“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.
Hi All First post if I may . I served as Watchtower Overseer for 15 years here in Dublin Ireland. The above quoted article is a typical bread and butter that’s constantly churned out and to my regret I presided over. Once outside the body of the beast the following seems so blatantly obvious The sheer usurpation of Authority!( I’m not really into throwing stones at persons but if folk like Stephen Lett and particularly Tony Morris consider themselves an equal to the great men of old I’m afraid the facts show they are totally delusional in the cold light… Read more »
re couple renting out while living off others.
There was a couple who applied for a “low interest loan” and got it so they could pioneer. The money of these loans were made available to special cases so they could buya modest house. This couple were low income by choice. The money the used should have gone to another family.
I was disgusted. We were getting marked as being materialistic when we built our own place which was very basic. Where were supposed to live in a tree?
vietnam. Many Americans will not know that Australia was also involved in that war. This was done by conscription along with regular forces. I was called up. I registered as a “conscientious objector” but failed the medical before my case came up. Now, at this time the wt was telling draftees that alternative service was not on. The wt also told me ie the elders told me to say it was all MY OWN IDEA so dont involve us.‘ Some time into the war the wt decided that draftees-conscripts could do alternative work while many in the US were already… Read more »
Watchtower hypocrisy and double-speak: *** w98 8/15 p. 17 pars. 6-9 Strengthening Our Confidence in God’s Righteousness *** In the past, some Witnesses have suffered for refusing to share in an activity that their conscience now might permit. For example, this might have been their choice years ago as to certain types of civilian service. A brother might now feel that he could conscientiously perform such without overstepping his Christian neutrality regarding the present system of things. 7 Was it unrighteous on Jehovah’s part to allow him to suffer for rejecting what he now might do without consequences? Most who… Read more »
Oui, je suis écœurée de cette hypocrisie ! Tout les WJ savent bien que c’est LA SOCIÉTÉ qui imposaient CONTRE notre conscience cette ligne de conduite. Lorsque les anciens viennent nous voir (ce fut mon cas) , ils commencent par citer 2 cor 1 : 24 “ce n’est pas que nous dominions sur votre foi, mais nous sommes des collaborateurs pour votre joie, car c’est par votre foi que vous êtes debout” puis ils vous excommunient parce que votre conscience éduquée par l’enseignement du Christ vous dirige autrement que les directives du Collège Central. Mais il paraît qu’ils n’ont pas… Read more »
40 años en una organización, criada muy fanática. Ocasionando daño a mis hijos por hacerles observar tantas leyes humanas. En una ocasión reciente una de mis hijas me tranquilizó diciendo: «No te sientas culpable, todo lo que hiciste era lo que tu creías que era correcto. Dios sabe que fuiste sincera, no me pidas perdón, empieza a mirar el futuro y entierra el pasado sino no podrá sanar tu mente y corazón del daño de la WT». No sólo perjudicaría a mis hijos, también perdí la oportunidad de ir a la Universidad. Ahora tengo problemas de salud y dificultades económicas… Read more »
Isn’t it amazing that they can get away with handing out bad advice and issuing mandates that go beyond scripture, then have the nerve to tell us how we should feel about the negative consequences of following their mistaken teachings. I don’t believe that any religious organization is favored by God. We are to be disciples of Christ, but that does not involve any specific manmade organization. While I don’t agree with all of the teachings of mainstream churches, I still treat these people as Christians; brothers and sisters in my faith. My personal opinion is that Christians will continue… Read more »
“elders told me to say it was all MY OWN IDEA so dont involve us – very true, just say your conscience does not permit you to do military service. But if it’s up to me why can’t I take up military service? No can do – you will be disassociated. Damn if you do, damn if you don’t.
Thanks Tadua. This is one of those WT articles I read just to immunize myself from any doubts about leaving WT. Like a lot of medicine, it’s distasteful bit does me good, reminding me that I’ve made the right choice, and that sacrifices dictated by men are to be avoided. In particular I like this paragraph in your article “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… Read more »
Now it’s personal … 1942, huh? In 1942, my father was an active JW, and quietly pursuing some post-secondary education, so that he could do technical work, instead of being stuck at the bottom of the job market. Then the draft came along. Like all good Witness men, he refused induction, and considering the time, refusing induction made that a person a pariah. He was offered “peaceful alternative service” in a strictly civilian capacity, but was instructed not to accept that, as it would still be a violation of his integrity. He went to prison, but when he found out… Read more »
Wow, Chet, and Bravo!
Hi Chet, Thank you for sharing with us your very personal heartfelt comments. They were made in a dignified way but pulling no punches. Your experience is the sad consequences of honest hearted God fearing people being conned by the greatest con-artists. I used to say to those I met from door to door, that this way of living (as a JW) was the best way of living even if it was not true. Now I, like you, know different, to our cost and the cost of those we love around us. Yes, the GB have some reckoning ahead of… Read more »
As I said at the outset, now it’s personal. To have the unmitigated gall to bring up an example like that, from 1942, is simply stupid on their part, and I believe indicative of how few examples they have to choose from. By using someone that has probably been deceased for years, they don’t have to worry about that person waking up and repudiating the whole thing. It’s easy to talk about such an example, but it doesn’t end when that person is released from prison. This is a disruption of someone’s life and a setback that can affect them… Read more »
Interesting scripture that you brought up as it seems to be Biblical proof that the 70 years (at Babylon, not after Jerusalem was destroyed) had already started when the exiles left, otherwise why would Jeremiah write to them as he did in verse 10? From the NWT: 10 “For this is what Jehovah says, ‘When 70 years at Babylon are fulfilled, I will turn my attention to you,+ and I will make good my promise by bringing you back to this place.’+
Hi Chet. If only those that need to read what you have written would read it. Considering the scant regard they have given to questions in letters I have written, they would not understand it. They are not to be questioned, as they have no answers.
They are blinded, at this point, and incapable of self-examination.
Excelente tu argumentación, coincido totalmente contigo. Los de cuerpo gobernante son unos hipócritas descarados, viven en lujo desvergonzado y losno publicados deben hacer todos los sacrificios, ja, ja…igual que Jesucristo que no tenía donde recostar su cabeza
There was a time when the Watchtower Society was far more modest than it is now. That certainly has changed.
The Governing Body continues to carefully examine its navel, keeping itself occupied with itself. Christians not marrying for the sake of promoting the Good News has been practiced since the beginning of Christianity and continues today. Choosing not to have children in order to be free to sacrifice their lives in full service has also been practiced and continues to be in various Christian faiths. Promoted and supported by the leadership. What is also found in organized religion is the life led by the higher ups. They are free from want, all is provided. This is true of Archbishops and… Read more »
Yes, agreed. Well said.