I started my online Bible research back in 2011 under the alias Meleti Vivlon. I used the google translation tool available back then to find out how to say “Bible study” in Greek. At the time there was a transliterate link, which I used to get English characters. That gave me “vivlon meleti”. I thought that “meleti” sounded more like a given name and “vivlon”, a surname, so I reversed them and the rest is history.
Of course, the reason for the alias was that at the time I wanted to hide my identity because the Organization does not look kindly on those who do their own Bible research. My goal back then was to find other like-minded brothers around the world who, like myself, were troubled by the obvious fabrication of the “overlapping generations” doctrine and who thus were motivated to do deeper Bible research. At the time, I believed that the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses was the only true religion. It wasn’t until sometime in 2012-2013 that I finally resolved the growing cognitive dissonance I’d been laboring under for years by acknowledging that we were very much like all other false religion. What did it for me was the realization that the “other sheep” of John 10:16 were not a separate class of Christian with a different hope. When I realized that all my life they had been messing with my salvation hope, it was the final deal breaker. Of course, the presumptuous claim made at the 2012 annual meeting that the Governing Body was the faithful and discreet slave of Matthew 24:45-47 did nothing to mitigate my awakening to the true nature of the Organization.
Our goal here and on the other BP websites has been to rise above the anger and recriminations that are a natural reaction to the realization that one has spent one’s life in a misguided attempt to please God. So many sites on the internet are full of vituperative mocking. So many have turned away from God and Christ, stumbled by these men who have claimed to be God’s channel. I never doubted the love of God and through study I have come to appreciate the love of the Christ, despite the Organization’s best attempts to relegate him to observer status. Yes, we have been travelling in the wrong direction as Jehovah’s Witnesses, but that’s no reason to drive the car off a cliff. Jehovah and his Christ have never changed, so our goal is to help our fellow Witnesses—and anyone else who will listen for that matter—to turn the car around and head in the right direction: toward God and salvation.
While the use of an alias has its place, there comes a time when it can become a hindrance. One does not seek persecution, nor to become some sort of martyr. However, things are changing rapidly in the land of JW.org. There are more and more brothers and sisters who are what is known as PIMOs (Physically In, Mentally Out). These are ones who go to meetings and out in service to maintain a facade that allows them to continue to associate with family and friends. (I am in no way criticizing such ones. I did the same for some time. Each must travel his or her own path and at a pace that is sensitive to individual needs.) All I’m saying is that it is my hope that by coming out of the theological closet, I can perhaps help others who are not as far down the path as I am to find comfort and a means to resolve their own conflicts. These may be ripples now, but soon I believe we will be seeing waves that will sweep through this moribund organization.
Should that happen, it will only bring more glory to the Christ and what could be wrong with that?
To this end, I have started a series of videos which I believe—in this day of sound bites, social media, and instant gratification—will appeal to a wider audience. Of course, I can no longer hide behind my alias, though I intend to continue using it for my Bible ministry. I’ve grown fond of it as it represents my awakened self. However, for the record, my name is Eric Wilson and I live in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Here is the first of the videos:
(What follows is the script of the video for those who prefer to read. I will continue to do this in future video releases.)
Hello everyone. This video is mainly for my friends, but for those who chance upon it and don’t know me, my name is Eric Wilson. I live in Canada in Hamilton which is near Toronto.
Now the reason for the video is to address an issue that’s very important in the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. As a people, we are failing to obey a command of Jehovah God. That command is found at Psalm 146:3. It says ‘Do not put your trust in Princes nor in the son of man who cannot bring salvation.’
What am I talking about?
Well, to explain that I need to give you a little background on myself. I was baptized in 1963 at the age of 14. In 1968, I went to Colombia with my family. My dad took early retirement, took my sister out of high school without graduating and off we went to Colombia. Why did he do that? Why did I go along? Well, I went along mainly because I was 19; it was a great adventure; but there I learned to really value the truth, to really start to study the Bible. I pioneered, I became an elder, but the reason we went was because we believed the end was coming in 1975.
Now why did we believe that? Well, if you go by what you heard at the district or should I say the regional convention last year, on Friday afternoon there was a video that implied that it was because the brothers around the world got a little carried away. It was our fault for getting carried away. That’s not true and it’s not really nice to even suggest such a thing but that’s what was put forward. I was there. I lived it.
What actually happened was this. In 1967 at the book study we studied a new book, Life Everlasting and the Freedom of Sons of God. And in this book we studied the following, (this is from page 29 paragraph 41):
“According to this trustworthy Bible chronology, 6,000 years from man’s creation will end in 1975, and the seventh period of a thousand years of human history will begin in the fall of 1975.”
So now if we move on to the next page, page 30 paragraph 43, it draws a conclusion that set us all off.
“How appropriate it would be for Jehovah God to make of this coming seventh period of a thousand years a Sabbath period of rest and release, a great jubilee sabbath for the proclaiming of liberty throughout the earth to all its inhabitants. This would be most timely for mankind. It would also be most fitting on God’s part, for, remember mankind has yet ahead of it what the last book of the Holy Bible speaks of as the reign of Jesus Christ over earth for a thousand years, the millennial reign of Christ….It would not be by mere chance or accident but would be according to the loving purpose of Jehovah God for the reign of Jesus Christ the Lord of the Sabbath to run parallel with the seventh millennium of man’s existence.”
Now you’re an obedient Jehovah’s Witness at this time, you’re believing that the faithful and discreet slave is telling you something. The faithful and discreet slave by the way at that time were all the anointed on earth, and we used to believe that they would write in their findings as Jehovah gave them truth through the Holy Spirit and that those letters would then be gathered together and the Society would see the direction the spirit’s leading and publish articles or books; so we felt this was Jehovah speaking through the faithful and discreet slave telling us that the end was going to come in 1975.
It made perfect sense and we believed it and of course the Society continued to promote 1975. If you don’t believe me, pull out your Watchtower library on CDROM, type in “1975”, and starting in 1966 move forward through all the Watchtowers and other publications that you find with that search, and see how often “1975” comes up and is promoted as the date in which the Millennium will begin. It was also promoted at district conventions and circuit assemblies—at all of them.
So anybody who says different didn’t live through that period. Mark Sanderson… well he was in diapers when I was in Colombia and Anthony Morris the Third was still serving in the Army in Vietnam…but I lived it. I know it and anyone who is my age has lived it too. Now, am I complaining about that? No! Why not? Why am I still serving all these years afterwards? Why do I still believe in Jehovah God and Jesus Christ? Because my faith was always in God and not in men, so when this went south I thought ‘Oh, okay we were stupid, we did something silly’, but that’s what men do. I’ve made many mistakes in life, silly mistakes, and I know that the men at all levels of the organization are no better nor worse than I am. We’re just humans. We have our imperfections. It didn’t bother me because I know it was the result of human imperfection. It wasn’t Jehovah, and that’s fine. So what’s the problem?
Something has changed. In 2013 I was removed. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that yet but I was removed as an elder. Now that’s okay because I was having doubts about a number of things and I was very conflicted so I was quite happy that I was removed, it kind of gave me an escape from that responsibility and there was a certain amount of cognitive dissonance that I was undergoing, so it helped resolve that. That’s fine but it was the reason I was removed that’s troubling. The reason was that I was asked a question. Now this question never came up before, but is coming up all the time now. The question was ‘Will you obey the Governing Body?’
My answer was, “Yes, I always have as an elder and the brothers around the table can attest to that and I always will”. But then I added “…but I will obey God as ruler rather than men.”
I added that because I knew which direction it was going and my past tells me that these men make mistakes, so there’s no way I can giving them absolute, unconditional, unquestioning obedience. I have to look at everything they tell me to do and evaluate it in the light of the Scriptures and if they are not conflicting with the Scriptures, I can obey; but if they do conflict, I cannot obey as I have to obey God as ruler rather than men. Acts 5:29—it’s right there in the Bible.
Okay, so why is that a problem? The Circuit Overseer said to me “It’s evident that you are not fully committed to the Governing Body.” So unconditional obedience or unquestioning obedience is now a requirement for elders and as such I couldn’t in good conscience continue to serve, so I didn’t appeal the decision. Is that an isolated case? Is that one circuit overseer getting a little carried away? I wish it were the so but that’s not the case.
Allow me to illustrate—there have been many incidents in my life since then that I could point to but I’ll just pick one as indicative of all the rest—a friend of 50 years with whom we talked about everything and anything…if we had doubts or questions on Bible issues, we could freely talk because we knew that it didn’t mean that we had lost our faith in God. I wanted to talk to him about the overlapping generations because to me it seemed like a doctrine that had no scriptural basis. But before he’d even talk about it, he wanted me to affirm my belief in the Governing Body, and he sent me an email. He said, (this is just part of it):
“In short we believe this to be Jehovah’s organization. We are trying our very best to stay close to it and the direction it is giving us. We feel this is a matter of life and death. I can well imagine that a moment will come when we will be staking our very lives upon the following of direction that Jehovah gives through the organization, we will be willing to do that.”
Now he’s probably thinking about the article that came out right after they declared themselves the faithful and discreet slave in 2013. An article came out in November of that year called “Seven Shepherds Eight Dukes, What They Mean For Us Today”, and it said:
“At that time the life-saving direction that we receive from Jehovah’s organization may not appear practical from a human standpoint. All of us must be ready to obey any instructions we may receive whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not.”
We have to make a life-and-death decision based on what the Governing Body tells us?! The same Governing Body that told me about 1975; the same Governing Body that this year, this past year in February, wrote on page 26 paragraph 12 of the Watchtower:
“The Governing Body is neither inspired nor infallible. Therefore it can err in doctrinal matters or in organizational direction.”
So here’s the question. I have to make a life-and-death decision based on something that I believe is coming from God, through people who tell me they don’t speak for God?! They can make mistakes?!
Because, if you are speaking for God you cannot make a mistake. When Moses spoke, he spoke in God’s name. He said: ‘Jehovah has said you must do this, you must do that…’ He took them to the Red Sea which was strategically unsound, but they followed because he had just performed 10 plagues. Obviously Jehovah was working through him, so when he took them to the Red Sea they knew that it would come true—or maybe they didn’t…they were actually quite a faithless people…but nevertheless he performed—he struck the Sea with the staff, it divided, and they walked through. He spoke under inspiration. If the Governing Body is claiming that they will be telling us something that will be life or death for us, then they are claiming they’re speaking under inspiration. There’s no other way, otherwise they’re just saying this is our best guess, but it’s still a life-or-death situation. That doesn’t make sense, and yet all of us are buying into this. We’re believing in the Governing Body as virtually infallible and anyone who questions anything is called an apostate. If you doubt something you’re an apostate and you get thrown out of the religion; you get shunned by everyone; even though your goal is truth.
So let’s put it this way: you’re a Catholic and you go to a Jehovah’s Witness and you say “Oh! We’re the same. Our Pope will tell us what to do when Jesus comes.”
What would you say as a Jehovah’s Witness to that Catholic? Would you want to say, “No, no, because you’re not God’s organization.”
“Well why am I not God’s organization?”, the Catholic will say.
“Because you’re a false religion. We’re a true religion; but you’re a false religion and so he wouldn’t work through you but he will work through us because we teach the truth.”
Okay, well that’s a valid point. If we are the true religion, which I’ve always believed, then Jehovah will work through us. Why don’t we put that to the test? Or are we afraid to do so? In 1968, when I was in Colombia, we had The Truth that leads to Eternal Life. Chapter 14 of that book was “How to Identify the True Religion”, and in it there were five points. The first point was:
- Believers would love one another as Christ loved us; so love—but not just any kind of love, the love of the Christ—would permeate the congregation and it would be visible to people outside. The true religion would adhere to God’s Word, the Bible.
- It wouldn’t deviate, it wouldn’t teach falsehoods—hellfire for example….wouldn’t teach falsehood.
- They would sanctify God’s name. Now that’s more than simply using it. Anybody can say ‘Jehovah’. Sanctifying his name goes beyond that.
- Proclaiming the good news is another facet; it would have to be a preacher of the good news.
- Finally it would maintain political neutrality, it would be separate from the world.
These are so important that the Truth book said, at the end of that chapter:
“The question at issue is not whether a certain religious group appears to meet one or two of these requirements nor whether some of its doctrines conform to the Bible. Far more than that. The true religion must measure up in all these respects and its teachings must be in full harmony with God’s Word.”
So it’s not good enough to have two of them, or three of them, or four of them. You have to meet all of them. That’s what it said, and I agree; and every book we’ve published since the Truth book that replaced it as our main teaching aid has had the same chapter with the same five points. (I think they’ve added a sixth now, but let’s just stick with the original five for now.)
So I’m proposing, in a series of videos, to publish research to see if we meet each and every one of these qualifications; but remember even if we fail to meet one of them, we fail as the true religion and therefore the claim that Jehovah is speaking through the Governing Body falls flat, because it depends on us being Jehovah’s organization.
Now if you’re still watching, I’m kind of amazed because we’re so conditioned to not listen that most people will have probably shut this down long ago; but if you’re still listening, that means you love truth, and I welcome that but I know that you’re facing a lot of obstacles—let’s call them elephants in the room. They’ll get in the way of our research. I know this because I’ve been researching for the last eight years now. I’ve been through it; I’ve been through all these emotions. For example:
- “We’re Jehovah’s true organization so where else would we go?”
- “Jehovah has always had an organization so if we’re not the true one what is?”
- “There isn’t any other one that seems to qualify.”
- “What about apostasy? Aren’t we acting like apostates by rejecting, by not being loyal to the organization, by examining its teachings?”
- “Shouldn’t we just wait for Jehovah to fix things; He’ll fix things in his own time.”
These are all questions and thoughts that come up and they’re valid. And we need to deal with them so we’ll deal with them first in subsequent videos, and then we’ll get down to our research. How does that sound? My name is Eric Wilson. I’m going to put up some links at the end of this video so that you can get to the next videos. There’s several already done, and we’ll go from there. Thank you for watching.