Putting victims of undue influence on trial for their delusions benefits no one
Putting victims of undue influence on trial for their delusions benefits no one

The JW.org website is reporting that a court in Russia has convicted and sentenced 7 Jehovah’s Witnesses for practicing their faith.

Four congregation elders were given suspended prison sentences of five to five and a half years, and were ordered to pay fines that were subsequently waived. Nine Witnesses were acquitted.

According to the JW.org article, “the judge relied on the September 2009 ruling of the Rostov Regional Court to liquidate the Local Religious Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Taganrog. Although the 2009 ruling targeted only the legal entity, the judge determined that the religious activity of all of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Taganrog and surrounding districts was banned.”

What amounts to a show trial by the Taganrog authorities with no justifiable basis in law follows previous attempts in Russia to ban the JW.org website itself, which ultimately failed.

As this website observed at the time…

It would be much better if governments could zero in on material that incites hatred and trespasses the Universal Declaration of Human Rights rather than introducing blanket bans on entire websites or the activities of religious organizations. To censor in this way only stirs the persecution complex among cults, and stokes belief among cult followers that Satan’s system is against them and the end of the world must be imminent.

The simple truth is that religious organizations like Jehovah’s Witnesses thrive on evidence of persecution to validate their teachings. Western democracies tend to exercise proper restraint by upholding an individual’s right to practice a religion so long as doing so does not trespass the rights of others.

Of course, that’s not to say there isn’t far more authorities can and should be doing to limit the harmful impact of organizations like Watchtower, and their use of undue influence to inflict considerable damage.

Watchtower in particular thrives on society’s ignorance of its policies to claim tax exemptions and even charitable status. When a government extends such financial assistance to Watchtower, they are unwittingly endorsing and subsidizing the organization’s abuse (such as shunning, mishandling of child abuse, coercion to refuse medical treatment) and facilitating their continued export of it.

In addition to withholding such handouts and incentives, governments should also play a more active role in educating their citizens about undue influence and how they can identify it from an early age. Steven Hassan’s BITE model provides an excellent starting point for inoculating younger generations against the pervasive influence of cult-like individuals and organizations, whether these are religious, political, or criminal.

But I’m afraid banning religions is not the answer. If you ban a religion, particularly one that teaches that persecution of any kind is evidence of its claims, you give it greater currency in the minds of its followers – the very ones you should be trying to protect. You also weaken democracy, violate a person’s rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and leave the door ajar for totalitarian regimes to impose their unquestionable authority.

It would be far better if governments could take undue influence more seriously rather than holding their hands up in confusion when they reap the consequences of their inaction, such as the radicalization of their citizens or the increasing spread of human trafficking. At the very least, getting organizations that use undue influence to pay their own tax, and not calling them “charities,” would be a good start.

 

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Further reading…

148 thoughts on “Why it is wrong to ban Jehovah’s Witnesses

  • August 5, 2014 at 12:22 am
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    Well country girl my wife is in Ukraine right now. She is 2 hours from the war zone and the closest city to the fighting. The Jw’s of which there are more than 150,000 of them in Ukraine have more than 10,000 witness refugees from the war zone. I spoke to the Ukraine branch yesterday and they are forwarding money from Brooklyn to 11 refugee committees around Ukraine to care for the over 10,000 refugees that are JW’s. As they get it the money is in the refugee committees bank account in 30 minutes. Also my wife said just in 1 congregation they have at least 10 families that JW’s are caring for in their own apartments which are on average 1 bedroom. We have dug deep ourselves and my wife is not only helping her non witness family but also took a decent sum of money to give to the committee in her area.
    Just last week in our congregation a family [elder and his wife and mother in law] took in a Japanese girl with schizophrenia and are taking care of her while arrangements are made for her to return to her parents in japan. I don’t have time to list all the good things that witnesses do that I have seen around the world [been to 40 countries, lived in 5]but I do know that the Mayor of New York thanked the JW’s for all they did at the world trade centre bombing. Instead of being critical maybe you can acknowledge the many times the witnesses have helped people either spiritually or physically. I know Russians very well [my father-in-law being one]and I can tell you that their church hates JW’s, Evangical, Baptists, ect. In fact they have no time for any religion including the Ukraine Orthodox Church. Most religions take years to build their church. Jw’s a couple weekends. The Russian Baptists just wrote last month a letter of allegiance to President Putin and condemned the attitude of the Ukraine Baptists. Lack of Unity in the Slavic mother land! Not Jw’s. Completely unified and Russian witnesses helping Ukraine and vice versa. I remember seeing a container load of clothes and medical supplies going to Ukraine from Brisbane years ago. We had too much stuff donated. Man I could go on and on how Jw’s look after their own. I hope this helps you to look at the big picture country girl. Have a nice day. :o)
    BTW I have submitted a few non abusive well reasoned arguments but none of them ever get published. Why not Cedars? So now I have made a new email just for this 1 letter so it can be published with my own observations. Most likely the new email will be blocked like the last one but que sera que sera.

    • August 5, 2014 at 12:40 am
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      “Man I could go on and on how Jw’s look after their own.” Indeed you have. But why is a religion’s willingness to look after its own interests rather than those of outsiders anything to brag about? Didn’t Jesus reportedly say “And if you greet your brothers only, what extraordinary thing are you doing? Are not also the people of the nations doing the same thing?” (Matt 5:47) Wasn’t the whole point of the “Good Samaritan” story the fact that the responsibility to render basic aid to people, even if this comes at considerable expense, should surpass any religious boundaries?

      The above is a perfect example of your propensity to spam us with pro-Watchtower propaganda that does nothing more than reinforce how inward-looking and self-serving the Jehovah’s Witness organization is.

      Email me with some hard evidence that Jesus visited Earth in 1914, waited for the death of Russell in 1916 before choosing Rutherford, a bully, a bigoted anti-Semite and all-round racist (and quite possibly an alcoholic) to be a leading component of his first “faithful and discreet slave” in 1919 before leaving Earth as invisibly as he came. Furnish me, not only with evidence of this, but evidence that all Watchtower directors and governing body members since then have similarly been appointed by Jesus by some invisible means of “apostolic succession,” and I will not only let you post again – I will take down JWsurvey if you want me to!*

      Until then, back on the black list you go.

      (* BTW – I don’t consider the ability to build a kingdom hall in “a couple weekends” any such evidence.)

  • August 5, 2014 at 1:50 am
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    Koala boy,

    Oh dear! You mention in your comment that all of these good deeds were for Jehovah”s Witnesses only!

    It is good to look after others, and I acknowledge that. However, you are nothing special! Only looking after your family and fellow Witnesses is just not good enough if you want to claim Christianity for JWs alone! Not by a long chalk.

    Koala boy, re-read the gospels and you will find that you should be doing this level of charity FOR YOUR ENEMIES TOO!

    You changed your email to post this? What a shame that you were unable to mention charity other than for family and fellow Witnesses. I would have loved to see evidence they others were cared for with the same level of compassion. Sadly, the only evidence I could see was a passing reference to caring for folks after the attacks of September the 11th. That is what the JWs should be doing all the time! It’s good that they did that, but there needs to be far, far more if you want to call yourselves Christians.

    Individual Witnesses can be and are charitable. It is such a pity that the WTBTS does not mirror those individual kindnesses with a coherent and non denominational charity policy.

    Remember, “looking after our own” is simply not good enough. Christian charity extends to ALL.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  • August 5, 2014 at 2:55 am
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    Regarding charities, I remember at the book study quite a few years ago where the book was saying the difference between Jehovah’s Witnesses and other charities was that other charities “bought” followers by feeding them rice. They said that they were “rice” Christians. Does anybody remember that and what book it was in? I looked in my indexes and can’t find the phrase from where it was taken from. I remember from that use of “rice Christians” that we were not to give people food or money because then we’d be buying their loyalty. That is one of the reasons I’d feel guilty to contribute to any other charity except to the Watchtower.

  • August 5, 2014 at 3:55 am
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    anonymous,

    The irony being that the WTBTS buy peoples’ loyalty by promising that they will see their loved ones restored to the days of their youth, and publishing revolting images of children cuddling pandas and other “cute” animals!!

    If the WTBTS were to say today that there is NO reward for following them, then millions would leave. Of course, the resurrection promise has NOTHING to do with following a man – led organisation. It is a promise of God to all humanity. I don’t believe that, but that is how it is presented in the bible.

    The parable of the Good Samaritan is completely lost on the WTBTS. They would happily skip past the victim, using erroneous arguments like the one that we both fell for in the past.

    Thank goodness that we have escaped their clutches, and can engage in charitable works that fit with our consciences.

    We are blessed to have you and all the other right minded commenters, to remind us that our natural love for our fellow human beings and all other life has not been extinguished by the cold hearted WTBTS.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  • August 5, 2014 at 3:45 pm
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    Giving a different pro-JW viewpoint:
    In ’92 my family and I went down to Florida to help with the hurricane response. Many brothers and sisters from Maryland Regional Building Committee went down in convoy. We went to assembly hall in Fort Lauderdale. And that night we could see so many brothers arriving with their own equipment to augment what the WTS was purchasing and renting. From there we were assigned to fix and repair Kingdom Halls and Witness houses south of Leisure City. We worked at the Kingdom Hall first to get a base to jump out from. I was unskilled labor at the time so I was involved in demolition and debris removal. When we finished doing the remedial cleaning at the KH we moved into the neighborhood and started cleaning nearby houses. We didn’t ask them about their religion or beliefs. If they were still occupying the structure we asked them if they need help. We cut down the fallen trees and bushes, picked up the trash, put on special suits and removed the moldy wood and sheet rock. After the first few days, the Kingdom Hall we worked on had a generator in place and regular water deliveries and we were able to share meals and drinks not only with our Witnesses brothers but also our fellow human brethren. It was good time and very encouraging to see Jehovah’s direction and the way the organization brought it all together. We were able to help the community without regard to beliefs etc. We were able to “render basic aid to people”. If the opportunity comes again and I can go, I will.

    • August 5, 2014 at 11:28 pm
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      Nobody here is in a position to verify your story. If true, it is very commendable that you were helping non-JWs in addition to JWs, who I’m sure were the main focus of your efforts. But this was 22 years ago in 1992 and I’m sure if you volunteered for this again you would notice a very different emphasis on relief work today. If you look at any of the disaster reports on JW.org you will notice that the physical/material assistance for relief efforts is directed solely at fellow believers. By all means read the articles and watch the videos if you don’t believe me. When it comes to non-JWs, all they get nowadays is “spiritual assistance” – in other words, “come join our cult and THEN maybe we’ll rebuild your home.” How this has anything to do with the example of the “Good Samaritan” is beyond me.

      And even if JW relief efforts were indiscriminate and aimed at helping EVERYONE in a given community, which they are not, this would still not mean that Witnesses are working under “Jehovah’s direction.” You can get away with such a silly comment at the kingdom hall or on a JW-only forum, but on this website extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So, what is your evidence to prove that Jesus came to Earth invisibly in 1914, waited for the death of Russell in 1916 before selecting a bully, racist and anti-Semite bigot (and quite possibly an alcoholic) in the form of Rutherford and chose such a man as part of his inaugural “faithful and discreet slave” before departing Earth in 1919 as invisibly as he came? If you have this evidence I would love to see it.

  • August 6, 2014 at 5:05 am
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    It makes no sense to say Jehovah is directing the
    rescue work. As he can control the elements,
    why did he allow the disaster to cause such havoc
    to his own people in the first place.?

    It would be like some terrorist blowing up a building
    then cynically start directing rescue operations.

    Some none witnesses may be helped in an incidental
    way but the main focus is on their own people and
    their own structures.

    When a disaster hits the Org, instructs that money
    for relief should be sent directly to their branch
    offices.–K,M, Jan, 2005.

  • August 6, 2014 at 7:16 am
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    You’re not going to have more taxes being churned into the local economy. What you’re going to get are less churches. Many will not be able to foot the tax bill and will have to shut their doors. Many churches aid the poor and were it for a tax bill having to be paid their social assistance activities would be crimped or ended.

    It could also be argued that making churches pay taxes would be an implicit form of restricting one’s freedom of worship. To place such a burden on churches would restrict a fundamental right enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

    When the founding fathers crafted that part, they wanted to ensure all could worship freely without any onerous burdens. By placing a tax, it could be seen as being restrictive and limiting. Such an action by government could also be seen as an intrusion of the state into religion which was something the founding fathers wanted to avoid having come from a nation where there was no separation between church and state.

    I feel your argument would be easily dismantled in court for the reasons I have given. The principal points being our Bill of Rights and separation between church and state. A tax bill mandate upon churches would be construed as violating core beliefs which have made America what it is.

  • August 6, 2014 at 8:13 am
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    JW4EVER,

    Welcome back, sir! I agree that in the United States it would be difficult to establish taxation of the various religions. The constitution guarantees freedom of religion, it does not guarantee that churches should not pay taxes.

    As a Christian, you would want to follow Jesus’ advice to pay back to Caesar what is Caesars, though. I do not agree that churches should be tax exempt. They exist in a modern world where many of us do not believe that there is a Deity. They hold vast assets that are not vetted and they are open to abuse and fraud.

    Religions must exist within the framework of society and they should pay for the services they receive. Do they pay for rubbish collection? Do they pay for the police and other emergency services? There are many services provided by the State that religions benefit from. Shouldn’t they pay their fair share?

    The WTBTS will be better off to the tune of a billion US dollars once all the Brooklyn property is sold. The WTBTS enjoy tax free status and yet enjoy the benefit of many services provided by the State.

    The times are changing. There is absolutely no proof whatsoever that there is a God. Why should non believers have to pay more in tax so that believers can meet in tax free churches?

    I for one would very much like to see the complete accounts of the WTBTS. What do they spend their wealth on? How much have they paid to victims of child abuse in out of court settlements? We do not have access to this information.

    I wholeheartedly support the freedom of worship. I cannot agree that religions should be tax exempt in our modern, secular world.

    I hope you are well and that you have carefully and prayerfully considered the information that you have read on this site and others. You have the gift of accurate knowledge of the WTBTS for the first time. You can compare and contrast the WTBTS and “apostates” and decide for yourself what you will do with that knowledge.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  • August 6, 2014 at 9:37 am
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    To ‘ban’ a religious belief system or a religion’s propaganda is truly wrong in an enlightened and free society. The greater society may not agree with what the kooks on the fringe have to say, but to a ban religious belief is a ‘slippery slope’ to a mind control far worse than that of the WTS. (Remember the Nazi SS bully boys? Islamist fundamentalist countries?) With a system like that, it won’t be long before the rule of law is turned on you for saying the wrong thing! The exception should be when a religion propagates or covers acts of violence or murder. (Terrorists, murder, child rapists, coercion to suicide through banning blood transfusion, etc, etc.) One person’s rights stop where another’s has begun. Thomas Jefferson said that it takes every generation’s effort to preserve freedom, but it takes only one generation to lose it.

    The WTS leaders and GB are best fought in the arena of information and education. The internet and places like this forum are the GB’s worst nightmare! They cannot refute proof-positive information presented here. The leadership can only tell the rank and file, “Don’t look at the apostates or else we’ll have to give you some spiritual counseling. Now you don’t want to sit at the table of demons, do you?” With some of the posts I see here, they aren’t doing such a good job at policing their flock. They certainly cannot say that they’re being ‘persecuted’ by someone presenting proof-positive that they are ridiculously wacko in their beliefs and predictions of the end.

    That’s our right to do so!

  • August 6, 2014 at 12:05 pm
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    If we are to say a religion should be tax exempt on the basis
    of the benefits it brings to the community, then the W,T, Org,
    in no way qualifies. Exploiting the community is the reality.

    The K, Halls are literature distribution centres. Every two weeks
    you’ll see the W,T, truck delivering boxes of books, bibles,
    magazines, etc. The Kingdom Hall and the literature are paid
    for by people recruited from the community.

    People from the community also make cash donations to the
    to the Org, Circuit Overseers are employed to keep the
    distribution centres working at maximum pitch, who is it that
    provides his board, and lodging and his transport? (A car that
    is usually replaced after two years) again it’s the people in
    the community.

    Special pioneers are sent to be full time recruiters, but it’s
    impossible to live, on the pittance they are paid, so the community
    make up for the Org’s meanness by providing meals and an
    occasional cash gift.

    Recruits are instructed to separate from the community, which
    they are told are the goats for the slaughter.
    Consequently any work for the benefit of the community (Apart
    from their recruiting work) is a waste of time.

    What do people get back for putting their life on hold waiting for
    a new system.? 100 % failure of all predictions, False hopes,
    Disappointments. I mentioned in a previous posting,
    5 suicides and one attempted suicide in the congregation I was in
    that’s a very high rate for a small section of the community.

    So W,T, record is one of taking out and putting nothing of value
    back in. No way do they morally qualify for tax exemption.

    • August 6, 2014 at 1:31 pm
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      After thinking about it, I thought it might be an idea for religious organizations to be tax-exempt only if they do not breach the universal human rights. Seems reasonable, fair, and verifiable to me.

    • August 10, 2014 at 5:31 am
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      Extremely well put and a factual assessment of watchtower. This organization is a blight on mankind and it is a leech.

  • August 6, 2014 at 6:52 pm
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    Watchtower is a very destructive and insidious cult. It hides behind a veneer of respectability. Those of us who have escaped its clutches are in no doubt as to the peril it poses. It is a secretive organization at best and never shirks a lie. I would fear for individuals if it were banned more than I now fear. Ban them and I could see a “Jones Town” on a worldwide scale. Yes I believe watchtower capable of this because it is a Millennial cult.

  • August 7, 2014 at 8:55 am
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    Exceslior said,

    “Welcome back, sir! I agree that in the United States it would be difficult to establish taxation of the various religions. The constitution guarantees freedom of religion, it does not guarantee that churches should not pay taxes.”

    ME-In a court of law I believe a case could be made that to place a tax burden on a religious organization could be construed as limiting and restricting, as it concerns one’s freedom of worship. This is a right one has, not a privilege. It is a RIGHT! Big difference.

    It is not a courtesy that is being extended on behalf of the government to allow its citizens to worship freely. The state extends a privilege when it allows you to drive a car. Not so with religion. By taxing religious organizations, it may be seen as if it is an implicit form of control, a violation of separation between church and state.

  • August 7, 2014 at 12:43 pm
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    Hey Cedars, I think that Rutherford saw this great ‘sign’ while in a drunken stupor on prison hooch somewhere between 1914 and 1919 at the federal pen in Atlanta, GA USA. Rutherford was a self-serving fraud that robbed his paritioners of their life and livelyhoods to serve his own selfish delusional desires.

    Well, that’s my humble opinion.

  • August 8, 2014 at 2:07 am
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    JW4EVER,

    Applying reasonable taxation on a religious body does not curtail their freedom of worship. If the taxes were punative or exorbitant then the religion would be free to challenge them in an independent court.

    Your situation in the US is different than in Europe.

    We shall have to agree to disagree.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  • August 10, 2014 at 1:13 am
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    You are so childish.

  • August 10, 2014 at 3:54 am
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    Ultimate Free Thinker,

    Is that “you” singular or plural? To whom are you referring?

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  • August 11, 2014 at 9:50 am
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    @Excelsior

    Maybe ‘Free Thinker’ was referring to my off-color humor remark previous to yours. Yeh. Maybe the first sentence was a little droll and outside of good taste.

    I do stand behind the second sentence in my previous remark in regards to Rutherford, referring to his great revelation that he and his GB progeny are the ‘selected and chosen’ few of Jesus in 1919.

  • August 11, 2014 at 10:03 am
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    PROOF: Just look at Rutherford and the GB track record at predicting the end times.

    Facts speak for themselves!!!!

  • August 16, 2014 at 12:45 am
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    well said , but they will continue to look for the negative as this is all they live for ……

  • August 16, 2014 at 5:33 am
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    Folks,

    A glance at the latest Watchtower will back Cedars’ argument. There is a picture of a group of JWs during the “great tribulation”. They are ramping up the “them and us” attitude of their cult. ANY attempt to ban the JWs outright would play straight into the hands of the GB.

    It is vital, therefore, to go after the GB on a point by point basis. I will support anyone who wants to tackle the GB this way. I urge everyone to complain. Complain about specific policies held by the WTBTS. Complain to anyone who has the power to make them change.

    History is littered with attempts at banning people and things. They seldom succeed. On the contrary, banning something is a sure fire way to get people interested in it!

    No, the correct approach is to tackle the WTBTS on specific points and policies.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  • August 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm
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    Dear Cedars,

    Did that fool who attacked you even read the post? That you weren’t wanting JW’s banned? Such as with most JW’s, they jump to conclusions and don’t think it through. Their too stupid to understand you are fair-and-balanced, I am ashamed I once believed in the poster’s religion.

    Bravo for your response.

  • August 31, 2014 at 6:33 pm
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    its amazing that they respond wholeheartedly to what they want to, not what is asked of them. usually what is asked of them which causes a *cricket cricket* reaction, are things they have no clear answer for…BUT give them something they can rabble on about for hours with no relevancy, and they can pretend to be wise with no problem. sad and disturbing really, because the answers they are missing are the very answers that can set them free from being willing entranced indoctrinated zombies.

  • September 15, 2014 at 2:56 pm
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    Well done, and well said.

  • March 1, 2015 at 10:19 am
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    I appreciate the supportive comments given by any true Christians in this blog. You can tell who they are by their unity under Christ to support one another at all times. They would not be ones who “come ridiculing with their ridicule”…. “saying ‘Where is this promised presence of his’.” (2 Peter 3:3, 4). I commend the ones who question; we aren’t supposed to be gullible, but questions need to be backed up with research in the scriptures like the noble-minded Beroeans at Acts 17:11. P.S. Some of your ideas about what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe are not quite accurate. For instance, as a correction, JW’s never said Jesus physically returned to the earth in 1914 or ever physically will. It’s his presence in the heavens as ruler, standing up as spoken of at Daniel 12:1 and Revelations 12:7. The signs to look for, as I am sure you, being a student of the Bible, are familiar with are found in Matthew chapter 24. Best wishes to all of you in your search for truth.

  • March 1, 2015 at 3:57 pm
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    Hi Jayne, thank you for sharing your thoughts. Please refer to the following webpage about 1914 predictions:

    http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/failed-1914-predictions.php

    I quote: “Studies In the Scriptures Series II – The Time Is at Hand (1889) pp.77, 78 claimed seven things would happen in 1914. Not one of these eventuated. The following statements are extracted from that list;

    1. “the disintegration of the rule of imperfect men. at that date the Kingdom of God, for which our Lord taught us to pray, saying, “Thy Kingdom come,” will begin to assume control, and that it will then shortly be “set up,” or firmly established, in the earth, on the ruins of present institutions.”
    2. He whose right it is thus to take the dominion will then be present as earth’s new Ruler; and not only so, but it will also prove that he will be present for a considerable period before that date; ”

    Remember that the Society used to teach that Jesus assumed heavenly kingdom rule already in 1878. Therefore, due to the “present institutions” being destroyed, with Jesus Christ assuming Kingdom rule on earth as promised… these predictions in their natural reading very much indicate a physical presence. (1) to destroy men’s rule (2) to assume control.

    Best wishes also to you.

  • March 2, 2015 at 5:55 pm
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    I’m sorry. 1889? Those persons, including Russell, sat together and tried to find all the scriptures they could on various subjects like the trinity and hellfire to get as accurate understanding as they could at the time. Many new artifacts have since been discovered to gain a greater understanding of the original languages.

    They were also hindered by the timing; for God reveals on His schedule, (ex: gradually increasing understanding of who the Messiah would be from Eve to Abraham to Jacob to David on down to John the Baptist who asked Jesus point blank if he were the one or were they to expect another.) That doesn’t mean they were liars or deceivers or false prophets. Remember Jonah? He said in 40 days Nineveh would be destroyed. Was he a false prophet when it wasn’t destroyed then?

    Even the apostles thought that Christ’s presence was imminent. Are you going top discount them too? This is God’s timetable, not man’s. We try to understand when, but knowing the exact time is impossible. Even Jesus said the time was not for him to know but only the Father knew.
    1914 was an important year and Jesus did begin ruling from the heavens according to a timetable in the book Daniel. The way events have transpired down to our day is showing more and more how Bible prophesy is being fulfilled.

    It’s okay that you are skeptical. Faith is the “assured” expectation of things to come. Thank you for your consideration in answering me.

    • March 3, 2015 at 8:30 am
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      Jayne,

      You bring up the faith concept. JW org assumes you, we, all must have unwavering faith in its ideology, purpose and best intentions to bring about a better world.

      Whether or not a JW has real disagreement with it. A JW is not allowed to express or debate it. A JW may not even feel free enough to ask a clarifying question about it, for fear of backlash.

      The reality is the org demands your faith in it, it has zero faith in you.

  • March 3, 2015 at 1:03 pm
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    Hmm, not sure what I should say. I really do feel pity for you, as it seems like you’re defending something by essentially saying “it’s not *so* bad, right??”

    Let me try:
    1) Your comment “…greater understanding of the original languages” is true if you mean that modern Bible translations are more accurate than older ones (e.g. the King James), but those details are not relevant for the subject at hand.
    2) “They were also hindered…”; nobody is ‘hindered’: if God’s timetable is unknown (and Russell also knew this) then shouldn’t this have made him more conservative? The fact that he was predicting the future made him wrong
    3) “increasing understanding” of Messiah is a very tricky subject; e.g. (a) seed of woman vs serpent is very vague; the woman is Eve, so why would there be a seed from an imperfect woman? (b) the Bible doesn’t speak about the Messiah to Abraham (only that through his seed all nations will be blessed etc, but no mention of a Messiah.) Anyway, to make a long story short… people “interpret” these verses and put way more in than what it really says.
    4) The prophecy of Jonah is not comparable. His had as its intention to bring the Ninevites to repent (only he rather would have seen them die). The intention of Russell was not for the world at large to repent; the Gentile times would end, therefore manly rule would end (at least that was his interpretation). I haven’t heard about people repenting at large, and therefore God’s “wrath” being held back, did you? ;-)
    5) “The apostles thought that Christ’s presence was imminent”; well yes and no. Please refer to Prof Ehrman’s books (the Jesus series) on this subject; but basically the earlier books indeed do (Matthew and Mark); somewhat later was Luke (less emphasis on his coming, signs interpreted as being fulfilled in Jerusalem’s destruction); at the end of first century: John, with no emphasis on Jesus’ coming, emphasis primarily on who Jesus *is*. “I am the way, the truth, and the life” is a well known verse for example.

    Friendly regards.

  • March 3, 2015 at 1:10 pm
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    Oh dear, my last comment hit too many keywords in Cedars’ filter…. :-) …. may take a while to show up.

  • March 3, 2015 at 2:12 pm
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    @Jayne and Gareth. Gareth, I will try and see if I get blocked too. I love it when people come on here and try and defend the Watchtower. It gives us oldsters a chance to help people like Jayne.

    Jayne, I have been associated since 1964 and my mother took the Watchtower and Awake ever since I was a child so I am well aware of the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses and so are all the people who comment on here.

    I don’t know where you got the idea that we as a group that comment here, thought that the Watchtower ever taught that Jesus was coming in the flesh. We all know that if Jesus ever did exist in the flesh, that the Watchtower teaches he only came once and that he supposedly came invisibly again in 1914, 1918, 1919 and supposedly now it’s sometime in the future and he never did come invisibly (July 2013 study Watchtower). And that is just since I started associating in 1964.

    But actually according to the Watchtower, like Gareth said, Jesus was supposed to have come in the flesh before 1900 a bunch of times in Watchtower literature, but since he didn’t show up in the flesh, like Russell predicted, then the Watchtower decided he came invisibly.

    So, it would be nice if the Watchtower (God) would make up it’s (His) mind on that. But since Jesus supposedly came or was present in 1914, 1918 and 1919, it wouldn’t be that easy to prove would it, since it’s invisible.

    Anytime you say somebody is invisible, you are sounding like a crazy person, that unless you are religious. If you are insisting on talking to invisible people in real life, they’d haul you away or put you on medication, but you can get away with talking about and to invisible people or spirits as long as you claim it’s religious and you are talking to God or Jesus.

    As long as you want to use the book of Matthew chapter 24, you should read a little further in that chapter around verses 23-26 where Jesus warned against false prophets coming and saying that Christ was present and he told his followers not to listen to people who would tell them those things and not to believe them.

    That is all the Watchtower does. It tells false prophecies over and over again and Jesus said not to listen to them.

  • March 3, 2015 at 3:04 pm
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    Oops! I got to this website by accident. I thought these were Bloggers who were searching, maybe disillusioned by bad experiences. I’m not trying to change your mind. I am a teacher of those in search of understanding the Bible. Some of you talk as if you are atheists, and definitely “Haters.” I bid thee adieu, you know where to find us. P.S. You know there are some people who will never believe what they choose not to see, even when it’s in their face; like climate change.

    • March 3, 2015 at 3:22 pm
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      Jayne, There is another side to this site. There are still many of us on here who do still believe that Jesus is our Saviour and that God is our Heavenly Father. Some of us are on a spiritual journey to grow in our understanding of the Bible and to have a closer, personal relationship with Jesus.

      The thing is that we all still accept and love each other no matter what we choose to believe. There has been way too much judging in our lifetimes. I personally believe what the Bible claims…Jesus is the only one capable of reading hearts and rendering judgement. That’s the job that God himself gave Jesus to do.

      A lot of us still have family members whom we love dearly and who are still devout Jehovah’s Witnesses. Unfortunately for us, they are being taught to view us as dead and that we were killed by Jehovah’s own hand.

  • March 3, 2015 at 3:26 pm
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    Please Jayne, you are not talking to people who are naive, would-be converts.

  • March 3, 2015 at 6:44 pm
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    @Jayne, I was actually a believer until the Watchtower killed it for me.

  • March 4, 2015 at 4:51 am
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    @Jayne, if you are still here, you made a comment that it seems like people here might be atheists in their comments and “haters”. That is where you are listening to the Society in what constitutes as “apostates”. The Society likes to say that anybody who doesn’t believe in God, “hates” God. How can you hate somebody you don’t even believe exists in the first place??? I

  • March 4, 2015 at 10:25 am
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    Hello anonymous. Your ideas belong to you, but you are mistaken that the “Society” told me that you hate God. I didn’t say that. I am referring to statements made on this blog. “Haters” describes feelings about my beliefs. It’s not having a live and let live viewpoint. I guess I feel a little like a bug here; that you all are waiting to take turns squashing my beliefs. Not very comfortable, indeed.

    For instance:
    Jerry O Connor on 8/10 and 8/16 said, “WT is “very destructive and insidious cult;” and a “blight on mankind and a leech.”
    Searcher on 8/7 said, Judge Rutherford was “in a drunken stupor on prison hooch” and a “self-serving fraud.”
    Jason Hunter on 8/18 called one blogger a “fool” and “too stupid.”
    Congrats on 8/31 called my friends “entranced indoctrinated zombies.”

    These are your opinions and you are entitled to them. I am sure there are many hurtful stories behind those unkind comments. However some of you are much milder, kinder, like Imacountrygirl.

    Imacountry girl, your family members still love you and are hurting badly without you. Do you see the wisdom in asking someone to step aside from association within the congregation when the actions or words are outside what we strive to be. No one is perfect; everyone, even elders or governing body are human and fallible. That’s why forgiveness is such a big part of JW teaching. Believe me, we are all a work in progress. But if it is a serious adjustment like immorality or drugs or the like, it’s best to leave and do what you want. You are ALWAYS welcome back with open arms if you find that way of life unfulfilling.

    Thank you for letting me share with you all.

    • March 4, 2015 at 2:59 pm
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      Jane, Your words are very kind and I appreciate your Christian love towards me…and indeed all of us here in this group. It’s obvious that you do love and care about us, as we do for you. I know that because you are still here, trying to help us.

      This is a very diverse group of individual personalities with a common denominator: Jehovah’s Witnesses. We are here for different reasons, but we love and accept each other and we respect that each one of us has the right to believe what we choose to believe. There is no judgement here. Only acceptance and love. And grief. We are all found somewhere in the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

      You speak of forgiveness, and I believe that we are forgiven in accordance with how we forgive others, as the Lord’s Prayer indicates. I only wish that you could see forgiveness through Jesus eyes instead of only through the eyes of a Jehovah’s Witness.

      Jesus could read hearts and knew immediately when someone was repentant. He is the only one who can see the self-pride inside our hearts, no matter how we appear to ourselves or to others. The heart is treacherous and often we don’t even know our own hearts so we are blind to our own faults. Maybe when we see faults in others, it is only a reflection of our own faults.

      I committed immorality because I felt backed into a corner and felt trapped in a mentally abusive marriage. I broke my marriage vow to free myself and to free him in the hopes he could find happiness with someone else. He was not an evil person, he had emotional problems and was not willing to do the necessary work to face his issues. If you research “Dependent Personality Disorder” you will have a window into my own version of hell that I lived in for twenty five years.

      I knew that Jehovah hates a divorce so my choice was agonizing, almost to the point of self-destruction as an option, rather than dealing with my problem.

      I had abandoned the organization well before I ever made my choice. I could not reconcile Jehovah as a Loving God with the teaching that my precious teenage son (who is now 30) was going to die at Armageddon SIMPLY becuse he no longer wanted to go to the Kingdom Hall because he did not believe anymore. That was and is his great sin….to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

      I had a conflict with my conscience. If Jehovah does love mankind and wants us all to live and is capable of forgiveness on such a scale that Jesus, in God’s image, had for his fellow man; how could I continue to believe that Jesus is going to destroy all three billion people, minus the six million Jehovah’s Witnesses, on earth today?

      Jesus forgave sinners even when they didn’t ask for it. All Jesus asked was for us to believe in Him and to Love Jehovah God, and equally to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

      I found these truths in the Bible, not in the Watchtower. Yes, God’s own Word, the Bible. No wonder the organization does not want us to read anything but Watchtower literature.

      I left an organization…I did not leave Jehovah. All I ask of you is to read the Bible for yourself. If you want a close personal, individual relationship with Jesus then read the Bible for yourself. It does not need to be interpreted for you. If you search for knowledge straight from the source you will find it.

      Yes, there are still many things I do not yet understand, but belief in Jesus and love for Our Heavenly Father and love of my fellow man keeps my faith alive.

      Christian love from your sister

  • March 4, 2015 at 5:57 pm
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    @Jayne. I feel bad that you feel like a bug that we are all trying to squash your beliefs but that is exactly what I’d like to do. You are right there. I do hate the Governing Body but those feelings against the Governing Body didn’t come over night for me. It took months and months of research on the real history of the Organization before I was finally convinced 100% that the Governing Body is a very destructive cult and destroying the lives of millions of innocent victims and there isn’t enough space here to tell you how much I really do hate the Governing Body.

    I don’t hate Jehovah’s Witnesses, just the Governing Body. Until about a year ago, I was one of those in the religion and fully believed that Jehovah God was behind the religion and that the Organization was about as perfect as perfect could be.

    I racked up all the problems that I experienced as imperfections in the elders, not the Society. Now I feel just the opposite. I feel pity for all the brothers and sisters and even the Circuit Overseers etc.

    I feel that if the rest of the Witnesses are like I was for 50 years, that they are like walking zombies because that is what I was and that is what I saw every day I went to the Hall.

    Now that I gave myself permission to develop some critical thinking skills, I look at paragraphs in the literature with a completely different view. Now I look for scriptures backing up the things that the Society states as facts and almost every time, those scriptures aren’t there. What you see is the Watchtower’s rendition of what the Bible says.

    It has been said in the Watchtower, that if you only read the Bible by itself and not with the Watchtower publications, that you will revert back to what Christendom teaches. What does that tell you? It tells you that you will turn into an “apostate” if you read the Bible without the Watchtower publications.

    So, what exactly are you learning? It sounds to me like you are only learning what the Watchtower wants you to think what the Bible says, not what the Bible really says.

    As far as the Watchtower goes, I’d like to see the Watchtower come crashing down. I know that isn’t how you feel because you came on this web site by accident, but stick around. If you have the “truth” like we all thought we had all those years, it will stand up to lies. Like Cedars put on his web site here, if you see something that isn’t true, he will take it down.

    He will also take down this entire web site if you can show that God actually chose the Watchtower as His spokesman to earth in 1919. The Watchtower likes to make that claim, but it can’t be proven. If Jesus chose the Watchtower as his one and only true religion in 1919, then we should be practicing what Jesus chose in 1919 like birthdays and Christmas and the cross.

    What every one of us didn’t do when we studied was to research what was being preached and taught in 1919. If we had done that, there isn’t a one of us that would be a JW today. It is an embarrassment to the Society what was being taught as “truth” in 1919.

    I was a JW for 50 years of my 68 years and believe me, it wasn’t easy for me when I found out that all history books tell us that Jerusalem was destroyed in 586-587 either and that the Society is deliberately lying to all of us about that too. The Society has known this for well over 30 years but if you should tell anybody in your congregation that little fact, you will be disfellowshipped for apostasy. Really?

    Do you want to belong to a religion that you have to be afraid to find out a fact of history and you can’t tell anybody about it on the threat of being disfellowshipped for blabbing?

    I could go on, but I think I have exhausted my space for now. Take care and if you don’t want to get talked out of your religion, I’d stay away from this site because I could write another 20 pages why I think you should examine your beliefs against the Bible some more and get out of it.

    As far as believing in the Bible or not. I got interested in the debates between Christopher Hitchins and all of the religious clerics that he could find, and Hitchens always won the debates. Not one of those clerics defended the Bible, only that there is a God. Does that tell you anything?

    The Watchtower will never debate the Bible but they will only debate topics like immortal soul, hellfire and the Trinity. Bible students don’t stand a chance when it comes to defending the Bible. We were only taught about Armageddon, the Trinity, hellfire and the cross. We knew how to debate that really well, but who of us every was taught to defend God having chosen the Society in 1919 or that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 B.C.E.

  • March 5, 2015 at 8:23 am
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    Imacountrygirl; You touched my heart. You have been thru a lot and have made some tough decisions.
    Anonymous; You made me chuckle with your last remark. I believe you!

    Of course, this blog discusses the subject “Should Jehovah’s Witnesses be banned.” From my perspective, definitely not! From someone hurt by someone and/or left the organization, the answer may be different.

    JW’s will still preach whether they are tormented, jailed, exiled. It’s who we are. It’s been the course of the religion since it’s beginning yet the organization continues to grow. Go figure.

    Of course, you don’t have to listen, you don’t have to believe, and you don’t. So what’s the problem?

    • March 5, 2015 at 11:10 am
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      Jayne, the thing that to me is the most important is that you shouldn’t belong to a religion to be afraid of it. I found that I was always afraid and depressed and once having left, I am not afraid or depressed anymore.

      If you have the courage, please read Ray Franz’s book called: Crisis of Conscience. I know the Society tells you not to read “apostate” literature but Ray was never sued for his book and if there were any lies in that book, the Society wouldn’t have waited 5 minutes to sue him. That tells you a lot. Please have the courage to read it. You will have your eyes opened like you have never had them opened before. If it’s really the “truth”, it will stand up to it. Even on the jw.org website, they say they don’t ban literature, but of course, we know that’s not true at all. If you were to read Ray’s book and told anybody about it, you’d be in deep dog do do. Doesn’t that tell you anything? You know in your hear that you aren’t free to read anything but Watchtower literature. I was in it for 50 years and I know very well of what I am talking about. Nobody should have to live like that where you can’t even read anything that might contradict Watchtower literature. If it’s really the “truth”, you shouldn’t be afraid to put it to the test.

  • March 5, 2015 at 12:18 pm
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    anonymous: I’m sorry that was your experience. That isn’t everyone’s experience.

    As far as reading extracurricular material goes…I really am not too interested in Ray Franz’s book. I wouldn’t be in trouble for reading it but I don’t see the benefit. It would benefit you because it probably supports your negative experience.

    I choose to focus on the positive rather than the negative, but that doesn’t mean I turn a blind eye. Kind of like a marriage, I guess. No husband is perfect but do I always need to look at his faults and shortcomings? Serious wrongdoing is different, of course. Seems like these things always come to light in time and don’t stay hidden, if we are patient. Maybe some of your complaints have already been corrected.

    A lot of complaints may be personality clashes and persons bitter about being counseled about a bad course of conduct, maybe even unfairly.

    I don’t know your reasoning or circumstance that sealed your decision to leave. You said you were unhappy for a long time. Maybe you just needed a good friend in the congregation, I don’t know. In any case, there must have been a good reason why you came in and a good reason why you left. You choose your own course in life.

    Imacountrygirl said something about not believing that God will destroy her unbelieving son at Armageddon. That’s not exactly how it goes. Armageddon is about saving good-hearted people from the Great Tribulation that is “coming upon the inhabited earth” (climate change maybe?) and about “bringing to ruin those ruining the earth.” Most of the people participating here don’t give me the impression they believe any of that anyway.

    • March 5, 2015 at 12:48 pm
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      “…but that doesn’t mean I turn a blind eye.” Doesn’t it? Please count the number of “may” or “maybe” in your 3rd and 4th paragraphs. Aren’t you tending to ignore the negatives there? Serious complaints about hurtful organizational policy, for example?

      You’re right that everyone has freedom of speech, freedom of religion. We agree there, and that’s also what this article says. The problem is… do you want to associate with an organization that is lying / deceiving / hiding itself? I’m thinking Psalms 26:4,5 here.

      E.g. how many JWs will have seen the news about the $13 million dollar verdict late last year? How many will have therefore seen that Stephen Lett is lying in his latest video? (See one of latest Cedars’ videos on this topic).

      For women I’d recommend reading (a blog written by a woman):

      http://jwvictims.org/2015/02/07/women-do-you-really-know-what-it-means-to-become-one-of-jehovahs-witnesses/

      Being a JW is not only about believing. That’s why this matters.

  • March 5, 2015 at 3:10 pm
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    Hello, Gareth.

    I’m glad of any pedophiles that get booted out. They have no place hiding here. I don’t know of anyone who condones pedophilia. Do you?

    My best friends husband took a nolo contendo 20 years ago because a little girl accused him of improper touching. She was a non-witness neighbor girl with known mental issues who came over to his house. My husband and I were there at the time and didn’t see anything. All the children and their friends were interviewed in private and extensively by protective services with no hint of improper conduct uncovered.
    However, there is really no defense when a person is accused. Was he guilty? Who knows? In any case, he was disfellowshipped for a time and certainly disgraced. He should have been more careful not to allow her into the house. He was certainly more careful afterwards and never had another issue.

    I have no sympathy for child molesters and I say, good riddance! We don’t need them so there is no need to protect them.

    Sounds like the guy you mention was guilty so some policy changes are in order. I am glad of that. This isn’t an issue for me. The case went to trial, which is proper, the guy was found guilty and went to jail, which is proper. He is viewed as scum of the earth which is as it should be. And the Society is going to have to pay something in damages for not handling it in a forthcoming manner. That is fair.

    I don’t believe, and I really don’t think you believe, that the elders in that congregation knew he would harm a child and ignore it. If you think that, then there is no way you know anything about Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  • March 5, 2015 at 3:23 pm
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    @Gareth and Jayne. I looked at that article you put up Gareth and I had forgotten or didn’t remember that article in the Nov. 1, 1981 Watchtower. One thing it left out when it comes to a woman being raped and calling it fornication is that if a woman doesn’t scream and fight back that she will be called before a committee even if the guy has a gun at her head or a knife at her throat (June 1, 1968 Watchtower page 348) and she had better die during the assault or she could be disfellowshipped for fornication if she lives.

    Something else the article didn’t talk about was that up until 1972, if a woman’s husband had anal sex with another woman or man or beast that she could not divorce on scriptural grounds and if she did divorce her husband and remarry, she would have been disfellowshipped if she divorced her husband and remarried. It was Ray Franz who finally did some research on the subject the the policy was changed.

    Jayne, when I found out that the Watchtower joined the United Nations as a NGO from 1992 till 2002 and only took their name off the rolls because they were found out, I had to prove it to myself that that wasn’t true so I went to JWFacts and found out that it’s a provable fact and if you were to call the Society, they’d have to admit the truth since the U.N. sent out a form letter informing anybody who didn’t believe it, that it was true.

    From that fact, I was led to other facts like the Watchtower made up the date of 607 for the destruction of Jerusalem to fit in with the 1914 doctrine and disfellowships anybody who finds that out and tries to tell anybody in the “truth” about it.

    Also, did you realize that you don’t have a mediator between you and Jehovah? According to the Watchtower, Jesus is only the mediator for the 144,000 and you are not involved. How can you pray to God without Jesus as your mediator. Go to the Insight book #2 to find that out.

    Also, did you realize that Jesus has 2 kingdoms? Go to the the Insight book under the topic of Kingdom to find that out.

    There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that Jesus is Michael either.

    There are no scriptures saying the earth is going to be turned into a paradise.

    The Great crowd are in heaven and are the ones that survive the Great Tribulation (Rev. chapter 19).

    The other sheep Jesus talked about were the Gentiles. There is nothing in the Bible to say that the other sheep are the 144,000.

    Did you realize that the “wheat” are the 144,000?

    You aren’t the 144,000 and you aren’t of the great crowd so you can’t find yourself in the Bible.

    If you believe what the Watchtower tells you, the great crowd are represented by the word Armageddon in Revelation. Supposedly the Witnesses who make it through the Great Tribulation and are still alive at the end of the thousand years are going to be the target of the Nations and they will be attacking God’s people and it’s then that Jesus and his angels will take down the Nations. You should listen to Lloyd’s latest video. It’s about what to expect if the Watchtower is correct about what happens after the Great Tribulation starts.

    You can believe what the Watchtower says. I did too until about a year ago when I started trying to prove that the Watchtower didn’t join the U.N. but one thing led to another and before I knew it, I had opened up a can of very ugly worms.

    There’s a reason the Watchtower doesn’t want you to read other books or take anybody’s literature that isn’t agreeable to Watchtower.

    As for me, I think I am old enough to make my own decisions what I can and can’t read. The Watchtower doesn’t have the right to tell a grown person what they can read. That’s called censorship and there has to be a good reason for that. When you have a child, it is understood to protect them but when you are an adult, you should be old enough to make that decision for yourself.

    If you really have the “truth”, it will stand up to lies. That is what we are encouraged to do at 2 Cor. 13:5.

    You are encouraged to help your householder to test out their faith, so you should be able to do the same thing when it comes to your religion. You can’t just take somebody’s word for it when it comes to whether it’s the “truth” or not. You should be able to prove it.

  • March 5, 2015 at 3:26 pm
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    I made a mistake about the other sheep. There is nothing in the Bible that says the other sheep are the “great crowd”.

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