For decades, Jehovah’s Witnesses have attended yearly multi-day assemblies, often sitting through scorching heat, fighting off sleep, attempting to take notes during an onslaught of talk after talk, all the while secretly praying for the end to come. No, not the end of the world, but the end of the assembly.

Most Witnesses faithfully endured an endless barrage of material, which was largely recycled from earlier conventions, but with a new convention theme such as “Divine Truth” or “Kingdom Loyalty”. The loyalty theme from the 1981 assembly series has been reinvented for 2016 as “Remain Loyal to Jehovah.”

One bright spot amidst an endless sea of lectures has always been the dramatic reenactments of Biblical tales, performed by local JW “actors” who attempted to lip-sync to an audio track provided by the Watchtower’s Governing Body. While tacky and exaggerated, these dramas served to break up the monotony of the assemblies, which was a welcome relief.

Whether a person is a believer in the Bible or not, the stories were often compelling and included an application for Witnesses, which they could pocket and take home with them. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good story? If we demanded truth with all of our entertainment, movies like Star Wars and The Hobbit would have never been produced.

There is a deep emotional and psychological connection tied to theater, movies, television, and music. Since the days of Charles Taze Russell and his Photo-Drama of Creation, religious organizations have taken advantage of the power of media. With the availability of large, bright, affordable, portable displays coupled with advanced video production software, the Jehovah’s Witness organization has launched a new and improved video services department and have expanded their scope to include feature-length presentations designed to reach the emotional center of every viewer. The days of synced acting to audio recordings is now a footnote in Watchtower’s history.

Previously, JW Survey has covered many of the 3-5 minute long indoctrination videos, such as the Bunker series. In this article, we summarize and address the longer films, specifically the “Job” drama and the “Hezekiah” drama. It’s really hard to call them dramas anymore, as Watchtower has spared no cost to ensure that the highest quality production was achieved.

To be honest, I think Watchtower has realized its goal. These movies are like nothing else ever produced by this organization, and it is no wonder that the videos themselves are in fact the “new release” for 2016. That’s right folks, there are no books, no tracts, no booklets, nothing in print.  This is a fascinating transition, as Watchtower publications have always been viewed as an extension of the Bible, with one complementing the other. But video? What would Jesus say? If he were alive, would he preach using a camera and sophisticated software?

Clearly, the continual strain of producing written material year after year, followed by its distribution to tens of thousands of congregations worldwide, has taken its toll on the organization, both financially and physically. And, let’s be honest, there are less readers in the world these days and more viewers. Pushing out a data stream of videos through the JW.org website seems to be the most advantageous method of reaching the four corners of the globe, where users, even in remote villages, are obtaining tablets and smartphones.

The two dramas discussed in this article follow a long tradition for Jehovah’s Witness assemblies, that of orchestrating a dramatic presentation of a Biblical tale, complete with period costumes and driving the assembly theme home with a modern-day play, one that evokes real life circumstances. The Hezekiah drama is the former, and the Job film the latter.

 

The Job Drama

“Hope For What We Do Not See”

Plot Summary

Elena Ortiz - no_blood in ambulance
In the opening scene, a woman bleeds to death while medical personnel discover a “no blood” card

The film opens in a remote corner of Peru; an ambulance speeds frantically down an isolated stretch of highway. Inside, a paramedic wearing surgical gloves examines the identification of a female Jehovah’s Witness, Elena Ortiz (later called Carrie). The camera focuses tightly on a small card found on Elena’s person, a document which says “No Blood Transfusions Accepted”. Her husband rides with the ambulance and, as we find out later, watches his wife bleed to her death.

Immediately, we are transported to a placid beach, presumably in the United States, where Ethan Bannister explains a shooting star to his two sons, Rowan and Cory. He points out the constellation Leo, then tells the boys that Jehovah has a name for every star in the universe.

Bannister family with bibles
The Bannister Family – Proudly displaying their silver Jehovah’s Witness exclusive Bible

All is well in the Bannister world as the family enjoys time spent together in recreation, preaching, attending meetings, and even family study, where the boys act out the Biblical scene of David killing the giant Goliath.

But the paradise soon begins to crumble. Ethan’s worldly supervisor Conrad breaks the news that Ethan must choose between losing his job or taking a promotion at an associated plant – a job offer which includes a raise – along with the drawback of an almost 2 hour commute each way and overtime.  It’s promotion or deletion, and Ethan chooses deletion.

Next, Ethan’s father Nathaniel reveals that Ethan’s brother Bill has contacted him, and Nathaniel reveals that he has some doubts about the way he raised his sons, particularly since Bill was never baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“You’ve got to understand son, you both are my boys,” says Nathaniel.

death of Nathaniel and Cory
Cory and Nathaniel are killed in a tragic auto accident

The real tragedy unfolds when Nathaniel picks up his grandsons, Rowan and Cory, from school but never makes it home; Nathaniel and Cory are instantly killed in a horrific accident. The Hollywood-esque style funeral takes place on a somber rainy day, inside a Kingdom Hall where mortified Jehovah’s Witnesses turn pages in their Silver Edition Bible. Ethan’s non-JW brother Bill is missing from the Kingdom Hall but shows up at Ethan’s home later to offer support and financial assistance.

Ethan attempts to comfort his son Rowan, who asks, “How can Jehovah let this happen?” Ethan answers by saying that there is no one to blame and that they will see Cory again.

The tragedies continue to pile on; unemployed Ethan next receives the news that he has cancer and must undergo immediate radiation treatments. The bills are stacking up when Ethan’s non-JW brother Bill arrives, once again, offering flowers and an explanation for why he never became a Jehovah’s Witness. Bill says that their father Nathaniel wanted him to be someone he wasn’t, and he suggests that Ethan no longer needs to be a Witness since Nathaniel is deceased. Bill reveals that the religion ruined his relationship with their father and that Ethan just played along with Dad all these years to keep the family together.

A fight ensues; Bill reminds Ethan that he has no money, he is drowning in debt, and he does not even have a job. He tells Ethan to “grow up” and take care of his family. “You can’t live on these prayers and fantasies forever,” says Bill, while Ethan rejects yet another offer for financial assistance.

Ethan’s woes continue as he is hospitalized for the removal of a tumor. Once home, he receives a visit from his childhood friend Victor, who has returned to the area and offers to help repair Ethan’s storm damaged roof. Victor mentions that the elder body needs Ethan and that they would even lighten the load for him, but Ethan reveals he has deeper issues at the moment.

The attention next shifts to Ethan’s wife Sasha, who finally breaks down under all the stress and cries when a mother, at school, attempts to comfort her.  The woman’s words haunt her: “Everything happens for a reason.”  Sasha argues with Ethan over his lack of communication with her and storms away from the dinner table.

In a surprise twist, Ethan breaks down and locates his former supervisor Conrad, hoping to get his job back but finds that the plant has closed, and Conrad himself is looking for work. This moment of weakness opens the door for Conrad, who tells Ethan that his dad was killed in the first Gulf War, just two days before his scheduled return. Conrad states that he begged God to bring his dad home; instead, an explosive device killed him.

conrad and ethan

Conrad tells Ethan: “Prayer – there’s nobody listenin’. And if there is a God, he doesn’t have time for us.”

At this point, Ethan and his family have hit rock bottom and have even ceased attending meetings. A visit from 2 elders ensues, where Sasha reveals her guilt for asking her father-in-law to pick up the boys the day of the accident.  One of the elders directs Sasha to read Ecclesiastes, chapter 9, verse 11, “just part B” – which states “because time and unexpected events overtake them all.”  These words fall deaf on Ethan, who says, “I know no one caused it, but no one stopped it either.” When the younger of the two Witnesses says, “I know it’s been tough,” Ethan lashes back and asks him how he knows this and what he knows about burying his father and son on the same day. Ethan walks away, and says, “I’m done.”

In the next scene, Victor returns, with his pickup truck and tools, ready to repair Ethan’s roof. Before he begins, he explains that he had previously been a “need-greater” in Peru, but when his circumstances changed he moved to New Mexico to help a congregation while trying to “stay focused.” Victor then invites Ethan to visit his parent’s cabin in the woods. The two men reconnect under the idyllic setting of a rushing stream, picturesque cabin, and miles of hiking trails. Ethan notices a photo on Victor’s smartphone and asks who the woman is. Victor says she was Carrie, his wife. He explains that, while serving in the ministry in Peru, everything changed when Carrie was killed in the accident mentioned at the outset of this plot summary.  Ethan is emotionally affected by this and asks Victor, “How did you cope?” Victor replies, “I just find a beautiful quiet spot, and I pray.” Victor manages to restore Ethan’s faith in prayer and hope for the future, and the two men walk away, cathartically regenerated. Ethan reconnects with Sasha, then with his son, Rowan.

The pendulum begins to swing in the opposite direction for Ethan as he returns to his doctor, who informs him that his cancer is in remission. On the heels of this news, we find that Ethan is suddenly back to work, back to the meetings (as an elder), and completely medication free. As if his regenerated life were not enough, his brother Bill finds a Jehovah’s Witness tract in his door and thoughtfully contemplates the message. Meanwhile, Sasha’s fellow school-mom, also, accepts a Witness tract entitled, “Can the Dead Really Live Again?”

This theme continues into the family Bible reading as Rowan reads from the book of Job, chapter 14:

“If a man dies, can he live again?

I will wait all the days of my compulsory service

Until my relief comes”

the end

The story ends with the following narrative, also taken from Scripture, this time from Romans chapter 8, verse 24:

“For we were saved in this hope; but hope that is seen is not hope, for when a man sees a thing, does he hope for it? But if we hope for what we do not see, we keep eagerly waiting for it with endurance.”

 

 

The Hezekiah Drama

“Oh Jehovah, I Trust in You”

The period drama opens in Jerusalem, in the year 732 B.C.E.  Like the Job drama, the opening scene is a flashback, this time to the event where Judean King Hezekiah spreads out the demands of Assyrian King Sennacherib at the steps of the gold lined temple, along with a prayer to God for salvation, with a request that all nations know that Jehovah is the True God.

destruction of Samaria
Assyrians invade and destroy Samaria

Again we flash back, this time 8 years further, to 740 B.C.E. where the northern Israelite kingdom of Samaria is brutally decimated by the Assyrian army. One Israelite soldier manages to escape by removing the uniform of a dead Assyrian. He flees on foot all the way to Jerusalem, where he is brought before King Hezekiah and his military advisers. We encounter Hezekiah in the streets of Jerusalem, recounting the tale of David and Goliath to several young boys. The boys recite the Biblical tale with great enthusiasm, including the part of the story where David slings a stone of death into Goliath’s head, which he then cuts off with his sword.

Then, a little girl approaches Hezekiah carrying a young turtle-dove, which can’t fly, so the King tells the girl to keep it close and warm, and makes her promise not to keep the bird locked up in a cage, but when it is able to fly, set it free.

Back in Hezekiah’s chambers, the Samarian refugee Joel is introduced to Jaziel (with the Army) along with advisers Eliakim and Shebna. Also included in the inner circle is Isaiah the prophet.  Joel describes the brutality of the Assyrians, who hacked off hands, arms and heads en route to their conquest, even skinning alive the leading men of the city. Joel breaks down after describing the loss of his wife and all his children.

Isaiah
Isaiah blames the Samarian destruction on idol worship

Behind closed doors, arguments arise over the correct strategy to follow, in light of the Assyrian conquest. Isaiah reminds everyone that Samaria fell, not because of lack of tribute to Assyria, but because the Samaritans were worshiping false gods, and Jehovah foretold and permitted the destruction on that basis.

Shebna wishes to enlist the help of Egypt against the Assyrians, but Isaiah strongly objects, citing prior failed alliances with foreign nations.

Meanwhile … in the Assyrian capital of Nineveh, Sennacherib continues his brutal reign. Then, he is informed that Hezekiah has refused to pay tribute to Assyria and has further infuriated the king by conquering Philistine cities and unlawfully imprisoning the king of Ekron, Padi.

Just seven years after Samaria’s destruction, the Assyrian armies are threatening, and Hezekiah is advised that Lachish, just South of Jerusalem, will likely be the next target. Shebna again mentions an alliance with Egypt, but again Hezekiah refuses.  The chief of the army suggests a strategy of defense, which includes the building of a 2nd wall around Jerusalem, as well as constructing a tunnel to bring water from outside the protective wall inside the city, to the pool of Siloam.  Hezekiah then states that Jehovah will fight the battle for them.

As walls and weapons are under construction, the imprisoned King of Ekron asks to speak with Hezekiah. King Padi demands to be released, claiming that he can influence Sennacherib and help the Judeans. Hezekiah refuses, calling Padi a “contemptible worm.”  Padi reminds Hezekiah of the brutality that awaits Judah if they continue to ignore the Assyrian king.

A discouraged Hezekiah retreats to Isaiah’s inner chambers, where the prophet tells him “these are critical times.” The king begins to doubt his rebellion against Assyria, but Isaiah reminds him that his father was a puppet in Assyria’s hands. He reminds Hezekiah that he needs to trust in Jehovah, as he has already done by pulling down the places of false worship and repairing and reopening the temple. Still, Hezekiah laments the destruction of other cities in Judah, feeling responsible for their lives.  Isaiah, however, blames the demise of these Judeans on their own unfaithfulness, implying that due to their “half-hearted” spirituality, Jehovah has allowed their destruction.

Next, we are transported to the city of Lachish, where the Assyrians unleash all of their weapons in a full scale attack on the city just south of Jerusalem.  As Lachish falls, Hezekiah’s advisers again suggest an alliance with Egypt and the payment of tribute to the Assyrian king. In a moment of compromise, Hezekiah sends a delegation to the Assyrian army to negotiate an agreement. This move is a costly one, as the Assyrians demand far more gold and silver than the ambassadors can agree to, and they further call for the release of Ekron’s king Padi.

padi
Hezekiah watches Jerusalem’s gold, and his prisoner, King Padi, disappear

Forced to comply, workers gather an immense tribute of gold and silver, even chopping off the solid gold veneers of the temple doors. Adding insult to injury, Hezekiah watches as the valuable things of Jerusalem disappear on a wagon with haughty king Padi. When the tribute finally reaches Sennacherib, the king taunts the Judean emissary, asking him why Hezekiah agreed to pay the tribute, if Jehovah was their protector. The Assyrian king screams that he cannot be bought and that he tolerates no rebellion.

Military forces advance on Jerusalem. Hezekiah sends Eliakim and Shebna and a recorder to meet the Assyrian representatives. Rabshakeh speaks loudly and clearly in Hebrew, despite pleas that he speak in Aramaic. But Rabshakeh has no intention of making his declarations private, shouting to the men on the wall that Jerusalem’s inhabitants will eat their own excrement and drink their own urine if they continue to listen to Hezekiah. Surrender is demanded; Rabshakeh correctly points out that all other opposing cities have fallen before Assyria, including those which worship the God Jehovah.

Shebna breaks down in tears in a last minute appeal to the king to listen to reason and understand that Jerusalem is trapped, like a bird in a cage.  As a final measure, Hezekiah calls for the wisdom of Isaiah one last time. Isaiah declares that Sennacherib will be the victim of a conspiracy and die by the sword in his own land, Assyria.

We return to the opening scene of this drama, where Hezekiah appeals to God in prayer before the temple. He lays out the taunts of the Assyrian king before the temple and waits for God’s answer. Isaiah sends a messenger to declare the words of Jehovah himself–that he has taken notice of Assyria–and will now take action against Sennacherib, figuratively leading him by the nose back to his land before ending his life.

angel2a
The lone angel unleashes divine judgment on 185,000 Assyrians

Seconds later, in the dead of night, a lone angel appears above the Assyrian camp; with the sound of thunder and the golden flash of electric execution, the angel swipes the encampment with a single deadly flash, slashing 185,000 soldiers in their sleep. The next morning Sennacherib wakes up to the shocking scene of corpses surrounding him as far as the eye can see. One woman, along with a guard, survey the destruction in disbelief.  Nothing is left but smoldering campfires, useless weapons, and the bodies of those eliminated by God.

sennacherib
Sennacherib is forced to acknowledge Jehovah, at the expense of 185,000 lives

Back in Jerusalem, the news has reached the Hezekiah, and it’s all smiles and congratulations for the Judean king and his associates as the story comes to an end. We see the former encampment of Assyria–along with desolation and eerie peace– with no signs of life but the birds of prey circling in the distance, a subtle nod to the God who fattens the bodies of raptors with remnants of human life.

 

The concluding words of this drama are emblazoned across the screen:

“Jehovah rescues those who are loyal to him” 

 

The Films Analyzed

While the contents of the “bunker” series of videos contains programming which, on the surface, is very controversial and overtly manipulative, these longer films engage the viewer in a much more subtle way than expected. The Biblical character of Job is mirrored by modern day Ethan, who, like Job, has a family, a job, and is in good health. His life is proceeding according to plan when “time and unexpected events” cause him to question everything he knows, and his life spirals into a spiritual and physical quagmire.

Ethan is expected to keep it all together amidst the loss of his son, his father, his job, even the respect of his wife. In the fairy tale style ending, Ethan’s health is restored, he receives a new job, and he has renewed faith that he will see his son and father once again in a future resurrection.  While this is a fictional story, we still must ask: Did loyalty to Jehovah have any bearing on Ethan’s recovery? Are Jehovah’s Witnesses suggesting that by remaining loyal to God and his earthly organization, good things will happen?

This might seem to be the case, but what really happened here? Ethan’s son and father are dead, and Jehovah did indeed permit this to happen. His job vanished when he needed it the most, when diagnosed with cancer. His worldly brother reached out to him with support and money, but he rejected this support because his brother decided at a very young age to leave the religion. His boss offered him a promotion as a solution to his impending layoff, but Ethan rejected this as well. It seems that the only people willing to lend practical assistance were non-Jehovah’s Witnesses.

While the implication is that reliance and loyalty to God lead to favorable outcomes, the hard truth of life is that the unfavorable outcomes will always follow, and we are left with the same questions and problems with which we started out. Maybe worse. We could write our own extension of this drama:  Ethan’s cancer is in remission, but it will return. “Impure” thoughts will plague his son Rowan, and he will be disfellowshipped when he has sex with a non-Witness girl from school. Sasha will have a subsequent mental breakdown and will be treated with antidepressants. Ethan’s brother Bill will not respond to the invitation to attend Witness meetings, and they will almost never see each other. This will tear the family apart. The organization offers little comfort, despite producing a motivational video about the modern-day equivalent of Job.  And we are right back to where we started!

In the Bible, Satan tests Job with permission from God. Satan is allowed to kill Job’s sons and daughters, as well as his livestock (means for living). A debilitating disease troubles Job, which causes immense suffering, but since his own life is to be spared, he must endure this tribulation.  All of this was, as the Bible admits, a clever social experiment worked out in heaven, with Job playing the leading role as a pawn in a chess game, which he never asked to play. Why? God needed to prove something to Satan and the universe, to answer Satan’s “taunt” that humans would not serve God without reward.

At the very core of Jehovah’s Witness belief is the notion that God has allowed intense suffering and death for thousands of years to prove that only He can rule mankind. Humans are incapable of governing themselves, and the allowance of evil for so long is, in fact, a necessary evil. The Job drama highlights that all other reasonings are invalid, and that those who feel disconnected from God due to tragedy within their own lives are faithless amoral people, like Ethan’s boss Conrad, who said:

“Prayer – there’s nobody listenin’. And if there is a God, he doesn’t have time for us.”

This film dips deeply into the emotional well of the viewer, exposing the modern-day Jehovah’s Witness family to devastating tragedy, then flipping the script, turning hopelessness into unbridled optimism. Defenders of the JW religion might suggest that hope is a good thing–but unrealistic hope for a fairy tale ending is anything but healthy. When a death occurs, Jehovah’s Witnesses replace the normal grieving process with a 30 minute sermon at a Kingdom Hall followed by the song “He Will Call”–a tear jerking reminder that the only life worth anything is the one which no one has ever lived, in a place called the “new world” where only Jehovah’s Witnesses reside.

How do Witnesses make it into this “New World”? This is where the Hezekiah drama delivers the logistics.  The short answer? Violence.

The tale of Hezekiah is filled with acts of aggression, terror, fear, political maneuvering, propaganda, and, of course, death. Lots and lots of death. While mainstream Christian religions debate the veracity of allegorical stories found in Scripture, Jehovah’s Witnesses stand firm in their belief that every Biblical account is true, from the mass drowning of Noah’s day to the future fiery apocalypse of Armageddon. In between, we have the execution of 185,000 Assyrian soldiers with the powerful swipe of a single angel.

Since Jehovah’s Witnesses are Biblical literalists, the God they worship is guilty of far more genocide than any other God worshiped by the thousands of religions of the world. Perhaps there is a small degree of comfort in the knowledge that no archaeologist has ever uncovered a shred of evidence supporting the mass killing of 185,000 soldiers outside the walls of Jerusalem.

burial
While ancient bodies are recovered regularly throughout Israel, like this one found in Caesarea, no evidence has ever been found of the 185,000 soldiers miraculously killed by one angel

One reason Witnesses identify so readily with the Hezekiah story is that he was considered a faithful and loyal Judean king, with some historical evidence suggesting he did,in fact, exist. To this day, the tunnel connecting the spring of Gihon with the pool of Siloam still exists, although some dispute the claim that Hezekiah engineered this tunnel. Adding to this questionable provenance is the fact that the JW timeline for king Hezekiah does not match evidence from other historical sources. Witnesses almost never fact-check statements made by their organization, such as the claim that Assyria wiped out Samaria in 740 B.C.E., or that Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E.

Historical evidence aside, the focus of the drama is placed squarely on the narrative that Hezekiah remained loyal to God and accepted Isaiah’s advice to lean on Jehovah instead of foreign nations.  Loyalty is a recurring theme among Jehovah’s Witnesses, where organizational loyalty itself is synonymous with loyalty to God. Witnesses are taught never to lean on their own understanding, knowledge, or resources, just as Hezekiah was told not to lean on Egypt, and Ethan refused to take assistance from his “worldly” brother and boss in the Job drama.

For Witnesses, separation from the world is imperative. They often refer to the barrier between the outside world and their religion as a fence; a fence which should never be straddled. The Hezekiah story reinforces the Witness belief that it is “us against the world” and that we need to stay safe inside the walls of metaphorical Jerusalem, pray to God, and wait for salvation to come. Alliances with non-Witness organizations and family are discouraged or banned. Information is controlled.  Behavior is controlled. Thoughts are polarized, filtering out all outside reasoning. Finally, Emotions are controlled with the written page, with music, and now with high-definition films.

After viewing these videos, you will likely be impressed by the quality of the production and the lengths to which the JW Governing Body has gone to deliver a message where false hope and Godly vengeance converge. As long as there are men interpreting pages from a book and translating these words into doctrine, people will follow, and they will believe what they are told. Perhaps one day, they will recognize that their loyalty is misplaced.

SN: To view the 2016 Convention video trailers, click here.

To view the full-length videos (and talk outlines/videos for the entire convention) click here.

 

Editors note: Please be sure to view video #4 in the 6 part series discussing the 2016 Regional Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses, courtesy of the John Cedars channel.

#worstconventionever

Mark O'Donnell

Mark O'Donnell is a former Jehovah's Witness turned whistleblower after discovering the disturbing child abuse epidemic within the religion. His story, along with the revelation of a secret database of child molesters were featured in the March 2019 online issue of the Atlantic Magazine: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/03/the-secret-jehovahs-witness-database-of-child-molesters/584311/ O'Donnell continues to investigate allegations of child abuse within the Witness organization, and works with law enforcement, attorneys, and survivors of abuse, writing about his findings on jwsurvey.org and other outlets.

228 thoughts on “The Worst Convention Ever – Part 4: Propaganda Movies

  • June 18, 2016 at 11:33 pm
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    The book of Job is a difficult one but I’m not sure I can agree with all the conclusions reached above. Basically we have free will and so does Satan (or any wicked element if you prefer). If we choose to govern ourselves on our own terms then God will let us do it. If God stopped every inadvisable action, we then do not have free will.

    Free will is good. We all have different opinions, as noted here, and out of that come some very interesting and useful ideas.

    We get angry if God does not stop tragedies but we also get angry if he does. Hence we get cross when 185,000 Assyrians die. But what about the thousands saved?

    Worshipping pagan gods is not something which is innocent. It included child sacrifice, temple prostitution etc. – a violent and disordered society. Today’s society quite likes war, seen as a solution to some problems, which ends up in many deaths.

    What about governing ourselves? We are about to become extinct. The best way to destroy this earth is to burn fossil fuels. I prefer to have some hope that there is a solution to this but I do not believe humans will ever do anything to stop it.

    • June 19, 2016 at 1:18 am
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      Sarah,
      Doesn’t Jehovah demand child sacrifice? How about the young virgins of the amaelekites kept alive while their families, men women and children were slaughtered with the help of Jehovah? What do you think they were kept alive for? And what did all those male children do that was so bad they deserved to die a terrifying death?

      The same Jehovah who has bears devour children for calling a prophet baldy.

      Also, do we have free will or not, when he interferes with events as much as he supposedly did in bible times?

      • June 19, 2016 at 5:48 am
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        Yep, I know. All I can think is that those Amalekites would have gone on sacrificing their children, etc. The youngsters would have grown up and done the same. The girls had a chance at marriage when old enough. They wouldn’t have been subject to becoming prostitutes. I’m not the judge, and I can see your point of view.

        I didn’t agree with the English government making thousands of young men go to their certain death at the end of the 2nd world war.

        It’s never easy.

        • June 19, 2016 at 7:09 am
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          Sarah,

          Now you are rationalizing. It’s okay to kill the Amalekites because they would have just killed themselves anyway. So by that logic, in regard to agressive nations like those in the Middle East or North Korea, why don’t we just Nuke ’em? They are enemies of peace anyway.

          You seem to have an emotional attachment to an idea that was likely implanted by JW indoctrination: everything written in the Bible was real and was somehow God’s will. And the worst part of that indoctrination is trying to justify horrible crimes against humanity as “God’s Will.” There are many mainstream Christians who accept the Bible as a guide for their lives, but don’t try to justify these crimes as of a divine nature. Or at least they say they don’t understand why God did it or allowed it.

          WS

          • June 19, 2016 at 11:31 pm
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            The Amalekites were murderers. If you prefer that they were allowed to continue to exist to kill their children you are free to believe that. I prefer to think there is justice somewhere. Hitler, Stalin etc. were allowed to kill millions. We each draw our own conclusions.

            Life is good for some of us and dreadful for others. I don’t have any emotional attachment to any belief. There has to be some sort of law and order. We do what our governments tell us to do whether we like it or not or get put in prison. Should we protest that criminals should all be set free?

            However, I like your posts, WS, and they do make me think so thanks, even for the controversy. The matters you raise are not short ones.

          • June 20, 2016 at 7:33 am
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            Sarah,
            So all the Amalekites were murderers: men, woman, and children? There was no chance for reform of any kind, not even for the children? Law and order is one thing, genocide is another.

            So let me get this straight, we are going stop the Amalekites from killing their own children by killing them ALONG with their children too? How’s that saving anybody? We need to see the execution of those foreign nations as what it was: Israel killing of competitors for resources and claiming it was the will of their God. To your point, life sucked back then and these acts of violence were common. We have come so far in our development as humans in that we all (for the most part) find such acts repugnant. Let’s not slip back into that mindset simply because a bunch of priests from 3000 years ago claimed it was “the will of God.”

            I enjoy your comments too and I hope you don’t mind my pushing this issue a bit. It’s how we all grow. Not intended to be picking on you.

            WS

      • June 21, 2016 at 5:03 am
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        Many Catholic and Protestant theologians
        believe that many events in the Bible
        simply did not happen, are not literal, and were written for an ancient people who understood the message behind. A concubine was not cut up in 12 pieces and sent to the 12 tribes of Israel.
        Some things may have actually happened but not at Gods command.
        When we see the beauty of creation, the jewel this earth is in the midst of space, who can believe that the same Creator is responsible for such depraved doings.
        Take a look at the colorful mating dance of the magnificent bird of paradise.
        Incredibly beautiful! Not compatible with the vengeful Old Testament god, ( for those who believe in God).

        • June 21, 2016 at 5:16 am
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          The Superb Bird of Paradise
          YouTube
          Mating Dance.
          Who invented the smilies?

    • June 19, 2016 at 2:37 am
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      I think this article is a really well balanced attempt to demonstrate the flaws in JW theology. God will solve the world’s problems by mass genocide (anyone enjoy saying that on the ministry?) and that God will help you if you pray, but you won’t be able to tell if he’s helping or not, you should just believe that he is helping.

      But it also hints at flaws in the Bible’s presentation of God.

      To Sarah: What is necessary to free will about the presence of harmful bacteria and viruses?

      And to anticipate a reply: This can’t all be explained as ‘human imperfection’. Why would a perfect designer spend his time even bothering to create little destructive organisms that could kill his creatures slowly in a multitude of painful ways? Especially if he was going to design an immune system to fight them off?

      Wouldn’t it be simpler to just, y’know, not create viruses?

      And it isn’t just us that suffer, but our fellow animals; and the Bible didn’t even say that animals sinned. It is silent on viruses and bacteria because people then didn’t know those things existed. And God, who could have told them through Moses in the law, instead just gave them a lot of useless ceremonial purity laws that tied Leprosy (hansen’s disease) to house-leprosy (most likely mildew). Not very enlightened. Certainly not something a self-righteous priestly caste couldn’t come up with on their own and call a revelation.

      Just my thoughts.

      • June 19, 2016 at 6:02 am
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        Yes, the article is helpful. I don’t personally believe there will be a mass genocide. Lots of people live by principle.

        Death is the problem, not viruses. Actually the Mosaic law was helpful in preventing a lot of disease. Leprosy did not spread as far in Israelite society. The Jews didn’t die from pork-borne illnesses, etc. Considering the times they lived in most of them lived until well into old age.

        No, the priests did not come up with the law on their own, which is a good reason to believe in God or someone who knew better.

        Life, of any sort on this planet, wouldn’t exist without bacteria and viruses. However, self-righteousness is probably the worst sin there is so I agree with you on that.

        I have done a lot of research on global warming and this is my greatest fear. Without God there is no hope for most of us. We know what to do to put it right but we are not going to do it. Some might survive but in what sort of world?

        • June 19, 2016 at 6:53 am
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          So let me ask you Sarah, should we all just stop working to counteract Global Warming and resort to prayer? As you say, we cannot solve this problem, so then why bother trying, eh? You see the problem with such reasoning, I am sure. If you take extreme reasoning, which is what a literal interpretation of scripture calls for, you end at a completely illogical conclusion. I have faith, not in a literal interpretation of an old book, but rather that the Creator has given us the tools we need to deliver ourselves through the problems we face.

          WS

          • June 19, 2016 at 7:01 pm
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            Good afternoon Winstone, Your words resonate so deeply, I am urged to comment. What you say ” I have faith, not in a literal interpretation of an old book, but rather that the Creator has given us the tools we need to deliver ourselves through the problems we face.” That is it.”!!! We (Humanity) is IT. Both the problem and the solution. Hopefully, as parents, we let our children make mistakes and don’t rush to make it “all better”. The world is our mistake, we engineered every problem there is.We are that powerful.It is as easy as “Know yourself,”correct yourself and be the change you are longing to see in our world.

          • June 19, 2016 at 11:35 pm
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            Winston you have me wrong here. I am doing my best to stop using fossil fuels and will continue to make my carbon footprint smaller. However, I am part of a much larger picture. Humans in general are not going to stop using fossil fuels. I’m being realistic. Maybe my fatalism will prompt a change? Hope so.

          • June 20, 2016 at 10:04 am
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            Sarah,
            I work in the field of science and engineering. We are constantly developing better, cleaner ways to get energy. Yes, we still depend on fossil fuels, but we are getting less dependent on them. We are also burning fossil fuels in a much cleaner and efficient manner than even 20 years ago.

            As I have said before, God has given us the ability to make good decisions and to use our abilities to better ourselves. If God had to step in every time we ran into trouble, there would be something really deficient with his creation.

            Do you think it is possible that your fatalism is residual of the JW doomsday conditioning?

            WS

          • June 23, 2016 at 7:40 am
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            This is an honest question. I’m not trying to weaken anyone’s argument or disrespect the different points of view.

            I read a lot and watch obscure documentaries. One thing I have observed is this: solutions already exist for many of mankind’s worst problems.

            Hunger, poverty, pollution, and many of the social ills.

            But… it seems like we keep getting in our own way.

            Politicians and business people, corporations and religious leaders do show evidence of greed and selfishness.

            Many of the people in power seem more interested in staying in power and doing things that directly benefit themselves and their friends or heirs, than what is good for Humanity.

            There are people in power who actually thwart efforts to help fix our problems and follow their own agendas, knowing their chosen course will be harmful to current and future generations. And they just don’t care.

            So, how do we as humans stop doing that before we destroy the planet?

            Will we?

            That’s a question I’ve always had and never found a satisfying answer.

            Anyone?

          • June 23, 2016 at 11:39 pm
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            Actually, doing anything to help current world conditions (environment, malnourishment, pollution, animal or human abuse, etc.., etc.., etc…) is frowned upon and grounds for counsel. Many, many times I have heard from the platform the same old ‘rearranging chairs on the Titanic’ criticism. In effect, that anything besides the ‘ministry’ is misguided and an improper use of time and resources.
            I don’t care what blather or misdirection might be on their website, but this is the truth about their directives.
            Interestingly enough, a son of an inactive local witness who has dozens of active (pioneers, elders. Overseers) relatives was murdered last week. GUESS WHO is organizing a fund to help w funeral expense and (they hope) travel expenses for witness relatives to come from around the country to the funeral? Worldly step-siblings. The connection might not be clear, but another case of ‘worldly ones’ ‘showing up’ and doing the right thing. And in this case, I’m sure the JWS will accept the donations. Extremely thoughtful and proper of the steps to do the right thing and I wish them well. Wonder if the dubs will make personal application of the videos when they realized that they accepted help from the only ones with enough thoughtfulness to do this. Heartbreaking situation f8r the mother and family, but I doubt if it will make them adjust their thinking about the Satanic Worldly People out there. ..

        • June 19, 2016 at 7:45 am
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          Sarah,
          So how long will god wait? History is full of disasters, and people thinking “this is it! This must be the end!” (plague, wars, etc) but nothing happened. So I am curious why you think global warming is the reason god would suddenly jump in again, as opposed to some other problem? I’m really not trying to pick on you; i am curious. And like previous posters said, there are many people working to make the world a better place, in big and small ways. Should they stop trying to cure diseases or doing volunteer work because god will eventually decide to jump in?

        • June 19, 2016 at 7:55 am
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          The Romans had sophisticated plumbing, baths and fresh water supply. Did they get those ideas from their gods? When european explorers arrived in the ‘new world’ they found gridded cities, organized, and amazingly clean. Did they get these sanitation concepts from their gods?

        • June 19, 2016 at 12:26 pm
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          The point Chris is making is: why would a loving god, who wanted us to live forever, create disease? Why would it create the Sun with a finite life (which is already about half over), when our “living forever on a paradise earth” depends upon a Sun that also lives forever? Why would it create an Earth that is slowly spinning to a stop, when life on Earth requires it to continually spin? http://smmcroberts.net/blog/you-cant-live-forever-in-paradise-on-earth/

          The more you know about reality, the more unrealistic the god of the Jehovah’s Witnesses appears.

          And not even a god can “make it right” when it comes to child abuse, etc. Such things leave everlasting scars that even a divine magician cannot erase without interfering with freewill. http://smmcroberts.net/blog/will-jehovah-make-it-right/

          It’s up to us, alone in the universe, to do the best we can to solve our problems. Even if our chances of success are small (and in some cases, such as global warming, appear all but impossible), that does not mean that there’s a god who’s going to swoop in and magically fix everything. Such wishful thinking is fine, I guess, if it doesn’t lead to inaction when it comes to working out solutions.

    • June 19, 2016 at 7:42 am
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      @Sarah. Free will and God have never co-existed anyway. All that transpires is according to HIS will.
      According to the bible God has selectively intervened on many occasions.

      On a global level in fact when he murdered the population of the world with a flood.

      The justification for mankind’s suffering based upon God’s allowance for free will is a myth especially when you also consider how God will, according to JW teachings ‘put it into the minds’ of the government’s of the world to turn against religion thereby kickstarting the Great Tribulation.
      Not much free will going on here is there?

      • June 19, 2016 at 7:48 am
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        Exactly. I don’t understand the free will assertion since he is constantly meddling and putting things in peoples minds. I’d have to look in the bible but didn’t he a few times compel ancient kings to do this or that?

      • June 19, 2016 at 8:36 am
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        So here the thing about free will and God… He gave the first man and woman only 1 command originally. They could’ve done anything else they wanted to and God wouldn’t have cared. They had the ultimate free will. They were never told “don’t smoke, don’t do drugs, don’t go on a party bender…” No they were only told one thing. Respect gods authority.

        Now the article addresses this and I understand the mass genocide argument. I suppose the bigger rhetorical question is this: if God created this planet and it is his, as the owner much Iike you or I owning a home… Do we not have the right to evict unruly tennents? No I see the argument for mass genocide but God also said only the wicked? He did not say only Jehovah’s witnesses will be saved. Joel does say all who call on the name of Jehovah/YHWH/LORD will be saved.

        So the point I’m getting at is this: the brush used to broad stroke is a bit inaccurate. The mass genocide is in effect an eviction. And judging by the way humans have treated each other and this planet I can’t blame God or Jesus for wanting to kick humans off this rock. We have to accept some of the blame no? Or is all the frustration just one way and we are no better than the GB?

        I’m wondering if anyone has seen the last video or if it is up for download on the JW.org site

        • June 19, 2016 at 11:17 am
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          That’s not really sound arguing I’m afraid.
          It’s not eviction. It’s murder.
          Banishment from Eden was eviction.
          THE flood was murder.
          Just like him commanding the sword against the children of Israel’s enemies was.
          When someone is manipulated into an action, free will is negligible anyway.
          The story of adam and eve.
          The unnecessary planting of the tree.
          The permission given to Satan to deceive Eve.
          In fact. GOD has manipulated every aspect of Human development.
          PParticularly evident in prophetic fulfillment.
          I.e. Judas betraying Jesus. SOMEONE HAS TO DO IT TO FULFILL PROPHECY.
          Jesus even told Judas he’d do it.
          They knew in advance.
          Predetermined fate.
          Manipulated by God.

          The illusion of free will.

      • June 19, 2016 at 11:48 pm
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        Sorry, everyone. I seem to have started a storm. Global warming isn’t our only problem, just one example. Some have mentioned animals. We are killing them ourselves for meat, and by global warming they are going extinct, have nowhere to live, etc.

        We do have the brains, thankfully, to sort it out. But it seems my tactic is working. I’ll take this to a higher level and write to newspapers and tell them that we are not going to sort out our problems. This may make us do it, although I doubt it.

        One thing I do know – get a lot of people together and we all have a different opinion.

        • June 20, 2016 at 8:45 am
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          @Sarah:

          Some scientists such as Stephen Hawking warn that climate change is definitely a pressing issue that could contribute to humanity’s demise.
          According to Hawking, climate change continues to escalate, with no end in sight:
          http://www.techinsider.io/stephen-hawking-predictions-about-the-end-of-the-world-2016-1 :

          “We don’t know where global warming will stop. But the worst case scenario is that Earth will become like its sister planet Venus with a temperature of 250 [Celsius] and raining sulfuric acid. The human race could not survive in those conditions.”

          Man certainly has a propensity to disagree and not cooperate as you have mentioned, and this can certainly be an obstacle to solving major problems like global warming.

          Divine intervention is your solution to this potential obstacle to solving the global warming problem and to your doubt that mankind will be able to put an end to climate change.

          As another poster asked – why do you think global warming is the reason God would suddenly intervene, as opposed to some other problem/disaster such as WW1, WW2 for example?

          Will God also intervene to put an end to the other things which threaten human existence and make the earth hostile to life such as:
          earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, avalanches, landslides, wildfires,
          floods, tropical storms, hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, tsunamis, tornadoes, snow storms/blizzards, dust storms, sink holes, lightening, massive asteroids crashing into the planet etc.?

          How can you be sure that God’s intervention will solve our global warming problem when God doesn’t seem to have a very impressive track record when it comes to intervening to solve problems when we consider that despite the global annihilation during the Flood of Noah’s day, humans have carried on after the Flood in their usual ways. Was that intervention worthwhile? Did it accomplish anything?
          (Which then leads to another question: how then does a moral and omniscient God justify wiping out most of life (not just humans – according to the Bible, God was angry with human wickedness but he destroyed animals as well) in the worldwide flood if mankind was only to continue on as before?)

        • June 20, 2016 at 6:28 pm
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          Sarah, humans are just one life form that have evolved over time on this planet. Our time will come and go like a season. Millions of years from now who knows what the dominant form of life will be. I would recommend you do some research on the quilted multi-verse and quantum theory to get a deeper perspective on space, the universe, time and how insignificant humans are in the grand scheme of things. I would also argue that religious indoctrination is a far more pressing issue facing humanity than global warming. But your comments are intriguing

    • June 19, 2016 at 11:15 am
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      Sarah

      You said “We get angry if God does not stop tragedies but we also get angry if he does. Hence we get cross when 185,000 Assyrians die. But what about the thousands saved?”

      Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why God lacks the ability to negotiate a peaceful solution to all of the “sin” which permeates the earth? For example, why didn’t God simply put a thought into the mind of a few Assyrian military leaders, and have them de-throne Sennacherib instead of executing all of those soldiers, a great many who (if you believe the story) had wives and children.

      If God is the ultimate peacemaker and negotiator, he could carry out his will in a way which does not cause devastation and destruction.

      And what of the animals? God became so enraged with the world scenario in Noah’s day that he wiped out (or should I say drowned) all living creatures – animals which never presented any moral opposition to God?

      Your argument about the “thousands saved” implies that God is very weak, and his only solution to impending violence is more violence. If God took a class in negotiating, he would fail. This argument is similar to the one used by the US when they bombed Hiroshima during WW2. They believed this mass killing would ultimately save many more US and Japanese lives. It was a statistical and calculated maneuver by political and military leaders who felt this was their only option. In the case of the omnipotent God, he has other options at his disposal, and chooses violence and death instead of producing a peaceful solution.

      As for governing ourselves – There are thousands of scientists and engineers working on this problem, and they have already found solutions which will solve our energy crisis. It will take a few years to fully implement, but solar and wind alone are making huge strides in many countries, slowly reducing the demand on energy plants which use coal and other fossil fuels. The strides we are making are real, and they are working. And God is not pitching in to help. Unless you believe keeping the sun burning is his way of producing solar energy…

    • June 19, 2016 at 2:33 pm
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      @Sarah:

      According to the Bible, God
      endorsed the genocide of the Canaanites and others living in the ‘promised land’ because the Canaanites, among other things, practiced human sacrifice; the sacrificing of their children was so detestable that it justified, “killing everything that breathes” (Deuteronomy 7:1-2; Deuteronomy 12:29 – 31; Deuteronomy 20:16-17; Leviticus 18:21, 24-27), yet God sacrificed his own son – how ironic.

      How ironic it is that God endorsed the genocide of the Canaanites and others living in the “promise land” for practicing human sacrifice, yet sacrificed his own son. If human sacrifices were so detestable that it justified, ” Killing everything that breathes ” then why did God do similarly by sacrificing his own son?

      *********

      @Sarah, @Dwc:

      If we truly have free will as you claim, then why didn’t God just start the world with the conditions that are claimed will exist in the Future Paradise?

      Persons would simply have free will but no inclination for sin or they would have free will but can still sin but would be destroyed. No Satan or snake to tempt. No Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil to tempt.

      The very belief in this future Paradise shows that there is a set of conditions that God could have started with but did not.

      _____

      Further, if we truly have free will as you claim, then why is it necessary for mankind to die for someone else’s sins – Adam’s & Eve’s – as we have been told? Each person should die for their own sins if we truly have free will as you claim. Otherwise, the Adam and Eve story is teaching us that we don’t have free will since mankind’s evil acts are because of Adam’s and Eve’s fall, and hence why we need to die for their sins.

      The Adam and Eve story teaches us that persons do bad things because someone else committed a sin, it has nothing to do with their own free will to choose wrongly; it is Adam’s and Eve’s sin that is causing us to choose wrongly, not our own free will and therefore this is why we must pay for the sins committed by someone else – Adam and Eve – with inherited sickness and death.

      If we don’t sin on our own then the Adam and Eve story is teaching us that we don’t have free will.
      If we do sin on our own, and we do have free will, then why is it necessary for us to die or get sick because of the sins committed by someone else – Adam and Eve?

      • June 19, 2016 at 3:45 pm
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        Not only imperfection, but we also have Satan running around telling us to do bad things like take a census in Israel. In 2 Samuel, Satan put the idea in David’s head. And God allows him to do this (was he preventing such influences before?) And then he punishes the whole nation when David asks that only he be punished. It’s not even as simple as comply or die, it’s completely chaotic.

      • June 19, 2016 at 5:47 pm
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        ******Forgot to include the following condition which is also claimed to exist in the future Paradise:

        No death by sickness or aging given that humans will be perfect.

    • June 22, 2016 at 3:54 pm
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      The ‘free will’ defense really annoys me.
      Here in New Zealand, we have a terrible problem of parents/caregivers, beating their children to death. We are 2nd worse in the world for this.
      These children can not do anything about the adults free will to beat the life out of them. Where is god when this is happening? How could a god of love not step in? Oh no, he has a point to prove. Well done ‘god’ – just proven to me ‘he’ is someone I don’t want to know or be associated with.

      • June 22, 2016 at 3:54 pm
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        *worst

  • June 19, 2016 at 12:16 am
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    ….worth noting that the secular jobs of the characters as JWs are: frustrated violin player who works in a factory.
    Frustrated overly stressed family man who works….well, in a factory! Why do we (I am a JW) instill this to our young ones? Surely I do not want to work in factory, unless there is no way out and I need bread to eat. Most of us in UK have free education and I often say this to the young ones at the KH. It falls into deaf ears! Education, education and education may give you a chance to better yourself and to give you self esteem. Even in the org. you need education to analyse some of the bullshit we read, ie “overlapping generation”, 607bce vs 587bce, the obstruse 1914 calculation…and even with an educated brain you can still baffle at what you hear and read. So WTF is going on?

    • June 19, 2016 at 9:21 pm
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      It’s simple, James. Millions now living have been totally duped! Creating ‘truth’ is as easy as Queen Nefertiti of Egypt wishing to become a God. All she did was keep repeating that she was one, and Hey Presto!, she became one in the eyes of her subjects. Fast forward to the present and you have the population of Nth Korea believing their Dear Leader flits around on a rainbow and doesn’t need to go to the toilet. We also have the GB telling you they are gods chosen organisation, over and over and over, until…..it’s the truth! IT WORKS!!

      If you need to know who has control over you, just identify who you are not allowed to criticize.
      Voltaire.

      • June 20, 2016 at 7:08 am
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        @ Outandabout

        So true, it indeed works.

        “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it”.

        “All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach”.

        Adolf Hitler

    • June 20, 2016 at 2:38 pm
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      So many unfortunate events..

      Reality flies out the window, and note how they have weighted this term with derogatory connotations throughout the presentations and videos. Anyone who invokes “reality” is “evil” and unspiritual–non-gnostic?

      Most presentations paint non-JW’s as “evil” (“not wholesome”) and manipulative/deceptive in the case of the brother, Bill, holding Ethan hostage to his financial support and insensitivity to his health needs. It stops short of exploring why Bill had issues with his father [note: no reference to Bill’s family or wife in the synopsis so assume this is true of the real video, which could be implying that Bill is LGBTQ or otherwise undateable]. It also runs counter to their usual practice, and the elders practice of surrounding someone in a meeting like sharks and asking, “why wasn’t he proactive in thinking about providing support for his family before taking such rash action?” Oh yeah, they can play this video all they want, but the practice is FAR from this IDEAL.

      If an individual had no exposure beyond the Watchtower, they’d buy into “worldly” people’s behavior conforming to this mindset and assume that one incident or expression by a warped person confirms Watchtower’s summation of ALL persons.

      Even if newly splashed-down into JW community, the mind has already started buying into their view of “the world,” so counterpoints to these presentations are blocked.

      I think the response to tragedies and other catastrophes–natural, or criminal–highlight that atheists, agnostics, Christians, Buddhists, Islamics, Jews, etc have a decent nature. The point is that individuals need Christ because decency alone and obedience to laws is NOT redeeming. Message missing from these presentations.

      Overall, it is heavily weighted on reliance on faith, which is not a bad thing if persons are so inclined, but it comes at the cost of setting expectations that all adherence to this “checklist” will end with “music swell” and “happy endings”. Every rose has thorns, and every fish has bones.

    • June 23, 2016 at 11:42 pm
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      Hence the direction to guard against higher education, individual research, and the lying, persecuting media.

  • June 19, 2016 at 6:01 am
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    For providing evidence that the Bible is of human origin I love the book of Job! An allegedly perfect and loving God chooses to make a wager with Satan and as part of the “rules” Satan is allowed to kill all of Job’s 10 children. But, no worries, at the end of the story Job fathers another 10 children – so that’s alright then isn’t it!!!

    • June 19, 2016 at 3:36 pm
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      Meh, Job’s children were just property anyway. Let me try to explain what is just:

      God cursed an entire animal species (the serpent) for being used by Satan (did the serpent have free will?) I wonder what snakes looked like before.

      On the other hand, Cain, the first murderer, was protected by god when he “took up residence in the land of Fugitiveness.” Apparently people wanted to punish Cain and God forbade it.

      And David never got punished. Oh wait, his child suffered. And he took a census, and as punishment chose plague in Israel, since God refused David’s request for the punishment to be on him only (the one who actually sinned), and he still got to be an ancestor of Jesus… oh goodness it really is a crap shoot.

      Personally I am really hoping to just be struck dead and not devoured by bears or turned into salt, but, I guess I’ll just have to take what’s coming. It would be cool if I just got modified like the serpent… oh wait, I’ve already been punished with modification, since I’m a woman and my body was changed so that it would be excruciatingly painful and dangerous for me to reproduce… also my brain got smaller and more stupid (Sam Herd). I probably shouldn’t even HAVE free will.

      I am just glad most human societies have gotten beyond punishing children for the sins of their parents. And I’ll take my chances with global warming.

      • June 19, 2016 at 9:40 pm
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        Global warming could turn out to be ok. Every action has an equal and opposite effect. As land goes under water, other land now laying useless will become useful. Now might be a good time to buy some land in Greenland in order to plant a damn good banana plantation. The dinosaurs survived for 165 million years in a warm world. I’ve seen an image of what the outline of the U.S. would look like after risen sea levels and it’s still recognisable as the USA. I’m not suggesting we do nothing to prevent global warming, but at the same time, don’t panic. Life has an uncanny ability to cling on by it’s fingernails. The ice age hasn’t actually ended…..it’s still warming. NOTHING stays still. The only constant is change, and you can rely on that.

  • June 19, 2016 at 6:51 am
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    Okay, regarding the Job video, I’m just gonna come out and say it:

    Usage of the term ‘NEED-GREATER’ needs to end. Now.

    Seriously, it needs to stop! It’s a lame expression that sounds incredibly stupid! I hate it!

    It’s embarrassing to think that the cult that controlled me for so long would use something so… so… cheesy. Why couldn’t I have been the victim of a sophisticated cult?

    • June 19, 2016 at 7:12 am
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      Telescopium, this is not criticism and maybe I misunderstood your joke, is there such a thing in your mind as a sophisticated cult? Or is that the joke? I really can’t tell.

      • June 19, 2016 at 7:50 am
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        FallingAngel75,
        Sorry about that. I was definitely joking. I know cult control is no laughing matter, but I’m in a good mood today and can’t hold back the optimism that accompanied the sunshine this morning.

        And since you asked, I really can’t envision a sophisticated cult. It would logically reason itself into nonexistence.

        Whoa! -mind blown-

      • June 19, 2016 at 7:57 am
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        For the record, I was joking about sophisticated cults.

        I was NOT joking about cessation of the use of the offending phrase. Its continued use is a form of persecution and may well constitute the beginning of the Great Tribulation.

        • June 19, 2016 at 8:02 am
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          Haha. I thought it was a joke. Funny too. ;-)

          Sad if it wasn’t. I’m glad to hear that you are feeling optimistic.

          I’m amused at your hatred of the phrase. You’re right, it is corny, but I do not feel quite as strongly, lol.

          Happy Sunday! :-)

  • June 19, 2016 at 7:57 am
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    What resonates with me about the analysis is the same thing I noticed as I read the description (before I got to the breakdown John gives at the end) because it’s the same thing I’ve observed in my own life.

    There were practical solutions to Ethan’s problems. A promotion, help from his brother, etc., that he was discouraged from taking.

    Even his cancer cure is because he accepted medical treatment. It was no miraculous intervention from Jehovah.

    Again, I say, in my own life, the times when I had the greatest struggles, I did get sympathy from fellow JWs. I am getting it now.

    But there were and are also ridiculous suggestions about how I should cope. I mean, the most useless advice, some of which would actually be harmful to me if I followed it.

    No ulterior motives. I’m not implying any of the individuals involved want to hurt me. But simply by following the party line and regurgitating the kind of advice and scriptures proffered in this example and countless other experiences of loyal ones printed in the publications, the advice is worse than worthless.

    In dealing with depression or grief, being told to read the Bible more and focus on others by increasing time in the ministry was not helpful.

    I seem to be in the minority of commenters on this site in that I really enjoyed the ministry earlier in my life. I still have many good memories from time spent with my family and friends, but when I lost a family member and another close friend in death, 6 months apart, and I was a teenager, so it was my first time losing anyone, the scriptures didn’t help. The resurrection hope didn’t help.

    Grief counseling and a psychiatrist helped. Secular books on the grief process and how to cope and what to do next are what helped. Nothing from the society did.

    It didn’t address my problems at all. And there’s that gap. What gap?

    They tell you to focus on the hope of the new world and Jehovah’s promises, but they don’t really tell you what to do with yourself now. Between the time that the tragedies happen and the promised new system becomes a reality.

    Other than to maintain your spiritual routines and if that doesn’t help, increase your activities. Look outward and see if anyone around is worse off and try to help them.

    But what if you feel so sad and have so much despair that you can’t? Or what if you have no financial resources? Then you just feel guilty for not doing what you should and/or resentful of and let down by those who judge you because they fail to understand your struggle.

    And the interesting thing in my own case, is this. I still volunteered. I didn’t wallow in my own sadness. I helped children learn to read. I worked with Habitat for Humanity. I helped cancer patients and victims of domestic violence.

    And I’m not trying to say that I’m better than anyone. I’m saying that it actually is helpful to help others less fortunate than you. It is helpful to do something that makes a difference and improves the lives of others, even strangers.

    But the healing I experienced was much more profound when I worked with causes and charities that are recognized in the world at large to be doing good.

    It’s not door-knocking early in the morning. No one thinks Habitat or Susan G. Komen is a nuisance. :-)

    People were grateful. It does not require the endurance and ego strength of the ministry.

    • June 19, 2016 at 11:31 am
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      Hi Fallingangel75,

      I so agree about helping others. I know my comment isn’t quite in line with the article, but I just had to share this with you. I had the opportunity to work with a team from a well known corporation (I shouldn’t name names I suppose) sorting and organizing items donated at a food bank. It was a wonderful experience! We enjoyed our work together and cooperated with each other, no egos. And I learned so much about the real needs of those less fortunate. The supervisor of the program explained a great deal about the needs going beyond just food and paper products. There was a real effort being made especially so school children wouldn’t feel different when the teacher asks them to bring in a box of Kleenex, they make sure that child has one to bring. Or making sure the child’s packed lunch was in the same kind of baggies every other kid has. So much concern and consideration over things I never realized. My family and I have always had our needs cared for. It was an eye-opener, a wonderful experience that I won’t forget. I have never felt that fulfilled riding around in rural territory for 3 hours counting my time and maybe meeting 1 person that wasn’t even interested. I admit I at times had “good” calls in the ministry that were enjoyable, but those calls never had the profound effect on others that volunteering for helpful organizations does. Such volunteer work is tangible and you know someone benefits and their life may be just a little more pleasant because of it. Isn’t that what love of neighbor is really all about? I’m eagerly await the next opportunity to assist. :)

      Regards

    • June 19, 2016 at 12:20 pm
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      @FA75,
      I appreciate your perspective. It’s similar to what I found – the JW solutions simply have no substance. At best, the JW solutions are much like a doctor who is kind and has a good bedside manner, but simply gives his patients placebos. While the kind attention may be appreciated for a while, without real medicine there is no real healing or recovery.

      The Witness message is partly right, don’t look inward all the time, reach out to help others; but in practice, to do this by empty door knocking and proselytizing brings no real satisfaction. It’s a placebo effect. That’s why you found greater satisfaction in working with charities.

      WS

      • June 19, 2016 at 1:03 pm
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        @WS, I agree 100% about the placebo effect. And depending on the ailment, placebos do achieve limited results for some, but not lasting results for most.

        Again, part of the reason there are such high numbers of depression and suicide. People are not getting the practical help they need.

        I currently have limited involvement with a few mental health outreach programs and I do feel like it is only fair to say that this problem is not unique to JWs.

        The root cause is unique, but the problem is actually widespread.

        There are many religious and social reasons seeking mental health help is stigmatized and also economic constraints and limitations that keep people from getting help. So I don’t want to lay all the blame on the organization.

  • June 19, 2016 at 9:54 am
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    Well summed up John. Subtle, emotional manipulation,
    with a crude sledgehammer conclusion “Comply or Die”
    “An offer you can’t refuse”

    How did the Mafia boss phrase it? – “Either your signature
    will be on the contract, or your brains”. Tony Morris even
    eclipsed that, intimating that “Millions will be roasted and
    split open like hot dogs” at Armageddon, for not signing up.

    Your compliance or your life is a threat explicit not just in the
    Bible but in other “Holy Books” and is being acted out right
    now. Not on some huge movie screen but for real. People
    beheaded, stoned to death, thrown off buildings, and sadly
    even “Burned Alive”.

    Only people deprived of their reason through constant
    brainwashing can accept such things as part of some divine
    plan. I was one of them, I was a “Jehovahs Witness” a regular
    attender at these, sometimes 8 day radicalisation sessions.

  • June 19, 2016 at 12:55 pm
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    I watched all the videos and talks given at the 2016 three day convention recorded on youtube. Goodness, I feel this convention is depressing!! I believe the society is deliberately trying to make people cry. I’m glad I no longer attend. Maybe some will walk away from the convention knowing it’s manipulation at it’s worst based on making everyone emotional.

    • June 19, 2016 at 2:10 pm
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      Ive still not seen any comments on the actual convention from ‘friends’ on fb. I’ve seen their new clothes and the pouting selfies with bored looking spouses, I’ve seen the pictures taken of their ‘wonderful kids’ but no comments on the content of the convention. May as well have dressed up and gone to a hockey game to take pictures for all the feed back that is… er…lacking

  • June 19, 2016 at 6:27 pm
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    Did Job really believe in the resurrection as the WT claims?
    According to Job 7:9-10, Job plainly states that the dead shall never be raised from their graves:

    Job 7:9-10:
    “As the cloud disappears and vanishes away,
    So he who goes down to the grave does not come up.
    He shall never return to his house,
    Nor shall his place know him anymore.”

  • June 19, 2016 at 7:31 pm
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    This was not a site intended for grievances against God. It is meant to expose the excesses and abuse of the WT and those with responsibility and are abusing that.

    Why don’t we confine it to that?

    As for your comments dee2 if you can cherry pick and take matters out of context we all can do that.

    As Job said (Job 14:13-15) 13 O that in She′ol you would conceal me, That you would keep me secret until your anger turns back, That you would set a time limit for me and remember me! 14 If an able-bodied man dies can he live again? All the days of my compulsory service I shall wait, Until my relief comes. 15 You will call, and I myself shall answer you. For the work of your hands you will have a yearning.
    Jehovah never put Job to the test Satan did. Job was a man that had guts and integrity and Jehovah loved him and restored all that he had.

    Pity there isn’t more like Job now.

    As for the “murder”of Job’s children Satan did that. But to put that in context, Police forces all around the world are put in place to protect citizens so when a murder happens do we hold the Police responsible or the person who committed the murder? Give me a break.

    In any case whichever way you think, there must be atheist web sites where you can have great fun bagging God. That is your business and right, but let’s keep on track why Cedars started this site off in the first place

    • June 19, 2016 at 9:15 pm
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      Pretty sure you don’t get to determine what we can and can not talk about here, sorry. There must be Christian web sites where you can have great fun bagging skeptics. I think God probably doesn’t need you to defend him, and I’m sure if Cedars or a moderator thought the discussion inappropriate or irrelevant, they will let us know.

      • June 19, 2016 at 10:25 pm
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        What?!, bagging god? I for one would never bag god. Remember that show ‘Hitch hikers guide to the Galaxy’ from the 70’s where at the end, the answer to life, the universe and everything turned out to be something like 36? Well that number has grown considerably since then. The answer now stands at 10 trillion multiplied by 49 billion. Quite an advance. Ten trillion km’s is the distance light travels in one year and 49 billion light years is the distance we can ‘currently’ see into space in all directions. Our galaxy is about 100,000 light years across and the universe contains billions of galaxies. In the scale of all that, the earth is pretty much nothing. If god was all powerful, he could get by with just one galaxy or even just our own solar system. But no! I think we really need to all stand in front of the mirror and give ourselves a good talking to about our ego’s. All that out there exists to support us???? It’s starting to look a bit silly now. First we thought the earth was flat and would have killed to defend that notion, then we thought it was at the centre of the solar system and would have killed to defend that notion as well. Religious recruitment will eventually grind to a near halt leaving only the young and curious looking for something a bit quirky and different, and others who have a deep desire to be a slave. The rest will face reality.

        • June 20, 2016 at 12:06 am
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          Just to support Ligniappe a little. God is not the problem. If he has a way of sorting things out, then so be it. If we tried to sort out our problems we’d all do it a different way. At present WT seems to be the common problem.

          By the way, I thought the answer to life was 42, and yes, the universe is big.

          • June 20, 2016 at 2:14 am
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            Ah, right. 42. Thanks.

            To put a bit of perspective on the size of the universe:- the light reaching us from a distant exploding star could well have been travelling for millions of years at 10 trillion km’s per year before finally reaching us. The star itself will be long gone.
            Those sorts of distances don’t support the idea of the universe being created just for humans.

          • June 20, 2016 at 8:57 am
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            @Sarah:

            “God is not the problem”.

            ……..the Bible is the problem. It is filled with contradictions, inconsistencies and inadequacies which when acknowledged, clearly show that God did not inspire the wording of the Bible or protect its texts from error.

            Anyone who reads any religious book with an open mind will soon realise that it is the ideas of men and that the Bible should instead be read as fictional allegory, myths written with a meaning and a purpose:

            – For the Old Testament, that purpose was to unite the Jewish people in a common sense of national, racial and religious pride, by telling stories of a divine origin and a glorified past (as Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman assert in THE BIBLE UNEARTHED).

            – For the New Testament, that purpose was to instruct a community of believers in matters of morality and salvation, by syncretistically blending a tradition of a spiritual Redeemer Son of God with the ethical preaching of a diverse and sprawling wisdom movement through a process of midrash on scripture (as Earl Doherty capably argues in THE JESUS PUZZLE).

    • June 20, 2016 at 1:09 am
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      @Ligniappe With respect…
      Satan told God what he was going to do to Job and God said OK.
      That is like a murderer admitting his crime to the police BEFORE going and committing it.
      If the police do nothing to prevent it – then they are complicit in the crime.
      As guilty as the perpetrator.
      What particularly stinks in the story of Job is how the whole exercise in torturing this poor man is all for the sake of God’s ego.
      Just how needy and pathetic is this version of god?
      He would allow such suffering just for an: ‘I love you… no really. .. I do…’
      And typical of these all powerful beings to think that some replacement offspring will do the job. ..for Job.
      I have children. They could never be replaced.
      They are unique.
      The god of the old testament is an insecure, violent, sadistic tyrant.
      He endorses genocide, murder, slavery, rape, butchery -all for the sake of his unpronounceable name.
      The god of the new testament, I. E. GOD 2.0 The Reboot. is just as cruel, but in a more insidious way.
      Watching his son be tortured and die.
      Watching 1st century Christian be tortured and die.
      Watching 2000 years of mankind torture eachother and die.
      Watching his heavenly army kill billions of humans at armageddon.
      Watching mankind build a new society over 1000 years.
      Just to…
      Watch a released and enraged devil wreck it all again.
      Before finally. ..
      Killing a few more billion humans.

      He sure has a penchant for violent voyeurism.
      How’s that for bagging God?

    • June 20, 2016 at 8:52 am
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      @ligniappe:

      “As for your comments dee2 if you can cherry pick and take matters out of context we all can do that.”

      If you were in fact to read the context of Job chapter 14 starting from verse 1, it would be clear that Job denied the idea of life after death.

      There are also other scriptures in which Job also denies the idea of life after death, including:

      – Job 7:7-10

      – Job 16:22

      So it is debatable whether Job actually believed in the resurrection.

      • June 20, 2016 at 4:15 pm
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        To add to these comments, I’d like to say that the Creator is being maligned by these perceptions: perceiving that he condoned torture of the righteous man Job, the brutal slayings of the Amalekites and their children, the killing of 70,000 innocents to “punish” King David, etc. The perception that these acts are sanctioned and perpetrated by the Creator malign his good nature and as James wrote: “with evil things God cannot be tried, nor does he try anyone.” So how can the contradiction be resolved? By logically rejecting premises that do not fit. Any parent who treated his children the way God does in the OT would be locked up and they’d throw away the key. Therefore the doings cannot be attributed to a loving Creator. They must be relagated as man’s actions or to superstitious people trying to find a reason for why bad things happen.

        WS

        • June 21, 2016 at 3:01 am
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          Thanks Winston. Replying to several of your posts above. It’s important to get opinions which are contrary to my own, so I don’t take offence and like to think about your ideas.

          I am emotinoally attached to some ideas – I love the science of chemistry, which is why I am worried about warmer, more acidic oceans, worse storms. I understand the problems with methane hydrates becoming unstable and maybe bringing sulphur dioxide up with any upwelling of gas. Sulphur dioxide is poinsonous even in small doses.

          My daughter is a scientist and is doing her best to solve problems but she is up against rising CO2 levels getting worse in countries such as China. The problem is political.

          Global warming is not the only problem, I know. But it could mean the end of us when crime, war etc might not.

          Past atrocities were caused by humans, I agree, because we chose our own paths. If there is a God I do believe he will prevent the destruction of all life. If there isn’t, then some of us may survive but it will be a world of dreadful storms, food shortages, wars over territory, water and food. There will be civil unrest.

          I can’t answer everything here.

          • June 21, 2016 at 9:05 am
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            Hi Sarah,

            >>>>>”If there is a God I do believe he will prevent the destruction of all life.”

            Just wondering: are you aware that stars have a life cycle and so the sun, which is a star, will eventually implode one day?

            As the sun goes through its death throes it will either consume the earth or simply render life on earth impossible:

            http://www.space.com/14364-earth-consumed-red-giant-star-5b-years.html

            http://www.space.com/10245-sun-die-earth.html ***

            The sun cannot go on burning forever as it has a finite source of hydrogen fuel which will eventually be exhausted as the hydrogen is consumed by the nuclear fusion process that converts it into helium and light energy (the light energy is needed to sustain life on earth).

            Your reasoning however, seems to suggest that God should intervene to allow all other stars except the sun to go through their natural life cycle so that life on earth will not grind to a halt but continue ad infinitum.

            (The inevitable death of the sun has prompted the eager search for other earth-like habitable planets.)

            Perhaps the Bible writers who wrote the following verses were on to something when they stated that the earth will not last forever?:

            – 2 Peter 3:10
            – Matthew 24:35
            – Hebrews 1:10 – 11
            – Isaiah 51:6
            – Psalm 102: 25 – 26

        • June 21, 2016 at 8:54 am
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          Yes WS I have also come to the conclusion that such atrocities committed in the name of God is just a handy excuse for evil. No different today.

          Regards

        • June 21, 2016 at 1:32 pm
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          Job answered Satans challenge according to the bible…and so did Jesus…why has this megolomaniac, cruel and sadistic god got to keep asking everyone to carry on doing the same thing over and over again…it is a ridiculous premise and I believe none of it any more…and I feel liberated as if I have been incarcerated in this prison of a religion all my life..and now I am finally free…50+ years is a long long time.

          • June 21, 2016 at 8:08 pm
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            I believe the issue ultimately rests with revealed theology. Natural theology can give you a sense of purpose and oneness with the universe and/or creator. See more at: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_theology. Some even argue that the original teachings of Christ advocated for natural theology.

            WS

    • June 25, 2016 at 2:57 am
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      [Quote: As for the “murder”of Job’s children Satan did that.]

      12 Then Jehovah said to Satan: “Look! Everything that he has is in your hand. Only do not lay your hand on the man himself!”

      So Satan did what Jehovah permitted him to do. God could had told him to go away, I’m looking into the future and see what you want to do to him – but no, he is a needy God and is agreeable to see people tested in a horrific way. Of course he’ll bless them in the future – but should they curse him whilst suffering they’ll then have suffered for nothing. Because He needs to know they love Him. It’s all about Him, Him, Him.

      Such a wise God.

      Demonstrating wisdom that is beyond our understanding.

  • June 20, 2016 at 1:26 am
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    In 1974 I worked part time at Harborne University in Birmingham (UK) in the early hours. My Pioneer partner and I measured with a puck, the fissuring of proton particles, on a Pool size table, and in a sterile room full of computers the size of those seen in episodes of Flash Gordon (or, was it Buck Rogers?).

    Fast forward almost 40 years to 2012, I found myself in the Scottish Exhibition Centre in Glasgow, in a packed auditorium full of Professional colleagues. I was full of WT skepticism, having long left behind my trust in this or any other religious body as the mouthpiece of “god”.

    The Keynote speaker was Professor Brian Cox, OBE (other bugger’s efforts?), who gave a fascinating breakdown of recent discoveries from CERN and the Hadron Collider and the Noble discovery of the Higgs Boson Particle.

    Quite what this had to do with my branch of Medicine, I don’t know…but, it was a climax of over a life time of wondering what I was achieving in that lonely sterile room in 1974.

    Prof. Cox is more than a little liberal with his language and mockery of those who believe in Extra Terrestrial life and suddenly he announced at full crescendo that he was sad to inform us all that …..”We are quite alone”..in this vast Universe.

    My Catholic companion muttered under his breath…”yeh,…right”. We haven’t scratched the surface of what lays beyond yet. Our computers are locked into SETI, in firm belief that one day there will be “first contact”.

    Call it what you will, “God”, Creator, Laboratory Technician.

    I cannot subscribe to the assertion that there is lack of Order and Purpose in this/these universe/(s).

    I subscribe to the humility to that Eminent scientist, who water surfed that pebble and declared that we have only scratched the surface of a fascinating and intriguing story.

  • June 20, 2016 at 4:31 am
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    I agree with Chris when he says “I think this article is a really well balanced attempt to demonstrate the flaws in JW theology.” This is why I find the RELIGIOUS NEUTRALITY requirement so difficult, especially when we are debating the JW interpretation of the Bible. True, there are other websites, as indicated in the links, which attempt to give a Christian response to the JWs, but the beauty of JW survey is that it does allow people to express their doubts and debate with others. I thought this week’s article was one of the best ever, a welcome relief from the UK referendum debate.

    • June 20, 2016 at 10:10 am
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      Thanks James

      One of the most difficult tasks we have is to write about JW issues while attempting to remain religiously neutral. We are often stuck between religion and reason, and our comments can be interpreted as an attack on religion in general, when in fact we seek to analyze JW teachings in the light of human rights and reality.

      If a JW reads the analysis of the story of Job. he or she may well be offended, since it appears to be an attack on the Bible. Perhaps it is, if the person subscribes to the belief that these events actually happened (which is a JW requirement). But for other Christians who view the story in a figurative way, they will likely understand the points made.

      There is no question that we often face this dilemma when discussing JW issues, as Biblical interpretation is more often than not at the core of so many controversial Witness practices

      • June 20, 2016 at 10:34 am
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        One can interpret the criticism as aimed at the writers of the bible, rather than the supreme being they are supposedly representing. The writers had an agenda, just as WT does now. That doesn’t mean its gods agenda. Thats a huge thing to just accept. So criticism of scripture does not necessarily equate to an attack on god, anymore than criticism of the governing body is an attack on god. Both claim to speak for/represent god. Why can I test the governing body but not the bible writers?

        • June 20, 2016 at 10:58 am
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          Yawn

          Your comment is fascinating, as you question the inspiration of the Bible writers. May I ask, where do you draw the line and accept that a Bible writer has crossed the boundary from inspiration from God into personal interpretation? What is your criteria for this determination?

          If the Bible writers had an agenda, how can you believe any of its books and verses?

          Would you exist as a Christian if the Bible had never been written?

          Do you currently refer to scripture when defending or supporting your beliefs?

          JR

          • June 20, 2016 at 5:46 pm
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            Thank you for your excellent articles.

            I don’t think god wrote the bible, or any other book. I think he invented the internet (just kidding). I think most holy books make god appear petty, violent, sexist (why, exactly?), racist (again, why just choose a group of people to champion… sometimes?) irrational, sadistic, and otherwise unpleasant – suspiciously human, much like the (gasp) pagan gods of other ancient peoples.

            Why can we laugh at stories of god using a hurricane to dump sand for a kingdom hall, and then turn around and insist that god ruined a building project in Babylon by inventing new languages?

            And just what credentials do the bible writers have over the governing body, honestly? I am glad to be free of the governing body, but I had to subject everything to the same scrutiny, and neither they, nor the bible writers (or the men who actually put the bible together, because let’s not forget it wasn’t really written, but edited by committee, long after god disappeared from the earth), have the credentials to show that they are/were inspired by a higher power. A higher power who is infinite, without beginning or end, omnipotent, omniscient, and yet apparently constrained by human-scale historical contexts.

        • June 21, 2016 at 9:11 am
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          @Yawn

          I have concluded that much of the Bible ie the wars, mass killings, etc are historical accounts and not necessarily the will of God. In another post I mentioned I feel God is just someone’s excuse for their own actions. I accept the Bible that I can prove to myself either with historical evidence, scientific evidence, or by applying the counsel and realizing it works. I do reference the works of Josephus for historical reference. I’m still working on having a balanced amount of skepticism, LOL. At any rate I find your thought and those of WS very reasonable and balanced.

          Regards

        • June 21, 2016 at 1:43 pm
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          @Yawn
          I agree with all your comments. You make very interesting points. I too came to the conclusion that the Bible writers are no different than the GB. Men expressing their own opinions, belief’s, fears and superstitions based on the times that they where/are living in. But as John pointed out you cant stop there! If the Bible or other religious books are only the words of men then you have also destroyed God, as mention of him is only found in these books by these writers. Therefore the conclusion you end up with is ‘God’ was thus created by Man and NOT the other way round. Wow! Now that’s something to ponder on :D

          • June 21, 2016 at 3:57 pm
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            Thank you,yes I may have to carry this to its logical conclusion… But I suppose everyone takes their own path to freedom from wt, and that’s the important thing ! :)

          • June 21, 2016 at 8:30 pm
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            I would argue that is not the only conclusion (that there is no God). Thomas Paine rejected the Bible thoroughly, but still professed belief in a creator. Thomas Jefferson accepted parts of the Bible but rejected others, to the extent that he created the so-called Jefferson Bible. Also see the writing of John Locke and Matthew Tindal.

            Here is an interesting thought: the Bible IS inspired of God, but not how most people think. The inspiration that sparked musicians such as Mozart, artists such as DaVinci, and scientists such as Newton also inspired men to write the Bible. Here were men who obviously spent much time thinking about the creator and about life and the human family. They were inspired to write many profound thoughts: love your neighbor as yourself, seek for wisdom, do not throw pearls before swine, and so forth. These were inspired thoughts. The content of the Bible can help individuals learn about life and consider their creator. So here I say it was inspired, but it was still only written by men. Consider: Newton was inspired to make great strides in physics and optics but he still had misconceptions about the universe; DaVinci pondered engineering and aeronautics, but it is doubtful that any of his designs could actually fly. Thus the men who wrote the Bible had some good thoughts, profound thoughts that can bring us spiritual meaning, but some parts were obviously skewed by their own perceptions or really just legend or allegory. It gets to be problematic when we view it as the inerrant word of God and refuse to honestly address questions because what is written therein.

            My point is this: scripture does not need to be utterly rejected, but taken in a balanced way and thus good can come from it.

            WS

          • June 21, 2016 at 9:47 pm
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            @WS

            Those are some very interesting points which you have raised which seem to reflect the position taken by liberal/progressive Christians who unabashedly admit that the words of the Bible are not the words of God but that the allegories etc which the Bible contain do have a message.

            Liberal/progressive Christians do not see the Bible as being a special revelation from God but as a book of religious experiences, a historic narrative of the journey made by its writers in the eternal human quest to understand life, the world, themselves, and God.

  • June 20, 2016 at 6:09 am
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    The point that hit home for me is how the “hope” of paradise hijacks the natural grieving process. This was painfully true in my case. We live in a death-phobic society to begin with. Grieving is a healthy recovery process and to repress it can have serious, long-reaching emotional effects. In my case, it took serious work in therapy to finally be able to grieve the loss of both of my parents, heal and move forward in my life. I suffered from intense depression and anger issues. My parents were both inactive for years. My mom went back for a while after my grandmother died, but that resurrection hope wasn’t enough to keep her there. She died inactive and her spiritual state was “in question.” After my mom died, my dad went back and was a “hard core” witness until his death three years later. I went through my own “hard core” phase after my dad’s death, but faded out because I didn’t like the effect it had on me. It was making me very rigid in my thinking. My first two years out were very lonely, but then my life started to bloom. I can’t imagine being part of this cult that produces propaganda like this.

    • June 20, 2016 at 3:11 pm
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      This is something I find dealing with JW relatives in the face of tragedy or death. The JW says, “people get so lost in their grief” but it is natural. They’ve even morphed their funerals into a stoic ritual devoid of any natural expressions of grief. An elder stands void of any facial emotion and reads off a litany of scriptures after a bland reading of a persons birth, biography and greatest achievement as a Witness. Compare that to other ceremonies where persons can freely express their emotions and celebration of individual’s life–how the
      deceased person’s manner of carrying themselves and acts of humanity and charity touched and changed them.

      And, if JW songs for meetings are depressing, the ones chosen for funerals are nurturing suicidal tendencies. Psalms 30:5.

      • June 20, 2016 at 3:35 pm
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        Lemony Snickets,

        I love your comments. You hit the nail on the head, please keep commenting.

        I noticed that “born-ins” have a lot of work to do to undo the frame of reference thats instilled into them, i.e. their view of the “world & worldly people” and your right, it takes one “worldly” person to behave badly to trigger the minds responses that come with the upbringing. I suppose it’s like taking 1 step forward then 2 steps back when trying to move forward.

        I find it hard enough to undo the damage & I got converted around the age of 29. I just try hard to remember my life before the cult & draw on that frame of reference to normalise my thinking patterns again.

        • June 21, 2016 at 2:34 am
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          Hi Grace, not that there aren’t other negative impacts I have to deal with, but as someone ‘born-in’ as you say, I think the view of the world and ‘worldly’ people has a lot to do with an individual’s parents and how they were raised.

          I have never had inherent distrust or fear of non-JWs. I never had contempt or pity for them either.

          I was not taught that people were bad just because they didn’t serve Jehovah.*

          In my family, people were people. Per the JW standard, I was encouraged not to develop and cultivate close friendships outside the congregation, and this was hard for me, but the focus was never on ‘worldly’ people being bad or inferior.

          The focus was on the fact that they were making different choices, and had different goals and priorities. They were not ‘putting Jehovah first’ or ‘seeking kingdom interests.’

          By definition of the way good JWs are supposed to live, and we did, this was true.

          My parents taught me to judge everyone by their actions. How they treated me and others. And I did stay away from people who were clearly making bad choices that were detrimental to themselves and others.

          Some people do lie, cheat, and steal. Inside the congregation and out. My parents taught me to make no distinction between people ‘in the truth’ or outside who may have been harmful to me and my good habits.

          I believe that is why I have a larger number of relationships outside the congregation than most.

          I don’t have a skewed view of non-JWs. And I am not the anomaly, you might imagine me to be. I know others like myself.

          I do agree that we are likely a small minority.

          *this is part of what always made it extremely difficult for me to accept and believe he would destroy everyone at Armageddon.

          Aren’t most people trying to do the best they know how? Some people are selfish and predatory. Some are outright evil and dangerous. But is everyone deserving of death?

          Not by a long shot!

          • June 21, 2016 at 4:12 pm
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            FallingAngel75,

            I can imagine that your upbringing was more open & not so black & white. It’s probably why you have landed here. I know others that were like that too but when my meeting attendance slowed down, they stopped visiting & yet I haven’t done anything to warrant being labelled as bad assoc. except question what I thought was bad & stumbling from the WT regarding child abuse.

            But I also know of some that were so introverted to the point of being stifled & feeling trapped seeking help with leaving the cult. Whether that was their personality or not, I don’t know. I do know that you can create personality traits according to your upbringing & that genetic personality doesn’t always play a part.

            My Doctor has mentioned to me that there have been a few Witnesses that have come through the surgery she is at with the same issues as me & that what I’m going through is not uncommon with the JW culture.

            The subtle & sometimes not so subtle messages from WT are pointed & judgemental to outsiders thats why with the ARC, Angus Stewart drew the conclusion that there is a mistrust for the secular Authorities from WT & their actions proved it regarding their child abuse policies. This kind of thinking can trickle down into other areas.

            When I left, One of my favourite things was spending countless hours reading testimonials from people online & found a common thread throughout. The challenge of learning how to socialise outside of the JW circle. How many struggled to make new friends.

            Also, I wonder why those that leave need to seek out other ExJW’s for friendships, I’m not saying that there’s something wrong with that. I just wonder if it’s as though they still feel that sense of trust that goes with the label…”JW”. I know that some feel that “outsiders” don’t understand the struggle of leaving a cult but I don’t know about that, I wonder if there is still a lingering mistrust. I chose to try to make outside friends & reconnect with a couple of true life friends from my previous life before.

            Also, going on my own experience after 20yrs in, I didn’t realise that I had built up huge walls around me. I was superficially friendly to outsiders but not close enough to make personal friendships. So when I left the religion, I felt sudden feelings of loneliness (something I had never experienced before in my life) & yet I had family, friends & work colleagues willing to help me through it. It’s something that I’m working on now even with my own family. They seem like strangers to me.

          • June 21, 2016 at 8:37 pm
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            FA75,
            I don’t think your experience was the norm. As a born-in, I was taught to fear, mistrust, and look down on “worldly” people. Most other born-ins I know were raised the same way. Either your situation was the exception or it could be a geographic thing or some other reason for the difference.

            WS

          • June 22, 2016 at 12:53 pm
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            @fa75 – based on your profile, you would fit that presentation’s “rebel-without-spirituality” character profile–a person affiliated with JW’s yet doing things their own way. Now, I realize, you’re not “evil” but the Wt is painting those types as if they are.

            You are an exception, but for many who were sincere in “following the rules” and “staying inside the lines” and not pushing it “to the line,” exiting is a much more painful experience and takes much more time to heal. Or, as the cliche goes, ‘you can take the person out of the cult, but you can’t take the cult out of the person’.

            Some persons are disgruntled with Watchtower, but may hold onto beliefs that were fundamental to the Watchtower. And, locked in on “finding the TRUE religion”. This obsession with perfection that was planted by–[drumroll]–the Watchtower which can’t hold to its own ideal standards.

            Now, if there’s not an example of insanity, the latter should be one.

          • June 22, 2016 at 5:06 pm
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            That’s a very good observation Lemony Snickets:

            “Some persons are disgruntled with Watchtower, but may hold onto beliefs that were fundamental to the Watchtower. And, locked in on “finding the TRUE religion”.

            Some may think that reading different translations of the Bible
            or perhaps learning the languages in which the Bible was originally written will help them in their quest to find the “true religion”. The approximately 40,000 different denominations within Christianity however, certainly seem to belie the notion of a one “true religion”.

            On the matter of the Trinity for example, there are passages in the New Testament which clearly indicate that Jesus is God. There are other passages however, where it is quite clear that he is fully human. And so both the JWs and Catholics would be right.

          • June 24, 2016 at 8:08 am
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            So, in response to all the replies to my comment, I would like to say, I agree.

            It seems my upbringing was not the norm. We tend to see the world through our own experiences and we tend to gravitate towards those like ourselves.

            I have said in other posts that my family was well-educated and we had money. Not more than everyone, but more than a lot of JWs.

            My father was an executive for years before becoming a Witness and he kept that job and income and world view.

            We socialized with everyone at the hall, regardless of race or income. We gave money, bought groceries, repaired cars, paid rent, etc. for people in the congregation. Regularly.

            My family was generous, never snobs about it, never keeping account. Both of my parents grew up extremely poor. Like dirty clothes to school and no food to eat poor.

            So they never looked down on anyone and were always ready to help.

            But, I said all this to say that I always felt like I had more in common with those in the congregation and organization at large who were more liberal and free-thinking like myself.

            And the less fundamental, more open-minded JWs did seem to be from a more similar socioeconomic background.

            So I think that does account for my personal experience being different.

            My friends were usually more secular and more affluent, and well-traveled.

            We got around the country and the world. That opens your mind and teaches important lessons.

            I never knew there were so many people who felt socially stunted and stifled as a result of being JWs until just recently.

            Again, it just wasn’t my personal experience or observation of those in my own – extensive – social circle.

            I wasn’t saying that it isn’t a real thing. It most definitely is, and that saddens me.

            But I did feel the need to point out that not all Witness parents pass on such an unbalanced view of non-JWs.

            Mine did not, and the parents of my friends did not.

            @Grace – Even when I was all-in with blinders on, I also noticed how ex-JWs seemed to always gravitate towards each other and I wondered about it.

            Mormons also, and a few other groups.

            I think it has to do with how different the beliefs and lifestyle requirements are from the mainstream.

            Like me, now. I’m totally in no man’s land. I have not even tried to tell anyone about my personal distress.

            Me: I’m devastated. I just realized that I am not going to live forever. And that hurts.

            Anybody else: Why did you think you would live forever? No one lives forever.

            Who would understand that I genuinely believed – all my life – that I would never die and that I would live forever on earth and that I looked forward to it eagerly, but an ex-JW?

            Who else would understand my disappointment and disillusionment?

            No one else.

            Me: so my husband told me he’s been called to heaven, so we will be separated and that hurts me.

            Anyone else: in the afterlife? The rapture?

            Me: No. He’ll be in heaven. I’ll be on earth. But, no, not the rapture. The paradise. He thinks God decided we’ll get different rewards.

            Anyone else: What are you talking about?

            Most religions don’t teach two destinies for good people. Who would understand why we would not both go to heaven or paradise or just not have any afterlife at all?

            Who else would understand that we had bought in to a belief system that insists that two classes of saved ones will get different rewards, never mind that it routinely divides loved ones presumably for eternity?

            Who would understand that my husband who loves me can be okay with that while it’s tearing me up inside?

            I can’t begin to explain this to anyone.

            Even my husband who is a JW and the supposed ‘chosen’ one keeps telling me: you’re apostate now. You don’t believe it anymore. You don’t believe I’m going to heaven. Fine. Shake it off. Why are you still upset? If it’s a false doctrine to you, just ignore it. Let’s just finish our earthly course together and Jehovah will sort it out.

            And I feel like I would get that sort of response from almost anyone else who was never a true believer.

            i.e. if you don’t believe it, why is it distressing?

            Even on this site, people continue to say that the doctrines only have as much power over your present life and decisions as you give them.

            I believe the residual effects are different for every individual and only other ex-JWs, and even within the ex-JW community, only those with similar backgrounds and experiences can really understand.

            I think that’s why we continue to seek each other out.

            I can’t just decide I don’t believe it and be free. Especially when all of my family and the man I love more than anyone in the whole wide world is still all-in.

            Ex-JWs get that in a way that my most loving and supportive non-JW friends never will.

      • June 21, 2016 at 4:40 am
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        Agreed. I was disappointed with my dad’s talk, there was no comfort in it.

    • June 23, 2016 at 11:45 pm
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      True true true..live the ‘hijack’ idea..that is exactly what is happening in our area to a whole congregation…

      • June 23, 2016 at 11:49 pm
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        Should say ‘love’ (not live) I should have said it is a perfect description of their situation.

  • June 20, 2016 at 8:25 am
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    The job video is carefully designed to manipulate people’s emotions, pull on their heartstrings and finally leave them with a feeling that all is ok, if, and only if, you negate everything other than the confines of the “mothership”.

    We all love a happy ending and desire the closure of a happy ending. The job video delivers.

    Again, I must give credit to the “powers that be” in this religion as they are masters at manipulation and control. Many witnesses will leave the assembly feeling that false sense of security for being a part of the organization.

    Little do they know that they are just pawns being used to supplement the cushy lifestyles of a few men in New York who live off the backs of the rank and file.

  • June 20, 2016 at 9:18 am
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    @Dwc:

    “He did not say only Jehovah’s witnesses will be saved. Joel does say all who call on the name of Jehovah/YHWH/LORD will be saved.”

    I do not think that it is appropriate to apply Joel to the second coming of Jesus Christ.

    To the Old Testament writers, such as Joel, “the day of the Lord (Yahweh)” would be a day of massive devastation and destruction (Joel 1:15 , Joel 2:1, Joel 3:14), but I know of no text where this term – “day of the Lord (Yahweh)” – was used in reference to a second coming of a Messiah/Jesus Christ.
    The prophets of old did not speak of a second coming of the Messiah. That the Messiah would come into the world but then have to come again is a New Testament idea. So I do not think that it is appropriate to apply Joel to the second coming of Jesus Christ.

    Further, even if Joel could be applied to the second coming of Jesus Christ, would the non-Christians such as Hindus, Buddhist, Taoists, Muslims, Jains, Drudes etc. know the name of Jehovah/YHWH/LORD in order to call upon it to be saved?

    • June 20, 2016 at 3:16 pm
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      Just to throw a monkey wrench into this logic, but I thought all who believed in someone and His name would have eternal life (John 3:17, 18). Now maybe the NWT translators missed a beat, but I don’t see YHWH or YHVH anywhere in that verse.

  • June 20, 2016 at 4:12 pm
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    Propaganda doesn’t even need to be that elaborate to work, so long as you have a willing audience. I can just imagine the conversation between Russell and his Bible Students after the touted physical return of Jesus failed.

    Students: “hey Charles!, where’s Jesus!?

    Russell: “he’s here… but.. um.. he’s invisible”

    Students: “what!!!?, how dumb do you think we are!?

    Russell: “DUMB ENOUGH FOR ME!

    Students: “oh…..ok….well what do we do now?

    And he’s been here for over 100yrs of his supposed 1000yr rule and so far he’s doing a lousy job.

  • June 20, 2016 at 9:26 pm
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    The society’s stand on shunning never made sense to me. I remember a sister had to sit in silence at the meetings with noone allowed to speak to her for one year. I couldn’t imagine the prodigal’s son treating his son that way. The father didn’t great his son on the road and say, “Now you have to prove yourself, noone is allowed to speak to you for one year.” It never made sense to me.

    • June 20, 2016 at 9:29 pm
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      I meant the prodigal’s son’s father.

  • June 21, 2016 at 8:01 am
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    I stopped going to the meetings two years ago and the depression I felt for the 50 years I was involved in it, left me when I did tons of research to prove to myself that the Society is nothing but a man-made religion and the Bible is nothing but a man-made book, having nothing to do with an almighty “inspiring” it.

    It only takes a little bit of research to discover that the Bible that we have was not “inspired” of any God and so the fear of any God destroying us (if we don’t follow a particular set of rules set out by any religion that uses the Bible) at Armageddon is only tool to control people just as the fear of a literal hell fire is used by religions to control people.

    For many years when I saw the Society buying up more and more properties in New York and putting up more and more branches, I pushed down my feelings of wondering if the Society was so poor, where were they getting all the money to buy up those properties from?

    I pushed down my feelings when it came to the Hebrew God Jehovah.

    I kept wanting to believe that those people back then in Bible times, must have been really wicked and that is why Jehovah killed them but then I finally decided in my mind that the Bible wasn’t really written by God but men who, just like today tell themselves that it’s God who is on their side when they do awful things. I told my husband what I thought and he told the elders what I had said about the Bible god Jehovah and I was made to feel “ashamed” for even thinking such a terrible thing about God.

    Now, my feeling is that anybody who actually worships the God Jehovah in the Hebrew Scriptures does not have any more sense. If they can excuse all the terrible things that that God did to those people, then it’s not me that should feel ashamed, but it’s them that should feel ashamed.

    We CAN pick on the God of the Hebrew Scriptures because it’s all there in black and white, what that God supposedly did. The Bible is fair game. We do have a right to pick on that God because the Bible fully describes that God and like a previous commenter said, a person who would do those things today that is ascribed to that God. would be in prison or executed for crimes against humanity. We today have better morals that that God described in the Bible. Even animals have more morals that than that God as described in the Bible.

    As far as the Job movie went from the Society this summer. In real life, the guy turned down a good job and then got cancer. In real life, he would not have had health insurance because he quit his job and he wouldn’t have had unemployment compensation because he quit his job instead of being laid off and he would have been refused cancer treatment because he didn’t have money or health insurance and he would have died from his cancer and it would have been his fault entirely because of foolish decisions on his part to quit a good job and also he wasn’t following the Bible when it says that a man is supposed to support his family and provide for them. According to the Bible he was worse than an unbeliever. He was stupid.

    The writers of the story have no idea how life really works. They are living in a fantasy world of make-believe.

    • June 21, 2016 at 11:04 am
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      Oh Caroline, I noticed that too. :) Whaaat! you own a house? Sell it and move into an apartment so you can pioneer. So what, who cares, that apartment rents go up every year and your mortgage is fixed at $555 a month and rents for a one bedroom apartment starts at $2000 a month. :) So what, and sell all your things. :) Yep they are out of touch

      • June 22, 2016 at 6:39 am
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        @ Harry & Caroline

        Great comments and a great article to boot.

        These morons are completely out of touch with reality and have always been so.

        “Work for us without compensation for decades devoting all your time to Kingdom interests. Don’t bother with having a family or an education to better your life in this Satanic system that will ‘soon’ pass away. Just get a basic public education or trade and devote yourselves to full time ministry, pioneer or do missionary work! Gather those treasures in heaven where thieves cannot steal or rust, moths consume, etc.” All of this yammering years before 1975 and afterwards.

        Can anyone tell me how one can ‘withdraw’ some of these ‘treasures in heaven’ since I’m told that I am not part of the 144,000 and that class has been closed off since 1935?

        That doesn’t quite explain the increase of partakers (over 500 per year) for the last decade does it?

        Does any of this malarkey make any sense to anyone, other than the supposed 8 million (whose membership figures I doubt), currently duped active witnesses, that is?

        • June 22, 2016 at 10:56 am
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          @Bigb: there was a revision on the 144k and that the i gathering never stopped… I know just more convenient revision to meet the existing circumstances.

          Why not just admit they were wrong? is it that big of a deal?

          • June 23, 2016 at 10:17 am
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            @ Dwc

            It must be a big deal; to the Governing Body. If we reason on this would not we come to the following logical conclusion namely: To admit they were wrong would imply that they are NOT inspired or directed by God’s Holy Spirit, which is infallible. God is wrong, isn’t an option.

            Nowhere in the Scriptures are God’s true prophets wrong as they delivered whatever message they were inspired to deliver. (Only in the case of the prophet Jonah, but God changed his mind about destroying Nineveh which is always God’s prerogative).

            Therefore the Governing Body would be guessing, like all imperfect humans do, without any guidance or watchful eye of the Most High. It’s a no win situation for them.

            How many more thousands would leave if they admitted the ‘truth’ about their lack of God’s Holy Spirit and direction? How many more would leave (as I did) if the rank and file find out about their U.N. involvement or pedofile protection payouts and court cases? I think that they know that if they admit to the above that would truly be their end.

            Death by hubris; how fitting.

            “It may be a species of impudence to think that the way you understand God is the way God is. (60).”
            ― Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor

            http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/hubris

    • June 22, 2016 at 12:39 pm
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      Really? Where you live the hospitals would refuse you cancer treatment if you didn’t have private insurance? They’d let you die? That’s criminal.
      Here in Spain and UK you’d get that treatment on the Social Security or NHS (National Health Service).
      Sorry if that’s off topic but I find it amazing that a doctor would let someone die just because they didn’t have money. What happened to the Hipocratic Oath?

      • June 22, 2016 at 5:16 pm
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        In some countries, persons who are not eligible for unemployment compensation can access other social services such as what is commonly referred to as “welfare”. In these countries there is a provision for persons benefitting from welfare to access healthcare.

        Some countries without a welfare system may also offer free healthcare (e.g. Jamaica). Persons may obtain private insurance however, if they wish to access healthcare from a privately run institution.

        Good thing that Satan’s evil governments put these systems in place so that JWs can benefit and still be able to access healthcare even if they don’t have private insurance.

  • June 21, 2016 at 12:54 pm
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    Sorry I haven’t been on. I have been lurking but cause of work I have not had time. Probably a sorry excuse to most of the posters here. Couple of observations…

    Re: free will. Again there was complete and utter freedom originally if you subscribe to that. As I mentioned I know not every one believes in the bible nor am I asking you to. I am asking everyone thought to look at the argument for what it is. Humans had complete freedom to do anything. All that was asked if tel was to respect gods authority and in turn the laws that govern the universe. For example: Gravity. I can jump from any height but the consequences vary. If I do not respect the reality of gravity it could have dire consequences. Likewise Adam and Eve had no limitations. They could’ve done anything else.

    Re: everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah/YHWH/LORD…

    Look it is definitely about the relationship one has with God and what’s more you all know that’s what is meant by that scripture.

    I find it pretty petty some of the arguments presented as no one is telling you you are wrong. I certainly am not telling anyone this. It seems to me there is not any true dialogue here as people can’t handle when their line of thought is challenged. If I present an argument acknowledge it. Don’t tell me I’m wrong. Don’t tell Sarah or anyone else they’re wrong. All you are doing is coming off as a butt-hurt person who was jaded. Hello we have all been affected.

    I come on this board for support not to be berated. If you’re just going to do that I’m gone no problem.

    Re: murder at Armageddon. I suppose a criminal who also kills someone shouldn’t deserve the death penalty. Stupid Symantec arguments as I said. I get it if you don’t believe in God and good on you. I personally don’t see it as murder and that’s my right.

    As for the original Video which I was there for… This is a recycle of a drama from 3 years ago where the “brother” was walking in the new system with a resurrected Job.

    At the end of the day I feel the WTBTS is playing off the hopes and dreams that have been fed through a lifetime of service. I agree with the poster who stated that there were answered there and that he chose not to accept those out of “loyalty” to Jehovah. There was nothing in those offerings that came across as breaking any sort of loyalt to Jehovah. What’s more as mentioned it made the grieving process terribly long and confusing.

    In the end my thought is this… Organized religion is a bane on society. And it is why Jesus did away with it when he died.

    • June 21, 2016 at 3:02 pm
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      Hi Dwc,

      It is unfortunate that you misconstrued my counterarguments/alternate viewpoints/questions to mean that I am berating you instead of engaging you in debate. Would you have responded similarly to someone in the door-to-door ministry who presented challenges/counterarguments/alternate viewpoints to your beliefs?

      I get the impression that you do not welcome any challenge to or questioning of your comments. Perhaps your JW conditioning is responsible for this and so I understand – after all it is a very brutal conditioning which results in most JWs suffering from an arrogance of conviction wrapped in an elitist tone that condemns all those not of their religious ilk.

      Hopefully you will be able to overcome this conditioning and get to the point where you are able to debate challenges/counterarguments to your viewpoint instead of misconstruing these challenges/counterarguments as berating you.

      Regards.

      • June 21, 2016 at 3:30 pm
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        If there is one thing which my JW experience has taught me is that I should never delegate my critical thinking skills and power of reasoning to anyone or suspend them for any reason but to always question, investigate, evaluate and challenge everything.

      • June 21, 2016 at 3:43 pm
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        Debate is not the issue. If you want to debate a point I am happy to do so, just not in this thread. But again your own answer shows “my JW upbringing” vs your opposite of being so hurt by the “organization” that you can’t allow people to have their opinions. I find far to often that if one doesn’t agree with another they are jumped on as was Sarah. She just expressed her opinion. Was it wrong?

        I am more than ok with someone challenging my comments but I feel the comments border on sheer anger and spite. The hard part is that in the end I am not going to agree with you and you won’t agree with me, even if I present a sound logical and fundamentally solid argument.

        For example the point of Armageddon being murder by a spiteful hateful God. One calls it murder while One might call it justified. Why? Because one believes the God is justified in the action. The other does not even believe in God. This one cannot accept the rule of a supreme being whose sole goal is for mankind to never die because they do not believe a God of love could commit such a cruel act. So then what should happen? How can they have a healthy debate?

        This is not my JW upbringing as I was not raised a witness nor do I pretend to be an expert on anything other than a master of my own faith and beliefs.

        But I don’t come on this board to debate and argue with people. Not in a forum like this where we are discussing a video that again in its simplest terms preys on and amplifies the hopes and dreams of 8 million worshippers of God. That is the true crime. You cannot debate this. No one can. We all should appreciate that each and everyone of us have seen through the policies procedures lies deceit and absolute hypocrisy of the WTBTS! And I am happy to come and read everyone’s thoughts on this.

        Personally I think these reviews have been spot on. But who am I to say… I’m not open to debate ;)

        • June 21, 2016 at 4:03 pm
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          What about people who believe in god but not the god represented in the bible? There are many people on earth in this camp. Are they wrong too?

        • June 22, 2016 at 3:31 am
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          DWC…you have hit the nail on the head when talking with Dee2. I learned on another thread in talking with her, that if you don’t agree with her (she was seriously Bible Bashing) she will always resort to saying YOU are the one that doesn’t like debating and YOU are the one who doesn’t get it and YOU are the one reacting as one conditioned by the Org. When making my comments now, I never respond to her. Others have great things to say and are willing to share ideas and thoughts without trying to destroy your personal belief system. My suggestion is skip over her comments and read on. There’s lots of good stuff on here.

        • June 22, 2016 at 5:01 am
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          @Dwc, I personally think that all of dee2’s comments are brilliant and I wished I had dee2’s brains. I can’t imagine even any of the Governing Body being able to stand up to dee2’s knowledge of the Bible and what it “really” says.

          When I say that the even the Governing Body would not be able to stand up against what dee2 says about what the Bible “really” says is because dee2 actually knows what the Bible “really” says, but most Bible believers don’t and I can’t believe that the Governing Body know what the Bible “really” says and if they do know what the Bible “really” says, I wonder how they could still believe in the god of the Bible.

          If they paid attention to what it “really” says, they would realize it doesn’t make sense and why would I, or anybody else sacrifice their life for the God of a Bible that doesn’t make any sense?

          If people paid attention to what the Bible “really” says, I can’t understand how anybody could either love or respect the god of the Bible.

          You say that it’s okay to kill every person on the earth at Armageddon because they don’t love and obey Jehovah, right?

          Just what is man supposed to do to love and obey Jehovah? When Jehovah killed every man, woman and child as well as all the animals at the flood, all those people and animals were supposedly “wicked” and that is why Jehovah killed them but up until that time, the only “law” that was given to mankind was that Adam and Ever weren’t supposed to eat of the fruit of good and bad. Those people didn’t even have a law yet and yet Jehovah killed them because they were wicked? Wicked from what? What laws were they not following that the whole earth deserved to be destroyed?

          And think about the wicked angels that had sex with the women. Did those angels have sex organs where they could produce sperm to produce those giants? Think about it. I thought only Jesus was able to create everything but if you don’t believe Jehovah’s Witnesses theology, then only God could have created humans so who created those angels’ bodies where they could create sperm to produce all those “wicked” people? If those angels were able to “create” human bodies for themselves, then why couldn’t they also have been able to create all that we see on the earth today? Why not ascribe to those angels the ability to create the heavens and the earth?

          Tell me, if God created the heavens and the earth, then describe God for me. Is he not invisible? So, there was an invisible God and there was no heavens and no earth but out of nothing came this invisible God who “created” all that we see on the earth today. I can’t wrap my head around that and for not “believing” in a God like that, you say that I deserve to be killed by that God of love.

          I am not bashing you for believing in the Bible but if what the Bible says about that God is true, then it’s that God that I don’t either care for or believe in and especially think that if he created me with a mind to think for myself (not like the animals) then how could he expect me to put faith in something that I see no evidence for? Why would that god kill me for not putting faith in him when he gives zero evidence for his existence?

          Do you honestly think that because I can’t believe in that God, that I deserve to die? Doesn’t what I do in life count for anything?

          Would you kill your child because they don’t love you if they have never seen you and you are invisible?

          • June 22, 2016 at 8:01 am
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            Thanks for your kind words Caroline.
            I guess questioning/challenging what is written in the Bible is off-limits, taboo for some persons; it’s just not to be done as far as they are concerned, similar to the JW view of the GB – I recall an elder telling me that in the post-Bible age, God is no longer dealing with individuals, he is instead only dealing with an “organization” (the GB) and so he is only revealing things to his “organization” (the GB) not to individuals, and so the GB are not to be questioned or challenged. He supported this with Amos 3:7:
            “Surely the Lord GOD does nothing Unless He reveals His secret counsel To His servants the prophets.”
            He claimed that I was being just like his son who was not a JW but who viewed the GB as expressing man-made ideas.

            I find it odd that I can use my critical thinking skills and power of reasoning to question/challenge things in every other aspect of my life but when it comes to the Bible that is taboo.
            I suppose this is taboo for some persons as they equate questioning/challenging the Bible with questioning/challenging God.

          • June 22, 2016 at 8:55 am
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            Never once did I bash dee2 nor say her thoughts and comments were invalid or wrong. You are right she does have a lot of great observations. I enjoy reading her comments. But I’m not here to puff up anyone’s ego. So you don’t need me to have a debate with to make yourself feel good. I also know my bible extremely well.

            It is an interesting argument about the angels who came down and took the form of men forsaken their original forms. You presented a very good argument. Too bad we are talking about the videos and how it reinforces the JW beliefs and hopes instead of how challenges like this can be overcome. It seems wait and see is the answer to everything… Unless you actively work with your prayer lol

            All the best to everyone.

          • June 22, 2016 at 9:07 am
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            Caroline, again I’m happy for you that you are at peace with your beliefs. That’s all that matters.

          • June 22, 2016 at 4:41 pm
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            OK Dwc,

            If I were to re-state my previous comment to you regarding the book of Joel in the form of a question, would that make you feel better?
            Here goes: I note that like the WT, you have also applied statements from the book of Joel to the second coming of Jesus Christ, but was Joel in fact really prophesying about the second coming of Jesus Christ?

          • June 22, 2016 at 6:25 pm
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            Hello Dwc,

            If I were to re-state my previous comment to you regarding the book of Joel in the form of a question, would that make you less upset/feel better?

            Here goes: I note that like the WT, you have also applied statements from the book of Joel to the second coming of Jesus Christ, but was Joel in fact prophesying about the second coming of Jesus Christ?

            OR if you still find my re-stated question to be upsetting, please indicate how I should ask this question or is it that you don’t want me asking you anything at all?

            Regards.

  • June 21, 2016 at 1:39 pm
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    Job answered Satans challenge according to the bible…and so did Jesus…why has this megolomaniac, cruel and sadistic god got to keep asking everyone to carry on doing the same thing over and over again…it is a ridiculous premise and I believe none of it any more…and I feel liberated as if I have been incarcerated in this prison of a religion all my life..and now I am finally free…50+ years is a long long time.

    • June 21, 2016 at 3:49 pm
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      I absolutely love this comment! Last year I was so distraught because I felt the exact same way! What is left to be proven? There is no reason for any of the suffering in the world to continue based on that reasoning! Love the comment!

  • June 21, 2016 at 7:05 pm
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    During their book study this week in their Imitate Their Faith Book in chapter 18 and in paragragh 11 while the study discusses what happened the day Christ was born, it reads, ‘Some 4,000 years earlier Jehovah had fortold that it would be the common lot of women to suffer pain during childbirth because of inherited sin.’ That logic means humans have only existed for 6000 years (I’m adding the year 2016 + 4000 years) Does that sound right? That doesn’t sound right to me. Where can I find accurate info about this? Are they correct?

    • June 21, 2016 at 8:40 pm
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      ‘Inherited sin’!….right there….isn’t that just a load of guilt inducing bullshit. Guilt, guilt, guilt. What a hideous, cruel, nasty thing to hoist on a human being from the moment they are born. Right up there with “I love you and I’m extremely merciful, but if you don’t love me back I’ll kill you in the most hideous fashion, like any loving merciful god would”. And we’re supposed to respect all that!!!? We’re supposed to bring up our children on guilt and fear and feel grateful for the privilege?

    • June 21, 2016 at 9:09 pm
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      Harry

      The JW date for Adam’s creation was 4026 BCE. This date has been in use by the organization since the days of CT Russell, and was in fact used in the calculation which led to the 1975 fiasco (they believed that 6000 years of man’s existence would end in 1975, and usher in the 1000 year reign of Christ.)

      You can easily type in the 4026 date on the watchtower online library (wol dot jw dot org) and confirm this

      JR

      • June 21, 2016 at 9:27 pm
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        John Redwood, The JW religion is sounding weirder everyday.

        • June 21, 2016 at 10:32 pm
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          It was BUILT on weird, Harry. Russell was clearly, what would be seen today, psychotic. He had messianic delusions, but managed to gain followers because of his fervour and the popular ‘end-times’ feeling at that time in history. He had a willing and primed audience.
          The JW religion is built on sand.

          • June 22, 2016 at 8:07 am
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            @Outandabout

            I came to the same conclusion regarding Russell’s mental health after reading comments in the following publication in which he stated that God was revealing things to him:

            https://scontent-ord1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/fr/cp0/e15/q65/11174658_864124966988204_8375858495568696484_o.jpg?efg=eyJpIjoidCJ9:

            “I said that I had been in conference with the Great Master Workman, the Lord himself, and I have secret information through the Holy Spirit and guidance in respect to what the Bible says, and that contains all the truth, I believe, on every subject.”

            It is of interest to note that mental health practitioners have observed that in patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, often delusions exist that either exalt the status of the patient – e.g. the patient is God’s representative on earth; or denigrate the patient – e.g. God is sending messages to the patient specifying his/her sinfulness and need to be punished.

            https://www.researchgate.net/post/Why_are_religious_delusions_and_hallucinations_so_prominent_in_patients_with_serious_mental_health_diagnoses_especially_schizophrenia

          • June 22, 2016 at 8:59 am
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            If I may, one thing Russell did do was also see through teachings of men in doctrine which appealed to people. He did ask people to write on what they perceived to be bible truths and he used a lot of their materials. So sprinkle some logical truth in with fantasy based on Masonic teachings, eschatology and voila!! Jehovah’s witnesses.

          • June 22, 2016 at 6:50 pm
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            Here’s an interesting article I came across: http://www.neirr.org/pyramidscheme.htm

            Want to talk about weird ideas, consider Russell’s obsession with the great pyramid at Giza. What I didn’t realize was that he ket changing the dimensions as his chronologies and predictions changed!

            WS

          • June 22, 2016 at 6:52 pm
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            Meant to write that he “kept” changing dimensions. I lost the letter “p”.

      • June 22, 2016 at 5:36 am
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        JR,
        If memory serves correctly, Russell used a date of 4126 BCE for Adams’ creation so that 6,000 years would coincide with 1874/1875. Much later, FW Franz updated the chronology to 4026 BCE to coincide with 1975. I believe this is brought out in one of Ray Franz’s books.

        It goes to show that they can cherry pick any date they like to fit their predictions.

        WS

        • June 22, 2016 at 7:16 am
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          Right on Winston!

          That is exactly what one can expect from an Adventist religion. It’s whole basis for existence is one continuing theme, namely “someone is coming or something is going to happen!” The problem occurs when the event doesn’t arrive or take place.

          Goodness sake even Santa comes once a year as does the Easter Bunny, you can count on it! Jesus and Armageddon, however, not so much. :)

          As always, I enjoy your posts. By your comments it looks like you have been associated with this Organization for quite some time.

          I myself have been associated since 1957 when my parents started studying. Mom was baptized in 1959 and my Dad 1960 . I symbolized my dedication in January, 1969. The ‘ah-ha’ moments for me was the cover-up of their U.N. involvement followed by the reading of “Crisis of Conscience” by Ray Franz. The never ending pedophilia debacle and ‘overlapping generations’ doctrine just cemented my belief that, in good conscience, I could no longer support this cult as God’s Organization. Three years ago I finished my ‘fade’ along with my wife and son. We haven’t regretted our decision to leave and we haven’t looked back!

          • June 22, 2016 at 6:45 pm
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            Big B,
            I was not in for as long as you. I was born-in to a multigenerational family of JWs and baptized in the 1980’s while still in my early teens. Some of my relatives were personal acquaintances of Russell and Rutherford. Something that helped me to wake up was that when one my long time JW relatives died, I inherited a good size library of old Watchtower books. So I started reading them. I quickly realized that what I had been told the organization has said way back when and what they actually said were very different.

            I was one of those totally gung-ho young Witness men, appointed an elder while still in my mid twenties. Everyone thought I was CO material until we popped out a couple of kids. I have been faded about 3-1/2 years. It has been tough since my wife and many family members are still in. But I had to follow my conscience.

            WS

  • June 22, 2016 at 4:08 am
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    “Inherited sin” rules out the concept of “Free will”,
    It’s inflicted upon us at the moment of conception,
    no choice, no options.

    • June 22, 2016 at 5:42 am
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      Unless I am mistaken, I don’t believe that the term original or inherited sin is ever actually used in scripture. I believe it is a concept introduced by later theologies & reasoning. For instance, many Unitarians reject the concept of Origjnal Sin. Rather they see Chirst as the example of how to please God, whereas Adam as the antithesis of Christ’s example. In this is everyone is dying in Adam, but being made alive in Christ. This preserves the concept of free will without entirely rejecting scripture.

      WS

      • June 22, 2016 at 8:10 am
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        The concept of Original Sin was explained in depth by St Augustine and formalised as part of Roman Catholic doctrine by the Councils of Trent in the 16th Century as an explanation for the evils of the world.

        • June 22, 2016 at 9:50 am
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          Thanks dee2. I appreciate your detailed research.

          WS

      • June 22, 2016 at 9:04 am
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        Yes, I suppose our free will is tempered by whether we use it to harm others.

        I am modifying my ideas due to posts here. E.G. shunning – maybe we should do as God does and let the sun shine on the good and the bad.

        However, I like to think I’d have the strength of mind not to follow someone like Hitler but be able to discern the wickedness in some ideas. An extreme example maybe.

        I do like the Bible and love this earth and I don’t mind being jumped on for this. There is a theory that if you get a lot of people together, they will eventually come up with the right way to do things. Something to do with ants.

        Just a quickie going back to some of your other comments Winston. I think God gave the Amorites 400 years to change. They just got worse. There is going to be a resurrection of the wicked, but not sure if this helps.

        • June 22, 2016 at 10:01 am
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          Sarah,
          Yes, I have heard that reasoning (about the Amalekites) from the Watchtower. I simply don’t buy it. Look around us today and all the diverse cultures out there. Is there anyone culture that is totally evil, every last one, such that they deserve to be wiped off the face of the earth? I don’t think so. Otherwise, we could justify bombing some “evil” group out of existence. And think back to the time of the Amalekites: there were no bombs to drop. You had to take your sword (hopefully it was sharp) and hack to pieces thousands of women and children. Picture this in your mind: the screams of children, the weeping, the fear, the blood. Children lying hacked to pieces dying an agonizing death as the “righteous” soldiers of Israel move on to others. Even if they will get a resurrection, no humans deserve to go through this.

          So I accept the fact that the Israeites butchered the Amalekites. But I don’t accept that it was God’s will.

          WS

          • June 22, 2016 at 11:08 am
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            @Winston,

            According to Numbers 31:17-18, the Israelites weren’t so merciless after all. They did not kill all of their enemies on this occasion, they made sure to spare the virgins:

            “Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.”

            Wonder, how they were able to determine if a female child was a virgin, as I am sure everyone would claim that they were a virgin and lie about their age in order to spare their lives – I suppose those Israelite soldiers had a fool-proof test for this which perhaps involved a bit of gynaecology………lol.

            Numbers 31:17-18 contrasts with other scriptures such as Deuteronomy 7:1-2 and Deuteronomy 20:16-17, for example, which commanded the Israelites to kill everything that breathed.

            Maybe Numbers 31:17-18 was the precursor to the Geneva Convention???……..lol……..so give the Israelites a little credit, those wars weren’t so bad after all, at least some civilians were spared:

            Geneva Convention, International Committee of the Red Cross, (1949), https://www.icrc.org/: ;

            “Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all
            circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex,
            birth, or wealth, or any other similar criteria. Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War”.

        • June 22, 2016 at 3:49 pm
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          To add to Winston’s comments about Numbers chapter 31. There were supposedly 32,000 virgin girls who were saved over from the slaughter of all their families including all the little boys.

          Those 32,000 virgins were divided up between the men who went to war, the congregation, the Levites and 32 went to Jehovah. Why would Jehovah want 32 little virgin girls?

          This is what I think Jehovah wanted with those 32 virgin girls.

          According to Acts chapter 7, Stephen said that all during the forty years the Israelites were in the wilderness, they were worshiping Molech and of course after they were in the “promised” land, they kept offering up their children in the fire to Molech and to Baal.

          The whole idea of the Mosaic law was to offer up animal sacrifices but Jeremiah 7:22 (K.J.) says: “For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of Egypt, concerning burnt-offerings or sacrifices” but Ezekiel 20:25-26 (K.J.) says: “Morever also I gave them statutes that were not good and ordinances wherein they should not live; and I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am Jehovah.”

          In the Bible at Jeremiah 7:30,31 it says that it never entered Jehovah’s mind for the Israelites to offer their children in the fire but at Ezekiel, it says that it was his idea.

          So, do you see why the Bible doesn’t make any sense to me and why I have come to the conclusion that all during the 40 year trek in the wilderness, the Israelites were offering up their children to Jehovah in the fire and even afterwards and Molech is the god that they were worshiping and Jehovah is just another name for Molech or the Tetragrammaton? I believe the Tetragrammaton stands for Molech and Jehovah’s Witnesses are worshiping that god, the one that Stephen said the Israelites were worshiping and the one who gave the Israelites all the laws concerning the animal burnt sacrifices.

          The first set of stone tablets that Moses destroyed when he came down from the mountain was all the laws and instructions concerning the setting up of the tabernacle and how all the animals were to be sacrificed.

          Even when you read the entire account about Hezekiah, another one of the movies that the Society showed this summer, it says that all the nations were “fearing” Jehovah but the Israelites were not. That whole story doesn’t make any sense either.

          The reason the Society doesn’t want people to read the Bible on their own without using Watchtower literature is because the Watchtower explains away all those texts that a normal person would shake his head at.

          The Society has an explanation for everything and that is because the religion depends on the Bible and without their explaining all those difficult passages away, a normal person would reach the conclusion that the Bible is just a man-made concoction of myths and legends and not to be taken seriously.

          I can’t understand when people claim to read the Bible and still “love” that god.

  • June 22, 2016 at 8:22 am
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    @Hello Winston, Thanks for the informative comment.
    Isn’t that just the way with Bible interpretation and all
    the nuancing and rationalisation that goes on with all
    the different sects.

    They will always find a way to make things fit with their
    own ideas. Though the specific terms, “Original or
    inherited sin” may not appear, I’m sure the doctrine
    is established by Rom, 5/12, among others.

    I personally don’t accept or believe it. Who would like
    to live in a country where the law demanded, not only
    the death of a felon but also the life of his children
    grand children and all progeny? Such an outrageous
    law, were it applied in any land today it would solve their
    immigration problem, at a stroke, assuming they had
    such a problem.

    • June 22, 2016 at 10:13 am
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      @Twmack

      Original Sin is certainly a violation of a person’s free will.
      The free will of every subsequent human being has been infringed by Adam and Eve and God’s planned reaction to their fall. Now millions of children die before the age of 5 every year, which according to theology, is because of Adam and Eve. Millions of children under the age of 5 have their free will violated in one of the worst possible ways.

  • June 22, 2016 at 10:56 am
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    The society claims Eve was born in the year 4026 bce. The Grand Canion took longer than that to be formed by the Colorado River. I guess the society believes the flood happened 5000 years ago? If the flood happened that short of a time ago we would see water ring marks in mountain tops. Scientists know water levels were lower during the ice age because of physical evidence. If the flood only happened 5000 years ago we would find more physical evidence of it

    • June 22, 2016 at 11:47 am
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      @Harry Cadanza:

      It certainly seems that the Flood waters receded rather quickly and humans began to multiply rather rapidly from just 8 people, at least in the area where the tower of Babel was built since the building of the tower occurred only 100 years after the Flood.

      Also, it seems that the great pyramids of Egypt were also spared during the Flood as these were already built before the Flood occurred, so were many of the Egyptian’s buildings and temples as well as cities in the old land called Sumeria. Egypt had already created its first dynasty by 3000 B.C. and many experts say that people were living in the area next to the Nile at least up to 5000 B.C. – that’s 1000 years before Adam s creation.

      https://www.jehovahs-witness.com/topic/5734826850123776/crazy-timeline-bible

    • June 22, 2016 at 3:31 pm
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      Harry

      the JW date for the flood is 2370 BCE, just 4300 short years ago. The organization is slowly being cornered by science, and mainstream religions have jumped ship on the fundamentalist literal interpretations, leaving them room for belief in a creator while still accepting modern science. It will be interesting to see just how long JWs manage to hang on to these outdated beliefs for which there is no logical evidence or support

      JR

  • June 22, 2016 at 1:13 pm
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    @Dee2, You’re right Dee, the Bible God even imposes
    the ultimate penalty of death on very young children,
    who are unable to make any meaningful decision and
    have to rely on others to do it for them.

    Here in England the Law is much more understanding,
    it recognises a child’s limitations. No one under 10
    years old can be charged with a crime.

    Maybe God is of the same opinion as former WT, Pres,
    Fred Franz. When asked if he believed God would really
    kill children at Armageddon, he replied. “Well little rats
    grow into big rats”.

    • June 22, 2016 at 3:43 pm
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      This is an organization based on contradictions….god read every Amalekites heart and felt all were worthy of nothing but virtual genocide…including babies in the security of a mothers womb…yet they say peopkes hearts can be changed by the holy spirit and the mighty hand of god….David actually murdered a man because he wanted to take his wife…if a man did anything like that today he would be cut off from the congregation…it goes on and on and on…we dont need religous debate on this site…it is not what it exists for…it is a site for those who have had their life destroyed by the control and lies of these people…this organization is despicable…they lie…they destroy families through shunning…they sacrifice lives young and old on the alter of refusing blood transfusions…on the same alter they deprive babies of a mothers love.. they ask people to put aside their whole selves and follow a cult…its not easy to cast aside a crutch you have been given from birth…to turn against a lie that you have been indoctrinated with as an inexorable truth…my life 3 years ago was in tatters…especially my mental state…I have managed to pick myself up after 50+ years in and believing and started a new pathway for my life…really we dont need religous debate…we need to just help one another break free from this evil and be true to ourselves whatever direction that takes…I believe in very little any more…others are different …thats fine…our one inescapable truth is that this cult is a curse on those who follow it..lets be at peace with one another whatever direction we have taken since…I am now an atheist…some are not…I may be wrong…I will never take that dogmatic high road again….but I know I am striving to be a good person…I think most who visit this site are…really there is more that unites than divides us…remember that…peace and love to all of you whatever your philosophy.

    • June 22, 2016 at 5:27 pm
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      @Twmack,

      “Little rats grow into big rats”.

      If the assertion made by Fred Franz is that God will kill infants because he knows the infants will sin, this would need an absolute knowledge of the future which, if this is possible, logically removes any chance of any free will, either ours or God’s.

      There can be no free will if God knows that an infant will sin. Absolute knowledge of the future requires total knowledge of all detail. The infant will have no choice, he/she has to follow that path, if not, it means God could be wrong in his supposed knowledge of the future.

      • June 22, 2016 at 5:34 pm
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        If God already knows that “little rats grow into big rats” hence why he will destroy infants at Armageddon, then the implication of this is that JWs don’t need to do any preaching, since God already knows who will or who will not survive Armageddon.

      • June 22, 2016 at 8:30 pm
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        Whenever I think of free will this song comes to mind. For me, it has become somewhat of a mantra for breaking free from the chains of cult influence. Just a part of the lyrics are pasted here:

        There are those who think
        That life has nothing left to chance
        A host of holy horrors
        To direct our aimless dance

        A planet of playthings
        We dance on the strings of powers we cannot perceive
        The stars aren’t aligned or the gods are malign
        Blame is better to give than receive

        Youu can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
        If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
        You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
        I will choose a path that’s clear, I will choose freewill

        WS

        • June 23, 2016 at 11:53 am
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          @Winston Smith

          Great lyrics, thanks for sharing! We could start a thread just for sharing lyrics, I would love to read some others as well. Once I left, music was a big help to me too. Here is one my favorites:

          The touch and feeling of free is
          Intangible technically
          Something you’ve got to believe in
          Connect the cause and effect
          One foot in front of the next
          This is the start of a journey.
          And my mind is already gone
          And though there are other unknowns
          Somehow this doesn’t concern me.

          And you can stand right there if you want
          But I’m going on
          And I’m prepared to go it alone
          I’m going on
          To a place in the sun that’s nice and warm
          I’m going on

          • June 23, 2016 at 3:05 pm
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            My lyrics would be “The Sound of Silence”. It makes me think of my waking up & how so much I wanted to get through to Witnesses but it felt like I was speaking through a thick glass of pain & that gagged feeling if you choose to speak out while they turn a blind eye & don’t want to know the truth.

            …..Hello darkness, my old friend
            I’ve come to talk with you again.
            Because a vision softly creeping,
            left its seeds while I was sleeping.
            And the vision that was planted in my brain still remains within the sound of silence

            In restless dreams I walked alone
            Narrow streets of cobblestone
            ‘Neath the halo of a streetlamp
            I turned my collar to the cold and damp. When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light that split the night and touched the sound of silence

            And in the naked light I saw
            Ten thousand people, maybe more. People talking without speaking. People hearing without listening. People writing songs that voices never share. No one dare….. disturb the sound of silence

            “Fools” said I, “You do not know
            Silence like a cancer grows.
            Hear my words that I might teach you. Take my arms that I might reach you. But my words like silent raindrops fell. And echoed in the wells of silence.
            And the people bowed and prayed
            To the neon god they made…… (JW.ORG)
            And the sign flashed out its warning. In the words that it was forming and the sign said “The words of the prophets are written on subway walls and tenement halls and whispered in the sounds of silence

          • June 23, 2016 at 7:41 pm
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            @[email protected]
            Sounds like a good description of fading from the JW org.

            @Grace
            I get the sounds of silence. A good fit as well.

            WS

  • June 23, 2016 at 2:14 am
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    About the the Worst Convention ever: I don’t have a giproblem with it because I’m a faded one and not going there!

    I advise everyone contemplating to attend to not do that. BOYCOTT it. And the ones following. If a fair number of people who use to go to the WTS conventions don’t – then surely the impact WILL be felt. Second, don’t give them any of your money, that would another logical step to follow.

    Do this and you are hurting the Watchtower Society. Greetings from Sweden.

  • June 23, 2016 at 5:20 am
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    Greetings to All,
    I am a sometimes reader on this site. Of course there are family ties present, causing shock and sometimes even anger at the extent of JW barbarism. The A.R.C. being responsible for most of that. My sympathies to all who are or were caught in that abomination.
    However, my real motivation is because I have been captivated by this thread.It is filled with intelligence, writing and debating skills that I can only dream of.. All of you are searching for truth but I believe you are all realising it is not to be found in organised religion. Far from it. JW,s at my door invariably left when my statement was, “If that is your God, I want nothing to do with him.” That I am grateful for. I have found “my Truth” but that is just what it says, because it is mine and is not meant for anyone else. Everyone will eventually find their own, in their own way and on their own time line.
    Cheers.

    • June 23, 2016 at 7:28 am
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      I second this comment. Is there an actual chat room we could all be in? In that setting I am happy to discuss and debate on many subjects. I really wanted to keep my comments focused on the subject of the thread here, but would love to chat with and meet Winston, dee2, Caroline, bigb and everyone else.

      I will always admit I am wrong. Does anyone have any suggestions?

      • June 23, 2016 at 12:00 pm
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        @ DWC Agree 100% as well. A chat room would be great, it would be better if we could start our own convention LOL! Coming soon to a stadium near you, the annual convention of xjws titled: F**K You and the False Prophetic Horse you Rode In On.

      • June 23, 2016 at 1:03 pm
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        Hi Dwc,

        I found that a good starting point for finding my own truth was to get a good understanding of what the Bible really is by examining the research and various viewpoints etc. of historians of religion/Religious Studies academics/Biblical Studies academics.

        I would like to suggest the open courses on the Old Testament and the New Testament which were offered by Yale University as a possible starting point:

        INTRODUCTION TO THE OLD TESTAMENT (HEBREW BIBLE):

        http://oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies/rlst-145

        https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLh9mgdi4rNeyuvTEbD-Ei0JdMUujXfyWi

          • June 23, 2016 at 7:43 pm
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            Thanks for sharing these dee2.

            WS

          • June 26, 2016 at 10:35 pm
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            Thanks dee2 :)

          • June 27, 2016 at 7:00 am
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            Dwc,

            Just to say that I think spirituality is important as it can help mankind find balance and avoid self-centeredness/narcissism. Faith communities can offer a place for one to focus on developing spirituality/doing good to others etc., while satisfying our social needs. Doing good to others certainly helps the world to be a better place. So being a part of a faith community can be a good thing.

            But I think it is also important to get a good understanding of what the Bible really is so that one does not become dogmatic about what is written in it or become locked into finding “the one true religion”.
            These are just my personal thoughts.

            Regards.

  • June 23, 2016 at 10:14 am
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    185,000. Assyrian soldiers killed by one Angel. Intended
    to demonstrate how JHVH protects those loyal to him,
    but also implicit in the tale is the threat of what will happen
    if one is disloyal.

    Unless this is a factual account it has little force as a
    motivating factor, and has as been show there is no
    corroborating evidence for such an extraordinary
    event. Propaganda and facts are never bedfellows.

    The same holds true for the characters, Job and also for
    Moses ( Who it’s claimed wrote the book of Job). Apart from
    the Bible, history is blank in their case.

    No historical record either, of an estimated 2. 5 million people
    and livestock tramping around the wilderness of Kadesh Barnea
    for 40 years, during which time a whole generation died there.
    Also no physical evidence has been found, no bones, teeth,
    pottery shards, not the slightest trace that such a monumental
    event ever occurred.

    Some on the Internet, claim these stories are true and that ones
    who dispute this are illiterate and have an agenda, All I can say is
    “Produce some real conformation of these things and display it, so
    we can all go and see it.

    Regarding the WT, many of us know that facts are not a priority
    with them. Let’s hope some at these assemblies will see past the
    emotion and discern this for themselves.

  • June 23, 2016 at 1:30 pm
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    Hi Caroline. Interesting comments you make on
    Ezekiel,20: 25-26. So JHVH allowed them to go
    on sacrificing children for 40 plus years.

    The object, to prove how evil they were, then he
    would have a good reason to punish them, and as
    the NWT, puts it, “In order that they might know
    that I am Jehovah”.

    So he stood by all that time watching children
    being sacrificed as burnt offerings, just so he
    could eventually demonstrate he was the great
    I AM.

    I can see a parallel with all the pedophilia in the
    WT,Org. As was revealed at the Australian R, Comm,
    WTS own records show offences going back to the
    50s, that’s 60 plus years children have been suffering.

    If they are JHVHs modern Org, what is he now waiting
    for? Has it not being proved what evil is in there?
    Isn’t it time for him to prove what a great God he is?

  • June 23, 2016 at 2:53 pm
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    On what days and times [Talks] are these being released? It might be worth a trip to get them but only for that period of time.

  • June 23, 2016 at 3:10 pm
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    @Twmack, I don’t believe that Jehovah “allowed” the Israelites to offer their children up to him as burnt sacrifices but that it was part of the law covenant that they were to offer up their children as burnt sacrifices to him.

    “Leviticus 27:28,29 (K.J.) “Notwithstanding, no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto Jehovah of all that he hath, whether of man or beast, or of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed; every devoted thing is most holy unto Jehovah. No one devoted, that shall be devoted from among men, shall be ransomed but shall surely be put to death.” (The New World Translation says that “He should be put to death without fail”.)

    Exodus 13:2 (K.J.): “Sanctify unto me all the first-born, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast; it is mine.”

    Exodus 13:12,13 (K.J.) “that thou shalt set apart unto Jehovah all that openeth the womb, and every firstling which thou hast that cometh of a beast; the males shall be Jehovah’s. And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break it’s neck; and all the first-born of man among thy sons shalt thou redeem.”

    Exodus 22:29 (K.J.) “Thou shalt not delay to offer of thy harvest, and of the outflow of thy presses. The first-born of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.”

    Exodus 34:19,20 (K.J.) “All that openeth the womb is mine, and all thy cattle that is male, the firstlings of cow and sheep. And the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break it’s neck. All the first-born of thy sons thou shalt redeem and none shall appear before me empty-handed.”

    Is it too hard to believe that Jehovah would have demanded that the Israelites devote 32 Medianite girls to be burned to him as burnt sacrifices when in order to have those 32,000 young virgin girls left over as booty, Jehovah had ordered all their families to be slaughtered with the sword? Why is that so difficult to believe when there had to be hundreds of thousands of men, women and children slaughtered with swords first?

    The Bible won’t come right out and say that Jehovah wanted those first-born sacrificed to him as burnt sacrifices but it does come right out and say that if a priest’s daughter was caught in prostitution, that she was to be burnt in a fire (Leviticus 21:9) and while the New World translation likes to imply that Jephthah did not offer up his daughter as a burnt sacrifice to Jehovah, most other Bibles do say that is what he did and that was because Jephthah wanted victory over a war he was fighting so that shows that Jehovah was approving of the wars and the sacrifice of Jephthah’s daughter.

    So, Ezekiel chapter 20 is saying that it was Jehovah who gave the Israelites the statutes where they were to offer up their children to him as burnt sacrifices. He didn’t “allow” it, he ordered it.

    The Bible is straight when it tells about how evil the Israelites were in offering up their children to Baal an Molech and we should believe it. If Jehovah killed Lot’s wife for turning around, then why in the world would he keep the Israelites as his “chosen” people after all the terrible things they did?

  • June 23, 2016 at 4:21 pm
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    In Job 38 to 42, God spoke directly to Job. Yet, if I am not mistaken, didn’t the WT teach that God no longer spoke directly to humans after the fall of Adam and Eve?

    If my memory serves me right, according to WT theology, as per the Genesis account, God used to speak directly to Adam and Eve but once they sinned, this severed their close relationship with God to the point where God no longer spoke directly to them and likewise their descendants because we are now far removed from God because of inherited sin and imperfection. Yet in Job 38 to 42, God spoke directly to Job, a descendant of Adam and Eve.

    • June 23, 2016 at 4:59 pm
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      Dee, I remember during a talk at an assembly in 2008 the speaker said Jehovah made exceptions and spoke to us humans when he felt like it. The talk sounded passive aggressive to me. The speaker claimed “Jehovah gives people plenty of time to change because he is a loving and merciful God.” Then in the same talk he went on to talk about the flood and how God felt regret afterwards. It seemed to me they described a passive agressive God. Maybe the GB and others at the head office show passive agressive behavior too. The reason I remember that talk is because for five minutes towards the end of the talk at the end of each sentence the speaker would say Jaahoovaaah and the audience clapped each time.

  • June 23, 2016 at 6:31 pm
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    As mentioned in the article above, there have been no archaeological discoveries which corroborate the execution of 185,000 Assyrian soldiers with the powerful swipe of a single angel.

    Archaeology has indeed discovered extra-biblical records that confirm the historicity of people, places and events recorded in the Bible. These discoveries have however, corroborated only ordinary or unmiraculous information recorded in the Bible.

    Archaeological discoveries that tend to corroborate biblical information invariably concerns only that which was unspectacular.

  • June 23, 2016 at 7:35 pm
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    Science is increasingly making a case for the existence of God.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/wall-street-journal/is-science-showing-there-really-is-a-god/news-story/c0036df9a614a92ae7c089d13174d57a

    IN 1966 Time magazine ran a cover story asking: Is God Dead? Many have accepted the cultural narrative that he’s obsolete — that as science progresses, there is less need for a “God” to explain the universe. Yet it turns out that the rumours of God’s death were premature. More amazing is that the relatively recent case for his existence comes from a surprising place — science itself.

    Here’s the story: The same year Time featured the now-famous headline, the astronomer Carl Sagan announced that there were two important criteria for a planet to support life: The right kind of star, and a planet the right distance from that star. Given the roughly octillion — 1 followed by 24 zeros — planets in the universe, there should have been about septillion — 1 followed by 21 zeros — planets capable of supporting life.

    With such spectacular odds, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a large, expensive collection of private and publicly funded projects launched in the 1960s, was sure to turn up something soon. Scientists listened with a vast radio telescopic network for signals that resembled coded intelligence and were not merely random. But as years passed, the silence from the rest of the universe was deafening. Congress defunded SETI in 1993, but the search continues with private funds. As of 2014, researches have discovered precisely bubkis — 0 followed by nothing.

    What happened? As our knowledge of the universe increased, it became clear that there were far more factors necessary for life than Sagan supposed. His two parameters grew to 10 and then 20 and then 50, and so the number of potentially life-supporting planets decreased accordingly. The number dropped to a few thousand planets and kept on plummeting.

    Even SETI proponents acknowledged the problem. Peter Schenkel wrote in a 2006 piece for Skeptical Inquirer magazine: “In light of new findings and insights, it seems appropriate to put excessive euphoria to rest … We should quietly admit that the early estimates … may no longer be tenable.”

    As factors continued to be discovered, the number of possible planets hit zero, and kept going. In other words, the odds turned against any planet in the universe supporting life, including this one. Probability said that even we shouldn’t be here.

    Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life — every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart. Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface. The odds against life in the universe are simply astonishing.

    Yet here we are, not only existing, but talking about existing. What can account for it? Can every one of those many parameters have been perfect by accident? At what point is it fair to admit that science suggests that we cannot be the result of random forces? Doesn’t assuming that an intelligence created these perfect conditions require far less faith than believing that a life-sustaining Earth just happened to beat the inconceivable odds to come into being?

    There’s more. The finetuning necessary for life to exist on a planet is nothing compared with the finetuning required for the universe to exist at all. For example, astrophysicists now know that the values of the four fundamental forces — gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the “strong” and “weak” nuclear forces — were determined less than one millionth of a second after the big bang. Alter any one value and the universe could not exist. For instance, if the ratio between the nuclear strong force and the electromagnetic force had been off by the tiniest fraction of the tiniest fraction — by even one part in 100,000,000,000,000,000 — then no stars could have ever formed at all. Feel free to gulp.

    Multiply that single parameter by all the other necessary conditions, and the odds against the universe existing are so heart-stoppingly astronomical that the notion that it all “just happened” defies common sense. It would be like tossing a coin and having it come up heads 10 quintillion times in a row. Really?

    Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who coined the term “big bang,” said that his atheism was “greatly shaken” at these developments. He later wrote that “a commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology … The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

    Theoretical physicist Paul Davies has said that “the appearance of design is overwhelming” and Oxford professor Dr. John Lennox has said “the more we get to know about our universe, the more the hypothesis that there is a Creator … gains in credibility as the best explanation of why we are here.”

    The greatest miracle of all time, without any close seconds, is the universe. It is the miracle of all miracles, one that ineluctably points with the combined brightness of every star to something — or Someone — beyond itself.

    The Wall St Journal

    • June 23, 2016 at 8:18 pm
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      Easygo,

      These facts could be interpreted two possible ways. Because it is so amazing that we exist at all against all these odds, it can either be used to prove or disprove God. When you look at the chances of life arriving on its own, the odds are so numerically low, you would only have it occur once in the entire universe. Hence the reason SETI has found nothing – we are truly alone. On the other hand you could argue that because the chances are so slim, there must be a creator to set the right circumstances. Nothing is proven. If you believe in a creator, you choose to do so based on faith, not facts (BTW, I choose to believe in a creator).

      BTW, I have read books by Paul Davies and he is not a proponent of creationism or intelligent design. However, the Watchtower and other creationist journals love to take his quotes out of context. For instance Davies also states: “Dumping the problem in the lap of a pre-existing designer is no explanation at all, as it merely begs the question of who designed the designer.” The quotes you have listed above appear to be from a creationist source.

      WS

    • June 23, 2016 at 10:33 pm
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      The odds of everything being right for life here on earth are indeed astronomical but so is winning the lottery or having natural quadruplets.

      The odds of winning the Powerball lottery is 1 in 292 million. But someone does eventually win it.
      The odds of having natural quadruplets are 1 in 67 million but people do give birth naturally to quadruplets:

      http://www.msn.com/en-ca/lifestyle/lifestylebabies/astronomical-odds-natural-quads-enter-the-world/ar-BBsOP8n?li=AAggFp5&ocid=mailsignout

      So an alternative explanation to SETI’s finding that we are alone in the universe could be that we have won the jackpot for conditions on earth to be right for life.

      Positing a God introduces problems of its own since the question now is: Who created God? Who created the God who created the God who created God………….?
      So it then becomes a matter of choice as to whether one believes in God.

      • June 24, 2016 at 1:17 am
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        Life elsewhere in the universe doesn’t necessarily have to mimic our own to be classed as ‘life’. Even here on earth organisms exist in the most hostile of environments of the kind that would spell instant death for humans.
        It’s not all about ‘us’.

        • June 24, 2016 at 1:25 am
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          Life doesn’t necessarily require a 24hr day, a 365 day year, 4 seasons, a certain temperature range, the right amount of oxygen, etc, etc.
          “It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it”

          • June 26, 2016 at 4:40 am
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            Great point outandabout, and I love the Star Trek reference.

            WS

      • June 24, 2016 at 2:49 am
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        It is best to avoid the silly statistical ‘odds’ based reasoning for the existence of life. This is only used by creationists. Science doesn’t tell us that life came into being by a single random event with ridiculous odds and requiring perfect conditions right from the start, but rather through a systematic step by very small step over very long periods of time, possibly beginning out in space inside comets. The link below shows how scientists have now demonstrated that the molecule ‘Ribose’, the ‘R’ in RNA and the base for DNA can be synthesised in the lab using only conditions likely to exist on comets plus a bit of radiation.

        http://phys.org/news/2016-04-scientists-rna-abundant-space.html

        Interesting!

    • June 24, 2016 at 3:41 am
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      @Easygo

      If I take a bucket filled with 5000 nails and throw it up in the air, they will land in a completely random pattern. The odds of that pattern emerging if you where to bother calculating it will be astronomical!! But non the less it will have happened. Statistical odds and probability is meaningless when trying to explain why things are the way they are. The only people I have met who quote ridiculous odds when talking about the universe are usually creationists who understand little about science and maths and are usually just trying to confuse people without scientific backgrounds. Quoting odds and probabilities in this context are both meaningless and pointless.

    • June 24, 2016 at 5:05 am
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      @Easygo, I think you are confusing the belief in a God creating the earth and everything on it with the belief in the God of the Bible.

      Nobody can explain how life began so the easiest explanation is to say that “God did it” but there are many god that people believe in and it’s arrogant to say that it was only the god of the Bible who “did it”.

      I think everyone is agnostic and I will explain it this way: If you had a real life specimen of a Santa Claus who had reindeer and him and his reindeer could fly through the sky and drop presents in every home all around the earth on one certain night, then people would believe that a real Santa Claus existed. Once everyone could see that Santa Claus flying in the air with his reindeer, we would believe that that person actually existed. That is what an agnostic is. If there was any concrete proof of it’s existence, then we would be forced to believe in it and follow it’s rules.

      With all the gods in the world that people believe in that supposedly created the universe and everything in it, then we are agnostic towards all those gods. Once a real god showed up, then how could anybody deny it’s existence?

      There are many religions and many gods of those religions and those religions use their holy books to control people. The Bible is just one of them. People who can’t open up their minds to realize that, have a mental block and are being controlled by their supposed god of their religion.

      Society doesn’t need religion to make them have morals. Humans have the capacity to work out between themselves what is acceptable behavior and what is not acceptable behavior. Not believing in the God of the Bible is not what makes people moral. People have the mental capacity to figure that out without some religion.

      The Watchtower religion just loves to make up rules that supposedly is what God deems morally acceptable to Him.

      In the latest ten minute talk by Garritt Losch, he is saying that Witnesses can’t even speak intensely. We have to speak, it seems in a monotone so as not to offend anybody and give them reason to hold a grudge.

      It is beyond crazy. It is mind-boggling the rules they set up for Witnesses, making them think that now they can’t even speak with intensity if they are going to be pleasing to the God of the Bible.

      Who are they to say what God deems acceptable behavior? Who made them the spokesmen for God, a god that has given zero evidence for his existence in the first place.

      • June 24, 2016 at 6:22 am
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        @Caroline
        I think your comment says it all perfectly. But just to give the obvious answer to your final question.
        Is it possible that they made themselves spokespersons to their version of God that they created and assigned their personality to, which enabled them to create rules that they can then use to control people with.

        Its almost like they created their own religion……..Ahhhh…..

      • June 24, 2016 at 7:28 am
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        @Caroline
        “Who made them the spokesmen for God”?
        They made themselves the spokesman for God, just like every other creed or sect of religious leaders.

        Don’t you remember when Jesus returned in 1919 and hand picked Rutherford and his associates??? It must have been due to all those accurate predictions they had made, no wait, that can’t be it. I am being sarcastic of course.

        WS

  • June 24, 2016 at 2:16 am
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    @Caroline, well reasoned comment, as usual, always
    enjoyable. I have no problem at all, accepting that
    JHVH “Ordered” the sacrificial burning of children,
    as you indicate its on a par with other atrocities
    sanctioned by him.

    Since you and I don’t believe in him anyway, we’re
    left with the option that these things were instigated
    by primitive, barbaric and superstitious men.
    I simply cannot that the Bible is the product of a
    supreme intellect . Best wishes, T

  • June 24, 2016 at 2:31 am
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    correction to last sentence, the word “accept” should
    follow “cannot”

  • June 24, 2016 at 4:26 am
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    Some fascinating comments, it seems we”re all
    searching, questioning, looking for answers.
    it’s good it’s the way to achieve progress and
    enlightenment.

    I can see why many accept the neat package
    offered by the JWs, all tied up with ribbon
    as it were. it’s a lot less work for the grey cells,
    but gets you stuck in a rut.

    The universe is indeed awesome, but if it’s designed
    why does it have that fatal flaw, “Entropy” just like the
    Sun it’s decaying and as Shakespeare puts it–
    “It will dissolve and leave not a wrack behind”

    Maybe it’s an experiment that still needs work on it
    and the next one will be perfect.

  • June 24, 2016 at 8:09 am
    Permalink

    To all with deep respect;

    I don’t get involved with thinking about creation by God or whatever. I do love reading the comments but I’m here and that is what counts. Cogito ergo sum -“I think therefore I am”, pretty much sums up my belief. Anything else, in my humble opinion is an exercise in futility.

    Does Jehovah or some divine being exist or he/she doesn’t exist, after all is said does having the correct answer put a potato on your plate? Will he act or not, is there an impending Armageddon or not? Really? We’re all here and we all have our own opinions. And as they say; ‘opinions are like rectums; we all have them and they all stink’. :)

    Personally speaking, again please with respect to all, even though Creationism vs ‘whatever else’ sounds like an interesting discussion for some, personally I would rather spend my energy and thought process in finding ways to get our message (here at jwsurvery.org) about this (jw.org, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society) harmful, sadistic cult to everyone still in it. Any suggestions on this?

    Surely, there is a place for everyone who desire other people to find true freedom without a cult telling them what to do 24/7/365. Shouldn’t this be our goal, helping others to find the TRUTH about the ‘Truth’?

    Again, love the free flow of ideas!

    • June 24, 2016 at 11:07 am
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      @ Big B. Here here! Even though we all have our own opinions and beliefs, the one thing that unites us is the desire to end the tyrannical reign of the GB and destroy this cult once and for all. I wish there was a magic pill that would free all current jws. I don’t have any suggestions either, but I know that by our participation in this forum we are all a part of the solution. When I think back to my awakening, it is hard to pinpoint what exactly helped me to finally see TTATT, I guess it was a lot of little things over time. Did you ever see that movie the Shawshank Redemption? All it takes is “pressure and time”.

    • June 24, 2016 at 11:32 am
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      @Big B
      I appreciate your comments on this topic. Trying to convince someone to believe in God or not to do so is futile and counterproductive. However I think there is value in having these discussions for two specific reasons:
      1. Since many exJWs have been very sheltered from expansive, rational thinking (especially born-ins) it is helpful to see that there are a wide array of belief systems relative to a higher power and they have the freedom to choose one that fits them. The conditioning toward black and white thinking by the watchtower, forces may to think that the only choices are to believe in the JW way or to be atheists. And this can be too much for some to handle, such that they remain imprisoned to watchtower philosophies.
      2. Belief in some kind of higher power can be very helpful and therapeutic. Sometimes based on the black and white thinking noted above, exJWs end up with a fatalistic outlook and lose meaning in their lives. It’s not harmful to believe in a creator as long as your belief does not drive you to reject reason and rational thinking.

      WS

      • June 24, 2016 at 12:49 pm
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        @ Winston Smith;

        As always, well said.

        Now other than standing around with ‘sandwich’ boards marching around the assembly sites with spoiler messages “Sergei–A Life Wasted” on the day of the viewing , etc. Can we or should we do something to awaken these duped conventioneers?

        Oh, my wife says “absolutely not” it’s not her mission in life to be an activist of any kind, not her thing. I’m suffering from what I call ‘the Hamlet syndrome’; “to be or not to be; that is the question” or to do or not to do; that is the question.

        Anyone have an idea or just let a sleeping dog lie?

        • June 24, 2016 at 4:53 pm
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          Big B, I say, let a sleeping dog lie and I also say listen to your wife. As usual you know she’s gotta be right. The wife is ALWAYS right. Right? :) :) My opinion about protesting in public to awaken duped conventioneers may be as effective as farting in public because they’ll feel insulted, embarassed, some will want to run away. And everyone’s facial expressions will tell you something stinks and it’s you. I feel you should follow your wife’s example. :) I don’t mean to make anyone mad with my post. I’m joking around. But I’m serious too.

          • June 24, 2016 at 5:04 pm
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            I’m thinking protesting in public at a convention will cause people to close their ears and look at you as if you just farted.

        • June 25, 2016 at 7:52 am
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          @Big B,
          I agree that picketing a convention is probably the worst use of our time in trying to get folks free from this cult. Picketing is a poor option for several reasons: 1.) It is seen as an extremist approach and I think one of the things our movement has to be about is using our faculties of reason and logic, something sorely lacking in the JW org. Extremist measures play to their propaganda and are seen as persecution, hence evidence that they really have the “truth.”
          2.) According to cult experts, direct attacks on the belief systems of cult members are not effective. They are programmed with thought-stopping mechanisms that engage whenever they are presented with information they see as an attack on their faith.

          So what positive things can we do to bring this cult down? The internet is a great tool to disseminate information in a non-threatening way. Sites like JWSurvey, JWFacts, and others are effective in doing this. Youtube is another great medium. If you want be out there in the thick of things, these mediums are very good ways to do it. To make youtube videos you don’t need much more than an Iphone.

          But to take a lesson from the scriptures (which in previous posts I have expressed can add value), Eph 4:11 says: “And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers.” My point is, not everyone needs to be in the spotlight to effectively have a positive influence on those trapped in this cult.

          Maybe your personality, your circumstances (like mine, being married to an active JW), or your lack of technical prowess don’t allow you to be putting videos out there or creating websites. You can still have a positive effect. When cases like the ARC investigation come up, we can contact our local news media to make sure they cover the stories. We can contribute to online communities such as this one; recently we have been invited to write articles for JWSurvey. We can also make ourselves available to those members who are questioning the JWs. Our kindness and rational thinking can be a great aid to those who are waking up.

          Lastly, even if none of these other paths are open to or convenient for us, we can do this: make the most of our lives in this world. Be successful, be positive. Don’t let the JW experience make us bitter, angry people. Those who know us and are still in the organization…sometimes they do pay attention. When they see that we have NOT become hedonistic, greedy, pleasure seeking heathens, and that our lives are happy and healthy, it can help them to see that the JW way is not the only way and that the world is not such a scary place as they have been told by their GB masters.

          WS

  • June 24, 2016 at 8:44 am
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    @Caroline
    “Humans have the capacity to work out between themselves what is acceptable behavior and what is not acceptable behavior.”
    Think again my friend. Think again. As soon as you have just a little hope in humans…they will do you in the wrongest of ways. Humans suck. Look at history of man with a little less respect in the good they have accomplished and then you’ll let the reality in to your soul. You might even get depressed as hell…listen to the Cure on your mp3 player full blast and say “there is no hope”. Maybe on a minuscule level, like if you look at certain individuals, certain close friends etc etc. But on a grand scale? Oh please! Humans will decline to the point of passing laws that protect pedophiles. If you REALLY pay attention to the news…you will see it has already begun. Then this WT ORG will either use the changing of times to continue covering up it’s pervs, or it will also openly except these types of pervs.
    But again, the time is close when either you will see the hopelessness of mankind’s moral decline (LOL deciding for themselves what is exceptable behavior), or you will be brainwashed with the rest of society. THis world can NEVER be a “better place” like hopeful little michael jackson use to sing about! Ha Ha Ha

    • June 25, 2016 at 8:14 am
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      @Peter B,
      I have to categorically disagree with your “gloom and doom” outlook. I seem to recall from other posts that you have a Judaeo-Christian disposition: Why would you condemn something made in God’s image that he said was very good (Genesis 1:31)?

      If you look at the overall history of human kind over the last, oh let’s pick 6,000 years to cater to certain predispositions, you will find that humanity is becoming less violent and more moral. The days of the Assyrians skinning their captives alive are long since gone. Yes, brutal things still happen, but they are much less frequent. Case in point: we are shocked when we hear of them. Thousands of years ago you would have accepted them as normal.

      Humans have learned to work together, to utilize reason and logic to solve their problems. We could never sustain the world’s population without the advancements we have made in food production and medicine. Are there still people going hungry? Yes, there are, but a whole lot less than their could be. Thousands of years ago famines wiped out entire populations. 700 years ago the black plague nearly wiped out 1/3 to 1/2 of Europe’s population. So since, as you say, things are getting worse, do you want to you want to go back to those “good ole days?”

      The reality is that humans are by nature good and want the best for their families and fellow man. Are there anomalies to this norm? Sure. Nothing is perfect or 100% good. But by and large, we making great strides as a society. I choose to be a part of it. I choose to use my talents and abilities to help others, to help my fellow man, and to see the good. You can choose to see only the bad and to bury your head in the sand and to wait for God to do something about it (or for to wait for oblivion to come, based on whatever your disposition is) but I intend to make a good go of it and not to give up. As I have said in other posts: ‘If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.’

      WS

  • June 24, 2016 at 10:51 am
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    @ Grace. Great pic as well. I never knew the lyrics to the Sound of Silence but they fit perfectly.

  • June 24, 2016 at 11:06 am
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    Hi PeterB.

    I don’t know if this world will ever be a better place or not. I will be dead in a few years and my children will carry on and I hope mankind doesn’t destroy the world, either in their lifetime or their children’s lifetime.

    I get the impression that you believe that people need the Bible to understand what is morally acceptable and what is not morally acceptable?

    It was the god of the Bible Jehovah, who gave the Israelites their laws and among those laws was that they weren’t to work on the Sabbath. There are three renditions of the ten commandments in the Bible and the only one that is in all three is the law of the Sabbath and working on the Sabbath was the death penalty.

    If a child talked back to their parents, it was the death penalty.

    Fathers could sell their children as slaves and the women had no choice in the matter. If it was a male slave, that man could be set free in 6 years but that didn’t hold true for the girls.

    Slave owners could beat their slave to death and not be punished for it, if the slave could walk around in 2 days and that is because the Bible says that the slaves were their “property”. Slaves who were bought from other countries were never to be set free and were willed to their children.

    Girls were stoned to death if they couldn’t prove they were virgins on their wedding nights but the men could have as many wives and concubines as they wanted.

    Priests daughters were stoned to death if they were caught in prostitution. In other words they could give it away but if they charged for it, then they were stoned to death.

    There was no age limit in the Bible for marriage so who knows how old those girls were who were sold to husbands or slave owners. They were all sold. That is where a dowry comes from and that is where the “giving of the girl for marriage” comes from. The men owned their children, their wives and their slaves.

    One of the “ten commandments” was that a kid couldn’t be boiled in it’s mother’s milk.

    Do you think that mankind is really better off with laws like that? Jesus had 2 commands and the 2nd was that people were to love their neighbor as themselves. That implies that people can work out between themselves what is acceptable behavior and what is not acceptable behavior.

    It would be an interesting subject to find out what the studies are when it comes to violent crimes. The United States is one of the most religious but has probably the highest crime rate. What about crimes in societies where they aren’t that religious? What are the statistics?

    When I was a kid, it was a crime for two homosexuals to live together and to have sex together was a crime. Girls went away to visit relatives when they got pregnant because it was so awful for a girl not to be married and get pregnant and lots of girls killed themselves by sticking coat hangers up into their womb so they would have a miscarriage instead of having to admit to the world that they had gotten pregnant out of wedlock.

    I am glad that people in general (except for Watchtower of course) aren’t that hung up anymore on whether or not a person had sex before marriage or not. I don’t believe that any child who was born out of wedlock is any less precious than any other child whose parents were married.

    When I was young, it was a crime for a white person to be married to a black person.

    Are you saying that you’d rather go back to those days? If you are living by the Bible’s moral standards, you would be doing just that.

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