“Throw your burden on Jehovah, and he will sustain you.” Psalm 55:22
[Study 52 from ws 12/20 p.22, February 22 – February 28, 2021]
The Elephant in the Room.
The expression “the Elephant in the Room” according to Wikipedia “is a metaphorical idiom in English for an important or enormous topic, question, or controversial issue that is obvious or that everyone knows about but no one mentions or wants to discuss because it makes at least some of them uncomfortable or is personally, socially, or politically embarrassing, controversial, inflammatory, or dangerous.”
What is the biggest discouragement to many Witnesses today, especially as many are elderly?
Is it not (especially if they are long-time Witnesses), that they expected Armageddon to be here before now? Did they not also expect that they would not have to face the problems brought on by poor health? Or, did they also not expect that they would not have to face the problems brought about by greatly reduced income as they grow older in years?
Ask yourself, how many fellow Witnesses or ex-Witnesses do you know that have private or company pension funds to draw on in retirement? No doubt very few. Most have never contributed to one. Even you, our dear readers may be in the same position. Common reasons are that many have the mindset or position of believing one or more of the following:
- Armageddon will come before I need a pension.
- If I make arrangements for a future pension it shows a lack of faith in the teachings of “Jehovah’s Organization” that Armageddon will be here soon.
- I do not have any spare funds to put aside, due to low income, whether because of:
- a low paid job due to following the Organization’s direction not to have higher education,
- or part-time job due to following the Organization’s direction to go pioneering.
- Or a combination of both.
The writer personally knows an elderly sister who had a mental breakdown due to being unable to face the increasing problems of ill health. The writer also had a close relative who gave up the will to live as a result of increasing health problems and realizing Armageddon was not coming. Sadly, the close relative deteriorated quickly as a result and is now awaiting the resurrection. The writer also knows of many Witnesses who do not have any pension savings for retirement and will have to or are already relying on the meager state pension or their children to supplement their income. In fact, as evidence of that, a number are having to continue working beyond 65 years of age, rather than being able to comfortably retire, to ensure they can still make ends meet.
So why mention the elephant in the room? The Watchtower article deals with the following subjects (and briefly at that) which are deemed the most important:
- Dealing with imperfections and weaknesses.
- Dealing with ill health.
- When we do not receive a privilege.
- When your territory seems unproductive.
But not a squeak about the problem that Proverbs13:12 highlights in that “Expectation postponed is making the heart sick …”
Who or what causes these discouragements or expectations postponed? If we identify the causes or who causes these discouragements, then we could all make adjustments to avoid them in the first place.
- Who has and still is constantly building up our expectations that Armageddon is on our very doorstep, only for us to time and again find that it is effectively postponed (not by God but by the Organization!)?
- Is not the Organization? What about its teachings about “stay alive until 1975”, before 2000 (before all the generation that saw 1914 die-off), the Overlapping Generation (now reaching the end of their lives), Because of the current CoVid19 pandemic, and so forth?
- Who almost constantly focuses on how to deal with our weaknesses instead of positively working on manifesting the fruits of the spirit, and then guilt trips us by the addition of numerous rules not contained in the scriptures, that we can never fulfill or obey completely?
- Is not the Organization?
- Who constantly sets before us unrealistic goals to keep preaching through ill health?
- Is not the Organization? See paragraph 12 where the experience, much repeated over the years, of a sister in an Iron lung, kept preaching and brought 17 to baptism as Jehovah’s Witnesses.
- Who creates such privileges and then dangles such privileges in front of us, whether it be pioneer, or missionary, or Bethelite, or appointed man as an elder or ministerial servant, often for us only to be denied?
- Is it not the Organization? And what is very often the cause of such denial? Because you or someone else does not qualify? Rarely. Rather is it not usually denied because of Jealously, or the desire to keep the power on the part of those in the position to give or deny the privilege?
- Who continually pushes us to preach in the unproductive territory?
- Is it not the Organization? By contrast, Jesus told the disciples to shake the dust off their feet and move on when they found unproductive territory (Matthew 10:14).
In conclusion, what is the Elephant in the Room?
Is it not the case that “the Elephant in the Room” is the fact that the Organization is the cause of a great deal of the things that causes the brotherhood to get discouraged. The discouragement is especially caused by the continual predictions of “we are living in the last minutes of the last hour of the last day of the last days” to paraphrase a recent pronouncement by a Governing Body member on a JW Monthly Broadcast.
And why does the Organization not deal with this great source of discouragement in this article?
Likely it is “because it makes at least some of them uncomfortable or is personally, socially, or politically embarrassing, controversial, inflammatory, or dangerous” to expose themselves as the cause of the discouragement.
Open Letter to the Governing Body:
You need to deal with “the Elephant in the Room” immediately!
- Stop making false predictions of when Armageddon is coming, immediately. Make it abundantly clear to the brotherhood that Jesus, the Son of God, the head of the Christian Congregation clearly said in Matthew 24:36 “Concerning that day and hour NOBODY KNOWS, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son but only the Father.”
- Apologize for misleading the flock and “pushing ahead presumptuously” in trying to pin down the year of Armageddon, accepting that doing so is “the same as using uncanny power and teraphim” (1 Samuel 15:23)
- Change the diet of material in the publications, to focus on how to be well-rounded out Christians, working “what is good toward all”, not just fellow Witnesses (Galatians 6:10).
- Dismantle the privileges pyramid scheme. This will entail removing all the non-biblical privileged positions, only leaving “older men”. Henceforth, there should be no pioneer, missionary, circuit overseer, Bethelite, etc, status. At a stroke, it will decimate the problem with not receiving a privilege. Surely “the privilege of fearlessly rendering sacred service to him [God]” should be enough (Luke 3:74) and that is available to all rather than a select few.
- Reduce the unbalanced focus on door to door preaching efforts and increase the focus on living as a real Christian with real Christian qualities toward all. Any door-to-door preaching should only focus on productive fields (Luke 9:5).
Your review of this WT study article is so amazingly on point! I can’t thank you enough for all the effort you put into this. It helps me see things more clearly. May Jehovah continue to bless you.
Always a strange one this. The JW’s are always decrying Satan’s system, its this and that and governments are evil and everyone is evil, but I have never seen a group of people so quick to claim government benefits. Jokingly you can almost hear them on the ministry talking to the householder ” Satan’s system is terrible….where’s my Giro….” Many brothers have low paying jobs, always the 1st to get kicked out when hard times hit. Similar conversations with those , I have two pensions , I own my own home, worth quite a lot, which I will quite happily… Read more »
Me thinks planning ahead is a matter of being reasonable. I remember the story of someone who lost about EUR 200K overnight in 2008. That was a life of saving up. I’m nearly 40 and can see a time coming that pensions no longer exist. You wait and see. I found it baffling how the brothers practically refuse to cooperate with the governments when it comes to the handling of crimes (particularly child sexual abuse), but as soon as the panpanic began, and all the way through, it was “listen to the governments”, “keep following the guidance” etc. etc. By… Read more »
Yes and they will refer you to the Gov for help if you ask for help from the congregation this happened to a sister when she had difficulty paying an energy bill, she instead asked some sisters, wasn’t the donations at the temple for helping the poor basically that is what it was for, so they don’t bother helping any of their own organizationally, individually b/s will help those that are ill or can’t do their shopping but mostly you have to ask, and I know neighbours not JW that offer more assistance than JW do.
Jw will pay insurance on their houses and their cars against calamities that will most likely never happen. But they will not put into any policy that will grant them some protection against a guaranteed inevitablitiy..,. leaving work and getting old! Years ago i landed a good job! It paid well. and it offered a generous reitrement scheme and life protection. I joined the scheme and mentioned this to one of the brothers who was about to say something but the meeting started. What would he have said? We can all guess. But he went on to have no life… Read more »
Another excellent article
To the open letter, may I add Agree to correct deliberate or unintentional phrases from the next NWT edition, such as “in union with Christ”, along with others which you have, no doubt, already been advised. Acknowledge the basis on which other scholars have calculated 587 BCE as being the date of the fall of Jerusalem, and acknowledge that you may be incorrect in your calculations. Reverse, with immediate effect, the application of “not saying a greeting” to family members who have chosen to leave the organisation or have been otherwise disfellowshipped for sins which they are no longer continuing… Read more »
I’ll have to expand on this much more fully, and admittedly somewhat urgently as well perhaps: the sign is not in the pandemic, but it is in the response of most governments worldwide to it. This is what the brothers do not acknowledge, as they are eager to show their obedience to the governments. Would that really surprise any of us, knowing how they make themselves unpopular by working against the governments in cases around their mishandling of child sexual abuse around the world? As matters are right now, Jehovah’s Witnesses may well be among the first Christian targets once… Read more »
Small edit at the end would be in place: we don’t equip ourselves with awareness, but with knowledge/understanding (which is where awareness comes from). Also, where the GB loves the idea of being in the “last days” and goes well off with it, we need to remember that there is a balance. The Scriptures do forewarn us about the conditions mankind will face before the end, and as we see these things taking place, we can know our whereabouts in the stream of time. None of that makes a difference to knowing the exact time of Jesus’ return. So it… Read more »
Thanks for your article. However I don’t think Zoom cut’s for the purposes of Hebrews 10:24,25
Totally agree. In fact, many of the brothers appear to acknowledge it is not quite the same as meeting in real life. In this matter, I have it against the brothers that, even when there was an opportunity provided by the government, they did not even arrange for meetings per ministry groups. So in our congregation, there are about 65-70 publishers in 5 different groups. We could easily have arranged a physical meeting, once per week, for each group, as far as people were confident to attend them. To be cautious, it was decided not to do this, but to… Read more »
This is a difficult one for us all for different reasons. Like many of you, I gave up some really good opportunities in life. I feel for all those who are older now and financially struggling because they didn’t plan for the future. (If it makes you feel any better I haven’t planned for mine either:-) What a sad situation to be in at this point in time, all because brothers felt guilty and spiritually weak to even dare think about their financial futures, maybe the organization should come to the rescue of those faithful servants and provide a kingdom… Read more »
I think the remnant refers to the Christians who are faithful. Consider Elijah: in 1 Kings 19 we read how he got tired and weary, and felt like death was the better option. In his response, Jehovah mentions a faithful remnant of 7000 (verse 18), reassuring Elijah that he is not the only one left. If you haven’t seen the series on Matthew 24, I can recommend those. Additionally, I think that there is another meaning to “this generation”. Jesus said that all the blood of the holy ones and prophets spilled “will come upon this generation” (Mat. 23:36). Likewise,… Read more »