An Open Letter to Jehovah's Witnesses
From "The World"
First of all, despite what you may have been told, we don't hate you. Although your "witnessing" is pretty annoying at times, in general we respect your zeal and admire your pursuit of what you think is the right way to live. We think you are, for the most part, special people with good hearts who have been sadly misdirected to serve an illusion.
Serving an illusion isn't necessarily the worst fate that can befall one. For some people it is what they need to get through life. But such people are few and far between: the very elderly, people with severe emotional problems or mental disorders, etc. Most of you do not fall into this category, and so we believe you would be better off if you could stop serving an illusion. All of those talents and ethical urges of yours could then be put towards something real and constructive. That would benefit all of us out here in the world, and we would welcome you with open arms!
One of the things that bothers us most about you is your lack of perspective. You seem to see most things in terms of black and white; good and evil; God's Organization and the World; Jehovah and Satan.
Reality is seldom like that. Very few things are completely white or totally black. Not only is there a lot of gray in the world, there is a whole rainbow of colors out here!
There are usually more than two sides to an issue. We all tend to fall into the "two sides" approach to thinking about issues, but that's illusory too. Focusing on the extreme opposite sides of an issue as if they were our only options is not only limiting but also foolish. The truth is most often somewhere in the middle.
For instance, in the past we know that the Society has encouraged you to give up pursuing an education or a career, to sell your homes, quit your jobs, and engage in the preaching work full-time until "the end comes". Let's take that as an extreme view.
What would be the opposite extreme? To give up preaching and obsessively pursue a career. We could now set up an argument pitting these two extreme views against one another, trying to decide which view was better or "true". But that would be foolish; the truth lies between the extremes. And so today the Society teaches that Witnesses should not give up their jobs or sell their homes, but that they should find a balance between work, home, and preaching.
Such balance is to be commended, but it is seldom if ever encouraged by the Society in regard to "the World". The Society pits the Witnesses on one side against "the World" on the other side. We are told that Jehovah's Witnesses are Jehovah's "name people" who have "abolished hatred" and are the "only ones showing Christ-like love". We in the World, on the other hand are depicted as wicked, selfish, hateful, Satan-led evildoers whom Jehovah is anxiously awaiting to destroy.
Of course we in the World don't see ourselves that way. But more fundamentally: we don't divide human beings up into Witnesses and non-Witnesses. We don't consider people to be either sheep or goats. To us, the Jehovah's Witnesses are just another religion (whose members are slightly more annoying than most other denominations). To us, people are not inherently evil, needing some sort of "salvation" or group membership to keep God's wrath at bay. People are individuals who are more or less "good" regardless of what groups they may belong to. There are good and bad people both in the World and in your Organization.
The line between us (if there is a line) is not a line between good and evil: it is simply a line between a certain narrow viewpoint (your side) and a multitude of open viewpoints (our side).
A life outside your Organization is not automatically or necessarily a life of selfishness or wickedness or even ungodliness. Some of us are religious. This will undoubtedly surprise you, but some of us have even rejected all religion (including yours) precisely because it is not moral enough!
The respect and admiration we have for you as individuals does not extend to the Watchtower. You may think this is because the Watchtower attacks us or because it makes us feel guilty for not becoming Witnesses. The truth of the matter, however, is quite different.
We don't respect the Watchtower because we see that it lies to you, makes up dangerous rules, and forces you to serve and obey it without question (almost as if it were your God).
For over a hundred years the World has been watching your Organization issue various prophecies concerning the end of the World. But we are still here. The predicted end did not come in 1914, 1925, or 1975. The Watchtower has claimed to be "God's prophet on earth." But a prophet that makes prophecies which do not come true is a false prophet.
So, though you proudly point to the number of hours you spend in preaching, you fail to impress us. What good is the quantity of your preaching (which principally involves spreading the word of the Watchtower) if the message is false?
The Organization has not proven itself to be faithful and discreet. When we in the World came up with vaccinations against such things as smallpox, your Organization denigrated this life-saving discovery as "filthy pus which never prevented smallpox". But we out in the world got vaccinated and virtually eliminated smallpox from the face of the earth. In contrast, your Organization did not allow the Witnesses to get vaccinated, and this caused you needless persecution and death.
Today, the Watchtower admits that the smallpox vaccine did in fact prevent smallpox and was instrumental in eradicated the disease. So, who had "the Truth" back then? The Watchtower or the World?
The same situation occurred in regards to organ transplantation. This was another marvelous life-saving procedure that we in the World developed while you were busy peddling your magazines. The Watchtower called organ transplantation "cannibalism" and stated that it was against God's law. What was the result? Witnesses who needed transplants died. People in the World who needed transplants lived.
Today, the Watchtower says that there is no Scriptural objection to organ transplants and that they are not against God's law.
In both cases, the Watchtower originally banned these life-saving medical discoveries, and gave false information about them (the smallpox vaccine was never made from "pus," an organ recipient does not eat human flesh). Where did these fatal bans and this false information come from?
The Watchtower claims to be God's Organization on earth. They claim to be the only ones with the Truth. Yet, in these instances the "wicked World" knew better than they. The World had the Truth, and its members lived because of it. The Watchtower dispensed lies and its members died because of it.
It seems to us in the World that such dangerous and fatal lies could not come from a God who was communicating his laws and wishes to "his organization on earth".
A "faithful and discreet" Organization which "dispenses truth to the faithful" could not make mistakes which would cost its members their lives.
Today the situation continues with the ban on blood transfusions. You let your children die based on what the Watchtower tells you. Yet this is the same Watchtower Organization that has been dead wrong in its medical advice and bans at least twice in recent history!
You thrust your Awake! magazine under our noses… but we honestly believe that is you who need to wake up!
Yes, the Bible says to "abstain from blood." It also says to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols (in fact it says these two things in the same place, as you well know.) Elsewhere in the Bible it says that it's really okay to eat meat sacrificed to idols, but that one should just use caution not to stumble someone else who doesn't realize this (1 Cor. 8). This is exactly the same case with blood. The rule was merely enjoined to keep from stumbling Jewish converts in the first century. Of course when the early Christians made up this rule for themselves it was based on the conditions prevalent at the time. They were doing what seemed right for the circumstances they found themselves in (namely lots of Jewish converts who were sensitive about eating meat sacrificed to idols and the eating of blood). They were not making a law which was meant to cover medical procedures 2,000 years in the future that they couldn't begin to imagine!
This is the way every other Christian denomination interprets that ruling against blood. Only the Watchtower takes it as a prohibition against transfusing blood. Since they have been fatally wrong about medical procedures in the past, we don't think it's sensible or moral to let your children die based on the Watchtower's misinterpretation.