The 141 Rules. Which Ones Are Correct?

A Question About The 141 Rules.

I have been surfing internet forums. Your website is really helpful. Thank you. I guess the Watchtower keeps everyone confused as a “control” tactic, but I really need to know the consequences of all the JW “rules”. Are there no straight answers anywhere? Somewhere I found a list of 141 rules, but I can’t find which ones are imperative, which ones loose guidelines, and which ones conscience matters?? Of course attitude, repentance, and/or continuing to perpetrate makes a difference. Being baptized also makes a difference.

Please tell me why the ex-JW sites do not publish current information about this?? In your forums I read of folks saying, “I had no idea that R-rated movies was a DF offense.” Or, “When did voting become “a matter of conscience”? Can you direct me to a link that lists all these rules, but also describes the consequences of breaking each individual rule?

The Answer:

That's a great question. We originally published the 141 rules [1] a few years ago and people are debating the rules on various forums. It's interesting that even the JW's disagree as to which rules are correct and which ones are not correct. That's because they don't really know! They aren't given a list of rules and consequences for breaking them. Only Elders have that knowledge. Even their guidelines are somewhat open to interpretation when it comes to less important rules.

If the Watchtower demanded obedience to their rules, everyone would leave. (JW's believe that idolatry is a sin. They know they should serve God, - not humans.) The Watchtower doesn't want everyone to leave, - just the ones who are a threat to religious unity and tradition.

The Watchtower wants everyone to believe their rules are God's rules and that the organization is merely conveying God's message. [2] That's why the Elder manual is hidden from women and lower ranking JW's. If people were to read it, they would see the organization does in fact have clearly written organizational guidelines and these must be followed. It's not optional and there are consequences for breaking the rules.

The rules are vaguely discussed one at a time in the literature that JW's study, but the Watchtower chooses their words carefully so that even amongst JW's there could debate as to what the Watchtower really means. The Watchtower never says, you must follow the rules and obey us because we told you so. Once again, JW's know that only God should be obeyed. Therefore the Watchtower phrases their rules in an attractive way. Through repetition and false assumptions that are not easy to spot, the Witnesses don't even notice they're being mentally programmed to obey the words of man. [2] Here's a good example. Notice the choice of words in this innocent looking but powerful question:

The Watchtower says this, 'And should we not strive to be obedient and submissive to those taking the lead in our local congregation?' Watchtower Magazine, Nov 15, 2009, Article: 'Treasure Your Place in the Congregation', par 5.

Notice the false assumption, that it's commendable to obey Elders (and thus ultimately the Governing Body). Obedience to man is NOT something to strive for. God requires our exclusive devotion. Notice how they interject the word 'strive' into the question. Then instead of using the word 'Elders', they soften the sentence with the words 'those taking the lead'. In the title of the above Watchtower article they use the words 'treasure your place' as if being submissive to Elders is something to 'strive' for, when indeed it is not. Respect is commendable. However the jealous God Jehovah might view devotion and obedience to religious leaders as a sin against Him. Jeremiah 25:6; Luke 10:25-28


1. We published the 141 rules in 2009. So far no one has provided evidence that the rules are not correct.

2. The Watchtower says they are God's channel of communication. However on a few occasions, they've disclaimed having any divine inspiration. They say mistakes are possible and corrections are sometimes necessary. This means that some or all of what they teach could be incorrect. Instead of seeing the organization for what it is, - the words of man, - JW's have been mentally programmed to believe that rebellion against the organization is virtually the same as rebellion against God. Follow these three links:

  1. Channel of Communication
  2. No Divine Inspiration
  3. Rebellion Against Jehovah's Organization