The detail in your letter is interesting and intriguing.
A few questions for you.
I sympathize with your reasonings in leaving the WTS - because of the
obvious doctrinal discrepancies, "new light" lane changes, lack of love,
1. Who do you say IS the "faithful and discreet slave" that the Lord
appointed to apportion food at the proper time etc?
2. who/how is "this good news of the kingdom" being preached in all the
earth - by people who "worship god in spirit and truth"?
3. Is it even possible for imperfect man to perfectly underSd and
put in practice the Bible's perfect instruction? The Jews couldn't do it,
the first Christians had their share of disputes amongst each other, were
concerned about "who was greatest", had open doctrinal disputes
(circumcision) Should it realistically be any different now? Are you
insisting on perfection where none is possible?
As a person who is enjoys digging into matters thoroughly, I have identified
some "issues" with the WTS myself. Trouble is, I'm not seeing anything even
close to being able to perform Questions 1 and 2 above. I am a JW for many
years and have never shied away from reading both sides of any issue -
including reading alleged "apostate" material such as yours. I take a dim
view of censorship and groupthink.
I know though that I'm imperfect as everyone else is and am really in no
better place than anyone else to think that I know all things.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks for your comments on my letter to the GB.
Let me say, first of all, how refreshing it is to find a JW who sounds reasonable and open-minded! We "apostates" waste most of our time fruitlessly replying to the invective of angry and confused JWs.
So, I would like to continue this discussion with you for as long as we both find it "interesting and intriguing"!
One of my major beefs with the WT religion (as opposed to the individual Jehovah's Witnesses, for whom I have a lot of respect -- and pity) is the control they exercise over people's lives. You would be amazed at the amount of letters I receive from former JWs who express what this stranglehold meant in their lives. That is where you are way ahead of the game. You have decided to think for yourself and look at both sides of the issues. Bravo! You are where I was some 25 years ago when I wrote that letter to the GB. If you decide to stay with the organization, at least you won't have cut yourself off from all outside information (coincidentally, such "cutting off of outside information" just happens to be one of the first rules of mind-controlling cults).
I have come a long way from the confused, half-delusioned, frightened Witness I was when I wrote that letter. I was in a transition at that time. If you had asked me your questions back then, I would have answered them quite differently than I will answer them today.
Back then, I would've said, "Yes, the remnant of the spirit-anointed ones are the F&D Slave. And only JW's are preaching the kingdom message in all the earth." Where we would've disagreed is on your third question. Before writing the letter, and getting the "response", I would've agreed with you. I would've chalked everything up to "imperfections of the brothers". But, when I discovered to my horror that the Society itself (not some individual imperfect brother, but rather the collective leadership of "God's visible organization on earth") had misrepresented its own past (a conclusion based strictly on reading the WT's own original literature in the Bethel library) I was aghast!
Surely, "God's earthly organization," his "faithful and discreet slave," the ones who had published the "Truth Book" which led me into "the truth" would not knowingly publish lies! So, it must've been one of those "imperfections of men": it must've been an oversight. So, it appeared to me, that if anyone brought such matters to the attention of the GB, some action would be immediately taken. I assumed that the action would be a correction, probably published in the WT. Well, I was half right. They took immediate action and a correction was made: to me.
Up until that point, I was still ready to put all of the issues in my letter aside, and accept them as the F&D Slave. But, you see, they couldn't answer my questions (i.e. somehow explain away the contradictions in their own published versions of their history) and they weren't going to do anything to try and make it right. They had lied, and instead of being "faithful" to the truth, and "discreetly" making amends, they simply wanted to sweep the issue under the rug (along with myself).
I was not asking for perfection: just simple honesty.
There was no getting around it. The Society had lied, and -- more importantly -- they were covering it up. How could I ever again consider them the source of all truth? I would have been a fool to do so. This went far beyond anything that could be covered by "imperfections of the brothers".
Today, I have different answers to your first two questions.
Number one: I don't say that anyone is the F&D Slave. I believe this was a parable, not a prophecy.
Number two: It is true that JW's are preaching a "kingdom message". Whether they are doing quantitatively more preaching than any other group is debatable. I know that the Mormons also have at least some of their rank-and-file members out there preaching (and their television commercials reach a wider audience in a few seconds than a JW congregation will reach in many years). Other Christian sects have missionaries, and encourage (rather than coerce) their rank-and-file to be "witnesses for Christ" through their actions as well as word-of-mouth. There are several other interesting problems related to the preaching work which I get into in my online novel (to which I would refer you).
But, I don't think the quantity is as important an issue as the quality of the preaching.
For instance: is it really "good news" that a horrible global war is coming which will kill everyone but JWs? A major piece of the JW "kingdom message" is that people must join the WT organization in order to escape a horrible death at Armageddon. However, nowhere in the Bible is there any verse which states that one must join an organization and listen to its pronouncements as if they were from God. If we know for a fact that this organization has lied and deliberately covered up its lies, then how could we accept that such preaching was a good thing and somehow proved that their claims were true?
In short: "We lie: join us and find the truth!" Can the widespread preaching of this message really be used to prove anything positive about the group?
The Bible also states that the preaching had already been done in "all the earth" back in Paul's day (Romans 10:17-18). So, that could be the "fulfillment" of the "prophecy" about the kingdom message being preached in all the earth. It wouldn't require a second fulfillment in our day.
Another important "prophecy" was that in the "last days" there would be many false prophets who would mislead many. So, merely pointing out that a group has done a lot of preaching and made a lot of converts would not tell us which of the "prophecies" they were thereby fulfilling. It could be that they were the false prophets rather than the true ones. The only way to determine this would be to examine what they were preaching. If they made false prophecies, then the conclusion would be pretty clear-cut.
Could the F&D Slave be faithful and discreet if it were a false prophet?
Could leading people to be under the control of a false prophet really be the "spreading of the kingdom message"?
S, I have recently created a short online course for JWs who are in a position similar to you (still in, but questioning some things, and perhaps not completely happy with where they're at). It is non-sectarian (the last thing I want to do is lead people out of the frying pan and into the fire), and it examines further the issue of the F&D Slave (as well as a second course on the blood issue). If you are willing to take it, you would be doing me a big favor (no practicing Witness has taken the course to my knowledge, and I would love to hear your reaction to it). Here is the link:
Also, you might enjoy my online novel which is loosely based on my own experiences as a Witness. One of the characters in my book takes a similar viewpoint to yours: that God must be using the WT as his preaching organization, and therefore he decides to stick with the organization no matter what. The link is:
Falling in Truth
Please don't think that I am angry with you or that I bear you any animosity if I express myself forcefully at any time. Nor is it ever my intent to be sarcastic or belittling of your beliefs. Remember: I was once where you are now. I was a "true believer". I can relate. I know that an otherwise intelligent person can believe these things.
This is taking a considerable amount of our time, so let's vow to really listen to each other, rather than just to spout off our own views.
I look forward to hearing from you again.
I appreciate your candor. I believe in clear and honest communication - the
good the bad and the ugly. When people are not able to do that in a
discussion, no good will come.
If one doesn't agree with what someone thinks or says, they only were able
to determine that by first HEARING and understand WHAT it was they think.
The Inquisition proved what happens to freedom when the minds of men become
subject to the "thinking" of the few.
Thanks for your answers. I'd be glad to take your test. And yes, as long
as the interchange can be constructive I don't have a problem with doing it.
Indeed, that's how I learned "the
truth" in the first place (was not raised around it) - was by facing the
music so to speak and doing my own independent investigation.
I tell you, if the day ever comes that I stop thinking independently, I hope
someone shoots me! Independent thinking isn't automatically "rebelliousness
thinking" like was Korah and Co. Gallileo thought independently and was
able to figure out that the earth was a sphere and not a flat disk and that
the sun not the earth was the center of the solar system.
The beef between independent thinkers and authority, WTS included, always
includes one component: it is less a beef about whether the independent
thinker is right or wrong on an issue - (such as the earth is flat and the
center of the solar system) - it is more about the perception on the part of
authority that THEY ONLY are capable of performing the independent thinking!
Everyone else are pinheads and incapable of thinking anything other that
what authority tells them to think!
I totally agree!
Not so. But we seem to be stuck with that down here on earth. So what do
we "pinheads" do about it - in the matter of religious authority?
My conclusion is this: WTS, "if" they are god's chosen channel for handling
the Lord's interests on the earth (I use the "if" format so as not to
alienate my audience by assumptions on my part), have the specific
assignment of declaring the good news s in all the inhabited etc etc Matt
24:14. They would necessarily be single minded which they obviously are.
They are setup at HQ to eat sleep and breath nothing but fulfilling the
mission. Have they carried the mission? I can't see any other group on
earth notably doing that mission. Maybe they HAVE to be that way to an
abnormal extent in order to keep from being gobbled up by Satan's effort to
pervert true worship - they are made a "copper tower" like Jeremiah? They
certainly are that - very stubborn.
Maybe they have framed their own interpretation of this verse in such a way that it only fits what they themselves have done. It's like the NRA (National Rifle Association) claiming that the constitution guarantees the right of individual citizens to own handguns, and then claiming that only their organization is fulfilling the constitution. In the first place, their premise is false, so their "fulfilling" their own false interpretation of the constitution fails to impress anyone but themselves. Other examples closer to home would be the Mormons pointing to the verse where it says the disciples were getting baptized for the dead: only Mormons are doing that. A Seventh Day Adventist minister convinced me from the Bible (when I was still an on-fire JW) that the Sabbath law was still in effect, and only his church was observing that law.
The WT hasn't been as "single-minded" in spreading the kingdom message as you think. They have wasted considerable time, for instance, telling people that vaccinations and organ transplants were against God's law. But today they say these things are not against God's law, so according to their own "revised understanding", they were preaching falsehoods. Where did these falsehoods come from which cost the lives of many of their followers? Could the GB really have been led by the Holy Spirit for all those years when they were demanding that their followers die rather than have these medical procedures? That's quite an "imperfection"! Don't you think that if Jehovah were truly leading this organization, and was "the editor of the Watchtower" (as a former president of the WTS declared under oath in a court of law) he would avoid such fatal mistakes?
They have also wasted time prying into people's private lives: delving into the most intimate sexual matters between husbands and wives! In fact, there are very few places where they haven't poked their noses.
Are they perfect? Were the apostle perfect? No way. They had constant
battle over who was greater, doctrinal schisms, arguments and going their
separate ways, etc. Did they get the Lord's good news preached? They did.
This is not a valid argument since it could be used to justify any organization on earth. The fact that they aren't perfect doesn't excuse their writings and actions from our scrutiny. If you were witnessing to a Lutheran, pointing out the flaws in the church, the Lutheran could use the same argument: "Nobody's perfect". But I don't believe that you would thereby discount all of your arguments against "Christendom". I think this is just what people say when they have no real defense.
So that where I'm at. As with ancient Israel, god's own chosen people, the
Christian cong has good guys and the bad guys. Jehovah, like Israel of old,
knew who the good guys were and preserved them alive out of the evil crowd
of wicked priests, kings, and false prophets right in the same "org"! Did
the good guys leave "true worship" (impossible to find with open apostasy,
child sacrifice, etc. they probably went to the temple and quietly did
their thing and had no part in the child sacrifices etc)for Molech or Baal?
No. And Jehovah knew who they were personally (the 7,000 who had not bent
the knee to baal in Elijah's day, etc)
So there is my explanation and personal reasoning for how I can stay in an
org that has obvious problems. Some day Jehovah will separate the good guys
from the bad in his earthly org - and for that I will wait patiently.
And I guess that's fine, if you're happy and content with it. But I'll tell you why it doesn't work for me:
Unlike the Biblical cases you mentioned, in the case of the WTS it's the leaders of the organization who are corrupt, and they are the ones who are framing what this religion consists of! I could never imagine, for instance, back when I was a JW, that "the generation" could be changed. This was a fundamental doctrine: the generation that was alive in 1914 would not all be dead before the end of "the old order". Do you know how many doors we knocked on back then and how many people we told this to? This was a big part of the "kingdom message" that we were supposed to be preaching in fulfillment of the Bible. Now that's no longer true? Now the WTS says "the generation" means something else entirely? So, what was I preaching back then? It wasn't the truth, so was it the "kingdom message"? Only if the "kingdom message" consists of lies.
So, when it's the leaders and framers of the religion itself who are corrupt, that's quite a different story!
People who lie are telling you what "the truth" is. Doesn't that bother you more than a little? Can't you see how utterly absurd that is? What's worse: they require you to go out and try to rope other unsuspecting people into the same dilemma you find yourself in!
I've been researching on the topic of WTS attitude and actions for months
now. The recent issues around www.silentlambs.org really brings up a
serious problem with WTS congs that clearly is exacerbated via remiss WTS
case handling policy. WTS is going after and df'ing persons who have gone
public on the Dateline show on that topic last month. Very sad deal I've
conversed with Bill Bowen the head "rebel". I myself have written WTS and
in direct language recommend ways to fix this issue. So I could be in hot
water soon here myself, we'll see. But conscientiously I can't dummy up to
a useless child rape case handling policy just because WTS thinks all is
well in the world - which clearly it not according to victim testimony.
It also goes to show that the leaders of the WTS do not care about you. They are willing to let their members be molested and die rather than admit that there is a problem. They boast about how many children have died for their totally insane blood policy! (May 22, 1994 Awake!) What kind of "shepherds of the flock" are these?
In my investigation I've been checking in with all you "apostates" out there
to get the whys and wherefores for all "you" ones leaving after many years
with WTS. Many of your beefs for leaving are legitimate - such as being
railroaded out for initially only questioning something. If I am to stay -
I had to do the math. I refuse to submit to groupthink simply because
someone says I must.
And I sincerely say, Bravo!
Apparently you ones out there have found not much better. You say you pity
JWs, I say Satan is after all of us and in which of us is he getting to? I
hope its not me or you - but it has to be someone which is very sobering.
I don't believe that Satan is after any of us, but that's a discussion I would like to put off into the future.
I can't see how you are going to fulfill the Matt 24:14 mission for example
when the various groups and not functionally united.
Well, I'm not going to fulfill it. As I've already stated, the Bible itself states that it already was fulfilled in Paul's day. Also, you stated that the first century Christians themselves were not united, yet they "preached in all the inhabited earth" so evidently unity is not required.
I'm concluding that
WTS fits the Bible's description of a global noteworthy sign
Christians have been imagining that the "signs of the last days" were being given in their day ever since the Gospels were first written. Just look back into Russell's writings: he had just as convincing an argument that the last days began in 1799 based on the events of those days! So, saying that something the WTS is doing is fulfilling a "last days" prophecy is not very convincing to me. It's obvious to me that all of this stuff was written in regards to the Roman occupation of Jerusalem back in the first century, period -- end of story.
- and if its
screwed up on some levels - is it right on the main levels? You "apostates"
out there may say no. Is this a case of the glass being 1/2 full or 1/2
empty and what should be our focus? Surely the basic teachings are clear
and verifiable. If WTS has the timelines not right - well I say so what -
neither did the apostles have it right till after the fact and sometime not
Some of the basic teachings are clear, and some are not. Some are verifiable and some are not. Some are true and some are not. The glass is more than half empty: there's only a drop or two in it! On this, please see my online article,
Why Not be a Jehovah's Witness" (chapter 2).
I clicked No on this question.
[The question referred to is from the
Self-Deprogramming Course on Truth,
and reads: "Is the Watchtower society a false prophet?"]
I'll research this question, but I believe WTS does not claim to be a
In order to have reached this page in the course (which asked the question: "Is the WTS a false prophet?"), you had to have first gone to the page which reads (in brief):
Such persons should remember that the Watchtower sets out the words of God's prophet.
(WT 1936 p. 182 par. 18)
God uses The Watchtower to communicate to his people; it does not consist of men's opinions.
The "Watchtower" An Outstanding Bible Aid...Since 1879 it has been published regularly for the benefit of sincere students of the Bible. Since that time it has proven itself dependable.
(Advertisement in the back of the 1953 edition of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures)
The Watchtower sets forth the words of "God's prophet": not men's opinions. It has been dependable since 1879
Is the above a fair summary of what the Watchtower has stated?
You had to have answered the above question "Yes" in order to reach the page which asks "Is the WT a false prophet?" So, you had already seen the quote from the WT and agreed that it did indeed make the claim of setting forth the words of "God's prophet".
I think you may be confused on this point because (like most things) the WT has tried to have it both ways: claiming to be a prophet when making prophecies, and denying that it ever made that claim when its prophecies fail. In case the above quotes were not enough, here is a sampling from the WT over the years:
The twentieth-century preaching prophets of Jehovah are the ones who are running to and fro over the Bible to gain knowledge of the divine pronouncements which is on the increase.-Dan. 12:4.
--Watchtower 1952 April 15 p.253 Aids for Understanding Prophecy
As Jehovah revealed his truths by means of the first-century Christian congregation so he does today by means of the present-day Christian congregation. Through this agency he is having carried out prophesying on an intensified and unparalleled scale. All this activity is not an accident. Jehovah is the one behind all of it.
--Watchtower 1964 June 15 pp.365-6 Jehovah, the God of Progressive Revelation
People today can view the creative works. They have at hand the Bible, but it is little read or understood. So, does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come?
IDENTIFYING THE "PROPHET"
These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet? ... This "prophet" was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah's Christian witnesses. ... Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a "prophet" of God. It is another thing to prove it. The only way that this can be done is to review the record.
--Watchtower 1972 April 1 p.197 'They Shall Know that a Prophet Was Among Them'
The facts substantiate that the remnant of Christ's anointed disciples have been doing that prophesying to all the nations...
--Holy Spirit -- The Force Behind the Coming New Order! (1976) p.148 ch.8 "Spirit of Life from God Entered into Them"
In behalf of such individuals who at heart seek God's rule instead of man's rule, the "prophet" whom Jehovah has raised up has been, not an individual man as in the case of Jeremiah, but a class. The members of this class are, like the prophet-priest Jeremiah, wholly dedicated to Jehovah God through Christ and, by the begettal of Jehovah's holy spirit, they have been made part of "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession."
--Watchtower 1982 October 1 p.27 Be as Men Who Are Facing Har-Magedon Unafraid
You will be interested to learn that God has on earth a people, all of whom are prophets, or witnesses for God. In fact, they are known throughout the world as Jehovah's Witnesses.
--Awake! 1986 June 8 p.9 "Would That All Were Prophets!"
So, it is true that the WTS has claimed to be a prophet of Jehovah, and they have stated that the words in the WT are not "men's opinions" but rather are "the words of God's prophet" (as they stated in the first 2 quotes from the website). What is left to research (unless you mean that you are going to find the original bound volumes and look up these references)?
Now, here is the simple syllogism:
- False Prophets are identifiable by their making of prophecies which fail to come true.
- The WT, which claims to print "the words of God's prophet", has printed prophecies which have failed to come true (the resurrection of the ancient worthies in 1925 is one glaring example).
- Therefore, the WT is a false prophet.
I do believe that the logic of the above argument is valid. Therefore, the only way that we could possibly argue that the WT is not a false prophet would be to attack the premises of the argument. We could attack the first premise, but that would be to attack the Bible itself since that is where this formula for identifying false prophets comes from (Deut. 18:20-22).
So, that leaves us to attack the second premise. In order to attack this premise we would have to either disprove that the WT has claimed to be a prophet, or that they have made prophecies that have not come true. The first of these options is what you have attempted by stating that " I believe WTS does not claim to be a prophet." But the abundance of quotes above dispels that thought. And, unless Abraham, David, and Jacob are hiding out somewhere, it is obvious that the WT has made false prophecies.
So, how does the WT officially handle the charge of being a false prophet? Denial:
Jehovah's Witnesses, in their eagerness for Jesus' second coming, have suggested dates that turned out to be incorrect. Because of this, some have called them false prophets. Never in these instances, however, did they presume to originate predictions 'in the name of Jehovah.' Never did they say, 'These are the words of Jehovah.'
Awake! 1993 March 22 pp.3-4 Why So Many False Alarms? (Footnote)
I don't know about you, but that strikes me as pretty lame. In the first place, as we've seen in the above quotes, the WT definitely did state that it was printing the words of "God's prophet" and that Jehovah was the one "behind" the prophesying. While they may never have prefaced one of their prophecies with the exact words "these are the words of Jehovah," that is just their own made-up formula for identifying a false prophet: not the Bible's.
But their denial fits in perfectly with the following Scripture:
And it must occur in that day [that] the prophets will become ashamed, each one of his vision when he prophesies; and they will not wear an official garment of hair for the purpose of deceiving. And he will certainly say, 'I am no prophet. I am a man cultivating [the] soil, because an earthling man himself acquired me from my youth on.'
As prophecy after prophecy has failed to come true, the WT has deemed it wise to pretend that they never claimed to be prophets. Just like Big Brother in Orwell's classic book "1984", they would like to rewrite their own history to better fit the facts (in fact they have done so several times) unfortunately for them, their true history is readily available in the older publications (which is why they tell their followers not to read them).
Is the WTS a false prophet? There's no question about it. It's as cut and dried as you can get. If you found any other group that claimed to be God's prophet and had made so many false prophecies you wouldn't hesitate for a moment in your verdict.
More importantly, we need to ask: what was guiding the leaders of the WT all those years when they stated that they were "certain" about the resurrection of the ancient worthies in 1925 (as certain as they were about 1914, and more certain than Noah was about the flood)? Could it have been the Holy Spirit? Not unless the Holy Spirit makes mistakes and leads people astray. What was it then? Their own wild, unsubstantiated speculation? Obviously. But what's really significant about this is that they passed it off as "truth" from "God's prophet"! A "certainty" (which they later tried to rewrite as a "probability"). Does this inspire our trust? How could "God's organization" proclaim something totally false for years as the truth if it was being led by God's Holy Spirit?
If there was a good answer to this question, why haven't they given it instead of attempting to cover up the error with a further lie ("we never said it was a certainty!")?
Along the same lines: how could it for years force its members to die -- when organ transplants could save their lives -- due to thinking that organ transplants were against God's law? If God were directing this organization, wouldn't he, at the very least, ensure that it didn't issue false laws which killed his "name people"? I don't think that's expecting too much.
Overall the test indicates that I discount the fact that WTS is inconsistent
etc - but yet still I say I can stay with WTS. This is admit seems
The WT has defined "truth" as a consistent thing. Yet, you admit that they have been inconsistent. Therefore, you have admitted that the WT does not have the truth. I think that's not something you can just blow off with a shrug of your shoulders. If it's not the truth, then why are you taking it door to door? Again, I ask: can the "kingdom message" consist of lies?
I think I basically am reacting to all these type questions
how Peter and the Twelve (and others too I suppose) did when Jesus said they
had to eat his flesh and drink his blood. BAM - many were discontinued
following Jesus pronto. Like Peter said - who else can we go to? - I've
found no one to date, and if WTS is not all kosher I can't attribute that to
being god's fault, can I?
Again, this is not a valid argument since it could be used in defense of any organization whatsoever. Papal infallibility is hard to swallow? Well, so what; it must've been hard for the apostles to accept the eating of Christ's body and the drinking of his blood. You see?
Also, it's not a relevant argument because we're not talking about something that is just hard to swallow; we're talking about deliberate lying.
"Who else can you go to?" How about any organization that doesn't deliberately lie to you? Or, better yet, stay away from "organizations" entirely and live your own life! This is classic cult mind-control. They have you give up all your "worldly" friends and then immerse you into their constant meetings and studying of their "new literature", until you have time for little else. Then, when your life is virtually dependent on them they ask: "Where else will you go?"
Guess what: there's a real world out here, and although there is evil, there's a lot more good. It's a pretty wild and fantastic place, actually: filled with great ideas, music, art, and real emotions which aren't constrained by some old farts in Brooklyn who have long ago lost all touch with reality.
Is this truly due to classic "imperfect man
No, it's due to classic cult syndrome.
Isn't that why we get saved by grace and not works of flesh?
If you believe in "salvation by grace" what need do you have to be a member of the WTS?
I don't have the answers to everything I admit and have always admitted.
What I am for sure about is that Jehovah and his son do exist. There is an
earth, there was an original purpose, and the original purpose must be
completed because god has the power and authority to make it happen. These
statement I make MUST be discounted also - I could write a test where upon I
would have to discount what I just said, since NO ONE has seen ANY of this!
The difference between such a test and my truth course would be that one contains inherent contradictions. If you said "I believe in Jehovah" and then later said "I don't believe in Jehovah" then you could make a similar course.
We only have faith to go on - which is an assured expectation of something
we have never seen! We've never seen anything other than what appears to
fit the bible descriptions for the last days in which we live. Thus based
on faith and what I do see is right in WTS, I am prepared to stand up to god
on judgement day and say I acted on faith. Some would call that
credulity-some would call it faith. Jehovah knows how the good guys are am
I rely more on that than I do our combined "foolish questionings" in wanting
to nail down every single detail.
Faith without common-sense could lead you into the Moonies as well.
In a world of deception by wicked powerful spirit creatures - we are ALL
screwed if Jehovah can't save us. We simply must execute a high level of
Well, if you're worried about deception, I think you owe it to yourself to take a close look at the organization you belong to. It's easy for them to scare their members by pointing to imaginary evil forces "out there" who are waiting to deceive people, while they themselves have engaged in more (easily documented) deception than any other organization I have ever come across!
Trust them? With THEIR track record? You've got to be kidding.
As I say in the email, we all have similar questions and situations to deal
with no matter which group and/or belief structure we adhere to. All said,
we collectively could meet and "prove" to ourselves that no one no teaching
on this planet can be shown to be accurate consistently and therefore we
must disassociate ourselves from every other individual unless they fit what
we think it the true stuff.
Then have we become guilty of the same "issues" that we so assuredly are
criticizing WTS for?
The scientific method is what you're looking for. It accurately reflects the truth about the world, and is self-correcting. Yes, I do believe an inquiring mind needs to do the type of research you mention and prove to himself what is true and what is hogwash. That is not at all what we are criticizing the WT for.
You mention the source of truth, and "how could we trust in an org" that
1.makes glaring mistakes 2. Covers it up 3. Kicks out any who dare
question Item #1.
In my view this is where we as individuals have to understand "where" the
truth was really at to begin with. Not understanding "where the truth is"
is where it become possible for individuals to wind being thunder struck
when they figure out that the org was in fact doing Items 1&2 above. I see
the look in JWs eyes when they are grappling with this syndrome, and I
myself have felt the tug on my conscience from time to time myself even
though I believe I walk around with my eyes wide open most of the time in
these type matter (I think therefore I am? -ha) . Interestingly, I myself
am your atypical "power org" type. I am convinced that no org can function
right with tyrannical top down thinking. It been shown in studies that orgs
using that model are cumbersome and have difficulty being in a competitive
environment. Instead, companies such as TRW flat knock the socks of the
competition using the self directed work team model where the rank and file
have say and can take ownership for what goes down in the company instead of
dumb-down and wait for their marching order every minute.
I appears to me that the 1st century model employed that. Many were
prophets, teachers, etc and contributed to the entire body being healthy.
The head was the Christ himself - not the F&D. The F&D governing body model
served a leadership role. There is more to this topic so please don't take
this out of full context I'll do more later with it.
Anyway Truth is in the Bible. Jesus said that "your word is truth". "the
truth will set you free". Jehovah's holy spirit works on individuals
directly. The girl who could divine the future in Paul's day had "her heart
opened to understand (something like that)". Paul himself met up with the
Lord himself on the road and was struck with HS to see truth.
We know that individuals and organizations which are extensions of
individuals "plant, water, etc, but its god that makes it grow etc".
So individuals are responsible for due diligence in the matter of "where"
truth really is. If we think it is anywhere else that in the Bible, we set
ourselves up for failure from the git go if we miss that part - stopping at
the org level thinking it THEM that has truth.
I myself look at organizations (I'm a com0puter systems dude and have worked
at many large companies) and I see how the lifeblood of any org is in the
rank and file. Scripturally, I think its proverbs says that when a king has
no subjects, he is has no power! So the power is always in the people.
True, Provs also says that when there is a good king the people rejoice and
when a bad king the people groan. Thus we derive the true nature of the
"circular relationship" the must exist for any org to be functional!
Failure of either group results in dysfunction!
This is where WTS's theocratic model may work better. Either WTS doesn't
understand some of that relationship or rank and file doesn't. But I'm here
to tell you that without both factions working according to an effective
model - you have problems.
I therefore work to keep myself from freaking out on what doesn't work at my
own workplace and in my own cong. I go to work, its never perfect, but my
GOAL in working? - - is to get a paycheck - - not run the damn thing (I have
worked places where it really worked to the max - which was is a REAL
eye-opener for seeing how things can work).
Similarly I attend Christian meeting where my "goal" is life everlasting
(truth FROM the bible), not to run the damn thing but to get a paycheck. I
do my personal best to show love for the multitude is a real sense - not
pulling on others what I HATE pulled on me. If I'm ahead of the curve on
this - I don't broadcast it - simply apply it in my own case and let Jehovah
worry about everyone else, the Org, whatever.
Does any of this sound right in any way? Am I so self deluded as to merit
Free unrestricted thinking on any matter is of itself not a problem. For
example in an advertising company its standard practice for ad execs to
assemble for brainstorming sessions. No idea can be considered stupid or
lame by those assembled. Thus the creative juices are able to freely flow.
They get all this up on the whiteboard - they collectively decided how what
when the ad will go together - they proceed with the campaign.
Adam and Eve
Adam was told no not eat from the one Tree. Evidently Adam told Eve not
even to "touch" the tree. But did Adam "think" about eating of the Tree?
If he did, was that process of itself improper in any way?
I believe Adam thought about the matter of "not eating from the tree". In
the many years he was alone in the garden no doubt he walked past the Tree
many times. He would have thought things like "hmm, the Tree is the same
kind of trees elsewhere in the garden that I do eat of. At least it looks
the same. Yes, I'm sure it is the same kind of tree".
No doubt Adam considered whether there was something functionally different
though about this Tree. "Maybe Jehovah made this one tree poisonous in
some way?. Hmm. No, cause the same birds and animals that eat from the
other same kind of trees as this Tree don't die".
Still, Adam accepted the command to not eat of the Tree. Likely he
considered whether this was some kind of test or something? "hmm, I'm not
for sure but I'm thinking this must be some kind of test or something -
otherwise WHY would Jehovah tell me to not eat of JUST THIS ONE TREE?".
So we can derive that Adam definitely had thought this all over. At the
point that Eve had already ate of the Tree and was holding out a piece for
Adam to eat, Adam in eating too had to have made the decision to violate a
direct command of god. He knew there was nothing in the Tree's makeup that
would "make them like god" etc. He knew they would die (had seen animal die
and knew what that meant too).
1. Q: At what point did Adam "sin"? At the point he decided to put
fruit in his mouth or when he actually put the fruit in his mouth? A: The
Bible shows that premeditation is as good as the actual action itself - but
the actual put part had to be done to complete the sin.
How this relates to thinking and doing
Adam's years of thinking about the whys and wherefore of not eating of the
Tree were in no way sinful. Being a free agent, he simply was functioning
how his creator made him. He successfully met the mandate to NOT eat of the
fruit for (apparently at least 27 years now if 1975 was indeed 6000 years
since Adam's creation).
Thus it is in no way inappropriate for person seeking truth to reason
independently. We simply are functioning how we were designed to function.
Then where.how do we fall into being rebellious or "apostate"? Its when we
overstep the established (revealed in Scripture?) boundaries and "act" on
our thinking like Adam did. (Eve was mislead and really truly believed the
serpent's claim for whatever reason, but that's another Talk Show).
So when we overstep our realm of god given authority with actions, we commit
actions against gods arrangements (don't eat of the Tree - ).. Since
individual Christians therefore are free to submit their thinking to the
WTS. The WTS are the ones commissioned to make it happen or not make it
happen (assuming they are the chosen channel for that sort of thing etc) .
Our standing before god as free agents has been fulfilled, we have done our
part. If we really believe that god runs things, we really believe that we
are not responsible to freak out in actions against the revealed channels.
Koran and Co, screwed up because they took action with the fireholders and
the walking over to the Tent intent on offering the fire to Jehovah. Had
they instead submitted that idea to Moses for consideration - the matter
could have been discussed intelligently - but they jumped the gun and would
We likewise jump the gun when we do that. This seems to be clear if nothing
Here is where WTS is somewhat draconian I feel.
-- A note before I reply to your last two emails: When I started questioning (25 yrs. ago) I was alone, and the struggle was painful. So, I'm going to talk to you like I wish someone had talked to me then to help snap me out of it. If I offend you, I'm sorry; it's not my intent. It is a painful transition, no matter what, and I know you are constantly being bombarded with WT meetings and literature (another of the first rules of cult mind-control) so my "little" emails have to make like David against the Goliath that is the WT. But at the end of the pain is a wonderful life filled with the freedom you were meant to enjoy.
I'm sorry, but all of this sounds like WT reasoning to me. It sounds like you're trying to relieve yourself of all responsibility as long as you follow the WT's lead. You say that it's okay to think that the WT tells lies and covers them up as long as you don't act on it. You're just there to collect your "everlasting life": it's not up to you to run the show. You will be able to stand before God on "judgment day" with a clear conscience and say "I just believed what your organization told me to believe, and I did what they told me to do, even though I had my doubts that it was right."
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what I hear you saying (if you don't believe me, reread the email you sent as if you were receiving it from someone else).
So, let's say you live a full long life in the WT religion. Then, let's say 50 years from now you are on your deathbed reminiscing (no, Armageddon still hasn't come at that point). You will look back on your life and you will be able to say:
"I was just following orders" when you watched your baby daughter die for want of a blood transfusion (although, in this latter day, blood transfusions have been approved).
You'll be able to smile and say "I did what I was told was right" when (as a committee elder) you participated in disfellowshipping a young man for "conduct unbecoming a Christian" and he later went off and committed suicide (yes, this has happened numerous times).
You'll look back in satisfaction at all of doors you knocked on and people you witnessed to -- even though what you were telling them back then contradicts "the truth" in this latter day.
Okay, but isn't that about as selfish as one could get?
"I was just following orders" was the statement the Nazis used to excuse themselves. It has never struck me as a particularly moral or courageous stance. I expect better of you than this. Please expect better of yourself.
Jesus never said, "Just join some organization and don't worry about it; the responsibility for following me will be theirs." No, he said, "by their fruits you will recognize them". What have been the fruits of the WT? Lies, deception, waffling back-and-forth, false prophecies, shunning, broken homes, disfellowshipped rape victims, premature death (in the case of organ transplants and blood transfusions), unnecessary self-inflicted persecution (in the case of vaccinations and refusal to sign government-issued ID cards in Malawi), making the notion of Christianity a laughing stock before the world (Beth Sarim, etc.), and so on… Remember: this is an organization that boasts about the number of children it has killed due to its totally erroneous and inconsistent blood policy! Does this sound like what Jesus had in mind for us to look for?
What does the Bible and the WT itself recommend in the situation you find yourself? "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Rev. 18:4) What did Jesus say? "If you know these things, happy are you if you do them." (John 13:17) It doesn't sound to me like sitting back and trying to pass responsibility on to your leaders is the wise, moral, or brave course. There are sins of commission (eating the forbidden fruit) and then there are sins of omission (failing to act).
When I realized less than half of these things about the WTS, I could no longer in clear conscience take this "kingdom message" door to door to inflict on other unsuspecting souls. Since the preaching activity is a requirement of a JW, I could no longer be a JW.
How can you?
Think about that question honestly with your own heart and mind, without consulting any WT publications, and without going into "I must defend the WT at all costs" mode (I know that mode all too well, having for years instantly and automatically slipped into it like a Pavlovian dog whenever anyone challenged it). I can't see how you could come up with an answer that you could live with in all good conscience, without deceiving yourself or winding up with huge regrets at the end of your life for having lived a life of hypocrisy.
Ultimately, it IS your responsibility.
I appreciate your taking the time to run with this line of discussion and
the sincerity with which you do it These type discussions really cause the
heavy dutiest of soul searching and mind bending levels of reasoning - I do
them often. My apparent doubtings here are more to bounce things of another
viewpoint that to give myself cause to leave WTS.
Fact for fact you make a good case for rejecting WTS. I've applied the same
fact for fact comparison with ancient Israel - they had religious apostasy
even while (in retrospect) we can see they were God's people/nation. Rom
15:4 mentions that the thinks written aforetime were written for our
instruction. We see on the good examples of the good guys but also the bad
guys. Such a mix in the same nation? Why does God allow that?
He allows it the same reason he allows wickedness to exist for these many
thousands of years. To let the good guys and the bad guys show who they are
- even within the group god currently works through! In retrospect on the
1st century Christians we see that too. And we are seeing the same thing
now. The whole "who's the real deal" syndrome doesn't exempt the actual
members OF "the real deal". Get my drift? As with ancient Israel, just
because a person really is in the channel group that God is currently using
doesn't mean that everyone in it is kosher. Man I see that clearly and have
since day one. I know an asshole or a nutcase when I see one, and JWs are
NO different from anyone else (though many JWs will argue that point).
I've always said "wouldn't it be weird if one day I find out I'M in the
wrong religion and everyone ELSE is right?". SO I keep a sharp edge on my
objectivity. I use WT pubs as a guideline, but I really hammer the
Scriptural proofs to make it my own not parrot some WT article. I may
employ some of the reasoning used, but if I do its because I've done the
math myself and I think it's a good line of reasoning.
You say there is no Satan? I think there has to be a Satan. If you say
there is no Satan then you also have basis for saying there is no Jesus -
since one account has them talking together. You also have to say there is
no Eve - and no Jehovah too since they chatted briefly back in Job's day.
So here we are - each using "sound" reasoning in our efforts to convince the
other. And there are yet others out there that would use similar reasoning
to debunk both of us - since neither you nor I really have SEEN any of this
of which we speak.
Here's an angle - one that always intrigues me. As you said -don't take
anything I say as a personal affront to you either - I (hopefully) apply all
lines of reasoning to myself as well.
Since all of us here on planet earth are in the same boat, we must stick
together in working toward discovering not for what we IMAGINE is real - but
toward what IS real. Big difference there I think we'd agree on that point.
In the meeting of my own goals in this area, I (admittedly) get off into the
fringes of reason. Guess its my 60's era mindset to "question
I'm always amazed at the ability humans have for self delusion. And to
prove that it really works in all cases we have only to go back in time and
examine how we thought about something - and how convinced we were that we
were right on the money with something we thought.
I your case, you look back 25 years and are amazed by how mislead you were.
You we a victim of self delusion in that the info you were taking in from
WTS, and that you believed, was not correct.
The very curious thing about this deal - is that you were a normal
intelligent person then - as you clearly are now. So by what strange
mechanism did you go around for ALL THOSE YEARS being in the state of self
delusion? No one beat you into believing those falsehoods to begin with.
At the time you no doubt looked at the scriptures that "backed up" the WTS
viewpoint and were convinced in the accuracy of the understandding.
Read any good treatise on mind control, and you will have the answer to those questions.
I got sucked in because I was a prime candidate: I was vulnerable at the time. I desperately needed to belong. They made fun of the Catholic Church (I was raised a Catholic, and had been hurt by that in my youth). And, it provided a great way to "rebel" against my mother during my late teens (my mother was adamantly opposed to JW's, having previously lost her daughter to them). I was young and naïve: I had no experience of the world that hadn't hurt.
I stayed in because: "Where else could I go?" Yes, that trap worked for me too. My mind was fed on WT literature, and my narrow world was constrained to the Kingdom Hall and field service (which helped strengthen the illusion that it was "us versus them").
Still, I was never fully convinced of "the accuracy of the understanding". There were some things which I knew were ridiculous (the 7 great plagues of Revelation being a series of conventions in such places as Cedar Point Ohio, for instance). But I felt these things weren't important as long as they had more "truth" on the basics than any other group.
Thus some valid questions are generated.
1. 25 years ago were able to beam yourself up from a self-delusional
state into a position of true enlightenment. Q: What leads you to be sure
that you didn't beam yourself up into yet another version of delusion?
2. Given you were able to happily and confidently exist in a state of
delusion then, what leads you to be so sure that you are so "in the light
These are good questions, and I'm not going to blow them off.
First of all: As I just stated, I was NOT so confident that everything was true. I had some nagging suspicions that not all of it was the truth. So, my mind was harboring a major contradiction which I was trying to ignore. Also, it bothered me (to put it mildly) that all non-JW's were about to die horrible deaths at the hands of my "loving God". And I could see first-hand that the preaching work wasn't effective enough in delivering "the truth" to people. People who were "good", and whom I certainly wouldn't want destroyed, had nevertheless been taught to dismiss whatever I said at their door.
After the initial rush of excitement over finding "the truth" and a group I could belong to had died down, these issues rose to the fore and led to increasing internal turmoil.
Shortly thereafter, while browsing through the old bound volumes in the Bethel library, I discovered the lies and cover-ups. Then I started noticing the total control the society had taken over my life. It was too much to ignore. So, I asked my questions: I wrote my letter. Instead of finding answers from the GB, I was told I was evil for having asked these questions. So, I had my answer, instead, from their actions and attitude.
How do I know I'm not deluded today? Well, I don't. No one does. A very important phrase to me is:
"No one knows more about the unknowable than anyone else."
A better question might be: how do you know you're better off today (thinking for yourself and following your own heart) than when someone else was telling you what to do and what to think (and you knew they lied, and you didn't like what they said or how they treated people)? That question is self-answering.
If while reading 1Cor 4:4 you don't believe that Satan exists and has the
power of blinding minds - my mind, your mind, and everyone's mind - then you
are missing the key in understanding at least one source for self delusion
according to the very Bible you have the real enlightenment on. You face a
similar problem when we read in Acts and other places how Jehovah lifted the
self delusion - such that persons could really "see" Truth.
Thus we can conclude that Jehovah only can give real enlightenment. Jesus
said that he marveled at how Jehovah could do that - where the wise and
intellectual ones couldn't "see" yet the humble could!
Well, if only Jehovah can give enlightenment, why do you need the WT? The WT has repeatedly stated that no one can understand the Bible without the WT publications. So, what happened to the humble non-intellectuals? The whole thing must be way too complicated for them if it requires a subscription to the WT and a perusal of the constant flow of new literature (detailing the constant flow of "new light") and 5 meetings a week!
Believing that Satan can blind people's minds is not pertinent to our discussion, since it does not help us determine WHOSE mind is blinded (which is much more important than how it got that way). Could it be the one who has decided to call lies "the truth" or could it be the one who has rejected a lying organization as the source of truth? That is the real question.
Did Jehovah "remove" your ability to "see" - thus allowing an operation of
Satan (who you know don't even feel exists) to REALLY place you in a state
of self delusion? Did you react to the admitted problems with WTS such that
you lost faith in the Higher Authority?
Obviously, you must believe something like this happened to me. But what would be Jehovah's motivation for doing this? Here we have a "true believer" slaving away at Jehovah's world headquarters: Bethel. He is going out in service, conducting "Bible studies" out of Jehovah's "Truth book", giving talks, working in Jehovah's bindery to sew the binding on Jehovah's New World Translations and on bound volumes of Jehovah's magazine The Watchtower…
"Hmmm," says Jehovah, "I think I'll remove his ability to see the truth, and allow Satan to blind him in a state of self-delusion. Even though this goes against my Divine Purpose (as expounded by my earthly organization), and is counter-productive to the all-important time-critical preaching work. In fact, I'd like to see him go write a book and set up a website which will spread his self-delusion to others who might otherwise join or stay in my organization."
The above scenario doesn't appear very likely to me. But, if it's true, then I guess I'm just fulfilling Jehovah's purpose according to you. A blind person, of course, cannot see. But the one who has blinded him can hardly blame him for that.
If you believe in Satan, and you believe he has power to deceive people, then he probably would also have power to organize. What would Satan's organization be like? As the "father of lies", would it issue proclamations consisting of lies masquerading as "truth"? Would it suck in the good people (whom Satan couldn't manage to lure into a life of drugs and immorality)? Would it then cause harm to these good people by taking over their wills and their ability to think and recognize good and evil for themselves? Would it demand allegiance and absolute loyalty from them? Would it squash all free thought and turn them into robots who just followed orders and attempted to suck others into the organization? Would it demand the sacrifice of their own children on some false premise (like stating that "organ transplants" or "vaccinations" or "blood transfusions" are against god's law)?
The way I see it is this: Some JW's eventually discover the truth about the organization in which they are slaving away their lives. Many of them are then afraid to take action on this knowledge because it would be too disruptive to their lives. They may even deceive themselves into thinking they are "open minded" by reading some apostate literature, as long as they have vowed to themselves never to take any action on what they discover. I don't have any gripe with these people as long as they don't prevent anyone from getting a blood-transfusion, and don't go around trying to convert others into the trap they find themselves in.
Then there are others who don't lack the courage of their convictions, and who have vowed to flee from hypocrisy and remain loyal to the truth, wherever it may take them (even if it's away from what they've grown comfortable with).
Heavy duty questions bro - - ones for us all to seriously reconcile.
Well, I've attempted to answer all of your heavy-duty questions (usually at considerable length) . But I'm noticing that you're not reciprocating. And I'm beginning to wonder if you are really listening, or just counting your time. How sincere are you about investigating both sides if you have made up your mind a priori that you will never leave the WT no matter what you discover about it? Are you just fooling yourself (and me up to this point) in claiming to be "open minded"?
For instance: What did your research reveal to you about the WTS being a prophet? This is a question which should be much more important to you than my possible self-delusion! Are you spreading the words of a false prophet?
You see what has happened here? You have shifted the focus of our discussion onto my person. Am I blinded by Satan and self-deluded, etc.? I don't blame you for this, but it makes me wonder if you're an elder. That's the way they handle the tough questions: shift blame onto the questioner and while he's busily misdirected into defending himself (or better yet: feeling guilty and apologizing to you) you can deftly sidestep the questions.
It is exactly what the elders did when I asked them to respond to the questions in my letter. In these "committee meetings" I kept pleading with them to address the issues in my letter, and they kept attacking me personally instead. Well, as I said at the start of our conversation: I'm no longer that frightened, confused Jehovah's Witness I was back then: intimidated by the "authority" I had stupidly given them over my life. I won't fall for that again, my friend.
So, let's stop talking about me, and address the real issues at hand. You like to say that you "just do the math". Here's your chance to prove it. The WT has stated, numerous times, in black and white, that they are God's prophet. They have made prophecies, numerous times, in black and white, which have failed to come true. What does that make them? A true prophet or a false prophet? Does one plus one equal two or does it not? This is the question you must answer before we can move on to two plus two or the higher-math of questions about the Bible's truthfulness or the existence of the characters in its books.