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    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      Church ‘shuns‘ 15-year-old, then father – ends up in court
      Posted by SDD Contributor on November 9, 2019 at 4:20 am  
      The Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments Thursday in a lawsuit against a religious congregation’s “shunning” practice, but the congregation and several other groups contend the justices had no right to even take part in the case.
      Randy Wall, a real estate agent, filed the suit against the Highwood congregation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization in Calgary, Alberta.
      Wall was expelled from the congregation for getting drunk and not be properly repentant, court records said. He pursued an appeals process through the Jehovah’s Witnesses then went to court because he said the Witnesses’ “shunning” — the practice of not associating with him in any way — hurt his business.
      He explained his two occasions of drunkenness related to “the previous expulsion by the congregation of his 15-year-old daughter.”
      A lower court opinion said: “Even though the daughter was a dependent child living at home, it was a mandatory church edict that the entire family shun aspects of their relationship with her. The respondent said the edicts of the church pressured the family to evict their daughter from the family home. This led to … much distress in the family.”
      The “distress” eventually resulted in his drunkenness, Wall said.
       
      Wall submitted to the court arguments that about half his client base, members of various Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations, then refused to conduct business with him. He alleged the “disfellowship had an economic impact on the respondent.”
      During high court arguments Thursday, the congregation asked the justices to rule that religious congregations are immune to such claims in the judicial system.
      The lower courts had ruled that the courts could play a role in determining whether or not such circumstances rise to the level of violating civil rights or injuring a “disfellowshipped” party.
      The rulings from the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeals said Wall’s case was subject to secular court jurisdiction.
      A multitude of religious and political organizations joined with the congregation in arguing that Canada’s courts should not be involved.
      The Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms said in a filing: “The wish or desire of one person to associate with an unwilling person (or an unwilling group) is not a legal right of any kind. For a court, or the government, to support such a ‘right’ violates the right of self-determination of the unwilling parties.”
      Previous case law has confirmed the right of religious or private voluntary groups to govern themselves and dictate who can be a member.
      But previously rulings also reveal there is room for the court system to intervene when the question centers on property or civil rights.
      The Association for Reformed Political Action described the case as having “profound implications for the separation of church and state.”
      It contends the court should keep its hands off the argument.
      “Secular judges have no authority and no expertise to review a church membership decision,” said a statement from Andre Schutten, a spokesman for the group. “Church discipline is a spiritual matter falling within spiritual jurisdiction, not a legal matter falling within the courts’ civil jurisdiction. The courts should not interfere.”
      John Sikkema, staff lawyer for ARPA, said: “The issue in this appeal is jurisdiction. A state actor, including a court, must never go beyond its jurisdiction. The Supreme Court must consider what kind of authority the courts can or cannot legitimately claim. We argue that the civil government and churches each have limited and distinct spheres of authority. This basic distinction between civil and spiritual jurisdiction is a source of freedom and religious pluralism and a guard against civic totalism.”
      He continued: “Should the judiciary have the authority to decide who gets to become or remain a church member? Does the judiciary have the authority to decide who does or does not get to participate in the sacraments? Church discipline is a spiritual matter falling within spiritual jurisdiction, not a legal matter falling within the courts’ civil jurisdiction. The courts should not interfere. Here we need separation of church and state.”
      The Alberta Court of Appeal, however, suggested the case was about more than ecclesiastical rules.
      “Because Jehovah’s Witnesses shun disfellowshipped members, his wife, other children and other Jehovah’s Witnesses were compelled to shun him,” that lower court decision said. “The respondent asked the appeal committee to consider the mental and emotional distress he and his family were under as a result of his duaghter’s disfellowship.”
      The church committee concluded he was “not sufficiently repentant.”
      The ruling said “the only basis for establishing jurisdiction over a decision of the church is when the complaint involves property and civil rights,” and that is what Wall alleged.
      “Accordingly, a court has jurisdiction to review the decision of a religious organization when a breach of the rules of natural justice is alleged.”
       
                     
    • By Jack Ryan
      I'm a 21 yo PIMO on the West coast. My family and I attended a wedding this past Saturday and I was completely disgusted by my family's and congregation's behavior.
      The couple that got married are both studies, so they didn't get married at the Kingdom Hall. However they requested an elder to give the wedding ceremony talk (and I call it a talk because it was 95% scriptures and 5% about the couple) and they invited mostly JWs aside from their families.
      Everything was going pretty well, until about 40 min after the ceremony. I just finished eating when my dad whispered to my brother and I that we had to leave because there was a DF'd woman that was invited. I sincerely apologised to the couple for leaving because I felt awful that I had to play along with all of the invited JWs and awkwardly leave the wedding so soon.
      Once my family was in the car, I asked my dad who the woman was. He revealed to me that it was the groom's mom. Apparently a couple of elders went and talked to her and asked her to leave. She refused, so they let her know that we'll all be leaving.
      I was shocked and appalled at the insanity of the situation I found myself in. This couple isn't even baptised and they invited more JWs than family to their wedding only to have them all leave because the groom's mom is in attendance. To top it all off, the brothers afterwards were saying stuff like: "I can't believe that she could be that selfish" and "Aw that poor couple, because of ONE person, everyone had to leave. She totally ruined their wedding".
      The indoctrination is insane in this cult, of fucking course the groom is going to invite his own mother to his wedding. I can't believe that I'm expected to feel offended at the mother for refusing to leave her son's wedding. I really hope that the newlyweds see this as crystal-clear evidence that this is a cult.
      - Contributed
      --------------------------------
      Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?"
      He said, "He who showed mercy on him."
      Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise... Unless they're dfed then leave em to die."
       
      --------------------------------
      Their actions are codified as follows:
      *** w81 9/15 p. 30 par. 23 If a Relative Is Disfellowshiped . . . ***
      "There is no point in looking for some rule as to family members being at gatherings where a disfellowshiped relative might be present. This would be something for those concerned to resolve, in keeping with Paul’s counsel. (1 Cor. 5:11) And yet it should be appreciated that if a disfellowshiped person is going to be at a gathering to which nonrelative Witnesses are invited, that may well affect what others do. For example, a Christian couple might be getting married at a Kingdom Hall. If a disfellowshiped relative comes to the Kingdom Hall for the wedding, obviously he could not be in the bridal party there or “give away” the bride. What, though, if there is a wedding feast or reception? This can be a happy social occasion, as it was in Cana when Jesus attended. (John 2:1, 2) But will the disfellowshiped relative be allowed to come or even be invited? If he was going to attend, many Christians, relatives or not, might conclude that they should not be there, to eat and associate with him, in view of Paul’s directions at 1 Corinthians 5:11."
      No rule given LOL, gotta love Watchtwer's constant plausible deniability wording.
    • By Jack Ryan
      A Norwegian JW woman, who was sexually abused, was disfellowshipped for fornication. The woman first appealed inside the organization - without success. Feeling injustice, she then decided to sue Jehovah's Witnesses. The court decided last month that the disfellowshipping was against the Norwegian law and must be canceled. The court also ordered the local Jehovah's Witness organization to pay 100 000 NOK to the woman.
      Here is the story, in a Norwegian newspaper.
    • By JOHN BUTLER
      I do find it kinda' funny that JW's love to talk about billions of people being removed / destroyed / killed / murdered at Armageddon. Billions of people.
      And for what ? Well JW's say it's for not serving God. But they will also say it's for not being a baptised JW. 
      Well we do know for sure that God either deliberately had, or deliberately allowed, the destruction of Jerusalem in circa 70 C E, and for what ? 
      Well the Bible shows us it was for not serving God properly, and for killing God's son. 
      BUT when I suggest that the Governing Body should be removed or destroyed, oh dear, the JW's they get really upset ya know. 
      Governing Body = 8 men.   Jerusalem = how many, men, women and children, thousands of them. 
      But oh dear, now it would be murder. So what was it back then ?  Your see JW's live in a dream world, wrapped up in cotton wool, they just cannot face the real world.
      The Governing Body do not serve God properly. That is clearly visible to anyone that honestly wants to see it. 
      The Governing Body are destroying JW Org, and if JW Org is God's true Organisation then the GB are deliberately working against God and against God's intentions. 
      Humans that deliberately work against God and cause problems for God do not last long on this Earth. 
      The Bible shows much proof of this, such as those that opposed Moses. 
      I am expecting the GB to be removed, one way or another. But only if God really wants to use the JW Org / Watchtower soc for His own purposes. 
      If God does not want to use those Orgs then it would seem sensible for God to set up a new Org for His purposes. 
      The only problem with the GB being 'removed' is that JW's will call it a 'sign of the times' and 'persecution', but if God causes the removal then I'm sure He will put them straight. 
      Those people that say that the GB cannot be removed / destroyed, are those people that worship the GB. And those people that worship the GB may probably need removing too. 
      The world is wicked, it belongs to Satan. The Earth is wonderful and it belongs to Almighty God.
      For God to save this Earth and for Him to save a few humans too, drastic things have to take place. Drastic things have to take place.
       
    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      The tweet, which he later deleted but which has been circulated on social media, showed an image of a couple holding hands with a chimpanzee dressed in clothes with the caption: "Royal Baby leaves hospital".
      The BBC 5 Live presenter was accused of mocking the duchess's racial heritage.
      Baker claimed it was a "stupid gag".
      The 61-year-old presented a Saturday morning show on the network.
      The corporation said Baker's tweet "goes against the values we as a station aim to embody".
      It added: "Danny's a brilliant broadcaster but will no longer be presenting a weekly show with us."
      https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-48212693
    • By Albert Michelson
      What is the good news?
       
      The Bible is clear that even if someone had been clearly selected by god if they deviate from the truth they are to be rejected. 
       
      Galatians 1:8-9 However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to YOU as good news something beyond what we declared to YOU as good news, let him be accursed.  9 As we have said above, I also now say again, Whoever it is that is declaring to YOU as good news something beyond what YOU accepted, let him be accursed.
       
      This holds even more weight for ones like the GB who are not clearly selected and who's claim to authority rests solely on a demonstrably false interpretation of scripture.
      The organization claims that the 1914 teaching is necessary for salvation and even goes as far as to claim that the 1914 teaching is the good news spoken of in the Bible.
      *** w67 12/15 pp. 753-754 pars. 3-4 What Now Distinguishes the Good News to Be Preached ***
      "What a joy-inspiring addition or enlargement to the good news now to be preached! Now has come the victorious kingdom of our God together with the authority of his Christ, his Messiah! As for Satan the Devil and his demons, they have only a short period of time until they are bound and imprisoned in the abyss after the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Armageddon. All this additional wonderful information has been true since the end of the “appointed times of the nations” in 1914, and particularly since World War I closed in the year 1918. Not before the “appointed times of the nations” ended in the fall of 1914 could the good news be preached of the newborn, established heavenly kingdom of God and of his Messiah. This, then, must be the good news that Jesus Christ in his prophecy said had to be preached first in all the nations. (Mark 13:10) This generation of human society that has seen and experienced the world events since the Gentile Times closed in 1914—this is the “generation” that will not pass away until all the things foretold have happened, including the preaching of the good news first in all nations.
      4 Jesus’ prophecy in Mark 13:10, “Also, in all the nations the good news has to be preached first,” has not been undergoing fulfillment during the past nineteen centuries. It is only since the second decade of our twentieth century that this prophecy has been undergoing fulfillment. This began to be realized by the International Bible Students Association and the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society since the end of the second decade of our century. In the magazine issue of July 1, 1920, of The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence the article was published entitled “Gospel of the Kingdom” and based on the theme text, “‘And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.’—Matthew 24:14.”
       It is for this reason that the organization is chained to the 1914 teaching. As the scripture I quoted above demonstrates the Bible says that one who teaches a good news that is false is cursed. If the organization admits that the 1914 and 1919 teachings are false they will have to admit that not only were they not selected as gods channel but that they have been teaching a false good news for the majority of their existence. It is for that reason that they disfellowship and shun people who cannot conscientiously remain in the faith. It's easier to just eliminate the opposition then to actually address the real issues with your theology. 
      *** w86 4/1 pp. 30-31 Questions From Readers ***
      Why have Jehovah’s Witnesses disfellowshipped (excommunicated) for apostasy some who still profess belief in God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ?
       
      "Approved association with Jehovah’s Witnesses requires accepting the entire range of the true teachings of the Bible, including those Scriptural beliefs that are unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses. What do such beliefs include?
       
      That the great issue before humankind is the rightfulness of Jehovah’s sovereignty, which is why he has allowed wickedness so long. (Ezekiel 25:17) That Jesus Christ had a prehuman existence and is subordinate to his heavenly Father. (John 14:28) That there is a “faithful and discreet slave” upon earth today ‘entrusted with all of Jesus’ earthly interests,’ which slave is associated with the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Matthew 24:45-47) That 1914 marked the end of the Gentile Times and the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the heavens, as well as the time for Christ’s foretold presence. (Luke 21:7-24; Revelation 11:15–12:10) That only 144,000 Christians will receive the heavenly reward. (Revelation 14:1, 3) That Armageddon, referring to the battle of the great day of God the Almighty, is near. (Revelation 16:14, 16; 19:11-21) That it will be followed by Christ’s Millennial Reign, which will restore an earth-wide paradise. That the first to enjoy it will be the present “great crowd” of Jesus’ “other sheep.”—John 10:16; Revelation 7:9-17; 21:3, 4."
       
      This is supposedly a list of the fundamental doctrines of Jehovah's Witnesses that all are required to believe. You will in most cases be disfellowshiped for not believing in one or more of them. Unfortunately the truth is most of them are false.
    • By Jack Ryan
      If the love you have for your children is predicated on their beliefs, you don't love your children you love YOUR beliefs
    • By Jack Ryan
      In previous decades, when someone was disfellowshipped, they were told their time would be 6 months. Now it’s a full year?
      Why did that change from 6 mo to a year? and are they getting more ppl to come back with the increased time? With the less members staying in the org, you would think they want to lower the “jail time “
      Also are there any other religions that gives you months or years of time out, if you commit a sin, even if you actually want to come back?
      Also any former elders here? Why is there a standard set time for everyone? And why can they reject someone’s letter who wants to come back? Don’t they need more members ?
    • By Jack Ryan
      Jehovah's Witness Organization Redefines Shunning to Falsely.mp4
      Every JW visiting this page should MORALLY comment below and publicly state that this JW Lawyer is LYING through his teeth to the Canadian Supreme Court.
      If you don't, YOU participate in this gross sin. Because you ALL KNOW this is a false statement.
      Remember as well that this JW Lawyer is also an Officer of the Court.
      What the courts do not know is that JW's consider outright lying in court a part of "theocratic warfare" just like Muslims do. So it is a virtue to them.

      SMH.
      Can you spell P-E-R-J-U-R-Y?
    • By Jack Ryan
      "Sunday, December 30
      Asa’s heart was complete with Jehovah all his life.—1 Ki. 15:14.
      Each of us can examine his heart to see if it is fully devoted to God. Ask yourself, ‘Am I determined to please Jehovah, to defend true worship, and to protect his people from any corrupting influence?’ For example, what if someone close to you has to be disfellowshipped? Would you take decisive action by ceasing to associate with that person? What would your heart move you to do? Like Asa, you can show that you have a complete heart by fully relying on God when you are faced with opposition, even some that may seem insurmountable. You may be teased or ridiculed at school for taking a stand as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Or colleagues at work may taunt you for taking days off for spiritual activities or for not often working overtime. In such situations, pray to God, just as Asa did. (2 Chron. 14:11) Remain firm for what you know is right and wise. Remember that God strengthened and helped Asa, and He will strengthen you.
      w17.03 3:6-8 "
      https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/dt/r1/lp-e/2018/12/30
    • By Jack Ryan
      This was a case where in June 1987, the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld the Witnesses' right to shun those who fail to live by the group's standards and doctrines, upholding the ruling of a lower court.
      http://openjurist.org/819/f2d/875
      Has there been any cases after this, where DF cases went to court? Have there been cases in other countries were DF decisions were challenged and reversed?
    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      Here in the United States we have Cable TV with such things as "History Channel", "Discovery Channel", "Scifi Channel", and "A&E" the "Arts and Entertainment Channel".  Apparently around November 13 of this year they had a famous (?) TV star, Leah Remini,  who had been a Scientologist since she was eight years old turn Apostate, and she has done at least two TV seasons exposing the ills of the Church of Scientology", do an Expose' of Jehovah's Witnesses.
      I do not watch TV as a rule, and missed it, and I spent a few days looking for it and trying to download a copy.  It was not on YouTube, but I did find it under "Aftermath Jehovah's Witnesses" on the Russian equivalent of YouTube, "Rutube.ru". It would not download with my usual download software, so I had to find a free screen capture software, which took about four hours to get the settings just right, and I was able to download the two hour program from my monitor, as it was playing.
      Therefore, I watched the TV program three times, as I experimented with the settings to get a good screen copy to my hard drive..
      I could see both sides of the program viewpoints presented, and did not find us to be misrepresented in any way whatsoever ... but if there was EVER a clear example of the Law of Unintended Consequences, the horror the Governing Body has caused in disfellowshipping the way that it is currently done ... by ripping families apart, and creating  irreparable damage that can never be corrected with reinstatement, was chilling, and puts us in the same class as Scientologists ... which completely disregarding the horror and hardsip, and cruelty without any mercy whatsoever it creates locally, shames Jehovah's Name and Reputation over the whole planet.
      I don't believe there is anything a local Jehovah's Witness could do ... rob a bank ... have a harem ... have sex with horses ... etc., ad nauseum ... that would besmirch Jehovah's name and reputation globally as much as our current blatantly cruel public policies of destroying whole families for the sins of one person.
      I am very glad to have the education I have to know that the TRUTH is still the truth .... even though the 85% drivel has rotted and fermented into rotten sewage.
      Most JWs do NOT have this educational advantage ... so their lives are permanently destroyed.
      I don't expect much from people, and almost NOTHING from groups of people .... so for me, like getting one of those great salads at the Olive Garden Restaurant, and finding a big chunk of solid sewage in it ... I hold my nose, and eat around it.
      This TV Special is global news .... what could I possibly say to the average person that would clear the Name of God, that the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, NOT THE TELEVISION PROGRAM, has corrupted by its Pharisaic policies that have real world consequences?
      The exact same thing happened in ancient Israel, and a system that God blessed and supported for a thousand years and more was abandoned by God.
      The exact same thing.
       
       
       
       
    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      CAN A PERSON ... OR SHOULD A PERSON . BE DISFELLOWSHIPPED IN ABSTENSIA?
      Here is the situation .....  a person REPORTED to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses is accused, and NOT convicted ( ... because he is a fugitive from Justice ...) .....

      Apparently he was at one time in a "Position Of Authority", which possibly alludes to his being an  "Elder", and he may have relocated to another State or even another Country. Possibly using an alias.
      The  various Congregation Elders cannot find him, the Society cannot find him, and the U.S. Marshal's Service cannot find him.
      Not having any indication to the contrary ... at least from the information given in the pseudo-Wanted Poster shown above, he is possibly still officially one of Jehovah's Witnesses.
      Whether he is or not, his bad example raises an interesting  aspect of trying to figure out how the disfellowshipping "system" protocol actually works.
      Can any of the Congregations  he went to disfellowship him without his being present  to answer charges ?
      ... and SHOULD he be?
       
    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      DO  WE STILL  DISFELLOWSHIP  THE  MENTALLY  ILL ?
      I was a teenager in the 60's,  and I had a good friend that on Scout camping trips I introduced to the Truth, and I was there in NYC at Yankee Stadium when he was baptized as one of Jehovah's Witness. He was a true "straight arrow", and pioneered, always dressed immaculately, and eventually over the years became an Elder.
      One night, at an Elder's Meeting, he announced to the other Elders that he was Jesus Christ, and that his mother was the virgin Mary, and of course he was disfellowshipped.
      He spent several years in private mental institutions until his insurance money ran out, then in a State institution for several years.
      He called me up, and told me the story, and I told him I was the Great Turtleman, and every November, before I hibernated, I rose from the swamp and gave toys to all the good little boys and girls.  I was just pulling his leg, but he was dead serious.
      Later, he was in England, while his wife was trying without success to get him to take his medications, and fell over a balcony at Heathrow Airport and got killed.
      DO  WE STILL  DISFELLOWSHIP  THE  MENTALLY  ILL ?
       
    • By Jack Ryan
      from 2016 the year that they started the return to Jehovah brochure.
    • By Jack Ryan
      a heartbreaking video has emerged online showing how far reaching and deeply ingrained this shunning policy is; a video showing JehovahÂ’s Witnesses clapping in applause as a little girl announces she is shunning her own sister.
      Little Melody, and the sister she doesnÂ’t have.
      The incident appears to take place at one of this years Watchtower conventions. The video was posted on youtube by the girls parents, apprently eager to share with the world how they had trained one of their children to pretend her sister didnÂ’t exist purely on the basis of religious dogma.
      The video was comment-protected once viewers began expressing concern and displeasure at what they saw, but at the time of writing the video itself is still live and can be viewed below on the family’s youtube page. (EDIT 11/09/2017 – The video has been removed, but we have linked to an alternate site which has a copy)

      t shows a little girl called Melody. She is ten years old, and was apparently baptised when she was 9. This means that Melody is now committed to the religion for life, and will be shunned if she ever leaves, or “unrepentantly” breaks any of its vast array of detailed rules.
      During the interview, Melody explains that she has a sister who was “disfellowshipped,” which is the Witness term for one who is excommunicated; someone who was thrown out of the faith rather than leaving of their own accord. We are not told the reason for the disfellowshipping, but one can be subjected to it for a wide range of reasons such as pre-marital sex, celebrating Christmas or birthdays, voting, taking a blood transfusion, joining the military, or simply questioning any of the doctrines of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
      Melody states that her sister was trying to contact her, and asking her to stay in contact despite Watchtower decreeing that she be shunned. Remember, MelodyÂ’s sister has probably lost all her family and friends at this point; everyone she ever knew and loved.
      Melody admits that she misses and loves her sister, but states that she was afraid that if she didnÂ’t cut her sister off completely, she might be tempted to keep some form of relationship going. Thus, she has decided to shun her completely, as Watchtower demands. She claims that this was to protect her relationship with Jehovah.
      The audience of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses watching this announcement applaud.
      Source
    • By Jack Ryan
      This comes from the final talk at the Birmingham, AL Convention. Herd talks kind of low and there is some background noise, so here is a transcript starting at about 1:25.
      I thought this was interesting because it doesn't appear to be in the talk outline. Admittedly, I just skimmed through the outline quickly, so it might be in there. Either way, there is something twisted about comparing the shunning of children to casting out demons from heaven.
      Edit: For those wondering, this talk is from August 5. The part before when the transcript starts is Herd talking about King Asa removing his grandmother from her position.
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    • Just for interest, here is an interview with prince Andrew. It's acutely embarrassing the excuses  he makes and the denials....  
    • Yes. Just watched it. I like that you talk about the broad effects of the impact whistleblowing has had in this particular area. It's not just the Witnesses, but many institutions. Many guilty people would have probably got away with sexual abuse 20 years ago, but not so much today. Even royalty have been put under the microscope. History is rife with stories of rich dirty old men having sex with underage girls and getting away with it. When enough people make noise, it can't be ignored.
    • Maybe this was in the sense of these "bad elders" rejecting the counsel given by "good elders" who were quoting Bible books and the Mosaic Law (as transmitted through angels), or these "bad elders" were speaking out against sayings of Jesus and inspired writings of the apostles, as if they held no value to this time they were in, so many decades after Jesus originally spoke them. Also (less likely) Jude quotes the book of Enoch, specifically a part about the judgment of angels, and he appears to refer to another book about the "Assumption of Moses." We don't know how much more of those books were accepted other than the portions referenced, but these books were part of a genre that gave names to dozens of angels and referenced many more hierachies of thousands of angels. Good point! I doubt it. There are too many scriptures, and too much context that shows what Paul was up against in trying to get the congregations to accept and understand the concept of "grace" or "undeserved kindness." (Along with "law" "legalism" "works" "righteousness" "sin" "conscience" etc.) Paul had to write chapters, nearly whole long letters, on the subject, and it even put him for a short while at odds with the Jerusalem council. Probably it is sometimes. But the whistleblowing of the CSA cases all over the world have drawn attention to a lot of things that go on in the world where the abused victims felt powerless. In many institutions, including once-hostile work environments, this is actually changing for the better. The threat of monetary sanctions has made even rich men who could once get away with anything (as Trump claimed), think twice. It has definitely helped in some suburban schools and even corporations I once worked for. I suspect that many priests and elders who once thought they would get away with anything are now more apt to think again before abusing persons.
    • The old method of handling this was to use the expression "present truth." Many adventists including Seventh Day still use the expression. It's based on a mistranslation of 2 Peter 1:12 where the KJV said: Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. The tendency among 19th century Adventists was to see a "chronology" element or "time" element in the English expression that did not exist in the original Greek. Therefore, the idea was that: even when in the midst of learning or teaching falsehood, it was still "present truth" at the time, and what is now "present truth" could turn out to be false in the future, but it will always have been "present truth" because it's always the best we had at the time. From the Greek, this is better translated as "the truth that is present in you" (American Standard and NWT).  A similar rush to see a time element in the English translation was done by Barbour and Russell and others who had been associated with Adventists. Here's an example from Leviticus: (Leviticus 26:28) 28 I will intensify my opposition to you, and I myself will have to chastise you seven times for your sins. This was originally the primary source for Russell's 7 times = 2,520 years, and the 7 times of Nebuchadnezzar's dream about his own insanity was only a secondary source. But we have since learned that Leviticus here didn't refer to chronological "times" but the sense was "7 times as much" as in "I will hit you twice as hard, or three times as hard, or seven times as hard." This was already in the context, but chronologists and numerologists rarely notice the context until they have already formed a time related doctrine. (Leviticus 26:18-21) . . .“‘If even this does not make you listen to me, I will have to chastise you seven times as much for your sins. . . . 21 “‘But if you keep walking in opposition to me and refuse to listen to me, I will then have to strike you seven times as much, according to your sins. Now that we have noticed this, we have been stuck with using Nebuchadnezzar as if his wicked Gentile kingdom somehow represented Christ's Messianic non-Gentile kingdom. (Another contradiction between 1914 and the Bible.) We still tend to make a "chronology word" out of things having to do with time when we translate the Greek word for time as "appointed time" instead of what might better be translated as "opportune time." Note that it's the exact same word "time" in these two verses: (Ephesians 5:16) 16 buying out the opportune time for yourselves, because the days are wicked. (Luke 21:24) . . .and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled. Neither the word opportune nor appointed is found in the Greek, only the word time. But the more typical meaning is "opportunity" as in: Will you find the opportunity to do this? Will you find the time to do this? Not: Will you find the appointed day and hour to do this? We have added a more specific chronological sense that usually isn't necessary in the Greek.  
    • Elon Musk shows himself to rather out of touch with science. He is using his money to make a name for himself by driving forward with some outlandish plans. He is an embarrassment to his own employees sometimes when he quotes pseudo-scientific ideas that have been obsolete for decades. (One of these was the idea of using nuclear explosions to make Mars inhabitable.) But his optimism to get employees to "make it happen" will drive some scientific progress in spite of himself. Even here, however, he has often just attached his name to some idea that came out of Japan or China or some US or European scientific think tank that was never associated with Musk. He attaches his own unrealistic timelines to these ideas, however, and then begins to lose credibility.  This particular idea has some merit, but there is a lot more expense in creating the infrastructure than people realize. There is the mining of the elements that go into solar cells, the manufacture of solar panels, the trucking of materials to such a solar hub, the infrastructure to build out the lines from the hub across the USA. Currently these types of expenses reduce the ROI value of this particular type of renewable energy so much that it makes carbon (coal/oil/petroleum) seem much more desirable for generating power, and for which an infrastructure is already in place. When viable, I would like to see how close to Hoover Dam this could be built to re-use some power lines that emanate from there, and already reach to many southwest states. Perhaps an even better idea would be to find a place near Yuma or Mexicali, so that half of the power would be used to desalinate water for Mexico and the US by piping saltwater from the Gulf of California, then freshwater back out with a mountain or salt and minerals as a byproduct.    
    • I think that's exactly correct. But we know that as Christians we are still under under a duty to question, reflect, test, prove, meditate, and "make sure of all things." We must do this even if it were an angel out of heaven giving us the interpretation, according to Galatians 1 and 2. And Paul specifically applied that thought to the way the Galatian congregation(s) should have tested and made sure of the incorrect counsel coming from council of elders at Jerusalem, because evidently some were too quick to accept that counsel just because it came from those who seemed to be pillars in the congregation. To Paul, he said, it didn't matter who those men were, or what they seemed to be, and he even included Peter, James and John in that idea of who to question. John himself later wrote that we should test the inspired utterances (1 John 4:1). I have. And the Watchtower has also claimed to have found MANY previous misinterpretations of prophecy which interpretations they said came from God, and yet warranted a redefinition of that interpretation. In fact I quoted you one of several places where the Watchtower has admitted exactly what you say you have not found: *** ws17 June p. 13 par. 16 Set Your Heart on Spiritual Treasures *** At times, our understanding of a Bible prophecy or a scripture may be adjusted. When that happens, it is important to take the time to study the adjustment and meditate on it. (Acts 17:11; 1 Timothy 4:15) We not only need to understand the main differences between the old understanding and the new one, but we also need to pay attention to the details of the new understanding. I've seen you accuse others here of blasphemy, when they defended the Bible, and yet you are able to make a statement such as that! Yes, certain Bible Student congregations continued to follow the Barbour/Russell advent timeline, which included Rutherford and the Watchtower editorial board, up until about 1927, with some intermediate adjustments over time to what Russell had said about 1914, and 1915, and with some brand new ideas about 1918, and 1925. Russell's concerted effort to "finally understand his own chronology" barely changed a thing, except for a few changes to some Great Pyramid measurements, and some vacillations between 1914 and 1915, and a change around 1904 to push the period of tribulation to the few months after 1914 instead of the few months (or years) before 1914. I would agree that Edgar's pyramid scheme hardly influenced Russell. That's because Edgar only wanted to get even more details on the subject, and completed most of this work after Russell had already published all he had to say on the Pyramid. Also, Russell was already satisfied enough with the details he had borrowed from Joseph Seiss. You say: "Perhaps, that is where the confusion lies" but there is no need for any confusion at all. Russell's works include all the necessary details, and they are all easy to find. If we wish to discuss Russell's own published views, we don't need to worry about the many other groups that sprung from Barbour's and Russell's teachings. I think I know what you are talking about. I think the admins or moderators here consider it spamming when someone overuses a long string of a dozen or more dislike emojis at the rate of one per minute on the posts of people they dislike, and a string of a dozen or more "like" emojis at the rate of about one per minute on their own accounts of different names. I think once a person is caught doing this once, it's dangerous to keep doing this with even with a smaller string of up-votes and down-votes. Sometimes the give-away to the game is when the down-vote is simply a negative response to a Scripture or a direct quote from the Watchtower.
    • I would like to expand on the above quote. New truth/old truth......in the same WT in the preceding par (15) it says; "We discovered some priceless truths when we first began to associate with God’s people. These could well be described as “old,” in that we have known and appreciated them from the beginning of our Christian course. What do such precious truths include? We learned that Jehovah is our Creator and Life-Giver and that he has a purpose for mankind. We also learned that God lovingly provided the ransom sacrifice of his Son so that we might be freed from sin and death. We further learned that his Kingdom will end all suffering and that we have the prospect of living forever  in peace and happiness under Kingdom rule". So the "old" truths here are defined as old from the point of view of age. These are the backbone, basics, elementary, fundamental or key doctrines as JWI describes at the outset of this thread. These have not changed. Then there is the "old" as defined in par 16; "old understanding". So we are not talking about any new truth as in newly discovered truth, but an adjustment or new understanding of what has already been taught previously. In this case it really doesn't make sense to call something old truth and new truth because truth can only be one. If it's not truth, its falsehood. So in my opinion, unless something is "old" established truth, the backbone of our Biblical doctrine, then anything else that falls into the "viewpoint" category of "truth" (or the shadow that is thrown) should not have to be accepted as the "absolute Truth", and should it really become "a part of our collection of Bible truths"? (Of course with any kind of truth, whether relativism, universalism (absolute truth) etc. one can go into great depths of the philosophy behind these concepts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth) (Interestingly, JWI WT quote is from the simplified version. The normal study version does not say "a part of our collection of Bible truths" , but "our own treasure store".)        
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