Doubling Down on Faith

– posted by meleti

[An opinion piece]

I recently had a friend break off a decades-long friendship. This drastic choice didn’t result because I attacked some unscriptural JW teaching like 1914 or the “overlapping generations”. In fact, we engaged in no doctrinal discussion at all. The reason he broke it off was because I showed him, using extensive references from our publications as well as Bible references, that I had the right to evaluate the teachings of the Governing Body to see if they fit with Scripture.   His counterarguments contained not a single scripture nor, for that matter, a single reference to our publications. They were entirely based on emotion. He didn’t like the way my reasoning made him feel and so after decades of friendship and meaningful Scriptural discussions, he no longer wants to associate with me.
While this is the most extreme reaction I’ve experienced to date, its underlying cause is hardly rare. The brothers and sisters are now strongly conditioned to think that questioning any teaching of the Governing Body is tantamount to questioning Jehovah God. (To be sure, questioning God is ridiculous, even though Abraham got away with it without being called presumptuous. Were he alive today, questioning the Governing Body the way he addressed Almighty God, I am certain he’d be disfellowshipped. At the very least, we’d have a file on him in the Service Desk archives. – Genesis 18:22-33)
From reading the comments on this forum and the posts on I’ve come to see that my former friend’s reaction is now commonplace. While there have always been incidents of extreme zealotry in our Organization, they were isolated. No longer. Things have changed. Brothers are afraid to voice anything that might hint at discord or doubt. There is more of the atmosphere of a police state than that of a loving and understanding brotherhood.   For those who feel I am being melodramatic, I suggest a little experiment: In this week’s Watchtower study, when the question for paragraph 12 is asked, think about raising your hand and saying that the article has it wrong, that the Bible at Judges 4:4,5 clearly says Deborah, not Barak, was the one judging Israel in those days. If you were to take such a step (I’m not encouraging it, only suggesting you think about it and get the feel of your own reaction to the idea), do you think you’d leave the meeting without being approached be one of the elders?
I believe something happened in 2010. A tipping point was reached. That’s the year our new understanding of “this generation” was released. [i] (Mt 24:34)
During the last half of the Twentieth Century, we had a new understanding of “this generation” about once per decade, ending in the mid-Nineties with the declaration that Mt. 24:34 could not be used as a means to determine just how long the last days would be.[ii] None of these reinterpretations (or “adjustments” as we euphemistically like to call them) had a major effect on the mental attitude of the brothers and sisters. There were no district convention and circuit assembly parts encouraging us to accept the latest understanding as there have been for the new “overlapping generations” doctrine. I think in part this was because, while eventually proven wrong, each “adjustment” seemed at the time to make Scriptural sense.
This is no longer the case. Our current teaching has no scriptural foundation at all. Even from a secular viewpoint, it makes no sense. Nowhere in English nor Greek literature is the idea of a single generation corresponding to two disparate but overlapping generations to be found. It is nonsense and any reasonable mind will see that right away. In fact, a great many of us did and therein lies the problem. While the previous teaching could be put down to human error—men just trying their best to make sense of something—this latest teaching is clearly a fabrication; a contrivance, and not a particularly artful one either. (2 Pe 1:16)
Back in 2010, many of us came to see that the Governing Body was capable of making stuff up. The ramifications of that realization were nothing short of earthshattering. What else had they made up? What else were we wrong about?
Things only got worse after the October, 2012 Annual Meeting. We were told that the Governing Body was the Faithful and Discreet Slave of Mt. 24:45-47. Many began to see a pattern that explained the rash interpretation of Matthew 24:34, for it was again being used to instill the idea that the end was very near indeed. We are taught that if we’re not in the Organization when the end comes, we’ll die. To stay in the Organization, we have to believe, support and obey the Governing Body. This point was driven home with the release of the July 15, 2013 Watchtower, which further explained the newly exalted status of the Governing Body. Jesus chose them in 1919 as his one Faithful and Discrete Slave. Complete and unconditional obedience to men is now being demanded in God’s name. “Listen, Obey and Be Blessed” is the clarion cry.

The Present Scenario

Jehovah’s Witnesses refer to each other as being “in the truth”. We alone have the truth. To learn that some of our most cherished truths are the product of human invention pulls the rug out from under our self-assured feet. All our lives, we’ve imagined ourselves sailing on this divinely constructed life-saving Organization Ark amid the turbulent seas of humanity. Suddenly, our eyes are opened to the realization we are on an old leaky fishing trawler; one of many of varying sizes, but equally decrepit and unseaworthy. Do we stay on board? Jump ship and take our chances in the open sea? Board another vessel? It is noteworthy that the first question everyone asks at this point is, Where else can I go?
It seems at first that we are faced with only four options:

  • Jump in the ocean by rejecting our beliefs and way of life.[iii]

  • Hop another boat by joining another church.

  • Pretend the leaks aren’t that bad by ignoring everything and biding-our-time.

  • Pretend it still is the solid ark we always believed it was by doubling down on our faith and blindly accepting everything.

There is a fifth option, but that isn’t evident to most at first, so we’ll come back to it later.
The first option means throwing the baby out with the bath water. We want to draw closer to Christ and our Father, Jehovah; not abandon them.
I know of a missionary who chose the second option and now travels the world performing faith healings and preaching about the Godhead.
For the truth-loving Christian, options 1 and 2 are off the table.
Option 3 may seem appealing, but it is simply not sustainable. Cognitive dissonance will kick in, steal joy and tranquility, and eventually drive us to choose another option. Nevertheless, most of us start out on option 3 before moving elsewhere.

Option 4 – Aggressive Ignorance

And so we come to Option 4, which it seems is the go-to choice for a significant number of our brothers and sisters. We might term this option, “Aggressive Ignorance”, for it is not a rational choice. In fact, it is not really a conscious choice at all, since it cannot survive honest introspection based on love of truth. It is a choice based on emotion, made out of fear, and therefore cowardly.

“But as for the cowards...and all the liars, their portion will be in the lake . . .” (Re 21:8)
“Outside are the dogs...and everyone liking and carrying on a lie.’” (Re 22:15)

By means of this aggressive ignorance,[iv] these believers seek to resolve the internal conflict inherent in option 3 by doubling down on their faith and accepting anything and everything the Governing Body has to say as if it were coming from God’s own mouth. In doing so they surrender their conscience to man.  This same mentality is what allows the soldier on the battlefield to kill his fellow man. It is the same mentality that allowed the crowd to stone Stephen. The same mentality that made the Jews guilty of killing the Christ. (Acts 7:58, 59; 2:36-38)
One of the things a human cherishes above all else is his or her own self-image. Not the way he truly is, but the way he sees himself and imagines the world sees him. (To some degree we all engage in this self-deception as a means of preserving our sanity.[v]) As Jehovah’s Witnesses, our self-image is tied to our entire doctrinal framework. We are the ones who will survive when the world is destroyed. We are better than everyone else, because we have the truth and God is blessing us. It doesn’t matter how the world views us, because their opinion doesn’t matter. Jehovah loves us because we have the truth and that’s all that matters.
All that comes crashing down if we don’t have the truth.

Doubling Down on Faith

“Doubling down” is a gambling term, and gambling has very much to do with the state of mind these brothers and sisters adopt. In Blackjack, a player may choose to “double down” by doubling his bet with the proviso that he can only accept one more card. Essentially, he stands to win twice as much or lose twice as much, all based on a one-card draw.
Fear of realizing that everything we have believed in and hoped for and dreamed of all our lives is in jeopardy causes many to shut down their thinking process. By accepting everything the Governing Body teaches as gospel these ones seek to resolve the conflict and save their dreams, hopes, even their self-worth. This is a very fragile mental state. It is not made of silver or gold, but of thin glass. (1 Cor. 3:12) It will not countenance any doubt; so anyone raising a doubt, even an insignificant one, has to be put down immediately. Rational thought based on sound Scriptural reasoning is to be avoided at all costs.
You cannot be affected by an argument you do not hear. You cannot be persuaded by a fact you do not know. To protect themselves from truths that might shatter their worldview, these ones create and enforce a climate that disallows any reasonable dialog.   This is what we face nowadays in the Organization.

A Lesson from the First Century

None of this is new. When the apostles first began to preach, there was an incident in which they cured a 40-year-old man lame from birth and well known to all the people. The Sanhedrin leaders recognized this was “a noteworthy sign”—one they could not deny. Still, the ramification was unacceptable. This sign meant the Apostles had God’s backing. That meant the priests had to give up their cherished leadership role and follow the Apostles. This was clearly not an option for them, so they ignored the evidence and used threats and violence to try to silence the apostles.
These same tactics are now being used to silence a growing number of sincere Christians amongst Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The Fifth Option

Some of us, after struggling through option 3, have come to the realization that faith isn’t about belonging to some organization. We have come to realize that a relationship with Jesus and Jehovah does not require submission to a human authority structure. In fact, quite the opposite, for such a structure hinders our worship. As we grow in understanding of how to have a personal familial relationship with God, we naturally want to share our newfound enlightenment with others. That is when we start to run into the kind of oppression that the apostles encountered from the Jewish leaders of their day.
How can we deal with this? While the elders don’t have the power to flog and imprison those who speak the truth, they can still intimidate, threaten and even expel such ones. Expulsion means that the disciple of Jesus is cut off from all family and friends, leaving him alone. He may even be forced out of his home and suffer economically—as has been the case with many.
How can we protect ourselves while still seeking out those “sighing and groaning” so as to share with them the wonderful hope that has opened up to us, the opportunity to be called children of God? (Ezekiel 9:4; John 1:12)
We will explore that in our next article.
[i] Actually, the first hint of our new understanding came in the Feb. 15, 2008 Watchtower. While the study article introduced the idea that the generation didn’t refer to the wicked generation of people living during the last days, but rather to Jesus’ anointed followers, the really controversial element was consigned to a sidebar statement. Thus it went largely unnoticed. It appears that the Governing Body was testing the waters with the box on page 24 which read, “The time period during which “this generation” lives seems to correspond to the period covered by the first vision in the book of Revelation. (Rev. 1:10-3:22) This feature of the Lord’s day extends from 1914 until the last of the faithful anointed ones dies and is resurrected.”
[ii] w95 11/1 p. 17 par. 6 A Time to Keep Awake
[iii] We ask people to do this all the time, abandon their false religious beliefs for “the truth”. However, when the shoe is on the other foot, we find that it pinches our toes.
[iv] ‘Constructive Blindness’ is another way of describing this mentality
[v] One is reminded of a stanza from Robbie Burns famous poem “To a Louse”:

And would some Power the small gift give us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:
What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
And even devotion!

Archived Comments

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  • Comment by Chris on 2014-10-04 10:58:47

    This is why I've began studying the Studies in the Scriptures by CT Russell. They don't believe in organization and they believe many thing that we do. Try it. Bible Students are awesome. :)

    • Reply by Dorcas on 2014-10-04 17:03:12

      Yes, Chris, Bible Students are awesome. I've had some in my family. The problem encountered is that they also cling to teachings of man, that man being Russell and therein lies the problem. We would be exchanging one set of false ideas for another. That is simply my opinion since I am familiar with their teachings and I mean no offense.
      What I'm trying to do is read my Bible more without the influence and direction of any religious group, in essence letting God's spirit direct me. This site has been particularly encouraging in that endeavor.
      Thank you Meleti, for another fine article. I'm also sorry your friend has forsaken you. Very troubling but to be expected. To quote my grandma, "we are in a pickle, aren't we?" Hopefully we can arrive at answers that please God and ourselves.

      • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2014-10-04 19:29:39

        I concur with Dorcas on this Chris. Being freed from the teachings of men in the form of the JW Governing Body, I do not want to put on another form of bondage. By means of the BIble, I am learning to submit to the will of the Father only. That is the only form of submission that grants, ironically, true freedom.

  • Comment by Bill Noble on 2014-10-04 18:50:24

    Hi, I've been associated with the Witnesses since 1952 (as a child ) I was never disfellowshipped or disassociated I just stopped attending the meetings. Recently having bible discussions with two old friends who are witnesses (not a bible study) we have been thrashing out a lot of doctrines, historical facts etc.and thinking i was over all my fears and guilt for leaving in the first place thet have all come flooding back. Firstly I really need to commend you and your associates for the courage in providing this wonderful site, I have read everything since you started it and everything makes so much sense.
    I'm really scared right now, i never experienced this uncertainty when I stopped associating a number of years ago.
    Everything seems to point to the falseness of this organisation and when i question them i seem to get pet answers all the time. For example the other day i asked, Who will survive armageddon? Answer - well Jehovah is the judge only he knows. I had to push for an answer and they finally admitted the requirement for survival is to remain in union with the GB and follow their lead. WHY DIDN'T THEY TELL ME THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE.. I knew this should have been the answer but had to squeeze it out of them.
    Many aren't aware of the organisations checkered past or even the change in doctrines over the years and when you bring these up it seems to go over their heads. Now having said all this why am i feeling this self doubt, this is a dillema they still have so much control over me. Perhaps they are right, after all who am I.
    I'm really scared I'll make the wrong decision and am very troubled at the moment.
    Please help me or perhaps some advice. I have prayed a lot over this.
    Thanking you,

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2014-10-04 19:57:02

      Thank you for that interesting comment Bill. I understand where you are coming from because I experienced that same fear when I first started down this road of discovery. Only very recently can I say that I feel truly and finally free of it. I've come to realize that the fear we experienced was due to conditioning and that it is one more proof that we were on the wrong path.
      18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he loved us first. (1 John 4:18, 19 NET Bible)
      The NWT renders this "fear exercises a restraint". While not as accurate, I believe, as the NET and other translations, the idea is sound that fear of punishment is not the motivation that draws us to God. The WT Society uses guilt and fear as chief motivating factors. Not so the Bible. There we have words like these:
      “Who will separate us from the love of the Christ?” (Ro 8:35)
      “For the love the Christ has compels us....” (2Co 5:14)
      “to know the love of the Christ which surpasses knowledge, that YOU may be filled with all the fullness that God gives.” (Eph 3:19)
      “But speaking the truth, let us by love grow up in all things into him who is the head, Christ.” (Eph 4:15)
      “But the undeserved kindness of our Lord abounded exceedingly along with faith and love that is in connection with Christ Jesus.” (1Ti 1:14)

      Love is truly the way to God through the Christ. We learn to love because he loved us first. Love endures all things. Not so fear. I'm reminded of the warning Jehovah gave to the Israelites about false prophets: “With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it. You must not get frightened at him.’” (De 18:22) The false prophet's power comes from inducing fear in his listeners. They're afraid he may be right and so are motivated to listen and obey. But Jehovah does not motivate out of fear. That is how the devil and man govern. God's government is based on love. So you need to work to develop love for Christ and that love when it has been made perfect will cast fear outside.
      Do not be fooled by the works of men that may appear to be godly. In Paul's day there were those who were preaching Christ, but not in an approved way.

      “True, some are preaching the Christ through envy and rivalry, but others also through goodwill. 16 The latter are publicizing the Christ out of love, for they know I am set here for the defense of the good news; 17 but the former do it out of contentiousness, not with a pure motive, for they are supposing to stir up tribulation [for me] in my [prison] bonds.” (Php 1:15-17)

      Delve into the Scriptures. Be absorbed in them. Then the love of the Christ for you will become evident and shield you from the fear that man would induce as a means of control.

      • Reply by Bill Noble on 2014-10-06 22:44:25

        I just discovered Meleti, you have been serving Jehovah for 6 decades!!! Where on earth did you find the courage. Hats off to you my friend

        • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2014-10-07 09:28:28

          I didn't find it. It was supplied to me as it is to all of us, each one in proportion to his or her needs.
          “. . .In turn, my God will fully supply all YOUR need to the extent of his riches in glory by means of Christ Jesus.” (Php 4:19)
          “. . .; if anyone ministers, [let him minister] as dependent on the strength that God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. . . .” (1Pe 4:11)
          Our Father is glorified through Jesus Christ by the power invested in us, weak and beggarly vessels made precious by God's grace.
          There are times I tire of swimming upstream, but the encouragement you all provide is also a factor that keeps me--indeed, keeps us all of us--going.

    • Reply by Andrew on 2014-10-04 21:21:22

      The uncertainly is normal. Any one undergoing a journey such as yours is bound to experience fear. I certainly did when I first began to free myself from the authority of humans. It slowly fades as you began to realize that your relationship to Jehovah and Christ cannot be undermined by any human, not matter what their position. My wife is now undergoing the same journey, and even though I have tried to use my own experience to assure her not to fear, she still experiences periods where she wonders if she still must "comply." But over time, her fear is being replaced by the wonderful realization that she has freedom to worship Jehovah without being bound by man-made rules. It is the greatest feeling in the world! Being indoctrinated for decades in the belief that obedience to an organization is the way to salvation is hard to free yourself from.
      Be patient. Don't make any rash decisions. And don't burn any bridges, especially with those Witnesses (such as those on this site) who are ready and willing to help you along your journey without judging you. Having respectful discussions about Bible topics without fear of reprisal is one way to make the journey less frightening.
      Read Romans 8:38 and 39 and perhaps for the first time (like happened to me a few months ago), realize that you belong to Jehovah, whether or not you follow man-made rules and regulations. It will iift you up !
      You are loved and cherished by Jehovah and Christ, and I think the vast majority of those participating in this blog wish you well as we all continue to grow in our knowledge of the truth.

    • Reply by Lawrence L. on 2014-10-06 08:30:38

      Bill,as the lyric in the song "Hotel California" says "you can check out but you can never leave".Or words to that effect.

  • Comment by Bill Noble on 2014-10-04 22:23:33

    Meleti and Andrew,
    Thank you both for your kindness and taking time to respond to me. I will continue to follow this site. I have re-read your comments and can't thank you enough for the encouragement and comforting words you have both given me. It's heartwarming to know there are others who have experienced what i am going through.
    Thank you both for your love and kindness. I'll keep you informed of my progress.
    Just one question and hope you don't find this silly. I have been praying a lot and am now wondering who should I adress my prayers to. Of all the deep profound questions I need to ask this one. I start of with dear Jehovah and end up with-in Jesus name amen-. It sometimes feels like I'm simply giving Jesus a sort of token respect. It's ridiculous I know that after all these years I have this uncertainty.
    Please keep up the good work your efforts are much valued and thank you again.

    • Reply by Andrew on 2014-10-04 23:27:47

      I don't think it is a silly question at all. It goes to the heart of how we worship. I am certainly in no position to tell anyone how to pray. I can think of no better advice to give anyone of this subject than the words of Jesus when he laid out the model prayer in Matthew chapter 6. Jesus asked us to pray to the Father. In doing so, I don't think we only giving token respect to Jesus, since we are doing what he asked.
      Recall the account in Luke 18:18, 19 in which Jesus humbly directed all glory to his Father. It is the humility of a person that makes him or her great. In directing our prayers to the Father, I think we are no doubt pleasing Jesus, because his words and actions always showed that he wanted nothing more than to glorify his father more than anything else.

    • Reply by Alex Rover on 2014-10-05 01:14:02

      Bill you pray correct. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father. Continue to do this, and know that Jesus personally will answer your prayer according to the Fathers will, if you ask the Father in Jesus' name. Jesus is our mediator in the fullest sense.
      Worship the Father, kiss the Son.

      • Reply by on 2014-10-05 05:56:21

        When I left the Organisation, in deep distress, like many other brothers and sisters, that is when I began to come to know Jesus Christ. I turned to him and read about him in Matthew and meditated on his teachings. To get to know someone, you have to talk to them and that is what I did. I would go for long walks talking to Jesus Christ, asking for his help and guidance and he answered me. I came to know him as a brother. I feel very close to him in that way, and he gives me comfort and strength, and most important of all, that has helped me to draw closer to my Heavenly Father. So although I didn't "pray" to Jesus, I did speak with him and I still do, but my prayers are directed to my Heavenly Father.

        • Reply by Bill Noble on 2014-10-05 20:34:17

          Yes! I get that point - Jesus wanted nothing more than to glorify his father - and our prayers to Jehovah through Jesus name is jehovahs arrangement in approaching him, Good point Andrew . Just looking further down at annonimous comment.. It never occurred to me we can SPEAK to Jesus, after all he was a human just like us and felt our emotions, our pain,joys and sadness. He understands us.( not saying Jehovah doesn't) but Jesus in a literal sense went through a lot of things we experience in our own daily lives. So from now on I'm going to start speaking to Jesus but direct my prayers to Jehovah.
          You know it's a blessing I discovered this site, just being able to enter into a dialogue with like minded Christians who encourage one another without any hidden agenda. Imagine, It never really occurred to me i can speak to Jesus and in doing so establish a relationship with him, this makes sense and doesn't compromise my exclusive devotion to Jehovah.
          Thank you good people out there.

      • Reply by Jannai40 on 2014-10-05 06:32:06

        When I first left the Organisation, in deep distress, like many other brothers and sisters, that was when I began to come to know Jesus Christ. I turned to him, I read about him in Matthew and meditated on his teachings. To get to know someone you have to talk with them and that is what I did. I went for long walks, talking to Jesus Christ, asking for his help and guidance and he answered me. I came to know him as a brother; I feel very close to him and he gives me comfort and strength, and most important of all that has help me to draw closer to my Heavenly Father. So although I didn't "pray" to Jesus, I did speak with him and I still do. My prayers are directed to my Heavenly Father.

    • Reply by search4truth on 2014-10-06 22:04:12

      Welcome Bill, this may help to answer some of yours questions -

  • Comment by menrov on 2014-10-05 04:52:15

    Thanks Meleti for sharing your experience and for the article. I guess I am about to experience the same as I have decided a while a go to no longer attend the meetings nor to support the field service arrangements. I tried to attend and keep my mouth shut but my mind and conscience made this eventually too difficult. As some in the congregation have now noticed, some have indicated they will come to pay a visit and have a "talk". I guess the end of the visit will mean one "friend" less. I promised my partner to be very modest and to avoid any escalation, in order to support her peace of mind. Overall, I come to the conclusion that actually I have not made real friends, only friendly associations within the JW world. In my view, real friends do always respect you, might disagree with you but in principle will not leave you.
    Anyway, I like to remain positive. When the Father sees me as one of his sons and Jesus sees me as one of his brothers, I will feel strong.
    Regarding the question about prayer, I am still struggling there as well. I know Jesus says that whatever one asks the Father in HIs name, it will be done. As Jesus is our judge, superior to anything created (incl. angels), each one will bend his knees in His [Jesus] name, I do not feel comfortable to just pray to the Father and in the end, like a standard closing line, mention Jesus.
    I compare it to a work situation where your direct teammanager says you can use his name when you are having a discussion with general manager regarding your job, pay or future. It means your teammanager is aware of your request, is supportive and trusts you.
    Hence, I feel that before approaching the Father wit a request, one needs first to have a good relation with Jesus. Jesus must be aware of your needs etc and Jesus must feel comfortable you use His name when approaching the Father.
    It is like stated in John 6:40: NET Bible
    For this is the will of my Father--for everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him to have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
    In other words, the Father directs all people to HIs Son and one can only come to the Father through Jesus. Jesus acts is a sort gatekeeper. The door is opened when one truly believes in the Son and acts accordingly.

  • Comment by Jannai40 on 2014-10-05 06:22:05

    message not sent

    • Reply by Jannai40 on 2014-10-05 06:25:15

      Sorry about that - something wrong with my computer.

      • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2014-10-05 08:28:35

        Not a problem. I saw two messages--duplicates. I deleted the one that was anonymous and approved the one with your name on it. Don't know why it was put into the "awaiting approval" queue, but all's well now.

  • Comment by bobcat3 on 2014-10-05 08:31:44

    You have a skill for assembling into an eloquent discussion the thoughts and experiences that many of us, maybe all of us, have had. I've also seen and experienced this unreasoning, aggressive defense of the GB at all cost.
    My experience came at the hands of a CO. Nowadays, such ones seem to be the sort of 'company men' the GB prefer as COs. They are very nice on the surface, but turn into gestapo the instant they detect any discord with the GB. With me, that sudden transformation on the part of the CO came when I made the statement that 'I trust God and Christ, everyone else has to prove themselves.' (Curiously enough, this was the same statement made by a DO during a talk at a CA a few years previously. Everybody applauded him!)
    I had already been having my eyes opened for a while (one piece at a time). This experience only accelerated the process. But there is no turning back. The things I've learned by allowing my self to question the GB and the organization are too precious to let go of simply to conform to mere men. If only the friends could see what real scriptural "light" there is in the Bible, instead of the contrived 25 watt reading light that they are getting.
    At any rate, I enjoyed this article very much. Thanks again.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2014-10-05 09:24:44

      Thanks for sharing that experience, Bobcat. Amazing how using a statement that was acceptable just a few years ago can now get you into trouble.
      They really don't like their words turned back on them.

      • Reply by on 2014-10-11 20:36:42

        It seems to me there are so many things that can get us into trouble unless we keep them to ourselves. How many Witnesses out there are harbouring doubts but know if even airing them even to close friends they may well lend up before a judicioury committee. We all talk about being in the "truth", I mean can we tell half truths or perhaps maybe not fully tell the truth. Let me give you an example. In recent discussions with the Witnesses the topic of 1914 came up, it was their accepted belief that Jesus set up his kingdom in the heavens and was the "start of the conclusion of the system of things. I brought up the point that the bible students however back then believed that 1914 would actually herald in the CONCLUSION of the system of things (armageddon) not the BEGINNING of the conclusion and being prepared with thIs evidence offered it for their perusal - It says QUOTE -
        "But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble" ."W 1894 July 15
        "The battle of the great day of God Almighty … The date of the close of that "battle" is definitely marked in Scripture as October 1914. It is already in progress, its beginning dating from October, 1874." Zion's Watch Tower 1892 Jan 15 p.23
        So there was the evidence. Not withstanding the quotes from earlier publications. Strangely they didn't know about that teaching back then!
        Anyway fair enough what's the big deal, new truths become available as the light gets brighter and no one can argue with that. My question is Why would "MY" two Witnesses not be aware of that teaching ; pre 1914?
        My conclusion is that the organisation is deliberately attempting to falsify its history Please bear in mind this scripture when reading the quotes below.
        Psalm 101:7
        No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.
        "Jehovah's witnesses pointed to the year 1914, decades in ADVANCE, as marking the START of "the conclusion of the system of things." Awake! 1973 Jan 22 p.8 FALSE
        Jehovah's Witnesses have consistently shown from the Scriptures that the year 1914 marked the BEGINNING of this world's time of the end and that "the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men" has drawn near." Watchtower 1993 Aug 15 p.9 FALSE
        "For over THIRTY YEARS BEFORE THAT DATE and for half a century since, Jehovah's witnesses have pointed to the year 1914 as the time for the end of "the appointed times of the nations" and the time in which Christ would begin his Kingdom rule. (Luke 21:24)" Watchtower 1966 Feb 15 p.103 FALSE
        Now - KNOWING full well that Russel and the bible students taught that 1914 would mark the END of the system of things ie. armageddon, why would the organisation allow the likes of the above comments to be printed in their publications?
        Now you may be aware why my two witness friends did not know about this early teaching.
        COL. 3 9.10 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

  • Comment by miken on 2014-10-05 09:06:52

    Paul thought it proper to pray directly to Jesus see 2 Cor 12:7-10 and Jesus invited us to ask him in his name at John 14:14 see Greek interlinear, NIV and most other translations). This does not mean that we should not also pray to the Father in his name as he indicated (John 15:16). Remember Jesus receives worship recorded in Revelation chapter 5.

    • Reply by Jannai40 on 2014-10-05 11:20:51

      I think the problem is that as JWs we have not been taught correctly about how we should view Jesus Christ and yes the scriptures do say we should pray to him. In the Hebrew scriptures they did use the term worship with regard to others, I think it was one of King David's wives - so maybe different types of worship. Perhaps we all need to learn more about Jesus Christ and having a proper relationship with him - I don't know, but worth looking in to of course.

    • Reply by Alex Rover on 2014-10-05 13:37:32

      Revelation 5:8
      and when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders threw themselves to the ground before the Lamb.
      Is the Lamb worshiped here with worship belong to the Father alone?
      Genesis 23:7
      Then Abraham rose and bowed down [shachah] before the people of the land, the Hittites.
      Genesis 33:3
      He himself [Jacob] went on ahead and bowed down [shachah] to the ground seven times as he approached his brother [Esau].
      Genesis 42:6
      Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the one who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down [shachah] to him with their faces to the ground.
      Matthew 18:26
      “The servant fell on his knees [proskuneo] before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’
      2 Cor 12:7-10
      even because of the extraordinary character of the revelations. Therefore, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble me—so that I would not become arrogant. 8 I asked the Lord three times about this, that it would depart from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. 10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
      Paul had a revelation of Christ himself, where Christ spoke to him directly. Would you say its fair to state that anyone who speaks to Christ automatically worships him or prays to him as well? When the disciples petitioned the man Jesus for things, was this prayer?
      Finally, is it wrong to ask Jesus for things? Does this equate praying? The issue with the word prayer is the context of worship.
      a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.
      Jesus does not receive Monotheistic worship, he receives proskuneo. He can receive requests and answer requests to him, but directs prayer to go the Father. The word prayer is not used in John 14:14. It says 'ask me'. There is no sovereign worship element involved.
      The issue stems from an inadequate rendering of shachah and proskuneo as worship in many translations. If you say proskuneo is worship, then YES Jesus receives worship and prayer. But you must also accept that does not mean he receives sovereign worship and prayer. THAT only goes to the Father.
      If you say proskuneo is not worship, then NO Jesus receives no worship or prayer.

  • Comment by Mailman on 2014-10-05 10:19:12

    I went to the ministry this afternoon together with around 6 of our brothers. I was assigned to lead our group since there's no elder was assigned to ours. Since learning the truth about the truth and not stopping researching and reading materials like these, is it a normal feeling not to be as enthusiastic and joyful in preaching from house to house, or even conducting bible studies, as before? Is it only just me or you also have experienced the mood swings while in the ministry?

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2014-10-05 14:06:51

      Not the ministry because I stick to preaching the Bible and avoid any literature that contradicts it. However, the meetings are getting more and more depressing to attend.

      • Reply by Bill Noble on 2014-10-05 20:47:49

        Funny you should say that Meliti, because the two Witnesses only the other day whom I have been discussing my thoughts with said " Bill if you come back to the Watchtower study on Sunday, you'll probably squirm at the teachings being discussed".
        It seems that's how bad it is

  • Comment by Vassy on 2014-10-05 16:11:06

    Hi Meleti,
    In this post, you again stress the point that the Society is wrong about calling Barak a judge. Perhaps you are right but, again, perhaps not, in light of the following scriptures:
    Judges 2:16, 18 So Jehovah would raise up judges who would save them from the hand of their plunderers. ... Whenever Jehovah did raise up judges for them,+ Jehovah would be with the judge and save them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for Jehovah was moved to pity*+ over their groaning caused by those who oppressed them+ and those who were treating them abusively
    Apparently, the role of the judge was to SAVE THEM FROM the hand of their enemies ALL THE DAYS OF THE JUDGE. This can hardly be the case with Deborah.
    Consider what the WT said on this matter in the WT 80/11/1 p.30 Questions from readers
    Q: In view of Judges 4:4, can Deborah be viewed as one of the judges of ancient Israel, along with Samson, Gideon and others?
    A: The Bible account at Judges 4:4 reads: “Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that particular time.” Earlier, the account at Judges 2:16 says: “Jehovah would raise up judges, and they would save them out of the hand of their pillagers.” Thus the main work of a judge would be to save Israel from their enemies. It appears, then, that the phrase at Judges 4:4 about Deborah “judging Israel at that particular time” does not mean that Deborah was usurping the place of a man and that she was fulfilling all the duties of a judge in Israel. Unlike Samuel, Gideon or other judges she did not judge all Israel and act as their deliverer or “savior.” In fact, at Nehemiah 9:27 the term “saviors” is used rather than “judges.”—Compare Judges 3:9, 15.
    Being a prophetess, Deborah told Barak what Jehovah’s will was in the matter. She was used by Jehovah to call Barak to serve as judge for the overthrow of the enemy. Barak served as the “savior” provided by Jehovah, not Deborah, although Barak asked that Deborah go with him. So it is most unlikely that Deborah performed all the duties usually associated with the office of a judge in Israel, the most prominent of which was leading the tribes in warfare against Jehovah’s enemies.
    Thus, while Deborah can properly be described as a prophetess, it is only in a general sense that she was doing a measure of judging in Israel; she was not taking the full place of a male judge in Israel. Judges 4:5 says: “She was dwelling under Deborah’s palm tree between Ramah and Bethel in the mountainous region of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel would go up to her for judgment.” As for the matter of giving the Israelites Jehovah’s answer to difficult problems that would come up, this she could do because of Jehovah’s spirit being upon her.
    In contrast, Barak certainly was one who effected deliverance for the Israelites. The reasonable conclusion to draw is that Barak was a judge in the full sense of the word, and this is in accord with Hebrews 11:32, where he ranks among the judges of ancient Israel. Thus the book Aid to Bible Understanding, on page 980, in listing the judges of Israel, does not include Deborah.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2014-10-05 17:13:30

      For us to accept that Deborah was not a judge but that Barak was, we have to accept that to be a savior means being a judge, but being a judge does not mean being a savior. Therefore, we have to accept that even though Deborah is shown to be a judge in that she judged Israel, she was not a judge in the official sense because she was not a savior. We must also conclude that any savior also performed the role of Judge. So even though Barak and Ehud are not called judges, and are never depicted performing the role of judging the nation of Israel, they still must have been since they saved Israel from its enemies.
      This is essentially the logic the Question from Readers in the Nov. 1, 1980 Watchtower is using to exclude Deborah from the rank of judge and assign Barak that role. But consider this: Judges 2:16 makes no distinction on the basis of sex. It just says that judges were raised up to save Israel. If Deborah were a man, if the name were, say, "Harry", would we still be excluding him from the role of judge? Of course not. We would have no problem calling him Judge Harry and recognizing his role in saving Israel from King Jabin. We would say that Harry sent for Barak and told him to march to Mount Tabor? Harry even told him how many men to take: 10,000. Barak would not even go unless Harry came along. During the battle, Harry gave Barak further orders, telling him to rise up and chase after Jabin. (vs. 14). Barak was clearly subordinate to Harry in the pecking order. Truly, it is not Scriptural evidence, but male bias that causes us to discount Deborah from the role clearly assigned to her in Judges chapter 4.
      The telltale supporting that comes from the Question from Readers where it says, "It appears, then, that the phrase at Judges 4:4 about Deborah “judging Israel at that particular time” does not mean that Deborah was usurping the place of a man and that she was fulfilling all the duties of a judge in Israel. Unlike Samuel, Gideon or other judges she did not judge all Israel"...
      We diminish her role by stating she did not judge all Israel, when in fact, she did. Or is there something to show that the only judged a part of it? The Bible makes no such distinction. It says she "was judging Israel at that time" and "the Israelites would go up to her for judgment." We believe that if we assign her the full role of judge then that means she was 'usurping a man's role'. How silly! If a woman judging all of Israel would be usurping a man's role, then wouldn't judging part of Israel be the same? Actually, the very premise is based on male bias. If Jehovah was using her as both prophet and judge, then it cannot be a usurpation. If God appoints you to a role, who is man to contest that appointment? Are we to consider that the non-Israelite woman, Jael, was also usurping Barak's role as judge savior when she denied him the glory of the kill?
      It is a very interesting account. Jehovah chose a women as a prophet, not a man. He chose a woman as a judge, not a man. In all of Israel, was there not a man to serve as prophet? As Judge? Further, Jehovah chose a woman to have the glory of the kill. The whole account seems to be a rebuke to the men of Israel.
      I think that perhaps Jehovah was trying to make a point that to this day we are missing.
      (Incidentally, as for the reference to Hebrews 11:32, it is a misapplication. Hebrews 11 lists persons of faith, not judges. If Barak is a judge by being ranked among judges in vs. 32 then by the same logic, David and Samuel were also judges, yet we know they were not. However, everyone listed in that verse was an outstanding example of faith, which is the point of the whole chapter.)

      • Reply by anderestimme on 2014-10-07 12:52:39

        As in the case of the word "generation", when a clear statement in God's word doesn't fit our organizational needs or viewpoint, it's the word of God that must change.
        Wasn't there something in Revelation 22 about that?

  • Comment by on 2014-10-05 17:03:23

    "They must find it difficult...those who have taken authority as truth rather than truth as authority." G. Massey- Egyptologist

    • Reply by Samaritan Woman on 2014-10-06 19:38:34

      I love this quote for so many reasons....

      • Reply by billy on 2014-10-07 19:23:38

        I love this quote also
        it succinctly pinpoints what has happened to the WT society - they started out searching for truth but down the track their self appointed authority has hijacked the definition of truth and instead of apologizing when their truth turned out to be untruth they justify themselves and promote more untruth
        (truth - fact, certainty, reality)

  • Comment by ¿Wheresenoch? on 2014-10-05 19:11:07

    Whats interesting also is the article in the Oct. 1st wt page 8 (public edition) which states how wise it is 2" be cautious instead of believing everything you hear. Prov. 14:15". Even ironically comparing it with the ancient Beroeans . Additionally going so far as 2 'warmly invite' (challenge) interested ones 2 compare JW beliefs with the Bible. What unsuspecting potential recruits dont realize, is that invite has an expiration date attached. It is only valid up until the interested ones join the school & apply 4 baptism. At that point a 'Beroean attitude' can & will be used against you! Hence the 2 opposite messages & reason behind 2 versions of Wt. Public-ask all the questions you can think of... Private-just do as youre told of suffer consequences...

  • Comment by Bill Noble on 2014-10-05 20:41:20

    That's excellent reasoning Wheresenoch, very well put

  • Comment by Lawrence L. on 2014-10-06 01:52:11

    Option 2 : Hop another boat by joining another church.
    I was associated with the local Kingdom Hall for years but unbaptized.I chose Option 2.Been attending a Baptist church for the past few months.Since God through Jesus saves us individually therefore I don't really care whether they believe in the Trinity or not.Moreover,the people there are really nice & the pastor & elder told me they couldn't possibly be expected to have all the answers/truths.I'm encouraged to learn together with them & comment at their bible discussion sessions.When I gave "apostate" comments at the Kingdom Hall ,i.e. those viewpoints that were not in line with the WTBTS teaching,the elders didn't like it.Eventually,I was barred from commenting at the meetings.
    Whether the trinity doctrine is right or wrong I believe it's the sincerity of our heart that God sees.
    Option 6 : which is Option 2 with our own choice of "toppings" & "flavors".Church being the base.

  • Comment by InNeedOfGrace on 2014-10-06 13:08:44

    Meleti you will like this one ;)
    "Deb′o·rah is a prophetess. Jehovah gives her information about the future, and then she tells the people what Jehovah says. Deb′o·rah is also a judge. She sits under a certain palm tree in the hill country, and people come to her to get help with their problems." - My book of bible stories Story 50
    At least they got it straight there

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2014-10-06 13:44:06

      I think I should make "My Book of Bible Stories" part of my regular reading. :)
      Thanks, InNeedOfGrace.

      • Reply by InNeedOfGrace on 2014-10-06 17:16:07

        They can try to con adults with she judges but isn't a judge, but they can't con kids.
        HAHAHAHA ;)

  • Comment by Samaritan Woman on 2014-10-06 19:37:41

    I was talking to my mother, who is not baptized, about some concerns I had and she brought up that without the JW she would have never understood the Bible. Then when on to say that there is no where else to go ( there was more but this was 2 weeks ago and my brain is getting dusty) So I responded that no what it says is
    John 1:67-69 "Therefore Jesus said to the twelve: “YOU do not want to go also, do YOU?” 68 Simon Peter answered him: “Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life; 69 and we have believed and come to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
    Her response was that I was taking it too literally. Now color me confused but there is a big difference between "Whom" and "Where" I left it at that because she came from a very bad catholic upbringing and the JW comparably are a breath of fresh air. But this is what we struggle with. Letting others interpret the scriptures and tell us what they say instead of letting them speak for themselves.

  • Comment by Katrina on 2014-10-07 03:36:52

    Hi Mailman. No it is not just you, I used to love the preaching work and have had many bible studies, three baptised and others associated from time to time, I loved preaching and teaching because I truly with all my heart believed everything that I was teaching, any info asked and I had no answer I would always consult the WT material believing with all my heart that everything said was 100% true.
    Then when I found out all what I know as many of you on here do as well, it has affected my ministry that I don't find joy at all going door to door and on r/v, my hours are very low and I am being shunned by some because of it, I don't like the NWT bible, I have so many problems with this and don't like using this version in the ministry either, I guess I have to get my attitude right, and realise that its the preaching of Christ impaled and the hope of salvation through faith in his sacrifice, I have done this at the doors only to be questioned by a few, for not using the WT magazines, and in a discussion one sister turned around and said "oh your all for Jesus".
    So this to has become a no joy experience, what I do now is just when I do go which is not often, I use the model prayer and talk about Christ's about God as a Father, and the hope of Christs kingdom to come.
    Being like the Boreans is not being like the average JW, to them being a borean is consulting the WT for all answers and all the answers cannot be challenged.
    It takes courage to be a Borean, and that means stepping outside of the WT speak and using the word of God aright, relying not on our own strength but holy spirit, this will bring us joy again!!

    • Reply by menrov on 2014-10-07 05:24:00

      Hi Katrina, I fully understand and I experience the same: do not want to use magazines, do not really like NWT and want to tell people about Jesus and the good news of the kingdom. As this is not the way a JW does his service, I lost my joy and for decided not to join them anymore. I plan go with my wife every now and then. Also, I am looking for alternative ways to evangelize, but have not been successful yet.
      Keep up the good spirit !!!

    • Reply by billy on 2014-10-07 18:06:13

      Hello Katrina
      I have a burning desire to share the message and help as many people as i can turn to Jehovah and Christ Jesus - but my conscience bothers me too much to go out door to door with Jehovhs Witnesses - i feel im deceiving people to believe in a system that i have important disagreements with and i am not allowed by the ruling class of this religion to live by my conscience and be accepted in good standing and possibly be ex communicated for my conscientous stand im in the process of exploring other ways of sharing the message - i know already that actions speak louder than words and the bible says we can win people over without a word - following Jesus example is a good place to start - he helped people physically and spiritually the two went hand in hand - we cant perform the same sort of miricales but we can always be on the lookout to help others and use it as an opportunity to share the spiritual message of the Christ - how do other religions gain converts? - there are many other christian groups growing in numbers that dont go door to door - many do it informally - speaking to people at work and recreation - even the witnesses encourage informal witnessing then we can direct these people to the Christ - i do miss gathering together with fellow chrisitans - and would love to go to a gathering where true chrisianity is practiced - but only have that on the internet for now

  • Comment by Dealing with Persecution | Beroean Pickets on 2014-10-08 09:59:09

    […] [This is a continuation to the article, “Doubling Down on Faith”] […]

  • Comment by Katrina on 2014-10-11 09:16:17

    "It is important, then, that you "keep testing whether you are in the faith," as Paul declared. Keep checking to see whether the things you believe are in keeping with God's Word. But the question is, Are you willing to put your religion through such a test? There is nothing to fear, because if you have the right religion you can only be reassured by the examination. And if what you believe is not in keeping with the Bible, then you should welcome the truth, because it leads to light and life." Watchtower 1958 May 1 p.261 Is Your Religion the Right One?
    No one should be forced to worship in a way that he finds unacceptable or be made to choose between his beliefs and his family."
    Awake! 2009 July p.29 (p.28)

  • Comment by GodsWordIsTruth on 2016-12-07 16:33:26

    I guess I am not alone Meleti. It's hard when people desert you . All of your articles are extremely progressive in 2004 .
    Including the article on what I believe will be a landmark discussion othe LOGOS series .DTT was started that year with you and the Brothers.
    You stayed the Course and You are fighting the Good fight. That is why your ReWard is Sure.

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