“Happy is the people whose God is Jehovah!”—Psalm 144:15.
[From ws 9/18 p. 17, November 12 – 18]
The article opens with the claim that “JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES certainly are a happy people. Their meetings, assemblies, and social gatherings are characterized by the pleasant sound of joyful conversations and laughter.” Is that your experience?
My congregation used to be relatively happy, especially compared with some of the more ‘super-righteous’ local congregations. However, now it also seems to have been struck with a malaise. Many leave as soon as the meetings finish. The chatting is much more subdued. Most seem to just be treading water, hoping against hope that Armageddon comes very soon and washes their troubles and doubts away.
The whole situation reminds me of the truth of Proverbs 13:12a which says “Expectation postponed is making the heart sick”. As for social events, they seem to have all but dried up.
We are then asked in the article:
“What about you personally? Are you happy? Can you increase your happiness? Happiness may be defined as “a state of well-being that is characterized by relative permanence, by emotion ranging from mere contentment to deep and intense joy in living, and by a natural desire for it to continue.”
Personally, my answer to “Are you happy?” is Yes, never been happier. Why?
You might ask yourself how you feel, now that you’re free of the artificial barrier Witnesses put between themselves and everyone else. Is it not easier to talk to people and be helpful, or just plain friendly? Maybe you now have time to be able to help a charity that improves the lives of those disadvantaged through no fault of their own. Have you noticed that most actually appreciate the help, without expecting it as their due? Have you also learnt far more about Jehovah and Jesus Christ recently, including much you had not fully appreciated before? Additionally, because you learnt it for yourself through personal study instead of being taught by others, it means much more to you. Like others who have awakened, maybe you also now feel free of the constant, depressing guilt tripping that causes Witnesses to feel we are not doing enough to fulfill all the extra, unnecessary burdens put upon us by the modern-day equivalent of the Pharisees.
Paragraph 3 unnecessarily reminds us of the myriads of reasons that can cause unhappiness, none of which by any means is unique to Witnesses.
Strong Spirituality, fundamental to happiness (Par.4-6)
According to paragraph 4, we show we are conscious of our spiritual need “by taking in spiritual food, cherishing spiritual values, and giving priority to worshipping the happy God. If we take those steps, our happiness will grow. We will strengthen our faith in the coming fulfillment of God’s promises.”
The more important question is, are we conscious enough to take in spiritual food directly from the True Source, God’s Word the Bible? Or do we feed only on regurgitated milk that the Organization provides?
Paragraph 5 says the following:
“The apostle Paul was inspired to write: “Always rejoice in the Lord [Jehovah]. Again I will say, Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)”
It seems the Organization is not content to just replace “Lord” with “Jehovah” some 230 times, with dubious support and in many cases against the context. In addition, now they seem to feel the need to add new examples on a whim to make a point in the Watchtower article. A read through Philippians chapters 3 and 4 makes it obvious that Paul was referring to Jesus when he put ‘Lord’ here. So why this insertion?
A few examples are:
- Philippians 4:1-2 “Consequently, my brothers beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, stand firm in this way in [the] Lord, beloved ones. Eu·oʹdi·a I exhort and Synʹty·che I exhort to be of the same mind in [the] Lord”.
- Philippians 4:5 “Let YOUR reasonableness become known to all men. The Lord is near”.
As encouraged in paragraph 6, “he who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and who persists in [it], this [man], because he has become, not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, will be happy in his doing [it]. (James 1:25)” The only perfect Law is found in God’s Word. It is not to be found in publications of men, whatever they claim, or however well-intentioned they are.
Qualities that enhance happiness (Par.7-12)
Paragraph 8 invites us to consider Matthew 5:5, “Happy are the mild-tempered, since they will inherit the earth.” It then claims:
“After coming to an accurate knowledge of the truth, individuals change. At one time, they may have been harsh, quarrelsome, and aggressive. But now they have clothed themselves with “the new personality” and display “the tender affections of compassion, kindness, humility, mildness, and patience.” (Col. 3:9-12)”.
Has this been your experience in the Organization? Having learnt the Organization’s version of “truth”, do most Witnesses change for the better? Or are they so busy spending time in the pursuits mandated by the Organization, that they have little time or energy to really apply Bible principles and become true Christians? Are they relying instead on kudos for participating in Organizational pursuits to get them through Armageddon?
Paragraph 9 further claims:
“Jesus’ spirit-anointed disciples inherit the earth when they rule over it as kings and priests. (Revelation 20:6) Millions of others who do not have the heavenly calling, however, will inherit the earth in the sense that they will be allowed to live here forever in perfection, peace, and happiness”.
Many would conclude that Revelation 20:6 supports the Organization’s teaching of a heavenly calling. Yet “over” is ‘over’ as in authority over, not from a higher heavenly position which is how it is commonly interpreted. Revelation 5:10 which reads as follows in the NWT “and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth” gives the same impression. The ESV, as with many other translations, however says “and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth”. The Kingdom Interlinear reads “upon” rather than “over” which is the correct translation of the Greek word “epi”. If they are upon the earth they cannot be in heaven.
The next 3 paragraphs discuss Matthew 5:7, which says, “Happy are the merciful, since they will be shown mercy.” They contain good points and encouragement. However, applying the Parable of the Good Samaritan involves more than helping fellow Christians as suggested. The good Samaritan selflessly helped a Jew. This is someone who earlier could have, and probably would have, shown disdain or even shunned the Samaritan as they passed one another, which they surely would have done if the Jew had not been attacked by robbers.
In Matthew 5:44, Jesus said, “Continue to love YOUR enemies”. He expanded on this in Luke 6:32-33 saying “And if YOU love those loving YOU, of what credit is it to YOU? For even the sinners love those loving them. 33 And if YOU do good to those doing good to YOU, really of what credit is it to YOU? Even the sinners do the same”.
If sinners do good to those who love them, then surely true Christians would go further in showing love as Christ said, not just doing good to fellow believers as the paragraph suggests. How are we any different from sinners if we only show love to fellow Witnesses?
Why the pure in heart are happy (Par.13-16)
In this section the theme is based on Jesus’ words at Matthew 5:8, which reads, “Happy are the pure in heart, since they will see God.”
We have already highlighted:
- The subtle change to Philippians 4:4 altering its meaning.
- The misunderstanding about where the chosen ones will rule.
- The deliberate misapplication of the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Given the above, the audacity of the “Read” scripture, 2 Corinthians 4:2, is manifest:
“But we have renounced the underhanded things of which to be ashamed, not walking with cunning, neither adulterating the word of God, but by making the truth manifest recommending ourselves to every human conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Co 4:2)
Cherry picking “proof texts”, avoiding the context for clarification of the real meaning, altering the Bible translation to support organizational interpretation…do these things demonstrate compliance with Paul’s words to the Corinthians?
Does JW teaching recommend us to “every human conscience in the sight of God”?
The other cited scripture is 1 Timothy 1:5 which says, “Really the objective of this mandate is love out of a clean heart and out of a good conscience and out of faith without hypocrisy.”
Have the many teachings and practices unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses—overuse of extreme shunning, prohibition against the medical use of blood, failing to report child sexual abuse, a 10-year affiliation with the U.N.—demonstrated ‘love out of a clean heart, a good conscience and a lack of hypocrisy’?
Happy despite difficulties (Par.17-20)
Paragraph 18 states:
“Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against you for my sake.” What did Jesus mean? He went on to say: “Rejoice and be overjoyed, since your reward is great in the heavens, for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to you.” (Matthew 5:11, 12)”
It is vital that we understand that any persecution is because of being a good Christian, rather than because of slavishly following Organizational rules and suggestions that bring us unnecessarily into conflict with so-called “opposers”. An unnecessarily confrontational attitude with authorities will often result in a show of that authority and perhaps persecution.
In summary, a typical article, containing good, useful information but with some glaring issues concerning accuracy.
Yes, we can be happy serving the Happy God, but we need to ensure that we serve God in the way he requires, rather than what any Organization says he requires. Organizations always add rules. Christ’s way is that of principled love. As he said in Luke 11:28, “Happy are those hearing the word of God and keeping it!”
Warp Speed Isn’t it interesting here we are a group of brothers and sisters, gathered together to share spiritual thoughts and yet we are counted as apostates from the GB point of view because they interpreted the bible their way. Book of Acts is plain to see how GB got it wrong, for example: Early disciples were called Christians by Jehovah. Baptism was before preaching, not the other way around. Disciples were persecuted on account of Jesus NAME not Jehovah’s. Preaching was done in the temples and market places NOT house – house. These are just a few things I… Read more »
Leonardo, Leonardo, Leonardo, my dear brother,
Twice I cried since I have been on this site, Once when I read what Meliti/Eric wrote about the scriptures and how he explained them and now you my brother the way you explained how you feel about your baptism, and the scriptures, because thats how I feel.
Please dont stop sharing your thoughts no matter how small they are, because you dont know who is about to give up.
Again I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
And thanks for your encouraging comment. A kind thought to go to sleep with.
Good morning BB, that is excellent the way you presented this logic from the scriptures I will make sure to use it in my conversation with my wife and others
Thank you once again my brother
Dear brothers and sisters, Has anyone come across any scriptures that is of interest, during your bible study that cares to share. As we are going through the book of acts, I came across a puzzling situation: For example 3000 that got baptised they did not go preaching first and then got baptised. This has been the situation through out the book of Acts. However, GB says we have to go preaching and then get baptised. My friends every day I log in to see if someone has something to share, most of the time I dont find any, so… Read more »
I don’t think the account in Acts of Baptism before preaching is puzzling at all. That is the Bible account, it’s no secret that the Org has it wrong again.
Hello JB. Fair points. What is encouraging is to be able to discuss truth. What truths ? Any truths. For what it is worth, what I noticed, going through Acts, is what the early Christians spoke about :- The largest number of answers to this is that they witnessed about Jesus’ resurrection, both on to Earth and then to heaven (they had seen him ascending to heaven). Other times, statements simply state that they spoke or witnessed about Jesus, or the kingdom of God (though they were less specific about exactly what aspect of the kingdom) or something else (not… Read more »
In the November 2016 monthly broadcast governing body member Gerrit Lösch made the statement, “We understand more about the truth today than Christians in the 1st century.” I feel that this is not only a delusion of grandeur but it also promotes the premise that all the rules and traditions that the organization has added over the years are a progressive raising of standards and structure. When it comes to baptism I love the simple and beautiful examples found in Acts 8:36-38 and 16:30-33. Quite a difference when comparing those accounts with the way the organization promotes their structured and… Read more »
Eleasar & Leonardo,
You brothers are gems in the “organisation” I will definitely apply your advise and bring the bible more into my conversation than GB teaching.
I live in Australia, Sydney, pity you brothers are not from my area.
Take care and keep up the spiritual war fare.
My warmest love, your brother in Christ
Paragraph 14 says,
“The great crowd who hope to live on earth can also enjoy a righteous standing as friends of God.”
Paragraph 17 says,
“Jesus next said: “Happy are the peacemakers.” (Matt. 5:9)”
Then the paragraph goes on to make the impression that the primary way being a peacemaker makes us happy is the peaceful conditions created.
The article puts a period in the middle of Jesus sentence and also completely ignores the reason Jesus highlighted why the peacemakers are happy.
Very, very sad.
“Happy are the peacemakers, since they will be called sons of God.”
Nice catch, BernardBooks!
Dear brothers and sisters, My wife and myself got into a “discussion” concerning below comments at our meeting this week regarding the choosing of a replacement for Judas as being part of the Slave Class and I read the following: “Because of the defection of Judas Iscariot, who died unfaithful, there were only 11 apostles remaining, and during the 40 days from Jesus’ resurrection until his ascension to heaven he made no appointment of a replacement. Sometime during the ten days between Jesus’ ascension and the day of Pentecost it was viewed as necessary that another be selected to fill… Read more »
An investigation of the Scriptures reveal several individuals as Apostles in addition to the original twelve. Twenty five in total.
First and foremost Jesus Christ (Heb 3:1).
Compare Romans 16:7
There were two unnamed Apostles. See 2Cor 8:23
I would have to break out my notes to supply all the scriptures describing all the Apostles mentioned in the New Testament.
Typo error on Ro 16:17, I meat to put Ro 16:7!*
You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. After a while, you realise it is not even worth while taking the horse to the water.
I agree, it is not worth wrecking your marriage over the GB.
Many sisters are given the challenge of coping with an opposing mate and are given much good advice to deal with that situation. View it as a similar challenge for you, and eventually something will come up that you can openly discuss.
Dear JamesBrown I would heartily echo the thoughts of Leonardo. I have 2 close family members who know many things are not right and seem to know in their hearts that maybe it’s not the truth, but seem to be afraid to acknowledge it to themselves, afraid of what is on the other side. Systematically the Organization teaches all the wrong things about all other religions. The big problem is as a result they have the Borg’s view of Peter’s reply to Jesus in John 6:68 where he said “Simon Peter answered him: “Lord, whom shall we go away to?… Read more »
JB, This is a key weakness in JW theology. The current understanding is that the “Slave” shows only since 1914 and from 1919. There was NO “Slave” from 33 to 1919. After the apostles died out there was an apostasy. How do they know this? What evidence do they provide? What historical sources do they use? Your wife goes against the “Slave” if she thinks that there was a “Slave” from 33 to 1919. What happened from 1879 to 1919? Were there congregations? How did those in 1919 learn about the bible? In addition, if there was a GB in… Read more »
Just to inform the brothers here regarding Rev 5:10 context and grammar needs to be understood correctly..When “epi” is used with a verb denoting authority or rulership then “epi” indicates the compass of that authority or rulership. If a search is made of the Greek N.T. where “basileuw[to reign as a king]epi” occurs(as it does in Revelation 5:10)you will be able to see that in every case “epi” means “over”, example., Luke 1:33; Acts7:18. If you look up the Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown: “…KELLY translates, “reign over the earth” (Greek, “epi… Read more »
I feel your frustration in your analysis of the WT article, from what I am gathering you are still a witness like myself. Nicodemus: Comes to my mind, he was a believer but in secret, because he knew what would happen to him if he comes in the open and say what he thinks, all of us can relate to this including Eric he had to wait for an opportune time to revel himself. Dog returning to its vomit:You said “The more important question is, are we conscious enough to take in spiritual food directly from the True Source, God’s… Read more »
Hi JamesBrown I don’t intend any criticism of anyone by this answer, but I personally avoid regurgitated answers. But, then I always have. For years even before I woke up, I would only give answers based on the scriptures themselves. Otherwise I wouldn’t answer. However, the very pointed questions the WT articles have these days make it increasingly hard to do so. I totally understand your position. I turn in a token field service report, but I hate doing it. I cannot wait to leave but like so many including yourself it’s difficult to do so right now. It’s true… Read more »
You speak my mind and heart, i tried to comment on the scriptures only and what I believe its saying and and how I can connect them to other parts of the bible and not the GB way, only to be told from platform, can we please stick to what the SLAVE CLASS is teaching us, very sad to say the least.
Take care my friend and brother in Christ.
Snap ! And also snap to your earlier comment about it being increasingly hard to keep quiet about things that are scripturally wrong. Either there will be a change or I will find myself even more on the wrong side of the BOE, who already treat me as if I have just trod in something unpleasant.
Thank you James. When I first came on this site many were simply encouraging others to “get out”. I think you are right, that a lot of us are still in, though to a much lesser extent than we were, and the rest of what you say is are spot on. That, I find helpful, just to know we are on the same boat. We are all still fighting for truth wherever we are. I guess first century Jews (pre 33 CE) were stuck in the same boat. At least they could discuss what the Scribes and Pharisees were up… Read more »
Hi JamesBrown and Leonardo I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you both and all who comment. As you say we are all in the same boat and everyone’s comments help encourage us all. I am definitely mentally out of the Organization. Because Of what I have learnt in my research and personal Bible study over the past few years, I could definitely never return mentally. It is also increasingly difficult to keep quiet in the congregation on the seriously wrong things, so my days even as an unwilling attendee are numbered. I personally have found Jesus… Read more »
Hi Leonardo and Tadua You brothers are a breath of fresh air to me, we are definitely mentally out of the Organisation, the only reason why I am in is because of my family and very close friends. Tadua my brother just think what that will do to your family if you are disfellowshipped, after all anyone caught speaking against GB is sinning against holy spirit, look at the 2nd baptismal question. You will be saying prayers in your house with your family as you have been doing for years, but their loyalty will be divided as they will not… Read more »
I’m happy to no longer be constrained by the groupthink mentality of the organization. w13 7/15 p.3 paragraph 3 “For a number of years, WE thought that the great tribulation began in 1914 with World War I and that “those days were cut short” by Jehovah in 1918 when the war ended so that the remnant would have the opportunity to preach the good news to all nations.” Of course, in saying “WE” they don’t mean the governing body or the anonymous writers of the articles but they mean all the members lumped together past and present whether they knew… Read more »
Well said BB.
The group think was based on 1 Cor 1:10 “you should all speak in agreement”, thus making it an identifying mark of (true – I do hate how this word is used in this context) Christians. In other words, if you do not agree, you are walking out of step.