RALLY AGAINST JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES SECT HELD IN ARKHANGELSK
Pomorie, 13 March 2016
Seven billion people are doomed to perish. And only those who join the Jehovah's Witnesses sect will survive after the horrible apocalypse. Such a legend is already more than 100 years old, although it is with this thought that devotees of this religious organization go to sleep and awaken. What makes one believe in things that do not exist and, most importantly, who stands behind all of them? What do psychologists say about people who are willing to surrender all their financial resources, give away their apartments, and even betray their own relatives for a promised paradise and supposedly eternal life? What do sects bring to the masses and why are Jehovah's Witnesses under a strict ban in many Russian cities? Not in ours, I hope, still not.
In a snowy minibus there is a package of interesting contents. Designated for the Arkhangelsk branch of Jehovah's Witnesses. In the packages are more than 600 magazines with a high-sounding title: "Government that brings paradise." All the literature is of extremist contents. It was found in the possession of the director of the Arkhangelsk Jehovists, Alexander Parygin. The booklets are intended, apparently, for those who have still not joined the religious organization.
"They were seized in a rather large quantity in 2015 at various addresses of representatives of this organization, which was confirmed by the testimony of witnesses.
Patience is exhausted, say participants of a rally in Arkhangelsk. Around 100 residents of the city came out to speak against the activity of the sect in front of the building where the Jehovists perform their rituals. The contents of the slogans on posters are unambiguous as also is the opinion of the protesters about Jehovah's Witnesses.
"Because it causes degradation of society. It destroys social classes."
The chief demand of those who gathered for the rally is to prohibit the activity, in their opinion, of a sectarian organization on the territory of Arkhangelsk province. This has already been done in Moscow, Taganrog, Belgorod, Samara, and Rostov. Rally participants have adopted a resolution which has already been sent to the governor of Arkhangelsk province, Igor Orlov, and the district prosecutor, Viktor Nasedkin.
Aleksei Tselishchev, correspondent: "Representatives of the religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses have not come out to meet the rally's participants. In addition, a lock hangs on the gates. Possibly the Jehovists have today off. Perhaps their religion simply does not permit them to participate in such events."
However the place did not have to be vacant for long. We had to drive several meters from the Jehovah's Witnesses' building and people began approaching the gates. As expected, they did not especially wish to talk with us.
"We just had a rally, and you arrived seconds after it ended. We often have rallies. For various reasons. So there also can be a rally here. There is nothing wrong."
The man who opened the gates did not deny his affiliation with the Jehovists. And he says that thinking about extremism is not his domain. In his opinion their organization does not violate laws and the fact that the sect's activity is considered to be illegal turns out to be the government's problem.
"These are not questions for me. These are questions for our government. Why does it decide in that way? Why was our literature ruled to be extremist?—these are questions for our government. Not for me."
Several minutes go by. Crowds of people begin to gather near the Jehovah's Witnesses' building. Mainly women of advanced age. And many of them with children.
"This is useful."
"Useful to whom?"
"Useful to both me and the child."
"How do you feel about this organization?"
The effect that the sect is good is artificially created, psychologists think. This is a concept in the science that is called bombardment with love. At the beginning stage, recruiters surround each person with concern and make him think that he is most significant and he is accepted and loved.
Anna Kuznetsova, kandidat of psychological sciences and docent of the department of psychiatry of Northern State Medical University: "At a later stage there is serious impact on consciousness, when an informational vacuum is created for the person who has no possibility of getting information except within the sect. The sect prevents contacts with a circle of people. That is, it creates definite isolation."
Later the devotees are forbidden to celebrate holidays, serve in the army, participate in elections, and worst of all, to transfuse blood even if it is vitally necessary. They are forced to leave their family, to sell their apartments, and to surrender all their savings. The participants in the sect do this as if they are under hypnosis.
"Do you have many people there? How many?"
"I do not count."
According to some information, the number of devotees of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Arkhangelsk province is more than 2,500. More than a thousand persons in the capital of the litoral. The devotees call themselves Christians. However experts say that it is hardly possible to assign them to this confession.
Denis Danilov, religious studies scholar: "Jehovah's Witnesses do not consider Jesus Christ to be God. For this reason, Christian confessions deny them the status of Christian."
Experts consider Jehovah's Witnesses to be a quasi-religious post-protestant religion, which arose in the late 19th century. The motherland of the sect is the U.S.A. and it is from across the ocean that the leadership of the organization in Russia gets their instructions. (tr. by PDS, posted 14 March 2016)
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