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2019 Annual Meeting wishes

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As we're approaching to our Annual meeting, here it goes my list of wishes! Perhaps there is a chance some of them could be announced:

KNOW THE REASON FOR UPDATES IN PUBLICATIONS
When a new update is available in JW Library, I download it without knowing the reasons for it: we do not know if it is a small editing error, a significant improvement in translation, a more serious adjustment ... Anyway, I would love be informed of the reasons, especially when sometimes the Bible itself is updated. Perhaps I have used outdated information inadvertently and it would be nice to know that there has been an improvement!

WATCHTOWER WITH APPENDIX
Our study articles are nice, no doubt. However, in order not to make them excessively extensive for their study in the congregation, they lacked extension in some ideas. Perhaps in the form of an appendix that can be read by anyone who wishes delve into some subject

LITERATURE WITH REFERENCES
Years ago it was common to find in our publications references to McClintock, Vine, Barclay and others. Now this has almost completely disappeared. Why? So we don't waste time reading them? Not to be confused by reading different approaches? If it has been useful for decades, I don't see why we don't have those references again.

DISCONTINUE THE PIONERING(AUXILIARY-REGULAR)
I know, it sounds blasphemy. But given the advantages that someone could exhibit, I have seen in others and in myself these "collateral damage", nothing insignificant:

  • Preach not for love of God or neighbor, but for hours
  • Feeling bad conscience about having to leave the pioner service to attend family, health or the congregation
  • Feelings of superiority 
  • And then, who would attend pioner meetings with C.O.? everybody who wishes!

DO NOT REPORT THE PREDICATION
I mean in the current format "so many hours, books, etc." Was it reported that way in the first century? Don't we intend to imitate the primitive congregation to the fullest?
Reporting involves the following:

  • The elders falsely believe we know the "flock" for knowing the card
  • The actual effort of the low quatitu of hours  is not included in the card, but you have to sacrifice a lot to do it
  • There are brothers who feel ashamed for informing / preaching little and have to report it
  • There are elders who only call publishers to ask for the monthly report
  • The C.O. gets an idea of the state of a congregation by looking at some forms, that can be equivocal

REFORM THE PREACHING FROM HOME TO HOME
In many countries (especially Europeans) the challenge of entering residential buildings to preach is enormous. People (myself) do not want strangers to enter buildings, not for religious indifference, but for safety and comfort. When someone manages to "sneak in", whether they sell gas, electricity, insurance ... or religion, the reaction is very negative about the product they intend to sell, for not respecting the privacy and security of the building. Solution? Nothing easy, but go through, in my opinion:

  • Abandon the idea of preaching entering buildings in many locations
  • That must be determined locally: in the same city or congregation there are buildings where that would not be a problem, but in others yes
  • Stop counting how many times a territory is made as a way to find out the intensity of the preaching of the congregation
  • Stop preaching with a tie and suit (TJ uniform) but sit in the parks, or visit the malls, or a thousand different ways, and then take advantage to make conversations arise

REPORT ON THE QUALITY OF THE SPEAKERS
Many are invited on the basis of their friendship with whom they invite, or because they appear on the list of speakers. If each congregation had a simple way to survey the speaker:  did you like Sunday's talk YES / NO? the people in charge of inviting would see that some better not to come much, and vice versa

INFORM ABOUT C.O.'s
Many of these brothers are a gift. Others are simply a test for everyone. I have personally met destructive travelers. It is very difficult to help, change or remove them from that job. Many years ago, in the annual report that each congregation sent to the headquartes, one question was, more or less, "Were the c.o.' visits upbuilding?" Of course, if a congregation says that it is very bad but 19 very good, it is known that they are prejudiced in that congregation. But if in 19 congregations the report is unfavorable and only one speaks well ... something should be done.

MECHANISM OF COMPLAINTS
Do I have a way to express my complaint about something that works badly, as the widows in first century? Yes, I will be told: you tell the elders, then the traveler. Of course, but if they tell me that I have to wait, that nothing else can be done, could I not write to the headquartes, even to NY? Well, I've already done it, and the answers that have come to me have been stereotyped.


It is very difficult for negative situations to escalate. There is a protection mechanism. If I express myself openly, it is interpreted as a lack of appreciation, of faith, of collaborative spirit. I know that is so. However, when you want to know the opinion - POSITIVE - of something mechanisms are established, for example:


On the occasion of the recent presentation of the Bible in Spanish, the c.o. sent us a request for reactions from the brothers to the presentation, yes, all positive: that we say what the brothers thought of the new translation, how they received it at the assembly , and so on.

Well, I would like you to ask me things like:

  • Do you think it is good that the branch of Spain spends a lot of money in reforming some huge buildings for the real use that will be given to them?
  • Have you felt encouraged by this or that article? Why yes, why not?
  • Etc

THE QUALITY OF THE ANSWERS AT THE MEETINGS
In my area it is frowned upon to make a public declaration of faith, to express personal feelings. It breaks the scheme of the meeting, in fact, there is no time. The brothers are used to underline and respond. When the watchtower's question is personal: "What do you think about ...?" nobody raises their hand, or we respond by reading

WATCHTOWER WITH PREAMBLE AND CONCLUSION
99% of the Watchtower overseers I have seen in my life waste their time in introductory paragraphs during meetings. Then you have to go fast in the key paragraphs. Why not place an introduction that is not read, and a conclusion that is not read? 

SOME ROTATING POSITIONS
I understand that if there are 10 elders in a congregation, not everyone is qualified to be a coordinator, for example. But maybe 3 or 4 yes. I would like those 3 or 4 to rotate the position annually, to avoid "love of the chair"

REFORMULATE THE ANNUAL ASSEMBLIES
Many of us remember the assemblies of years ago. They were long, very long. Extensive speeches Many times in full sun, and we were expected to take notes as not to be distracted. Now however there has been an impressive improvement. However, I sincerely believe that many would benefit more if a national assembly was broadcasted by streaming to the entire country, and that most brothers saw it in the Kingdom and assembly halls. What would be achieved?

  • Savings for siblings who go through hardships to get to the city of assembly and pay for accommodation
  • Central Savings
  • Avoid the sacrifice of early wake ups, fix the children, travel from the hotel to the place of assembly
  • Improvement in concentration. With a few hours of sleep you can't concentrate

And the joy of crowded crowds? That is why there would be a few assemblies nationwide, in rotating cities, upon invitation.

EXTERNALIZE BETEL
That they print commercial companies, that the size of Bethel be reduced to the minimum expression. Let the bulk of the work be done by commuters, whenever possible

RESIDENCES OF ELDERLY
Many brothers who have spent their entire lives for the work, as adults, find themselves dependent on the goodwill of friends or a congregation that wants to support them. Bethel is not the place for elderly people. Places could be set up to care for these brothers with dignity and without having to beg for help

SUPERVISION OF THE WORK BY "NORMAL" PEOPLE
Well, I explain myself. What effect does it have on someone who lives, eats, sleeps, works in a secluded place? That he doesn't need to work secularly, or fight to support the family, who are never denied permission to go to meetings, or go to the assembly ... and surrounded by people with the same situation.
What I have seen is that there is a perverse effect. These excellent brothers year after year, decade after decade of living a different life to the rest of humanity and brotherhood have a distorted view of things and brothers. Not always, of course, but many times yes.


I would like that especially the brothers who have to supervise the spiritual activity of others, have secular work, like any other brother. And in the afternoon, instead of the pionering, they could take care of the spiritual needs of others.
By the way, didn't Paul do that, work secularly?

THE BEARD
Yes, wearing a beard. In our publications only men who are not witnesses wear beards. When they are baptized they have always shaved it. Who decides these photos, how do you think they give freedom of choice worldwide? In theory you can wear a beard, but in reality it is badly seen in many places especially for videos and photographs in our publications. Let photos of JW's with beards come out, now!

DOCTRINAL

1914, PARUSIA
@JW Insider has explained it masterfully on so many occasions. Our 1914 doctrine simply does not hold. The parusia of Christ is his return, it is comparable to his coming. It has not yet occurred

PROXIMITY OF THE END
Of course we are near the end! Not since 1914, but since 33 CE. Since Christ left and said he would come unexpectedly, like a thief. That exactly teaches the Bible

DISFELLOWSHIPPING
Others, and myself, have bitterly written that our position is the strictest and most pharisaic interpretation of all possible approaches to expulsion. Especially when it has to do with relatives.

PHARISEISM
With sadness I perceive that, at the organizational level, we're becoming Christian Pharisees. We have been told that we should avoid that attitude, but the importance given to the dress, the beard, the belief that we are better than others, the ambition of the top positions... How I would like these attitudes to be eradicated at the root

SEXUAL RELATIONS
Clearly state that what the marriage decides to do in their room is only for both of them

HUMILITY
How much I would like that instead of exposing new approaches as the last truth, it will be explained that it is the most plausible, but not infallible, explanation. And that with time and study, a different one may look better.

 

There are more, but I better leave it here

 

 

 

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I thought these were all excellent ideas. And I have to agree with them, especially the one where you mentioned me. 😄

I thought an excellent opportunity arose in advance of the Love Never Fails theme for the conventions.

(1 Corinthians 13:8-13) 8 Love never fails. But if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away with; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away with. 9 For we have partial knowledge and we prophesy partially, 10 but when what is complete comes, what is partial will be done away with. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, to think as a child, to reason as a child; but now that I have become a man, I have done away with the traits of a child. 12 For now we see in hazy outline by means of a metal mirror, but then it will be face-to-face. At present I know partially, but then I will know accurately, just as I am accurately known. 13 Now, however, these three remain: faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love.

For me, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take the exact context of that verse, and develop a theme about ways in which the Governing Body can show that they are now reducing all the emphasis on attempted prophecy. (What will happen next before the end? A more pointed judgment message? Anointed "raptured"? Babylon the Great fallen? "Other Sheep" replacing the Governing Body? Cries of Peace and Security? An attack on Jehovah's Witnesses corresponding to touching Jehovah's eyeball? Gog/Magog? The order of the earthly resurrection? Who will teach whom? What happens at the end of the thousand years?)

1914, 1919, 1922, the 1260 days, the 1290 days, the 1335 days, the 2300 evenings and mornings, the 7 times, etc. These can all be de-emphasized now and replaced with a new message about ways we can show love to one another. This could include caring for aging parents, new counsel about caring for our families materially, caring for the sick and poor among us, even caring for disfellowshipped ones at our own discretion of personal conscience. Becoming known as a group who shows the greatest love among ourselves would be our new "calling card." Preaching could still have a "last days" theme, but it would always be about the sort of persons we ought to be in showing love for one another, knowing that the end could happen at any time, or that our own end could happen at any time. Our hope, and our faith in that hope are still a big part of the good news, but our love right now is the greatest theme of the good news.

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Thank you for your expressions. I wanted to respond a little sooner than this but I ran out of time. Here are my thoughts on some of the things you mention. Just my two cents 😀.

On 9/25/2019 at 11:31 AM, ComfortMyPeople said:

KNOW THE REASON FOR UPDATES IN PUBLICATIONS

I used to think the same way, but just because it says update, doesn't mean the actual content is changed (like different wording of a scripture for example) but it is more to do with technical updates to make things compatible with constant changes and updates in the way  various operating systems work, similar to windows system, Firefox etc.  It is normal for any websites to do that. If there are any doctrinal or organizational changes, then we are usually made aware of them in a WT study.

On 9/25/2019 at 11:31 AM, ComfortMyPeople said:

WATCHTOWER WITH APPENDIX

That would be a cool thing for those who like to dig deep.I noticed sometimes there are references to further reading, but not often.

On 9/25/2019 at 11:31 AM, ComfortMyPeople said:

LITERATURE WITH REFERENCES

I don't know, but perhaps because everything is being simplified, sort of like we've already researched all the subjects, so no need to keep bringing it up, time to move on kind of thing.  The publications with all those references are still available for anyone to read and research though.

On 9/25/2019 at 11:31 AM, ComfortMyPeople said:

DISCONTINUE THE PIONERING(AUXILIARY-REGULAR)
I know, it sounds blasphemy. But given the advantages that someone could exhibit, I have seen in others and in myself these "collateral damage", nothing insignificant:

  • Preach not for love of God or neighbor, but for hours
  • Feeling bad conscience about having to leave the pioner service to attend family, health or the congregation
  • Feelings of superiority 
  • And then, who would attend pioner meetings with C.O.? everybody who wishes!

I understand some of the things you are saying regarding this subject. I especially agree with your last two points. I suppose striving for hours is an incentive some people need. It would be great if the friends would put in pioneer hours without actually pioneering. But we mustn't forget that if a publisher signs up to be a pioneer, then they know what they are doing, they know they are committing themselves to a certain promise. The problem is why are they doing it. Is it because they need an incentive,  or is it because they like the title?

On 9/25/2019 at 11:31 AM, ComfortMyPeople said:

REFORM THE PREACHING FROM HOME TO HOME
In many countries (especially Europeans) the challenge of entering residential buildings to preach is enormous. People (myself) do not want strangers to enter buildings, not for religious indifference, but for safety and comfort. When someone manages to "sneak in", whether they sell gas, electricity, insurance ... or religion, the reaction is very negative about the product they intend to sell, for not respecting the privacy and security of the building. Solution? Nothing easy, but go through, in my opinion:

  • Abandon the idea of preaching entering buildings in many locations
  • That must be determined locally: in the same city or congregation there are buildings where that would not be a problem, but in others yes
  • Stop counting how many times a territory is made as a way to find out the intensity of the preaching of the congregation
  • Stop preaching with a tie and suit (TJ uniform) but sit in the parks, or visit the malls, or a thousand different ways, and then take advantage to make conversations arise

If I am not mistaken, there is no specific regulation which says you can't do those things you have described. For example when going door to door in a remote village in one Easter European country, the brothers do not wear a tie because the locals would get confused and suspicious, and not be open to discussions.  It is always a good idea to adapt our preaching according to local circumstances. We should never be stuck on just one way. With the counting...I read somewhere that JWs keep the best and most reliable records. If there is any kind of worldly survey carried out, for example with regard to the numbers (members) of a particular religion, they always seem to trust the JW numbers the most.

On 9/25/2019 at 11:31 AM, ComfortMyPeople said:

REPORT ON THE QUALITY OF THE SPEAKERS

Haha, that would be funny. I don't think that will ever happen because it's too judgmental. But I understand your point!

 

On 9/25/2019 at 11:31 AM, ComfortMyPeople said:

MECHANISM OF COMPLAINTS

I think it's obvious that the reaction to a new Bible would be very positive. Therefor I don't think this was so much a request for information, but a confirmation of a "work well done". However the questions you propose, are on a different level and would require an awful lot of work sifting through the submissions. But I agree. I think JW Insider mentioned something about a "suggestion box" option on our website. Or even a "ask questions" box. I think both would be a very good idea. At the moment as you say, it is left up to the CO's to give some kind of report. But the thing is, many friends do not like to bring an issue up which they think might be viewed controversial or even rebellious. I know I don't. But if these comments could be made anonymously on the website, then I am sure the organization would get a much better idea of the state of the congregations and friends. The problem is some kind of mechanism would have to be put into effect that prevented just ANYONE from commenting. That way people who were merely trouble makers (opposers etc.) wouldn't clog up the whole site, or give the wrong impression that the friends were having these problems, whereas it would really be ex- witnesses.

On 9/25/2019 at 11:31 AM, ComfortMyPeople said:

THE QUALITY OF THE ANSWERS AT THE MEETINGS
In my area it is frowned upon to make a public declaration of faith, to express personal feelings. It breaks the scheme of the meeting, in fact, there is no time. The brothers are used to underline and respond. When the watchtower's question is personal: "What do you think about ...?" nobody raises their hand, or we respond by reading

To be honest we don't have that problem in my congregation. There are many excellent auxiliary answers given. I suppose it depends on the congregation. Although we are all united, each congregation has its unique style/character. That's why you get some people "shopping" for a congregation they like, if they are not happy in the one they are at. 

On 9/25/2019 at 11:31 AM, ComfortMyPeople said:

WATCHTOWER WITH PREAMBLE AND CONCLUSION
99% of the Watchtower overseers I have seen in my life waste their time in introductory paragraphs during meetings. Then you have to go fast in the key paragraphs. Why not place an introduction that is not read, and a conclusion that is not read? 

I agree completely! I always go to sleep when they do that. I don't see the point.

On 9/25/2019 at 11:31 AM, ComfortMyPeople said:

EXTERNALIZE BETEL
 Let the bulk of the work be done by commuters, whenever possible

I think that this is already going on to a certain point isn't it?

Also I know that things have been simplified where there are no longer room cleaners, each person must clean their own room for example.

On 9/25/2019 at 11:31 AM, ComfortMyPeople said:

RESIDENCES OF ELDERLY

I think something like that exists in the USA.  https://jjha.community/about/

But I don't think it is organized by the society.

On 9/25/2019 at 11:31 AM, ComfortMyPeople said:

SUPERVISION OF THE WORK BY "NORMAL" PEOPLE

Yes. Don't you just love it when an older single brother with no children tries to give you counsel about yours?

On 9/25/2019 at 11:31 AM, ComfortMyPeople said:

THE BEARD
Yes, wearing a beard. In our publications only men who are not witnesses wear beards. When they are baptized they have always shaved it. Who decides these photos, how do you think they give freedom of choice worldwide? In theory you can wear a beard, but in reality it is badly seen in many places especially for videos and photographs in our publications. Let photos of JW's with beards come out, now!

Oh yes, the notorious beard issue! 🐵 A few weeks ago, in my mum's congregation, a young ministerial servant decided to grow a beard. My mum told me that the elders told him that if he wants to keep on carrying the mikes he will have to shave the beard off.  This is in a country where beards are socially acceptable, and in some congregations there are elders with beards. Not many, but I know one personally. I told my mum that usually it is up to the body of elders to decide because they should know the territory well and know whether it would offend an outsider or not.  She then told me that 1. my dad (an elder) wasn't told about it, and 2. there is absolutely no aversion to beards by the public as many people wear one. I asked her if this young brother was a "rebellious" type. She said not at all. Logically, he must have been qualified in order to become a min. servant. So as you can see, there is already a problem because certain elders have taken it upon themselves to decide on the matter without consulting the whole body. Who knows, these elders may not like beards, so it becomes personal, rather than theocratic. They have the Co's visit right now, so she told me she would let me know what happens. The other thing is, which I find odd, is that apparently if he shaves it off, they won't address the issue (!) I feel like telling the brother, don't shave it off, because this issue needs to be handled properly first. And once it's handled properly, and they still ask him to shave it off, then that is a different matter.

As regards the photos, yes, I agree, on the one hand we are told in the WT that beards are ok in some cultures, but then on the other hand shaving a beard off is used as an example of spiritual progress. It confuses people.

(P.S. Quite a large number of elders I know grow a beard while on vacation, and don't mind posting pictures on Instagram or FB, so they are not hiding it, but then once they go back to the meeting they shave it off).

I will comment on the doctrinal part  next time. (when I have more time).

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I used to think the same way, but just because it says update, doesn't mean the actual content is changed (like different wording of a scripture for example) but it is more to do with technical updates to make things compatible with constant changes and updates in the way  various operating systems work, similar to windows system, Firefox etc.  It is normal for any websites to do that. If there are any doctrinal or organizational changes, then we are usually made aware of them in a WT study.

Yes, @Anna, it's possible but the compatibility issues  usually affect the platform, the software, not the data, in this case the publications. If a matter of compatibility affects, let's say, the Watchtowers of the Library, ALL of them should be updated, not just a specific Watchtower.
Well, it is not a matter of life or death. I guess they are often minor problems

 

Quote

The problem is why are they doing it. Is it because they need an incentive,  or is it because they like the title?

Frankly, I have not seen too much the problem of pride in the pionering. The vast majority of pioners do it (we have done it) as a show of devotion and a sort of help to give one hundred percent. So far so good.


BUT ... remember that although we have incorporated the example of the Nazarites as a "type" of the pioners , in the Christian era we did not find any example that there was anything similar: commit to preach x monthly hours.


And, the real problem that I have seen is something surreptitious, unconscious and unwavering that has happened to many pioners: that we do not balance our own spirituality, our family, the congregation, rest and other important matters for an obligation, NOT BEFORE JEHOVAH , but before a commitment to the organization. The only commitment to Jehovah has always been and will be to serve him to the fullest.


Then, when one begins to realize that something is not going well, or to increase his stress, it turns out that many feelings of guilt arise from abandoning that service, or the wiser decission is postponed . Anyway, it's what I see

 

Quote

If I am not mistaken, there is no specific regulation which says you can't do those things you have described.

oh dear Anna, YES there is regulation:
Of course, there are many countries where this will be different. I have only preached in the Dominican R., New York (Spanish territory) and in Spain. But in all these places the congregation has (logically) assigned a territory. As you know, this is divided the parts that give us in the meetings. And we are encouraged to COVER ALL BUILDINGS in that territory. If territories remain uncovered when you visit CO, we already have a problem.

Quote

I think that this is already going on to a certain point isn't it?

Regarding Bethel externalization. Yes, slower than I would like

 

Quote

I think something like that exists in the USA. https://jjha.community/about/

Yes, but there is no world policy, based on the Scriptures, that impels us to extend this service everywhere. Here in Spain I know lifelong servants who at the time of old age  the non-believing family have take the control, preventing them from going to any meetings, or the Memorial. Others have their own means and defend themselves, but we would have to worry as an Organization and not leave the matter in the hands of the local congregation.

Anna, I very much appreciate your weighted opinions

 

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1 hour ago, Anna said:
On 9/25/2019 at 11:31 AM, ComfortMyPeople said:

REPORT ON THE QUALITY OF THE SPEAKERS

Haha, that would be funny. I don't think that will ever happen because it's too judgmental. But I understand your point!

“Brother, when I hear you speak I marvel at the wisdom of Jehovah’s organization in cutting public talks down from 45 minutes to 30.”

 

1 hour ago, Anna said:

Oh yes, the notorious beard issue!

All that I will say on this is that the last meeting was enough to end my study with Santa Claus. He had. been making such good progress. I had finally gotten him to stop disrupting meetings with a “HO HO HO!” whenever the speaker made even the lamest of jokes. He had stopped pronouncing the elders “bad” when they asked him and me to take his outbursts  to the back room. He had even said he was giving up the extreme sports stunt he pulls every late December, out of regard for appreciating the gift of life. It wasn’t the full beard the fellow had at the beginning that stumbled him. Nor was it the shaven-off beard that he had at baptism. It was the half-beard that he had at his study, thus indicating progress.

Sigh...and he was a good study. His wife always served the most delicious cookies.

I will weigh in on some of these other things, too, when I get a moment. Thought has gone into them.

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2 hours ago, ComfortMyPeople said:

the non-believing family have take the control, preventing them from going to any meetings, or the Memorial.

That is truly a sad situation. It would be nice if there was some organizational provision whereby these old ones would be taken care of. It is always hoped that the elders, who have the sheep in their care, take care of their sheep in this matter also. The problem is that the situation can get quite complicated. The elders do not want to and shouldn't interfere in the affairs of others. For example when the older parent moves in with unbelieving family, then the elders have no right to tell that family what the parent should be and should not be able to do. I know sometimes the elderly parent has no choice but to be dependent on and live with unbelieving children. It would be good in those cases if, as you say, if these elderly parents could go and live in a JW run assisted living not just in America but all over the world.  We still do not have a charitable arrangement whereby this could be done. Also when it comes to lifesaving surgery, there is no fund for those Brothers and Sisters who cannot afford to pay these medical expenses. It is usually left up to charitable acts by worldly organizations, or other ways to raise money. For instance the little girl Phelicity Sneesby who was featured in one of our videos (and is also part of the video for the Courage song), her family went into enormous debt to pay for all her expensive surgeries and she  received most of the funding for her flight home from worldly charitable donations and from other brothers and sisters.  I am not saying the JW organization didn't contribute, I don't know, and I have not heard. I know our organization's main mission is spiritual, however, I am sure Jesus also spoke about looking after his sheep physically. We seem to be doing quite well when it comes to disaster relief, but we do not have anything in place for other types of disaster.

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15 hours ago, Anna said:
On 9/25/2019 at 11:31 AM, ComfortMyPeople said:

WATCHTOWER WITH PREAMBLE AND CONCLUSION
99% of the Watchtower overseers I have seen in my life waste their time in introductory paragraphs during meetings. Then you have to go fast in the key paragraphs. Why not place an introduction that is not read, and a conclusion that is not read? 

Read more  

I agree completely! I always go to sleep when they do that. I don't see the point.

In “Tom Irregardless and Me” I write that, when Tom conducts the Watchtower, he will milk that introductory paragraph, taking comment after comment about how bad things are in the last days, and then just when they are dying down, he himself will throw in that item about the rhinoceros at the zoo that stomped over that child, as though that, too, was a sign of the last days, and get everyone going again.

 

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On 9/29/2019 at 6:45 AM, TrueTomHarley said:

he himself will throw in that item about the rhinoceros at the zoo that stomped over that child, as though that, too, was a sign of the last days, and get everyone going again.

This  struck my humerus bone. I'm sure you are aware that some (mostly pioneers) are being asked to try out a even more informal witnessing strategy at places like malls, shopping centers, etc: Just practice making use of almost any situation to bring up a scripture or short Bible-based comment and if it "connects" keep going, and if not, just leave it at that.

It made me imagine that TTH would just hang around places waiting for bad things to happen and try out his "last days" spiel. Or perhaps he'd be a little more proactive, and listen on his police radio for his next opportunity, or perhaps even do a bit of "ambulance chasing." 

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I remember during the late 1960's (the Hippie years), talking to someone on a street corner, and he slipped, and was run over by a car.  It's common for people to "freeze" when they see something like that, and he looked up at me and said in a weak voice " ... call me an ambulance ..."

I looked straight at him and said "OK, man .... you're an ambulance!".

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The reason the "beard issue " always comes up, and has been for the past 60 years, is that it is THE CLASSIC EXAMPLE of "going beyond the things that are written', as the Pharisees did with their unscriptural and arbitrary rules.

Of the 17 times I have been in the "little back room", "room 101", 13 have been to try and convince me to shave off my beard. 

Because it was wrong to even ask me, I never did, for them.

Eventually I shaved it off because my dying Father asked me to.  HE had the right to ask me to do that.

I strongly suspect that if the GB and Elders could vote ... they would ALL vote Democrat.

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      I've been able to get my hands on these pictures of the new printed Study Bible which was released at the Annual Meeting yesterday. Has a light brown cover rather than the grey tone of the regular bible. The page edges are gold rather than silver. And it only includes Matthew-Acts. Surprisingly, while many of us were expecting the Org to reduce printing operations even further, this actually wasn't the case this year. Although apparently they did mention that due to the "high resolution colour pages and high quality materials", the Bible is rather "expensive to produce".




    • By Jack Ryan
      Location of Annual Meeting was Jersey City Assembly Hall, date October 5. A new complex will be built that will host 1000 workers for the Audio/video and art production. The architect from the Britain branch relocation project is being reassigned to Patterson where announcement will be made of a renewed Patterson with its own visitor center. Building of the new AV complex will be complete 2026, it will be as professional as any "worldly" complex and the size of the complex will be EXACTLY the same size as Warwick Bethel and it will be located in Ramapo, NY. Construction begins on 2022, a 4 year project.
      Expanding buildings projects doesn’t mean that the end is delayed , those buildings will continue to be used after Armageddon
    • By Jack Ryan
      The locusts of Joel Chapter 2 no longer refer to Jehovah's Witnesses and events surrounding 1919.
      The locusts in Revelation chapter 22 however still do refer to the anointed, but are now no longer connected with the prophecy on Joel.
       
      Joel 2 now refers to the "Babylonians", the coalition of nations that will try to destroy God's people.
      The context of Joel chapter 2 points the time period of fulfillment to Jehovah's Day in the Great Tribulation and how God will save his people.

    • By Jack Ryan
      Is the "Faithful and Discreet Slave" now going to be renamed "Faithful and Prudent Slave" since Discreet sounds like they have been hiding secret child molestation documents away from the authorities and it doesn't sound good in front of the courts?
      I know they are prudent now in their new Spanish translation.
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    • An interesting take with a lot to say for it. When Jude mentions these "rocks beneath the surface" for example, it always reminds me of the first time I read "Paul and Thecla" while at Bethel, but at the NYPL, via a book about Christian widows of the 2nd century. Paul and Thecla is an early Christian short story or novella with Thecla, not Paul, as the hero. It's one of a few stories of this type, probably written by and for women in the early Christian congregations. The antagonists of some of these stories are the 2nd century "circuit overseers" who would go from congregation to congregation saying all the right things from the "platform" but then they would also quietly worm their way into the houses of well-meaning sisters and widows, and try to take advantage of them sexually. I was quite surprised when the Watchtower last year mentioned Paul and Thecla for the second time in nearly 100 years, and was again surprisingly supportive of the work as containing possible reflections of true traditions believed in the 2nd century: *** w18 March p. 13 par. 3 Questions From Readers *** The Acts of Paul and Thecla was highly regarded in early centuries, as confirmed by the fact that 80 Greek manuscripts of it exist, as well as versions in other languages. Thus, our artistic presentations are in line with some ancient indications of what the apostle looked like. I personally have never experienced a "bad" circuit overseer. All of them have been exemplary and I have always looked forward to their visits, especially when hearing a new one for the first time. But I think all of us old-timers have had experience with congregational drifters, and we often look at them with the same kinds of suspicions. Sometimes it's a young brother who is very vague about his last congregation and who quickly latches on to an association with another eligible sister. Sometimes it's a more elderly brother, perhaps even a special pioneer, looking for an alternate congregation, hoping the trouble he caused in the last congregation won't get reported in too much detail. (Speaking from a real example, this elderly brother also latched onto a "relationship," and place to stay, with a family of sisters: a sister with an unbelieving and ailing husband, and a couple of daughters. It was a recipe for disaster.) The younger brother caused some heart-ache by getting engaged to a sister, and the engagement was later broken off.  It's hard for me not to imagine such cases when I read Jude. So, at first, it was hard for me to see them as drifters into forums like this one to cause other kinds of trouble, but I can definitely see a similarity now.  
    • I’m not really sure what “worshipful” means.  When celebrities come into town, they are mobbed by fans. Are those fans worshipful? I might say yes, but the fans themselves will just say they they are flocking to them out of respect for their accomplishments. If brothers pose for selfies with the GB members (much to the latter’s annoyance, I am consistently told, someone said with the possible exception of Lett) are they “worshipful?” It’s in the eye of the beholder, I think. Though I have a great many faults, admiring personalities is not one of them. I would love to have a GB member stay at my house so I could ignore him. “There’s your room—make yourself at home. If you’d like to visit, that works fine, but you have many things to do and if you ignore us completely that also works fine with us,”  Probably there are few words they could hear that would please them more. And no, @James Thomas Rook Jr., I wouldn’t present them with a list of my QUESTIONS that, as MEN of HONOR, they are obligated to answer,
    • Just for interest, here is an interview with prince Andrew. It's acutely embarrassing the excuses  he makes and the denials.... Read comments, they are entertaining  
    • 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 I'd guess there are some exceptions, too. For example, the whistleblowing of the CSA cases all over the world has 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.    
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