Created  Jun. 1, 2013                           

A 1989 Plea to Jehovah's Witnesses


Sub-headings:

TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE

DO YOU REMEMBER? 

TACKING IN THE WIND OR . . .JUST PASSING WIND

CAN LIES BE STRONGER THAN TRUTH?

THE LITTLE TRAIN THAT SAID IT COULD

THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD OR . . . I HEAR AND I OBEY

HOW CAN I BE SURE?

WE HAVE THE "RIGHT?" TO REMAIN SILENT? 

LETS MAKE A DEAL


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The Premise
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My mother had bought my brother and I a Commodore 128 computer with a Paperclip 128 word processor software package in 1987. I began writing in 88, and also bought a Panasonic 24 pin printer for quality print out, to refute Jehovah's Witnesses doctrines that I did not agree with. They made up 4  8.5x11 booklets. I got them printed and sent out, starting in Dec. 89. So I put them up here for review, primarily for Jehovah's Witnesses. I printed in all caps to make the printing larger for the elderly to read. I quote from the New World Translation, made by the JWs, so that they would see their own work contradicted them. But I also use other translations, too, as witnesses to what I say. I have come a very long way in doctrine since then. But this article used Quotes from JW literature and the Bible to show the hypocrisy and contradictions of their prohibiting anyone from thinking or re-thinking things they have been taught or told. I wrote as if I was a group to disguise who was sending this out. It worked pretty good, too. But it was just little ole me ;-) This was the 1st booklet that I sent to them, after which I sent 2 more.

I started off asking the question below. It was the title/question of an article in one of their magazines. Obviously, they believe in the Bible, even if slanted. It begins the basic premise that we should always question things, not out of distrust, but due to diligence and knowing that all men are imperfect and can make mistakes and correction can come from just about anywhere, even from a child. They are strongly encourage not to read other denominations' literature. This was absurd to me. Iron sharpens iron, says the Bible. So here is the article. See what you think.



IS THE BIBLE REALLY TRUE?
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THE JUNE 8, 1987 AWAKE MAGAZINE ASKED THIS QUESTION IN IT'S "YOUNG PEOPLE ASK..." COLUMN. THEY HIGHLIGHTED THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING TO KNOW THE BIBLE FOR YOURSELF AND HAVING YOUR OWN REASONS FOR BELIEVING AND TRUSTING IT. SURELY WE WOULD HAVE TO AGREE WITH THEM IN THIS MATTER.

THEY SAID: “IF YOU ARE EVER GOING TO TRUST THE BIBLE , YOU NEED TO TEST IT OUT."

THEY ADMONISHED: “MAKE SURE OF ALL THINGS." FROM 1 THESSALONIANS 5:21 AND THEN USED "THE LIVING BIBLE'S" VERSION OF THAT SCRIPTURE: "TEST EVERYTHING THAT IS SAID TO BE SURE IT IS TRUE." INDEED, WISER COUNSEL COULD NOT BE GIVEN.

THE ARTICLE EXPLAINED THAT SCRIPTURE AS THIS: "THIS EXPRESSION MEANS TO EXAMINE AND SCRUTINIZE SOMETHING TO SEE IF IT IS GENUINE." TWO PARAGRAPHS LATER THEY GAVE THE FINE EXAMPLE OF THE BEROEAN JEWS WHO DID NOT TAKE PAUL'S WORD FOR ANYTHING BUT "EXAMINED THE SCRIPTURES DAILY AS TO WHETHER THESE THINGS WERE SO." (ACTS 17:11). THEY DARED TO CHECK AN APPOINTED APOSTLE OF JESUS AND THE BIBLE WRITER LUKE REFERRED TO THESE BEROEANS AS BEING NOBLE MINDED FOR THIS ATTITUDE.

BELOVED ONES, DO NOT BELIEVE EVERY INSPIRED EXPRESSION, BUT TEST THE INSPIRED EXPRESSIONS TO SEE WHETHER THEY ORIGINATE WITH GOD - 1 JOHN 4:1

THE JANUARY 15, 1989 WATCHTOWER, WHOSE HEADLINE ON THE COVER ASKS: "ARE YOU OPEN TO NEW IDEAS?", CITED THE FINE EXAMPLE OF THE BEROEANS WHO CAREFULLY EXPLORED NEW IDEAS BY CHECKING THEM AGAINST THE SCRIPTURES.

THE MAGAZINE ALSO SHOWED HOW THE ISOLATION OF JAPAN FROM THE WORLD OF TRADE, COMMERCE, IDEAS, AND CUSTOMS HAD HURT HER AND LEAD HER TO CHANGE HER WAYS WHEN SHE NOTICED HOW FAR SHE HAD FALLEN BEHIND THE REST OF THE NATIONS IN KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING.

THE SOVIET UNION HAS COME TO REALIZE HOW MUCH SHE, TOO, HAS HURT HER SELF BY SUPPRESSING NEW AND SOMETIMES CRITICAL IDEAS AND NOT PERMITTING A FREE FLOW OF NEW KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION WITH MORE PERSONAL ELECTIVES AND INDIVIDUAL DECISION MAKING.

IN FACT, OPEN, CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM IN THE SOVIET UNION IS NO LONGER FORBIDDEN (YOU HAVE HEARD OF GLASNOST IN THE NEWS HAVEN'T YOU?) AND SOMETIMES EVEN ENCOURAGED OR SOLICITED AS THEY HAVE REALIZED THAT IT IS NOT SUBVERSIVE TO THE GOVERNMENT, NOT SOMETHING TO FEAR, BUT RATHER A NECESSITY IN ACHIEVING REFORM, REFINEMENT, IMPROVEMENT, AND PROGRESS IN THE SOVIET UNION.

INDUSTRY TOO, HAS COME TO REALIZE HOW IMPORTANT AND NECESSARY IT IS TO HAVE THE FEEDBACK OF ITS EMPLOYEES IN RUNNING A COMPANY, EVEN IF THE FEEDBACK IS NEGATIVE OR FAULTFINDING. SOMETIMES THERE IS A NEGATIVE SITUATION THAT NEEDS DEALT WITH AND CORRECTED. COMPANIES ARE MANY TIMES GLAD TO FIND OUT ABOUT THESE PROBLEMS BECAUSE THE PROBLEMS ARE OFTEN DIVERTING PROFITS AND PROGRESS AND GIVING THEIR COMPETITION A COMPETITIVE EDGE ON THEM.

ACTS 6:1 MENTIONS THAT "A MURMURING AROSE ON THE PART OF THE GREEK-SPEAKING JEWS AGAINST THE HEBREW-SPEAKING JEWS, BECAUSE THEIR WIDOWS WERE BEING OVERLOOKED IN THE DAILY DISTRIBUTION." EVIDENTLY THE APOSTLES CONSIDERED THE COMPLAINT LEGITIMATE AND ACTED TO CORRECT THE SITUATION, DESPITE THE FACT THAT SOME BROTHERS SOMEWHERE MUST HAVE BEEN IMPLICATED BY THE WIDOWS' ACCUSATIONS. A SITUATION WAS ACKNOWLEDGED AND CORRECTED, PARTLY BECAUSE OF A FREEDOM OF SPEECH THAT HARDLY NEEDS JUSTIFICATION OF ITS EXISTENCE. IF ONE IS WRONGED, ONE HAS A RIGHT TO SPEAK UP AND SAY SO! DON'T THEY?

INDEED, INDUSTRY AND GOVERNMENTS ALIKE HAVE LEARNED THE WISDOM OF PROVERBS 18:1 - "ONE ISOLATING HIMSELF" IS BREAKING FORTH FROM ALL PRACTICAL WISDOM. NOT JUST ISOLATION FROM PEOPLE BUT FROM INFORMATION AND IDEAS THAT COME FROM PEOPLE. ONE CAN BE SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE AND STILL BE ISOLATED - CLOSED OFF TO NEW FRIENDSHIPS, IDEAS OR WHATEVER ELSE. THE ONLY TIME INDUSTRY AND GOVERNMENT DO NOT LIKE FREEDOM OF VOICE AND OPINION IS WHEN THEY HAVE SOMETHING TO HIDE AND COVER UP.

IT IS PRACTICAL WISDOM AS WELL AS THE GOD-GIVEN RIGHT OF A PERSON TO BE FURNISHED WITH GOOD SOLID REASONING WHEN ASKING HIM TO BELIEVE IN SOMETHING AND HE SHOULD NOT HAVE HIS MOTIVES QUESTIONED WHEN HE ELECTS TO CROSS EXAMINE SOMETHING TO MAKE SURE IT IS TRUE.

THIS SEEMS TO BE THE SPIRIT OF THE JAN. 15, 1989 FRONT COVER ARTICLE (ARE YOU OPEN TO NEW IDEAS?) AS WELL AS THE SPIRIT OF WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS. I WOULD RECOMMEND A REVIEW OF THIS MAGAZINE ARTICLE.

KEEP TESTING WHETHER YOU ARE IN THE FAITH, KEEP PROVING WHAT YOU YOURSELVES ARE - 2 COR. 13:5

CROSS EXAMINATION OF SOMETHING IS IN FACT WHAT THE BIBLE ENCOURAGES IN PROVERBS 18:17:"THE ONE FIRST IN HIS LEGAL CASE IS RIGHTEOUS; HIS FELLOW COMES IN AND CERTAINLY SEARCHES HIM THROUGH.

IF WE INSERT A BUT IN THE SCRIPTURE IT WILL HELP CLEAR UP THE MEANING. WATCH! "THE ONE FIRST IN HIS LEGAL CASE IS RIGHTEOUS BUT HIS FELLOW COMES IN AND CERTAINLY SEARCHES HIM THROUGH."

NOTICE HOW "THE LIVING BIBLE" PUTS IT: "ANY STORY SOUNDS TRUE UNTIL SOMEONE TELLS THE OTHER SIDE AND SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT."

OR HOW ABOUT "THE GOOD NEWS BIBLE": "THE FIRST MAN TO SPEAK IN COURT ALWAYS SEEMS RIGHT UNTIL HIS OPPONENT BEGINS TO QUESTION HIM."

THE "AID" BOOK WOULD GIVE YOU THE SAME BASIC EXPLANATION AS THESE OTHER BIBLE TRANSLATIONS DO.

OR PUT ANOTHER WAY, WOULD YOU FEEL QUALIFIED TO RENDER A VERDICT IN A COURT CASE IF YOU HAD ONLY ATTENDED HALF THE TRIAL AND HEARD ONLY HALF THE TESTIMONY AND SEEN ONLY HALF OF THE EVIDENCE. THIS IS ALMOST EXACTLY WHAT PAGE 6 OF JAN. 15, 1989 WT SUGGESTS IN THE SECOND PARAGRAPH UNDER THE SUB-HEADING "BE SELECTIVE!"


TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE
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THIS WAS THE LAST SUB-HEADING OF THE ARTICLE FROM THE JAN. 8, 1987 AWAKE MAGAZINE (IS THE BIBLE REALLY TRUE). IT WAS TAKEN FROM ECCLESIASTES 4:9.

INDEED, TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE AND, REALLY, YOU COULD SAY THAT 100 ARE BETTER THAN 10. PROVERBS 11:14 SAYS: "THERE IS SALVATION IN THE MULTITUDE OF COUNSELORS." AND PROVERBS 15:22:"IN THE MULTITUDE OF COUNSELORS THERE IS WISDOM." ALSO SEE PROV.24:6.

"AWAKE" MENTIONED THIS AS A REASON FOR SEEKING HELP IN UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE BY CONSULTING WATCHTOWER PUBLICATIONS AND INDEXES AS WELL AS MATURE, KNOWLEDGEABLE CHRISTIANS. THESE ARE CERTAINLY GOOD IDEAS. BUT WOULD IT BE WRONG TO CONSULT OTHER SOURCES AS WELL? EVEN THE GOVERNING BODY CONSULTS BIBLE COMMENTARIES, SCHOLARS, PROFESSORS, DOCTORS AND OTHER SUCH COUNSELORS.

DO YOU AGREE WITH EVERYTHING THAT HAS BEEN WRITTEN SO FAR? DOES IT MAKE SENSE? WOULD YOU GO SO FAR AS TO SAY THAT THE THINGS WRITTEN UP TO THIS POINT ARE PRETTY MUCH BASIC UNCHANGEABLE TRUTHS? AFTER ALL, THEY ARE ALL RIGHT OUT OF THE BIBLE . DO YOU FEEL THAT MAYBE I HAVE BEEN TWISTING THE SCRIPTURES? HAVE I SAID SOMETHING UNREASONABLE OR OUT OF LINE, SOMETHING UNFAIR, PERHAPS? AM I SPEAKING OF MY OWN ORIGINALITY OR IMPULSE AS SOME UNRIGHTEOUS ONES ACCUSED JESUS OF DOING? JOHN 12:49; 16:13. OR SPEAKING ACCORDING TO MY OWN DISPOSITION AS SATAN DID? JOHN 8:44. I THINK I HAVE BEEN VERY FAIR. LET ME NOW SUMMARIZE WHAT WE HAVE COVERED SO FAR.


DO YOU REMEMBER?
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1. WE SHOULD NEVER BE AFRAID TO TEST AND RETEST KNOWLEDGE IN ORDER TO SECURE ITS MEANING FOR US.

2. WE SHOULD ALWAYS OBTAIN BOTH SIDES OF AN ISSUE; THE ARGUMENT AND COUNTER ARGUMENT.

3. OUR MOTIVES DO NOT DESERVE TO BE QUESTIONED FOR SUCH SCRUTINIZING.

4. THE MORE OPINIONS INVOLVED, THE MORE LIKELY YOU WILL REACH THE CORRECT CONCLUSION ABOUT SOMETHING BECAUSE IN A MULTITUDE COUNSELORS THERE IS WISDOM.


 IN THE LAST PART OF THE AWAKE ARTICLE (IS THE BIBLE REALLY TRUE) IT MENTIONED AS A PROOF OF THE BIBLE'S TRUSTWORTHINESS THE FACT THAT THE BIBLE WAS FULL OF CANDOR, OPENNESS, AND HONESTY AS REGARDS IT'S WRITERS AND OF THOSE WHOM THEY WROTE ABOUT. THE BIBLE FREELY DISCUSSED THEIR FAILURES, SHORTCOMINGS, AND MISCONDUCT IF ANY.

SHOULD WE NOT BE WILLING TO DISCUSS POSSIBLE SHORTCOMINGS OF OUR OWN RELIGION. NOT ONLY WILLING BUT ALSO ALLOWED AND EVEN ENCOURAGED. INDEED WITH A MULTITUDE OF COUNSELORS THE ONLY RESULT WOULD LIKELY BE IMPROVEMENT NOT DISHARMONY AS I BELIEVE IS SOMETIMES FEARED AMONG WITNESSES.

OF COURSE I UNDERSTAND THAT CHRISTIANS MUST MAINTAIN HARMONY AND A ONENESS IN THEIR TEACHING. BUT IT SHOULDN'T DISALLOW DISCUSSION AND RE-EXAMINATION OF THE CORRECTNESS OF BELIEFS, POLICIES, ETC. THAT IS THE WAY IT WOULD SEEM TO ME ANYWAY. PAUL SAID THAT CHRISTIANS "SHOULD ALL SPEAK IN AGREEMENT." -1 COR.1:10. BUT THAT WAS WITH REFERENCE TO THE FACT THAT THE BROTHERS WERE FOLLOWING DIFFERENT MEN (PETER, PAUL, APOLLOS) WHERE AS THEY ALL BELONGED TO CHRIST IN UNITY. IT HAD LITTLE TO DO WITH AGREEMENT ON EVERY LITTLE IDEA OF SCRIPTURE.

LET ME ASK: IS THERE NO ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT IN YOUR IDEAS, POLICIES, AND BELIEFS. ANY ROOM FOR REFINEMENT? FOR CHANGE? FOR AT LEAST A BETTER, MORE EXACT UNDERSTANDING?

ISN'T IT ODD THAT IN A TIME OF WAR OR OTHER NATIONAL CRISES, ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THAT OCCURS (AFTER EVERYONE PANICS AND BECOMES HYSTERICAL) IN A COUNTRY, INCLUDING OURS, IS A DEEP FEAR OF CRITICISM. IT IS FEARED THAT IT WILL UNDERMINE THE SPIRIT AND MORALE OF THE COUNTRY. ONES' LOYALTY TO THE COUNTRY OR CAUSE IS OFTEN QUESTIONED IN SITUATIONS LIKE THIS. EVERYONE ENDS UP HAVING TO CONTINUALLY TAKE OATHS OR PERFORM SOME SORT OF PLEDGE, SALUTE, OR RITUAL.

THIS IS THE TYPE OF SITUATION THAT JEREMIAH ENCOUNTERED WHEN HE PREACHED WHILE BABYLON WAS CONQUERING NEARBY AREAS AND DURING HER SIEGE OF JERUSALEM. IT WAS CLAIMED THAT HE WAS TRYING TO DESTROY THE MORALE OF THE INHABITANTS AND AID BABYLON. HAVE THINGS SUNK SO LOW FOR US THAT WE NOW OPERATE THAT WAY, TOO. I WONDER!

HOW MUCH OF WHAT WE BELIEVE IS THERE THAT IS SO FIRMLY GROUNDED AND BACKED IN THE SCRIPTURES THAT IT CAN'T POSSIBLY BE RIGHTEOUSLY CHALLENGED?

IT SEEMS TO ME THAT YOUR UNDERSTANDING IS CONSTANTLY UNDERGOING CHANGES AND REFINEMENTS HANDED DOWN BY THE GOVERNING BODY. THIS IS GOOD, I AGREE.

BUT IF "THE SOCIETY" FROM TIME TO TIME SEES THE NEED TO CHANGE THEN WHY ARE THEY SO OPPOSED AND RESISTANT TO ANY ONE BESIDES THEMSELVES OFFERING SUGGESTIONS FOR CHANGE AND IMPROVEMENT? WHY ARE THEY SO AFRAID OF PEOPLE SUBJECTING THEIR (THE SOCIETY'S) TEACHINGS TO CRITICAL ANALYSIS OR SUGGESTING IMPROVEMENTS OR CHANGES.


TACKING IN THE WIND OR . . .JUST PASSING WIND
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MAYBE THE SOCIETY DOES NOT IMMEDIATELY SEE SOMETHING THAT OTHERS SEE (ARE THEY THE ONLY ONES WITH VISION?). THE PREVAILING EXCUSE IS THAT WE SHOULD NOT RUN AHEAD OF GOD'S ORGANIZATION OR JEOPARDIZE OUR UNITY.

BUT OUR CONSTANT CHANGING INDICATES TO ME THAT IT IS OUR CONSTANT DILIGENT STUDY AND RE-EXAMINATION OF THE SCRIPTURES THAT BRINGS REFINEMENT AND CHANGE AND NOT GOD (I AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT HE IS NOT WITH YOU).

WHEN GOD REVEALS SOMETHING, HE DOES IT ONCE WITHOUT REFINING OR CHANGING. GODLY PRINCIPLES ARE PERMANENT, NEVER CHANGING. THE BIBLE DOES NOT CHANGE.

YOU MIGHT SUGGEST THAT GOD IS GUIDING THE ORGANIZATION THROUGH ITS COURSE AND CHANGES. I WOULD SUGGEST THAT HE MAY BE TRYING TO INFLUENCE US AND GUIDE US BUT WE MAY BE MISINTERPRETING OR MISUNDERSTANDING HIS LEADING JUST AS WHEN ABRAHAM TOOK TO HIMSELF HAGAR TO BEAR A SON THINKING THAT THAT WAS WHAT GOD WANTED. BUT IT WASN'T.

BUT IF BROTHERS WERE ALLOWED TO SPEAK UP AND OUT THAN PERHAPS CHANGES WOULD COME ABOUT MORE QUICKLY AND MANY MISTAKES COULD EVEN BE OUTRIGHT AVOIDED DUE TO THE MULTITUDE OF COUNSELORS.

AS REGARDS SOME ISSUES, IT WOULD BE BETTER IF WE DID NOT EVEN INSIST ON AN OFFICIAL INTERPRETATION ESPECIALLY IF THERE IS A GOOD CHANCE THAT THERE COULD BE A CHANGE IN IT AT A LATER TIME - THAT IS TO SAY - IF SOMETHING IS NOT ALL THAT CERTAIN THEN REFRAIN FROM MAKING JUDGEMENT ON IT RATHER THAN THROWING PEOPLE OUT INTO A SUPPOSED SPIRITUAL DEATH (LATER FOLLOWED BY PHYSICAL DEATH AS THE STORY GOES) ONLY TO LATER CHANGE THE POLICY WHILE HAVING CAUSED THEM SERIOUS AND UNNECESSARY PAIN MEANWHILE. CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLES.

IN THE NOVEMBER 15,1988 WATCHTOWER IT WAS DECIDED THAT UN - BAPTIZED PERSONS SHOULD NOT BE TREATED AS DISFELLOWSHIPPED ANY MORE. THIS WAS PARTICULARLY AIMED AT TEENAGERS RAISED IN THE TRUTH. I WAS PARTICULARLY GLAD TO SEE THE GOVERNING BODY INSTITUTE THIS CHANGE. BUT IT SHOULD LEAVE US WITH A NUMBER OF THINGS TO THINK ABOUT.

IF IT IS CLEAR FROM THE SCRIPTURES THAT THEY SHOULD NOT BE HELD AS ACCOUNTABLE AS A BAPTIZED PERSON THEN HOW WAS IT THAT WE BEEN IN ERROR PRIOR TO THIS? PERHAPS IT WAS NOT AS CLEAR AS WE WOULD LIKE TO ADMIT. IF IT WASN'T CLEAR CUT THEN WHY DO WE TAKE SUCH STRONG STANDS ON MATTERS THAT CAN HAVE SUCH A DISASTROUS EFFECT UPON SOME.

SOME PARENTS FOLLOWING THE COUNSEL OF THE SOCIETY IN THE PAST, HAVE ALIENATED THEIR CHILDREN FROM THEM AND THEIR RELIGION, ALSO CAUSING DEEP SCARS AND EMOTIONAL PAIN ON BOTH SIDES. NOW WE FIND OUT THAT WE SHOULD DO LIKE THE FATHER OF THE PRODIGAL SON AND LEAVE THE WELCOME DOOR OPEN. SOME ALREADY KNEW THIS BEFORE THE CHANGE BUT GOD HELP THEM IF THEY TRIED TO EMPLOY THIS COMMON SENSE APPROACH.

LET US TAKE THIS A BIT FURTHER. SUPPOSE YOU DECIDED, BEFORE THE CHANGE, THAT OUR TREATMENT OF A YOUNG PERSON HAD BEEN TOO SEVERE AND YOU SPENT SOME TIME WITH THIS YOUNG PERSON TALKING. YOU WERE CAUGHT AND DISFELLOWSHIPPED - FOR DOING WHAT NOW MIGHT BE RIGHT IN THE EYES OF GOD BUT THEN WAS CONSIDERED VERY WRONG. WAS THIS ALL INSPIRED BY GOD? I SHOULD THINK NOT.

THIS BRINGS UP A VERY IMPORTANT DILEMMA. SHOULD ONE OBEY ONE'S CONSCIENCE EVEN WHEN IT GOES AGAINST ORGANIZATIONAL POLICY? SHOULD ONE IGNORE AND MAYBE EVEN VIOLATE THEIR CONSCIENCE FOR THE SAKE OF THE ORGANIZATION? WHAT DO YOU THINK? REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED TO ADAM AND EVE WHEN THEY DISOBEYED THEIR CONSCIENCES? DID WE LEARN ANYTHING FROM THEM? SHOULD ONE EVER DISOBEY THEIR CONSCIENCE - FOR ANY REASON? YOU WILL HAVE TO ANSWER THAT YOURSELF.

FINISHING THE SUBJECT OF THE DISFELLOWSHIPPING CHANGE; IT APPEARS THAT ALL THE UN - BAPTIZED PEOPLE THAT WERE FORMALLY TREATED AS DISFELLOWSHIPPED HAVE NOW HAD THEIR STATUS CHANGED, AT LEAST UNTIL THE NEXT CHANGE COMES ALONG.

DOES THIS MEAN THAT ANY WHO WERE DISFELLOWSHIPPED FOR TALKING TO THESE FORMERLY OUT - CASTED INDIVIDUALS ARE ALSO ACCEPTED BACK AND THEIR STATUS CHANGED? WILL IT NOW BE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THEY WERE NOT IN THE WRONG AS WE HAD ONCE THOUGHT? NOT LIKELY SINCE WE WOULD PROBABLY ACCUSE THEM OF RUNNING AHEAD OF GOD'S ORGANIZATION.

BUT IF WE DO ACCEPT THEM BACK THEN WE CAN NOT REALLY SAY THAT IT IS WRONG TO RUN AHEAD OF "GOD'S ORGANIZATION" SINCE IT IS CAPABLE OF BEING IN THE WRONG WHILE SOME ARE ACTUALLY CLOSER TO BEING IN HARMONY WITH GOD BY ACTING IN HARMONY WITH THEIR CONSCIENCE. QUITE A DILEMMA, ISN'T IT?

ANOTHER CASE THAT COMES TO MIND BUT WHICH IS NOT WELL KNOWN AMONG WITNESSES IS WHAT TOOK PLACE BETWEEN 1972 AND 1977 WITH THE SOCIETY'S STAND AGAINST ORAL SEX (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH ANAL SEX). FROM 72-77 , A NUMBER OF PEOPLE WERE DISFELLOWSHIPPED FOR ENGAGING IN ORAL SEX, OFTEN WITH A MARRIAGE PARTNER WHO WAS NOT IN THE TRUTH (ONE IS OFTEN LEFT TO WONDER HOW THESE THINGS WERE DISCOVERED IN THE FIRST PLACE).

OTHERS REFRAINED FROM THE PRACTICE AS OBEDIENT SERVANTS OF THE SOCIETY ONLY TO BREAK UP THEIR MARRIAGE. ONE BROTHER WAS RESTRICTED TO A WHEEL CHAIR AND THE ONLY MEANS OF GIVING HIS WIFE SEXUAL PLEASURE WAS THROUGH ORAL SEX WHICH THE SOCIETY DECIDED FOR US WAS A HOMOSEXUAL ACT (I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND THAT). IMAGINE HOW THEIR RULING MUST HAVE EFFECTED THIS COUPLE.

I DO NOT BLAME THE SOCIETY ENTIRELY FOR FAILED RELATIONSHIPS. ONE WOULD EXPECT A MATE TO BE UNDERSTANDING OF A PERSONS RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND CONSCIENCE BUT SUCH IS OFTEN NOT THE CASE. BUT THE SOCIETY HAD NO BUSINESS INVADING THE PRIVATE RELATIONSHIPS OF MARRIED COUPLES AND THEIR PERSONAL PRACTICES. THIS WAS WAY OUT OF THE SOCIETY'S JURISDICTION.

THE BIBLE WAS VERY DETAILED IN FORBIDDEN SEXUAL PRACTICES OF THE NATIONS AND YET MENTIONED NOTHING ABOUT WHAT A COUPLE MIGHT DO BETWEEN THEMSELVES IN PRIVATE. THE SOCIETY WOULD HAVE DONE WELL TO FOLLOW THE BIBLE 'S EXAMPLE AND NOT GO BEYOND WHAT IS CLEARLY SPELLED OUT AND WRITTEN.

AFTER MANY PEOPLE SUFFERED BROKEN MARRIAGES, DISFELLOWSHIPPING AND GENERAL TRAUMA FROM THEIR PRIVATE LIVES BEING VIOLATED UNJUSTLY, THE SOCIETY DECIDED THAT THEY HAD BETTER CHANGE SO IN THE FEB. 15, 1978 WATCHTOWER, PAGES 30 AND 32 ANNOUNCING THE FOLLOWING:

"IN VIEW OF THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR SCRIPTURAL INSTRUCTION, THESE ARE MATTERS FOR WHICH THE MARRIED COUPLE THEMSELVES MUST BEAR THE RESPONSIBILITY BEFORE GOD . . . THESE MARITAL INTIMACIES DO NOT COME WITHIN THE PROVINCE OF THE CONGREGATIONAL ELDERS TO CONTROL NOR TO TAKE DISFELLOWSHIPPING ACTION WITH SUCH MATTERS AS THE SOLE BASIS . . . [THIS] EXPRESSES A KEEN SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY TO LET THE SCRIPTURES RULE AND TO REFRAIN FROM TAKING A DOGMATIC STAND WHEN THE EVIDENCE DOES NOT SEEM TO PROVIDE SUFFICIENT BASIS."

[IT SOUNDS LIKE MAYBE THEY ARE TRYING TO BLAME THE ELDERS AND MAKE THEM THE ESCAPE GOATS BUT THAT WOULD BE QUITE WRONG. THE SOCIETY WAS THE ONE TO BLAME WITH THEIR POLICY WHICH WAS CLEARLY STATED IN THE WATCHTOWER AND THE ELDERS WERE ENFORCING ACCORDING TO THE SOCIETY'S INSTRUCTIONS.]

IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE IF THEY HAD UNDERSTOOD WHERE THEIR AUTHORITY BEGINS AND ENDS A LITTLE EARLIER. IT WOULD BE COMFORTING TO HEAR THE GOVERNING BODY EXCLAIM AS DAVID DID AFTER HE SINNED AGAINST GOD IN NUMBERING ISRAEL AND BRINGING PUNISHMENT ON THEM FROM GOD:
"HERE IT IS I THAT HAVE SINNED AND IT IS I THAT HAVE DONE WRONG; BUT THESE SHEEP -WHAT HAVE THEY DONE?" 2 SAM. 24:17.

DAVID REALIZED THAT HIS DECISION ADVERSELY AFFECTED ISRAEL AND HE FELT DEEP REGRET AND ASKED JEHOVAH THAT HE MIGHT PAY RATHER THAN THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. HOPEFULLY HE LEARNED SOMETHING AND HOPEFULLY WE WOULD, TOO. BUT WE KEEP ON MAKING THE SAME MISTAKES INVOLVING OURSELVES IN MUCH MORE THAN WE SHOULD. AND I FIND THAT WE ARE LESS THAN CANDID IN ADMITTING AND OUTRIGHT STATING OUR GUILT AND SEEKING FORGIVENESS.

WE HAVE AN INTERESTING PARALLEL WITH NAZI GERMANY. SHE DECIDED TO GET RID OF HER HANDICAPPED AND BIRTH DEFECTIVE POPULATION AS WELL AS ANY UNDESIRABLE ELEMENT OF SOCIETY. HER GOAL WAS TO HAVE NOTHING BUT A HEALTHY, PERFECT POPULATION WHICH WOULD HELP ADVANCE THE INTERESTS OF THE COUNTRY AND THE MOTHER LAND. WHILE IT MAY HAVE ACHIEVED THIS (THAT COULD BE DISPUTED OF COURSE), IT LEFT MANY INDIVIDUALS ON THE SHORT END OF THINGS EITHER LOSING A LOVED ONE TO DEATH OR PERHAPS DYING THEMSELVES IF THEY DIDN'T MEET THE ACCEPTABLE STANDARD OF THE THIRD REICH WHICH BECAME MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANY INDIVIDUAL: IN FACT, WITHOUT ABSOLUTELY ANY CONCERN FOR ANY INDIVIDUAL.

I FEEL THAT JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES HAVE BECOME THAT WAY IN THEIR QUEST FOR UNITY (OR SHOULD I SAY UNIFORMITY) AND OBEDIENCE. THE INDIVIDUAL IS NO LONGER OF ANY CONCERN TO US, ONLY THE ORGANIZATION. I WONDER HOW GOD FEELS ABOUT ALL THIS. BUT THE POINT I WANT TO SERIOUSLY CONFRONT HERE IS THE MATTER OF CONSCIENCE.

THESE PEOPLE WHO WERE ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY THE SOCIETY'S PROHIBITION; SHOULD THEY HAVE IGNORED THE SOCIETY AND EXERCISED THEIR GOD GIVEN FREEDOM IN THIS MATTER? WOULD THIS BE PROPER, SCRIPTUAL? WHAT IF YOU KNEW SOMEONE AFFECTED BY THIS LIKE THE BROTHER IN THE WHEELCHAIR AND HE GOT THROWN OUT FOR REFUSING TO REFRAIN FROM HIS PRACTICE WITH HIS WIFE (THIS IS NOT WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE THOUGH) AND EXPERIENCED DEVASTATION AT HAVING THIS ALL HAPPEN TO HIM (AS IF BECOMING CRIPPLED WASN'T BAD ENOUGH).

WOULD YOU SHUN HIM EVEN IF YOU WERE ON HIS SIDE AND THOUGHT THE SCRIPTURES WERE, TOO, LEAVING HIM COMPLETELY CUT OFF FROM GOOD UPBUILDING CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION AND ENCOURAGEMENT? AND HE WOULD CERTAINLY BE IN NEED OF IT AT THAT TIME MORE THAN ANY OTHER. COULD YOU BE FAITHFUL TO GOD AND IGNORE THE PLIGHT OF THIS MAN AND HIS FAMILY? A DIFFICULT QUESTION IS IT NOT?

WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT, OBEYING YOUR CONSCIENCE OR NOT RUNNING AHEAD OF THE ORGANIZATION? THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION THAT WE MUST FACE AND RESOLVE IF WE ARE GOING TO SERVE GOD FAITHFULLY AND RIGHTEOUSLY.

A TRUE COMPANION IS LOVING ALL THE TIME, AND IS A BROTHER THAT IS BORN FOR WHEN THERE IS DISTRESS.

I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE A LETTER FROM AN ELDER THAT THE SOCIETY RECEIVED BACK WHEN THIS CRISIS OVER THE ISSUE OF ORAL SEX WAS TAKING PLACE. THE ELDER WAS FINDING IT HARD TO ENFORCE WHAT THE SOCIETY WAS ASKING.

"I FIND I CAN ONLY USE WHAT BIBLE LAWS AND PRINCIPLES I UNDERSTAND WITH ANY DEGREE OF SINCERITY AND CONVICTION IN REPRESENTING JEHOVAH AND CHRIST JESUS, [HE IS EXERCISING HIS PERSONAL CONSCIENCE - BRAVO!] AND IF I HAVE TO ADMINISTER THESE LAWS AND PRINCIPLES IN EXERCISING MY RESPONSIBILITY AS AN ELDER IN THE CONGREGATION I WANT TO DO IT NOT BECAUSE I HAVE COME TO TAKE FOR GRANTED THAT THIS IS JEHOVAH'S ORGANIZATION AND I'M GOING TO FOLLOW IT NO MATTER WHAT IT SAYS, BUT DO IT BECAUSE I TRULY BELIEVE IT TO BE SCRIPTURALLY PROVEN AND CORRECT. I TRULY WANT TO CONTINUE BELIEVING AS PAUL ADMONISHED THE THESSALONIANS IN THE SECOND CHAPTER, VERSE 13, TO ACCEPT THE WORD OF GOD, NOT AS OF MEN, BUT AS IT TRUTHFULLY IS, AS THE WORD OF GOD."

WOULD YOU SAY THAT THE EXPRESSION OF THIS ELDER WAS A SUBVERSIVE AND DANGEROUS ACT? OR WOULD YOU MAYBE AGREE WITH THIS ELDER? LET ME SHARE WITH YOU MARTIN LUTHER'S REPLY TO CATHOLIC HIERARCHY AND PRINCELY RULERS OF GERMANY IN WHAT IS KNOWN IN HISTORY AS "THE DIET AND EDICT OF WORMS."

"TRULY WITH THE HELP OF CHRIST I WILL NOT REVOKE EVEN AN IOTA INTO ALL ETERNITY." . . ."TESTIFY AND POINT OUT MY ERRORS. VANQUISH ME WITH THE WRITINGS OF THE PROPHETS AND EVANGELISTS, FOR IF I SHALL BE THUS INSTRUCTED I WILL BE MOST READY TO RECANT ANY ERROR AND WILL, INDEED, BE THE FIRST TO HURL MY LITTLE BOOKS INTO THE FLAMES." . . ."IF THEN, YOUR MAJESTY AND RULERS ASK FOR A SIMPLE ANSWER, I WILL GIVE IT WITHOUT HORNS AND WITHOUT TEETH, AS FOLLOWS. UNLESS I AM SHOWN BY THE TESTIMONY OF SCRIPTURE AND BY EVIDENT REASONING (FOR I DO NOT PUT FAITH IN POPE OR COUNCILS ALONE, BECAUSE IT IS ESTABLISHED THAT THEY HAVE OFTEN ERRED AND CONTRADICTED THEMSELVES), UNLESS I AM OVERCOME BY MEANS OF THE SCRIPTURAL PASSAGES THAT I HAVE CITED, AND UNLESS MY CONSCIENCE IS TAKEN CAPTIVE BY THE WORDS OF GOD, I AM NEITHER ABLE OR WILLING TO REVOKE ANYTHING, SINCE TO ACT AGAINST ONE'S CONSCIENCE IS NEITHER SAFE NOT HONEST. HERE I STAND; GOD HELP ME. I CANNOT DO OTHERWISE."

YES, IT SEEMS THAT MARTIN LUTHER UNDERSTOOD THESE ISSUES SOME 500 YEARS AGO. WHAT A SHAME THAT WE HAVE FORGOTTEN THEM IN OUR "ENLIGHTENED" AGE OF SCRIPTURAL UNDERSTANDING.

I FEEL THERE ARE MANY THINGS TODAY THAT WE DO NOT HAVE A DIRECT SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT FOR AND YET WE STAND STRONG AND UNMOVABLE AND DETERMINED TO THROW OUT ANYONE WHO DOES NOT CLOSELY CONFORM.

WE INSIST ON TOO MUCH. WE ARE TOO SEVERE. I FEEL DISFELLOWSHIPPING, WHICH IS A VERY SERIOUS FORM OF PUNISHMENT SHOULD BE EMPLOYED IN JUST A FEW SERIOUS SITUATIONS AND NOT TO BE USED INDISCRIMINATELY. I DO NOT BELIEVE THE BIBLE SUPPORTS OUR VERY FREQUENT CASUAL USE OF THIS DISCIPLINE FOR ANY LITTLE DISAGREEMENT OR DEVIATION.

CHRISTENDOM IS FAR TOO LENIENT AND WE, BY FAR, ARE THE MOST STRICT OF ALL RELIGIONS.

WE STAND ALONE ON OUR COMPLETE TOTAL INSISTENCE OF 100% CONFORMITY, 100% UNIFORMITY, ON EVERY LITTLE NIT PICKING THING. YET I OBSERVE IN THE BIBLE HOW THE SUPERFINE APOSTLES (THE SARCASTIC NAME PAUL GAVE CERTAIN SEDITIOUS ONES IN 2 CORINTHIANS) AND OTHERS GOT AWAY WITH ALL KINDS OF THINGS WITHOUT GETTING THROWN OUT. HOW IS THIS RECONCILED WITH WHAT WE DO?

NOTICE IN THE BOOK OF THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES HOW A LOT OF BICKERING WENT ON BEFORE THE QUESTION OF CIRCUMCISION WAS FINALLY SETTLED BY THE APOSTLES AND OLDER MEN IN JERUSALEM; DISCUSSED AND SETTLED IN FRONT OF ALL, OPEN FOR ALL TO SEE AND HEAR. DO YOU DISCERN IN THE BIBLE THE SAME TIGHT CONTROL THAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR ORGANIZATION TODAY?

THERE SHOULD BE MORE ROOM FOR PERSONAL DECISION, MORE FREEDOM, MORE DEVIATION FROM SUCH A STRICT, NARROWLY DEFINED AND DETAILED SET OF BELIEFS AND IDEAS. NOT IDEAS SUCH AS THE TRINITY, HELLFIRE, THE IMMORTAL SOUL OR OTHER SUCH THINGS BECAUSE THOSE ARE OBVIOUSLY WRONG. BUT ON SUCH MATTERS AS WHAT CONSTITUTES A DISFELLOWSHIPPING OFFENSE; HOW WE SHOULD TREAT SUCH ONES; WHETHER WE CAN USE OWN OWN BLOOD; WHETHER A CERTAIN MUSIC, MOVIE OR BOOK IS GOOD OR BAD; HOW CERTAIN PROPHECIES SHOULD BE INTERPRETED; AS TO WHAT JESUS MIGHT HAVE INDICATED BY CERTAIN ILLUSTRATIONS (OR NOT INDICATED). I COULD GO ON AND ON. THESE THINGS DO NOT CONSTITUTE DISUNITY JUST BECAUSE WE DO NOT ALL AGREE ON THEM. THESE ARE WHAT YOU MIGHT CALL "INWARD QUESTIONINGS" -ROMANS 14:1.

PAUL SAID AT 1 COR. 8:1-3 THAT "IF ANYONE THINKS HE HAS ACQUIRED KNOWLEDGE OF SOMETHING, HE DOES NOT YET KNOW IT JUST AS HE OUGHT TO KNOW IT." (I COVER THIS SCRIPTURE MORE LATER ON). BUT PAUL LATER CONTINUED IN CHAP. 13 THAT LOVE, FAITH, AND HOPE SHOULD BE THE PRIMARY CONCERNS OF CHRISTIANS, ESPECIALLY LOVE. THINGS LIKE THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT, PROPHESYING, AND KNOWLEDGE WERE MUCH LESS IMPORTANT AND, IN FACT, USELESS, IF UNACCOMPANIED BY LOVE.

SO KNOWLEDGE SHOULD HAVE MUCH LESS OF A ROLE IN OUR RELIGION THAN IT NOW OCCUPIES. 100% UNITY DOES NOT MEAN 100% CONFORMITY, 100% UNIFORMITY. CHRISTIANS ARE INDIVIDUALS WITH SEPARATE, DISTINCT CONSCIENCES AND SOME HAVE A MORE ADVANCED KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING AS WELL.

YOU CAN NOT MAKE ALL PEOPLE CONFORM TO THE EXACT SAME PRECISE STANDARD. THERE ARE GOING TO BE DIFFERENCES, SOME MORE FULLY DEVELOPED AND TRAINED THAN OTHERS, SOME THAT ARE NEWER AND WEAKER THAN OTHERS. SOME MORE SENSITIVE OR DULL THAN OTHERS. OUR KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING WILL VARY FROM ONE TO THE OTHER, ALSO. LET EACH ONE NOT LOOK DOWN ON THE OTHER FOR THEIR DECISIONS. PLEASE READ ROMANS CHAP. 14 FOR MORE.

PUT ANOTHER WAY, ALL THAT REALLY MATTERS IS MAKING A HABIT OF LISTENING CAREFULLY TO OUR CONSCIENCE, EVEN BECOMING AS SENSITIVE TO IT AS POSSIBLE. AND AS WE GROW IN KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING, THEN OUR CONSCIENCE WILL GROW WITH IT. WHEN PEOPLE FIRST START OUT ON THE ROAD TO GOD, THEY HAVE A SMALL, LIMITED AMOUNT OF KNOWLEDGE. BUT ALL THAT IS IMPORTANT TO GOD IS THAT THEY ARE SINCERE, OF GOOD HEART AND MOTIVE, READ AND TRY TO UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURES, AND THAT THEY DO NOT DISREGARD THEIR CONSCIENCE.

IN BECOMING SENSITIVE TO WHAT GOES ON IN OUR MIND AND HEART, WE WILL NOT QUICKLY BANISH A QUICK THOUGHT THAT COMES ACROSS OUR MINDS, NOR WILL WE QUICKLY IGNORE A FEELING THAT BRIEFLY MAKES ITSELF FELT, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, FAINT, OR INSIGNIFICANT THESE SIGNALS MAY SEEM. DO NOT RUN AND HIDE FROM THEM. THIS IS THE WHOLE KEY TO GETTING BACK TO GOD FOR HE DESIGNED WITHIN US AN AUTOMATIC FUNCTION, A NATURAL FLOW, OF TRYING TO ACHIEVE INTEGRATION AND CONSISTENCY; DESIRING TO KNOW AND UNDERSTAND OUR WORLD AROUND US AND MAKE SENSE OF IT ALL.

IT IS THIS NORMAL FLOW THAT WE FIGHT AND RESIST IN ORDER TO PROTECT OUR EGOS, JUSTIFY OUR ACTIONS, AND FREE US TO FILL OUR FALLEN DESIRES. AND THESE TWO FORCES (DESIRE FOR INTEGRATION AND UNDERSTANDING VS. DENIAL AND EVASIVENESS WITH OURSELVES, PLEASING OUR FLESH) THAT CONSTANTLY FIGHT WITH EACH OTHER AS PAUL DESCRIBES IN ROM. 7:14-25.

NEVER IGNORE YOUR CONSCIENCE; THAT IS THE PRIMARY LESSON OF ADAM AND EVE IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN. AND I DO HOPE THAT YOU LISTEN TO IT THROUGH OUT YOUR READING OF THIS BOOKLET.

BUT FACTS ARE FACTS AND WE DO INSIST ON 100% DUPLICATE UNDERSTANDING OF EVERY LITTLE NIT PICKING DETAIL OF EVERY LITTLE LETTER OF SCRIPTURE. MIGHT IT NOT BE POSSIBLE THAT THERE MIGHT BE SOME THINGS THAT, DUE TO THE LACK OF FULFILLMENT AT PRESENT, WE MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO FULLY UNDERSTAND OR PREDICT. YET WE INSIST ON AN INTERPRETATION FOR EVERYTHING. I MEAN EVERYTHING. I WILL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE.

IN 2 COR. 12:4 PAUL SAYS "THAT HE WAS CAUGHT AWAY INTO PARADISE AND HEARD UNUTTERABLE WORDS WHICH IT IS NOT LAWFUL FOR A MAN TO SPEAK." FROM WHAT WAS STATED I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT WE COULD EVEN BEGIN TO GUESS AT WHAT IT WAS THAT PAUL HEARD. AND I DON'T THINK WE WERE SUPPOSED TO KNOW. PAUL ONLY MENTIONED IT TO SHOW THE "SUPERFINE APOSTLES" THAT THEIR WORKS WERE INSIGNIFICANT COMPARED TO WHAT PAUL HAD EXPERIENCED.

BUT THE SOCIETY SAYS IN "MAN'S SALVATION OUT OF WORLD DISTRESS NOW AT HAND!" BOOK, PG.133 THAT DOUBTLESS WHAT PAUL HEARD AND SAW WAS "ABOUT THIS THEN FUTURE SPIRITUAL PARADISE" THAT WOULD BE ENJOYED IN THE LAST DAYS. COULD YOU PLEASE TELL ME HOW ANYONE COULD GET THAT OUT OF 2 COR. 12:4? READ THE ACCOUNT FOR YOURSELVES - IT IS QUITE ENTERTAINING. AND IF YOU DISAGREE WITH THEM - WELL, YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. YOU'LL BE LOOKING FOR A NEW RELIGION.


CAN LIES BE STRONGER THAN TRUTH?
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I CERTAINLY DISPUTE THIS. IT ALL SEEMS SO VERY WRONG, DON'T YOU THINK? WOULD YOU NOT AGREE THAT IF ONE HAS THE TRUTH ONE HAS NOTHING TO FEAR FROM IDEAS CONTRARY OR CONTRADICTING TO THEIR OWN? CAN ANYTHING OTHER THAN TRUTH HAVE ANY REAL SUBSTANCE OR POWER?

NO! I BELIEVE THAT FALSE REASONING HAS NO POWER NOR HOLDS ANY THREAT. IF ONE KEEPS ONE'S MIND OPEN AND CONTINUES TO SEEK AS MANY OPINIONS AS POSSIBLE ON A MATTER, THEN ANY MISUNDERSTANDING WILL BE TEMPORARY ONLY.

IS THERE PERHAPS SOME KNOWLEDGE THAT IS TOO GREAT FOR MANY TO UNDERSTAND? KNOWLEDGE THAT ONLY A FEW, EXTRAORDINARY MEN ARE CAPABLE OF UNDERSTANDING AND THAT LEAVES THE COMMON MAN BEHIND?

THE NOV. 8, 1988 {Awake magazine} SIMILARLY ASKED "IS KNOWLEDGE OF GOD FOR THE ELITE FEW?" IN "THE BIBLE'S VIEWPOINT" COLUMN. ARE THERE SUCH MEN WHO ARE MORE GIFTED THAN THE ORDINARY?

NOTE THE APOSTLE PETER'S ATTITUDE AS HE SPEAKS TO CORNELIUS IN ACTS 10:26: " "RISE; I MYSELF AM ALSO A MAN." "

DOES THAT SOUND LIKE SOMEONE WITH SUPERIOR ABILITIES THAT NO ONE ELSE COULD POSSESS, SOMEONE EXTRAORDINARY AND UNUSUAL?

SOME CLERGYMEN IN OTHER RELIGIONS TRY TO IMPLY IF NOT OUTRIGHT STATE THIS. THEY MIGHT TYPICALLY SAY: "YOU ARE DOING WELL IN TRYING TO READ THE BIBLE -BUT- THERE ARE THINGS DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND IN THERE THAT YOU BEST LEAVE UP TO US. AFTER ALL, WE HAVE BEEN WELL TRAINED AT SUCH AND SUCH A SCHOOL WITH SO MANY YEARS OF INSTRUCTION." AND IMPLIED WOULD BE THAT "YOU COULDN'T POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND THESE THINGS WITHOUT ALL THAT TRAINING AND YOU HAD BEST LEAVE IT UP TO US."

IN FACT, HAVE YOU NOT PERSONALLY ENCOUNTERED PEOPLE IN SERVICE WHO SAY SOMETHING LIKE: "I LEAVE IT UP TO MY PRIEST (OR MINISTER). HE TAKES CARE OF IT ALL." OR "MY BROTHER/+UNCLE/+OTHER IS A MINISTER SO I AM ALL TAKEN CARE OF. THANKS ANYWAY." I'M SURE YOU HAVE.

BUT I HAVE EVEN HEARD WITNESSES SAY THAT THEY "LEAVE IT ALL UP TO THE SOCIETY." WE SOUND JUST LIKE THE PEOPLE WE MEET IN SERVICE DON'T WE? AND IT RELIEVES US OF ANY WORK OR EFFORT. WE NO LONGER HAVE TO THINK FOR OURSELVES. ISN'T THAT NICE. MOMMY AND DADDY WILL TAKE CARE OF IT ALL FOR YOU. BESIDES, YOU DO NOT HAVE THE ABILITY ANYWAY, DO YOU? YOU ARE NOT CAPABLE OF INTELLIGENT THINKING AND REASONING; OF GOOD SOUND MATURE DECISIONS. NO! ONLY "BROOKLYN" HAS SUCH ABILITIES, RIGHT?

MAYBE THEY HAVE RECEIVED SOME SPECIAL GIFTS FROM GOD LIKE THE APOSTLES, RIGHT? BUT WERE NOT THOSE GIFTS DONE AWAY WITH AFTER THE DEATHS OF ALL THE APOSTLES? DO WE STILL HAVE A NEED FOR THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT? IS THE BIBLE SUCH A POOR PROVISION THAT WE NOW NEED TO LEAN EXCESSIVELY ON GOD ONCE AGAIN? I WONDER WHAT THE APOSTLE PAUL WOULD HAVE TO SAY ABOUT ALL THIS IN VIEW OF WHAT HE WROTE AT 1 COR. 13:8-13.

IT IS BETTER TO TAKE REFUGE IN JEHOVAH THAN TO TRUST IN EARTHLING MAN - AND NOBLES - PS. 118:8,9

NO, MY BROTHERS, WE ARE ALL CAPABLE OF UNDERSTANDING ANYTHING. "FOR YOU BEHOLD HIS CALLING OF YOU, BROTHERS, THAT NOT MANY WISE IN A FLESHLY WAY WERE CALLED,...BUT GOD CHOSE THE FOOLISH THINGS OF THE WORLD, THAT HE MIGHT PUT THE WISE MEN TO SHAME;" 1 CORINTHIANS 1:26-7.

AND WHEN JESUS SPOKE, HE SPOKE IN A WAY THAT THE COMMON MAN COULD UNDERSTAND WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND PARABLES FAMILIAR TO THE AVERAGE MAN'S EXPERIENCE. THE NOV. 8, 1988 AWAKE ARTICLE, "IS KNOWLEDGE OF GOD FOR THE ELITE FEW?", STATES IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH UNDER THE SUB-HEADING, "KNOWLEDGE OPEN TO ALL": "" IT (THE BIBLE) NEVER MENTIONS ANY "HIDDEN TRUTHS" THAT WOULD BE ACCESSIBLE TO SOME AND HIDDEN FROM OTHER SINCERE SEEKERS OF TRUTH LIVING IN THE SAME PERIOD.""

IT WAS OBSERVED BY THE RULERS, OLDER MEN, SCRIBES, AND PRIESTS THAT THE APOSTLES WERE UNLETTERED AND ORDINARY. (ACTS 4:5,13). THEY WERE COMMON PEOPLE WHO HAD LIVED AND WORKED AMONG THE REST OF THE COMMON PEOPLE OF ISRAEL.

YES, THE ABILITY TO THINK, REASON, AND RATIONALIZE BELONG TO ANY MAN. AND REALLY, IT IS MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, A MAN'S MOTIVE THAT CAN AFFECT HIS RATIONALIZATION.

RATIONALIZATION IS AN EXERCISE IN MORALITY NOT INTELLECT

THINKING IS A MORAL CHOICE AND NOT AN INTELLECTUAL PROCESS. BAD MOTIVES CAN CAUSE ONE TO MAKE FAULTY CONCLUSIONS BECAUSE THOSE FALSE CONCLUSIONS WILL SUPPORT WHAT HE WANTS TO BELIEVE NOT WHAT HE SHOULD BELIEVE.

THE ONLY OTHER WAY ONE CAN COME TO A FAULTY UNDERSTANDING IS IF ONE HAS NOT BEEN DILIGENT IN EXAMINING THE FACTS OR IS USED TO ACCEPTING ANYTHING WITHOUT QUESTION, TAKING EVERYTHING FOR GRANTED; ALL THIS DUE TO BEING LAZY, OR DUE TO NOT SEEING THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCURATELY KNOWING THE TRUTH, OR BECAUSE THE PERSON DOES NOT REALLY WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH AND THEREFORE DOES NOT MAKE A SINCERE EFFORT TO FIND IT.

AND A FALSELY HELD BELIEF IS COMPOUNDED WHEN OTHER BELIEFS ARE BUILT UPON IT. THAT IS TO SAY, WHEN YOU START OFF WITH AN ERROR, IT MAY BE SMALL, BUT AS TIME PASSES, IT GROWS TILL IT IS VERY LARGE. A LITTLE LUMP OF LEAVEN WILL FERMENT A WHOLE BATCH OF DOUGH.

IF YOU WERE TRAVELING TOWARD SOME POINT FAR AWAY AND YOU WERE OFF BY A DEGREE OR TWO, IT WOULD NOT BE THAT SIGNIFICANT TOWARD THE START OF THE JOURNEY, BUT BY THE TIME THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE ARRIVED AT YOUR DESTINATION, YOU WOULD FIND YOURSELVES MANY MILES AWAY FROM WHERE YOU WANTED TO BE. YOU GET THE IDEA, DON'T YOU.

IS YOUR RELIGION A MATTER OF CHOICE OR CHANCE? - AUG.8"88" AWAKE! FRONT COVER

BUT WE COULD BE LAZY, LEAVING BIBLE READING AND REASONING UP TO OTHERS AND NOT READING AND THINKING FOR OURSELVES. THAT WAY WE COULD DO WHAT WE REALLY WANT TO DO AND LEAVE THE THINGS THAT ARE NOT SO APPEALING TO PURSUE UP TO OTHERS AS WAS JUST MENTIONED A LITTLE EARLIER.

THIS IS WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT WE ALWAYS BE WILLING TO LOOK AT OUR BELIEFS AND RE-EXAMINE THEM, PUT THEM TO THE TEST AND IF THEY ARE SOLID THEY WILL STAND UP AND IF THEY ARE NOT THEY WILL FALL AND WE REJECT THEM AND FIND THE CORRECT ONES TO TAKE THEIR PLACE.

IN HIS PUBLIC BROADCASTING SERIES "THE DAY THE UNIVERSE CHANGED", JAMES BURKE SAID THAT: "ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY CAN BE AN ABSOLUTE PRISON." OR AS THE APOSTLE PAUL PUT IT IN 1 CORINTHIANS 8:2: "IF ANYONE THINKS HE HAS ACQUIRED KNOWLEDGE OF SOMETHING, HE DOES NOT YET KNOW IT JUST AS HE OUGHT TO KNOW IT." PHILLIP'S TRANSLATION PUTS IT THIS WAY:"FOR WHATEVER A MAN MAY KNOW, HE STILL HAS A LOT TO LEARN" OR THE LIVING BIBLE: "IF ANYONE THINKS HE KNOWS ALL THE ANSWERS, HE IS JUST SHOWING HIS IGNORANCE."


THE LITTLE TRAIN THAT SAID IT COULD
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TO SUMMARIZE OUR OWN ABILITY, HOW ABOUT THIS: "HE (THE SON OF GOD) HAS GIVEN US INTELLECTUAL CAPACITY THAT WE MAY GAIN THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUE ONE (GOD)." 1 JOHN 5:20.

YES, ALL OF US HAVE BEEN GIVEN INTELLECTUAL ABILITY, WITH NO EXCEPTIONS. TO KNOW AND GRASP AN UNDERSTANDING OF GOD IS WITHIN THE REACH OF EVERYONE. IT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN FAIR OF GOD TO MAKE SOME OF US LESS THAN OTHERS, WOULD IT? SEE ACTS 17:27.

THE AWAKE ARTICLE "IS KNOWLEDGE OF GOD FOR THE ELITE FEW?" (MENTIONED EARLIER) CONCLUDED THE SAME THING UNDER THE SUB-HEADING "KNOWLEDGE OPEN TO ALL". YOU MIGHT BE BENEFITED BY READING THAT ARTICLE EVEN THOUGH YOU MIGHT HAVE READ IT BEFORE.

I WOULD LIKE TO REPEAT AN EARLIER QUOTE FROM IT THOUGH: ""IT [THE BIBLE] NEVER MENTIONS ANY "HIDDEN TRUTHS" THAT WOULD BE ACCESSIBLE TO SOME AND HIDDEN FROM OTHER SINCERE SEEKERS OF TRUTH LIVING IN THE SAME PERIOD.""

DO NOT PUT YOUR TRUST IN NOBLES, NOR IN THE SON OF EARTHLING MAN - PS. 146:2

SO LET US ALWAYS "MAKE SURE OF ALL THINGS" AND "KEEP TESTING WHETHER YOU ARE IN THE FAITH, KEEP PROVING WHAT YOU YOURSELVES ARE." 2 CORINTHIANS 13:5. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR FOR GOD HAS GIVEN YOU THE ARMOR YOU NEED "TO STAND FIRM AGAINST THE MACHINATIONS OF THE DEVIL." EPHESIANS 6:11.

AND OUR WEAPONS ARE MADE "POWERFUL BY GOD FOR OVERTURNING STRONGLY ENTRENCHED THINGS. FOR WE ARE OVERTURNING REASONINGS AND EVERY LOFTY THING RAISED UP AGAINST THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD", 2 CORINTHIANS 10:4,5.

TAKE YOUR STAND AGAINST THE DEVIL, SOLID IN THE FAITH - 1 PET.5:8,9

DO THESE SCRIPTURES MAKE IT SOUND LIKE WE SHOULD FEAR AND RUN AWAY FROM IDEAS AND KNOWLEDGE THAT MIGHT CHALLENGE OUR OWN. OR THAT THERE MIGHT BE SOME KNOWLEDGE OUT THERE THAT COULD BE DANGEROUS AND SUBVERSIVE TO OUR FAITH AND BELIEFS? THAT COULD UNDO OUR RELIGION WITHOUT US BEING ABLE TO SEE THROUGH IT? NOTICE JESUS' ATTITUDE IN A PROPHECY MADE ABOUT HIM IN ISA : 50:8,9:

"WHO CAN CONTEND WITH ME? LET US STAND UP TOGETHER. WHO IS MY JUDICIAL ANTAGONIST? LET HIM APPROACH ME. 9 LOOK! THE SOVEREIGN LORD JEHOVAH HIMSELF WILL HELP ME."

AND "THE NEW ENGLISH BIBLE" VERSION: "WHO DARE ARGUE AGAINST ME? LET US CONFRONT ONE ANOTHER. WHO WILL DISPUTE MY CAUSE? LET HIM COME FORWARD. THE LORD GOD WILL HELP ME". (YES, I MISS THE NAME OF JEHOVAH THERE, TOO; OH WELL).


THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD OR . . . I HEAR AND I OBEY
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I WOULD LIKE TO QUOTE ANOTHER "AWAKE" ARTICLE FROM THE "YOUNG PEOPLE ASK" COLUMN ENTITLED "SHOULD I FOLLOW THE LATEST FAD?" (AUG. 8, 1986, PGS.14-16).

"SOME ALLOW OTHERS TO DECIDE FOR THEM WHAT IS IN AND WHAT IS OUT. IN EFFECT, THEY BECOME LITTLE MORE THAN A SLAVE." "BUT IS IT WISE TO BECOME A 'SLAVE' TO OTHERS, LETTING THEM DECIDE WHAT YOU SHOULD EAT, READ, OR BUY, OR WHERE YOU SHOULD GO." [AND MAY I ADD - WHAT YOU SHOULD BELIEVE OR HOW YOU SHOULD INTERPRET A SCRIPTURAL PASSAGE].

THE ARTICLE'S CONCLUSION: "...YOU CAN BE DIFFERENT. YOU CAN LEARN TO THINK FOR YOURSELF AND MAKE WISE DECISIONS." I HEARTILY AGREE. YOU CERTAINLY CAN AND SHOULD.

TO NOT DO SO AND LEAVE THINKING, REASONING, AND INTERPRETATION TO SOMEONE ELSE MEANS NOT ONLY BEING THEIR SLAVE BUT MEANS LITERALLY SURRENDERING OVER YOUR MIND AND THINKING PROCESSES OVER TO THEM. YOU, IN EFFECT, BECOME HYPNOTIZED BY THEM.

NOTE WHAT THE 1974 SEPT. 8 AWAKE SAYS ABOUT HYPNOTISM ON PAGE 28: "BUT EVEN IF HYPNOSIS HAD NO OCCULT ASSOCIATIONS, TRUE CHRISTIANS WOULD SHUN IT. WHY? BECAUSE HYPNOTISM REQUIRES THE COMPLETE SURRENDER OF ONE'S WILL TO ANOTHER HUMAN."

CURSED IS THE ABLE-BODIED MAN WHO PUTS HIS TRUST IN EARTHLING MAN - JER.17:5

I ASSUME THEY SEEM TO THINK THAT THAT WOULD NOT BE SUCH A GOOD IDEA. THEN WHY DO THEY INSIST THAT WE SURRENDER OUR THINKING AND DECISION MAKING TO THEM AND NOT BE INDEPENDENT THINKERS ? DO NOT MISTAKE THIS FOR BEING SIMILAR TO THE REBELLIOUS COURSE OF KORAH, DATHAN, AND ABIRAM. THEIR COURSE WAS TAINTED WITH BAD MOTIVES, DESIRING THE PRIESTHOOD OF AARON. THERE WAS NO SINCERITY IN THEIR QUESTIONING LIKE WAS EVIDENCED IN ABRAHAM WHEN HE WAS QUESTIONING JEHOVAH IN GENESIS 18:23-33.

ODDLY ENOUGH, EVEN WHEN QUESTIONED BY MEN WHO HAD BAD MOTIVES FOR THEIR QUESTIONS; JESUS STILL TOOK TIME TO ANSWER THEM - PERHAPS MORE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THOSE WITH HIM OR THOSE OTHERS THAT WERE LISTENING. BUT NONE THE LESS HE DID ANSWER THE BADLY INTENTIONED INQUIRIES.

PAUL! GREAT LEARNING IS DRIVING YOU INTO MADNESS! (ACTS 26:24)

NOW AS REGARDS KNOWLEDGE AND INDEPENDENT THINKING I WOULD LIKE TO DISMANTLE ONE MORE IDEA IF I MAY. THE GENERAL OPINION COMING FROM THE SOCIETY SEEMS TO BE THIS - THAT IN HIGHER EDUCATION IT'S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO AVOID BEING OVERCOME BY WORLDLY KNOWLEDGE. I WILL PROPOSE TO YOU SOME REASONS WHY THIS IS SO IF IT IS SO.

IF WE ARE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE FROM 18-24 YEARS OF AGE THEN LACK OF EXPERIENCE COUPLED WITH THE LIKEL I HOOD THAT THEY ARE NOT WELL GROUNDED IN THE SCRIPTURES, ENTICED BY SEX AND PEER PRESSURE, AND A LACK OF SOCIAL REINFORCEMENT FROM THE FAMILY UNIT IF THEY DO NOT LIVE AT HOME, AND POSSIBLY THE CONGREGATION IF THEY ARE NOT ATTENDING MEETINGS; THEN YOU HAVE AN ALMOST PERFECT RECIPE' FOR LEAVING OFF THEIR RELIGION.

THIS IS NOT THE FAULT OF SO CALLED "WORLDLY KNOWLEDGE". IT IS THE FAULT OF THE YOUNG PERSON FOR NOT BEING HONESTLY DILIGENT IN SEEKING ALL REASONINGS ON THE MATTER AND PERHAPS NOT WANTING TO BECAUSE THEY ARE SEEKING THE APPROVAL OF SOME AT THE COLLEGE.

I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT THERE HAVE BEEN WITNESSES WHO HAVE ATTENDED 4 YEARS OF COLLEGE AND REMAINED WITH THEIR RELIGION OR HAVE COME INTO THE RELIGION AFTER COLLEGE. FRED FRANZ IS ONE EXAMPLE. BESIDES, MANY OF YOU HAVE ENCOUNTERED A LOT OF THAT WORLDLY KNOWLEDGE IN SERVICE, RIGHT? AND YOU HAD TO REFUTE IT AND YOU DID.

IT WAS NOT WORLDLY KNOWLEDGE THAT SPELLED DOOM FOR SO MANY BUT THEIR DESIRE TO GET THE APPROVAL AND ACCEPTANCE OF THEIR PEERS. THIS IS WHY PAUL COUNSELED US AGAINST BAD ASSOCIATIONS. 1 COR.15:33. THIS WAS THE PROBLEM THAT SOLOMON HAD IN TAKING SO MANY FOREIGN WIVES FOR HIMSELF.

1 KINGS 11:4-9 SHOWS HOW HIS WIVES INCLINED HIS HEART, NOT HIS MIND, TOWARD OTHER GODS. HE HAD NEGLECTED HIS HEART. IRONICALLY, IT WAS SOLOMON WHO WARNED US AT PROV.4:23: "MORE THAN ALL ELSE THAT IS TO BE GUARDED, SAFEGUARD YOUR HEART, FOR OUT OF IT ARE THE SOURCES OF LIFE. IN MAT.15:18, JESUS IDENTIFIED THE HEART AS THE SOURCE OF WICKED REASONINGS AND ALL ELSE THAT DEFILES A MAN.

WHY WOULD ONE SEEK OUT BAD INFLUENCES TO ASSOCIATE WITH, TO ENJOY THE COMPANY OF, TO GAIN THE APPROVAL OF? WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT A BAD ASSOCIATE'S APPROVAL. OBVIOUSLY, IT WOULD BE BECAUSE OF A DECEPTIVE HEART THAT HAD BECOME DELIBERATELY DULL IN ITS REASONING AND THEREFORE SOUGHT OUT BAD ASSOCIATES.

ONE THING WE DO NOT WANT TO DO IS EQUATE NEW OR DIFFERENT IDEAS WITH BAD ASSOCIATIONS. ESPECIALLY WHEN THOSE IDEAS ARE THINGS RELATED TO BIBLE MATTERS. IS THE BIBLE A BAD INFLUENCE? IS DISCUSSING ITS CONTENTS AND MEANINGS HARMFUL TO US. SOUNDS ABSURD DOESN'T IT?

HOW ABOUT IDEAS? DO WE SEEK THE APPROVAL OF IDEAS? CAN WE SOCIALIZE OR GET ACCEPTANCE FROM IDEAS? NO. IDEAS DO NOT IN ANY WAY REPRESENT BAD ASSOCIATION. THEY CAN ONLY HARM OR DECEIVE US IF OUR HEARTS ARE NOT COMPLETE AND SINCERE.

AND LET ME STATE THIS; WHEN PAUL MENTIONED BAD ASSOCIATIONS, HE WAS REFERRING TO THOSE WHO WERE BELIEVERS WHO HAD DENIED THE RESURRECTION, ONE OF THE FOR E MOST DOCTRINES OF THE BIBLE. HE WAS NOT REFERRING TO THE GENERAL POPULATION. WHAT THESE BROTHERS, WHO WERE IGNORING GOD'S CLEARLY STATED PURPOSE, WERE DOING WAS IGNORING THE BIBLE, PRACTICING SIN, AND CORRUPTING OTHERS, ALL WHILE KNOWING BETTER. THIS IS FAR WORSE THAN THE WORLD FOR MANY IN THE WORLD DO NOT KNOW GOD OR THE SCRIPTURES AS THOSE CHRISTIANS DID THEN OR AS WE DO NOW. WOULDN'T YOU AGREE? (DO NOT THE SCRIPTURES SAY THE SAME?).

BESIDES ALL THIS, THE ONLY WAY THAT BAD ASSOCIATIONS CAN HARM US IS IF WE START TO DESIRE THEIR ACCEPTANCE AND APPROVAL. IT IS ONE THING TO SHARE A MEAL ONCE IN A WHILE OR PERHAPS PLAY IN SOME SPORT WITH THEM EVERY WEEK BUT IT IS QUITE ANOTHER THING WHEN WE CONSIDER THEM OUR CLOSE PERSONAL FRIENDS AND CONFIDANTS WHOM WE WANT TO PLEASE VERY MUCH.

WE HAVE TO CONSTANTLY MONITOR OUR HEARTS AND FEELINGS TOWARD THESE PEOPLE SO THAT THINGS DO NOT GET OUT OF HAND, JUST AS WE HAVE TO CHECK OUR FEELINGS WITH OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS SO THAT WE DO NOT COMMIT FORNICATION OR ADULTERY WITH THEM. WE HAVE TO MAINTAIN THAT INVISIBLE MENTAL BARRIER THAT REMINDS US THAT THEY CAN NEVER REALLY BE OUR CLOSE FRIENDS UNLESS THEY DEMONSTRATE A DESIRE TO PLEASE GOD AND CHANGE THEIR WORLDLY WAYS.

BEING NO PART OF THE WORLD DOES NOT MEAN HAVING NO PART WITH OTHER PEOPLE. PAUL SAID THAT WE WERE TO AVOID ONLY BROTHERS WHO WERE FORNICATORS OR OTHER TYPES OF SINNERS. WE DID NOT HAVE TO AVOID WORLDLY PEOPLE FOR WE ARE ONLY CONCERNED WITH KEEPING OUR OWN CLEAN AND NOT THE WHOLE WORLD, OTHERWISE PAUL SAYS THAT WE WOULD HAVE TO GET OUT OF THE WORLD - 1 COR. CHAP. 4.

FURTHERMORE, WE NEED TO CARE ABOUT PEOPLE AND NOT MAKE THEM THINK THEY ARE THE BLACK PLAGUE OR SOMETHING. WE NEED TO SPEND AT LEAST A LITTLE BIT OF TIME WITH THEM SO THEY CAN SEE WE ARE NORMAL, AND THEREFORE CAN BE TRUSTED. THEY ARE THEN ABLE TO FIND OUT ABOUT US AND MAYBE OUR RELIGION. LIKE ANYTHING, WE HAVE TO BE BALANCED AND NOT SPEND AN EXCESSIVE AMOUNT OF TIME WITH THEM AND BECOME TOO CLOSE OR ATTACHED AND EVENTUALLY COMPROMISE OUR WAYS FOR THEIR ACCEPTANCE. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE TO YOU?

(AND I REALIZE THAT I HAVE OFTEN BEEN REPETITIOUS THROUGHOUT THIS. CALL IT "REPETITION FOR EMPHASIS")

BUT REMEMBER, OUR WEAPONS OF REASONING ARE MADE POWERFUL BY GOD FOR OVERTURNING REASONINGS OF EVERY SORT RAISED UP AGAINST THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. SO WE HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR FROM WORLDLY KNOWLEDGE EXCEPT OUR OWN ILL MOTIVES IF WE HAVE ANY. YOU KNOW THE SCRIPTURE: "THE HEART IS MORE TREACHEROUS THAN ANYTHING ELSE AND IS DESPERATE. WHO CAN KNOW IT?" JEREMIAH 17:9. AS SHEAKESPEARE PUT IT: "TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE."

MEANWHILE, THERE COULD BE SOME WORLDLY KNOWLEDGE OUT THERE THAT COULD BE OF SOME SERVICE TO US. AN EXAMPLE IS THE COMPUTER. JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES HAVE MADE GREAT USE OF THE COMPUTER IN THEIR PREACHING WORK. COULD WE ALSO USE OTHER AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE TO MAKE US MORE EFFECTIVE WITH OUR PREACHING, WITH OUR CHILDREN, AND PERHAPS WITH MANY OTHER THINGS.

THERE ARE MANY BRANCHES OF PSYCHOLOGY OUT THERE AND NOT EVERYTHING THEY SAY IS WRONG OR BAD. THE SOCIETY OFTEN QUOTES THEM TO GIVE MORE WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO WHAT THEY SAY. HOW ABOUT ALTERNATIVE AND PREVENTIVE MEDICAL TREATMENTS?

HISTORY, ARCHAEOLOGY, ANTHROPOLOGY, AND OTHER STUDIES COULD GIVE US A BETTER GRIP ON THE BIBLE. I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THEY CAN HARM THE BIBLE IF ONE IS FAIR, OBJECTIVE, AND DILIGENT IN EXAMINING THE FACTS. BUT WE WILL NEVER KNOW IF WE RUN FROM EVERYTHING IN TERROR THINKING THAT IT WILL DRAG US OUT OF THE TRUTH.

AS REGARDS CRITICISM, HOW ELSE CAN WE IMPROVE IF WE DO NOT FIRST CLOSELY EXAMINE OURSELVES. WE MUST FIRST ADMIT A PROBLEM BEFORE WE CAN CORRECT IT. AND THIS WOULD BE IN HARMONY WITH THE PRINCIPLE OF BIBLE CANDOR.

DID NOT JESUS RECOMMEND THAT WE FIRST CAREFULLY EXAMINE OURSELVES IN A CRITICAL MANNER BEFORE WE CRITICIZE OTHERS (OR OTHER RELIGIONS)? MAT. 7: 1-5.

WHERE DO WE LEAVE OURSELVES WHEN WE WILL NO LONGER ACCEPT DISCIPLINE OR COUNSEL FROM ANYONE? PARTICULARLY IF IT IS SOMEONE IN THE LOWER RANKS COUNSELING SOMEONE IN THE HIGHER RANKS ABOVE THEM. DID NOT THE KINGS OF JUDAH AND ISRAEL USUALLY RECEIVE THEIR COUNSEL FROM SOMEONE OF A LOWER STATION THEN THEY THEMSELVES WERE FROM?

BETTER IS A NEEDY BUT WISE CHILD THAN AN OLD BUT STUPID KING, WHO HAS NOT COME TO KNOW ENOUGH TO BE WARNED ANY LONGER. - ECCLES. 4:13

ARE THOSE ABOVE US BEYOND COUNSEL WHEN EVEN GOOD KINGS AND APOSTLES HAVE NEEDED TO BE CORRECTED FROM TIME TO TIME? IT SEEMS A LITTLE BIT UNBELIEVABLE TO ME.

SOME MIGHT SAY THAT WE HAVE BEEN GUARANTEED A FAITHFUL SLAVE. BUT I ASK "DOES IT ALSO GUARANTEE A PERFECT SLAVE WHO WOULD NEVER NEED COUNSEL?" THIS WOULD BE THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY IF YOU ANSWER YES. BESIDES, I WOULD EVEN ARGUE AS TO WHETHER HE GUARANTEED A FAITHFUL SLAVE.

LUKE 12:42 IDENTIFIES THE FAITHFUL STEWARD WITH A CONDITION IN 43 THAT "HAPPY IS THAT SLAVE *IF*. . ." "IF" SURE DON'T SOUND LIKE A GUARANTEE TO ME. BUT ON TOP OF THAT THERE ARE NOT ONE BUT TWO MORE TYPES OF SLAVES IDENTIFIED IN LUKE 12:47 AND 48.

47 IDENTIFIES A SLAVE WHO WAS INTENTIONALLY BAD AND THEREFORE PUNISHED SEVERELY WHICH JUDGING FROM THE OTHER ACCOUNTS OF THIS ILLUSTRATION MEANS DEATH AND PERMANENT DESTRUCTION. WE HAVE DEALT WITH HIM BEFORE.

BUT IN 48 WE MEET A SLAVE WHO UNINTENTIONALLY DOES WRONG AND SO IS ONLY MILDLY DISCIPLINED. I WOULD ASSUME THAT THIS WOULD MEAN HE WOULD NOT SUFFER DEATH AND PERMANENT DESTRUCTION. WHAT CLASS DOES HE REPRESENT SINCE WE HAVE NEVER ADDRESSED HIM BEFORE OR ACKNOWLEDGED HIS EXISTENCE.

WHO IS THIS SLAVE? WHY COULDN'T THIS APPLY TO, SAY, THE GOVERNING BODY. I SAY THAT THIS BIBLE ACCOUNT APPLIES TO ANY WHO HAVE BEEN GIVEN RESPONSIBILITIES OF SOME SORT OF OVERSIGHT. IN 48 IT SAYS: "INDEED, EVERYONE TO WHOM MUCH WAS GIVEN, MUCH WILL BE DEMANDED OF HIM;".

I WOULD LIKE TO AVOID AN ARGUMENT HERE AND STATE THAT WHATEVER THE MEANING OF THAT ILLUSTRATION IT WOULD NOT CONVINCE ME THAT THOSE ABOVE ARE BEYOND COUNSEL AND DISCIPLINE. I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT ANYONE EVER HAS OR EVER WILL BE BEYOND THAT. OTHERWISE HE WOULD BE A PERFECT MAN. DO WE HAVE ANY OF THOSE BY CHANCE?

IF, THEN, A BLIND MAN GUIDES A BLIND MAN, BOTH WILL FALL INTO A PIT - MAT. 15:14


HOW CAN I BE SURE?
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HOW DO WE DETERMINE WHAT IS COUNSEL AND WHAT IS CRITICISM. THE WAY IT LOOKS TO ME, IT IS COUNSEL IF IT COMES FROM THE TOP DOWN. BUT IF IT SHOULD EVER COME FROM THE BOTTOM UP (GOD FORBID!) THEN IT WOULD BE CALLED CRITICISM.

I DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS AND I THINK THAT THE ORGANIZATION SHOULD BE WILLING TO RECEIVE AS WELL AS GIVE CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM/COUNSEL OR WHATEVER ELSE YOU MIGHT LIKE TO CALL IT. IT IS AN IMPORTANT AND NECESSARY PART OF GROWTH AND PROGRESS JUST AS FOOD IS NEEDED BY A BABY TO GROW.

I BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE OR FEAR FROM CRITICISM, COUNSEL, AND COMPETITION. IS OUR UNITY, MORALE, AND FAITH SO WEAK AND FRAGILE THAT IT WILL CRUMBLE UNDER SOME CRITICISM. IF SO, THEN I WOULD SUGGEST THAT WE DO NOT HAVE ANY REAL UNITY, OR FAITH. NOTE MARK 9:38-40. (I DO HOPE YOU ARE LOOKING UP THESE REFERENCES LIKE GOOD BEROEAN CHRISTIANS).

CRITICISM, COUNSEL, AND COMPETITION WILL HELP US, IMPROVE US, REFINE US, MAKE US BETTER. CRITICISM SERVES AS A MIRROR WITH WHICH WE CAN LOOK CLOSELY, EXAMINE OURSELVES AND TOUCH OURSELVES UP IF WE FIND ANYTHING.

IF THE CRITICISM IS NOT VALID OR REASONABLE, IT DOES NOT MATTER FOR IT CAN DO US NO HARM. OUR WORKS WILL SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES. OUR CURRENT ABHORRENCE TO CRITICISM IS UNJUSTIFIED AND HAS NO PLACE IN OUR RELIGION.

AS REGARDS CONSIDERING NEW IDEAS AND INFORMATION, NOTE THE EXPERIENCE OF A WOMAN WHO CAME INTO THE "TRUTH" AND WHOSE EXPERIENCE IS RELATED TO US IN THE MARCH 22, 1988 AWAKE MAGAZINE IN THE ARTICLE ENTITLED "I ESCAPED RELIGIOUS DECEPTION" PG.10. SHE RELATES ABOUT THE TIMES THAT JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES WOULD VISIT HER HUSBAND AT HOME AND LEAVE MAGAZINES WITH HIM. LISTEN TO WHAT SHE SAYS:

"MY HUSBAND LIKED TO TALK TO THEM, BUT I NEVER WOULD. I STAYED IN THE KITCHEN WHEN THEY CAME. MY HUSBAND SUBSCRIBED TO THE MAGAZINES, YET NEVER READ THEM."

NOTE WHAT SHE SAYS NEXT: "BUT I DID [READ THE MAGAZINES]. I KNEW I SHOULDN'T, FELT GUILTY WHEN I DID, BUT COULDN'T STAND ANYTHING AROUND WITHOUT READING IT."

BUT WAS IT REALLY WRONG TO READ THE 'WATCHTOWER' AND 'AWAKE'? I THINK NOT. BUT WHERE WOULD THIS WOMAN HAVE BEEN IF SHE HAD OBEYED THE BELIEFS OF HER FORMER RELIGION AND HAD NOT READ THE MAGAZINES. SHE WOULD NOT BE ONE OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES TODAY WOULD SHE? MANY OF YOU WOULDN'T BE WHERE YOU ARE TODAY EITHER IF YOU HAD FOLLOWED A DIFFERENT COURSE.

IN YOUR BOOKLET "BIBLE TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION", UNDER TOPIC NO.37 "LITERATURE" IS CONTAINED THE SUB-TOPIC "READING BIBLE LITERATURE NOT CONFUSING." THIS HAS BEEN GIVEN AS A TALK IN THE THEOCRATIC MINISTRY SCHOOL. THE SCRIPTURES IN IT SHOW THAT IF THE LITERATURE IS BASED ON THE BIBLE IT SHOULD NOT BE CONFUSING; IT SHOULD HONOR THE BIBLE AND JEHOVAH AS WELL AS ENCOURAGE PREACHING AND PROMOTE TRUTH. AMEN! WELL SAID! BUT WE WOULD HAVE TO READ SOME OF THE LITERATURE TO KNOW IF, IN FACT, IT MEETS ANY OR ALL OF THOSE REQUIREMENTS.

DO ONTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO ONTO YOU - MAT.7:12

YET NOW YOU SAY "DO NOT READ PRINTED MATERIALS OF OTHER RELIGIONS. IT'S JUST READING GARBAGE, WASTING TIME." DOES IT NOT SEEM A LITTLE BIT HYPOCRITICAL TO ASK OTHERS TO DO IT AND YET YOU YOURSELF ARE UNWILLING TO DO THE SAME. YOU ARE NOT PRACTICING WHAT YOU PREACH ARE YOU?

SOME OF YOU MIGHT SAY: "WELL, WE ARE CERTAIN WE HAVE THE TRUTH AND THEREFORE DO NOT NEED TO LOOK ANY FURTHER." PEOPLE IN OTHER RELIGIONS ARE CERTAIN, TOO. BUT AS HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED, THERE COULD STILL BE ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT OR THE NECESSITY OF CHANGE, JUST THE SAME. YOU ARE NOT PERFECT.

THERE IS NOTHING TO FEAR, NO KNOWLEDGE THAT CAN UNDO TRUTH. AFTER ALL, OUR WEAPONS ARE POWERFUL, ARE THEY NOT? AND REMEMBER THAT IF ANYONE THINKS HE KNOWS EVERYTHING JUST AS HE SHOULD HE IS BEING VERY PRESUMPTUOUS AND DOES NOT KNOW IT JUST AS HE OUGHT TO. YES, ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY, WITHOUT ALWAYS BEING OPEN TO NEW INFORMATION, IS ABSOLUTELY UNSCRIPTURAL.

ANY WEAPON WHATEVER THAT WILL BE FORMED AGAINST YOU WILL HAVE NO SUCCESS - ISA.54:17

IN ADDITION, COMPETITION IMPROVES THE ATHLETE, REFINES THE PRODUCT AND ADVANCES PROGRESS. AS SOLOMON PUT IT: "BY IRON, IRON ITSELF IS SHARPENED. SO ONE MAN SHARPENS THE FACE OF ANOTHER." PROV. 27:17. SO WHAT LITTLE COMPETITION JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES MAY RECEIVE FROM OTHER RELIGIONS, THE WORLD, OR WHATEVER ELSE CAN NOT HARM THEM - ONLY HELP. AND LEADERS AT THE TOP OF THE ORGANIZATION HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR FROM HELP, ADVICE, OR EVEN CRITICISM FROM THE BOTTOM RANKS.


WE HAVE THE "RIGHT?" TO REMAIN SILENT ? ANYTHING WE SAY...
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I AM AWARE OF HOW YOU PEOPLE FEEL ABOUT SOMEONE WITHIN YOUR CONGREGATION WHO MIGHT RISE UP AND CHALLENGE THE WISDOM OF SOMETHING OR QUESTION AS TO WHETHER SOMETHING HAD A FIRM FOUNDATION IN THE SCRIPTURES OR NOT. YOU MIGHT CALL HIM A MURMURER OR A COMPLAINER, A FAULT-FINDER, OVERLY CRITICAL, NEGATIVE, WANTING FOR GOOD MOTIVE, REBELLIOUS, STIRRING UP SEDITIONS AND CONTENTIONS, CAUSING DIVISIONS AND SECTS; YES, EVEN GUILTY OF APOSTASY.

INDEED, HE WOULD BE CALLED ALL SORTS OF NAMES AND HAVE ALL KINDS OF ACCUSATIONS THROWN AT HIM. IT REMINDS ME OF AN ARTICLE IN THE SEPT. 15, 1986 WATCHTOWER ENTITLED "SKILLFUL COUNSELORS" ON PG. 14, PARAGRAPH 21. IT SAID THAT THE JEWISH LEADERS OF JESUS DAY "FAILED AS COUNSELORS BECAUSE THEY USED BULLYING TACTICS."

IT WENT ON: "WAS THIS A PROPER BASIS FOR REBUKE - TYRANNY OF AUTHORITY AND NAME-CALLING? MAY CHRISTIAN COUNSELORS NEVER BE GUILTY OF SUCH COUNSELING! THEY SHOULD STRICTLY AVOID BROWBEATING OTHERS OR CONVEY THE IMPRESSION: 'YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO ME BECAUSE I'M AN ELDER!' " [AN AUTHORITY!] ISN'T THAT INTERESTING COMING FROM THEM (THE SOCIETY)?

AUTHORITY IS NOT A REASON! THE SCRIPTURES ARE THE ONLY AUTHORITY ANYWAY, AREN'T THEY? REMEMBER MARTIN LUTHER AND THE EDICT OF WORMS? I CERTAINLY HOPE THAT IF ANYONE OBJECTS TO WHAT HAS BEEN WRITTEN SO FAR THAT THEY WILL USE THE SCRIPTURES TO REFUTE IT INSTEAD OF THE USUAL NAME-CALLING, THREATS, AND ABUSE OF POWER AND AUTHORITY THAT ARE USUALLY EMPLOYED TO DEAL WITH THINGS LIKE THIS. IT WOULD BE REFRESHING TO SEE THEM PRACTICE WHAT THEY PREACH FOR A CHANGE.

THE WATCHTOWER OF APR.1,1980 HAD AN ARTICLE ENTITLED "BEWARE OF IMPUTING WRONG MOTIVES TO OTHERS", AND A SUB-HEADING "GIVING OTHERS THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT." THE TITLES ARE SELF-EXPLANATORY AND SHOULD BE PRACTICED BY ALL PROFESSED CHRISTIANS.

A PERSON SHOULD NOT BE JUDGED UNTIL YOU HAVE CAREFULLY CONSIDERED HIS SCRIPTURAL POINTS OF VIEW AND TRIED TO UNDERSTAND HOW HE THINKS AND FEELS - THE SAME THINGS THAT YOU WOULD WANT SOMEONE TO DO FOR YOU. YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO ANSWER ALL THE OBJECTIONS THAT ARE RAISED. ONE OR TWO LOOSE, UNTIED ENDS COULD BETRAY A SERIOUS HOLE IN YOUR BELIEFS. NO ONE SHOULD EVER BE QUICK TO BREAK OFF FROM DISCUSSING SOMETHING IN THE BIBLE. THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT CHRISTENDOM DOES.

DO YOU WANT TO BE LIKE HER? DO YOU WANT TO BE LIKE KING AHAB? AHAB DID NOT WANT TO LISTEN TO MICAIAH, THE PROPHET OF THE TRUE GOD, BECAUSE AS AHAB PUT IT: "HE DOES NOT PROPHESY GOOD THINGS CONCERNING ME BUT BAD" (1 KINGS 22:8) AND AHAB WAS NOT ABOUT TO HAVE THAT. HEAVENS NO! BUT VERY SELDOM DO PROPHETS SHOW UP UNLESS IT IS TO REPROVE AND CORRECT. WAS NOT JEREMIAH DISLIKED FOR HIS NEGATIVE, UNPOPULAR MESSAGE OF CORRECTION AND WARNING?

WHAT ARE WE SAYING TO OURSELVES, TO OTHERS, TO GOD, WHEN WE RUN FROM IDEAS THAT CHALLENGE OWN OWN CURRENTLY HELD VIEWS? AND WE USUALLY DO IT IN THE NAME OF APOSTASY. BUT FOLKS, THAT JUST DOESN'T HOLD GROUND ANYMORE.

I THINK A MAN SHOULD AT LEAST BE HEARD OUT BY ALL BEFORE ANY JUDGEMENT AT ALL IS PASSED BY ANYONE. CONSIDER THE JAN. 22,1981 AWAKE ARTICLE "SEARCHING OUT LEGAL ROOTS" UNDER THE SUB-HEADING "SPEEDY AND PUBLIC TRIAL" PG. 17:

"'IN ALL CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS, THE ACCUSED SHALL ENJOY THE RIGHT TO A SPEEDY AND PUBLIC TRIAL . . .TO BE CONFRONTED WITH THE WITNESSES AGAINST HIM.' DID JUSTICE IN BIBLE TIMES EMPLOY THESE GUIDELINES? INDEED IT DID. CRIMINAL TRIALS WERE DOUBTLESS MUCH SPEEDIER IN ISRAEL THAN THEY ARE AT PRESENT IN COUNTRIES SUCH AS THE UNITED STATES, WHERE CLOGGED COURTS AND ELABORATE PROCEDURE GIVE RISE TO MANY DELAYS."

(IS YOUR CONSCIENCE BOTHERING YOU, YET?) NOW NOTE THE NEXT LINES VERY CAREFULLY.

"SINCE THE LOCAL COURT WAS SITUATED AT THE CITY GATES, THERE WAS NO QUESTION ABOUT THE TRIAL BEING PUBLIC! (DEUT. 16:18-20) NO DOUBT THE PUBLIC TRIALS HELPED INFLUENCE THE JUDGES TOWARD CAREFULNESS AND JUSTICE, QUALITIES THAT SOMETIMES VANISH IN SECRET STAR-CHAMBER HEARINGS."

THE ARTICLE ALSO MENTIONED THAT WITNESSES WERE REQUIRED TO TESTIFY PUBLICLY. THE NEW "INSIGHT ON THE SCRIPTURES" VOLUMES SAY THE SAME THING UNDER WORDS LIKE 'COURTS', 'LEGAL CASE' AND OTHER RELATED TOPIC WORDS.

THIS IS THE WAY IT IS DONE IN THE BIBLE. LET ME ASK YOU, IS IT THE WAY WE DO IT IN THE CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION TODAY? IF NOT, WHY NOT, AT LEAST IN THE CASE OF APOSTASY, ESPECIALLY IF THE PERSON BEING ACCUSED REQUESTS IT. I DEFINITELY BELIEVE THAT ANY MAN ACCUSED OF THINGS LIKE APOSTASY SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO A PUBLIC HEARING BY ALL AND EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO DECIDE FOR HIMSELF AS TO WHETHER JUSTICE IS CARRIED OUT OR NOT. TO DO IT ANOTHER WAY IS TO VIOLATE GODLY, SCRIPTURAL POLICY.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION WITHOUT OTHERS MAKING YOUR DECISION FOR YOU AND WITHOUT OFFERING YOU EXPLANATION. JUST THINK, ONE MINUTE YOU ARE WILLING TO DIE FOR A BROTHER AND THE NEXT MINUTE YOU ARE INFORMED THAT YOU ARE NO LONGER TO EVEN SPEAK TO HIM OR GREET HIM. ALL THIS WITH NO EXPLANATION OF WHY. FASCINATING! AND QUITE UNSCRIPTURAL.

YES, YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO HEAR ALL SIDES OF AN ISSUE, ALL IDEAS AND OPINIONS, TO HAVE ANY QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE ANSWERED - IN FULL, TO YOUR SATISFACTION, WITHOUT BEING BULLIED, HAVING MOTIVES QUESTIONED, OR BEING UNJUSTLY ACCUSED FOR DOING SO. NO SECRECY, NO WITH-HELD INFORMATION; BUT INSTEAD, OPENNESS, HONESTY, CANDOR; LIKE A FATHER WOULD DO WITH HIS CHILDREN'S QUESTIONS, LIKE JESUS DID WITH HIS DISCIPLES AND OTHERS, LIKE JEHOVAH DID WITH SATAN (JOB 1:6-12), ABRAHAM (GEN. 18:23-33), AND JONAH (JONAH CHAP.4).

JEHOVAH DID NOT FEAR BEING QUESTIONED BY SATAN, IN FRONT OF ALL THE ANGELS. AND GOD EVEN WENT ON TO RELATE TO US EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED. JESUS ALWAYS TOOK THE TIME TO ANSWER THOSE WHO QUESTIONED HIM, EVEN IF THEIR MOTIVES WERE BAD IN THEIR ASKING. HOW MUCH MORE SHOULD THE SOCIETY WANT TO ANSWER VALID SCRIPTURAL QUESTIONS SEEING AS HOW THEY HAVE SUCH FINE EXAMPLES TO FOLLOW.

YOU MIGHT SAY: "WELL THE SOCIETY DOES THIS." BUT I TELL YOU THEY DO NOT! BESIDES, WHO ARE YOU TRYING TO KID; I THINK YOU KNOW BETTER THAN THAT. IF YOU ONLY KNEW WHAT HAS GONE ON BEHIND YOUR BACKS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. SOME VERY GOOD POINTS HAVE BEEN RAISED, MANY GOOD QUESTIONS THAT HAVE BEEN ASKED AND UNANSWERED AND IGNORED, EVEN FEARED AND AVOIDED.

WHAT DO YOU CONCLUDE WHEN A POLITICIAN OR OTHER PROMINENT PEOPLE IN THE NEWS DO NOT WISH TO COME FORTH OR BE INTERVIEWED, TESTIFY, OR PRESENT THEIR POINT OF VIEW; THOSE WHO MIGHT ANSWER: "NO COMMENT!" IT IS NOT A GOOD CONCLUSION IS IT? DID JESUS EVER BACK DOWN OR AVOID A QUESTION? IF HE DID, IT IS NOT IN ANY OF MY BIBLES.

WHY DOESN'T THE GOVERNING BODY DISCUSS ISSUES OUT IN THE OPEN LIKE THE APOSTLES AND OLDER MEN DID WITH THE ISSUE OF CIRCUMCISION IN ACTS CHAP.15? THEY COULD RECORD THEIR MEETINGS ON VIDEO OR CASSETTE; OR PUBLISH THE DISCUSSIONS FOR ANY TO READ. WOULD IT REALLY BE SUCH AN UNREASONABLE THING TO ASK? AND THINK OF ALL THE MINDS THAT WOULD BE LAID TO REST WITH THIS OPEN DOOR "GLASNOST" POLICY. INDEED, WHY DON'T THEY, YOU ASK? ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO KNOW? YOU MAY EVEN BE QUITE SCARED RIGHT NOW AT WHAT I AM SUGGESTING.

WERE NOT THE APOSTLES ALSO SCARED WHEN JESUS TOLD THEM HE WOULD HAVE TO SUFFER AND DIE? THEY IGNORED HIM ONLY TO PAY FOR IT LATER. YOU CAN PUT IT OFF BUT YOU CAN NOT PREVENT IT.

BUT DO YOU NOT THINK IT WISDOM TO ALWAYS KEEP THE DOOR OPEN TO NEW INFORMATION, ALWAYS READY TO EXAMINE THE SCRIPTURES WITH A FRESH LOOK AND TEST OUT NEW THOUGHTS AND REASONINGS? HAVE I PROVIDED ENOUGH SCRIPTURAL REASONING AND LOGIC TO CONVINCE YOU SO? I HOPE THAT I HAVE. CONSIDER A PARAGRAPH (20.) TAKEN FROM THE "YOU CAN LIVE FOREVER IN A PARADISE ON EARTH" BOOK, PG.32:

"20 HOW SHOULD YOU FEEL IF PROOF IS GIVEN THAT WHAT YOU BELIEVE IS WRONG? FOR EXAMPLE, SAY THAT YOU WERE IN A CAR, TRAVELING FOR THE FIRST TIME TO A CERTAIN PLACE. YOU HAVE A ROAD MAP, BUT YOU HAVE NOT TAKEN TIME TO CHECK IT CAREFULLY. SOMEONE HAS TOLD YOU THE ROAD TO TAKE. YOU TRUST HIM, SINCERELY BELIEVING THAT THE WAY HE HAS DIRECTED YOU IS CORRECT. BUT SUPPOSE IT IS NOT. WHAT IF SOMEONE POINTS OUT THE ERROR? WHAT IF HE, BY REFERRING TO YOUR OWN MAP, SHOWS THAT YOU ARE ON THE WRONG ROAD? WOULD PRIDE OR STUBBORNNESS PREVENT YOU FROM ADMITTING THAT YOU ARE ON THE WRONG ROAD? WELL, THEN, IF YOU LEARN FROM AN EXAMINATION OF YOUR BIBLE THAT YOU ARE TRAVELING A WRONG RELIGIOUS ROAD, BE WILLING TO CHANGE. AVOID THE BROAD ROAD TO DESTRUCTION; GET ON THE NARROW ROAD TO LIFE!"

I HOPE YOU CAN APPLY YOUR OWN WORDS, FOLKS. WHAT ABOUT ACCUSATIONS? ARE YOU WILLING TO HEAR AND CONSIDER CHARGES AGAINST THE GOVERNING BODY? OR WILL YOU QUICKLY DISMISS ANY CHARGES AS NOT BEING POSSIBLE AND BE UNWILLING TO HEAR ANYTHING AT ALL AGAINST THEM? ARE THEY INFALLIBLE? GUARANTEED? PROMISED BY JESUS TO BE FAITHFUL? CONSIDER ONE LAST ARTICLE TAKEN FROM A JAN. 15,1974 WATCHTOWER:

"WHEN PERSONS ARE IN GREAT DANGER FROM A SOURCE THAT THEY DO NOT SUSPECT OR ARE BEING MISLED BY THOSE THEY CONSIDER THEIR FRIENDS, IS IT AN UNKINDNESS TO WARN THEM? THEY MAY PREFER NOT TO BELIEVE THE WARNING. THEY MAY EVEN RESENT IT. BUT DOES THAT FREE ONE FROM THE MORAL RESPONSIBILITY TO GIVE THAT WARNING?"
SEE EZEKIEL CHAP.3 AND CHAP.33.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?


TROUBLE IN PARADISE
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I WILL MAKE ONE CHARGE, ONE INDICTMENT. THERE HAVE BEEN SOME THINGS WRITTEN OUT THERE (A BOOK FOR ONE) THAT HAVE EXPOSED THE ACTS, DEALINGS AND ATTITUDES OF THE GOVERNING BODY AND EXPOSED THE INCORRECTNESS OF SOME OF YOUR IDEAS. SOME OF THESE CHALLENGED IDEAS SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECT THE LIVES OF MANY IN THE ORGANIZATION AND, OF COURSE, THE GOVERNING BODY DOES NOT WANT TO BE DISCOVERED IN A BAD LIGHT, EITHER. IF YOU ONLY KNEW WHAT WAS BEING WITH - HELD FROM YOU.

SOMETIMES THEY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO RECONCILE NEW IDEAS WITH OLD ONES THAT COULD BE VOIDED BY A NEW CHANGE IN A POLICY OR DOCTRINE. AND RATHER THAN MAKE THE CHANGE AND ADD SOME MAJOR REVISIONS IN THE REST OF THE OLD IDEAS, THEY INSTEAD CHOOSE TO IGNORE THE NEW IDEA EVEN THOUGH IT DOES HAVE A GOOD BACKING FROM THE SCRIPTURES.

THEY HAVE ALSO REALIZED (AND ARE AFRAID THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE, TOO) HOW THEY HAVE ASSUMED MORE CONTROL AND POWER THAN WAS WISE, PROPER, OR SCRIPTURAL TO DO AND MADE DECISIONS ON THINGS THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE LEFT ALONE FOR EACH OF US TO DECIDE ON FOR OURSELVES. THEY HAVE BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR AN INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF UNNECESSARY PAIN AND DAMAGE TO PEOPLE'S LIVES. AND STILL, THEY HAVE NO INTENTION OF CHANGING THEIR PRACTICES AND POLICIES. THEIR ATTITUDE IS UNREPENTANT! THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURE (ECCL.4:1-3) COMES TO MIND:

AND I MYSELF RETURNED THAT I MIGHT SEE ALL THE ACTS OF OPPRESSION THAT ARE BEING DONE UNDER THE SUN, AND, LOOK! THE TEARS OF THOSE BEING OPPRESSED, BUT THEY HAD NO COMFORTER; AND ON THE SIDE OF THEIR OPPRESSORS THERE WAS POWER, SO THAT THEY HAD NO COMFORTER. 2 AND I CONGRATULATED THE DEAD WHO HAD ALREADY DIED RATHER THAN THE LIVING WHO WERE STILL ALIVE. 3 SO BETTER THAN BOTH OF THEM IS THE ONE WHO HAS NOT YET COME TO BE, WHO HAD NOT SEEN THE CALAMITOUS WORK THAT IS BEING DONE UNDER THE SUN.

TO HELP COVER UP SOME OF THEIR MISTAKES ON THEIR HARDLINE POLICIES AND PLAY DOWN THE GROWING NUMBER OF "BAD" DEFENSIVE ATTITUDES TOWARD THE RULERSHIP (BOTH LOCAL AND AT THE VERY TOP), THEY PUT ON A DRAMA AT THE RECENT 1989 DISTRICT ASSEMBLY SHOWING AN ELDER WHO WAS SAINTLY, ALMOST PERFECT; I EVEN THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO WALK ON WATER.

ONE ELDER IN THE DRAMA EXPRESSED THE HARDLINE ATTITUDE OF WANTING TO PUT THE SISTER (WITH THE BAD ATTITUDE) IN HER PLACE AND KEEP THE CONGREGATION CLEAN. BUT THE OTHER ELDER (I'LL CALL HIM ELDER PERFECT) SAID NO AND SHOWED AMAZING COMPASSION, YEARS OF WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING, PATIENCE AND LONG SUFFERING, DIDN'T TAKE THE SISTER'S ATTITUDE PERSONALLY, AND DEMONSTRATED TRULY CARING, CONSIDERATE ATTITUDE AND CORRECTED "ELDER HARDLINE". IN SHORT, HE WAS COMPLETELY UNREALISTIC; RIGHT OUT OF A FAIRY TALE.

MOST ELDERS TAKE EVERYTHING PERSONALLY, ARE IMPATIENT, UNSKILLED AND UNTACTFUL AT COUNSELING, AND OFTEN EXHIBIT LITTLE OR NO COMPASSION. ALL THAT THEY ARE REALLY WORRIED ABOUT IS KEEPING THE CONGREGATION CLEAN, COVERING THEIR ASSES, AND MAKING THE SOCIETY HAPPY. (BOY, AM I CYNICAL OR WHAT! - BUT I HAVE GOOD REASON TO BE - MAYBE YOU DO, TOO!). THAT IS WHY THEY ARE HAVING SO MANY PROBLEMS WITH THE FLOCK ACCEPTING COUNSEL AND DISCIPLINE. THEIR SYSTEM DOES NOT WORK AND IS NOT SCRIPTURALLY SUPPORTED.

ALSO, THINK ABOUT THIS - THERE WAS A TIME WHEN SISTER ATTITUDE WAS MOVED TO WANT TO GET BAPTIZED AND BECOME ONE OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES. SHE COULD NOT HAVE GOTTEN BAPTIZED IF SHE HAD ALWAYS HAD THIS "BAD" ATTITUDE. BUT NOW SHE DOES HAVE THIS SOUR ATTITUDE AND ONE HAS TO WONDER, HOW DID SHE COME TO HAVE THIS ATTITUDE AND WHY? AND OBVIOUSLY THIS IS A PROBLEM IN THE ORGANIZATION BECAUSE THEY MADE A DRAMA OUT OF IT AND FREQUENTLY BRING THIS TOPIC UP AT DIFFERENT ASSEMBLIES.

BUT IN THE DRAMA, WE SEE THE ELDERS HANDLE THIS SO BEAUTIFULLY (IT ALMOST SEEMED RIDICULOUS) THAT WE ALL WONDER HOW SHE GOT THAT ATTITUDE. THE SOCIETY WOULD HAVE US BELIEVE THAT IT CAME FROM NOWHERE AND WAS NOT JUSTIFIED. WHY IT COULDN'T BE THE ELDERS. THEY ARE SO SWEET AND WONDERFUL. AND IT CERTAINLY COULDN'T BE THE SOCIETY, AFTER ALL, THEY WROTE THIS DRAMA, SO THEY MUST SEE, RIGHT?

YEAH, THAT'S WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO BELIEVE ALRIGHT. AND DID YOU CATCH THE QUOTE IN THE CONCLUSION READ TO US AT THE END OF THE DRAMA? THEY SAID AND I QUOTE: "WHY SHOULD WE EVEN QUESTION THE WISDOM OF GOD AND THOSE WHOM HE HAS APPOINTED?"  OH YES! ONLY THE BEROEANS CAN QUESTION (PAUL), BUT NOT US (QUESTION THE SOCIETY). TALK ABOUT APOSTASY!!!

WOULDN'T THEY LOVE THAT. NO ONE TO CHECK THEM, NO ONE TO CHALLENGE THEM OR MAKE THEM ACCOUNT FOR ANYTHING. THEN YOU MIGHT FALL FOR THIS DRAMA. THEN YOU MIGHT NOT INQUIRE WHEN SOMEONE COMES AROUND TO EXPOSE THEM AND THEIR DEEDS. AND THEN YOU WON'T BE THINKING OF THE MANY SCRIPTURAL PROBLEMS THAT HAVE BEEN RAISED AND SUPPRESSED. BLIND SHEEP ARE SO EASY TO LEAD AND CONTROL.

SOME OF THE PAST DEEDS AND ACTIONS OF THE GOVERNING BODY ARE EXTREMELY UNBECOMING FOR A CHRISTIAN, ESPECIALLY ONES WITH SUCH HIGH OFFICES OF RESPONSIBILITY. SOME OF THEIR ACTIONS WERE HEARTLESS AND CRUEL. AND WITH THE SCRIPTURES NO WHERE IN SIGHT.

PUT YOUR TRUST IN NO BROTHER AT ALL - JER.9:4

THESE ARE THINGS THAT THE GOVERNING BODY DOES NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW OR HEAR. THEY ARE AFRAID OF A REACTION FAR WORSE THAN WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ORGANIZATION IN 1975 (AND THAT IS UNDERSTANDABLE IN VIEW OF WHAT THEY HAVE DONE). BUT I BELIEVE THAT BIBLE CANDOR IS ALWAYS THE WAY TO GO AND WE CAN SURVIVE THE LET DOWN IF OUR FAITH IS TRUE AND THE SOCIETY IS REPENTANT. WELL, THEY HAVE CALLED IT APOSTASY AND HAVE FORBIDDEN IT; HAVE TRIED TO SUPPRESS IT BY BREATHING THREAT AND INTIMIDATION TO ALL WHO MIGHT DARE TO READ IT.

LOYALTY IS NOT SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE COERCED OR FORCED. THAT IS NOT THE WAY JEHOVAH DOES IT. THREAT, INTIMIDATION, AND FEAR HAVE NO PLACE AMONG GOD'S PEOPLE. 1 JOHN 4:18 SAYS: "THERE IS NO FEAR IN LOVE, BUT PERFECT LOVE THROWS FEAR OUTSIDE BECAUSE FEAR EXERCISES A RESTRAINT. INDEED, HE THAT IS UNDER FEAR HAS NOT BEEN MADE PERFECT IN LOVE." ARE YOU LISTENING?

BY ITS FRUIT THE TREE IS KNOWN - MAT.12:33

YES, FEAR RESTRAINS, STIFLES, STAGNATES, AND DESTROYS. IT BETRAYS A LACK OF LOVE. FEAR IS A CHARACTERISTIC OF AUTHORITARIANISM, TOTALITARIANISM, OF HITLER'S NAZI REGIME. IT IS A SIGN OF PARANOIA AND A "DISAPPROVED MENTAL STATE" BELONGING TO THE LIKES OF MOVEMENTS LIKE THE SPANISH INQUISITION AND THE DARK AGES OF EARLIER TIMES AS WELL AS THE WITCH HUNTS OF SALEM AND OTHER PLACES. IS THAT THE KIND OF COMPANY WE WANT TO KEEP? YES, LOOK WHO'S IN BED WITH US!

OF COURSE, IT'S NOT HARD TO UNDERSTAND WHY THE "BOYS IN BROOKLYN" WANT THIS ALL KEPT HUSH AND, BESIDES, THEY FIGURE THAT THE SYSTEM IS ALMOST READY TO END AND THAT THEY WON'T HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS POTENTIALLY UGLY MESS. JUST IGNORE IT AND IT WILL GO AWAY. AND IN THEIR MINDS, THEY PROBABLY DON'T EVEN SEE HALF THEIR GUILT. THEY LIKELY IMAGINE THEMSELVES TO BE GOD'S RIGHT HAND. TOO BAD THEY HADN'T READ THIS SCRIPTURE:

"BUT THERE IS NOTHING CAREFULLY CONCEALED THAT WILL NOT BE REVEALED, AND SECRET THAT WILL NOT BECOME KNOWN. - ...WHAT YOU WHISPER IN PRIVATE ROOMS WILL BE PREACHED FROM THE HOUSETOPS." LUKE 12:2,3; ALSO MAT.10:26.

ALL LIES YOU SAY. MAYBE WHAT I SAY IS NOT TRUE, RIGHT? HOW COULD I HAVE FOUND OUT ALL THESE THINGS? HOW DO YOU KNOW IF I AM BEING TRUTHFUL? HOW CAN YOU TELL? THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY. YOU MUST HEAR THE CHARGES AND CONSIDER THE EVIDENCE. AND I ASSURE YOU THEY ARE NOT LIES.

REMEMBER THAT THE APOSTLES WERE SCARED WHEN JESUS TOLD THEM THAT HE MUST SUFFER AND DIE. PETER EVEN TRIED A FORM OF DENIAL SAYING: "YOU WILL NOT HAVE THIS DESTINY AT ALL." MAT. 16:22. AS FOR THE REST, LUKE 9:45 SAYS THAT "THEY WERE AFRAID TO QUESTION HIM ABOUT THIS SAYING." MARK 8:32 MENTIONS THAT JESUS MADE THESE STATEMENTS "WITH OUTSPOKENNESS".    SEE MARK 9:32 ALSO . STILL, THEY HID FROM IT, IGNORED IT.

UNFORTUNATELY, AVOIDING THESE SCARY CONCLUSIONS DID NOT STOP THE EVENTS FROM OCCURRING AND ONLY LEFT THE APOSTLES UNPREPARED AND VULNERABLE TO UNFAITHFUL ACTIONS WHICH THEY LATER REGRETTED. I BET THEY WOULD LIKE TO HAVE IT TO DO OVER AGAIN DIFFERENTLY IF THEY COULD. BUT WE CAN LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES SO AS NOT TO REPEAT THEM. BUT WILL WE? (OH CONSCIENCE, ARE YOU THERE?).

LISTEN, I KNOW HOW DIFFICULT THIS ALL MUST BE FOR YOU. I UNDERSTAND YOUR POSITION ONLY TOO WELL. I KNOW HOW SCARED YOU MUST BE. I KNOW ALL THAT YOU STAND TO LOSE FROM FACING THESE ISSUES FARE AND SQUARE IN THE EYE. THE DISAPPOINTMENT, DISILLUSION, SHOCK, LETDOWN, FEELINGS OF BETRAYAL, HEARTBREAK, AND MANY OTHER EMOTIONS. AND OF COURSE THERE IS THE DANGER OF WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO YOU IN THE CONGREGATION AND FAMILY IF YOU HAVE ANY IN THE TRUTH.

AND THEN THERE ARE ALL THOSE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS. HOW DID THIS ALL HAPPEN? WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE? WHAT CAN I BELIEVE? IS EVERYTHING I BELIEVE WRONG? CAN I EVER TRUST ANYONE AGAIN? YOU WOULD INITIALLY FEEL LOST, DISORIENTATED, EXTREMELY DEPRESSED, MAYBE DEVASTATED. THIS MIGHT BE FOLLOWED BY ANGER AND BITTERNESS. ONE MIGHT TEND TO BE QUITE CYNICAL FROM THIS POINT ONWARD. ONE MIGHT EVEN LEAVE OFF OF RELIGION ALTOGETHER. SO LET ME STATE A FEW THINGS.

FOR THOSE LOVING YOUR LAW, THERE IS NO STUMBLING BLOCK - PS. 119:165

JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES PROBABLY UNDERSTAND MORE BIBLE TRUTHS THAN ANYONE ELSE. THEY ARE DOING THINGS THAT NO OTHER RELIGION IS DOING BUT SHOULD BE. I AM NOT TRYING TO HURT YOU OR YOUR RELIGION. I CARE ABOUT JEHOVAH'S PEOPLE AND I DON'T WANT TO TAKE YOUR RELIGION FROM YOU OR DESTROY IT. I WANT TO SEE IT IMPROVE AND GET BETTER. BUT THE ORGANIZATION IS IN NEED OF CORRECTION, REPROOF, ADJUSTMENT, AND REPENTANCE JUST AS ISRAEL FREQUENTLY WAS. IF THEY DO NOT ACCEPT IT THEN JUDGMENT IS CERTAIN TO COME.

THE GOVERNING BODY DID NOT START OUT INTENDING TO DO WRONG. BUT ONE THING GREW INTO ANOTHER AND THEIR FALSELY HELD BELIEFS EVENTUALLY LED THEM INTO A HOLE (PIT) THAT THEY IN TURN ONLY SUNK DEEPER INTO UNTIL THEY COULD NO LONGER CLIMB OUT. AND THOUGH THEY MIGHT OF STARTED OFF INNOCENT THEY HAVE NOT REMAINED THAT WAY. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THEIR PRESENT (AND MUCH OF THEIR PAST) CONDUCT. THEY NOW MUST BE MADE TO ANSWER.

BUT FIRST I WOULD LIKE TO CAUTION YOU A LITTLE BEFORE GOING ANY FURTHER. BEWARE OF CYNICISM, BITTERNESS, AND PRESUMPTUOUSNESS. THEY ARE YOUR MOST DANGEROUS ENEMIES THAT MANY BEFORE YOU HAVE FALLEN PREY TO. IN THE PAST, SOME HAVE ACTED RASHLY, RADICALLY, WITHOUT A LOT OF THOUGHT. AND THEY CAUSED A LOT OF HARM TO THEMSELVES IN THE PROCESS AND CONFUSED MANY ONLOOKERS (WITH THE HELP OF THE SOCIETY).

WE SHOULDN'T CONDEMN THEM BUT WE SHOULDN'T FOLLOW THEIR COURSE, EITHER. WE UNDERSTAND THAT "MERE OPPRESSION MAY MAKE A WISE ONE ACT CRAZY" (ECCLES.7:7) AND WE SYMPATHIZE WITH WHAT SOME MAY HAVE SUFFERED IN THE PAST. SOME THAT YOU DO NOT EVEN KNOW ABOUT. BUT ECCLES.7:9 SAYS:
   
         "DO NOT HURRY YOURSELF IN YOUR SPIRIT TO BECOME OFFENDED."

TAKE TO HEART JAMES' EXCELLENT COUNSEL IN 1:19-20:
"KNOW THIS MY BELOVED BROTHERS. EVERY MAN MUST BE SWIFT ABOUT HEARING, SLOW ABOUT SPEAKING, SLOW ABOUT WRATH; FOR MAN'S WRATH DOES NOT WORK OUT GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS."

REMEMBER, I HAVEN'T SHOWN OR PROVEN ANYTHING, YET. I AM ONLY ASKING YOU TO BE OPEN TO HEAR WHAT MIGHT COME FORTH OR WHAT YOU MIGHT BE OFFERED TO HEAR. AND I WANT YOU TO DO THAT WITH CAUTION, CARE AND BALANCE ... AND TAKE A WHOLE LOT OF TIME IN THE PROCESS. DO NOT ACT HASTILY OR IMPULSIVELY. PLEASE!

JESUS COUNSELED US THAT IN FOLLOWING HIM WE WOULD HAVE TO HATE EVEN OUR OWN SOUL AND THAT THERE WOULD BE A PRICE TO PAY AS A FOLLOWER OF HIS. AND SO HE CAUTIONS US TO VERY CAREFULLY CALCULATE THE COST OF BEING ONE OF HIS DISCIPLES. WHY NOT READ THIS ACCOUNT IN YOUR BIBLE IN LUKE 14:25-33. I CAN NOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH; DO NOT DO ANYTHING FOOLISH OR RASH.


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I AM GOING TO OFFER YOU AN OPPORTUNITY, THAT SOME OTHERS HAVE HAD, TO CONSIDER INFORMATION AND POINTS OF VIEW NOT FORMERLY CONSIDERED OR REVEALED, AND WITHOUT ANY RISK WHATSOEVER. YES, THAT IS EASY TO DO. YOU WON'T HAVE TO FEAR BEING CAUGHT OR JEOPARDIZING YOUR STANDING IN THE CONGREGATION. TOTAL SECRECY AND PROTECTION. AND YOU WILL NOT BE UPSETTING GOD OR COMMITTING AN ACT OF APOSTASY BY DOING SO. (I DO HOPE I HAVE CONVINCED YOU OF THAT).

IF YOU ARE NERVOUS, ANXIOUS, OR FEARFUL ABOUT INQUIRING OF SOMETHING PERSONALLY THEN GET A FRIEND OR RELATIVE WHO IS NOT ONE OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES AND WHOM YOU TRUST TO WRITE FOR YOU. YOU (OR YOUR GO BETWEEN) MAY GIVE A NUMBER TO ME AND HAVE ME CALL IF YOU WOULD LIKE OR WANT TO TALK.

I KNOW THAT I WAS PETRIFIED (SPOOKED) WHEN I WAS LOOKING INTO THESE THINGS. BUT LET ME ASSURE YOU THAT YOUR CONFIDENCE AND SECRECY ARE ABSOLUTELY SECURE IF YOU INQUIRE YOURSELF, PERSONALLY. I WILL NOT DISCLOSE YOUR INQUIRING ABOUT THINGS TO ANYONE. NOT WIFE, NOR KIDS, NOR FRIENDS NOR OTHERS WHO MIGHT INQUIRE. ABSOLUTELY NOBODY! YOU CAN NOT BE CAUGHT OR FOUND OUT. AND REMEMBER THAT OTHERS HAVE ALREADY DONE THIS IN THE PAST WITH NO CONSEQUENCE.

WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING, WORK AT IT WHOLE-SOULED AS TO JEHOVAH, AND NOT TO MEN
-COL.3:23

NO MATTER WHAT - PLEASE ALWAYS LOVE TRUTH AND CLING TO IT AND IT WILL SAFEGUARD YOU NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS. SEE PROVERBS 2:1-13. NOTHING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU HERE ON EARTH CAN SEPARATE YOU OR I FROM GOD'S LOVE AND PROTECTION. SEE ROMANS 8:38-9. "IN CASE MY OWN FATHER AND MY OWN MOTHER DID LEAVE ME, EVEN JEHOVAH HIMSELF WOULD TAKE ME UP." PSALM 27:10. BE BRAVE, STRONG, COURAGEOUS, BOLD. DO NOT FEAR. TRUST IN JEHOVAH, IMPLICITLY.

"O JEHOVAH, WHO WILL RESIDE IN YOUR HOLY MOUNTAIN? HE WHO IS WALKING FAULTLESSLY AND PRACTICING RIGHTEOUSNESS AND SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN HIS HEART." PS.15:1,2. "NOT WITH ACTS OF EYE-SERVICE, AS MEN PLEASERS, BUT WITH SINCERITY OF HEART, WITH FEAR OF JEHOVAH."
   
         COL.3:22. AND NO FEAR OF MEN.

TREMBLING AT MEN IS WHAT LAYS A SNARE - PROV. 29:25

"BUT THE SOVEREIGN LORD JEHOVAH HIMSELF WILL HELP ME. THAT IS WHY I SHALL NOT HAVE TO FEEL HUMILIATED. THAT IS WHY I HAVE SET MY FACE LIKE A FLINT, AND I KNOW THAT I SHALL NOT BE ASHAMED. 8 THE ONE DECLARING ME RIGHTEOUS IS NEAR. WHO CAN CONTEND WITH ME? LET US STAND UP TOGETHER. WHO IS MY JUDICIAL ANTAGONIST? LET HIM APPROACH ME. 9 LOOK! THE SOVEREIGN LORD JEHOVAH HIMSELF WILL HELP ME. WHO IS THERE THAT CAN PRONOUNCE ME WICKED? LOOK! ALL OF THEM, LIKE A GARMENT, WILL WEAR OUT."
   
         ISA. 50: 8,9.

ONE MORE WARNING. THIS BOOKLET AND WHAT IT OFFERS HOLDS MORE THREAT AND DANGER TO THE ORGANIZATION THAN IT HAS EVER HAD TO FACE IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF IT'S EXISTENCE. THIS INFORMATION AND THAT WHICH I AM GOING TO OFFER TO YOU IS NEW AND UNIQUE. THIS IS A NEW MOVEMENT UNRELATED TO ANY PREVIOUS MOVEMENT. IT IS NOT RELATED TO ANY APOSTATE GROUPS OR ANYTHING ELSE.

THE SOCIETY HAS NEVER FACED THIS ADVERSARY BEFORE OR ISSUES PRESENTED LIKE THIS BEFORE. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE SEEN FIREWORKS BEFORE, FORGET IT. THIS WILL BLOW THE LID OFF THE PLACE. IT WILL SHAKE THE FOUNDATIONS. THIS IS THEIR FIRST, REAL, SERIOUS THREAT. JUSTICE HAS FINALLY COME KNOCKING AT THEIR DOORS AND THEY ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT LYING DOWN NO MORE THAN SOLOMON, AHAB, OR JEHOIAKIM DID WHEN THEY WERE CORRECTED BY PROPHETS. JUST THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW.

"LISTEN TO ME, YOU THE ONES KNOWING RIGHTEOUSNESS, THE PEOPLE IN WHOSE HEART IS MY LAW. DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THE REPROACH OF MORTAL MEN, AND DO NOT BE STRUCK WITH TERROR JUST BECAUSE OF THEIR ABUSIVE WORDS. 8 FOR THE MOTH WILL EAT THEM UP JUST AS IF A GARMENT, AND THE CLOTHES MOTH WILL EAT THEM UP JUST AS IF WOOL. BUT AS FOR MY RIGHTEOUSNESS, IT WILL PROVE TO BE EVEN TO TIME INDEFINITE, AND MY SALVATION TO UNNUMBERED GENERATIONS."   - ISA.51:7,8.

ONE MORE THING. THESE MEN (THE ELDERS) DESERVE OUR SYMPATHY AND I WILL EXPLAIN WHY. TILL NOW THEY HAVE UNDERSTOOD THAT THEY WERE APPOINTED BY GOD AND SERVING HIS ORGANIZATION. IT IS A VERY NICE AND REASSURING FEELING TO THINK THAT GOD MIGHT HAVE HAND PICKED YOU. NO ONE WOULD QUICKLY THROW THAT IDEA AWAY. AND I DO NOT MEAN TO IMPLY THAT THEY HAVE AN EGOTISTICAL MIND TO PLACATE BUT IT IS DIFFICULT TO REJECT SOMETHING THAT REINFORCES YOUR SELF-ESTEEM. AND THE POSSIBILITY THAT WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN SERVING HAS BEEN BETRAYING YOU; AND YOUR CAUSE IS NOT AS WORTH-WHILE AS YOU THOUGHT. IT IS NOT EASY FOR YOU TO CONTEMPLATE, IS IT? WE HAVE ALL HAD A TOUGH TIME WITH THIS.

BUT THE ROAD AHEAD FOR THE ELDERS IS A TOUGHER ONE THAN YOU FACE. THEY HAVE A LOT MORE TO LOSE. THE RANK AND TITLE. THE RESPECT OF PEOPLE. THINGS THAT ANY OF US ARE SUSCEPTIBLE TO AND WOULD BE IF WE WERE IN THEIR POSITION. WE WANT TO HAVE THE ATTITUDE THAT JESUS HAD FOR THOSE THAT PUT HIM TO DEATH. HE ASKED THAT THEY BE FORGIVEN; THEY REALLY DIDN'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS THAT THEY WERE DOING.

AND THINK OF THIS; THE APOSTLES WERE GOOD MEN (JESUS PICKED THEM HIMSELF). BUT THE APOSTLES IGNORED WHAT JESUS REVEALED TO THEM ABOUT HIS TERRIBLE FATE AND THEIRS AS A RESULT. SHOULD IT BE UNUSUAL TO SEE GOOD MEN TODAY BEING A LITTLE SLOW TO COME AROUND.

LET ME JUST SAY, FOLKS, THAT THIS DOES NOT INVALIDATE EVERYTHING THAT YOU ARE DOING OR EVERYTHING THAT YOU BELIEVE. IT, ADMITTEDLY, DOES LEAVE A LOT OF GAPS AND UNANSWERED QUESTIONS, THOUGH. IF SOME DO NOT LISTEN THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEY WILL NOT "MAKE IT PAST ARMAGEDDON." BUT THEY COULD POSSIBLY SAVE THEMSELVES AND OTHERS A LOT OF GRIEF IF THEY WOULD LISTEN TO WHAT I HAVE TO SAY; JUST AS THE APOSTLES COULD HAVE SAVED THEMSELVES A LOT OF GRIEF WITH JESUS' ARREST AND TRIAL.

AND THE SOCIETY IS MOST LIKELY GOING TO HAVE TO FACE SOME JUDGEMENT FROM JEHOVAH. YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO BE STANDING TOO CLOSE WHEN IT ALL HAPPENS. AND KNOW THIS MY FRIENDS, REGARDLESS OF WHAT HAPPENS NOW OR IN THE FUTURE, YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO SAY FROM HERE ON IN THAT YOU WISH YOU HAD KNOWN ABOUT WHAT HAD BEEN GOING ON IN BROOKLYN. FROM THIS TIME ONWARD YOUR IGNORANCE IS YOUR OWN CHOICE. YOU CAN NOT SAY THAT YOU DID NOT HAVE A CHANCE AND THAT NO WARNING WAS GIVEN TO YOU. YOU HAVE BEEN SERVED NOTICE. THE NEXT MOVE IS EXCLUSIVELY YOURS. USE IT WISELY.

NOW, AT THE END OF THIS LENGTHY PIECE OF WRITING IS A LIST OF TOPICS AND A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF EACH ONE. YOU MAY CHOOSE ANY OF THE TOPICS YOU LIKE TO BE SENT TO YOU OR A FRIEND INQUIRING ON YOUR BEHALF. THE ADDRESS IS GIVEN THAT YOU MAY WRITE AND ASK QUESTIONS TO OR ORDER FROM. YOU MAY ALSO LEAVE A PHONE NUMBER FOR US TO CALL FOR ANY QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE OR CARE TO ASK OR ANYTHING ELSE YOU FEEL A NEED TO TALK ABOUT. ALSO. I HOPE YOU WILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE OFFERS WHICH WERE DESIGNED FOR YOUR BENEFIT.

WITH KNOWLEDGE COMES RESPONSIBILITY. IT IS HOPED THAT WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION SUPPLIED TO YOU BY US, YOU WILL ACT IN A CONSERVATIVE, BALANCED WAY WITH CAUTION. HOWEVER, THE INFORMATION IS VERY APT TO UPSET YOU, ( I AM SURE YOU WILL FIND IT CONVINCING) AND YOU MAY HAVE SOME VERY ILL FEELINGS TOWARD YOUR RELIGION AND MIGHT NOT FEEL LIKE STAYING AROUND IT. WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU CONTACT US AND TALK TO US ABOUT WHAT YOUR FEELING. DO NOT ACT IMPULSIVELY OR RASHLY. YOU MAY NOT BE READY FOR LEAVING OR DOING ANYTHING DRASTIC. DON'T GO DOING SOMETHING THAT YOU WILL LATER REGRET OR GETTING YOURSELF INTO SOMETHING OVER YOUR HEAD AND WHICH WILL RESULT IN MORE DIFFICULTY THAN YOU ARE READY TO HANDLE.

WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO NOT QUICKLY LEAVE YOUR RELIGION, OR REJECT IT, OR EVEN JUST STOP ATTENDING MEETINGS. SOME HAVE DONE THIS IN THE PAST WITHOUT GOOD RESULTS. THIS IS A VERY TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE FOR ANYONE TO HAVE TO GO THROUGH AND YOU SHOULD GO THROUGH THE WITHDRAWAL PROCESS VERY SLOWLY GIVING YOUR SELF TIME TO BE ABLE TO ABSORB EVERYTHING THAT IS HAPPENING, COMPREHEND IT, COME TO TERMS WITH IT AND UNDERSTAND IT. AND THER E IS SO MUCH TO SORT OUT. YOU SHOULD NOT LEAVE OR GIVE UP YOUR RELIGION UNTIL YOU CAN ANSWER AND RECONCILE EVERY BELIEF YOU HAD BEFORE YOU CAME TO THIS POINT WHERE YOU ARE NOW. (OR WILL BE SHORTLY).

THERE ARE WORSE THINGS THAT YOU COULD DO THAN TO REMAIN WITH THIS RELIGION. YOU COULD GIVE UP RELIGION ENTIRELY AND THAT WOULD BE MUCH WORSE AND I WOULD NOT WANT THAT TO HAPPEN. BUT YOUR SITUATION COULD IMPROVE BY THE KNOWLEDGE THAT I COULD GIVE YOU. YOU COULD BE ONE OF THE MANY WHO ARE HURT BY THE SOCIETY'S POOR POLICIES AND LACK OF IMPROVED SCRIPTURAL KNOWLEDGE AS WELL AS THEIR HIDDEN GUILT THAT WILL HAVE TO BE JUDGED. YOU COULD END UP SUFFERING WITH THEM.

ANOTHER UGLY POSSIBILITY IS THAT YOU COULD GO BACK TO BABYLON AS SOME HAVE DONE. THIS COULD BE THE WORST THING OF ALL. SOME HAVE DONE THIS BECAUSE THEY NEEDED ASSOCIATION AND FRIENDSHIP. BUT WHAT A TERRIBLE COMPROMISE. SOME HAVE ALSO BECOME BITTER ABOUT THE SOCIETY AND JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES AND HAVE REJECTED ALL THEIR FORMER BELIEFS. THIS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE EITHER. WERE WE SO DUMB AND GULLIBLE THAT WE WERE COMPLETELY FOOLED ABOUT EVERYTHING? IT DOESN'T SEEM LIKELY DOES IT? NO, A GOOD AMOUNT OF WHAT WE LEARNED IS STILL VALID AND SCRIPTURAL.

YES, MANY OF OUR BELIEFS ARE STILL GOOD. AND WE STILL NEED FRIENDS AND CONFIDANTS, PEOPLE TO SHARE OUR EXPERIENCES WITH AND GIVE US ENCOURAGEMENT. IT IS QUITE COMMENDABLE WHEN SOMEONE IS STRONG ENOUGH TO EMBARK ON A RELIGIOUS ADVENTURE ALONE WITHOUT HELP BUT IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED IF YOU DO NOT NEED TO AND YOU DON'T. THE TRAIL HAS BEEN PAVED FOR YOU SO THAT IT NEED NOT BE SUDDEN OR TRAUMATIC. PLEASE, TAKE YOUR TIME AS YOU CONSIDER SOME OF WHAT WE HAVE TO OFFER YOU.

IF YOU WERE TO LEAVE RASHLY WITHOUT A GOOD FOUNDATION OF BELIEFS, SPIRITUAL SOLIDITY AND READINESS THEN YOU MIGHT BE ON SHAKY GROUND AND FIND YOURSELF NOT ABLE TO BEAR UP UNDER THE NEW CIRCUMSTANCE. IT IS SORT OF LIKE A BABY IN A MOTHER'S WOMB. IF IT IS BORN PREMATURE THEN IT USUALLY DOES NOT HAVE ALL THE PROPER DEVELOPMENT COMPLETED AND IT HAS MANY DIFFICULTIES OUTSIDE OF THE MOTHER AND CAN SOMETIMES DIE FROM THE PREMATURE EXPOSURE.

WE CAN NOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. PLEASE TAKE YOUR TIME AND TALK THINGS OUT. WE ARE HERE TO INFORM, TO HELP, AND ESPECIALLY TO LISTEN AND SYMPATHIZE AS WE HAVE ^6^7^8BEEN THROUGH THIS OURSELVES. YOU NEED TO TALK AND GET THIS OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM AND COME TO TERMS WITH IT. WE ARE HERE FOR YOU. USE US. LEAN ON US. WE LIKE IT. WE WANT TO DO IT. WE WANT TO BE OF HELP IF WE CAN. WE WOULD HAVE LIKED THE SAME FOR OURSELVES. WE WANT IT FOR YOU. WE DON'T WANT YOU TO HAVE TO GO THROUGH WHAT OTHERS, INCLUDING OURSELVES, HAVE HAD TO GO THROUGH. AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO. TRY US.

AS REGARDS THE MENU THAT FOLLOWS, EVERYTHING HAS A PRICE LISTED WITH IT. IGNORE THE PRICE. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY ANY PRICE. THE PRICES ARE THERE SO THAT, IF, AFTER RECEIVING A BOOKLET OR PAMPHLET, YOU FEEL THAT THE INFORMATION IS ACCURATE AND HELPFUL IN YOUR SPIRITUAL PROGRESS, PROMOTES TRUTH, AND HONORS JEHOVAH AND THE BIBLE, THEN YOU MAY, IF YOU WISH, CONTRIBUTE THE PRICE LISTED TO HELP PAY FOR THE EXPENSE OF THE MATERIAL AND MAKE IT AVAILABLE FOR OTHERS TO RECEIVE.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO CONTRIBUTE TO RECEIVE AND CERTAINLY SHOULDN'T IF YOU DO NOT FEEL THE MATERIAL IS GOOD. EVEN IF YOU DO FEEL IT IS GOOD YOU DO NOT HAVE TO CONTRIBUTE. LET YOUR HEART AND CONSCIENCE BE YOUR GUIDE. WE ARE CONFIDENT IN WHAT WE HAVE WRITTEN AND FEEL THAT YOU WILL APPRECIATE IT AND IF YOU WANT OUR EFFORTS TO CONTINUE THE CONTRIBUTION WOULD BE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED. BUT ONLY SEND AFTER RECEIVING AND READING THE INFORMATION FIRST. IT IS YOURS TO EVALUATE AND KEEP WITH OR WITHOUT MONEY.

ONE OTHER OPTION YOU HAVE, IF YOU APPRECIATE THESE BOOKLETS AND CAN NOT AFFORD TO CONTRIBUTE FOR THEM, IS TO SEND THE BOOKLETS BACK TO US SO THAT THEY MAY BE SENT TO SOMEONE ELSE TO READ. THAT INCLUDES WHAT YOU ARE READING NOW.

WE DO ASK THAT YOU ONLY ORDER A FEW THINGS AT A TIME SO THAT EVERYONE CAN RECEIVE AND HOPEFULLY SOME MONEY WILL EVENTUALLY COME IN TO HELP KEEP IT GOING (I BELIEVE THEY CALL IT "BUILDING UP A CASH FLOW"). WE FEEL THAT IF JEHOVAH APPROVES THEN IT WILL WORK AND SUCCEED AND MAYBE EVEN FLOURISH. IF HE IS NOT WITH IT THEN IT WON'T. IT IS AS SIMPLE AS THAT. NOTICE THIS ACCOUNT IN EXODUS 35:5,21,29:

" 5 FROM AMONG YOURSELVES TAKE UP A CONTRIBUTION FOR JEHOVAH. LET EVERY WILLING-HEARTED ONE BRING IT AS JEHOVAH'S CONTRIBUTION ... 21 THEN THEY CAME, EVERYONE WHOSE HEART IMPELLED HIM, AND THEY BROUGHT, EVERYONE WHOSE SPIRIT INCITED HIM, JEHOVAH'S CONTRIBUTION ... 29 EVERY MAN AND WOMAN WHOSE HEARTS INCITED THEM TO BRING SOMETHING FOR ALL THE WORK THAT JEHOVAH HAD COMMANDED ..." JEHOVAH LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER. IN FACT, HE WANTS NO OTHER KIND. IF THE LITERATURE THAT YOU RECEIVE AND READ DOES NOT HONOR GOD AND THE BIBLE, DON'T SEND ANYTHING, PLEASE!

I HOPE THOSE WITH SHEPHERDING RESPONSIBILITY WILL CONSIDER THIS:

IF THIS SCHEME OR THIS WORK IS FROM MEN, IT WILL BE OVERTHROWN; 39 BUT IF IT IS FROM GOD, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO OVERTHROW THEM; OTHERWISE, YOU MAY PERHAPS BE FOUND FIGHTERS ACTUALLY AGAINST GOD.
   
     ACTS 5: 38, 39. 
A SOBERING THOUGHT, ISN'T IT?

AND IF I AM IN THE RIGHT THEN THIS, TOO, WILL APPLY TO ME:
"ANY WEAPON WHATEVER THAT WILL BE FORMED AGAINST YOU WILL HAVE NO SUCCESS, AND ANY TONGUE AT ALL THAT WILL RISE UP AGAINST YOU IN THE JUDGMENT YOU WILL CONDEMN." ISA.54:17.

THINK ABOUT IT!



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