Young Ones -- Are You Ready to Get Baptized?

– posted by meleti

[From ws3/16 p. 3 for May 2-8]

“Who of you wanting to build a tower does not first sit down and calculate
the expense to see if he has enough to complete it?”—Luke 14:28

In the title, "young ones" is the phrase the publications of Jehovah's Witnesses prefers to use instead of children or preteens.   The title could accurately be reworded "Children, Are You Ready to Get Baptized".  Of late, the Governing Body has been promoting the idea that the children of Jehovah's Witnesses should get baptized.

Before we get into this article’s subject matter, we do well to review what the Bible actually teaches us about baptism.  From the Hebrew Scriptures, there is nothing.  Baptism wasn’t part of the Israelite system of worship.  It was only introduced as a requirement in the Christian Scriptures.

Before Jesus, John the Baptist baptized.  However, his baptism was to pave the way for the Messiah, and was only in symbol of repentance from sin. (Ac 13:24)

Jesus changed that, introducing baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  (Mt 28:19)  This differed from John’s in that it included baptism in holy spirit. (Ac 1:5; Ac 2:38-42)

Nowhere in the Bible do we see baptism as some sort of graduation ceremony granted following a long course of instruction and after passing a test in the form of a qualifying questionnaire.  All that was required was belief in and acceptance of Christ. (Ac 8:12-13; Ac 8:34-39; Ac 9:17-19; Ac 10:44-48; Ac 16:27-34)

Baptism into Christ involves following his life course even unto death to receive the reward he received.  (Ro 6:3, 4; 1Co 12:13; Ga 3:26-29; Eph 4:4-6)

Baptism follows repentance, but doesn’t require a period of time to elapse while we prove to ourselves and to God what we have desisted from all sin.  In fact, it is done in recognition that we cannot free ourselves from sin.  Rather, it is seen as a necessary step so that God has the basis to forgive us of our sins. (1Pe 3:20-21)

The Scriptures say nothing about making a vow or solemn promise to God as a prerequisite to baptism, nor is baptism presented as a public symbol that such a vow has been made in private.

Jesus, whose footsteps we are to follow closely, was baptized and  "began his ministry" when he was "about thirty years old". (1 Pe 2:21; Luke 3:23.)  While in the case of Cornelius "all who heard the message" were baptized, as was 'all the household' of the jailer in Macedonia, no child is specifically shown to be baptized. (Acts 10:44, 48; 16:33.)

This is, in a nutshell, what the Bible teaches Christians about baptism.  Let us bear all that in mind as we examine what the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses would have us and our children believe is required for baptism.

Paragraph 1

The article opens and concludes with the real-life example of a 12-year-old named Christopher.  The success he has experienced in serving the Organization of Jehovah's Witnesses is used to encourage other children to do the same.

Paragraph 2

“God’s Word indicates that the steps of dedication and baptism are the start of a life during which Christians will experience blessings from Jehovah but also opposition from Satan. (Prov. 10:22; 1 Pet. 5:8)” – Par. 2

If you remove the words "dedication and", the sentence is true.  The writer of the article expects the reader to accept that there is a Scriptural basis for dedication without having to provide the proof.  As Jesus said, "Let the reader use discernment." (Mt 24:15)

The paragraph directs us to read Luke 14:27-30, because we have to count the cost of discipleship, i.e., baptism.  However, carrying the torture stake of Christ is something required of those who are baptized with Holy Spirit.  JW doctrine says that the Other Sheep are not baptized with holy spirit, because this would mean they are anointed.  So why is this Scripture being used since it doesn't support the idea of dedication among the Other Sheep?

Paragraph 3

“It is a great privilege to get baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” – Par. 3

This paragraph quotes Matthew 28:19-20 as proof, yet this Scripture speaks of being baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Nothing is said about being baptized as a Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Yet, the Governing Body added this requirement back in the 1980s, requiring those getting baptized to do so in the name of the Organization of Jehovah's Witnesses.  This is viewed as a privilege.  The Bible never presents baptism as a privilege, but as a requirement.

To be sure, baptism opens the door to congregation "privileges" such as pioneering and even passing the microphone around.  Such privileges serve as a carrot to lead horse-like new ones to baptismal water, so to speak.

Paragraph 4

“…baptism is an important and appropriate step for a young person who has manifested considerable maturity and has made a dedication to Jehovah.—Prov. 20:7.”

That is quite a statement, isn’t it?  And as proof, they offer Proverbs 20:7 which says:

“The righteous one is walking in his integrity. Happy are his children who come after him.” (Pr 20:7)

If you can explain to me how this text supports the point being made in the article, please share it with me, as I'm baffled as to the relevance of this reference.  And considering Jesus' example and the fact that, for JWs, baptism is irrevocable and means accountability to the congregation judicial apparatus, it is a fair question whether baptism is appropriate for minors at all.

What's Wrong with Dedication?

If at this stage you are saying, “But what’s your problem with being dedicated to Jehovah?  Aren’t Christians supposed to dedicate their lives to God?”

Those are good questions based on an apparently logical assumption.  But we must remember that what we think is right and necessary isn't always what Jehovah knows is right and necessary.  Recognizing that is the start of true submission to the will of God.

While the idea of dedication to God seems good and right, and making it a requirement before getting baptized might even seem logical, it is arrogance on the part of men to make it a requirement if it is not found in the Bible.

Paragraph 5 to 9

There is fine counsel in these paragraphs as long as the reader realizes that the will of Jehovah is not defined by an organization run by men, but by the Word of God, and that we should not apply the interpretation of men as if it were the Word of Jehovah.

Paragraph 10

“…baptism symbolizes that you made a solemn promise to Jehovah himself.” – Par. 10

Neither of the two Scriptures found in this paragraph proves this. Not even close.  Moreover, this statement contradicts what is plainly stated by Peter about the significance of baptism.  He says that it is the “request made to God for a clean conscience.”  Neither he nor any other Bible writer says that it is a symbol of a solemn premise or vow made to God.  In fact, there is nothing in the Christian Scriptures where the Father requires us to make a promise to him. (1Pe 3:20-21)

Is It Wrong to Preach Dedication Before Baptism?

Within the framework of Jehovah’s Witnesses teaching, the requirement to dedicate oneself to God makes sense.  To JWs, Jehovah is the universal sovereign and the theme of the Bible is the vindication of that sovereignty.  As we’ve seen here, the vindication of God’s sovereignty is not a Bible theme and the word "sovereignty" doesn’t even appear in the NWT Bible.  The reason why the Governing Body continues to promote this teaching is explored here.

By imposing this requirement, the Organization reinforces the subservient role of the Other Sheep as God's friends, but not his children.  How so? Consider this: Should a young child always obey a loving parent, especially one who is a faithful servant of God?   If you answer, Yes, then would you also expect that child to be dedicated to the Father?  Would a loving father require that his children all swear allegiance to him?  Would he require them to promise self-sacrificing dedication to his will?  Is that what Jehovah expects from his universal family?  Are angels all required to make a vow of dedication or allegiance to God?  That may work in the "Sovereign with Subjects" scheme of government the Organization teaches, but in the "Father with Children" relationship God is seeking to restore, it doesn't fit.  What fits is obedience motivated by love, not the obligation to keep a promise.

Some may still counter that there is nothing wrong, nothing unscriptural, about requiring all Christians to make a vow, or as paragraph 10 puts it, "a solemn promise" to God.

Actually, that is not really true.

Jesus said:

“Again YOU heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You must not swear without performing, but you must pay your vows to Jehovah.’ 34 However, I say to YOU: Do not swear at all, neither by heaven, because it is God’s throne; 35 nor by earth, because it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor by your head must you swear, because you cannot turn one hair white or black. 37 Just let YOUR word Yes mean Yes, YOUR No, No; for what is in excess of these is from the wicked one.” (Mt 5:33-37)

Here we have an explicit command from Jesus not to swear, not to make vows or solemn promises.  He says that making such vows comes from the wicked one.  Is there somewhere in Scripture that Jesus introduces an exception to this rule?  Somewhere that he says that the one vow or solemn promise that God requires of us is a vow of dedication to him?  If not, then when a human religious authority tells us we have to do this, we should take Jesus at his word and admit that such a requirement comes "from the wicked one."

Imposing this requirement is a recipe for guilt.

Say a father says to his young child, “Son, I want you to promise me you will never lie to me.” What child would not make that promise with the full intention of keeping it?  Then come the teen years and inevitably the child lies to the father to cover up some wrongdoing.  Now he’s burdened with not only the guilt from the lie, but that of the broken promise.  Once a promise has been broken, it can never be unbroken.

Once broken, a promise is void.

So if we tie baptism to a solemn vow made to God, then fail to keep our dedication—even once—the promise is broken.  Would that not render the baptism that symbolizes the promise null and void?  Which matters more, the symbol or the thing it symbolizes?

This unscriptural teaching undermines the whole purpose of baptism which is “the request made to God for a clean conscience.” (1Pe 3:20-21) Jehovah knows we will fail him from time to time because “the flesh is weak”.  He would not set us up for failure by requiring of us a promise that he knows we cannot keep.

Baptism is a public declaration that we have sided with Jesus, that we acknowledge him before men.

“Everyone, then, who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father who is in the heavens.” (Mt 10:32)

If we do that, then when we inevitably stumble, our baptism provides us with the basis to ask for forgiveness and have confidence it will be granted.  Knowing we are forgiven gives us a clean conscience.  We can move ahead free from guilt, in the joy of knowing our Father still loves us.

Paragraphs 16-18

What is behind this often repeated push for dedication prior to baptism?

Paragraph 16 uses Matthew 22:35-37 to show that our love for God must be wholehearted and whole-souled.  Then paragraph 17 implies that Jehovah’s love is not free, but is a debt—something to be repaid.

“We owe Jehovah God and Jesus Christ…” (Par. 17)

Paragraph 18 then gets us to believing that this debt can be repaid by dedicated service to do God’s will.

“Do you appreciate what Jehovah has done for you? Then it would be fitting to dedicate your life to Jehovah and get baptized….Dedicating yourself to Jehovah and getting baptized do not make your life worse. On the contrary, serving Jehovah will make your life better. “ (Par. 18)

The effect of this subtle shift from love to service is that Witnesses commonly use the phrase, “whole-souled service to God”.  Such a phrase does not appear in the Bible, and most Witnesses who utter it have Matthew 22:35-37 in mind, even though that Scripture speaks of love not service.

To witnesses, we show love to God by serving him.

To Whom Are Jehovah’s Witnesses Making a Dedication Vow?

The vow that the Watchtower is telling our children to make is a solemn promise to Jehovah to do his will.  What is his will? Who defines his will?

Countless Witnesses have come home from a Regional Convention (formerly “District Convention”) wracked with guilt.  They’ve heard accounts of single moms with two children who in spite of everything found the means to regular pioneer.  They feel that they have not lived up to their dedication to God, their promise to give him "whole-souled service", because they are not regular pioneers.  Yet nowhere in the Bible is there a requirement to regular pioneer or to devote an arbitrary number of hours in the preaching work every month.  This is not God’s will.  This is the will of men, but we are made to believe it is what Jehovah wants and because we cannot give it, we are made to feel like we are breaking a promise made to God.  Our Christian joy and freedom is converted into guilt and slavery to men.

As evidence of this shift in focus, consider these sidebar quotes and illustration captions from the April 1, 2006 Watchtower article, "Go and Make Disciples, Baptizing Them".

The first lists the two questions you will be required to answer before all onlookers.

1)  "On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?"

So you are required to have made the vow which Jesus forbids.

2)  "Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?"

So instead of being baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are being baptized in the name of the Organization of Jehovah's Witnesses.

[Picture on page 23]
"Dedication is a solemn promise made to Jehovah in prayer"
[Picture on page 25]
"Our preaching work demonstrates our dedication to God"

So preaching as directed by Jehovah's Witnesses, which involves placing the literature and showing the videos that promote the teachings of the organization, is shown as the way to fulfill our solemn promise of dedication to God.

Perhaps it's time for us all to take a hard look at the words of Song 62 from our Song Book:

To Whom Do We Belong?
To whom do you belong?
Which god do you now obey?
Your master is he to whom you bow.
He is your god; you serve him now.
You cannot serve two gods;
Both masters can never share
The love of your heart in its ev’ry part.
To neither you would be fair.

Archived Comments

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  • Comment by Robert on 2016-05-01 15:08:52

    You pose the question as to whether the children of Jehovah's Witnesses should be baptized. The larger question is, should anyone at all be baptized and become one of Jehovah's Witnesses. The answer to both questions is No. Forgive me for being blunt, but the religion of the Watchtower corporation is one based on lies and blasphemy. It dishonors God, trivializes the role of Christ, and indoctrinates their members into becoming mere followers of the commands of men. Worse, the governing body, in commanding absolute obedience to themselves, and by stating that understanding of divine revelation and salvation and life itself are dependent upon them and their organization of men, have turned themselves into a god. In doing so, they thus make all JWs guilty of idolatry.

    Anyone that gets baptized as a JW, child or adult, becomes guilty before God.

    So to answer your question, No. No one with a real love for God and Christ, not to mention a love for the real truth of the Bible, should get baptized. JW baptism is, in reality, a repudiation of everything the Bible stands for.

    • Reply by AndereStimme on 2016-05-02 20:29:02

      The question raised early in this article was "whether baptism is appropriate for minors at all". This would apply to any individual, regardless of denomination. It is an especially serious question for JWs, since baptism puts children under the power of the organization and is irrevocable. Countless adult disfellowshipped ones have little to zero contact with their parents, while their non-JW siblings can freely see or talk to their parents just because, for whatever reason, they had the good fortune to not be baptized. So, even if we don't think outside the bigger box of the JW take on baptism, the question of child baptism (or, as I like to call it, near-infant baptism) is still a valid one.

      The question of whether JW baptism faithfully adheres to the early Christian examples, as you noted, is the bigger question and, while the article does deal with it, your additional comments on the subject are appreciated.

      Now, you say that the JW religion is based on "lies and blasphemy". Lies are intentional, and if the blasphemy in question is coming from the same source as the lies, then it's fair to conclude that the blasphemy is intentional too. Whatever we may think of the present crop of GB members, I really don't think that the basis, or foundation, of JW religion is intentional deception and blasphemy. Russell, as far as we can tell from his writings, seems to have been sincere even if he was quite misguided. The people I grew up around - some of them fairly highly placed in the hierarchy - were mostly sincere, good brothers who were loving, humble and willing to make sacrifices in order to serve God. I realize that not everyone had such a positive experience and I now know that much of what they, and I, believed back then was not true. Yet, many of us owe our present love of God and his word, to a great extent, to our JW formation. We're here because we've seen worrying changes in the organization which triggered our red flags and made us look more carefully at our own beliefs. And we'd like to attract others who are seeing red flags and are searching for fellowship with like-minded brothers. Some have expressed joy at simply finding that there were like-minded brothers and the resultant confirmation that they weren't losing their minds.

      To that end we try to keep the articles free of language that might put such ones off, and I would like to gently remind those commenting here to do the same, in accordance with this site's Commenting Guidelines. (Col 4:6.)

      • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2016-05-03 04:51:08

        Thank you, Andere, for this thoughtful comment.

        As I was reading it, I was reminded of this Scripture:
        “. . .For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in relation to [his] wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in relation to the brother; otherwise, YOUR children would really be unclean, but now they are holy.” (1Co 7:14)

        If the children were baptized, it would make no difference what the parents' standing before God was. The children would be holy by virtue of their baptism. To me, this passage implies that the accepted practice back then was for adult baptism. Children were made holy under the parental umbrella. Of course, there is no basis for a rule here that I can see. Nevertheless, each parent needs to decide whether little Johnny or Mary is up to the task of bearing the torture stake of the Christ and to live no longer for self.

        “For the love the Christ has compels us, because this is what we have concluded, that one man died for all; so, then, all had died. 15 And he died for all so that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised up.” (2Co 5:14, 15)

      • Reply by Robert on 2016-05-03 22:15:08

        Andere, I was in fact concerned about submitting my comments due to possible reactions such as yours; that's why I prefaced it with an apology for the blunt aspect of it. However, my words were not idly chosen. For example, with respect to "lies", the WT has known since at least 1922 that there was no historical basis to believe Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 BC. They published a series of WT articles admitting as much. Yet, instead of facing the facts, they demean any historians who disagree with their dogmatic position, because they made an organizational commitment to it, and now they can't back down without looking dishonest, or at least foolish. Regarding blasphemy, we need only look at the long-standing "brighter light" doctrine. If light comes from God, but new light is brighter than old light, then some light from God has elements of darkness in it. Yet, that is a direct contradiction to 1 John 1:5, which says God is light and there is no darkness in Him. The 'new light' doctrine provides a convenient way for WT to cover over its mistakes, but it does so by indirectly attributing errors to God, and doing that is blasphemy.

        I have no wish to engage in controversies, and I would delete my own post myself if I could, simply to keep the peace. You are welcome to do so yourself, if you wish and if that's technically possible. I thought that in these matters, the point of having moderated forums was to allow some discussion prior to public posting, to avoid the very controversy I seemed to have caused by my comments. I would have been willing to consider adjusting my remarks if someone asked, but no one did.

        In any event, what I said was true, and was not a matter of mere naming-calling.

        • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2016-05-04 05:18:30

          I appreciate your honestly expressed thoughts Robert. I didn't disallow your comment because I felt it entered into a gray area and I want to be careful not to stifle sincere expression of perceived truth. I'm not suggesting that what you've said is false. Andere was expressing nicely the desire we have to preserve a tone that is inviting to those only starting to wake up. There is a way of expressing honestly the things we have learned which also seasons the words to make them more palatable to those not yet ready for the whole truth. (John 16:12) Perhaps instead of a direct accusation of blasphemy, we could phrase it like a question to lead the reader to the conclusion.

          In any case, we value your insights as they contribute to our collective understanding of truth.

        • Reply by william on 2016-05-04 15:08:03

          Robert, your upvotes show that some people like your comment. But I don't agree that JW's are guilty before God because of being baptized. Nobody who gets baptized knows the WT's past like your do; that takes a lot of time and study. Most people who get baptized as Witness THINK they are joining God's organization. They are doing what they should based on what they know. In an ideal world, if our guardian angels whispered in our ears to protect us from mistakes, nobody would get baptized into a religion with faults as serious as those of the WT. The problem is that there is no pure alternative since all other denominations are corrupt. The article Imprisoned Ideas (1947) by WJ Brown teaches the inevitable corruption of all organizations, including religious ones. Suppose a Witness gets baptized and then is disfellowshipped for apostasy when he discovers the faults uncovered by this web site. Wanting to obey Hebrews 10:25 and meet with fellow Christians, he then becomes a member of another Millerite church like Seventh-Day Adventists, whereupon he might be disfellowshipped for rejecting the Trinity or Ellen White. Then, having been disfellowshipped twice, but still wanting to obey Herbrews 10:25, he might be baptized in an Armstrongite Church of God, and then disfellowshipped when he rejects British Israelism and binitarianism. The sequence could go on indefinitely with other churches that practice disfellowshipping, including the Mormons and the Churches of Christ. Because all people are ignorant and gullible, they make mistakes when they enter contracts that should be irrevocable. By comparison, if people had to be sure they married the right person, they wouldn't ever get married at all, because they don't really know the person they marry till after they enter the irrevocable contract. I think that you expect more out of people than God does. Can you recommend an alternative denomination that is not defiled?

          • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2016-05-04 20:56:49

            Excellent points, Thomas. Some have suggested that we use this site to start up our own group, but that would inevitably lead to the very thing we are fleeing, the rule of man. Hebrews 10:25 doesn't mandate membership in an organization, but fellowship with other Christians. We've already started doing that and it is very enjoyable and upbuilding.

          • Reply by imacountrygirl2 on 2016-05-04 22:47:02

            thomas, you raise an interesting point.

            Is it possible to leave Jehovah's Witnesses without the need of "joining" any organized religion?

            Our salvation only requires faith. Faith is believing in something that you cannot see or prove, else if we had proof, it would not require faith. Based on what I have read in God's Word, I believe that Jesus is my Saviour which means that I have a private, personal, individual relationship with Jesus Christ. I don't need a building, a governing body or other people in order to have that intimate relationship.

            Hebrews 10:25 does not state a specific minimum or maximum number of Christians in order to gather nor is it limited to a certain, predictable number of times to meet. The whole purpose for gathering or meeting together is to encourage one another.

            Acts 2:42 is cross-referenced with Hebrews 10:25 and indicates that these meetings occurred in individual homes to study the apostles' teachings, fellowship, eat and pray together so it doesn't imply large, formal gatherings.

  • Comment by vinman on 2016-05-01 15:26:04

    How on God's green earth did we ever accept this nonsense?! If I had a choice to deliver a talk at the kingdom hall to prove that this is not the truth, this would be the topic. This is blatantly, a made up story or to put it frankly, a lie. So then, why did we accept it? Quite simple. If you are a born-in, and you get baptized young, you never had a chance to study this matter. And besides, aren't the older ones more wise? Obviously they know better than you. Right?

    If you were a Bible study, this subject is not discussed until your heart has been captured by all the "wonderful new truths". At that point, Watchtower= God's organization. Obviously, they know better. Right? This subject is very similar to explaining counting time and turning in a report. Or explaining that you will be disfellowshipped if you leave the organization, because you have abandoned God himself. It is a subject that you are hoping that they will just accept. It would be a subject you only brought up if you needed to. For me personally, I remember not being able to explain this subject of dedication. My main point was that this is "obviously" the truth and so just do. Even when I was young, "cognitive dissonance" set in. I knew it never made sense. Thanks for this review. It is one I definitely will save.

  • Comment by Keaton on 2016-05-01 17:17:06

    Excellent review of a typical Jw watchtower that trys to make, the Jw look good, we all know that the 80 plus questions ( excuse me if it is 70 questions) before you get dunked in the pool are very scriptural.. Oh Yes!!!? Like all heck they are, but hey why not, we know the Ethiopian enuch had to answer all the questions and had to do a book study of this Jw magazines, even if they Never used the Name Jehovah back then and they had not the completed Bible or Scriptures, .

    Also in Mark 1:4 and also Acts 13:24 the only true bible added the Word Symbol, why, well I will let each one figure that out, but I can find no other bible that has it, I mean it used to be in brackets in the last generation of NWT translations but now it is just in the text.

    Also we all know, as I got first had from a Elder that they changed the Questions back in 1985 cause they wanted to be more of a Legal Contract. Say he said that to me, I already knew it, and when I presented him all the watchtower question of old school baptism questions he looked shocked and said well the Light Gets Brighter...Good Old Proverbs 4:18 he used, I laughed in his face, yup Light Does get Brighter or twisted or just makes No sense.

    Love to all


  • Comment by skepttic on 2016-05-01 22:05:19

    Wow, When men direct their own steps they just ruin everything.
    I have a friend who's been an elder for over 30 years and his son is not baptized. He always felt a distrust for his son when it came to spirituality for
    fear of yes you quest it, that he would get disfellowshipped
    His son did associate with the congregation and even went out on service did everything required, but never got baptized.
    Ah yes this astute mans thoughts came to be true, his son while living in another city committed fornication with a young girl that was studying with another female witness. The elders were powerless, the young girl had to restart her study with someone else and as for my friends son, they just called him and he notified of what his son has done.
    If go back to the 2011 June 15 Watchtower p 6. which states -

    Should My Child Put Off Baptism?

    Occasionally, even when children qualify
    for baptism, their parents may decide
    that it should be postponed. What may
    be their reasons?
    I fear that if my child gets baptized,
    he might later fall into serious sin and get
    disfellowshipped. Is it reasonable to believe
    that a young person who puts off
    baptism will not be accountable to God
    for his conduct?......Both baptized and unbaptized worshippers
    are accountable to God.

    So why rush in to get a young one get baptized? Either way their accountable to God.
    That's the thing we all rather be accountable to God, not to men, so the problem is in part of the 2nd question '' in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?”, [which doe's not belong.]
    My friend and his family are trying to help his son to readjust his thinking with
    love and compassion and mostly support. There are many families that can't help their children because they got baptized at an early age, and the organization is trying to readjust and see repentance, and most are disfellowshipped anyway for an example to others.
    So we go back to what Jesus said '' Just let YOUR word Yes mean Yes, YOUR No, No; for what is in excess of these is from the wicked one.” (Mt 5: 37). I wonder what he meant by 'excess of these is from the wicked one' WOW.
    I think its all about the numbers, we don't ask children to make big choices that will affect their lives at a young age .Anthony Morris III of the so called governing body commented in one of his talks and I quote 'If a young one can get a drivers license then he should be able to dedicate his life to Jehovah'. But he didn't mention that thousands of young people die each year for making bad driving decision because of being inexperienced.
    I think Jesus was an exceptional young man, if that was the case then he would have been baptized at 12 years old.

  • Comment by billy on 2016-05-01 22:22:11

    It bothers me when I see children being used in the WT publications for promoting the preaching work - how does a child have the capacity to accept all the ideology of the WT organization! - nothing wrong with bringing up ones children with bible principles and guidance

    I was shocked a few years ago when these new baptism questions were brought to my attention as I hadn't realized the change - I'm glad I got baptized before the change - not sure how one handles this situation now

    Jesus didn't get baptized till he was 30 - that says a lot

    Thanks for the review Meliti

  • Comment by billy on 2016-05-01 22:26:26

    I might add - a sister I know felt pressured into having her children being baptized early and regrets she allowed it to happen

  • Comment by on 2016-05-01 23:21:20

    Leaving the 'truth' or rather escaping from a cult like organisation of indoctrination and brainwashing... is extremely traumatic and painful... It is indeed a grieving process.

    At first it is almost impossible to believe you were wrong about something you knew to be so right.... Right? After all didn't you study and delve and research? However way back then there was no or little access to the internet or experiences from individuals such as Raymond Franz.. Later after the fog lifts and the anger settles in you ask yourself .... 'How indeed in 'God's green earth' did I ever become involved in this web of lies?

    The 'ring of truth' we all loved to hear so much was probably because we read only WT literature, the real 'truth' of the organisation was well hidden .... I had had doubts before after my own family experienced male abuse of power, however as is usually the case blamed myself for 'not being spiritual or obedient' enough .... Obedient to who?

    It wasn't so called apostate literature that caused me to have real doubts it was the Royal Commission into child sex abuse in Australia that set my head reeling in disbelief. At first , like many I believed this was all lies, surely from apostates or disgruntled members. Until I met and spoke with real life victims ... I knew then it was nothing to do with my lack of spirituality or failure to obey ...

    Abuse within the organisation whether sexual or emotional is alive and well within this organisation. That is when I really did some research, I read Raymond Franz, 'Crisis of Conscience' someone who had been there right at the top, not just his word but having access to actual letters from the WT proving their cruel disregard for individuals more concerned with power and obedience...

    The anger has gone, the sadness comes and goes, I'm learning to forgive myself at dragging my family through wasted years of lies and guilt. I'm trying to find Jehovah again for himself not for any denomination. I have always valued his precious son Jesus more than the WT apparently ever did. As a bereaved parent I understand Jehovah's pain at the loss of his son.... Although he was returned to him... I know my son will return to me as well ....

    A very long winded way of saying, thank you for articles such as this one that have assisted in my recovery. I have not always been able to absorb some of the articles. I think you reach saturation point and need a break .... A light hearted (once forbidden) novel.... Having gone so 'deep' within the WT sometimes it's all too much to again go 'deep' into this new learning or rather understanding...

    To all those newly bereaved (of the so called truth) I say, it's okay to go light for awhile, you don't have to relearn a complicated belief system... keep it basic until you want to or are ready to delve deeper....

    The basic Bible truth of .... there is a god and his name is something like Jehovah. He sent his precious son to die for us... There will one day be justice for this lovely planet and God's original plan will come to be.... No matter how much individuals speculate.... god's will ... Will be just that .... HIS will, not man's... This earth was meant to stand for all eternity ... the meek were to inherit that earth....

    If this is all you can absorb, then how comforting those scriptures can be... the truth indeed will set us free....

    Take care and safe journey .... you are not alone ....


    • Reply by billy on 2016-05-02 09:23:23

      I can relate to everything you said Karen....
      Love to you
      Sister billy

      • Reply by on 2016-05-09 06:26:09

        Not sure how my email address was posted ... didn't mean that to happen ..oops

        Thank you Billy and 1984 ..

        To Robert I say ... I understand your anger, it is warranted ... There are good loving people within this organisation who truly believe they serve Jehovah, they believe that baptism is their outward dedication to their God.. Not to be baptised would mean to be left behind so to speak and everyone wants to get into that new system Right?

        They truly believe everything the WT prints because they are told NOT to read anything else... Such is the hold the WT has over its people.. When you leave it is with fear and trepidation at first.. It is almost impossible to grasp that it has all been a lie.. We do need to tread lightly at first.... I am having difficulty with some things I read perhaps because I am not ready to hear as yet.

        One point that causes such trauma and sadness is, when I read there is no earthly hope, can anyone please share their thoughts and research on this point?

        Many thanks for this site ... Smiles ...

        • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2016-05-09 08:27:44

          Hi Karen,

          The reason your email is posted is that when you registered, you used your email as your username. I can edit most things on an account, but WordPress does not allow me to change a user name. If you like, make a copy of all your comments and then create a new username (a new registration) and repost all your comments under it then send me an email ( and I'll delete the old comments and your old login.

          • Reply by on 2016-05-09 23:18:00

            Karen thanks Meleti

    • Reply by 1984 on 2016-05-03 09:27:14

      Well said Karen, so eloquently expressed - I relate to everything you said. There is healing in every word, thank you. And thank you again Meleti, such a good article.

  • Comment by LonelySheep on 2016-05-02 20:15:40

    Just mulling over the "dedicating our lives to Jehovah" aspect....

    I agree there is no specific scripture linking baptism with dedication. But when I read this scripture, 2 Cor 5:14  For the love the Christ has compels us, because this is what we have concluded, that one man died for all; so, then, all had died. 15 And he died for all so that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised up

    To me that message is something that should be understood, that when we accept Christ's sacrifice, we are willing to not live our lives for ourselves any longer, but to live in a way that is pleasing to him.

    Interesting though how even then the WT doesn't even mention Christ...although this states very plainly we are living for "him who died for them".

    My daughter wanted to get baptized younger and I was able to dissuade her. If she had continued wanting to, I was going to have a conversation with her about whether the baptism at the KH was scriptural or even acceptable. She ended up figuring it out on her own. To me, the vows especially are one of the more serious things they have tampered with. There is just no excuse for violating such clear instructions.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2016-05-03 05:15:38

      Thanks for sharing these thoughts, LonelySheep. Your reference to 2 Cor 5:14, 15 resonated with me because Nicodemus and I have been trying to figure out what it means to be "in Christ". The NWT renders this "in union with Christ", likely as a result of a strong anti-Trinitarian bias. However, I think in doing so, they have deprived millions of a valuable insight into the Christian way of life, something which 2 Cor. 5:14, 15 points to.

      I was reading John 15 the other day in the King James Bible and the archaic wording of that version helped me to see something about being "in Christ". Your reference to Corinthians is the icing on the cake. I think I will explore this further in an article.

      Thank you again.

      • Reply by Robert on 2016-05-07 02:07:05

        John 15 appears to treat us abiding in Christ, Christ abiding in us, Christ's words abiding in us, and the love of Christ and God abiding in us, as essentially equivalent. We must be mindful that John tends to be wordy and ponderous at times when he writes, but it does seem like these are all different ways of saying the same thing. To be "in Christ" appears to simply mean that we would live our lives in harmony with the words (the commands, teachings and example) of Christ and demonstrate a reflection of the love of Christ, as he himself reflected the love of his Father. In that sense, the NWT is not totally wrong, but more is involved that merely being "in union" with Christ. "Union" carries a connotation of loyalty and obedience, while John's words convey a deeper thought, that us being "in Christ" (and vice versa) involves both devotion and love, not merely obedience.

  • Comment by Menrov on 2016-05-05 16:34:39

    My view is very simple (simple guy :)) . Jesus was inspired from young age but was not baptised at a young age. Children do not need to carry the cross or burden of a follower of Christ. As long as they are under the authority of their parents, the parents carry that responsibility. Regardless the denomination they support. Once a child is baptised the responsibility for the actions of the child shifts from the parents to the religious organisation. That is never desirable nor the intention of Jesus. Therefore when a child leaves the control.of his parent (i.e. leave the house) through baptism he.accepts Jesus to be his Leader.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2016-05-05 19:38:12

      An excellent insight, Menrov.

  • Comment by Yehorakam on 2016-05-05 17:36:22

    A few comments. First, nice article and nice comments. It's so nice to hear different viewpoints on this matter. With regards to young ones getting baptized, I feel the matter relating to any child falls upon the parents. I'm not a parent, so I'll be careful here and only say what my impression is from the scriptures and observing other families. One thing is clear, God has very carefully outlined the heavy responsibility that parents bear toward their children, to guide them, instruct them and protect them from harm. This includes harmful ideas or pressure from others that are outside the family circle. How easy it is for those that do not know the child well to give advice, and then walk away because they do not have to respond to Jehovah for the child in question. Parents should do their 100% best based on KNOWING each child. They live with them 24/7 and have been with them from the start and every day since and for that reason, know them better than any elder in the hall, or anyone else for that matter. If they do their best, they should be able to stand with a clean conscience before Jehovah and feel at ease when their adult children come out from under their umbrella and make their own decisions. That is the best time for a person to decide how they are going to use their life and understand the seriousness of it.

    The illustration in the WT of getting a drivers licence doesn't cut it. Any young person would jump at the idea of being able to drive without meditation. So why compare a decision a serious as baptism that requires serious mediation to a decision that is made without meditation. Why not compare baptism to the decision as to what career a teenager is going to choose when he finishes high school? I know that most young people that have spoken with me have little idea of what career they will choose when finishing high school. They know it will be a choice for the rest of their life and most have told me that they're not ready. Some pioneer, some get a simple job, some study something general....because they DON'T YET KNOW what they want to study or pursue as a career. So, if they aren't ready to make that choice, how ready would they be for baptism? It's a life changing decision and permanent. Driving is an easy choice, so don't compare it to driving.

    As regards the small lies and blasphemy debate, according to scriptural precedents, the ones at the top will bear heavier judgment. Althought they say they aren't, inside they believe they are inspired because they flat out don't believe anyone can correct them in spiritual matters. Being that "God directs THEM", any outside information would be coming from a source that isn't directed by God. That is their view, an it belies their claim to be humble. For that reason, there will be a heavy judgment on them...BUT...we still don't know what it will be. In full agreement with Andere, most brothers and sisters further down in the JW organization make significant changes and sacrifices because they sincerely wish to please God. Their objective is not to mislead. They might make the mistake of repeating false teachings. I'm sure most of us here were guilty of that, myself included. We share what we think to be true, even now! I often think of my parents themselves. I have discovered that they unknowingly have taught me things that were untrue. Why? Because they wanted to mislead me? No. Simply put, for lack of accurate knowledge. In fact, the meandering of the GB, show that they lack accurate knowledge of the sacred secrets. But, of course their responsibility is greater because they will expel anyone who might know more of the sacred secrets than them. But the guilt of our brothers for being mistaken is different than the guilt of not accepting correction, punishing those that would expose an error, or precisely knowing the truth and speaking a lie with the intention of deceiving. How will that pan out? Jesus will decide, not us. It appears Robert that you have been hurt/offended by what you've discovered to be lies. I have felt the same way. I went through an angry phase like most others. Fortunately it was short. I fear to bring judgment on anyone. Safer to condemn a practice than the person himself. I have let go of the resentment and enjoyed the peace that follows. I hope those that have been rightly upset over the lies will channel their energy in a loving way to expose the false and share the truth in a positive way. May God and Christ grant you that peace.

    Much love,

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2016-05-05 19:37:27

      Nice comment, Yehorakam.

      • Reply by on 2016-05-09 06:31:50

        Meleti do you think you and your co writers could offer up an article on life on Earth as God's original purpose? It is a subject that causes me much grief... Thank you

        • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2016-05-09 08:28:28

          It's in the works. I'm on vacation right now, but once I get settled back into a normal routine, this is at the top of my agenda.

          • Reply by Dajo on 2016-05-11 02:32:19

            Thanks Meleti. I have been getting some understanding of that topic about the earth bit by reading through the archives.
            also the other site related to this on - - has also helped me learn. It seems that we will be "changed" possibly in unimaginable ways.... I am very new and am still attending meetings, took the book study on Esther last night. Keeping things to myself and being cautious as a .....! Esther was also discreet. I'm taking things slowly whilst learning here.

            • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2016-05-11 07:04:07

              That's definitely the way to do it, Dajo. I find that the difficulties I've created for myself have come from applying knee-jerk reactions to things that present themselves based on my JW upbringing. Now I try to sit back and think on things for some time before making a determination on a course of action. Good for you!

    • Reply by AndereStimme on 2016-05-06 22:35:57

      I fully share your sentiments, Y. If I could have been that eloquent, my comment above would've sounded more like a reminder than a reprimand.

      When I talk to young ones about marriage, I like to tell them that I did a great deal of my personal development in my early twenties. I'm sure glad I didn't get married before then. How much more cautious should young ones be regarding baptism, since it is an act with eternal implications? And if children must obey their parents until they are old enough to move out, then the parents are necessarily responsible for their children, right? So what's the rush?

  • Comment by Yehorakam on 2016-05-06 23:12:43

    Andere, thanks and don't worry about eloquence, cause I'm not that eloquent either. Your comment was excellent, understood and very important because it was in your own words, not someone else's. So keep the comments coming. And exactly, what's the rush when Christ looks at our heart condition? The "dunk" is just a confirmation of the love in the heart. Love grows and Christ can see where the love is at and project where it will reach. No rush there.

    Much love

  • Comment by lazarus on 2016-05-07 06:52:57

    There are young ones who want to be like there idols..Sporting heroes entertainers parents. And there focused , they know their direction or goal in life is.So, If a young one want's to follow Jesus, that's not a bad thing really, and I now that's not what is said.
    We know Jesus counselled his apostles to stop preventing the children from coming to him.
    “Then young children were brought to him for him to place his hands on them and offer prayer, but the disciples reprimanded them. Jesus, however, said: “Let the young children alone, and do not try to stop them from coming to me, for the Kingdom of the heavens belongs to such ones.’”
    – Matthew 19:13-14
    However, as is highlighted by the well written article and comments. The real issues is it's rule's and policy driven Organization and its the negative consequences that a young inexperienced person may not grasp this aspect fully. So that's the real issue, as I see it anyway. The Govt's and many institutions when dealing minors want the parents consent or and if going into a contract of sorts, the get out clause isn't as severe as we have as JW's eg Shunning . So maybe the alternative is if your a witness is do a private baptism and when they get older and want to be baptised as a JW they will be better equipped. I do have children baptised as JW's , I never pushed it on them at all and at the moment I'm slowly trying to help them see the difference between Gods word and men's...and this forum is helping me to help them see the difference. Thanks to all for your comments and those that take time out to write which gives us insight into such subjects.

  • Comment by Young Ones—How Can You Prepare for Baptism? | Beroean Pickets - Reviewer on 2016-05-10 17:45:30

    […] this review and last week’s we are encouraging baptism, but not the so-called dedication vow.  When one gets baptized in the […]

  • Comment by Yehorakam on 2016-05-13 04:12:32

    Sorry for this late post, but I was overloaded with work this week. It just so happened that I went to the meeting last Sunday out of curiosity. They handed me a WT (in Spanish). I discovered an interesting difference between the English and Spanish version. Firstly, in paragraph 3 it says in English: "Moreover, baptism is a requirement for Christians, and it is a vital step toward
    gaining salvation." In Spanish it actually says that baptism is "necessary to survive the Great Tribulation." Baptism and salvation are deep subjects, so for know I won't disagree with the factuality of the statement. But, I completely disagree with where the statement is an article for children. On the one hand, they seem to be making an attempt at saying to young ones: "Don't rush into baptism. Make sure you're ready. Take your time and prepare yourself. Don't give in to pressure" .... AND THEN...they throw in the statement that you won't survive the great tribulation unless you get baptized. That's all a young person needs is a statement that essentially says he'll DIE unless he makes it to baptism sometime real soon. They didn't say die, but kids minds are extremely imaginative and go a mile a minute to the next conclusion. So, its 'get baptized and survive' or the next conclusion: 'don't get baptized and die.' It really upset me that they had to put that in there. The English version was a little softer, but obviously someone on the Spanish translation team chose a different wording and didn't understand that a statement like that scares kids, and puts pressure due to a time factor, a time factor that means life or death. That's the last thing a child needs to be thinking about. It suffices to say that this expression makes kids nervous and is inevitably steps up the pressure to get "baptized before it is too late."

    In paragraph 4, it also stretches the meaning/application of Proverbs 20:11 a lot. Sure, a child's temperament might be known by his actions, but if a child does something wrong, that doesn't mean he will act that way for the rest of his life. I've seem a number of spoiled brats turn out to be quite responsible adults, showing that the decisions a child makes when he is young do not determine what he will do in his adult life. Somehow that text got stretched to mean that a child can be reprehensible before God for his eternal future, because his conduct as a child is indicative of how he'll be for the rest of his life. I'm glad no decisions were made about my eternal future when I took cookies from the cookie jar at age 12!

    I also noticed in paragraph 6 in the Spanish version, that the age of Daniel and his three companions has been reduced to 12 or 13 years of age. Previous articles just said they were youths. It looks like they have a specific age now, or maybe even Daniel has even got younger with time, so as to justify pre-teens getting baptized. This reference is interesting:

    *** w69 5/15 p. 296 par. 2 Listen to Daniel’s Words for Our Day ***
    "These four youths from the tribe of Judah probably ranged in age from about fourteen to eighteen years."

    So, I guess there is now written justification in the WT with Biblical proof (speculation) to support baptism of 12 year olds.

    As a last point, paragraph 14 says that: "At baptism, a person shows others that he is dedicated. Therefore, baptism is a public expression of a private dedication that you have already made in prayer to Jehovah." The Spanish version even uses the expression that 'baptism is SIMPLY making public your private dedication...' Well no, it's not that simple. If it was that simple, you could arrange to go with your family and intimate friends to a place where there is water and get baptized. The truth is that if you have privately dedicated yourself and want to get baptized as a Witness, you have to approach the elders and answer about 100 questions so THEY can decide if you can get baptized or not. In other words, you are not allowed to just go make public your determination to God's will. It is not simple. When I served as an elder, and someone had trouble answering some of the questions and we had to meet to consider whether or not we would let them, I always said that we had no right to prevent someone from getting baptized if it was the public expression of what they already decided in private. It was between them and Jehovah, so we were not to prevent the process. Some that seemed so ready have stopped pleasing God. Some that looked like they wouldn't make it are still going. So, I think it's obvious we are not to be the judges because we get things wrong. Each adult makes his own decision and stands before God for his faithfulness or lack of it. If we were to stop someone (an adult), we would essentially be kidnapping someone's faith, or caging his personal love and desire to serve God. If we were to take the statement in paragraph 14 at face value, then if the elders don't let you get baptized, they are essentially saying: "We're not going to allow you to let people publicly of your decision to serve God." This point has often been a bone of contention among elders. I think the whole idea of so many questions has been to increase the probability of success in numbers so as to have increase. For if you don't have a difficult screening process, then numbers will go down and it'll look bad on the organization. As respects going over the questions with children, fortunately I never had to go over the questions with anyone younger than 16 and I'm glad for that.

    Much love (and my apologies for a late post)

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2016-05-13 05:16:05

      Interesting that the Spanish should vary so much from the English. You're right about the scare tactic. Since Armageddon could strike at any moment and it is always just around the corner in JW mentality, kids will be motivated by that fear. I have a clear memory from the age of 6 of being worried about Armageddon, but taking comfort with the knowledge that I would survive on my parents' coattails. It is so easy to manipulate kids and that is what we are seeing in these articles. Most telling is the complete absence of a Bible account of child baptism.

    • Reply by AndereStimme on 2016-05-13 18:43:28

      Thanks again Y for your very thoughtful comments. When I served as elder I was so worried about people getting into something they didn't fully understand that the question of whether it was my place to prevent them from publicly demonstrating their desire to serve God never occurred to me.

      It also surprises me how many brothers think that salvation can be denied on a technicality. You weren't baptized yet, you weren't reinstated yet, etc. Do they really worship a god who, on judgment day, basically says "You're a nice guy and I'd love to give you eternal life, I really would, but my hands are tied; your paperwork simply isn't in order"?

      I did go over the questions with more than one child and vetoed their baptisms when I could. One kid's parents were mad at me for years. But guess who they called a few years later at 11pm when the kid confessed to some serious wrongdoing. I took the opportunity, after all the consolation and counsel was given, to point out to them that if the kid had been baptized, the buck wouldn't have stopped there. Only then did they realize I'd been looking out for the kid years before.

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