[Eric Wilson] In the Saturday afternoon session of the 2021 “Powerful by Faith!” annual convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Governing Body member, David Splane, delivered a talk which is so outrageous that it fairly screams for a commentary. This talk demonstrates just how worried the Governing Body is about the exposure its practices have been getting on the world stage. They believed their own predictions about how close the end was, but it didn’t come and now they have to face the music. Decades of practices that have caused unbelievable harm to people can no longer be covered up. Who could have foreseen the impact of social media, or that every man, woman and child on the planet could summon up the news in an instant on their mobile phone? What was hidden in darkness for so long is now seeing the light of day.
The convention discourse we are about to analyze is more about damage control than anything else. More damning revelations are on the way, and it appears that the Governing Body is trying to blind the minds of the rank and file so that they will not believe the truth when it is presented to them.
Before we get underway, I’d like to clear up a misrepresentation that the organization makes whenever they bandy about the word “apostate”. In this talk, for instance, David Splane of the Governing Body uses this word to smear the name of anyone who opposes them. But for many of these so-called opposers, there is another word—a more accurate word—which he never uses: “heretic”.
One dictionary gives us these definitions:
Apostate: “person who forsakes his religion, cause, party, etc.”
Heretic: “a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church.”
So, if a Christian abandons Christianity altogether, you could rightly call him an apostate, but that is not the case for someone who remains a Christian, but abandons their church or religious denomination. A person who leaves the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses but continues to practice the faith of Christianity is not an apostate. He or she is a heretic.
The reason the organization doesn’t refer to ex JWs who retain their faith in Jesus as heretics is that the word has positive connotations. Who have the churches of Christendom persecuted, even burned at the stake, for disagreeing with their teachings? Not apostates, but heretics. Heretics are brave people who endure shame and slander for the sake of their faith. The organization cannot accept the role of persecutor. They need to play the role of the persecuted. So, they slander their heretics with the smear label of apostates.
But what if these JW heretics are fulfilling a role similar to the prophets of old? Consider these words of Jeremiah:
But they did not listen or incline their ear; instead, they walked in their own schemes, stubbornly following their wicked heart, and they went backward, not forward, from the day your forefathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day. So I kept sending all my servants the prophets to you, sending them each day, again and again. But they refused to listen to me, and they did not incline their ear. Instead, they were stubborn, and they acted worse than their forefathers! “You will speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you; you will call to them, but they will not answer you. And you will say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of Jehovah their God and refused to accept discipline. (Jeremiah 7:24-28)
This convention is called “Powerful by Faith!”, but as we listen to David Splane, we will see that the faith he is exhorting Witnesses to keep is not faith in Jesus, not even faith in Jehovah, but faith in the JW.org, faith in the Organization.
[David Splane] Put up a hard fight for the faith. Now those are the words of Jude, the half-brother of Jesus and it is important to consider them and their context. Let’s do that. Please turn to Jude verse 3 and then leave your Bibles open because we’re going to consider another verse in Jude. This will help us to get the point that Jude was making. Jude verse 3. He says, “Beloved ones, even though I was making every effort to write you about the salvation we hold in common, I found it necessary to write you to urge you to put up a hard fight for the faith.
[Eric Wilson] David Splane of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses makes an excellent point. We have to watch out for false brothers who slip in and try to subvert our faith. I’m in complete agreement with him. I’m sure you are as well. But here’s where we have to be careful. He hasn’t defined what he means by faith. Is he talking about faith in Jehovah God? Is he talking about faith in Jesus Christ? Or is he talking about faith in the Organization and its teachings?
Romans 12:1 tells us to present ourselves to God’s service with our power of reason. So, let us reason on everything David is about to tell us.
[David Splane] Jude is not warning his brothers about high priest Ananias or about persecution, he has something else in mind, a different type of attack and this is a sneaky one. Let’s look at verse four, and we’ll see why he wrote his letter. What is the very first words? “My reason is…” So, ‘this is what I have in mind when I’m writing you, brothers.’ “My reason is that certain men have slipped in among you who were long ago appointed to this judgment by the Scriptures…” So, Jude is talking about false brothers who were presenting a real danger to the congregations; in some ways, a greater danger than outright persecution. And did you notice what Jude had to say about those false brothers? They had slipped in. They were sneaky. That was true back then and it’s true today as we will see, and brothers, this is a very serious matter that we’re considering today. Think of this: Was the Christian congregation brought down by persecution in the second and third centuries? It wasn’t. It was brought down by false brothers, apostate teachings.
[Eric Wilson] Do you see the flaw in his logic? Who were the false brothers in the third and fourth century who brought down the Christian congregation? They were not apostates who had been thrown out of the congregation? They were the leaders of the church. You don’t slip in by becoming an apostate who abandons Christianity and gets disfellowshipped and shunned. You slip in by becoming a zealous supporter of the congregation. Then you rise to a position of power. Then you use your power and influence to introduce false doctrines.
[David Splane] And so, the devil can use an outright attack. He can use persecution to try to batter the structure of the Christian congregation, but sometimes he uses rot from within.
[Eric Wilson] “Rot from within”. Again, the apostates are outside the organization. If we are dealing with rot from within, who are responsible for that rot?
[David Splane] So, in this talk we’re not going to discuss persecution. We’re going to discuss two of the subtle means Satan uses to weaken our faith: apostasy and negative reports about Jehovah’s Witnesses in the media.
[Eric Wilson] This is the logical fallacy of the “loaded label”. Apostasy is bad. Poison is bad. Let us label anyone who disagrees with us as poisonous apostates. It doesn’t matter if their arguments are true and just. We won’t consider them, because we have already passed judgment on them as poisonous apostates. By definition, anyone who disagrees with anything that Governing Body teaches is a poisonous apostate.
But what if the apostates are the Governing Body? What if the “rot from within” he referred to already, has happened? What if Jehovah’s Witnesses have already been poisoned by false teachings? If that turns out to be the case, Splane’s worry would be the spiritual antidote to that poison. That would be the truth. What if he doesn’t want the truth to get out.
[David Splane] We receive letters at times from brothers and sisters who are troubled by something they saw on a webpage: an accusation, a rumor about the society or about the organization. And the problem is they had no idea that apostates were behind it.
[Eric Wilson] Did you notice that he didn’t tell us what these brothers are writing in about? That doesn’t matter, you see, because if an apostate is behind it, then it must be rejected out of hand. But how do we know if an apostate was behind it. Well, that’s simple. Did the message make the organization look bad? Was it critical of some policy or action of the organization? If yes, then it had to be from an apostate and should be rejected. This is known as an Ad Hominem fallacy. It means an attack on the person. If you cannot defeat an argument or answer an accusation with the truth, then you resort to slander and name calling to deflect attention away from the real issue.
Perhaps those writing in were asking why the organization became affiliated with the image of the Wild Beast of Revelation, the United Nations for a period of 10 years? Or perhaps they wrote in to ask why the organization is willing to pay millions in dedicated funds to cover contempt of court costs rather than surrender their database of known and suspected child abusers? Splane would rather dismiss all such questions because they obviously come from apostates and we know that apostasy is poison, and poison kills, so end of discussion.
[David Splane] It’s tricky because the apostates don’t advertise: “You are now on an apostate webpage.” They often pose aa sincere witnesses who just have questions or concerns; and some who aren’t really apostates can cause just as much trouble as the apostates do, by their negative talk and criticism.
[Eric Wilson] Actually, that is a lie. I’ve been to many web sites that the organization would consider apostate and they leave no doubt about their agenda. They are not being sneaky because they don’t need to be sneaky. The facts speak for themselves. When Jehovah’s Witnesses go door-to-door with a magazine that speaks negatively of other religions, highlighting the child abuse scandals that have plagued other organized religions, are they not acting as the apostates they now find fault with?
Of course, they would argue that that is different. The Catholic Church is part of false religion, but Witnesses have the only true religion. Do they? That is kind of the point, isn’t it?
There are very serious issues facing the organization right now. The millions being paid to victims whose cases of child sexual abuse were mishandled or covered up. The hypocrisy of the UN affiliation. The refusal to obey Romans 13:1-7 and cooperate with the “superior authorities” by handing over the names of pedophiles. The money grab going on with the sale of thousands of kingdom halls without the authorization of the local congregation. And then there are the false teachings of 1914, the overlapping generation, and the other sheep that pervert the message of the good news.
However, Splane will not talk about these things. In fact, throughout the course of this talk, the words “child abuse” never even pass his lips. This is a huge public relations and financial catastrophe that threatens the very existence of the organization, yet his listeners would never know a thing about it were they to confine themselves to the talks and publications issuing forth from the Watchtower corporation.
Next, David Splane creates a strawman argument to support his call for witnesses to turn a deaf ear to any negative talk.
[David Splane] Brothers, we need to be on the alert. This is serious. Suppose that out of curiosity, you get into a discussion forum with individuals who claim to be Jehovah’s Witnesses – maybe they are and may be aren’t, you don’t know; you’ve never met them – and someone starts asking questions. What did you think of last month’s broadcast, did you really find it encouraging? Or do you think the brothers who write Watchtower articles are living in the real world? I wonder if they realize just how hard it is out here.
[Eric Wilson] He is trivializing the message of those he calls apostates. It is easy to dismiss so-called opposers by claiming all they do is tear down with silly derogatory comments, but that isn’t the real issue. He wants you to think it is, though, because when faced with the really serious issues confronting the organization, he has no defense. If he had, he would make a defense and put these things to rest.
Now with what we are going to hear next, I would ask you to do a little thought experiment. Listen to what he says, but imagine he is a Catholic preach arguing on behalf of the Catholic Church.
[David Splane] Now, you don’t know whether these individuals are apostates or just brothers and sisters who are in serious spiritual trouble. But does it matter? How does it make you feel when you leave the forum? Do you feel upbuilt, determined to expand your ministry, more convinced than ever that Jehovah has an organization that you love and that you’re delighted to be a part of. You feel honoured to be a part of that organization.
[Eric Wilson] It doesn’t work if you view this as a priest talking on behalf of the Catholic church because they are false religion while witnesses are true. Again, that premise overrides everything. I get Catholics writing in to me all the time expressing how proud they are to be members of “the church that Jesus founded”. They sound no different than Splane does here. But where in the Bible are we told to love an organization and to be proud of an organization. Why the word organization is not even used in the Bible. We are told to love the brothers and sisters, but we are never told to love an organization. As for pride, our pride is in Jesus Christ, our boasting is in Jehovah. (1 Corinthians 1:29)
Boasting because we belong to an organization. Come on.
Next, David Splane misapplies Romans 16:17.
[David Splane] We need to follow the advice recorded at Romans chapter 16, and verse 17. Now think of this imaginary forum that we just described in the light of Romans chapter 16 and verse 17 and remember there is all kinds of negative talk flying around in this forum. You don’t know who’s behind it and here is what it says in Romans 16 verse 17. “Now I urge you, brothers, to keep your eye on those who create divisions and causes for stumbling contrary to the teaching that you have learned and avoid them.” Now think about that forum. Does it create divisions? Yes! Is it a cause for stumbling? Could be. Is it contrary to what we have learned? Do we even have to answer that question?
[Eric Wilson] Yeah, David, you do have to answer that question. That question is the key to everything. Jesus said that he came to cause division.
. . .Do not think I came to bring peace to the earth; I came to bring, not peace, but a sword. For I came to cause division. . . (Matthew 10:34, 35, New World Translation)
Yet Paul condemns those causing division. Was Paul condemning Jesus? No, because Jesus caused division by teaching the truth. Those Paul condemns are teaching falsehood. What is the standard of truth? David just read it in Romans: “the teaching that you have learned”. He is so smug about that, so cocksure that the teachings of the Watchtower are the teachings of the Christ, but no publication of men can make that claim, not the Catholic catechism, not the evangelical Christianity Today, not the Watchtower and Awake! magazines. Paul is talking about the teachings of Christ handed down by the apostles. That is the crux of the matter. If Splane wants to label someone an apostate based on Romans, then an apostate is one who has deviated from the teachings of Christ. Using that criteria, I would suggest that David Splane with his overlapping generation and no-1900-year slave is the apostate. I mean since we are throwing labels around.
Splane now goes back to the Apostasy is poison analogy.
[David Splane] Now another person might say: “I can see where those warnings about apostates applied to so-and-so; he is weak, but don’t worry about me I’m spiritually strong, I can handle it. That’s like a weightlifter thinking that he can drink of vile of poison and it won’t hurt him because he is so big and strong. We are not so strong, so spiritual, so intelligent, that we can’t be affected by the poison of apostate ideas.
[Eric Wilson] David is about to show us, albeit unwittingly, that his apostasy equals poison analogy is not supported in Scripture. He’s about to do that by using the account about Job. But before he does, he again asks us to give up our power of reason and just go with what we are told.
[David Splane] Now, when might we feel pressured to read something that the apostates have written? Consider this scenario: The unbelieving husband of your Bible student sends his wife a link to an apostate webpage and says, “here you better look at this and see what you are getting into.” Well, your student is concerned. She wants you to take a look and tell you what you think. Well, that is not an option. Paul says, “avoid them.” That doesn’t mean reading apostate literature or searching in social media to see what they are saying about us. So, what do you say to your student? You might say something like this: “I can imagine this is very upsetting for you, and you certainly need to know what you are getting into. I have a suggestion. We have nothing to hide. When you are at the meetings, listen carefully to what the brothers are saying. Watch how we interact with one another. Take note of how the organization is financed. Get to know the elders, their wives. Introduce yourself to the circuit overseer and his wife when they come. Visit the world headquarters or the branch. I’ll come with you. I’ll help you, I want you to get really acquainted with the organization and, if you do, I’m sure you’ll soon realize that what the people are saying about us, isn’t true.”
[Eric Wilson] He says, “We don’t have anything to hide.” Well, if they don’t have anything to hide, why are they telling people not to investigate, not to hear all sides of the question? Why are we supposed to listen only to one side, David, your side, and ignore the rest? The reality is that when one of Jehovah’s Witnesses asks about doctrinal matters that conflict with Scripture, or asks why the Watchtower became an UN NGO affiliate, or why the Governing Body would rather pay millions in contempt of court fines rather than turn over their list of pedophiles, they end up in the back room of the kingdom hall for a good dressing down.
Now we get to the part of Splane’s talk where he undermines his whole argument that apostasy is poison…and again, remember that I’m using the term apostasy because he uses it, but, in reality, it is heretical thinking he really fears.
[David Splane] Just a few drops of poison in a drink are enough to cause serious harm. And apostates often mix a few truths with lies. Remember Eliphaz? One of Job’s false comforters? Some of what he said was true. Let’s turn to chapter 5 and verse 13. (I’ll give you a moment). See if what I read sounds familiar. “He catches the wise in their own cunning, so that the plans of the shrewd are thwarted. He catches the wise in their own cunning. Does that sound familiar? Why Yes! The apostle Paul said the very the same thing at 1 Corinthians 3:19. In fact, in the marginal reference that we see in the little “a” in the middle there is 1 Corinthians 3:19. Paul may even have been quoting Eliphaz. so that was the truth, but how does Jehovah feel about Eliphaz’s argument over all? Let’s turn to Job 42:7 and see how Jehovah felt about it. Job 42 and verse 7. “After Jehovah had spoken these words to Job Jehovah said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘my anger burns against you and your two companions for you have not spoken the truth about me as my servant Job has.’” A few grains of truth were mixed in with falsehoods. At least some of what Eliphaz said was inspired by the demons. How do we know that? He admitted it. Notice Job 4 verses 15 through 17. (I’ll give you a moment, this is interesting). Job 4:15 to 17. Eliphaz says, “A spirit passed over my face, the hair of my flesh bristled. It then stood still, but I did not recognize its appearance.” Let’s stop there for a second. I did not recognize its appearance. So, he didn’t know whom he was talking to –just like someone in a discussion forum may not know who he is talking to. Let’s continue. He says, “A form was in front of my eyes. There was a calm and then I heard a voice. ‘Can a mortal man be more righteous than God? Can a man be cleaner than his own maker?’”
Does it surprise you that a demon will get involved in the debate between Job and the false comforters? It shouldn’t. This was no small debate. It was a big issue. Satan had challenged Jehovah in the presence of all the angels that no man would keep his integrity under test. That demon was using Eliphaz to demoralize Job and weaken his faith. This was something that Job had to fight for. Job fought back.
[Eric Wilson] So even a few drops of poison is deadly. Well, that’s true, but what does it have to do with apostasy?
Splane make reference to Job’s three false comforters, specifically to Eliphaz. He is equating their speech to that of apostates. He says that through Eliphaz, even the words of demons were being transferred to Job’s ear. These three comforters spoke to Job for days, and Job listened. This was more than a few drops of poison, David. This was bucket loads of the stuff. Why wasn’t Job spiritually killed? Because Job had oodles of the thing David Splane fears—he had the truth on his side. Truth is light and lies are darkness. You can shine the light, but you cannot shine the darkness. Light always vanquishes the darkness.
It is at the halfway point that we get to the real meat of the talk, and I admit that I’ve had to fight to retain my composure, because many of the things David Splane says are just so outrageous that it makes you want to scream.
[David Splane] Now, let’s consider the second challenge we face- negative reports about Jehovah’s Witnesses in the media.
[Eric Wilson] Notice he doesn’t say untrue reports. A report can be completely true while still being negative. Having watched a number of these negative reports, there is nothing to indicate they are untrue, and in fact, if they were untrue, I’m sure the Society would be quick to sue the broadcaster or TV Station. After all, they sued a Spanish group just recently for claiming to be victims of Watchtower abuses.
[David Splane] Now here’s a good principle to follow: Proverbs 14 and verse 15. (I’ll give you moment Proverbs chapter 14 and verse 15). It says, “The naïve person believes every word, but the shrewd one ponders each step.” Some people believe everything they read in the newspaper or see on TV. Do you? Should you?
[Eric Wilson] No, you should not. But then again, should you believe everything you hear David Splane say, or everything written in the Watchtower? David quotes Proverbs 14:15 but doesn’t apply it to himself nor to the organization. Witnesses are told to not believe every word when it comes from a worldly source, but to ponder and investigate, yet that rule does not apply when they are listening to a talk on the convention platform or reading an article in the Watchtower. In those cases, they are supposed to believe every word and woe betide anyone who “ponders each step”. Ask too many questions, and it’s the back room for you.
[David Splane] Consider this: Now you are working from door-to-door and you meet a householder who says, “You Jehovah’s Witnesses are terrible people. You let your children die. You don’t accept medical treatment.” You ask the householder, “do you know any
of Jehovah’s Witnesses personally? “No.” Then where did you get the idea that we let our children die and don’t accept medical treatment? The householder says, “I have it on good authority. I read it in the newspaper.”
Well, if it’s in the newspaper, it must be true, right? Not necessarily! Remember this: Reporters have a deadline to meet and a reporter may not have the time or the inclination to check the facts; or the reporter may have written a balanced article. But then the editor changes it. Maybe the editor doesn’t like Jehovah’s Witnesses, or he’s been misinformed about us. Now, it is bad enough if the people in the world believe everything they read in the newspaper, but brothers let’s not be among them. Let’s not be naïve. Let’s consider things carefully.
[Eric Wilson] This is a strange example, because what the household is saying is true. When it comes to blood transfusions, even in situations where the doctor feels the child’s life is in jeopardy, Witnesses will not allow their children to be transfused with blood. So, if he is trying to show that the newspapers are biased or that people get the wrong impression, he sure has used a bad example.
It’s true that a reporter may not check the facts, though to be fair, they are trained to do that so that the newspaper is not placed in a position where they can be sued. In addition, how often have we heard a news story about child sexual abuse where the reporter tells us that they tried to contact Jehovah’s Witnesses at headquarters, but no one was willing to take the call or be interviewed. How are they to check the facts if Jehovah’s Witnesses won’t talk to them?
[David Splane] Similarly, sometimes there is a TV program about Jehovah’s Witnesses. Now, a few of these programs are balanced and fair. Many, or I dare say most are not, and when they’re not you’ll often find that the producers started out with a negative view of Jehovah’s Witnesses and then they look for information to support their prejudice. So, whom did they turn to? Apostates and the clergy, from them. They got suggestions for people to interview–and you know what those people would say. At the very last minute they may ask the brothers for comment just to give an appearance of fairness, but the program wasn’t designed to be fair, it was designed to be unfair. It was slanted against Jehovah’s Witnesses.
[Eric Wilson] Now he is going after television reports. These are mostly biased he says. Their intentions are to make Jehovah’s Witnesses look bad. They have a prejudice and look for those who will support this. They turn to apostates and the clergy, he claims. These apostates point them to people to interview. David then says in a mocking tone, “And we know what those people would say.”
Really? We know what they would say? What would those people say, David? What is so funny that you have to tell us with such a derisive tone in your voice? Would these perhaps be people who were victims of child sexual abuse? People who went to the elders and instead of getting justice, were made to suffer even more? David, would these perhaps be young women, even teenagers who were so mistreated that they felt they had no recourse, but to leave the congregation altogether? Were these child abuse victims who were cut off from family and friends, shunned by all, not because they sinned, but simply because they left and in doing so implicitly condemned the organization? It is because they made the congregation look bad, isn’t it, David?
Then Splane says, “At the very last minute they may ask the brothers for comment just to give the appearance of fairness.”
OMG, David, are you kidding me? I’ve watched these programs and there is one consistent element in all of them. The reporters will say that they tried to contact the headquarters, but the witnesses were not willing to speak with them. If I were to call the Canada Bethel right now and say that I’m doing a video on child sexual abuse among Jehovah’s Witnesses in Canada and would like to get some comment from the branch office, do you think they would talk with me on the record, in front of a camera? To parrot your own words, David. “We know what they would say.”
Come on, you need to stop the lies and just be honest for once. The last thing any member of the Governing Body or any high-level branch official wants to do is to be forced to answer questions about Organization policies and conduct in a public forum. David, I’m sure you remember what happened when the Australia Royal commission tried to subpoena Governing Body member, Geoffrey Jackson, to testify under oath? The Society’s lawyer was instructed to mislead the court with the false story that Jackson was only involved in translation and had nothing to do with policy making regarding child abuse. This is, of course, a lie. The only reason he was forced to testify was that many viewers with intimate knowledge of Jehovah’s Witnesses emailed the court alerting them to this lie.
When Governing Body member, Gerrit Losch, was subpoenaed to appear in a California Court where a child abuse case was being tried, he wrote in an affidavit to avoid appearing:
“I do not direct, and have never directed, the day-to-day operations of Watchtower. I do not have, and never have had, any authority as an individual to make or determine corporate policy for Watchtower or any department of Watchtower.”
Notice how carefully worded that is, skirting the truth. Yes, as an individual, he does not exercise authority nor direct Watchtower, but does Watchtower dot an “I” or cross a “t” without the say so of the Governing Body of whom Losch is the most senior member?
Actually, based on Gerrit Losch’s own definition of what constitutes a lie given in the November 2016 broadcast, he did lie in that affidavit.
The big question is: if they truly want the public to know the truth and avoid the prejudicial news coverage that David Splane is lamenting, then why do they fight so hard not to have their day in court or their moment in front of the camera? Jesus says that we are supposed to let our light shine, that we need to put our lamps on a table where the light will fill the whole house. But rather than let their light shine, the Governing Body seems to prefer to just accuse everyone else of prejudice.
By the way, I’ll put links to that information I just mentioned in the description field of this video.
[David Splane] Now let’s be clear, some news organizations are very conscientious about the reporting and they want to present both sides of an issue and when Jehovah’s Witnesses are concerned, they do so at their cost. If a newspaper publishes anything positive about us, the churches will push back. Our parishioners are upset. They subscribe to your newspaper. They don’t like reading favourable things about Jehovah’s Witnesses. The message? If it ever happens again, they are going to lose subscribers.
[Eric Wilson] Now we are being fed a conspiracy theory, and like all such conspiracy theories, it comes with no supporting evidence. David, how do you know this? Where is the evidence? Are we just supposed to take your word for it?
[David Splane] Now, this matter of Jehovah’s people being the subject of malicious reports isn’t new. Think about the days of Queen Esther. Wicked Haman brings a bad report to King Ahasuerus: “The Jews don’t obey our laws they’re a danger to society. Does Ahasuerus check the facts? Does he demand proof? No, Ahasuerus is naïve. He allows himself to be taken in by Haman. While there are a lot of modern-day Hamans today and they use similar tactics, as a result some government officials are taken in. They believe the slanderous accusations of the apostates. Now if they just take the time to check the facts, they’d see that they are being lied to, but they don’t check the facts. Now again, it’s bad enough brothers when government officials are taken in by false reports. Don’t you be taken in.
[Eric Wilson] David is comparing Jehovah’s Witnesses as an organization to the nation of Israel. Christendom is not spiritual Israel. Only Jehovah’s Witnesses are. Apostates are like wicked Haman who lied about the Israelites. And the Pagan king in those days is compared to modern government officials who do not check the facts, but just blindly believe these wicked apostates. What a load of cow manure.
Does he really expect us to believe that government officials are just going to believe anyone who walks in off the street with a complaint? There are rules. There are laws. People have to protect their jobs from attack for unfair and unlawful prosecution. People in the world need a little thing called evidence. It is not like the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses where people are judged on the basis of rumor; shunned on the basis of rumor. David has the roles reversed.
I personally watched weeks of televised coverage of the Australia Royal commission in which they investigated Jehovah’s Witnesses. Tens of thousands of pages of data were analyzed. Many elders of the Australian Jehovah’s Witnesses’ community were questioned under oath. Victims of their mismanagement of child abuse also testified under oath. Even Geoffrey Jackson, a member of the Governing Body, was questioned under oath. The government got all the facts. They did not rush to summary judgment. In fact, they pleaded with the Witness leadership to make changes for the betterment of the little ones. But their pleading fell on deaf ears.
The result was a series of recommendations made to the organization on ways to improve their handling of child sexual abuse cases. However, the organization rejected virtually every recommendation made by the government. Why? Were the government officials incompetent? Did they not have all the facts? No. The simple fact of the matter is that the organization cannot accept any recommendation made by what they consider to be a worldly government run by Satan. Their hands are tied. To accept government regulations would be to admit that their guidance does not come from holy spirit from God but is the bumbling product of men interested in preserving their station and authority.
Splane ends this little diatribe by exhorting the brothers not to be taken in by false reports. However, since he wishes the government would investigate before accepting anything that these lying apostates tell them, he has to allow the brothers and sisters to do the same, right? But he’s just finished telling them not to listen to apostates and not to investigate. Just go to the elders, he says. They have all the answers. Hey, I was an elder for forty years and I can tell you without a doubt that they don’t. Not even close.
I went on JW.org and used their search tool to find out if there was anything on the Australia Royal commission or on any of the other cases concerning child sexual abuse in which the society has had to pay out millions of dollars in damages. There is nothing there. Zilch. Nada.
Why not? Don’t we deserve to know how our hard-earned donations are being used?
If you are a loyal Jehovah’s Witness obeying to the letter what David Splane is telling you to do, you will be totally ignorant of any of these issues. So exactly how are Jehovah’s Witnesses supposed to—how did David put it—oh, yeah: “just take the time to check the facts”?
[David Splane] Have you ever heard the expression “trial by media?” It works like this: Someone is charged with a crime and the case is widely publicized in the media, and the media present the case in such a way that everyone who hears about it thinks the man is guilty.
[Eric Wilson] Yes, I have heard of trial by media. In fact, I have experienced it. I’m sure that everyone who has started to question the teachings and/or the practices of the Organization has also experienced it. In my case, as in that of others, the medium is the rumor mill and it is a very powerful and robust medium by which rumors spread like wildfire among Jehovah’s Witnesses. Years before they ever attempted to disfellowship me, I was slandered and vilified behind my back. Rumors circulated back to me from trusted friends who overheard them and repeated them to me. Some of these were truly outlandish and utterly false, but it didn’t matter because they were readily believed. Within short order, friends I’d had for decades started to look at me strangely and distance themselves from me. So yes, David. We heretics have heard and experienced trial by media, so excuse us if we don’t feel overly sympathetic when we hear it happening to you.
[David Splane] Of course, to avoid a lawsuit for slander or libel, these media reports are very carefully worded. And we need understand what the wording means. Here’s a good principle to keep in mind: Job chapter 12 and verse 11; it’s amazing how many principles we can draw from the book of Job for this talk. Job chapter 12 and verse 11. This is Job speaking, and he says, “Does not the ear test out words as the tongue tastes food.” Does not the ear test out words. What does that mean?
[Eric Wilson] Yes, David, what does that mean? Before we listen to David’s explanation, what do you think it means?
How does the tongue taste food? We taste food by putting it in our mouth so our tongue can come into contact with the food and taste it. So how would the ear test out words? It would have to hear the words, would it not?
[David Splane] Does it mean that if we learn that apostates are going to be featured on the TV program, we should watch it to see if what they say is true? No, it basically means to consider the source of the words.
[Eric Wilson] No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t mean that at all. What a load of cow dung! David wants us to test out words with our ears by denying our ear the words themselves. Does the tongue taste food that we do not put in our mouth? Do we taste food by considering the source? No, we taste food by putting it on the tongue and we test out words by putting them in our ear.
This man is supposed to be the organization’s key scholar, for the love of Pete. He is just trying to find some Scriptural support for turning a deaf ear to hard evidence, and there isn’t any so he’s trying to fabricate it. It’s the overlapping generation all over again. Made up stuff.
[David Splane] If they are the words of apostates, why would we believe them? Think of it this way. You have a bottle on your shelf marked “poison.” Do you need to open it up, take a swig to see if it really is poison? Believe what the label says!
[Eric Wilson] David is using four, count ‘em, four different logical fallacies here. The first is called the fallacy of false equivalency. Comparing the label that a manufacturer of some poisonous or toxic chemical applies to his product with the label that David is sticking on anyone who disagrees with him is a false equivalency. The manufacturer has a right, in fact, a duty to properly label his product, but who are you, dear David Splane to label anyone you disagree with as an apostate? That is a loaded label fallacy designed to poison our minds to your opponent so that we won’t even listen to his argument. The loaded label fallacy is actually a type of Ad Hominem fallacy or Ad Hominem attack. That means “attack the man”. You see, if you cannot defend your position with facts and truth, you must resort to slandering your opponent in the hope that your audience is naïve enough not to notice the ploy. It helps if you are in a position of power, as David is over Jehovah’s Witnesses. In that case, you can rely on the Appeal to Authority fallacy to carry the day. Except that particular fallacy is beginning to suffer from too much wear and tear. Frankly, this overuse of the apostate label is a disgraceful tactic, and David Splane, along with the rest of the Governing Body, should be ashamed of themselves for continuing to use it while pretending to be exemplary Christians.
[David Splane] Now, for the purpose of this discussion, let’s consider another way we can test out words, and that is to pay attention to what the words mean. Remember we talked about media reports and how these are very often carefully worded to avoid a lawsuit. So, suppose a report indicates that someone has been charged with a crime or that he’s being investigated. All right, you have two words: charged and investigated. It doesn’t mean he’s guilty
[Eric Wilson] Let’s be fair here. David Splane is right. Just because someone is accused of something or is being investigated for something, it doesn’t mean he’s guilty. Of course, it doesn’t mean he is innocent either. That being said, if we find that the same person or institution or organization is being investigated and accused for the same type of crime over and over in many places and many countries, it does make us wonder if there might be some fire where that smoke is.
[David Splane] Or suppose that someone is convicted and put in jail. Well, that would apply to our young brothers in Korea, wouldn’t it? They were convicted and jailed. And what was the crime? They refused to kill someone. Did they do anything wrong? Or, someone is found guilty by men, as Jesus was, it doesn’t mean that he is guilty in the sight of God.
[Eric Wilson] The organization is being found guilty over and over in the child abuse cases that have come to court, and more are to follow. There is no comparison between these cases and those of faithful Korean brothers jailed for refusing military service. And come on, does Splane really expect us to buy into the idea that the organization’s guilty verdicts are on a par with the trial of Jesus? This is the false equivalency fallacy taken to ludicrous levels.
[David Splane] So, brothers, we really have to think about these things. We may read that a person or an organization was sued, and then settled out of court. Does settling out of court mean that they are guilty? Not necessarily.
[Eric Wilson] Yeah, it kind of does mean that. There aren’t many noble reasons for settling out of court. Sure, you may be innocent and realize that the time and money to prove it is just not worth your while, so you settle to get rid of the nuisance. But the organization is paying millions of dollars in these cases, so that hardly fits. You might settle out of court, if you have reason to believe the trial is rigged, but come on…are we going to believe that in all these states and countries where these trails are going on, all the courts are corrupt and all the trials are rigged?
Why would the organization settle out of court if it means handing over millions of dollars in donated and dedicated funds? Why not fight it out, win, and then get the losing side to pay court costs? If the organization is really as innocent as they claim, doing that would discourage future lawsuits.
However, if you are guilty then settling out of court makes a lot of sense, especially if you are concerned about your reputation. If you take a case to court, all the evidence becomes public. But if you settle out of court you can make a nondisclosure agreement part of the settlement. Also, no one knows exactly how much you paid. In other words, you can keep everything secret. The organization settles many cases out of court for these very reasons. However, David Splane would like us to think there are other reasons for doing so even scriptural ones. Let’s listen.
[David Splane] Now in this country (United States) and others, court cases are often handled by a jury. Who are on the jury? Ordinary citizens with no legal training.
[Eric Wilson] Are we hearing this right? David is impugning the legal system of trial by jury. These are just regular people with no legal training. What qualifications do they have of judging the organization? They are going to mess it up.
[David Splane] These ordinary citizens don’t always have access to all the facts, because the judge and lawyers decide which facts will be shared with the jury. So is unlikely that the whole truth will ever come out in court. Actually, neither side probably wants the whole truth to come out in court.
[Eric Wilson] Did we hear that right? Did David Splane just tell us that neither side wants the whole truth to come out? Is he saying that when Jehovah’s Witnesses are being sued, they don’t want the whole truth to come out? Apparently, that’s what he’s saying. Again, he’s impugning the legal system. It is the duty of the judge to ensure that anything that is relevant to the case gets included so that the jury has all the facts, all the evidence put before them. We have seen time and again in publicly available court manuscripts how the organization has used every legal tactic at its disposal to quash evidence that would expose its guilt.
[David Splane] Now sometimes attorneys deliberately withhold information that could be prejudicial to their clients and, in addition, juries have prejudices like everyone else. And some of them, just can’t set their prejudices aside. I’ll tell you an actual experience: Some time ago, a lawyer told me about a case he had. It was a case of medical malpractice by a doctor; there was a jury trial. The doctor was clearly shown to be in the wrong, but the jury didn’t give the patient a penny. The lawyer was confused. So, after the trial, he approached two of the jurors and asked, “if you don’t mind, tell me which part of the testimony you didn’t believe?” The jury replied, “Oh, we didn’t get that far. The doctor was cute and we didn’t want him to have to pay anything.” With deep thinkers like that, no wonder many lawyers try to settle their cases rather than bring them to a jury.
[Eric Wilson] Why is David working so hard to discredit the trial by jury system? Because Jehovah’s Witnesses lawyers are learning that it’s an uphill battle to win the child sexual abuse lawsuits coming upon them in country after country when put before a jury. Once all the facts are there, juries are supposed to reach a righteous judgment. Sure, they don’t always do that, but David’s little anecdote shows how that can go either way. For the most part, juries render careful verdicts based on the evidence. Unfortunately, that has resulted in some hefty financial penalties for the organization which is yet another reason they now prefer to settle out of court.
David is here relying on the belief that Jehovah’s Witnesses are always being persecuted for their faith. Not for criminal misconduct, but for their faith. We are Jehovah’s people; therefore, we are hated by the world, we are persecuted by the world, we are misjudged by the world and slandered by the world. We have no hope of getting a fair trial, so the best we can do is to settle out of court.
[David Splane] But someone will say, “No, I don’t believe in settling out of court. I believe in justice and truth.” So that brings up the question, is it wrong to settle the matter before he goes to trial?
[Eric Wilson] Yes, it is wrong to settle out of court if you are innocent as the organization claims to be, well funded and have your own lawyers as the organization is and does, and have to respect that you are trying to maintain the name of God clean and free of reproach as the Organization claims to do. However, if you are guilty, then it is not wrong to settle out of court and in fact it is advisable.
[David Splane] Or is it scriptural? Let’s let Jesus answer that question. Turn to Matthew chapter 5 verses 25 and 26. Interesting that Jesus should mention this with all the important things that Jesus taught. Matthew chapter 5 verses 25 and 26: “Be quick to settle matters with your legal opponent, while you are with him on the way there, so that somehow the opponent may not turn you over to the judge and the judge to the court attendant, and you get thrown into prison. I say to you for a fact, you will certainly not come out of there until you have paid over your last small coin.”
Now this is interesting. Think about the Mosaic Law. Was there any provision in the Mosaic Law to throw someone in jail if he couldn’t pay a debt? That wasn’t the way. If he couldn’t pay it, he would have to work it off, or a family member would have to work it off. So, when Jesus talks about prison and a judge, he is obviously referring to what a Gentile judge would do. But he couldn’t necessarily expect justice from him. Why might he rule against our brother? Well, maybe he got paid under the table by the other party, or maybe he was prejudiced against the race or the religion of the other party.
[Eric Wilson] Here we go again. David is taking a simple piece of counsel from Jesus and turning it into an us versus them scenario, with the brother being the innocent, the opponent being an unbeliever, and the judge being a corrupt Roman looking for a bribe. Context, David, read the context. In Matthew 5:24 Jesus says, “First make your peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift.” Then he immediately goes into the settle your problems out of court counsel, so he is not talking about a brother falsely accused by an unbeliever nor is he calling into question the integrity of Roman courts. How desperate David is sounding as he struggles to find scriptural justification for the organization’s legal issues.
[David Splane] Now notice, Jesus didn’t say that the man should settle only if he was guilty. So brothers, let’s not be naïve. Don’t believe everything you read. Just because an article is called a news report, doesn’t make it true. And an editorial is someone’s opinion. And that someone may be wrong, and TV producers they have their own agenda, prejudice, and viewpoint.
[Eric Wilson] Clearly, David Splane and the Governing Body want Witnesses to believe that the reason they are settling out of court and paying out millions of dollars isn’t because they are guilty of a crime, but because the court system is corrupt and weighted against them.
[David Splane] Satan is behind the twisted teachings of apostates. He is the father of the lie, and those who lie are doing exactly what their father does.
[Eric Wilson] I agree with everything he says here. The question is, who is the apostate? Who have we caught lying? Throughout this discourse, David Splane has repeatedly accused those who oppose him and the rest of the Governing Body as liars and characterized their reasoning as poison. Yet he hasn’t told us what the lies are? What lies are the apostates spreading about the organization? We don’t know, because he hasn’t said. On the other hand, we have witnessed David Splane speaking untruths to us in this very video. We have flagged each and every one. So, again, who is the liar? Who is doing Satan’s work?
In the November 2016 monthly broadcast on JW.org, Gerrit Losch gave us a good definition of what constitutes lying. He stated:
“A lie is a false statement deliberately presented as being true. A falsehood. A lie is the opposite of the truth. Lying involves saying something incorrect to a person who is entitled to know the truth about a matter. But there is also something that is called a half-truth. The Bible tells Christians to be honest with each other.”
“So we need to speak openly and honestly with each other, not withholding bits of information that could change the perception of the listener or mislead him.”
(Gerrit Losch, November 2016 JW.org Monthly Broadcast)
David Splane has withheld many pieces of information that would alter our perception. As I said at the start, the major public relations scandal affecting the organization right now is its decades long mishandling of child sexual abuse, and this is one of the main topics which those Splane calls “apostates” are talking about, yet has David even uttered the words “child sexual abuse”? Is there even a single reference on the JW News page of JW.org to any of these cases around the world? I think this is a valuable piece of information that the average JW has a right to know about, so why does David—how did Gerrit Losch phrase it?—oh, yeah…Why does David “withhold bits of information that could change the perception of his listeners or mislead them”?
[David Splane] Apostates have nothing to offer us brothers. All they have to offer is hate. All they have to offer is criticism, negative talk.
[Eric Wilson] I admit that some of the web sites that are critical of Jehovah’s Witnesses are just full of anger and hate. Splane would have us believe that these people are motivated by Satan and hate Jehovah’s Witnesses because they God’s chosen people. Again, he is playing the victim card. The Organization doesn’t want to think of itself as the victimizer. Nevertheless, if you learn that you have been lied to for decades; if you learn that the teachings in which you invested your hope for salvation are false; if you have denied yourself or others certain medical procedures only to learn the Bible does not condemn them as you were taught; if you have foregone the benefits of an education because you were told it is wrong; if you learned of the hypocrisy of your leaders who condemn contact with the politics of this world, while secretly affiliating themselves with the United Nations; if you have suffered physical or sexual abuse by prominent members of the congregation only to have the elders turn their back on you, or worse, make you the problem—well, I think it would be naïve for anyone to think you wouldn’t feel anger and even hatred.
I felt that myself, and all who leave the organization go through it, but while some lose all faith in God and Christ and truly turn apostate, others cling to Jesus and experience freedom and joy. These are the heretics who not only expose the lies of the organization, but who move beyond hatred into love. Love for the Christ and their heavenly Father and true love for their brothers and sisters in Christ.
David is about to explain how remaining faithful to the organization is the source of joy, but I can assure you that greater joy will come if you are faithful, not to the men of the Governing Body, but to Jesus Christ. Let’s listen to David, because unlike him, we are not afraid to listen to negative talk and lies, because we have the sword of truth and the shield of faith.
[David Splane] But oh how upbuilt we feel when we’re with those who love Jehovah. So, Jehovah provides us with good wholesome associations. He also provides us with his word of truth, and an accurate knowledge of the truth is the best defense against apostasy. Read the Bible every day and meditate on it. Pay attention to the words. Pay attention to what they mean. Be like the Beroeans referred to at Acts, chapter 17, in verses 10 and 11. Let’s read that. Acts chapter 17 verses 10 and 11: “Immediately by night, the brother sent both Paul and Silas to Berea. On arriving they went in the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble minded than those in Thessalonica, for they accepted the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily, [carefully examining the Scriptures] daily to see whether these things were so.
[Eric Wilson] OH YES! OH YES! OH YES! OH YES!
Brothers and sisters, please be like the Beroeans. Carefully examine the Scriptures on a daily basis to see if the things you are being taught by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society are so. Look for Scriptural evidence that there is an overlapping generation. Look for Scriptural evidence that the Governing Body was appointed as the faithful and discreet slave in 1919. Look for Scriptural evidence defining exactly who the other sheep are. Don’t look in the Watchtower for this information. Look in the Bible. In fact, take every doctrine that is unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses and try to prove it to yourself without assuming it is true or false in the Bible. Either you will strengthen your faith in the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses, or you will see that they are lying. I don’t recommend you go to apostate websites, or even the websites of heretics such as myself. When I started to examine the teachings of the Governing Body, I used only the Bible. If you want a piece of apostate literature—at least from the viewpoint of David Splane—you can do no better than the Holy Bible.
[David Splane] Now Paul compares the Beroeans with the Thessalonians what we know about the Thessalonians? They didn’t have YouTube in those days. But at one point, the Thessalonians apparently heard a rumour that the Day of Jehovah had arrived. Who circulated the rumour? An apostate? Maybe. But maybe it was just someone who had heard the rumour and passed it on without checking it out. Have you ever done that, passed on a report without checking the facts? I think all of us have to admit that we’ve been guilty of that at one time or another. But now how did the Thessalonians react? They were alarmed. They were quickly shaken from their reason. We must not let that happen to us. When you hear something, check it out! Don’t just circulate it, don’t just believe it. Check it out.
[Eric Wilson] OH MY GOODNESS! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when I came to this part of the talk. Does the man not realize what he is saying? Truly, Proverbs 4:19 applies. After talking about the light getting brighter, it says:
The way of the wicked is like the darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble. (Proverbs 4:19, New World Translation)
They do not know what makes them stumble. They walk in darkness and cannot see what they are stepping in.
David Splane is telling us not to be like the Thessalonians who believed and spread the rumor that the Day of Jehovah had arrived. What do you think 1975 was David? The Governing Body convinced the rank-and-file that the Day of Jehovah was about to arrive. And things are no different now. They have reworked the doctrine of “this generation” to some bizarre construct called the overlapping generation which has allowed them to now predict that Armageddon will come well before the members of the Governing Body die. The broadcasts on JW.org and talks on the convention platform now use the word “imminent” to describe how near the Day of Jehovah is.
He wants us to be like the Beroeans, but he and the rest of the governing body are still acting like the Thessalonians did!
[David Splane] Colossians 2:6 and 7. The last Scripture we’ll read during this talk, and here Paul explains how we can avoid being quickly shaken from our reason. That’s read this final Scripture – Colossians chapter 2 verses 6 and 7. “Therefore, just as you have accepted Christ Jesus our Lord, go on walking in union with him [you do that and you will be working with the wise ones certainly] being rooted and built up in him and [then notice this] and being stabilized in the faith, just as you were taught.” If we’re stabilized in the faith, we won’t be quickly shaken by unfounded accusations by apostates or the media. False rumours are often spread during wartime. Brothers, THIS IS WAR! We need to put up a hard fight for the faith, as if our life depended on it, because it does!
[Eric Wilson] What David Splane says here is true. This is a matter of life and death. We need to put up the hard fight for the faith. The question we must answer is, which faith? For David, it is faith in the organization. Faith that the organization is the channel Jehovah God is using. Faith that the Governing Body is the faithful and discreet slave. But the Bible never says anything about putting faith in an organization, nor does it say anything about putting faith in a group of men. We must put faith in Jesus Christ. We have to exercise faith that his teachings are true. We don’t need men to interpret the teachings of Jesus Christ for us. All we need is the Holy Spirit to guide us to the truth.
The court system around the world has been adversely affected by COVID. Many cases have been delayed. Now that the COVID crisis is starting to wind down, a lot of court cases will be coming front and center. There is a class-action suit in Canada against the organization. In one particular New York case, the lawyer for the plaintiff has subpoenaed members of the Governing Body. The child abuse problem for Jehovah’s Witnesses is far worse than that for Catholics. The Catholic Church only has to contend with the consequence of its mismanaging child abuse among its 800,000 clergy, while Jehovah’s Witnesses have mismanaged cases among its 8 million members. There are now cases before the courts in pretty much any first-world country you care to name. In addition, a number of governments are reviewing the charitable status of Jehovah’s Witnesses in light of these abuses and the alleged human rights infraction stemming from its shunning policy.
It appears that this talk is preemptive damage control. They hope that Jehovah’s Witnesses will believe the organization is innocent and the Governing Body is innocent, and all is well, because when Jehovah’s Witnesses begin to have serious doubts about the organization, the first thing they stop are their donations. It is the one form of silent protest any Jehovah’s Witness can make without fear of consequences. Perhaps this is why the Governing Body is so busy selling thousands of kingdom halls and scooping up the funds.
If we can free ourselves from enslavement to men and turn to the Christ, we can whether any storm successfully. But if we blindly adhere to the teachings of men and put faith in an organization rather than God, when it is shipwrecked, we will surely suffer. I’ll leave you with those sobering thoughts.
Thank you for watching, and again thank you for your support. It’s not easy being a heretic.