Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Friday, December 05, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Jehovah's Direction Not Man's
Illustration about obedience given by a brother at a new Kingdom Hall in New England:
Do you realize that in the Bible there are many instances of situations where Jehovah's people were given directions that made no sense from a human standpoint and seemed totally illogical?
> Abraham sacrificing his only son Isaac.
> Noah building an ark on dry land when there had never been rain.
> Moses had the Israelites march out in battle formation and then march back in the direction they left. Pharaoh thought they were crazy and then Moses led them to the Red Sea; Pharaoh thought he could kill them all - their backs were against the sea.
> Gideon; his army was whittled down to 300 men. With torches and jars they went out to defeat the enemy.
> Jericho; for 6 days they marched around the city once and on the 7th day they marched seven times and then shouted.
> Jehoshaphat who was afraid when the Ammonites & others were coming to annihilate them prayed, and Jehovah said...put the singers, women, children in front of the armed forces and go and meet the enemy!
All of these situations were Jehovah's direction but they seemed foolish & totally illogical from a human standpoint. It seemed each time as if they would be killed.
Then the brother asked the questions:
'Do you have the faith to follow the direction of the faithful slave, in these last days even if you don't understand what they are asking and it seems as if you will die because the direction is illogical?'
'Will you quickly obey and trust the channel Jehovah is using?'
He told us to carefully meditate on that because we will be in a similar situation in the tribulation where we will think we are facing death, but we need to obey quickly the directions given...we will have to decide what we will do in an instant.
In his introduction, this Brother, who had just returned from Bethel, brought greetings from the Governing body. He said the ''faithful slave” is very concerned about us, especially in regards to the brothers' and sisters' employment in these hard economic times'.
He mentioned that the new meeting arrangement was made because of upcoming hard times and the strain to make ends meet.
This is a small excerpt of what he said.
'Keep your heads erect and do not gaze about'
We don't know what gasoline will be like in January--could be $10 a gallon! How would the friends be able to travel to meetings? And also our jobs may be in jeopardy. How would we react if suddenly we lose our jobs? Would we panic and not come to the meetings?
We need to downsize expenditures and get used to having little. He said the 'slave' advised us to read from our KM the 20 minute part (???) taken from the October 15, 2005, pages 8-11. (You have to read that Watchtower. It is a glimpse into what is coming.)
He also said we have to be prepared to leave everything, our belongings, etc, and be scattered. He said how would we feel if we found ourselves homeless? Moses did. Moses was employed by Pharaoh, had much riches and because of circumstances, he had to be on the run and suddenly he had nothing! No job, no food, nowhere to sleep. Moses was basically a homeless person!
(Boy you could hear a pin drop!)
He said we have to have faith and don't be afraid. Never allow an unexpected incident, including job loss to paralyze you. Do everything you can and then WAIT on Jehovah silently, and see how He will come to your aid ...
Isaiah 41:10 & 13
10 Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not gaze about, for I am your God. I will fortify you. I will really help you. I will really keep fast hold of you with my right hand of righteousness. 13 For I, Jehovah your God, am grasping your right hand, the One saying to you, “Do not be afraid. I myself will help you.”
26 Good it is that one should wait, even silently, for the salvation of Jehovah.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Paul Grundy - Request For Annulment
Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of Australia
2-4 Zouch Road
Denham Court NSW 2565
This letter is to request that my baptism be annulled. This way I will no longer be considered as one of the congregation and avoided as one of the world. I would like to make it clear that I am in no way disassociating myself from any congregation, office or organization associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Several months ago I requested for ... and … to arrange an annulment of my baptism, a request they refused to consider. I had hoped that my total absence from meetings for a number of months, and non association with Jehovah’s Witness friends was indication enough that I am not as a follower of the Watchtower Society. However disciplinary visitations by elders in the congregation show that this matter needs to be formalized. I am now requesting an annulment in writing as I no longer wish to experience the ongoing harassment that I have endured over the past twelve months from … and various other brothers. Neither do I wish to be judged by unchristian principles that are based around the creed of men rather than the regulations of God.
This request for annulment is in order to remove myself from being considered part of any congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and particularly the Parramatta Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, it’s individual elders or it’s legal corporation, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses or it’s legal corporations, The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Inc., The International Bible Students Association, The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of Australia, or any other agency not here named, including all or any agents or assignees. I further request all agents and assignees cease and desist from harassment, stalking, slandering, and/or infringing on my rights.
My annulment is not due to a lack of faith in God; it is solely due to it coming to my attention that my baptism unknowingly included a commitment to an organization that is in effect no more than a legal entity run by men.
Annulment is an option as I am aware of several cases where this has been successfully applied for, including my auntie who was subsequently re-baptized and another person who was not re-baptized.
There is significant cause for annulment. When I was baptized at the age of 16 I was not of legal age to make life’s most important decisions, including marriage, consumption of alcohol, voting and joining an army. Jesus himself was not baptized until the age of 30. Therefore I believe the Watchtower Society uses coercion of impressionable minors to build its ranks. I was misled into forming a contract with the Watchtower Society which binds me to the regulations of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Governing Body, under false pretences of it being “god’s spirit directed organization”. Until this year I believed the Watchtower publications to be truthful. The research I have done at the request of ... has resulted in me finding otherwise.
My baptism and hence contract with the Watchtower Society and my entire life since was based in part on three lies the Watchtower Society uses to misrepresent itself as God’s organization;
· the apparent fact that these are the last days based on a dramatic increase in earthquakes
· that the Watchtower Society foretold 1914 as the start of the last days
that Holy Spirit directs Watchtower Society doctrine and the appointment and disfellowshipping of brothers
The following quotes support that the statements made above were prevalent at the time of my baptism and they continue to be so.
I no longer have access to the Aid to bible Understanding that I studied constantly as a youth. However, the passage on earthquakes that greatly affected my life is contained now in Insight Into the Scriptures volume 1 p.669:
“Jesus foretold earthquakes in significant number and intensity as a feature of the sign of his presence. (Mt 24:3, 7, 8; Lu 21:11) Since 1914 C.E., there has been an increase in the number of earthquakes, resulting in much distress. With data obtained from the National Geophysical Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, supplemented by a number of standard reference works, a tabulation was made in 1984 that included only earthquakes that measured 7.5 or more on the Richter scale, or that resulted in destruction of five million dollars (U.S.) or more in property, or that caused 100 or more deaths. It was calculated that there had been 856 of such earthquakes during the 2,000 years before 1914. The same tabulation showed that in just 69 years following 1914 there were 605 of such quakes. These statistics are a means of indicating the extent of suffering from earthquakes during this period of history.”
This is a gross misrepresentation of facts. With research anyone can find that there have been a fairly constant number of earthquakes for thousands of years. There has been no increase in the number of earthquakes since 1914 or in the power of earthquakes. The 1900’s has not even had the most deaths from all earthquakes combined, the largest or the most destructive earthquakes.
The other concept that I found very important in committing my life to the Watchtower Society was the remarkable insight Russell had under God’s direction to understand bible prophecy in regards to 1914. This regularly is used as proof that Jehovah’s holy spirit was guiding his earthly organization through Russell and so a clear indicator of this being the only true religion. As stated in the Awake! 1973 January 22 p.8
”Of all men used by God to prophesy, Jesus is outstanding. Based on what he said, along with the words of Daniel and John, Jehovah's witnesses pointed to the year 1914, decades in advance, as marking the start of "the conclusion of the system of things."
When the Watchtower refers to the history of the doctrine of 1914 it generally does so by the used of misinformation, however I am sure you would be aware that the above quote is a very direct lie. In fact, nothing Russell pointed to about 1914 has come to pass. Russell believed that the last days started in 1799, Jesus rulership began in 1874 and 1914 was to conclude matters, it was never said to be the start, it was always said to be the end. It was not until the 1930’s that Rutherford overturned a large number of Russell’s teachings and date prophecies and put in place what now resembles the modern day Jehovah's Witnesses. This did not happen in 1919 which Watchtower publications now point to as the date when Jesus cleansed his temple.
The third point critical to my decision to be baptized is that the Watchtower publications imply that Holy Spirit directs the organization Jehovah’s Witnesses identify as represented by the Watchtower Society. This is in the area of doctrine, appointments and disfellowshipping. The only reason I was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses was that I relied on the statements that holy spirit does indeed direct the organization, if it does not why would anyone follow it? Statements such as the following are made;
W87 8/1 p.19
“Recommendations and appointments are made after prayer and under the guidance of the holy spirit. To such nonanointed elders Paul’s counsel applies with equal force: “Pay attention to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the holy spirit has appointed you overseers.”—Acts 20:28.”
pe chap. 23 p.195
No, being governed theocratically, they follow the example of the early governing body in Jerusalem, whose decisions were based on God’s Word and were made under the direction of holy spirit.”
W58 5/1 p.285
“Since that spirit of God operates in conjunction with the organization, to the extent that the local overseers, ministerial assistants and individual ministers respond to the counsel provided them through the theocratic organization, to that extent the way is open by this means for the free flow of God’s holy spirit.”
In regards to doctrine the organization has a history of introducing wrong teachings, such as the dates mentioned previously, the meaning of pyramids, the requirement to worship Jesus up until the 1950’s and so on. They have also changed back to the original stance on a number of life and death issues such as the meaning of superior authorities and the use or organ transplants. None of these can be simply dismissed as new light, they were wrong doctrine introduced by the Watchtower Society and then discarded.
In regards to appointments the above quotes were similarly misleading. As you may personably be aware, I was in Bradbury congregation when Dom was appointed as an elder, despite the fact that he was having at that very time, and had been having for seven years, an adulterous affair whilst in Bethel. Where was the Holy Spirit in that appointment? I know of numerous such cases, such as Shalom who was a practicing homosexual when he accepted his appointment as a Ministerial Servant in Parramatta congregation. I also know of numerous cases of people that continue to be brothers and sisters despite ongoing wrongdoing over many years. Why does the Holy Spirit not uncover such wrongdoing if it truly guides this organization alone?
Jesus said we are to be baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. As a 16 year old I did not understand the implication that my baptism vow also adds “as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with God's spirit-directed organization?” (W85 6/1 p.30) I did not know that this meant I would become bound for life by a legal earthly organization that has built up a wealth of man made rules. How as a 16 year old could I make an informed decision that I was committing myself for life to an earthly organization when the very organization I trusted had no qualms about lying in areas that mattered most to me?
If I knew the above Watchtower statements to not be true, to not be from God, but rather carefully fabricated lies I would never have considered Jehovah's Witnesses to be accurately worshiping God and not have been baptized in association with this particular organization. Now that I am aware of these things I wish for my baptism to be annulled as what I was led to believe I was agreeing with was a misrepresentation of truth. I now wish to be given peace from further harassment in order to recover from the manipulation that I have suffered my entire life from trusting in the Watchtower Society and the mental anguish that it is now causing me and my extended family.
Baptism is a spiritual issue and I would like this situation resolved as such. Based on my understanding that being a Jehovah’s Witness identifies me as a representative of an unusual earthly organization rather than a worshiper of God I would like that identification to be completely erased, rather than to be considered disfellowshipped or disassociated and hence considered an ex Jehovah’s Witness forever more. I have sought legal advice in case my baptism is not annulled based on the spiritual reasons so far provided and will consider starting judicial proceedings if necessary.
A secondary reason I am requesting an annulment rather than the easier alternative of disassociation is due to the defamation to my reputation that will result from being labeled as disassociated and the ongoing negative effect this will have for the remainder of my life. People that read the bible without preconceived notions understand that the Watchtower shunning policy is extended well beyond scriptural guidelines and is in fact closely aligned with methods used by cults and high control groups. The unchristian way in which the Watchtower Society uses shunning in manipulating its members is adversely affecting the lives hundreds of thousands of people and I do not wish for me or my family to be subjected to similar hardship. Neither do I wish untrue defamatory comments that appear in the Watchtower publications regarding those that no longer believe it is God’s organization to be applied to me. This includes statements that I am a person who is;
· rebelling against Jehovah w93 10/1 p.19
· presumptuous w80 8/1 p.20
· loathsome, odious, filthy, to be hated and detested, w52 10/1 p.599
· spreading lies and misinformation, siding with Satan w00 5/1 p.9
· a self-seeking heretics not to even be greeted w83 4/1 p.24
a spiritual drunkards wallowing in doctrinal vomit w90 1/15 p.28
In the United States of America the Watchtower Society has traditionally used “freedom of religion’ under the First Amendment Clause as its primary legal argument against being sued. Whilst this argument makes suing a religion difficult the courts do not look favorably on a religion that uses misinformation or coercive persuasion to indoctrinate or manipulate its members. A primary case for this is Molko v. Holy Spirit Association or the Unification of World Christianity (“Unification”).
Above shows just a small fraction of the misinformation that appears in the Watchtower. The practices of the Watchtower Society are equally based on common methods of coercive persuasion. Dr. Margaret Singer specializes in coercive persuasion. I am not attempting to address whether the Watchtower Society is a cult but rather make the interesting comparison of Watchtower practice with a summary she has done on Robert J Lifton’s research into the coercive techniques used by cults. Lifton’s research was a result of a study he undertook of American prisoners of Communist China. Dr Singer summarises his eight indicators of a cult as follows;
1. ENVIRONMENT CONTROL. Limitation of many/all forms of communication with those outside the group. Books, magazines, letters and visits with friends and family are taboo. "Come out and be separate!"
2. MYSTICAL MANIPULATION. The potential convert to the group becomes convinced of the higher purpose and special calling of the group through a profound encounter / experience, for example, through an alleged miracle or prophetic word of those in the group.
3. DEMAND FOR PURITY. An explicit goal of the group is to bring about some kind of change, whether it be on a global, social, or personal level. "Perfection is possible if one stays with the group and is committed."
4. CULT OF CONFESSION. The unhealthy practice of self disclosure to members in the group. Often in the context of a public gathering in the group, admitting past sins and imperfections, even doubts about the group and critical thoughts about the integrity of the leaders.
5. SACRED SCIENCE. The group's perspective is absolutely true and completely adequate to explain EVERYTHING. The doctrine is not subject to amendments or question. ABSOLUTE conformity to the doctrine is required.
6. LOADED LANGUAGE. A new vocabulary emerges within the context of the group. Group members "think" within the very abstract and narrow parameters of the group's doctrine. The terminology sufficiently stops members from thinking critically by reinforcing a "black and white" mentality. Loaded terms and clichés prejudice thinking.
7. DOCTRINE OVER PERSON. Pre-group experience and group experience are narrowly and decisively interpreted through the absolute doctrine, even when experience contradicts the doctrine.
8. DISPENSING OF EXISTENCE. Salvation is possible only in the group. Those who leave the group are doomed.
All eight points are readily applicable to the Watchtower Society.
My baptism vow was entered into as a minor after being subjected to a lifetime of coercive persuasion and misinformation. Many precious years of my life have been wasted in pointless pursuits strongly promoted in conjunction with misinformation about the time of the end by the Watchtower Society, including three and a half years as a volunteer worker at the headquarters of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of Australia. Actions taken by … and associated Jehovah’s Witness brothers over the last twelve months, including unannounced visitations at night, amount to harassment and have caused significant emotional distress and resulted in medical appointments, current use of prescription medicine and a referral to a psychiatrist for religious induced stress. Any public announcement that I am “no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses” will most certainly exacerbate such conditions, particularly in regard to the shunning I am to receive from my extended family for the remainder of my life. Furthermore my businesses will suffer financially. Though courts do not inquire about the truthfulness of a belief, they do not look favorably upon religious induced cause and effect as described above, particularly when coercive persuasion and misinformation is used to aggrieve citizens.
I do not wish to commence judicial proceedings. Nor do I wish to cause any undue trouble for any of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I do not wish to undermine the faith of people that are content to follow their religious beliefs. If a person actively seeks me out to enquire about my beliefs consistent application of ‘freedom of religion’ will allow me to discuss these matters. All that I request is to be considered as “one of the world” and left to establish a new life free from the manipulation of a highly legalistic organization. The only way for this to be possible is to either be left alone with a written guarantee of no further action from this day forward from any elders acting on behalf of the Watchtower Society in regards to any spiritual matter, or a letter that outlines the annulment of my baptism.
I will not tolerate any announcement in regards to myself to be made in public about my standing as a Jehovah’s Witness and will sue each individual person involved in such an announcement. I understand and accept the elders of Parramatta congregation may feel the need to present a talk outlining the dangers of associating with non believers and those that have left the faith. I am also willing to accept the elders of Parramatta congregation talking to members of the congregation and naming me personally as one to be avoided as a person of the world, or even one whose baptism has been annulled.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
I am writing to share with you the recent turn of events, which have caused some very significant changes in certain viewpoints that I hold to, and in my life altogether. I truly believe that I have always been a zealous person for Jehovah throughout my entire life in the truth. I have been baptized for over 15 years now, since June of 1990, with another three years of studying before baptism. My family and I have always been regular at the meetings (as you all well know), regular and active in service, always present at our assemblies and conventions. We've always participated in our Kingdom Hall cleaning and maintenance assignments. We auxiliary pioneered often. I have served as an Elder for many years. I served as a magazine assistant and then servant years ago, did the literature for a while, handled the territory for years, as well as a couple years doing the accounts. I never refused a privilege (that I can recall) and like many of you have given more talks than I can remember. I conducted book studies as well as the Theocratic Ministry School during my years as an elder. My life in, and appreciation for the truth has always been something I valued tremendously. I've also made it a point to have a regular family-study with my wife and kids. I always tried to make the studies enjoyable and somewhat entertaining. Whenever they did make mistakes or developed less-spiritual attitudes, I always counseled, encouraged and tried to help them. When they made serious mistakes, in addition to my own corrective and helpful measures, I helped them to see the need to also go forward by going to the elders and getting the necessary discipline and counsel. Nothing was ever to be hidden. We all regularly participated in the meetings as well. I always invited my family to try to share at least one comment at each meeting if at all possible. I almost always kept up with the day's text and weekly bible reading schedule too. We socialized extensively, with more sleepovers and get-togethers than can be remembered. We were often one of the last ones to leave the Kingdom Hall after meetings. There have never been any doubts about my love for Jehovah. He has always been very real to me. My relationship with him is now and has always been very special to me!
Recently however, I've had some issues come up into my life that have challenged these convictions, my core beliefs and even my explicit trust in the organization itself. I have always simply "trusted" what the faithful slave teaches us even if I did not necessarily understand particular viewpoints. Back in early 1990 for example, when I was going over my baptism questions, I remember not being fully convinced of the society's position regarding no blood transfusions. During that second set of questions at my house, the elder suggested that I just try to trust the Society's direction for now (since this was the only serious doubt that I had) and perhaps later on down the road I would begin to see our position on this issue more clearly. Well, I did just what he suggested. If the organization can be right about a paradise earth, condition of the dead, rejection of the Trinity etc etc, I figured it must be right about this issue as well. After all, we do believe this is the only organization Jehovah is truly using today. Trusting it was always easy for me. No questions asked!
Well, while keeping up with the news one day back in November, I noticed there was a very flattering article on the MSNBC News Website front page; the title of the article was "Jehovah's Roofing Service". It was about Jehovah's Witnesses volunteering to put on a new roof for a Hurricane Katrina victim. The article was so encouraging that I e-mailed it to many friends in the truth; something I rarely do if at all. At the bottom of that article however, I noticed people were publicly commenting about the article itself. After the first day there were perhaps some 30 comments. The next day there was over 100. After a few more days they finally capped the comments off with almost three hundred altogether. Some were critical, (mostly "the Witnesses only help their own" variety) a few were casual and nice, but most were from other Witnesses like us, defending the truth against these so-called "critics". In fact I too at one point sent in a comment defending the truth, though it was never posted since there were many others similar to it. There was one comment near the end however, that stopped to make me think several times throughout the next few weeks. It actually shook my faith a bit you might say. It presented negative comments about the truth that I had never heard of before. So much so, that I had to look up Watchtower and Awake articles to verify if these statements were in fact true. Well, after a little research, I found out that these comments were indeed true. One of the claims had to do with the Golden Age magazine (now the Awake) years ago saying that vaccinations were not allowed for Jehovah's Witnesses. The article said that accepting a vaccine was: "a crime, an outrage, and a delusion". It also said that the smallpox vaccination itself would: "cause syphilis, cancers, leprosy and many other loathsome diseases". For 21 years the Society did not allow vaccinations for Jehovah's Witnesses. I had never heard of this before. Even more of an issue for me from this same comment, was that I learned from 1967 to 1980, the Society also forbid Jehovah's Witnesses from accepting organ transplants. Going so far as calling it "cannibalism". The consequences for those accepting an organ transplant was disfellowshipping; complete shunning for those that did not follow this decree. After over 12 years, the society did finally reverse this, instead making it a "conscience matter". My immediate thoughts after learning about these two facts were; I wonder how many people died from following the Society's direction regarding these two medical procedures? This information bothered me quite a bit.
Since 1945 blood transfusions have been completely unacceptable for Jehovah's Witnesses. Since 1961, disfellowshipping was the consequence. This
position against blood transfusions has been well publicized with numerous articles throughout the years in many of the Society's publications. Transfusing certain "fractions of blood" has just recently become a "conscience matter", rather than forbidden. Storing our own blood for an operation, as well as donating our own to the world's blood supply have always been condemned as well. As I have already mentioned here, I have always been uneasy with this particular position by the society that blood transfusions (even as a last resort) are not allowed. However, like I also mentioned above, I have always simply taken the position to "trust the Society" with issues like this that I may not have agreed with nor fully understood. Realizing now however, from this newer information to me that the society has made incorrect stands in the past regarding vaccinations and organ transplants (and since reversed these), has caused an even greater sense of concern in my mind over this issue regarding blood transfusions today. After coming to learn about these things I have since dedicated enormous amounts of time and efforts to come to a better understanding of this position both in the eyes of the Society, as well as from the medical community during the last few months. I have researched and studied and compared notes from too many articles to list here. I have extensively compared scriptures from several bible translations to try to gain the fullest understanding possible. Because of the fact that people have died, and will continue to do so, it is imperative to me that I fully understand the reasons for our position. Though my children are now fully grown up and can make their own educated decisions, I still actively participate in the door-to-door ministry encouraging others to join us in worshiping Jehovah as his Witnesses. This position of abstaining from blood transfusions could very well affect those that I might happen to bring into the organization or their children. After many months now of continuous soul-searching, prayer, exhaustive research and meditation/reflection of this research, I have come to the firm conclusion that the society's position to abstain from blood transfusions is in error. Just like it was on vaccinations and organ transplants prior, which have since been reversed. I base this conclusion on many factors, which include:
*** A blood *transfusion* is not the same as eating or drinking blood as has been illustrated with the: "If a doctor told you to abstain from alcohol, but instead of drinking it, you transfused it into your veins..." illustration that the society often uses. If a person was starving to death and was given multiple blood transfusions instead of food, he would still die. A transfusion of blood replaces the volume of blood lost (much like replacing an organ) which is needed to sustain life, nothing more. No nourishment is gained by a blood transfusion, as would be the case when eating or drinking the blood, which is forbidden. This illustration often used by the society does apply with alcohol and other digestible foods, but not for blood. It simply stays in your system indefinitely.
*** The scriptures in both the Hebrew and Greek sections of the bible, which say: "blood must be drained out" and to, "abstain from... blood" were always referring directly to the eating or drinking of animal blood. The blood of the animal that had been killed was to be "poured out" rather than eaten or drank. This token act of faith demonstrated to Jehovah that the life that had been taken belongs to him. The blood of the animal represents the life of that animal. Humans do have the right to take animals for food only because the creator allows us to do so. Pouring out the blood first, acknowledges this arrangement. By including modern day blood transfusions in the current application of these verses however (which is not the same as eating or drinking of animal blood), the society is going beyond what is actually written in its application. In addition, the one supplying the blood for a transfusion has not died at all, which was always the case when an animal was bled. A "living" donor instead provides the needed volume of blood-fluid that has been lost for another "living" individual. And in many cases over the years, as a last resort this has been and can still be a life-saving medical act. In other cases by refusing this particular medical treatment because of our stand against blood transfusions, lives have been and will continue to be lost. Is this what Jehovah wants, and is this premature loss of life really necessary?
*** We can also learn something about this from Jesus very own example. Jesus was also willing to perform miracles on the Sabbath (something against the mosaic law) in order to save lives, or even just heal the sick. Would not Jesus have made an exception then to a dietary rule in order to save a human life? In Luke 14:5-6, the bible account says: "And he said to them: "Who of YOU, if his son or bull falls into a well, will not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?" 6 And they were not able to answer back on these things." The account in Mathew 12:11 goes even further, it says: "So they (Pharisees) asked him "Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath?" that they might get an accusation against him. 11 He said to them: "Who will be the man among YOU that has one sheep and, if this falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not get hold of it and lift it out? 12 All considered, of how much more worth is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do a fine thing on the Sabbath." If Jesus was willing to value the life of an ANIMAL enough to rescue that animal's life despite this "work" being done on a Sabbath, how much more so then should the life of a human being be given priority over the strict interpretation of the law? Well, we need not really ask since Jesus answered this himself when he said in verse 12, "All considered, of how much more worth is a man than a sheep!". Yes rescuing a sheep from a pit on the sabbath is the loving and merciful thing to do. Additionally, Jesus performed many other miraculous works on the Sabbath. Yet to work on the Sabbath was to bring the death penalty upon oneself. And in fact, the scriptures actually record this penalty being meted out to a Sabbath violator. (See Exodus 35:2; Numbers 15:32-36. Here we see clear evidence though that Jesus appreciated the principle that love triumphs over law. That when life is at stake, (even an animal's life), rules can be set aside as circumstances require. LIFE is valuable and precious. Jesus showed this love for life and people over and over. While by contrast the oppressive, rule-keeping religious leaders often missed the entire purpose of the law. By not allowing a blood transfusion to be given, especially in last-resort situations, but rather allowing these ones to die instead, is the proper "respect" for life being shown as Jesus clearly demonstrated? Imagine if this involved allowing one of "our own" to die due to such a strict stand by the society.
*** I've also appreciated another example that demonstrates this same "principle" of Jesus' valuing a person's life over the written law. It had to do with the woman who had a flow of blood for 12 years. Under the Mosaic Law a running discharge made her "unclean", and anyone even touching her would also have to wash and be considered unclean until evening. However, she went even further than this by actually touching Jesus garment secretly in hopes of getting healed without anyone knowing. Jesus as we know, perceived that power went out from him and realized what she had done. Others too were watching. Notice though, that rather than condemn this woman for what she did, Jesus instead compassionately tells her: "Your faith has made you well. Go in peace, be in good health from your grievous sickness...." Once again we can see the spirit of the law (and the value of a human life) taking precedence over the supposed letter of the law, which the woman had clearly broken.
*** Acts 15:28-29 (which is the foundation scripture for society's position against blood transfusions since the Mosaic Law is no longer in force -this too is the society's view-) reads: 28 "For the holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to YOU, except these necessary things, 29 to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication. If YOU carefully keep yourselves from these things, YOU will prosper. Good health to YOU!" The society considers this to be an all-encompassing, absolute, eternal command. However, notice that along with abstaining from blood, we also hear the command to abstain from "things sacrificed to idols" Now, if you read 1 Corinthians 8:4-8, we can see that Paul there says that the "eating of food sacrificed to idols" was really a conscience matter. Obviously then, the Acts 15:28-29 could not have such a broad, absolute meaning since another part of that same scripture is considered a conscience matter by the apostle Paul in another verse. This decision instead was rendered so that the newer "Gentile" Christians would be conscious not to stumble the more traditional Jewish Christians, many of which were still rooted in Mosaic Law. The decision was acknowledged that they were not under Mosaic Law any longer. However to prevent unnecessarily stumbling of these ones, this decree was given. This is also how bible scholars today understand these verses. Paul's words quoted above at 1 Cor 8:4-8 verify this since again, he there states that eating foods sacrificed to idols is a personal decision. The command to abstain from fornication is an absolute, eternal command, since it is clearly repeated often throughout the Christian Greek scriptures. Not the case at all regarding blood. Nowhere else is this mentioned. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and Galatians 5: 19-21 contain many specific warnings for Christians, but blood is not one of them. Nor is it mentioned anywhere else in the Greek scriptures.
*** If consuming blood was such a capitol offense, why were Saul's men not executed when they fell to eating blood along with the meat? (1 Sam. 14:31-35)
*** I also wanted to find out how the most traditional, conservative and orthodox Jews today felt about accepting blood transfusions, since they still object to any traces of blood in their meat and other strict dietary guidelines from the bible by insisting on kosher foods. After researching, I found out that they DO accept blood transfusions, considering these bible commands to be based on the eating and drinking of animal blood; something a blood transfusion is not.
*** Another thing that now clouds the blood transfusion issue altogether for me is the 2000 decree that certain blood "fractions" are now permissible. Many of these are now considered a "conscience matter". Just a few years ago most of these were forbidden. I have studied this very carefully and thoroughly as well. Some of these "fractions" take far more blood and donors to make them, than accepting the whole blood unaltered takes. Some hemophiliac treatments for example, (which have been long permitted) require the collection and storage of massive quantities of blood (up to 2500 blood donors for a single treatment). These are not just some made-up numbers thrown out here, but can be easily verified. Other more common "fractions" still require many liters of blood, from many different people to donate. It is often just a "concentrated" form of blood. These facts bring up two different, problematic issues in my mind then. For one, how can we say that we as Jehovah's Witnesses "abstain from blood", since all of these fractions that Watchtower Society now permits like albumin, EPO, hemoglobin, blood serums, Immunoglobulins, and hemophiliac treatments (clotting factors VIII & IX) clearly tap into the world's blood supply and can be (and are) used by Jehovah's Witnesses today? And two, if then, we as Jehovah's Witnesses can with a clear conscience now USE these fractions that come from the blood supply, why are we then forbidden from donating to this same blood supply that we now are allowed to tap into? And, why are we still not allowed to store our own blood? The pouring of blood "back to the ground" was long ago nailed to the torture stake when Jesus sacrificed his life; hence we are no longer under that Mosaic series of laws. It sure appears to me then, that we no longer abstain from blood, and can and do dip into the worlds blood supply, often in great quantity, yet we are still not allowed to put back into this same supply, nor can we store our own blood.
Another problem with "fractions" (for me) is that certain fractions such as "Albumin" ARE acceptable by the society, but others making up even smaller amounts are not. "Albumin" for example is a blood plasma protein that is produced in the liver and forms a large proportion of all plasma protein. This "authorized" fraction, Albumin, however makes up just 2.2 percent of the whole blood and again IS approved by the society today. White blood cells on the other hand are NOT allowed, not authorized by the society, yet these white blood cells make up less that one percent of whole blood. White blood cells are absolutely needed to fight infections and are often very important for accident and post-surgical patients. Yet again, these white blood cells are not acceptable by the society. Another fraction, Blood "Platelets" are needed to help cause clotting, so people do not bleed to death (especially important with chemotherapy, other cancer treatments and hemophiliacs). Yet platelets are another fraction NOT authorized. Platelets make up only .17 percent of whole blood. That's not even one quarter of one percent, (a far smaller portion than albumin). Yet these platelets are forbidden by the Society. I have read the literature and fail to see the logic of this "approved" and "disapproved" list with no explanations anywhere. It's also worth noting that if you add up all of the fractions that ARE acceptable by the society, you come up with a total of 97 percent of what makes up whole blood that is pumping through our veins right now. However, these cannot be taken together as whole blood, but must be instead broken down and taken separately, in minute fractions. It has been compared before to being allowed to eat ham, bread and cheese, as long as they're kept and eaten separately. Yet not being allowed to eat them together for instance as a ham and cheese sandwich. I just fail to see the reasonableness in this kind of doctrine. "Hemopure" is an acceptable blood-product that Jehovah's Witnesses are allowed to use. It is made from purified bovine, or in simpler terms, Cow's Blood. How can we as humans be allowed to use this purified animal blood today, yet not be allowed to use our own blood, or that of another living human donor?
So then, when I add up all of the facts listed above here; that blood transfusions are not the same as eating blood. That the scriptures themselves are always referring to the "eating or drinking" of animal blood that is forbidden (not transfusions). How Paul shows at 1 Corinthians. 8:4-8 that the Acts 15:29 command is not all encompassing command but had a particular purpose. That Saul's men were not killed after eating blood. How the strictest of Jews today allow blood transfusions. That Jesus clearly demonstrated how life (even that of an animal) was more important than a narrow, strict interpretation of the law, with the "animal that fell into a pit on the Sabbath" illustration he used, and the "Woman with a flow of blood" real-life example. How the one donating blood is a LIVE donor and offering this blood to another person that is also alive and in need. That the Society was wrong before about forbidding vaccinations and organ transplants and then reversed these decisions. Many loyal Witnesses nonetheless died from such stands. And, the Society has now changed its position once again, instead of saying no to all blood, to now say "fractions" of blood are acceptable, even though the particular fractions approved and disapproved seem to have no particular rhyme or reason and we are still not allowed to donate blood nor store their own. Though we can use cow's blood. It seems fairly easy for me then, to come to the conclusion that I can no longer support the society's position on blood transfusions today. In fact I believe it was an erroneous decision from the beginning, and has only been made even more confusing and unstable with the latest "fractions" adjustments.
So, what does one do then? I do love the truth, and certainly the friends in the truth. I have no problems at all with any people in the truth and have spent almost half of my life now in the organization. I believe I get along with about everybody. No exaggerating. This is solely a personal position, a conscience matter regarding organizational policies that I can no longer agree with and accept. If a person I brought into the truth allowed one of their own to die because of this stand, that I helped them to take, I would have a difficult time living with myself. Not only can I no longer support this blood position with a clear conscience, but after thoroughly investigating, I believe it is truly wrong. I can also no longer with a clear conscience bring other people into the organization, since blood is a very integral and well-known position of Jehovah's Witnesses. I cannot see a way around this. Even if the Society were to reverse itself entirely, how would anybody feel about losing a loved one during the last 60 years this has been in force, only to have the policy changed altogether? And what took them so long would be monumental issues in the eyes of many. Imagine how much work would be involved in overhauling all of the literature if this position were reversed. The Bible Topics for Discussion sections for example in the new world translation bibles would have to be changed, and many other things... too many to list here. So I cannot quite see this reversal happening anytime soon if at all. Though others feel a reversal is imminent.
What complicates this entire issue even further for me now, and adds another problem with the organization in my mind, is another entirely separate issue (which I also find greatly disturbing) that will follow my change of position here now. IF I cannot support this doctrine on blood any longer, and if I cannot with a clear conscience have my blood card signed to refuse blood transfusions, I would then be considered as having "disassociated" myself from the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses by this particular stand in and of itself. If another brother or sister were to ask me "why are you no longer going out in the ministry", or "what has happened to you spiritually", or things appear to have changed with you etc. etc.; if I were to reply to them by sharing my honest opinions about the organization's past mistakes, and my opinions disagreeing with the Watchtower Society, I would then be disfellowshipped for Apostasy. This fact in itself does not sit too well with me since I have done nothing wrong here. I still love Jehovah; I love my wife and family. I do not drink, nor practice anything the bible tells me not to. I pay my taxes, try to live honestly and remain a good influence for my family and others. I have not changed as a person at all here. Yet because of a "conscience" issue, and because I can no longer support the society on what I truly believe is a flawed issue, I will be cut-off from my all of my brothers and sisters throughout the organization. This policy too, is just wrong! The Watchtower Society has stated in print several times that it is not infallible; that they DO make mistakes. Yet even though it admits mistakes have been made, it still insists that we as publishers accept whatever it teaches as if it were coming from God himself. Those that do not agree with these teachings and share those opinions (even though nothing else bad or unscriptural has been done) are subsequently disfellowshipped. Your life, as you know it, is ripped apart. To disfellowship another simply because that person might disagree with a particular interpretation of a teaching is not right, just or fair. Past history fully supports the idea that the society has been wrong before and can be wrong now. Organ transplants, vaccinations, end of the world predictions and other doctrinal errors to name just a few. Clearly they were wrong about these issues. Lives have been and are now involved with the current policy on blood transfusions. To be expected to fully support this policy or be expelled is just unreasonable and not in harmony with what we know about Jehovah. To encourage other people we meet in the ministry to "examine their religion", yet at the same time to forbid us to do the same is nothing short of hypocritical. We are told that we can examine our faith, though this must be done "In-house". In other words, only through the society's publications can we examine our religion. Any other sources that are critical are considered apostate and dangerous. I consider this position by the organization to be very similar to my wanting to buy a new Nikon camera for example. Imagine if Nikon told me that I could ONLY use their-own reference material to gain information? Consumer Reports, Popular Photography or any other "Non-Partisan" publication would be completely off limits. And, if I did go to these "outside" sources, and shared any critical opinions/reviews with others, I would no longer be allowed to even buy their camera, plus other people who like Nikon cameras would have to now shun me altogether. How reasonable is this? This is exactly what the society is doing. Those that know me will tell you that whenever I make any type of serious purchase, I do my homework and extensive research. We just recently purchased a high-end scanner; I spent perhaps two months or more comparing scanners, reading reviews, learning as much as I possibly could about this piece of equipment before purchasing. If it is reasonable then to carefully "examine" the purchase of a piece of equipment, and it is reasonable to ask others in our ministry to carefully "examine" their own religion, why is it unreasonable then to carefully "examine" our own religion and means of worshiping God? And, if one does examine his faith and does find problems and then expresses these concerns about what he has learned, how can the "complete removal" of that person be considered anything but completely unfair?
This position also has nothing to do with my own son being disfellowshipped, though some I am sure will choose to believe otherwise. I will however add this information about this personal ordeal that brings to light another problem; After receiving a very emotional phone call from my disfellowshipped son thousands of miles away in September 2004, I was told by one of our elders that it was, "wrong for me to have accepted that phone call". Instead he said I should have told him to "locate the elders in his territory" and that "we need to tighten up things around here in our congregation". This was the most insensitive counsel that I have ever heard in my years in the truth. His mother had recently committed suicide just a couple of years before, he had just turned 18, was own his own for the first time in his life, disfellowshipped, was 5000 miles from home and felt extremely lonely, sad and despondent. Sure, I could have "turned down" that call all right. Who in his right frame of mind though would have done such a thing to their own son or daughter, in such a time of need? Then, nine months later, after discussing it with the rest of my family, we agreed to allow him to return to living in our house, from Maui. (This decision was due to his very deep depression, suicidal tendencies, a drug dependency problem, and having the ACL torn out in his knee...all at the same time). We agreed to allow him back home to get the help needed to get back on his feet, under very strict circumstances I might add (as the watchtower allows) which included his going to meetings, bringing no leaven into the home, turning his life back around by serving Jehovah, (which he did for six months by the way). I was then told by this same elder that my decision to allow him home was "cutting the hand of Jehovah short, and another big mistake", and because of this erroneous decision on my part, I as his father "might be the one destroyed at Armageddon". This same elder then took me off the watchtower reader's list for the first time in my eight years living on this island. (I had no problem with this, but felt I should at least be told about it) When I inquired as to whether it was just a coincidence or by design that I was missing from that list, he told me that it was by "choice" and that there would be "more where that came from". While this "list" of unreasonable responses about my helping my own son after his being disfellowshipped may seem completely unfair and far less than loving, the brother himself truly believed what he was doing was the correct thing. I will also add that there was very little personal resentment on either of our parts. He sincerely believed he was just doing what the society wanted. One of the things I cannot understand then, is how we as Jehovah's Witnesses can spend enormous amounts of time assisting other people in our ministry --people that are often depressed, fighting addictions, language issues, living at times as we know very ungodly lives--, to do better and we ultimately give these ones the help and assistance needed so they can serve God in an acceptable manner. However, if one of our very OWN people or family members has been disfellowshipped, and happens to fall into a similar dangerous pattern (one that often begs for loving assistance now more than ever) we have minimal provisions at all to help these ones of our own to get back onto their feet. They in fact must be "cut off" and completely shunned by all at a time when many will actually need help the most. The example of my son above illustrates this well. For someone to lose their mother at such a young age (15) via a gun in her mouth, and then spiral into a course of rebellion is not that uncommon. But to completely have to cut that person off, without any assistance whatsoever from the congregation, when help is MOST needed at this time, is contrary to what the scriptures teach us about Jehovah. He continued to ask the Israelites to come back to him over and over. Even assisting these former rebels to gain his favor once again. Now, because this same individual (my son) now moves out of my home, I too, as his father, am expected to cut off all ties and association with him. Even keeping business dealings to a minimum. There are downtimes in our lives when we need help and support and love, rather than just blindly cutting these ones off indefinitely. Where is the balance, the love and the help in such a policy as this today? Even if these disfellowshipped ones did turn their course of life around, and did become married, faithful, honest etc. By not agreeing to go back to the meetings for six months (minimum) or sometimes much longer in this shunned state, and then to go back in front of a judicial committee for judging whether they have truly repented, these people would remain disfellowshipped for the rest of their lives.
This letter here and my changes in position toward the organization itself are not based on this situation with my son, or any other "personal" problems. It is solely because of my making a reasonable, logical and careful examination about certain policies that we as Jehovah's Witnesses often blindly accept without questions. This change is not based on any personal problems or, my wanting to leave the organization. In fact leaving is the LAST thing I have even wanted to do. I have always valued the organization. After an exhaustive examination, that has taken many months to go through. And after coming to learn many things I did not know before when I was younger and much more naïve than now. There are four specific issues that have changed my opinions about and support for the Watchtower Society today.
1- For the many reasons clearly stated above, I am thoroughly convinced the position to abstain from blood transfusions is wrong. Lives, in my honest opinion, are needlessly lost because of this dangerously flawed doctrine. Allowing certain blood "fractions" since the year 2000 only complicates and muddies this position even further. Being allowed to USE some fractions from the world blood supply, but not being able to donate towards this same supply, nor store my own blood for medical use, only adds the additional element of hypocrisy to this stand that Jehovah's Witnesses are known the world over for taking. The lack of reasons why some fractions are allowed and other (though smaller) fractions are not allowed adds further to the quandary the society has found itself in today. This stand usually does not give a good witness nor leave a positive impression on people's minds at all.
2- The Society has a lengthy history of other doctrinal mistakes and medical blunders such as not allowing vaccinations and organ transplants in the not so distant past. These mandates were wrong when they first came off the presses and they were wrong many years later when finally reversed. To attribute these flip-flops to "the light getting brighter" is just irresponsible. Jehovah does not change his mind like this. He is a "God of truth"... "Who cannot lie". Imperfect men in positions of oversight have made these doctrinal decisions, which have caused lives to be cut short without justifiable reasons. There were no apologies made either. This poor historical record of mistakes only makes the current blood transfusion policy even more suspect. Implicit trust in an organization that has a track record of mistakes and errors like this is simply foolish, dangerous and irresponsible. Especially when we must force these policies on younger, inexperienced, helpless ones. To be forced into "practice sessions" with our young people so they can make a better stand against blood transfusions does not sound right either.
3- The number of times the Society has predicted the "end of the world" is surprisingly large. I never knew just how often this was the case. The end of the system was predicted, in writing, in these years: 1874, 1875, 1881, 1888, 1914, 1915, 1918, (could occur in 1920), 1925, ("resurrection of Princes" in 1929), 1932, 1940, ("any day now" in 1942), ("why not now" in 1951), 1975, and before the generation that was born in 1914 dies, which was dropped in 1996 after it was clearly another false prediction. Every one of these predictions, in writing, has proved false. People sold homes, gave up opportunities to start families, secure employment, gave up opportunities for an education and instead spread a message of doom that was simply untrue with each prediction made. All of these failed. We really are known the world over for these continuous false "end of the world" prophecies. When looking up information from secular (non-apostate, such as encyclopedia) sources, each authority said basically the same thing; that Jehovah's Witnesses are known the world over for our "many end of the world proclamations", that did not come true. Deuteronomy 18:20-22 pointedly states this: "However, the prophet who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded him to speak or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. 21 And in case you should say in your heart: "How shall we know the word that Jehovah has not spoken?" 22 when the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak. With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it. You must not get frightened at him.'"
4- Despite the numerous errors in doctrine, medical mistakes, end of the world false predictions and unscriptural blood transfusion bans that fill its pages of history, the society still demands full support of its policies and doctrines today. Notice this comment from a 5/1/72 WT (page 272): "That they [Jehovah's Witness] must adhere absolutely to the decisions and scriptural understandings of the Society because God has given it this authority over his people." If this is God's true and only channel, how then can they be so wrong, so often, on doctrine, medical issues, end of the world predictions, and yet still demand complete obedience from its members or face risk of complete shunning? If any baptized Witness *expresses* his thoughts (even if only as opinions) that are contrary to what is taught in the Society's publications right now, they will be disfellowshipped for disrupting unity. Squashed like a bug. This "squelching mechanism" that I like to call it keeps an unhealthy fear in its rank and file members to stay in line. Losing all contact with friends and family is just too much to bear for many. Life as you know it is gone. In addition, we are also told time and again not to even consider looking at outside sources. All of this "outside material" is called "apostate literature." The term "Apostate" applies based on one simple criterion; is it critical of the organization? Most sources critical of the organization are not apostate. They are secular; and they are often simply stating the facts about this organization. Facts, that the society does not want its members to know anything about. Our examining the society can ONLY be done, we are told, if it is done within the organization. So, by not being allowed to examine our own faith through outside sources, and by having the ever-present threat of disfellowshipping hovering over us if we were to speak critically of the organization, most Jehovah's Witnesses do not even know about these many issues that I have just posted above. As a nearly 20 year member, I too never knew many of these things (because we are told not to) until I finally decided to examine based on the unusual circumstances mentioned above about seeing an article on a national news website that allowed critical comments about the organization after the article. Comments that shook my faith so much I decided to investigate things further. Comments that I was not supposed to look at not even think about because they are called "Apostate".
Additionally, I have other (though perhaps less serious) issues that raise doubts in my mind as well. For example, many of the brothers are far more concerned about their "positions" than they are with the genuine well being of the PEOPLE in the congregations. Over and over I have seen this clearly demonstrated. It is sad to watch. Nowhere is it more obvious that when the circuit overseer visits twice each year. The manner in which many people change for these visits regarding their comments, showing up for service, finally arriving on time and being friendlier is remarkably transparent at times. Also, having to count our time each month and then turn in that time to the headquarters just seems to take away from the value of really wanting to talk to others. Service can at times just be about getting in our double-digit numbers rather than about truly helping people. The real meaning of witnessing can be lost. I know of many others that feel this way as well. There just seems at times to be so many rules if one wants to remain in good standing. Brothers cannot grow any type of beards. Cannot even work on military or church buildings if self-employed. We're not talking about worshiping there, but even performing a service in these places is forbidden. We cannot even go into another church for a funeral or wedding of another friend, family member or relative. Our children are not allowed to play any organized sports or join other clubs in or out of school. We are "not encouraged" to get pschycological help for those that really need it. Sisters have to wear dresses at all meetings, service, assemblies etc. I realize many of these are minor to some, but they just illustrate the point that we are governed, as an organization by a set of many rules and regulations that are not all scriptural. This list can just go on and on.
Any ONE of these many issues that are listed above could raise serious doubts in my mind about whether this religion is in fact the one and only truth. However, when I add up ALL these issues together (and many more things not even listed here), I cannot help but come to the inescapable conclusion in my mind, that this is not the sole truth on the earth today. That this is not the one single organization used by God that I had always believed it to be. This has been and will continue to be one of the most difficult things I have ever had to realize and accept. I do love the friends and have no ill feelings or animosity towards a single one. Not even one. This decision is not about people in this organization. I have many friends and have enjoyed my associations with all of Jehovah's Witnesses. This is instead about the "policies", the doctrinal policies that my conscience will no longer allow me to be a part of. Yes, I still see positive things being accomplished by this organization and have tried to balance it all out before making any definitive decisions. So I am not one-sided when it comes to evaluating the organization and my own subsequent position on what to do. I might compare this quandary I am in to something like driving a fancy sports car; there might be some truly "good" things it can do. Lots of power, great handling, maybe even a real beauty on the outside. But if you also knew it had these so-called "problems"; perhaps the brakes are known to just go out, or the gas tank explodes when hit from behind or has a lousy track record in terms of reliability, it would still be irresponsible in my sincere opinion to just disregard or "look the other way" when it comes to the apparent flaws that are obvious here... even though there is a measure of good too. The vehicle that I have chosen to use to worship God (this organization) is very flawed in my honest opinion. So much so, that I no longer find it acceptable to use to worship God. I am not trying to use some type of magnifying glass to intensify the negatives with the society in general or with regards to the blood transfusion position in particular. I am also not influenced by any so-called "apostate" propaganda. What I have written above here is entirely my own. How I personally feel, from my own evaluations, as carefully as I know how. These issues are real, and in my mind they are all very significant problems.
Because I am willing to share this research and information with those that may wish to ask why I no longer can support the organization today (as I'd hope others would do for me), I would soon be disfellowshipped from the organization by my local congregation. Disfellowshipped for simply sharing information that the organization does not want its members to find out on their own. Disfellowshipped for offering unbiased, reasonable, logical and well-researched opinions that are not supported by the Watchtower Society. I am therefore left with no other alternative that I can think of, but to disassociate myself from the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. It would hopefully be fair and reasonable to expect to be able to just go out into my own new direction while respecting each other's beliefs along the way. But instead, I will have to be treated as an outcast. Considered as one in the same light now as an unrepentant thief, murderer, drunkard, adulterer etc. Completely shunned, simply for disagreeing with the Watchtower Society's doctrine. Doctrine that has been proven to be wrong many times before. If anyone has another suggestion or idea that I have not already mentioned, or that might help, I am still open and willing to consider these as well. But I have already looked at all things as conscientiously and thoroughly as I am capable of doing for several months now. I sincerely appreciate those of you taking the time to of read all of this. At least you will know why I will no longer be one of Jehovah's Witnesses. I wish everybody in the organization only good things. I have very fond memories too.
My very best to each and every one of you,
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
June 16th, 1994
This letter is the most difficult I have ever had to write. It will no doubt disappoint you. Some will prefer to be hurt rather than benefited by what I am about to tell you. Please sit down before you read on.
As I leave Bethel, I am also leaving Jehovah's Witnesses. I did not want to make this decision public. I wanted to leave quietly-simply fade from view. But there is no honorable way to leave the organization. In a day or two I will turn in a letter of disassociation. If I don't I will most certainly be disfellowshipped sooner or later. I've never tried to convert others, but some men will feel they have to warn you. An effort will be made to convince you that I am a bad and bitter person. Though I spent nearly half a century going house to house, you will hear that I left the JW's because I didn't like that work. I will be accused of independent thinking and, worse yet, of associating with apostates. I know this from observing what has happened to others. Despite a lifetime of trying my best to live like a Christian should, my reputation will be blackened by those who make a show of being loyal to the Society. All this because I can no longer conscientiously support the organization, and there is no hope of changing my mind. The organization in effect will be disfellowshiping you and not me because you will not be allowed to speak to me though I have the freedom to talk to anybody. The following is my side of the story.
I have not been influenced by apostates or any other religious group. My decision is based on prayerful study of the Bible and the Watchtower Society's publications. I am convinced that certain beliefs of the Society are contrary to the teachings of the Bible. For example:
Matt. 28:19 says baptism is to be in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but the W(atchtower) 85 6/1 substitutes "spirit directed organization" for "holy spirit".
Luke. 21:34-36 and other scriptures show that we each must be faithful and discreet in caring for what the Master has entrusted to us, but the Society says only "the remnant" as a group are the "slave" of Matt. 24:45-51. - See Matt. 25:13-30 ; Lu. 12:48 ; Lu. 16:10-13 ; 1 Cor. 4:2 ; Heb. 3:12, 1 Pet. 4:10, 11 ; Rev. 16:15
Acts. 3:20-23 shows that Jesus alone is the Greater Moses and God's prophet, but the W(atchtower)82 6/1 and W(atchtower) 9/1 urge an attitude that views the organization as such. This, even though the organization has rarely, if ever, guessed right about a future event!
Acts 10:38 makes it noteworthy that Jesus "went through all the land doing good and healing" the oppressed people, and other religions build hospitals, clinics, old-age homes, etc., for their own if not for others as well. But the Watchtower chooses to use it's millions upon of dollars to build more and more comfortable Bethel homes instead of helping even its own sick, handicapped, and elderly.
Acts 15:20, 29 tells Gentile Christians to "abstain" from blood, and the Watch Tower Society applies this to blood transfusions. But the context clearly shows that the purpose of the recommendation was to avoid creating great offense for Jews. C.T. Russell understood this, saying in the W(atchtower) 09 4/15, on page 117: "The things here recommended were necessary to a preservation of the fellowship of the "body" composed of Jews and Gentiles with their different education and sentiments." Think of the blood guilt resting on the Governing Body if Russell was correct!
Rom. 8:15 and Gal. 4:6 show that those closest to God call him "Father" - even "Daddy" - not "Jehovah". Would a loving child call his his father by his personal name?
Romans 12:3 warns against thinking too highly of oneself, but with no credentials at all, the Watch Tower Society assigns itself the role of God's spokesman and the administrator of all Christ's interests on earth. 2 Cor. 1:21, 24 shows that we belong to Christ and not even the apostles were "masters over our faith", but the Watch Tower Society constantly attempts to impose on our minds what it describes as the "great body of truths" that it has produced. Thus the Society has it's own organizational creed something it condemns in other churches.
Gal. 1:8 states: "Even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to you as good news something beyond what we declared to you as good news, let him be accursed." Not one scripture that speaks of "the good news" has anything to do with an establishment of the Kingdom in 1914 or a new world on this planet. Rather they have to do with the coming of Jesus to the earth, his life, his death as a ransom sacrifice, his resurrection - his victory over kings, sin and death on behalf of all mankind and the authority his Father has given him to free believing humans from the wages of sin. That good news, not 1914, is "the glorious good news about the Christ who is the image of God" that the Watch Tower Society is blind to. - 2 Cor. 4:4
1 Tim. 2:5 says there is "one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus", but the Society says Jesus is not the mediator for those with an earthly hope. Heb. 4:16 says we can "approach with freeness of speech to the throne of undeserved kindness", not because the Watch Tower Society died for us, but because Jesus did.
Hebrews 10:19-22 shows Jesus eliminated the division between a priestly class and a non-priestly class, but the Watch Tower describes the "anointed remnant" as "the priestly class" and "the great crowd" as "spiritual Gentiles". - pm 80:15
In the New World Translation, the Christian Scriptures use the name of Jesus at least 8 times as often as they do Jehovah, but the average Watch Tower publication uses Jehovah at least 30 times as often as Jesus. Other churches are more balanced in this matter, but the Society accuses them of never using Jehovah's name.
The greatest testimony against the Watch Tower Society is it's own literature. The above instances simply skim the surface. The society seems incapable of letting the Scriptures speak for themselves. It must nearly always give a symbolic or "spiritual" meaning to a text.
The Proclaimers book released last year often hides what is related in Jehovah's Witnesses and the Divine Purpose and other publications. Whenever there is something good to report about the organization, the book is quick to tell us. But what about all the bad things that have gone on?
The older book makes a reference to C.T. Russell's account of his troubles with his wife, Maria. I read in the 1906 account in the Watchtower and could not help but feel that Russell was an arrogant and overbearing male who showed no consideration for his wife even when she was very ill and even though he acknowledged that no woman on earth was as devoted to and supportive of her husband as Maria. His defense in his own words of his relationship with other women is weak an suspicious. No wonder the judge and jury wasted no time in granting Sister Russell the divorce she was seeking and that he opposed.
On page 201, the Proclaimers book acknowledges that "For some 35 years, Pastor Russell thought that the Great Pyramid of Gizeh was God's stone witness, corroborating Biblical time periods". What is not stated is that Russell was one of the world's greatest advocates of pyramidology, a spiritistic religion. His writings, diagrams and charts about pyramids are virtually the same as those that appear in any book on pyramidology. These books are usually located in the "Occult" section of any library or bookstore. Even J.F. Rutherford acknowledged that it was Satan who put it into Russell's mind to figure out God's purposes by studying the Pyramid of Gizeh, that the pyramid is "Satan's Bible, and not God's stone witness." (Watchtower 28, 11/15, page 344) Russell was under this influence of the of the Devil from 1881 (2 years after the birth of the Watchtower) until he died in 1916. He was buried in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But first he was embalmed, and then he was placed in a grave that is now marked with a huge tombstone in the form of a pyramid which, curiously, has emblems of the Masonic Lodge engraved upon it. Russell also believed in astrology and the horoscope. And for nearly half of his presidency, Rutherford believed the same. Pyramid worship led Rutherford to believe that millions living in 1920 would never die and that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would return in 1925 and live at Beth-Sarim in San Diego, California.
Not the Bible, but Russell's belief in pyramidology are the basis for his date setting. He said that the last days began in 1799, Christ's presence began in 1874, the heavenly resurrection began in 1878, the heavenly calling ended in 1881, and the end of the world and the resurrection of "the anointed on earth" would take place in 1914. All his prophecies failed, yet the Society still holds to the 1914 date, but with a different application. The Society claims this date is established by Bible chronology that starts with the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 BCE. However, not even one scholar agrees with the Society that Jerusalem was destroyed that year. So, in the face of all this scholarly opposition, the Society unashamedly claims its own scholarship is superior. Due to Russell's and Rutherford's practices of spiritism, millions of Jehovah's Witnesses are banking on Armageddon to come with in the next few years. Just as the International Bible Students were deceived by Russell and Rutherford, Jehovah's Witnesses today are being deceived by the Governing Body.
N.H. Knorr was also addicted to spiritualism. As shown in the g (Awake) 42 5/27, Knorr and the Society went to court over a silly matter having to do with their fanciful belief in "the King of the East, and the Chief King of the Sunrising" calling for Rutherford to be buried at Beth-Sarim at sunrise! Knorr lost the case, but his action postponed Rutherford's burial for three and a half months after he died! And since Fred Franz was a prominent member of the Society during the presidencies of Rutherford and Knorr, I have to conclude that he too was a spiritualist. No wonder his prophecies on the world's end for the mid-1940's and for 1975 did not come true. Nor will his prediction regarding the "generation" of Math. 24:34. Incidentally, though we have often thought of Fred Franz as some sort of amazing Bible and language scholar, in the door to door work I have met rural church pastors and Sunday School teachers who know far more Bible Hebrew and Greek than he did. - Math. 24:23-26, 44.
The Society claims to be a progressive organization, but over the decades it has bounced back and forth on doctrine. The Almighty Ruler of Nations speaks and teaches eternal truths. With Him there is never a variation or a shadow of a turning such as there always is with the Watch Tower Society. - Jas. 1:17
I personally resent the Society's campaign of whitewashing the record of it's presidents. Those who know the true story are being treated as fools. The Proclaimers book on page 693 says Rutherford wrote a letter to Hitler. This is in the context of "facing Nazi oppression". But Rutherford's letter, published in the Watchtower (yearbook) in 1934, praises Hitler for his anti-Anglo/American campaign and his plan to exterminate the Jews! As another example, in the W(atchtower) 94 8/1, page 23, Robert Hatzfeld is quoted as saying regarding Rutherford, "Many of the younger brothers at Bethel were somewhat intimidated by him until they got to know him." Yet, when I was at Brooklyn Bethel, and even before, I saw old timers wince as they spoke of Rutherford's bad language, drinking, and tyrannical ways. He was even sued by ex-Bethelite Olin Moyle on these matters, and Moyle won the case! I was also told that thousands of JW's in Germany died before Hitler's firing squads because Rutherford told them Jehovah would not allow them to die since they were among the "millions now living" who would never die.
Knorr was not much better. All the days at Bethel that I knew him, he was like an aloof businessman who had little regard for others. He ruled Bethel like a stern boss, and almost everybody feared the man. I remember days when he ridiculed and ranted for as much as an hour against those who displeased him and whom he had lined against the dining room wall before the entire Bethel family.
At Bethel in Brooklin and Canada there is little regard for other people's spiritual and emotional problems. Rarely if ever is Mathew 18 applied. If you approach someone with authority, he does little if anything to assist you. Rather, you can expect to be patronized and told simply to "wait on Jehovah". If you return with your problem days or weeks later, you stand a likely chance of being accused of having an obsession of some sort. At Brooklyn headquarters we were advised from the table head to exercise care due to theft going on within the Bethel family. Not just a few cases of marital infidelity, drunkenness and alcoholism, wild parties, and even homosexual practices are among the reasons some are dismissed at Bethel. We smile at the failure of the Catholic Church when we hear about a priest molesting little children. We certainly would not smile if we were told truthfully about the cases of child abuse, wife abuse, divorce, and youth delinquency that can be found in many of our congregations. AND WE ALL CLAIM THAT WE ARE MINISTERS!
The Society has stated that about one percent are disfellowshiped each year and that the majority of cases have to do with immorality. One gets disfellowshiped for not showing repentance, and lack of repentance is indicated by not taking the initiative to come forth and confess. What this means is that one percent of JW's get caught as fornicators, adulterers and homosexuals. How many others are secretly doing these things who do not get caught? It often takes a lot of effort and investigation to discover that someone is engaging in such secret practices. Still, about 40, 000 are found out and thrown out each year! How many other tens of thousands or more have not yet been exposed as the immoral persons that they are? Many other religions place strong emphasis on conduct, including the Adventists, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and the Covenanting Congregations within the United Church of Canada. Of all of them, I think we have the worst record when it comes to blatant dishonesty and immorality.
You don't have to be an elder involved for some time with judicial matters to understand what I'm saying. Still, we boast about what a "clean organization" we are because we disfellowship wrongdoers. But those wrongdoers did their wrong WHILE THEY WERE IN THE ORGANIZATION. To brag that we are a clean organization is like the Pharisee in Jesus' parable who felt very assured of his righteousness by his regularity in the service of fasting and tithing and by his abstaining from certain condemned acts. Though he appeared exemplary on the surface, in reality he was outstanding only by his self praise. - Luke 18:9-14
I believe these problems exist because the Watch Tower Society tries to take the place of Jesus as Head of the congregation. It stands in the way of our having a personal relationship with Him because it wants to be the only "channel", "spokesman", and "watchman" for Jehovah's Witnesses. No human authority can motivate our minds and hearts as well as He who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, no matter how much that human governing authority tries to get its people to acknowledge and adore it rather than Him. In its efforts to hold high the name of Jehovah, the Society has overlooked the scripture that says, "He that does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him." - John 5:23
We hear over and over again that we have "the Truth," that we are God's only organization, and that we are the only people practicing true love. Our experience is so limited because all we know is Jehovah's Witnesses. We are urged to read only the publications of the Society and to use only it's Bible. If one keeps hearing something often enough, he will believe it. Because the Society says the good news is being preached "in all the inhabited earth", we believe it, even though the Society's message is reaching only a very small fraction of the earth's population and very few of them actually know what we stand for. Because the Society says we should preach from house to house, we do it, even though such activity is a nuisance to most householders and turns many against God and the Bible as well as against JW's. Our children are told not to go to college because it will corrupt them, but those who have done the most good for mankind have generally been those who have not been content with a mere surface education. God bestowed beautiful talents within each of us to be developed and used to his glory and praise. But we stay under-educated because the Society keeps us so busy with its constant activities and demands upon our limited time. As individuals and as congregations we should be administered according to the rule of the Word of God, not according to man-made rules in an "Organization" book.
The society has over the years liberally plagiarized from Christendom's commentaries. Still, it would like us to think there is nowhere else to go. Peter said, not to the Watch Tower Society, but to Jesus, "YOU have the sayings of everlasting life!" While preaching and in other ways, I have met members of churches and groups that are teaching "the glorious good news about the Christ." And they won't disfellowship you if your Bible trained conscience can't accept everything they say! THEY ARE LEARNING AND GROWING TOO. Let me know if you want to know who they are. It is my hope and my prayer that this letter will do something to unlock for you the wealth of what is one of the greatest and most dramatic movements the world have ever seen, the triumphant Christian congregation that has Jesus Christ as its Head and not any human governor or governing body of men.
I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH, and I will miss associating with you, for I am sure an announcement will be made against me. I am not promoting a sect when I say you should read and study the Bible and let it speak to you for itself. It is God's love letter to you personally, and its message is not intended to be slanted for you by an organization that thinks it loves you more that He does.