Appendix A

e-Watchman — a conspiracy theorist or an anointed prophet?

The full story about the Watchtower Society's NGO status, as told by the self-appointed prophet-like “watchman of God&rdquo, Robert King (e-Watchman), goes something like this:

The Governing Body has turned apostate, possibly through infiltration by one-world conspirators (influence from the Masons and the Illuminati back in the 19th century cannot be ruled out). Thankfully, God has raised Robert King (e-Watchman) from Michigan as a prophet, or “watchman” to warn Jehovah's Witnesses of their impending doom when Jehovah comes to execute and destroy the Society for their apostasy.

The Society had a secret plot to support the UN as a counterfeit world government, and that is why they “really” became a DPI NGO. All the letters sent from Bethel are cover-up stories. Possibly the whole Governing Body — and others at Bethels throughout the world — are all in on the secret and sinister plot, we do not know for sure.

This scheme is to support the “new world order” of the United Nations, and their plan to destroy the nation-state system, starting with the United States! Already the American financial markets are moving towards disaster — deliberately maneuvered to do so by the “unseen hand”, the people behind the scenes who “really” run the world. These people are connected to the Masons, the Illuminati, and other one-world conspirators.

Meanwhile, the Watchtower Society is in some way under their influence or control. How thankful we are that Robert King has been raised by Jehovah as an anointed prophet to uncover this sinister plot and rescue us all!

Doesn't this sound like a far-fetched conspiracy theory to you? Indeed, for if we examine the main features of a conspiracy theory, we see every single feature is shown in e-Watchman's NGO claims.

The features of a flawed conspiracy theory

The Wikipedia online encyclopedia lists the main features (i.e. flaws) of a conspiracy theory. Let's compare these traits with Robert King's NGO teachings. First of all, a conspiracy theory is ...

“Initiated on the basis of limited, partial or circumstantial evidence”

This is certainly the case here. The total amount of “evidence” is nothing more than a handful of letters, a couple of brief newspaper articles, and getting quotes off the UN website. This is indeed “limited” and “partial” evidence. The other “evidence”, the Awake! articles, are merely “circumstantial evidence”. The encyclopedia also comments that conspiracy theories are often conceived in “reaction to media reports and images, as opposed to, for example, thorough knowledge of the relevant forensic evidence.” Yes, rather than arising from direct and relevant first-hand evidence (such as the forms the Society has on file), the whole NGO conspiracy arose from a report in a British newspaper.

“Addresses an event or process that has broad historical or emotional impact”

The key here is the phrase “emotional impact”. The encyclopedia comments that successful conspiracy theories must have “near-universal interest and emotional significance, a story that may thus be of some compelling interest to a wide audience.” Among Jehovah's Witnesses and former Witnesses, an outrageous claim that the Society betrayed your trust and “propagandized on behalf of the UN” is certainly going to have “emotional significance” and be of “compelling interest.” It is ideal 'bait' to put on the 'hook' to reel you in so you will read more.

“Reduces morally complex social phenomena to simple, immoral actions... Personifies complex social phenomena as powerful individual conspirators”

This means that conspiracy theories disregard broad social trends, and assumes that such social changes are really due to a few individuals directing matters to some evil purpose. Elaborating, the same list says “Impersonal, institutional processes, especially errors and oversights, [are] interpreted as malign, consciously intended and designed by immoral individuals.” In the NGO conspiracy, this feature is shown in the theorists being unwilling to concede that the Society would have ever made a mistake or overlooked anything. Each action regarding the NGO status is interpreted as “malign, consciously intended and designed” by the Governing Body. Apparently, the evil conspirators in Bethel never make oversights or mistakes. Further, the “complex social phenomena” could be applied to the great demographic change in the readership of the Awake! from mostly American, to mostly non-American, which resulted in less references to America and more to other countries and the UN. Yet rather than see this for what it is — the result of “complex social phenomena”, the theorists see it as “really” caused by a few powerful individual conspirators directing matters to secretly promote a world government.

“Allots superhuman talents or resources to conspirators”

Indeed, the Governing Body must have “superhuman” powers, if we believed the theorists. They claim the Society was in a “political alliance”, printed “propaganda”, and wish to support the future UN “world government”. If things really were that heavily involved, we must ask how the Governing Body kept this all secret for 10 years? How did they keep this bombshell from leaking out to the Bethelites, the Branch Offices (and Branch committees), the District Overseers, the Writing department and everyone else? The only conclusion is that they have “superhuman” powers. Yet strangely it is not powerful enough to stop The Guardian from finding out.

“Key steps in argument rely on inductive, not deductive reasoning”

In other words, one does not interpret the evidence to reach a conclusion. Instead, one interprets evidence to support the conclusion one already has. This is exactly what King and all conspiracy theorists do. Back in 1994, years before King started spouting his accusations, false Messiah Donald Burney had already published a book claiming the Watchtower Society was being secretly controlled/influenced by the evil conspirators behind the United Nations. We strongly suspect King read this book or an online version of it. Years later when he saw The Guardian article, everything he had read from Burney was "confirmed". Thus, he has never used deductive reasoning in his NGO conspiracy theory, but interpreted the evidence to lead him to a fore-gone conclusion. He probably already believed the Society was under the evil control of the people who are “really controlling the world” at the UN. All evidence he has seen since then has fitted around his prior belief.

“Appeals to ‘common sense’”

What does this mean? The encyclopedia elaborates, saying: “Common sense steps substitute for the more robust, academically respectable methodologies available”. In this case so-called “common sense” deductions would be something like 'The requirement to be an NGO was to publish information on the UN, therefore when the Awake! published articles on the UN it was so they could fulfill their NGO membership requirement.' Unfortunately, such “common sense” is flawed, for “more robust, academically responsible methodologies” show such reasoning to be false. As our charts showed, the increase in UN references is explained by studying references to other countries and by counting them. Further, a thorough examination of the Awake! archives shows that the magazine already published such articles beforehand, and continued to after the NGO status was withdrawn. Hence, conclusions reached by so-called “common sense” is often a poor replacement for “robust, academically respectable methodologies”, or fact-checking.

“Exhibits well-established logical and methodological fallacies”

There are many places where you can read about logical fallacies online. One example often cited is when “evidence which would change the outcome of an inductive argument is excluded from consideration”. Obviously, this is the most oft-used logical fallacy by NGO conspiracy theorists. They endlessly claim the Society signed documents on which they agreed to support the UN, but scans of those very 1991 forms which prove otherwise are ignored or pushed to the back of web archives and forgotten.

“Is produced and circulated by 'outsiders', often anonymous, and generally lacking peer review”

This is a common feature of conspiracy theorists. For example, people who deny that man landed on the moon tend not to be scientists or people who have any connection to NASA whatsoever. They are outsiders, often anonymous, and their claims are not put up for peer-review by scientists and those who actually know what they're talking about.

The encyclopedia elaborates, saying the “story originates with a person who lacks any insider contact or knowledge”. Indeed, with Robert King he is an outsider, neither connected to the UN nor to the Watchtower Society Headquarters. He was also “anonymous” for many years. It goes on to say that the conspiracy theory will only enjoy “popularity among persons who [also] lack critical (especially technical) knowledge”. It is the same situation with those who believe the NGO conspiracy — neither are they in any position to know the facts, nor to they have any insider contact either. They are also anonymous outsiders, just like the man who persuaded them to believe it. The scriptures said in regards to apostates, “these men are speaking abusively of all the things they really do not know”. —Jude 10

“Is upheld by persons with demonstrably false conceptions of [the] relevant science... Enjoys zero credibility in expert communities. At least some of the story's believers believe it on the basis of a mistaken grasp of elementary scientific facts.”

Obviously the NGO conspiracy is not a science-based conspiracy, unlike the moon-landings conspiracy, for example. However, those that believe certainly do have a “mistaken grasp” of the most “elementary” facts of the DPI NGO situation. To cite one example, King himself mistakenly believes that the great differences between ECOSOC NGO and DPI NGO statuses are “irrelevant”. This is incredible. He really could not have found a more elementary fact to to be mistaken about.

For this reason and others, no one in the “expert community” of people who actually know how ECOSOC and DPI NGOs work would never agree with King's position. King's poor fact-checking would enjoy “zero credibility” among such experts — never mind the part about him being raised by God as the prophesied modern-day Ezekiel!

“Rebuttals provided by experts are ignored or accommodated through elaborate new twists in the narrative”

This has certainly happened before this author's very eyes. When the rebuttal on which this work is based was first published online, King largely ignored it. Apart from insulting the author several times, the points raised were not counter-acted with any new evidence. Further, any links to the rebuttal were banned on his discussion board, and when it did become known, many of his supporters refused to read it anyway. Although it was not written by accredited “experts”, we can certainly say that so far “rebuttals provided... are ignored”. The encyclopedia further comments on another tactic, “the conspiracy is elaborated (sometimes to a spectacular degree) to discount the new evidence, often incorporating the rebuttal as a part of the conspiracy”. This is certainly the case with the letters from Bethel. All of the letters were incorporated “as a part of the conspiracy”, where Bethel spun their “lies” and “cover-ups”, which fearless King courageously uncovered. Yes, the “rebuttal [became] part of the conspiracy” just as the encyclopedia says!

“The conspiracy is claimed to involve just about anybody... The conspiracy centers on the ‘usual suspects’”

Who is involved in King's conspiracy theory? No one seems to know. At times it has been a few individuals, perhaps one or two on the Governing Body, while at other times the whole Governing Body has been “in on it”. Some speculate that even more people are part of the plot. One brother points out how there are “such spiritual, conscientious people in the research department” and therefore asks, “Are their any cases of ones who protested it and/or resigned over it? I don't think so.” A good point. This idea of a secret plot really is impossible to believe.

Interestingly, the encyclopedia comments that “as the adherents struggle to explain counter-arguments, the conspiracy grows even more”, that is, to encompass ever more people. We wonder if, in an effort to explain how the conspiracy was kept secret, the theorists may concoct ways by which the Governing Body supposedly kept other people quiet. How about these suggestions? They threatened them with disfellowshippings by rousing two fake witnesses to an alleged crime? Or perhaps with all that money the Society supposedly has, they bribed anyone who found out to keep quiet? Alternatively, the print-room is always a dangerous place... it would be a shame if you were to suffer an “accident”, wouldn't it?

We look forward to reading their paranoid explanations in the near future.

What about the phrase “the conspiracy centers on the 'usual suspects'”? It elaborates on this saying “organizations with a bad or colorful reputation feature prominently, such as the Templars, the Nazis and just about any secret service”. Among apostate ex-Jehovah's Witnesses the “usual suspects” are always those at the Watchtower Headquarters and specifically the Governing Body. They are always the ones accused, blamed, criticized and the ones behind every dastardly deed and evil plot. Although many who have met the Governing Body members will tell you how much they find them to be humble and very spiritual men, there are many “outsiders” who would be willing to persuade you that they are money-grabbing and blood-thirsty evil megalomaniacs who are dangerous and need to be stopped. Yes, it is no surprise that the NGO conspiracy theorists inevitably lay the blame at the feet of the “usual suspects” yet again — the Governing Body.

From examining this list conspiracy theory features, in this authors opinion it becomes quite obvious that Robert King's accusations are not good, sound, and reasonable arguments. They have all the traits of a crazy conspiracy theory based in nothing more than circumstantial evidence, selective “proof”, paranoia, poor logic, and hatred.

This is no surprise to me. Among Kings followers there are many people who read conspiracy theory websites and own books on the subject. Regular topics of conversation center around various conspiratorial world-views and the latest report of some highly dubious “news” source. Almost everyone in the sect believes some sort of conspiracy theory — especially theories surrounding the UN and how it will destroy the United States to build it's totalitarian World Government. King himself has often linked to conspiracy theory websites, which he evidently reads and believes. King has even recommended certain conspiracy theory books and magazines to others. In fact, when he published his own interpretations of the book of Daniel, he proudly announced that it was based, not on years of research into the Bible, but on many years of research into the conspiratorial view of history. Yes — King and his supporters undoubtedly earn the title “conspiracy theorists”. In fact, many of them would probably be proud to hold such a label, for it shows they are the ones who “really know whats going on in the world”.

Characteristics of conspiracy theorists

A popular work on the Internet entitled “10 characteristics of conspiracy theorists” makes many good points about the characters of these sorts of people. Here's a few choice quotes:

Arrogance. They are always fact-seekers, questioners, people who are trying to discover the truth: [on the other hand,] skeptics are always "sheep", patsies for Bush and Blair etc.”

Anyone who is familiar with King or has ever associated themselves with his followers will know that they are constantly congratulating themselves for being “fact-seekers, questioners, people who are trying to discover the truth”. They use these and similar phrases in reassuring themselves of how they are oh-so more righteous than Jehovah's Witnesses, and they say such things constantly. Just like the skeptics who are ridiculed with names like “sheep” or “patsies for Bush and Blair” by other theorists, those who defend the Society are given the disparaging title “Watchtower Defenders” and made out to be spineless and ignorant fools who cannot think for themselves and haven't “seen the light” yet, unlike the conspiracy believers who are oh-so wise and intelligent — but their superiority is really just “Arrogance”, as the quote above correctly says.

Another trait of these arrogant people is:

Relentlessness. They will always go on and on about a conspiracy no matter how little evidence they have to go on or how much of what they have is simply discredited.”

Robert King indeed goes on about the theory so much, so thoroughly, and so often, that it has become a cornerstone of his sect and claim to ecclesiastical authority. Despite the distinct lack of evidence and the rebuttals presented in this work and elsewhere, these are overlooked and his discredited arguments are said time and time again ad nauseum to anyone willing to listen.

Inability to answer questions. For people who loudly advertise their determination to the principle of questioning everything, they're pretty poor at answering direct questions from skeptics about the claims that they make.”

King has been asked direct questions about the NGO situation several times, and has become notorious for avoiding answering the question, like some sort of politician. Usually a direct question ends with him going off into some sort of rant. Nowadays his solution seems to be simply to ban all such questions. Anyone who questions his NGO teachings now simply get booted off his discussion board and is verbally insulted by the “watchman of God” and his followers for not being as wise as they are.

Inability to withdraw. It's a rare day indeed when a conspiracy theorist admits that a claim they have made has turned out to be without foundation, whether it be the overall claim itself or any of the evidence produced to support it.”

It certainly has been a rare occasion when he has admitted to being wrong about something. The number of adjustments and self-corrections King has made to his NGO stance can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Indeed, King could never admit himself to being in error over the whole NGO affair. To do so would negate his claim to being a prophet, or “watchman” of God. He would be publicly humiliated and shown to be a bad researcher and false accuser. To admit he was wrong about the matter would be absolutely impossible. It would take an immense amount of humility, and he would be forced to admit that he was grossly mistaken from day one and has misled a huge number of people. In this author's opinion, he will never admit he is wrong.

Paranoia!

A common feature of conspiracy theorists is paranoia. You will often find that authors of conspiracy theorist websites constantly believe that at any moment the evil and secret forces in the Government could try to shut their website down for speaking out the “truth”. Whenever a virus, power failure, or technical problem does effect their site, they instantly assume they're being attacked by someone who wishes to censor them. Is Robert King (e-Watchman) any different?

In 2005, a common computer virus (a worm) attacked thousands of computers worldwide, one of which happened to be hosting e-Watchman's website. Rather than see it for what it really was, a computer worm (which was all over the press), Robert King declared that hackers from the Watchtower Society were trying to shut him down for speaking the “truth” about the NGO issue. Of course, once it was all over and the site was back online his webmaster privately commented that he “can be a bit paranoid” sometimes. Several months later the same thing happened, but this time it was not the Watchtower who were being falsely accused — but us, the authors of this website. King and his webmaster accused us of “hacking” his site and even threatened to take us to court. He even claimed to have proof, which was obviously all in his head. Of course, it was just another computer virus which took down thousands of sites world-wide, and yet another one of King's paranoid episodes. We wonder who shall be falsely accused the next time it happens— us or the Society again? Who shall next have the privilege?

Education or propaganda?

Another interesting thing to do is to compare Robert King's NGO claims to the features of propaganda. The Awake! of 22nd June 2000 stated:

“THERE is a difference–a big difference–between education and propaganda. Education shows you how to think. Propaganda tells you what to think.”

King's NGO essay unquestionably “tells you what to think”. His website, his letters sent to the congregations, and his distributed book are all designed to turn you over to the view that the Watchtower has turned apostate and God has raised King as a prophet, or Watchman. That's the purpose. He is preaching to convert others to become his followers of the e-Watchman sect.

“Good educators present all sides of an issue and encourage discussion. Propagandists relentlessly force you to hear their view and discourage discussion.”

He presents one side of the the issue — his. The rebuttal is ridiculed and censored from his site. Members of his discussion board are forced to send links to rebuttals (such as this one) in private messages to avoid being noticed by the “truth seeking” site censor.

“Often their real motives are not apparent.”

His real motive is certainly “not apparent”. Rather than seeking “truth” or “exposing apostasy”, I charge that his “real motives” are to set himself up as a religious teacher over others and to promote his teachings to as many people as possible.

“They sift the facts, exploiting the useful ones and concealing the others. They also distort and twist facts, specializing in lies and half-truths.”

Little inconvenient facts, such as the fact that no signature was required on the original forms, the fact that mentions of "America" in the Awake! declined dramatically... all these and many more are concealed or ignored because they don't suit his argument. He distorts and twists facts, applying ECOSOC rules to DPI NGOs, plus other things.

“Your emotions, not your logical thinking abilities, are their target.”

He often implies that those who disagree with him are “small minded”, or “unreasonable”, and how if you agree with him you will be a “thinking person”. Obviously no one wants to be a fool, but wants to be seen as intelligent. Kings essays are often full of these loaded words and expressions, designed to make you feel clever if you agree with him and stupid if you don't. The way King hits the emotions instead of the intellect is demonstrated by the number of his followers who eventually decide they are “anointed”. They believe themselves to be oh-so enlightened and special to God that their supposed anointing is a natural progression of their “spiritual progress”, a yet further part of their deserved “enlightenment” for their spiritual superiority.

“The propagandist makes sure that his message appears to be the right and moral one and that it gives you a sense of importance and belonging if you follow it. You are one of the smart ones, you are not alone, you are comfortable and secure–so they say.”

“The cunning propagandist loves such shortcuts–especially those that short-circuit rational thought. Propaganda encourages this by agitating the emotions, by exploiting insecurities, by capitalizing on the ambiguity of language, and by bending rules of logic. As history bears out, such tactics can prove all too effective.”

Yes, King's message is certainly portrayed as the “right and moral one”. He condemns the Society for allegedly being morally impure and supposedly sinning against God. Former Witnesses on his sect's discussion board do the rest of the work, providing criticisms from apostate websites to back-up his claims of the Watchtower's supposed fall from God's favor. He also exploits insecurities — particularly those who are spiritually weak (perhaps from reading apostate sites) and who wish to improve their spirituality. However, you, dear reader, you can be far more clever and pleasing to God than the sinful Watchtower. If your relationship with Jehovah could be better, then why not rise above the Watchtower's failures, become more enlightened than they are, be more righteous ans spiritually pure, and be considered far more precious to Jehovah — this can all be yours, but only if you will believe what I am telling you about the Watchtower's sins!

One former associate of Robert King (e-Watchman) who returned to the truth had this to say about this very tactic. “I had been inactive for years before I got involved with the Watchman stuff. [By him] I had been made to feel my weaknesses were in fact strengths.... and that what I had lacked the maturity and strength to accomplish were instead keen insights of a superior spirituality. That is what is so sad about it, people that have had problems, real ones, that want to come back [to the truth] can be vulnerable to these types of apostate teachings. Everyone wants to feel like they have something about them that Jehovah approves of. In fact if you've been away and not lost faith you crave it.”

The brother also notes how King's teachings distorted his view of the congregation. “I am also very fortunate to have made the wise decision to start attending meetings [again] when I did. It was difficult to get myself to do it, and when I did I didn't see what some were portraying and what I had built it up in my mind to be. And I began to realize that most (elders included) were very loving, albeit imperfect people, doing the best they could — a far cry from the hypocritical pole-worshiping idolaters due for impending judgment ... [that] watchman and his crony hardcore followers were portraying most to be. But in my mind I had way blown out of proportion that and also how difficult the road back would be”.

In describing his first-hand experience with what he calls Robert King's tactic of appealing “to the ego”, he gives some examples, saying “your lack of meeting attendance and years of being irregular, is not due to some 'failing' or 'weakness' on your part, no — on the contrary, it's an indication of your 'insightfulness', and 'sensitivity'. It was more pleasant to view myself in that light than the reality of personal failing; but no matter how hard I tried, there was no way one could reconcile scripturally what was being done and taught at that site.”

The Awake! article on propaganda continues, saying:

“First, examine whether there is bias. What is the motive for the message? If the message is rife with name-calling and loaded words, why is that?”

Yes, just why is Robert King's writings rife with name-calling and loaded words, such as when he calls the Bethel “outright liars”? Surely it is because he's a propagandist, not an honest and balanced researcher.

“If “authorities” are used, who or what are they? Why should you regard this person–or organization or publication–as having expert knowledge or trustworthy information on the subject in question?”

King has never been in a position to know the facts, and he got his ideas from others who also aren't in a position to know the facts. Most of the authorities he uses seems to be his own inductions, The Guardian newspaper article, and a letter from the UN which didn't even get the name of the Watchtower representative correct. The only other authorities he uses are scans of forms from the UN itself — yet he uses the wrong versions, and quotes he uses from the UN also refer to the wrong things (see chapter 2).

Summary

In every single way we look at the NGO views of Robert King (e-Watchman), it has all the hallmarks of discredited conspiracy theorist logic, his attitude and that of his followers are typical of arrogant conspiracy theorists, and his writings have all the features of propaganda which tries to manipulate the emotions and by-pass evidence. Using these tried-and-tested techniques, King has managed to spin together a whole conspiracy theory about the Watchtower's DPI NGO status. Thanks to this so-called “watchman” of God and his tactics, many people have been thoroughly misled, stumbled, and some have even left the truth to return to Babylon the Great. Will you be a victim?

“By clever and persevering use of propaganda even heaven can be represented as hell to the people, and conversely the most wretched life as paradise.” —MEIN KAMPF, Adolf Hitler 1925.


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