“Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life; and we have believed and come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” –John 6:68-69
So answered Peter when asked by Jesus whether he wanted to abandon him along with others who had found his teachings untenable.
Time and again this scripture is used in the Society’s publications to reinforce the seemingly hopeless consequences for any who choose to turn their backs on the organization. Take as an example the following experience, quoted in the February 15th 2006 Watchtower on page 30:
“Accepting a change when it comes and adapting to it can be difficult,” admits one longtime elder. What has helped him accept the many refinements he has witnessed in the 48 years that he has been a Kingdom proclaimer? He answers: “Having the right attitude is the key. Refusing to accept a refinement is to be left behind as the organization moves ahead. If I find myself in a situation where changes seem hard to accept, I reflect on Peter’s words to Jesus: ‘Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life.’ Then I ask myself, ‘Where shall I go away to—out there into the darkness of the world?’ This helps me to hold firmly to God’s organization.”—John 6:68.
The message is simple: as organizational and doctrinal refinements are introduced, one should accept these unflinchingly without question – because after all, there is nowhere else to go beyond the confines of the organization. Indeed, any who doubt the Society or Governing Body are portrayed as being just as disloyal and fickle as those who left Jesus because they were shocked when he asked them to figuratively drink of his blood and eat of his flesh. –John 6:52-56
Perhaps you have pondered on this scripture after successfully uncovering the wealth of evidence that the Society is actually NOT God’s spirit-directed organization after all. You may feel that the same words spoken by Peter apply to you and your interraction with the Watch Tower Society. If that is the case, please be assured that you are NOT in a similar situation whatsoever, and that Peter’s words (and, indeed, the question posed by Jesus) in no way apply to your predicament.
“You have sayings of everlasting life”
When Peter spoke the above words, the last thing on his mind was any question of leaving an ‘organization’ of any kind. Jesus, and no human organization, was the one with sayings of everlasting life. (John 17:3) Peter had listened to Jesus’ words, and had come to the conclusion that he was the foretold Messiah, the “Holy One of God”. The last thing he wanted to do was separate himself from being a follower of God’s chosen one, simply because he had spoken rather cryptically on an issue that few were able to comprehend at the time.
Since Christ’s ascension to heaven, it has naturally been impossible to physically walk with Jesus as mere mortals. However, we can all individually remain his footstep followers by living our lives according to Christian principles without the need to attach ourselves to a human organization – particularly one that distorts the words of Christ to suit its own ends and perpetuate its legacy. – John 10:27; Acts 20:28-30
If you have succeeded in uncovering the overwhelming evidence that God is NOT directing the Watch Tower Society, then this does not necessarily mean that you have abandoned Christ – nor does it mean that you should. If anything, your relationship with Christ can be strengthened by having a direct and personal relationship with him, and not relying on the Society, or any human organization, to act as your intermediaries in a “two-tier” version of Christianity.*
“Whom shall we go away to?”
Even so, many who consider the prospect of turning their backs on the organization feel more than a little apprehension at the thought of simply walking away from the familiar surroundings of the Kingdom Hall, not to mention their former acquaintances. It is perfectly understandable to feel anxious about the transitional period between the inevitable shunning by former associates (as I have learned for myself, you will always be shunned to some degree, even if you remain as an ‘inactive’ one), and the challenge of finding new friends who will value you for who you are, rather than what you believe. Faced with this prospect, many may well ask, “where will I go?” or “whom will I be friends with?”
The late Ray Franz, a former member of the Governing Body, put it most eloquently when he said (on leaving the organization): “I feel no need to ‘go’ anywhere. For I know the One who has the ‘sayings of everlasting life.’ I appreciate the strengthening companionship of those I have with whom to associate (either personally or by correspondence) and hope that the future will add to my acquaintance with yet other sincere persons whose concern is for truth, not simply in doctrine, in words, but as a way of life.” (Crisis of Conscience, p406)
I can personally echo those words. In the relatively short period since I made my own decision to become inactive and distance myself from the organization, I have not only made friends who are like-minded – I have also regained family members whom I was previously snubbing because they themselves had drifted away years before. The Society would have us believe that everyone beyond the confines of the organization is a vicious and rabid “world-ling”; hell-bent on pursuing their own selfish agendas. The reality could not be further from the truth. Only when you start to look do you realize that nice, genuine people surround you in all walks of life, and any of them would make a fine friend. Sure, there are always the ‘rotten apples’ (as indeed there are inside the organization) but you will certainly be surprised at how many honest, sincere people there are out there once you take the time to look.
It’s never easy embracing change. In many ways, it goes against the grain of who we are. We humans crave familiarity and comfort. Drastic transition never sits well with any of us. However, this does not make change impossible. No matter where you go, or who you end up being friends with in the future, you will always have Christ with you as a friend. The benefits of having him as your personal mediator far outweigh the superficial and conditional relationships that you have experienced within the organization. Furthermore, you will be surprised how many people there are out there who will love and accept you for who you are, and not based on whether you are putting hours in each month.
If you need further help with finding the courage to make new friendships, you need only contact any of us on JW Struggle, and we will be happy to assist in any way we can.
The above article by Cedars first appeared on www.jwstruggle.com
13 thoughts on ““Lord, whom shall we go away to?””
Nice little pep talk for those with “fears” of leaving the “org.” Well done!
In the above Watchtower quote, the WT takes a verse that refers to Jesus and applies it to itself. The word “anti” as in anti-Christ doesn’t always means “against” Christ. It can also mean “instead of” Christ.
I really enjoyed the way you have summed up how I feel ! I am slowly starting to get over the grieving of losing this “faith” and now only now feel like I want to be a better person, even more so when I was with this organization. I have a fleshly sister still within this “crap” who suffers from emotional problems, she confides in me because she knows she will not be judged, she feels a tremendous amount of guilt because congregation members (including elders) ask her why she is not relying on Jehovah more, for he is a happy God, also they say that others have it worse..I am afraid this cult will put her over the deep end.
Hello to all my new friends. Just found this site and want to extend a warm greeting to you all.
Mr Cedars sounds like a very genuine and sincere man in his desire to help all those who are or have been associated with Jehovah Witnesses. I agree with his logical explanation as to the above mentioned query ‘Where are we to go to”…As you know Only Jesus can give us everlasting life and NOT a mortal organization. Their is no mediator between Jehovah and Jesus as the Watchtower would like you to believe. That said, please allow me to say what the Bible says at Rev 18:4 “Get out of her my people……”
Looking for new friends and welcome all…Thank you!
Great article. Was searching for another application of this scripture.
Exdub – love how you used your gravatar. I’m dying to point out how that picture was used in our publication.
I well remember the feeling when I was disfellowshipped. I felt completely cut off – and that was with a family that were not witnesses. My humble advice would be to try to stay balanced.
Excellent article Cedars!!! The WTBTS is always quoting that same scripture to hold their members captive. An article like yours helps people to open their minds and think with an open mind. That scripture shows that people should go to Jesus, rather than the Watchtower.
Cedars you hit the nail on the head, i will pray for you, may you be emensley blessed in Jesus Christ alone.
This is so sad to see so many feeling hopless and helpless all because of those who claim to be Christ like yet are the opposite. They are exactly what the bible says they are “rocks hidden below water at your love feast…STARS with no set course.” They’re like Cain who killed his brother.(Jude 11-13) Then they piont the finger switching it as if your a blabber when it is them who speaks against love to turn everyone away.Then they have the nerve to say “Apostate!” only to duck tape the victims mouths shut. Does this work? No because the blood of the victims are still crying out.
The many ex-Jehovah Witnesses better would join each other and or join other non-trinitarian believers. The breaking with the JW should give them some time to reconsider everything what they believe and went for. It is a pity we do so many ex-JW leaving the faith totally or becoming ardent trinitarians. Instead of looking more around them and either going back to the original source of their movement, going back to the original Bible Student Association or to some of the off-springs of the original Bible-student organization and staying in the Bible student movement.
On the other hand they also could wonder if it is really necessary to be so connected to one particular organization. Why can they and many other Christians do not see that we all can and should be part of the One Body of Christ. That we do may have different opinions on certain matters and that we may have different ways to build up our community but that we as Christians should be able to recognize ourselves as brethren and sisters in Christ, joined together in the Body of Christ and making union in that Body of Christ.
Jesus came to the world to liberate it from the chains not to bring more handcuffs to it. So why no joining to become one united body of Free Christians?
Belgian Biblestudents – Belgische Bijbelstudenten
Have you ever read 30 years a Watchtower slave? The writer, William J. Schnell, explains the break from the bible students and the separate agenda of the WTBTS. You probably know the history. What I found interesting was how president tried to undermine (wipe out) the legacy of the previous president. William J. Schnell, talks about how service directors were sent into congregations in the 1930’s with the sole purpose of divide and conquer and those that followed became organisational supporters. One or two of the reasons they were able to do this so easily, was there was money for printing and distribution when so few had books. There was also the devoted the deluded who sold the printed materials for free. The campaign Advertise Advertise Advertise (three for emphasis) was a marketing campaign not dissimilar to Coca Cola’s 1929 campaign with Archie Lee’s slogan, “the pause that refreshes”. Those Coca Cola ads shaped the way Americans viewed Santa Claus.
In the 20s, 30s+ the bible students did not want to be market led volunteers of a corporation. Having said that have they fared better by going it alone? Is there the same fundamental flaw in both organisations – the lack of critical thinking?
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