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30 Years a Watchtower Slave: The Confessions of a Converted Jehovah's Witness Paperback – Abridged, January 1, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

William J. Schnell was a young man eager to serve God. To him, the Watchtower Society appeared harmless, even valuable as a way to develop his faith and pass it on to others. Yet it soon became obvious that the Jehovah's Witness religion he had joined was anything but innocent.

30 Years a Watchtower Slave is Schnell's gripping account of the three decades he spent enslaved by Jehovah's Witness doctrines and methods. As you read his potent personal story, you will understand the true inner workings of the cult that enticed Schnell in the 1920s and continues to lure countless individuals today.

Through the details of Schnell's involvement with the Watchtower Society and the riveting story of how he finally became free, you will be forewarned to their effective proselytizing campaign and better outfitted to witness to JW friends, relatives, neighbors, coworkers--and the stranger at your door.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books; Abridged edition (January 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801063841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801063848
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #664,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A candid self-evaluation and evaluation of the Watchtower Society history from 1917 to 1952, written by a former Jehovah's Witness.
Schnell tells a fascinating story of a developing religion. He uncovers the Watchtower Society's sales methodologies developed in Europe and the USA. He also reveals the use of demonstrations and the court system in the US to benefit the Watchtower Society through the influence of public perceptions.
With Schnell's help, you can begin to understand how idealistic youths ended up as dedicated, underpaid promoters of a belief system which Schnell compares to totalitarianism.
I gave the book 4 stars, because I think it has its greatest value as a historical document which may give insight into the origins of the current Watchtower Society. It may be less relevant to the concerns of those who love the JW's of today. Still, a great read!
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This book gives a personal view from a one time "prominent" publisher of the Watchtower Society. This book pre-dates Ray Franz book "Crisis of Conscience", written from early 20th century, shortly after the Jehovah's Witnesses were formed. The author describes the original true background of the Watchtower Society as a multi-million dollar publishing company. The only goal of the society was to push publications to make money. The author even describes the propaganda created by J. Rutherford during WWII that landed several Jehovah's Witnesses in jail/concentration camps unnecessarily under NAZI regime just to "prove" that so called true Christians were to be "tried and tested". This is a must-read for current JWs (even though I know the Governing Body instructs them to "stay away" from this type of material) as well as Ex-JWs as myself.
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Format: Paperback
I try to help any struggling Jehovah's Witness and any ex-Jehovah's Witness that I can...and it is almost always under the circumstance of anonymity. (I believe that the average Jehovah's Witness has no idea that there are so many among them that have internal struggles with Watchtower beliefs and doctrines hiding behind that "Theocratic Smile.")

I highly recommend "30 Years A Watchtower Slave" as it gives one the absolute clearest insight on the secret "Black Ops" of the Watchtower Organization, outlining in full detail the systematic and methodic tactics used in designing the Watchtower Organization as it is known today. It was written by one of Rutherford's secret "henchmen," and he was practically Rutherford's "right-hand-man." He did many things "in the service of Jehovah" that he deeply regrets...

If any Jehovah's Witness...if any loyal member of the Watchtower is willing to know the truth of the organization's foundation of the Watchtower as it is known to be in modern times, they need to read this book.

The Watchtower Organization has every reason to be fearful of the information that has become more and more available to their members today, and every reason to vilify those who have left; they know that if the truth about "The Truth" is discovered, they will continue to lose more and more of their members...and those that have "figured it out" have already been leaving by the thousands, being labeled by the Watchtower as "wicked apostates," and as "evil slaves," all the while the Watchtower continues to proclaim to the loyal flock that they are in a "spiritual paradise" in the Watchtower Organization. Again, this book is an invaluable tool for any Jehovah's Witness to have a truly clear picture of the Watchtower's true past; it will then help them to make sense of many things that may have caused them to wonder...
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Format: Paperback
My husband was in the "organization" for 4 years. He had closed his mind to all talk of Christianity. I heard about this book on TV many years ago. I bought the book and read it. It made clear so many different aspects of the organization. I asked him to please read it. It took a while for him to process it all. But he eventually got out, and I firmly believe it was because of this book.
This book brings to light many things that are not well known by most Jehovah's Witnesses. And things that they have tried to cover up.

Excellent reading before getting too involved in something that may be very difficult to get yourself out of later.
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Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating 'behind-the-scenes' account of the Bible Student/Jehovah's Witnesses/Watch Tower Theocracy from one who was involved in its upper echelons, both in Germany and America.

Not only can today's activities of the Witnesses be understood through William's record, there are political insights into how any large hierarchical organisation operates, religious or otherwise.

The Society moved through the following stages on its journey to today's Theocracy:

*First dictatorship under Charles Russell (1879-1916).
*Dissolution from 1916 to 1919-a 'deadly wound'.
*Second dictatorship under Judge Joseph Rutherford (1919-1942).
*Third and current dictatorship under a consortium replete with Board of Directors, President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.

Dictator egos were evident, e.g. Rutherford's visit to Germany and coercing the Director into shaving off his Russell-like beard in exchange for new printing equipment.

Hypocritically, “God's Organisation” ended up becoming both a religion and a corporate entity, just like the 'Egyptians' they so despise.

At the date of writing (1963 edition), Witnesses were described as having 'delusions of persecution and Armageddon tremors' and 'carrying a permanent chip on their shoulders'.

With William's help the Society invented an ingenious seven step indoctrination program:

(i) Get books to people.
(ii) Back call.
(iii) 'Home Bible Study' (which uses a Watch Tower Society published book).
(iv) Friday 'area' book studies in conference forum.
(v) Kingdom Hall attendance on Sunday.
(vi) Attend service meetings and training.
(vii) Water baptism.
Read more ›
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