The Gospel of Ehrman According to Mark
The Most Stubborn Kodak Man to Ever Walk the Planet—But Not During Lunch

Counsel to Avoid Malcontents—the Downside

One could wish that young people were better prepared for whenever they might stumble across sites derogatory of Witnesses—does any group have more anti-sites?—almost like a vaccinated person is better prepared for the plague once they encounter it. In an increasingly informational age, it becomes more and more likely that they will. 

Should they hang out there? Obviously not. The one common feature of these sites is that they feature people hypercritical to the nth degree, relentlessly carrying on about complaints great and small. They are among the most unforgiving people on earth. Some will be foul, or even blasphemous, in addition. Not a place to hang your hat. Even counselors in the general world speak of the advisability of cutting off “toxic relationships.” ‘Rocks submerged beneath the surface ready to rip the bottom out of your faith,’ is how the Bible writer puts it.

But to think it absolutely taboo to go there may not serve young people very well either. In the event that they succumb to the most basic force of human nature—doing something because they have been advised not to—and are stumbled, there are barely any in the congregation who can help them because they don’t know what is there themselves. All they can say is: “Don’t go there!” Make no mistake, opposers are very skilled in turning that advice on its head. “Of course they don’t want you to go there!” they say, “they want to keep you in blinders!”

It is all very well to say it is like the bad devil with bad motive, quoting Genesis 3:5—“for God knows in the very day of your eating from it your eyes are bound to be opened!” but it is a tough sell. It is very easy to explain why ones ought to keep away from porn, from graphic violence, or from demonism. But from apostasy? “Are they wrong there?” some will say. “I’ll just go there to see what they are wrong about, and then I will set them straight.” Not all will reason this way. Not even most. But some will. After all, here they are advised to be bold with the Word at the door—for it is the all-powerful sword—but just the opposite than bold when it comes to ones who have rebelled and from there launch attacks on faith. 

Getting a measured glimpse of these apostates for any so inclined, when there are ones who can talk them through whatever they may find,  might almost be likened to lab class in school. See how some of the Bible themes play out—not just why people come into the faith—we surely know that—but why some leave. Let youngsters see, if they ask, how “Demas has forsaken me because he loved the present system of things.” Let them see how some have left “because they were not of our sort.” Let them see what happens when people do not take the rafter out of their own eye but focus on the straws of others. Let them see that mistakes can be made by old and young alike—it was certainly true in the first century—why should it not be true today? The trick is not to sanitize the present—it is to desanitize the past.

Will that happen anytime soon? Or at all? And should it? Who can say? It doesn’t seem likely. Counsel to avoid apostates is well-supported scripturally—Matthew 11, for starters. The ones overseeing take on the role of the fine shepherd—they see the wolf coming and they beat it off, holding the sheep out of harm’s way as they do so. 

Still, in view of the poor track record with significant numbers of the young—granted that the young everywhere are less enamored with faith than prior generations—maybe they will someday reassess to consider it a matter of degree. Surely, as ones who had “received the Law but have not kept it,” the Pharisees could be described as apostate. Could Jesus’ own manner of dealing with them be looked to as an example? He certainly didn’t seek them out. Nor did he argue with them when they approached to trap or attack. He wasn’t especially nice to them, really, though he always left open a way of return for any wanting to take it. 

I’d just as soon the young never run across the malcontents at all. But they do. And being totally unprepared and unfortified—something that could be effectively addressed but so far has not been—some stumble and there barely anyone able to help.


A bad boy turns over a new leaf.


Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'



I couldn’t agree more. The comments in response to the previous post on this matter have been very thought provoking. I’ve often thought that someone who is exposed to the rhetoric of opposers today would almost be all the better for it. These folks show their true colours fairly quickly. The have nothing of value to offer. They minimize major failings on their part that have sent their lives and the lives of their loved ones into a tailspin, and then blame the org for their poor choices. And on top of all of that (and more), they just don’t seem too bright. Their views are rife with hypocrisies and double standards. Having said that, I was raised as a witness, 37 years an active member. Was raised in a family that taught me to recognized that nothing in life is perfect, including the .org culture and the membership. It’s not really surprising. Shouldn’t be surprising at least. When I read the bible, which I do daily (hold for applause), it’s very clear that either system of worship that Jehovah utilized (Jewish or first cent cong) were far from perfect. However, they served their purpose, in the outworking of Jehovah’s greater purpose. This current system is far from perfect, but still accomplishing something important. Basically, what I’m try to say is, you can sum up anything and everything an apostate is going to tell you with basic two points: 1) the Watchtower org isn’t perfect (gasp),,,, and 2) the membership isn't perfect either (gasp). Get a little taste of what critics have to offer, and if you have a modicum of discernment you’ll figure out pretty quickly what these guys,,, and gals (sorry ladies) are really all about. And, a lot of them will often wear cargo shorts,,,, and while wearing cargo shorts they will pull their socks up to their knees. I don’t care for that.

Naomi W.

Still is it necessary to educate on apostates to fortify against them? It has been said the best defense is a good offense. Build up strong faith to be able to recognize falsehood when meeting it. If you want to repaint your house you don’t need samples of every possible color to match it; only the one color needed to compare. And if there is a question of shade or possible mistake more research is needed. The other issue is how our valuable time being spent. Many interesting pursuits we can share with our young ones that negates the argument of how deprived witnesses are. Focus on that instead of toxic investigations. My 2c worth. Naomi W.


"There's nothing new under the sun."

1. Apostate arguments haven't changed since biblical times.
2. The inspired word covers the essence of all their arguments in detail, and
3. If we read the bible with interest we'll see the arguments - and the correct responses. (If 'correct' is defined as God's viewpoint.)
4. Readers of any age or experience can be inoculated by prayerful bible study.

The biblical record gives an example of each apostate argument, and, since it's in the inspired word, studying the offensive argument or account is healthy. Put the ancient words in the modern mouth, and there's no need to hang out with Typhoid Mary.

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