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Albert Michelson

Should JW's punish, disfellowship, or shun members who disagree with certain teachings?

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What is the good news?

 

The Bible is clear that even if someone had been clearly selected by god if they deviate from the truth they are to be rejected. 

 

Galatians 1:8-9 However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to YOU as good news something beyond what we declared to YOU as good news, let him be accursed.  9 As we have said above, I also now say again, Whoever it is that is declaring to YOU as good news something beyond what YOU accepted, let him be accursed.

 

This holds even more weight for ones like the GB who are not clearly selected and who's claim to authority rests solely on a demonstrably false interpretation of scripture.

The organization claims that the 1914 teaching is necessary for salvation and even goes as far as to claim that the 1914 teaching is the good news spoken of in the Bible.

*** w67 12/15 pp. 753-754 pars. 3-4 What Now Distinguishes the Good News to Be Preached ***

"What a joy-inspiring addition or enlargement to the good news now to be preached! Now has come the victorious kingdom of our God together with the authority of his Christ, his Messiah! As for Satan the Devil and his demons, they have only a short period of time until they are bound and imprisoned in the abyss after the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Armageddon. All this additional wonderful information has been true since the end of the “appointed times of the nations” in 1914, and particularly since World War I closed in the year 1918. Not before the “appointed times of the nations” ended in the fall of 1914 could the good news be preached of the newborn, established heavenly kingdom of God and of his Messiah. This, then, must be the good news that Jesus Christ in his prophecy said had to be preached first in all the nations. (Mark 13:10) This generation of human society that has seen and experienced the world events since the Gentile Times closed in 1914—this is the “generation” that will not pass away until all the things foretold have happened, including the preaching of the good news first in all nations.

4 Jesus’ prophecy in Mark 13:10, “Also, in all the nations the good news has to be preached first,” has not been undergoing fulfillment during the past nineteen centuries. It is only since the second decade of our twentieth century that this prophecy has been undergoing fulfillment. This began to be realized by the International Bible Students Association and the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society since the end of the second decade of our century. In the magazine issue of July 1, 1920, of The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence the article was published entitled “Gospel of the Kingdom” and based on the theme text, “‘And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.’—Matthew 24:14.”

 It is for this reason that the organization is chained to the 1914 teaching. As the scripture I quoted above demonstrates the Bible says that one who teaches a good news that is false is cursed. If the organization admits that the 1914 and 1919 teachings are false they will have to admit that not only were they not selected as gods channel but that they have been teaching a false good news for the majority of their existence. It is for that reason that they disfellowship and shun people who cannot conscientiously remain in the faith. It's easier to just eliminate the opposition then to actually address the real issues with your theology. 

*** w86 4/1 pp. 30-31 Questions From Readers ***

Why have Jehovah’s Witnesses disfellowshipped (excommunicated) for apostasy some who still profess belief in God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ?

 

"Approved association with Jehovah’s Witnesses requires accepting the entire range of the true teachings of the Bible, including those Scriptural beliefs that are unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses. What do such beliefs include?

 

That the great issue before humankind is the rightfulness of Jehovah’s sovereignty, which is why he has allowed wickedness so long. (Ezekiel 25:17) That Jesus Christ had a prehuman existence and is subordinate to his heavenly Father. (John 14:28) That there is a “faithful and discreet slave” upon earth today ‘entrusted with all of Jesus’ earthly interests,’ which slave is associated with the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Matthew 24:45-47) That 1914 marked the end of the Gentile Times and the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the heavens, as well as the time for Christ’s foretold presence. (Luke 21:7-24; Revelation 11:15–12:10) That only 144,000 Christians will receive the heavenly reward. (Revelation 14:1, 3) That Armageddon, referring to the battle of the great day of God the Almighty, is near. (Revelation 16:14, 16; 19:11-21) That it will be followed by Christ’s Millennial Reign, which will restore an earth-wide paradise. That the first to enjoy it will be the present “great crowd” of Jesus’ “other sheep.”—John 10:16; Revelation 7:9-17; 21:3, 4."

 

This is supposedly a list of the fundamental doctrines of Jehovah's Witnesses that all are required to believe. You will in most cases be disfellowshiped for not believing in one or more of them. Unfortunately the truth is most of them are false.

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1 hour ago, Albert Michelson said:

This is supposedly a list of the fundamental doctrines of Jehovah's Witnesses that all are required to believe. You will in most cases be disfellowshiped for not believing in one or more of them.

This statement is ridiculous and has been dealt with in an entire dedicated thread.

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2 hours ago, Albert Michelson said:

"Approved association with Jehovah’s Witnesses requires accepting the entire range of the true teachings of the Bible, including those Scriptural beliefs that are unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses. What do such beliefs include?

 

2 hours ago, Albert Michelson said:

That 1914 marked the end of the Gentile Times and the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the heavens, as well as the time for Christ’s foretold presence

Interesting. I was just now going to type up several reasons why salvation is not dependent on us believing in 1914. I have read this 1986 article before. But thank you for mentioning it, as a reminder on here.  Put in context of the time period this article was written, (post Bethel apostasy) it is understandable to a certain extent why it was written. It would be interesting to see if such a view was still strictly adhered to today, and put into the same words as is was back then. A lot of doctrinal water has gone under the bridge since then, and some beliefs had to be revised. (None that are mentioned above though). Because of that, it seems the GB is a lot more careful recently when it comes to insisting on certain past teachings. Knowledge and truth are progressive, that is why the article also mentions "Through Jesus Christ, Jehovah God provided for this purpose “some as apostles, . . . some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers . . . until we all attain to the oneness in the faith and in the accurate knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man.” Ephesians 4:11-13  Evidently we have not attained all the accurate knowledge yet. Perhaps not even the oneness in the faith as is also evident by the discussions on this forum....

 

2 hours ago, Albert Michelson said:

but that they have been teaching a false good news for the majority of their existence.

Not really, since the Good news is and has remained the same regardless of a date. The Good news is about the blessings for mankind brought through the Messianic kingdom, regardless of when established.

 

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Anna 

the issue is that the organization declared in no uncertain terms that the Good News Of The Kingdom was the 1914 teaching, it even went as far as to claim that for the previous 1900 years the good news wasn't being taught at all. 

The  apostasy of which you speak was  A result of honest hearted individuals who could no longer remain associated with a false religion.  I find it amusing that you are trying to blame the very ones who rejected this falsehood and were punished for the falsehood that they couldn't  continue to propagate.

They're still punishing people who challenge this doctrine and it's for the very reason I stated above. This is the central to their claim of being chosen as gods channel. The entire authority structure rests solely on the 1914 teaching. 

18 minutes ago, Anna said:

Put in context of the time period this article was written, (post Bethel apostasy) it is understandable to a certain extent why it was written. It would be interesting to see if such a view was still strictly adhered to today, and put into the same words as is was back then

Have you read Ray Franz's book? Or are you casting judgment on someone you've never taken the time to investigate?

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1 hour ago, TrueTomHarley said:

This statement is ridiculous and has been dealt with in an entire dedicated thread.

Are you honestly going to sit here and try to claim that rejection of these teachings doesn't result in disfellowshiping. Especially when this very article is defending the disfellowshiping of those who reject it? 

The pictures are from the elders book pages 65-66

IMG_1702.PNG

IMG_1703.PNG

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15 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

A result of honest hearted individuals who could no longer remain associated with a false religion.

That's a matter of opinion.

15 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

They're still punishing people who challenge this doctrine and it's for the very reason I stated above.

Can you prove that?

 

 

Yes, I have read most of Franz's book

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5 minutes ago, Anna said:

That's a matter of opinion.

20 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

I suppose it is but the fact of the matter  is that jehovahs witnesses who cannot in good conscience teach what they personally believe to be false teachings are punished for acting in accord with their conscience.

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Just now, Albert Michelson said:

Yes I have many friends who have been disfellowshiped recently for rejecting this very teaching. 

Hmmm....I doubt that very much. Sounds more like the problem was what you cited in the Elders book. i.e. deliberately spreading teachings contrary to what  JWs teach.  

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Oh I forgot you're a witness so you see no problem in forcing someone into remaining silent about what they believe. 

Ok I'll rephrase so we're on the same page.  If you reject the organization's teachings and cannot in good conscience continue to support a religion you believe to be false and you thereafter explain to someone else why you rejected that religion you can be punished .

 

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2 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

that jehovahs witnesses who cannot in good conscience teach what they personally believe to be false teachings are punished for acting in accord with their conscience.

Just depends how they go about it doesn't it?  If my conscience didn't allow me to teach something I wouldn't either. But that wouldn't get me disfellowshipped.

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1 minute ago, Albert Michelson said:

Oh I forgot you're a witness so you see no problem in forcing someone into remaining silent about what they believe. 

Ok I'll rephrase so we're on the same page.  If you reject the organization's teachings and cannot in good conscience continue to support a religion you believe to be false and you thereafter explain to someone else why you were rejected that religion you can be punished .

 

Well, I think it would be better to leave before that happened

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What do you mean leave before that. I'm constantly harassed by witnesses asking why I'm no longer attending meetings and I can't have an honest discussion with them because I know what the  consequences will be. But as I said before you seem to have no issue when it comes to forcing someone to basically take a vow of silence and never express their reasons for leaving. 

 

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14 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

Not trying to insult you by using the word cult that's just how the meme was written 

OK.

Yes, I know that article, from the 2009 Awake and I have posted a topic on that for discussion, but I think it got buried under the avalanche of the persecution and ban in Russia that was happening at the time. Perhaps I will re-post it because I feel it is a valid point...

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28 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

 I can't have an honest discussion with them because I know what the  consequences will be. But as I said before you seem to have no issue when it comes to forcing someone to basically take a vow of silence and never express their reasons for leaving. 

 

Sometimes we got to do what we got to do, either way.....

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I agree,  The only issue is that you are in support of an organization that regularly violates human rights and actively persecutes people  Who cannot continue to worship in a way they see as unfit. 

 You just mentioned the persecution Jehovah's Witnesses are facing in Russia . Now I strongly detest the mistreatment those people  are undergoing.  However even though Jehovah's Witnesses will fight for their right to  openly express their religious beliefs they actively deny that right for others. 

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 But as I've said before and as I'm guessing you're already aware.  The organization knows that it's 1914 teaching and it's claim to be in God's representative's is  demonstrably false.  The only way that they can maintain a parishioner base is to blackmail their members into either remaining part of the group or remaining silent if they leave. 

 The primary reason Jehovah's Witnesses are called a cult is because of the emotional  blackmail that is used to keep people in the organization even if they don't believe. 

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26 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

The organization knows that it's 1914 teaching and it's claim to be in God's representative's is  demonstrably false.

The above quote is the opinion of some. I do not believe all who are responsible ( GB) think that 1914 is false,  despite Franz's claims.

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 I don't think he ever claimed that they all knew it was false.  The governing body of his time may have known that it was probably wrong but I seriously doubt the current body does.  In fact I personally doubt that many of the current governing body are even educated enough and adequately informed to know what the issues with the 1914 teaching are. 

 But what they know really doesn't matter because whether or not they know that they were never apointed doesn't make a difference in determining that they never received an appointment from God and therefore they are not gods spokesman and therefore rejecting them and leaving their religion is not the same as "leaving Jehovah"  as witnesses often put it.

 

 I'm sure there are many at Bethel who do know it's not factual. 

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The primary issue is that you simply can't  be a witness and not believe in the 1914 teaching.  Because the 1914 teaching is the only justification that the organization can give for destroying families and punishing people for disagreeing with them.  If they are not appointed by God and if they are not gods spokesman then it shouldn't be an issue when someone contradicts them or disagrees with them.  Unfortunately in a master class of arrogance they decided to punish and expel anyone who doesn't agree with their opinions about what the Bible says.

this elders letter is still the current stance as far as I know  and they make it very clear that simply believing something that contradicts the organization's position is potential grounds for disfellowshiping.

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2 hours ago, Albert Michelson said:

Are you honestly going to sit here

I am sitting elsewhere.

 

2 hours ago, Albert Michelson said:

 and try to claim that rejection of these teachings doesn't result in disfellowshiping. Especially when this very article is defending the disfellowshiping of those who reject it? 

Read the entire thread mentioned previously before you jump in from nowhere and carry on about what has been covered already. It's only a few months old and the title makes clear which one it is. Add to that thread, if you must - you see any reasonable points uncovered.

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4 hours ago, Albert Michelson said:

Are you honestly going to sit here and try to claim that rejection of these teachings doesn't result in disfellowshiping. Especially when this very article is defending the disfellowshiping of those who reject it? 

I've aleady said a lot more than my share in the last couple months here. And it has probably dipped the popularity of this particular forum to its lowest levels in a long time. But I would like to share some points that might be right or wrong. They're just opinions.

I too have serious doubts about the 1914 doctrine, but I have not been disfellowshipped. It is true that you have to "muzzle" yourself, and as you say, basically take a vow of silence among your friends, even some of your most trusted friends. I have seen brothers who have "covered" for each other by not turning them in, and even lying for them. I've known this to have happened among brothers (and sisters) on issues ranging from drugs, fornication, belief in evolution, disbelief in our blood doctrine, habitual drunkennes, etc -- but I would never imagine that brothers like that would be trusted to understand how to respond to a fellow Witness on the topic of 1914.

A recent couple of discussions here have shown me that, for some, almost all semblance of Christianity goes out the window when something so basic to our comfort level is threatened. There are books that discuss this phenomenon from a psychological perspective, too, and I have been surprised and saddened to see the precise, predictable patterns emerge among us.

However, if one wishes to stay, work, and serve among Jehovah's Witnesses, as I do, then I'm pretty sure it's possible for almost anyone to remain as a Witness in good standing. There are some with ebullient personalities who will have more trouble than others, but there are other outlets for sacred service that are just as acceptable to Jehovah besides teaching 100% of the current doctrines. (There are 100 other, more important doctrines to emphasize.) There are especially good works, which could be visiting the elderly, offering rides, helping brothers out financially, helping them find jobs, volunteering to help them with food, chores, errands. For me Christianity is not strictly the doctrinal part of the religion on its own, but our form of Christianity is (to me) a clear stepping stone to mature Christianity. The emphasis on the Bible is higher than most religions, and the most important need that it meets is to provide comfort to those who are sighing, learning to throw our burdens on Jehovah, and recognizing that Christianity is primarily the strong bond of brotherhood, the social structure, by which we help and encourage one another to keep our faith.

I have never believed that all the doctrines have to be in order as long as our motivations are out of love for God and neighbor. If they did all have to be in order, then no person associated with the Watchtower and Jehovah's Witnesses from 1919 until 2016 even passed the test anyway, because so many doctrines have changed during that time. And ye we have no problem believing that Jehovah accepted these persons as Christians, in spite of the false doctrines. (In 2018, we will no doubt change more doctrines, which means that none of us had all our doctrines in order this year either.) However, I still find that all the important core doctrines fit the Bible much better than any other set of core doctrines I have seen anywhere else. (war, neutrality, morality, ransom, Trinity, hell-fire, torment, soul, spirit, sovereignty, outworking of kingdom in history, millennium, Armageddon, resurrection, salvation) I question plenty of other things too, but do not reject them outright.

I could still be wrong on 1914, but at the moment, I currently have no doubts; I'm sure it's wrong, and I'm sure it's wrong to emphasize the date even if it were right. But as a Christian brotherhood, we are not much different in our thinking about the final end than first-century Christians. They, too, expected the final end in their own generation. They too wondered how long that "generation" could go on. They knew that times were getting worse and worse for them and comforted themselves knowing that the time for their salvation was nearer to them every day. So we all remain watchful of our conduct and our motivations, but also patient. 1914 has probably created some unscriptural adjustments to that idea of patience, and has no doubt created an air of anticipation about date for the end of the generation that supposedly started in 1914, and  this is spiritually unhealthy. With enough failed expectations behind us, however, we are fairly unlikely to fall into the specific trap of serving for a specific time or season. But humans are humans and the presumptuousness of believing we have been given some kind of special knowledge or special interpretation has affected many, right up to the highest levels of responsibility in the organization.

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3 hours ago, Albert Michelson said:

The pictures are from the elders book pages 65-66

Notice that "apostasy" is the actual defection, rebellion, and abandonment, not the lack of belief in specific doctrines. Biblically, of course, there is nothing wrong with spreading Bible doctrines even if we are sure that they might differ from some of the doctrines most other Jehovah's Witnesses hold. But it isn't necessary to push Bible doctrines upon those who do not wish to engage in such discussions, same as here on a forum. Even under the legalistic approach of the Flock book, if you can show that your goal is only to teach Biblically-supported teachings, then you do not fall under the category of "deliberately spreading teachings contrary to Bible truth."  Notice, too that causing division and promoting sects is always wrong but that it is not technically apostasy, per se. However, as the book correctly notes, "It may involve or lead to apostasy."

 

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When? 1914

"During that time Michael will stand up, the great prince who is standing in behalf of your people. And there will occur a time of distress such as has not occurred since there came to be a nation until that time. And during that time your people will escape, everyone who is found written down in the book.  And many of those asleep in the dust of the earth will wake up, some to everlasting life and others to reproach and to everlasting contempt." (Daniel 12:1-2)

 

How?

"And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled" (Rev 12:7)

"the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first." (1 Thessalonians 4:16)

"Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God!" (Rev 12:10)

Destruction of "the wicked" is a process

How?   "Then, indeed, the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will do away with by the spirit of his mouth and bring to nothing by the manifestation of his presence." (2 Thessalonians 2:8)

"Many will cleanse themselves and whiten themselves and will be refined. And the wicked ones will act wickedly, and none of the wicked will understand; but those having insight will understand." (Daniel 12:10)

 

 


 

 

 

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2 hours ago, JW Insider said:

However, I still find that all the important core doctrines fit the Bible much better than any other set of core doctrines I have seen anywhere else. (war, neutrality, morality, ransom, Trinity, hell-fire, torment, soul, spirit, sovereignty, outworking of kingdom in history, millennium, Armageddon, resurrection, salvation) I question plenty of other things too, but do not reject them outright.

You're ignoring the fact that wether you like it or not the society's stand is that the 1914 teaching is a core doctrine. 

 

"Approved association with Jehovah’s Witnesses requires accepting the entire range of the true teachings of the Bible, including those Scriptural beliefs that are unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses. What do such beliefs include?

That the great issue before humankind is the rightfulness of Jehovah’s sovereignty, which is why he has allowed wickedness so long. (Ezekiel 25:17) That Jesus Christ had a prehuman existence and is subordinate to his heavenly Father. (John 14:28) That there is a “faithful and discreet slave” upon earth today ‘entrusted with all of Jesus’ earthly interests,’ which slave is associated with the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Matthew 24:45-47) That 1914 marked the end of the Gentile Times and the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the heavens, as well as the time for Christ’s foretold presence. (Luke 21:7-24; Revelation 11:15–12:10) That only 144,000 Christians will receive the heavenly reward. (Revelation 14:1, 3) That Armageddon, referring to the battle of the great day of God the Almighty, is near. (Revelation 16:14, 16; 19:11-21) That it will be followed by Christ’s Millennial Reign, which will restore an earth-wide paradise. That the first to enjoy it will be the present “great crowd” of Jesus’ “other sheep.”—John 10:16; Revelation 7:9-17; 21:3, 4."

 

My issue isn't with the doctrines. Believe whatever you want I don't care, my issue is with the fact that those who can't keep teaching what they know to be false are punished. 

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1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

Even under the legalistic approach of the Flock book, if you can show that your goal is only to teach Biblically-supported teachings, then you do not fall under the category of "deliberately spreading teachings contrary to Bible truth."  Notice, too that causing division and promoting sects is always wrong but that it is not technically apostasy, per se. However, as the book correctly notes, "It may involve or lead to apostasy."

And yet so many have lost their families for doing that very thing.

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1 minute ago, TrueTomHarley said:

For someone who says 'believe whatever you want I don't care,' you sure do seem to care a lot.

I care because I and thousands of others like me are currently suffering from the abusive policies of this high control group i.e. Cult 

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2 hours ago, JW Insider said:

war, neutrality, morality, ransom, Trinity, hell-fire, torment, soul, spirit, sovereignty, outworking of kingdom in history, millennium, Armageddon, resurrection, salvation

I'll give you the first 9 (sorta) but the rest are false.

 

In reality it doesn't matter because every religion has some accurate interpretations and some false ones. However JWs seem to think it's ok to distroy families by punishing those who can't support them in propagateing falshood.  

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3 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Read the entire thread mentioned previously before you jump in from nowhere and carry on about what has been covered already. It's only a few months old and the title makes clear which one it is. Add to that thread, if you must - you see any reasonable points uncovered.

I've looked and there's no thread attempting to debunk the fact that people are disfellowshiped for rejecting the 1914 teaching. Can you give me the title? 

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2 hours ago, JW Insider said:

for some, almost all semblance of Christianity goes out the window when something so basic to our comfort level is threatened.

Do you really think this has nothing to do with the organization and how they treat and degrade those who reject their claims? This attitude is a symptom of the WTs anti independent thinking rhetoric. Most witnesses (present company excluded) don't think for themselves but rather they allow the organization to tell them exactly how to think and what they can and cannot believe. 

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"But if you have bitter jealousy and contentiousness in your hearts, do not be bragging and lying against the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above; it is earthly, animalistic, demonic.  For wherever there are jealousy and contentiousness, there will also be disorder and every vile thing." (James 3:14-16)

"Their flesh will rot away while they stand on their feet, their eyes will rot away in their sockets, and their tongues will rot away in their mouths." (Zechariah 14:12b)  Only those already dying the second death of everlasting destruction begin the weeping and gnashing of teeth. Oh well.... they can't grasp the spiritual things and when they begin to dissolve, they cry louder....  everlasting death in the same manner as Adam and Eve, never to be resurrected......  just like the days of Noah so is the Presence of the son of man...


 


 

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1 hour ago, Albert Michelson said:

I care because I and thousands of others like me are currently suffering from the abusive policies of this high control group

In that case do not say "believe whatever you want, I don't care." It is misleading.

They are not so 'high control' as you imagine. There is little damage done that cannot be done provided one is not determined to saw off the limb one is sitting on. Set yourself to undo it.

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3 hours ago, JW Insider said:

A recent couple of discussions here have shown me that, for some, almost all semblance of Christianity goes out the window when something so basic to our comfort level is threatened. There are books that discuss this phenomenon from a psychological perspective, too, and I have been surprised and saddened to see the precise, predictable patterns emerge among us.

Isn't that the truth. Cognitive dissonance.

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2 hours ago, Nana Fofana said:

[Matthew 10: 34]  "Do not think Icame to bring peace to the earth;

 I came to bringnot peacebut a sword

For I came to cause division, with a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and adaughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

 

    Hello guest!
Indeed, a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.

 

    Hello guest!
Whoever has greater affection for father or mother than for me is not worthy of me; and whoever has greater affection for son or daughter than for me is not worthy of me. 

 

  I always find it interesting that JWs try and use these scriptures to defend shunning  when in reality Jesus was warning the Christians of that time that if they left Judaism and began to follow him that their families would Shun them and cut them off.  His words indicate that if someone was intimidated by this threat and they loved their relationships with their family more than they loved him that they really weren't worthy of him. However he never encouraged his disciples to  shun their family  he is simply warning them that their families will try and use the threat of estrangement to keep them from joining the movement.

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7 hours ago, Albert Michelson said:

I am, I'm trying to raise awareness so that no one else gets tricked into joining this cult.

Few things in this world are less tricky than one choosing to become a Witness. One cannot do so without a lengthy period of voluntary study, seldom lasting less than a year in these parts. It is not a religion where one can impulsively "come down and be saved." Almost always, the one who studies the Bible with Jehovah's Witnesses is in familiar settings at congregation meetings and a picnic or two - perhaps 5% of one's time is in unfamiliar settings - probably less. One is always in control of one's destiny.

Though it is not my intent to denigrate college here, college is far more 'controlling' than anything JWs originate, in that it separates students almost 100% from what is familiar - a classic tool of 'brainwashing.' 24/7 campus life is a far cry from life back home. The new people of Jehovah's Witnesses trickle in only to the extent and at the rate you want them to. The new people of the college experience replace and overwhelm your former associates from Day 1 - no longer is there the stabilizing influence of family, community groups, or familiar friends.

You just don't like the conclusions JWs have come to, and you mask it with concern about their 'controlling methods.'  Those 'methods' are far less controlling than that of the greater world's system of education.

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9 minutes ago, TrueTomHarley said:

You just don't like the conclusions JWs have come to. It has nothing to do with the 'controlling' path they take, for it is far less controlling than that of the greater world's system of education.

 Last I checked you don't get shunned by all of your friends and family for choosing to leave college.  Or speaking out against academia. 

 You also made a false statement about the state of affairs when it comes to baptism. First off many of those who end up getting baptize are young children of Jehovah's Witnesses. So putting aside the deception that witnesses use to lure in new members  The fact that they indoctrinate their children and allow them to make a dedication before they have a chance to truly examine both sides of the issue is extremely manipulative. 

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14 minutes ago, TrueTomHarley said:

One cannot do so without a lengthy period of voluntary study

 It wasn't voluntary for me nor was it voluntary for many of my friends who have since left the religion. 

 I just posted this in another thread so I'm basically quoting myself.

"

I usually try not to focus on the fact that JW's baptize young children because I believe that it's wrong to threaten someone of any age into remaining a member of a religion that they no longer believe in.  That being said one of the final straws for me was sitting in an elders/ms meeting  and listening to the circuit overseer her encourage the elders to allow young children to get baptized and insisting that they set the example by getting their children baptized. 

" we don't want to teach the friends that  waiting to get baptized is a good idea" 

" we want to capitalize on young ones interest in the truth" 

 Now I'm certain that he wasn't being malicious in the statements because he likely believed that getting them to join the religion was the right thing to do.  Nevertheless JW's are continually being encouraged to baptize their children at a young ages.  In some instances the society has even implied that if a child is in baptized by the time they're able to drive a car and they asked to get a license the parent should make it clear to the child that if they are at an age when they can drive then they should be at an age to dedicate their life to the organization. The most recent yearbook mentions an eight-year-old getting baptized. It's clear to me that Jehovah's Witnesses are desperately trying to bolster their numbers to counteract the flood of defectors.  It's also clear that their primary goal is to get children trapped in the religion as early as possible.  The sooner they can get them baptized the sooner they can start threatening them with family estrangement if they try and leave. And as I said before at the very least the society hopes that the threat of disfellowshipping will  keep those who do try to fade silent."

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2 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

So putting aside the deception that witnesses use to lure in new members

Don't put aside the 'deception that Witnesses use to lure in new members' simply because you got pasted on it. Deal with it.

Or say: "well, I guess I didn't know what I was talking about."

Then bring up children on a separate thread. 

Look, @The Librarian (a fine woman) is trying to impose some order on this chaos. Cooperate with her. Don't just jump in willy-nilly with a blunderbuss

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While I was typing, you posted your answer. Thus, the two preceding comments should be in reverse order. They make more sense that way.

20 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

I usually try not to focus on the fact that JW's baptize young children because I believe that it's wrong to threaten someone of any age into remaining a member of a religion that they no longer believe in.

Okay. It's a valid question. I'll address it. 

But it will have to be later in the day, possibly even tomorrow, as I must attend to some other things. Possibly someone else will chime in. But whether they do or not, I'll get back to you.

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1 hour ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Few things in this world are less tricky than one choosing to become a Witness.

It's actually extremely easy. One of the young kids in my hall was 10 and didn't know almost anything but her parents taught her all the right answers to the questions and she was baptized. I've seen it a hundred times. Simply  rehearse the answers and go through the questions and you're in. 

The Bible teach book doesn't even contain the words "Governing Body" and yet that's a fundamental teaching of jehovahs witnesses. 

JWs like to say that's it's hard to become a member but that's because it inflates their ego and makes them feel superior to other faiths. In reality most witnesses get baptized with a cursory understanding of the doctrines and most that I knew who had been in for upwards of 40 years still barley knew what the organization taught. It's not difficult at all. 

But as I've said repeatedly, even if it was difficult there shouldn't be a punishment for leaving after you learn that it's not true. 

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25 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

In reality most witnesses get baptized with a cursory understanding of the doctrines

Use of the word 'most' is subjective - I do not think it is 'most' - though it is certainly true anywhere that new ones do not know as much as older ones. It's not just in the field of religion. It is everywhere.

GB counsel doesn't encourage people to be shallow. It encourages them to go deep. But people do that at their own pace and sometimes not at all. You don't have to be a theocratic Rhode's scholar to be baptized - you just have to know and agree with the basics. Surely the fact that you cannot (usually) get baptized for close to a year should allay your concern - unless that concern is unallayable.

29 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

most that I knew who had been in for upwards of 40 years still barley knew what the organization taught

This is also subjective, and I do not agree with it. I suspect there are some concerns that are important in your eyes that most Witnesses do not know much of, but that is not the same thing.

But this is quibbling. You're main concern i'll speak to later. Unfortunately, I am in and out. A five minute comment I can make anytime, but if there is something that deserves more thought, I want to give it that thought. Start a separate thread on it. Seriously. It's a subject in its own right, and this thread is on something else. The threadmeister can always yank it back on topic and there will be nothing you or I can do about it.

Having said that, I've been known to hijack a thread or two in my tenure.

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17 hours ago, Albert Michelson said:

I suppose it is but the fact of the matter  is that jehovahs witnesses who cannot in good conscience teach what they personally believe to be false teachings are punished for acting in accord with their conscience.

A belief or teaching that we conscientiously hold does not have to be "thrust in the face" of someone who is not ready to accept that particular belief or teaching. This was a point that Paul made so that Gentile Christians need not offend Jewish Christians. This should be a big hint that doctrinal matters were not nearly as important as love and concern for one another. But it is important to note that on the issue of eating things sacrificed to idols, the Jerusalem "Governing Body" had included this specific item in the list of things they claimed that the "holy spirit and we ourselves" had approved. Yet apparently at some later point, Paul rejected that specific "burden" and said that this particular item did not matter to true Christians if their conscience allowed them to eat things sacrificed to idols.

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14 hours ago, JW Insider said:

have never believed that all the doctrines have to be in order as long as our motivations are out of love for God and neighbor.

 I never believe that all of them had to be correct either but the fundamental doctrines (the ones pertaining to the religion being the truth and the leaders being selected by God as his channel of communication) did have to be true in order for me to justify shunning someone for disagreeing with those leaders. 

 By your definition it really doesn't matter whether a religion is teaching the full truth or not as long as the people within it are honest hearted.  The early Bible students taught something similar but current witness doctrine states that no matter how sincere someone is in their religious believes if they are affiliated with a false religion or a religion that is teaching falsehoods then it doesn't matter. 

 I would be curious to find out from you what you believe the cut off is.  What percentage of the doctrines of a religion have to be false before it is to be considered a false religion?, and if your personal cut off is different from someone else's does that justify shunning that person?

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1 hour ago, Albert Michelson said:

JWs like to say that's it's hard to become a member but that's because it inflates their ego and makes them feel superior to other faiths. In reality most witnesses get baptized with a cursory understanding of the doctrines and most that I knew who had been in for upwards of 40 years still barley knew what the organization taught. It's not difficult at all. 

Depends on the kinds of teachings you are talking about. Most things are repeated so often that you can't miss them. Any child in the organization can rattle off a list of things we don't approve of, and they will be correct. The general idea of baptism is that the person realizes that he wants to associate with a people who have high moral standards and who are best known for getting out there and preaching the good news of the kingdom that will someday step in and solve man's problems and turn the earth into a paradise.

(By the way, I didn't include those items on a previous list of core doctrines, but I also agree that God's will through the Kingdom will be done both in heaven AND on earth, and therefore there are a "new heavens" AND a "new earth" that we are awaiting according to his promise. I also think that the basis for preaching about this good news is best done through a world-wide house-to-house ministry, wherever possible, so I should also have included this practice into the core teachings of Christianity, although I don't think that preaching and teaching is the only ministry of sacred service.)

A few months ago, our Circuit Overseer and a couple of elders were here at the house and I was thinking about something I had just written over here on the forum. It was following the funeral of an anointed sister,  and someone said something about what she might have said last week when she met "Saint Peter at the Golden Gates" in a joking manner, and I said "well now, of course, we say it's only an interesting possibility to say that Peter is already in heaven." I knew I shouldn't have said it, but the Circuit Overseer said that Peter has been in heaven since the spring of 1918. The other two elders quickly agreed, "That's right," "That's right." So I said, "Oh I thought I read somewhere that we didn't put an exact date on that any more," and I quickly changed the subject.

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19 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

I would be curious to find out from you what you believe the cut off is.  What percentage of the doctrines of a religion have to be false before it is to be considered a false religion?, and if your personal cut off is different from someone else's does that justify shunning that person?

I don't actually believe in any "organization" as religion. Some organizations will try to do some good in a certain way that is different from others, but most of what we call religions today are just different groups that used a difference in teaching as an excuse for men to claim higher spiritual authority than other religions, especially the one they just broke off from. This was the same thing when Barbour broke with other Second Adventists (1859-1875), when Russell broke it off with Barbour (1878-9), when Rutherford broke it off with Russell (1917-1927). The organization is just a tool for efficiency so that like-minded people can speak in agreement and more efficiently accomplish the same ministry.

If I was born into a Hindu religion, or a Muslim religion, I would probably still be Hindu or Muslim. This doesn't mean that Jehovah would necessarily judge me any differently. He reads the heart -- "the motivation." This is why James could say, in effect, that "true religion means looking after orphans and widows, but without being tainted by worldly motivations." The "world" creates motivations of wanting to make a "showy display," class distinctions, prejudice, pride, etc. People in all religions of the world have the same opportunity to live according to good motivations or bad motivations. (Romans 1 & 2)

But if we become acquainted with true Christianity, we are now motivated to have the Law of Christ written on our hearts. This means seeing everything that Jesus said and taught, and seeing how it fits into the royal law of "love" and "doing unto others as we would want done for ourselves." We should be aware that Jehovah's spirit will help to create the desire to serve for any who want to show love for Jehovah. When we read about what happened when He sent his Son, and we are motivated to imitate his example, because it presented the best example possible of how we can show our love for God by ministering to others. If we desire to share in a teaching ministry similar to what Jesus did, then we would look to associate with other Christians who are setting the standard for how to effectively get the word out. We would look for other Christians who try their best to follow the beliefs that Jesus and his apostles and disciples promoted in the first century.

No association is perfect, and I don't think we are really counting the percentage of true and false doctrines. We will have all of the same problems we saw in the first century and many more. We are counting on Jehovah's spirit to help us find the ministry that feels the most like what we would expect if we saw the first-century Christians trying to fit into the twenty-first century.

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2 hours ago, JW Insider said:

A belief or teaching that we conscientiously hold does not have to be "thrust in the face" of someone who is not ready to accept that particular belief or teaching. This was a point that Paul made so that Gentile Christians need not offend Jewish Christians. This should be a big hint that doctrinal matters were not nearly as important as love and concern for one another. But it is important to note that on the issue of eating things sacrificed to idols, the Jerusalem "Governing Body" had included this specific item in the list of things they claimed that the "holy spirit and we ourselves" had approved. Yet apparently at some later point, Paul rejected that specific "burden" and said that this particular item did not matter to true Christians if their conscience allowed them to eat things sacrificed to idols.

 And yet witness beliefs are thrust in my face all the time.  This society constantly throws their beliefs upon others and demand that they accept them.  If this religion allowed people to leave  voluntarily  without  The threat of disfellowshiping for joining another religion or speaking about the reasons they left then the long list of false doctrines wouldn't bother me.  Like you already said no organization is perfect and no group has everything right. But humility should come in to play.  If you can't guarantee that 100% of what you teach is true then you shouldn't punish someone for disagreeing with you or for leaving your religion.  Even if you could guarantee that it was all true it still isn't the proper way to maintain membership.  Witnesses should be members because they want to be not because they know that they will be shunned if they leave. 

 I would also strongly disagree with you about the Jerusalem Council being a governing body and that their decision had anything to do with a biblical law rather than a temporary suggestion in  light of the consciences of the Jewish Christians. 

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27 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

was born into a Hindu religion, or a Muslim religion, I would probably still be Hindu or Muslim. This doesn't mean that Jehovah would necessarily judge me any differently.

 According to the society once Armageddon hits anyone who isn't a witness is dead. 

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58 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

and if your personal cut off is different from someone else's does that justify shunning that person?

In life, we all "shun" people we find offensive or who we think might endanger us. In the congregation, and in life in general, there will be people with certain "poisonous" attitudes or certain motivations that we find offensive and dangerous, too. We will, in effect, "mark" such persons and try not to associate with them any more than necessary. There are also persons who have an attitude that will endanger not just ourselves but the entire congregation (pedophiles, unrepentant immoral people who try to work their way into households for immoral purposes, people who try to seduce others into drawing off followers for themselves, people who cause divisions through lying, persons who are greedy and are scheming for ways to steal or extort). To keep the congregation clean and safe it seems appropriate to "mark" the unrepentant ones for the entire congregation. Disfellowshipping is just "marking" to avoid unnecessary association. It would seem to be the loving thing to do as a way of protecting others from harm. It's for the same reason that it would be the loving thing to notify the secular authorities if a Witness has been accused of criminal behavior.

But, of course, this did not mean shunning the person as a type of psychological punishment, which is how most religions that shun tend to use the practice. In fact, Paul added: 

(1 Corinthians 5:10, 11) . . .Otherwise, you would actually have to get out of the world. 11 But now I am writing you to stop keeping company with anyone called a brother who is sexually immoral or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man.

These were persons who were a real danger to others, so that a way should be found to "mark" them for the entire congregation. They weren't shunned as a way to make others feel superior to them, or to use emotional blackmail to draw them back in, but just as a protection.

We also know that there was at least one teaching that was considered so poisonous and dangerous as to require "marking" that person to the extent that we don't associate with them at all, not even saying a greeting to them. This was the great danger to Christianity through people who wanted to draw off Christians to a version of Christianity that denied that Jesus had really existed in the flesh.

I'll grant you that we go beyond these Biblical guidelines mostly because we are human and want our egos to be stroked through feelings of superiority and self-righteousness. But the basic idea is still valid, just misused.

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1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

It would seem to be the loving thing to do as a way of protecting others from harm.

Or the organization protecting itself from  scrutiny. And let's not get started on the JWs failure when it comes to pedophiles

1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

I'll grant you that we go beyond these Biblical guidelines mostly because we are human and want our egos to be stroked through feelings of superiority and self-righteousness. But the basic idea is still valid, just misused.

I would disagree about your interpretation of Paul's words here. However all I see is you acknowledging the fact that the Bible isn't being followed accurately but then making excuses as to why it's ok. 

Disfellowshiping is a weapon. It is used to manipulate and control. I was repeatedly threatened with disfellowshiping simply for not following the rules our particular body of elders imposed. But in a broader context the GB uses it to prevent honest biblical examination and discussion. 

You talked earlier about your experience with the CO. I had experiences like that all the time. Any discussion that deviated from the party line was immediately shut down. It's an extremely anti intellectual environment. 

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1914 is it, to be among the JW. PERIOD! That may change but at this point in time it has not. When young Samuel was at the tabernacle, he saw the daily activities of the sons of Eli, correct? Were they appropriate in the way Jehovah wanted things done then and there? NO! But while it was allowed, the people to serve Jehovah came there and Samuel also served there, not leaving going elsewhere. It is up to Jehovah to clean this mess up, if there is such mess, not us as imperfect humans also.

 We fret and fawn over the the things we avidly complain about, but remember even perfect Jesus worshipped at the imperfect temple, where twice he threw out those he called robbers! He too allowed his Father to cleanse the mess. 

I do not worry about the date, never have. Been doing this now some 5 decades. Jesus told us to be alert, keep on the watch, teach others what he taught, and do do so to the most distant part of the earth. Simple, not hard or difficult. Whoever is trying to get this done, I am with them. Like Peter, who else has sayings of everlasting life? 

So you want to debate and argue, Albert? What do you offer better? Much like Satan, nothing! A wind bag, lots of hot air!

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1 hour ago, John Houston said:

We fret and fawn over the the things we avidly complain about, but remember even perfect Jesus worshipped at the imperfect temple, where twice he threw out those he called robbers! He too allowed his Father to cleanse the mess. 

Yes but the WTs entire claim of being the ones chosen by god as his representatives is based on the 1914 teaching. If he never chose them then leaving this sect isn't the same as leaving the temple. 

Its more like if someone sided with kora because they believed god was using him but later realized that he wasn't being used and so stopped following him.

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2 hours ago, John Houston said:

When young Samuel was at the tabernacle, he saw the daily activities of the sons of Eli, correct? Were they appropriate in the way Jehovah wanted things done then and there? NO! But while it was allowed, the people to serve Jehovah came there and Samuel also served there, not leaving going elsewhere.

Whenever JWs make these arguments it's with the presupposition that god had chosen the WT in the first place. However the parallel falls apart when that claim is proven false. Again it would be more like someone following after the false teachers in the apostles day then realizing they weren't teaching truth and leaving their group.

Revelation 2:2 I know your deeds, and your labor and endurance, and that you cannot bear bad men, and that you put those to the test who say they are apostles, but they are not, and you found them liars.  

Rejecting those who falsely claim to be chosen by god is never condemned in scripture. 

 

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4 hours ago, JW Insider said:

These were persons who were a real danger to others, so that a way should be found to "mark" them for the entire congregation. They weren't shunned as a way to make others feel superior to them, or to use emotional blackmail to draw them back in, but just as a protection.

Nice idea, but how do you have one without the other? If you shun, it's always going to be emotional blackmail.

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There's also the fact that many disfellowshipings happen because of corrupt elders or because the organization is trying to cover up its indiscretions. 

Ive had friends who were disfellowshiped because the elders were trying to hid something they or their kids did. Barbra Anderson and her husband were disfellowshiped for coming forward about the problems with pedophiles in the organization. 

They love to say it's a protection but experience shows that not only are people not protected but they are often abused, threatened, and needlessly harassed. The pain of losing ones family has driven many to suicide. Witnesses often live a very insular life and rarely have associates outside of the group. The WT is counting on the disfellowshiping process to leave the individual with nothing, no support system and no social network. They hope that they'll fall on their face and come crawling back. Unfortunately for the WT more and more resources are being made available to those exiting. 

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1 hour ago, Noble Berean said:

Nice idea, but how do you have one without the other? If you shun, it's always going to be emotional blackmail.

I don't know.

My hope would be that the Governing Body would send out recommendations and counsel based on the fact that the Governing Body would have been soliciting and welcoming input from everyone on the subject. The counsel they would be giving back out to the congregations would be Bible-based and would offer that same reminder that we are not trying to punish the person with silence; it's not "tough love"; we are only trying to avoid the danger. We are not trying to show our moral superiority, self-righteousness, and we continue to show love wherever we can, even while "shunning" the wrong.

Being cordial, polite and even friendly in a public setting or a congregation meeting would be fine for most "marked" persons. Let's say that an extortioner got some brothers involved in a financial scheme and does not appear sorry and has not tried to pay back what was taken from them. We may rightly feel disgusted at the sin. But the "shunning" is not a total withdrawal of speech and association or even shunning from Bible discussions. In this case, it is primarily a recognition that we shun to the extent that would be appropriate so that this brother never can involve us in a financial scheme. The level and method of avoidance for other persons would be appropriate for protection from the type of sin that person is "marked" for. 

This should have almost no effect on family relationships, except to the extent necessary for protection from involvement in the sin.

And, of course, shunning and punishment should never be used for persons who have questioned a doctrine for Biblical reasons. Doctrinal questioning should be encouraged, even from the platform. It would be wonderful if questions during a meeting were more like:

  • "And can anyone see why this teaching might be difficult to explain to someone at the door?"
  • "Would someone like to offer a Biblical reason why this proposed doctrine might not be correct?"
  • "The talk this Sunday will be 30 minutes based on the new outlines: Brother Smithsonian will speak to us for 15 minutes about why the 'little flock' and 'other sheep' could refer to spiritual Israel and spiritual Gentiles. Then Brother Johnsonian will speak to us for 15 minutes about why the 'little flock' and 'other sheep' could refer to literal Israel and  literal Gentiles. So we'll want to put on our thinking caps for that one."

 

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17 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

The counsel they would be giving back out to the congregations would be Bible-based

Hum I highly doubt that. Their opinions are often inventions based on a perceived need. 

 

17 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

The level and method of avoidance for other persons would be appropriate for protection from the type of sin that person is "marked" for. 

This is called getting a bad reputation and doesn't require a mandate from 3 elders who've held a secret meeting and decided how everyone else is to feel about and act towards an individual.

 

17 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

"Would someone like to offer a Biblical reason why this proposed doctrine might not be correct?"

I used to think that way too. I guess you're still under the impression that the organization can be reformed. Well I won't say it's impossible but you're most likely going to be waiting the rest of your life. I to seek reform however I believe that the best way to achieve it is to inform the public and those within the organization. Even if we could get things back to pre 1981 (before disassociation was declared a shunning offense) that would be a step in the right direction. 

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23 hours ago, Albert Michelson said:

And yet so many have lost their families for doing that very thing.

Yes, it's happened, although I hope it's a lot less than you imply. It's difficult to imagine a single congregation or even a single circuit that has had many such ones, at least recently.

I have an uncle who is a Circuit Overseer, and he says that in early 1990's all Circuit Overseers (through the District Overseers) were given instructions to see that congregations did not seek out apostates to discipline them, because of "morale" issues. Even if apostates left the congregation and were seen actively picketing the conventions, they were not to make an issue of it. The apostate was already making it clear they were not a JW, so it could safely be ignored. I never verified this. Actually, I tried to verify it and it was denied by someone who should have known. If anyone knows long-time circuit overseers, or anyone who was in that position around 90-92 I'd like to know more about this. Brother Jackson seemed to imply that this was possible based on his testimony.

 

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3 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

Hum I highly doubt that. Their opinions are often inventions based on a perceived need. 

Yes, sometimes. But this part was only meant to be partially hypothetical.

In spite of mistakes, I have never seen a directive where there is not an attempt -- usually successful, imo, to make it Bible-based. I think that the problems when this has failed has been a lack of input. Not that plenty of good input wasn't available. Before 1978, Bethel elders and "table heads" were full of ideas that they were sharing with other Bethelites. The Writing Department was full of a lot of intellectual honesty. I think the Aid Book project probably contributed to a new appreciation for the fact that so many of these commentaries from Christendom had remained very valuable resources for 100, 200 and even up to nearly 300 years. And yet if someone were to go looking carefully through our own Revelation and Ezekiel commentary from only 60 years earlier, we suspected him of being an apostate -- just for reading our own publications.

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3 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

Yes, it's happened, although I hope it's a lot less than you imply

I honestly don't know what the percentages are but I'd love to find out. I do know that the number of ones who leave or are disfellowshiped for other reasons and then learn the truth about "the truth" and cannot in good conscience return is skyrocketing. 

7 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

Even if apostates left the congregation and were seen actively picketing the conventions, they were not to make an issue of it.

Im sure it depends on who you ask. 

Ive already posted this letter but I'll post it one more time

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IMG_1705.PNG

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12 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

This is called getting a bad reputation and doesn't require a mandate from 3 elders who've held a secret meeting and decided how everyone else is to feel about and act towards an individual.

I used the word "marked" because there is no term for "disfellowshipping" in the Scriptures. So I assume that a level similar to our "disfellowshipping" existed for extreme cases, but it must have still fallen under the category of "marking" which obviously was just a reputational warning to protect the congregation. A person can be met with in private, but if there needs to be a public marking or judgment of that person, then the reasons should be as clear as necessary to the congregation. I'm all for transparency.

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14 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

The Writing Department was full of a lot of intellectual honesty.

I disagree but I will say that at that time at least they could be excused for not knowing that the central doctrine regarding god selecting their religion was false. 

 

14 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

I think the Aid Book project probably contributed to a new appreciation for the fact that so many of these commentaries from Christendom had remained very valuable resources for 100, 200 and even up to nearly 300 years. And yet if someone were to go looking carefully through our own Revelation and Ezekiel commentary from only 60 years earlier, we suspected him of being an apostate -- just for reading our own publications.

Now you sound like Ray Franz, which is not a bad thing.

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7 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

I used the word "marked" because there is no term for "disfellowshipping" in the Scriptures. So I assume that a level similar to our "disfellowshipping" existed for extreme cases, but it must have still fallen under the category of "marking" which obviously was just a reputational warning to protect the congregation. A person can be met with in private, but if there needs to be a public marking or judgment of that person, then the reasons should be as clear as necessary to the congregation. I'm all for transparency.

I do not personally believe that the first century Christians had an equivalent to disfellowshiping. But again you're admitting that there is a deviation from scripture and yet for some reason you see this as acceptable or at least tolerable. Once again I'd ask what your personal cut off is. When does it become to much?

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36 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

Ive already posted this letter but I'll post it one more time

That letter was from 1980 when Bethel held what Bethelites themselves (of good reputation and in good standing) were calling "Inquisitions" and "witch hunts." Brother Schroeder was out for the head of Ray Franz and used his bully pulpit at a couple of Bethel elders meetings to whip up a frenzy of whatever would be the Bethel equivalent of McCarthyism, Loyalism, Jingoism, etc. He worked fast and most of it was secret. He was protecting himself at the same time and he knew it. When it was all over he was not well liked, even though a lot of other people had been maneuvered into doing his dirty work.

But I don't think that the feeling (or lack of it) in this particular letter you posted, was common even 5 years later. (The only exception I would be sure of by that point was Fred Franz, who was all for handling apostasy cases anywhere they might show up, but he was becoming much less active.) Schroeder himself softened after Ray Franz was finally out completely. (Although I'm sure he was disappointed that he could only get him on a couple counts of speaking with a disfellowshipped person.) Schroeder had hoped for a couple things to come out of those moves against Ray Franz, and things actually went the other way for him. I say these things because Brother Schroeder was a very good friend of mine. He was also my overseer at Bethel for research assignments, even for a couple years after I had left Bethel and lived in New York. For several people, this particular bit of information makes me no longer anonymous, and I understand that this creates a very small danger of repercussions. But it is very, very slight compared to what it would have been in the early 1980's. At that time, however, I would not have said anything about doctrinal issues or anything about Schroeder's apparent motives. 

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13 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

He worked fast and most of it was secret.

It usually is when it comes to these meetings. That's part of the reason elders can disfellowship someone for basically nothing. No one is privied to the secret elders meetings and judicial hearings. As long as at lest two elders are on board you can be disfellowshiped for anything, even if it's to shut you up.

 

13 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

That letter was from 1980

As far as I know it's still in force but I may be wrong.

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16 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

He worked fast and most of it was secret. He was protecting himself at the same time and he knew it. When it was all over he was not well liked, even though a lot of other people had been maneuvered into doing his dirty work.

So you're well aware of how the system is abused. That brings me to my next point. Witnesses are also required to respect the disfellowshiping decision even if they know it was unjustly handled and even if they know the person is innocent.

 

"Willfull, continued, unnecessary association with disfellowshiped nonrelatives dispite repeated council."

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4 minutes ago, Nana Fofana said:

So far, to me, 1914 is not a burden at all, though.  Because I think it's correct, and so far the more I've looked into it, the more correct it has continued to appear to me.

 

    Hello guest!

Look harder.

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Albert, you make altogether too many statements complaining of sinister intentions at Witness headquarters. It borders on paranoia. To me, it indicates you have spent too much time hanging out with the wrong type of people and drinking in their wisdom.

3 hours ago, Albert Michelson said:

Um freedom and intellectual honesty. 

No. Please. Don't go there. We are, to a great degree, who we hang out with. It's intellectually flattering to think otherwise. But it's also nonsense. That is why some god-awful style will come along and within 5 years we're all wearing it, wondering how we ever thought those geeky styles of yesteryear did anything for us. We run with the herd not just on small things like styles, but on all things. It's well to give thought to who you hang out with.

 

3 hours ago, Albert Michelson said:

Um freedom

It would be nice if you didn't go there, either. For the sake of the piddling little freedoms that you gain by leaving the Witness faith, none of which ultimately amounts to a hill of beans, you throw away freedoms which are truly significant.

I'll concede, though, that if you were baptized young and later left on bad terms and you find yourself shunned by family because of it, that is not a good place to be. I can empathize with that. Having said that, it is entirely possible for a person baptized young who later decides to leave to do so without triggering shunning. I know several who have done it. Fade. Drift away. Or just tell a few that you don't want to do it anymore. There are some anti-Witness factions who encourage such ones to go out with a splash - tell them all off at the Kingdom Hall! By following their advice, you virtually assure that you will be shunned. Few governments will smilingly see their citizens declare them illegitimate, and it is no different in Jehovah's organization, which is often called a 'nation,' and is more of a nation in many respects than political nations on the globe.

I don't want to get into here whether it should be that way. The point is, it is. Thus, shunning is easily avoidable. One wonders why any outfit - often atheists do this - would recommend such a confrontation, knowing the disruption it will bring on a family. Of course, the lack of 'shunning' doesn't mean palling around as usual, and one who leaves often finds they lose all their Witness friends anyway, and even family, though not in so formal away.

The Witness faith is like the man who found the pearl of high value, and sold everything he had to secure it. Most people today would consider this fellow a fanatic. Jesus indicated his was the example to follow. So if you leave the faith, you'll find most Witnessed lose interest in hanging out with you. Like in most things, people seek out common interests. Just look how many families have been divided over Trump and Hillary. Do you really think that when Kathy Griffin holds aloft the mock, bloodied head of the President, her Republican dad (if he is) says: "that's my lass! She speaks her mind! It won't affect Thanksgiving dinner, though."?

Is it a good idea to allow Witness kids to be baptized at 10? It's a good thing for those who will remain. It's a bad thing for those who will afterwards decide to leave (with a bang). If only you could tell who was who in advance. Contrary to your dark accusation that JWs rope them in as young as possible so as to hold them hostage (sheesh) my son wanted baptism at age 10 and the elders told him to wait. His feelings were hurt over it, but he was baptized the next year. If you find something good, it is never considered wrong to 'dedicate' yourself to it at a young age. Successful businesspeople and even entertainers do that, to say nothing of athletes. I've never heard one criticized for it.

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1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

It would be wonderful if questions during a meeting were more like:

  • ...
  • "Would someone like to offer a Biblical reason why this proposed doctrine might not be correct?"

If you don't mind, I want to go home after two hours. I don't want each meeting to be like a discussion of the WorldNewsMedia forum.

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15 minutes ago, TrueTomHarley said:

shunning is easily avoidable.

 It is possible but I wouldn't say it's easily avoidable.  And again as I've stated many times it requires one to essentially take a vow of silence and live in perpetual fear.

 

15 minutes ago, TrueTomHarley said:

The Witness faith is like the man who found the pearl of high value, and sold everything he had to secure it.

 I would say that it's more like the Pharisees who encourage their followers to cast the followers of Jesus out of the synagogues.  It's more a matter of information control and uniformity then anything else.

 

15 minutes ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Contrary to your dark accusation that JWs rope them in as young as possible so as to hold them hostage (sheesh) my son wanted baptism at age 10 and the elders told him to wait. His feelings were hurt over it, but he was baptized the next year.

 And yet he was raised without any opportunity to hear or see contrary evidence.  I wanted to get baptized at 10 as well because that's all I knew.  But this is a lifelong commitment that they are never allowed to retract.  And yes it is the organizations goal to get these kids young and to entrap them.  As I said before if they can do that then they can ensure that they will either stay in or that they'll keep their mouths shut if they leave.  The latter prospect seems to be what you are advocating for and I find it ironic considering the circumstances.  As I have already pointed out witnesses regularly go to peoples homes and encourage them to leave their faith systems and join their's.  They encourage them to speak out against the false teachings of their former religions and yet for a Jehovah's Witness to do this very thing is met with cruelty.

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7 minutes ago, TrueTomHarley said:

If you don't mind, I want to go home after two hours. I don't want each meeting to be like a discussion of the WorldNewsMedia forum.

:)

Notice that I only gave 30 minutes for the "little flock/other sheep" public talk though. I think with works well with the new shorter talk guidelines, but, alas and alack, I couldn't find that topic in any of the new talk outlines.

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3 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

little flock/other sheep"

So quick question and a little off topic but, my opinion is that the other sheep were the gentiles. Is that another doctrine you disagree with or is it one you accept?

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1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

Would someone like to offer a Biblical reason why this proposed doctrine might not be correct?"

If the meetings were this open I would consider going back but only to engage in a respectful discussion. Ironically the early Bible students did this very thing. 

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15 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

So quick question and a little off topic but, my opinion is that the other sheep were the gentiles. Is that another doctrine you disagree with or is it on you accept?

I don't know, I haven't heard the talk yet.

Just kidding. I can see this going either way. It makes more sense to me that Jesus meant the other sheep were the literal gentiles. But then again not everything that appeared to apply to literal Israel appears to be strictly about literal Israel, and the Bible gives us some good reasons to see Israel as a kind of "type" of the heavenly Jerusalem, and of course Christ's Bride which is associated with the 144,000. Since that Bride includes people of the nations, an argument can be made for a "spiritual" rather than a "literal" application.

I'm usually for the most simple and straightforward explanation however, and I suspect that if this topic were opened up to entire congregations with only 15 minutes for each of these two perspectives -- I'd say that the simpler perspective would win the day.

Meaning of course that the difference in "little flock" and "other sheep" is this:

  • (Galatians 2:8) . . .for the one who empowered Peter for an apostleship to those who are circumcised also empowered me for those who are of the nations. . .

I think Jesus pretty much gave away the answer when he said:

  • (Matthew 15:24) He answered: “I was not sent to anyone except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
  • (John 10:16) . . .And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those too I must bring in. . .

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2 minutes ago, Nana Fofana said:

he chooses to leave, and his father has no choice,

Compareing a carefully made decision to a  prideful rebellion doesn't really work. The two aren't remotely analogous. 

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3 minutes ago, Nana Fofana said:

You could have had and could still have a wrong impression of what the 'world' is really like.

It doesn't exist. It's a false dichotomy. The world is everyone and guess what, it's full of wonderful people and it's also filled with a$$holes just like the organization. The difference being that I'm no longer constantly being blackmailed and guilted into doing things and believing things that the organization requires. It may not mean much to you but that freedom of mind and of conscience is invaluable to me.

 

ps this is my last post of the day. 

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20 minutes ago, Albert Michelson said:

It doesn't exist. It's a false dichotomy. The world is everyone and guess what, it's full of wonderful people and it's also filled with a$$holes just like the organization. The difference being that I'm no longer constantly being blackmailed and guilted into doing things and believing things that the organization requires. It may not mean much to you but that freedom of mind and of conscience is invaluable to me.

 

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On 8/27/2017 at 10:23 PM, Albert Michelson said:

My issue isn't with the doctrines. Believe whatever you want I don't care, my issue is with the fact that those who can't keep teaching what they know to be false are punished. 

Nothing unusual about that .. the Catholics have been doing that for 1700 years ...once ANY human organization reaches a certain size, money, power, and position (or fear of losing it ..) becomes the controlling factor.  This is especially true of those claiming divine approval.

It was even true of the Japanese Empire, during WWII, with the Emperor of Japan as their god.

It "comes with the territory".  It did in Jesus' time, and it does now.

Nothing new.

Samo Samo.

There never have been any exceptions ....

There are none now.

Darth Vader and Pope   600.jpg

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14 hours ago, Nana Fofana said:

Anyway, in Romans 14 he still kept the "burden" imposed by the council in Jerusalem.

  • (Acts 15:19, 20) 19 Therefore, my decision is not to trouble those from the nations who are turning to God, 20 but to write them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, and from blood.

Note that it doesn't say abstain from idolatry, murder, and theft, but focuses first on "things polluted by idols." Thayer's Greek Lexicon says that the word  ἀλίσγημα here, refers to "pollution from the use of meats left from the heathen sacrifices." Obviously this meat could have been strangled, or otherwise improperly bled, and therefore contained blood. So 3 out of 4 counts from the "burden"<