What is it that condemns a man?
“David said to him: “Your blood is on your own head, because your own mouth testified against you by saying, . . .” (2Sa 1:16)
“For your error dictates what you say, And you choose crafty speech. 6 Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; Your own lips testify against you.” (Job 15:5, 6)
“Out of your own mouth I judge you, wicked slave.. . .” (Lu 19:22)
Imagine being condemned by your own words! What stronger condemnation could there be? How can you refute your own testimony?
The Bible says that humans will be judged during Judgment Day based on their own words.
“I tell YOU that every unprofitable saying that men speak, they will render an account concerning it on Judgment Day; 37 for by your words you will be declared righteous, and by your words you will be condemned.”” (Mt 12:36, 37)
With this thought in mind, we come to the November broadcast on tv.jw.org. If you have been a long-time reader of this blog and its predecessor at www.meletivivlon.com, you will know that we’ve tried to avoid referring to the false teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses as lies, because the word “lie” carries with it a subtext of sin. One may inadvertently teach a falsehood, but lying implies foreknowledge and willful action. A liar seeks to harm another by misleading him. The liar was a manslayer. (John 8:44)
That being said, in the November broadcast the Governing Body have themselves given us the criteria to qualify a teaching as a lie. They use this criteria to judge other religions and other individuals. ‘By our own words we are declared righteous and by our own words we are condemned’, is the lesson Jesus teaches. (Mt 12:37)
Gerrit Losch hosts the broadcast and in his opening remarks he states that true Christians are to be champions of the truth. Carrying forward the theme of championing the truth he states at about the 3:00 minute mark:
“But in the case of true Christians, all can be champions of the truth. All Christians are to defend the truth and become conquerors, winners. It is necessary to defend the truth because in today’s world, truth is being attacked and distorted. We are surrounded by a sea of lies and misrepresentations.”
He then continues with these words:
“A lie is a false statement deliberately presented as being true. A falsehood. A lie is the opposite of the truth. Lying involves saying something incorrect to a person who is entitled to know the truth about a matter. But there is also something that is called a half-truth. The Bible tells Christians to be honest with each other.
“Now that you’ve put away deceit, speak truth,” wrote the apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:25.
Lies and half-truths undermine trust. A German proverb says: “Who lies once is not believed, even if he says the truth.”
So we need to speak openly and honestly with each other, not withholding bits of information that could change the perception of the listener or mislead him.
As to lies, there are different types. Some politicians have lied about matters they wanted to keep secret. Companies sometimes lie in advertisements regarding their products. What about the news media? Many try to report events truthfully, but we should not be gullible and believe everything newspapers write, or everything we hear on the radio, or see on television.
Then there are religious lies. If Satan is called the father of the lie, then Babylon the great, the global empire of false religion, can be called the mother of the lie. Individual false religions could be called daughters of the lie.
Some lie by saying that sinners will get tormented in hell forever. Others lie by saying, “Once saved, always saved.” Again, others lie by saying that the earth will be burned up on Judgment Day and all good people will go to heaven. Some worship idols.
Paul wrote in Romans chapter 1 and 25, “They exchanged the truth of God for the lie and venerated and rendered sacred service to the creation rather than the Creator…”
Then there are many lies of a personal nature that people express in everyday life. The businessman may get a phone call but tell his secretary to answer the caller by saying he’s not in. This may be considered a small lie. There are small lies, big lies, and malicious lies.
A child may have broken something but when asked initially, out of fear of punishment, denies having done it. This does not make the child a malicious liar. In contrast, what if an entrepreneur tells his bookkeeper to falsify the entries in the books in order to save on taxes? This lying to the tax office is certainly a serious lie. It is a deliberate attempt to mislead somebody that has the right to know. It also robs the government of what they have established as legal income. We can see that not all lies are the same. There are small lies, big lies, and malicious lies. Satan is a malicious liar. He is the champion of the lie. Since Jehovah hates liars, we should avoid all lies, not just big or malicious lies.”
Gerrit Losch has provided us with a useful list by which we can evaluate future articles and broadcasts emanating from the Governing Body to determine whether or not they contain lies. Again, this may seem like a harsh word to use, but it is the word they have chosen, and it is based on the criteria they have provided.
Let us break it down into key points for ease of reference.
- Witnesses are required to defend the truth.
“All Christians are to defend the truth and become conquerors, winners. It is necessary to defend the truth because in today’s world, truth is being attacked and distorted. We are surrounded by a sea of lies and misrepresentations.”
- A lie is a deliberate false statement presented as truth.
“A lie is a false statement deliberately presented as being true. A falsehood. A lie is the opposite of the truth.”
- Misleading those entitled to the truth is lying.
“Lying involves saying something incorrect to a person who is entitled to know the truth about a matter.”
- It is dishonest to withhold information that could mislead another.
“So we need to speak openly and honestly with each other, not withholding bits of information that could change the perception of the listener or mislead him.”
- Jehovah hates all lies, of any size or nature
“There are small lies, big lies, and malicious lies. Satan is a malicious liar. He is the champion of the lie. Since Jehovah hates liars, we should avoid all lies, not just big or malicious lies.”
- A malicious lie is a deliberate attempt to mislead someone who has a right to know the truth.
“In contrast, what if an entrepreneur tells his bookkeeper to falsify the entries in the books in order to save on taxes. This lying to the tax office is certainly a serious lie. It is a deliberate attempt to mislead somebody that has the right to know.”
- Half-truths are dishonest statements.
“But there is also something that is called a half-truth. The Bible tells Christians to be honest with each other.”
- The false doctrines that Christian religions teach constitute lies.
“Some lie by saying that sinners will get tormented in hell forever. Others lie by saying, “Once saved, always saved.” Again, others lie by saying that the earth will be burned up on Judgment Day and all good people will go to heaven. Some worship idols.”
- Babylon the great is the mother of the lie.
“If Satan is called the father of the lie, then Babylon the great, the global empire of- false religion, can be called the mother of the lie.”
- Any false religion is the daughter of the lie.
Individual false religions could be called daughters of the lie.
Applying the JW Standard
How does the Governing Body and the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses measure up to their own standard?
Let us start with this broadcast.
Following Losch’s talk, he calls for the viewer to see how faithful ones around the world champion the truth. The first video is a dramatization instructing Jehovah’s Witnesses on how to treat family members who leave the organization.[i]
Christopher Mavor introduces the video by telling us, “While watching this dramatization, pay attention to how the mother was able to champion the truth by remaining loyal to Jehovah.” (19:00 min.)
According to point 2 (above), “A lie is a false statement deliberately presented as being true.”
Is Christopher telling us a truth, or is this “a false statement deliberately presented as being true”? Is the mother in this video championing the truth and thereby remaining loyal to Jehovah?
We are disloyal when we disobey God, but if we obey his commandments, we are showing loyalty.
In the video, the baptized son of a Witness couple is depicted writing a letter of resignation from the congregation. No mention nor depiction of him engaging in sin is shown. There is no inference that a judicial committee was involved. We are left to conclude that the announcement that he is no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is a disassociation announcement based on his letter to his parents. This implies they turned it over to the elders. Elders do not announce a disassociation unless they get confirmation in writing, or orally before two or more witnesses.[ii] Remember that disassociation carries the same penalty as disfellowshipping. It is a distinction without a difference.
Later, the boy texts his mother who is tearfully concerned about his welfare. She could text back, but decides not to because she has been taught by the Organization that any contact at all would constitute a violation of 1 Corinthians 5:11 which reads:
“But now I am writing you to stop keeping company with anyone called a brother who is sexually immoral or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man.” (1Co 5:11)
Losch tells us (point 3) that “lying involves saying something incorrect to a person who is entitled to know the truth about a matter.”
Is it correct to teach that Paul is instructing us in 1 Corinthians on how to deal with a child who abandons our faith? No, it is not correct. We are entitled to the truth about this matter, and the video (and countless articles in the publications) are misleading us on the subject.
The context of Paul’s first letter to the Christian congregation in Corinth concerns a member, a man ‘calling himself a brother’, who is engaging in sexual immorality. He hasn’t written a letter of resignation from the congregation, nor anything like that. The son in the video is not calling himself a brother. Nor is the son depicted as committing any of the sins Paul lists. Paul is referring to a Christian who is still associating with the congregation in Corinth and yet who is sinning in a most public manner.
Under point 4 Gerrit Losch says,“…we need to speak openly and honestly with each other, not withholding bits of information that could change the perception of the listener or mislead him.”
The Governing Body’s video is withholding this vital bit of information from the discussion:
“Certainly if anyone does not provide for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household, he has disowned the faith and is worse than a person without faith.” (1Ti 5:8)
This provision is not limited to the lesser material provisions, but extends to the more important spiritual ones. Based on the video, the mother has an obligation to continue striving to provide for her son spiritually, and this cannot be accomplished without some level of communication. The Bible does not prohibit a parent—or a fellow Christian for that matter—from communicating with one who has simply departed from the congregation. Even eating a meal with such a one is not prohibited because a) he is not calling himself a brother, and b) he is not engaging in the sins Paul lists.
Jehovah loved us when we were sinners. (Ro 5:8) Can we be loyal to Jehovah if we do not imitate his love? (Mt 5:43-48) How can we help an errant child (based on the video’s depiction) if we refuse to communicate, even by text? How can we show loyalty to God by obeying the command at 1 Timothy 5:8, if we will not talk to those who need our spiritual provisions?
So let’s review.
- A liar makes false statements deliberately presented as being true. (Point 2)
Therefore, it is a lie to teach that the mother is loyal to God when she doesn’t answer her son’s text.
- A liar misleads by telling a falsehood to someone entitled to know the truth. (Point 3)
Applying 1 Corinthians 5:11 to this situation is misleading. We are entitled to know that this does not apply to those who leave the Organization.
- A liar withholds information that might change the perception of someone. (Point 4)
Withholding the applicable command at 1 Timothy 5:8 allows the Organization to change our perception of how to treat a child who leaves the Organization.
- A malicious liar is someone who makes a deliberate attempt to mislead somebody that has the right to know the truth on a matter. (Point 6)
Parents have a right to know the truth about how to deal with those who willfully disassociate themselves. It is a malicious lie—one that results in untold harm—to mislead the flock about this matter.
Losch quoted a German proverb in his speech: “Who lies once is not believed, even if he says the truth.” He says that lying undermines trust. Is this video the only example of lying to the flock? If it were, according to the proverb, it would be enough to cause us to doubt all the teachings of the Governing Body. However, if you read the other Bible-based review articles on this site, you’ll see that such lying abounds. (Again, we use the word based on the criteria that the Governing Body itself has just provided to us.)
Gerrit Losch tells us that a single Christian religion that teachings lies (false doctrines by his own words) is to be considered a “daughter of the lie”—she being a daughter of the “mother of the lie, Babylon the great.” (Again, his words—points 9 and 10.) Can we call the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses a daughter of the lie? Why not be the judge yourself as you continue to read the reviews posted here, analyzing each in the light of God’s Word, the Word of Truth?
[i] This is not the first such video on this theme. Spending time and dedicated funds to produce yet another video instructing Witnesses to toe the Organization line on disciplining former JWs rather than dramatizing inspiring Bible accounts should tell us much about their motivations. It is a modern-day application of Jesus words: “A good man brings forth good out of the good treasure of his heart, but a wicked man brings forth what is wicked out of his wicked [treasure]; for out of the heart’s abundance his mouth speaks.” (Lu 6:45)
[ii] Elders can also announce disassociation if they have evidence that an individual engages in activity such as voting, joining the military, or accepting a blood transfusion. They do not disfellowship in these instances to avoid costly legal repercussions. The difference between “disassociation” and “disfellowshipping” is like the difference between “pigs” and “swine”.