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    • By Isabella
      MIDDLETOWN, NJ — Update, Tuesday evening: Middletown Police Chief R. Craig Weber announced an arrest in this case. Arrested on Tuesday is Natalee A. Hamilton, 34, of Middletown. Hamilton is charged with four counts of criminal mischief, three counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, and one count of resisting arrest.
      As of Tuesday evening, she is at the Monmouth County Jail in Freehold.
      "This series of crimes committed against houses of worship is deeply disturbing, especially as it occurred during the pandemic when so many people have relied upon their faith for comfort and support in these very difficult times," said Chief Weber. "I would like to acknowledge and commend our Detective Bureau for their dedication and outstanding investigative efforts in identifying and apprehending the individual responsible for these crimes."
      Middletown Police say a number of churches in the Township have been vandalized this summer, and the same suspect, a woman, is thought to be behind all the crimes.
      Churches that have been targeted include Westminster Presbyterian Church, at 94 Tindall Road, New Monmouth Baptist Church at 4 Cherry Tree Farm Road and Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses at 743 Leonardville Road.

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    • By Isabella
      Some child sexual abuse survivors will miss out on compensation because organisations like the Jehovah's Witnesses refuse to join the national redress scheme.
      Religious, community, charity, education and sporting groups that fail to meet Tuesday's deadline to join the scheme will be "named and shamed" and face possible financial sanctions and changes to their charitable status.
      The Jehovah's Witnesses refuses to join despite the threatened action and legal service Knowmore expects other survivors will also miss out because the organisation responsible for their abuse has not signed up.
      "This will result in survivors receiving nothing," Knowmore principal lawyer Anna Swain told AAP.
      Institutions have had two years to opt into the redress scheme, with some Knowmore clients saying "they're punishing us" or "they're waiting for us to die".
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    • By Isabella
      On a very special behind-the-scenes tour on March 9th, our Untapped New York Insiders will get to discover Panorama, the iconic former Jehovah’s Witnesses’ headquarters in Brooklyn Heights. In the years since the closing of Watchtower, the global architecture, design, and planning firm Gensler has been transforming the complex into a dynamic new mixed-use campus. Situated at the heart of the Brooklyn waterfront, Panorama also has a brand new sign: a large 15-foot “WELCOME” sign replaced the famous Watchtower sign that once loomed over the East River.
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    • By Isabella
      Institutions such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Presbyterian Church and the Disability Trust have not signed up to the national redress scheme, delaying compensation for child abuse survivors.
      While some institutions, such as the Brisbane Boys' College and the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, have flagged their intention to join the scheme, others have not.
      The government has publicly named and shamed the groups singled out in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that have not signed up to the redress scheme.
      There are expected to be more unnamed institutions where abuse occurred.
      Ten per cent of applications lodged by survivors - about 700 - have been put on hold because the organisations responsible for their abuse have not joined.
      "It is a lot but some of those are in the process of signing up," Social Services Minister Anne Ruston told ABC radio on Tuesday.
      Institutions have until June 30 to join the redress scheme, which was launched two years ago.
      While some organisations responsible for abuse no longer exist, others claim they do not have the financial capacity to compensate their victims.
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      Some institutions are still signing up to the redress scheme, Minister Anne Ruston says.
    • By Witness
      The world is watching the Watchtower's antics, in the grotesque sense of the word.  
       
    • By Isabella
      Police this week released new details about what they’re calling the attempted murder of a Jehovah’s Witnesses member, who was shot in the parking lot of her Gastonia church.
      A $2,500 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in the Jan. 15 shooting. Part of the reward money, $1,500, was contributed by the woman’s family and another $1,000 comes from Crime Stoppers of Gaston County.
      In releasing new details, police said the woman had left a meeting at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses on David Park Road and was in her car in the church parking lot when someone “walked up, fired two shots at her and she was hit.”
      Several other members who were outside during the shooting scrambled to safety in the congregation‘s Kingdom Hall, joining other worshipers who “sheltered in place,” Elder John Wray told The Charlotte Observer at the time.
      The woman was treated for minor injuries at CaroMont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia, police said. She was back home later that week but was still in a bit of pain, according to Wray.
      Police ask anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers of Gaston County at 704-861-8000.

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    • By Witness
      For those who were unable to see the documentary last evening on "Oxygen".
       
    • By Isabella
      The organization allegedly directed elders in all of its United States congregations to send detailed reports on members facing an allegation of sexually abusing a child to its headquarters.
      Since the late 1990s blue envelopes from Jehovah’s Witness congregations across the country have been sent to the organization’s headquarters. But, it’s the information inside those envelopes that contain damaging secrets. 
      The blue envelopes contained detailed reports of members within the religion accused of child molestation. Officials scanned those documents into a database of files for each congregation, according to a sworn deposition by an official with The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society obtained by Reveal, the website for the Center for Investigative Reporting. 
      But the specific details within that database have largely remained a secret—despite court orders and calls from the public to release its contents, leading some to accuse the organization of concealing suspected child abusers. 
      The child abuse files were collected after the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society—the organization that oversees the Jehovah’s Witnesses—sent a request in March 1997 to all of its United States congregations requesting that each congregation write a detailed report about anyone within the religion who had been accused of child molestation and send it to the headquarters in the special blue envelope, according to The Atlantic
      Full article: 
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    • By Isabella
      FARGO, N.D. (KVLY) A south Fargo man took to the Nextdoor app after he says a woman claiming to be a Jehovah's Witness knocked on his apartment door Sunday night. It all happened in the 2300 block of 30 1/2 Ave. S.
      The man didn't want to talk with us on camera today, but he tells our reporter the woman claimed her name was Stephanie, and that she wanted to share the word of God. The man says when he looked through his peephole he saw the woman had empty hands.
      The man says he didn't open the door as he didn't know how she got in his building without buzzing for access, and didn't know if she actually was part of the religion or not. He says after lingering outside his door for about 10 minutes, the woman left.
      And while door knocking is no unfamiliar task for the Jehovah's Witness, it wasn't something members were doing last night.
      Fargo Jehovah's Witness member, Guy Howie says it's unusual to find a member at your door without an iPad, meeting invitation or bible reading in their hands. He also says members usually travel in twos when knocking through neighborhoods.
      Howie says Jehovah's Witnesses don't go into secure buildings unless they're buzzed in. He says if one does end up at your apartment door, you'll see or hear other members on your floor trying your neighbors as well.
      With motives unknown, Howie says an incident like this is concerning, but says it's not the first time he's heard something like this happening.
      He says Jehovah's Witnesses are not dishonest people and only come to your door to share a message of good news. Howie added members of the religion will never ask you for money.
      Fargo Police say they haven't heard of any incidents like this recently, but they also urge you to report any suspicious activity by calling dispatch at 701-451-7660.
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    • By Isabella
      Cheryl Pitts was having trouble breathing, could barely walk and her skin was turning gray. She needed heart surgery, but her choice of hospitals was limited.
      A Jehovah’s Witness, Pitts couldn’t accept a blood transfusions or other treatment with blood products because of her religious beliefs.
      In need of a bloodless surgery, the 64-year-old Portsmouth woman decided to go to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center — one of seven Ohio hospitals that offer blood alternative solutions to adults.
      “I just can’t handle the thought of having to take blood,” Pitts said. “Even before I became a Jehovah’s Witness, I would not take blood.”
      She didn’t trust receiving blood because of the possible complications that come with blood transfusions.
      Blood transfusions replace blood that is lost through surgery or injury or if a person’s body is not making blood properly. Though generally considered safe, there is some risk of complications and allergic reactions, according to the Mayo Clinic.
      In central Ohio, only Grant Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital have a blood conservation program that uses methods to limit blood loss during surgery and provides blood alternatives to people who don’t want to do transfusions for religious reasons or safety concerns.
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    • By Witness
      Article in People Magazine:

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      If you go outside this Labor Day weekend, don't forget the bug spray.
      The dangerous but rare Eastern equine encephalitis virus is flaring up in Michigan, state health officials say, and has been confirmed in two people in Berrien and Kalamazoo counties and is suspected in five more people.
      The virus, carried by birds and transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes, is deadly in 1 in 3 people who contract it, and can cause brain damage and permanent neurological disabilities in those who survive. 

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Juror Dan Stinnett, in his first interview about the case, explained how he and eight other Sanders County jurors found the Jehovah’s Witnesses governing organizations negligent and “guilty of malice” in the child sexual abuse of Alexis Nunez, awarding her $35 million. “I believe they were trying to cover up, yes. I have no doubt about that,” Stinnett said. When asked if he was trying to send a message with his jury vote, Stinnett responded, “Why, absolutely. We as jurors and as society really don’t condone … any of this.”
      The Nunez case is one of dozens tallied by the Hearst Television National Investigative Unit as part of a yearlong investigation that uncovered new allegations of child sexual abuse and decadeslong cover-ups inside the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization in the United States. The allegations span congregations, states and generations.

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    • By Witness
      From John Redwood...
      A preview of upcoming news:
      Jehovah's Witnesses are appealing to the Supreme Court of the United States, but this time it has nothing to do with preaching or saluting the flag.
      It's all about child abuse.
      Specifically, the protection (or cover-up) of information, documents, and testimony of persons involved in cases of child abuse.
      I will be covering this story in the coming weeks and months, but I thought I would share some of this news and try to distill it down as simply as I can.
      I'd like to point out first that Watchtower has appealed to the Supreme Court in connection with their loss of yet another California child abuse case. The chance that Watchtower's appeal being will be heard by the Supreme Court is slim, but anything is possible.
      What brought this about?
      There are many ongoing civil child abuse cases in California. One such case is J.W. versus Watchtower. J.W. happens to be the initials for the victim of former JW elder Gilbert Simental, who went on a spree of molestation which touched the lives of numerous victims.
      As with other cases, the plaintiff demanded that Watchtower turn over to the court a database of child abuse cases known to be maintained by Watchtower of New York.
      In this particular case, because Watchtower failed to turn over the documents in a timely manner, attorneys asked for a default judgment of just over 4 million dollars.
      The court agreed with the plaintiff and entered a default judgment in that amount. Watchtower was required to post a bond of more than 6 million dollars while their appeal was pending.
      Watchtower lost their appeal, and the decision of the court was upheld. This decision is final- with one exception.
      Watchtower has decided to appeal to the United States Supreme court on the basis that their judicial hearings related to child abuse matters are "confidential intra-faith communications" and that they do not, and should not, reveal those communications or documents to anyone, including civil courts.
      I'd like to make it very clear what Watchtower is doing here. They are fighting for their right NOT to allow civil authorities to dictate what is confidential, and what is not confidential.
      All of this is in relation to their claim that elders do not have the right or duty to report child abuse to the authorities.
      Watchtower overtly lies to their members by claiming that they obey secular laws, except when they conflict with God's laws.
      Yet they break the law every single time by advising elders NOT to report child abuse to the authorities.
      It does NOT matter whether child abuse occurs in a mandatory reporting state- elders STILL do not report to the police because Watchtower has told them that ALL of their communications are protected by clergy-penitent privilege.
      This is false- and it is exactly why they are losing tens of millions of dollars in child abuse civil cases. Watchtower advises elders to break the law.
      And now they want the Supreme Court of the United States to agree with them.
      The claim that the state of California has unfairly targeted Jehovah's Witnesses and "intruded upon matters of church governance."
      Why???
      How does compliance with mandatory child abuse reporting laws conflict with God's laws? It doesn't. This is a fabrication of Watchtower attorneys working for the Governing Body, and it's become quite clear that they feel that compliance with these civil laws will spell disaster for their religion.
      And they might be right.
      If Jehovah's Witnesses did the right thing and complied with the law, they would lose the tight grip of control over their elder bodies in ways which frighten the hell out of them.
      There is a whole lot more to this story as well as the underlying cases involved, but I wanted to let you know what's going on.
      Attorneys for J.W. (the abuse victim) will be filing an opposition to Watchtower's appeal in August, and we should have a decision from the Supreme Court by October on whether they will accept Jehovah's Witnesses appeal for review.
      Stay tuned!!

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      BY: MICHAEL YOUNG 7:30 AM ON JUNE 15, 2019
      Excavation and the insertion of pilings have commenced for a new 26-story, mixed-use structure at 30 Front Street in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Hill West Architects will be responsible for the design, while Fortis Property Group is the developer of the 360,000-square-foot project that will stand 270 feet tall and come with 74 apartments, averaging 2,400 square feet apiece.
      Photos were taken by Tectonic and show the current state of construction.

      The site was previously occupied by a parking lot for the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ former headquarters, famous for its prominent Watchtower sign. The plot at 30 Front Street was the last piece of real estate the group sold off, which concluded a seven-year process of relocating to Warwick, New York.
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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      The annual event is expected to bring in more than $3 million in revenues for local businesses
      WRITTEN BY HOLLY HERMAN
      READING, PA — 
       
      By midmorning Saturday, more than 500 volunteers checked in to the Santander Arena, scrubbing the arena to make it spotless for the 14th annual Jehovah's Witness annual conference in downtown Reading.
      “We love coming to Reading,” Kelvin Wilson, convention spokesman said, walking through the arena, greeting volunteers. “It's beautiful here. We will be worshipping here for the next three weekends. We stay in the hotels and dine in the restaurants.
      Wilson said members have booked more than 2,500 hotel nights for the event, bringing an estimated $3 million in revenues for downtown businesses.
      “We are getting ready to worship here,” Wilson said, noting the volunteers are also cleaning the parking garage for the arena and spruced up the landscaping.
      By the day's end, more than 800 volunteers from 120 congregations throughout southeastern and central Pennsylvania cleansed the stadium to prepare for three weekends of family festivities and worship.
      This year's convention theme, “Love Never Fails,” focuses on loving thy neighbors.
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    • By JOHN BUTLER
      OK, I know some people will not like this and they will call it gossip but my wife and I are worried about it so it needs to aired out.
      We have one daughter that is still a JW. i will call her H.  She is married to a non JW. She has 4 children.
      This daughter does not seem to recognise any dangers at all about her children. She invites anyone to her house without really knowing who they are or anything about their past.
      3 of the children are girls and they attend ballet and tap dance lessons. They are only young, the oldest being around 8 years old. 
      Today they were in a performance /show in Exeter, a biggish show that their teacher was putting on for all parents, grandparents, etc. 
      I wasn't allowed to go of course as I'm a 'naughty boy' that left the Org.
      My wife went to the show and was surprised to find two 'brothers' there.
      One of the 'brothers' is a young single Elder and the other 'brother' is an old man that has recently been reinstated and moved into Honiton congregation.  
      This older man frequently visits H and her daughters at their home and the girls call him Uncle Phil. He seems very 'friendly' toward the girls.
      H does not know where this 'brother' is from but he is now part of the Honiton Congregation which H and her children attend, here in Devon. 
      It seems strange to me that this man has just arrived at Honiton Congregation and just been reinstated. My wife says he has a London accent. 
      If I were still a JW I would ask him bluntly why he was disfellowshipped and where he is from, but of course I cannot do that now.
      I have his full name, so is there any way i can run a check on him ? 
      Should i contact an Elder at Honiton Congregation and tell them of the concern my wife and I have ? 
      If this 'brother' had been involved in a child abuse accusation would they have told H about it so that she could be on her guard ? 
      Some on here may think I'm just trying to cause trouble, but my wife came home this evening and is looking very worried. 
      It seems that H had invited both 'brothers' to the meal afterward and my wife felt unhappy about the whole situation. 
      TTH will probably bring out the rule book again and say 'it never happens', but child abuse does happen and needs to be looked for all the time. 
      Our daughter H seems to have no idea about the situations that have taken place, and in honesty she doesn't want to know. So how can my wife warn her ?  
       
       
       
       
    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      La policía de Houston arrestó a un hombre que se presume está detrás de la desaparicón de no menos 31 persona en la década pasada.
      Ivan Fedorovitch Yanukovych, de 56 años de edad, podrías ser vinculado a un número de misteriosas desapariciones en el área, creen los oficiales.
      Yanukovych fue interrogado por la policía después de que los vecinos se quejaran de que él estaba usando una sierra la noche pasada, y reportaron que el hombre estaba «cubierto de sangre.»
      Cuando la policía llegó a la escena, Yanukovich fue encontrado descuartizando un cuerpo en su garage y preparando lo que los oficiales describieron como «una gran cantidad de carne molida» mezclada con «especias aromáticas.»

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Seven were shot at a party near Indiana’s Ball State University.
      At least seven people were injured, three in a life-threatening fashion, in a shooting near Indiana’s Ball State University overnight.
      According to local NBC affiliate WTHR, the shooting occurred at a large off-campus house party, with shots fired inside the house around 12:45 am. Police say they are still working to piece together what happened, as most witnesses heard but did not see the shooting.
      https://www.vox.com/2019/5/18/18630674/ball-state-university-indiana-party-shooting-what-we-know
    • By JOHN BUTLER
      I've often thought of this point of reproof from the platform. It does nothing positive at all, it just leaves people wondering why the person was reproved.
      And it certainly does not protect the congregation.  
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      by Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. In January of 2019, elders in the congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses were issued a new version of their confidential handbook, "Shepherd the Flock of God." This handbook covers, among other topics, when a person should be "reproved."
      For those unfamiliar with the their practices, Jehovah's Witness elders might determine that someone guilty of a serious sin is repentant and will be "reproved" rather than disfellowshipped [excommunicated]. This reproof might be administered privately, or it might include a very brief announcement to the congregation.
      Public Reproofs Are Not a Protection
      The "Shepherd" book makes the claim that a public reproof serves as a "protection" to the congregation against certain dangerous behaviors, such as child sexual abuse; note this statement from chapter 14, "Child Abuse::

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. However, this announcement of reproof includes no information about the person's "sinful" behavior, as instructed in chapter 16, "Procedure for Judicial Hearings":

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. The "Shepherd" book even outright instructs that a person's sinful acts should not be connected to their reproof, such as when a "warning" talk is given regarding their behavior; also from chapter 16:

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. This statement alone demonstrates that the entire "public reproof" arrangement protects no one from congregation members who might pose a danger to others, including children. Simply stating that someone has "been reproved" doesn't warn a congregant of that person's specific behavior, and especially when there is a long list of reasons why someone might be publicly reproved, including:
      Smoking Fornication, adultery Theft Lying, slander Various forms of "apostasy" Severe fits of temper, fighting Drunkenness Using narcotics Taking up boxing After hearing a rather generic announcement that someone has been "reproved," without knowing the actual reason for that reproof, how would congregants know to keep their children away from them? Another congregant might assume that a person being reproved was caught smoking or fornicating with an adult; child sexual abuse might be the last thing they would consider when they hear of someone having been reproved!
      Your Conscience Shouldn't Be Clean
      This begs the question of why Jehovah's Witnesses think that their consciences can be clean in these cases. Elders honestly think that making an announcement of so-and-so having been "reproved" protects the congregation and so they've done their job of keeping people and children safe?
      Nothing can be further from the truth, especially when it comes to child sexual abuse. This "public reproof" arrangement purposely conceals the action that warranted the reproof, so it warns no one about a congregant who might be a danger to their children.
      This announcement does not take away from an elder's complicity in hiding allegations of abuse. Any elder who hears of such a credible allegation and doesn't notify authorities, cooperate with their investigations fully, and then do everything possible to keep a potentially dangerous person away from children shares guilt and blame if that person goes on to molest another child.

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. The bottom line is that Jehovah's Witnesses and elders especially have no problem lying to themselves and to the general public about their supposed "protections" for congregants. They shield alleged molesters by purposely ensuring that no information about a particular act is associated with "reproved" persons, and then tell themselves that this passive-aggressive "hinting around" is going to somehow alert congregants to the need to keep their child away from him or her.
      While the authors of these practices and the elders charged with enforcing them might go to bed with a clean conscience, remember it's not them who suffer the consequences of their actions; the elders are not being raped and abused, the men who wrote this "Shepherd" book are not the ones who will be the next victims of these "reproved" persons.
      Their complicity in this horrific act is bad enough, but their smug self-righteousness in thinking that they've somehow done enough to protect children with a generic "reproof" is just another slap across the face of those same children.
    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A state agency has determined that the Montana Women's Prison discriminated against an inmate on the basis of religion.
      The Billings Gazette reports that the Montana Human Rights Bureau found in February there was "reasonable cause" to believe there was discrimination against Mayson Simmons.
      Simmons' complaint filed in August says the Department of Corrections and the prison in Billings violated the law by allowing inmates of other religious faiths to use a prison chapel for services while denying access to Jehovah's Witnesses.
      The bureau says it did not find sufficient evidence to back up Simmons' claims she was denied a Jehovah's Witness bible or that she was discriminated against based on her gender and a disability.
      Prison officials deny any discrimination occurred.
      The case will proceed to a formal hearing.

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      WASHINGTON – Kirstjen Nielsen, who oversaw President Donald Trump's hard-line immigration policies as secretary of Homeland Security, is leaving her post amid tensions with some in the White House who felt she hasn't done enough to stem border crossings. 
      Trump tweeted Sunday that Nielsen is leaving the post she has held since the end of 2017. 
      "Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service," he said. He said Kevin McAleenan, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner, will become the acting DHS secretary. McAleenan has held senior posts within CBP dating back to President George W. Bush's administration.
      Rea more: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/04/07/kirstjen-nielsen-out-trump-secretary-homeland-security/1895285002/
    • By Witness
      "On Sunday, March 31, Anthony Morris, a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, was filmed at Bottle King, a discount booze store in Ramsey, NJ, buying 12 bottles of very expensive single malt. My “Bottlegate” video sharing the footage has since accumulated tens of thousands of views, with many saying the incident represents an act of hypocrisy from a man famous for his somewhat judgmental approach to morality and Christian living. The team discusses the permutations of the remarkable footage, and the widely known culture of drinking at bethel."
      This video expresses the opinions of a past member of Bethel in Australia, and those of his wife, also Mark O'Donnell whose story under the article " A Secret Database of Child Abuse" was posted in The Atlantic, and "Covert Fade", author at JWsurvey.  
      From the comments I have seen here, JWs are measuring Anthony Morris' actions by worldly standards; yet, for someone who claims to be "faithful and discreet", worldly standards do not apply.  
      "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."  Matt 5:20
       
       
    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Local and federal authorities are investigating a string of acts of violence against Jehovah’s Witness houses of worship in Washington state ― including multiple suspected arsons.
      The latest attack gutted a Jehovah’s Witness building in the city of Lacey, near Olympia. The fire reportedly broke out . No injuries were reported, but the building was deemed a total loss, .
      The Seattle division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has . 
      BREAKING: A fire has destroyed the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Lacey. This is the SIXTH attack on Kingdom Hall’s in Thurston County since March. Five fires, one shooting.
      — Alex Rozier ()
      The fire in Lacey brings the total number of attacks in Thurston County against Jehovah’s Witness centers, called kingdom halls, to six this year, . In March, arson caused minor damage at kingdom halls in Tumwater and Olympia. Four months later, a blaze worship space. In August investigators discovered a fake bomb at a kingdom hall in Yelm, . The incident was determined to be an attempted arson.
      In May someone shot about 35 rifle rounds into the Yelm center, causing more than $10,000 in property damage, .
      Jason Chudy, a spokesperson for the ATF’s Seattle field division, told HuffPost that the organization believes all the incidents could be related. The attacks were probably “meant to send a message,” he said. 
      “We believe that the suspect or suspects has or have a grievance related to the Jehovah’s Witness community, or about another issue they think is important,” he wrote in an email. “Before these fires, the person or persons involved are likely to have shared these strong feelings with others through comments and conversation.”
      Chudy said the ATF also believes that the suspect or suspects may have exhibited changes in behavior in the hours, days, weeks or months since the fires, including unexplained injuries, changes in normal routines and dramatic and unexplained altering of physical appearance.
      The ATF is investigating the incidents, along with Thurston County police. Investigators are offering $36,000 in combined rewards for information that leads to a suspect’s capture. 
      During a press conference on Friday, Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza urged the public to call in with tips.
      “It makes you feel really ill,” . “How frustrating is it that people who find a solemn place of worship, and now it’s being destroyed?”
      Dan Woollett, a member of the kingdom hall in Lacey,  that the important thing is that congregants are safe.
      “It’s just a building ― buildings can be replaced,” he said. “Things can be redone. So we just move ahead with the ministry that we have that we’re involved with.” 

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      On Tuesday, we asked ex-JW activist Lloyd Evans about the Jehovah’s Witness view on climate change, since it’s an organization so centered around the idea of global catastrophe. Lloyd explained that because the planet was in Jehovah’s hands, Witnesses tended not to be concerned about environmental issues. We then received a rebuttal from Rob, a Witness who disagreed, and we’re very happy to publish his message to us, with his permission…
      The main point I am rebutting is this quote from Lloyd: “Jehovah’s Witnesses mostly have a very laid back approach to environmental concerns. They point to issues like global warming and damage to the environment as evidence that humans are incapable of ruling themselves….”
      Jehovah’s Witnesses, in fact, do have an active interest in environment, and encourage members to take action to reduce the negative affects we have on the environment. Consider one of our journals, the Awake! magazine, from 2007:
      The Bible assures us that every trace of the damage caused by man will be undone when God ‘makes all things new.’ (Revelation 21:5) However, we should not conclude that since God will in time restore the earth, our actions now do not matter. They do!
      That article further states that we are not indifferent to the earth’s plight:
      Jehovah God made the earth to be a gardenlike home for mankind. He pronounced all of his work to be “very good” and assigned man “to cultivate [the earth] and to take care of it.” (Genesis 1:28, 31; 2:15) How does God feel about earth’s present condition? Clearly, he is deeply offended by man’s mismanagement, for Revelation 11:18 foretells that he will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” So we should not be indifferent to the earth’s plight.
      Lastly, steps are given in this same article that we can or should take, to reduce the negative impact on our environment.
      It is proper, though, for us to consider the environmental impact of our choices in such areas as household purchases, transportation, and recreation. For example, some choose to purchase products that have been produced or that operate in ways that minimize damage to the environment. Others strive to reduce their share in activities that create pollution or unduly consume natural resources.
      This does not represent disinterest in climate change, or feigning interest in it. This is actively discussing ways to minimize our own environmental impact.
      So yes, Jehovah’s Witnesses do in fact believe that God will undo climate change once and for all, but this does not mean we are indifferent or apathetic, as the article above shows.
      Lastly, Jehovah’s Witnesses’ buildings received the highest possible rating of Four Green Globes for all seven of their buildings, for environmental efficiency.
      Really, the best way to show concern for our planet is to reduce the impact we have. Jehovah’s Witnesses build so to have the least negative impact as they possibly can.
      So whoever is suggesting that Jehovah’s Witnesses are apathetic to our environmental concerns is ignoring what’s in print, and how we construct our buildings, and the recognition we receive from authoritative environmental agencies.

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      EATONVILLE, WA - Pierce County firefighters battled a 15-acre brush fire near Eatonville on Wednesday night, one of dozens of fires that have broken out across Western Washington amid record-breaking March heat.
      Wednesday's fire near Eatonville burned near the intersection of SR 702 and Jackson Road, which is just west of SR 7 near the Jehovah's Witnesses temple.
      "Firefighters urge residents on Jackson Road to evacuate as this fire continues to grow," the Pierce County Firefighters union wrote on Twitter.
      Washington State Patrol officers were heading to the scene to assist with traffic control.
      On top warm temperatures, strong breezes have blown steadily since Monday, feeding and spreading fires.

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Were you or a loved one sexually abused by Gonzalo Campos, an elder with various Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations in the San Diego area?
      Legal Support For Alleged Victims Of Gonzalo Campos
      After admitting to molesting at least 8 children during the 1980s and 1990s, Campos fled to Mexico, evading criminal justice here in California, but some sexual abuse survivors may still be eligible to file suit against the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York.
       
      The Watchtower, the national organization for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, has already settled at least two lawsuits involving Campos’ misconduct. In March 2018, the organization came to terms with two of Campos’ victims, men who claimed the elder abused them decades ago. Neither the Watchtower nor the plaintiffs are allowed to disclose details of the settlement.
      Experienced Attorneys Launch Full Investigation
      Our compassionate sexual abuse attorneys believe that other victims of Campos may still be able to pursue justice, accountability and compensation by filing a civil lawsuit. We have opened a full investigation into the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society to understand how Campos was allowed to remain around children, even after serious sexual abuse allegations had been filed against him.
      We understand the powerful storm of emotions that sexual abuse can cause. You may still be struggling to deal with painful feelings of embarrassment and shame, rage or depression. You do not have to go through this alone. Our committed legal team is here to help.
      You may have powerful legal options. The prospect of stepping forward to report the abuse may seem terrifying, but it can be a powerful step on the road to recovery. You deserve justice. You may also be entitled to financial compensation. Filing a civil lawsuit can help you take control of this terrible situation. The Watchtower should be held accountable.
      Watchtower Hit By Court Penalty For Withholding Evidence
      The Watchtower has already been accused of hindering investigations into allegations of child sexual abuse. In the cases involving Gonzalo Campos, the Watchtower was ordered to pay a penalty of $4,000 every day because it refused to turn over internal documents containing information about church leaders who had been accused of child sexual abuse.
      This was not the first time the Watchtower failed to stand up for sexual abuse survivors.
      Critics say Gonzalo Campos was allowed to abuse at least 8 children in San Diego between 1982 and 1995, even though the Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations he belonged to were aware of his misconduct. After abusing a 7-year-old in 1994, Campos was removed from the Church, but he was reinstated by church elders who claimed he was a changed man.
      In their lawsuits, two men who said they had been abused by Campos accused church elders of knowing about Campos’ misconduct as early as 1982, but covering it up and allowing him to continue working with young children. We believe the victims.
       

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said this afternoon search and rescue efforts today in the Beauregard community have so far not revealed any more fatalities from Sunday’s tornadoes, with the death toll standing at 23, but Jones said “dozens” of people are still unaccounted for.
      “The search teams have worked the areas of the most significant damage,” Jones said. "I am pleased to report we have not recovered any further victims from the areas that we have initially searched. But I want to offer a caveat with that, that we have not completed our searches."
      ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
      The tornado ravaged a small neighborhood in Smiths Station on Lee County 430, where Greg Molinari and many of his neighbors sorted through the damage on Monday morning. Molinari was upbeat even though his home was destroyed. He said he and his wife, Susan, survived the storm because they took his daughter-in-law’s advice and put large cooking pots over their heads as makeshift helmets.
      “The sirens were going off quite frequently and we said we better take this very seriously. That was about three o’clock,” Molinari said.
      “And my wife and I received a text from my daughter in law. She said get in the bathroom and put pots on your head. Well, the bathroom wasn’t a great idea because it’s an exterior wall. But we went in the hallway, which is a small, confined area here. And we did put big cooking pots over our head. Saved our lives. The ceiling crashed in on us.”
      The tornado ripped the roof off Molinari’s house.
      “And we were trapped in there,” Molinari said. “We couldn’t get out even though we were OK. Our neighbor across the street here, he came screaming over, ‘Is anybody in there? Is anybody in there?’ We said, ‘Yeah. We can’t get out.’ He dug us out.”
      Molinari said he and his wife then rode out the storm at the neighbor’s house.
      “Him and his wife, his daughter and his dog and us, we all hunkered down in there," Molinari said.
      Molinari said another neighbor he didn’t know helped in their rescue.
      Molinari said he had reason to be positive despite the disaster.
      “We have a very strong faith," Molinari said. "We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses. Our God Jehovah takes care of us. We believe he helped to protect us. He’ll also help us recover from all this.”
      Read more: 
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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Butterbean the French bulldog was the focus of a case of disorderly conduct in Marathon.
      MARATHON, Fla. - Man's best friend also proved to be his best accomplice in the case of a Marathon man and his French bulldog Butterbean.
      Edgar Wallis Jones, 59, was walking his dog on Sombrero Beach Feb. 6 at 11:30 a.m. Jones approached a Jehovah's Witness who had a cart filled with religious literature set up near a pavilion.
      He told the man that he was not allowed on city or state property with religious books. The victim responded that he had a permit and that they were free.

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    • Eric Ouellet

      Qu’est-ce que le Jour du Jugement ?

      La Bible dit que Dieu “ a fixé un jour où il va juger la terre habitée ”. (Actes 17:31.) Pour beaucoup, l’idée d’être soumis à un jugement, quel qu’il soit, est désagréable. Voyez-vous les choses ainsi ?
      SI C’EST le cas, rassurez-vous : le Jour du Jugement est une disposition pleine d’amour qui apportera de grands bienfaits à la famille humaine, y compris aux morts (Matthieu 20:28 ; Jean 3:16). Mais pourquoi est-il nécessaire ? Et que se passera-t-il réellement pendant ce “ jour ” ?
      Pourquoi le Jour du Jugement est nécessaire
      Lorsque Dieu a placé les humains sur la terre, il ne la destinait pas à n’être qu’un lieu d’épreuve en vue d’une existence dans un autre monde. Il a créé les humains pour qu’ils y vivent éternellement. Bien que parfaits physiquement et mentalement, Adam et Ève, le premier couple, se sont rebellés contre Dieu. Ils ont alors perdu la perspective de la vie éternelle pour eux-mêmes, et ont transmis le péché et la mort à tous leurs descendants. — Genèse 2:15-17 ; Romains 5:12.
      Le Jour du Jugement sera une période de mille ans durant laquelle les hommes auront la possibilité de retrouver ce qu’Adam et Ève ont perdu*. Remarquez que, selon Actes 17:31, cité plus haut, ce “ jour ” concerne les personnes qui vivent sur “ la terre habitée ”. Celles qui recevront un jugement favorable vivront sur la terre, éternellement et dans des conditions parfaites (Révélation 21:3, 4). Le Jour du Jugement contribue donc à l’accomplissement du dessein originel de Dieu pour l’homme et pour la planète.
      Le Juge que Dieu a établi est Christ Jésus. La Bible révèle qu’il va “ juger les vivants et les morts ”. (2 Timothée 4:1.) Qui sont “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés ? Comment les morts vont-ils revenir à la vie sur “ la terre habitée ” ?
      Jésus juge “ les vivants ”
      Nous sommes maintenant proches de la fin annoncée du présent système de choses, où Dieu va détruire tous les éléments de la société humaine corrompue et supprimer les méchants. Les personnes qui réchapperont seront “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés. — Révélation 7:9-14 ; 19:11-16.
      Durant la période de jugement qui durera mille ans, Christ Jésus ainsi que 144 000 hommes et femmes ressuscités pour vivre dans les cieux dirigeront la terre. Exerçant les fonctions de rois et de prêtres, ils dispenseront les bienfaits du sacrifice rédempteur de Jésus et amèneront progressivement les humains fidèles à la perfection physique et mentale. — Révélation 5:10 ; 14:1-4 ; 20:4-6.
      Pendant le Jour du Jugement, Satan et ses démons ne seront plus libres d’influencer l’activité humaine (Révélation 20:1-3). Toutefois, à la fin de ce “ jour ”, Satan sera autorisé à éprouver la fidélité de tous les humains alors en vie. Ceux qui resteront fidèles à Dieu passeront avec succès l’épreuve à laquelle Adam et Ève ont échoué. Ils seront jugés dignes de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre redevenue un paradis. Ceux qui décideront de se rebeller contre Dieu seront détruits pour toujours, de même que Satan et ses démons. — Révélation 20:7-9.
      Le jugement des “ morts ”
      On lit dans la Bible qu’au Jour du Jugement les morts “ se lèveront ”. (Matthieu 12:41.) Jésus a dit : “ L’heure vient où tous ceux qui sont dans les tombes de souvenir entendront sa voix et sortiront, ceux qui ont fait des choses bonnes, pour une résurrection de vie, ceux qui ont pratiqué des choses viles, pour une résurrection de jugement. ” (Jean 5:28, 29). Il n’est pas question ici des âmes désincarnées des défunts. Ces derniers sont totalement inconscients et n’ont pas d’âme qui survive à la mort (Ecclésiaste 9:5 ; Jean 11:11-14, 23, 24). Jésus relèvera sur la terre tous ceux qui se sont endormis dans la mort.
      Seront-ils jugés sur la base de ce qu’ils ont fait avant leur mort ? Non. Les Écritures enseignent que “ celui qui est mort a été acquitté de son péché ”. (Romains 6:7.) Ainsi, tout comme les survivants de la fin du système actuel, les ressuscités pour la vie sur la terre seront jugés “ selon leurs actions ” au cours du Jour du Jugement (Révélation 20:12, 13). En fonction de l’issue de leurs actions, leur résurrection se révélera aboutir soit à l’éternité, soit à la destruction. Nombre de ces ressuscités découvriront Jéhovah Dieu et ses exigences pour obtenir la vie. Ils auront la possibilité de se conformer à la volonté de Dieu et de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre.
      Aucune raison d’avoir peur
      Le Jour du Jugement ne sera pas seulement un temps d’instruction divine, mais aussi un temps où tous les vivants appliqueront ce qu’ils apprendront et en verront les bienfaits. Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus et progresserez à leurs côtés vers la perfection !
      Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus.
      Au terme du Jour du Jugement, Dieu permettra à Satan d’éprouver la fidélité des êtres humains. Il n’y a cependant pas lieu d’être inquiet ou d’avoir peur. Tous seront alors solidement armés pour faire face à cette dernière épreuve. Ainsi, le Jour du Jugement est une étape dans l’accomplissement du dessein divin qui effacera toutes les conséquences de la rébellion originelle contre Dieu dans le jardin d’Éden.

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Chantons avec coeur et allégresse 
      Psaumes
      146 Louez Jah!
      Que tout mon être loue Jéhovah !
       2 Je veux louer Jéhovah toute ma vie.
      Je veux chanter des louanges à mon Dieu aussi longtemps que je vivrai.
       3 Ne mettez pas votre confiance dans les princes,
      ni dans un fils d’homme, qui est incapable de sauver.
       4 L’esprit de l’homme sort, l’homme retourne au sol ;
      ce jour-là, ses pensées périssent.
       5 Heureux celui qui a pour secours le Dieu de Jacob
      et dont l’espoir est en Jéhovah son Dieu,
       6 Celui qui a fait le ciel et la terre,
      la mer, et tout ce qui s’y trouve,
      celui qui reste fidèle pour toujours,
       7 celui qui garantit la justice aux spoliés,
      celui qui donne du pain aux affamés.
      Jéhovah libère les prisonniers ;
       8 Jéhovah ouvre les yeux des aveugles ;
      Jéhovah relève ceux qui sont courbés ;
      Jéhovah aime les justes.
       9 Jéhovah protège les résidents étrangers ;
      il soutient l’orphelin de père et la veuve,
      mais il contrecarre les projets des méchants
      10 Jéhovah sera Roi pour toujours,
      ton Dieu, ô Sion, de génération en génération.
      Louez Jah !

      · 0 replies
    • REDROCHA  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Thank you Sister !!!!
      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      LES QUALITÉS D'UN BERGER ET LES ASSISTANTS DE L'ASSEMBLÉE 

      PREMIÈRE LETTRE DE TIMOTHÉE

      3 La parole suivante est digne de foi : Si un homme aspire à être un responsable, il désire une belle œuvre. 2 Il faut donc qu’un responsable soit irréprochable, mari d’une seule femme, modéré dans ses habitudes, réfléchi, ordonné, hospitalier, capable d’enseigner, 3 que ce ne soit pas un ivrogne ni un homme violent, mais un homme raisonnable, non querelleur, non ami de l’argent, 4 un homme qui dirige d’une belle façon sa propre famille, qui tienne ses enfants dans la soumission en toute dignité 5 (car si un homme ne sait pas diriger sa propre famille, comment prendra-t-il soin de l’assemblée de Dieu ?), 6 que ce ne soit pas un homme récemment converti, de peur qu’il se gonfle d’orgueil et tombe sous le coup de la condamnation portée contre le Diable. 7 D’autre part, il faut aussi qu’il reçoive un beau témoignage des gens extérieurs à l’assemblée, afin de ne pas tomber dans le déshonneur et dans un piège du Diable.
      8 De même, il faut que les assistants soient des hommes dignes, qu’ils n’aient pas un langage double, qu’ils soient modérés dans la consommation de vin, non avides d’un gain malhonnête, 9 attachés au saint secret de la foi avec une conscience pure.
      10 De plus, qu’ils soient d’abord mis à l’épreuve quant à leurs aptitudes ; puis, s’ils sont exempts d’accusation, qu’ils servent comme ministres.
      11 De même, il faut que les femmes soient dignes, non calomniatrices, modérées dans leurs habitudes, fidèles en toutes choses.
      12 Les assistants doivent être maris d’une seule femme et diriger d’une belle façon leurs enfants et leur propre famille. 13 Car les hommes qui servent d’une belle façon acquièrent une belle réputation et une grande confiancepour parler de la foi en Christ Jésus.
      14 Je t’écris ces choses, bien que j’espère venir bientôt chez toi, 15 pour que, au cas où je serais retardé, tu saches comment tu dois te conduire dans la maison de Dieu, qui est l’assemblée du Dieu vivant, colonne et soutien de la vérité. 16 Oui, il faut avouer qu’il est grand, le saint secret de l’attachement à Dieu : « Il a été manifesté dans la chair, a été déclaré juste dans l’esprit, est apparu aux anges, a été prêché parmi les nations, a été cru dans le monde, a été enlevé dans la gloire. »





      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Bergers, imitez les Grands Bergers
       
      Christ [...] a souffert pour vous, vous laissant un modèle pour que vous suiviez fidèlement ses traces » (1 PIERRE 2:21)

      QUAND un berger s’intéresse de près au bien-être de son troupeau, les moutons se portent bien. Selon un manuel sur l’élevage ovin, « l’homme qui se contente de mener le troupeau au pré puis n’y prête plus attention risque fort, en quelques années, d’avoir de nombreuses bêtes malades qui ne rapportent rien ». Par contre, quand les moutons reçoivent l’attention voulue, le troupeau prospère.
      La qualité des soins et de l’attention que les bergers du troupeau de Dieu prodiguent à chaque brebis dont ils sont responsables influera sur la santé spirituelle de toute la congrégation. Tu te souviens peut-être que Jésus a eu pitié des foules parce qu’« elles étaient dépouillées et éparpillées comme des brebis sans berger » (Mat. 9:36). Pourquoi se trouvaient-elles en si piteuse condition ? Parce que les hommes chargés d’enseigner la Loi de Dieu au peuple étaient durs, exigeants et hypocrites. Au lieu de soutenir et de nourrir les membres de leur troupeau, les guides spirituels d’Israël posaient sur leurs épaules de « lourdes charges » (Mat. 23:4).
      Les bergers chrétiens d’aujourd’hui, les anciens, ont donc une lourde responsabilité. Les brebis du troupeau sous leur garde appartiennent à Jéhovah ainsi qu’à Jésus, qui s’est présenté comme « l’excellent berger » (Jean 10:11). Les brebis ont été « acheté[e]s à un prix », que Jésus a payé avec son propre « sang précieux » (1 Cor. 6:20 ; 1 Pierre 1:18, 19). Jésus aime tellement les brebis qu’il a bien voulu sacrifier sa vie pour elles. Les anciens ne devraient jamais oublier qu’ils sont des sous-bergers sous la surveillance du Fils bienveillant de Dieu, Jésus Christ, « le grand berger des brebis » (Héb. 13:20).
      Comment les bergers chrétiens devraient-ils traiter les brebis ? Les membres de la congrégation sont exhortés à « obéi[r] à ceux qui [les] dirigent ». De leur côté, les anciens ne doivent pas « commande[r] en maîtres ceux qui sont l’héritage de Dieu » (Héb. 13:17 ; lire 1 Pierre 5:2, 3). Alors comment peuvent-ils diriger le troupeau sans le commander en maîtres ? Autrement dit, comment peuvent-ils répondre aux besoins des brebis sans abuser de l’autorité dont Dieu les a investis ?
      « IL LES PORTERA SUR SON SEIN »
      Parlant de Jéhovah, le prophète Isaïe a déclaré : « Comme un berger il fera paître son troupeau. De son bras il rassemblera les agneaux ; et sur son sein il les portera. Il conduira doucement celles qui allaitent » (Is. 40:11). Cette comparaison montre que Jéhovah se soucie des besoins des membres de la congrégation faibles et vulnérables. De même qu’un berger connaît les besoins particuliers de chaque brebis de son troupeau et se tient prêt à les combler, Jéhovah connaît les besoins des membres de la congrégation et est heureux de leur apporter le soutien voulu. À l’image d’un berger qui, si nécessaire, porte un agneau nouveau-né dans le pli de son vêtement, « le Père des tendres miséricordes » nous portera, ou nous consolera, quand nous serons durement éprouvés ou rencontrerons un besoin particulier (2 Cor. 1:3, 4).

      Quel exemple admirable pour un berger chrétien ! Comme son Père céleste, il lui faut être attentif aux besoins des brebis. S’il est au courant des difficultés qu’elles rencontrent et des besoins qui méritent une attention immédiate, il sera en mesure d’offrir l’encouragement et le soutien nécessaires (Prov. 27:23). Il doit donc bien communiquer avec ses compagnons chrétiens. Tout en respectant la vie privée de chacun, il s’intéresse à ce qu’il voit et entend dans la congrégation, avec amour, il se rend disponible pour « venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:35 ; 1 Thess. 4:11).
      Parlons de la mentalité de bergers que Jéhovah a désapprouvés. Aux jours d’Ézékiel et de Jérémie, Jéhovah a dénoncé ceux qui auraient dû s’occuper de ses brebis, mais ne le faisaient pas. Quand personne ne surveillait les brebis, le troupeau devenait la proie de bêtes sauvages et se dispersait. Ces bergers exploitaient les brebis et, plutôt que de les faire paître, « ils se paissaient eux-mêmes » (Ézék. 34:7-10 ; Jér. 23:1). Le reproche que Dieu leur a fait est tout aussi valable pour les chefs de la chrétienté. Mais il souligne également combien il est important qu’un ancien s’occupe avec sérieux et amour du troupeau de Jéhovah.
      « JE VOUS AI DONNÉ L’EXEMPLE »
      En raison de l’imperfection humaine, certaines brebis peuvent être lentes à comprendre ce que le Berger suprême attend d’elles. Elles ne se conforment pas toujours à un conseil biblique ou ont un comportement trahissant un manque de maturité spirituelle. Comment les anciens doivent-ils réagir ? Ils devraient imiter la patience qu’a eue Jésus envers ses disciples quand ils cherchaient à savoir qui parmi eux serait le plus grand dans le Royaume. Au lieu de perdre patience, Jésus a continué à les enseigner et à leur donner des conseils bienveillants sur la pratique de l’humilité (Luc 9:46-48 ; 22:24-27). En leur lavant les pieds, il leur a fait une démonstration d’humilité, qualité que les surveillants chrétiens sont tenus de manifester (lire Jean 13:12-15 ; 1 Pierre 2:21).
      Le point de vue de Jésus sur le rôle du berger n’était pas le même que celui que Jacques et Jean ont un jour manifesté. Ces deux apôtres cherchaient à s’assurer une place en vue dans le Royaume. Mais Jésus a rectifié cet état d’esprit ainsi : « Vous savez que les chefs des nations dominent sur elles, et que les grands usent d’autorité sur elles. Il n’en sera pas ainsi parmi vous ; mais quiconque voudra devenir grand parmi vous sera votre serviteur » (Mat. 20:25, 26, Bible de Darby). Les apôtres devaient résister à l’envie de « commander en maîtres » leurs compagnons ou de « dominer sur » eux.
      Jésus tient à ce que les bergers chrétiens traitent le troupeau comme lui le traitait. Ils doivent être disposés à servir leurs compagnons, pas les dominer. Paul a manifesté une telle humilité. Il a dit en effet aux anciens de la congrégation d’Éphèse : « Vous savez bien comment, depuis le premier jour où j’ai mis le pied dans le district d’Asie, j’ai été avec vous tout le temps, travaillant comme un esclave pour le Seigneur, avec la plus grande humilité. » L’apôtre souhaitait que ces anciens soutiennent les brebis avec dévouement et humilité. Il a ajouté : « Je vous ai montré en toutes choses que c’est en peinant ainsi que vous devez venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:18, 19, 35). Il a par ailleurs dit aux Corinthiens qu’il ne dominait pas sur leur foi. Il était plutôt leur humble compagnon de travail, pour leur joie (2 Cor. 1:24). C’est un bel exemple d’humilité et de courage pour les anciens de notre époque.
      « FERMEMENT ATTACHÉ À LA PAROLE FIDÈLE »
      Un ancien doit être « fermement attaché à la parole fidèle pour ce qui est de son art d’enseigner » (Tite 1:9). Mais il le sera « dans un esprit de douceur » (Gal. 6:1). Un bon berger chrétien ne force pas une brebis à agir de telle ou telle façon. Non, il réfléchit à la manière dont il stimulera son cœur. Il attirera peut-être son attention sur les principes bibliques à considérer avant de prendre une décision importante. Il reverra avec elle ce que les publications ont dit sur la question. Il l’exhortera à réfléchir aux conséquences de tel ou tel choix sur ses relations avec Jéhovah. Il pourra aussi insister sur l’importance de demander à Dieu sa direction avant de prendre une décision (Prov. 3:5, 6). Ensuite, il la laissera prendre elle-même sa décision (Rom. 14:1-4).
      La seule autorité que les surveillants chrétiens détiennent leur vient des Écritures. Alors ils doivent absolument se servir de la Bible avec habileté et adhérer à son contenu. Ils se garderont ainsi d’un éventuel abus de pouvoir. Car ils ne sont que sous-bergers ; chaque membre de la congrégation est responsable devant Jéhovah et Jésus de ses propres décisions (Gal. 6:5, 7, 8).
      « DES EXEMPLES POUR LE TROUPEAU »
      Après avoir déconseillé aux anciens ( prêtres )« commander en maîtres ceux qui [leur] sont échus en partage », l’apôtre Pierre les exhorte à « devenir des exemples pour le troupeau » (1 Pierre 5:3, note). De quelle façon sont-ils des exemples pour le troupeau ? Prenons deux des choses requises d’un frère qui « aspire à une fonction de surveillant ». Il lui faut être « sain d’esprit » et « présider de belle façon, sa propre maisonnée ». S’il a une famille, il doit la présider de manière exemplaire, car « si quelqu’un [...] ne sait pas présider sa propre maisonnée, comment prendra-t-il soin de la congrégation ( assemblée) de Dieu ? » (1 Tim. 3:1, 2, 4, 5). Il doit également être sain d’esprit, c’est-à-dire comprendre clairement les principes divins et savoir comment les appliquer dans sa propre vie. Il est calme et équilibré et se garde de porter des jugements hâtifs. Autant de qualités qui inspirent confiance aux membres de la congrégation.
      Les surveillants donnent également l’exemple en prenant la tête dans l’œuvre de prédication. Jésus lui-même leur a donné l’exemple à cet égard. La prédication de la bonne nouvelle du Royaume a occupé une grande partie de son activité terrestre. Il a montré à ses disciples comment il fallait l’accomplir (Marc 1:38 ; Luc 8:1). Qu’il est encourageant, de nos jours, de prêcher aux côtés des anciens, de constater leur zèle pour cette œuvre salvatrice et d’apprendre de leurs méthodes d’enseignement ! Leur détermination à consacrer du temps et de l’énergie à la prédication malgré un emploi du temps chargé insuffle du zèle à toute la congrégation. Enfin, les anciens donnent l’exemple en préparant les réunions de la congrégation et en y participant, mais aussi en prenant part à des activités comme le nettoyage et la maintenance de la Salle du Royaume (Éph. 5:15, 16 ; lire (Hébreux 13:7) 
      « SOUTENEZ LES FAIBLES »
      Quand une brebis se blesse ou tombe malade, un bon berger vole à son secours. Pareillement, quand un membre de la congrégation souffre ou a besoin d’une aide spirituelle, les anciens doivent réagir rapidement. Un chrétien âgé ou malade a sans doute besoin d’une aide pratique, mais il a surtout besoin d’un soutien spirituel et d’encouragements (1 Thess. 5:14). Les jeunes rencontrent peut-être des difficultés. Résister aux « désirs de la jeunesse » en est une (2 Tim. 2:22). Le berger doit donc rendre régulièrement visite aux membres de la congrégation dans le but de comprendre les épreuves qu’ils traversent et de les encourager par des conseils bibliques bien choisis. Quand ces visites pastorales sont faites au bon moment, beaucoup de problèmes peuvent être résolus avant qu’ils ne s’aggravent.
      Et si les difficultés d’un chrétien s’aggravent au point de menacer sa santé spirituelle ? « Quelqu’un parmi vous est-il malade ?, a demandé le rédacteur biblique Jacques. Qu’il appelle à lui les anciens de la congrégation, et qu’ils prient sur lui, l’enduisant d’huile au nom de Jéhovah. Et la prière de la foi rétablira celui qui est souffrant, et Jéhovah le relèvera. De plus, s’il a commis des péchés, il lui sera pardonné » (Jacq. 5:14, 15). Même quand un chrétien « souffrant » « appelle à lui les anciens », ces derniers doivent lui venir en aide dès qu’ils sont au courant de son état. Les anciens qui prient avec sont là pour le fortifier et aussi tout frères en difficulté, et ils les soutiennent, se révèlent une source de réconfort et d’encouragement (lire Isaïe 32:1, 2).
      Dans tout ce qu’ils font au sein de l’organisation de Jéhovah, les bergers s’efforcent d’imiter « le grand berger », Jésus Christ. Grâce à l’aide de ces hommes dignes de confiance, le troupeau se fortifie et prospère. Tout cela nous réjouit profondément et nous pousse à louer le plus Grand Berger sans pareil,  notre Dieu Jéhovah



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