The dreaded question!
There you are, trying to show a pair of elders the scriptural basis for your belief (pick any topic) which is at odds with what the publications teach, and instead of reasoning with you from the Bible, they let fly the dreaded question: Do you think you know more than the Governing Body?
They know they can’t defeat your argument scripturally, so they use this tactic to have their way. They view this as a fool-proof question. No matter how you answer, they’ve got you.
If you answer, ‘Yes’, you will seem proud and willful. They’ll view you as an apostate.
If you say, ‘No’, they’ll see that as undermining your own argument. They’ll reason that you obviously don’t know all there is to know so better to wait on Jehovah, do more research in the publications, and be humble.
The scribes and Pharisees often tried to trap Jesus with what they viewed as fool-proof questions, but he always sent them packing, tail between their legs.
A Scriptrual Answer
Here is one way to answer the question: Do you think you are smarter or know more than the Governing Body?
Instead of answering directly, you ask for a Bible and open it to 1 Corinthians 1:26 and then you read your answer from Scripture.
“For you see his calling of you, brothers, that there are not many wise in a fleshly way, not many powerful, not many of noble birth, 27 but God chose the foolish things of the world to put the wise men to shame; and God chose the weak things of the world to put the strong things to shame; 28 and God chose the insignificant things of the world and the things looked down on, the things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 so that no one might boast in the sight of God.” (1Co 1:26-29)
Close the Bible and ask them, “Who are the insignificant things and the things looked down on?” Do not answer any more questions, but demand from them an answer. Remember, you are not under any obligation before God to answer any of their questions if you choose not to.
If they start to proclaim their loyalty to the Governing Body, implying, or even overtly saying, that you are a rebel, you can open the Bible again to the same passage, but this time read verse 31. (Best from the NWT as it will have the most impact of JWs.)
“so that it may be just as it is written: “The one who boasts, let him boast in Jehovah.”” (1Co 1:31)
Then say, “I respect your views, my brothers, but as for me, I will boast in Jehovah.”
An Alternate Answer
Often, in discussions with elders, you will find yourself assaulted by a barrage of accusatory questions intended to confuse your mind. When you try to reason scripturally, they will refuse to follow along and will use additional questions or just change the subject to keep you off balance. In such circumstances, it is best to have a short, pointed answer. For instance, Paul found himself before the Sanhedrin court with Sadducees on one side and Pharisees on the other. He tried to reason with them, but got unlawfully struck in the mouth for his efforts. (Acts 23:1-10) At that he changed tactics and found a way to divide his enemies by saying, “Men, brothers, I am a Pharisee, and a son of Pharisees. Over the hope of the resurrection of the dead I am being judged.” Brilliant!
So if asked if you think you know more than the Governing Body, you could respond, “I know enough not to become a member of the United Nations, the image of the wild beast that Babylon the Great rides. Apparently, the Governing Body didn’t know this and joined for 10-years, only breaking off their relationship with the UN when a worldly newspaper exposed them to the world. So brothers, what would you say?”
Often, the elders will be unaware of this sin of the Governing Body. Your answer puts them on the defensive and will likely cause them to change the direction of the conversation. If they come back to this issue, you can simply raise this issue again. There really is no defense for it, though they will likely attempt one. I had one elder try to reason his way out of this by saying that, “They are imperfect men and make mistakes. For instance, we used to believe in Christmas, but no longer do.” I countered by telling him that when we celebrated Christmas, we believed it was okay to do so. When we found out it was wrong, we stopped. However, when we joined the United Nations, we already knew it was wrong, and what is more, we publicly condemned the Catholic Church for doing the very thing we were doing, and in the very year we were doing it. (w91 6/1 “Their Refuge—A Lie!” p. 17 par. 11) This isn’t a mistake due to imperfection. This is willful hypocrisy. His answer was, “Well, I don’t want to debate with you.”
This is another tactic often used to avoid facing the facts: “I don’t want to argue with you.” You might simply respond, “Why not? If you have the truth, you have nothing to fear, and if you do not have the truth, you have much to gain.”
It is very likely that at this point, they will simply refuse to engage with you further.
I certainly don’t know more than the GB, the difference is that I don’t have a multi billion dollar religious corporation to lose if I say the wrong thing , they on the other hand do , so I definitely have greater freeness of speech , and I intend to use it .
If only I had kept a cool head and refreshed my memory of this fine article today. I had a discussion with a close family relative about the merits of translating kyrios as Lord instead of Jehovah in Romans 10 and possibly Acts 2. It did not go down well. I received the following “Are you being a bit presumptious thinking your view is superior to that of the New World Trans. Committee? Where do you get your ideas from? I hope you haven’t been looking at the apostate web sites – a sure way to being cut off by… Read more »
Welcome Anazitisi. We hear you. It can be so frustrating when family and friends put such blind trust in “nobles and the son of earthly man.” (Ps 146:3) It is also very hard to not let our passion show when loved ones disregard logic and common sense. Sometimes we just want to stand up and scream, “Are you listening to yourselves?” We need the patience of Job and the meekness of Moses, and most of all, the mind of Christ.
Great scriptural examples, Meleti! I would probably mention I heed the scriptures in Proverbs which say, “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for fool than for him.” Prov 26:12 Following with, since Christ is my King, I certainly wouldn’t want to exalt myself by thinking I was wise in my own eyes, knowing he is looking down on me. Prov 25:6,7 tells me why. “Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among great men; it is better for him to say to you, “Com up… Read more »
Wow, these are all great suggestions… Now how do I get pulled into that room with the dangling light? That’s way too easy..
Dear Search, If you want to be pulled into that room, use the bible and stick to it, be zealous in preaching and teaching people the truth, love and assist the brothers and sisters and speak up when you come across hidden wrongdoing committed by the elders. This will be bound to cause the elders to mark you as a problem.
This is very true. I have been including The Christ more in my conversations, my comments and participation. I have been more keen to showing authentic love and compassion towards my brothers, and ive noticed the elders (i was one for many years) have great suspicion towards me. They are even afraid to approach me. I dont understand it. In the congregation book study last night, on the topic of peters loyalty to Jesus. On paragraph 10 of the chapter we were studying this week in the book, I just knew that the discussion would be geared toward showing loyalty… Read more »
It is so satisfying to speak up with truth in the congregation, is it not?
It sure is. I had a difficult time in the beginning, however, I realized it was my JW mindset that kept me from speaking truth when necessary. I figured out that speaking truth even when it hurts is truly an act of love. Paul said to the Galatians in Galatians 4:16- “Have I therefore, become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”. Paul became the enemy of the Galatians because he told the truth about the error of legalism. He confronted them with truth, not opinion. A person convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. Grace… Read more »
Colette, yes, that’s a sure way 🙂
Is that marking you mentioned anything official? I haven’t read the elders’ book (I’m sure it’s available on the net). The problem is, I’d like to know whether I am somehow marked. I have recently had a long discussion with two elders and we will have another round coming soon. Definitely all the elders talk to me differently now. I’m wondering whether they have a notion of “marking”, which they can do in their BOE meeting without informing the person involved.
Dear Tyhik, the marking we went through was not official at all. We didn’t even realise it for a while, but started to find the elders finding fault with our family, even accusing our 18-month old baby of hitting someone in the hall. When we reported one elder’s fraudulent business dealings, we were investigated for maliciousness for example. I started getting the idea that they were trying to find fault to DF my husband which prompted us to move congregations. It was only then that they came out into the open and refused to recommend him as a MS or… Read more »
Marking is making its “Mark” again…!
“Organized in harmony with God’s own Book” study article in the November Study edition, par 13 I think.
It’s just been added and I’ve just been skimming over it.
Dajo, that’s it. Thanks for the pointer.
Thanks Meleti, it is going to happen to me. I like the SOE (sequence of events). I’ll ask for a Bible… pause….. open to (checking my memory here ummh 1 Cor 1:26). So far after resigning I’ve been left alone, however rumors are circulating and wife is stressing. Otherwise all is good and i’m feeling free. The Method you suggest is the key. Thank you for sharing the above method, Paul helped Timothy, by the WAY he did things the Way he spoke and dealt with people. That’s what Jesus did – he simply SHOWED us, and gave us methods… Read more »
Thanks Dajo. For a good alternative response to the question, see Vox Ratio’s comment.
Hi Meleti, It’s an unfortunate question, since it is clear that it’s an attempt to place the defendant upon the horns of a dilemma. Still, it is not unlike what our Lord faced when confronted with similar appeals to authority in the first century (Mat. 21:24). Thankfully, however, the deftness of Christ’s response can be used similarly today. Imagine an interpolation of Matthew’s account in chapter 21 that goes as follows: Question: “Do you think you know more than the Governing Body? Who gave you this authority?” (vs. 24) Answer: “I will also ask you one thing. If you tell… Read more »
I love it! I wish I could do multiple likes on a comment. 🙂
Whoever gets to use this reasoning first in front of a judicial committee, is going to make me jealous. I want to be dragged in the back room now!???
Very cheeky! But I think the elders in my congregation would reply “OK, but they had to work with candles in those days, now we have LED lights” ?
I would respond with “No, that would be presumptuous, but I still am entitled to a scriptual counter argument.
I once had a brother ask me “Don’t you think our congregation’s body of elders have the spirit of Jesus?” I replied that it would be presumptuous to assume then didn’t, but it would also be presumptuous to conclude they did, because either way I would be passing judgment, judging they are bad or judging they are good is still judgment.
I’ve been asked a question like that by two elders. Luckily I had recently come across James 1. So I handled it, first reading James 1:5 “So if any one of you is lacking in wisdom, let him keep asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching, and it will be given him.” Then I pointed out that God gives generously to ALL, not just to GB. And then I read them James 1:6-7 “6 But let him keep asking in faith, not doubting at all, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the… Read more »
I like to ask, is the GB inspired? Do they get revelations? When the say “no”, then I ask, so do they have access to knowledge that we don’t have access to? If they say “yes”, then you can say “explain how, please” and watch them tie themselves in knots. If they say “no”, then back to the subject at hand. Admittedly, I’ve never used this on an elder, so don’t sue me if it gets you DF’d. *** w81 2/15 p. 19 Do We Need Help to Understand the Bible? *** True, the brothers preparing these publications are not… Read more »
I like this one too.
Ivan my husband says: “No, when it comes to covering up child abuse, indoctrinating people and running a worldwide scam, then definitely the governing body knows more than me!” 🙂
To answer the question “do you think you know more than the governing body?”, my personal answer would be: “After seeing Geoffrey Jackson’s testimony at the Australian Royal Commission, I would have to say YES!”
But if anyone gives this answer they will likely be disfellowshipped in an instance for disloyalty to the GB.
Beautiful! I bet that will take the wind out of their sails!!