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  1. Demonism and the Watchtower

    Good point again. It's easy to create an over-the-top persona and whip up a pile-on of up-votes to go with it. There appears to be a lot less of this in real life. But it's still something to be careful about. One of the elders in our congregation has created a kind of "formula" at the end of all his prayers over the last few years, where he thanks Jehovah for the Governing Body, then "redundantly" offers thanks for the wonderful food provided by the Slave, through Jesus Christ. Amen. He prayed at a backyard bar-b-que this summer and accidentally thanked Jehovah for "this food provided by the Slave." I thought he meant one of our wives.
  2. Demonism and the Watchtower

    Not sure what you mean. What you showed is completely unrelated to Pleiades. Pleiades lore has never been "respectable academic anthropology."
  3. Demonism and the Watchtower

    Yes. Good point. The paragraph that GF called rubbish was both true and false. Just like the opening post in this topic way back on page 1. I wasn't sure how much of it GF knew to be true, but the primary point was about what we do when something is partly true and partly false. Our instinct is often to dismiss it all, but labelling it ALL as rubbish might not be the right way to handle it. Looks like GF just responded. I'll go read it and see if I misunderstood.
  4. Two New Earthquakes In New Zealand almost 6.0 Magnitude

    Interesting that we tried for decades to convince people that the number of earthquakes had increased since 1914. It's more likely that the overall number has decreased or remained steady. But the Insight book has not yet been corrected: *** it-1 p. 670 Earthquake *** Since 1914 C.E., there has been an increase in the number of earthquakes, resulting in much distress. With data obtained from the National Geophysical Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, supplemented by a number of standard reference works, a tabulation was made in 1984 that included only earthquakes that measured 7.5 or more on the Richter scale, or that resulted in destruction of five million dollars (U.S.) or more in property, or that caused 100 or more deaths. It was calculated that there had been 856 of such earthquakes during the 2,000 years before 1914. The same tabulation showed that in just 69 years following 1914 there were 605 of such quakes. These statistics are a means of indicating the extent of suffering from earthquakes during this period of history. This was just a false reading of a chart. Just because we don't KNOW about as many earthquakes that happened 2,000 years ago when there weren't so many measuring devices that could detect them, doesn't mean that there weren't many more earthquakes than ever got recorded. Since there are more population centers and more high value properties, we have now changed the meaning of "great earthquakes" to mean earthquakes that take a great many lives or produce a lot of destroyed "value."
  5. Demonism and the Watchtower

    That has been true of many teachings that just get ignored long enough, and then no one has to be reminded (or surprised) that we ever taught such a thing. In the case of the Pleiades, however, this had been repeated in about 6 or 7 places, including Studies in the Scriptures (which were sold well into the 1930s) and it had been repeated in Watchtowers in the 1920s. It might have even gotten tangled up in the Photo-Drama of Creation. But remember too that back in the 1950's, the KH Library was the primary source for research, and the unwritten rule was that it was still "on the books" unless expressly changed. And it was one of those things that Rutherford had repeated in the 1920's and he had not changed during those years when he would positively "binge" on change from 1927 to 1931. So it's true that it hadn't been mentioned for a couple of decades (unless we had "talk outlines" in the 1940's and 1950's that I don't know about.) But the real reason was scriptural. It was thought that continuing this teaching could result in a subtle idolatry or astrology: *** w53 11/15 p. 703 Questions From Readers *** Hence it is useless to indulge in unprofitable speculations. Incidentally, Pleiades can no longer be considered the center of the universe and it would be unwise for us to try to fix God’s throne as being at a particular spot in the universe. Were we to think of the Pleiades as his throne we might improperly view with special veneration that cluster of stars.—Deut. 4:19; 2 Chron. 2:6; 6:18.
  6. Demonism and the Watchtower

    I know that the counsel about not exposing dirty laundry is sincere, and for this I thank you. As far as I can tell, such counsel should not apply to this particular situation. Obviously, then, we see our duty in this regard quite differently, and so, in the spirit of 1 Peter 3:15, I feel I should explain. The dirty laundry is already hung up for everyone to see. This is the Internet. Anyone can simply Google the information claimed in the original post of this topic, and they will discover that there is plenty more information out there. As usual, some of it is true and some of it is false. So we are back to discussing the old dilemma about whether we should reveal truth in response to falsehood, or just ignore it. For the most part, we just ignore it. But there are times when it is obvious that the person posting does not necessarily know that the claims contain false charges. Or perhaps they know for sure that the information is skewed toward the false but that there is still some truth in it, and yet, other people who read the skewed information may not know what to believe. Perhaps they think it's all true, or all false. Perhaps their first instinct is to call the whole thing "rubbish." But what if calling something "rubbish" is not really honest either, because perhaps it contains more truth than falsehood? Is there any value to pointing out the error? What if an interested person who has Googled the information now sees us as a people who are just too anxious to cover up facts? Through private messaging on this forum someone just asked me why I think JWs have so much turnover. I know that we are always anxious to say that our moral standards and expectations are very high and we are expected to judge those people who leave on their own as persons who just didn't want to live up to those expectations. But in speaking to many of these persons, we often come away with a different picture. I think it's more of a matter of realizing that nothing is quite as perfect as it appears at first. When people first study and are baptized, it is with the understanding that we have the only true religion in the entire earth. Therefore, it is expected to be the most perfect. Even though they are warned that it isn't perfect, it still sets up the highest expectations. Then they learn that not all the brothers and sisters live up to the moral standards as well as they expected. They learn about or perhaps see examples of lack of love, or even racism, shunning, child abuse, or gossip. When they are disappointed, they often start to believe that there is no religion that is really what it claims to be, and they often leave all religion altogether. In spite of the focus of ex-JWs online, I think it's rarely about past JW or IBSA history, or related issues with doctrine. If this were merely about the error of a brother or sister who made a false step in the past, then we would do best to just ignore it. Love covers a multitude of sins. But what if the errors are being denied specifically because it would reflect on the trustworthiness of current doctrine? That last question reminds me of your own statement here: Does telling the truth about the past undermine respect for information we now get from the same channel? What you said appears to be an inadvertent admission that it does. If it does, then it is probably all the more important that we offer a true and honest perspective. I should mention that personally, I don't even see much real importance in wallowing in the problems of yesterday or last week, much less the problems of 100 years ago. This applies to the Governing Body, too. I know that one person here often comments that no one should try to use the past examples of Bible Students to shed light on our current beliefs as JWs, even if we consider the same "Governing Body" to have begun in 1919. But I don't even consider the Governing Body of last year to be the exact same "channel" as the Governing Body of this year, even if they be the same persons. That's partly because none of us are expected to be the same from day to day: (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) 16 . . . certainly the man we are inside is being renewed from day to day. . . . 18 while we keep our eyes, not on the things seen, but on the things unseen. For the things seen are temporary, but the things unseen are everlasting. On the other hand, it must necessarily be the case that if an honest approach to the Governing Body's past can undermine the respect for the present Governing Body, then this is almost a direct admission that both the present and the past is being misrepresented. And, of course, it's easy to show that we regularly misrepresent our past almost every time we print a book about it or make a claim about it. We do it as individual humans and we do it as an organization. It's a common human failing to want to be seen as better than we really are. It's what's behind the instinct to call something "obviously rubbish" and "nonsensical gobbledygook" even if it's more true than false. (That's the reason that I included that paragraph about Rutherford that you reviewed as you did. In fact, there was a lot more truth to it than falsehood. Not just as a Bible Student, but as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, Rutherford really did believe that the holy spirit was no longer available to us after 1918, and that new truths could now be revealed with the direct help of angels. And the idea that Jehovah's throne was in Alcyone, the brightest star of Pleiades, was still being promoted and taught from the 1880's into the 1930's, and not dropped officially until well into Knorr's presidency in November 1953. Details available upon request.) One of the most dangerous problems among many Witnesses that we can see today is the equivalence that is made between the Governing Body and Jehovah. Surely this is what serves the same interests of the one behind spiritism. Idolatry is also something Jehovah hates. On this forum, several persons who have presented themselves as sincere Witnesses have recently said that the way we "follow the Lamb wherever he goes," is to follow the Governing Body wherever they go. They have said that they would rather follow the Governing Body into KNOWN ERROR than to accept the Bible where it is known to differ from the current teachings of the Governing Body. The slave has become greater than his master. Witnesses here have defended having this kind of faith in men even where they KNOW personally that something is amiss. This is a good reason to be completely honest, and not try to whitewash either the present or the past. I think it's important to show that we are not trying to please men, and to make it clear why we should NOT put our faith in princes, nobles, or any humans, where we feel that faith is related to salvation: (Psalm 146:3) “Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs." (Luke 16:15) “. . .For what is considered exalted by men is a disgusting thing in God’s sight."
  7. Demonism and the Watchtower

    My position is that we must be very careful about anything that could fall under the definition of spiritism and not try to limit its meaning to something narrower. Also, I have only seen these claims of getting knowledge from the spirit world used as excuse to fortifying a doctrine that has no purely scriptural basis such as the old 1935 doctrine, or evidence that Russell was personally "That Faithful and Wise Servant" who had been appointed over the household of faith. Remember that the typical purpose of spiritism was to be able to claim otherwise secret knowledge that was not available through proper channels. It was often about being able to claim knowledge of the future. This is why I think that spiritism also includes divination. And if we are not careful to avoid all types of divination, we could be susceptible to the influence without being aware. It is a work of the flesh, because people have a desire to claim special knowledge, have their ego stroked, to claim special privilege, or special gifts. It's often because they want to be able to Lord it over their fellow man. Just like immorality is a temptation for some, spiritism is therefore a "temptation" for others, perhaps because it's like fits of anger, hostility and strife, divisions and sects, in that these are all related to trying to show one is better or more right. (Galatians 5:19-21) 19 Now the works of the flesh are plainly seen, and they are sexual immorality, uncleanness, brazen conduct, 20 idolatry, spiritism, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, dissensions, divisions, sects, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and things like these.. . . The acceptance of communication with the spirit world for the purpose of gaining secret knowledge, no matter who initiated it, might be spiritism. This does not mean that all forms of communication with the spirit world is included. Prayer is an obvious exception. But you and I do not accept that we should be communicating with angels. The brothers in the Governing Body have made it clear that there is no communication with angels. Communicating with the spirit world is surely a questionable practice. Is it ever recommended that you or I might also be susceptible to such communication from members of the 144,000 who have died? Is it a good thing? Are we led to expect that this is only for special purposes for those deserving or needing special knowledge? What would we think if Brother Albert who sits in the back of your Kingdom Hall claimed to have received such special knowledge through such a communication? Does it only then seem like something might be amiss about such a claim?
  8. Demonism and the Watchtower

    I can agree with this. But I do not think it was either Russell or Satan or demons. Although I think that demons and the occult can be an improper influence, I do think people who tend to decide that everything is either Satan or Jehovah are more likely to fool themselves into thinking in black and white. When they don't understand something and think it's positive then that must be Jehovah. When they don't understand something and they think that it's negative, then it must be Satan. Russell didn't have that problem, based on several things he wrote. He was able to see gray areas and understand that the world was full of things and people that could be both positive and negative. From reading the work of Woodworth and Rutherford, I think they suffered from this kind of polarized thinking which tells me that we can't really trust their view of their own experiences. Rutherford, for example, taught that the Great Pyramid was Jehovah's witness in stone, just as Russell had. Then, when he changed his mind, he gave no indication that Russell was merely making a mistake, but Rutherford decided that the Great Pyramid was now Satan's witness in stone. Rutherford did this many times. He saw Satan in everything he disagreed with. You were either on Rutherford's side (which he called the Lord's side) or Satan's side. Woodworth also seems to have suffered from the same bifurcated thinking, which is a better explanation for when he said these words, found in the 13th Souvenir Convention Report, p. 274: I came directly under the influence of evil spirits, so much so that for three days I was as completely under demonical control as was Mrs. Eddy when she wrote "Science and Health." But notice what he said in the Finished Mystery: Have you enjoyed this work so far? Are you convinced it is of the Lord-- prepared under His guidance? Have you carefully and prayerfully read the comments on Rev. 7:1? Then brace yourself for the truth that it is evidently God's purpose soon to allow the minds of many of His little ones to become an open battle ground, upon which the fallen angels shall be judged, and the manner in which we meet the tests will prove our worthiness of crowns at the same time that it proves these disobedient spirits unworthy of life on any plane. This is something with which some but not many are yet familiar.... without actual experience it is quite impossible to conceive of the intensity of such struggles.... The base of the brain is seized as in a vise. Interpretations of Scripture, ingenious, but misleading beyond description, are projected into the mind as water might be projected through a hose. Visions may be tried, wonderful illuminations of the mind as by a soft but glorious greenish or yellowish haze. Seductive suggestions may be made, based on circumstances of the environment. Offers of inspiration may be made. The privilege of sleep may be taken away for days at a stretch. All this with the object of forcing the unfortunate into at least a temporary insanity.... the mind may be flooded with thoughts that are vile beyond description. THEN REMEMBER THE VOW. Most of us would have no way to make a connection between the Vow, temporary insanity, colorful illuminations of the mind, and "offers of inspiration." But Woodworth explained the connection earlier during the convention speech noted above (summer of 1913): I WISH to speak to you of something that I certainly never intended mentioning at this convention. I presume you have all taken the vow, but perhaps some of you have not. . . . Then began my troubles. . . . I thought that . . . Brother Russell was wrong . . . There was a time for five consecutive nights when I never slept a wink; then came a time when the strain was too much; my mind became unbalanced, and I came directly under the influence of evil spirits, so much so that for three days I was as completely under demonical control as was Mrs. Eddy when she wrote "Science and Health." Previous to this time I had prepared a 36-page book against the Vow, printed in double column, in which all scriptures which seemed to be directly or indirectly against the Vow were arranged. I know now that all these Scriptures were suggested to my mind by the evil spirits. One of the suggestions was... (and this I believe was a truth, for these "lying spirits" do sometimes tell the truth) that in the fifteenth chapter of Numbers where it mentions the "Ribband of blue," it had reference, anti-typically, to the Vow. But then these lying spirits turned the truth into a lie by claiming that the Vow had been suggested to Brother Russell by the evil spirits. See how clever they were! But when Russell was able to point out a scriptural mistake in his book Woodworth burned it, so that Woodworth thereafter finally believed that Russell was "That Servant" [whom his master appointed over the household of faith] and that the Vow was "inspired of God." Until this time I had never settled in my own mind that Brother Russell was "That Servant.".... I never settled the matter until I yielded and took the Vow which he advised all the Lord's saints to take.... I firmly believe that this "ribband in blue" is the Vow and inspired of God... To me all this shows how susceptible Woodworth was to this "all or nothing" "black and white" thinking. He seems to have had no clue that trying to stay up 5 days in a row might also drive one to the brink of insanity. It is rumored that his work on the Finished Mystery was also done with the same lack of sleep.
  9. Demonism and the Watchtower

    We know that this is included, but I would suggest that neither you nor I know all the things that might be included in spiritism. The Bible never says where it is initiated. The Bible also never says that the spirits being communicated with are limited to demons pretending to be spirits of past deceased humans. What we do know is that the primary point of spiritism is not about who initiated the communication but is the communication with spirits itself. I would agree with this statement in the Insight book: *** it-2 p. 1027 Spiritism *** A major feature of spiritism is claimed communication with the dead. What we believe about the persons who have died is irrelevant. You and I might believe they are still alive as resurrected spirits, and some others might believe that when the human dies, their spirit continues living on in some way. (Ecclesiastes 3:21) 21 Who really knows whether the spirit of humans ascends upward, and whether the spirit of animals descends down to the earth? (Ecclesiastes 12:7) 7 Then the dust returns to the earth, just as it was, and the spirit returns to the true God who gave it. None of us claim communication with angels or demons. These are spirit creatures and we should not be communicating with them either directly or as a perceived proxy or representative of a human who has died. But even if we believe that the person we are communicating with is a resurrected spirit of someone who is one of the 144,000, then that person is still a spirit creature, and was in fact created as a recreation of the spirit of that person that returned to God who gave it. This is what makes the resurrected person the same person. So, yes, we could rationalize that it's OK for someone like Rutherford to claim that it was an angel or spirit of some sort communicating with him about the "great crowd" prior to 1935. The Watchtower implies that he was communicating with the resurrected spirit of a human who had died. You could rationalize that Rutherford didn't initiate this communication, and this somehow makes it OK. But how do we supposed such a thing would have happened? Was Rutherford more susceptible to this kind of communication with the spirit world? If so, how? Wouldn't this make Rutherford a "medium"? *** it-2 p. 1027 Spiritism *** The belief or doctrine that the spirits of the human dead, surviving the death of the physical body, can and do communicate with the living, especially through a person (a medium) particularly susceptible to their influence. It's also important to notice how a simple mistake opens us up to the charge of spritism and divination. Look what happened when Rutherford published the idea that Russell was managing the Society from beyond the grave: This verse (Revelation 8:3) shows that, though Pastor Russell has passed beyond the veil, he is still managing every feature of the harvest work... We hold that he supervises, by the Lord's arrangement, the work yet to be done. (The Finished Mystery 1917 pp. 144, 256) Hence our dear Pastor, now in glory, is without doubt, manifesting a keen interest in the harvest work, and is permitted by the Lord to exercise some strong influence thereupon. (Watch Tower 1917, November 1 p. 6161, WTS reprints) Notice, however, that this was in 1917. So what was this communication? And why was there "no doubt" that Russell was exercising strong influence and supervising every feature of the harvest work? The Watchtower stopped teaching that there had been a resurrection of Russell in 1916, so all this information stated so clearly and "without doubt" turned out to be a false teaching. In fact, Rutherford admitted this in 1934: No one of the temple company would be so foolish as to conclude that some brother (or brethren) at one time amongst them, and who has died and gone to heaven, is now instructing the saints on earth and directing them as to their work. (Jehovah 1934 p. 191) But this rejection didn't stick. The idea was resurrected in the Revelation book: *** re chap. 20 pp. 124-125 par. 17 A Multitudinous Great Crowd *** From the time of the apostle John and on into the Lord’s day, anointed Christians were puzzled as to the identity of the great crowd. It is fitting, then, that one of the 24 elders, representing anointed ones already in heaven, should stir John’s thinking by raising a pertinent question. “And in response one of the elders said to me: ‘These who are dressed in the white robes, who are they and where did they come from?’ So right away I said to him: ‘My lord, you are the one that knows.’” (Revelation 7:13, 14a) Yes, that elder could locate the answer and give it to John. This suggests that resurrected ones of the 24-elders group may be involved in the communicating of divine truths today. For their part, those of the John class on earth got to learn the identity of the great crowd by closely observing what Jehovah was performing in their midst. They were quick to appreciate the dazzling flash of divine light that emblazoned the theocratic firmament in 1935, at Jehovah’s due time. We are very forgiving of the former Watch Tower belief that Russell, who we now believe to have been dead in the grave and NOT resurrected in 1917 was believed to be directing every aspect of the organization's work in 1917. But would we be as forgiving of other religions who speak of communicating with angels and spirits? I found this quote someone wrote about Rutherford: Joseph Rutherford, the second president of the WTS, believed his spiritual enlightenment came from angels because the Holy Spirit had ceased functioning since 1918. The angels channeled information into his mind from God residing on the star Alcyone. (Preservation 1932 pp.51; 201-203; Watchtower 1931 November 1 p. 327; The Watchtower 1934 April 1 p. 105) Is any of that quoted paragraph true?
  10. Demonism and the Watchtower

    Yes. *** w07 1/1 p. 28 par. 12 “The First Resurrection”—Now Under Way! *** Could it, then, be reasoned that since Jesus was enthroned in the fall of 1914, the resurrection of his faithful anointed followers began three and a half years later, in the spring of 1918? That is an interesting possibility. Although this cannot be directly confirmed in the Bible . . . *** w15 7/15 pp. 18-19 pars. 14-15 “Your Deliverance Is Getting Near”! *** This gathering work does not refer to the initial ingathering of anointed ones; nor does it refer to the final sealing of the remaining anointed ones. (Matt. 13:37, 38) That sealing happens before the outbreak of the great tribulation. (Rev. 7:1-4) So, what is this gathering work that Jesus mentions? It is the time when the remaining ones of the 144,000 will receive their heavenly reward. (1 Thess. 4:15-17; Rev. 14:1) This event will take place at some point after the beginning of the attack by Gog of Magog. (Ezek. 38:11) Then these words of Jesus will be fulfilled: “At that time the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.”—Matt. 13:43. . . . So those who will be taken to heaven will first need to be “changed, in a moment, in the blink of an eye, during the last trumpet.” (Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-53.) Therefore, while we do not use the term “rapture” here because of its wrong connotation, the remaining faithful anointed will be gathered together in an instant of time. I should add that the writer of the 2007 article still believed that the first resurrection had already begun at some point "soon after Christ's presence began." But the only initial premise starts out within the following range: *** w07 1/1 p. 27 par. 9 “The First Resurrection”—Now Under Way! *** Now look at chapter 17 of Revelation. We read there that after the destruction of “Babylon the Great,” the Lamb will conquer the nations. Then it adds: “Also, those called and chosen and faithful with him will do so.” (Revelation 17:5, 14) “Called and chosen and faithful” ones must already have been resurrected if they are to be with Jesus for the final defeat of Satan’s world. Reasonably, then, anointed ones who die before Armageddon are resurrected sometime between 1914 and Armageddon. The attempts to get closer than that rest on very flimsy evidence, even bordering on spiritism: the idea that Rutherford potentially communicated with the dead. *** w07 1/1 p. 28 par. 11 “The First Resurrection”—Now Under Way! *** It seems that resurrected ones of the 24-elders group may be involved in the communicating of divine truths today. Why is that important? Because the correct identity of the great crowd was revealed to God’s anointed servants on earth in 1935. If one of the 24 elders was used to convey that important truth, he would have had to be resurrected to heaven by 1935 at the latest. That would indicate that the first resurrection began sometime between 1914 and 1935. Many in Christendom believe that persons who die are still alive as spirit creatures, and the Bible says that communicating with these spirit creatures is spiritism: (Revelation 21:7, 8) . . .. 8 But as for the cowards and those without faith and those who are disgusting in their filth . . . and those practicing spiritism and idolaters and all the liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This means the second death.” Yet, as soon as it comes to our belief that those persons of the 144,000 who died are still alive as spirit creatures, then we think that we can safely ignore what we have condemned others for believing.
  11. Demonism and the Watchtower

    I get the impression that you do not think that the occult is an actual phenomenon? Through my study of the Bible I am convinced that the occult world of demons is quite real and that their continual evil influence should not be dismissed as a “maybe”. That's not what I was saying. I was trying to point out that these particular scenarios are no longer real to Witnesses. Russell, as a resurrected spirit, could not have been really been communicating from beyond the grave in order to run the entire operation of the Watch Tower Society in 1917. This is because, after a few years, it was decided that he hadn't really been resurrected until the spring of 1918. Now, even that idea is in question, according to the Watchtower. Technically, the Watchtower even admits that it is possible that Russell has not been resurrected yet, as this could happen any time before the end of the Great Tribulation. The actual credentials of other scholars or writers are not usually considered important. If a Bible or a commentary is published, that's the main thing. If it appears scholarly or has been quoted by someone who looks scholarly, then it is important to the extent that it supports our teachings. Prior to the year 2000, it was the exception in our publications to even mention the name of the book or or person we were quoting, and we more often would see expressions like "a well-known author once said that . . . " or "a 19th century scholar has said . . . " These kinds of quotes were actually unchecked by the proofreaders, who were sisters, and would only ask for the original if they used lengthy direct quotes. The interpretation of those quotes was not questioned by the sisters, even if it was clearly wrong. The Awake! magazine once made up an embarrassingly inaccurate chart of earthquake activity to try to prove that earthquakes prior to 1914 were almost meaningless compared to the ones after 1914. These false statistics got picked up by a writer in Italy who didn't say he got them from the Awake! (even though it should have been obvious). The Watchtower then quoted that Italian author as evidence that the 1914 evidence was real. Although exJWs will say we did it on purpose to make it look like we had independent support, I'm sure it was the kind of accident that happens when papers and books are scoured just to find support for our beliefs. There were many times when the sources quoted didn't really support us at all, but the Bethel writer just misunderstood a phrase taken completely out of context while looking for support. I worked right outside one of the office of a well-known Bethel writer who spent most of his day scouring newspapers and Reader's Digest and Time, Newsweek, U.S.News, etc., just to find little quotes he could use to prove we were in the last days. History books were scoured for the "holy grail" which would be any quote that pointed to 1914 as the end of an era, even if the same history book also pointed to 5 other dates as the end of an era, too. So I really doubt that it was even noticed that the Greber who was denounced in 1955 and 1956 was the same Greber whose translation was still sitting on the shelf in the Bethel Library and was therefore referenced again in 1962 through 1976. Seems it wasn't until about 1983 that someone noticed it again. I can even admit that I looked at the copy of Greber's Bible in 1977 and noticed the John 1:1 passage myself, and it never occurred to me at the time to read the accompanying information in the foreword.
  12. Demonism and the Watchtower

    I would say that the Watchtower Society has added the indefinite article into John 1:1 in a way that makes much more sense than adding the definite article. When it comes to the thoughts of early Christianity, I can only assume that "a god" is closer and much better than translating "the God." (THE God is understood, of course, by just translating "God" in a monotheistic context.) But I think that Paul explains it even better by saying: (Philippians 2:6-10) 6 who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God. 7 No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and became human. 8 More than that, when he came as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, yes, death on a torture stake. 9 For this very reason, God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name, 10 so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend—of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground— (Colossians 2:8-10) . . .to Christ; 9 because it is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily. 10 And so YOU are possessed of a fullness by means of him, who is the head of all government and authority. The basic idea is shown in the word for "godship" is pretty much the same as our word "divinity." *** Rbi8 Colossians 2:9 *** “Divine quality.” Lit., “godship.” Gr., the·oʹte·tos; Lat., di·vi·ni·taʹtis. *** Rbi8 Romans 1:20 *** “Godship.” Gr., Thei·oʹtes, related to The·osʹ, “God”; Lat., Di·viʹni·tas. *** Rbi8 Acts 17:29 *** “Divine Being.” Gr., Theiʹon, related to The·osʹ, “God”; Lat., Di·viʹnum. But although very common, the definite article is not always necessary to refer to THE God. It's still sometimes dependent on context. We don't translate "In a beginning, the Word . . . " just because the definite article is missing. And it could go either way here in John 1:49 (John 1:49) . . .Na·thanʹa·el responded: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are King of Israel.” (NWT) This would just as proper as: (John 1:49) . . . Na·thanʹa·el responded: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.” (not NWT, but common in other translations) But it would sound odd to say: (John 1:49) . . . Na·thanʹa·el responded: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are a King of Israel.” But I think even this last one is just as OK as saying "a god" in John 1:1. That's because there might have been so much emphasis on the word "King." It's as if Nathanial was saying, you are not just here as a man, you are here as a KING!!! I think that's quite possibly a way to look at John 1:1. Saying "a god" is just fine as long as we remember that the point was saying the same thing, that Jesus was not just in heaven as any other angelic being, but Jesus was in heaven as a GOD!!!
  13. Demonism and the Watchtower

    "Was god" does not make as much sense to me as "was divine." But this is based on other scriptures, not purely the Greek which could apparently go either way. I don't know Latin. I've actually studied it quite a bit in the past, and still read a bit for fun almost every Tuesday and Wednesday for about a half-hour, but I don't get very far. My youngest son studied Latin on his own, and got a 5 on a Latin AP test (the highest grade) and, for fun, had translated several Wikipedia articles into Latin. I did study Greek (2 semesters, and a lot of self-study) and Hebrew (7 semesters). A lot of Aramaic is included at no extra cost when you can read Hebrew. But these are not levels that make me anything more than an amateur wannabe. I don't see any reason to translate an indefinite article in John 1:1. But in each of these languages there can be several different reasons to translate an indefinite article. Sometimes an indefinite article is OK even if a form of the definite article is used. (We even have examples like this in English, in expressions like: "The spider has eight legs." In some contexts, what this really means is that "A spider has eight legs." There are even examples that can go in the other direction, too. Not everything in language is straightforward. One of my research projects at Bethel was a paper on Philo back in 1980, which led me to discover a brand new German commentary on the book of John by Busse and Haenchen. A portion of this same information is found in the Watchtower. *** w85 12/15 p. 25 “The Word Was With God, and the Word Was . . . ”? *** It renders John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and divine [of the category divinity] was the Logos.”—John 1. A Commentary on the Gospel of John Chapters 1-6. . . . When comparing Genesis 1:1 with the first verse of John’s Gospel, this commentary observes: “John 1:1, however, tells of something that was in existence already in time primeval; astonishingly, it is not ‘God.’ . . . The Logos (we have no word in either German or English that corresponds to the range of meaning of the Greek term) is thereby elevated to such heights that it almost becomes offensive. The expression is made tolerable only by virtue of the continuation in ‘and the Logos was in the presence of God,’ viz., in intimate, personal union with God.” Does that sound as if scholar Haenchen discerned in the Greek some distinction between God and the Logos, or Word? The author’s following words focus on the fact that in the original language no definite article is used with the word the·osʹ, or god, in the final phrase. The author explains: “In order to avoid misunderstanding, it may be inserted here that θεός [the·osʹ] and ὁ θεός [ho the·osʹ] (‘god, divine’ and ‘the God’) were not the same thing in this period. Philo has therefore written: the λόγος [Logos] means only θεός (‘divine’) and not ὁ θεός (‘God’) since the logos is not God in the strict sense. . . . In a similar fashion, Origen, too, interprets: the Evangelist does not say that the logos is ‘God,’ but only that the logos is ‘divine.’ In fact, for the author of the hymn [in John 1:1], as for the Evangelist, only the Father was ‘God’ (ὁ θεός; cf. 17:3); ‘the Son’ was subordinate to him (cf. 14:28). But that is only hinted at in this passage because here the emphasis is on the proximity of the one to the other.”
  14. Demonism and the Watchtower

    I disagree with your doctrinal conclusions, but I have to admit that you have been treated unfairly in this thread. My impression is that @J.R. Ewing is not trying very hard to be coherent, and might just be playing a kind of game with absurd evidence to get you to say something just as absurd in return. I don't speak or study Latin very much, but from what I can tell that entire argument was wrong both linguistically and logically. This so called "steady relationship" and "how often" they cite occult sources is clearly exaggerated, as it has been pointed out. If you were to read all of Luther's writings you might think (from things he admits) that he was also demon possessed. It's true that Clayton Woodworth took a very strong interest in the idea of demon influence, and he admitted in a documented speech at a Bible Student convention that he suffered from demon-possession for a time. He also claims that the demons while trying to fool him actually did reveal one true doctrine (about how Russell's "Vow" was foretold and through an Old Testament type/antitype representation). Woodworth, I think, was the primary driver behind the reprinting and republishing of Seola, which he believed was inspired by one of the fallen angels of Noah's day. (A "demon," but one who was looking for redemption.) Woodworth was also the primary driver behind the promotion of the magnetic and radio wave healing devices. When I was at Bethel there was a room down at the "Squibb" buildings (30 CH) kept locked away from Bethelites where artifacts were stored from the estates of long time Bible Students and Witnesses who had bequeathed everything to the Watchtower Society. This started some time during the Knorr presidency. Previously, Arthur Worsely, a long time Bethelite, recalled that whenever calls went out to donate Russell's publications for the Bethel libraries, that he was tasked with burning cartons upon cartons of them in the coal furnace. Locked at Squbb, were shelves upon shelves of of hundreds of copies of the old publications, often extremely rare. And there were several versions of the Photo-Drama slides, old phonograph players, Rutherford's 78s, and several of the E.R.A. machines advertised in the Golden Age. The E.R.A. machines were NEVER to be owned by Bethelites. (I don't think this problem would have ever come up except for one caught being smuggled through. And there was still at least one Bethelite I knew who bragged about owning one for himself.) So there is some truth to these early problems, but it was mostly the editor of the Golden Age (Woodworth) who seemed ever-intrigued with the "demonic" aspect of things. Although Rutherford had agreed with the idea about Russell still communicating from beyond the grave in 1917 and a little beyond, it was Woodworth who continued repeating this idea in the Golden Age for many years afterward, and who may have even seen himself as being guided by Russell when he spoke of the Seventh Volume (mostly written by Woodworth) as the posthumous work of Russell. (In effect, written by Russell in 1917 even after he died.) But you are mostly concerned with the Greber translation problem. I think that this has already been answered. Greber translated several verses in exactly the way you understand them, too, and this doesn't bother you or anyone else. I would have to agree that it was no doubt his own biases and belief system that influenced him to translate a few verses in ways that differed from the standard understanding of koine Greek. Whether this was really "spiritistic" influence from demons is probably about as likely as Woodworth being correct when he thought he was under demonic influence when demons "correctly" taught him how Russell's "Vow" had been indicated in Scripture. Or that Russell himself, as a spirit, had guided every aspect of the Watchtower after his death in 1916, including the book that Woodworth himself wrote. But the most important thing is that the use of Greber's translation as a support was discovered to be a mistake. It was not chosen because Greber claimed spiritistic influence. His translation remained in the Bethel library, just as a couple copies of "Angels and Women" (Seola) remained in the Bethel library. When I see a new Bible translation, the first thing I go to is John 1:1, then Psalm 83:18 and a few other favorites. I'm sure that writers at Bethel still do the same thing. So, no doubt, the claim that Greber made about his method had been lost sight of and was used again by another writer at Bethel, even after others had previously noted the problem. But it doesn't matter because Greber is not the place where support of our particular translation of John 1:1 comes from. It just happened to agree with an idea that the Watchtower had been promoting long before Greber's translation had ever been found. And we had mostly been using Benjamin Wilson's literal Greek to English portion of his "Diaglott" to make that point. John 1:1 is still controversial, which is even admitted by some Trinitarians. We shouldn't rely on it for a specific doctrine, but it should be a part of all the evidence related to the Trinity doctrine. John was no doubt trying to convince Christians about how great and mighty and divine Jesus was and is. So this verse is part of a context that includes the entire book of John and then the rest of the Bible. After I left Bethel, there was a new writer in the Writing Department at Bethel who understood Greek as a scholar. He was asked to do a full study of the John 1:1 issue and his article was unusable because it showed there was just about equal weight to both sides of the controversy. This actually surprised a lot of his colleagues, who wished for a more clear-cut winner. But Trinitarians, I believe, are in the same position, which is why some also admit that there is no clear-cut winner, based on this one verse.