“Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching. Persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.”—1 Timothy 4:16.
[From ws 8/19 p.14 Study Article 33: Oct 14 – Oct 20, 2019]
“We cannot force our relatives to accept the good news, but we can encourage them to open their minds and hearts to the Bible’s message. (2 Timothy 3:14, 15)” (par.2). This is a true statement, and it is also relevant for all of us who have awakened from the lies the Organization teaches. While we can try to help relatives and other Witnesses to awaken, by the same token, we should not attempt to force them.
Awakening varies in its effects per individual but awakening to the truth about the truth can be devastating for many. Most, if not all of us, go through stages such as anger at being taken in and duped, and anger and frustration when we begin to realise the level of psychological manipulation we have been under. It can then lead to severe disillusionment with God and the Bible, yet the situation we are in is not the fault of God or the Bible.
You may also begin to realize why perhaps there are so many ones you thought were “weak ones” who still stayed in the Organization, attending some meetings, rarely going in field service. Perhaps because they are awake, but have so much to lose, they find it is difficult to break away.
I can remember saying to members of the public when going from door to door, that if “the truth” was a lie, then it was the biggest deception and fraud in history. It would also be the best kept secret by those in the Organization who know it is fraudulent. Yet, now to my own personal cost I know all of this to be true. Nonetheless, it is because I discovered the deception for myself, not because others told me. The way I personally came to this discovery and awakened was by studying the Bible for myself on key subjects, without reading any Organization literature and without reading any so-called apostate literature. I had to convince myself from the Bible that many of the teachings (though not all) were wrong.
The most important teachings that were wrong being:
- Jesus invisible return in 1914.
- Little flock to Heaven and Great Crowd on earth.
For others it was the books by Ray Franz, “Crisis of Conscience” and “In Search of Christian Freedom”. To those who are still Witnesses who may think these books tell far-fetched stories, if you are able to, ask an awakened elder how they found serving as an elder. Most will confirm that things such as:
- having no prayer before an important elders meeting,
- campaigning by the strongest minded elder,
- the favouritism for appointments and assignments,
are all typical common events in bodies of elders. I certainly had experienced all of these on a regular basis while an elder. Many parts of Ray Franz’s books could have just changed the names of the Governing body members for the names of elders I served with and still be completely accurate. In fact, at times when reading these books it brought back many bad memories I wanted to forget.
Paragraph 3 says, “Soon, Jehovah will bring this system to an end. Only those who are “rightly disposed for everlasting life” will survive. (Acts 13:48)”
Yes, “Jehovah will bring this system to an end”, but only he or Jesus have the right to say when, and how soon. To state “soon” is presumptuousness. To use one of the Organization’s favourite scriptures against them, Jehovah’s view of presumptuousness is recorded in 1 Samuel 15:23 which says “ for rebelliousness is the same as the sin of divination, and pushing ahead presumptuously the same as [using] uncanny power and teraphim. Since you have rejected the word of Jehovah, he accordingly rejects you from being king”.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God warned us clearly in Matthew 24:23-27, saying, “Then if anyone says to YOU, ‘Look! Here is the Christ,’ or, ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will give great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones. 25 Look! I have forewarned YOU. 26 Therefore, if people say to YOU, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; ‘Look! He is in the inner chambers,’ do not believe it. 27 For just as the lightning comes out of eastern parts and shines over to western parts, so the presence of the Son of man will be”.
Yes, Jesus warned us that false anointed ones [or christ’s] would come, saying “You cannot see Jesus, but he has come and is in the inner chambers, he has come invisibly”. [i]
Yet Jesus warned, “do not believe it”. Why? Because just as lightning illuminates the whole sky and everyone sees it and so is undeniable, “so the presence of the Son of man will be”.
When reminded about how hard we tried to obligate others to accept the teachings of the Organization when we first learned them and believed they were “truth”, the paragraph reminds us “The apostle Paul counseled Christians: “Let your words always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should answer each person.” (Colossians 4:5-6)”. It is good to keep this scripture in mind when we, as awakened Witnesses, attempt to help Witnesses we personally know and perhaps care deeply about, to wake up.
Paragraph 6 discusses empathy. When trying to awaken a loved one, the principles in this paragraph can be applied. It says:
“At first, I wanted to talk to my husband only about spiritual things. We had no ‘normal’ conversation.” However, Pauline’s husband, Wayne, had little Bible knowledge and did not understand what Pauline was talking about. To him, it seemed that all she thought about was her religion. He worried that she was joining a dangerous sect and was being deceived.”
Some keys to a smooth transition of an awakened Witness are contained there. Much as we desire to awaken our loved one or friends, trying to convince them that something they believe passionately to be truth and passed on to them by a so-called God-directed Governing body, is actually a lie or false teaching, is a steep mountain to climb. Why? As the paragraph suggests most often our loved one may not have the scriptural knowledge. They may believe they do and hence struggle to see the importance of the error or cannot see it at all. Added to that, maybe they think or are worried that we will join some part of Christendom and start believing in the Trinity and celebrate Christmas and so forth, is too much for them to contemplate. [Important Note: On Beroean Pickets we do not recommend any of these]. Yet sadly, as we know the reality is that they are the ones being deceived.
If we continue to treat our loved ones still as our loved ones, and we do not join another church of Christendom, but rather life only changes slightly in things, such as perhaps no longer joining in field service, and perhaps no longer attending many or all meetings, perhaps doing these things on a gradual basis, then our loved ones have time to adjust and accept the new circumstances we and they are in.
In paragraph 10, we are reminded that “Jehovah has not given us the job of judging—he has assigned that task to Jesus. (John 5:22)”. This is a useful scripture to share with our loved ones who will be most concerned that because of our rejection of the Organization in their view we will not survive Armageddon (if indeed it comes in our lifetime). We can gently remind them it is up to Jesus not the Organization, and we can also use Acts 24:15 in a light-hearted way, as the promise there is a “resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous”.
In an attempt to promote the copying of the example of Alice by the brothers and sisters, paragraph 14 claims “but if you are kind yet firm with your family, some of them may listen to you. That is what happened in Alice’s case. Both of her parents are now pioneers, and her father is an elder”.
That may be the case, but if they are not kind-hearted, people, and endeavouring to act in a Christ-like way every day then it is all for nothing. Likewise, if they are teaching falsehood, it is all for nothing. What is a pioneer or an elder that one should reach out for such a title or status? Nothing but constructs of a man-made Organization. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:1-4, “when you go making gifts of mercy, do not blow a trumpet ahead of you, just as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be glorified by men. Truly I say to you, They are having their reward in full”.
A slight rewrite of paragraph 17 makes for much better reading, “We hope that all our relatives will join us in serving Jehovah,” outside the corrupt Organization which claims to be his, but is false to his requirements for us. “However, despite all our efforts to help our relatives to wake up, they may not come into the” state of learning the truth about “the truth. If that is not the case, we should not blame ourselves for their decision. After all, we cannot force anyone to accept” their “beliefs” are wrong. … “Pray for them. Tactfully speak to them….Be confident that Jehovah” and Jesus “will” appreciate “your efforts. And if your relatives choose to listen to you, they will be saved!”
Yes, saved out of a corrupt and dying man-made high-control religion to the real freedom. As Romans 8:21 says in part, they “will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
[i] Comments such as “That same group of Bible students associated with Charles Russell and the magazine Zion’s Watch Tower also helped sincere Christians to understand that Christ’s “presence” should be understood to be invisible, and that he would not return to earth to reign as a fleshly king. They continually drew the attention of the Master’s “domestics” to world events in connection with “the sign” of Christ’s presence and “the time of the end.”” can be found littered throughout Watchtower Publications. *** w84 12/1 p. 17 par. 10 Keep Ready! ***