I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses: Searching for the Why

Searching for the why—at first glance, what could be easier? Just read the charges. But when Putin says, “Jehovah’s Witnesses are Christians, too. I really don’t understand why they are persecuted”—there appears more to it than meets the eye. When Human Rights Watch says, “Russia’s religious persecution focuses almost exclusively on Jehovah’s Witnesses,” the plot thickens.
 
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Like Luke to Theophilus, here is a book that “traces everything from the start with accuracy.” Like Luke to Theophilus, here is a book that tells it from the believer’s point of view. Stripped of the red herrings that plagued Dear Mr. Putin—Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia, updated to the February 2021 present, and ever respectful towards the land of the bear, in most ebook forms it continues to be free, a labor of love.

Here are presented the modern-day Acts of Russia with regard to worship, the acts of believers and of those who oppose them. The acts of Russia have taken a dark and perplexing turn, puzzling even Putin. Can it be? The wizard who runs Oz doesn’t know how his contraption works? Here is a book that picks up where Baran’s Dissent on the Margins (2014) leaves off. The tale has not yet ended. But then, neither had the tale ended when Luke completed the first century Book of Acts.

Early in 2017, every Jehovah’s Witness in the world was invited to write letters to designated Russian officials, urging that justice be done in their case. I wrote one. Here is my expanded version.
Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

My Meeting Notes: Week of June 20, 2022 (with musings and ramblings)

The public talk, ‘Who is Qualified to Rule Mankind’ was presented simply, an appeal to the heart, in the spirit of “a workman with nothing to be ashamed of”—and indeed, the speaker was a tradesperson. It focused on 5 areas—economy, disaster relief, health care, ecology, protection. Bible verses read to highlight Jesus’ competence on all 5. Contrast the ‘health’ he delivered with the ‘health care’ that human governments promise and haphazardly deliver to a limited degree.

Mark is tersest and says it best. They felt an “unusual fear.” I mean, what kind of a guy causes others to do this?      “Now a great violent windstorm broke out, and the waves kept dashing into the boat, so that the boat was close to being swamped.  But he was in the stern, sleeping upon a pillow. So they woke him up and said to him: “Teacher, do you not care that we are about to perish?”  With that he roused himself and rebuked the wind and said to the sea: “Hush! Be quiet!” And the wind abated, and a great calm set in.  So he said to them: “Why are YOU fainthearted? Do YOU not yet have any faith?” But they felt an unusual fear, and they would say to one another: “Who really is this, because even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:37-41)

 

WatchtowerStudy: Mothers​—Learn From the Example of Eunice. Theme scripture: “Do not forsake the instruction of your mother. [It is] an attractive wreath for your head and a fine ornament for your neck.”​—PROV. 1:8, 9.

“This study will be about someone who has been influential in all our lives,” the chairman says. If you weren’t paying attention, you’d think he meant the one he next introduces: the Watchotwer conductor

Para 1: Someone applies the ‘it takes a village’ quote to those observing Timothy’s baptism. Timothy’s father is not there. He would be recognizable in Greek clothing, says another.

The conductor refers to an unnamed sis who was baptized long ago in a local park pond. That algae-choked mess? It must have been long ago indeed. It was once a popular swimming area.

One sis on Zoom prefaces her comment, as she always does, with “Can you hear me?” “Sure can,” the conductor says, as he always does. 

Para 7: If Jehovah’s people today have a reputation for fanaticism, it was the same way in the first centruy. Lots of gods were worshipped, none of them had any problem in sharing worship with others. It extended to certain humans worships. All had their own turfs, none interfered with that of others. Only Christians worshiped a “jealous” God who wanted “exclusive devotion,” not tolerating even a “inch of incense offered up to the emperor.

Para 9: One elder relates how he was a product of a single parent family, without male input, so he always appreciated bros taking an interest in him and now tries to do the same.

Para 10 “do not criticize the elders.” Not easy to follow because they have faults. Who doesn’t?. Ah, well. No need to pour molasses on everything, it is just a matter of what is your focus,

Para 11: Whoa. One bro speaks of sisters who would come to meeting with bruises or black eyes, because “when husbands were opposed, they were opposed.” Not so sure it would play out that way today. This would have been 1950s and 60s. They would not trash their husbands before the children though.

Para 14: “What do you learn from the examples of Leanne, Maria, and João?” says the question. Learned we don’t need them. We have similar examples in this circuit that some related.

Like the one who never attended a single meeting growing up because dad forbid it. Mom continually studied with him though. Following dad’s instruction, he took a scholarship to an Ivy League school, afterwards a job on Wall Street. “What am I doing here?” he said after a year, and then, having fulfilled dad’s wishes, he quit the job, hunted up a certain bro in the territory to study with, & today serves at Bethel.

Sigh….the watchtower reader lays great stress on the phrases he agrees with that aren’t necessarily the main point of the paragraph.

Para 18: another mention of ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ That’s a popular saying.

Midweek Meeting Assigned Bible reading: 2 Samuel 13-14

 

ANOTHER instance in which an underling traps David with his own words! First Nathan, now this slick woman from Tekoa, hoodwiinking him to make up with Absalom. (2 Samuel 14:2).  It is as though his subjects continually fool him with knock knock jokes.

“When [Absalom] shaved his head—he had to shave it at the end of every year because it was so heavy for him—the hair of his head weighed 200 shekels.” 2 Sam 14:26

This is not the same problem for me as it once was. In fact, not a problem at all.

Musing and meandering:

5AD618BE-78BC-4F3C-B968-15E7B1EAA9FEHa! Dedicated to the person who responded to a certain overly interested party, ‘1 Thessalonians 4:11’ and that person said he didn’t know that verse, and was advised to look it up—after which the modest fellow said, ‘You’re a pretty good teacher.’  (not every lyric fits)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYJig3QIuXE

For the longest time my daughter wondered where her Tupperware was going. Turned out her husband was giving his lunches to panhandlers he encountered

The guy at the beer garden waved by my wife when she reached for her wallet to prove her age. ‘We’re from New York’ I said. ‘They’ll proof you if you’re the Mummy.’

With a single exception all Bible mentions of hell stem from one of three original Gr or Heb words. Find the meaning of those words and you’ve found the meaning of hell. Two of the (Sheol, hades) simply mean the ‘place of the dead.’ ….1/2

The other (Gehenna) was an incinerator dump outside Jerusalem walls where every type of rubbish was cast, sometimes even those deemed too wicked to merit a resurrection. None of the three to be literally feared…..2/2

An early Witness with much traction was known within his lifetime as the man who ‘turned the hose on hell and put out the fire.’…3/3

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Yikes! A Bad Review of TrueTom vs the Apostates: Part 2

This is part of a multi-part series. Here is Part 1


Jehovah’s Witnesses fend off critics on two fronts. JWs are the prime targets of the fundamentalist church religious world. “I have been unable to discover any words of sympathy for them in any of the orthodox religious journals,” wrote Ray H Abrams in the first edition (1933) of ‘Preachers Present Arms.

They are also the prime targets of the secular irreligious front as represented by ‘anti-cultists.’ “Russia’s religious persecution focuses almost exclusively on Jehovah’s Witnesses,” Human Rights Watch said in 2021.

If ‘Preachers Present Arms’ and Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t, why would they be the prime target of the irrelgious world that also says it wants peace? And in an age when religionists seek to force their views upon others through legislation and sometimes violence, but Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t—the standards they have they apply only to themselves—again, you would not think they would be prime target of the irreligious world. Why not go after someone who does do these meddling things? There are plenty of groups to choose from.

The answer is offered by Massimo Introvigne—he the scholar of new religions. When the fledgling irreligious anti-cult movement first started ‘flexing their muscles,’ they simply latched on to what already was the prime target of the religious would, Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Witnesses are the prime target of the fundamentalist church world—trust me on this—primarily because they reject the trinity doctrine. For that reason, they’re usually denied Christian status altogether by these ones. “No thanks, I’m Christian,” sniggered one fellow I encountered at the door, with the clear implication that I wasn’t. I answered in perplexity that only a Christian would do the work I was doing, and “frankly, I’m a little surprised that you’re doing it yourself.” Fade smug smile. Of course, I would never do this for an honest misunderstanding, but believe me—this was no honest misunderstanding.

It’s a denial of status that the fundamentalists can’t quite make stick—it sticks only among themselves. “The Witnesses come right up my driveway to talk about Jesus as God’s chosen king,” non-fundamentalists will say, who may not be thrilled to see them do that but they obviously recognize them as Christian, and in fact, pretty serious Christians to be putting biblical direction to preach into practice.

If the trinity truly was the central reality of the faith, you’d expect it to be on nearly every page of the Bible. Instead, references to it are few and far between, and almost always, if seen in any other context, would be instantly dismissed as figure of speech. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” Jesus says as he is being put to death. Who’s he talking to—himself? Again, it’s odd that anti-cultists would makes Witnesses their central target, who make sense on this doctrine, as opposed to a horde of groups that do not—but Introvigne has explained why.

When you respond to a critic, it’s well to know where that one is coming from. Is he/she from the secular anti-cult front, or the religionist front? What answers one will not answer another. The critic who savaged the masterpiece TrueTom vs the Apostates, taking exception to a point of chronology that is nowhere discussed in the book, is from the church religious world. This is the world in which if you have ever said something that turned out not so, you are a “false prophet.” The irreligious world would never speak that way.

With regard to the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem, Witnesses don’t have the date favored by the majority of scholars. Accept it and move on. After all, we don’t have the majority view on the origin of mankind either. Maybe someday scholars will change on this point. Maybe they will not. Have scholars never been wrong? All the time they are reversing themselves.

On the other hand, what would be the consequences if they were right and we were wrong? A matter of timing is all. It would affect the ‘when’ of the faith, but not the ‘who’ ‘what’ ‘why’ ‘where’ and ‘how’. Awkward? Yes. A deal-breaker? No. Opponents who would not know who was president before their birth have studied up on a tiny sliver of Persian history in order to undermine their former associates. Should I study up on it too? I’m sure I could get the Cliff Notes version in short order, but it would take a lot more than that to weigh with any authority. I do monitor someone who, at great length, argues of flaws with the consensus view. It goes over my head. I let it do that because either outcome is irrelevant to the big picture. At most, it adds to uncertainty as to where we are in the stream of time, but you’d still be crazy to get out of the stream.

History is often scholars angling for position, egos and reputations at stake, and after they take control of the playing field they tilt it so anyone of competing view slides off. So I won’t lose my cookies when our view is not the majority one. Every factoid of Bible history must be argued with critics intent on gutting them, and when they reluctantly concede to one, they do not extend that concession to any others—you have to beat them down one rung at a time. “The great patriarchal tales in the book of Genesis are prehistoric, no more historically true than the tales of . . . King Arthur,” wrote clergyman Stopford Brooke in his book The Old Testament and Modern Life. “It is impossible,” another theologian added, “to place implicit confidence in any of these records.” I remember giving a talk on how these guys all had to turn around on Genesis 14 in the face of accumulating archeological finds.

94F9E4EB-DDEF-448C-BB04-6253D3727EC8…Okay, here’s the unsavory review. Imagine! Anyone criticizing TrueTom vs the Apostates! Who would do that other than . . . Ah, “taste and see Jehovah is good,” says the Psalm. They have tasted and seen he is bad. Think they’re going to like the book? But there is such a thing as making lemonade from lemons:

 

This guy is part of a cult, and it shows. His great "debates" if you can even call them that, seem to consist of him running in circles trying to distract from the fact that he has no actual evidence for his false doctrine.

I actually emailed him regarding the JW belief that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 BCE, long story short he resorted to name calling and insults and then stopped replying. The "truth" indeed...”

 

To use the lingo of critical thinkers, what the nasty reviewer is doing is called setting up a straw man argument. Bernard Strawman himself, my return visit character from ‘Tom Irregardless and Me,’ (who is progressing very well, thank you) would spot it in an instant. It’s not at all true, as the reviewer implies, that the Witness organization desperately tries to hide their miscues lest they lose some aura of infallibility. Instead, they’re very open about expectations that did not work out. In public broadcast, Anthony Morris recently stated he comes from a line of Witnesses, each one of whom thought the end was at hand. If they did it in the first century, they’ll do it in the present as well. And they did do it in the first century:

“[Jesus] spoke in addition an illustration, because he was near Jerusalem and [his disciples] were imagining that the kingdom of God was going to display itself instantly.  (Luke 19:11)

“When, now, [the disciples] had assembled, they went asking him: “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” (Acts 1:6)

You think it’s easy looking into the future? The watchman peers into the mist and makes a few false calls. He gets everyone scrambling for nothing! But it’s all in keeping with the continual NT language to “keep on the watch,” be ever “vigilant,” for the Lord’s day “is coming unexpectedly,” like a “thief in the night,” and happy is the one not caught napping. What good is a watchman who sounds the alarm only when the bow of approaching ship pinches his toes, having just smashed through the gunwales?

I suppose this reviewer’s second statement also is ‘raising a straw man argument:’ “His great "debates" if you can even call them that . . . “ I never did call them that. Like 607 BCE, this claim doesn’t appear from my pen. The only one who wanted to debate, inviting me repeatedly for that purpose, was Nemo of Chapter 3, a real and rabid opposer (though name is changed) who later blew his credibility (and, alas, his family) by cavorting with the lithe young prostitutes of Thailand, fulfilling exactly the biblical description of apostates “promising freedom” while they themselves exist as “slaves of corruption.”

So with that in mind, here is the email thread the reviewer referred to. I’ve kept it, pending further reply that I may or may not have gotten around to. Note how he gets the last word. You have to acquiesce to this if you engage with any of his type, because no way will they give up! They come out of nowhere, ram you as those big dumb animals with horns in the nature shows, thereafter take for granted that all your time is theirs, and the moment you cease correspondence declare glorious victory!!! 

He’s not stupid. He makes some valid points. It certainly would be better not to make any mistakes, a dilemma that is often solved by not doing anything. You might even end up agreeing with him. But I don’t:

 

Dave: Hello Mr Harley: Just wondering if you could explain to me why your religion's publications repeatedly tells it's members that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 bce when all available evidence points to 587/586 bce. I know it's tied up in doctrine, and I believe it's dishonest to misrepresent history like this. 

Tom: For the same reason our religion’s publications repeatedly tell members that Adam and Eve are our first human parents when “all available evidence” points to them being imaginary. I believe the publishers defer to the Bible’s own chronology over that of academia.

Dave: It seems to me that rather then "deferring" to the Bible's chronology your leaders are rather "making up" a chronology that suits their needs. Strange how the Babylonian records are employed to establish the return of the Jews, but suddenly become untrustworthy when it comes to the destruction of Jerusalem. Many Christian scholars have demonstrated workable timetables that preserve the 70 years and agree with the cuneiform tablets.

Tom: Whatever was done it was done long ago and it permitted the Witnesses to point well ahead of time to 1914, since deemed by historians a ‘turning point year.’ It seemed to correlate well with Matthew 24:7 as the first time that the entire world was at war at once. I wrote of it here: [see link] Is it wrong? I don’t really think so, though I am aware that ours is the minority view. Sometimes the minority view turns out to be the correct one. But if not, it simply becomes an issue of delayed timing, a little like misreading the bus schedule. It doesn’t mean the bus is not coming.

Dave: The Bible students pointed to many dates for the end, which all failed, and I'd hardly call 1914 a slam dunk either. If you'd examine world history you'd see that 1914 was in fact not the first time that the whole world was at war. Plus Jesus told his disciples not to be alarmed by warring nations because the end was not yet, they were just the "beginning pangs" to use your translation.

It's not really a minority view though is it? It's a view for which there's no evidence, and you have a lot riding on it. Could you explain to me how your "faithful and discreet slave" doctrine works without 1914? Seems like without this discredited chronology you're really just obeying men rather then Jesus.

Tom: Probably the people of God are destined to be chumps, always prematurely expecting the end which does not occur until it does. It’s not too different from first century disciples wanting to know if Christ was bringing the end “at this time,” and who imagined “the kingdom of God was going to display itself instantly.” It’s a regrettable downside of “keeping on the watch,” but still beats “sleeping on as the rest do.”

And World War I certainly was the first time the whole world was concurrently at war, either as direct participants or as colonies of direct participants, their resources exploited to that end. That’s why it is called ‘World War I’—it had never happened before. Rather than a dismissive directive to “examine world history,” give me an example of a greater conflict if you think there was one. I doubt very much your knowledge of history exceeds mine, barring only a cherry-picked area or two which you seize upon only because you think you can undermine Jehovah’s Witnesses with it.

Dave: I would agree with you that keeping on the watch is important, it's what our Lord told us to do. However keeping on the watch does not mean run around prophesying that the end is coming on <insert date here>. Jesus told us to not do exactly that at Matt 24: 24-27, instead said his coming would be obvious like lightning, no one would have to point it out.

Funny, you seem to missed these wars: The Napoleonic wars, The war of American independence, the seven years war, and the war of Spanish succession. All these wars are classed as "world wars". The Napoleonic wars were fought on all continents whereas the world war of 1914 was largely limited to Europe. 

The generally accepted combined figure of soldier and civilian deaths for world war I is 10-12 million. This figure shows that rather then being the most devastating conflict in history up to that time as watchtower has claimed, it's well within normal margins. Next to the Taiping rebellion of 1850-1864 that resulted in 40 million deaths it pales in comparison, and is closer to the 10 million deaths of The Thirty Years' War of 1618-1648.

You still haven't provided a good reason as to why JW's reject 587/586 bce, there are literally thousands of tablets that give us a very detailed chronology of the period of Jewish exile. I do however appreciate your willingness to even discuss this with me, I've been brushed off by many other witnesses.

Tom: If the wars you mentioned were ‘world wars,’ that little spat in 1914 would be known as ‘World War V.’ It isn’t. It is World War I. Yours is a ridiculous take that I have never heard before.

What is it with you? Do you live to argue? Sometimes people disagree. I can live with that.

Dave: According to the historians Richard F. Hamilton and Holger H. Herwig there have been eight world wars, beginning with the nine years' war in 1688, followed by the War of the Spanish succession, The war of the Austrian succession, the Seven years war, the French revolutionary wars, the Napoleonic wars, world war I, and world war II. 

Source: Richard F. Hamilton; Holger H. Herwig, eds. (24 February 2003). The Origins of World War I. Cambridge University Press. pp. 4–9. ISBN 978-1-107-39386-8

Here's two mainstream historians who refer to world war I as world war VII. Hardly ridiculous, but not as well known as it should be. [it’s because they’re ridiculous] Oh and I never called it a little spat, it was among the deadliest wars in history, but it wasn't a war that made all preceding conflicts look small in comparison. 

Well I wouldn't say I live to argue per se, but I love truth and God. Since your religion calls itself "the truth" I thought maybe you would be able to defend their doctrines.

I get the sense we've reached an impasse, since you haven't provided any evidence or arguments to support your organisation's chronology besides insisting that world war I proves it. I do want you to know that I admire you for maintaining an internet presence when so many JW's avoid religious discussions online. I hope you come to Christ someday brother. God bless 

Tom: The fact that after two exchanges you say we’ve “reached an impasse” is evidence enough for me of your penchant for arguing. After conceding that we hold the minority view, there is hardly any point of you blustering on about your majority view, yet you do anyway. If I have not addressed all your concerns, neither have you addressed your inconsistency on complete reliance on academia when it comes to chronology, yet complete rejection of it when it comes to Adam and Eve. It is the same thing when it comes to world war. Here the consensus of academia means nothing to you. Instead you champion the view of a lone wolf whose work I have never heard of. If you think Jehovah’s Witnesses cherry-pick you do it no less.

Look to the scriptures on the imperfections of humans (I’ve given you two examples regarding disciples ‘jumping the gun’ in the first century) and you’ll better forgive if the same has happened in the present. JWs are very open about it. Anthony Morris recently stated in public address that going several generations back, Witnesses he knew of often thought the end would occur within their lifetimes. 

Humoring you for a moment, if it turns out your view of 607 is correct, the Witness organization will adjust, as they have many times before. The prime source of their headship is that they do the work of spreading the gospel. There are tens of thousands of different organizations today. Always, they are led by people who organize and do the work.

And I have no sense of not coming to Christ. On the contrary, in my view Jehovah’s Witnesses best champion his overarching role in God’s purpose.

Dave: Last I checked you were the one "blustering" on about minority and majority views, I'm just looking at evidence, something you should try out sometime. That's why I said we'd reached an impasse, your view is in fact refuted by all available historical evidence.

Adam and Eve is a bit different from the exile. The Babylonian exile is described in clearly historical terms whereas Adam and Eve and the creation account in Gen 1 are classic examples of mythic history, their story is a clear polemic against Egyptian and mesopotamian myths, and is it just a coincidence that Adams story mimics Israel's? I doubt it. That doesn't mean that I don't believe they never existed but I do believe these accounts are more concerned with theology then history, and clinging to a rigid interpretation of these stories does more harm than good.

The "consensus view" is that while we don't call these previous conflicts world wars, they do fit the criteria. Even world war I wasn't officially called that until much later. It's just a matter of nomenclature why these earlier conflicts weren't called world wars. 

I suppose those faithful JW's thought the end would come because "this generation will not pass away". Well that didn't age quite so well...

Let me share a scripture with you, Matt 24: 23: "Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it." 

It seems to me that saying has returned and has been reigning invisibly for over 100 years fits that category nicely. Being eager for the kingdom is good, but it's no excuse for becoming a false prophet. 

To be continued…

******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Yikes! A Bad Review of TrueTom vs the Apostates: Part 1

Vic Vomodog screamed at me, the way he does these days—and to think we once pulled shoulder to shoulder in the great work! “When you even USE THE TERM ‘overlapping generations’, it admits tacitly that a generation is A GENERATION which has a singular definition.”

Look, this is not hard. From the standpoint of the listener, the generation of  his contemporaries ends when the lifespans of every one of them has expired. The lifespans of geezers like myself go back 100 years. The lifespans of my grandkids go 100 years in the other direction.

It’s a Bible interpretation. Can I prove it? No. Can I disprove it? No. But it is not particularly hard to understand. Should the bros have made it? I have no idea; it’s not my call. If it’s wrong it’s on them. All I have to do is acknowledge, ‘Well, that’s what they’re saying these days.’

Why risk joining those donkeys from 2 Peter heehawing over how since the days of our forefathers all things are exactly the same?* I see the malcontents on the ex forum ecstatic over how, now that they have cut loose from the faith, the world is their oyster, offering them boundless possibilities for personal fulfillment. Everyone else knows it’s going to hell in a handbasket.

F884A127-98A3-40F1-9D8B-286E65A44F88Though few of them would know who was president the year prior to their birth, they have made themselves “expert” on a tiny sliver of ancient Persian history. The exJW who emailed me a few times and then left a nasty review of the masterpiece ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates’ (UK site) based that review on the 607 topic that is nowhere even mentioned in the book. I mean, if I write a bad review of ‘Gone With the Wind’ it shouldn’t be because I don’t like wind. What this means is I need a few loyal ones to write reviews to balance it out. But even if I get more bad reviews, it’s the tonnage that better puts it on the radar. I mean, the promo material of the book alone makes clear it will be a good read, or at least a unique one. I’ve never seen anyone else cover the material in depth. Nor is it the end. Already it is time for ‘Round 2’ but there are several intervening projects.

(Photo:Gone with the Wind Museum in Marietta.jpg, Wikipedia)

So eager is this fellow to undermine his former religion—and yes, I have the email exchange, which I will reproduce in time—that he cites some book claiming WWI was not that big of a deal, that there have been many similar ‘world wars’ and that even WWI wasn’t originally called that. ‘Yeah, it’s because they didn’t realize at the time there as going to be a sequel,’ I told him When they did, that would have been the perfect time for them to rechristen it “World War VII” per his theory. If I didn’t know better (and I don’t unless/until I check it out) I’d say the book was written solely to undermine Jehovah’s Witnesses. I have never heard of world war redefined.

I really don’t mind if it breaks down this way. Whatever the merits of 607, it does call attention to the fact that God has a timetable. Irrespective of our efforts to figure it out, he does have one. Let these guys take the other side of that—that he doesn’t, and in fact, there is no government of God nor even any need for one, that humans are doing pretty well on their own, thank you very much. Let them take that side. It goes back to the original issue from Eden. God says humans can’t rule themselves (know good and bad). They say they can. I don’t mind it shaking out that way.

“The game is the same; it’s just up on another level,” to put Bob Dylan’s words in a context he never dreamed they would be put in.

*First of all know this, that in the last days ridiculers will come with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires and saying: “Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as they were from creation’s beginning.” (2 Peter 3:3-4)

To be continued….here

(Not to worry: This does not mean the series ‘Things that drive you crazy about the faith—and how to view them” is complete. It has just been temporarily superseded.)

******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

My Meeting Notes: Week of June 13, 2022 (with musings and meanderings)

#publictalk title: Jehovah’s eyes are upon us,

watchtowerstudy , Find Joy in Giving Jehovah Your Personal Best . Theme scripture: Let each one examine his own actions.” —GAL. 6:4.

Midweek mtg Bible Reading assigned: 2 SAMUEL 11-12

 

Psalm 10:13: 13 Why has the wicked one disrespected God? He says in his heart: “You will not hold me accountable.”

Prov 15:3 The eyes of Jehovah are everywhere, Watching both the bad and the good.

2 chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of Jehovah are roving about through all the earth to show his strength inbehalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.” The speaker emphasizes “to show his strength.”

Lam 3:40, “Let us examine and scrutinize our ways, and let us return to Jehovah.”

When the speaker mentioned avoiding porn at the workplace I thought of Nick, who years ago when a newly associated bro, painted bathing suits on all the nude graffiti. Oh yeah, his coworkers loved him for that.

 

#watchtowerstudy , Find Joy in Giving Jehovah Your Personal Best . Theme scripture: Let each one examine his own actions.” —GAL. 6:4.

Para 3: One bro quotes Teddy Roosevelt: ‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’ ( did he really say this?   Yes, he did)

Para 4: Many references to Jesus’ parable of the talents. Use all your abilities but don’t boast. Just talking about yourself too much comes across as boasting to one with fewer talents.

Para 5: The elderly bro pictured in the wheelchair is giving his best. “He still must have all his faculties,” says the elderly sis who has all of hers.

Para 7: The follow with ten talents uses all ten, doesn’t say he just use five so as to not show up the other guy, the one with the ten talents dosen’t just produce 5, then say, ‘well, i ddin’t want to show off.’ He uses the ten talents—he just doesn’t boast over it. 

you just don’t talk about yourself all the time, in effect outshining everyone else. You can be afraid of that one, if you have a good story, he has a better one.

Para 9: let your light shine,okay, but the guard with the interrogation lamp does the same thing to make his quarry uncomfortable. Light doesn’t have to be full strenght always

Para 15 When the young bros would start bickering, the old guy would tilt back in his chair, smile, and marvel at what Jehovah accomplishes, ‘given what he has to work with.’  Even when we think our gifts are hot stuff, we’re just people. 

Trouble is, When we compare selves with others, we start comparing our ‘behind the scenes’ bloopers with everyone else’s highlight reels, one bro says.

 

MidweekmeetingJune 13-192 SAMUEL 11-12

David is not content. That’s where the first talk goes. Someone chimes in with a Ben Franklin quote:, “Contentment makes poor mane rich. Discontentment makes rich men poor,”

Someone else says how you don’t esteem the gift above the giver. Also, that Paul was content no matter the circumstances,

Forgiveness, for had shown mercy to ‘Saul, Lin, vs 13, Nathan, serious mistake, I have sinned, owned mistakes, might have erupted in fury—he is a king after all.

To be sure, the typical reaction expected of a king would be to be furious at being rebuked by Nathan.

The elder that just moved into the congregation conducts a Q & A part and gets several names wrong. Then he calls on his wife. ‘Glad i didn’t mess that one up,” he says.

17AA352C-80D5-4187-ACDD-6A4B50EB80CAAlways there is a clergyman when an infant dies spinning it that God took the child because he needs about her flower in heaven, whereas the David and Nathan account shows the exact opposite. Anyone who would do that deserves to die, (2 Samuel 12:1-6)

This Uriah is a pretty decent guy. Even when you get him drunk, he stays true to is mission. Too bad for him in this case. Imagine in the resurrection when he learns what a hotshot David got to be. (2 Samuel 11:12-13)

 

 

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

My Meeting Notes: Week of June 6, 2022 (with meanderings and musings)

#publictalk tittle: Cherish your place in the kingdom arrangement,

Watchtower study title: “Are You “an Example . . . in Speaking”?

Theme scripture: Become an example to the faithful ones in speaking.”​—1 TIM. 4:12.

Midweek assigned Bible reading: 2 Samuel 9-10

Para 1: immediately the tone is set: “Our ability to speak is a gift from our loving God.” When we have a gift, we bring it to the altar. We use it for good not for bad

Para 2: Foul speech—if it went no further, you could live with it, most likely. Instead, it is like the canary in the coal mine; it reflects broader and general deterioration #watchtowerstudy

Para 5: “gracious and kind speech at our Christian meetings or … ministry but … harsh and unloving way to family members behind closed doors?​“ It is either the kind person slipping up at home OR the nasty person putting on a pretense in public

Para 6: One bro comments, tells of a coworker who does not swear around him, though he does elsewhere, out of respect for him., knowing he doesn’t appreciate it.

Para 8: Speak with kindness and respect when provoked, a good lesson for me. Did i trigger a negative view because I was harsher than necessary with a certain opposer? If so, please believe me—the fellow pushed. One of those guys who would not suffer non-acquiescence to his viewpoint. I’ve come to think that unless your object is to put down a person, any hint of disrespect torpedoes an otherwise persuasive passage because that is all that person will see.

Para 9: “What can help us control our speech when we are in the preaching work?”

Sometimes it is hard because they’re speaking negatively of our best friend Jehovah, says one sis about respond respectfully to harsh opposers.  (Note how respectful speech even to opposers impressed the European Court of Human Rights which wrote: “Even accepting that the texts [used to prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses were “extremists”] promoted the idea that the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses was superior to others or that it was better to be a Jehovah’s Witness than a member of another Christian denomination, it is significant that the texts did not insult, hold up to ridicule or slander non-Witnesses; nor did they use abusive terms in respect of them or of matters regarded as sacred by them.” [bolding mine]

Para 9:  Another sis tells of a householder that chewed her out vehemently, and later crossed the street to confront her once again—‘oh, boy—what’s she want now?’—this time to apologize,

Para 12 Tip for those new or shy. Comment and it puts you on the radar, more likely to be approached afterwards. Probably shouldn’t be that way but it is. After all, even Jehovah takes note when people speak:

“At that time those who fear Jehovah spoke with one another, each one with his companion, and Jehovah kept paying attention and listening. And a book of remembrance was written before him for those fearing Jehovah and for those meditating on his name.” Malachi 3:16

Para 16: Further, we never want to hurt others with cutting remarks. One brother admits: “At times, I have made cutting, sarcastic remarks….one sis recalls the Sonny and Cher show where they specialized in that. That marraige ended early, if I recall correctly.

Para 17: The brother I love to tease, too chicken to play me in Scrabble and so he ran far away, just commented from his remote zoom location. Can I add—risky because of the study theme—that it was as usual another clunker of a comment?

Para 18: one bro comments on the picture that uses emojis, as evidence he says that the organization is “up to date.” Be that as it many, I’ve never adopted the use of those things myself. I just do a smiley by the colon followed by right parenthesis. It’s as far as I go. It’s enough.

#midweekmeeting, Bible reading assigned: 2 Samuel 9-10

At that [Mephibosheth] prostrated himself and said: “What is your servant, that you have turned your attention to a dead dog like me?”

Did the fellow have self-esteem issues?

“QR code links to a site for Bible study. It’s free. No hassles. I hope you check it out,” one sis’s talk concludes with.

 

Just look at this monstrosity I’m assigned to read!

“So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the sons of the king.  Now Mephibosheth also had a young son named Miʹca; and all those who lived in Ziʹba’s house became servants of Mephibosheth. And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he always ate at the table of the king; and he was crippled in both feet.”

I mean, can they say it any more? FOUR times that unpronounceable name! What was wrong with Jonathan his dad? Why couldn’t he have named the kid Jon Jr? Throw in the middle name Albatross while you’re at it! And he was crippled in both feet? I’ll be crippled in my mouth after this talk!

yes yes, I admire the optimism, I said to someone who assured me I could do it, but tell me true: did you name any of your kids Mephibosheth?

Maybe you can go with Mephie, another said. Good idea. Just like Andy Taylor used to call his nephew Opie when the kid’s real name was Opilakimommaoctolibiario.

Look at it as an opportunity to pronounce it differently seven times, Stephen said.

Mission accomplished (sort of). Seven times the unpronounceable name read, including a veritable minefield of 4 at the very end. He sells seashells by the seashore. “And if I ever have a son, I think I’m gonna name him . . . Bill or George, anything but Mephibosheth.”

I flubbed it  just before the minefield and then laughed at myself for flubbing it. It’s just a tongue twister of a name to say fast and repeatedly. “I’ve never actually seen a brother chuckle at such times,” said one bro (and then braced to see if anyone was smited like Urijah and the ark.)

“I think the angels chuckled with you and were proud of your effort as well as all the others who gave this assignment around the world 🌎.   Even when you think you are losing, you’re winning in our eyes, especially Jehovah’s eyes,” says one sympathizer. I admit I had not thought of myself that way, as sort of a Geico lizard mascot to everyone else assigned that reading.

Says Murray: ‘You are not alone my brother. I did not have any dealings with that part this week. I was householder on the study portion, but two of the brothers who had to use the name had serious muble with their trouths & got their murds wixed up. He will need a name change upon his ressurection I reckon.’

“is there anyone remaining of Saul’s house to whom I can extend loyal love,” perhaps by giving them a name change in case it is Mephibosheth?”

Yikes! No sooner do I flub the Meshibosheth minefield (2 Samuel 9) then I see this week’s Watchtower study title: “Are You “an Example . . . in Speaking”?

Theme scripture: Become an example to the faithful ones in speaking.”​—1 TIM. 4:12.

Way to rub it in.

 

One sis comment of how kings were pretty vengeful and Mephibosheth might have wondered what was going to happen to him, not to mention that the handicapped counted for little. .   It’s true. They routinely mowed down all rivals and potential rivals,

“I praise you because in an awe-inspiring way I am wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know this very well.” Ps 139:14

Imagine. It’s possible to hurt God’s feelings: “How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness And made him feel hurt in the desert!Again and again they put God to the test, And they grieved the Holy One of Israel.”  Psalm 78:40

So Moses said to him: “Make me know your ways, so that I may know you.” (Exodus 33:13) In reply, Jehovah revealed to Moses some aspects of His personality. Read Exodus 34:4-6,

This will sound crazy to someone raised in the faith where you see families together as a matter of routine. But if you weren’t raised in the truth, and so saw most “families” on TV, it comes as a surprise to learn that real family members resemble each other.

B31FEC32-6DA9-4ED2-82DA-0FA1A7380E08

(Photo from Wikipedia)

“Do your characters always have first and last names?” was the question.

Well, there is Tom Irregardless, Oscar Oxgoad, Bernard Strawman, and Dr. Mike “Ace” Inhibitor, so I would say yes.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Things that Drive You Crazy About the Faith—and How to View Them: Part 8

This is a multi-part series. See Preface,  2nd Preface,  Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Each part links to the next.

6364D3A1-D9AD-4FC9-BEAE-274B93E23AD4How to help your teenager? is the theme of a recent series of talks. Several pointers are offered, all valid and good. But the elephant in the room is ignored because revelation says nothing about it. Maybe that teen who needs help is over there on the anti-JW Internet forum where he is drinking up bile by the vatful directed against his faith. Yet discovering that he is will do nothing to help those trained in ‘knowledge through revelation.’ They don’t know what is there, and ‘revelation’ tells them not to find out. “This means war!” one brother says about the contest with apostates, and doesn’t touch on how the very first thing you do in war is seek detailed reconnaissance on the enemy—know what they are doing and saying—if only to effectively pop them one in the jaw.

It just makes for odd situations, the counsel to avoid at all costs apostate speech. It makes for illustrations such as, ‘would you drink even a little bit of poison?’ although you do exactly that when you take one of the old-style vaccines (not the new-style RNA ones), the kind that gives you just a little bit of the disease to stimulate your body to mount a defense against it. It creates an almost superstitious fear of apostates for the power they supposedly wield. It creates a convention part in which a decades-long record of faith goes up in smoke when the person begins reading material ‘critical of Jehovah’s organization.’ That can happen?

It can, but ‘knowledge via revelation’ of how disastrous is apostate speech can lead one to think it is the mere words that sink a person. An empirical approach would be to heed what psychologists say: You do well to avoid ‘toxic people,’ because over time they corrode your well-being. There is something about aggressive apostasy—directing massive energy against former friends—that all but screams ‘toxic people,’ like the psycho ex-divorce-mate who just cannot let go.

If errors were what you watch, O Jah, Then who, O Jehovah, could stand?” says Psalm 130:3. It is ‘knowledge by revelation.’ In this case it dovetails perfectly with ‘knowledge by experience.’ When it comes to the enemies of anyone today, errors are all people watch. They also magnify, enhance, and sometime concoct—see it play out on the internet with any public figure. Nobody ‘can stand’ in the face of the constant onslaught.

The very first thing you do to attack the faith is ‘strike the shepherd,’ so that the ‘sheep will scatter.’ One need not even drop the pretense of loving God that way, but can pose as a ‘freedom fighter’ or some such role. It was arguably even true with Judas. He and God were tight—there were no problems there! But that fraudster claiming to be the messiah was not at all what Judas was expecting, and so he turned upon him.

Interestingly, the final straw with Judas appears to be Jesus’ words, “For you always have the poor with you, and you can do them good whenever you want to, but you will not always have me.” (Mark 14:7) ‘He’s selfish, he just thinks of himself!’ says Judas to himself, and off he goes to blow him in (vs 10). So it is today when the earthly organization heeds revelation at Galatians 6:10 to do good “especially toward those related to us in the faith,” rather than try to fix the world in general. Apostates spin that as selfish.

Recent statements that God and his son trusts the faithful and discreet slave prompts malcontents to pull their hair out trying to assert that he doesn’t. The statement comes from ‘knowledge through revelation.’ Not only does the Word say it of current responsible ones, called the faithful and discreet slave—it says it of ones in the first century. Peter was trusted—and then went weak-kneed at a critical moment. Furthermore, it was just as challenging looking into the future then as it is today. “The saying went out among the brothers that [John] would not die,” we’re told. (John 21:23) How wrong was that one? Maybe John thought it himself. Often the trick is not to sanitize the present. It is to desanitize the past. First century persons taking the lead betrayed abundant human foibles. God and Christ trusted them nonetheless.

Even the general revulsion over apostasy comes from ‘knowledge through revelation.’ “Taste and see that Jehovah is good,” says Psalm 34:8. They have tasted and seen he is bad—not a promising start for bridge building, even though I tried—a little. After several persons were put off by the imagery of ‘Vomidog’ in Tom Irregardless and Me, I softened the house apostate’s name to Vic Vomodog, even though the original is a play on scripture: “What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog has returned to its own vomit . . .” I’m glad for it. Vomodog suggests the original but doesn’t rub your nose in it. It is a quirky and quizzical name in it’s own right.

Alas, it is human nature that the best way to get someone to do something is to tell them they shouldn’t. It is especially true with young people. There’s danger in this, and danger in that, they’re told. There may be, but the spirt of young people is bold. They don’t want to hear it—not about things that others face routinely. The Lord’s chariot may be lighting quick, but so is that of the world. Overnight it moves persons to despise discipline. It’s particularly strong with the youth who—I mean, this goes back to the very origin of young people—delight in getting a rise out of their parents.

‘Obedience’ is fine. I like that stuff. But it might be more effective if coupled with empirical evidence of just what apostates are up to. Appeal to empirical ‘social scientists,’ David Bromley, for example, who “explained how individuals who elect to leave a chosen faith must then become critical of their religion in order to justify their departure…Others may ask, if the group is as transparently evil as he now contends, why did he espouse its cause in the first place? In the process of trying to explain his own seduction and to confirm the worst fears about the group, the apostate is likely to paint a caricature of the group that is shaped more by his current role as apostate than by his actual experience in the group.”

Point out what’s wrong with what they say. Not a lot, necessarily, because you do want to avoid hanging out with toxic people—the empirical psychologists will tell you that. But a little—so that it is not such a great forbidden mystery all but demanding the curious cat to investigate. Or read a book like (‘Oh, c’mon, Tommy. you are not going to be so crass as to plug your book here, say it ain’t so….it is!—‘TrueTom vs the Apostates.’) Notice the one star review. Read it and discern it is from one of ‘those people.’ The promo material alone makes clear it will be a good read. It needs other reviews to balance it out. But even unfavorable reviews put it on the radar screen, so they are not as bad as initially appears.

Read this book only if you have been stumbled at what apostates say. I don’t allow anyone else. Look, don’t try to bluff me on this. I’ll know.

To be continued…

******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Things That Drive You Crazy About the Faith—and How to View Them: Part 7

This is a multi-part series. See Preface,  2nd Preface,  Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Each part links to the next.

Other downsides of taking current knowledge by revelation? The perennially blaming of Babylon the Great for modern times of persecution, even when Babylon the Great had little to do with it. Often it is the work of secular anticultists. Religionists are largely licking their wounds these days. But Scripture says it is false religion, and so guys like me have to content themselves with statements like: “Well, if religion had done it’s job in teaching the truth about God, maybe those atheist anticultists wouldn’t be proliferating like weeds the way the are.”

10B731BA-4D7E-4D32-96A3-FB9FD053EB2DRussia’s ban of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2017–just declared illegal by the European Court of Human Rights, 5 years later. Let no one say justice is quick, nor is it necessarily justice. Few are holding their breath for a quick cessation of persecution. At the time branch headquarters was seized in St Petersburg, Denis Korotkov wrote for fontanka.ru* that it was crazy. Russia would certainly have to give it back when the ECHR ruled against them, which it surely would, he said, and the legal costs, coupled with fines, would exceed the cost of the complex. Who could have foreseen that Russia would simply thumb its nose at the Court and withdraw from the European Union? Not Korotkov. Warring with Ukraine at the moment, the JW matter is relatively small potatoes anyway from the world’s point of view. [photo—Wikipedia Commons]

Did the Russian Orthodox Church originate the ban? Surprisingly, it did not. Not to say its clergy is not delighted (squealing like kids on Christmas morning, some of them), not to say they didn’t collaborate, but they did not originate it. We think they did because the Bible indicates religion makes mischief, but in this case it is a secular anti-religious movement that presses the attack.

‘Present knowledge via revelation’ guides how the Witness organization looks at government too. Scripture indicates that the superior authorities are “God’s minister to you for your good,” only a cause for concern “if you are doing what is bad,” since “it is not without purpose that it bears the sword.” (1 Corinthians 13:7) Therefore anything hinting at a more sinister role of government toward those governed can only be “conspiracy theory” and is dismissed out of hand.

When government declares a Covid 19 crisis that makes door-to-door infeasible, revelation determines how the ministry is carried out thereafter. Revelation indicates letter writing is good. Paul wrote letters. Peter wrote letters. John wrote letters. Face to face communication is obviously good, as was done back then. In times of emergency, telephone witnessing preserves the one on one aspect of face to face. But revelation has nothing to say about the internet. Isn’t that the “outside” where “the dogs and those who practice spiritism and those who are sexually immoral and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices lying” hang out? (Revelation 15:22) Revelation says “bad associations spoil useful habits,” (1 Corinthians 15:33) and it is not swayed by ‘empirical’ evidence that if  you have something to advertise the very first thing you do is plan a campaign of interaction on social media.

Revelation indicates that the “things that were written beforehand were written for our instruction, so that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) Ignore the elephant in the room, therefore—the elephant that everyone else will see right away—as you cover passages like 1 Samuel 27:9, lauding David’s clever deception of the enemy: “When David would attack [the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites], he preserved neither man nor woman alive . . . Achish would ask: “Where did you make a raid today?” David would reply: “Against the south of Judah” or “Against the south of the Jerahmeelites” or “Against the south of the Kenites.” Okay. Got it. Valid point. You don’t have to tell every little bit of truth to those who want your head on a platter. But there are a lot of people in this passage whose deaths are presented as though dodgeball casualties—THAT is what most people will zero in on.

“Consider the example of Dan and Sheila,” another paragraph begins, serving up empirical evidence for something revelation says is true. They applied the Bible counsel under consideration and it turned out just hunky dory for them. What about Joe and Melanie who applied that same counsel and it blew up in their faces? someone thinks. That example remains unmentioned; they must have done it wrong, they must have built their house on sand somehow. It is a presentation of ‘knowledge by revelation.’

Not to be critical of earthly organization. Don’t misunderstand. Rather, the goal is to realize why some things are done the way they are done, that can otherwise drive a person crazy. ‘Oh, that’s why they reason this way,’ you can say. Overall the revelatory approach works well. Overall it is acceptable even in the short term. But it does have limitations. Even God, the originator of revelation, sometimes goes down to earth to take a look-see. How else can one account for Genesis 18: 20-21? “Then Jehovah said: ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is very heavy. I will go down to see whether they are acting according to the outcry that has reached me. And if not, I can get to know it.’”

Oh—and one notable excerpt of the ECHR ruling: “Even accepting that the texts [used to prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses were “extremists”] promoted the idea that the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses was superior to others or that it was better to be a Jehovah’s Witness than a member of another Christian denomination, it is significant that the texts did not insult, hold up to ridicule or slander non-Witnesses; nor did they use abusive terms in respect of them or of matters regarded as sacred by them.” [bolding mine]

That certainly is a result of present knowledge [of how to conduct oneself] via revelation. Jesus says that’s how you treat people, even those who scheme against you. I mean, it clearly is guided by revelation. This is the age of road rage. Normal human conduct when under assault is to do all those unsavory things—insult, ridicule, slander, and abuse. Often those means are used even when not under assault.

*Included in I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses: Searching for the Why

To be continued…

******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

My Meeting Notes, Week of May 30, 2022 (with musings and flashbacks)

Live With Soundness of Mind in a Depraved World’ is the public talk title.

The speaker looks at these verses of 1 Corinthians 2 to explain how Christians know what they know: “For it is to us God has revealed them through his spirit, for the spirit searches into all things, even the deep things of God. . . . Now we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit that is from God, so that we might know the things that have been kindly given us by God. These things we also speak, not with words taught by human wisdom, but with those taught by the spirit, as we explain spiritual matters with spiritual words.

“Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, And do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, And he will make your paths straight,” says Proverbs 3:5-6.   “Jehovah can keep us from wandering abuout figuring things out on our own, but we have to trust him,” the speaker adds.

“Soundness of mind allows one to compare now with ten years also and know we are deeper into thee end of this systems of things,” he adds. Yeah, like how mass shootings have become routine. An uniquely American problem, I am told. Elsewhere it is knives.

There is a phrase that you can’t judge a book by the cover. “I dare say that’s why the cover’s on the book,” says the #publictalk speaker.

 

#watchtowerstudy article: “Elders​—Continue to Imitate the Apostle Paul“. Theme scripture: “Become imitators of me.”​—1 COR. 11:1.

Para 1: “On one occasion, “quite a bit of weeping broke out” when the elders from Ephesus learned that they would never see [Part] again. (Acts 20:37)”  I asked the CO in the late 70s if this verse would apply to his final meeting. He said if any weeping breaks out it won’t be for that reason.

Para 4: elders wear a lot of hats and it is easy for those not elders to forget that, become critical that someone is not doing this or that.

Para 5; 17: 16Now while Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit within him became irritated on seeing that the city was full of idols, infuriated, says Refference Bible (others?)

Flashback to the bro who said how you fix something around the house & your boy want to help, but you can do it quicker on your own. The trick is to ask what are you doing? Fixing a gadget or training a child.

Bro apologized for not calling on me. That’s okay I said—I could see all the other hands, it’s a good problem to have.

Thing is, the violence of today dovetails so well with what the Bible foretells. ‘Faint out of fear, but knowing the meaning of certain things, one can see the same things, take cover but also comfort, lift up your eyes….kingdom of God is near (Luke 21)

One sis commented on zoom and all I could think of was her mom, who speaks with the same inflections and timbres.

Para 8: Privileges of service like the salt that enhance the dish but too mcuh can ruin it. Conductor speaks of how one bro gave him a ‘no’ button—15 different ways to say no.

Para 18: “Earlier, Paul had been a headstrong, harsh persecutor of Christians. But later, he acknowledged his shortcomings and was willing to change his attitude and personality.” (1 Tim. 1:12-16) The guy that was headstrong and harsh does not instantly change upon leaning the truth, still headstrong and harsh, he just has new target.

Para 16: you forgive anyone for anything, I do also. In fact, whatever I have forgiven (if I have forgiven anything) has been for your sake in Christ’s sight, so that we may not be overreached by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his designs…..harsh, judgmental, overcritical, hypocritical,

Para 17: “Nevertheless, Paul knew the difference between bad conduct and bad people. He loved his brothers and focused on their good qualities. If his brothers and sisters were struggling to do the right thing, he assumed that their motives were good and that they simply needed help.”

 

#midweekmeeting: May 30–June 52 SAMUEL 7-8

Just once I would like one of those student talks with a workplace setting end, “I’d love to speak further but our break is almost over. Oh, hang it! The the boss to kiss off. This is important!”

6AD8AB0E-EC02-490D-8976-91CE4AA9CA68“or this is what Jehovah says, The Creator of the heavens, the true God, The One who formed the earth, its Maker who firmly established it, Who did not create it simply for nothing, but formed it to be inhabited.” (Isaiah 45:15) It’s not like when my chum worked hours “for nothing” on a centrifuge part, looked at the sloppy result and said, “This might be okay for the toilet but not a centrifuge.”

Love this point: “Human get credit for the designs they’ve copied from nature, so who should get credit for the original?”

Fly and we see tips of the plane tipped upwards. They never used to do that. A design copied from nature, counterintuitiely it makes for better economy, probably stability too.

“The Bible uses the word “kind,” which is much broader in meaning than the word “species” as used by scientists. Often, what scientists choose to call the evolution of a new species is simply a matter of variation within a kind, as the word is used in the Genesis account….This concept is sometimes referred to as microevolution.”

Was the universe created?

“The Bible book of genesis says that there is a creators but the account is often misunderstood or even dismissed as a myth.”

“it focuses on the creative process that took place on earth over six creative periods of time, which the Bible calls days.”

“The writer describes the creative periods as they would have appeared to an observer on the earth,” a “process that took place on earth over six creative periods of time, which the Bible calls days.”

From: https://www.jw.org/finder?srcid=jwlshare&wtlocale=E&lank=pub-lffv_61_VIDEO

 

Musings & Flashbacks: (I had to hand it to the church people—it was kind of cute. There was my buddy John Cuyler at his work station, the booklet, “The Word—Who is He, According to John” on his table. The tricksters appended “Cuyler” at the title’s end!)

“YOU are here to tell ME about suffering?!’ hurled the guy in the wheelchair at me after I’d brought up the topic. ‘No,’ I told him. ‘I am here so you can tell me.’ One must be flexible.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Things That Drive You Crazy About the Faith—and How to View Them: Part 6

This is a multi-part series. See Preface,  2nd Preface,  Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Each part links to the next.

Count up the ways that ‘knowledge of the present by revelation’ makes you scratch your head when it conflicts with empirical knowledge, knowledge of the present acquired from observation. A few are arguable but the list is long.

Pursue higher education and it can only be because you want “to make a great name for yourself,” to secure a cushy seat on a sinking ship. “Nah, I just want to make a living,” some will say, but it is lost upon those who receive knowledge from the revelation of the scriptures. ‘Wisdom cries aloud in the streets and public squares,’ says Proverbs 1:20, not the quadrangles. In the quadrangles, Scripture indicates you will more likely find “every wind of teaching by means of the trickery of men,” not to mention “empty speeches that violate what is holy and from the contradictions of the falsely called ‘knowledge.’” Since the Word says it is so, the Bethel brothers don’t bother to look for exceptions. If you do look for exceptions, they will wonder how you got off unscathed and question as to whether you really did. Why flirt with what revelation says not to flirt with? It doesn’t help that revelation says a Christian is to “work with [his] hands.” (1 Thess 4:11).

It’s all revelation that tells them this. They trust revelation because it is from God. Nor is it untrue in so far as it goes. To the anticultists who want to ensure that nobody depart from mainstream secular thinking and who level charges of ‘brainwashing!’ one might respond that it is not brainwashing they object to, but brainwashing that is not theirs. The Witnesses’ caution of higher education is overall valid, but some will say they torpedo themselves with a revelatory approach that misses the nuances. At times, nuances make a substantial difference.

At college they unscrew your head and pour in undiluted the wisdom of this system of things, convinced it is all wisdom, trusting that if it isn’t you will sort it out with your newly acquired ‘critical thinking.’ Alas, humans don’t work in accord with critical thinking. The heart makes a grab for what it wants, then charges the head to come up with a convincing rationale. This lends the appearance that it is the head calling the shots, but it is the heart all along. As to ‘overeducating’ the populace, the time is coming, says Mike Rowe, when an hour with a good plumber will cost the same as an hour with a good psychiatrist, by which time we will have need for them both.

In a way that’s not totally integrated with the decadent images of lowlife, revelation in the person of Asaph shows that some unbelievers, the movers and shakers of the world, personally have it altogether. “Their bodies are healthy. They are not troubled like other humans, Nor do they suffer like other men. Therefore, haughtiness is their necklace; Violence clothes them as a garment. Their prosperity makes their eyes bulge. . .  Yes, these are the wicked, who always have it easy.” (Ps 73: 4-11)

At a high-brow function long ago where we would not typically be, I whispered to my newly betrothed wife: “Here’s people we don’t usually hang out with—the wicked!” She looked at me as though to say, ‘Did I really marry this guy?’ but it was too late. I got that one from revelation, specifically Ps 73. Witness leadership draws on that Psalm as well, and it is hard to imagine them wrong on that point. One taunter hurled at me: “Why do you Witnesses always have to believe things are getting worse? What does that belief do for you?” I replied that it helps me to explain why the Doomsday Clock is set at 90 seconds to midnight and not 10:30 A.M. I mean, it can’t be that everyone’s doing a great job for that situation to exist.

887C5798-5532-4A69-B94A-4540CE7A7775Nor do they even do a great job personally, though the money covers up that deficiency. My buddy the hair stylist, the one who worked in the la-di-dah spa where people like Cher go to spiff up when they breeze into town, says, “Oh, you should hear what they tell me! Their personal lives are a mess.” I mean, everyone tells their barber everything. And then their barber tells it to his chum. And then his chum puts it on the World Wide Web! But do I know it only through this chum? Nah, I also know it through the professor that sat next to me on the airplane. It’s not perfect, but knowledge of the present through revelation has served me pretty well overall.

To be continued

******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Things That Drive You Crazy About the Faith—and How to View Them: Part 5

This is a multi-part series. See Preface,  2nd Preface,  Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Each part links to the next.

Dozens of separate disconnects all collapse into one manageable whole with this new insight from Kors, who has no idea of the boondoggle he has untangled. For example, it is ‘knowledge by revelation’ that accounts for the Witness organization’s view of how those who leave the faith fare. The Bible says they don’t fare well at all. “What the true proverb says has happened to them: ‘The dog has returned to its own vomit, and the sow that was bathed to rolling in the mire,” says 2 Peter 2:22.

What about those they join, those already in ‘the world?’ Those ones are doing the ‘will of the nations: “loose conduct, lusts, excesses with wine, revelries, drinking matches, illegal idolatries” and in general slopping around in the “low sink of debauchery.” (1 Peter 4:3-4) “Water’s fine here in the low sink!” they say, even adding “who are you to judge?” but we know ‘by revelation’ that it could not possibly be so. We also know ‘by revelation’ that ones in the low sink “are puzzled [that you do not join them] and go on speaking abusively of you.” It does often work out that way, but it is good to know that the source of the insight comes from revelation and not direct observation.

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Taking their cue from this method—knowledge of the short term via the revelation of the Bible, if you’ve left the faith, you’ve belly-flopped into the low sink. “I just explained the rainbow flag attached to paragraph 5 to my mum,” tweeted one youngster whom one suspects is not fully with the program, maybe not at all. “Everybody! come and see this woman exclaiming loud in the Hall.” I barely noticed that flag. I figured it was some national flag. I mean, it was in the background and perspective made it pretty small. You could have fit 100 of them in that huge liquor bottle up front. That’s how it is when ones leave the faith. They do nothing but drink, smoke, and party.

Yikes! then along comes some who left the faith and didn’t fall into that montage of every planetary vice. Their lives do not go straight down the toilet. Short-term it even improved. They put distance between Lot and Abraham and they breath easier at escaping the tension. If there is a cost, it won’t be paid for a long time. Many convince themselves there will not be a cost, and go apoplectic at how they are mischaracterized in Watchtower literature with the liquor bottles, the syringes, the cigarettes, the raucous parties. ‘What a bunch of liars!’ they say. They should know there is no lying. It is a result of ‘knowing things by revelation.’

Concede that other points of view exist and then deal with them. It says you’ve done your homework. It bolsters your credibility. You’ll be trusted more than the one who gives the impression of trying to ignore or even hide other points of view. Alas, as much as that makes sense, ‘knowledge through revelation’ says you don’t do that. It is enough to know what is true. You don’t have to explore what is false. While there is a certain logic to this, it does leave you vulnerable to those who read the tantalizing arguments of the malcontents and wonder why you’re not addressing them.

To be continued…

******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)