Under the category, “Reasoning with Jehovah’s Witnesses”, we are slowly trying to build up a knowledge base that Christians can utilize to—one hopes—reach the heart of our JW friends and family. Sadly, in my own experience, I’ve found a stone-wall resistance to any tactic used. One would think the egregious hypocrisy of a ten-year membership in the UN would be enough, but time and again I find otherwise reasonable people making the most outrageous excuses for this folly; or simply refusing to believe it, claiming it to be a conspiracy launched by apostates. (One ex-CO even claimed that it was likely the work of Raymond Franz.)
I use only one example, but I know that many of you have tried other methods, such as reasoning with your friends or relatives using the Bible to show that so many of our key teachings are unscriptural. Nevertheless, we get continual reports that show the common response to be stubborn resistance. Often, when someone who is cemented to his or her belief realizes there is no Scriptural answer to the truths you are revealing, they turn to shunning as a way to avoid thinking about things they are simply not willing to accept.
It is so very disheartening, is it not? One has such high hopes—often borne from the very indoctrination that now works against us—that our brothers and sisters will see reason. We’ve always been taught that Jehovah’s Witnesses are the most enlightened of all religions, and that we alone base our doctrines, not on the teachings of men, but on God’s Word. The evidence shows this not to be the case. Indeed, there seems to be no difference between us and all other Christian denominations in this regard.
All this came to mind as I was reading today from Matthew:
“. . .So the disciples came and said to him: “Why do you speak to them by the use of illustrations?” 11 In reply he said: “To you it is granted to understand the sacred secrets of the Kingdom of the heavens, but to them it is not granted. 12 For whoever has, more will be given him, and he will be made to abound; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 13 That is why I speak to them by the use of illustrations; for looking, they look in vain, and hearing, they hear in vain, nor do they get the sense of it. 14 And the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled in their case. It says: ‘You will indeed hear but by no means get the sense of it, and you will indeed look but by no means see. 15 For the heart of this people has grown unreceptive, and with their ears they have heard without response, and they have shut their eyes, so that they might never see with their eyes and hear with their ears and get the sense of it with their hearts and turn back and I heal them.’” (Mt 13:10-15)
The idea that something is granted means that there is someone in authority doing the granting. This is a humbling thought. We cannot understand truth by sheer force of will, nor by the application of study and intelligence. Understanding has to be granted to us. It is granted on the basis of our faith and humility—two qualities that walk hand-in-hand.
From this passage we can see that nothing has changed from Jesus’ day. The sacred secrets of the kingdom continue to be kept secret from the majority. They have God’s Word as we do, but it is as if it were written in a foreign language or in code. They can read it, but not decipher its meaning. I think that many started out the right way, but instead of giving themselves over to the Christ, they have, over time, been seduced by men. So what verse 12 says continues to apply today: “…even what he has will be taken from him.”
This is not to say that our friends and family are lost. We cannot know if things will develop that will have an awakening effect upon them. There is also the hope of Acts 24:15 that there is going to be a resurrection of the unrighteous. Certainly, many JWs will be very disappointed upon their resurrection that they are not counted as better than the rest coming to life around them. But with humility they can still take hold of the opportunity afforded them under the Messianic Kingdom.
In the meantime, we must learn to season our words with salt. It’s not easy to do, let me tell you.
Regarding My Internal Ministry “Ministering to One Another”… I appreciated what Menrov said: “Not where else shall we go, but WHOM shall we go away to?”…. The expression “wait on Jehovah” to have things clarified/corrected etc and when a JW says this, he means to wait on the organization to correct or clarify. So I asked my wife: what if Jehovah is working through me to do exactly that, would you believe me? Well, you can guess the answer.” In response, Meleti Vivlon said: “…the attempt to correct came from prophets who were sent by God. Individual men, often men… Read more »
I have myself been to a few bible student meetings and have been welcomed warmly.
I have found though that many of them are stuck on Russell’s ideas, 1914 being the pivotal one.
The other thing is the idea of
” classes” of christians,in one of their meetings I said to the group that Russell’s ideas on “classes” of Christians was the foundational teaching that was then taken further by the judge and turned into a doctrine that had created a division in the brotherhood and is not a teaching of the apostles,I wasn’t welcome after that.
Thank you for your reply. I am sorry to hear such a thing, as I associate with the Bible students, I would like to know where abouts you visited so I can indirectly inquire about this. You are correct that a good number are “stuck on” Russell’s ideas, but I assure you that a large number are progressive in their own studies, understanding the Pastors thoughts are important (as is evqually important in understanding the thoughts of other brethren), but taking the scriptures and developing your own original thoughts are indeed encouraged. As a consensus, Christian liberty is one of… Read more »
How would you distinguish between humility and low self-esteem? Or is it just pure indifference to contrasting view knowing that what we have is perceived to be the truth?
I ask this because low self-esteem and indifference can hold the key to answering the question why majority of the brothers won’t bother from even thinking to deviate from our deeply rooted religious beliefs.
“because low self-esteem ” –> I can see that is a good thing to consider. May be even:Imposed or Latent self-esteem. As the information from the WT will make many believe that they are not worthy enough….if they success in one thing, it is because of Jehovah. if they fail in one thing, it is because they are weak and lack faith in Jehovah. Never an accomplishment is attributed to the person but always to God.
When a brain is constantly programmed for years to think a certain way with defense mechanisms planted to spot threats to the the core beliefs it holds so tight, the natural tendency is to resist/reject any stimulus that presents danger and inconvenience. The defense can be likened to the Euphrates River that protects the ancient Babylon. Sometimes, when you point out something that deviates from our JW norm, a brother can initially agree with the point but since the programmed, fully indoctrinated mind is so strong (depending on how long a person has been actively participating in the organization’s activities),… Read more »
I’ve decided to take Paul’s track that he took in 1 Cor. 9: 20-22 when it comes to my wife and friends. If you’re too abrasive you’re going to end up coming off as imperious, and you’re going to damage the relationship. I honestly believe these are all good people who mean well. And I figure that, as far as alienating the proletariat, the Organization does most of the heavy lifting anyway.
Hi Joseph I wish I had the maturity to apply I Cor 9:20-22 properly when I had my chance a few months ago! Maybe it was still the teenager attitude left in me so I came across too forceful with my own mum by arguing back, waterworks and the silent treatment when I couldn’t believe none of the points I carefully prepared was getting through. I regret that now obviously so I won’t make that mistake ever again. I just think it is unbelievable that even with actual proof from court documents (child cases) and official media statements from UN,… Read more »
It’s like listening to a recording, Candace. We’re on the other side of the world from you, yet we get the same arguments and the same condemnatory attitude.
The watchtower are using some pretty powerful psychology against them , virtually every trick in book in fact. I think breaking free requires two things , we have to stop listening to them , and we have to start reading the NT for ourselves , I didn’t go for 6 months and just read my bible instead , by the time I returned to the meetings I wasn’t under thier spell anymore and could see clearly that they are twisting the scriptures , in fact I found it appalling . 2:corinthians 6 v 17 and 18 may apply here ,… Read more »
I’ve seen brothers lose their families and friends over confronting the misdeeds and doctrinal errors of the organization. I’m simply unwilling to lose my wife and family over these guys. I plant tiny seeds, and I wait. My family are worth me sacrificing a few meetings and three days sitting in stadium bench seating once a year. We just got back from our convention yesterday, and outside of the final talk and a fairly anemic talk responding to child sexual abuse, it was mostly lifestyle material. Lighter fair.
That’s the way Joseph , Christianity to my mind is all about love , that is patient , who cares if the watchtower have doctrine wrong that’s thier problem , that’s wise , James 5 :7 and verses 10 and 11 when I got out , I waited for my son’s , they had already alienated them , and could see there was something seriously wrong with the religion . Today we are doing well as a family
I feel the same urges, the same overpowering drive to get into it, to have a great theological debate, to unload a bunch of facts on my friends and family. But it’s never really a discussion under a a banner of truce is it? To present an argument is suddenly perceived as being critical of what we’re being taught. To which persons like ourselves would say – of course we need to be critical of what we’re being taught. The fact is once you get stained with the scarlet ‘A’ of Apostate nobody will ever listen to anything you say… Read more »
I just want to let you know Joseph that your loving attitude is super encouraging for me and I bet the its the same for everyone that reads it. Without love nothing is possible and with no love life is no meaning. One day our parents will not be around and we will miss them terribly much. How much we wish that we spent more time making them happy rather than arguing about religion and jw.org??
Joseph Anton. I loved your comment. Practical. Thank you
Joseph you said “…and you’re going to damage the relationship. I honestly believe these are all good people who mean well.”
I fight myself to try and remember this attitude when anything nearly like a spiritual discussion comes up between my wife (still strongly in) and myself.
Thanks for making this thought clear for me.
Our sick brain to maintain a simulated sense of health can use the “positive selection” to keep things whose correspond to our belief and discard the rest without verification and over that we had the persecution complex, everything that challenge our belief is an direct attack on our faith, if we dare to listen it’s like the wrath of Jehovah will fall on us, we prefer to be in fear than to be in faith, if we feel bad about what we hear or see in the WT, no problem, we are supposed to be persecuted, be happy is not… Read more »
“we prefer to be in fear than to be in faith,”
That’s profound, Chris, and so true.
Because of your presence this kind of things are possible.
The “persecution complex”. Yes, they love to view themselves as the persecuted. I’ve been asked a couple of times by friends why I don’t just hand in a letter of resignation. My comeback is that I don’t want to be persecuted unnecessarily. They were all shocked by the statement because they never view themselves as persecutors. It is fun to turn the tables.
We are supposed to be the good guy in the story, the chosen people, but we are more look like Mt 24:48-49
You said: “a lot of my brothers and sisters who make big sacrifice to please our God and not necessarily for men.” I tend to agree although at the same time, it is in my view not so black and white. I agree that many JW’s make (big) sacrifices in “the believe they make them for God”. At the same time, they almost blindly follow the instructions of men that tell them how to please God. In other words, it is my observation that these JW’s believe in the “structure the WT has setup.”. Ask these same JW’s if they… Read more »
With your input i start to understand that from an external viewer it’s impossible to discern the true servant with the WT baby-sitting , the only way to know if a person are truly serve Jehovah and Jesus is by removing the WT.
Nice Meleti, great Reminder of Christ’s words and encouragement from the application made. One word, that’s Gold, ok two words.
I look forward to this feature asI too have family that I ‘m gently working with. However, I am afraid that only those sighing and groaning will receive the mark (Eze 9:4) I am also mindful of a truism when it comes to witnessing. It’s very difficult to convince someone to leave their home, even if it’s dilapidated and unsafe by pointing out all the flaws. Why? Because it’s the only home they have. We have to first describe for them the beautiful new home that they can have. Hopefully, their hearts will move them to leave the old behind.… Read more »
Not where else shall we go, but WHOM shall we go away to?”. Indeed and that was at the time that Jesus was still on earth. Now, 2000 years later, the question should no longer be relevant to believers as Jesus is King and has proven to be the Christ / Messiah and that has the full support of His Father. The expression “wait on Jehovah” to have things clarified/corrected etc and when a JW says this, he means to wait on the organisation to correct or clarify. So I asked my wife: what if Jehovah is working through me… Read more »
Before Jehovah destroyed Jerusalem (twice) he did try to correct it. But how? From within as most JWs seem to think the Organization will be corrected? No, the attempt to correct came from prophets who were sent by God. Individual men, often men who had not social stature, like a pruner of trees and a mere carpenter.
Meleti, It is so interesting that you posted this subject up. I have been thinking all week about trying to wake up friends to the real truth. Then on the bus John 6:44 came to me. No man can come to me unless the Father, who sent me draws him. Maybe it is not up to us at this point I don’t know. If we think how many of us on this site would have really listened if someone came up to us and started talking about the errors of the organization. I believe we would have turned a deaf… Read more »
I believe the better way to reach others in the organisation is to continue to sow the seeds. It will not have results immediately but if the “earth in which you sow” is good soil, it will develop. Some faster than other. The sowing can happen indirectly by for example, sharing positive news about ordinary people, about organisations that work hard to help others. I receive a magazine from the Ronald McDonald charity organisation (as I support as well) and the magazine is read now. My wife does now accept that many charity organisations are doing good things. She is… Read more »
Hi eve 04 Thank you for that revelation on Joh 6:44.To add further to the insight,Joh1:12&13, those who received Jesus and become children of God,are not born of the flesh or blood or the will of men ( this I believe includes me and you) they are born of GODS WILL, the WT has offered a relationship with God that is based on good habits ( meetings regularly,field service regularly,conventions regularly,visits by travelling overseers regularly etc) nothing wrong with good habits,but the relationship that Jesus offered was to be born again by spirit,not by a routine,this incedentally is the same… Read more »
Augustine of Hippo said famously: Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee. Meaning that out heart is open and constantly searching for truth – at the same time understanding that we’ll never get the full truth until our hearts rest with God. God will reveal all the answers we need in time. Maybe even after death and resurrection, but not now. The lesson being to do the human thing and constantly seek the answers to our questions and not take up the position of pride that we know everything. This hunger for complete knowledge, with the acceptance that… Read more »
Hmm, just typed a whole lot and for some reason I did something that all it typed got lost. Ok, again.. in summary: I believe the wordt TRUTH is wrongly used or even abused by many religious organisations. There is only one truth: Jesus (John 14:6). It is not about doctrines, dogmas or customs. Jesus never expected His followers or believers to unravel mysteries. Actually, He never kept things hidden: Joh 15:15 I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to… Read more »
To pluralize truth into truths I meant to uncover things previously misinterpreted and planted in our hearts and minds by the organization. I came upon a ‘truth’ that Noah probably didn’t do any preaching work all on my own. This lead to further realizations. It also has lead to a period in my life of exploration and growth as a Christian, something I can’t really say occurred under the police state at the Kingdom Hall. I still have many questions, and I’m thankful I do. It means I’ll keep busy looking, studying and reasoning. It’s how I ended up here.
Plus, there’s plenty of mysteries in history. The animals and indigenous people of Australia. The Mayans. The destruction of the Nephilim, the unknown origins of the Rephaim. Norseman knowing the world had an equator a thousand years ago. Constantine seeing a giant Crucifix in the afternoon sky the day before goes into battle for the throne of Rome. The rise of the Nazis. If we look at Romans 12 (or is it Romans 9) it sure feels like Paul was trying to decode heady concepts like predestination and fate. God molding men into implements of good and evil. What to… Read more »
I have found that the best time to begin to reason with family members who are Witnesses is after they have been mistreated by fellow Witnesses, especially elders. During that time, while the wounds are still fresh, they seem to be more willing to have a reasonable discussion about possible imperfections in the organization. A few years ago, after my wife was verbally and emotionally abused by two elders, I asked her if she was interested in the history of the organization. She said she had always wondered about it, especially how it could be that two abusive men could… Read more »
That reminds me of what we said when we met resistance going from house to house. “One day, when facing a personal tragedy, perhaps a loss of a loved one or a sickness, they start to think …”
I look forward to this new category.
I too, was wondering about this “new catagory” ..However it is already here and has around 5 articles in it already. I’m reading back through some now.
Just scroll down and it’s number 10 under “categories”.
Quoting the gospels of Christ can never fail only to those that wont listen. Christ has the answer and its in the bible, tenderly.
That’s similar to my personal experience of mistreatment and lies from elders that came at a particularly difficult time. It was as though a switch had gone on in my brain that allowed me to research beyond the organisations publications. There are enough bruised reeds and smouldering wicks for us to gently help up and strengthen with little bamboo poles of independent thinking, or clear thinking. Sometimes they have been thinking these thoughts all along and all they need is the encouragement of finding someone else that thinks the same way but is brave enough to say it. As Meleti… Read more »