They. Really. Don’t. Like. Organized. Religion.—Just Who is a Cult?

The definition of cult has changed dramatically over the years. Some groups that were once on one side of the C-word are now on the other. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t really care which side of the word they are on so long as the Bible is on the same side. And they believe it is.

If they are a cult, it is because the Bible is a cult manual. If it is, they are. if it is not, they aren’t. Seen in this light, modern-day ‘cult’ accusations are just the latest manifestations of what has always been the case with Christians. Paul blows into town and asks, ‘has anyone been talking trash against me?’ His answer? “We have not received letters about you from Judea, nor have any of the brothers who came from there reported or spoken anything bad about you. But we think it proper to hear from you what your thoughts are, for truly as regards this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.” (Acts 28:21-22)

The criteria for cult classification used to be: if you fell under the spell of a charismatic leader, withdrew from society, and began doing strange things, you just might be a member of a cult. By this definition, JWs are not a cult. Their leaders are anything but charismatic—some are an acquired taste to listen to. They don’t withdraw from life, but continue in work, school, and the greater community. Do they do ‘strange things?’ It’s in the eye of the beholder, I suppose, but there was a time when speaking about one’s faith was not considered overly strange. They are not a cult by the old standard.

By the new one, the BITE one that revolves around various forms of ‘undue influence,’ they are; but so is the Bible, since those forms of ‘influence’ are no more than attempts to carry out what was clearly written as policy for the first-century congregation.

The real question is, ‘Is it such a horrid thing to be in such a ‘cult’ if that is exactly what the Bible advises? Or is it more horrid to insist upon ‘freedom of mind’ to the nth degree, as is typical today in the West? Look at the world such ‘freedom of mind’ has collectively produced—I believe it can be argued that such ‘freedom’ does not serve humanity well.

Witnesses will say that we need some ‘authority’ that is more than collective popular opinion, and so they put themselves where such authority exists. What we need is authority that reflects godly thinking and not just evolving human wisdom. Plainly, there will be some flaws in such authority, since everything humans touch is flawed. ‘We have this treasure [of the ministry] in earthen vessels [us—with all our imperfections] the NT writer advises. But when Christians cast off such authority in favor of  the ‘Me and Jesus’ model, they presently become almost indistinguishable from the evolving and declining standards of the greater world.

I like to write. It’s a fine hobby. I’ve written a few books and since I am a Witness such books revolve around congregation life as a Witness, anecdotes, as well as responding to criticisms directed toward them. A recent one is entitled: ‘In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction.’ If I write another, I may expand upon the C-word‘s revised definition. I might bring in how students of the 60s taunted police by calling them PIGS, doubling down when they saw it got under their skin. In time, one innovative officer responded with: PIGS—Pride, Integrity, Guts, Service.

I see no reason not to do the same with CULT when applied to Jehovah’s Witnesses. CULT—Courage, Unity, Love, Truth. Let persons insist upon their ‘freedom of mind.’ They end up missing the greatest freedom of all: freedom from sin and its resulting death and they obsess over the comparatively petty freedoms to be found in the present life.

The latest manifestation of that ‘freedom of mind’ obsession? An article about the decreasing popularity of religion (any religion, not just JW) among the young. “They. Really. Don’t. Like. Organized. Religion.” it states.

That sentence (if it is one) says it all. I know the following in symbolic, but as symbolism goes, it doesn’t get any better. Todays ‘freedom of mind’ people are so fiercely independent they can’t even stand for words to be organized properly, lest one unduly influence another.

You organize to get things done. If you don’t care about getting things done, you don’t organize. To spread the news of God’s Kingdom worldwide in a way that does not quickly devolve into a quagmire of individual opinion seems to Jehovah’s Witnesses a project worth organizing for. So they do. And they put up with how in any organization, ‘you can’t always get what you want’ even as they at the same time reap the benefits of organization.

 

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Short answers, Cult BITE

 

Whatever it is, it is the same nutty mindset that made first-century Christianity a cult. This is seen in what Paul felt compelled to write at 2 Corinthians 7:2.

“We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one.”

Why would he have had to say this? My guess is that they were the same loons then as there are today, quick to cry they were being in some nebulous way, wronged, corrupted, taken advantage of, as if accusing Paul and companions of trying to ‘control’ them, directing them toward new goals that they, in retrospect, came to despise.

 
The very fact that they are called ‘cult members’ is a strong indication of it. It is, to them, the fact that ‘everyone else’ chooses not to address them reasonably, instead falling back on name-calling.
 
 

It is because the people obsessed with ferreting out cults are a bunch of loons. They see it where they want to see it and ignore it where they don’t. The founder of the BITE model, used to ‘identify’ cults, is reliably leftest in all his views. He has written a book entitled ‘The Cult of Trump.’ When you think half the country has fallen under cult influence, it is an indicator to me that you have drunk too much of the Kool Aid yourself.

 

 

The greatest hang-up with critical thinking is that those who most ardently espouse it usually do so with the assumption that they themselves have a lock on the stuff.

 

 

Whatever it is, it is the same nutty mindset that made first-century Christianity a cult. This is seen in what Paul felt compelled to write at 2 Corinthians 7:2.

“We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one.”

Why would he have had to say this? My guess is that they were the same loons then as there are today, quick to cry they were being in some nebulous way, wronged, corrupted, taken advantage of, as if accusing Paul and companions of trying to ‘control’ them, directing them toward new goals that they, in retrospect, came to despise.

 

 

They point out that if you don’t believe in God, of course you would think faith that motivates people is a cult. They also point out that Paul indicated such in his writings, such as at 1 Corinthians 15:19

“If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are to be pitied more than anyone.” That is why if you don’t hope in Christ, you really ought not be among people who do. You should stay outside and call those people a cult.

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Is it Accurate to Refer to Jehovah’s Witnesses as a ‘Cult’?

Q: Is it accurate to refer to Jehovah's Witnesses as a "cult"? Do they meet the criteria of a true cult?

If it is accurate to call first century Christianity a ‘cult’ then it is also accurate to call Jehovah’s Witnesses a cult.

Take, for example, Paul’s direction that: “Now I urge you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you should all speak in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you may be completely united in the same mind and in the same line of thought.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)

You know that would be spun as a ‘cult’ today.

The ‘cult’ label exists to punish anyone who thinks out of the mainstream. Again, the apostle Paul:

“And stop being molded by this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, so that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

‘You WILL be molded by it,’ says the anti-cult faction, ‘and if you refuse, we will call you a ‘cult.’

Thing is, there doubtless are some crazy ‘cults’ out there. Yet, if the mainstream managed to deliver the goods (of peace, contentment, justice, meaning in life, etc), non of these groups, Jehovah’s Witnesses included, would succeed in gaining a toehold.

Seemingly, it is new, the non-stop accusations that Jehovah’s Witnesses are a ‘cult.’ Yet, it is just the latest permutation of what has been the case since the founding of Christianity. “Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against you for my sake,” said Jesus (Matthew 5:10)

Depend upon it. Christians would be spoken against. So it is that when Paul rolls into town (Rome), he asks the local Jewish leaders whether anyone has been talking trash about him. His answer? “We have not received letters about you from Judea, nor have any of the brothers who came from there reported or spoken anything bad about you. But we think it proper to hear from you what your thoughts are, for truly as regards this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.” (Acts 28: 21-22)

Nothing has changed. It was a ‘sect’ that was ‘spoken against everywhere.’

So why is it they were nowhere in Scripture specifically called a ‘cult’? Because the definition of the word ‘cult’ has been changed to fit them. It used to be that if you fell under the spell of a charismatic leader, separated from society, and began to do weird things, you just might be a cult member. By that traditional definition, Jehovah’s Witnesses are anything but a cult. Charismatic leaders? Many of them are cultivated tastes to listen to. Separate from society? They work and school with everyone else. Practice weird things? Only if you consider speaking about the cause of their faith, as laid out in the Bible, weird.

The old definition doesn’t fit them at all. So a new definition is concocted that does. But it equally fits Christianity as outlined in the Bible. Even the modern notion that Witnesses take advantage of people, rather than benefit them, is countered in Scripture—so the charge was apparently made, even if not couched in modern ‘cult’ jargon: “We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one,” Paul says at 2 Corinthians 7:2.

As far as I’m concerned, you should turn that nonsense on its head, doing what the police did when radicals began calling them PIGS, doubling down when they saw it got under their skin. One innovative officer redefined the acronym as, ‘Pride, Integrity, Guts, Service.’ 

Same here. Call Witnesses a cult? Redefine it: ‘Courage, Unity, Love, Truth.’ In short, you can call Jehovah’s Witnesses a cult if you like—the word means different things to different people—but then you must also call first-century Christianity a cult, because Witnesses do no more than emulate them.

“No, he was talking about guys like you! Your organization perfectly fit the description of the evil slave.”

“Oh yeah? You didn’t mention destroying families, allowing children to bleed to death, allowing child abuse, failed prophecies!”

A: Forty years into all-out societal war against child abuse, you can still throw a stone in any direction and hit ten pedophiles, so how anyone can say the problem is JWs is beyond me. Nevertheless, if there ever was a problem in the JW realm, it has been settled with a study article ensuring all that there is no stigma whatsoever in reporting an abuser to authorities. Details here:

As to blood transfusions, doubtless the JW stand has aided more people that it has harmed. This is because, here and there, courageous doctors have worked to accommodate it and in so doing have made medicine much safer for all. If there was equity, the JW organization would be awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for improving treatment. Details here: 

On ‘destroying families,’ that is mostly a matter of individuals insisting upon bringing into the congregation something God forbids, for example, some matter of modern sexual morality, and being disallowed by faithful family members.

As to failed prophesies, these are mostly analogous to misreading the bus schedule and consequently showing up early. This is no more calamitous than if someone showed up early at an actual bus stop. A little embarrassing, but people adjust.

 

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‘Controlling’ People—the Very Notions of Society and Morality Can be Spun in Terms of ‘Controlling’ People

The modern-day anti-cult obsession is that religious teachings are used (and even designed) to “control” people. They see it where they want to see it and overlook it where they don’t.

What of the Pink Floyd song, the one with the chorus of children? “We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control.” Whose plaintive cry is it it? Helpless cult victims? Maybe. I wasn’t thrilled to be made to go to school every day. It is the school systems of the world, put in place by the governments of the world! But it too, uses, ‘thought control.’ It is the boss cult which thereafter exempts itself while pointing a finger at everyone else.

I made a quip in Go Where Tom Goes that today’s anticultists would go bonkers at the seating system of early Charleston churches. There, you purchased your pew. Thereafter, you always sat there. Today’s anticultists (and only they) would spin that as ‘manipulating’ people to attend church since if you weren’t there in your pew everyone would know it. Peer pressure would do its dastardly work. There was zero chance you were sitting anywhere else. 

Instead, I liked Bro Sanderson’s talk that if you’re going to talk manipulation, do it with something that counts. He cited the Nuremburg trials, and how fear of death ‘manipulated’ people to do the most despicable things, a fear from which they would have been released had they known and exercised faith in Christ. The very notions of both society and morality can be portrayed in terms of ‘controlling’ people. If you’re going to play that game, do it with something that counts, such as fear of death that will manipulate you into being a mass murderer. 

On those endless trips in the family car, restless kids in the back, my dad would sometimes yell, ‘If you kids don’t stop crying back there, I’m going to pull this car over and give you something to cry about!’ I thought he was just being mean. I did not then realize he was proffering the wisdom of the ages, for sometimes that is exactly what must be done.

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The Playbook of the Enemy

 

An early 2023 Watchtower Study dealt with those who say ill things about Jehovah’s Witnesses in general and responsible brothers in particular. Quite a few articles do that these days.

One sis commented on how, after the meeting, many of us would be watching football. I knew her comment to be true because I was going to be one of them. Not that I am a football fanatic—I’m not—but the recent resurgence of the Bills after decades in the basement has piqued the interest of many. She further said that each team prepared for the game by studying the playbook of the other so that they could catch every little trick to be used against them.  ‘We do that too,’ she said. We have the playbook of the adversary. So we can know we are well-prepared and need not unduly fret no matter how much grief comes from those who oppose, even should they be apostates.

It’s not really true. In a sense it is, but only ‘in a sense.’ What we have is the ‘NFL Compendium Grand Strategic Play History Including Coach Commentary and Famous Player Roster.’ From there maybe you can deduce the opposing team’s playbook, but it is not easy to do. You never get more than an approximation. 

In this particular game, the opposing team’s playbook incorporated several Bengals A67D1CE1-4471-455D-9D97-717BD02D283A
making snow angels in the accumulating precip just after one of them intercepted a pass that once and for all put an end to any Bills threat. Think you’re going to get that from the NFL Compendium Grand History? Snow Angels! Those punks made snow angels! Like little kids! And when another one of them slapped down a would-be touchdown pass, he ran half the length of the field to rejoin his teammates, shaking his finger as though to say, ‘No, no, no! Not this time!’ I mean, the home team took a thorough drubbing and at the next-day news conference the talk was all of which heads would roll—as if nothing bad can happen without a few heads offered up in sacrifice!

If we really had the opposing spiritual team’s playbook we would be familiar with the current specific doings of apostates. But this we are strongly exhorted to be as clueless about as possible—in the spirit of ‘innocent as doves.’ Just listen to Brother Losch listing 100 metaphors for truth, and consider that your defense. It’s not nothing, but how much of a defense is it really?

These days the young are not especially religious. We might (and do) carry on about how they are leaving the churches in the West, but they are leaving the Kingdom Hall setting too. Some will say they are yet ‘spiritual’ but the word is so redefined that simply ‘looking deep within oneself’ may trigger it.

A good number of those young people who leave the Hall, it seems, are over at a former member forum. Is it not more than ridiculous that the only one who should know about this in the congregation is me? And that I should be looked at askance because of it—not that specifically but just a known interest in ‘the other team’s playbook.’  I thrive despite the stigma because I am otherwise considered a pretty good guy. But don’t think you can hold any privilege in the congregation, maybe to the point of carrying a mic, with such a stigma. I don’t mind. It’s discipline. If you want to represent any group you must ‘toe the line’ more than if you only wish to be among it. I don’t try to explain to shepherds what can be done properly on social media and what cannot be done. Since their own use of it is minimal at best and often non-existent, all you can do is provide grist for the mill of misunderstanding.

In that forum of malcontents where some are out, others are physically in but mentally out (PIMO), the majority of comments take the tone of high school students mocking out their teachers for bloopers that are sometimes real, sometimes imagined, and always exaggerated. A minority of comments, however, will have a more mature tone. These ones ‘promise the younger ones freedom’ without regard to who may or may not be  ‘slaves to corruption.’ Any familial division revealed? These ones will seek to widen it, thus ensuring there will never be healing. They present the general world as an oyster promising unbounded fulfillment—whereas anyone with a lick of sense knows it to be in dire straits, if not going down the tubes. 

They might not be able to do that were Witnesses not so ‘insular.’ That statement is one to make with caution, because ‘insularity’ and ‘no part of the world’ are flip sides of the same coin, similar to the relationship between ‘obstinate’ and ‘tenacious.’ You don’t want to be seen as discouraging ‘no part of the world.’ Jesus demands his people be that way. And even with being ‘insular’—try removing the insulation on your house wiring if you think ‘insular’ is so horrible. But anything Witnesses do, they do to the nth degree. Sometimes you wish things were more nuanced.

You can’t do the following with just anyone and I don’t do it routinely, but every so often as a joke I propose we go into what I call the ‘pickpocket ministry.’ I don’t propose it as much as I do street work on the thruway—slap a tract under the wiper as the cars roar by. No. But once in a while, before someone known to have a sense of humor, I do.

In the pickpocket ministry, you work in twos. Your deft partners lifts a person’s wallet as they walk by and lets it fall to the ground. Then you pick it up and return it to the person, explaining that you would never ever ever do so were it not for the Bible principles you learned as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

It’s a joke. I’ve never heard of anyone besides myself referring to the ‘pickpocket ministry.’ Yet some of our people view the greater world that way. You wish things would be more nuanced. At the music festival I attended, a ‘long-haired hippy type,’ the kind in the song who ‘need not apply,’ tapped me on the should to return the wallet that had slipped out of my pocket. I thanked him. Then I turned around to thank him more proper. He gave a gesture as if to say, ‘But of course—it’s not a big deal.’ Even the wallet I dropped on an excursion in Canada (Just try getting back into the country without one—it is doable but it’s anything but a cakewalk.) was returned to me. Someone called to say he had found it and asked how it could be returned. (Though, when I asked about the money inside, he said, ‘What money?’)

The point is that there are plenty of people who will do the right thing, often even when the stakes are high. Yet that bit of nuance is something our kids have not picked up on. Put them in the ex forum where they discover that the risks of the world are not guarantees and many of them carry on as though there are no risks—it was all scaremongering on the Witness organizations part! a result of ‘overplaying their hand.’

We Witnesses live in black-and-whites. This is to be expected of people who respond to Jesus’ ‘You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.’ (John 8:32) Christianity that adheres to the Bible does not primarily attract ‘nuanced’ people. ‘Gray area’ people don’t apply. ‘What is truth?’ people like Pilate don’t apply. Dogmatic people, on the other hand, apply in droves. It’s because the Bible presents a basic sense of right and wrong. But you would hope people would not stay dogmatic, as many of our people seem to do.

Ida Brexit once related how she didn’t want to be caught flat-footed in case her then-teenager was stumbled by apostasy. She made it her business to unpackage the stuff so that she could provide assistance should that happen. It made perfect sense to me. Our young people succumb to the oldest trick in the book, that of ‘curiosity killed the cat.’ They come across something that stumbles them. Thereafter no one is able to help them, even parents, because nobody has any idea of what it is they have come across. We speak, as did another sister at that above Watchtower Study, about the ‘lies’ of apostates without knowledge beyond the vaguest generalities of just what those lies are. Moreover, the youngster just mentioned must contend with the onus of being supposed ‘disloyal’ for even looking there—even if his or her initial motive was to defend the faith. Even if he/she would like to get parental insight, he won’t dare ask for fear an explosion might result. And the ‘mature’ parent who might otherwise give corrective guidance does not go there either so as not to be similarly ‘disloyal.’

Of course, it’s easy to understand why the stance is what it is. Essentially, it is ‘The Bible says so.’ ‘What harmony is there between Christ as Belial?’ ‘Keep your eye on those causing division and avoid them.’ ‘Don’t be a sharer of wicked works by even saying a greeting,’ and so forth. I get it where it comes from: the Bible, and Witnesses are a Bible people. However, it sure makes for some downsides both ludicrous and tragic. Alas, I ran Ida’s seemingly practical course through the site where ‘never is heard a discouraging word’ and I was roundly chastised over it.

Now, if there is a downside to following current counsel, there is also a downside to not following it. Do I know that such downside is not worse? I have in the past expressed worry for Ida because she puts under the tooth comb of suspicion any piddly little statement that others blow off as a nothingburger. But she is a ‘why? why? why’ person and I suppose such persons must be satisfied. Her devotion to Jehovah is solid, she assures us. I just hope we don’t get a ‘flee to the mountains’ someday and she says, ‘You’re joking!’ [Not to worry—she says she likes mountains and it won’t happen.]

It’s all very well for me to float ‘alternative counsel’ as trial balloons, but I’m not “keeping watch over you as those who will render an account.” (Hebrews 13:17) The earthly shepherds are. I don’t have to render an account (hopefully) when people heed my incautious words and some fall flat on their face. They do. How much skin you have in the game makes a big difference in how you play it.

On the other hand, hoards of Westerners are falling flat on their face now. The spirit of young people is bold. It is not given to continual warnings of ‘Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!’ The spirit of the young is not given to be continually ‘protected.’ Same as with a party, if there’s a brawl going on somewhere, it wants to be part of it. Why not do a ‘avoid toxic people’ not as a matter of ‘loyalty,’ but just because they are toxic? Any psychologist will back you up on that one—and man, o man—are the malcontents ever toxic on the internet!

Back when we homeschooled—it is a move I have never regretted, even though there is a non-educational downside of not knowing where the agencies are (some of those agencies can be helpful), because my son entering community college, the first classroom he had ever seen save for the 6th grade, said in all innocence, “I had no idea there were so many stupid people”—back in those days we subscribed to a newsletter called, ‘Growth Without Schooling.’ It’s founder, John Holt, was of the opinion that much juvenile delinquency stemmed from teens being barred from the adult world under the guise of protecting them. Thus, a local family who ran a grocery store got into serious trouble with Child Protective Services when their teen took her turn behind the cash register upon returning from school.

Let youths join in the adult world as their maturity allows. Will some fall? No doubt some will, along with some of the Ida-like parents who go there to help them. But it may be a like when I ran by Jim Whitepebble the local attrition rate for those who go to college and he says it much resembled the attrition rate for those who didn’t go.

The organizational goal is to protect. It is that of the scriptural sheepfold with the shepherd eyes peeled in watch for the wolves. Since it is scripture, and scripture is what drives the Witnesses, it will not readily yield to adaptation. This is true even though some come to feel this protection is to the point of smothering and that it sells them short, as if completely disregarding any possibility that a person might confront apostasy and, not only remain loyal, but become stronger for it, indignant and thereafter become a stalwart for staring into the abyss and when it started staring back at him kicking its butt.

Even with adults it works this way. Thus, there is that convention video of the one with decades of faithful service to God who quit serving Him after reading material ‘critical of the organization.’ No possibility is offered that he might have become livid and spurred himself on to a greater defense or even counterattack of that ‘yellow journalism.’ How can even adults not become all but superstitious over the A-word? It is no more than ‘Demas has forsaken me because he loved the present system of things’ in 100 different variations. Knowing what those variations are one might equate with ‘knowing the playbook of the opposing team.’

I would never recommend someone go traipsing through these ex-sites. The hostility there is breathtaking. Do not think you are going to persuade anyone to ‘Return to Jehovah.’ What you’ll find is that when parents send wayward youths a ‘Return to Jehovah’ message, they post it online for ridicule. But the all-but-forbidding it on pain of being thought disloyal approach isn’t working especially well either. Plus, it is so easily portrayed as sticking one’s head in the sand and submitting oneself to be fitted with blinders as though an animal as to give a push to the slide of any deviating youths.  And then we come along with our all-or-nothing reasoning and say, ‘Would you drink even a little bit of poison?’ In fact, we ingest ‘a little bit of poison’ all the time and our immune system is strengthened for it—assuming we haven’t ruined it. In fact again, the great controversy of our time, which HQ came to enthusiastically weigh in on after an initial stance of ‘neutrality,’ was that of, ‘To take the Covid vaccine or not to take the Covid vaccine?’ What is a vaccine if not ‘a little bit of poison’ that stimulates the body to mount a defense?

 

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Consolation Prizes

Just because something makes no sense doesn’t mean it might not be the way things are. 112E2F68-94F8-459F-A75C-471A21C8B204Lots of things make no sense, and when the district overseer long ago protested the telephone policy with those words, his answer was, “At Ma Bell, we have a saying. It doesn’t have to make cents as long as it makes dollars.”

Lots of things aren’t true, also. It’s as Churchill said: “There are a terrible lot lies going round the the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.” “Protect Yourself from Misinformation” is the title of a recent whiteboard intended for the young. Much as I appreciate the effort, the creators have their work cut out for them. Now that Elon Musk has taken the reigns at Twitter, he says ‘Frankly, just about every conspiracy theory you ever heard about Twitter has turned out to be true.’

The tiresome mantra is “holding people accountable” and making the scoundrels “take responsibility.” It’s hardly the bee’s knees when you can do that, for it doesn’t mean the bad things didn’t happen. Sometimes you can make the miscreants “take responsibility.” and even “hold them accountable,” but it’s better if you can stop them from being miscreants in the first place. The world runs on consolation prizes.

Punishment is easier than prevention. Prevention requires agreement on just how this can be done and agreement in a divided world seldom happens. So we settle for  “holding people accountable” and making them “take responsibility.”

“My people have done two bad things,” says the prophet Jeremiah. “They have abandoned me, the source of living water, And dug for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that cannot hold water.” (Jeremiah 2:13) Human society throws the owner’s manual away and still hopes for good mileage.

For the people of God who don’t throw the owners manual away, but try to abide by it, the product will still break down, for the manufacture is imperfect. You can still get caught in a pinch point on the potter’s wheel. “God is using imperfect people to adjust other imperfect people because that’s all he has at present,” says Bro Nourmair. The younger brothers get to squabbling and the old-timer tilts back in his chair and marvels at what Jehovah accomplishes “given what he has to work with.” Flawed though everyone is, you don’t discard the earthen vessels for being earthen, and you certainly don’t discard the manual for how to work with earthen vessels. God has all bases covered, someone told Whitepebble. “That means I can’t mess him up,” the latter replied.

Years ago, the CO approved a recommendation of someone for congregation office, though he made the observation, “He’s not the most humble brother in the world.” It’s all fine. He didn’t have to be the most humble brother in the world—he just had to meet the scriptural qualifications to an acceptable degree, and he did. The CO should have listened to his inner voice, though, to say nothing of those elders—yes, I was one of them—who paid not sufficient attention to Paul’s counsel (1 Tim 5:22)  on not laying your hands hastily upon anyone. What a yo-yo this fellow turned out to be, going the into full correcting-prophet mode over time, testing false positive for anointing and true positive for apostasy!

Those who are ill seek out the physician,’ Jesus says. (Matthew 9:12) What happens if they don’t? They die, many of them. It is not as though the ‘company doctor of the mainstream’ that would deride ‘cults’ heals them.

 

***They finally hung that conniving politician that everyone knew should be hung. ‘Any last words?’ they asked him on the gallows. “This is unacceptable!” he declared as the trap door swung open and the rope snapped taut.

 

******  The bookstore

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

One Fine Day Washing Brains on the Internet

‘Why do so many people hate Jews?’ says Bugs on Twitter—you know, just trying to get discussion going.

Pugnacious Peter appears:

Peter: ‘Why do so many Christians hate Jews? They had Pontius Pilate kill Christ according to the NT. You might also ask why do a lot of Jews hate everybody else? Because their religion teaches they're god's chosen and so on it goes - hate begets hate. That's religion - a control system.’

Someone chimes in on how Jesus commanded we love people. It’s true enough, but it doesn’t really address the point. Peter points that out:

Peter: ‘Jesus might teach u2 love people but ur church don't. Organised religions organise slaughter - always have - always will. Ur an exception my friend & there's lots of people like u but ur not the norm. When congregations r told2 kill most will.’ (words condensed for Twitter)

Twitter is like the background chatter of a coffee shop. Time to speak up here and see where it goes:

Tom: ‘For whatever it’s worth, Jehovah’s Witnesses, an organized Christian religion, will not kill on any account and have proven it their entire modern-day existence.’

This apparently makes an impression:

Peter: I will stand shoulder to shoulder with People who refuse to kill -  with a ... whatever it takes.

Yikes! Vomodog is lurking! That rascal interjects: ‘The Witness no-blood doctrine and how members in life threatening situations are heavily manipulated to obey it causing their deaths says otherwise.’

Tom: Even if it killed every single person who adhered to it, it would still pale in significance next to the massive scale killing under discussion here. But in fact, ‘abstain from blood’ is a Bible prohibition, included in Acts 15:29, it’s principle given in Leviticus 17:11, that science has validated, and that courageous doctors have accommodated. It works to a person’s immediate benefit far more often than not….

Besides, if we’re going to speak of ‘control’ (Peter) or ‘manipulation’ (Vomodog)—both terms in vogue today—do it with something that counts:

62B67D18-8F34-4FF9-9B18-F10CB9A4AEF5The people who decry ‘brainwashing’ (a related term in vogue) are less concerned with brainwashing as they are brainwashing that is not theirs. Isn’t that what life is all about today? People foisting their ‘brainwashing’ on each other, trying to preserve the illusion that it self-originates. What is advertising but an admission that life works this way?

(photo: Pixabay)

It is hard to think ‘anti-cult’ idiocy was not also alive in the 1st century, for Paul defends against it: We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one.” (2 Corinthians 7:2) Why would he say this unless the charge was made then, as today?

JWs are a ‘cult’ if and only if the Bible is a cult manual. If it is, they are. If it is not, they aren’t. They C-word has shifted in meaning over the years. Many groups that were once on one side of it are now on the other.

Short and pithy is the goal. Save what is verbose for the fine print, which people can check our or not as their interest holds.

 

******  The bookstore

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

Zdogg

“[Drugmakers] Sue Human Immune System For Patent Infringement,” reported the Babylon Bee on January 14, 2022.

It is satirical headline from a satirical source. Still, one nifty conspiracy theory is that some in this industry have come to view the human immune system as ‘competition’ and would like to—ever so slowly so as not to overly attract attention—replace it. It would be not just for profit, though it will be very profitable, but also hubris—those who worship science thinking they can do anything. The human immune system is great, they say, but it doesn’t stop all illness. They aim to remedy that problem with their sciencewhereas anyone with a good dose of godly fear and common sense knows that ‘you don’t mess with the laws of nature.’ 

Zdogg is the establishment doctor. In his snarky rebuttal of Rogan/McCullough (After back-to-back Joe Rogan grand slam interviews, one with Dr. Peter McCullough and one with Dr. Robert Malone, and the intense lobbying effort to get him kicked off Spotify as a consequence) he seriously floats the idea that he is in awe of the magnificent human immune system. That’s why he loves these new mRNA vaccines that train it to do what it has to do! Awesome as it is, it doesn’t know how to do it’s main mission?

I never did get around to saying what I thought of his patronizing twaddle and it’s about time I did. You want to choke him. He points to McCullough’s supposed ‘logic fallacies’ as he commits his own that are far worse. I already posted this guy but here he is again:

Commenting on how Dr McCullough was not swayed by the establishment hit pieces against Ivermectin, he points to how the objection to one was, ‘It wasn’t given soon enough’ and his objection to another, ‘It wasn’t given in combination with the other substances we all use,’ and then complained: “It never ends!” Isn’t a trail of two a little early to say ‘it never ends?’ Of course, the history of the front-line doctors taking the stuff and remaining untouched by Covid in the course of treating thousands of patients—and testifying to this before Congress—is not something he mentions.

And then—this is just a classic with these ‘critical thinking’ champions who take it for granted that they have a lock on the stuff—he admits that he has a bias. He is pro-vaccine. There. He said it. And then carries on as if this makes him a hero, as though it never occurred to anyone else that they too had a starting position! All you have to do these days is admit you have a bias. Instantly you become a hero and your adversary a manipulative Hitler.

He patronizes all in lecturing about ‘causation vs correlation’ as though no one other than he has ever thought of such a thing—whereas they (the doctors he is attacking) all do as a matter of routine. There is also abundant ‘guilt by association.’ And if you say something like “it happens all the time” he dismisses the entire point since it doesn’t happen ALL the time.

If he wasn’t taking out a greater enemy, I almost think tech media would have sought to ban him as well, for he acknowledges McCullough is an expert, and further went on to skewer several sacred cows, asserting that the government has frequently lied, even naming Fauci himself, and stipulating the mandate policy is ridiculous.

And then he dismisses (Rogan told McCullough, who hadn’t heard, about this) the tech fellow who has offered $1 million to anything who will live-debate Covid 19 with him but can’t find any takers with the criticism that Steve Kirsch [I went back to retrieve his name] ‘is a fellow with success in the search engine field who now thinks he knows everything’ and ‘talks a mile a minute’ and has ‘quick command of all the medical studies’ and ‘nobody can possibly keep up with that.’

So it is a crime to be on top of your game? Why can’t he find someone on his side who is on top of his game? Find someone who also  is in-your-face (it is not as though the world suffers for lack of pugnacious people) who also has quick command of papers and research, and who can say, ‘Hold on! What is wrong with this paper is….’  Instead of just saying ‘nobody can keep up with that!’ 

It’s what the anti-cultists do.  If you represent your cause well they present that as a liability! Would they not side with the scribes against Jesus at Matthrew 7:28?  “When Jesus finished these sayings, the effect was that the crowds were astounded at his way of teaching, for he was teaching them as a person having authority, and not as their scribes.”

‘That’s because they were listening to a manipulative cult leader,’ they would say. ‘Nobody can keep up with that stuff!’

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

Anti-cultists: Adding a New Level of Craziness to an Already Unstable World

Russian anti-cult lawyer Alexander Korelov spins the latest sinister plot against Jehovah’s Witnesses. They’re scheming to overthrow the Putin government! he charges. From their “Brooklyn headquarters” they’re so scheming! So reports this BitterWinter article.

Sheesh. They moved out of Brooklyn five years ago. Now, Ivan Q Public might not know it. It’s not his special interest. But it is that of Korelov, who  bills himself as an expert. If he doesn’t know where Witnesses are, he probably doesn’t know anything else. When a medical doctor probes for my amygdala in my great toe, it’s time for me to get a second opinion.

Do the Russian anti-cultists not speak at all to their Western anti-cult brethren? The Western anti-cultists will lambaste Jehovah’s Witnesses for just the opposite reason—for taking absolutely no interest in politics or any other aspect of “normal” life. It is due to the Witnesses’ take on remaining “no part of the world.” They barely know who prominent politicians are, and almost never know of the interplay between them. When I mentioned Eliot Spitzer to a good Witness friend of mine, he replied that, yes, he had heard the name, but he couldn’t quite place him. Spitzer was governor of the state he lived in at the time.

Jehovah’s Witnesses lack of interest in political affairs is exactly that of Christians of the first century who were roundly derided for having just as much interest in civic affairs—namely, none, as they pursue their worship of God and announce his incoming kingdom, that of the ‘Lord’s Prayer,’ When that kingdom comes—brought about entirely by God; all humans can do is announce and support it—then and only then will “God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Theirs is strictly a religious message. It has nothing to do with human political regimes—let alone trying to interfere with one. They are watching the drama play out of human government vs the divine—‘God’s Kingdom.’ You don’t have to know the names of the actors to follow the play. It can even be a distraction if you do.

Read Watchtower publications and you will almost never see political leaders mentioned by name. Here is one current as I write: “Politicians Warn of Armegeddon: What Does the Bible Say?” See how light it is on specific individuals? It’s even frustrating to those who want to keep up with “current events.” But to the vast majority of people who don’t have time for the machinations of politicians but only want insight on where the world is heading—and why—it is useful indeed.

Russian anti-cultists sound the paranoid mantra just as do their Western anti-cultist allies—only the mantras are opposite. Say a peaceful word about Russia here and it can only be due to cult influence. No reasonable person thinks this way, but the anti-cultists buy into it wholesale. In the US is the anti-cultist founder of the BITE model denoting the behavioral, informational, thought, and emotional control that are the bread and butter of ‘cults.’ To me, he therefore becomes the BITEman.

The BITEman thinks half the U.S. citizenry has fallen victim cult manipulation—strong evidence, methinks, of having drunk too much of the KoolAid himself. Moreover, the half that has fallen victim to cult manipulation is the half that supports the former president who spoke of it being nice if “we actually got along with Russia.” Outside interests intervened at that point to virtually ensure that “we” would not.

And now here in Russia is this Alexander Korelov, an anti-cultist of opposite persuasion, who blames all opposition to Russia, particularly with regard to Ukraine, on cults! The unity of the FECRIS anti-cult organization instantly blows up upon worldwide conflict. The organization in the main stays pro-Western over Ukraine. It’s vice-president, Alexander Dvorkin, thoroughly backs the Russian side. Not to worry, his ally Korelov says: Russia will react and “destroy the United States, the spiritual garbage dump of humanity.”

94E1ECA3-523C-42C0-9178-D08961897D35Back to the US: two sharply polarized forces, the woke left and the neoconservative right, have made common cause to war on Russia, oblivious to talk on nuclear war, convinced it is but empty bluster. Both of them might regard each other as a cult, but only the woke would say it—the neocons (to my knowledge) are not given to that vocabulary. See how the notion is explored in this Newsweek opinion piece.

Does it not remind one of the “unclean inspired expressions [that looked] like frogs [from] the mouth” of the dragon, the wild beast, the mouth of the false prophet designed to gather people up for the final war? (Revelation 16:13-14)

The world was already unstable. Anti-cultists on both sides take it to a new level of craziness—wildly accusing each other of being cults. Somehow, the people who take no interest in politics get caught in the crossfire. And to think that during the 1970s, this Witness born in America used to work with the tract “Jehovah’s Witnesses—Christians or Communists,” designed to counter exactly the opposite impression of Korelov: that Jehovah’s Witnesses were tools of the Russian government.

(photo:https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nuclear_artillery_test_Grable_Event_-_Part_of_Operation_Upshot-Knothole.jpg—public domain)

(see succeeding BitterWinter article: https://bitterwinter.org/korelov-insists-jehovahs-witnesses-and-other-cults-ready-to-overthrow-the-putin-regime/)

 

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

 

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

FECRIS vs Jehovah’s Witnesses: Just Who is the Destructive Cult?

Here is one to develop: FECRIS, the international anti-cult organization based in France, denounces and schemes harm to Jehovah’s Witnesses on the basis they are a ‘harmful cult.’ It does this mostly through the machinations of its Russian born Vice President, Alexander Dvorkin. He is the one who masterminded the 2017 ban against Witnesses throughout Russia that has to date resulted in the arrests and jailing of hundreds.

War in Ukraine breaks out—a bloody, punishing, shocking war in which civilian deaths are many and genocide is alleged. Dvorkin backs Russia to the hilt. Others of that organization back Ukraine. Whatever semblance of unified action they may have had—smashed to smithereens over Ukraine! Just who is the ‘harmful cult’ here—FECRIS or Jehovah’s Witnesses?

https://bitterwinter.org/7-fecris-support-for-totalitarian-regimes/

The one thing we know for sure about Jehovah’s Witnesses is that not one combatant will be theirs. They may be drawn from every other religious and secular background—the ‘king’ can always persuade his subjects they are the victims—but not theirs. Just who is the ‘harmful cult?’ Given the ongoing atrocities, they are among the few parties not harmful!

I mean, this FECRIS fix is almost as poignant as the most prominent exJW ‘activist’ cavorting with the lithe and pretty young sex workers of Thailand, blowing his own family to smithereens in the process. It is as though those ubiquitous Watchtower drawings of slovenly opposers shouting and shaking their fists in rage finds complete fulfillment in that bearded bullying slob who perfectly typifies the scriptural ‘promising freedom while himself being slave to corruption!’ (2 Peter 2:19)  And now the secular FECRIS grapples with the enormous bloodshed its VP cheers for! And Jehovah’s Witnesses are the harmful cult??! I don’t think so!

What has FECRIS done with this division in its ranks? As quietly has possible, it has expelled Dvorkin, its Vice President. It hasn’t really ‘disfellowshipped’ him because only cults do that. But what it has done so closely resembles disfellowshipping that no reasonable person can tell the difference. Is it enough? Or is the ideology of FECRIS itself the fault, whose factions stoked the perception of evil cults at work in Ukraine right until it all blew up in their faces? I mean, it is possible to drink too much of your own Kool-Aid.

***

“But…but…but,” that perennial apostate Vic Vomodog wrote me, “What about that Watchtower line, ‘We need to obey the faithful discreet slave to have Jehovah's approval?’ Huh, Tom Harley, what about that? Jesus Christ himself said at John 14:6, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’ Unlimited power is what they want!”

No, Vic. They no more make a grab for “unlimited power” than did those taking the lead in the first century:

As [Paul and Banabas] traveled on through the cities, they would deliver to them for observance the decrees that had been decided on by the apostles and the elders who were in Jerusalem.” (Acts 16:4)

Never did those two suggest Christians ought blow away “decrees” from Jerusalem as though the tyranny of domineering men. All Bible translations use words such as ‘decrees’ for Acts 16:4. Some say ‘rules,’ some ‘regulations.’ Some strengthen it as regulations “which were to be observed.” Only the independence-savoring Message translation waters it down to ‘helpful guidelines which proved most useful.’

“What I am saying is that trust us because God trust us sounds cultish!” Vomodog fired back!

It does sound cultish and it may therefore be impolitic to say it, but only for that reason. There’s nothing especially shocking in the idea itself. The Lord trusted the twelve. Does that mean their performance was flawless? We are the children of those who drove around with bumper stickers saying “Question Authority.” (if we are not those people ourselves). It makes us touchy on the point of authority. Dare I say overly touchy?

The Governing Body says what it says as it mans up, girds its loins, and takes the same lead as did faithful men in the first century. They think we’re entering crunch time. Witnesses will agree with that; if they don’t they have no business being Witnesses. The Governing Body does not want to find themselves in the shoes of Lot, urging evasive action only to find his sons-in-law think he is joking. (Genesis 19:14)

Jesus says (John 14:12) “whoever exercises faith in me will also do the works that I do; and he will do works greater than these.” The first century governing body, “the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem,” did considerably greater works than Jesus in that they spread the message throughout the then-known world. The modern-day governing body has far eclipsed them, spreading it throughout the entire world regardless of the barriers set up (language, nationality, ethnicity, culture), at the same time keeping it freely available, unified, and uncontaminated. For this they deserve great respect, and yes, obedience. It is understood that this obedience is not tyranny, that it recognizes “we are not masters of your faith” (2 Corinthians 1:24) and that we shall smell a scandal when Sam Herd upgrades to a bigger dorm room.

By and large, rank and file Jehovah’s Witnesses have worked out the balance pretty well: “We have this treasure [the ministry] in earthen vessels [us—imperfect humans. We are imperfect and those taking the lead are imperfect], so that the power beyond what is normal may be God’s and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)

If we are going to carry on about “absolute authority” let us attribute it to the one who has it in this system of things and who uses it for great harm—the “great dragon who is misleading the entire inhabited earth,” the “ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.” (Rev 12:9, Ephesians 2:2) It is this one who uses his absolute authority over the “air” to motivate the malevolent ones at FECRIS to boast of their “freedom of mind,” caring not that it makes them pawns of the national kings fighting their bloody battles for dominance. That’s the “absolute authority” to worry about, not those of the people who say we should pay attention to dress and grooming and keep track of time spent in the ministry. “Light has come into the world, but men have loved the darkness rather than the light,” says Jesus. (John 3:19) See how quickly a discussion about the authority that kills is diverted into beefing about the authority that doesn’t.

The Governing Body may not correspond to the human authority Jehovah has used in the past in every particular, the main one being that since Scripture was completed in the first century CE, they are not explicitly mentioned in it. But it is far more beneficial to dwell on the similarities than the differences. Even Witnesses who aren’t thrilled over every aspect of GB policy have no problem conceding that there should be human leadership. Any one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is easily able to reconcile “I am the way and the truth and the life” with verses such as Ephesians 4: 7-13 that plainly state Christ grants authority to men:

Now undeserved kindness was given to each one of us according to how the Christ measured out the free gift. ….And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers, with a view to the readjustment of the holy ones, for ministerial work, to build up the body of the Christ, until we all attain to the oneness of the faith and of the accurate knowledge of the Son of God, to being a full-grown man, attaining the measure of stature that belongs to the fullness of the Christ.

Surely Christianity was not meant to die with the completion of the Bible canon. Surely someone was meant to be around to oversee Matthew 24:14: “And this good news will be preached in all the inhabited earth, as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.”

***

the bookstore

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

Moving the ‘Cult’ Goalposts

Jehovah’s Witnesses plainly don’t fit the traditional definition of cult that we all grew up with. Time was, if you fell under the spell of a charismatic leader, withdrew from society, and began doing strange things, you just might be a member of a cult.

However, the goal posts have been moved! There is a new definition of cult, and by this definition they do fit. If you belong to a group in which there is significant human authority and if you think outside of the mainstream box, you are a cult. The BITE expert even thinks half the country (United States) belongs to a cult for voting for the candidate he disfavors, a circumstance I think dilutes every other stand he takes. I mean, if you think half the country is in a cult, is it not evidence you have drunk too much of the KoolAid yourself?

This changed definition explains why when Yaroslav Sivulsky (as related in Don’t Know Why We Persecute) is asked about cult accusations, he does the only thing a reasonable person can be expected to do—he doesn’t understand the question. He notes that “we don’t have the features of a sect, because we are not isolated, we have no leader who is controlling everybody, because we are open to society. We go to the people, not hide from the people in forests of somewhere else.” He hasn’t kept up with the latest machinations of men; he has a real world to live in.

So the question becomes how do you adapt to this new definition of cult?

One way is simply refuse to accept it. “Cult” has had specific meaning for centuries, and just don’t budge from that specific meaning. The only reason it has changed in recent years is because humanists are intent upon snuffing out religion that becomes powerful through organization. If it is only a matter of uncoordinated individuals each acting (or more often, not acting) upon his or her own personal interpretation of God, that is less of a threat to them, and they are okay with it. Disconnected individuals are relatively easy to pick off or assimilate, but it is much harder with members of a centralized coordinated group.

Another way of dealing with the updated definition is to accept it but also point out that the Bible thereby becomes a cult manual. It plainly speaks of a first century group in which there was significant human authority. That gathering of the apostles of older men in 49CE (Acts 15) sent out decrees (decisions) to the congregation that were to be observed. (Acts 16:4-5)

A supplemental response is to revert to the original meaning of “cult,” for it comes from the same root word as does agriculture. Whereas agriculture is literally caring for the earth, cult in the religious sense can be taken as caring for the matters of God. I’ll take it. It is not too different from serving as ‘guardians of doctrine.’

Or one can point out the advantages of being able to cooperate. One can observe that in response to direction from their governing body, Jehovah’s Witnesses instantly suspended physical meetings for virtual, and instantly donned the masks deemed protective. If that protocol was the secret for eradicating the virus and if everyone in the world had been a Jehovah’s Witness, Covid 19 would have shoved off long ago. I told the CultExpert, who has the byline, “Freedom of Mind,” you don’t think at least some of those flying your banner will use their freedom of mind to tell the government to take a hike?

And should it turn out that such protocol is not the way to eradicate the virus, that quickly becomes apparent, clearing the path for another protocol to be devised. Indeed, the doctor who wrote the White House with the medical regimen that quickly cured Trump when the latter came down with kiss-of-death Covid thinks there will some day be the equivalent of Nuremberg trials for those who let hundreds of thousands of people die by discrediting and even withholding treatment of an eminently treatable disease.

But when some follow the guidelines and some don’t, you never come to know if they work or not. Covid ravages the globe as each one is arguing his or her own point of view and the result of either course never comes to fruition. JWs would have spared the world that. “Freedom of mind” anti-cult addicts would have perpetuated it.

One can also be very resourceful and turn that cult taunt (for that is how it is usually intended) on its head, the same way some innovative police years ago dealt with the taunt “Pigs.” They advertised that is stood for Pride, Integrity Guts, and Service. In the same way, as applied to Witnesses, cult can stand for Courage, Unity, Love, and Truth.

The villains don’t own the dictionary. We can make as much use of it as they. In the case of hostile ex-Witnesses, we can even adapt the Freddy Mercury song:

We’re the apostates, my friends

and we’ll keep on fighting till the end

No way we’ll lost this

Be sure you choose us

Cause we’re the apostates of he world.

Meanwhile, displaying far more freedom of mind than the freedom of mind specialist could ever dream of, the recent announcement from HQ is that “they do not oppose vaccination. Many of the Bethel family have chosen to be vaccinated. We view health care as a personal decision and do not attempt to make such decisions for others.” (an amalgamation of two separate announcements) I have quipped that you can even tell whether a bro is vaccinated or not by how they read the announcement:

HQ IS NOT AGAINST vaccination. We view health care as a personal choice.

or

HQ is not against vaccination. We view health care AS A PERSONAL CHOICE.

…..

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