I Almost Wish There Would Be More Public Response

This is the present pinned post. The former pinned post (regarding Russia) is here.

If there has been kickback on ‘manipulation’ and ‘control’ charges, and if there has been kickback on ‘flip-flopping’ charges, then I would like to see kickback on charges that Witnesses ‘cover up’ child sexual abuse. A good place to start is by pointing out that leaving reporting up to the involved parties is not the same as ‘covering up.’

Instead, the Witness organization states that it “abhors child sexual abuse,” which, in combination with its reluctance to go there otherwise, is spun by determined enemies as though they love the stuff. Not all will do what reporter Elizabeth Chuck did and attribute it to a “penchant for privacy.

Why do they not respond in more detail? It may be that the sheer wickedness of the charge takes their breath away and makes them look like deer caught in the headlights. Yes, they know well the verse, “every sort of wicked thing will be lyingly said about you” but this—this is the wickedest thing of all! And the proactive arrangement started with such good intentions. Not so many years ago the notion of a religion “policing its own” was lauded as the ultimate in practicing what one preached.

It wouldn’t be hard to do—to provide a brief defense of criticisms leveled at them. It might start with points such as:

  1. “Covering up” is not the same as leaving it to the digression of ones affected to report.
  2. There wouldn’t be anything to be accused of covering up had not the Witness organization practiced what almost nobody else did—policing its own. Countless persons are arrested with regard to child sexual abuse. Unless they are clergy, their religious affiliation or lack of is never reported. The reason that it is so with rank and file Witnesses is that they tried to do something about with regard to their own.
  3. Unlike virtually anywhere else, where the leaders of an organization are themselves the abusers, the leaders of the Witness community are accused of botching the handling of instances—bad, perhaps—history will judge—but nowhere near as bad as being the ones who commit it.

That’s a few for starters. More could be added, such as

  1. The current “gold standard” of child sexual abuse to “go beyond the law” will inevitably cause you problems with those who, not surprisingly, expect you to abide by law.
  2. Child sexual abuse would appear to be the primary gross planetary product—30 years into all-out war against CSA and barely a dent has been made. Therefore efforts to prevent it ought to be given at least as much creedence as efforts to secure the barn door after the cows have fled. Nobody, but nobody, has done what the Witness organization has done, gathering every member in the world to consider detailed scenarios in which child sexual abuse might occur so that parents, obviously the first line of defense, can be vigilant. This was done as part of the program of the 2017 Regional conventions.
  3. The reason that the greater world will never make inroads with regard to child sexual abuse it that it feeds with one hand what it is trying to punish with another. The TicTok app taking young people by storm has been described as a pedophile’s dream come true. Though it is parallel and thus not exactly the same thing, the 2020 NFL halftime show demonstrates that objectifying woman is the force that makes the world go round—the MeToo movement is doomed from the start.

The matter of CSA in the greater world does not go away. It is not being solved. Rather, each month brings some new revelation of how the very elements of this world keep it firmly entrenched as a societal ill. It’s intricate involvement with the Child Protective Service agencies recently was reviewed in a story I must have missed. “We have set up a system to sex traffic American children” said Newsweek in January 2018:

And the latest scandal—pediatricians! “Sheds light on a problem that could rival priest scandals,” states an article extrapolating from a notorious case just how many there might be. And to think I got into a squabble once with someone determined to put down the Caleb and Sophia video “Protect Your Children,” while she heralded one that specifically said that it was okay for a doctor to touch you in private areas. “Ask the young women of the U.S. Gymnastics Olympic team which video they think would have offered them more protection,” I told her.

Just a few basic tenets of defense for those who would like to have some response to when workmates, schoolmates, or neighbors hit them over the head with what they just saw on TV. It doesn’t cover every tiny thing—just the general outline. The nature of critics everywhere is that they would like their complaints on center stage, to the exclusion of whatever else used to be there. Maybe its not a good idea to indulge them so. Maybe it’s enough to correct matters that need it, such as making it crystal clear to members that there is no reproach in reporting child sexual abuse to police, since the abuser has already brought about the reproach. Maybe it is enough to focus on creating an atmosphere where CSA is less likely to happen.

Maybe. But sometimes you do wish there was more (or any) of a public response.

I did like the WT attorney’s words at the reversal of the Montana verdict. “There are no winners in a case involving child abuse. No child should ever be subjected to such a debased crime....Tragically, it happens, and when it does Jehovah's Witnesses follow the law. This is what the Montana Supreme Court has established.”

.... There was, however, one of my own side who took issue with me:

“What puzzles me, Tom, is you want people to show you their false representation of facts, yet even you have never submitted the following from the Watchtower:

In rare instances, one Christian might commit a serious crime against another—such as rape, assault, murder, or major theft. In such cases, it would not be unchristian to report the matter to the authorities, even though doing so might result in a court case or a criminal trial.

Why is that? Does this mean the phrase “child sexual abuse” needed to be included in order for this statement to be of value?”

Tom: It’s a valid point. Thank you for making it. Certainly it is concise enough and to the point. In my ‘defense,’ if that statement is in the Shepherd the Flock book not meant for general distribution, then I would not quote from it even if I had read it. It is a little silly, I know, to avoid what others have already put out there, and I don’t criticize anyone doing it with good motive. But I am still old fashioned that way and inclined to respect ‘confidential talk.’ It is a educational guide put out for elders.

I’m not a stickler in that regard. There is an example or two of the contrary in ‘Dear Mr. Putin’ But in general I stay away from what has not been made public. For all I carry on about wishing there was more access to what is critical, I am sparing in how much I go there myself. I don’t chow down on the stuff. For the most part, I agree with the expression, “You are what you eat.”

I don’t have the book. I could easily obtain it, but I haven’t. I once served as an elder, but that was 20 years ago. I know precious few in Bethel and I keep up with nobody there.

An advantage to all this is that I can come across as a regular person. Another reason that I have been slow to leave open forums is that I don’t like to be just singing to the choir. I like the challenge of discussing mature Witness topics, such as submission to authority, before people who find the notion very strange because it does not reflect the way the world is today.

Many Witnesses are not much good at speaking with non-Witnesses without going into ‘preaching mode.’ I even had someone shush me upon spotting the RING internet doorbell. “What! Do you think I’m telling dirty jokes here?” I said. “I hope they do hear me talking about regular things because then they will know that I am a regular person.”

See Part 2

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

The Gem I Learned is That Jacob Married Into a Family of Shysters

Jacob protested: “Hey! I was betrothed to marry Rachel, and you foisted Leah upon me! What gives?”

“You’re not much for reading the fine print, are you?” said Laban. “It’s in paragraph 242: “It is not our custom here to give the younger woman before the firstborn.” (Genesis 29:26) “You knew or should have known this.”

There was a part of me that when they came to that meeting question of what ‘gem’ I had picked up from Genesis 29 & 30 wanted to say that Jacob had married into a ‘gem’ of a family—a real bunch of shysters. And to think he slept with Leah, supposing it was Rachel? C’mon! How can that be?

The research guide explains how that can be. Speaking of bride customs of the time: “First she would bathe herself and rub herself with perfumed oil....she put on breastbands and a white robe, often richly embroidered...decked herself with ornaments and jewels...then covered herself with a light garment, a form of veil, that extended from head to foot.”

She must have looked like a Christmas tree! And then take her into a dark tent—she keeps her mouth shut, and Jacob isn’t in a chatty mood himself, and yeah—I can see how it could happen.

If Jacob married into a family of shysters—well, it serves him right, for he was somewhat of a shyster himself. Wasn’t he? It is not even a separate family, for they are relatives, and not all that distant.

He had been opportunistic with his dumbbell brother Esau, snatching the birthright when Esau was hungry and couldn’t offhand see the relevance of it—he was hungry NOW and the birthright represented some nebulous benefits for LATER: “And Esau continued: “Here I am about to die! What use is a birthright to me?” (Genesis 25:32)

Pop was not all that much different, so it would seem. He favored Esau, and why? “And Isaac loved Esau because it meant game in his mouth.” (Genesis.25:28) As for Jacob’s mom: “Rebekah loved Jacob.” She loved him so much that she told him how to pull a fast one on her husband—she knew that if you put food into his belly you could talk him into anything—to secure the blessing for himself, just like he had secured the birthright.

Laban got seven years of work out of Jacob. It was the bridal price apparently. Bridal price was customary and Jacob didn’t come with the means to pay it, so he agreed to the seven years, and “but in his eyes they were like just a few days because of his love for her.” (Genesis 29:20) My wife likes that verse.

He gets ANOTHER seven years out of him in order to work off his debt for Rachel. At least he delivered that second daughter pronto and didn’t make Jacob hold off for another seven years—I mean, there are limits. “Celebrate the week of this woman [Leah]. After that you will also be given this other woman in exchange for serving me seven more years,” says the wheeler-dealer. [By the way, is it only me who feels for poor Leah?]

So you don’t feel too sorry when Jacob outmaneuvers the conniver through a process so convoluted that I can’t begin to get my head around it to increase his own flock of sheep at Laban’s expense:

Jacob then took freshly cut staffs of the storax, almond, and plane trees, and he peeled white spots in them by exposing the white wood of the staffs. Then he placed the staffs that he had peeled in front of the flock, in the gutters, in the drinking troughs, where the flocks would come to drink, that they might get into heat in front of them when they came to drink. So the flocks would get into heat in front of the staffs, and the flocks would produce striped, speckled, and color-patched offspring. Then Jacob separated the young rams and turned the flocks to face the striped ones and all the dark-brown ones among the flocks of Laʹban. Then he separated his own flocks and did not mix them with Laʹban’s flocks. And whenever the robust animals would get into heat, Jacob would place the staffs in the gutters before the eyes of the flocks, that they might get into heat by the staffs. But when the animals were weak, he would not place the staffs there. So the weak ones always came to be Laʹban’s, but the robust ones became Jacob’s. And the man grew very prosperous, and he acquired great flocks and male and female servants and camels and donkeys.” (Genesis 30:37-43)

If anyone has the patience to work through that one, I’m all ears. It may be one of those things that you have to be a farmer to appreciate—I’ll bet Farmer Mort takes it in stride—and it reminds me of that circuit overseer who would point out that “a working mule won’t kick, and a kicking mule won’t work.” His purpose was to highlight the value of cooperation. He was a sensation in the rural congregations, but then he got to the big city and nobody knew what a mule was.

They’re all shysters! They all pull fast ones on each other. They all cause HQ to hem and haw throughout Genesis that “well—there is nothing in the Bible to suggest that Jehovah approved of these little shenanigans.” I’m not so sure it is the best approach. If you conceded that they did some maneuvering back in the day, you wouldn’t get so bent out of shape if it turns out they’ve done some maneuverings, end-runs, and power plays in the modern day organization. Don’t carry on that Rutherford outmaneuvered the Russell devotees, or that Knorr or Franz or whoever didn’t cross all the T’s or dot all the ‘I’s. Instead, picture God saying: “What a bunch of yo-yos! How am I going to get anything done through this mess? I’ll just make they keep their paws off their neighbor’s wives like my servant David did not and let it go at that!”

Esau wasn’t even that bad of a guy, really. He was just too much ‘earth’ on the ‘earth/fire/air/water’ pinwheel. There’s plenty of solid and respected brothers only slightly higher than him overall—you know, brothers that are rock-solid dependable and there is no practical ability that they cannot master and they love a good solid meal after a hard day’s work—but you have to prod them to do their daily Bible reading, and they continually carry on about how they don’t like study, and find reading a bore.

How could Esau have been, really? He took a couple of Hittite wives that drove his parents nuts, but he was hardly the first one to do this. Didn’t Moses have a couple of these clunkers, too? Or was it just ‘foreign’ wives without reference to specific nationality?

When Esau was 40 years old, he took as wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite and also Basemath the daughter of Elan the Hittite. They were a source of great grief to Isaac and Rebekah.” (Genesis 26:34)

He mended his bad ways. “Esau then realized that the daughters of Caʹnaan were displeasing to his father Isaac, so Esau went to Ishmael and took as wife Mahalath the daughter of Abraham’s son Ishmael, the sister of Nebaioth, in addition to the other wives he already had.” (Genesis 28:8-9) It’s a though he says: “Huh! The folks like wives from the A-team? Okay, I’ll go out and get me one of those.” I mean, he could have married some dragon-lady just to spite them, but he didn’t.

And he forgave Jacob, despite of lifetime of being outmaneuvered by the little twerp. Here, decades later, the two respective families are about to encounter each other, and Jacob is sweating it that Esau will view it as payback time. He sends forth emissaries with presents to suck up to him, but it is all water under the bridge to Esau—contrast that to some pinheaded people even of our own who will nurse a grudge till the end of their days.

Esau said: “What is the purpose of all this camp of travelers that I have met?” He replied: “In order to find favor in the eyes of my lord.” Then Esau said: “I have a great many possessions, my brother. Keep what is yours.” However, Jacob said: “No, please. If I have found favor in your eyes, you must take my gift from my hand, because I brought it so that I could see your face. And I have seen your face as though seeing God’s face, in that you received me with pleasure. Take, please, the gift conveying my blessing that was brought to you, for God has favored me and I have everything I need.” And he continued to urge him, so that he took it.” (Genesis 33:8-11)

So he turned out to be a good guy himself. But he didn’t teach his kids. That’s the trouble with brothers who are too much ‘earth.’ They can neglect passing on spiritual gems to their own kids and what they do pass on is in the form of do’s and don’t, absent the principles that give them heart-appeal, and the kids become Edomites, without a spiritual bone in their bodies.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Sam Herd and the Brother With the Rotten Attitude

“What did you learn that was new at the 2019 ‘Love Never Fails’ Regional Convention?”

It is a question from a sorehead. It is from a brother in good standing (or at least, not bad) though how that can be I will never know, for a more faultfinding person you will never find—and the faultfinding only escalates as he ventures up the leadership ‘hierarchy,’ since he holds them responsible for whatever he thinks did not work out in his own life. I mean, he doesn’t exactly have a fine attitude.

I know I cannot answer earnestly a question like this, for it will surely be thrown back in my face—it always is. In fact, this may be the type of fellow that I promised the elders I would not engage with again, but since I have no doubt that he truly is a brother—attending meetings and all—I answered him thus:

“I took a great many notes with the intent to write up a post or two that never materialized, crowded out by too many other things to do. It was in between days that I, for the first time ever, blocked several apostates at once as they had, for the first time ever, ganged up on me. They had pierced my up-to-then successful armor of always linking to a post with my replies, effectively answering their 50 words with my 1000.

But like the Borg, they adapted. Like charging a hill, caring not if they got mowed down, they started to came at me anyway. I would return to the hotel from a day at the convention and find a score or more of nastigrams from them, eager to call attention to some unflattering headline somewhere—all this with a wife who wanted to go out to supper or walk or just unwind, and who is not terribly enthused about my online activity in the first place. So I blasted them all away, and for reasons I no longer recall—I must have been watching Star Trek reruns, I drew heavily on that show for symbolism:

What did I learn at the 2019 ‘Love Never Fails’ Regional Convention? I learned that Brother Herd, who may not even know what political correctness is, will never reprove me for ‘fat-shaming.’ He was a keynote speaker, from the Governing Body, and his talks were streamed in from the larger Phoenix gathering he was attending.

Establishing the point that it is the heart that matters, Brother Herd posed the quandary of marrying the woman—an excellent catch—with a heart of pure gold, even though she “clocks in at 200 pounds.” Is this fellow a diplomat or what?

Everybody loves Brother Herd—maybe even more so than Brother Lett, whom some secretly fear may be too over the top. Herd has to be the most humble man on earth. How can he not be? Born to a father in his old age—a mule driver—one of 8 or 9 children, he said at the convention that for the longest time he thought that “a chicken only had a neck and a back because that’s all he ever got.”

Look, outsiders will never ever ever get it about how such a man can become one of the Governing Body, but it harkens back to something I once posted about how the GB is Plato’s dream come true: a monarchy type of governing in which the members are selected by merit, not by family line—and how that model assumes persons who do exist in the overall world—modest, non-materialistic, not power hungry—I mean, those persons do exist, but such are the values of this world that they can never ‘rise to the top.’ In Jehovah’s earthly organization, however, they can and do rise to the top—and part of their very qualifications is that they do not regard themselves as ‘rising to the top’ but only displaying a willingness to serve.

At any rate, I got a lot of mileage out of him when some opposer posted footage of him shaking hands with well-wishers at the airport and tried to spin it that JWs make him an object of worship and that he eats it all up. Anyone who knows the slightest thing about the man knows that he practically scowls at the attention, but what can he do? There they are. They love him. He loves them, so he shakes everyone’s hand. “Imagine: Who would be so nasty and petty to begrudge an old man acknowledging the well-wishing of friends?” I tweeted. It was one of my most liked tweets of all time.

I even have Sam down twice in ‘Tom Irregardless and Me.’ There is ‘Chapter 2 - Sam Herd’ and ‘Chapter 18 - Sam Herd.’ He had given some talk so humble, and yet so profound, that I used it to bookend my entire book—a book which, incidentally, I am using Covid time to refine a few rough edges out of it, so that anyone who has downloaded it might download it again and find it smoother.

He is not even a good speaker, really—Sam Herd isn’t—but he is such a captivating story-teller that it doesn’t matter. His stories are so down-o-earth, so human, so involved in the day-to-day of life—very much like Jesus’ illustrations—so connected with all that is ‘real’ about life, that he doesn’t have to spin erudite talks; his stories are such that everyone grasps the moral that he nowhere explicitly states.

“One thing is clear about jw.org,” a local brother said. “They don’t use paid actors.” No. You will never find people as unvarnished and real as are members of the Governing Body. You do not highlight people’s strengths. You highlight their weaknesses, though not in a fault-finding way, because in those weaknesses can be found God’s strength. If brilliant people accomplish brilliant things—well, it is easy to see why. But it decidedly non-brilliant people accomplish those things, it is not so easy to see why, and the credit goes to God. Three times the apostle Paul pleaded with God to remove a weakness. ‘Nothing doing,’ God replied. ‘I look better when you are a clod.’ (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Slow Joe and the Pork Chop Preachers

Slow Joe used to refer to the semi-grifter preachers who set up storefront churches as ‘pork chop preachers.’ They preached just enough to keep themselves in pork chops. There was no particular opinion as to whether they were sincere or not but the inference was that they knew just enough of the Bible to buy their daily pork chop and no more.

He tended to move slow, though he could move fast. He tended to speak slow, but any inference that he was slow-witted would be wrong. Rather, he spoke slow so that every word he said would land with the blow of a hammer if he wanted it too, which he frequently did. His voice was very deep and very stern. He would, back in the day, call on young people even though they had not raised their hands—I have never known anyone else so bold and oblivious to normal human decorum to do this. Children were afraid of him, unless they loved him, as many did. The ones who endured later came to reminisce on him fondly. Not a few adults were afraid of him, as well. Surely there were some who must have told him off.

Slow Joe went all the way back to representing Jehovah during the days of World War II. Many of our people were accosted by mobs during that time. A few died. Many were beaten up, some tarred and feathered, or forced to drink castor oil. Countless numbers were tossed into prison, sometimes without charge—their neutrality made them simply too contemptible in popular opinion during those nationalistic times to be afforded the normal rights that would be accorded everyone else.

There is a stereotype of Witnesses ‘turning the other cheek’ and being mild mannered no matter what the ordeal. It probably is true with most, but it wasn’t with Slow Joe; he was not averse to defending himself with fists. “We use to stack em up like cordwood,” he would say of certain ones who came out to attack, though it was not easy to draw this remark from him.

Through chance and unforeseen circumstances many years later, I found myself a new and very green elder in a congregation that didn’t have too much more in the way of experience. Only one other elder could be described as all-around and experienced—there were several others but they were all hobbled in some manner. “Maybe be can raid that other congregation—they have plenty of elders—and draft Slow Joe,” I said to the co-elder.

We arranged to meet with him. Slow Joe sat there scowling, seemingly, as he ever seemed to, but he was a good man—we knew it and he knew that we knew it. He said that he would think about it. A week later he showed up at the meeting with his wife. He didn’t say a word to us, chatted with some of the friends afterwards, and left. Later, the other elder and I emptied the contribution box and found his Publisher Record Cards. “I guess we have his answer,” that brother said to me.

I am very grateful to Slow Joe. He didn’t have to come. He was old by then, could easily have gone into cruise mode, and no one would have thought any the less of him for it. And he did bring a wealth of experience. “Brothers, I think we’re going about this all wrong,” he said at a certain elder’s meeting where we were going about something all wrong. Then he set us on a way that worked out better. Moreover, Black Mack, another extremely experienced man, joined the congregation shortly thereafter—I think Slow Joe recruited him.

Black Mack had equal stature with Joe—he had long served as an elder but he wasn’t one at the time. He was even separated from his wife, and I surmise that both circumstances were essentially the result of his rigidity and unwillingness to yield to which way the wind was blowing. He thrived in the new atmosphere, in time resolved all problems, and was again appointed an elder. If I recall correctly, he groused over having to  go through the stages of ministerial servant first, since he had not forgotten the spiritual things that he once had as an elder—he wanted to skip that step—he was deleted as an elder, he should be ‘reinstated’ as an elder, he thought. “Look, just do it, won’t you?” someone said. “It’s how we do things. Yield for once in your life and it will all be well.” And it was.

Soon afterwards Davey the Kid came along, straight out of Bethel, a phenomenally talented ‘people person’ whose every touch turned something into gold. He talked his way immediately into some hot-shot job but quit when his new employer wouldn’t grant him time off for the convention. “They’re just like the Russians,” he told me, ‘crying that they aren’t doing this and they can’t do that, when all the time they are churning out weapons to beat the band.”

Having quit, he had to do something to support himself and growing family, now including an infant son. So he walked into the eight-story Medical Arts building to secure the janitorial contract. The manager showed him around, noted a few special challenges, but then allowed that he himself didn’t know much about cleaning. “That makes two of us!” Davie told me he thought at the time, as he wowed the other with pure chutzpah. “It’s my gift,” he told me. “They never say no.”

It was all good training for me. I had prayed for experienced help ‘tending to Jehovah’s sheep’ and in short order three three titans came along. I even called them ‘titans’ in the final chapter of ‘Tom Irregardless and Me.’ I related the time—it was real and I was there—when Davey the Kid gave his first student talk in the congregation before Slow Joe, the School conductor. With only mild exaggeration on both sides, I wrote that never in his life had Davey the Kid not been awarded a G following a talk (it stood for ‘good’) and never in his life had Slow Joe awarded one. I dramatized it for all I was worth and put it in a setting of the old West. I spoke of the climactic moment when ‘you could hear a pin drop.’ Solely because I like to play with words and images, I substituted that ‘you could hear a plane drop.’ Laura, who reviewed parts of the manuscript prior to self-publishing—Laura, who know nothing of the background, suggested that my substitution didn’t make any sense. What was I to tell her—that it did?

 

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

If You Suspect That You Are Anointed, You’re Not - and Who Were the Gnostics?

At the meeting yesterday I commented that, with a certain history of anxiety issues in the control tower, if I were to start partaking of the emblems, I would expect people to say, ‘Well, he is a little that way.’ I mean, I wouldn’t expect people to just lap it up. Fortunately, there is no way on God’s green earth that I am ever going to be one of the anointed because it is on God’s green earth that I savor living forever and can’t begin to imagine whatever I would do in the heavenly realm.

Another remark was given of someone from his Bethel days, awoken by a roommate who said he thought he might be anointed. ‘If you only think it, you’re not. Go back to sleep’ was the reply.

I also said that, as a practical matter, I never ever bring the subject of anointed up in the ministry, since it involves so very few people. To do so seems like being one of those policy wonks eternally obsessed over what is going on in Washington, something that they at best have 1/200,000,000 input. Why go there?

Also, though 90% of Bart Ehrman’s remarks are infuriating, because while displaying impressive command of background facts, certain basic concepts seem completely foreign to him (such as ‘worshipping God’)—still, here and there one can spot an insight. One of them was his definition of Gnostics. Now, I had heard of the term, and I knew it had to do with ‘knowledge’ but I didn’t know what sort of knowledge and I had made up for that lack by assuming wrong, thinking of what we today call knowledge—you know, the stuff you acquire in school. Instead, the ‘knowledge’ that Gnostics had was that they didn’t belong in this world—it just didn’t feel right to them—they belonged somewhere else, and if you shared this similar ‘knowledge,’ you were one of them. Tell me if this doesn’t describe almost exactly ones who claim, rightly or wrongly, that they are anointed today.

Too, Bart points out that the Gnostics were not a separate Christian community but they were interspersed in existing congregations, again like anointed today. Of course, this does a little bit fly in the face of the current WT view that all Christians back then were anointed. But it has already been pointed out that the early Christian community very soon exceeded 144K, so that view is not exactly airtight. One easy way to resolve matters is to hold that the heavenly calling was indeed the priority back then, just after the Christ instituted the congregation, but the message still attracted people who sensed that it was the latest worship development from God, that this is where they belonged, and that they would therefore benefit even if every single little thing didn’t dovetail.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Trump, Covid, JW HQ, and ‘Rex’s Gas n Go’

In any crisis situation it is tremendously socially destructive to continually take shots at whoever is taking the lead. Regardless of who is is, where he came from, or how he came to be—there he is and you’re stuck with him. You cannot make things better but you sure can make them worse. Anyone socially responsible will point to the reassuring fact that the Pres generally allows his advisors to talk him out of rash statements. Though, sometimes he fires them. Just ask Rex Tillerson, once CEO of Exxon, now proprietor of ’Rex’s Gas n Go,’ unable to reclaim his top spot since board members were unfavorably influenced by the President‘s tweet that he was ‘dumb as a rock’ and ‘lazy.’
 
Without a fuss, simply in order to keep things moving, The POTUS signed off on legislation that would ensure that the family business doesn’t get a dime. Since the hospitality industry in general IS eligible for help, it seems to me no more than a matter of spite, but he yielded to it on account of the emergency.
 
Trying to shift blame, the mayor of New Orleans say she would have shut down festivities had only Trump warned her. I’m not so sure. Isn’t she one of those who, when he says anything else, claims he is full of you-know-what? Probably she’s just  trying to cover her own rear end—the oldest trick in the book. No, really—the oldest—since Adam’s response to being called for eating from the tree was “the woman you gave me, she gave me the fruit and I ate.” With the only other two living beings against him—three if you count the devil—what chance had a good ol’ boy like he?
 
Meanwhile, Jehovah’s Witnesses just play along. It makes things so much easier. Direction from HQ (in the United States) is that there be no meetings of more than ten persons, less if local officials decree it, but not more if they do not. Additionally, a letter a read, leaving matters to family heads since every circumstance is different, urged members to take most seriously all government suggestions on social distancing—and if one is in a high-risk group, seriously consider the recommendation to stay in place, not venturing outside at all till this blows over. The two Bible verses to serve as theme texts were ‘love you neighbor as yourself’ and ‘show obedience to the superior authorities.’
 
Will it? Probably. At the liquor store—no, not for my daily run, but looking for Memorial wine—I observed of ‘crazy times that no one saw coming’ that it is ‘almost biblical.’ But the young clerk allowed that to be probably an overstatement and I didn’t press he point—he may be right. But it also is not exactly ‘one of those things,’ since no one in 100 years has seen anything like it.
 
Outside among those who you think you be the most responsible, bickering is the order of the day. Look, it is one thing not to board the lifeboat because you think the ship is not going down. It is another to think that it possibly is, but it is STILL more important to apportion blame first.
 
Now that I think of it, it is also very strange, and no, I am not coming out as a true prophet over it, that 100 years exactly separate the capsizing of the two oceanliners so symbolic of their respective ages, AND almost 100 years exactly separate the two latest significant plagues in modern times: the Spanish flu in 1918, and the ‘Chinese’ virus in 2020.
 
JWs have a mindset that enables them to adjust and cope. If the Covid is the Spanish flu updated, well—then an easy explanation present itself. But if it is not—if it is triggering a huge overreaction as some maintain, and the edifice of human financial world should crash—well, how telling that something seemingly so mighty should prove so fragile. Everybody throws in their two cents and you have to ignore the meddlers because there is never an end to them. Otherwise, shelter in place to the degree possible, which is almost 100% for me. An overreaction? Maybe, but if so it is just one more nail in the coffin of those who think human governments have the wisdom to rule
 
A00F7C79-504D-423C-ADE5-CF651803369C
 
Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Ecclesiastes 10:20 - ‘Do Not Speak Ill of the King’ JWs and Politics in the Age of Trump

I pay attention to politics and most Jehovah’s Witnesses do not. Witnesses are politically neutral. They don’t do politics. Most of them feel it is best to go light on the topic for fear of being drawn in, taking sides in a dispute not really theirs—we should be ‘preaching the kingdom.’ The apostle Paul even calls Christians ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) and by extension for God’s Kingdom that he heads. Everyone knows that ambassadors for one kingdom do not show up at voting booth of another kingdom. A fair number of our people even think it downright wrong to take an interest in politics for this reason. “Jehovah’s Witnesses ARE NOT interested in politics!” one firebrand brother tweeted. “Actually, sometimes they are,” I pointed out. “I think what you mean is that they do not PARTICIPATE in politics.” (2nd caps mine, but first his). But he repeated his tweet and blocked me!

Got it. We’re neutral. So when I post something that shows some knowledge of politics, I get slammed by some of my own people. Yes, I can explain how it is possible to follow something merely as an example of human interaction without choosing this side or that, and it sort of registers, but with some, the aversion to the political schemings of man is just too strong and I cannot break through. Nor do I particularly care to—they criticize me, not me them. It surely is irrelevant to the Kingdom, slated for eventual replacement by God (not us), and it is light years from having “plenty to do in the work of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) Got it. Not a problem.

And yet—and yet—these same brothers upbraiding me will post (or more typically retweet) content that presents the President as a doofus, spotlighting rash, crass, or insensitive things, with an air of: “Get a load of this idiot.” This is a far worse indiscretion, it seems to me. “Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king,” my wife quotes the verse (Ecclesiastes 10:20)—my wife who has almost no interest in politics—she is a quite typical JW in that regard, and what she does know is mainly due to me. Whereas there is NO Bible injunction of speaking favorably of him—at worst it is ‘getting into politics,’ a red flag for a people who strive to be ‘no part of the world,’ but otherwise the idea of praising someone, king or otherwise, plays far better with the scriptures than does putting one down. In my more surly moments, I get fed up with this ‘hypocrisy.’

It is not hypocrisy. It plays that way, but it is not. It is simply brothers who do not think a thing through, and they do not do it because the thing to be thought of is that of ‘human rule’—slated for the wrecking ball. The upshot is simply that, if you avoid praising the king, you certainly have to avoid ridiculing him, for there IS a direct scriptural condemnation of THAT, whereas there is not about speaking well of someone.

The foible is facilitated by a disinterest of the topic, because it means our people plug into the news very little—maybe just the network evening news where reporters almost universally hate the current President. 90-95% of news media personnel vote Democrat, so how likely is it that they will be non-biased toward the side they don’t like? But our people don’t see that—they’re not following closely enough, there being no cause to—and when the networks label him a powermad nutcase they assume that it must be so. This accounts for why one brother—a circuit overseer! advised the pioneers on how they must stay neutral and how hard that was, because “we all know that Trump is crazy, but...” One sister looked at another and said: “I know that my Dad is a good man, and he voted for Trump.”

I understand the temptation to take a shot or two, because he has to be one of the most ineloquent men in all history. I’ve had a field day skewering both him and those who oppose him. I’ve done past presidents, too. I have said that I wish Dwight D Eisenhower had not hidden his JW upbringing because I would love to have portrayed he and his wife standing in front of the White House holding up the Watchtower and Awake magazines featuring the article: ‘Can Presidents Bring Peace?’ Oh, yeah! Trust me, I would know what to do with that one.

It is tremendously destructive in any crisis to take shots—whether warranted or not—at whoever is running the show. Whatever you have, you’re stuck with it, and you’d better learn to work with it. Being like Absalom is no good:

Absalom would say to him: “See, your claims are right and proper, but there is no one from the king to hear your case.” [He] would say: “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then every man who has a legal case or judgment could come to me, and I would see that he receives justice.”.... so Absalom kept stealing the hearts of the men of Israel.”

It doesn’t work when you are supposed to be pulling together in crisis. In principle, it is not all that different from why the Governing Body is so relentless in their counsel to avoid ‘apostasy’—there are people who just live to undercut their authority, and to yield to them damages not so much them, but the program they represent—which is usually the overall goal in the first place.

Trump is not eloquent, but eloquence is over-rated—its correlation with effectiveness is slight. It may even be inverse. He should have someone more eloquent as a spokesperson, but the media would never allow that. Now, eloquence is great stuff—pour me a double shot of it. But it can have a downside of making people think they are far more insightful than they really are.

’Classism’ is at work. Reporters value eloquence highly, and dismiss those without it. Is it that they wrote good term papers in college and and tend to look at life itself as a term paper? Political malice is only a part of why they misportray him. Social malice also plays a part. They are eloquent (whether full of poppycock or not is irrelevant) & he is not. That triggers very displeasing displays of ‘superiority.’ I don’t care about politics as for getting partisan over it. But social divisions and put-downs on that account always get my interest, and Trump is put down a lot by a class that thinks itself better educated and thereby smarter. Maybe it is because Jehovah’s Witnesses are also put down by a class that thinks itself better educated and thereby smarter that I spot not just that but many parallels. I mean, there certainly is an ‘everyman’ quality to him, selling himself as one who stands up for ones typically ignored.

He is no more dangerous than any political leader. That is not to say that things might not blow up in his face, but probably no more so than with anyone. It may be that ‘He is the one!’ but Oscar Oxgoad’s ancient Dad has said that about every president since Truman. Humans don’t have the answers, but it is very hard identifying individual villains. Trump is skewered by pundits who highlight his more outrageous statements, usually taking care to divorce them from elucidating context, and some of our indiscreet brothers retweet those ill reports. The only consolation to those who are alarmed is that most of his ‘lies’ are actually overly-vague statements, wishful thinking, hyperbole, even taunts to his many enemies—techniques that Witnesses forsake (though me...sigh....not always). He usually is persuaded by his advisors, like Dr. Fauci, before he actually follows through on what might be rash. Though, on occasion, he fires them. Just ask Rex Tillerson, once chairman of Exxon, now probably the proprietor of a small gas station somewhere out in the boonies—‘Rex’s Gas n Go.’

I have said it way too many times, but to me Trump’s election is a godsend, and it has nothing to do with politics. It used to be that if you read that long list of derogatory traits said to characterize people of the last days and your householder did not agree that they apply, there wasn’t much you could do about it. Plainly, the verses are subjective. But in the aftermath of Trump’s election, people are screaming at each other day and night, and it is very hard to ask: “What was Paul smoking when he wrote THAT?”

It can’t that bad to stay abreast of politics. If we are said to keep aware of world affairs with an eye on ‘keeping on the watch,’ which we are—well, it is the interaction of politics that drives those world events. Examines for that reason, they can aid one in being discerning. I mean, there is hardly any shame in being clueless on these things, but neither is it any great virtue. It enables you to speak in what to many people is their ‘language of the heart.’ Draw a parallel to cars. You don’t have to know anything about what’s under the hood in order to drive. But there are always a few that must know the workings and interplay of each component therein and they are never criticized for it. Sometimes we just get incurious and then pass it off as ‘holiness.’ 

It’s so hard to stay neutral. I recall one woman in our congregation explaining how people just assume what her politics must be as a member of a socially conservative religion, forcing her to continually explain that it is not so. No wonder Brother Jackson cautions to keep the stuff at a distance. He points out how it is especially hard when one side or the other favors something that will personally benefit you. He speaks of resisting the inner voice that says: “I hope that idiot doesn’t get into power!” Is it only me who says: “I wonder what idiot he has in mind?”

Okay. That’s it. No more politics! (I wish)

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Moses Addressing the Israelites - Trump-Style

And the sons of Israel proceeded to come out of the Red Sea. They congregated and Moses addressed them:

“We came out of the Red Sea. It was very red and very wet. Nobody else could have done what we did. Egypt tried and they got wet, very wet, wet like no one ever saw. But we did not get wet because we are great, very very great, the greatest country that the world has ever seen. And I am the leader. You are not. Nobody else could have done what I did. Everybody on my team is doing a great job. Others are doing great jobs, too, very many others, but we are doing a great great job.

“It is hot in the desert where we are walking. Very hot. Incredibly hot, hot like no one ever saw, but it is not too hot for us, even though it is very very hot. And later we will cross the Jordan River and it will be better, better like no one ever saw. Very, very much better, and everyone is doing a great job and they will do a great job later, too. Now I’ll take some questions:

“Okay, Abiram—you first. Yes, yes, okay, yes. No, no, not at all. What is the place called where we are? Yes. Sinai. So we are crossing the Sinai Desert. It is not racist at all.

“Okay, Dathan?

“Yes, yes—‘What would I tell the Israelite people?’ What do you think I have called this conference for? You are a very bad reporter, a very bad one. Bad. You write bad things about me and I want you to tell the truth, but you write bad things, very bad. And it is not good that you do this.

“You, Korah?

“Yes, yes. Yes, we are prepared. Very very prepared and we are getting more prepared all the time. It’s incredible. And medical supplies—yes they are pouring in, just pouring, like nobody ever saw. And we have Dr. Luke—very very great doctor. He is almost here and just checked in at the Four Gospel hotel. When will he be here? Very soon. Very very soon. And then it will all be great. Then it will.....”

And the clouds parted and a voice was heard: “Oh, for crying out loud! I thought I appointed Aaron as a spokesman for this fellow. Will somebody PLEASE unmute his mike?”

 

.... “Then Jehovah’s anger blazed against Moses, and he said: “What about your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he can speak....So you must speak to him and put the words in his mouth...and he will be your spokesman” (Exodus 4:14-16)

You never know where some themes may crop up, nor how accurately they may fit.

E1F889AD-E758-49C9-BF12-CD76CB2C8E88

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Jacob Pulls a Fast One on Esau - Twice! (Fool Me Once, Shame on You. Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me)

Thoughts gleaned from Genesis 27:

Am I right on this or does Isaac seem more of a placeholder than a factor in himself? Abraham & Jacob are good stuff. But Isaac slobbering over Esau, for the game he could bring in? He doesn’t really come across as all that spiritual as a character. Rebekah knows that once you put a good meal in his belly you can talk him into doing anything. That’s not to say he is non-spiritual—no. He is probably rock-solid. But it is not his strong suit—he is given with matters more ordinary.

Okay, okay, Jacob is a good guy. Got it. But let no one say he was not an opportunist. I mean, he certainly didn’t say of Esau: ‘My brother’s making a dumb move. I’d better see he comes to no harm because of it.’ Twice he chiseled the older brother out of a good deal: “At this he said: “Is he not rightly named Jacob, that he might supplant me these two times? My birthright he has already taken, and now he has taken my blessing!” Esau rages. (Gen 27:36)

I gave up long ago on trying to explain these guys or put them out there for everyone to emulate. There is not a one of them without dozens of skeletons in the closet. The ancient world is one strange place with customs and ways not easy to get one’s head around.

Even the idea of seeking a blessing from Dad—what’s that about? My Dad’s blessing was a hope that I would stay out of the hoosegow, which fortunately I have managed to do. The whole concept of firstborn falls pretty flat today in American culture, though it still holds sway in some places.

In the annoying moments of our people—though they are not so bad as many believers—they sanctify these characters after the fact, putting favorable spin on things that read pretty dubious straight off the page. In their absolute worst moments, they present them as modern-day JWs themselves but in an ancient setting, concerns intact about dress and grooming and such things.

But overall they say that, ‘Look, the Bible is history. Nobody is saying that because it is in the Bible, even as the deeds of one of the ‘good guys,’ it is the wonderful thing for you to copy. The Bible is human history—and where is the following quote made?—history of events when persons and nations worshiped Jehovah, history of events when they knew of Him but did not, and history of those peoples who never knew anything about him—and all the while, amidst this backdrop, the promised Seed is being developed and nurtured.’

I remember one ‘All in the Family’ scene in which someone reads some clearly sordid verse in the Bible. “That’s terrible!” Gloria exclaims, and Archie quickly intercedes with, “It’s beautiful—it’s in the Bible.” No, it’s really terrible. But as one modern brother put it, when the younger brothers started squabbling over something: “It’s amazing what Jehovah can do considering what he has to work with.” It is a better take than that of a more cynical brother—someone who did not remain faithful: “The truth is such a beautiful thing—it’s a shame God had to waste it on people” That doesn’t fly. You have to cultivate a love of people in order to survive.

Meantime, I entertain my own ideas of the basic nature of people, different constitutions of different areas of emphasis—most notably the ‘air—water—earth—fire’ pinwheels that people are said to fall on. The descriptions keep popping up in psychology, in ancient thinking, in diverse cultures—and they are not necessarily presented the same, but they can overlap. Carl Jung went big into this kind of thing, but the ideas far precede him. Those Myers-Briggs tests of 16 different personality types stem from the same undercurrents.

I like especially the contrast between air and earth. The ‘air’ personality is obsessed with ‘airy’ thoughts. Such persons are quick to entertain the spiritual—‘head in the clouds’—not practical at all at their worst—‘so spiritual that they are no earthly good’ is one blunt way to say it. At their very worst, they are so much of the air that their feet lose contact with the ground and they are lost in worlds of their own making.

The ‘earth’ person is just the opposite. Always grounded, always completely comfortable on earth. There is no way an earth person becomes seasick, or if they do, they either master it quickly or forevermore avoid the sea—“Not coming near that stuff, again!” they say, so disconcerting is it to have ‘earth’ interrupted. An earth person absolutely loves a good meal and will carry on about it forever—whereas an ‘air’ person barely notices it and practically begrudges the time it takes to prepare and consume. They are rock-solid, capable, practical, certainly capable of solid spirituality, but it is not their specialty, and at worst they can forget about it completely as they hone in on things physical.

There is also the ‘fire’ and the ‘water’ person, but these attributes seemed not to be so developed, or perhaps they did not resonate so much with me. They strike me as modifying influences on the ‘air’ and ‘ground’ but it may be they should be taken as orientations in themselves. ‘Fire’ is, not surprisingly, associated with impulsiveness, zeal, ‘hot-headedness.’ ‘Water’ is cooling, and is partly so by being flexible, able to quickly wrap around any situation and squelch trouble. It strikes me as these are probably persons who can bring opposing camps together—a task not always easy. When ideas are too far apart, by even explaining one side to the other you are accused of pushing that idea. No, it is not easy. But if there is anyone who can do it, it is a ‘water’ person.

Isaac was earth. Jacob was air. Esau was earth. It’s the way I look at it, anyway.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

They Didn’t Sensationalize this Virus Even a Little Bit, Much Less Use it to Scare People

There are faithful sisters (and brothers, too) who must cope with opposed, sometimes even apostate, mates. One of those mates posted:

“I told my wife that maybe there will never again be meetings as before. I hope the JWs will wake up and start to examine the scriptures seriously and search what all this could lead to.”

In fact, it looks like meetings are pretty much going on with barely a hiccup. They have simply switched to conference-call software, with telephone tie-in for any not up to speed on this. Rather than take his self-predicted five years—he has styled himself as sort of a prophet, unusual for today’s ‘apostates, who mostly go atheist—to make himself even more insightful and pure than he already is, maybe he should repent if possible and try to get into that new format with his wife rather than being a drag that she must contend with.

Our congregation will start with the conference calls at this mid-week meeting, Zoom in our case. (We will meet in Zoom Rooms—who would have thunk it?) Over the weekend we streamed it from apparently one of the Bethels. I could not help but think how the contents would have been disappointing to any ‘anti-cultist’ because there was not a bit of alarmism and everyone treated the virus threat as just one more run-of-the-mill challenge to adapt to. Referred to several times in comments, it wasn’t even called the ‘Chinese virus.’ They didn’t get into any squabbles as to whether they should be able to describe it that way or not—since it gets some all incensed, they avoided the term, and just said virus or Covid 19 or Corona or whatever. It is so much like this world to ‘taunt’ the other side, deliberately getting them going usually for the sake of put down, if not ridicule, but they didn’t stoop to that for a moment. It almost made me ashamed that I do stoop to it (but probably not ashamed enough to stop), though I am trying to restrain myself, not always easily.

They didn’t sensationalize this virus even a little bit, much less use it to ‘scare’ people. It easily could be used that way. They didn’t. Not even a hint of it. So I will—just in a speculative bent, you understand, no more.

For the longest time we have said our preaching will end someday. What if this turns out to be it? It’s not impossible, though no one suggests it. I expect this to blow over and normal preaching and activities will resume, but there is no reason to accept that as a foregone conclusion. What if the world leaders who just assume you can shut down the entire world economy and start it up again are wrong, and instead another worldwide Great Depression ensues? Then deaths then will dwarf anything that the virus itself brings on, including many a suicide. Will people endure it as resolutely as they did 90 years ago? I wouldn’t hold my breath, not with the belligerence and non-cooperation that defines the overall culture today. And wouldn’t that be a decisive verdict to the facades men have erected? The worldwide financial bedrock system, that everyone depends upon and have taken for granted will endure no matter what—dissolving so easily in the face of what might well be an overreaction to a virus only two or three times more nasty than the regular flu—bad, to be sure, but not nearly as bad as the devastation triggered in the all-out war to contain it, a war that leaders can only hope will be won but do not know. As that mighty structure crumbles, who knows what efforts nations may resort to in their desire to shore it up?

Then all these ones on the outside lambasting the Witness organization every time one of them so much as farts may begin to feel less comfortable. For the Witness brotherhood appears to be holding up pretty well, and it is holding up well independent of material assets. If worse comes to worse, you can run the whole program from a server in Brother Lett’s dorm room. It might even be that conditions could devolve to Acts 2 mode, in which Christians are physically caring for the needs of others. If you have kept yourself plugged into the brotherhood that, with all its flaws, is one run on love, you will be able to weather whatever shaking of the world is going on. Those who were there but have deliberately put themselves outside it and are united in nothing other than finding fault—of them I am not so sure.

A speaker quoted from Numbers 12 recently. “Face to face I speak with [Moses], and not in riddles. Why then, did you not fear to speak against him?” Yes, I know, I know—those taking the lead today are not Moses, but I am not so unfearful to declare they are not filling exactly the modern role that he did the ancient. Yes, they are not Moses, but then Moses was not Moses in the eyes of his critics. What were they murmuring about? His Hittite wives. He really did have Hittite wives. It was not an invalid complaint. God accepted him anyway and struck down those who would rise up against him.

I can easily extrapolate, based on the snarling hate expressed by some for the theocratic organization, and current events showing that opposition shifting into high gear, most notably in Russia—I can envision that attack on the city ‘existing without bars’ and ‘the city that seems open to plunder’—I can easily envision it—not as a slam-dunk gonna-happen-now, but certainly as a possibility. Will religions in general hold onto their own as JWs hold on to theirs? Time will time, but I’m dubious. How many will so easily switch to new methods of keeping in touch? How many are so organized into not just congregations, but groups within congregations, so that no one other than those who willfully keep their distance is overlooked?

Revelation presents scenarios of people ‘warring against God’ and one can’t help but wonder: ‘Who would be stupid enough to do that?’ Now some scenarios emerge. ‘Do not meddle with these men so that you may not be found actually fighters against God,’ Gamaliel said. It was enough to dissuade the Sanhedrin. ‘Forget that!’ enemies say today as they go in for what they imagine is the kill.

The view of the humanists is that human solutions must prevail, and they are livid that any would look to another source. They are livid that any would put their trust in anything else. They attack and put the most ridiculous interpretation on Letts’ words about what doesn’t bother him at all, because they can’t stand what he looks to for salvation. To one of these characters ranting about how Lett uses calamity to ‘exploit’ members with fear so as to keep them in line, I said that ‘the entire premise of the faith is that we are living in the last days of this system of things in which difficult times will prevail. To point to evidence of that does not frighten them; it strengthens them—it validates their faith.’

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Social Distancing in Genesis

Social distancing’—a term unheard of two weeks ago—today deemed as vital as breathing air. Read Genesis to see examples of it. Having a whole bunch of animals seems to be all you need to do the trick.

Now Lot, who was traveling with Abram, also owned sheep, cattle, and tents. So the land did not allow for all of them to stay in the same place; their goods had become so many that they could no longer dwell together. As a result, a quarrel arose between the herders of Abram’s livestock and the herders of Lot’s livestock....So Aʹbram said to Lot: “Please, there should be no quarreling between me and you and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land available to you? Please, separate from me. If you go to the left, then I will go to the right; but if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.” (Genesis 13:5-9)

Today it would be called social distancing. You do it by having so many animals that your neighbor can’t stand to be around you.

Suppose he can stand it. How do you get him to move on in that case? You shut off his water:

The man [Isaac] became wealthy, and he continued to prosper until he became very wealthy. He acquired flocks of sheep and herds of cattle and a large body of servants, and the Philistines began to envy him. So the Philistines took soil and stopped up all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham. Abimelech then said to Isaac: “Move from our neighborhood, for you have grown far stronger than we are.” So Isaac moved from there and encamped in the valley of Gerar and began dwelling there. And Isaac again dug the wells that had been dug in the days of his father Abraham but that the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham’s death, and he called them by the names that his father had given them.” (Genesis 26: 13-18)

But what happens if you haven’t moved away far enough? Then you argue over the pipes, and even name them:

When the servants of Isaac were digging in the valley, they found a well of fresh water. And the shepherds of Gerar began quarreling with the shepherds of Isaac, saying: “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they had quarreled with him.”  (vs 19-20)

Esek means ‘contention.’ It is the definition of the Hebrew word.

And they started digging another well, and they began quarreling over it also. So he named it Sitnah.” (21)

Sitnah means ‘accusation.’

Later he moved away from there and dug another well, but they did not quarrel over it. So he named it Rehoboth and said: “It is because now Jehovah has given us ample room and has made us fruitful in the land.”  (22)

Reboboth means ‘broad places.’ Ahh—at last—enough room between you and the scoundrels.

Imagine—naming the wells! We don’t name faucets, yet they named wells. It was that important—water. What causes social distancing in this case, besides loads of animals? Water. We really are ‘people of the dirt,’ aren’t we? Not to mention ‘people of the water.’

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)