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  1. GENEVA (4 April 2017) – Moves by the Russian Government to ban the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses using a lawsuit brought under anti-extremism legislation have been condemned as “extremely worrying” by three United Nations human rights experts*.  “This lawsuit is a threat not only to Jehovah’s Witnesses, but to individual freedom in general in the Russian Federation,” the experts said.  “The use of counter-extremism legislation in this way to confine freedom of opinion, including religious belief, expression and association to that which is state-approved is unlawful and dangerous, and signals a dark future for all religious freedom in Russia,” they stressed.  The condemnation follows a lawsuit lodged at the country’s Supreme Court on 15 March to declare the Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Centre ‘extremist’, to liquidate it, and to ban its activity.   A suspension order came into effect on that date, preventing the Administrative Centre and all its local religious centres from using state and municipal news media, and from organizing and conducting assemblies, rallies and other public events.  A full court hearing is scheduled for 5 April and if the Supreme Court rules in favour of the authorities, it will be the first such ruling by a court declaring a registered centralized religious organization to be ‘extremist’.  Concerns about the counter-extremism legislation have previously been raised in a communication by the three experts to the Russian authorities on 28 July 2016.   The Suspension Order imposed on 15 March is the latest in a series of judicial cases and orders, including a warning sent to the organization last year referring to the ‘inadmissibility of extremist activity’. This has already led to the dissolution of several local Jehovah’s Witness organizations, raids against their premises and literature being confiscated.   “We urge the authorities to drop the lawsuit in compliance with their obligations under international human rights law, and to revise the counter-extremism legislation and its implementation to avoid fundamental human rights abuses,” the UN experts concluded.  (*) The experts: Mr. David Kaye (USA), Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Mr. Maina Kiai (Kenya), Special Rapporteur on freedoms of peaceful assembly and of association, and Mr. Ahmed Shaheed (the Maldives), Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.   The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.   UN Human Rights, country page: Russian Federation   - See more at
  2. Jehovah's Witnesses counter sue Ministry of Justice JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES ASK SUPREME COURT TO FIND JUSTICE MINISTRY'S ACTIONS TO BE POLITICAL REPRESSIONS Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 2 April 2017 An unprecedented lawsuit was filed on 30 March 2017 in the Supreme Court of Russia: to rule the actions of the Ministry of Justice against the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses to be political repressions. Comprehensive and reasonable, the aforesaid lawsuit is a counterclaim with respect to the lawsuit of the Ministry of Justice of 15 March 2017, in which the ministry asks for banning and recognizing as extremist the "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia," and also 395 local organizations of this religion on the territory of Russia. The actions of the Ministry of Justice possess the indicators of political repressions, from the point of view of Russian and international law. They violate articles 18, 9, and 6 of the Convention on Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties. In Russia, the concept of repressions is defined by the law "On rehabilitation of victims of political repressions." Repressions include politically motivated action of organs of government for restriction of the rights and liberties of citizens who are considered to be dangerous for the state, including on the basis of religious identity. The lawsuit of the Ministry of Justice is aimed at associations of citizens selected exclusively on the basis of their confessing the faith of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Analysis of the actions of the Ministry of Justice with respect to Jehovah's Witnesses gives evidence of arbitrariness and discrimination. For example, laboratories and centers of forensic expert analysis that are subordinate to the Ministry of Justice have come to diametrically opposite conclusions about the presence or absence of indicators of "extremism" in the very same publications of Jehovah's Witnesses. Such a contradiction in and of itself is evidence of the unacceptable weakness of the methods. But, instead of striving to establish the truth, ensuring the unity and consistency of proper expert conclusions, the Ministry of Justice has used in courts only those conclusions that have led to finding books of Jehovah's Witnesses to be "extremist," and consequently to finding their organizations to be "extremist." In the lawsuit numerous instances are cited testifying to the fact that prosecution of Jehovah's Witnesses is politically motivated. Believers of the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses have already been recognized as victims of political repressions, by the order of the Russian president "On measures for rehabilitation of clergy and believers who have been victims of unjustified repressions." Russian legislation has condemned the years-long terror and massive persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses as incompatible with the ideals of right and justice, has expressed deep sympathy for the victims of unjustified repressions and to the relatives and neighbors, and has declared the unwavering attempt to achieve real guarantees of maintaining legality and human rights. The Russian Supreme Court will begin consideration of the lawsuit on 5 April 2017. (tr. by PDS, posted 3 April 2017)
  3. Jehovah's Witnesses developing strategy to defend suit for prohibition LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES FILE 395 PETITIONS IN SUPREME COURT FOR ENTRY INTO CASE Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 31 March 2017 All 395 local religious organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, which the Ministry of Justice is trying to ban behind their backs, have filed petitions in the Supreme Court to be involved in the case in the capacity of co-defendants. According to existing legislation, all local religious organizations are individual legal entities, with their own property, and they are not structural subdivisions, affiliates, nor representatives of one another. They are united to the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia only by unity in the faith and internal canonical relations. An absolute majority of these organizations have never been accused of violating the law. They are puzzled why the Ministry of Justice is demanding their liquidation, prohibition, and recognition as "extremist," especially behind their back. They are especially alarmed that after the liquidation of the organizations, believers may be held criminally liable merely for joint reading of the Bible, as shown by the criminal "Case of the Sixteen" in Taganrog. (tr. by PDS, posted 2 April 2017) Jehovah's Witnesses not properly notified of suspension JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES APPEAL IN COURT JUSTICE MINISTRY ORDER SUSPENDING ACTIVITY OF THEIR ORGANIZATIONS Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 31 March 2017 The Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia appealed in court the order of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian federation regarding suspension of the activity of all 396 registered organizations of this religion in Russia. The order was issued by the ministry simultaneously with the filing of the plaintiff's declaration in the Supreme Court of the RF for prohibition of all their organizations. Although this order of suspension pertains to all 396 organizations, the Ministry of Justice sent it only to the address of their Administrative Center, and even then, judging by the stamp on the envelope, only five days after it was signed. Believers hope that the court will rule the aforesaid order to be invalid. (tr. by PDS, posted 2 April 2017)
  4. The Ockermans attend a Jehovah’s Witness Russian congregation in Keizer
  5. If you want to help about 200,000 of Russian Jehovah's Witnesses avoid being jailed on false, unjust, and absurd grounds, please join our campaign to promote the hashtag #StopJWBan across Twitter and any other social media. This would be our version of the global letter-writing campaign to Mr. Putin. You can post a suitable video (like this one), a piece from Jehovah's Witnesses websites, or anything you want to share, adding this hashtag. The more people will do it, the more likely it will appear in top Twitter trends, and this will create a powerful information wave. Ask power Twitter users and/or bloggers that you know to do the same. Don't stand apart, help us spread the word!You may just click on this button to tweet instantly: #StopJWBan #StopJWBan (Russian)
  6. March 21, 2017 DOCUMENT: URGENT VIDEO APPEAL OF VASILY KALIN IN CONNECTION WITH LAWSUIT TO BAN JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES Unprecedented news has become the occasion for this appeal. The Ministry of Justice has taken it upon itself to close and to declare criminal a whole religion—the Jehovah's Witnesses. A lawsuit has already been filed in the Supreme Court of Russia. They ask for the supreme measure of punishment for all 396 of our organizations, including our Administrative Center. We are talking about their liquidation and finding them to be extremist. A special point is to confiscate from believers all of their houses of worship and other property. While the Ministry of Justice wants to do this immediately. For 175 thousand adherents of our religion, they are possibly facing the most trying period of their life. I recall the April night in 1951. At the time eight and a half thousand believers of our religion, that is, practically ALL, were deprived of their homes and taken to Siberia for permanent settlement. The life of thousands of believer was irreparably broken. Hundreds and hundreds passed through the camps. But they did not renounce their faith. And they did not become bitter. They always remained peaceful people, as Christ also commanded. Subsequently the state recognized us as victims of political repressions. And how blasphemously we again find ourselves in the position of dangerous criminals! If the Ministry of Justice achieves its [goal], believers will face up to 10 years in prison! Recently, after the liquidation of a registered congregation in Taganrog, 16 of our brothers and sisters in the faith were sentenced to large fines and several even to a 5-year suspended prison term—just for joint reading of the Bible. A new indictment may lead them to real prison terms. For what? What are these people guilty of? That they, as seems to somebody, study the Bible "incorrectly"? That they consider their faith the only truth? Or are they guilty of not resorting to violence, following the gospel command ment: "put the sword into its sheath"? The accusation of Jehovah's Witnesses for extremism is absurd and savage. We ask you who may influence the course of events, look the facts in the face objectively and impartially. Finally, we are reminded of an episode described in the Acts of the Apostles. Christians were condemned on false charges. One of the judges of the Supreme Court, the Sanhedrin, said of them to his colleagues: "Leave these people in peace; let them go. If their aim and their act is from man, it will die of itself; but if it is of God, you will not be able to destroy them. And you would turn out to be fighting against God himself!" (Acts 5:38,39) Vasily Kalin Chairman of Governing Body of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia Russian transcription posted on website of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 21 March 2017
  7. Эксперт Наталия Крюкова, в отношении которой подано заявление о возбуждении уголовного дела, рассказывает о тонкостях своих методов выявления экстремизма. JW Russia Video
  8. Jehovah’s Witnesses—171,828 Congregations—2,315 Attendance at the annual Memorial of Christ’s death—293,933 Ratio of Jehovah’s Witnesses to population—1 to 850 Population—146,074,524
  9. RUSSIA Russia Overview Jehovah’s Witnesses initially enjoyed peaceful worship in Russia after the Russian Federation granted national registration in 1992. The Witnesses registered again in 1999 under the Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations. There are hundreds of local religious organizations of Jehovah’s Witnesses registered and operating throughout the country. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses face increasing challenges that seriously threaten their religious freedom. Since 2009, law-enforcement agencies have sponsored a nationwide campaign against the Witnesses by misapplying the Law on Counteracting Extremist Activity. Russian courts have declared dozens of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ publications—including the Witnesses’ official website, jw.org—to be extremist. Police have searched hundreds of homes and places of worship. Prosecutors have charged Witnesses with administrative and criminal offenses merely for attending or conducting religious meetings. Despite censure by the European Court of Human Rights and other international bodies, authorities in Russia have done little to alleviate the harassment and discrimination that Jehovah’s Witnesses experience. Law-enforcement officials are incrementally intensifying their efforts to restrict the activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses. mp3
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  10. Historic Milestones NOVEMBER 30, 2015 — All sixteen Witnesses on retrial in Taganrog are criminally convicted for practicing their faith. The judge suspended the sentences READ MORE DECEMBER 2, 2014 — Supreme Court of the Russian Federation bans jw.org READ MORE JULY 30, 2014 — Seven of sixteen Witnesses on trial in Taganrog are criminally convicted for practicing their faith READ MORE JUNE 10, 2010 — European Court of Human Rights declares the ban on the Moscow Community of Jehovah’s Witnesses a violation of human rights SEPTEMBER 11, 2009 — Rostov Regional Court declares 34 publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses to be extremist 2009 — Russian law-enforcement authorities begin misapplying the Federal Law on Counteracting Extremist Activity MARCH 26, 2004 — Moscow Community of Jehovah’s Witnesses banned MARCH 1996 — Jehovah’s Witnesses fully exonerated as victims of political repression DECEMBER 11, 1992 — Russian Federation legally registers Jehovah’s Witnesses MARCH 27, 1991 — Soviet Union legally registers Jehovah’s Witnesses OCTOBER 1965 — Easing of government restrictions and oppression APRIL 1951 — About 9,500 Witnesses from six Soviet republics exiled to Siberia 1928 — Jehovah’s Witnesses fail to achieve legal registration; years of persecution begin 1891 — First Russian Witness exiled to Siberia 1887 — First recorded instance of The Watchtower being mailed to Russia
  11. TRANSCRIPT In an earlier Vortex, we reported between the years of 2008 and 2014, 3 million Catholics left the Faith in the United States. So we went digging to see what the numbers are for the the last 15 years, since the turn of the century — essentially one generation. Brace yourselves here: According to the most recent data from solid sources, in the year 2000, 18 million Americans identified themselves as former Catholics — those who had left the Faith. One generation later, as of 2016, that number had swelled to 30 million. Elevent million more Catholics have left the Faith since the turn of the century. There are more Catholics over 50 than under 50. And there are more Catholics over 65 than under 30. And the percentage of young people — those under 30 — in the Church is a smaller percentage than almost any other religion. Only Jehovah's Witnesses and mainline Protestants have a smaller percentage of young people comprising their ranks than Catholics, and even there, Catholics are a hair's breadth away from being dead last. 17 percent of the Church are people under 30. 16 percent of mainline Protestants are people under 30. 15 percent of Jehovah's Witnesses are people under 30. Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, and the Eastern Orthodox all have larger percentages within their ranks of people under 30 than the Catholic Church does. Over the next 15 years, we can expect to see the raw number, the straight pure number of Catholics begin to drop off more dramatically. One of out every five Catholics right now, today, is over 65. Almost all of those people will be dead in 10–15 years. And they aren't being sufficiently replaced. Additionally, we're beginning to reach the moment where there will be more Catholics who have actually left the Faith then there are those who claim to still be in it. Although there are conflicting data on the actual number of Catholics in the United States, a safe number is about 73 million. Thirty million Catholics, as we said before, no longer call themselves Catholics. Just another 6 or 7 million leaving the Faith, and there will be more former Catholics than those who still identify as Catholics. At current trends, which show no slowing up or changing, we will reach that moment in about three years — right around 2020. We already know from surveys during the campaign that the percentage of Catholics relative to the overall U.S. population has slipped from the historically stable number of 25 percent to roughly 20 percent, and the percentage of Catholic voters dropped from 26 percent to approximately 21 percent. This is a Church in full-blown retreat. Eleven percent fewer parishes since 2000; 18 percent fewer priests; and only two thirds what priests there are are in active ministry. The other third are too old for active ministry. Graduate-level seminarians essentially flat lined. The slight increase in the numbers of priestly ordinations is nowhere near enough the number needed to replace those dying — not by half, in fact. Infant baptisms off by a third. Adult conversions down by 40 percent. First Holy Communions and confirmations also both down. And marriages — perhaps the most significant barometer for the future life of the Church — down almost 50 percent since the year 2000. In fact, the only two sacraments that there aren't officially horrible numbers for are the only ones no official records are kept for: confession and anointing of the sick. But any Catholic with working eyes knows the number of confessions has also fallen off the cliff. Even the number of Catholic funerals since the year 2000 has dropped by 16 percent. This entire disaster — and that is what it is — must be placed squarely at the feet of the U.S. hierarchy, who have done nothing meaningful to arrest the decline and have in many ways helped speed it along. What business would tolerate such horrible results from its managers and directors? It would have fired them more than a decade ago for complete incompetence. We here at Church Militant often get blamed for causing division, often times by many of the bishops and their staffs. Look at these numbers, Your Excellencies, numbers largely taken from your own data, and own them. Don't blame us. The vast majority of Catholics have no idea who we are. It's not causing division to point at the house burning down and yell "Fire!" Your lackluster, protestant-minded, false ecumenism, happy-clappy, fake-joy, heresy-accommodating, tradition-hating strategies are responsible for this failure. You and your staffs have caused the division — not us, not others. You! You have given young people nothing to commit to, other than embracing worldly causes, which they don't need you to tell them to do. You have abandoned or destroyed one tradition after another to the point that now, we have arrived at a point where there is no longer any Catholic identity to speak of. You have allowed and even encouraged a flood of abuses in the liturgy, the seminaries, religious houses, schools and colleges so that young people have no idea what being Catholic means, so understandably they have no loyalty to it. You have not taught. You have not encouraged. You have not loved. And accordingly, your sheep are abandoning you. You have ground underfoot the patrimony of tens of millions of Catholics from former generations and sold it off. And you rip into loyal Catholics who point this out to try and wake up what few remaining Catholics there are before it's too late — if it isn't in fact already too late. Your ill-advised, protestant-based evangelization efforts and emotional theatrical presentations won't turn this around. All you are doing is putting into high gear what you've already been doing since the year 2000. In the next 15 years, when most of you will have been judged by Almighty God, you will stand before Him and be directly responsible for a Church in America that will be unrecoverable owing to your spiritual cowardice. You will have to explain to Jesus Christ, one by one, how you embraced the world instead of converting it. Your lampstand has been taken away. You need to meditate on that in the quiet of the night, when there is no one around except you and God. And you need to tremble and quake at the fate that awaits you at your judgments if you don't reverse course immediately. Pray for them, Catholics; pray that the majority of them will wake up before they all die in their sins in a few years. source
  12. JANUARY 26, 2017 When Audrey Butler dedicated herself to becoming a Jehovah's Witness seven years ago, she knew she would never accept a blood transfusion—even if that meant making a choice between life and death. "Well the scriptures do tell us that the blood is the soul. So that's how precious blood is to us. It's your life. It's the person's life," she explains. Butler and other Jehovah's Witnesses believe that several passages in the Bible forbid them from consuming blood in any way, including via blood transfusions. This belief can be at odds with standard medical practice; during the course of surgery, some patients require blood transfusions in order to combat blood loss. At age 46, Butler began suffering from pain and stiffness in her knee. Doctors told her she had arthritis, and that she would likely need a knee replacement in the coming years. Butler avoided surgery for as long as possible, enduring painful knee injections and doing her best to live with a limp. But eventually, she began to feel that her limp was slowing her down significantly. Her arthritis was having a considerable impact on her quality of life. Butler knew she needed the knee replacement. She also knew she was unwilling to abandon her faith. Listen to the full story above.
  13. The Witnesses’ annual conventions are now recognized as religious holidays, reaffirming the right of parents to educate their children according to their religious beliefs.
  14. 2 March 2017 MOSCOW (AP) - The leader of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia is calling on the head of the Kremlin's human rights council to prevent what the denomination fears is an imminent total ban on the religion. The Jehovah's Witnesses, who claim more than 170,000 faithful in Russia, have come under increasing pressure in recent years, including a ban on distributing literature deemed to violate Russia's anti-extremism laws. In February, investigators conducted an inspection of the religion's headquarters in St. Petersburg, which could be a precursor to a ban. "A ban on its activity in Russia would cause uneasiness throughout the world," the religion's Russian leader, Vasily Kalin, said in a letter to presidential human rights council head Mikhail Fedotov. A copy was made available to The Associated Press on Thursday. MailOnline
  15. February 15, 2017 HAVANA TIMES — Organoponicos or urban organic farms in Cuba are a style of farming that can be used to produce vegetables, condiments, various crops and fruits. Tania Reyes Ferro, a 45 year old Cuban lady, is one of the few women who is in charge of an organoponico in the municipality of Candelaria. Her dedication and passion for her work give her the strength to continue on as a farmer. HT: Having an organoponico is good for your financial and food situation. What disadvantages are there to working the land? Tania Reyes: I studied agriculture but I never practiced it. I never thought that after all these years I would have a piece of land to cultivate. Working the land is hard. I’ve had problems with my cervix, backbone, waist, lower abdomen. I’ve been diagnosed with generalized osteoarthritis; when I suffer an attack and I can’t go to the fields, my children help me cook and do other chores. Whatever I collect is enough for us to eat at home. We use the money we get from selling extras to buy rakes, hoes, we don’t have the farm implements we need to do more work. HT: How much do you have to give to the State for farming? TR: We don’t produce very much on my plot, it’s just a hectare which I’ve divided into the garden and fruit trees. As the plot is very small, the only thing I have to do is give fresh condiments, vegetables and fruit to the maternity center and the Jose Luis Tacende primary school for disabled children. I pay a social contribution to the cooperative I belong to. HT: Do you use any chemicals on your crops? TR: No, there are many alternatives to getting rid of pests. For example, we collect seeds and leaves from the Neem Tree, which is a pesticide, we mash them up and let it set so we can fumigate the next day. We also use ashes of a fire, none of these products are harmful to our health, plants grow better and pests are kept under control using natural products. I have planted Mexican Marigolds because of their different colors and its unpleasant smell which keeps bad insects away so they don’t attack the plants; sunflowers, basil, millet and rosemary are all natural repellents, I also use blue, yellow and white traps. HT: I imagine it’s hard to get a hold of seeds. TR: There is a store that sells them here but they don’t have them a lot of the time or they are bad quality. I’m trying to leave some of my plants which give me seeds like lettuce and runner beans for example. I have 17 crops, six which are currently in production: moringa, tomatoes, lettuce, parsley, oregano, leeks. Sweet potato, corn, cassava, caimito and citrus fruits are growing at the moment. HT: How long do you work in the fields? TR: I work from very early in the morning until 9 AM; and then from 5 PM until it gets dark. My father, brother and children all help me out regularly although I’m the one who does most of the work. I have a lot of love for the earth, plants are living beings and we need to water and care for them. It’s a habit and necessity for me. HT: Does the cooperative help you create optimum working conditions? TR: There aren’t decent conditions for working the land. When my husband left for the United States, I had to face the cruel and hard reality of my situation: I was alone. Everything went downhill from there. My brother spoke to me and told me that we couldn’t lose this piece of land, marabu plants were beginning to take over it. I fell into a severe depression which lasted several months; I wasn’t interested in what had been planted or the future of this land. Between all of us, we began to fix the fence because this was at the time that Hurricanes Gustav and Ike hit and we were left with nothing. We fixed the planting beds, we weeded. Two of my children decided to work with me but they didn’t see any short-term results, you need a lot of patience to harvest. It doesn’t give us enough to get by, just to eat. If you don’t work this land they can take it away from you, it’s in usufruct, it used to be idle land before. HT: You had studied agricuture, but there are some things which you forget, where do you get your information from? TR: I like talking to old people a lot, they haven’t studied very much but they have a lot of experience in farming. They plant using the moon phases, they know when to cut sweet potatoes, how far you need to sow one plant from another. I am also looking for courses, I like to know why you have to sow chicory 90 cm away from the other plant and am not satisfied with a: that’s how all of them are planted. HT: There is an agro-market not far from your house which sells the same products you harvest. Does it harm your business? TR: I try to sell for a little less than agro-market prices. Customers like organic crops, what comes directly out of the earth and doesn’t have chemicals. People know me and know that I am very helpful and that I’m not expensive. Everything I sow has grown under the sun. The organoponico used to have a semi-protected cover* which used to regulate the sun’s rays, but when we were hit by the hurricanes, we lost everything. Our crops all grow directly under the sun and that’s why they need a lot of watering. HT: What do you do in your spare time? TR: I go to the church twice a week; I’m a Jehovah’s Witness. This faith and trust I have in God is what has helped me to persevere. I go to the fields a lot of the time and ask him to give me strength to finish off this work because it doesn’t only depend on me, there’s a lot of work to do and when I get home I have to keep on doing chores here and there. Thank god for my children who help me out a lot. My sons are 27, 23 and 19 years old and my daughter is 16. But I do everything; I don’t believe there is anything that a woman can’t do. source
  16. I was reading this week's study article on remaining loyal to Jah. Found an interesting contradiction on shunning. They cite two experiences. In one a JW shuns her mom and her example is posted as a positive one of someone doing the right thing. The second example however of a JW being shunned by his non-JW family is labeled as an injustice. Here's first one: So, the example above demonstrates the supposed loyal faith of a daughter that refused to talk to the woman that gave birth to her, raised her and surely sacrificed so much for her. This, the Watchtower claims, is an example of love and loyalty. Now let's see the second example cited in the same article in a latter paragraph: In this example, the non-JW family members were cruel, because they "opposed his association" and "forbid him to visit them for years". Yet, isn't this exactly what the JW daughter from the first experience was doing to her mother? only in reverse? - Sanchy
  17. She was a big, disheveled, super-friendly and warm, black woman sitting on her wheeled walker outside Wegmans who said Hi! as I walked by. I stopped. Can I ask you a question? she said. You see, she had to catch her bus – that one across the parking lot - she’d missed one and she was freezing, but the dog had ate her money or something and she needed $3. How do I know you’re on the up and up? I asked. She replied she guessed I didn’t but grab her hand and just see feel cold she is. ‘Well, I can spare $3,’ I thought and handed it over. I also gave her a card. ‘Just so you know,’ I said. ‘Do with it what you will on your own time.’ On seeing the card, she lit up. Do I know so-and-so? What about what’s-his-face? How is this one doing and that one and a third one. She was raised a Witness and went to the Hall (the same Hall I had gone to, though not at the same time) But she had not took hold. I went to prison for a few years then I got hit by a car and then I went into a coma. They were going to pull the plug on me but someone said ‘no.’ She related all this in the most happy tone you can imagine, as though describing her day at the amusement park. Her appearance suggested that everything she said was true. She had every ‘right’ to be bitter and sullen but she wasn’t – a huge plus in my book. I’ve seen white people (and black) carry on and on with far less hardship. ‘I’m surprised that Wegmans didn’t chase her away,’ my daughter said. But had they tried it on my watch, I would have chased them away. As we chatted, a woman left the store and handed her three more dollars. ‘I said I would once I got change.’ ‘See? Now you can go home and come again tomorrow,’ I told her brightly. I picked up some items inside and met her again just outside the door. A man was giving her money. ‘Yeah, they get awfully good at that,’ my daughter said, who does her ministry in the city and isn’t put out by such goings on at all. After all, it must be put in the context of a worldwide financial system which is itself a scam. ‘That’s why I love you, Dad,’ she said. ‘You never judge.’ Without the slightest encouragement on my part, she had brightly said: “Maybe you could stop by my place and take me to meetings again!” And maybe I can! Or maybe I’ll pass her story along to the aunt she mentioned, who would know the story better than anyone. My daughter told me of an elder (an old one) who had run across a homeless man who said he was disfellowshipped. The brother went farther than most and cupped the back of the guy’s head – you never know for sure how clean they are and where they’ve been sleeping. ‘Why don’t you come home? We’re waiting for you.’ The fellow did come home, got his act together, and is active with a congregation today. Look, don’t try to con us. Jehovah’s Witnesses are more street-savvy than most. We work in all areas door-to-door, after all. We weren’t born yesterday. But we will make eye contact, and in the event we do give money, we will not insist upon letting go of it before you touch it.
  18. British Movie about Jehovah's Witness refusing blood transfusion for child
  19. According to Romans Chapter 4, a person is declared righteous by God through their faith in Christ. The society makes a distinction between the righteousness that was reckoned or credited to Abraham and the righteousness that is counted to the annointed. According to the publications Abraham's righteousness made him a friend of God whereas the annointed are declared righteous for life as God's children and heirs of Christ. However as I read Romans Ch 4 I came across these verses regarding Abraham, especially verses 23 and 24 20 But because of the promise of God, he did not waver in a lack of faith; but he became powerful by his faith, giving God glory 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to do.+ 22 Therefore, “it was counted to him as righteousness.”+23 However, the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake only,+ 24 but also for our sake, to whom it will be counted, because we believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord up from the dead.+ As I read these verses it struck me that Paul saw no difference in Abraham having righteousness "counted to him" and 1st century Christians having righteousness "counted to them" .As verse 23 shows this is the same declaring of righteousness with the same resulting promise. I tried to research those verses in the Watchtower Library but strangely enough there were no direct references to explain them. Any thoughts on these verses ?
  20. The organization often uses the scriptures from 1 Cor 16 and 2 Cor 8 to appeal for us to make contributions to the world wide work. However, as you read these verses in context the contributions that were collected were for the material needs of fellow Christians who were undergoing poverty and famine. I am in no doubt that many of our fellow Christians in this world would welcome material assistance, especially in some of the poorer countries. Instead millions are spent on making the organizations headquarters into a palatial residence not to mention the millions that have already been paid out in settlements regarding sexual abuse cases !! I strongly feel that this is an abuse of those scriptures, making them say what the writer and ultimately the divine author did not intend. Agree or disagree ?

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