In this week’s CLAM, there is a video that was released some months back in a monthly broadcast. “Jehovah Will Care for Our Needs” tells the true story of a witness who gave up his job because a schedule change would have required him to miss one of his meetings. He and his family suffered hardship for some time because he was not able to find another job. Eventually, he started auxiliary pioneering, after which he got work.
However, there is an odd note about this story that bothered many of us when we first saw it months ago in one of the monthly broadcasts on tv.jw.org. The brother could have kept his job if he had been willing to go to the meeting in another local congregation. Since he could have spared his family and himself all the hardship and stress that resulted by his quitting, one has to wonder why it mattered so much where he attended, as long as he didn’t miss the meeting.
The lesson this video purports to teach is that if we put the Kingdom first, Jehovah will provide. It follows therefore that one isn’t putting the Kingdom first if one is not attending the meetings in one’s own congregation. The message of this video makes it clear that this brother felt that attending meetings in another congregation would have amounted to compromising his integrity.
Of course, no Scriptural support was given for this conclusion, and it is unlikely that the millions of Witnesses reviewing the video this week will even think to question this omission.
Andere and I were discussing this in light of this week’s CLAM. He’d come to the conclusion it was all about control. A brother who is attending other meetings is not under the watchful eye of the local elders. He can slip through the cracks, so to speak. They cannot properly monitor him.
When Jesus told us to seek first the Kingdom, he didn’t mean that we should follow men. (Mt 6:33) This brother went through considerable hardship, not because he believed putting the kingdom first meant attending all the meetings, but because he thought it meant attending only the meetings he was assigned to attend by the Organization. The video would also have us believe that he was only rewarded for his stand when he took the additional step of seeking first the Kingdom by engaging in an artificial and unscriptural standard of preaching which requires one to put in a quota of hours predetermined by the Governing Body. If one does not complete the quota, one has failed. He cannot rejoice in the increased service he performed, but instead must feel like a failure and will likely have to explain to the elders why he wasn’t able to live up to his obligation.
It’s all about control.
Through the course of this week, this video is going to be seen and studied by eight million Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world. This shows how highly the Governing Body values their control and authority over the flock. They would have us believe that even in the minor point of deciding which congregation meeting to attend, it is a matter of integrity to God that we follow their direction strictly, no matter the cost.
This position is not new. It is very old, in fact. It was condemned by our Lord Jesus, the judge of all Mankind.
“Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying: 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the seat of Moses….They bind up heavy loads and put them on the shoulders of men, but they themselves are not willing to budge them with their finger.” (Mt 23:1,2, 4)
The Governing Body and the elders who obey them do load us down. They do put heavy loads on our shoulders. But it is easy to shrug your shoulders, and let the load drop to the ground.
Many true Christians have realized the controlling nature of organizational procedures and have shrugged their shoulders by refusing to put in a report of their time. They get harassed for this, because the elders don’t like the loss of control this represents. So they threaten these brothers and sisters with loss of membership.
A publisher who goes out regularly in the door-to-door service, even if putting in 20, 30, or more hours a month, will be considered an irregular publisher (a publisher who doesn’t go out in field service) for the first six months of non-reporting. Then, after six months of no reports, he or she will be considered inactive and the publisher’s name will be removed from the list of congregation members which is posted for all to see on the Announcement Board at the Kingdom hall.
According to them, it doesn’t matter what service you render to God. It doesn’t matter what Jehovah himself sees you do. If you don’t submit to the control of men, you become a non-entity.
It’s all about control.
[…] fails to live up to its own standard of reasonableness. You may recall a midweek meeting video not long ago praising the example of a brother who went without work for months, imposing hardship on his […]
I just want to mention that once my mother was invited to talk about her 50 years as a JW in one of the assemblies. She told me that all the script she prepared telling her experiences etc etc was changed by the elders in charge.
She got mad, because they deleted things and added things that she didn’t agree.
My point is that ….how true is this video?
It’s true C, assembly experiences can be quite “massaged”, and there’s no reason to think this one wasn’t as well. In any case, finding a new job in 6 months is not exactly parting the Red Sea, is it?
Aren’t we JWs supposed to be truthful, honest with our dealings with others, most especially with the brothers? What more if the leaders are dealing with the flock? Why add details that are not true and delivered in an assembly?
Dear Mailman, yes, JW’s are SUPPOSED to be truthful. Have you come across instances yet where they misquote sources and publish it? I have some interesting proof: If you can, look at page 3 of a print copy of the January 2015 Awake, it differs from the online version as the org had to retract a statement from Rama Singh as they had made it look as if he supported Creation. When he found out, he demanded a retraction and apology as he is in fact an evolutionist. All this after the org assured us that they take great care… Read more »
I imagine that he only got his apology privately.
Hi Colette. Curious how were you able to get privy to that editorial case. Did Rama air his displeasure in public? How did Rama Singh react after the corrections have been made?
I think the guy should have demanded a public apology from the WT.
mailman, Rama published the letter he sent to the ‘Awake’ magazine editor on EvolDir, which is on the Mcmaster university domain. I have a copy of his letter and can send you a copy if you like. It has subsequently been removed from this domain. The real shame is that there is such abundant evidence of Creation, seen in the world around us, and the yet the WT has to resort to quoting people out of context. My husband Ivan read Rama’s original article, which supported evolution unequivocally, so to quote him in any context as supporting creation is outright… Read more »
Rama Singh has a better chance of seeing God than getting a public apology from the WTBTS. Still, the debacle caused by their out-of-context quotation looks more like a matter of carelessness than outright deception. After all, you don’t have to work very hard to find scientific criticism of evolutionist claims. But it certainly gives the lie to the claim that they ‘take great care’ to maintain an elevated standard of truth. I guess it’s hard to get bright journalistic talent for $150 a month plus room, board and abject submission.
Interestingly, yesterday’s daily text was somewhat along the same lines as this article vis-a-vis “control.” It used Ephesians 4:25 as it’s scriptural basis, i.e. “We are members belonging to one another.” From there, it delves into “unity” once again (guess we haven’t heard enough about THAT topic lately….), and in the middle of the text states the following: “Does that help you to see the need to work unitedly with Jehovah’s organization? Jehovah is teaching us to attain unity now, with the objective of having unity forever.” I always thought God’s main objective was to have love for the Father… Read more »
Something else that was shockingly absent from this instructional video about faith was any reference to financial assistance from the congregation. There was mention of the brother who had studied with this needy one sitting down with him and reading from the Bible those scriptures that speak of Jehovah providing. It seems the Organization feels they are not involved in that process. So when Jehovah feeds us spiritually, the organization is very much involved. In fact, they are the only means by which Jehovah feeds us. However, when Jehovah feeds us physically, they are out of that particular loop. This… Read more »
Well stated Meleti. I (sadly) missed that point you brought out, that no financial assistance was offered by the elders. I can relate. I myself was out of work for over a year at one point, and not once was any kind of financial assistance offered. I’d like to think it was because Jehovah knew i wouldn’t accept it, but who knows? I will say this: The “modem day Job” video at the convention does show the elders giving the afflicted family an envelope of money from a “collection” the congregation took up. I guess that’s at least some progress,… Read more »
Hi Meleti, It would appear from this example that the triumph of one’s personal conscience is being used to solicit the consciences of others also. Regrettably, this type of selection bias peremptorily gives the “experience” of faith primacy over the “word” of faith. Yet, it’s simply not the case that God’s word requires such an unyielding attitude when there other conscientious options available to the believer. For instance, in order to be presented as sons of the Father, Jesus admonished those following him to prove that their love was perfect, or complete (Mat. 5:48). Interestingly, as part of this same… Read more »
Yes, amazing how the friends so scrupulously want to observe the regulations of the GB regarding meeting attendance. Long ago I observed this tendancy. Despite the flexibility that being close to many congregations offers brothers were so paranoid if they didn’t attend the congregation they were ‘assigned’ to (sounds like Bethel service) when circumstances didn’t allow it. Another negative effect of this GB mandate is when you DO attend a different congregation you get the feeling ‘what are YOU doing here?’. Aren’t we supposed to be one congregation? I did enjoy one aspect of the video – the inter-racial marriage!… Read more »
Mmmm, might the acceptance of inter-racial marriages by any chance have something to do with the fact that Anthony Morris’ two sons married ‘chocolate’ as he put it?
Collette, are you serious? Did he really say that?
Yes, according to JW friends (or rather ex-friends) from the South African bethel. He came here to address a racial issue at the branch a few years ago and that is what he said.
Unless the GB feel the pressure themselves does anything change. For decades they couldn’t marry at Bethel until Brother Knorr got Spring fever and married.
Jesus said in John 4: 21-24: 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Questions to Ponder: 1.) Where… Read more »
This article proves that the governing body, believes they are God. By ignoring this Wt. directive, you are ignoring God. How much clearer can it be?
I noticed the same bit, a possibility to attend other congregation’s meeting, when watching the video. And I have to agree that the message is about the control. Cannot think of any other reason. If somebody is regularly missing, elders have to chase down whether he/she is really attending others’ meetings. Not sure they can put elders of the other congregation to watch over their sheep. What if the person decides to go sometimes to a third place? What a mess, elders never know. Yes, they could ask the person on those meetings, where he/she is present, but that’s not… Read more »
Just looked back over the video and the bro (actor) actually says, or muses, ” …even though I could go to another meeting in the (Sunday ) evening.
I stayed home last Tuesday so didn’t get the CLAM
Dang!! I would have put my hand up and asked why he didn’t go to the other meeting as we have so many from other congs who come to ours.
I agree that it is a very manipulative piece of powerful visual programming evident here.
Yes, it was a contentous issue when Border Patrol was introduced. Especially around the 1990’s. The problem the brothers had about border hoping was that Elders were exempt. Lack of Elders in one Cong, yes they Would allow a Elder to cross over to another’s to help out. And although there was no stopping brothers and sisters Attending meetings not there own, this was not looked upon favourably. Especially if your a brother looking for an appointment as a M.S or Elder. An elder , expressed to me, that he had to work back over a couple of weekends and… Read more »
At a cursory level some loyalists or newcomers to this site may dismiss this as a cynical view, or adopt the attitude of – even if it’s true does it really matter? Your analysis Meleti and Andere is highly accurate IMO. For any that want to believe otherwise then please feel free to come up with a reason for spending these dedicated funds carefully crafting and promoting a case study of a brother who took some highly specific and regulated decisions, even though they were nobody’s business and he could have worshiped and supported his family without any compromise whatsoever.… Read more »