A number of our readers have commented that they have been fighting depression. This is quite understandable. We are continually faced of the conflict that results from holding to opposing positions. On the one hand we want to serve Jehovah God together with fellow Christians. On the other hand, we don’t want to be forced to listen to false teachings. That is one of the reasons many of us left the more traditional churches.
So this is why I found this week’s TMS and Service Meeting to be particularly galling.
First there was the No. 2 student talk “Will Faithful Christians Be Taken To Heaven Secretly Without Dying?” Our official answer is no, and the sister assigned to this part dutifully taught that position based on the Reasoning book explaining that all must die first before they can be resurrected to heavenly life. Of course she failed to read and explain 1 Corinthians 15:51,52:
“We shall not all fall asleep [in death], but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, during the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised up incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
How much more plainly stated can it get? Yet our official position contradicts what we find in God’s word and shockingly nobody seems to notice.
Then, there was the Question Box that laid down the requirements for someone to get baptized. I can just imagine Peter before the household of Cornelius telling all gathered there that even though they had just visibly received the holy spirit, they would have to wait several months to prove they could be regular meeting attendees. It would also be advisable for them to comment on a regular basis. Finally, they would need to be out in service, “logically allowing sufficient time to demonstrate that they were steadfastly determined to have a regular and zealous share in the ministry month after month”. Or perhaps Philip, when asked the question by the Ethiopian: “Behold a body of water! What prevents me from being baptized?”, could have replied: “Woe, big fella! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. You haven’t even attended a meeting yet, not to speak of getting out in service.”
Why are we laying down requirements that are not found in Scripture?
But the kicker for me was the final part in which Matthew 5:43-45 was discussed. These verses read as follows:
““YOU heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 However, I say to YOU: Continue to love YOUR enemies and to pray for those persecuting YOU; 45 that YOU may prove yourselves sons of YOUR Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.”
How can we blithely make this point to the worldwide congregation in a service meeting part while simultaneously teaching in The Watchtower that the 7,000,000+ witnesses around the world are not God’s sons but merely his friends? How is it possible that we all sit there with metaphorical blinkers on completely missing the fact that we are being urged to do something that actually contradicts our official teaching?
Enduring this many missteps in a single meeting while all the while biting one’s tongue to stop from crying out, “But the Emperor has no clothes!” is enough to put anyone into a funk, if not a full-blown depression.