religion News Blog), we consider the Watch Tower to be a cult — both theologically and sociologically. [Note the difference between theological and sociological definitions of the term ‘cult.’]
Theologically, the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses is a cult of Christianity — meaning that while it identifies itself as a Christian movement, its theology and practices fall outside the boundaries of historical, Biblical Christianity.
Sociologically, the movement is a destructive cult. For one thing, countless of its followers (and children too young to have made their own decisions) have died as a result of the organizations un-biblical teachings regarding blood.
For another, the organization proscribes crude and un-biblical forms of ‘shunning‘ which lead to a practice as destructive as Scientology’s ‘disconnection’ policy.
When Jehovah’s Witnesses excommunicate, or “disfellowship,” a member, even the closest human ties can be severed without question.
The movement’s official magazine describes people who leave the church as “mentally diseased” people who “seek to infect others.”
Last month Australian newspaper The Age quoted a local cultbuster as saying that Jehovah’s Witnesses ‘a cruel religion with no soul,’ and that shunning is “draconian, cruel and callous.”
The paper notes that
Former members say shunning can involve bullying, threats, harassment and stalking to lure the ‘apostate’, or lapsed member, back. […]
A spokesman for the church in Australia, Sydney solicitor Vincent Toole, dismissed the allegations and said shunning was a”myth.”
But shunning is a well-documented Jehovah’s Witnesses practice.
AAWA says it is a strictly religiously-neutral organization. Legally incorporated on March 7th 2013, AAWA works with a Board of Directors, an Advisory Board, and volunteers.