Forty Years Down the Toilet!
October 16, 2006
Forty Years Down the Toilet: My Wasted Life with Jehovah’s Witnesses!
This title in the library’s new books section caught my eye. I snapped it right up and headed home because I love a good read. But only when I flopped into my armchair did I notice who the author was.
It was Tom Barfendogs, formerly a colleague and fellow member of the prestigious Carriertom Into-wishen Research Institute!
Yes, Tom Barfendogs, who once worked shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Tom Sheepandgoats, Tom Wheatandweeds, his brother Tom Weedsandwheat, Tom Fishandchips, and Tom Pearlsenswine.
Ah, his defection is a sad story. For I readily concede that he was a smart guy. But he was also kinda full of himself. We remember he started to develop some opinions he was fond of - who doesn’t? - but then, by degrees, those opinions became, not opinions, but Revealed Truth. It got so you couldn’t pass him in the Institute hallways without hearing him go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about his special close relationship with God. Naturally, he felt others should see him in the same light, and he got miffed when that didn’t happen. In time, he began to conduct his own classes: Barfendogs’ Bible Briefings, I think they were called.
Of course, this didn’t sit too well with the JW organization, which is modeled after the first century Christian congregation. There is a definite structure. It is not a free stage for independent cowboys, yahoos and hotshots.
Next thing you know, he’s quit the congregation and later resurfaces with his own website: www.BarfendogsBullhornofTruth.con, which, were you to visit it, does nothing but run down his former JW pals. I mean, he must have some other interests - all of us do - but you’d never know it from the site.
The sourpuss website syndrome is a well-documented phenomenon affecting 5%, give or take, of those who leave Jehovah’s Witnesses. The remaining 95% is comprised of those who return, and of those who move on in life to other things.
It didn’t help that, years after he left, the JW organization actually came around to his way of thinking on a couple points! You might think that Barfendog would have returned at this point. But he had his website and book by then, and all he would tell anyone is how he Forged Ahead due to His Special Relationship with God. He didn’t need any organization. The organization needed him! Now they could kiss his you-know-what!
And he used to be such a nice guy.
Besides, why does anyone need an organization? “Me n Jesus” is enough. And what about Christian love? Didn’t Jesus stand for love? Doesn’t, love mean “nobody’s telling me what to do!”?
It’s clear that there was a human organization in the first century. Acts chapter 15 reveals the inner workings of a governing body, which was necessary to organize preaching activity and to adapt scripture to a changing world, much as the Supreme Court serves to adapt the Constitution to changing times.
Acts 16:4,5 reports on an aftermath of that meeting of the apostles and elders in Jerusalem:
Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the decrees which had been decided upon by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe. So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily. New American Standard Bible
Note that the apostles and elders had authority. It wasn’t good ol boy coaching that they offered, so that you could tell them to go fly a kite. They delivered decrees. It wasn’t “me n Jesus” back then, even in those first years immediately following His resurrection!
Note, too, that God blessed the arrangement, even though the apostles and elders were men, imperfect men, fully capable of all the dopey moves common to humans: Thus the churches were strengthened in the faith and daily their numbers increased. Acts 16:5
Whoever assumes leadership, and does not remain in the doctrine of Christ, does not have God. 2 John 9 Berkeley Version
I've seen some of those sites, for ex-members of many different religions. They are no different from the sour grapes put out by someone who's been fired or made redundant from a job, or kicked out of any club, community or religion for breaking the rules.
One theme that comes up is that practising Witnesses are not allowed to use the Internet, or are discouraged from doing so. They can't have seen your blog.
As I've stated, I have no religion, but I respect the right of any legal, organised group to set its rules of membership and to expect its members to abide by those rules.
Surely it's simple; if you don't agree with the rules, don't join the organisation.
Witnesses appear at my door sometimes. I'm sure they'd be delighted if I joined, but they've never pulled a gun on me and demanded I do so.
I've taught Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Christian etc students. None of them have ever tried to coerce me into joining their religion.
So becoming a convert is a matter of choice (there are exceptions, but those aren't really religions).
If someone makes a choice they later decide they don't like, or stay within a group knowing they aren't comfortable with that group's aims, then they have nobody to blame but themselves.
By the way, any thoughts on my previous heresy?
Posted by: Romulus Crowe | October 17, 2006 at 05:18 PM
In a 1999 Our Kingdom Ministry (a four page publication distributed monthly to congregation members) it was observed that some individuals were creating web sites ostensibly to preach the good news. Many of these sites were sponsored by “indiscreet” brothers, it was stated. Two years prior, there appeared a statement that there is no need for individuals to prepare web pages about JWs, their activities or beliefs
Posted by: tom sheepandgoats | October 19, 2006 at 11:56 AM