Does Jehovah control the weather?
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Watchtower is increasingly crediting Jehovah with manipulating the weather in their favor

Watchtower is increasingly crediting Jehovah with manipulating the weather in their favor

“How many of our brothers have been affected?” During my years as a Jehovah’s Witness, that was usually the first question on the lips of friends and family whenever reports came through of a catastrophic natural disaster.

Watchtower literature frequently acknowledges that Witnesses are by no means immune from natural disasters, even hinting that such calamities are proof that we are living in the last days.

One scripture often referred to when disaster strikes is Ecclesiastes 9:11, in which King Solomon laments that “time and unexpected events” befall everyone.

I recall this bible verse being one of the few that made sense to me growing up as a believer, and especially in the wake of my mother’s death from cancer. The writer was essentially saying: “Shit happens, get used to it.”

I left the Witnesses in December 2013, but if I were still a believing member of the organization, I would struggle to reconcile the words in Ecclesiastes with the increasingly superstitious rhetoric of Watchtower and its leaders, who seem to leap on any fortuitous incident as evidence of “Jehovah’s hand.”

A perfect example can be found in the January 2016 episode of JW Broadcasting in which Travis Brooks, a design and construction worker for Watchtower, credits Jehovah with delivering sand needed for a kingdom hall build by means of a typhoon. (Skip to 04:25 in the video below to see Brooks interviewed.)

[Edit: The typhoon most likely referred to was Typhoon Maysak, which killed four people, injured ten, and caused $8.5 million worth of damage to property.]

No thought is given to the possibility that this was merely a fortunate coincidence. In the mind of Brooks, divine manipulation of the weather was the only answer for sand becoming readily available, thus enabling the success of a building renovation. And the Governing Body clearly ratified the “miracle,” because they signed off on the episode in which this experience is related.

But if you were one of the relatives of the 33 Jehovah’s Witnesses who perished on November 8th when Typhoon Haiyan ploughed into the Eastern seaboard of the Philippines, you might be less endeared by the sand story.

How could Jehovah use one typhoon near the island of Yap to deliver sand for building a kingdom hall, while allowing another in the Philippines to kill 33 of his worshipers – 22 of whom were huddled together seeking shelter in, you guessed it, a kingdom hall? Either Jehovah had no hand whatsoever in delivering the sand for the building project, or he DID have a hand but has woeful prioritization skills in how and when he chooses to tinker with the isobars.

But the sand story was no one off. As recently as October 2013 (a month before Haiyan) Geoffrey Jackson climbed on the stage of the Jersey City Assembly Hall (the Stanley Theater) and told the gathered throngs that Jehovah was responsible for engineering a cooler summer so that more copies of the latest New World Translation edition could be printed.

Perhaps it’s just me, but at no point during my Witness upbringing do I recall Watchtower’s leaders, either directly or in their publications, claiming that Jehovah was manipulating natural forces to their benefit. Perhaps an over-enthusiastic elder might give some ill-advised anecdote in a congregation talk in which divine intervention was hinted at, but there was always plausible deniability as far as Watchtower itself was concerned.

But all that has now changed. Over the last three years, despite Typhoon Haiyan furnishing the most grisly evidence that Witnesses are NOT immune from natural forces, the caution and sobriety of past leaders has melted away. Today’s Governing Body are deluded enough to insist that Jehovah DOES control the weather, even if it is only to assist their building and printing endeavors.

I can only hope these increasingly outrageous claims will register with thinking Witnesses, causing them to ponder which is more likely: (1) that Jehovah uses the weather to bulldoze some kingdom halls but to provide building materials for others, or (2) that the men who claim to represent him are actually deluded, narrow-minded narcissists who are detached from reality and utterly unworthy of respect and credibility.

 

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125 Responses to Does Jehovah control the weather?

  1. Bad Penny says:

    Loved the video Lloyd –
    The snow looks really pretty there, you are so blessed! Tee hee!
    I remember being at a convention during a drama. The weather was appalling as usual and the ‘actors’ were out there in the pouring rain. Then an amazing thing happened – just as ‘Star performing brother’ raised his hands to the heavens a massive thundercrack occurred.
    The masses burst out in laughter and appreciation for this ‘hand of God’ in the performance.
    This whole attitude of ‘I’m alright Jack’, we have God’s blessing, bugger the rest of the world makes me sick.
    I hope that one day ‘God’ will produce enough sand to bury them, not just their heads, which they are succeeding in doing on their own.

    • anonymous4 says:

      Interesting coincidence with the thundercrack. Some enterprising individual could have started a whole new religion just based on that 1 event.

    • Eric Arthur Blair says:

      Haha. I just had it out with a family member who has discovered that we are not going to meetings any more (as of 6 months ago) and the reasons why. Then he sent us a text urging us to watch this latest broadcast – he literally said “the truth is in the sand.”! I replied to him, “it sounds like your faith is built on sand.” 🙂

    • Alfy says:

      How does all this comport/or measure up to a fact that ‘God is no respecter of finite persons’ who all need learn perseverance, patience, endurance, trust rather than always having things go their way? Recall ‘My thoughts and ways are not your tho’ts & ways, since as heavens are even higher than earth…’? How does all this comport/or measure up to a fact that ‘God is no respecter of finite persons’ who all need learn perseverance, patience, endurance, trust rather than always having things go their way? Recall ‘My thoughts and ways are not your tho’ts & ways, since as heavens are even higher than earth…’?

    • Alfy says:

      How does all this comport/or measure up to a fact that ‘God is no respecter of finite persons’ who all need learn perseverance, patience, endurance, trust rather than always having things go their way? Recall ‘My thoughts and ways are not your tho’ts & ways, since as heavens are even higher than earth…’? How does all this comport/or measure up to a fact that ‘God is no respecter of finite persons’ who all need learn perseverance, patience, endurance, trust rather than always having things go their way? Recall ‘My thoughts and ways are not your tho’ts & ways, since as heavens are even higher than earth…’?

  2. anonymous4 says:

    I used to naively believe there was a way to get thru to stupid people. I was WRONG. U can’t fix stupid. Stupid people just don’t get it . They NEVER will. Stupid is hopeless.

  3. Kat says:

    krazykarl said

    “About 15 years ago there was a guy from bethel that gave the dedication talk at a kingdom hall and as a part of that talk he went through a number of historical events that made it possible for JWs to flourish (the gist of it was that Jah created the US with freedom of religion and that allowed JWs to become what they are today). In this talk one of the factors that he mentioned was the destruction of the spanish armada by severe storms in the 1500s. It was no mere hint that this was a literal act of god.
    In some ways it seems that there may have been an uptick in claims of divine intervention like this, but I think what’s really going on is that they’ve always been careful to keep their more insane stuff reserved for talks/conventions/etc and out of print. When it’s not in print and searchable, it’s much easier for it to simply leave an impression in someone’s mind and they can later claim that they never said something or that it was misunderstood because there’s no official record (why do you think they don’t want people making recordings of conventions available online?)
    I think they’re still getting used to this internet thing where everything they do is immediately and indefinitely preserved, regardless of what form it takes.”


    Excellent post and I agree some of the things said at the conventions and in public talks would not be printed, but intestingly those giving talks are suppose to follow a specific outline and not to add their own personal opinions.
    I recall a few years ago at a DC a speaker said Jehovah will protect those going to the meetings.

    • Holy Connoli says:

      @Kat. I also remember some years ago at a special talk in SF California one of the GB was there. This was around 1982 or earlier. The speaker..maybe Brother Barr? was giving a talk about WW2 and Germany and the concentration camps and how the JW’s were starving in the snow etc and no food. One day this brother was near death in the camp and he was by himself and a unknown person tapped him on the should er and he turned around and the “person” gave him some bread. That bread he said saved his life and that bread was from JEHOVAHS ANGEL! the crowd gasped..including myself. It was moving at the time to hear him say that and everybody went AWWWW! and they clapped etc. It was almost like a Pentecostal revival tent meeting.I personally was moved buy it.I thought wow, Jehovah came through. I never ever heard that again and never saw it in print and never hear it come up in discussions. It seems h e did it for dramatic effect. We will never read that in the WT especially bc the official teaching is there are no “MODERN DAY MIRACLES”.

      • anonymous4 says:

        It’s obvious the Watchtower Bigwigs make up these fairy tales as they go along. Frankly, I’m even a little skeptical of all the stories of “unshakeable” faith in the Concentration Camps and so many other nasty situations since then. Even the U.S. Military & Intelligence services like the C.I.A. acknowledge that, under abuse, torture, and interrogation, EVERYONE breaks at some point. And EVERYONE will talk, reveal some secret(s), at some point, under those conditions, even TRAINED, BATTLE-HARDENED, PROFESSIONAL SOLDIERS!!! That’s why Intelligence Agencies, like CIA, AND Military Units, like Navy SEALS, give their operatives SPECIALIZED training in resistance to torture & interrogation (SERE – Survival/Evasion/Resistance/Escape), with the basic idea of holding out as long as possible, telling stories & plausible lies, before you finally crack, then start slowly giving out snippets of truth, etc., etc. And like I said, we’re not talking about average Joe & Jane here. These are specially-selected, intensively, EXCRUCIATINGLY trained personnel. And even THEY need this additional training, because, guess what? – they’re only human too. There is NO such person as Rambo or James Bond. I don’t know whom the Witnesses are trying to fool. I remember “armchair generals” in the KH during WT study, giving “authoritative” comments on ancient Israelite military Tactics & Strategy, who were too timid to go Indoor rock-climbing with me! So don’t believe WT’s Bull. The U.S. is very open about their troops’ experiences as captive POWs. In fact, they developed many of their Resistance strategies from the experiences of downed Airmen during the Vietnam War, kept and tortured within the North Vietnamese prison-dungeon coined the “Hanoi Hilton”. They even made movies about it (When Hell Was in Session, 1979 (on YouTube), Faith of My Fathers, 2005). Contrary to the entertaining antics of Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer we enjoyed in “Top Gun”, Military Pilot Training (which, of course, includes Boot Camp) is extremely tough and unforgiving. Marine fighter pilots are even expected to complete Infantry training before they are even considered for flight school. And yet, I’m sure many of us remember, back in 1991, during the 1st Gulf War (“Desert Storm”), those Iraqi TV videos of U.S., U.K., and Aussie pilots who ‘broke’, and made negative comments about their respective governments & leaders, and apologized for their own involvement in “attacking the peace-loving people of Iraq” (1 example on YouTube – “Gulf War – Desert Farewell”). So, like I said, after years of eating that stuff up with a spoon, I now am VERY skeptical of all those heroic persecution accounts, fairy tales, and “Rambo” stories.

        • anonymous4 says:

          I meant, “…after years of eating that SH*T up with a spoon…”

        • anonymous4 says:

          To specify, those “negative” comments the pilots made, were not voluntary or genuine. They were merely scripted statements, composed by the Iraqi authorities, which the airmen agreed to read, under torture.

  4. Baby says:

    You are in the most I’ve error never see. the Bible says
    God does not control this world. Neither the climate but the devil is the god of this system of 2 Corinthians 4: 4 and
    “The whole world is in the power of the wicked.” (1 John 5:19.)

    For the weather is not in contrôle
    In the days of Paul, when a storm rose, the salvation of the passengers and the ship depended not only on the skill of the crew, but also the resistance of the boat. It was the same when figurative storms as the apostle lived. Paul had experienced physical deprivation, imprisonment and torture, but the events that are most threatened her spiritual and emotional balance and the sustainability of his love came to it from the Christian congregation.

    Such thinks to erlier christians, it can today too.

    • anonymous4 says:

      U are so right!!! The Watchtower Corporation is VERY MUCH IN ERROR by claiming that Jehovah controls the weather! As u point out, they are contradicting THEIR OWN Bible!!!

  5. Caroline says:

    Many years ago, there was a pioneer couple in our congregation and they related how when they didn’t have any food for supper one day and they were driving home from service, they hit a pheasant and it was their supper, it was Jehovah who provided that pheasant that they hit with their car and so Jehovah “provides” when you put his service first in your life but once when my husband and I were driving to the book study, we also hit a pheasant but that pheasant caused $200 worth of damage to our radiator.

    It never occurred to us that it was Jehovah who caused that pheasant to fly in front of our car and we didn’t blame Satan for it either. We both felt bad that we killed that bird. Once I hit a deer on the way home from the Thursday night meeting and I didn’t hop out and slit the throat of that deer and use it for food. That accident caused my car to be totaled but it was the deer that I was bawling my head over because I felt so bad about hitting it and it wasn’t dead but hurt real bad. I didn’t look at it from either Jehovah’s blessing or Satan’s persecution. It was just an accident.

    If Jehovah intervenes in anything in our lives or the weather, then he has the power to intervene in anything else too. Why doesn’t he answer prayers like taking away cancers and babies starving to death or tornadoes or floods and why doesn’t he restore limbs?

    The jwbroadcasting episodes can have in the very same show, a man thinking Jehovah showed a man a leak in his plumbing so he goes to a meeting the next day and comes into the “truth” because he thinks Jehovah has listened to his prayer, to a man working at Bethel going to a service meeting and the driver being killed in an auto accident and the brother having a broken neck for the rest of his life and not get the connection.

    When I saw that part of the January jwbroadcasting about the sand, I thought of how Jesus said that a wise person doesn’t start a project unless they count the cost first and that is what those people did not do in that renovation project. They should have thought of how they were going to get the sand first BEFORE starting the project.

    If Jehovah hadn’t brought about that typhoon, how would they have finished? They had to say it was provided by Jehovah because if the typhoon hadn’t provided that sand, it would have shown that they were foolish for not counting the cost first. What about Samuel Herd’s announcement about all the projects being put on hold or halted in midstream because they don’t have the funds?

    This latest jwbroadcasting is all about “donating”. That is what I am seeing in all the jwbroadcasting episodes. They are no different than any other huckster religion, using the Bible to make money and build up their real estate empire and using the ignorant and gullible to accomplish their means to an end.

    • anonymous4 says:

      No more hunting or grocery-shopping! Just a quick prayer to Jehovah & hop in ur car! LOL

    • Sliced says:

      Caroline,
      Really good line of reasoning. I’ve noticed the same. Since I woke up to things about a month ago- I have gone back and re-watched the broadcasts and see them for what they really are!

  6. Baby says:

    these things happened in the past they can arrive in our time that prouv we are living in the last days.

    • Searcher says:

      @Baby,

      OK. I’ll bite.

      I have always marveled at how the headlines of the Awake and public version of the Watchtower constantly say, “We’re living in the last days because….” They bring up this disaster and that disaster as evidence. They constantly state that the frequency of these events are greater, so we must be in the last days. On and on it goes. Why?
      So they can stir emotion in the reader, namely fear. Fear of the end and anxiety are their weapon to recruit new members and keep the rank and file focused to do their recruiting.

      You say that the weather was a factor in the days of Paul. Of course! It has been there since the earth formed and will be there until the solar system no longer exists. The issue that makes JW’s and other doomsdayers THINK this is the end, is because they hear of it more. Why? Because of media and their aim to get people anxious to watch, read, or listen to their reports. This makes them more money. We hear more and more about shootings, terror attacks, etc. which are man-made disasters. Why? Because of media. Also, because there are more people on the earth than ever before, making the likelihood of crazy people greater and the likelihood of victims greater.

      If you just drop back and think about what you just said, “these things happened in the past they can arrive in our time… “, then you can actually come to the opposite conclusion. A person could say to themselves, “Well, that’s life! We have to deal with the situation at hand in the best way possible.” When someone can say that, then that person is not cowering to terrorist, fearing God by natural disasters, or allowing themselves to be manipulated by doomsdayers like the WTS. The person can deal with and learn about these problems to better prepare or avoid the problems in the future.

      Don’t stop having a good conscience or good outlook on life. We all have to deal with problems. It’s just part of life. Just don’t allow yourself to be duped and manipulated by these 7 god want-to-be’s in New York, keeping people anxious to do their bidding.

      • Winston Smith says:

        @Searcher
        To add to your comment, in developed lands when disasters strike they have significantly less casualties than in years past. Even with the increased population of today. This is because we have gotten better at designing structures that withstand the stresses of storms and earthquakes and have other safety advantages. In the last 50 years the world has gotten safer, not more dangerous. Hardly supports the idea of these being the “last days.”

        WS

    • anonymous4 says:

      Baby, if u mean that miracles (like typhoons) indicate we’re in the last days, remember, according to Watchtower teaching, miracles ended with the death of the last apostle!

  7. Deep Thinker says:

    If there was any time in history where you thought the end of the world was coming and that God was going to destroy the earth it is not now but in the 1300 – 1400’s C.E.

    That is when the Little Ice Age hit the world.
    Plague was rampant (and not just in Europe).
    There were endless wars around the world and not just Europe. You could say the world was truly at war.
    If you lived to old age, you were lucky because if plague, wars, starvation didn’t kill you then you had a very good chance of being murdered.

    It was not a good time to live. Makes you wonder what happened to make everything go crazy.

    Our weather, even though it seems extreme is very benign compared to then.

    Maybe The End came then and we didn’t make it and are in Purgatory.

  8. Free Thinker says:

    As was said before, the WTS/JW.ORG (henceforth referred to by the pronouns “She/Her(self)”) is “ENSO”:

    – Egocentric. She is at the center of the universe, or of all multiverses; everything revolves solely and exclusively around herself. She is a the very epicenter of the Almighty’s attention and love; He only loves her, and only pays attention to her.

    – Narcissistic. She is enamored, or in love with herself; she worships herself, deeming herself as the most beautiful, the most efficient and excelling, the best, the most surpassing, the most to be revered thing there is.

    – Solipsistic. Nothing exists besides her; she is the only “real thing”, the only “real deal”.

    – Omphaloskeptic (from Greek “omphalós”, navel). She is “navel-gazing”, being fixated on herself, staring only at herself, being obsessed with herself. Whatever she does, it matters to herself, is of extreme importance to herself.

    Anyone cares to enlarge/expand/amend this list and the resulting acronym?

    • Free Thinker says:

      I got 2 more:

      – Megalomaniac;
      – Arrogant.

      Which brings our acronym to “ENSOMA”, which works well, bec. it sounds like a sickness, or disease:

      The JW.ORG suffers from ENSOMA.

      More, anybody?

  9. Dk757 says:

    My thoughts exactly with the January broadcast. Funny how Watchtower claim divine intervention to bring sand to a build while 9 million children die every year before the age of 5. They are so diluted.

    • Free Thinker says:

      “Diluted” – I would have said “DELUDED”, but “Diluted” is not bad either. They are intellectually “diluted”; there’s not much substance to what they are fabricating. Their “spiritual food’s” nutrinional value is minus infinite. They are “diluting” (if not to say distorting, twisting, violating, tearing apart) biblical truths to a degree that it becomes unrecognizable and false. All they feed is styrofoam, cardboard and hot air. “Infinitely diluted” indeed.

  10. John Walsh says:

    I also remember the extremist commentary sometimes coming from elders regarding Jehovah’s interventions, but as you say Lloyd, the leaders at the time were a bit more cautious. It would appear they are becoming a little more keen to jump on the extreme these days.
    However they did step out there at times with their dooms day predictions over the decades, so I think the potential has always been there.

    • Alfy says:

      it’s not that The Creator/The One who causes all things to be and become, can’t do so, but rather wills not to do so in the passing dispensation, until the ‘fullness of times’ when that predestined Administra-tion then can, for then compliant peoples.

      • Victor says:

        It doesn’t matter. If you have the power to stop something bad to happen and you do nothing, you’re responsible.

  11. Vidiot says:

    “Today’s Governing Body are deluded enough to insist that Jehovah DOES control the weather, even if it is only to assist their building and printing endeavors.”

    An easy habit to fall into when you surround yourself solely with people who are never allowed to disagree with you.

  12. Winston Smith says:

    When I read this article and think about the miraculous sand delivery (should I simply call it “magic sand”?), I can’t help but think of this line from the movie “The American President” (not sure if they were quoting someone else):

    Presidential Aide: “They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.”
    The President: “People don’t drink the sand ’cause they’re thirsty. They drink the sand ’cause they don’t know the difference.”

    That’s what this Organization offers: a mirage of “life-giving water” that is nothing more than sand. And the rank and file lap it up as if it were the real thing ’cause they don’t know the difference.’

    WS

  13. Faded says:

    Craziest thing I’ve ever heard. My gosh!!! Ugh!!!

  14. dee says:

    A couple of years ago while I was still in, the wife of an elder said to me: don’t you notice how all the floods, tsumanis, earthquakes and disasters are taking place in countries where they worship false gods?

    I was rather shocked by this and exclaimed to myself: “What?!” as I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I of course kept my thoughts to myself as I didn’t want an elder’s wife to feel stupid about her absurd/ridiculous comment.

  15. Christopher says:

    I remember in 2005 my wife’s home congregation in Mississkppi was hit by hurricane Katrina. Many lost there homes and some were left with literally the cloths on their backs. The question on the minds of many was how could Jehovah let this happen? A group of elders was sent down to bring aid and encouragement, the brother taking the lead acualy suggested that Satan had sent the hurricane as some sort of ploy to stop the preaching work. At the time I was an active witness and a MS I could not believe they could be so cavalier with there comments. However there was no doubt in my mind he got this idea from his higher ups who I’m sure advised him on what to say to address the freinds questions.

    • Winston Smith says:

      Network lost my reply – so let’s try again!

      @Christopher
      An excellent example of JW propaganda! They turn a horrible disaster into a marketing ploy to increase proselytizing. How cold and unfeeling!

      I believe there can also be a connection made to the concept of cognitive dissonance. In a number of studies by experts on cult phenomena, they have found that when cult prophecies fail, the believers often fall into a state of cognitive dissonance – they need a way to rationalize their devotion to a failed concept. This often manifests in increased proselytizing, with the real or imagined increase in numbers somehow giving merit to the belief system.

      With its multitude of failed prophecies, there is no wonder that the JW Org has made proselytizing its main focus. In fact, the original huge push to have everyone in the Org participate in preaching was initiated by Rutherford immediately after the failed dates of 1914, 1918, 1920, and 1925. Now with other failed dates and prophecies added, it remains the central focus of the Org and they use any means to promote it, even horrible natural disasters like the one you mention. I wonder how many poor friends tried adding pioneer service to their already heavy load of rebuilding their lives after this disaster due to the JW propaganda.

      WS

    • Free Thinker says:

      Interesting how each & every church claimed Katrina for their own purposes. One of those bible-banging raving fire&brimstone fundamentalist preachers said: God brought Katrina over New Orleans bec. of the city’s Mardi Gras-“immorality”. And each church “has THE TRUTH”, only they are “THE ONLY ONES” … ooooh yeeeaaaah.

  16. Wip it says:

    I recall a Brother who was in New York touring the sites including HQ, one of the sites was the world trade centre, the tour was scheduled for the same day the towers were hit, for an unknown reason the tour was changed & they went somewhere else & probably saved their lives, they then actually said that it was divine intervention, how many JW’s were killed that day??? where was their devine intervention???, deluded thinking is so true, my late mother said that she thought India was in such a state that it was God culling people, i had a Elder say to me that Global warming is a sign of the last days, & we are seeing so many things happen, well as was stated earlier the media cover everything, we have 24 hour news feeds, CNN, SKY etc, we are bombarded, growing up as a kid you saw nothing, & the weather was just as hot, but we didnt have air con we werent soft like we are today & yes unfortunatly many JW’s are soft in the head.

  17. Alfy says:

    The times allotted to the gentiles/nations have allowed such finites to manifest human limits. In the future no one can honestly state ‘if given enough time we could have done this ourselves with our own power!

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