Seriously, what would you say if someone rang your doorbell on Saturday morning, got you out of bed, and you opened the door to this:
“Hello, my name is George and I’m selling the commodity called happiness.”
A rational awake person would laugh and close the door, yes? After all, is happiness a product you can trade on the commodities market?
Selling Products? or Concepts?
There’s a thin line between corporations selling products and yes, selling concepts. Then you might argue, “But concepts aren’t the same as products” — and you’d be correct. In reality, some companies do sell concepts, like public relations firms, for example. Yet, when religion develops a product — such as a book — they convince vulnerable folks that perhaps the concepts in the book might help them pursue happiness and thus they might — in a roundabout way — acquire happiness. So then, is happiness a commodity?
Religion actually can not sell the commodity called happiness. They wouldn’t dare promote it as the business of selling happiness, either. They’re much more shrewd than that. And yet religion does attempt to sell the notion of happiness in a subtle way. Our family religion sure did try to sell the concept — and other faiths do as well. Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) also promote other ideals, too, such as the possibility of never having to die — living forever. Or having loved ones who have passed come back to life. They even backed those statements up with scriptures. They also tell their members often that they are the “happiest people on earth!” . Yet, when I was a member of the religion, I and many others I knew took anti-depressants, likely due to the impossible rules for “acquiring” happiness. I wish happiness was a commodity. I’d buy it rather than anti-depressants.
Members of the religion are the ordinary folks who go door-to-door peddling the ideals at their own expense, after paying for the “products” they carry in their briefcase or literature cart. I’m referring to the products at the kingdom hall book counter that go with the ideals. As well, all monies collected at the neighborhood doors are placed in the donation box at the back of the kingdom hall (what the JW members call “church”). Finally, all donations are sent to the JWorg headquarters in Wallkill, New York. Perhaps the happiness to which the Watchtower corporation refers is the cash cow funds reaching head office, the top of the pyramid?
Jehovah's Witnesses convention site in Denmark with eye of Horus and pyramid was sold in 2017. Image source: e-Watchman.
Strategically, Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t use that exact terminology of “selling ideals”. At their five weekly meetings they preached about the New World Order almost every time I attended — and I was a regular attender most of my life. Their New World Order was presented as the equivalent of living in paradise, in resplendent happiness. Under the guise of religion, they were actually selling a type of political Zionism with all it’s secret society symbolism, sigils, casting of spells, holding power “over” another, etc. More precisely, it’s Communist Zionism, under the pretext of “selling happiness”. This is my experience with our family’s religion, and I’m allowed to critique and evaluate what I was taught. It isn’t hate — it’s my personal background — my family history — and I feel a deep love and concern for my family of origin.
I’ve got to hand it to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The mesmerized people inside the congregations really did drink all the koolaid they’ve been buying. For example, I heard a talk once while still inside those walls about the power of music as a tool to control the masses.
As an aside, it seems the governing body of the Watchtower organization always tell folks ahead of time what they’re doing, and mostly members don’t really hear with understanding what is being said. Nor do they understand that they are the “experiment”.
Anyway, the speaker told of how Hitler used music to fuel the people to support the war effort and join the German army. Indeed, the religion’s latest ploy was to use the music as a tool to artificially “induce” happiness in a moment of time. Selling of ecstatic happiness, as seen below — sorry, but in the family religion, that’s as ecstatic as it gets. It’s something I never saw in my twenty-two years as a JW member.
Right-click on the image above to see the short video, if you dare.
Karl Marx was Selling Happiness?
My eyes got big at the concept of Karl Marx selling happiness. He would not be a person I’d look to for such a “product” or “commodity”. He was a writer, researcher, economist, and philosopher (1818–1883) who believed the only way to gain control of populations was by force. Dictators who embraced his philosophies used guns and firing squads, as well as massive prisons and torture chambers to establish their authority. He, with the backing of his handlers, wrote The Communist Manifesto. It is difficult to imagine another person who may have had as much influence in the creation of the modern up-side-down world in which we find ourselves. Karl Marx was accurate when he said,
“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature…It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions.” [Emphasis mine]—Karl Marx
Science of Happiness
Philosopher Marx knew that people could easily be controlled if offered a theology to stroke the ego. No one in their right mind would want to die, and if folks could be influenced to believe they could live forever, they’d hang onto that ideal no matter how crazy it sounded. My family sincerely believes in a literal earthly resurrection and a literal 1,000-year rule. Karl Marx made a study of how religion could be used to put people into a deep sleep, so they’d never understand the true state of the world. He immersed himself in the concept of controlling the masses with a sleep-inducing philosophy. With a lot of help from mind-control experts, he figured religious ideals would fit the bill. Besides, it didn’t really matter what Marx truly intended, if the world’s tyrants wished for something even more sinister.
Personally, I’m not a fan of Karl Marx. But, perhaps Jehovah’s Witnesses, with their endless harsh rules and strict devotion to the ideals they preach, are. It’s possible they are preparing to live under another totalitarian regime — the one they eagerly praise from the pulpit — but it fails to appeal to me. I’m not one for high control. My father was a dictator in our home and that didn’t go well for me. I would never recommend a dictatorship as the path to happiness. I doubt a cruel religious theology as espoused by the family religion would lead to a joyous end result, either. That was a big factor in my leaving the family religion. By then I knew for a certainty that happiness was not a commodity of religious extremism.
Scientology Selling Happiness
Scientology is another religion in the business of selling happiness, as if it were a commodity. They offer Dianetics Training, which seems like a way to get all your worst secrets out of you, then use them to blackmail you, the bearer of the secrets. I could be wrong because after all, how does such a statement lay claim to the selling of happiness? Touché. However, they do sell a lifestyle via multiple books, brochures, magazines, courses, and videos about finding happiness. But you do have to buy the products before finding that elusive happiness. Does that count as selling happiness? Perhaps some people think so. They also perform massive light shows, as seen at their New years’ Eve 2019 event held in Los Angeles, California, below.
Right-click on the above image to read the full article about Scientology's ability to induce religious ecstasy.
Illusory Goal of Selling Happiness
Everyone has the right to assess their family situations in which they land. In my case, the more I learn about our family’s religion, the more concerned I feel about my beloved relatives still inside. They shun me because I woke up to the religious deception. As a result, I can never tell them of what horrors I’ve discovered. They are being heavily censored by threat of expulsion, if they even talk to me. It’s another good reason for me to blog about my experiences in leaving. They will certainly never learn the truth from the elders who disfellowshipped me.
Some day my estranged family might want to find me and might even want to hear my side of the story of my leaving. Doubtful, though — it’s been eighteen years already — without a peep. I also doubt that my relatives could be truly happy while they shun me. They could certainly never convince me that happiness is a commodity to be bought and sold. The act of shunning hurts deeply.
So, after all is said and done, is happiness a commodity? A short study of two religions demonstrates to me that religious idealism is for sale to anyone interested in purchasing it. However, there are no guarantees to the buyer when it comes to the “selling happiness” spiel, so let the buyer beware.
The Watchman’s Post: Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Eye of Horus (includes video)
YouTube Video: Who is Karl Marx?
Visit website "Phoenix of Faith" the memoir. Follow on Twitter: @_phoenixoffaith Copyright ©2019.