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The secular definition of a cult is; Any group which has a pyramid type authoritarian leadership structure with all teaching and guidance coming from the person/persons at the top. The group will claim to be the only way to God; Nirvana; Paradise; Ultimate Reality; Full Potential, Way to Happiness etc, and will use thought reform techniques to gain control and keep their members.

Do Jehovah Witnesses follow the Bible or the Watchtower Society?

Watchtower 2001 August 1 How to Make Your Advancement Manifest

8 First, since "oneness" is to be observed, a mature Christian must be in unity and full harmony with fellow believers as far as faith and knowledge are concerned. He does not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding. Rather, he has complete confidence in the truth as it is revealed by Jehovah God through his Son, Jesus Christ, and "the faithful and discreet slave."

[Emphasis Added]

 Watchtower 1998 December 1 p.14 Defending Our Faith

[Compare this quote to Watchtower quotes regarding Blood

4 Second, Jehovah's Witnesses have been targets of false accusations—barefaced lies and twisted presentations of their beliefs. As a result, they have been the object of unjustified attack in some lands. Further, because they seek nonblood medical treatment that is in harmony with their desire to obey the Bible's command to 'abstain from blood,' they have wrongly been labeled "child murderers" and "a suicide cult." (Acts 15:29) But the fact is that Jehovah's Witnesses place a high value on life, and they seek to obtain the best available medical care for themselves and their children. The accusation that numerous children of Jehovah's Witnesses die each year as a result of refusing blood transfusions is totally unfounded. In addition, because Bible truth does not have the same effect on all family members, Witnesses have also been accused of breaking up families. Yet, those acquainted with Jehovah's Witnesses know that they highly regard family life and try to follow the Biblical commands that a husband and wife love and respect each other and that children obey their parents whether they are believers or not.-Ephesians 5:21-6:3.

[Emphasis Added]

Awake! 1986 October 22 p.16 A Tragic Saturday That Shattered My Family

But that was only part of the campaign to dissuade me from studying the Bible with the Witnesses. One of my brothers was a Baptist minister, and he spent three hours trying to tell me how to be a good Christian and to stay away from Jehovah's Witnesses. My father said that the Witnesses would brainwash me, to which I replied that my brain needed a good washing, since I had been taught so many untruths for so many years.

[Emphasis Added

Reasoning From the Scriptures (1985, 1989) p.202 Jehovah's Witnesses

[This is the total and complete entry in this book on this subject]

Are Jehovah's Witnesses a sect or a cult?

Some define sect to mean a group that has broken away from an established religion. Others apply the term to a group that follows a particular human leader or teacher. The term is usually used in a derogatory way. Jehovah's Witnesses are not an offshoot of some church but include persons from all walks of life and from many religious backgrounds. They do not look to any human, but rather to Jesus Christ, as their leader.

A cult is a religion that is said to be unorthodox or that emphasizes devotion according to prescribed ritual. Many cults follow a living human leader, and often their adherents live in groups apart from the rest of society. The standard for what is orthodox, however, should be God's Word, and Jehovah's Witnesses strictly adhere to the Bible. Their worship is a way of life, not a ritual devotion. They neither follow a human nor isolate themselves from the rest of society. They live and work in the midst of other people.

[Emphasis Added]

Awake! 1982 September 8 p.10 Moon's Unification Church-What Does It Believe?

[Compare this quote to Watchtower quotes regarding education]

Who are the "Moonies"? Press reports about the Unification Church have tended to highlight charges of weekend brainwashing sessions and slave labor. The political and financial problems of the Church have also made headlines, especially since Sun Myung Moon, the Church's founder, was convicted of tax fraud. Moon's mass marriage of 2,075 couples also made headline news. But what do you know about the beliefs of the Unification Church? What is motivating the Church's small army of apparently idealistic youths? Why are they willing to give up college and careers to follow Sun Myung Moon? What is he promising them?

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower 1973 March 15 pp.186-7 Be a Vessel for Honorable Use

27 Jehovah's witnesses are not trying to escape reality. They are living now with a purpose. They are 'making their minds over' from the way they formerly were being "fashioned after this system of things." (Rom. 12:2) A musician who had lived the unreal life on drugs began studying the Bible with Jehovah's witnesses. His associates ridiculed him, taunting: "You're being brainwashed." He aptly replied: "The shape our brains are in, they need a good washing."

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower 1956 June 15 p.360 Getting and Giving the Thoughts of God

Why be tricked by crafty men into adopting their thoughts, especially when those men have themselves been snared by Satan and pumped full of his poisonous subtleties and like ventriloquists' dummies chatter them out under his unseen direction? Why allow yourself to be brainwashed by dupes oblivious to their own mental bondage? The brains of millions need a washing, but not with the political or religious propagandas of this system of things under Satan. Rather, everyone needs regular cleansings "with the bath of water by means of the word" of Jehovah God, to get his thoughts instead of man's or Satan's. Then all will rest content in the highest possible wisdom: "The wisdom from above is first of all chaste, then peaceable, reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits, not making partial distinctions, not hypocritical."-Eph. 5:26; Jas. 3:17, NW.

[Emphasis added]

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