A Review of ‘Judging Jehovah’s Witnesses:’ Part 2 (Resolving Matters the Next Time Around)

(See Part 1)

How does an eight to one Supreme Court decision go six to three the other way in just the scan of three years? Did the justices who switched sides have their Acts 9:3 road to Damascus revelation?—“Hey! Why are you guys opposing me? Knock it off!”

The book Judging Jehovah’s Witnesses, by Shawn Francis Peters, examines their later admissions. They were cowed that first time around! They were bullied! They were ‘manipulated!’ Where are the anti-cultists when you need them?

The three ‘flipflopping’ justices were bowled away by the stature of then Chief Justice Felix Frankfurter, who wrote the majority opinion in Minersville School District vs Gobitas: ‘Make those Witness students salute the flag! Kick them out of school if they do not! Oh—and don’t worry about misspelling Gobitis’s name (Court records have it has ‘Gobitas’) Who cares?’

They dared not cross him. “Felix mesmerized us . . . [he] was passionate about the flag and what it meant to him,” one of those justices recalled. Felix was the justice who would walk the corridors of the Supreme Court merrily whistling ‘Stars and Stripes Forvever. (Pg 52) The other three were newbies—scared to take him on!

Moreover, Justice Douglass laments, the powerful dissent of Harlan Stone, author of the minority opinion that later became the majority—he had not yet made that opinion known. When he did, these guys felt it was too late to switch sides. They could have been ‘manipulated’ the other way! Where are the anti-cultists when you need them?

They fretted about it. Coming down to the wire, too chicken to change their vote, Peters’ book quotes Justice Black murmuring, “What are we going to do? Stone is right. . . . But we were wiped out by Felix emotional appeal.”  (P237)  “We decided to redress the wrong the next time around.”

CD5269F9-47F3-4089-AE6C-C0DAE4B3B55FThis calls to mind Parkinson’s Law, that book by C. Northcote Parkinson that undertakes to express “laws” of business and human nature in mathematical terms. Illustrating the law that the time devoted to an item varies inversely to its expense, the author presents a board meeting considering its first item on the agenda, whether to approve construction of an atomic reactor. The item passes almost instantly because few know much about atomic reactors—some don’t even know what one is—but nobody wants to confess their ignorance before their peers. They approve it. However, they do so with many a private misgiving Members inwardly feel that they haven’t pulled their weight. They resolve to make up for that deficiency with the next item.

The next item is whether to construct a bicycle shed for the employees. They discuss at great length, since they didn’t do much on the previous item. However, the ‘great length’ at which they discuss this item is nothing compared with the length of the final item on the agenda—whether to switch brands of coffee for break times.

And so the cowed Justices resolved to “redress the wrong the next time around.”

Don’t think the intent here is to villainize those three, nor even the Justice who wrote the disastrous-for-Witnesses majority opinion. Why disastrous? Because it unleashed a wave of savage persecution against them from the general populace. Estimates range of about 1500 incidences of mob-violence during this period, with beatings a staple, sometimes escalating to tar-and-and feathering, and even the occasional maiming, castration, shooting, and hanging. It was a wrong ripe for “redress the next time around.” Still, I know what it’s like to be newbie on a body. I know what it’s like to be swayed by long-time seniors. Probably everyone does, barring those who are naturally truculent. It happens.

‘Don’t let a bully carry the day’ is the tone of current training for elder bodies. ‘Discuss it thoroughly. Draw out the reticent ones. Don’t just run them down.’ It’s human nature for that to happen. Try to counteract it.

If there’s another lesson to take away, it might be, ‘Don’t be awed by great ones.’ They’re men (in the case of those who are.) They put their pants on one leg at a time (in the case of those who do). Check your reverence for them. Sort of like the Psalm says:

Do not put your trust in princes Nor in a son of man, who cannot bring salvation. His spirit goes out, he returns to the ground; On that very day his thoughts perish.” (146:4-5)

Jehovah’s Witnesses love that scripture. They like the one about a king’s heart being flexible, too, the way it proved to be with the flipflopping three. “A king’s heart is like streams of water in Jehovah’s hand. He directs it wherever He pleases.” (Proverbs 21:1)

I’m still waiting for that to play out with Putin. I’m still waiting that he will look into the banning of the Jehovah’s Witness organization in his country and reverse it. He’s a ‘king’, but he’s also a man with a heart. Now—I’m not holding my breath. But it worked with Ahasuerus, tricked by that day’s opponents to throttle the Jews. Why not he?

To be continued…

 

******  The bookstore

 

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’

A Review of ‘Judging Jehovahs’ Witnesses’ (Shawn Francis Peters)—Part 1

“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion or other matters of opinion . . . ”

With that, an eight to one U. S. Supreme Court decision made just three years earlier was overturned. Eight to one is a lot. A squeaker of a decision—maybe that could conceivably be overturned. But eight to one?

Of course—you know how our people are—we right away gave credit to God, since the case involved us. “We knew the Lord would arrange it. The victory is his,” said Gobitis. They did exactly the same when the European Court of Human rights ruled the 2017 ban on the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses was illegal. But Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone, who worked hard to engineer the turnaround, said that all’s well that ends well, “but I should like to have seen the case end well in the first place . . .”

Gobitis is Walter Gobitis, a store owner and Jehovah’s Witness whose children were expelled from school for refusal to salute the flag. Standing respectfully while others salute was not enough for school district officials. Their expulsion was stayed on appeal, stayed once again on higher appeal, but then upheld when school district officials lodged a final appeal with the Supreme Court. We are not the “school board of the country,” the Court said. Let them do what they want. The decision is known as Minersville School District vs Gobitas. (1940–yes, they misspelled his name)

Clearly understood by everyone involved was that the stand of Jehovah’s Witnesses was religious and had nothing to do with patriotism or lack thereof. Gobitis said of his children after the 1943 turnaround (West Virginia vs Barnette): “America is their country. But God must come first.”

If that point was clearly understood by everyone involved, it was not understood by the general public not involved. “They’re traitors—the Supreme Court says so,” was a typical sentiment expressed by a sheriff in the Deep South. (pg 84)

Witnesses saw (and see) flag salute as a violation of the second of the Ten Commandments: “You must not make for yourself a carved image or a form like anything that is in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them nor be enticed to serve them, for I, Jehovah your God, am a God who requires exclusive devotion . . . (Exodus 20:4-5)

Anything in the heavens, on earth, or in the sea covers a lot of ground. Bowing down is not so different than saluting such an anything. The Witnesses even garnered some support by the circumstance that, at the time, the flag salute looked exactly like the Heil Hitler Nazi salute with outstretched arm—the hand-over-heart pledge of allegiance was a later development. And since God requires exclusive devotion, and the Bible verse next considers punishment for those not serving him that way—suddenly things that at first glance do not seem very similar become so. One should bully small children into doing something that their Bible-trained conscience tells them is disagreeable to God and may merit punishment?

It is why even the lofty ones who did not like Jehovah’s Witnesses thought Minersville was a terrible decision. The New Republic likened the Supreme Court to German tribunals that similarly punished the Witnesses for refusing to perform the Nazi salute. Wrote the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “We  think this decision of the United States Supreme Court is dead wrong. We think its decision is a violation of American principle. We think it is a surrender to popular hysteria. If patriotism depends upon such things as this—upon violation of a fundamental right of religious freedom—then if becomes not a noble emotion of love for country, but something to be rammed down our throats by the law.” When the decision was reversed three years later, Time Magazine led off its coverage with, “Blot Removed.”

The prevailing opinion in Minersville (‘We live by symbols’) was, in most legal and journalistic circles, thought an embarrassment. The dissenting opinion of Minersville, written by Justice Harlan Fiske Stone, who later became Chief Justice Stone, was the one most championed in those circles. Three years later that dissenting opinion would become the prevailing one.

(All quotations, except from those of links, are taken from the book Judging Jehovah’s Witnesses, by Shawn Francis Peters)

To be continued: here

 

******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’

Dave McClure—the CO Beaten up as a Child, and the Reversal of Freedomofmind

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (1940) that children MUST salute WHEN told to do so, with NO excuses, the phrase “freedom of the human mind” defended the minority, Jehovah’s Witnesses. The words were employed in the Court’s minority opinion. Today, the phrase “freedom of mind” is used to attack them! along with other ‘cults.’ It is an amazing reversal—from defending the rights of the minority from majority assault, to defending the rights of the majority from minority assault!

How does the minority pull off such a threatening stunt? Through ‘mind control’ and “brainwashing!’ It is an incredible charge and an 180 reversal of history! Freedomofmind.com is the url of the “cultexpert,” the founder of the BITE model, the means through which the nefarious minority manipulates members of the majority—through Behavioral control, Informational control, Thought control, and Emotional control. It is always someone else’s fault with these ‘anti-cultists’—its founder has progressed to calling half the country a victim of political mind-control! He’s not drunk too much of the Kool-Aid himself?

THAT is the takeaway point to be gleaned from the following article. It is not the point I had in mind when I initially wrote it. But it is the point that best endures:

....

Dave McClure

I worked with Dave McClure the circuit overseer—I used to stick to those guys like glue—one fine morning in the 1980’s. “We’re just calling on our neighbors in order to....” he began. The householder glanced at the Michigan plates on his car—it didn’t exactly suggest to a New Yorker that the man was a neighbor. “Neighbor?” he said. But Dave was never ever at a loss for words. “Well, I’ve got to fly the flag!’ was his chipper comeback.

It was a perfect comeback. Michigan plates that year featured the most colorful backdrop of numerals against a flag that I have ever seen. Brother McClure was newly assigned to our circuit and hadn’t yet switched over his plates—you’re allowed a certain time interval to do so, I believe. I mean, it can’t be a requirement from the moment you cross the state line.

But it was a perfect comeback for another reason. When he was a boy, Dave McClure routinely got beat up by classmates for not flying the flag, or at least not saluting it. He told his experiences at a special assembly in Niagara Falls, New York. As only Brother McClure could do, he made getting beat up almost sound like fun—I mean, this is the fellow who, when in the presence of friends and confronted with something unexpected, would repeatedly and furiously move his hand from breastbone to abdomen and back again. He was just “staking himself,” taking no chances, as he would explain, 

In 1940, the Minerville School District v Gobitis U.S. Supreme Court ruling held that Witness children could be compelled to salute the flag. Walter Gobitus was a Jehovah’s Witness whose child did not. Witnesses view declining the flag salute in any nation as a matter of avoiding idolatry. They connect the salute with God’s words to Moses that “you must not make for yourself...a form like anything that is in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them...for I, Jehovah your God, am a God who requires exclusive devotion...”

Walter, then 10, had told the local school authorities: ''I do not salute the flag not because I do not love my country. I love my country, but I love God more, and must obey his commandments.'' Didn’t cut it with the Supreme Court.

The Court decision signaled open hunting season on Jehovah’s Witnesses. Mobs surrounded them in their public preaching work. Many were accosted. Some were tarred and feathered, some were forced to drink castor oil. At least one was lynched. They were rounded up in their ministry and crammed into local jails, sometimes without charge—they were contemptible enough in the eyes of respectable society so as to be denied the rights afforded everyone else. One brother tells of how he would always carry a toothbrush with him in the ministry so as not to be unprepared should he spend the night in the hoosegow.

Note the majority Supreme Court opinion of Justice Felix Frankfurter: “National unity is the basis of national security. To deny the legislature the right to select appropriate means for its attainment presents a totally different order of problem from that of the propriety of subordinating the possible ugliness of littered streets to the free expression opinion through handbills.” Note his contempt for the “possible ugliness of littered streets” from handbills, such as Witnesses were known for.

Justice Harlan Stone was the lone dissenter. He wrote that “the guarantees of civil liberty are but guarantees of freedom of the human mind and spirit and of reasonable freedom and opportunity to express them .” Note how “guarantees of freedom of the human mind and spirit” were presumed defenses for those who would think outside of the mainstream; note today how ‘anti-cultists’ have turned that logic on its head so that a ‘cult’ taking ones outside of the mainstream constitutes a violation of “the freedom of the human mind and spirit.”

Shortly thereafter, probably aghast at the violence they had unleashed, the Court had a change of heart. Three members signaled their changed views. Two others retired and were replaced by those thought more attuned to individual liberties. The matter came up for review again, wending its way though lesser courts until it ascended to the top Court. The plaintiffs in the case were named Barnett, Stull, and Lucy McClure. Dave was the young son of Lucy.

The decision reversed. The new majority opinion (released on June 3rd, Flag Day, 1943):

''If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein,'' Justice Robert H. Jackson wrote.

The new minority opinion , written by the former winner, now the loser, Felix Frankfurter, included the grumbling:

“As has been true in the past, the Court will from time to time reverse its position. But I believe that never before these Jehovah’s Witnesses cases (there were many more besides those concerning flag salute) …..has this Court overruled decisions so as to restrict the powers of democratic government.”

Yes, that’s how it is with governments, democratic or not. They want more power. They don’t want to give it up. A certain amount is necessary, of course, so as to maintain public order and safety. Witnesses cede it to them willingly and render obedience. But when they grab for yet more - the consciences and souls of their citizens, someone has to call them on it. And that someone has often been Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The topic came up 45 years later. The first George Bush thought it a fine idea for teachers to lead their classes in mandatory flag salute. His electioneering opponent, Michael Dukakis, did not. The New York Times reviewed the JW items of decades past and even tracked down some of the original participants. “Mr. Gobitis,” it wrote, “now a 62-year-old piano tuner in Belgium, Wis., has followed the 1988 salute debate closely, and a bit disgustedly. ‘It's hard to comprehend why they're raising this issue again,’ he said. ‘They're ignoring our constitutional development and history.’ It reminded him, he said, of a passage in Chapter 16 of the Book of Revelations. ‘To Jehovah's Witnesses,’ he said, ‘all this political fanfare boils down to is 'the croaking of frogs and expressions inspired by demons.’”

And you know, I just can’t get over the reversed use of that phrase, “guarantees of freedom of the human mind and spirit and of reasonable freedom.” Then it was used to protect the minority from the majority. Today anti-cultists use it to protect the majority from the minority, lest ones of that minority ‘deceive’ them by ‘manipulation’ and ‘mind control.’

As for Dave McClure, my old Circuit Overseer, if he ever had thoughts about the 1988 brouhaha, he never shared them with me. But then, he would have moved on by then to another assignment—he served our circuit just around 1980. He passed away in Florida several years ago.

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’

Anti-Cultists Take Aim at the Scriptures “Controlling” People

Guys my age watch Perry Mason so they can see the old cars. They also like the courtroom drama of Counselor Mason zeroing in to finger just who is the scoundrel. As often as not, it is someone in the audience who jumps  to his or her feet and confesses, even with tears, but sometimes just with hostility:

I did it! But I didn’t mean to hurt him. I just wanted to change his mind, but he wouldn’t take....I didn’t (sob) mean to hurt him!”

or

I did it! That rotter had it coming! Yes, I did it! And I’d do it again!”

That doesn’t actually happen in a real courtroom. Nor does it happen that the witness himself confesses under Mason’s relentless questioning.

I checked you story, and it’s a lot of hot air! Didn’t you just make it up to hide the fact that you killed Mr. So-and-So yourself?”

”Yes! Yes, I killed him! (sob) But I never meant to hurt him! (or: “He was a good-for-nothing rotter! He needed killing! I did what was necessary!”)

No. Doesn’t happen in a real courtroom. The defense lawyer (which Perry Mason is) just works to get his client off. It’s not his problem who did the deed. Still, we forgive the show these excesses. It makes for good drama—not gripping by today’s standards—but acceptable entertainment to have running in the background.

It takes itself seriously, though. Check out this statement:

“When both sides properly prepare a case, the adversary system can effectively guarantee the revelation of all the facts bearing on an issue. The more experience you have with it, the more you’ll find it a surprisingly scientific method of trial preparation.” — Perry Mason.  (Season 5, Ep 13 The Case of the Renegade Refugee)

Come now, that is not a religious statement? Thrust upon us by a new world of “science” that has despaired of finding impartial judges the like of Exodus 18:26: “capable men fearing God, trustworthy men hating dishonest profit?”

The reason they are hard to find is that the world embraces values to the contrary. Not so in the Christian organization. I will take the congregation justice system any day, which only deals with the spiritual matters that are of no concern of secular courts. But a hostile world tries to reframe some of these spiritual matters as grist for the legal machine.

Such was the case a few years back with a Canadian man, disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation, who sued over it. Disfellowshipping is the last ditch measure of discipline, to be employed after all else has failed, so that those claiming to be members of the congregation hold to the moral standards that they signed on for. This fellow lost a lot of business as a real estate agent and he blamed the congregation for it. The Supreme Court declined to intervene in the internal affairs of religious beliefs and dismissed the case, but lesser courts had sided with him.

What is happening is that those who refuse discipline are airing their complaints to a world that downplays, if not despises, discipline and thereby finding common sympathy. The apostle John says it well: “They originate with the world; that is why they speak what originates with the world and the world listens to them.” (1 John 4:5)

It brings to mind the trademark of those describe in 2 Peter as “apostate”—they “despise authority.” They will not be held accountable for their actions.

You don’t think that those who come out on the short end of the world’s court system don’t also complain about how they were abused and unjustly sold down the river? It is human nature to do so in a system that downplays responsibilities and upplays rights.

The effort today is to hinder those wanting to stay separate from the world—ideally, even making it illegal to do so. Several Bible statements would outrage the “anti-cult”-driven legal climate of today:

“But now I am writing you to stop keeping company with anyone called a brother who is sexually immoral or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man.” (1 Corinthians 5:11). The Bible writer would be challenged legally today for trying to “control” people; who is he to tell them who they can eat with?

“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him. For the one who says a greeting to him is a sharer in his wicked works.” (2 John 10)  Ditto. He is “controlling people.” Let them greet whoever they want, even those whom HE finds “wicked.”

“It is necessary to shut their mouths, because these very men keep on subverting entire households by teaching things they should not for the sake of dishonest gain.” (Titus 1:11) Oh? It is “necessary” to restrict someone’s free speech for the sake of “enforcing” your religion? See you in court, Paul.

From time to time, the earthly organization rewords something—like the disfellowshipping announcement or the questions for baptism—to make clear that members are voluntarily adhering to Bible counsel rather than, as opposers try to present it, suffering the bullying of an “evil” “oppressive” “corporation.” It may fail in this one day, because the intent of those hostile to Christianity is to make the Bible verses themselves illegal, or at least make it illegal for anyone to actually follow them.

The goal is to deprive Christians of organization. That way they can more easily be assimilated into the greater word. This is framed hypocritically, even obnoxiously, as an attempt to liberate them. It is no more better realized today than in Russia, where Jehovah’s Witnesses are not illegal, but only their organization is. ‘It’s not the foot-soldier they want to kill off. It’s only the generals that must go. That way the foot-soldier can more easily switch sides—and he will be all the happier for it,’ so the thinking goes. Of course, a scheme so devious cannot be comprehended by the average person, and so whatever local authorities there are who don’t like Witnesses simply feel free to beat up on them.

....

It is far far far easier—and thus more alluring—to tear down than it is to build up. However, it is more noble to do the latter.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’

Yikes! End of the Line for Bloggers?

When the world at last wakes up to a problem, it wildly overswings. It misses its target, who ducks, and hits square in the teeth the unsuspecting, innocent, and ordinary joe standing just behind.‬ Will this be soon be the case in the world of blogging?

Mr. Admin thinks so. He runs a big site. He will go down at the end of the year, he fears, “as will many, many bloggers and other small ad-supported websites due to onerous and draconian data privacy laws.”

He cites an article:

“The [California Consumer Privacy Act, to go into effect at year end] was supposed to curb the purportedly abusive privacy practices of internet giants (like Google and Facebook) and data brokers. Unfortunately, the law overshot this goal; it reaches most businesses, online or off. Facebook may have been the target, but the local pizzeria will bear the law’s brunt.” Cost of compliance to these new mandates, which carries a $20 fine per incident for any internet hit from California are so onerous that anyone not in the same league as Facebook will simply fold.”

“Well, if you are not in California and have no critical interests there, who cares if you run afoul of their law? What’s the worst that can happen?” I asked him. He continued to fret:

“I doubt development companies like IPS or Wordpress have dedicated anything to this problem. They were probably hoping Google would make it go away....Would you risk life changing fines “per incident” to make even $100 monthly profit? High risk + Low Reward = Find a new hobby for most small time publishers/bloggers/forum owners.”

Hmm. He’s not in California. But he doesn’t want to risk a trip to the mailbox to discover a letter:

Dear Mr Admin:

It’s “Hasta la vista” for you, baby!

Very truly yours

Arnold Schwartsnegger - Governor emeritus of California”

PS — I’ll be back!

Now, I hang out there quite a bit on the forum of Admin. I have written substantial portions of text there latter reorganized to comprise parts of “Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia,” and “TrueTom vs the Apostates!” I think his fears are overblown and that outfits such as he mentions will come up with some solution that they will use to justify a price increase—hopefully not too huge. Our worst dreams do come true, but they usually come true gradually, not all at once with a swipe of the pen.

There will be a gateway at the entrance of blogs, I predict, where ones who wish to participate will waive away privacy rights. Already I see such things. Or (better yet) there will be developed a firewall to ban anyone from California, and then the outrage of those persons will cause lawmakers to backtrack. They do not want to be like John Jay, who negotiated a treaty with the British so unpopular that he later wrote he could ride the road from Philadelphia to Washington at night, his path lit solely by the burning effigies of himself hanging every 50 yards or so. 

Still, Admin is closer to this than me, and paying more attention. Maybe I underestimate the problem and his forum will indeed go down. If so, I will miss it. But I will also move on. I have used my time well there. Engaging with malcontents, villains, as well as some “avant-garde” brothers has served to hone both my writing and my thinking. In turn, I have used that to write larger collections that stand on their own, even if distribution methods themselves may change. Admin himself rebuked me long ago, and the experience served as a quirky introduction to “TrueTom vs the Apostates.”

It finally dawned upon the troublesome “Foreigner” that Mr. Admin is not a Witness, and he said that now he realized it.

He didn’t know that? Admin has said it often enough. “So here you come charging like a bull,” I told him, “upbraiding for apostasy anyone displaying the slightest deviation from the latest writing of the Witness organization, far in excess of what they would ever insist upon themselves, and you do it all before unbelievers, making Witnesses look ridiculous!”

It is nearly as absurd as (I have seen it) the spectacle presented when brothers tell each other on Facebook that so-and-so is disfellowshipped, and so be careful not to associate with that one. Since you can’t really know what is real and what is rumor, one sister even proposed phoning an elder in the person’s home congregation to ask if so-and-so was in good standing or not. All this before just regular folk who know or care nothing of congregation matters. I responded that if I were that elder, I might comply once or twice, being caught off guard, but after that I would say: “Enough! I have a family, a job, congregation responsibilities, and a life! Now you want me to police the internet? Stay off social media if you have to ask such questions!” The internet is not the congregation and cannot be made to behave like one. Do not venture online if you cannot get your head around this.

Another value to me of the forum (and online in general) that may tank—if it does, it does—is the discipline of addressing heavy, even controversial spiritual topics, knowing non-Witnesses might be listening in, and learning how to say heavy things without turning them off. I mean, they may not like the religion itself, and if such is the case, there is nothing to be done about it. But sometimes it is our own inartfulness that is the turn-off, and I have learned (relatively) how to be artful. It is no more that what Paul said:

“To the Jews I became as a Jew in order to gain Jews; to those under law I became as under law, though I myself am not under law, in order to gain those under law. To those without law I became as without law, although I am not without law toward God but under law toward Christ, in order to gain those without law....I have become all things to people of all sorts, so that I might by all possible means save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:20-22)

Most Witnesses are not good at this. When they engage with non-believers, it is strictly mundane, regarding business matters or the weather—OR they go into “witness mode” and tell them of the paradise, petting the animals, and how the Trinity is a crock. They don’t seem to know how to mix the two. I have learned to do that, and I credit sites like Admin’s with providing the needed practice.

It is a good skill to develop, I think. We won’t be described as so “insular” should we ever pull of that trick. But I think we never will pull it off.. “Insularity” is too close to being “no part of the world”—a condition that must be so for Christians, per James 4:4, for example: “Adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is making himself an enemy of God.”

If Admin’s worst fears are realized and his site goes down, other sites will go down for the same reason. That will kick out tons of “apostate” sites, and I have no problem with that. “I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it,” is the saying of Voltaire, not me. When it comes to trashing spiritual things, I’d just as soon they not say it. I can live with it should that become the new law.

None of this will affect the official channel, JW.org, that is not into collecting data in the first place, and when they do for the sake of log-in accounts, I think even already they require applicants to yield on such newfound concerns—and you should hear the apostates howl over that!

In fact, I think what Bethel will say with regard to the apostates who hang their hearts on the BITE model [Behavioral, Information, Thought, and Emotional “control”] is: “The idiots! They pressed their ‘victimization’ complaints to such absurd lengths that the asp came around to bite them in their own rear ends, knocking them all offline.” 

As for Admin, he will have to find himself a new hobby. They are offering pickleball lessons down at the Rec Center, I hear—a fine way for duffers to keep in shape. It wouldn’t hurt me were I to sign up myself, and maybe I will see him there. Maybe someday I will even see him at the Kingdom Hall—that is, if he did not get chased away by the hotheads on his own forum.

After that, in search of new things to do, I may even start to tackle more of Mrs. Harley’s to-do list. Say—you don’t suppose that it is she who spoke to California lawmakers, do you?

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’