I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses: Searching for the Why

Searching for the why—at first glance, what could be easier? Just read the charges. But when Putin says, “Jehovah’s Witnesses are Christians, too. I really don’t understand why they are persecuted”—there appears more to it than meets the eye. When Human Rights Watch says, “Russia’s religious persecution focuses almost exclusively on Jehovah’s Witnesses,” the plot thickens.
 
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Like Luke to Theophilus, here is a book that “traces everything from the start with accuracy.” Like Luke to Theophilus, here is a book that tells it from the believer’s point of view. Stripped of the red herrings that plagued Dear Mr. Putin—Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia, updated to the February 2021 present, and ever respectful towards the land of the bear, in most ebook forms it continues to be free, a labor of love.

Here are presented the modern-day Acts of Russia with regard to worship, the acts of believers and of those who oppose them. The acts of Russia have taken a dark and perplexing turn, puzzling even Putin. Can it be? The wizard who runs Oz doesn’t know how his contraption works? Here is a book that picks up where Baran’s Dissent on the Margins (2014) leaves off. The tale has not yet ended. But then, neither had the tale ended when Luke completed the first century Book of Acts.

Early in 2017, every Jehovah’s Witness in the world was invited to write letters to designated Russian officials, urging that justice be done in their case. I wrote one. Here is my expanded version.
Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Yikes! A Bad Review of TrueTom vs the Apostates: Part 1

Vic Vomodog screamed at me, the way he does these days—and to think we once pulled shoulder to shoulder in the great work! “When you even USE THE TERM ‘overlapping generations’, it admits tacitly that a generation is A GENERATION which has a singular definition.”

Look, this is not hard. From the standpoint of the listener, the generation of  his contemporaries ends when the lifespans of every one of them has expired. The lifespans of geezers like myself go back 100 years. The lifespans of my grandkids go 100 years in the other direction.

It’s a Bible interpretation. Can I prove it? No. Can I disprove it? No. But it is not particularly hard to understand. Should the bros have made it? I have no idea; it’s not my call. If it’s wrong it’s on them. All I have to do is acknowledge, ‘Well, that’s what they’re saying these days.’

Why risk joining those donkeys from 2 Peter heehawing over how since the days of our forefathers all things are exactly the same?* I see the malcontents on the ex forum ecstatic over how, now that they have cut loose from the faith, the world is their oyster, offering them boundless possibilities for personal fulfillment. Everyone else knows it’s going to hell in a handbasket.

F884A127-98A3-40F1-9D8B-286E65A44F88Though few of them would know who was president the year prior to their birth, they have made themselves “expert” on a tiny sliver of ancient Persian history. The exJW who emailed me a few times and then left a nasty review of the masterpiece ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates’ (UK site) based that review on the 607 topic that is nowhere even mentioned in the book. I mean, if I write a bad review of ‘Gone With the Wind’ it shouldn’t be because I don’t like wind. What this means is I need a few loyal ones to write reviews to balance it out. But even if I get more bad reviews, it’s the tonnage that better puts it on the radar. I mean, the promo material of the book alone makes clear it will be a good read, or at least a unique one. I’ve never seen anyone else cover the material in depth. Nor is it the end. Already it is time for ‘Round 2’ but there are several intervening projects.

(Photo:Gone with the Wind Museum in Marietta.jpg, Wikipedia)

So eager is this fellow to undermine his former religion—and yes, I have the email exchange, which I will reproduce in time—that he cites some book claiming WWI was not that big of a deal, that there have been many similar ‘world wars’ and that even WWI wasn’t originally called that. ‘Yeah, it’s because they didn’t realize at the time there as going to be a sequel,’ I told him When they did, that would have been the perfect time for them to rechristen it “World War VII” per his theory. If I didn’t know better (and I don’t unless/until I check it out) I’d say the book was written solely to undermine Jehovah’s Witnesses. I have never heard of world war redefined.

I really don’t mind if it breaks down this way. Whatever the merits of 607, it does call attention to the fact that God has a timetable. Irrespective of our efforts to figure it out, he does have one. Let these guys take the other side of that—that he doesn’t, and in fact, there is no government of God nor even any need for one, that humans are doing pretty well on their own, thank you very much. Let them take that side. It goes back to the original issue from Eden. God says humans can’t rule themselves (know good and bad). They say they can. I don’t mind it shaking out that way.

“The game is the same; it’s just up on another level,” to put Bob Dylan’s words in a context he never dreamed they would be put in.

*First of all know this, that in the last days ridiculers will come with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires and saying: “Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as they were from creation’s beginning.” (2 Peter 3:3-4)

To be continued….

(Not to worry: This does not mean the series ‘Things that drive you crazy about the faith—and how to view them” is complete. It has just been temporarily superseded.)

******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

My Meeting Notes: Week of June 13, 2022 (with musings and meanderings)

#publictalk title: Jehovah’s eyes are upon us,

watchtowerstudy , Find Joy in Giving Jehovah Your Personal Best . Theme scripture: Let each one examine his own actions.” —GAL. 6:4.

Midweek mtg Bible Reading assigned: 2 SAMUEL 11-12

 

Psalm 10:13: 13 Why has the wicked one disrespected God? He says in his heart: “You will not hold me accountable.”

Prov 15:3 The eyes of Jehovah are everywhere, Watching both the bad and the good.

2 chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of Jehovah are roving about through all the earth to show his strength inbehalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.” The speaker emphasizes “to show his strength.”

Lam 3:40, “Let us examine and scrutinize our ways, and let us return to Jehovah.”

When the speaker mentioned avoiding porn at the workplace I thought of Nick, who years ago when a newly associated bro, painted bathing suits on all the nude graffiti. Oh yeah, his coworkers loved him for that.

 

#watchtowerstudy , Find Joy in Giving Jehovah Your Personal Best . Theme scripture: Let each one examine his own actions.” —GAL. 6:4.

Para 3: One bro quotes Teddy Roosevelt: ‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’ ( did he really say this?   Yes, he did)

Para 4: Many references to Jesus’ parable of the talents. Use all your abilities but don’t boast. Just talking about yourself too much comes across as boasting to one with fewer talents.

Para 5: The elderly bro pictured in the wheelchair is giving his best. “He still must have all his faculties,” says the elderly sis who has all of hers.

Para 7: The follow with ten talents uses all ten, doesn’t say he just use five so as to not show up the other guy, the one with the ten talents dosen’t just produce 5, then say, ‘well, i ddin’t want to show off.’ He uses the ten talents—he just doesn’t boast over it. 

you just don’t talk about yourself all the time, in effect outshining everyone else. You can be afraid of that one, if you have a good story, he has a better one.

Para 9: let your light shine,okay, but the guard with the interrogation lamp does the same thing to make his quarry uncomfortable. Light doesn’t have to be full strenght always

Para 15 When the young bros would start bickering, the old guy would tilt back in his chair, smile, and marvel at what Jehovah accomplishes, ‘given what he has to work with.’  Even when we think our gifts are hot stuff, we’re just people. 

Trouble is, When we compare selves with others, we start comparing our ‘behind the scenes’ bloopers with everyone else’s highlight reels, one bro says.

 

MidweekmeetingJune 13-192 SAMUEL 11-12

David is not content. That’s where the first talk goes. Someone chimes in with a Ben Franklin quote:, “Contentment makes poor mane rich. Discontentment makes rich men poor,”

Someone else says how you don’t esteem the gift above the giver. Also, that Paul was content no matter the circumstances,

Forgiveness, for had shown mercy to ‘Saul, Lin, vs 13, Nathan, serious mistake, I have sinned, owned mistakes, might have erupted in fury—he is a king after all.

To be sure, the typical reaction expected of a king would be to be furious at being rebuked by Nathan.

The elder that just moved into the congregation conducts a Q & A part and gets several names wrong. Then he calls on his wife. ‘Glad i didn’t mess that one up,” he says.

17AA352C-80D5-4187-ACDD-6A4B50EB80CAAlways there is a clergyman when an infant dies spinning it that God took the child because he needs about her flower in heaven, whereas the David and Nathan account shows the exact opposite. Anyone who would do that deserves to die, (2 Samuel 12:1-6)

This Uriah is a pretty decent guy. Even when you get him drunk, he stays true to is mission. Too bad for him in this case. Imagine in the resurrection when he learns what a hotshot David got to be. (2 Samuel 11:12-13)

 

 

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

My Meeting Notes: Week of June 6, 2022 (with meanderings and musings)

#publictalk tittle: Cherish your place in the kingdom arrangement,

Watchtower study title: “Are You “an Example . . . in Speaking”?

Theme scripture: Become an example to the faithful ones in speaking.”​—1 TIM. 4:12.

Midweek assigned Bible reading: 2 Samuel 9-10

Para 1: immediately the tone is set: “Our ability to speak is a gift from our loving God.” When we have a gift, we bring it to the altar. We use it for good not for bad

Para 2: Foul speech—if it went no further, you could live with it, most likely. Instead, it is like the canary in the coal mine; it reflects broader and general deterioration #watchtowerstudy

Para 5: “gracious and kind speech at our Christian meetings or … ministry but … harsh and unloving way to family members behind closed doors?​“ It is either the kind person slipping up at home OR the nasty person putting on a pretense in public

Para 6: One bro comments, tells of a coworker who does not swear around him, though he does elsewhere, out of respect for him., knowing he doesn’t appreciate it.

Para 8: Speak with kindness and respect when provoked, a good lesson for me. Did i trigger a negative view because I was harsher than necessary with a certain opposer? If so, please believe me—the fellow pushed. One of those guys who would not suffer non-acquiescence to his viewpoint. I’ve come to think that unless your object is to put down a person, any hint of disrespect torpedoes an otherwise persuasive passage because that is all that person will see.

Para 9: “What can help us control our speech when we are in the preaching work?”

Sometimes it is hard because they’re speaking negatively of our best friend Jehovah, says one sis about respond respectfully to harsh opposers.  (Note how respectful speech even to opposers impressed the European Court of Human Rights which wrote: “Even accepting that the texts [used to prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses were “extremists”] promoted the idea that the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses was superior to others or that it was better to be a Jehovah’s Witness than a member of another Christian denomination, it is significant that the texts did not insult, hold up to ridicule or slander non-Witnesses; nor did they use abusive terms in respect of them or of matters regarded as sacred by them.” [bolding mine]

Para 9:  Another sis tells of a householder that chewed her out vehemently, and later crossed the street to confront her once again—‘oh, boy—what’s she want now?’—this time to apologize,

Para 12 Tip for those new or shy. Comment and it puts you on the radar, more likely to be approached afterwards. Probably shouldn’t be that way but it is. After all, even Jehovah takes note when people speak:

“At that time those who fear Jehovah spoke with one another, each one with his companion, and Jehovah kept paying attention and listening. And a book of remembrance was written before him for those fearing Jehovah and for those meditating on his name.” Malachi 3:16

Para 16: Further, we never want to hurt others with cutting remarks. One brother admits: “At times, I have made cutting, sarcastic remarks….one sis recalls the Sonny and Cher show where they specialized in that. That marraige ended early, if I recall correctly.

Para 17: The brother I love to tease, too chicken to play me in Scrabble and so he ran far away, just commented from his remote zoom location. Can I add—risky because of the study theme—that it was as usual another clunker of a comment?

Para 18: one bro comments on the picture that uses emojis, as evidence he says that the organization is “up to date.” Be that as it many, I’ve never adopted the use of those things myself. I just do a smiley by the colon followed by right parenthesis. It’s as far as I go. It’s enough.

#midweekmeeting, Bible reading assigned: 2 Samuel 9-10

At that [Mephibosheth] prostrated himself and said: “What is your servant, that you have turned your attention to a dead dog like me?”

Did the fellow have self-esteem issues?

“QR code links to a site for Bible study. It’s free. No hassles. I hope you check it out,” one sis’s talk concludes with.

 

Just look at this monstrosity I’m assigned to read!

“So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the sons of the king.  Now Mephibosheth also had a young son named Miʹca; and all those who lived in Ziʹba’s house became servants of Mephibosheth. And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he always ate at the table of the king; and he was crippled in both feet.”

I mean, can they say it any more? FOUR times that unpronounceable name! What was wrong with Jonathan his dad? Why couldn’t he have named the kid Jon Jr? Throw in the middle name Albatross while you’re at it! And he was crippled in both feet? I’ll be crippled in my mouth after this talk!

yes yes, I admire the optimism, I said to someone who assured me I could do it, but tell me true: did you name any of your kids Mephibosheth?

Maybe you can go with Mephie, another said. Good idea. Just like Andy Taylor used to call his nephew Opie when the kid’s real name was Opilakimommaoctolibiario.

Look at it as an opportunity to pronounce it differently seven times, Stephen said.

Mission accomplished (sort of). Seven times the unpronounceable name read, including a veritable minefield of 4 at the very end. He sells seashells by the seashore. “And if I ever have a son, I think I’m gonna name him . . . Bill or George, anything but Mephibosheth.”

I flubbed it  just before the minefield and then laughed at myself for flubbing it. It’s just a tongue twister of a name to say fast and repeatedly. “I’ve never actually seen a brother chuckle at such times,” said one bro (and then braced to see if anyone was smited like Urijah and the ark.)

“I think the angels chuckled with you and were proud of your effort as well as all the others who gave this assignment around the world 🌎.   Even when you think you are losing, you’re winning in our eyes, especially Jehovah’s eyes,” says one sympathizer. I admit I had not thought of myself that way, as sort of a Geico lizard mascot to everyone else assigned that reading.

Says Murray: ‘You are not alone my brother. I did not have any dealings with that part this week. I was householder on the study portion, but two of the brothers who had to use the name had serious muble with their trouths & got their murds wixed up. He will need a name change upon his ressurection I reckon.’

“is there anyone remaining of Saul’s house to whom I can extend loyal love,” perhaps by giving them a name change in case it is Mephibosheth?”

Yikes! No sooner do I flub the Meshibosheth minefield (2 Samuel 9) then I see this week’s Watchtower study title: “Are You “an Example . . . in Speaking”?

Theme scripture: Become an example to the faithful ones in speaking.”​—1 TIM. 4:12.

Way to rub it in.

 

One sis comment of how kings were pretty vengeful and Mephibosheth might have wondered what was going to happen to him, not to mention that the handicapped counted for little. .   It’s true. They routinely mowed down all rivals and potential rivals,

“I praise you because in an awe-inspiring way I am wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know this very well.” Ps 139:14

Imagine. It’s possible to hurt God’s feelings: “How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness And made him feel hurt in the desert!Again and again they put God to the test, And they grieved the Holy One of Israel.”  Psalm 78:40

So Moses said to him: “Make me know your ways, so that I may know you.” (Exodus 33:13) In reply, Jehovah revealed to Moses some aspects of His personality. Read Exodus 34:4-6,

This will sound crazy to someone raised in the faith where you see families together as a matter of routine. But if you weren’t raised in the truth, and so saw most “families” on TV, it comes as a surprise to learn that real family members resemble each other.

B31FEC32-6DA9-4ED2-82DA-0FA1A7380E08

(Photo from Wikipedia)

“Do your characters always have first and last names?” was the question.

Well, there is Tom Irregardless, Oscar Oxgoad, Bernard Strawman, and Dr. Mike “Ace” Inhibitor, so I would say yes.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Things that Drive You Crazy About the Faith—and How to View Them: Part 8

This is a multi-part series. See Preface,  2nd Preface,  Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Each part links to the next.

6364D3A1-D9AD-4FC9-BEAE-274B93E23AD4How to help your teenager? is the theme of a recent series of talks. Several pointers are offered, all valid and good. But the elephant in the room is ignored because revelation says nothing about it. Maybe that teen who needs help is over there on the anti-JW Internet forum where he is drinking up bile by the vatful directed against his faith. Yet discovering that he is will do nothing to help those trained in ‘knowledge through revelation.’ They don’t know what is there, and ‘revelation’ tells them not to find out. “This means war!” one brother says about the contest with apostates, and doesn’t touch on how the very first thing you do in war is seek detailed reconnaissance on the enemy—know what they are doing and saying—if only to effectively pop them one in the jaw.

It just makes for odd situations, the counsel to avoid at all costs apostate speech. It makes for illustrations such as, ‘would you drink even a little bit of poison?’ although you do exactly that when you take one of the old-style vaccines (not the new-style RNA ones), the kind that gives you just a little bit of the disease to stimulate your body to mount a defense against it. It creates an almost superstitious fear of apostates for the power they supposedly wield. It creates a convention part in which a decades-long record of faith goes up in smoke when the person begins reading material ‘critical of Jehovah’s organization.’ That can happen?

It can, but ‘knowledge via revelation’ of how disastrous is apostate speech can lead one to think it is the mere words that sink a person. An empirical approach would be to heed what psychologists say: You do well to avoid ‘toxic people,’ because over time they corrode your well-being. There is something about aggressive apostasy—directing massive energy against former friends—that all but screams ‘toxic people,’ like the psycho ex-divorce-mate who just cannot let go.

If errors were what you watch, O Jah, Then who, O Jehovah, could stand?” says Psalm 130:3. It is ‘knowledge by revelation.’ In this case it dovetails perfectly with ‘knowledge by experience.’ When it comes to the enemies of anyone today, errors are all people watch. They also magnify, enhance, and sometime concoct—see it play out on the internet with any public figure. Nobody ‘can stand’ in the face of the constant onslaught.

The very first thing you do to attack the faith is ‘strike the shepherd,’ so that the ‘sheep will scatter.’ One need not even drop the pretense of loving God that way, but can pose as a ‘freedom fighter’ or some such role. It was arguably even true with Judas. He and God were tight—there were no problems there! But that fraudster claiming to be the messiah was not at all what Judas was expecting, and so he turned upon him.

Interestingly, the final straw with Judas appears to be Jesus’ words, “For you always have the poor with you, and you can do them good whenever you want to, but you will not always have me.” (Mark 14:7) ‘He’s selfish, he just thinks of himself!’ says Judas to himself, and off he goes to blow him in (vs 10). So it is today when the earthly organization heeds revelation at Galatians 6:10 to do good “especially toward those related to us in the faith,” rather than try to fix the world in general. Apostates spin that as selfish.

Recent statements that God and his son trusts the faithful and discreet slave prompts malcontents to pull their hair out trying to assert that he doesn’t. The statement comes from ‘knowledge through revelation.’ Not only does the Word say it of current responsible ones, called the faithful and discreet slave—it says it of ones in the first century. Peter was trusted—and then went weak-kneed at a critical moment. Furthermore, it was just as challenging looking into the future then as it is today. “The saying went out among the brothers that [John] would not die,” we’re told. (John 21:23) How wrong was that one? Maybe John thought it himself. Often the trick is not to sanitize the present. It is to desanitize the past. First century persons taking the lead betrayed abundant human foibles. God and Christ trusted them nonetheless.

Even the general revulsion over apostasy comes from ‘knowledge through revelation.’ “Taste and see that Jehovah is good,” says Psalm 34:8. They have tasted and seen he is bad—not a promising start for bridge building, even though I tried—a little. After several persons were put off by the imagery of ‘Vomidog’ in Tom Irregardless and Me, I softened the house apostate’s name to Vic Vomodog, even though the original is a play on scripture: “What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog has returned to its own vomit . . .” I’m glad for it. Vomodog suggests the original but doesn’t rub your nose in it. It is a quirky and quizzical name in it’s own right.

Alas, it is human nature that the best way to get someone to do something is to tell them they shouldn’t. It is especially true with young people. There’s danger in this, and danger in that, they’re told. There may be, but the spirt of young people is bold. They don’t want to hear it—not about things that others face routinely. The Lord’s chariot may be lighting quick, but so is that of the world. Overnight it moves persons to despise discipline. It’s particularly strong with the youth who—I mean, this goes back to the very origin of young people—delight in getting a rise out of their parents.

‘Obedience’ is fine. I like that stuff. But it might be more effective if coupled with empirical evidence of just what apostates are up to. Appeal to empirical ‘social scientists,’ David Bromley, for example, who “explained how individuals who elect to leave a chosen faith must then become critical of their religion in order to justify their departure…Others may ask, if the group is as transparently evil as he now contends, why did he espouse its cause in the first place? In the process of trying to explain his own seduction and to confirm the worst fears about the group, the apostate is likely to paint a caricature of the group that is shaped more by his current role as apostate than by his actual experience in the group.”

Point out what’s wrong with what they say. Not a lot, necessarily, because you do want to avoid hanging out with toxic people—the empirical psychologists will tell you that. But a little—so that it is not such a great forbidden mystery all but demanding the curious cat to investigate. Or read a book like (‘Oh, c’mon, Tommy. you are not going to be so crass as to plug your book here, say it ain’t so….it is!—‘TrueTom vs the Apostates.’) Notice the one star review. Read it and discern it is from one of ‘those people.’ The promo material alone makes clear it will be a good read. It needs other reviews to balance it out. But even unfavorable reviews put it on the radar screen, so they are not as bad as initially appears.

Read this book only if you have been stumbled at what apostates say. I don’t allow anyone else. Look, don’t try to bluff me on this. I’ll know.

To be continued…

******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Things That Drive You Crazy About the Faith—and How to View Them: Part 7

This is a multi-part series. See Preface,  2nd Preface,  Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Each part links to the next.

Other downsides of taking current knowledge by revelation? The perennially blaming of Babylon the Great for modern times of persecution, even when Babylon the Great had little to do with it. Often it is the work of secular anticultists. Religionists are largely licking their wounds these days. But Scripture says it is false religion, and so guys like me have to content themselves with statements like: “Well, if religion had done it’s job in teaching the truth about God, maybe those atheist anticultists wouldn’t be proliferating like weeds the way the are.”

10B731BA-4D7E-4D32-96A3-FB9FD053EB2DRussia’s ban of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2017–just declared illegal by the European Court of Human Rights, 5 years later. Let no one say justice is quick, nor is it necessarily justice. Few are holding their breath for a quick cessation of persecution. At the time branch headquarters was seized in St Petersburg, Denis Korotkov wrote for fontanka.ru* that it was crazy. Russia would certainly have to give it back when the ECHR ruled against them, which it surely would, he said, and the legal costs, coupled with fines, would exceed the cost of the complex. Who could have foreseen that Russia would simply thumb its nose at the Court and withdraw from the European Union? Not Korotkov. Warring with Ukraine at the moment, the JW matter is relatively small potatoes anyway from the world’s point of view. [photo—Wikipedia Commons]

Did the Russian Orthodox Church originate the ban? Surprisingly, it did not. Not to say its clergy is not delighted (squealing like kids on Christmas morning, some of them), not to say they didn’t collaborate, but they did not originate it. We think they did because the Bible indicates religion makes mischief, but in this case it is a secular anti-religious movement that presses the attack.

‘Present knowledge via revelation’ guides how the Witness organization looks at government too. Scripture indicates that the superior authorities are “God’s minister to you for your good,” only a cause for concern “if you are doing what is bad,” since “it is not without purpose that it bears the sword.” (1 Corinthians 13:7) Therefore anything hinting at a more sinister role of government toward those governed can only be “conspiracy theory” and is dismissed out of hand.

When government declares a Covid 19 crisis that makes door-to-door infeasible, revelation determines how the ministry is carried out thereafter. Revelation indicates letter writing is good. Paul wrote letters. Peter wrote letters. John wrote letters. Face to face communication is obviously good, as was done back then. In times of emergency, telephone witnessing preserves the one on one aspect of face to face. But revelation has nothing to say about the internet. Isn’t that the “outside” where “the dogs and those who practice spiritism and those who are sexually immoral and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices lying” hang out? (Revelation 15:22) Revelation says “bad associations spoil useful habits,” (1 Corinthians 15:33) and it is not swayed by ‘empirical’ evidence that if  you have something to advertise the very first thing you do is plan a campaign of interaction on social media.

Revelation indicates that the “things that were written beforehand were written for our instruction, so that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) Ignore the elephant in the room, therefore—the elephant that everyone else will see right away—as you cover passages like 1 Samuel 27:9, lauding David’s clever deception of the enemy: “When David would attack [the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites], he preserved neither man nor woman alive . . . Achish would ask: “Where did you make a raid today?” David would reply: “Against the south of Judah” or “Against the south of the Jerahmeelites” or “Against the south of the Kenites.” Okay. Got it. Valid point. You don’t have to tell every little bit of truth to those who want your head on a platter. But there are a lot of people in this passage whose deaths are presented as though dodgeball casualties—THAT is what most people will zero in on.

“Consider the example of Dan and Sheila,” another paragraph begins, serving up empirical evidence for something revelation says is true. They applied the Bible counsel under consideration and it turned out just hunky dory for them. What about Joe and Melanie who applied that same counsel and it blew up in their faces? someone thinks. That example remains unmentioned; they must have done it wrong, they must have built their house on sand somehow. It is a presentation of ‘knowledge by revelation.’

Not to be critical of earthly organization. Don’t misunderstand. Rather, the goal is to realize why some things are done the way they are done, that can otherwise drive a person crazy. ‘Oh, that’s why they reason this way,’ you can say. Overall the revelatory approach works well. Overall it is acceptable even in the short term. But it does have limitations. Even God, the originator of revelation, sometimes goes down to earth to take a look-see. How else can one account for Genesis 18: 20-21? “Then Jehovah said: ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is very heavy. I will go down to see whether they are acting according to the outcry that has reached me. And if not, I can get to know it.’”

Oh—and one notable excerpt of the ECHR ruling: “Even accepting that the texts [used to prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses were “extremists”] promoted the idea that the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses was superior to others or that it was better to be a Jehovah’s Witness than a member of another Christian denomination, it is significant that the texts did not insult, hold up to ridicule or slander non-Witnesses; nor did they use abusive terms in respect of them or of matters regarded as sacred by them.” [bolding mine]

That certainly is a result of present knowledge [of how to conduct oneself] via revelation. Jesus says that’s how you treat people, even those who scheme against you. I mean, it clearly is guided by revelation. This is the age of road rage. Normal human conduct when under assault is to do all those unsavory things—insult, ridicule, slander, and abuse. Often those means are used even when not under assault.

*Included in I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses: Searching for the Why

To be continued…

******  The bookstore

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My Meeting Notes, Week of May 30, 2022 (with musings and flashbacks)

Live With Soundness of Mind in a Depraved World’ is the public talk title.

The speaker looks at these verses of 1 Corinthians 2 to explain how Christians know what they know: “For it is to us God has revealed them through his spirit, for the spirit searches into all things, even the deep things of God. . . . Now we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit that is from God, so that we might know the things that have been kindly given us by God. These things we also speak, not with words taught by human wisdom, but with those taught by the spirit, as we explain spiritual matters with spiritual words.

“Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, And do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, And he will make your paths straight,” says Proverbs 3:5-6.   “Jehovah can keep us from wandering abuout figuring things out on our own, but we have to trust him,” the speaker adds.

“Soundness of mind allows one to compare now with ten years also and know we are deeper into thee end of this systems of things,” he adds. Yeah, like how mass shootings have become routine. An uniquely American problem, I am told. Elsewhere it is knives.

There is a phrase that you can’t judge a book by the cover. “I dare say that’s why the cover’s on the book,” says the #publictalk speaker.

 

#watchtowerstudy article: “Elders​—Continue to Imitate the Apostle Paul“. Theme scripture: “Become imitators of me.”​—1 COR. 11:1.

Para 1: “On one occasion, “quite a bit of weeping broke out” when the elders from Ephesus learned that they would never see [Part] again. (Acts 20:37)”  I asked the CO in the late 70s if this verse would apply to his final meeting. He said if any weeping breaks out it won’t be for that reason.

Para 4: elders wear a lot of hats and it is easy for those not elders to forget that, become critical that someone is not doing this or that.

Para 5; 17: 16Now while Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit within him became irritated on seeing that the city was full of idols, infuriated, says Refference Bible (others?)

Flashback to the bro who said how you fix something around the house & your boy want to help, but you can do it quicker on your own. The trick is to ask what are you doing? Fixing a gadget or training a child.

Bro apologized for not calling on me. That’s okay I said—I could see all the other hands, it’s a good problem to have.

Thing is, the violence of today dovetails so well with what the Bible foretells. ‘Faint out of fear, but knowing the meaning of certain things, one can see the same things, take cover but also comfort, lift up your eyes….kingdom of God is near (Luke 21)

One sis commented on zoom and all I could think of was her mom, who speaks with the same inflections and timbres.

Para 8: Privileges of service like the salt that enhance the dish but too mcuh can ruin it. Conductor speaks of how one bro gave him a ‘no’ button—15 different ways to say no.

Para 18: “Earlier, Paul had been a headstrong, harsh persecutor of Christians. But later, he acknowledged his shortcomings and was willing to change his attitude and personality.” (1 Tim. 1:12-16) The guy that was headstrong and harsh does not instantly change upon leaning the truth, still headstrong and harsh, he just has new target.

Para 16: you forgive anyone for anything, I do also. In fact, whatever I have forgiven (if I have forgiven anything) has been for your sake in Christ’s sight, so that we may not be overreached by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his designs…..harsh, judgmental, overcritical, hypocritical,

Para 17: “Nevertheless, Paul knew the difference between bad conduct and bad people. He loved his brothers and focused on their good qualities. If his brothers and sisters were struggling to do the right thing, he assumed that their motives were good and that they simply needed help.”

 

#midweekmeeting: May 30–June 52 SAMUEL 7-8

Just once I would like one of those student talks with a workplace setting end, “I’d love to speak further but our break is almost over. Oh, hang it! The the boss to kiss off. This is important!”

6AD8AB0E-EC02-490D-8976-91CE4AA9CA68“or this is what Jehovah says, The Creator of the heavens, the true God, The One who formed the earth, its Maker who firmly established it, Who did not create it simply for nothing, but formed it to be inhabited.” (Isaiah 45:15) It’s not like when my chum worked hours “for nothing” on a centrifuge part, looked at the sloppy result and said, “This might be okay for the toilet but not a centrifuge.”

Love this point: “Human get credit for the designs they’ve copied from nature, so who should get credit for the original?”

Fly and we see tips of the plane tipped upwards. They never used to do that. A design copied from nature, counterintuitiely it makes for better economy, probably stability too.

“The Bible uses the word “kind,” which is much broader in meaning than the word “species” as used by scientists. Often, what scientists choose to call the evolution of a new species is simply a matter of variation within a kind, as the word is used in the Genesis account….This concept is sometimes referred to as microevolution.”

Was the universe created?

“The Bible book of genesis says that there is a creators but the account is often misunderstood or even dismissed as a myth.”

“it focuses on the creative process that took place on earth over six creative periods of time, which the Bible calls days.”

“The writer describes the creative periods as they would have appeared to an observer on the earth,” a “process that took place on earth over six creative periods of time, which the Bible calls days.”

From: https://www.jw.org/finder?srcid=jwlshare&wtlocale=E&lank=pub-lffv_61_VIDEO

 

Musings & Flashbacks: (I had to hand it to the church people—it was kind of cute. There was my buddy John Cuyler at his work station, the booklet, “The Word—Who is He, According to John” on his table. The tricksters appended “Cuyler” at the title’s end!)

“YOU are here to tell ME about suffering?!’ hurled the guy in the wheelchair at me after I’d brought up the topic. ‘No,’ I told him. ‘I am here so you can tell me.’ One must be flexible.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Things That Drive You Crazy About the Faith—and How to View Them: Part 6

This is a multi-part series. See Preface,  2nd Preface,  Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Each part links to the next.

Count up the ways that ‘knowledge of the present by revelation’ makes you scratch your head when it conflicts with empirical knowledge, knowledge of the present acquired from observation. A few are arguable but the list is long.

Pursue higher education and it can only be because you want “to make a great name for yourself,” to secure a cushy seat on a sinking ship. “Nah, I just want to make a living,” some will say, but it is lost upon those who receive knowledge from the revelation of the scriptures. ‘Wisdom cries aloud in the streets and public squares,’ says Proverbs 1:20, not the quadrangles. In the quadrangles, Scripture indicates you will more likely find “every wind of teaching by means of the trickery of men,” not to mention “empty speeches that violate what is holy and from the contradictions of the falsely called ‘knowledge.’” Since the Word says it is so, the Bethel brothers don’t bother to look for exceptions. If you do look for exceptions, they will wonder how you got off unscathed and question as to whether you really did. Why flirt with what revelation says not to flirt with? It doesn’t help that revelation says a Christian is to “work with [his] hands.” (1 Thess 4:11).

It’s all revelation that tells them this. They trust revelation because it is from God. Nor is it untrue in so far as it goes. To the anticultists who want to ensure that nobody depart from mainstream secular thinking and who level charges of ‘brainwashing!’ one might respond that it is not brainwashing they object to, but brainwashing that is not theirs. The Witnesses’ caution of higher education is overall valid, but some will say they torpedo themselves with a revelatory approach that misses the nuances. At times, nuances make a substantial difference.

At college they unscrew your head and pour in undiluted the wisdom of this system of things, convinced it is all wisdom, trusting that if it isn’t you will sort it out with your newly acquired ‘critical thinking.’ Alas, humans don’t work in accord with critical thinking. The heart makes a grab for what it wants, then charges the head to come up with a convincing rationale. This lends the appearance that it is the head calling the shots, but it is the heart all along. As to ‘overeducating’ the populace, the time is coming, says Mike Rowe, when an hour with a good plumber will cost the same as an hour with a good psychiatrist, by which time we will have need for them both.

In a way that’s not totally integrated with the decadent images of lowlife, revelation in the person of Asaph shows that some unbelievers, the movers and shakers of the world, personally have it altogether. “Their bodies are healthy. They are not troubled like other humans, Nor do they suffer like other men. Therefore, haughtiness is their necklace; Violence clothes them as a garment. Their prosperity makes their eyes bulge. . .  Yes, these are the wicked, who always have it easy.” (Ps 73: 4-11)

At a high-brow function long ago where we would not typically be, I whispered to my newly betrothed wife: “Here’s people we don’t usually hang out with—the wicked!” She looked at me as though to say, ‘Did I really marry this guy?’ but it was too late. I got that one from revelation, specifically Ps 73. Witness leadership draws on that Psalm as well, and it is hard to imagine them wrong on that point. One taunter hurled at me: “Why do you Witnesses always have to believe things are getting worse? What does that belief do for you?” I replied that it helps me to explain why the Doomsday Clock is set at 90 seconds to midnight and not 10:30 A.M. I mean, it can’t be that everyone’s doing a great job for that situation to exist.

887C5798-5532-4A69-B94A-4540CE7A7775Nor do they even do a great job personally, though the money covers up that deficiency. My buddy the hair stylist, the one who worked in the la-di-dah spa where people like Cher go to spiff up when they breeze into town, says, “Oh, you should hear what they tell me! Their personal lives are a mess.” I mean, everyone tells their barber everything. And then their barber tells it to his chum. And then his chum puts it on the World Wide Web! But do I know it only through this chum? Nah, I also know it through the professor that sat next to me on the airplane. It’s not perfect, but knowledge of the present through revelation has served me pretty well overall.

To be continued

******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Things That Drive You Crazy About the Faith—and How to View Them: Part 5

This is a multi-part series. See Preface,  2nd Preface,  Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Each part links to the next.

Dozens of separate disconnects all collapse into one manageable whole with this new insight from Kors, who has no idea of the boondoggle he has untangled. For example, it is ‘knowledge by revelation’ that accounts for the Witness organization’s view of how those who leave the faith fare. The Bible says they don’t fare well at all. “What the true proverb says has happened to them: ‘The dog has returned to its own vomit, and the sow that was bathed to rolling in the mire,” says 2 Peter 2:22.

What about those they join, those already in ‘the world?’ Those ones are doing the ‘will of the nations: “loose conduct, lusts, excesses with wine, revelries, drinking matches, illegal idolatries” and in general slopping around in the “low sink of debauchery.” (1 Peter 4:3-4) “Water’s fine here in the low sink!” they say, even adding “who are you to judge?” but we know ‘by revelation’ that it could not possibly be so. We also know ‘by revelation’ that ones in the low sink “are puzzled [that you do not join them] and go on speaking abusively of you.” It does often work out that way, but it is good to know that the source of the insight comes from revelation and not direct observation.

B87BD021-F161-4598-89EC-6F4FA1B12D94

Taking their cue from this method—knowledge of the short term via the revelation of the Bible, if you’ve left the faith, you’ve belly-flopped into the low sink. “I just explained the rainbow flag attached to paragraph 5 to my mum,” tweeted one youngster whom one suspects is not fully with the program, maybe not at all. “Everybody! come and see this woman exclaiming loud in the Hall.” I barely noticed that flag. I figured it was some national flag. I mean, it was in the background and perspective made it pretty small. You could have fit 100 of them in that huge liquor bottle up front. That’s how it is when ones leave the faith. They do nothing but drink, smoke, and party.

Yikes! then along comes some who left the faith and didn’t fall into that montage of every planetary vice. Their lives do not go straight down the toilet. Short-term it even improved. They put distance between Lot and Abraham and they breath easier at escaping the tension. If there is a cost, it won’t be paid for a long time. Many convince themselves there will not be a cost, and go apoplectic at how they are mischaracterized in Watchtower literature with the liquor bottles, the syringes, the cigarettes, the raucous parties. ‘What a bunch of liars!’ they say. They should know there is no lying. It is a result of ‘knowing things by revelation.’

Concede that other points of view exist and then deal with them. It says you’ve done your homework. It bolsters your credibility. You’ll be trusted more than the one who gives the impression of trying to ignore or even hide other points of view. Alas, as much as that makes sense, ‘knowledge through revelation’ says you don’t do that. It is enough to know what is true. You don’t have to explore what is false. While there is a certain logic to this, it does leave you vulnerable to those who read the tantalizing arguments of the malcontents and wonder why you’re not addressing them.

To be continued…

******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Things that Drive You Crazy About the Faith—and How to View Them: Part 4

This is  a multi-part series. See Preface,  2nd Preface,  Part 1Part 2, Part 3,

In general it is as 1 Corinthians 1:14-15 puts it: “A physical man does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot get to know them, because they are examined spiritually. However, the spiritual man examines all things, but he himself is not examined by any man.” The spiritual man has a greater grasp than the physical man.

But that doesn’t mean that the physical man has no grasp at all. 833E53A7-9390-44AA-8C18-97F4300F4627 Most of the aggravating disconnects that arise in the Witness world stem from a reliance on ‘knowledge by revelation’ for the short term picture as well as the long. That reliance conveys certain advantages but also disadvantages. Whoever has followed this reasoning up to here—will they find this conclusion as comforting as I do? It means that 100 annoyances are actually just one. And that one, while it can be bamboozling, is not a dealbreaker. It is simply a way of looking at the world. It overall compares favorably with other ways of looking at the world, and where it does not, one can see why and adjust.

I tiptoed around this way of looking at the world in ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why,’ not at that time fully appreciating just what it was that I was tiptoeing around. I attributed all to staying “no part of the world,” which is a factor but it is not the decisive factor. The decisive factor is ‘knowledge through revelation’—weighing in on almost any situation based upon what can be gleaned from the Bible.

“If [the Governing Body] ever misrepresents the non-Witness world . . . it is because they do not know it intimately themselves. They take their own counsel with regard to association. They have lived their own lives with the lesson of Haggai ever foremost: ‘clean will be contaminated by unclean’, not the reverse, and so they do not go there. Because they do not go there, they know certain things only through the lens of Scripture.

“If the Bible says, in effect, that the “world will chew you up and spit you out,” they assume that it does. If they find someone who says it in exactly those words, they eat it right up and broadcast it. And who is to say the words are untrue? Some get chewed up and spit out so promptly and decisively that no one would ever deny it, but with others? Who is to say the scriptures are wrong on that point? It may just take a longer time to get chewed up and spit out. Many seniors have encountered calamity, even contrived calamity, and have seen everything they had worked for drained away at their end. Even the powerful are not immune as their strength and faculties wane.

“The Governing Body chugs along, deferring to what the Scriptures say. They go wherever the Bible indicates to them that they should go. If it gets them in a jam with some component of the present world, they are content that God will somehow get them out of it. They are like the leaders of the first century who were loath to abandon teaching of the word so as to wait on tables. That’s what helpers are for. Should they shoot themselves in the foot, as low-key as possible they extract the bullet with a grimace at their own mistake, and carry on. They will refine and shift and ultimately something will come down through congregation channels and this writer will say, “Yep, it must work, or there would not be the 1,000 languages [standing for the success of their efforts to get the uncontaminated gospel message out there, 1,000 languages far exceeding what even the most innovative tech or media company has come up with].”

To be continued…

******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Tweeting the Meeting: Week of May 23, 2022, 1 Samuel 4-6

Public talk title: ‘Will YOu be a survivor of the last days?’

1F99FE10-CED8-49FE-8EB1-814F508F413DThey asked Dale Earnheart, ‘when you’re out on the highway do you drive the speed limit?’ ‘ Absolutely. When I’m on the racetrack I’ve got a pretty good idea of what those other drivers will do. But on the highway—those drivers are crazy! Opening remarks of the #publictalk

Titus challenged his soldiers—how fast can you level trees and build fortifications, they did it in a matter of days, so that “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near” (Luke 21:20) …1/2

and flee at first opportunity, which first-century Christians did when troops unexpectedly withdrew. #publictalk…Rest of the Jews perceived things differently, and they perished as a result.

The #publictalk speaker concludes with how he (and three others in the audience) had a chance to ride in a race car, Michigan international speedway, multifaceted harness—the driver “spent more time getting me into the harness than going twice around the speedway.” I found one of those persons later. ‘Was it scary?’ I asked. She said it was not.

 

#watchtowerstudy: True Worship Will Add to Your Happiness.   Theme scripture: “You are worthy, Jehovah our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power.”​

Para 7: ps 141: 2 “May my prayer be as incense prepared before you, My uplifted hands like the evening grain offering.” One sis spoke of her back yard, drawn to aromas, lilac, she thinks. The intoxicating smell of the Linden tree does it for me. #watchtowerstudy

Para 8: recall the part of praising God even under adversity. (Ps 34)’ God’s wonderful works, yes, but ‘life for me stinks.’ sometimes we just say it, sometimes it truly does, even so we can praise god.

One sis speaks of how she listens to pre meeting chit-chat “and sometimes it’s not foolishness.”

Para 10 “Similarly, we should not allow concerns about the imperfections of our singing voice to prevent us from singing praises to Jehovah.” Well, I do remember how voices petered out for that final note in ‘Make the truth your own’ (because it was so high) …1/2

except for one, who mangled it spectacularly off-key. They changed the note to help everyone out!…2/2

Para 13: Love that phrase from Deuteronomy 16:16 “none of them should appear before Jehovah empty-handed.”  You can at least bring a bag of potato chips to the congregation picnic.

Pare 14 one sis comments on how Jehovah feel indebted to us when we do something good to others, his humility is highlighted: “The one showing favor to the lowly is lending to Jehovah, And He will repay him for what he does.” Proverbs 19:17

 

May 23-292 SAMUEL 4-6, #midweekmeeting  TREASURES FROM GOD’S WORD: Maintain a Healthy Fear of Displeasing Jehovah

There’s rings on the sides of that ark that you slip poles through to carry it! It’s not a piece of Tupperware.

That bro with the really flashy sports car? I told him we should install rings on the sides lest it has to be carted away someday. I don’t want to be struck dead by Ford.

So David became fearful of Jehovah on that day and said: “How can the Ark of Jehovah come to me?” (2 Samuel 6:8) How about carrying it right? You get the impression he’d neglected reading that Law in the undertone that they were supposed to.

“The Bible has not been good to me,” said on householder on the program, setting the stage for someone who will not lap up every word.

“Give me a second to find it. [searching for the Bible verse] My hand’s still shaking from talking about clowns.”  “Fear God and Give Him Glory” was the title of the talk. He had opened with things children may fear—dogs, heights, in his case clowns. Even Ronald McDonald worried him.

“When someone reported to me, ‘Here Saul is dead,’ [he had killed Saul himself] and he thought he was bringing me good news, I took hold of him and killed him in Zikʹlag. That was the messenger’s reward he received from me!” 2 Sam 4:10.   So much for the adage, ‘don’t kill the messenger.’

“David was dancing around before Jehovah with all his might…leaping and dancing around…” (2 Sam 6:14-16).   There was one bro in the previous congregation who used to throw himself so much into song, body language and all, that I used to compare him to David in that regard.

“If men wrote the Bible, why is it called the Word of God?” The hi-brow churches don’t call it this. It smacks too much of uneducated fundamentalism to them, as though embarrassing. But I like how this video deals with the topic.

https://www.jw.org/en/library/videos/Good-News-From-God-Video-Series/video-who-authored-bible/

William Tyndall died with his faith intact that the Bible was the Word of God.

https://www.jw.org/en/library/series/more-topics/william-tyndale-valued-bible-excerpt/

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)