Putting victims of undue influence on trial for their delusions benefits no one
Putting victims of undue influence on trial for their delusions benefits no one

The JW.org website is reporting that a court in Russia has convicted and sentenced 7 Jehovah’s Witnesses for practicing their faith.

Four congregation elders were given suspended prison sentences of five to five and a half years, and were ordered to pay fines that were subsequently waived. Nine Witnesses were acquitted.

According to the JW.org article, “the judge relied on the September 2009 ruling of the Rostov Regional Court to liquidate the Local Religious Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Taganrog. Although the 2009 ruling targeted only the legal entity, the judge determined that the religious activity of all of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Taganrog and surrounding districts was banned.”

What amounts to a show trial by the Taganrog authorities with no justifiable basis in law follows previous attempts in Russia to ban the JW.org website itself, which ultimately failed.

As this website observed at the time…

It would be much better if governments could zero in on material that incites hatred and trespasses the Universal Declaration of Human Rights rather than introducing blanket bans on entire websites or the activities of religious organizations. To censor in this way only stirs the persecution complex among cults, and stokes belief among cult followers that Satan’s system is against them and the end of the world must be imminent.

The simple truth is that religious organizations like Jehovah’s Witnesses thrive on evidence of persecution to validate their teachings. Western democracies tend to exercise proper restraint by upholding an individual’s right to practice a religion so long as doing so does not trespass the rights of others.

Of course, that’s not to say there isn’t far more authorities can and should be doing to limit the harmful impact of organizations like Watchtower, and their use of undue influence to inflict considerable damage.

Watchtower in particular thrives on society’s ignorance of its policies to claim tax exemptions and even charitable status. When a government extends such financial assistance to Watchtower, they are unwittingly endorsing and subsidizing the organization’s abuse (such as shunning, mishandling of child abuse, coercion to refuse medical treatment) and facilitating their continued export of it.

In addition to withholding such handouts and incentives, governments should also play a more active role in educating their citizens about undue influence and how they can identify it from an early age. Steven Hassan’s BITE model provides an excellent starting point for inoculating younger generations against the pervasive influence of cult-like individuals and organizations, whether these are religious, political, or criminal.

But I’m afraid banning religions is not the answer. If you ban a religion, particularly one that teaches that persecution of any kind is evidence of its claims, you give it greater currency in the minds of its followers – the very ones you should be trying to protect. You also weaken democracy, violate a person’s rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and leave the door ajar for totalitarian regimes to impose their unquestionable authority.

It would be far better if governments could take undue influence more seriously rather than holding their hands up in confusion when they reap the consequences of their inaction, such as the radicalization of their citizens or the increasing spread of human trafficking. At the very least, getting organizations that use undue influence to pay their own tax, and not calling them “charities,” would be a good start.

 

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Further reading…

148 thoughts on “Why it is wrong to ban Jehovah’s Witnesses

  • March 5, 2015 at 3:38 pm
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    Hi Jayne. “nolo contendo” means that he didn’t dispute the facts? If one is accused, and doesn’t dispute the facts; that seems to strongly imply that he is guilty? The only defense such one has is to say “I didn’t do it.” Due to the two witness rule, we know that he wouldn’t have been disfellowshipped in that case. You say he was, so apparently, he confessed but the elders thought he wasn’t repentant enough. If he was indeed innocent, would have said “I didn’t do it”, then the elders would “have left it in Jehovah’s hands”; which I guess the reason for this policy is, to protect the truly innocent. But there is a danger in doing that, namely, in case someone actually is guilty, but pretends not to.

    As to your comment “…the elders in that congregation knew he would harm a child and ignore it.” Isn’t this exactly the problem? No-one knows the future, so also the elders can’t know whether someone is going to harm a child or not. Due to the organization putting much emphasis on forgiving repentant wrongdoers, elders might be inclined to think “this child abuse issue has been a few years ago, and has to be forgiven and forgotten”. And then they assign such a person to teach a boy. Of course I don’t think that those elders were willing to put that boy in harms way. But they have no experience judging these kind of cases, and do not call in external/professional guidance. They do have a responsibility when assigning these kind of tasks though; which Richard Ashe was trying to deny: “we have only a spiritual protection, physical protection is up to the police.” … But the elders never call in help/judgment of the police, do they? See the recent coverage on PBS from Trey Bundy.

    I appreciate your courage for speaking out here, thank you.

  • March 5, 2015 at 3:41 pm
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    anonymous, you might be overflowing Jayne with information here…. just saying ;-)

  • March 5, 2015 at 4:31 pm
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    Jayne, thank you for your kind response. My life is no different than any other person on the face of this earth, no better, no worse. We each have a unique story to tell. Not one of us has been spared from the ups and downs of life. This is our humanity that defines us all. We have to live with the consequences of our own choices, both good and bad.

    The more critical thinking skills we develop, the better, more informed choices we can make. The GB does not want anyone to learn to think for themselves, they only want “group think”, which is really sad because the “group” cannot give you salvation. Only Jesus Christ can give salvation as stated by Peter when he was filled with Holy Spirit. Acts 4:8-12

    You have aroused my curiousity by one of your comments, “As far as reading extracurricular material goes”; what exactly do you mean by extracurricular material? Would that mean anything besides the Bible, or anything besides the printed Watchtower material? What exactly is your curriculum, if you don’t mind my asking?

    • March 5, 2015 at 5:52 pm
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      It was kind of a joke. Like in school when you do extra activities. Not really any specific meaning. I was just applying the term to mean literature not from the Watchtower Society. I actually read a lot of stuff but mostly pertaining to medical and natural health stuff. I also love horses so I read a lot about riding and trainingvtips.

      • March 5, 2015 at 10:51 pm
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        Jayne, Do you have a horse?

        I’m into natural health stuff too….mainly just reading though. I would need access to Fort Knox if I bought everything that would be good for me! I find it intriguing that before we had drug manufacturers, people pretty much figured out fairly accurately which natural plants helped their different ailments.

        I love researching stuff on the net, it’s practically impossible for information to remain hidden. That must be why the organization discourages it’s use…except for their own site that is.

        You seem highly intelligent with an open mind and realize that the net is not the evil danger that some would have us believe. There is the dark side of course, but there is also the knowledge side. With enough motivation, anyone can get to the truth about a matter. I reckon a healthy dose of curiousity is a good way to become enlightened when we want to know whether something is true or not.

  • March 5, 2015 at 7:15 pm
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    @Gareth and Jayne. I am sorry if I was trying to swamp you Jayne. I thought I was keeping it short.

  • March 6, 2015 at 11:33 am
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    anonymous: Whew! That is a lot of venting! Disputing point by point is probably pointless because we each have our own ideas, motives, and interpretations. Let’s not continue arguing over doctrine okay? I do have just one thing to share with you and then let’s make it our last, okay?

    You were once a Jehovah’s Witness. I am now. That doesn’t entitle either of us to know 100% what is the interpretation of every scripture in the Bible or the JW teaching on every subject, history, or how understanding has or may continue to evolve in the future. You questioned even the very existence of God so we really are not on common footing, yeah?

    Your information in interpreting JW doctrine now is gained primarily by reading and listening to those who don’t believe JW teachings at all. Some of your points are well-taken and warrant explanation but many things you say are not actually what or why or how we interpret a particular scripture. You won’t find that explanation in this forum. You will only hear what you want to hear…and obviously, you don’t want to hear from me.

    • March 6, 2015 at 1:19 pm
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      Hi Jayne. I printed out a long reply but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be published so I will try again but shorter. I don’t get my beliefs from listening to apostates or atheists but I wanted to hear positives why we should believe in a God and like I said, Hitchens always won the debates, even up against the most famous of religious clerics so it makes a person think and question, who is right or wrong or are both sides wrong.

      Also, I am sorry if it seemed like I was “venting”. I wasn’t venting but just wanting you to question some of the things I was saying to you.

      I believed it was the truth for the 50 years of my 68 years up until about a year ago so I know about everything you are believing in because that is how I believed too.

      My problem is that if it’s a truly a “Christian” religion, it should be “Bible” doctrine, not Watchtower doctrine. We all got into the habit of worshiping the Watchtower over and above the Bible without realizing it and making the Watchtower our mediator instead of Jesus Christ.

      We shouldn’t be afraid to make sure that our religion is proved by what the Bible actually says, not what the Watchtower says what the Bible says, but what the Bible actually says.

      I love hearing your side and I am sorry if it sounded like I was arguing.

      Everyone on this web site, would love it if you could prove us wrong, believe it or not. Even Lloyd who runs it has said that if anybody can prove him wrong, that he’d even take the whole web site down.

      • March 7, 2015 at 4:29 am
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        Anonymous: How can we prove the very existence of God? Our the course of history, there have been many speculations about the existence of invisible things. They were just someone’s whacky idea until someone finally came up with an instrument to measure. (Magnetism, Light and sound waves, x-rays, DNA, etc.). God, according to the Bible is “dynamic energy” (Isaiah 40). As of yet, there is no way to measure bu the Big Bang Theory states that the universe and all mass stated suddenly by the explosion of some dynamic energy source. Of course , they have no idea that I have heard of what started the process in motion.

        A lot of Chemistry and Physics Laws observed do not explain the behavior of the order we see in nature. You and I, most of the time anyway, have intelligence and personality. I even observe these qualities in lower animals. We are nothing as compared to the expanse of the universe and beyond. Do you suppose that an energy source great enough to begin all matter has intelligence and personality? Makes sense to me. What would you consider proof?

        • March 7, 2015 at 4:57 am
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          Anonymous: Sorry for the previous spelling errors. Its 5:00 am and am not quite awake. I’ll proof read this one.

          As to why we should believe in God? Because he is.

          For example: Is climate change real? Lots of people don’t believe in climate change and it makes them feel better to go about their lives oblivious to what is happening above usThe earth in the atmosphere. However, since climate change will negatively impact all mankind, including us, how can we prepare for such changes in a way to save ourselves if we don’t even believe it exists? The steps for survival require a massive governmental action to reverse course. I don’t see this happening in any substantive way.

          Jehovah God has told us what is going yo happen in the near future and tells us what we need to do to survive. It requires only a personal effort but it had to be according to instructions. Our own personal beliefs and desires are inadequate for survival. We have to follow the plan.

          Jehovah revealed His plans originally to the Israelites and only them. The other nations were acceptable only by throwing out their personal beliefs and pride and joining God’s only earthly organization. Many did, most didn’t. The Israelites didn’t even follow their own laws. This required an organizational change which had been foretold starting in the third chapter of Genesis. The Bible is quite an ingenious book but I never would have realized it if I had stayed a Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Spiritist, Evolutionist, etc. Or any of the things that I had been while I was searching for truth.

          I found truth with Jehovah’s Witnesses. You did once but have lost your faith and confidence. Will you ever regain it? Do you want to or do you really feel more enlightened now?

          • March 7, 2015 at 9:00 am
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            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZ2lMsmjQY0&feature=player_detailpage

            Hi Jayne. I should have said what I meant was that what can’t be proven is that God actually chose the Watchtower in 1919 as his one and only true religion. I know nobody can either prove or disprove that there was a God or not.

            If anybody can come on here and prove that God actually chose the Watchtower as his one true religion, we all be happy about that, believe it or not.

  • March 6, 2015 at 11:36 am
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    Gareth: Before you say anything…yes, I did say “point” an awful lot of times in that last post. My bad!

  • March 6, 2015 at 11:50 am
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    Imacountrygirl: Yes, I have 4 horses. One is blind.

    What has happened to you that made you distrust the organization so much? You continually say things like GB doesn’t let us read anything or look at other websites. That really is not how it is.

    The Internet is very useful in research, banking, appointments, shopping, communication, even entertainment. The only cautioning I have heard are regarding excessive wasting of time, gaming, porn, and the like. Nobody watches me to see what I do behind closed doors so it’s up to me to guard my own heart.

    I choose to continue following the course I am on. I have such an appreciation for the personal growth I have experienced as a worshipper of Jehovah, and yes growth comes sometimes with a little pain.

    You seem like such a vulnerable person, I think we could have been good friends. I hope to meet you, and your son, when all things are made new…..

  • March 6, 2015 at 12:45 pm
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    @Jayne, I am so sorry if it sounded like I was venting on you. I might be venting against the Governing Body but I certainly wasn’t venting against the Bible or you. I loved hearing from you. I love it when somebody comes on here that truly believes the all the Watchtower teachings so we get the other side of the argument. We actually want somebody to prove us wrong.

    Up until about a year ago, I was one, who 100% believed it was the truth too and I’d write letters to anybody and everybody and go in service and did all the things every one of us did. I was baptized in 1966 at the age of 19 and I have not been disfellowshipped so actually I am still in good standing with the Organization.

    My husband served as an elder for 10 years so I have had that part of it too. I pretty much know everything that you believe and have been taught, and like I said up until about a year ago, I was you, believing it all. I had nagging doubts but believed it was run by Jehovah.

    Then by accident, I clicked on Wikipedia and it said that JW’s had joined the United Nations and I couldn’t believe it so I tried to disprove it. I knew that all those years, the Society had said that the United Nations was the beast that was going to turn on religion but when I did that, (tried to prove it wrong) my hands were shaking because I was so afraid of going onto “apostate” websites, thinking that Jehovah was going to kill me on the spot (LOL) but still it scared me but the more I saw, the more I wanted to see.

    I had been led to believe that all these web sites were supposed to be evil but every web site I looked at, would tell where they got that information from and it was from our own literature or the Bible and none of them were lying.

    So, I got braver and braver and now my hands don’t shake anymore if I come onto this web site or watch a youtube video.

    I got carried away with you because I wanted you to question some of the things that I was telling you about. If I was to tell anyone at my hall that Jesus isn’t their mediator, they’d not believe me and close the conversation on the spot, but it’s right in our literature and the Insight Books.

    If you look in our own literature, it shouldn’t be considered “apostate” but yet if it isn’t the “current” teaching and you try and tell somebody about it, you could be disfellowshipped for apostasy and to me that doesn’t make any sense at all.

    I don’t believe anybody should be afraid to make sure of what they are being taught is actually in the Bible or not.

    I don’t get my beliefs from somebody like Christopher Hitchens. I just like listening to debates with somebody like Hitchens and all the religious clerics because if anybody should be able to prove if there is a God or not, it should be those religious clerics and Hitchens always won his debates against those people and none of them will ever defend the Bible, simply because the Bible is so debatable.

    Take for instance if you listen to the latest JWpodcast, they talk about how many quail Jehovah gave the Israelites when they got sick of manna and it’s something like 264,000 quail each. That doesn’t make sense to anybody who thinks about it and that is how I look at the entire Bible now. It doesn’t have anything to do with listening to people who don’t believe Watchtower teachings. It has to do with how reliable the Bible is, let alone the Watchtower interpretation of it. Even in the foreword in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, printed by the Watchtower Society says “No translation of these sacred writings into another language, except by the original writers, is inspired. In copying the inspired originals by hand, the element of human frailty entered in, and so none of the thousands of copies in existence today in the original language are perfect duplicates.”

    A lot of what the Watchtower says makes more sense to me than Christendom’s teachings like the Trinity and hellfire. I actually think the Society’s saying that God isn’t a Trinity, makes more sense than a Trinity but those people who believe that Jesus is Jehovah have tons of scriptures to make it look like the Bible is saying that Jehovah and Jesus are the same person. All that does to me, is make me wonder just how “perfect” the Bible is. It doesn’t make me believe either side.

    For the 10 years after my husband resigned from being an elder, he wouldn’t go to any meetings and all during that time, I tried talking to him into coming back and now the tables are turned. It’s the other way around now. Now he’s going to meetings and I am not. You are where I was all during those years that I was trying to talk my husband into coming back into the “truth”. His reasons were emotional but my reasons are facts, right from our own literature.

    If the “truth” is actually the “truth”, it should stand up against the Bible but it isn’t the the Bible that I have a problem with, but it’s the Watchtower’s rendition of the Bible. If the Watchtower claims to be a “Christian” religion, they shouldn’t be afraid to prove that what the Watchtower says is what the Bible actually says, but if you were to question anything that’s in the Watchtower against what the Bible actually says and you talk about it to anybody, you will be disfellowshipped for apostasy. That is my argument. It’s against that kind of intimidation that I have a problem with.

    As far as the Bible goes, I think it’s a good book but “imperfect” just like what the Society said in that forward to the Kingdom Interlinear Translation. Being an “imperfect” book is the only way I could explain why Jehovah would kill 19,000 Israelites along with a whole slew of other stuff like that that to me doesn’t make any sense.

  • March 6, 2015 at 2:10 pm
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    Hi Jayne, nah.. just want to comment on your remark “You will only hear what you want to hear…”; you’re insinuating someone else’s motive here. That hurts. Please don’t do that anymore okay?

  • March 6, 2015 at 2:29 pm
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    Sorry, Gareth. Didn’t mean anything insidious by the “hearing” remark. I think that is true of anyone, don’t you think? As a mother of teenagers years ago, it really becomes apparent, yeah? We all interpret remarks, I think, through the filters in our own minds. Not sure what you heard in that remark that you found insulting. It wasn’t my intention to insult you; just that it didn’t matter what I say because nobody out there is listening anyway.

  • March 6, 2015 at 3:01 pm
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    I agree that everyone has filters.. but there is a difference between more-or-less unconsciously filtering stuff, and implying that other people don’t *want* to listen. In this case, it would be better to mention which of your points were ignored, instead of generalizing into “nobody is listening anyway”. Point to our ignorance, prove us a fool…

  • March 6, 2015 at 10:02 pm
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    Jayne, you ask why I am distrustful of the GB?

    It started out innocently enough. I helped a friend by picking up her deaf handicapped son from school and taking him home, where I would stay until she came home from work.

    We talked about my Jehovah’s Witness background and she said that she had never met a bad Jehovah’s Witness and that she was thinking about joining and was encouraging me to return to the KH.

    She wanted to research Jehovah’s Witnesses, something I had never done before…and one of the first things we found was about something called the “Walsh trial” in Scotland in 1954. We got the manuscript of the trial from Hulu for free and d/l it. We weren’t looking for anything bad, just a history of the origin of JWs.

    At the trial testifying for the Society was Fred Franz, the Vice-President; H.C.Covington, the head legal counsel of the Society at that time; Grant Suiter, the Secretary-Treasurer of the Society; A.R.Hughes, the British Branch Servant; and D. Walsh, the Congregation Servant who brought the suit.

    As we started reading the manuscript, my whole world began to fall apart. Here were members of the GB saying things so shocking…I refused to accept it. My mind could not comprehend that an organization I had spent practically my whole life in (I even pioneered for a while) could be capable of deception.

    I was shattered. I read the manuscript over and over and over, which was hard as the document is old. The organization is the sum of its own history. It didn’t just start yesterday. It had a beginning and I really didn’t know the details. Do the details of JWs past matter? Not really to me….I had always just accepted every word in the Watchtower as Gospel Truth.

    I did not want to believe that those anonymous brothers who had so lovingly translated the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures…were not the scholars I had thought they were. Frederick Franz admitted under oath that it was his job to sign off on the NWT as accurate…yet he could not speak Hebrew. When the judge asked him to read Genesis 2:4 he said ” No, I won’t attempt to do that.” This is from the Douglas Walsh Trial, Pursuer’s Proof, 1954, pp. 7-9, 88, 91-92, 102-103.

    WHAT??? That loving translating committee had no credentials?

    It only takes a very tiny crack to cause even the biggest damn to break and give way.

    This started me on a search of Jehovah’s Witnesses on the internet.

    I uncovered some astonishing information and I began to get angry over all that the GB had taken from so many innocent people. I keep asking Jesus to send the Holy Spirit to help me not hate the GB. I am sure some of the indivual members of the GB have been honest and sincere and have tried to correct mistakes made in the past. But it turns out that the divine guidance from Jehovah, is actually based on a 2/3 vote of the GB members.

    There is a lot of anger among some ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses. I believe that the depth of the anger is in proportion to the amount of pain that person is in. If we could only walk a mile in their shoes….we might have more empathy for them! Love really does cover over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

    I love all of my brothers and sisters and I wish they could know what being free of the control of men feels like.

  • March 7, 2015 at 6:42 am
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    Gareth: Point taken….I appreciate you telling me because it wasn’t intentional.

  • March 10, 2015 at 8:59 am
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    Cedar;
    Why hasn’t my last submittance posted? I tried to follow all the rules, no proselytizing, no obscene language and I only answered the questions as asked.

    • March 10, 2015 at 9:14 am
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      Jayne – I’ve just noticed this comment and checked the spam filter to see if I could approve your comments. You mustn’t have read the posting guidelines properly because they were brimming with evangelism (coercion aimed at other posters to get them to believe as you do) and betrayed a basic ignorance as to Watchtower and its history.

      I would strongly recommend you do more research on the organization you so cherish before making further comments. Or better yet, give me proof that Jehovah’s Witnesses are the one true religion in response to the Cedars Challenge (below) so I can take down this website and my heretical YouTube channel…

  • March 11, 2015 at 7:52 am
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    Cedars:

    I did reread the rules, as you suggested, and I see I was mistaken. The rules didn’t say “proselytizing” which I interpreted to mean teaching doctrine to convert others, but said evangelizing; “Definition of EVANGELICAL: one holding evangelical principles or belonging to an evangelical party or church.” I stand guilty of that.

    I do however disagree with the term coercion.
    “Coercion. The intimidation of a victim to compel the individual to do some act against his or her will by the use of psychological pressure, physical force, or threats.” I think “persuasion” may be a more accurate term.

    The people in this blog seem to be very protective of their rights to make up their own minds without censorship. Since others had been very specific in criticizing my beliefs on certain doctrines, in compliance to your rules, I resisted the very human urge to counter back. There were some subject areas I thought would be acceptable, such as why Franz didn’t read Hebrew in 1954 and why that is not pertinent to the ability to write an accurate translation.

    If there are certain phrases, like in the last paragraph, that you want me to eliminate, I will be happy to comply. If you are “shunning me” and wish me not to continue writing on this blog, I understand and will concede to your wishes.

    I do not wish you to take down this blog or your u-tube video. This blog serves a purpose.

    • March 11, 2015 at 8:36 am
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      “I do not wish you to take down this blog or your u-tube video. This blog serves a purpose.”

      That’s convenient, because we both know you have no answer to the Cedars Challenge! ;)

      • March 11, 2015 at 9:36 am
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        Of course I have an answer, Mr. Cedars.

        However, there is an old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” (I have horses so I know that’s true!)

        The question is, “How thirsty are you?”

        If you are satisfied and not thirsty, then what could be said to make you to drink? If the answer is “NOTHING” then what is the point?

        If you want explanations of scriptural doctrine, I believe you already know all the scriptures I would use.

        So it appears to be a matter of our differences in applying logic and deductive reasoning. That makes it your choice to believe and it seems you choose “not”.

        Why not? Anger, hatred, and resentment of JW’s? Is it because you are an atheist? Or maybe some of the doctrinal teachings don’t make sense so you discard all of them. Is there anything you do believe in?

        • March 11, 2015 at 9:47 am
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          Oh dear Jayne – now you’re sliding from eccentric, well-meaning but still-indoctrinated ignoramus into full-blown troll.

          Yes, I know Watchtower like any Christian denomination has the ability to contort scriptures to mean what they want them to mean. But the Cedars Challenge asks for hard, incontrovertible evidence linking the bible and Jesus with the Watch Tower Society. Either you have it, or you don’t. If you have it – let’s see it. If you don’t have it, a little honesty and humility is called for on your part.

          • March 11, 2015 at 11:28 am
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            “Troll: a mythical, cave-dwelling being, depicted in folklore as either a giant or a dwarf, typically having a very ugly appearance.”

            Now, Mr. Cedars, I am 1/2 Norwegian, but I don’t think your description of me is entirely true.

            You didn’t give an answer to any of my questions. Not really a conversation if I am only talking to myself.

            I would say that it isn’t so much that Jehovah chose us, we chose Jehovah. 2 Chronicles 16: 9 says “For the eyes of Jehovah are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.” Because of our desire to find Him, He continues to show us how to please him. As stated in an earlier post, we are all a work in progress. This is in contrast to areas of the world which are going from bad to worse. Have you read the news lately?

            You won’t find perfection, yet. We are humans as are you and as such we are all sinners.

            Excelsior: You said you are an atheist; you don’t say why. That is kind of important if you want an answer. If you suffered abuse then I wish you well in confronting your tormentor. There are plenty of Biblical examples of persons professing to worship God who have greedily lusted after unclean practices. They have ALWAYS meet their downfall, no matter how they try to hide it. I wish you peace also because pain takes away our peace.

          • March 11, 2015 at 11:34 am
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            The answer to my Cedars Challenge in the above comment of yours is conspicuous only by its absence.

            I don’t have to answer any of your questions, especially if you won’t answer mine.

  • March 11, 2015 at 10:59 am
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    Jayne,

    Why, in your opinion, did JESUS choose to come around 1919 invisibly?

    How can you hope to prove to an atheist like me that JESUS came back invisibly in 1919?

    When Jesu ascended to heaven, in the Christian tradition, the disciples saw him ascend in the clouds. Why would JESUS not decide to return the same way?

    I am like St. Thomas . I want verifiable facts that the Lord has risen. JESUS was willing for St. Thomas to feel the wound in his side, and to see and feel the holes from the nails in his wrists.

    I am asking for no more than St. Thomas asked for. I need proof before I will follow u to death.

    Remember, St. Thomas would presumably have seen JESUS perform myricals, including the raising of the dead and the healing of seriously ill people. Even with this proof, he still required to feel the wounds.

    If JESUS was willing to give St Thomas the proof he needed, then there is no reason to doubt that he will grant mine. I have not seen JESUS perform myricals, as St. Thomas did.

    There is no need to worry! The Lord Jesus Christ will be our judge, according to the bible. He even goes so far as to tell us on what we will be judged. Matthew 25.

    The path for Christians such as your good self is clear. 1 John 4

    We are currently working to bring justice to the many child abuse victims in the WTBTS. We would really appreciate your help.

    There are many other issues that need to be addresses also. We would really appreciate your help.

    Peace be with you, Excelsior!

  • March 11, 2015 at 12:25 pm
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    Burt, Mr. Cedars, you already have all the answers, you just choose not to consider it.

    You have all the scriptures, but you don’t believe them.

    You know all people are imperfect yet you expect instant perfection of JW’s but not anyone else.

    You know our planet is in a world of hurt. Eventually you will accept that and want a helper other than man to solve them because so far, man is not doing such a great job.

    • March 11, 2015 at 12:28 pm
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      You’ve gone from claiming you have an answer to my Cedars Challenge to fobbing me off with this pathetic “I don’t need to give you an answer because you already have one” drivel.

      And no, I don’t expect perfection from Jehovah’s Witnesses. I DO, however, both expect and deserve answers from a group of men who punish people through family estrangement merely for disagreeing with them.

      Please stop being a hideous troll or I will be only too happy to exercise restraint on your behalf.

  • March 21, 2015 at 7:05 am
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    I believe our stories are similar but in reverse.

    First off, I would never want to appear to be giving you any counsel whatsoever; you were once and elder and a pioneer and a brother, and may be once again one day. I apologize in advance if I come off that way at all. I was, however, baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness when you were only a few years old. I have children slightly older and younger than you so I am probably about the same age as your mother would have been. Maybe you may find value in my story….

    Unlike you, I came out of the world after searching for Truth in every religion and philosophy I could find. It wasn’t out there. I read my Bible but I lacked real meaning and understanding of the words I was reading. When I finally talked to the Witnesses at my door, I liked the scriptures shown, but was totally skeptical. I went to the library and researched the history of the organization. I read books by ex-witnesses so I got a good dose of the negative information found on your blog.

    The lady who wanted to study with me was petrified when I told her I was reading all this material. I must say that, in the end, for me, it strengthened my faith and resolve because when I investigated further, there are benign and truthful answers to the Walsh trial and the UN membership and many other negative stories out there.

    I think you and I share a commonality in that we want to know “Why?”

    You must have been a good and obedient little boy. Getting baptized at 11 and showing such maturity in the “Truth” to be a Ministerial Servant at 19 shows to me how much you wanted to please your parents. You must have made them so proud. Then you gave of yourself to sacrifice financial gain in order to pioneer and then sacrificed more in time and compassion to serve as an Elder. That shows a lot about the kind of person you wanted to be.

    When overcome and confronted with your own personal failings, you didn’t want to lead a double life. You came forward and exposed your deepest secrets. I wish more people had your courage and integrity.

    I understand doubts and questions. I also graduated college and believed in evolution. However, my background is in biology, chemistry, and medical research. One of the greatest questions is “How did life get here?”

    Evolution was an idea brought forth in Darwin’s book in 1859, and established at a time when the crude microscopes only saw a tiny blob encased by a shell and containing a dark blob in the center. Science has been working hard ever since to try to prove a logical progression to how evolution and life itself proceeded. I believe the evidence is becoming clearer and clearer that there is no such thing as a “simple cell.” The cellular complexities, including DNA (first proposed as the basis of heredity in 1943 and confirmed as a double helix structure in 1953), could never have arranged itself by chance and then life spontaneously was ignited in that intricate structure by a spark of energy.

    Your background is in Art so I would equate the spontaneous generation of life to blobs of paint dripping randomly onto a canvas and eventually one canvas becomes the likeness of a Leonardo di Vinci. Yet, ANY tiny cell is much more complicated than a painting. Spontaneous generation of life and evolution would defy all the known natural laws and principles which says everything progresses to disorder, not order. That is only one of many logical “proofs” of scientific discovery.

    It seems your parents did a pretty good job training you to be a good man. I think maybe your intention still, is to be the best man you can be (just like that bully elder was trying to be the best man he could be in spite of his failings, maybe in compassion). I hope your searches lead you back to where you started, with greater faith and determination.

    • March 21, 2015 at 7:44 am
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      Jayne, you went to college? If you have children, would you tell them that they can’t go to college? If you are a good JW, that is what you will do.Wouldn’t that be hypocritical on your part?

      Jayne, if your child needs blood and will die without it, will you let your child die? If you are a good JW, that is what you will do.

      Jayne, if your child decides they don’t want to be a JW anymore, will you disown him or her and refuse to have anything to do with them anymore, as Lloyd’s father is doing to him? Lloyd’s father is a good JW and is refusing to talk to him, so why are you talking to him, since Lloyd is disassociated and considered disfellowshipped? Lloyd’s father is a better JW than you are.

      Jayne, the God that you love, is happy to tear babies out of their mother’s stomachs and smash them against a wall, simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time and kill little boys but save the little girls for the Isralites to be their personal slaves. That is the God that you love and you make excuses for your God but I won’t do that for your God anymore. That is not a God that I can have any love for.

      You are not following the orders of the Governing Body in staying away from a so-called “apostate” websites. Why is that?

      Jayne, you need to believe in the Bible and the Bible’s rendition of creation in order to believe the Society is run by God. Isn’t that why it is so important to you for Lloyd to believe in God and not evolution?

      Just because your life hasn’t been ruined by the Society, doesn’t prove it’s run by a God, the creator of the universe. Just because you think it’s the “truth”, doesn’t make it the truth.

      Can you come back with any concrete proof that God chose the Watchtower as his one and only spokesman to man on earth in 1919?

      Can you prove that the Organization is spirit directed by God himself or is it just their claim?

  • March 21, 2015 at 11:30 am
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    anonymous:

    1. I finished college 21 years after being baptized. My son went to a vocational college and my girls have training in their careers. No one counseled me on any these decisions; they are personal choices. The literature just makes us aware of the dangers of bad association and materialism, and contrasts that with pursuing a course in life with spiritual goals.

    2. Blood issue: I have faced that issue very personally.
    I was denied necessary surgery because a surgeon would not perform it without blood. So, after two years, my blood count was below 6. I found another doctor who was more skilled than the first to perform a bloodless surgery and to everyone’s surprise, I healed up in a fraction of the time. My expected 3 day recovery was only an overnight stay and I felt great, little pain.

    My husband needed a heart by-pass and he too was anemic. One doctor wanted him in right away and yes, without blood, he would have died because he also had just been given a big dose of heparin (blood thinner). We postponed surgery for two months, found a more skillful and attentive surgeon and his bloodless surgery went perfectly. He lost very little blood and within 2 months his blood count was back to normal levels; much better than before the surgery.
    My mother was admitted to the hospital with sepsis and a blood clot in her leg. The doctor ignored her blue foot and gave her heavy doses of antibiotics. She became severely anemic (4.9) over a few days and I was told that she was going to die without a blood transfusion. I prayed for an answer and the nurse walked in. I asked her and she gave me a few ideas. I checked online and discovered one of the antibiotics can cause anemia and to discontinue it immediately. I talked to the lab who manufactures Rocephin who told me it would take about 3 days to get out of her system. Yep, her numbers started getting a little better. Had I accepted the transfusion with the drug, mom’s kidney would have been flooded with dead red blood cells would have had kidney failure which would have killed her in short order because of her age. Now her foot was in bad shape so they need to do a bloodless amputation. They wanted to ship her to another hospital 2 hours away but I convinced them that I had faith that her best hope would be with their skilled hands. Once again, the docs came out of surgery with a big smile. “Only 2 drops of blood she lost!” He couldn’t believe it. That night, no bloody stump and she healed with 7 instead of 10 days. 2 months later her blood count was back up to normal.

    Yes, I have no qualms about refusing blood for myself or my family. I don’t have a death wish, I just believe Isaiah 48:17 “the One teaching you to benefit yourself.”

    You would be surprised how few die without blood and how many die or are injured because of it. Doctors make a lot of mistakes and the medical field has become an industry pushing drugs and treatments that are not only unnecessary but oftentimes downright harmful.

    3. Apostates: Yes you have me on that one. I am naïvely thinking that maybe, after what Gareth said to me, someone may hear the compassion in my heart. You are probably correct that it is misplaced. Someone in one of the first posts said that JW’s “step over the bodies to help their own.” That absolutely is not true, but it is more likely that the negativity you have shown me is more likely to influence me than the other way around. That is why the Bible cautions me to “not even say a greeting.” Lloyd’s father is better than I am, he is doing the right thing but you know there isn’t anything more precious to him than the everlasting life of his son.

    It was the sweet nature of Imacountrygirl that kept me coming back but you have correctly reminded me that I have trodden on dangerous ground.

    4: Wars: “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.” Romans 3:4. You don’t see Christians doing that today so obviously that was not truly God’s will. The reasons are beyond me, only speculation like diseases (Jehovah said they wouldn’t suffer the diseases they had while in Egypt); custom for the sons to grow up and rebel (like Moses’ generation was supposed to be killed by the Egyptians for fear of rebellion); or maybe another reason. Just food for thought because I don’t like to read about those accounts either and I am glad we don’t have to deal with that, but that was a different world back then.

    I can’t explain 1914 better than the volumes of books already published by the brothers. Your best proof is there. I can’t make you believe it. That being said, God chose the Israelites as fulfillment of His promise to Abraham. After the Messiah, they were rejected and He raised up a spiritual nation. There was a very large renaissance, of sorts in the 1800’s. CT Russell didn’t claim to be God’s only organization or that he was an inspired writer. He credited many others before him, Tyndale, Wycliffe, and his contemporaries, and others, for the knowledge his was learning and publishing. Russell and his group pooled all the Bible truths they could find and educated others. The other groups, for the most part did not continue when their leader died.
    I do see many churches doing good works so who knows the mind of God, but it also appears that at this time, the scriptures show they have been rejected. I only see one organization dedicated to teaching the Bible Truths as we currently understand them, to all persons around the globe, in all languages, free of charge, and promoting God’s name and the work that Jesus focused on, putting hope in the kingdom of God. JW’s promote a moral and honest lifestyle and disassociate from those who dishonor God’s name or try to harm others in the congregation by teaching other doctrine. This is in accordance with the scriptures. Even though it is hurtful, it is intended to be temporary to those humble in heart.
    This organization did and continues to change and innovate. If the organization fails to do these things to Jehovah’s expectation, it will also be replaced. I am not attached to the organization, because men can fail; God doesn’t.
    If a flood of doubt tries to sweep you away, then why let go of the branch just because you think you see some poison ivy on the root?

    • March 21, 2015 at 11:44 am
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      Jayne – I considered trawling through your sanctimonious comments, and then I remembered there is absolutely no point because for all your bluster and empty words you absolutely refuse to answer my Cedars Challenge, thereby tacitly admitting that your religion is no more provable than any other.

      As to this sickening remark: “Lloyd’s father is better than I am, he is doing the right thing but you know there isn’t anything more precious to him than the everlasting life of his son. ”

      My father hasn’t seen his 10-month-old granddaughter yet out of allegiance to an organization he is just as incapable of defending as you are. If you think he is better than you for such a proud display of ignorance and intellectual dishonesty, then that doesn’t say much about you.

    • March 21, 2015 at 1:39 pm
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      Jayne. I love it when you comment. I don’t know where you get that I was being mean to you. I have as much love for you as I do all who are still in the JW religion. Until about a year ago, I would have agreed 100% with everything you said but then I started doing some independent research into the organization and found out that the Society is not at all what it pretends to be. You only listen to what the Society wants you to listen to.

      You need to answer Cedar’s challenge to prove to yourself that your religion that you have is approved of by God. You are just taking the Society’s word for it. You need to have solid proof.
      If you have a conscience, you should prove that you have the one and only true religion or you are preaching what you do not know. We have all been where you are now until we started trying to actually prove the Watchtower’s claims of being guided by God and couldn’t do it.

      All the love that you perceive that you have within the organization is 100% conditional. That is why you will disown your own child if they decided they didn’t want to be a Jehovah’s Witness anymore. If your children want your love, they had better tow the Watchtower line or else, they will find out that your love is for the Watchtower over and above them. I don’t know about you, but I could never let the organization, dictate to me, that I would have to disown my children in favor of them. What kind of mother would do that to their child? It has nothing whatsoever to do with everlasting life.

      Prove disfellowshipping for apostasy has anything to do with everlasting life and not a mean and ugly cult tactic to keep people imprisoned in a cult, before making statements that Lloyd’s father has love for him when he refuses to even see his 10 month old granddaughter.

      In 1947, disfellowshipping by the Catholic church was considered anti-Christian by the Watchtower but now it’s okay for them to do it to anybody who just doesn’t want to be a Witness anymore. When it comes to other religions, it’s condemnable but it’s okay for the Watchtower to use and it’s just a handy excuse to say it’s for our “everlasting” life and you are fool enough to fall for it.

  • March 21, 2015 at 8:53 pm
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    Jayne,

    I was moved by the things you said, you have been through so much, and you remain unswervingly faithful to the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses! Such loyalty is inspirational….especially since your life and your husband’s and mother’s lives were at stake.

    I do feel the compassion in your heart. It is the love of your fellow man that I believe compels you to continue interacting here. You want to help us. That is the natural response of someone who loves their neighbor.

    What breaks my heart, Jayne, is that as intelligent, insightful and compassionate as you are, you cannot see that your loyalty is to an organization. Sadly, it is not to God and to his precious son, Jesus Christ.

    My dear sister, it is my sincere prayer that you will allow our creator to give you the wisdom to know the difference between loyalty to God and loyalty to men.

  • March 24, 2015 at 9:43 am
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    I was not trying to sound “sanctimonious.” I was just trying to answer Anonymous’ questions.

    For that, in 3 short paragraphs, I was referred to as: “sanctimonious,” “bluster,” “empty words,” “sickening,” “proud,” “ignorant,” “intellectually dishonest,” and “doesn’t say much about you.” Wow! You certainly make your point forcefully.

    You ask for proof, but where would one start? Dates? Prophecies? Scripture? The proof you are seeking has already been written in volumes of material already published. What about the history through the ages? No organization, then the organized Israelite nation, then change to an organized spiritual nation, then no organization. Then in the “last days” many would rove about and true knowledge would become abundant. Where would this occur? In the Catholic Church? Judaism? Islam? Some certainly think so but what were such religions supposed to be teaching? Do we see God’s name proclaimed, the kingdom message spread, dispelling of pagan doctrines, high moral standards, and zealous preaching work any other organization? Isn’t this proof?

    “PROOF” is defines as: ‘evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true, or to produce belief in its truth.” Even in a court of law, it is a rare case indeed where there is any actual “proof” that an act was committed by a particular defendant. What is expected in a court is an accumulation of circumstantial facts to produce a preponderance of evidence.

    You say you are looking for proof that the Watchtower Society is God’s only earthly organization as of 1914, however by your retort, it appears you are asking for proof of God himself. Those facts you are seeking are established through history, dates, scripture, prophecy, and even science.

    I am under no compulsion to prove anything to you, only myself; and I have. You are free to draw your own conclusions; and you have. But, to say something is not real because it hasn’t been proven to YOUR satisfaction certainly seems immodest.

    You are mistaken about your father and the Society regarding disfellowshipping. It is a loving provision and no different in principle to shunning a child by sending them to their room for a time-out. Children are smarter than adults, I think, because they often have it sorted out in 15 minutes, humble themselves and apologize. The hatred you speak about is in your own hearts. You know the story well about the prodigal son. You have a whole loving family waiting for you to sort it out.

    • March 24, 2015 at 10:23 am
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      Hi Jayne, please consider the following:

      “Then in the “last days” many would rove about and true knowledge would become abundant.” ==> that something is prophesied doesn’t mean it must come true, so allow me to be skeptical here without further proof

      “Do we see God’s name proclaimed” ==> Even Watchtower admits that the name of the God of the Jews is more likely to be “Yahweh” yet they insist on “Jehovah”, therefore this is a funny “proof”. Furthermore, it can be argued that the Bible by “name” more often means what a person did or stood for, rather that the literal name itself.

      “the kingdom message spread” ==> The kingdom message being… Jesus and his followers are ruling as (royal) kings? If we would ask thousand random people on Earth, what is the message spread by JWs, what would they say? Selling magazines? Armageddon is coming?

      “dispelling of pagan doctrines” ==> application of what is “pagan” is in the eye of the beholder, therefore the argument is quite empty. JWs also have weddings ceremonies, anniversaries, rings, as an example. Other random doctrine e.g. Trinity: it can be argued the Bible strongly hints towards Jesus being equal to God (not in the NWT). Many verses speaking about worshipping Jesus for example. The objective conclusion is that different Bible authors are not consistent with each other; they don’t share exactly the same view on things.

      “high moral standards” ==> What does this exactly mean? Adultery/divorce is just as common for JWs as for others, for example. The Society is not honest about its past so I wouldn’t call that exactly “high moral standards”. Quite the opposite.

      “zealous preaching work any other organization?” ==> Mormons also preach and there are more of them worldwide. (And they are, as a group, not much older than the JWs). There are more, e.g. Seventh Day Adventists. How they did become to be numbered 18 million or so (according to Wikipedia) without preaching?

      So, no, this is not proof. For some points, the exact opposite can be argued even.

    • March 24, 2015 at 10:43 am
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      Let it be noted that you have chosen now of all times, as we “mentally diseased” apostates are mourning the needless loss of YOUR so-called sister Michelle through refusing a blood transfusion, to inflict your ignorance upon us again. You clearly have no shame whatsoever.

      As to this…

      “You ask for proof, but where would one start? Dates? Prophecies? Scripture? The proof you are seeking has already been written in volumes of material already published. What about the history through the ages? No organization, then the organized Israelite nation, then change to an organized spiritual nation, then no organization. Then in the “last days” many would rove about and true knowledge would become abundant. Where would this occur? In the Catholic Church? Judaism? Islam? Some certainly think so but what were such religions supposed to be teaching? Do we see God’s name proclaimed, the kingdom message spread, dispelling of pagan doctrines, high moral standards, and zealous preaching work any other organization? Isn’t this proof?”

      Hell… no….! Go away and research presuppositional argumentation and you will begin to understand why what you’ve written cannot be considered proof by any reasonable measure.
      You PRESUPPOSE there is an intelligent creator of the universe.
      You PRESUPPOSE this creator is the God of the Bible, and not the myriad other Gods invented by man down through the ages.
      You PRESUPPOSE that, purely by coincidence, YOU have been graced in your short life with the correct religion rather than, say, a Muslim living in Pakistan, or a Hindu living in India, or a Buddhist living in Nepal, or an Aborigine living in Australia.
      You PRESUPPOSE that the bible is inspired, and that Daniel is a book of prophecy written in the 6th century (not in the 2nd century, as scholars suggest).
      You PRESUPPOSE we are living in the time of the end.
      You PRESUPPOSE that God demands humans to assemble themselves into an organization, and that simply worshiping as a good person who believes in God is not alone sufficient.
      And having PRESUPPOSED all this, you presuppose that the religion you have been indoctrinated to embrace just so happens to be THE ONE AND ONLY ORGANIZATION ON EARTH that God wants us to be a part of. Why? Because Jesus came to earth between 1914 and 1919 and chose it himself. Evidence? None required. If the Governing Body says it, it must be true. Why would a group of religious leaders lie to us?

      It’s incredible that you should liken the strength of your argument to a legal case. If the above evidence were brought before a court of law you would be laughed all the way down the court steps.

      But in a funny way I should thank you, despite your ill-timed incursion on our website. At least you have shown us how impossible it is to answer the Cedars Challenge. Your religion is no more true, and just as much based on presupposition and conjecture, as any other. At least by failing to even try to give tangible evidence you have as good as admitted that.

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