JW Insider

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  1. That's exactly my point. My "morons" did do the same. My "morons" went on to build a website that includes translations in 880 languages. But I didn't miss your point. These morons who simply yell out against us very often do not even know exactly what we teach. Even ones who have been Witnesses, and left, are often just angry because they blame our rules for destroying their families, destroying love between children and parents, husbands and wives, etc. But there comes a time to move on, and do their best to start over. They probably don't realize that yelling out in anger probably just makes all of us more sure that we are right and they are wrong.
  2. @AllenSmith Do you have any evidence for this connection between the word "Pagan" and "Dagan"? As you probably know, probably 99% of all Neo-Babylonian scholars who have ever researched the topic of the chronology surrounding the reign of Nebuchadnezzar agree entirely with COJ's research. So it's not specifically COJ's research that I find credible; it's the research of 99% of all Neo-Babylonian scholars. If you have found someone in the 1% whose research you find credible, then by all means present it. It's just that you've had this opportunity several times, and have always, so far, ended up presenting evidence that went against your own claims. After that, you have often tried throwing an "ad hominem" tantrum instead of showing any evidence. Then, I notice that you wait a few weeks or months and either forget what happened, or try to pretend it didn't happen. In spite of these tactics, I'm willing to see you try again. If you think you have evidence this time, please start a new topic.
  3. No mischaracterization at all. I merely stated a fact. And it's a fact that several people on this forum have noticed. It might have been helpful for Aruana to understand that, because right after you posted a lot of research, she asked: "You believe this research?" I assumed you would explain yourself because it was not clear why you posted some of it, and I was pretty sure it was not all research that you believed in yourself. Or as I also said, you may have been using some of it and added some additional research "for context." But at any rate, you certainly haven't made clear what portions of it you believe in and what portions you do not. If that were the case then they were not really a researcher (if they only read and accept what they want to accept). If a person really is a researcher they will be finding themselves constantly questioning things they have previously accepted. I have finally had to accept many things I didn't want to, but only if there was sufficient evidence against the ideas I had held, and for the idea that came to replace it. And it never means that any of my current ideas are absolutely defined either. Research is a continually humbling experience, because new evidence must always be weighed carefully apart from our preconceived notions. Pride makes us give to much weight to preconceived notions and traditions. But traditions can make the word of God invalid, as Jesus said. I never saw you or anyone else provide evidence for this. The most likely information I found on the derivation of "Pagan" matches what I see in the Oxford English Dictionary: pagan, n. and a. (ˈpeɪgən) Forms: 4 paygane, 5 pagayne, 5–6 pagane, 5– pagan. [ad. L. pāgān-us, orig. ‘villager, rustic; civilian, non-militant’, opposed to mīlēs ‘soldier, one of the army’, in Christian L. (Tertullian, Augustine) ‘heathen’ as opposed to Christian or Jewish. The Christians called themselves mīlitēs ‘enrolled soldiers’ of Christ, members of his militant church, and applied to non-Christians the term applied by soldiers to all who were ‘not enrolled in the army’. Cf. Tertullian De Corona Militis xi, ‘Apud hunc [Christum] tam miles est paganus fidelis quam paganus est miles infidelis’. See also Gibbon xxi. note. Cf. payen. The explanation of L. pāgānus in the sense ‘non-Christian, heathen’, as arising out of that of ‘villager, rustic’, (supposedly indicating the fact that the ancient idolatry lingered on in the rural villages and hamlets after Christianity had been generally accepted in the towns and cities of the Roman Empire: see Trench Study of Words 102, and cf. Orosius i Præf. ‘Ex locorum agrestium compitis et pagis pagani vocantur’) has been shown to be chronologically and historically untenable, for this use of the word goes back to Tertullian c 202, when paganism was still the public and dominant religion, and even appears, according to Lanciani, in an epitaph of the 2nd cent.] If you actually have information on this connection to Dagan by "some scholars" or any scholar, I'm sure a lot of people would be interested. Do you have any? Actually, as you can see, I didn't say anything about whose research is acceptable, and I have NEVER indicated that only my research is worthwhile and acceptable. Research is usually a process, anyway, not an end in itself. It usually involved comparing evidence with the research of others, which means that by definition, no one in their right mind would ever think that ONLY their own research was valid. I only indicated that one of the persons who was very well-known for making use of Hislop, and who spent a lot of time trying to validate Hislop ended up seeing his research as "fake" and he also saw first-hand how people went into denial no matter what they saw with their own eyes. This was exactly what Aruana was talking about. I noticed that you didn't requote the part about the Watch Tower dropping their use of Hislop for all the Babylon connections we once used his research to prove. So far, everything I've seen shows that the Watch Tower was correct to "drop" him. I've seen several bits of so-called research from Hislop that is so easy to prove false. This is another great example. I didn't accept any of Carl Olof Jonsson's research at first, and when I finally did see it I knew I had to check all the most relevant points for myself. So I ignored his points and conclusions and started on my own. I spent many days at the NYPL requesting materials from the "stacks." I spent a lot of money in purchased books and photocopying at the library since most of these books were for reference only. I worked in NYC for 25 years, otherwise this would not have been possible. But after I did this for myself, only then could I respect the research he had done, even though, as I have always said, I am NOT a scholar in this area, and it certainly is NOT my specialty. (I only mention that, because I think I remember you claiming the opposite about me once.)
  4. I don't have a problem with "morons" either, but only if we are fair and balanced and willing to refer to the Bible Students and early JWs as "morons" for following the instructions to do the same thing with loudspeakers, amplified phonographs, and sound cars in the area of churches. (In Russell's day they targeted churches, but only with tracts, not loud preaching.) My parents and their fathers (my grandfathers) did this, but the closest I ever got to that old-time preaching style, was wearing sandwich signs at the 1963 Peace on Earth convention in Pasadena. Sandwich signs had already lost their popularity by then, but the city servant or assembly servant had made a few for some reason. I was only 6 and I vaguely remember it dragged on the ground in front of me and I think I might have even tripped a time or two. I've seen the picture, and will ask my parents for a copy to post.
  5. That's interesting. I read recently that a lot of Muslims are confused about the Christian God because they think he that he is supposed to be a Trinity of the "Father, Son and Mary" and that this has made Muslims think of "Allah" as a kind of name for God that distinguishes Allah from the Christian God. Therefore, on the Muslim side of this equation, several of them have this exact same argument, some saying that Allah just means "the true God" therefore the same as the Abrahamic "God" of the Jews, and others insisting that it must be a different, or even higher name for God. Some have even shown concern for the plural "elohim" in Hebrew, and of course, all of them reject the plural "Trinity" in nominal Christianity.
  6. This sounds like an excellent description of the "scholarship" of Alexander Hislop, and a lot of other sloppy scholars who rely on him and people like him. Recently I quoted a person who had based his books on Hislop's "scholarship" and was making money off of it (The Two Babylons). After years of additional research, he realized it was "fake news" and rejected it, even though it meant a loss of money and fame for himself. He received all kinds of accusations, almost the equivalent of death threats just because he could no longer use fake scholarship in good conscience. The Watch Tower also stopped using his fake scholarship many years ago, but it is still popular on the Internet because it fits what a lot of people want to believe. All I am saying is that we need to be very careful before accepting so-called research just because it fits preconceived ideas or appears to be partly true. If you are referring to research that Allen quoted, you should know that in the past he has quoted much research that he later claimed he did not believe in or which turned out not to be supportive of the idea he apparently thought it was defending. I don't think that Allen is really saying he believes that Yahweh as a name is associated with the Sun (Shemesh is sun in Hebrew and Shamash is the name of the Mesopotamian/Babylonian Sun god.) Nor is the name itself applied in order to embody both male and female traits, as Allen quoted above. Perhaps Allen was quoting this portion for additional context. But either way, it shows what I was saying before: that we need to be very careful in our acceptance of scholarship and research. Almost every bit of "research" that has been claimed of Muslim religion has a similar scholarly corollary in the way research shows us that Hebrew religion was practiced. Monotheism was a difficult thing for ancient peoples. Egypt tried it for a while too, and reverted. Jehovah blessed Israel as a holy nation to the extent that they maintained monotheism in his name. Linguistically, there appears to be more evidence that the Arabic "allah" is from "al-ilah" (the God) -- also see, Aramaic "ʼĔlāhā", and Hebrew "Eloah" (70 times in the Bible). "Eloah" is used the same as the same as Aramaic "Elah." And "ilah" (Arabic for god or God) is traceable, therefore, to the same word for God found in the Aramaic portions of Daniel. When Hebrew puts the word "the" in front of it, it implies "the only true God." (Psalm 18:32, for example) This is exactly the purpose of Arabic putting the word the in front of it so that "al-ilah" means the only true God. The contracting of "Al-ilah" to "Allah" is a very common form of contraction that happens with other similar words. Words, over time, are contracted very similarly in Hebrew and English, too, of course. Christian Arabs today have no other word for God but Allah. What word does the Arabic Watchtower use for God? Before Islam even existed, Arab-speaking Christians used the word "Allah" as the word for God -- for 500 years before Muhammad was born.
  7. It's pretty obvious, as Allen has indicated, that we have to be very careful with what we call "established fact" when it's about evidence that one group claims in order to claim superiority over another group. I'm reminded that there are hundreds of nearly identical examples in scholarly religious discussion about the Hebrew God, Jehovah/YHWH and much of it based on artifacts and linguistic evidence. Furthermore, much of the scholarship on these sources of Biblical/Jewish/Hebrew religion is not from antagonistic sources, but the majority from Jewish and Christian sources. The name Jehovah itself has been linked to many pagan sources. This doesn't mean it's true. There were also false gods and fables that spread throughout the Near East and apparently gave the Hebrews many of their words for things that other nations worshipped. There are connections between the festival for Esther and the moon. The Hebrew word for the Sun matches the Babylonian Sun-God. The same goes for many other words. This continues in the Greek Scriptures with words from the Greeks like Hades and Tartarus. The sun-moon-stars motif is also found in the Bible, if Israel, and : (Genesis 37:9, 10) . . .“I have had another dream. This time the sun and the moon and 11 stars were bowing down to me.” Then he related it to his father as well as his brothers, and his father rebuked him and said to him: “What is the meaning of this dream of yours? Am I as well as your mother and your brothers really going to come and bow down to the earth to you?” That doesn't mean that the Jews were steeped in Moon worship. Yet, some people think that this motif (where the sun, moon and stars represented Israel) is reflected in Jesus prophecy about the destruction of the Jewish system of things, when Jerusalem was to be destroyed in 70 C.E., and again when Revelation speaks of Jesus as having been born out of the nation of Israel as heir to Messianic kingship: (Matthew 24:29) . . ., the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven. . . (Revelation 6:12, 13) . . .and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the entire moon became as blood, and the stars of heaven fell to the earth as when a fig tree shaken by a high wind drops its unripe figs. [the fig tree was a symbol Jesus had used for Israel] (Revelation 12:1, 2) . . .A woman was arrayed with the sun, and the moon was beneath her feet, and on her head was a crown of 12 stars, and she was pregnant. And she was crying out in her pains and in her agony to give birth. [compare the Genesis quote above about 11 stars instead of 12] And while there are suppositions about how the sources of Muslim culture and practice are related to fertility, Jehovah is depicted in our own Bible as demanding one of the most significant fertility rites of all. Jehovah was the one who said that the rite of circumcision was directly related to fertility and nothing else. (Genesis 17:1-9) Also, we have to be careful about assigning the same value to various hadith and oral traditions to the entire Muslim faith. Some of the Muslim fundamentalist cults (like the entire country of Saudi Arabia) select certain of these traditions and give these portions the same weight of the Koran. Most Muslim scholars reject this practice, even if the hadith supposedly says something true about Muhammad himself. Remember that we also reject much of the "Bible" writings that Catholicism accepts. We call it apocryphal and don't include it in the Bible. The Jews have a huge body of oral traditions, too. And it's embarrassing to read these Jewish writings and find highly respected rabbis discussing whether whether the Bible indicates that it's OK to have sex with a child at age 3, or whether they should wait until age 8 or 9.
  8. There has been an assumption that the US President will reduce regulations on companies that pollute which will make them more profitable. Similarly it is assumed that he will reduce the regulations that keep banks more honest, and that they will therefore become more profitable, too. Same for drug/pharma companies. Companies that make money from privatizing the education system are expected to be more profitable. But the most outstanding rise in stock prices from the time that our current US President became electable was in the area of privatized prisons. Perhaps it was the promise of new detention centers for immigrants, both legal and illegal, and a new crackdown on crime, or a realization that less money spent on health, education and welfare has always been a perfect formula for locking up more people. What's curious about most Americans and much of the rest of the world, too, is that they have long believed that great rises in stock prices ("Wall Street") is a good thing. The types of rises that are seen in the stock market however are mostly a reflection of the ability of companies in general to make more money --profit-- off the backs of people who can't afford to participate profitably in that same market. The stock market is more of a signal of economic greed by the top 1% to 5% than it is of healthy economic growth with benefits that might trickle down to the rest of the population.
  9. That point was also made clear in the article. Thought of you as I was reading it. You've specialized in the very type of work the article was all about.
  10. I agree, but I didn't think you would go there on this particular article. Based on the history of "new light" we obviously have had a mix of valid and invalid teachings. We would be foolish to think that this track record somehow disappears after each and every correction. Yet we sometimes act as if our doctrines are unquestionable, or at least that we should treat them as if they are. The one thing I saw in the article that reminded me of you was this statement: *** w17 May p. 5 Helping “Foreign Residents” to “Serve Jehovah With Rejoicing” *** GIVING REFUGEES PRACTICAL HELP 11 At first, we may need to supplement our brothers’ food, clothing, or other basic needs. Even small gestures, like giving a brother a necktie, mean a lot. I was thinking, "a necktie"? Really? That's on par with supplementing their food, clothing and other basic needs? It reminded me of a satirical post you made once and something similar I saw once in "The Onion."
  11. Yes. This started late in 1981, a little before the GB member was disfellowshipped, but after he had been asked to resign from the Governing Body. These kinds of things were not typical, as far as I could tell, except around the epicenter of Brooklyn Bethel. You're welcome. As I mentioned to Anna, I thought that this kind of thing was much more rare outside of the headquarters area. I appreciate getting a better picture from some of the anecdotes you have included on the topic. Percy's case was the most extreme that I took personally, and which made my blood boil. There was another, but I won't tell it again now in any detail (about my sister being asked to put up with her violently abusive husband and to try more meekness, field service and prayer, because they didn't want to remove his privileges as a ministerial servant). But please remember that these are told in the context of the time that they happened. We are nowhere near perfect, and we don't really claim to be, but we have all seen many improvements, especially in the last decade or two. And I think that all of us continue to expect more big improvements, some of which are likely to surprise us. In fact, I was pleased that @Eoin Joyce didn't think this was the whole story (about Percy) and that @TrueTomimplied that such stories might be only partially true. When something that happened is extremely difficult to believe, then it should be that much less likely to ever happen again. I notice that the question of dirty laundry and motive also comes up, which shouldn't be surprising. The question should be welcomed. If we are concerned about truth and justice and improvements and error and tradition and 'strongly entrenched things' then the common "refrain" will be the request to refrain. Accusations of pride and apostasy are expected too. Love for the brotherhood should override these minor obstacles, however, and we should do our best to imitate Biblical examples of faith and courage. I appreciate the discussion. If we see error we should spotlight it. In the long run, this makes the light of truth shine more brightly. (Mark 4:21, 22) 21 He also said to them: “A lamp is not brought out to be put under a basket or under a bed, is it? Is it not brought out to be put on a lampstand? 22 For there is nothing hidden that will not be exposed; nothing is carefully concealed that will not come out in the open.
  12. Sometimes I have felt sorry for the majority of the population of the world, who (over the centuries) have never even heard of Christianity, not to mention that, even today, it's possible that most of the people on the earth have still really never heard of Jehovah's Witnesses. Of course, we still trust that Jehovah and Christ have taken all this into consideration for the time of judgment and, perhaps more importantly, throughout the time of resurrection. So this is not about who will survive Armageddon, and who won't; it's merely about the wonderful advantages of knowing about the teachings of Jesus and the freedom to make changes in your life based on taking these teachings to heart. Most of the world may not have the freedom to take advantage of true Christianity even if they have heard of it. Another large portion of the earth has heard about historical Christianity, and wouldn't go anywhere near it because of its terrible reputation for violence, deception and theft of resources. They won't give it the benefit of the doubt. But even for persons who fall into that last category, there is hope that many more will benefit from exposure to Christian ideas and ideals -- even under the worst of circumstances. The latest study edition of the Watchtower (May 2017) nailed it in the timely article "Helping 'Foreign Residents' to 'Serve Jehovah With Rejoicing.'" Note: *** w17 May p. 3 par. 2 Helping “Foreign Residents” to “Serve Jehovah With Rejoicing” *** Worldwide, refugees who have fled their homes because of war or persecution now number over 65,000,000—the highest ever recorded. The footnote expands on that idea: *** w17 May p. 3 Helping “Foreign Residents” to “Serve Jehovah With Rejoicing” *** In this article, we use the term “refugees” to denote those who have been displaced—whether across national borders or within their own country—by armed conflict, persecution, or disaster. According to the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), today “1 in every 113 people” worldwide is “forcibly displaced.” Nearly 1% of the world's population! Granted that this article is primarily about how we treat our spiritual brothers and sisters who are refugees. And I know that some have criticized us for focusing almost exclusively on other Witnesses, instead of ALL persons. (Even though I'd guess that non-JWs don't criticize each other for choosing their favorite charities.) Scripturally, there is nothing wrong with primarily taking care (materially) of our family, and after that those "related to us in the faith." And I think it's also true that even giving primarily to Witness refugees, will still give a good witness that some groups are much better than others at 'taking care of their own.' (1 Timothy 5:7, 8) . . .. 8 Certainly if anyone does not provide for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household, he has disowned the faith and is worse than a person without faith. (Galatians 6:10) 10 So, then, as long as we have the opportunity, let us work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to us in the faith. One thing I like about the article is the balance. The bulk of the article is about ways in which we as JWs can help out refugees in material practical ways. Of course, there are a few paragraphs on spiritual support, too. In the past we've seen the same basic idea presented, but often with only a generic statement about material support and very few practical ideas for what we can do materially. This article talks about helping persons not just with providing food, clothes, shelter, but also with transportation, government paperwork, learning the language, applying for jobs, driver licenses, etc. I think a lot of persons will also appreciate that the paragraphs on "spiritual support" included emotional support with spiritual support. I thought these two paragraphs were especially useful: *** w17 May pp. 6-7 pars. 15-16 Helping “Foreign Residents” to “Serve Jehovah With Rejoicing” *** 15 More than material assistance, refugees need spiritual and emotional support. (Matt. 4:4) Elders can help by obtaining literature in the language of the refugees and by helping them contact brothers who speak their language. Many refugees have been torn away from their tight-knit extended families, communities, and congregations. They need to sense Jehovah’s love and compassion among their fellow Christians. Otherwise, they may be drawn to unbelieving relatives or compatriots who can relate to their culture and experiences. (1 Cor. 15:33) By making them feel fully accepted in the congregation, we have the privilege to share with Jehovah in “protecting the foreign residents.”—Ps. 146:9. 16 As with young Jesus and his family, refugees may not have the option of returning to their homeland as long as their oppressors remain in power. Further, as notes Lije, “many parents who saw family members raped and murdered cannot bear to bring their children back to where those tragedies occurred.” To help those who have experienced such trauma, brothers in lands receiving refugees need to have “fellow feeling, brotherly affection, tender compassion, and humility.” (1 Pet. 3:8) Persecution has caused some refugees to become withdrawn, and they may feel ashamed to talk about their suffering, especially in the presence of their children. Ask yourself, ‘If I were in their position, how would I like to be treated?’—Matt. 7:12 The article reminds us that we should be known for being concerned with good works, not just the preaching work. This fits a lot of ideas that have been mentioned in the recent past showing how sometimes doing good for persons in a material way, really is a spiritual work, and can be related to our sacred service.
  13. It nearly stubbled me.
  14. I'm sure there are two or more sides to every story. We met Percy probably about 80 times. I was very interested in his reasons and his reasoning. He had no senility of any kind, and I like that he focused on the positive. He would show me how fast he could get up from his chair. He could walk, and even get up the stairs, but it was painfully slow. Still, he didn't want the wheelchair. It was really for people like me who were impatient to get him from point A to point B and back as quickly as possible. His complaints were usually about food, and he was very particular about how his food was cooked, but he was very appreciative. He discussed recipes with my wife, and told us both a lot of wonderful stories and experiences, some of which have probably appeared in past yearbooks and from assembly platforms. I tried to imagine what would have happened between Percy and the elders that made him seem like such a danger. He had been in the same congregation for 50 years, and hadn't got in trouble before. Of course, I finally asked him and he was very clear about it. The elders asked him to reveal private conversations with his friends that he had discussed Bible topics with where those topics were out of harmony with current Watchtower teachings. He had made it clear to the elders that he wouldn't discuss private conversations with his friends. This is obviously an affront to the entire process because it does not show deference to the authority of the elders. He had three judicial hearings, and even went to 124 Columbia Heights for the last one. You probably know that there was a set of questions in those days that Bethel elders were asking of persons suspected of disloyalty. One of them was the question about whether the "suspect" believed that the Watchtower Society and its Discreet Slave was the only organization Jehovah was using to feed spiritual truth on the earth today. (Don't know if Percy told this to the elders, but to me he said answered that same question with another question about how the scripture says, 'For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst.) He thought the question itself was not fully scriptural, which ultimately leads to the fact that he is questioning the faithful and discreet slave. As I'm sure you know, that was the true and only definition of apostasy at that time: "Do you question the faithful and discreet slave?" If the judicial committee can get you to either directly or indirectly answer that question in the affirmative, then you are an apostate. I would never claim that Percy was exactly right in his opinion. And I would never suggest that anyone be so blunt with elders on a judicial committee, especially one with Bethel elders. At Bethel, many of the long-term elders are completely divorced from the reality of living in the real world. There was often little room for justice to be tempered with mercy inside Bethel. Every week, we had to listen to Brother Knorr and and others make loud and angry tirades about who was being kicked out of Bethel for this or that. We sometimes had to sit through the shame and embarrassing details of their sins. I heard it was much, much worse under Rutherford where he was able to dress down someone until he got them to cry in front of hundreds of people. I don't think some of these brothers were trained to think of real-world consequences to the person being judged, or the subsequent consequences to their own reputation for acting harshly.
  15. I believe I know of at least two of those types of cases personally. I know the feeling. But waiting on Jehovah does not mean waiting on the organization. I took a great risk not long after I left Bethel, and it was mostly at the request of my wife and brother. I was not 100% willing to take the risk because I had just been recommended for appointment as an elder about a month earlier, and it would be confirmed at the next Circuit Overseer's visit. As a Ministerial Servant I had already been giving dozens of public talks in various congregations around NYC for about 5 years, and I have to admit that I didn't want to lose this privilege. I hate to admit that there was very probably some "ego" involved in my decision to avoid the risk. But I finally took the risk anyway. And I got away with it. My older brother and his wife were best friends with another couple in their Brooklyn congregation, and my wife and I were in a different congregation that met in Queens, NY, 15 miles away. My brother was the best man at my wedding, yet this other spiritual brother, we'll call him Gene, was the best man at my brother's wedding. I mention it to show that Gene was "closer than a brother" to him. Gene and his wife, we'll call her Jill, were quite ashamed for what they allowed to happen to them. Part of this story is well known by some of you already. But here goes: Gene and Jill called up my brother one night after their meeting and Jill was crying, because Jill is a Registered Nurse (RN) and she was just told by the elders that she could no longer visit Percival Harding or she would be disfellowshipped. Percy was a 91-year old anointed brother who had started congregations (classes) in Russell's era, and was a colporteur in Rutherford's era until 1925 and served at Bethel for 4 years until 1929. He was born in 1890 and had been active and loyal for the past 71 years, much of it in full-time service. But he had just been disfellowshipped because, at some time during the past few months, he had discussed some Bible topics privately with another friend, and that friend shared his own view with an elder. At this point there was nothing dogmatic or even public in any of these discussions of Bible topics from Percy, although I don't know anything about the other friend he had spoken with. When the elders asked Percy what they had talked about he wouldn't answer, and got disfellowshipped for not cooperating and then telling them that he believed Jehovah blesses our work as an organization, but that Jehovah treats us and judges all of us as individuals, not specifically because of the merit of the organization. He believed the Bible teaches this (and could even show where the Watchtower taught the same) and I assume he wouldn't budge from this position. Jill, the RN, was upset at the threat of being disfellowshipped, of course, and she and Gene went to the elders and begged to at least continue giving him the free medical attention she had been giving him in the past. He could get to the bathroom himself, but was very slow, took daily medication, and needed someone to come in and see him at least a couple times a week. Another sister visited regularly delivering his groceries, and to clean and cook for him. Percy lived on the second floor of a brownstone walk-up that required about 8 steps up from the sidewalk to the first floor door, and 16 more steps up to the second floor. He was taken to the meetings in a wheelchair. Percy was very alert and sociable and well-liked in a very large congregation often attended by about 200 persons every weekend. The sister who visited him for cooking and cleaning was also threatened with disfellowshipping if she continued to help him. When Gene insisted that this made no sense. He was also threatened with disfellowshipping, too. He wanted this matter to be decided upon by Bethel. But there were already at least two Bethel elders involved and both of them had very responsible positions. We'll call them H**** P****** and J**** P********. In other words, the case had already reached brothers in the Writing Department. (One of whom became the editor of the Awake! magazine shortly afterward.) I already mentioned my own concerns in this regard, but it was so hard for my wife and Gene and Jill to believe. To tell the truth it was actually fairly easy for me to believe because I had already ignored and remained silent for the same kind of treatment of a few older Bethelites in the previous year. I was afraid to get involved, also because I was handling assignments for one of the members of the Governing Body who had been personally involved in all the high-profile 1980 disfellowshippings at Bethel. I was afraid of his reaction, and never spoke up. I knew I would lose everything in a minute, and might even be disfellowshipped if caught, but my brother and his wife begged, and the nurse, Jill, was desperate. (They thought no one would recognize us in the area.) No one in their congregation dared to visit the man any more. Only a non-JW woman, who acted as a kind of landlord or building manager (on the first floor) would do anything for him for the first few days. Percy had no close relatives, except elderly ones a couple thousand miles away in Canada, whom he could not reach. He had estranged himself from them 70 years earlier by becoming a "Russellite" Bible Student and one of Jehovah's Witnesses. My wife and I agreed to start weekly and sometimes bi-weekly visits, and I began a friendship with him. He offered me an entire library with a full collection of just about everything Russell and Rutherford ever wrote. He told me about Rutherford in a way that corresponded exactly with stories my "table head" told at Bethel. We would pick up groceries for him and my wife would cook and clean. I got him some daily exercise and helped him with the bathroom, but mostly he loved to talk. I learned so much. After several weeks, one of the ex-JW groups in NYC heard about him and began setting up regular visits to help him out. Over the months, I crossed paths with two of these other disfellowshipped persons, one of whom had been disfellowshipped recently at Bethel (and recognized me), and also a NYC circuit overseer who had been disfellowshipped in 1980. We stayed out of the way of all these other disfellowshipped persons who visited him, and my wife and I continued visiting him regularly for two years (1981-1983), for at least three hours a week plus the one-hour drive each way. Yet, I never got caught, or at least I never got turned in. Today might be the first chance for some people in my congregation to know about it, although I don't think anything drastic will happen at this point. Jill and Gene both drifted away from the congregation after this incident, and they told my brother it was over this. My brother's wife, too. There was another nurse involved who might have also left over this, but it may have been over something else. But at least 200 persons in his congregation must have been at least somewhat affected by this, and he was well known and well-liked by another large congregation meeting in the same hall. But still, no one from the congregation he had been in for 50 years ever visited him, and I'm told that this remained that way until he died in 1994. Looking back, I don't think I had a choice. My wife agrees. She sees it the same way. If we had been disfellowshipped over this, I probably would have found it nearly impossible to admit real repentance, and I even tried to come up with phrases, in case we were caught, so that it might sound like we were repentant but still "honest" to Jehovah. (My wife didn't believe in that kind of rehearsed answers, and I don't either anymore.)