“Stop being molded by this system of things.” – Romans 12:2
[From ws 11/18 p.18 January 21, 2019 – January 27, 2019]
A better question for this article to pose and answer truthfully would be “Who molds your thinking, God’s word or Watchtower publications?”
Of course, to discern who molds our thinking we need to first understand what molding means. This is what Paragraph 5 starts to examine and it is interesting as it states “Some people resist the idea of having anyone mold or influence their thoughts. “I think for myself,” they say. They probably mean that they make their own decisions and that it is proper to do so. They do not wish to be controlled, nor do they want to surrender their individuality”
That certainly is true. Actually, it is something we all should do. We should all make our own decisions if we are adults. We should not subcontract our decision making to others. We should not be controlled by any human or Organization. The footnote to this paragraph notes that despite our best efforts, all are influenced to a small extent by others around us. Obviously though, we would want to ensure we are molded and influenced by Jehovah’s principles, because we want to please him.
As paragraph 8 mentions Jehovah “provides basic principles for moral conduct and for behavior toward others”. He does not create rules upon rules as he knows we could never remember them all. Rules can be avoided or actually be wrong in rare circumstances, while principles can never fail.
Paragraph 12 reminds us “The apostle Paul was an intelligent and learned man, knowing at least two languages. (Acts 5:34; 21:37, 39; 22:2, 3) Yet, when it came to matters of principle, he rejected worldly wisdom. Instead, he based his reasoning on the Scriptures. (Read Acts 17:2; 1 Corinthians 2:6, 7, 13.)” Yes, the apostle Paul had a custom that is good to imitate. “So according to Paul’s custom he went inside to them, and for three sabbaths he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving by references that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead.” NWT Reference edition. (Acts 17:2)
Let us just examine this scripture, herein quoted, which was cited in the WT article. What was Paul doing?
- He was not pioneering, he was only preaching on the sabbath (Saturday)
- He reasoned with them from the Scriptures, which meant he had to know the scriptures well.
- He did not need any publications
- He did not just stand in the street handing out contact details and then direct them to a website.
- He did not use unprovable stories or quotes. He used references to prove his points. His references to the scriptures were ones his audience could look up in the scrolls of scripture kept by the synagogue.
By contrast we as Witnesses today are taught to
- Pioneer, pioneer, pioneer
- Reason with the public using the Organization’s publications
- Place publications and leaflets, not Bibles, with the public
- Stand, without speaking next to a literature cart. If anyone asks a question—especially a difficult question—direct them to the Organization’s website or run away
- Not to worry about being able to prove anything we teach with references. After all, the literature is full of unverifiable experiences, unattributable quotes of mysterious scholars, and quotations from nameless publications; nor to worry that many times a cited scripture does not actually support the statement being made.
Paragraph 13 then makes the following controversial statement: “Jehovah will not force his thinking on us. “The faithful and discreet slave” does not exercise control over the thoughts of individuals, and neither do the elders”.
Jehovah certainly does not force his thinking on us. But notice the subtle change in wording: “The faithful and discreet slave” does not exercise control”.
Synonyms for “exercise control” include “exercise power over someone or something, and exercise control over someone or something; exercise influence over someone or something to have someone or something under one’s control or influence”. [i]
So, what is the true situation? Does the JW “faithful and discreet slave” have control over the thoughts of individuals? They would argue they do not. To suggest otherwise would open the door to litigation. The reality is otherwise, however. The Governing Body definitely has all Witnesses under their strong influence. Evidence of this is their published shunning policy and its implementation at the hands of vigilant congregation elders.
Likewise, they influence Witnesses to contribute time and money through Watchtower articles, other publications and web broadcasts. They might argue that they do not exercise influence or control and that it is up to each Witness to decide whether they will comply. However, the reality is that when Witnesses believe that to disobey the Governing Body is effectively to disobey Jehovah—they claim to be God’s appointed channel of communication—then they indeed do have very strong influence and therefore effective control over many aspects of the lives of Witnesses.
Therefore, what could be the answer to this problem? We will let the article answer for us.
Paragraph 20 makes a very good point when it says “Remember, there are basically two sources of information—Jehovah and the world under Satan’s control. By which source are we being molded? The answer is, the source from which we obtain information.”
Also, applying this nice, simply stated principle, we can ask ourselves the following questions.
What is the one true source of information about Jehovah and Jesus Christ?
Is it not his word the Bible?
Therefore, any other source of information other than God’s word comes from where?
Logically it is from the world and so should only be accepted if it fully agrees with God’s word.
Given that many of the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot be clearly discerned from the Bible, (such as overlapping generations) we need to practice extreme caution, otherwise we could be molded by the world under Satan’s control into acting in ways we would never normally consider.
A Witness may argue that that could never happen as we are in God’s Organization.
At the time of this writing, a friend of the family faces being shunned and cut-off by her family. Why? Not because of talking against the Organization to them, nor for behavior that goes against Scriptural moral standards, but simply for stopping her meetings attendance. How sad that kind, good-hearted people can have their thinking twisted to this extent; to the point that they are prepared to disown their own flesh and blood. In doing so, they are being influenced into practicing totally unchristian behavior, showing a complete lack of natural affection, while thinking it is the right and godly thing to do.
In conclusion, the answer to the question “who molds your thinking?” for the majority attending the Watchtower study of this article will be: the Governing Body, the self-proclaimed “faithful and discreet slave”.
Who should it be? Jehovah through his inspired word the Bible.
If you are visiting this site for the first or second time, we welcome you warmly, and implore you, only let God’s word mold you, not the word of any men. Have a Beroean-like attitude and carefully check what is right and what is wrong for yourself.