JW Survey Results for 2015 and Reflections on 2016
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JW Survey

JW Survey

The year 2016 has seen a tidal wave of news, scandals and controversial topics surrounding Jehovah’s Witnesses.

From horrific and seemingly endless child abuse cases to the senseless deaths of Phelicity SneesbyÉloïse Dupuis and others, the Watchtower organization has, from courtrooms to conventions, boldly defied all moral sense , doubling down on it’s blood, shunning, and child indoctrination policies.

The 2016 JW Convention series held in North America was so blatantly outrageous, it was dubbed the “Worst Convention Ever” in social media.

Meanwhile, as Jehovah’s Witnesses in South Korea, Eritrea and elsewhere languish in prison, and as faithful adherents lay at the doorstep of death for lack of blood transfusions, The Governing Body sold billions of dollars worth of prime Brooklyn real estate, packed their bags and moved to upstate New York, assembling a palatial series of buildings which serve as the new JW world headquarters.

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Governing Body Member Sam Herd describes the Utopia-like conditions at Warwick

During the 2016 Jehovah’s Witness Annual meeting, Governing Body member Samuel Herd extolled the virtues of their historic departure from Brooklyn, regaling the audience with his description of the idyllic garden-like paradise that permanent members of Watchtower’s staff now enjoy.

Just prior to presenting a manicured documentary explaining the transition from New York City to the fertile and peaceful landscapes of Orange County New York, Mr. Herd waved his pinky ring at the audience and declared:

We’re all happy, and it’s good for us who live there. It’s such a beautiful place indeed. And so restful. All of us feel like we have been able to add years to our lives. (Audience laughter) We can hear birds sing, crickets at night! Frogs! Every now and then there’s and eagle that flies over…and we’re just enjoying ourselves as much as we possibly can.”

The Survey Results

As the Governing Body members and their “helpers” enjoy the benefits of wealth amassed, not by God, but through mandated congregation donations and real estate gains, JW Survey continues to monitor and report on these developments and sponsor its yearly survey, which is open to both Witnesses and former Witnesses. While we normally compile and publish the survey results earlier in the year, the workload for 2016 has resulted in the addition  of several editors, researchers, and volunteers who are tasked with keeping up with the latest developments in the Witness religion. Even with the addition of these dedicated individuals, we continue to fight the clock, with so many tasks at hand.

I would like to thank the more than 6,000 individuals who took part in the 2015 Survey, including the 1,022 active Jehovah’s Witnesses who participated. Of that number, 144 are currently serving as elders. This may seem very unusual to a loyal Jehovah’s Witness, but based upon the communication we receive at JW Survey from Elders, Ministerial Servants, even Circuit Overseers, we are confident that these figures are accurate.

Just as Jehovah’s Witnesses rely heavily upon their JW.org web site to disseminate information and doctrine, the very same web resources have become a fountain of truth and enlightenment to Witnesses who would otherwise be denied answers to questions which their organization cannot, or will not answer. Therefore, we will focus our attention on just a few of the survey results which were provided by active JWs, many being persons currently in the process of “waking up.”

Question #35 – Pedophiles in the Congregation

Nearly 25% of active Jehovah’s Witnesses polled were aware that there were pedophiles or child molesters in their home congregation, with an additional 13% reporting that they knew of such criminals in other congregations.

q35-pedophiles

I was actually surprised that the numbers were this high, as many cases of child abuse or pedophilia are kept well-concealed from congregation members by elders, who presumably take every possible precaution against casting a negative light upon the organization.

As the graph shows, almost 55% of those who responded were unaware of pedophilia within their own congregation, which is one reason Jehovah’s Witnesses have been caught off guard by the rapid proliferation of media reports covering this topic.

Because of the hushed-up nature of how abusers have been handled in the past, thousands of additional victims have been molested as a direct result of the “two-witness” rule still in use by the  JW organization. In other words, when pedophiles are neither reported to the police by congregation elders, nor sanctioned by the congregation because a 2nd witness to the crime could not be located, the perpetrator remains free to molest as many minors as he can, until he (or she) is finally caught.

In my personal experience, among the many sexual abusers who roamed free in the congregations where I grew up, there was one “anointed” elder who molested more than a half-dozen children well into his eighties, but was protected by his fellow elders when the abuse was finally brought to their attention. He died just shy of his 100th birthday, having destroyed the  lives of many of my childhood friends, with dark secrets which he took with him to his grave. The police were never notified.

On the subject of child abuse, please view the following documentary by Lloyd Evans, titled: Jehovah’s Witnesses and Child Abuse – Is there a Problem?

Editors note: on question #82 of our survey, over 72% of Jehovah’s Witnesses polled replied that they do agree Jehovah’s Witnesses have a problem with child abuse. Hence the overall awareness of child abuse within the organization is higher than the number of persons who know of specific instances of abuse within the congregation, which supports the comments above.

Question #41 Witnesses and Blood Transfusions

Question number 41 is likely one of the most emotionally charged questions in our survey, as it is a life-or-death question involving the most precious resource of all – our children.

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As a reminder, the survey results we are discussing involve answers provided by active Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves. Over 62% reported that they would not allow their child to die if he or she needed a blood transfusion,with an additional 24% answering the question with “I’m not sure.”

NOTE: only 13% responded that they would remain loyal to Watchtower policy and allow their child to die if the only option were a whole blood transfusion. This topic is front and center right now, particularly in Canada, where two women within one month lost their lives as a result of refusal of blood following complications from childbirth. The outrage has been felt both outside the victims inner Jehovah’s Witness circle and inside their immediate family.

JW Survey has learned that one of the key decision makers and writers for the Witness organization admitted that many holding prominent positions within the faith wish to change this outrageous and deadly policy, but the legal fallout and ramifications from the resultant lawsuits could well jeopardize the financial resources of the organization, likely even worse than the millions which have already been paid to settle child abuse mishandling lawsuits. Some years ago a coalition of a large number of JW elders and concerned Witnesses formed the Associated Jehovah’s Witnesses for Reform on Blood, now called Advocates for Jehovah’s Witness Reform on Blood. The mere existence of such an organization is evidence (as our Survey demonstrates) that Witnesses do not want to lose their life over a policy which has no real basis in scripture or practical medicine.

In recent years, the organization has attempted to placate Witnesses by the allowance of fractional blood components as an “alternative” treatment, even creating a global Hospital Liaison Committee (HLC) with the goal of presenting such alternative treatments to doctors. But, as the survey shows, the writing is on the wall for the ban on blood.

Question #49 -Elders  – Appointed by Holy Spirit?

Another fascinating question we asked our readers was whether they believe that elders are appointed by holy spirit. We found that among Jehovah’s Witnesses, only 9% believed that God’s spirit had anything to do with their appointment. This is a striking blow to the very cornerstone of every Witness congregation, as it reveals a no-confidence vote in the very structure which is designed to maintain law and order among adherents.

elders

77% of the Witnesses polled said elders were NOT appointed by holy spirit, with 14% unsure. There appear to be many factors linked to this feeling among Witnesses. Among them are scandals involving elders, lack of education, poor decision making ability, and the added knowledge that Jehovah’s Witness elders are no longer appointed by the New York headquarters, but are in fact solely appointed by a local traveling overseer, known as a “circuit overseer.”

As reported by JW Survey, in April of 2014, the Organization published a letter to elders announcing this decision, which effectively removed liability for the appointment of elders from the central hierarchy and placed it in the hands of circuit overseers, a decision which has effectively watered down the significance of the  appointment of elders. As with many other Governing Body directives handed down from New York, the true reason behind such changes often involves a completely different story than the one presented to rank and file congregation members.

Question #58 – Armageddon

This JW Survey poll question yields results which I personally expected to see. Most persons who claim to be God-fearing or Christian would never imagine a God of love executing 99.9% of humanity in a global war, commonly referred to as “Armageddon.”

q58-armageddon

Even a non-religious person would see no correlation between the image of a loving Jesus and the divine execution of all humanity – the two concepts are mutually exclusive. Yet while Jehovah’s Witnesses on paper teach that God will destroy ALL those who oppose his “kingdom”, they refuse to believe that God would actually commit this act of Genocide against his own creation. This of course is why most mainstream Christian faiths fail to accept the global flood of Noah’s day as a real event; instead they view it as an allegorical teaching. Our Survey results indicate that less than 9% of active Jehovah’s Witnesses polled are comfortable with the mass extermination of humanity at God’s “appointed time.” And destruction at Armageddon is not the only thing Witnesses are not comfortable with…

Question #62 – Shunning

When active Jehovah’s Witnesses were asked whether they approve of the practice of shunning or not, the overwhelming  majority checked the box which said “I object to all forms of shunning.”

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This core belief of the JW Organization serves as a solid fear-tactic which keeps the majority of Witnesses in line with the directives of the organization. Should a person cross the line and accept a blood transfusion, have an intimate relationship with someone they love, or God forbid they disagree with the organization’s policies or beliefs, they will lose ALL contact with their friends, and even the closest of relatives.

A mother will no longer speak with her daughter, or even answer her calls or text messages. A brother will turn his back on his brother, and anyone failing to tow the line and enforce this shunning policy will themselves be found seated at the back of the Kingdom Hall, in the proverbial disfellowshipped row. It is a humiliation that no God would ever sanction, and the Survey results bear this out.

The Summary, and Question #88 – Do you believe it or not?

While we have insufficient space to reproduce and discuss every question of our 2015 Survey, when examining the results of questions posed to active Jehovah’s Witnesses, one thing is very clear: Witnesses are living a double life, with their personal deep-set feelings at odds with the official policies of the Watchtower organization.

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From the chart above, 90% of Witnesses questioned made it clear that they are not in agreement with the complete collection of Witness beliefs. This is a stunning revelation, as anyone who has been baptized will tell you.

Every JW who is baptized reviews dozens of questions with 3 different congregation elders, and only after these elders are satisfied that the candidate is ready for baptism are they allowed to proceed.

That being the case, how do we get to the point where Witnesses secretly decline to agree with Watchtower policy? Could it be that many were baptized at an age where they were far too young to truly understand what they were getting involved with? Could it be that by the time their critical thinking skills began to develop, it was already too late?

Once baptism takes place – there is no reversing course. You are not  permitted any “take-backs” in the JW organization. if you wish to leave, you will pay the ultimate price, suffering the loss of family and friends, regardless of whether you are disfellowshipped, disassociated, or have merely “faded” from the organization. The end result is the same.

For years, despite its loathing of the United Nations organization, the Governing Body has quoted Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, in defense of its own global religious freedoms. Article 18 states:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

While Watchtower’s extensive worldwide legal team cries foul when their international rights are violated, they shamefully pin their own members to the wall and refuse to allow them to “change his religion or belief” without the most severe of penalties.  You cannot claim to support human rights while failing to mention the extraordinary suffering inflicted on Jehovah’s Witnesses who part ways with the organization.

Fortunately governments and courts worldwide are beginning to see the connection between Watchtower’s practice of indoctrination of the young, and the legal term known as “undue influence.”

JW Survey and the Importance of Your Vote

This brings us to the nature and importance of this survey, as it provides the necessary anonymity for any Witness to tell the world how they really feel about the religion in which they are trapped, without fear of reprisal. JW Survey will continue its mission to educate, report and provide surveys which permit an individual to speak his or her mind.

For decades, the power and control wielded by the  JW Governing Body stood largely unopposed by members and former members. The best they could do at the time was to write a book, or spread their concerns one person at a time. But times have changed. Science, law, social media and a general increase in public awareness of critical issues has sounded the death-knell for oppressive and controlling organizations, but it takes time for this knowledge to translate into law. Freedom of religious belief is a tangled mess, and hidden within this freedom is the ability to carry out wholesale indoctrination of minors under the blanket of constitutional protection.

The same is true of freedom of the press, which is supported by Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientologists, Mormons and other groups – but when members of such groups speak out in opposition to these religions, they are disfellowshipped, disconnected, considered as suppressive and apostate, then subsequently shunned by order of the church.

Please take the time to thoughtfully consider these important issues, share this article, and encourage anyone associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses to take our Surveys. The results are in, and they give a voice to the silent majority.

 

John Redwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDITOR’S NOTE – PLEASE BE SURE TO TAKE THE 2016 SURVEY IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY DONE SO – CLICK HERE TO BEGIN

FURTHER DETAILED READING RELATED TO THE 2015 SURVEY

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140 Responses to JW Survey Results for 2015 and Reflections on 2016

  1. Carlos says:

    Thank you for the this! JWSurvey’s own 2016 Year Book!!! The real truth! 🙂

  2. Garrett says:

    Where is Lee Harvey Oswald when you need him?
    Someone needs to put a bullet in every one of the GB.

    • Jimbo says:

      For one thing, Lee Harvey Oswald was fatally shot by Jack Ruby in 1963. For another, assassinating a member of the GB would only serve to strengthen loyal members’ faith in the nearness of the end of this system of things, as well as make a martyr of whomever took the bullet…and this is aside from the moral problem of taking another man’s life.

      • John Redwood says:

        Jimbo – we reminded Garrett that his comments are in violation of JW Survey policy and are threatening in nature. We forward this type of information to the internet service providers handling the .me account he is using as well as law enforcement. It’s a reminder to all of us that threatening or suggesting violence is taken seriously and has no place on our forum.

        • Jimbo says:

          Glad to hear you’re taking precautions, as the (generally) intelligent discussions among commenters in this community remain one of my favorite features of this site.

        • Chiafade says:

          Frustration is a common theme among cult survivors such as ourselves. I highly doubt Garrets comments can be taken as literal.

          If you haven’t gotten an opportunity to see Leah Remini’s documentary on A&E (which I highly recommend) she makes quite the statement regarding her feelings for Miscaviage. She said “I wish I could hire a hitman”. A strong expression of ire and dismay. It’s highly unlikely that she’ll do something like that.

          I think we should cut Garret a little slack.

          • John Redwood says:

            Chiafade

            Regarding Garret, his statement was “Where is Lee Harvey Oswald when you need him? Someone needs to put a bullet in every one of the GB.” Unfortunately it is our job to take such comments seriously, since this is a public forum, and there is no allowance for even the suggestion of violence. Sadly, we live in a world where a disgruntled ex-jw m with mental health issues might just run with this idea, and attempt an act of violence. We need to make it clear what our position is on such matters. His words were poorly chosen, and we hope he learned his lesson regarding what is acceptable and what is not. One important thing to remember is that we are a resource for active JWs who are having doubts and exploring the internet. The very last thing we want is for a JW to stumble onto our site and hear someone say that someone should put a bullet in every one of the GB. This certainly would have turned me away if I had read this as a questioning JW. It would suggest that this is a place where angry “mentally diseased” apostates lurk, and that the have violent motivations.

            As for Leah Remini’s comment, I can’t defend what she said, and I will have to re-watch the 2 episodes to see this for myself. I would agree, I don’t think anyone would believe Leah to be capable of hiring a hitman. But we are not dealing with a well respected actor who appeared in a documentary about her former faith. At Survey, we are dealing with a random individual making an anonymous threatening suggestion that someone should commit an act of violence against the GB members. So we deal with this on its own merit and can’t compare it with anything or anyone else.

            By the way – the A&E series is brilliant – far better than I expected. I recommend it to anyone involved in any controlling religion – the parallels are outstanding, and I hope many JWs get to see this, and perhaps do some critical thinking

            Respectfully

            JR

          • Wideawake says:

            I agree….some of us have had so much taken away from us by this cult it is only reasonable that the ending of those men would be attractive…I have lost loved ones in death because of refusing blood transfusions…My sibling lost a Career and life playing the sport he loved because of it..and he is bitter…I believed it all and now after 57 years wasted in that prison I feel crushed at times to say the least…so I agree…don’t let us be reactionary like the Cult we are leaving…don’t let us be quick to judge without a care for the individuals personal circumstances and experiences like a Judicial Committee would be…we have become bigger than that…don’t stop posting Garret…just don’t message in anger…we know how you feel…we are with you to support you in any way we can through this medium…Peace and Joy.

    • John Redwood says:

      Garrett

      While we appreciate your frustration with the Governing Body, even if you feel this is a joke – we cannot condone violence toward anyone in the Watchtower organization. This is inappropriate and does not represent who we are as editors of this site. We seek change through peaceful and legal methods, including the education of the public as to the dangers of cults and undue influence. Please keep your comments in line with the guidelines of JW Survey, which include the following:

      ABUSIVE COMMENTS – Do not post comments that include swear words or may be considered abusive, lewd, blasphemous, obscene or threatening
      ILLEGAL COMMENTS – Do not post comments that condone or propose illegal activity, or that breach copyright law

      Any comments breaching these guidelines will be considered abusive and illegal, and are immediately reported to your ISP and law enforcement officials.

      • Garrett says:

        Understood John.
        I appreciate your stand…
        I’ll keep off the forum entirely.
        I hope if you turn over names that you are at least consistant and turn over the names of all the Governing Body to the justice department as well and tell them that the GB have the names of 20,000 pedophiles that they refuse to turn over to the authorities.
        Have you done that???

        • John Redwood says:

          Garrett

          Your sarcasm does not serve the interests of activism very well. We are trying to help people, not suggest violence. We do not hate Witnesses, nor do we show hate towards individual members of the Governing Body. If we did, we would fall into their portrayal of the angry mentally diseased apostate. We do abhor their policies, which have caused death, lack of education, and child endangerment worldwide, while convincing members that this is the “best life ever.”

          And yes, we are working actively with officials from multiple countries to hold the organization and its Governing Body responsible for their actions and policies. On a personal level, I provided the evidence used to subpoena Geoffrey Jackson in Australia, despite the opposition of Watchtower’s legal department. We work behind the scenes with law firms, victims, and advocates for reform, as well as police departments in various countries.

          This is our stance, and you were called out for your comment because it violates our rules of etiquette and decency, and suggests violence. This is never acceptable, and our readers will agree.

          JR

          • Concerned JW says:

            I did not realise that you were actively involved with bringing evidence to that lawsuit!

            Anyway, I see you touched on here the fact that a writer high in the ranks of WT claims that many high up in the WT ranks wish to see reform on the blood policy.

            For one this does not really surprise me that it would result in a lawsuit if such reforms were made, but is there any way you can verify these claims are true?
            Obviously these ones would wish to stay anonymous, but is there any way this can be verified while keeping their identity confidential?

          • John Redwood says:

            Concerned JW

            There is no way I can break confidentiality with my sources unless they agree to release the information. However this is not shocking news, particularly if you have read Crisis of Conscience and In Search of Christian Freedom by Ray Franz. In fact, the person I am referring to was actually mentioned by Ray Franz, but I can’t break confidence. My source is was a very close friend of this senior writing department official, and I have had dealings with this person (the WT official) myself. Hopefully our readers trust my writing, as I have no interest in publishing any sensational information or inaccurate information. This would only hurt activism and what we are trying to accomplish.

            But yes – the debate on blood is not something as automatic as most Witnesses are led to believe. I am not suggesting that there is a large internal feud going on – simply that the topic is debatable among those who write Watchtower articles and policies. I still have connections with some these persons at Headquarters as well as Patterson, and hope that one day we will see a key official wake up and leave the organization, and carry with him his experiences to be made public.

            Stay tuned – who knows what will happen in the next few years. Rest assured, we will see change. Things never stay the same

            JR

          • Concerned JW says:

            Ok, thats quite interesting to know.

            I have not real all of Franz’ books yet, but intend to do so.

            I think we can expect a change in blood policy, but I think it will take a very long time.

            From what I understand, blood fractions were slowly permitted to avoid lawsuits and legal ramifications.

            I also have good friends in the congregation affected by sex abuse and this only has been revealed to me because they trust me in confidence.

          • John Redwood says:

            Concerned JW

            Feel free to submit your stories of abuse to our private contact email, contact@jwsurvey.org. The information will be confidential, and you can change the names of the individuals involved if you wish to protect their identities. The purpose is to gain a greater understanding of the scope of the abuse problem within the organization. We hear stories every week from all corners of the globe. Many we cannot reveal because of the protection of those involved or because of ongoing litigation in various courts.

            The more important thing is to let the authorities and child protections services know, since this is the best way to further protect our children. But we would still like to hear your stories

            JR

          • twistedsister69 says:

            @John Redwood

            KUDOS to your team for your legal involvement and activism. I personally had no idea JWsurvey was that deeply involved in anti-cult activism. Encourages me to start “stirring the pot” in my own area. 😉

            @Garrett

            Though I consider myself an eternal optimist, I doubt you would get much action from the “justice” department in this neck of the woods, even if JR submits (or has submitted) the names of the GB and the info about their not-so-secret database of child rapists, at least not at this time. The “Powers-That-Be” are currently too busy kissing the feet of God Emperor Trump, and trying to figure out where they can hide during HIS Reign of Terror.

  3. A disgruntled witness says:

    “Witnesses are living a double life, with their personal deep-set feelings at odds with the official policies of the Watchtower organization.”
    How true this is! I am one of this category of witnesses and I just know that many fellow witnesses feel the same. Some time ago I went through the judicial committee for challenging the organization over the teachings of blood transfusions, shunning, higher education and the problems of child abuse. Before I was brought before the JC, I was visited several times by a few elders to try to convince me to recant. I did not, but later, when in front of the JC, I recanted because of my family. I find no pleasure in going in field service when I know how hypocrites the GB and some COs are and I’ve often turned in fake FS reports. I don’t know for how long I will be able to lead this double life but I’m totally disgusted by what has become the religion in which I’ve grown up.

    • Wideawake says:

      I did the same … for a long time …I encourage you to fade… this will just get bigger and bigger in your life and you will not be able to keep up the dual existence you are living…I admire your challenging them over their ridiculous doctrines and understand your recasting them in front of the non legal jc…I have not been to a meeting since the memorial and am now inactive for one year…it’s hard after 57 years of indoctrination and I am scared of being shunned by my children if I take it any further…I would say to you start planning your fading strategy now…Lloyd does an amazing video on u tube to help…my husband is in there 100% as are my grown up children…but I decided the best thing I could do for them was fade…it’s hard…but it’s harder to live your life falsely and not be true to yourself…I admire you and feel sympathy for you…don’t let these men be the power in your life…that belongs to you..Peace and Joy.

      • MimiLove says:

        I am in exact same situation as WideAwake. It is difficult when grandchildren ask why I’m not serving Jehovah aka attending meetings. I’m so much happier though and when asked by my grown children I state that I can’t in good conscience support an organization that hides pedophiles.

        • Wideawake says:

          Mimi….It’s not easy though is it Mimi?… I love my husband but it is testing our relationship…and I cannot risk my children shunning me…I don’t really give a hoot if anyone else does..but not them…however I feel mentally free and love the feeling of no fear…nothing can make up for that…I just wish I hadn’t wasted 57 years of enslavement…My health is not tip top…Stroke and Cancer…they took the best years of my life…

          • Big B says:

            @ A disgruntled witness, MimiLove and Wideawake;

            Firstly, as always John a great summation of the 2015 Survey.

            I know how hard it is to leave a system of beliefs that you have invested decades to.

            After fading three years ago, with my immediate family, there was no one left to shun me. All of my aunts, uncles and both parents were either dead, at the time of my fade, or so fogged in the mind that they would not have remembered if they themselves were J.W.’s or not.

            My family and I decided that we would FADE period. We did not submit a ‘resignation’ or ‘disassociation’ letter because we felt that to do so was following their rules. To do so would be tantamount to allowing them (elders and G.B.) to still control us. You are under NO obligation to hand these Pharisaic tyrants (emotional blackmailers) the nails and hammer to crucify you by giving them anything. No meetings, no ‘star chamber’ hearings, no phone calls, no uninvited or unannounced visits, no nothing. Any mail from the elders (even registered mail) do not open; just give it back to the post office with “RETURN TO SENDER”. Soon they will get the hint.

            The price of true FREEDOM is always high; however “to thy own self be true”, says Polonius in Hamlet. Again, good health and good luck with your fade. 🙂

    • ROBIN MILLER says:

      Bringing all this to their attention and then they do nothing but try and convince you to recant is beyond words. Seems like it is going from the frying pan into the fire with these people who lead this organization.
      It is very corrupt.

    • TheHeretic says:

      I don’t intend to chastise because I recall feeling that I had to hide my feelings pretty much after the absolute failure set in Jan 1, 1976 through October 4-5, 1976 (some of us gave it at least a year). I recall vividly when Ray Franz was thrown under the bus for trumpeting 1975 (it was his Uncle’s and other eager-beaver GB’s as well) because arch-conservatives aligned with Knorr sought to eject the more “liberal” and “progressive” change movement at HQ. I recall sitting at another convention where the numbers were obviously sliding off a cliff and the speaker (through GB-endorsement) berating the audience for not having the chops to convert people’s minds, and I thought, “sure, blame me for your quacked up doctrines”.

      It was at that point I realized how much energy I was wasting trying to fit into a community of which my mindset was no longer welcome and I could not be myself. Sure, that probably sounds like a gay coming out speech but it is a “coming out”. Aren’t you tired? Aren’t you tired of pretending? Aren’t you tired of hiding the books and magazines you feel the elders won’t approve, or some other snooty conservative JW won’t approve? Aren’t you tired of living under the fear of men? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes was my response in my self-dialogue.

      I truly believe if I had tried to keep up appearances for another year or less, I would have been certified insane or mentally broken. As it was, I escaped and realized I was in a deep depression. And, even now, Watchtower world doesn’t “get it”–they talk about “The Fall” and restoration but they fail to recognize ANY illnesses needing treatment beyond a Watchtower–alcoholism, mental health issues, hyperactivity, etc, etc, etc.

      And, the most tiring thing was the constant NEGATIVE atmosphere. A constant string of “no’s”. A constant frown of disapproval on creativity, dress, hairstyle or attitude. It gave me a rash–well some sort of skin ailment–probably due to psychological reactions, and the headaches.

      So, I have a violent physical reaction (churned stomach and headaches) when someone throws a “Return to J*” brochure at me and assumes the three easy-peasy scenarios inside are “the answer”. A brochure that doesn’t address jack and from any reader’s perspective puts the blame on the victim, again. It doesn’t acknowledge any “crimes” took place; it doesn’t even acknowledge that “hurt feelings” are real and resulted from real incidents interacting with idiots who either don’t have human manners and courtesy or suffer from blind arrogance. Just get over it..

      Aren’t you tired of the contradictions–pioneer, but okay you can get a little education, and a few years later–whoa, whoa, whoa Nellie–too many of you folks are getting fancy cars and no time in ministry. Schooling is bad, again. And, how do you support your family? with prayers? begging? Yeah, we know why the “real love” bad guy was angry and confused…

      End rant..

      • Big B says:

        @TheHeretic;

        Everything you mentioned is exactly what it is. This is a soul sucking cult which removes any creativity from their organization. Free thinkers, artists or educated people are given a jaundiced look of distrust and disapproval. Why; is it jealous envy or because, they don’t necessary tow the G.B. line without question (whatever it might be at the present). ‘Sheeple’ fit into a mold and are cut from the same cloth; they dress the same, act the same, use the same mannerisms described as the ‘pure language of the TRUTH’, quote the same Scriptures and arguments, following precisely what the pages of the Watchtower describes as the ‘New Personality’ and the aforementioned don’t.

        Congratulations Watchtower! You have molded a perfect race of automatons. What an accomplishment! A whole section of humanity that cannot make decisions on their own without guidance from your publications and elders.

        Forgive us for not jumping off a cliff like a bunch of lemmings however, I’m sure at least 8 million(?) ‘Sheeple’ will do their best to follow you into oblivion. Pathetic isn’t it?

    • concerned_jw says:

      @A disgruntled witness
      Im in the same situation as you, and I think there are many like us, I know some brothers who are not afraid to cast their own opinion such as birthdays for example, but thats just what I know.

      If they are happy to speak up about that, I think that says enough that they probably have more disagreements.

      Its only made my faith stronger as a result however, but Im at the point where I have to take control of my own spirituality and not place it in the hands of an organization made by man.

      Such decisions should be your own personal decision based on your conscience rather than being “instructed” by what any organization tells you to do.

      Its quite a serious matter when you are letting someone else take care of your spirituality and those who are knowingly misleading their followers will eventually be bought to account for their actions.
      Franz was not stupid and his conscience did not allow him to stay silent, and he had to pay a high price for making a stand.

      This is also why I believe all organized religions are doomed to failure.

      I have questioned many of our teachings for some time, but am thankful that through careful, unbiased bible study that Ive found the answers and that my immediate family are in unanimous agreement.

      Fading away is not easy, and its a high price to pay to leave your friends and relatives.
      I know I wont be able to fake it forever, but for the meantime I feel its important I stay.

      However its not scriptural to live a lie, so the time will come when I have to go.

      Something tells me its inevitable that something is going to give eventually.

      Its not like we have not had schisms in the past, I think looking back on our history is a lesson for all.

      I love it how in the book we are currently studying that it waters all our history down and throws in the word “apostate” everywhere that refers to those that left…

  4. Ruthlee says:

    Thankyou for the survey results team. It does not produce any surprises does it? We all know they have fleeced us and bled us dry of money and now laugh our faces as they spend all day at Warwick reading the bible and praying. Such holy men so set apart from the dirty rank and file. The thin veneer of belief out here among the said rank and file will stretch too thin eventually and will fizzle out in a damp squib.My husband still goes and they are still into back slapping and how well they are doing, it is all a pitiful delusion. At least it fills up their time until they reach their long lasting house. (no brains to think of anything else to do) It is interesting Sammy herd is pleased add more years to his life in earthly paradise, too right! I would not want to be him or any of the gb up before The Judge they have quite a lot of explaining to do without any note from their’ mum. I expect they will want to put off heavenly life for as long as possible after all it will be such a bore judging all those stupid sheep.Warwick is the nearest they are ever getting to heaven and they know it. A point to ponder, do they store their own blood? yours subdued Ruthlee

  5. messenger says:

    As you stated the WT violates article 18 of the Human Rights Declaration. So far, in the US at least, that’s not a prosecutable (criminal) offense. And I’ve read that the WT has won tort cases dealing with that issue-the WT’s right to promote, even to demand, shunning of former members by current members. That appears to me to be a clear violation of article 18. Most, maybe even all, of us who became Witnesses after becoming adults at one time believed the governing body told the truth, that JWs were the only religion acceptable to God. We had to grow spiritually, and learn more to find that’s not the case. In a sense we were tricked, because we didn’t know the scriptures and the simple message of Christ, which was to believe in him, to show love, and not to judge others. Even when we saw that some of the WT’s positions were mistakes, we made allowances. And we missed a fundamental flaw, some illogical reasoning in WT teachings, that that fact because the GB have been admittedly wrong about their doctrines over, and over, and over again, that it is illogical and unloving for God to kill us if we don’t accept and follow WT teachings. Why would a loving god kill us for not believing in doctrines and following humans who don’t believe those teachings for very long themselves-misapplying scriptures hundreds, probably thousands, of times?

    I understand your position on children raised in the “Truth.” Yet, the WT violates article 18 with adults who accepted WT teachings while they were adults too. Maybe in the future governments might criminally prosecute religions who force abuses upon their members. May that day come!

  6. Caroline says:

    I got baptized out of emotion (1966) and as the years went by, there were many things that bothered me but I kept telling myself that in time Jehovah would correct things if I was wrong. I remember being brave enough to tell people in service that I didn’t think it was right for Witnesses to be put into different categories like being called pioneers because to me it went against what Jesus had said about all being equal but only once did anybody agree with me but later he went on to become a regular pioneer anyway.

    I always thought that if a person wanted to spread the Bible’s message, why would you have to have a quota? Wouldn’t you just do it because you loved Jehovah and loved your fellow man? I never agreed with that and I always thought that if the Organization didn’t make us turn in time slips, that I would have been more inclined to go in service just because I wanted to go and not because I was forced to go to turn in my time and be judged according to how much time I turned in.

    I also never believed that in 1935, God called a halt to anybody going to heaven just because Rutherford came to that conclusion and I even wrote to the Society telling them my reasons why I believed that.

    I remember so many people believing that anything the Watchtower printed was the way it was going to be and the way it was going to happen like when the Watchtower said that anybody resurrected in the new world would not marry or have children.

    Even though I wholeheartedly believed that God was directing the Organization, I believed that Jehovah would fix it in his due time but I never did believe that just because the Watchtower said something that it was the gospel truth.

    I am so glad for jwsurvey where I can express my innermost thoughts about the religion that I was involved in all those years. If the Watchtower actually cared about it’s followers, they’d be concerned about your survey but they don’t care. They don’t want to know the honest to god truth. They can’t afford to listen to what the rank and file really feel and I think they know that most of them don’t 100% support every decision they come up with. How could they? They’d have to switch on a dime, every time the Society comes out with a new understanding and I think it goes against what the Bible says about going along with every wind of teaching then and if a person had a half a brain in their head, they’d have to see it too and so the Society keeps pumping out fear and guilt to keep it’s members in the dark.

    I believe that even some of the Governing Body members are still in the dark. If they are not in the dark, then I believe they should be put in prison for murder if many of them wish they could change the stance on blood but because of fear of losing their empire, let people die anyway.

    • Big B says:

      @ Caroline;

      Well thought out and written. Thanks Caroline for your insightful comments. I myself was baptized in 1969 and agree with you totally. FOG “fear, obligation & guilt” is what the Witnesses are all about, as is mentioned on ex JW critical thinker.
      https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpHhWSPtMDTSa8dzapmzo5A

      As far as field service goes; they are selling but nobody is buying. All that reported time and did we receive one penny for our effort, or gas, etc. They (G.B.) are truly “TIME BANDITS”. They steal time from families and individuals. “Don’t go ________*, ARMAGEDDON is just around the corner.” (* get an education, work overtime, better yourself, have hobbies, etc.) Work for us (for free), increasing the Lords harvest so you may find joy in your ministry”, ad nauseam.

      I pray that the eyes of the spiritually blind will be opened and the chains of this tyranny will be removed by J.W.’s thwarting the Societies prohibition to visit sites like this one and see the truth about the TRUTH.

      • outandabout says:

        I too like the way you express yourself, Caroline. I sense a gentle person with heart.

        • Caroline says:

          Thank you Big B and outandabout for your kind comments.

          I understand why Witnesses would stick with the Organization if if proved wrong because I too was that deluded all those years.

          I remember a sister saying one time in service how terrible she thought it was when a brother in her old congregation had made a comment that he’d stick with the Organization even if it wasn’t for Armageddon simply because the Witness religion was the best way of life.

          The reason she thought that comment was so terrible was because that brother wasn’t putting faith in Jehovah’s promise of a new earth but I secretly agreed with the brother because I thought that even if it wasn’t for Armageddon, it was the best way of life too but because of her comment about not having faith in Jehovah’s promise of a new earth, I kept my mouth shut.

          I went home and wrote to the Society about how it was wrong to serve only for the reward because that is what Satan said was the only reason why Job was faithful to Jehovah in the book of Job.

          About 6 months later, the Society came out with an article telling Witnesses that serving only for the reward was wrong and that even if it wasn’t for the new world, Witnesses were to serve just because it was the best way of life.

          Now, I don’t believe it is the best way of life anymore. I only believed that it was the best way of life because I was told that over and over again it was the best way of life, just like we were told over and over again that Witnesses are the happiest people in the world but underneath, I always felt like I had a dark cloud hanging over my head and was never happy and if I felt like that every day of my life since becoming a Witness, I bet that practically every other Witness feels the same way inside their own hearts and heads but are too afraid to tell anybody else about how they really feel.

          Now that I know that the Watchtower Society is lying to it’s people about what the Bible really says and keeping them in the dark about it’s history and a whole slew of other things that the Society is fooling it’s people with, the guilt and fear that kept me in the religion all those years is gone.

          I may only have a few years of life left on this earth and I know it but the Witnesses don’t know it. They think that Armageddon is coming any minute and so they won’t have to die but the reality is that they will die, waiting for the real life to come in the new world. It’s sad. If I had only known 50 years ago that the Watchtower is just another doomsday religion, I would have found better things to do with my time then to waste it going to all those boring meetings and freezing myself going out in service in the winter time.

          I did enjoy the company of the brothers and sisters but I won’t stoop to going back to meetings for their company but I do feel sorry for them because they are wasting their precious lives on lies and dreams of things that will never come.

          • Winston Smith says:

            @Caroline,
            I used to say the same thing about the JW way being the best way of life whether Armageddon was coming or not. Being a born-in who was nearly completely sheltered from the outside world, really only exposed to the negatives of the world, it was easy to accept. I was not given the full picture of any other way of life.

            Once I became an adult, and got know people I worked with and in other areas of life, I began to see that there were many good people living good lives. There was not only one good way to live your life, but many. And these people didn’t deserve destruction simply because their way was different from mine.

            I think that the lack of an education also helped impose this “best way of life” concept. Because I had no education, I ended up working with other uneducated, unprofessional people, who had a tendency to get involved in some of the less acceptable (to a JW) forms of behavior. Once I became educated and began working with more professionals, I began to see the better side of humanity to some extent. This is not meant to say that anyone who lacks an education lacks morals or anything along those lines. Rather I am simply taking note of a contributing factor reinforcing the JW lies I had been told.

            WS

          • Big B says:

            @ Caroline and Winston Smith;

            I totally agree with both of your comments and it is a shame that so many decades (not just years but in my case half a century, sadly) of our youth was wasted on preaching a ‘doomsday’ message with absolutely no foreseeable end in sight. The 1975 deadline was 41 years ago!

            I too feel sorry for the still blinded ‘Sheeple’ wasting their time, life’s precious moments and opportunities on the dancing pandas deception of ‘New World’ lies and delusional paradise earth dreams. Even if these things were true, they will never live to see them as the Adventist “Armageddon is a comin'” can has been kicked down the road so far Jesus Christ himself couldn’t find it with a telescope.

            Now here is the real clincher. With the issuing of the overlapping generation nonsense (doctrine?) by the G.B. and the printing of the Watchtower time line being revised (July 15, 2013 study article) to show a Rapture(?) of sorts, what class of people are being preached to in the field ministry? Certainly not the supposed ‘Great Crowd’ who survive Armageddon.

            If Armageddon is say, 100 years off (if the event is what the Watchtower say’s it is) WHO are the Witnesses preaching to but (according to the present doctrine) those to be resurrected anyway as they were not destroyed at Armageddon?

            They are not dividing the sheep from the goats; that happens directly before Armageddon, after the remnant are transferred (the Rapture?) to heaven before the Great Tribulation.

            So then, what is the preaching work but a proselytizing work intent on finding replacements for the ‘baby boomers’ which are the next generation on the death watch. My opinion is this, and is is just my opinion for what its worth; namely, the Great Crowd of Armageddon survivors haven’t been born yet or at best infants, as of today, I will not live to see Armageddon (if it’s truly an event) period.

            Notice I didn’t use the expression ‘great crowd of other sheep’ started by that drunken sot Judge Rutherford. The other sheep, Jesus refers to therefore, have to be the gentile believers and Samaritans who were putting faith in Jesus back in the first century; not a class of people 1800 years in the future. The conversion of Cornelius and his family (and the Samaritans) in the first century truly made the early Christians one flock with one shepherd.

            With my total rejection of the FOG (Fear, Obligation and Guilt) of Jehovah’s Witnesses and their doomsday cultism doctrine, I find myself having no interest in them as friends or much less, acquaintances. I speak to them if running errands but only as a matter of being hospitable. If they return my salutations (or not) fine. Other than that I don’t seek them out.

          • messenger says:

            I understand how you feel dear sister. But maybe our stay with the organization was not a waste of time. Christ worshipped with ignorant, tyrannical worshippers around him when he walked the Earth.

            The WT surely misleads. Paul, John, and Peter preached only Jesus as their message. The WT preaches the kingdom as its central message, and in doing so they preach a lot about themselves, falsely applying scriptures to themselves, and to their organization’s history. Paul said he only preached Jesus, and said that he did not preach himself. All the apostles only preached Jesus. As JWs we received some preaching about Jesus from the WT. But it was not the central message. Yet as Bible readers we are informed it is in the Hebrew scriptures. Interesting that it is the central message in other Christian churches who the WT does not want you to listen to.

            As for the last days, the apostles said they were in the last days when they were alive. Read the books written by Paul, John , and Peter; they all said it, and they said the end was near during their day also. Also, the description of the end times which Paul makes at 2Tim chapter 3 pretty much mirrors what he says about people in his day at Romans 1:29-32. And Christ never said any type of war, food shortage, or earthquake was a sign of his presence, or second coming. Carefully read Matthew 24, and you’ll probably see that. He actually said those thing would take place, but the end is not yet.

            So, we’ve been deceived whether intentionally or through the ignorance of the gb. Though we were misled we still developed a love for Christ and God. That’s the benefit, and it’s the most important thing.

          • Caroline says:

            @messenger, thank you for the nice comment but I have to respond to your last sentence.

            When I was growing up, I didn’t know anything about the Bible and I when I moved away from home and started studying with the Witnesses, is when I first learned anything about the Bible through the Witnesses so you are right in that it was the Witnesses who first got me interested in the the Bible god Jehovah and Jesus and during those years (50 years) I was in the “truth”, I told myself that Jehovah was a loving god and I prayed to Him and I thought that he answered my prayers to him as long as those prayers were in accordance to his will. I even believed the Society when they said that when people prayed for God to answer their prayers for guidance in the Bible is when Witnesses knocked on their door so it had to be angels directing the Witnesses to their doors. I believe the Watchtower was God’s only spokesman to mankind through the Watchtower Organization. I believed that until around 2-1/2 years ago when I started doing research into the religion’s history and teachings, whether or not they were really from the Bible or not.

            I remember the first few months and my husband was still alive, that my hands shook from fear of being found out by him that I was looking at “apostate” websites and I had to use earphones so he couldn’t hear anything that I was hearing on Youtube videos. I had to use earphones until he died because I knew how upset he’d be if he knew what I was listening to. I did try and talk to him and of course he talked to the elders to “help” me but they sent all the elders over to our house two by two so they could hear my “apostate” thinking which was only questioning them about joining up with the U.N. and telling them about how I found out that the Society had sent the elders a 4 page letter trying to trick the congregations into thinking their loans didn’t have to be paid off but telling the elders that they weren’t to read the last 3 pages where the Society wanted to trick the congregations into paying off those loans forever instead by trickery. I am proud of myself for not being afraid to tell them exactly how I felt about that.

            But during all those years, I closed my eyes to passages in the Bible like the one about how Judah wanted to have his daughter-in-law Tamar burned because she supposedly committed adultery but it was perfectly okay for him to have sex with a temple prostitute and the Society never had a bad thing to say about Judah.

            In my heart, I detested the account of Judah and Tamar but I kept quiet about it because of peer pressure from the rest of the Witnesses.

            I detested Lot for offering his two daughters to a crowd to be raped and pillaged but I closed my eyes to it but in my heart, I hated Lot.

            I also thought it was disgusting how Lot’s two daughters got their father drunk and had sex with him to have children but I closed my mind off about how disgusting I thought that Bible account was and the Society never had a bad thing to say about that account.

            I also thought it was disgusting how Abraham was such a coward and so scared for his own life, that he was willing (two times) to let Sarah be taken as somebody else’s wife and God knows what could have happened to her.

            I closed my mind off from why God would ask Abraham to slaughter his son Isaac.

            I closed off my mind about how unbelievable the flood account would have to be to have all the species of animal life on the earth today that would have had to be evolved in the last 4,500 years since the supposed flood without not even one fossil that would have shown how all the species on earth today could have come from those few animals that Noah would have had on that boat that he and his wife and sons and daughters-in-law could have taken care of.

            I closed my my mind off about how Jehovah told the Israelites to go into all those lands where people had been living and kill them off by the millions with swords just because of a promise Jehovah had made to Abraham.

            Now that I allow my mind to question the Bible, I wonder how did a bunch of slaves get all those swords while they were escaping for their lives from Egypt?

            How did those people and their animals survive all those years in the wilderness on manna? Why would Jehovah provide dead quail for them to eat when all they took with them was bread pans? Why would the Israelites have animals when they were supposedly slaves? How could they own houses when they were just slaves? Why did the Israelites have to cross the Red Sea to get into Median when all Moses had to do was just go to Midian when he left Egypt?

            I closed my mind to not being able to question the Society about anything that I thought went against the Bible without being called to account for apostasy from the elders. It wasn’t until after I got baptized is when I first realized that we as Witnesses are not allowed to question the Watchtower Society without being disfellowshiped for it and that was because at the time, the Society said it wasn’t adultery for a person to have homosexual sex the same as it was for hetersexuals. Even though I was young and just new in the “truth”, that never made sense to me and I questioned my new husband and his mother and him made it quite clear to me that whatever the Society said, it wasn’t to be questioned or I’d be called in for disfellowshiping for questioning the Society’s teachings.

            Had I been a Bible reader before becoming a Witness, I think I would have been more skeptical about whether or not the Bible was written by a perfect God or not and would have been more equipped to tell whether or not the Society really had the “truth” or not but all along, I didn’t believe that anybody could live inside a fish for 3 days and be vomited out on dry land but I didn’t allow myself to think about it and I allowed peer pressure to dull my brain.

            Now I have many doubts about anything the Bible has to say. I think a person by the name of Jesus might have existed and even been killed by the Romans but I have many doubts about the miracles the Bible talks about.

            The list goes on and on but I think you get the point.

          • Winston Smith says:

            Caroline,
            One major point that I took away from your last comment was that the JWs prey on people’s ignorance. Like you say, you knew nothing about the Bible before you studied with them. Of course, like many raised in western lands, you were probably told the Bible was God’s word, but not much else. Here they come promising that secret knowledge of the scriptures. But it comes with a catch: everything will be taught with their special bias and all information must be accepted without question. If more people were educated as to what was really in the Bible they may be less susceptible to the undue influence from those who claim to understand it. But then again, soothsayers and charlatans have been preying on people’s ignorance long before the scriptures were compiled.

            WS

          • Caroline says:

            Winston, you are so right about the Witnesses preying on people’s ignorance of the Bible but I feel that almost all “Christian” religions do exactly the same thing.

            Most “atheists” became atheists simply by paying attention to what they read when they read the Bible.

            There are so many “feel good” scriptures in the Bible and I think that is what sucks most people into any “Christian” religion.

            I have many, many “Christians” in my family who are not JW’s and they post “Christian” stuff on Facebook all the time and if I were to confront them with the disturbing passages, they’d be shocked and I don’t want to burst their bubbles as long as it makes them feel good.

            The difference between those religions and the JW religion is that the JW religion protects pedophiles and insists on people dying from refusing blood or get disfellowshiped for taking blood and the lying and the disfellowshiping and the suicides from being disfellowshiped and being shunned by their families is why I now see what a terrible religion it really is as a death dealing, doomsday, depressing cult that it really is.

            If they want to go to the meetings and from door to door and it makes them feel good, I don’t care.

            What I do care about is all the lies and cover-ups and the ones that have died and all those shunned for no reason at all, except they just wanted to “disconnect” from such a terrible religion or they got disfellowshiped for any other stupid reason, except for molesting a child which they can do without getting punished for.

          • messenger says:

            I’m sorry the judgmental attitude of this organization we speak of was directed at you. The WT is misguided. Other Christians recognize and verbalize the faults you brought out about Bible characters like Abraham and Lot. In the Bible many of those people are considered righteous by God because of their faith in God’s promises to them, and not because they were especially good people. Yes, they did disgusting things. Also, we don’t know the exact interpretations whether literal or not of many historical Bible stories; those interpretation have only been provided to us by more modern day individuals who may be wrong.

            I’ve learned a lot about the Bible through reading it directly, using translations that are not the New World.

            But my strongest faith in God is because of a personal experience, actual several experiences I had. You probably won’t believe in them; I know I wouldn’t if those things did not happen to me personally, because the WT taught me these sort of miracles no longer occur, and because of my life experiences before I experienced any miracle. But now I know God, his angel, or Christ still contact people in our day, and they furnish undeniable evidence of these contacts, so the people who experience such cannot rationalized them away with explanations such as mental illness. I don’t know how often, or to what number of individuals it’s done, but I know it happens. I don’t believe any JW that claims to be anointed that has not been miraculously contacted is what they claim to be.

            I wish you the best in this life and the next.

          • Caroline says:

            Hi Messanger. I am if I gave off the impression that I thought that a judgmental attitude of the Organization was directed at me. I didn’t feel that at all.

            I was only responding to your comment because I didn’t want you to get the wrong impression of me and I didn’t want to be a hypocrite.

            I know that characters like Abraham and Lot and even Jepthah have been addressed by the clergy and all of those things that those people did was explained away for one reason or another.

            I get that and I also let myself be convinced for many years that there must have been good reasons for all those terrible things that those people did too but it’s the direct killing of people and animals by Jehovah God is the thing I have the most problems with.

            What those people did in those days was bad enough but it’s the laws in the Law Covenant that Jehovah gave to the Israelites too which are really disgusting and show what kind of God Jehovah is. If you pay particular attention to the Law, those people were commanded to offer up their firstborn children as burnt sacrifices to Jehovah. There’s the problem of slavery being sanctioned by Jehovah and being treated as property and how fathers could sell their children to pay off their debts. There’s the problem of if a girl couldn’t prove she was a virgin on her wedding night, that she was to be stoned to death. There is the problem that if a girl was caught being a prostitute, she was to be burned to death, while the men could have as many concubines as they wanted and could commit adultery and not be punished, while if a female did it, they’d be stoned to death.

            The list could be really long if you wanted me to elaborate but I am sure that if you are a Bible reader like you say you are, then you would have to be very familiar with all those scriptures.

            I also believed in God for many years and I felt that things happened to me where I thought that the only explanation for them was that God intervened but now I look back and realize that those things could have happened even if I hadn’t prayed and the obvious thing that I would have to ask myself is: Why would Jehovah intervene in my life? Why would he consider me to be so special but he’d let all those other people suffer such terrible things when they also prayed to God? Isn’t that really arrogant of me to think that?

            Now I know that those things could have happened even if I hadn’t prayed.

            I remember how people say that sometimes when God answers prayers, it may be no and we always tried to see the bright side of an unanswered prayer.

            That isn’t to say that I don’t believe in spirit creatures. I never saw a spirit creature or had interactions with them, but I don’t know for sure they don’t exist but what does that have to do with a God creating the heavens and the earth?

            Just think about what the Bible says about God creating the heavens and the earth.

            Picture complete darkness, no earth and no planets and no suns or no moons, no water and no air, just darkness and no atmosphere and now picture an invisible God coming out of that complete nothingness and creating all that is on our earth and the universe and everything that exists out of nothing.

            We were always told that it had to be God who created everything because how could everything evolve out of not even one living cell on the earth, right?

            But the same thing holds true of God. How did He create everything out of nothing?

            We were told that God was everlasting to everlasting and we puny humans can’t understand it but why does that make it a fact that just because we don’t understand how it all began, that the logical conclusion is that an invisible God, who was from everlasting to everlasting made everything in the universe out of nothing?

            Just because I can’t wrap my head around that “belief”, I am to be disfellowshiped from the JW’s and nobody is supposed to associate with me because I don’t “believe” it anymore and it doesn’t go for just the JW’s in the JW religion. Most “Christians” who are also believers would also be afraid of me and consider me evil for being a non-believer (atheist).

            Why????

            Why am I so stupid as to not believe it? What evidence do you or any other person who is a believer have, except for the fact that we can’t explain how we got here?

            Why am I to be judged as a bad person because I don’t give credit for all the “creation” when you or anybody else has no evidence except for your faith in the supernatural?

            If you can come up with any kind of proof of a God creator, I am all ears and I will also believe and I don’t mean to sound judgmental either and I didn’t take your comment as judgmental.

    • messenger says:

      Caroline I can’t offer you any proof that I’d expect you to accept. The Bible is , to a great extent, a book that requires faith from those who accept it as truth. The most direct proof that convinces me of God’s existence comes from some personal experiences I’ve had; and it is also the personal experiences of other people in the past that readers of the Bible believe, if they believe the Bible to be true. They not only put faith in God, they also believe the stories people wrote.

      What happened to me, I don’t expect you to believe, because I would view it differently if it were not my personal experience. I would think the person was reading more into the incidences than was really there. I would think that if I never had any similar experience. Without getting into details, I’ll say my experiences were supernatural, and far beyond the realm of being coincidental.

      I wish you the best regardless of what belief you have now, will had, or ever had. I don’t think most Christians are afraid of you, because of your belief. I believe JWs would not spend a lot of time, because of what they’ve been taught. Remember they can be expelled from the congregation. That’s what they’re afraid of, and so you may take their response to you as fear of yourself. Also, they only spend a lot of time with outsiders they think they can convert.
      Best wishes Caroline!

    • messenger says:

      Caroline you asked me for something in your last comment that I failed to supply in my response. You asked me for proof of the Bibles authenticity. Without getting into a big debate, I’ll leave you with this thought.

      You stated you use to pray and that it appeared to you then that some prayers were answered, you once believed those prayer caused God to intervene in your life; but now you believe that those experiences in your life were coincidental. Well, think about the chances of the following being coincidental: On the first page of a book that is the most famous in the world, a book whose main character is the most famous person in the history of humanity, there is a sequence of events stated for the geographical development of planet Earth, and a sequence of the appearance of plant and animal life that either very closely matches, or exactly matches the sequence, both geographically and biologically, that modern day educated scientist believe occurred.

      The biological sequence of the appearance of different life forms on Earth is known to modern scientists through the study of paleontology (fossils). Fossils were discovered way back in the days of the Roman empire, because of mining. However, the ideas that led to organizing the sequence species appeared on Earth by using fossils did not start to develop until the 1600s AD, and the science of paleontology did not really developed until the 1800’s AD.

      Anyone can attempt to poke holes in about any belief that they do not experience first hand. So, I’m pretty sure you can come up with a yea but about the argument I just presented. Many yea buts are because people don’t understand or have enough info to understand. God did not give supply all the info in the universe in a book for us, but some people believe he supplied some.

      Best wishes

      • dee2 says:

        Messenger,

        I’ve met Christians who claimed that God healed them when they were sick. The question I always ask is: why doesn’t God do this for everyone so that there are no more hospitals or need for any doctors?

        Also, how can it be said that we have free will if God is intervening in people’s lives and manipulating events in their favour?

        Regards.

        • messenger says:

          To dee2. I don’t understand the reason why you correlate God’s intervention in the lives of people with a lack of free will. People intervene in my life every day, but I still decide what I do and think. For instance, if a policeman pulls me over he intervened in my life. What would that have to do with my free will?

          Bible stories describe events that suggest God intervenes in the lives of people to bring about his purposes. If there is an immediate benefit to the person, which might happen, that doesn’t appear to be the only reason he does it. In most Bible stories it’s not even the primary reason, consider Moses, or Paul.

          I can’t speak to modern-day supernatural healing. I’ve never personally met a person that claimed it. I don’t know if it happens. According to Bible doctrine, that is accepted by every denomination I know of, God promises to heal mankind in the future, making hospitals and doctors unnecessary.

          • dee2 says:

            Hello Messenger,

            Just to make sure that we are on the same page, I would love to hear your understanding of what free will is.

        • messenger says:

          @dee2
          My understanding is that free will means people can make decisions for themselves, decisions that lead to their actions. I don’t know how often God or his invisible representatives intervene and manipulate events in peoples lives today. My guess is that there is a lot less manipulation from those sources than from human governments. For instance, children are mandated to go to school, adults are mandated to pay taxes and follow laws. And if we get hurt a regular citizen might call for an ambulance that takes us to a hospital. However, if we are awake at the hospital we can refuse treatment, using our free will. God allows all of us to choose to do what we want in that same way, using free will.

          The advantage God has is that somehow he can see our actions IN THE FUTURE. He knows not only the circumstances that will exist around our lives, but also the choices we will make in those circumstances. With that advantage he can work with people that he knows will help him accomplish his purposes, because he sees them do it before they are aware of doing those things that will serve his purpose. So what we might look at as manipulations can just be one of the ways he operates.

          The Bible says God knew those who will be saved by Jesus before the founding of the world. Does that mean either they or the ones that are not saved do not have free will? Why should it? If I could see your future, and knew if you would choose to work with me at some future time, then how does that take away your free will? You still use it, I would just know the outcome, so my choice to work with you would not be a wasted effort. But all people are given the privilege of choice, either to work with God or not.

          • Caroline says:

            @messenger, you are giving what your “understanding” is of having free will and you are trying to explain the Bible in that according to the Bible, God has the ability to foreknow and foreordain events and people think that God knows the end from the beginning because of all the prophecies in the Bible.

            According to Watchtower and most people that believe in the Bible, God does have the ability to foreknow and foreordain events so Watchtower is not alone in that teaching.

            The Reasoning from the Scriptures book talks about that under the topic of fate on page 141 where it tries and explain away that we have free will but we don’t have free will if God actually knows ahead of time what we will do, before we do it.

            That topic is dear to my heart because I had to give a talk in the ministry school once on that very topic on page 141 “Does God’s ability to foreknow and foreordain events prove that he does this regarding all the actions of all his creatures?”

            The reason that that talk stands out in my mind so clearly is that no matter how many times I went over those scriptures, I didn’t understand how it could work but I pretended that it worked and that I understood it, trying to explain it to my householder, but actually I didn’t believe it and only pretended that I understood it because I thought maybe I was just too dumb to get it. So I gave the talk out of the Reasoning book and sat down.

            I still don’t get it. How could it be prophesied 200 years in advance how Babylon was going to be overthrown by a certain person by the name of Cyrus the Persian?

            That is the basis of Watchtower’s teaching that Jehovah knows what’s going to happen in the future, right down to the name of the person who is going to do something like overthrowing Babylon.

            Even before I “woke” up, I had enough brains in my head to realize that that is simply impossible so when the explanation of a scripture like that is told to me that it was written “the fact”, then it all makes sense to me.

            The Watchtower takes the Bible to be the word of God and perfect, so they try and make sense of it but if they did any meaningful research into how we got the Bible, they would realize that a scripture like that was written after the fact. In other words, it was not prophesied ahead of time. It was put in the Bible to make it look like God knows the end from the beginning but if that is the case, then God would know what we were going to do before we did it and so we would not have free will.

            Does that make sense to you? It sure does not make sense to me.

            If we really had free will, we would be free not to worship God but the truth of the matter is, is that according to the Bible, we have the free will not worship God, but if we don’t worship Him, we will die at Armageddon.

            It’s like a husband telling his wife, I will love you and take care of you but if you ever leave me, I will hunt you down and kill you so you had better love me if you know what’s good for you.

            Is that free will?

          • dee2 says:

            @Messenger,

            >>>>>”God allows all of us to choose to do what we want in that same way, using free will………. But all people are given the privilege of choice, either to work with God or not.”

            Further to Caroline’s point above, are there any records outside of the Bible which indicate that Cyrus the Persian was spoken to by God and given the choice by God to independently, consciously and of his own will decide for himself whether he would like to work with God to help him accomplish his purposes? For that matter, is there any evidence in the Bible of this?

            Does God explicitly and unequivocally talk to people whom he would like to work with to help him accomplish his purposes and
            explicitly and unequivocally tells them that he is manipulating them?

            Is God up front, does he explicitly and unequivocally lets the person know what he is doing to their thoughts and their actions?

            Does God let such persons explicitly and unequivocally know that it is he who is talking to them and that it is not the unconscious dynamics of their minds at work, so that they unambiguously, without a doubt know that it is he who is talking to them or inserting thoughts into their minds to get them to do what he wants?

            Can a person unequivocally tell that it is God who is speaking to them and/or inserting thoughts into their minds and taking over their thoughts and their actions and that it is not the unconscious dynamics of their minds at work?

          • dee2 says:

            …………Is God up front, does he explicitly and unequivocally lets the person know what he would like to do to their thoughts and their actions and then allows the person to consciously and independently decide of their own will whether to accept or reject what God wants them to do for him or whether to accept or reject the thought he is inserting into their minds?

        • messenger says:

          Hello Dee. I see you quoted part of my last response to your question, so it appears we’re on the same page about what free will means. I noticed that you also refer to Caroline’s last comment, and I wish to address something in her comment here also. Caroline you commented about the WT’s position on fate, and you mention giving a talk about their position on it. Like most who offer comments on this site I no longer believe in many of the WT’s positions, to me they are irrelevant. However, the WT teaches that God can look into the future of all creatures, but they believe he chooses to be selective. I don’t remember exactly what they espouse the reason for this…but I think it was relates to honoring privacy, or something related to it. The WT also adds teachings to the scriptures that are not there in the area of Divine foreknowledge, just like they do to other scriptural teachings. For instance the scriptures say Jesus knew who his betrayer was from the beginning. The WT said that means from the beginning of his theft. The Bible doesn’t make that statement. The WT teaches that God did not know Adam, Eve, or Satan would sin. Again the Bible does not say that. It does say God knew who would be saved before the founding of the world which may contradict the WT teaching. Also, think about the logic of the WT teaching. If you could look into the future wouldn’t it make sense to use that ability before you started a major task, on that had a potential to go haywire?

          Anyway, Caroline still believes that looking into a being’s future denies free will. I still don’t understand the connection. I see them as totally independent of each other. Dee you asked a lot of questions about what God does in communicating with people. I can only refer you to the Bible examples and my own experiences. My experiences came through about 4 dreams, and one up close vision while I was awake. In the dreams I saw my future. One of the dreams already came true, three have not. The one that came true was in such detail that it is beyond the realm of occurring coincidences. When woke from the last dream I saw a vision that telepathically put the idea in my head that it had shared the experiences with me through dreams. After that I had no more dreams like that or visions. Prayers to God may have prompted those experiences.

        • messenger says:

          Hello Dee. I see you quoted part of my last response to your question, so it appears we’re on the same page about what free will means. I noticed that you also refer to Caroline’s last comment, and I wish to address something in her comment here also. Caroline you commented about the WT’s position on fate, and you mention giving a talk about their position on it. Like most who offer comments on this site I no longer believe in many of the WT’s positions, to me they are irrelevant. However, the WT teaches that God can look into the future of all creatures, but they believe he chooses to be selective. I don’t remember exactly what they espouse the reason for this…but I think it was relates to honoring privacy, or something related to it. The WT also adds teachings to the scriptures that are not there in the area of Divine foreknowledge, just like they do to other scriptural teachings. For instance the scriptures say Jesus knew who his betrayer was from the beginning. The WT said that means from the beginning of his theft. The Bible doesn’t make that statement. The WT teaches that God did not know Adam, Eve, or Satan would sin. Again the Bible does not say that. It does say God knew who would be saved before the founding of the world which may contradict the WT teaching. Also, think about the logic of the WT teaching. If you could look into the future wouldn’t it make sense to use that ability before you started a major task, on that had a potential to go haywire?

          Anyway, Caroline still believes that looking into a being’s future denies free will. I still don’t understand the connection. I see them as totally independent of each other. Dee you asked a lot of questions about what God does in communicating with people. I can only refer you to the Bible examples and my own experiences. My experiences came through about 4 dreams, and one up close vision while I was awake. In the dreams I saw my future. One of the dreams already came true, three have not. The one that came true was in such detail that it is beyond the realm of occurring coincidences. When woke from the last dream I saw a vision that telepathically put the idea in my head that it had shared the experiences with me through dreams. After that I had no more dreams like that or visions. Prayers to God may have prompted those experiences.

          • Caroline says:

            @messenger, I will try and explain why I don’t believe that man or God can tell the future before it happens.

            It isn’t that difficult to predict what a person will do by past behavior, is it?

            If a person drinks and drives, they probably will get into an accident or get caught by the police etc.

            If a kid eats too much candy and doesn’t brush their teeth, they will get cavities and have poor health.

            If a man leaves his family to go “out” without telling his wife where he’s going, he’s probably having an affair.

            Those things are predictable but can a person “predict” that your future great, great grandchild will marry a certain person and who their parents would be and what kind of personality that person would have and even what that person’s name would be?

            That is what Jehovah supposedly did when it comes to Cyrus the Persian when it came to the overthrow of Babylon.

            You know that when sex happens, there are millions upon millions of sperm going to the woman’s egg. Does it make any sense that God could predict when a man is going to have sex with a certain woman and that a certain sperm would unite with that certain egg with that certain woman etc. for 200 years in advance? That simply is not possible for something like that to happen but yet Watchtower wants us to think that God has that power.

            All those years that I was a Witness, I knew that something like that was just impossible but I never said anything about it because to tell people that, would have been to argue against Watchtower doctrine and get myself hauled to a committee meeting for apostasy and face expulsion.

            The Watchtower has to teach that God knew 200 years ahead of time that Cyrus the Persian was prophesied by Jehovah because that’s what the Bible says and if Watchtower has any control over it’s followers, they have to tell the rank and file that the Bible is the word of God and inspired by God and God can tell the future.

            Watchtower could never come out and say anything that would even hint that the Bible isn’t inspired of God and that those prophecies were written “after the fact” and that God can’t see into the future 200 years and see anything in the future because that is how we all got sucked into the religion, was the prophecies and the fulfillment of those prophesies.

            That is how we all got sucked into believing the Watchtower as God’s spokesman to mankind on earth.

            That account about Cyrus the Persian being prophesied 200 years into the future is a major selling point when it comes to believing in God and the Bible.

            When it comes to most other prophesies, the Bible is not specific at all but there are other specific prophesies in the Bible that did not come true but the Watchtower never talks about those prophesies. It only talks about the ones about Jesus and Cyrus and the “last days”.

            When it comes to humans telling the future years in the future, it is impossible. If a person could foresee the future, they’d be rich.

            When it comes to predicting future events and those events coming true, the only way a person could predict some things that come true, it would be based on past events as I mentioned earlier in my comment.

            When it comes to not having free will if God knows what we will do before we do it, then we don’t have free will. We would be robots and the Society has always said that God doesn’t want robots. God supposedly only wants people to serve him because they want to serve Him and not because they are forced to worship Him but think about it. If God knows what we will do before we do it, then we are nothing but pre-programmed bodies with no mind of our own that we can change. It makes no sense and why be punished since our lives are pre-programed ahead of time?

            The Society always said that God created people with “free will” because he didn’t want robots but if we really had “free will” then we could chose not to worship Jehovah without consequences but we all know that’s not true. If we don’t worship Jehovah, then we will be killed at Armageddon so that is not free will, is it?

            The Society likes to make sense out of the Bible but it’s the Bible that makes no sense. That is what they have to work with, if they want to maintain control of it’s rank and file, using the Bible.

            If anybody does even a tiny bit of research into how we got the Bible, they would not take the Bible seriously.

            We as Witnesses, were taught not to question the Bible and the Watchtower has an answer for every question when it comes to explaining away scriptures that make no sense in order to keep our brains from not thinking too hard.

            The Society doesn’t want thinkers because thinking leads to questioning and questioning leads to doubts and doubts lead to expecting answers that do make sense.

            That is why Anthony Morris doesn’t want to talk to the media. The Society isn’t used to having to answer tough questions. They are used to non-thinking obedient robots.

            If anybody decides to ask them some tough questions, that person will be kicked out. That is their answer to questions that they can’t explain away.

          • Caroline says:

            @messenger, I have watched a bunch of Youtube videos on if we have “free will” and what that has to do with God’s seeing into the future and as hard as I try to understand what they are trying to explain it, I don’t understand what those people are trying to explain and I don’t think it’s because I am just too stupid to understand it.

            I think the problem isn’t with me but with those people trying to make it understandable.

            If you had a dream and what you dreamed, came true, then what does that have to do with looking into the future?

            If God can look into the future, then why did he let Satan tempt Adam and Eve into sinning and in effect, “killing” all the rest of humankind? Was Jehovah capable of seeing that Satan and all those angels would turn against him and did nothing to stop them? Why would those angels turn against him if he was such a wonderful God? Why would Jehovah allow Satan and all those wicked angels to live in heaven until 1914? Why did God wait until 1914 to kick them out of heaven? Oh yes, He couldn’t do it until Jesus came along and did it for him. Why?

            What kind of God would allow that? Is God capable of warning all of mankind of Armageddon and doesn’t do it? If he is capable, then why doesn’t he do it and if he isn’t capable, then why worship him?

            He is useless.

            Questions, questions. What makes more sense to me is that those prophecies were written after the fact and not before.

            If you can explain how God can see into the future, then explain it to me. What makes more sense to me if God can see into the future, is that he can judge what will happen by past behavior.

            The whole Watchtower religion is built around prophecies in the Bible and that takes blind faith to believe in them and the Watchtower religion is hoping that you accept the Bible blindly.

            You say that I decide what is possible based only on mankind’s limited knowledge of reality and that is so true. I live in reality, not make believe.

          • Caroline says:

            @messenger to add to Dee’s great comments, I would like to add that either Jehovah manipulated Cyrus to do Jehovah’s bidding or Jehovah knew 200 years in advance, what man was going to have intercourse with what woman on which day of her monthly cycle to have a certain sperm unite with which egg in her cycle for that month and this went on over a course of 200 years (which any reasoning person would have to admit was impossible) or Jehovah manipulated Cyrus in which case Cyrus was being controlled by Jehovah and he didn’t have free will or Jehovah didn’t manipulate Cyrus to do His bidding and Jehovah didn’t know 200 years ahead of time which sperm was going to unite with which egg and so on or that account was written after the fact and made to make it look like God can foretell the future.

            The clergy wanted to make people believe in the God of the Bible so the they could control the people in order to make the people think that only they were and are able to understand the Bible and were and are the only ones who were and are smart enough to interpret it to the masses and the masses fall for it and give all their power to the clergy and fail to realize that anybody can read the Bible and supposedly understand it and if they can’t understand it, maybe it’s the fault of the Bible and not them being too “stupid” to understand it.

            People of all religions have what they think are supernatural revelations so don’t you think Dee’s explanation of the subconscious revelations in your case is because of the religious teachings that have been instilled your brain would be the more reasonable explanation for your particular revelations?

            When it comes to Witness children being subjected to all the horrifying images that Watchtower likes to put in all it’s literature, including children’s literature, it is no wonder that they have a hard time sleeping at night without having nightmares and the fear of Armageddon is instilled into every Witness brain and it must come out in their subconscious mind at night when they are trying to sleep, even if they aren’t thinking about it every moment of every day.

            I know it was in my subconscious mind all the time and it took me a long time before that fear of Armageddon left me but I still have those terrible dreams at night because of those images Watchtower likes to use on the rank and file.

            Scholars wonder if John wasn’t on some kind of drug when he wrote Revelation. Something to think about.

        • messenger says:

          @dee2 pardon my spelling mistakes. I didn’t proof read my comment.

          • messenger says:

            @ Caroline,
            Caroline, this could be an everlasting conversation , if we let it be. I still don’t see the logic in the idea that God’s and Christ’s ability to see the future means that intelligent creatures are robots, meaning they don’t make their own decisions, and act according to their own free will.

            Also, it seems to me that you decide what is possible based only on mankind’s limited knowledge of reality. You don’t seem to factor in that we know so little…so how do you know what is really possible? The type of predictions you alluded to, as you stated, have nothing to do with actually seeing the future. My point, which you don’t agree with, is that God can see the future, and then he can transmit that message to other individuals, as he chooses to. Whether any person has that ability through some other means, I doubt, but I don’t know. If you don’t believe the stories of the Bible characters then you probably won’t believe without your own supernatural experience which is probably very unlikely to happen.

          • dee2 says:

            Hello Messenger,

            I am trying to determine if free will and divine intervention are compatible.

            If they are then God would up front explicitly and unequivocally let the person know what he would like to do to the person’s thoughts and their actions and then give the person the choice to independently, consciously and of their own will decide for themselves whether to accept or reject what God wants them to do or whether to accept or reject the thought God is inserting into the person’s minds.

            There is however no evidence, in the Bible or outside of it, that God did any of these things in the case of Cyrus the Persian whom it is claimed God manipulated, directing Cyrus’ thoughts and actions in order to intervene in the course of history.

            There is no evidence that Cyrus was given the choice by God to choose whether or not he wanted to do what God desired.

            There is no evidence that Cyrus the Persian knew unequivocally that it was God who was putting thoughts into his mind or speaking to him to get him to do what God desired.

            The evidence suggests that the actions which Cyrus took were based on Cyrus’ own thoughts and actions.

            If this is not the case then it seems to me that God doesn’t give a person choice as you claim when he wishes to manipulate them to intervene in the course of history. But rather, it seems to me that God just overrides a person’s free choice and changes the course of their life by compelling a specific action or mental state.

            In other words, God just sneaks up on a person, manipulates them into doing what he wants without letting the person know that they are being manipulated and without giving the person the choice to decide whether or not they would like to do what God wants them to do. The person has no choice in the matter.

            This is not free will, this is overriding a person’s free will. Divine intervention and free will are not compatible.

            You seem to be suggesting that your personal supernatural/miraculous experience is proof that God would have let Cyrus the Persian know what he was doing to his thoughts and actions and that he would have given Cyrus the choice to decide whether or not he wanted to do what God wanted. But again I state, there is no evidence of this in or outside of the Bible.

          • dee2 says:

            Messenger,

            In the case of your personal supernatural/miraculous experience, can you make the distinction between the unconscious dynamics of your mind and when it is God who is inserting thoughts, visions or dreams into your mind?

            Do you know how the unconscious dynamics of the human mind works?

            Literature provided by psychologists, neuro-biologists, neuroscientists etc. indicate that information enters our brains minutely, hourly, daily at the conscious and unconscious level. Some of the unconscious information never makes its way to the conscious mind for active processing but remains in our subconscious – hypnosis has proven to be an effective method in accessing/uncovering information buried in a person’s subconscious.

            There is always background activity taking place in our brains when we are awake and asleep and there is also a constant interplay between the conscious and subconscious mind.

            Our minds are never perfectly still. There is always subtle processing going on in which we can’t consciously identify the thoughts in terms of clear words or clear images. There are rapid and fleeting associations taking place in the subconscious mind. Subtle processing or preconscious or subconscious processing gives rise to conscious self-talking and imaging, but as I have already stated, not all unconscious information makes its way to the conscious mind for active processing some remains in our subconscious and can be accessed/uncovered by methods like hypnosis.

            Psychologists, neuroscientists etc. have observed that there are certain intense practices which can alter a person’s mind or state of consciousness to the point where, the person descends to deeper levels of his/her consciousness and releases from the deep mind, thoughts, visions, images, voices etc.

            This altered state of consciousness usually involves a transition from the left brain to the right brain wherein the rational left brain is suppressed and quited and the perceptive faculties of the intuitive right brain are awakened and the person transcends to the unknown, inner world of their subconscious mind.

            This opens the way to the unlocking of a deep level of consciousness where psychic and extrasensory perception can be done and so some persons may become psychic or clairvoyant being able to forsee the future when in fact it is thoughts, images, visions, voices etc emerging from the deep, intuitive levels of the right brain as their own subconscious mind begins to “speak” to them. New insights well up directly from the fluid matrix of the subconscious and the subtle processing taking place there, without having to be first processed at the conscious level. Some persons become psychotic or hallucinatory or some persons become both psychic/clairvoyant and psychotic/hallucinatory.

            Psychologists, neuroscientists etc. have observed that in some persons, intense spiritual practices like intense praying, meditation, fasting etc. result in a self-induced altered state of consciousness and attendant suppression of the right brain with the unleashing of the subconscious as I described.

            Psychologists, neuroscientists etc. have also observed that intense spiritual practices like praying, meditation, fasting etc. result in mind-body interactions in some persons whereby they may feel like something like an “electric shock” runs/moves through their body from their head to their toes – some persons report this type of experience at the time of their conversion to their new found religion and plays a big role in their conviction.

            The “electric shock” is a mind-body interaction and response within the central nervous system which psychologists and others have observed takes place when persons engage in intense spiritual practices such as intense prayer, intense meditation, intense fasting etc. When persons engage in these intense spiritual practices they can enter a non-ordinary state or altered state of consciousness or mystical state in which their bodies release energies that move through the body as described.

            Christians however, frequently incorrectly attribute these types of experiences to an external supernatural force. In reality they are just unusual communications between the body and the mind.

            So, how do you know when it is God and when it is the unconscious dynamics of your mind at work? How are you able to distinguish the two?

            One of the 4 dreams may have come true but did God explicitly tell you that it was he who put the 4 dreams and subsequent visions into your mind or was it you who came to that conclusion through confirmation bias because, as you indicated, one of your 4 dreams came true?

            I suppose you will get your answers as you wait to see if the remaining 3 dreams will also come true.

          • dee2 says:

            @Messenger,

            I am trying to determine if free will and divine intervention are compatible.

            If they are then God would up front explicitly and unequivocally let the person know what he would like to do to the person’s thoughts and their actions and then give the person the choice to independently, consciously and of their own will decide for themselves whether to accept or reject what God wants them to do or whether to accept or reject the thought God is inserting into the person’s minds.

            There is however no evidence, in the Bible or outside of it, that God did any of these things in the case of Cyrus the Persian whom it is claimed God manipulated, directing Cyrus’ thoughts and actions in order to intervene in the course of history.

            There is no evidence that Cyrus was given the choice by God to choose whether or not he wanted to do what God desired.

            There is no evidence that Cyrus the Persian knew unequivocally that it was God who was putting thoughts into his mind or speaking to him to get him to do what God desired.

            The evidence suggests that the actions which Cyrus took were based on Cyrus’ own thoughts and actions.

            If this is not the case then it seems to me that God doesn’t give a person choice as you claim when he wishes to manipulate them to intervene in the course of history. But rather, it seems to me that God just overrides a person’s free choice and changes the course of their life by compelling a specific action or mental state.

            In other words, God just sneaks up on a person, manipulates them into doing what he wants without letting the person know that they are being manipulated and without giving the person the choice to decide whether or not they would like to do what God wants them to do. The person has no choice in the matter.

            This is not free will, this is overriding a person’s free will. Divine intervention and free will are not compatible.

            You seem to be suggesting that your personal supernatural/miraculous experience is proof that God would have let Cyrus the Persian know what he was doing to his thoughts and actions and that he would have given Cyrus the choice to decide whether or not he wanted to do what God wanted. But again I state, there is no evidence of this in or outside of the Bible.

          • dee2 says:

            Hello Messenger,

            I am trying to determine if free will and divine intervention are compatible.

            If they are then God would up front explicitly and unequivocally let the person know what he would like to do to the person’s thoughts and their actions and then give the person the choice to independently, consciously and of their own will decide for themselves whether to accept or reject what God wants them to do or whether to accept or reject the thought God is inserting into the person’s minds.

            There is however no evidence, in the Bible or outside of it, that God did any of these things in the case of Cyrus the Persian whom it is claimed God manipulated, directing Cyrus’ thoughts and actions in order to intervene in the course of history.

            There is no evidence that Cyrus was given the choice by God to choose whether or not he wanted to do what God desired.

            There is no evidence that Cyrus the Persian knew unequivocally that it was God who was putting thoughts into his mind or speaking to him to get him to do what God desired.

            The evidence suggests that the actions which Cyrus took were based on Cyrus’ own thoughts and actions.

          • dee2 says:

            Messenger cont’d:

            If this is not the case then it seems to me that God doesn’t give a person choice as you claim when he wishes to manipulate them to intervene in the course of history. But rather, it seems to me that God just overrides a person’s free choice and changes the course of their life by compelling a specific action or mental state.

            In other words, God just sneaks up on a person, manipulates them into doing what he wants without letting the person know that they are being manipulated and without giving the person the choice to decide whether or not they would like to do what God wants them to do. The person has no choice in the matter.

            This is not free will, this is overriding a person’s free will. Divine intervention and free will are not compatible.

            You seem to be suggesting that your personal supernatural/miraculous experience is proof that God would have let Cyrus the Persian know what he was doing to his thoughts and actions and that he would have given Cyrus the choice to decide whether or not he wanted to do what God wanted. But again I state, there is no evidence of this in or outside of the Bible.

          • dee2 says:

            *****CORRECTION:

            “………..self-induced altered state of consciousness and attendant suppression of the right brain…….”

            SHOULD INSTEAD READ:

            “………..self-induced altered state of consciousness and attendant suppression of the RATIONAL LEFT brain………”

        • messenger says:

          @dee2,
          Your thoughts seem too limited, believing free will OR divine intervention must fit in one of two boxes, instead of both, or perhaps even many more choices. You choose between divine intervention and free will. If only one of those could exist then human intervention would not be able to exist with free will either, but we both know they do exist alongside each other.

          You referred to the Cyrus the Persian account in the Bible. I don’t remember the Bible stating God ever communicated with Cyrus, in any way, so why do you read divine intervention into that account? Because God called him his servant? Or because he freed the Jews?Maybe Cyrus defeated Babylon without knowing it was God’s purpose. And maybe God called Cyrus “my servant” because he defeated Babylon. In other Bible stories it is clear God intervened in the lives of people…..many of them, Mary, the king of Babylon, Jonah, and others. The point is that there are many types of interactions between intelligent beings. Hardly any of the types deny free will when existing between people, so what’s the big claim to say free will is denied when contact between God and a human is made, just because God is a being that can foresee the future? Seeing the future does not imply making it happen. Those are two separate ideas.

          Thanks for all the research you did into the workings of the mind. However, those teachings are not relevant to my experience. Like I said at the outset my experience logically defies being coincidental. I just didn’t see what was to happen, some five years in advance, I also saw objects that were not a part of my life some five years or so before they materialized in my life. Also, I never implied God cause any of that to happen. I just said he saw it, and then showed it to me before it happened.

          Best wishes dee2. Best not to put God in a box.

          • dee2 says:

            Messenger,

            Divine intervention – isn’t that the reason why people pray and believe in God, because they believe that God will intervene in their lives and manipulate situations in their favour?

            When people (apart from the person who prayed) are involved in these situations does God inform them that they are being manipulated and give them the choice to decide whether or not they want to do what God wants so that God can answer the prayers of the persons who prayed to him?

          • dee2 says:

            Messenger,

            >>>>> “……….I just said he saw it, and then showed it to me before it happened.”

            Again, I ask you, did God himself explicitly and unequivocally tell you that it was he who put the 4 dreams into your mind?

            Are the 4 dreams which you claim were given to you by God the only dreams which you have had in your life to date? What about other dreams (a part from these 4 “God-given” dreams) which you may have had? Were these other dreams from God as well? If not, why not?

            If none of your remaining 3 dreams – which you claim were given to you by God – do not come true, will these 3 dreams still be from God?

            People have been having dreams or precognitive/psychic experiences from time immemorial, some of which have been documented in literature prepared by psychologists – testimony that dreams or precognitive/psychic experiences are a normal part of human capabilities.

            For example, when the Titanic sailed in 1912, more than a dozen people had very clear precognitive experiences that it would sink. They saw it hitting an iceberg; they saw it upended in water; they saw people in the lifeboats.

            Religious traditions such as Yoga and Buddhism also recognize that dreams/precognitive/psychic abilities exist as part of human capabilities and are a person’s own product, not that of an outside source (God). So anyone may have a dream or precognitive/psychic experience that gives formerly unknown information but not everyone who has these experiences attributes them to an outside source (God) because they recognize that dreams/precognitive experiences are their own product, a part of human capabilities.

          • dee2 says:

            Messenger,

            >>>>>>> “………..Thanks for all the research you did into the workings of the mind. However, those teachings are not relevant to my experience.”

            So, whose experiences do the research/work done by scientists on how the human brain works apply to?

            You have dismissed the scientific facts/research/work done by scientists on how the human brain works as being irrelevant in your case, yet in your comment above on December 13, 2016 you offered scientific proof of the Bible’s authenticity:

            >>>>>> “On the first page of a book that is the most famous in the world, a book whose main character is the most famous person in the history of humanity, there is a sequence of events stated for the geographical development of planet Earth, and a sequence of the appearance of plant and animal life that either very closely matches, or exactly matches the sequence, both geographically and biologically, that modern day educated scientist believe occurred.

            The biological sequence of the appearance of different life forms on Earth is known to modern scientists through the study of paleontology (fossils). Fossils were discovered way back in the days of the Roman empire, because of mining. However, the ideas that led to organizing the sequence species appeared on Earth by using fossils did not start to develop until the 1600s AD, and the science of paleontology did not really developed until the 1800’s AD. “<<<<>>>> “I just didn’t see what was to happen, some five years in advance, I also saw objects that were not a part of my life some five years or so before they materialized in my life.”

            If you had the dream a day before instead of 5 years in advance of the dream coming true would it still be God who gave you the dream?

          • dee2 says:

            Messenger,

            BTW, just for the record, the Genesis account of creation is not scientific:

            There are two contradictory stories of the creation of the earth and the heavens in the book of Genesis, written either by different authors or an author drawing on different sources. In chapter 2:4-24, which is probably the oldest version of the story:
            – creation takes place in the space of one day,
            – man was made before any plants and animals ****what did Adam eat for food? ****
            – woman was made later after animals failed as suitable companions/helpers for man.

            However, in chapter 1:
            – creation occurs over six days,
            – with plants, fish, birds, and animals created before man and woman, who were created at the same time,
            – the plants were created before the sun ****how did plants survive without sunlight?****

            *** How can God’s spirit be moving across the waters when there’s no heat source yet? In the absolute zero of space, it would be ice fields, not water.

            *** Archaeology indicates an older age for mankind than that indicated by the account of Adam and Eve. Archaeology has proven that death existed before Adam and Eve.

            *** Genesis (chap 7 etc.) also implies a flat earth with a sky dome in which the stars are fixed and which holds back the waters of heaven, while windows are in place there to let rain in, while the land itself and the sky dome are held up by pillars. This is the sort of cosmogony that the ancient Babylonians had as it was the knowledge/belief of the day.

          • dee2 says:

            Messenger,

            If we truly have free will and are free to choose then why is God intervening to put thoughts in people’s minds because he wants a certain outcome?

            If God gave us free will to make choices of our own will then why is he intervening in our choices just because he wants to make sure that he gets the outcome that he wants? Is that free will? Are we really free to choose, are we really using our free will if there is interference from God?

            Shouldn’t God just allow us to use our free will and be satisfied with whatever the outcome is?

            If God is intervening and putting thoughts into people’s minds because he wants a certain outcome, then that person whom God has manipulated is a robot – I thought God didn’t want robots but wanted persons to make choices on their own.

          • dee2 says:

            Messenger,

            If God truly want us to make choices on our own then why is he intervening and putting thoughts into people’s minds?

        • messenger says:

          @dee2,
          dee2, I don’t wish an unending debate with you. You ask a lot of questions, but they are not presented as if you truly want to reach conclusions that you don’t already have. It seems that a lot of your views developed after accepting thoughts others presented, whether Bible commentators or scientists. A chief reason our opinions differ is that I don’t put full faith in what either of those groups teach. For instance, you referred to the Adam and Eve account in Genesis containing a Bible teaching which states how long mankind has been on Earth, and you say that time span is disproved by scientists. I don’t see that teaching in the Genesis account about Adam and Eve. I have read scriptures that speak about Bible characters whose ancestries go back to Adam. And I do know many, including JWs, state that those prove the period from Adam until today is about 6000 years. You evidently believe that is what the BIBLE SAYS, I don’t. Just because a man said that’s what it means, why should that make it so? IN the Bible various characters are referred to being the son of someone
          when they were a distant relative. Because of that nobody can 100% know how long the BIBLE TEACHES people have been around. And I wonder if those who are adamant about the 6000 year period would stake their lives on it. Most of your observations, that appear to be backed by teachings from others I view the same way, so I see no meeting of our minds.

          As far as my experience you ask a lot of questions about it, but the Bible gives us enough info about such experience if we have not shared them first hand. At least that seems to be the way God views it. See Romans 8:15,16.

          Best wishes

  7. Those who answered that they would allow their children to die on the grounds of refusing a blood transfusion are nothing but heatless criminals. life is only one and is too precious to be wasted on the grounds of a man-made interpretation of Acts 15:28,29. If Jesus were on earth today, I’m sure that he would never allow anyone to die because of lack of blood. For instance, he allowed a woman who had griveous sickness to touch him and get cured; he cured on the sabbaths, etc.. I’m just wondering if JW’s stand on blood (that often leads to death of many innocent people) doesn’t make Revelation 18:24 to be applied to them; it says “in her [Babylon] was found the blood … of all those who have been slaughtered on the earth”

  8. by “heatless criminals” I mean “heartless criminals”

    • JBob says:

      eh, “cold hearted” = “heartless criminals” in my mind…

      Even if resurrection to life on earth were reality, or Heaven, the point is this moment, these moments, this time we have is never repeated and never recoverable. As one author wrote, “you can’t go home again.” And, once you’ve consumed that “red pill” of unconcealing (aletheia), it’s difficult to succumb to the illusion once more.

  9. Cherie says:

    The results look amazing! Whoever put this together did a wonderful, professional job on the graphs. Excellent!

    • John Redwood says:

      Cherie – thanks very much for the kind words

      As for the graphs, we need to give credit to Survey Monkey – they have many automated tools which process data and export the information in various forms including graphs. This is a service that JW Survey pays for, but it is well worth the expense to have data mined and exported in such an accurate and visual way. Once the results are in we have the job of interpreting or commenting on the data, which is what I did. We also have posted the data at the end of the article so readers can review and draw their own conclusions. Thank you again!

      JR

  10. Da' says:

    I found your results astonishing (watch out for a recount from Jill Stein ((green party usa challenging usa elections 11/8)) Anyway, as a recently reinstated fader( id prefer not to think im leading a double life) its all about my family for me. I did what needed to be done to have them back (including new grandchildren) in my life. I suppose I am leading a double life, but like the GB , I do what I must to get to paradise. Maybe being out for 20 yrs explains this question , but why was staying in Brooklyn , just down the East River from the UN not comfortable enough ? I thought the organization looked forward to the UN crumbling into the East River was the best possible spectators seat ? and confirmed their beliefs ?

    • John Redwood says:

      Da’

      I prefer to believe that there are different degrees to the concept of living a double life. I find your version of a double-life much less offensive than the one where Witnesses are fully indoctrinated, but break their own rules, knowing full well what they are doing in relation to the organization’s doctrine. For example – if you are a firm JW believer, but secretly smoke, or watch R rated movies, or porn, etc – then you are truly a hypocrite.

      In your case, if you are awake and you reinstated to retain your family, then I can respect this a great deal more, since you are at least being honest with yourself about your reasons for your actions. Let’s hope that one day we will no longer have the barrier which exists between a well-bonded family and religious doctrine. Best wishes to you

      JR

  11. twistedsister69 says:

    @in my crossraods (from Angola)

    “Heatless criminals” is fairly accurate too. Because soon they will be out in the COLD, if not already.

  12. twistedsister69 says:

    As long as we’re raggin’ on the GB, don’t the Seven Mentally-Diseased Dwarves down in Warwick (or wherever the hell they are now – I don’t really give a s*#$) have such sweet innocent little BABY faces?? Especially ToMo, Lett, and Herd? True or no? Reminds me of that song, “Baby Face, You’ve got the cutest little Baby Face…..”
    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

  13. Tara says:

    I have, within the last week found out something quite upsetting. I have been in Canada now for over 12 years. None of my family have been to visit me from the UK and I never understood why. Well, my sister finally spilled the beans. They haven’t been over because of me being a witness. They knew my ‘family’ and friends here were witness’s and they wanted no part of it. It’s sad and rather hurtful on their part. However, I am glad she told me because now I am ‘out’ we are making plans for them to come over. I refuse to hold it against them. I rather view it as another form of shunning that the WT instigated. They, as most cults do, cut me off from my ‘worldly’ family. They isolated me in their organisation so I had no one else to turn to but them. Now, at last I can begin to grow a relationship with those that matter.

    • Wideawake says:

      You can’t really blame your family Tara…if I could I would stay well clear of this cult…thank goodness you have made it OK with your sister in time…have a wonderful time together…you as your authentic self I feel so happy for you..congratulations..Peace and Joy..

      • Tara says:

        Thank you Wideawake. I am starting to believe in myself again. It’s never too late to build those bridges that the org. tried so hard to burn for us.

  14. Thetruthwillout says:

    The big question that arises for me, is how many of the 38% who know of pedophiles in either their own or another cong, have reported them to the authorities??
    I find this very troubling. How can they read about the WT and it’s cover ups, and yet do nothing themselves to help the situation? Surely this is exactly what we are complaining that WT is not doing?

    • Openmind says:

      This is precisely why I think everyone in the org, whether they choose to stay ignorant of the facts, or know what is going on, in either case they are complicit in all the wrong doing if they do nothing about it.

  15. Thinking of leaving says:

    It would be very interesting to see if this same survey was taken from inside the organisation with the same degree of privacy if it would show the same results.

  16. Lynaire Williams says:

    Indeed, this survey is stunning. As one who has watched the poisonous tentacles of the watchtower tighten their grip on family members over the last 36 years. Having to watch their beautiful open faces morphing into a smug superior air and having to listen to “their truth” ad nauseam, I am delighted.
    However, what is hard to understand is, with the large percentage of people who say they are aware of the terrible hypocrisy and damage done and that they wouldn’t necessarily follow the rules anyway, is there anyone left in the cult?
    I do respect the fact that all humans have been brainwashed in many areas and are slower to act than others, but how long does it take.? You are willing to live in terrible conflict within yourselves that can be just as insidious than anything the watchtower can come up with.
    Others have posted the importance of being “true to yourselves”, and I endorse them wholeheartedly.
    Throw off your masks, take the proverbial “bull by the horns”, stage a massive walk-out,I can promise it will not feel any worse. We love to kid ourselves that we are free but in fact are still letting “them” control each life more totally than before. Who knows it might shock our relatives out of their goofy haze.

  17. Free Thinker says:

    “One “anointed” elder who molested more than a half-dozen children well into his eighties…”

    Wow. Maybe he believed he had to “anoint” those kids as well. Disgusting! And that’s what’s being called “spirit-begotten”. Oh yeah, and the JW.Org is “spirit-directed”. Question is: WHAT spirit? Not the one “from above”, but “from below”, that’s for sure.

    For suchlike monsters, I wish there was “Christendom’s hell”, with fire & brimstone eternally burning, slowly roasting & smoldering off their vile d…s and b…s, starting all over again & again & again. Those pigs have neither a right for life, nor for a “quiet sleep in death”. The should be tormented eternally. Sorry for my rage, but that’s how I feel.

    • John Redwood says:

      Free Thinker – Yes, this man was disgusting, and I shudder to think how close I came to being one of his victims. I did not mention this in the article, but he may well have many dozens of victims. I only found out about his more recent victims when I was nearing the end of my life as a JW. I was shocked, but one by one I found evidence that the accusations were true, and I began to put together the pieces of what this many was doing. Because he was an anointed elder, he was held in high regard, and trusted. He managed to live with multiple families in his later years (from his 70s to 99 years of age) – and these families all had young children, many of whom he molested. Many have still not come forward, and I have no knowledge of his crimes before I knew him, meaning the first 60-70 years of his life. As we know, child molesters do not simply begin molesting at the age of 70. This is a sickness which begins very early in life and does not go away. When the elders were informed of some of the accusations, they covered it up. Finally he died at the age of 99, while staying with a family with 2 young girls in California. One of them is mentally retarded, and the other shows clear signs of abuse. I can’t imagine what he did, but he was the definition of a wolf in sheeps clothing. One day I will write this story, but for now I am still collecting information.

      And I agree with you, there is no hell hot enough for such persons

      JR

  18. sirius says:

    Bit off topic, but… in the interest of cultistism!

    Leah Remini’s Documentary Is Turning Scientology’s Celebrity Obsession Back On Itself

    Leah Remini’s new A&E documentary aims to expose the abuses of Scientology to a larger audience than ever before

    Scientology’s Abuses Are About To Go Mainstream
    A new A&E eight episode mini-series, “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” debuted last week and will air again on Tuesday. It seems likely to widen the audience of those aware of Scientology’s abuses: after the first show, Deadline reported it was “A&E’s highest-rated series launch in more than two years, logging 2.1 million viewers Tuesday night. Of that crowd, 1.1M fell in the target 25-54 demographic group, and 913K in the younger 18-49 demo. The premiere also ranked among the top new unscripted launches on cable in 2016 … For comparison’s sake, Going Clear, HBO’s docu profiling eight former Church of Scientology members, clocked 1.65 million viewers in a Sunday premiere back in March 2015.

    In part & credit to: http://thefederalist.com/2016/12/06/leah-reminis-documentary-turning-scientologys-celebrity-obsession-back/

    dogstar

  19. Twmack says:

    “Allowing children to die for want of a blood transfusion”.
    As a parent of 2 young children, at the time, I was secretly
    relieved when the law took the decision out of my hands.

    If I was prepared to die by refusing blood, that was my
    choice as an adult, but I was not allowed to impose it on
    my children, I would be over ruled.

    The reason for my relief was that if I was faced with the
    issue, I knew there was no way I was going to let any of
    my children die, and the law would get me off the hook
    as far as the org, was concerned. Hypocritical I know!
    I can offer no excuses.

    So as a serving JW I was inwardly opposed to
    one of its core doctrines, and it seems from the survey
    that’s the way it is, or was, with many who participated
    Being false to themselves, sticking with a religion that
    demands unquestioning compliance, knowing they will
    never agree or comply with this inhumane and fanatical
    decree.

  20. Joe Rizoli says:

    I am just curious do you people think you are going to reform the JW’s?

    I would think that leaving the JW’s would be like banging your head against the wall and stopping. I am so glad I am away from these people it isn’t funny. Even though I work with two JW’s I keep as far away from them as they from me, they are nothing but trouble. I got out of the JW’s in 1991, forced out, but happy ever since. I did go through a period of helping with cult information for some years but basically that is done with. You cant reform the WT. Just be glad you are out. They basically represent a Communist form of Christianity and are a religion that deals with its subject as a corporation. Sort of a Corporate Christianity, taking Jesus Christ hostage.
    Thy rule not by love but by FEAR, which is a sign of a false prophet mentioned in the Bible. All cults do this. Just be glad you are all out…The survey had some good questions to ponder. Years ago I wrote my thoughts on the Watchtower some may find interesting.
    http://www.culthelp.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=308&Itemi

    • ROBIN MILLER says:

      Very interesting regarding how you expressed yourself – Right in a nut shell.
      It isn’t ruled by love but Fear. That is not what
      this whole situation was suppose to be about.
      This is like Jim Jones – with invisible Kool – Aid
      waiting at the side.
      I will read your thoughts on Watchtower.

    • Erikius says:

      No, I don’t really think we can reform the Watchtower, but I think it is very important to keep up the pressure towards this dishonourable movement with factual information. That factual information is already there – on the World Wide Web! JW Survey along with many other excellent ex-witnesses sites has already made a HUGE difference for the Watchtower Society. A totally new situation has occurred for them after internet came on the stage. They will have to address the growing opposition from both inside and outside. Many witnesses do read those ‘forbidden’ sites and (in my personal opinion), the continuing build-up of cognitive dissonance will sooner or later break the gates, and the flood will come. The schism will be a fact!
      I will repeat your own words from your very well written article on the Cult Awareness and Information Centre site:
      “The Ultimate Rape will continue unless we as the little boy in the Emperors New Clothes speak up bravely and expose it.”

  21. ScotWm says:

    In spite of dwindling support for some of the more asinine Watchtower doctrines, the December 2017 JW Broadcasking says that the cult is experiencing tremendous growth. During the first 7 minutes of this program, we are told that 1.3 million converts have been baptized into Governing Body servitude over the last 5 years. This, we are told, averages out to 700 per day. The emphasis is on the numerous children, teenagers and young adults who are dedicating their lives to the Governing Body. By the way, there is no mention of how many Witnesses have left the organization during the last 5 years. The 1914 doctrine is then spoken of as being an established fact. https://tv.jw.org/#en/video/VODStudio/pub-jwb_201612_1_VIDEO

  22. outandabout says:

    Thanks for the article and comments from you, JR.

    Reading all these comments from readers has bought my blood to the boil and talk of any sort of reforms within the WT…..well, too little too late as far as I’m concerned.

    Consider this; Jim Jones killed 909 people and David Koresh killed 96. The WT has more or else killed an estimated 51,000 since 1961 with their blood ban. Lets be generous and say that’s an exaggeration and put the figure at 10,000.

    If both Jim Jones and David Koresh had of survived, would it be appropriate to say to them “oh never mind, you were just deluded and hey!, you have a cult to run and we all know that can’t be easy on a fella, so here’s a few more tax dollars. Just promise to mend your ways, and keep up the good work.”

    The Watchtower is a criminal organisation and needs to be treated as such. The GB and their complicit minions need locking up. Their lawyers especially!

    If Cliff Richard can get accusations of abuse leveled at him, have the law turn up at his house and seize his belongings and put the guy through two years of living hell for nothing, why can’t the law march into the WT and seize their computers? Cliff had a mere handful of accusers to get the law standing on his neck, while WT potentially has tens of thousands, and the law just wrings it’s hands.

    I suspect ‘setting a precedent’ against a christian (yeah, right) organisation is the problem. I totally respect the law, but at times it can be an ass, and these Cults know how to use that.

    The Watchtower have forfeited their right to exist in society. The Witnesses themselves are largely decent people and believe they are doing the right thing, but they’ll just have to find another cult, of which Cultwatch lists plenty.

    • Rodger Goode says:

      I used to think the current membership were good people having being trapped in this organisation and that is why they are still part of it, I think otherwise these days, the writing is on the wall, if you don’t vote with your feet and leave you are just as much to blame.

      • twistedsister69 says:

        AMEN
        If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re DEFINITELY a part of the problem.
        As someone mentioned, especially now in the Internet Age / Information Age, there is no shortage of resources and data. With the click of a button, one can be reading about nuclear physics, or the history of Manchuria. Gone are the isolated, insulated days during which most of us were indoctrinated.
        THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE
        NO MORE EXCUSES

      • outandabout says:

        I can only go by what I know, Rodger, and there are Witnesses out there who’ve heard ‘rumors’ and at this stage are putting them down to evidence of Satan’s influence.
        But, yes, their denial can’t last forever. The undeniable truth will seep through and some will leave immediately while others will linger and adjust one way or the other.

        • Rodger Goode says:

          You are right outandabout my mother always brings up the “where would we go?” argument and I think the witnesses definitely need somewhere to go to replace the social and possibly spiritual aspect of their current lives in the organisation. I think if the community stayed intact in forums like this and had a common social meeting place like this site and a post organisational social structure it would give them somewhere to go? Redwood and Cedars – a penny for your thoughts?

  23. twistedsister69 says:

    PS … 2 things that fry brains: SUGAR and PROPAGANDA. 😉

    • twistedsister69 says:

      PPS … Speaking of that old enemy of mankind, PROPAGANDA, I’d like to share a little TIMELY piece I viewed last night on YouTube. Most of us are aware of George Orwell’s work “1984”. This was a TV movie (intended to be the pilot episode for a new series – akin to The Fugitive – which regrettably was never picked up by the Network stooges) starring Glenn Corbett, about an astronaut who crashes on an alternate Earth on the other side of the Sun, which is dominated by an oligarchy known as “The Perfect Order”. You can guess what that’s like. lol Of course, Corbett’s character, someone with “total freedom of thought”, is immediately identified as a grievous “threat” to “The Perfect Order”, and, after his escape from hospital, is literally hunted down like a fugitive. It’s quite entertaining AND relatable! Only about 90 mins long. It’s called The Stranger (1973). Enjoy.

  24. Rodger Goode says:

    …and why does the organisation not have its own survey every year along with an open discussion forum such as this one?

    • Big B says:

      @ Rodger Goode;

      Excellent question Rodger. It is my opinion that they (GB) don’t care what the rank and file think. They get their directions from the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit that make them wrong most of the time.

      Can you imagine the expressions of consternation in the congregation if one of the ‘Sheeple’ actually swallowed his/her fear, stood up and expressed what we have said on this site and walked out of the meeting while encouraging other to follow them out of this cult?!

  25. Hakizimana Jado says:

    With these statistics, I hope Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have any more reason to call Apostates “Mentally Diseased”: http://www.wakeupkiwi.com/images/eugenics-sterilisation.jpg

  26. Big B says:

    @ Winston Smith:

    Well stated. There are only two reasons that I can think of where lying might seem to be beneficial for the liar;

    a. to cover a mistake so as not to get into trouble,
    b. to gain advantage (trust) over someone in order to present themselves in a more favorable light so they will invest time or money into their cause, etc.

    In either case lying on the SURVEY does not make sense in either of the two scenarios presented.

    Is there any other reason to skew the results by the participators lying and if so what would that be? It’s not logical to do so as nothing is gained by lying.

  27. Sharon Christensen says:

    They are in paradise right now! :). Yeah I know how they feel…I have chickodees…Blue Jays, Nut Thatches…squirrels chitterin, eagles soarin…sno flakes flutterin…But My Hubby has to “vorkit”darn hard for me to watch these…and those guys…who is “vorking”there for their…”.renovations!”…ants poke the aphids…the aphids do the work…They are just sittin there collecting the “honey!”… watchin the “wild life”, down by the beach…and stressin everyone else out so they can ….add yrs to their life and coins to their piggy bankz! Just like the scientology guy/guys! Same.

  28. Sharon Christensen says:

    Leah Remini smokin out the Scientologists…TV documentaries etc., she may want to help smoke out these Jw Ogres when she is done …? Advertise …advertise….advertise….

  29. Vidiot says:

    Assuming GB members are aware of these numbers (and I suspect they are), they must be f**king FURIOUS. 😀

  30. twistedsister69 says:

    @Sharon Christensen

    Not sure if this was intentional, but it’s awesome: “JW Ogres”. Love it.
    ….. JW.Ogre
    HA

  31. sadreally says:

    I have to agree. I too have been booted from off this site possibly for not accepting evolution.
    its almost as if I am being forced to accept the teaching, the argument being “make your own website”,
    Perhaps the only family I have are the ex witness websies and it is hurtful:-(
    Maybe the truth is I am just not educated enough.

  32. twistedsister69 says:

    I wouldn’t worry about it. “Skittles”‘ comments are just a plea for attention by an underdeveloped psyche.

  33. John Redwood says:

    Alfred

    Feel free to send the link on Simon’s site to redwood@jwsurvey.org and I will have a look. I will tell you that when we investigate website trolls, we take many factors into consideration. For example, when a user trolls multiple articles over a period of time, and uses multiple accounts with several different IP addresses and names/aliases, our software picks up on this and will often block such users. We keep records of these users, their hosting providers and cell providers, and the information is forwarded to the appropriate agencies involved. This is for the protection of the site as well as the users who comment. We desire the experience to be non-confrontational for our readers, whether they agree or disagree with our articles.

    With reference to the survey “methodology” we have no problems with anyone who disagrees with the survey, or feels that it is biased. Nearly every news agency, blogger, or provider of content will be accused of being biased – this is absolutely to be expected. Nearly everything we read or see on the news is biased. Our government is biased. For example for many years, the government as a whole was biased against gay marriage, and now the bias has swung in the other direction. Our articles are biased against religious indoctrination, child abuse mishandling, blood transfusion doctrine, and many other aspects of JW culture. By publishing this “biased” information we educate people as to what is going on inside the JW culture, and successfully help many escape the bonds of the JW organization.

    We find that JW Apologists and even non jws who have disagreements with Cedars or JW Survey often expend great energy in promoting divisive and unhealthy ideas. These comments help neither Jehovah’s Witnesses or Non-Witnesses, and are simply a wast of time for those who engage in such keyboard slander or warfare. We have important work to do in the field of activism, and thankfully we have a great team and excellent software to assist us in staying focused on our mission

    Thanks for reaching out

    Sincerely,

    JR

  34. John Redwood says:

    Caroline – see my comment to Alfred – this will help. We are concerned with activism and helping people wake up from the JW organization, so we have little time for individuals who have created multiple accounts from various locations, and spend their time trolling websites. These individuals are most often persons who have very little to offer the community, and simply enjoy creating trouble and provoking arguments. We have no interest in this.

    On the other hand we have had may good discussions with persons who might sincerely disagree with our views, and we are happy to have these discussions. But these persons are mature individuals who know how to communicate effectively and respectfully. They are always welcome here.

    JR

  35. Sharon Christensen says:

    Twistedsister69…Just came to me…like “New” light the other day! Ogre nation! Me, busy today celebrating…4 wks since my Dear Mom has spoke to me…guess she is shunning/disconnecting from me…hurt from start…but I am ok with it now. My father-n-law passed away on the 22 of Nov., the Notorious apostate, Chris Christensen….Not even a call to tell my daughter…sorry to hear your Granfather died…Not even a call to tell my husband, who has helped her financially many times…sorry to hear your Dad died…this is not my Mom….she was once a kindly person…but now even she has turned into like they demand….JWogre. Sad…she thinks she doing this to please God….she is merely obeying blindly these….”bird watchers”! :-/ Was not this a sign Jesus gave…”No natural affection”….? By This you will know them….? Worship with lips, but hearts far removed from me…? Thanx for such a group as this…:)

    • Tara says:

      I’m sorry Sharon, for your loss. Sadly it is all we can expect isn’t it. You are totally correct when you say ‘no natural affection’. The Org. strips it away from you. Thank goodness, like you say, that we have JWSurvey and each other. Again, sweetie I am so sorry to hear of your loss x

    • twistedsister69 says:

      I, too, am sorry for your loss, Sharon. Glad you enjoyed my little “JW.Ogre” twist. Feels good to know there are folks out there who can appreciate my twisted sense of humor. 😀 I am also a compulsive unrequested-advice-giver, so here goes: Sorry your mom cut you off, as so many have gone through, but let’s face it, we’re all big boys and girls now. None of us really needs “Mommy” OR “Daddy” anymore. Some of us are even parents or grandparents ourselves. Ironically, someone recently asked me, “Doesn’t it cause you stress that you no longer talk to your family?” I basically replied, “ARE YOU KIDDING???!!! – Quite the REVERSE. Quite the REVERSE.” It has ELIMINATED so much stress from my life. And that is a GOOD thing. 🙂

  36. John Redwood says:

    Caroline – one more note for all – you are correct, we do not ban anyone for being religious or not believing in evolution. Our policy is religious neutrality. On our Friday column, guest writers can express their personal feelings about certain subjects more freely than in our regular articles, but we still try to maintain as much neutrality as we can. Earlier in the year I agonized over one of our writers who contributed some excellent work, but some of the content was too geared toward evolution, and we had to ask the author to re-write the content several times. We went to great effort not to offend anyone who is a person of faith. Now when someone posts information on Cedar’s timeline on Facebook and proselytizes religion, they often find themselves blocked – because this is his personal page and they crossed the line. However we have a policy of neutrality on Survey and try our best to stick to that.

    The only exceptions are areas where the JW organization deny accurate science and promote creationism, as an example. We have not problem exposing those false beliefs, knowing full well that persons of faith in many religions do accepts modern science in many matters, whereas the JW organization sticks to their literal interpretation of the Bible – such as the belief that Adam was created in 4026 BCE. So we submit that a person can enjoy their faith as a Christian all they wish without having to accept the same nonsense which the JW organization will not give up. I am sure our readers who have faith understand the difference between exposing the JW organization and attacking a person’s faith. Most are able to view these things as 2 different issues

    Thanks again for your comments

    JR

  37. outandabout says:

    I don’t doubt there are plenty of people who’ve had and are having bad experiences as a Witness but there are still plenty of good Witnesses. There’s also a hardcore bunch who are completely out of their skulls with delusion.

    Question 66 of the 2015 Survey showing JW’s only reveals 22% of Witnesses surveyed would stay a Witness even if WT was proven to be completely false. I would have been inclined not believe that if I hadn’t seen and heard a Muslim say the exact same thing.

    Question 67 reveals that 4% would take a pill if instructed to by the GB. Again, unbelievable at first, but hang on….that’s what happened in Jonestown to a bunch of decent folk who only thought they were doing the right thing.

    I’m not suggesting the GB would give people pills but the WT have a bunch of hardened devotee’s they can manoeuvre, manipulate and milk any which way they choose. Probably enough of them to keep the GB living like rock stars in Paradise Warwick forever.

    I guess some people have a deep desire to be controlled.

    • Big B says:

      @outandabout:

      You are correct in your assumptions 100%. These ‘sheeple’ do indeed have a ‘flock’ mentality. They love being told what to do; after all 1. they don’t expend time or brain power and 2. they can always blame someone else if the choice given turns out to be the wrong one namely, the Nuremberg defense, “I was told (ordered) to do it.

      So 22% of JW’s would stay even if the organization was proven to wrong. Not surprising as these idiots don’t care what they are involved with as long as their friends continue to “belong to the club (cult)”. Some find it necessary to belong to something and most have positions that they have no business holding if they left for another religion.

      ‘Delusional’ doesn’t begin to describe what these people are; however, its sure a great start.

      • outandabout says:

        ..and would that 22% still be referring to it as ‘The Truth’ even after discovering it was lies.

        • Big B says:

          @ outandabout;

          Probably so, unfortunately.

          I would guess that for some old habits die hard and referring to this ‘Distopia’ as ‘The Truth’ as a term of identification when speaking to others, would be a difficult habit to break.

          A very interesting question though.

    • John Redwood says:

      Great points

      We do find some of the Survey results surprising, but as you say, when you compare the results to other groups, the answers do indeed make sense. The JW answers are interesting because it is clear some of these people are faithful JWs, yet still wiling to take a survey regarding these critical issues. So – the 22% you mentioned explains how so many, despite potentially finding out this is not the truth, would still remain in the org. They enjoy the camaraderie, the association and bonding, the general feeling that they are among like minded people – and many other reasons. of course as time goes on and more leave the organization, and more facts are brought to light, the dynamics will change and we will see a shift in the answers. It may take years to see the shift – hard to say. The important thing is to educate people and allow them to be free from the shackles of the JW organization and choose faith, non-faith, or anything in between. Our survey will continue as long as it is helpful and revealing.

      And you make another good point -people in general do look for direction in life, whether in politics, religion or otherwise. We are indeed very sophisticated animals, and some desire to lead whereas others desire to follow. Witnesses derive a great deal of comfort from believing that they are being led by God and his direct representatives, and this is sad. Let’s hope we can eliminate some of this sadness in society and permit humans to flourish and do great things.

      JR

  38. Doc Obvious says:

    Do you hear that giant sucking sound? That my friends is the Australian Royal Commission draining the Watchtower swamp. Sometimes that pump sounds like it is at it’s highest level and the sound is a straining sound. That is a swamp governing body member being sucked out of the swamp. It’s taking a lot of work on the one pump, so the ARC has a half dozen pumps working around the clock.

    The Commission had one pump that broke. This was due to the pump being stuck on Anthony Morris III. He was a bit of work, but the ARC managed.

    The Watchtower swamp will soon be drained and the vile swamp things will be a thing of the past.

    • Holy Connoli says:

      @Doc obvious. I agree with you that the Swamp is being drained. However in my opinion it is going to take a lot more NEWS about what is really going on in the WT Org to have a serious BIG TIME effect. It can happen quickly but I think it will take a consorted effort by the News Media around the World to bring out the real truth and what they really do. If the media just prints tid bits every few months or years it will be dissolved in the overall
      news of the day. I doubt most Americans or Europeans know much if anything about the ARC findings. It is great to have those findings but the WT has a way of letting those things just die by not responding to them or ignoring them and hope they go away. If some major cases become all over the news in USA on an every day basis it would help.

      Even the Conti Case in Fremont California had little impact on the News in USA. Even in the San Fransisco area it was not a major news item although it was the biggest award $$ ever charged against ANY religion in US History. The average person on the street knows little or nothing about it.

      We are off to a good start but the media needs to pick up these stories and make them known.

    • Telescopium says:

      Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!
      No need to insult all swamps things by comparing them to Governing Body members! They have feelings too!

  39. Wokenup says:

    I read all of Skittles comments on Reddit and jwn. I don’t really agree with him and wonder why he is seemingly hell bent against jwsurvey, but did he really get banned just for questioning some of the claims in your articles?

    The PDF that Cedars compiled and posted on Reddit didn’t really seem to be all that bad.

    Not trying to defend the guy but just my two cents

    • John Redwood says:

      Wokenup

      Thanks for your comment. No, we do not ban anyone who disagrees with our viewpoint or articles. There was quite a bit more involved, and as you have noticed, the person in question is “hell bent” on expressing his anger in a rather unhealthy way. Regarding the survey itself, we are happy to submit that the results can be accepted or not accepted, and my opinion as expressed in my article is simply my opinion of some of the results of the survey. We do not expect or demand that anyone agree with us, just as we all have the right to choose which news media to watch or read. The beautiful thing about freedom from undue influence is that once that freedom is achieved, a person can choose to be a believer, or a non-believer, or take any path in life they choose. Our goal is to help our readers achieve such freedom, then make informed choices of their own, without pressure from anyone.

      All the best,

      JR

    • Cedars says:

      You are entitled to your two cents, but I am the website owner and entitled to manage the content of this website as I see fit. The person calling himself “Skittles” has revealed himself to be an accomplished troll with no genuine grievances against JWsurvey – only a seeming fixation with attacking me under the slightest pretext. He was blocked from our website after abusing the comments feature after a grievance he raised with Covert Fade on a different article was not settled to his liking. He then spilled the same grievance over into this article, essentially accusing the website of double standards where there were none. Put simply, he wanted us to take his word for it that his version of Covert Fade’s article was correct without giving any supporting evidence. Then, in a petty, vindictive manner he attacked the JWsurvey results because it is impossible for us to confirm the authenticity of each and every survey respondent. But since we do not claim that the survey results are bullet proof and to be taken as sacrosanct, this is a “straw man” argument.

      After John Redwood blocked Skittles he tried (and continues to try) using rotating IP addresses to continue posting, which indicates that he is a committed, sophisticated troll (of the sort we have had to deal with before) rather than the victim he purports to be. He has also set up threads on other websites blaming me for his eviction and accusing me of running a cult. In truth, despite him repeatedly naming me as the chief villain, I did not write the articles he was commenting on, and I did not delete his comments – although I fully support John Redwood’s deletion of the comments and would have done the same myself under similar circumstances.

      In short, nobody knows who Skittles is apart from the fact that he is committed and adept at trolling. He has no genuine grievance against this website – only a vendetta against me that was apparently in place even before he started commenting on JWsurvey and pretending to be upset about Covert Fade’s article. And his petty actions since being blocked have only vindicated the actions that were taken.

      I have therefore deleted Skittles’ comments, and all replies to them. I appreciate your sincere concern over the matter, but it is now over as far as I am concerned and I thank you in advance for respecting my right as owner of this website to keep it a safe, welcoming place for lurking JWs – and to support John Redwood, Covert Fade and others in their efforts to that end.

      • Wideawake says:

        Who is Skittles?… someone making a big effort to distract from the real purpose of this site…To tell the truth!!!… people like me have depended on this site over the last few years and at times I have had little debates on here about different viewpoints…so refreshing to be able to do that…after years of shutting up…This site was an oasis for me and I for one am glad Skittles is banned…endless attacking drivel that helped no one… let’s get back to the real job at hand…exposing the falsehoods!

      • Covert Fade says:

        Ah Skittles, dear Skittles…. )

        To further elaborate, without going into unnecessary details, skittles wanted us to re-write substantial parts of my article to suit his version of events, but refused to provide any evidence that his version of events was correct. He fully admitted that he had no proof of his version of events, despite multiple efforts on my part over email to get him to provide such, but was none the less outraged that I would not simply take his word for it over the word of a journalist writing for an official news source, and over the version detailed in court appointed documents.

        I think that says all that needs to be said about the erstwhile skittles.

        • John Redwood says:

          Well said Covert

          I will add one more contributing factor. It is very important to JW Survey that the sensitivity of our readers be respected, particularly when we are dealing with such a serious issue as rape. When “Skittles” – an anonymous unsubstantiated poster-provoked both the mother and the stepfather of the rape victim, we had to respect the wishes of the family and limit his comments. Once the mother of the rape victim asserted her concern, we knew we were dealing with a problem, and we were correct. Thankfully we were contacted by the family of the victim and we are in touch with them on a regular basis. They provided all of the details and documents related to the crime, none of which are available to the anonymous poster. The protection of victims and their families is of utmost importance, and we will keep Survey as a safe place to comment for all.

          JR

  40. Don'tknowforsure says:

    I am recently awaken, but just wonder what any of you think, or how can it be that jehovah or God doesn’t work through an organization, being that the Bible says “be obedient to those taking the lead amount you” and in Timothy and Titus it has the qualifications for brothers to be elders and ms. Seems like God would have a specific organization or true congregation? Does it not? Just puzzled

    • dee2 says:

      Hello Don’tknowforsure,

      >>>>>>>”……..Seems like God would have a specific organization or true congregation?”

      Statistically, you have a 1 in 40,000 chance of finding the true religion within Christianity. According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, there are approximately 40,000 Christian denominations and organizations in the world.

      The Bible does not present only one theological point of view. For example, on the matter of the Trinity, there are passages in the New Testament which clearly indicate that Jesus is God. There are other passages however, in which it is quite clear that Jesus is not God.

      The Bible states the soul lives on after death but it also says that the soul dies.

      etc. etc.

    • messenger says:

      Christ said he does all the judging. So, to find an answer to your question closely look at his example and teachings. On Earth Christ practiced the ritualistic religion of the Jews that included many different Jewish sects. Despite that fact he did not condemn Jews for having conflicting spiritual beliefs. He did single out those who were judgmental of others though.

      Remember only Jesus is the judge, and only he is the Truth. Salvation comes from believing in him, and a great many Christians do that. They don’t all have the exact same beliefs. In my opinion some of them understand the Bible better than JWs do.

      A big mistakes the WT makes is that it majors on minor points….and like the judgmental people in Jesus’ Jewish religion they extend the law of God and teach people those extensions must be necessarily followed to please God. Worse than just teaching, they kick people out of the church for not following these man-made mandates.

      Also, remember that Christ said his disciples would be witnesses of him to the whole world. Well, look at how large Christianity is today. The JWs didn’t make it that large. JWs have existed for just a relatively short time. The witness about Christ has gone on for a long time. Who were those witnesses for such a long time? They are your answer. Apostasy has existed almost from the beginning of the church…but Christ, according to scripture, still called it his church.

      A real irony in what we were taught is that we were taught all others are wrong because they have wrong ideas about the Bible, and so teach false doctrine. But look what we’ve done, the exact same thing. Remember the last words in Revelation, about not taking anything away, or adding anything to the scroll-with the threat of punishment. I know at least three separate interpretations the WT has taught regarding that book alone. So, if Christ were to judge other Christians for teaching wrong doctrine, then why wouldn’t he judge us for that? Read the scriptures, that’s not what they say is the basis for judgment. Again, concentrate on what Christ did and said, and the answer will be pretty clear.

    • Winston Smith says:

      As Ted states, the idea of a central governing body is foreign to early Christianity. When you mention scriptures about obedience to those taking the lead, you need to consider who would be leading and in what manner. As Christ said:”But you are not to be called “Rabbi,” for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. . . . Nor are you to be called “teacher,” for you have one Teacher, the Christ. You know that in the world, rulers lord it over their subjects, and their great men make them feel the weight of authority; but it shall not be so with you. Among you, whoever wants to be great must be your servant.”

      In this line of reasoning one author commented: “What of the designations found in the Christian Scriptures, such as “shepherd,” “teacher,” “prophet,” “elder,” and so forth? It seemed evident that these all actually described—not offices or official positions in an authority structure—but services to be rendered to the community of brothers, or qualities and abilities possessed that were to be used in benefit of others.”

      Schaff’s History of the Christian Church states:
      “The New Testament knows no spiritual aristocracy or nobility, but calls all believers ‘saints,’ though many fell far short of their vocation. Nor does it recognize a special priesthood in distinction from the people, as mediating between God and the laity. It knows only one high-priest, Jesus Christ, and clearly teaches the universal priesthood, as well as universal kingship, of believers.”

      WS

    • messenger says:

      @ Don’tknowforsure

      see Matthew 13:47-51