By JOHN BUTLER
I find it interesting when so much is compared between the Jews and the JW's.
But in my opinion, one big difference between being a Jew before and in the time of Jesus, and being a JW, is choice.
If a person was born into the Nation of Israel, they were born under Law and ruled over by the Religious leaders (and the Romans) at that time. There was no choice of being a Jew or not being a Jew. They were born into it. So of course many of them, probably all of them, committed 'sin' and had to make sin offerings. God had chosen that Nation, those people had responsibility but not of their choice.
Now, people that enter the JW religion do so voluntarily. ( Unfortunately for those born into it, they have to go through the motions of serving the JW Org until they are of an age whereby they can leave home. Then, when of age they too can volunteer to be a JW or chose to leave the Org.).
There is a big difference from being born into a Nation which you may not like, than voluntarily joining a religion which you do like.
So the big question is, if 'millions' of people voluntarily join this JW Org, why do so many commit child abuse, adultery and many other sins ?
If this is supposed to be 'THE true religion', why are the people not guided by God through Jesus Christ ? Just reading comments on here from so called JW's makes me laugh. There is no love, no mercy, no understanding, no respect even.
Being an ex JW and seeing things from both sides i have found more genuine love, kindness, friendship, respect, warmth, understanding etc outside of the Org than inside. Inside the Org people have to be told to 'love one another', outside the Org people do it anyway.
It has amazed me how JW's can really believe that God is with them when they are so cold and selfish.
With the Jews that were born into that Nation, they had no choice about their way of life. It was basically a dictatorship by God. The Laws were from 'above'. Obviously for the right reason, to bring forth Jesus Christ who in turn would 'rescue' the human race from complete destruction. But it was a totally different situation to the JW Org today.
So now all you 'JWs', think on it. Do you truly believe you are in this' special environment' within the Org ? Do you really think that your Org has God's approval ?
Think deeply about all the problems within JW Org. All the disgusting things being done voluntarily by all the volunteer JW's.
Now ask yourself, are you really a volunteer JW or are you trapped in the Org for fear of losing all those 'so called friends' ?
You know that you can only have your family and 'friends' as long as you are a JW. Do you feel like the Jews must have felt, trapped in that Nation ?
As we know many of the Jews left the Jewish religion and way of life to follow Christ, but it was difficult for them. However, they did have God's approval and God, through Christ made this known clearly. And it seems that many are leaving the JW Org to seek God's approval too.
But remember that all JW's are volunteers, or should be, so why oh why is there so much trouble in that Org ?
By JOHN BUTLER
I was going to add this to another topic but remembered we are told to start new topics, so I've done that.
Hope this hasn't been added before but it would take me a month to go through all the topics to see if its on here.
It is about the baptism of children, but I also thing it involves making children go on the ministry.
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By Guest Indiana
In February, a Russian court sentenced a Danish citizen who was a legal resident of Russia to six years in prison for such an extremist offence as organizing other Witnesses to shovel snow from their church’s property.
A month later, Sergei Skrynnikov, a Russian and allegedly a Jehovah’s Witness, was charged with “participating in an extremist organization,” an offence under Russian law that could earn him up to six years in prison. Jehovah’s Witnesses have been fleeing Russia and seeking asylum in Germany and Finland to escape such harsh sentences.
In China, state authorities harass Jehovah’s Witnesses and raid their meetings. Authorities also deport foreign Witness missionaries from countries such as South Korea.
South Korea has only recently dropped a 2003 law prohibiting conscientious objection to fighting in its armed forces, a law that confined young Witness men — as well as other men — to jail.
All these states violate international laws that protect religious freedom, including the freedoms of unpopular minorities. Article 18, 1 of the 1976 United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights protects everyone’s freedom to “have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice” and “to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.”
A long history of persecution
Jehovah’s Witnesses were among the first groups the Nazis persecuted. There were about 25,000 to 30,000 Witnesses in Germany in 1933. About half of those who did not flee were convicted of various crimes and between 2,000 and 2,500 were sent to concentration camps, where about 1,000 died. About 250 were also executed.
Some years ago I met a Jehovah’s Witness in the city where I live who told me the Nazis had beheaded his grandfather. Germany’s Jehovah’s Witnesses were not merely passive religious group that refused to adopt the Nazi ideology: they also actively tried to expose Nazi atrocities.
In the 1960s and ‘70s in Malawi, entire villages of Jehovah’s Witnesses were burned, and many villagers were raped, tortured or murdered as they tried to flee. Their crime was refusal to participate in rituals of loyalty to the newly independent Malawian state and its president, Hastings Banda.
The Malawi government denied me a visa in the early 1980s when I told its High Commission in Ottawa that I wanted to know what had happened to these Witnesses for research for my book, Human Rights in Commonwealth Africa.
Many Witnesses in Rwanda, both Tutsi and Hutu, lost their lives during the 1994 genocide, many trying to hide people at risk of being murdered.Even now, Rwandan authorities expel some Witness children from school and have fired some Witness teachers because they refuse to sing the national anthem or participate in religious training.
Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Canada
Here in Canada, Jehovah’s Witnesses have not always enjoyed their rights to freedom of religion and expression.
During the Second World War, Witness children were banned from schools in several locations because they would not salute the flag, sing the national anthem or repeat the pledge of allegiance. A Witness father sued the Hamilton Board of Education on behalf of his two sons, who had been expelled from school in 1940. In 1945, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, saying the Board was required to excuse students from participating in religious exercises to which their parents objected.
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By JOHN BUTLER
OK, not really a topic, but I'm confused
J W's Open Club ? this one that I've just joined.
What happened to the other JW club ? Do you know I cannot even remember what it was called.
Was it JW's Private club ? Any way did i miss something happening and if so what, when and why ???
By JOHN BUTLER
OK, I've sort of shot myself in the foot by saying I'm now going to take this forum as a joke and have a laugh. In most ways i will continue to do so BUT.
This evening I was given some information that 1.maybe I shouldn't have been given. 2. Maybe i wish i hadn't been given.
Some of you may say I'm telling lies. Some of you may say I'm just after attention. Some may say I'm just trying to put down the JW Org.
However i have to think on something i say a lot. DUTY OF CARE. Care of everyone, in or out of that JW Org.
I have been given this information :-
Somewhere between 18 months to 2 years ago, a young man that is a member of Honiton Congregation (my ex congregation) committed a sexual offence against a young girl that would have been around 7 or 8 years old at that time..
The young man was visiting the home of this child and he went up to the girl's bedroom and asked the girl to have sex with him. I do not think that sexual intercourse took place but from the information that I've been given, he laid her on the bed and got on top of her and 'humped' her as if he were having sexual intercourse with her.
The incident was reported to the Elders and the police were not informed. I have no idea what action the Elders took but the congregation were not informed.
The young man ( who's name I have ) would have been in his very early twenties at the time, but his mental age is lower. He is a bit slow in learning things and possibly has mental disorders. That is not meant as an insult, but i do know this young man personally and he does act a bit strange sometimes and frightens people.
The young man's father was a single dad of three children ( i knew this man quite well ), but he invited a foreign lady (a sister in the JW Org) over to the UK, and they married. The marriage did not go well as the woman wanted to 'be the boss'. They split up and she went back to her country of origin. But then she came back to have a 'second try' at the marriage. I do not know the marriage situation at this time. However the whole issue would have been totally upsetting for the three children, especially for this young man that found it difficult to cope with some situations.
The person that gave me this information, in my opinion, is completely trustworthy, and once again in my opinion, would not have any reason for making up a 'story'. As I was given the young man's name, and i know the young man and his father, it all seems quite genuine to me.
Now i come back to the duty of care. For, in my opinion, it is the duty of anyone that has any information concerning child abuse to report it to the police.
This could be just a one off incident, but it could be the start of a young man becoming a pedophile. I honestly don't know where my duty is here.
The young girl that was the victim of this assault may need help getting over the situation. The information was also that the father of the victim does not want 'any trouble'. Hence he did not want the police involved. That helped the Elders to keep it secret, well almost.
Now this young man may commit sexual assault again, within the JW congregation or outside of it. And that young lady will be in fear of him and yet still have to attend that Kingdom hall where she will see him every week.
So should i report what i have been told to the police or not ? Of course I would have to tell the police it is only third hand information.
BUT, if the police could get hold of the 'records' / paperwork from the Kingdom hall regarding the incident, then it would be proved as true.
I do not expect that the Elders would willingly hand over paperwork, so I've no idea how it would work out in the end. But it's my actions that I'm concerned about here , my responsabilites. What should i do ?
By JOHN BUTLER
This topic is aimed toward asking ADMIN these questions. I do not know who Admin are. Some folks here seem to have made friends with Admin where as I just use the forum.
Why was Jehovah's Witnesses Private Club set up ?
Should it be 999% about Jehovah's Witnesses and their Organisation, which would include the GB ?
Am I therefore wrong when i only talk about Jehovah's Witnesses and have no interest in other religions ?
There are those on here that regularly 'bite my ears off' because i only talk about the JW's, but I thought that was the intention of this forum.
Admin please clarify these matters for me, please ......
By Guest Nicole
YELM, Wash. — Authorities on Wednesday were investigating after someone tried to set fire to the Kingdom Hall of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in Yelm.
This comes after four other recent attacks onÂ Kingdom Halls of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in Thurston County that are being investigated as hate crimes.
In the latest incident, authorities were called around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday to the report of an attempted arson at the Kingdom Hall on Vail Road SE in Yelm.
The ensuing investigation closed a large section of Vail Road for most of the day.
Church elders had arrived to find fire logs stacked up against an outside wall that was smoldering. They doused the logs with water and prevented any further damage to the building.
The elders reported finding a suspicious device placed on the ground on the west side of the building. It Â“had the appearance of being an explosive device,Â” so deputies called the bomb squad to the scene.
People living nearby the church told Q13 News they were told by law enforcement to evacuate for their own safety.
Â“I got woken up by my roommate Zachary saying there was a device on the church next door to our house and we needed to evacuate,Â” said Richard McIntire.
McIntireÂ’s shared his concern about living so close to whatÂ’s become a repeated target.
Â“I donÂ’t understand why people have to target churches,Â” he said.
Neighbors in rural Yelm expressed their worries about the attacks and hoped police would soon make an arrest before someone gets hurt.
By late afternoon investigators determined the suspicious device wasnÂ’t dangerous. The Thurston County SheriffÂ’s Office laterÂ tweeted, Â“The suspicious device was made to look like a real bomb but in the end, it was found to be fake.Â”
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Immigration This is how they treated us: children separated from their parents at the border tell of their days in detention in the United StatesBy Guest Nicole
Many of the children described conditions at US Customs and Border Protection facilities, where they were taken and processed during the first days after crossing the border. In the reports they were only identified by their first names. Timofei, 15, from Russia, who sought asylum on the border with his parents for his beliefs as Jehovah's Witnesses, said they were crowded night and day in the closed and crowded room, detained along with other boys. He said there was only one window that opened onto an empty hallway and that they did not have soap in the bathroom, and that only sometimes, they gave him a toothbrush for individual use. He also said that he was offered a shower when he arrived at the facilities in San Ysidro, California, but he did not and the second or third day there did not allow him to do so.
As the result of job change many years ago, we moved the family of three young children from the vicinity of the Pacific Ocean to the vicinity of a large mountain lake in California. Until housing was found, a drafty, “caretaker’s cottage”, built around 1900 and part of once was a privately owned grand estate, was offered as temporary housing for those brief summer months. Since 1965, this estate has been a state park attracting thousands of visitors each year. A handful of these visitors ogled my dishwashing techniques from the window of our borrowed kitchen, while on their independent tour of the estate. The cottage porch sits back just a bit from the lake’s shoreline, and close by, the mouth of a small creek empties into its chilly waters. That summer, the lake level was below its natural rim; and the creek, a perfect flow for three boys to wade up and down between its banks. In this creek, a discovery was made. A gooey clay cache oozed between the toes of the oldest son’s bare feet, and soon a combined slip and clay lumps were hand scooped from the creek bottom and brought to the front porch for sculpting. Young hands formed and reformed small pots and trinkets put aside to dry in the warm sun. Because of the clay’s raw, unrefined quality, the artwork produced didn’t survive long; crumbling into dust as the summer days passed by.
During that time period as a JW entering a new congregation, I would not have recalled to mind God’s people as clay from the earth in a potter’s hands. Jer 18:6 (Acts 7:49; Mark 14:58; Matt 16:1; Mark 14:58; Matt 16:18; Eph 2:19-22) Only briefly did an anointed one join the congregation; an older woman, and very submissive to the elder body’s direction. She seemed so fragile, resulting from her age; yet now, I can envision her as “clay” in the hands of the Father. I was oblivious then, that the chosen ones were in jeopardy of becoming ‘crushed’ under the unseen heavy weight of a “Gentile”/Elder rule. Do you, JWs, realize that the power of the “holy ones” is crumbling to dust under this dominion? This is the reality in the Watchtower among God’s chosen people. Dan 2:35; 8:13; 12:7; Rev 13:1,4-8 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
As long as good clay remains supple in the hands of a skilled potter, a beautiful and useful formation is born. God desires this for His people under covenant with him; to fulfill His purpose for all of His children in the Kingdom. Isa 64:8; 2 Cor 4:7; Gal 6:15; 2 Tim 2:20-21; Eph 2:6,7,20-22;3:9-11 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
Yet, each one since Christ, has faced a refinement period allowed by God; a sifting put upon them by Satan through dominating powers. Luke 22:31; 1 Pet 4:12,13 In the Watchtower organization, other hands and other minds are at work coercing this possession of God, to remain marked as unrefined and susceptible to complete crushing under an iron rule and its lies. Rev 2:26,27;13:16;14:9,10; 2 Thess 2:11,12 At the upper level, its anointed leaders have molded as defiled impure clay, to the iron; ‘mingling’ as one dominating power of both clay and iron; spiritual “Israel” with spiritual “Gentiles”, who are the un-anointed elder body. (Rom 9:6; Gal 6:16; 3:29) Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
This merging of powers is depicted in the feet of the image from Daniel’s dream. It is the final kingdom, unlike any other, that comes against the “holy people” during the time of the end. Will God’s “clay” turn back to the Potter seeking refinement, and leave this oppressive power ruling over them? Well, how often in the past has the majority of the nation of Israel listened to God and been forgiven for their transgressions? Always, only a remnant was restored. Dan 2:41-43; 2:40; 7:23; Job 10:9; Hos 8:8; Isa 1:16-18,2,9 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
FROM WATCHTOWER’S “ISAIAH’S PROPHESY”: “In these “last days,” Jehovah has bared his holy arm in order to revive the anointed remnant, the “two witnesses” of the book of Revelation. (2 Tim 3:1; Rev 11:3,7-13) Since 1919, these have been brought into a spiritual paradise, the spiritual estate that they now share with millions of their associates, the other sheep. ip-2 chap. 13 pp. 180-193
“These “escaped ones” were restored to their God-given spiritual estate, which he caused to sprout abundantly. THIS SPIRITUAL ESTATE HAS PRESENTED AN INVITING, ATTRACTIVE APPEARANCE, which has drawn millions of other God-fearing people to join the remnant in true worship.” ip-1 chap. 6 pp. 61-72
To believe that the Watchtower holds a refined remnant of spiritual “Israel” to come out of the “world”, is true folly. Its version of Revelation’s “two witnesses” were those who “took the lead” and were physically imprisoned by the U.S. government after preaching in “sackcloth”. Why were they imprisoned? Among other charges, it was for Rutherford’s publication “The Finished Mystery”, which contained his blatant accusations against the political and religious entities and their stand concerning the war at hand. He and his cohorts were charged with sedition. When this charge was made, Rutherford scrambled not only to stop further printing of the book, but required the Bible Students to rip out 7 pages of it; all to AVOID being sentenced to jail. The Society even encouraged the Bible Students to buy war bonds and participate in a day of prayer for victory, all to appease the government. Although the Watchtower has revealed some truth regarding these events, it then glorifies and embellishes it, as you see written in “Isaiah’s Prophesy” by effectively hiding the true account from its members.
Did this book reveal biblical truth and Revelation from Christ? Did it explain the need for God’s Temple anointed priesthood to be refined and cleansed of all sin and idolatry, by speaking in the manner of Moses and Elijah; or, was it preaching lies? (1 Pet 2:5,9;1 Cor 3:16,17; Dan 12:10; Mal 3:1,2; 1 Pet 1:7; Matt 17:1,2; Rev 11:1-3) Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
Watchtower’s own “Revelation” book gives a conflicting report on “The Finished Mystery” exposed by a leaflet covering various aspects of the book. This leaflet was created by JWs, not by the website where it was found. After quoting two contrasting remarks from the Revelation Book, it states:
“Therefore, according to ‘Revelation – It’s Grand Climax at Hand!’, even though ‘The Finished Mystery’ ‘proved to be UNSATISFACTORY AS AN EXPLANATION OF REVELATION’, its distribution was SOMEHOW INSTRUMENTAL in fulfilling the bible prophesy in Revelation 11 concerning the ‘Two Witnesses’ and the manner which they ‘struck the earth with every sort of plague’.” (caps mine) Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
In truth, “The Finished Mystery” struck the “earth” – God’s chosen ones – with every sort of lie imaginable and is well documented in the leaflet.
Revelation’s authentic “two witnesses” preach in “sackcloth” over the detestable things committed by God’s anointed Temple priesthood; yet, “The Finished Mystery” and all Wt. literature concerning the message of the “two witnesses”, deflects attention away from God’s chosen people, to those outside of His Covenant by targeting Christendom and the world’s governments.
These “two witnesses” are not symbolically “killed” for their brief jail time and then later released to further spout off more lies and more false prophesy; but are rejected for exposing the real identity of the Beast/”man of lawlessness” and the false prophet/Harlot directing it. They have spent years in captivity among their own people, drinking in Wormwood’s corruptive waters before waking up to Truth. It is then they are “killed” when speaking TRUTH revealed by Christ; disfellowshipped and marked as spiritually “dead”. Luke 21:24; Rev 13:7,10; Micah 4:10; John 16:2; Rev 8:11;13:15; 12:11 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
Through Satan’s full use of his earthly resources, he has successfully spun a “spiritual estate” as attractive and inviting; yet, this spiritually immoral, sultry deception that JWs slave to maintain, effectively afflicts and trample God’s chosen people. It is an oppression symbolically perceived through the physical evidence of the combined iron and clay powers ruling over them. Matt 24:15; Dan 8:11 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
When Pilate presented both the robber Barabbas and Jesus before the Jewish leaders and the people, he asked, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. Matt 27:21
Barabbas, (meaning “son of a father”), a robber and killer, was arrested for sedition – “insurrection”, by the Gentile Roman government. Mark 15:7; Luke 23:18,19 Although guilty for his crimes, he was also released by that same power at the demands of the Jewish spiritual leaders. Rutherford was also released, having his own confidantes fighting for him. He was not pardoned or exonerated because his innocence was established, as the Watchtower would have you believe. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) However, at the vicious demands of the Pharisees and his own people, Jesus was put to death by the Gentile nation for exposing the Pharisees as hypocritical liars and spiritual adulterers; and for laying “heavy loads” on the people they ruled over. Matt 20:17-19; John 8:44,45; Matt 23:4 He preached “repent for the Kingdom of heaven has come near”. Matt 3:2 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
Likewise, on the authority of the Harlot/GB, the “two witnesses” are handed over to the “Gentile”/elder body and judged as apostates worthy of “death”. They also, expose the leaders of their people for spiritual blasphemy, preaching the same message as Jesus did to God’s wayward nation, to “repent for the Kingdom of heaven has come near”. Matt 10:17,18,21,22; John 16:2; Rev 13:1,5-7,11,12,14,15; Matt 10:16,19,20,24; Rev 11:3,4;11:7 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
So, what about Rutherford and Watchtower’s string of leadership? Is it fair to say they are "robbers" and "killers" - sons of the Father of the lie? If anointed ones preach lies and not truth in Christ, do they not rob one of teachings leading to eternal life? Matt 23:13-15; 15:14; Rom 9:1; Ps 52:1-4; Matt 7:15-20 When they spiritually “kill” their brothers for speaking truth, does this not make them spiritually blood guilty? Matt 24:48-51; 27:25; 23:34; John 16:2,3; Rev 16:2,5,6,7; 18:24 The organizational arrangement was “born” during Rutherford’s reign. This arrangement allowed for the development of the power of iron to eventually overcome the Temple of God, at the authority of the Harlot/GB. Rev 11:1; Matt 24:15; Dan 11:31,32,36; 2 Thess 2:4; Rev 9:1,3,10,11 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
JWs, how long will you keep listening to Watchtower’s persistent attempt to cover over its lies with more lies? Matt 24:15-21; Luke 17:26-30 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
"You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the TRUTH. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." John 18:37
Testifying to the TRUTH is the purpose Jesus sends his “two witnesses” to the Temple priesthood and “clay” of the earth. Their warning call shouts out and reveals the looming iron/clay power threatening the salvation of God’s chosen people, and all, who reside in the organization. Ezek 33:6,8; Rev 9:17-20; 13:8; 2 Thess 2:9-10 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down at once to the potter’s house; there I will reveal my words to you.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, working away at the wheel. But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter’s hand, so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do.
The word of the Lord came to me: “House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay?”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, house of Israel. At one moment I might announce concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will uproot, tear down, and destroy it. However, if that nation about which I have made the announcement turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the disaster I had planned to do to it. At another time I might announce concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it. However, if it does what is evil in my sight by not listening to me, I will relent concerning the good I had said I would do to it. So now, say to the men of Judah and to the residents of Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look, I am about to bring harm to you and make plans against you. Turn now, each from your evil way, and correct your ways and your deeds.’
But they will say, ‘It’s hopeless. We will continue to follow our plans, and each of us will continue to act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’” Jer 18:1-12
The Watchtower teaches that God's people are like "clay in the Potter's hands", then turns the attention of JWs to Satan's world for fulfillment of the feet of the image in Daniel's dream. Yet, the "disgusting thing standing in the holy place" of Matt 24:15 and Dan 9:27 is spoken as the coalition of power in Dan 11:14-16; one of these powers as COMING "FROM YOUR OWN PEOPLE" - spiritual "Israel", and the "clay" of the last power in Daniel's image.
Pearl Doxsey has several articles about the last destructive power over the holy ones.
“Iron and Clay”
“Why Jesus Came to Earth/Last World Power Over the Chosen ones/”Iron” and “Clay”
The meaning of ““World/earth/home”
The God delusion- are Jehovah's Witnesses the exception?
Religion seems to be more divisive and destructive than any other belief system. Why does the beliefÂ in a superhuman powerÂ bear such "rotten fruit"?Â
Each religion claims they are the one and only true religion. Is there such a thing as the onlyÂ true Religion, and one that actually bears "good fruit"?
Please watch the documentary below and feel free to shareÂ any observations you might have, or comment onÂ the problem of religion and belief you have identified and/or the areas where Jehovah's Witnesses differ....etc.
At the end of the video Dawkins asks imploringly, appealing to our sense of gratitude:Â Â“People sometimes say there must be more to this life....but how much more do you wantÂ”?
I guess you can present that question to someone who was born in poverty and disease, and has no way out. Or you can ask someone who has been diagnosed with a fatal illness and has no way of getting better. Or you can ask someone who has lost loved ones who cannot be brought back. Â I am sure they would tell you they wished for more.....Â Â
By Ann O'Maly
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BY Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. APRIL 20TH 2017 The Supreme Court of Russia has a decision to make this week about whether to label the Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist organization and liquidate its assets. This act would transform the religious community into a criminal network, and make individual Witnesses vulnerable to arrest simply for speaking about their faith with others. While the court case has attracted recent media attention, this move is the culmination of two decades of increasing state hostility to Witnesses. In the late 1990s, Moscow took the Witnesses to court to deny them legal standing in the city limits. After several years of court hearings, the city banned the organization. In more recent years, anti-extremism laws drafted in the wake of domestic terrorism have been turned against Witness magazines and books. Currently, over eighty publications have been placed on the federal list of extremist materials. Even their website is now illegal. So is My Book of Bible Stories, an illustrated book for children, listed alongside publications by terrorist organizations.
If the state criminalizes the Witnesses, it will represent a major deterioration in religious toleration in post-Soviet Russia. It will also put Russia at odds with the European Court of Human Rights, which has repeatedly ruled in favor of the Witnesses in the past two decades. It may make other minority faiths vulnerable to similar legal challenges. In the 1990s, scholars spoke of a newly opened religious marketplace, in which post-Soviet citizens, freed from the constraints of state-enforced atheism, shopped around among the faith traditions. It is fair to say that these days, this marketplace has fewer customers, fewer stalls, and more regulations.
If history is any guide, Russia will find it nearly impossible to eliminate Jehovah’s Witnesses. Soviet dissident author Vladimir Bukovsky once admiringly wrote of the Witnesses’ legendary persistence under ban. When the Soviet Union barred religious literature from crossing its borders, Witnesses set up underground bunkers to print illegal magazines for their congregations. When Soviet officials prohibited Witnesses from hosting religious services, they gathered in small groups in their apartments, often in the middle of the night. Sometimes they snuck away to nearby woods or out onto the vast steppe, where they could meet with less scrutiny. When the state told believers that they could not evangelize their faith to others, Witnesses chatted up their neighbors, coworkers, and friends. When these actions landed them in labor camps, Witnesses sought out converts among their fellow prisoners. Witnesses are certain to revive many of these tactics if placed in similar circumstances in the future.
Moreover, technology makes it far more difficult for Russia to control the religious practices of its citizens. Although the Witnesses’ official website is no longer available in Russia, individual members can easily share religious literature through email or dozens of other social media platforms and apps. While Soviet Witnesses had to write coded reports and hand-deliver them through an underground courier network, Witnesses today can text this information in seconds. Technology will also facilitate meeting times for religious services in private homes.
The Russian government simply does not have the manpower to enforce its own ban. It is hard to imagine that local officials could effectively prevent over 170,000 people across more than 2,000 congregations from gathering together multiple times per week, as Witnesses do worldwide. The case of Taganrog is instructive. Several hundred Witnesses lived there in 2009, when the city declared the organization illegal. A few years later, it convicted sixteen Witnesses for ignoring the ban and continuing to gather their congregations for services. The state spent over a year in investigations and court hearings for sixteen people, a tiny fraction of the total congregation, and then suspended the sentences and fines rather than waste more resources in following through on its punishment guidelines. There are not enough police officers in Russia to monitor the daily activities of each and every Witness, and the Witnesses know it. Under a ban, everyone will face more scrutiny, a few will be dealt more serious consequences, and most will continue practicing their faith regardless.
Russia may nonetheless decide that all of this conflict is worth it. After all, Soviet officials were fairly successful in relegating Witnesses to the margins of society. Few Russians will complain if Witnesses no longer come to knock on their door. After all, even Americans rarely have kind words for religious missionaries at their own doorsteps. In my own research, I have never heard a single Russian, other than a scholar, say anything positive about Witnesses. For the record, my experience with Americans has been similar. On a more basic level, Russian citizens may not even notice the Witnesses’ absence from public life. While the post-Soviet period saw a religious revival for all faiths, far fewer joined the Witnesses than the Russian Orthodox Church. For all their recent growth in membership, the Witnesses remain a tiny minority in a largely secular society.
The vocal determination of Witnesses not to acquiesce to state demands should not cause observers to overlook the very real damage a ban would do to this community. Yes, Witnesses have faced similar challenges before and have dealt with them. For decades, they held their baptisms in local rivers and lakes under cover of night. In the post-Soviet period, new members were finally able to celebrate their baptisms in full view of their fellow believers at public conventions. A long-time Witness who attended one of these events in the early 1990s recalled, “What happiness, what freedom!” A new ban would mean a return to this underground life, to a hushed ceremony in cold waters. This is not what freedom of conscience looks like in modern states.
Emily B. Baran is the author of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . Her work explores the shifting contours of dissent and freedom in the Soviet Union and its successor states. She is Assistant Professor of History at Middle Tennessee State University.
By The Librarian
Is Russia clamping down on Jehovah Witnesses? BBC News
Russia’s Supreme Court has begun hearing a government request to outlaw the Jehovah’s Witnesses and declare it an extremist organisation. The justice ministry has already placed its headquarters near St Petersburg on a list of extremist groups.
Forum to discuss in detail located HERE
GENEVA (4 April 2017) – Moves by the Russian Government to ban the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses using a lawsuit brought under anti-extremism legislation have been condemned as “extremely worrying” by three United Nations human rights experts*.
“This lawsuit is a threat not only to Jehovah’s Witnesses, but to individual freedom in general in the Russian Federation,” the experts said.
“The use of counter-extremism legislation in this way to confine freedom of opinion, including religious belief, expression and association to that which is state-approved is unlawful and dangerous, and signals a dark future for all religious freedom in Russia,” they stressed.
The condemnation follows a lawsuit lodged at the country’s Supreme Court on 15 March to declare the Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Centre ‘extremist’, to liquidate it, and to ban its activity.
A suspension order came into effect on that date, preventing the Administrative Centre and all its local religious centres from using state and municipal news media, and from organizing and conducting assemblies, rallies and other public events.
A full court hearing is scheduled for 5 April and if the Supreme Court rules in favour of the authorities, it will be the first such ruling by a court declaring a registered centralized religious organization to be ‘extremist’.
Concerns about the counter-extremism legislation have previously been raised in a
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. by the three experts to the Russian authorities on 28 July 2016. The Suspension Order imposed on 15 March is the latest in a series of judicial cases and orders, including a warning sent to the organization last year referring to the ‘inadmissibility of extremist activity’. This has already led to the dissolution of several local Jehovah’s Witness organizations, raids against their premises and literature being confiscated.
“We urge the authorities to drop the lawsuit in compliance with their obligations under international human rights law, and to revise the counter-extremism legislation and its implementation to avoid fundamental human rights abuses,” the UN experts concluded.
(*) The experts: Mr. David Kaye (USA), Special Rapporteur on
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Mr. Maina Kiai (Kenya), Special Rapporteur on Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , and Mr. Ahmed Shaheed (the Maldives), Special Rapporteur on Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. UN Human Rights, country page:
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In an earlier Vortex, we reported between the years of 2008 and 2014, 3 million Catholics left the Faith in the United States. So we went digging to see what the numbers are for the the last 15 years, since the turn of the century — essentially one generation.
Brace yourselves here: According to the most recent data from solid sources, in the year 2000, 18 million Americans identified themselves as former Catholics — those who had left the Faith. One generation later, as of 2016, that number had swelled to 30 million.
Elevent million more Catholics have left the Faith since the turn of the century. There are more Catholics over 50 than under 50. And there are more Catholics over 65 than under 30. And the percentage of young people — those under 30 — in the Church is a smaller percentage than almost any other religion.
Only Jehovah's Witnesses and mainline Protestants have a smaller percentage of young people comprising their ranks than Catholics, and even there, Catholics are a hair's breadth away from being dead last.
17 percent of the Church are people under 30. 16 percent of mainline Protestants are people under 30. 15 percent of Jehovah's Witnesses are people under 30. Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, and the Eastern Orthodox all have larger percentages within their ranks of people under 30 than the Catholic Church does.
Over the next 15 years, we can expect to see the raw number, the straight pure number of Catholics begin to drop off more dramatically. One of out every five Catholics right now, today, is over 65. Almost all of those people will be dead in 10–15 years. And they aren't being sufficiently replaced. Additionally, we're beginning to reach the moment where there will be more Catholics who have actually left the Faith then there are those who claim to still be in it.
Although there are conflicting data on the actual number of Catholics in the United States, a safe number is about 73 million. Thirty million Catholics, as we said before, no longer call themselves Catholics. Just another 6 or 7 million leaving the Faith, and there will be more former Catholics than those who still identify as Catholics.
At current trends, which show no slowing up or changing, we will reach that moment in about three years — right around 2020. We already know from surveys during the campaign that the percentage of Catholics relative to the overall U.S. population has slipped from the historically stable number of 25 percent to roughly 20 percent, and the percentage of Catholic voters dropped from 26 percent to approximately 21 percent.
This is a Church in full-blown retreat.
Eleven percent fewer parishes since 2000; 18 percent fewer priests; and only two thirds what priests there are are in active ministry. The other third are too old for active ministry. Graduate-level seminarians essentially flat lined. The slight increase in the numbers of priestly ordinations is nowhere near enough the number needed to replace those dying — not by half, in fact.
Infant baptisms off by a third. Adult conversions down by 40 percent. First Holy Communions and confirmations also both down. And marriages — perhaps the most significant barometer for the future life of the Church — down almost 50 percent since the year 2000. In fact, the only two sacraments that there aren't officially horrible numbers for are the only ones no official records are kept for: confession and anointing of the sick.
But any Catholic with working eyes knows the number of confessions has also fallen off the cliff. Even the number of Catholic funerals since the year 2000 has dropped by 16 percent.
This entire disaster — and that is what it is — must be placed squarely at the feet of the U.S. hierarchy, who have done nothing meaningful to arrest the decline and have in many ways helped speed it along. What business would tolerate such horrible results from its managers and directors? It would have fired them more than a decade ago for complete incompetence.
We here at Church Militant often get blamed for causing division, often times by many of the bishops and their staffs. Look at these numbers, Your Excellencies, numbers largely taken from your own data, and own them. Don't blame us. The vast majority of Catholics have no idea who we are. It's not causing division to point at the house burning down and yell "Fire!"
Your lackluster, protestant-minded, false ecumenism, happy-clappy, fake-joy, heresy-accommodating, tradition-hating strategies are responsible for this failure. You and your staffs have caused the division — not us, not others. You!
You have given young people nothing to commit to, other than embracing worldly causes, which they don't need you to tell them to do. You have abandoned or destroyed one tradition after another to the point that now, we have arrived at a point where there is no longer any Catholic identity to speak of. You have allowed and even encouraged a flood of abuses in the liturgy, the seminaries, religious houses, schools and colleges so that young people have no idea what being Catholic means, so understandably they have no loyalty to it.
You have not taught. You have not encouraged. You have not loved. And accordingly, your sheep are abandoning you. You have ground underfoot the patrimony of tens of millions of Catholics from former generations and sold it off. And you rip into loyal Catholics who point this out to try and wake up what few remaining Catholics there are before it's too late — if it isn't in fact already too late.
Your ill-advised, protestant-based evangelization efforts and emotional theatrical presentations won't turn this around. All you are doing is putting into high gear what you've already been doing since the year 2000. In the next 15 years, when most of you will have been judged by Almighty God, you will stand before Him and be directly responsible for a Church in America that will be unrecoverable owing to your spiritual cowardice.
You will have to explain to Jesus Christ, one by one, how you embraced the world instead of converting it. Your lampstand has been taken away. You need to meditate on that in the quiet of the night, when there is no one around except you and God. And you need to tremble and quake at the fate that awaits you at your judgments if you don't reverse course immediately.
Pray for them, Catholics; pray that the majority of them will wake up before they all die in their sins in a few years.
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By Guest Nicole
The organization faces a ban in all of Russia
The supreme court in Russia’s Karachay-Cherkessia declared the local Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist organization on February 10 and ordered for it to be dissolved and its property forfeited to the state.
Earlier, the republic’s prosecutor office had accused the organization of producing and disseminating extremist materials. The Witnesses were then forced to pay a fine and had their literature seized, however, as they wouldn’t give up what the prosecutor’s office referred to as “extremist activity”, the matter was taken to court.
The Russian prosecutor general’s crackdown on Jehovah’s Witnesses started with a notice of “unacceptability of extremist activity” sent to the organization’s management last April. Citing religious discrimination, JW representatives appealed against the notice. However, Moscow’s city court on January 16 upheld it, ordering the organisation to “fix the violations” unless it wanted to be banned on the entire territory of the Russian Federation.
Seven of JW’s regional branches have been closed down in Russia by courts. In the southern Russian city of Taganrog, 16 Witnesses were convicted for failing to comply with the ban. Four criminal cases have recently been launched against several members of the organization for “inciting hatred” and “creating a non-commercial entity violating citizens’ rights”.
In 2005, a Moscow court ordered the dissolution of the capital’s JW community. In 2010, the European Court for Human Rights found the court in violation of the European convention. And in 2015, the community finally had its registration resumed.
There are 100 to 150 thousand Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. The Christian denomination emerged from the Bible Student movement, founded in 1872 by Charles Russel. It reports a worldwide membership of more than eight million adherents.
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Our problem with the humility
Humility is not a problem, obviously, is the lack of this quality that I’m referring as a problem. And when I mention “our”, I mean “our” in all our levels. And, let me be direct. I see -in general- more humility in sisters than in brothers, more in publishers than in elders, more in elders than in elders with “special responsibilities.” I’m talking in general, I know real fine examples of humility in brothers with big responsibilities in our organization.
Ask for forgiveness
This is a basic lesson parents teach to their children: “ask for forgiveness” always you’re wrong. And, as Christians we’ve received a lot of fine instruction to follow the path of humility, expressed specially when we apologize for our errors. Then…
Should the GB ask for forgiveness when erring?
Do you think the same rule all Christians try to follow also apply to GB? Naturally. And, do you usually see the GB asking for forgiveness? Before you answer, one example.
Will resurrect the unborn babies? Until 2009 we ‘officially’ thought that not. After reading the article w09 4/15 one sister told me that years ago she lost a baby in her womb. She recognizes that our teaching about the lack of hope for these creatures really hurt her. Even the quoted article recognized the possibility of these emotional wounds when mentioned:
· “For those who have never suffered the loss of an unborn baby in this way, it may be difficult to imagine the feelings of those who have. Some parents grieve such losses intensely. One mother lost five children before they were born. In time, she felt blessed to raise two healthy sons. Yet, she remembered each loss. To the end of her days, she knew just how old her stillborn and miscarried babies would have been had they survived.” What was the reason we thought in a way that caused ADDED emotional wounds to these sisters? In the same article, the GB, the “slave”, IMPLICITLY answer:
· *** w09 4/15 p. 13 Questions From Readers *** Does all of this mean, then, that the Bible teaches that children who perish before birth will be resurrected? We must emphasize that the Bible does not directly answer that question, so there is no basis for humans to be dogmatic on the matter. Do you saw? When we in the past were teaching plainly “no resurrection” WE WERE BEING DOGMATIC. This was the IMPLICIT reason. Then, if the writers of the article would have shown more humility, this paragraph, EXPLICITLY apologizing would had been perfect:
· “We sincerely apologize because our previous understanding lead to these sisters to an added emotional damage… We, the brothers with the responsibility, were dogmatic. Signed: The Governing Body” Would have been bad if the GB would have included this kind of commentary in the article? If not, why we have never found this kind of expressions? One moment! The “slave” is humble, the brothers recognize they commit errors and aren’t unerring.
“I am a sinner”
I use to give a talk about the pray. At some point ask to the auditorium what they think about my pray this night if I mention to Jehovah “Oh God, forgive me please, I am a sinner.” Now, stop for a while and observe from the platform the brothers nodding. At this point ask them “what if I modify my pray tonight in this way: ‘Oh God, forgive me please, today I’ve envied brother James a lot when he showed me his new car’…etc.”. Now the brothers nodded with more emphasis.
What I mean is that a humble person should be specific when ask for forgiveness. Sadly, I haven’t found this humility with the errors the branch in my country has made over the years, nor the errors the GB has made when publishing some information causing damages –Later I’ll try to justify them.
Perhaps someone thinks this is to be hard or lack of appreciation with the teaching and work of these brothers of the GB. Believe me, I pray for them. Whether I like it or not they are, under Christ, guiding the ship, and all of us are in the same boat –Later I’ll try to justify them.
If someone thinks this matters don’t cause wounds…
The 1975 repentance
Between many other references, I quote this, because is easily found in the WT Library (CD edition).
· *** km 7/70 p. 3 Announcements *** A new circuit assembly program is scheduled to begin in September. We believe you will find it most informative and upbuilding. The public talk will be “Who Will Conquer the World in the 1970’s? I attended this assembly. This and other declarations make us to feel very excited. After this came the disillusion but, in general, God’s people, as we serve God for love, have continued worship Him until now.
Had damage with this unscriptural emphasis to one date? These are, rounded, the average of publishers in those years:
· 1975: 2,062,000 · 1976: 2,136,000 · 1977: 2,117,000 · 1978: 2,086,000 · 1979: 2,087,000 · 1980: 2,175,000 As we can see, it had a slowdown in several years just after 1975. Was it the fault, at some degree, the GB teaching about 1975? All of we, serving in the congregations around the world, know the answer. In my personal case, as I’m alone in the truth and I was a teenager in those years, all my family laughed about my new religion and my beliefs. Weight was added to their arguments about we were a group of fanatics.
Well, what is the supposed behavior of a humble person when errs so seriously? Yes, ask for forgiveness. Some brother now is crying: “but the brothers recognized his error!” Yes, I’m witness of this. It began in the 1979 district convention. I still remember the talk and the brother assigned to the speech. Follows quotations about this talk.
· *** yb80 pp. 30-31 1980 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses *** The brothers also appreciated the candor of this same talk, which acknowledged the Society’s responsibility for some of the disappointment a number felt regarding 1975.
And, the talk was partially recorded in this Watchtower article:
· *** w80 3/15 pp. 17-18 pars. 5-6 Choosing the Best Way of Life *** In modern times such eagerness, commendable in itself, has led to attempts at setting dates for the desired liberation from the suffering and troubles that are the lot of persons throughout the earth. With the appearance of the book Life Everlasting—in Freedom of the Sons of God, and its comments as to how appropriate it would be for the millennial reign of Christ to parallel the seventh millennium of man’s existence, considerable expectation was aroused regarding the year 1975. There were statements made then, and thereafter, stressing that this was only a possibility. Unfortunately, however, along with such cautionary information, there were other statements published that implied that such realization of hopes by that year was more of a probability than a mere possibility. It is to be regretted that these latter statements apparently overshadowed the cautionary ones and contributed to a buildup of the expectation already initiated. In its issue of July 15, 1976, The Watchtower, commenting on the inadvisability of setting our sights on a certain date, stated: “If anyone has been disappointed through not following this line of thought, he should now concentrate on adjusting his viewpoint, seeing that it was not the word of God that failed or deceived him and brought disappointment, but that his own understanding was based on wrong premises.” In saying “anyone,” The Watchtower included all disappointed ones of Jehovah’s Witnesses, hence including persons having to do with the publication of the information that contributed to the buildup of hopes centered on that date
Before someone says “this proves the humility of GB”, let me say this illustration.
Imagine a tourist guide in a journey by the jungle is leading a group of tourists. He lost the way and, as a result, some of the persons under his responsibility lost their life. Now, years later all finishes, he says to the group he took by the wrong way: “I wasn’t the only one wrong, all of you were also lost.”
Do you think the guide was humble? Do you think our GB showed humility? –Later I’ll try to justify them.
An Apostate Fails
This is the subtitle containing the next quote, six years after the above statements regarding the 1975 “error”:
· *** w86 12/15 p. 20 pars. 20-21 *** “Is there a modern-day parallel to Achan’s sin? Yes, there is. […] For a recent example, during the mid-1970’s some prominent elders became disgruntled. It was below their “dignity” to witness from house to house, proclaiming the Kingdom message after the pattern of Jesus’ apostles. (Acts 5:42; 20:20, 21, 29, 30) It looked good to them to go back to Babylonish teachings. Slyly they tried to raise doubts about “the last days” and to slow down the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (2 Peter 3:3, 4) Finally, they had to be disfellowshipped.—[…] Loyal Witnesses moved forward vigorously into the 1980’s! Likely the presence of a small number of apostates had contributed to the slowing down of Jehovah’s work during the last half of the 1970’s—when the average yearly increase in the active ranks of Jehovah’s Witnesses fell to less than 1 percent. However, the annual increase in the last five years has averaged more than 6 percent. Kingdom publishers reached a worldwide peak of 3,024,131 in 1985, compared with 2,179,256 in 1975”
I remember those days. In my country almost no one could perceive any bad influence from these ex-brothers. I have no doubt those days were hard but, each reader of the above Watchtower article got the idea that the slowdown of those years was due for these apostates. Really? The 1975 disillusion hadn’t nothing to do with this? Following with my illustration about the guide in the jungle, what if he says: “the blame wasn’t mine, this other people also contributed to the error!” Is it humility?
I think it is time to justify this behavior of our brothers in his VERY DIFFICULT assignment.
The patriarch Job and the “two witnesses”
As all we well know Job was under attack, not only by the Devil, but unconsciously also his friends cause him to develop an attitude of self-defense. This pressure forced this man to deny any error on his part. (Job 34:5) “For Job has said, ‘I am in the right” resumes his attitude. Also this quote from WT reflects well the idea.
· *** w09 4/15 pp. 10-11 par. 14 Job maintained his integrity even though he was imperfect. Sometimes, under extreme pressure, he had the wrong perspective. For instance, he said to Jehovah: “I cry to you for help, but you do not answer me . . . With the full might of your hand you harbor animosity toward me.” Moreover, Job attached undue importance to justifying himself when he said: “I am not in the wrong” and “there is no violence upon my palms, and my prayer is pure.” (Job 10:7; 16:17; 30:20, 21)
And it isn’t true the GB is continuously under scrutiny, attack, looking them with a magnifying glass? In the old good days of the types-antitypes we would say this should be a model. But even without types, the GB is continuously criticized (this forum is a very soft example, I dislike many others places because those persons only want to spit on our faces). As one strong proof the GB is under scrutiny, let’s read about the two witnesses in Revelation, which foreshadow God’s people in our days, mainly the brothers leading the work:
· (Revelation 11:7-12) “the wild beast that ascends out of the abyss will wage war with them and conquer them and kill them […] And those of the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their corpses for three and a half days, and they do not allow their corpses to be laid in a tomb. And those dwelling on the earth rejoice over them and celebrate, and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those dwelling on the earth. […] And they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies saw them.
I think is crystal clear from the scriptures these brothers would have enemies and they would be persecuted. And the hate upon them would get to the point to celebrate their killing and enjoying with the sight of their corpses.
Well, for me it justifies the attitude of the GB. I mean, I understand it, not I share it.
The difficult role of Elihu
Which side are you on? Perhaps Job thought this when heard this words from the young: (Job 33:12) “But you are not right in saying this.” And this is the situation of some of us. Our brothers overseeing the worldwide brotherhood are, scripturally under scrutiny, continuously. If we thought that some errors or injustices are made from these brothers, if we point these mistakes, it appears that we are in the side of opponents. It is a difficult role. What did Elihu? Disqualified entirely Job, as his ‘friends’? Look these exact words: “you are not right in saying this.” I hope nobody would think he was an apostate to say this.
And for some of us I think there is a quite similar situation. We respect the GB. We think these brothers are being used for God to oversee His house, as we, the elders in one specific congregation are being used for God to oversee this congregation. But sometimes, we can't deny ourselves and our intelligence, when we point out, as Elihu “you are not right in saying this.”
By Bible Speaks
THE apostle Peter and some other disciples are struggling to row their boat across the Sea of Galilee during a nighttime windstorm.
Suddenly, they see Jesus walking on the sea. Peter calls out to Jesus, asking if he could walk across the water to his Master. When Jesus tells him to come, Peter gets out of the boat and miraculously walks toward Jesus on the choppy surface.
Moments later, though, Peter starts to sink. Why? He looked at the windstorm and became afraid. Peter cries out to Jesus, who quickly catches hold of him and says: “You with little faith, why did you give way to doubt?”—Matt. 14:24-32.
When Peter climbed out of the boat to walk on the water, he did so in faith. Jesus had called him, and Peter trusted that God’s power would support him just as it was supporting Jesus.
Similarly, when we dedicated ourselves to Jehovah and got baptized, we did so because of our faith. Jesus called us to be his followers, to walk in his footsteps. We had to exercise faith in both Jesus and God, trusting that they would support us in various ways.—John 14:1; read 1 Peter 2:21.
Faith is truly a precious possession. Just as Peter’s faith enabled him to walk on water, our faith enables us to do things that from a human standpoint may seem impossible. (Matt. 21:21, 22)
For instance, many of us have changed our attitudes and practices so drastically that we are almost unrecognizable to those who knew us before. Jehovah supported our efforts because we took these steps based on our faith in him. (Read Colossians 3:5-10.)
Once our faith moved us to dedicate ourselves to Jehovah, we became his friends, something we could never have done in our own power.—Eph. 2:8.
Our faith continues to empower us. In faith we are able to resist the attacks of our superhuman adversary, the Devil. (Eph. 6:16)
In addition, trust in Jehovah helps us to minimize our anxiety during challenging times. Jehovah says that when our faith moves us to put Kingdom interests first, he will provide for our material needs. (Matt. 6:30-34)
More than that, because of our faith, we will receive a gift no human could ever obtain by his own efforts—everlasting life.—John 3:16.
By Guest Nicole
When Audrey Butler dedicated herself to becoming a Jehovah's Witness seven years ago, she knew she would never accept a blood transfusion—even if that meant making a choice between life and death.
"Well the scriptures do tell us that the blood is the soul. So that's how precious blood is to us. It's your life. It's the person's life," she explains.
Butler and other Jehovah's Witnesses believe that several passages in the Bible forbid them from consuming blood in any way, including via blood transfusions. This belief can be at odds with standard medical practice; during the course of surgery, some patients require blood transfusions in order to combat blood loss.
At age 46, Butler began suffering from pain and stiffness in her knee. Doctors told her she had arthritis, and that she would likely need a knee replacement in the coming years.
Butler avoided surgery for as long as possible, enduring painful knee injections and doing her best to live with a limp. But eventually, she began to feel that her limp was slowing her down significantly. Her arthritis was having a considerable impact on her quality of life.
Butler knew she needed the knee replacement. She also knew she was unwilling to abandon her faith.
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How are we to understand the GB/Slave interpreting scripture, as the sole chanel, and at the same time accept that they can err?By Anna
In the past months, there have been quite a few study articles with regard to the GB/Slave. I am trying to get an overall understanding of 2 particular WT articles on this one topic, so that two quotes from the WTs harmonize.
Today's WT study (Nov 2016) p.15 par.9: "Some may feel that they can interpret the Bible on their own. However, Jesus has appointed the ‘faithful slave’ to be the only channel for dispensing spiritual food. Since 1919, the glorified Jesus Christ has been using that slave to help his followers understand God’s own Book and heed its directives.’"
WT Feb.2017 p.26. par.12 " The Governing Body is neither inspired nor infallible. Therefore, it can err in doctrinal matters or in organizational direction. In fact, the Watch Tower Publications Index includes the heading “Beliefs Clarified,” which lists adjustments in our Scriptural understanding since 1870".
It seems that the key to making sense of these 2 seemingly opposing quotes is in the above paragraph if we continue reading: " Of course, Jesus did not tell us that his faithful slave would produce perfect spiritual food".
By JW Insider
Usually when we refer to the "faithful and discreet slave" parable, we refer to the parable of 'the faithful and the unfaithful slave' found in Matthew 24:45-51. But the parable of the "faithful and discreet slave" is also found in Luke, where the expression is changed a bit to "the faithful steward, the discreet one . . . that slave."
(Luke 12:42-48) 42 And the Lord said: “Who really is the faithful steward, the discreet one, whom his master will appoint over his body of attendants to keep giving them their measure of food supplies at the proper time? 43 Happy is that slave if his master on coming finds him doing so! 44 I tell you truthfully, he will appoint him over all his belongings. 45 But if ever that slave should say in his heart, ‘My master delays coming,’ and starts to beat the male and female servants and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that slave will come on a day that he is not expecting him and at an hour that he does not know, and he will punish him with the greatest severity and assign him a part with the unfaithful ones. 47 Then that slave who understood the will of his master but did not get ready or do what he asked will be beaten with many strokes. 48 But the one who did not understand and yet did things deserving of strokes will be beaten with few. Indeed, everyone to whom much was given, much will be demanded of him, and the one who was put in charge of much will have more than usual demanded of him.
"That slave" is given an assignment to feed the master's "body of attendants." If he obeys, he gets a promotion, and if he disobeys he is punished. This is the exact same idea as in Matthew 24, except that there are only about 15 words referring what happens if this slave obeys and 150 words in the section about what happens if the slave disobeys. That's about 10 times as much space given to the idea of disobedience versus obedience. In Matthew it's only about 3 times as much space given to the idea of disobedience.
That might explain why the verses in Matthew are referenced so much more often in Watch Tower publications and speech. The Watchtower has, of course, minimized the idea of any potential disobedience:
*** w13 7/15 p. 24 “Who Really Is the Faithful and Discreet Slave?” ***
Was Jesus foretelling that there would be an evil slave class in the last days? No. Granted, some individuals have manifested a spirit similar to that of the evil slave described by Jesus. We would call them apostates, whether they were of the anointed or of the “great crowd.” (Rev. 7:9) But such ones do not make up an evil slave class. Jesus did not say that he would appoint an evil slave. His words here are actually a warning directed to the faithful and discreet slave.
Notice that Jesus introduces the warning with the words “if ever.” One scholar says that in the Greek text, this passage “for all practical purposes is a hypothetical condition.”
This is an adjustment to the doctrine held just up until the change in 2013. Prior to the quote above (originally presented at the Annual Meeting in 2012) the idea about the evil slave was just the opposite: that the "evil slave" came directly from the ranks of the "faithful slave."
*** w04 3/1 p. 13 pars. 2-4 ‘The Faithful Slave’ Passes the Test! ***
The expression “that evil slave” draws our attention to Jesus’ preceding words about the faithful and discreet slave. Yes, the “evil slave” came from the ranks of the faithful slave. How?
3 Before 1914, many members of the faithful slave class had high hopes of meeting with the Bridegroom in heaven that year, but their hopes were not fulfilled. As a result of this and other developments, many were disappointed and a few became embittered. Some of these turned to ‘beating’ their former brothers verbally and consorting with “confirmed drunkards,” religious groups of Christendom.—Isaiah 28:1-3; 32:6.
4 These former Christians came to be identified as the “evil slave,” and Jesus punished them with “the greatest severity.” How? He rejected them, and they lost out on their heavenly hope. They were not, however, immediately destroyed. They first had to endure a period of weeping and gnashing of teeth in “the darkness outside” the Christian congregation. (Matthew 8:12) Since those early days, a few other anointed individuals have shown a similar bad spirit, identifying themselves with the “evil slave.” Some of the “other sheep” have imitated their unfaithfulness. (John 10:16)
Now, of course, the "faithful slave" is made to be the equivalent of the Governing Body since 1919. (The Governing Body has only existed in its current form since the early to mid-1970's.) For this reason, evidently, it would no longer be appropriate to consider or expect that the evil slave might come from the ranks of the Governing Body. Continuing this teaching would likely create a measure of suspicion and questioning of the Governing Body themselves.
By Guest Nicole
Éloïse Dupuis was giddy with excitement the day before she gave birth to her first child, a son she and her husband named Liam.
In a Facebook message to her aunt Manon Boyer, the 27-year-old said “she couldn’t wait to see him, to hold him and to rock him.”
“She said the dream of her life was about to come true and she couldn’t wait to introduce him to me,” Boyer recalled, one week after her niece died in a hospital following complications from a difficult delivery.
Dupuis was a Jehovah’s Witness and had signed a document, when she became an adult, saying she would not accept a blood transfusion. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that passages in the Bible order them to abstain from taking blood, even when their life is in danger.
The young woman died six days after giving birth in a hospital in Lévis, near Quebec City, after being transferred from a birthing centre when complications arose. The exact cause of death has not yet been determined. However, reports suggesting she didn’t accept a blood transfusion have created a stir in Quebec, with friends, some family members and politicians questioning whether she made the decision freely.
Her parents, her husband and her in-laws were with her for six days before she died, Boyer said.
“I don’t believe she would have refused blood after having her baby if she knew her life was in danger. I don’t think she had the capacity to make a free choice because she was ill from two surgeries. The family never notified us that she was ill.”
Boyer said she is happy that coroner Luc Malouin is investigating her niece’s death, because he will probably question the nurses and doctors who treated Dupuis at the hospital. Boyer said she has already spoken to Malouin about the death.
Boyer said she felt that something was amiss when Dupuis, and her niece’s mother, failed to answer Facebook messages she had sent inquiring about the birth on Oct. 6.
“I sent a message congratulating her on being a grandmother, but she didn’t answer,” Boyer recalled. “The next day, I sent a message saying I know they’re busy, but could they let me know if Éloïse is fine. But that wasn’t answered either.”
A few days later, Boyer noticed a message on Dupuis’s Facebook wall, congratulating her and her husband on their second wedding anniversary. However, the person who posted the message said that they knew “it wasn’t a happy time but that the couple would have other times to celebrate.”
Boyer said she was confused by the message, so she replied to it asking for news about her niece.
“Why isn’t it a good day to celebrate when you just had a baby?” she wondered.
It was then that someone wrote that Dupuis was fighting for her life and had lost a lot of blood.
Boyer said her daughter called the hospital to find out what was going on. A nurse said she would ask a member of Dupuis’s family to speak to her, but family members refused to come to the phone, she said.
“The nurse said we could come to the hospital to visit, but she said that Éloïse’s heart was beating slowly and it was just a question of hours before she would die.”
After hearing the news, Boyer contacted Cassandra Zélézen, a childhood friend of her niece. Zélézen and her two sisters, who are triplets, drove to the hospital from their home in Rawdon, in the Lanaudière region, to try to see their ailing friend.
Zélézen told the Montreal Gazette that Dupuis’s father refused to allow them to see his daughter. Dupuis’s husband told the triplets that he had regrets about having the baby at the birthing centre and wondered about the decision not to have a blood transfusion.
“Now, it’s too late,” Zélézen recalled the husband saying.
Her friend died a short time later.
While at the hospital, Zélézen said that Dupuis’s husband showed her a note that Dupuis had written, while intubated, after having her uterus removed.
“It’s OK, we can adopt,” the note read.
After Dupuis’s death, her friends messaged her aunt saying: “She’s dead, she’s dead.”
On the day Dupuis died, three elders from a Jehovah’s Witness congregation were present at the hospital, according to Zélézen.
John Redwood, a former Jehovah’s Witness from Maryland who wrote about Dupuis’s death on his website, said the organization has a Hospital Liaison Committee made up of trained elders who are dispatched to hospitals any time a Witness may require a blood transfusion.
“Their purpose is to support the family in their decision (and) to avoid being coerced into taking blood,” said Redwood, 49, who left his congregation three years ago. “They may not have ever met the patient, but these are the enforcers of the policy.”
He said there is a second committee, called the Hospital Visitation Committee, made up of members who visit and pray with sick patients but don’t “interfere with blood policy.”
Simon Picard, a spokesperson for the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Canada, denied that elders are sent to hospitals to ensure that blood transfusions do not take place.
“We have members who will be there to provide support, but the choice to not have a blood transfusion is an individual choice,” he said. “When you’re in a crisis situation, you like to have members to support you in a decision you have made.”
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard called Dupuis’s death “terrible,” but said it was important for society to respect the law and individual choice.
“The jurisprudence has been very clear: if a person of sound mind refuses medical treatment, even if it costs them their life, we can’t go against their will.”
In Quebec City, the Coalition Avenir Québec described the incident as “troubling,” and said it raises serious questions about the health care system.
“I don’t have answers today, but I say to myself: ‘How can it be that we let someone die in Quebec for religious reasons?’ ” CAQ Leader François Legault said.
Nathalie Roy, the CAQ critic for secularism, wondered whether Dupuis “had really given free and clear consent. Are there people who spoke for her, who decided for her? Did she know she was going to die leaving her child there?”
Dupuis, whose immediate family could not be reached for comment, had moved to the Beauce region two years ago, following her marriage, but still remained in touch with Boyer and her family.
“It’s unbelievable that you could die a few days after having a baby,” Boyer said. “The baby will be raised by them (Dupuis’s family) and we will never see him. We have lost a beautiful girl. She was full of love and was ready to help anyone, anywhere, any time.”
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By Guest Nicole
(QUEBEC) The Government does not intend to restrict access to hospital rooms to specific groups, religions of the disciples, said yesterday the Minister of Health, Gaétan Barrette.
“You ask me to decide on a person can receive visits from his entourage. You are going away, “said Mr. Barrette briefing. Mr. Barrette has acknowledged that as a physician, he had already faced JW representations to patient.
Earlier in the National Assembly, the caquiste MP Simon Jolin-Barrette had claimed that Quebec clearly gives hospitals the right to restrict access to patients. In addition, a judge should be asked to intervene to assess if a patient refuses treatment rightly whose life may depend, proposed caquiste Member for Borduas.
The young Eloise Dupuis, died last week at the Hotel Dieu de Lévis, refused a blood transfusion because she was a follower of Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, shortly before his death, the young woman had been in the hospital, visiting senior members of the sect. This “Jehovah’s Witnesses Hospital Liaison Committee” had pressured the young woman to conform to the dogma and refusing to receive blood. The Sun reported yesterday that relatives of M me Dupuis had indicated that members of this group were found in the room of the young mother until the final hours of his life.
“We know that a font of blood is present in Québec hospitals,” said Simon Jolin-Barrette, caquiste Member for Borduas.
“[The policy of blood] put pressure on patients and their families, it denies access to people who are not members of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the patient’s room,” reported Mr. Jolin-Barrette. According to him, access to in-patients should fall away. Can not let the “blood police” control access to rooms.
It exceeds certain limits”
According Gaétan Barrette, it is an exaggeration to talk of “blood police”; the opposition would, in fact, create a “police visits.” But the patient is “autonomous in his choice must be done independently.” It is a “situation is dramatic.”
“But to use inflammatory language, when we talk of” blood police, “I think here we exceed certain limits,” said Gaétan Barrette.
A coroner examines the circumstances of his death.
For the PQ member Agnes Maltais, not need a judge. “Decisions on the free and informed consent, he takes daily by doctors, and it faces, in general, this kind of situation. We do not agree with the position that says that they can attack the doctors. The doctors do their job. In this case especially, we know very well that there were lawyers, there was an ethics committee and there were doctors who intervened, “said she summarized.
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By Guest Nicole
Would you date a reproved?
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