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Diakonos
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Eoin Joyce, I am sorry for appearing presumptuous over your circumstances.  It wasn’t my intention, and this is a genuine apology.  Considering the margin of error that this chart may have, how do you perceive the accuracy of the other charts?  As I looked over them, they seemed to represent a fairly accurate slice of JWs. 

 Still, I cannot dismiss the amount of poverty throughout the entire organization, even if there are those who choose less paying jobs in this country.  In developing countries, generation after generation remain in poverty.  I remember seeing an article in the Awake on hygiene, where a woman, in perhaps Africa, was drawing water from a community source.  These are the type of JWs I am referring to, who live from hand to mouth.

Your words are in green.

JWs spent $45 Million on supporting the work of 3,279,270 in the same period.

Unless I’m mistaken, this appears to be a generalized statement.  Are the use of these funds, transparent?  Or could they be lumped into one category called “preaching work”?  Could you direct me to a complete breakdown of donation use that happens at the top?  I could correct my view if one is available.

I found it interesting that a video once on the website has been removed. It was on the making of a movie for the summer convention (I believe).  It appeared quite boastful in its efforts to produce it, as any video presentation of the making of a movie appears; also it was quite revealing on where donations must go.  Why would it have been removed if not for these exact reasons?  Couldn’t the woman who was obtaining water from a source other than her own home use even a small amount of the money spent on such a prideful effort by the Watchtower?

 For example, The Journal of Contemporary Religion (Vol. 12, No2, 1997) noted that in the year 1993, the combined efforts of the Protestant Churches of US and Canada spent in excess of $2 Billion to support the work of 41,142 overseas missionaries

Do you notice that you are comparing the Watchtower to other earthly religions? Ezek 20:32 If we were worshiping God correctly, in spirit and in truth, we would have no reason do to such a thing.  By doing so, it is clear that JWs have their eyes on earthly things pertaining to the “flesh”.  1 John 2:16

As for results, which religious group would first come to mind as associated with God's name "Jehovah" or the biblical term "the kingdom of God"?

Here a few comparisons of kingdom preaching within Satan’s “world”.

The Catholics pray three times a day for God’s Kingdom to come.  I grew up doing this.  There were 1.272 billion Catholics in 2012 (Wikipedia)  “We are living seeds of the Kingdom of God in the garden of the world and we are called to bear the fruits of the Kingdom.” 

    Hello guest!

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God on the earth, but it is at present limited to an ecclesiastical kingdom. During the Millennium, the kingdom of God will be both political and ecclesiastical.” 

    Hello guest!

2012 – 14.8 million Mormons in the world (Wikipedia)

Meaning of what is behind the name, “Jehovah” – (“hovah” –ho-vaw'; another form for 

    Hello guest!
; ruin:—mischief.  Mischief is deceit, a lie, and who deceives but Satan, the Father of the Lie. )

    Hello guest!

Calling on the name of God -

    Hello guest!

 Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”  Exod 3:13,14

“I AM”   הָיָה hâyâh, haw-yaw; a primitive root (compare 

    Hello guest!
); to exist, i.e. be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary):—beacon, × altogether, be(-come), accomplished, committed, like), break, cause, come (to pass), do, faint, fall, follow, happen, × have, last, pertain, quit (one-) self, require, × use.

“THAT I AM” - same

From a primitive root -  הָוָא hâvâʼ, haw-vaw'; or הָוָה hâvâh; a primitive root (compare 

    Hello guest!
    Hello guest!
) supposed to mean properly, to breathe; to be (in the sense of existence):—be, have.

What have Jehovah’s Witnesses accomplished by carrying a corrupted form of a name eluding to a ruin, a disaster and touted to represent the Father -  to many nations throughout the world?  God is gracious with us, to give us time to learn truth. 

The only difference with the organization from other religions is that true anointed ones fell into it when they recognized and grabbed hold of spiritual truth.  Along with these grains of truth, come lies, a wicked house steward, evil slave, and changing doctrine, and now admittance to blundering in ‘organizational direction.’  Nonetheless, obedience is paramount no matter what the direction may be.

“because false messiahsand false prophets will have arisen and will produce great signs and startling demonstrations so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Remember, I’ve told you beforehand.”  Matt 24:24,25

Babylon has been revisited. Rev 17:5,1,15; 16:13-16

Just think about it, Eion, think of how life-threatening it is to be deceived by ministers that appear as angels of light – genuine anointed ones.  Revelation is concerning God’s people trapped by Satan’s tools,  fallen anointed ones, and those who do their bidding – an elder body. (Rev 9:7)

 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast.  For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. 2 Cor 11:12-15

For Satan to deceive, he uses what we wish for, truth.  While Christ is Truth, the organization takes on the role as truth.  Look at the contrasts:

The body of Christ, God’s true priesthood, is invisible, whereas the Body of Elders, a false priesthood, is prominent.  

The GB “represents” Christ, and although all anointed must do this, the GB expects obedience to their doctrine,(Rev 8:11) whereas Christ expects obedience to his teachings. John 14:23  Since these ones must be obeyed, they have replaced Christ as the Head over the anointed Body.

 Zion, which is God’s Chosen people – his Temple and “Daughter Zion” -  has taken on an earthly slant – an organization. 2 Cor 4:18  

While salvation is only through Christ, the organization teaches it is salvation.  Idols are not always seen by the naked eye, but perceived through discernment.

I can’t make either you or JW Insider “see” the injustices in various forms.  I can only pray that you do, and heed Christ’s words to “flee” before it’s too late.  Rev 18:4-8

 

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@Diakonos I visited the Warwick property in the early summer, and I visited (and stayed at) the Patterson facilities two years ago. Warwick was still in a kind of torn up mess, and it was rainy/muddy, so it was hard to call it luxury at the time. Patterson, however, is gorgeous! I love the property, and I think it leaves a pretty good impression in the surrounding neighborhood. It both blends with and improves on the landscape.  If all of it had been for the purpose of building up new

Last Sunday for us. I am not sure what congregation you attend if that is not happening for you. Really, the contributions for the Worldwide work are managed by Jehovah's organisation with due attention given to relief measures where needed. And I read many reports regarding specific JW relief measures taking place in many parts of the world, in the international press, on jw.org, and even on this forum. The web page linked below is a good place to start if you want some detail. Hello

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21 hours ago, Witness said:

I am sorry for appearing presumptuous over your circumstances.  It wasn’t my intention, and this is a genuine apology

Thanks. No offence taken.

21 hours ago, Witness said:

Are the use of these funds, transparent?  Or could they be lumped into one category called “preaching work”?  Could you direct me to a complete breakdown of donation use that happens at the top?

You'd need to look to the original researchers for a clear definition. I would take it as expenditure in support of the actual preaching activity, nothing else.

21 hours ago, Witness said:

Do you notice that you are comparing the Watchtower to other earthly religions?

These are not my observations. I am just providing context to the Pew survey marking JW's as predominating low income categorization. We accomplish far more for less money than those higher income denominations which accomplish very little for a lot of money.

My reference to public opinion on who is associated with proclaiming Gods name and kingdom is drawn from 45 years personal experience of gathering that public opinion from people of all religious persuasion, including many Catholics.

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On 12/12/2016 at 7:04 PM, Witness said:

In the modern fulfillment, the great crowd has supported the anointed remnant in building up true worship. They have helped to build up Christian congregations and thus strengthen the citylike “walls” of Jehovah’s organization. They also share in a literal building work—the construction of Kingdom Halls, Assembly Halls, and Bethel facilities. In all these ways, they support their anointed brothers in caring for the needs of Jehovah’s expanding organization! w/02/7/1 par 16

Witness,  I have no problem with this illustration. Notice that the citylike walls of Jehovah's organization are not literal because this is a spiritual entity they are "building up." They also share in a literal building work caring for the needs of Jehovah's expanding organization. The spiritual activities building up true Christian congregations, and that is the important part. And there is also physical evidence of this expansion that anyone can see. The growth is also evidenced by the need for physical buildings.

Personally, I agree that there is no absolute need for physical buildings. But joining in building and contributing to such things can still be an act of love. The most practical way to see this is to go back to a rather extreme example that I remember from when I first began pioneering, after quitting school at age 15 and 10/12ths.

When I was pioneering several of us spent one day a week in rural territory about 50 miles from the nearest Kingdom Hall where we tried to handle about 15 Bible studies that had been scheduled for Fridays, and about 10 persons already baptized in the area. (Bible studies averaged about 6 months to 1 year before students were either baptized or "given up" on during this time.) There was enough interest to start a new congregation because a couple of responsible brothers also lived only about 30 miles away were willing to travel there. We began to rent (almost free) a small storefront that had not been fully rebuilt after a fire and had a tarp for a roof. Also there was a toilet behind a curtain literally about 3 feet from the nearest chair where an audience member could sit. There was no sound system, and a long cord brought electricity to a couple of lamps from an adjacent building. The interested ones were happy to have someone travel in every weekend to give a talk and have the Watchtower study. There was one week when we had to bring the metal folding chairs outside the building after a big rain. This particular congregation grew rapidly and there were some very lovely people who appreciated the opportunity to meet with others of like faith.

Now, you might think that their "faith" was all wrong, or built on lies, and therefore you might not appreciate that I am speaking primarily of the joy of these meetings in encouraging one another and building one another up spiritually, not about whether all the doctrines were correct. And remember that these same people were studying because they believed the incorrectness about many of the doctrines of other available religions and would have been most uncomfortable attending any other places of worship. They felt a kinship and brotherhood among people of like faith. During this time, several of our teachings that were emphasized in 1973 through 1976 were admittedly wrong, and I think now that a couple other items of emphasis were also wrong even though I didn't know it at the time. But I can never deny that there was a lot of mutual support of one another, a lot of material sacrifice, and, of course, they soon found a better place to rent, because they wanted to make it more comfortable for all the others, too, not just themselves. Those with more means were happy to provide a more permanent place, with volunteers to paint, build, put down a carpet, dig a septic tank, contribute materials (chairs, an old piano, etc).

Christians in the first century met in houses, and in synagogues, and in available rooms, but soon built their own places of worship, too. This was a natural outgrowth of the growth of spiritual interests; it did not mean they had lost track of spiritual things. Yet it is also possible to put too much emphasis on such things, and I appreciate your comments as they provide a reminder of the more important things.

 

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7 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Christians in the first century met in houses, and in synagogues, and in available rooms, but soon built their own places of worship, too.

I can see the joy you must have experienced in developing such a congregation.  What you describe is how the early faithful ones worshiped, desiring to love each individual, but the difference is the teachings which filtered down from above, according to men. 

It can’t be dismissed that a “centralized authority” existed then, as you followed its guidelines in setting it up the new congregation, and today this is even more pronounced over all congregations, down to the ownership of kingdom halls.

These videos are well worth watching on the development of “centralized authority” that appeared once the early apostles were gone. 

Intro -

    Hello guest!

Part 1 -

    Hello guest!

Part 2 -

    Hello guest!

Part 3 -

    Hello guest!

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, Witness said:

I can see the joy you must have experienced in developing such a congregation.  What you describe is how the early faithful ones worshiped, desiring to love each individual, but the difference is the teachings which filtered down from above, according to men. 

It can’t be dismissed that a “centralized authority” existed then, as you followed its guidelines in setting it up the new congregation, and today this is even more pronounced over all congregations, down to the ownership of kingdom halls.

These videos are well worth watching on the development of “centralized authority” that appeared once the early apostles were gone. 

I listened to the Introduction and the first two videos completely and I found that every statement made in these 3 videos was absolutely true. I haven't listened to the fourth one yet (Part 3), although I can make some assumptions from the title as to what it will say. 

Naturally, I reject the idea that Jehovah will destroy those who do not accept false doctrines and false prophetic explanations. I agree that it was arrogant of the Governing Body to indicate that this is what God will do if you don't accept doctrines that turn out to be false.

Then again, I still believe Jesus was correct when he said that there would be no literal walls or fences between the true wheat and the counterfeit wheat. Various church denominations would be a perfect analogy to fences in a field where true wheat grew in one section of a field and false wheat grew in other sections. Therefore, I don't believe that the denominational distinction that sets us apart is the actual criteria that makes us Christian and the rest of the world false. I believe that Christians are Christian because of what is in their heart.

I see the Watchtower organization as an entity to support a certain chosen type of ministry. Let's say that a church decides that it will focus on the ministry of healing the sick, and another one focuses on a ministry of providing shelter to the poor. That first church might build hospitals and may therefore form a governing body to direct the work of finding places where hospitals can be supported, where doctors, nurses, builders, etc, can be recruited, and how much they could afford to pay these doctors and other personnel. Something like that might happen with a church that wants to focus on providing shelter for the poor, or soup kitchens, or distribution of clothing, etc.

But the Watchtower organization is an entity that chose to focus on the ministry of teaching (and worldwide distribution of teachings). Perhaps in some sense the "ministry of teaching" can be expanded to include: (1 Corinthians 14:6) ". . .either with a revelation or with knowledge or with a prophecy or with a teaching?" By this, I mean, interpretation of existing prophecy, not the gift of prediction or newly revealed knowledge. Similarly, for purposes of setting priorities in the times we believe we are living, certain teachings would be seen as being more important than others, and more worthy of publication and distribution. Therefore, this ministry needs a governing body to set priorities, just like a supposedly less religious ministry that focuses on building houses for the poor, or bringing aid to persons suffering from natural or man-made disasters.

Those who would really focus in earnest on a teaching ministry would likely come up with a set of teachings that might seem unique to other denominations. This might attract persons of other denominations, and it might create resentment and rejection, too. Also, a governing body of such a ministerial undertaking might easily begin to see themselves in the role of the original Twelve Apostles, which can be very dangerous and create an unbalanced haughtiness. The more they focus on correct teaching, however, the more they should see these very dangers and learn to avoid them.

But I see this particular type of ministry as an important one. It is a true Christian service to other Christians and would-be Christians. I think that Jehovah's Witnesses in particular have found evidence for teachings that make it easier for people to understand God and Christ:

  • Trinity, for example, is a very confusing way to think of God, and makes God less approachable. I can see it as a service, therefore, to Christians and would-be Christians to present the view of God and Christ that the Witnesses have done.
  • The same goes for Hellfire. This is (and should be) a confusing doctrine to Christians because it puts something in the mind of a loving God that makes no sense if we are created in God's image.
  • A focus on an earthly hope attracts many who understand our unworthiness to stand before the person of God, including many who have a humble, down-to-earth attitude in our relationship with God.
  • Neutrality and non-participation in divisive, nationalistic warfare is another point that JW's promote as a teaching that flies in the face of the usual teachings that churches succumb to during wartime.

We may not have a full understanding yet of these particular doctrines and many others, yet it is still a ministerial service. (I doubt that every person who spoke up with a prophecy or to speak in a tongue or translate in the first century was always correct.) So as long as we are not too haughty about them, these teachings provide a service to other Christians -- a ministry. They can shake us out of long-standing traditions that might be blinding us to the ability to change our views when a better understanding is found.

I could go on and on about various doctrines that might start out as kind of a mess (dates and pyramids and false prophecies about 1925, and 'millions now living' etc). But they continue to uncover things out of the storehouse of the Bible, things both old and new.

In the past people (individual scholars) like Albert Barnes and Matthew Henry have accepted a teaching ministry. (Not to mention Gesenius, Strong, Westcott, Hort, Liddell, Thayer, etc.) JWs are very indebted to these scholars that came before them. In our case, we also try to make a teacher out of every person identifying themselves as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. This creates a unique ministry which becomes more valuable to Christians and would-be Christians as we continue to get better at it.

So just because we have a "Governing Body" it does not mean that the Bible said that the one true religion would need a Governing Body. It's just that the particular ministry we wish to focus on happens to work more effectively and efficiently with a Governing Body. If we take such a ministry seriously we will want to try to match the organizational structure of the first-century congregation, and most Witnesses think this is an attempt to match the idea of the apostles who focused on teaching while others focused on distribution. The Watchtower itself is just a kind of "business" arm to help "market" the publications more efficiently, and up until very recently the Governing Body was associated with the board of directors of this supportive business arm. More recently, near the turn of this century, this was seen as something that should be changed and several of the changes since then are massive improvements over the prior teachings. The attempt to  re-interpret the history and mis-represent that history is a common human failing, and we are going through this right now. But I do not associate with Jehovah's Witnesses because the current "Governing Body" claims to represent human or spiritual authority. (Galatians 1 & 2 show why this is condemned.) I associate with JWs because I've enjoyed my association, find people who are sincere about wanting to participate in a legitimate and important ministry,  and I get constant reminders to watch myself and my teaching.

(1 Timothy 4:16) 16 Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching. Persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who listen to you

(Colossians 3:15, 16) 15 Also, let the peace of the Christ rule in your hearts, for you were called to that peace in one body. And show yourselves thankful. 16 Let the word of the Christ reside in you richly in all wisdom. Keep on teaching and encouraging one another with psalms, praises to God, spiritual songs sung with gratitude, . . .

(Galatians 6:2-6) 2 Go on carrying the burdens of one another, and in this way you will fulfill the law of the Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is deceiving himself. 4 But let each one examine his own actions, and then he will have cause for rejoicing in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person. 5 For each one will carry his own load. 6 Moreover, let anyone who is being taught the word share in all good things with the one who gives such teaching.

 

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On 12/15/2016 at 6:05 AM, JW Insider said:

But I see this particular type of ministry as an important one. It is a true Christian service to other Christians and would-be Christians. I think that Jehovah's Witnesses in particular have found evidence for teachings that make it easier for people to understand God and Christ:

  • Trinity, for example, is a very confusing way to think of God, and makes God less approachable. I can see it as a service, therefore, to Christians and would-be Christians to present the view of God and Christ that the Witnesses have done.
  • The same goes for Hellfire. This is (and should be) a confusing doctrine to Christians because it puts something in the mind of a loving God that makes no sense if we are created in God's image.
  • A focus on an earthly hope attracts many who understand our unworthiness to stand before the person of God, including many who have a humble, down-to-earth attitude in our relationship with God.
  • Neutrality and non-participation in divisive, nationalistic warfare is another point that JW's promote as a teaching that flies in the face of the usual teachings that churches succumb to during wartime.

It is quite astonishing that these primary teachings are what pull people in.  It is equally astonishing that beyond this foundation, confusion sets in. If Holy Spirit had a hand in revealing these truths, what about now?   (Rev 13:15 – “breath”, 2 Cor 11:4 – “receive a different spirit”)

On 12/15/2016 at 6:05 AM, JW Insider said:

I could go on and on about various doctrines that might start out as kind of a mess (dates and pyramids and false prophecies about 1925, and 'millions now living' etc). But they continue to uncover things out of the storehouse of the Bible, things both old and new.

What are the 'new things' that have been uncovered?  Are they "truth" to replace "truth"?

On 12/15/2016 at 6:05 AM, JW Insider said:

It's just that the particular ministry we wish to focus on happens to work more effectively and efficiently with a Governing Body. If we take such a ministry seriously we will want to try to match the organizational structure of the first-century congregation, and most Witnesses think this is an attempt to match the idea of the apostles who focused on teaching while others focused on distribution

Surely you noticed in the videos how an “organizational structure” was not recognized by the apostles. They adhered to the direction of Jesus and Holy Spirit, on an individual basis. This was the driving force that motivated their teaching, not men. In the org. the power of men comes into play, men who decide one's spiritual fate. Judgement belonging to Christ has fallen into man's hands.  Rom 14:4

On 12/15/2016 at 6:05 AM, JW Insider said:

I associate with JWs because I've enjoyed my association, find people who are sincere about wanting to participate in a legitimate and important ministry,  and I get constant reminders to watch myself and my teaching.

 

Yes, If we say our teaching is based on Christ, wouldn’t we be on a slippery slope if we deviate in any way?  What if teachers whom we listen to, teach fallacies that we may later pass on in the ministry?  Who’s responsible for such errors?  We all are. Jer 23:11-14  To say we can sift through the Wt. teachings and bring our own refined cake to the door, leading one into an organization that has taught against Christ’s own words, is presumptuous. 

“Legitimate and important ministry”.  Is the changing doctrine of generation, legitimate?  Where are you leading people when they ask about it?  How will you shield them from the disappointment they will experience when realizing that “truth”, is in fact, a falsehood, an error in direction?

I sincerely encourage you to take a comfortable seat and read the book of Matthew from a dependable translation (whatever dependable is, perhaps NKJV).  Keep in mind…

The GB and all anointed ones in the congregation who must teach “good fruit”, not rotten fruit, not even passable fruit. - Matt 3:7-10; 12:33; 7:15-20

Our salvation is solely from God and the Word – Matt 4:4

We serve God and Christ, nothing fleshly, nothing earthly. – Matt  4:10; 10:38,39; 6:19-21, 24

The many, many who leave the organization and turn humbly to Christ and are persecuted for it, in their endeavor to hear the teachings of “good fruit”, and teach it – Matt 5:11,12; 10:32,33; 16-23

The seriousness of judging these individuals according to man’s doctrine, which is breaking God’s commandments – Matt 22:36-40; 5:46,47,19,20

How God’s priests lose their “salt”, and lose their “light” when teachings deviate from Christ.  Matt 5:13-16; 6:23

If we build our trust in teachings other than Christ’s pure words, our own “house”, will fall.   Matt 7:24-27

A false sense of “peace” that the organization expounds on, (“Peace, Health and Prosperity!”)

 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.  For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.  He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”  Matt 10:34-39

Where do you see this fulfillment if not when disfellowshipping occurs to those who leave and follow Christ and God, serving whole souled?

JW Insider, you may be very careful of your own teachings, but it cannot be doubted that you lead your students into an environment of shaky ground and diverted paths, where direction can error and where history verifies it.  These are people’s lives, whom we must love as Christ loves them. Matt 10:24-26

“For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’”  Matt 3:3

Albert Barnes’ commentary on this particular scripture is very applicable, when evaluating the teachings of the organization.

 

"What is the worst sin thw WT has done?" 

    Hello guest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Witness said:

Surely you noticed in the videos how an “organizational structure” was not recognized by the apostles. They adhered to the direction of Jesus and Holy Spirit, on an individual basis. This was the driving force that motivated their teaching, not men. In the org. the power of men comes into play, men who decide one's spiritual fate. Judgement belonging to Christ has fallen into man's hands.  Rom 14:4

You have made some good points. I won't try to respond to all of them, but I will try to give simple answers to some of the questions and points.

I believe that the Holy Spirit already led Christians into ALL truth during the first century. We are only trying to find a way to map the principles and activities and descriptions of the first-century congregations to our own century in an appropriate manner. Therefore, it all really boils down to trying to understand the Holy Scriptures. Of course we try to understand how best to apply the scriptures as the primary source of the Holy Spirit, but we also rely on experienced elders who have set a good example and who have years of studying and teaching experience. But again we are trusting these men to help us make decisions about how best to understand and apply the principles of scripture. We also rely on prayer for proper guidance, but prayer itself is still about guidance for how to best understand and apply the principles of scripture. It always circles back to how and whether we are understanding and applying the Bible correctly.

So Holy Spirit reveals these truths today through a proper understanding of the Bible. It's the same for all the doctrines. The most important doctrines are not difficult, but many doctrines (Bible teachings) are more ambiguous. Some have caused difficulties for many religious denominations through history.

3 hours ago, Witness said:

What are the 'new things' that have been uncovered?  Are they "truth" to replace "truth"?

One of the most important things is the way that the Bible is now read with more understanding of context. Up through the 1970's and well into the 1980's only a very few JWs were expected to be able to understand anything from a Bible passage that hadn't already been explained in a prior Watch Tower publication. (Due in large part to emphasis on types and antitypes, everywhere!) If a verse had never been commented upon, it could only be understood by someone at the Society. It was not generally expected that an average JW could read the Bible and get much out of a passage without a constant referral to publications. The majority of JWs had never discovered the joy of Bible reading on their own, because very few tried to understand context. Most of us were encouraged to read the Bible only to find and highlight doctrinal proof texts that often had almost nothing to do with the context. Bible reading, even up through the 66th (and 67th) Class of Gilead, for example, was so stilted that students I studied with felt they understood much less, rather than more, when reading straight through the Bible. About the same time, there was a backlash against comments that Bethelites were claiming to find a personal joy at a new type of Bible reading at Bethel where people were encouraged to read a few verses and then discuss what they thought it meant. This type of contextual reading and discovery of meaning through context seemed to be validated by the style of the Aid Book which often relied on context as evidence. The backlash within Bethel at the time was brutal, but as of a couple years ago, the biggest impediment to contextual understanding was removed. "Types and antitypes" had formed a set of about 300 teachings. Most JWs didn't know them all, but Gilead students were tested on them. Now these are gone and 'new things' are uncovered constantly for many JWs every time they read the Bible.

3 hours ago, Witness said:

the apostles. They adhered to the direction of Jesus and Holy Spirit, on an individual basis. . . . In the org. the power of men comes into play, men who decide one's spiritual fate. Judgement belonging to Christ has fallen into man's hands.

True, the apostles did not recognize any particular earthly structure or organization except for the manner in which appointments were made for the congregations based on letters to Timothy and Titus, for example. The power of men comes into play in the Watchtower's organization, that's true, but I don't accept that it is the "men" or the "organization" really deciding anyone's spiritual fate. Jehovah can override all mistakes made. Men are not the real judges.  Men are just trying to do what they believe the Bible tells them they should do.

3 hours ago, Witness said:

What if teachers whom we listen to, teach fallacies that we may later pass on in the ministry?  Who’s responsible for such errors?  We all are. Jer 23:11-14  To say we can sift through the Wt. teachings and bring our own refined cake to the door, leading one into an organization that has taught against Christ’s own words, is presumptuous. 

There are plenty of excellent quotations in the publications that support the Bible's view on our need to pay attention to our own teaching and to make sure of all things we are taught. It is correct that we are all responsible. And if we lead someone to the door of a Kingdom Hall, we are responsible to let them know that they MUST sift through the WT teachings. If we think of ourselves as teachers and students choose not to associate with JWs, we should let them know that they are going to be responsible to sift through the teachings of any teachers they find. It's easy to go places where we can get our ears tickled, but Christianity is our own serious responsibility. Each must carry his own load. If my experience with JWs is that I have experienced serious mistakes and corrections and other changes, then it's my responsibility to tell others about my experience and let them know that such things are to be expected in any human organization. Again, remember, that we need to realize that the Watchtower organization is NOT Jehovah's organization. It is not Zion. The Watchtower does not teach that they are the same. One is human, and one is heavenly. The best we can hope for is that men who take the lead try to be led by the heavenly organization as best they can. We can hope that Jehovah blesses the humans who take the lead, along with those who accept their lead, and thus the entire endeavor will be blessed.

This might sound odd, and even sound "independent" and perhaps "apostate" to some other JWs, but if you listen closely to the history of the Watch Tower organization given to the 59th Gilead Class (in the same talk by F W Franz partly quoted in the video links you provided) you will see that this is actually the way that Franz himself understood the way we should view the Watch Tower. Per portions of that same speech, the only evidence we really have is evidence as to whether Jehovah has appeared to be blessing the endeavor.

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On 12/16/2016 at 7:44 PM, JW Insider said:

The power of men comes into play in the Watchtower's organization, that's true, but I don't accept that it is the "men" or the "organization" really deciding anyone's spiritual fate.

Very true, but disfellowshipping is a form of perceived "killing" and symbolic for the outcome speaking truth as Christ did. Rev 13:15; 12:10,11,17; 20:4; John 15:20; Ps 119:161

On 12/16/2016 at 7:44 PM, JW Insider said:

. Again, remember, that we need to realize that the Watchtower organization is NOT Jehovah's organization. It is not Zion. The Watchtower does not teach that they are the same. One is human, and one is heavenly.

To the average JW, I believe you would be hard pressed explaining the difference between the Watchtower organization and “Jehovah’s organization”.  They are both representing the “preaching work”.

“According to its charter, the corporation’s purposes are “religious, educational, and charitable,” in particular, to “preach and teach the gospel of God’s Kingdom under Christ Jesus.”  “What is the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society?”

The visuals in the premise of “Organized to do Jehovah’s Will” give a vivid description of the Watchtower’s charter, but in fact is speaking in terms of “Jehovah’s organization”.

They are identical, are they not?

The following is how truth turns into a lie.  Firstly, we remember these words:

“Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth.  You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands.” Exod 20:4-6

Today, Zion is REPRESENTED on earth by the remaining ones of “the Israel of God,” the international congregation of spirit-anointed Christians, who have the hope of ruling with Christ in heaven. w02 7/1 pp. 9-14 

This is very close to truth, but in fact these faithful chosen ones will inhabit both heaven and earth.   Rev 3:12.

Introduction to a previous “earthly organization”, a term not used in the bible.

God purposes to punish Edom for what has maliciously been done to His earthly organization, called Zion. 

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The transition to a full lie:

“As part of Jehovah’s organization, what joy we now have in telling others about God’s promised new world!” Wt 14/05

THE EARTHLY PART OF JEHOVAH’S ORGANIZATION INCLUDES: (Wt 13/04)

  1. The Governing Body

  2. Branch Committees

  3. Traveling overseers

  4. Bodies of elders

  5. Congregations

  6. Individual publishers

     

“Jehovah has chosen an ORGANIZATION to REPRESENT him. Wt 14/5/15 pp.21-26

The organization comprises at least 8 million people, with only a fraction who are the “spirit- anointed”.  All will tell you they are part of the Watchtower organization, but perhaps excluding you.  I remember it was taught early on when we hear “who is it?” while at the door, to answer, “we represent the Watchtower”.

“The wonders about Jehovah’s organization, or “Zion,” and the truth about the spiritual paradise must be joyfully passed on “to future generations.” w15 7/15 pp. 7-11

The chapters from “Organized to do Jehovah’s Will” includes the charter’s purposes, with the concluding chapter entitled, “Stay Close to Jehovah’s Organization”. 

How is this done?  Are they admonished to “stay close” to the “spirit anointed Christians”, which is impossible under the command for them to remain anonymous?  Or are they admonished to attend meetings, listen and obey, and work for the good of a corporation? 

Daughter Zion, God’s “holy mountain” and represented on earth by the anointed, are now misrepresented by a corporation.  Jer 4:31; Zech 2:7; Rev 12:1-6

Still, as a people, “the chosen ones” and their loyal companions will physically survive the end of apostate Christendom by taking refuge in Jehovah and his mountainlike organization. w11 1/15 pp. 3-7

“Righteous flee to God’s Mountain-like Organization.”  Make Sure of All Things, pg 323

“Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth”

The true Zion is found in the faithful and continually refined hearts of the Chosen ones:

“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly,  to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”  Heb 12:22-24

Now consider:

“When Jesus taught his followers how to pray, he did not tell them to use images.  The very idea of using an image to worship the true God cannot be found in the Christian Greek Scriptures…God rejects worship given him through images”  Awake 10/2014

The word “through” is highlighted by the magazine. 

Definition of an idol from the Insight book: 

An idol is an image, a representation of anything, or a symbol that is an object of passionate devotion, whether material or imagined. Generally speaking, idolatry is the veneration, love, worship, or adoration of an idol. It is usually practiced toward a real or supposed higher power, whether such power is believed to have animate existence (as a human, an animal, or an organization) or is inanimate (as a force or lifeless object of nature). Idolatry generally involves some form, ceremony, or ritual.”

Many times in the Watchtower, one can find references implying our worship is to be in spirit and truth, as Jesus taught us; and then it is announced that we must only worship with the organization, which no different than through an image of an organization.  This is exactly the type of worship that the discloser made by the Awake was indicating that God rejects.  The organizational image outlined in the “Organized To Do Jehovah’s Will” book, which concurs with the Watchtower charter is, according to JWs, the only way to worship God.

“To survive, we must keep our faith strong and loyally worship Jehovah WITH his organization.” ws14 5/15 pp. 21-26

A truth gives way to lies; the lie, surrounded by partial truth, becomes “mountainlike”. 

“And He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”  Luke 16:15

God’s true Zion/sanctuary has been profaned by the introduction of a lie.  Matt 24:15; Ezek 23:38; Ezek 44:7; Eph 2:19-22; 1 Cor 3:16,17; Rev 14:1

 “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.   Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”  James 1:14-17

 “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast (image), and out of the mouth of the false prophet.”  Rev 16:13  (Ps 105:30)

Their land abounded with frogs,
Even in the chambers of their kings.  Ps 105:30

He sent swarms of flies among them, which devoured them,
And frogs, which destroyed them. Ps 78:45

Satan can take truth and twist it like a rope, in order to deceive Christ’s seed.  2 Cor 11:13-15

This might sound odd, and even sound "independent" and perhaps "apostate" to some other JWs, but if you listen closely to the history of the Watch Tower organization given to the 59th Gilead Class (in the same talk by F W Franz partly quoted in the video links you provided) you will see that this is actually the way that Franz himself understood the way we should view the Watch Tower. 

I agree, and thought he gave good proof that no governing body existed in the first century, but what were Franz's underlying reasons for the talk? 

This article sheds some light on history. 

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God's Genuin Mountain  

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