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JW Insider

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  1. I was at a U.S. Open tennis match and someone asked if that was a bandage on Roger Federer's arm. He had just faulted, and I shouted back that it was probably an "Ace Inhibitor bandage." The crowd immediately went wild, but probably not because of my joke. (It seems to have had more to do with the fact that his very next serve was an ace.)
  2. Actually, he did state the connection. You don't even have to read between the lines. But you do have to understand "Allen-ese." Allen Smith, under almost all of his guises, would post book covers that gave the impression he had done more research into a topic than anyone else. And he even would claim that only his own understanding was "real research." And in about 95% of those cases where the posts highlighted book covers, he was attempting to "attack" one of my posts. He has done this for other persons, too, but far less often. Over the years, Allen almost stopped referring to me as "JW Insider," but started referring to me as a person who had been at Bethel in the early 1980's (when, the "great purge" happened, and apostasy-related witch hunts were rampant). Or he simply refers to me as a JW who might not be in "good standing," or who might be a "disgruntled" or "fake Witness," or who "slanders" the GB by criticism, or who "blames" the Watchtower, etc. Unfortunately, "Allen-ese" is spoken by someone who often posted covers of books that, if he had read them, he would have discovered that they showed his arguments to be wrong, instead of proving that only he has the ability to do real research. It's not so different in his last post here, as he evidently didn't realize that this entire topic only gives the highest praise to Witnesses in Rwanda, just as I have made posts elsewhere giving the highest praise to Witnesses who suffered under Hitler's Nazi regime. Lately, I prefer not to defend myself, but (believe it or not) there are people who have read Allen's unwarranted criticisms and who have immediately believed him. So I just wanted to make it very clear that I will still probably criticize things that I believe ought to be criticized, and this includes Allen's more egregious claims under any of his many names. (He still has a couple dozen names that haven't been used much recently.) But this is a post that only offers praise, and absolutely no criticism, about Jehovah's Witnesses in Rwanda.
  3. Glad to hear it. It seems most activity on this site has been WT related. I hope it wasn't me either. But mostly I hope that you can continue the site without losing money. Proactive frivolous lawsuits for legal blackmail have become a thing.
  4. Did I miss something? Why is this (and many other posts) in the JW Closed Club? When I saw all the non-Witnesses participating, I expected to see that it was in the JW Open Club. I personally have no problem if the clubs were merged, but several people wanted a separate place to discuss certain things without some of the more common diversions.
  5. If this was directed at me, it had little to do with specific things you wrote. (There were a couple of things, but not very important in the long run. And I recently addressed a couple of those types of things elsewhere, a few weeks ago.) The topic itself seemed like it should have been treated separately, as it was not a Russia-specific concern. And of course you have also treated this topic separately. The most common sources of 'cringe' happen because it's too easy to say things that come across as one-sided bias, even if mostly correct. The most cringe-worthy things we say are things in defense of our process and doctrine (our natural instinct) but which can still come across as insensitive to those who are still suffering. This might be the very reason you mentioned that you can't persuade certain persons who have certain beliefs or experiences, anyway. As you already know, the latter type will not be satisfied with ostensibly "good news" that the WTS has only a percentage of other organizations. Or, a defense that claims that a large percentage of cases were not as serious as rape, etc.
    • Hello guest!
    Rwanda’s descent into terror in April 1994 took an estimated one million lives in a mere 100 days. The Genocide against the Tutsi in this overwhelmingly Christian country was horrifying for its intimacy: Killers and victims were neighbors, friends, fellow churchgoers, workmates, even spouses. Murderers carried crude implements—machetes, hoes, nail-studded clubs—and lists of those doomed to die. Gatineau, Quebec—Tharcisse Seminega was marked for slaughter. With all escape routes seemingly cut off, he, his wife, and their five young children sat helplessly awaiting death. Seminega, a Tutsi and former Catholic seminarian, taught at the National University in Butare. Extremist Hutu faculty orchestrated the murder of Tutsi professors and students. But just minutes before a Hutu professor arrived with soldiers at Seminega’s house, Hutu friends helped the family flee. The new memoir No Greater Love—How My Family Survived the Genocide in Rwanda relates how, during the next 75 days, Seminega and his family evaded the machetes with the help of about 20 Hutu rescuers who took unthinkable risks to hide and sustain them. These rescuers knew that if the génocidaires caught them, they faced an agonizing death as traitors to the Hutu cause. Most of the rescuers belonged to the Jehovah’s Witness community, of which Seminega was a part. His wife, a former nun, feared to join him, knowing that the Witnesses had long been oppressed for refusing to take up weapons or participate in politics. Because of this apolitical teaching, writes genocide scholar Rhoda Howard-Hassmann, “Hutu Witnesses were impervious to calls for patriotic Hutu to take part in mass killings”; and yet “to do nothing was also against their Christian principles.” Professor Seminega says that his family’s rescuers and other Witnesses followed Jesus’ “new commandment”—To love one another just as he loved them, even to the death. They sheltered not only fellow believers but others who knew that Witnesses would not harm or betray them. Of 2,500 Witnesses in Rwanda in 1994, about 400 were murdered, Tutsi as well as Hutu who tried to rescue Tutsi or who refused to kill. After the genocide, researchers documented widespread complicity among church leaders and members. States one study: “All the churches active in Rwanda, with the exception of the Jehovah’s Witnesses” were involved in the genocide. Now, Professor Seminega speaks with classes via Skype about his family’s story. In paying tribute to his rescuers, Seminega says: “Their selfless acts move me every day to ask, how far will my love reach?”
  6. The only item in Paul's list of fruits of the spirit that comes anywhere near "doctrine" is faith. True religion is about love, joy, peace, and other good qualities that make us the sort of persons we ought to be at all times. Our motivation should be the spirit of Christ, which is basically love of God and love of neighbor, motivated by our faith. And therefore these good fruits come out of a clean heart, not motivated by the fleshly qualities of the world (or spirit of this world). This is why I think that James 1:27 is saying exactly the same thing when it says that true religion could be defined as looking after orphans and widows in their tribulation - but doing this out of a proper heart motivation (faith and love) and therefore keeping ourselves without spot from worldly motivations. The following verses in James discuss the worldly motivations that interfere with true religion (true Christianity) and then falls back upon Jesus' "golden rule" and love to clinch the definition of true religion. In fact, James summarizes much of what was said in Matthew 7 and Luke 6 and Galatians 5: (James 3:10-18) . . .Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, it is not right for things to happen this way. 11 A spring does not cause the fresh water and the bitter water to bubble out of the same opening, does it? 12 My brothers, a fig tree cannot produce olives, or a grapevine figs, can it? Neither can salt water produce fresh water. 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him by his fine conduct demonstrate works performed with a mildness that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and contentiousness in your hearts, do not be bragging and lying against the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above; it is earthly, animalistic, demonic. 16 For wherever there are jealousy and contentiousness, there will also be disorder and every vile thing. 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, not hypocritical. 18 Moreover, the fruit of righteousness is sown in peaceful conditions for those who are making peace. Notice that there is very little talk of doctrine, except for how good conduct relates to doctrine. (Also note that James' list of "fruits of the spirit" includes "ready to obey" which L.H.McNelly already included previously.)
  7. I thought I was pointing out something that was obvious. The spirit may very well reveal a specific assignment in heaven or on earth. But it's the same spirit. Regarding Galatians 5:22, have you ever heard anyone say that the fruitage of the spirit (love, joy, peace . . . kindness, goodness, faith, etc.) is only for those who are anointed? No one ever says that. Except that the entire book of Galatians was sent to those addressed like this: (Galatians 4:6, 7) . . .Now because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, and it cries out: “Abba, Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave but a son; and if a son, then you are also an heir through God. To the Romans, Paul said the same things he says in Galatians 4&5: (Romans 8:14-17) 14 For all who are led by God’s spirit are indeed God’s sons. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery causing fear again, but you received a spirit of adoption as sons, by which spirit we cry out: “Abba, Father!” 16 The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 If, then, we are children, we are also heirs—heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ—provided we suffer together so that we may also be glorified together. The statements are about how there are only two choices, the spirit or the flesh. So I'm not saying anything about the specific anointing for the heavenly hope. That's a separate issue. Whether we believe we are appointed to a heavenly hope or appointed to an earthly hope, it's still the same "one hope, one faith, one baptism" for the creation which is currently sighing and groaning to eagerly await the revealing of the sons of God. If Adam was a son of God, although appointed to an earthly hope, then surely there will come a time when those who pass through the millennium, at least, although of the earthly hope, will also be considered "sons of God." I also believe that this same spirit will reveal a desire for a heavenly hope for some, although I don't really believe that we humans are really capable of knowing exactly where Jehovah may wish to assign our part in the new system. (1 Corinthians 12:22-26) . . .On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary, 23 and the parts of the body that we think to be less honorable we surround with greater honor, so our unseemly parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 whereas our attractive parts do not need anything. Nevertheless, God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that had a lack, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but its members should have mutual concern for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all the other members suffer with it; or if a member is glorified, all the other members rejoice with it. Remember that the first will be last, and the last first, etc. Those who seat themselves at the front can be sent to the back and vice versa. There are vessels of all kinds, and we are "glorified" whether we end up taking a seat at God's footstool or a place at the right hand of Jesus. (Romans 8:18-25) . . .For I consider that the sufferings of the present time do not amount to anything in comparison with the glory that is going to be revealed in us. 19 For the creation is waiting with eager expectation for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will, but through the one who subjected it, on the basis of hope 21 that the creation itself will also be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 For we know that all creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together until now. 23 Not only that, but we ourselves also who have the firstfruits, namely, the spirit, yes, we ourselves groan within ourselves while we are earnestly waiting for adoption as sons, the release from our bodies by ransom. 24 For we were saved in this hope; but hope that is seen is not hope, for when a man sees a thing, does he hope for it? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we keep eagerly waiting for it with endurance. So maybe Paul is giving ALL of us this idea about accepting the spirit into our hearts, the same spirit that makes Christians adopted as sons. The same spirit that makes all of "brothers." Do you think only the anointed should pray, "Our Father in heaven, let your name be sanctified?" If Jehovah is our Father then we are his children, his sons. We would therefore call him "Abba" in Aramaic. This is not an intimate expression special to the anointed. It does not mean "papa" or "daddy" in some childish sense. It's the word that adults also used in Aramaic to refer to their father respectfully. This is also made clear by what Jesus is recorded as saying in Matthew: (Matthew 23:8, 9) . . .and all of you are brothers. 9 Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father [Aramaic, "Abba"], the heavenly One. It has nothing to do with what the governing body is supposedly saying. Also, the governing body has never said, and will never likely ever say, that the elders are part of the 144,000. The elders will never be considered a part of Christ's body except to the small extent that they represent and help deliver the spiritual food provided by the faithful slave.
  8. At my dad's electronics lab we used to take a large Tesla coil and let the sparks fly out of it holding up a 2-by-4 the same way as above, and watch one of the sparks (like a constant little bolt of lightning) catch onto the board and start to burn a river of carbon until it got too close to our hand. Another thing the Tesla coil could do (besides making my sister's long hair stand on end) was to light up an unconnected fluorescent bulb that I was merely holding in my hand up near the sparks.
  9. When it comes to identifying writings that belong in the inspired canon, we can look to whether the writing reflects the fruitages of the spirit. We can start with what we know, and then build from there using common sense and spiritual principles. First of all, let's say we were to accept the restrictive criteria of modern scholars who don't really care for the spiritual value of the content of scripture. Even these scholars will generally all agree that Paul was the writer of several of the letters, and since Paul wrote them, it must have been between his conversion and his death. Therefore Google would return this on a query about Paul's actual letters: Seven letters (with consensus dates) considered genuine by most scholars: First Thessalonians (c. 50 AD) Galatians (c. 53) First Corinthians (c. 53–54) Philippians (c. 55) Philemon (c. 55) Second Corinthians (c. 55–56) Romans (c. 57) Some would add another book or two, but these are considered to be a core set of Paul's writings that few would argue with. So now we could read these carefully and extrapolate that there is really nothing in Ephesians, Colossians, or 2 Thessalonians that teaches anything different from these books. And we could continue on from there. Any doctrine in those other letters conforms perfectly with the accepted letters. In fact, they could have easily grown out of combinations of writings that congregations from many places had collected from multiple real letters, real speeches, and real sayings. Just as John said of Jesus that many more scrolls could be written of things he did and said, the same could have been true of Paul, whose ministry was probably nearly 10 times longer than that of Jesus. Of course, we also have Luke who said that there were many other Gospels about Jesus. And we have Paul already mentioning that letters might show up "as though from us [Paul and his companions]." The reason to be careful of any of these additional gospels or letters would be if they taught a different doctrine. Paul said that different doctrine should not be accepted, even if it came from an angel out of heaven. This is another way of saying that Paul knew the gospel he preached was authorized by Christ Jesus himself. His "word" or his "gospel" embodied the spirit of Christ. So Paul's core writings can become the touchstone by which we could evaluate the rest of the Christian Greek Scriptures. (And by extension, quotes from Paul referencing the Hebrew Scriptures give us a core set of Hebrew Scritpures to do the same with if anyone were to doubt a core canon of Hebrew Scriptures.) We know that already in the first century there were additional writings that were already beginning to represent Jesus within a different doctrinal structure. Jesus was not being accepted everywhere as a real physical person born in the line of David, who had preached, and been killed under Pontius Pilate, and had been resurrected to heaven. Some were beginning to teach an atheistic version of Jesus who had not really existed or died in a physical sense, but who merely embodied secret knowledge that only a few special teachers could explain. But this actually helps us define the inspired canon. During Paul's life he made clear the full, necessary "gospel" and also made it clear that there were things that others might be saying that were not necessary, or even harmful to that message. (1 Thessalonians 3:12-5:1) . . . 4 Finally, brothers, just as you received instruction from us on how you should walk in order to please God, just as you are in fact walking, we request you and appeal to you by the Lord Jesus to keep doing it more fully. 2 For you know the instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. . . . just as we told you previously and also strongly warned you. . . .9 However, concerning brotherly love, you do not need us to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. . . . 11 Make it your aim to live quietly and to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk decently in the eyes of people outside and not need anything. . . . 18 So keep comforting one another with these words. 5 Now as for the times and the seasons, brothers, you need nothing to be written to you. They needed no more doctrinal instruction. The spirit itself taught them by God how to love one another, and live decently. They needed nothing more to be written about the "times and seasons," either. There was a lot of "falsely called knowledge" being spoken about, but Paul focused on the important part of the Gospel. (1 Corinthians 1:30-2:2) 30 But it is due to him that you are in union with Christ Jesus, who has become to us wisdom from God, also righteousness and sanctification and release by ransom, 31 so that it may be just as it is written: “The one who boasts, let him boast in Jehovah.” 2 So when I came to you, brothers, I did not come with extravagant speech or wisdom declaring the sacred secret of God to you. 2 For I decided not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ, and him executed on the stake. After Paul, teachers would try to gain a following by creating new "knowledge" and "sacred secrets" and use human wisdom to create a Christian "philosophy" or "gnosis" even to the point of denying an actual human Christ who was impaled. It was based on Greek philosophies and human wisdom rather than wisdom from God. But because of this development, we end up with statements about how to identify any writing from the first century that was acceptable and which ones were unacceptable. We can get to the canonicity of 1 John later, but it provides a perfectly good touchstone for identifying additional writings from the first century that were to be considered acceptable. (1 John 4:1-6) 4 Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired statement, but test the inspired statements to see whether they originate with God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 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. 3 But every inspired statement that does not acknowledge Jesus does not originate with God. Furthermore, this is the antichrist’s inspired statement that you have heard was coming, and now it is already in the world. 4 You originate with God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the one who is in union with you is greater than the one who is in union with the world. 5 They originate with the world; that is why they speak what originates with the world and the world listens to them. 6 We originate with God. Whoever comes to know God listens to us; whoever does not originate with God does not listen to us. By this we distinguish the inspired statement of truth from the inspired statement of error. So, based on the well-attested idea that this was written by the end of the first century, it is saying that all known Christian writings up to that time were known to be "inspired" as long as they were not of the type that denied the physical, fleshly existence of Jesus Christ. This is a fairly simple criterion for first century Christian documents. No other significant doctrinal issue was competing with true Christian documents by the end of the first century. This was timely, too, because we know a lot about these gnostic beliefs from about 120 to 300 CE. Paul was in line with this same idea when he said: (1 Corinthians 12:1-3) . . .Now concerning the spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were people of the nations, you were influenced and led astray to those voiceless idols, following wherever they might lead you. 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. Much more to say of course, but this is a long and complex topic.
  10. A very good question. Love believes all things. Of course this doesn't mean we shouldn't also question all things. Believe everything as possibly right, and question everything as possibly wrong. But questioning everything would require every one of us to become scholars. But relying on most scholars can be dangerous too. Most modern scholars these days are not faithful to the Bible as God's word. One excuse is to question the canon itself, and what scholars do accept as canonical for the early Christians is still not considered "inspired." But some common sense that all of us should have will lead us in the right direction. A major concern of yours has been that only a modern-day anointing by holy spirit will explain everything to us, and you always tend to push this off into the future, although you recognize that it is needed now. The person you know as BTK and whom many old-timers here recognize as A.S. has already hit upon one of the keys to recognizing where this "holy spirit" can be found. The "Word of God" is not an expression in the Bible that refers to a specific set of 66 books. When we say the Word of God, we often mean "the Bible" but that's not the use of the expression in the Bible itself. Also, the expression "the spirit" does not always refer to God's active force acting like a separate entity to inspire perfect knowledge. In fact, if one reads Romans and Galatians for example, you can see that Christians have a choice of accepting the spirit or not, and that even those of us who do not consider ourselves "anointed" must strive for the same measure of this holy spirit as those who consider themselves "anointed." (It's quite probable that Allen Smith/Billy the Kid actually does consider himself to be anointed based on several things he has said concerning this topic, but that doesn't change the primary point.) In Galatians, Paul speaks with the same terms he uses in Romans about the "anointing" of holy spirit. He speaks in both Romans and Galatians about the purpose and effect of this anointing. But in Galatians it's clear that the holy spirit must have the same effect in the lives of all Christians. To this extent, all of us must be implanted with the seed of holy spirit. And what grows from that seed of holy spirit counteracts the works of "the flesh." The holy spirit makes certain fruits grow in all of us. Note: (Galatians 3:29-5:26) . . .Moreover, if you belong to Christ, you are really Abraham’s [seed] offspring, heirs with reference to a promise. .. . . 3 Likewise, we too, when we were children, were enslaved by the elementary things of the world. 4 But when the full limit of the time arrived, God sent his Son, who was born of a woman and who was under law, 5 that he might release by purchase those under law, so that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 Now because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, . . . 22 For example, it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the servant girl and one by the free woman; 23 but the one by the servant girl was actually born through natural descent and the other by the free woman through a promise. 24 These things may be taken as a symbolic drama; for these women mean two covenants, the one from Mount Siʹnai, which bears children for slavery and which is Haʹgar. 25 Now Haʹgar means Siʹnai, a mountain in Arabia, and she corresponds with the Jerusalem today, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. . . . 31 So, brothers, we are children, not of a servant girl, but of the free woman. [Chap 5] For such freedom Christ set us free. Therefore, stand firm, and do not let yourselves be confined again in a yoke of slavery. . . . 5 For our part, we are by spirit eagerly waiting for the hoped-for righteousness resulting from faith. . . . 13 You were called to freedom, brothers; only do not use this freedom as an opportunity to pursue fleshly desires, but through love slave for one another. 14 For the entire Law has been fulfilled in one commandment, namely: “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” . . . 16 But I say, Keep walking by spirit and you will carry out no fleshly desire at all. 17 For the flesh is against the spirit in its desire, and the spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you do not do the very things you want to do. 18 Furthermore, if you are being led by spirit, you are not under law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are plainly seen, . . . 22 On the other hand, the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 mildness, self-control. . . . 25 If we are living by spirit, let us also go on walking orderly by spirit. 26 Let us not become egotistical, stirring up competition with one another, envying one another. So the primary purpose of God sending the spirit into the hearts of Christians, a kind of anointing by holy spirit, is so that we will produce the fruitage that grows from that spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness and self-control. LHM highlighted love and faith and added obedience. This is appropriate too, as obedience to one another is a way of walking orderly by spirit. Paul used the expression, "slave for one another" which is also a recognition that we should always be prepared to accept orders from one another, as long as they are in line with love and faith. My point is that by thinking about what this "spirit" produces, we can use common sense to know what we should accept as "inspired." We can see how all of it fits the core teachings that fit the spirit of Christ Jesus. Identifying books to be included in the inspired canon seems to be simpler process that others might be overthinking. It's based on some expected principles and a little common sense. To keep from going on too long, I'll pick up on that point in the next post.
  11. It would seem that the personal goal of persons like Paul, Peter, and John was to get congregations to a point where they would reach that level of maturity. But we see Paul continuing to "shepherd" the congregation, as a kind of "long distance" elder. He is to those congregations what the "governing body" seems to be to current Witness congregations. John, in Revelation, writes to congregations with an idea that Jesus handles each congregation directly, and that they have been "on their own" under the direction of Jesus. They have a need to recognize this direct authority of Jesus, as they make decisions locally about who/what to listen to, and who/what to avoid. (Revelation 2&3). It seems as though the apostles and older men of the first century did indeed act like a kind of governing body (not just in Jerusalem, but in Antioch, and anywhere that Paul, Titus, Timothy, etc. might have served from). But by the time John wrote, it was important to have more reliance on the holy spirit, and the FOUNDATION of the apostles and prophets, who had already been inspired to write the Biblical guidance which came to be seen as the primary content of the scriptural canon. So you can't really get mad at people who wish to imitate these shepherds from the first century to shepherd the congregations today. But you can also see a need for a balanced view since the goal should also continue to be guiding all to rely directly on the words of the Bible already written. Teaching the congregations to be guided by the holy spirit is a more difficult concept because, to most of us, it just means following the Bible, which is our only sure and consistent source of guidance by holy spirit.
  12. Sounds good. Too bad he was just another typical snowflake conservative so fearful of anything close to economic equality. He lied about it ad nauseum, but never could completely backtrack on his support of the dictatorship of Pinochet in Chile. At least it helped him win a Nobel prize. His biggest influence on modern US economy is by practicing what US economists even more blatantly today, to completely ignore built-in, structural, systemic problems of "free-market" capitalism and just treat them as anomalies that didn't really happen. Just like in Chile, he was fearful of what freedom would mean, and in some ways fearful of the very "free-market" capitalism he pretended to represent.
  13. I was only quoting you. It's something that J.B. had said about three times, and I wasn't surprised when 4J said the same thing. Yes, you have to be very careful whom you trust on such matters. Some of these ideas are based on a belief that Paul would not have changed his instructions as the congregations matured. Paul's stance against legalism for example doesn't seem to fit his "rules" about how to identify a deserving widow. Or specific sets of rules about who can be an elder or a ministerial servant. This does not mean that the letters were not "Pauline" however, but it does mean that we should look carefully at why certain statements appear to contradict earlier letters. The case of 2 Peter is a little more serious. It could have been taken from Peter's own writings and turned into a useful letter for the congregations based on earlier letters, but this particular letter was not accepted as Peter's own writings by several early Christian writers. Even Eusebius (300) didn't think it belonged in the canon, although it was always generally admitted that its doctrinal content was exactly what Peter would have written. There is even a good chance that it was Peter's own content, but that many Christians of the time didn't believe it because they didn't like the idea that it implied that it might be another thousand years or so from then when the parousia would actually arrive. At any rate, there is nothing significant in 2 Peter that cannot be found in other Bible books, and the part about the parousia being delayed by another thousand years has been proved true. This is not the topic with which to discuss the canon, or authenticity, but you will see a lot of this when looking to match historical information with early Christian writings, so it can't be totally avoided.
  14. The questions in blue were as follows: There is no proof or reason to believe that the apostles themselves survived as a group until 66. The book of Acts discontinues the use of the phrase "The Twelve" very early in the narrative, and it's probably no coincidence that Acts stops referring to the apostles in Jerusalem at about the time it brings up that Herod killed one of them, James, and then immediately went after Peter. After the apostle James is killed (the brother of John) we never hear about any of the original "Twelve" again except for Peter and John. Tradition has Peter and Paul killed in the 60's, and only John surviving past the 70's. Early Christian writers like Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp and Papias, all give credence to the idea that John survived until about 96 to 100 CE. None of them mention any others as apostles except Paul and Peter who are considered to have died decades earlier. You mentioned James, Jesus' brother, who is mentioned by Josephus, providing a context that would put his death about 62, although Epiphanius apparently thought he died at age 96, and Hegesippus is used to point to a date around 69 CE. Jesus had only asked the apostles to stay in Jerusalem until the outpouring of the holy spirit, which would have been Pentecost, just a couple months after Jesus died. Acts speaks of them staying on a bit longer to take care of some problems of prejudice by Jews against non-Jewish Christians, and therefore making some assignments to make sure the non-Jewish Christians were treated fairly. But after mentioning the assignment of Stephen and the missionary work of Philip and his daughters, there is no more mention of the apostles. But the Jerusalem congregation was still considered to be led by "pillars" who had a lot of respect, just as Paul mentions in Galatians. Paul does not consider them to be a "governing body" however. But he did respect their decisions, even if he considered some of them as wrong. Paul directly contradicts their decision about eating meats that had been sacrificed to idols, which might even throw some question about Paul's stance on eating meats that had not been bled correctly. But Paul definitely supports the stance of the elders in Jerusalem on fornication and idolatry, of course.
  15. Naturally, if it's something that might be historical but isn't found in the Bible itself, the first place you'd look is in the writings of contemporaries of first century Christians like Josephus, Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger You might also try persons who referenced famous persons from the first century in works that referenced say Philo or Gamaliel, etc., even though they died before the Temple was destroyed. The same would go for biographies of the Romans or their military exploits that might reference: Herod Agrippa Cestius Gallus Gessius Florus Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian. (the 5 Roman Emperors between 66 and 70) Then you might try to find references in or about the writings of any of the following historians who might have mentioned something by chance up to within a 100 years of the Jerusalem event: Marcus Cluvius Rufus, (fl. 41–69), Roman history Quintus Curtius Rufus (c. 60–70), Greek history Flavius Josephus (37–100), Jewish history Dio Chrysostom (c. 40 – c. 115 AD), history of the Getae Thallus (early 2nd century AD), Roman history Gaius Cornelius Tacitus (c. 56–120), early Roman Empire Plutarch (c. 46–120), Parallel Lives of important Greeks and Romans Criton of Heraclea (fl. 100), history of the Getae and the Dacian Wars Suetonius (c. 69 – after 122), Roman emperors up to the Flavian dynasty Appian (c. 95 – c. 165), Roman history Arrian (c. 92–175), Greek history Granius Licinianus (2nd century), Roman history Criton of Pieria (2nd century), Greek history Lucius Ampelius (c. 2nd century AD), Roman history Dio Cassius (c. 160 – after 229), Roman history Marius Maximus (c. 160 – c. 230), biographer of Roman emperors Diogenes Laërtius (fl. c. 230), history of Greek philosophers Sextus Julius Africanus (c. 160 – c. 240), early Christian The many Jewish and Jewish Christian writings to check during this period could include those with dates on them that fit the period, as seen on earlyjewishwritings.com and earlychristianwritings.com. Note that the dates are usually considered to be "scholarly" dates, not the dates that Christians assign to them when it comes to the actual NT writings. That requires a whole new discussion, but for now, those writings to check would include the following: (Excuse the formatting issues below. I just copied them from a portion of the list at earlychristianwritings.com. It's a couple years worth of reading. I haven't completed more than a few of them, but have found nothing yet about the flight to Pella/Perea/Decapolis in any of them. The list of writings becomes much longer if you include Christian-related writings all the way up through the 300's when Eusebius and Epiphanius wrote.) 50-95 Signs Gospel 50-95 Book of Hebrews 50-120 Didache 50-140 Gospel of Thomas 50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel 50-150 Apocalypse of Adam 50-150 Eugnostos the Blessed 50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ 65-80 Gospel of Mark 70-100 Epistle of James 70-120 Egerton Gospel 70-160 Gospel of Peter 70-160 Secret Mark 70-200 Fayyum Fragment 70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs 73-200 Mara Bar Serapion 80-100 2 Thessalonians 80-100 Ephesians 80-100 Gospel of Matthew 80-110 1 Peter 80-120 Epistle of Barnabas 80-130 Gospel of Luke 80-130 Acts of the Apostles 80-140 1 Clement 80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians 80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews 80-250 Christian Sibyllines 90-95 Revelation 90-120 Gospel of John 90-120 1 John 90-120 2 John 90-120 3 John 90-120 Epistle of Jude 93 Flavius Josephus 100-150 1 Timothy 100-150 2 Timothy 100-150 Titus 100-150 Apocalypse of Peter 100-150 Secret Book of James 100-150 Preaching of Peter 100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites 100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans 100-160 Shepherd of Hermas 100-160 2 Peter 100-200 Odes of Solomon 100-200 Gospel of Eve 100-230 Thunder, Perfect Mind 101-220 Book of Elchasai 105-115 Ignatius of Antioch 110-140 Polycarp to the Philippians 110-140 Papias 110-160 Oxyrhynchus 840 Gospel 110-160 Traditions of Matthias 111-112 Pliny the Younger 115 Suetonius 115 Tacitus 120-130 Quadratus of Athens 120-130 Apology of Aristides 120-140 Basilides 120-140 Naassene Fragment 120-160 Valentinus 120-180 Apocryphon of John 120-180 Gospel of Mary 120-180 Dialogue of the Savior 120-180 Gospel of the Savior 120-180 2nd Apocalypse of James 120-180 Trimorphic Protennoia 120-180 Gospel of Perfection 120-200 Genna Marias 130-140 Marcion 130-150 Aristo of Pella 130-160 Epiphanes On Righteousness 130-160 Ophite Diagrams 130-160 2 Clement 130-170 Gospel of Judas 130-200 Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus 140-150 Epistula Apostolorum 140-160 Ptolemy 140-160 Isidore 140-170 Fronto 140-170 Infancy Gospel of James 140-170 Infancy Gospel of Thomas 140-180 Gospel of Truth 150-160 Martyrdom of Polycarp 150-160 Justin Martyr 150-180 Excerpts of Theodotus 150-180 Heracleon 150-200 Ascension of Isaiah 150-200 Interpretation of Knowledge 150-200 Testimony of Truth 150-200 Acts of Peter 150-200 Acts of John 150-200 Acts of Paul 150-200 Acts of Andrew 150-225 Acts of Peter and the Twelve 150-225 Book of Thomas the Contender 150-250 Paraphrase of Shem 150-250 Fifth and Sixth Books of Esra 150-300 Authoritative Teaching 150-300 Coptic Apocalypse of Paul 150-300 Prayer of the Apostle Paul 150-300 Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth 150-300 Melchizedek 150-350 Preaching of Paul 150-350 Epistle to the Laodiceans 150-350 Questions of Mary 150-350 Allogenes, the Stranger 150-350 Hypsiphrone 150-350 Valentinian Exposition 150-350 Act of Peter 150-360 Concept of Our Great Power 150-400 Acts of Pilate 150-400 Anti-Marcionite Prologues 150-400 Dialogue Between John and Jesus 160-170 Tatian's Address to the Greeks 160-180 Claudius Apollinaris 160-180 Apelles 160-180 Julius Cassianus 160-250 Octavius of Minucius Felix 161-180 Acts of Carpus 165-175 Melito of Sardis 165-175 Hegesippus 165-175 Dionysius of Corinth 165-175 Lucian of Samosata 167 Marcus Aurelius 170-175 Diatessaron 170-200 Dura-Europos Gospel Harmony 170-200 Muratorian Canon 170-200 Treatise on the Resurrection 170-220 Letter of Peter to Philip 170-230 Thought of Norea 175-180 Athenagoras of Athens 175-185 Irenaeus of Lyons 175-185 Rhodon 175-185 Theophilus of Caesarea 175-190 Galen 178 Celsus 178 Letter from Vienna and Lyons 180 Passion of the Scillitan Martyrs 180-185 Theophilus of Antioch 180-185 Acts of Apollonius
  16. (Matthew 24:15, 16) 15 “Therefore, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken about by Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place (let the reader use discernment), 16 then let those in Ju·deʹa begin fleeing to the mountains. (Mark 13:14) 14 “However, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation standing where it should not be (let the reader use discernment), then let those in Ju·deʹa begin fleeing to the mountains. (Luke 21:20-28) 20 “However, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near. 21 Then let those in Ju·deʹa begin fleeing to the mountains, let those in the midst of her leave, and let those in the countryside not enter into her, 22 because these are days for meting out justice in order that all the things written may be fulfilled. 23 Woe to the pregnant women and those nursing a baby in those days! For there will be great distress on the land and wrath against this people. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled. 25 “Also, there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth anguish of nations not knowing the way out because of the roaring of the sea and its agitation. 26 People will become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But as these things start to occur, stand up straight and lift up your heads, because your deliverance is getting near.” The words of Mark and Matthew implied that the Romans would have come right up to the Temple to defile it, and that this was the time to leave as quickly as possible. We know from Josephus that Jews read Daniel's "abomination of desolation" to be based on Antiochus IV, who: according to common knowledge had done as follows, 200 years earlier: In 168 BC, the Greek king Antiochus IV Epiphanes invaded Jerusalem and captured the city. He marched into the Jewish temple, erected a statue of the Greek god Zeus, and sacrificed a pig on the altar of incense. This provoked a revolt in Judea as the Jews fought to remove Antiochus’ sacrilege from the temple.
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    But Titus did not do anything akin to this in 66. Although in 70, he did. You can see almost direct evidence of this today by looking at the Arch of Titus. In that year, the Roman general Titus invaded Jerusalem to crush a Jewish revolt, entered the temple, had the building destroyed, and carried off the lampstand and other temple artifacts to Rome. So, it seems likely that it was not specifically anything in 66 (in Jesus' prophecy) that would have triggered a fleeing to Pella, nor does anyone who believed in a Pella flight actually time it to 66. Cestius Gallus did plunder the Temple [funds] and it resulted in a counter-attack by the Jews that was mostly successful. So this was an excellent time to leave, and both Jews and Romans got out of the city at that time. Wikipedia says: The Roman governor, Gessius Florus, responded by plundering the Second Temple, claiming the money was for the Emperor, and the next day launching a raid on the city, arresting numerous senior Jewish figures. This prompted a wider, large-scale rebellion and the Roman military garrison of Judaea was quickly overrun by the rebels, while the pro-Roman king Herod Agrippa II, together with Roman officials, fled Jerusalem. As it became clear the rebellion was getting out of control, Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, brought in the Syrian army, based on Legion XII Fulminata and reinforced by auxiliary troops, to restore order and quell the revolt. Despite initial advances and the conquest of Jaffa, the Syrian Legion was ambushed and defeated by Jewish rebels at the Battle of Beth Horon with 6,000 Romans massacred and the Legion's aquila lost. But at that point, Christians would have many months of opportunities to leave the city between 66 and the actual surrounding of Jerusalem in 70. 66 fits some of what Jesus said, but it was not a case so desperate that one would be unable to even grab a coat from inside your house. That was more like the situation just before Passover in 70. This is probably why Eusebius, who had read both Josephus and knew the Bible very well, believed the fleeing to Pella to be based on an angelic revelation.
  17. Using the quotes extracted from Eusebius and Epaphanius in a Wiki article
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    It might be interesting to note that the impetus to leave Jerusalem and go to Pella was not specifically credited to Jesus' prophecy in Matthew/Mark/Luke, but to an angel, or a specific oracle/revelation/prophecy given just before the war. This would put it on par with the prophecy of Agabus (Acts 11:27, 28) . . .In those days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them named Agʹa·bus stood up and foretold through the spirit that a great famine was about to come on the entire inhabited earth, which, in fact, did take place in the time of Claudius. This is a curious report then by Eusebius, that he doesn't tie it to Matthew 24, or Luke 21, for example. (Epiphanius may have "corrected" this nearly 100 years after Eusebius, when he credited the flight to Jesus warning about the city being surrounded.) The idea that the command only went to those in the city who were worthy, might also imply that there were reports that some [less worthy] Christians had died in Jerusalem's destruction. Epaphanius had referenced Jesus' prophecy in his book Panarion, but in "Weights and Measures" he pretty much agreed with Eusebius:
  18. Unfortunately, this has been going on even from the time that the scriptures were written, or at least from very shortly after the NT was completed. This means that even the very idea that there had been an escape to Pella might just be from persons with their own agenda. The best evidence that comes down to us is from Eusebius of Caesarea and Epiphanius of Salamis. Eusebius wrote his "Ecclesiastical History" (Church History) between about 300 and 325. Epiphanius would have written "Panarion" around 375. We don't know what, if anything, was written on this topic between 70 CE and 300 CE. So this might be a little like someone just now trying to make a story about what direction we believe small bands of native Americans (Indians) ran to in 1775 in upstate NY when Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold were capturing the guns at the British Fort Ticonderoga (which would just precede a siege of Boston and the building of a fortification of stakes around parts of that city). The "American Indians" were not a big part of that story, so there is very little written down about what they did. If someone came up with a new story about it 200 to 250 years later, we might not put much trust in it. But, then again, we might assume that there were some verbal or even written records that could be gathered up from various families in the area, and that there was some truth to such a story. We have some evidence that the apostles generally stayed in Jerusalem, per Jesus' instructions just after he was resurrected. In Galatians (and corroborated in Corinthians) Paul mentions a period of 14 years after his conversion when he finally goes to Jerusalem to meet with the apostles. If Paul converted before 36, then this refers to a time prior to 50 CE., when at least some apostles were still there. Peter and John are mentioned specifically, and James who was also mentioned had not been considered an apostle. Acts also does not mention any additional apostles (except Peter and James) still alive or around at this time. If there had been an instruction to all the apostles to stay in Jerusalem, for the purpose of forming an apostolic group to study the scriptures and devote themselves to prayer, then it may have already accomplished its purpose and broken up before 50 CE. We hear of the "The Twelve" in Acts 6, still in Jerusalem, when they send out Stephen and Philip, for example. (Still prior to Paul's conversion.) By chapter 8 of Acts we hear about the group of "apostles in Jerusalem," and how both Peter and John had been sent to Samaria (and we know from Galatians that Peter had gone as far as Antioch). But by chapter 11 of Acts we only hear of some older men in Jerusalem and only one apostle there, Peter. By the time we reach 11:29 we only hear about the effect of the famine on "the brothers living in Judea." This matches about the same timing as Paul spoke of in Galatians and elsewhere when Paul brought collections back to the brothers in Jerusalem "keeping the poor in mind." Then in the next verses of Acts (Acts 12:1-3) we see that Herod has just put the Apostle James (brother of John) to death (not the same James of "James, Peter, and John" in Galatians) and goes after Peter. After the destruction, we see John the apostle up around the isle of Patmos, but this could have been an exile from anywhere, not necessarily Jerusalem. So, we really don't know how long the apostles stayed together in Jerusalem, or whether Herod broke that up even prior to the work of Paul and Barnabas, that brought them to Jerusalem (Acts 15). No Bible writer mentions Pella. I don't think there is anyone we know about who mentioned anything about a flight to Pella until 200 years later. There are plenty of letters and stories and other Christian writings between 70 and 300, but no evidence about Pella. Still, we have the history (through Josephus) of the attack on Jerusalem, and the fact that the Romans started to attack in 66 and then decided to withdraw and not come back until they were ready to wage the war from start to finish in 70. Perhaps no Christians left in 66, although this seems like the time that would fit best. It's possible that most Christians had already left during Herod's persecution. It's possible that most Christians left just as the final approach was being made in 70 around the time of the Passover. The most "ideal" story says that Christians recognized Jesus warning when Jerusalem was approached in 66, and that they then left and stayed away for about a 3-and-a-half year period until Jerusalem was destroyed with its Temple in 70. But we have no evidence from Josephus or anyone else about that. It might also be wishful thinking to believe that no Christians were killed during the destruction of Jerusalem, as Epiphanius claimed 300 years later. As to the idea that John was the only apostle alive after 70, there is an interesting passage in John that seems to refer to his age and the timing of the parousia. (John 21:20-24) . . .Peter turned around and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, . . . 21 So when he caught sight of him, Peter said to Jesus: “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him: “If it is my will for him to remain until I come, of what concern is that to you? You continue following me.” 23 So the saying went out among the brothers that this disciple would not die. However, Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but he said: “If it is my will for him to remain until I come, of what concern is that to you?” 24 This is the disciple who gives this witness about these things and who wrote these things, and we know that his witness is true. I like your questions and there is much more to say about them, but I'll stop for now.
  19. I just went to that topic for the first time, and it looks like an admin locked it. Too bad, it might have been entertaining. I can understand how JTR feels about this topic, as it has been played out so many times with various interpretations. I have a great interest in what it would have meant to the Bible writers who included the idea, what it would have meant to the first hearers and readers. All scripture is beneficial for teaching, and things that befell earlier generations of God's people were often written as warning examples for the rest of us in later generations. This does not mean we must find a later "fulfillment," specifically, but we should be able to discern warnings, examples, and lessons for our day, because we all go through similar trials. There is nothing new under the sun. The Bible clearly speaks of the last days starting in the first century. Paul warned Timothy about why persons in Timothy's congregation(s) were acting the way they were (men will be lovers of themselves, without natural affection, not open to any agreement, etc.). Paul explained to Timothy that this was to be expected back there in the first century because they were living in the "last days" when "critical times hard to deal with" were to be expected. Peter and Jude also explain that people in the first century would be ridiculing the "delay" of the parousia. And the reason this was expected was that Jesus had predicted that such attitudes would be prevalent in the last days. The book of Hebrews starts out identifying the time the Christians were living in as "the last days." (The exact same expression "last days" found in Timothy.) Peter reads Joel's prophecy in Acts 2 to explain that what happened at Pentecost was a sign of the last days. And John in his letters identifies those times as the last days. Even the book of Revelation speaks of how Daniel was a sealed up book, but it is being revealed through John because they had now reached the last days when it was time for those prophecies to be unsealed. So there was something very "big" about the fulfillment of the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century. This was the generation that saw the judgment which meant the transferring of the Messianic kingdom over to Christians who needed not to have ever been involved in Judaism. This was the birth of a new nation. It was every bit as important to world history as when Jehovah chose Abraham for a promised nation to come from his loins. That generation likely saw the major fulfillment of all those prophecies of Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah and Revelation and Matthew 23 and 24. The fulfillment left for us is the overall "lesson" that Israel went through, but I don't think that we should be looking for any additional specific fulfillments. If there were additional fulfillments to look for today, prior to Armageddon, then the day could not come as a thief. (Of course, there MIGHT be specific fulfillments predicted in Scripture, but if so, they should not be of the kind that we could discern in advance or else this would conflict with the Great Day coming as a thief.) Of course, some will argue that even if specific prophecies are not predictable by the world (in darkness) that Paul said that the day should not overtake us (children of light) as a thief would. But that doesn't refer to prophecy, it just means that we are not going to be overwhelmed with fear, because we expect it at any time, and are prepared in the sense that we continue to watch the kind of person we ought to be at all times. But it still comes as a thief, even while persons are commenting on how things are peaceful and secure. Jesus and Peter say the same thing when they spoke of how life would be going on just as it was in Noah's day and Lot's day, as things had always gone on "from creation's beginning" until now. Also, I think if we look closely at Daniel, Revelation, etc., that it becomes even clearer that we have no need to try to identify any current players as King of the North or South.
  20. It seems unlikely to me too. But although I don't expect any brothers to be underhanded, I have already seen evidence of underhandedness in this area. And it is always in the direction of making sure the WTS doesn't look as bad as it would have looked, had the spirit of the law been followed. This probably helped the WTS reputation during the years when nearly everyone else (colleges, NDA's, Vatican) was doing the same. Today, however, there are still cases even from relatively recently where the WTS goal appears to have been as follows: Don't allow a case to go public unless absolutely legally necessary, and if it seems like invoking clergy privilege can help avoid allowing a case to go public, then argue that, too. Before revealing something to authorities yourself, always find out if you legally are required to, first. The current Watchtower view and process is excellent because it recognizes that in the current state of affairs, this would be seen as a very shortsighted goal. "The end would be worse than the beginning" if any concealing from public scrutiny might be seen as a cover-up. To my mind, and I could be wrong, Australian cases already showed signs of being managed in an "underhanded" way, when it appeared that this data matched the claims and the sense I was getting from cases that were referenced and discussed, and the admissions of the elders who were questioned. I would agree with CC that it's not likely all of these cases represented actual crimes, but even accounting for that, not one of the actual crimes was ever reported to proper authorities. But I'm also trying to understand some additional informatin I was made aware of through a personal contact, now at Warwick. It was that the former Branch Overseer of Australia, who would have been questioned by the ARC, had fled the country/continent. I was even told what country he went to. Later I heard online reports (likely from ex-JWs) matching this "gossip" from an elder at Warwick, plus an additional online report (no additional confirmation) of a second Branch "official" who also fled the country.
  21. This could easily be true. It's also possible that a JW in good standing at the Australian Branch leaked it. It's also possible that it was cleaned up to make it look like many fewer Elders and MS were involved. Some things seem very unlikely to us because we all have preconceived ideas about what such data would look like. I responded when I saw this because the word "proof" and "proves" were being used. This is evidence, not proof. I think that JTR recognized this when he said we needed "hard data." None of us collected the evidence. None of us produced the spreadsheet. I'm confident that this is good evidence, but that doesn't make it proof. For example, we don't know but that perhaps all Elders and MS were supposed to have been mostly removed from that sheet before it was handed over. This seems unlikely, but things like this have happened. Statistics are often manipulated. On a much more minor topic I gave my own experience where I was "in the room where it happened" as one particular statistic was changed so that the WTS appeared to have a better report than it actually got when the statistic was announced. Also, TTH, the abusers reported were not 100% clergy in all the other reports given over to the ARC. In fact, some of the commentary about other entities run by churches, but not by clergy were part of the investigation. Outside of the ARC, I have only followed a few cases haphazardly, but I saw several reports where I could tell they were not just including "clergy." The Southern Baptist cases, for example, included many church volunteers along with clergy. Wikipedia says: On February 10, 2019, the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News published an investigative report into widespread sexual abuse within member churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. The report found since 1998, roughly 380 clergy, lay leaders and volunteers had faced allegations of sexual misconduct, leaving behind over 700 victims.[1]
  22. I get the impression that other ex-JWs, too, would like to give the impression that the majority of abuse is committed by elders (Mark O'Donnell, for example) even if they know better. It's an unbalanced view.
  23. "They" is a very wide ranged group, if you are talking about all ex-JWs. But it's not likely true that an ex-JW will automatically have a more balanced view. Something could have driven them to leave the JWs, or perhaps they just drifted away, or perhaps something they did resulted in their being identified as no longer associated. In any case I can see the strong possibility of the ex-JW being angry about being "forced" into a situation he or she may not have wanted. I think that's a much stronger motive for a lack of a balanced view. And even if not, I have seem exJWs with terribly unbalanced views. I believe you yourself have admitted to some unbalanced views such as not trusting anyone, not even your wife.

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