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Another Jehovah's Witness Placed Under House Arrest In Russia After Search Of Homes


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Russian authorities have detained and placed under house arrest a Jehovah’s Witness in Siberia amid a continued crackdown on the religious group, which was labeled as extremist and banned in the country in 2017.

The Investigative Committee said in a statement on February 17 that a 53-year-old resident of the town of Belovo in the Kemerovo region was placed under house arrest on suspicion of organizing a Jehovah’s Witnesses "cell."

The man, whose identity was not disclosed, refused to cooperate with investigators citing Article 51 of the Russian Constitution, the statement said, adding that the suspect had been apprehended after the homes of several alleged members of the banned group were searched in the region.

Article 51 states that no one shall be obliged to give incriminating evidence.

The announcement came a week after a court in Russia's Krasnodar region sentenced a 63-year-old Jehovah's Witness, Aleksandr Ivshin, to 7 1/2 years in prison, the harshest sentence since authorities launched the campaign against the religious group.

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Russian authorities have detained and placed under house arrest a Jehovah’s Witness in Siberia amid a continued crackdown on the religious group, which was labeled as extremist and banned in the country in 2017. The Investigative Committee said in a statement on February 17 that a 53-year-old resident of the town of Belovo in the Kemerovo region was placed under house arrest on suspicion of organizing a Jehovah’s Witnesses "cell." The man, whose identity was not disclosed, refused to c

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Last April, a ruling by Russia’s Supreme Court banned all Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations throughout the country, arguing the religious group to be extremist.
      On Friday, Murmansk regional authorities’ newspaper Murmanski Vestnik reports about raids made by FSB and the National Guard of Russia (Rosgvardia) in Polyarny on the Kola Peninsula.
      Two local residents were detained under suspicions of being members of the administrative centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, organizing teaching and meetings where reading of banned religious literature took place. Searches were carried out at six addresses in Polyarny.    
      The town is home to a naval yard and several of the diesel-powered submarines and other warships of the Northern Fleet have Polyarny as homeport.
      The extremist law banning Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia provides for a maximum sentences of 6 to 10 years in jail.
      Meanwhile, a wave of practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses are fleeing Russia. More than a thousand people are now seeking asylum in several European countries, including Finland, the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported earlier this winter.
      «It all started last summer, and that’s when the first Witnesses sought asylum in Finland, spokesperson Veikko Leininen with the organization’s Finnish branch told the newspaper.
      «Many dozens at least are still to come,» he said.
      Press adviser Therese Bergwitz-Larsen with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) can’t go into details about particular reasons for asylum seekers coming to Norway.
      «Unfortunately, we can’t say anything in general on the background for reasons to apply for asylum, since the number [from Russia] is so small.»
      Statistics from UDI show that 15 persons came from Russia the first three months this year. In 2017, 58 Russian asylum seekers came to Norway.
      In Russia, the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses are estimated to about 175,000. That be, before the organization was declared extremist. Viewed with skepticism for denying military service, voting and refusal to take blood, the members are seen as both a threat to themselves, their children and public safety.
      Also during Soviet times, the Witnesses were persecuted.   
      Human Right Watch recently called on Russian authorities to drop charges against Danish citizen Dennis Christensen adherent for practicing his faith. Christensen has been in pretrial custody for 11 months in the town of Orel. Human Right Watch argues that Russia is a member of Council of Europe and  a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, and therefor is obligated to protect the rights to freedom of religion and association.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      More than 200 Jehovah's Witnesses - a religious organization banned in Russia - have applied for asylum in Finland. More than 100 members of this organization have arrived in the European country only so far in 2018. According to Juha Simila, representative of the Finnish migration service, about 10 cases have been analyzed so far and, in most of them, Finland rejected the asylum application. Simila explained to the Finnish newspaper Aamulehti that some denials have been appealed to the court and that in one of the cases the negative decision of the migration service has already been confirmed.
      Read more: 
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    • By Isabella
      Two years ago, Russian activist Vladimir Kara-Murza pointed out that Vladimir Putin’s Russia had more political prisoners than the USSR did when Andrey Sakharov began calling attention to them in the USSR in 1976 (rferl.org/a/activist-number-of-political-prisoners-in-russia-twice-what-it-was-in-ussr/30048022.html).
      In period since Kara-Murza made that calculation, Ellen Leafstedt of St. Antony’s College in Oxford says, the numbers of political prisoners in Russia have only increased and indeed continue to rise. In an article for the Riddle portal, she suggests that it is important to recognize their diversity (ridl.io/ru/nakazanie-bez-prestuplenija/).
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      Among the most numerous of the second category are those charged with terrorism for their affiliation with groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir. Rapidly growing in number are Jehovah’s Witnesses whose denomination the Russian Supreme Court declared to be an extremist organization.
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    • By Isabella
      Russian authorities opened a criminal case this week against five Jehovah’s Witnesses on suspicion of “organizing and participating in the activities of an extremist organization” for allegedly promoting their namesake religious group, which is officially outlawed as an “extremist ideology” in Russia.
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      Five residents of the city of Syktyvkar, in Russia’s northwestern Komi Republic, allegedly “carried out active organizational actions aimed at continuation of the organization’s illegal activities and the involvement of new participants in it” over a four-year period between 2017 and 2021.
      “In particular, acting in secrecy, they carried out general management of the organization’s activities, coordinated illegal activities, organized and held meetings of members of a banned organization, and collected funds to finance the activities of a banned extremist organization,” according to the statement.
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    • By Isabella
      RNS) — A female Jehovah’s Witness has been sentenced to two years in a Russian prison for practicing her faith, marking the first time the country has imprisoned a woman since a 2017 ruling that declared the faith group “extremist.” Valentina Baranovskaya, 69, was sentenced Wednesday (Feb. 24) along with her son, Roman Baranovskiy, 46, who received a six-year sentence.
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      In October, a Jehovah’s Witness named Yuriy Zalipayev was acquitted and shortly afterward six other members of the faith were given suspended sentences by a different judge.

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    • By Anna
      In view of last weeks WT study "Do you have the facts" (August 2018, page 3) and thanks to @Gone Away for highlighting the following reports, I thought I would put this in a separate and concise topic to show an actual and recent example of misinformation.
      NEWS REPORT: (I cut it a little short because the article went on about the ban in general. You van read the whole thing here:
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. MOSCOW: Five Jehovah's Witnesses have been detained in Russia and charged with possessing weapons and running an extremist group, investigators said Wednesday (Oct 10, 2018), in the latest case targeting the banned religious movement.
      They were arrested in the Kirov region northeast of Moscow, where authorities said they found two grenades and a landmine in searches of their homes.
      The Jehovah's Witnesses are a Christian denomination that originated in the United States in the late 19th century.
      The Russian authorities consider the movement a totalitarian sect and last year the country's supreme court banned the Jehovah's Witnesses from operating in Russia.
      "They had been conducting meetings and called on others to join their organisation," Yevgenia Vorozhtsova, a spokeswoman for regional investigators, said.
      She said officials were investigating how the members of the Jehovah's Witnesses had obtained the ammunition, but declined to provide further details.
      Yaroslav Sivulskiy, a member of the European Association of Jehovah's Christian Witnesses, said it was the first time the Russian authorities had accused members of the movement of possessing ammunition.
      "We were shocked," he said from the Latvian capital Riga. "It is both funny and strange. Why mines?"
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      THE FACTS: (here I took the liberty of slightly adjusting the translation by Google, so it made more sense)
      On October 9, 2018, in the city of Kirov, during a search of the house of retired Vladimir Bogomolov, a collector of artifacts from the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), investigators seized fragments of obviously unusable rusty shells. The man was searched because his 69-year-old spouse (the only one of her entire family) professes the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. The woman does not share her husband's fascination with antiques. Thus, the report that the ammunition was seized allegedly from Jehovah's Witnesses is not true.
      Jehovah's Witnesses do not take weapons for conscience reasons. For this position they appeared before tribunals of different countries and went to concentration camps. They will be grateful to the media for clarifying the misunderstanding .
      Vladimir Bogomolov, from whom the relics were confiscated, was in the past an active participant in a search movement (aimed at burying the remains of the soldiers who died in World War II), he was the brigadier of the search party. The activities of his squad were written about in newspapers. On October 9, 2018, upon the discovery of the artifacts, a criminal case on the illegal possession of weapons was instituted, it was allocated in a separate proceeding. The items were sent for examination.
       Source: 
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      Six Jehovah's Witnesses jailed on "extremism"-related charges applied for early release after serving half their jail terms, but have been unsuccessful. Prison administrations opposed the applications with what Jehovah's Witnesses describe as "fabricated evidence" of violations of prison rules. Four of the prisoners were accused of smoking in the wrong place, but Jehovah's Witnesses do not smoke. Another Jehovah's Witness jailed since 2018 and a Muslim reader of Nursi's works jailed since 2017 should both become eligible to apply in summer 2021.
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    • By Isabella
      ussian security services raided the homes of several Jehovah's Witnesses in Moscow on Wednesday, in an ongoing crackdown on the US-based religious movement.
      Moscow outlawed the Jehovah's Witnesses in 2017, labelling it an extremist organization and has since sentenced several members to lengthy jail terms.
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      Prosecutors, the FSB security services and the national guard carried out searches at 16 addresses, the committee said.
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      Jarrod Lopes, a New York-based spokesman for Jehovah's Witnesses, said the raids "are further proof that Russia is reverting to its muscle memory of Soviet repression".
      He added that they were a new escalation in the crackdown, as most of the raids on the believers had previously taken place in regions outside the Russian capital.

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    • By Isabella
      A court in southern Russia has handed the country's longest prison sentence yet to an elderly Jehovah’s Witness leader for organizing an “extremist” group, the religious organization said Wednesday.
      Authorities accused Alexander Ivshin, 63, of organizing the activities of a banned organization, including hosting Bible discussions with friends via video link, until his April 2020 detention as part of mass raids in the Krasnodar region. Russia outlawed the Jehovah’s Witnesses as “extremists” in 2017.
       
      Alexander Ivshin, 63, was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for activities including hosting Bible discussions via video link.
       

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    • By Isabella
      MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian law enforcement detained a number of Jehovah's Witnesses and conducted searches at 16 different addresses in Moscow on Wednesday as part of a new criminal investigation against the group, state investigators said.
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      It said they had met in a flat in northern Moscow and studied the teachings of the religion despite being aware of the ban on the group's activities.
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    • By Isabella
      f 21 Jehovah's Witnesses convicted of "extremism" charges since late July 2020, six were given jail terms and 13 suspended sentences. Receiving a suspended sentence means a convicted person must live under restrictions specified by the judge, regularly register with probation authorities, and avoid conviction for any other offence during the probationary period or risk being sent to prison. "A suspended sentence means that you need to live under stress for many years," Jehovah's Witnesses note.
      A total of 21 Jehovah's Witnesses have been convicted of "extremism" charges since late July 2020. They include the oldest Jehovah's Witness yet to be found guilty of alleged extremism offences (at the age of 73). Among the punishments imposed are both the largest fine and the longest suspended sentences since prosecutions began following the 2017 liquidation of the Jehovah's Witness Administrative Centre.
       
      Six of the 21 have received jail terms. The four defendants in one case in Bryansk Region will not be imprisoned as they had already served the time in pre-trial detention. Two men in another case in Kemerovo Region, however, will spend more than a year in jail if their appeal is unsuccessful.

      Thirteen of the 21 have received suspended sentences, most recently Sergey Ledenyov in Kamchatka on 24 November. The two others were given large fines (see below).

      Although not enough cases have ended to draw any definitive conclusions, it appears that, in 2020, courts have been moving towards suspended sentences for Jehovah's Witnesses, although prosecutors continue to request real prison terms in most cases. It remains unclear why this might be.

      Receiving a suspended sentence means that a convicted person is not imprisoned, but must live under a set of restrictions specified by the judge, regularly register with probation authorities, and avoid conviction for any other offence during the probationary period or risk being sent to prison (see below).

      The 21 individuals convicted since July are among more than 400 Jehovah's Witnesses and Muslim readers of theologian Said Nursi's works who have been convicted, are on trial, or remain under investigation across Russia, mostly on accusations of "organising" or "participating in the activities of a banned extremist organisation".

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    • By Isabella
      Moscow — Russian authorities have carried out dozens of raids and detained several people as they pursue a new criminal case accusing the country's Jehovah's Witnesses of extremism, the national Investigative Committee said Tuesday. The Christian denomination is suspected of illegally resuming its work in Russia despite an official ban.
      The country's Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that the group, founded in the United States and claiming almost 9 million followers globally, was an "extremist" organization and ordered it to disband. The decision led to the conviction of scores of followers across the country.
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    • By Isabella
      UNITED NATIONS, November 18. /TASS/. The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly has Wednesday adopted the Ukraine-sponsored resolution condemning alleged human rights violations in Crimea, as the resolution was supported by 63 countries, 85 abstained and 22 opposed it. The document has been considered annually since 2016 and is not mandatory.
      The resolution in particular calls on Russia "to take all measures necessary to bring an immediate end to all violations and abuses against residents of Crimea." The document notes "discriminatory measures and practices, arbitrary detentions and arrests, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, sexual and gender-based violence, including to compel apprehended persons to self-incriminate or ‘cooperate’ with law enforcement" among these abuses.
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      Russia’s response
       
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    • By Isabella
      Prisoners of conscience Jehovah's Witnesses Sergei Filatov and Artyom Gerasimov are being denied letters sent to them. Muslim prisoner of conscience Renat Suleimanov is being denied letters sent in his own language of Crimean Tatar. He has been held for ten months in Kamenka Labour Camp's closed zone, in a cell holding 10 prisoners, but may be released in December. All were transferred illegally to jails in Russia.
      One of the three Crimean prisoners of conscience jailed in Russian labour camps for exercising freedom of religion and belief in Crimea is expected to complete his prison term at the end of December, more than three years after his October 2017 arrest. Muslim prisoner of conscience Renat Suleimanov has spent the ten months since January 2020 in the closed zone ("strict detention conditions") of Kamenka Labour Camp in Russia's Kabardino-Balkariya Republic.
       
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      Visits from relatives and friends is made difficult by the Russian authorities having moved Suleimanov so far from his home, against the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (known as the Mandela Rules – A/C.3/70/L.3) (see below).

      Letters from relatives have been handed on after being censored, but only if they are in Russian. Letters in the Crimean Tatar language are not given to Suleimanov, but he does have access to a copy of the Koran and can pray openly (see below).

      One of the two cases Suleimanov's lawyer lodged to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is about the illegal transfer to a Russian prison (see below).

      Even once he completes his prison term, Suleimanov will have to live under restrictions for another year, while his bank accounts will remain blocked for many more years (see below).

      "It is difficult for Renat's mother, who is in her eighties," one of Suleimanov's relatives told Forum 18. "She survived the deportation of all the Crimean Tatars [in 1944] and then to have this at the end of her life." She last met her son in a meeting in the Investigator's office in the Crimean capital Simferopol in summer 2018 (see below).

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    • By Isabella
      More than 400 Jehovah’s Witnesses have been charged or convicted in Russia since the country banned the religious group as an “extremist” organization three years ago, the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia has said.
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      More than half of the 400 worshippers spent between several days to three years in detention while awaiting trial. Some 310 have lost their jobs, businesses, pensions and bank accounts as a result of the “extremist” label.
      Four Jehovah’s Witnesses have died while under investigation.

      The Jehovah's Witnesses religious group has been banned in Russia as an "extremist" organization since April 2017

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    • By Isabella
      The St. Petersburg prosecutor's office filed a lawsuit demanding that the JW Library application of Jehovah's Witnesses be declared extremist on Google Play and the App Store. This was reported by the press service of city courts.
      The claim was accepted for production by the Oktyabrsky District Court.
      As indicated in the lawsuit, the JW Library publishes literature recognized as extremist in Russia. This application is copyrighted by the Pennsylvania Watchtower and Tract Society. The Russian court considered this organization to be the leading one in relation to Jehovah's Witnesses.
      Application developer - Jehovah's Witnesses ("Jehovah's Witnesses"). The lawsuit noted that the developer's website www.jw.org was banned in Russia and recognized as extremist.
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    • By Isabella
      A Russian judge on Friday imposed an eight-year suspended prison sentence for a 24-year-old Jehovah’s Witness and a seven-year suspended sentence for his 27-year-old wife, capping a week that marked some relief amid continued persecution for the faith in Russia.
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    • By Isabella
      (RNS) — A day after a Jehovah’s Witness became the first to be acquitted in Russia since a 2017 ruling declared his faith group “extremist,” six Russian members received suspended sentences for gathering for worship.
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    • By Isabella
      When the knock came at the door at six in the morning, Sergei and Maria Silaev feared the worst.
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      They were relieved, but after that had many anxious nights. "I couldn’t sleep," said Maria. From that moment on they knew they needed to leave Russia.
      The Silaevs life changed in 2017 when the Russian Supreme Court labelled their church an extremist organization and banned all Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations and gatherings in that country — a ruling that forced them, and other members, to go underground and meet in secret in their homes.
      Although no official reasons have been given for the persecution, it could be because members of the church are pacifist, refuse to serve in the military, don’t vote, and won’t salute the flag or take part in other nationalistic displays of loyalty.
      According to Human Rights Watch, Russian authorities have carried out at least 780 house raids since 2017 in more than 70 towns and cities across Russia.
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      The Silaevs decided not to wait to see if they would be added to the list of the accused and arrested.
      In January they came to Canada as tourists, seeking refugee status after arriving. Soon after, they moved to Winnipeg to await a verdict on their claim. Speaking through a translator over Zoom, they shared their story with me.
      The Silaevs who have no children, lived in Tver, a city of about 400,000 people 200 kilometres north of Moscow. Sergei, 29, worked as a maintenance supervisor; Maria, 27, was a hairdresser and also helped her husband in his work.
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      This made Maria sad. "I enjoyed turning the pages and reading it," she said of her physical copy of the Bible.
      Then there was a ban on door-to-door and street witnessing — a hallmark of the church, in that country and around the world.
      Read more: 
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    • By Isabella
      A day after the Russian FSB carried out armed searches in occupied Sevastopol, four Jehovah’s Witnesses have been arrested and remanded in custody for two months.  Although Yevhen Zhukov; Volodymyr Maladyka; Volodymyr Sakada and Ihor Schmidt are accused of ‘organizing the work of an extremist organization’ (under Article 282.2 § 1 of Russia’s criminal code), the charges pertain solely to their peaceful practising of their faith, and all are undoubtedly political prisoners.
      Early on 1 October, the FSB and other enforcement officers burst into the homes of nine Jehovah’s Witnesses in Sevastopol.  Five people were detained – the men now in custody and Volodymyr Maladyka’s wife, Natalya.  She was later released, and for the moment has ‘witness status’. She later told Graty that her husband rejects the charges and calls the search of their home unlawful.  She is planning to appeal against her husband’s detention.  Zhukov was identified on Russian official documents in 2015 as the head of the ‘local Christian religious organization the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Sevastopol’.  This was one of two Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations in occupied Sevastopol that were forcibly dissolved after Russia reverted to Soviet repressive ways and banned the Jehovah’s Witnesses on 20 April 2017. 
      A similar ‘operation’ took place in the evening of 4 June 2019, with at least nine homes targeted then also.  On that occasion, 52-year-old Viktor Stashevsky was arrested.  He was released from custody the following day, but charged under Article 282.2, part 1 – organizing what Russia calls an ‘extremist organization’.
      His ‘case’ was passed to a Russian-controlled court in Crimea on 23 February 2020.  The indictment claims that Stashevsky was “the ideological force behind an extremist organization” and that he “deliberately undertook active measures of an organizational nature in order to continue the unlawful actives of an extremist organization banned by a court.”
      Read more: 
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    • By Isabella
      A group of 50 religion scholars from around the world is calling on President Vladimir Putin and his administration to end the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia.
      The scholars' statement, released Thursday, follows the Center for Studies on New Religions’ one-day conference, “Jehovah’s Witnesses and Their Opponents: Russia, the West, and Beyond,” held online from Vilnius, Lithuania, in early September.
      “As institutions and individuals concerned with religious freedom, we have followed the events in Russia with increasing alarm,” the CESNUR statement reads.
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      More than 170 Jehovah’s Witnesses have reportedly been imprisoned or put in pre-trial detention in Russia since 2017 for practicing their faith.

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    • By Isabella
      The report details human rights violations in Crimea by the Russian occupying power against Crimean Tatars, including torture, forced confessions and the suppression of religious practice for several groups, including Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims and Messianic groups.
      Ukraine’s First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Emine Dzhaparova corroborates the U.N. report. As a Crimean Tartar herself, she is particularly critical of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and of its alleged repressive actions to shut down the voices of dissent.

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    • By Isabella
      September 17, 2020 (Family Research Council) — When Seo Jin Wook met with a small group in a private home in Izhevsk, Russia to share the gospel with them, he had no idea it would lead to his deportation and an approximately $400 fine by the Russian government. Yet, under a so-called "anti-extremism" law passed in 2016, this is the new normal for religious people in Russia looking to share their faith.
      The vague nature of the law means anyone is at risk of violating it.
      Earlier this month, Nikita Glazunov was fined by a court in Kazan, Russia for organizing a Catholic Mass in a hotel conference hall. He was charged in part for inviting what the court called a "foreign preacher" to celebrate Mass without written authorization to engage in missionary activity.
      Glazunov is one of at least 42 people who have been prosecuted for missionary activity in Russia in the first half of 2020 alone.
      Russia's consistent violations of religious freedom drew the attention of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in a hearing on Wednesday. USCIRF has recommended that Russia be designated a Country of Particular Concern by the State Department this year due to the country's repressive policies.
      Unfortunately, the legacy of the Soviet Union's attitude toward religious groups lingers in contemporary Russia. At the hearing, Elizabeth Clark described the Russian government's attitude toward religions by saying the "Soviet-era view of religion as permissible so long as it supports the state continues..."
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    • By Srecko Sostar
      3) We do not lobby, vote in political elections, run for government office, or try to change governments. …Otherwise, how could we have a clean conscience when we preach the good news that only God’s Kingdom can solve mankind’s problems? source: 
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      lobby verb [ I or T ]  UK  /ˈlɒb.i/ US  /ˈlɑː.bi/
      C2 to try to persuade a politician, the government, or an official group that a particular thing should or should not happen, or that a law should be changed:

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      Recent example how WT Company and JW members participated in "lobbying" was writing letters to Russian Government and their politicians. 
    • By ARchiv@L
      The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses wants to heighten attention to this critical situation,” states David A. Semonian, a spokesman at the Witnesses’ world headquarters
       
    • By Isabella
      Acourt in Russia has convicted and fined a Jehovah's Witnesses follower amid growing global concern over a campaign of persecution in the country against adherents of the religion.
      Russia's Supreme Court ruled the religion as an extremist organization in April 2017 and since then, the group has complained that authorities have raided more than 1,000 properties of its followers. There are 372 believers under criminal investigation and 43 people are in prison—including 10 who have been convicted of extremism.
      Yevgeniy Spirin, 34, had spent 160 days in pretrial detention and had been under house arrest from July 5, 2019, before his sentence was handed down on Tuesday on charges of organizing the activities of an extremist organization.
      The Furmanovsky City Court in the Ivanovo Region convicted Spirin and fined him 500,000 Russian rubles ($6,920). Spokesman for the Jehovah's Witnesses, Jarrod Lopes, said the conviction was "in complete disregard for the religious freedom enshrined in Russia's Constitution."

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    • By Isabella
      The United Kingdom remains deeply concerned about the situation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Russian Federation. As we said on 12 March, the ruling of the Russian Supreme Court in July 2017, which rejected the appeal against the decision to categorise Jehovah’s Witnesses as “extremists”, criminalised the peaceful worship of 175,000 Russian citizens and contravened the right to religious freedom that is enshrined in the Russian Constitution, and in multiple OSCE commitments.
      It is with deep regret that we learned that on 13 July, 110 homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses were simultaneously searched by Russian authorities in the cities of Voronezh and Stary Oskol. Thirteen Jehovah’s Witnesses were detained at the time and two individuals were reportedly beaten during a home search.
      The total number of homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses that have been searched by Russian law enforcement authorities now stands at over 1,000. As we noted in March, home raids are often conducted in the early hours of the morning by large numbers of masked and armed police.
      We repeat our concern that the increasing number of searches, as well as use of simultaneous large-scale home raids, creates the impression of an organised campaign of persecution against Jehovah’s Witnesses.
      So-called “evidence” used against those investigated and prosecuted includes regular aspects of communal religious life. We again remind the Russian Federation of our extensive commitments on freedom of religion or belief, including from Vienna 1989, as well as Kyiv 2013, where States committed to:
      Fully implement their commitments to ensure the right of all individuals to profess and practice religion or belief, either alone or in community with others, and in public or private, and to manifest their religion or belief through teaching, practice, worship and observance, including through transparent and non-discriminatory laws, regulations, practices and policies;
      For three years now, the delegation of the Russian Federation has assured the Permanent Council that individual Jehovah’s Witnesses are able to practice their religion at home, as no permission is required to pray in Russia. However, we have witnessed time and again that any manifestation of their faith by Jehovah’s Witnesses can result in the search of their homes, lengthy detention, criminal prosecution and imprisonment.
      We again call on the Russian Federation to end the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and to uphold the commitments on the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief for all individuals across the Russian Federation.

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      #uk
       
    • By Isabella
      The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom publishes a document against Russian anti-cultist Alexander Dvorkin and his organization FECRIS, both supporters of religious persecution in China.
      On July 17, 2020, the USCIRF, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, unveiled a new document, whose title is “The  Anti-cult  Movement  and Religious  Regulation in Russia and the Former Soviet Union.” The USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). Its Commissioners are appointed by the President and by Congressional leaders of both political parties. 
      The title may indicate that the document does not concern China, and in fact its main focus is Russia. However, there are three important connections between the new USCIRF report and China.
      First, the report offers a detailed and accurate analysis of the activities of Alexander Dvorkin, a Russian activist who has led for almost thirty years campaigns against religious movements he has labeled as “cults.” As the report documents, he has been instrumental in preparing the repression of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, and has attacked many other religious minorities. The USCIRF asks the government of the United States to “publicly censure Alexander Dvorkin and [his organization], the Saint Irenaeus of Lyon Information-Consultation Center (SILIC), for their ongoing disinformation campaign against religious minorities.”
      The report mentions Dvorkin’s activities outside of Russia. Although this part of his “disinformation campaigns” is not mentioned by the USCIRF, Dvorkin has regularly supported the CCP in its repression of movements labeled as xie jiao. Dvorkin went repeatedly to China and Hong Kong to offer his support to the persecution of Falun Gong, to deny that the CCP is harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience, and to applaud the repression of The Church of Almighty God. In turn, the CCP has supported Dvorkin’s campaigns against the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, and “imported” them to China. While the CCP has introduced Dvorkin as an authoritative “Russian expert in sect studies,” the USCIRF report exposes him as a pseudo-expert “relying on discredited theories” and promoting religious intolerance and discrimination.
      Second, Dvorkin, as the USCIRF report notes, has been active internationally as vice-president of a transnational anti-cult organization known as FECRIS, the European Federation of Research and Information Centers on Sectarianism. FECRIS is also notorious for the support several of its members, in addition to Dvorkin, have offered to the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong in China. In turn, the CCP’s Anti-xie-jiao association has advertised and republished reports by the FECRIS against the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other groups. The more one investigates, the more one discovers a two-way relationship between FECRIS (and Dvorkin) and Chinese organizations who promote and justify the bloody persecution of Falun Gong, The Church of Almighty God, and other religious movements.
       
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    • By Isabella
      Russian authorities have detained a man in western Siberia “on suspicion of setting up a cell” of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious group, considered an “extremist” organization under Russian law, state-run news agency TASS reported on Wednesday.
      Police detained the man recently in Seversk, a town in western Siberia’s Tomsk region. Investigators say the man and others affiliated with Jehovah’s Witnesses “organized meetings in 2017-2020, disseminated ‘extremist’ literature, and recruited new members” to the organization.
      In a statement released on Wednesday, the Russian Investigative Committee’s press service said:
      Investigators of the Russian Investigative Committee in the Tomsk Region based on the case files of the Federal Security Service and the Internal Affairs Ministry in the Tomsk Region opened a criminal case into … the activities of an extremist organization in the city of Seversk… The alleged organizer of the extremist organization’s activities was detained. He has been charged, the issue of choosing a restriction measure against him is being decided.
      #jwrussia
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    • By Isabella
      As part of the case, ten people are suspected of running a local religious organization affiliated with Jehovah’s Witnesses
      VORONEZH, July 15. /TASS/. The Leninsky District Court in the Central Russian city of Voronezh ruled to place in custody until September members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization, outlawed in Russia, the court’s press service said on Tuesday.
      "The court has chosen a pretrial custody for 1 month and 22 days, or until 03.09.2020 <...> as a measure of pretrial restraint for the individuals suspected of extremist activity," the statement says.
      As part of the case, ten people are suspected of running a local religious organization headlined ‘Tsentralnaya, Voronezh.’ The organization, active in Voronezh and surrounding districts, is a part of the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses, earlier deemed extremist and outlawed by the Russian Supreme Court.
      The suspects are aged between 24 and 56. They were detained after more than 110 searches, during which large amounts of books and other prohibited printing works were seized.
      On April 20, 2017, the Russian Supreme Court declared Jehovah’s Witnesses and all affiliated regional organizations an extremist organization. The organization’s activities are outlawed in Russia.

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    • My best guess is that Cesar really hates Jehovah's Witnesses, individually ... all of them, and is crude, rude, insulting and vulgar without letup to demonstrate to non-Witnesses that if they are considering the Jehovah's Witnesses religion, they will become like him .... thereby horrifying them, and scaring them away. I would also guess that this is caused by raging, massive and persistent neurotic insecurity, and is over-compensation due to unawareness. I don't expect perfection, or
    • Like I said, he's nothing but a troll...
    • @César Chávez You appear to have some special reason or need to respond to others with vulgarity. You've done this to several people in the past, too. If "Pudgy" had been vulgar first, perhaps I missed it. Still, considering your claims to moral superiority over everyone, it seems a bit unseemly. This wasn't a topic under any religious heading or club, so I won't spell out Ephesians 5:3-4.
    • When there is a good interlocutor, like you, it is so simple and easy to go from the topic of artificial satellites and torn parts flying in Earth orbit to the topic of the persecution of Christians. :))
    • Are Cats For Christians QUESTIONS FROM READERS "Is it appropriate for a Christian to own a cat in light of their past pagan religions affiliation and the new medical information that is now coming to light?" Many conscientious ones among Jehovah's people today have wondered if Christians should own cats in view of their sorted past and many health risks. What may be acceptable to one person may, although unintentionally, stumble another. This can become a life-or-death issue since
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    • Eric Ouellet

      CHANTONS À JÉHOVAH UN CHANT NOUVEAU
      Il est bon de rendre grâces à Jéhovah
      et d’exécuter des mélodies pour ton nom, ô Très-Haut !
      D’annoncer ta bonté de cœur le matin
      et ta fidélité pendant les nuits,
      sur un instrument à dix cordes et sur le luth,
      aux accords sonores de la harpe.
      Car tu m’as réjoui, ô Jéhovah, à cause de ton action ;
      à cause des œuvres de tes mains je pousse des cris de joie.
      Que tes œuvres sont grandes, ô Jéhovah !
      Tes pensées sont très profondes.
      L’homme dépourvu de raison ne peut les connaître,
      et le stupide ne peut comprendre cela.
      Quand les méchants germent comme la végétation
      et que fleurissent tous ceux qui 
      pratiquent ce qui est malfaisant,
      c’est pour être anéantis pour toujours.
      Mais toi, tu es là-haut pour des temps indéfinis, ô Jéhovah!
      Car voici que tes ennemis, ô Jéhovah,
      car voici que tes ennemis périront;
      tous ceux qui pratiquent ce qui est malfaisant seront séparés les uns des autres.
      Mais tu élèveras ma corne comme celle du taureau sauvage;
      je m’arroserai d’huile fraîche.
      Mon œil regardera mes ennemis;
      mes oreilles entendront parler de ceux
      qui se dressent contre moi, les malfaiteurs.
      Le juste fleurira comme un palmier ;
      il grandira comme un cèdre du Liban.
      Ceux qui sont plantés dans la maison de Jéhovah,
      dans les cours de notre Dieu — ils fleuriront.
      Ils prospéreront encore durant les cheveux gris,
      ils resteront gras et frais,
      pour annoncer que Jéhovah est droit.
      Il est mon Rocher, Celui en qui il n’y a pas d’injustice.
      Jéhovah lui-même est devenu roi!
      De grandeur il est vêtu ;
      Jéhovah est vêtu de force Il s’est ceint.
      Le sol productif aussi s’établit solidement
      de sorte qu’il ne peut chanceler.
      Ton trône est solidement établi depuis les temps anciens ;
      tu es depuis des temps indéfinis.
      Les fleuves ont fait retentir, ô Jéhovah,
      les fleuves ont fait retentir leur bruit ;
      les fleuves sans arrêt font retentir leur fracas.
      Par-dessus les bruits des eaux immenses,
      des vagues majestueuses de la mer qui déferlent,
      Jéhovah est majestueux dans les hauteurs.
      Tes rappels se sont révélés très dignes de foi.
      La sainteté convient à ta maison, ô Jéhovah,
      pour la longueur des jours.
      Ô Dieu aux actes de vengeance
      Jéhovah , ô Dieu aux actes de vengeance, apparais.
      Lève-toi, ô Juge de la terre!
      Fais revenir la rétribution sur les orgueilleux.
      Jusqu’à quand les méchants, ô Jéhovah,
      jusqu’à quand les méchants vont-ils exulter ?
      Sans cesse ils font jaillir un flot de paroles,
      sans cesse ils parlent avec audace;
      sans cesse ils se vantent, 
      tous ceux qui pratiquent ce qui est malfaisant.
      Ton peuple, ô Jéhovah, ils continuent à l’écraser,
      et ton héritage, ils continuent à l’affliger.
      Ils tuent la veuve et le résident étranger,
      ils assassinent les orphelins de père.
      Et ils continuent à dire : “ Yah ne voit pas;
      le Dieu de Jacob ne le comprend pas. ”
      Comprenez donc, vous qui êtes dépourvus de raison parmi le peuple;
      et vous, stupides, quand serez-vous perspicaces ?
      Celui qui plante l’oreille, est-ce qu’il ne peut pas entendre ?
      Ou Celui qui forme l’œil, est-ce qu’il ne peut pas regarder ?
      Celui qui corrige les nations, 
      est-ce qu’il ne peut pas reprendre,
      oui Celui qui enseigne la connaissance aux hommes?
      Jéhovah connaît les pensées des hommes,
      il sait qu’elles sont comme une vapeur.
      Heureux l’homme robuste que tu corriges, ô Yah,
      et que tu enseignes par ta loi,
      pour lui donner le calme aux jours du malheur,
      jusqu’à ce qu’une fosse soit creusée pour le méchant.
      Car Jéhovah n’abandonnera pas son peuple,
      et il ne quittera pas son héritage.
      Car la décision judiciaire retournera à la justice,
      et tous ceux qui ont le cœur droit la suivront.
      Qui se dressera pour moi contre les malfaiteurs?
      Qui se postera pour moi contre ceux qui pratiquent ce qui est malfaisant ?
      Si Jéhovah ne m’était venu en aide,
      sous peu mon âme aurait résidé dans le silence.
      Lorsque j’ai dit : “ À coup sûr, mon pied chancellera ”,
      ta bonté de cœur, ô Jéhovah, m’a soutenu sans relâche.
      Quand mes pensées troublantes se multiplièrent au-dedans de moi,
      tes consolations se mirent à cajoler mon âme.
      Sera-t-il allié à toi, le trône qui cause des adversités,
      tandis qu’il façonne le malheur par décret ?
      Ils lancent de vives attaques contre l’âme du juste
      et déclarent coupable le sang de l’innocent.
      Mais Jéhovah deviendra pour moi une hauteur sûre,
      et mon Dieu, le rocher de mon refuge.
      Il ramènera sur eux leurs méfaits
      et les réduira au silence par leur malheur.
      Jéhovah notre Dieu les réduira au silence.
      Oh ! venez, poussons des cris de joie vers Jéhovah !
      Poussons des cris de triomphe vers notre Rocher de salut.
      Présentons-nous devant sa personne avec des actions de grâces;
      avec des mélodies poussons vers lui des cris de triomphe.
      Car Jéhovah est un grand Dieu
      et un grand Roi au-dessus de tous les autres dieux,
      lui en la main de qui sont les profondeurs 
      les plus secrètes de la terre
      et à qui appartiennent les cimes des montagnes;
      lui à qui appartient la mer qu’il a faite
      et dont les mains ont formé la terre ferme.
      Oh ! entrez, adorons et courbons-nous!
      Agenouillons nous devant Jéhovah notre Auteur.
      Car il est notre Dieu, et nous sommes le peuple
      de son pâturage et les brebis de sa main.
      Aujourd’hui, si vous écoutez sa voix,
      n’endurcissez pas votre cœur comme à Meriba,
      comme au jour de Massa dans le désert,
      quand vos ancêtres m’ont mis à l’épreuve ;
      ils m’ont examiné, ils ont aussi vu mon action.
      Pendant quarante ans j’ai éprouvé du dégoût pour cette génération,
      alors j’ai dit :
      “ C’est un peuple au cœur errant,
      et ils n’ont pas appris à connaître mes voies ” ;
      à propos de qui j’ai juré dans ma colère:
      “ Ils n’entreront pas dans mon lieu de repos
      Chantez pour Jéhovah un chant nouveau.
      Chantez pour Jéhovah, vous tous, gens de la terre !
      Chantez pour Jéhovah, bénissez son nom.
      De jour en jour annoncez la bonne nouvelle de son salut.
      Proclamez parmi les nations sa gloire,
      parmi tous les peuples ses œuvres prodigieuses."
      Car Jéhovah est grand et on doit le louer infiniment.
      Il est redoutable par-dessus tous les autres dieux.
      Car tous les dieux des peuples sont des dieux sans valeur ;
      mais Jéhovah, lui, a fait les cieux.
      Dignité et splendeur sont devant lui;
      force et beauté sont dans son sanctuaire.
      Attribuez à Jéhovah, ô familles des peuples,
      attribuez à Jéhovah gloire et force.
      Attribuez à Jéhovah la gloire qui appartient à son nom;
      portez un don et entrez dans ses cours.
      Prosternez-vous devant Jéhovah en ornements sacrés;
      soyez dans de violentes douleurs à cause de lui, 
      vous tous, gens de la terre !
      Dites parmi les nations :
       “ Jéhovah lui-même est devenu roi."
      Le sol productif aussi s’établit solidement,
      de sorte qu’il ne peut chanceler.
      Il va plaider la cause des peuples avec droiture. 
      Que les cieux se réjouissent, et que la terre soit en joie.
      Que gronde la mer et ce qui la remplit.
      Qu’exulte la campagne et tout ce qui s’y trouve.
      Qu’en même temps tous les arbres de la forêt 
      poussent des cris de joie devant Jéhovah. 
      Car il est venu ;
      car il est venu pour juger la terre.
      Il jugera le sol productif avec justice
      et les peuples avec sa fidélité.
      Jéhovah lui-même est devenu roi ! 
      Que la terre soit en joie.
      Que les îles nombreuses se réjouissent
      Des nuages et une obscurité épaisse sont tout autour de lui;
      justice et jugement sont le lieu fixe de son trône.
      Devant lui marche un feu,
      il consume ses adversaires tout autour.
      Ses éclairs ont illuminé le sol productif ;
      la terre a vu, elle a été prise de violentes douleur.
      Alors les montagnes ont fondu
      comme de la cire à cause de Jéhovah,
      à cause du Seigneur de toute la terre.
      Les cieux ont annoncé sa justice,
      et tous les peuples ont vu sa gloire.
      Qu’ils soient honteux,
      tous ceux qui servent quelque image sculptée,
      ceux qui se glorifient en des dieux sans valeur.
      Prosternez-vous devant lui, vous tous les dieux !
      Sion a entendu et s’est alors réjouie,
      et les localités qui dépendent de Juda sont devenues joyeuses
      à cause de tes décisions judiciaires, ô Jéhovah !
      Car toi, ô Jéhovah, tu es le Très-Haut sur toute la terre ;
      tu es très haut dans ta montée par-dessus tous les autres dieux.
      Ô vous qui aimez Jéhovah,
      haïssez ce qui est mauvais.
      Il garde les âmes de ses fidèles;
      de la main des méchants il les délivre.
      La lumière est apparue pour le juste,
      et la joie pour ceux qui ont le cœur droit.
      Réjouissez-vous en Jéhovah, ô vous les justes,
      et rendez grâces à son saint mémorial.
      Chantez pour Jéhovah un chant nouveau,
      car prodigieuses sont les choses qu’il a faites.
      Sa droite, oui son saint bras, lui a procuré le salut.
      Jéhovah a fait connaître son salut;
      aux yeux des nations il a révélé sa justice.
      Il s’est souvenu de sa bonté de cœur et de sa fidélité
      envers la maison d’Israël.
      Toutes les extrémités de la terre ont vu le salut de notre Dieu.
      Poussez des cris de triomphe vers Jéhovah, vous tous, gens de la terre !
      Égayez-vous et poussez des cris de joie et exécutez des mélodies.
      Exécutez des mélodies pour Jéhovah avec la harpe,
      avec la harpe et la voix de la mélodie.
      Avec les trompettes et au son du cor,
      poussez des cris de triomphe devant le Roi, 
      JÉHOVAH.
      Que gronde la mer et ce qui la remplit,
      le sol productif et ceux qui y habitent.
      Que les fleuves battent des mains ;
      que toutes ensemble les montagnes poussent
      des cris de joie devant Jéhovah
      car il est venu pour juger la terre.
      Il jugera le sol productif avec justice
      et les peuples avec droiture.
      Jéhovah lui-même est devenu roi.
      Que les peuples s’agitent.
      Il siège sur les chérubins. 
      Que la terre frémisse.
      Jéhovah est grand dans Sion, et il est élevé
      par-dessus tous les peuples.
      Qu’ils louent ton nom.
      Grand et redoutable, celui-ci est saint.
      Avec une force de roi il a aimé le jugement.
      C’est toi qui as solidement établi la droiture.
      Le jugement et la justice en Jacob, c’est toi qui les as réalisés.
      Exaltez Jéhovah notre Dieu et prosternez-vous
      devant son marchepied ; Car Il est Saint.
      Moïse et Aaron étaient parmi ses prêtres,
      et Samuel parmi ceux qui invoquaient son nom.
      Ils appelaient Jéhovah, et lui leur répondait.
      Dans la colonne de nuage il leur parlait.
      Ils gardaient ses rappels et la prescription qu’il leur avait donnée.
      Ô Jéhovah notre Dieu, tu leur répondais toi-même.
      Tu as été pour eux un Dieu qui pardonne,
      mais qui exécutait la vengeance
      contre leurs actions scandaleuses.
      Exaltez Jéhovah notre Dieu
      et prosternez-vous à sa montagne saint.
      Car Jéhovah notre Dieu est saint.

      · 0 replies
    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Hello Eric merci pour ce bon condensé sur les vœux. Bonne journée et à bientôt. Michel
      b-13-sculptures-de-givre-ggo-wp1.ppsx
      · 1 reply
    • Eric Ouellet

      « Le vœu que tu fais, acquitte toi de se voeux sans renoncer »
      « Tu dois t’acquitter envers Jéhovah de tes vœux » (MATTHIEU 5:33).
      YIPHTAH était un chef et un guerrier courageux. Hanna était une femme humble qui prenait soin de son mari et de sa famille. Tous les deux adoraient Jéhovah. Mais ils ont un autre point commun : ils ont fait un vœu à Jéhovah et ils l’ont respecté fidèlement. Ils sont d’excellents exemples pour les chrétiens qui décident de faire des vœux à Jéhovah. Répondons maintenant à ces trois questions : Qu’est-ce qu’un vœu ? Faire un vœu à Jéhovah, est-ce sérieux ? Quelles leçons tirer des histoires de Yiphtah et de Hanna ?
      Dans la Bible, un vœu est une promesse sérieuse faite à Jéhovah. Par exemple, la promesse de faire quelque chose, d’offrir quelque chose, de commencer un certain service, ou de ne pas faire certaines choses. On fait un vœu volontairement, en utilisant sa liberté de choix. Personne n’est obligé de faire un vœu. Mais si on décide d’en faire un, Jéhovah le considère comme une promesse dont on doit s’acquitter. D’après la Bible, un vœu est aussi important qu’un serment. Un serment, c’est quand une personne jure de faire ou de ne pas faire quelque chose (Genèse 14:22, 23 ; Hébreux 6:16, 17). Que dit la Bible à propos du sérieux des vœux faits à Jéhovah ?
      Dans la Loi de Moïse, on lit que si quelqu’un fait un vœu à Jéhovah, « il ne doit pas violer (trahir) sa parole. Il fera selon tout ce qui est sorti de sa bouche » (Nombres 30:2). Plus tard, Salomon a écrit : « Quand tu fais un vœu à Dieu, n’hésite pas à t’en acquitter, car il n’y a aucun plaisir dans les stupides. Le vœu que tu fais, acquitte-t’en » (Ecclésiaste 5:4). Plus tard encore, Jésus a enseigné qu’un vœu fait à Jéhovah est quelque chose de sérieux, en rappelant : « Il a été dit à ceux des temps anciens : “Tu ne dois pas jurer sans tenir [parole], mais tu dois t’acquitter envers Jéhovah de tes vœux” » (Matthieu 5:33).
      C’est donc clair qu’il faut prendre très au sérieux toute promesse qu’on fait à Jéhovah. Respecter ou non nos vœux a des conséquences sur notre relation avec lui. Un jour, David a demandé : « Qui pourra monter à la montagne de Jéhovah, et qui pourra se lever en son lieu saint », autrement dit être accepté par Jéhovah ? Il a répondu que c’est celui qui ne fait pas de « serment avec tromperie » (Psaume 24:3, 4). Mais quels vœux Yiphtah et Hanna ont-ils faits ? Cela a-t-il été facile pour eux de s’en acquitter ?
      ILS SE SONT ACQUITTÉS DE LEURS VŒUX
      Yiphtah a fait sa promesse à Jéhovah avant de combattre les Ammonites, des ennemis du peuple de Jéhovah (Juges 10:7-9). Il a fait ce vœu (en résumé) : « Si vraiment tu me donnes la victoire, voici ce qui devra arriver : quand je reviendrai en paix de chez les fils d’Ammôn, la personne qui sortira de ma maison à ma rencontre, celle-là devra alors t’appartenir. » Jéhovah a répondu à la prière de Yiphtah en l’aidant à gagner la guerre. Quand Yiphtah est rentré chez lui, sa fille chérie est sortie vers lui. Ce serait donc elle qui « appartiendrait à Jéhovah » (Juges 11:30-34). Qu’est-ce que cela allait changer pour elle ?
      Pour respecter le vœu de Yiphtah, sa fille devrait partir servir Jéhovah à plein temps au tabernacle. Yiphtah avait-il fait son vœu sans réfléchir ? Non. Il savait sans doute que sa fille pourrait être la première personne à sortir vers lui. Mais qu’il l’ait su ou pas, cela n’a pas été facile pour lui de respecter son vœu, et pour sa fille non plus. En effet, en la voyant sortir, il a dit que cela lui causait un grand chagrin. Et elle, elle est partie « pleurer sur sa virginité ». Pourquoi ont-ils pleuré ? Yiphtah n’avait pas de fils, et maintenant sa fille unique ne se marierait jamais et n’aurait pas d’enfant. Le nom de famille de Yiphtah disparaîtrait. Mais tous les deux comprenaient que le plus important, ce n’étaient pas leurs sentiments. Yiphtah a dit : « J’ai ouvert ma bouche pour Jéhovah ; je ne [peux pas] revenir en arrière. » Et sa fille a répondu : « Fais-moi selon ce qui est sorti de ta bouche » (Juges 11:35-39). Tous les deux étaient des personnes fidèles : ils n’auraient jamais eu l’idée de casser un vœu fait à Jéhovah, même si c’était difficile de le respecter (lire Deutéronome 23:21, 23 ; Psaume 15:4).
      Hanna aussi a fait un vœu à Jéhovah dans un moment difficile de sa vie. Elle était malheureuse parce qu’elle ne pouvait pas avoir d’enfants, et qu’à cause de cela elle subissait des remarques méchantes (1 Samuel 1:4-7, 10, 16). En exprimant ses sentiments à Jéhovah, elle lui a fait cette promesse : « Ô Jéhovah des armées, si tu ne manques pas de regarder l’affliction (le chagrin) de ton esclave et si vraiment tu te souviens de moi, si tu n’oublies pas ton esclave et si vraiment tu donnes à ton esclave un descendant mâle, oui je le donnerai à Jéhovah pour tous les jours de sa vie, et le rasoir ne viendra pas sur sa tête. » (1 Samuel 1:11). Jéhovah a répondu à sa prière : l’année suivante elle a eu un fils, Samuel. Elle était très heureuse ! Mais elle n’a pas oublié le vœu qu’elle avait fait à Jéhovah. Après la naissance de son fils, elle a dit : « C’est à Jéhovah que je l’ai demandé » (1 Samuel 1:20).
      Quand Samuel a eu environ trois ans, Hanna a tenu sa promesse. Elle a amené Samuel au grand prêtre Éli, en disant : « C’est à propos de ce garçon que je priais, pour que Jéhovah m’accorde [...] ce que je lui demandais. Et moi, à mon tour, je l’ai prêté à Jéhovah » (1 Samuel 1:24-28). À partir de ce jour-là, Samuel a habité au tabernacle. La Bible dit que « le garçon Samuel grandissait auprès de Jéhovah » (1 Samuel 2:21). Cela n’allait pas être facile pour Hanna de respecter son vœu. Elle ne pourrait plus passer du temps chaque jour avec son fils qu’elle aimait tendrement. Ce serait dur de ne pas le voir grandir. Mais elle a pris son vœu au sérieux. Pour tenir sa promesse, elle a accepté volontiers de sacrifier des choses qui étaient importantes pour elle (1 Samuel 2:1, 2 ; lire Psaume 61:1, 5, 8).
      Parmi les vœux faits à Jéhovah, il y a le vœu de l’offrande de soi, le vœu du mariage et le vœu des serviteurs spéciaux à plein temps
      T’acquittes-tu de tes vœux envers Jéhovah ?
      LE VŒU DE L’OFFRANDE DE SOI
      Le vœu le plus grand qu’un chrétien puisse faire, c’est celui de s’offrir à Jéhovah pour toute la vie. Dans une prière personnelle, ce chrétien promet à Jéhovah d’utiliser sa vie pour le servir pour toujours, quoi qu’il arrive. En faisant ce vœu, il « se renie lui-même » : il promet de donner la plus grande importance non pas à lui-même, mais à Jéhovah (Matthieu 16:24). À partir de ce moment, il appartient à Jéhovah (Romains 14:8). Il prend au sérieux son vœu d’offrande de soi. Il pense comme l’écrivain des Psaumes qui a dit : « Que rendrai-je à Jéhovah pour tous ses bienfaits envers moi ? Je m’acquitterai de mes vœux envers Jéhovah, oui devant tout son peuple » (Psaume 116:12, 14).
      As-tu fait le vœu d’offrir ta vie à Jéhovah, et l’as-tu montré en te faisant baptiser dans l’eau ? Si oui, félicitations ! Rappelle-toi le discours de ton baptême. Le frère t’a demandé si tu avais offert ta vie à Jéhovah, et si tu comprenais qu’en te faisant baptiser, tu montrais « que tu devenais Témoin de Jéhovah ». En entendant ton « oui », tous les assistants ont compris que tu avais offert ta vie à Jéhovah et que tu pouvais te faire baptiser ministre ordonné de Jéhovah. Tu as certainement fait très plaisir à Jéhovah !
      Quand tu t’es fait baptiser, tu as promis à Jéhovah d’utiliser ta vie pour le servir, et de tout faire pour obéir à ses normes. Mais le baptême n’est qu’un début. Le temps passant, on doit tous continuer à s’examiner. Alors, demande-toi : « Ma relation avec Jéhovah est-elle de plus en plus forte depuis mon baptême ? Est-ce que je le sers toujours de tout mon cœur ? (Colossiens 3:23). Est-ce que je prie souvent ? Est-ce que je lis la Bible tous les jours ? Est-ce que j’assiste régulièrement aux réunions de la congrégation ? Est-ce que je prêche aussi souvent que possible ? Ou, au contraire, est-ce que j’ai perdu un peu de mon envie de faire ces activités ? » D’après l’apôtre Pierre, pour ne pas devenir inactifs dans notre service pour Jéhovah, nous devons nous efforcer de faire grandir en nous la foi, la connaissance, l’endurance et l’attachement à Jéhovah (lire 2 Pierre 1:5-8).
      Une fois que quelqu’un a prononcé le vœu de servir Jéhovah, il ne peut pas reprendre sa parole. S’il en a assez de servir Jéhovah ou de vivre en chrétien, il ne peut pas dire : « Je n’ai jamais vraiment offert ma vie à Jéhovah ; mon baptême n’était pas valable* » (lire la note). Si un chrétien commet un péché grave alors qu’il s’est offert à Jéhovah, il est responsable de sa conduite devant Jéhovah et la congrégation (Romains 14:12). Nous ne voulons pas ressembler aux chrétiens à qui Jésus a dit : « Tu as laissé l’amour que tu avais au début. » Au contraire, nous voulons qu’il puisse nous dire : « Je connais tes actions, et ton amour, et ta foi, et ton ministère, et ton endurance, et je sais que tes actions récentes sont plus nombreuses que celles d’autrefois » (Révélation 2:4, 19). Nous voulons faire plaisir à Jéhovah en nous acquittant avec zèle de notre vœu.
      LE VŒU DU MARIAGE
      Des mariés échangent leurs vœux de mariage
      Le deuxième vœu le plus important qu’on puisse faire, c’est celui du mariage. Le mariage est sacré. Jéhovah considère ce vœu comme quelque chose de très sérieux. Quand des mariés prononcent leurs vœux, ils font une promesse devant Jéhovah et devant les personnes présentes. Ils se promettent de s’aimer, de se chérir et de se respecter l’un l’autre aussi longtemps qu’ils vivront ensemble sur la terre dans le cadre du mariage tel qu’il a été institué par Dieu. Quelles que soient les paroles exactes que les mariés se disent, dans tous les cas, ce sont des vœux faits devant Jéhovah. En les faisant, ils deviennent mari et femme. Le mariage doit être une union pour toute la vie (Genèse 2:24 ; 1 Corinthiens 7:39). Jésus a dit que personne ne doit séparer ce que Jéhovah a uni (Marc 10:9). Un homme et une femme qui se marient ne doivent pas se dire que, si leur union ne marche pas, ils pourront toujours divorcer.
      Bien sûr, il n’y a pas de mariage parfait puisqu’il n’y a pas d’humain parfait. C’est pourquoi la Bible dit que toute personne mariée aura parfois « des tribulations (des problèmes) » (1 Corinthiens 7:28). Dans le monde d’aujourd’hui, beaucoup ne prennent pas le mariage au sérieux. Ils pensent : « Si ça ne marche pas, on pourra toujours divorcer. » Mais les chrétiens ne considèrent pas le mariage de cette façon. Ils sont conscients qu’ils ont prononcé leur vœu de mariage devant Jéhovah. S’ils cassaient leur vœu, ce serait comme s’ils lui mentaient. Or Jéhovah déteste les menteurs ! (Lévitique 19:12 ; Proverbes 6:16-19). Les chrétiens mariés doivent se rappeler ces paroles de l’apôtre Paul : « Es-tu lié à une femme ? Cesse (arrête) de chercher à t’en détacher » (1 Corinthiens 7:27). Paul a pu dire cela parce qu’il savait que Jéhovah déteste aussi les divorces quand ils sont des trahisons (Malaki 2:13-16).
      Jésus a enseigné que la seule situation qui donne une raison de divorcer, c’est lorsqu’un mari ou une femme commet l’adultère (est infidèle à son conjoint) et que le conjoint innocent décide de ne pas lui pardonner (Matthieu 19:9 ; Hébreux 13:4). Par ailleurs, peut-on se séparer de son conjoint ? La Bible est claire à ce sujet aussi (lire 1 Corinthiens 7:10, 11). Il n’existe pas de raison biblique de se séparer de son conjoint. Mais parfois un chrétien (ou une chrétienne) pense que c’est absolument nécessaire. Par exemple, il est sûr que sa vie ou sa relation avec Jéhovah seront en très grand danger s’il reste avec un conjoint violent.
      Si des conjoints demandent conseil aux anciens de la congrégation pour rendre leur couple plus solide, les anciens pourraient leur demander s’ils ont regardé la vidéo Qu’est-ce que le vrai amour ? et s’ils ont étudié la brochure Le secret des familles heureuses. Ces documents montrent quels principes bibliques peuvent rendre un mariage plus solide. Des Témoins racontent : « Depuis que nous étudions cette brochure, notre couple est plus heureux que jamais. » Une sœur mariée depuis 22 ans pensait que son mariage allait bientôt se briser. Mais elle a regardé la vidéo. Elle raconte : « Nous sommes tous les deux baptisés, mais sur le plan affectif nous étions complètement différents. La vidéo est arrivée au bon moment ! Maintenant, notre couple va beaucoup mieux. » Vraiment, si un mari et une femme appliquent les conseils de Jéhovah, leur union devient plus heureuse et plus forte.
      LE VŒU DES SERVITEURS SPÉCIAUX À PLEIN TEMPS
      Au début de l’article, nous avons parlé des vœux de Yiphtah et de Hanna. Grâce à ces vœux, la fille de Yiphtah et le fils de Hanna ont passé leur vie à servir Jéhovah d’une façon spéciale. À notre époque, beaucoup de parents chrétiens ont encouragé leurs enfants à s’engager dans le ministère à plein temps et à concentrer leur vie sur le service pour Jéhovah. En fait, nous pouvons tous encourager ces jeunes frères et sœurs à tenir bon dans leur service (Juges 11:40 ; Psaume 110:3).
      Aujourd’hui, il y a des dizaines de milliers de membres de l’Ordre international des serviteurs spéciaux à plein temps des Témoins de Jéhovah. Certains servent au Béthel, ou dans l’activité de construction ou alors dans le service de la circonscription. D’autres sont formateurs aux écoles bibliques, pionniers spéciaux, missionnaires, ou serviteurs affectés à une Salle d’assemblées ou à un centre d’écoles bibliques. Ils ont tous fait un « Vœu d’obéissance et de pauvreté ». En le faisant, ils ont promis de concentrer leurs efforts sur toute activité qu’on leur donne au service de Jéhovah, d’avoir une vie simple, et de ne pas avoir un emploi payé s’ils n’en ont pas l’autorisation. Ce ne sont pas les personnes qui sont considérées comme spéciales, mais leurs activités. Ces chrétiens sont humbles, et ils sont décidés à s’acquitter de leur vœu tout le temps qu’ils resteront dans le service spécial à plein temps.
      Dans cet article, nous avons étudié trois vœux qu’un chrétien pourrait faire aujourd’hui à Jéhovah. Peut-être que tu en as fait un, ou deux, ou les trois. Nous savons que nous devons prendre nos vœux au sérieux et tout faire pour les respecter (Proverbes 20:25). Si nous ne respectons pas nos vœux faits à Jéhovah, les conséquences risquent d’être graves (Ecclésiaste 5:6). Faisons donc comme le psalmiste qui a dit à Jéhovah : « Je veux exécuter des mélodies pour ton nom à jamais (pour toujours), pour m’acquitter de mes vœux jour après jour » (Psaume 61:8).


      · 0 replies
    • K625XM

      Hello Twyla,
      I am not able to view the study materials.  Can you help me out pls ?  Thank you.
      · 0 replies
    • Claud's Lst  »  misette

      Bonjour ma sœur Misette. Comment vas-tu ? J'espère avec l'aide de Jéhovah toute la communauté et especialement toi vont bien. 
      Je n'ai pas reçu la réunion de cette semaine, est-ce qu'il y a un problème pour cette semaine ? 
           Bonne journée ou soirée 
                                   Agape 
      · 3 replies
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