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.’

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Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia—and Identification of Those Who Instigate It.

The New York Times today reports the torture of a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Russian campaign to eliminate the faith. It is the second such instance of torture coming to light. [edit—several more came within a few days] Arrests are commonplace. More commonplace are raids with the confiscation of personal property. 200 Jehovah’s Witnesses were recently place of the federal list of extremists, which means that bank accounts are frozen and they can no longer transact routine financial business.

With an active and prolific critical, at times hate, campaign being waged against Jehovah’s Witnesses online, it is reasonable to think that it indirectly instigates persecution of them in Russia. It is reasonable to think that it indirectly instigates the torching of two Kingdom Halls in the United States during 2019, both of which burned to the ground.

Many groups are harassed in Russia, but it is Jehovah’s Witnesses who are head-and-shoulders the primary target. Why? It boils down to Jesus’ words: “If you were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own. Now because you are no part of the world...for this reason the world hates you.” (John 15:19) It is no more complicated than that. Hatred against Witnesses may be cloaked as reports from a “whistleblower” or complaints of those who would advocate freedom from “mind control,” but at root the motivation is simply disturbance that ones should choose to be “no part of the world.” No villain on TV ever says, “I am the villain.” Instead, he paints himself the wronged one with a merited score to settle—and the program director strives so that we all see his point of view. We must not be obtuse.

From TrueTom vs the Apostates!—“The book Secular Faith - How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics attempts to reassure its secular audience through examining the changing moral stands of churches on five key issues. The book points out that today’s church members have more in common with atheists than they do with members of their own denominations from decades past. Essentially, the reassurance to those who would mold societal views is: ‘Don’t worry about it. They will come around. They always do. It may take a bit longer, but it is inevitable.’ Jehovah’s Witnesses have thwarted this model by not coming around.”

What Secular Faith is saying is that churches have in many respects ceased being “no part of the world”—and having done such, are not hated, since “the world is fond of what is its own.” Jehovah’s Witnesses, and almost they alone, are yet remaining “no part of the world”—and that is why they are hated. That is why they have “apostates” who are off the charts in expressing vitriol. “Apostates” (within the Christian context) can be expected to proliferate in direct proportion to how the main body stays separate from the world. As such, Jehovah’s Witnesses should almost be proud of theirs, for in them they are validated. A religion that has made its peace on the “five key issues” of Secular Faith—what’s to apostatize from?

Anti-Witnesses scream “Cult!” like patrons scream ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater. Are Jehovah’s Witnesses a cult? To the extent they are, it is because the Bible is a cult manual. The behavioral, informational, thought, and emotional “control” that anti-Witness activists complain about can be found in the urgings of the New Testament writers themselves. The words indicate no more than people living by the Bible, living peaceably in this world while they look to the righteous new one to come with the arrival of the kingdom Jesus taught his followers to pray for, the one the Bible describes as “the real life.” (1 Timothy 6:19) The agenda of the virulent Witness detractors is simply that no one should think in such an “impractical” way. 

A faith that remains “no part of the world” is thought socially backward, even socially harmful by some. But that hardly means it ought not be allowed to exist, particularly since it dovetails with Jesus’ words. “There has only been one Christian,” Mark Twain too cynically remarked. “They caught and killed him—early.”

I am not even sure that Witnesses should run from the word. It may be well instead to highlight its origin. It is the same origin as ‘cultivate’—which denotes ‘caring for something’—and in a religious sense it refers to ‘caring for the matters of the gods.’ Okay. I’ll take it. Jehovah’s Witnesses ‘care for the matters’ of God. They trigger opposition from ones who don’t want them to do that. They trigger opposition from those who have crossed over to embrace various aspects of the world—the world that Jesus says not to be part of.

This is clear in the testimony of one witness testifying for the prosecution in the Russian trial that would ban the JW organization. She complained of “complete and total control of life by the Administrative Center.” Asked to give an example of this, she reported her expulsion from the congregations after she “began her close, but not officially registered, relations with a man.” In other words, she wants to violate, within the congregation, the Bible sanction of ‘sex only within marriage.’ The Witness organization does not allow it, and she spins it as “complete and total control of life,” hoping to get the Russian Justices riled up.

Look, it is fine to adopt the standards of the world so long as one goes there to do it—don’t bring it into the congregation. She signed on for such Bible-based standards, now she wants to change them—and when thwarted in that attempt, she seeks to get the organization that got in her way banned at the Russian Supreme Court! It is no more than revenge. It is no more than insisting the standards of the greater world be accommodated in the Christian congregation.

Disfellowshipping itself is a last-ditch attempt at discipline, when all else has failed, to ensure that a member not bring standards of the world, no matter how commonly accepted elsewhere, into the congregation. Is it harsh? It certainly can be spun that way, but as ought to be clear by considering Secular Faith, no denomination has succeeded in obeying Jesus’ direction to remain “no part of the world” without it.

History testifies that among the reasons Christians were viciously persecuted in the first century was that their rituals were said to include cannibalism. Obviously Jesus’ followers did not do this, but from where might the charge originate? Might one look to the following passage in the sixth chapter of John, which begins by quoting Jesus?

I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the wilderness and yet they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that anyone may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever; and for a fact, the bread that I will give is my flesh in behalf of the life of the world.

Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them: “Most truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life, and I will resurrect him on the last day.”

When they heard this, many of his disciples said: “This speech is shocking; who can listen to it?”...Because of this, many of his disciples went off to the things behind and would no longer walk with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve: “You do not want to go also, do you?” Simon Peter answered him: “Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life. We have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.”  (6:48-69)

What of the ones who did not “come to know” that Jesus was the Holy One of God? What of the ones who “went to the things behind and would no longer walk with him”? Did they thereafter leave their former co-disciples to worship in peace? Or did some of them draw from these words proof that Jesus would recommend cannibalism to his followers? And if some advanced the notion, might there not have arisen ones in the congregation who pinned the blame on Jesus himself for saying the words that got the persecution ball rolling; ‘What a blunder!’—I can imagine some saying (though not in his presence).

It makes me think of the uproar raised over child sexual abuse within Jehovah’s Witnesses today. They are comparatively successful at preventing it—nobody, but nobody, has gathered every single member on earth (at the 2017 Regional Conventions) to consider detailed scenarios in which child sexual abuse might take place so that parents, obviously the first line of defense, can remain vigilant. But the world has little success at preventing CSA, so it focuses on punishing it after the fact, securing the barn door after the cows have fled. Routinely, we read of individuals arrested over CSA allegations. Unless the arrest is of a member of the clergy, the one detail that never accompanies such reports is that of the individual’s religious affiliation or lack thereof. Yet with Jehovah’s Witnesses, that detail is never lacking. Why? 

Plainly, it is that the Witness organization attempted to do something about child sexual abuse—they did not just close their eyes to it—and now detractors are trying to spin it as though they love the stuff. Jehovah’s Witnesses are well-known as a religion that “polices its own.” It is an attribute once viewed favorably, but now in the eyes of critics, it is spun as intolerable “control.” Those taking the lead in the Witness organization thereby came to know of individuals accused of CSA, and their “crime,” if it be one, is in leaving it up to affected ones themselves to report rather than “going beyond the law” to do it themselves. Time will tell how vile that sin is found to be, but it plainly falls far short of actually committing the CSA themselves, which is the pattern elsewhere. 

As with Jesus and his remarks that can, in the scheming of dishonest ones, be spun into encouragement of cannibalism, so the JW policy on CSA is spun by similarly dishonest ones to indicate that the organization is determined to nurture and protect it, whereas nothing could be further from the truth. Three times before the Australian Royal Commission, Geoffrey Jackson of the Witnesses’s Governing Body pleaded for universal, mandatory reporting laws, with no exceptions—if that could only be done, it would make the job of the Witness organization in policing its own without raising the ire of those outside the congregation “so much easier.”

Continuing his cross-examination, Justice Angus Stewart said: “Leaving aside the question of overriding mandatory law from the civil authorities...” I almost wish that Brother Jackson would have interjected at this point, “I wish you would not leave it aside, for it would solve the problem.” The greater world cannot make a dent in preventing childhood sexual abuse, and so it puts the onus on those who are trying to do something about it. Alas, our best lines invariably occur to us too late—had Brother Jackson picked up my line, it probably just would have got their backs up—and then (gulp) he would have looked at me with displeasure.

More on the Russian connection here.
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You Almost Wish There Would be Some Kickback—Part 2

I don’t follow any Twitter villain as a matter of routine—once in a while I peek—because if I do so I am tempted to respond and if I do that he is nothing but taunting and contemptuous. It is not as though I cannot hold my own & even make inroads but there is hardly any point to it. It is a been there/done that. Besides, I told the elders that I will not do that anymore (not regarding him specifically) and if they ask me again I don’t want to be tempted to lie. Should I cave a time or two, I will readily forgive myself—not to worry on that score—but I would rather not cave by putting the temptation before myself constantly. “Some people just needs killin” says you-know-who, but that doesn’t mean you ought to appoint yourself the one to do it. It has a way of sucking out large chunks of time that can better be used elsewhere.

Today detractors charge what they do before a worldwide audience—the very people whom we are trying to reach, and they at least can be expected to mull it over because there is nothing to counter it. Granted, there are so many other horrific things to monitor in the world that it is hard for anti-JW activists to put their ‘good news’ on the front burner, but it would be silly to say that it has no effect. It wouldn’t take much to counter it. Even a talk parallel to what Bro Losch just gave at the annual meeting regarding dates that failed to come true might do the trick. Once a matter is spoken or written about, you can keep referring back to it. 

The idea is not to silence opposers, for that cannot be done. The idea is to give some who may be swayed by them, even some of our own, something to offset their charges. The organization may choose to do that someday. Or maybe not—time will tell. It certainly is not the ‘whatever is righteous, whatever is chaste, true, lovable,’ etc where we like to remain, so that is good reason to avoid it. But there may be some who feel some sort of defense would come in handy.

Opposers will always have limits to their efforts because they have nothing to replace what they would take away—most people became Witnesses in the first place because they felt exploring the world that is yourself only goes so far as a guide to life.  Still, I have seen people gleefully saw off the branch on which they are sitting and laugh uproariously as they crashed to the ground, like the Dr. Strangelove cowboy who rides the nuke down to destruction, whooping and waving his hat as he drops—some people’s heads would laugh at you from the wheelbarrow carting them away from the guillotine—so some generalized pushback might be in order to prevent that whenever possible. Nasty people usually overplay their hand and in so doing torpedo their own case—never before their followers, of course, but before anyone of sense, it happens. But, still...

I’m not suggesting anyone get into a play-by-play scenario with the ‘good news‘ of those who oppose. I was struck by how, after the first Montana verdict, there were persons who wanted to rub my nose line by line into that first verdict so as to point out how the courts ruled JWs violated law! and then after reversal of that verdict, they said, ‘well, what do you expect? Witnesses follow the law—it’s the law that is not written right.’ People like to follow play-by-play in ongoing court trials these days to the extent that I almost say, ”Well, send the jury home, then—they don’t want to be there anyway. Put it all on social media and decide the matter by ‘likes’”. I never weigh in on developing matters—it is nothing more that common sense modesty to realize that since you can see but 1% of what the judge or jury sees, it is a fool’s mission to go there.

I’m not speaking of anything detailed as a defense, because details will not be constant from one situation to another. They represent non-repeatable human idiosyncrasies, and I have no problem accepting that people can and do say wrong or dumb things. No. Just something like the generalized facts I outlined in the post, so that if anyone wants to research our stand on matters, they will have more to research than a statement that we “abhor child sexual abuse.”

I am usually shouted down when I bring up one sister’s example—the kumbaya site practically chased me out with pitchforks (though not everyone)—but her example strikes me as a very sensible one—to familiarize herself with “apostate” ideas, so that, in the event her teenage son stumbles across them one fine day and is unsettled, she is able to help him. It is only icing on the cake that the kid is now an adult, has apparently never wobbled, and wonders why is mom is spending so much time with those crazies on the internet. If there were a few resident experts at each Kingdom Hall, people who knew how to keep tabs on what is bad and knew that doing so you does not require you to watch every Jerry Springer episode on the topic—you don’t want to do that because if you immerse yourself in what is sordid in any subject it affects your well-being—you know, balanced people—that it would be a good thing, not a bad thing, because then you might be able to help ones stumbled.

You don’t want to encourage people to go there, just like you don’t want to encourage people to go anywhere that toxic people hang out. These days, pop psychologists win approval by telling you do dump friends and even family members who are “toxic” in favor or those who are not. But to all but forbid people to go produces a strange effect of fleeing from the apostate as one would flee from the bogeyman. You have scenarios like that played out in the drama where the Russian brother inquires of his old friend only to hear that the old friend succumbed to reading literature critical of the organization and is no longer serving Jehovah—as though that’s all it takes to derail decades of service to God!—read a few brochures and you are toast. It’s ridiculous. Better to say, in my view, ‘go there if you must and be on the lookout for the unforgiving slave, for Demas, for the ones who went out because they are not of our sort, for the one fixated on the straws in others’ eyes, for the slave that buried the talent because his master was harsh, effectively saying ”You want disciples? Go out and make them yourself! I’ve got things to do!” Any drama is better, easier to follow, and easier to appreciate, when there are bad guys in the plot.

But won’t some go there and decide the ‘bad guys’ are actually the good guys? Probably. But I suspect no more than when we counsel so strongly not to even glance in a certain direction, and by so doing we appear exactly like a cult to people brought up in its modern definition. Drop down a notch to ‘investigate with caution if you must’ and the perception disappears. Amber Scorah has “her eyes opened” only when she goes into missionary work in China and begins correspondence with an “apostate” for whom it appears that she later dumped her husband in order to run off with? She should have had “her eyes opened” a long time ago, and if she had, that ridiculous phrase would have disappeared from the vocabulary by now. She herself would not be saying that she had her eyes opened—she would be saying that she went off because, like Demas, she prefers the world that JWs have fled—that JWs allowed her to see both plainly, and she chose the pathway that they did not.

The reason that this change of tactics will happen only by small degrees, if it happens at all, is due to what the scriptures say about those taking the lead. They are like the loyal shepherd who sees the wolf climbing the fence and holds the sheep out of harm’s way. They are like the farmer who knows that when you look behind, your plowing goes awry and the rows get all funny. They are like the strategist who says that they will slam you no matter what you do, so ignore them and press the pedal to the metal. They are like the doctor who says to keep away from what will raise your blood pressure and knot your stomach in favor of what is soothing to the soul. They are like the pop psychologist who says you should dump those toxic relationships. They are like the nursing mother who treats the flock tenderly and with protectiveness. They are not like the mom who says, “Alright, lean on that hot stove—see if I care! HA! Burned yourself, ya little snot? That’ll teach ya!” And they certainly are not like the brainwasher who says don’t go there, —‘all the better for me to control you, my dear, hehehe:))))))’ even though that is the only way opposers, and to an increasingly strong degree, the overall world sees it. Why play into their hands? Why go out of our way to prove Jesus’ words that the sons of this system know which way the secular wind blows but the sons of the light wouldn’t even know how to tie the laces of a secular shoe if you gave them one?

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Lies and Distortion of Facts

They didn’t just say lies in that November 2019 Watchtower. They said lies and distortion of facts.

Is it outright lies that we deal with here? Not so much. Is it distortion of fact? For the most part, yes.

”Distortion of fact” encompasses a lot and much of what it encompasses is in the eye of the beholder. If a point, in the overall scheme of things, is really quite insignificant, and it is made to seem all-important, is that not a distortion of fact? 

Suppose the spies that I have sent report back to me with a dossier of George’s private life that includes a few exasperating habits of his—like nose-picking. Suppose too that he has had one of two regretful episodes in his life that he would rather not broadcast. Suppose that he flunked out of a school or was fired from a job. Suppose he made a few judgments as family head that blew up in his face—not only his face but the faces of those in his family. Suppose he let down brothers in the congregation at one time or another, and even stumbled one or two.

”Ah, here comes my spy, now.....Hello Spy, what do you have?....hmmmm......oh my...yes....hm......whoa!....will you look at that?.....looky looky looky” 

Now suppose with my voluminous commenting privileges I never again focus upon anything other than one or all of these blunders, and I dismiss as inconsequential whatever good others point out that he has done, even though these matter plainly be what defines his life. Am I not distorting facts? Have I told any lies? No. Have I distorted any facts? I have done nothing else.

Another illustration—this one I gave at the meeting when it was my turn to comment—was that if there is someone in the audience who hates beets, I will not be able to argue with him that beets taste good. It is something that is beyond the scope of argument and I am proving myself pretty dense if I persist in trying. In the same way, the verse says: “Taste and see that Jehovah is good.” Some have tasted and seen that he is bad. It’s not something that is subject to arguing. 

My 30 seconds were up and you can’t keep raising your hand like a jack-in-the-box. But if I was to extend the thought here I might point out that I love cake. It tastes good. That’s why I love it. Imagine my surprise upon coming here on the all-open forum and discovering some dissing cake. How is that possible? Upon probing, I find that it is because the sweetness of sugar does nothing for them, so they just drop down a notch and focus on how you can get cavities and put on weight with cake. Well, yeah—if sugar did nothing for me, I too would drop down the list and harp on these other things.

So it is with the ‘sugar’ of the Bible’s message. This is what does it for Jehovah’s Witnesses—that unique combination of accurate Bible teachings along with the united brotherhood that comes with it—a unity and love unparalleled—and a satisfaction of knowing that one is cooperating with God’s intent of declaring his name and purposes. But if for some reason none of that should matter anymore, than what is there left than to drop down a level and promote some complaints to first place? It is what the opponents here do. Is that not a distortion—the reprioritizing of facts? We tend to carry on here as though facts are islands unto themselves. They’re not. They are more like the ingredients of a cake—they work together. One’s appreciation for the baked product will depend entirely upon one’s taste for the different ingredients. 

We’re a little nuts when we quibble over facts, as though individual facts in themselves are what clinches the deal. Instead, it it the prioritization of facts that matters. Seldom is it that people argue with no facts at all. It is which ones they choose to focus on and which ones they choose to downplay or even ignore that matters. 

And that is of facts that are presented accurately—as many are not. For example, a Pew survey lists Jehovah’s Witnesses as bringing up the bottom of the income chart—collectively they are the financially poorest. A fact? Yes. Opponents take that fact to suggest that Witnesses are deadbeats, some by nature, and some made so by a controlling organization. A distortion? I think so. When I wrote a post on the topic I stated that, in view of what the Bible consistently says about money and the love of money, any group not toward the bottom of that list has reason to hang their head in shame. Their high placement affords proof that they do not practice what they preach and they do not trust what the Lord says.

As to the Watchtower’s own statement, ‘lies and distortion of facts’—it might be more technically accurate if rephrased as ‘distortion of facts and lies’—I am not necessarily a fan of how the warning is made—but in the end, is it not the same thing? Consider:

Is it really so that?”  (a distortion of truth, designed to plant doubt)

You will not die.” (a lie—nothing but)

for God knows that in the very day of your eating from it...” (a bit of both, but mostly a distortion, for it impugns God’s motives)

More is distortion than outright lie. But it amounts to the same thing. In fact, the distortion is worse than the lie, in most cases, for without the distortion to ‘prime the pump’ the lie itself will often be spotted and rejected out of hand. 

Who does the fellow with the ink horn mark on the forehead? Those who are sighing and groaning over all the detestable things done in God’s name. Some aren’t. They aren’t marked for that reason. In no case is any lie being told. Even the distortion of truth is not immediately apparent. But it is there. People made in God’s image should be sighing and groaning over the detestable things done in God’s name. And sighing and groaning is not the same thing as bitching and complaining.

Too often we play their game. Given the facts that they choose to focus upon, they are exactly right, It is the choice of facts that is significant—which ones are promoted, which ones are inflated, which ones are downplayed, which ones are ignored, and which ones are declared not facts at all.

The Word makes clear from the get-go that those who serve love and serve God in the manner he directs and those who do not will have dramatically different ways of looking at things. They will have dramatically different goals in life. Once in a while (or even more than once in a while) apostates are pure loons. Once in a while (or even more than once in a while) some of us are. But for the most part, both groups act consistently with the facts that they choose to focus upon.

It is really impossible to successfully argue against their facts without also arguing against their priorities, their “tastes.” And since the latter is plainly impossible, it does make one reassess one’s time spent in doing so.

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‘We’re the Apostates of the World’—sung to the tune of ‘We Are the Champions’

The mission statement of Tom Irregardless and Me appears directly on the title page: “For we have become a theatrical spectacle to the world,” Paul writes to the Corinthians. “That being the case, let’s show them some theater!” is my addition.

It is the greatest show on earth, with actors playing characters good and bad, strutting their stuff, playing out their roles under the big tent. For the longest time I was frustrated that The Watchtower seldom names names—“one politician said” is the blandness that they usually served up. Then I realized the underlying truth: it is a play that we are watching. You don’t have to name the actors of the play—it can even be a distraction if you do. Name a villain and you create the illusion that holding that villain accountable and making him take responsibility solves the problem. Instead, cart him off to the hoosegow and another actor instantly steps into his shoes—the show goes on with barely a hiccup.

As the greatest showman on earth—Cecil B. DeMille—and every showman worth his salt before of after well knows, every show needs not just a hero. It needs a villain! The show will tank in popular estimation without a villain—it simply becomes too dull to hold interest. “There’s a great villain in that Bond movie,” people will say as they change channels. Fortunately, in the Greatest Show of Earth, there are villains galore! Who are they? Apostates! “Taste and see that Jehovah is good,” says the verse. They have tasted and seen that he is bad. They are the villains.

Let us assign them a theme song, taking inspiration from Queen’s ‘We Are the Champions:’

We’re the apostates, my friends

And we’ll keep on fighting ‘til the end

We’re the apostates

We’re the apostates

No way we’ll lose this

We hope you choose us

‘Cause we’re the apostates of the world!

There! Isn’t that nice? What! Do you think only the Israelites can come marching to battle singing their song? No! They came marching for battle that day, but they didn’t expect to draw a sword! Singers were out in front! (2 Chronicles 20:17-21) But if they listened very closely, they might have heard the approaching enemy also singing—the Queen song!

See the scoundrels attacking what they always attack—the divine/human interface. Has that not always been the case? It was the case with Moses and the rebellious Israelites. It was the case with the apostles and the malcontents that they strove with all their might to restrain. It was even true with the one who turned on Jesus—Judas. He and God were tight—there we no problems there! But this imposter claiming to be the Messiah! He was not at all what Judas had come to expect. And those yo-yos that he was attracting! “Untaught and ignorant,” Acts 4:13 (KJV) calls their head ones—don’t even go there!

See the apostates diving into the archives! ‘Have Witnesses predicted the end before?’ they mutter their empty thing. ‘Yes! They have—several times! And now they would cover it up!! Well, we won’t let them! Aha ha ha ha!!!!!’

Witnesses want to cover it up? Really? Anybody see Gerrit Losch speaking to hundreds at the Gilead graduation—it being broadcasted to millions? He’s the one noted for digging up stats. He must have referred to a couple dozen predictions for the end—starting with one in the year 400. Christopher Columbus even had one! I hadn’t known that. Isaac Newton as well, who wrote more on religion than he did on mathematics and science combined. That’s one that he didn’t mention, perhaps because the date is yet ahead: 2060.

Our brothers, too, have made some, he said, pointing to two in the 1800’s and a gaggle of them around 1914, so many that I thought he might not even slap me down for when I characterized them as that time you missed the nail with the hammer, and in frustration swung several times more, again missing each time!

Did he soft-peddle 1925 or 1975? He doubled down on them! He did not even use for an out the two perfect ones he had—that the early Christians, too, were obsessed over the end date: “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” they asked the resurrected Jesus the moment they laid eyes upon him. What godly person doesn’t want to see the end of this experiment with human rule? But Losch doesn’t even go there.

He’s trying to cover something up, is he? Doesn’t sound that way to me. Who knew that the stiff old German had it in him? When the blaggard throws a punch that he expects to smash in your face, you simply step aside, admit everything, fill in a few details he doesn’t know, and the slob’s own momentum sends him hurling past you head over heals! ‘The Governing Body humbly admits its mistakes and moves on,’ Losch states.

See the apostates reframing obviously good works as bad! Is it actually possible to characterize the Witnesses’ disaster relief mobilizations as evil? They find a way! One vile character says it is one of Satan’s lying signs and wonders, proving he can transform himself into an angel of light! When that doesn’t work, she says, ‘Big deal. Everybody does it!’ When that doesn’t work, she says, ‘Witnesses only help themselves—why don’t they rebuild everybody?’ They don’t because they are in no position to. They are volunteers, for the most part, using vacation time. What they can do is show others how it is done, show them the model that makes it possible for them to do likewise if they wish to or are capable of.

Then she says—it’s unbelievable! it’s her fourth tactic!—if the homeowner has insurance, they suggest donating the check! Duh! They commence repairs without knowing or caring whether there is insurance. What! She would accept $100K worth of work, and when the friends suggest donation, tell them to take a hike? Are you kidding me? What does she plan on doing with that check, anyway? Doesn’t she come mighty close to suggesting insurance fraud, which she doesn’t notice in her quest to make it hot for her former friends? I can’t imagine it happening very frequently because Witnesses are decent folk who would never dream of so taking advantage of others’ generosity. But she has no problem with it.

See them try to reframe reality—turning the good into evil that Jehovah’s Witnesses police their own as few others do so that they may best ‘practice what they preach.’ See how they deliberately sow confusion that leaving the reporting of child abuse to the digression of parties involved equates to ‘covering it up.’ When the gold standard of child abuse is to “go beyond the law,” impossible situations arise with regard to persons who, not surprisingly, expect you to abide by the law. Change the law! as Geoffrey Jackson pleaded, and everyone will be happy. It will make the Witnesses’ job “so much easier.” Few others undertake that job—of self-policing—so if the laws are screwed up it affects them not at all.

Who are these “apostates”—and I usually call them malcontents, detractors, or some like word, because outside of the Witness community, and even inside it, people tire of the term.

From the meta-data of ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’—

No New Testament writer fails to deal with then-rampant apostasy—a movement which finds its counterpart today. Two Bible chapters are entirely dedicated to it. Apostates of that time would “despise authority.” How could that become a problem unless there was authority? They loved “lawlessness.” How could that become a problem unless there was law? They favored acts of “brazen conduct,” had “eyes full of adultery,” and were “unable to desist from sin.” How could that become a problem unless there was someone to tell them that they could not carry on in that way? Not only is the nature of apostates revealed in the above Bible verses, but also the nature of the Christian organization.”

Any faith too bland to have quality apostates—I am almost proud of ours—is too bland to be given the time of day. They validate us. The more “respectable” churches where anything goes—what would people apostatize from?

See them snarling in their lairs! What accounts for their discontent? Well—let us not get too flippant (as we have several places in this post)—some of them genuinely caught the short end of the stick and then declined congregation efforts to restore them. But in general, whenever one discards a scenario in which there is discipline for one in which there is not, it will be like releasing a compressed spring—it rebounds wildly, delirious with its newfound freedom, caring not where it goes. This will be true when one leaves behind the school, the military, or the job. It will especially be true if one quit or was expelled from that institution—and that is the case of most on the anti-JW site. Many of them have come out as gay. Witnesses may not gay-bash as do some evangelicals, plenty of whom froth on the subject and tirelessly prod legislators to make it hot for gays in general society—Witnesses don’t do that—still, there is no place for gay sex relations within the Witness organization—and that hardly endears them to former members who have gone that way. There is a plain backdrop of ‘settling the score’ to be detected in many posts. It is anything but easy to hold the line on Bible morality in a quickly changing world.“

to be continued.....maybe

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If the Main Bethel Was in the East and Not in the West

If the Main Bethel was in the east and not the west:

Maybe theocratic warfare would not be so much like John-Wayne—hardening your forehead so the lout throwing a punch breaks his fist on it, a la Ezekiel:

Look! I have made your face exactly as hard as their faces and your forehead exactly as hard as their foreheads. Like a diamond, harder than flint, I have made your forehead” (Ezekiel 3:8-9)

Why should everyone have hard heads? Maybe they should be more like those of eastern martial arts—duck the punch and the big slob’s own momentum sends him hurtling off-balance—as he stumbles by kick him in the rear end.

You’re better off yielding than resisting. “Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath,” says Paul at Romans 12:19.

Take for example, the charge—detractors say it all the time—that Jehovah’s Witnesses have the highest rate of mental illness of all Christian religions. How in the world are you going to prove or disprove that—at a time when pharma has succeeded in putting 1 out of every 3 Americans on some form of anti-depressant? Drive by the psych ward of the hospital and look inside. Are they all our people in there? No. Usually, there is nobody at all, but sometimes there is one.

Don’t be the western scrapper who says it couldn’t possibly be so. Be the eastern scrapper who embraces it. Say: “Well, maybe you have a point,” and then observe that, if true, Luke 5:31 would account for it: “In reply Jesus said to them: ‘Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but those who are ill do.’” Is he speaking of tuberculosis? Or is mental distress, such as might accompany anguish over the ills of this world and the blame assigned to God for it more to the point? The ones you should worry about are those who are not greatly troubled by the stressors of life today—those who sail blithely through the injustices and cruelties without a care in the world.

What about when the scoundrels say: “If you look at the ‘turnover’ among JWs, you find it is one of the biggest turnovers of all religions.” Don’t say: “No way!” Say: “What do you expect? There is a cost to being a disciple of Christ. Why bother leaving a faith that asks nothing of you? Besides, a high attrition rate is easily offset by the high participation rate of those who stick. After all, with many faiths, people might not actually leave, but how would you know if they did?”

Use the blaggard’s weight against him—it is key to every Eastern martial art—it can work for JWs, too. Take the origins of Christianity. It is plainly a working-class religion, and as to it’s early leaders? “Uneducated and ordinary,” says Acts 4:13 (“untaught and ignorant”—KJV) This is embarrassing to Western religionists. If acknowledged at all (I had never heard it before becoming a Witness) it is treated as an obstacle overcome. “They may have started low, but look how they pulled themselves up!” is the attitude in vogue, thus taking for granted that more secular education is the cure for whatever ails one. 

The clergy of many faiths bristle with degrees—they are considered essential as a qualification. The degrees require a broad command of the “humanities.” They often even require an examination of their own topic through the lens of critical thinking, ensuring that faith will lose out, since the two are opposed. A case in point is a series of talks I have been listening to from the Great Courses company entitled: “From Jesus to Constantine: A History of Early Christianity.” The speaker is Bart Ehrman, Chair of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he with a Masters of Divinity degree. You’d almost think that the Chair of a Religious Department would believe in God, but he does not appear to. If I took a science course taught by one who thought Newton and Einstein were well intentioned but misguided zealots, I would smell a rat.

Questions for Study at the conclusion of one lecture includes: “Why do you suppose such people as Perpetua or Ignatius—who presumably had so much to offer people in this world and who could have no doubt led happy lives here—were so eager to sacrifice their bodies and leave this world?”

Thus he seems to demonstrate that he is clueless on the gist what he teaches. The entire motivation of a Christian appears a totally foreign concept to him, notwithstanding that he is recognized as the smartest person in the room.

Another case in point, which I have not yet expanded upon, though I mean to, is the New York Times review of Amber Scorah’s book—a review written by a faculty member of Harvard Divinity School. It seems pretty clear that this reviewer is an atheist. Don’t you go to Harvard Divinity School because you want to learn about God?

A third case in point—and a minor one—is those few elective courses I took in religion from my own college days. The professor was a retired Baptist clergyman. I can hear him chuckling now about how at Divinity School, the Gospel of John was called the Gospel to the Idiots on account of it’s simple language. The early disciples might be “untaught and ignorant,” but the educated clergy would run rings around them.

Another project for one of his classes was to write a paper about “entering into God’s rest” and how there “remains a Sabbath for the people of God,” as written in Hebrews chapter 4. What was that passage supposed to mean? I ended up taking most of my paper from Watchtower publications. I didn’t want to. It was against the rules to rely on any one “sectarian” source. But I found that I couldn’t help it. None of the other suggested sources made any sense to me. They all struck me as pointless pontificating. 

This would have been in my senior year, and during the summer recess before, I had been introduced to the Bible study of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I had the sense of the puzzle picture coming together and was beginning to glimpse the mountain vista on the box cover. I had no patience for the logical machinations of those whose presentation made clear that their puzzle lay unassembled in the box on their closet shelf. I might have more patience with it today—probably would.

No. Don’t go groveling over the education that those early Christians didn’t have but which is now thought essential. Tell them to show us the magnificent world that their brand of education has collectively produced before we start fawning over it. Christianity started off as a working class religion. It still is and the leaders of the faith among Jehovah’s Witnesses are still as they were then—“untaught and ordinary.” Don’t hide your head in shame over it. Embrace it. When the “educated” people come along and say: “Okay, here we are, we’ll take it from here,” tell them to take a hike.

(to be continued)

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All the Better to Control You With, My Dear

Dear TrueTom: There were only EIGHT humans in that Ark and the rest were dumb animals that were controlled by those EIGHT humans. Um how many members of the Governing Body are there ? Oh yes EIGHT.  And who in control of the Org ? Those EIGHT humans. Does make a person wonder exactly what the Governing Body thinks of all the rest in their Ark. 

Sigh.....you see the questions that I have to deal with? Sometimes I think the best thing I can do with my help desk is to chop it into a thousand pieces, toss it into the river, and make all the Israelites drink from it.

 

Dear Person: You may think that you have done fine detective work, but it falls far short. You call yourself astute?

If you would use the head God gave you and focus, you would note that one GB member is eating a lot to be big as an elephant, one is stretching his neck like a giraffe, another growing stripes like a zebra, yet another shrieks like a macaw, and so forth. 

Look, everyone knows this. Why do you come to the table so ill-equipped in knowledge?

”My, what wolflike teeth you have, grandma”

”All the better to control you with, my dear.”

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Sticking Up For “the Unrighteous” in Russia - Psalm 37:29 Pronounced Extremist

Russian scholars—they are awfully smart over there—found extremism in an Old Testament phrase in the course of building a case against Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was not in the New World Translation—that entire work has been declared extremist and is therefore shelved. It is a passage found in any Bible, even the one used by the Russian Orthodox Church.

The offending verse is Psalm 37:29 [36:29 in Eastern Bibles]: “The righteous will inherit the earth and will live in it forever.”

This verse is actually a threat toward “unrighteous persons,” the experts discerned. It is “about dismissiveness (contempt, aggression) toward a group of persons on the basis of religious affiliation.” It furthers the “‘propaganda of inferiority’ on the basis of religious identity.”

In other words, they are sticking up for the unrighteous in that land. “Well—they’re people, too,” is their stroke of wisdom. If the “righteous” are to be favored with inheriting the earth and living there forever, then the unrighteous should be there, too.

It is breathtakingly stupid reasoning, and yet it is the reasoning that carries the day in Russia. But we should not laugh at it, because it is more evil than stupid, and it is the work of opposers who know what they are doing and will do it here when the time is right. The reasoning is the same—it is only more unmasked in Russia than elsewhere, but it ought to serve as a heads-up for elsewhere.

In both places it is the reasoning of those who hate God. They do not hate him so long as He knows His place. If He allows societal trends and critical thinking to carry the day, He is welcome, but only then. If He tries impose upon people His own standards of “righteousness,” He is not. If He allows the will of the people to prevail, He is welcome. If He says, as in John 6:45: “They will all be taught be Jehovah,” He is not—unless He means that the will of the people is the will of Jehovah. He should know that His role is to sit in the back seat and keep His mouth shut.

The entire warfare of opponents denouncing disfellowshipping is a reflection of their frustration at having the window slammed shut on their fingers as they try to break into the house with their new and improved morality—morality that is not God’s. They are livid that they cannot do that, and so they rail against the tool that thwarts them, even trying to declare it illegal.

The book “Secular Faith - How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics” attempts to reassure its secular audience through examining the changing moral stands of churches on five key issues. The book points out that today’s church members have more in common with atheists than they do with members of their own denominations from decades past. Essentially, the reassurance to those who would mold societal views is: “Don’t worry about it. They will come around. They always do. It may take a bit longer, but it is inevitable.” Jehovah’s Witnesses have thwarted this model by not coming around. Disfellowshipping—the ability to expel those who refuse to conform to the conduct and speech that they signed on for—is their trump card. It is a last-ditch method of discipline, when all else has failed, to ensure that the Christian congregation remains true to its underpinnings, something that cannot happen without the trump card held in reserve—or at least it never has happened. (See post here)

It is a God-ordained tool from the One who knows humankind better than they do themselves. Actually, humans know it well, too, but they forget it when it stands in their way. If they did not know it, there would be no such thing as advertising—the ultimate manipulative device founded on the premise that humans can be swayed any which way given sufficient propaganda. Corporate interests would not pour billions into advertising if they were not convinced human behavior could be molded. “We made Miller the number two selling brand in the country, and everybody said: ‘Nobody will drink that stuff,’” said Mickey Spillane.

“Righteousness” is an antiquated term for those peddling a new morality and a trashing the traditional one. The term is a threat to them. It is a term that is no longer allowed in Russia, but how far behind can the West be? Acceptable human conduct should be determined by group norm, not imposed by some Bully from above, it increasingly says. The war against disfellowshipping is at root a manisfestion of those who would fight against God.

Says the apostle Peter: “For the time that has passed by is sufficient for you to have worked out the will of the nations when you proceeded in deeds of loose conduct, lusts, excesses with wine, revelries, drinking matches, and illegal idolatries. Because you do not continue running with them in this course to the same low sink of debauchery, they are puzzled and go on speaking abusively of you.” (1 Peter 4:3-4)

They do speak that way. But as the discordant ones accumulate in the “low sink of debauchery,” they finally are emboldened to also say: “Water’s fine here in the low sink! Who are you to judge?” The qualities Peter speaks of are simply not the anathema that they once were. Some are openly embraced.

So “righteousness” as defined by a God is an insult. To speak of a world where righteousness will prevail is extremist in Russia, and therefore illegal. For now, in the West, it is just gauche and small-minded. That is changing. If it truly is that God will allow only the righteous in the new world of his making, then anyone on His side will do whatever can be done to be that way. Opponents today want to make that illegal, or at least they want to make illegal the means to do it.

The climate is not just right for opposers here to declare that the righteous inheriting the earth is extremist, as they have in Russia, but that is what many want to do—and it will likely reach that point one day. Should it happen, it will be a development that is on script, and so thereby can be said to be okay. It will not be unexpected. The miscreants are angling for it now.

Nikolai Gordienko, of the Herzen Russian State University in St. Petersburg, once stated: “When the experts accuse Jehovah’s Witnesses for their teachings, they do not realize that they are actually making accusations against the Bible.” Jehovah’s Witnesses represent it. They practice it as best they can. The gloves have come off in Russia. They came off long ago with regard to human rights, but now they also come off with regard to the intent of Witness persecution there. It is not Witnesses that are opposed. It is God who is opposed—the Witnesses are just the middlemen who represent him.

Gamaliel cautioned religious leaders in the first century regarding Christians: “Do not meddle with these men, but let them alone. For if this scheme or this work is from men, it will be overthrown; but if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. Otherwise, you may even be found fighters against God himself.” That’s exactly who is in the crosshairs of opponents today—who is He to tell us what is righteous? they glower. Banning the Witness organization was not enough for those opponents in Russia. Banning the New World Translation was also not enough, for the same verses hateful to those demanding moral relevance are found in any translation of the Bible.

How far will opponents get in their quest to enlist the world’s sympathy that they got kicked out of a religion for refusing to abide by the rules—in essence, for refusing to be “righteous?” Time will tell, but until the Lord intervenes, the playing field is tilted their way. The individual rights of those who would kick over the traces garners popular support. The individual rights of those who would impose upon themselves a force greater than they to safeguard against their own weaknesses means nothing.

During Soviet times, dissidents stated that the underlying attitude of authorities was that they didn’t really care if you believed their lie or not, so long as you knuckled under to their power to define reality. Declaring the Psalm extremist—“The righteous ones will inherit the earth and they will live in it forever”—is an example of the pattern reasserting itself: “Yes, it is ridiculous, but who cares? It is what we say it is.”

In the West it is still deemed necessary to believe the lie—that the “offenses” of the people who endeavor to represent God are the objection, and not God himself. That can be expected to change. The offenses are blown up and misrepresented, but they are not, in most cases, untrue. They are, however, not the issues to watch. The issues to watch are those relating to God’s purpose to establish an earth in which righteousness prevails.

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Blocking Trolls the Star Trek Way - I Didn’t Want to Do It

I blocked quite a few trolls yesterday. I didn’t really want to block them—it is a first for me—but the nature of trolls everywhere is that they do nothing but insist upon their own view. If answered, they just repackage and run it through again, and they get downright ornery when countered. Soon you find that they have taken over your day, because they will not let your counterview stand—they must demolish it.

They are not even wrong, necessarily, in the basic facts they may present—but they insist upon skewing them and imputing motives, invariably bad ones, to their former friends. It is like that job you left—either you quit or were fired, You are unlikely to speak well of it again, unless it clearly was a stepping stone job or a career change.

All their chums join the fray. In time, you are doing nothing else but countering these characters. They will not be swayed—as trolls never are. In our case, it is the verse: “Taste and see that Jehovah is good.” They have tasted and pronounced him bad. Are you going to turn them around in a few 280-character tweets? I don’t think so.

There is a part of me that will miss them, but they just will not behave. A writer needs a muse, but he also needs a villain. Social media is VillainsRUs, but you soon find that they are taking over your life—plus the neighbors begin to complain. It is like when you change to another genre and find trolls that insist Trump must hang for anything that has happened “on his watch,” and then you switch channels to find those insisting that Obama or Hillary must hang for whatever happened “on their watch.” Who can deal with that vitriol? We will know what is what when the fat lady sings—a reference that I soon will not be able to use due the latest development of political correctness—“fat-shaming”—although I did learn over the weekend that Brother Herd, who may not even know what political correctness is, will never reprove me for it.

When the time came, I cut them down like Captain Kirk used to cut down Romulans. I deliberately mixed up two Star Trek series so that they would tell me how stupid I was to think that Wesley Crusher was Dr. McCoy’s son. It is like when Trump tweets that North Korea has launched its nuclear missels toward the U.S. People of good sense run for the hills. Trolls run to their keyboards to point out that the idiot can’t even spell the word right. Whether they actually did it or not, I will never know—for they had been blocked:

“Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the StarShip TrueTom, whose mission is to boldly go where no one has gone before to tell us what’s out there! Report, TrueTom. What have you found in your valiant quest? What’s out there!”

“Roger that, Houston. I am afraid that the report is bad. It is a universe of trolls! Aren’t there any parallel universes around anywhere? They’re everywhere! In the cupboards, in the closets, in the toilets...mostly there. Let’s beam them over to the Klingon ship!”

“You have go-ahead, TrueTom. Use you digression.”

“Got it, Houston. Phasers locked. Fire at will! Mr Solo! Let’s take out the first wave of these vile aliens. Shields, up! There may be a second wave!”

“Captain, the engines—they can’t take it!”

“Suck it up, Scotty. What do you think I pay you for?”

“Mr. Spock, get Roy Romulan on the phone. Let’s patch up our little spat. He’s not such a bad guy after all.”

....

“Jean Luc, Wesley says that you are wuss for not staying to fight the trolls.”

“Tell the young snot to return to the helm. And tell him to try not to graze the side of the Ferengi ship this time. See if you can renew his learner’s permit once again.”

“Captain, are you certain that you should block all these Trolonians, like that hothead McCoy wants? I advise that we preserve some for study.”

“What! Are you, too, a Trolonian? Search and see that no prophet is to be raised up from Trolonia! Blast away, Jim!”

“Captain, one of those vile aliens exploded in my face! Look at all this green goo!”

“Wesley, you young idiot! Did you learn nothing from that “Men in Black” training video? Listen, ride outside on the wing for awhile until the stench wears off! I’ll tell your mom that you went fishing.”

“Captain, it isn’t logical that you should have put up with those trolls all that time.”

“Zip it, Spock! He was going for the StarFleet world record for Troll Endurance. Now that he has it—it came in the mail today—blast away at all those suckers!”

“Captain, the first wave has fallen, but it is as you said: “Kill a fly and 50 come to the funeral!” What can we do?”

“Hmm. What! Solo, you idiot! I said phasers! You have activated the tractor beam! Gasp! Are you a trolonian, too—et tu, Brutus?”

“Captain, the engines!”

”Oh for crying out loud! You are such a pain, Scotty!”

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Skirmish #150819 - The Unreluctant

If this hadn’t ended in a threat, I would have forgotten all about it. Even so, I am not sure that it was worth the effort to put together. Don’t I have other things to do? And didn’t the Librarian (that old hen) once tell me to knock it off when I got into a long squabble with Alan the Juggernaut? “I call all to witness that Tom has not answered my question,” he said. “It’s just you and me, you idiot,” I replied. “What! Do you think that you are Clarence Darrow arguing “Inherit the Wind?”  Nonetheless, I did reassemble the tweets in this instance, which is not easy to do chronologically when they fly back and forth quickly.

What saves me with these trolls  is that I have a body of work stretching back 15 years. It has a way of discouraging them, because eventually it dawns upon them that, though they vent their spleen, they really end up retarding their cause—they submit 30 words, and I, by including a link to something already written, respond with 1000. For the time being, that gives me a leg up, and whenever brothers exchange remarks with these characters without that advantage, they usually get beaten up badly, not just by the villain, but by all his chums who join the fray. I don’t recommend it, and maybe even for me I do not recommend it.

“The Unreluctant” appears out of nowhere to challege the post about the Phoenix New Times article,  but it quickly escalates. He is becoming frustrated with the posts I link to. I mean, these fellows want to drag out some pissy little complaint for a few pages, and you respond with a link that covers that complaint, and much more. Presently, they start to lose it: [Warning: this gets graphic on his part...I have edited as lightly as possible, for the sake of readability. I have added nothing (except a bracketed running commentary) I have deleted a little so as not to be redundant.]

UnR: Although ur writing style is unique so if you are up for some advice, sometimes less said is better. Just being constructive mate.

TTH: It was once thought permissible to make a defense when under accusation.

UnR: Of course it is Tom. Mate do you have a problem with comprehension? You always bring another argument into it I didn’t bring up...straw man much Defend Tom, just learn to be more constructive less arrogance....if you want my brutal honesty.

TTH: It is ever the way with zealots to hone in laser-like on their issue and their issue alone—to the exclusion of all else. Considering context was once thought wise. Today it is raising a straw man argument. Such zealotry is seen in many areas, not just that of religion.

TTH: Don’t tag me in a @jasonwynee reply because he has blocked me, the big wus. Of course, if I was abusive, foul, or harassing, that might be expected, but you well know from our exchanges that I am not. As an example of things misrepresented, here is a post on “mentally diseased.” Most of the rest is you chest-thumping over your hoped-for events.

UnR: Correct they categorised them [he is referring to “apostates”] all as ‘sub-human’ We see such terms being used by the GB as Vermin (exactly what the Nazis stayed) Mentally diseased (removed from the 2013 NWT perversion as it was too damaging to leave in) [that removal is covered in my above link]

TTH: Off the top of my head, I do not know where this is. [only the “mentally diseased was ever in print] But the Bible itself speaks of “animalistic men” and those enthralled with the “teaching of demons” It was probably said [once] in that context. They certainly don’t overdo it.

UnR: That’s right Tom,they didn’t overdo it at all when they copied the Nazi slogan & slaughter 6mio Jews by calling them vermin, and using it in a public setting in 2019! Tom forgive me please,but piss off and pull your head out of Gerrit Losch’s backside. You have now crossed a line

TTH: Uh oh. I think it is you crossing a line, not me. As to the Nazi slaughter of 6 million Jews, by the time it got underway, virtually everyone BUT Jehovah’s Witnesses had a hand in it. They were in the camps for their refusal to go along with Adolf.

TTH: There is also an current account, and I will be unable to back this up because I do not know that the involved parties want publicity, of JWs asking for very accommodating terms in hotel negotiations with a high-priced facility, being dismissed by hotel personnel, who were then countermanded by the manager on the basis that her grandfather was in the Nazi camps and she wouldn’t be here were it not for him. Yes, I have not cited my source, but you know well that I do not lie. Let’s see if you also explode in vitriol at that one.

UnR: Pathetic Tom of how you cross a line and condone the rhetoric and then try to tramp on 6mio lives with 1300 JW’s somehow that because they were allowed to shave an SS Gaurdian somehow means something! Pathetic man you are Tom...you crossed the line with me! The first letter Rutherford wrote you did have a hand in it, you by proxy and your organisation condoned the ideals of the Third Reich. You had your hand in it up to your neck in killing 6mio Jews! It was only when Hitler confiscated the assets did he write second letter. Dont try an rewrite history with me,I know more about your Orgs dirty little secrets than u ever will. Recent talk at the convention given by Geoffrey Jackson states the real reason hitler was killing Jews was to get to the anointed is nothing short of holicaust denial! Pathetic.

[This is so unhinged that I just leave it here without rebutal. There is an early letter (1933) from the Watchtower president to Hitler’s brand-new government to assure it that Witnesses were apolitical and not a thread. It does not avoid certain stereotypes common in that day. Professor Patrick Allitt, an historian at Emory University in Atlanta, speaks in the GreatCourses series of a “low-level anti-semitism” that was near universal in North America, and considerably worse elsewhere leading up till WWII. After that war, with the Holocaust having come to light, it virtually disappeared. I suppose you can make the case that the Wt president could have risen above it—still, that is all that you can say. It is ever the mark of zealots that they extrapolate the standards of the present day into the past to condemn those whom they don’t like.]

UnR: You back up nothing, your blogs are Watchtowers rewritten, a wannabe elder who gets turned down by the CO due to you being ‘odd’ not Elder material, hence you come on twitter to find your calling...am I close Tom, has the nerve been struck my brother? Tom, you so dearly want that position

TTH: I do shake in fury over that—probably you have heard the heavens rumble. [I played with this some more]: Again!! It happened again!! The CO left and he DIDN’T MAKE ME AN ELDER!! What is that—200 times? ARRRGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!  [How did he know?]

TTH: Oh, and [besides the post on standing up to Hitler, here is one] on Rutherford, [you may enjoy this] And on the intellectuals that you try to join, here is something appropriate to the Nazi era. ...Please consider adopting a human photo for your profile, so that the reader doesn’t suppose you an adolescent stuck in a fantasy world.

UnR: And there it is, the gas lighting. I kept this whole conversation on a level until you told lies about 6mio Jews and how you had nothing to do with it, yet your organisation condoned it at the highest level and what do you come back with....gas lighting. You crossed the line Tom

TTH: Feel free to cross back. I did not invite you here, you know. Nor did I engage you on your feed. Nor do I even want you here. This is so typical—you enter with remarks that get more & more heated till they outright lose it & burst into profanity. [Isn’t there something in Revelation 12 about ones who “accuse your brothers day and night before God?”]

UnR: You crossed the line and you will pay for it.

TTH: I crossed line and I will pay for it? Will screenshots help [my cause]? I mean, just when I think that you cannot get more abusive, you reach new heights.

[At this point, “NoFucksGiven” felt it appropriate to weigh in for the first time. She reached back into her treasure trove of words and found the same one that she would have found on the front burner]: YOUR FUCKING CULT IS GOING DOWN!!

TTH: Another visitor. Look, if I didn’t block the one that posted a photo of an erect penis, I will not soon block you. Best to let such things hang out there, where they will soon be buried, and until they are they make her look unhinged, not me. As to “going down” try this:

[She responded with a GIF of a dancing turd.]

I haven’t actually blocked anyone yet. I am not adverse to doing it. They do sully up things, they are a distraction, and if I hang with them long enough, I will probably tell my someone to “piss off” and get his head out of whoever’s backside. I mean, there really is something to that verse: “Bad associations spoil useful habits.” It may just be that I’ve not blocked anyone yet because I recall the wise words of Bud: “Kill a fly and 50 come to the funeral.”

It was the threat that decided me: “You have crossed a line and you will pay for it.” What did I do to trigger THAT? Maybe I jumped the gun in charging profanity. Perhaps “pissing off” and urging one to “pull your head out of Gerrit Losch’s backside” is polite dinner banter where he comes from. He plainly drinks too much of his own Kool-Aid, and it sends him into a rage when he is countered.

Maybe I shouldn’t have played around with his theory of a frustrated wannabe elder. I mean, that IS a little like brushing the teeth of a charging Rottweiler. Maybe I shouldn’t have done it. Oh, and perhaps I shouldn’t have asked him to shed his mask, so people would not think he was a pimply comic book-world adolescent. Actually, maybe I had it coming. But, come on! These guys materialize out of nowhere, just like—well, they materialize—and they make all sorts of charges. But give them any pushback, and they lose it. You also can’t call them a name because if you do, you will be complicit with Hitler in killing 6 million Jews. So let me just say for the record that I had a misunderstanding with this gentleman.

It is probably not a real threat. These are the days of 2 Timothy  3, in which people are said to be “without self-control” and “fierce.” It happens all the time on social media. Still, I am a sensitive soul, a “very gentle man, down to my fingertips/the sort who never would, ever could, let an insulting remark escape his lips” (for the most part), and it gave me pause. As long as I was pausing, I thought I’d write it up as a post.

Maybe I can engage JTR, that big-mouthed quasi-brother from the hills who packs a gun—something practically unheard of in JW-land. He will watch my back, and if I get into trouble, he will approach smiling, parting his suit jacket so that UnReluctant will see his holster, at which point he will mumble and slink away. Trouble is, JTR is prone to posting incendiary material of his own. Still, when push comes to shove, he will probably have my back. I think.

Or maybe I should just do it the way of Peter, who, when he pulled out a sword, the Lord told him to put it back.

....

[Edit: JTR was a good egg about this, even if he is a bad egg in some ways. He is a good egg as a driver, too, and he once proved it by turning his vehicle once over easy. At any rate, he said: “Of course I will defend you, TTH. That’s what I do.” 

To acknowledge this, I sent him a “tough-bro” story—he likes that kind of thing and there aren’t that many of them:

”There is a report of someone dear to me, an MS, being similarly threatened by a—I don’t even think that he is a brother, but he attends some meetings. The MS was worried about it, relating to me: “I hope that he does not come after me in the restrooms, because if he does, I will take him down” and he called the different elders as to what he should do. One laughed, as though it were a contest that he would love to see. The COBE got back to him presently, to say that he need not worry if he felt it necessary to “take care of his business.”]

 

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