[This is a continuation to the article, “Doubling Down on Faith”]
Before Jesus came on the scene, the nation of Israel was ruled by a governing body made up of the priests in coalition with other powerful religious groups like the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees. This governing body had added to the law code so that Jehovah’s law given through Moses had become a burden on the people. These men loved their wealth, their position of prestige and their power over the people. They viewed Jesus as a threat to all they held dear. They wanted to do away with him, but they had appear righteous in doing so. Therefore, they had to discredit Jesus first. They used various tactics in their attempts to do so, but all failed.
The Sadducees came at him with baffling questions to confuse him only to learn that things which confounded them were child’s play for this spirit directed man. How easily he defeated their best attempts. (Mt 22:23-33; 19:3) The Pharisees, always concerned with issues of authority, tried loaded questions set up in such a way as to trap Jesus no matter how he answered—or so they thought. How effectively he turned the tables on them. (Mt 22:15-22) With each failure these wicked opposers descended into more unscrupulous tactics, such as fault finding, implying they broke with accepted custom, launching personal attacks and slandering his character. (Mt 9:14-18; Mt 9:11-13; 34) All their evil machinations came to naught.
Instead of repenting, they sank still deeper into wickedness. They wished to do away with him but could not with the crowds around, for they saw him as a prophet. They needed a betrayer, someone who could take them to Jesus under cover of darkness so they could arrest him in secret. They found such man in Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles. Once they had Jesus in custody, they held an illegal and secret night court, denying him his legal right to counsel. It was a sham of a trial, full of contradictory testimony and hearsay evidence. In an attempt to keep Jesus off balance, they badgered him with accusatory and probing questions; accused him of being presumptuous; insulted and slapped him. Their attempts to provoke him into self-incrimination also failed. Their desire was to find some legal pretext to do away with him. They needed to appear righteous, so the appearance of legality was crucial. (Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; John 18:12-24)
In all of this, they were fulfilling prophecy:
“. . .“Like a sheep he was brought to the slaughter, and like a lamb that is silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. 33 During his humiliation, justice was taken away from him. . . .” (Ac 8:32, 33 NWT)
Dealing with Persecution the Way Our Lord Did
As Jehovah’s Witnesses we are frequently told to expect persecution. The Bible says that if they persecuted Jesus, then in the same way they would persecute his followers. (John 15:20; 16:2)
Have you ever been persecuted? Have you ever been challenged with loaded questions? Abused verbally? Accused of acting presumptuously? Has your character been sullied by slander and false accusations based on hearsay and gossip? Have men in authority every tried you in a secret session, denying you the support of family and the counsel of friends?
I’m sure that such things have happened to my JW brothers at the hands of men from other Christian denominations as well as by secular authorities, but I can’t name any offhand. However, I can give you numerous examples of such things happening within the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses at the hands of elders. Jehovah’s Witnesses are happy when they are the ones being persecuted because that means glory and honor. (Mt 5:10-12) However, what does it say about us when we are the ones doing the persecuting?
Let us say you’ve shared some Scriptural truth with a friend—truth that contradicts something the publications teach. Before you know it, there’s a knock on your door and two of the elders are there for a surprise visit; or you may be at the meeting and one of the elders asks if you could step into the library as they wish to chat with you for a few minutes. Either way, you’re caught off guard; made to feel like you’ve done something wrong. You’re on the defensive.
Then they ask you a direct, probing question like, “Do you believe the Governing Body is the faithful and discreet slave?” or “Do you believe Jehovah God is using the Governing Body to feed us?”
All our training as Jehovah’s Witnesses is to use the Bible to reveal truth. At the door, when asked a direct question, we whip out the Bible and show from Scripture what the truth really is. When under pressure, we fall back on training. While the world may not accept the authority of God’s word, we reason that surely those taking the lead among us will. How emotionally traumatic it has been for countless brothers and sisters to realize this is simply not the case.
Our instinct to defend our position from scripture the way we do at the door is ill-advised in this type of situation. We have to train ourselves beforehand to resist this inclination and instead imitate our Lord who used different tactics when dealing with opposers. Jesus forewarned us by saying, “Look! I am sending YOU forth as sheep amidst wolves; therefore prove yourselves cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves.” (Mt 10:16) These wolves were foretold to appear within the flock of God. Our publications teach us that these wolves exist outside our congregations amidst the false religions of Christendom. Yet Paul corroborates Jesus’ words at Acts 20:29, showing that these men are within the Christian congregation. Peter tells us not to be surprised by this.
“. . .Beloved ones, do not be puzzled at the burning among YOU, which is happening to YOU for a trial, as though a strange thing were befalling YOU. 13 On the contrary, go on rejoicing forasmuch as YOU are sharers in the sufferings of the Christ, that YOU may rejoice and be overjoyed also during the revelation of his glory. 14 If YOU are being reproached for the name of Christ, YOU are happy, because the [spirit] of glory, even the spirit of God, is resting upon YOU.” (1Pe 4:12-14 NWT)
How Jesus Deal with Loaded Questions
A loaded question is not asked to gain greater understanding and wisdom, but rather to ensnare a victim.
Since we are called to be “sharers in the sufferings of the Christ”, we can learn from his example in dealing with the wolves that used such questions to trap him. First, we need to adopt his mental attitude. Jesus did not allow these opposers to make him feel defensive, as if he were the one in the wrong, the one needing to justify his actions. Like him, we should be “innocent as doves”. An innocent person is not aware of any wrongdoing. He cannot be made to feel guilty because he is innocent. Therefore, there is no reason for him to act defensively. He will not play into the hands of opposers by giving a direct answer to their loaded questions. That is where being as “cautious as serpents” comes in.
Here is but one example for our consideration and instruction.
“Now after he went into the temple, the chief priests and the older men of the people came up to him while he was teaching and said: “By what authority do you do these things? And who gave you this authority?”” (Mt 21:23 NWT)
They believed Jesus was acting presumptuously because they had been appointed by God to rule the nation, so by what authority did this upstart presume to take their place?
Jesus answered with a question.
“I, also, will ask YOU one thing. If YOU tell it to me, I also will tell YOU by what authority I do these things: 25 The baptism by John, from what source was it? From heaven or from men?” (Mt 21:24, 25 NWT)
This question put them in a difficult situation. If they said from heaven, they could not deny Jesus’ authority also came from heaven since his works were greater than John’s. Yet, if they said “from men”, they had the crowd to worry about for they all held John to be a prophet. So they chose to be nonresponsive by answering, “We do not know.”
To which Jesus replied, “Neither am I telling YOU by what authority I do these things.” (Mt. 21:25-27 NWT)
They believed their position of authority granted them the right to ask probing questions of Jesus. It did not. He refused to answer.
Applying the Lesson Jesus Taught
How should you respond if two elders were to pull you aside to ask you a loaded questions like:
- “Do you believe Jehovah is using the Governing Body to direct his people?”
- “Do you accept that the Governing Body is the Faithful Slave?”
- “Do you think you know more than the Governing Body?”
These questions are not asked because the elders are seeking enlightenment. They are loaded and as such are much like a grenade with the pin pulled out. You can fall on it, or you can toss it back to them by asking something like, “Why are you asking me this?”
Perhaps they’ve heard something. Perhaps someone has gossiped about you. Based on the principle of 1 Timothy 5:19,[i] they need two or more witnesses. If they have only hearsay and no witnesses, then they are wrong to even question you. Point out to them that they are breaking a direct command of God’s word. If they persist in asking, you can respond that it would be wrong to enable them in a course of sin by answering questions they have been told by God not to ask, and again refer to 1 Timothy 5:19.
They will likely counter that they just wanted to get your side of the story, or hear your opinion before proceeding. Do not be seduced into giving it. Instead, tell them that your opinion is that they need to follow the direction of the Bible as found at 1 Timothy 5:19. They may very well get upset with you for continuing to go back to that well, but what of it? That means they are getting upset with direction from God.
Avoid Foolish and Ignorant Questionings
We cannot plan a response for every potential question. There are just too many possibilities. What we can do is train ourselves to follow a principle. We can never go wrong by obeying a command of our Lord. The Bible says to avoid “foolish and ignorant questionings, knowing they produce fights”, and promoting the idea that the Governing Body speaks for God is both foolish and ignorant. (2 Tim. 2:23) So if they ask us a loaded question, we do not argue, but ask them for justification.
To provide an example:
Elder: “Do you believe the Governing Body is the faithful and discreet slave?”
You: “Do you?”
Elder: “Of course, but I want to know what you think?”
You: “Why do you believe they are the faithful slave?”
Elder: “So you’re saying you don’t believe it?”
You: “Please don’t put words in my mouth. Why do you believe that the Governing Body is the faithful and discreet slave?”
Elder: “You know as well as I do?”
You: “Why do you deflect my question? Never mind, this discussion is becoming unpleasant and I think we should put an end to it.”
At this point, you stand up and start to leave.
The Abuse of Authority
You may fear that by not answering their questions, they will just go ahead and disfellowship you anyway. That is always a possibility, though they need to provide justification for it or they will look very foolish when the appeal committee reviews the case, since you will have given them no evidence on which to base their decision. Nevertheless, they can still abuse their authority and do as they wish. The only sure way to avoid disfellowshipping is to compromise your integrity and admit that the unscriptural teachings you have a problem with are really true after all. Bending the knee in submission is what these men are really seeking from you.
18th Century Scholar Bishop Benjamin Hoadley said:
“Authority is the greatest and most irreconcilable enemy to truth and argument that this world ever furnished. All the sophistry–all the color of plausibility–the artifice and cunning of the subtlest disputer in the world may be laid open and turned to the advantage of that very truth which they are designed to hide; but against authority there is no defence.”
Fortunately, the ultimate authority lies with Jehovah and those who abuse their authority will one day answer to God for it.
In the meantime, we must not give way to fear.
Silence is Golden
What if the matter escalates? What if a friend betrays you by revealing a confidential discussion. What if the elders imitate the Jewish leaders who arrested Jesus and take you into a secret meeting. Like Jesus, you may find yourself all alone. No one will be allowed to witness the proceedings even if you request it. No friends or family will be allowed to accompany you for support. You will be badgered with questions. Often, hearsay testimony will be taken as evidence. This is a common circumstance and is eerily like what our Lord experienced on his last night.
The Jewish leaders condemned Jesus for blasphemy, though no man has ever been less guilty of that charge. Their modern day counterparts will try to charge you with apostasy. This will be a travesty of law, of course, but they need something to hang their legal hat on.
In such a situation, we should not make their lives easier.
In the same situation, Jesus refused to answer their questions. He gave them nothing. He was following his own counsel.
“Do not give what is holy to dogs, neither throw YOUR pearls before swine, that they may never trample them under their feet and turn around and rip YOU open.” (Mt 7:6 NWT)
It may seem shocking and even insulting to suggest that this scripture could apply to a committee hearing within the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but the results of many such encounters between elders and truth-seeking Christians demonstrates this to be an accurate application of these words. He surely had in mind the Pharisees and Sadducees when he gave his disciples this warning. Remember that members of each of those groups were Jews, and therefore fellow servants of Jehovah God.
If we throw our pearls of wisdom before such men, they will not prize them, they will trample upon them, then turn on us. We hear accounts of Christians who try to reason from the Scriptures with a judicial committee, but the committee members will not even open the Bible to follow the reasoning. Jesus gave up his right to silence only at the very end, and this only so that the scripture might be fulfilled, for he had to die for the salvation of mankind. Truly, he was humiliated and justice was taken away from him. (Ac 8:33 NWT)
However, our situation differs somewhat from his. Our continued silence may be our only defense. If they have evidence, let them present it. If not, let us not give it to them on a silver platter. They have twisted God’s law so that disagreement with a teaching of men constitutes apostasy against God. Let this perversion of divine law be on their head.
It may well go against our nature to sit silently while being interrogated and falsely accused; to let the silence reach uncomfortable levels. Nevertheless, we must. Eventually, they will fill the silence and in doing so reveal their true motivation and heart condition. We must remain obedient to our Lord who told us not to throw pearls before swine. “Listen, obey and be blessed.” In these cases, silence is golden. You may reason that they cannot disfellowship a man for apostasy if he speaks the truth, but to men like this, apostasy means contradicting the Governing Body. Remember, these are men who have chosen to ignore plainly stated direction from God’s word and who have chosen to obey men over God. They are like the first century Sanhedrin who acknowledged that a notable sign had occurred through the apostles, but ignored its implications and chose to persecute the children of God instead. (Ac 4:16, 17)
Beware of Disassociation
The elders fear someone who can use the Bible to overturn our false teachings. They view such an individual as a corrupting influence and a threat to their authority. Even if the individuals are not actively associating with the congregation, they are still seen as a threat. So they may drop by “to encourage” and during the discussion ask innocently whether you wish to continue to associate with the congregation. If you say no, you give them the authority to read out a letter of disassociation in the Kingdom hall. This is disfellowshipping by another name.
Years back we risked serious legal repercussions for disfellowshipping individuals who joined the military or voted. So we came up with a slight-of-hand solution we called “disassociation”. Our answer if asked was that we don’t threaten people from exercising their legal right to vote or defend their country by any punitive action such as disfellowshipping. However, if they choose to leave on their own, that is their decision. They have disassociated themselves by their actions, but they were not—absolutely not—disfellowshipped. Of course, we all knew (“nudge, nudge, wink, wink”) that disassociation was exactly the same thing as disfellowshipping.
In the 1980s we began to use the unscriptural designation “disassociated” as a weapon against sincere Christians who were recognizing that God’s word was being misapplied and twisted. There have been cases where individuals wishing to quietly fade away but not lose all contact with family members have moved to another city, not giving their forwarding address to the congregation. These ones have nevertheless been tracked down, visited by the local elders and asked the loaded question, “Do you still wish to associate with the congregation?” By answering no, a letter could then be read out to all congregation members branding them with the official status of “disassociated” and thus they could be treated exactly as disfellowshipped ones.
Each circumstance is different. The needs and goals of each individual are different. What is expressed here is intended only to help each one reflect on the scriptural principles involved and to determine for him or herself how best to apply them. Those of us congregating here have given up following men, and now follow only the Christ. What I have shared are thoughts based on my own personal experience and that of others I know of firsthand. I hope they prove beneficial. But please, do nothing because a man tells you too. Instead, seek out the guidance of the holy spirit, pray and meditate on God’s word, and the way for you to proceed in any endeavor will be made clear.
I look forward to learning from the experience of others as they go through their own trials and tribulations. It may seem odd to say, but all of this is a cause for rejoicing.
“Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you meet with various trials, 3 knowing as you do that this tested quality of your faith produces endurance. 4 But let endurance complete its work, so that you may be complete and sound in all respects, not lacking in anything.” (James 1:2-4 NTW)
[i] While this text applies specifically to accusations brought against those taking the lead, the principle cannot be abandoned when dealing with even the least one in the congregation. If anything, the little one is deserving of greater protection in law than the one in authority.
Could someone find this text for me : “Martyrdom of Peter”
I believe it’s apart of this document
I thought it was here 🙁
Wow! I have just read the appeal letter under subject here. It would have been almost the final nail in the coffin of this totalitarian system if there had been a recording. Clearly, as the decision of the first elders was affirmed, the WTBTS has shown its worst in bullying tactics. So not only do we have basic human rights ignored, but also, they won’t even apply their own ‘rules’ of conduct! This completely invalidates the system. All of this, however is academic as the Bible leaves no record itself of formal disciplinary arrangements. In other words, they make it… Read more »
Having had a glance at the description of the Fenway apostasy trial, it is regrettable that the gentleman, in an apparent attempt to ‘bear witness to his beliefs’ willingly fell into the hands of the judicial committee. To me this resembles the memorable scene in Dead Poets’ Society where one of Robin Williams’ character’s pupils takes his own life rather than attempt to change his father’s mind about sending him a military school. The purpose of enemies of this oft-used totalitarian way of thinking is to bring it down. Exposing the inhuman tactics by means of recording the case is… Read more »
Thank you Melti for your hard work, just know that it is not in vain that you do it, it have gotten others to think and ponder over who really is it that we are serving, sad to say for the mass it will not happen because of the defencive wall that has been build up and to blind the common sense that we have a God given right to, it is really true the following words. “The factors that come to light may have actually been there all along, at the inner core of the organization, but were beneath… Read more »
Well said. Thank you, LightFlashUp.
It is the goal of all totalitarian organisations/governments to replace creativity and imagination with blind obedience and loyalty. The result is sweetly-smiling servility and ignorance.
Yes, JimmyG, the representatives of the WTBTS have no desire to discuss doctrine, only neutralise a perceived threat. When confronted with (probably) genuine individuals who believe they are doing the right thing, do whatever is necessary to continue to lead a peaceful life. With this in mind, remember that the WTBTS is also a learning machine that is constantly finding ways around their (perceived) enemies strategies. What works today may not work tomorrow.
Following on from my earlier comment, below is the link for the transcript of the appeal hearing in the Fenway congregation. The brother also has written an appeal letter to the US branch office- the ‘Shepherd’ book allows for this provision, but directs the appeal committee not to inform the ‘condemned’ person, surely fitting the description of “wicked men who use trickery or cunning for selfish purposes.” https://www.anointedjw.org/Apostasy_in_Fenway_2.html As this experience and countless others have shown, there seems little point in discussing doctrinal concerns with elders. It will ultimately result in a judicial hearing at which point an ‘accused’ person… Read more »
The judicial committees are getting smarter and asking the direct question, “Are you recording these proceedings?” Here is one time when we should follow the advice of the Governing Body which tells us: *** w09 6/15 p. 17 pars. 6-7 Speak Truth With Your Neighbor *** Similarly today, Jehovah’s people need to be on guard against apostates and other wicked men who use trickery or cunning for selfish purposes. —Matt. 10:16; Eph. 4:14. 7 Paul likewise indicated that some people may not be entitled to receive a full or complete answer. He said that “gossipers and meddlers in other people’s… Read more »
1 Corinthians 1: 1-4: “1 Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Now it is of course required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 3 It does not concern me in the least that I be judged by you or any human tribunal; I do not even pass judgment on myself; 4 I am not conscious of anything against me, but I do not thereby stand acquitted; the one who judges me is the Lord.” Matthew Barrie quotes this after being disfellowshipped. Any thoughts about self-fulfilling prophecies? Interesting that… Read more »
Here’s a chillingly accurate prophecy (the first from among the WTBTS):
“Faders are the problem the WTBTS, under the guidance of The Governing Body, will address over the next 3 years.”
– posted 3 years ago(4/19/2011)
Yes, Harrison. This reasoning is based on the insurance contract policy that, despite any change in the policy itself, it is deemed that you are a member of the company simply by renewing your contract with them. Food for thought, though, is the sheer hypocrisy the WTBTS shows in requiring any who want to be a member of the WTBTS (indistinguishable from ‘Jehovah’s Witness’ unless THEY choose to state that the WTBTS is ONLY a printing company in a vain attempt to win a philosophical battle of wits) they recruit must first UN-ENROL from their former religion! As you say,… Read more »
I agree entirely Frank, but apparently the B.O E in question would not discuss the difference between the Organization,the religion, and the Congregation.They maintained that by being an appointed man, this guy was a M.S, he had shown by his actions that he considered himself a baptized member of the Congregation, and the Congregation were about to dis-fellowship him. The reality we know is that you are being dis-fellowshipped from an organization, but these guys do not accept that as being the case. As these guys are a law unto themselves, or unto Bethel more accurately, you cannot win on… Read more »
Harrison: “apparently the B o E took advice, and were told that if anyone had accepted responsibility of any sort, even something as small as volunteering at a Convention, then by their actions they had shown they considered themselves members of the religion and could be Dis-fellowshipped” If I am ever in the unenviable position of being trapped into this kangaroo court situation, I will reproduce the baptism questions (old and new), read them to the elders while they follow along and ask them which part, actual or implied, is the evidence that I have become a member of the… Read more »
George Orwell said that totalitarianism is essentially theocratic (“1984”). Given long enough time, religion becomes cult and divests itself of any remaining nobility through the actions it tries to keep secret. Far from the miraculous, the power behind the organisation is what powers all religion in America…the First Amendment, guaranteeing no interference from government. On Harrison’s point, it is hard to believe that a congregation member can be subjected to a judicial committee under a completely false charge (say, a personal grudge), and then be disfellowshipped for having a ‘bad attitude’ towards ‘representatives of God’s Organisation’! This is totalitarianism. If… Read more »
Key C, you were thinking exactly what you were meant to think. The question is crafted for this very purpose. However, when it comes to ‘infractions’ and religious ‘crimes,’ this question is taken EXACTLY as a oath of allegiance. It is on this ‘authority’ as part of the ‘belongings’ that they feel they can annul your dedication; a contract between you and God alone.
“Put not your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man.”
These baptism questions .Do you understand that this dedication and baptism identify you as one of jehovahs witnesses in association with gods spirit anointed organisation . By saying yes is that supposed to be an oath of alliegance to the organisation . I certainly never took it as that .I thought i was dedicating my life to god and thats what i was told my baptism meant .No one mentioned anything to me about being dedicated to an organisation . .Infact the first i heard of it was the night i got disfellowshipped . I Think they are playing with… Read more »
Funny how you can read something countless times and never see the flaw. “Spirit Anointed Organization”?! How does God anoint an Organization? He can anoint an individual with Holy Spirit because an individual is a living breathing entity. But an organization is a concept. How does he fill a concept with his spirit? It’s a ridiculous idea and I’m ashamed I never saw just how ludicrous it was when I first heard it. In more ashamed that I gave the baptism talk at a circuit assembly some years back and actually recited those questions to the candidates. May the Lord… Read more »
From memory I think the term they use is “spirit directed organization”, although I could be wrong.
Either way the idea of being baptized INTO an organization is still what is in question.
If the word ‘organisation’ is not in the Bible, how can anyone be baptised into it?
Apollos,I,too, think the term they use is “spirit-directed organization”.But aren’t we supposed to be individually directed by holy spirit?
Meleti,thank you for removing my posts from the spam filter.Now I’m able to post comments again.Subject to moderation,of course.I think J.W.s would like to believe that since “organization” is made up of people running it,therefore God could anoint it.Guess it’s like anointing everyone in it wholesale.This,naturally,gives the idea of being saved “as a group” – something we studied in the articles some months back.
españolThanks again, brother. Just as you feel ashamed for the things that you thought were true. I remember the time I thought “knowing everything” about the bible and “organization.” I am very absorbed in all your “articles” and every time I learn more and more. You are a very wise man and I thank the Lord Jesus Christ who has men like you giving encouragement and hope in the middle of this system of government in which we are subject. Thanks to you I feel like I’ve been drinking milk all my life. ..nothing of solid food. 😉
I was baptized in the early 1960’s, so never swore allegiance to an Organization, and the idea occurred to me that I would claim as you say, that they cannot dis-fellowship me from an Organization I have never been baptized in to, or publicly sworn an oath too. I suggested this tactic to a trusted Elder friend of mine, who really has woken up to many of the problems, and he said that he knows of a case where this was tried in his previous Congregation, apparently the B o E took advice, and were told that if anyone had… Read more »
“My advice is to try to leave with as little fuss as possible”.
Anyone can fade and gradually stop attending meetings and participating in field service. This is probably the easiest way to leave, however one is still regarded as an inactive JW by the elders. However if one joins another religious group and the elders become aware of this one would be viewed as having disassociated oneself and an announcement would be made to the congregation that you are not longer a JW. This of course would lead to being shunned.
There are two things I would like to say regarding the Biblical and legal validity of a person’s baptism under the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: Firstly, anyone baptised before 1985 has NEVER been a member of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society by virtue of the FACT that no oath of allegiance (starting 1985) was required before their physical baptism. As baptism validates an oath, as can be seen from the changing questions below, anyone not making the Organisational oath, can be an actual member of this religion. This obviously implies that anyone baptised BEFORE 1985 can not be… Read more »
Just a side note. Notice the term “disfellowshipped” is not used anymore in the announcement? Whereas “no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses” is. Some have said it was just legal word play, but I say it defeats the disfellowshipped argument by using terminology that covers all who have ever called themselves Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Now….weren’t the Pharisees also called lawyers? 😉
I was out in field service and asked the question about my beliefs about the GB, by my book study elder. Specifically I was asked if they have Gods Spirit. I simply quoted Jesus. “Where ever two or three meet in my name..” I then went on said that is true of me, so must also be true of anybody else. He didn’t have a word to say to me. On other occasions where I’ve been cornered I’ve just smiled and laughed it off as a joke and told them to stop asking silly questions. Played right, it leaves them… Read more »
If elders come to one’s door asking, “Do you believe the Governing Body (“Faithful and Discreet Slave”) are the only true source of God’s and Bible truth on Earth today, simply state, “Yes, on on everything CLEARLY mandated in the Bible.” When they ask you about specific doctrines, tell them, “I have already answered the question of doctrine.” Name, rank, and serial number, that’s how it works in war. If you were baptised before 1985, remind them that you have not sworn any oath of allegiance to the Organisation (“Do you recognise God’s progressive organisation…” etc) and therefore will only… Read more »
Mailman, I think they are playing games with you, if you decline then they will know that your doubts about 1914 are real!
Hi Katrina, please refer to my reply above for Meleti and Menrov for more details on what I plan to do. But I really had a feeling they are playing it. With the help of the Spirit from above and faith in Christ, I know I can pull this one thru in a tactful way. 🙂
Good thinking mailman, what ever option you take I am sure with prayer to our Father you will be helped no doubt, then I won’t say good luck.
Thank you Clark for confirming that this judicial hearing actually happened. There is obviously no point in discussing doctrine in this setting. The higher authority (the GB) trumps everything- end of story.
Hi there. I have personally transcribed at least 3 judicial cases. Have a look at the Matthew Barrie transcript and RECORDING. There you will find that he was denied the right to silence. Matthew recorded all his ‘shepherding calls,’ a revealing encounter when he, Matthew, applied Matthew 18, his judicial case, and appeal. I found at least 21 ethical and human rights violations in this one case alone. Equally, there are co-relations between this and other accounts.
Matthew and others have provided a fantastic resource for all who fear such a humiliating ‘end’ to a career among the faithful.
‘Holy moly guacamole, look at what I have got – Kingdom Ministry assignment about ways to defend the 1914 belief. Of all topics, this was handed to me by the elder. Felt like this one in itself is persecution. Are they playing mind games with me? This guy knew I have questions about this marked year. Just the thought of delivering it is already causing anxiety. Any brotherly advice? 🙂
You have the right to decline any assignment and no obligation to give a reason why. Simply say you can’t take it, and could he assign you another one in the future. If he asks why, just say you can’t take it and could he assign you another one in the future. If he insists that he wants to know why, just say you can’t take it and could he assign you another one in the future.
Eventually he’ll tire of the game.
I understand your struggle but in all fairness, why do we have to feel afraid or scared or worried to reject or decline such an assignment? We are not in a military camp, are we? Why do we allow ourselves to feel like that? It should not be the case. It is all voluntary.I felt like Mailman and thought, why? I am a grown up person, so why do I allow this feeling? Am I acting as being a slave to these “masters”? And yes, in reality, I subconsciously felt like that. Mailman, may be you can return the assignment… Read more »
Thanks Meleti and Menrov for the thoughtful advice. There are actually 2 parts in the KM for 1914. The first part (discussion type) was assigned to me (week of October 20). The good thing about it is that it is not as extensive as the 2nd 15-minute part where there would be live demo where a sister (who’s visited us here at home) would explain the doctrine with dates and calculation. In fact, I can tweak the discussion in such a way that it won’t really pounce on the validity of 1914. In other words, I can go around the… Read more »
Mail man just take the assignment and tell the truth about the 1914 doctrine from the platform .. If this brother knows you have issues with it his little plan will then backfire. arent we supposed be the truth .
Looks like you might be off the hook if you are in an English speaking congregation. There is going to be a 15 min. Video piped in from headquarters.
I think this is just the start.
They will start controlling the meetings directly from the branch. Leadership wants to make sure the main doctrines are presented with the right twist.
I have been criticised before for referring to this site, but this time they have named the congregation and the elders used on the committee of a judicial hearing of a brother charged with ‘apostasy’ who partakes of the emblems. Included is a transcript (from the brother’s memory) of the hearing and a copy of the appeal letter- the appeal is yet to be held. Unlikely, but maybe someone who visits this site is familiar with the congregation and elders named. Here’s the link:
I can confirm this is all true. I attend this congregation and know this brother very well.
Heard a recording of the judicial committee where charges brought against a brother were same as in this case ( it’s on YouTube but not in English) and the meeting with elders went exactly same way as this one. No matter what the Bible has to say on the subject in the question Watchtower interpretation no matter how illogical or nonsensical is the higher authority. That’s the way it is.
‘We were shocked to find out how far ALL the modern ‘Christian’ religions have deviated from the teachings of the Bible’ / 2001translation-team
Jesus the Bread of Life John 6: …43Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44″No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45″It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.… John 6:65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” God draws us to his SON,… Read more »
Thank you Been Misled, those are doozies you quoted, seems the WT always double speak.
And I agree with this well said!!
“If the truth is the truth and there is nothing to hide, then it should be able to withstand and even invite scrutiny. The fact that the Watchtower Organization does not want you to do research, or talk to those that disagree with something says a lot.”
At times I just want to go to them and tell them the truth about how I believe now and feel, I hate all this pretending sitting in meetings, it very hard, and feel as if its just a matter of time before I just can’t do this anymore, and think if it was in the time of stoning most if not all of the b/s would be part of it, they are sooo indoctrinated, and just hate anyone that would not agree with the teachings of the GB, especially 1914, they would view me as worse than a child… Read more »
Thats right katrina .how can one repent of something they dont believe anymore thats what i said at my trial .also we are viewed worse than a child molester .Ive seen it first hand . I know someone who is serving 10 years in prison for these type of offences .Not even disfellowshipped . .yet my spiritual sister is getting shunned for telling the truth . Reminds me of Isaiah 5 v20 and proverbs 17 v 15 kev
I quess I am one of those few who had the fortunate experience of fading away. it is been a few years now about 10 to 15 years I get no elder visits at all from my former congregation I used to associate. I get no calls from them it seem that I no longer exist in the congregational level. although my cousin is an elder the Holyoke congregation and does come by once in a while to pay me a visit but nothing of the unusual. although he does at times encouraged me to go back to associate altho… Read more »
“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… Read more »
I love those two quotes Katrina. I really shows the double speak that they use. Because then they will tell you that they don’t want you to spend time in research or talk to those that disagree with something. So in reality they only want you to examine your religion by reading Watchtower literature. “We may think of study as hard work, as involving heavy research. But in Jehovah’s organization it is not necessary to spend a lot of time and energy in research, for there are brothers in the organization who are assigned to do that very thing, to… Read more »
Jer 23:1) “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the LORD. 2Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: “You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds,” declares the LORD.… Ezek 34: …14″I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed… Read more »
The pastor at the local Baptist church that I’ve been attending said that the most important thing for baptism is believing in Jesus as our personal Savior.Other things,we can learn together.
Miken & Kev C,I agree with you.Nowadays,I attend a local baptist church.My wife & I are comfortable there & the members are sincere people & some are becoming our close friends.We share meals & fellowship after the service & even at their homes.Kev c,they know my wife is a baptized J.W. & I was associated with the local K.Hall for years.We told them so.I also commented that I have the freedom to choose whatever doctrines I want to believe in – trinity or no trinity,etc.The elders humbly admitted that they didn’t have “answers to everything” & invited me to continue… Read more »
Hi Meliti, Having “come” to Christ as he many times invites us to do , I asked the Lord for direction as to which church I should fellowship with. An event beyond my control led me to the church I now attend. Interestingly it has no stained glass images or a cross on the wall and internally looks very much like larger kingdom halls with a substantial number of side rooms. They do believe in the Trinity, and immortality of the human soul. It is of course true as Jesus stated we should worship the Father in both spirit and… Read more »
Miken the question ive got is would they kick you out of their company if after your research you still didnt express a belief in the trinity . Or would they consider you as a brother . I personally do not consider this a salvation issue either . The bible just says we must have faith that jesus is the son of god .which both the witnesses and the evangelists also believe .I also associated with an evangelist church for a while and i must say that at their meetings at least they were reading and studying the bible in… Read more »
No they would not kick one out for not believing in the Trinity. I had a discussion with the pastor as to whether or not one had to believe in the Trinity to be baptised by the church as I am considering re-baptism. The pastor acknowledged those baptised in Acts 2 had no knowledge of the Trinity doctrine (or the 144,000), so not believing in the Trinity would not be a problem for baptism. I also was informed that if I went back to JW’s I would not be shunned.
I hope my testimony will be of interest. During the last two years my study of the bible led me to believe that Christians should:- Be sons of God as Paul said. (Galatians 3:26) Be brothers of Jesus Christ as he said. (Matthew 23:8) Be baptized into Christ’s death as Paul described. (Romans 6:3) Be born again from water and spirit. (John 3:3-8) Be anointed with Holy Spirit as Jesus promised. (Acts 1:8; 2:17-18) Be in the covenant with Jesus as he promised. (Matthew 26:27-28) Have Christ Jesus as their mediator (1 Tim 2:5-6) Have an opportunity to live in… Read more »
Hi Miken, I agree with all the Bible points you’ve listed in your comment as being true. I’m also grateful you shared your experience as it confirms this is the modus operandi of JW elders. They are not interested in establishing Bible truth. Their only concern is confirming non-compliance with our own body of doctrinal interpretation. You left the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses because we are teaching falsehoods. Since true worshippers worship the Father in both spirit and truth, you made a conscientious choice based on Scripture. But I’m surprised you chose to then join an evangelical church. I’ve come… Read more »
Are elders told to ask this ” loyalty question “in the elders school? Until I was asked this question I was always thinking that this was something local. Very true Jesus was a master in using theirs words against them knowing theirs intentions. But silence is sometimes the best answer , I learn it the hard way.
Thank you for asking this question, search4truth. I hadn’t thought about this until I read your comment. In all the elders schools I attended we were never directed to ask any questions to establish the loyalty of JWs to the GB. Yet, this is the standard question that comes up all the time. It shows the power of the indoctrination process that elders do not have to be directed as to what to ask or what attitude to establish. It becomes clear from our publications that apostasy is to be rooted out and that apostasy is disagreement with out teachings… Read more »
It’s hard to believe that the elders around the globe are asking nearly word for word same question without being specifically instructed to do so. How Jw’s don’t follow a man when one can’t even answer negative to this question without serious consequences.
I have a problem with “compromising your integrity”
Thanks meleti for a fine article i hope the brothers read it carefully and apply its counsel . Ive tried to tell others aswell that they do not have to answer these loaded questions .but most dont realise what they are dealing with until its too late . How sad . One thing i do know is that one has to have a good reason to want to continue in such an awful unchristian environment . let them have their religion i say its not going anywhere apart from down with the rest of babylon the great .There will come… Read more »
Thanks Meleti for another fine article. It’s not a pleasant subject, but unfortunately this kind of practical, scriptural advice is very necessary for those of us who wish to practice Christianity and yet not allow men to spiritually dominate us to our injury (Eccl 8:9). We should keep in mind that many of the persecutors genuinely believe they are performing a service to God just as the Apostle Paul did (Acts 22:3; 26:11; Gal 1:14; Phil 3:6). Difficult as it may be we can still look for the good in them and pray for them. For sure there will be… Read more »
Hi Meleti, and want to commend and thank you for those pure words of wisdom. In your not-so-phantom session, this has been my experience, although not so recently as with our present dogmatic teaching. When asking such questions with more questions we imitate Christ by allowing clarifications before letting the questioner to reach his own conclusion, making us the better teacher. And so when coming to the final question: Elder: “So you’re saying you don’t believe it?” You: “Please don’t put words in my mouth. Why do you believe that the Governing Body is the faithful and discreet slave?” Elder:… Read more »
An excellent alternate response. Thanks sw. I’ve also just purchased “Straight and Crooked Thinking” based on your recommendation. I figure a book that’s still in print after 80 years must have something of value.
I also got this book at your suggestion. I’m looking forward to reading it this weekend.I’m probably going to read it at the hall if I go 😛
Thank God for E-readers/tablets lol
Thanks for the Tutorial Meleti ! I think many more will face “persecution” by the Elders in the future as we make it evident that we do not follow men. I know in my own case that I would have appreciated your guidance when asked that kind of question, I managed to avoid a direct answer, and have heard nothing since my “shepherding” visit, but I feel I could have handled it more to my satisfaction had I acted as you describe, I would then have taken the upper hand. The two “Shepherds” who called on me were not really… Read more »
Much of what I put in the article is based on my own experience, things I wish I had done earlier on. It’s part of learning from one’s own mistakes and as a consequence discerning where one failed to apply Jesus’ counsel. I’m steadily doing better, but have yet to face the “big test”.
Thanks Meleti, most appreciated. I am still associated but I sometimes ask myself: why associate any longer with an organisation that wants to turn me into non-thinking, obeying robot using emotional punishment when I cannot comply or accept wrong doctrines? When it was my employer who treats my like that, I would seriously look for another job but will endure for as long it is required to support my family. I understand the reasons to endure the treatments in the organisation (contact with family) but there comes a point when that is not even a proper reason anymore to accept… Read more »
You and I seem to be on the same time schedule in our awakening process.
Same here. I have been feeling exactly the same way. I told my husband just the other day that I have officially ran out of reasons to stay. It just seems like its time for me to let this go. My conscience won’t allow me to stay. I was surprised to learn recently that a person that I totally consider a kool Aid drinker disagree with official teachings and the current state of the GB in private. This faithful sister is confident that Jehovah will straighten all matters out ” in the end”. She says that loyally enduring and sticking… Read more »
I am confident that the Lord will bless any choice you make that maintains integrity to the truth and bear witness to his name.
May God’s blessing be upon you. Know that you have a community of brothers and sisters here who support you.
Godsword is truth. Hope everything works out for you in whatever choice you make .you seem to have a really good grasp of the scriptures . I felt the same as you a few years ago i had a crisis of conscience we could say .i just could keep quiet anymore . Regardless of the consequences ..sometimes we just have to stand up for what we believe is the truth from god .