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We are well past the midway point in this series of videos in which we are examining the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses using their own criteria to see if they meet with God’s approval or not. To this point, we have found that they have failed to meet two of the five criteria. The first is “respect for God’s Word” (See The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life, p. 125, par. 7). The reason we can say they have failed to fulfill this criteria point is that their core teachings—like the doctrines of 1914, the overlapping generations, and most significantly, the salvation hope of the Other Sheep—are unscriptural, and thus, false. One can hardly be said to respect God’s word if one insists on teaching things that go contrary to it.
(We could examine other doctrines, but that might seem like beating a dead horse. Given the importance of the doctrines already considered, there is no need to go further to prove the point.)
The second criteria that we’ve examined is whether or not Witnesses are preaching the Good News of the Kingdom. With the Other Sheep doctrine, we saw that they preach a version of the Good News that actually hides the full and wonderful nature of the reward being offered to faithful Christians. Therefore, while they may be preaching their good news, the actual Good News of the Christ has been perverted.
The remaining three criteria based on the publications of the Watchtower, Bible & Tract Society are:
1) Keeping separate from the World and its affairs; i.e., maintaining neutrality
2) Sanctifying God’s name.
3) Showing love for one another as the Christ showed love for us.
We will now examine the first of these three criteria points to evaluate just how well the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses is doing.
From the 1981 version of The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life we have this official Bible-based position:
Yet another requirement of true religion is that it keep separate from the world and its affairs. The Bible, at James 1:27, shows that, if our worship is to be clean and undefiled from the standpoint of God, we must keep ourselves “without spot from the world.” This is an important matter, for, “whoever . . . wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4) You can appreciate why this is so serious when you remember that the Bible points out that the ruler of the world is God’s chief adversary, Satan the Devil.—John 12:31.
(tr chap. 14 p. 129 par. 15 How to Identify the True Religion)
So, taking a non-neutral stand is equivalent to aligning oneself with the Devil and making oneself an enemy of God.
At times, this understanding has been very costly for Jehovah’s Witnesses. For example, we have this news report:
“Jehovah’s Witnesses are undergoing brutal persecution—beatings, rape, even murder—in the southeast African nation of Malawi. Why? Solely because they maintain Christian neutrality and thus refuse to buy political cards that would make them members of the Malawi Congress Party.”
(w76 7/1 p. 396 Insight on the News)
I remember writing letters to the Government of Malawi protesting this horrific persecution. It resulted in a refugee crisis with thousands of Witnesses fleeing to the neighbouring country of Mozambique. All the Witnesses had to do was buy a membership card. They didn’t have to do anything else. It was like an identity card that one had to show to the police if questioned. Yet, even this small step was seen as compromising their neutrality, and so they suffered horribly to maintain their loyalty to Jehovah as instructed by the Governing Body of the time.
The view of the Organization hasn’t changed much. For instance, we have this excerpt from a leaked video which is to be shown at this summer’s Regional Conventions.
This brother is not even being asked to join a political party, nor to hold a membership in a political organization. This is merely a local matter, a protest; yet to engage in it would be considered as a compromise of Christian neutrality.
There is one line from the video of particular interest to us. The manager who is trying to get the Jehovah’s Witness to join the protest says: “So you won’t stand in line to protest, but at least sign the sheet to show you support the protest. It’s not like you’re voting or joining a political party.”
Remember, this is a staged production. So, everything written by the script writer tells us something about the position of the Organization relating to the topic of neutrality. Here, we learn that joining a political party would be considered as worse than simply signing the protest sheet. Nevertheless, both actions would constitute a compromise of Christian neutrality.
If signing a protest sheet is considered a compromise of neutrality, and if joining a political party is seen as an even worse compromise of Christian neutrality, then it follows that joining the image of the wild beast – the United Nations – that represents all political organizations would be the foremost compromise of Christian neutrality.
This is significant, because this video is part of a convention symposium titled: “Future Events That Will Require Courage”. This particular talk is titled: “The Cry of ‘Peace and Security’”.
Many years ago, the Organization’s interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (“the cry of peace and security”) led them to publish this item regarding the need for neutrality:
Christian Neutrality as God’s War Approaches
Nineteen centuries ago there was an international plot or concerting of efforts against Christ himself, God permitting this to bring about the martyrdom of Jesus. (Acts 3:13; 4:27; 13:28, 29; 1 Tim. 6:13) This was foretold in Psalm 2:1-4. Both this psalm and its partial fulfillment 19 centuries ago pointed forward to the international conspiracy against Jehovah and his Christ at this time when the full right to the “kingdom of the world” belongs to them both.—Rev. 11:15-18.
True Christians will recognize the present international plot as in operation against Jehovah and his Christ. So they will continue to endure in their Christlike neutrality, holding fast to the position that they took back in 1919 at the Cedar Point (Ohio) convention of the International Bible Students Association, advocating Jehovah’s kingdom by Christ as against the proposed League of Nations for world peace and safety, such League being now succeeded by the United Nations. Their position is the one that the prophet Jeremiah himself would take today, for he gave inspired warning about a like plot against the rule of Jehovah’s royal “servant.”
(w79 11/1 p. 20 pars. 16-17, boldface added.)
So the position of complete neutrality that this video advocates is intended to prepare Jehovah’s Witnesses with the courage needed to face bigger tests when the “cry of peace and security” is sounded and the United Nations’ “plot against the rule of Jehovah’s royal “servant’” is put into effect in the “imminent future”. (I am not suggesting that their understanding of 1 Thessalonians 5:3 is correct. I’m merely following the logic based on the interpretation of the Organization.)
What happens if a Witness compromises his or her neutrality? How serious would such an action be?
The elders’ manual, Shepherd the Flock of God, states:
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. If his employment makes him a clear accomplice in nonneutral activities, he should generally be allowed a period of time up to six months to make an adjustment. If he does not, he has disassociated himself.—km 9/76 pp. 3-6.
(ks p. 112 par. #3 point 4)
Based on the account of the Witnesses in Malawi, and the text of this video, joining a political party would result in one’s immediate disassociation from the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. For those not familiar with the term, it is equivalent to disfellowshipping, but with some important differences. For example, the Shepherd the Flock of God book states on the same page:
- Since disassociation is an action taken by the publisher rather than the committee, there is no arrangement for an appeal. Therefore, the announcement of disassociation can be made on the occasion of the next Service Meeting without waiting seven days. A report of the disassociation should promptly be sent to the branch office, using the appropriate forms.—See 7:33-34.
(ks p. 112 par. #5)
So, there is not even an appeal process as there is in a case of disfellowshipping. The disassociation is automatic, because it results from the individual’s own willful choice.
What would happen if a Witness were to join, not just any political party, but the United Nations Organization? Is the UN exempt from the rule on neutrality? The aforementioned talk outline indicates that would not be the case based on this line following the video presentation: “The United Nations organization is a blasphemous counterfeit of God’s Kingdom.”
Very strong words indeed, yet nothing of a departure from what we’ve always been taught about the UN.
In fact, in 1991, the Watchtower had this to say about anyone affiliating themselves with the United Nations:
“8 Is there a parallel situation today? Yes, there is. The clergy of Christendom also feel that no calamity will overtake them. In effect, they say as Isaiah foretold: “We have concluded a covenant with Death; and with Sheol we have effected a vision; the overflowing flash flood, in case it should pass through, will not come to us, for we have made a lie our refuge and in falsehood we have concealed ourselves.” (Isaiah 28:15) Like ancient Jerusalem, Christendom looks to worldly alliances for security, and her clergy refuse to take refuge in Jehovah.”
“10 …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 pp. 16, 17 pars. 8, 10-11 Their Refuge—A Lie! [boldface added])
The Catholic Church has special status at the UN as a non-member state permanent observer. However, when this Watchtower article condemns the Catholic Church for its 24 non-governmental organizations (NGO) that are officially represented at the UN, it is referring to highest form of association possible for non-nation entities.
From the above, we can see the position of the Organization, then and now, has been to reject any association with any political entity, even something as trivial as signing a protest or purchasing a party card in a one-party state where all citizens are required by law to do so. In fact, suffering persecution and death is viewed as preferable to compromising one’s neutrality. Furthermore, it is very clear that engaging in formal association in the United Nations—“a blasphemous counterfeit of God’s Kingdom”—means that one is making oneself into an enemy of God.
Have Jehovah’s Witnesses maintained their neutrality? Can we look at them and say that with regard to this third criteria point used to identify true worship, they have passed the test?
There can be no doubt that individually and collectively they have done so. Even today there are brothers languishing in prison who could get out simply by complying with their country’s laws regarding performing obligatory military service. We have the aforementioned historical account of our faithful brothers in Malawi. I can attest to the faith of many young American Witness men during the Vietnam War when there was still conscription. So many preferred the opprobrium of their community and even prison terms to compromising their Christian neutrality?
In the face of such historical courageous stands by so many, it is mind-boggling and frankly, grossly offensive to learn that those in the highest positions of authority within the Organization—those we are supposed to look up to as examples of faith according to Hebrews 13:7—should have so casually thrown away their cherished Christian neutrality for what amounts to a modern-day bowl of stew. (Genesis 25:29-34)
In 1991, while they were roundly condemning the Catholic Church for compromising its neutrality through its 24 NGO associates in the United Nations—i.e., getting in bed with the image of the Wild Beast of Revelation upon which sits the Great Harlot—the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses was applying for its own associate status. In 1992, it was granted a non-governmental organization association status with the United Nations Organization. This application had to be renewed annually, which it was for the next ten years, until this flagrant violation of Christian neutrality was revealed to the public by means of an article in a British newspaper.
Within days, in an obvious effort at damage control, the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses withdrew its application as UN associates.
Here is the evidence that they were UN associates during that time: 2004 Letter from UN Department of Public Information
Why did they join? Does it matter? If a married man carries on an affair for ten years, the offended wife may want to know why he cheated on her, but in the end, does it really matter? Does it make his actions any less sinful? In fact, it could make them worse if, instead of repenting “in sackcloth and ashes”, he makes vain self-serving excuses. (Matthew 11:21) His sin is compounded if the excuses turn out to be lies.
In a letter to the Stephen Bates, who wrote the UK Guardian newspaper article, the organization explained that they only became associates to access the UN library for research, but when the rules for UN association changed, they immediately withdrew their application.
Access to the library back then in the pre-911 world could be gained without the requirement of formal association. This is the same today, though the vetting process is understandably more rigorous. Apparently, this was just a desperate and transparent attempt at spin control.
Then they would have us believe that they quit when the rules for UN association changed, but the rules did not change. The rules were laid down in 1968 in the UN Charter and haven’t changed. NGOs are expected to:
- Share the principles of the UN Charter;
- Have a demonstrated interest in United Nations issues and a proven ability to reach large audiences;
- Have the commitment and means to conduct effective information programmes about UN activities.
Does that sound like “separate from the world” or is it “friendship with the world”?
These are the requirements the Organization agreed to when they signed up for membership; a membership that had to be renewed annually.
So they lied twice, but what if they hadn’t. Would it make any difference? Is library access justification for committing spiritual adultery with the Wild Beast of Revelation? And association with the UN is association with the UN, not matter what the rules for association may be.
What is important about these failed attempts at a cover-up is that they indicate a totally unrepentant attitude. Nowhere do we find the Governing Body expressing its sorrow for having committed what is by their own definition, spiritual adultery. In fact, they do not even admit that they did anything wrong for which to repent.
That the organization committed spiritual adultery in its ten-year affair with the Image of the Wild Beast is evident by numerous published references. Here is just one:
w67 8/1 pp. 454-455 A New Administration of Earth’s Affairs
Some of them [Christian martyrs] were, actually, literally executed with the ax for witnessing to Jesus and God, not all of them. But all of them, in order to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, must die a sacrificial death like his, that is, they must die in integrity. Some of them were martyred in various ways, but not a single one of them had worshiped the symbolic “wild beast.” the world system of politics; and since the formation of the League of Nations and the United Nations, none of them have worshiped the political “image” of the symbolic “wild beast,” They have not been marked in the head as supporters of it in thought or word, neither in the hand as being active in any way for the perpetuation of the “image.” [Compare this with the NGO requirement that the Organization agreed to support the UN Charter]
As members of the Bride they have had to keep themselves clean and without blemish or spot from the world. They have taken a course exactly opposite to Babylon the Great and her harlot daughters, the religious institutions of this world. Those “harlots” have committed spiritual fornication by meddling in politics and rendering everything to Caesar and nothing to God. (Matt. 22:21) The faithful members of the 144,000 have waited for God’s kingdom to be established and let it minister earth’s affairs.—Jas. 1:27; 2 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:25-27.
Apparently, the Governing Body has done the very thing it accuses Babylon the Great and her harlot daughters of doing: Committing spiritual fornication with the rulers of the world who are represented by the Image of the Wild Beast, the UN.
Revelation 14:1-5 refers to the 144,000 anointed children of God as virgins. They are a chaste Bride of Christ. It would seem that the leadership of the Organization can no longer claim spiritual virginity before its husbandly owner, Jesus Christ. They have slept with the enemy!
For those who want to see all the evidence in detail and examine it carefully, I would recommend you go to jwfacts.com and click on the link United Nations NGO. Everything you need to know is there. You will find links to the United Nations information site and to the correspondence between the Guardian correspondent and the Watchtower representative that will corroborate everything I have written here.
The initial purpose of this article and its associated video was to examine whether Jehovah’s Witnesses meet the criteria they have laid down for the true Christian religion of maintaining oneself separate from the world. As a people, we can say that history proves that Jehovah’s Witnesses have done just that. But here we are not speaking about the individuals. When we look at the Organization as a whole, it is represented by its leadership. There, we find quite another picture. While under no pressure whatsoever to compromise, they went out of their way to sign up for UN association, keeping it secret from the worldwide brotherhood. So do Jehovah’s Witnesses pass this criteria test? As a collection of individuals, we can grant them a conditional “Yes”; but as an Organization, an emphatic “No”.
The reason for the conditional “yes” is that we have to see how the individuals act once they learn of their leaders’ actions. It has been said that “silence grants consent”. Whatever position individual witnesses may have stood for, it can all be undone if they remain mute in the face of sin. If we say nothing and do nothing, then are we approving of the sin by helping to cover it up, or at the very least, tolerating the wrongdoing. Would Jesus not see this as apathy? We know how he views apathy. He condemned the congregation of Sardis for it. (Revelation 3:1)
When the young Israelite men were committing fornication with the daughters of Moab, Jehovah brought a scourge upon them resulting in the death of thousands. What caused Him to stop? It was one man, Phinehas, who stepped up and did something. (Numbers 25:6-11) Did Jehovah disapprove of Phinehas’ action? Did he say, “It is not your place. Moses or Aaron should be the ones acting!” Not at all. He approved of Phinehas’ zealous initiative for upholding righteousness.
We often hear brothers and sisters excuse away the wrongdoing that goes on in the Organization by saying, “We should just wait on Jehovah”. Well, maybe Jehovah is waiting on us. Maybe he’s waiting for us to take a stand for truth and justice. Why should we remain silent when we see wrongdoing? Does that not make us complicit? Do we keep silent out of fear? That is not something which Jehovah will bless.
“But as for the cowards and those without faith…their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur.” (Revelation 21:8)
When you read through the Gospels, you find that the key condemnation that Jesus spoke against the leaders of his day was that of hypocrisy. Time and again, he called them hypocrites, even comparing them to whitewashed graves—bright, white, and clean on the outside, but inside, full of putrefaction. Their problem wasn’t false doctrine. True, they did add to the word of God by accumulating many rules, but their real sin was saying one thing and doing another. (Matthew 23:3) They were hypocrites.
One has to wonder what went through the mind of those who walked into the UN to fill out that form, knowing full well that brothers and sisters had been beaten, raped, and even killed for not compromising their integrity by simply buying a membership card from the ruling political party of Malawi. How they have dishonored the legacy of those faithful Christians who even under the worst of circumstances would not compromise; while these men who exalt themselves above all others, blithely join and support an organization they have always condemned and even now continue to condemn, as if there were nothing to it.
You may say, “Well, that’s terrible, but what can I do about it?”
When Russia seized the property of Jehovah’s Witnesses, what did the Governing Body ask you to do? Did they not engage in a worldwide letter-writing campaign in protest? Now the shoe is on the other foot.
Here is a link to a plain text document which you can copy and paste into your favorite editor. It is a Petition on JW.org UN Membership. (For a German language copy, click here.)
Add your name and date of baptism. If you feel like modifying it, go right ahead. Make it your own. Stick it in an envelope, address it and mail it. Do not be afraid. Have courage just as this year’s Regional Convention exhorts us to. You’re not doing anything wrong. In fact, ironically, you are obeying the direction of the Governing Body who have always directed us to report sin when we see it so as not to become a sharer in the sin of others.
Additionally, the organization says that if someone joins a non-neutral organization, they have disassociated themselves. Essentially, association with an enemy of God implies disassociation with God. Well, these four Governing Body members were appointed during the 10-year period in which the UN association was annually renewed:
- Gerrit Lösch (1994)
- Samuel F. Herd (1999)
- Mark Stephen Lett (1999)
- David H. Splane (1999)
Out of their own mouths and by their own rules, we can rightly say that they have disassociated themselves from the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. So why are they still in positions of authority?
This is an intolerable state of affairs for a religion that claims to be God’s only channel of communication. When the churches of Christendom have engaged in sinful actions, are we to assume that Jehovah doesn’t care because he did nothing to fix it? Not at all. The historical pattern is that Jehovah sends faithful servants to correct those that are his. He sent his own son to correct the leaders of the Jewish nation. They did not accept his correction and as a result they were destroyed. But first he gave them a chance. Should we do any different? If we know what is right, then should we not act as the faithful servants of old acted; men like Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel?
James said: “Therefore, if someone knows how to do what is right and yet does not do it, it is a sin for him.” (James 4:17)
Maybe some in the Organization will come after us. They did come after Jesus. But won’t that reveal their true heart condition? In writing the letter, we are not dissenting with any teaching of the Governing Body. In fact, we are complying with their teaching. We are told to report a sin if we see one. We are doing that. We are told that a person who joins a non-neutral entity is disassociated. We are merely asking that that rule be applied. Are we causing division? How could we be? We are not the ones who are committing spiritual fornication with the enemy.
Do I think that writing a letter campaign will make a lick of difference? Jehovah knew that sending his son but not results in the conversion of the nation, and yet he did it anyways. Nevertheless, we do not have the foresight Jehovah has. We cannot know what will result from our actions. All we can do is try to do what is right and what is loving. If we do that, then whether we are persecuted for it or not will not matter. What matters is that we will be able to look back and say that we are free from the blood of all men, because we spoke up when it was called for, and did not hold back from doing what was right and from speaking truth to power.