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JW Insider last won the day on November 9

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  1. Don't know if it's related, but I heard of a lawsuit or two where a Hall and property were just recently remodeled and spiffed up to be worth, 3 million, for example, but the Society was so anxious to cover financial expenses that they forced a quick sale for only one million, and now the congregations are separated to various Halls, not-so-nearby. A brother was removed because he wanted to raise this into a financial issue. But there might also be a kind of problem showing up that some get too attached to the properties that they have helped to find and fund. (Like a rich person that donates a lot for a church, or buys a pew to get his name on it.) As you say, I'm not sure that each of these cases has been handled with proper communication. Also, I'm not sure the term 'financial benefit' is fully appropriate either. In some cases the impression was 'financial necessity.' I heard talk of financial instruments (bank loans) that would have been embarrassing not to be able to meet. The Catholic church is not afraid to announce that they have had a diocese here and there on the verge of bankruptcy, which is sometimes really no more than loan restructuring. But I don't think anyone is ready for terms like this to be used about us, yet I believe that there was a real concern about one such loan. If it becomes public elsewhere, I will post some of the information I base this idea on. If not, consider it just unsubstantiated rumor. Not worth repeating.
  2. That was intended. Also I believe the autism spectrum is very useful in helping to understand autism in its various forms. Math is also all the rage in schools today, but it doesn't mean we should reject it. For those already suffering, it is much more practical to deal with symptoms. In the long run, yes, it is much more useful and revealing to put the emphasis on causes. You might notice that I was just brainstorming about the various "levels" of benign and malignant apostasy so that we would think about the ways we judge others. I think it's revealing, and not necessarily in a bad way, that two persons can spout the same apostate views about the Bible or the Watchtower Society, and only one of them gets disfellowshipped. The other still says the same things but he will often get full association with his Witness family and relatives. I think it shows the desire to have a form of natural affection, which by definition is "natural." (2 Timothy 3:3). I think some of us are here are good Witnesses without many qualms at all about association (online at least) with those who have clearly apostasized. On the "spectrum," so to speak, I actually spoke a lot about causes, and very little about the symptoms. Of course, I wasn't too specific about either, as I was just trying to come up with some sample categories to show just how the types can be all over the place, and sometimes our own treatment of persons, and the Society's treatment too, is necessarily inconsistent. And one of the points is that we have a personal responsibility to watch out for our spirituality, and can't just follow what others tell us to do in every case. Imagine the possibilities if some Witnesses showed a lot more love to persons in the @Witness household, who were not DF'd, and how this might result in a good Witness (no pun intended). Or imagine the possibilities if some Witnesses decided to associate with persons in the @Witness household without any concern to their own spirituality, and became "infected" with thought that resulted in doubt and a lack of faith. The point is that we are sometimes on our own, and must always be careful about anyone and anything that we associate with. Jesus associated with tax collectors, but we are also given a Biblical responsibility to treat some in the congregation as tax collectors, even some who might be called a brother. Hard to say. Personally I think there is room for some individual conscience in a lot of areas that are currently matters of "legalism." This does not mean that anyone can expect to depend completely on their own conscience without appropriate counsel when it seems to affect their spirituality. But the GB have given a lot of thought to human rights, and have made a lot of progress in many nations of the world to defend right to assembly, right to our own religious practices, right to preach from door to door, right to "demand" blood alternatives, right to be seen as ministers, or as a legal religion. To our long-term benefit, GB members have acknowledged human rights more and more in interviews about child abuse, child endangerment, education, corporal punishment (especially seen before judges in custody cases, presentations before the ARC, questions fielded by the "PR"/correspondence departments, etc). In a practical way, some of the practice hasn't caught up with the "human rights" rhetoric yet.
  3. They should definitely be always finding better ways to use dedicated funds. I agree. But I never thought that doing something because it "saves money" implies hoarding money up somewhere. When the GB and accounting offices at Bethel have announced cost-cutting measures, they are saying that it "saves" money to be used elsewhere. When they have announced that money coming in isn't keeping up with money going out, they are definitely not in a position to hoard money. But I have never had the impression, as Anna has, that they are completely hiding this idea of needing to find new ways to save money. It also seems like a bit of a sacrifice for some of us in more affluent countries is helping to fund new and better Kingdom Halls in countries where the Kingdom Halls are in need of repair. I also think that some funds had been put into several translation offices which has obviously paid good dividends in terms of results. I don't know if I mentioned it before, but because of my son's work project in Anguilla, I have been going there just about every year for a few years now, and last year spent a week of the time in St. Maarten, where most jets land, because Anguilla's airport is so small. The Kingdom Halls in St. Maarten were still in terrible shape even after some remodeling and rebuilding, and I was surprised at this. I saw one on the French side of the island, too, in bad shape. The brothers told me that it's not good to build something that looks so much nicer than the neighborhood around you. Perhaps Melinda knows if this is typical in the Caribbean.
  4. 620 MPH would be amazingly fast. Currently China's bullet trains only manage about 250 MPH peak, although they are working on a maglev design that would allow a max of 600 KmPH (372 MPH). Their test trains already reach 311 MPH. Of course, one difference is that the current bullet train service in China already carries people, not just packages, and already connects all the major cities in China. Google/Wiki says: China's 10 Fastest Trains — World Records and Benefits for You. Shanghai Maglev trains are currently the fastest trains commercially operated in the world, with a top commercial speed of 431 kph (268 mph) and a top non-commercial speed of 501 kph (311 mph).
  5. The more typical saying from people in Christendom who learn about the possibility of heaven is something like this: "I don't care if the Lord just wants to use me as a doormat, I just want to be with Lord because I love him."
  6. This is usually true in the common usage of the term, and in the majority of Bible uses, too. I was only going by the definition, and how it is used in ancient Greek and sometimes in the Bible. *** it-1 p. 126 Apostasy *** This term in Greek (a·po·sta·siʹa) comes from the verb a·phiʹste·mi, literally meaning “stand away from.” The noun has the sense of “desertion, abandonment or rebellion.” (Ac 21:21, ftn) In classical Greek the noun was used to refer to political defection, and the verb is evidently employed in this sense at Acts 5:37, concerning Judas the Galilean who “drew off” (a·peʹste·se, form of a·phiʹste·mi) followers. The Greek Septuagint uses the term at Genesis 14:4 with reference to such a rebellion. [(Genesis 14:4) 4 They had served Ched·or·la·oʹmer for 12 years, but they [[apostasized, LXX]] in the 13th year. However, in the Christian Greek Scriptures it is used primarily with regard to religious defection; a withdrawal or abandonment of the true cause, worship, and service of God, and hence an abandonment of what one has previously professed and a total desertion of principles or faith. The religious leaders of Jerusalem charged Paul with such an apostasy against the Mosaic Law.
  7. I was just remembering how easy it is to criticize, and how it made us feel superior that we could make fun of the beliefs of others. I also remember how it struck me that the Watchtower had been teaching this same thing for about HALF of its existence (50 out of 100 years) when I first learned that Russell had defended another point of view from the Bible. According to you, if Russell had the spirit of Jah he would have understood it, too, but he never did. I don't judge him that harshly.
  8. It sounds like a lot of JWs are treating all of you as if you were all apostates. I've seen situations in households that sounded similar where the persons who were not disfellowshipped were still associated with as a way to continue to keep tabs on other persons. I've see situations where the non-disfellowshipped members had the exact same views as the disfellowshipped but family members continued to associate with the non-disfellowshipped ones as a means to continue having the semblance of some kind of family: especially to see children, grandchildren, etc. Also, I have seen cases, and this includes one of my now deceased uncles, who was baptized young, and disfellowshipped when he left as a teenager. Long before I was born, he would say stupid and terrible things about JWs and Jehovah, just to get a rise out of my mother and grandmother (his sister and mother). But over the years he settled down, got married, raised kids, took good care of his wife and his share of taking care of his mother and other elder aunts and uncles of his. But he couldn't come back to the JWs if he wanted to, because he was now an "affirmed" atheist/agnostic with no interest in religion - but no interest in speaking out against religion, either. By the time I was growing up, we never went out of our way to visit him and his family, but they were often over at my grandmother's house. So, a disfellowshipped person, who is now an atheist and who doesn't focus on JWs is somewhere near the middle of this spectrum. Some of the groups on the spectrum therefore include: JWs in good standing who apostasized from other religions. Former JW's who were not DF'd, but who drift away because they have no interest in speaking out against JWs. These would not really be distinguishable from those who drift into inactivity for unknown reasons. Former JW's who were disfellowshipped and or who left because they couldn't live up to moral standards. Former JW's who were disfellowshipped for any known reasons but so long ago that a kind of unwritten "statute of limitations" has run out, especially for purposes of associating with family and relatives. Former JW's who were "stumbled" by something they saw, or experienced: abuse, 1925, 1975, changed teachings, etc. Former JWs who didn't want to be disfellowshipped, but who were "cast out of the synagogue" because they felt a conscientious need to speak out against one or two specific teachings or practices. (Those who did not "push" away but who were "pushed.") Former JW's who speak out against specific teachings or practices, but for whom their confusion is chalked up to a mental illness they have no mental capacity to overcome. (I'm talking about an obvious mental illness handicap of some kind, not merely an accusation.) Those DF'd for apostasy, but who we never hear from again. Those DF'd for apostasy, but who continue to make noise against JWs. Those NOT DF'd for apostasy, but who make a lot of noise and accusations specifically against JWs Then we also have a category, of those who are truly apostate, but who are not found out and remain in full association. Perhaps they find ways to undermine fellow JWs or manipulate, sometimes in a more subtle way, perhaps by a haughty attitude, perhaps by giving them a bad reputation in the way they take advantage of others. Some may find semi-anonymous settings in which to create contentions, and make strong judgments to "curse" others. Some may get away with their own immoral practices and defend themselves in ways that draw in the vulnerable. These are like the rocks/reefs in Jude 1:12: When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. (New Living Translation) There are some who do speak up and offer false or confusing teachings, or maybe even true teachings but in a way that creates disorder and confusion. We should remember that there were those who would speak up in the early Christian congregation with a saying or a bit of knowledge or a tongue, or a translation for someone who had been moved to speak in a tongue. Not all of these bits of knowledge would make sense to everyone. Paul knew that. John knew that. Not everything would build up. Sometimes the utterance would be worthless, or worse, might appear to have been from a demonic spirit. These gifts were causing confusion, and Paul wished to bring some order to the congregations. Ultimately, a simple solution was apparently implemented. If it promoted Jesus Christ as Lord, let it stand. (1 Corinthians 12:1-3) . . .Now concerning the spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 . . . 3 Now I would have you know that nobody when speaking by God’s spirit says: “Jesus is accursed!” and nobody can say: “Jesus is Lord!” except by holy spirit. (1 John 4:1, 2) . . .Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired statement, but test the inspired statements to see whether they originate with God,. . .2 This is how you know that the inspired statement is from God: Every inspired statement that acknowledges Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh originates with God. (Revelation 19:10) . . .For the witness concerning Jesus is what inspires prophecy.” Because of the wide variety of persons both inside and outside the congregation to watch out for, I think a lot of the onus is on individual Christians to decide who is good or bad association for themselves. The apostate may feel himself under no obligation to stand off from us, so we have to "apostasize" from them, especially those who continue to associate. We "mark" them. But if they have not stood away from us, and still want to associate, then technically they might not even be "apostates" and we should not judge them so harshly. But if we feel they are not building us up spiritually, and we seem not to be able to offer them anything, then they can be to us like a man of the nations or a tax collector. We can therefore associate as needed, but always, as with anyone, we keep a view to how this association might build us up or tear us down, and therefore we are very careful of such associations. When we use the expression, "they went out from us because they were not of our sort," we have to be careful that we are referring to the sort of people we should be. We should be the sort of persons who will continue to show love to all kinds of persons, even our enemies. We have to be careful that we have not become the sort who judge harshly, or who push people away just because we don't understand them, or because we are too haughty to be questioned.
  9. This is an important statement. In actuality many persons are on the "apostate spectrum." Some religions, just like gangs, or the mafia, don't allow one to just drift away. You have to be attacked and in effect, "neutralized." With religion, it's usually fine to drift away if it highlights that the religion has moral standards that are hard to live up to. Then those who don't come back will sometimes even be seen as a kind of a badge of honor to the religion. (Not individuals, but in general.) But if there is any danger that the person will speak out against the teachings, practices or the basis of organization, then that person must be neutralized in some way so that few persons will listen to them. Scientologists are famous for going after persons in a threatening way, or through legal means, to keep people from speaking out against their teachings or practices. In the same way, a whistleblower must be fired (by any means necessary) so that they suddenly become no more than a "disgruntled former employee." The Scientologists took over the entire C.A.N. (a huge online Cult Awareness Network forum) after forcing it into bankruptcy, because it was a haven for Scientology apostates. But back to the benign end of the apostate spectrum. Apostasy, by original definition, is a "standing away from." When Revelation 16 says to "get out of her, my people," this is a command to become apostates from false ideologies. Therefore, at the benign end of the apostasy spectrum are those who realize that apostasy can be a good thing, by definition, in that all persons who convert to JWs from another religion, for example, are apostates from that other religion. Also, any who leave JWs because they can't live up to the moral standards or levels of activity expected, are "apostates" but JWs consider them generally harmless. Then there are those who leave because they no longer believe the teachings, but who don't say anything, and plan to keep very quiet about it, because they KNOW they might be seen as "malignant" apostate if they spoke up. Frederick Franz was infamous for trying to get persons declared apostate for even "thinking" that 1914 might be wrong, or some other teaching specific to Witnesses. But now, because of the phrase, "apostates do not drift away from the truth," those who "drift away" should not be seen as "apostates." Apostates, for purposes of the warnings in the talk, do not include those who drift away. The absurdity of this idea has often been a talking point I would use with Bible Studies. But I realized that Russell and Rutherford also believed that all Christians went to heaven, not only the 144,000 but even the great crowd of Revelation 7:14. The idea was that they would rule over the 20 billion people or more from "history" would be resurrected to the earth, including the faithful Hebrews of old, and of course the millions of persons then alive who would NOT be part of the great crowd, but who would never die because by 1925, the millennium's resurrection to earth would begin and living "worldly" people would stop getting sick. It was not clear that any Christians would remain with them on earth until the early 1930's.
  10. Yes, that has to be a big part of it. But we also have to look at why the stable job ended. There are a lot of historical factors surrounding the issues. Too many to try to pin it on any one thing, of course. But this was definitely one of the important points. Ayn Rand and her student, Alan Greenspan, and Ronald Reagan's crew combined during this period to convince "the 99" percent that it really doesn't matter what the rich do, or where they move their factories, or how much pay a CEO needs, or how much greed their decisions can reveal, because "the little dogs will eat the scraps from the rich man's table." (Trickle down economics.) After Ike's tax rates were dismantled, and Kennedy's accepted a Keynesian economic cure-all, Reagan and conservatives like him (Thatcher, too) saw a chance to push an economic agenda that allowed a free-for-all for the lifestyles of the rich, at the expense of the working poor (who had once been candidates for a true middle class) A good portion of middle class and expected-to-be middle class fell for the propaganda, and didn't realize that it was already making the old house-dependent "American Dream" less and less viable. And now, with common sense regulations gone, there was a 1 percenter at the top of every business chain whose new goal was to see how much Americans would give up without really noticing. And after that, how much could they be tricked into giving up, even if they did notice it. And it wasn't just Reagan, it was Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama, etc. Every one of them did more and more harm to the working poor and middle class. Owning a house is no longer as important as a component of the American Dream now that it can no longer be seen as an appreciating asset. And the prices are purposely set to be nearly out of reach for most. The same thing happened with the price of a university education, health care, medicine, credit cards, etc. And the wage of the average worker got cut when we average in the number of hours worked, hours available, lay-offs, furloughs, switch from salary to no-benefit part-time, etc. Well, I seem to be on a rant of sorts. So I'll pick this up later to read other person's comments.
  11. The graph pulled from the article is surprising, in that, while the trend is very real and the reasons given for the trend are real, it's a longstanding trend, not something that is just now surprising the market. It's always presented as if this just came out of the 2008 Great Recession, or the Housing Crisis, or "Millennials," but we can see the roots go a lot farther back into the 1980's. In the mid 1980's, I was working for the Trump Organization (and various NYC Landlord Organizations: LeFrak, Helmsley) through a consulting firm A.D.Little, (Cambridge) and the basic goal was to use housing data (US Census, DHCR, etc) to defend Reaganomics and simultaneously defend the squeezing of the highest possible percentage of American's disposable income into rent. There were cycles when pushing the envelope on higher rents, actually drove more people back into house/condo/coop purchases. But longevity and generational issues (baby boomers) were another factor. In a new book called "Homewreckers," (Aaron Glantz) there is a good review of the recent 2006/2007 housing crisis which also shows that most of the exact same precursors are being repeated again in the current market, including the bundling of risky mortgages into hedge funds. Some of the same players who got bailed out by Bush and Obama are back at it, and three of them are in Trump's White House (Cabinet) after Trump gave them all million-dollar tax breaks. And one of them who is not part of Trump's White House, went on 60 minutes last night to present himself as a "boy scout" in all of this.
  12. I thought your post made a lot of good points. We know about God's mercy but we don't want to purposely take advantage of it for selfish purposes. (Of course, we can never get into the mind of the person committing suicide to know whether they were motivated by selfishness, even if the person leaves a lucid note. We leave it to Jehovah to read hearts.) Also, wanted to point out that Paul never used the word "some" (in case anyone would have read your words to imply that). Either way, though, I think your point is still valid.
  13. No, not at all. I referenced 8 because this is the version that I also downloaded and use from my desktop.
  14. If this picture is actually 1990, it might be just a few months before the Trump Taj Mahal entered bankruptcy in 1991. But it came back out of bankruptcy in October 1991, and Trump had to give up his majority ownership. It died again anyway, so the whole billion dollar project was a waste, but Trump himself only had to lose a couple hundred million. A very short version of the story is on Wikipedia: Later in 1988, Trump acquired the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in a transaction with Merv Griffin and Resorts International.[43] The casino was opened in April 1990, and was built at a total cost of $1.1 billion, which at the time made it the most expensive casino ever built.[44][45] Financed with $675 million in junk bonds[46] at a 14% interest rate, the project entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy the following year.[47] Banks and bondholders, facing potential losses of hundreds of millions of dollars, opted to restructure the debt. The Taj Mahal emerged from bankruptcy on October 5, 1991, with Trump ceding 50 percent ownership in the casino to the bondholders in exchange for lowered interest rates and more time to pay off the debt.[48] This was one of several casinos he bankrupted. Although Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy, hotel and casino businesses of his have declared bankruptcy six[52] times between 1991 and 2009 due to its inability to meet required payments and to re-negotiate debt with banks, owners of stock and bonds and various small businesses (unsecured creditors).[53][54] Because the businesses used Chapter 11 bankruptcy, they were allowed to operate while negotiations proceeded. Trump was quoted by Newsweek in 2011 saying, "I do play with the bankruptcy laws—they're very good for me."[55][56] The six bankruptcies were the result of over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City and New York: Trump Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino (1992), Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Castle Hotel and Casino (1992), Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (2004), and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009).[52][57][58] Trump said "I've used the laws of this country to pare debt. ... We'll have the company. We'll throw it into a chapter. We'll negotiate with the banks. We'll make a fantastic deal. You know, it's like on The Apprentice. It's not personal. It's just business."[47] If you've stayed in the Trump Plaza in Las Vegas you'll notice that it's a bit off the strip, and is the only large hotel that doesn't have gambling inside. I've stayed here on business trips, and the rumor about the restriction is that he could never get a Nevada gaming license because of openly admitting to his use of bankruptcies as a tactic. The "shady" persons he did business with were also cited, but in reality, Nevada puts up with a measure of this anyway.

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