“He was awaiting the city having real foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” – Hebrews 11:10
[Study 31 From ws 08/20 p.2 September 28 – October 04, 2020]
The opening paragraph claims “MILLIONS of God’s people today have made sacrifices. Many brothers and sisters have chosen to remain single. Married couples have postponed having children. Families have kept their lives simple. All have made these decisions for one important reason—they want to serve Jehovah as fully as possible. They are content and trust that Jehovah will provide all the things they truly need.”.
True, millions of brothers and sisters have made sacrifices, but many now regret it, they are not content. The author personally knows a number who either had no children or did not have a second child, all because the Organization convinced them that Armageddon would come in 1975, and when that did not happen, that it was imminent. By the time they realized it was not coming then it was too late for them to have a child. It is also true that many remained single, particularly sisters, because they could not marry a Christian, only one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the brothers are in short supply.
When it says families have kept their lives simple, what it really means is that because of a lack of further education they cannot afford much more than they already have, and instead often rely on others. In fact, an ex-missionary couple made obtaining financial help into an art form, always claiming poverty and mentioning their record of ‘serving Jehovah’ to oblige brothers and sisters to give them free accommodation or free meals or furniture. They actually rented their house out for nearly two years while they went and lived free of charge with other witnesses.
The other big question is as to whether Jehovah will provide all the things they truly need. Why do we say this? One of the few scriptures that suggests this is possible is Matthew 6:32-33. But if the Governing Body and the Organization are teaching falsehoods, which they know they are, (607 BCE and 1914 AD being a case in point, and the remnant/other sheep teaching) and ignore justice for the vulnerable ones within its ranks, then would God accept that those following every instruction of the Governing Body are actually seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness?
The Study article claims that Jehovah would bless them because he blessed Abraham. However, can we really compare the actions of Abraham with the actions of any brother or sister or our own? Hardly. Abraham was given clear instructions by an angel and he obeyed them. Jehovah and Jesus do not communicate with anybody on earth today via angels.
In paragraph 2 it mentions that Abraham willingly left a comfortable lifestyle in the city of Ur. This lays the ground for suggestions later in the article. To lay further groundwork for these suggestions paragraphs 6-12 exaggerate any difficulties Abraham had.
For example, he dwelt in tents instead of in a city with fortifications and a moat on three sides, and hence was more vulnerable to attack. That is true, but there is no record of Abraham being attacked until many years later in the land of Canaan. It also mentions that at one time he struggled to feed his family. That also is true, but most of the time he had plenty. Yes, Pharaoh took his wife Sarah, but that could partly be put down to the fact that because of fear of man Abraham told Pharaoh that Sarah was his sister when asked, rather than the truth, that she was his wife. He had family problems, but many of these were due to having two wives, which inevitably brings many of the problems he experienced. We should also not forget though that in Genesis 15:1 Jehovah told Abram in a vision that he would be a shield (or protection) for him.
This is all to lead us to paragraph 13 which under the heading “Imitating Abraham’s example” which tells us that we should “be willing to make sacrifices”.
What kind of sacrifices does the Organization suggest we make?
It puts forward the example of Bill (from 1942!!!). Does the Organization not have any more modern examples to use?
Bill was about to graduate from a U.S. university with a degree in architectural engineering (a very useful job and qualification) when he started studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses. His professor already had a job lined up for him. However, he refused this offer of a job. Although it does not make it clear, likely as a result he was very soon after drafted for military service (as likely the job occupation had he accepted may have kept him exempt from the draft). He then had to waste three years in prison as a result. He was later invited to Gilead and served as a missionary in Africa.
So, the sacrifices suggested are:
- Give up on a university degree even if you are about to graduate (after 3 to 5 years of hard work and a lot of expense).
- Look a gift horse in the mouth and reject it (a good job lined up for you is to be rejected out of hand).
- Instead, be a guest of the government in a prison.
- Forgoing having children so you can be a missionary.
To replace this, you are offered the following:
- A tantalizing carrot of “status” within the Organization as a missionary, (which is very difficult to get these days).
- A place where you will be supported by others who are likely poorer than yourself. (if you have the gall to ignore that fact).
- A ministry where you teach your student lies and expect them to make the same pointless sacrifices.
It is important to note though, that this is not what Jehovah offered nor suggested to Abraham. If you read the account Abraham took his servants and livestock with him, and he became a wealthy man while on his travels obeying God’s direction. He also had children. He did not know when God’s promise to him and his descendants would be completely fulfilled, and he lived a life similar to most other people of the time. (Living in a city was far rarer then than it is today.)
Paragraph 14 warns us of the obvious “Do not expect your life to be trouble-free”.
This is part of the double-speak from the Organization. In one part of the article, they will say “Do not expect your life to be trouble-free” and then in the other they will say or as here, they quote almost the exact opposite. In paragraph 15, Aristotelis says “Jehovah has always given me the needed strength to overcome these problems”. Now that is his view, but others in his situation would not say the same despite relying on Jehovah as they believe and are told to do. Could it not be that Aristotelis has a stronger character and will-power or is mentally stronger than others and that is what kept him going. What evidence do we have that Jehovah specifically communicated with Aristotelis or amended his circumstances or gave him the holy spirit, so he had the strength to overcome these problems? From Aristotelis’ statement, many brothers and sisters would conclude that provided they prayed they would be able to handle anything. In Brother Lett’s talk on the Saturday Afternoon Regional convention program (2020) about the resurrection, he said “the righteous will include many loved ones who may have thought they would live to see the end of the system of things”. Yes, there are many brothers and sisters who believed that Armageddon would be here by now, (including my parents), which the Organization led them to expect. As a result, they expected they would not need a pension, or they would not face debilitating health problems in this system. Now, they have had to face them and many have not been able to overcome them either mentally or physically or financially, resulting in depression, suicide, and severe financial hardship.
One thing we can guarantee, if you avoid studying the scriptures for yourself and instead swallow every teaching from the Governing Body without question, your life will definitely not be trouble-free. Why do we say this? Because you will suffer many self-inflicted problems due to making life-affecting decisions based on lies (teachings known to be false by the GB, such as 1914 and blood transfusions) and conjecture, which has been presented as truth.
In conclusion, the only really useful part of this Watchtower study article (and not biased to furthering the Organization instead of God’s Kingdom) is the advice of Brother Knorr to his wife. “Look ahead, for there is where your reward is” and “Keep busy – try to use your life doing something for others. This will help you to find joy.”
At least that suggestion is similar to what Abraham did. Abraham looked to the future, helped others (such as his nephew Lot), and obeyed God’s instructions rather than men’s.