When reasoning in a potentially adversarial environment, the best tactic is to ask questions. We see Jesus using this method over and over with great success. In short, to get your point across: ASK, DON’T TELL.
Witnesses are trained to accept instruction from men in authority. Elders, Circuit Overseers, and Governing Body members tell them what to do and they do it. They are trained to put complete trust in these men, to the point where they entrust them with their very salvation.
The other sheep should never forget that their salvation depends on their active support of Christ’s anointed “brothers” still on earth.
(w12 3/15 p. 20 par. 2 Rejoicing in Our Hope)
In turn, we approach from a position of weakness in their eyes. We have none of the authority they hold in such high esteem. In this we are no different from our Lord. He was a mere carpenter’s son and came from a despised province. His credentials could hardly have been poorer. (Mt 13:54-56; John 7:52) His apostles were fishermen and the like; unlettered men. (John 7:48, 49; Acts 4:13) Notably, he experienced the least success in his home territory, prompting him to say:
“A prophet is not without honor except in his home territory and in his own house.” (Mt 13:57)
Similarly, we often find that those closest to us, parents, siblings and dear friends, will have the hardest time accepting what we say. Like Jesus, we are overcoming years of indoctrination and the powerful influence of peer pressure. With our words, we are challenging the biggest authority figures in their life. Few will view what we have as pearls of such great value. (Mt 13:45, 46)
With so much stacked against us, let us do our best to reach hearts by speaking kindly and respectfully; by not pushing our newfound understandings on unreceptive ears; and by always endeavoring to find the right questions to help our loved ones to think and reason for themselves. Our discussions should never become a contest of wills, but rather a cooperative search for truth.
With this in mind, let us tackle the first of the criteria points highlighted in the previous article in this series.
Getting the discussion going is always the hardest part. There are many techniques that can be employed. For example, let us say you have been missing a lot of meetings. You might say to a family member, “I guess you’ve noticed I haven’t been at that many meetings lately. I imagine there’s a lot of speculation and gossip as to why, but I’d like to tell you the reason myself, so that you don’t get the wrong idea.”
You could then continue by saying that there are number of things that have caused you to be concerned. Without divulging more details, ask your friend or family member to read Revelation 20:4-6
“And I saw thrones, and those who sat on them were given authority to judge. Yes, I saw the souls of those executed for the witness they gave about Jesus and for speaking about God, and those who had not worshipped the wild beast or its image and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand. And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for 1,000 years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the 1,000 years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and they will rule as kings with him for the 1,000 years.” (Re 20:4-6)
Now ask him or her if the faithful and discreet slave is going to be part of these kings and priests. That answer must be “Yes” since that is in line with what the Organization publishes. Additionally, the Governing Body now teaches that it is the faithful slave, therefore it must be part of the ones Revelation 20:4 is referring to.
At some point, the person you’re talking to is going to believe you’re leading them up the garden path and may resist. They may even guess where you’re going, and think you’re just laying a trap. Don’t deny that you are leading them to a conclusion. We do not want to appear sly or conniving, so be up front and tell them that you just taking them on the same journey you traveled to arrive at your current understanding. If they put pressure on you to get the point, try to resist. If they don’t reason on all the facts, it will be easier for them to miss the implications.
Next ask who the image of the wild beast is. They should know that off the top of their head. Just in case they don’t, here’s the Organization’s teaching:
“Since World War II, the image of the wild beast—now manifested as the United Nations organization—has already killed in a literal way.”
(re chap. 28 p. 195 par. 31 Contending With Two Ferocious Beasts
“An additional significant factor is that when Babylon the Great goes down under the devastating attack of the ten horns of the symbolic wild beast, her fall is mourned by her companions in fornication, the kings of the earth, and also by the merchants and shippers who dealt with her in supplying luxurious commodities and gorgeous fineries.”
(it-1 pp. 240-241 Babylon the Great)
Get your friend or family member to acknowledge that according to Revelation 20:4, the “kings and priests” have never committed spiritual fornication with the wild beast or its image, unlike Babylon the Great as depicted in the above image.
Now ask them if the Organization teaches that the Catholic Church is part of Babylon the Great. Next read this extract from the June 1, 1991 Watchtower.
9…“If Christendom had sought peace with Jehovah’s King, Jesus Christ, then she would have avoided the coming flash flood.—Compare Luke 19:42-44.
10 However, she has not done so. Instead, in her quest for peace and security, she insinuates herself into the favor of the political leaders of the nations—this despite the Bible’s warning that friendship with the world is enmity with God. (James 4:4) Moreover, in 1919 she strongly advocated the League of Nations as man’s best hope for peace. Since 1945 she has put her hope in the United Nations. (Compare Revelation 17:3, 11.) How extensive is her involvement with this organization?
11 A recent book gives an idea when it states: “No less than twenty-four Catholic organizations are represented at the UN.”
(w91 6/1 p. 17 pars. 9-11 Their Refuge—A Lie!)
“Some may take offense at the frankness of Jehovah’s Witnesses in proclaiming this. However, when they say that Christendom’s religious rulers have taken refuge in a lying arrangement, they merely relate what the Bible says. When they say that Christendom deserves punishment because she has become a part of the world, they merely report what God himself says in the Bible.”
(w91 6/1 p. 18 par. 16 Their Refuge—A Lie!)
Ask them if this article makes it clear that the 24 Catholic NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) constitute part of her spiritual fornication with the UN. Would they then agree that the kings and priests of Revelation 20:4 would have never sanctioned membership in the UN as the Catholic Church did?
If your friends or family waffle at all by showing themselves unwilling to commit to any of these points, you might consider terminating the discussion. If they are already in denial before you’ve even made your point, it doesn’t bode well for the outcome. It’s not easy to know if you are casting your pearls before swine who will trample them and then turn on you, so use your best discretion.
On the other hand, if they are still with you, they may indeed be showing a love for truth. So the next step would be to get them to a computer and have them google the following (sans quotes): “watchtower UN”.
The first returned link is likely to be this one to the UN FAQ site. It is important to tell your listeners that this is not an apostate web site. This is an official page on the United Nations web site.
Under Links & Files, the third link is DPI letter re Watchtower relations 2004.
Get them to read the entire letter. This is important, so there’s no need to rush.
Notice that the application was made in 1991, the same year the June 1, 1991 Watchtower condemned the Catholic Church for having 24 NGOs or non-governmental organizations in the United Nations. One hopes that the hypocrisy evident in this timing does not escape their notice.
Often, the first question they will ask after reading the letter is why would the Organization join the UN in the first place.
The “why” isn’t really important. It’s like asking why a man committed adultery. The fact is, he did and that’s the problem. There can be no excuse that justifies the sin. So instead of answering their question, ask one of your own: “Is there any reason that would justify joining and supporting the image of the wild beast?”
Remember that part of the criteria for becoming an UN NGO is:
- have a demonstrated interest in United Nations issues and a proven ability to reach large or specialized audiences, such as educators, media representatives, policy makers and the business community;
- have the commitment and means to conduct effective information programmes about UN activities by publishing newsletters, bulletins and pamphlets, organizing conferences, seminars and round tables; and enlisting the cooperation of the media.
If they say, “Well, maybe it was just a mistake”, you can say that the Governing Body does not accept that this was a mistake. They’ve never apologized for it, nor admitted they did anything wrong. We cannot call it a mistake if the Governing Body refuses to do so. Besides, would a wife upon learning her husband had a 10-year affair with another women accept the excuse, “It was just a mistake, dear”?
So the facts are that they willingly maintained a full 10-year membership in the United Nations as an NGO, the highest form of membership outside of being a nation-state member. They renewed it annually according to UN requirements. They had to sign an annual submission form. The rules for joining did not change prior to nor after the term of their 10-year membership. They renounced their membership only after an article in the U.K. newspaper, The Guardian, exposed it to the world.
Can any reason justify breaking their neutrality, and compromising the requirement to be separate from the world and its affairs, as detailed in chapter 15 of What Can the Bible Teach Us? and chapter 14 of The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life?
Here is the reason they have given for this transgression:
They claim in this letter that they joined the United Nations—the image of the wild beast—so as to gain access to its research library. That turns out to be untrue since citizens and organizations have always been able to gain access to the library by submitting a request. There never has been a requirement that limits library access only to UN members. However, even if that were the case, would that justify what the organization considers a sin worthy of disfellowshipping? Notice this excerpt from the current elders manual: Shepherd the Flock of God.
3. Actions that may indicate disassociation [disfellowshipping by another name] include the following:
Taking a course contrary to the neutral position of the Christian congregation. (Isa. 2:4; John 15:17-19; w99 11/1 pp. 28-29) If he joins a nonneutral organization, he has disassociated himself.
By its own rulebook, the Governing Body has disassociated itself from the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses by joining a nonneutral organization. Admittedly, they don’t come any more nonneutral than the Organization of the United Nations, the image of the wild beast of Revelation.
True, they are no longer members, but they’ve never apologized, repented, or even admitted that this was a mistake. When they were caught with their hand in the cookie jar, they excused themselves by lying about it, claiming they needed it for library access—which they didn’t—and claiming they quit membership because the requirements had changed—which they hadn’t.
I had one old friend challenge me on the issue of ‘lack of repentance.’ His claim was that we cannot know if they repented. He felt that they did not owe us an apology, and so didn’t have to engage in some sort of public chest-beating display of repentance. They could have privately asked God for forgiveness for all we know, he reasoned.
There are two arguments that prove this line of reasoning is not valid. One is that in the case of a public instructor who has long taught his disciples to avoid a particular course of action, when caught committing the very offence he has denounced, has a responsibility to apologize to those he might otherwise mislead by his actions. If no apology is evident, they might think that his actions speak louder than his words and imitate him by engaging in the same wrong conduct themselves.
The other reason that my friend’s argument is not valid is the fact that the Governing Body publicly excused the action. ‘They joined to access the library (a falsehood) and withdrew membership when the rules for membership were changed (another falsehood).’ One cannot repent unless one has sinned. If they do not acknowledge sin, they have nothing to repent for, do they? So there could not have been any behind-closed-doors repentance.
The full story with all the documented evidence on the Watchtower UN scandal is to be found here.
Of course, if you point your family or friends to that site, they’ll likely cry ‘apostasy.’ If so, then ask them what are they afraid of? Learning the truth, or being deceived? If the latter, then ask them if they think that they, after all the training they get every week at the meetings, are incapable of distinguishing between truth and fiction? Then ask them if a brother were to compromise his neutrality and join a political organization, would you not consider him an apostate? And if that apostate told you not to go to a web site that might prove his guilt, would you be afraid to go?
A lover of truth will be appalled by the hypocrisy and duplicity of this scandal. The lack of any repentance nor acknowledgement of wrongdoing is quite damning, as are the weak attempts to do damage control.
This episode proves the Organization has failed to meet one of the six requirements for a religion to be considered true and approved by God. It’s not enough that they are no longer members. Until a sin is acknowledged before God and men and until sincere repentance has been demonstrated, it remains on the books.
According to Witness teaching, a religion must meet all six requirements. A perfect score is required to get God’s approval. So even if the other five criteria have been met, JW.org still loses due to this one abysmal, inexplicably stupid transgression. Seriously, one can’t help wonder at what they were hoping to achieve.
Unfortunately, for the majority of Witnesses, this will not be a major event at all. Most will enter a state of denial at this revelation. They will excuse it away with the words, “Well, they’re just imperfect men. We all make mistakes.” If so-called Christians are willing to excuse a 10-year compromise of Christian neutrality as a simple mistake despite the words of Revelation 20:4, they clearly don’t know or care what the word means.
Show me the next article in this series.