Jehovah and Watchtower – are they now to be thought of as one and the same?
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Watchtower's latest magazine uses "Jehovah" as a synonym for the organization

Watchtower’s latest magazine uses “Jehovah” as a synonym for the organization

Last year saw the publishing of a bizarre “Seven Shepherds, Eight Dukes” Watchtower article in which Jehovah’s Witnesses were told not to expect any justification for the commands passed down by their leaders.

The study magazine urged Witnesses to “obey any instructions” from “Jehovah’s organization… whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not.”

But despite setting alarm bells ringing for those already concerned that Watchtower is sliding deeper and deeper into cultish fundamentalism, there was at least some distinction made in that article between “Jehovah” and his ‘organization’.

Now it seems that distinction, already so tenuous, is vanishing completely.

The latest October 15th Watchtower has this advice for Witnesses…

“Faithful servants of Jehovah have always been eager to submit to theocratic direction. (Read Hebrews 13:7, 17.) We may initially lack full understanding of the reasons for carrying out our assigned work in a particular way. Nevertheless, we are fully aware of the benefits of cooperating with Jehovah in any adjustments he sees fit to make.” -w14 10/15 pp.24-25

The same “obey without question” rhetoric is carried through from nearly a year ago, but with a troubling new twist. Direction or adjustments passed on to Jehovah’s Witnesses are to be considered, not as coming from “Jehovah’s organization,” but from Jehovah himself.

To drive this point home, the article gives the example of the recent spate of branch closures (or “mergers” as they are referred to in this article). How are bethelites uprooted from their homes and asked to relocate to a bethel in a foreign country to respond to this direction?

“Grethel says: ‘I accepted the invitation because it was my way of showing Jehovah that my love for him went beyond a country, a building, or a certain privilege.’ Dayska says: ‘When I remembered that the invitation came from Jehovah, I accepted it gladly.'” – w14 10/15 pp.25-26

Like a magician playing a cup and ball trick, Watchtower is making it harder for Witnesses to distinguish between themselves and God

Like a magician playing a cup and ball trick, Watchtower is making it harder for Witnesses to distinguish between God and the organization

The tinkering in rhetoric between the two articles, published less than a year apart, is subtle yet profound. If you can get Witnesses to think of Watchtower and Jehovah as one and the same, you bypass any need to justify how or why the organization deserves its authority.

1914 and 1919 become less relevant in explaining how Watchtower’s leaders received their divine mandate if Witnesses can mentally cut out the middle-man by considering themselves as obeying, not an organization, but God directly.

It will be intriguing to see how this mental cup and ball trick plays out in future organizational developments. Don’t be surprised if the name “Watchtower” gets dispensed with entirely as it grows increasingly obsolete in the minds of both Witnesses and those who rule over them.

 

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136 Responses to Jehovah and Watchtower – are they now to be thought of as one and the same?

  1. Ted says:

    @PM, I agree completely, enough is never enough, Just like
    any commercial organisation, it’s all about figures, a constant push for increase. I remember the service meetings were exactly like the meetings we had when
    I was a salesman, ( Demonstrations on how to present the
    product, how to overcome negative interest etc,)

    At a C,O’s meeting I attended, along with other servant’s
    from the congregation ( there were no divinely appointed
    elders then), We were told by the “Boss” “These figures are
    not good enough, if there’s no improvement on my next
    visit I’ll have you all off and put sisters in your place”), In
    other words, “Shape up or you’re sacked.

    So the C,O’s primary role, is that of area manager who’s
    job it is, to increase productivity, and not that of a shepherd
    of the flock. And then there’s the obnoxious practice of
    reporting, making out a time sheet of our service to god, and what’s the true purpose of that, At the elders course
    at the London Bethel, the subject of reporting time came up,
    Why do we put reports in? the instructor asked, then he
    answered, “Because people work better when they know
    their work is going to be checked”. I got the feeling, that was not in his official notes , but that he was expressing
    his honest opinion.

    I got off the treadmill after 24 years, not of service to god
    but to a purely commercial set up, – Put the stop watch
    away folks, claim your life back and if it’s what you want,
    Serve God freely and not under compulsion. Tell em what
    they can do with their unpaid lousy job.

  2. Ted says:

    Shepherds and Dukes articles, confusing to say the least,
    The ones published in 2013 speak about an attack by
    Assyrians, and being ready to obey life saving instructions,
    even though not appearing to be sound or practical, and
    who are the hero’s who will save us at that critical time?,
    (The elder’s), It’s all too implausible, and silly, for word’s

    The 2014 articles seem to have a different application, They
    seem to be conditioning the mind of the flock to a change in
    the way “Our assigned work” is done, and stressing the need to cooperate with Jehovah in any “Adjustments” he
    sees fit to make, and again the point is made, to obey even
    though the instructions may not seem sound from a human
    standpoint, – So as on many previous occasions we are told
    to forget human reasoning, and blindly follow.

    Human reasoning is all any of us have and once we abandon
    it we are open to danger and exploitation.

  3. Searcher says:

    @Lawrence

    I always found the ‘privileges’ funny in this organization. Anywhere else, their ‘privileges’ would be punishment or chores.

  4. questionall451 says:

    Any church, organization or human that claims to be God’s exclusive channel on earth is making an exceptional and dangerous claim. This claim rightly opens it to the strictest possible critical scrutiny. Such a claim, in essence, is giving the person or organization the authority of God in the hearts of their adherents. Misuse or abuse of authority in the name of God is, in my opinion, one of the most serious sins because it takes upon oneself what only belongs to God and it can destroy lives and souls. History shows, over and over, that when manipulation by an authoritarian organization manages to circumvent an individual’s conscience and perception of right and wrong, human atrocities like the holocaust result. People no longer view themselves as personally responsible for their own actions–simply “just following orders”–nor do they take any responsibility for bringing any physical relief toward their fellow man because they are “waiting on God”.

  5. Ron says:

    I watched the video yesterday John with my 18 year old son who is made to go by his mother still or he is thrown out. His is resilient and will never become a JW, the information was well put and he was thinking deeply as he watched. Good work my friend.

  6. Excelsior says:

    questionall451,

    An excellent point. The gospels describe an individual moral commitment to Christianity. There is no room for just following orders, no room at all.

    The Congregation is there to support, not to judge. It matters not what the GB say. They have no authority over anyone save themselves. We will all be judged individually.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  7. Crazy4jesus says:

    Back in 1986, in the spirit inspired booklet Worldwide Security under the “Prince of Peace” pp10-11, the GB proclaimed to be the mediator for the Great Crowd not Jesus. Thus the GB became Jesus. Now they claim to be Jehovah. That’s like a schizophrenic being committed to a asylum ranting about being Jesus and coming out years later saying they are now Jehovah. I know that this analogy is normally used as a cliche but in the case of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witness, 100% accurate, and I’m not being cruel or out of line here.

  8. April Smith says:

    This doesnt seem new to me at all. The organization has used this tactic for as long as I remember saying things such as… If you read “apostate” literature, youre commiting an act of apostacy against Jehovah himself, and this is an unforgivable sin. The fact is, it isnt a sin against God at all, just against an organization that is using scare tactics to keep real truth from people.

  9. peter allan says:

    I am a baptized J.W. Although I am not disfellowshipped, I no longer read their literature nor attend any of their social gatherings. Why? I began to question their child-like belief in science, particularly evolution, and their Young Earth Creationist (YEC) views that God created the Universe, Earth and all life on Earth during a relatively short period, between 5,700 and 10,000 years ago. Their stance on Birthday Celebrations; their teaching on Blood Transfusions; on the Great Crowd and Other Sheep; the Last Days; and the 144,000.
    I was there during the so-called last days from 1966 to 1975 when the Watchtower regularly inferred that Armageddon is upon us. Some Witnesses sold their houses, gave away their belongings, hoarded food, believing the end was nigh.

  10. Ben Burns says:

    OK Cedars what EXACTLY are you trying to put across to your audience when you quoted these words from the November 15 2013 Watchtower.

    … All of us must be ready to obey any instructions we may receive, whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not…

    Your motive here is to device your audience into believing something that was not in the article, isn’t it

    • Cedars says:

      I have read and re-read your ‘question’ and still can’t make any sense of it, sorry.

      In the absence of any coherent argument on your part, would you be open to answering the Cedars Challenge? The prize is that you get to tell your chums at the Kingdom Hall that you are responsible for taking down this website.

  11. Ben Burns says:

    The book Worldwide Security under the “Prince of Peace” pp10-11 DOES NOT teach that the GB is the mediator for the Great Crowd not Jesus.

    It teaches Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant between God and Spiritual Israel The book says the following

    “Just as the ancient nation of Israel was in a covenant relationship with Jehovah God through the mediator Moses, so the nation of spiritual Israel, “the Israel of God,” has a covenant relationship through a mediator. (Galatians 6:16) It is as the apostle Paul wrote to his Christian fellow worker: “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5) Was Moses the mediator between Jehovah God and mankind in general? No, he was the mediator between the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the nation of their fleshly descendants. Likewise, the Greater Moses, Jesus Christ, is not the Mediator between Jehovah God and all mankind. He is the Mediator between his heavenly Father, Jehovah God, and the nation of spiritual Israel, which is limited to only 144,000 members. This spiritual nation is like a little flock of Jehovah’s sheeplike ones.—Romans 9:6; Revelation 7:4.”

    It is only as the mediator of the covenant that this is talking about. BUT Jesus is the mediator of all mankind as Gods high priest to be able to approach God in prayer John 14:6 “Jesus said to him: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

    NO JW thinks that the GB claim to take the place of Jehovah. Cedars it using his influence to craftily spread lies with-out, out- right telling lies. He uses part part truths and twist facts

    • Cedars says:

      Ben Burns – Well, this is rather embarrassing, but in future before attacking me I would suggest you spend some time making sure you know what you are arguing about.

      You say… “The book Worldwide Security under the “Prince of Peace” pp10-11 DOES NOT teach that the GB is the mediator for the Great Crowd not Jesus. It teaches Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant between God and Spiritual Israel”

      1. I don’t recall saying that the Governing Body is the mediator for the Great Crowd. I can be held responsible for what I have written, not for what I haven’t written. 2. You acknowledge that Jesus, according to JW teachings, is mediator for “Spiritual Israel.” But what is “Spiritual Israel” according to the quote you have given us?

      “He [Jesus] is the Mediator between his heavenly Father, Jehovah God, and the nation of spiritual Israel, which is limited to only 144,000 members.”

      So the 144,000 is Spiritual Israel, the direct beneficiaries of Christ’s mediatorship. And who are the only ones who are allowed to represent the 144,000 collectively today, or tell us what they have to say? I will let you answer that. But please try to do so without resorting to adhominem and name-calling, or I will assume you are insincere and show you the door.

  12. Rosie says:

    Heard a bizarre comment recently from a very active JW who is vociferous in declaring that they are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They had been worried about something and said, “I don’t know if there is a God or not, but I prayed really hard anyway!”

    What is the point in being a JW if all the “Spiritual Food” they are constantly bombarded with doesn’t do what it is purported to be there for – and that is to help them have a relationship with God in order to worship him?

    Or is this just proof that they are in fact worshipping the Organisation and God is irrelevant, never mind Jesus?

    I know so many who have left the Org and categorically do not believe in God, despite the hoards of literature that has been forced upon them over the years. Most of which focuses upon The Organisation and GB!

  13. Excelsior! says:

    Ben Burns,

    Your question doesn’t make sense. I assume that you meant to ask whether John Cedars was quoting this out of context to make his point?

    Let’s look at what those words are, Ben.

    All of us must be ready to obey any instructions we may receive, whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not…

    Firstly, we have to ask, obey ANY instructions? Secondly, we need to know what is a “human standpoint”?

    I do not want to have to obey any instructions from anyone. I am a free man and I do not take instructions or orders from people who cannot verify that they have legal rights to issuing them. Do you?

    What is a human standpoint? I interpret this opaque phrase as pertaining to human experience, intelligence and culture. By this definition all human beings have a human standpoint. Indeed, it is impossible NOT to have a human standpoint.

    in relation to this, I can hear you say that God’s thoughts are higher than mans’ thoughts etc.

    Consider this, Ben. We were created, according to your doctrine, IN THE IMAGE OF GOD. Therefore human thought is the same on some levels as God’s thoughts.

    What do you think this phrase means? I am genuinely interested in your opinion.

    I interpret that phrase you quoted as being singularly sinister. It employs phrases such as “human standpoint” in a pejorative manner, and even dismisses strategy!

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  14. Wild Olive says:

    @rosie ,what you described,the enourmous amount of “spiritual food” which I had been devouring without question since I was 5yrs old,Ime 52 now,did not make any real heart change in me,this hit me after I stepped down from position of elder,I was no closer to God then than when I got baptised 30 yrs earlier,all I had done was collect knowledge,a big portion which is no longer “truth”
    For the first time I was seeing the true value of the “spiritual food”-worthless