What Prevents Me from Getting Baptized?

– posted by Tadua

“Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.”—ACTS 8:38

 [From ws 3/19 Study Article 10: p.2 May 6 -12, 2019]


From the outset, the author would like to make clear that water baptism is supported by scripture. In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.

What is not supported by the scriptures nor by the author is baptism identifying one with any particular organization rather than directly with God and Christ. This particularly includes the baptism of Jehovah’s Witnesses which identifies one as part of their particular brand of Religion, and makes one part of their ‘club’ from which it is difficult to leave without emotionally costly decisions that should not have to be made.

Also, dedication to Jehovah is not a scriptural requirement although it is a requirement of the Organization before baptism can take place. (See comment below on Paragraph 12)

Article Review

A “lack of confidence” in oneself is one of the reasons supplied in paragraphs 4 & 5 as to why some may hold back from baptism.

The fact that two experiences are given about lack of confidence due to different causes, suggests that a lack of confidence among Witnesses or Witness youths is a common problem. Many adult Witnesses born to Witness parents often still suffer from a lack of confidence for most, if not all, of their lives.

In the author’s experience, it is caused by the type of negative teaching received at meetings, whereby one is conditioned to think of oneself as a sinner unworthy of life and that everlasting life will only be possible by being the very best witness one can be according to the Organization’s standards. These standards (as opposed to Christ’s standards, of course) include pioneering at any personal cost, not missing any meetings, not getting an education (that would allow one to have an enjoyable job and fulfilling job such as a doctor or nurse or engineer). It causes most sincere Witnesses to get on a treadmill from which it is difficult to leave.

Paragraph 6 then touches on another perceived issue: “influence of friends”. This is definitely an issue cause by the Organization. The article takes the opportunity to reinforce subtly the encouragement for baptised Witnesses not to have associations or friendships with non-baptised persons. It says, “I had a really good friend whom I had known for almost a decade.” However, Vanessa’s friend did not support Vanessa in her goal of getting baptized. That hurt Vanessa, and she says, “I find it hard to make friends, and I was worried that if I ended that relationship, I would never have another close friend.”

Scripturally, there is no requirement to ditch friends who do not desire to do everything you do. If one's friends are not bad association right now, then why would they suddenly become bad association after getting baptised. The issue with this view from the Organization’s standpoint, of course, is that an unbaptised person may discourage the now baptised Witness from following all of the Organization’s rules and instructions. The Organization wants people’s whole allegiance.

Paragraph 7 highlights “fear of failure” which is really fear of punishment by the Organization in the form of disfellowshipping because of falling fowl of the myriads of Pharisaical rules enforced by the elders on behalf of the Organization.

Today, there is no way of being even 95% sure that one has a correct understanding of all the original teachings of the Bible. Therefore, how can anyone classify any other Christian as an apostate. Neither Christ nor the Apostles gave a long list of circumstances in which one should be disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation. Nor was the first century withdrawing of fellowship draconian like that of the Organization today, which is like punishment, rather than a protection of the congregation.[i]

Fear of opposition” is highlighted in paragraph 8 as another issue. The Organization should not be surprised when non-Witness family and friends oppose their friend or relative from committing their life to the Organization rather than to God. Most Witnesses cut themselves off from or have very limited contact with non-Witness relatives or friends. Only when the Witness wakes up wholeheartedly regretting this attitude as a very unChristian action is it possible to try to repair such relationships. Repairing these relationships might take a long time or indeed never be fully repairable and never become as close as they could have been.

Paragraphs 9-16 cover suggestions as to how to overcome the highlighted issues in the article.

Paragraph 10 suggests, “Continue learning about Jehovah. The more you learn about Jehovah, the more confident you will become that you can serve him successfully”. Certainly, this is commendable, but there is nothing about learning about Christ. As John 14:6 reminds us “Jesus said to him: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” We cannot learn about Jehovah if we do not learn about his son Jesus.

Paragraph 11 confirms that the young woman dropped her friend who did not want to commit her own life to the Organization. This makes it much more difficult to leave in the future when she may awaken to the lies she has been taught by the Organization as she will have no one outside the Organization and all those staying within it will surely drop her as their friend even as she did her friend on becoming a baptised Witness.

Paragraph 12 continues to promote the unscriptural requirement of dedication when it says “A primary way we show faith is by dedicating our life to God and getting baptized.​ 1 Peter 3:21”. As you will see 1 Peter 3 only talks about baptism.

In fact, in the NWT Reference Bible the word “dedication” can only be found 5 times. 4 times are in relation to the high priest of Israel and once relating to the festival of dedication which was a festival introduced less than 200 years before. It was not a festival commanded by Jehovah in the Mosaic Law. The word “dedicate” is used once in Hosea in relation to dedicating themselves to false worship.

The majority of the remaining paragraphs are devoted to how those with the feelings discussed in the initial paragraphs made the decision to be baptised as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The penultimate paragraph (18) slips in the claim that the Organization is Jehovah’s Organization and as such that we should always listen to the advice given through it, when it says, “When you make decisions, listen to the advice Jehovah gives you through his Word and his organization. (Isaiah 30:21) Then all you do will be successful. Proverbs 16:3, 20.”

However, in the experience of the author while listening to Jehovah’s advice through his word has always helped make wise decisions, the same cannot be said about listening to the advice of the Organization. For instance, not getting a higher education qualification makes it very stressful when raising a family. Putting off doing things because of being advised by the Organization as to how close Armageddon allegedly was, also causes unnecessary stress and in the long run, more time consuming problems.

What does the fact that belatedly ignoring the advice of the Organization on further education enables a reduction in stress and increased ability to care reasonably for one’s family, actually being able to work less hours secularly than before, tell one about the Organization’s claim that following their advice will make one successful in everything one does? Or that taking the decisions when required rather than putting them off because, according to the Organization, Armageddon is imminent, also reduces stress and ensures that the effects of those decisions is timely?

Yes, we do want to “continue to recognize how much you benefit from Jehovah’s guidance,” and that “your love for him and his standards will grow”.

However, whether we will achieve these goals fully will likely not be greatly assisted by being baptised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

By all means, be “baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, but in no way, be baptized to be recognised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.


[i] Please see other articles on the site that deal more comprehensively with the subject of disfellowshipping.


Archived Comments

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  • Comment by Leonardo Josephus on 2019-05-05 09:40:36

    Interesting change is coming. Baptism question 2 changes "God's spirit directed organisation" to "Jehovah's organisation".

    What does this mean ?

    • Reply by Chet on 2019-05-05 11:57:02

      Just another example of the relentless creep towards ever more controlling language.

    • Reply by Frankie on 2019-05-05 15:11:28

      The word "spirit" is finally eliminated from baptism questions. This is rude distortion of clear Jesus' command in Matt. 28:19.

      • Reply by MarthaMartha on 2019-05-06 07:11:43

        In my opinion this change moves the baptism questions further away from the whole process as described in scripture. The questions bear no resemblance to the command to baptise in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
        Notice also that the first question asks if you have dedicated (only) yourself to Jehovah, and the second refers only to baptism and this to confirm that you are getting baptised as a JW under the organisation. So the organisation hijacks the only legitimate action of baptism for themselves.

        The more changes they make, the more I see them moving away from any attempt to be under Jesus’ authority.

        I was baptised in 1972 with the old question and had the same attitude to “organisation” as Chet. In fact I don’t remember “organisation” as a word we used at all. There was “The Society” which was a clear reference to the men behind the literature etc., the practical running of congregations, but NOT the same as Jehovah, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. When “The Organisation’’ replaced the ‘Society’ and became an entity in itself that we were to obey, the warning bells were deafening.

        It baffles me that people close to me still can’t see what’s happened.
        The organisation has made itself the way to our salvation. To me that is blasphemy.

    • Reply by lost in space on 2019-05-09 01:43:31

      And WHY did "they", the great 8 gb do it????

      • Reply by MarthaMartha on 2019-05-09 05:34:09

        Do what, Lost?
        Change the question?
        I would love to know why.

        Is it possible that they are distancing themselves from the claim to be led by spirit?

        I’ve noticed some GB speakers esp AMIII is now referring to themselves as “The Channel”.
        What that means is anyone’s guess. Special hot line from heaven? Is that not the same as spirit directed?
        If they did renounce the claim to be spirit directed, would that make people think? Would it make a difference? Will anyone even notice that the question has changed?
        I despair of it all. What with Eric’s experience and the blatant aggression in the courts toward people who share WT pages online, and the denial and obfuscation of child abuse mishandling, this has become a destructive, manipulative, narcissistic and vindictive entity that bears no resemblance to the Christ they claim brotherhood with.
        Love to you all in the family of truth seekers.

        • Reply by Psalmbee on 2019-05-10 09:54:10

          I appreciated your sagacious words Martha, in both your comments.

          IMO, it's just another play on words and sounds, to reimage, reintroduce and/or re-identify themselves. Very similar to how a snake sheds it's skin when it needs a fresh look and a sense of regenerating itself.

          BTW, they don't care if you have to change your beliefs (channels), that have been rooted from and stemmed together with "overlapping generations" that have stood still, while the World has kept turning.

        • Reply by Frankie on 2019-05-11 17:32:24

          Well said, Martha. "Will anyone even notice that the question has changed?". It seems to be only a subtle change in baptism questions. But ... IMO this little change of words could result in serious consequences for Warwick leaders. I think of Matt. 12:24-33. Our Lord defined there "the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost" (in v. 24 and 31). And in v. 32: "And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.".
          Lord Jesus clearly said in Matt. 28:19: "...in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost". But these men, who own the direct SMS/E-mail/Skype line to heaven, claim something like: "No, no, the Holy Ghost is redundant, but there is important to embed our "Holy Organisation" into baptism command”. What about (Rev. 22:18)? Is this comparable to speaking against the Holy Ghost? Is that blasphemy? Maybe on the brink, IMO. I am not capable to judge it - only Jesus will judge all, me and also them (John 5:22). But dear GB, please, be careful.

  • Comment by Chet on 2019-05-05 11:56:01

    I was baptized in the early ‘70s, so my baptism did not include identifying myself as part of an organization. In fact, they stated that I was being baptized as a non-denominational Christian, which was fine with me, even when I was an adolescent. I NEVER thought that I was joining an organization, not for a moment. Let me elaborate.

    I had “grown up in the Truth” and had always been taught that WT publications were truthful. However, I never thought that they were infallible, inspired, or the specific leadings of God’s Holy Spirit. What I DID think is that the WT Society and I shared a pragmatic view of the Bible and agreed with regard to such matter as the falsehood of the trinity, the hope of a restored earth, etc. I have to confess that I was hook, line and sinker, with regard to 1914, but that had been drilled into my psyche from early childhood.

    Never, not even for a moment, was I committed to “the organization”, in fact, I was skeptical of them, even at the time of my baptism. I read their publications, but I didn’t always agree with everything they said. I should also point out that I was baptized in the autumn of 1971, about 4 months after the elder arrangement was announced.

    I mention this for a very good reason. As soon as that elder arrangement was announced, there was a change among many of the rank and file Witnesses; the word “organization” seemed to be on the lips of many, a great deal of the time. In my humble opinion, starting with the announcement of the elder arrangement, coincided with a shift in attitudes where “appreciation for the organization” was emphasized and after the 1980 Bethel shakeup, this became “loyalty to the organization”.

    For the record, I was never loyal to that organization, my loyalty has always been to the One True God. I always reserved the right to part ways with the WT Society were they to prove disloyal to God. When they published, in 1986, that Christ was not my mediator, but mediated only for the 144,000, they took a major step away from biblical truth. Shortly thereafter, my life became a hell of cognitive dissonance, as I tried to reconcile two incompatible beliefs. It took a while to realize just how much the WT had changed, but it had changed drastically, and my entire life was sewn into their social order. Leaving involved a divorce and basically splitting from all of my friends. The life I had known ceased to exist and I had to start anew, fairly late in life.

    Therein lies the danger. By placing their stock in a human organization, JWs put themselves in a position where following God’s word might involve significant losses and even charges of disloyalty.

    Articles about baptism, as this one published in the Watchtower, are ultimately designed to perpetuate control. If they can convince a youngster to make an irrevocable commitment from an early age, they have immense leverage over the rest of that person’s life. Thinking back to Eric’s “Snare and a Racket” video, I wonder if they are not crossing the line into racketeering. I’m no expert on such laws, but this does strike me as being, at least, borderline criminal.

    • Reply by lost in space on 2019-05-09 01:25:10

      My husband, now POMO since Feb, was baptised at 16 in 1989 for same reasons. He now feels lied to and betrayed. And is now at home a spiritual giant!!! Loving Jesus as well now.

  • Comment by jamesbrown on 2019-05-06 02:47:43

    Hi Tadua

    Can you please explain what you mean by:

    Today, there is no way of being even 95% sure that one has a correct understanding of all the original teachings of the Bible.

    Many thanks

    • Reply by Tadua on 2019-05-06 04:25:08

      95% is a figure used in maths, 95% percentile, which means except in rare cases, or in legal terms beyond reasonable doubt. This was the meaning behind my comment. With the biased translations and subtle textual changes my view is it is difficult to be certain that we have a 100% understanding on everything. What the more important thing is, is that we can ascertain the most important teachings and apply them. This would include the resurrection, and showing love to one another.

      • Reply by lost in space on 2019-05-09 01:20:57


  • Comment by Alithia on 2019-05-07 01:06:46

    Hello all. Thanks for the review Tadua. The Org has a long history and in my experience never miss an opportunity to publicly name and shame as a means to pressure and "herd" people in the direction they want them to go.

    The bad old Judge used the same technique and wrote plenty about the "sifting work," Jehovah ridding the Org of lazy and proud ones when the numbers fell by about 75% because of the failed Russell predictions, and when he issued incredibly difficult task of witnessing hours that each publisher should perform.

    I remember in the 60s when someone was disfellowshipped they would announce publicly to the congregation in detail the reason/s why. A Watchtower discussion explained how this is loving because it would prevent idle or misguided gossip from impugning anyones reputation!!!!????? No doubt due to legal challenges and a good deal of money this has now changed.

    In Australia at least, during the 70s we also had a large whiteboard in front of the hall facing the audience with all of the statistics of the ministry, average hours, books and magazines placed and the totals and averages for each publisher. No doubt to make anyone feel the burden if they were not pulling their weight! Anyone remember the good old "goal" of 10 hours and 10 magazines a month??? This eventually was discontinued in the late 70s.

    I wonder if anyone remembers when we did the written review? You would be instructed at times to swap with the person in front or to your left or right to have it marked like some school exam! This was very stressful for some. All designed to coerce people to perform as was expected by the leadership. This was discontinued too.

    So when I see statement like;
    1. If you are lacking confidence.
    2. Fear of failure etc. I find this completely disingenuous and just the same ploy to pressure anyone not doing what the Org wants, when and how. In both cases it puts pressure on the ones who aren't being baptised, by embarrassing them, also by making the recommendation to freeze them out in terms of acceptability within the congregation and also shaping the attitudes of those who do capitulate to also actively not seek their company .

    The Org since Judge Rutherford unlike the Christ has always been by
    bullying and not by loving persuasion.

    And now with the shift to a more Org centred vow at baptism I wonder how far from a Jonestown scenario this Devil driven leadership really is?

    • Reply by lost in space on 2019-05-09 01:07:23

      As for me and my 12 and 15 yr old PIMI family , we will be leaving the hall after the public talk. I do not want them or myself to be sharers to the evil class gb propaganda insidiously brought thyough in this WT article messages. The reasons addressed as to why children don't baptised are abhorrent. ACTS 5 and ACTS 8..." Men and women who heard were baptised".

      • Reply by lost in space on 2019-05-09 08:42:09

        PiMO not pimi so Physically in, Mentality Out). That's us currently ?
        Not sure how to edit on this site. Sorry

    • Reply by lost in space on 2019-05-09 01:18:32

      Goodness! Hello fellow Australian Alithia. I was baptised at 21 in 1989, after contact with winesses in 1988?. I have heard many stories by those older than me about those "bad old days" of 1960s and 1970s. Blame, shame, fear and guilt are powerful weapons. My elders-wife PIMI mother in law uses these regularly on my family and others regularly. Taught well, I see?

  • Comment by Torso Boy on 2019-05-11 20:47:33

    Matthew 28:19 says to baptise people “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

    Interestingly, in this WT article Jehovah’s name is mentioned 48 times, Jesus’ name is mentioned only 4 times (3 times in the first 3 paragraphs then only once more in paragraph 16).
    The Holy Spirit isn’t mentioned at all in the entire article, yet the organisation is mentioned.
    This might explain why the baptism questions for candidates has been changed, effective this Monday 13 May, to the following:

    (1) “Have you repented of your sins, dedicated yourself to Jehovah, and accepted his way of salvation through Jesus Christ?” (2) “Do you understand that your baptism identifies you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with Jehovah’s organization?”
    The new questions will be used starting with the baptism talks at assemblies and conventions beginning the week of May 13, 2019.

    So much for the counsel given in the WT from 1955:

    "A Christian, therefore, cannot be baptized in the name of the one actually doing the immersing or in the name of any man, nor in the name of any organization, but in the name of the Father, the Son and the holy spirit." Watchtower 1955 Jul 1 p.411

  • Comment by swaffi on 2019-12-15 21:49:33

    Thanks, Tadua for this review. I have been harping on about the dedication vow to Jehovah/baptism doctrine for a while now. It was the first crack in the dam for me as a witness. I left the org mid last year. It sickens me how they tie "dedication to Jehovah" in with baptism. As I've said before, not on this forum, but that there's nothing wrong with dedicating/devoting yourself to something. The scriptures encourage us to follow Christ and to obey his and God's commandments (same thing, as in, same commandments) but saying that "dedication" is interchangeable with baptism is just wrong. Scripturally false. Back, early last year I had a couple of talks with some elders about this issue and their first reasoning is the Israelites. "The Israelites were dedicated to Jehovah," they say. "The nation was dedicated to Jehovah," they say. When I showed them through the bible that Jehovah entered into a "covenant" with the Israelites and that covenant and dedication were two different things (not interchangeable) and many other scriptures throughout the book of Acts especially, all they could say was that I had not gone to "insight into the scriptures" first and other JW publications. You know, even if the Israelites were dedicated to Jehovah, does that have anything to do with baptism? I'm not sure if it would. Anyway, I have many things to add about this subject such as the "Dedication vow" article in 1953 Watchtower they themselves printed which is yet another flip flop on their beliefs today. Incidentally, I wanted to show this article to the elders but all of them vehemently resisted. I remember when we had this Watchtower article last year and noticed not once it cites Acts 2:38 which Peter is just about telling us what baptism actually is. "Dedication" is the Watchtower's Trinity. Hardly found in scripture and when it does, has nothing to do with baptism

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