Previous month:
July 2021
Next month:
September 2021

Tweeting the Meeting: Week of August 23, 2021

Weekend Meeting: How Love and Faith Conquer the World’ is the title of the public talk. An out of town speaker.

Jesus could have healed that leper from miles away, the speaker says. He could have said (snapping fingers “you’re good to go,” instead of touching someone whom no one had touched in a very long time.

Now about a bro in [then] Communist Hungary. Baptized in river (1942) after his release from prison. Sentenced to 11 more years for neutral stand, but shipped to Hitler camp prior to commencement. Another prison sentence upon camp release by Hungarian govt.

Now an appeal to 1 John 5:3-4 “For this is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome, because everything that has been born fr God conquers the world. And this is the conquest that has conquered the world, our faith.

“We should not use the strength Jehovah gives us to pay back evil for evil,” the above bro from Hungary says, explaining why he several times took a pass at retaliating at those who oppressed him.

 

Watchtower Study: Title article: Do Not Stumble ‘These Little Ones.’  Theme scripture: “Do not despise one of these little ones.”​—MATT. 18:10. “Remember to unmute if called to comment,” the conductor reminds, as well as the 30-second goal. He (and I) likes that goal.

The need-greater from Myanmar says the 30-second comment goal is so many can participate (of course) but it is also for us, that we can learn to be concise, as Jesus way. Say a lot in few words. Not a little in many words

I think it is the overhead circular globe light reflecting off the conductor’s glasses. Almost makes him look like some superhero with special powers, but it’s just my good ol chum.

In a sense, all Witnesses are “little ones” on b/c of: 1 Cor 1:26 “For you see his calling of you, brothers, that there are not many wise in a fleshly way, not many powerful, not many of noble birth, but God chose the foolish things of the world to put the wise men to shame”..1/2

It is why comtemporary history contains scant mention of early Christianity. The doings of the commoners never rank to highly in the official histories…..2/2

Para 7: If you’re occasionally offended, that says something about the one who triggers it. If you’re frequently offended, that says something about you.

Para 8: Discussion of the theme of ‘who is the greatest?’ called to mind a certain online character who took all of two seconds to append Dr. before his name when he had been awarded a PhD.

“Sorry for not having a Ph.D. in whatever baloney* you have your Ph.D. in,” one tweeter apologizes.    *not his actual word.

Para 12: When his “fellow slaves saw what had happened, they became greatly distressed.” There might be some settings in which people would say, “Ah, well, it’s not my problem,” but the congregation is not one of them. Good reason for ‘warring’ bros not to war.

One bro, always the source of good comments, mentions the frequent expression: “He owes me an apology,” whereas in the congregation, the phrase to emphasize is: “I owe him forgiveness.”

 

Midweek Meeting, Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 29-30

Deuteronomy 30:11 “Now this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it beyond your reach.”  It is the theme of the #midweekmeeting tonight, expanded in the #1 talk and reinforced with the video “Imitate, not the cowards, but the courageous.”

“It is not in the heavens, so that you have to say, ‘Who will ascend to the heavens and get it for us…Nor is it on the other side of the sea, so that you have to say, ‘Who will cross over to the other side of the sea and get it for us…1/2

For the word is very near you, in your own mouth and in your own heart, so that you may do it.” (Deuteronomy 30:12-14)  It starts by coming right to your door. Don’t even have to go to college for it. What could be easier?…2/2

Deuteronomy 30:4 “Even if your people are dispersed to the extremity of the heavens, from there Jehovah your God will gather you and bring you back.” Another theme of the meeting, reinforced with recent studies of the Ezekiel book.

Bonnie spoke of “positive peer pressure” of Imitate, not the cowards, but the courageous. Each segment ends with someone overhearing, who takes his/her own stand in the next segment.

I had not noticed the connection before: Ezekiel 37:27 “My tent will be with them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” and Revelation 7:15 “…and the One seated on the throne will spread his tent over them.  Rev 21:3 “The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples.”

Someone commented on the congregation meeting photo how the children are not separated into another room, but listen and learn with the of the congregation. No #SundaySchool

 

 

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)

Don’t be Surprised at the Fiery Trials You Are Going Through (1 Peter 4:12)

Anyone reading the Bible would see that the people whom God led w/an organization tacked this way and that. …I don't see that there ever has been universal agreement among members of the groups of God's people. Not in Bible times and not today either.”

Of course. “You can’t always get what you want,” as someone recently drummed to. Nobody gets everything his way. There are things about the earthly organization that are not as I would prefer. 

But the choice is not now, nor has ever been, between the people who are tacking this way and that and the people who are sailing straight and true without deviation. The choice is between the people who are tacking this way and that and the people who have sailed off the edge of the earth. The key tenets: no immortal soul, no trinity, use God’s name, kingdom a real government, everlasting life on earth, why God permits evil, exactly how the ransom works, what happens to the dead, preserved nowhere except in the realm where the GB presides—that has to make an impression with anyone in whom love of truth resides. 

I’m struck with how when people leave Jehovah’s organized worship, they never ever mention these tenets again. Answers to the very burning questions that drew them into the faith are now dismissed as though of no importance. It certainly is true of outside detractors who would draw people away. The blemishes of humans taking the lead are drawn out, exaggerated, or even make up, as though they did not all find their counterparts among the first century apostles and presbyrs. Press the detractors for where they would have you go instead and they clam up. They have nothing to offer.

In the case of those who still believe in God, it is back to the land of churches, where in time, the bland junk food will reassert itself: All roads lead to heaven, God works in mysterious ways, Death of a child is because God needs another flower in heaven. How is that not like the dog returning to his own vomit?

in the case of those who have gone the atheist route, it is like a market crash where millions are transformed into hundreds. “Ah, well, they were only paper gains anyway,” says the spiritual dullard, giving up on everlasting life to go celebrate the hundreds he still has left. 

It is no good harping on the blemishes of others, real, imagined, or enhanced. The enemy in the West wants exactly what the enemy in the East wants—to separate Witnesses from their support organization, with the confidence that they can be more easily assimilated that way. The only difference between them is the difference between the good cop who would coo sympathy at you and the bad cop who would pummel you. They want the same. Even should you decide to hone in on the blemishes of fellow believers it does not change the overall picture. It fits right in with how things were in the first century, where they also had blemishes. It’s how imperfect people are.

Pray to God that he fix your personal woes and beefs and he will respond that he has underlings who can handle the job—it is enough that he will listen to you and provide nourishment night and day. Complain to him that the underlings are imperfect and he will observe that you are no great shakes yourself—you will just have to learn to make do. In the final analysis, does not this verse carry the day? “If anyone makes the statement: ‘I love God,’ and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot be loving God, whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20) 

******

I wrote the book TrueTom vs the Apostates to assist anyone who has been stumbled at charges apostates make and thereafter no one is able to help them because they don’t know what is there themselves. It’s for them. Nobody else is allowed to read it. Look, don’t try to bluff me on this. I’ll know.

Also available in Amazon print.

 

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 August 16, 2021

Weekend Meeting: Watchtower only, streamed convention Day 3 PM to follow. “You Can Escape from Satan’s Snares” June 2021 Wt, Pride and greed are the focus.

Para 1: The woman in the picture has been shopping, “she has her hands full, but she passes a display of purses and thinks maybe she needs another one,” Bonnie says with a smile.

Imagine this guy—chewing out the priest the way he does: “But Uz·ziʹah became enraged while in his hand there was a censer for burning incense, and, during his rage against the priests, leprosy itself flashed up in his forehead…” 2 Chronicles 26:19

Para 10 made me think of ‘An Important Reminder,’ on coping with anxiety & the part where a resurrected Uriah will have to get over how the guy that killed him went on to great honors, maybe even (he a Hittite) reading racism into it.… …1/2

Long ago I played this for a church-going relative, temporarily eaten up by anxiety, thinking it would help. “Can’t this bro say ‘God’ even once?” I thought? “Does it have to be God’s name every single time?” something I never would have thought were it just myself….2/2

Para 11: There is benefit in counting blessings:  “New Bible students are encouraged to think of one specific blessing and to thank Jehovah for it. If a person does that every day for a week, it will mean that he has prayed about seven different topics.  (1 Thess. 5:18)

Only Son of Thunder John slams Judas for motive over the perfumed oil; neither Luke nor Matthew mention it: “He said this, though, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief and had the money box and used to carry off the monies put in it” (John 12:6)

Midweek Meeting:

Deuteronomy 27-28. Bad curses for doing bad (27: 15-26), followed by good blessings for doing good (28:1-14), followed by really bad curses for doing REALLY bad. (28:15 to end)

Sort of a rally, with the people divided into two groups by tribe—the group proclaiming blessings standing on mountain terrain that looked as though blessed, the group telling of curses standing on contrasting terrain that looked as though cursed. (Deut 27:12)

“It has been suggested that the blessings were read toward Mount Gerizim because of its greater beauty and fertility in contrast with rocky, largely barren Mount Ebal…The Law was read aloud “in front of all the congregation of Israel……2/3

This vast throng could hear the words from positions in front of either mountain. This was probably due, at least in part, to the excellent acoustics of the area. “ (Insight on the Scriptures) …3/3

So these Pharisees and scribes asked him: “Why do your disciples not observe the tradition of the men of former times, but they eat their meal with defiled hands?” He said to them: “Isaiah aptly prophesied about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honor me with ….1/2

their lips, but their hearts are far removed from me. It is in vain that they keep worshipping me, for they teach commands of men as doctrines.’ You let go of the commandment of God and cling to the tradition of men.”…(mark 7:5-8) 2/2

One Zoom sis who I didn’t think would have a cat walking on her table had a cat walking on her table

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)

Hard to Believe Five Years Ago Was the Good Old Days

Even after one book defending the faith in Russia, and one book defending the faith in the West, my first one was just described as my opus.

Hard to believe that I wrote Tom Irregardless and Me in the “good old days” of 2016. Before pandemic, masks, vaccines, and non-stop uproar over it. Before pedal to the metal on crazy climate, routine torrential rain and flooding, insane heat, before wild conflagrations devouring towns, before the house of cards that is national cooperation and even sanity dissolving before our eyes. Before gender morphed into something that can be incorrectly assigned at birth. The good old days: just five years ago. Before Russian persecution and Western accusation thrust Jehovah’s Witnesses foremost on the world stage:

Wrote Paul: “True, some are preaching the Christ through envy and rivalry, but others also through goodwill. The latter are publicizing the Christ out of love, for they know I am set here for the defense of the good news; but the former do it out of contentiousness, not with a pure motive, for they are supposing to stir up tribulation [for me] in my [prison] bonds. What then? [Nothing,] except that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being publicized, and in this I rejoice.” (Philippians 1:15-18)

The ebook is now polished up for Amazon print as well as digital.                                                           

What others have said in review:

This book is hilarious.…makes you think about what you know, how you know it, and why you believe it. 

The parts of this book that aren't humorous are eye-opening.

Read the whole book almost in one sitting. (Don't start it just before anything important!) Very funny book with many things well said….And yes it's true that we have better things to do than stop to kick at every dog that barks at us, but seeing as this guy's already done it for laughs, we could do worse than read his book.

Had me laughing out loud one minute and thinking deeply the next. Tom Harley has a great sense of humour and says a lot of things that many JW's think but don't often say. 

Despite writing a number of things that only witnesses would 'get', those who malign without knowing the facts would benefit by reading this light-hearted, yet serious, book.

It had me laughing out loud over and over again. Tom Harley makes no apologies for being one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and neatly skewers most of the objections raised by opposers and apostates….at the same time acknowledging their own foibles and puncturing sacred cows, but doing so with an obvious 'mild manner and deep respect.'

I haven’t met any of the people in this book but feel as though I have.

Author’s note: 

Kermit Way from the book was a real person, referred to by his real name. At his funeral it was said that, not only was he a gentleman, but also that he was a gentle man. Both were true. A more refreshing person would be hard to find.

Kermit in the book is the one who successfully dissuades a brother from using the word 'Irregardless.' He commended the talk but asked the bro do him a favor. “Look up ‘irregardless’ in a dictionary. “I never found it,” the brother told me years later, and he never used it again.

30 years later, heartened by this experience, I tried to get someone else to stop saying it.

Alas, unlike in Kermit's day, the word WAS found in the dictionary. True, it was labeled 'irregular,' but that was a point far too subtle for the one I was speaking with. If anything, he doubled down on it.

…..“If, then, you are bringing your gift to the altar…” (Matthew 5:23)

Digital and print at Amazon.

Digital on Smashwords & other ebook retailers.

 

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 August 2, 2021

Weekend Meeting:

Yikes! In pre-meeting chit chat, the visiting speaker’s wife mentioned how as a child she had beaten up one of our cong members! “Good thing I changed,” she said, as she apologized.

The public speaker’s theme is ‘Good News in a Violent World..’ He can be forgiven if he dwells a bit longer than others would on violence, for he lives in what has been called the (per capita) murder city center of the country.

Accordingly, he begins with a recent local example of 16 shot at a house party. You’ve got to admit, that’s a lot.

Proverbs 4:14-17 “Into the path of the wicked ones do not enter….

For they do not sleep unless they do badness, and their sleep has been snatched away unless they cause someone to stumble.”

Let no one say the Bible does not to sarcasm & hyperbole.

What can we discern from all the reports of violence? the speaker says. Good news. ‘Thank you,’ my wife says, for he had been drawing the topic out. On the other hand, there is no end of material to draw on.

He speaks of the trauma of a person when their spouse unexpectedly dies and it is poignant for him because years ago his wife unexpectedly died

Watchtower Para 4: on tips for a long trip, those need-greaters home from Myanmar mentioned how easy travel to a distant city here is & how quickly the time flies. ‘Are you comfortable back there?’ their US friends ask….1/3

‘We are riding in the back seat of a BMW sedan. Of course we are comfortable. Do you have any idea where we have been?’…2/3

We don’t have a spring sticking in our back or a chicken sitting on our lap or a sack of vegetables poking us in the side or…’ the list went on and on….3/3

Para 6: In asking a viewpoint question, there is no right or wrong answer, one sis says. Another bro adds that viewpoint questions don’t need an immediate answer.

Wt Para 7: “Be careful not to compare your student with someone else by saying, ‘If he can do it, you can do it too.’” Times change. We get refined. That was the trademark expression of a certain CO from 40 years back, who even offered it in several permutations.

Para 8: “according to the glorious good news of the happy God, with which I was entrusted.” (1 Tim 1:11) I like ‘happy’ vs the more common ‘blessed’ in most translations. Of COURSE he is ‘blessed.’ He’s God. Who is going to ‘bless’ him? …1/2

That’s just pious for the sake of being pious. Happy’s better. (Footnote to self to research that root word)…2/2

Isa 47:18—“If only you would pay attention to my commandments! Then your peace would become just like a river And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”  Many verses work better for rural people attuned to nature. …1/2

It reminds me of a circuit overseer who illustrated industriousness and harmony by saying ‘kicking mules don’t work’ and ‘working mules don’t kick.’ Wildly popular in the country, but then he got to the city where nobody knew what a mule was….2/2

Mark 10:29 Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, no one has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the good news who will not get 100 times more now in this period of time—houses, brothers, sisters, ….1/2

mothers, children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the coming system of things, everlasting life.”

Worth noting for Christians who get a lot of kickback on the home front. It has happened that new ones have been excluded from their own family—often the storm blows over but not always….2/2

One sis commented on how opposition, when faced, often quells once people see the believer is serious about it. Maybe there is something to it, they say, and may look there themselves. It was true of my father-in-law. Fiercely resisted, he came to be a figure of much respect.

You could almost like the personal home Bible study to the merging lane onto the expressway, the expressway being the congregation meetings. It’s not going to run forever and everyone on the expressway makes minor adjustment to ease that one’s path on.

“Would that be Sis Harley?” the conductor asked.

“No, Tom didn’t put his hand down,” my wife threw me under the bus, as I  shrugged and grinned in the background.

Some discussion in after meeting chit chat on how cong members often become the go-to members in time of crisis for the extended family. Not surprising, since they are trained to be people-persons and are not unhinged at the prospect of dying….1/2

Nobody wants to die. It’s inconvenient and it makes people feel bad, but other than that, it holds no terror for JWs, whereas many people in general can hardly bring themselves even to speak of it….2/2

 

Midweek Meeting: Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 22-23

Animal-friendly laws in Deuteronomy : You must not plow with a bull and a donkey together.” (too rough on the weaker animal) Deut 22:10, also, vs 4 and 6, though 6 is a mixed bag. #MidweekMeeting Assigned Bible reading: Deuteronomy 22-23.

The speaker just made the point of Paul’s application. ‘Do not become unevenly yoked with an unbeliever.’ 2 Corinthians 6:14. updating Deut 22:10. A source of avoidable conflict,

“…Then you should return it to him.That is what you should do with his donkey, with his clothing, and with anything that your brother has lost and you have found. You must not ignore it.”  (Deut 22:1-3) …1/3

they dropped from the back pocket of the stylish shorts my wife bought me that I no longer wear on that account. Even in Canada, when I lost my wallet (from after paying a taxi) and had to cross over to the US without it…2/3

(an endeavor that is NOT hassle-free), someone phoned later to say they had found it. But when I asked about the money inside it he said, “What money.” No matter. I was glad to get it back…..3/3

“If a man is found lying down with a woman who is the wife of another man, both of them must die together, the man who lay down with the woman as well as the woman.” Deut 22:22, This may be why, on a recent trip to the Batavia NY city museum,…1/2

we learned that its foremost citizen laid in wait to catch his wife cheating on him, surprised them both, shoved the man and he fell down the stairs and died. The prosecutors thought they had an open-and-shut case, but the jury would not convict him….2/2

“You must not hate an Egyptian, for you became a foreign resident in his country.” Deut 23:7, —even though some of that time was in slavery! Thou it was good times before that. A good verse as to what it is good to reminisce on.

“A peg should be part of your equipment. When you squat outside, you should dig a hole with it and then cover your excrement.” Deut 23:13, Wisdom ahead of its time, I think this is called. …1/2

And to think in the Middle Ages, people were flinging pots of you-know-what out the window and into the street. Wonder why there were so many plagues then?….2/2

“You should not hand over a slave to his master when he escapes from his master and comes to you. He may dwell among you in whatever place he chooses in one of your cities, wherever he likes. You must not mistreat him.” Deut 23:15….1/2 A good verse to keep in mind…1/2

for those zealots who condemn the Bible because it did not outlaw slavery, but instead regulated it. If Jehovah corrected every human injustice the moment it manifested itself, there wouldn’t be anything left, for the system is inherently unjust and is in need of replacement2/2

“If you enter your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat enough grapes to satisfy your appetite, but you should not put any in your container. “If you go into your neighbor’s field of standing grain, you may pluck the ripe ears with your hand, but you should not put a sickle to …1/2

your neighbor’s grain.” Deut 23:24. This reminds me of the hoboes of decades past who would steal you blind —“and every lock that ain’t locked when no one’s around”—but only enough for their immediate needs….2/2

I remember reading some historian saying that it was the Jews of America were the ones who first introduced the idea of public assistance based upon verses like this one.

The Jade and Nita video. Nita pronounces ‘Isaiah’ the British way, with two long ‘i’s.

The reader of the old Bible reading cassettes pronounced it that way, too. As School overseer, I told everyone that we were saying it wrong. (but corrected matters the next week)

Only once did I kill an animal. Chums in school were going squirrel hunting  & invited me, giving me a shotgun. High, high up in a tree I spotted one and fired. It fell dead at my feet. ‘What did I do that for?’ I thought. I never hunted again, as I had never hunted before.

Ooh ooh! When Mike came into the truth he became an unbearable fanatic and would plague Keith night and day that he should get rid of everything, even his dog! to pioneer. Finally, Keith latched onto Proverbs 12:10 in self-preservation: “The righteous one takes care of his domestic animals.”….1/2

Mike was perhaps the very reason for the saying among JWs that “new ones should be locked up for sixth months until their zeal is tempered by common sense.”…..2/2

“Now the servants of the king of Syria said to him: “Their God is a God of mountains. That is why they overpowered us. But if we fight against them on level land, we will overpower them.” 1 Kings 20:23 (quoted for the local needs part) Turns out that Jehovah was pretty good in the flatlands, too.

Did the conductor really call on his father with “Dad-man?”

I once counseled.a student against saying “a Jehovah’s Witness” for I think obvious reasons, but was afterwards corrected by the DO who said there was nothing wrong with it. I still think I was right, but its not the hill I am willing to die on. ….1/2

Language changes. I say it myself now…..2/2

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)

Is the Russian Orthodox Church behind the Perscution of Jehovah’s Witnesses?

The Russian Orthodox Church is delighted with the ban, but insists it was not behind it. I’m inclined to believe them. Both it and the Kremlin are manipulated by a voracious anti-cult movement.

Putin says: “I don’t understand why Jehovah’s Witnesses are persecuted” in response to a question, and then, unbidden, later in the meeting he returns to the topic. It seems to genuinely confuse him. since he observes that they “are Christians, too,”

I did a lot of research on this for the book. I think the driving factor is the anti-cult movement. Indirectly, of course, it is all the fault of Babylon the Great, for if it had represented God appropriately, there wouldn’t be such strong irreligious movements. So, indirectly, yes. Directly, no.

Q: What about this woman, who created the policies—Irina Yarovaya - Wikipedia" https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irina_Yarovaya, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yarovaya_law

She is a “reactionary” political figure, as stated, but few of her proposals involve religion. They are a reaction to genuine terrorism, extending into at-home ways to prevent the masses from plotting to do mischief, assuming that most mischief comes from abroad. The intention is also to quell political unrest. Note the wiki artical says nothing of religion. 

“Sects” of any sort have never been popular in Russia, so she does not exclude them, but it is not the main thrust of legislation she sponsored. It is the  anti-cultists who have engineered the idea that non-mainstream religion in general, and Jehovah’s Witnesses in particular, can also be “extremist.” There is one government minister in particular, Alexander Dvorkin, who is also VP of a large French anti-cult organization [FECRIS], who pushed hard for the ban. Recall that it was France that tried to eliminate Jehovah’s Witnesses years ago by imposing a 60% tax on their activity. Anti-cultists thrives in France. The country might even be considered its birthplace. 

Dvorkin’s plan is to separate Jehovah’s Witnesses from their “controlling” organization, after which he thinks they will be assimilated into regular society. (“Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will scatter” is how the Bible would put it.) The idea that the Jehovah’s Witness organization can be banned but not the religion itself is so duplicitous that ordinary people cannot get their heads around it and just figure it is open hunting season on the people themselves.

Accordingly, a certain court thinks it a fine idea to ban the JW Bible, the New World Translation, and rules to that effect. The court employs a group of mercenary experts who will issue whatever findings are desired—they are well known for this, and not just in the field of religion. The NWT doesn’t say ‘Bible’ on the cover, and the “experts” persuade the court that is significant. It also suffers from the Jehovah factor, the court frets, ignoring that the Russian synodal translation also uses the name. Genesis 19:25, the verse that God destroyed everything alive in Sodom and Gomorrah, was seized upon as evidence to the NWT’s extremism, even after it was pointed out that all Bible translations say the same thing!

This is farther than Dvorkin intended to go. The NWT is a Bible. He doesn’t like it, but it plainly is one. He thinks it a mistake to ban the NWT, for it makes his country look like a squad of ignoramuses. I say ban it for exactly that reason. See if Russians will thank him for how his policies have trashed the reputation of their country.

He is also against the SWAT team style tactics employed against our brothers. But again, it is a natural consequence of his ideas. If you declare people “extremist” and then arrest them as you would a jaywalker, you declare to all the world that they are not extremist and that you know it very well. So the violent arrests are consistently necessary.. 

Cops also come to see it as an easy path to promotion. What can look better on one’s resume that cracking down on a group of “extremists?” Older cops still remember the “good old days” when all “sects” were a proper target of wrath, even as was the ROC itself. 

A common theme in most news reports is that nobody quite knows what is behind the excessive war on Jehovah’s Witnesses & how it got so out of hand. Journalists don’t know, human rights people don’t know,  Putin doesn’t know, the ROC doesn’t know, Dvorkin himself claims not to know, nor do the Witnesses themselves. Unfortunately, when you release the hounds of hell, you find you cannot control just how or who they maul. It is why I consider the subtitle of my book well chosen: “Searching for the Why.” I end up floating the notion—I don’t dwell on in, for my intended audience is mostly secular—that when people cannot identify a human reason, they can be forgiven for thinking there may be a superhuman one.

***

‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s: Searching for the Why’ is now available free on Smashwords and is also in print at Amazon. See author page at  https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B08NQ49SXQ

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 August 2, 2021

Weekend Meeting:

Yikes! In pre-meeting chit chat, the visiting speaker’s wife mentioned how as a child she had beaten up one of our cong members! “Good thing I changed,” she said, as she apologized.

The public speaker’s theme is ‘Good News in a Violent World..’ He can be forgiven if he dwells a bit longer than others would on violence, for he lives in what has been called the (per capita) murder city center of the country.

Accordingly, he begins with a recent local example of 16 shot at a house party. You’ve got to admit, that’s a lot.

Proverbs 4:14-17 “Into the path of the wicked ones do not enter….

For they do not sleep unless they do badness, and their sleep has been snatched away unless they cause someone to stumble.”

Let no one say the Bible does not to sarcasm & hyperbole.

What can we discern from all the reports of violence? the speaker says. Good news. ‘Thank you,’ my wife says, for he had been drawing the topic out. On the other hand, there is no end of material to draw on.

He speaks of the trauma of a person when their spouse unexpectedly dies and it is poignant for him because years ago his wife unexpectedly died

Watchtower Study from June 1, 2021 study issue:

Para 4: on tips for a long trip, those need-greaters home from Myanmar mentioned how easy travel to a distant city here is & how quickly the time flies. ‘Are you comfortable back there?’ their US friends ask….1/3

‘We are riding in the back seat of a BMW sedan. Of course we are comfortable. Do you have any idea where we have been?’…2/3

We don’t have a spring sticking in our back or a chicken sitting on our lap or a sack of vegetables poking us in the side or…’ the list went on and on….3/3

Para 6: In asking a viewpoint question, there is no right or wrong answer, one sis says. Another bro adds that viewpoint questions don’t need an immediate answer.

Wt Para 7: “Be careful not to compare your student with someone else by saying, ‘If he can do it, you can do it too.’” Times change. We get refined. That was the trademark expression of a certain CO from 40 years back, who even offered it in several permutations.

Para 8: “according to the glorious good news of the happy God, with which I was entrusted.” (1 Tim 1:11) I like ‘happy’ vs the more common ‘blessed’ in most translations. Of COURSE he is ‘blessed.’ He’s God. Who is going to ‘bless’ him? …1/2

That’s just pious for the sake of being pious. Happy’s better. (Footnote to self to research that root word)…2/2

Isa 47:18—“If only you would pay attention to my commandments! Then your peace would become just like a river And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”  Many verses work better for rural people attuned to nature. …1/2

It reminds me of a circuit overseer who illustrated industriousness and harmony by saying ‘kicking mules don’t work’ and ‘working mules don’t kick.’ Wildly popular in the country, but then he got to the city where nobody knew what a mule was….2/2

Mark 10:29, Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, no one has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the good news who will not get 100 times more now in this period of time—houses, brothers, sisters, ….1/2

mothers, children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the coming system of things, everlasting life.”

Worth noting for Christians who get a lot of kickback on the home front. It has happened that new ones have been excluded from their own family—often the storm blows over but not always….2/2

One sis commented on how opposition, when faced, often quells once people see the believer is serious about it. Maybe there is something to it, they say, and may look there themselves. It was true of my father-in-law. Fiercely resisted, he came to be a figure of much respect.

You could almost liken the personal home Bible study to the merging lane onto the expressway, the expressway being the congregation meetings. It’s not going to run forever and everyone on the expressway makes minor adjustment to ease that one’s path on.

“Would that be Sis Harley?” the conductor asked.

“No, Tom didn’t put his hand down,” my wife threw me under the bus, as I  shrugged and grinned in the background.

Some discussion in after meeting chit chat on how cong members often become the go-to members in time of crisis for the extended family. Not surprising, since they are trained to be people-persons and are not unhinged at the prospect of dying….1/2

Nobody wants to die. It’s inconvenient and it makes people feel bad, but other than that, it holds no terror for JWs, whereas many people in general can hardly bring themselves even to speak of it….2/2

 

Midweek Meeting: Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 22-23

Animal-friendly laws in Deuteronomy : You must not plow with a bull and a donkey together.” (too rough on the weaker animal) Deut 22:10, also, vs 4 and 6, though 6 is a mixed bag. #MidweekMeeting Assigned Bible reading: Deuteronomy 22-23.

The speaker just made the point of Paul’s application. ‘Do not become unevenly yoked with an unbeliever.’ 2 Corinthians 6:14. updating Deut 22:10. A source of avoidable conflict,

“…Then you should return it to him.That is what you should do with his donkey, with his clothing, and with anything that your brother has lost and you have found. You must not ignore it.”  (Deut 22:1-3) …1/3

they dropped from the back pocket of the stylish shorts my wife bought me that I no longer wear on that account. Even in Canada, when I lost my wallet (from after paying a taxi) and had to cross over to the US without it…2/3

(an endeavor that is NOT hassle-free), someone phoned later to say they had found it. But when I asked about the money inside it he said, “What money.” No matter. I was glad to get it back…..3/3

“If a man is found lying down with a woman who is the wife of another man, both of them must die together, the man who lay down with the woman as well as the woman.” Deut 22:22, This may be why, on a recent trip to the Batavia NY city museum,…1/2

we learned that its foremost citizen laid in wait to catch his wife cheating on him, surprised them both, shoved the man and he fell down the stairs and died. The prosecutors thought they had an open-and-shut case, but the jury would not convict him….2/2

“You must not hate an Egyptian, for you became a foreign resident in his country.” Deut 23:7, —even though some of that time was in slavery! Thou it was good times before that. A good verse as to what it is good to reminisce on.

“A peg should be part of your equipment. When you squat outside, you should dig a hole with it and then cover your excrement.” Deut 23:13, Wisdom ahead of its time, I think this is called. …1/2

And to think in the Middle Ages, people were flinging pots of you-know-what out the window and into the street. Wonder why there were so many plagues then?….2/2

“You should not hand over a slave to his master when he escapes from his master and comes to you. He may dwell among you in whatever place he chooses in one of your cities, wherever he likes. You must not mistreat him.” Deut 23:15….1/2 A good verse to keep in mind…1/2

for those zealots who condemn the Bible because it did not outlaw slavery, but instead regulated it. If Jehovah corrected every human injustice the moment it manifested itself, there wouldn’t be anything left, for the system is inherently unjust and is in need of replacement2/2

“If you enter your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat enough grapes to satisfy your appetite, but you should not put any in your container. “If you go into your neighbor’s field of standing grain, you may pluck the ripe ears with your hand, but you should not put a sickle to …1/2

your neighbor’s grain.” Deut 23:24. This reminds me of the hoboes of decades past who would steal you blind —“and every lock that ain’t locked when no one’s around”—but only enough for their immediate needs….2/2

I remember reading some historian saying that it was the Jews of America were the ones who first introduced the idea of public assistance based upon verses like this one.

The Jade and Nita video. Nita pronounces ‘Isaiah’ the British way, with two long ‘i’s.

The reader of the old Bible reading cassettes pronounced it that way, too. As School overseer, I told everyone that we were saying it wrong. (but corrected matters the next week)

Only once did I kill an animal. Chums in school were going squirrel hunting  & invited me, giving me a shotgun. High, high up in a tree I spotted one and fired. It fell dead at my feet. ‘What did I do that for?’ I thought. I never hunted again, as I had never hunted before.

Ooh ooh! When Mike came into the truth he became an unbearable fanatic and would plague Keith night and day that he should get rid of everything, even his dog! to pioneer. Finally, Keith latched onto Proverbs 12:10 in self-preservation: “The righteous one takes care of his domestic animals.”….1/2

Mike was perhaps the very reason for the saying among JWs that “new ones should be locked up for sixth months until their zeal is tempered by common sense.”…..2/2

“Now the servants of the king of Syria said to him: “Their God is a God of mountains. That is why they overpowered us. But if we fight against them on level land, we will overpower them.” 1 Kings 20:23 (quoted for the local needs part) Turns out that Jehovah was pretty good in the flatlands, too.

Did the conductor really call on his father with “Dad-man?”

I once counseled.a student against saying “a Jehovah’s Witness” for I think obvious reasons, but was afterwards corrected by the DO who said there was nothing wrong with it. I still think I was right, but its not the hill I am willing to die on. ….1/2

Langauge changes. I say it myself now…..2/2

That bro who likes to mess with me said he expected a full commentary on Deut 23:1, the verse about how “no man castrated by crushing the testicles or having his male member cut off may come into the [ancient Israelite] congregation of Jehovah.” I texted back, …1/2

“This may be TMI, but the fact that I am here ought to tell you something.”….2/2

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)

Speaking up for the GB

One quirk of modern times is that there arise people who object to the baptism terms that they must recognise the Witness’s Governing Body to be leading God's people today. As someone explained to me, they agree with all or most of our beliefs & intepretations of scripture, but they don’t want to be part of the offical organisation, for one reason or another. They just disagree with some minor things, be it dates, or intepretations of certain smaller scriptures or meanings of prophecy, but they’re okay with whatever is a "major" doctrine or related to salvation. They’d like to be a baptized Christian holding Witness beliefs, but just don’t want to be connected with an organization.

Would it be okay for one of Jehovah’s Witnesses to baptise them with that understanding, allowing the student to make his own conscience decision if they see the Governing Body as the ones to see as their "Slave" or not? Since, after all, we don't baptise people in the name of the GB, we baptise them in the name of the Father, the Son and the holy spirit?

I think it is telling that the only group holding the beliefs of JWs…(no immortal soul, no trinity, use God’s name, kingdom a real government, everlasting life on earth, why God permits evil, exactly how the ransom works,  preach earth wide, and so forth)…is the group with the Governing Body taking the lead.

 Why aren’t there other groups? Plainly, capable and loyal human leadership is required. As much as we might like to think it is just “Jesus and me,” the fact that there are no such groups with the core doctrines except the one with a cadre of experienced disciples of Christ taking the lead indicates that’s how he leads today. Call it the divine/human interface. It is the “middleman” that cannot be bypassed.

So the GB should be cut out of the picture in the last days when the going gets rough? Wouldn’t that be like opting for a ship with no rudder?

 The Governing Body is the modern day equivalent of “men that have delivered up their souls for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 15:26) They are the successors of those who brought the truth to us in the first place and apart from them, Bible truth did not survive. We wouldn’t have the truth were it not for them. Nobody outside of the theocratic organization managed to figure it out on their own, a sure indication that Jehovah has blessed their work.

The hypothetical person may be overemphasizing the degree to which Jehovah’s people must walk in lockstep. He has most likely been influenced by opposers who say that with Jehovah’s Witnesses, it is “step out of line, the man comes and takes you away.” In fact, all you really have to do is recognize headship. You don’t have to shout from the hilltops matters connected with interpretations of prophesy.

If you can’t fully get your head around something, don’t. It’s perfectly acceptable to say ‘this is the present understanding’ on this or that point. There is a recent table somewhere of beliefs clarified. Unless the end is actually tomorrow, are we to imagine there will never be any more? Opposers scour past publications and seize upon any “flip-flops.”  They look a little silly if they harp on it because it has never been said that such flip-flops don’t occur regarding non-core beliefs. The core beliefs outlined above have held firm for over a century. So maybe whatever this student cannot embrace is one of those lesser things that will one day be clarified.

Nobody gets everything they want. It is in the nature of unity and cooperation that people acquiesce on details they may not grasp or even agree with. Tell the fellow to find someone who agrees with all JW tenets except for that of a human governing body and get one of them to baptize him. Since he will not be able to find such a person, let him ponder the significance of that. It is a “Lord, to whom shall we go?” type of thing. (and the thing the Lord said to trigger that remark was every bit as controversial as what this person worries over today.)

If the hypothetical person has no regard for the Governing Body, then plainly he will have no regard for the command that he ought not be “forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.” Thus, to baptize him would be setting him up for certain failure, since the meetings are an essential component of our faith.

Always the sticking point with people will be the divine/human interface. It was certainly true of Moses’ time. And it was even true of the ‘greater Moses,’ the prophet like him that Jehovah was to raise up. There is no indication that Judas thought himself a rebel against God. Perhaps he and God were tight in his estimation—there were no problems there. But that upstart claiming to be the messiah was more than Judas could abide, not at all what he had expected.

Should persons hold out until there is perfection among those taking the lead? If you pray to God for specifics, he may said that he has underlings who can supply those needs—it is enough that he should hear your prayers night and day. If you answer him back that the underlings are imperfect, he will say that you are no great shakes yourself and that you will just have to make do with what is provided. Online I came across such a person who billed himself as “Patiently Waiting for the Truth.” Upon reviewing some of his comments, I dubbed him “Patiently Sitting on my Hands.”

Part of being a Christian is that we acquiesce to not being a collection of loose cannons. Part of being a Christian is that we acquiesce to being “all taught by Jehovah,” as well as nurtured and supported, by his loyal earthly organization.….

When you think of it, is this not exactly what opposers are trying to do in Russia. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not banned there. Only their organization is. Why? Is it not the sure knowledge that a rudderless ship will founder? History testifies that it always does. There is nowhere all the core doctrines of JWs are to be found except in the one with the faithful shepherds.

Cut off the individual Witnesses from their “controlling” organization. That way they can rely upon their own consciences to truly “make the truth their own.” That is the line of the opponents in Russia. It’s a specious argument, superficially plausible It appeals to our sense of independence and pride: that nobody will tell us what to do. But the argument is blind to human nature. It is also blind to the nature of Christianity. ‘Cut off the troops from their support line so they can more easily be scattered or even assimilated’ is the actual motive and reality.

 
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 July 26, 2021

Weekend Meeting: Study article today is from the May 2021 Wt: Jehovah Will Give You Strength“

Theme scripture: When I am weak, then I am powerful.”​—2 COR. 12:10.

Another abbreviated one, due to the streamed convention to follow.

Para 3: “Regardless of our circumstances, Jehovah can empower us to cope with personal challenges and still serve him to the extent that our circumstances allow.”

This so reminds me of my favorite CO whose trademark expression was ‘Just do the best you can.’….1/2

A man of wisdom and empathy, he was immensely popular with the friends, but there were a few hard-liners who fretted that some would seize upon his words as reason to do nothing…..2/2

“A thorn in the flesh” for Paul “so that [he] might not be overly exalted.” (2 Corinthians 12:7) Not a bad way to view adversities. Maybe you’d be puffed up, overbearing, and obnoxious without them.

How many letters of the apostle Paul were written while he was under house arrest and may have not been written otherwise? #jailbird

Para 5: “Although at times Paul was limited in what he could do, he made the most of his situation, and it “actually turned out for the advancement of the good news.”​—Phil. 1:12.

Indications that young Timothy was a timid soul: Counsel to him that God gave us not a spirit of cowardness, (2 Tim 1:7), that he ought not let the old guys look down on him, (1 Tim 4:12), reference to his ‘frequent bouts of illness.” (5:23)

“Can you put yourself in this picture?” the conductor asked of a picture showing several happily associating, and I envisioned a baby saying how much he identified with that babe in arms.

Discussion of Eccles 11:6 & how you don’t know how things will turn out.

“Sow your seed in the morning and do not let your hand rest until the evening; for you do not know which will have success, whether this one or that one, or whether they will both do well.”

It’s a wrap. Streamable Saturday Pm session of the convention follows at jw.org.

 

Midweek Meeting: Assigned Bible reading: Deuteronomy 19-21.

 

Whoa! That elder that follows me here, the worst speaker in the circuit, if not the world, uses ME in an illustration of cities of refuge. Maybe I don’t maintain my car, he says, and the parking brake slips  & the car rolls and deadens him! Heightening the illustration to….1/2

incorporate intent, he says what if I released the brake ON PURPOSE? Two others congregation members he picked on as well. This means war! Then his caveat that I would never do such a thing. He doesn’t know me very well, does he?…2/2

And what if he was checking his phone, he says, and a bad accident occurred? He would like to say he has never checked his phone while driving, but it would be a lie and preparing this talk was a wake-up call for him.

Who would have thought it? Bible reading that triggers a meeting with safety as the theme. Like if you clocked your neighbor with an axe head flew off the ax it was not nothing—you’d spend the rest of your days in a city of refuge….(Deut 19:5)….1/2

until the high priest died. Doesn’t THAT remind you of another provision, a greater high priest who when he dies pays the penalty for unintentional sin?…2/2

Does this hanging out and holding court at the gate remind us of anything, the next speaker says. Hmm. Where is he going with this? Hanging out in the parking lot after the meeting?

Brianna makes a nice comment about ‘deforestation’ based on Deut 20:19–“In case you lay siege …you must not ruin its trees by wielding an ax against them; for you should eat from them, and you must not cut them down, for is the tree of the field a man to be besieged by you?

You’d better not “hate your fellow man” is my takeaway from Deut 19:4-6, because if you did and then a fatal accident occurred you might have a hot time trying to explain your way out of it….1/2

“When he strikes his fellow man unintentionally and he did not previously hate him.  …However, he did not deserve to die, [should an enraged near relative off him before he reached a city of refuge] since he did not previously hate his fellow man.”….2/2

“Alright, listen up, guys! Who is a big chicken here?” “Um, that would be me,” comes a voice from the back, and on that basis he was excused from military service!…1/2

“The officers should also ask the people, ‘Who is fearful and fainthearted? He should return to his house, so that he may not cause his brothers to lose heart as he has.’” (Deut 20:8)…2/2

Yikes! The elder I love to tease, who sired the elder who is the worst speaker in the world, is householder in the RV talk, and alludes to the made-up scenario (chopping wood where the ax handle flies off) of the first talk. He also was targeted in that 1rst talk, besides me.1/2

Now I wonder if the third targeted person will speak up—the sister that served him food and accidentally poisoned him to death….2/2

That #1 speaker died three times in his fictional scenarios. He may be the worst speaker in the circuit, if not the world, but he doesn’t deserve THAT….3/3

Looks like for sure that near-miss really happened, and right there at HQ. And yes, that is the Hudson that the bro is biking down later—very scenic.

Hm. Maybe not. I mean, it looks like the Hudson and U.S. branch—I recognize the covered parking lot. On the other hand, they’re all the same and there is oriental lettering on the building.

It took awhile for the safety theme to catch on. In the 90s, the unsafety-conscious might try to blow past the safely bro at the Assembly Hall build site, for example. But he was chastened to learn that the safety bro could have him tossed from the job, no matter how essential.

And tho ‘safety’ is only a setup line in this case, I recall Leo’s public talk on the challenge of counseling those touchy: “Bro, I noticed one of your tires is very low & I wanted to let you know because of safety.” Oh yeah? comes the answer. Well, your car has a dented fender!

Hm. That sis is unplugging devices not in use rather than overloading the power strip. And she puts the boiling pot on the back burner, not the front where the child can tip it. I suppose this means when at the top of an extension ladder, I cannot walk it a few inches by bouncing

The guy in the prison jump suit reminds me of the guy who called me from across the street after he initially did not answer the door. He’d done 30 years in Attica for armed robbery in which someone died. “I was high as a kite on cocaine” he said, “a stupid kid.” …1/2

I looked and looked for that guy again, calling at all times and hours, and I never found him again. …2/2

Many people have done some serious repenting in prison. Sometimes they are victims of injustice themselves. You don’t write anyone off.

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)