Last night I was contacted by one of my Facebook friends who was facing a dilemma.
They had themselves been approached by a believing relative regarding the November JW Broadcasting episode, hosted by Mark Sanderson.
This new episode revisits the “Return to Jehovah” theme from the brochure release at the last convention, and beckons inactive ones to come “home” through a dramatic series of experiences and re-enactments – deliberately playing on the emotions rather than answering any intellectual concerns or factual objections.
Empowered by this overt propaganda, it seems some Witnesses are wasting no time in contacting their estranged family members to relay the Governing Body’s message, and this person asked me how they should reply.
I would never issue a script for this sort of situation, because I actually think it is far more compelling when individuals express themselves authentically on such important subjects. That said, here is how I would respond if I were asked to watch the latest broadcast and/or asked to come “home” to “Jehovah’s organization”…
I am touched that you have thought of me, but you should know I am already familiar with the latest JW Broadcasting episode and its message. My particular problem, shared by many who were raised as Witnesses, which this video does not address, is that I don’t believe the claims made by the Governing Body to be true. I cannot come “home” to any organization that teaches untrue things – especially to children. If you are convinced it is “the truth,” then please show me the evidence and I will request a bible study and start attending meetings. If you cannot show me evidence, or you tell me it’s all down to having enough “faith,” then you have to accept that your religious beliefs are no more substantiated than those taught by any other religion. I want to take this opportunity to let you know that I love you and think about you often and the happy times we shared together, and I hope that eventually your own hunger for truth will lead you to do objective research rather than simply accept everything you are told in one organization’s books, magazines and videos.
Obviously, due to the threat of shunning, most inactive Witnesses who are approached by family members will be prevented from being quite so honest. Any kind of statement such as the above that refutes the religious claims of the Governing Body would be responded to with severe punishment through shunning.
But if you are able to be honest with your relatives, perhaps because they already know how strongly you feel, or because you are, like me, disassociated (or disfellowshipped), I hope you will find the above response useful.
Harmful policies such as child abuse, shunning and blood transfusions aside, the reason we don’t go back is because it simply isn’t true. If we stick to that argument and refuse to be swayed or sidetracked by appeals to emotion, there’s a sliver of a chance that a friend or relative who is intellectually honest enough might start asking the hard questions themselves.
The emotional beckoning of the inactive was not the only disturbing feature of the November broadcast. I will be addressing other issues, such as the segment on the Typhoon Haiyan video, in my next JW Broadcasting rebuttal which should be available at some point over the next three weeks. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel to be notified about this and other new videos.