Treasures from God’s Word – When Jehovah forgives, does he forget?

Ezekiel 18:19, 20 – Jehovah holds each person responsible for his own actions (w12 7/1 page 18 para 2)

The last sentence of the reference states accurately, “Each individually had a choice; each one was responsible for his own course of action.”

Some questions for all those Witnesses who still are appointed elders:

  • If you are instructed to sell-off your Kingdom Hall and move to share a hall that is far less convenient and more expensive to travel to for the flock under your care, what will you do? Follow the organization’s direction blindly and try to abdicate responsibility to them?
  • What if you are convinced that someone who has come before you in a judicial committee accused of child sexual abuse is guilty, but there is only one witness. Will you say nothing as instructed?
  • If you know of a case of child abuse, where there is at least one credible witness, will you comply with Bible instruction found at Romans 13:1-7 and inform “God’s Minister” appointed by Jehovah for dispensing criminal justice? Will you recognize that the secular government is more equipped to find and qualify evidence and has a larger responsibility to protect all members of society, not just the members of your congregation?  Will you see that by doing this you are upholding the sanctity of Jehovah’s name?
  • Will you put the direction of the branch Service Desk and/or Legal Desk above the dictates of your Christian conscience?

If you feel duty bound to follow the direction of the organization, are you aware they could easily ‘leave you hanging out to dry’ on your own, if legal action is taken against you and the organization in years to come? Remember the Nuremberg Defense? Adolf Eichmann also used this defense at his trial in Israel in 1961. In part he said I cannot recognize the verdict of guilty. . . . It was my misfortune to become entangled in these atrocities. But these misdeeds did not happen according to my wishes. It was not my wish to slay people. . . . Once again I would stress that I am guilty of having been obedient, having subordinated myself to my official duties and the obligations of war service and my oath of allegiance and my oath of office, and in addition, once the war started, there was also martial law. . . . I did not persecute Jews with avidity and passion. That is what the government did. . . . At that time obedience was demanded, just as in the future it will also be demanded of the subordinate.”[1]

It will be no defense at all, when before Christ the Judge of all the earth, to say “I am not guilty … It was my misfortune to become entangled with these misdeeds. These misdeeds did not happen according to my wishes. It was not my wish to allow others to also become victims. Once again I would stress that I am guilty of having been obedient to the organization, having subordinated myself to my official duties as an elder which required me to co-operate unquestioningly with the Governing Body and its representatives. I did not willingly let perpetrators of child sexual abuse go free and unhindered. That is what the organization did … At that time obedience was demanded, just as it is now”. Sobering thoughts indeed, especially when the Judge, Christ Jesus replies “Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness”. (Matthew 7:21-23)  “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers (including little ones), you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40)

Do you forgive yourself? (video)

Once again the video reinforces the unbiblical stance taken by the organization on reinstatement after disfellowshipping. Why did the sister have to wait a year before reinstatement? One assumes she was likely disfellowshipped for immorality as she has 2 children with no husband shown in the video. If she was no longer being immoral and had asked Jehovah for forgiveness, then what right does a judicial committee have to insist on man-made rules as to what she has to do and for how long, before being reinstated?

How do the organization rules sit with the thought in Luke 17:4 where it says “Even if he (your brother) sins seven times a day against you and he comes back to you seven times saying ‘I repent’, you must forgive him”?

Additionally, what about the counsel in 2 Corinthians 2:7,8 where Paul asked that the congregation “kindly forgive and comfort” the brother who had been rebuked because of taking the wife of his father, (1 Corinthians 5:1-5) so that he would “not be swallowed up by his being overly sad”? This request was only made a few months after Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians. There were no instructions to not speak to, nor greet this person at their meetings for at least a year while the local elders decided if he qualified for reinstatement! Such a treatment would be counterproductive. We would also be unable to follow the encouragement Paul gave in vs. 8 by confirming our love for such a one, if we are forbidden to speak to such a person by the Organization.

The video also gives no indication that the children of the sister were treated any differently to their mother. Where they members of the congregation who knowingly committed a serious sin against Jehovah like their mother? Of course not. So why did they and their mother get the same silent treatment having to sit alone in the back room of the hall? Because these are pharisaical rules that stay the congregation members from acting in love in line with Christian principles and common sense.

Young People ask – How can I deal with my mistakes?

The first paragraph under the heading “How to learn from your mistakes” makes the true and insightful comment, “Everyone makes mistakes. And as we have seen, it is a sign of humility and maturity to own up to them – and to do so right away.”

Sadly the writers of these words are not prepared to follow their own advice.

In the light of this statement, the Organization cannot be seen as showing humility and maturity, as they have not learned from their mistakes, but stubbornly refuse to change.  Rather then own up, they actually seek to cast blame on others.  For instance, there is a video in the last talk of this year’s Regional Convention’s Friday program that lays the blame for the debacle of 1975 as the year of Armageddon at the feet of the rank and file, not the Governing Body who promoted it repeatedly in the publications and in meeting and assembly parts.  Likewise, they claim that they don’t shun victims of child abuse who leave the congregation, but instead of the ones being shunned by the victim.[2]

So, a question we should ask ourselves is: What confidence can we put in any of the literature they publish? How much respect can you give the writings of people who by their own definition are ‘proud and immature’? Their stance on these matters is self-defeating.  As the article, shows when we own up to our mistakes, we gain the respect of others.  When we try to avoid apologies or worse, blame others for the error, we gain disrespect and derision.

Gods Kingdom Rules (kr chap 15 para 9-17) – Fighting for Freedom to Worship

This week again deals with instances where congregations have been refused the right to meet at kingdom halls and the right to own Branch offices.

The claim is made in paragraph 14 that “Jehovah’s people today fight for the freedom to worship Jehovah in the way that he has commanded”. But again we ask, while law abiding citizens should be free to meet and worship as they please, why do they need large legal entities with lots of money? In the case of France, this served as a target for opposers of the organization. There were no Branch offices with large treasuries among the 1st century Christians and yet they still managed to fill the whole earth with their preaching according to Acts 17:6.  So is a Branch office a necessary part of worship in the Scriptures or is it only an organizational requirement?

The other area covered is that of medical treatment, the largest area of problems being that of blood transfusions.

The three scriptures commonly used to support the stance of ‘No Blood transfusions’ are Genesis 9:4, Deuteronomy 12:15,16 and Acts 15:29 which all relate in context to the practice of eating blood with flesh (meat). Acts 15 was referring to meat\flesh that was sacrificed to idols and was not bled properly.

Once again because of the organization’s practice of laying down laws—instead of stating guiding principles so that we can make our own decision based on our own conscience—a ludicrous situation has resulted. The official teaching is that a witness could be disfellowshipped for accepting a blood transfusion, while accepting blood fractions is left up to his conscience. On this basis, provided the witness had all the blood fractions one after another, he could have the equivalent of a whole blood transfusion, without being subjected to disfellowshipping action.

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[1] Quoted from the Nuremberg Defense from Eichmann’s own words
[2] From an article in The West Australian: “Jehovah’s Witness Australian branch committee member Terrence O’Brien said disassociation was an individual’s choice.  ‘They are actually taking the stand to shun the congregation. They understand the implications of that,’ Mr O’Brien said.  ‘I agree it puts them in a difficult situation but it is a choice.'”