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Few aspects of the Jehovah's Witness movement are more fascinating to the outside observer than their predictions of the end of the world.
Leon Festinger's Theory
In studying this phenomenon, credit must be given to Leon Festinger for his cognitive dissonance theory, as developed in his book When Prophecy Fails, originally published in 1956 and co-authored by Festinger, Henry W. Riecken and Stanley Schachter. The authors comprised a research team who conducted a study of a small cult-following of a Mrs. Marian Keech, a housewife who claimed to receive messages from aliens via automatic writing. The message of the aliens was one of a coming world cataclysm, but with the hope of surviving for the elect who listened to them through Keech and selected other mediums. What Festinger and his associates demonstrated in the end was that the failure of prophecy often has the opposite effect of what the average person might expect; the cult following often gets stronger and the members even more convinced of the truth of their actions and beliefs! This unique paradox is the focus of attention in this article, and will be later applied specifically to the Jehovah's Witness movement.....http://goo.gl/CzI35