https://youtu.be/CTSLVDWlc-g

Would you consider the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses to be the “low-hanging fruit” of the world’s religions?  I know that sounds like a cryptic question, so let me give it some context.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have long preached that the world’s religions are all part of the great harlot or prostitute, Babylon the great. Watch Tower publications point to an extensive prophecy in chapters 14,  16, 17, and 18 in the book of Revelation that predicts that the governments of the world will destroy the harlot, Babylon the great. Of course, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses claims that the Organization will be exempt from this destruction because it constitutes the only true religion on earth, and therefore cannot be part of the harlot, Babylon the great.

Okay, let’s get one point clear: The Governing Body teaches that to be part of Babylon the great, you have to be a religion that teaches falsehoods, or a false religion. That is the interpretation of the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  I’m not saying their interpretation is right. I’m not saying their interpretation is wrong. But it is their interpretation.

Jesus says: “For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” (Matthew 7:2 NLT)

So, the criteria that Watch Tower uses to declare any religion as part of Babylon is the same criteria that must also apply to the Organization. If being a religion that teaches falsehoods makes it part of the great harlot, then the Watch Tower can only avoid the same judgment by being a religion that does not teach falsehoods.

Okay. Now, according to the Watch Tower theology, the governments of the world will first strip false religion of its wealth, then they will destroy it. For example, consider this excerpt from the Watch Tower publication, “Revelation—Its Grand Climax at Hand!”

The angel now draws John’s attention back to the harlot: “And he says to me: ‘The waters that you saw, where the harlot is sitting, mean peoples and crowds and nations and tongues. And the ten horns that you saw, and the wild beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire.’”—Revelation 17:15, 16.

16 Just as ancient Babylon relied on her watery defenses, Babylon the Great today relies on her huge membership of “peoples and crowds and nations and tongues.” [To put that another way, false religion relies on its membership for its support.] The angel appropriately draws our attention to these before telling of a shocking development: Political governments of this earth will turn violently upon Babylon the Great. What will all those “peoples and crowds and nations and tongues” do then? God’s people are already warning Babylon the Great that the water of the river Euphrates will dry up. (Revelation 16:12) Those waters will finally drain away completely. [That means that the number of supporters, of congregation attendees, will drain away.] They will not be able to give the disgusting old harlot any effectual support in her hour of greatest need.—Isaiah 44:27; Jeremiah 50:38; 51:36, 37.

17 Certainly, the immense material wealth of Babylon the Great will not save her. It may even hasten her destruction, for the vision shows that when the wild beast and the ten horns vent their hatred on her they will strip off her royal robes and all her jewelry. They will plunder her wealth. They “make her . . . naked,” shamefully exposing her real character. What devastation! Her end is also far from dignified. They destroy her, “eat up her fleshy parts,” reducing her to a lifeless skeleton. Finally, they “completely burn her with fire.”

(re chap. 35 p. 256 pars. 15-17 Executing Babylon the Great)

Governments are often depicted in the Bible as wild beasts. When a wild beast, like a lion, attacks a herd of animals, doesn’t it usually pick out the slowest and most vulnerable? Or to return to my initial question, when grazing beasts pluck fruit from a tree, don’t they go first for the lowest hanging fruit, because it is the easiest to reach?

So, if the Organization with its Governing Body is right about their interpretation of Babylon the great being false religion, then the only reason they would be excluded from being stripped naked by having their wealth plundered would be if they are the true religion. Because, among the religions of the world, they are weak and would be considered to be low-hanging fruit. I’m sure that if they are a true religion, then Jehovah God would come to their rescue; but if they are teaching falsehoods, then they too would be experiencing a drying up of their river Euphrates by seeing diminishing membership and attendance at their kingdom halls. And being the most vulnerable of the world religions, or at least one of the most vulnerable, Watch Tower would constitute an easy target for attack; in other words, low-hanging fruit.

I’m just pointing that out for your consideration as we discuss the immense ramifications of events that are revealed in the “2022 Governing Body Update #8” on JW.org hosted by Governing Body member, Tony Morris.

The bulk of the update is devoted to Morris’ exhortation to the faithful to return to physical meetings at the Kingdom Hall. Reports coming in confirm that a significant percentage of Jehovah’s Witnesses are content to stay at home and log in to the meetings on Zoom. Of course, whether they actually listen and pay attention, or simply log in and then go watch TV or read a book, is anyone’s guess. Are we seeing the drying up the JW “river Euphrates” referenced in Revelation 16:12?

If you regularly watch the news on the Internet relating to the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, you’ll likely know that they have been dealt two devastating blows recently by the country of Norway. Tony Morris tells us about this in Update #8.

Tony Morris: We have another exciting update regarding freedom of worship. As Jesus foretold at Matthew 10:22, we face much opposition. Jesus said, “and you will be hated by all people on account of my name.” To assist Jehovah’s people, we have recently established the freedom of worship office at the central Europe branch. This headquarters’ department will coordinate our efforts to defend our worship in Europe. Now you might be wondering –the work has been established throughout Europe for many years so is this really needed? Yes, it is. For example, recently the government of Norway decided that Jehovah’s Witnesses would no longer receive certain state benefits that are provided to all registered religions.

Eric Wilson: What Tony Morris is referring to is the reportedly 1.5-million-dollar state subsidy which Norway provides to the Watch Tower Society annually. All registered religions in Norway receive an annual financial subsidy. What would motivate that nation’s government to revoke that subsidy to the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses? Let’s listen:

Tony Morris: Here to explain more about this is brother Jorgen Pedersen: We were shocked when we received a letter from government authorities in Oslo, Norway threatening to remove our registration as a religious community. Jehovah’s Witnesses have been actively preaching the good news in Norway for more than 120 years. In fact, Jehovah’s Witnesses suffered for their faith under the Nazi occupation of Norway during World War II. Commenting on how Jehovah’s Witnesses were the only religious group who stood firm against the Nazis, a previous Minister for religion explained: “People throughout the country should know about this, especially young ones would benefit from this information.”

We’ve always been known as good citizens. In fact, the public report stated that Jehovah’s Witnesses are careful to obey the laws of the land. Now they’ve suspended our grants while there are over 700 religious communities who continue to receive such state benefits. This decision is unconstitutional and an unprecedented attack on religious freedom in Norway. With the assistance of the newly established freedom of worship office, we are pursuing legal remedies. At the same time, we are pursuing dialogue with government officials, and we pray that this situation will be amicably resolved.

Eric Wilson: Pedersen calls this an unconstitutional attack upon Jehovah’s Witnesses whom he claims are notable for being among the most law-abiding of Norway’s citizens. Of course, in typical Watch Tower fashion, he provides no proof of this.

Apparently, the government of Norway disagrees with Pedersen’s view that Witnesses are law abiding.  Of course, we’re not talking about traffic laws, or tax laws here. There are higher laws governing the rights of the individual, what nations call “human rights,” and it is those rights which Norway claims that Jehovah’s Witnesses have violated and continue to violate by implementing the polices of the Governing Body.

Tony knows this, but he makes absolutely no mention of it.  How could he? That would require him to get into details and as the saying goes, “The Devil is in the details.”

Instead, Morris makes an emotional appeal based on the history of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Norway as those who endured persecution under the rule of the Nazi’s during the Second World War. This is all meant to influence gullible Jehovah’s Witnesses into believing that Norway’s decision is an unconstitutional attack on “God’s people,” on freedom of religion. Tony doesn’t want Witnesses to learn that Norway is, in fact, upholding its constitution and freedom of religion by punishing those who violate it. Tony wants his listeners to believe that Norway is fulfilling the Bible prophesy that says that true Christians will be persecuted. It could be argued that Norway is fulfilling Bible prophecy, just not the prophecy that Tony has in mind. Could this be the first phase of what might end up fulfilling the prophecy regarding the attack on Babylon the great? Time will tell.

The matter is of grave concern to the Watch Tower Corporation, not just because of the loss of millions of dollars of free government money. There is another worry that Tony Morris agonizes over:

Tony Morris: The authorities in Norway have threatened to remove our legal registration because of our scriptural beliefs and practices regarding disfellowshipping.

Eric Wilson: What Tony feared would happen at the time this JW.org video was made, has now happened. The Government of Norway has indeed removed the religious registration of the Watch Tower Society. That means their status as a religious charity is gone, as well as all the protections provided to religious communities under the law of Norway. I’m assuming that they will now have to pay taxes on all the donations coming into their coffers. Of course, Witnesses can still meet and preach in Norway. They are not under ban. This is hardly what Jesus was referring to when he spoke of being persecuted for his name. After all, the congregations in the first century didn’t get government subsidies nor were they tax exempt. It appears that this “persecution” is all about money.

Is the Watch Tower being stripped naked (financially speaking) in Norway? Will this stop in Norway, or will other First World Nations follow suit? Britain has an ongoing investigation into the charitable status of the Watch Tower. France has also taken a tougher position toward the Organization, forcing it to close its French branch some time back and move offices to the British branch.

Tony Morris: Various governments will challenge our freedom of worship. They may pressure us to change our scriptural beliefs but we’re certainly not going to do that!

Eric Wilson: Tony is taking a hard line. I’m sure that loyal Jehovah’s Witnesses are cheering him on, and well they should if he is speaking the truth.  But is he? He claims that the Organization will never change its scriptural beliefs, but are those beliefs, in fact, scriptural? Because if they are not, then they are false, and if they are false, then the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses is just like all the other false religions that they claim comprise Babylon the great, the harlot of Revelation.

Tony Morris: Efforts are being made to address this issue. In the meantime, please make it a matter of prayer

Eric Wilson: If a person or a religion is not obeying the law of God, will Jehovah God hear their prayers? The Bible tells us:

“He that is turning his ear away from hearing the law—even his prayer is something detestable.” (Proverbs 28:9)

You see, it’s easy to claim that any punishment from “worldly” governments is just the type of persecution that Jesus said would come upon his disciples. It’s easy to claim that the fact the Organization is being “persecuted” is evidence of God’s approval, but that doesn’t make it so. The Bible tells us:

“Let every person be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God. Therefore, whoever opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will bring judgment against themselves. For those rulers are an object of fear, not to the good deed, but to the bad. Do you want to be free of fear of the authority? Keep doing good, and you will have praise from it; for it is God’s minister to you for your good. But if you are doing what is bad, be in fear, for it is not without purpose that it bears the sword. It is God’s minister, an avenger to express wrath against the one practicing what is bad.” (Romans 13:1-4)

The only basis to oppose the ruling of the superior authorities is when their laws oppose the law of God.  The Apostles told the Sanhedrin that they would not obey the court’s order to stop preaching in the name of Jesus. They boldly proclaimed, “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

Did you notice that Tony didn’t tell you what it was that the government of Norway objected to? He didn’t tell you what “scriptural beliefs” the government was asking Jehovah’s Witnesses to change? All he said was that it involved “disfellowshipping.” But there was recently a case in Norway that went all the way to the supreme court in which a sister claimed that her disfellowshipping was unjust, and yet the supreme court of Norway upheld the right of Jehovah’s Witnesses to revoke her membership in the Organization. The Watch Tower won! So, Tony isn’t being completely open and honest with us here.

Tony would surely know about that supreme court case, so what is he on about? What truth is he hiding from Jehovah’s Witnesses? If the Government of Norway is truly acting unjustly and curtailing the freedom of religious choice of Jehovah’s Witnesses, then why not give us details, Tony?  Let’s be honest and open here, okay? Could it be that the policies of the Organization which the Government of Norway finds at fault are not scriptural, but manmade?

Jesus warns us that this distinction is crucial to whether our worship of God is acceptable. Jesus says: “You hypocrites, Isaiah aptly prophesied about you when he said: ‘This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far removed from me. It is in vain that they keep worshipping me, for they teach commands of men as doctrines.’”” (Matthew 15:7-9)

Will the prayers that Tony asks Jehovah’s Witnesses to make to get Norway to restore the religious registration of the Watch Tower Society be answered? Or will they prove to be “something detestable” as Proverbs 28:9 states?

Is the judicial system of Jehovah’s Witnesses from God, or are Witnesses being taught “commands of men as doctrines”? Does the judicial system of the Watch Tower Corporation violate fundamental human rights and bring reproach on God’s holy name?

If you are a Jehovah’s Witness watching this video, I challenge you to pull out your New World Translation of the Bible and respond to the questions I’m about to ask you.

When I was an elder, I got the ks book which is only given to elders (https://thetruthofjehowaswittness.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/jehovas-vitner.pdf) Here is a picture of the 2021 version of this book, called “Shepherd the Flock of God”. This is the rule book elders go by when dealing with judicial matters in the congregation. Why is it secret? Why isn’t it public knowledge? In Canada, my home country, all the laws of the nation are public knowledge. I imagine that the same is true for you in your own country, unless you happen to live in a totalitarian state.

Actually, the judicial system practiced by the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses has many features that, if implemented in the courts of most civilized countries, would amount to gross violations of human rights.

For instance, did you know that if you are called to attend a judicial committee of JW elders, you are not allowed to bring independent counsel. You can’t even bring in someone close to you for support. If you are a teenager or a young woman accused of sexual misconduct, you have to sit alone facing three or more older men who will grill you about every specific detail of your alleged sin. The same applies if you are a victim of rape or child abuse, you are again expected to tell your story on your own.

From chapter 16 par. 1 of the most recent (2021) elders’ manual we read:

“The judicial hearing is opened with prayer with the accused present.

Generally, observers are not allowed. (See 15:12-13, 15.) The chairman then states the reason for the hearing and explains that audio or video recordings of the hearing are not permitted.”

The insertion of “generally” is recent, likely a nod to the pressure put on the Organization following the Australia Royal Commission hearings of 2015.

The 2010 version of the manual simply stated: “Observers should not be present for moral support.” Heaven forbid that a victim of abuse should have moral support.

The point is, Where does the Bible say this, Tony Morris? Do tell?

No counsel, no moral support, no recordings or record of the proceedings!

In civilized lands like my home country, there is a court recorder who makes a record of every word stated. Trials are public affairs. There are no star chamber secret courts. That would be a violation of basic human rights.

This JW practice is not scriptural.  In Bible times, the older men heard cases in public, at the gates of the city. So, Tony, is there any precedent in Scripture for the practice of disallowing observers and recordings of JW judicial proceedings? No!

Oops. I’m wrong. Tony can point to a scriptural basis for this belief, his judicial system.

He could point to the judicial case of Jesus Christ who was hauled before the Jewish Sanhedrin all alone with no one to support him, taken by force to be tried in a secret, closed-door, late-night session before being sentenced to death. So, it seems that the judicial system of Jehovah’s Witnesses does have some Scriptural basis after all. All they had to do was go over to the dark side, the way of the Pharisees.

Oh, but we’ve hardly scratched the surface.

Where in the Bible do we find the basis for judicial matters to be heard by three or more elders? Show me the chapter and verse, please Tony. A man of your experience should be able to recall it from memory?

Ah, there isn’t one, is there? The only direction we have from our Lord Jesus on how to deal with sinners in the congregation is found at Matthew 18:15-17. Let’s read that.

“Moreover, if your brother commits a sin, go and reveal his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two more, so that on the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. If he does not listen to them, speak to the congregation. If he does not listen even to the congregation, let him be to you just as a man of the nations and as a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17)

(By the way, I’m taking all of these scriptures from the New World Translation because I don’t want to be accused of bias.)

So here Jesus gives us a three-step procedure for dealing with sin, and incidentally, it’s the only procedure he gives us.

Let’s run it through a sample scenario.  Let’s say there are two single women, Alice and Jane.  Alice is aware that Jane has had sex with a co-worker, a non-Witness.  Alice goes to Jane and tells her what she knows. Jane feels remorse. She listens to Alice and repents, praying to God for forgiveness. End of story.

“Wait a minute,” Tony will object.  “Alice has to inform on Jane and tell the elders.” Really, Tony? Where does Jesus say that? “Well,” I’m sure Tony will counter, “we can’t let a grave sin like fornication go without some form of punishment.”

Again, I ask, “Where does it say that?”

And Tony will answer in line with what the publications state, that Matthew 18:15-17 only deals with minor sins, not grave sins.

Again, where does it say that? (The elders hate it when you ask that question. If you’re ever confronted by the elders, don’t argue with them and don’t respond to their probing questions. Just ask them, “Where does it say that in the Bible?” It will drive them batty.)

You will notice in reading Matthew 18:15 that Jesus doesn’t say, “Moreover, if your brother commits a minor sin…” He doesn’t categorize the seriousness of the sin, because all sin is the same.  All sin leads to death.  Eve ate a piece of fruit. We’d categorize that as a misdemeanour.  Ananias and Saphira told, what we’d today call, “a little white lie,” but God struck them dead for it.

Tell me, Tony, if Jesus is only giving us a procedure to follow when dealing with what you’d like to call “minor sins,” then where is his instruction for dealing with “major sins”? Surely, he wouldn’t overlook that, would he?

Then there’s the whole reinstatement procedure implemented in the elders’ manual.

The prodigal son was forgiven by his father even while he was far away. But if that father had been a Jehovah’s Witness, he’d have had to wait on the elders to give him the “all clear” before speaking with his son. That would have likely taken a year. Yes, the son would have had to sit quietly at the back of the kingdom hall for 12 months enduring depressing humiliation so that he would learn to be submissive to the authority of the elders before he could ever be reinstated and forgiven. The 12 months is just a guideline. I’ve known of people who endured much longer terms of humiliation before finally being reinstated. The Bible tells us that Jehovah God is ready to forgive the repentant heart, but unfortunately, He does not form part of the JW reinstatement program.

In the first century, Christians met in private homes.

“And they continued devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles, to associating together, to the taking of meals, and to prayers.” (Acts 2:42)

If someone was repentant and wanted to return, they weren’t required to sit in some dark corner of the home for months on end to be ignored while everyone ate a meal, prayed, and worshipped God without letting them join in and treating them like they don’t exist. This demonstrates just how wicked the judicial system of Jehovah’s Witnesses really is.

Tony, you talk a lot about your scriptural beliefs. Show me from the Bible the justification for the reinstatement polices of the Organization.

Your flock of loyal Jehovah’s Witnesses have learned well from your teachings, Tony.  I know of one case where grandparents are being denied access to their grandchildren because they refuse to shun another of their children. The son-in-law doing this little bit of emotional blackmailing demands that they “shame” (his word) their other child by shunning him, or he won’t let them see their grand kids anymore. Again, the Organization has moved to the dark side of the Pharisees, or do you not recall, dear Tony, that our Lord was also shamed.

“. . .we look intently at the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus. For the joy that was set before him he endured a torture stake, despising shame,. . .” (Hebrews 12:2)

The Governing Body loves to claim that Witnesses are the victims of persecution, but they have become the persecutors themselves.

They’ve taken a simple and straightforward procedure to keep the congregation clean and to save those who are sinning from being lost, and turned it into a weapon of darkness, a means to exercise control through fear and intimidation.  “Do it our way, or we’ll cut you off from your family and friends, all in the name of God.”

All Jesus gave us is Matthew 18:15-17. Three steps to follow. But Tony and his cohorts don’t want you to believe that, because it takes away their power. You see, if in our little scenario, Jane didn’t accept the counsel of Alice, then Alice was to bring one or two more with her to have another go at convincing Jane to repent.  It doesn’t say one or two elders, just one or two others so that at the mouth of two or three witnesses (Alice being the second or third witness) the matter could be resolved. Then, if Jane still doesn’t listen, Alice brings the matter before the congregation. Not before the body of elders, but before the entire congregation. Men and women alike. The whole congregation. What Jesus is instituting here is what we nowadays would call an intervention.

If Jane won’t listen to the entire congregation, the body of Christ, then Jesus tells us that we are to consider her as “a person of the nations and a tax collector.” The Jews would talk with a man of the nations and a tax collector, but they wouldn’t invite them into their home.  Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors. The Pharisees found fault with him over that. But Jesus was always trying to win people back, to save them from sin.

So, Jesus isn’t telling his disciples that if there is an unrepentant sinner in their midst that they should totally shun the person, not even so much as acknowledging his or her existence with a simple “hello.” He is saying that the spiritual association they have enjoyed with that person, sharing a meal and the emblems of the bread and wine would be something they would now deny that person.

Is this what Norway is objecting to, the disfellowshipping practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses? No.  The fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t adhere to the Bible by the way they practice their judicial procedures regarding disfellowshipping is of little concern to the governments of the world, including Norway. What concerns Norway specifically is that some of the Organization’s practices and policies violate freedom of religion and freedom of choice. In short, the Watch Tower corporation violates basic human rights, according to Norway.

How so? There is no greater champion for the rights of humans than our heavenly Father.  He sent his only begotten Son to die for us so that we might be saved from sin and death. Following his word will ensure that we uphold human rights and freedom for all. Indeed, Jesus—also known as “the word of God”—tells us that ‘if we remain in his word, we will know the truth and the truth will set us free’ (John 8:31, 32)

Therefore, by simple deduction, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not following the word of God in instituting their judicial procedures. Would you disagree with me, Tony Morris? I’m sure you would. Okay then, show me where it tells Christians to shun someone when they decide to resign from the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. You call that “disassociation.” There’s a whole section on the topic in the elders’ manual, “Shepherd the Flock of God”.

This situation came to light during the Royal Australia Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse back in 2015. I’ll put a link to their report in the description of this video (https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/case-studies/case-study-29-jehovahs-witnesses).

This is where the violation of human rights and freedom of religion comes to light. The real-life scenario is of a child who was abused and who reported the abuse to the elders, but they failed to act on it, and failed to inform the superior authorities. The young girl was then expected to continue attending the meetings and endure the presence of her abuser. When the girl reached a certain age, she could no longer endure the situation and, since the JW system had failed to protect her, she resigned. (I should add parenthetically that this is hardly a unique nor a rare scenario.)

This resulted in an announcement being made from the platform which is identical to that which is read out when someone is disfellowshipped. As a consequence, the entire congregation was expected to shun the abuse victim, meaning they would no longer talk with her or socialize with her in any way.

How is that a scriptural procedure, Tony? Where does the Bible tells us to do that? Where does the Bible say anything about disassociation as deserving of total ostracism? Where is the love in that? I can show you where the hatred is, but where is the love?

The elders’ manual I just showed you lists 1 John 2:19 to justify its disassociation policy. That verse reads:

“They went out from us, but they were not of our sort; for if they had been of our sort, they would have remained with us. But they went out so that it might be shown that not all are of our sort.” (1 John 2:19)

First of all, that says nothing about shunning them, does it? But it is worse than that. It is worse than just going beyond what is written here. This is a prime example of cherry-picking. Notice that the previous verse is not cited. It reads: “Young children, it is the last hour, and just as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared, from which fact we know that it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18)

It’s talking about antichrists, Tony. You know, people who actively oppose Jesus Christ. Not victims of child sexual abuse. There are many who have left the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, not because they were against Christ, but quite the opposite. They left because they love Jesus Christ and are tired of the false teachings and the vile practices that misrepresent our Lord Jesus Christ as found in the Organization.

I know of a sister who was disfellowshipped because she wanted to expand her knowledge of Jesus Christ and so attended an online study group not affiliated with any religion. Where does the Bible say that such a person is an antichrist, Tony?

Tony would argue that the decision to shun is a personal one. No it’s not.  I was an elder for forty years, and I know that to be a lie.

Why is this a human rights issue as well as a freedom of religion issue? Because if a young child gets baptized and then later decides to choose a different course of life, even one in which they continue to worship God and obey Jesus Christ, they will be cut off from all their family and friends.  This is by the decree of the Organization, and it is a policy enforced by the local elders and travelling overseers. If you are punished for changing your religion, then the one doing the punishing is denying you freedom of choice and freedom of religion!

Let’s sum up the so-called Scriptural beliefs that Tony proudly proclaims they will never give up no matter what government pressure is applied:

  • Judicial committees made up of three elders: Not scriptural.
  • Closed door meetings without witnesses or recordings: Not scriptural.
  • All sins must be reported to the elders: Not scriptural.
  • Elders to judge sincerity of repentance: Not scriptural.
  • Congregation members required to shun, though they know nothing of the nature of the sin: Not scriptural.
  • The entire, humiliating reinstatement procedure: So not scriptural.
  • Treating a disassociated person like a sinner: Not scriptural.
  • Totally shunning those who leave: Not scriptural.
  • Totally shunning disfellowshipped persons: Not scriptural.

“Wait a minute on that last one,” good old Tony might object.  “You’re wrong,” he’d say.  “That policy is based on 2 John. We are not even allowed to say a greeting to disfellowshipped ones.”

Oh Tony, I don’t think you want me to go there, but you know what? I do want to go there.

John did tell us not to say a greeting to certain ones, but again, context is everything.

“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those not acknowledging Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Look out for yourselves, so that you do not lose the things we have worked to produce, but that you may obtain a full reward. Everyone who pushes ahead and does not remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God. The one who does remain in this teaching is the one who has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him. For the one who says a greeting to him is a sharer in his wicked works.” (2 John 7-11)

John isn’t talking about someone who decides to leave the congregation, perhaps to join a different group of people who are worshipping God in spirit and truth. No, John’s talking about some who come into the congregation of the holy ones, the children of God, bringing false teachings. These ones are “deceivers.” An example of a deceiver would be someone who tells you that God wants you to do something in a certain way (like shun your son or daughter) when in fact God wants no such thing. “Show me the scripture!” You deceiver.

John tells you that these ones will cause you to “lose the things you have worked to produce, so that you don’t obtain a full reward.” What full reward? Well, the reward of eternal life in the kingdom of God as one of his adopted children.  Now, who has done that? Who has told you, “don’t you dare touch the bread and wine during memorial, because you are not worthy. You are only a friend of God, not one of his children.” Hmm… who??

Jesus tells us at Matthew 18:15-17 how to deal with sinners in the congregation. Who has “pushed ahead of that teaching and who has not remained in the teaching of the Christ”? Think about it, because this instruction doesn’t come from me, but from an anointed apostle, appointed to his post by Jesus Christ and writing under the inspiration of God’s holy spirit.

Once we’ve identified such a person, what does God tell us to do? He tells us not even to greet him in friendship, because if we do, then we “become a sharer in his wicked works.”

The Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses has long labeled other religions as apostates and the antichrist. Why? Because they teach false doctrines and mislead people. The Organization calls them deceivers, antichrist, and claims they push ahead and have not remained in the teaching of Christ.

Do I have to connect the dots here?

If you feel that the teachings of the Governing Body amount to a deception, a pushing ahead, of not remaining in the teaching of the Christ, then do we not have the markings of yet another antichrist? In getting sincere Christians to unjustly shun their own children, even when they are victims of child abuse, have they not induced their flock to sin?

Think about John’s closing words: “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him. For the one who says a greeting to him is a sharer in his wicked works.” (2 John 11)

In the Aramaic manuscripts, it doesn’t say “greeting,” but “rejoicing.” If we are supporting the religion of someone who is an “antichrist” by being a “deceiver” and “pushing ahead and not remaining in the teaching of the Christ,” someone who is denying us our “full reward,” then are we not “rejoicing” with that person or group of people?

Mind you, the Organization doesn’t get everything wrong. No false religion gets everything wrong. If the Organization is right about false religion being the great harlot, then they as a false religion are also part of Babylon the great. And if that is so, then it might well be that Norway (among First World Countries) has started the ball rolling by going after the low-hanging fruit and stripping the wealth of the Organization away.

There will come a time when Jehovah God, through Jesus whom he has appointed as the judge of all the earth, will bring retribution upon those claiming to be his people, but proving false to their master. That is why our Lord calls out to us saying: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.” (Revelation 18:4)

The question is, are we listening? Because, brothers and sisters, the writing is on the wall.

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rusticshore

I see on the horizon, at some point – a class action lawsuit by exJWs on the grounds of their natural human rights being violated when it comes to this cruel and merciless behavior by the WT org.

Given the element of time, and the breadth of suffering imposed on exJWs globally… I forsee this happening! And once a legal prescedent has been set, others likely to follow suit globally.

rusticshore

In addition to my comment above, I would like to see (if at all possible) State or Federal litigation on the grounds of inciting to hatred by use of weaponizing various terms to destroy exJW’s natural human rights.

“Apostate” has been used as a weapon, and a form of hate speech to level hatred and a vitriol-induced flare against those who leave the JW org! There are more than enough videos by Gov Body officials, as well hundreds (if not thousands) of articles inciting this vehement scorn at exJWs.

Frankie

Dear englander. I absolutely disagree with the conclusion of your comment.   Now I speak for myself and from the Bible. I am not like them (e.g. those JWs who practice shunning) and I will never ignore anyone, I will not return the same evil. For me, Jesus Christ is decisive and not the intellectual comments of scholastics. Did Jesus avoid the Pharisees, did he shun them?   The love in my heart is above everything, even above faith and above hope. So – have certain JWs even become my enemies? OK, then I love them. And I will talk… Read more »

jwc

My dear Frankie – your words are very true:

I think there are many nice brothers and sisters in the Organization who are just programmed like I was and many others on our forum. We must try to open the door for them, which is Jesus Christ. Precisely because I know and they do not know yet, I am obliged to proclaim to them my Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

new englander

This is related material that I wrote and put on my Facebook page a month or so ago. Good morning readers,    This morning I want to talk a little bit about the Second Letter of John. In particular I want to talk about verses 9 through 11. These three verses are used by Jehovah’s Witnesses to enforce a prohibition of their members speaking to those who have been disfellowshipped from their organization. This prohibition of Witnesses speaking to an individual is for life for those disfellowshipped ones that do not return to the Witness organization. Second John verses 9 through… Read more »

Ad_Lang

It is intriguing to get this detail out, about Jesus Christ coming in the flesh. However, I am very concerned about the conclusion. Note that John writes of deceivers who have gone out into the world. Out of where? If they were proclaiming a false good news in those days, would they not have been in the congregation, having been taught the original good news? I reminded myself of 1 Corinthians 5 and 1 Timothy 1, both places where Paul writes about handing certain individuals over to Satan. Wouldn’t these individuals initially have accepted the good news? Likewise, Peter writes… Read more »

jwc

For the most part, I agree with you. Our love would move us to help all. If we do make a mistake Jesus will read our hearts & see our motivation to rescue those who are mislead.

It is a complex subject, but our love for all always remains first in our lives.

jwc

Eric – it’s not only complex it’s also so frustrating!! I sometimes think we over complicate the problem. I still have family & friends (and my pioneer partners) in the WT.org but I have love for them all. I pray for them regularly. Now that I’m regaining my spiritual strength, I’m developing a plan to be more proactive in my ministry – the B/S from the local congregations had better watch out (I hope they don’t do a Stephen on me)! Thank you Eric (and your team) & I pray your plans for the July convention bears much fruit –… Read more »

Ad_Lang

No worries, it never occurred to me that you could have suggested that.

You do well to make a clear distinction, as it seems to me that many people don’t really get the difference between the individual and the action. It tends to lead them to quick conclusions that a someone committing a wrong must be a bad individual.

jwc

I was only reading about Saul yesterday; what he did to Stephen was bad, very bad. But Jehovah & Jesus saw something in him that Paul become an extraordinary Apostle!

Let’s have a race, & see which one of us can get a member of the GB to become a noble Beroean 🙏

xrt469

While I agree there are some peculiarities with the WT judicial process, I don’t think it can be dismissed entirely. First Corinthians 5 makes it clear that the congregation cannot tolerate sinful conduct. Verse 13 quotes from Deuteronomy 17:7 which states that what is bad must be cleared out from your midst. James 5:14-16 indicates the “older men of the congregation” would be the proper resource for confessing sins. In return, the spiritually sick one would be assisted. People have a hard time getting up in front of an audience of 100 and giving a 2 minute presentation that’s been… Read more »

jwc

Hi xrt469 – there are some very good points in your article. But we need a way of communicating these points to the congregations of JW’s (not the GB, who are effectively the directors of the WT.org).

xrt469

I’m not trying to reach out to anyone now. They’re not ready. I’m just trying to prepare myself mentally, scripturally, and spiritually for the inevitable collapse of WT. There will be many lost and bewildered sheep. Basically many will be where I am now. It’s a difficult process. There are many ideas and contradictions about the Bible. Sorting them out has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my spiritual journey. I thought I had all the truth I needed in WT. When I realized I did not, it was devastating.

jwc

It is a difficult process. I was 25 years in the spiritual wilderness until one Sunday morning I heard a knock on my front door … I spent six months fighting myself as to what I should do. I prayed, read my Bible, prayed, ready my Bible and a couple of months ago I stumbled on BP. This caused me more confusion so I prayed, read my Bible … I now feel strengthened & a few weeks back I partook of the bread & wine for the first time in my life. We all take our own journey but feeling… Read more »

jwc

Will we get a discount for a bulk purchase 🤣

xrt469

I do not wish to debate. I do believe there must be a balance between the iron fist of WT and the general laissez-faire of Christendom.

I am a traveler in search of truth. Either I find truth or I die trying.

jwc

xrt469 – please do not die!!!

My name is John, I live in Sussex, England. If you want to talk about this matter on a 121 I am RWA to share my time with you.

My email address is: atquk@me.com.

I hope Eric doesn’t mind me posting my email address.

jwc

I think part of the reason why we struggle with this problem is due to the isolation we feel. For me, the Tuesday book study was by far the best meeting. As a young M.S. I was given the job of serving the tea & biscuits after the meeting. It really was a time of true Christian fellowship, even if Mary (the Sister house we met in) keep a strict eye on everyone. In the summer months we would linger for hours after the meeting talking, and planning our ministry for the coming week. Oh! how I miss those days.… Read more »

jwc

. . . but I don’t get a cup of tea and biscuit at these meetings. I have been attending the Sunday 5pm meeting for about 6 weeks.

At today’s meeting, I would like to ask a question please: “Who are my brothers in Christ, and where do I find them”?

Leonardo Josephus

There were some good things in the way problems were dealt with in the Israelite times. At the city gates so that people would be aware of what is going on. Not, however, so people could pry into others’ misfortunes, but so that they could know that justice was being done, in the open, and impartially. I wonder if that happened all the time, and somehow I doubt it. No wonder Jehovah got incensed at the people. No exercising of justice (Micah 6:8 and lost of other places). For those who mention some of the hard bits of the law… Read more »

jwc

Talking about humor; I think we should all become ABC in our worship = A Beroean Christian 😄

Leonardo Josephus

Kind thoughts, Eric. Always appreciated, especially after 7 years on BP.

Leonardo Josephus

There are two words for “Greeting” – Khairo (which means “rejoice”) and Aspazomai (A Greeting or Salutation).. Khairo is the word used at 2 John, and, as has been pointed out, means “rejoice”. As far as I can tell, the Organisation has tried to switch the two words around as to their meanings, trying to make Khairo an ordinary greeting and Aspazomai a much wormer form of greeting. The Watchtower 7/15 1985 page 31 discussed this subject, and quoted R Lenski in support, stating that it was a common greeting on meeting or parting. I have not read the original… Read more »

Ad_Lang

I always look forward to new videos coming out; I find them encouraging to remain in the faith. In this one, I particularly love the comments about the Aramaic translation of 2 John 11. I’ve been struggling with the idea of whether or not I should keep my distance from the Witnesses somehow. I could discern that I cannot reasonably shun them as individuals, but what about finding them out on the door to door ministry? The use of the word “rejoicing” makes it all clear. I can indeed approach them, even when out on the ministry, but I cannot… Read more »

James Mansoor

That’s an interesting scenario that you have paused of receiving a letter from a long-standing pioneer in the congregation. Maybe you might like my approach when I asked one of the long-standing elders in our congregation, a pertinent question.… Is there any proof from the Catholics, and also from the Pope to state that he is the voice of Christ here on the earth? There Is none. So I asked, is there any proof that the governing body is appointed by Christ here on the earth, aside from them saying so, and we saying so? When King David was on… Read more »

Ad_Lang

Thank you for your input. I have considered your suggestion, and I will include part of it but only to the extent of saying I have had interaction with Witnesses before. The trouble is that whenever you suggest you have been connected to a congregation, you will inevitably get the questions of which one and where. You’d be surprised how small that world is and how much talking goes on. In other words, name a congregation and sooner or later they will find someone they know who is somehow connected to that congregation, if not part of it. I can… Read more »

jwc

I face a similar situation (although I was disfellowshipped, but was reinstated then fell away), and I engage regularly with the B/S when I see them about in the ministry. To witness to the ”witnesses” is to me an opportunity to help them see the truth, it’s part of my ministry. I will sometimes buy them a coffee while we chat. To my mind, there is a distinction between your typical “kingdom publisher” & those who try to control your minds. I have no worries at all as I always want to show love to all my neighbours – Matt… Read more »

Ad_Lang

Thank you. Good reminder that, indeed, showing love should be the purpose at all times.

As it shows, I’m not entirely immune to false teachings, even if I don’t agree with them. It’s good to have you all nearby, in a sense, to keep me stable in my faith.

mattlunsford

One thing that has been difficult to erase from my thinking and mentality as an exjw is the idea that some are true christians whereas others are false. Who am I to judge whether someone is a christian or not? Luke 6:37, In his day, the apostle Paul expressed how he was unqualified to judge even himself. 1 Cor 4:5 Are we greater than Paul because we now live 2000 years later? It is prideful stupidity in the extreme to think that we in our imperfect bodies can judge a human’s salvation. If there are true disciples and false disciples… Read more »

jwc

A friend remind me this week of the right thing to do: “It’s not what we believe in that brings salvation, but it’s what we do with what we believe in that brings us salvation?”

Leonardo Josephus

Brilliant article, Eric. Sadly the actions of parents when their child simply does not wish to be a Witness (and has not committed any grave sin), in asking them to leave their home, has even led to suicide. So who bears the bloodguilt for that ?
Let us hope the actions of the Norway lead to correction of some of the terrible consequences of disfellowshipping.

jwc

“Leonardo Josephus” – is that because you are interested in Art or History or both?

I’m an artist, and just completed a painting for a very special sister:

Do you see the “history” in the painting?

616DEE8B-C8E5-4303-AAB8-6C7A755D35F7.png
marielle

Merci Éric,
Rien à ajouter, tout est clairement dit.
Comme Paul, tu parles avec courage du saint secret de la bonne nouvelle. Que la Parole éclaire ceux qui y sont attachés, malgré le martèlement dont ils font l’objet, et qui leur donne l’illusion qu’ils sont dans le vrai.

wolli

Hallo Eric, nach Eilantrag der Zeugen hat die norwegische Regierung ihre Entscheidung wieder zurückgezogen.
Warum gehst du darauf nicht ein?
Am 30 Dezember hat man in Norwegen wieder zurück gezogen. Das wurde so kommuniziert.

sachanordwald

Hello Wolli,

my latest update is that Jehovah’s Witnesses have obtained a one-line injunction against deregistration, which was granted in the regional court. This means that no judgment has been passed. Now the case continues in court. So the Norwegian government has not withdrawn anything here. Now we have to wait and see how the court cases turn out.

Brotherly greetings
Sacha

jwc

I think this is true. It’s on the JW.org website that the de registration has been halted.

simon1288

Thank you Eric! Good summary at the end. I like it.

Mike West

Spot on. Thanks for another good commentary, Eric.

Oliver

A very apt treatise. I liked the hint that Jesus made no differenciation concerning the magnitude of sins. Just one little objection: as far as I remember from my (wasted) 35 years being a JW, they don’t expect to be spared from the governments’ attempt to abolish all religions. They just think that whenever the powers will start to mess with them, it will directly lead to armageddon, which they primarily see as a rescue operation from god, according to Zechariah 2:8 “Whoever touches you touches the pupil of my eye”. Another hilarious sample of cherry-picking bible verses.

new englander

Witnesses are now taught that they will be spared the attack on all other religions. The October, 2019 Watchtower article titled Staying Faithful Through the Great Tribulation has this to say, “ At some point, the people whose religions were destroyed may resent the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses keep practicing their religion. We can only imagine the uproar that this might create, including on social media. The nations and their ruler, Satan, will hate us for having the only surviving religion. They will not have attained their goal to eliminate all religion from the face of the earth. So we will… Read more »

xrt469

Deregistration has been suspended for now. Time will tell if it is reversed.

Psalmbee

There’s a lot of good people in the WT ORG. It’s too bad their minds don’t work too good on their own. Thank you for the article Meleti.

jwc

I agree, a lot of loving B/S. l believe our words are always made more effective when we wrap them in the warmth of our love.

Meleti Vivlon

Articles by Meleti Vivlon.