chapter  4
Rational means to rational ends
Pages 24

Those who convert to the Watch Tower Society are gradually resocialised into a new way of life. This involves the reshaping of their identity in order that it becomes consistent with that considered appropriate by other devotees. Group support is particularly important if this transition is to be successful. The bonds provided by any world-renouncing religious community affirm the new self and meaning system as new recruits gradually withdraw from their previous social relationships. Affiliation to the Society requires an analysis of how the individual’s meaning system is socially acquired and supported by a wide range of activities through interaction with other members. I explained in Chapter 2 how the Witnesses belong to an organisation that demands a high level of commitment that is strengthened by regular meetings and shared symbols. An effective means of integration is essential if they are to maintain a uniform system of beliefs and reduce the risks posed by secular society. In order for converts to become ‘good’ members, they must pledge their loyalty to the community by adopting its worldview, participating in its rituals and learning to minister to others. Affiliation begins the moment the prospective convert expresses an interest in the organisation. In order fully to understand the socialisation process, we need to know something about how Watch Tower theology is learned and subsequently ‘sold’ to non-members. It is this learning and selling that binds the community together and provides devotees with a set of strategies for dealing with a satanic world. This requires them to make use of modern resources both in their ministry work and in their interactions with each other.