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Jehovahs witnesses and higher education by Gerritt Loesch Talk by Gerrit Lösch, member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s witnesses, given in Italian during a special JW convention on May 22, 2005 in the city of Monza, near Milan, Italy. He expresses the official JW view on higher education. —— I posted this in response to a previous question where I gave a quick summary of the changes in our viewpoint on University Education over the years. Thanks to Ann O’Mally for finding it. Agape!
Luke 10 v 21 In that very hour he became overjoyed in the holy spirit and said: “I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have carefully hidden these things from wise and intellectual ones and have revealed them to young children. Yes, O Father, because this is the way you approved. This seems to show that 'higher education' was not needed to learn, understand and teach, the truth from God, at that time. It seems to be a well know thing within the JW Org and by people outside of same, that JW's are 'told' not to aim for higher education. I say told, although some will say strongly advised, with a possible caution of being disfellowshipped. Now I've noticed on here recently that deep conversation about many things has been and is taking place. Politics earthwide. religious beliefs earthwide and the latest thing seems to be Evolution (from a very deep standpoint ). ( These things were never taught to me at school. ) I left school at 15 years old, as soon as I was able, for reasons previously mentioned. Here in UK now teenagers have to remain in education until they are 18. The three years from 15 to 18 seem to me to be almost 'higher education', but compulsory. How much they learn at school now I've no idea. My feelings are, and yes ok i cannot put proof to these feelings, but, my feelings are, that all forms of higher education are advised against by the GB and the JW Org. Some of you may have some proof of this in writing. So, where does this leave JW's ? If a young person leaves school to go into full time 'service' ministry, they do not get a higher education. Their 'basic' education may have been just that, very basic. They are then not 'qualified' to talk to others on a higher education level, and this might even be to the point of not understanding such things as are being discussed on here lately. ( Much of what is being discussed leaves me miles behind. I'm a very simple person. Plus at 69 I forget more than i learn. Yes I do write lots of notes and have books for recording different things, but the mind boggles. ) With respect for those I knew and loved in the past, within my ex congregation, many of them were 'simple country folk'. And I think Tom said about not having the time or inclination to do research online or or otherwise. So let us go back to the scripture at the top. So many questions. Does God reveal more to those of a lesser education ? Is higher education and greater knowledge a disadvantage when wanting to serve God properly? Or is it that those of higher education are too stubborn to learn God's way ? Too proud maybe ? There are many things that the Bible doesn't tell us. is that deliberate ? Does God want to keep it simple for us ? So, should we pursue more knowledge about worldly things ? A problem may occur when talking to others about God, in that they may have more knowledge on a certain subject than we do and therefore believe something different. Should we then educate ourselves to their level on the same subject, or just pass them by ? Bearing in mind the scripture at the top of this page. There has to be a balance of course. But my feelings are that the GB would like JW's to be educated only by the Watchtower studies and by the 'workbook' evening meeting studies. And of course by personal Bible reading. But do JW's do as they are told in this respect or do a lot of them 'educate themselves', or take further education elsewhere ?
Legal Seminar: South African Bethel The Legal Seminar The seminar was a full day event held at the “residence hall.” I had come with my wheelchair bound friend, from the same congregation. We were a few minutes late, so as we rolled in into the foyer, we got handed our seminar pack, our bottled water, and lapel badges by two pretty ladies (hell yeah, I still remember that). This was the same residence hall that I had shook Anthony Morris’ hand a few weeks ago prior to his official Branch Visit talk in South Africa on Sunday, January 11, 2015, with his “sidekick” Anthony Griffin. The seminar was split between matters that were strictly legal, and those that were more tax related; of course, there was an obvious overlap between the two as can be expected. The key speakers were select members of the Branch Committee, in-house legal counsel, and those from the accounts department. A lot was said about Europe, Africa, the U.S., Hayden Covington, child custody, divorces, Advance Medical Directives (“blood cards”), alternative service, Road Accident Fund, legal battles here, legal battles there, tax etc. The bottom-line was this: There’s a lot going down, and we’d appreciate your assistance in these affairs. It should be noted, however, that “these affairs” require tertiary qualifications… higher education. South Africa Bethel - Tax and Legal Seminar Group Photo (Feb 28, 2015) South Africa Bethel – Legal and Tax Seminar Group Photo (Feb 28, 2015). I’m on the bottom left, sporting a pair of shades on my head. the Australian branch sent out a letter, dated November 18, 2015, to all Service Committees throughout the congregations of Australian. The letter was “confidentially” seeking for baptised members of the congregation who were “qualified as solicitors, barristers, certified practising accountants or chartered accountants.” But all of this exploration was to be done discreetly “without consulting the publisher” (I suppose this is how they canvass for potential seminar candidates). Now, let’s juxtapose these two events, the South African seminar and the Australian request letter, and contextualise them. The Point The organisation tells folks not to pursue higher education, in fact, if you are an appointed person – Elder, Ministerial Servant, pioneer – and you attend university, your (spiritual) qualifications automatically come under review. What does that tell you? That the organisation has a default disdain for higher education. But now, at the same time, they secretly sponsor select bethelites to obtain these very “worldly” qualifications, using funds donated by some of the simplest Witnesses, many of who have complied with this “mandamus” from the “Faithful and Discreet Slave.” But, then, per chance that you didn’t comply with this mandamus, and remain a Witness, they implore you to use your “worldly gifts” in service to God, namely, in furtherance of the organisation – to a large extent, free of charge. What’s wrong with this picture? And if you take the global downsizing that the organisation has been conducting lately, where veteran bethelites are sent home and special pioneers being sent up the creek without a paddle. Why? Because it’s now becoming too expensive to accommodate them. A burden. And, yet, many of these bethelites forfeited higher education in order to at the full time service, now you’re telling them to hamba kahle (“go well”)? C’mon, man, c’mon. What is wrong with this picture, people If the organisation was cool and was like, you know, “Go to university, don’t go to university, that your decision to make, as long as you are aware of the challenges.” That would be one thing. But what we’re seeing here is the constant badgering badgering badgering. There has to be some kind of accountability here. You can’t enjoy the assets of other people’s labour without taking ownership of the liabilities peculiar with that asset, as well. It’s immoral. This whole thing is just patently duplicitous. Scandalous. Why all these backdoor “transactions?” You say one thing on stage, but, then, em’va kwethu you do something else. Hai wethu. Conclusion Brimstone and humour aside, I personally don’t have a problem with the organisation seeking professional assistance from willing qualified Witnesses per se. It is the duplicity that irks me. It is the selfishness of their approach that vexes me. It is the ruination of people’s lives that ticks me off. It is the unconscionableness of their methods that pisses me off, treating genuine people as expendables and collateral damage for their own selfish gains, gains which they clothe as “divine service,” service to Jehovah. If it were up to me, I’d have Governing Body pipe down on their take of higher education and to resist this laughable attempt at gaining some kind of moral high ground in this matter. #LegalSeminarBethel #ThinkingWitnesses