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WATCHTOWER, 1991 - "HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT RELIGION"


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41 minutes ago, Srecko Sostar said:

 

 

HF aka Holly Folk from Cesnur (strange organization indeed) speaking about "family abuse" inside JW organization/congregations as something that is real problem in WTJWorg. She explained/stated how cases of CSA in WTJWorg are not "institutional". Let see. 

How many parents / guardians have committed CSA to their children? When this became known, then the "institution" through WTJWorg elders, took "institutional measures" in this regard.
How many JW members regardless of status (rank and file, MS, elders) have committed CSA over other people's children? When this became known, then the "institution" through WTJWorg elders, took "institutional measures" in this regard.

In both cases, the WTJWorg institution became involved in "family" relations or "private" relations between members and decided that such a case was within the jurisdiction of WTJWorg, a "religious-business institution". Moreover, WTJWorg has over time established a “procedure” or “policy” on how such matters should be dealt WITHOUT involving “secular institutions”.
So please, who wants to tell stories here and blur the eyes of others? HF and Cesnur for sure. Who else?

On the other hand, if WTJWorg has had a problem with “domestic violence and family abuse” to such an extent throughout all these decades, than we need to seriously ask - where has the “WTJWorg institution” failed?

Where has this been eliminated? I have yet to read of an organization anywhere where this has been eliminated.

All these things are red-herrings. These are important issues, but after years of deliberation I've considered that the hoping and waiting on Jehovah can create in some people so much stress and so much dissonance that they'd rather stop hoping and waiting. Hoping becomes for them another promise which they feel after years will ultimately fail.

Believe me, I understand the feeling. But the organization isn't the issue, which after a time we realize from viewing many who leave for one reason stay away from God altogether (if they don't narrowly reinterpret things into yet another private expectation).

We're all of us waiting on Jehovah and I'm as impatient as the next. (But who wasn't feeling all these things over the centuries?). I suspect this is why so many flock to organizations which promise a direct contact with the divine. You see this in charismatic churches, in people who dabble in the occult, people who look to new age religions, Ancient Aliens, anything which can provide them with that direct contact with the divine (even if that 'divine' turns out to be demonic).

I understand all that. Quite frankly, I'd get myself nailed up to a cross myself if I thought I could get five minutes verification of what's going on.

I don't do that, but I will go for a ten mile run and a dip in the ocean.

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I don't think you're a bad example. I find your posts encouraging and I'm sure a lot of other people here do. I think some of the "complainers" may just be working out their own demons, or I hope they are. Jehovah knows we cause most of our problems just fine all by ourselves.

I have noticed that the desire to see God's promises fulfilled (nothing wrong with that of course), drives the human spirit to "predict" or "hope for" the end always in their life time. The pattern is clear: Russell hoped for the end in 1874 then 1914, Rutherford 1925, Franz 1975, the 80's GB by the end of the 20th century, today's GB between now and aprox. 2035. Each generation would say their children aren't going to make it to school....now those  children have children of their own...and g

One thing I've had hammered into me over the past decades of pioneering, studying w/mentally ill people, people who were out of jail, homeless people, professors of anthropology, teachers of farsi at the local mosque, chinese buddhists from hong kong (using me to practice english), professors of astrophysics, ranchers, ex-football champs, a hip hop artist and so-called normal people is that I'm not more worthy of survival than any of these. In fact many are arguably better people personalit

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3 hours ago, Srecko Sostar said:

How many JW members regardless of status (rank and file, MS, elders) have committed CSA over other people's children? When this became known, then the "institution" through WTJWorg elders, took "institutional measures" in this regard.

How many? No more than anywhere in the overall population, and probably much less. It is almost always rank and file, in contrast to all other institutions on the hot seat whose leaders themselves were the abusers, and no mechanism even exists for tracking the rank and file.

What I much appreciate is HF’s righteous indignation that this vendetta from exJW’s redirects rage from child sexual abuse towards what is essentially a non-factor, or even a mitigating one, just to satisfy their hate. Thus, those exJWs serve to short-circuit legitimate efforts to curtail it, diverting resources. In pursuit of their greater goal, they actually show themselves friends of CSA.

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10 hours ago, xero said:

Believe me, I understand the feeling. But the organization isn't the issue, which after a time we realize from viewing many who leave for one reason stay away from God altogether

Lets examine this :

Believe me, I understand the feeling.   Do you ? What feeling do you understand ?  Being abused as a child ? Being called a liar by the Elders of a congragation ?  Being D/fed for complaining about yourself or your child being sexually abused ? So which of those things do you understand ? 

But the organization isn't the issue That is your own opinon. My opinion and the opinion of many other people is that the Org Leaders over many years are to blame.

which after a time we realize from viewing many who leave for one reason stay away from God altogether

I would suggest that JWs do not have any idea what 'many who leave' do after they have left.  As the ones that leave are totally shunned then how do JWs know what they are doing. Do you go around spying on ex-JWs ? Do you know if ex-JWs pray or study the Bible in their homes, in private ?

TTH uses this idea lot, but does he go spying on ex-JWS, I doubt it.  This stupid brainwashing from the ORG, that people who leave the Org turn against God. And JWs fall for this brainwashing. Oh dear. 

10 hours ago, xero said:

We're all of us waiting on Jehovah and I'm as impatient as the next

Are you impatient ? I'm not. The longer it goes on, maybe the better.  It gives more time for God, through Christ, to sort out a clean organsation to serve Him.  It also gives more people time to serve God properly. And, if conditons get much worse it may help other people to see the contrast between good and evil. So, more time can be a good thing. 

8 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

It is almost always rank and file, in contrast to all other institutions on the hot seat whose leaders themselves were the abusers,

It has been proven many times that Elders and Ministerial Servants have sexually abused young children in the congregatoins. But TTH is in denial. However TTH points at other religions and blames them, BUT TTH also has said that other religions don't have any records of such things ??????????  So, there are no records but TTH 'knows' that the leaders of other religions are to blame.  Whereas there ARE records in each country, of the JW sexual abuse. Oh dear, where are the GB and their Lawyers hiding that 25 year Pedophile database ??? And why are they hiding it ? 

 

8 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

What I much appreciate is HF’s righteous indignation that this vendetta from exJW’s redirects rage from child sexual abuse towards what is essentially a non-factor just to satisfy their hate. 

I've no idea who this HF is. But, TTH seems to like them. 

Vendetta. Um, is that what Jesus had against the Pharisees ?   I think not.

I do worry, seriously, about how JWs have had their 'natural affection' switched off by the GB and it's Org. How JWs can treat victims of CSA as just being collateral damage. All the 'dirt' swept under the carpet just to keep the Watchtower / Org 'alive'. 

8 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

 Thus, those exJWs serve to short-circuit legitimate efforts to curtail it, diverting resources.

Really ??? I think not. I think it's ex-JWs that have brought it out into the open. They have helped to get it into the courtrooms. Ex JWs have been the reason that the Shepherding book has been revised, though of course you won't admit to that. Ex-JWs opened up the biggest 'can of worms' possible in the JW  Org. And that is why people like TTH and others hate ex JWs. 

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26 minutes ago, 4Jah2me said:

Lets examine this :

Believe me, I understand the feeling.   Do you ? What feeling do you understand ?  Being abused as a child ? Being called a liar by the Elders of a congragation ?  Being D/fed for complaining about yourself or your child being sexually abused ? So which of those things do you understand ? 

But the organization isn't the issue That is your own opinon. My opinion and the opinion of many other people is that the Org Leaders over many years areto blame.

which after a time we realize from viewing many who leave for one reason stay away from God altogether

I would suggest that JWs do not have any idea what 'many who leave' do after they have left.  As the ones that leave are totally shunned then how do JWs know what they are doing. Do you go around spying on ex-JWs ? Do you know if ex-JWs pray or study the Bible in their homes, in private ?

TTH uses this idea lot, but does he go spying on ex-JWS, I doubt it.  This stupid brainwashing from the ORG, that people who leave the Org turn against God. And JWs fall for this brainwashing. Oh dear. 

Are you impatient ? I'm not. The longer it goes on, maybe the better.  It gives more time for God, through Christ, to sort out a clean organsation to serve Him.  It also gives more people time to serve God properly. And, if conditons get much worse it may help other people to see the contrast between good and evil. So, more time can be a good thing. 

It has been proven many times that Elders and Ministerial Servants have sexually abused young children in the congregatoins. But TTH is in denial. However TTH points at other religions and blames them, BUT TTH also has said that other religions don't have any records of such things ??????????  So, there are no records but TTH 'knows' that the leaders of other religions are to blame.  Whereas there ARE records in each country, of the JW sexual abuse. Oh dear, where are the GB and their Lawyers hiding that 25 year Pedophile database ??? And why are they hiding it ? 

 

I've no idea who this HF is. But, TTH seems to like them. 

Vendetta. Um, is that what Jesus had against the Pharisees ?   I think not.

I do worry, seriously, about how JWs have had their 'natural affection' switched off by the GB and it's Org. How JWs can treat victims of CSA as just being collateral damage. All the 'dirt' swept under the carpet just to keep the Watchtower / Org 'alive'. 

Really ??? I think not. I think it's ex-JWs that have brought it out into the open. They have helped to get it into the courtrooms. Ex JWs have been the reason that the Shepherding book has been revised, though of course you won't admit to that. Ex-JWs opened up the biggest 'can of worms' possible in the JW  Org. And that is why people like TTH and others hate ex JWs. 

This is a lot of energy. It doesn't not seem like what it appears to be - a lot of pain being expressed. Others have said and will likely say again that any trust in humans is misplaced trust, but none of it is convincing that it's the same sort of thing for which institutions have been convicted.

I asked whether there was any group untouched by this sort of thing, and the absence of a response means you understand that there isn't.

Others have pointed out how imagining that the organization is untouched by human imperfection is imagining an impossibility, and that idolizing it is a mistake. I've seen it done for years, but usually from those who wish to lord their relative positions over others.

As a christian, you have no authority other than that of a fellow brother or sister and no further responsibility either. You have to adhere to your conscience and if you don't or haven't that's on you. If an elder or even a body of elders has done something of this sort, that's on them.

I have and others who likewise consider themselves to be faithful test every expression ostensibly inspired or otherwise to see if it washes with scripture - if it does, fine, if it doesn't then you can't go along with it.

Lumping all JW's together as if they had a collective responsibility over actions others have taken or haven't taken flies in the face of individual responsibility. It does accord, however with the zeitgest of marxist-post-modernism whereby there is no truth, only power and the idea of collective guilt and collective responsibility. Marx failed to enthuse the workers to revolt, but the post-modernist-marxists at every turn seek to organize society into a myriad competing, yet miserable factions all of which are seeking the status of the penultimate victim.

I see a Satanic hand in all this as the nullification of the individual and individual responsibility and the denial of free will and truth.  Some might argue that being in an organization is equivalent to worshiping the organization. I don't. Paul made use of his status as a Roman citizen without being guilty of the abuses of the Roman state. Christians today could be in congregations which have strayed - that's on them to address. Are these addressing group sins, or those of individuals? If you have an issue w/an individual, you have recourse. Has a congregation gone wholly awry? If that's true, I haven't seen it yet, but if that time comes, it would be on me to deal with it. As an individual. And by scriptural means.

Oh and at the risk of being taken seriously.

 

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8 hours ago, xero said:

I do think Tom's reference to the outside source which distinguishes between institutional abuse and abuse in familial non-institutional settings is important. The source noted 1-2% of any given population having issues in this regard. This same percentage appears to be present among those identifying as JW's. These are humans w/the same failings. What's at issue is what it is that's suggested - conflating institutional abuse, Sunday Schools, Camps and the like w/paid clergy/laity vs abuse which happens in a home and later reported on.

I also read of a ex JW who stated he went to the Bible students ( Russell’s followers) and some other groups of which I cannot remember and he noted that all the problems he/she saw with In The org...was also present within those said groups..it’s everywhere...even Franz who wrote his famous book said he did not see that this was a issue any worse than any other faith...

 

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8 hours ago, xero said:

I do think Tom's reference to the outside source which distinguishes between institutional abuse and abuse in familial non-institutional settings is important. The source noted 1-2% of any given population having issues in this regard. This same percentage appears to be present among those identifying as JW's. These are humans w/the same failings. What's at issue is what it is that's suggested - conflating institutional abuse, Sunday Schools, Camps and the like w/paid clergy/laity vs abuse which happens in a home and later reported on.

Bad men,,and women will always infiltrate the congregation..we have so many scriptural facts on that...I think where the society had to readjust and were forced to readjust was on our policies...we need to admit that...and we now have policies that allowed in house and even strongly encouraged in house handling ..removed..due to those policies being changed...certain things will no longer be handled or tolerated as they were once.

It would have been best if the brothers had done this by themselves instead of the ARC forcing them too...BUT...they have changed..been corrected....we are being refined..wether we like it or not...wether  it hurts or not...we are still his imperfect people...wether chastised by the world or not...

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14 hours ago, xero said:

Where has this been eliminated? I have yet to read of an organization anywhere where this has been eliminated.

 

13 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

How many? No more than anywhere in the overall population, and probably much less.

 

9 hours ago, Thinking said:

I also read of a ex JW who stated he went to the Bible students ( Russell’s followers) and some other groups of which I cannot remember and he noted that all the problems he/she saw with In The org...was also present within those said groups..it’s everywhere...even Franz who wrote his famous book said he did not see that this was a issue any worse than any other faith...

 

From this it could justifiably be concluded that all organizations are similar and that none meet the “divine” criteria.

Differences in theology become irrelevant if members cannot curb their negative urges/impulses and if cultivate prejudices toward members of other religions and toward former members. Out of a desire to please God, Cain and Abel forgot that they should love one another first, and only then love God.

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11 hours ago, Thinking said:

It would have been best if the brothers had done this by themselves instead of the ARC forcing them too...BUT...they have changed..been corrected....we are being refined.

In writing about the May 2019 Watchtower, I mentioned how opposers would say, “It only happened because of our prodding.” They would claim “credit” for the “clarification.”

So? Give it to them, so far as I am concerned. Everything in life is action/reaction. “Out of sight/out of mind” is the universal human tendency that operates towards any who have gone out of sight, and in the case of former JWs who have suffered abuse from which they have not recovered, these opposers did not permit it to happen. I have no problem acknowledging their role.

    Hello guest!

Even if you have to call them out on their excessive vendetta you can still recognize they have spurred on valuable change.

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3 hours ago, Srecko Sostar said:

From this it could justifiably be concluded that all organizations are similar and that none meet the “divine” criteria.

So what are we to make of this comment from Srecko? He yields on his ridiculous comparison of institutional abuse in various religions to abuse in families that happen to be religious. He yields on it because it is ridiculous and he can no longer support it.

So what does he do? He takes a “heads I win/tails you lose “ new argument. “Well, since other organizations have people who sin, and you do too, there is no reason to say you are any different.”

Will he say it of the hospital? “Well, since there are plenty of sick people in the world and also plenty in the hospital, there is no reason to go there.”

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2 hours ago, Srecko Sostar said:

 

 

From this it could justifiably be concluded that all organizations are similar and that none meet the “divine” criteria.

Differences in theology become irrelevant if members cannot curb their negative urges/impulses and if cultivate prejudices toward members of other religions and toward former members. Out of a desire to please God, Cain and Abel forgot that they should love one another first, and only then love God.

I understand where you're coming from, but I have to disagree as to differences in theology as being irrelevant. Take the Declaration of Independence, where it says "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." At the time this was written slavery existed in the colonies and wasn't wiped out at that time. It did, however establish a vector w/in the text as to the ideal. Theologies likewise carry within them a vector w/in, a text as to the ideal. I hold these things to not be irrelevant even if we are unable to fully realize them at present. There is value in intolerance, even beauty. The issue is one of hating sin, while not at the same time hating the sinner. For example homosexuality is practically embraced by so many so-called Christians today, because not embracing this behavior is seen as loathsome hatred of the being of another, a denial of these people and their existence. It isn't. People can and do change. Having unwholesome predilections can be curbed. But we need to make it clear that it isn't just these sins which are at issue, but we often can give this impression. The Bible is full of descriptions of sin and if we're honest we're all guilty. Legalism can be and is an issue w/many as these seek to avoid all condemnation in their own eyes. But we have to be honest, we're not better than anyone, but to the extent that we submit to God's direction (don't equate this w/fidelity to organizations) we can find ourselves moving in the right direction. Provided our theology is providing the right (or best) roadmap.

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22 hours ago, xero said:

a lot of pain being expressed

No, it's Empathy 

22 hours ago, xero said:

I asked whether there was any group untouched by this sort of thing, and the absence of a response means you understand that there isn't.

I've answered this many times but you and others don't like my answer.  The Watchtower / JW Org is not supposed to be like any other group. It is suposed to be 'God's chosen Org'.  It would be like me, if I wanted to compare myself, to make myself feel good. I'd compare myself to a drug addict, an alcoholic or a murderer. I could then say, Well I'm better than them. You and other JWs are doing just that with the Org. You are comparing it to things that you know are worse. Of course the JW Org is better than a whorehouse. now try comparing the JW Org to God's standards. You will find it fails miserably. 

23 hours ago, xero said:

I have and others who likewise consider themselves to be faithful test every expression ostensibly inspired or otherwise to see if it washes with scripture - if it does, fine, if it doesn't then you can't go along with it.

Physically in - spiritually out.   BUT that creates a problem. What will you preach or teach to others ? Will you teach GB speak, or will you teach truth ?  That was one of the problems i faced because the GB / Watchtower goes beyond the things written. 

23 hours ago, xero said:

Lumping all JW's together as if they had a collective responsibility over actions others have taken or haven't taken flies in the face of individual responsibility. It does accord, however with the zeitgest of marxist-post-modernism

This breaks down into a couple of things. Firstly I have NO interest in politics and NO interest in this idea of pigeonholing  / name calling. "zeitgest of marxist-post-modernism"

Secondly. Lumping all JW's together as if they had a collective responsibility over actions others have taken (etc)

All JWs do have the responsibility because they follow the insrtutions of the GB, through the Watchtower and through the Elders.  They are taught to no longer BE individuals. As an example, when I've asked an Elder about a certain point in scripture, he has said to me, I'll have to look at how the organisation sees this. He would not give me HIS individual opinion. And when there is action to be taken it is done inline with GB / Watchtower insructions.  Everything preached is by order of the GB / Watchtower.  There is not supposed to be any individuals in the JW org. There are only sheep. The problem is that their shepherds are not serving God.

23 hours ago, xero said:

I see a Satanic hand in all this as the nullification of the individual and individual responsibility and the denial of free will and truth.  Some might argue that being in an organization is equivalent to worshiping the organization. I don't. Paul made use of his status as a Roman citizen without being guilty of the abuses of the Roman state.

You try to be clever and to mix so much up in one ortwo sentances. You fail. 

Lets start here.  quote :

" I see a Satanic hand in all this as the nullification of the individual and individual responsibility and the denial of free will and truth. "

Same answer as above.  JWs are not suppoaed to have free will. They are supposed to do exactly as they are told.  The misuse of scripture such as 'Be obedient to those taking the lead anomg you'. Hebrews 13 :17

    Hello guest!

Quote "Paul made use of his status as a Roman citizen without being guilty of the abuses of the Roman state."

Are you suggesting that a JW could make use of their JW 'citizenship' whilst acting, teaching and preaching, something completely different ?  Instant d/fed I would think. :) 

23 hours ago, xero said:

Christians today could be in congregations which have strayed - that's on them to address.

Not so easy is it ?  Congregation run by Elders, Elders in subjection to Circuit Overseer, in subjection to and in subjection to, right up to their HQ Bethel, then up to GB.  The ordinary congregant has two chioce, as i found. Stay in and put up with it, or, leave. 

As for you, you are one Elder, so I wish you well in sorting out your own congregation. But you'll probs not be looking to see where the problems are, as you say you just let things go by. 

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8 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Even if you have to call them out on their excessive vendetta you can still recognize they have spurred on valuable change.

vendetta
a blood feud in which the family of a murdered person seeks vengeance on the murderer or the murderer's family.
    • a prolonged bitter quarrel with or campaign against someone.
       
      TTH cannot back down on HIS own vendetta against ex-JWs.  Even though he pretends to give a little praise. 
       
       
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    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Bonjour Eric merci pour cet exposé.
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      1LE BATEAU.pdf
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    • Eric Ouellet

      La sagesse est plus précieuse que l’or et la crainte envers Jéhovah est notre salut.
       
      La vraie sagesse de Dieu est un cadeau inestimable, car seul ceux qui obéissent et suivent ces préceptes en recoivent les bienfaits. En Psaume 111:10 déclare ceci: “La crainte de Jéhovah est le commencement de la sagesse.”
      Qu’est-ce que cela veut dire? La sagesse est la capacité d’utiliser efficacement sa connaissance et son intelligence pour résoudre un problème, éviter un danger, atteindre un objectif. Elle sous-entend un bon jugement. Le commencement, la première partie, le fondement de cette sagesse, c’est la crainte de Jéhovah. Pourquoi cela? Bien que toute création est l’œuvre de ses mains et dépend de lui. Il a accordé aux humains le libre arbitre, mais pas la faculté de diriger leurs pas avec succès sans tenir compte de sa direction (Josué 24:15; Jérémie 10:23). Nous ne connaîtrons le succès durable qu’à la condition de bien saisir ces idées fondamentales sur la vie, et de nous y conformer. Si notre connaissance de Jéhovah nous donne la ferme conviction que la volonté divine est promise au succès, et qu’il tiendra sa promesse de récompenser ses fidèles, alors la crainte pieuse nous poussera à agir sagement. — Proverbes 3:21-26; Hébreux 11:6.
      Prenons un exemple: Il y a quelques dizaines d’années, un jeune homme fréquentait l’université de Saskatchewan, au Canada. Au programme de sa formation figurait la biologie, et on lui a enseigné l’évolution. Après avoir été diplômé, il s’est spécialisé dans la physique nucléaire, profitant d’une bourse pour continuer ses études à l’université de Toronto. Au cours de ses études, il a constaté dans la structure des atomes révélaient des témoignages stupéfiants d’un ordre et d’une finalité extraordinaire . Mais personnes ne répondait pas à ces questions: Qui a conçu tout cela? Quand? Et pourquoi? Sans ces réponses, pouvait-il utiliser sagement ses connaissances dans un monde remplis interrogations ? Qu’est-ce qui le guiderait? Le nationalisme? Le désir de gratifications matérielles? Avait-il acquis la vraie sagesse?
      Peu après avoir été diplômé, cet homme ainsi que sa femme se sont mis à étudier la Bible avec les Témoins de Jéhovah. Dans la Parole de Dieu, ils ont peu à peu trouvé les réponses qui leur manquaient. Ils ont appris à connaître le Créateur, Jéhovah Dieu. En étudiant ce qui est arrivé à Moïse à la mer Rouge, à Daniel et à ses compagnons à Babylone, ils ont appris l’importance de craindre Dieu, et non les hommes (Exode 14:10-31; Daniel 3:8-30). Cette crainte pieuse mêlée d’un amour sincère pour Jéhovah a commencé à les animer. Rapidement, leur vie a changé. Enfin cet homme connaissait Celui dont il avait étudié l’œuvre en biologie. Il a progressivement compris le dessein de Celui dont il avait constaté la sagesse dans ses cours de physique. Au lieu d’employer sa connaissance à élaborer des instruments de destruction, il a choisi, avec sa femme, d’aider autrui à aimer Dieu et son prochain. Ils ont entrepris le service de prédicateurs du Royaume de Dieu à plein temps. Par la suite, ils ont suivi les cours de Galaad, l’École biblique de la Société Watchtower, et ont été nommés missionnaires.
      Bien entendu, tout le monde ne peut pas être missionnaire. Mais tous nous pouvons bénéficier de la sagesse fondée sur la crainte de Jéhovah. Si nous cultivons cette sagesse, nous ne consacrerons pas le meilleur de notre vie à étudier les philosophies humaines, qui n’échafaudent que des suppositions sur le but de la vie. Nous nous appliquerons à l’étude de la Bible, livre inspiré de Jéhovah Dieu, la Source de la vie, celui qui peut nous donner la vie éternelle (Psaume 36:9; Colossiens 2:8). Au lieu de nous rendre esclaves d’un système commercial chancelant, au bord de la ruine, nous écouterons Jéhovah, qui nous conseille de nous contenter de la nourriture et du vêtement, et d’accorder à nos relations avec lui la priorité dans notre existence (1 Timothée 6:8-12). Au lieu de nous comporter comme si notre avenir dépendait d’une belle situation dans le monde actuel, nous croirons la Parole de Jéhovah, qui nous affirme que le monde est en train de passer, de même que le désir du monde, alors que celui qui fait la volonté divine demeure pour toujours. — 1 Jean 2:17.
      Dans le livre de Proverbes 16:16, Salomon nous encourage par cette déclaration certaine: “Acquérir la sagesse [la sagesse qui commence par la crainte de Jéhovah], oh! combien cela vaut mieux que l’or! Et acquérir l’intelligence est préférable à l’argent.” Poussés par cette sagesse et cette intelligence, nous considérerons l’accomplissement de la volonté de Dieu comme le premier centre d’intérêt de notre vie. Et quelle activité Dieu a-t-il confiée à ses Témoins en cette période de l’histoire humaine? Faire connaître son Royaume par la prédication et aider les personnes sincères à devenir de vrais disciples de Jésus Christ (Matthieu 24:14; 28:19, 20). Il s’agit d’une activité dont on retire une satisfaction véritable et un grand bonheur. C’est donc à propos que la Bible dit: “Heureux l’homme qui a trouvé la sagesse, et l’homme qui acquiert le discernement.” — Proverbes 3:13.
      Elle nous retient de commettre le mal
      Un deuxième bienfait que nous procure la crainte de Dieu est qu’elle nous retient de commettre le mal. Celui qui respecte profondément Dieu ne détermine pas par lui-même ce qui est bien et mal. Il ne tient pas pour mauvais ce que Dieu déclare bon, ni ne considère comme bon ce que Dieu déclare mauvais (Psaume 37:1, 27; Ésaïe 5:20, 21). De plus, celui que motive la crainte pieuse ne se contente pas de savoir ce que Jéhovah déclare bon ou mauvais. Une telle personne aime ce que Jéhovah aime et elle hait ce que Jéhovah hait. En conséquence, elle agit en harmonie avec les préceptes divins. Ainsi, comme le dit Proverbes 16:6, “par la crainte de Jéhovah, on se détourne du mal”. Cette crainte pieuse devient une motivation puissante qui permet d’atteindre des résultats qu’on n’obtiendrait pas même si une personne commence tout juste à l’éprouver, la crainte pieuse peut lui donner le courage de ne pas faire quelque chose qu’elle regretterait le restant de ses jours. Au Mexique, par exemple, une femme enceinte a demandé à une chrétienne Témoin de Jéhovah ce qu’elle pensait de l’avortement. La chrétienne lui a lu plusieurs versets bibliques, puis lui a tenu ce raisonnement: “Pour le Créateur, la vie est très importante, même la vie de ceux qui ne sont pas encore nés.” (Exode 21:22, 23; Psaume 139:13-16). Des examens laissaient entendre que le bébé serait anormal. Néanmoins, après ce qu’elle avait vu dans la Parole de Dieu, cette femme a décidé de garder son enfant. Son médecin a refusé de la revoir, et son mari l’a menacée de la quitter, mais elle a tenu bon. Elle a finalement donné naissance à une magnifique petite fille, normale et en bonne santé. Par gratitude, elle a recherché les Témoins et s’est mise à étudier la Parole de Dieu avec eux. Moins d’un an après, son mari et elle se faisaient baptiser. Quelques années plus tard, à une assemblée de district, tous deux ont été enchantés de rencontrer la chrétienne qui avait parlé à la femme la première fois. Ils lui ont présenté leur jolie fillette de quatre ans. Incontestablement, le respect de Dieu et le désir puissant de ne pas lui déplaire exercent une grande influence.
      La crainte pieuse peut nous garder d’un grand nombre de mauvaises actions (2 Corinthiens 7:1). Cultivée avec soin, elle est capable d’aider quelqu’un à mettre un terme à des péchés cachés, connus de lui seul et de Jéhovah. Elle peut l’aider à se libérer de la dépendance de l’alcool ou de la drogue. Un ancien drogué d’Afrique du Sud a raconté: “Au fur et à mesure que j’apprenais à connaître Dieu, la crainte de le décevoir ou de lui déplaire grandissait en moi. Je savais qu’il m’observait, et je désirais ardemment son approbation. Cela m’a incité à me débarrasser de la drogue qui était en ma possession en la jetant dans les toilettes.” La crainte pieuse a aidé des milliers de personnes de la même manière. — Proverbes 5:21; 15:3.
      La crainte salutaire de Dieu nous préserve également de la crainte de l’homme. La plupart des humains connaissent, à des degrés divers, la crainte de l’homme. Les apôtres de Jésus Christ l’ont abandonné et se sont enfuis lorsque les soldats se sont emparés de lui dans le jardin de Gethsémané. Plus tard, dans la cour du grand prêtre, désarçonné et en proie à la crainte, Pierre a nié faire partie des disciples de Jésus et même le connaître (Marc 14:48-50, 66-72; Jean 18:15-27). Mais grâce à l’aide qu’ils ont reçue, les apôtres ont retrouvé leur équilibre spirituel. Par contre, aux jours du roi Jéhoïakim, Urie, fils de Schémaïah, fut terrassé par la crainte au point d’abandonner son service de prophète de Jéhovah et de fuir le pays, ce qui ne l’empêcha pas d’être capturé et tué. — Jérémie 26:20-23.
      Comment vaincre la crainte de l’homme? 
      Après nous avoir prévenus que “trembler devant les hommes, voilà ce qui tend un piège”, Proverbes 29:25 ajoute: “Mais celui qui se confie en Jéhovah sera protégé.” La réponse tient donc dans la confiance en Jéhovah. Cette confiance s’appuie sur la connaissance et l’expérience. L’étude de sa Parole nous démontre que les voies de Jéhovah sont droites. Nous découvrons des événements attestant qu’il est digne de confiance, que ses promesses sont sûres (y compris celle de la résurrection), qu’il est amour et qu’il est tout-puissant. Lorsqu’ensuite nous agissons conformément à cette connaissance, accomplissant ce que Jéhovah demande et rejetant fermement ce qu’il condamne, nous commençons à constater dans notre propre cas qu’il prend soin de ses serviteurs avec amour et que l’on peut compter sur lui. Nous acquérons personnellement la certitude que sa puissance est à l’œuvre pour que s’accomplisse sa volonté. Notre confiance en lui s’accroît, de même que notre amour pour lui et notre désir sincère de ne pas lui déplaire. Cette confiance est bâtie sur un fondement solide. Elle est un rempart contre la crainte de l’homme.
      Notre confiance en Jéhovah, alliée à la crainte pieuse, nous rendra fermes en faveur du bien dans le cas où un employeur menacerait de nous renvoyer si nous refusions de participer à des pratiques commerciales malhonnêtes (voir Michée 6:11, 12). Grâce à cette crainte pieuse, des milliers de chrétiens persévèrent dans le vrai culte malgré l’opposition de membres de leur famille. Elle donne aussi aux jeunes le courage de se faire connaître comme Témoins de Jéhovah à l’école, et elle les affermit face aux moqueries de leurs camarades de classe qui méprisent les principes bibliques. Ainsi, une adolescente Témoin de Jéhovah a dit: “Ce qu’ils pensent m’est bien égal. L’important, c’est ce que pense Jéhovah.”
      La même conviction donne aux vrais chrétiens la force de rester attachés aux voies de Jéhovah lorsque leur vie est en jeu. Ils savent qu’ils risquent d’être persécutés par le monde. Ils sont conscients que les apôtres ont été fouettés et que même Jésus Christ a été frappé et tué par des hommes méchants (Marc 14:65; 15:15-39; Actes 5:40; voir aussi Daniel 3:16-18). Mais les serviteurs de Jéhovah sont assurés qu’il peut leur donner la force d’endurer, qu’avec son aide ils peuvent remporter la victoire, que Jéhovah récompensera sans faute ses fidèles, si besoin en les ressuscitant dans son monde nouveau. Leur amour pour Dieu ajouté à la crainte pieuse les pousse puissamment à éviter toute action qui pourrait lui déplaire.
      C’est parce qu’ils étaient animés d’une telle motivation que les Témoins de Jéhovah ont supporté les horreurs des camps de concentration nazis dans les années 30 et 40. Ils ont pris à cœur le conseil de Jésus consigné en Luc 12:4, 5: “D’autre part, je vous le dis à vous, mes amis: Ne craignez pas ceux qui tuent le corps, et qui après cela ne peuvent rien faire de plus. Mais je vais vous indiquer qui vous devez craindre: craignez celui qui, après avoir tué, a le pouvoir de jeter dans la Géhenne. Oui, je vous le dis, Celui-là, craignez-le.” Par exemple, Gustav Auschner, un Témoin qui avait été interné dans le camp de concentration de Sachsenhausen, a écrit plus tard: ‘Les SS ont exécuté August Dickmann et ont menacé de nous passer tous par les armes si nous refusions de signer un document par lequel nous abjurions notre foi. Pas un seul n’a signé. Notre crainte de déplaire à Jéhovah était plus forte que la crainte de leurs balles.’ La crainte de l’homme mène aux compromis, mais la crainte de Dieu nous affermit pour faire le bien.
      La préservation de la vie
      Noé a connu les derniers jours du monde antédiluvien. Jéhovah avait décidé de détruire le monde d’alors en raison de la méchanceté des humains. Toutefois, en attendant, Noé a vécu dans un monde où régnaient la violence, l’immoralité sexuelle choquante et le mépris de la volonté divine. Noé a prêché la justice, et pourtant “ils ne s’aperçurent de rien jusqu’à ce que le déluge vînt et les emportât tous”. (Matthieu 24:39.) Noé n’a cependant pas renoncé à l’activité que Dieu lui avait confiée. Il fit “selon tout ce que Dieu lui avait ordonné. Ainsi fit-il”. (Genèse 6:22.) Qu’est-ce qui a permis à Noé, année après année et jusqu’au déluge, de toujours agir comme il convenait? Hébreux 11:7 répond: “Par la foi, Noé, divinement averti de choses qu’on ne voyait pas encore, fit montre d’une crainte pieuse.” Pour cette raison, sa femme, ses fils, leurs femmes et lui ont été sauvés du déluge.
       Notre époque ressemble de bien des manières à celle de Noé (Luc 17:26, 27). De nouveau un avertissement est lancé. Révélation 14:6, 7 parle d’un ange qui vole au milieu du ciel et invite les gens de toute nation et tribu et langue à ‘craindre Dieu et à lui donner gloire’. Quel que puisse être le comportement du monde autour de vous, obéissez à ces paroles, puis transmettez l’invitation à autrui. À l’instar de Noé, agissons avec foi et manifestons une crainte pieuse. Par cela, des vies peuvent être sauvées: la vôtre et celle de nombre de vos semblables. Lorsque nous considérons les bienfaits dont profitent ceux qui craignent le vrai Dieu, nous ne pouvons que souscrire aux paroles du psalmiste divinement inspiré qui chanta: 
      “Heureux est l’homme qui craint Jéhovah, dans les commandements de qui il prend grand plaisir!” — Psaume 112:1.

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    • Darlene  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      I can not open study material 
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    • Darlene  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Can not open weekly study material 
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    • Deborah T. Calloway  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Thank you so much for the meeting work book. I really appreciate your hard work 
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