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JW Insider

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  1. Many communities in the US have websites where one only needs to type in a name and address and if you are a registered voter it tells you where to vote and displays some information about your registration. No one else but the voter is supposed to use this information. In the US, it should be very unusual for elders to "know" that someone in the congregation is a registered voter without misusing data.
  2. That's why, when I have taken on any consulting work that makes use of VRDB, DHCR, RSA, BLS, Property Tax rolls, Census data, etc, I always jumble any names to be unreadable before collapsing to tables or linking the tables for queries and analysis. Legally I don't have to, but this is done to reduce liability in case a laptop is stolen or I need subcontractors. Also, that wasn't a photo image when I shared a part of the data file layout here. It is editable text, but it only shows some of the 200 or so fields.
  3. There are other ways --for free-- to get names tied to addresses tied to phone numbers, and these are usually about to 90% up to date. When you sort them by address you can get entire apartment complexes. My son is an attorney and merely requested them through FOIA and has on separate occasions, obtained the entire counties of Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Nassau (Long Island). You can't legally use the data for any specific non-political purpose, and you definitely can't use it to look up specific people one might wish to know about. But, if I looked at it closely, I could even tell you whether a specific Witness voted in a previous election.
  4. I have so far found all of his work to be thoughtful and well researched. It looks like he uses every opportunity on almost any Biblical topic to try to support the WTS research against the "accepted" scholarship as far as he is able. He defends Daniel, Esther, Darius, Artaxerxes, Exodus, Job, Noah, etc., against the common claims of most modern critical scholars. I have found almost everything he's written to be quite interesting. His work on the Divine Name is some of the best support of the pronunciation Jehovah I have seen. Others have tried to defend the pronunciation Jehovah (Yehovah) but with a lot of crackpot claims and methods to get attention (Nehemia Gordon, etc.). Also, I think CC is referring to Pekka Mansikka, but you will have to make up your own mind on him. I found his "logic" to be so non-existent that I gave up trying to discuss his claims. But perhaps others will find something useful there, too.
  5. These types of presentations are always quite interesting. Thanks.
  6. That's exactly why I chose that word carefully.
  7. Yes. Unfortunately, I believe he has been "threatened" in different ways by both "academia" (not academia.edu) and by the WTS. His bio on Academia.edu shows how his Doctoral thesis was rejected because of his religion, considered fundamentalist by the university: In 2005, I took a Master's degree in Biblical Hebrew with Dominique Gonnet:
      Hello guest!
    and I started a thesis in archaeology and history of ancient worlds at the Maison de l'Orient, University of Lyon 2, under the supervision of Professor Pierre Villard. —December 2007. The defense of my thesis was postponed to an undetermined date when my thesis director was informed of my religion. He nevertheless agreed to transfer it to INALCO under the supervision of Daniel Bodi. —December 2009. The defense was cancelled when the director of the doctoral school opposed my registration by explaining to my thesis director that she did not want her university to endorse a “fundamentalist”.
  8. Which means, when translated: Apostates invariably end up where they belong - in the gutter [I guess it's not as funny if you have to explain it.]
  9. I don't think it suggests that. It's a review of his reign of 55 years. He could have done evil in only a few of those years and the verse would make just as much sense. Or perhaps a king could remain good for most of his reign but it's the reputation he made before the end of his life that counts here. Solomon, ironically, is credited with these verses: (Ecclesiastes 7:1, 2) . . .A good name is better than good oil, and the day of death is better than the day of birth. 2 Better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting, for that is the end of every man, and the living should take it to heart. It's an interesting topic however, because "a boy" was not considered to necessarily know the difference between good and bad: (Isaiah 7:15, 16) 15 He will eat butter and honey by the time that he knows how to reject the bad and choose the good. 16 For before the boy knows how to reject the bad and choose the good, the land of the two kings whom you dread will be completely abandoned.
  10. I heard about that particular exchange. Or at least that such shenanigans had been reported on by Joe Rogan. (I don't really know much about the two being interviewed.) My older son is a lawyer who came by to help my wife and I do some gardening/planting today, and by coincidence he was quoting Joe Rogan today. I knew generally about some of the bogus academic papers, but had never listened closely enough to know exactly what these were about. It's a shame what kind of hypocrisy and shallow thinking can make up swaths of academia. I couldn't care much less about modern gender issues, but the shallowness and hypocrisy of publishing what people want to hear has infected many other ideologies -- and has manipulated attitudes toward ideologies and their supposed "opposites." And of course, this can be taken advantage of by those who know what's going on, sometimes to promote something true, but usually with only enough truth to help leverage a more sinister agenda. Discovering "truth" becomes a bit more complex when we realize that even the studies and statistics it's supposedly based on can easily be misused -- or just made up out of thin air. Starting with the conclusion and working backwards (or "creating" evidence) to make it believable has become such a common practice in support of ideology.
  11. @xero Good call on the Vox Day SJW book. The idea that "SJWs always lie" isn't exactly true, but when they do, they seem to have no choice but to double-down if called out (as Vox Day says) and I've never seen such projection and blame-shifting (as Vox Day says). My son's most recent college experience found that SJWs are pretty much able to ruin any discussion about anything, and they'll feel proud of themselves in so doing.
  12. I don't know exactly what you mean by this, Pudgy, but it reminds of how easy it is to revert to the thinking and words of old 19th century White Supremacists in the USA (and elsewhere, and else-times). In the next tab over, I'm currently reading a 19th Century history of a Southern U.S. county where the author decries the fact that colonists were living as deplorable "slaves" to England before fighting for their freedom. And yet, he says the slaves from Africa needed the United States and slave-owning Christians because of the slaves' innate limited mental capacity, lack of family bonds, and lack of resources. He remarks upon the deplorable conditions in Africa, where they were without civilization. But he appears to forget that it was Whites who were deliberately suppressing slaves' mental growth, suppressing natural parenting and family units, and suppressing all their resources. Over time, some of the richest countries in the world were turned into the poorest countries so that Whites and Westerners could control the rich resources. [This is just one example. It is not ONLY Whites and Westerners who have done this and are still doing this. They were just a prime and long-standing example of groups who used the same kinds of analogies you used above as justification.]
  13. Another problem, of course, is trying to make a temporary loss of a vicious, pagan, gentile throne somehow be fulfilled as the temporary loss of a Davidic Messianic non-Gentile throne, so that the restoration of wicked Nebuchadnezzar to his pagan throne pictured the return of Jesus to sit on his Messianic throne. Nelson Barbour and Charles Russell and George Storrs, and others, probably didn't realize the depth of sacrilege in this idea. Imagine if Jesus had started out a parable like this: The kingdom of heavens is to be likened to a vicious, pagan, haughty king who killed Jewish people by the tens of thousands with the sword, took many as captives, starved the Jewish people to the point that they ended up eating one another, and burned down the Temple of Jehovah, and then ended the reign of Jewish royalty in the following manner: (2 Kings 25:6, 7) . . .Then they seized the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Ribʹlah, and they passed sentence on him. 7 They slaughtered Zed·e·kiʹah’s sons before his eyes; then Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar blinded Zed·e·kiʹah’s eyes, bound him with copper fetters, and brought him to Babylon. But then this wicked, haughty pagan king was himself humiliated by being forced to eat like a beast for 7 years so that he finally had to admit that Jehovah is the true God who is the one with final control over the rulers of mankind. Is that really like the Son of Man? Is that really to be likened to the Kingdom of Heaven?
  14. Yes, sort of. Nothing wrong in taking it that way. But, in actuality the Hebrew word we translate "weeks" is just the equivalent of "sevens." Here are some web examples, and there are dozens more: Learn about the history of this passage commonly known as "The Seventy Sevens" Daniel 9:20-27 – The Prophecy of the Seventy Sevens In Daniel 9:24,Gabriel specified the time period for the fulfillment of the prophecy as “seventy weeks” or more literally "seventy sevens" (šābuʿîm šibʿīm). According to Young, "Most expositors find here a week of 7 years duration, a total of 490 years."27 Support for weeks of literal years includes the following. (1) Daniel's Jewish audience was acquainted with both weeks of days and years. The latter concluded with the sabbatical year that allowed the land to rest (cf. Lev.25:1–7).28 Of the two, only weeks of years is a valid option in this context.29 Technically, "sevens" could refer to 7 days, 7 years, even 7 weeks. It could be any period of sevens. The The "Festival of Sevens" which we translate as the "Festival of Weeks" could be seen as a Festival celebrating the Seven Sevens that totaled 49 days (Seven * Seven). This was the Seven Sevens of Harvest, or week of sevens, or seven of weeks. It's all the same. Note that from the Hebrew, Deuteronomy 16:9,10 could also be translated: (Deuteronomy 16:9, 10) . . .“You should count off seven [sevens]. You should begin counting off seven [sevens] from the time you first put the sickle to the standing grain. 10 Then you are to celebrate the Festival of [Sevens]. . . Note, too: *** it-1 p. 1041 Harvest *** Evidently with reference to the seven weeks of harvesting between the Festival of Unfermented Cakes and the Festival of Pentecost, Jeremiah describes Jehovah as “the One who guards even the prescribed weeks [sevens] of the harvest for us,” . . . —Jer 5:24; compare Am 4:7. The 49 days, plus Nisan 15, made a total of 50 days, and so the Festival of "Sevens" was therefore translated with the word, "Pentecost" which means "Fiftieth [day]" in the Christian Greek scriptures. But Daniel's term 70 "Sevens", already referred to 70 Weeks of Years in this case. There is no need to translate as if it must have meant 70 seven-day weeks -- and then with an additional need to apply a day-for-a-year formula to turn the days of those seventy sevens from 490 days to 490 years. They were already weeks of years, already 490 years without any formula. They is no need to first reference 490 days. (Of course, there is another problem with the original premise in that historically, there is no evidence that the "word went out" in 455 BCE. That date was produced only by working backwards from 36 CE, since 455 BCE plus 490 years brings you to 36 CE. There is really no evidence for 455 BCE. But that's a completely different issue.) So we don't need a day-for-a-year formula in Daniel, and we don't need to think that prophecies with a stated fulfillment need to have two fulfillments. For that matter, what then is the second fulfillment of the 490-years prophecy? Was there some fulfillment of a 490-days prophecies we never learned about?
  15. There is something rather distasteful when one tries to apply the expression about Jehovah allowing an "operation of error" being allowed for anyone's benefit. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12) . . .But the lawless one’s presence is according to the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and portents 10 and with every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth that they might be saved. 11 So that is why God lets an operation of error go to them, that they may get to believing the lie, 12 in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness. (James 1:13-15) . . .let no one say: “I am being tried by God.” For with evil things God cannot be tried, nor does he himself try anyone. 14 But each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn sin, when it has been carried out, brings forth death. I know that sincere Watchtower writers have written that it was a good thing that the Watchtower made the past mistake about Romans 13. Because it supposedly made us less respectful of secular authorities at a time when we needed to be less respectful, or it made it easier for us to stand up to draft issues, or something like that. And, of course, similar rationales were claimed for the failures of 1914, 1918, 1925 and have been tried for the 1975 issues, too: that it was a test and a filter, etc. We can probably expect similar things to be said about the overlapping groups in "this generation," too, if time allows. That's clearly correct. When I was first introduced to the problems of our chronology, this is one of the first things impressed upon me by a member of the GB and by a couple members of the Writing Dept. Daniel Sydlik was the most outspoken about the need to just scrap everything about our chronology to start from scratch. But he also spoke to me about how the tongue is a fire and it can set a whole woodland on fire. Although I couldn't verify it until months later, a couple of brothers in the Writing Department told me that Sydlik wasn't the only member of the GB who felt this way. But at the time, I thought the chronology was so important that I asked how they could stay if they believed the chronology was wrong. Later when I looked at the Bible evidence myself, my question changed to: "Well, why don't they just make the change?" Of course, the answer was that proposing such a change could get you DF'd. But they also said that because many Witnesses think of the chronology as a "core" doctrine, as a foundation, that it's too big of a change. One brother always said that if you pull this out from under them, they don't have enough to fall back upon. They assumed that by continuing to write articles that tried to build faith in other core teachings, that they could do much more good inside the organization than outside. So they were careful to keep relatively quiet unless asked directly. In the congregation, I try to take that same counsel to heart. We can always do more good from inside than from outside, even if we never talk about these specific doctrines at all. But for the sake of my own conscience, I think it's good to try to prepare ourselves for a significant change when more people realize that the chronology is not something we will always be able to fall back on. So I think it's also a good idea to bring it up now and then, but not in a way that makes waves. My guess is that this is true. Ones who leave and don't come back seem quite likely to lose spirituality, although I'd also guess that any exceptions are likely not the ones who try to make their voice shout back to us. (Witness thinks that most all the good/true anointed must come through the WTS organization as their test.) A bit disturbing, again, in the face of scripture: (Romans 8:14, 15) 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. . .
  16. And here we start with the creation of chaos and mudslinging. If you see Trinity in those verses you need to read them again. Note: (Revelation 1:1) . . .A revelation by Jesus Christ, which God gave him,. . .
  17. Actually, Jesus is called "king of those who rule as kings" by Paul, and "ruler of the kings of the earth" by John before any visions of the future, and before being swept into "the Lord's day" which Watchtower publications identify as the time from 1914 on. Look at the context, and notice that this is the introduction, in the present tense. (Revelation 1:4-6) . . .May you have undeserved kindness and peace from “the One who is and who was and who is coming,” and from the seven spirits that are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, “the Faithful Witness,” “the firstborn from the dead,” and “the Ruler of the kings of the earth.” To him who loves us and who set us free from our sins by means of his own blood— 6 and he made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father—yes, to him be the glory and the might forever. Amen. Was Jesus not already "the Faithful Witness" or was that just future? Was Jesus not already "the firstborn from the dead" or was that just future? Was Jesus not already "the one who loves us and set us free from sins by means of his own blood" or was that just future? And of course this rationalizing away of Revelation 1:5, doesn't explain away any of the other verses, quoted.
  18. How? When Jesus became king and sat on the throne he was already king. It's true he had to wait until the proper time to conquer all enemies, as the last enemy death would not be conquered until the thousand years would be ended. But that doesn't mean that he wasn't ruling in the midst of those enemies before they would be conquered. We don't say that when a king sits on his throne that he is not really a king yet, and that sitting on a throne just means waiting until you get the title a second time. Therefore Paul could replace the term "sit at my right hand" with "rule as king." Watch how Paul did this: (Psalm 110:1) Jehovah declared to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand Until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.” (1 Corinthians 15:25) 25 For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. So, if the apostle Paul was correct, then "sit at my right hand" meant exactly the same thing as "rule as king."
  19. Obviously, Jesus could not use discernment therefore when it came to understanding the book of Daniel. [sarcasm] I guess that's because the last days hadn't begun. That understanding of Daniel could only be understood, I suppose, after 1914 when the Last Days were supposedly upon us. But wait! It was understood exactly this way by Nelson Barbour in 1872 and seen as a possibility by "Reverend" Elliott even in 1844. That must be because the "Last Days" for Barbour and Russell started in 1799. 1914 was NOT embedded in the book of Daniel. Daniel says nothing about the Gentile Times. Therefore, Daniel never says anything about "7 times of the Gentiles." Daniel never even alludes to a day for a year. The closest that Daniel comes to doing so is when Daniel changes 70 years to 490 years by making 1 year become 7 years (a week of years), which is the same as "1 day = 7 days." But Daniel would have been using 365.25 day years there according to the Watchtower, where these 70 years (*7=490 years) run from 455 BCE to 36 CE. But even though Daniel never tries to put a "timing" on the "times of the Gentiles" another apocalypse does put a timing on the times of the Gentiles. That's Revelation 11:2,3 (Luke 21:24) . . .the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled. (Revelation 11:2, 3) . . .the nations, and they will trample the holy city underfoot for 42 months. 3 I will cause my two witnesses to prophesy for 1,260 days dressed in sackcloth.” It's easy to see that the appointed times are given as 42 months, or 1,260 days (which is 3.5 times). You'll notice that the NWT references this verse in Luke back to Daniel 4 in the cross-references even though Daniel 4 never alludes to Jerusalem, or the nations, or trampling. But the NWT will not dare to cross-reference this verse to or from this verse in Revelation, a verse that definitely does allude to it: ------------- BTW, if anyone wants to see a technical mistake/change/anomaly in the Watchtower CD, search on the word Jerusalem and notice that it comes up 4 times in Revelation. But one of those verses never uses the word Jerusalem. It highlights the word "Zion" in Revelation 14:1. If you search every instance of Jerusalem you will not only get Jerusalem, but also every instance of Zion and Salem, too. (Zion in Mt 21:5; Jn 12:15; Rm 9:33; 11:26; Hb 12:22 1Pt 2:6; Rv 14:1 and Salem in Hebrews 7:1,2). Unfortunately, you can't search on just Salem or Zion without all 1,400 instances of Jerusalem coming up.
  20. Don't forget the apostle John and the apostle Paul and Matthew: (Revelation 1:5) 5 and from Jesus Christ, “the Faithful Witness,” “the firstborn from the dead,” and “the Ruler of the kings of the earth.”. . . (1 Timothy 6:14, 15) . . .until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which the happy and only Potentate will show in its own appointed times. He is the King of those who rule as kings and Lord of those who rule as lords. . . (1 Corinthians 15:24-27) . . .. 25 For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. 26 And the last enemy, death, is to be brought to nothing. 27 For God “subjected all things under his feet.” But when he says that ‘all things have been subjected,’ it is evident that this does not include the One who subjected all things to him. (Ephesians 1:20, 21) . . .which he exercised toward Christ when he raised him up from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above every government and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named, not only in this system of things but also in that to come. Also the writer of Hebrews, possibly also Paul: (Hebrews 1:3) . . .and he sustains all things by the word of his power. And after he had made a purification for our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. . . (Hebrews 1:8) . . .But about the Son, he says: “God is your throne forever and ever, and the scepter of your Kingdom is the scepter of uprightness. . . (Hebrews 2:7-9) . . .you crowned him with glory and honor, and appointed him over the works of your hands. 8 All things you subjected under his feet.” By subjecting all things to him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Now, though, we do not yet see all things in subjection to him. 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made a little lower than angels, now crowned with glory and honor for having suffered death, . . . And Matthew: (Matthew 28:18) . . .Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth. And Hebrews again: (Hebrews 6:20-7:3) . . .in the manner of Mel·chizʹe·dek forever. 7 For this Mel·chizʹe·dek, king of Saʹlem, priest of the Most High God, . . . First, his name is translated “King of Righteousness,” and then also king of Saʹlem, that is, “King of Peace.” 3 . . . but being made like the Son of God. . . I have seen you flail and sling mud and try to cause chaos rather than attempt to answer these questions: When Jesus received all authority in the first century, when did he receive more authority? What made Jesus a priest like Melchizedek if he was not also a king and priest at the same time?
  21. From what the owner has actually said, he (or she?) claims NOT to be a JW.
  22. Good suggestions. Of course, without getting into any of the specific details of those topics here, I think those suggestions can be properly discussed under this heading about individual and collective conscience. Let's say that after consideration of the Bible principles involved along with prayer and meditation, a Witness conscientiously believes that he should speak up about a potentially wrong teaching. Let's say, for example, it was anywhere from 1966 through 1973, and the Witness saw too much improper speculation about the end of 6000 years of human existence in 1975, or the length of a generation after 1914. Or let's say it was 1919 through 1925 and the Witness/BibleStudent saw too much improper speculation about 1925. Or anywhere from 1878 through 1914, when he or she saw too much improper speculation about what would happen in 1914. Or let's say it was 1929 through 1962 and the Witness saw that there was too much emphasis on the misapplication of Romans 13:1-7. The conscience of an individual Witness might tell him he must speak up whenever he sees brothers going astray. (Romans 15:14) . . .Now I myself am convinced about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are also full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and that you are able to admonish one another. But there is also a "collective" conscience, or at least the "sense of what's right and what's wrong" held by the majority within a group. If we've been in business or corporate settings, we know that we are often just playing our parts as rank-and-file employees, not "partners." Therefore, our own sense of what's right and what's wrong is something we will often keep to ourselves. But the company might allow an anonymous "suggestion box" where comments and criticisms are supposedly welcomed. But there are still potential repercussions for speaking up even in a supposedly anonymous format. When the company CIO comes to you and says: "We know that had to be you who made that comment" we must always be prepared to give a reason for the hope within us, even in a secular setting. Rather than speak up in a congregational setting, I prefer for now to just get my thoughts spelled out on a semi-anonymous forum. A forum where I can be dismissed easily as a crackpot by those who need that kind of protection for themselves. Being too clear can be seen as too pushy, too proud, too presumptuous. And accepting the inevitable wild chaos and mudslinging by those who are afraid of the criticism is another protection for those other readers who are not ready or willing to think about a doctrine. But most Witnesses, I think, will be quick to think (or say) that anyone who thinks they can "admonish one another" when not bureaucratically assigned to make such admonishments is doing the wrong thing, not waiting on Jehovah, not being a good "corporate" citizen. He or she is being presumptuous even though every one of the wrong teachings I mentioned above was a case of the corporation speaking presumptuously. In retrospect, the corporation took passengers on an uncomfortable "trip to Abilene." Immediately, many Witnesses will start making analogies to Uzzah, Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and compare to David's attitude about Saul. But in the Christian setting we have a different analogy before us. There is no more organization in the seat of Moses where criticisms of that organization should remind us of Korah, for example. Effectively, all of us now make up the household of faith, as brothers. It's Jesus, not the organization, that is now in the place of Moses. (Hebrews 3:5, 6) . . .Now Moses was faithful as an attendant in all the house of that One as a testimony of the things that were to be spoken afterward, 6 but Christ was faithful as a son over God’s house. We are His house if, indeed, we hold on firmly to our freeness of speech . . . Effectively, we are all the corporation, the body. Even the least among us. As a body, or organization, we belong to one another. (Romans 12:3-5) so we, although many, are one body in union with Christ, but individually we are members belonging to one another. (1 Corinthians 12:22-27) . . .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 . . . 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; . . . I think some will jump on the phrase "no division in the body" and think this means "groupthink" is OK. But it's obvious, in context, that it really means there should be no specific members of the body who divide themselves off to give the impression they are superior to the others. Practically this means that in some ways, Brother Lett should see "Brother Cesar Chavez" as superior to himself, and vice versa. Sister Anna should see you as superior, and you should see Anna as superior to you. It also means that you should be able to criticize Anna and Brother Lett and CC, just as they should be able to criticize you. Then we all accept each other's criticism and admonishment to the extent that it fits scripture and conscience.
  23. @xero Did you already put part one of the Abilene paradox up somewhere? If you did I missed it. Part 2 makes much more sense if we see that one first:
  24. I could be wrong, but I think what you're trying to say is that I should start a discussion about 1914, the Kingdom, and 607 BCE, and the parousia.
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